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


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32 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. February 21, 2020
    Can capitalism and the planet truly coexist?
    https://phys.org/news/2020-02-capitalism-planet-coexist.html and
    https://theconversation.com/ive-seriously-tried-to-believe-capitalism-and-the-planet-can-coexist-but-ive-lost-faith-131288

    “…As my research has sought to demonstrate, an adequate response to climate change, and the broader environmental crisis, will require creating a post-capitalist society which operates within Earth’s ecological limits.

    This won’t will be easy – it will be the hardest thing our species has tried to do. I’m not saying capitalism hasn’t produced benefits for society (although those benefits are distributed very unequally within and between nations).

    ..But the faith in the god of growth brings all this undone. The United Nations’ development agenda assumes “sustained economic growth” is the best way to alleviate global poverty—a noble and necessary goal. But our affluent living standards simply cannot be globalised while remaining within safe planetary limits. We need

    degrowth, which means planned contraction of energy and resource demands.

    Taking a fair share

    Let’s do the maths. If all humans lived like Australians, we’d need more than four planets to sustain us. Earth’s population is set to reach 9.7 billion by 2050. Our current levels of consumption do not add up.

    Something resembling a fair share could involve developed nations reducing energy and resource demands by 50% or even 75% or more. This would mean transcending consumer lifestyles, embracing far more modest but sufficient material living standards, and creating new post-capitalist modes of production and distribution that

    aimed to meet the basic needs of all – not for limitless growth.

    Transcending capitalism

    I’m certainly not suggesting we adopt a centralised, Soviet-style state socialism. After all, a socialist economy seeking growth without limit is just as unsustainable as growth capitalism. We must expand our imaginations and explore alternatives.

    I don’t have all the answers—and I think post-capitalist movements, now and in the future, will probably fail. But if we do not recognise capitalism’s inherent growth fetish as the central problem, we cannot formulate a coherent response.”

  2. Here an article that doesn’t seem to have appeared in the Australian edition of “The Conversation”:

    February 21, 2020
    Carbon pricing may be overrated, if history is any indication
    https://phys.org/news/2020-02-carbon-pricing-overrated-history-indication.html

    Bottom line: “This is strong historical evidence against some economists’ insistence on carbon pricing as the primary way to promote low-carbon technologies and practices. As they chart a way to mitigate climate change most effectively, policymakers should supplement economic theory with empirical lessons from history.”

  3. This is horrific. And worse, for I suppose that adding to the bottom line will be electric cars made of yet more plastic than now (yet another good case for government promoting e-bicycles?).

    February 21, 2020
    More plastic is on the way: What it means for climate change
    https://phys.org/news/2020-02-plastic-climate.html

    With the recent fracking boom causing low gas prices, fossil fuel companies are seeking other ways to bolster their profits—by making more plastic. Just as the world is starting to address its enormous plastic pollution problem, these companies are doubling down on plastic, with huge potential consequences for climate and the environment…

    Ethane crackers

    Ethane is an odorless and colorless constituent of natural gas. To make plastic, companies separate it from the natural gas mixture and convey it in liquid form via pipeline to an “ethane cracker,” a large industrial plant that uses intense heat to crack or break apart ethane molecules.

    …The United States already produces around 40% of the world’s ethane-based petrochemicals and is the largest exporter of ethane, selling to Norway, the U.K., and Scotland, and to China and India, where plastic demand is rising.

    The climate implications of plastic

    Plastic not only poses an immense pollution problem—it also exacerbates climate change. The CIEL report warns that the greenhouse gas emissions from plastic jeopardize our ability to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5˚C. If plastic production stays on its current trajectory, by 2030, greenhouse gas emissions from plastic could reach 1.34 billion tons per year, equivalent to the emissions produced by 300 new 500MW coal-fired power plants. This is because more than 99% of plastics are made from fossil fuels, both natural gas and crude oil—and because plastic results in greenhouse gas emissions at every stage of its lifecycle.

