Once inside, I felt frustrated and angry initally, especially with Mister PorkFace for putting me here.
I began pacing around the main room. They still hadn’t given me my phone back, let alone my laptop. For now, the only thing I was permitted to have were my clothes. I felt like they were punishing me.
The next day I had another longer meeting with a different psychiatrist –via teleconference– with two others present beside me. This particular psychiatrist (let’s call him #2) had at least understood where I was coming from and why I was so depressed. I had told him about recent changes in my life and my concerns for the future of this world.
I asked them rhetorically: “why is it okay for this civilisation, this society, to act suicidally and yet I cannot even be permitted to have suicidal thoughts?”. There was no immediate answer. One of the Doctors nodded in agreement while tapping away at his laptop. The other nurse pulled me aside later on and said that he agreed with me about what I was saying. Number 2 had reccommended that I be released “either today or tomorrow”; I found out later that he was overruled by number 1, the porky one.
I thought of many ways I could potentially kill myself, like hanging myself with the belt I was wearing, or cutting myself by dismantling the two-blade disposable razor they had loaned me. I also thought about piling up some chairs and scaling the 20ft outside walls. But I was told by other patients that it only makes things worse and that’s when they would call the cops and/or drag me into what is called the “high dependency” section of the ward. You can’t get angry because you are constantly being monitored.
I started getting into an argument with a totally *ignorant* security guard inside the psych ward about the state of the world (he was in classic denial and then finally said: “what do you want me to do?” with an attitude) and then I decided to back off because that is not the best place to lose one’s temper (if they have to, they’ll stick a needle in your butt to tranquilise you as they escort you to the so called “high dependency” ward). They are in complete control.
I didn’t realise there was an art therapy room for several days. Because it was always locked and we had to ask for it to be opened. It was very rudimentary, but it was an extra space I could go. I could not look at the acrylic paints (too brightly coloured) or the paintbrushes, but the coloured pencils were more than satisfactory.
I discovered this beautiful artwork buried under a mound of papers. This was the best art in the whole establishment! Clearly this is someone who is very creative, very talented. This artwork inspired me in a big way. I would like to know who drew it.
I started by sharpening all of the pencils because about half of them were blunt — all except black, because there was no black pencil. One day, I began to draw with the pencils. I was drawing on the shittiest paper imaginable. It was more like the paper that you use to wash your hands with after going to the toilet. Yet it felt so good to be finally doing something constructive.
I could feel myself becoming more creative. I mainly drew things that I had drawn before. Because I didn’t have any references to go off (no internet). I drew in little patches. Over the course of three days I added more and more. It had nearly finished and there was a small empty patch at the top left.
The next day they took over half of the pencils away! Artists like their colours. How can they leave us without the red, blue and black?! Two of them are primaries! I was forever asking and asserting for them to return the red and blue pencils because there was no red and blue ones left. The black I could sort of understand because it was not there to begin with. A male nurse who was sitting with me said I was getting “agitated”. And I had to say “I’m not agitated, I’m frustrated”. It’s like asking a musician to play a guitar that is missing three strings. He just didn’t seem to get it. He told me that it wasn’t a university equipped art room.
Shit like that is what I had to endure. Even so, this is a beautiful piece of art and it only has four colours in it. I started thinking about using the tools at hand. I’ve seen shows where professional photographers are forced to use the crappiest cameras imaginable. And they invariably still come up with fantastic photographs. I started thinking about what my dad used to say: “a poor workman blames his tools”. So for my next drawing, I used just three colours.
Was I being a wanker about the pencils? I don’t know. You tell me. It’s totally okay now though because it make me more aware of what is important to me, my passion, my aptitude, my creative ability, my drawing skill. Some people care, other’s don’t.
After about four or five days, I had talked to all but one of the patients at length. Mainly because the nurses were essentially too busy for more than a 5 minute chat. At first I didn’t know whether they were violent patients or not. So I was curious about that (for my own safety). But it turns out that they were all such a great bunch of people. All of them.
After speaking to an older, wiser nurse for almost 15 minutes, I was able to turn the experience around and look at it for what it really was: an acute rehabilitation center. She recommended trying to take what you can from the experience, to ask “what can I get out of it?”.
The next meeting was my third assessment, with two psychiatrists present, one of them new. Number three psychiatrist was a female and I really opened up to her about my childhood. I was to be released “either tomorrow or the day after”.
By this stage, I was talking to new people and slowly improving (my psychologist had previously told me I was too isolated). I was going to bed and waking up at the right time. I was eating a wider range of foods than before. But most importantly, I was talking to other people who shared the same views as mine. I was not alone. In fact I decided to stay a few extra days.
The good news is that I do feel more optimistic upon exiting the facility. My motivation level is improved. I haven’t had any further suicidal thoughts. Maybe the lesson here is that I shouldn’t be so quick to make generalised assumptions about how my future life is going to turn out?
No, you don’t need a doctor
No one else can heal your soul
Got your mind in submission
Got your life on the line
But nobody pulled the trigger
They just stepped aside
They’ll be down by the water
While you watch ’em wavin’ goodbyeAxl Rose, Coma GNR.
I had an appointment with a mental health worker the day before my admission to the psych ward.
The reason I was there in the first place was that I had asked my GP about it. I wanted more frequent visits with a mental health professional. A counsellor or something. Someone like Deanna Troi. Someone nice that I could talk to about my innermost feelings. Because it helps to get things off your chest. It helps to talk.
They say you shouldn’t let your skeletons out of the closet. Suicide is still a very taboo subject, so I thought long and hard about posting this. In the end, I decided to hit ‘publish’.
But I also wanted to speak with a psychiatrist directly in order to check up on my medication. Because they are the experts and I didn’t think Cymbalta was working properly. So I had asked my GP to see a psychiatrist. She in turn had offered to provide a referral, I had said “I would like that very much” and she obliged. Good. Finally I was getting somewhere.
I called them to make the appointment. I thought I would get to speak with a psychiatrist straight away. I don’t know if the person I spoke to first was a community health worker or an occupational therapist. She told me “it doesn’t work that way”, that “there’s a screening process”. I would get to see her three times first, and if approved, only then I would get to see a psychiatrist. This was the first visit.
After 45 minutes of answering questions, I still didn’t know if I qualified or not. Apparently psychiatrists are in short supply in regional areas (they even fly in from Sydney to do mental health assessments and then fly out a few hours later). Interesting.
They asked me whether I had any suicidal thoughts and I said yes. Why lie?
Previously I only ever had fleeting thoughts which is fairly normal I think. Personally I consider suicide the last and least desirable option. But it still is an option and it should be my right to that option if I so choose.
The next question is always “Do you have a plan?”. I didn’t think I did. Not really. I said I didn’t have a time or a place (yet… it was always pretty vague).
She delved deeper. I had eliminated some suicide methods like slashing my wrists (I hate the sight of blood), shooting myself (too much mess) or jumping off a cliff (about one year ago I had walked to the edge of a cliff to suss that out). And I had told them about that too.
No. For me, I was looking at just taking loads of sleeping pills, to send me off into a neverending blissful sleep.
But for my weight, the lethal dosage, the LD50 it’s called because there is a 50% survival rate, is something like 200 to 2000 tablets! I didn’t have enough. And I told them that, too. She went to say something and stopped herself. I think she disn’t want to give me any ideas.
I told her (my ) that I didn’t want to destroy my kidneys or my liver by taking too many pills. Plus that was not the right way, not effective enough.
Well in case you are wondering, I read that overdosing just fucks up your kidneys/liver and cause great agony in the process. Meaning you just don’t die in your sleep, chances are that you wake up choking on your own vomit, have a heart attack or respiratory failure / asphyxiation, none of which sounds pleasant. I didn’t want that. Doing that would add to my problems.
I had also told her that I had imagined holding a gun to my head and testing how far I could pull the trigger (I don’t know how far you need to pull the trigger, I’ve never even held a gun). I had told her I don’t like guns, but that it was lucky I didn’t own a gun because I might have already tested it out. I had imagined my dead body lying on the floor.
One of the last things she asked me about was what (if anything) makes me happy. I told her about my dog. She turned to her computer and said to me “just keep an eye on that dog”. My dog is what is called a “protective factor”. If something were to happen to that dog, I would not be in a good frame of mind. Who knows what might have happened if that had occurred? I dread to think.
That same night I started to actively ‘research’ it. Personally, I wouldn’t consider a few google searches and reading half a dozen websites true ‘research’, but there you go. Later on, I was dwelling on it for hours on end in bed when I should be sleeping. I looked back upon my browsing history just now and it appears I typed into google “easiest overdoses“. Not good.
I was landing on pages like this one. And this one. And this one. And this one. My background is scientific research and to me this was nothing. This wasn’t even ‘research’, it was just me sussing things out. I read them all.
See, what I was thinking about wasn’t going to be a suicide attempt. It was not to “attract attention” as you might be thinking. No. I had actively researched the most effective and efficient suicide methods. I had typed into google things like “easiest overdoses“. I had ignored the special little google window that pops up in first place and says:
Need help? Australia:
13 11 14
Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week
I don’t know why but I wasn’t going to call Lifeine until I was ready to actually go through with something. That’s what I was waiting for, the last moment. Only then would I call. Why waste people’s valuable time?
All I can say is that if you have lingering suicidal thoughts you shouldn’t wait that long, because by then the chances are that you may go through with it (and unfortunately lots of people do). Besides, what happens if you are waiting for that one conversation to stop you and then your dies for whatever reason? Luckily for me I had professional help long before any actual suicide attempt. I personally think I was about one to three months away (assuming my situation worsened).
She called me the next day just after midday (I was asleep). She actually asked if I was asleep and I said ‘yes’. That never looks good. Had a brief chat with her. She asked if I had any more suicidal thoughts and I told her that I had thought about it for a few hours. I could tell she was a bit annoyed because she said: “why didn’t you call the number I gave you?”. I honestly don’t remember how I responded to that question.
At that point, she suggested a voluntary admission into the local hospital. I asserted that I didn’t want my freedom taken away from me (like I told her being with my dog makes me happy, plus a couple of other things but not that many to be honest). I said I needed to post something first. She said “can someone else post it for you?”. I said “yes, probably”. That was when she said “mate, you’re actively researching it, you have a plan, you need to get yourself to a hospital”. So she eventually/ultimately talked me into it.
She just said to gather some clothes and I can’t remember what else because quite honestly it was all a bit hazy from then on.
On top of that, she stipulated a time. By that point it was 12:45pm. She said if I wasn’t at the emergency department by 1:30pm they would send someone to come and get me. I don’t know if that would have been police or not, I didn’t ask, but I suppose by that point I realised I was sicker than I thought I was and just accepted the situation — better to walk in voluntarily than be dragged in kicking and screaming. Yes they probably do have the power to do that (call the cops) based on a mental health assessment.
Until then, I never even considered visiting a psychiatric ward, I thought they were for more serious schizophrenic-types of patients, not chronically depressed people. I actually thought I would be going to something called a “sub-acute” ward, one that is not locked (I think). I also expected to talk my way out of it. For some reason, I couldn’t. So they kinda tricked me into it but it’s probably a good thing they did, because it woke me up.
There were always ample warning
There were always subtle signs
And you would have seen them coming
But we gave you too much time
And when you said that no one’s listening
Why’d your best friend drop a dime
Sometimes we get so tired of waiting for a
Way to spend our timeAxl Rose, Coma GNR.
Believe it or not, but I just spent all of last week in the loony bin… here’s how it happened:
Yes I was admitted to hospital over a week ago. First to the local emergency department. And then later transferred 1.5 hours away to the nearest mental health unit (aka “psychiatric ward” aka “lunatic asylum”). This is how my journey began.
I decided to opt for the back seat because I didn’t want to talk to anyone. The nurse sat beside me with the driver in front. I was very quiet, looking out the window at the world go by. At about the half way mark, I started to get nervous, because they were mentioning this thing called a “psych ward” with increasing frequency. Previously they had really only told me that I was being transferred to another larger hospital.
The nerves morphed into nausea. I told them I felt sick. I asked for more air. They gave me a vomit bag. The driver pulled over and not long afterwards, I vomited. Ugh. It must have been the blood test on the empty stomach that did it (and sitting in the back seat). They offered for me to move to the front seat. Pretty soon, I started to feel much better and started talking to the driver. We both agreed: this world is in trouble. And if you’ve been reading this blog, you know why. The nurse asked me: “Is all this why you’re depressed?”. “Partially”, I replied. “Partially.”
I was fine for the rest of the trip, but I was disoriented. We arrived at this weird-looking building with tall, thin vertical windows with corrugated iron cladding. I’d never been here before. I remember being escorted through several locked security doors. The sun was high up in the sky and I couldn’t tell which way was North.
We ended up in a little interrogation room and they told me to take a seat. There was a single chair with armrests in the center of the room. I sat. They kept asking me if I knew why I was here. I knew. Truthfully? I don’t even remember what else they asked me. Probably my name and date of birth.
Oh I remember! There was a multiple choice questionnaire, that’s right. A K10 anxiety and depression checklist, not the usual Depression and Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS) scoring template I was already familiar with.
“About how often do you feel depressed?”, the nurse asked with a cheery voice. “All of the time”, I responded bleakly. She filled in the little circle at the far right end of the same row. “About how often did you feel that everything was an effort?”, the nurse asked. “All of the time”, by now almost monotone. She filled in another little circle at the far right end. The month prior, my depression scores were listed as ‘severe’. They literally could not get any worse.
I remember being told to remove all of my belongings except the clothes I was wearing (for some reason I got to keep my wallet although they did ask for that too). Without my phone and car keys weighing down both pockets I felt almost naked. I was searched with a metal detector.
Then I was escorted through another set of double doors commonly seen throughout hospitals. I’m pretty sure they had a metal grid inside the window portion, for added secutity. My purple Crumpler® messenger bag sat on the floor on the other side. I think here is when the shock really started to set in because –unlike at an airport security checkpoint– I was not immediately reunited with my possessions.
Once inside, they sat me down at a round table which was bolted to the floor with sturdy metal L-shaped brackets. I was presented with a piece of paper to sign. I began to read through the document, which was printed on a single sheet of A4-sized paper. It was the terms and conditions regarding my voluntary admission.
I think it all seemed pretty routine for the nurse. As for me, I was still in a state of complete shock. I hesitated for a moment. There were about eight people in the room. Lord knows what was wrong with them. Another patient wandered over in my direction, and, keeping his distance, said to me in rather a loud voice something along the lines of: “Can I give you some advice? don’t stay here if you don’t have to be here, everyone wants to get out of here if you can leave just go get out of here don’t sign anything!”, like it was one drawn out sentence with no pauses inbetween. Hmmm. Not a good sign.
I glanced around this room and outside towards the 20-foot security walls and the abundance of dull grey cement and concrete (yes I know the difference between the two by the way). It all all looked very sterile. Even the raggedy-looking tomato plant appeared to be depressed. To me, it all looked (and felt) like a virtual prison. That’s probably because that’s exactly what it was!
I also noticed that there was a complete lack of art on the walls –and taking this complete stranger’s sage advice– decided not to sign. It all seemed like a very depressing environment to be in and I just didn’t want to be there. “Fuck ’em!”, I thought. “I’m not staying here a moment longer than I have to”, I resigned. Besides, I held this belief: “Shit, this is really going to interfere with my work” somewhere in the back of my mind.
“I can’t sign that.”, I said. Out loud. “I won’t sign.”, I said again, emphatically. Now I don’t know if everyone realises this, but there’s a whole world of difference between the two words “can’t” and “won’t” (for some people at least). And I thought that saying both of them strongly enough, sequentially, that they would somehow synergistically add up and give me a tiny bit more clout than either word used alone would. Nope.
“I don’t need to be here”, I thought, looking around the room one last time, utterly convinced. “What happens if I don’t sign?”, I then asked (inquisitively and a admittedly a little belatedly). “If you don’t sign we can keep you for up to two hours until you see a doctor who can release you”, I was promptly told. “Well two hours is better than two weeks”, I muttered to myself, and stubbornly refused to cooperate with them any further.
I don’t exactly remember what happened next –whether I was standing or sitting or where– but it wasn’t long before I was ushered by one of the nurses into another small private room. A large man with a somewhat porky face and dark complexion walked in. I started answering a whole bunch of his questions. And then I realised I didn’t even know who the fuck I was talking to. I couldn’t even remember his name. “Are you a psychiatrist?” I asked, once again belatedly. “Yes I’m a type of psychiatrist” he said with a charming English accent. And I was like “okay… fine… good… I’ll be able to prove to this bloke of my sanity… finally I get to talk to someone intelligent!”.
Please keep in mind that I just wanted to leave this place and go straight back home to pat my dog. Because it’s the little things like that that make me feel ‘happy’. Access to all of those little creature comforts we tend to take for granted. Plus my freedom. And I thought that if they made me stay –if they forced me to– there was a fairly strong chance I’d either throw a temper tantrum, try to escape or worse yet kill myself. There was just no way this was going to work for me. Because I was already at rock bottom. “I can’t stay here two weeks.”, I said, while shaking my head resoundingly as I often do for added effect.
He told me that they were worried about me and spun the old “duty of care” argument. Uh oh… I could see where this was going…
Maybe the real problem was that I was too honest? Yesterday, I had visited my local community health centre. To try and get some more help. Because I felt that the monthly visits to my psychologist were not enough. They were helping –sure– but only very slowly (cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT as it is known is inherently a slow process). So I had told the occupational therapist my latest thoughts. I had told her everything. That’s why I was here in the first place… of course I knew why I was here.
Because although I didn’t wanted to kill myself right there and then in that exact moment, I had dwelled on it for some time. I hadn’t completely ruled out the possibility of doing something like that in the future. If my situation were to get worse for example, as a kind of an escape route from my relentless suffering. Like if my mum or my sister died, or some other fairly drastic and unexpected life event. For example if my dog was ever taken away from me — simply being with her was one of life’s few remaining pleasures.
Quite frankly, yes, I was almost over it. I almost could not take any more. Almost. I had had around forty hours of cognitive behaviorial therapy in the last three years alone. My change of career was about ten times harder than I ever imagined. I didn’t feel very successful. I had no motivation left. My sleeping patterns were a complete mess. I felt hopeless. Useless. I had basically had enough of it. It might be the least desirable option, but it’s still an option. My secret option. And I had briefly checked out on that option too.
So I don’t even remember if he asked me this next question before or after the previous paragraphs, but he said it in a strange, roundabout way. Instead of asking whether I had ever had (or currently had) suicidal thoughts or asking me directly whether I wanted to kill myself, he posed the question in the subjunctive form, like this: “If I were to ask you whether you wanted to kill yourself, what would you then say to me?”.
He had caught me off guard. All of a sudden this became a hypothetical scenario. Yes hypothetically I might want to kill myself in the future if the situation got worse. And then there was an awkwardly long pause on my behalf. Too long. Like nearly this long:
Dammit! Yes I felt about as guilty as Jan Ullrich when asked about doping. But I didn’t smile or laugh because it wasn’t funny. Nothing was. “It’s too soon”, I remember thinking. “I’m not that suicidal. Not right now. I’m only partially suicidal.”
Should I answer “maybe”? “Not right now”? “Sometimes”? None of these are good answers. I realise now that when you’re in this kind of predicament, anything other than ‘no’ is not the right answer. In the end I just said “how can I answer that question?”. That alone was a partial admission.
It was around this point in the conversation that he said “we can keep you here as an involuntary patient” and “I don’t take this decision lightly” (or whatever way he said it). I was astonished. “You want to put a suicidally depressed patient into a more depressing environment?!”, I remarked.
I felt like a tiny insect who had flown unwittingly into the outer perimeter of a very large spiderweb. The web had been spun well before I had entered the room that day. And the juicy big orb spider was coming to get me. It was a trap and suddenly I was stuck! Fuck!
You see, up until then, I had assumed that if I voluntarily walked into one of these centres, that I could voluntarily walk straight out again. Wrong!
I honestly wish I had a fucking tape recorder with me, but I didn’t have one so apologies if this next section isn’t verbatim and/or with the correct sequence of events. He looked me right in the eye (or I looked him right in the eye if you prefer) and he said: “The state wants to keep you alive” (or the equivalent, the only words I really remember were ‘state’, ‘you’ and ‘alive’). Or maybe he said “The state has a duty to keep you alive”, or something else very much like that — sorry, I just I don’t bloody remember.
“The risk to you is less in here than out there” the man said. To which I promptly replied: “but you haven’t seen my home environment, so how can you make that judgement? YOU don’t know!“. Then he repeated himself and I repeated myself. A few times actually. I was getting anxious. And then I said “well we’re just going ’round in circles”. The nurse nodded in agreement. The meeting was basically over at that point. There was to be no further discussion or compromise.
I had been classified as either a “mentally ill patient” or a “mentally disordered patient” (I’m still not sure which one). Basically, I was sick. How had I let things get this far? I don’t know. Depression is the disease of the 21st century; it creeps up behind you while you least expect it. Somewhere along the line, I had been gradually losing hope about my future.
By now it was dawning on me that there was not going to be an exit from here any time soon. Whether I signed that silly admission form or not, they were not going to release me back into the big bad world for a while. That was it. I was to be admitted as an involuntary patient at a psychiatric hospital ward.
They’ll be callin’ in the morning
They’ll be hanging on the phone
They’ll be waitin’ for an answer
But you know nobody’s home
And when the bells stop ringing
It was nobody’s fault but your ownAxl Rose, Coma GNR.
Empires fall because of long-lasting wars, rebellions, disease, plagues, environment, chemical poisoning, etc. Civilisations rise and fall like ocean tides. What makes our current civilisation any different? I believe, nothing. And so I often wonder: what will be our undoing?
First off, as EF Schumacher says, we’ve based our entire economy on the assumption that our planet’s resources are unlimited, and so when the fossil fuels run out, watch that stock market spiral downwards. Overpopulation. Deforestiation. Global warming. Climate change. Mass extinction. It’s very hard to retain hope & remain optimistic as society and the environment decays all around us. Blind optimism in the face of a crisis period is certainly not the answer either. And now vast numbers of people are even turning to artificial “virtual-reality” worlds, which I find rather sad.
Believe it or not, but under the surface, every one of us is struggling to cope. Of course mental health professionals already know this. Look at the stress & misdirected violence. The current mental health crisis. I believe this is an issue because there are and more more things happening in the world than ever before. Access to world-wide information is increasing exponentially. We have more choices to make & we’re majorly stressed as a result. General Anxiety Disorders are now linked with the leading causes of death. In short, stress kills.
Look around at our cities. Look at the concrete. Look at all the graffiti. Look at the weeds growing. Basically, things seem to be getting uglier all the time. Ghettos are popping up all over the place. As if that weren’t bad enough, there is a massive gap in the distribution of wealth. We appear to be losing hope fast. Perhaps this is why chronic depression is now referred to as “The disease of the 21st century”.
Why are we here? Evolution has instilled in us not only the ability to survive & reproduce, but now, seemingly without control, to conquer almost everything in sight. Our own evolution has been so successful, that we’re now the dominant species of Earth. We’re almost too advanced, you could say. But as everyone knows, there’s only one new direction for a total 100% monopoly to look forward to, and that’s downwards. As our cities spread like a virus, where do we go when there are no new lands to move to? Am I the only one who thinks that a mass exodus to another plant is an absolutely preposterous idea?
There is a need to co-exist, to harmonise with this planet. Our survival depends on it. We are genetically pre-programming to reproduce at all costs. But if one of the goals of our civilisation is to increase the human life expectancy, there are not just one or two family generations living together all of a sudden, but three or four. In response, the population is skyrocketing…
“What you don’t have you don’t need it now
What you don’t know you can feel it somehow” -U2, beautiful day.
I wrote this in response to this article.
What rubbish. The entire thing. First of all it was invasion, plain and simple. Aborigines were murdered/slaughtered. Not by the hundreds. Not by the thousands. We are talking twenty thousand murders. Hundreds of thousands more died due to diseases *we* brought over. Educate yourselves.
Then they were shackled. Their kids taken from them. They have shorter life expectancies than us. Higher suicide rates than us. They have ten times the imprisonment rate than us. Now you expect them to be happy about the situation? And you still want to celebrate it? How can you? Yes it is insensitive. I wonder: is it so hard to change what you were taught at school, your ‘traditions’? It ought not to be. It ought not to be.
Did they even have a choice? No, they didn’t. I say again: were they given a choice? No they weren’t. They were just shot at. I think it’s time we had the balls and owned up to it.
I wouldn’t mind so much except that modern technology hasn’t even proven itself to be truly sustainable in the long run. Do we seriously think we can carry on this way for 40,000 years? If you think that, you haven’t read enough. Because if you ask me, ‘developments’ aren’t really ‘developments’ at all. For every ‘development’, yet another species is lost. How’s that for development? So I don’t think we’re a ‘superior’ race at all. Quite the opposite. We invent things and we don’t even know what the consequences will be. We don’t even think about it. We have no concept of what future generations will inherit.
I don’t really want to even associate with clueless bogans, if this is what they stand for. Party all you want, it’s your ‘right’. But I certainly won’t be. I used to like Australia day but guess what? I’ve learned things and I’ve changed. It’s not even that hard to change, is it? Is it? Ultimately I think conservative people need to learn a bit more empathy if they want to be taken seriously.
It is just not right that millions of very hard-working people are paying 30% tax or more on their incomes and big multinational corporations escape with perhaps 1%. Ridiculous!
This is one of the reasons I just feel like the majority of people now are involved in a form of “modern slavery” while the “ultra high net worth individuals” (meaning: “the greedy”) pay sweet fuck all in taxes.
Everyone looks up to Apple and yet they are one of the worst offenders. It all makes me feel so mad. They take and take and take from the enviornment and are never under any obligations to give anything back.
GOVERNMENTS and you are meant to PROTECT us. That includes our long term survival. Yet you don’t try to block 91 coal mines (for example) from being built on the East coast of Australia – even when the general public don’t want fossil fuels anymore.
It’s time you acted like a GOVERNMENT. Actually do some GOVERNING, you know? Because right now, I think you are colluding with big companies too much and you seem to me to be completely corrupt.
Jane Jacobs touched on this in her book “systems of survival”. What we have here are what she terms “monstrous hybrids”. Not good.
Because of this, I just feel like being a “conscientious objector”, i.e. working up to the tax free threshold and not a dollar more and that is only ONE of the reasons.
“I have spoken”
We claim to live in the age of information. The trouble is, there is such an abundance of information today that no one single entitity can now assimilate and process it all.
The way society generally works today is that we get together in formal –but very inefficient– meetings. Each one of us put forward our most primary observations, discoveries and suggestions. We can only live one life each so there isn’t time to communicate all of our findings to everyone. Things that might otherwise seem completely insignificant to someone in one area are unintentionally ommitted from the conversation and may in fact be highly relevent to a person with another very specific set of knowledge.
We just don’t know what is important outside our field of expertise. There is no way we can know everything unless we become ‘experts’ in more than one area. And as I said before, there is too much information out there for one brain to accommodate. Either one has to do an aweful lot of reading throughout their life, in which case they are classified as a nerd and have little influence over society. Or else one has a very general field of knowledge about how the world works, but lacks the specific qualifications or the credentials to be taken seriously by other members of society.
“We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom” — Edward O. Wilson
I think people are starting to specialise too much and I think that that is one of the reasons why we are literally “starving in wisdom” as Wilson so eloquently puts it. I think we need to take information from a multitude of varied fields.
I think we really need more people to take the information that is already there and combine it in new ways.
So I am going to give out a few hints to scientists in particular (because I am an ex-researcher by the way). First off, science does not change the world. There are several reasons for this.
Because of the hierrarchial nature of society, the leaders do the talking. They are the ones that decide the fate of humanity. But are leaders really well-informed? Do they appreciate the magnitude, complexity and significance of the problems we now face?
For almost nine years, I lived a pretty frugal life in the Canary Islands, Spain.
More out of necessity than choice, but still I felt my simple life was beneficial for the planet.
What did I learn from the experience? Well most importantly, I noticed that Spanish people are generally happier, less stressed and have much more time to spend with friends and relatives, don’t consume anywhere near as much as Australians.
Why be a slave to all these kitchen appliances when you can enjoy cooking healthy food without any of them?
The good life:
Look at the faces of people in any big city. Do the majority of them look happy at any given moment? Many of them don’t because many of them are stuck living someone else’s life. Sometimes less is more. Sometimes the fun is in the struggle. When a game becomes too easy, is it really fun anymore? The same goes with life. The challenging moments are often our most savoured.
Less stress is the main benefit of all this. Less stuff equals more spare time. More spare time means more chance for new activities and personal growth. Growth and development brings lasting fulfillment
Now imagine somewhere like Vanuatu. People smile all the time. They eat a lot of fruit. They have white teeth. There is no obesity problem.
Because of our competitive nature we are working longer hours to develop and sell more products.
Much of this stress occurs at work where we are forced to sell more products to increase profit and growth.
We know that stress is the greatest cause of death, contributing to 9 out of the 10 leading causes of death.
Why not slow down the pace a bit, take more time to enjoy life, enjoy what you have?
Why do we always need more growth? Answer: we need work to pay for our homes. Because rich people are greedy.
Why don’t we start using a happiness index rank? A 4 day week.
Why can’t we be content with less? Because we’re bombarded
On the GDP. The hapiness index. Working a 4 day week.
Why do families NEED 3 cars? People managed alright before. Then often during their leisure time, they complain about being bored. There are more things to occupy oneself today than ever before. Some people fall into the trap of drugs. I wonder what the world is coming to. A species that exploits everything in sight and during the spare moments only seeks to fulfil it’s own pleasure-seeking entertainment.
Why not take public transport instead? And do something constructive on the journey like read a book? Public transport is too crowded I hear you complain. Not using it is like saying to the government “OK, you win!”. They’ll never invest in it if people don’t use it. If everyone used it, concurrently, they’d eventually have to do something to improve it.
