Allan Takes Aim Blog

Archive for December 2011

On New Year’s Day when resolutions are all the go I, like many others, will make some but in the interests of personal safetey will keep them secret.

Bear in mind that Hogmanay (to the uninitiated that means New Year’s Day)is the day most celebrated by Scots. Like many of my countrymen I shall do my best to do it justice as I have done every year no matter where I was living at the time.

It is also the day that not only will the international anthem of humanity ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ written by the famous Scots poet Rabbie Burns, echo through the Scottish glens but also through communities in countries far, far away from Scotland on all the world’s continents.

I hope the sentiment of the anthem becomes the standard in life that everyone, everywhere, will come to follow.

But let me not spoil anyone’s enjoyment of New Year. Make your resolutions and do your best to keep them.

Unfortunately because of computer problems this will be my last post for at least ten days. So let me sign off in my native tongue with a traditional wish for you all: Slainte Mhath (Good Health).

First published The Chronicle, Canberra, Tuesday 20 December, 2011

Although agnostic I like Christmas, as do most Canberrans. People who don’t, it seems to me, are people short of the spirit of giving and happy childhood memories that, at Christmas, overcome the sad memories such as periods of personal sickness, death of a sibling or death of a parent. Indeed as I grow older and see children in Canberra enjoying Christmas, that childhood joy I experienced at Christmas has not diminished; if anything it has grown stronger because I now realise why it gave me joy.

The origin of Christmas comes with a story that pre dates the day now called Christmas Day, a recognised public holiday and revered by Christians as the day they believe that Jesus Christ the Son of God was born. The truth is, Christmas Day derives from a ritual observed by an ancient pagan agrarian society that offered gifts to its gods to ensure good spring harvests and prosperity.

And though people profess to belief the religious aspect of Christmas Day they still observe its pagan origins only their gift giving is more Mammon (Mammon: a Sumerian deity whose name translates into property and is synonymous with wealth, greed and avarice in the New Testament) than religious and the wishes slightly different. What many people wish for today is a harvest rich in material things. Sadly that rich harvest is found in places where Mammon still holds sway rather than religion. The Sumerian civilisation might have passed but the belief in Mammon has not.

What redeems society today is the innocence of children one sees exemplified by children on Christmas Day because venality is absent. Having no idea of the cost of their Christmas gifts, lavish or otherwise, the squeals of joy and pleasure as they unwrap their gifts, as they unwrap them best expresses their value. Would it were otherwise but, unfortunately, and too quickly, children grow up and lose their innocence.

But Christianity is not the only religion with days of celebration: Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Muslims also have days of celebration; the Bahá’í celebrate according to the Bahá’í calendar while Jews have several celebratory seasons: the Spring Feasts of Pesach (Passover) and the Fall Feasts of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Shemini Atzeret. None however, are the equivalent of Christmas Day

Although such differences should not make any difference in our alleged multi-cultural society, these celebrations seem to be treated as less important than Christmas. In a sense this conflicts with Christianity, which preaches peace and good will to all men, outcomes that more often are seen in the breach than the observance.

Even more sadly the fact that peace and good will seem permanently absent between people world wide, raises the important question: will peace and goodwill ever become permanent residents of our world? I hope so. Even if my attempts to practice this philosophy – which is how I try to treat everyone on every day of the year occasionally fails, I cannot, and will not, accept, that even on the basis of religion, race and status, peace and good will between all people is impossible.

Without effort and with faith absent, it is children who give meaning to the message of peace and good will at Christmas. Children do not distinguish themselves from children of other colours or faith. In this they are unlike adults who, in many cases, because of blind beliefs imprison their children behind what are often impenetrable walls of prejudice.

I can only abjure adults to look at children for whom race and religion are meaningless and copy their behaviour. By doing so they will help create a world where peace and good will are permanent. Perhaps too, they could do no better than daily recite the poem by William Wordsworth: My heart leaps up when I behold/ A rainbow in the sky:/So was it when my life began;/So is it now I am a man;/ So be it when I shall grow old,/Or let me die!/The Child is father of the Man;/I could wish my days to be/Bound each to each by natural piety.

