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Why can't everyone condemn Hamas?

Following Hamas' atrocities in Israel, the media are awash with commentary, so I will keep my comments short. I am shocked by the willin...

Thursday 28 September 2017

Renewable Energy from evaporation!

What will they think of next? I guess I could start a never-ending series with those few words. Yes, we are an inventive species, and you know how hot I am on novelty. So here is another new renewable energy technology. Touted as energy from 'evaporation', really it exploits the natural expansion and contraction of the size of bacterial spores as the humidity around them varies, so I guess it is using variations in humidity. But I am being pedantic, the following video explains this much better than I.

How much energy could you get from this technology? Quite a lot it seems.
"Researchers investigating the potential for evaporation to be used as a source of renewable energy have found that the United States’ reservoirs and lakes could produce 325 gigawatts of power. That’s equivalent to almost 70 percent of the energy that the country currently generates." 
That's one helluva lot of bacterial spores!

What will they think of next.

Wednesday 27 September 2017

The science is NOT settled

The headline "It's worse than they thought: Warming is slower than predicted" (by Christopher Monckton) was enough to perk my curiosity.
Great headline, good story, though admittedly awash with technical details that make it hard to follow. Still I waded through to the end. In case you don't have the patience a potted summary goes like this; -

  • Monckton uses the figures in that paper together with IPCC models to demonstrate that the models are not only slightly out, but way out.  For example he cites that the measured global warming since 1850 is ~ 1 C(degree) whereas models predict this to be 2.75 C
  • The current rate of warming is ~ 0.45C per century and with predicted increases in CO2 over the period , with some assumptions that you will have to read through yourself, the 1.5C target increase in global temperature by 2100 may be achieved without any mitigation efforts.

 It all leads to a rather stunning conclusion;-

"Though the Millar paper serves to conceal the true extent of the official exaggerations on which demands for “climate action” have been unwisely based, it is at another level an early crack in the dam that indicates that the entire edifice of nonsense is about to fail. Have courage! The truth that global warming will be small, harmless and net-beneficial will soon prevail over the screeching extremists. The Millar paper is not the beginning of the end, but it is at least the end of the beginning."

Well we will see. But one thing is sure, "the science is NOT settled"!

Monday 25 September 2017

Time to jettison 'multiculturalism'

Europe provides a sobering lesson for Western societies besotted by the concept of 'multiculturalism'. The concept that all the cultures of this earth are basically equally acceptable, and that peaceful coexistence in the world will somehow materialize when all cultures are treated equally.

But all cultures are not the same! Over the centuries some cultures have totally transformed the lives of not only people in their own communities but through their worldwide influence most of the people of the world. What is called the 'Western world' evolved from the Judaeo-Christian faiths and values forged over time. Values including respect for the law, tolerance of diversity, and recognition of individual freedoms.

Western culture has extended lifespans, decreased poverty, educated the population and improved the security and individual freedom's of its communities. While Europe was building the modern world, most of the inhabitants of Africa, South America, Australasia were living much the same as they had for thousands of years in a cultural stagnation.

A recent video by Dinesh D'Souza of for Prager U demonstrates most emphatically that all cultures are not the same.

So what were the Europeans thinking when they accepted large numbers of migrants from a greatly different culture as migrants? No doubt they convinced themselves that education, welfare, and general exposure to European culture and values would quickly imbue the newcomers with these Western values. Alas the reality is far from this.

In his article "Merkel signals Ruin for Europe" in the Australian, Greg Sheridan provides some statistics indicating the lack of integration of these new migrants into their new Western host culture. He notes; -
  • "in three million British households, no adult uses English as their main language.
  • last year, in France, 33 per cent of high school students identified as Christian, while 25 per cent identified as Muslim.
  • Only 22 per cent of Catholics say religion is important to them whereas more than 80 per cent of Muslims say ­religion is important to them.
  • In 2008 a poll of British Muslims found that zero per cent thought homosexuality morally acceptable. A survey last year found 52 per cent of British Muslims thought homosexuality should be made ­illegal."
These are not signs that the new migrants have imbibed the wine of Western culture.

Sheridan concludes;
"in Douglas Murray’s brilliant new book,"The Strange Death of Europe". Murray starts with this bold assertion, “Europe is committing suicide”, and by the end of his 350 withering pages it is hard to disagree."
Europe's experience should be a warning to the rest of the Western world!

Tuesday 19 September 2017

Meat of the Future

The quiet revolution to supply protein to the masses is making real waves. The article titled "China Signed a $300 Million Lab-Grown Meat Deal with Israel" demonstrates the significant investment in this technology. Once the dream of vegetarians, lab-grown meat eliminates the environmental and ethical issues associated with the meat industry. The promise is protein that is high quality, tasty, abundant, low cost and green.  Sounds too good to be true?  Watch this brief video to see the progress to date;-

Like many technologies today, development has been rapid but behind the scenes. If you consider that the cost of a lab-meat hamburger pattie today is just ~$11 compared to some $4 for a hamburger, you can see the progress that has already been made. It is very likely the cost gap will be eliminated in the coming years. Get ready!

Monday 18 September 2017

Let the chickens come home to roost!

A rock and a hard place, so the saying goes. It is hard to see a more appropriate aphorism for the position the gov finds itself in the energy debate now raging.  To some extent it is problem of its own making, but completely so. Once a report is commissioned it is incumbent on the government to review and decide which parts it will accept.

It made a mistake by accepting 49 of the 50 recommendations. Leaving the CET out on its own meant it was going to receive increasing pressure to address it.