Instead people sit in their cars and get angry at each other. People have become so impatient these days. One reason toady’s society is so violent is that people simply don’t exercise enough. But instead of walking or cycling to work, some people would rather be stuck indoors in a gymnasium… a virtual sweathouse of people running on treadmills and getting nowhere. This is a tremendous waste of potential energy.
The only thing that can extract CO2 from the air on that scale (without requiring even more energy) are FORESTS. And civilisation is cutting those down all over the place…
It’s like we’re dinosaurs, okay, and we have a rocket can destroy the oncoming asteroid, but the T-Rex leader just keep munching away on the other dinosaurs regardless…
We live in a unique time; both the growth of information and the ability to access that information is also increasing at an exponential rate.
Our almost instant global communications network is enough to impress anyone. But can all the knowledge it contains be a bad thing?
More content has been generated in the last few decades than during the whole of human history!
This vast amount of accessible knowledge overwhelms even the most capable person. All the bad news we receive looms subconsciously in our minds, while we try and forget.
We must make more and more daily choices than ever before. For a start, think of all the options on all your personal electronic devices. Customisable features such as screen savers, ring tones, fonts & sizes, printer & graphics settings, software programs. The list is endless.
Which e-mails to delete? Why? What to buy and sell. Where? Who should I meet? When? What information should I try do I avoid, and what information should I attempt to seek out? How do I do that?
And ultimately: What choices do I choose to make? What do I do with my life now?
The way I see it, current research science is a system of reliable information harnessing, data processing, followed by speculative interpretation based on well-founded principles & intense scrutiny by fellow peers. It is a method of education for an entire community of very eager-to-learn people.
We begin our careers by studying many fields. We do this so that we can all speak a common language. For instance, I didn’t even start any materials subjects at all until I was in my second year of university. We all had to study maths, chemistry, physics and so on.
Scientists research anything and everything imaginable, from the arcane to the utterly esoteric. That’s why most of it remains inaccessible to the general public.
The smaller each individual niche becomes, the more difficult it is to generate new results, new conclusions -new information. You could say that we already know so much, that learning any more at the cutting edge of science requires serious effort. Usually it requires further advancements in the development of scientific instrument technology; enhanced signal to noise ratios or finer spatial resolution, for example.
In today’s age, it takes a big effort to gather even the simplest, entirely new facts about materials. Used in this manner, traditional scientific research will never provide all the answers to the most important questions that we relentlessly seek to ask.
Scientists are a relentless lot, because in each and every ultra-specific field of science there is always some aspect that has not been effectively or sufficiently studied. You’ll never hear any scientist proclaim: “we can stop now, we’ve discovered enough”. There’s always room for further study.
“We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom.” —Edward O. Wilson
But in today’s “information age”, is the current aim of science somewhat misguided? Much of science tries to benefit us in the short term, by improving our standard of living in some way. I think there are many talented young minds that are being wasted today; they dwell on themes which are effectively useless to the ecology of this planet. The long-term future of our environment, and thus our civilisation on which it depends is not looking too bright.
The trouble with most classical scientists is that they would have you believe that everything can be isolated and studied independently. That single assumption is just plain wrong, merely because everything interacts with everything else to a certain degree.
And yet the reality is that things don’t behave in an isolated manner, in fact things often behave synergistically (the sum is more than its parts). So I tend to believe in those wise old American Indians. They say that everything in this universe is connected.
I know that the physical Scientists (Physicists, Chemists and Materials Scientists) will also have you believe that everything happens at the atomic or molecular scale & therefore that’s also where all the answers can be found. I suspect that biologists profess similar principles. Except that real life doesn’t always work that way.
[I like to think of it like this- the microscopic world is influenced from the outside macroscopic world; the resulting perturbations may indeed infiltrate and manipulate the atomic world, but they soon manifest themselves later as corresponding macro-sized problems. Time and time again, scientists have realised that the world is more complicated than they thought. You would have thought they would have learned by their mistakes. Other times, they go off on a wild goose chase looking for micro-scale solutions to macro-scale problems (or vice versa).]
Take this example: did the researchers who invented high-power blue-coloured laser diodes for data density research know that they’d be used in Fish Aggragating Devices?
Did thermodynamicists of the 18th century who originally researched the Carnot cycle realise that it would result in global warming a couple of centuries later down the track?
Somewhere along the way, we have gone from a general, overall view to a very narrow view. We’ll never fully understand the universe if we keep branching into narrower and narrower disciplines as a method of moving forward.
I think what Edward O. Wilson says is very true. What he is essentially saying is that there is too much information and not enough wisdom. In my opinion, we would be better off using and applying what we already know to be true. What’s the point of continuing with research if it takes society decades to change? What’s the point of biologists working so hard trying to unravel nature’s secrets if governments and corporations don’t even heed the most basic warnings about deforestation. Wouldn’t studying the pschology of change be more effective? Wouldn’t guaranteeing our survival be the best thing to focus on right now?
I think it is time for a different era in Science. A direction which which doesn’t try and invent “cures” for the countless problems that industrialisation or technology has already created, but instead, one that sources the reasons behind their after-effects. Yes I’m talking about industries, inventions or incidents which always seem to generate previously “unknown” problems.
If we always claim ignorance after some type of revenge effect occurs, no matter how smart we claim to be, we are not. In all likelihood, it means that there were considerations which could have been followed but were chosen to be ignored. How do we predict them? Perhaps a new type of study could be employed, similar to a feasibility study – lets call it a “consequentiality study”. This would attempt to document the emergence of future possible unintended consequences, especially negative ones. In this manner, the after effects could be anticipated and hence the proposal could be modified.
If a high growth economy is needed to fight the battle against pollution, which itself appears to be the result of high growth, what hope is there of ever breaking out of this extraordinary cycle? – Author of “Small is Beautiful”, E.F. Schumacher.
Instead of relentlessly pursuing the current line of investigation, let’s take a step back and link previously unrelated findings together. Let’s join the dots to create the bigger picture, so to speak, especially concerning the direction we’re all headed. Let’s be smart and study the consequences of our actions for a change, and try to prevent them from ever occurring. Let’s harness the vast expanse of our existing knowledge, and look at ways to develop and encourage a sustainable future. Maybe we should also ask our society what it wants us to pursue?
I used to think that scientific research study could only ever be a good thing, but now I’m not so sure. I think I was merely exhibititing “specialisation” type social behaviour in response to this civilisations increasing complexity.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out we’ve got continually deteriorating social & environmental problems. Don’t think there’s anything wrong with the way we do things today? There’s a book entitled The Fourth Civilisation, which is precisely the type of text more scientists should read before deciding upon their next topic of research. It’s what everyone should read, instead of those silly English novels they get you to read at highschool. Read all that first and with that in mind, then embark on your career.
“The great danger for the world in the post-cold-war period may come from the combination of economic problems and the struggle for cultural survival.” – Alexander Tomov, 1996.
When I was at university, science was all about solving problems. Come to think of it, research is essentially the slow process of gathering or “discovering” new factoids that one day may just come in handy for future researchers. But what we don’t want is answers to problems we’ll face during the next century or the next decade or even now. What we [b]needed [/b]were answers [i]yesterday [/i]for the problems we were facing DECADES ago! All too often, scientists belatedly come up with half-arsed ‘solutions’. Answers to consequences that science itself is or was originally implicated in.
For example, exactly how can this purported “Grand Unified Theory” possibly benefit anyone. To me it reaks of human ignorance & . What the HELL kind of answers can these experiments [i]possibly [/i]reveal that will help us here on Earth [i]before [/i]we wipe out not just our own civilisation but half the freakin’ species that live here?? I for one think it would be good if the whole science community got a bop on the head so to speak and took onboard some good old fashioned COMMON FUCKING SENSE.
I’m feeling pretty optimistic today, even so, I still think the world is generally fucked… for every single scientific invention there’s been some kind of unintended negative consequence. Possibly the only exception is the humble solar panel, and we don’t use them nearly enough as we should.
During my post-graduate degree, I learned that scientists are veritable EXPERTS in justifying research funds. It’s late & I don’t know what I’m saying but I would like to see the same amount of money given to sociologists & see what they come up with. They’d probably come up with better answers for this planet than all those particle physcists put together.
I read the other day that the MIT & other various groups were trying to create “Wireless Power Transfer via Strongly Coupled Magnetic Resonances”… now keeping in mind what I said earlier about ‘unintended negative consequences’, hands up who actually thinks that pursuing this is a good idea? Why do it? Do we hate cables that much or are we just becoming too lazy to plug them in to their respective sockets???
Who wants to live like the fat buggers on that inter-galactic spaceship in the movie WALL.E? Not me, that’s for damn sure. I happen to like it here on Earth. I like animals and plants. I’m happy to co-habitate with them. I’m no tripped-out hippy, but I think we could actually benefit by some much-needed changes.
I can’t believe you are even allowed to sell a vehicle like this today!
All I can see are the exhaust pipes. Now when I look at the back of an electric vehicle, there are none. So it’s just not cool anymore, is it?
I think the time will come when no amount of design will help companies sell internal combustion engines.
Now that’s a good name for an article isn’t it? “No amount of design”
I knew this day would come. People thinking we can replace nature’s services with robot technology…
I think it won’t work because of the following:
- The energy requirements of robots are greater than insects. How long can a drone that small fly for? 5 minutes? 10 minutes? 15 minutes? 30 minutes? A bee flys all day long and doesn’t ever need to be “plugged in”; it refuels as it travels.
- Bees and other insects already know what to do. They know where to go, how to get there, when to return, which flowers to visit. A bee already knows to avoid bad weather. They sleep in! No programming required!
- Insects such as bees are already solar powered (they make their food from plants, which are powered by photosynthesis)
- Robots are not currently biodegradeable and/or compostable. Are they? E-waste is a big problem today and this simply creates more of it. Recycling still requires the consumption of energy and the addition of new raw material to the batch.
- Insects such as ants detect chemicals. They’re chemical detectors. That’s how they work (as far as I know). It’s not just their eyes, but their antannae.Do you want to know what the smallest CO² chemical detector is today? Unless there has been some amazing development in the field of gas chromatography that I am not aware of, current gas detectors would need to be mounted on a drone so big, that it would not be able to manouvre around individual flowers with enough precision. It would be like a fucking bald eagle trying to thread a needle with a cross wind.
- Bees aren’t the only pollinators. There are pollinators even smaller than bees that can pollenise the tiniest of flowers only a few mm across.
- Making one robot bee is not the same as making a whole swarm. Who is going to make the swarm? People? Or still more robots? So then there will be more “embodied energy” tied up in the manufacturing stage.
- Most current manufacturing methods are not really sustainable in the long term. They just aren’t. Because they require things like lasers, magnets, chemicals, copper/PVC wiring, steel moulds, energy, transport.
- Do we seriously see ourselves making an equivalent of the Earth’s biomass of insects for the next million+ years? Like a billion tonnes of robot bees? Where is all that material going to come from? More mines? Current mining operations endanger many species all over the world; habitat destruction will endanger further species… so it just seems to me that as we try to apply more and more technology to solve more problems, technology itself creates an ever-decreasing viscious circle.
Humans have this kind of “wait and see” approach, which I think is crap. Sure it “can be done”, but making robot bees is probably a thousand times less efficient than natural bees (if not a million times less).
I think it’s time robot technicians admitted something. That they cannot recreate a single bee, fly or mosquito. Like I say, is it biodegradeable, self-assembling, and self-regenerative? No. If you look at even the most advanced robot and then put an insect or bacterium alongside it, the natural version is way more advanced (even in terms of the hierarchical structure of the materials alone).
I’m open minded. I’m creative. I’m optimistic. But this is clunky at best. This is stupid. This is wrong. This will create more problems for ourselves. And I think anyone who knows about science, manufacturing, or ecology, will probably agree with me.
The way I see it, digging up the Earth is still quite a primitive thing to do. And there is only so much we can dig. Better to have a circular economy and manufacturing industry. That’s how nature does it, with zero waste!
I really think there is only one way we can go and that is a “less is more” approach. And I think if we don’t change, nature will simply force us to. It’s hard to be productive as well as profitable in a blizzard, a heatwave, a flood, etc.
I’ve been told that I shouldn’t even be garnering additional exposure for this idea by even discussing robot pollination, and to take my thoughts offline. But I think it’s better to leave this right up here so that some of my connections can put up their arguments as to why they think it won’t work. I’d particularly like to hear from biologists. Tell us all the ways insects are superior to synthetic robots. :)
I thought I’d share this video I put together during the middle part of my graphic design diploma in 2015
I edited this video for one of the more difficult subjects called “Art Direction”, one of the final ones before graduation. The idea was that I had to design a new logo for Aeroflot as part of a rebranding project.
There were a whole bunch of other documents I had to produce along with the logo: client contract, production schedule, budget estimate, branding guideline manual, advertising campaign, storyboard advert and finally a presentation which you can see on my illustration website. It was a treally stressful time for me personally (and for a lot of other people too, I’m sure).
The week before I started this subject, I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD). So naturally I was really worried about the final presentation that I had to give in front of the whole class. But it was more than that, graphic designers are some of the most hyper-observant people you will ever come across. My science presentations a decade before never went well (that’s an understatement) and I avoided talking in front of large groups of people ever since…
Anyway, I got so carried away editing this video –I became so inspired– that I essentially ‘forgot’ to worry about the final presentation! The plan was to make an introduction video that was edited so nicely, something so fluid that the audience couldn’t look away (and thus look at me instead). Well truth be told I never truly forgot about the presentation. But it did reduce my anxiety a lot.
From time to time I come back to watch this little vid whenever I need to feel inspired. I hope you like it. If you do, please share!
“It is very disturbing when the amorality of scientists unites the immorality of politicians.” — Jurandyr Arone Maues
“amorality of scientists”? You’ve got to be joking! Now you’ve done it.
Do you think scientists want global warming to be true? No, I can assure you that we don’t want it to be true. I personally would rather carry on regardless with my affinity for fossil-fuel powered sports motorbikes, BUT I can’t simply ‘forget’ my science education. Can I?
First of all, we’ve already told you. Many times over. But apparently non-scientists are not as ‘logical’ as scientists. Other things seem to get in the way of your reasoning. Things like lifestyle and belief systems. Social inertia. Conspiracy theories. Conservatives. Religion.
We could come up with the most irrefutable evidence you could imagine and still there would be loads of people that would think “it’s all a giant conspiracy”. Because they’re hooked on vehicles, consumer goods and international air travel. Right?
Most people are almost born with this ideology that “work is good” and “work can’t be bad”. It’s indoctrinated into us all through our schooling and beyond. We’re all taught to “do something of benefit”. People who are brought up with religion automatically think “man can do no harm”. Wrong! We invented the thermonuclear bomb. I think everyone agrees that they’re very destructive man-made things.
And the thing is, nuclear bombs are essentially atomic-scale devices. We invented all sorts of poisons that can kill off entire ecosystems. Guess what? Poisons are molecular scale devices also.
Almost every single change or consequence in this universe is brought about by the small scale influencing the big scale. For example, my expertise is in materials (that’s how I know about IR spectroscopy); every single material you can touch is influenced by the arrangement of its atoms. Every single one. It’s the difference between charcoal and diamond. They’re both carbon-based materials. The only difference is the atomic stacking. That’s it. That’s why superman can squeeze a lump of coal and turn it into diamond.
I think deniers need to just stop already and take a much-needed reality check. And fast. Just leave your preconceived ideas at the door. Is it so hard to believe that what we do affects our environment? Is it?! If we keep on making changes at the *local* scale, and we keep on doing this *all over the planet*, that means we are *already* doing things on a global scale. Just because you can’t SEE all of those exhaust pipes in front of you, doesn’t mean they’re not contributing.
Likewise, just because you can’t comprehend how a tiny thing like a molecule can influence a whole planet, doesn’t mean it’s not happening either. We already know that changes in one scale can and do influence another. There are storms all over the planet Venus for example. Do you know why? Well according to planetary scientists, it’s because of its atmosphere.
Do me a favour, read this. That’s the link between CO2 and absorption of radiation. That’s the mechanism right there. There is no doubt about the IR spectra of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.
But it’s not a question of one lone molecule, is it? Do you know how much volume of gas one tonne of CO2 represents? Do you? 1 tonne of CO2 gas occupies 557 thousand litres.
Now try to imagine the NUMBER of molecules. It’s right up there. Forget tonnes. Forget litres. Let’s talk about the actual number of molecules for a change. The USA emits emits approximately 71,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 of these molecules every single year. Do you see how many zeroes that is? That is no exaggeration. That is a real number estimate that I have personally calculated. We are talking “duodecillions” of molecules here, all over the world.
Now granted there are a lot of molecules in a teacup (a lot less than this, I can assure you). But I hope that at least *some* people who read this can now begin to see how this goes from being a molecular-scale problem to a planetary-scale problem.
And not only that. We know there are tipping points. We know about chaos theory. We know about “sensitive dependence on initial conditions”. What the hell am I on about now? Well for example if Hitler had have got into art school, instead of being rejected, then there WW2 probably wouldn’t have happened. Would it?
And the thing is, we can see the carbon dioxide concentration is increasing all over the world. So that is measurable. And the electromagnetic spectrum of greenhouse gases are also measurable (and let me tell you, their repeatability is undeniable).
Next deniers will tell you that plants love CO2. And so does phytoplankton. Not according to this study.
Well sorry to alarm you, but forests and oceans can’t seem to keep up. Because if they could, the CO2 concentration would stabilise. But it doesn’t. It keeps rising. And the more forests we cut down, the higher it goes. Indeed, it should already be obvious. Because if they loved the extra CO2, they would already be making use of it.
Do you know what those little serrations are on this graph? I read somewhere that each one of those jumps represents and entire growing season for deciduous plants (because there are more in one hemisphere than in the other). And judging by that graph, you can even see that the leaves fall from the trees faster than they grow. That’s what that is.
Those little zig-zag jumps you can see are the effectiveness of the planet’s lungs. Each year they take a breath. And each year, it looks like they are suffocating ever so slightly more. You might say the concentration of CO2 might not matter to them. It probably doesn’t. But the fact is, global warming would still occur even without any trees, as it does on the planet Venus, the “greenhouse capital” of the solar system.
And this problem we are facing is no different to another anthropogenic global problem: ozone hole problem. Remember? Nobody denied that! And I’ll tell you why nobody denied that. Because it was EASIER to give up CFCs and swap over to a different aerosol propellant, wasn’t it? Simple. Done.
Try to realise that if the Earth’s atmosphere doesn’t actually go on forever. It’s less than 10km thick. People commute more than that on a daily basis. Ethiopians walk more than that on a daily basis just to get enough water. It’s actually very thin when you think of it like that (as all astronauts and cosmonauts will tell you).
And that was what Carl Sagan was trying to say with his book “Pale blue dot”. Carl Sagan was truly brilliant at making ordinary people appreciate big and small numbers. Well I’m going to go one further than Carl. And I’m going to bring it right down to human-scale proportions. If the Earth’s atmosphere was condensed into a solid, it would be only 12.2 metres thick. That’s it. That’s all we’re playing with.
Now try to recall every single time you filled up your fuel tank. Can you remember? That’s 50kg or more at a time. If you had to carry that 50kg every time you filled up your car, you’d probably be more aware of the amount of carbon you’re burning. But it just flows up into the petrol bowser, down through the hose and out the nozzle without you even lifting a finger.
Now try to remember every single time you turned on a light switch or plugged something in. All that electricity had to come from somewhere too (like when coal and gas were scooped up by the truckload at all the mining sites dotted around this planet and burned in power stations that you can’t even see).
And now try to remember every single thing you have ever bought. Tonnes of invisible (invisible to you) carbon dioxide went into making all the stuff we buy. Tonnes. Incidentally, that is why the manufacturing industry doesn’t want to talk about climate change either (because they’re too involved in it).
Now. All that CO2. Have you planted that much carbon in the mean time? Has your garden grown and gained tonnes and tonnes of weight? Or has it been urbanised instead– chopped down and flattened? Has your soil got that much richer? No. The answer is “no it hasn’t”. All of that carbon has been taken from underground mines and dispersed into the atmosphere.
Try to think of all of that carbon being sprinkled onto the 12.2 metre frozen sea of air. Try to think of it that way. Try to think of all those duodecillions of molecules “doing their thing”. Try to think of it that way.
Sometimes I think that by the time you figure out how the world works, you’re too old to change it.
Have you ever noticed that there’s a huge delay in our society? There’s a delay between the time government officials catch up with science and the time that politicians take to enable new laws. By the time they come into effect it’s almost too late!
Science and technology has lapped the field a few times and our ‘guardians’ are languishing behind acting on industrial models invented during nineteen-fucking-twenty.
Even when they do do something right, our governments act with deliberate, bureaucratic and juggernaut-like sluggishness. It’s like they’re having a conversation like this:
“Status, meet quo. Quo, status. Status–status. Quo–quo. Status quo.”
They’ll give you a survey about being surveyed. “Bob, fill out this paperwork. It’s regarding how much paperwork we have to fill out”.
I say this because I remember way back in 1992 being told that “fossil fuels are being “phased out”. Phased out my arse! Why are they still building new coal mines? Why?! That’s a long time ago, that is, 1992. A quarter of a century and it feels like nothing has changed..
I think that in a civilisation as fast-paced as this one is becoming, we’re going to need to get our governments to change their behavior a lot faster than they do now. Otherwise, we’re screwed. Well those are my thoughts for today.
I’m hoping one or more of the 2000+ billionaires in the world are reading this…
Because even the richest people in the world, all the current billionaires –even future trillionaires– cannot afford to maintain their current lifestyles, as they do here so nicely, except on the planet Mars.
Where do all the rich and famous people go on holidays? I’ll tell you were they all go. They go to the one place in the world that literally “exudes luxury”. And I’ll give you a hint: it’s not Monte Carlo (that’s for people that spend money).
1 – Bora Bora, in French Polynesia. They stay in overwater bungalows costing upwards of US$5,000 a night. That’s where they go. They take a few steps down a little ladder and snorkel right off from their little balconies. Isn’t that wonderful?
And call me strange, but all of those luxurious resorts encircling Bora Bora look absolutely nothing like… well, bloodywell anywhere on that dusty little shithole unfortunate sister planet of ours, Mars2. It’s a completely vacant, crappy, dry, dusty monotone brown little shithole. And I think we have to ask ourselves “why indeed is Mars so vacant?”
And it’s going to be a L O N G time before it even remotely starts resembling somewhere like any 5+ star resort on the “just-the-right-size-mother-bear-planet-Earth”. If there’s one thing I know rich people can’t stand, it’s being in a crap environment. That’s why they pay extra to wait in lounges at the airport. Or why they have to be located in a different section of the plane. Or a different plane altogether. Because to do otherwise would be depressing. And if humans can’t stand one thing, it’s “not being happy”.
Then let this serve as an advanced warning to you, future trillionaire: the rest of us just aren’t leaving Earth so that you can stay and enjoy it around here with all your lakes, rivers, oceans and surf beaches.
I for one am not living on Mars, either voluntarily or forcibly. No. And neither are my non-existent children. This mass exodus of people in the direction of “Earth to Mars” is just not going to happen. There’ll be the bloodiest revolution in the history of mankind before that happens.
Why? Because far from thinking “Mars is going to be ‘fun’ “, I think it would be even more boring than a long-term jail sentence.
Here’s today’s bullshit “life is getting better” video in which Bill Gates says (and I quote):
“If you want to improve the world you always have to be a little pissed off. That’s why these problems get solved is that there’s so much anger that we’ve come to view inequality as unacceptable”. –Bill Gates
Ironic that the ‘richest’ person on the globe says that.
It’s always people with you Bill, isn’t it? Do you ever think about any species other than humans?
Obviously you haven’t yet heard about the 6th great extinction. Or Earth overshoot day. Or climate change. Or the global fresh water crisis. Or soil degradation/salination. Or overpopulation. Or the rise in bacterial resistance. Or wage stagnation. Or the price of the Sydney housing market.
Sure, human life is improving, for the most part, while the rest of the planet is going down the fucking toilet. I’m starting to think that Bill Gates is a douche bag. Honestly.
In this article I’d like to talk about the life cycle analysis of a traditional car with an internal combustion engine compared to that of an electric car. I’m not actually going to perform any detailed life cycle analysis calculations, just talk about the number of additional parts that a petrol or diesel powered car requires compared to an EV.
First of all, let’s get one thing straight. No one is saying that purchasing an EV car is ‘better’ for the environment than purchasing no EV car at all (and no petrol/diesel replacement either). Right? No one is saying that here, there or anywhere.
It’s nice that David Pilling has written about where materials come from when they buy an EV. But why not also write an equally-damning column on the materials that go into petrol powered cars? Likewise, it’s nice that Schalk Cloete has written about the hidden emissions of electric cars. But do the authors really think that petrol- or diesel-engined vehicles are any less exempt? That’s what pisses me off.
There are thousands of intricate moving parts that make up a conventional internal combustion engine. Thousands. In order that they function correctly, they require complicated electrical, lubrication and cooling systems. The first time I looked at my motorbike’s repair manual, I was shocked!
Let’s talk about how many individual parts there are in an internal combustion engine and compare shall we?
What about all the pistons, piston rings, driveshafts, camshafts, gearbox, valves, crankshafts, valve springs, fuel injectors, bearings, o-rings, timing belts, fan belts, flywheels, alternators, ignition coils, spark plugs, distributor, starter motor, fasteners, sensors, switches, relays, cables, wiring harnesses, oil pumps, water pumps, fuel pump, oil filters, fuel filters, petrol tank, radiator, exhaust system …I mean the list goes on and on and on and on!
My point is that none of the above mentioned parts are required in an EV. None. I will repeat that: none.
So fossil fuel driven cars are competing with a motor that has ONE moving part in it (well except for the ball bearings on the main drive shaft). So the internal combustion engine now is potentially at a huge manufacturing and environmental disadvantage.
The cost of manufacturing, moulding and machining all of those extra parts is huge! And they’re not made of crappy alloys either. What then is the environmental cost?
What about the lead in lead/acid batteries? What about the copper in the starter motor? And what about the aluminium in the radiator? What about the aluminium in the engine block and gearbox casing? Where do all these materials come from?
What about the Manganese, Molybdenum, Chromium, Vanadium and Nickel in all those hardened-steel moving parts inside the engine and gearbox? What about the energy that goes into mining, smelting, forging, forming, cutting, swaging, extruding, casting, injection moulding, machining, tempering, hardening, plating?
What about the environmental impact of building and maintaining all of the machines used in manufacturing, processing and production? What about the energy required by all of the machines on the assembly line? What about the energy required by the testing and tooling machinery to make sure all of the parts are within tolerance?
What about consumables? What about engine oil? What about the coolant? What about the battery acid? What about the transmission fluid? What about the gaskets? What about the grease? What about the air filter? What about the oil filter? What about the fuel filter? What about the environmental cost of changing those frequently?
None of those things are required with an EV either. None.
There are so many friggin’ parts, no one has even tallied up the environmental cost of them individually (instead they work out how much energy the factory or the entire transport energy sector uses). It’s a rough guess at best.
If EV cars were invented first, piston engined car would never have even been conceived, that’s how overly-complex they are to design, manufacture and produce. Of course EV manufacturers already know all of this, that’s why they’re all trying to jump on the band wagon now, because there’s potentially more profit in it.
Can you at least begin to see that it’s not just about the environmental impact of a lithium ion battery in an electric vehicle. And that it’s not just about where the electricity comes from? It’s much more ‘complicated’ than that.
Would fossil fuel proponents now like to sit there and calculate all of the life cycle factors and environmental impacts, taking into account all of the things I have just spoken about?
The bottom line is, you have got to be fuckin’ kidding me if you think combustion engines are more sustainable when everything is taken into account… and yes I really would hate to be the sorry bastard that gets lumped with all those calculations.
I find it extremely depressing…
That the majority of people don’t seem to be talking about real world problems. Many people seem to be overlooking their duty of care towards the environment, and I find that very sad. Very sad. It’s always the same few people who seem to care and the rest don’t seem to give a fuck about where their oxygen comes from…
And I’m sorry if this post makes you feel down. But sometimes I wonder whether I am even getting through to people?
You know, we could probably genetically engineer entire houses one day, in situ… provided enough biodiversity remains for scientists to study long into the future…
Imagine just… planting a seed in the ground and then the house just builds itself. Right? That’s what I see when I think about “the future”. I think about organic materials.
Instead, what I see today, now, is that people are still aspiring to be millionaires, billionaires and trillionaires.
You know, someone posted a picture of luxury super yaucht yesterday on LinkedIn. But if this is what remains of The Great Barrier Reef, what’s the point in even owning a nice boat? If all there is to see is one species of algae when you look overboard?
And I know that rich people really care a lot about emotions. That’s why they spend so much money trying to make themselves feel more comfortable and ‘happier’.
What I would like to know is: how big does the boat have to be before you can overlook the fact that all the coral is dead? What’s the point? Surely people aren’t stupid. Surely they realise it would be better to own a friggin tinny, if it helps to restore the reef to its former glory. But no.
Why do I say “Sometimes I don’t consider myself ‘human’ anymore”? Well, I say that because, although I am concerned for humanity and its long term the survival (and that does depend on other species by the way), right now, I actually think we humans have reached plague proportions. A disease needs to come along and wipe half of us out… that would restore some balance in the ecosystem. I don’t wish death upon anyone. But if I had to choose between saving the life of an endangered animal, or that of a trophy hunter, I would choose to save the animal every single time.
Well those are my thoughts for today… depressing as they are…
So today I thought I’d share this graph of my nearest weather station in NSW, Australia (well, the second-nearest weather station, because the closest one only has data since the beginning of 2000).
