Archive for January 5th, 2010

John Howard on global warming and nuclear power

A few weeks ago, former Prime Minister John Howard weighed in on the global warming debate. I completely missed it at the time and stumbled upon the video this morning. The substance of what John Howard was saying wasn’t really my main interest at the time as I really just watched the video to see how he is holding up. Back in September he was rushed to hospital due to a potentially life threatening allergic reaction, and I haven’t anything from him or about him since then…so I was a bit concerned for his welfare.

I was very pleased to see that he is looking extremely well, although I think his speech has slowed down a bit. With him looking well, my focus then shifted to his comments on global warming. (Video | Transcript)

I disagree with John’s view that we should “play on the safe side” because “we will all be long dead when we actually know the answer” to whether humans are heating the planet. The evidence is quite clear that we are not heating the planet and it’s a pity that John doesn’t acknowledge that considering his apparent familiarity with the science and the climategate emails.

Still, John did have a good point about what we should be doing to reduce pollution…after all we all agree that actual pollution (Carbon Dioxide is not a pollutant, regardless of what the Environment Protection Agency try to sell to you) is bad, right?

It’s well known that “renewable” energy such as wind is not currently capable of maintaining base load power. Maybe one day it will be, but at the moment if we’re serious about cutting pollution and doing so in viable ways, then our only option is to use nuclear power. Tony Abbott has recently raised this topic as being in desperate need of discussion, and it was refreshing to see John Howard weigh in with some sensible views on the topic:

I think we have to — I think countries that now don’t have nuclear power, including my own, should focus very heavily on nuclear power.

I think we should put enormous amounts of additional resources into things like clean coal technology, ways of making the fossil fuels we now use less polluting.
So, common sense tells me that what we should focus on is doing things that neither side of the debate can possibly object to, and something that utilizes a clean source of energy such as nuclear power — and it is the cleanest source of energy of all — anything that reduces the polluting impact of the use of coal and gas, things like that, where nobody can really argue.

Nuclear does raise the spectre of storing nuclear waste, and this alarms a lot of people, but not me. I am of the firm view that nuclear waste is only “waste” because we don’t know how to utilise it. I have no doubt in my mind that, given enough research, we can find a way to use nuclear waste for useful purposes, probably further power generation.

We mine so much uranium in this country that it’s a shame that we don’t have a nuclear power industry of our own. Hopefully Tony Abbott is successful in starting the national discussion and acceptance of nuclear power.


2 comments January 5th, 2010 at 01:54pm

Slow news day or slow news organisation?

When I was gasping in disbelief about how slow the Associated Press and other national news agencies were this morning in covering the Las Vegas courthouse shooting, I completely lost it and burst out laughing when I saw a particular story from AP on the CBS website which was about three and a half months late.

Yes, you read that right…three and a half months late!

On September 24 last year, the Sun newspaper in the UK ran a story about the people who live underground in Las Vegas which was subsequently picked up by The Drudge Report and led to an hysterical conversation between KXNT’s Casey Hendrickson and Heather Kydd:

Lost Vegas
US Editor
in Nevada
Published: 24 Sep 2009

LOVEBIRDS Steven and Kathryn share a well-organised home in bustling Las Vegas.

They have a neat, if compact kitchen, a furnished living area, and a bedroom complete with double bed, wardrobe and bookshelf featuring a wide selection including a Frank Sinatra biography and Spanish phrase book.

And they make their money in some of the biggest casinos in the world.

But their life is far from the ordinary.

Because, along with hundreds of others, the couple are part of a secret community living in the dark and dirty underground flood tunnels below the famous strip.

Rather than working in the bars or kitchens they “credit hustle”, prowling the casinos searching the fruit machines for money or credits left by drunken gamblers.

Despite the risks from disease, highly venomous spiders and flooding washing them away, many of the tunnel people have put together elaborate camps with furniture, ornaments and shelves filled with belongings.

Read more:

Casey and Heather’s conversation about the “zombies” of Las Vegas was so amusing that the story stuck in my head quite prominently. So you can imagine how surprised I was when I spotted this story from AP on the CBS website this morning:

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 4, 2010
Las Vegas Tunnels a Refuge for Homeless
Hundreds, Many Struggling with Addictions, Live in a Pitch-Black World, Surviving Off the Excesses of the Strip Above

(AP) Underneath its glitzy casinos, far from the bright marquees, there is another Las Vegas, a pitch-black, dank underworld virtually unknown and unseen by those who live, work and play above.

About 300 people – mostly men battling demons of various addictions – live in the underground storm system built to protect the desert playground from the infrequent cloudburst.

There’s no sign or word of welcome down here. Drug use is nearly universal. Most people carry makeshift weapons and the police don’t often come unless they’re called.

