Mental anguish

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?

[Read more…]

“Holding keys to a paradise” 11/11/11

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.

What I learned in 2016.

And today’s big update which is all over the news anyway.

What a stupid, stupid man. I know it’s not “politically correct” to say that. But quite frankly, I don’t care. Because it just so happens to be true.

Honestly, do you remember when you were in school (you did finish school didn’t you?) and your teachers told you about “the curve”. The bell curve.

That taco-bell shaped curve that plots intelligence as a function of the population. In the middle, you have the average person’s intelligence, see. That fat part of the curve, where most people lie. The people like you (I hope you’re at least that smart) and me. Because I’m really just average. I’m not naturally smart. I have to try just as hard as anybody else to score highly on any test. And I know there are loads of people way smarter than me.

Then, usually on the right hand side of that graph, you have a much lesser proportion of geniuses, whiz-kids and ultra-hard core nerds. Who score something like 95 to 99.98% on their tertiary entrance rank. Often the asian kids and, well, all the other “important people”.

Then on the other side you have the, ahh, people with “somewhat lesser intelligence level”. Okay, as the author of this website, I try not to beat around the bush. So let’s just say it like it is. Call a spade a spade. On the left hand side of that graph, are, the people with below 100 IQ. For want of a better term, are “the dumb people”. There. that’wasn’t so hard, was it? No.

What did I learn in 2016? Well I’m convinced that these are the very same people who voted Trump in. The dumb ones who simply don’t get how the world works. And by that I don’t mean “how money runs the world”. I literally mean “how the world works”. How atoms and molecules and other particles interact with eacother; how crystal structures form.

So I know I’m repeating myself here. But it’s an important message and it bears lots of repition.

Climate change is *not* some big hoax put out by the chinese government (or whatever). It’s a real concern by scientists (you know, the clever people), that our current way of life is just not sustainable.

I am actually suffer chronic depression because of this. Every month I see a psychologist.

I can tell you one thing though. I am personally not going to sit idly by for the next four years in silence. I’ve already made up my mind. I just can’t do it. I know too much.

As one of the few designers out there to actually have a background in science, I am going to make a stand. If the coal or oil industry wants yours truly to design them a new logo, it’s going to cost them… wait for it… 800 million dollars. That’s my buyout price. That’s the price I’m willing to settle for. For that price you get the logo and a style guide. That’s it.

For that price, yes I can design any oil company the loveliest of logotypes. But more importantly, I can reinvest 799 million dollars out of that amount of money into simply buying up . Because that’s what I think the ultra rich should be doing. Instead of wasting it on diamond-encrusted mobile phones and whatnot.

Why? Well, because, unlike most designers, I know why the true “cost to society” of oil isn’t reflected in it’s current market value — in it’s real price.

“robot pollination”

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. :)

In a world full of people only some want to fly

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!

 

Anthropogenic global warming – truth or fraud?

“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.

QED.

“But I don’t want to live on Mars”

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.

 

Is the world getting better?

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.

Why are scientists fanatical about climate change?

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.

Hey! My education is not fake!!

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?

A much closer look at confederate statues:

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.

Right?

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…]

Is the human race a plague?

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 environmental corruption?

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.

North Koreans and creativity

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.[26]: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.

That new pepsi ad with Kendall Jenner…

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… 

Why I have no faith

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.

Design disappointment.

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 1.

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.

 

 

 

The true value of soil

Food practically grows all by itself on planet Earth.
Illustration by Leslie Dean Brown. © 2015. All rights reserved.

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).

What scientists fear most.

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”1.

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’2

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.

My politcally incorrect branding plan.

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.

Tanzania: paramilitary to tackle poachers

“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.

How do I feel about trophy hunters?

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.

This is my PhD thesis, today it is exactly 12 years old.

Untitled-3

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:

Characterisation of Australian Opals — leslie dean brown

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).

“There is no such thing as global warming.”

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!

Putting trophy hunters in their place

This is a mile long rant in response to a trophy hunter on Quora. You’ve been warned.

Your ‘answer’ has been downvoted. What a bunch of self-righteous CRAP. Practically everything you say is complete rubbish. The most ridiculous arguments I have read all year.

