Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Maybe for the same reason I received three pairs of underpants this year. If you want me to model them for you, email me and I put the pictures on my next blog.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Selamat Hari Natal
Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia
Christmas is the time to remember old friends! Well, here's one that has been close to me from first thing in the morning for over forty years, followed me all over the world to over fifty work locations, and never faltered even though it's often been a close shave.
Here's to my good ol' shaving-brush!
(Things must be tough when you start toasting your shaving-brush!)
Saturday, December 19, 2009
So Copenhagen can't agree on 2.5 or 3 degrees warming by 2050? How anyone can predict a climate change of a half-degree difference as far out as 2050 when they cannot predict with any accuracy what the weather will be like next week is just plain silly. As is everything else about this biggest talkfest ever, bigger than the Versailles Conference at the end of World War I or the Bretton-Woods meeting that set up the modern global financial system (mind you, the Danish hoteliers and restaurateurs are not complaining!)
I mean, here is China, the world's biggest emitter, postering that it will cut emissions by 40 to 45% below 2005 levels by 2020 relative to - get this! - economic output! Meaningless even if it were measurable and verifiable! Consider this for a moment: just as the 30,000-plus delegates were quaffing their first glass of chardonay, the Australian Bureau of Statistics published Australia's economic growth figures for the September quarter. It had taken those pointy heads a full 2½ months to work out how much an economy encompassing 22 million people had grown by! Guess how long it took China, an economy of more than 1.3 BILLION people, to announce its economic output relative to which they are going to reduce their emissions? Exactly two weeks! No wonder they don't want to be subject to international scrutiny!
So what about the "Copenhagen Accord"? So the United Nations has managed to get funding for another useless body that will receive billions of dollars, be accountable to no-one, and will be rife with corruption, mismanagement and fraud. The UN oil for food programme was a perfect example of this! Anyway, that $100BILLION slush fund suggested by the U.S.A. ought to be spent on technical solutions to reduce emissions instead of being given to the 'poorer' countries presided over by the likes of Mugabe et al. After all, most “poor” nations are poor because they're plagued by despotism, oppression, and corruption, none of which have anything to do with whether they have abundant resources such as oil, natural gas, and coal. It has everything to do with encouraging class or tribal warfare, religious strife, wholesale plunder by the governing élite, numbered Swiss bank accounts, and all the ills common to humanity.
As for Kevin Rudd and his entourage of some 100-plus, they not only got out of Christmas shopping, but they got out of doing anything for a whole two weeks. And when this travelling circus reconvenes in Mexico in June, they can turn their back on wintry Canberra for their own bit of climate change. Wonderful Copen ho-ho-ho!
Here's a list of the 113 Australians who went to Copenhagen – OUR TAXES have paid for all their travel, accommodation, meals, local taxes, security & TRAVEL ALLOWANCE – and who knows, maybe their 'partners' went along for the ride but haven't made this offical list. And most people thought Kevin Rudd and Penny Wong were genuine about trying to cut greenhouse gases! What a disgrace!
1) H.E. Mr. Kevin Michael Rudd Prime Minister
2) H.E. Ms. Penelope Wong Minister, Climate Change and Water Office of the Minister for Climate Change and Water
3) H.E. Ms. Louise Helen Hand Ambassador for Climate Change Department of Climate Change
4) Mr. David Fredericks Deputy Chief of Staff Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
5) Mr. Philip Green Oam Senior Policy Adviser, Foreign Affairs Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
6) Mr. Andrew Charlton Senior Adviser Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
7) Mr. Lachlan Harris Senior Press Secretary Prime Minister’s Office Office of Prime Minister
8) Mr. Scott Dewar Senior Adviser Office of Prime Minister
9) Ms. Clare Penrose Adviser Office of Prime Minister
10) Ms. Fiona Sugden Media Adviser Office of Prime Minister
11) Ms. Lisa French Office of the Prime Minister Office of Prime Minister
12) Mr. Jeremy Hilman Adviser Office of Prime Minister
13) Ms. Tarah Barzanji Adviser Office of Prime Minister
14) Mr. Kate Shaw Executive Secretary Office of Prime Minister
15) Ms. Gaile Barnes Executive Assistant Office of Prime Minister
16) Ms. Gordon de Brouwer Deputy Secretary Prime Minister and Cabinet
17) Mr. Patrick Suckling First Assistant Secretary, International Division Prime Minister and Cabinet
18) Ms. Rebecca Christie Prime Minister’s Office
19) Mr. Michael Jones Official Photographer Prime Minister and Cabinet
20) Mr. Stephan Rudzki
21) Mr. David Bell Federal Agent Australian Federal Police
22) Ms. Kym Baillie Australian Federal Police
23) Mr. David Champion Australian Federal Police
24) Mr. Matt Jebb Federal Agent Australian Federal Police
25) Mr. Craig Kendall Federal Agent Australian Federal Police
26) Mr. Ian Lane Squadron Leader Staff, Officer VIP Operations
27)Mr. John Olenich Media Adviser / Adviser to Minister Wong Office of the Minister for Climate Change and Water
28)Ms. Kristina Hickey Adviser to Minister Wong Office of the Minister for Climate Change and Water
29) Mr. Martin Parkinson Secretary Department of Climate Change
30) Mr. Howard Bamsey Special Envoy for Climate Change Department of Climate Change
31) Mr. Robert Owen-Jones Assistant Secretary, International Division Department of Climate Change
32) Ms. Clare Walsh Assistant Secretary, International Division Department of Climate Change
33) Ms. Jenny Elizabeth Wilkinson Policy Advisor Department of Climate Change
34) Ms. Elizabeth Mary Peak Principal Legal Adviser, International Climate Law Department of Climate Change
35) Ms. Kristin Tilley Director, Multilateral Negotiations International Division Department of Climate Change
36) Mr. Andrew Ure Acting Director, Multilateral Negotiations International Division Department of Climate Change
37) Ms. Annemarie Watt Director, Land Sector Negotiations International Division Department of Climate Change
38) Ms. Kushla Munro Director, International Forest Carbon Section International Division Department of Climate Change
39) Ms. Kathleen Annette Rowley Director, Strategic and Technical Analysis Department of Climate Change
40) Ms. Anitra Cowan Assistant Director, Multilateral Negotiations Department of Climate Change
41) Ms. Sally Truong Assisting Director, Multilateral Negotiations International Division Department of Climate Change
42) Ms. Jane Wilkinson Assistant Director Department of Climate Change
43) Ms. Tracey Mackay Assistant Director International Division Department of Climate Change
44) Ms. Laura Brown Assistant Director, Multilateral Negotiations International Division Department of Climate Change
45) Ms. Tracey-Anne Leahey Delegation Manager Department of Climate Change
46) Ms. Nicola Loffler Senior Legal Adviser, International Climate Law Department of Climate Change
47) Ms. Tamara Curll Legal Adviser, International Climate Law Department of Climate Change
48) Ms. Jessica Allen Legal Support Officer Department of Climate Change
49) Mr. Sanjiva de Silva Legal Adviser, International Climate Law Department of Climate Change
50) Ms. Gaia Puleston Political Adviser Department of Climate Change
51) Ms. Penelope Jane Morton Policy Adviser, Multilateral Negotiations (UNFCCC) International Division Department of Climate Change
52) Ms. Claire Elizabeth Watt Policy Advisor Department of Climate Change
53) Ms. Amanda Walker Policy Officer, Multilateral Negotiations Department of Climate Change
54) Mr. Alan David Lee Policy Adviser, Land Sector Negotiations Department of Climate Change
