Posts by tussock

  • Hard News: 2015: The Budget of what?,

    @Rosemary, as long as we're all busy telling women what they're doing wrong, something, something, anecdote, up hill both ways in the snow.

    #$25, no one's getting $25 dollars, are they. That's like when they say some single mum with a kid who's at the doctor every second day is receiving $700+ in "benefits", but really aren't even getting their costs covered.

    #inter-generational, it's the population bulge. There's a whole bunch of them, they grew up when the government had money to burn on making most of them wealthy, and they all vote. Then Harvard started training economists that socialism was morally wrong, people should pay for important broad social benefits by themselves, and so the rest of us are fucked.

    It's not the boomers, or Gen X, or millennials, or even the politicians, it's just that the dominant economic theory in the western world (Labour, National, even the Greens) is an unscientific anti-communist bullshit piece of rhetoric from the cold war. Meanwhile, in China, the future is being built and we are aiming to miss out on it pretty well completely.


    In the long run it would probably reduce the need for people to go on the benefit.

    See, in said dominant economic theory, inflation is a bad thing and so a fair proportion of people have to be on demeaning beggars benefits to drive down wages and maintain the value of the capitalist's investments in things which make no return, like, say, over-inflated housing prices in Auckland.

    The trick is to blame the single mums, or the preferred dog-whistle for local racist notions, perhaps some boat people, or Muslims who happen to be sitting on oil, fund ever-bigger circuses, or maybe challenge a neighbour's dietary habits about how they all eat shellfish (of all things!).

    Whatever you do, just keep 'em distracted while you hope your bullshit economic theory of the day eventually comes good despite all that evidence to the contrary. So, none of the expected surplus turned up for seven years running, let's try doing more of the same and see if that works. Is there perhaps some public good people aren't yet paying enough private profit for? Let's try housing this time!

    Since Nov 2006 • 520 posts Report Reply

  • Envirologue: Too Big to Fail – Why…,

    Re: Thumper's intolerable bullshit. Mostly from

    1: Global temperatures have been stable since bla bla bla. No they haven't. The escalator is a stupid trick and you are stupid for using it.

    That's also air temperature, where the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, long La Nina, melting icecaps, and recent solar minimum have acted to pump the air temperature gains into other heat sinks, almost all into the oceans.

    2: CO2 output is exponential, temperature increase is stepped, that makes no sense, oh, wait, yes it does. It's expected to take centuries for air temperatures to actually equilibrate to CO2 levels, and the strongest effect on temperatures may be delayed by up to 40 years.

    3: CO2 in the air, bla bla, is both constantly turned into more of the radioactive isotope, and constantly exchanged with CO2 in the oceans and in plants, you dimwit. There's a carbon cycle, we're just shifting the balance point by digging up stable fossil fuels.

    4: The lifetime of CO2, see, if you understand there's a carbon cycle, why #3? Anyway, the lifetime we care about is when the balance point for the carbon cycle returns to normal, and it's a very long way off indeed with the primary sink of rock weathering. We aren't concerned with individual atoms of Carbon.

    5: Sinusoidal, you should look it up, it does not look like a hockey stick.

    You can't just keep adding degrees of fit until your curve goes down, you have to have a mechanism for action, how does the temperature fall, why, what happens to the CO2 balance, why is all of science wrong?

    6: WTF? Yes, the CO2 absorbs heat and re-emits it, and the effect is indeed not linear but totally retains more heat anyway! Check out fucking Venus, the heat, it be retained.

    7: The laws of nature in the extreme past were lucky enough to have a less energetic Sun to be orbiting. Solar output increases by about 10% per billion years until it goes giant, so it used to be a good thing to have a great deal of CO2, back long before there was multi-cellular life and such.

    8: FFS. Sea level rise is accelerating, if you don't cherry-pick your time frame to hide that. The sources of it are measured and in agreement. It's expected to peak around 6-9mm per year, or 0.6-0.9m per century, at current temperatures, faster as we go higher and capable of reaching 2m+ per century, currently at 3mm/year and climbing.

    9 & 10: This thing which "has not been measured" is hilarious down at #17, where it's measurements are noted.

    11: The Antarctic ice pack is indeed increasing, because of all the melting ice off the land, fresh water being easier to freeze.

    12: The total water-ice surface is indeed roughly equal, because of all the melted northern sea ice. This is what warming does, how is it an argument against warming?

