JoNova

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Unintended Consequences: Greens protect coal deposits and destroy rainforest

Borneo forest destroy for biofuel crop

In Borneo, the Dypterocarp forest, one of the species-richest in the world (F), is being replaced by oil palm plantations (G). These changes are irreversible for all practical purposes (H).

Oops.

Brought to you by the same kind of people who regulate free markets to the point where you can get detained for selling light bulbs heat balls, comes the cry for a “free market solution” on carbon emissions. These people wouldn’t know a free market if it was the only bridge across a swamp full of crocodiles. Is that a stable path; a simple choice; a tested way through the quicksand?  No No! There’s a log (it looks like a log)… “it’s natural”. (It’s two hundred million years of natural selection.)

Playing with fake markets is begging to be bitten, and what do you know? A carbon market puts a price on life, but it only applies to some goods (all pigs are equal… but some are more so). The loop-holes pile on loop-holes until out the other end of all those angelically good circular intentions pops the exact one answer they were trying to avoid.

Figure it out. If global policies devalue concentrated energy underground and prize diffuse photosynthetic sources of energy above ground, will we protect and retain dirty rocks at the expense of historic surface biodiversity? I think so!

That’s right, carbon credits, alternative energy, and the holy-quest for biofuel promises to raze natural rainforests so vast they cover five times the area of England and deliver us a mass monoculture of palm oil plantations instead. And your tax dollars help make this possible.

The REDD scheme was supposed to reduce emissions from deforestation by helping to restore damaged land, but like any bureaucratic decree the problem lies in how you define what was “damaged” in the first place. And if that ancient forest wasn’t damaged enough to qualify last year, it could become more degraded quite soon.

The “good news” is that Indonesia might meet part of it’s promised greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Let’s hope the 50% of homeless Indonesian Orangutans in 2020 appreciate that.

Memo to Greenpeace — Coal power just might be more biodiversity friendly than biofuel. Sucks eh?

At least, to their credit, Greenpeace have noticed.

Indonesia eyeing $1bn climate aid to cut down forests, says Greenpeace

Vague legal definitions may allow Indonesia to class forests as ‘degraded’ and ‘rehabilitate’ the land with palm trees and biofuel crops

Indonesia plans to class large areas of its remaining natural forests as “degraded” land in order to cut them down and receive nearly $1bn of climate aid for replanting them with palm trees and biofuel crops, according to Greenpeace International.

According to internal government documents from the forestry, agriculture and energy departments in Jakarta, the areas of land earmarked for industrial plantation expansion in the next 20 years include 37m ha of existing natural forest – 50% of the country’s orangutan habitat and 80% of its carbon-rich peatland. More than 60m ha – an area nearly five times the size of England – could be converted to palm oil and biofuel production in the next 20 years, say the papers.

“The land is roughly equivalent to all the currently undeveloped land in Indonesia,” says the report. “The government plans for a trebling of pulp and paper production by 2015 and a doubling of palm oil production by 2020.”

The result, says the environmental group in a report released in Jakarta today, would be to massively expand Indonesia’s palm, paper and biofuel industries in the name of “rehabilitating” land, while at the same time allowing its powerful forestry industry to carry on business as usual and to collect international carbon funds.

“[Money] earmarked for forest protection may actually be used to subsidise their destruction with significant climate, wildlife and social costs,” said the report.

But weak legal definitions of “forest” and “degraded land”, have allowed the global logging industry and officials in some governments to take advantage of an ambitious UN forest-reform scheme known as Redd (Reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation). This would pay countries to replant trees and restore land. Indonesia has pledged drastic action to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 26% on its own and 42% with international climate aid. If it agrees to a binding deal to limit deforestation, says Greenpeace, this would send a powerful message to other forested countries.

Read more at The Guardian

Image: By Sandra Díaz, via Wikimedia Commons.

Biodiversity Loss Threatens Human Well-Being. Díaz S, Fargione J, Chapin FS, Tilman D, PLoS Biology Vol. 4/8/2006, e277. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.0040277

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92 comments to Unintended Consequences: Greens protect coal deposits and destroy rainforest

  • #
    Sean

    It’s interesting you mention England (if only as a point of reference for size). There was an article about the wood furniture manufacturers in England being priced out of the market for their raw materials. Seems the renewable fuel credits are just too good to pass up and the value of wood as an energy source has doubled the costs of lumber to furniture makers. It is feared that many will go out of business. What I’m curious about is who is making all the money on all of this? It has a crazy Milo Minderbinder feel to it (from Catch 22) where the Army Air Corp group had to bomb its own base to cover losses incured by Milo Minderbinder in Egyptian cotton speculation.


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  • #
    pattoh

    Pretty much the same sort of thing that is replacing the Amazon with sugar cane.

    Gee… where is Sting when you need him?


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  • #
    Richard S Courtney

    Friends:

    Anybody who studied the subject could have predicted that introduction of biofuels would be a serious mistake. And I did predict it. So, nobody can claim their promotion of adoptionof biofuels was other than a serious error.

    In August 2006 I wrote a paper that made several predictions concerning probable effects that would result if biofuels were introduced in the US and EU as was then being suggested. It can be read at
    http://ff.org/centers/csspp/pdf/courtney_082006.pdf

    Later, in December 2008 I provided an assessment of those predictions following the introduction of biofuels, and that assessment can be read at
    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/originals/biofuel_issues.pdf

    The synopsis of the assessment says:

    This paper reviews effects of large use of biofuels that I predicted in a paper published in August 2006 prior to the USA legislating to enforce displacement of crude oil products by biofuels. The review indicates that policies (such as that in the EU), subsidies and legislation (such as that in the USA) to promote use of biofuels should be reconsidered. The use of biofuels is causing significant problems but providing no benefits except to farmers. Biofuel usage is a hidden subsidy to farmers, and if this subsidy is the intended purpose of biofuel usage then more direct subsidies would be more efficient. But the problems of biofuel usage are serious. Biofuel usage is

    • damaging energy security,
    • reducing biodiversity,
    • inducing excessively high food prices, and
    • inducing excessively high fuel prices, while
    • providing negligible reduction to greenhouse gas emissions.

    All these effects were predicted in my paper on the use of biofuels that was published in August 2006 and can be seen at
    http://ff.org/centers/csspp/pdf/courtney_082006.pdf

    My 2006 paper also predicted objections from environmentalists if large use of biofuels were adopted although this then seemed implausible because many environmentalists were campaigning for biofuels to displace fossil fuels. But this prediction has also proved to be correct.

    Greenpeace International was one of the groups that advocated displcement of fossil fuels by biofuels.

    And I have nothing printable to say in response to the report from Greenpeace International quoted in the above article.

    Richard


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  • #
    Roy Hogue

    Barnum didn’t really say it. But it’s true nonetheless. There’s a sucker born every minute.


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  • #
    Rereke Whaakaro

    The whole REDD scheme was intended as a scam from the start.

    1. Pay countries with existing forests, to not cut them down.

    2. Pay countries with “degraded” forests to encourage “rejuvenation”.

    3. Allow countries to introduce exotic species into the “rejuvenation” process.

    4. Allow countries to “extract resources” from the “rejuvenated” forest on a sustainable basis.

    5. Forget to stipulate that “like must be replaced with a like”, in the definition of “sustainability”.

    And the scam? Several of the large environmental NGO’s have been granted “management rights” over large tracts of “degraded” forest, so they get to clip the ticket at every stage of the process.

    Follow the money.


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  • #
    Richard C (NZ)

    A prelude to geoengineering……


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  • #
    unhappy constiuent

    These idiots just don’t get it you might say they can’t see the forest for the trees,imagine a world run by these cretinous twits better off dead I think but then that would be giving them what they want


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  • #

    See my article on this here. This scheme has very little to do with saving the planet and is just another form of ill advised wealth redistribution to help people cope with their eco guilt.

    Please do feel free to vote for it on reddit – people are realizing there is something rotten under the carpet.


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  • #
    Siliggy

    The Antarctic sea ice extent seems to be more than a million square kilometers larger than average at the moment. Perhaps we could reduce the windchill by “blocking” the wind with many thousands of wind turbines. Although this plan only worked until 2007 in the Northern hemisphere.
    Perhaps they did this to help open the Northern routes for oil tankers.


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  • #
    co2isnotevil

    Unintended consequences alway arise when action is justified by fear, rather than logic. The destruction of natural forest is just one possiblity. There’s also a myriad of others from the many other loopholes, preferential treatment clauses and ill conceived economic incentives that are bound to be present in any kind of negotiated deal.

    A big one that’s always ignored by the warmists are unintended economic consequences. For example, GDP is proportional to energy usage and while increases in efficiency have improved this ratio somewhat, the low hanging fruit has already been picked. Reductions in energy usage, without being accompanied with commensurate improvements in efficiency, will necessarily cause reductions in GDP and the reductions in employment that come with it. There’s also the fact that each green job costs more than 1 non green job, but this too is conveniently overlooked.

    Another is that China intends to supply the west with hardware to achieve the mythical carbon reductions mandated by foolish western governments, all the while using coal generated electricity to manufacture this hardware, giving them a cost advantage over western nations who are otherwise consumed with CO2 guilt. The unintended consequence of this should be obvious, but somehow the psyche of a warmists allows them to ignore the potential collapse of western civilization. It may already be too late as we will find out with the latest N. Korean stupidity. Perhaps they recognize that the US is already on it’s way to becoming a second rate world power under the Obama administration and that their Chinese benefactors know this too, or perhaps even told them, thus emboldening them.

