65 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. No calls yet for a complete ban on airshow ‘stunts’. It amazes me that anything to do with flying seems to get a blank check as far as undue risk goes. Is this a form of elitism that has no equivalence in other potentially dangerous crowd behaviours eg car racing. The fact that the latest UK air show disaster was caused by a former BA pilot worries the shit out of me.

  2. It’s my impression (I don’t have the data) that while there has been a massive growth in solar installations on house roofs, but comparatively few installations on office buildings, warehouses, shopping centres etc. This seems inefficient – the office building I work in uses much more power during the day than at night, while my home uses much more power between 6pm and 10pm. Why are solar panels ending up on top of houses rather than office buildings? What policy settings can we alter to shift this mix?

  3. @Matt

    Yes, one would think shopping centers would be ideal places for quite large-scale solar PV installations. They are usually low buildings of only a few stories but having a very large floor area and thus roof area for solar installations. They have a high air-conditioning load which would be wonderfully met by solar power most of the time. Instead of creating covered car parking with sails etc. they could create parking covered with solar panels. Install plug-in points and this can re-charge your electric car while you shop. Note, Canadian outdoor car-parks often have plug-in points for keeping the engine-block warm in winter via a heater in the engine compartment. So car parks with plug-in points are no innovation.

  4. It is possible though. This guy won a “climate smart” award in 2010:

    Winner: Bruce Mitchell (Mitchell Builders) for Mitchell Eco Enterprise Park.

    Mitchell Eco Enterprise Park is Australia’s first industrial estate that is 100-per cent self-sustaining and carbon neutral.

    Tenanted by environmentally friendly businesses, the estate has achieved the prestigious six-leaf Enviro Development certification from the Urban Development Institute of Australia.

    The estate uses solar energy for street lights, water pumps, septic systems, and security systems so the estate can operate apart from the electricity grid. Rainwater is collected and treated for onsite use, and run-off from the road is captured in tanks and used for irrigation

    Warehouses face north, have energy-efficient lighting, cross ventilation, and are insulated to remove the need for artificial heating and cooling. Warehouses and fittings are recycled from other sites, and all timber is sourced from sustainable forestry plantations.

    The new purpose-designed EcoCentre promotes green business development and permanently displays the latest ‘green’ products.

  5. @pablo
    Upon seeing that crash in the UK, I thought the same thing as you: why don’t they stop doing these clearly dangerous air shows? At the very least, why are they flying so close to populated areas? The cars along the road had nothing to do with the air show, and yet were taken out by the crash. Seems utterly reckless to keep doing it.

    On a different note, I see the (very rich) treasurer Joe Hockey is spruiking tax cuts for the rich again, the sub-text being that rich people want to be leaners if they aren’t already. I don’t know why he is bothering, as rich people negatively gear the sh*t out of a good property portfolio, and seldom hit the highest marginal tax rate in any case. Perhaps this is for the benefit of the few salaried people (politicians, maybe?) who haven’t got their hands on some property to negatively gear and need some more help to get rich(er).

    Whatever happened to the notion that paying tax is something we do for the benefit of the country?

  6. This article claims that the drop in solar costs to be exponential with the following consequences

    If this holds, solar will cost less than half what new coal or natural gas electricity cost, even without factoring in the cost of air pollution and carbon pollution emitted by fossil fuel power plants.

    As crazy as this projection sounds, it’s not unique. The IEA (International Energy Agency), in one of its scenarios, projects 4 cent per kwh solar by mid century.

    Fraunhofer ISE, the German research institute, goes farther, predicting solar as cheap as 2 euro cents per kwh in the sunniest parts of Europe by 2050.

  7. @pablo There was a stunt pilot from our area that did a show further inland and drove the plane straight into the ground breaking his back in several places. He recovered.

    The reason for his accident was that he had not allowed for the decrease in air density of the new location, which has a higher altitude.

  8. Recently the PM has been outraged by “vigilante litigation” by which people can “sabotage” a mining project, by exposing it to legal scrutiny, and he sees this as a cynical misuse of the Courts which must be curtailed.

    Today he stood on (or next to) Eddie Mabo’s grave and said:

    “It’s a very moving place to be, because this was a warrior, not simply a strong man physically, but a strong man culturally and spiritually, who decided that he would take on the legal establishment,” the prime minister said after the visit.

