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Jul 2011

Work for the house

Today's weather was good enough for me to dress the wooden ramp from the new back deck to the back lawn.

The wood was oiled when it was built but being exposed to the rain it had got a bit unprotected. I had to wait until I had a sunny day so that I could do the oiling to dry wood and have it dry fairly quickly so that we could use the ramp again.

I did the he job in the morning and it came good before the weather turned cloudy in the afternoon.

I was impressed with the result of this work.

Posted: 31/07/11 1:41 PM

Work for the sheep

I have only two of Mark's sheep in the back paddock now. There have eaten most of the grass which was quite long when they took over a large number weeks ago.

They often "BAA" at me when they see me in the garden. I usually assume that they are begging for sheep pellets which I have given them before, mostly to keep them quiet, I have stopped doing that because Mark advise me to stop.

I now think that they are pretty hungry because of the small amount of grass left in the paddock.

Because I thought that I should ensure that they are eating enough, I went to Mark's hay shed today and brought a bale of hay to our back shed on my trolley so that I could feed them.

They quickly ate the first slab of hay I gave them and then they "BAA"ed at me so I had to give them another slab. They now seem quite satisfied so I am pleased with what I have done.

I will continue to do this so that they don't suffer any starvation.

Posted: 30/07/11 3:23 PM
Revised: 30/07/11 8:48 PM

Another significant problem

Yesterday I inadvertently backed the Terios into the front lawn water tap and caused a major leak. I finally managed to get tools out to turn the mains water tap off to stop the big leak. We were worried because we use town water to feed the washing machine and the toilet cistern. I arranged to keep the cistern full with tank water using a bucket filled in the laundry sink. I would not be able to top up the sheep drinking trough and we would not be able to do any laundry until the fault has been repaired which could be considerable trouble. I rang the plumber and he came quickly to check what needed to be done.

This morning he came with a worker and set about doing the repair. He asked me If I needed the garden tap and I said "No, if it's not there I won't be able to cause the problem again". He did the repair quite early and all three problems have gone away which is a great relief.

Posted: 29/07/11 12:35 PM
Revised: 30/07/11 4:49 PM

Another Wonderful Sunny Day

Today was a beautiful day. I was a full blue sky and very sunny from the morning until sunset.

I had to go to the primary school today to do another Breakfast Club for the Junior Red Cross. Previously I had done these with my boss Mark. He has been suffering from a cranial haemorrhage and has been in hospital in Newcastle for over a week and when he is released he will go to the Gold Coast for rehab. I will continue to do the Breakfast Clubs at school without his help every Wednesday and Friday until he gets back to Barraba and if he is fit enough to do this work.

I had lots of other work to do at home. One of the tasks was to certify my next door neighbour's motorhome as a self-contained vehicle using the Eco-Camping Australia specification.

My neighbour asked if the certification would work in Victoria. I told him that we hadn't been able to get all the councils in Australia to accept our scheme but I made the point that the certificate we provided had an Owners Undertaking on it which described all the features of the scheme so it was possible to convince rangers anywhere that the certified self-contained vehicle would not have any negative environmental effects on their camp sites. The certification also identifies the maximum time the vehicle can stay in a site.

The question stimulated me to plan a project of communicating with all local councils in Australia to seek their acceptance of the scheme. This project will take quite a lot of my time if my partner agrees with the project.

Posted: 27/07/11 8:53 PM

A Good Sunny Day

Recently I had the dry all the laundry I washed in front of the living room fire. Although it worked, it was a bad day because I had to limit the amount in the wash and I had to do lots of adjustments of the clothes on the drying rack in front of the fire for a long time.

The next few days were not sufficiently sunny to do any more laundry so we were getting short of clean clothes.

Today I was impresses by the amount of blue sky in the direction from which the wind was coming. I did three loads in the washing machine and put them all on the washing line in the back yard. They were all dry while the sun was still shining so I had a pretty good day.

Posted: 23/07/11 5:45 PM

A Day of Work followed by an afternoon Expedition

I spent the whole morning working for the Red Cross Branch. First task was to organise and supervise the Junior Red Cross Breakfast at the Barraba Central Primary School.

After that I had to hand deliver my AGM letters to all the branch members in Barraba. I needed to check that my address list was right so I tried to talk to all the people and only failed a couple of times.

In the afternoon I was interested to check whether the overcast clouds were limited to Barraba or were extensive to the east. I drove up to Bells Mountain which is just north of Barraba and is signposted as being on the Nandewar Range. I were interested in what I saw but the range of my view to the east was quite limited by the many hills between us and the eastern arm of the Nandewar Range which is mapped as starting just near Bendemeer on the New England Highway north of Tamworth and goes pretty well due north until it turns west and goes all the way to Mount Kaputar ten kilometres north of Barraba. In some places on this range it is a few tens of kilometres north of that.

I had read a report which suggested that the Nandewar Range was all created by vulcanism. I know that in many place in the world the volcanic upward flow of magma sometime moves along underground and causes a long line of a ridge of hills. I guess that is what happened here. Some people believe that Mount Kaputar is an old volcano but my research indicated that there is only a little bit of evidence of an old active volcano. Perhaps the magma lost its energy and just created the whole range with just a little bit of lava on the surface at the end of its movement.

On the way back home I took another diversion east along the road to Woodsreef. I was able to check the flow in Ironbark Creek which is one of the significant water courses in the Split Rock Dam catchment area. It had very low flow like the Manilla River because we have not had much rainfall this winter.

My attempt to check the extent of the overcast clouds was not possible because the hills to the east of the road were quite high and didn't let me see any sky to the east.

On the way back to Barraba I saw some sunshine on some of he hills west of Barraba but when I got back to town the overcast was still almost complete.

Posted: 20/07/11 6:42 PM

I am so pleased with the new book

A quote from "The End of Growth" which supports my view that stock exchanges have become casinos.

" investing is a practice nearly as old as money itself, and from the earliest times motives for investment were two-fold: to share in profits from productive enterprises, and to speculate on anticipated growth in the value of assets. The former kind of investment is generally regarded as helpful to society, while the latter is seen, by some at least, as a form of gambling that eventually results in wasteful destruction of wealth." Obviously I am a member of "some at least". Clearly only some investors are gambling but those that are are creating significant problems for the economy.

Earlier in the chapter he confirms my view that money should represent the real value of product or services to simplify bartering. He also describes how some have used money to make money without any relationship to real value and have created problems for the economy. Another of my views that are supported by this wonderful book.

I am continuing to read the book and expect to get a whole lot more support for my world view.

Some would think that I am just accepting ideas that support my beliefs but I feel that evidence is being provided to support those beliefs.

Posted: 17/07/11 1:24 PM

What a Great Book

I have started reading the book I recently bought "The End of Growth" and am most impressed.

I was surprised to read that Richard Heinberg started his interest in the problems of the future of the world when he read "The Limits to Growth" written by Meadows et al in 1972.

I remember reading that book in the 1970s and making a presentation to the AWA Speech Group of which I was a member because I was absolutely sure that the science of the Meadows group was good and their conclusions were true and were important.

I was amazed at some negative responses from some of the members. That was an early example of people rejecting any good science if their existing beliefs disagree with the conclusions.

The introduction to "The End of Growth" identifies many good sources of Richard's research into the problems and the appendix has many references to good peer reviewed science.

The resonance I feel when reading the book is because he obviously has the same view of the 21st century as I do. This resonance of course reinforces my views.

Posted: 14/07/11 4:27 PM

A Really Good Story

I recently bought a book " The End of Growth" by one of my favourite authors, Richard Heinberg, who is a Senior Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute and an author of several important books used by the Transition Network. This book came very quickly and I was most impressed to find that it had been autographed by the author.

I found his website so I went there and found a contact link. I sent him a message.