    The unintended consequence of geo-engineering reach far and wide. As far as I’m concerned, they might as well use nukes to periodically set off volcanoes to cause cooling. At least in this case, the unintended consequences are a little more obvious. Ironically, this approach might actually work to reduce our carbon footprint as the fallout would kill a large number of people.


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  • #
    Bob Malloy

    I read the Guardian article yesterday and sent the following email to Gary Stewart on talk overnight on the 2SM network, that services NSW and SE Queensland.

    Hi Gary:

    I’m off for the week, so probably wont be calling.
    However you may have missed this little piece on how climate change can be defeated.

    Indonesia plans to class large areas of its remaining natural forests as “degraded” land in order to cut them down and receive nearly $1bn of climate aid for replanting them with palm trees and biofuel crops, according to Greenpeace International.
    According to internal government documents from the forestry, agriculture and energy departments in Jakarta, the areas of land earmarked for industrial plantation expansion in the next 20 years include 37m ha of existing natural forest – 50% of the country’s orangutan habitat and 80% of its carbon-rich peatland. More than 60m ha – an area nearly five times the size of England – could be converted to palm oil and biofuel production in the next 20 years, say the papers.

    “The land is roughly equivalent to all the currently undeveloped land in Indonesia,” says the report. “The government plans for a trebling of pulp and paper production by 2015 and a doubling of palm oil production by 2020.”

    “[Money] earmarked for forest protection may actually be used to subsidise their destruction with significant climate, wildlife and social costs,” said the report.

    To read the article at The Guardian go here. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/nov/23/indonesia-climate-aid-forests-greenpeace

    Schemes such as this are the true threats to the planet and all it’s life forms, not CO2, which is a minor greenhouse gas. As they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions.


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  • #
    pat

    more unintended consequences -

    25 Nov: Australian: Lanai Vasek: Insulation link to fatal fire
    The government has confirmed a house fire in Wagga Wagga in which three people died occurred after roofing insulation was installed at the property.
    Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said yesterday the cause of the fire this month was still to be determined but confirmed that the home had links to the botched insulation program.
    “On behalf of the government, I extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of the three people who have died,” Mr Combet said.
    John and Denise King, and their son William, 13, died in the blaze earlier this month. The family’s dog was also killed.
    Mr Combet said the government had avoided publicising the insulation connection until now at the request of police.
    “Because of unsourced media reports about the fire, the police have indicated that the government may now confirm that insulation was installed at the property in question under the now-closed Home Insulation Program,” Mr Combet said.
    His department would not release any further details — including the name of the installer and the date the insulation was fitted — saying “because of the ongoing investigations, it would be inappropriate to comment further…
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/insulation-link-to-fatal-fire/story-fn59niix-1225960442857


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  • #
    Ken Stewart

    Artificial incentives, tax credits, and such schemes inevitably lead to scams and corruption. Think forestry tax breaks; roof insulation; in my experience rain water tanks for schools. Grossly inflated costs (e.g. over $1,000 for a 36 page ‘education resource package’ before any work was done on site) bungled planning (tanks originally to be positioned on the wrong side of a building) no proper cost/ benefit analysis ($50,000 to provide enough water for about 1 week) and slow delivery (no work started after 18 months by the time I left). The bigger the scheme, the bigger the scams. So this story is not surprising. What is surprising is that Greenpeace found it.


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  • #
    Speedy

    The Indonesian actions are just a smart response to a dumb law. When people are hungry and poor, of course they aren’t going to care about the “Environment”.

    The way to look after the environment is to look after the people first. And that starts with legislation and policies based on sound scientific and ethical principles.

    Cheers,

    Speedy


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  • #
    David Burgess

    But we have a movie that says that carbon kills polar bears!
    Industry is evil!

    Urban enroachment on the little arable land we have in Australia.
    Soot (and other aerosols) in atmosphere.
    Raw sewerage pumped into the sea.
    Degradation of our city water supplies.

    They do not matter, it is the carbon!

    Unintended consequences will continue until the media adopts non-emotive, balanced and evidence based reporting of environmental issues.


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  • #
    wendy

    Australian TV Exposes ‘Stranded Polar Bear’ Global Warming Hoax……..

    http://newsbusters.org/node/11879


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  • #
    Rereke Whaakaro

    David Burgess # 14

    Unintended consequences will continue until the media adopts non-emotive, balanced and evidence based reporting of environmental issues.

    … and pigs take to the wing.


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  • #
    Roy Hogue

    Wendy and everyone,

    Environment Canada keeps a comprehensive registry of endangered, threatened and special concern species. You can get to it directly here. http://www.sararegistry.gc.ca/sar/index/default_e.cfm

    Enter Polar Bear as the common Name then select the second Mammal selection under Taxon and do the search. Try all three categories and you will find the Polar Bear under Special Concern with no status listed. When I last looked the status update date was 2008. So the people who know the most about Polar Bears are not the slightest bit concerned about their survival. This should be proof enough for anyone!


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  • #
    Anne-Kit Littler

    Denmark is often held up as the poster boy of renewable energy success. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it, the numbers are misleading and the much-touted figure of Denmark getting 20% of its energy from wind power is baloney.

    Also, wind power enthusiasts always forget to mention that Denmark boasts the most expensive energy cost in the world!

    Here is a little clip that explains why:

    Denmark’s Wind Power Experience – Costs and Consequences


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  • #
    Ross

    Looks like the weather is going to have a laugh in the northern hemisphere before the Cacun meeting just like Copenhagen
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/topics/weather/8157859/Heavy-snow-to-blanket-Britain-as-bitter-cold-weather-heralds-arrival-of-winter.html


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  • #
    co2isnotevil

    Ross,

    Here in sunny California, we are experiencing record cold in the SF Bay area and record early snow amounts in the Sierra mountains.


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  • #
    November

    This isssue is a real and alarming consequence of the push for renewable energy sources and the counter-productivity of quite a few of them. Congratulations for bringing it to peoples attention. It certainly makes a pleasant change from the usual unmitigated hogwash that this site normally generates.
    More of this and less of the other please.


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  • #
    pat

    roy hogue -

    amongst the dozens of pre-cancun alarmist pieces today:

    24 Nov: The Hill: Ben Geman: Interior finalizes ‘critical habitat’ for polar bears threatened by climate change
    The Interior Department is establishing large regions in northern Alaska as “critical habitat” for polar bears that are threatened by melting sea ice linked to climate change — a decision that could affect oil-and-gas development.
    Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a final decision Wednesday to designate 187,000 square miles of “on-shore barrier islands, denning areas and offshore sea-ice,” for the bears, which were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 2008 in response to a lawsuit by environmental groups.
    While it does not set up a protected area such as a wildlife refuge or reserve, the designation nonetheless increases the level of protection for the bears under the species law, according to federal officials…
    (Tom Strickland, Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, in a prepared statement): “Nevertheless, the greatest threat to the polar bear is the melting of its sea ice habitat caused by human-induced climate change. We will continue to work toward comprehensive strategies for the long-term survival of this iconic species,”…
    Interior’s announcement notes that the designation has implications for development in the oil-rich regions coveted by energy companies, stating, “the areas included in this critical habitat designation do encompass areas where oil and gas exploration activities are known to occur.”
    But the agency predicted that the impact would be minor because the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act already mandate efforts to avoid harming the iconic creatures.
    “Because the ESA and MMPA already provide protection to the polar bear and extensive consultation and mitigation activities already take place under these laws, additional impacts to oil and gas development resulting from the critical habitat designation are expected to be small,” the agency said in a summary of the habitat designation…
    “Polar bears are slipping away,” said Andrew Wetzler, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Land and Wildlife Program, in a statement. “But we know that there are crucial protections that can keep them around. Today’s designation is a start, especially in warding off ill-considered oil and gas development in America’s most important polar bear habitat.”
    http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/130675-interior-department-finalizes-critical-habitat-for-polar-bears-threatened-by-climate-change


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  • #
    pat

    jo – this one is for u:

    23 Nov: Icecap.us: Another Top International Scientist Jumps off Global Warming ‘Titanic’
    A top East European climatologist, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with UN global warming colleagues, jumps a sinking ship as ocean data signals a cooler climate.
    Dr. Lucka Kajfez Bogataj left cold clear water between herself and her former UN shipmates by declaring that rising levels of airborne carbon dioxide probably don’t cause global temperatures to rise…
    The Slovenian climate professor made the chilling announcement last month in an obscure foreign language journal that has only now been translated into English. The lambast came in the publication Delo Polet (18/11/2010), translated into English as, “Inconvenient Truth.” Inside Bogataj publishes a paper entitled, “The more we know, the better.”
    Rises in Levels of Carbon Dioxide follow Rises in Temperatures
    Buried in an otherwise drab study on paleo – and proxy methods, Dr. Bogataj admitted to what skeptics have long been saying and what the ice core proxy data shows: that rises in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) are proven to mostly, if not always, occur AFTER rises in temperature.
    The eminent Slovenian expert is also key climate change adviser to her nation’s president, Danilo Turk. Bogataj’s article, translated into English by her countryman, Miso Alkalaj, makes a startling admission:
    “A detailed comparison of temperature data and the quantity of carbon dioxide captured in the ice shows, that sometimes it warmed up first and then the concentration of carbon dioxide increased, and sometimes vice versa, but on average the temperature changed first and some 700 years later a change in aerial content of carbon dioxide followed.”
    More Women Bailing from Doomed Global Warming ‘Titanic’
    With science being thus clearly defenestrated it’s the women who are now leading the men in fleeing the sinking ship…ETC
    http://icecap.us/index.php/go/joes-blog/another_top_international_scientist_jumps_off_global_warming_titanic/


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  • #
    Bob Malloy

    co2isnotevil:
    November 25th, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    here are two comments that can be found at Real Science, in response to Europe’s expected cold.
    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2010/11/24/europe-snow-forecast/

    peterhodges says:
    November 24, 2010 at 1:28 am

    it’s snowing in seattle. in november. their forecast low is 5f. that is rare for dec/jan, pretty much unheard of in nov.

    here in the eastern sierra we have record snow for this time of year and a forecast low of -15f for nearby communities. in california. in november.

    and

    sunsettommy says:
    November 24, 2010 at 2:50 am

    I got about 10″ of global warming in the last 36 hours.That is about 95% of the average for the entire winter!

