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Messages - Stephen

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Consequences / Re: Heatwaves
« on: September 07, 2020, 01:00:19 AM »
For those of us in the rest of world...

In Woodland Hills, the mercury climbed to 47C degrees by 3 p.m. Saturday, making it the hottest day ever recorded there in September, breaking the record of 46C set in 1979. .....

The mercury soared even higher to the east, with Palm Springs hitting 50C ....


Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: May 30, 2020, 01:59:22 AM »
Trump or not, I would terminate the contract with WHO. What is that organization for, I've been asking myself since February. What did they achieve or enable, apart from recommendations servile to powers and not really based on science. I must only wonder what they do in empoverished and politically corrupted countries in the name of health...

There are other health issues in the world apart from COVID-19. 

Consequences / Re: The Holocene Extinction
« on: April 12, 2020, 03:31:13 AM »
Stephen i merged your thread into this because where all the past events are.

Doesn't really matter, people are ignoring everything except the pandemic, in both main stream media and on this site.

Arctic sea ice / Re: Global sea ice area and extent data
« on: April 06, 2020, 02:29:03 AM »

  3) It just occurred to me that the name Antarctic is northern hegemonistic bias!  Why is an entire continent and the biggest reservoir of fresh water and ice on the planet named only in relation to, and as the opposite of, another region?  It should have its own name.  Antarctic liberation!

Arktos is the ancient Greek name for bear.  So the Arctic region was named after the polar bear.

There are no bears on the southernmost continent.  Penguins, being small cute and harmless, are pretty much the exact opposite of polar bears, so Antarctic seems reasonable to me.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 01, 2020, 12:46:47 AM »
I feel that I have to address the idea by Harpy that there is some kind of conspiracy in naming of the virus and its associated disease.  Doctors tend to name diseases after people or places, scientists tend to name diseases with codes.  But it's not that simple. Sometimes an acronym sticks because simply because it rolls of the tongue so easily.  We say "AIDS" as a single word, we do not  pronounce every single letter A-I-D-S.  On the other hand we do pronounce every single letter of H-I-V because it doesn't sound right as a word.  But we don't call either of them "the African virus" or the African Immune Deficiency Syndrome.  Is there some kind of conspiracy there Harpy?

Also, coded names are easier to use across different languages.  Coded names are easier for indexing and database queries.  I can perform a SQL query for "SARS*" and get all the related results, but "wuhan" just gives me wuhan.  We used coded, formula like names for chemistry rather than common names because they translate across languages and are much more precise. They give you much more information.

For a personal anecdote, I used to live in the suburb of Hendra in Brisbane, Australia.  Brisbane is a warm sub-tropical city with a very relaxed, outdoor lifestyle.  The suburb of Hendra is close to the mouth of the river, the next stop downstream are the ports and airport and two big racecourses.  Otherwise there are mangroves and wetlands which provide habitat for flying foxes and other species of bats.  Because of the horse racing tracks there are lots of horse stables.  And it's quite common to find big fruiting trees like figs, mango and mulberry.   Excuse the long story but I am getting to the point.  Now, the bats love to nest in the fruit trees, they piss and poop on the grass below. The horses graze on the grass.  Of course they are fed very well with grains and hay, but horses love to instinctively graze.  So there are vectors of transmission form bats to horses to people.

In 1994 in the suburb of Hendra, 13 horses died from a virus that became known as Hendra virus.  A number of trainers also died, the first being a man named Vic Rail.  Hendra virus is now the common name even though it has been given, or assigned to the class, of henipavirus.

As a former resident of Hendra I am neither ashamed or embarrassed of that name.  It adds to the colorful history of Brisbane.  I don't recall any campaign or conspiracy to change the name.  Nobody cared enough. 

There is now a vaccine for Hendra virus, but in the early days the CFR was very high, above 50%.  It is an RNA virus, I just hope that it never teams up with SARS-COV-2 inside some bat somewhere.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 30, 2020, 12:43:53 AM »
Was there ever a more perfect petri dish for human disease development than a cruise ship?  Well maybe a refugee camp but a cruise ship runs a close second.

Speaking of regugee camps, I am terribly worried about what might be happening inside those camps in Syria, Jordan, turkey and Europe, but there is no news anywhere.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 28, 2020, 08:20:54 AM »
I expected so much more from California.
The "Macho" mindset so prevalent in California is going to be the cause of much suffering. It's the meek that will win this round.


Australia is pretty much the same as California.  People whose places of employment have closed are rushing the hardware stores and crowding the aisles and counters.  I live on a hill above a main road and the traffic hasn't changed much, if at all.  Everyone is still going about their business as if nothing has happened.  This is despite impassioned pleas by both the state premier and the Prime Minister to stay at home.