"I was most happy to get a signed copy of The End of Growth and I will read it very carefully. I have added it to my Towards Transition Barraba library. It already has Powerdown, The Party's Over, and Peak Everything. It also has some Meadows books, The Limits to Growth, Limits to Growth: The 30 year update, Beyond the Limits, and some Tim Flannery books, The Future Eaters, The Weather Makers, We are the Weather Makers. Tim Flannery is now the head of the Australian Climate Commission which is staffed by Professors of the relevant sciences and which is travelling all round Australia to convene public meeting at which they make wonderful efforts to convince people that the Climate Change science is absolutely true. I have you, Tim Flannery, and Richard Feynman in my heros who inspire me on my Facebook Profile. regards robinc"

I got a message from Richard

"Robin, Thanks so much for your kind message. I really appreciate it. I'm happy to be in the company of your other favourite authors. Best wishes, Richard"

After the wonderful conversations I had with Tim Flannery and Will Steffen in Tamworth on 30th June (reported in my blog on 1st July) I was so pleased to get such a positive response from another one of my heros who are all expert scientists or science communicators and authors.

My new knowledge as reported below in "I Need a New Word" about the division of our population into a two groups, one of which does not concern itself with the truth, just their prior beliefs, and the other group of us who are absolutely concerned to find adequate evidence to confirm the truth or otherwise of statements made by others including some of our leaders, leads me to have a considerable worry that decisions by governments may not be supported by evidence of the truth of the information about issues. Of course I am convinced that our Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, is really concerned to do the right things and I am convinced that the leader of our Opposition , Tony Abbott, is clearly in the other group so if he wins the next election we will fall back into a society which is not doing what is necessary.

As I have said before, I learned in my education about economics and politics that the purpose of government is to manage all the infrastructure development and provisions of services which the population need but which it is not practical to be provided by independent organisations which are simply minority groups. The current debate about the dangers of the Carbon Tax, illustrate the bad response of the other group who want to avoid any economic pressure even though the pressure is necessary to reduce the risk of climate change catastrophe risk. This increases my worries about the future which will be the situation that my grandchildren and great grandchildren will have to live in.

Posted: 11/07/11 8:51 PM

I have found a new word

Doing more research in my thesaurus I came across a word which I think will be suitable to characterise arguments which are not concerned with the truth. In my last blog I said that most of the words I found would not be suitable.

This new word is probably OK. It is "fiction" and is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as "invention or fabrication as opposed to fact"

I guess that I will try and use this word in conversations about my worries about the 21st century common failure to be concerned with the truth.

Posted: 10/07/11 9:42 PM

I need a new word

As I have said before, I have lots of views about problems in the 21st century. I have a difficulty because I don't have a suitable word which I can use to characterise these problems.

I think the problems occur because many decisions which have the negative influence on our societies and economies are based on the desires of individuals or small minorities without any consideration of the effect of the decisions on the rest of us. These desires seem to be nearly always for the individual or the group to become rich. These individuals and minorities have achieved positions of significant influence so that they can pursue their desires.

Another idea which causes the problem is that making money is no longer directly associated with valuable contributions to the society by making products or providing services which are needed by people in the society. I think that many people these days make money from gambling, either horse racing gambling, lotteries or trading properties or shares in markets which are supported by people who borrow the money to buy the items even if they don't have the ability to repay the borrowing from their production or service income.

My education in economics taught me that money is simply a token which represents a barter exchange of labour, goods, or services. The gambling process does not support this idea. It is simply a way of getting money from someone else without having to repay in kind.

Of course I believe that the right wing politicians are convinced that Milton Friedman's economics is correct which allows them to support the gambling processes.

There is another element to the 21st century problem. It is no longer necessary to rely on the truth. Telling lies and believing lies is common among those who have positions of control in our societies. Not all these people avoid the truth but enough do to cause an irrational view in many people in the society. Some politician rely on their lies and the acceptance of them by many electors to ensure that they continue to be elected to the positions of control.

There are of course organisations which try to overcome these problems by recruiting lots of us into rational lobbying groups like Get Up.

