The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

An Australia Picture Worth Those Thousand Words

Really, very little to add to something like this, except, “Imagine that happening in a densely populated country. Now, imagine it happening in a densely populated, poor country.”

(This is a 3D image based on NASA data, not a photograph from space. All areas have been effected, not all were burning at the same time.)

Money would be rather useful, as I don’t get paid by the piece. If you want to support my writing, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.


Iran Isn’t Going to Let Itself Be Kicked to Death Without Fighting Back


Open Thread


  1. Hugh

    As Australia goes, so goes the world. We are all Australians now.


    It could have been prevented if Australians weren’t too lazy to rake their leaves.

  3. This picture has no reference, at all!

    In light of this, and the recent Brazilian fire hype, I consequently find it less convincing than the ‘intelligence’ briefing on the Soleimani assassination was to some members of Congress.

    My guess is that it’s a cumulative representation of smoke, not current fire.


    Well, before I hit the submit comment button, I went to Lubos Motls’ website. Motls’ is a conservative physicist who blogs on physics and social issues. He had the SAME image, also with no reference! (Shame on him, also.)

    From one of the comments, we are taken to Tony Heller’s site:

    and from there, to the radio Canada website

    (you can hit the translate button, when loading the page)

    It says,

    “A satellite image of Australia, supposedly showing all the fires that are currently raging, circulates enormously on social networks. We can see that a good part of the country is covered with flames.

    In fact, it is not a satellite photo, but a 3D visualization project by Australian artist Anthony Hearsey. To create his image, he took data from NASA’s Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS), a forest fire information system around the world.

    In the image, Mr. Hearsey included all of the data from December 5, 2019 to January 5, 2020, so the image does not show the fires that are currently burning. In addition, the artist claims that the extent of the most illuminated areas is exaggerated by his 3D rendering.

    Since his image went viral, Mr. Hearsey has changed his original post. This is a 3D visualization of the lights in Australia. THIS IS NOT A PHOTO. Think of it as a graphic, but prettier , he wrote.

    Note that this is a compilation, and that not all areas in the image are currently burning , he added.

    You can view a map showing the true extent of the fires in Australia by clicking here (New Window) .

  4. @hugh

    I think it’d be far more accurate to say that “Some of us are Greta Thunberg, now”.

    Greta claims to be able to see CO2. This, in spite of the fact that it’s invisible.

    Two possibilities immediately suggest themselves. One is that Greta has a superpower. The other is that Greta is irrational.

    Which Greta Thunberg are you, hugh?

  5. Phil in KC

    This is not an actual image taken from space, but rather an artist’s interpretation of the fires. The BBC has a more realistic map that shows where the fires are burning currently. The fires are horrific enough and need no graphic embellishment, in my opinion. I do think global warming is happening and the Australia fires are worse because of it. Climate change deniers look at images like this and find confirmation of their bias that climate change is a hoax. The plain facts should be enough to convince rational people.

  6. Willy

    This is of course a metaphor from a book taken out of its context, taken from a German newspaper. No one has said that I can literally see CO2… that is beyond stupid.

    So why has the denialism gotten so loony they’ll grasp at any lie?

  7. bruce wilder

    following up on Phil in KC
    quoting the BBC concerning the image above:

    Anthony Hearsey’s visualisation of one month of data of locations where fire was detected, collected by Nasa’s Fire Information for Resource Management System.

    “The scale is a little exaggerated due to the render’s glow, but it is generally true to the info from the Nasa website. Also note that not all the areas are still burning, and this is a compilation,” Mr Hearsey wrote on Instagram in response to criticism by viewers that the image was misleading.

  8. Jeff Wegerson

    @metamars @Willy I met a man last night who he and his daughter are overly sensitive to CO2. Now we are talking about indoor CO2 that is often well above 1000 ppm. Sure indoor and still not seeing but still…

    @bruce wilder Perhaps a map where various shades of bright greens are replaced with a flat black would be another way to present the data. Yes the coloring would be still enhanced but the total extent of the over time devastation would present a compelling view of reality.

  9. Jeff Wegerson

    @Ian – Looking forward to the delayed but eventual post on management of emotion. I would appreciate you including what you know about how aging enters into the mix.

  10. Willy

    Jeff Wegerson,
    Greta fully denied the lies told about her and clearly explained. That the denialists deny the lies and explanation, without taking any time at all to gather and lay out all of the facts out of a sense of rational fairness, should be all one needs to know what they really are.

    I wonder what motivates them, beyond what they are aware of, that is.

  11. NR

    Metamars: She never said that, it was a right-wing lie. See here:

    The question is, why would you bring that up in a post that has nothing to do with her?

  12. BlizzardOfOzzz

    There you have it metamars. It all depends what “to see something with the naked eye” means, but clearly she meant it in a Platonic sense.

    While you guys are at it, could you debunk that conspiracy theory pushed by the right-wing train authority Deutsche Bahn, that her selfie from a “crowded German train” was actually the first-class cabin?