    …Christof Ruehl, a senior research scholar at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, is sanguine about the effectiveness of these bans and recycling. He and a colleague researched the potential impacts of a modest reduction in the demand for packaging material and a small improvement in plastic recycling. They cited three outcomes. “It brings peak oil demand forward by about five years into the mid- to late 2020s,” said Ruehl. “Secondly, it creates stranded assets because a lot of especially national companies are now heavily investing into new petrochemical facilities, because they believe plastic demand will continue rising. And thirdly—this I found really amazing—the impact of a successful campaign globally against the use of single-use plastics has a larger dent in oil demand than the dent caused by electric cars. “In other words, effective regulations on plastic could reduce oil demand by at least as much as the adoption of electric cars 20 years from
    now.”

  4. COVID-19 Sunday afternoon 23 Feb

    by Dr. John Campbell (He’s been advising and tracking it for four weeks, and seems to have called most developments ahead of the game – check his many Covid-19 videos)

    This latest update does not bode well for Australia, ie., despite what (a desperately surplus seeking) government says Australian capacity is stretched already, and extra CoVid-19 cases would be very difficult.

  5. Svante,

    Re your above two posts. There is no doubt humanity is in severe, self-inflicted trouble near term and long term. The new coronavirus, taxonomic name SARS CoV2 or SARS2 as it ought be known colloquially, is clearly at the early pandemic stage right now. The SARS2 pandemic is self-inflicted in that;

    (a) the world is severely over-populated;
    (b) humans are excessively mobile;
    (c) medical spending is low priority (compared to military spending for example);
    (d1) wealth generation for the already wealthy is prioritized over all other concerns;
    (d2) humans are considered of less value than the wealth of the wealthy;
    (note the concern over protecting BAU over the taking of proper measures);
    (e) the wildlife (bush meats) trade causes cross-species infections to humans;
    (f) food production systems, especially in China and S.E. Asia, promote cross-species infections to humans.

    This indicates that population control and reduction is vital. Travel must be greatly curtailed not just during pandemics but during the hiatus periods between pandemics. Medical spending must increase greatly and military spending fall. Our values and economic system must be changed radically. Wildlife trading and eating must become a serious crime in the case of all mammals and reptiles at least. The world needs to move away from consumption of pigs and poultry (in particular) as these farming systems are disease incubators for cross-species infections to humans.

    Of course, none of this will happen. The whole system is too far gone and too far beyond “civilizational volition” which I would define as a civilization’s capacity to choose and control its own macro-direction or macro-trajectory. We are locked into and jacked up to our current system. We cannot end our current systems of production and consumption without collapsing. They are unsustainable so following them also leads to collapse. All roads lead to collapse.

    Progressive collapse will start implementing some of the controls above but will worsen other factors for a period. Global travel will collapse under the weight of pandemics, climate change, environmental destruction, resource depletion and increasing poverty. However, food shortages will worse the human propensity to eat anything and everything in the wild sphere. The world will be stripped bare by human locusts.

    Plastic is a great concern too. I completely agree. But this rant is already long enough. It’s worth listening to Snog’s ironic rant about plastic. I will post the link soon.

  6. This…
    “Male domination is so rooted in our collective unconscious that we no longer even see it.(1998), “On male domination” Le Monde Diplomatique, Oct. 10, 1998″
    [ changing – 22yr old quote]

    Then this…
    Benjamin Geer
    @benjamingeer
    https://socioresources.net/blog/about-the-author/

    Replying to
    @MattGrossmann
    – director; @niskanencenter


    (Dotted line indicates potential vote for left or right… accordians and petanque included. Substitute drums & cricket?)

