Monday, October 31, 2005

If you quote someone on your weblog, they may find you!

This has happened to me. Appropriately with the Industrial relations changes happening in parliament, this person is a champion of the working mother. She has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of lower socio-economic disadvantaged recent migrants. She has done it by attacking certain unhelpful law provisions that were proposed. Ironically, she is now being made to work up to 18 hours a day by her employer just to try to make a better life for her children. The system that allows this to happen is not being challenged......

Her employer is of course *herself* - The system that allows unlimited work hours is *EBAY*, the unhelpful law provisions she was attacking was the "fairwear" ones, which I also attacked - and migrants from a lower socio-economic status often have industrial sewing skills, children, and are perfect for helping out our sewer shortage, if only they were "free" to work from home, where they could be with their children. Vanthida Lao - You are a champion. Stop by my weblog anytime.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Evolution as a ladder

The entire evolution vs special creation debate as I have researched it, has been completely hijacked by people who refer indirectly to evolution as a ladder with amoebas (or whatever) at the bottom and humans at the top. Creationists arguments often centre on there being "missing links" (on the chain from bottom to top) , that the transformation from random jumbles of molecules to sentient beings breaks fundamental laws of entropy in a natural process. On the other side of the argument, David Attenborough's "Life on Earth" show moved episode by episode up the ladder. Even Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" (ok. these are 80's shows but I haven't seen much change) had one episode where they were calculating the approximate probability of life on other planets - by calculating the probability of life moving up the ladder of creation to sentient beings.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Role of the catholic church

This Economist article has an interesting slant on the pope's reign and the church's future direction. However because it focuses on foreseeable consequences of policy, rather than moral principles of right and wrong: to be kind, the economist is showing fairly extreme moral contextualism - hinting that contraception and abortion policy may have to be more liberal in some contexts for the greater good of the world.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


I had commented sometime last year that I was not confident of a solution in Kashmir for peace without some serious bloodshed. I also commented how the Tsunami in Aceh had improved the prospects for long term peace there. I suspect the inevitable international relief effort due to the earthquake in the disputed areas would improve the chances of successful mediation leading to possible compromises. The bloodshed has basically already happened now.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Why am I mysteriously confident in ethanol?

It's not the technology - there has been no breakthrough in the burning of ethanol in an internal combustion engine.

It's not the economics. Even if the current high oil prices are prolonged, the economics of bio-ethanol is still marginal.(Although the future is hard to predict in this regard)

It's not the environment - I would be happy if we exclusively used fossil fuels until we had to mine Mars (Earth first! We'll strip mine the other planets later)

My reasoning is entirely "evolutionary". There is clearly going to be fragmentation of the fuel market as fossil-based fuels becomes less and less convenient over time. Which fuels become somewhat successful will depend on how we get from "here" to "there" - "Here" being little or no economies of scale to "There" being generally available at service stations. This is where ethanol is advantageous - Due to the economies of scale developed by Brazil (a huge loss making venture by its government so far) there is good availability of flex-fuel engines and ethanol producing capacity. Add in the fact that blends can be adapted to take advantage of price differentials between oil, ethanol and sugar, and ethanol blends can be increased when the price of oil is high, decreased again if need be, self regulated by the market, temporary shocks in oil price changes can be spread out to a few other commodities at the very least, and if oil becomes scarce permanently the market will allow for 100% ethanol to overtake fossil fuels.