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

40 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. This article shows we, you & me, suffer from amnesia of terror, imo. Long read, needs to be on front pages world wide. Tomorrow. As with Churchill, whatever you think of Wohlstetter, he is seminal re nuclear war “thinking”, or dangerous, yet informative.

    “The Delicate Balance of Terror

    by Albert Wohlstetter

    …”The Delicacy of the Balance of Terror

    “The most important conclusion runs counter to the indications of what I have called “Western-preferred Soviet strategies.” It runs counter, that is, to our wishes. A sober analysis of Soviet choice from the standpoint of Soviet interest and the technical alternatives, and taking into account the uncertainties that a Russian planner would insure against, suggests that we must expect a vast increase in the weight of attack which the Soviets can deliver with little warning, and the growth of a significant Russian capability for an essentially warningless attack. As a result, strategic deterrence, while feasible, will be extremely difficult to achieve, and at critical junctures in the 1960’s we may not have the power to deter attack. Whether we have it or not will depend on some difficult strategic choices as to the future composition of the deterrent force and, in the years when that force is not subject to drastic change in composition, hard choices on its basing, operations, and defense.

    “The bombers will continue to make up the predominant part of our force in the early 1960’s. None of the popular remedies for their defense will suffice — not, for example, mere increase of alertness, the effects of which will be outmoded by the growth of a Russian capability for attack without significant warning, nor simple dispersal or sheltering alone or mobility taken by itself, or a mere piling up of interceptors and defense missiles around SAC bases. A complex of measures is required. I shall have occasion to comment briefly on the defects of most of these measures taken singly. Let me suggest at this point the inadequacy of the popular conception of the airborne alert — an extreme form of defense by mobility. The impression is rather widespread that one-third of the SAC bombers are in the air and ready for combat at all times.[11]

    Document DetailsCopyright: noneAvailability: Web-OnlyDOI: Number: P-1472Year: 1958


    “At RAND, he researched how to posture and operate U.S. strategic nuclear forces to deter plausible forms of Soviet nuclear-armed aggression in way that was credible, cost-effective and controllable.[20]

    “Wohlstetter’s The Delicate Balance of Terror(1958) was highly influential in shaping the thinking of the Washington foreign policy establishment, particularly in its emphasis on the looming threat of Soviet attack.[21]

    “During this period, Wohlstetter’s relationship with fellow RAND strategist Bernard Brodiegrew increasingly acrimonious. In 1963, Brodie accused Wohlstetter of a security violation and financial malfeasance.”…


    Link from:
    “Understanding the War in Ukraine”

    By Bret Devereaux  
    February 25, 2022 
    25 Minutes read.

    Via Kottke: “From military historian Bret Devereaux: Understanding the War in Ukraine. The invasion was planned months ago, Putin was never going to negotiate, NATO had limited options before the invasion.”

  2. I got a leaflet in my mailbox about “Labor’s Powering Australia plan”.

    It says that it will create “over 600,000 new jobs”.

    To me that sounds bad — something like 5% of the labour force, who are presumably doing something useful at the moment, working in the energy sector instead. Doesn’t that mean much more expensive energy?

    I suppose there’s a more subtle reason why this is actually good news?

    (no whataboutery please, I think the Coalition’s energy policy is terrible)

  3. I expect that Mr Evil’s next phase of the war is not to flatten Kyiv, but to flatten another city instead, with the ultimatum of show up for talks somewhere I can get you, if you are so stupid as to turn up, or I’ll level another major city; of course, the ultimatum is tacit, for the offer to enjoin talks will be made along the lines of, we can work this out, blah, blah, blah.

    Well, there is no working this out: Mr Evil made that abundantly clear in his recent intemperate addresses on national TV, in which he expressly stated that there is no sovereign Ukraine that exists without Russia…and he’s made it very clear what an example he wants to make of Volodymyr Zelenskiy, just one of the many true Heroes of Ukraine, unlike…you know who.

    Given the military that Russia has, I imagine that for now, Mr Evil will use conventional but horrific weapons for razing a modest city to the ground, perhaps a city of 100K or so. That’ll be the initial softening up. If I am right, I think Mr Evil knows he must retain as much of the old Kyiv’s architecture, if he is to have any hope of keeping his domestic situation under control; he won’t score any Brownie points for levelling the “spiritual origin and home of the Russian Empire,” that’s for sure.