    “I‘m sure this is a good dissertation, but I‘m always a bit sad when political scientists reproduce Bourdieu‘s results from the 1960s without realising it.”
    https://mobile.twitter.com/benjamingeer/status/1117320766104772608

    Val says:
    May 30, 2015 at 3:10 pm
    …” However I’d say that in social theory there are a number of answers already being offered to the debate about structure and agency, including social practice theory and cultural theory drawing on Bourdieu et al. The issue to me is how do we incorporate ecological perspectives in this. However it looks like I’m in the wrong place to be having this discussion, which is a real shame.”
    https://johnquiggin.com/2015/05/26/opportunity-cost-a-fabian-idea/comment-page-3/#comment-170307

    Quotes by Bourdieu…
    “Male domination is so rooted in our collective unconscious that we no longer even see it.(1998), “On male domination” Le Monde Diplomatique, Oct. 10, 1998

    “Television enjoys a de facto monopoly on what goes into the heads of a significant part of the population and what they think.(1998: 18); as cited in: Helen Kelly-Holmes (2001) Minority Language Broadcasting: Breton and Irish. p. 8

    “I often say that sociology is a martial art, a means of self-defense. Basically, you use it to defend yourself, without having the right to use it for unfair attacks.(2000), La Sociologie est un sport de combat; cited in: John Horne, Wolfram Manzenreiter (2004), Football Goes East. p. xii
    https://en.m.wikiquote.org/wiki/Pierre_Bourdieu

    “More complex societies have more fields and more relations between fields.

    “According to these rules, activity develops in the field, which works like a market in which actors compete for the specific benefits associated to it.

    “The field (French: champ) is one of the core concepts used by French social scientist Pierre Bourdieu. In his formulation, a field is a setting in which agents and their social positions are located. The position of each particular agent in the field is a result of interaction between the specific rules of the field, agent’s habitus and agent’s capital (social, economic and cultural).[5] Fields interact with each other, and are hierarchical: Most are subordinate to the larger field of power and class relations.”…
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Field_theory_(sociology)

    As Bourdieu articulated dynamics inherent in “power and class relations”, I’d like to know if such dynamics are ever used to validate or alter assumptions to include, in policy or theory as Val said ” about structure and agency”?

  7. The head of ASIO has said a country sent a sleeper agent into Australia. He didn’t name the country, but it’s not difficult to guess. The country has five letters in its name. The first letter is C. The second letter is h. The third letter is i.

    C ..h .. i …

    Yes, it’s Chile. Damn those Chileans and their spies.

  8. Alternate overton window?

    Benjamin Geer
    @benjamingeer

    Replying to
    @MattGrossmann
    – director; @niskanencenter

    Dotted line indicates potential vote for left or right… accordians and petanque included. Substitute drums & cricket? New overton?

    “I‘m sure this is a good dissertation, but I‘m always a bit sad when political scientists reproduce Bourdieu‘s results from the 1960s without realising it.”
    https://mobile.twitter.com/benjamingeer/status/1117320766104772608

    Val says:
    May 30, 2015 at 3:10 pm
    …” However I’d say that in social theory there are a number of answers already being offered to the debate about structure and agency, including social practice theory and cultural theory drawing on Bourdieu et al. The issue to me is how do we incorporate ecological perspectives in this. However it looks like I’m in the wrong place to be having this discussion, which is a real shame.”
    https://johnquiggin.com/2015/05/26/opportunity-cost-a-fabian-idea/comment-page-3/#comment-170307

    Topical quotes by Bourdieu…
    – “Male domination is so rooted in our collective unconscious that we no longer even see it.(1998), “On male domination” Le Monde Diplomatique, Oct. 10, 1998

    – “Television enjoys a de facto monopoly on what goes into the heads of a significant part of the population and what they think.(1998: 18); as cited in: Helen Kelly-Holmes (2001) Minority Language Broadcasting: Breton and Irish. p. 8
    https://en.m.wikiquote.org/wiki/Pierre_Bourdieu

    “More complex societies have more fields and more relations between fields.

    “According to these rules, activity develops in the field, which works like a market in which actors compete for the specific benefits associated to it.

    “The field (French: champ) is one of the core concepts used by French social scientist Pierre Bourdieu. In his formulation, a field is a setting in which agents and their social positions are located. The position of each particular agent in the field is a result of interaction between the specific rules of the field, agent’s habitus and agent’s capital (social, economic and cultural).[5] Fields interact with each other, and are hierarchical: Most are subordinate to the larger field of power and class relations.”…
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Field_theory_(sociology)

    As Bourdieu articulated dynamics inherent in and between “power and class relations”, I’d like to know from the modellers / experts – or not – if such dynamics are ever used to evaluate opportunity costs, scenario generation,  alter assumptions, as policy filter for generating insight into, as Val said ” about structure and agency”?