55) Ms. Erika Kate Oord Australian Stakeholder Manager Department of Climate Change
56) Mr. Jahda Kirian Swanborough Communications Manager Ministerial Communication Department of Climate Change
57) H.E. Mr. Sharyn Minahan Ambassador DFAT Diplomatic Mission of Australia to Denmark
58) Ms. Julia Feeney Director, Climate Change and Environment Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
59) Mr. Chester Geoffrey Cunningham Second Secretary DFAT Diplomatic Mission of Australia to Germany
60) Ms. Rachael Virginia Cooper Executive Officer, Climate Change and Environment Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
61) Ms. Rachael Grivas Executive Officer, Environment Branch Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
62) Moya Elyn Collett Desk officer, Climate Change and Environment Section Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
63) Mr. Rob Law Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
64) Mr. Robin Davies Assistant Director General, Sustainable Development Group Australian Agency for International Development
65) Ms. Deborah Fulton Director, Policy and Global Environment Australian Agency for International Development
66) Ms. Katherine Renee Ann Vaughn Policy Advisor, Policy and Global Environment Australian Agency for International Development
67) Mr. Brian Dawson Policy Adviser Australian Agency for International Development
68) Mr. Andrew Leigh Clarke Deputy Secretary Department of Resources Development, Western Australia
69) Mr. Bruce Wilson General Manager, Environment Energy and Environment Division Department of Resources Development, Western Australia
70) Ms. Jill McCarthy Policy Adviser Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism
71) Mr. Simon French Policy Adviser Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
72) Mr. Ian Michael Ruscoe Policy Adviser Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
73) Mr. David Walland Acting Superintendent, National Climate Centre Bureau of Meteorology
74) Mr. Damien Dunn Senior Policy Adviser The Australian Treasury
75) Ms. Helen Hawka Fuhrman Policy Officer, Renewable Energy Policy and Partnerships
76) Mr. Scott Vivian Davenport Chief Economics NSW Department of Industry and Investment
77) Mr. Graham Julian Levitt Policy Manager, Climate Change NSW Department of Industry and Investment
78) Ms. Kate Jennifer Jones Minister, Climate Change and Sustainability Queensland Government
79) Mr. Michael William Dart Principal Policy Advisor Office of the Hon. Kate Jones MP Queensland Government
80) Mr. Matthew Anthony Jamie Skoien Senior Director, Office of Climate Change Queensland Government
81) Mr. Michael David Rann Premier, South Australia Department of Premier and Cabinet, Southern Australia
82) Ms. Suzanne Kay Harter Adviser Department of Premier and Cabinet, Southern Australia
83) Mr. Paul David Flanagan Manager, Communications Government of South Australia
84) Mr. Timothy William O’Loughlin Deputy Chief Executive, Sustainability and Workforce Management Department of Premier and Cabinet South Australian Government
85) Ms. Nyla Sarwar M.Sc student Linacre College University of Oxford
86) Mr. Gavin Jennings Minister, Environment and Climate Change and Innovation, Victorian Government
87) Ms. Sarah Broadbent Sustainability Adviser
88) Ms. Rebecca Falkingham Senior Adviser Victoria Government/Office of Climate Change
89) Mr. Simon Camroux Policy Adviser Energy Supply Association of Australia Limited
90) Mr. Geoff Lake Adviser Australian Local Government Association Sridhar Ayyalaraju Post Visit Controller DFAT Diplomatic Mission of Australia to Denmark
91) Mr. Tegan Brink Deputy Visit Controller and Security Liaison Officer Diplomatic Mission of Australia to Denmark
92) Ms. Melissa Eu Suan Goh Transport Liaison Officer and Consul DFAT Diplomatic Mission of Australia to Denmark
93) Ms. Lauren Henschke Support Staff DFAT Diplomatic Mission of Australia to Denmark
94) Ms. Maree Fay Accommodation Liaison Officer DFAT Diplomatic Mission of Australia to Denmark
95) Ms. Patricia McKinnon Communications Officer DFAT Diplomatic Mission of Australia to Denmark
96) Eugene Olim Passport / Baggage Liaison Officer DFAT Diplomatic Mission of Australia to Denmark
97) Ms. Belinda Lee Adams
98) Ms. Jacqui Ashworth Media Liaison Officer Diplomatic Mission of Australia to Denmark
99) Ms. Patricia Smith Media Liaison Officer DFAT Diplomatic Mission of Australia to Denmark