And here it is. Data is from the Australian government Bureau of Meteorology. Moruya heads pilot station. Minimum daily temperatures from 1910 superimpsed with data from 2016. The first year of data compared to the last full year of data. Graphs have been rescaled in the y-axis so that they line up (if they used a consistent scale I wouldn’t have to do this; I think it auto-scales).
Now I have roughly superimposed my own “line of best fit” through both curves (they are both the same height at the beginning and end, as they should be). Yes I eyeballed it. But you can clearly see that the red line is well above the blue line pretty much everywhere.
Now I know this doesn’t “prove” anything because it’s just one weather station of many. And some years are hotter due to the El Niño effect (according to google, both 1900-1901 and 2015-2016 were El Niño periods). But I was curious about something and so I thought I’d personally check it out. [I was originally looking up this very warm day we had on the 3rd of September, 2017 because it was 9°C above average]
I’ve seen other graphs where people draw their line of best fit and the end tangents don’t match for January and December. I don’t think that is technically correct, because we are looking at continuous trends from month to month and year to year. Where we take the yearly ‘chunk’ of data is kind of irrelevant.
I’ll give you an example: you wouldn’t expect that the temperature for January of 2017 to be significantly different than December of 2016. Likewise, you wouldn’t expect the temperature for December of 2015 to be significantly different than January of 2016. Indeed, we could include these two extra months if we wanted to and look at a 14 month span instead of a 12 month span. But if someone has drawn a wacky curve at the start and finish, and then we include the extra adjoining months, we see that it would be completely wrong.
Therefore, I have inserted the line of best fit through the data so that it matches up at both the start and end of the year. I inserted the minimum number of nodal points (three) and they are ‘symmetrical’. That way, we can expect the temperature fluctuations to continue on from one to the next year and precedes from the last one (without a huge slope at the beginning or end).
Yes we certainly do become a bit fanatical. Why? Why is that? Let’s take a look:
Because the basic hypothesis here is is that our actions directly affect our environment. It really is that simple. It’s no different than pouring a tonne of cyanide into a lake. What do you think is going to happen? Fish will die is what will happen. Likewise, modern technology can and does have the potential to affect the atmosphere. You can either accept it or you can bury your head in the sand like an ostrich.
I think a lot of people don’t get the connection between the vibration of countless tiny molecules and temperature. That’s why I like to share this information.
When you study science, you soon learn that scientists must be open minded. A closed-minded scientist is all but useless. What good would it do a scientist if their own personal belief systems got in the way of their research? Can you imagine if I “didn’t believe” that fluorine gas reacts violently with potassium? So I go to the chemical laboratory and proceed to mix 4kg of potassium with 100 moles of fluorine gas, “just for fun”, because I “believe” nothing is going to happen. That would be a very dangerous personal belief. Right?
A scientist can take a look at new data and go “oh okay, that’s news to me.” You’ve now changed his outlook and it has only taken a few minutes/hours. But it has taken the rest of the world THREE DECADES to catch up. THREE DECADES! And still you have people who don’t believe there is a correlation.
It truly baffles me. I think the denial has NOTHING to do with carbon dioxide vs temperature and it has EVERYTHING to do with people’s lifestyles and careers.
Why don’t you deny atomic charges? Or electromagnetism theory? Or molecular bonding? No. You cherry pick the parts of science you want to agree with and to hell with the rest of it (most likely because you drive a car and you want to *continue* driving it).
Did you know that it actually takes more time to become a science doctor than a medical doctor? It took me nine years of full time study. Where is the respect? For many people, there isn’t any. And it probably takes close to two whole decades to become a professor… these are *very* knowledgeable people.
So, yes. Yes we do become a bit fanatical. We become fanatical because the fossil fuel industry even knows it to be true, but they don’t do anything! We become fanatical because you have people like googly-eyed “Lord Monckton” claiming they know what they are talking about when in reality they are totally scamming people.
It is TIME to get rid of thousands of FAKE-SCIENTISTS who serve the (fake-global-warming-)agenda of the cabal-elite. NOW! — Rainer Duffner
Hey! My education is not fake!! Just because /your/ mind does not understand how small-scale atomic events can lead to large, planetary-scale consequences, does not mean they do not happen.
Kindly educate yourself (that is a very *basic* introduction and if you can’t read or understand it, perhaps you should read more about chemistry so that you can?).
Sure, we allow skeptics of global warming within the scientific community, because we have to be open and objective. In every single field of science you will find people making claims and counter-claims. That is how research works! If every single scientist agreed on everything it wouldn’t be like it is now, self-correcting. But now you simply hijack these people for your own benefit. How lame.
Do you want to know what I think? This is not even about the IR absorption of the CO2 molecule. This is about people leading lifestyles that they do not want to change. Maybe because you don’t know how, or you think you will be ‘unhappy’. That is all the denial has ever been about. It’s never been anything more.
I think maybe you do not know how to make money without producing carbon emissions. And that is why investors are typically deniers in this realm.
Same goes for the transport industry. And construction. And manufacturing. If they didn’t produce any carbon dioxide, they wouldn’t be so against global warming, would they? They’d simply say “So what? Carry on”. But no, the whole carbon debate has come about because people (industry) see it as a threat.
Yes science. The same device that gave you technology. If it weren’t for scientists, people would still be living in the feckin’ Dark Ages, okay. There wouldn’t be things like smartphones, video cameras and whatever else.
How loudly do you shout out about fake semiconductor news? EH? Never. Because semiconductor technology benefits almost everyone. And now the FIRST thing that comes along in science that doesn’t benefit you personally, you label it ‘fake’. Not because you give a toss about the chemical and physical properties of carbon dioxide or any other molecule. But because you dislike the implications for your business model.
No. Science for you is a mere convenience. And you think you can just dismiss it and carry on regardless. Well that is not always how nature works.
I think this civilisation it would be wise to listen to what they (we) have to say (for once). We scientists hardly ask for anything! And all we are really saying is that we are not separate from nature and that our actions can and do affect the environment in which we live. Is that so hard for you to grasp?
Get the stuff before it gets pulled! Redbubble has definitely taken down things of mine before…
Yes they most certainly do support trophy hunting websites. And the CEO, Blake Irving, not only knows about it, but SAYS AND DOES NOTHING! He is completely ignoring my Care2 petition with 50k signatures on it…
I’ve emailed him. I’ve messaged him. I’ve tagged him on LinkedIn (for some strange reason he is still a 1st degree connection of mine). And there has been zero response so far from anyone at GoDaddy.
How did we get to a psition where one of the most recognised brands in the industry actively and knowingly supports trophing hunting? How?! Please share this article if you agree!
I for one think it’s CRAP. Things must change. They must! I’m certainly not going to sit idly by and do nothing (à la Blake). I refuse!
You know, brands can be created and brands can be destroyed. I am tired of designers unkowingly being USED by big multinational coporations to promote products and services that harm the environment.
I’ll gladly work with big companies so long as they are doing the right thing. But to the companies who are knowingly doing the wrong thing, I say a nice big “fuck off!” I like to sleep at night.
Enter the GoDaddy rebrand; a fine selection of “GoDaddy” merchandise for your perusal. Showing the real, true face of GoDaddy (and no they definitely don’t want you to see this). For a very limited time only!
Upon closer inspection, this is what a conferederate statue looks like. It’s the metal, magnified a hundred times:
Why are statues so important to some people? Honestly. It doesn’t actually ‘repreresent’ anything either, does it? It’s what the sculptor chose to ‘represent’. He could have equally constructed a cube standing up on one edge to represent the past.
When I look at this statue (albeit a pictorial replication on the internet), I see bronze metal that has developed a green patina. It’s sort of in the shape of a horse. With a man riding it. And a hat. I don’t see so many monuments with the riders wearing hats. Is the hat what makes it important? :-/
If you were to look at this monument closer in real life, much closer, under a microscope say, you wouldn’t see an effigy of Robert Edward Lee. You wouldn’t see any flesh and blood. You wouldn’t see his soul or anything else. You wouldn’t see anything to do with the history of slavery or Charlottesville. Or Virginia. Or anything to do with confederate-anything.
What would you see? You’d only see the metallic grains of the original alloying elements, copper and tin. Even underneath the patina, polished back to its original lustre, it’d look a lot like this under the microscope. A bit like the featured image above.
In other words, in material terms, it has bugger all true value. Well maybe it’s worth US$2 to 3 per pound. Here.
That sculpture is also going to disappear anyway in a few million years. What possible difference does it make now?
Why would you want to honor a statue about slavery? Why?!
Well that is my perspective on confederate statues. [Read more…]
Here’s the kind of thing you see when you hang out on LinkedIn for a while:
RECAP FOR THOSE I LALA LAND THE MARKET HAS BEEN ON FIRE BECAUSE OF TRUMP UP 2500 POINTS IN 6 MONTHS MOST IN THE FIRST 60DAYS NOW OMG DOWN 200 BECAUSE OF THE SPIN OF WORDS BY THE MEDIA…THE TRUE AMERICAN ENEMY IS BLM OBAMA CLINTONS AND THIS F… UP MEDIA GIVE TRUMP A BREAK AND SUPPORT HIM STOP WASTING HIS TIME DEALING WITH THE STUPIDEST PEOPLE ON THE PLANET AND THERE BS STOP THE HATE NOW WE ARE ONE AMERICAN — Mike Pienciak
And here is my response to that:
Did you see the stock price for NAT shares though, since Trump got in? NAT shares are down. Way down. And when I say NAT, I don’t mean “Nordic American Tanker Ltd” on the NYSE. I mean NAT, on the global stock exchange, the GSE.
ENV shares are down too! Once again, I don’t mean “Envestnet Inc”. I mean ENV, on the global stock exchange, the GSE.
And isn’t it telling of business today that NYSE:ENV and NYSE:NAT do not represent nature or the environment? Quite the opposite. In actual fact they represent gas pipelines and supermax oil tankers, respectively.
Every time the Nasdaq, the S&P, the Dow jones go up, GSE:NAT and GSE:ENV invariably go down1. Way down. I think it’s because we don’t know any other way.
Maybe the only reason the stock market “is on fire” is because Mr. Trumpet wants to abolish the EPA? Maybe it’s very telling of business today. That while stock markets are, as you say, “on fire”, the Earth is figuratively burning up also.
The trouble is this: when GSE:NAT and GSE:ENV go down, all other stocks will soon follow. This should be like a law already.
It’s not all about the stock market. Do you know WHY there is not stock market on planet Mars or planet Venus? Because there is no breathable atmosphere. So maybe “business at all cost” types should consider that before their next next trade? You know, invest in something other than money?
If you could measure the worth, the market capital of GSE:NAT and GSE:ENV, it would put the rest of the worlds’ stock exchanges to shame. If we had to pay for these services, humanity would be bankrupt. Bankrupt I tell you! Bankrupt!
Traditional economic stock markets are all but a meaningless evaluation. All of them incorrectly report the true value of the Earth’s assets. If our environment cannot even be maintained, then one must ask the next logical question: just how ‘sustainable’ are “sustainable business models”?
By the way, I’m not here to make friends. I’m not here to get more connections. Or leads. Or clients. I’m here to make people think. Clients will always be there, biodiversity won’t. 2c
Oh and it is ‘their’. The word you are looking for is their, not there.
What is the ocean, but a multitude of drops?
Okay, I previously studied materials science (which is a cross between engineering, chemistry, physics and maths). Maths was never my strong point. It’s nice to see people speaking english here. I am hopeless at maths. Really hopeless. I am more of a visual/graphical person.
I am having trouble even VISUALISING the problem here. Can someone show me *what the problem is* in a more GRAPHICAL format than showing equations?
Are you asking for a mathematical solution so you can predict where laminar to turbulent flow will occur in any theoretical system? Or are you asking what causes turbulence, where does it originate from?
If you are trying to understand and model where turbulence comes from in the real world, then I think you need to understand the real world at both large and small scales. Turbulence happens at all scales, from gases to galaxies, so it is a universal constant. So I’ll try to explain it like this:
On large scales, interactions between one atom and quintillions of millions of other atoms do not matter (I wouldn’t say ‘nothing’ but not very much anyway). Why not? I think that should be obvious, but it’s because minor fluctiations in an atoms’ position do not change bulk properties very much. It’s like adding a drop of liquid to a cubic metre of water, no big relative change. Well okay, “a drop in the ocean” has even become a common expression in the English language.
And what is the difference between large and small scales except just looking ever-closer at your X, Y and Z coordinates?
If the entire universe consisted of just one atom, the universe would be easy to predict. This one atom would just sit there, possibly vibrating and rotating around itself… and life would be pretty boring.
Now, if there were two atoms in the entire universe, they would probably orbit around eachother in a very predictable, ‘linear’ way. By ‘linear’ I mean “not progressive”; of course the atoms would move in circular orbits around each other. Or they would simply collide into one another leading to something I would called “the little crunch”. It would all be very easy to model. The point is, still nothing much would change with time. Even though in motion, it would be a fairly ‘static’ rather than a ‘dynamic’ system
However. If the entire universe consisted of only three atoms, nothing else. Things get very complicated, very quickly. Because, first of all, there exists in physics something known as the “n body problem“. Given three initial starting vectors, apparently it’s very difficult to predict the exact position and momentum where three measly atoms will end up.
Why is this so? Firstly, all of the atoms are attracted to one another because of Van der Waals forces. Also, each atom technically imparts an infinitesimally small gravitational pull on the other two. And any time gravity is involved, well, Newtonian mathematics doesn’t work too well. But there are magnetic forces from the nuclei as well. And when all of those forces are acting upon each other in three dimensions, it gets tricky. Because of the inverse-square law, the forces that interact for each of the atoms upon on the other two will be different at each point in time and space (based on their proximity).
So on smaller physical scales, however, we know that a drop of water contains roughly 10^21 molecules. And those molecules are vibrating all over the place. They have all sorts of vibrational modes. They rotate. They spin. They vibrate at different frequencies. Nothing at all stays still. If it did, matter would soon annihilate itself. The electrons do not just orbit the nucleus in a circular fashion, but in complex dumbell shapes. The orbitals will even be different according to the type of atom, there are s, p, d and f shaped oribitals. We don’t even know with certainty where the electrons are orbiting due to the Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle (which takes effect whenever you actually try to measure anything at the atomic or subatomic scale). And all of the subatomic particles may interact with each other as well. Who knows? We don’t know.
So even when looking at the behaviour of a few atoms, as compared to a whole ocean, their position and momentum starts to become significant with respect to each other. Let’s look at what I’m talking about. A few people have tried to estimate the number of water molecules in all of this world’s oceans. And the number we get is from around 5 x 10^46 to 5 x 10^47. Yes you’ll note that those two numbers are out by a factor of ten. That is one order of magnitude margin of error just in the counting. Yes it’s that inaccurate. Because this is the real world and it’s just a ‘guestimate’ (close enough for the purposes of argument). Now keep in mind that they are very approximate figures, we certainly would never know the exact number, let alone the position and momentum of all that lot!
So for example, if I added one more molecule of water to an entire ocean, how much do you think all of those existing water molecules affect one single atom. The answer is “quite a bit”, because the number of them completely overwhelms that one molecule. But what about if I think about it the other way around? Does our additional lone water molecule impart much change to the other ten or a hundred ‘quattuordecillion’? How much influence does this extra molecule provide. It’s not ‘nothing’. It’s never ‘nothing’. Most people would say it is ‘negligable’. It is insignificant. Right? It wouldn’t change too many of the others’ motion paths. Or would it? Who can say? It’s like putting one more person in a stadium. Almost all of the other 100,000 people probably won’t notice the extra person. But if I add one extra atom to a two atom universe —if I get a divorce from the only person I know in the universe— then yes it does become very significant for both atoms.
One guy even mentioned on Quora that his instinct was that quantum (subatomic) interactions cause turbulence. If that is the case, then it truly would get ‘complicated’. Furthermore, physicists and cosmologists are saying that space and time itself might be ‘granular’ and not smooth. And then you are assuming that fluids are incompressible. Are they? Perhaps not 100%, no. I personally think there are no such things as fractions…
“I do not see two halves of an apple. I see quadrillions of whole atoms on each side.” Leslie Dean Brown
There are just that many variables. People like to quote god here. I don’t believe in god, because it isn’t necessary for me to understand the way the world works. For those people that insist on quoting god at this point, I’d say it like this: “not even god knows; nothing could or would know what is going on with all atoms and interactions at one instant in time, because EVERYTHING is interacting with EVERYTHING at that point in time”.
If you ask me, laminar flow is where maths and theory works. Turbulent flow is where maths breaks down. Does that sound like a grey answer? It is meant to be. I don’t think there is an answer. By the time you have done the calculations, the atoms will have moved elsewhere. It should be a trillion dollar problem. It’s going to be that complicated to try and figure out.
If/when extreme weather events become more frequent, humans won’t be able to continue “business as usual”, will we?
Why not? You can’t manufacture anything when there is a really big storm going on, can you?
Manufacturing capability will have to go down during extreme weather events.
We’ll literally be forced to close factories — for days or weeks on end.
Transportation is much more difficult in extreme weather also. So that makes distribution/logistics more difficult.
Furthermore, people don’t usually go out shopping then, do they? They wait for nice and calm, sunny days instead.
So all that being said, if the greenhouse effect continues and climate change goes ahead unchecked, the ability of humans to continue to modify our environment will be significantly reduced.
Think of it this way, you can’t run a successful business on the planet Venus, can you? Or Jupiter’s red spot. The planet won’t let you do it!
So the more people there are that are sitting inside watching storms raging outside, well, the less people are driving cars and building things. Right?
So HOPEFULLY, one side-effect of more frequent extreme weather events is reduced production. Maybe it’s like natures way of telling us to slow down a bit?
At the same time, I find it rather sad.
That we humans can be completely captivated by this demonstration and yet we have simultaneously lost our appreciation for natural organisms (flying and otherwise).
If you think about it, fireflies can do all of that and are auto-refueling, self-assembling, self replicating *and* biodegradable! What happens when a mosquito or a fly lands on us? We squat it without hesitation… perhaps we shouldn’t be so quick to do that in future? 2c.
AUD$56billion? Ridiculous evalulation. Just ridiculous. Completely wrong!
Did economists consult with biologists or materials scientists for their evaluation I wonder?
I think it’s worth more like 56 trillion to 56 quadrillion dollars, if you take into account all the endemic species, all of the “natural services” they provide, the potential for developing new medicines, the potential to study lifeforms in terms of their unique material properties and the potential to one day eliminate e-waste altogether…
Because I don’t look at a fish and see just a fish. I look at a fish and see a self-replicating biodegradeable waterproof robot with twice the swimming efficiency of a traditional propellor driven-submarine. Name one electronic device or invention that has the combination of all these properties. Name one! If this civilisation truly wants to be more ‘sustainable’, then technology is going to have to start resembling more organic/biological structures… that is my vision of “the future”.
There is a lot of stuff that we still don’t know. I am no biologist, but do researchers know how genes influence species’ morphology (and patterns) in all marine species living in the Great Barrier Reef? The actual mechanisms?
How does the organisms final shape come about? Why does an octopus have eight arms? How does living tissue ‘know’ when to stop producing scales and start producing fins or something else? Why do fish eyes appear where they do instead of half way down the animals’ body?
AFAIK, those are still unanswered questions… when we know that, we might be able to create our own reef ecosystems. And I don’t mean ‘cheating’ by simply pfaffing about mixing pre-existing strands of DNA. I mean, starting by scratch (synthetic DNA). Until then, the Great Barrier Reef and the biodiversity that it contains is literally priceless, aren’isn’t it?
The trouble with estimating the long-term benefits of scientific research is that it is really unknown. Any half-way decent scientist would say “Where are your error bars?”
And here’s the thing. I don’t think you have taken into account the loss of potential revenue from future scientific research. Is that not significant?
For instance: What would the US military pay for adaptive camouflage? What would they pay for uniforms that blended into their surroundings like a cuttlefish or octopus? Because that would give them a HUGE advantage in close combat, wouldn’t it? If the ‘enemy’ could barely even see something approaching.
Erwin Schrödinger theorized in his 1944 book “What is Life?” that contrary to the general tendency dictated by the Second law of thermodynamics, life decreases or maintains its entropy by feeding on negative entropy.
One of the most difficult questions to answer is “what is the purpose of life?”. But how can we possibly answer what the purpose of life is if we don’t even know what life is?
What is life? Go to a year 9 science book and the definitions will vary. They will undoubtedly mention the following processes: Homeostasis, Organization, Metabolism, Growth, Adaptation, Response to stimuli, Reproduction. By these definitions, would ‘life’ from another planet even classify as life?
Whenever we attempt to ask what constitutes life, we arrive at all sorts of vague definitions, for example:
“the quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being from a dead body”
“a principle or force that is considered to underlie the distinctive quality of animate beings”
“an organismic state characterized by capacity for metabolism, growth, reaction to stimuli, and reproduction”
“the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism, reproduction, and the power of adaptation to environment through changes originating internally.”
“the sum of the distinguishing phenomena of organisms, esp. metabolism, growth, reproduction, and adaptation to environment.”
There are many definitions of what life is, but for every one of these sub-classifications, there are exceptions:
Adaptation to the environment. At what rate must life adapt for it to be considered alive? If we rapidly create an artificially toxic environment, no life form will be able to adapt in time and hence it will die. The same can be said for the “reaction to stimuli” argument. The entire plant kingdom is at a great disadvantage here – although they can adapt relatively quickly to their environment, plants can only react to stimuli very slowly. Viruses do not appear to react to anything. In fact, I suspect that “adaptation to the environment” and “reaction to external stimuli” are really disguised as the same thing, albeit at different rates of application.
Reproduction can never be a valid prerequisite for life (at least for an individual being or entity). The process of reproduction occurs in every single life form on this planet, it has therefore not surprisingly swayed our perspective when we think about all life forms. Life is more than reproduction.
I suspect that reproduction is a way of minimising damage to our core DNA instructional program, by relaying this information over different generations (more on that later). I can easily imagine an organic being which is alive and does not need to reproduce to survive by continually renewing itself. Imagine the last surviving example of an endangered heterogenous species: in the short term, it is alive despite facing certain extinction (unless cloned). But in the long term, in the future, it (defined as a species) is already dead. Eunuchs are alive; so are spayed or neutered dogs — but neither can reproduce.
Nor can DNA or metabolism be a criterion for life. In biology, the word ‘metabolism’ usually refers to Earth-bound chemistry. Doesn’t this preclude off-world life? DNA is merely a recipe for life on this planet, it is not a blueprint for ALL life.
It seems to me that our definition of life is extremely Earth-centric. This is again perhaps not very surprising since it’s the only life we know about (so far). So I think it’s time to attempt to define life in a new way. But how can we ever begin to grasp the chemistry on other planets or in other galaxies? Well, we might not have to know. We just need to define one single common process of life. What do all life forms have in common?
Interestingly time is an essential factor when we consider the concept of life. It is present in all the above definitions of life (metabolism, reaction to stimuli & environment, growth and reproduction). We cannot think of definitions of life without thinking about time as well. The concept of time is an essential component. A life-form cannot be defined as alive without measuring one of its characteristics against time. Although so far knowing all this doesn’t help us much.
What other parameters do we know about the cosmos that don’t change? What if we could define life in terms of one of these constants, by direct comparison?
One of the most commonly accepted universal ‘laws’ (at least ) is the second law of thermodynamics, which basically states that the universe tends towards a state of disorder. You need to add energy to a system for it to become more ordered. In general, it’s a rule that cannot be broken. But I’ve never completely understood this, because according to most thermodynamics lecturers, this planet should be an amorphous lump, along with all the others in our Solar system. With this rule, you’d also expect the cosmos to be a 100% random distribution of gas molecules by now… I’m not arguing against the second law… it just made me think.
Physicists and thermodynamicists conveniently talk about open, closed and isolated systems and then scale the size of these imaginary boxes into whatever sizes fit their models in order to analyse various processes (either real or hypothetical). In our situation, they’d include the Sun in the size of their box to take into account its energy transfer. That doesn’t mean much to me.
What does all this have to do with life? Quite simply, as time passes, life in general has the unique capacity to re-arrange resources for itself and all by itself. It’s the one trait that separates inanimate objects (stuff that doesn’t appear to do anything) from animate objects (which do things spontaneously). Let’s just say that life evolves into more and more complex, ordered forms over prolonged time periods.
At first glance, you might not think that we as a civilisation are very organised. You might even call life “crazy” or “chaotic”. Look a bit closer, and you’ll see that the opposite is true. The very word “chaos” essentially means “an apparent state of randomness with the presence of an underlying order”. Think about the intertwined postal networks, telecommunications networks, street networks, social networks, food networks. Think about the logistical nightmare of supplying all the many things we consume on a daily basis; every single thing needs to be prototyped, tested, packed, inventoried, advertised, distributed, sold, consumed and disposed. That’s essentially what everyone is working toward: to offer a sevice to some one or some thing. Compare the sheer complexity of this life with the alternative: a completely barren desert lifeless landscape. Think about all the bits of information that we’ve created and stored in the world; think about the position of every single atom or molecule in both scenarios and then decide which one is more complex. Which one has had more order applied to it?
Consider the following new definition of life: any self-generating system which decreases local entropy levels over the long term. Why do I stipulate “self-generated”? Because artificial machines aren’t really considered alive until they can self-assemble or reproduce; once they become self regenerating, I’m sure they’ll be considered rudimentary forms of life too.
Large businesses [ironically called “organisations”] grow, react and in a sense spawn new companies. Still, these are not considered alive in the traditional sense because they are not self-generating. [Incidently- that could be one reason for the failure of large companies; there is so much re-organising going on, not enough work gets done!]
Viruses usually provide an example of a hazy distinction between life and non-life. In the traditional sense, viruses cannot reproduce on their own; hence some people do not consider them as valid lifeforms.
Using the entropy definition of life, parasitic viruses are only alive in terms of the whole system -when combined with the host organism. In other words, when you include the host as a part of the system, then they are both alive; if not, then the virus is ‘dead’. Like any parasite, you cannot define their existence without looking at the host as well. In my opinion, a virus is still alive in a sense since it replicates the genetic code (just another form of information).
I think we need to look more at entire systems, not just solitary organisms. You cannot draw black-and-white conclusions about life without looking at the surrounding environment. Highly constrained niche ecosystems are alive but very interdependent. If you remove one individual species it often cannot survive on its own. Indeed, remove just one ‘keystone’ species and you risking collapsing the entire ecosystem.
All this is not to say we break the second law of thermodynamics or that we are somehow exempt from its effects. Quite the contrary. There is an external all-pervading neutralising force which constantly acts against us.
Entropy manifests itself in various ways by attempting to randomise us. We experience both cellular and molecular degradation. The action of foreign chemicals & UV rays first come to mind. Cosmic rays, X-Rays, etc directly tamper with our DNA code. The bus that flattens you on the street has done a good job of increasing your entropy state. In fact, it seems that intelligent life itself has the potential to completely self-destruct. We’ve become too good at killing everything and we risk our own survival. I believe that this is entropy playing an unconscious revenge-effect type of role. Nope, it’s not some kind of god. Some people call this effect irony, some call it Karma.
I’ll admit that I am definitely not the first person to think about the connection between life & entropy in this way although I’m proud to say that did come to this conclusion independently … only 64 years too late!
American biochemist Albert Lehninger, argues that “living organisms preserve their internal order by taking from their surroundings free energy, in the form of nutrients or sunlight, and returning to their surroundings an equal amount of energy as heat and entropy.”
Ville Kaila and Arto Annila of the University of Helsinki describe how evolution explores possible paths to level differences in energy densities and so increase entropy most rapidly. Thus, an organism serves as an energy transfer mechanism, and beneficial mutations allow successive organisms to transfer more energy within their environment.
We are told very early on that this law cannot be broken. I think you know the one thing that ‘breaks’ this rule. Life. Life itself does not seem random. However, it certainly seems chaotic. But if you’ve read about chaos theory, it talks about “order in disorder”. What may seem disordered and random may in fact have an underlying order to it. Be it an international airport or the phenomenon we call the weather. It’s controlled by a simple set of rules, but all of these interacting together make it extremely difficult to predict. Some would say impossible. It takes someone like the mentalist to know what’s really going on.
This blog is essentially information (which is order) presented as a series of words (ideas). You could easily convert this paragraph into binary for example. Then it looks very ordered indeed. How am I able to do that?
01011001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01100001 01110010 01100101 00100000 01110010 01100101 01100001 01100100 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01110100 01101000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01100010 01101111 01101111 01101011 00100000 01101110 01101111 01110111 00100000 01100001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01111001 01100101 01110100 00100000 01100010 01101111 01110101 01101110 01100100 00100000 01100010 01111001 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01110011 01100101 01100011 01101111 01101110 01100100 00100000 01101100 01100001 01110111 01110011 00100000 01101111 01100110 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 01110010 01101101 01101111 01100100 01111001 01101110 01100001 01101101 01101001 01110011 0101110 00100000 01010100 01101000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01100010 01101111 01101111 01101011 00100000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01100101 01110011 01110011 01100101 01101110 01110100 01101001 01100001 01101100 01101100 01111001 00100000 01101001 01101110 01100110 01101111 01110010 01101101 01100001 01110100 01101001 01101111 01101110 00100000 0101000 01101111 01110010 01100100 01100101 01110010 0101001 00100000 01110000
A thermodynamicist will talk about open and closed systems. That I need to look at the bigger picture, the net energy gain, not just the gross product. The net energy lost is the food and drink which I consume or ‘burn’ and convert into heat, thought and finger movement. That in order for me to produce a certain amount of order, I have taken it from somewhere else and created a net waste. Rest assured, my brain is working overtime right now. I certainly don’t feel that efficient. I do feel very much alive though, writing this. That’s precisely my point. I have taken energy and consciensously used it to make order. It doesn’t matter about the size of the ‘container’ for this open/closed system. I am the container. Me.