    And serendipity led to this where JQ is cited along with Bourdieu…

    “Feeding Greedy Corpses: The Rhetorical Power of Corpspeak and Zombilingo in Higher Education, and Suggested Countermagics to Foil the Intentions of the Living Dead
    By Katz, Louise

    “Introduction
    ‘False words create evil in the soul’.
    (Attributed to Socrates)
    Many thinkers have responded to the effects on language of the incursion of inapt ideology-laden vocabulary and collocations. George Orwell’s (1949) ‘Newspeak’, Pierre Bourdieu and Loic Wacquant’s (2001) ‘NewLiberalSpeak’, and Don Watson’s (2003) ‘weasel words’ demonstrate from different perspectives the virulence of language used to promote agendas of, respectively, war and power, neoliberalism (as defined below), and corporate interests. Communications consultant Anat Shenker-Osorio (2012) and economists Mariana Mazzucato (2013) and John Quiggin (2012) have noted the effects within their areas of expertise, while educationalist Henry Giroux (2002, 2006), and linguists Norman Fairclough (2000, 1993) and Alison Phipps (2007, 2009, 2010) have focused on the impact on education of languages of the dead. I have dubbed these languages ‘Corpspeak’ and ‘Zombilingo’.

  9. I am not sure whether most people want to live like vegetarian Amish. I love bacon and fried chicken and see KFC as one of western civilisation’s greatest inventions. I also think that technology can solve pretty much any environmental problem, albeit at some temporary cost, Exhibit A – renewables. Exhibit B – flash high rise apartments for population growth. In short, Isaac Asimov beats Pete Singer.

  10. The the ex head of the CDC, Dr Tom Friedman, has belled the cat; it’s the sloppy way China runs its affairs that has led to this latest outbreak of a mutated Coronavirus.

    “If the virus did emerge from the wet market selling exotic animals for food in Wuhan, then China’s failure to close such markets after SARS is the fundamental cause of this outbreak.”

    This is a bad outcome for China, after the brutally enforced State paranoia over minority groups it is their medieval belief system that could prove to be their ultimate Achilles heal.

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/25/health/coronavirus-pandemic-frieden/index.html

  11. Several things have come together now regarding the Corvid-19 virus.

    Epidemiologist Gabriel Leung states that the virus is already a pandemic. He forecasts that 60% of the world’s population will eventually be exposed to the virus. I have seen other US expert estimates that between 40-70% of the world will become infected*.

    There is now a published JAMA study of 72,314 sufferers of the disease that firms up the estimate of the mortality rate among those infected to be 2.3%.

    The world’s population is 7.74b people. Hence the expected death toll from the disease using the data provided is 7.74*0.6*0.023 = 107 million using the 60% infection rate estimate or 70 million using the 40% infection rate estimate.

    Australia’s population of 24.6 million would have 339,000 deaths using the 60% infection rate level or 224,000 using the 40% estimate. These estimates might be pessimistic because Australia has a first-class health care system but the potential for a real problem remains.

    I am not suggesting that these are anything more than back-of-the-envelope calculations. The infection rate assumptions might be pessimistic even at 40%. I am more convinced about the estimated mortality rate. But to tell people to “go about your normal business” is crazy. There is the potential for a disaster here.

    The WHO and the Australian Health Authorities who have clamored for keeping borders open will have a lot to answer for if this scenario eventuates.

    *Update: This Harvard epidemiologist estimates 40-70% of the world’s population will be infected within one year.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/02/covid-vaccine/607000/?fbclid=IwAR0FYcPF6uytGAR1BvijeFQXriZgsf1Hl2I0l0fOEa0NYAekYSS93JQ0cME

  12. HC – “But to tell people to “go about your normal business” is crazy. There is the potential for a disaster here.”

    At the blog ‘Virology Down Under’ by Ian M. Mackay PhD (virology), working Scientist, UQ adjunct Associate Professor, are two posts in part comprising lists on personally being prepared for dealing with COVID-19 risks:

    https://virologydownunder.com/so-you-think-youve-about-to-be-in-a-pandemic/
    https://virologydownunder.com/past-time-to-tell-the-public-it-will-probably-go-pandemic-and-we-should-all-prepare-now/

  13. HC – “Australia’s population of 24.6 million would have 339,000 deaths using the 60% infection rate level or 224,000 using the 40% estimate. These estimates might be pessimistic because Australia has a first-class health care system but the potential for a real problem remains…”

    Here’s an alarming calculation for the shortfall number of COVID-19 related ICU ‘bed days’ that may be required soon in Australia:

    “”…There could be a demand for 650,000 ICU admissions in the most severe scenario.
    With SARS, some patients needed many weeks in ICU.
    But lets say average 7 days = 4,500,000 ICU bed days.

    There are about 2,000 ICU beds in public and private hospitals combined (I expect the government would take control of the private hospital facilities) = 730,000 bed days pa
    So there will need to be some rationing – I suspect age-based.”

    https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2020/02/six-reasons-why-coronavirus-will-kill-the-australian-economy/#comment-3688981

    The removal of the surplus of elderly Australian leaners may prove a silver lining in all this for Scummo’s lucky country surplus quest (sarc).

  14. Mackay’s analysis is spot on. All the WHO and the Australian Health authorities have been saying is “don’t panic”. That’s obviously true but people should, at least, be prepared – a couple of week’s food and some basic medical supplies. Ordinary people have been ignored in this whole episode while the health mafia offers obvious advice.

    On my death rate forecasts, the need for ICU beds will be at least equal to the figures you cite.

    I am not so keen on the idea of cleaning up the “surplus of oldies” as I am one of them.

  15. It wasn’t hard to see what was likely (though not certainly) coming. I started “prepping” in mid-January. All this meant was that my twice-weekly shopping trolley had a few extra boxes of wheaties and a few extra tins of powdered milk in it each time. Plus some “slabs” of tinned fruit, tinned vegetables etc. As the weeks went on I added a few big bags of rice, another tin of cooking oil, extra tins of tuna etc. etc. along with sundry other items and enough meat to fill my fridge freezer.

    I don’t have a stand alone power supply or a stand alone water supply. I don’t think those things will be necessary this time around. But after this crisis, if I am still around (at least 95% chance I will be), I will reassess whether I need to move on those issues for the future. It wouldn’t be hard. If I add a battery or two to my solar power system, and upgrade to a smart inverter, I can “island” off the grid at need. A couple of water tanks and ways to purify that water would be the other step.

    I think this year is the beginning of the end, even if the end takes another 20 to 50 years to drag out (though there might be a near-term crisis and rapid collapse). The collapse of modern civilization has started as those in the “scientific know” knew it inevitably would. It was all entirely predictable according to the laws of physics, ecology and biology.

  16. Coronavirus update
    A real expert – Mark Lipsitch, a professor of epidemiology at Harvard – thinks we may be heading for *40%-70%* infection rates in the world adult population.

    If containment fails, as is quite likely, he suggests “social distancing.” My suggestion is that we should all adopt the contactless “namasté” greeting in place of handshakes, fist bumps and social kisses. The greeting has religious origins in Hinduism and Buddhism, but Thai hotel receptionists are perfectly happy to use it with tourists, and appreciate it if the tourists respond. I reckon there’s no disrespect in borrowing the practice. I suggest trying this out. Even ScoMo thinks this is serious.

  17. In a sense, it is NOW necessary for coronavirus containment to fail as the Lipsitch article implicitly makes clear. A population probably cannot be kept indefinitely clear of a virus like SARS-cov2 (SARS2) at this stage of its spread. If the disease becomes endemic in the rest of the world, or even in China, then Australian containment would have to remain indefinite IF full containment was the policy here. Long term, it is probably better that we become a population with something approaching herd immunity to SARS-cov2 (albeit not immunity to its potential mutations which immunity is not significantly conferrable ahead of the mutations themselves).