  13. NR

    It’s certainly instructive to see how afraid right-wingers are of a sixteen year-old girl who has nothing on her side except moral clarity.

    The fact that they’re both willing to make up lies about her, and bring those lies into unrelated discussions, so they can distract from the devastating reality of climate change, says a lot too.

  14. BlizzardOfOzzz

    Right you are, brother: the debate is settled, here. There is only the science-based community that recognizes “to see with the naked eye” as figurative language, and Nazi Russian bots on the other side.

  15. NR

    Got anything to say about the fact that Australia is on fire, Blizzard, or about climate change in general? Or are you only interested in trying to distract from the issue with debunked bullshit?

  16. BlizzardOfOzzz

    Well NR, since there’s only one side in this debate, what’s to say really? We’re facing apocalyptic weather in roughly 10 years, starting 50 years ago, unless we give the managerial class even more power so that they can fix our climate the same way they’ve fixed our economy! Who could disagree with that other than a Russian bot?

  17. @BlizzardOfOzzz

    Ha, ha, ha!

    Two of my comments are still in moderation, but the second one refers to “greta the swede, or gretinizing the global media” by Trifkovic (which I’d skimmed part of, back in Nov) and (via Trifkovic) “THE MANUFACTURING OF GRETA THUNBERG – FOR CONSENT: THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF THE NON-PROFIT INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX” by Cory Morningstar.

    I haven’t read the latter, at all. It’s up to 5 parts.

    Trifkovic says “In the media-ignored real world, the very foundations which have financed the climate “movement” over the past decade are the same foundations now partnered with the Climate Finance Partnership looking to unlock 100 trillion dollars from pension funds.”

    I’d always assumed that carbon taxation was the main plutocratic goal behind CO2 catastrophism, but maybe the kleptocratic rabbit hole is much deeper.

    Well, no price is too steep to keep us destroying the entire planet with 100 ppm anthropogenic CO2! Non-figuratively speaking, of course!

    N.B. : If you search for “I Can’t – Saturday Night Live” on youtube, you’ll find a hilarious skit which plays upon the misuse of the world “literally”.

  18. NR

    In case you didn’t notice, Blizzard, we’re facing apocalyptic weather right now.

    And fixing the climate is about people-driven movements, not the “managerial class.” But it has to start with acknowledging there’s a problem, and far too many refuse to do that.

  19. BlizzardOfOzzz

    metamars – I figured the lure is more power/control than money in the form of looting of pension funds, etc, but who knows really. Even Ian has admitted here that any acceptable “solution” would require a global government. And it would be open-ended, as in after the first round of “reforms” inevitably fail, it would just be proof that even more draconian powers were required, and so on. How our friend NR thinks anything but a massive managerialist boondoggle is in the works, let alone a “people driven movement” (lol) is really staggering.

    The whole “Greta” thing is typically mawkish, like an evil person’s idea of what would persuade a good/normal person. “Hey I know, they claim to care about children don’t they?”

  20. Hugh

    If you have ever looked at satellite imagery, you would know immediately that the image has been enhanced, but then almost all satellite imagery is. Very clear, no smoke, no clouds. But it isn’t made up. It isn’t showing fires that didn’t happen. These fires covered some 19,300 square miles or 12.3 million acres. This is half again as big as the historic wildfire season in 2018 in California.

    If you would like to see what a lot of satellite imagery looks like I suggest:

    Himawari-8 images show Australia. You might like the following of the East and West Coasts. Note the terminator:×600.gif


  21. Willy

    I’d always assumed that carbon taxation was the main plutocratic goal behind CO2 catastrophism…

    Damned tree, bicycle and solar panel corporate thieves.

    I sure hope our heroic fossil fuel friends don’t martyr themselves fighting such powerful foes.

  22. Olivier

    Getting back to the image, it is not misleading at all: there is a burning season (summer) and it is perfectly valid to make a tally of all that burned during a season. That synthetic image does that. If anything it is the instantaneous snapshots that are misleading, unless you dutifully follow them over the whole season but who does that (apart from firefighters, authorities etc).

    Also, I learned something from it: that the equatorial north is burning, too. We are mostly hearing about the fires around Sydney and other large metros in the south because that’s where most of the population lives, so I had no idea so many parts of Australia are affected.

  23. There is a good summary of historical wildfire data @

    The first graph therein is from a wikipedia page. It certainly gives one a perspective that CO2 catastrophists don’t encourage.

    The author concludes,

    “So, to automatically blame the Australian bushfires on human-caused climate change is mostly alarmist nonsense, with virtually no basis in fact.”

  24. Tom

    Well the Australian Prime Minister won’t likely hold his job for much longer. He is being booed and cursed at by everyone. Its is bad optics when Tony Abbot is putting on a Fire Suite and joining in the rescue operations while you vacation in Hawaii and say tourists should still come to Australia while the resort towns are having to be evacuated by sea.