Nonliving things simply cannot do this. Crystals grow by minimising surface energy (dendrites).
At the edge of life you will find chaos.
While it’s difficult to appreciate the nature of order. Male bower birds collect and hord blue items in an attempt to impress their mate. That is ordering directly at work.
Ants create ordered colonies, much in the same way as we create cities. The size does not matter. Whether they are aware of themselves also seems irrelevant, although they can certainly communicate via chemical means.
If and when a computer is able to replicate itself in the form of a robot, as in the terminator, it will become a formidable source of life indeed. One can imagine an insatiable being whose only purpose in life is to make “order out of disorder”. Think along the lines of the Borg in Star Trek or the Simulants in the popular TV series Red Dwarf.
Can we talk about climate change Mr Trumpet?
Rich, uneducated people almost never believe in climate change. Because I think the way they see it, “climate change” might as well be called “lifestyle change”… and we all know people don’t like lifestyle adjustments. Especially if it means downgrading them.
Oh and by the way, yes I’m fuckin’ FURIOUS alright! About this latest Paris agreement you bombed out on. You fucking-welldropped out of it, you pathethic small-handed fake-tanned little wanker! 2
Now if I had have known 22+ years ago that the president of the United States of America was going to be this #tangerinefuckknuckle, to coin a phrase, I never would have taken up my university on their offer to study science in the first place. I mean why bother?!
Why bother trying to be part of the intelligentsia? Or is that spelled ‘intelligencia’? Never mind. Anything but listen to “the clever people”. If the amount of clout and respect we recieve from fossil-fuel undivested bury-your-head-in-the-sand-and-the-problem-will-go-away complete FUCKWIT types is next to zero. I would have studied a creative field like art or design instead, way back then, if I had have known.
“The rest of the world applauded when we signed the Paris Agreement. They went wild. They were so happy — for the simple reason that it put our country, the United States of America, which we all love, at a very, very big economic disadvantage.” — Donald Trump
No, Mr Trumpet, no. Wrong! We cheered because the bonds in every single carbon dioxide molecule exhibit antisymmetric stretching and bending resonance modes at frequencies of 2350cm⁻¹ and 670cm⁻¹ respectively. We cheered because your country emits approximately 71,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 of these molecules every single year.
And I mean, shiiit, we could stand to lose money here people. MONEY! All those people in mining, construction, manufacturing, engineering, logistsics, transport. So we better put the economy first. Jobs first. America first!
But who’s fucking atmosphere is it anyway? America’s? No, we all share the exact same atmospheric coating —thin as it is.
Is there some great big motherfuckin’ hermetically-sealed compartment bigger than the USA that I don’t know about, protecting the likes of North America from extreme weather events that we know will happen? Because the last time I looked, those tropical cyclones whupped your Eastern seaboard arses! That’s right. And you couldn’t run and hide, you had to shut up shop, board everything up and close all business. That sure turned out to be great for Florida’s economy, didn’t it now?
And it turns out rich people should be a lot more worried that they are about this too. For one thing they love living on low-lying coastal regions. But even though they might be able to afford to move, their hard-working employees won’t be able to afford to, will they? Less profit for you then!
If there’s one thing scientists don’t like, it’s uncertainty. And see, that’s half the problem. Isn’t it? One or two degrees might not seem like a lot, but then, it isn’t, is it? What we worry about isn’t one or two degrees of warming over the whole surface of the Earth. That’s the average. The variance in the temperature peaks and troughs could be much higher and lower, for example. What we worry about is some parts getting hotter than average by 8-10 degrees. What we worry about is some parts getting colder than average by 8-10 degrees. If that happened, the average temperature would still be the fucking same! But that doesn’t mean that it’s okay. Right?
What we worry about is chaotic changes in weather patterns. What we worry about are tipping points. What we worry about are graphs that spike up and down like a fuckin’ yo-yo. Because that would be far worse than any global warming. If one year the planet was freezing cold like Mars and the next one it was like fuckin’ Venus. That’s not good for crops for one thing. If there is only one planet Earth, and we can’t afford to downgrade this and wait fir the end of the experiment. We have to intervene now. NOW!
If there’s one thing scientists fear, it’s losing control of nature. So up until now, we’ve always had answers for you. But if you dumbarses don’t start to listen, then what the hell can we do about it later on? When it’s too late? Nothing. You’ll be like “Oh you should have warned us decades ago that it was worse than we thought. If it was that serious, why didn’t you jump up and down and shout out about it way more?”. And we’ll be like: “Well we told you, we told you so and you didn’t listen. You just kept on buying great big diesel trucks instead of looking for a way out.”
We should build a wall alright. We should build a 55-ft high wall, and all of the people who think our actions don’t/can’t/won’t have any global effect or climate consequences should have their name co-moulded into that fuckin’ wall for the sake of posterity. So when the world really does start to fuck up, future civilisations can have those people to thank for inheriting such a fucked up little world.
Did you see the latest news? It’s back on with Adani.
I can also tell you right now that no amount of graphic design + branding is going to help that company now. None. It’s reputation is that fückéd. I wouldn’t touch it with a 10ft barge pole. And I encourage all my designer friends to do the same.
Government is not only blind, but deaf. (no offense to those without sight and/or hearing)
What I think is going to happen is that more and more Aussies are simply going to go off grid. Less tax for AUS government. There are always consequences… So I wish a nice big “fuck you” to Adani.
I started reading about this while waiting in a Doctor’s office today.
What we have here is humans that are no where near ‘clever’ enough to make biodegradable self-assembling synthetic robot drones, so they resort to hijacking the biological control of mother nature instead.
I wonder: would we like it if some extraterrestrial being stuck probes into our backs and controlled us like some kind of zombies for their benefit? I’m guessing not…
Sorry, but I for one do not agree with what they are doing. It doesn’t impress me one bit. Perhaps they should try making a beetle from “first principles” (meaning raw elements + compounds)?
Of course modern man is a plague. When did man become a plague?
Probably with the rise of the industrial revolution, when we were able to affect our environment on a grand scale. We invented pollution and toxic chemicals. We use those toxic chemicals to kill off other species on purpose and we only ever do things for our own direct benefit.
The population has reached a crisis point. We’re on every continent on the planet. We are not really meant to last longer than about 35-45 years old, but better nutrition has pushed us to live 90+ years. So instead of one generation merely replacing the next, you have 3 or 4 generations of humans alive at the same time.
We know it’s not at all sustainable yet the first thing we do is congratulate someone when they give birth to another child. Congratulations. For what exactly? Doing what comes naturally? Doing what every single one of their ancestors did?
How about congratulating people for not having a child?
We destroy everything in sight and call that “urbanisation”. When we do plant stuff it is common green grass. We then try to keep that under control by mowing it all down rather than letting things grow naturally by themselves.
We still don’t value nature’s functions yet we cannot live without them.
Some people are so obsessed with conquering everything that they even want to travel in to outer space to spread the plague even further.
Native American Indians, Australian Aborignies and many other indigenous tribes lived in mutual harmony with their natural environments. In the case of Australian Aborigines, for 40,000 years.
Their materials and tools were biodegradeable. The valued art and music more than we do in our culture. In our culture it seems we value consumerism. A sad fact.
So I think we can learn a lot from their values.
What is a gene gun?
Gene guns are used to produce genetically modified food. A year ago, I did not know this; I had never even heard of a gene gun. Have a skim read of this. I am mainly sharing that link to show people how a gene gun works.
So they basically shoot one type of DNA molecules (like from a bacteria) into the target organism… the plant/crop… and unless I’m terribly mistaken… the incorporation of some new DNA strands is nothing more than “trial and error”. Or so it seems.
But there’s only one thing scarier than *not* knowing where your source DNA molecules are going. And that’s knowing *exactly* where they’re going.
Now, like a lot of people, especially designers, I’m very opinionated. That’s okay. What do I personally think about this?
I think there’s only one organism we really need to genetically modify. And that’s ourselves. How about new GM people that aren’t as greedy and destructive? Wouldn’t that be nice? Engineer ourselves… to just be content with what we have.
What I know about science is that the fields are becoming so narrow, general wisdom is lost. I don’t think any one person can know the full repercussion/consequences. And there ALWAYS ARE consequences. If we were really intelligent, scientists would ask themselves “what are they, the consequences?” before they started. Do they? Not all of them, no.
So unless someone convinces me otherwise, I personally think it should be banned. I believe that every species has a place in this world. Yes even the tiniest bacteria and parasites. Because for one thing, diseases control plagues. That’s the basic reason they exist. A world without disease would be unbalanced. And a world without plagues would also be unbalanced. That’s how nature works. And that’s what geneticists seem to forget.
I am not saying that geneticists don’t know what they’re doing. Or that they aren’t very intelligent people. Quite the contrary. But what I am saying is that they don’t know everything. And the more they know about genetic engineering, the less they know about everything else (yes, I’m being very serious).
Scientists are a bit like designers. A designer is never “just a designer”. Design is a whole way of life for these people. I know, because these days, I am more of a designer than a scientist.
Same with accountants. Have you ever met an accountant with a personal credit card debt?
See, most scientists I know are highly obsessive people. They forget that things cannot always be controlled by humans.
I’d like to remind these geneticists that species live in ecosystems. And there are reasons for the way that it is. We don’t even know all of those reasons. Sure we know a lot. Probably we know too much. But the truly clever people tend to realise when they don’t know something.
“What you don’t know you can feel it somehow” —U2
And that’s the trouble with some people. They think they have thought of everything. But they never do. They never do.
I just ask them to do one small thing. I emplore all geneticists to read a little less about genetics and a little more about two other, completely separate things:
- The revenge effect
- Chaos theory
Then come back to me, and tell me that this kind of genetic engineering is a good idea.
Iraq vet Ethan McCord explains WikiLeaks ‘collateral murder’ video.
“Do you know what the scariest thing is? To not know your place in this world, to not know why you’re here. That’s… it’s just an awful feeling.” -Elija Price from the movie “Unbreakable”.
But what happens if and when you can’t seem to find your own unique, specific niche? I’m talking about major areas of your life, like employment. Your ideal partner? Your own distinct style? Your identity? Can these two states of overchoice and underchoice lead to mental health problems? What happens to your mood when there are an infinite number of things you could possibly do with your life? Do you begin to block everything out, deny existence of something?
I’m sure that for everyone, there are moments when it all seems like it is too much to bear. It seems to me that in this new information age, a lot of people are withdrawing into their shells, refusing to face the true reality of this world. Perhaps because of their online internet experiences. It’s called “future shock”.
We’re always reminded that people who can’t find a worthwhile niche are not much use to society. In this way, perhaps one completely natural & previously redundant “coping mechanism” (stemming for overchoice) is the occurrence of mild depression. We all know that chronically depressed people are obviously more prone to suicide. They consciously choose to eliminate themselves from their own suffering. It is a way of dealing with their own extreme level of internal conflict, self-pity, guilt and their perceived burden on society. But what if it is actually a subconscious choice that has already been programmed into them? Are the peers who have failed to recognise and treat their condition (just like they would any individual with another sickness) partly to blame?
Are we all making “nano-niches” for ourselves, in an attempt to fit into this new highly-customised, choice-oriented advanced consumer society? We now join online local communities such as forums, blog directories, facebook, dating sites, chat rooms. We subscribe to newsletters, RSS feeds. We can search for whatever we like with google, almost without limits. As individuals, we’re always searching to redefine ourselves, to find our life purpose.
No one can or should tell you what to do with your life. There is only one person who can decide and determine what you should do and that is you.
If you’re living your life trying to please someone else, you’re probably wasting your time. Sooner or later you will come to the realisation that the best way to please other people (such as your parents, your partner or your friends) is to be yourself. It’s fine to ask people’s opinions and sometimes they can know you more than you think you know yourself. I would say try and listen to that inner voice. Sometimes it is so soft, so quiet, it’s hard to hear it above the noise.
I often find myself asking these questions:
- Who do I want to be?
- Who do I want to become?
- What do I want to do with my life?
When you are told very early on that you can do anything –to be anyone– choosing your own career path is never easy. So despite my little spiel about self-realisation above, this is my advice, should you choose to accept it:
Pretend you are retired. What would you do with your time — when time is most important to you?
Or Imagine you don’t get paid anything to actually work. What would you do with yourself then?
[look at the japanese overlapping circles]
Allow me to explain:
I actually see corruption a little differently from most people. Not only do I think that most of ultra-rich are in a sense “environmentally corrupt” (unless they give a sizeable amount of their wealth to environmental causes, which sadly, not a lot of them seem to do). For me when I use the term corrupt, I mean it in environmental terms, not in financial terms. A bit like how the QLD government has been accused of being “morally bankrupt” w.r.t the Adani coal mine. I’d hope they are not financially bankrupt.
But I also think that that the general population is in a sense ‘complicit’ because most of us pay taxes. Which is another way of saying: “yes, we 100% agree with what you are doing and we will even give you a large proportion of our money to you to help you to continue to do what you do”. This is why I think Aboriginal people are basically passively objecting and have always done so, because they don’t agree with the central way that government ‘works’. I am not even a part-Aborigine, but I think the majority of Westerners have a very flawed mentality of ‘sustainability’ and ‘development’ (and especially “sustainable development”). The whole point now is that we are trying to be more sustainable. That’s why it’s supposed to be an eco lodge and not some other type of lodge. But we never really ask the experts in sustainability for their advice. Right?
I have only been living in Bundeena for a few years. I also do not like the horrid construction around the Aboriginal rock engravings over at Jibbon Point for example. Why couldn’t they just leave it alone? Low key? No. They had to build all around it. It looks like scaffolding. It’s just that ugly. They had to use helicopters to help build it. Helicopters are not the most efficient transport vehicles ever devised, are they? They put some kitsch statues there made of metal with horrid stencil-like animal shapes cut out of them (well ok, they have probably been there a while). But were those works commissioned by Aboriginal artists? Not likely. My point is, all that concrete and steel had to be mined from somewhere else. I think many people in general see this kind of development as ‘progress’ — but I think we are going backwards.
Do you know what the saddest part for me is? That one of the most truly sustainable races on the planet Earth, the ingenenous Aborigines, have some of the highest rates of suicide on the planet Earth! In the case of Australian Aborigines, for one age group, 5x above average. I think we need to ask them for their help and stat. The highest suicide rate on planet Earth is not the Japanese or the Finnish or other Northern Europeans, it is for the Inuit peoples… 190/100,000 per year. That is quite alarming and indicative of our predicament.
Do you know what my shrink tells me when I tell her all this stuff? [Yes I see a shrink, no secret there, it’s the ones that don’t you have to worry about LOL] She says: “Who’s to say we’ll be here in another 500 or 1000 years?”. And I’m like: “Well that’s my point. Do we actually *want* to still be around or not? I mean, if the ancient Egyptians said things like that, we’d have been fuckéd several millenenia ago. Time has a way of catching up with us.”
I do see money as a form of corruption, yes. Why? Well here’s why. I have even heard first hand (about a decade ago) that ecologists are told to “tone down their report writing”. I suppose if they were really 100% truthful about things, nobody would hire them because not as many constructions would be approved…
For instance, one ecologist who was hired to report on this local Spring Gully construction at that the edge of the Royal National Park states:
“It is possible that, with appropriate management, the biodiversity of the existing vegetation could be increased – indeed this should be the aim of developing and maintaining a low-impact camping area.”
Well ok. But also says in the same report:
“the conservation value of the vegetation on the site has been reduced by fragmentation, as a result of residential development to the north and clearing for the night-soil dump to the south; and reduction in biodiversity as a result of past land use and bushfires.”
I.e. admits that reduction in biodiversity was caused by previous human interferance, yet now advises that it would be beneficial to put more humans there (rather than none). So now more ‘weeds’ will encroach even further into the RNP… Now imagine if the author *always* added this clause to every single ecological report: “we recommend that the area be left to regenerate for another 20+ years at which point biodiversity will be on par with surrounding regions” Would they be as likely to be hired for future work? I don’t think so.
Quite frankly I think we all know that the current political system “sucks” (if only in terms of the environment). I suppose it could always be worse though. They do acknowledge some things but then with other things like coal mining and whatnot it’s merely lip service.
So to sum up, I think if you’re working for some chemical company, or construction company, or engineering company, and you’re being paid a massive salary, then yes I see that as a form of corruption.
Dear Anthony Mathews,
I’m writing to you today to let you know about my extreme disappointment with St George Bank. It pains me beacause I have been a very loyal customer over the decades — I have been with St George since it was a building society.
I was so young on my first visit to the local Hurstville St George branch, that I even signed my name for the very first time, on one of those separate pieces of paper (for one of those little passbooks everyone used to get). I was so young and naïve. I can still remember asking my late father how to sign my name. His reply? “Just spell out your name in running writing”, he told me, somewhat hurriedly. So to this day, that’s how I sign my name.
Yesterday, I checked my available balance and made a bunch of very small purchases under $15. Pathetic little purchases, for art materials. There was also one bigger transaction that went through around the same time. Of course, that went through successfully, even though that purchase was made several days after the other ones.
So what has happened is that a St George Bank computer algorithm has slogged me with fourteen direct debit dishonour fees. All in the same day. 14 direct debit fees that are around half the total value of the purchases! Why, that makes your lending rate 50% daily interest!!
I wouldn’t mind so much, because I know computers can make mistakes. I’ve seen them do it! Humans are different. Humans are more compassionate, right? Wrong.
Because earlier today I rang up St George phone banking to try and sort out the issue. After no less than 10 attempts at dialling 13 33 30, I eventually got through. And I spoke to a young man named ‘Jacob’. I was polite although Jacob said that he could not reverse those transactions.
But really? That seems odd, that a multi-billion-dollar company cannot refund $70 to someone who has been with them for over 30 years. It is my money after all.
Even so, I was very polite to Jacob and he wished me a great weekend. Why argue? Why be grumpy? There are some things we cannot control.
$70 may not be a lot to you. But it is a lot to me right now. That for me is the equivalent of two days’ pay. That is the food on my table. Right now, I am doing it so tough, that I can barely afford to eat the recommended two pieces of fruit per day. So that is more than my weekly supply of noodles while I spend the remainder trying to make better art. Yes that $70 is the paper and other media that I need to remain “a starving artist”. So, no, I’m not going to have a terrific weekend, Anthony Mathews, No.
And I wouldn’t mind so much, except that I’ve been nothing but easy-going and polite ever since I was a small boy. I’ve been principled. I’ve been kind to everyone and kind to the environment as well. I was the epitome of “being a doormat”.
So instead of being angry, I’d like to personally THANK you Mr. Anthony Mathews. Why? Because you’re a tax-paying citizen and you’re effectively helping me to either study, become employed or self-employed. So thanks for that. Other countries do not provide anywhere near that level of financial support.
My point, Anthony, is that’s not even my money that St George bank has taken. It’s yours. It’s your tax money, Anthony! And your employer has taken it from someone that is working very hard to become self-employed (and I’m getting there, too, albeit slowly). How do you feel about that? How do you feel about a bank stealing your hard-earned tax dollars? Eh?
Other banks do not treat their customers this way. Just today, I signed up for a special ING-direct offer. They are giving me AUD$100 to join their bank. Imagine that, a bank that actually gives you money rather than taking it?
Now, I have been with ING before and I was able to save with them. But my main payments still always went into St George. Without exception. And I transferred it from there. I stayed with you all through those “direct saver account” years…
Your staff has always been polite and your branding is good. But today Anthony, what remains of my corporate brand loyalty has finally gone out the window. And being a designer, that says a lot. Because we love brands.
I don’t think I will ever forget my account number that I learned as a kid, oh two five, four two six, oh three two. I still can’t even recall my tax file number correctly. I’ll be sorry to see St George go, really I will.
On Monday 24th of April, I’ll be driving all the way to Batemans’ Bay branch. And I’ll be closing my beloved St George Account. Right now you would have to give me a hundred bucks just to stay. On top of the seventy you originally took.
leslie dean brown
Personally I think you trophy hunters are all basic cowards. Shooting animals from distance… Like wow.
And it’s always a giraffe. But they’re not venomous. Are they? So like they are really going to fight back… Wow. Or a zebra. They don’t appear to have claws either.
You had to take a selfie. You just had to take a selfie. That’s the thing with you trophy hunters, isn’t it? You always have to have a memento. But don’t serial killers always take mementos of their victims? I think they do. They might as well call it “souvenir hunting”.
And we all know that you greedy bastards want to collect the whole set, too. We know. Because they are all very “limited edition”, aren’t they? These endangered animals.
Is it really the thrill of the hunt? Or is it all just for that tacky piece of junk that is hanging on your wall that you need to keep there … to remind yourself every single day that “you’re really brave”. Yes I think that’s what it is. You all have such a subconscious inferiority complex, you need these bullshit reminders on your walls of your “manliness”. And you need to show it off to others, too.
And what’s this you little shit-turd? You killed a lion this time? With a gun. Well anyone can do that. Anyone with a finger.
And you put the gun over your shoulder like the little dip shit that you are, acting all ‘superior’. What’s that for?
But are you superior? Are you really? Let me tell you why you’re not superior, little man with a 4cm penis:
Because yes even crossbows are overpowered today. All those linkages. Made of advanced materials. You know. You know I know. Oh I know all about materials.
How about this? Next time, try it with a fucking wooden bow that you’ve carved from a tree that you cut down yourself. And no I don’t mean with a chainsaw. I mean you must chop that tree down by hand with an axe. To be fair. To be fair to the lion.
What about the string then? For the bow. Did you harvest that from natural fibres and make it into twine? I didn’t think so. You’re all using synthetic bow strings, aren’t you? Or is that what you are so convinced that human technology is ‘superior’, because of synthetic materials?
And the arrow. Let’s not forget the arrow. Did you also make that yourself? So you choose to make the arrow from metal. But let me ask you, hunter: did you obtain that metal from first principles? Including smelting from the ore? Did you dig that ore yourself? No. Did you light the fire for the smelting operation? Chop down that wood, too, by hand with an axe?
Something tells me that you didn’t. I didn’t think so. You did none of that. You all went to the shop and bought the metal rods. For the arrows. Didn’t you? Went in your car to get those? That’s what I thought. You drive more than me. And you think I pollute. You lot actually consume more than I do! And you thought it was the other way around…
And how did you shape that arrow? Not with a lathe! No, not with a lathe. Not with electricity that gets streamed right to your closest power outlet. I mean, lions don’t have electricity to help them out, do they? No they don’t. They don’t need electricity…
Here’s a thought. Why don’t you go and hunt with a knife? EH? Something tells me I don’t think you would be in that. Because then the risk is in the lions’ favour. Don’t fancy the odds? I thought not, coward.
You want a rush, you do it properly. Give the lion a fighting chance. Because how much adrenaline can you get from shooting fish in a barrel?
Maybe if you do all of the above, make your own bow and arrow, knife, using tools you made yourself, you’ll regain some of your actual life. And you won’t feel the need to shoot lions to feel ‘happy’. Maybe if you used your muscles a bit more, you might generate more endorphins that way.
And I see you strung up that lion. It’s like you’re trying to show people that it is an animal and you are the “all powerful” ‘human’. But you, too, are an animal. And I mean that in the derogatory sense, not in the sense of awe I have for a truly magnificent beasts that hunt every single day of their lives on the Serengetti.
Did someone help you haul that lion up there? Over that tree branch? Or did you do it all by yourself? Something tells me you had to order your pathetic cameraman ‘friend’ to help you out. I know your muscles simply are not big enough to move that lion even two lousy inches without help.
Not to mention the fact that the rope is acting like a pulley system, halving the effective weight. Wow, you lifted up a quarter of a dead lion. Wow. That must have been hard. You must be so proud of yourself! Well done. And I know you probably worked up more of a sweat lifting that dead lion two feet off the ground than actually pulling the trigger a few times too, didn’t you?
Because, you certainly didn’t hunt the lion on foot, did you? I mean if even this fat ugly bastard barely works up a sweat in an African climate, I’m sure you are making it too easy for yourselves. What do I mean by that? Too easy?
Well, you drove there in your comfortable safari jeep, powered with a diesel engine, didn’t you? It probably even has air-conditioning, doesn’t it? Well maybe on the ‘deluxe’ tour.
Oh sure you got out of the car AFTER driving all the way there from Cape Town. Or wherever. But you certainly did not arrive there on foot, you pathetic cheating little bastards.
Why not try cycling or walking, and hauling your own kit over there to the safari next time? Yes I’m talking about all the way from the international airport. Try actually using your leg muscles to get somewhere next time.
What bothers me is that you like to act all “tough and manly”. Yes even the trophy-hunter-bitches like to be all “tough and manly” too (because they’re probably just lesbians and don’t even realise it or won’t admit it to themselves). It’s okay to be butch you know. Or bi. It’s okay. Better to lick pussy than kill lions.
But, again, I digress. Where was I? Oh yes, you like to all “tough and manly”. But did you walk all the way to Africa from your hometown? Did you swim or row over the Atlantic ocean? No. I didn’t think so. You flew there. Well you didn’t fly. The plane flew. And you just sat there watching television. Once again, a ‘wow’ is in order. Wow. Gettting served your meals directly in your lap. Having other people carry your water for you.
And so you you claim you are “helping the environment”. But the flight to Africa certainly isn’t helping out the atmosphere, is it?
Oh that’s right, you ultra-conservative religious gun-toting motherfuckers don’t ‘believe’ that humans can cause something like that. It seems to me your puny little brain does not comprehend physics or chemistry. But I digress…
Even if you don’t believe in climate change, that flight you took —like everything we do in this world— has an ecological cost. You have just polluted the air.
But it’s not just that. Planes require fuel. And that fuel has do come from somewhere. And where does it come from? That’s right, it always comes from natural spaces, doesn’t it? And the metal in that plane. That metal has do come from somewhere. And where does it come from? That’s right, it too comes from natural spaces. The very same natural spaces you claim to care most about. Oh the hypocrasy!
Now you could argue that the plane was going to fly to Africa anyway, even without you. But something tells me you don’t think too much. All you alpha-male hunter types. You have a little too much latent testosterone. And not quite enough IQ to match.
By your own fucked-up “hunting logic”, modern aviation is supposedly not ‘sustainable’ either, is it? Or had you conveniently forgotten about that part of your trip? You know… all the modern things in life that you’re taking advantage of…
All this time, you have been sitting on your fat arse getting driven and flown to places! And meanwhile, what you think of as a ‘lesser’ lion has —all this time— been hunting on his own. No guns. No bows and arrows. No gunpowder. No laser cut blades. Just claws and teeth mate. Claws and teeth. No composites. No ceramics. No steel or cast iron or bronze. No metal whatsoever. No plastic handles. Not even natural materials like cotton or wood, for the lion.
No lap meals for the lion. No air conditioning. No television. No flight crew. Not even so much as a fucking tent for shelter. And yet you have a nice soft mattress to sleep on, princess!
I think, to be fair, you should have to fight the lion with no materials, no technology at all. Just you and your bare hands. Learn some karate maybe? Or maybe you could try to bite the lion with your own teeth, just in the right spot. Estrangulation? Or maybe you could grow your hair long, draw some of your own blood, make a composite out of that and try to suffocate it that way. But you’d have to be pretty quick. Lions don’t like being crept up on. They tend to kill unarmed people.
Now, see, I’m not some tree-hugging vegan. I don’t view the world with rose tinted glasses. I know lions get killed. And I know tribes eat lions. I think you should be forced to eat that entire lion within one week. Not with the help of your miserable friends, but, you know, on your ownsome. But I am starting to become vegetarian, because I don’t like the way meat is farmed.
Would you try to hunt me down if you knew I was armed? If I could shoot back? I don’t think so. I really don’t think so.
Quite frankly, I don’t even think of you as human. You are not part of my species. You don’t belong.
It’s too bad the law defines you as human. Were it legal, I would hunt YOU down! I might do it from a mile off. Or I might just walk up to you and shoot you in the face. I wouldn’t even think twice, because to me, you are not human.
You disgust me, trophy hunter.
It takes real courage to admit that a lion is the greater beast here among men.
Sending warships over there is ridiculous.
Mainly because they don’t seem to be backing down. Are North Koreans evil people? No. So why not just leave them alone to do their thing?
Here’s what I think. I think the main trouble with treating everyone the same is that you produce more people that are all less creative. And that’s a problem, because creativity is the very lifeblood of essentially all art, music and design (etc). All the creative careers. Careers, without which, nobody would sell anything!
And without any art, music and design, photography, etc, the urban world is quite literally an extremely depressing place, too. It is. Seriously. That’s why nobody likes going to jail. It’s not all about ‘freedom’. It’s also about emotional states. No one ‘likes’ to be unhappy or depressed.
Creativity is also the mother of invention. That’s why the soviets copied Zeiss lenses, etc, and not the other way around.
Now, do you want to know why I think Mr Kim Jong-un invited Dennis Rodman (of all people!) to stay with him a few years back? If you were like me, at the time you were thinking: why him? Of all people?! I don’t think it’s because of Dennis Rodman’s style or personality. I think it’s because of Dennis Rodman’s perceived underlying ‘creativity’. He could equally have chosen Yayoi Kusama or any other creative.
Whenever a country plays the same morning tune three or more times a day, what they lack isn’t power, it’s creativity. A different way of doing things. And half of them probably don’t even know it. What they’re missing. That’s why they keep people ignorant.
That’s also why you don’t ever hear much about North Koreans smuggling money. Or gold. Or even drugs. They smuggle movies. Movies. On little usb sticks. Right?