With peace and good will Boadicea and I wish you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
dca@netspeed.com.au; http://www.donallan.wordpress.com
The Chronicle for Canberra’s best community news. Published every Tuesday.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again that while I’m always trying to think of ways to do things better I stress that videos etc are not what I do: I write.

And not to confuse people, but Allan Takes Aim is the website and every blog has its own caption. Every blog is published in The Chronicle, Canberra, and is approximately 700 words long. The only longer blogs are pieces written for possible publication in Online Opinion which, in my opinion, is Australia’s best opinion website.

Having done it myself I’ve written pieces and letters to the editor and rushed them off without having taken care to make sure the contents were readily understandable.

It would be remiss of me not to mention that many of the comments I receive seem to fall into that categoryand so are deleted or trashed rather than approved.

There’s nothing a writer fears more than their work being deleted. I make mention of this to help you avoid that happening.

But what you should not fear when making comment about a blog I have published is that I won’t read your comment. Let me assure you that I read every comment. I do not reply to every comment but when I feel the comment merits a reply I make one.

So that every one can read this comment I will also publish it as a short blog. And if you have any comment to make about it please make one. One last thing: if you are making a comment please make it relevant to a particular blog. If you disgree with what I’ve written then say so. It is this variety of opinion that gives blogs relevance because it shows people are thinking about what they are writing.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again that while I’m always trying to think of ways to do things better I stress that videos etc are not what I do: I write.

And not to confuse people, but Allan Takes Aim is the website and every blog has its own caption. Every blog is published in The Chronicle, Canberra, and is approximately 700 words long. The only longer blogs are pieces written for possible publication in Online Opinion which, in my opinion, is Australia’s best opinion website.

Having done it myself I’ve written pieces and letters to the editor and rushed them off without having taken care to make sure the contents were readily understandable.

It would be remiss of me not to mention that many of the comments I receive seem to fall into that categoryand so are deleted or trashed rather than approved.

There’s nothing a writer fears more than their work being deleted. I make mention of this to help you avoid that happening.

But what you should not fear when making comment about a blog I have published is that I won’t read your comment. Let me assure you that I read every comment. I do not reply to every comment but when I feel the comment merits a reply I make one.

So that every one can read this comment I will also publish it as a short blog. And if you have any comment to make about it please make one. One last thing: if you are making a comment please make it relevant to a particular blog. If you disgree with what I’ve written then say so. It is this variety of opinion that gives blogs relevance because it shows people are thinking about what they are writing.
dca@netspeed.com.au
donallan

This is the unabridged text of the article published Tuesday 13, 2011 in The Chronicle, Canberra. The Chronicle, best for Canberra’s community news is published every Tuesday.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, repetition is surely the ultimate form of boredom, a condition I experience many times as I surf the net, scan the newspapers and watch TV News broadcasts hoping I can decide what is news and what isn’t. No doubt many of you have had similar experiences.

News comes in many guises but generally, can be categorised as politics – serious, and what politicians think is serious; scandal – no matter who or what is involved; and the behaviour of celebrities and would be celebrities.

A death, other than natural, is also treated as news, as is sex – the more outlandish the better. Unfortunately as all media treat death and sex the same way, after reading or hearing the same story for the umpteenth time, it gets boring.

The unfortunate result of getting bored is that it can lead to death because boredom is a more lethal condition than many of today’s conditions that lead either to people killing themselves or killing other people.

So, if after watching, reading or listening to the ‘news’ you’re in a state of utter boredom you should sign up for the free ‘Go for life’ program. But a word of warning before signing up: please make sure you read the disclaimer that says: users of the program do so at their own risk and in full knowledge of the fact that should they end up dead no blame can be attached to the creator of the program.

But don’t let this put you off. Up to press I’ve not heard the program being accused of causing a death. Let me also add as a precaution, and to show your family that you’re always thinking about them, you might find it advisable to check if your life insurance is up to date. If it isn’t, it might be wise to correct the situation.