  1. I just did an IUCN campaign on carnivorous plants, okay. many of which are endangered through poaching. So that invalidates that argument… just because you don’t see other campaigns as frequently, doesn’t mean that people don’t care about other strange and less-well known animals.
  2. No. Just no. First off, I don’t eat meat. Even so, there’s no way in hell that chickens, cows and sheep were ever in danger of going extinct. So that’s part of it. Lions used to roam by the 100,000. Furthermore, Cecil apparantly suffered for 40 hours. Average factory animals don’t suffer tha long at the time of slaughter.
  3. You can’t compare Lance Armstrong with Walter Palmer. My gosh that you are clutching at straws there. Yes it is ‘unsportsmanlike’. Just take a look at this fat bastard Michael Robinson. Notice I didn’t say fat ‘rich’ bastard? I know it’s not Walter Palmer, but don’t tell me that he’s a great ‘sportsman’. In my eyes, trophy hunting will never be deemed a sport, even if you can tally up a ‘score’. It’s basically going around murdering other creatures! How the féck is that sport? I suppose you think ISIS are sportsmen too do you? Same. They behead their victims too.
  4. Yes the giraffe is more beautiful than the stupid women that kill them. I’m sorry you don’t seem to understand that. If Kendall Jones was the last woman on Earth, okay, and she pulled that shit in front of me, I’d still rather cook the woman up and eat her flesh than procreate with her in order to save humanity.I don’t find rhinos to be particularly ‘beautiful’. They’re big. Cute maybe, but not beautiful. And if she killed a rhino instead of a giraffe, I’d *still *rather cook the woman up and eat her flesh than procreate to save humanity. Got it?  So beauty alone has nothing to do with it.

    It’s about having empathy, compassion and respect. Of course, you were probably indoctrinated as a child to think that that humans are above all other creatures.

  5. I don’t care how rich or poor Walter Palmer and others are. That has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with it. He could be homeless and I’d still react the same way! He could be a billion dollars in debt and I’d still react the same way!
  6. Actually what’s fasinating is how shocked some hunters are when you talk about killing and treating humans in EXACTLY the same way as the animals they themselves slaughtered. There is no difference between a human and an animal. No difference! We are all animals. That’s where trophy hunters go wrong. They see themselves as superior.

In fact, as I’ve said before, if there are 7,000 of one species, and 7,000,000,000 of the other, guess which I appreciate and value more? That’s right, the rarer breed. Not to say that I wish the average Joe on the street harm. Just the ones that threaten the rarer species.

Doesn’t have to be critically endangered. A statue such as ‘threatened’ or “least concern” is enough for me to show empathy, compassion and respect. Especially if it has faced dwindling numbers or near extinction (like for example blue whales, fin whales).

Yes, some animal lovers really do hate some humans. What’s wrong with that? I don’t see anything wrong with that at all.

Are you bothered by the fact that some animal lovers have a million times more respect for an ‘animal’ than a human? I think so. I think this fundamentally distrubs some hunters and their visions of other human beings. Or are trophy hunters so naive that they think that all animal lovers are all-loving, all-caring ‘nice’ people incapable of real and negative emotions? We’re just as capable of anger and revenge. The thing is, we would be more inclined to consider Walter Palmer’s family before doing anything stupid. Not to mention jail time.

What, trophy hunters think that animals lovers can’t get mad or violet? Wrong!

I think more surprising is the typical shocked reaction of pro-trophy hunters when the barrage of death wishes arrives. What, do you think trophy hunters are respected by their fellow humans? Wrong. They’re completely reviled, and it has nothing to do with any of the 5 or 6 points you make.

I can assure you that more people would wish them dead, except that they can’t speak out for fear of being “politicially incorrect”. They may not send a death threat or wish any suffering upon another being, but I bet they sure wish trophy hunters would simply vanish completely off the face of the Earth…

It’s not that Cecil was famous. That was just the icing on the cake… it was really the last straw. It’s really what made people aware that this is still going on after decades.

So I have a message to trophy hunters, don’t think that the rest of the world is at peace with you slaughtering African animals that aren’t ‘famous’. That’s just being igorant.

It’s that people the world over are fed up with both trophy hunters and poachers. People don’t want to see some fucktard grinning with overly whitened teeth mounting a majestic but dead lion on their wall. Most people want nothing to do with it. Don’t even compare it to ‘sport’.
Yes in Cecil’s case it’s probably the fact that that lion had a name. So people could empathise with it more.

But it’s not 1916. Or 1816 for that matter. It’s 2016. Maybe in 1980 Walter could’ve gotten away without being doxxed. But not today.

So. If you trophy hunters don’t want to be the victim of a barrage of hate, I suggest the following:

  • don’t ever take a selfie with a dead or a dying animal, especially not wearing makeup and smiling like a jackass and NEVER I repeat NEVER lying down next to them pretending theat they are still alive and just sleeping.
  • don’t ever kill anything outside your own country. Because that’ll never be seen as ‘good’ — even if it’s under the guise of “population management”. Why not? Because your fucking carbon footprint flying over there and back again just prevented you from being at all ‘sustainable’, that’s why.
  • don’t ever say that you are trophy hunting for ‘conservation’. Because if you are, why not simply donate the money straight to an environmental charity of your choice?

Combine all three points aboce and you have a sure fire recipe to be on the receiving end of that barrage of hate I was talking about earlier.

Time to change people. Time to change. Now.

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.

What I think of ‘Lord’ Christopher Monckton.

I‘ve become tired of being ‘nice’. So two years ago, okay, I got hypnotised. And this is basically the result of that. Now I call it like I see it. I don’t really care if I offend people. If they want to be stupid and remain ignorant, then that’s there perogative. Fine by me.

But don’t expect me to shut up and listen to you without calling you out on it. What am I talking about? This is what I am talking about. It is pretty hard to watch.
What kind of BULLSHIT is this? Seriously. The first thing I do is look up people’s credibility. And what do I see with this “Lord Muck” fellow? I see a degree in classics (languages). And another one in journalism. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But I don’t see any science education anywhere in his CV.

[Read more…]

The coal debate

Ex scientist here. Dr. qualified. (like that even matters today)
No we most certainly should NOT be relying on coal!! How many times do scientists have to tell you this??!! For one thing, coal is not renewable. It’s going to run out you know. Maybe not in the next few decades. But in a couple of centuries it will. Then what?!! But quite apart from that, the really clever scientists are telling you to keep it in the ground! Are you politicians all DEAF, or what? Hello global warming!
I know it’s hard for you to accept something that you don’t understand. But how many people know how and why their mobile phone works? Or their computer? Or their car? Eh?
You have enough sunshine in QLD to power that state for the next… 5 billion years!!!! It’s a no brainer. FFS living in this country is becoming embarrassing.
You politicans might know about money and rules and regulation, but you know sweet FA about how the world works. I.e. Physics and chemistry. Here’s a tip. Kindly look up the surface temperature of the planet Venus. That planet is hotter than it should be considering it’s proximity to the sun. It’s at least 30 degrees hotter than Mercury for Pete’s sake (and Mercury is MUCH closer to the Sun!). What’s the difference? Well, for one thing, Venus has a predominantly CO2 atmosphere. It’s the original greenhouse planet. Heck, it’s probably a hundred °C hotter than it should be because of that CO2. Now I suggest you politicians start taking notice of my fellow scientists… because otherwise you’re going to be even more out of touch than you are now. Les out
its not politically correct to say global “warming”, because we have no idea what its actually doing, so just to be safe . every social justice warrior knows that, you have to say climate “change” now to muddy the waters , or you will be socially ostracized. but at least you do agree that its the sun that drives climate, like on venus, and not human activities. but we should stop selling our coal to china, a brutal communist dictatorship, and others , after all we`re going to need it here to for some few hundred years to power our cities, what will we do when it runs out , our childrens childrens children will need it , unless one of these genius scientists can invent a better solution that wont cripple our nation and cause millions of deaths like solar and wind will
I think you completely missed my point. I was trying to point out that atmosphere also affects climate, not just the proximity to the sun.

[Read more…]

Characterisation of Australian opals

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.

Open letter to Craig Kelly + Scott Morrison.

Hello,

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
ex-materials scientist.
www.econazi.org

The coming super struggle, by Alvin Toffler:

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.

[Read more…]

A timely extract from a book called “The 3rd Wave” by Alvin Toffler.

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.

The true value of biodiversity.

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.

sustainable morphogenesis.

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.

Les calls out the GWPF for what it is.

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 how do I know that it was written for the GWPF? When the GWPF isn’t even mentioned anywhere in the entire article?

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,[27] 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:
http://www.thegwpf.org/who-we-are/board-of-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:
www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2016/12/CCACost-Dec16.pdf
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. ;-)

The #DAPL war

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.

“Typical liberal moron”

So just today, someone once again called us ‘liberals’ morons. Again.

image-jpg

 

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…]

What do we have today?

*sigh*
35b90f2b-8bfe-4bf1-aa71-cdaf5818db4c-original

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!

When is donald trump going to be president?

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)1.

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:

  1. 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!!
  2. The upper atmosphere, the stratosphere, is extremely low pressure & doesn’t actually “hold” much gas.
  3. CO2 is 1.5 times denser than air.
  4. 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!
  5. 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.

On learning a language

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. 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!

Take a look at this latest graph.

Go on, have the balls to actually look at it:

nsidc_global_area_byyear_b-800x533

See where we are? We’re right at that point where we don’t want to be. That’s where we are. The appropriately red-coloured line that is beneath all the others (well beneath).

Look, I don’t claim to know much about climate science. I know about materials science. But if there’s one thing scientists know how to do, it’s to respect others’ areas of expertise. Especially the expertise of other scientists.

It’s a bit like the song:

“What you don’t know you can feel it somehow” — U2

We know that there are others who are cleverer than us. And we respect that knowledge.

So I admit that I don’t know how the Earth’s climate fully works. But this latest graph worries me. This graph worries me a lot.

Because its pretty darn obvious to anyone what is going on in this graph.

I don’t think the Earth is completely screwed just yet. But if we don’t change NOW, then it will be.

I think the Earth’s climate is remarkly resilient considering all we’ve thrown at it over the last century.

But all I know is, if man thinks he can change local environments —on a global scale mind you— without global consequences, well then he is sorely mistaken.

That is not the way this world works. That is not how any world works.

Because this is the graph of all graphs. This graph should be printed on the insides of all petrol tank lids.

Every time you wish to use your car, you should be thinking of this graph!

Every time you want to fly somewhere, you should be thinking of this graph!

Every time you eat meat, you should be thinking of this graph!

This is the “climate emergency” graph that James Hansen is referring to.

And what do I see? In reality? In reality, I look around today, and I see bugger all people talking about this problem. And yet it is a big problem. A very big problem.

People should be talking about this over their lunch break and their coffee break. And for some reason they’re not. They’re just not.

[Read more…]

Dear McDonalds,

I can’t believe I have to do this…
Illustration by Leslie Dean Brown. © 2016. All rights reserved.
Illustration by Leslie Dean Brown. © 2016. All rights reserved.

Dear McDonalds,
we want a McSoy burger + McMushroom burger on the menu.
Signed, your future vegetarian/vegan customers.

[please click link to sign the petition]

The veneration of crap.

[it’s not actually me who said that]

f79817a2-5d87-48b8-a7f9-767a78235665-large

Design wise, there is nothing actually ‘wrong’ with this advertisement. I’m liking/sharing this post, because designers & creatives need to see how some of their ads are being perceived out there in the real world. There’s nothing actually ‘wrong’ with the design. It’s the content that is the problem.

What I would like to see is creatives grow some balls for once, stand up and say to these companies:

“you know, it’s getting harder for us to be able to sell these fossil fuel vehicles”.

People just don’t want them. Pretty soon, graphic design alone will not be enough.

“The veneration of crap.” — Cathal Rabbitte

 

What can we all learn by this?

I love it, indigenous people using technology against us.

Businesses, don’t start new pipeline projects and expect it to go to schedule anymore!

Investors, don’t invest in oil pipelines, because there will be delays! And you won’t earn as much as you think you will. Most people don’t want fossil fuels today, they want renewable energy alternatives. That’s what you should be investing in. That’s what I’d be investing in.

Governments, stop supporting the fossil oil industry! How many tax dollars are you spending on those military police to be there for all this time? Why isn’t that cost factored into your energy/cost calculations?

Citizens, don’t drive your car as much, buy less plastic!

Meanwhile… mainstream media falls strangely SILENT.
What are they going to do on December 5th? Bring in tanks and armoured personnel carriers?
Two words come to mind: Tiananmen Square. 1989. People don’t forget that shit. The more brutal the tactics get, the more the media will follow.
The media today cannot be controlled like network TV, because news is now a social media phenomenon.
If I was there I would be standing my ground.

I think I just cured myself of “gear aquisistion syndrome” (GAS).

A strange thing happened to me today. Desire left my body.

A B&H catalogue duly/dutifully (pick whichever word you prefer) arrived in the mail. Even though I never ordered one. I thought I would open in anyway. If only to separate the polyethylene plastic covering from the paper so that I could recycle it properly.

Now I will admit that one of my past times is photography. And about the only money I spend these days is on food, clothes and work stuff…

Nevertheless, I am living in the first world. And first world people are told to buy. To consume. We’re hardwired for it from birth. From before birth even. We’re not even born yet and there are presents waiting for us. As we get older, they make “infant sized” shopping trolleys.That’s how bad it is.

So I obliged and flicked through the thing. All 340 pages.

I know enough already to avoid catalogues at all cost. Because they make you want things. Unecessary things. Here are two great articles, one and two, on how to cure your GAS.

But this was my first B&H catalogue. My very first one. “Just a peek” I thought. “To see what’s new”.

Anyway, I was quite surprised to find that as I was flicking through the thing, there was not one item that I actually needed. And believe me, I looked quite intently. I looked at photos. I even scrutinised the product descriptions. More surprisingly, there was not even even one item that I  wanted to own. The desire was gone. Gone I tell you.

No USB 3.1 peripherals. No more usb hubs.  No thunderbolt devices. No thunderbolt dock. No ‘other’ computer accessories. No new mice or keyboards. No new routers. No modem. No high-end scanners and printers. No network attached drives. No portable wifi drive enclosures. No optical drive. No new SDXC cards. No cloud. No data bank. No more storage space required. No storage case. No software. No  ipad. No new drawing tablets. No graphics card. No new motherboard. No interruptible power supply. No power strip. No new lenses. No teleconverters. No filters. No new cameras. No new micro 4/3rds cameras. No large format cameras. No flash. No tripod. No parabolic slider. No underwater housings. No more spare batteries. No video equipment. No projector. No DVD player. No flast screen television. No curved screen television. No 3D television. No holographic television. No television bracket. No television antenna. No streaming media hub. No HDMI extender. No digital voice recorder. No microphone. No headphones. No rechargeable power pack. No audiophile cables & connectors. No turntable. No AV receiver. No speakers. No sound bar. No sound system. No graphic equalisers. No digital preamps. No joystick. No steering wheel. No GPS navigator. No dashcam. No thermal imaging camera. No night vision binolculars. No multimeter. No new smartphones. No bluetooth cradle. No cordless phone. No smart watch. No heart rate monitor. No sleep monitor. No activity monitor. No other monitors. No drones. No security camera. No alarm. No 3D printer. No 3D goggles. No virtual reality. No new bags.

I am done. I am done with consumerism.

I know none of it will make me ‘happier’. I already know. I am happy now, in this instant, with what I have. Happiness is not an accumulation of possessions. It is a state of mind. None of it will make me more productive, either.

I did want a 24mm Nikon AFD lens. Because my 12-24mm lens is “too slow” at 24mm (being f5.6), fairly large, fairly heavy. And my next focal length autofocus lens up from that is 35mm. Because it’s ‘only’ about AUD$400. And I was so close to getting that a few months back. But you know what? I know, wisely, that if I get that lens, it will always be “just one more”. So I am going to stop right here. 24mm is still very wide, too wide, for a normal lens. And I have a small little 28mm lens. I have a 35mm lens also. So that is enough. Enough is enough. “!Basta ya¡” (enough already) as they say in Spain. “ya está.” (that’s it). “Ya bastante.” (another way of saying “enough already”).

I am done and I am happy.
I am done and I am happy and I just wanted to share that with the world.
Leslie.

The ultimate cure for cancer.

Every time I see this “cure for cancer” thing mentioned, I feel compelled to inform people…

There is already a ‘cure’ for cancer. All you have to do is avoid carcinogenic chemicals! (of which many synthetic materials are made). Benzene in petrol is one. Plasticiser additives used in polymers like PVC is another. And there are a *load* of others, especially the aromatic ‘organic’ compounds.

Now if you don’t want to accept the scientific evidence for some reason (lord knows there are a lot of deniers these days), then I’ll share with you a personal anecdote: our university laboratory demonstrator… who worked in the organic chemicals lab… contracted cancer.

So now you know. That new car smell is probably not good for you…

What is the goal of humanity?

What exactly are working towards?

Is the ultimate goal happiness? Or just to survive? Or something else?

This seems to be a popular question on the quora and TED forums. I’m sure most people don’t even stop to think about it.

It seems strange that your average doughnut factory has more of a business plan than the whole of humanity.

I think it’s because there seems to be some unspoken notion that at the rate we are going we won’t really even last more than about 300-500 years, let alone 50,000 or more years. So why bother thinking about it?

Talking about our long-term future is almost a taboo subject with some people. Why is that? Is it because we have no fucking idea at all what we are doing? Is that it? Are we embarrassed? Is it because we already know that we are ‘doomed’? No? Then, what?

If we are going to survive, I think it is worth thinking about. Otherwise you have to ask yourself “why are we working so hard now?” What’s the point of it? If we’re all so doomed already, why do we bother still going to work forty or more hours a week? Eh?

So we must be working towards something. We just don’t collectively know what it is (yet). And note that I’m not talking about an ‘afterlife’. I’m talking about what will become of humanity, the world, in one million years’ time.

Assuming something terrible doesn’t happen, wouldn’t it make sense to have a “humanity plan” that we can all refer to? A humanity plan might even give us a reason to avoid WW3, WW4 and WW5. A reason to exist.

We don’t really know what we are doing let alone why we are doing it. People are feeling lost, hopeless and depressed. I think that’s why there were so many volunteers on that Mars one space mission.

The hugely controversial Dutch-based Mars One mission has admitted that only 4,227 people actually completed its application form properly, rather than 200,000 … 202,586 applicants registered their interest online in 2013.

I think the first thing we need to do is not let go of our hope. Because that’s what most people [adults] tend to do in fairly hopeless situations, isn’t it? They lose hope and then they give up. I think we need to try to remain optimistic about the future. Hope is what normally keeps us going. Hope is what motivates people. So let’s start by hoping for a better future, not a worse one. I personally think that there is hope. Not a lot of hope, but maybe –perhaps– just enough.

Hope starts with an idea. A dream, if you will. Visionaries inspire us all. Because now is the time to choose. Are we even working towards the same goal?

I ask google and the people who are asking these questions are individuals. Not governments, but individuals. Shouldn’t there be some kind of a long-term “mission statement” for each country?

Even the ancient Egyptians had more of a plan… build pyramids…

I think we need a one year plan. A ten year plan. A hundred year plan. A thousand year plan. A ten thousand year plan. A hundred thousand year plan. A million year plan. It surprises me that our entire civilisation is wandering almost completely aimlessly through time.