Yet the pressure is on. All the vested interests smell blood,. The pro renewables commentariat expect that government will be loathe to kibosh the key recommendation of their own report. So even if they compromise and put some coal-including limit on the target they will have won. So they are pushing for a quick decision

My advice to the government is to let the chickens come home to roost. If they can stand the pressure the coming summer with blackouts and  load-shedding will help to form a more objective assessment of the balance between intermittent renewables and base-load necessity. The real energy debate has really only just started, with many anti-RET only now putting their arguments. While the RET advocates are quick to blame the right wing of the LNP, the Nationals, the climate deniers, painting all opposers to renewables as troglodytes, this is not really biting. The electorate is painfully aware of high and rising energy prices and is fearful of load-shedding. Over time these factors will further move public opinion against tokenistic emissions targets. The government has time on its side.

I am sure Frydenberg is scrambling to find a solution that waters down the RET, or CET or whatever name you choose to give it, to what is acceptable to Turnbull. I guess there's the rub. On the one hand Tunbull must still have nightmares about his last energy policy fiasco that saw him sacked, but at the same time pride prevents him from acquiescing to Abbot-esque policies. As for this renaming option, with apologies to the great bard, a CET by any other name would still smell.

My advice to the government is to take their time. There is no reason for a quick decision on the CET. Let the debate continue to fester, let power shortages, black-outs, generate some realism into the energy debate. Energy policy could win the next election

The Bahrain declaration of religious tolerance

I shouldn't be surprised, but somehow still am, at how our media completely misses some significant world events, preferring to scream headlines at some topic-de-jour that is being covered by every other media outlet anyway.

The most recent such case is the Bahrain Declaration. Oh, you haven't heard of it? I guess that is the point.

It is almost three months ago now that the son of the King of Bahrain, HH Prince Nasser bin Hamad al Khalifa, on behalf of his father, signed the Kingdom of Bahrain Declaration, a declaration of religious tolerance, the first such document by an Arab leader.  In an era of widespread religious upheaval, where terrorists are randomly targeting civilians in the name of Islam, where any one not conforming to the strict tenets of Islam is the object of persecution in the Middle East and North Africa. In this era of intolerance, a declaration of religious tolerance by a Muslim leader, should be given wide recognition,. It should be heralded far and wide. Yet I came across it just the other by happenstance when a friend forwarded a link to an article on Simon Wiesenthal Center website . (see Bahraini King’s Declaration of Worldwide Religious Tolerance Unveiled at Historic Simon Wiesenthal Center Interfaith Event)

The Bahrain Declaration is reproduced below. It is certainly worthy of wide circulation, and the King of Bahrain should be lauded for taking this moral stand, especially given the personal risks he takes in doing so.

Yes I can hear the cynics; "What difference does this make?" Alone, isolated , unrecognized, nothing. But it is up to the free press to circulate and reiterate that the vast majority of people in the world are looking for a kinder, more tolerant world. By its focus on the problems of world, its drive to attract ears and eyes by dramatic appeal, our media megaphones discord and sows enmity. Good news rarely makes the headlines and events such as this declaration are relegated to the back pages. Yet I wonder, if it were the other way around. If stories of courage, success, hope were prominent, wouldn't the world be a kinder, more tolerant and happier place?

Saturday 9 September 2017

Google turning to dark side!

Has Google turned to the "dark side"? Has it forsaken its much vaunted motto "Don't be Evil"?

Given recent evidence of its enforced "group think" and its filtering of search results to sustain a political agenda, it is hard to conclude otherwise.

In his article "When Google silences dissent it bodes badly for the rest of us", Haiwatha Bray highlights the collective mindset that ensures conformity of opinion. They recently fired James Damore for an internal memo that argued , contrary to accepted dogma within Gooogle, that the over-representation of males within Google may indeed be because of genetic differences between the sexes. It seems you cannot even voice an opinion contrary to company 'groupthink". So he was let go.

What does this mean for the society that relies on Google to serve up search results without fear or favour.
"After the firing of Damore, how can we trust them to be honest brokers of information when they won’t tolerate dissent in their own ranks?"
We can't. Moreover there is ample evidence that Google is already tampering with search results to improve the profile of organisations they favour and to reduce the profile of those they do not.

Several studies have proven this to be the case. (see "Does Google content degrade Google search results? and "Does Google tamper search results for its own benefit?" )

The ethos of an organisation that sacks a worker for having the wrong opinion, or one that manipulates the results of its search engines in its favor is corrupt. Given the economic and social power that Google wields through it extensive tentacles into the e-world we have a serious problem.

The old saying that "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" comes to mind. With regard to its search engine Google operates virtually as a monopoly. It is now exploiting this position enhance its power. What should a free enterprise economy do with a monopoly? Break it up into competing pieces. It has been done before and perhaps it is time to do it again.

Tuesday 5 September 2017

Capitalism Rocks - time to say so!

Prager U's latest video, "If You Hate Poverty, You Should love Capitalism" should not be anything new. All those living in any Western society should be well aware of the enormous benefits to the world wrought by the Free enterprise, Innovation, open markets and competition.
Unfortunately this is far from true. Too many are unaware of the simple fact that it is capitalism that has created the modern world; increased the living standards for everyone and is rapidly eliminating poverty worldwide.

You won't hear this from much of the media, nor from academia. They focus on and amplify the problems of capitalism, and pontificate on options that solve this problem or that. However the simple fact is that all the alternatives that have been proposed and tried are abject failures.

We should always remember that Free Enterprise is the foundation of our prosperity and resist any attempts to undermine it.