    “He would take on the previously settled view of Australian law, and good on him for having a go, and ultimately good on our system for being able to accommodate Eddie Mabo and the other plaintiffs’ cry for justice.”

    And he wonders why nobody takes him seriously.

  9. Hypothesis: the royal commissioner can’t resign until they find a replacement, and noone’s willing to take the job

    [cf the people awarded the queen’s birthday knighthoods this year.]

  10. @Matt
    Large users of electricity can do astonishingly good deals with providers. For instance, the irrigation trust providing water to many SA districts pays around 12c/kWh peak and 7c/kWh off peak. I imagine large shopping centres and warehouses would be paying similar rates. What incentive do they have to install rooftop solar? One only has to perceive the absurdity of door-less refrigeration in supermarkets to understand that they have little economic incentive to do better.

  11. Anna Bligh to be questioned on privatisation on Q and A tonight

    Further to my post of August 24th, 2015 at 10:10, above:

    A video of my question to former Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has been posted to the ABC Q and A site. The video is Question on privatisation for Anna Bligh. The text of the question is:

    This is a question for former Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh. In 2009 I ran in the Queensland elections as a candidate against the privatisation of state assets. I would have run again on this issue in 2012 but for a near fatal car accident in 2010. On page 186 of your recently published memoir, Through the Wall, you blame the campaign by affiliated trade unions against privatisation and not yourself for the Queensland Labor Party’s devastating defeat at the 2012 state elections. Why didn’t you ask the Queensland public at the March 2009 elections, as I had formally asked you to do in February 2009, whether or not they wanted even more of their assets privatised? Or, do you think, as, for example, John Howard, Paul Keating, and Peter Beattie evidently believed, that the owners of public assets had no right to say whether or not their assets were flogged off? Assets sold off included the Port of Brisbane, the coal carrying division of Queensland Rail, and the Abbott Point coal loader.

    ABC television’s Q and A is scheduled to start at 9:36PM right after Media Watch.

  12. Salient Green, I noticed larger Woolworth stores on the North Shore in Sydney now have doors on refrigeration.

  13. That is very pleasing to hear Ernestine. It’s no trouble to shop with doors on freezers, we open a refrigerator door at home so it’s just common sense really. It would also be more comfortable for shoppers as, summer or winter it gets damned cold around those fridges.

  14. I have to laugh at Western analysis of the Chines stock market collapse.

    “The real casualty over the summer is the government’s credibility. When you look at the stock market intervention, when you look at the FX botch as I would call it a couple of weeks ago, and then you look at the Tianjin blasts, you see a government that is most certainly not in control. You look at this and it sends a very poor picture about China’s competency at the leadership level. Who else is responsible here? Xi Jinping seems invisible.”

    This criticism is fine in itself but is there some implicit assumption that Western governments know what they are doing? Such an assumption does not stack up when we look at the GFC mess, the Euro-Greek mess. Basically, the Western (or Triad) powers have no more idea than China about what’s going on now. They are all equally clueless.

  15. Footnote to above.

    One pundit I read wrote of a currency war being possible now, initiated by China’s devaluation;

    “In the coming days, we are likely to see even more emerging markets devalue their currencies in a global “race to the bottom”. But this “race to the bottom” presents a great danger to financial markets. As I have written about previously, there are 74 trillion dollars in derivatives globally that are tied to the value of currencies. As foreign exchange rates start flying around all over the place, there are going to be financial institutions out there that are going to be losing obscene amounts of money.” – ETF News.

  16. Even though large businesses pay much less for electricity than households, rooftop solar is now so cheap it can make economic sense even for businesses that only pay about 12 cents a kilowatt-hour during the day. Large rooftop installations are currently being done for under $1.80 a watt, which comes to around $1 a watt with STCs. So with a 9% discount rate that the solar electricity produced will cost roughly 9 cents a kilowatt-hour. Of course, electricity distributers are attempting to raise fixed costs and lower the marginal cost of electricity for businesses precisely to prevent solar power being installed. And so I think we may have to ban supply charges. They have never been to Australia’s advantage. And they disadvantage the disadvantaged the most while advantaging the rich. Demand charges could still apply, provided they are sensible and actually do what they are supposed to do, which is reduce peak demand on the grid.

  17. @Val

    It must be painful for him also. Living with stress and a lap band is not easy.

