Allan Takes Aim Blog

Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

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 Ideas constipation is a political ailment

One thing’s become clear to me during the current election campaign: the side that will win Saturday’s election is the one giving voters a sense of confidence that the future will be better than the past.

One would think political parties would have learned this lesson by this time. Labor however, has chosen to continue in the same vein by producing ideas they say are innovative and the basis of new and constructive policies for the future but which, when examined seem like echoes of past ideas and policies that were tried and found wanting, which is why I say  ideas constipation is a political ailment.

More to the point, Labor tried to cure its constipation when its Treasurer increased its dosage of financial debt medication and changing Prime Ministers. But the new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd instead of suffering from constipation, seemed to suffer from verbal diarrhoea with words tumbling from him in torrents.

And did voters understand him? Unfortunately, he was the only one who seemed to understand them with opinion polls not only suggesting they did not understand him but wished him gone. Unfortunately for him, many ministers in his government felt the same.

His opponent Tony Abbott started off with the same level of popularity as Kevin Rudd is now enjoying though I doubt based on his narcissistic persona, he’s finding it enjoyable. Clearly too, Mr Abbott read the electorate better than Mr Rudd. Indeed in some respects the race to the finishing line in the election could be likened to that fabled race between the tortoise and the hare because despite Abbott’s slow speed it looks as if he will get there before Rudd.

Of the other parties none, except the Palmer United Party, expect to win. But not does its constant optimism lighten the political arena it is one of the best examples of political bravado I’ve seen for a long time, even that of the Greens.

The Greens are an odd party. Apart from members with a strong left wing socialist bias it attracts the odds and sods of politics. How any sane person can think the adoption of its policies will keep the world of the future in its current environmental state is beyond belief. And its fanciful ideas on how to cure global warming are in the same category. A world powered by windmills is symptomatic of its delusional fancies and total disregard of Mother Nature’s role in guiding the world since it began which includes the attraction of opposites and the creation of children, which brings me to its push for gay marriage.

I am sick to death of hearing that unless “LOVE” between members of the LGBTI can be translated into marriage they do not have equality in society. Nor do I have time for religious zealots who think marriage a religious sacrament.

Not being of any religious persuasion myself, I do not believe love is necessary for marriage and if LGBTI people cannot understand that, then they really don’t understand marriage and alsoy clearly have little understanding of what equality means.

Comment welcome.

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Posted on: 28 June 2013

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Fusion energy is the real climate changer

The following article is addressed to young people who, claim climate change alarmists, are very worried about the future of the planet.  The only reply I can give to that is: when I was a young man one of my main worries was the disappearance of young women from my usual haunts. So if the young today are worried about the planet’s future I’d like to know from them where they get the information that worries them, from other than that put out by alarmists.

Another question: when the alarmists talk about the young what do they mean by young? Do they mean 16, 18, 20, 22, 24 0r 26 or is young only in comparison to themselves? That apart, what do the alarmists mean when they say the science of climate change is settled? Does it mean that no further examination of their proposition is needed?

I can only say that these people are strange scientists; science is never settled. Indeed, if over the ages people had taken the view that science could be settled, some of the greatest innovations in the world today would have some of the world’s greatest legendary engineering, medical, astronomical and myriad other scientists – think Copernicus, Galileo, Newton – gasping in amazement.

That these scientists became legends is due to the fact that like all great scientists, they were always sceptical about claims from alchemists and other so called scientists that they had discovered the elixir of life or how to transmute base metals into gold.

Not a physicist, or engineer or scientist but just an ‘ordinary (whatever that means) member of the community it is unlikely that at my late stage in life, and much as I am a sceptic it is unlikely that I will invent or discover something that will put me into the legendary category.

But I have made it my business to read as much history as I can about how the weather has changed over millenniums – apart from personal experience of variable weather over my lifetime. From my reading I have come to the conclusion that mother-nature has always determined, and still does, without recourse to advice from the IPCC or the Australian Climate Commission, when and climate change will occur.

I have concluded also that climate change has been a constant in the life of planet earth, and that AGW (anthropogenic global warming) has had little to do with it.

But the strangest thing of all is that the very people who see themselves as being the ‘experts’ at the summit of climate change science have done little else except promote the cure of AGW as a range of equipment that will produce the very thing they say they want to cure. If they wanted to walk in the footsteps of the legendary scientists, they would be spending their efforts bringing to fruition as soon as possible, commercial nuclear fusion plants that will generate clean and limitless power not only in Australia but across the world.

Like many others, however, I suspect many of them are so ambitious to be seen as saviours of the planet that they put their own overweening ambitions before the saving of the planet and its various communities.

The problem of course is as usual, that some of the IPCC scientists and Climate Change Commission suckle on the money teats of various Government funding bodies because their vanity will not allow them to be seen as less than best.

But the strangest thing to me is the absence of any mainstream media reports about how the Particle Physicists at the ANU are helping fusion stride towards being one of the main cures for global warming. Rarely, indeed, are they ever interviewed.

On the other hand economists and non-scientists members of green and environmental groups are often interviewed with the latter talking about the danger of nuclear energy. They are perpetrating a fraud, because the dangerous nuclear energy is fission not fusion- let me say it again: FUSION!

Their alternative argument is that fusion will not be available until the year 2100 – if ever. I shall be polite and say Balderdash. Clearly they do not keep up with fusion development or they would never say fusion energy is nothing but a dream.

Comment welcome.

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Is the National Broadcaster still Your ABC ?

It seems to me after forty four years of listening to the ABC for up to date news and opinions about issues facing the community in which I lived, of which 39 years have been spent in Canberra., that the ABC is denying the right of people whose opinion seems to be at odds with some in the ABC, to make their views known. In a sense the ABC seems to have stopped being Your ABC and has become the property of ABC staff making it: ‘Their ABC.’

This comment is made because of what seems to me the ABC’s abuse of its role as the community broadcaster following the Community Forum in Canberra held Monday evening 17 June held in the Playhouse Theatre, Canberra Theatre Centre to find out community views on the Australian Climate Commission’s report on global warming and climate change.

On Tuesday 18th June, Sarah Clarke the ABC’s national environment and science correspondent reported the Forum on both ABC radio and television but the only people interviewed were alarmist global warmers with their dire climate change predictions. Alternative views were nowhere to be heard.

I make this comment because this is the pattern the ABC seems to be adopting on the subject of climate change thus it came as no surprise when on Tuesday, Professor Will Steffen from the Australian National University Canberra and Member of the Commission was interviewed.

That apart, the ABC’s continued reporting in this manner reminds me of Goebbels who said the best way to get people to adopt your views is by telling them long enough and often enough what they are. This is the best way to describe the ABC’s reporting of global warming and climate change and better described as not so much informing the community but brainwashing the community.

The community at large would not be aware that among the people at odds with the Commission and its members, are scientists, engineers, economists, academics who make or have made their living by using their intelligence to make the world a better place. Yes, they are sceptical of the information the Climate Commission uses to substantiate its views. But aren’t true scientists sceptics? Indeed, over the centuries had there been no sceptics the world today would be in the parlous state predicted by the alarmists.

As parents and grandparents these people are as concerned about the future of the planet as Members of the Commission.  I am one of those parents but not, unfortunately, a grandparent, scientist, engineer or economist. Apart from disabled, the only other appellation I can add to my name apart from an Australian honour, is Australian Tourism Research Institute Fellow Rtd, an industry that would be seriously affected if the alarmist predictions of the Commission and, I must add, the predictions of the Inter – Governmental Panel on Climate change came true.

It is unfortunate that the ABC, with its capacity to provide the community at large with information about the differing arguments about global warming and climate change seems to have adopted the paternal position: we know best. The ABC, it seems to me, has to some extent lost its role as broadcaster and source of information for the public. Indeed, at times it is almost indistinguishable from commercial radio and television. Worse, many of its staff exhibit clear signs of supporting the philosophy of a particular party.