    It is rare in my area to even have snow stay on the ground at all in November.The average high is 49 and the low 32 at this date.

    Yeah the hottest year on record is very evident.Snicker…..


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  • #
    Bulldust

    Thanks for the great link Anne-Kit. I have added it to the third comment I made here at Ben Eltham’s latest naive blog on the ABC:

    http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2010/11/25/3075881.htm

    No comments have appeared yet… the moderatrs must be busy because the OP is the biggest load of tripe I have read in a while.

    Even former fringe events organisers are climate science bloggers it seems:

    http://cpd.org.au/people/fellows/

    It must be the trendy thing these days to be a fellow of a green think tank. Oh and some of their sponsors are Agenda 21 organisations… say no more…


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  • #

    Bulldust: dear god, there are a lot of eaters and oxygen breathers living from other people’s efforts. Just take a look at what these people on that list do for a living. Would anybody miss them?


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  • #

    This is simply more evidence that the warmists aka environmentalists are not at all interested in the environment. They are all about power, control, and redistribution of wealth by stealth and force. Wealth that they do not, would not, and could not create themselves.

    Their goal is the destruction of rational man and the technological civilization he created. Their words to the contrary are irrelevant. Look at their repeated actions and the repeated consequences of those actions. If you keep doing the same thing and get the same result, you INTEND to make it happen. They do not mean well: neither for us nor the environment.


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  • #
    Speedy

    Pat @ 24

    What Dr. Bogataj is saying is nothing more that what you could learn off this site within 5 minutes! The miracle is she says it at all.

    It bodes badly for the alarmists.

    Cheers,

    Speedy


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  • #
    pattoh

    Mr Bulldust & Mike B

    Yep it is a fair bet none of that lot ever earned a blister through labour ( they would not want to anyway, it would be too detrimental to their social lives)


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  • #

    [...] JoNova says UN schemes to plant more trees may be rorted by Indonesians to fund the chopping down of forests. [...]


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  • #
    John

    Of course it was Kevin Rudd who gave the Indonesians over $30 million Australian taxpayer dollars to save the rain forests.


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  • #
    J.Hansford

    Greenpeace has fallen afoul of the law of unintended consequences ‘eh?….. Actually it’s not Greenpeace that suffers the consequences of Greenpeace’s enviro fascism and activist advocacy… It’s the everyday people.

    One day soon, I hope, Greenpeace and its members will fall afoul of the righteous wrath of those that have suffered those “unintended consequences”.

    …. That will be a happy day indeed.


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  • #
    cohenite

    Bulldust@26; I thought this wretched effort by McNeil was about the worst pro-AGW article I had read until I clicked on that monstrosity by Eltham you link to at the ABC;

    http://blogs.news.com.au/couriermail/greenblog/index.php/couriermail/comments/guest_post_do_climate_change_deniers_wear_sunscreen/

    Appropriately enough Eltham links to McNeil but I can’t decide which is worse. Both the Eltham and McNeil pieces are gobsmacking examples of insulated egoes divorced from consequence; they reek of cognitive dissonance and assumption of moral ascendancy entwined with bog ignorance; this is ironic because when the ignorant issue edicts meant to constrain the lives of others there is no morality; it is immoral because they wilfully ignore the consequences of what they demand; and they are stupid; McNeils’s sunscreen analogy versus Eltham’s future of trash.


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  • #

    That’s right, carbon credits, alternative energy, and the holy-quest for bio fuel promises to raze natural rain forests so vast they cover five times the area of England and deliver us a mass monoculture of palm oil plantations instead. Thanks ;)
    Computer Repairs Perth


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  • #
    manalive

    Looks like the Northern Hemisphere is headed for a cold winter (use the menu below to see the relative position) .


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  • #

    Is it possible that we’ve reached a peculiar stage in collective human development where the most educated are the least capable of thinking?


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    Rereke Whaakaro

    Lionell Griffith: # 28

    They are all about power, control, and redistribution of wealth by stealth and force. Wealth that they do not, would not, and could not create themselves.

    I agree. But the fact that they do not, would not, and could not create wealth for themselves means that they probably do not really appreciate that wealth is more that just the accumulation of money, and therefore they will not be able to retain it for any appreciable length of time.

    I must say I like the term “Stealth Wealth”. It sums up the concept perfectly, especially since “stealth” is derived from the word “steal”.


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  • #
    Joe Lalonde

    Meanwhile, all this “green” energy crap has my provincial government coming up with sneaky and underhanded ways to generate more revenue to cover these new policies off my back!


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  • #
    Roofing

    The Greens, Idiots in the public that believe all the CO2 pollution garbage, The Department of Climate Change, Greenpeace, etc etc – simply will be responsible for the future that will be ruined both environmentally and economically. Our children’s children have to have the opportunity to develop the future without all the redistribution of wealth through carbon tax, climate change, insulation revolution, energy savings etc etc that will cause greater problems than global warming or even the G.F.C. The methods suggested by the CO2 scare writers are heading toward a zoological and botanical disaster for the future if the world accepts this climate change alarmist junk – the only avenue is to rely on the morality of scientists that will eventually prove all this the greatest joke of all time.

    The biggest winners out of all this is politicians – and if they are not dealt with quickly – the result will be a 20 to 100 year period of global unrest never seen before. The CLIMATE CHANGE / GREENS – however they are labelled – will be the joke of the future with the biggest Flying Cotton Swap ever.


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    Roy Hogue

    pat @24,

    November 25th, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    roy hogue -

    amongst the dozens of pre-cancun alarmist pieces today:

    24 Nov: The Hill: Ben Geman: Interior finalizes ‘critical habitat’ for polar bears threatened by climate change
    The Interior Department is establishing large regions in northern Alaska as “critical habitat” for polar bears that are threatened by melting sea ice linked to climate change — a decision that could affect oil-and-gas development.

    Only the United States is so stupid! About two thirds of all Polar Bears live in Canada. I believe the Canadians. When we make such decisions based on a lawsuit you know that even what little critical thinking was left has been abandoned.


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    Rereke Whaakaro @ 39: …and therefore they will not be able to retain it for any appreciable length of time.

    The act of wealth redistribution is immediately destructive of wealth. This is because the redistributed wealth is given to mostly non-producers and is consumed without being used to create more wealth. The redistribution is destructive of wealth in the long term. This is because the original producers no longer have the wealth to finance their own productive efforts. Efforts that have been proven to be so effective in the past.

    Its the same as if a roving gang of thugs plundering farmers of their stores of seed and eating it. The seed is gone. The farmers will have nothing to plant for the next year. There will be nothing to harvest in the fall. Both the thugs and farmers will soon vanish as a consequence.

    The principles are exactly the same in the world of finance. It takes wealth (seeds) to produce more wealth (harvest). Once consumed, it is no longer available for growth.


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    Rereke Whaakaro

    Lionell Griffith # 44

    The act of wealth redistribution is immediately destructive of wealth.

    Not necessarily. To use your analogy, if you plundered seeds from one group of farmers, and gave it to another group of farmers to plant (perhaps in more fertile ground), then nothing has been destroyed, and may even have been enhanced.

    It is eating the seeds, rather than replanting them, that is the issue. It requires an understanding of the potential value of the seeds, over their immediate value.

    Your “roving gang of thugs” aka “warmists” aka environmentalists, do not understand the potential value of what they seek.

    My point is that they see the wealth of others, and they see the productive potential of that wealth, and they see the money created from productive activities, but they fail to see that it is skill, intelligence, an appetite for risk, and dogged determination that actually creates the wealth in the first place. And once again, they confuse cause and effect.

    As you point out, they will take the wealth to get to the money, but in the process they will destroy the means of making more money. But that is more a statement about their ineptitude and criminality than anything else.


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    Mark D.

    Mosomoso @38

    Is it possible that we’ve reached a peculiar stage in collective human development where the most educated are the least capable of thinking?

    I’ve been saying this for years. The education and workplace systems are, out of assumed necessity, specializing. Individuals have become so specialized that they lack any depth of understanding (knowledge). For example, it is rare to find anyone that is capable of repairing their own auto. The auto has become over-engineered, is too complex and the owner has no ability because too much time has been spent on their career specialty. Out of this reality, highly educated (specialized) people have to rely on other highly specialized people to exist. They are conditioned then, to trust the other experts. Ultimately you end up with the present day situation where we are being manipulated to think that carbon is bad (by experts).

    It also leads to the absurd loss of old growth forest as described above. It’s really remarkable how stupid we have become!