100) Mr. Martin Bo Jensen Research and Public Diplomatic Officer DFAT Diplomatic Mission of Australia to Denmark
101) Mr. Mauro Kolobaric Consular Support DFAT Diplomatic Mission of Australia to Denmark
102) Ms. Susan Flanagan Consular Support DFAT Diplomatic Mission of Australia to Denmark
103) Mr. Stephen Kanaridis IT Support Officer DFAT Diplomatic Mission of Australia to Denmark
104) Mr. George Reid Support Staff DFAT Diplomatic Mission of Australia to Denmark
105) Ms. Ashley Wright Support Staff DFAT Diplomatic Mission of Australia to Denmark
106) Ms. Jodie Littlewood Support Staff DFAT Diplomatic Mission of Australia to Denmark
107) Mr. Thomas Millhouse Support Staff DFAT Diplomatic Mission of Australia to Denmark
108) Mr. Timothy Whittley Support Staff Driver DFAT Diplomatic Mission of Australia to Denmark
109) Ms. Julia Thomson Diplomatic Mission of Australia to Denmark
110) Mr. Donald Frater Chief of Staff to Minister Wong Office of the Minister for Climate Change and Water
111) Ms. Jacqui Smith Media Liaison DFAT Diplomatic Mission of Australia to Denmark
112) Mr. Greg French Senior Legal Advisor, Environment Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
113) Mr. Jeremy Hillman Advisor PMO
I notice that participants # 20 and 97, Mr. Stephan Rudzki and Ms. Belinda Lee Adams, had no official titles. Methinks they were the only members of the team who actually did some work! And did you notice something else? There was just ONE scientist amongst this lot, # 85, and he was a STUDENT at Oxford! The rest were apparatchiks, paid yes-sayers and nodding heads! So much for Rudd's science-based and evidence-based discussion on climate change! The world would've been a better place if they had never gone! Next time they should stay home and email each other!
Ben Bernanke, "the nerd from South Carolina", was named TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year on Wednesday.
You could be forgiven for thinking that it was April Fool's Day! I mean, what a choice! But then again, when you go back over the past list of characters who have graced that front page, you really start to wonder who the hell is running TIME Magazine: Adolf Hitler (1938), Joseph Stalin (1938), and the Ayatollah Khomeini (1979).
Friday, December 18, 2009
Mugabe has just jetted into Copenhagen to take part in the greatest fraud perpetrated worldwide in the modern era! Which of course tells you what Copenhagen is all about, doesn't it?
He poses quite a problem for the Danes as protocol dictates that the head of state who has been in power the longest sits next to the Queen of Denmark at any formal state occasion. Mugabe has been the longest in power. Never mind how he managed to do so.
The longest text floating around the meeting is the full list of people formally accredited to the summit. The figure is 30,123 but this does not include the 5,000-odd media, the business and financial conferences, or the hordes at the parallel alternative summit. The biggest government delegation? Brazil, by a mile, with over 1,000 people, followed by Denmark (800), the EC (400) and China 250. The US, surprisingly, has only 200 people, and the UK a discreet 70. At the other end of the scale, Vanuatu, Uzbekistan, and Syria have sent only two, Sao Tome three and the minute Pacific state of Niue has sent five. This sounds not many until you know it is nearly 3% of its total population.
The man with the best name at the conference is undoubtedly Mr Phrakhrupaladsuathanavachirakhun. He is a from the Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association in New York. Meanwhile the campaigners are praying for a miracle, and who better than the Guyanan delegate Jesus Smith. Jesus who?
"Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century's developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age."
-- MIT Professor Richard Lindzen, PhD, Atmospheric Science
Thursday, December 17, 2009
When debt-stricken Dubai got a desperately needed $10 billion from neighbouring Abu Dhabi on Monday, the financial world breathed a collective sign of relief. However, the whole world's growth is built on a debt bubble which is about to pop. Dubai is a tiny bubble by comparison. The other large debt bubbles are in China - which hedge fund manager Jim Chanos calls "Dubai times 1,000" - and in government debt. The China bubble and the U.S. Treasury bond bubble are what we should be worried about now.
In the meantime, there has been some "collateral damage" in Dubai as illustrated. So, building ski slopes in the desert wasn't such a good idea? What next? Back to exporting egg-timers?
This old black-and-white picture - probably taken in the late 50s - of the "Landheim" (home in the country) of the "Wandervogel" group I belonged to as a youngster in Germany brings back many memories.
This "Landheim" was just 28 kilometres outside my hometown Braunschweig and I walked, hitchhiked, and cycled to it a hundred times, alone and with "Kameraden", and the weeks and weekends spent there are forever part of my memories.
They, the "Fahrenden Gesellen", recently celebrated their 100th anniversary which they commemorated with the publication of a "Festschrift" of old photos, stories, and documents which I promptly ordered.
"Es lebe der Bund!"
From the book "100 Jahre Fahrende Gesellen - 1909-2009", page 49:
"In den 1950er Jahren entdeckte Heinz Radtke 30 km nördlich von Braunschweig eine alte Spargelbude, umgeben von kleinen Wäldchen, Heidefeldern und Äckern, die nun leer stand und verfiel. Für 40 DM im Jahr wurde sie gepachtet und von den Jungen über zwei Jahre lang an jedem Wochenende ausgebaut, denn aus den Wänden des Fachwerkbaus war viel herausgefallen, ebenso schaute durch das Dach der Mond. Es wurde gesägt, gemauert, gehämmert, gebastelt, neu verputzt und das Dach gedeckt.
Endlich konnte die Einweihung gefeiert werden. Neben Gaugrafen und Bundesleiter hatte sogar die Stadt ein Ratsmitglied geschickt. Es wurde ein schönes Fest, ohne Alkohol! Man trank Kaffee, lachte, sang Lieder und kratzte sich, denn die Mücken eines nahen Sumpfes waren uneingeladen auch gekommen. Den Gästen konnte ein Raum mit drei Fenstern gezeigt werden, 5 x 3 m groß, mit Tisch, Stühlen, Schrank, alles umgebaut nach unserem Geschmack. Ein Kochherd und sogar eine Pumpe waren da. Über dem Tagesraum war der Dachboden mit Matratzen zum Schlafen eingerichtet.
Viele Jahre diente dieses Landheim den Jungen und auch manchem Altgesellen zur Erholung vom Großstadtlärm. Hier wurden auch Gau-, Mannschaftstreffen und Osterlager veranstaltet. Nach zehn Jahren lief der Pachtvertrag ab, und ab Anfang der 1970er Jahre gab es auch keine Jungengruppe mehr in Braunschweig."
Sunday, December 13, 2009
A Saudi man divorced his wife for watching alone a television programme presented by a male, an act he deemed immoral, the Al Shams newspaper reported on Saturday. [Source]
The man, whom the paper did not identify, ended his marriage on the grounds his wife was effectively alone with an unrelated man, which is forbidden under the strict Islamic law enforced in the ultra-conservative kingdom, the paper said.
Men in Saudi Arabia have the authority to divorce their wives without resort to the courts. Welcome to Saudi Arabia, where men are men and women are cattle!
Health Warning: if you’re likely to be offended by jokes about religion, please seek psychiatric help.
If you can’t laugh at something, how can you take it seriously? So here's a joke I've just received by email:
President Obama and Gordon Brown are shown a time machine which can see 100 years into the future. They both decide to test it by asking a question each.
President Obama goes first: "What will the USA be like in 100 years' time"
The machine whirrs and beeps and goes into action and gives him a printout. He reads it out: "The country is in good hands under the new president, crime is non-existent, there is no conflict, the economy is healthy. There are no worries"
Gordon Brown thinks, 'It's not bad, this time machine, I'll have a bit of that', so he asks: "What will Britain be like in 100 years' time?"
The machine whirrs and beeps and goes into action, and he gets a printout.
But he just stares at it.
"Come on, Gordon" says Obama, "Tell us what it says"
"I can't! It's all in Arabic!"
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Just when Copenhagen may have hit a speed bump, a British schoolboy has won a competition to have his energy-saving Powerbump invention debated at the climate change summit in Copenhagen this weekend.
The 15-year-old has devised a way of powering street lights using speed bumps - read more here. Considering how often I go to the toilet at night, I have started work, using the same principle, on my new "Things-that-go-bump-in-the-night" toilet seat. See you in Copenhagen!
Tuvalu (formerly known as the Ellice Islands) has a population of 11,992 which makes it the third-least-populated sovereign state in the world (only Vatican City and Nauru have fewer inhabitants) and in terms of physical land size, at just 26 square kilometres, it is the fourth smallest country in the world (larger only than the Vatican City at 0.44 km2, Monaco at 1.95 km2 and Nauru at 21 km2). As member of the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS), it stands to benefit most from the financing by rich countries as proposed at Copenhagen.
Its chief negotiator at Copenhagen, Ian Fry, who last time I looked was an Australian and living in Queanbeyan on the outskirts of Canberra, stalled the Copenhagen debate for two days as he called for legally binding pacts to turn on the money tap. "I woke up this morning crying, and that's not easy for a grown man to admit," Fry said, choking as he spoke in the plenary crowded with hundreds of delegates. "The fate of my country rests in your hands."
Tuvalu hasn't got too much going for it. Last time its name appeared in the press was in 1998 when it had sold its internet domain name .tv for $50 million [Source].
Developing and island nations don't believe they're getting enough money in Copenhagen. Which says it all really. They don't protest in the streets because of rising sea levels or warmer temperatures. They protest in the streets because they don't believe USD$10 billion per year is enough cash. And, of course, it won't be because you can't go on about sea levels rising by six metres and ice shelves collapsing, and then only donate a $10 shopping voucher. This biggest ever fear campaign - bigger than SARS, AIDS, Y2K, and Swine Flu - will be accompanied by the biggest ever wealth transfer in the history of mankind from the world's leading democracies to some of the world's leading cleptocracies! The Swiss bankers will be very busy!
There is something rotten in the state of Denmark!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Christmas cards are said to have been around since 1843. Well, not with me! I only became a recipient and reluctant sender of such cards when I settled in deepest Australian suburbia in 1985 after a Christmas-less and Christmas Card-less lifetime spent in some of the remotest corners of the world.
My suburban neighbours engaged in an annual 'look-I-received-more-cards-than-you-did' contest by stringing up their Christmas cards across their lounge room windows. With my competitive spirit aroused and short of 'doing a Mr Bean' and sending cards to myself, I began to keep the few cards I received each year until, a few years later, I was able to string an impressive-looking collection across my own window. 'Look I received more cards than you did!' On closer inspection by one neighbour, I had quite a bit of explaining to do why, in the year 1988, a friend was wishing me "all the best for 1986!"
I was at the Maranatha Retirement Home this morning attending a small Christmas party. I gave a solo performance of a not so "Silent Night", "We Wish You a Merry Chistmas", "Jingle Bells", and "Joy to the World" on my button accordion. It may not have brought joy to the whole world but those present seemed to appreciate it.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Keeping my mouth shut was not an option today as I had to get a nasty molar removed. "Mola" is Latin for "millstone" as these rearmost teeth are responsible for grinding the food. I won't be doing much grinding from now on as I have had several molars removed already over the years. At this rate it won't be long before my toothbrush will be rightly called a toothbrush.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
I've just discovered this interesting DUMMIES book but I'm still in two minds about whether I should buy it. I mean, there are so many other equally interesting DUMMIES book: Hermit Crabs for DUMMIES, Sex for DUMMIES, Dating for DUMMIES, Einstein for Dummies - you'd really have to be a dummy not to find something that'd be of interest to you!