Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Historical Sciences Bah...

I am not really a big fan of the historical sciences. To me it makes a mockery of the word science(*). Scientific method is about repeatable experiments, and everybody knows that... "His-tory neever repeats...". Also, one can always quip back to some asserted historical fact - "Were you there?" you know to "observe" it. Indirect observation, irrepeatable conditions = always conjecture. This especially irks me when experts in their field go to extreme lengths and expense to prove for example A) that Jesus performed miracles or
B) that a particular fossil is the common ancestor of apes and humans.

To me these factoids are primarily used to enforce one's theological convictions, and are therefore pretty useless scientifically.

Even historical ice cores for temperature & atmosphere content statistics have gone as far as is scientifically useful. Todays conditions and issues are so radically different to historical ones, that it cannot help policy decisions today, and are therefore again only useful in promoting ones views (perhaps at taxpayers' expense).

(*) - To tell you the truth, I probably just have a problem with the "SPIN" placed on historical sciences rather than the historical science itself.


I have had a lot to say about the middle-east with specific reference to Iran in Kraus Rohde's Blog. I may seem to be completely in the camp which believes they truly are "Axis of Evil". In some sense again I agree with Dawk-ins in that it is religion is the problem there. But as Dawkins may believe that it is the essence of the belief in God that is the root problem, I differ in that the problem to me is that the leaders of the church there are the leaders of the country. This elevates the leadership to a "God" status in themselves, at least to their subjects, and to me demonstrates the virtues of separating state powers from religious powers.

But there is one thing that apparently they are leaders in. Some time ago, they decided that citizens could buy and sell kidneys. This has resulted in almost completely eliminating waiting lists and reducing renal-related deaths. This is certainly preferable to the situation highlighted by a Dutch reality show about the agony of waiting for donors.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Thinking... Thinking.... Thunk!

As usual the my spur of the moment environment entries attract comments while my entries on cosmology and budget get completely ignored. What is it about the internet. Posts labelled under "Darwinism" have generated most of my hits lately - go figure.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Where's the figures?

This article states confidently that Australia's emissions grow at twice the rate of other rich countries but was there a link to the data? Does any bloody news service that rants about global warming ever make the data demonstrating latest trends that they mention available? Nope. Where does this place Australia in its notional Kyoto targets that we didn't sign? Until the latest (but not linked) figures we appeared on target. I am quite for the concept of exporting emmissions to exempt developing countries like Indonesia etc. This may invoke a much more rapid transfer of real wealth to the third world, as we tax our Carbon highly, and they can remain exempt gaining a competitive advantage. And the nice thing about competitive advantage is that it isn't a "freebie" like aid, grants, tarriffs or oil resources. They still have to work hard and competitively to take advantage of the advantage.

On the latest posturing of "players" in the "global warming" game, there appears little prospect of (global) emmissions reductions for at least a couple of decades. Plus the moral hazard is just too great. I reckon if (global) emmissions are at 120% of current emmissions by 2030, we will be doing well. The only thing left to guesswork is who everyone is going to blame.

Monday, May 21, 2007


One of the things that always bothered me about the "Big Bang" was the mathematically awkward descriptions of the setoff process. This was alleviated for me somewhat by the newish assertion that the universe quantum tunnelled itself into existence. This takes care of the issue about what there was before by answering "nothing". The problem that it created however (to me) was that A) since there is no visible "antimatter" balancing the matter, there seems a distinct breaking of fundamental rules of some kind and B) What is stopping a big bang happening within our universe at any time to wreck it?. Matter and anti-matter pairs are constantly coming and going out of existence in the vaccuum of space, as far as I know, with no discernible other effects.

My theory is that if our universe and an antimatter copy of our universe were travelling away from eachother at the speed of light, that would resolve requirements of self-consistency of laws of conservation of matter/energy. Infact, one could postulate an infinite number of universes all travelling away from eachother at the speed of light, in matter/antimatter pairs. That would account for the infinite parallel universes that yet other theoretical scientists postulate, and explain why we can't see them.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Budget

I remember now I was going to say something about the Australian Budget. In the two extremes, the superannuation co-contribution policy built up over the last few budgets is nothing short of pure genius. I may need to explain why this is so but it is a little long-winded. On the other extreme, the resumption and expansion of solar cell subsidies is throwing good money in the bin. The amount of carbon reductions per dollar spent is pathetically small + it distorts the green economy such that private enterprise will flourish chasing the subsidy and not the underlying carbon reduction goal.

Unfortunately, the government has not specified how it will achieve desired higher unemployment for those complaining about the worker "shortage". Even the labor party has twisted the problem around by saying it is a "skill" shortage. It is not. There is just not enough of the trained unemployed like we had in the Keating era.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Got Blogger's Block

Several times I have intended to post but got stuck after reading a bit and thought the better of it. I was going to come up with a brilliant personal example of how in the modern world, one can have a detailed discussion daily with friends that left town decades ago, yet never chat to old friends that live in your suburb still, that in fact you are still friends with. One in particular I see every week because our children go to the same kindy, and had been in the same group as my wife back in Senior camp. Yet I can't demonstrate the irony I feel without divulging more about the people involved than is appropriate in this blog.