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    Lionell Griffith

    Rereke Whaakaro: To use your analogy, if you plundered seeds from one group of farmers, and gave it to another group of farmers to plant (perhaps in more fertile ground), then nothing has been destroyed, and may even have been enhanced.

    You are forgetting an important subtlety. The fact that the rights of the plundered producer is not respected leads to the fact that neither will the rights of the receiving producer. If rights are not respected, then long range planning is not possible. This lack of long range planning ultimately leads to the collapse of the productive economy and the obliteration of the value of money.

    Both the individual producer and the productive economy are dependent upon being able to project productive actions over time. Sometimes years, decades, or even a life times. Without that ability, even simple goods in limited quantity are difficult to impossible to produce. The individual members of such a “society” will be reduced to the goods they can carry and protect (aka stone age hunting and gathering way of life).


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    Binny

    Is it possible that we’ve reached a peculiar stage in collective human development where the most educated are the least capable of thinking?

    What is referred to as education, is in fact simply visual memory recall.All our education system does is measure and reward the ability to memorise the written word.

    Original and independent thought is very often actually discouraged


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    1DandyTroll

    Who would have thought to actually live to see the day when even the hard core lefty greenie politician was on the same page, and pocket(?), as their nemesis, all the evil antagonists of old and BIG: Oil, Coal, Nuclear, dirty rotten Energy.

    To the hippies that felt left out of the digital technology boomings, there were several and they missed them all, this is like their one shot at pocket large swath’s of cash, but the only way they know how is by taxation and subsidize looser companies. So it doesn’t take a mega brain to understand that these hippies are the most economically simpleminded people on this planet and to get their way they’re apparently ready to use any kinds of force what so ever–they’re ever so liberal them hippies.


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    Speedy

    Binny @ 48

    You’re right. My kids are doing English Literature at school, and the emphasis of their “studies” are focussed on single-parent and other alternatives to the non-nuclear family. Is this art imitating life or is it an “educational” system that is…

    PLANNING FOR FAILURE.


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    pat

    more hypocrisy:

    26 Nov: Herald Sun: Padraic Murphy: Greens candidate Jenny Henty’s double standard a bit rich
    A WEALTHY Greens candidate for the leafy eastern suburbs seat of Hawthorn has built her fortune through investments in companies that aim to exploit uranium, oil and coal reserves.
    While the Greens say they want to end the use of fossil fuels and ban uranium mining, bicycle enthusiast and Hawthorn Greens candidate Jenny Henty has interests in companies looking to cash in on those resources.
    Ms Henty owns Dyspo Pty Ltd with her husband, Phil, a professional investor and financial services provider.
    Dyspo is registered to the couple’s home in well-heeled Canterbury, and has held millions of dollars in
    shares in mining and fossil fuel companies.
    Detail of Ms Henty’s investments come as former Greens candidate Cheryl Wragg accused the party of bullying after she was dumped because she criticised Greens’ plans to close the Hazelwood power station…
    Although Greens powerbroker Greg Barber dumped Ms Wragg, he declined to comment yesterday on Ms Henty’s investments.
    It is believed the Greens party does not ask candidates to declare their interests before they are selected
    to run…
    The company has investment in Carpentaria Exploration, a mining company that already has interests in gold, lead and coal operations and, according to its 2009 annual report, wants to move into uranium exploration.
    In 2008, Ms Henty was also a major shareholder in Oilex Ltd, an oil and gas exploration company with projects in Oman, India, Indonesia and Australia.
    Another company Dyspo has invested in is Dragon Mining, which reported increased gold yields at its Swedish mine through the controversial use of cyanide…
    Ms Henty said she would speak to the Herald Sun about her investments yesterday morning but then did not return calls.
    Despite her private investments in the companies, Ms Henty has urged more investment in renewable energy.
    “We need investment in renewable energy not more fossil fuel power,” Ms Henty says on her Facebook site.
    “Too much public money is being wasted propping up last century energy sources.”…
    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/special-reports/greens-candidate-jenny-hentys-double-standard-a-bit-rich/story-fn5kmqy2-1225961153665

    it is so shocking that Bob Brown and the Greens stay silent about Climategate and all the revelations that CAGW is in reality a money-grab. in fact, i’ve been wondering if the party has been sabotaged and Henty’s story would seem to confirm that suspicion.


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    Bulldust

    Binny @ 48:

    There is much truth to what you say. I spent over six years teaching economics and finance at the university level. Most subjects these days are about learning dates, names, equations etc There is much less emphasis on application until one reaches post-graduate levels of study. The transition can be very difficult as some people are very well suited to the regurtitation model, but I suspect far fewer are inclined towards independent critical thought, let alone original research and analysis.

    I imagine this is something that will have to change in the next couple of decades. My reasoning is that information will become omnipresent. Once you get to the stage of having glasses, implants or contact lenses with internet access, for example, which is not as far off as some might think, then regurtitation of facts becomes a mundane task.

    Given that we are only 2-3 decades away from being the second most intelligent entities on the planet*, it does make me wonder what future society will look like, but barring an accident or rare disease, I imagine I shall be there to see it.

    * Computers shall overtake human “intelligence” in the next decade or two, and a single machine should be able to hold the collective knowledge of the species in perhaps three decades. It is simply a hardware issue… it remains to be seen how well the hardware can be utilised by future software. However, I fully expect humans to be inferior in terms of intelligent function to the machines that will be available then. Some more cycnical than I might suggest that this is already the case for some people :) The following link addresses this far more eloquently than I could:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=219YybX66MY

    You may have seen Prof Michio Kaku in the recent four part SBS (or was it ABC?) series. I would recommemd skipping the first 3-4 minutes of introduction.


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    wes george

    The real problem is that to be human is to culturally insulate oneself from reality.

    Just as we wear clothe to protect us from the elements, our culture smooths the interface between us and the harsh existential realities of life, death, disease, finding food, energy, water, raising kids and provides solace for all our pain and suffering. Unfortunately, cultures tend to grow more and more irrationally elaborate – like hats at the Melbourne Cup – until they actually threaten the continued survival of the society they serve by their sheer unwieldiness and cost.

    History is full of examples – both the Mayan and Aztec cultures led to their own self-destructions. At the end of both societies almost all economic activity was dedicated to maintaining the elaborate and wholly useless rituals of the priesthood and royalty. The people of Easter Island likewise dedicated all their economic resources to some kind of religion, which in the end killed more than 95% of the population. The French aristocracy became so culturally insulated from the realities of daily life in their own country that when the revolution came it was something of a shock. The fall of the Soviet empire was entirely due to a failed dogma so firmly believed and enforced by the cultural elites in the Kremlin that they willingly burnt the wealth of a vast empire until nothing was left but an empty shell.

    Now we see the same process occurring in Greece and California where the welfare/pension/enviro state has swallowed almost all the wealth creation capacity of the society, then assured that no future wealth creation is possible due to an elaborate web of regulation and taxation. As result neither the country of Greece or the culture of California have much hope of surviving the next decade intact.

    And finally, here in Australia, we have the irrational cultural accretion of Green energy policy, taxation and – most pernicious of all – the indoctrination of a whole generation of children, growing like a cancer upon our nation.

    The New Green Puritanism—No procreation. No Dogs or Catholics allowed. CO2 is pollution. No debate. Science by mob rule (consensus). No cars and No quarter acre house lots. Turn off the coal fired energy base load and live in the dark. No cows, no sheep, no meat. No barbies, no swimming pools, No fishing, no hunting. No dams, no nukes, no highways, no travelling. Only eat food grown in your shire. Tax and regulate the economy to create negative gross domestic growth. End free trade with tariffs. Nationalize the banks. No mines, no malls, no stores, no consumption. Bathe and wash your clothes once a week in cold water. No soap. Hair shirts are optional, but must be organic. (Of course, this ascetic Puritanism only apply to hoi polloi, our Green masters will require complete absolution in order to govern effectively. Of course.)

    Anyone, including children, who disagrees with the Green agenda should be murdered with bombs in public as an entertaining lesson. Hey it’s Green Comedy! Ha.ha. Or at least it’s OK to have fantasies about brutally murdering dissenters, according to 10.10.10. Greenpeace says they know where you live!

    Most telling is the Green Orwellian “soma” policies to placate the masses once they have been “liberated” from their individual freedoms, food and right to procreate — Gay marriage, free to air TV sport circuses, legal drugs and free needles. We can all live as stoned locavores, skinny and unisexually in our dark shacks watching free sports on TV for the two hours a day we are rationed green electrics.


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    pattoh

    Ahoy Richard & other distinguished bloggers

    Having for some time been enlightened & entertained by the articles & dialogue on this site, it is abundantly clear that many of the regular contributors speak with authority backed by knowledge & understanding which only comes with hands on inquiry & experience.

    While this absurd palm oil development is under the spotlight consideration should turn to other realistic alternatives.

    Any rational assessment of the needs agriculture & transport systems as necessary to support the demand of world’s societies must include the energy sources driving them. To function effectively these must be portable, independent & produce high energy per unit of mass &/or volume & be economically viable. At present liquid hydrocarbons represent the only real option which fits the bill.

    Recently here in Australia there has been quite a bit of development in Coal Seam Gas.

    This is intended either for domestic consumption & power generation or for export after liquefaction.

    Previously Australia toyed with oil shale & a trial plant was built a few years ago but I understand the pollution & production efficiency issues proved to be too problematic. (along with the NIMBYs)

    However a few proposals are in play for converting coal to gas & then gas to liquid. (diesel & naphtha equivalents) as a replication of the processes developed in Germany during WW2 & more recently employed by South Africa (SASOL?)

