Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Two things

A few days ago I wrote about how neither SA political party had a comprehensive traffic and transport plan to expose to the South Australian people prior to the state election. I was wrong - the Liberals did have a plan and they have provided me with a copy. OK - it is a bit light on in terms of a real and ambitious programme - but it is a good start. Too bad they won't get to implement it.

The unfortunate thing about the Liberal plan is that it doesn't mention the Adelaide CBD Traffic signal problem specifically. Now this is the biggest and most obvious transport issue in Adelaide. Not so much because it has such a huge impact on the people and the environment - which it does - but because it has been ignored by Labor for so long. It astounds me that Pat Conlon is still Transport Minister - he has had the last 8 years to deal with this issue and did next to nothing. And it looks like he is not going to do much this time either.

Just to recap - the Adelaide metro traffic system is a dud - the infrastructure is broken, there is no signal co-ordination and that leads to a "hurry up and wait" arrangement which is hugely time wasting and very unsafe. Plus it has a serious environmental impact on the city and surrounds from the wasteful emissions of the "mobile car park" roaming in the city. There are other associated issues arising from the City Council abandoning its responsibility for traffic management.

There is no doubt that a dysfunctional traffic and transport system in a major metropolitan area has quite serious and long term adverse impacts on the local community. And the truth is that fixing such a broken system would have enormous and positive benefits for the place. Not only would the local comunity be forever grateful but it would demonstrate that the state is open for business once again.

Fix it and people will notice and respond - ignore it and they notice even more. "Continuous improvement" is a phrase that seems not to be understood by the current Transport Minister.

The second.

I also wrote recently about the Victorian road safety programme after Mark Webber was "beaten up" for commenting on it. I should point out that all Australian States subscribe to a similar road safety model - they can't manage to get their act together enough to fix the road accident and trauma problem but they can all manage to run a "fear" and "penalty" programme. Makes you wonder why? It wouldn't have anything to do with the revenue that it generates - would it?

All I can say to those people who thought I was being a little harsh - is look at what is happening elsewhere. Check out what is going on across Europe. Look at what the United Kingdom, France and Germany are doing - and Denmark and Sweden. And then you will know where Mark Webber is coming from. And why our system is rubbish.

The really scary thing for me is that the Australian States seem to have become locked into this weird "fear" and "penalty" scheme that can't possibly work. They now *own* this approach - have offloaded all responsibility to their police forces and seem likely to run with it regardless of success. Not a good look Premiers.

The big thing that is needed is for someone with authority to revisit the programme - and importantly to ask some "independent" experts about how best to conduct a "road safety programme". Independent as in overseas - because the so called "local experts" have been captured by this seriously broken system - and are mostly paid by it. Kevin or Julia?

But how many toes will that approach tread on? Hopefully lots - and the result will be a system that actually works.

Monday, March 29, 2010

About Time

This is absolutely a good thing.

Glenn Stevens is clearly concerned enough about a property bubble that he feels it necessary to appear on commercial television and talk to the "people who are creating the problem".

A fantastic pre-emptive approach - made necessary by the fact that these folks only get their information from breakfast television. Not for them the ABC or Crikey or the "high brow" news services. They have been captured by channels Seven and Ten.

I wonder if they will start to pay attention now? The likely reaction is "Glenn who"? as they get on the phone to the bank manager to see if they can up the limit on the credit card - again.


This is third hand - but rather amusing.

I would love to post comments but live in fear of the thought police.

Mark Webber is right

Now I don't normally put up my hand in support of Mark Webber - or any of the people who earn a living from entertaining the *bogans* in our community. But I do agree with his recent remarks.

The State Governments and their police forces are up in arms because Mark has dared to question their approach to road safety.

Well it needs to be questioned. The states have spent the best part of 40 years drumming into us the message that road safety and alcohol and speeding are intertwined. They say that each one is totally correlated with the others. It's simply BS.

The reason they do this is because their simplistic strategy for managing the road safety programme is based solely on fear and penalty. It's a complete fear based penalty system - that has been developed and implemented by people with poor analytical capability - and it simply doesn't work.

