Monday Message Board

Another Message Board

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

I’ve moved my irregular email news from Mailchimp to Substack. You can read it here. You can also follow me on Mastodon here

I’m also trying out Substack as a blogging platform. For the moment, I’ll post both at this blog and on Substack.

18 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. Two days ago we marked the 40th anniversary of the election of the Hawke Labor government.

    Of course that government included Ministers from the Right who championed big polluting projects and industries backed by big corporations, but in those days the ALP Left would at least put up a fight against them.

    Now Madeleine is the King of Labor’s climate policy and all the Left Ministers (including Albo) are her court jesters.

  2. Yes “and all the Left Ministers (including Albo) are her court jesters.”

    As newscorpse wields The Sword of Damocles, due to Rupe’s pact with the devil of circulation and as Insaid abive – Personal distress is THE newscorpse mantra and business model – the left and jesters have been spayed…

    “Underlying Australia’s inflation problem is a historic shift of income from workers to corporate profits”

  3. Paul, I was just doing an interview commenting on the irony of Albo attacking Bill Shorten (!) from the right in the leadup to the 2019 election.

    KT2, you were swamping the board, so I deleted all your comments except the response to Paul. Please post in the Sandpit from now on, unless you are directly engaging with discussion on the Message Baord

  4. I am bitterly disappointed and disillusioned in Albo and his government. That’s even given that my initial expectations were extremely low. Albo is a gormless, shallow fool who sees a helpless unfortunate stuck in a sucking quagmire. He talks some fine, aspirational words to the person and walks on. We are supposed to think that he is great because he didn’t crack the man on the head with a branch and then push him under with a stick. The latter is the standard big-L Liberal-National Party procedure towards ordinary unfortunates but not towards mates and oligarchs.

    The inaction on climate change, COVID-19, wages, inequality, public health, you name it, is becoming critical and highly dangerous. I fear for the future of Australia (and the globe of course).

  5. The COVID-19 Mortality Working Group of the Actuaries Institute published yesterday (Mar 6) an update of their estimates of excess deaths for Australia.

    In summary:

    * Total excess mortality for the first 11 months of 2022 is 11% (+17,900 deaths).
    * Our expectation is that excess mortality for the full year 2022 will be 12% i.e. there were nearly 20,000 more deaths in 2022 than would have been expected if the pandemic had not happened.
    * Just over half of the expected excess mortality for 2022 is due to deaths from COVID-19 (+10,300 deaths), with another +2,900 where COVID-19 was a contributing factor, and the remaining excess of +6,600 with no mention of COVID-19 on the death certificate.
    * While most of the excess deaths are in older age groups (i.e. 65+ years), excess mortality is a significant percentage in all age groups in 2022.
    * Most states and territories have had broadly similar levels of excess mortality in 2022, but the delayed re-opening of WA’s borders is reflected in a delayed uplift in mortality.

  6. Yes, the COVID-19 epidemic continues at a high base (and oscillating) level. The long term costs and damages (like the new, high excess deaths rate referred to in the actuaries’ report) are now being admitted quietly by the US CDC but without public admissions or reporting.

    The situation is clearly the same in Australia as shown by the actuaries’ report referred to above by Geoff. We have added a new major cause of death in all age groups and are treating it like it is nothing. What do we hear from Albo? Nothing. Crickets. The message to vulnerable people of all ages? “We are going to let you die, out of sight and out of mind. Or else you will have to self-isolate for the remaining term of your natural life to really stay safe.”

    I already know, or know of, people who were passably quite well until their first COVID-19 infection. Since their first infection they are not well anymore. New medical conditions have sprung up in them, not overnight, but within the first month to the first year post Covid. Now they are on a veritable plethora of medications and struggling in every sense, physically and psychologically. This is anecdotal evidence I know and the passage of a year can wreak such changes sometimes and anyway after a certain age. But the official numbers, including excess deaths, declining life-expectancy, increasing disability and long COVID data (where the authorities have not managed to cover up the data), indicate profound, extensive and numerous harms are being wreaked continuously by the endless COVID-19 pandemic. This is despite the (very leaky) vaccines and because of the refusal to implement any other meaningful controls or testing. It’s a crime against humanity: eugenics, social murder, democide. And it’s all really to protect the profits of a tiny, privileged, wealthy elite.

  7. Ourworldindata has a nice excess mortality count:

    Vaccine mandates would still be nice and useful, beyond that, guess it is what it is now, hiding or just accepting a rather massive risk of immediate death for the particular vulnerable. At omricon infection rates, repression looks difficult to me even as an utopic global coordination alternative.

    So here we go, the first drop in global average life expectancy and living standards since the end of world war 2.

  8. William Creek, a hamlet with 10 permanent residents, is South Australia’s contender for the Pole of Inaccessibility. It is not of course connected to any electricity grid. It has just gone 100% solar for its supply, with batteries. H/t Steve Hanley at CleanTechnica:

    What makes this anecdote more than amusing is the price. “The town’s previous diesel generated power was priced at approximately $1.20 per kWh. Now the town purchases its electricity for $0.287 per kWh.” The average residential electricity price in the NEM was 27c/kwh in 2022. William Creek is just about matching this with its rugged autarky, in spite of extreme remoteness, high transport and installation costs, and picayune scale. I believe that Western Australia is doing the same thing more systematically, switching remote communities to microgrids.

    Now apply this model to rural Africa. Costs can only get lower. Plenty has arrived, and cheap plenty, as I mentioned before.

  9. James, fantastic.
    And here a community which had a power price of $0.00.

    Now? Full market prices Leading to the imo, absurd idea to aquire money -ABC below:
         “When they found out their community would be charged for electricity for the first time, a group of young Yalata Anangu took action.”

    Some do not get the same treatment in remote SA.

    Yalata still 50% diesel and billed via a private for profit, after solar install.

    I picked tree seeds in the NT for 3 mths on a mini sabatical from IT / Sydney / jaueiced view of capitalism and bullshizer tech.

    Even getting dead wood for firewood, as these ‘enterprising’ – read poor – Yalata title holders, are now doing, they will degrade the biodiversity. The mulga var. trees are v slow growing and dense. Superb firewood. I’ve burnt them. We used to have “Charcoal Chicken” signs everywhere in Australia until about 2000. All powered by SA mulga stump charcoal. Yum. The trade was stopped because? – obviously the trees became scarce and denuded the environment with flow on effects to landscape and biodiversity.

    Wikipedia “mulga” Flora tab;
    Acacia Acacia aneura (mulga or true mulga, a shrub or tree native to Australia)
    Mulga apple, its edible gall
    Any of many similar Acacia species, such as:”…

    Market pricing Leading to;

    “Yalata firewood business creates jobs, reduces power bills and … – ABC › news › yalata-firewoo…

    20 Nov 2022 · The community has come up with a way to help reduce energy costs by starting a business to cut and package firewood that it sold nationally …”

    “Yalata firewood business makes community proud – ABC Radio › programs › storystream

    28 Nov 2022 · When they found out their community would be charged for electricity for the first time, a group of young Yalata Anangu took action.”

    1 step fwd 10 trees back.

    I previously have flooded the board with above,
    … yet no response. This link contains lots of details re supplier and biodiversity surveys. 22 trees for example stood out to me.

    Leading me to conclude “Cunningham’s Law” & controversy power communications, which was deleted yesterday.
    “Cunningham’s Law”
    “Cunningham is credited with the idea: “The best way to get the right answer on the Internet is not to ask a question; it’s to post the wrong answer.”[16]

    “Howard G. Cunningham (born May 26, 1949) is an American computer programmer who developed the first wiki and was a co-author of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. A pioneer in both design patterns and extreme programming, he started coding the WikiWikiWeb in 1994,”…


  10. Geoff,

    Congratulations. Lucky last on the submissions acceptance list and I am sure not the least. I think I can safely say so even though I have not read the other submissions. I agree with all your points. To me they are all indisputable empirical facts fully supported by science or else scientific predictions bearing something like 95% plus probabilities of being proven correct. The position we are in is so bad most people can’t even conceive it. I’ve been predicting we would get into this bad position since about 1975, IF we did not immediately (back then) get to work on radically changing our political economy and our physical (thermo and materials) economy.

    This dated from my reading of Limits to Growth. A friend and I even predicted in a short co-authored undergrad paper at that time that humans would not heed the warnings of science and would proceed on to generate the very predicted catastrophe which is now imminent. Essentially, climate change, COVID-19 (or modern pandemics in general) and resource shortages are all aspects of limits to growth. I used to bend ears about this decades ago. People turned off and wouldn’t listen to me. Some cut me dead socially. I cut more than a few dead in turn. Figuratively speaking of course.

    A large proportion of people are science illiterate; “energy blind” and materials blind. Another large proportion are into double-think. They know basic science and basic physics. But as soon as they start talking about economics their science and physics knowledge goes straight out the window and they somehow start talking and reasoning in a manner where economics trumps physical laws and economics can somehow overcome physical limits. They are able to believe “six impossible things before breakfast” as Lewis Carroll wrote.

    Also, a great number of humans trapped in the developing and undeveloped world have little or no choice. They must satisfice or even live day to day and can only do so in the ways that poverty, over-population and post-imperial capitalism permit. We in the developed world did have a choice. We had a choice to stop wasting resources so badly and to stop exploiting the developing and undeveloped world in ways which were not sustainable for anyone. We did not make those choices. Our crimes are manifest.

    What we face is a system which cannot stop or change itself: too much momentum and too many vested interests. We can only hope that a revolutionary change in mass human consciousness occurs. I mean in the false consciousness to realistic consciousness sense and not in any metaphysical sense. We need a revolutionary change in ethics and moral philosophy too. Finally, conventional economics in its entirety must be seriously reconsidered as potentially a degenerate research program (in the Lakatos sense) and a failed prescriptive system for socioeconomic and civilization organization. I may “sandpit” on this last topic sometime.

  11. From the latest CoalWire (now a newsletter not a blog) – my emphasis:
    “The EU regulation also omits establishing a threshold for metallurgical coal mining, which is more methane-intensive than thermal coal.

    The source is German NGO Ember, which cites the UNFCC for the proposition – but it’s limited to Europe, where most thermal coal is surface-mined lignite. The ratio for methane in European coalmining is 6:1. What is the ratio for Australia?

    I didn’t know anything about this. Whether the gap is global or European, it makes the switch to green hydrogen DRI more urgent, and strengthens the case for a sectoral transition subsidy or levy-and-rebate scheme. The latter should be administratively feasible as there are no small steelworks.

  12. So far, the Australian contribution to the defence of Ukraine has been useful but low-key. This may have changed. The USAF has announced delivery of JDAM-ER glider bombs to Ukraine – a weapon developed by Boeing with significant Australian input.

    The JDAM is a very effective and nasty weapon, allowing warplanes to attack with high precision from a safe distance. With the ER variant, the standoff range has increased to an announced 74 km. You would think that the UAF can get close enough to quite a few tempting targets. The plane can approach to that distance flying at a safe low level, then climb quickly to 35,000 feet for release, exposing itself for just a few minutes. The bomb pops out its little wings, and navigates to the target entirely by GPS without further intervention, so it is pretty much unjammable. It flies quite slowly, so is vulnerable to air defences – if they can detect it. This is hard as a bomb is much smaller than a plane, and has no heat signature.

    The JDAM kit is cheap at a mere $24,000 each, far less than any powered missile, so air forces can afford to waste a few. The bombs are standard kit in a range of sizes from 200 lb to 2,000 lb, and there are vast numbers in stock.

    If glider bombs are such a great idea for wars, why does the Russian Air Force apparently not have any? The answer presumably lies in the parlous state of the Russian electronics industry. There is just one chipmaker, Mikron. It makes 6,000 wafers a month, and its latest products boast a 65 nm feature size. The world leader is Taiwan’s TSMC. It made its first 65 nm chips in 2005, and is now down to 5 nm, one-thirteenth the size. It makes 1 million wafers a month. Since the number of equivalent chips per wafer increases as the square of the linear decrease in size, TSMC must begetting over a hundred times as many chips per wafer as Mikron, very roughly 16,000 times as many equivalent chips per month. (Feel free to check my arithmetic.) In uncorrected raw numbers, the difference will be much less because TSMC will be making many sophisticated chips like s smartphone SOCs, which Mikron can’t manufacture at all. In world terms, the Russian semiconductor industry is a rounding error.

    The Netherlands government has just announced export restrictions on the very advanced ultraviolet chip lithography machines made by national champion ASML, a spinout from Philips. The measure is aimed at China. They don’t have to bother with Russia. Mikron probably could not operate the machine even if they got their hands on one.

  13. James Wimberley: – “The ratio for methane in European coalmining is 6:1. What is the ratio for Australia?

    Global Energy Monitor looks at Estimating methane emissions from coal mines at:

    It seems the higher the energy density of coal is and the deeper the coal is in situ the more methane emissions that can occur when mining. Australia’s underground coal mines are on average the deepest in the world, and Queensland has some of the best metallurgical coal mines in the world.

    Per CSIRO:

    In Australia, fugitive methane emissions from coal mining and handling and decommissioned mines represented 5.3 per cent of Australia’s total net GHG emissions in 2017.

    Methane is also a serious safety concern in coal mining, for methane is explosive at a concentration between 5-15%.

    Per a paper published in Environmental Science & Technology on 29 Nov 2021 titled Methane Emissions from Superemitting Coal Mines in Australia Quantified Using TROPOMI Satellite Observations, it included in the Abstract:

    Two years of satellite observations were used to quantify methane emissions from coal mines in Queensland, the largest coal-producing state in Australia. The six analyzed surface and underground coal mines are estimated to emit 570 ± 98 Gg a–1 in 2018–2019. Together, they account for 7% of the national coal production while emitting 55 ± 10% of the reported methane emission from coal mining in Australia. Our results indicate that for two of the three locations, our satellite-based estimates are significantly higher than reported to the Australian government. Most remarkably, 40% of the quantified emission came from a single surface mine (Hail Creek) located in a methane-rich coal basin. Our findings call for increased monitoring and investment in methane recovery technologies for both surface and underground mines.

  14. Hail Creek is a metallurgical coalmine. It looks as if the answer to my question is qualitatively that Australia follows the European pattern. Its metallurgical coal mines produce more methane than its thermal coal mines.

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