A final comment. The ABC should stop being the cathedral of environmentalism from whose pulpit sermons about the effects of global warming and climate change are regularly delivered and return to being ‘Your ABC.’

Comment welcome.

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Who is an ordinary man or woman?

Much as I would like to be able to say otherwise, I am not a polymath. Truth be known, my school record was more poly than math, a condition that has remained constant during the years since leaving my schooldays behind and finding myself sitting here at the keyboard scratching my head in the hope that it will it will inspire the words needed for a new blog.

It’s not that I haven’t got the words. I have but they are all stored away in my mind in a jumble that takes a long time to unscramble. If you haven’t got this problem, count yourself lucky. And if you believe in the power of prayer I suggest you keep on the good side of the mechanic looking after the system that produces the power.

But let me add one qualification: make sure the mechanic is good at unscrambling problems, as it would be no good if in sending you an answer if it turned out to be problem that still needed answering which is what happened to me when watching Professor Ian Lowe AO, President of the Australian Conservation Foundation who has a plethora of academic qualifications, give an address at Australia’s National Press Club, Canberra, today.

Credit where it’s due: his address to the assembled throng while not stirring was eloquent. In his address he laid out the problems, as he saw them, of the problems the world was facing if his words weren’t taken seriously. Unfortunately journalists in attendance were few in number although their absence was more than made up for by conservationists.

I shall not take up your time by laying out the subjects about which Professor Lowe waxed eloquent. If you’re interested in them and you’ve got access to the internet just log on to Google and you’ll see them. Fortunately, during question time at the end of the Professor’s speech a well – known journalist asked the Professor a question which he acknowledged with smile and a suggestion that no doubt the journalist thought some of his ideas cuckoo.

Depending on your point of view about global warming and various other concerns voiced by the Professor that he labelled the GEC (Global Environmental Collapse) you might agree with the journalist. But disagree or not with the Professor, I can see the GEC phrase being worked to death by environmentalists as they paint the picture of damage allegedly done to the environment by people whose views they oppose.

Environment apart, why is that people prominent in academia, business, the bureaucracy and politics have adopted the word “ordinary” to describe most of the community. Doing so, and whether intentional or not, suggests they see themselves as people who are extra ordinary and whose views the community should accept before all others.

Without wishing to plagiarise Professor Lowe and his use of cuckoo, I’d like to suggest that when the people I’ve mentioned in the last paragraph use the word ordinary they be met with the call of the “Laughing Kookaburra.“ You can use the vernacular name if you wish.

Comment welcome.

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Population control: next comes mind control

As the economies in different countries grow, the shaky arguments about whether or not populations should grow become even shakier. It is odd also that the name Thomas Malthus keeps cropping up as proponent of the idea that catastrophe faced human kind if population isn’t controlled. And though he propounded this theory in his 1798 book ‘An essay on the Principle of Population,’ he believed that nature controlled population growth when growth exceeded the resources needed to sustain it.

I’m pleased this Malthusian theory did not gain general acceptance. Had it done so, it is possible I might not have been born.

On the other hand the idea of Ester Boserup, the Danish agricultural economist who died in 1999, is more to my taste. Ester wrote that population levels determined agricultural methods not the opposite and also believed that necessity was the mother of invention.

Ester was not the only person who thought this way. Julian Simon, a Professor of Economics at Maryland University, whose work in the economic, resource and immigration is well known, thought Malthus wrong as did Henry George and Friedrich Engels.

Engels in particular thought Malthus wrong because he did not take science into account. Unlike Malthus, Engels thought scientific “progress is as unlimited and at least as rapid as that of population.” I am in tune with Engels although I will go further and say the progress of science is even more rapid than that of population and that science will prevent anything like the Malthusian effect ever happening.

But that’s in the future. What of today?

This morning I heard Dick Smith, a prominent Australian being interviewed on the Ross Solly show, ABC local radio, Canberra. Mr Smith was postulating on the need for controlling population a strange idea from a man who profited well from a growing population. Like disciples of Malthusian theory he also said it was now necessary to stabilise it. But why and what is, sustainability? With changes coming thick and fast what might be considered unsustainable today might be made sustainable tomorrow by science.

That apart I find it odd that someone who accumulated substantial wealth by competing with others trying to sell more and more of the same items as him to an ever growing population, now wants to limit people from doing the same. This suggests to me that like some other Australians who exhibit similar messianic traits that only they know how to make Australia and the world better. On that basis I have to say they are in competition with many other messiahs around the world.

At the same time  and as much as Mr Smith and members of groups cry population control, I hear few of them suggesting how it can be done. And so I ask myself: will they demand the size of families be limited? And on the question of sustainability will they suggest that the number of people allowed to live in a village, town or city be controlled?
Perhaps the answer to the first question will be that after the birth quota has been achieved mothers will be subjected to a medical procedure that will ensure they cannot give birth again. And as to the question of sustainability, who will decide how many people should be allowed to stay behind the bureaucratic walls of the village, town or city and what resources they will need.

Such notions of course are ludicrous and not to be taken seriously. Population control could never be enforced in Australia? Or could it? I suspect that if members of an Australian Government attempted to impose such controls in hope of achieving such a result would risk being sent permanently to Coventry.

A last word: might the poulation control messiahs suggest copying the Chinese system? Unfortunately for population controllers, even in a non-democratic country like China population control has proved a failure. Indeed, indications are that the population control system now in place in China will fade into obscurity within the next decade because instead of it being a great leap forward it has been a great leap backward.

Comments welcome

 Man is part of the environment

 As I am part of the environment I know some readers don’t share my scepticism about global warming.  Butt share it or not, whilst I believe anthropogeniic activity plays a mall role in increased levels of CO2. it is not the role that some scientists and others without an appropriate scientific background say it does.

This article is sourced from a paper titled: “Fluctuating environment may have driven human evolution” written by a research team – funded by the National Science Foundation- from Penn State and Rutgers University in the USA and published December 24th, 2012, working In the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, spells out some of my reasons.  While not a comprehensive rebuttal or total debunking of the science is settled argument about global warming, it helps bring it into question.

Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Clayton Magill (a double PhD graduate student, one of the team of researchers that produced the paper said: “The landscape early humans were inhabiting transitioned rapidly back and forth between about five to six times during a period of 200,000 years. “These changes happened very abruptly, with each transition occurring over hundreds to just a few thousand years.” These findings appear to contradict previous theories which suggest evolutionary changes were gradual, and in response to either long and steady climate change or one drastic change.”

Another member of the team Penn State Professor of Geosciences Katherine Freeman says: “A series of rapid environmental changes in East Africa roughly 2 million years ago may be responsible for driving human evolution. There is a view this time in Africa was the ‘Great Drying,’ when the environment slowly dried out over 3 million years,” adding, “But our data show that it was not a grand progression towards dry; the environment was highly variable.”

The research team used gas chromatography and mass spectrometry to determine the relative abundances of different leaf waxes and the abundance of carbon isotopes for different leaf waxes. The data enabled them to reconstruct the types of vegetation present in the Olduvai Gorge area at very specific time intervals.

The results showed that the environment transitioned rapidly back and forth between a closed woodland and open grassland. To find out what caused this rapid transitioning, the researchers used statistical and mathematical models to correlate the changes they saw in the environment with other things that may have been happening at the time, including changes in the Earth’s movement and changes in sea-surface temperatures.

“The orbit of the Earth around the sun slowly changes with time,” said Freeman. “These changes were tied to the local climate at Olduvai Gorge through changes in the monsoon system in Africa. Slight changes in the amount of sunshine changed the intensity of atmospheric circulation and the supply of water. The rain patterns that drive the plant patterns follow this monsoon circulation. We found a correlation between changes in the environment and planetary movement.” The team also found a correlation between changes in the environment and sea-surface temperature in the tropics.

