Ange Kenos writes: Re. Who does and doesn’t deserve an AC? (12 January, item 9). It is always interesting to read who got any gong/honour and why, and your take on the ACs was brilliant. Far too often people get rewarded solely for doing their job, for being politicians or helping political parties, or for winning a sporting contest. But what about the real unsung heroes within our community? Every reader of Crikey will know some. The ladies who have helped out at the local auxiliary of this or that hospital, the local sporting club for their children and now their grandchildren or at the local school for 20, 30… even 50 years. Or the blokes with SES for 20 years, helping organise community sport since forever, giving blood for 30 years, coaching or refereeing… We could all make a list and that is what I wish to read. Just who would you nominate for a gong and why – then, if you haven’t done so, DO nominate them. You can download nominations from the Governor-General’s website.

Brad Ruting writes: I think Michael Pascoe might be a bit confused about what Firepower’s product is claimed to do (12 January, item 5). I’m not quite sure how he manages to link the atomisation of fuel with “nuclear physicists in Russia” and “nuke nerds”. Huh? Atomisation is a fairly common term meaning the process of breaking up something (eg, fuel) into smaller, more dispersed particles. This would be expected to make fuel use more efficient in a motor engine – although exactly how much more efficient isn’t clear in this case. Still, to conflate an ordinary physics and mathematics term with subatomic nuclear experimentation is pushing it a bit far, especially if the purpose is to ridicule a company that’s keeping a low profile rather than ridiculing oneself.

John Parkes writes: Re. Water wars. At the risk of carrying on a pointless discussion, I want to pose some points for thought. In South Australia the water wars are well started. The State Government has introduced firm/harsh restrictions on domestic users who in fact use only a tiny proportion of the total water used. Even if the domestic users absolutely complied with the restrictions it would make little real difference. Commercial/industrial users are subject to the same rules only for their “cosmetic” water usage, eg lawns around factories – but there has been no attempt to restrict or cajole the reduction of water wastage in any commercial or industrial usage. However the Government has openly invited people to dob one another in over domestic rule breaking. While in the long term this may be necessary I predict it will lead to domestic disputes, fights, breaches of the peace and probably even fatalities eventually. More importantly the Government has managed to distract the public’s attention from the fact that while conducting surveys, planning, inquiries, consultations, studies, committee meetings and general blather, it has not actually done anything to: 1) encourage significant water savings compared to total usage; 2) find alternative sources of water; 3) address the long term planning needed to ensure adequate water supplies are available for the growth in domestic and industrial use which they are actively promoting. Yes, there is a drought, but proper planning would be based on the assumption of tight not plentiful rainfall. Then consider electricity – the two services are intertwined because sooner or later real water restrictions are going to limit the water available for evaporative cooling. The alternative, refrigerated cooling, is already being blamed for the summer power blackouts and will only get worse if people are forced away from water based air conditioning. Due to Government failure either to build generators or force industry to do so in return for the regulated markets they are presented with we are rapidly becoming a third world country because our Governments are failing in/refusing to perform their basic responsibilities.

Mike Burke writes: Bravo, Andrew Decker (12 January, comments). The most disheartening thing is that there have been so many people writing approving commentary in support of the eco-Nazis who have demonstrated only too clearly their fascination with fascism and other totalitarian creeds. Shame on every single one of the cowardly dobbers and their chattering claque. The end does not justify the means.

Philip Armit writes: Mr Hunter shouldn’t be surprised re attitudes rising from Melbourne water shortage (10 January, item 3). With global warming already providing an unsettling context, people are reading predictions of more frequent prolonged droughts for Australia with alarm. No life without water, right! In any community facing such a huge challenge, the extent to which they will turn in on their own is directly proportional to strength of their perception that they lack any control over the matter. Sadly, there will be a lot more of this sort of thing in the future. When I read about the possible and probable impacts of the greenhouse effect twenty years ago, I realised this sort of behaviour was inevitable. I’m pessimistic about society’s capacity to deal with the challenges that are facing us as a result of global warming – far more complex than recycled water.  I haven’t seen anything in the print media that might pass as good information – that informs and empowers.

Keith Bedford writes: Re. Kerr on the Club of Rome (12 January, comments). If Christian Kerr doesn’t know enough to understand what the Club of Rome was about then he is thick indeed. I read it when it came out and I at least understood that they were simply pointing out, as any competent person would understand, that there were limits to growth and they then simply did studies using the data they had to demonstrate what would happen if more resources were not found and growth continued. Idiots like Christian simply misuse their data to put them down but if Christian really does believe that there are no limits to growth he has no place in a sensible news publication. His views on global warning are just as stupid. The increases in global CO2 are real measurements as are the the studies of past decades from ice cores. We have a change that has not occurred on the earth in the lifetime of our species or any species that coexists with us. Surely we need to be worried. If it only took away the Christian Kerrs of this world it would probably not matter but it threatens us all and the species that inhabit our world. It is stupid to fail to do something about it.
I can get all the stupidity I can cope with from the Courier-Mail and Howard’s ABC and their minions so I do not need Christian on top of them.

Mike Martin writes: Is Christian Kerr in training to join Piers etc at The Daily Terror? If not and if all else fails, he might try consulting the facts. 1) We have progressed about a third of the way through the century timespan that the Club of Rome models had in mind. It is a bit early to say “so much for the Club of Rome’s credibility”. 2) Club of Rome commentary on the report observed, “The pessimistic conclusions of the report have been and no doubt will continue to be a matter for debate…” It didn’t predict that anything “would be completely exhausted” in 1992 or any other date. It encouraged us to think in terms of possible scenarios and what humanity might do about them. (Ref: Meadows, Meadows, Randers & Behrens, The Limits to Growth, Earth Island, London, 1972). 

Alister Air writes: There’s a new drink available in Washington DC bars, called the “Troop Surge”. It consists of exactly what you were drinking before with 8.5% more mixer and the price doubled. The bartender serves it by throwing it in your face.

Send your comments, corrections, clarifications and c*ck-ups to [email protected]. Preference will be given to comments that are short and succinct: maximum length is 200 words (we reserve the right to edit comments for length). Please include your full name – we won’t publish comments anonymously unless there is a very good reason.

Peter Fray

Save 50% on a year of Crikey and The Atlantic.

The US election is in a little over a month. It seems that there’s a ridiculous twist in the story, almost every day.

Luckily for new Crikey subscribers, we’ve teamed up with one of America’s best publications, The Atlantic for the election race. Subscribe now to make sense of it all, and you’ll get a year of Crikey (usually $199) and a year’s digital subscription to The Atlantic (usually $70AUD), BOTH for just $129.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey