A grand day out

Talk about walk the walk… I got up after the other three had headed off to something. Work, that’s right, almost forgot. Went down the paddock with Zeb, fed the chooks and collected their contributions. Came back, tied Zeb onto his run-wire (whats wrong with this picture, Dad?)climbed on the triathlon bike, and hived off into Dunedin. It’s a fair haul from the Kilmog, 2 big hills (Mt Cargill Rd tops out at 1500ft) and I got to the Yacht Club, showered, changed, and up to a meeting at the Uni all within 2 hours.

The meeting was an Energy update – who is researching what – and some serious intellectual fire-power in the room, good fun. Baygels weren’t half bad, either….  Interesting to count 5 of our Solar Action committee there, all for non SA reasons – theres a lot of cross-pollination in these disciplines. Great to note that even Marketing was there, but not Economics…..  One wonders what they would make of it…..

Presentations included one doing genome work on Butynol, reckons all he needs is CO2, water and sunlight, and he can produce a fuel 10% less potent than oil, but which can run in existing vehicles. One tried to formulate how carbon reduction could be compatible with economic growth, which I think is shaky ground. One spoke of a successful partmership with a Local Authority, using forest waste as the fuel to replace coal as boilerfuel. Very successful, at the 4cent/kwh level. Good meeting, good natter after, and I got another article contact with that last item.

Then a scurry up the road to have a chat with an author, ended up ranging the scope, all the way from both world wars, through Gwynne Dyer, on through ‘the chrysalids’, guessing the future, trying to put it all together. A good bloke, and a good new contact.

Very mellow day. Zeb dancing on his line as we appeared, and I seemed to need a snooze (nothing to do with the bike ride, or getting older). On to plan 4a for the pelton wheel, looking at using a stepping motor, or a motorbike charging loop…  Listened to the news, but nothing up my alley, except a good interview on Nights (RNZ) re growth (Crump is leading in the reality stakes) and a very insightful Gwynne Dyer article. Rather than warn of dire things, he warns of war. Which is exactly what will happen, of course. It is just so much easier to appear rational, sane and mid-ground, when pontificating on the possibility of conflict, than saying the world is running out of oil. Ultimately, the oil leads to the war, he keeps his cred, people are at least warned, and I think he is boxing very cleverly indeed. More than one skin to way a cat…

Tomorrow an article to finish (deadline-day (I work better under pressure, and there will be more pressure tomorrow – Charlie Brown) and a catch-up with some friends who have been cruising, then an upgrade of this blog, and a look for stepping-motors if there is time. Maybe a shiraz (or 2) at the end of it all. It’s been a busy week, god knows how people who work do it all….


Wednesday’s thoughts

I’m not particularly inspired to comment politically today. If the biggest news is Paula Bennett putting her painted toenails in her XOS mouth, not much is happening of moment.

Yesterday was interesting to me for several reasons – it was a bit eye-of-god, really. An author whom I respect, asked for some info, which tickled me somewhat – I’m not in what I do for the kudos (there are better ways of ego-flaunting than being a prophet of doom) but it is good to less alone. Then there was a clear rejection of the possibility of an article (t’was a business editor, I only asked what his upperword limit was, but he shied, mainly because he didn’t want to open the door, too many gremlins there. Ah, well, we just go round the outside, round the outside, round the outside, and choose our partners carefully.

Then, I get some feedback about a recently published article, and it’s pretty good. The lord taketh away, and the lord giveth. Then we went to the NZSO. The piano bit was good – actually they warmed into it – but I could pass on the Shostakovitch (as did Harpo Marx, I seem to recall). They showed off their technical ability with it very well, but I couldn’t help thinking it was for their enjoyment, rather than ours. I would have preferred Sheherazade…….

Actually, you could spot Eric Carmen’s (ex Raspberries) ‘All by Myself’, in the piano piece (Rachmaninof No2) – he stole it….

Better get back to the article – due Friday – rewrite 4773 stroke 3a

Key the Terrorist?

Just who are the terrorists. If you buy Shell fuel, you support what happens in Nigeria. That’s terrorism. What we did (were part of) in Vietnam, was terrorism. What we do by buying from China, supports the continuance of the regime which gave us the Tiannemen Square massacre. Recently, a thought-provoking Sunday Theatre movie explored a fellow who had bought internet child porn. His wife – rightly – pointed out that if people like him didn’t create the market, the porn wouldn’t be proferred.  Same goes with much we buy. It’s just too convenient, and removed, to make the connection.

Afghanistan is really a no-win strategic nightmare, but one jigsaw piece in the oil-ownership puzzle. Helen Clark saw this clearly, and our approach to date has been impeccable. Key is not (is he really IQ132?) in that league. We will now go back to the level of idiocy seen in the Holyoake platitudes during Vietnam (not as bad as LBJ, but!) and perhaps we go back to the ‘”Where England goes, we go”, of the Savage (or was it Fraser?) era.

Once described by a McGillicuddy Serious Party candidate as “the grrreat leap backward”. Sad but true.