But the denizens have found a haven in the labyrinth of concrete tunnels that snake beneath the city and its suburbs.

I suppose it’s possible that the Associated Press don’t believe in electricity and had to have the story sent from the UK by boat before they could consider running a similar story…but seriously, three and a half months to run a story? I don’t care why it took that long…that’s just late, so late that the late note from Mummy Associated Press just can’t be accepted.


January 5th, 2010 at 11:46am

Thank you WordPress

I couldn’t sleep last night (which is half the reason I was able to spend so much time tracking the Las Vegas shooting story’s coverage) and wrote a few blog articles in scheduled form. Unfortunately WordPress (the software which runs this blog) seems to have changed the way scheduled posts work in its latest update and is now capable of missing schedules.

That Rush Limbaugh update was supposed to appear around 7am. It didn’t, but somehow the later story about tracking the Vegas shooting did appear on-schedule. More annoyingly, WordPress then refused to publish the Limbaugh story which meant I had to go and play with the database to make it appear.

If I wasn’t so used to random bugs appearing in new versions of WordPress, my paranoid nature would be convinced that the WordPress developers were trying to censor us right-wingers!

Update: Ugh, there goes another one missing its schedule. I’m really unimpressed now. End Update

Further Update: WordPress have released an update (version 2.9.1) in the last hour or so which allegedly fixes this bug and a few others. I’ve updated…now we wait and see. End Update


January 5th, 2010 at 11:39am

Rush Limbaugh well, on the mend, returns to work Wednesday

I know, I know, I’m about as late as I can be with this, but I need to provide a quick update.

Following Rush Limbaugh’s admission to hospital last week, Rush was released from hospital on the weekend and held a brief press conference to thank people for their support, praise the existing American health system and announce that he is taking it easy for a few days. Doctors have confirmed that Rush is fine and they’re unsure as to what caused his severe chest pains.

I am quite relieved to see Rush up and about. I last saw video of him a couple months ago and it looks to me as if he has lost a bit more weight since then…but I do have to wonder if he, much like 2GB’s Alan Jones, is a bundle of energy and pushes himself a bit too hard.

There is one really good thing to come out of all of this…an extra two days of Mark Steyn filling in for Rush. Mark is compelling and entertaining, but even better than that, was so good at filling in on December 23 that the far-left “anybody who opposes Obama must be banned” Media Matters nutters who scrutinise every moment of Rush’s show were so overwhelmed by Mark that they packed up an hour early and haven’t been heard from since. Mark, the world owes you about seventeen debts of gratitude for that one!


January 5th, 2010 at 11:25am

News is just as slow in the US as it is in Australia

Two federal agents have been shot and are being reported as dead in some places in Las Vegas, but you wouldn’t know it if you were listening to the last set of US national radio news bulletins. It’s bizarre, but it almost seems as if the national news outlets didn’t bother to call their local affiliates for information.

Here’s the basic rundown of events as I noticed it (note that all times are in Las Vegas local time/Canberra local time format)

Approximately 8:10am/3:10am: Shooting occurs

A few moments later: Newsradio 840 KXNT takes a call live-to-air from a witness. Sirens are audible in the background.

8:18am/3:18am: KXNT traffic runs a brief report on the area being locked down by police
Approximately 8:20am/3:20am: Around this time I went and checked other news outlets. The Las Vegas Review Journal had a brief “breaking story” blurb on their website, KDWN 720 had nothing on their website, TV Channel 13 (local ABC affiliate) had a brief story with flashy graphics (OK, a screengrab of their “breaking news” graphic…but still). National news outlets FOX, CBS and ABC had nothing on their websites.

Approximately 8:23/3:23: KXNT news runs a story including an update from the local police spokesperson advising that two federal agents have been shot, one offender has been shot and another may be on the loose.

Approximately 8:40/3:40: The Associated Press releases a very short story advising of a shooting which looks like a cut and paste from a government press release. National outlets FOX and ABC put it on their websites with no further details. KDWN have the story on their website.

8:49/3:49: KXNT runs an out-of-cycle “breaking news” report from Metro Police that the two federal officers are dead. Also note that the area has been completely locked down while police search for a second shooter.

9:00/4:00: Top of hour national radio bulletins run with the “condition unknown” AP report. FOX update their story with a line about the lockdown. CNN don’t have a story as such, but rather a headline which links off to the Vegas FOX TV station’s news story which seems fairly comprehensive.

At some stage a little bit after 9:10/4:10: CBS add the story to their website, merging AP information with KXNT information.

9:20/4:20: KXNT run another out-of-cycle “breaking news” update with some further information and a failed cross to their reporter at the scene (the phone line dropped out).

By 9:30/4:30: NBC get the story on their site, with minor additions to the AP story. ABC bump the story to top billing (which it should have had everywhere for a lot longer than this) including an aerial photo, presumably from the local ABC affiliate Channel 13.

