Australian economy and the global financial crisis:

Andrew Lewis writes: Re. “Rudd manifesto is all good in hindsight” (yesterday, item 3) Where was Jeff Sparrow in 2007, exactly? Surely he should know that anyone going to the polls with anything like this sort of analysis/policy would have been baked alive by the media, all of it, not just the right wing rags but SMH and The Age. Howard would have lapped up any semblance of ideological “weakness”, and surely he isn’t suggesting that the party of the free market ideology (where thought goes to die) might change its spots and argue against the free market. “Economic correctness” was the evil twin of political correctness. Only the near collapse of the system has brought a grudging admission that maybe an unfettered market wasn’t perfect.

Jeff blames it on the failure of political leadership. I think him naive. This is the weakness of the democratic system. People who really don’t know and really don’t care will be led by the nose. No amount of cajoling by Rudd or anyone else would have turned the great madness around. There were far too many vested interests for this to ever end in anything but tears. Respectfully, wake up Jeff!

Ross Davidson writes: Malcolm Turnbull is right to ask “Would the real Kevin Rudd please stand up”. Who the hell is advising Kevin Rudd? Okay, so the solution might not be easy, but how hard is it to grasp the problem. We have 5% unemployment and rising, so therefore everyone else (95%) either work for a business (majority), owns a business (minor majority) or is a public servant (minority). So wouldn’t it be obvious to give tax breaks to business. It is business and high income earners that give the government their revenue. It is business that keeps this country alive.

So instead of giving handouts to low income earners who pay 2/5 of nothing in taxes and contribute very little to the economy, how about giving business and middle/high income earners some tax breaks. The $10B handout was never going to work and a fifth grader would know that. Most money went into the pokies or overseas. Well done Kevin, you have just wasted half of the surplus on achieving nothing.

Kirk Muddle writes: Re. the phrase “temporary budget deficit“. I’m sorry, all that I could think when I heard that was a Simpsons episode where Lisa becomes president (in the future), and in her address to the nation she advises of a “temporary refund adjustment”, and it sounds better than “massive tax hike”.

Brian Price writes: Re. “Sackwatch: 1.5 million and counting” (yesterday, item 27). My nephew who is 12 does the lawn every four weeks and I have asked him to come every five weeks now.

Climate change:

Tim Marsh writes: Oh Tamas Calderwood (yesterday, comments), I do enjoy your dispatches there from Sceptic Central. Although, I will admit, as a lowly telco engineer, I beg patience, as sometimes my scientific understanding is only based on reading and my fading memories of year 12 and university physics, mathematics, chemistry and biology. Now, not to be inconvenient, but I have some issues with your linked graph:

  1. 1998 was a El Nino (a big one). 2008 dip? La Nina.
  2. Your linked graph seems to be missing some data. If we plot the most recent data, we can see we are right on target. Where is this global cooling?
  3. I also struggle to equate the credibility of NASA, NOAA, NSIDC amongst many others with the Whatsupwiththat blog. But that might just be me.

I might also mention the shielding effect regarding satellite numbers. Unfortunately we probably need to introduce other things like ocean acidity, Antarctic warming, Arctic sea ice decline, strong glacier declines, treelines moving around etc in consideration of the effect of human-induced climate change or plain vanilla GW on the Climate System. Looking at temperatures without considering ecological impact kind of ignores the real effects occurring in front of our eyes, I think. If the likes of NASA and myriad other venerable institutions are convinced, what secret, hidden information do you have to convince us these people are wrong?

John Peak writes: I’m not great at reading graphs, so while I’ve enjoyed the never-ending climate change discussion, I haven’t spent a lot of time working out what the diagrams from models or projections or historical or prehistorical records are saying. But I do look at them. And even I have to take issue (is it worth it?) with Tamas Calderwood’s offering yesterday. He writes: “You’ll have to do better than that Tim. Satellite data shows there has been no warming for a decade and 1998 was the hottest year. So where is this global warming?”

This is the satellite data Mr Calderwood is referring to:

Yes, I can see that 1998 was the hottest year. But even I can see that the years before 1998 were on average cooler than the years after, isn’t that what the (increasingly) higher peaks over the past decade, and the higher troughs, are saying? As for 1998, well, maybe that could come under the term Anomaly in the title?