    This is different from SARS1 where initial containment was successful. It did not become endemic in China or the world. In that case full containment was the correct policy.

    It seems to me that no dubious ethical decisions need to be made at any stage of the process. Attempted full containment is the correct policy early on. If the virus escapes best efforts at full containment it ipso facto enforces a spread to pandemic status. As Lipsitch’s article makes clear, the goal then is to flatten the peak and spread the course of the epidemic along the time axis. This is so that medical services are not overwhelmed at any point in time. Other factors might also act in our favor in that lengthened phase. Not least among these is finding treatments and immunisations. The virus might also mutate and spread in a less deadly form if that represents a higher evolutionary fitness path for the virus in our population.

    These are the reflections and surmises of a lay person. I have no formal medical / scientific training or knowledge in this arena.

  18. Covid-19 may yet be the opportunity on steroids that the oligarchic neoliberal 0.01% can use to clean up per disaster capitalism and economic shock doctrine. Cue the outgoing bumbling fall guy Trump, say good-bye to Sanders, and say hello next January to either the next neoliberal billionaire or neoliberal Clintonite POTUS. Similar economic shock ‘therapy’ to be administered globally… the 0.001% are no doubt licking their chops and slavering at the prospect. An alt view…or is it?

    https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/global-economy-was-sinking-long-coronavirus-appeared

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naomi_Klein#The_Shock_Doctrine
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shock_Doctrine
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shock_therapy_(economics)

  19. On the flu issue, outgoing CDC chief Tom Frieden was asked, what keeps you awake at night?

    Frieden: The biggest concern is always for an influenza pandemic. Even in a moderate flu year, [influenza] kills tens of thousands of Americans and sends hundreds of thousands to the hospital. That increase in mortality last year may have been driven in significant part by a worse flu season compared to a mild flu season the prior year. So flu, even in an average year, really causes a huge problem. And a pandemic really is the worst-case scenario. If you have something that spreads to a third of the population and can kill a significant proportion of those it affects, you have the makings of a major disaster.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2017/01/16/outgoing-cdc-chief-talks-about-the-agencys-successes-and-his-greatest-fear/

  20. COVID-19 silver linings:

    1) People might be reminded that governments perform important functions and electing a clown as your political leader because he triggers your political opponents isn’t such a great idea.

    2) Bye, bye anti-vax movement. How much appeal will anti-vaxxers have during a pandemic?

  21. There’s no comments on the “Planning For Pandemics” repost, so I’ll just mention here that large scale influenza vaccinations would reduce false positives during an epidemic where people with mild strains of the flu are mistaken for having something more serious like coronavirus. For this reason we should be making sure everyone gets the flu jab now. (Unless there is some better use of the resources, but I doubt that’s the case. Our resources aren’t that limited.)

  22. AEP in the linked article below (and elsewhere) calls it for Sanders in the aftermath of Trump’s covid-19 failures. It looks like, with the way this pandemic is headed, that Trump is a goner. I’m still inclined to think Sanders run for POTUS now has little chance of success following the likely covid-19 economic hits as the rest of this year unfolds. It’s way too late for any alternative Rep to make a run against Trump, so it will be either a Wall St pwned Clintonite or billionaire Dem again providing the shock economic therapy the 0.001% will demand of them beginning next year as “TINA”.

    https://www.independent.ie/world-news/north-america/donald-trump-faces-his-chernobyl-by-denying-threat-of-coronavirus-38998455.html

    His systematic destruction of US pandemic defences – policy vandalism of the first order – and surreal efforts to conjure away the virus with denialist spin brings an unthinkable prospect into play.

    The coming backlash may sweep Bernie Sanders into power on a socialist manifesto of Piketty wealth taxes, the partial closure of the US oil and gas industry, and vast increases in the size and role of the US government, all with an implicit budget deficit of $3trn. Try feeding that into your models for GDP growth, equity prices or bond yields.

