Monday, 28 February 2011

you have to have done it to get it



from Wulfmorgenthaler

a carbon tax

I'm sure someone can produce any number of intricate economic arguments into why a TAX on carbon helps to reduce the unaccounted for externalities of carbon.

Heck I'm sure someone can make a rational series of arguments to almost any proposition, but that does not change the fact that a TAX reaches into my pocket and takes money from me.

Governments have been way way too comfortable about taking taking and taking.

I find it reprehensible that these economic instruments are being employed in an attempt to help the market to transit from Coal to "clean", particularly in the face of the Australian Govenment spending billions of dollars "propping up" the industries which we are now supposed to require economic incentive to transit from.

Worth reading are these two documents:


Subsidies that Encourage Fossil Fuel Use in Australia

As well as subsidies to fossil fuel production and consumption, other economic incentives are often built into the structure of the economy, and particularly the taxation system, which encourage greater consumption of fossil fuels. These incentives act as structural barriers to greenhouse gas abatement. Removal of these incentives also has the potential to deliver a double dividend of improved economic performance and greenhouse abatement.

Although public funds are used to provide subsidies, the public is often unaware of the existence and magnitude of the subsidies. One of the aims of this paper is to describe and quantify public subsidies to fossil fuel use and production in Australia to improve the transparency of government funding allocation.

and

Coal subsidies far outweigh funding for renewables
The study commissioned by Greenpeace found in an average year, the Government subsidises coal, oil and gas companies to the tune of about $9 billion.

But renewable industries like solar and wind received $330 million.


so perhaps they could just stop spending my tax money on the "polluters" and let the market work effectively at finding what people are actually willing to spend on their energy and where it comes from.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

the facebook demographic?

I've always thought the health was important (being some one who has struggled to regain and maintain my own in the past). Being the recipient of life saving transplant surgery myself I do value the role of the modern medicine and that skills of the surgeon, however there is a variety of surgery which I personally find distasteful and that is such which encourages people to remain living unhealthy lifestyles and offering them crutches to avoid facing the personal responsibility for their own actions.

This morning I checked my facebook account and found an add for just such a thing:



gastric banding ... I'm sure its got a place for chronically obese people, but advertising it in the main stream is something I find disgusting. I wonder why its on an ad on Facebook? Is it because there are so many facebook people who may find this advertisement attractive?

To me it seems that its just like the actions of drug companies who try to invent syndromes and problems in order push people onto drugs which they sell.

Eat well, exersize frequently and enjoy your life. Its a beautiful world, so go out and enjoy it ... no matter where you live.

eborValley

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Christchurch

its hard to grasp for me that little over 24 hours after I left Christchurch that it was again hit with earthquakes.

On Sunday the 20th I was standing outside the Cathedral there and took this pano

christchurch

now the church is in rubble and this window

christchurchWindow

is likely smashed

Having been there and stood in these places just so recently this seems all the more real and engaging than had I never been there. My thoughts and best wishes to to the people there.

new hydrogen fuel: solution or new problem

Yesterday I read of a new Hydrogen based fuel which may solve our energy problems by making a pumpable fuel that could be combusted in regular car engines.

I encourage you to read this article here.

The article suggests that the makers solve the issue of storing hydrogen by:
The company has a found a low-cost way to trap the hydride compound inside a nano-porous polymer micro bead.

The result is a revolutionary synthetic fuel, which is formed of ‘micro-beads’ that can be poured and pumped like a liquid.


Which is interesting.

However while nano technology has been around in theoretical areas for the last 30 years (and more recently we see manufactured examples, people are still getting their hear around what it actually means. People seldom grasp that these nano particles are actually tiny compared to even the cells which make up our bodies. Combine this with the VAST quantity in which nano materials need to exist in and you have the potential for some unexpected side effects.

For example from Wikipedia:

