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Monday message board

October 23rd, 2006

It’s time, once again for the Monday Message Board. As usual, civilised discussion and absolutely no coarse language, please.

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  1. brian
    October 23rd, 2006 at 13:43 | #1

    I read in a US site,that US olfficials in Iraq are trying to negotiate a deal with the Iraqi”Government”to give US oil companies unfettered access to the Iraqi oilfields !.
    This would seem to me a bit like placing a dinner order in the dining room of the Titanic

  2. observa
    October 23rd, 2006 at 13:53 | #2

    Heh, heh, you’ll still be able to blog under a pseudonym
    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,20629026-401,00.html?from=public_rss

  3. October 23rd, 2006 at 18:04 | #3

    The currently large size of the hole in the ozone is causing some excitement in the press. The Montreal Protocol was suppose to fix this by reducing the amount of CFCs etc in the atmosphere. So whats going on?

    It turns out that the protocol has worked and whilst CFCs live a long time in the atmosphere (up to 40 years) they are actually declining. So why the growing ozone hole?

    It turns out that low temperature is also a factor in the chemical process that destroys ozone (which is why the holes are at the poles). And over the last winter Antarctica was quite a bit colder than usual and hence we get a bigger hole. So actually it’s good news.

  4. October 23rd, 2006 at 18:45 | #4

    Explains why I got sun burnt yesterday.

  5. October 23rd, 2006 at 21:08 | #5

    Terje,
    It also takes some time for the CFCs to get to the upper atmosphere – giving a strong lag effect.

  6. Hermit
    October 23rd, 2006 at 21:28 | #6

    The ambivalent outcome of CFC reductions will no doubt be used to bolster the muddled climate policy announcements we can expect this week. It’s like a perfect storm; if we cut CO2 emissions not only can it hurt economically but the climate may punish us by doing strange things. If we don’t cut (as likely) the climate may thank us by seeming to get back to normal at times. No wonder climate mitigation is a hard sell.

  7. October 23rd, 2006 at 22:35 | #7

    The climate may punish us by doing strange things? So not warming would be punishment?

    Hmmm. Maybe it’s a case of strange logic rather than strange climate.

  8. Hermit
    October 24th, 2006 at 06:17 | #8

    Terje
    perhaps I should say weather surprises rather than climate. Suppose electricity prices went up 10% as a result of carbon penalties. There will still be weather surprises as a result of randomness or system unpredictability. Farmers or resort operators hit by unseasonal weather will complain loudly about higher costs and lower revenues. Their expectation would be that the extra energy costs would mitigate such problems. Media commentators would then say ‘let’s get rid of this carbon tax nonsense because it doesn’t do any good’.

    Most people don’t give a damn about the climate 100 years from now.

  9. Mike Hart
    October 24th, 2006 at 08:03 | #9

    The Twelve Fallacies:

    1. The environment has to be balanced against the economy
    2. Technology will solve our problems
    3. We can easily substitute resources as they are exhausted
    4. There is no food problem world wide only a transportation problem
    5. Things are getting better and better so there is no sign of collapse
    6. The doomsayers were wrong in the past so why believe them now
    7. The worlds population crisis will solve itself
    8. The world can accomodate populationg growth indefinitely and we’ll all be wealthier as a result
    9. Environmental concerns are a leftist yuppie mindset
    10. Any problems will occur well into the future so why worry now
    11. Were different now so we wont see societies collapse like in the past
    12. I can’t do anything against mutlnationals, big business and government.

  10. October 24th, 2006 at 11:09 | #10

    1. The environment has to be balanced against the economy

    If this is a fallacy then this is great news because now we can have it all. We can let the economy rip and deal with the environmental issues separately. Of course your fallacy is not a fallacy at all because in practice we have to strike a balance. We can’t build factories in wetlands and dump chemicals in the river because it is cheap and then just expect things to just work out. We need to balance many competing legitamate concerns. To suggest that the modern economy and the state of the environment are not linked would be quite an amazing claim.

    2. Technology will solve our problems

    Well it is unlikely to solve some problems (eg its unlikely to give us more than 24 hours in a day) but it already solves lots of problems and in the future it will no doubt solve many more problems. Personally I think that solar energy is going to solve a lot of problems for the world as will bio-engineering. Technology won’t create love and understanding although even here communications technology at least helping.

    3. We can easily substitute resources as they are exhausted

    Something of a straw man. Some resources have easy substitutes and some don’t.

    4. There is no food problem world wide only a transportation problem

    In terms of feeding people I’d say that mostly there is a govenance problem. When Ethiopian farmers must surrender 90% of their marginal production in taxes, food production incentives are very wrong. Why take any risks to produce a food surplus if the surplus is just going to be taken away from you anyway?