    The question is what would the comparative cost be to produce diesel & kerosene as opposed to traditional refining of crude? What comparative environmental costs are associated with surface or in ground gassification prior to liquefaction?

    And on a different level:- If the costs are comparable or less, what does this mean for the geo-political balance of the world? (& big oil)

    Could the anti everything Greenpeace types ever be convinced that digging something up & using it may actually be the best solution this side of a mass cull of humanity?


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    cohenite

    wes@53; the mentality and behaviour of the green ideologist is the key to AGW and the inherent abrogation of democratic and individual rights in that green ideology.

    It occurs to me that Piaget may have something to offer here; there is no doubt in my opinion that Western society has removed many of the oppressive natural consequences of existence; at its best this social structure insulates the citizenry from the real reality of nature.

    According to Piaget we learn our intelligence, our mental processing and mental complexity as a process of abstraction from interaction from the environment; however the environment of today isn’t “Nature, red in tooth and claw” but endless choice and nannified encouragement of subjectivity; individualism is no longer a process of considered maturation but of whimsy and vanity; the relevant environment is therefore not external but internal; abstract ideas no longer run the gaunlet of external environmental attrition but are attached to an untested personal morality which in turn is defined by concepts which are cleverly marketed to appeal to this moral sense; things like nature, gaia, the hollywoodised/bambi version of nature. The other side of the coin, filthy lucre, dirty business and CO2 polluting energy is presented as immoral and a threat to the former.

    But because most people do not have a hard-won sense of consequence the antithesis intrinsic to the moral juxtaposition, that is the capacity to have a bambi perspective of nature is dependent on CO2 polluting energy, is not understood by the holders of the moral position; the result is a cognitive dissonance; in Piaget’s terminology people have gone to Concrete Operational Stage of mentality without first properly going through a reality based Preoperational stage. A classic example of this is this:

    http://www.vexnews.com/news/11692/cant-stand-the-heat-greens-macedon-candidate-nicky-haslinghouse-flees-public-meeting-as-the-going-gets-tough/

    This is not meant to be a glib attack on an obviously spoilt and infantile person; in 3 years of blogging I can honestly say that the defining characteristic of AGW supporters is a childish petulance that I can only explain as a resentment of having to be tested; on a more profound level this is what I took from the deviousness, secrecy and patronising refusal of the CRU crew in refusing to reveal their ‘studies’ and their outrage when they were revealed and which we see continuing in the attempted bonfire of the vanities treatment of Wegman.

    How ironic would it be that AGW and the massive dislocation its ‘cure’ will have on our prosperous society has been brought about because that prosperity created a sub-class of unrealistic, untested moral bullies.


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    pat

    oh for the days when big business was behind the sceptics! LOL.

    26 Nov: Australian: Joe Kelly: Business leaders appreciate need for price on carbon, says Wayne Swan
    Mr Swan added there was a “broad appreciation across the room on the need for a price on carbon” but said no preference was expressed for an emissions trading scheme or carbon tax.
    “I think there was a view that putting a price on carbon is about securing the long term competitiveness of this country as well as securing very important environmental objectives,” Mr Swan said.
    Mr Combet said the meeting underlined “how far the debate has come within this country” about the necessity of putting a price on carbon…
    Greens Deputy Leader Christine Milne said that one of the problems during the negotiations for the carbon pollution reduction scheme was that there were no principles to govern compensation for industry.
    “This time there will be a set of principles which underpin how we actually approach those things and the Productivity Commission will do some serious baseline study…
    Senator Milne also stressed her disappointment the Greens had been left off the business and non-government organisation roundtables.
    “The Greens have always taken the view that as a result of setting up the multi-party climate committee that this should be a collaborative process to achieve a carbon price.
    “The Greens made it clear to the government that these roundtables should include the Greens because we need to hear from business, from the community and from the environment just as much as the government does.”..
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/climate/business-leaders-appreciate-need-for-price-on-carbon-says-wayne-swan/story-e6frg6xf-1225961501865

    combet is an enemy of union members who pay out huge sums every year to get people like him into positions of political power.

    as for the Milne quote, don’t u love how the Greens ARE the “environment”!

    so glad to hear the Govt will compensate the emitters. makes me feel good all over.


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    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Robert J, Obama Scare. Obama Scare said: Unintended Consequences: Greens protect coal deposits and destroy rainforest http://j.mp/hF1VNH  #tcot [...]


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    wes george

    “Computers shall overtake human “intelligence” in the next decade or two, and a single machine should be able to hold the collective knowledge of the species in perhaps three decades. It is simply a hardware issue…”

    Well, Bulldust, you a singularitarian? ;-) Who knew? This song is for you…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hKG5l_TDU8&feature=player_embedded

    Live long and prosper.


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    val majkus

    I know Australians are generous and the following appeal is for the families of the Pike River Miners who have been lost
    A lonely death, an inexpressible grief
    http://www.climateconversation.wordshine.co.nz/2010/11/a-lonely-death-an-inexpressible-grief/
    the details of the appeal are here:
    Richard Treadgold says:
    November 26, 2010 at 3:50 pm
    The BNZ have given me a little more detail. They have waived transaction fees, so everything you send will reach the miners’ relief fund.

    For New Zealand residents, the bank account to credit — through internet banking or at your nearest BNZ branch — is:

    Pike River Mine BNZ Appeal
    Greymouth branch
    02 0844 0074501-00

    From overseas, the easiest donation method is with a credit card through Grab One at http://www.grabone.co.nz/dunedin-invercargill/pike-river-miners-relief-fund. If you go to the Australian site at http://www.grabone.com.au, there’s a link to the NZ site at the top of the page.

    You have to register first, which is easy and painless.

    PLEASE NOTE that there’s a limit of $5 per donation, but NO CREDIT CARD FEES are charged by Grab One, so to donate more, just perform multiple transactions.

    Large overseas donations
    For those of greater generosity wanting to donate three or four-figure amounts, you should use a Telegraphic Transfer from your local bank. As well as the basic account information shown above, you will need this:

    Bank address:
    Store 91,
    MacKay Street,
    Greymouth 7805.

    SWIFT BKNZNZ22

    Your transaction will cost something at your end, plus there’s a fee of $25 added at this end.

    The latest news is that $1.3 million has poured in to the miners’ relief fund.

    Thank you for your generosity.


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    Bulldust

    Wes:

    I have always assumed that something along those lines (singularity) was bound to happen sooner or later. As a tragic MMORPG player I rationalise my recreation time as being early adoption of my future virtual reality existence >.> A long bow I know…

    BTW I believe the film “The Singularity is near”, which looks like it shall be part documentary and part fiction, is due out early next year:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1049412/

    I certainly think there is a danger in vesting too much faith in technology on the one hand, but it would be ignorant to ignore the possibilities and dangers of future technology. Luckily, human beings being the imaginative creatures that they are, have already imagined many of the future scenarios and thought through most of the potential pitfalls and safeguards.

    Part of the reason I find the debate about climate change so amusing is that we won’t being using much of today’s technology in 50 years time, let alone 100 years from now. The human race navel gazing about CO2 emissions today is about as naive as us worrying about horse manure flooding New York or London 100 years ago. It never happened, just as any catastrophic climate change will never occur… even were it inclined to happen through changes in CO2 emissions & massive positive feedbacks, I am entirely confident we could geoengineer our way out of it. The chaps at Intellectual Ventures have already thought through some possible solutions:

    http://www.intellectualventures.com/Home.aspx

    But most people struggle to imagine beyond their immediate reality… breakfast, getting the kids to school, paying taxes, etc… they are oblivious to the rate of technology change. Meanwhile the world is changing faster than ever before around our day-to-day lives.

    Who would have thought a decade ago that making video calls anywhere in the world would be virtually cost-free and commonplace? or that mapping your DNA could be done for a week’s (day’s?) pay and handed to you on a small plastic disc? or that you could view Youtube (what the heck is that?) through your television? or that you could have a GPS, television, phone and computer in your pocket? in one unit smaller than a paperback novel with no wires attached…

    Makes you wonder what will happen in the next ten years, no?

    {I blame Friday afternoon for waxing lyrical}


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    wes george

    How ironic would it be that AGW and the massive dislocation its ‘cure’ will have on our prosperous society has been brought about because that prosperity created a sub-class of unrealistic, untested moral bullies.

    Exactly, Cohenite.

    Although, perhaps it’s more like a well documented tragic cycle of history than an unexpected irony. We shall hardly be the first civilization to succumb to society-wide hallucinations and delusions of grandeur.

    Our most revealing and disturbing cultural morbidity isn’t the Greenie acolytes who are intellectually incapable of sustaining rational scrutiny – faith always abhors reason – but the fact that we as a people almost never question the assumption that our political institutions can control the Earth’s geophysiology to create a climate optimum. We may argue whether the costs and trade-offs are worth it, but never about the basic assumption that humans have the ability to manage the most complex nonlinear system known. This, in itself, is reason enough to certify the entire debate as delusional.

    Humanity can’t even contain the well-understood and obviously anthropogenic ailments of this planet, such as war, poverty and disease. Yet we are to believe a world government could control the Earth’s climate? The Australian government can’t build a divided highway between Brisbane and Sydney, staff our hospitals, supply our cities with adequate water and energy, or install pink bats without burning the house down, but it can legislate fine weather for our grand children from parliament house?

    How tragic is that logic?