But we are the lucky country.  Our geographic isolation and excellent public health system has so far saved us from the worst.  I wouldn't be surprised if there were a few posters on forums around the world who are accusing Australia of under reporting because we only have 3,000 cases and 13 deaths.

I am of the opinion that there are only 3 possible outcomes:
  • everyone gets it and the herd immunity takes over
  • a vaccine is developed
  • a suitable anti-viral treatment is devised.

I do not believe that eradicating is a possibility.  So the hidden message to "keep the curve under the line" is that we will all get it and the only purpose of social isolation and lock down strategies is to minimise deaths and let the health system cope.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 25, 2020, 12:58:04 AM »
This is for Australia only.  We seem to be doing relatively OK. Only 2000 cases and 8 deaths nationwide but I'm well aware that we have a natural geographical advantage when it comes to isolating.  If it wasn't for the lax standards applied to and by the  F#$CK%NG cruise ship industry we'd be doing much better.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 24, 2020, 12:03:43 PM »
It puts a lie to the theory that all is well after 9 days, and that 14 day quarantines are maximally effective.

They're forgetting that the crew would have stayed on board, continually infecting surfaces.
Seeing as the CDC has published this study, I can hardly imagine they would forget such a trivial detail.

Probably not but who knows?  I can't imagine a cruise ship staying empty for 17 days.  But anyway, regarding Terry's comment about 14 day quarantine, that's for people.  Things, inanimate objects, and stuff should be cleaned not quarantined.  There is anecdotal evidence that the Ruby Princess, whose passengers were inexplicably allowed to disembark in Sydney on March 17, was not cleaned or disinfected properly and that passengers became infected by traces left on surfaces by the previous cruise.

Australia now has over 100 extra cases and one death just from that one cruise.

I have been on one cruise in my entire life.  I hated it.  There was nothing to do except drink and gamble.  It was more like a floating prison.  Part of me hopes that that entire industry gets shutdown forever.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 21, 2020, 11:50:44 PM »
Such a fast moving thread that it's hard to keep up.  I wanted to reply to a post a few pages back about how fast this thing might mutate.  I found this article by the 1996 Nobel prize winner in medicine relevant...

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 20, 2020, 01:31:19 PM »
Actually I'm not doing anything about the fruit and vegies, I've done my own research via facebook and I am now a virus pandemic denier;

Let's look at the facts:
  • There were worse pandemics in the Middle Ages and this one isn't as bad as the Black Death that killed half of Europe in the 14th century. That proves that pandemics are a natural event so we can't do anything to stop it.
  • It's all caused by Milankovitch cycles
  • Viruses are a natural part of the environment so let's not do anything.
  • Meaningful action will cost too much so let's not do anything.
  • They're not doing anything in (insert 3rd world or Asian country of choice) so it's pointless for us to do anything.

I'm off to to promote my theory.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 16, 2020, 11:28:27 PM »

   Does it surprise folk that the Chinese value their people more than the west ? .

The Chinese have done what they have done partly because they can do it.  China is a one-party state dictatorship with much more control of their population.  So when the Chinese police or army turn up in riot gear, weld the doors shut and lock down a building then people stay locked up.  Can you imagine British, Australian or American police doing that?   

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 07, 2020, 01:43:32 AM »
Yes. Facebook has a profile for you even if you don't have an account with Facebook. They track you throughout the whole internet once such a tracker is set.

Try this

Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: March 07, 2020, 01:19:50 AM »
Terry, remember when the iPhone came out and people were outraged that there was no real keyboard anymore. So many people were convinced touchscreens couldn't possibly gain acceptance. Blackberry lost it's market not too much after.

I don't think it's different this time around. Is there a slightly better ergonomics with real buttons? Yes, of course! But will this one feature outweigh all the other advantages?

The big difference is that you must look at an iPhone to use it.  You should not have to look at your car controls to use them.  Apple put a lot of work into making those little bounces and swipes so that they're fun to use.  That's all totally irrelevant to a car user. I would rather be able to identify the different knobs, buttons and stalk by feel rather than site. 

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: January 02, 2020, 06:17:39 AM »
I've traveled that area extensively and I can tell you that there are only 2 or 3 main roads in and out.  The Pacific highway runs along that coast and there's 1 or 2 roads inland.  But here's the catch, south of that border lies Mallacoota and you've all probably seen the pictures of the fires down there.  So that leaves the northern route which it self has been closed a few times.

Of course we still hear the usual denier rhetoric, along the lines of "Australia has always had drought and bushfires", but thankfully those voices haven't received as much attention and more articles are being published about the influence of climate change.

Deniers arguments along the lines of "but we had a long drought in the 1800s" always ignore the fact that droughts are now more severe for the same time-span.  A 3 year drought in the 2010s is now much worse than a 3 year drought was in the 1910s because evaporation rates are so much higher because overnight average temperatures are higher, among other factors.

The last big La Nina (which brings warmer water and heavy rain to Australia's east coast) was only 10 years ago. 

If you think I am off-topic by talking about drought then remember that these fires are fueled by very dry eucalypt trees.  Long droughts dry them out such that they are much more susceptible to fire.  Forest floor litter dries to a perfect kindling because it takes a bit of rain to encourage the fungi and microbes to break down the dead leaves and twigs.

Glaciers / Re: Global Mean Sea Level
« on: December 09, 2019, 01:05:55 PM »
He's certainly way out there. 

James Hansen was quoting similar possible sea-level rises about 10 years ago. It presumes doubling of the rate of rise every 10 years.  He wasn't predicting it as a certainty, but putting it forward as a possibility for discussion  This is exactly what scientists should be able to do as a matter of course and they should not be criticized for it.

Consequences / Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« on: November 18, 2019, 11:22:07 PM »
As has been said in this thread a few times before, population growth can be reduced quite ethically by increasing women's access to education, employment and contraception, all of which reduces the fertility rate and population growth; women have fewer children later when they have education and jobs to focus on.

Yes, I know, but that's a very long term solution.  It doesn't help us in the next 10 or 20 years.  Also, it probably won't happen at all because the big religions are all opposed to women's rights and access to contraception and education.  If religion wins the war of culture and ideology then it will be because they can outgrow all of us sophisticated, ethical, secular types. 

Consequences / Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« on: November 18, 2019, 10:01:59 PM »
The biggest problem with population is that there is absolutely nothing we can do about it, short of genocide.  I mean, what exactly would you suggest, forced contraception?

Saying that population is a problem is like sitting on a beach and saying that an approaching tsunami is a problem.  Yes. It is.  But there is nothing you can do to stop it.  The only thing we can do is try to figure out how to deal with the consequences.

Great idea for a thread VideoGameVet (I think I'll just call you VGV for short).

My question:  Does your employer provide end-of-trip facilities?  I'm talking about things like lockable undercover bike-parking with lockers and showers.

I spent close to 20 years commuting by bicycle in Melbourne Australia.  I only stopped because I am now umemployed and have no need to commute anywhere.  My commute varied (depending on the worksite) between 11 and 17 kilometres.  Melbourne is blessed with a network of dedicated bike paths that generally follow the rivers and creeks.  I used the Gardiner's Creek path.  The path ran by the end of my street.  Once on that path I could be in the city centre in 50 minutes without having to go on the road at all.   Doing the same trip by car and train would often take 1 hour.

Because I had access to a locker and showers I usually wore cycling knicks , jerseys and Shimano MTB shoes with cleats.  It wasn't just a commute for me.  It was my daily exercise.  I kept very fit.  I did need to get to work in a reasonable time so I used a Strava and a Garmin GPS tracker to keep a log of myrides.  So I turned my commute into a competition with myself to better my own times.  I found that this helped to keep me motivated.

It's funny how the puncture question keeps coming up.  The secret (as you have discovered with your Schawble Marathons) is to use good tyres.  I had a series of punctures in 2003 because of the crap tyres i was using at the time so I switched to either Continental Gators or Vittoria or Maxxis.  Between 2003 and 2017 I had one single puncture in approximately 5,000 rides for a total of about 20,000 klms.  People just do not understand how good the top-brand bicycle tyres are these days.  Forget about whatever you used when riding your bike to school 30 years ago.  Today's bike tyres are magnificent.   And of course, I carry my own pressure gauge and pump and keep inflated at the right pressure.  Too high a pressure is just as bad as too little.

Walking the walk / Re: Meat Consumption and Global Warming
« on: September 19, 2019, 12:41:59 AM »
Meat is murder. But you know that already

I knew that it was your opinion. A very judgemental and condescending opinion at that.  I did not know, and I do not agree, that it is an established fact.  When one human being deliberately kills another then that is murder.  Humans killing other species for food is just that - killing.

If I keep chickens in my backyard and I kill one to eat it's meat, then that is just one animal killing another in order to survive.

