Monday, March 31, 2008

Mercy Me...

xmercy_thumb[3]_thumb[1] Sean the blogonaut F.C.D. Does anymore really need to be said? Personally, I don't think so, but for those of you that aren't aware of the fantastic and altogether unselfish and charitable work that Sean has been dedicating his blog to, then I urge you to read on!

I published a very short article a little while ago and the subject matter got Sean's goat and goaded him into action. I have to say, the man is not only a humanist and a gentleman of the highest order, he's also a veritable research machine.

The article concerned those blackguards at Mercy Ministries who insist on treating dangerous and even life threatening medical and psychological conditions using various religious techniques, which of course only ever works for the religiously affected, not the medically affected.

It's quite obvious however, that some of these girls have been suffering serious medical and/or psychological conditions that god either cannot or simply refuses to repair. These girls need proper care, not derision for making "bad choices" or exorcisms to cast out demons, they need love, understanding and care.

Just three simple things. They are not easy things however, nor are they biblical things. In most cases they are not choices, but biological and psychological issues that require professional and/or well trained help and care. Sometimes god's biology just doesn't work the way it should. Why that should be if we were created by a perfect god, not to mention "in his image" is quite beyond me, but apparently he works in mysterious and contentious ways, not to mention being nasty and altogether vindictive, at times.

So I urge each and every one of you that may peruse this article to get over to Sean's right this minute and support him in his effort. I know he'll appreciate it, but the girls will appreciate it too I think, and it's they that really need some support. Mercy Ministries, after only making things worse for them in the first place, only continues to make things worse by refusing to even apologise, let alone heaping more derision on them in the media. It's shameful, hurtful and vindictive behaviour, not to mention completely UNchristian. So while you are at Sean's, please drop the girls a comment and show your support.

Excellent stuff! Gimme more...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Moves are afoot!

Some may be wondering at my quietness. I'll be making the rounds shortly but in the mean time, please accept my apologies. There are however, mitigating circumstances.

Eostre. Yes, we celebrated the autumnal equinox with our usual gusto and flair. That mean lot's of chocolate and a few days of family life, which we enjoyed immensely, thank you.

But every silver lining has its cloud and my cloud is a dark one indeed. Interest rates are not a concern at the moment because a number of us got made redundant. Notice I didn't say "retrenched", that would make sense and would make life a little easier. But I work for EDS which means I now have to endure a 5 week "redeployment plan", which translates in plain English to "the EDS redundancy package avoidance plan". We won't know about any packages for at least 2 weeks.

A package would be nice, but I have a mortgage and a family to feed, so instead of reading blogs for the last week or so, I've been reading job ads. It's making my eyes water, but it's a numbers game in I.T. these days (especially so if you are 43 years old) and to land one, you must apply for many, so that's what I'm doing at the moment.

Excellent stuff! Gimme more...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Cost Of Hot Air

You may recall my article "Of Atmosphere and Arguments" and my last paragraph:

I'm all for being cautious and responsible but if the net effect of this argument is simply to make my life more expensive, I shall be extremely annoyed.

Well here's the problem:

From The Age 20/02/2008

Commissioned by the Climate Institute, a lobby group, it found Canberra will reap at least $400 million in 2011 and between $7.2 billion and $20.6 billion by 2020 if all businesses that emit greenhouse gases are forced to pay.

Sure, it sounds good, but who's going to foot the bill? Will it be the businesses concerned? Well no. They'll simply pass $400 million in 2011 and between $7.2 billion and $20.6 billion by 2020 on to cash strapped consumers who for the most part, cannot afford it.

But I liked this bit:

The Climate Institute called for the revenue to be spent on helping the poor, who face rising electricity and petrol prices once the new system arrives in 2010.

Are we really as stupid as that? So stupid that we'd invent a methodology then use the money it generates as a subsidy to make the methodology affordable? It really is the most ridiculous idea. There is absolutely no incentive whatsoever for any business to reduce any emissions. They'll simply pay the fees and pass that cost on to Joe Average who will then go to the government, cap in hand, to get his handout so he can afford to pay the increase.