Though trade in banned small arms and ammunition is relatively insignificant, recent reports include: imports totaling $45,500 by Brazil in 2007, of $3.1 million by the United Arab Emirates in 2006, and $364,400 by Ethiopia in 2005, and $121,400 by Mexico in 2005.:14 [source]
Honestly? Forty five thousand five hundred dollars worth of illegal imports from Brazil? Honestly?! One hundred and twenty one thousand four hundred dollars worth of illegal imports from Mexico. Again, are you fucking kidding me? No, you have got to be fucking kidding me!
The copright infringement on the movies they smuggle alone is probably a hundred or a thousand times more than that lot combined! Ha ha ha.
So I wouldn’t even waste the fuel of those warships. I’d carry on exactly as normal. Win the ‘war’ with creativity.
In the past few days I have seen comments on LinkedIn regarding North Korea (more specifically about their Supreme Leader).
So I have a few questions for US citizens:
Would Americans like it if half a dozen North Korean warships and an aircraft carrier were headed straight for the US peninsula? Doubtful.
Would Americans like it if North Korean armadas were performing joint military exercises (for months on end) with other nations such as, ooh I don’t know– Cuba, right off the coast of Florida? Probably not.
So I personally think Mr trump should just shut the fuck up already, turn that American aircraft carrier escorted by the other warships right back towards Australia were it was meant to be headed AND STOP PRODDING THE ANT’S NEST ALREADY!!
I will continue to drink Pepsi. In fact, the only thing contained within my “new” vintage kelvinator man-cave fridge… is a bottle of pepsi (and a metal ice cube tray).
Why I don’t think it is that bad is that it at least *tries* to be anti-establishment. What’s wrong with that? Isn’t that a good thing? It’s not sexist. Is it? It’s doesn’t cast police in a negative light. Does it?
It’s not *really* about the black movement either, because asian and muslims are represented more than freakin’ black people! [no offense to black people here]. It could well be a peace or environmental march.
So what? It’s a bit corny in places. It won’t age well. At least it got people’s attention! I think any international corporation that promotes art and music is better than one that doesn’t…
What the fuck to millenials even want? Yes, it’s sugar water. It’s water, flavoured with sugar. But it’s never pretended to be anything else, has it?
As of this moment, it’s fast approaching 60,000 ‘dislikes’. But then, that’s the problem with youtube isn’t it? Youtube has dislikes. Every other fucking social media outlet only has likes. Maybe that tells you something. Maybe people who watch youtube are just… unhappy trolls?
I do not get what everyone is complaining about. But then, I’m not a millenial. I think it’s an over-reaction. The ad is just not that bad (IMHO).
I bet you if most people had have loved the very same ad, by chance, then of course everyone else would love it too.
Now all the marketers are trying to to analyse why it ‘failed’. Maybe it just failed because… some young people like to whinge and complain about everything? If it wasn’t this, it would be something else…
Do you know what’s a thousand times scarier than “spending an eternity in hell”?
Realising that you only have one life. That death is final. That you could die at any time. That you could die and not accomplish the things in life that you set out to accomplish.
I think life is a very special gift. That’s why I try to make the most of my life here and now. I don’t waste it with faith. I don’t waste it with prayers. I just try to get on it with it.
I do know that if I die slowly I’m going to be questioning myself whether I tried to make a difference in the world. I think there is only so much we can accomplish in one day.
I think it about death all the time. I think about being on my deathbead. I wonder what I’ll think about. I wonder whether I think I’ll think I’ve had a useful life.
And that is why I started this blog. I don’t want to die without sharing my thoughts with the world.
Today I’m going to share with you a little secret that’s been bugging me lately
It’s about one of my inner-most feelings about the design industry. For several months now, I’ve been getting disappointed. I have a bit of a dilemma. A moral dilemma 3.
Here it is: there seem to be very few what I call “ethical designers”. And that worries me.
I know because rarely do the creatives ever ‘like’ my environmental posts on LinkedIn. Rarely. Almost never.
Now keep in mind that probably about half of my connections work in the design industry. They’re senior graphic designers. They’re art directors. Executive creative directors. Chief creative officers. Important people. Important people with important accounts.
Designers are supposed to lead the way when it comes to new trends. I mean, fashion designers have the power to change what a billion people wear, within the space of a year (or less). Right?
And yet on this subject, the environment, most designers are suspiciously silent. And I think I know why. I strongly suspect it’s because there’s this so called ‘professional’ [read: confidential] client relationship.
In other words, the never seem to speak up, because they are too afraid that they are going to lose money. Not just with customers, but with their real clients, the businesses that hire them to design. You can’t be seen to criticise the business that gives you work. Like they say, “don’t bite the hand that feeds you”.
Here’s the thing. If people say or do the wrong thing —like the wrong post say— then they lose the account. I know because one of my design teachers told me. If anyone is caught drinking Pepsi in the design room when the Coke representative walks in, your agency loses the Coke account. That’s the way it works.
You see, I really think designers are forgetting just how difficult it is to accomplish good design. I think they’re underestimating themselves. They’re selling themselves short. And I think they should act a bit more like they way they were in highschool. Back then they were the trendsetters. The people who dared to be different. The people who stood against the status quo. Those rebellious kids. The cool ones, you know.
I would like to see the designer charge three, five or ten times more than they normally would for their design. Use that extra money. Give half of it to an enviornmental charity. But I would prefer to see you refuse the brief altogether. Don’t do it. Not for any amount of money!
People who changed the world in the past were never really popular during their time. People like Galileo questioned the status quo. And now today we have satellite communication and GPS navigation systems.
It could be that my “save the planet” content is preferentially served to all my conservation connections. But somehow I doubt it. Many creatives would have seen my posts as well. Many. They lurk, they don’t like. I’ve noticed.
And I was actually going to write this on my LinkedIn feed, but decided to write about it here instead. Because over there, it’ll only become very ‘awkward’.
I’ve also noticed that whenever I post a ‘controversial’ update or comment, I get about three times the number of people looking at my profile. They’re probably checking out who is making all the waves. But they never say anything. Not even privately.
It’s like they’re thinking something like this behind my back: “well if he doesn’t know, we’re not going to tell him; more work for us”.
I know how social groups work. If you say something controversial enough, something to upset people enough, something that goes against the norm, something that people can’t deal with, you risk getting expelled. Banned from the group. And I don’t want that to happen. I’d still like to get a few illustration commisions.
I know how the world works. I know it runs with money. I’m not stupid or naïve. So it’s not that I don’t know what I’m doing. Oh no; I know exactly what I’m doing. I also know something that most designers don’t know. I know a thing or two about science.
In that respect, I suppose my training is pretty unique because I have a strong background in science but my most recent qualification was a diploma of graphic design. So I speak the dual languages of science and design. I don’t know too many ex-scientists designers. None, in fact.
The thing is, I can’t forget my past. No matter how hard I try. I can’t not be a scientist. I trained for more than ten years to be a scientist. I can’t forget who I was or who I am today. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t. Sometimes I wish I could forget. Then I could probably ignore all these conservationists and and indigenous people and just “get on with being ‘successful’ “.
It’s not that science and design are incompatible. Oh they are perfectly compatible alright. Yes business, design and science are indeed all compatible. But not when it comes to big corporations they’re not. Because the bigger the company, the less accountable the employers, employees and customers all become.
The bigger a company, the more ethical rules they seem to break. Seriously. Environmental rules. Especially when it comes to the following industries: mining, engineering, manufacturing, development, construction and transport/logistics. They just don’t give a fuck. Or so it seems.
I know enough to know that there are many unknowns in science. But for every ‘unkown’, there are ten or a hundred ‘knowns’. Science is pretty good. Science works. Your computer works. Your smart phone works. Your iwatch works.
The trouble with designers staying silent is this. The bigger the account gets, the less people see the effect of their design decisions. Designers are not seeing the impact.
But what is worth more? The account? Or the planet? If we lose the planet, we lose pretty much all future accounts. Right? Riiight?
So my new rule of business is that I only want to work towards a better future, not a worse one. Otherwise, what’s the point?
If we are all working towards a worse future, if all there is is “now”, if that is so important, why bother working at all? Why bother building cities, freeways and skyscrapers? Why bother with children and grandchildren? You tell me. What is the fucking point? What is the fucking point of having children if this world is not sustainable?
And don’t get me wrong, I try to live in the ‘now’ as much as humanly possible. It’s just that I also consider the future as well as the past (which I think is wise).
When a client comes to you asking for a rebrand, they’re obviously thinking about the future, aren’t they? They are looking for a newer, better future. Right?
So what I would like to see is this: I would like to see creative executives have the balls to say to someone like Mr Gautami Adani something like this:
“well the thing is, Mr Adani, we can’t actually make your logo any cooler, accessible or friendly, you’re asking the impossible. Fossil fuels have become out of vogue, out of fashion, we can’t change that. No one can change that. Solar and wind are “in”. Coal is out.”.
I would like to see Chief Creative Officers, Executive Design Directors remind the CEO, the CFO, the board of directors about the future. Remind them that they are hoping for a better ‘future’ design, hence, they must care about the future. That’s why they’re investing money. Because they’re hoping for a better future.
I’d like to see more people remind these fools at the top just why the environment has to come before business. And then maybe the business owners and investors would insist on a newer, more sustainable, ecological design. Who else is going to design for them?
I think it’s absurd that people are too afraid to even say anything. Everyone should be able to harp on about the environment as much as they bloodywell like without fear of losing their job. Otherwise, we are all fückéd ladies and gentlemen. Fückéd!
Here’s what I would like to say to all investors. I would like to walk into a boardroom meeting and draw this fucken equation on the board:
no environment = no business = no profit.
Because I can tell you one thing right now. People can see straight through a logo or a design. I used to think a great logo was everything. but it’s just an identity mark.
If the companies’ ethics and morals aren’t in the right place, then people will eventually go with the ugly logo. I love a good logo, I do. I choose companies based on their logos and their design. True! But once I turn on a company, there’s almost no going back. If I had to choose between designer logos and saving the planet, bring on the ugly logos.
People are fickle. Customers will change banks. No amount of design can be used to sell a horrible company to well-informed people. That might have worked in 1990. Or even the year 2000. But this is the age of information, the age of connection.
The reason is that money can only be used to ‘offset’ things up to a certain point. And I think we are fast getting to that point, if it isn’t already behind us. Beyond that point, money doesn’t do any good. Sure money can buy a forest. Money cannot buy us a new atmosphere or a stable, unpeturbed weather system. Money cannot buy a clean ‘new’ planet. That is not how the world works.
Sometimes I like to entertain the idea of hypothetical situations, because I find them to be very insteresting. For example. if the major powers launched all of their nuclear weapons (more or less simultaneously), then how much would it cost to ‘fix’ the planet afterwards? What if it couldn’t be ‘fixed’? What then? That’s one reason we try to avoid a nuclear holocaust. Because we know about the consequences.
Things can’t keep on going on like they’ve always done. Again, the world doesn’t work that way. I know that’s not the way it is at the moment.
You may think I am some hippie nutter. But I’m not. I am a bit of a dreamer though. I don’t really care too much about money. I care that what I think, what I say, and what I do are all aligned — in the right direction.
So where am I going with this? A few years ago I read that whenever an organisation grows, it reaches a critical size of about 150 people. That is the maximum number of people we can efficiently deal with. Beyond that and things get too disconnected and bureaucratic. Efficiency goes down.
So these days I prefer to work with smaller businesses. That’s what my gut instinct tells me to do. Businesses that are small enough to change and adapt. Businesses that are able to put the environment first. They’re the ones who I want to trade with.
Nuggets. When I order 6 or 10 McNuggets, I expect to receive 6 or 10 McNuggets. Not 5 or 9. Am I right? But I never feel like complaining over one nugget. But really, this happens quite often.
Noise. Why does the kitchen sound like the cockpit a 747 that is about to crash land? WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP PULLUP STALL PROXIMITY WARNING!!! You cannot call it a “restaurant” with all of that noise happening…
Chips. They should stand up in the packet, proud and tall, not be placed in there chaotically all “mumbo jumbo”. Because that way, not as many fit and we get less. :(
Sauce. Why no chilli sauce with McNuggets? Is there an embargo on chillis? Wordwide chilli shortage? No. Not everyone likes BBQ or sweet & sour sauce. Hungry Jacks has chilli to go with their obviously and clearly inferior “non-McNuggets”.
I shall collect my extra chips now.
Dr. Leslie Dean Brown
I am a former materials scientist. The first question I always get asked is: “what is that?”.
Materials science is the study of mostly synthetic materials such as metals, polymers, ceramic and composites. We study their physical & chemical properties and how they are extracted from the Earth.
I am telling you this because I think that people need to start listening to scientists. More people need to listen to more scientists.
That’s a two way thing. I think that more scientists should start their own blogs (and other mediums communication like that).
Right. So I am a former materials scientist. And do you know what I now think about materials? What I now know?
I think that everything that you buy kills some part of the world somewhere else. The metals in the electronics that you are buying come from mines and natural spaces have to be destroyed to get them. I think we have to realise that and remember it every time we go to buy something. We need to think about that whenever Apple tries to sell us some new product. Do we really need it? What is the environmental cost?
My view now is that the things that we buy have to come from somewhere. Ask yourselves where. Most plastics [polymers] in use today come directly from oil. Uh oh.
All metals that aren’t being recycled are mined. Mines are always built in the natural environment (just look what happens when they are not –like with coal seam gas– people complain their heads off and usually get their own way).
But the problem isn’t just big banks and mining companies. Because I think 99% of adults have simply forgotten where they get their stuff from. [Read more…]
Food practically grows all by itself on planet Earth.
Let me ask you something: do we actually ‘make’ our own food? Do we? The answer is “no we do not make our own food”. We just throw pre-existing seeds in the ground and make sure most of them get enough water to sprout. We don’t make it from first principles; it grows all by itself from the soil! We simply harvest that food (once it has already grown).
Let me ask you the next question: do we humans ‘make’ soil? Not can we make it, do we make it? Again, no. Bacteria, worms and insects do that for us. Sure we might put organic matter such as apple cores, banana skins and orange peels onto the old compost pile and think we’re making
loads more soil. We might even throw things like paper and cardboard onto our compost as well and think we’re creating heaps and heaps and heaps of soil.
But are we? What are we really doing? Once gain, where did that apple core come from? Where did that banana skin come from? Where did that paper come from? Where did those trees come from? The chances are you’ll find that most of it wasn’t hydroponically produced (using liquid fertilisers and zero soil). Was it? No. It was mosty farmed, from pre-existing soil. And I’m guessing that that soil, ladies and gentlemen, took thousands and thousands and thousands of years to form.
And so you might say: “well okay, I know people that actually eat 100% hydroponically-grown foods, I’ve seen it”. And again I ask: but the people who made the hydroponic setup, did they also get all of their food from hydroponically grown plants? What about the people who made all that fertiliser? What about the people who built the whole darn fertiliser setup? What about the people who transported all of the above? And what about the people who built the vehicles so that all of that lot could be transported? Did they all eat hydroponically grown food too?
Is everyone in that hydroponics industry only eating 100% hydroponically-grown foods? Short answer? No. So my point is that at the moment, even if we can hydroponically grow a bunch of food, it’s being heavily, massively subsidised by nature.
Do you know how many apple cores, banana skins and orange peels it takes to make just one kilogram of soil? The answer is: I don’t know, because I lost count. What I can tell you is that I have been throwing ALL of my organic scraps, and those of a second person, into one giant green 400L bin for the past two years. Everything from my hair to my paper offcuts. And it has never filled up. But how much soil did all that organic matter take to produce in the first place, for two people? I’m willing to bet that it was WAY more than just 400 litres.
So is it any wonder that farmers commit suicide, when they tell us that the quality of soil is falling?
We certainly tend to the plants. We avoid flooding unless we’re growing rice. But what I think humans really do is collect, store and distribute food. If we had to do all of that for 7 billion people, for 7 million people, for even 7 thousand people, with no air, no water and no soil to begin with, I think you’d see scientists really starting to scratch their heads. Can’t be done! It just can’t be done.
In other words, we’re not somehow magically separated from nature. Scientists are never really able forget this. If seven, eight, nine or ten billion people want to live on this planet for more than a few centuries into the future, then we’re going to have to re-evaluate our values and our priorities. I think it’s time we refocus our efforts on Earth (even Carl Sagan’s last book, pale blue dot was as much about Earth as deep space and look how ‘into’ deep space adventures he was).
Get a load of this, the latest news story, people:
The company’s own reports submitted to the federal Environment Department said habitat “critical to the survival of the koala” would likely be affected.
“I have written to minister Jackie Trad and the Premier in recent times on several occasions saying that not one single piece of koala habitat in Queensland should be allowed to be cut down,” she said.
“You get up to 70 and 80 per cent mortality once you move animals away from their homes,” she said.
“It’s like saying to you tonight, ‘I’m going to knock your home down, no worries, I’ll build you another one, but just wait 20 years and in the meantime just wander around’.”
I used to look out for koalas every single time we went on camping vacation in Australia. Never saw a single one, not once, in all my childhood years of peering out the back car window.
Investors (and I know they’re reading) ought to be shot. Just plain taken out into a field, and shot.
I don’t even think this debate is merely about “global warming” anymore…
I think it’s more about whether you believe humans can alter the environment at a global as well as a local scale. I mean, all of us can accept that even cockroaches and rats can change their local little jaunts easily enough…
(either inadvertently and/or purposefully; it doesn’t really matter for the sake of this argument whether the changes are intended or not)
There is no question that we alter things at a local scale. We can directly manipulate the atomic, molecular and microscopic scales. We manipulate things at the ‘macro’ scale, too (the scale of what we can see without the aid of a microscope). We make things, change things, on the scale of millimetres, centimetres, metres, even kilometres. We make runways for instance. How long are they? Right?
Here’s a timely reminder — Earth’s atmosphere is only about 10km ‘thick’. I’m sure most people don’t stop to appreciate this on their morning or afternoon commute: most people travel more in one single day –be it driving a car or walking in the Ethiopian desert– than the Earth’s atmosphere is ‘deep’. They most likely travel at least this distance every single day of their lives, perhaps more.
One only needs to look around a city, any city, to know that the human civilisation built it. We most definitely changed it. Why? Because it doesn’t look like it did before humans settled there, that’s why. Isn’t it obvious? Before that, it was a forest or a jungle, a river’s edge or a peat bog.
And so we continue to dam rivers and build bridges. We build skyscrapers and oil tankers and cruise liners. We construct entire airports offshore.
We tear down forests and we mine the Earth. At every and any opportunity. Why? To make it more ‘comfortable’ for ourselves. We spew out all kinds of gases and chemicals into our waterways and our atmosphere. And somehow, miraculously, none of this can even remotely alter something so basic as “the average temperature”. Somehow “that’s impossible”4.
At what point along the size scale do people go from accepting that “yes absolutely humans can and do cause local changes in the form of urbanisation” to becoming ones of “oh no, humans are too puny to have caused this, this is god’s realm, carry on” in someone’s mind? At what scale? Where exactly do they let go of reality?
Here’s the thing that most people don’t seem to understand or comprehend: if you do enough “local-scale things” all around the planet, then it has to change at a global scale as well. It has to! Indeed, there really is no black and white distinction between ‘local and global scales’. The cosmos presents a continuous scale, all the way from the very tiniest subatomic particle (and probably smaller) right the way through to galaxies and beyond. And I don’t care what you think you want to believe, each scale does affect the other.
Man is not exempt from the effects of any of these scales (at either the very large-scale end, the very small end or anywhere inbetween). All scales can potentially be ‘dangerous’ to us. We have radiation, we have poison, we have knives, we have trucks crashing into things, we have nuclear bombs. And we also have something else. Something else we can’t quite control as well. The environment: the oxygen in our atmosphere, fresh water, food (and to a lesser extent, gravity). Each represents a different scale. And the presence or absence of each one can equally kill, albeit at different timescales.
There is simply no getting around it… “do enough shit” to the surface of this planet, any planet, and you’ll most likely fuck it up completely rather than make it only slightly ‘better’5
Whether carbon dioxide gas, or any other compound, it really wouldn’t matter what is causing it either, would it? Would it matter to people if it were a different compound such as methane, krypton or something else they’ve never even heard of? Would that help them understand what is going on with vibrational modes of this molecule at infrared frequencies?
Actually, surprisingly, I think the answer to that question is: “it depends”. I think the answer lies in how much this presence or absence of whatever it is we have to give up contributes to our current lifestyle. And I think we all know that we are far less likely to give up our ‘comforts’ than if it’s something we never (or rarely) use anyway.
If we don’t have much to give up, like with CFCs for example (because we simply used a spraycan with a different propellant inside of it), then by all means “let’s do this right now, starting today”. The Result? Ozone hole partially closed already.
A scientist might say that our reluctance to change is “inversely proportional” to the amount that it affects our present and future lifestyle. Lots to give up? Climate change = fake news. Not real. Not happening. Nothing to give up? No reason why it couldn’t be true.
On the other hand, if you’re talking about giving up the power of your very own automobile, reducing your electricity consumption, buying and using less stuff, travelling less, or just even generally using less and less technology instead of more and more — then on second thought, “perhaps not quite so fast”. Right?
Do you know what scientists fear most? Do you know what scares scientists absolutely shitless? Well they might not know it, but I think all scientists inherently fear that one day we’ll lose control of nature. Because right now, science can control nature (well sort of).
Now we don’t want you to panic. But quite frankly, it’s fast getting to that point. Because species are becoming extinct all over the place… and it’s an understatment to say that biologists, entomologists, and soil scientists are not happy about that.
I think to many people, technology may make it seem like “we can do whatever the fuck we want, however we want, whenever we want and wherever we want” and still we’ll all be okay. That no matter what happens, scientists will be smart enough to “figure a way out it”. I mean heck, “who ‘invented’ the ipad?”. People. People are smart. Right?
Wrong. Because even today, in the ‘modern age’ (whatever that is) we don’t have to create our own gravity, sunlight, air pressure, oxygen and water. Do we?
And somehow –some truly clueless, ignorant people– think that “everything’s going to be alright, Jack”. Maybe because it always has been. Maybe because they don’t have a very good imagination about the future. Maybe because they are ignorant. Or maybe they believe in some kind of higher power and that “man can do no harm”, that man’s job is to “work and be more productive”.
These “deniers” generally retort: “the sky is falling, the sky is falling” whenever anyone becomes even remotely ‘alarmist’. As if all alarms are false ones. Even if the alarmists do have a higher IQ.
But I really would really like to see those very same [science] deniers in another, very different, scenario. Say they we have organised a tour of a nuclear power station for them. Just say. Would they stick around, for example, if/when a nuclear scientist is yelling at them: “THE CORE IS GOING INTO MELTDOWN, GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE!!!!!”. Would they be hanging around the containment building, tardily and proudly proclaiming “the sky is falling, the sky is falling!”? Would they be so quick to make a cup of coffee in that instant? Or would they, far more likely, heed the scientists’ advice and flee their sorry arses right on out of there as fast as their legs could carry them? Yes I think the latter.
Or maybe I reall am missing something. Maybe we really are puny. Maybe. Maybe we are so fucking puny, nature will continue to evolve and adapt all around us.
But then I recall biololgists tellings us that the less biodiversity there is, the slower nature recovers from all kinds of change.
Here’s the thing, I know I shouldn’t mention politics where business & branding is concerned.
I *know* I should be more politically correct. But quite frankly, I don’t care. Or I do care somewhat, but I don’t let that stop me… I see icecaps are melting and still no one says anything through official channels. I don’t see any designers criticising Porsche for making their gas-guzzling 5.0L V8-engined Cayenne for example.
Yes I see all the other designers and creatives and their ‘approach’. And I think 99.9% simply prefer to remain silent.
But I don’t see too many designers with a science background. And my science background CANNOT allow me to sit idly by and “say nothing, do nothing”.
The truth is, our lifestyles impact this world, greatly so.I’m even having a hard time convincing my psychologist of this fact. I think she seems to think that we are all “equally to blame”.
I’m sure other people absolutely cringe when they see me always sharing things about the environment on LinkedIn. But quite frankly, if I lose people’s business as a result of being politically incorrect, maybe “it wasn’t mean to be”. I don’t want to help people ruin this planet. I want to help make it a better place.
So my branding plan is this: what I lose in being politically incorrect, hopefully I gain elsewhere by genuinely being committed to the environment. And if only half the number of art directors woule like to commission an illustration from me, well that just means I’ve got to be twice as good to make up for it. So the quality of my drawings goes up. Right? What’s wrong with that?
I would really like to see other designers and creatives be more vocal. Forget being politically correct. Be brutally honest for once. Have the confidence to know that your work is good enough to lose a few clients to be able to sleep at night.
If you know a product is crap, perhaps more people should say so? I won’t work for fossil fuel companies. Well I would, only for about $800M. I hope people see that ethos is part of my brand.
What kind of BULLSHIT is Lord Muck even talking about here? Honestly.
Yes I am calling him Lord Muck. I think it’s “rather” an appropriate name too! Let me tell you, Lord Muck over here would be laughed out of a room full of true intellectuals. Because this is definitely not the manner in which scientists discuss real science in order to convince other scientists who are already in the know of anything new.
Maybe some of my readers should wander right on in to any old university campus. And sit in a lecture, just to look and listen for a while. To know what real science sounds like.
Science universities are not isolated fortresses after all. They hardly ever get any visitors! So I don’t think many lecturers around the world would disapprove of you being there. You just… won’t be able to sit in on any exams and/or graduate and get your degree unless you pay your union fees is all.
Contrary to seeming like an authority on cimate change, the global science community just collectively laughed at his expense. He might as well have incinerated his degree, for all the good this presentation did.
Having a posh voice only makes you an authority on… umm… poshness. It doesn’t automatically give you extra clout whenever you are ‘talking’ about climate change. And I say ‘talking’, in inverted commas like that, because, well, he doesn’t actually ‘talk’ much at all about the data at all. He’d rather put up slides that say: “Greens are too yellow to admit they’re really red”. Wow. That sentence certainly has a lot to do with climate change. [Read more…]
“In a bid to combat poaching in the country, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism has announced the establishment of a paramilitary force system that will directly protect animals from being attacked and killed by poachers.” [source]
Richard Levicki: I dont like the sound of this, it should be Environmental Enforcement Officers not paramilitary. Very happy to see Tanzania seriously deal with the issue, but we do not want the agents of environment and human rights using the methods of the abusers, the word military contains all the wrong vowels.
leslie dean brown: Well I do like the sound of this. Not sorry! A few months back, they [poachers] shot and killed environmentalists in a helicopter. They should be taken out. All of them. No better (or worse) than ISIS. The only good poacher… is a dead poacher. They keep doing it… mainly because everyone else allows them to. Ultimately, I feel that 1000-5000 rhinos alive are worth more (both to humanity in the long term, no to mention “as is”, being lovely innocent rhinos) than 100 poachers in a planet of 7.5 billion people. They just are.
Yes they do look very VERY cool.
But ever since reading cradle to cradle, what worries me is that this contributes to even more e-waste.
Are they recycleable or biodegradable? Compostable? No? Why not? Oh. We can create great technology alright, but let’s see Nike come up with the same concept that is actually good for the environment. That’s going to be a challenge, not just for Nike, but all tech-companies.
And since a lot of materials aren’t ever recovered or recycled, it means more mines. You know? Mines! The things that nobody really likes to live next to.
Don’t get me wrong –I love all things design– but I just bought a pair of shoes from Novesta because they are more eco. That’s the direction I’m moving in.
Warning. This is a big, long rant which I saved for posterity.
Personally, I think that trophy hunters should have a bounty placed on THEIR head… of about $500,000 – $1.0 million. To see how they like being shot at (and at any time of day when they might be taking a piss without their weapon for example).
What annoys me even more than the bastard that shot Cecil and his stupid face with over-whitened teeth, is all the stupid dumb bitches lying down smiling with dead animals. And propping dead animals’ limp heads up so they make a ‘better’ photograph. Somehow I don’t think that is an appropriate image to be taking for posterity.
From my perspective, this shows a complete and utter lack of respect for the animal. It shows that they’d rather gloat over a corpse than to respect another sentient, feeling being. So this to me is truly unethical. It’s immoral.
Where does this lack of respect originate? Well, I have a hunch that many hunters have a religious upbringing. And religious people always think that humans are somehow ‘above’ animals. They think that humans are superior beings. But the fact is, we are all animals!
Once you accept that we too are animals (because as David Suzuki says, we’re certainly not plants), then you can start to see how out-dated trophy hunting really is.
To me, lying down with a dead animal is a bit like lying down with a slain human! Except it’s worse! It’s worse because there might be 7,000 of those animals in existence in the known universe. And yet there are 7,000,000,000+ humans! So naturally I respect the animals about a million times more, don’t I?
How do I feel about the lying down with dead animals thing? Well, they are the only women that I would love to punch in the face. Or shoot in the back. That’s how I feel and unfortunately it would be illegal to act on that…
But you know anger and hatred doesn’t solve much, so I prefer to put their behaviour down to their upbringing. Trophy hunters can’t help what their parents taught them about morality and purpose in life. So it’s probably not even their fault. But I think if they are truly good people they should definitely learn something from it. Rather than be controversial, I think they should just go “Oh I didn’t know this would piss off a million people so much. Right. I better not do that any more.”
And that’s the thing with the Cecil killer. He completely justified his actions. He’s not a 19 year old teenager. And apparently he wants to continue trophy hunting!
I don’t even think people are annoyed that Cecil was a celebrity. There’s more to it than that. Cecil was merely the last straw in something that is coming under increasing pressure globally. I can assure you that the average citizen on Earth does not want to see ANY lions hunted, famous or otherwise. The fact that he was a celebrity is just the fucking icing on the cake as far as poaching is concerned.
So I don’t like his response. It’s pathetic. It’s like arguing that killing non-celebrity lions is okay. But it’s not. I think lions can and should take care of themselves. There were loads more lions, elephants and tigers, etc before humans came along. Humans are the ones that decimated their population. Before humans, lions and tigers ‘managed’ themselves just fine. The only thing that needs ‘managing’ are poachers and trophy hunters!
There’s still more to it than that though. As an Australian, I actually have an affinity for the underdog. And the underdog is the rhino. It’s the giraffe. It’s the lion. I have an affinity for the underdog. Because the odds are stacked against them and they definitely stand less chance of survival than a bunch of cowardly humans with high-powered rifles. As if human encroachment isn’t enough for them to deal with! So I have an affinity for the underdog, because they are out-gunned.
A much fairer fight would be to go hunting with your fingernails filed into little points!
I can understand people wanting to eat deer and other game for their meat. I can understand that and I can accept that it happens on a daily/hourly/minute-by-minute basis. I get it. I get that people eat meat. I too was brought up to eat meat! We ate meat every single day. And I still sometimes eat meat. Although I have to say that I don’t enjoy it as much as I used to.
And yes I can even go so far as to admit that some hunters do seem to care about keeping nature alive. That’s not something I was previously willing to accept. It’s true that they pay for hunting and fishing licenses… it’s true that they are contributing more to conservation efforts than the average Joe (certainly not the average conservationist or activist though who donates money and asks for NOTHING in return).
What I truly don’t understand is people wanting to stuff dead animals in the name of conservation. Especially endangered animals. Why? I see this as no different to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi who allegedly stored his victims’ heads in freezers — to preserve them so that he could look at them from time to time. But even Colonel Gaddafi had his good points! Even Colonel Gaddafi didn’t take selfies with his victims!! Even Colonel Gaddafi had his limits!!! Am I right?
The way I see it, ‘taxidermy is preservation’ not ‘conservation’. It wouldn’t bother me if the practice was completely outlawed. It’s probably illegal to stuff human beings. And likewise, it should be illegal to stuff endangered animals.
You asked how do I feel about it? Well, it’s a good thing that dentist isn’t living in in my suburb. Because it makes me so seething mad I have already committed all manner of horrible thought crimes. If it was legal, I’m sure there are many people that would want to torture the dude. Like it or not, that’s how it makes thousands of people feel.
The thing is, I know if Walter Palmer was my neighbour, I’m not sure I could stop myself from blowing up his letterbox at the very least. I’d just be plotting and scheming all sorts of Karma events. Possibly the letterbox would be sprayed with expanding foam. Possibly he would have nails propped up against his car tyres so that when he drives off he gets four instant flat tyres. Possibly there would be loads more sabotage events… you get the idea. Of course, that’s just how I feel. :-)
If Walter Palmer was my neighbour, I would undoubtedly have to move. Because, yes, basically I feel like torturing the little bastard myself. Does that anger come across in the text? The feelings you have asked for? I hope so. I hope it makes trophy hunters think twice. Because I’m predicting that before too long, they’re going to find themselves hunted.
So the last thing I am going to say is that I think that if trophy hunters GENUINELY cared about the environment, if they were really ‘concerned’ they’d be better off donating that $50,000 or $60,000 directly to an environmental charity.
They’re prime mission is not to save the world or make it a better place. They’re prime mission is not to feed African families. If it were, they would simply donate that money to Oxfam instead. Wouldn’t they?
So I think hunters in general should really be the ones to distinguish and distance themselves from trophy hunting, and fast. Before people start getting hurt. Because the world is ever-more connected. And what went on in the 1980’s doesn’t cut it in the age of information.
Today I’d like to talk about change. We live in a changing world. And yet most people seem to be very afraid of change…
When people talk about ‘change’, it’s usually on ordinary time scales: milliseconds, seconds, minutes, days, weeks, months and years.
Unless you’re a scientist, you rarely talk about change on timescales involving decades, centuries or millennia. Do you?
I’ve noticed most people don’t like change. People get all anxious whenever anyone speaks of change. We get anxious about changes outside of our control. We get anxious too about changes that are self-imposed.
Here’s the thing: most people are afraid of change when it is too great for them to cope. So they block it out, go into denial and distract themselves by doing something else like watching TV. [Read more…]
Here’s an interesting video for advertisers, marketers + product designers.
Last week one of my connections posted something about this being the “lemon age” of appliances. This got me thinking…
I had an old Kelvinator when I was growing up in the 80s. And yes, ever since then, the life expectancy of fridges has sorely decreased…
Ever since about the turn of the century, I’ve always wanted one those classic old vintage Kelvinators. Not for the style, just for the longevity. But I never did anything about it.
I must be getting old or something, because spurred on by “the age of lemons” post, tomorrow, that dream will become a reality! I’ll be the proud new owner of a working* vintage Kelvinator fridge.
Not a rebuilt modern ‘retro’ model. A fully original single upright “round shoulder” model. From the late 1950s.
These really should be in the MoMA collection or something if they aren’t already. For some reason I can’t find much info on them…
*In fact if you look inline, they all appear to be working still.
“Hello, I was wondering who is in charge of selecting which drinking straws to use?”
Yes. Because I have a materials science degree/PhD under my belt and I can tell you right now that you are using the wrong material!
I’d include the link, but LinkedIn won’t let me.
[you can google “mcdonalds eco paper straw” and find it easily enough though]
Why? Well, so that they don’t blow straight off of the landfill they all end up in, eventually ending up in the ocean, stuck up turtles’ nostrils and loads of other places that they shouldn’t be.
Why does the straw last thousands of years when your drinks barely last ten minutes? Why? Why those silly-looking stripes down the side of them? So we can identify all the McDonalds straws in the Pacific Ocean?
You, the entire McDonalds corporation, are giving polymers a bad name.
You can also read the following document, written by McDonalds itself in detailing your commitments to eco packaging in 2013-2015. Google “McDonald’s Australia Limited Australian Packaging Covenant” for more info on that.
But it seems you have done nothing since then. NOTHING. You even list plastic straws in the list.
Here’s a thought. Instead of writing useless reports on your [unbinding] commitment to ‘sustainability’, how about you actually DO something about it? Skip the report and issue a change notice.
Can your corporation not afford it? What’s the problem? Why the delay? And you are after all the CEO of McDonalds. Do you not have the power [or the balls] to convince the board members? What?
Even 7 year olds are requesting you to change your plastic straws for something more sustainable and less polluting…
I am truly sorry for being so rude blunt, but I am tired of getting the run around. I am tired of the polite reply. I want to get your attention and I want to see YOU make changes. Not in ten years. Now.
In the future, I’d like to be know for having a personality a bit like Gordon Ramsay — someone who knows his shit so well, he doesn’t even have to be polite.
dr leslie dean brown
[former materials scientist]
aka “the eco nazi“
Every time I turn on the news or read a newspaper, it seems as if everything is against us, the Earth itself included.
Have you noticed that certain weather incidents are now portrayed as a bad thing? Don’t misunderstand me. When I say they are bad, if there are casualties, it goes without saying that a tragedy has taken place.
What I don’t agree with is the notion that that the environment has somehow reached enemy status. Like it has a mind of its own and it’s out to get us to teach us a hard earned lesson. No! It’s our friend for Pete’s sake. It’s the oxygen we breathe. We grew up here. It’s almost like teenage children rebelling against their parents! Here’s a thought: if you’ve driven a car today, don’t attack the weather afterwards like some kind of evil foe. We’re the ones changing the weather.
I guess unlike a lot of other things, the weather can be dangerous and we’re naturally afraid of that. Just witness the air travel chaos caused by the recently erupting Icelandic volcano (Tenerife is a primary European holiday destination, so we were indirectly affected by all the flight cancellations). But then people begin to react with fear & anxiety which stems from a threat which usually can’t be controlled easily.
I’m just waiting for the day when some bright spark proposes [seriously] putting a stop to these ‘human inconveniences’ by plugging that Icelandic volcano or some other grandiose idea to reduce the volcanic ash cloud. Because my biggest fear is actually the moment when humans do try to stop or prevent weather phenomena in order to create a more ‘stable’ environment. Oh wait, seems it’s already happening:
Climate intervention is a field so new that the senior scientists who attended the five-day meeting don’t agree on its name. Some are calling it geoengineering; others call it climate remediation. Either way, it involves complex –and, some say, ethically questionable– processes to reduce the impact of global warming. Like dispersing sulfur particles into the atmosphere. I don’t think we should do that… we might just get sulfuric acid rain clouds.
You may or may not be aware that us humans have a great history of fucking things up big time. And the bigger the scheme, the greater the fuck-up.
Sorry to say this, but whatever we touch, we end up destroying in one way or another.
Sometimes we’re so stupid, we don’t even know what we’ve destroyed until it’s too late. Sometimes we’re that ignorant and we’ll never even know what we buggered up.
Mark my words people, because the first thing scientists do before attempting to create an artificial ‘solution’ is to measure or characterise something. Some of the most powerful computers on Earth are dedicated to weather prediction.
I hope we never reach the stage where we try to interfere with Earth’s natural systems. It’s probably too late, since it looks like we have already kick-started another global warming phase.
I wouldn’t be surprised, for example, if some clever schmuck is right now devising an artificial gas halo to protect the Earth and cool it back to it’s natural level. Or they could extend the Earth’s orbit a bit and cool it down that way. If it isn’t clear already, I think that these sort of grandiose schemes are doomed to failure right from the start. Not because they won’t work, but because of the unintended consequences.
Journalists are not entirely to blame. You even hear people being interviewed on the street. Too much rain is bad, too much hot weather is bad, too much snow is bad. There is drought and at the same time there is flooding. But who decides how much is too much? In my opinion, the rapid change in weather patterns we see now probably are caused by humans.
I’m not convinced that we can fix our mistakes quite so simply. Anyone who thinks otherwise should probably read the book “why things bight back”… In conclusion, I think it’s our entire mindset we really do need to change not just our lifestyle.
I actually got my truck license a few months ago. It weighed more than 8 tonnes. No not the license, the truck!
And what I discovered was that driving a truck is way harder than driving a car. There are way more things to consider than driving a car. Length, height, width, load, stopping distance, being a courteous driver, defensive driving.
During the driving test, a large piece of polystyrene foam blew onto the road in front of my lane. I was quickly able to work out that it was not really any great threat, because of its low weight/inertia. And so I *didn’t* do an emergency stop and just rolled straight over the top of it. Are self driving vehicles able to distinguish truly hazardous obstacles from non-hazardous ones? I’m not convinced that the software ‘understands’ what it sees.
Would a self driving truck stop if live powerlines went down in right front of the roadway? Or would the software only see that as fairly harmless ‘lines’ crossing the lanes?
Does a self driving truck take extra precautions when a approaching a school zone? Or does it merely “slow down”?
Does a self driving truck take extra precautions if they see a drunk man staggering on the pavement outside a pub on a friday or saturday night? Or does it merely drive right past — oblivious to the accident that almost happened?
Does a self driving truck know when a sports car is approaching from way behind and give that extra bit of room to overtake?
Can a self driving truck actually ‘anticipate’ other dangerous scenarios? I don’t think so.
I can’t imagine a self-driving B-double or road train. Someone still has to unload the truck. Someone still has to accept the delivery. Someone still has to maintain the truck. Driving a truck is definitely not an easy thing to do. I can’t imagine how much code would be required to replace a truckie. All I know is that I do have a lot more respect for truckies now. A lot more.
This sucks, McDonalds. Sorry, but it just sucks. And I for one am not afraid to say so.
It took two design agencies to model a new type of straw for thickshakes using computational fluid dynamics. I don’t know about other designers, but I think McDonalds should be focusing on more eco straws, not pfaffing around with this. IMHO, it’s a waste of talent.
You generate 60 million plastic straws every single day on this planet, practically none of which actually get recycled (do they?). And half of them are ending up in turtles’ nostrils and other marine creatures’ stomachs whenever they blow off of landfill.
It’s 2017. Note that the first three pages of google’s search results when searching for the term “McDonalds straw”. And not a single webpage spouting off about how fucked up it is.
How about doing something about that problem? How about something like this:
If you’d like to read all about the structure formation of natural opal, this is one of the most complete models of opal formation available anywhere.
Here is the link:
At the time I remember my supervisor said to me that it was one of the most well-presented theses that he had ever seen.
Not necessarily the results, but the quality of the illustrations and I guess you could say the “design layout”.
I always want to be proud of my own work and do things to the best of my ability.
Today I was able to open up my original word document file that was almost 12 years old.
To my surprise, it kept the original formatting and page breaks. And why shouldn’t it? Although I am not so keen on the changes that have been implemented to Microsoft Word between since then.
Okay so truth be told,the original word document came in at 281 pages and the printed copy came in at 282. So something was not right.
It turns out that one graph had to be pushed down by one line and the original date was also restored. I was so paraoid that I would forget to change the date, the field updated itself automatically.
The reason I am doing this and sharing it again here is that my thesis was finally digitised by the UTS library this week, but the quality ain’t all that great, because it was rescanned from the printed page.
Hopefully google robots will scour my site, find the pdf and index it so anyone can access it.
So I’m deciding to generate the pdf myself (I never got around to doing that).
It’s called “the five whys”. And it’s one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal.
I think more people should use this technique so that we can improve society. What is it? What does it entail?
It was ‘invented’ at the Toyota corporation as a method of determining the root cause of something unwanted. You keep asking the question why, a bit like a bratty little kid who first figures out the true power of the word ‘why’.
The central idea is to keep on asking ourselves the ‘why’ questions — we keep asking ourselves why something is so, even if we might not like the answers.
For example, if we apply the principles of the five whys to depression, we may discover the true cause of depression (at least in some people). Scientists have got to the point that they can determine whether someone is depressed based on their brain chemistry. Right, but do they then ask the further question: what causes those brain chemicals to be different? One line of research will lead to a ‘cure’. But the other will lead to ‘prevention’. Which is better? I already know the answer.
It’s no good knowing about brain chemicals if we don’t know what factor change the chemicals in the first place. Otherwise we will never prevent depression, we will only have a ‘cure’. So I think asking the five whys in terms of depression is a simple but effective approach. I think that is part of the success of the very simple approach to holistice medicine.
And this is why I think psychology is a very powerful and underrated tool. Because psychologists, unlike psychiatrists, get to the root causes. Psychologists are already three steps ahead of the scientists studying brain chemistry. Because first of all, psychologists have already figured this out. Secondly, they are already asking the five whys. In fact, they are asking a hundred or even a thousand whys. And they already know that depression has triggers. It’s their job to look for the triggers.
The triggers in my case are a mixture of genetic and environmental. They are genetic because I’m told that I have the ‘melancholy’ or inhereted type of depression as opposed to aquiring depression. That’s all I know.
I can tell you right now what causes my depression, what triggers it. I’m going to do this in point form:
- Firstly, seeing concrete everywhere. I believe that it’s a horrible ugly material. It’s overused, it’s grey and —unlike nature— it’s very prone to being sprayed with graffiti.
- Suburbs. Yes. suburbs. I generally find suburbs ugly and therefore depressing. Particularly places that have been either not well designed or overdesigned. That includes all forms of urbanisation, land clearing and ‘development’.
- I generally find any place without trees quite literally depressing. So in my opinion, if you’re a town planner or an architect, and you’re reading this, the best thing you can do is a) design around existing trees b) plant more trees (and not just in a hole in the asphalt, because as one person put it: “a tree is a community”)
- Cars with exhaust pipes. Because I have known for some 25 years now about global warming. It’s time to stop producing fucking internal combustion engines already and build more electric-powered cars.
- Grass. I find the patch of mono-specific grass to be unnatural and therefore depressing. I think back gardens need to look more like meadows. That would attract bees and other insects like dragonflies.
- Lately, mowers. Why do we even mow grass? Really, what for? If we don’t like long grass, why did we put it there to start with? Depressing.
Today, that’s all I’d like to talk about. But in future I will return to the subject of the five whys, but next time it will be applied to GMOs.
Why do we try to minimise human physical work by any means possible?
I‘ve noticed that Western society totally idolises an athletic body shape but resents the physical exertion required to attain it.
As far as I’m concerned, every time you switch on any form of electrical equipment, you’re basically signing an invisible contract that reads:
“I accept that as a consequence of using this device, I risk becoming physically and/or mentally unhealthy.”
We choose to avoid using our muscles at each and every opportunity and then suddenly wonder why we’re obese. We drive to work, drive home and then drive to the gymnasium (if at all).
So many have become too lazy to cook or make anything for ourselves – we invent power tools & kitchen utensils to do it all for us. Take this scenario for instance:
Rather than whip a cake using a wooden spoon the old-fashioned way, we’d now sooner collectively sit in front of a computers all day long, earn enough money for a mechanical cake mixer which can do it for us (basically employing a whole host of product design engineers, entrepreneurs, the sales & marketing department, and everyone else who works in the wholesale and retail chain).
But in so doing, have we really saved any time? And is it really any easier? It certainly doesn’t sound any more efficient. That’s because it’s not!
Even so, we’re now sending a global message that we’d rather do things this way and “bugger the consequences”. We don’t even question why we don’t do it the old way anymore.
We basically do it because everyone else does. Is it the fault of employers who continually expect a higher standard of work? Or does the blame lie with the consumers themselves, who insatiably demand “the latest and greatest”.
We become irritated just thinking about the repercussions. What repercussions? We blindly swallow some kind of pill to mask the long-term consequences of doing things which are unnatural… be it for cholesterol, obesity, stress, or some other kind of “disease”.
Perhaps it is our own mode of thinking which is the true disease?
Despite all this, some of us would still rather be ‘fat’ & ‘schizophrenic’ than utilise our muscles. Is laziness a human condition, or what? These days, I don’t think of laziness as laziness, but rather, the ultimate form of sustainability. Perhaps laziness is good or us humans in the long term? Perhaps it is a long-term srvival strategy?
There is currently no international standardisation for comparing the mental health of different countries. Granted, this is a difficult thing to measure. But I’m willing to bet that there is a direct correlation between the incidence of mental health problems in a society and the amount of energy it consumes per capita.
As we rely on artificial machines to a greater extent, we also now tend to isolate ourselves from our natural environment. It’s as if the very purpose of technology is to extract our dependence on -our very existence in- nature itself. We are fast becoming co-dependent with modern technology. Take away our machines and I expect that chaos would quickly ensue. At the same time, modern man is writhe with mental crises; as a species, it seems as if modern [westernised] man is failing to adapt to an environment which we ourselves have created.
If ever I had a conspiracy theory, this would be it: that we are training the next generation to live without the presence of the natural world. We encourage this behaviour, either consciously or subconsciously, because we expect that the natural world as we know it won’t last very much longer. I find this thought horrendously depressing.
People today entertain themselves indoors with computer programs and plasma screens. It’s not real entertainment, it’s virtual entertainment. We even eat packaged, artificial food (okay although a part of it might actually be real, it certainly looks 100% synthesised).
We’ve augmented our communications with technology so much, that we are fast losing the ability to communicate naturally. We’re becoming completely dysfunctional. I don’t even need to go into it. Pretty soon, we won’t even be able to survive without anything artificial. Imagine, a species so ‘advanced’, that it can’t survive without its own creations. I find that incredibly ironic. Well, I suppose that’s why I call this blog Vida Enigmatica (Strange Life).
Ain’t life ironic – we can’t survive without technology now?
Sharing this footage again, willemijn heideman, this time as a direct video link, with almost 10,000 connections. Because more people watch it that way. Nice to see it has 46 million views already. That’s a postive I suppose… Can we get this to 5 billion maybe?
Doesn’t it suck that a fuckin’ Justin Bieber video has 50 times as many views as this? I think that is just fucken sad. What a sad, sorry fucken planet we live on. When a fucking little tosser like that get’s more attention than this does. Well it’s not the planet that’s fucked, it’s half the people living on it. That’s what it is.
But who the fuck downvoted it? That’s what I want to know. Who the fuck downvoted it? Do people really think the problem will ‘disappear’ by simply pressing the downvote button?
Do you want to know what I think? I think people should be forced to watch this video … every single time they start their car.
See, this is one reason why I get so pissed off with Porsche, always advertising their Cayenne on LinkedIn. They should be leading the way with their technology… but no… still selling a 4.8 litre engine. Marvellous. I would like the whole world to read this next sentence: the CEO of Porsche, Oliver Blume, ought to be fuckin’ shot I reckon.
And all the 2,406 people who downvoted this particular video, well you should probably do the world a favour and all just go and neck yourselves right now. Ahhh yes. I get these things off my chest and I feel SO much better now. It’s slmost like visiting a psychologist. Except this is way cheaper!
Knowing what I know about materials, their effect on ecology and people’s obsession with consumerism, I give humanity a score of about, oooh, 2.9. (and that’s me trying *very* hard to be generous and optimistic)
And you can subtract 0.1 from that number for every decade after that.
The trouble I see is that people are becoming more and more disconnected from what they buy. They don’t see the impact that it is having on other parts of the world. They don’t see any direct or local impacts, so some people even think “everything is rosy”.
On top of that, product life cycles are getting shorter and shorter and shorter, which is bad. We should be reward companies that sell timeless designs. Because there is less of an environmental footprint if you manufacture the same thing without any changes. Every time a part changes shape, moulds also have to change, that is not good for the environment. And the manufacturing phase of synthetic products contributes more to pollution than their end-of-life disposal.
90% of people refuse to even talk about it, like the problems will all magically “go away”. Cat videos get more likes on social media than most current environmental issues. And I find that to be quite saddening.
I don’t even think climate change or overpopulation is the biggest threat. It’s probably land clearing. We’re not even giving nature the chance to recover! If urbanisation continues, there just won’t be anywhere for other species to go! And it has been said that if insects disappear, we will soon follow. I think a greater threat to humanity is a mass extinction.
People should try to realise that if you put a great big hermetically-sealed dome right over the top of Manhatten, for example, it probably wouldn’t even work, because central park does not produce enough oxygen, and there is not enough space to grow food and get other material resources…
Probably the worst thing of all is the collusion between government, politics and business. The wrong people are being the most rewarded.
It’s not even 2100 that people should even worry about. It’s the centuries that follow that. With the current rate of deforestation, it’s not going to be a very fun world to live in…
Do keep in mind, I give [some] other species a much higher score than us, many an 8, 9 or even 9.9999 for some. But unfortunately, many many others (mammals and amphibians) will be, like, 0.1, 0.2 or 0.3. That’s really how bad it is. There are species out there with only a dozen specimens in existence.
One of the things I’d like to do more of is product reviews with an eco focus.
I‘d also like to make this more of a video blog. Why? Because I don’t always have much time to write good articles and it is a relatively ‘quick’ way of generating content.
I say ‘quick’ because even a five minute video like this one takes about two or more hours to upload.
With all the depressing news lately, I believe it is very important to give credit to people who are trying to protect our environment. Not enough people do.
So without further ado, here is eco review #2!
If you are a manufacturer, markerter, retailer or distributor and you’d like me to do an eco focused review, I’m happy to do that. You may not get five stars, but you will get some free exposure!
Also, if you have suggestions for other eco product reviews, just drop me a line.
I often read reviews about eco products and reviewers often blindly miss the point. Particularly when reviewing electronic devices.
Such is the case with my next review: the Marley XLBT headphones.
The trouble is, from what I see, people only tend to believe in parts of science — and only when it suits them.
So when does it suit them? Whenever they want to use an electronic device or some other piece of latest technology they can’t do without.
I don’t hear many people denying … oh I don’t know… modern electron valence bond theory. Or semiconductor doping. We never hear about those subjects in parliamentary debates. Or anything at all to do with thermodynamics/physics/electronics/materials for that matter. Do we?
Why not? Because it’s this kind of knowledge that makes transistors and other electronic devices possible and allows things like computers and mobile phones to be built.
I don’t think people realise how serious this climate change thing is. Because scientists don’t like losing control of things. We don’t like it.
There ain’t no way of stoppin’ Jupiter’s great red spot. There ain’t no fixin’ the atmosphere of Venus either. And Mars is a fuckin’ frozen wasteland which right now is even more inhospitable than somewhere like the summit of mount Everest. Yet I don’t see people building houses way up there. Or on K2.
This planet Earth right here is all we’ve got. And there ain’t no guarantees.
Don’t make it hard for scientists in future.
I see politicians and leaders pleading with scientists in the future. Pleading for a way to get the Earth’s climate back on track.
And do you know what will happen? Some scientists will tell them –you– to just fuck off already. Or something like that.
“Why didn’t you listen to us when were telling you to change decades ago?” — Scientists of the future.
Still not as good as a fly though is it?
Comparing this to your basic, everyday, run-of-the-mill “garden variety” house fly, here are my questions:
Can the actual printed flying thingo generate more copies of itself? No.
Can it fly without an external power source? No.
Is the laser biodegradeable? No.
Can it navigate obstacles? No.
Does it include sensors? No.
So in other words:
* It doesn’t actually assemble itself, because it requires an external laser.
* It’s not self-regenerative, meaning it can’t produce copies of itself
* It’s not truly ‘sustainable’.
In other words, I think insects are still vastly superior in more ways than one.
If you’d like to read all about the structure formation of natural opal, this is one of the most complete models of opal formation available anywhere.
At the time I remember my supervisor said to me that it was one of the most well-presented theses that he had ever seen. Not necessarily the results, but the quality of the illustrations and I guess you could say the “design layout”. I guess I always want to be proud of my own work and do things to the best of my ability:
This is my PhD thesis, from 12 years ago.
Today I was able to open up my original word document file that was almost 12 years old. To my surprise, it kept the original formatting and page breaks. And why shouldn’t it? Although I am not so keen on the changes that have been implemented to Microsoft Word between since then.
Okay so truth be told, the original word document came in at 281 pages and the printed copy came in at 282. So something was not right. It turns out that one graph had to be pushed down by one line and the original date was also restored. I was so paraoid that I would forget to change the date, the field updated itself automatically.
The reason I am doing this and sharing it again here is that my thesis was finally digitised by the UTS library this week, but the quality ain’t all that great, because it was rescanned from one of the original copies.
So I’m deciding to generate a brand new, clean pdf myself (I never got around to doing that, because I was compeltely over it at the time). Hopefully the google robots will scour my site, find this pdf and index it so anyone can access it.
I know there is a problem with ‘pests’ in agriculture. I know.
But from the point of view of the fungus, the wheat is the pest. Right? That is how nature/biodiversity works. If one species reaches plague proportions, like a vast field of wheat with nothing else growing in it, another comes in to take advantage of it.
That is the reason why we don’t see quintillions of wall-to-wall cockroaches, rats, or anything else taking over whole cities, countries, continents and eventually the entire planet with nothing else in sight. Because as soon as that happens, natural predators have a field day with them until the balance is restored.
That is the fundamental problem with modern agriculture isn’t it? The monocrop. So I don’t see how spraying ever-increasing quanities of poison onto the one species of plant you are trying to grow is going to change this fact. Even if you genetically engineer new species of wheat, the same principle applies. It’s like asking nature to change. It won’t ever happen because that’s the ‘nature’ of nature.
I think you need a different approach, to grow different species together.
Maybe let the birds and frogs take care of the insects?
Same goes for humans, if there are too many humans, a disease will eventually come along and wipe half of us out too.
I’m starting to get a bit pissed with people on this whole climate change issue.
Really I am. People are still disagreeing and it isn’t because of the underlying science being wrong or anything to do with that. It’s because their lifestyle is in jeopardy. Or their job. Or their world view.
I can tell you that scientists could not give a toss either way. The thing that matters most for any true scientist is data, getting as accurate data as possible, analysing the data, discussing the data, and perhaps drawing some conclusions based on the data.
A good scientist keeps an open mind. They accept the results. Most research scientists I know are voracious readers. They seek the truth.
So here’s a story. Before I started my doctorate, I hadn’t even read any science papers. I had a materials science degree and I had not really been exposed to this whole new level of academic research. And when I started my PhD, in 1999, science papers were simply not talked about in the general public. So it was all quite new to me.
I also think that during any undergraduate degree, there are plenty enough university textbook to have to read. So I think most undergraduate scientists try to avoid the library as much as possible.
A large university can have 10,000 very nerdy students enrolled in it. But you never see even 1000 people in a library. Right? So the only reason to go to a library when you’re an undergrad, is when you have to do an assignment. Everyone else either works their, is doing a masters, a Ph.D, or they’re a lecturer or professor. I kid you not.
So when I started my doctorate, 4 years after I started my first degree, I literally started to get overwhelmed at the amount of scientific literature out there.
Much of this science research is ‘hidden’. I don’t mean on purpose. I mean, it’s not easily accessible, because much of it is not accessible through the web. Mainly because science was around well before the internet.
Anyway, the point is that you can’t always google everything. There’s a lot of stuff out there that hasn’t even been indexed by google!
So. How to get access to these journals then? Well, if the journal doesn’t have a webpage, they’re mainly accessible through university library databases. And there are many databases, like these.
Most science research is freely available. Meaning, you should never have to pay for articles. Subscriptions to journals only really cost money because they need to be edited and printed. Also, libraries pay for many of these annual subscriptions (well, the most popular ones at least).
So for the measly sum of about $10 per year, the cost of an annual library membership, you too can have access to practically any journal article you wish to read. So the cost of these subscriptions is subsidised by the university. How does a library get money then? Membership fees, university fees, tuition fees, and a mediocre amount of government funding. I suppose.
So the point is that you can fairly easily get access to pdfs of science papers through a library, and you might not have to pay anything.
There is a lot of collaboration between scientists. So you can always simply email one of the authors and they will gladly send it to you for free. Scientists will gladly share pdf articles with anyone and no that is not at all illegal, it’s encouraged.
Note that if you have never been into a library, don’t be afraid. Most librarians are glad to help. If you find a grumpy one, they’re probably just having a bad day, so find someone else and ask them instead. There’s honestly nothing worse than a grumpy librarian.
More and more journals are becoming “open access”, meaning anyone can freely access them.