For example, do we want to be so addicted to technology? Won’t we become a bit borg-like if we continue unabated down that path? Is it even sustainable? Can we even know? Do we need to know? Can we still have a plan that encompasses future discoveries and inventions?

To answer this question, I think we need to ask ourselves a very important question: What de we want to become? What makes us happy? If we didn’t have to work, what do we want to do in our spare time? As soon as we know that we will know how we are going to get there.

What do you, the reader, think the goal(s) of humanity should be?

Someone posted this on LinkedIn…

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And here is my internet response:

Nice looking car BUT it still has exhaust pipes. Why?

*glares at everybody in the room* [that’s right]

For fuck’s sake, companies were meant to be phasing out the internal combustion engine more than a decade ago. I know that is not what you want to hear, and actually I don’t enjoy speaking out, but honestly, someone has to. Because in today’s world, this is bullshit. You should not be allowed to even build a 503 horsepower car in the year 2016, let alone sell it.

It may *look* cool, but it is most definitely *not* cool. Do you want to know what I honestly think? I think that while it still has exhaust pipes, no combination of advertising, graphic design or industrial design can make it cool.

It’s like mechanical HDDs. We know the technology is all but dead, but people still buy them.

You can make the exterior as stylish as you want, but if there’s still a fucking combustion engine lurking in there somewhere underneath the bonnet (or wherever new place you want to put it), you –as customers– should all turn your fucking noses up at it. You should all turn your noses up in disgust. You should put on a posh voice and say “oh, darlings, exhaust pipes are so 1992 don’t you know?”.

Now, you don’t often see scientists speaking out on such matters. We tend to shut up and stay in our laboratories. Stuck behind all sorts of weird instrumentation and computer-controlled devices. And I’ll admit that most scientists have always traditionally appeared very uncool. We were usually the clever ones who were picked on most at school. As scientists, we might know a lot of shit, but the trouble is, we don’t have the power to actually persuade anyone of anything.

Well not this scientist. This scientist has also recently studied design. That’s what makes me ‘dangerous’. And among other things, design is most often used to pursuade people to buy new products and services. There’s a conundrum here though because this scientist has studied science before design. What difference does that make, you ask? It makes all the difference. It means to me, science will always drumpf design. Not the other way around.

I believe that scientists (and ex scientists for that matter, because I fall squarely into that category) all have a DUTY OF CARE to planet Earth, to call out whatever they see as unsustainable. Otherwise, you non-scientists would all be whinging in two hundred years time: “Why didn’t you tell us anything a hundred years ago? Why didn’t you warn us then?”.

Well we are warning you, now. We are all waving our fucking arms in the air effectively saying “Danger Will Robinson, danger! Climate emergency!”.

Here’s the thing: we can’t appear too emotional, because we’re scientists. It’s our job to be as unemotional and as Spock-like as humanly possible. Right? Otherwise our data, our results and conclusions may be biased by our mere ‘feelings’. And we just can’t have that. We have to be as objective as possible. So we usually keep ‘feelings’ out of it.

But I think this is actually half the reason people are still not listening to us — because there’s not enough emotion in our collective voices.

Jesus fucking Christ. What more do scientists need to do before the world starts getting it? DO YOU WANT US TO SHOUT? Do you want us to dance up and down? What!?

Now, I know that 7999 people will most probably not like my reply. But there will be a few wise ones that do like it. And gradually, I hope that small percentage goes up with time. That is the purpose of me speaking out. That is the purpose of this blog.

Why I love books and hate iPads.

I don’t own an ipad. I never have. And I never will. And I’d like to share with you why that is…

Why? Because I’d rather read a book, that’s why. A book doesn’t need batteries, and –if anything– supports the growth of forests, which in turn is providing oxygen to our Earth’s atmosphere [as opposed to mining and extraction industries, which are needed to make an ipad].

I’m not so sure that “virtualising everything” is better for the environment. Is it? I choose not to own an ipad/kindle. I buy real, physical books instead. Partly because I believe that keeping books is better for the environment. Partly because I still like to read real books. Yes they are made with paper.

When the tree is growing, it is giving us oxygen and taking CO2 out of the air. It is life-giving. Can the same be said of metal extraction, electronic component manufacture & final assembly? No.

Yes books require physical transport. But they don’t require a supply of electricity. They don’t require me to keep an additional device (and subsequent replacement devices that supercede the original ones).

Books don’t require continual minining + extraction of all the elements, chemicals and compounds that go into manufacturing electronics.

A book is biodegradeable and compostable. In that sense it is *completely* recycleable. Worms and other insects will willingly eat books. For free. They will organise themselves. They will even eat around any of the plastic parts they don’t want. And their crap can eventually be used to make more books.