Actually it does have side benefit in two areas - a) revenue raising and b) gaining political support from the wowsers.

Can you imagine other state based programmes built around fear and penalty?

Lets educate our kids using fear and penalties when they fail.

Lets treat our hospital patients on the basis of fear and penalties when they get sick.

Failed year 10 maths? - that's a $50 fine thanks, a broken leg? - that will be $200 and death? - well that is a $1000 fine. Sounds about right ;-)

It's simply a rubbish system that has not yet evolved - because no-one running it has the necessary smarts.

If the states were to get serious about road safety then they would set up a proper data collection and analysis regime that would collect all the relevant information from road accidents and then they would analyse that and use the outputs to design a proper "carrot and stick" based road safety programme.

It is called "Evidence Based Policy" and would halt the emotional BS that currently dominates this subject.

Speaking of New Industries

I have long been critical of our state governments and their inability to foster and encourage new industries and to intelligently "fill the gaps" as the old industries wind down and disappear. From my observation and despite all their rhetoric they don't even try.

Just about every state Premier regularly gets on their bandwagon and speaks passionately about what he or she is doing to encourage investment and create jobs - particularly around election time. But it's mostly just spin and BS because their success has been limited - actually it's pretty much nonexistent.

And yet there are actually plenty of opportunities to create new industries. And I don't mean by spending money to lure some event or another from some other state - doesn't that behaviour show the creative, innovative and intelligent mindset of these state Premiers?

No what I mean is that there are lots of opportunities to create new industries by looking seriously at the last 200 years of state legislation and identifying those pieces that hinder progress and creativity and innovation in the 21st century. And there is heaps of it.

How do I know there are opportunities to be exploited here? Simply by looking at what other jurisdictions are doing in this area. There are lots of examples from the US to the UK and Europe but you wouldn't know about it because our state governments seem not to have noticed. They certainly don't talk about it.

Take France as an example. The French have managed to encourage and foster an incredibly innovative and creative recreational marine industry that has become the envy of the world. And it employs thousands of highly skilled people. They have almost singlehandedly captured the market for multi-hull sail and power craft. Their design, technology and manufacturing capability is so far ahead of competing nations that "daylight" is in second place.

Now I don't mean to suggest that this has happened just by getting politicians to "encourage" it but political support was an important component included in the many faceted French industry development mix.

And that they have managed to do this from a relatively "high cost" European country says volumes about the need to compete on price. The French have outsmarted the rest of the world in this industry and they have done it by building and then using hi-tech design and technology skills.

Now you would have thought that if the Australian Premiers were serious about creativity and innovation and looking out for their jurisdictions - that they would investigate and study these examples from around the world and then identify the new industries that have a good fit locally.

Instead what we focus on here is a competition to see who can dig the most stuff up - while engaging in a race to the bottom on people costs. I for one reckon it's a seriously dumb approach.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Adelaide Traffic

The thing that surprises me about the South Australian election last weekend is the lack of discussion and apparent interest in the "seriously broken" Adelaide transport and traffic management system.

No party raised it as an issue and no-one offered a solution to the problems. It was as though these problems don't even exist. All I can say is that both major parties are apparently blind. Or perhaps because the key individuals on both sides are driven around in big white cars - they don't actually notice the issues.

The system is seriously broken - the infrastructure is old and the day to day management is dysfunctional. There has been no plan and no integrated investment or management for decades. And the scary thing is that the locals and their political representatives appear not to have noticed. But everyone who visits definitely notices.

There was a time 30 odd years ago when the state actually *got* traffic management - and had an appropriate plan in place and clever people who knew how to design, build and manage a smart system.

In fact the traffic planning and management skills that were developed in Adelaide during the Dunstan and Bannon eras formed the basis for a substantial South Australian based export industry. The skills developed there were used to export consulting services across Asia and Europe and the rest of the world. There was a time - aeons ago now - when Adelaide based traffic and transport consultants were in demand in China - and were advising on traffic and transport management issues there.

But as I said that was aeons ago. Various state governments since then have closed that industry down. For about the last 30 years Adelaide has done less than nothing to enhance and develop their traffic and transport systems - and the upshot of that is that an industry that developed skills locally and exported them internationally - just disappeared.

This is the *guts* of what has happened in South Australia over the past 30 years - across many industries. And the question that we should be asking both Mike Rann and Isobel Redmond is - Why?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

State Governments foster innovation - don't they?

Within the thinking classes there is quite a bit of debate about how to encourage innovation and the creation of new industries within and across the Australian corporate landscape.

This is not an easy issue to deal with because most industry in Australia has resulted from government distortion of one form or another. Just about every moderately successful industry has its roots in rules and regulations that have been manipulated by governments to create those mythical things that are known as "jobs".

Remember the "Banks" and the "Telco's" and the "thousands of other state sponsored businesses"? Even your local tradesmen exist because state governments have deemed it necessary to "license" people who offer to work on your houses. Which raises the question about why Garrett’s insulation programme failed so dismally - given that the state governments are responsible for the “quality” and “licensing” of these workers? But that is another story.

I defy anyone to identify an industry in Australia that was born without assistance - which has grown up on its own and which is now a successful "free enterprise" activity.

There simply isn't one.

Even those industries that are showcased as the most "capitalist" have been fostered by government with some form of tax, concession, tariff, or other assistance. Sometimes the "assistance" is not always obvious - but it is always there.

Which always makes me laugh at the Republican party and Liberal party's view of the world which is about removing government from the market - and allowing "free enterprise" to *blossom and bloom*. All it really does is allow the greedy to pocket the government sanctioned proceeds at the expense of the rest of us.

For 200 years in Australia we have had state governments pulling levers and deciding the "rules" about what can and can't happen in their jurisdictions. And for most of those 200 years they have made rules that are guided by the people with influence who knock on their doors. Lobbyists have always been there and have always been pushing their view of the world. The way policy has evolved has by and large been driven by the rich and the powerful influencing governments - often to the detriment of the general population. I would argue that the political results across two Australian states last weekend reflect the long term consequence of this.

Which brings me to my point?

There is an enormous number of old, worn out and redundant rules (dressed up as public policy) that have been on the books for decades and which are really hindering the creation of new industries in the 21st century. Many of them were created in an earlier era - often to satisfy the greed of some fat, rich and dumb industrialist or pastoralist - or to artificially create some bureaucratic empire.

It's time for a review of these rules - with the objective being to ensure they are all relevant in the 21st century - are any of our state premiers up to it?

Monday, March 22, 2010

New Blood

So for the past 8 years Mike Rann, Kevin Foley, Pat Conlon, Michael Atkinson and the rest of the Ministers in the SA Government have thumbed their noses at the people and inferred that the citizens of the State can "like it or lump it".

I have heard some horror stories in the past couple of days - most can't be repeated here.

And here we are in March 2010 when these same Ministers have received a serious kick in the backside at the most recent election and most of them are sitting around saying "We need to communicate better". What a bunch of wankers.

Atkinson is the only honourable one - he obviously gets it - he has agreed to stand down from the next Government. The rest of them are running around trying to position themselves for the new sinecures.

This is despite a serious swing against the Rann Government's Ministers. Media Mike will attempt to spin this but the facts are:

Mike Rann has had a 10.1% swing against him.
Kevin Foley has had a 12.5% swing against him.
Pat Conlon has had a 11.9% swing against him.
Michael Atkinson has had a 11.2% swing against him.

And the count isn't over yet - it is likely to get worse for them. But if you are a Minister in this Government you already have a big buffer - lucky you. Memo to Electoral Commission - that needs to change!

And on it goes - Adelaide and Norwood have been lost and all they can talk about is how they need to "communicate better".

"Boys, you were born with two ears and one mouth - and they should be used in that same ratio. Try "listening" before you attempt "communicating". I know that you think that you know it all but most South Australian's don't agree with you".

Actually they also need some serious renewal. Rann needs to take the lead and set out a plan for his replacement to take over within two years. He needs to insist that Foley, Conlon, Atkinson and others move to the backbench and work hard to find competent replacements from the many talented individuals who are now in the parliament. He needs to put the interests of the State ahead of the interests of his mates and colleagues. And he needs to drop the spin.

And then they need to get on with it and start delivering the services the people need.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Can you imagine this?

Can you imagine a situation where an average bloke decides to stand for the Senate because he hasn't got anything better to do - he is bored with his lot, his job is looking shaky and he reckons that a career in politics will set him up for the rest of his life?

He does the rounds for a while - interviewing with the Liberals, the Greens and the Labor party but each of them reject him as a candidate. Finally he snags a gig with the religious right who call themselves "Family First". They were made for each other.

And then he is accidently elected to the Senate on the back of preferences from the Labor Party. Surely that is democracy at work - but sometimes the political process gets things horribly wrong!

And then reality bites - he is finally a Senator but his message is well hidden in the *noise* of the Senate - what is he to do?

Well he can't pretend to be part of the mainstream political landscape - because that has been well and truly raked over by the major parties - who resent any intruders into "their" space.

So one afternoon over a bottle or seven of "jungle juice" he maps out a plan to appeal to the nutters, the dimwits and the stupids - surely they need someone to represent them too?

He starts to consolidate the religious right, the climate change sceptics, the creationists and every other motley collection of half baked nitwits on the planet - or at least in his sphere of influence.

And so that's what he does. Before long he is representing them all - even managing to mention two or three crazy causes each time he gets his face in front of a television camera.

But the thing he didn’t consider is how he now appears to be one of these nutters, dimwits and stupids – in fact he has become their political leader.

And there is one sure thing about Australian elections. We will happily vote for the charlatans and the liars and the light fingered but we definitely won't vote for the nutters who are represented by this particular Senator.

It's not only State Governments that are Dumb

I must have been asleep at the wheel over the past few days as this story started doing the rounds - I missed it until today.

Apparently evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins has tagged Senator Steve Fielding as being "more stupid than an earthworm".

I did spot the Victorian Senator on Q and A a couple of weeks ago and thought his performance there was abysmal.

All thinking Victorian's must be seriously embarrassed - this Senator is both a climate change denier and a creationist - does he seriously believe that his views are representative of the good people of Victoria?

The Australian Senate is clearly becoming a haven for nutters and dipsticks. Just another reason why Kevin needs to take them on and call a "double dissolution".

Thursday, March 18, 2010

More Dumb State Governments

So the NSW Government owned electricity system is apparently putting prices up again - by 30% - according to the ABC.

And yet the Federal carbon pollution reduction scheme hasn't been passed by the Senate yet!

So there is no possibility that climate change mitigation or action can be blamed.

Doesn't that say something about the dysfunctional nature of our states - especially NSW?

Looks like the lazy, incompetent, state governments are screwing the citizens yet again.

It's a disgrace - but we have a chance to change some of it - because this weekend we have two state elections - and I reckon they need to hear a bit of a message.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

It's Time

Kevin, it's time. Time to stand up and be counted and take on the *numbnut* Liberals.

I for one am seriously "pissed off" that Victorian Senator Julian McGauran thinks he can get away with trashing the reputation of the CSIRO and it's staff while rampaging his way through the Andrew Bolt and Miranda Devine (Bovine?) play-book.

The Senate needs to enforce a standard of behaviour that is way beyond the seriously low standards of this elected individual. Ban him from the Senate until he can demonstrate a commitment to the nation and to the truth.

And our media organisations should ignore him - until he can demonstrate some responsibility and understanding of the facts and what is a globally accepted scientific position.

But most of all our Government needs to take him and his colleagues on and show the Australian people that these Liberals and their puppet masters are just lying.

Stunning Stuff

You have got to listen to this.

Stunning stuff.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Serious T-Shirt

This is a serious T-Shirt - and for those with an attention span that extends beyond about 20 seconds - it is worth scrolling down and reading the whole story.

For the rest of you - just continue with the pulp on Channel 10.

Because when you have read and understood it - you will be prepared. And if you are prepared then your finances probably won't be decimated when the bubble bursts.

Is Mike planning an exit?

Today Crikey tells of a rumour doing the rounds in Adelaide and Canberra.

It appears that while Mike Rann has been happy to lead the ALP into the next South Australian state election, some six months ago when all the news about his alleged affair with a parliamentary bar worker broke (Michelle who?) he was on the verge of quitting politics altogether. That was while Kevin Foley, Rann's obvious successor, was in the middle of his own navel-gazing phase.

Rann was apparently talked out of it by Kevin Rudd but was told if he led the ALP to a state election victory, he'd be given an out and Rudd would appoint him to an ambassadorial role. And what plumb job is about to come up for grabs? None other than the current role of Australia's Ambassador to Italy held by another South Australian, ex-Howard government minister Amanda Vanstone, whose three-year terms finishes in July 2010.

The Rome option story is doing the rounds of DFAT and among some ALP circles. Rann has apparently had enough and wants out. Foley is raring to take over. Maybe someone should ask Rann the simple question: do you intend to lead the ALP for the next four years?

Merchants of Doubt

This says it all really.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

What we need here is a paradigm shift

Next weekend we have elections in two states - South Australia and Tasmania - both have long term Labor governments which are trying very hard to be re-elected. These state politicians like pulling the levers - while looking after themselves and their mates.

Who knows what the outcome will be - but in both cases the existing Labor governments are on the nose and the Liberal oppositions are closing in. But of course the Liberals were in power last time and they have lots of baggage and very very ordinary track records. For most thinking voters this is Hobson’s choice. That might explain the large numbers of single issue candidates who have nominated.

There is a real possibility of a hung parliament in both states - and as far as I am concerned that won't be a bad thing. Actually it will be a good thing and might even mean that the greens and the independents will get a say in running these states. Yea - democracy at work. At the very least it will stop the BS that happens post election and for four years thereafter - where the winning team basically thumbs it's nose at the people of the state and helps itself to the spoils via the state Treasury.

As I have said many times before - "our state governments are a waste of space - and they should be abolished".

Let me say it again - "our state governments are a waste of space - and they should be abolished".

They add little or no value and are really just about providing status and employment for a bunch of lightweight political hacks - who have no imagination, no ideas, no experience and who can't get a real job.

And just to explain - I am a South Australian - I was born there. And I love Tasmania - I first moved there in 1976 and have moved back twice since but ended up having to relocate elsewhere just to "make a living".

South Australia is my home state - and it distresses me how the place has been so badly managed - over 40 years.

Tasmania is my dream state - and it distresses me even more to see how it has been mismanaged - over an extended period.

In both cases by the major parties. And they want us to re-elect one of them next Saturday. I can't do it and I suspect that many of my fellow citizens can't either.

What we have here is a failure to communicate and what we need here is a paradigm shift. Sermon over - amen.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Free Votes

After watching Q and A the other night I started thinking about why all Australian politicians are keen to parade their religion in front of the population - and then whinge about how it is "personal and private".

Actually they don't really parade their beliefs - what they all do is tell the world that they are of the "Christian faith" and that they regularly go to church and read the bible - and some of them do.

Basically it is a way of getting "free votes".

These votes are free because internal polling shows that the people who are genuinely religious in our community prefer to vote for candidates who also have "the faith". And the way our society has evolved over the past two hundred years is that a very large percentage of older voters have been captured by the Christian faith - it's probably their form of insurance.

So if you are a politician and you need votes (and who doesn't) then you will profess to being a "practising Christian".

So that is why you won't find any politicians who say they are - atheist, agnostic, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu or anything other than Christian - because their "free" votes would just move on to their opponents.

My guess is that the numbers of atheists and agnostics and other religions in the political class is about the same as the population generally - Google will give you the current answers on that.

But somehow we let them get away with declaring their "Christianity". In the same way that they declare their financial interests they should be compelled to *truthfully* declare their personal and religious interests.