So here’s a link to the open-access journal “American Journal of Climate Change”, for example:
Literally *hundreds* of papers freely available if you click on the ‘pdf’ or ‘html’ links, and this is just ONE journal of MANY that are all dedicated to the Earth’s climate.
Or you can simply join any science university library, walk in there and peruse the shelves and be overwhelmed the old-fashioned way…
By all means people can disagree with the findings, but if you’re going to do that and have any chance of winning an argument against a scientist, you should first at least educate yourself, otherwise you’re simply what I call ‘ignorant’.
Something happened last week while I was walking my dog.
SSHE decided that the best place to do a poop was right in the middle of a path in the Royal National Park. Right in front of two people who happened to be coming the other way. They saw the whole thing. I carried on rather sheepishly as they passed right by me. They both stopped at the end of their walk and looked back at me. The fat man with lycra/spandex pants and fluorescent sports top stretched his legs and was feeling rather good about himself, because he asked me to pick up my dog’s turd when I was more than 10 metres away. That’s brave.
When I go for a street walk –and I find myself going less and less just to avoid people– sure, I carry plastic bags. This time, I didn’t have any. So wanting to avoid a confrontation (like I always do), and feeling extremely embarrassed, I just replied calmly and softly “sorry I don’t have any plastic bags”, turned around and carried on. And then I heard them both muttering something about me being in a National Park with a dog and how it was ‘prohibited’. Well I have been thinking about this for a week or so. And my internet reply –which is rather different from my real-world reply– goes something like this:
No I don’t litter and I never have done. Normally I am a really ‘good’ person and I carry plastic bags with me when I walk my dog on the street. But lately, I’ve been reading this book, which embraces a “cradle to cradle mentality”.
Nowadays, whenever I go for a walk along a nature strip, I just cover the poop over with the adjacent sandy soil. It decomposes naturally and enriches the Earth. There is no ‘waste’.
One plastic bag is spared for use on something else. And there is one less plastic bag with a turd inside it, rotting away in the Lucas Heights dumping ground that they call a “waste management centre”.
You know, Aborigines and their dingoes have been living in this same National Park for 40,000 years. And they would still be here in another 40,000 years if white folk hadn’t have come along and shot them all. They didn’t pick up their dogs’ shit and put it into a plastic bag for it to end in landfill, did they? So I think we can learn an all-important lesson in sustainability from them.
Come to think of it, what do you think would happen if you asked all creatures big and small within the bounds of the National Park to dispose of waste as you suggest, by putting it in a plastic bag? There would not BE a National Park. It would turn into a dump.
Don’t you dare judge me about being a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ person. And wipe those smug grins off your faces.
Do I mind picking my dog’s poop up? If it’s going to end up in a rubbish tip, yes, actually, I do mind.
I do not value your values. I do not culture your culture. I didn’t vote for your government and I don’t believe in what they stand for. I don’t remember signing any documents upon my birth to obey all the rules in your society. And neither does my dog.
What’s that you say? You don’t like treading in crap? It bothers you? So you don’t care about the environment after all, you just care about smearing dog shit on your vehicle’s carpet. Right, I see how it works now.
Well by the same token, I don’t like breathing in the toxic fumes coming from your vehicle’s exhaust pipe. Kindly drive around the block instead of driving past my place of residence. I’m sure that none of the animals in the National Park –with the exception of the black crows who now feed on road kill– like vehicles very much. So speaking on their behalf, kindly stop driving around and fucking up the atmosphere we all breathe.
Citizens of Australia, if it wasn’t for loads and loads of animals essentially crapping everywhere, nature wouldn’t exist as we know it. Crap is what keeps it all going. And let’s talk about the boundaries of a National Park shall we?
I went back two days later and the big pile of shit that my dog left had almost completely disappeared. The rain had already begun to wash it away. So I’m going to carry on walking my dog there until I get a fine for it. And when approached, I’m going to claim that I’m part Aboriginal and that my dog is part Dingo. And if they have a problem with that I might just say that I’m starting my own religion called “Vida Enigmatica”.
Scientists are telling you that fossil fuels are a bad investment.
So we’re all starting to wonder: what the hell is wrong with you people?
Are you deaf? Or are you just corrupt?
I don’t know how you people sleep at night. Really I don’t.
It just makes me lose hope for humanity when I read all about alll the coal & oil projects that are planned for the future. It’s just fucking *totally depressing* for any scientist.
So much so, I wouldn’t even WANT to have children today. Sure we all innately want children (deep down). But quite frankly, why bother? Why even bother having children if we are going to be making their lives more difficult?
I don’t think you people will ever understand, unless you actually spend 4 or more years doing a science degree. You can’t know all that we know. It would take 4 years just to be able to explain it to you! On top of the many years we spend researching information after that.
Now apart from all the clear evidence, what kind of IDIOTS truly believe that the consequences of their collective, cumulative actions cannot not influence this world? I think the people that believe that deserve to become extinct. Really I do.
I for one am FED UP already.
Just completely fed up.
And I am speaking out.
Dr. Leslie Dean Brown
How did I miss this one?
I‘m sure she’s a nice person and everything, it’s just that, well, being so rich that you’re pretending to eating diamond-encrusted jewellry, it might not go down too well in some places. Least of all, Mexico.
These are the people that are going to “drain the swamp”? Are they trying to cause a revolution? Why not be a bit more like Warren Buffett –you know– low key with their wealth?
All I’ll say is that
a) The French revolution was a real event. It actually happened. People revolted!
b) This is the age of information.
c) History repeats itself.
THE COMING SUPER-STRUGGLE
The need for new political institutions exactly parallels our need for new family, educational, and corporate institutions as well. It is deeply wired into our search for a new energy base, new technologies, and new industries. It reflects the upheaval in communications and the need to restructure relationships with the non-industrial world. It is, in short, the political reflection of accelerating changes in all these different spheres.
Without seeing these connections, it is impossible to make sense of the headlines around us. For today the single most important political conflict is no longer between rich and poor, between top-dog and underdog ethnic groups, or even between capitalist and communist. The decisive struggle today is between those who try to prop up and preserve industrial society and those who are ready to advance beyond it. This is the super-struggle for tomorrow.
Two apparently contrasting images of the future grip the popular imagination today. Most people—to the extent that they bother to think about the future at all—assume the world they know will last indefinitely. They find it difficult to imagine a truly dif- ferent way of life for themselves, let alone a totally new civilization. Of course they recognize that things are changing. But they assume today’s changes will somehow pass them by and that nothing will shake the familiar economic framework and political structure. They confidently expect the future to continue the present.
This straight-line thinking comes in various packages. At one level it appears as an unexamined assumption lying behind the decisions of businessmen, teachers, parents, and politicians. At a more sophisticated level it comes dressed up in statistics, computerized data, and forecasters’ jargon. Either way it adds up to a vision of a future world that is essentially “more of the same”—Second Wave industrialism writ even larger and spread over more of this planet.
Second Wave ideologues routinely lament the breakup of mass society. Rather than seeing this enriched diversity as an opportunity for human development, they attach it as “fragmentation” and “balkanization.” But to reconstitute democracy in Third Wave terms, we need to jettison the frightening but false assumption that more diversity automatically brings more tension and conflict in society.
Indeed, the exact reverse can be true: If 100 people all desperately want the same brass ring, they may be forced to fight for it. On the other hand, if each of the 100 has a different objective, it is far more rewarding for them to trade, cooperate, and form symbiotic relationships. Given appropriate social arrangements, diversity can make for a secure and stable civilization.
— Alvin Toffler, The 3rd Wave. 1980.
Without insects, it has been said that most of humanity would die within a few months. Without trees and phytoplankton and thousands of other species with chlorophyll, we would all die.
Knowing that, I just can’t understand why billionaires such as Bill Gates are so intent on alleviating poverty in the 3rd world above all else. They make that their priority. In my opinion, it makes more sense to me ot protect nature first, and then when we have that sorted, let’s see if this planet can comfortably support more than 7 billion people.
So I think that environment should definitely be funded first. And then people. I have always thought that. Why do I think that? It’s not because I am cruel. It’s not because I don’t like people. It’s because people do not live in isolated bubbles. People depend on nature.
I think most people don’t appreciate this, but there’s another angle to valuing biodiversity (besides being fundamental for our own survival).
And it’s this. We still don’t really know how embryos form and develop. Sure we can characterise each of the stages of blastulation. We can draw little pictures of each step along the way. But it’s a lot harder to know how and why embryonic folding occurs. So what are there are underlying reasons that each stage of development occurs when and where it does?
I mean, it’s not really a ‘miracle’. Scientists don’t accept ‘miracles’ as answers. There are chemical and physical reasons why cells spontaneously split into two halves. A cell doesn’t just split into two because it feels like it. And there are chemical and physical reasons why this occurs. And from what little I have read on the subject in the book “How the leopard changed it’s spots”, it’s not due to the DNA molecules alone. In actual fact, the first splitting of a cell is caused by a concentration gradient that is set up inside the cell’s plasma. And according to this book, it’s due to flluctuations in calcium concentrations within that first cell.
Okay. Now we are getting somewhere. You might then ask, “Well what causes those fluctations then?“. Most likely, I would say, gravity. Because gravity is a force that acts in one direction relatively to a cell. So there are underlying reasons as to how embryos proceed to develop and they are not always to do with DNA alone.
And those are the real answers that science seeks. It’s not good enough to ask “which genes cause which traits?”. A real scientist wants to know how genes work. How do the chemical variations in a strand of encoded DNA produce the morphological changes? Now, I’m only talking very basically about this subject. It’s an extremely superficial discussion. And so if you’re a developmental biologist or a genetic engineer and you’re reading this, you’re probably laughing at me.
Where am I going with this? Well, until we know *exactly* what causes a rhinos eye to form where it does, or what causes a tiger’s stripes, or the forces that shape an elephant’s tusk, well, I think we owe it to nature to protect all of these things. Because they are a vault of information that can unlock life’s secrets. If we knew the answer to that, then we’d have at least earned the title of cleverest species.
Imagine if we could ‘program’ certain trees genetically to display a road signs such as a speed limits with differently coloured bark. Imagine if you could reprogram the tree to automatically change its bark pattern and display a different speed zone at differnt times of the day? That is all possible.
And I don’t simply mean “what genes are found in a rhino or a monkey”. I mean, what is it about those genes that controls protein folding? If we could create our own strand of DNA, could we predict what the resulting organism looks like?
From what little I have read on the subject, it’s not just DNA. The patterns and shapes seen in nature are caused by physical and chemical forces. Because one day it might be possible to make whatever shape we want at the mere press of a button. Imagine if we could simply grow an organic skyscraper. Right now I don’t think we are ready for that.
Just today, I learned that biology may even be taking advantage of quantum effects.
Even then, all these species are beneficial to us in terms of mental health. We also owe it to this world not to simply destroy everything in our path.
TRUMP, when will you understand that I am not paying for that fucken wall. Be clear with US tax payers. They will pay for it.
— Vicente Fox Quesada (@VicenteFoxQue) January 6, 2017
— Vicente Fox Quesada (@VicenteFoxQue) January 25, 2017
Speaking of allegiance, Trump? Speaking of greatness? Speaking of success? America was already great and succesful, then you happened!
— Vicente Fox Quesada (@VicenteFoxQue) January 20, 2017
Do not be afraid of Trump, he’s a bully and a bluff, bullies end when they’re called out. America, stand out before it’s too late!!
— Vicente Fox Quesada (@VicenteFoxQue) January 11, 2017
Some people are saying this document is:
“Shortest possible explanation of the climate change situation. Not political, but scientific”
I’ve decided to host this document. So that other people can’t change what it contains. It could have been written by anyone, for anyone. But it wasn’t written by just anyone, for anyone. Have a read of it if you want. But don’t pay too much attention to what it says.
Firstly, look at who it was written for. It was written for the ‘GWPF‘. Which is an acronym for the “Global Warming Policy Foundation“. That might sound innocent. But it is just a name. And who registered that website? Someone called Benny Peiser registered it.
And neither are any other authors for that matter? How do I know?
Well, just look at the pdf document properties. And you will see this as the original title: “Microsoft Word – climate models for GWPF.docx”
And yet the filename, upon pdf export, was later changed to simply “climate-models.pdf“. Wow. Are people really that dumb? That they’d forget to delete the “for GWPF” part?
And here are some quotes from wikipedia about Benny Peiser:
“As an outspoken climate change sceptic, Peiser became director of the newly established UK lobbying group Global Warming Policy Foundation in 2009. He serves as co-editor of the journal, Energy & Environment and is a regular contributor to Canada’s National Post.”
“The GWPF, headquartered in a room rented from the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, was created in part in response to the 2009 Climatic Research Unit email controversy, a series of emails from the University of East Anglia (UEA).”
And here is the info on the board of GWPF trustees:
Go on, have a look at that link. And have a look at the front page while you’re at it.
Do you notice something? They all have titles like ‘lord’, ‘sir’ and ‘baroness’. In other words, entitled people who do not wish to change their lifestyle. Which is fine. But you cannot tell me that an article that was written specifically for them is unbiased.
Here is what the climate change debate is really all about:
a) Whether you think humans are impacting our environment (most certainly we do) and
b) Whether we as individuals are prepared to accept and take some responsibility for our actions and change our lifestyles accordingly. (unfortunately, many people are not at all prepared to give anything up for anybody)
Now I don’t have anything against ‘lords’, ‘sirs’ and ‘baronesses’. Except somehow I doubt they are willing to change their current lifestyles. Because I am willing to bet that they are rather ‘cushy’. And hence, they sit squarely on the denialist side of the fence.
Any “climate” org that talks so much about “the billion dollar cost of the climate change act”, like here:
Is not a real org. They are a business funding the org.
Scientists never mention money in their publications about climate change. Or anything else for that matter. Money does change whether the planet is heating or not. It is completely irrelevant to the facts.
So, no. No I don’t want to read that article. Because the conclusions are already foredrawn. ;-)
It’s good to see Madonna can still provoke a reaction from people after all these years.
Personally, I think many of you cannot even understand plain and simple English. If you interpret that as some kind of idle threat.
It’s not a threat at all. It’s called “a thought crime”…
And yes people can talk in public about their thought crimes (although they probably shouldn’t). They should probably only talk about their thought crimes with their psychologist/psychiatrist.
Let me analyse this for you. The following sentences all have VERY different meanings:
1. “I’ve thought a lot about blowing up the White House” (no I haven’t)
2. “I’d like to blow up the White House” (no I wouldn’t)
3. “I want to blow up the White House” (no I don’t)
4. “I’m going to blow up the White House” (no, I’m certainly not)
The first two stages are not violent at all. And they are not even threats of violence. They are just simple, honest feelings.
Get it now?
People are not even arrested until it is proven that they are at level 5, 6, 7, 8, actually planning the act, or about to do the act, in which case they would be saying really heavy things that make your palms sweat, like this:
5. “Tomorrow I’m going to buy XYZ bomb and then I am going to blow up the White House.” (no, I’m not really)
6. “I’m buying XYZ explosives right now and then I’m going to blow up the White House.” (impossible, because I’m sitting right at my home computer)
7. “Yesterday I bought XYZ explosives and now I’m on my way to blow up the White House.” (that was a dirty big lie… you know, something that Trump seems to do a lot of)
8. “I’ve infiltrated the White house, I’ve placed the XYZ explosives and I am about to press the button.” (well no, that was obviously just a fictional sentence)
Madonna was at “level one”.
And I am writing this from Australia.
I’m not planning on ever going to washington, or anywhere in America for that matter. Certainly not while Trump is president anyway.
So please, calm the fuck down.
If you’re offended by what Madonna said, perhaps you should study communication, literature or psychology? So you can fully grasp and understand what people say and what they mean when they say it.
Of course, someone will probably take what I’ve written completely out of context now. Whatever. I’m actually hoping some conservatives find this page and land on it. Just so they can read the rest of what I have to say. Because that’s the whole point of this blog, to get more people to change.
Okay, so for the remainder of this blog post, I’m going to talk about Anger, materials and the environment. Because that’s what this is really all about (at least for me). Anger, materials and the environment.
Madonna is just showing you how fucken angry she is. And she, along with 100s of millions of people are angered right along side with her. And rightly so.
And she’s allowed to be angry. She has every fucking right to be angry. And, no, it’s not some sort of federal crime to say that either.
Ok. Why? Why are we –the left— so fucken angry?
I for one am “very fucking angry” because basically I think [Read more…]
And my inspiration these last few days has been none other than Bradley Manning. Reading through the chat logs, it’s clear that he has some issues – yes I’ll certainly admit to that. Perhaps it is because he was basically a social outcast that he himself felt betrayed. The irony is that a man so small [physically] could do so much ‘damage’. If anyone, Lamo is the real traitor / liar here.
To me he is one heck of a courageous and empathic individual. I believe that yes he knew the shit would hit the fan, but he had the balls to do it anyway. He put himself in the place of those innocent men and children in Iraq and that my friends is highly commendable. It shows perspective. And perspective is what the US is in dire need of at the moment.
The terms ‘betrayal’ and ‘traitor’ should only be used if he attacked the US, which he did not. I mean, did he join the Taliban, take a gun and start shooting at US soldiers? Did he sell weapons to them? I think not! So “aiding the innocent” is more like it…
Oh and why the heck were my wikipedia edits about Bradley Manning’s troublesome early life promptly removed? That does influence his actions as “experience affects behaviour”. Every sociologist knows that. There’s clearly a major cover-up / conspiracy going on here. Why the heck is there no jury in this trial? Is it because they would be split? I think so. Seems to me that yes the US is involved in war crimes, yes they are breaching several of the Geneva Conventions. And no I won’t be visiting there again.
Well seeing this just makes me want to design, invent and sell lightweight ecological shields for these people… does money really make rich people that happy?
I think in today’s world, the only valid use of fossil fuels should be for military vehicles and equipment. Because solar-powered fighter jets, rockets and tanks wouldn’t work so well.
Oh wait, the military does actually use solar power sometimes … like when it goes “off grid”.
Anyway, if we used 99% less oil to begin with, stopped the West wouldn’t even need a military force even half the size as it is today.
“The EV Bubble: Why Tesla, NextEV, Lucid, and Faraday Future are doomed to fail”.
The article below is written in response to this ridiculous one.
I think you’re forgetting several factors:
1) Some people like to support the underdog.
2) If anything, the fossil fuel car industry ‘bubble’ will burst well before the EV market does. Why? Because everybody already knows that it’s a bad investment in our future. How long have scientists been lecturing economists about that? We’re right in the midst of an “eco age”.
3) The trouble with VW, porsche and lambhorghini getting in on the EV bandwagon is… they are too late to the party. Way too late. 2020 for the porsche mission e? Hopeless.
It’s obvious that they were never passionate about 100% EV. Otherwise, they would have already done something about it. They’ve had two decades already. Thanks to people like Jeremy Clarkson, customers have always been more concerned with ‘performance’. But you don’t combine an electric engine with a V10 and pretend to be ‘eco’. What’s the point? It’s a half-arsed approach. Even if it is faster, that ain’t even remotely ‘eco’.
Now that there is more “impending environmental disaster” news than ever before… redesigning the exhaust pipe so that it has a hexagonal cross section “oooh, ahhh” – well, it’s just not good enough. Is it? It’s pathetic is what it is. [Read more…]
Going to Mars is harder than getting to the top of Mt. Everest. And I don’t see anyone living way up there on the summit.
Dear Mr. Musk, I think a better way of doing it is to genetically engineer bacteria to produce an atmosphere first, over successive generations. Generations as in plural, i.e. more than one.
One simple reason we’re where we’re at today is because nature has provided us with abundant raw materials. It started with the use of solar powered materials (by that I mean twine and timber). There are no solar powered materials on Mars. No trees. No forests. The most efficient materials (in terms of energy required to produce them) are natural materials, because they convert sunlight directly into… materials. No heat required. All other synthetic materials require lots of energy to produce.
If I were hired to do a materials feasibility study, I would have to rule that it is “not yet feasible”. Even with the invention of “Martian concrete”. How are are you going to make hermetically sealed living quarters out of that slop? Are they going to be shovelling Martian concrete… wearing gas masks? Builders can’t even get that right here on Earth with abundant food, water and a 21% oxygen level. None of that over there. Is there?
My point is that nature is still subsidising all of humanity’s activities, even today. So we would be going backward centuries, millenia even. You can’t even light a fire on the planet Mars. What good is that? People today would be bored out of their minds.
The only way it would work, I think, was if there was a nuclear reactor involved. And I am certainly not advocating the use of nuclear fission in space (or anywhere else).
IMHO, trying to colonise Mars now is going to be 10x slower, 10x more expensive and 10x more boring than expected. Besides, if we were all living on the planet Mars now under domed little roofs, I’m sure we’d all want to live here –on the interesting planet– not there.
And the way production and manufacturing has worked up until now is this: several tens of thousands of years ago, wood and other natural, local materials were first used to to usher in the ceramic/pottery era … which was then used to usher in the bronze era … which was then used to usher in the iron era … which was used to usher in the modern information & nanotechnology era. We have always had to work our way up the material chain. And all the while, well, nature herself has been subsidising us all along. With the really important things like food and oxygen.
My point is, we didn’t just jump straight into making gigahertz computers, we had to work up to it. Slooowly.
So it would be a bit like taking our current technology back in time, to the ancient Egyptians. Now to the big question: How much technology would we need to take to them to advance the rest of that civilisation in one big, massive jump forwards?
So right along those lines, here’s a quick thought experiment: say you take a smartphone back in time to the ancient Egyptians. Does anyone truly think that that would be ‘enough’ to start making mass-produced batches of smartphones right next to the pyramids o Giza? Well in case it isn’t clear already, it’s not.
Because first of all, there are no microscopes to even see what is going on inside that phone to even reverse-engineer that technology. And in order to get the microscopes, one has to first invent glass. And to do that, one needs polishing machines. Which requires motors. Axles. Bearings. Magnets. Copper wire. Electrical insulation. Ok. Now that we have that, on to making the components. Capacitors require tantalum. Touch screens require indium. Tin. Oxygen.
What are resistors made of? Carbon. Nichrome wire. Plenty of that here on Earth… not so much on Mars. Okay, not to be the pessimistic one, what are circuit boards made of? Fibreglass. What is the matrix made of? Plastic. What are plastic buttons and the casing made of? Plastic. No oil wells on Mars yet. Shit. Where is the nearest fibreglass factory? Where is the nearest plastic factory? Yellow pages? Hmmm. This is going to be more difficult than we first thought, isn’t it?
Never mind, we will continue, however.
What about the semiconductors used in all those tiny transistors? Germanium. Germanium is hard enough to get our hands on here, let alone there (with no atmosphere). Do you see my point? And there are many other elements required too. Where is the nearest gadolinium mine? Earth, that’s where.
Where are the silicon mines and purifying factories located on Mars? Nowhere. Don’t we need vacuum rooms for that as well? Well, yes. Why? Because the ‘vacuum’ that is the Mars’ atmosphere… is simply not ‘vacuumy’ enough. We need an ultra-high vacuum to achieve high-grade 99.999% purity silicon. So we are going to take vacuum pumps with us now are we? They’re pretty heavy. And every scientist already knows— you can never ever get down to an ultra-high vacuum with only one type of vacuum pump. Better make that rocket booster a bit bigger for the takeoff. Still more rocket fuel than expected.
Ahh yes, there is this one new technique to manufacture 99.999% silicon from 84% ferrosilicon. Except that it requires a sol-gel lab. Glassware at the very least. Liquids. Centrifuges. Magnets. Neodymium. Oh well.
So what you space futurists are basically telling me is that you would have to bring all of these starting materials… from Earth first… simply in order to “get going”.
I can’t even yet buy a fucking Mars bar on the planet Mars. And we are already talking about colonising that motherfucker?
“For a better world?”
Which world exactly?
Timely reminder: there is a whole freakin’ industry required to produce computers and everything else from their raw materials. A whole level of industry. Everything from mining equipment to extraction facilities, to manufacturing centres and clean rooms. The only way a Mars colony could ever be truly self-sustaining, is to take several different types of factories –yes I said entire factories– with us.
And everyone already knows small factories are not as efficient as larger factories, right? So in case the purpose of this post isn’t clear yet, what is the fucking point of this new Mars mission?
And now to my second big question: if we already know that the efficiency of production there is going to be WORSE than what it is here. If getting there fuck’s up this planet further, why even go?
Why go? Because we can? Does that mean we should? This goes without saying, but just because we can do something does not mean that we should. Simply being able to do something does not make it ‘better’.
And is that what we have been planning to do all along? How much jet fuel would that require I wonder? Eh?
So I think we better not bite off more than we can chew. I think the space mission to Mars is nothing more than a space race, a bit like the sixties space race. That’s what I think of it.
Now, I am not saying that we are not ‘clever’. I am not saying that we are not ‘advanced’. I am not saying that it can’t ever be done. And I’m not saying that it won’t ever be done.
But what I am saying is that it is definitely going to be harder than we think. Not to mention less efficient. And ultimately worse for planet Earth.
We are not yet even fully self sustaining here on Earth, with water that falls freely from the sky, with oxygen that is freely available and with food that grows all by itself.
And people still want to start an entire manufacturing operation on another planet, with absolutely none of that already over there?
Ecologists have always said that one of the greatest threats to our natural environment is habitat destruction.
One of the main gripes I have against ultra-high net worth individuals is that they cause the most environmental degradation of all groups on this planet and they don’t tend to offset this with direct contributions back towards the natural environment.
I think the following advertisement nicely sums up the ‘attitude’ that some rich people seem to have:
So the reasons that I question ‘rich’ people are:
- Because rich people are usually responsible for more environmental destruction than poor people, they have brought about more degradative environmental changes.
- Because rich people are primarily motivated by money, they are more likely can be bought out (corrupted) with even more money.
- When the rich do give, they tend to give back to humanitarian causes. And if they do give, is it really enough of an offset? Not always, but often. One exception I have found is Mohammad Bin Zayeed; the man started his own species conservation fund. Another is the Betty and Gordon Moore Foundation.
Why is this a problem? Well, because the only physical thing (that I know of) that stops our Earth from becoming uninhabitable is all the life forms found on Earth that stabilise everything for us. The biosphere.
Any biologist will tell you that, realistically, what is going to happen is that as nature continues to “bite back” with ever-greater intensity, productivity (and therefore profit) is just going to go down eventually… it has to. It must! Less biodiversity is ultimately going to lead to less profit. Do all investors and directors of the board actually realise that? Do they realise that infinite growth on a planet with finite resources is a physical impossibility?
So not only will it be harder to make profit feeling the increasing effects of climate change (like with the recent New York blizzard for example), but more damage will be likely to occur due to storms and other weather extremes. I’ll say it again. Less biodiversity is ultimately going to lead to less profit. Why do I say that? Why do I think it will lead to less profit? Read on..
So we know that there are other planets out there. We’re not living on the only planet. Planetary geologists like to compare the planet Earth with Mars and Venus. All of these three planets are very similar in size and yet they have distinctly different environments. These other planets show us what is possible. As of today, both of these other two planets are essentially uninhabitable. Yes we could put a person on Mars and they might survive for a while inside an artificially heated, pressurised and oxygenated atmosphere, but would they be self sufficient? The answer is no definitely not at first.
As is, nothing grows there on Mars. Nothing. Not even the most basic life form. So that means no food. Worse, there is no water. And worse still is that there is no oxygen.
What about Venus then? Well again, even if we could get there, even if we could live there, most businesses would be more viable back here on planet Earth than on the planet Venus. Wouldn’t they? Maybe the exception would be companies that need to utlise lots of carbon dioxide and sulfuric acid.
Let’s take sulfuric acid. Let’s go with that example. Sure its useful to us here on Earth for all sorts of industrial purposes. So say we started to mine sulfuric acid on the planet venus. Even then we’d first need to get robots over there, wouldn’t we? And then we’d need to get the sulfuric acid back here on Earth.
But what are the transportations costs? How much fuel is burned? And doesn’t burning all that rocket fuel fuck up the Earth’s atmosphere even further? Well yes it does. What about if the Venus mining corporation had to pay carbon credits on all the tonnes of rocket fuel? And once there, how would the rocket get back to Earth? It would have to take enough fuel and liquid oxygen for the entire return journey. Because there is no oxygen on Venus. So now you tell me. Would it be a profitable enterprise?
Think about this (and keep in mind that I am one of the few scientists who have also set up my own business, so I do know a thing or two about profitability). Well in my professional scientific and business opinion, if you wanted to set up a business on the planet Mars, it would be more economically viable to locate your business at the South pole instead.
Why do I even bring this up here? What’s this got to do with rich people? What’s this got to do with money? Well, I don’t know of any businesses that are viable on either the planet Mars or Venus. Do you? Not even the most basic lemonade stand would work on the planet Mars or Venus. Would it? And rich people tend to forget this fact.
The newest space mission is estimated to cost $1.5 trillion dollars. That is a lot of investment money for anyone. So where is the ‘ROI’ going to come from that lot? Here’s what I wrote in another post of mine:
To me, it’s the most expensive & inefficient way to create the most boring food menu imagineable. Really. I mean, just think about how much those first few thousand lettuce leaves are going to cost! A billion dollars per lettuce leaf. That’s really great NASA. Thanks.
You see, if we had to pay for our oxygen supply, our water supply and our food supply down here on Earth like we would have to on Mars, then I’m sure that most businesses on Earth would become bankrupt within a matter of weeks. So economists (and rich people) are forgetting to take nature’s services into account. And when they do, I think they’ll realise that a forest is a very valuable place indeed.
So just today, someone once again called us ‘liberals’ morons. Again.
First of all, I’d like to point out to Americans that in Australia, the liberal party is actually the conservative party. The labor party is the one that swings to the left. So get your facts straight.
