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Monday Message Board

February 21st, 2011

It’s time again for the Monday Message Board to resume. Post comments on any topic. As usual, civilised discussion and no coarse language. Lengthy side discussions to the sandpit, please.

BTW, apologies again for slow response time and 503 errors if you are getting them. I’m looking at shifting to an alternative hosting service.

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  1. Sam
    February 21st, 2011 at 18:44 | #1

    Alan, you haven’t replied to my comment here.
    http://johnquiggin.com/index.php/archives/2011/02/05/first-sandpit-for-2011/#comments

    I thought that you wanted to argue about this some more?

  2. Chris Warren
    February 21st, 2011 at 20:12 | #2

    I suppose that anyone who sat through SBS Sunday “Profits and Disaster” documentary would now be even more convinced that nuclear power and capitalism do not mix.

    program available at: SBS PopUP full program

    All the assurances from our capos were there when needed for the sake of publicity, but none of the reality. All in a search for super-profits.

  3. Donald Oats
    February 21st, 2011 at 20:55 | #3

    Monday nite stoopid’s report:

    In the US of A, some stoopids decided that defunding the IPCC is a great idea. Couple this with a Republican push to pass a bill in Montana effectively stating that climate change is not caused by humans (in even the slightest signficant way, I presume), and we have two out of three for a trifecta of stoopidity.

    Sheesh!

    Pa: I just hope that I’ve had a “Sokal” moment and been sucked in by a replica of stoopid. Nup. This stuff is so bad it should be filed under “alternative reality”.

  4. February 21st, 2011 at 21:27 | #4

    A post from my blog:
    The Kabul Weekly will Close Shortly
    Perhaps I need more practice in composing riveting titles let alone in choosing more riveting subject matter. Still, the only truly independent newspaper in Afghanistan can’t afford to continue printing, even in a country awash with cash for bribes. Because it won’t accept them.
    The paper has not been short of offers. But in every case the offer came with an expectation that they would slant the news in favour of what ever group the donor was involved with. “We have never accepted editorial instructions from any agency, group or entity.” And so it will close.
    But before it does, there is time for one last quote:
    “….. one issue won’t change. Afghans in power cannot get enough of power. Their is no limit to what they will do to stay in power. This seems to apply to educated people, common people, jihadi commanders and technocrat returnees from the West.”

  5. Donald Oats
    February 21st, 2011 at 22:03 | #5

    Apologies for the length of this post. Hopefully it meets a minimal standard of coherence…

    Another day, another bunch o’ stoopid on climate change and Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW). Scientists who can act need to act, more and more so.

    Perhaps more organised individual email “bombs” to local and federal members of government, and of the opposition. Perhaps there is a need for scientists as a group to organise protests, yes actual in-the-street-and-marching protests, in which a demand, not a plea or please consider, a demand to take seriously the enormity of the threat and the clear and present danger it presents. Funders of campaigns are here today, gone tomorrow, and back again when it suits them and only them. Remind the parties of this. Largely benign global environment is principally a matter of the proverbial lucky break, one called the Holocene; we might never get another one when we finish messing this world environment up.

    Scientists who are willing and able must be up for international local action, by which I mean they are up for flying to another country just to do a local stump-talk for some farmers; to present petitions to other nation’s governments; to be critical of other nations and of one’s own in the same or separate breath; to instil a sense of familial concern about the fate of one’s own living children, for it is their time that is affected by this turn of events. Should our children be made to regret their decision to have children of their own, because of our pathetic stubborness – old man’s intransigence – to admit to a mistake? It is no longer just enough to politely turn up on national TV and field some stupidly incendiary questions, yet another bunch of irrelevant questions. There is no control where someone else edits the exchanges. Being out there and in public might be the best bet, but it needs some level of organisation that transcends just the various associations of scientists of the major fields.

    High Definition Computer Graphics with the full surround sound experience compressing a 10 million year extinction event from deep past into a 100 year, a 50 year experience confronting humanity NOW! might grab the attention of at least a few people. It might impress upon them just how vastly different the respective rates of climate change (natural then, artifically increased in current times) actually are. What if something like that was paid for TV, or the movie theatre, as well as released (eventually) on utube? Then chuck up some equivalent videos that demonstrate how it is possible, but not guaranteed (because we are beyond that point now!), to slow things down and perhaps eventually partially reverse the GHG releases from human activity. The balance between bleak and reasonably optimistic (if action is taken urgently) is too hard for amateurs to attain; best to get professional short film producers in, which means this is too costly for a couple of scientists to slap together, the most excellent ground-breaking efforts in the past not-withstanding.