    The Trump administration has cut funding for the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) by 9pc. This month he proposed slashing it a further 16pc. The worst hit area has been pandemic preparation. The CDC’s global health security initiative has been chopped by 80pc, reducing country coverage from 49 to 10.

    Mr Trump got rid of the US Complex Crises Fund. He shut down the pandemic and global health machinery at the White House, and fired the lot. He tried to cut the budget of the National Institutes of Health – the world’s finest concentration of science – by 20pc in 2018 and 27pc in 2019. Congress stopped the worst but damage has been done.</blockquote

  23. Akarog, we should prepare more eggs to make more flu vaccine. Unfortunately, all my friend’s chickens except one have died. But I’m sure that’s nothing to worry about.

  24. China virus impact update
    ******************************
    A detailed analysis of the story so far at CarbonBrief by the admirable Lauri Myllyvirta, formerly of Greenpeace China:
    https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-coronavirus-has-temporarily-reduced-chinas-co2-emissions-by-a-quarter

    Capsule: there’s been a large and documented short-term impact on economic activity and emissions. Looking ahead, there are a lot of uncertainties about the government’s policy response: an old-style construction boom (carbon-spewing) or a shift to green? Myllyvirta does not go into the biggest uncertainty of all, the ultimate spread of the epidemic.

    Interesting datum: provincial and city government is being more conservative than Beijing and keeping factories etc. shut against guidance to loosen up. Even within the CCP, China is not monolithic.

  25. Truth it seems outshines fiction… again.

    Current Australian Chief Patsy confirming she was and is ‘The Patsy’.

    ” Patsy has only one line in the film: “It’s only a model,”

    “Bridget McKenzie rejects suggestions she was involved in changing sports grant list after election was called
    https://abc.net.au/news/2020-03-06/bridget-mckenzie-denies-knowledge-of-sporting-grants-list-chang/12031784

    “Bridget ‘Patsy’ McKenzie is a character in the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail and the musical Spamalot. sHe is played by Terry Gilliam in Monty Python and The Holy Grail. Serving as King Arthur’s marketing assistant, she only has a few simple tasks throughout the entire film, such as using two halves of a coconut to simulate the hoofbeats of Arthur’s nonexistent horse.[1]

    sHe also announces King Arthur’s arrival by trumpet, as when Arthur’s group approaches a castle inhabited by French soldiers early in the movie. Patsy has only one line in the film: “It’s only a model,” said of the sprorts, when the Knights of the Round Table first catch sight of the colored castle spreadsheet at Camelot.

    Patsy’s fate is left ambiguous in the film; she disappears after King Arthur encounters Tim the Enchanter, and is not seen again

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patsy_(Monty_Python)

    Precient last paragraph?

  26. Caught a bit of the inordinately expensive submarines talk.

    “The coliins class was initily 12. We got 10” – sniggers from the crowd.

    I sort of agree w Hugh white – we need capability continuity. I think that is more a technology / system angle than ultimate protection. But – AI.

    The quote which made me realise why we have the damn things “weapon launch capability”. A stealthy platform.

    And JQ…
    “… supposed expertise is about as useful as Scott Morrison’s knowledge of unicorns….”
    And mention of our – what was the phrase – experienced warfare officers – were more important than the platform. Example from teaching collins submariners who hadn’t been in one! Unicorns.

    But I doubt that now – won’t the better and faster AI beat well trained and armed humans?

    JQ “…The only important thing to know is that, like nearly all military expenditure and nearly all wars, these proposed purchases haven’t been subject to a cost-benefit test and would fail it if they were.”
    https://johnquiggin.com/2016/02/26/refighting-world-war-ii/

    They did pass a cost benefit test. Just not in the real world.

    And another unicorn statement imo – this could be charged at any time;

    “The projection of what this figure will be in 2025-26 is around A$58.7 billion. This is up from A$32 billion in the next financial year.

    “The paper explicitly says:
    “The ten-year funding model will not be subject to any further adjustments as a result of changes in Australia’s GDP growth estimates.”
    https://theconversation.com/the-end-of-2-australia-gets-serious-about-its-defence-budget-53554

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