So what exactly are you trying to achieve by opening your post with a declaration like "meat is murder"?  The effect of that opening statement is to immediately turn off anybody who eats meat.  From there on you will only be preaching to the converted.  If you want to change people then it's not a good tactic to insult them.

Is that all we are doing here? Preaching to the converted?  I'd like to think that we are trying to effect change. 

Policy and solutions / Re: Low GHG Meat
« on: August 14, 2019, 04:21:38 PM »
Chickens.  You don't necessarily have to feed them grain.  They can scratch around and get a lot of their nutrition from grubs and insects.

Obviously I'm not talking about factory farming here, but it wasn't that long ago, my own childhood in fact, when every family I knew had chickens in a pen in their backyard.

The saying, "running around like a chook with its head cut off" has real meaning for me because, after my father had beheaded the poor chook chosen for Sunday dinner, it was my job to catch the bloody thing.

Indecisive, inactive, unintelligent.... the governments of today

No, they are decisive enough to shift the funding to fossil fuels when they can.  They are active enough to approve new coal mines every chance they get.  They are intelligent enough to know that millions will come their way from the fossil fuel barons (not naming names but cough, cough, Koch, Koch).

They just don't care about the future beyond their own very limited 3 or 4 year election cycle.

And the voting public get the politicians they deserve.  A majority may want more action on renewable power and fewer coal-fired power stations, but that same majority gives a much higher priority to a tax break on their real estate investments. That's what we can learn from the recent Australian federal election anyway.

Arctic sea ice / Re: "Smart" and "Stupid" Questions - Feel Free To Ask
« on: August 13, 2019, 01:32:25 AM »
My response to Happy Bee's idea in the 2019 melt thread.

Quote from: Happy bee
Hello, I am lurking for several years now.  .....
There is only one solution to this if we want, as a species, to have time the positive feedback.  Dear Russian and Americans forum members, please try to convince your respective Presidents to build a dam across the Berring strait.  It could generate enormous quantities of clean electricity and it would help to save the world.  Call it the Esperanza dam.

Happy bee,  the amount of energy required to build such a dam could be much more efficiently used building 100,000 solar power plants across the deserts and sunny regions of the world.  The power would then be more easily distributed to the end-users.  Tidal dams rank up there with Fusion power as a promising source of energy that never quite materializes.  I've lost count of the number of reports I have read of failed tidal power plants.  It just never delivers on a significant scale.

Also, the Bering Straits are way too far from the site of end-user consumption. We would need a world wide power grid. It just doesn't stack up.  Solar, Wind and GBB (Great Big Batteries) have already proven themselves as an affordable solution.

It likely will be difficult for countries to leave Arctic oil & gas reserves untapped:

......... Russia had just laid claim to the vast oil and gas reserves contained in this underwater turf.

Russia's dramatic show of power had no legal weight — .........

China's claim to islands in the South China Sea has no legal weight, but they are still there, building airfields and naval bases and scaring off fishermen from the Phillipines and Indonesia. 

It's nasty but true, might is right and possession is nine tenths of the law.

The rest / Re: Climate change activists should not fly
« on: August 02, 2019, 05:03:00 AM »
There's pair of wild king parrots that perch on my balcony railing to eat the seed I leave out.  They often tells me to stop using fossil fuels.  I'll have to tell them to stop flying.

The males are all red heads, females are green.

But to get back on topic, peaceful protest only works when the ruling elite have a conscience.  It worked for Ghandi and Martin Luther King because the British and US have (had?) a moral compass.  It would never have worked against the Nazis because it would have just made it easier for them to round you up and send you off to the gas chambers.  There's nobody left with a moral compass in 21st century politics.  Except maybe the NZ prime minister Jacinda Ardern.

I believe that the only effective strategy is to fight fire with fire and use the techniques that have been so successfully deployed by the conservative politicians and the fossil fuel industry.   And you won't do that by avoiding a plane trip and riding your bicycle from New York to LA.

Transport will keep oil in demand for decades to come.  Electric Vehicles have come a long way in the last 20 years but I still feel like it will be 20 more years until they have a significant impact.  It's all about the batteries.  I'd love to buy an EV but the initial purchase price is still close to double what you need to pay for a diesel or petrol engine vehicle.

I did read an article a few years ago now, about the research into extract the suitable hydrocarbons from plants.  Not just talking about bio-diesel.  This research was being funded by airline companies who were as much concerned about the quality of fuel they get from oil companies as they were about CO2.

The politics / Re: The problem of social media
« on: April 04, 2018, 07:10:04 AM »
Carl Sagan seems to have predicted it all, especially that last highlighted sentence, "...a kind of celebration of ignorance"

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