    When in town for a conference in another country, why not spend an extra day or two on the road, talking with locals in the pub, or the mall, the snow, the drought, the heat or the cold? Just add that extra day and a friendly chat with someone the other side of your world, whoever they may be. If you have a prop or two for making a talk memorable then even better. If you are in a university then there is surely a lab monkey, technician, or fellow scientist willing to help make some props, whether physical or 3D or 2D graphical model of something or rather. Not many people outside of scientists appreciate the difference a small temperature change can make to evaporation – why not a demonstration as a prop? Come on, someone, get it out there and away from just the Web! The Web is not where farmers/business owners/workers live their working lives, as a rule. It is actually rare in comparative terms.

    It is frustrating being rendered (metaphorically) impotent by possessing only a single vote and not a massive block of votes. Perhaps the Australian GetUp! approach may make some headway; perhaps scientists who are presidents of various bodies could consider talking with GetUp! staff about how they may create bigger impact messages, without impairing the message through inflammatory or otherwise loaded words used carelessly. Remember the “trick” used in a CRU email? Any mathematician would have seen that dozens of times in maths articles and books and thought nothing of it, but in the world of the common person it carries a severe negative connotation of something sneaky and underhanded. There are experts for crafting scripts for the public, experts who may catch such language and ensure it is reflective of the common person’s usage – I am the common person, when I’m not in an office somewhere. So are you. So: it needs a professional spit and polish to keep the elements of a long term campaign on track. Outside my league entirely!

    This is a call to arms as it were, for those who can.

  6. Alan
    February 21st, 2011 at 22:12 | #6

    @sam

    You are just not raising interesting enough points, and you are making large assumptions about ‘arab muslim democracy’. The estimated Muslim Brotherhood vote is around 20 to 25%, about the same as the religious right in the US. Strangely enough the US and Egyptian religious rights have almost identical policies except on Israel. Religion is not hardcoded into the DNA of Egyptians any more than it is is hardcoded into the genes of North Americans.

    The question is not whether apostasy outweighs democracy. The question is whether religious constituencies of about the same size in the US and Egypt mean that the US must be a democracy and Egypt must not. The particular issues you raise are not a side issue, but progress on them is for the Egyptian people not blog commenters on the other side of the world. I believe progress is a whole lot more likely under democracy than otherwise. The record is that tyranny is not particularly good at advancing human rights, but you may have a different opinion.

  7. Donald Oats
    February 21st, 2011 at 22:55 | #7

    And…while I was writing this, Deltoid picks up potholer54′s most excellent take-down of Monckton. I cannot emphasise enough how climate scientists should view these videos of Monckton himself and then some of the take-downs, to really viscerally feel the danger these blokes (mainly blokes) pose because they use weasel words and the like to beat their opponents. Monckton has toured the Australian bush giving stump-talks, bankrolled by a few climate deniers and a couple of sceptics.

    I stop now.

  8. Chris Warren
    February 22nd, 2011 at 10:55 | #8

    @Donald Oats

    Unfortunately, once you look into the real nature of global warming which goes right back into time, the cause appears not specific to fossil fuels.

    Climate change is due to an artificial greenhouse effect, that started with deforestation and increased agriculture and early forms of industrialisation based initially on wood and charcoal.

    The temperature change we see today was caused by increased CO2 that can be imputed from the record of deforestation going back to AD 900 [see Willaims, M "Deforesting the earth: from prehistory to global crisis" p124-125]

    When wood was exhausted coal mining expanded, viz;

    England – coal

    1551-1560 …. 210 Kiloton
    1681-1690 …. 2.9 Megaton
    1781-1790 …. 10.3 Megaton

    This could mean it is too late and the earth WILL be uninhabitable in (possibly) the next dozen generations.

    The real problem is that if you have one preferable standard of living in one part of the world, the rest of the world has the same right to enjoy it as well.

    I see no escape from this dilemma, and there is no reason why life should exist on earth for ever.

    A carbon price will not matter a toss. It is just a swan-song for civilisation. Nuclear power is no solution because it does not remove the current level of CO2.

    While there may be technical solutions to global catastrophe our economists and capitalists will block any roll-out of necessary initiatives.

    The issue is that the globe needs to reduce the current concentration of CO2 and methane, not pretend anything useful is being done by twaddle about restricting carbon emissions.

    Only unacceptable population controls and unimaginable massive reforestation can possibly undo 5 centuries of global warming.

  9. Chris Warren
    February 22nd, 2011 at 11:27 | #9

    England coal – source:

    Here

  10. Donald Oats
    February 23rd, 2011 at 06:51 | #10

    The latest attack and intimidation event against esteemed climate scientists:
    E & E threatens libel suit against authors of RealClimate website.