Although you might think you don’t need the program let me show you its benefits. For example: it suggests that if you spend too long at your computer and want to avoid becoming obese, you could profit by surfing the net for programs that will help you avoid obesity.

Go for Life will also point out that keeping obesity in check has some bonuses. Not getting obese will not only help you save money by not having to buy as much food but also the money you save can be spent on myriad items that up until then had been unaffordable.

Not that obesity is the only problem that boredom can bring. The program will point out that as you surf the web and scan the newspapers you could come across a story about how some new super drink, reinforced with alcohol, will keep you awake for hours on end and make you feel like superman or superwoman. However, it will also advise you to be careful because like drugs, the super feeling is both fleeting and dangerous.

It will then go on to point out many stories say the super drink turned some people, previously thought normal, into raving lunatics. And although you know that won’t happen to you I thought it worth mentioning, just in case some of your friends have been acting oddly.

And naturally too, because they’re friends and you know them well, you know they wouldn’t be acting oddly because of either the super drink or drugs. Being sensible like you they wouldn’t be caught dead doing such silly things. And if next time you see them they are lying in a coffin you’ll immediately come to the conclusion that their death must have been an accident. Won’t you?

What else could it have been? Now I know that you know it is silly to use drugs and as you’re not silly you’ll never get hooked. To prove it, you’ll even try “e” a couple of times and if you don’t have any trouble you’ll think your strong enough to resist getting hooked. That said, I wonder how many people now pushing up daisies have said the same?

Of course they might well be right but as the ‘Go for Life’ program is free you might as well sign up?
dca@netspeed.com.au; http://www.wordpress.com.au
The Chronicle on line@facebook

This is the full text of the article, abreviated for lack of space,published in The Chronicle, Tuesday, 6 December, 2011

Why do I, a non – scientist, believe in cold fusion? It’s not because I suffer from the martyr syndrome having been laughed at for my belief and been described as deluded and a cent short of a dollar. But let my detractors laugh: I will have the last laugh even if it comes from the urn containing my ashes.

The fact is I am entitled to believe in cold fusion just as much as IPCC scientists, economists such as Stern and Garnaut, not to mention Al Gore, the High Priest of the global warming/climate change religion whose bible is his film “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Unlike them, my belief is not based on models but on the work of two Italian physicists, Professor Focardi and Professor Rossi from the University of Bologna. Like the Americans Fleischman and Pons, they claim to have developed Cold Fusion (LENR) in a small device called the e-cat. However, unlike Fleischman and Pons their device has been demonstrated publicly and successfully. The latest demonstration was early in November.

After this demonstration, a big US organisation purchased a device and while it wished to keep its identity secret, on November 6, Fox News said it was the US Navy. That the US Navy, with it huge number of ships, would want to use their device is not surprising. A small device that could produce limitless clean energy that would power ships without the need to refuel would clearly be of benefit to any navy. But that leading media outlets – Wired, Discovery, CBS News, Fox, Yahoo News, Daily Mail, MSNBC, LiveScience, Forbes, EE Times – have now reported favourably on the device shows that cold fusion has come in from the cold.

Adding to the credibility of the device, eminent Swedish physicist Professor Hanno Essen, a member of the Swedish Skeptics Society (recently President) an observer at the last demonstration, has given the device his stamp of approval. So too has Eminent physicist, Emeritus Professor George H Miley from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign.

The fact also, that a further thirteen devices have been sold also helps rebut the idea that cold fusion is a hoax and Focardi and Ross modern alchemists. That some physicists still regard the device as a hoax smacks to me of jealousy, a condition not unknown among the less talented. The inconvenient truth: they are sceptics.

This leads me to ask what these sceptics would say to the physicists at Daresbury, England (an Oxford campus), currently working on a large cold fusion reactor they hope will be commercially available in 2019 or physicists working hard on cold fusion in research establishments around the world. Were he still alive, I’m sure world-renowned Australian physicist Sir Mark Oliphant would be pleased and be pleased also that his idea of fusion as a power source has now been confirmed.

