Monday Message Board

Back again with another Monday Message Board.

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page

35 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. The third season of the Crown is a disappointment. Helena Bonham Carter is woefully miscast as Princess Margaret and Charles Dance’s portrayal of Dickie Mountbatten as a mid-century Tywin Lanchester is unintentionally comical.

  2. Looks like Labour is going to get the mother of all floggings in the UK election. It takes a special political genius to turn the Tories in their present state (and Boris Johnson, FMD) into big winners, but Corbyn and team appear like they’ve pulled it off.

  3. A small group of us were in the initial negotiations with a land owner in north west NSW to utilise his property for a certain activity for a day or 2. He was open to the idea and arrangements were progressing until we recently found out the family have abandoned the property. There hasn’t been any water for 2 years and they’ve been relying on bottled water for drinking. No tap or running water for 2 years – no showers for 2 years. Nothing in the tanks for 2 years. 3rd generation farmers. Proud hardworking Australians who would endure anything to keep fighting, but when there’s no alternative [sigh].
    This really brought home to me how tough some are doing it with this drought. Heartbreaking.

  4. JQ, seems like as a side project or proof of concept to “Epistemically Feasible Choice project”, you may enter this competition.

    Crowdsource was I thought, just tuning algorithms for image and locality (on users time) , but now it is spreading to “predictive algorithms for different subjective aspects of question-answering.”. So defining ” am I socialist / democratic” or ” am I a capitalist” or “what effect will gw have on me” will be answered by – el goog – who are going to get datasets with bias as per previously “wierd”, will be trained now to answer some of the most fundamental questions a human may ask – trained by another biased set.

    N Gruen – any comment?

    Why don’t we leave some humans in the loop instead of ” future intelligent Q&A systems will get built, hopefully contributing to them becoming more human-like”.

    “In this competition, you’re challenged to use a dataset provided by CrowdSource, a team at Google Research to build predictive algorithms for different subjective aspects of question-answering. Results from this competition will inform the way future intelligent Q&A systems will get built, hopefully contributing to them becoming more human-like.”

    Prizes: $25,000 Total prize pool

    “Epistemically Feasible Choice project to consider how to make choices in situations where standard decision theoretic problems may fail, either because of unforeseeable surprises or because choices will lead to transformative experiences that change our valuation of outcomes in ways we cannot anticipate.”

  5. Troy Prideaux yes, heartbreaking is the word.

    I watched Landline yesterday re sheep / stone fruit / cattle (in good times) farmer having to cease watering fruit trees and strip fruit in the hope some will survive.

    But he has been feeding sheep cotton seed for 2yrs as no feed left, and every 2 days his daughter is cutting down trees for fodder. Desertification / collapse of environment looming and recovery slowed?

    When the feedback contains humans cutting trees for sheep, feeding them seed for 2yrs, I think the land use needs to be looked at and standards applied. I agree the owner of this property has probably fed me via my money, and is a “Proud hardworking Australians who would endure anything to keep fighting, but when there’s no alternative”.

    He and his family have until early 2020 as “no bank manager will lend”.

    Mr Pratt has certainly had “Five seasons of disaster, including hail, black frost and now an unrelenting drought, are financially and psychologically crippling some fruit growers.

    “It’s about probably six hours a day feeding cotton seed and about six hours plus cutting timber,” Mr Pratt said.

    The famous quote goes;
    “Canada, the most affluent of countries, operates on a depletion economy which leaves destruction in its wake. Your people are driven by a terrible sense of deficiency. When the last tree is cut, the last fish is caught, and the last river is polluted; when to breathe the air is sickening, you will realize, too late, that wealth is not in bank accounts and that you can’t eat money.”

  6. Even the The Guardian occasionally beats up on Jeremy Corbyn. It looks like UK Labour will be reduced to a rump by Boris’ Conservatives. The antisemitic scandals are really weird but there seems ti be no end to them.

    Corbyn’s kiss’n’cuddle approach to Islamo-fascists is in stark contrast to his visceral hatred of those “damned Jew Zionists” but that species of oddballery seems to be par for the course on the British hard left.

  7. The whining of these “World Scientists” (as opposed to competent scientists) has no scientific value whatsoever. And they aren’t talking about greening the deserts, or building deep black soil. So they are as useless as tits on a bull. They cannot even get their own science right, let alone give anyone any practical advice as to public strategy.

  8. Birdy, you and your bizarre conspiracy theories have absolutely no cred in this argument. David Suzuki lends support to the alliance and that’s good enough for me.

  9. Comments about Corbyn remind me nothing so much as what we heard last election. sometimes agenda driven, sometimes not and sometimes more akin to what we might call herding responses.

    We shall see whether there’s a comperable surprise at the end of the day.

  10. “Birdy, you and your bizarre conspiracy theories have absolutely no cred in this argument. ”

    No thats just a logic fail on your part. An aversion to conspiracy is a mental disorder or just professional diplomacy. Your credibility is shot because you show this mental disorder even though you are here anonymously. I should probably conceal my superior understanding, given that I need a job, but thats neither here nor there.

    Unless of course you have your explanation for building seven? No you don’t have an non-conspiracy explanation for 9/11 and your Arab blood libel cannot explain building 7. The facts are very clear for the global warming fraud. The figures are rigged. The known unrigged figures cannot be used to make the case. The deserts and soil loss are the real problem. A very serious problem too. Fixing the deserts and building the soil solves all climate problems, real or imagined.

  11. Point of Clarification:
    If there is anyone who reads comments here that thinks like I do you may have already figured this out.
    If things progress to such a point that Australians can manage to arrest all US military personnel in Australia or at least deport them along with all US government personnel, except for maybe 3 or 4 consular officials to replace the lost or stolen passports of any US citizens who may be living in Austalia,

    it has never been my contention that Austalia should then just replace the Americans with Chinese.
    No my contention is that Australians should work with Kiwis and Indonesians and Malaysians, and Thais, and Burmese (?), and Cambodians, and Laoatians, and Vietnamese, and Fillipinos, to try to create a just sustainable society. Ok it is true that it this point such an attempt to create a sustainable just society almost certianly bound to fail because an attempt to do so was started to late.

    BUT IT SHOULD BE OBVIOUS, that if such an attempt is actually made, the region of the world that most of you live in will be the most interesting part of the planet to die on in the fourth decade of the 21st century.

    The readers of this site can not count of treditional ways of politcs to achieve anything. Most leftist politcal activisits are for the most part completely tactically incompetent. What have they achieved in the past 60 years?

    Victory can be achieved by to two groups of people comming together. Leftists who have been radicalized meeting up with people from the right who have moved so far to the right that they have done a complete circle and ended up on the far left side of the political spectrum, because they have realized that eco socialism is really what true conservatism leads to.

    It can not be assumed that such a meeting of minds between radicalized leftists and radicalized former rightists has ever occured. The evidence that it has is extremely speculative. But if such a thing has occured chances are that you will not find such a movement if you looked for it. Such a movement will find you if you are useful to it.

    Of course victory for an eco socialist movement will not be glorious victory for humanity by any means. Humanity is about to be swamped by a climate tidal wave. Victory could mean achievng nothing more than holding those who decieved humanity accountable for their crimes. We might get a decade or two to dance on their graves. Two if we work hard at taking emergency measures such as destroying automobiles, tanks, aircraft carriers, most aircraft, and transform our agricultural practices, greening the world’s deserts, and transforming our energy grid.

    It will be a DUTY for Australians to green their desert. AND once they do to accept huge numbers of Indonesians, Vietnamese, and Fillipinos who will be displaced by climate change. New Zealnd can accept people from the pacific atolls. And no cheating by just accepting those with PHDs or masters degrees. But it would not be cheating to limit immigrants by age to place a priority on saving children from low income families in the targeted countries (perhaps giving preferential treatment to those between the ages of 12-15). And it would also not be cheating by saying that these accepted climate refugees can not bring additional family members to Australia because the country will still have a carrying capacity and allowing a new wave of immigrants come in in addition to the targeted group could cause that capacity to be exceeded. A lot more could of course be written on this subject.

  12. i chose 12-15 years because it is an in between age. If Australians are going to accept large numbers of children due to a collapse of the carrying capacity of the countries effected I suspect that children of such an age will not as traumatized by being seperated from their families as younger children. But children of this age are still flexible intellectually.
    Australians due have a right to try to indoctrinate those children that they are accepting in to their society to up hold values that Austraians deem important. But this determination of core values is not a one way street. As these immigrant children reach adulthood they have every right to try to change Australian values to fit their understanding of what a good life is.
    Even though humans will likely be losing the race to keep food production ahead of population growth by the fourth decade of the 21st century, if not the 3rd decade, I imagine the world will have no problem in providing a cell phone for every person over the age of 2.
    This will allow the child refugees that have been allowed in to Australia the ability to keep in touch with their biological parents and older or younger siblings via skype and watch as each week or month their faces and limbs grow gaunter and guanter until they look like concentration camp victims. Then if anyone at all answers the phone calls of the children refugees to their biological families it will be strangers or perhaps former neighbors who are still alive because they found the last stray cat or dog to eat. Or maybe they have been surviving by making soup out of human bones to be able to extract the bone marrow.
    But look at the good side. The parents of the children who managed to make it to safety in Australia or New Zealand will get to see these children survive longer than they did via skype. In fact they may die not even realizing that Australia is at great risk of suffering an enviromental collapse itself decades or maybe even only years in to the future.
    Adults who have been shaped by such childhood expiriences may have different ideas about what constitutes proper core values than those who have not had such expiriences.