    I refer to my previous comments in this Monday Messageboard.

  11. Sam
    February 23rd, 2011 at 14:12 | #11

    @Alan
    I’m getting tired of this. You are unnecessarily combative, you have consistently misrepresented me, ignored my very careful caveats, and imputed positions to me that I do not hold. You derail discussion to bring up old disputes in one thread, and then when I carefully and politely respond to you in the sandpit, you ignore me. This sir, is not a way to hold an honest debate, and I have no desire for a dishonest one. If you think that I don’t raise “interesting enough points” then I invite you to stop accosting me in the threads.

    By saying that progress on moral questions is a matter for the Egyptian people alone, you are engaging in the very same moral relativism you earlier condemned. I have just as much right to be concerned about atrocities as anyone in the middle east.

    Progress may indeed be more likely under a democracy than a dictatorship, I have made that point myself previously. I also agree that rightwing christians in the USA and the Vatican have dangerous views. Celebrationist millennialism and totalitarian puritanism is dangerous anywhere. All objective polling suggests however, that these problems are far more severe in the Middle East than the West. Specific questions about the popularity of the Muslim Brotherhood have a lot to do with the particulars of that party. The thing to look at is broader social questions, for example “should we stone adulterers?” (Egypt’s answer: 75% yes). Americans do not say this. Numbers matter here. Have you even read the Pew polling data?

  12. jquiggin
    February 23rd, 2011 at 17:08 | #12

    Sam and Alan please calm down. Probably best just to ignore each other for a while

  13. February 23rd, 2011 at 20:15 | #13

    Given the whole “OzFail” series, the profession of our gracious host, climate change, neo-whatever-it-is and the key role globalised capitalism plays in all this:

    http://medialens.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=604:comment-is-free-but-freedom-is-slavery-an-exchange-with-the-guardians-economics-editor&catid=24:alerts-2011&Itemid=68

    This piece is a very good read.

    The corporate media is not just benign but a crucial component ensuring our doom.

    Stopping Murdoch may seem like a small step, but it is much easier and better than any alternative.

  14. Sam
    February 23rd, 2011 at 21:33 | #14

    @jquiggin
    Happy to oblige JQ.

  15. Jim Birch
    February 24th, 2011 at 12:52 | #15

    A blogger reports a paper on blog credibility and anonymity which suggests that credibility is earned slowly and dissipated quickly.
    http://colinschultz.wordpress.com/2011/02/23/the-effect-of-pseudonymity-on-blogger-credibility/

  16. Christopher Dobbie
    February 25th, 2011 at 00:23 | #16

    I just had the pleasure of watching the documentary ‘The Inside Job’ and it got me thinking about how much the Queensland State Government lost by their exposure to the financial products proffered by Wall street after the 2008 crash.

    Anyone know the answer?

  17. nowun 2
    February 25th, 2011 at 09:48 | #17

    A Carbon Tax is;

    A tax on everything you buy that uses energy and transport in its production.

    Transport costs are going to go up
    Power bills are going to go up
    Milk is going to go up
    Bread is going to go up
    All groceries are going to go up
    Bus fares are going to go up
    The cost of living is going to go up.
    Everything is going to go up price!

    New taxes are inflationary
    Inflation discriminates against the poor as a greater proportion of their income is spent on essential items (that will go up in price under a carbon tax)

    If Australia cut carbon emissions by 100%, it would still not stop the accumulation carbon in the atmosphere.

    A new carbon tax will have absolutely no effect on climate whatsoever, but it will transfer dollars in your pocket to someone else.

  18. Jim Birch
    February 25th, 2011 at 11:56 | #18

    @nowun 2
    Correct, correct, possible, possible, wrong, perhaps, right, wrong, it depends, it depends, no one ever said that, wrong, maybe maybe not – it depends.

  19. jquiggin
    February 25th, 2011 at 15:04 | #19

    I fear that nowun 2 is a sockpuppet for Tony G – certainly not an improvement. So, nowun, lift your game or take your comments elsewhere please.

  20. Donald Oats
    February 25th, 2011 at 15:20 | #20

    And incomes are going up up up. Which means taxes are going up OMG the world fell over!
    Sheesh! We need a better quality of suxpuppet.

  21. Myles
    February 25th, 2011 at 16:29 | #21

    Looks like Pentagon resorted to national champions protectionism, and awarded the tanker contract to Boeing.

    JQ, care to do a post on this?

  22. Tony G
    February 25th, 2011 at 22:34 | #22

    Shorter TG: I’m a fool as well as a sockpuppeteer

Comments are closed.