Some of the recently developed nanoparticle products may have unintended consequences. Researchers have discovered that silver nanoparticles used in socks only to reduce foot odor are being released in the wash with possible negative consequences.[40] Silver nanoparticles, which are bacteriostatic, may then destroy beneficial bacteria which are important for breaking down organic matter in waste treatment plants or farms.[41]
A study at the University of Rochester found that when rats breathed in nanoparticles, the particles settled in the brain and lungs, which led to significant increases in biomarkers for inflammation and stress response.[42] A study in China indicated that nanoparticles induce skin aging through oxidative stress in hairless mice.[43][44]
A two-year study at UCLA's School of Public Health found lab mice consuming nano-titanium dioxide showed DNA and chromosome damage to a degree "linked to all the big killers of man, namely cancer, heart disease, neurological disease and aging".[45]
A major study published more recently in Nature Nanotechnology suggests some forms of carbon nanotubes – a poster child for the “nanotechnology revolution” – could be as harmful as asbestos if inhaled in sufficient quantities. Anthony Seaton of the Institute of Occupational Medicine in Edinburgh, Scotland, who contributed to the article on carbon nanotubes said "We know that some of them probably have the potential to cause mesothelioma. So those sorts of materials need to be handled very carefully."[46] In the absence of specific nano-regulation forthcoming from governments, Paull and Lyons (2008) have called for an exclusion of engineered nanoparticles from organic food.[47] A newspaper article reports that workers in a paint factory developed serious lung disease and nanoparticles were found in their lungs.[48]


Just like a bottle can become dangerous broken glass Nano particles can become hazards at a cellular level ... and remember, these things don't brake down in the natural environment because they are not natural. So we may end up creating a new pollution which will outlast even the pollution of a radioactive leak.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

now this is what a tough camera is

spotted this image today over at this article on the Denver Post:



That EOS series is 'dust sealed', so I assume its still a functional camera.

Don't try this with a cheaper camera ;-)

Monday, 7 February 2011

weekend at Binna Burra: now a GH1 owner

Hi

after a while I've decided to buy a GH1 to give myself video (should I like to) over what my trust G1 has ... so enjoy a little motion picture from our weekend and a few test shots with FD lenses, shallow depth of field and manual focus as well as the standard kit zoom



at first I wasn't sure if it was Youtube that rendered this video such mush, but it turns out to be the Windows Live Movie Maker that comes with Win 7 ... sucks so hard it could pull a golf ball through 10 meters of garden hose....

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

dodged a bullet

This morning after Yasi hit, people are waking up and communications are stepping up we are finding out that the towns in North Queensland have dodged the bullet of Yasi



Last night when I went to bed (safe down here in South East Queensland) I was concerned for friends who are up in Townsville almost under the eye of the cyclone below.



This morning I woke up here on the Goldie to find perfect weather, gentle breeze and blue skies ... nothing to hint at what is going on up there as I write.



I just heard that since hitting land it has downgraded from a Cat 5 to a Cat 3 ... I'm sure that'll make everyone breathe a sigh of relief.

A Finnish friend of mine observed on facebook that this even has helped him to grasp just how vast this country is, with the cyclone being nearly 900Km wide yet in the same state there is no indication of what is happening up there.

That's because despite being in the same state, the cyclone landed about 1600Km away from here.

While it seems that people were lucky in many ways I'd like to raise the point about the size of Queensland, the population sparcity up there and the effect that has on spreading the risk. Almost certainly if there was a more dense population up there then there would have been not only more damage but probably deaths. Politicians should think about that before pumping more people into our country.

In stead we have the beautiful situation of at 6am a woman giving birth in one of the evacuation centers. In the midst of this situation another Queenslander is born.

Queensland is a different place, so we need different thinking to manage ourselves and make the most of what we have here.



best wishes to all up in the cyclone zone ...

cyclones

As someone how was born and grew up in this area and was around through some of the worst cyclones in our area in the 1970's I can say that the current population seems to have little grasp of it. I suspect its because of the largely itinerant nature of our population here in Queensland now, noone has been here long enough to grasp it.

I found this footage of some of Cyclone Althea that hit Townsville in the 70's.



in particular some of the comments may be worth considering:

Yep I was 9 and it has remained the most frightening experience of my life. The sound of the cyclone siren and the screaming wind will frighten the crap out of me forever. Several things I remember..the deadly silence when it was finally over after what seemed like hours and probably was, the sight of Castle Hill festooned with roofing iron from all over town and trees everywhere with no leaves.

Wow....thats intense....i grew up in townsville, born there in 1980....u always heard stories of it but u cant get it until u see it.....its kinda relieving to hear some of u say the siren still haunts u, as a child everytime i heard that i froze, the chill u cant describe, people further south dont get it as they dont hear it, i still cant hear it without reverting to a frightened kid, good on ya for sharing this with everyone, tells a story of what NQ'ers go thru


this is why Queensland was for a long time under settled (compared to the southern states) and the folks who lived here were tough and just got about their business, ignoring silly fancy ideas as "something which'll get ripped apart in the next cyclone...."

I don't recall there being 'evacuations of towns' back then, people battened down, looked after their property and neighbors.

Still, it looks to be bigger than Larry and more intense then Tracey. This image from the BOM shows the path




Best wishes to all those in its path.