    13: The ARGO buoys do show warming in some reviews, are not the only measure available, and when combined with all ocean measurements made at the time they agree that the ocean is warming. You can't cherry-pick data like that, again ignoring the long-term trends.

    14: I don't even. That's cray-cray. You're saying the planet is measured to be warming from space, so there can't be a warming effect? I don't even.

    15: Nothing is actually a black body. Nothing. Black body radiation is a model that works more or less well for all sorts of things, including things it was never intended for, but it totally works for STARS! Which are plasma, and also not a "black body". YFI.

    16: HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Second LAW people, insulation cannot work because it's colder than your house and thus cannot, oh fuck off.

    For those confused, cold things emit heat too, just less of it. This was surprising to people in the 15th century, and is not surprising now.

    17: This is the thing there was no measure of back at #9-10, he's complaining that it's measure matches the CO2. Just, like, we're emitting CO2, that's what happens when you burn hydrocarbons. The temperature increases with the CO2 increase, but probably delayed a few decades.

    18: So? There's a study of things unrelated to climatology. Thanks.

    19: Yes, there is more cloud when it's hotter, we know, the models have such big uncertainties specifically because people are still measuring exactly how that works on average. New satellite and everything.

    But importantly, the way the air circulation works changes with a changing climate, the climate zones change size and grow, shifting the places that are dry and wet and it's hard to predict exactly what we'll end up with at each particular moment along the way. Models are "inconsistent" because they're honest about not knowing exactly.

    20: Hilariously, models are diverging from measured temperatures most greatly because we keep accelerating our production of CO2 from fossil fuels and pushing us off the high end of the predictions until they can be updated to model our new, even crazier output levels.

    21: Yes, it can't be predicted long-term. But by long-term, they mean predicting things centuries ahead. So the models only get 80 years or so before the uncertainty sort of explodes them. You can totally predict mean climates much further ahead for thousands of years, even make predictions out hundreds of millions of years to some degree, but actual climates and the rate of change between them at any point will vary.

    22: The IPCC is not doing the science, it's collating the science. Every other body that's attempted independent collation, even the Brothers one, found the same results. "Pal review" is a slur spread by a bunch of cranks who were doing pal reviews for each other's denier bullshit and assumed the "other side", composed of actual scientists, must be too. They were incorrect and remain so.

    Since Nov 2006 • 520 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Beyond 'a bad look',

    When it is said that John Campbell is on a crusade about something or another, what is meant in traditional English is that John Campbell has said a few things in the public interest instead of just blithely quoting the lines provided by PR companies for their advertisers.

    When it's said he might lose his job because of all that "crusading", what is meant is that media who say things in the public interest will lose those same sponsors and their employers will have little choice but to shut them down.

    We have people in government who do not believe in evidence or science in general, that it's all just someone's opinion, that's a matter of public record. They don't care about the public interest, they care about the donations needed to stay in power, which is where they have to be to earn those donations. Governing for the sake of being in government. Media, for them, is there merely to keep the sheeple calm as their funders take an ever-larger share of the public purse. Pick some random group with poor resources (and no media access) to blame everything on, single mums, beneficiaries, refugees, the working poor, none of them will ever buy adverting space.

    Hand more to the donors, "wonder" at the sudden deficit, cut all the social services, and repeat. Flick off public assets at bargain prices to the newly enriched donors. I don't know if I own a vineyard or I don't, and here, have a bottle of my vineyard's wine by way of apology, that's the "real story", the awkward prime minister and his bumbling finance minister, oh how superior we all feel.

    In light of this, you might note they only talk to reporters who can help them with it, Bill again failing with his math, John being an ass, aren't Labour a bunch of meanies for saying that! Also people who also don't believe in evidence and science and simply fawn before whoever pays them best while blaming everything on people who can't fight back. Henry gets interviews all the fucking time, to fawn over how marvellous the PM is at keeping everyone calm while he steals everything. Because he's "relaxed about that", you see. How often's he been on Campbell Live? Once a year? Less?

    Journalism is a private, for-profit company, most of whom graduate to work in PR and media management, serving for-profit companies under a for-profit party in government. That the odd one still manages to say anything at all in the public interest is a bloody miracle.

    Of course we should feed children. We're a massive food exporting nation. People not having money for food is a societal failure. But they don't buy ad space and they don't donate to national, so never mind. Because are they really hungry? I'm sure I could find someone else to say otherwise.