I have reported before that I was impressed by the Climate Commission, an organisation which works hard to convince people that the truth about the science of climate change is very strong and very important because the contrarians who are people like those I have described above are convincing deniers to not accept the truth. My view that the contrarians and deniers if they succeed in their efforts will increase the risk of a climate change catastrophe which could at the extreme result in great damage to species in the planet including homo sapiens was confirmed by Professor Will Steffen and Professor Tim Flannery so I am convinced that my view is not wrong.

The start of this piece was that I want a new term I can use to describe these irrational people. Calling them cheats, idiots, liars, or other negative terms would not work well in a debate about the problems. My thesaurus has provided some other words - fibber, perjurer, false witness, fabricator, equivocator; fabulist, - cheater, fraudster, trickster, deceiver, hoaxer, double-dealer, double-crosser, sham, fraud, fake, charlatan, quack, crook, snake oil salesman, mountebank. I don't think that any of these words would work.

Perhaps I should invent a new word which will lead to a proper response to my arguments. I know that inventing new words is a characteristic of the 21st century but I don't think that I can go down that path. Perhaps if read enough stuff I will find a suitable word. The latest books in my library are Here on Earth by Tim Flannery and The End of Growth by Richard Heinberg and they might help me.

Listening to the radio today I heard Tony Abbott, the leader of the opposition in our Federal Parliament, making a quite ridiculous speech which was not a presentation of a truth or the evidence of the truth, but was a irrational personal criticism of the Prime Minister. Perhaps I will use a term about the right wing politicians, Conservative, Republican, or Neo-Liberal, all of which would simply influence people to search for their beliefs so these term are not what I need.

Posted: 5/07/11 5:11 PM
Revised: 7/07/11 4:20 PM

Two Important Meetings

On Wednesday this week we had a meeting in Barraba with the Mayor and the Director of Water in Tamworth Regional Council and a technical expert from Hunter Water Australia to have a presentation to us about the Splitrock Dam to Barraba Pipeline Feasibility Study and a question and answer session.

The presentation from the guy from Hunter Water Australia was very good and informed us of all the issues which had been addresses in the Feasibility Study and of the selection of the best option for the pipeline.

The question and answer session was pretty uninformative because none of the questions were heard by the audience and most of the answers were also not heard.

We had a presentation from the advisor to Tony Windsor, our member of the Federal Parliament, which informed us that Tony Windsor believes that the Federal Government will make its commitment to providing funding within the next couple of weeks. The Stat Government has indicated that it will not make a funding commitment until the Federal Government has.

The conclusion of the meeting from the Mayor was very impressive because he made the point that the Council would make every effort to ensure that the project was funded and carried out.

Last night Jean and I went to Tamworth to attend a presentation by the Climate Commission. The Climate Commission is a Federal Government funded independent organisation which is dedicated to making presentations to as many communities as possible which inform the audience of the truth about the science of climate change and about the possible effects of climate change if we don't succeed in reducing our carbon footprint in time to minimise the effect of the global warming which has been happening significantly since the middle of the 20th century. I was impressed by the presentation of the Commissioners, Professor Tim Flannery, Professor Lesley Hughes and Professor Will Steffen, and by some of the questions which gave rise to really good answers. Sadly some of the questions were from deniers and I have a feeling that these questioners were not accepting the wonderful information which had been presented by the Commissioners.

After the presentation we were invited to talk individually to the Commissioners. I was very happy to introduce myself to Tim Flannery, the head of the Climate Commission, because I had met him in Sydney in the nineties at a presentation by Tim Flannery which my daughter Rachel had taken me to. I wanted to indicate to Tim the he was one of my heros so I gave him a list of books about climate change and the Transition in my library. A significant number of these books were written by Tim and he was pleased to see my list

Afterwards I asked Will Steffen and Tim Flannery a question. "Did they agree that the climate change contrarians and deniers who were having a significant effect on the beliefs of some people might increase the risk of a climate change catastrophe?" They both answered yes and I congratulated them on their project and wished them well in their efforts to overcome this problem.

Posted: 1/07/11 8:11 AM


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