    I know this from the experiences of two people I know who had the surgery done and then had it removed.

    I can’t imagine why he chooses to continue to expose himself and his lack of ability to the people the way he does; he couldn’t possibly imagine the contempt in which many of my neighbours the people who voted for him and his party, speak of him now.

    Hockey and the other private school boys must really think these regional right wing voters are stupid and lazy or does he think of them at all except as a block of voters to be used?

    There are so many jokes I hear about his fatuous statements about poor people. The ‘just get a good jobs to buy a house’ went down well with the ex-small farmers who are now doing casual work that is seasonally available at the Coles and Woolies owned and/or managed farms.

    I think the Halal thing and the over blown fears of politically correctness taking away their way of life is all that they have now, to cling to as identity markers and reasons to hate the left.

  18. Have others been alarmed by the ramping up of adoration of the SAS? We have had for years the silly media practice of blurring SAS faces for “security” despite having had a former SAS head as GG and now a Liberal Party candidate whose face is not blurred. Tony Abbott seemed to claim being an SAS fighter was great preparation for being an MP. I’m still waiting for a journalist to ask how. If MsP need to raid some family house at night on a “kill/capture’ raid and be prepared to kill anyone who gets in the way then, sure, seems like the right stuff. SAS folks in Afghanistan are essentially death squads operating against insurgents living amongst the local population. Little attention, if any, is given to civilian casualties .I also noted how journalists bought the “I was in a helicopter while the hands were cut off so I’m not legally responsible” line from the Liberal fighter for Australia. Can’t recall the detail but I’m sure at least 1 high-ranking Japanese officer was hanged after WW11 for crimes committed by troops under his command despite him not being present. Anyway, Neil James said it was ‘justified’ to cut hands off so that’s all we need to know. Mutilating corpses is only wrong if it’s not necessary. We are paying a big price for Howard’s move into casual killing as a glorification of war creeps into our life. Death cult indeed.

  19. Hockey has just declared that the US now has “full employment”. I looked up the latest US economic indicators and found that in July the US unemployment rate was 5.3% – which, it should be noted, is higher than the Australian unemployment rate ever was under the Whitlam government.

    Hockey’s redefinition of full employment should be remembered the next time he trots out some trope about “job snobs” or “lifters and leaners”.

  20. Joe Hockey is absurd with his bleating about bracket creep. Any government can deal with bracket creep very simply if it actually wants to. It can simply index the tax brackets for inflation.

    Hockey is all talk and no action in every sense, just like Abbott’s entire government. Talk about policy paralysis… though to have that you have to have a policy in the first place. It’s more like a policy vacuum on the economic front.

  21. @Paul Norton

    Of course the US has full employment. Blacks and poor white trash are not people so they don’t count. (Sarcasm Warning: That was sarcasm not my literal viewpoint.)

  22. @Paul Norton
    The US may well have full employment (for what I would consider to be a rather idiosyncratic definition of “full”), but a lot of those fully-employed people need food stamps to survive.

    If I were Eleventy, I wouldn’t be holding that up as a shining example.

  23. Remember the “Anzac Day Terrrrr Plot” which was “foiled” because of our new whiz-bang removal of rights laws?

    The evil-doer (alleged) was charged with the Kafkaesque offence:

    conspiring to plan or prepare for a terror attack

    A charge which is almost impossible to defend. Well, after keeping the kid locked up in solitary in maximum security for 4 months (because he was so dangerous, remember), today the CDPP withdrew the charges. He will plead guilty to some minor weapons charges.

    Neat trick. If you want to lock someone up for a while but can’t convict them off a crime you just whip out your “conspiring to plan” charge.

    Everyone feeling a lot safer now that they have no rights?

  24. By the way, those laws were – as usual – passed thanks to the ALP. So as they are dragging you away kicking and screaming, remember who sold out your rights.

  25. @Megan
    Once again, there is a case which can be made that the arrest on terror charges was for show; the time has passed, and now we see they only had a legitimate beef that the guy had purchased some knuckledusters and knife online, something I’d wager a number of young Australians (there are several million of them, so a few thousand may have misbehaved) have done. The thrill of possessing the weapon is not the same as actually intending to use it. People do collect weapons with no intention of using them, just as people collect all sorts of bizarre stuff. Whether this joker intended to use the weapons or not, only he knows—and he ain’t tellin’.