    Since Nov 2006 • 520 posts Report Reply

  • Envirologue: The Cry of the Indignados –…,

    The "tweaked capitalism" version of most of that involves relatively few steps.

    1) Externalities must be taxed, and very heavily, such that not having any is always profitable. Which is to say, always clean up your own mess, or pay much more than is needed for someone else to at a profit.

    2) Compulsory Unions, damn it all. One workplace, one workforce, end of story. This idea of handing labour laws to the state for eternal protection has lead to us having almost no labour laws worth the name, with unions forbidden from doing anything about it.

    3) ACC and other universal insurance systems that are big enough to go after dangerous employers and win. Universal health and education the same way, take the cranks out of the major press at least.

    4) Abundant solar electricity. It is maddening that I live in a country whose government is actively preventing the adoption of this abundance to produce an artificial scarcity of power to keep prices high.

    I keep hitting on solar electric, but it's century old technology that has barely been touched for 80 years. With the push from China the price of production is now falling by 50% every two years. I don't think many people really get what that means.

    We live in a society where the average person has the power of 25 others through burning fossil fuels, but the future is where the average person has the power of 25,000 others through collecting solar power.

    Capitalism can surely survive the state providing it with abundant near-free power just as easily as it survives free education, roads, justice, and everything else we benefit by choosing not to make people pay for it (or at least only a token amount).

    Imagine using 100 times as much power and having a bill of $20 per annum for it, with zero pollution, that's what people should have in 50 years time. Capitalism would thrive.

    Since Nov 2006 • 520 posts Report Reply

  • Envirologue: Too Big to Fail – Why…, in reply to steven crawford,

    Tussock, do you have an ideological problem with nuclear power?

    Steven, thanks for asking.

    Nuclear power is a joke. The costs have never been competitive in the slightest, unless you consider the value of the accompanying nuclear weapons to be extremely high. We hold no such value in NZ, and most countries aren't allowed them anyway.

    But even if the world did try to move above the tiny amounts of nuclear electric power the world uses now, to come even remotely close to replacing fossil fuels we would immediately run out of the necessary nuclear fuels.

    With enough solar power, you could totally subsidise the recovery of low-concentration ores for nuclear fuel, to keep making more nuclear weapons, just in case killing all life seven times over isn't enough. Again, NZ won't bother, and most other countries won't be allowed to.

    Since Nov 2006 • 520 posts Report Reply

  • Envirologue: Too Big to Fail – Why…,

    And of course, when I say a thousand times, I'm only counting minimal efficiency, minimal cost, current tech, 24-hour available, only plated at a sparse rate over major desert regions with maximal transmission and usage losses. You can totally multiply that by another hundred if you really wanted each person in the world to have more power (and thus wealth) than a small city available for their personal whimsy.

    Since Nov 2006 • 520 posts Report Reply

  • Envirologue: Too Big to Fail – Why…, in reply to BenWilson,

    Which is why I ask: Is there a better hill nearby? Where? What does it look like?

    I'm glad you asked, Ben. The future of the planet, wherein it has people still on it, is with solar heated, passively cooled, (at least in the interim) and solar electric power as it's primary source (with various ways to make liquid fuels from electricity already available non-commercially, waiting for the massive fossil subsidies to die off). China is currently transitioning, a few small countries are already there, Northern Europe of all places is well on the way.

    The thing with solar electric, is that it's gigantic. Unbelievable amounts of power literally fall on the ground and then evaporate back into space every single day, all around the world, and you can use them at a fair rate at very low cost (already well below the cost of new coal plants, for instance, already competitive with natural gas) to do everything we do now and a thousand times more. A major problem is not being able to use it all. Really. Soon Europe will have to beam the spare stuff into space or something. Though you can spend collossal amounts of energy making rocket fuel, and maybe colonise Mars or something.

    And you get it everywhere. It's in China, India, Africa, ... everywhere. The Sun, no one really gets an advantage. Well, not so much in Antarctica, but no one lives there anyway.

    Now, obviously the world is currently pillaged and looted by a small group of idiots who gained their control by dominating the supply chains of oil and coal (with no shortage of blood spilt in exchange). They can't control a world run on solar-electric. Their model of control is at least a thousand times weaker than the obvious future that will replace them.