Poor Old Aunty

There is no doubt that of all the broadcasters in Australia - the ABC stands out as easily the best for quality, quantity, integrity and any other measure of performance that you would want to use in a comparison. The ABC is so far ahead of its rivals that Senator Conroy has been moved to give their commercial television rivals a quarter of a billion dollars in handouts to help them get back in the game ;-)

Which is why I was dismayed to read the story about how the Chairman of the ABC - Maurice Newman is a climate change sceptic - and wants Aunty to present a more "balanced" view!

Is this guy for real? Does he not read and understand the science? Has he not been paying attention for the past decade? And then I realised that he is one of those sceptics that I wrote about a few days ago. I'll bet real money that he is also a member of the "blue" conservative party.

What is it with old white conservative males who are still clinging to power in Australia?

Do they think that water flows uphill? Is their blood "blue" in colour? Do they think that the rules that govern the universe somehow don't apply to them because they are "born to rule"? Have they spent so long in positions of power that the free liquor pickles their brain - and mucks about with their logic?

Do they not realise that when they make these ridiculous comments - that the entire complement of thinking Australian's look at them and say - "silly old fool".

Either way, he is way past his use by date and should shuffle off to the cricket with his little mate.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Secret Weapon

I inadvertently let the cat out of the bag recently - when I suggested that Tony Abbott was "on the nose" with women voters - and someone asked me where the public polling was that showed that to be the case.

As far as I know there isn't any - but there is extensive internal polling by the major political parties that shows this to be the case.

Both major parties know that Tony has a serious problem with women voters. Or more correctly, women voters have a serious problem with Tony. Or at least they did when he was Tony Abbott - Member for Warringah - and displaying his previous persona.

Now that he has donned the disguise and his new caring persona and commitment to maternity leave things might change - but I am guessing not - the women of Australia are not that fickle - are they?

Anyway this is a "secret weapon" as we head into the election cycle - and no-one will be concerned that I have leaked it here - because as we all know - no-one reads this blog.

Political Shenanigans

Kevin is all over the shop running around like a headless chook - because Tony has him rattled. Calm down Kevin and get on with it. If you can't do that then take a trip somewhere and let Julia pull the levers for a while - she always does a good job.

Tony has an opinion and a policy on just about everything - but he is a one man band and will run out of puff long before the election arrives - because the Libs talent pool is rather thin. Perhaps he and Mark Latham can then join forces - and Christopher Pyne can be leader - wouldn't that be awesome?

Actually, it's rather entertaining watching Tony try to become a caring human being in the space of 5 minutes - after spending 16 years creating an image of a hard arse staunch catholic right wing *numbnut* conservative.

It's amusing to watch him as he changes disguise into a real person and attempts to become like your next door neighbour. He should be in the circus as a chameleon and master of disguise. Oops I forgot he is in the *numbnut* circus ;-)

And in South Australia we have Mike cacking himself because with a week or so to go Isobel and her team of Libs are level pegging with the "masters" of the South Australian universe.

I think the problem down there is that the locals are sick of bullshit. If perchance Mike manages to scrape through then he needs to take himself away to a rehabilitation unit for a month and learn how to tell his constituents the truth. And he might like to take his ministers with him. Call it a holiday if you like.

This is how politics is supposed to work - the problem is that after a term or two they all think they are invincible - or geniuses - or gods - or something.

Ya gotta laugh.

Monday, March 8, 2010

What is it with our politicians and religion?

Watching Q&A tonight I saw and heard federal politicians Tony Burke, Julie Bishop and Steve Fielding shift, squirm and dissemble about religion and their own personal beliefs. It was very sad stuff.

Apparently they are all deeply religious and have great difficulty in reconciling science and religion. Unlike the Q&A audience which seemed to be well balanced and which clearly understood these issues.

Richard Dawkins was the only credible panellist with an argument that was clear and sensible.

This is one of the big problems with politics in Australia. We seem to attract politicians who are so concerned with appealing to the many right wing religious nutters in our society that they will deny many things - science, reality and religious fundamentalism among them.