That said, rather than persist in demanding money be spent on updating wind turbines et al, why aren’t environmentalists shouting from the rooftops for the accelerated development of fusion to reduce pollution and provide an inexhaustible supply of clean energy?

More to the point, why isn’t the Australian government giving more money to Australian physicists working on cold fusion, something that should have been done long ago, rather than burdening people with a carbon tax instead of entrenching themselves as politicians (and not to repeat my Galileo phrase of last week) of whom I would say: there’s none so blind as those who will not see.

If only to give heart to the fossil fuel industries and various purveyors of clean energy, let me end on a positive note. It will take time to introduce Cold Fusion. It will be introduced progressively and so, for some time to come, coal and oil will still be needed. Wind turbines and other clean energy technologies will also continue to be used, but like coal and oil, their future will be limited.

However, by investing in the development of Cold Fusion, Australia has the opportunity to lead the world and become the clean energy country. And so I say to those who want a clean environment for their children and grandchildren, start campaigning now for cold fusion.
dca@netspeed.com.au; http://www.donallan.wordpress.com
The Chronicle, for Canberra’s best Community News. Published every Tuesday

This is not a Chronicle article but the follow up to an article “An agnostics view of same sex marriage” published in Online Opinion some weeks ago.

Regardless of what pop star philosopher Sir Elton John, some politicians in a few parliaments around the world and some members of Australia’s Labor Party think, marriage has long been understood by the wider society as a contract between a man and a woman whether or not the woman would bear children. Indeed, in centuries past, when obviously the latter would never occur, many marriages took place for business reasons or consolidation of power.

It must be said also that even before men began to put their faith in gods, wise people created what eventually became the institution called marriage to ensure that couples who bore children would also be responsible for them. The couples also became known as father and mother in a system that has served the world well and as it hasn’t broken down, it doesn’t need fixing.

However, supporters of same sex marriage – though gay is the word commonly used – claim that the Marriage Act does not treat them as equals of couples who become mothers and fathers. In Australia the fact that by adding Gay Marriage to its policy platform the Australian Labor Party (ALP) wearing its Utopian cloak, has bowed to one of the world’s silliest pieces of political correctness. In effect it has said that when it comes to marriage, homosexuals and lesbians whose sexual coupling cannot produce children are the same as heterosexuals. It seems to me this proposition lacks credibility a condition not unknown among politicians.

But unfortunate as it might be, no man made law can force nature to make it possible for two male homosexuals or two lesbians to produce children. It is that fact that bears on the Marriage Act fact because the law recognises that same sex couple will never face the physical pain attached to childbearing, the legal responsibilities of mothers and fathers or, for the benefit of society, participate in the continuation of family.

As a non-religious person however let me pose the question: is marriage really a right? This question would make for an interesting televised national debate along competition lines between competing groups of Australian Lawyers and Philosophers. The debate would, I feel sure, rate well. And if viewers were polled a few days later the result might well show whether or not the claim by supporters of Gay Marriage that the majority of Australians support same sex marriage is true.

More to the point, what concerns me about Gay Marriage in multicultural Australia is: what is the opinion of its many non Christians – Jains, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and a whole raft of people who follow other faiths? Does their opinion count for nothing?

The claim by some homosexuals and lesbians that they are fathers or mothers because they have children is spurious. The fact is, the children they have are the product of heterosexual coupling or in-vitro fertilisation.

And Gay people often talk about love as if their love is the same as that experienced by heterosexuals. The love I felt, and still feel for my wife, that led to marriage is clearly not the same as the love experienced by non – heterosexuals because it was driven by a wish for family continuity, not something Gay Couples can claim.

With my niece in Scotland in a civil union, let me add that many homosexuals and lesbians do not want marriage. Why? According to my niece it is because they want to be accepted for what they are: they do not want to hide their difference in the “Marriage Act.” I agree with them.

Recently while discussing Gay Marriage with close friends in Canberra who are homosexual, some said that to try and put Gay Marriage in the same category as marriage between heterosexuals is the equivalent of trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ears; others said it was the equivalent of making mountains out of molehills. And yet another suggestion was that a Gay Marriage Act should be enacted because it would ensure equality and recognise the difference.

It seems to me this last suggestion is worth discussing. While some parts of such an Act might follow the Marriage Act it would be different because the responsibilities applying to a heterosexual couple’s married life – particularly if they have children would be different. These responsibilities, so numerous I won’t deign to try and catalogue them, would not be the same as those that would face a Gay couple.

What say you?
dca@netspeed.com.au; web: http://www.donallan.wordpress.com

  • Published The Chronicle,  Canberra, Tuesday, 29th November, 2011 

“Showing a greater fondness for their own opinions than for truth, they sought to deny and disprove the new things which, if they had cared to look for themselves, their own senses would have demonstrated to them.” Galileo Galilei, 1615

Senator Bob Brown, Energy Minister Greg Combet AM, and Shadow Minister Greg Hunt, never mention Cold Fusion (Low Energy Nuclear Reaction) as the answer to global warming and climate change, even though it would produce clean, safe, nuclear energy and stop anthropogenic warming. Perhaps they don’t because politically it would not be expedient?

But politicians and climate change believers are not alone in keeping quiet about Cold Fusion. CEOs of fossil fuel industries never mention it either. Indeed, they deride Cold Fusion as pie in the sky. Why? Is it because Cold Fusion will turn coal and oil into minor industries?

Unlike nuclear fission, cold fusion cannot be used to make bombs but what it can do is provide energy without danger to either mankind or the environment – thus no more Chernobyls or Fukushimas.

Pie in the sky best describes the comments made in 1989 when two American physicists, Fleischmann and Pons, claimed to have created cold fusion. Unfortunately in a public trial, their experiment failed whereupon it was called a hoax with both men derided by peer group physicists as being like ancient alchemists who claimed to have turned lead into gold.

But hoaxers they were not. And if anyone had failed it was their peers who had not done their homework else they would have known that in 1951, Nobel Laureate Physicist Glenn Seaborg, turned lead into gold, a result confirmed in 1972 when two Soviet scientists did the same. That apart, transmutation regularly occurs in physics.

Transmutation aside it is my contention that, since the end of WWII, if the financial resources used to develop fission to meet the needs of war had been used to develop fusion, the world’s increasing need for supplies of limitless clean energy would be well on the way to being met.

Instead, based on increasingly doubtful IPCC projections about global warming caused by CO2, Australia and other Western countries assisted the development of a plethora of “green” industries. Sadly, it has to be said that, in Australia, much of that development was undertaken by shonky businesses of whom it could be said they did so with a government approved story that if householders didn’t invest in clean energy the future for their children and grandchildren would be grim. My only comment: when things sound too bad to be true, they usually are.

Unfortunately, because of bad installation the predicted dire future came early for many householders. And adding insult to injury, in July next year they will be saddled with an unnecessary carbon tax, despite most Australians having made it overwhelmingly clear to the Government that they do they believe in global warming but like me accept that climate is in a permanent state of flux.

Effectively the carbon tax not only guaranteed the Greens and Independents a voice in a minority Labor Government but also guaranteed The Greens a future, no matter how limited. That said, however, the Opposition’s Direct Action seems no better. It also seems to me that by not urging development of Cold Fusion, the IPCC and supporters of global warming are endangering Australia and the world’s future with their belief that unless we accept their alarming hypotheses, the world will become an environmental disaster.

In rushing to put their ideas into action they seem to have forgotten that parts of the environment are visual spectacles thus I find it ironical they advocate destroying this spectacles with wind turbines whose place in the landscape is better suited to fairgrounds and theme parks. Being such poor visual spectacles I doubt many artists will rush to paint them.

But not only is it ironical, it is incredible also that, even as they advocate the destruction of the infrastructure that has polluted the earth over the years, they are now advocating its replacement with new visual pollution. And that’s only part of it; they are advocating desecration of the seascape too.

dca@netspeed.com.au

The Chronicle for Canberra’s best community news. Published every Tuesday

Part II of the above post will be published Thursday 8 December



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