  13. Upbeat predictions on batteries from the Rocky Mountain Institute:

    They think new wind/solar plus batteries will be cheaper than existing natural gas generating plants in the USA as early as 2021. Since US gas prices are comparatively low, and battery prices are global, many other countries must already be at parity.

    Blakers’ all-renewables scenario for Australia, with firming only by HVDC transmission and pumped hydro storage, is still an invaluable reference point, and supplies a strong upper bound on costs. But it looks as if batteries, with rapid cost declines, constant innovation, and very short lead times to instal, will make PUHS largely moot. As the EV fleet grows, the deployment of V2G (an organisational not a technical problem) will become very attractive, as the marginal investment is trivial.

  14. Sandpity…

    Svante & akarog, and others.

    Re our resident conspiracy lover and permaculture maven – Graeme Bird – I propose we just post this series of articles. GB doesn’t listen to facts as he is still in hockey stick land. We all could post every data set and 15,000 scientists to no avail. We need GB to engage with concepts such as;

    Concept TR – “‘The temperature record is unreliable’–But temperature trends are clear and widely corroborated

    “The investigation is focused on trends, not the absolute level. 

    “One good way is to cross check your conclusion against other completely unrelated data sets. In this case, all the other available indicators of global temperature trends unanimously agree. Go ahead, put aside the direct surface temperature measurements — global warming is also indicated by:
    – Satellite measurements of the upper and lower troposphere
    – Weather balloons show very similar warming
    – Borehole analysis
    – Glacial melt observations
    – Declining arctic sea ice
    – Sea level rise
    – Proxy Reconstructions
    – Rising ocean temperature

    “All of these completely independent analyses of widely varied aspects of the climate system lead to the same conclusion: the Earth is undergoing a rapid and substantial warming trend. Looks like the folks at NASA and CRU know what they are doing after all.”

    And GB to offer refutation by engaging with concepts with citation, not derision or abuse.

    How about it GB – actually providing a dataset and citation? Against the above set of records. Not abusing us as a way of engaging.

  15. No celebrations for the outcome of the Hong Kong local government elections? Is there something about opposing the actions of totalitarians on the left that seems “unbecoming” to socialists?

    The protesters went too far, in Hong Kong, with at least one innocent death and a fair amount of destruction. One might have expected a conservative counterreaction. But Hong Kongers voted overwhelmingly for pro-democracy candidates. They ignored Beijing’s charges of “rioting”, “terrorism” and “impending economic peril” because they are worried about their future freedoms.

    China has a real problem here. It cannot manage or tolerate democracy – in Western China and Tibet for example – yet attempts to squash the Hong Kongers while probably having an immediate positive effect for the Chinese dictatorship (they could jail nor kill thousands) , throws into stark relief the issues that face any country or oceanic resource that comes under Chinese control. And the costs to the Taiwanese of ever accepting direct Chinese rule.

    The implications for totalitarian rule on the mainland are severe for the CCP. Mainlanders will gulp down the propaganda in the state-controlled press and immediately attribute the vote to the machinations of Washington or other such rubbish but the worm will turn. Why are Hong Kongers protesting about the erosion of their democratic rights when mainlanders would face hefty prison sentences for doing the same? Why do the people of Hong Kong prefer those who have used violence and engaged in social disorder to the bland utterances of Ms. Lam and her supporters?

  16. China is not just building a vast number of new coal fired power stations, it is cutting right back on renewables. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, China’s investment in renewable energy fell 39 per cent in the first half of this year, compared with the same period in 2018. This follows abolition of subsidies for solar projects and cut backs for wind.

    All this reflects Chinese government anxiety about its slowing economy.

    “Five years ago, when the economy was growing robustly, Beijing saw stronger environmental policies as core to its economic transformation away from energy-intensive heavy industry. Today, with the economy growing at its slowest pace since the early 1990s, that has changed.”