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    elsie

    Maybe I read it on here about Al Gore admitting he backed the idea of bio-fuel to gain votes from his Iowa farmers. He now admits the fuel is not so useful after all. Maybe that’s why QLD decided not to introduce anymore ethanol pumps at service stations. Too many cars still can’t handle ethanol. More disrupting is that ethanol fuel does not suit lawn mowers and outboard motors. Imagine being stuck out at sea with a motor that won’t go because of water build up in the tank as a result of ethanol. All the glory and promises made by Greens about using ethanol have crumbled like all their dreams.


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    John Smith

    Ahh yes the rank hypocrisy of the Greens, bless them for making my day better.
    For your daily dose of green hypocrisy here are a few examples of such.
    Al Gore in his true hypocritical form.
    http://www.gorefacts.com/default.asp
    Global warming was all about wealth redistribution after all. So does that mean there is a grand conspiracy for a ‘New World Order’?
    http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/secondhandsmoke/2010/11/23/global-warming-hysteria-ipcc-official-admits-its-wealth-redistribution/
    British loony professor oops I mean climate scientist actually economist Lord Stern threatens trade war against America in the name of the environment.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/11/19/lord-stern-deny-the-whole-usa-trade-if-you-dont-play-the-agw-game/
    Greek PM admits carbon taxes were all about raiding the public purse of money by government after all.
    http://www.infowars.com/greek-pm-says-it-at-last-carbon-taxes-are-just-another-way-to-raise-revenue/


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    wes george

    “Part of the reason I find the debate about climate change so amusing is that we won’t being using much of today’s technology in 50 years time, let alone 100 years from now. The human race navel gazing about CO2 emissions today is about as naive as us worrying about horse manure flooding New York or London 100 years ago…”

    Bulldust, so true. So true.

    I’m a very old old man. When I was but a wee bairn in the 1970′s the Club of Rome fooled me into thinking that by 1990 the world would be past peak oil, peak minerals and out of farmland. Starvation, economic collapse and world war over scarce resources was inevitable. Yet the bastards were dead wrong because they simply extrapolated trends linearly forward with no account for technological innovations or cultural evolution. Instead of Road Warriors we had the unanticipated boom of the Internet age and Moore’s law. Peak oil was postponed due to a 1,000+ percent increase in productivity due to application of IT to hydrocarbon exploration and agriculture.

    So what’s next? Well, we can’t forecast the weather much past 28 days, if that. I suspect we can’t forecast science and technological innovation much past a decade either, much less cultural innovation. So how the bloody hell can anyone model the atmospheric CO2 concentrations of 2050, much less 2100, even if it matters? They can’t.

    The problem with Leftist control freaks is that they hate uncertainty. They prefer centralized command and control, by force if necessary, over distributed network decision making. Yet the evidence is that take 1,000 dollars and give 100 people ten dollars and they will distribute it more evenly than any one person. So leave 1,000 million dollars in the pockets of 22 million Australians will create far more wealth for our nation than to give it to a bureaucracy in Canberra where 50 technocrats guided by tribal loyalties will distribute it to dozens of the most fashionably favoured fops.

    This is what the broadband scam is all about. A government technocracy appropriating our nation’s information network infrastructure command and control for the next 30 years. They’ll pick the winners and losers, dole out the lucre to friends, punish their foes, tax the shite out of the rest of us and control the flow of information if and when the time comes to “limit” access to inappropriate knowledge. You know, for our own sake. People are stupid after all, according to our elite cultural institutions, the ABC and our universities. You can’t really trust democracy to deliver the best outcomes without some…ahem, means to control the ends…

    Naturally, just about everyone in Canberra supports appropriation by Federal Government of the future information network of our nation. Hey, if parliament can legislate fine weather why the bloody hell shouldn’t they control every megabyte of information that flows into every household in the nation?

    What could go wrong?


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    Richard S Courtney

    Pattoh:

    At #54 you ask (I think me):

    The question is what would the comparative cost be to produce diesel & kerosene as opposed to traditional refining of crude? What comparative environmental costs are associated with surface or in ground gassification prior to liquefaction?
    And on a different level:- If the costs are comparable or less, what does this mean for the geo-political balance of the world? (& big oil).

    Wow! Those questions are far, far too big for an adequate answer here, but I will provide some responses.

    The most important fact concerning these issues is the existence of the novel liquid solvent extraction (LSE) process. LSE has been capable of converting coal to synthetic crude oil (syncrude) at competitive cost to crude oil since 1994.

    The LSE process was developed by the Coal Research Establishment (CRE) of British Coal (aka the National Coal Board: NCB). I worked on its development while at CRE and UNESCO commissioned a paper about it from me. We proved the process both technically and economically with a demonstration plant built and operated at Point Of Ayr in North Wales.

    British Coal was owned by the UK government and ownership of the LSE process devolved to the government when the government abolished British Coal. There are good reasons why details of the LSE process are a state secret (see below), but the basic method is as follows.

    LSE dissolves the coal in a solvent in an ebullating bed at high temperature and pressure. The solution includes hydrogen (obtained from coal and water by a ‘water gas shift’) that combines with the dissolved coal to form syncrude in the presence of a zeolite catalyst. The proportions of the various hydrocarbons (i.e. oil fractions) in the resulting syncrude are ‘tuned’ by adjusting the temperasture and pressure while the hydrogenation of dissolved coal occurs. Reducing the temperature and pressure causes the syncrude to come out of solution, and the solvent is returned to the start of the process for reuse.

    The surprising economics of LSE are provided by its abilities to be tuned to provide syncrude that provides a match of refinery products which match market demand, and to consume sulphurous refinery bottoms.

    An oil refinery separates crude oil into its component parts for sale. These components must match market demand: obtaining a correct amount of one fraction (e.g. kerosene) must not provide too little or too much of any other fraction (e.g. benzene). Disposal of an excess of a fraction has disposal cost and a shortage of a product causes market difficulties. This match to market demand is achieved by blending. Crude oils from different places has different proportions of components. So, an oil refinery obtains crude oils from different places, mixes them together such that the resulting blend consists of components that match market demand when they are separated by refining.

    Blending has costs. Different crudes have to be obtained from different places then transported to the refinery and mixed in correct proportions. LSE product does not have these costs because the LSE process can be tuned to provide syncrude which has components that match market demand when they are separated by refining.

    Crude oil contains sulphur that forms sulphurous ‘bottoms’ in the refinery process. Disposal of these ‘bottoms’ is expensive. But sulphur is removed from the syncrude during the LSE process and becomes part of a solid cake consisting mostly of ash minerals and some carbon (LSE converts more than 98% of the carbon in the coal to syncrude). The cake can be burned as fuel in a fluidised bed, and the sulphur then collected can be converted to saleable gypsum as a product. Hence, the oil refinery obtains no sulphurous ’bottoms’ when refining the syncrude.

    The UK government owns the LSE process. But the UK produces little coal (because it closed its coal industry) and produces crude oil. Importantly, the UK produces Brent crude that has high value because it blends with Saudi crude (i.e. the cheapest crude). The required Saudi:Brent blend has approximate proportions of 2:1).

    Use of the LSE process would collapse the value of Brent crude with resulting severe harm to the UK economy. So, details of the LSE process are a UK state secret.

    However, the existence of the LSE process constrains the maximum price of crude oil. If the price were to rise sufficiently then the UK would benefit from release for use of the LSE technology.

    In the future (at least 50 years and probably more than 100 years in the future), oil will become scarce if it continues to be used. In that circumstance crude oil supplies would become very expensive. The LSE product could be adopted as a replacement for crude oil. But the world will then be a very different place, so there is no purpose in considering what may/could/would then happen.

    I hope this answer is sufficient.

    Richard


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    Baa Humbug

    Richard S Courtney: #64
    November 26th, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    Wow, a volume of interesting facts as usual from you Richard. Thanx for that, and thanx pattoh #54 for asking such an interesting Q


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    Nick

    Wes George @ 63

    What your talking about, and I agree with, is the mutation of the “Economic Problem” i.e. Distribution of scarce resources.

    What we currently have is a process of centralisation of the means of production and capital. Which is the prefered method of administration of the distribution of scarce resources, the “Economic Problem”, by the left.

    The left has also managed to link itself with “soft” decision making. The general pupulation seem to be choosing leaders (for want of a better term to use) that make decisions based on their ability to make them rather than decisions that need to be made.

    For instance… A father choosing to spend a squilion dollars on training and coaching his son, who poseses no hand eye co-ordination and has poor oxygen delivery, instead of making the decision to convince the son he’s wasteing his time and to curtail the sport and explore other avenues of ability.

    Combine “Soft” with “Cuddly” decision making and you have a receipe for disaster. This can also be viewed as denying reality. :-)

    The problem with giving 22 million Austrlians $1k each. Is they’ll make “soft & cuddly” decisions with it. This is where I have sympathy with the left. Where we differ is. Using force has proven not to work, e.g. 20th Century Eastern Europe. The Education system is the key. Particularly critical thinking, which is where science comes in. HHHhhhmmmmm, correlation between drop off of science subjects with levels of airheadedness?

    Which is what we have.

    This is also why we have hung parliments. Why the balance of power is held by “air heads”.

    To be honest you could see all this coming years ago. When kids were given trophies just for turning up to events. Those kids are now of voting age. With the same ideals. We’re in for a screwy few years, while this all gets sorted out.

    I’ve rambled a bit here, but I think you’ll get my point. :-)


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    On the matter of the coming of Artificial Intelligence. When I entered the field of software engineering 45 years ago, Artificial Intelligence was thought to be a mere ten years off. Each decade saw another decade added to the expectation of that fateful day. It became a joke that Artificial Intelligence was whatever we didn’t know how to do with computers. That is still so today.