“We find complementary forcing mechanisms: one is the way Earth orbits, and the other is variation in ocean temperatures surrounding Africa,” Freeman said.

It seems to me that what Magill, Freeman and other respected scientists and members of the research team said, illuminates deficiencies in IPCC models based on information produced by a select group of similarly minded climate scientists for  soi –disant environmental groups that separate man from the environment.

The fact that man has managed to survive the various environmental catastrophes suggests to me they will survive the catastrophes predicted by global warming alarmists

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No doubt the Mayans, would be disappointed that their prediction of the world ending on December 21 didn’t happen. I venture to suggest that the IPCC scientists who predict earthly doom due to global warming and climate change will be equally disappointed.

Will year 13 prove lucky for some people?

It’s coming to the end of 2012, a year which has had some momentous moments that will be remembered more for the tragedy they engendered than the joy they brought. Hopefully year 13 will not only prove lucky for some but lucky for everyone and a year when nightmares economic, political and social will not be a year that causes sleepless nights.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if on January 1st of the coming year, politicians the world over made New Year resolutions they actually meant to keep not ambiguous resolutions that allow them to wriggle out of promises they made to voters. Perhaps when making promises they will think of the following words: ‘a gram of truth is worth more than a million kilos of false promises.’

And perhaps ‘expert’ scientists will do the same and spend less time saying this, probably is what will happen, an adroit method of avoiding telling people the truth without telling a lie. A good example of scientists doing this can be seen in the current climate change debate where scientists from the IPCC predict the probability an apocalyptic global warming that will cause climate change and consign the earth and themselves to extinction if humans do not change their ways.

Unfortunately, more and more scientists as knowledgeable about global warming and climate change as IPCC scientists, dissent from these predictions. They accept that as time goes by global warming will occur, that climates in various parts of the world will change and also accept that the change can be attributed, in part, to anthropogenic activity.

They say these changes have been a continuing process in the world since the evolution of man but that over the millenniums man developed technology to help him survive these changes. That say also that while technology such as wind power, solar panels and the multitude of other energy saving systems will do little to conserve energy use they will destroy the earth’s visual landscape. Then there are dissenters who, even if not scientists, believe that, even if the world changes, man with his innovative capacity will survive long into the future because he will have developed new survival technology not only for the near future but for the countless millenniums to come.

That apart, what I find disturbing about global warming and climate change scientists is their seeming lack of common sense. Their vision of limited range sees the future only in terms of what they see around them today or at best a few decades. Unfortunately there is no Copernicus or Galileo – whose imaginations created pictures of the future that their contemporaries neither understood nor believed right or possible- to disturb their vision.

Many scientists today mentally inhabit a world that would not be unfamiliar to da Vinci. They doubt unorthodox thinking. They see progress only in terms they understand. They are the people who dip their toes into the ocean’s edge at low tide but never go further. I venture to suggest also, that had those early dissenters been listened to, the world today would be a vastly different place.

Unfortunate as it is, people with imagination, even if well qualified, are still regarded as eccentrics by those in their peer group whose minds run on tracks that never deviate and never stop at either the Inventiveness or Imagination stations. The truth is, many scientists today are like well – trained mechanics, they can mend machines but cannot invent them.

Fortunately, and although scarce, many scientists with imagination are to be found among the great contributors to the science fiction novel genre. Let me list a few: Arthur C Clarke, with degrees in mathematics and physics from Kings College London; Isaac Asimov with a Ph.D in Biochemistry from Columbia Universit in the US; or Ursula K.Le Guin with an MA also from Columbia.

I have never met any of these scientists and am never likely to be in a position to tell them that many of their ideas about a future world will actually come to pass. At the same time however, I would ask them also why do they think so many scientists see the world of the future as they see the world today?

Do they think perhaps, that the latter are members of the Julius Sextus Frontinus club, a club formed in honour of a senior Roman engineer who in 10 AD said: ‘Inventions have long since reached their limit, and I see no hope for further developments?’

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