Nick Smith. Tim Hunter. Dene McKenzie . Dissonance…

Until we get the physics, and the exponential maths, across through the likes of Tim Hunter (Sunday Star Times ) and Dene Mckenzie ( Otago Daily Times ) to the general public so they can influence the likes of Nick Smith, we are stuffed.

Believe me, I’ve tried. Stonewall. Silence. Nothing comes out the other end. Why? Well, maybe they don’t want to believe anything that awful. Maybe they are ‘economics’ trained – it’s fatally flawed as a discipline, due to not accounting for a finite planet, or for exponential expansion, or for habitat/biosphere realities.

You have to be brave, of course. Reasearched. Sure of your ground. Before you go out on a limb as a business editor, given the circles you have to keep ‘in’ with. Does that give them an excuse for the silence, though?

No. Douglas Reed (Insanity Fair, Jonathan Cape, 1938) was that brave, that researched, that sure of his ground. He’d done it by living in Germany, and intelligently projecting what he was seeing, to a disbelieving readership (and Editorship) back in England. In a world of great reporters, he is my hero. We need another.(s).

Actually, we have one, somewhere. National Radio and the recent Earthwatch series. The last episode. Come on, you others. Time’s up!


Well well well, I saw it . That which I knew I’d see as it had to happen. Bit like Andrews knowing the Titanic would go down, then waiting for the deniers and disbelievers to ‘get it’. He knew they would, and it would have given him little satisfaction. Two hours later, he was dead.

Bob Lloyd did it – Associate Prof of Energy Studies, Otago Uni. He hit them with Peak Oil, and the correlation between energy and economics. They looked punch-drunk. The Ceo of the DCC, Jim Harland, did a summing-up at the end, and he seemed ‘drained’. For those of us who have been there for thirty years, it is all ho-hum. For the likes of Julian Smith, it must undermine much of what they have taken for granted, for life.

A sad spin’off, may be that a fair section of the Green movement may be too ‘small’ in their thinking, to get on board. Maybe I’m wrong. What would be very exciting, is if the business community put it’s collective abilities to the wheel.

Peering ahead, I see non or lower income ratepayers (nonratepayers?) doing things in return for Council services – a few days on a shovel, a broom, or wider, looking after an older person, buddy-style.

The split in Councillors who were appropriate, versus those who are past their use-by date, is very clear. The ones who were there, are the ones who are thinking. Cull, Staynes, Butcher, Wilson and Stephenson were there. That’s about right, really. The rest have to go. Obsolete mindsets, to put it politely. Arrogant ignorance en group, to put it less so.

Don Brash – the great leap backward

This will be interesting. Hide has set Brash to propose how we will live at the level of Australians. Odd, really. Folk in my circles, think Australia is on a hiding to nothing. She has to commit suicide by coal sales, she is losing water and aquifers, she won’t have energy soon, she is further apart per person than anywhere, and she is nervous as hell about a Chinese invasion (hence the defence budget hikes).

The scary thing about the Brash interview (checkpoint) was his mention of water resources. Tim Groser (conservation Minister – yeah Right) made the same noises. Clearly, desperate men, desperate times, desperate clutching at straws.

Note that Bill English fronted up (wonder if it was my comments on Morning Report?) now, and it’s not privatisation. Bollocks, it’s not. This is the plundering of the commons, made all the more urgent because all of them have to be worth less – much less – than they were a year ago. For folk like me, that’s a ho-hum. For them, it’s ego, and life. Must be quite scary.

It will be interesting, from an observer point of view, to see how Brash equates levelling us with Australia, while holding true to his kind’s creed – stomping on others to make themselves seen bigger. More important. Something like that. Can’t be done, so it will have to be smoke and mirrors. Due by October – but my sites suggest we may (globally) be going down by then. A little case of more derivatives to unwind…….

Bank Inquiry will draw Blank

Why?   Because all of them – and that includes the Greens – are still failing to address the finite nature of resources, the ‘doubling time’ of exponential growth, and the need for the current (global) fiscal regime to grow.

That’s all hitting the ceiling now, no growth means no underwriting of the global fiscal system. Some in my on-line circles, think that even the ability to repay the current cumulative global debt, is not there.

It needs real resources, particularly real energy supplies. We are also noting that the Hubbert Curve may well not be a uniform bell-curve. The EROEI (energy return on energy invested) of future oil sources will be worse that hithertofore – we’ve understandably picked the low-hanging (read – easiest pumped) fruit first.

Interest rates, in that light, are a populist waste of time. We think (see ‘the oil drum’ for more) that the money injections may cause hyperinflation, but the jury is out. Other civilisations have gone this way, in miniature, but the bloggers were understandably stressed, and have left incomplete records. For instance, the Greenland Norse died starving but with coins – did they value the coinage at the end?

We need a post-oil fiscal regime that addresses a reduction in activity rates, meaning a reduction in growth. How you assuage greed, aspiration, envy in that scenario, I have no idea. Which is why I pick a big scrap (probably China vs USA) soon. Always, too many people and too few resources make for a fight, and for survival of the fittest.

Where are those bar-bells?