So once I am finished with a book, even if I can’t resell it, I can always burn it or compost it. What is really the liklihood of us making biodegradeable or compostable electronic devices? We are a long way from that; the way we are making them now is not at all sustainable. To my knowledge, we do not recover any of the elements from a circuit board other than gold. That right there is very wasteful. So right now I try to avoid all electronic devices like the black plague…

A book costs less than a meal. You could even eat the pages of a book if you wanted to. You can’t really do that with electronics because they are too toxic… *many* of the organic chemicals used in plastics manufacture are carcinogenic.

A book already has a 300dpi interface. A book doesn’t require batteries. A book doesn’t go obsolete. You can pick up a book several hundred years after it was put on a shelf and start reading. Will you be able to do that with your ipad?

Books don’t have start-up and no shut-down delays. You just… open and close the cover. It’s a physical thing that you can touch.

And as for ipads vs desktops vs laptops, I do my [real] work sitting at a desk. Why would I want to use a *smaller* screen? Why? Why would I want to use something that is *slower*? Why would I want to use something that can’t handle half of my software? Why would I want to use something with a smaller keypad (or no keyboard at all)? Something that cranes my neck every time I look down at it? Ditto for laptops replacing desktops.

And that’s great. Microsoft has invented a computer the size of a pack of gum. Fantastic! But seriously, I’d rather go for a nice long walk [yes without the earphones I might add] rather than sit in front of yet another screen… Because sometimes it is nice to disconnect completely.

“Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?”

Ok. I am sick to death of hearing people rubbish climate change at this very late stage. Especially by the people who contribute most (manufacturing/engineering).

“Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?” …. down here on the Florida coast, the water-line remains the same it was fifty (50) years ago. Same goes for southern California, the high tide line remains the same as when I lived there in the early 1950s … hello Al Gore? you remain 100% wrong. The first thing that needs to be done is to ban any and all lawyers from any and all discussions about CC. — David Hubbell

David, I see you are a clever bloke. Engineers are always spouting off about how the world couldn’t work without engineering. Well ok. Fair enough. But it wouldn’t work without science either.

I put my trust in engineers every time I cross a bridge or catch an elevator. And you accept that your computer ‘works’, don’t you? So people put their trust in electronics every single day of the week. And who studies that stuff? Physicists. Materials scientists. That’s who.

But do you people ever question the theory behind semiconductors? No, because that enables computers. Do you question anything else to do with science for that matter? It’s these very same science and technological advances and principles that have enabled consumerism to spawn in the first place. These are the same people who invented MRI machines for Pete’s sake! And yet deniers say nothing about electron theory, magnetic domains or PN junctions.

What am I saying? I am saying that I think it’s time we showed the same level of respect for climate scientists. It looks to me the ONLY reason there are deniers today is that it means you have to “give up” something. And that something is called ‘lifestyle’.

Personally, I think that’s why you are on the denying side of the fence. Because if you accept what is happening, suddenly you’d have to take a long hard look at your own career choices. Because they contribute, don’t they? And you don’t want to do that, so you have these pre-conceived ideas about the world

Kindly educate yourself on the CO2 composition of the planet Venus and it’s surface temperature. And to all my connections, this is the real problem. The social intertia. That’s what I’m tackling here. It’s time to call out the bullshit “personal observations” for what they are. Personal observations.

What Monsanto doesn’t want you to know.

MPG vs total fuel consumption, carbon emmissions.

In today’s conversation, I went straight for the jugular.

I’ll admit I stopped before posting the last reply. So I’m posting that here instead.

Mark Frank: S2000’s are great, a lot more fun then that Prius you have parked in the back.

leslie dean brown: Yeah. I agree with that. Although you know what is not ‘fun’? Living on the greenhouse planet herself, Venus. Never mind. *sometimes* I drive an RX8. Just… not much. Because it uses WAY too much fuel. :(

Tom Hanover: What does Venus have to do with anything? I guess you’re worried about fuel consumption, but then again maybe you aren’t since you drive an RX-8 that gets 16/23 MPG while the S2000 gets 18/25.

leslie dean brown: MPG not the only thing to consider. The main thing to consider… is how much you spend on fuel every week. Or every year. Or in total. A prius driver that drives 1 million km is not anywhere near as ‘eco’ as a ferrari driver that only drives 10k km. ;-) “What does Venus have to do with anything?” Well, just that… we don’t want our planet turning into that one. It is the mother of all global warming planets. And yes, we are at that time, where this should be discussed. By everyone. And unfortunately, it’s not being discussed. Hardly ever.

Tom Hanover: Earth can’t turn into Venus. Global Warming is over hyped just like the Prius.

leslie dean brown: Tom Hanover Yes. And your qualifications are? A degree in business. That’s like me saying “your business plan isn’t worth the paper it’s written on” or “you can’t subtract two numbers from one another, that’s impossible”.

There. Now what people are saying will be recorded throughout history.

Overstimulation, ADHD & physical exercise.