  17. China can look at the USA and Australia to justify reduced climate ambitions just as Australia and the USA can use China to justify their lack of ambition. Neatly done, without ever having to admit that they just don’t want to because the business owning and managing class don’t want to be accountable for anything climate related. Nothing to do with Socialism versus Capitalism; it is purely about Corruption vs Integrity – and Capitalists are just as capable of corruption as Socialists. Different means perhaps – PR, Advertising and Tankthink to influence voter choices, with Lobbying, Tactical Lawfare, Strategic Donating, Post Politics Payoffs to influence the choices voters are given.

    Australia has the added advantage in doing the least possible stakes by being “small and insignificant” – which China and USA cannot make seem credible. Yet it is as misleading and false as all the other excuses and justifications; as illustration, we can be very sure Mr Morrison would never tell LNP voters not to bother because their vote is less than 1.3%.

  18. Harry, I can’t see anything that is “left” about the Chinese totalitarian dictatorship. Of course that dictatorship is vile and I would like to see the head honchos dead or in prison, including Winnie the Pooh impersonator Xi Jinping.

  19. Riotus Harry Clark says: “Is there something about opposing the actions of totalitarians on the left that seems “unbecoming” to socialists?”

    Please explain
    i luv u
    I – Love YOU!

    Harry, your comment is a dog whistle aimed not at calling dogs, just trying to upset those you slander and perceive are in need of upsetting.

    HC, your statement “Is there something about opposing the actions of totalitarians on the left that seems “unbecoming” to socialists?” is one of the worst in context, I’ve read in this blog.

    Besides the woeful grammer.

    Why did you write it that way?

    Please detail for us your definitions of “the left”, “”unbecoming”” (cant wait for your definition harry of unbecoming in quotes) and socialism.

  20. Harry, any unbecoming totalitarian left socialists here;

    “Australia’s science academy attacks ‘cherrypicking’ of Great Barrier Reef research

    “Senate inquiry told that misrepresentation and selective use of science is dangerous

    “Dr Jennifer Marohasy, a former long-serving director at the AEF who now works at the Institute of Public Affairs, claims in a submission that water quality is improving along the reef, and that governments were conspiring to “maintain the perception of declining water quality”.

    “Last week one reef scientist explained to Guardian Australia that Marohasy had misrepresented her work in an IPA video.”

  21. I appreciate the defensiveness. Anyone John has published on the issue so my commrent redundant.

  22. Like Arnies Terminator, CCS just refuses to die. The idea is to capture and pump CO2 under the sea bed in Bass Strait, a costly and unproven process.

    “CarbonNet does not come cheap either, with an expected price tag running into billions of dollars. Funding may come from industry and business, though that is yet to be determined.”

    It seems like a large sum of money – I guess it has met with the support of the mining industry.

  23. “China has a real problem here. It cannot manage or tolerate democracy”

    It’s a fact that neither can Goldman Sachs et al! Similar thing all over.

    Lots of facts: See Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”, current on SBS On Demand. Broadcast last night.
    One such fact is that in the 2016 Democratic primary in West Virginia, Bernie Sanders won all 55 counties—yes, all of them; yet because of the authoritarian and corrupt Democratic Party and the Democratic National Committee, Clinton ended up with more West Virginian delegates than Sanders. And Moore points out that West Virginia was not the only state where this kind of disenfranchisement occurred. … Moore shows that both the Democrat and Republican Parties are obedient servants of the ruling class, and that both these parties expect US citizens to be happy with their freedom to vote and voice dissent regardless of how impotent that voting and dissent are. While dissent can be effective in a genuine democracy, as the US anti-authoritarians I profile in Resisting Illegitimate Authority discovered, dissent alone is impotent with authoritarian rule. Thomas Paine, Malcolm X, Jane Jacobs, Noam Chomsky and Edward Snowden understood that safe dissent without strategic disobedience is easily ignored by authoritarians.
    Fahrenheit 11/9 is a movie targeting those on the left—a sobering reflection of how the Democratic party is as complicit in the president’s rise to power as the conservatives who blindly supported him.
    The Michigan born filmmaker picks out a catalogue of fatal compromises on the part of the Democrats – particularly its proximity to financiers. Examples range from the discovery that Obama’s biggest donor in the 2008 election was Goldman Sachs, to Hillary Clinton earning millions in fees from giving speeches to Wall Street. … He also drags the Democratic Party over the coals for sabotaging the Bernie Sanders campaign, and later smearing the new Democratic Socialist movement. Sanders manages to win every primary in West Virginia yet the party uses its secret weapon of super delegates to back Hillary Clinton at the convention.

    Excerpt DNC National Convention – Fahrenheit 11/9. (3 minutes)
    Selina Vickers on How West Virginia Democrats Voted for Bernie But Ended Up with Hillary
    “Vickers has been travelling around the country, video streaming the DNC reform committee meetings. Hillary supporters became suspicious and accused Vickers of being a Putin puppet.”

  24. JQ, I wonder what would happen if you did this… please do. I will participate – with a camera. Any others supporters here?

    “Queensland police had French journalists under surveillance, Adani documentary claims

    “When they arrived at the marina in Bowen, the boat owner tells a stunned Clément: “The police rang me and said they think you’re with the protests for Adani, and I don’t want my boat involved.”

    Clément appeared stunned that police had known specific details about their plans.

    “It’s incredible,” he said in the documentary. “It means we were under surveillance, that they were doing everything to prevent us doing our job.

    “We hired another boat … the same thing. We got a text message from the boat hire people. The guy told me ‘the police have contacted me and I had to say I won’t take them.’”

    “On top of that, they created a new exclusion zone. The authorities set up a new exclusion zone around the port, especially for us, starting the day of our arrest and ending the day we left Australia, to stop us from approaching the port.

    “So we couldn’t even get to this coal infrastructure from the sea

    “The actions of Queensland police were heavy-handed and unworthy of a healthy functioning democracy that upholds press freedom.”

  25. For the not exactly overflowing good news in-tray, from CarbonBrief via EndCoal (

    “An analysis of global electricity generation for the first seven to ten months of 2019 indicates that coal power production could decline by about 3 per cent. Significant declines in coal generation have been recorded; the largest falls have occurred in the US with significant falls in Germany, Spain, the European Union as a whole and South Korea. India’s coal generation has also fallen significantly, while Chinese growth has flattened. While increased generation has occurred in Southeast Asia, it has been insufficient to offset the decline elsewhere. Increased generation from renewables, gas and nuclear power has been complemented by falling electricity demand in some countries. The reduction in coal generation amounts to about 300 terawatt hours, the equivalent of the combined 2018 coal generation of Germany, Spain and the UK. ”

    There’s a cyclical element in this, but it’s still cheering. If true, it means that CO2 emissions will probably have roughly plateaued in 2019, after two years of worrying (but possibly also cyclical) rises.

    There seems to have been an increase in metallurgical coal use for ironmaking. This is a very cyclical business: China has been throwing money at infrastructure, so steel consumption is up; the Indian car industry is IIRC in the doldrums, so steel is down there. The trend is for new ironmaking to fall slowly (, as cheaper steel from recycled scrap takes a growing share of the market.

    Note the patchy falls in electricity consumption, without any real recessions. Efficiency and tertiarisation are under-appreciated, not least by energy planners. LED lights don’t need subsidies to take over.

  26. James Wimberley,
    Is it reasonable to think that CO2 emmisions will plateau just because the number of coal powered electrical plants goes down? After all the number of gasoline powered automobils is growing by leaps and bounds. And such vehicles would be part of the landscape for decades if there are still people around to drive such vehicles after the 2040s. Oh I guess that they will still be part of the landscape there just will not be any people around to drive them.
    There was a recent announcement here in Germany that the German government wants 10 million electric cars on the road by 2030. But Germany has 40 million registered cars. That means that 30 million gasoline and diesel cars will still be on the road in 2030. And that is if the overall number of vehicles does not increase.
    The military and the police of the world need to move fast if they are to tickle the people who were in a position to prevent this from happening and did nothing. They missed the chance to prevent the likely final holocaust at the end of 2012 when the political conditions were favorable for breaking the global order. But there is still a bit of time to write a better ending to the human story, rather than a bitter ending to the human story, if they get their act together fast. Is pure saffron bitter?
    Hmmm I wonder what kind of role saffron would play in greening a desert?

  27. A lot of the recycled metals are produced in electric arc furnaces so the emphasis shifts onto the source of electrical energy used.

  28. The lowest of blows, the powerful showing power.

    “Aboriginal traditional owners say they are being punished for opposing Adani coalmine

    “Queensland government is taking Wangan and Jagalingou people to court to dispute their native title claim

    “My family and my people have been in this native title claim since 2004,” McAvoy said.

    “We have given statements, had our family history investigated, and spoken to anthropologists, as our lawyers advised to do.

    “Our families have been traumatised enough. I thought the state was supposed to act fairly when they are involved in court cases,” McAvoy said.

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