    The thing about bluffs, is that you sometimes get called on them. Bluffing with nukes runs that very risk. If, however, it is no bluff, that shows that Mr Evil feels if he can’t get his Empire, he’s willing to die along with it, so long as he knows he will have levelled the western world as per the Mutually Assured Destruction doctrine of global nuclear war. In Mr Evil’s world view, perhaps that is just rational thinking; to everyday people, it feels absurd; like, how did we get here? We got here by pretending Mr Evil was merely Mr Little Evil, content to do evil in his own backyard, and maybe the poor kid’s yard next door, but not the entire neighbourhood. Since we lived a few blocks away, we ignored his trantums. Well, that was a serious misreading of Mr Evil. And if people think having a talk with him now is sane, then they are still misreading him.

    Quite frankly, if he isn’t bluffing, then the only people who can prevent the insanity of MAD are the commanding officers and staff that Mr Evil treats as his minions. Even if another country had a way of permanently dealing with Mr Evil, as a foreign attack on Russian soil, it would trigger WWIII; no, it has to be a domestic operation to avoid that global catastrophe.

    I don’t know if there is a solution that leaves Ukraine intact, with the leadership and government the Ukrainians choose. I don’t know if there is a solution that doesn’t involve actual escalation to the hitting of the proverbial button. I can only hope.

    If Mr Evil does go for the button, China and India will be seriously affected as well; they won’t avoid the fallout (figuratively and literally), they won’t have much of a world left for them. Perhaps they need to reflect on that, in their future voting choices in the UN Security Council and in the General Assembly.

  4. Don: – “If Mr Evil does go for the button, China and India will be seriously affected as well; they won’t avoid the fallout (figuratively and literally), they won’t have much of a world left for them.

    It depends on the scale of any nuclear exchange, but there may not be much of a world for ANYONE:

    Based on new work published in 2007 and 2008 by some of the authors of the original studies, several new hypotheses have been put forth, primarily the assessment that as few as 100 firestorms would result in a nuclear winter.[3][18] However, far from the hypothesis being “new”, it drew the same conclusion as earlier 1980s models, which similarly regarded 100 or so city firestorms as a threat.[128][129]

    Compared to climate change for the past millennium, even the smallest exchange modeled would plunge the planet into temperatures colder than the Little Ice Age (the period of history between approximately 1600 and 1850 AD). This would take effect instantly, and agriculture would be severely threatened. Larger amounts of smoke would produce larger climate changes, making agriculture impossible for years. In both cases, new climate model simulations show that the effects would last for more than a decade.

    It seems it won’t take much to end human civilisation now:
    1) shorter term with nuclear war;
    2) longer term with climate change, but trajectory set well within this decade.

  5. We have had 240 years to work this out too. Putin & Clive Palmer and pork barrels seem evident in Tyler’s writings.

    We need to become a republic, and break AUKUS, even with all these caveats. And break and remake the topology.

    “[Tyler] believed that “a pure democracy is a chimera”, and that “All government is essentially of the nature of a monarchy”.[14]”

    “Tytler further states: “Patriotism always exists in the greatest degree in rude nations, and in an early period of society. Like all other affections and passions, it operates with the greatest force where it meets with the greatest difficulties … but in a state of ease and safety, as if wanting its appropriate nourishment, it languishes and decays”. … “It is a law of nature to which no experience has ever furnished an exception, that the rising grandeur and opulence of a nation must be balanced by the decline of its heroic virtues”.[18]
    “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence:
    – From bondage to spiritual faith;
    – From spiritual faith to great courage;
    – From courage to liberty;
    – From liberty to abundance;
    – From abundance to selfishness;
    – From selfishness to apathy;
    – From apathy to dependence;
    – From dependence back into bondage.”

    Alexander Fraser Tytler,_Lord_Woodhouselee
    Suggested graphic of Tyler’s “nations have progressed through this sequence” above;
    Doughnut to
    Full Mug then to
    Empty Full Empty Full mug and 
    back to Doughnut.

  6. KT2 at 11:37 am “We have had 240 years to work this out too. Putin & Clive Palmer” … and “an unnamed Russian billionaire”.
    As always truth (no I haven’t checked) is worse and stranger than fiction.

    “Mr Palmer finalised a deal for Hilter’s Mercedes-Benz 770 Grosser Offener Tourenwagen, The West Australian reported, after two years of negotiations with an unnamed Russian billionaire.”

  7. In the press today Putin is being identified as a crazy who has lost the plot. I have two comments.

    In terms of bargaining theory, it is not a good idea to raise ultimatums at the early stages of a conflict. The difficulty is that, from that point on, your opponents know you are prepared to consider drastic solutions and that alters the way they see themselves potentially negotiating with you. The standard example given in texts is an argument between spouses. If one party threatens divorce, the other party understands that this person is less committed to resolving the dispute and will become less prone to seek a mutually beneficial outcome that maintains the relationship. One should only make strong ultimatums at the end of a series of attempts to find a middle ground and only when there seems to be no way forward. Putin ordering the preparation of his nuclear arsenal to attack Europe today is an overreaction that will never be forgotten. He has threatened the world with a nuclear war and that is just difficult to forget. Indeed, the case for strengthening Putin’s arch enemy NATO – an institution that was once seen as almost irrelevant at the supposed end of the Cold War is now stronger than ever. Putin has shot himself – and the Russian people – squarely in the foot on this one.

    On being described as a crazy. Putin is playing a game of Chicken against the West and was wants the West to back down so he can have his way. The image that he projects is that of a crazy who will risk the nuclear annihilation of Europe as a whole – as well as of Russia – in order to prevent countries (who are potentially friendly) from leaving the Russian camp. But in a Chicken game appearing to be a bit crazy is a good strategy – NATO and the US in particular fear treading on the toes of a crazy who will risk all – including his own nation’s survival – for limited gains. If they were dealing with a rational Russian leader instead of one who perhaps pretends madness, they would be less cautious in responding to Putin’s actions. Maybe Putin is a bit of a megalomaniac nutcase but there is method in his madness.

    Putin has done himself and his country a disservice by threatening the world with annihilation, but his craziness makes sense if you accept his daft objectives and the rationality of appearing to be a bit crazy.

  8. Actually, my reading of Putin putting his nuclear forces into readiness is partly as a threat, but also the deceptive conduct of Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War;” while the enemy is busy thinking Golly, what if the crazy dude really attacks with all that stuff?, that dude does a much more “limited” atrocity, and the rest of us go, whew, he didn’t do what we thought he would. Meanwhile, he achieved his actual objective, *without* causing us to retaliate in any significant manner.

    In this scenario, I see Putin has having several options, each one is an escalation, but none involve a direct attack or nuclear exchange with a nuclear superpower (but more on that, at the end of this comment). First option: convince Zelenskiy to rock up to do some border meeting; ensure no possible outcome through impossible to accept demands, such as immediate surrender of himself, and when Zelenskiy leaves the meeting, assassinate him in a missile strike. Second option, for if option one either doesn’t eventuate, or fails: raze a mid-size Ukrainian city to the ground with conventional armaments, and then suggest a chat to resolve differences, i.e. surrender yourself and your country—or else. If even that is not enough, go for option three: target another, bigger, city, with a modest sized tac-nuke, destroying the CBD and surrounding suburbs, and then make another offer of a chat to resolve differences.

    I am betting he is counting on a single tac-nuke of modest size against a non-NATO, non-alliance, country, would not trigger retaliation by the USA, for the simple reason they would go, phew, he didn’t nuke one of us, and it was a “small” nuke, not a mother of nukes nuke, so we ain’t all gonna die. And this calculus is probably correct, for to retaliate with a direct attack on Russia in response to a single nuke on the Ukraine would make inevitable the mad in Mutually Assured Destruction. This is the Achilles’ heel of rational game theory in the context of nuclear-age warfare, i.e. what is rational for one actor is not “rational” for a different actor, and that schism can be exploited. Putin is counting on this, IMHO. Putin is not mad, not in the sense of being erratic. He knows what he is doing and why he is doing it, even if he is trying his best to keep people guessing; sure, we might think his final objective is some kind of pie in the sky, but that doesn’t mean his approach must necessarily fail, from his perspective. He is a *calculated*-risk taker.

    I firmly believe that the way to deal with Putin has to involve non-nuclear, non-NATO, European countries, with every other country doing their bit to arm the Ukrainians and any other countries that supply their own armed forces. I do not believe there is any possible way for this to end with both Putin backing off, and Ukraine surviving in its pre-2014 form, or even the pre-2022 form, unless it involves the absolute destruction of his conventional armed forces that he pours into the Ukraine.

    A guy as rich as he is/was could have lived a good life if he so chose to, so this suggests the Ukraine mission of his is driven by something far outside the get-richer narrative, and is a core personal pain to him. In that case, I doubt anything much can deflect him from his mission objective, bar total destruction of his armed forces in the Ukraine. A loss that big would reduce Russia to being vulnerable to other countries, something that wasn’t true pre-this-war. It would be about the one thing that could fatally weaken his grip on Russia.

    There is always one concern that cannot be factored in easily, and that is if he is willing to go for the Pyrrhic victory, if he feels backed into a corner and to be on the losing side of the rebuilding the Old Empire jag, i.e. he reduces to nuclear slag all of Ukraine and USA and other US allies, even as his country of such great potential is wiped off the map in a reciprocation strike, in a fit of MAD. In that scenario, I wonder what China and India leaders would make of their recent non-committal abstentions at the UN Security Council meeting, when the resolution was put to the vote?

  9. Th IPCC has issued another report, saying the same as before. At present this admirable organization has done its job. We should be very grateful to all the scientists whose work it has brought together into an unanswerable consensus The world is now divided between a majority who get the climate crisis and a large minority who refuse to learn, from various forms of egoism. Activists, pundits, teachers, politicians, financiers and entrepreneurs will make the difference from now on.

  10. +1 James; “The world is now divided between a majority who get the climate crisis and a large minority who refuse to learn, from various forms of egoism.”

  11. Re IPCC reports re James’ linked (walled) Guardian article:
    “Notable quotable
    “This report combines two messages, one of urgency and one of hope:
    – urgency to act, not only to drastically reduce emissions in the near term … but
    – to increase our actions to adapt to the impacts already observed and to come.

    ” And there is hope from knowing that we are still in time to take these actions.”

    “Edwin Castellanos, director of the Sustainable Economic Observatory at the University of the Valley of Guatemala in Guatemala City, and a co-author of the IPCC climate change report, summarizes its urgent call to action. (Nature | 6 min read)”

    “Climate change is hitting the planet faster than scientists originally thought”*

    I think I correctly placed an apostrophe!

  12. I’ll leave it to your flighty imaginations to Wisk you into the Aero blue sky.

    Electric or hydrogen? Electric for me please.

    “Wisk Aero Secures $450 Million from The Boeing Company to Advance Certified Autonomous Electric Flight

    ● “Wisk’s 6th generation eVTOL aircraft will represent a first-ever candidate for the certification of an autonomous, all-electric, passenger-carrying aircraft in the U.S.”

    What does “near term reality” mean? I need more time and money! Blue sky.

    “Fueling Carbon-Free Flight
    “Our mission is to put aviation on a trajectory to meet Paris Agreement emissions targets by making hydrogen-powered commercial flight a near-term reality.”

  13. Yesterday (Feb 28), Matt at Crude Oil Peak posted his analysis headlined Russian oil production update Nov 2021.

    Russia may have passed peak oil production. In 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia produced 560 million tons of oil — equivalent to 11.3 million barrels a day. Russia is unlikely to recover to pre-pandemic production levels.

    In December 2021, Russia produced below its OPEC+ target for the first time since last spring, and there are doubts that Russia can raise output much beyond 10.5 million b/d.

    With investment being pulled out of Russia, due to trade and finance sanctions as a consequence of the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, Russian oil production will likely decline faster.

  14. If only Putin and the Kremlin would know and appreciate the deceptive but elegantly effective method used on occasions in the senior public service in various countries (or the Papacy for that matter) for a face saving exit: Public announcement by persona XYZ’s speaker: Persona XYZ has suffered a physical illness for some time but can no longer carry out the many important functions, ….; Whoever is responsible for ceremonial matters then bestows some order of bravery or whatever on XYZ, praises their past work and regrets XYZ’s departure as a big loss for whatever, and wishes XYZ all the best. Spread rumours as to the whereabouts of XYZ and a few snippets of non-important personal matters and hope for the best thereafter.

  15. Putin’s generals, bankers and security chiefs all look rather uncomfortable when called into his presence. Putin himself appears physically and mentally unwell: bloated in the face and saying some very odd things. All is not well in the Kremlin. Maybe a palace revolution is on the cards.

    “Kremlin, is a fortified complex in the centre of Moscow founded by Russian ruling dynasty of Rurikids. It is the best known of the kremlins (Russian citadels), and includes five palaces, four cathedrals, and the enclosing Kremlin Wall with Kremlin towers.” – Wikipedia.

  16. The floods in SE Queensland and Northern NSW are horrific – loss of life and property damage or destruction..

  17. The Independent Planning Commission NSW (IPCN) Panel for the Narrabri Underground Mine Stage 3 Extension Project has reopened public submissions after receiving new information from the Department of Planning and Environment and Whitehaven Coal (the Applicant).

    Public submissions may be made only on this new material and must be received via email ( between the release of this statement on Tuesday 1 March 2022 and 5pm AEDT Tuesday 8 March 2022.

    Click to access 220301-statement-from-commission–additional-material.pdf

    It seems to me there are more weasel words from the proponent and NSW DPIE for increasing the risks of rendering NSW unliveable before the end of this century – hardly an economic or social benefit for NSW in the longer-term.

    Meanwhile, the IPCC published on Feb 28 the AR6 Working Group 2 report Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability“, including a sobering chapter dedicated to the expected climate change impacts on the Australasian region, warning of “cascading, compounding and aggregate impacts on cities, settlements, infrastructure, supply-chains and services due to wildfires, floods, droughts, heatwaves, storms and sea-level rise.”

  18. Just looked a bit arround covid related numbers

    -South Korea and New Zealand seem to have given up on virus suppression.
    -Two Nations with top vaccination in the South Malta and Portugal also had huge case numbers, but only for a short time.
    -The Australian death rate looks low by international standards
    -Reliability and comparabilitty of case numbers is limited at the moment, due to capacity constraints and formal issues at the moment (e.g. a quick test is sufficient as confirmation in Germany but won´t get counted).
    -A look at the vaccination rate in the Ukraine is a quick reminder that this already was one of the more dysfunctional nations before.
    -Death rates here in Germany, more so in the US are still quite ugly despite the overall lower lethalty.

    Oh well on the personal side, it seems i should give up on my quasi lockdown. The numbers are still ugly, but my father got his 4th shot today and plans to stop being careful and no one else seems to be in careful mode anymore which increases the costs for me. Just hope we will still get a vaccination mandate eventually, the political winds are moving the other way now.

    Sort of back to the Ukraine: Germany is increasing it´s military budget. I don´t like it. If anything, Russias problems dealing with the Ukrainian army have proofen how limited the conventional threat is, besides nukes. Our army seems to be in genuine bad shape, things are not working that should be working if you are inclined to have a meaningfull army in the first place. But it is utterly misleading to claim that a lack of money is the issue. Rather the money is spread arround too much for the budget. If we really wan´t to have a meaninfull conventional army, we should go all in on high tech and do away with the other crap like the type of always nest of right wing extremist “elite*” foot soldiers specialeced in meddling with poor countries and the like. The contraryis true with all the anti drone sentiment.

    Getting a subsidiced lng facility seems alright. Only too much market ideology stoped the construction so far. That said, the US approach to German gas markets still looks hypocritical and unhelpfull despite the Russian worst case outcome. Getting really serious about renewables very fast in addition would be better.

    *the “” should not just signify some general distrust against elite labels or putting them on army units – my impression is that aptitude based selection is particular non selective in those settings compared to what is made to believe.

  19. Don’t go near Chernobyl yet.

    And giod advuse. Check calculator & meter roundings advises Dr Eric Ding. 

    65,000nS/hr or 65microS/hr ~ like:
    – eating 633 bananas an hr.
    – 260 dental xrays per hr.

    “The radiation will never be higher in Chernobyl? oops! danny burstein
    Fri, 25 Feb 2022

    “Radiation meters in the extended Chernobyl area have been reading higher and higher, with many of them reporting numbers of 65500 nanosieverts/hr. Which is annoyingly high, but likely (hopefully…) simply a matter of (formerly) stable contaminated dirt and dust getting kicked up from tanks running over it and shelling, etc. But … this led to the following observation, which does add a bit more concern: [Twitter] “An explanation for my non-IT followers is in order. “Digital devices often store numerical values in data cells called a “double” (two times 8 bits). “The largest number it can store is (2 to the 16th, minus 1, which comes out to) 65535… which rounded down to the nearest hundred is 65500…” more at: twitter /KirilsSolovjovs status/ 1497001320015970310 twitter DrEricDing/status/ 1497011166341599274
    [fill in spaces]

    “Dose examples
    98nSv:Banana equivalent dose, an illustrative unit of radiation dose representing the measure of radiation from a typical banana[37][a]
    250nSv:U.S. limit on effective dose from a single airport security screening[38]5–10μSv:
    One set of dental radiographs[39]
    80μSv:Average (one time) dose to people living within 10 mi (16 km) of the plant during the Three Mile Island accident[40]
    400–600μSv: Two-view mammogram, using weighting factors updated in 2007[41]
    U.S. 10 CFR § 20.1301(a)(1) dose limit for individual members of the public, total effective doseequivalent, per annum[42]

  20. Time magazine’s Time Person of the Year features a person, a group, an idea, or an object that “for better or for worse… has done the most to influence the events of the year”. Some examples include:

    1938 Adolf Hitler
    1939 Joseph Stalin
    1942 Joseph Stalin (2)
    2007 Vladimir Putin

    Is Vlad trying to keep up with Joe?

  21. Per EIA data, for the month of Dec 2021, US Imports by Country of Crude Oil & Petroleum
    * All Countries: 265,228,000 barrels, equating to 8.56 Mb/d (100%)
    * Canada was: 148,258,000 barrels, equating to 4.75 Mb/d (56%)
    * Mexico was_ _ 19,989,000 barrels, equating to 0.64 Mb/d (7.5%)
    * Saudi Arabia: _ 17,039,000 barrels, equating to 0.55 Mb/d (6.4%)
    * Russia: _ _ _ _ 12,569,000 barrels, equating to 0.41 Mb/d (4.7%)

    Putting that in perspective, per EIA, US petroleum consumption in 2020 was an average of
    18.12 million barrels per day.

    Oil prices today (Mar 2) are currently around US$108 per barrel (WTI).

    Sanctions from other NATO members are likely to preclude them from receiving oil from Russia too. Oil prices will rise further.

    Some analysts are now suggesting the price will rise to US$150-170 range per barrel. (Aljazeera, Feb 24, “Russia invades Ukraine: What’s next for energy oil prices?”)

    The five-city average Australian petrol price was near A$1.70 per litre when the benchmark oil price was US$90 per barrel. An increase to US$125 a barrel would lift average Australian city prices to as much as $2.10 per litre. – per The Conversation piece by Vlado Vivoda on Feb 24.

    IMO, the energy crisis has arrived…

  22. Geoff… yes, and I still have a petrol car. Been +$2 near me for 1mth. Weirdly a town closer to Sydney than me has higher prices.

    Rouble, commodity transfers down, pains for ordinary russians.

  23. Meanwhile, with the Ukraine War and Australia’s floods, COVID-19 goes back under the radar. Politicians and businessmen pretend COVID-19 is gone. It isn’t and it is making a comeback globally and soon here too.

    “Every strain of #SARSCoV2 to date… has been replaced by a new variant that is more transmissible, more immunity-escaping or both. This pattern will likely be repeated…” Need multi-layered mitigation! Boost + test + mask + ventilate!” – Eric Feigl-Ding.

    “Let this sink in—The case fatality ratio of #COVID19 during the #Omicron surge in February is now on par with the Delta variant during the summer surge (in US). “Mild” my ass—milder matters little with exponential cases. That’s why hospital metrics wrong.” – Eric Feigl-Ding.

    “When over half of kids & half of young adults have gotten #COVID19–#LongCovid impact for years to come will be crazy high. That’s both physical illness, mental illness, cognitive deficits, and ballooning healthcare costs. Mark my works—we will regret “let it rip”. #CovidIsNotOver – Eric Feigl-Ding.

    “Super high EXCESS DEATHS in Denmark —the #COVID19 cases & deaths currently are almost all #BA2 subvariant! Danish govt has let virtually all mitigations go. Denmark very boosted—but surging cases invariably still allows a wave of hospitalizations & death to crest. #CovidIsNotOver – Eric Feigl-Ding.

    Australia’s cases are leveling at a plateau of 25,000 cases a day. With the waning of boosters, new variants, the approach of winter and the general forgetting about anti-COVID-19 measures other than mere imperfect, leaky vaccines, we can most likely expect another dangerous surge, remorselessly attacking our vulnerable people and then our children, in just a few months time.

    All of this ballyhoo about opening up means many more people will die avoidable deaths. But who cares? Able-ism, social Darwinism and eugenics rule, don’t they? An age when coffees, beers and holidays mean more than human lives.

    Climate Change.

    Climate change hasn’t gone away either, or did I just dream that rain bomb that dumped a meter of rain where I live in 3 or 4 days? Where I live is actually in a little storm shadow and rain shadow. We are usually drier than even surrounding suburbs. But (a few) houses flooded in my locality which have never flooded before in the 25 years I have lived here. Lost power for a day due to flooded infrastructure not fallen trees. That too is new. Last 12 months at least have been so wet I can’t mow my slippery slopes often enough. A large death adder took up residence in grass and gardens at my place. Never seen one before around here. Actually, never seen one before full stop. Usually too dry and open. Came with within centimeters of treading on it. Steel cap boots, knee-high snake gaiters, heavy clothing and thick gloves now de riguer for yard work… in sauna like conditions.

    But many flooded people up and down the east coast would love to have my problems. Our society needs to commence a staged retreat from flood prone areas. Whole towns and suburbs may have to be moved; or at least all their low-lying houses and infrastructure. Getting flooded every few years is not a sustainable way to live. Renters and poor people will need much assistance to move to flood-proof suburbs and new flood-proof estates. This then conflicts with the need to avoid new suburbs in dry sclerophyll uplands prone to catastrophic bush-fires. This is going to take a lot of brilliant planning and a great allocations of government finances and resources. Who am I kidding? The neoliberals will do nothing while the nation degrades and collapses.

  24. Ikonoclast: – “Politicians and businessmen pretend COVID-19 is gone. It isn’t and it is making a comeback globally and soon here too.

    It maybe still too early to tell, but it seems the NSW PCR positive tests & more importantly the positivity rate have recently begun to rise. I heard on the local news this morning that the local hospital is restricting entry to visitors due to increasing rates of local COVID-19 infections.

    Iko: – “But many flooded people up and down the east coast would love to have my problems. Our society needs to commence a staged retreat from flood prone areas. Whole towns and suburbs may have to be moved; or at least all their low-lying houses and infrastructure.

    Yep. In the YouTube video titled Professor Jason Box | Greenland today & [not for]
    tomorrow #COP26Glasgow
    , published 12 Nov 2021, glaciologist Jason Box says from time interval 0:13:50 (bold text my emphasis):

    A conservative lower-bound sea rise for land ice contributions, plus thermal expansion, translates to about a metre of sea level rise this century… from all global land ice, including Antarctica. Those projections, I say a lower bound because the Antarctic Ice Sheet, Greenland, other land ice, they have to continue behaving as they currently are. If we get a change in behaviour, for example, a major ice shelf disintegration in Antarctica, then the Antarctic contribution accelerates.

    Coastal Risk Australia provides an interactive map of which Australian coastal areas are at risk of flooding due to sea level rise (SLR). Select a location, choose ‘Manual’ mode and adjust the slider for the required SLR scenario. With 1 metre SLR + 1 metre storm surge then many places are at risk of inundation.

    I was surprised Sydney Kingsford Smith (SYD) Airport is vulnerable, beginning at only 1 m SLR, including the northern end of runway 16R/34L. So is Brisbane (BNE) Airport.

    It seems the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet is now unstoppable, per Jason Box. A planned retreat from vulnerable areas is now required. I’d suggest depending on vulnerability, various areas would need to be abandoned after specified dates, say by 2050, 2075, 2100, etc. If you still wish to live there after the date it’s at your own risk, but don’t expect any services/help. Adjustments to which areas would be abandoned would be dependent on ongoing observations/data. But I don’t see any politicians having the courage to even consider this.

  25. Maybe the melting of Greenkand and Antarctica will extinguish Australia in future.

    Runaway. Fires.
    This is the feedback loop which will render Australia with 50% less population carrying capacity and a wasteland.

    Unless severe countermeasures put in place “[fires] also exacerbate climate change, contributing significant greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere.”

    “Spreading like Wildfire: The Rising Threat of Extraordinary Landscape Fires

     “Spreading like Wildfire: The Rising Threat of Extraordinary Landscape Fires, by UNEP and GRID-Arendal, finds that climate change and land-use change are making wildfires worse and anticipates a global increase of extreme fires even in areas previously unaffected. Uncontrollable and extreme wildfires can be devastating to people, biodiversity and ecosystems. They also exacerbate climate change, contributing significant greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere.”

    Click to access wildfire_RRA.pdf

  26. Russia ETFs were still trading yesterday (not today it seems) -illiquid and priced to expropiation:

    Global stock markets are not down particular much, in particular measured in Euro, while Europe is down a bit.

    Diversification works, everybody with enough money to bother should have at least some (diversified) stocks. Not quite as much a luxury problem as you might think. Excessive hoarding of money in bank deposits in some nations had quite a bit of a negative impact on global financial system stability.

  27. Matt @crudeoilpeak tweeted yesterday (including a graph of Russian crude oil & condensate production – historical through projection to 2030):

    @IanEMacfarlane as Resource Minister under energy agnostic #JohnHoward is responsible for #Australia not having developed alternative transport fuels (flawed energy white paper June 2004). This will soon become apparent as Russia at 2nd & last #peakoil @s_mitchell @MatthewBevan

    Russian oil production peaked in 2019. I’d suggest sanctions on Russia for invading the Ukraine will likely dramatically stifle investment in new Russian oil production projects, worsening the rate of production decline from now on.

    Today (Mar 5) currently:
    * WTI crude: above US$115 per barrel.
    * Brent crude: above US$118 per barrel.

    Zali Steggall MP hosted a “Climate Leadership’ Forum on Mar 3, with:
    * Tim Buckley, Director of Climate Energy Finance, Australasia
    * Tim Flannery, Founder and Chief Councillor, Australian Climate Council
    * Heidi Lee, Chief Executive Officer, Beyond Zero Emissions

    Per independent candidate for Bradfield, Nicolette Boele, in a tweet by her on Mar 3, Tim Buckley said at the forum: “You won’t be able to buy a new internal combustion engine car within 10 years.

    It may perhaps be sooner.

  28. You won´t be able to heat a new constructed house in Germany with oil or gas in 3 years. At least that seems to be the de facto agreament of the coaltion, which completly escaped my attention or any broader public debate. Only became a topic now with regards to russian gas dependence. The vast majority of houses constructed now in constrast are heated with oil and gas – and they will stay with us another 100 years at least on average. If you got 100% or 95% electric cars in 10 years seems to me more of a symbolic question. The trickier part is what will happen with the old cars, or worse houses.
    Houses built right now should be design so they can be retrofited relativly easy. If things go as we hope, with a cheap renewable grid in a decade, those should be retrofited fast, mandate or not. For older ones things are less straightforward.