    Oh, we can program computers to do many very sophisticated tricks but they can only do what they are told to do in excruciating detail. They cannot and do not invent. We have yet to program computers to be as intelligent as a common cockroach. we are a long way off from replicating the functional intelligence of a child human.

    Quite frankly, I have little interest in Artificial Intelligence. I use computers to aid natural intelligence. They compute faster, remember better, and follow complicated instructions to the letter. What they cannot do is think. It is still the case that the best, fastest, and most economical way to get a thinking device is to get a woman pregnant and raise and educate the resulting child to adulthood.


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    Roy Hogue

    Lord Stern: Deny the whole USA trade if you don’t play the AGW game

    @62,

    Bring it on! Maybe we’ll wise up and stop paying 25% of the UN’s annual budget. Maybe we’ll wise up and start using our own coal and oil reserves. And in the end we’ll realize who our friends and enemies really are and start to treat them accordingly. Nuts to you Mr. Sorry Arse President.

    It couldn’t hurt us to start doing our own manufacturing and production of consumer goods either.

    If we’re going to go through Hell, then let it be the Hell that helps us in the end. Lord Stern is ignorant of the immortal words of Representative Robert Goodloe Harper of South Carolina on the occasion of a dinner given by Congress to John Marshall, just returned from France, at Philadelphia in June, 1798, “Millions for defense, but not one penny for tribute” This is the stuff that straight thinking Americans are made of.


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    wes george

    The problem with giving 22 million Austrlians $1k each. Is they’ll make “soft & cuddly” decisions with it. This is where I have sympathy with the left…

    This is where the left depart from objective economic history.

    The basic logical fallacy of your argument is that the distributed, self-interested intelligence of 22 million Australians is inferior to a handful of bumbling, politically-conflicted technocrats jammed in concrete office block in Canberra.

    If the Australian government were to lower taxes – ie leave extra money in the pockets of 22 million Australians – not only would tax revenues NOT fall but they would rise as some of the 22 million Australians would use their extra income to create more wealth by way of investment and savings. Lowering tax rates raises GDP. A larger GDP generates more taxable income even at lower rates. One person’s soft and cuddly decision is another’s capital formation…

    The undeniable fact is that 22 million Australians individually distributing their wealth as they see fit is a far more efficient use of money than any centralized government program. People create wealth, governments waste it. Less government always equals a richer people, at least in the modern Western democracies. Of course, as a democratic society we have decided that in spite of the massive waste involved in any bureaucratic endeavor we would rather have a government controlled defense force, highway department, social services, education and public hospitals, etc, than buy these services in a competitive free market. Fair enough.

    Hauser’s Law:

    “Higher taxes discourage the “animal spirits” of entrepreneurship. When tax rates are raised, taxpayers are encouraged to shift, hide and underreport income. Taxpayers divert their effort from pro-growth productive investments to seeking tax shelters, tax havens and tax exempt investments. This behavior tends to dampen economic growth and job creation. Lower taxes increase the incentives to work, produce, save and invest, thereby encouraging capital formation and jobs. Taxpayers have less incentive to shelter and shift income.”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703514904575602943209741952.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_carousel_3


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    Bulldust

    Lionell!

    I am alarmed… you have been programming computers to perform “tricks”? Have you hidden the decline?

    Joking aside… I agree that there may be an issue of bridging that gap in software to render something we can consider intelligent in human terms. But there are a couple of factors to take into account.

    1) Moore’s Law is marching along relentlessly resulting in exponentially more powerful machines every year. There is no reason to suspect it is about to be derailed. The next generation of computing technology is already being developed (beyond silicon).

    2) We are beginning to understand the nature of the human brain and how it functions.

    Combine further advances in both and it is not hard to imagine us devising machines in a couple of decades that can replicate what the brain does in most respects. Perhaps the real question would be why one would bother… why not let human intelligence remain as is and develop machine capabilities and power along lines that machines are best capable (which is what we mostly do these days). Computers are better at some tasks, humans better at others… so far.

    I think the mostly likely outcome is that we see a continuing confluence of human and machine “intelligence.” I use quotes to distinguish that machine intelligence may just be raw computing power. I think the next few decades will continue the merger of the two powers, but it is hard not awed by the raw information that is available to us today (through the internet).

    As an aside, and as I have mentioned previously, I do dabble somewhat in MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games). The most well known of these is Woorld of Warcraft because it has the greatest market penetration (at 10-11 million players worldwide).

    I played Vanguard a few years ago (tragically buggy, but that is a long story) and had a screenshot of the game on my desktop at work. Once or twice people walking by my cube asked where that place was, assuming it was a bazaar or somesuch on earth. The point being is that we can already generate virtual worlds that are very realistic. I don’t see why technologies such as social networking and virtual reality won’t begin to converge. Humans are well on track to developing a “matrix” for virtual existence. Once that matrix is better than real life, why bother walking out the front door? Every place on earth might as well be reproduced in virtual space… without the annoying mosquitoes.

    This perspective is repugnant to some I am sure, and it has issues associated with it, but virtual worlds do represent a way for humans to unleash their imaginations in a way that would be almost restrictive in real space. I believe virtual reality is the most likely outcome of the confluence of humans and machines. Here’s the kicker… by spending more time in virtual space we will have less impact on the environment physically :) Everyone wins.

    Like I said… I digress… there are other possible outcomes, but I don’t think we are that far away from honestly being able to say “reality is overrated.”

    Just my random thoughts…


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    Bulldust

    Wes:

    As you allude to there are certain goods that are monopolistic in nature and best developed by a centralised Government. Defence, police, roads, etc… There are also cases of market failure where it is useful to have a regulatory agency as well to protect end users from undue monopoly pricing and from negative externalities. Politicians are also useful for representing electorates interests in policy decisions, for example, but in a two party system the degree of representation is mostly lacking. Better to vote for an independent IMHO who is reasonably aligned with your view on politics.

    I don’t think you will find anyone disagreeing with the basic principles in the above paragraph, but it is equally obvious that politicans have powers far beyond those mentioned above, and politicians generate their own set of “agency” issues (utilising the term as used in finance). That is to say, politicians bring their own human frialties into the equation when in power. Corporations use access to politicians as a more efficient way of generating profits by influencing policy and contracting decisions. It is naive to think that this doesn’t happen on a daily basis.


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    Roy Hogue

    Bulldust @71

    The point being is that we can already generate virtual worlds that are very realistic. I don’t see why technologies such as social networking and virtual reality won’t begin to converge. Humans are well on track to developing a “matrix” for virtual existence. Once that matrix is better than real life, why bother walking out the front door? Every place on earth might as well be reproduced in virtual space… without the annoying mosquitoes.

    Don’t get too carried away there my friend. The liberal left loony toons already live in a virtual world — one they imagine that has no connection with reality — and look what they have done. No, life was meant to be lived, mosquitoes and all, not viewed through the lens of a computer generated world. Special effects are not reality no matter how realistic.


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    pattoh

    Many thanks Richard,

    You & the other earnest contributors are the bastions of hope who regularly maintain the serious & honest level of debate on this site.

    Further, thanks to Jo for her indefatigable labours in highlighting the divide between speculative hypothesis & the measured real world & providing this forum for objective debate have maintained a standard above the emotive belligerence & dishonesty which pervades the CAGW fraud.

    It is a challenging endeavor to raise the public awareness above the Siren Calls of those with an un-declared agenda. & the multitudes who act in chorus.

    Credit & thanks where they are due.


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    wes george

    On a sort of epistemological note, we already live entirely in a virtual world. What Bulldust and others here are alluding too is more like virtual worlds inside virtual worlds. Turtles all the way down.

    It’s widely assumed in the cognitive sciences today (cough, cough) that the human “mind” is a very complex matrix of tiny electrical signals swarming away contained entirely in the total darkness inside each of our skulls.

    Our “minds” rely entirely upon mechanistic organs to collect information from the exterior “real” world and process that data into electric signals that the mind can then “read” to create literally a virtual image/model of the exterior world. And it all takes place within the dark wetware contained inside the bony skull.

    Sight, sound, scent, touch are performed not by the mind directly but organic devices—eyes, limbs, nerves designed through processes of natural selection for such tasks. These sensory devices are expendable and replaceable, totally independent from the mind which they supply with data. Likewise, these sensory organs can be augmented. IR sensitivity could be added to the light sensing device increasing the data sent to the mind, perhaps ultimately enhancing the virtual model of reality the mind generates.

    As such, the human mind not only NEVER actually comes in direct contact with the exterior world, but can NOT in any way know the exterior world accept through a virtual model of the exterior world the mind constructs for itself in the wetware between our ears based upon the evidence it receives via sensory organs.

    This is a fact of nature. The fact that this fact has been much abused by moral relaivists and post-modernist philosophy is a whole other debate.

    Interestingly, the human mind is so coupled with the exterior world through its sensory organs that the mind almost never notices that it is entirely isolated from directly experiencing reality. In other words, when you look out across a paddock and see a mob of sheep 200 meters out, that image does NOT exist outside of your mind… You aren’t “seeing” sheep in the paddock, but virtual sheep generated inside the wetware between your ears!! The fact that indeed, there are sheep in the paddock 200 yards off is merely testament that your virtual model in your mind is usefully assembling data from your sensory organs.