Donna asked if businesses will be forced to upgrade their equipment to "cleaner" technology:

From yet another article at The Age (21/03/2008)

He said the massive Government revenues flowing from carbon permits — tipped to reach $20 billion a year by 2020 — should be spent helping communities such as the brown coal-rich Latrobe Valley, initially by boosting funding for research into storing greenhouse gases underground.

"Boosting funding for research..." So the answer is no. There's no viable alternative and no viable method of emission reduction yet we're perfectly happy to start charging for it. This is where I get seriously upset. We can't stop making CO2 simply because we need the electricity. It's like a tax on breathing.

Excellent stuff! Gimme more...

Monday, March 17, 2008


People often ask me why I have a problem with religion. I guess the main reason is that the overtly religious are perfectly happy to ruin lives in a futile pursuit of god.

From The Age - 17/03/2008...

A SECRETIVE ministry with direct links to Gloria Jean's Coffees and the Hillsong Church has been deceiving troubled young women into signing over months of their lives to a program that offers scant medical or psychiatric care, instead using Bible studies and exorcisms to treat mental illness........

Naomi Johnson, Rhiannon Canham-Wright and Megan Smith (Megan asked to use an assumed name) went into Mercy Ministries independent young women, and came out broken and suicidal, believing, as Mercy staff had told them repeatedly, that they were possessed by demons and that Satan controlled them.

Only careful psychological and psychiatric care over several years brought them back from the edge....

Excellent stuff! Gimme more...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Dogs and Decisions

The reason for this post is because I've been wanting a new dog or two for a while now and we think we've found "the one", so I'm all exited.

Our old pooch (Harley), was a pure bred Boxer with a serious pedigree who we all loved dearly. She was put down at the ripe old age of 15, due to the fact that she was deaf, blind, riddled with tumours and was no longer enjoying her life. The Melbourne University School Of Veterinary Science is just up the road, so that's where we took her and consequently she, like I hope to be, was lucky enough to be able to donate her body for science.

Anyway, it's taken us a year or two, but we've come to the realisation that we need a new puppy dog. We want two really, another Boxer because they're the best, and a "something else" that no-one's really sure about. It seems to have fallen to me to decide so I've been considering a number of options.

I got to thinking that one pedigreed dog was enough and that the other should really be one from a shelter that needed a chance. So I asked the family what they thought about rescuing a pooch from death row at the Lost Dogs Home instead. This was greeted with exuberance to say the least.

15736 So tonight we went to the web site to see what we have to do to adopt a pooch and we found our pooch. Say hello to Bodie. He's a 2 year old Husky cross, duh, which is unspecified but looks a bit Shepherd to me. He's awful skinny and peeky lookin' and looks like he's done it hard, so our hearts went out to him as soon as we saw him.

When I came and sat down just now there was a note on my desk with his name, animal ID number and Shelter tag no. and the phone number, so I hope the shelter is open tomorrow because it looks like I'm going to get him whether I like it or not...:)

The problem is the disclaimer. The web site makes it clear that someone may have taken him already, or his time may be up at dawn, who knows, but if he is still there I'm going to ask them to hold onto him until I can get there with the kids and ask him if he wants to come home with us. Just look at him, so proud but begging to be loved (not to mention fed), but that's the problem with the lost dog's home, you want to take them all because you know what will happen if no-one wants them...

Excellent stuff! Gimme more...

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Of Atmosphere and Arguments

So how much CO2 is released when a politician farts? As much as when he or she speaks? It's a conundrum and no mistake, but let's just take a little look at the whole environmental thing. I don't like it. It smacks of religion.

Regular readers will be painfully aware that I'm a sceptic. I am sceptical of many things of which this is just one. But I also hope those same readers will attest that I'm perfectly happy to stand corrected if the math proves me wrong.

I've been wanting to vent my frustration at this subject for quite some time so within the spirit of being proven wrong, I thought I'd best dig a little deeper before I opened my big mouth and spilled type and invective all over my blog. Alas, I'm none the wiser but none the less, here I am...