Is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) simply an extreme degree of hyperactivity, brought about by many complex contributing factors? We’re stimulated (visually) by television and seemingly limitless internet possibilities. Outwardly, we appear to have adapted in various ways to this fast pace of life. But what happens to our brain when we stop all this fast-paced internet work and shutdown our computers and gaming consoles? Our brain continues to run wild at this high pace. Our minds continue to race overtime; not accustomed to stagnating, we dwell & obsess over the tiniest of problems merely for “something to do”. Is this something we have control over?

Could a lack of excercise combined with overchoice & overstimulation actually compound certain mental disorders in the early phase of development? In an ever-increasingly stressful world, we’ve simultaneously reduced the amount of exercise we receive! We drive everywhere, use mobile devices, remote controls, pre-packaged “lazy foods”, etc. Although most of us still continue to defer exercise. This is a recipe for disaster. Could this be a simple link to many of today’s current mental disorders?

Certainly, advanced brain research will help diagnose mental disorders such as ADHD, for example. But while scientists are busy studying brain chemicals and neurotransmitter activity, do they pay much attention to the initial reasons behind why those chemicals are different? I for one think its better to understand the true reasons or causes behind something, not merely their symptoms, consequences or effects. What’s the difference? Well, a few simple observations and tests might show that there is an insufficient level of dopamine in the brain in ADHD patients, for example. Some would argue that that essentially is the disease. At the very least it reveals the reason for the occurrence of some of the disease’s symptoms. However, since the disease is usually characterised by its symptoms, what’s actually stopping us from labelling this an “in vivo symptom”?

Knowing the concentration of dopamine in the brain of a patient with ADHD doesn’t really help us initially, other than to ask the follow-up questions, “how can we now change this value?”. Researching a potential cure in this manner will never prevent this disease, only reduce its symptoms. What we really want to know is “Why has this value changed of its own accord?”. One possible reason is that the child doesn’t perform sufficient exercise, and this in turn affects their brain chemistry. I.e. we should ask the question “why is this value different?” in the first place. In my humble opinion, the latter type of research is far more valuable than the former.

In my opinion, we are biological beings and physical exercise is highly important if not crucial to our overall health. It’s like oxygen -we can certainly get by with less, but we’re better off with the correct amount. If I attempt to breathe in an oxygen-depleted environment and begin to exhibit symptoms of asphyxiation, I’d want to receive a healthy dose of oxygen before I die. I certainly wouldn’t wait around for biology research to cure my condition. I’m sure they could come up with all sorts of cellular “reasons” as to why I’m failing to respire adequately while all the the cells in my body are turning blue. But like I said before, if I can’t breathe properly, the real reason is that I need to inhale more oxygen molecules. At this stage, it’s best to give me what I need -air- not try to substitute it with something else in the form of a pill.

Biologists can argue all they want about it. Take for example an earlier phase of depression I experienced. My depression wasn’t initially caused by an imbalance in my brain chemicals, that was the end result which severely affected my mood. The real cause was a hundred other factors out there in the real world to do with relationships, life, money, worries, disappointment, stagnation, pity, etc, which I didn’t realise until after being diagnosed. It was cured, in part chemically, by prozac, but also by a lot of hope, positive thinking and inspiration.

Doctors haven’t done many definitive studies about exercise and ADHD, says David Goodman, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. But Goodman says it makes sense that working out would help people cope with the condition. Studies show that exercise increases levels of two key brain chemicals (dopamine and norepinephrine) that help people focus.

If kids could exercise strenuously three to five times a day, they might not need medications at all, says John Ratey, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Ratey is so intrigued by the question that he’s writing a book about how exercise can reduce symptoms of ADHD or at least help patients cope.

Studies show that children today are far more sedentary than they were a generation or two ago, a trend that has contributed to increasing childhood obesity rates. “You could speculate that one reason for the increasing rates of ADHD is that kids are exercising less,” says James Perrin, a professor of pediatrics at Boston’s MassGeneral Hospital for Children.

Researchers have looked at other habits to explain the rise in ADHD rates. But experts note that there isn’t much research to clearly link lifestyles with attention problems.

More than a few parents and teachers suspect that sugary snacks €” with their artificial colors, flavors and preservatives €” contribute to the problem. Others suggest that vitamins might reduce hyperactivity. But most controlled trials show these substances have no effect on ADHD, according to a July review in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Many parents also wonder whether television, computers and video games make it harder for children to concentrate. A study in 2004 found that infants and toddlers who watch a lot of television are more likely to have trouble concentrating in their early school years. Every extra hour of TV raised the odds of having attention problems by 10%, according to the study, which was published in Pediatrics. Source

– See more at: http://www.tenerife-training.net/Tenerife-News-Cycling-Blog/overstimulation-adhd-physical-exercise/#sthash.QrqMXj4c.dpuf