Australian politics is turning into a disgrace.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Tools and technology

For a couple of years now I have been looking for some specific tools that would make my boat building activities much easier, more efficient and more enjoyable.

The main tools I am after are a CNC Router and a variety of small hand and power saws.

All of these things exist elsewhere in the world but are incredibly difficult to find in Australia - why?

* Japanese saws are a clever, simple and ancient technology that makes the process of cutting plywood simple, accurate and easy. But the few OZ suppliers that I can find want between $65 and $100 for a single saw - this is way over the top. So I went direct to the Japanese manufacturer and managed to get as many as I want for around $15 each. Surely there is an opportunity for an enterprising Australian to import these things and charge say $30 in the local market. Why hasn't it happened?

* The portable power saws that are available are usually big and heavy and range between circular saws, jig saws and reciprocating saws. I already have these and want a small, lightweight easily manipulated small diameter circular saw. Now these exist and have been available in Europe and the US for decades - why not in OZ?

* CNC Routers are workshop tools used to quickly and accurately cut complex shapes from plywood and other materials - they are particularly useful in a boat building enterprise. But there are no Australian manufacturers - most CNC routers come from Asia or the US and are outrageously priced - especially after the shipping companies and other middlemen have touched them. Another big opportunity for an enterprising Australian - why isn't it happening?

I had written a few paragraphs on why this stuff isn't available - but then I realised that no-one actually gives a rats. Most Australian's don't make things and the few who do are only interesting in making bland box like things like houses. And they are all OK thank you - because we have become conditioned to paying too much for their blandness.

The biggest problem with this country is that we don't seem to have enough people who ask "why not"?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Where are these *sceptics* from

Now that we have identified some of the characteristics of the "Climate Change sceptics" it’s worth asking the question - "Where are they from"?

And the answer is that almost exclusively they come from just four countries - The United States, Canada, The United Kingdom and Australia. My simple calculation shows that well over 90% of the so called "sceptics" are from these regions. So not only do they have the characteristics that I identified a couple of days ago - they also inhabit some of the most industrialised of the western nations.

Its worth noting that none of the sceptics are from China or India - or at least none that I can find and there are few across the rest of the Asian landscape. The Asian countries in particular seem to get the size, scale and extent of this problem much better than almost anywhere else on the planet. And in their usual diligent way they are working away to deal with the problem.

My guess is that these western countries will still be "delaying" and in "denial" well after China, India and the rest of Asia have moved down the path toward mitigation.

But that won't bother any of the *sceptics* - who will be way past their use by date and pushing up daisies. But it will bother our children and grandchildren.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Sceptics Disease

For a short while I thought that global warming *sceptics* actually believed that their view was real - because they didn't know about the science.

I naively thought that exposure to the facts and evidence would quickly bring them around to the same point of view that all of us have moved to after the science is explained - when we "get it".

But after a few recent discussions with "sceptics" I have come to realise that they are actually a different breed. They won't acknowledge global warming because they have a weird agenda - one that is driven by an "anti-science + right-wing" view of the world.

Now I haven't studied this to the extent that it would earn me a new degree but I have formed some opinions about what constitutes a *sceptic*. Here is who I think they are.

* With few exceptions they are old white and male - few females are sceptics.

* Mostly they haven't been through the tertiary education sector - and don't value it.

* They all have a history and background of association with conservative parties and politicians.

* They have a very high opinion of their own ability - some might say they are arrogant.

* They have been exploiting the environment and young people their entire lives - they are old time capitalists.

* They dislike and distrust all intellectual processes and all Labor governments.

* Many of them have had a lifetime in small business - some have become big fish in small ponds.

* They feel as though the world has passed them by and they are no longer valued.

* They are angry because they are used to being valued - in a conservative world.

* Their scepticism is really their last rebellious act - as they try to remain relevant – with 20th century ideas in a 21st century world.

* They are dying off at an enormous rate - because they are all around or near 80 years of age.

* They are a very good argument for Julia's education revolution.