Did you know that man, with everything he does in this world, produces bugger all in the overall carbon emission stakes? Really. We deforest and burn hydrocarbons at unprecedented rates and consequently produce an estimated 26.4 giga tons a year. Now that sounds like a lot but when you consider that just the respiration of plants globally produces an estimated 220gt a year, add 100gt or so for rotting vegetation and dead animals, and it doesn't seem like so much anymore.

Then there's volcanoes. I used to like volcanoes but now I'm not so sure. Stick your probe in a volcanic vent at a new eruption and you will find amazing concentrations of CO2 spewing forth. Check the local atmospheric ground station nearby however, and there's no spike at all in local concentrations of atmospheric CO2. How can this be? Where does it go? Do the rocks reabsorb it? Is it averaged in the atmosphere somehow? Does convection drive it to the troposphere where we don't measure it? We simply don't know, but if even half the concentrations we measure at various ground level vents are mixing with the atmosphere, we're talking thousands's of giga tons, not tens or hundreds, so you see why it's an issue, even if some say it isn't.

Then there's evidence from the Vostok ice core that would tend to suggest that global warming and the resulting "ice age" is cyclical. About every 10,000 to 12,000 years, or so it seems, the earth suffers a short (geologically) but intense period of global warming, followed by rapid cooling that seems to result in a major glaciation (ice age) that lasts for about 10,000 years. Evidence would suggest that this has happened at least four times in the last 100,000 years or so and that the last ice age ended about 11,000 years ago. So could it be a cyclical event we're witnessing? The timing seems about right but once again, we really don't know.

So you can see my problem. It seems to me that we're being extolled to believe something that as yet, has not been entirely proven and that my friends, is what smacks of religion. It's as if we've simply employed Pascal's wager and are just believing because it's better to believe than to take the chance.

But unlike the god of Pascal's wager, these claims are provable, one way or the other, if we get the science right. The math so far suggests that in the context of global emissions, man's activities may account for as little as 0.1% of the total carbon footprint produced at ground level. That really doesn't sound like much, but there is such a thing as "the straw that broke the camel's back". Are we that straw? It wouldn't seem so, but who really knows? The answer unfortunately, just as it is with god, is "no-one knows...yet".

I'm all for being cautious and responsible but if the net effect of this argument is simply to make my life more expensive, I shall be extremely annoyed.

A couple of references I used:

New Scientist

American Geophysical Union

Google "carbon emissions" for a myriad more links and references but 'ware the doomsayers...On both sides...

Excellent stuff! Gimme more...

Friday, March 7, 2008


Hey, I made someone's day! How good's that!?!

award1.thumbnail Tina, over at Mr Jeb's blog has given me the "You make my day!" award. I'm chuffed. I haven't written anything I'd consider to be of note for ages and I've been playing silly games so much I've barely been commenting, so I think I need to remedy that now.

The rules for this one are a little tricky for me though: "Give the award to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel happy about blogland. Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so they can pass it on."

I don't have ten blogs bookmarked. I like to keep my list short so I've got time to have a chat, but there are a couple I like so;

Firstly, Dikkii at Dikki's Diatribe is a particular favourite and is always my first stop. He's thought provoking with humour, which is how it should be.

Secondly, there's Pheonix. Regulars may note that she's new here, but we go back a long way on a previous blogging host. I like her take on life, she's a realist and that is also how it should be. She hasn't blogged for a while, so please make her welcome.

I'd also like to award Donna because she makes me think. She hasn't started a blog but she comments and contributes quite a lot.

Anyway, thanks Tina, you're a gem...:)

Pheonix has awarded me right back with this one, and it's made me think. If someone else had awarded me this I'd have been over to Tina's to pass it on. Tina is another one that's thought provoking with humour and often makes my day, especially with the old news snippets from her local paper. So, as it's not against the rules to nominate someone who's already been nominated. I'm adding Tina fcd at Mr. Jeb's blog to my list.

Excellent stuff! Gimme more...

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