  26. WA’s Treasurer, a rightwing libertarian and alumnus of the IPA, and who does not have the slightest shade of green except when he is seasick, is now saying that the only way to reduce electricity prices is to shut down coal and gas fired power stations and encourage the growth of solar energy: http :// www .abc. net. au /news/2015-08-26/mike-nahan-tips-solar-power-to-take-over-wa-power-generation/6727558 . Is reality starting to sink in?

  27. If you’re out and about in Melbourne this weekend make sure your affairs are in order – just in case some people wearing strange uniforms detain you and start asking intrusive questions and politely ask “Papers, please”.

    If you are of the brown persuasion I would recommend giving the place a wide berth:

    28-08-2015 –
    This weekend Australian Border Force (ABF) officers will for the first time join forces with a diverse team of transport and enforcement agencies to target crime in the Melbourne Central Business District (CBD) as part of Operation Fortitude.

    Tonight and tomorrow evening (Friday 28 and Saturday 29 August 2015) Metro Trains, Yarra Trams, the Sheriff’s Office, Taxi Services Commission and the ABF will join Victoria Police as part of the inter-agency operation.

    With a particular focus on people travelling to, from and around the CBD, the group of agencies will work together to support the best interests of Melbournians, targeting everything from anti-social behaviour to outstanding warrants.

    ABF Regional Commander Victoria and Tasmania, Don Smith, is proud the ABF will be participating in the operation.

    “While the ABF regularly conducts a range of compliance field-work, this is the first time we’ve been involved in an inter-agency operation of this nature and we’re very proud be able to support each of our organisations to achieve our common mission of promoting a secure and cohesive society here in Melbourne.”

    “ABF officers will be positioned at various locations around the CBD speaking with any individual we cross paths with,” Mr Smith said.

    “You need to be aware of the conditions of your visa; if you commit visa fraud you should know it’s only a matter of time before you’re caught out.”

    The inter-agency outfit will continue to work together on an ongoing basis to target crime in and around the Melbourne CBD to make the city a safer place for everyone.

    I’m banned from using the ‘f’ word, but let’s just say “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.”

  28. @Tim Macknay

    I’m happy to see that there is a decent sized crowd protesting the accompanying “media event” at Flinder’s Street Station – you can see some pictures at #BorderFarce on twitter.

    This is farcism!

  29. @Julie Thomas

    Don’t be silly! These laws are for “us” not “them”.

    Remember, that angry short guy who ran Germany another time we saw this type of thing was actually Austrian.

  30. @Megan

    lol just reading the comments on Scott Ludlums fb share and someone has asked ‘isn’t Tony missing a moustache’.

    This is the latest right wing definition of what it means to be Australian according to this meme on my fb page that one of my neighbour ‘friends’ shared. It looks like an official road sign and says;

    “You are now entering Australia

    We eat pork, we have a religion, we have laws, our citizens have arms.

    Don’t like it? Turn back now. Otherwise have a good day.”

    I usually ignore them and/or post something informative about Islam and immigration etc but this morning I just had to respond and asked;

    “What about me? Do I have to leave? I don’t eat pork, don’t have a religion and I don’t obey all our laws – went through a red light the other day – still had a bit of green in it though – and I don’t have guns if arms are guns.”

    The ensuing conversation with some farmer who took offence and of course ate pork was christian has guns and claimed to obey the law was pretty standard. I did question his claim that he always obeyed our laws and he didn’t take that one any further.

    But apparently I was supposed to notice that this anti-muslim message does not mention muslims and so it is politically correct and how dare I assume that it does apply to muslims; it’s just a polite note to all people and still he refuses to say I have to leave the country and then he asks do I own a horse stud.

    I’m thinking that the horse studders – and there are lots of them popping up on the disused dairy farms – must be green voters. But MacFarlane who’s father was a scientist you know will get back in. Sigh.

    It is a good thing that the views and the weather and the other things about living here make up for these people.

  31. The Border Force display of, well, force in the Melbourne CBD has now been cancelled – apparently it occurred to somebody that it might be sending the wrong kind of message, or something: http :// www. abc. net. au/news/2015-08-28/operation-fortitude-cancelled/6733008

    Farcical. 🙂

  32. Yes Tim,

    Just saw on Guardian: “Plan to flood city with officers for random checks on visas prompts uproar and forces police to cancel media conference, then entire operation.”

    People power.

    I must say, I am astonished. I really thought they would relish the chance to prove to us that they run everything and “we” can just cop it. Amazing.

    P.S. Good old ALP Richard Marles has come out – not to criticise this bizarre exercise in farcism – and said it should have been better organised. Fool.

  33. Badder Farce!

    I used to think the correct spelling was “fascism” but I was wrong: it is “farcism”. One little letter makes all the difference (figuratively and literally).

    I think freedom from random “show us yer papers” demands by paramilitaries should be high on the list of our ineffable bill of rights for this country. This is so ridiculous it makes my head spin and the cat frantic. Gordon Bennett!

  34. I’m genuinely baffled. What did they think was going to happen? Who, in the entire hierarchy of the federal government and Victoria Police, thought Melbournians would cheer a public shakedown of every non-white person in the CBD?

    Can it really be the case that the people making these decisions are thoroughly removed from public sentiment? Are they just getting their news from Stormfront or something?

  35. @Sancho

    It’s worth noting that the head of the Black-Shirt wearing “Border Force” – Roman Quaedvlieg – was a Qld Copper from 1985 to 2000.

    It’s also worth noting that the Minister for these Black-Shirt wearing farcists is Peter Dutton – Qld Copper 1990 to 1999.

    This stuff is farcical but it isn’t at all funny. The LNP government we just chucked out took away everyone’s remaining rights (the ALP voted in favour of that) and we’re exporting it to the rest of Australia.

    It is heartening to see the mass rejection of this ridiculous “Operation Fortitude”.

  36. I’m surprised at my own surprise. Incompetence and mendacity we’ve come to expect from this government, and I fully anticipated some passive-aggressive, risk-averse dog whistling, but this sort of ambitious, orchestrated political self-harm is beyond even my most pessimistic dreams.

    So, was cabinet convinced that they’d created an atmosphere where that sort of initiative would be welcome? It’s like an idea that arrived in a time machine from the hippie-punching sixties.

  37. @Sancho

    “..this government..” – I think it is extremely important to note that the ALP “opposition” has only criticised this episode for the way the government handled the announcement.

    Not the random racial profiling of people to check their papers by quasi militias wearing black shirts. No, just the way the PR was handled.

    If the ALP wanted to score a political free-kick from this, it is just sitting there for the taking…. but they don’t want to. Not because they have some decorum but because they fundamentally agree with and support this type of anti-rights action.

    This is terrifying.

  38. @Megan

    I don’t have any papers. Wouldn’t that be standard for Australians? I have a driver’s licence which I carry around with me only when driving a car. I have an Australian Passport which I never carry around in Australia. When I go jogging (well more walking than jogging) I carry nothing but a door-key tied in handkerchief (so if it pops out of my pocket I can find it). I wear tatty old exercise clothes, joggers stained from creek crossings and mostly have a three day growth of beard. I assume this makes me a money-less vagrant without papers. I’d better watch out, I might get renditioned to the Pacific Gulag.

    What are “papers” by the way? Has Australia introduced ID papers, movement papers, work papers etc.? Did I miss it?

  39. Can it really be the case that the people making these decisions are thoroughly removed from public sentiment? Are they just getting their news from Stormfront or something?

    Empathy problems.

    “Empathy” has two aspects:
    1. Understanding what other people are thinking, that they don’t think the same as you, and
    2. Caring about it [wanting to reduce suffering, &c].

    By “empathy problems” I mean 1. here: problems with understanding what other people are thinking. It’s important to make this distinction: I mean, you can be the loveliest best-meaning guy filled with love for your fellow human creatures and without a malicious bone in your body, but still have a greater-than-normal difficulty in appreciating that different people are in fact different and not like you, not sharing your motivations and desires.

    This comes up in this context because making plans that get you the result you’re after requires allowing for second-order effects: people have agency, and for your plans to work they have to exercise their agency in a way you’ve allowed for. But to know what to allow for you have to know the sorts of ways that people will react, how different people might think and how — and that — it differs from how you think; if you’ve got an empathy impairment you’ll be prone to making plans that rely on other people responding to your actions in an unrealistic way. Your plans will encounter opposition that you didn’t predict, that you’d have had greater-than-normal difficulty in predicting, and didn’t allow for.

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