Bruce Hore writes: I am no climate change scientist, but I do know:

  • In Adelaide, we are having a week of temperatures over 40 degrees, peaking at 45.7 (hottest in 70 years). It’s really f-cking hot!
  • 20+ people a day are dying here due to heat related conditions. Why? Because it is really f-cking hot!
  • We will have another 5-7 days over 35 degrees. It ain’t 45, but it is still f-cking hot!
  • Last year, we had 15 days in a row over 35 degrees (a record for an Oz metro centre). It was really f-cking hot then too.
  • It is so f-cking hot that technology used by railways, tramlines and power companies all over the world, is failing here on a daily basis over a several week period.
  • Adelaide had 100mm (15%+) less rainfall last year than on average.
  • Adelaide had 1mm last month, 33+ mm less than usual. Its 2009 and, like financial redemption, there is no rain here either.
  • The Murray and lower lakes are pretty much empty down this way (the Coorong is a mess), which I suspect doesn’t get any coverage east of Bordertown. Old timers call it the worst it has ever been.

I am no climate change scientist, but I can tell you it is much hotter than it used to be with much less water around and the environment is suffering. We really need to change the way we use/treat the environment.

Mick Callinan writes: All these people having a ping at Tamas Calderwood over global warming have missed the obvious. I looked at his satellite data that he says shows no warming over its time period. Clearly (I’ve had my eyes checked quite recently) the poor guy suffers from strabismus (look it up). So, when the rate of warming doubles he will see it easily as the current rate of increase and if it levels off in his lifetime he will see it falling by the current rate of increase.

The funny thing is that if the strabismus had chanced to go the other way he would have been a rabid, unreasoning anthropogenic global warming advocate. I’m pretty sure the rabid and unreasoning bits are independent of his optical prescription.

The Internet:

Verity Pravda writes: Re: “Google takes a slash and the world ends” (yesterday, item 5). Stilgherrian has thankfully at last acknowledged that an index based filter of the Internet can work without degrading the Internet. He now wants to have us believe that the process of delivering the blacklist to ISPs will bring the Internet crashing down all because of one example from Google.

The first and obvious answer, as demonstrated by his power supply story, is that there are risks in all networks, but the good news is that all networks have in place risk management plans. These processes are what enable networks to handle the outages they get. In the specific case of an index based internet filter the risk planning would include (a) after hours arrangements for communicating list failure with ACMA (b) an alarm bell that would ring if the list file was too big (if it specified as a list of ISP addresses unlike the list of URLs Google was using it couldn’t happen from a single slash) (c) alarms that trigger before network traffic “fills” the network. And the actual scenario of the IP addresses the network engineers ned to access being included in the “blacklist” can similarly be dealt with by rejecting the blacklist file if it contains IP addresses required to run the network.

So thanks to Stil for providing the first exercise in risk planning for the implementation of the filter to a network. But it still fails, just like his political censorship and other scare stories, as a reason to not implement a filter.

David Griffin writes: Since Stillheriggan links to both the Google and StopBadware blogs in his article on Monday, he should have been able to pick up the fact that StopBadware doesn’t supply a list of ‘bad’ sites to Google, just criteria for bad sites. Maybe he read the blogs before they were updated? From the blogs, it sounds like the conversation between Google and StopBadware went something like this:

Google to stop Stopbadware: You retards! You broke the Internet! Thats soo not Googley!

StopBadware: No, you did!

Google: Oh … yeah … we did too, sorry, do you think anyone noticed?

Dan Crone writes: Maybe this is what Conroy is really trying to save us from?

Trains:

Graeme Connelly writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday, item 8). Prof Graham Currie might be slightly tarnished  in terms of independence in his evaluation of the performance of the Rail Network during heatwave conditions. But did Crikey spot the statistical howler he committed in his Sunday Age article? He stated that only 1.3% of days were in the low 40’s each year then stated this meant that this 43C days happened on average “just over once a year” But 1.3% per annum translates into just over 3 days per year of above 40C temperatures. Maybe a small difference but surely it speaks volumes about Prof Currie’s competence.

Keith Binns writes: Apparently, we are the only city in the world with a rail system that wasn’t designed to operate in summer. This makes a nice match for the UK which has a transport system which doesn’t work in Autumn (leaves on the line) or in mid winter (frozen points).

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Peter Fray

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