    5. Things are getting better and better so there is no sign of collapse

    Do you think the world is going to callapse? That would need some heavy qualification. During the forseeable future I’m pretty sure that some things won’t collapse.

    6. The doomsayers were wrong in the past so why believe them now

    A very wise question that demands intelligent answers.

    7. The worlds population crisis will solve itself

    One way or another it will.

    8. The world can accomodate populationg growth indefinitely and we’ll all be wealthier as a result

    Indefinitely is a pretty extreme time frame. I think that before the end of time the earth will be consumed by an exploding sun and humanity will perish.

    9. Environmental concerns are a leftist yuppie mindset

    Most leftist yuppies that I know do have a mindset that includes environmental concerns. So in what way is this a serious fallacy?

    10. Any problems will occur well into the future so why worry now

    More of a question than a fallacy.

    11. Were different now so we wont see societies collapse like in the past

    I’ll agree that this is a fallacy. Although whether we as individuals will personally be around when societies “collapse” is questionable. Most great societies of the past kind of faded away rather than disapearing in one single dramatic event.

    12. I can’t do anything against mutlnationals, big business and government.

    Definitely a fallacy.

  11. October 24th, 2006 at 11:26 | #11

    Well, now only two weeks to go till the US mid-term elections and the price of petrol (aka “gas”) is still going down. After a foot-dragging Saudi effort, OPEC has agreed to output productions but nobody expects them to do it: gas prices actually dropped on the announcement! Funny old world, innit? Who runs this place anyway?

    Meanwhile, the GOP in the USA is running political ads showing Osama Bin Laden’s face and a ticking clock… what’s that all about eh? I have no ide, no idea at all.

  12. October 24th, 2006 at 11:31 | #12

    Sorry, that should have been output REDUCTIONS (link here).

  13. October 24th, 2006 at 11:38 | #13

    “I read in a US site,that US olfficials in Iraq are trying to negotiate a deal with the Iraqiâ€?Governmentâ€?to give US oil companies unfettered access to the Iraqi oilfields !.”

    It probably was this article in Alternet:

    http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/43045/

  14. Mike Pepperday
    October 24th, 2006 at 19:24 | #14

    “Indefinitely is a pretty extreme time frame. I think that before the end of time the earth will be consumed by an exploding sun and humanity will perish.”

    Nah. Humanity will have populated the galaxy. They’ll probably put a preservation order on this whole solar system as a historic site and put in a caretaker to maintain it.

  15. melanie
    October 24th, 2006 at 19:44 | #15

    Hart and Terje,

    4. Not a transportation problem, a distribution problem. As in income distribution.

    IMHO, the distribution problem is THE fundamental problem of economics.

  16. Smiley
    October 24th, 2006 at 20:59 | #16

    http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/43045/

    As this article states, I remember news at the time that suggested that countries which opposed the war (Russia, France and Germany) already had agreements with Saddam’s regime to develop Iraq’s oil resources. And some of these countries may have already been taking advantage of the illicit trade in Iraqi oil (under the UN oil for food scheme). Though I’m not sure how much could have been traded, given the naval blockade of the gulf.

    Having said that, I think that any legislation that provides monopolistic access to a resource, is patently corrupt. If the neo-cons really wanted to show how progressive democracy can be, they would have ensured that contracts would be reviewed on an annual or bi-annual basis and would be open to competition and scrutiny, for the benefit of the Iraqi people (after all wasn’t that what the war was about). But the no-bid contracts awarded to Halliburton would suggest an alternative modus operandi.

    And besides, wouldn’t US solders (or ours for that matter) have the right to question the need to risk their lives if it was for the benefit of corporate interests? It seems to me to be a very good argument in challenging a charge of desertion (however, I am no military lawyer).

    It makes you think, were they really interested in democracy or was it just a word they used to shore-up support? If all the evidence offered in this series of articles is kosher, then the phrase: Cut & Run, takes on a whole new meaning. Maybe a backlash in the polls will make them change their minds?

    It has been stated many times that the Bush regime is the most secretive presidency in US history. I wonder why?… No actually I don’t. It’s as plain as the nose on your face. I guess that is why this is really a non-argument now…

  17. observa
    October 24th, 2006 at 21:12 | #17

    Economics merely points out the law of diminishing returns to Mother Theresas Melanie. At the extreme you can imagine a world totally populated by the mothers with nothing to donate. North Korea springs readily to mind.

  18. Smiley
    October 24th, 2006 at 22:02 | #18

    The weekly rantings of the Mogambo seem to be suggesting something.

    I was leaping to my feet to make a real stink about this, but Mr. Kirby was faster, and verily his voice rose in righteous indignation, and said loud and clear “The anecdotal data above IS COMPLETELY INCONSISTENT WITH DECLINING PRICES OF ENERGY.�

    I will spare you the rest, but the original article is here:
    http://www.safehaven.com/article-6082.htm

  19. chrisphys
    October 25th, 2006 at 07:01 | #19

    “Humanity will have populated the galaxy. They’ll probably put a preservation order on this whole solar system as a historic site and put in a caretaker to maintain it”.

    Most likely only the wealthiest will move to other planets or moons leaving Earth to fall into ruin as an old industrial zone, producing the shiny new stuff they want in other places.

  20. proust
    October 25th, 2006 at 21:21 | #20

    The icons of the left (Marr, Masters, to name two) are showing their true colors over Jones’ sexuality. Bolt sums it up very well:

    So slime him, boys. Slime him again and again and again, until you yourselves are so covered in that stinking stuff that we can’t make out a single human feature on your faces.

  21. SJ
    October 25th, 2006 at 21:50 | #21

    Funny how “the right” have such issues with people telling the truth about them.

  22. proust
    October 25th, 2006 at 22:20 | #22

    No, SJ, we on the (libertarian) right have issues with hypocrisy.

  23. SJ
    October 25th, 2006 at 23:54 | #23

    No, SJ, we on the (libertarian) right have issues with hypocrisy.

    Well, duh.

  24. Con
    October 26th, 2006 at 05:08 | #24

    Why should the libertarian right care about Alan Jones?????

  25. proust
    October 26th, 2006 at 07:01 | #25

    South Park co-creater Matt Stone nicely sums up the libertarian position on the lefty smearing of Alan Jones over his sexuality:
    “I hate conservatives, but I really f***ing hate liberals.”

    [translation: "liberal" is American for lefty elites, not John Howard's band of happy campers]

  26. Con
    October 27th, 2006 at 02:03 | #26

    Oh ok so the ‘lefty elites’ are the bad guys. What about the conservative elites eg Devine, Jones, Bolt etc etc. No no no they are just normal people, one of us even….. yeah right??

    Seems to me that the new elites from the right are just as bad and rapidly trying to impose their dogma on every issue out there.

  27. proust
    October 27th, 2006 at 06:31 | #27

    To requote Matt Stone: I hate conservatives.

    In this he means conservatives of the my-morality-is-the-one-true-morality kind. Jones falls into that category. I don’t think Bolt does. Don’t know about Devine.

    Both conservatives and lefty elites alike want to tell the rest of us how to live. But lefty elites go much further: they want to control my life down to the minute details, like when I am allowed to run my air conditioner or drive my car. That’s why conservatives are hated but lefties are f***ing hated by libertarians.

  28. October 27th, 2006 at 17:17 | #28

    That’s why conservatives are hated but lefties are f***ing hated by libertarians.

    I don’t generally find the energy to hate anybody. However the overall sentiment is correct in terms of the relativities.

  29. November 1st, 2006 at 07:57 | #29

    Definitely a distribution problem.

  30. Smiley
    November 4th, 2006 at 02:07 | #30

    Man some people are just anti-social. Don’t like this, don’t like that. Society is about compromise (a bit like marriage). If you don’t like compromise, go live by yourself somewhere. Then you can do anything you like (even walk around in your underwear).

    Though all those advantages that societies have will no longer be available to you. Damn, there goes that air-conditioning, and there goes that car. Unless of course you think that you can build your own oil refinery, or power station, or machine plant, or… well I’m sure you get the idea.

    For someone who claims to be a libertarian, you sure seem angry. You want LIBERTY, but LIBERTY has costs. The question is, are you prepared to pay the price for YOUR liberty, or is it someone else who is really paying the price?

    An angry libertarian is just a conservative. And a conservatives real motives are often just about self interest. At least most LIBERAL’s are prepared to compromise and don’t see it as a sign of weakness,… or maybe we should all just nuke each other now and get it over and done with.

  31. Smiley
    November 4th, 2006 at 03:13 | #31

    As for Matt Stone. I’m sure his humor appeals to some (mostly 12 year old pre-pubescent school boys). His main claim to fame was creating a character (Kenny) that dies in every episode. Some might call this humor, but I think laughing might be important when you classify something as humorous.

    He complained about something that Michael Moore did in his move Bowling for Columbine, yet I barely even remember Matt’s part in the movie. He complains about the egos of Hollywood movie stars, yet I get the impression that Matt’s own ego is all out of proportion. So much for being a humble libertarian.

    In short, he is not the sort of person I would be taking advice from.

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