9:30/4:30: KXNT run another out-of-cycle update (I shudder to think how many ads they’ve dropped) with a cross to the reporter on the scene relaying information from police at the scene that Metro Police’s previous release about the federal agents being dead is possibly wrong, plus a description of the scene.

9:45/4:45: National networks seem to be close to catching up with the local outlets, with the notable exception of NBC which continues to run the ancient AP story. CNN actually have an article now.

9:50/4:50: I haven’t had a chance to check the other locals again, but KXNT are running yet another out-of-cycle update pushing the locals way ahead of the nationals again with further updates about the situation.

9:55/4:55: Las Vegas Review Journal run independent confirmation that at least one federal agent has died.

Update: 11:10/6:10: Well this is absurd. I can not find a single Australian media outlet that is aware of this shooting. AAP have not mentioned it yet, and nobody in Australia seems to have noticed. This is the top story in all US media right now, and not a peep down under, nor in Britain’s BBC…perhaps the news is coming by boat. End Update

Don’t get me wrong here. I am not surprised by the fact that local stations which have people on the ground are ahead of the New York based networks. What I’m surprised by is just how far ahead the local stations are, and how long it took the nationals to even notice what is probably going to be the top story for the rest of the day. Each and every one of the national networks has a local affiliate with a newsroom to borrow material from, and with the exception of CBS they seem to be failing to capitalise on these resources. If any of these networks used their local resources properly, they would blitz the competition completely.

All of this just goes to show that news travels just as slowly in the US as it does in Australia. If it doesn’t happen near a major news centre, then you will be waiting a long time for details. Is it any wonder that people are relying on the Internet for news over and above the big news organisations?


January 5th, 2010 at 04:59am

Monckton to visit Australia

Padders over at The Right Aussie bring us some fantastic news. Lord Christopher Monckton will be visiting Australia later this year to spread some sanity about the whole global warming thing.

The dates haven’t been confirmed just yet, although Lord Monckton’s blog indicates that it should happen later this month. If Canberra is included on the list of places to be visited, then I’ll be sure to let you know. It would be fantastic if his lordship visits Canberra and I can arrange a brief interview…but for the moment that’s wishful thinking, and we’ll see what happens.


January 5th, 2010 at 03:29am

Mondays with Maritz: Times of recent of and soon comings

Dear hello and for much is good to write after time away of the much busy. and I am do of hope that you have been doing have of times for good.

I am sorry to be must have to start with the bad newses that I did not pass but did fail of the Englishes examination and have not got the new certfiticate of the Englishes which is much sad and disappointing and was also for frustrations the Mrs. Porritt who does do good teachings but was very much lovely in the hope of do pass. Mrs Porritt has done do of say that I can be take the testings again in end of February month time and but be must do much practice of before then does come.

The newses of bad did do also come in of the work of Gradrens as Nice Mr. Boss is to be spending much time overseas in coming year for the family and business so to must not be able to do have me doing the workings of full time in gradern and I can only be doing workings of the one or two days of week now in mainly doing the maintaining of gadren and not the much busy workings of which the I have been of the do. This newses were much sad for me as I am very much liking of doing workings for Nice. Mr. Boss and though he has been very much lovely and is doing pay of full time for this month as though even I am only doing the partial workings and so I am do have times to be finding other job which nice Mr. Boss did say can be of hard at times. I am have been doing interviews of for some jobs and am doing think did go well of for interview of job for answering the tephlephone to do answering of the questions of place the calling centre. I am do hope this is to happen job as I much like the talkings of tephelephone.

The Christmas times were much lovely and I am did have nice gatherings of the people of from next door neighbour and the jneby for the lunchings as also Mrs. Tina did do the fly of up from down in Melbourne which is town in South Victoria Australia and was previously of doing live next door until day not long time after I did first bakery of Tomato, Asparagus And Chocolate Cake which was new recipe of from Mother Of Russia at time and much lovely and tasty of I did do take to some for Mrs. Tina as present of being lovely neighbour. Mother Of Russia was on telephone speaker for some of lunch times for doing say hello in the Russian to all guests of lunching and did so sing of Christmas Carols with me.

I am did do make special Christmas lunchings for Nice Cat Slavcatchski as well of the turkey fish and he was taking of peppers away for not doing eat which was funny much and laughings but was do of eat.

I am do have more job interview for job of tephelephone centre in morning time and so must be having the sleep now after I am do ring Uncle Boris in Russia who I am do think is having the plans for vist to Australia holiday time. I am do think it is heat much too for him at moment times.

Please to be having lovely week times.

From Maritz
Ms. Maritzkrozlavsky Throrglasnishozly

January 5th, 2010 at 01:54am


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