  25. Hugh

    Speaking of wikipedia, here are the opening lines from the wiki on wattsupwiththat from which metamars quotes:

    “Watts Up With That? (WUWT) is a blog promoting climate change denial that was created by Anthony Watts in 2006. The blog predominantly discusses climate issues with a focus on anthropogenic climate change, generally accommodating beliefs that are in opposition to the scientific consensus on climate change.”

  26. Hugh

    I should add that two of the links I cited above are dynamic. So the images they are showing as I write this are now night images although in a few hours the terminator will pass through them again this time night into day.


    As I’ve said before, the solution to climate disruption is not Wall Street’s feigned cooperation. Its Wall Street’s dissolution. We cannot invest our way out of climate disruption. Investment, by conventional standards, means growth. Growth means rapid consumption and destruction. Growth means planned obsolescence. Growth means waste. Growth means concentrated wealth. Concentrated wealth means corruption of the political process. Corruption of the political process means an effective management of climate disruption and a mitigation of its worst effects will never see the light of day.


    Fink is aptly named because he surely is a fink. Prepare the drones.


    The process by which Wall Street puts itself at the center of the climate disruption debate is called usurpation. Wall Street usurps the narrative and transforms “green” into “same as it ever was, same as it ever was.” Climate disruption continues unabated. Mission accomplished.

  30. @hugh

    “Speaking of wikipedia, here are the opening lines from the wiki on wattsupwiththat from which metamars quotes:”

    Ha, ha! The point of mentioning the wikipedia origin of the diagram is because of expected manipulation of wikipedia by the extremely well funded greeny movement types (or pseudo greeny movement types, if you prefer). Manipulation that IN NO WAY would favor so-called climate change deniers! So, you can take it to the bank that the recent fires in Australia are small (so far), compared to the 74-75 season, as well as about half of what they were in the 2002-03 season.

    Gary Null has done a lot of reporting exposing wikipedia, e.g.:

  31. @Hugh, “This is half again as big as the historic wildfire season in 2018 in California.”

    Actually, it is both a great deal more and a great deal less than “half again” the 2018 California fires. Total area of 19,218 sq mi is 6.5 times the 2,959 sqmi burned in California that year, not “half again.”

    On the other hand, since Australia is vastly larger than California, 2.97 million sq mi to California’s 163,000 sq mi, the percentage of the area that burned was vastly worse for California. Some 1.8% of the total area of California burned, while only 0.6% of Australia has done so.

  32. Willy

    The plutocrats we’ve been looking for aren’t rich and powerful corporate interests funding government and media propaganda, but the evil greenies and those dangblasted academics funded by demon inspired communists. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.

    I know this because everybody in my church keeps telling me this.

  33. Can’t embed graphics, here’s what it would look like were The Australian fires were here …

    Interesting they overlay some of the most fire-prone regions of the US.

  34. different clue

    Colonel Lang at Sic Semper Tyrannis has disabled the comments feature. If it stays disabled for the next few-couple weeks, I will assume the disablement is permanent. He seems to have disabled the ability to see past comments on past threads. That might be a technical mistake. If that, too, continues; I will email and ask if there is a way to see past comments.

    That is relevant because . . . one of his guest posters named Walrus who lives in Australia posted a post on the fires, with some very interesting comments in the thread, some from fellow Australians who are in a position to know things. Some have noted that some of these fires are burning in areas that were traditionally moist forest zones, not brush zones. As with the recent fires in Tasmania which have burned down some of the “tallest hardwood-type trees in the world” . . . the Tasmanian Blue Gums and other such trees.

    Reality is the stuff that stays real no matter how much it is wished away, handwaved away, prayed away, dismissed away, etc. If it is “still there”, we will know that it is “still real”. There is a saying that “he who is not surprised when the future comes, lives very close to the truth.” Who among us will be more surprised? Who will be less surprised? Who will be not surprised at all? Time will tell.

    Whatever else may be said about Greta Thunberg, one must say that she is an influencer, with a fanbase of thousands or maybe millions. As such, one does wish that someone could give her some better science and understanding than some of the science and understanding upon which she is now operation.
    One particular example is her adoption of Veganism, because “cows heat the planet”. Actually, cows don’t heat the planet. PetroCorporate Toxichemical cattle-confinement feedlot operators heat the planet, using cows as one of their weapons systems for heating the planet with. Fast-moving tight-bunched herds of cows on swift rotation from pasture section to pasture section cool the planet by net-net sucking down carbon from the air and storing it in the pasture soil under the cattle. If Greta Thunberg were to understand this, would she make a special point of EATing GRASS FED beef? And getting her fanbase of millions to do likewise?

  35. Hugh

    BillH, yes, thanks for the correction. My figure was for wildfires in the US in 2018.

    “In 2018 there were 58,083 wildfires, compared with 71,499 wildfires in 2017, according to the NIFC [National Interagency Fire Center]. About 8.8 million acres were burned in 2018, compared with 10 million in 2017.”

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