  29. hix: – “The vast majority of houses constructed now in constrast are heated with oil and gas – and they will stay with us another 100 years at least on average.

    But the oil and gas appliances in those homes won’t last 100 years! I’d suggest there certainly won’t be fuel for them.

    In the YouTube video titled Saul Griffith on the one billion machines that will electrify America, published 5 Jun 2021, Griffith says from time interval 0:08:45:

    There’re critical machines in the economy, and we need to electrify all of them as quickly as retire them. What does that mean. Next time you buy a water heater – has to be electric. Next time you buy a clothes-dryer – has to be electric. Etc. Etc. Our water heaters last 10 to 12 years. Our clothes-dryers: 12 to15. Our kitchen ranges: 15 to 20. … Our furnaces last 20 to 25 years. Our cars and trucks around 25 years. Our load centres: 40 or so. Every single time we replace any one of these machines in the next two decades, they need to be replaced with clean electric technology.

    We build one-and-a-half million new homes a year. That means in the next twenty, twenty-five years, we’ll build 25% of our building stock. They need to be all-electric homes. But it underscores that three-quarters of this job is going to be in retrofits. We have to retrofit our existing building stock with clean electric technology.

    Rising oil and gas prices (and potentially shortages/rationing) will push demand for electric technologies higher. Avoid the rush by switching now or prepare to go without?

  30. Earlier today, Professor Christina Pagel tweeted a thread including:

    Recently, ONS also published long covid report on school children. 1% & 2.7% of *all* primary & secondary school kids fulfilled all criteria for long covid. *before* the massive surges since Dec.
    That is a lot of children. See also this thread: 7/8

    With each epidemic wave, the numbers likely grow. Before we know it many young people are crippled, perhaps for life.

  31. Quislings/fifth columnists emerged in the lead-up to and during WW2.
    It seems to me we may be seeing potential traitors to democracy and western interests emerging now.

    Republican federal representative for Wyoming, Liz Cheney tweeted today:

    Douglas MacGregor, nominated by Trump as ambassador to Germany; appointed by Trump as sr advisor to the Secretary of Defense, says Russian forces have been “too gentle” and “I don’t see anything heroic” about Zelensky.

    This is the Putin wing of the GOP.

  32. As the fourth anniversary of the Biloea incident, the placing of the Nadesalingam family into detention, trundles on, what purpose does this serve? It is futile and turgid politic, to hold them hostage like this.

    The broader question is how do we see our role, in how we handle people who for the most part are legitimately escaping significant persecution, while dealing with those—like people smugglers—who seek to capitalise on the plight of those human beings? We seem to have swung from one extreme to another, with the very worst of our human behaviour seemingly in the dominant position on which extreme is in force.

    I would hope that we can resettle many Ukrainians here in Australia, but in such a manner that is fair to people who suffered (under our command) in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. There are SE Asian people in great need. There are African people in great need. Not just the people who have some kind of Christian denomination or sect, but just people. I don’t want us flooding Australia with an unmanageably large overall intake of migrants/refugees, but surely we can have much more reasonable intakes of people who, through absolutely no fault of their own, find themselves in a warzone, or persecuted. We have laughably small intake quotas.

    I would hope we get Ukrainians out to Australia, and that we put real effort into ensuring they get a fair starting point for lift-off. I can guarantee we won’t regret it. In the same vein, wouldn’t it be nice if we could do that for some of the homeless, or effectively homeless, people in Australis? We are not very generous as a government, although individual people and various groups are very generous, to the point of embarrassment, when compared to the government’s febrile efforts.

    My limited reading of Putin’s rhetoric is that Russian-Ukrainians are okay, they serve him a purpose; but, for the Ukraine-Ukrainian, Putin has essentially said they are not part of the Glory of Russia…although their land is! He’ll push however many million U-Us there are into the neighbouring countries, as just another lever for sowing discord. Efficiently moving these people to host countries is the way we blunt that. We can be a part of that, or we can continue to be arseholes towards people in desperate straits.

    I just ask our political representatives to consider this: one day, you have a career, money in the bank, a home and a family, and roots to the country you call home; the next day, you a have big backpack and three children in tow, no husband, and absolutely no money, just an all-consuming need to escape to another country. This is the reality for so many of them. If we can resettle these broken-up families, with the compassion and understanding that, some day, there might be a husband or uncle or brother, who wishes to reunite with the family in Australia, then that would go a long way to helping out people caught up in a single arsehole’s dystopic vision.

  33. We are not very generous as a government, although individual people and various groups are very generous, to the point of embarrassment, when compared to the government’s febrile efforts.

    Did you mean ‘feeble’?

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