    It seems quite natural to me that human beings who by their very nature must exist entirely within a virtual universe should find it natural to create virtual universes within their virtual universe. In fact, we began to do so in the paleolithic caves spinning yarns, painting hunting scenes, soothsaying dreams and inventing song. That we should continue to create new virtualities with our latest toy, the computer, is simply an extension of all that has gone before.


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    elsie

    wes george was like me. I had one of the first copies of ‘Limits To Growth’ and was terrified. I tried to convince an old geography lecturer who did not believe it. I thought him a bit foolish. But, I was young and I was the fool. As always, people never take into account the many and varied ways good science can influence engineering our world for the better. Who would have thought that dabbling in the science of electricity and magnetism would explode into a new era in the 20th century? Who knows what minor research could make the end of this century so different to now? The alarmists have absolutely no sense of hope, optimism, true regard for scientific advancement. They either think the world will remain as it is today or be worse…always worse. They need mortgages and jobs and kids to care for so that they have less time to worry about imaginary doom and gloom scenarios. Wars and new virus’ are enough to concern us but these are too ‘old fashioned’. Protesting for peace is not as glorious anymore. Besides, it would mean pestering some regimes that are just too tough to tackle so young people just throw their hands up and seek trouble like warming that will not affect them while they live the high life.


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    Mark D.

    Wes @ 64:

    I’m a very old old man. When I was but a wee bairn in the 1970′s…..

    I’m not Aussie so the translation may have been lost; if you were a wee bairn in the seventies (assume 1970′s) then you are younger than me and I resemble only parts of an old man. (very few parts)

    Please clarify.

    P.S. I wish to apologize retroactively so that we have no (if any) hard feelings (from that thread way back). I so enjoy reading your posts and find that, as almost always, you have nailed the discussion and better, we are in agreement.


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    Binny

    Richard S Courtney @65
    Your post definitely brings into stark contrast the difference between a feelgood quasireligious political movement, and the realities of modern science economics and politics.


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    bill-tb

    University of Texas did a coal to liquids study for Canada and found coal could produce liquid transport fuel at a fully loaded cost of under $30 barrel oil equivalent.


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    wes george

    No worries, Mark…suppose I’m not really very old at all, if you think about it like that. ;-) Thanks, mate.

    Sometimes, I feel really old like when my 13-year old nephew comes over with a rap song on his iPod that has remixed a Buffalo Springfield song and I have to debate with him over who wrote the bloody tune. Worse there is no way to explain to the kid what the song was about because the whole language of the 1960′s has been twisted to mean something
    different. The kid didn’t even know what a vinyl record was, thought it was some sort of ancient DVD…

    Imagine being a kid in the 1970′s and listening to music that was essentiallyl a remix of dad’s favorite Glenn Miller tune. The mind boggles.

    Old Buffalo:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5M_Ttstbgs

    New Buffalo:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y_VFGrGnCE

    Maybe it’s the journey from there to here that makes me feel so old.


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    Bulldust @ 71,

    1. We can’t overcome the fact that the hardware ONLY follows instructions in can follow. The instructions must be exact, literal, and detailed down to the bit. The hardware has to be exactly correct. One bit out of place in the wrong circumstance, and the program goes screwy.

    2. We can’t overcome he fact that THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS PERFECT SOFTWARE. If there were, there is no way to prove that it is. Beyond a very trivial program there are simply to many permutations and combination of inputs and internal state conditions to test them all. In fact, you have to write software to test software which gets you into an infinite recursive loop of having to test the test software. The best you can do is test until you are tired of testing, ship, and then hope your customer doesn’t find a bug that destroys everything. Oh, you know the bug is there, you just don’t know where it is nor what it is nor what will trigger it.

    3. The specification of the brain operating system and hardware will be many orders more complex and extensive than the brain itself. One brain cannot possibly encompass it. If you have attempted to develop software by committee and team effort, you will understand the job nature did was done amazingly rapidly and efficiently by comparison.

    4. If the brain/mind specification contains bugs, the resulting manufactured brain/mind will be defective. This problem returns to item one to cycle endlessly.

    The amazing thing is that there is anything that works “good enough”.

    Nature had the better part of four billion years to work out the bugs in her software. In excess of 95% of her experiments have gone extinct. Unfortunately, we are living with the remaining bugs right now. War, disease, mental illness, sociopathy, government, and many others. I don’t think we have four billions years to make it happen. That is partly because nature has not found and fixed the bugs we are trying to live with.

    Like I said, we are far better off making a baby, raising it, and educating it than trying to make a hardware replacement for a human. Computers can be powerful intelligence power amplifiers similar to the way a hammer is an arm-hand power amplifier. That is where our efforts should go. Make machines that are good machines able support and amplify mere mortals in the way mere mortals need supporting and amplifying.

    PS: I haven’t been able to hide the decline. I have lost most of my hair, almost half of my teeth, wear glasses, hurt in the am and pm, wake up at 4 am, and nap in the afternoon. I still age at the rate of one year per year. At 73 I am way past my prime. Like most people I put one foot in front of the other. In time, I will get to where I am going but not nearly as fast as I once did.


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    Roy Hogue

    Lionell,

    I have a legacy app that proves the point. It’s been bent and twisted so many times to accommodate new requirements that were not part of its original design that I marvel that it still works well enough to support customers.

    Fortunately that product line is being discontinued in favor of a new design for which new software is being written. Unfortunately that application is already going the way of the first.

    We’ve seen the result of trying to get onboard computers to fly airplanes and run automobiles.

    I don’t even want to know, as Wes has pointed out, the details of human perception of the outside world. I’m aware that those things go on, but reducing myself to the level of an automaton seems somehow dehumanizing. Wes, no offense intended.

    I love to ride the rollercoaster for the gut level thrill of it and I’d rather not worry about how my brain processes that, much less why I like it (I’ve no idea by the way). I wish I could still do it but age catches up with all of us sooner or later.

    I look at the newborn child and I’m in awe and wonder that a single cell knows how to grow into something that complex and unique. And as much as my curiosity would like to know all the answers, I think I’ll leave some things a mystery for the sake of making life something more than a science lesson.


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    Mark D.

    Wes @ Public Enemy

    Thanks for that, I have probably listened to maybe 2 rap tunes (entire song) in my life. I gotta say PE did a pretty good job to hold me long enough to hear all the words. Perhaps it is because they had a solid tune to work with. Perhaps it is because they did a really thought provoking adaptation with the undertone of war VS What the street brings today in the inner city.

    As for age; yah only feel as old as you look ;) after that it’s plastic surgery.

    Of course you selected Public Enemy because of the meaning compared to AGW right?


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    Mark D.

    Wes By the way @ 75:

    As such, the human mind not only NEVER actually comes in direct contact with the exterior world, but can NOT in any way know the exterior world accept through a virtual model of the exterior world the mind constructs for itself in the wetware between our ears based upon the evidence it receives via sensory organs.

    I want to politely disagree to a modest extent; the brain does get to directly contact the chemistry of the exterior world and therefore may actually be a sensory organ unto itself. There are many externally applied drugs that flow nearly directly to the brain. Likewise the brain responds very personally to say a night of clubbing.

    In the semi-final analysis, the “virtual world” is probably more than a few layers deep. Brain cells live in one layer, the brain in another, the body in a third, the world in a fourth….Ah you probably get my point.


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    Mark D.

    Elsie @ 76; you make several points. Three maybe four generations since we learned heavier than air flight! My grandfather saw the transition from horse to auto to airplane to moon landing, from telegraph to telephone and radio to TV.

    What will the next 100 years bring?


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    cohenite

    MarkD, you ask: “What will the next 100 years bring?”

    Here is the Greens’ answer:

    http://landshape.org/news/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/scaled.jpg


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    Mark D.

    Cohenite, It would be funny if it weren’t so seriously true eh?

    I also want to agree with you at 55;

    …..in 3 years of blogging I can honestly say that the defining characteristic of AGW supporters is a childish petulance that I can only explain as a resentment of having to be tested;……

    Mostly it has been one year for me and mostly with trolls on this site. You have aptly described the general M.O. of a Warmist. I have also noted two other characteristics: a lack of humor and a sense of urgency. The two together are an indicator.


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    Mark

    Have Victorians woken up since the Federal Election?

    Antony Green says Labor has lost. Link here


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    Mark D.

    sorry @ 87 should be: You have aptly described reasons for the general M.O. of a Warmist.

    instead of: You have aptly described the general M.O. of a Warmist.


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    Bulldust

    Interestingly I think we are on the same track regarding machine vs human “intelligence.” I agree that the human brain is exceedingly good at certain tasks and woeful at others. Part of the “software” wasn’t properly installed in mine, for example, because I lack the ability to visualise things in my head, but I mention that as a mere side curiousity. For the most part the brain seems to have remarkable resilience through redundancy. Heaven knows I have killed more than a few brain cells through life in universities and places like Kalgoorlie :) but the sucker keeps on ticking along reasonably well.

    Digressions aside, I think we will end up in a place where computers increasingly take over more complex tasks on behalf of humans (they mostly fly airplanes and spacecraft, for example) but humans will continue to contribute in the more creative tasks. Hence I see more a confluence of effort between the two realms, each improving the other.


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    Alternative Energy

    Charge a tax on carbon to pay to have trees cut down, turned into fuel, and then replanted. How much dumber can polititions get? I exhale CO2, doesn’t that mean I’d have to pay to breathe? The trees aren’t coming back for another 20-30 years, there goes the oxygen. How do we fix this problem? How about using water 4 gas?


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