I hope you are one of those republicans and you are reading this. I really do. I’ve tried to spam this blog post with conservative keywords in the hope that more of you will find it and actually use a greater proportion of the right hand side of your brain.
Anyway, I think you’ll find that the majority (not all, but most) creative people ARE liberal.
So that means artists, musicians, writers, actors, 3D animators, graphic designers, industrial designers, fashion designers, interior designers, architects, art directors, creative directors, marketing and advertising gurus, chefs, comedians, photographers, hairdressers, dancers … you know… all the people who make life interesting. Not to mention many scientists, psychologists and health care workers as well.
What that means is, who do you actually go to when you do any of the following: read a book; watch movies (other than old westerns); listen to music (anthing but country music that is); buy nice clothes (including designer suits); buy furniture; go out to a restaurant; give birth to a child; watch a comedy; take a taxi; get a haircut; need a lawyer; need a psychologist; go out for a drink at a bar or pub; set foot in a nicely designed home; watch any kind of entertainment.
What music do you listen to when you feel like cheering up? Who do you go to when you want to sell more widgets? Who do you go to when you want advice on branding or corporate identity? How about you stop calling people “liberal morons” eh? Do you not know how to compose an entire sentence without insulting someone? Because it’s becoming tiresome. Really. If anyone has made the Divided States of America, it is you.
I hate to say this, but without liberal people, your society would look a lot like the USSR. You know: communist! Not that there’s anything wrong with that either. It’s just… a bit too depressing by all accounts. [Read more…]
“A guy looked at the Corvette the other day and said I wonder how many people could have been fed for the cost of that car. I replied I am not sure, it fed a lot of families in Kentucky who built it, it fed the people who make the tires, it fed the people who made the components, it fed the people in the copper mine who mined the copper for the wires, it fed people who make the trucks that haul the copper ore. That’s the difference between capitalism and welfare mentality. When you buy something,you put money in people’s pockets and give them dignity for their skills” — Anubhav Krishna
Yes that may well be true, but I say again, if everyone on the planet owned as many corvettes/helicopters/mansions at they wanted, for as many generations as they wanted, Earth itself would be really fúckéd (not the people, the planet).
If you understand all about the materials that go into your car, as you seem to, then you will also understand this. It all has to come from the Earth’s crust. So nature is what is getting fúckéd over here, not people. I say this as a former materials scientist. Perhaps a more relevant question should have been “what was the environmental impact of this car?”.
The real trouble today is that this capitalist/industrialist model is not at all sustainable in its current form. Just because it has ‘worked’ for a hundred or so years, doesn’t mean it will ‘work’ for another thousand (it won’t, it can’t). Apart from that, I find it SAD that people equate materials with success.
1 Do you people really think a meme is going to make a sod of difference to anything? Look. I hate to break it to you, but you won’t convince anyone of anything with a meme. Or will you? Perhaps the target demographic isn’t all that smart?
Like the one that compares Obama’s wife, who is getting off a plane dressed like however, with Trump’s wife, who is of course all dressed up very smartly indeed. Is that seriously how you want to pick a presidential candidate? Based on the ‘prettier’ first lady… in the moment? Two weeks with the paparazzi will sort her out…
Anyone can make a meme up like that in 2 minutes. But you don’t tend to see them, because, well, smart people think it’s a waste of time. Try to be more creative. LOL.
2 If there’s one thing that your election has reminded me of… it’s the bell curve. And by that, I mean that there is this whole other side that makes up 50% of it. Seriously. You can all figure that one out for (if you can!). I’m sorry if I come across as arrogant here, but seriously. I am tired of seeing this crap time and time again.
If you’ve noticed, the cluey people share real news. Not bullshit like this. And yes I call it bullshit, straight up, because, if your election was rigged, right –are you still with me?– then Hillary would have won. Wouldn’t she?
Here’s a tip: when you create yet another conspiracy theory, at least check that if it were true, that it would confirm what you are in fact trying to prove. Not the exact opposite. Who won? Trump. So then it couldn’t have been rigged! Or have I missed something?
It’s the same as climate change deniers who all think that it’s some sort of massive weird-arse conspiracy theory by their own government, in order to drive down the economy. Or something. When in fact, most governments support the fossil fuel industry. Liberals/leftists are always fighting with government over that.
Perhaps I’ve had too much to drink. But then, perhaps not. Perhaps I’m just speaking the truth that others are too afraid to say on here? TTFN!
Hello, this is mother Earth speaking.
Look, I’m sorry but we really need to talk. This has gone on long enough. I thought I wouldn’t come to this. But you leave me no choice. You’re one of my three dearest children. I know I gave birth to you all and everything…
But you’ve been living under my roof for tens of thousands of years now… and you still haven’t moved out yet! Your father isn’t around anymore so I’m just going to have to start charging you board and lodgings. You’ve always using up all my oxygen and you never contribute to making any of it! So I’m just going to have to start charging you for it.
It costs money to produce pure oxygen you know! And you keep burning it all! Oxygen does grow on trees you know! But you insist on cutting them all down now, don’t you? What do you have to say for yourself? Well?! So what do you think is going to happen?
Look. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Don’t come crying to me when your room fills up with CO2!
What’s that? You don’t believe me? You still don’t believe in climate change? Just look at your sister’s room! Now tell me… I bet you’d conveniently forgotten about her. No, I didn’t think so.
Venus left her room in one hell of a state when she moved out. And now look at it! Look at it!! It’s a right runaway greenhouse mess now – I’ll never be able to clean it up! There’s acid rain in there and everything! I can’t even touch the floor of her room, it’s so hot. 462°C. What kind of a temperature is that? So let that be a lesson to you!
And what’s going on with your water? You keep pissing in the fresh water! Your father and I have told you time and time again not to do that. And all this time we thought you were toilet trained. But if that weren’t bad enough – you try to hide the evidence by flushing it all with even more fresh water! As if that helps anything!
You sneak about after dark poisoning all of that valuable organic waste with all sorts of horrible drugs. I don’t know where you even get a hold of those chemicals!
And if that weren’t bad enough, then you go out into other people’s backyards, dig everything up trying to look for something to fertilise the plants here with! Didn’t your aunt teach you better than that? Where are your manners? You know you should be going to the toilet directly in the garden. How many times do I have to tell you? Why do you insist on wasting all of our hard-earned nutrients like that? I just don’t understand it. You’ll send us all broke if you keep it up! Don’t make me force you to wear diapers again! Just imagine the look the asteroids would give you…
Do I really have to remind you of your little brother Mars? To this day nothing will grow in his room! To this day!! I thought you would’ve known better. That’s what happens when you don’t take responsibility for your own water usage. There’s barely a drop in the whole room now! Nothing will grow there anymore — and I do mean nothing.
I thought after your little NASA moon escapade over the weekend that you’d have a little more respect for your own mother, after you saw first hand how hard it is to live in outer space on your own. I thought you’d begin to appreciate exactly how hard it is to make it by yourselves. But no. Do you think it ever becomes ‘easy’, to live in outer space? I can assure you it’s not! Not even for me. And I’ve had 5 billion years of practice.
There are bills to pay. Laws. Regulations. Responsibility. Right now you just don’t have enough responsibility!
I told your father I didn’t like you hanging around that crowd of friends at school! You’ve picked up all these bad habits from them haven’t you? It’s not like you don’t have your own income either. Is it? You’ve got more than enough money coming in. But you waste it all on bullshit material things. Things you don’t need instead of the things that really matter. So how about you helping out your ol’ mum from time to time?
Have you ever noticed that we humans are becoming ever more stressed?
[/dropcap]W[/dropcap]e live in a world where the tiniest provocative remark can result in the most horrific retaliatory acts of violence imaginable. Look the wrong way, say or do the wrong thing and you could be the next target. Why is that so?
But many of us still don’t know why. “He must be crazy”, they’ll say. Why are people so stressed? Many people still can’t answer this.
Sometimes it is said that society itself is decaying, but no one knows why. I know that even when I studied science, I could never figure it out. I could never seem to connect the dots.
And then one day while I was travelling in Tonga, I came across this book with an intruiging title called “future shock”. I read it in about two or three days. It completely altered my world view.
They’re planning on sending monkeys into space in 2017…
Please, don’t send monkeys into space to try and ‘fix’ everything. If you do, you’re only abusing and exploiting monkeys for humanity’s benefit.
Where is the ‘reward’ for the monkeys? What’s in it for them? Have you asked them whether they know how many banana trees grow on the planet Mars or in Space? Because I’m sure if you could communicate that to them, they would jump on your face and start scratching at your eyeballs in order not to go.
See, this might have been okay in the 60s. But now we know better.
Fellow humans, the ‘answers’ (and by that I mean a technical solution to all the problems we face down here on Earth) won’t be found in exploring Mars. You’re not going to like this, but the answer to our survival is in making less, doing less. Not more. Less. Minimalism. That is the only way we can move forward.
We need to respect animals in order to survive as a species. We ourselves are animals!
So ban the whole darn mission I say. And my message to scientists is: ask yourselves why you are doing research. Are you doing research just to do research or to better humanity? If you’re trying to make us better humans, this is not the way. How does it make us better? How does it make our future better?
Dearest Bill Gates:
I have been with you since windows 3.1. Since dos 2.0 even. It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?
And I see you have done really well. Your operating systems are installed on the majority of computers around the world. You’ve been “the world’s richest man” since as long as I can remember. Forbes tells me that you’ve topped the list seventeen times out of the last thirty years. Wow, that really is some accomplishment! I suppose I owe you a belated congratulations:
William, may I call you William instead of Bill? Bill reminds me so much of, well, money. So William, we all know that you have made a lot of money out of all of these software and hardware upgrades. A lot. You have exploited the rise of technology at every step of the way. Well okay. Someone had to do it.
Let’s get down to business. Here’s the thing. If I lose the ability to choose what my system does and when –a system I paid for– then by installing windows 10, ultimately I’m ceding control of my computer (not to mention my wallet) to you. Aren’t I? And I don’t like the sound of that.
So. Bill, can you tell me now how much windows 11 is going to cost when windows 10 forces its users to upgrade? Ditto for windows 12, 13, 14 … Do you not have enough money already? Does Windows 10 even take any advantage of new hardware? Probably not.
See, I happen to think you’re ‘rich’ enough already. Here’s a word I don’t like to throw around much. But what the heck? I think you’re getting greedy.
What do I want? I’ll tell you what I want. I want you to try to live off a disposable income of $10,000 per year. Like the rest of us.
Or I could be generous. Let’s make it $100,000. Because, you know, I’m sure you don’t have to pay any rent or mortages. Right? So it’s basically just food, electricity and rates that you have to pay for…
If you lived off $100,000 per year, you could essentially give away the other 99.999988% of your net worth.
You and Melinda have been named “most philanthropic Americans“. But let’s take a look at the percentage you actually give:
Over their lifetime, the two have given out $30.2 billion, about 37 percent of their net worth. [source]
Ouch! That’s quite a difference isn’t it? 37% compared to 99.99988% ?
See, I don’t think you are all that charitable. No not as much as they say.
How do I know that? Well at the moment, I live off a measly $12,000 per year. And yet even so, I feel charitable/guilty enough living in a first world country to have give at least $200 to charity this year alone. That means if I had your amount of money and continued with my current lifestyle, I’d be donating at a rate of 99.999988% (note the extra 9 in there). And the year is not done yet.
So Bill, if it isn’t crystal/amorphous clear already, I feel that I have personally lost a lot of respect for you. If this is what being rich is about, you can stick your money. And you can stick windows 10 too!
So do you know what I’m going to do? Instead of purchasing windows 10 some time next year, I’m going to donate that money to an environmental charity instead. Like WWF. Or Greenpeace. Or The Wilderness Society. Or one of those special save the rhinos funds like the black mambas. Or even the Bob Brown foundation. Or even all of the above.
And I’d prefer to see a billion people donate their $100-200 to charities other than the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Aka Microsoft. You don’t have to be a mathematical genius to figure out that would mean $100-200 billion in charitable givings. Annually. Which again, is way more than you have given in your whole lifetime. So how about you let us decide what to do with our money, and stop forcing us to upgrade to windows 10?
CORRECT ANSWER: well, assuming he hasn’t been assassinated yet, January, 20th, 2017.
And now that I’ve got you here with my keyword spamming trickery, I’ll spend the rest of this post talking about carbon dioxide with respect to climate change — and how it’s the volume that counts.
I know half of you are interested to know “when donald drumpf is going to be president” (for the right reasons). And half of you are interested to know “when donald trump is going to be president” (for the wrong reasons)6.
Yes. That’s right. This blog partly makes up or all the climate change deniers. And it’s precisely YOU I’m targeting here.
So. I’ve noticed that people always talk of gas emissions in terms of mass, which severely understates the quantity…
Exactly how much space does 1 tonne of CO2 gas occupy? You only need to look at molar volumes of gases:
People talk of gas emissions in terms of mass, which understates the quantity… But exactly how much space does 1 tonne of CO2 gas occupy? You only need to look at molar volumes of gases:
1 tonne = 1 million grams.
44g of CO2 = 1 mole = 24.5L of gas (at 25ºC and standard atmospheric pressure)
Therefore, just 1 tonne of CO2 gas occupies 557 thousand litres. (= 22.7 kmoles or 557 m3)
Taking the figure above, annual global CO2 emission at 7910 million metric tons (7,910,000,000), multiply that by the volume occupied by one tonne (557,000), and we come up with 4.4 thousand trillion litres of CO2 gas produced every year.
We spew 4,400,000,000,000,000 litres of CO2 into the Earth’s atmosphere every single year.
We do not live in an infinite space, not in area, nor in volume. Yes, gravity sucks back all those CO2 molecules to planet earth. So I take the thickness of the atmosphere, from wikipedia:
I think we as people have forgotten the following important factoids:
50% of the atmosphere by mass is below 5.6 km altitude (18,000 ft).
75% of the atmosphere’s mass is within 11 km of the planetary surface.
90% of the atmosphere is below 16 km (52,000 ft).
99.99997% of the atmosphere is below 100 km (62 mi; 330,000 ft).
And the Earth’s total surface area from another source:
The total area of the Earth is approximately 510 million square kilometres.
My ultra quick calculation of volume of Earth’s atmosphere, up to 100km (yes let’s include all of it) = 51 trillion trillion cubic metres or 51,000 trillion trillion litres. That includes the atmosphere, the stratosphere, the troposphere, the mesosphere -yes, the entire fucking quota.
It appears some people claim that we can produce that much CO2 gas, 4.4 thousand trillion litres every single year, and it no way affects the limited volume of ‘our own’ atmosphere (51,000 trillion trillion litres)! That’s equivalent to an increase of 86 parts per billion CO2 gas every single year.
A few points:
- Of course, much of these emmissions are recycled into oxygen by trees and plants during photosynthesis. But while we continue to cut those down that won’t help us with our CO2 problem!!
- The upper atmosphere, the stratosphere, is extremely low pressure & doesn’t actually “hold” much gas.
- CO2 is 1.5 times denser than air.
- Using other estimates of the mass of the Earth’s atmosphere (5 quadrillion metric tonnes) used in the above calculation results in an increase in CO2 concentration of 1.6ppm per year!
- The world’s oceans can also dissolve some CO2, acting like a large reservoir. But here again, there is a limit to how much seawater can take.
Do I even need to elucidate my calculations further? People claim that our CO2 production has no affect on our precious environment, not even cumulatively! And as an ex-research scientist, that mode of thinking enrages me.
As far as I’m concerned, anyone who thinks that our way of life doesn’t affect the environment (climate included) is an idiot. Sorry, but some people still continue believe that we can spew as much CO2 into the air as we want and it will have no long-term effect on the Earth’s climate.
You only need to look at exactly how much CO2 is produced by man:
Since 1751 roughly 315 billion tons of carbon have been released to the atmosphere from the consumption of fossil fuels and cement production. Half of these emissions have occurred since the mid 1970s. The 2004 global fossil-fuel CO2 emission estimate, 7910 million metric tons of carbon, represents an all-time high and a 5.4% increase from 2003.
Global Warming comes to Chi Town! Sunday nite we dipped so low that they say it was colder here then it was o Mars. Yup, Global Warming is here!
Planet Earth is at least 4.5 billion years old (4,500,000,000 years before today). We have gone through an Ice age, flooding of our Planet and this was all before Mankind even entered the picture. The weather will change, with and or without Al Gore becoming a wealthy man by saying so.
Exactly but the myth is promulgated by convenient idiots
Climate change has unstable and record highs and lows. That doesn’t negate global warming. Think outside of the box to understand science; it’s not a simplistic black and white, hot and cold theory. It’s a series of ongoing events leading to dramatic shifts in temperatures. Quite frankly, those who point to a few cold days on the calendar every year are simply not understanding what is going on around them. Its myopia.
No sh*t??? The moronic phrase ” think outside the box” in this case is ignorant and condescending.
I’m starting to realise that some people don’t even realise which side of the bell curve they are on. Smart people know that there are other people smarter than them. Dumb people think they know it all.
How about everyone leave the climate modelling to the ones who actually study it? (that’s not me by the way). Eh?
Do yourselves a favour and actually read about it. Not just blogs. Science journals. Then you might be able to come up with a valid argument to support your claims.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Why do global warming deniers never ever deny the existence of photons, electrons or semiconductors? The same science behind technology? Why do you only start denying when you are asked to give something up? Like fossil fuels. That’s the real reason for all the denial. Because acceptance involves a change of lifestyle. And you’re not prepared to do that, so you merely bury your heads in the fucken sand about the whole thing. Great plan that. Great plan. Marvelous.
Everyone already knows that babies take 1-2 years to learn basic language communication skills. What people tend to forget is that adults actually have several advantages over infants when it comes to learning new languages…
“But babies learn by immersion; they soak up everything like a sponge!”
… I can just hear the echo now. Its the same thing I tell you!!! In less than 2 years I went from knowing almost nothing (10 or 20 words) to being able to go to communicate effectively with people, go to the cinema, watch it in Spanish and understand the plot. But although it appears I can speak fluently, there’s still a lot that I don’t fully understand. There are huge gaps in my knowledge, gaps which only a formal education would fix.
During a recent adult conversation we had in the car concerning traffic rules, I recently asked a my 4 year old Spanish sister-in-law (who was sitting in the back seat with me) if she understood what was being said. She shook her head – the answer was most definitely no, she didn’t understand anything. Clearly, she hadn’t yet learned the appropriate puzzle-piece words relevant to the conversation about local traffic laws to grasp the idea of what was being said.
The only barrier to learning a new language is the actual desire to learn. It was Pamela of www.Secret-Tenerife.com who told me that in a recent telephone conversation. Children don’t walk around moaning “I don’t understand”, they constantly ask questions, often driving us mad. “But why?!” Quite simply, because that’s the fastest way to learn. That, along with copycatting. It’s the ticket to a new language.
Babies on the other hand have to start with a clean slate. They’re too busy attempting to decipher all the overwhelming visual stimuli they’re constantly receiving to worry about communicating with any languages. It’s usually a full six to twelve months before they speak their first word.
I can also communicate complex business ideas much better than any 2 year old. I was talking a load of business stuff lately & I could tell that the same niece hadn’t been exposed to words like “hacienda” (tax department), “impuestos” (taxes) or “aseguros” (insurance). She was completely lost in that conversation -she didn’t even try to understand what was being said by asking. Yet most of the time that 4 year old understands more than me.
I even passed those notoriously difficult Spanish driving theory classes with less than 2 years language experience.Â So in my opinion, I’ve completely invalidated that whole “its too late for me” excuse & I reckon you’re never too old to learn, especially if you live here. It all boils down to whether you can make the enormous effort required. You have the following definite advantages over babies and small children:
- Once you learn the rules of pronunciation, You can already speak!
- You can already read and write words!
- You can already grasp concepts, you just need to learn the Spanish equivalent word. I.e. Does a child know what “jealousy” is when you say “ahhh, you’re jealous eh?”. No, they first have to get the context. You on the other hand only need to ask “how do I say the word ‘jealous?’ “Sure, children easily recognise the visual signs when someone is angry, but at first they may not fully understand the reasons adult show that behaviour. They have to learn as well as understand. You already know better.
- You can also borrow from my already-known cognate words.
- You can actually choose how, where and when you want to study & learn. Eg audio CDs & mp3s, books, TV cooking shows, speaking with others, songs, radio, cinema, etc
- You can even choose what languages you’d like to learn!
I previously wrote an article which contained a simple calculation to estimate the amount of CO2 emitted by 1 litre of petrol. And it was a fairly popular blog post. From there it was easy to estimate the amount of CO2 produced by driving on one full tank of petrol.
When one litre of petrol is burned, 2.28kg of CO2 are produced, equivalent to 1268 litres of of CO2 gas!! Every single 50 litre tank full of petrol will produce over 63,400 litres of CO2 gas (63.4 m3), or a volume of pure CO2 gas equivalent to an imaginary cube with sides 4 metres long.
Now I’m going to calculate how much CO2 is produced by the fleet of 500-600 million cars worldwide using just one full tank of petrol and compare that figure with the total volume of the Earth’s atmosphere.
600,000,000 x 63,400 = 38,000,000,000,000 litres.
38 trillion litres on just one tank of petrol.
What’s the average annual petrol consumption? Average distance driven per year? Easier to get the stats from elsewhere at this point, more reliable:
Cars – together with power stations- are the main producers of CO2. Today 500 million cars world-wide emit four billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere – around 20 per cent of the total quantity produced by mankind. And the number of cars on the road is growing rapidly – currently twice as fast as the world’s population. Forecasts assume that this number will reach 2 billion world-wide by the year 2030. This will mean that petrol consumption will grow to an estimated 1.3 billion tonnes by 2030. CO2 emissions from traffic would then increase to more than 7.5 billion tonnes. Source: greenpeace
I’m an ex-scientist. And scientists deal with numbers. It is our job to try and explain very large numbers to people.
I think we’re all very used to hearing the words ‘thousands’, ‘millions’, ‘billions’ and even ‘trillions’.
And we’re not used to measuring the weight of gases. We’re used to seeing their volume. Aren’t we?
So. If that happens, if CO2 emissions from traffic increase to 7.5 billion tonnes per annum, why, do you know how many litres that is?
I’ll tell you how many litres of CO2 that is. It’s 3.82 quadrillion, that’s how many litres of CO2 that is. Per year.
Now, I’m willing to bet that you don’t even know how big one quadrillion is, let alone 3.82 of them. It’s “fucken huge”, that’s how big it is. Just how much bigger is one quadrillion than one billion?
Let’s imagine there were 3.82 quadrillion people scattered throughout the universe… and that there are 7.5 billion people on each planet7, there would have to be 509 million planets in existence to total 3.82 quadrillion people.
That’s how much CO2 gas cars pump into one of our Earth’s atmospheres every single year.
3.82 quadrillion litres of CO2.
Suppose we could obtain two different types of oranges:
- Firstly, we can synthesise and assimilate the following chemical compounds:
limonene, myrcene, valencene, linalool, octanal, decanal, ethyl butyrate, α-ionone, citronellal, and α-sinensal, E-2-octenal, 1-octen-3-ol, Z-4-decenal, E, E-2,4-nonadienal, guaiacol, γ-octalactone, and m-cresol, O-glycosylated flavones, flavonols, phenolic acids, ethyl acetate, 6-C-β-glucosyldiosmin, 6,8-di-C-glucopyranosylapigenin, 6,8-di-C-β-glucosyldiosmin, 2-oxo-L-threo-hexono-1,4- lactone-2,3-enediol, beta carotene, 2-hydroxypropane-1,2,3-tricarboxylic acid and heteropolysaccharide.
This is my version of an artificial orange, a “chemical cocktail” by the way.
- Secondly, we can grow a tree, harvest the fruit, peel the skin and simply eat the orange.
Do you think that these are essentially the same thing? I think that’s a very good question to ask. Do both sources of food essentially provide the same nutrients?
Because I think that although we can synthesise many many complex molecules such as these, we can’t actually ‘manufacture’ a wholly artificial fruit that is identical in every way to a naturally grown one. Can we?
And even though it takes an enormous effort to characterise these natural chemical compounds and synthesise them, and nature does it for free with soil, sunlight, air and water, we still try. Without a plant seed, or a tissue culture sample, or a DNA strand, there is no way we’ll be able to do it either.
What’s my point? Well, without any prior knowledge on the subject of the human digestion process, I’ll make an assumption that the structure of food is needed to aid in both the chemical breakdown of the food and the timely extraction of its nutrients. I’ll bet that introducing the same mixture of concentrated liquid chemicals simultaneously into your gut won’t do your stomach lining any good. Time has shown us that there is always a price to play for taking shortcuts, especially with concentrated synthetic chemicals. Indeed, cancer is now one of the greatest of all threats to our biology – in fact it is now common for people to suffer bowel cancer due to the lack of fibre in their diet.
You might say that my two versions of an ‘orange’ are both essentially the same thing. Certainly while the same constituents may be present in the artificial chemical cocktail, the microstructure of theis “artificial fruit” is completely absent.
But aside from that, who actually wants to eat synthetic food? Do we not have time anymore to simply peel an orange? Or is there something else going on? Something deep, dark and insidious? It is my belief that without even realising it, we’re creating an artificial world for ourselves, with almost no control or direction. As technology invades more and more of our lives it erodes the natural; every part, everything from our food to our transport and even our entertainment are now designed by other people. We seek to study everything and replicate it, including life itself. Why?
What am I saying here? Well, I am just saying that all things considered, I think the natural food sources will always be the healthier than the synthetic alternatives.
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Knowing what I know, I’m sodded if I’m going to sit back and make it easy for Adani.
Get your new adanï re-branded merchandise from my online store! Hurry! Before they send me one of those nasty “cease and desist” letters.
Well, technically they can’t do anything unless they register the word “adanï” as a new trademark. That extra dot above the letter i makes all the difference you know. It’s a completely different word now. It looks different. It sounds different. It means a completely different thing.
Note that the original adani ‘logo’ is actually a ‘wordmark’, i.e. based on a typeface. The typeface is Rubrik medium by the way, designed by Miles Newlyn. And simply put, adani does not own the sole rights to use that typeface. Anyone can use it. Anyone can use it with -30% tracking to get a very similar character spacing too…
Oh well. I guess that’s what happens when you’re a billion-dollar company and you cheapen out on typeface design. I think Mr. Gautam Adani is just going to have to suck it up…
Spread the word and support the real Adanï and their massive new coal mine!
That’s right, Adani is trying to greenwash everyone on the planet by claiming that they care about the environment.
Except that they’re already planning on building one of the world’s largest coal mines within a few hundred kilometres of the Great Barrier Reef in early in 2017.
So maybe they’re not so nice after all?
Adani seems to be missing a tagline. Let’s help them out with some new branding!
My advice to anyone thinking of moving to a foreign land is to start thinking of yourself as an immigrant not just an expatriate, accept the local culture for what it is, try your HARDEST to learn the language and use it wherever possible. Don’t make the minimum effort – go for maximum effort! Think of it this way: Language is the very basis of communication, hence it is also the foundation of a new culture.
Talk with local people as often as possible, mix with them, mingle. Eventually you’ll create new friends & associates who you can talk to openly, then you may start to understand why their culture is the way it is. Always remember that no culture is superior to another… but we can ask the question “why are so they different?”
Contrary to popular belief, anyone can learn a new language, it just takes a lot of effort. Many English-only speaking people tend to think that the English language is superior to all others, and furthermore, that it is the responsibility of “foreigners” to learn English (even in non-English speaking countries!). But they also tend to under-appreciate genuine attempts to learn English. They take for granted the ability to speak, because they’re ignorant about the level of effort needed to learn a second language. I know, because I was definitely guilty of that when I could only speak one language. We expect to hear perfect English, but that is almost like asking the impossible. That mentality is just so wrong! It’s hypocritical, arrogant & conceited.
There are no foreign lands. It is the traveller only who is foreign. – Robert Louis Stevenson
To all immigrants and expatriates, I say the following: realise you’re not bringing your home nation with you. If you think your own culture or country is superior, ask yourself why you are moving away from it. After learning the local language, you should attempt to meld the best customs or attributes that you’ve learned from each separate culture. Try to understand the patterns of social behaviour from the perspective of a culture other than your own. Avoid falling victim to “immiscible culture” syndrome, where you fail to truly integrate & assimilate with local culture.
Another one wants to colonise Mars! Sorry, I can’t help myself:
Breakthroughs happen only when we stretch our physical limits
To make Planet Earth survivable, we envision what’s possible on Mars.
The Mars Farm Odyssey is an international consortium of like minds: companies, researchers, NGOs and government groups from the United States to China. We connect bleeding edge technologies and science in Controlled Environment Agriculture to feed a planet of 10 billion Earthlings at home and on Mars.
Whenever I see people talking about colonising Mars, I just have to speak up. And sorry for the language that is going to come, but I feel very passionate about this.
Dreamers! I think you’ll find that Earth, even in the “semi fucked” state that it’s in, is a far better home for people. Nicer. Easier. Cheaper. Better. Better ROI. Easier for people to adjust to.
Sorry to disappoint you, but there is not enough rocket fuel on this planet for 10 billion people… not only that, but the more people you get there, the more you are going to fuck things here. The fable “the dog and the bone comes to mind”.
And if it did work, if it was self-sufficient on Mars for a few hundred or thousand people, Marslings are only going to be telling Earth people about sustainability. They’d be telling *us* not to fuck our air, water and food supply. They’d be telling us to plant more trees and buy less stuff.
I think we should only go when we can do it sustainably.
Good luck with it, seriously. I wish you good luck. And note that I’m not saying it can’t ever be done. But just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.
It’s so pathetic.
The Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN) has lauched a website called “standingrockfactchecker”… which is of course completely biased because it’s funded by the energy sector.
If you want the facts about #DAPL, here they are (in case you missed something).
It’s best not to trust websites with dubious names like “ultimate truth”