Sunday, January 29, 2006

Ha.. Ha.. - Hamas

Does the election of Hamas make a difference to peace prospects in Israel? My answer - No. What is happening in Syria and Iran is a lot more relevant as they still control the "spoiler" influence on Palestine. Israel and Palestine could be led by the dalai llama and it wouldn't make a difference. However, Palestine and Israel are part of this democratic pincer movement I have been theorising, that is isolating and surrounding Iran and Syria.

The battles to entrench democracy in the middle east is real "war" all the rest is bluff, bluster, isolated sacrifices, posturing, marginal threats and zealous journalism.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Deep in the Weeds

There has been blanket advertising on TV up here in Townsville of an emerging weed threat of Mimosa Pigra. I have realised that this weed has been gradually spreading around my "lawn" (more like a meadow, the way I maintain it) since late 1998. Presumably the seeds from these would have washed their way downstream towards the river. Asking around, this plant has been around Townsville in various patches for decades. I just wonder if we are already too late?

Mimosa flowers, normally pink - turned yellow by the highly alkaline clay soil in my front yard.
leaves before being touched
Touch-sensitive leaves now tucked away.

Note that these plants develop nasty thorns, and can grow into inpenetrable thickets metres high. They love our tropical climate, and have already laid claim to large swathes of the Northern Territory (more than NT's aboriginals :-)) In fact they should be renamed "Old man death"

Friday, January 06, 2006

Because Geologists and miners should be environ-mental-ly conscious

This was taken from a 1998 Readers digest "joke" as in things that you will never see on a t-shirt! It works well in my skeptically environmentalist way.

This link to bid or buy now for your own shirt!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

What "ought" to be done about Townsville's heat

There was this great research and pilot scheme done for a system of taking cold waters from the deep (4 degrees C) and using the temperature differential with shallow tropical water to generate electricity. The pilot scheme (in Hawaii) showed reasonable effectiveness in generating electricity, but also a great many other uses for the cold water. For instance, pumping cold water through underground pipes under crops to improve their productivity, and using the cold water for air-conditioning. My "scheme" for Townsville would be a simple heat exchange for the water already being pumped to all the houses. The salt water would cool a hunk of metal, and the purified dam water would be cooled significantly by the metal, and the cold water being distributed to the whole city would cool everything down. The main problem with Townsville as I understand it is that there is no deep water nearby. The water would have to be piped in from a hundred kilometers away. This shouldn't really be a problem though - we are piping in gas from further than that for electrical generation. Once the initial "cold water" scheme is shown to be successful, all sorts of applications will become obvious, as well as generating electricity. And the considerable advantage over electrical air-conditioning is that there is a net reduction in heat.

Monday, January 02, 2006

"Darwinism" as a staircase

The front cover of the economist christmas edition shows the classical subliminal message that human evolution is about progress up the ladder (staircase in this case). Although the actual article does rail against the popular concept of "survival of the fittest" because it completely mis-states the reality; it does mention such things as "progress", "great leap forward" as scientific concepts of what was happening at various stages. Genetic palaentology has been able to put accurate dates on common ancestry, which is really illuminating. Great science is happening, but darwinism as a popular ideology doesn't require it. To remain popular, Darwinism must still place humans on a pedestal above other living things. This is to replace the "specialness" that is given to humans in various religions. Because, in general, Darwinists profess to be non-religious, why should they care what happens to the human race if we are not special or superior to animals?