    All the limits in the future are raw materials, but they're surprisingly abundant once you have a colossal amount of almost-free power to retrieve them from less pure ores, and power to spare for cleaning and redecorating after the fact.

    Surely, you'd say, you need power to build the power stations and such, and you totally do, almost 20% of the future power of the world will go into recycling and replacing the power grid, which limits it's rate of growth for some time. And it's a tricky beast to bootstrap if we use up too much oil before getting started, so a lot of countries are being a colossal bunch of idiots by delaying, to protect their great dinosaurs of fossil fuel control.

    But China's going to make it, Europe's going to make it, most of South America at least, so at least a good many of the people of the future will have abundant energy supplies in electric and whatever other form they desire at near-zero costs. It cannot be otherwise. No one will control anyone at that point, there's no actual point in fighting wars in a post-scarcity society.

    The only thing people will have left to value is personal skill, which will mostly involve creative ways of using all that power without breaking anything important, and then tidying up after yourself, so they don't have to make so much rocket fuel with the excess.

    Since Nov 2006 • 520 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Anzac Day II,

    Over here, the clowns who run the Herald on Sunday's Spy section claimed their "tip line lit up" in response to the off-message Anzac thoughts of Lizzie Marvelly, who responded with a thoughtfulness and intelligence her witless accusers didn't really deserve.

    That so very well encapsulates everything that is wrong with this highly polished jingoism about "our nation" and "their sacrifice" and who is "re-writing history". Reporting the insufficiently patriotic for a round of pillory, because you can't let the facts get in the way of official "history".

    Since Nov 2006 • 520 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: This Anzac Day,

    NZ was a self-governing British colony from 1854 to 1907, and British dominion from 1907 to 1947. We've only been an independent country for 68 years. Our sole national anthem was God Save the King/Queen until 1977, and it's still one of our official anthems and commonly played at ANZAC day.

    But now it's re-writing history to suggest anything other than our tiny, bloody, and largely ineffectual part in Britain's imperial ambitions was for "a belief in our country".

    Check out the recruitment posters, you'll see what people fought for, killing the monstrous foreigners with their bestial habits and strange languages. Kill the Hun, for the King! For Britannia! For God, who is so clearly on our side.

    @Hillary, the Russian Empire had been busy trying to grab territory off the Ottoman Empire for a long time, while the British Empire wanted to support them (now that the whole Crimea thing was settled for good) in fighting both the Austria-Hungarian and German Empires by shipping munitions through the middle of it.

    The Ottoman Empire refused to allow that, by threat of bombardment from the hills of the Dardanelles strait, on account of their recent troubles with the Russian Empire (and their new allies, the Armenians) and also not particularly wanting to have to fight the Hungarians again, as they'd recently lost territory and rather a lot of people there.

    We were part of the British Empire at the time, and Turkey was part of the Ottoman Empire. So NZ invaded Turkey and they decided shit was getting a bit real and set about killing everyone who was on team Tzar.

    Since Nov 2006 • 520 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: This Anzac Day,

    In Oz as a young lad, we had remembrance day on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, because it was funny to keep shooting people for a few more days and hours until it came to a tidy number.

    The story we got told was of the troops having the first Christmas truce, and then not being allowed to again because it was bad for morale to learn the "enemy" were just scared young kids like yourselves. That men don't actually want war at all, from the first moment they have to live it. That it's only fear and ignorance makes people fight. Rather red teachers union in Victoria, all too many relatives names on the town war memorial.

    But it's all much worse than that in reality. We conscripted 18 year olds to invade countries on the far side of the planet, then had them run at machine guns and left the resulting corpses to rot in the mud. They didn't even have helmets for a start, because a nice hat was cheaper. It was disease killed most of them, because they had to live in an open sewer, and everyone had trench-foot and lice that constantly itched and hurt.

    But the thing they talk about, it's the boredom. War is the same faces, the same food, the same tiny bit of trench or same tent when you're rotated out, nothing to talk about, nothing to do. You wait for weeks, or months, the odd person you vaguely knew getting blown to bits, and then you kill some people who look just like you and your mates, and then they make you do it over again. In WWI, the people it broke, wandering about asking how to get home, we shot them as cowards.

    The soldiers didn't make a sacrifice, the country sacrificed all those young men for the glory of the British Empire. To run at machine guns until they ran out of ammunition, which the central powers finally did late in 1918.

    Since Nov 2006 • 520 posts Report Reply

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