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Are we this stupid?

Written By: - Date published: 12:15 pm, August 21st, 2009 - 94 comments
Categories: climate change, greens - Tags:


I got along to the Greens’ sold-out screening of The Age of the Stupid last night. It’s a powerful movie, perhaps a bit disjointed at the start but it builds to a conclusion that really hits home. You can’t watch it and not come away more determined to do your bit, and demand your government does it bit, to fight climate change before it’s too late.

The movie also left me wondering. Are we really this stupid? Will we blithley and in full knowledge of what we’re doing destroy our plaent’s ability to support us and our lifestyles? Will we continue to let our governments do too little, too late? Are we so blind, so short-sighted, so blind?

I think there’s smoking analogy here. How many of us still smoke, knowing the high chance that it will cause severe damage to our health in decades’ time? We can alter our behaviour now to avoid long-run costs. Now I think about it, maybe the health risks are just part of the reason why we smoke in ever decreasing numbers.

The other part is societal. Once a critical mass of people was established that didn’t smoke themselves and didn’t want others smoking around them (probably most because it stinks but some wowserism over second-hand smoke helps) smokers had to start conforming their behaviour to non-smokers’ aims, rather than the other way around. As with smoking, so it could be with high-carbon lifestyles. Once enough of us start deciding that we will live low-carbon lifestyles, we will be able to demand changes from the market and from government to enable low-carbon living, rather than enabling high-carbon living as is currently the case.

Keeping with the smoking analogy, I think a crucial difference is that if I smoke I’m primarily and directly putting myself at a risk I otherwise won’t be exposed to. Climate change isn’t like that. The link between my actions and the outcomes is complicated, and the consequences of my actions are diffused amongst everyone while at the same time I bear the consequences of everyone else’s actions even if I don’t contribute to the problem. It’s your classic tragedy of the commons, of course. And the solution to the tragedy is to plan collectively and make people bear the consequences of their excessses personally by rationing/charging for the use of the resource.

If we don’t want this to be remembered as the age of stupid, the era in which we squandered the Earth’s limited resources and destroyed our environment, it is down to each of us to do our part. We need to take responsibility at an individual and community level by living low-carbon lifestyles, and, building on that, we need to demand our governments make high-carbon lifestyles unattractive and unaffordable. Before it’s too late.

94 comments on “Are we this stupid? ”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    “Once enough of us start deciding that we will live low-carbon lifestyles, we will be able to demand changes from the market and from government to enable low-carbon living, rather than enabling high-carbon living as is currently the case.”

    Yes, but beware of the ‘greenwash’. Perfect example: new hard drives being released by WesternDigital are ‘green’ and ‘ecofriendly’ because they use something like 40% less power than other hard drives. Ok, that’s nice, and it is better to buy a ‘green’ hard drive than a standard one. The greenest thing, though, is not to buy a hard drive at all.

    Similarly I saw some article on stuff about how to raise a child in a ‘green’ and ‘eco-friendly’ way. The greenest and most ecofriendly thing you can do is not to have a child at all.

    • lukas 1.1

      “The greenest and most ecofriendly thing you can do is not to have a child at all.”

      Are you advocating the “one child policy” of the Green Party?

      • Lanthanide 1.1.1


        I’m not going to have any children though, so I’ll sell you my child license.

      • Chris 1.1.2

        Your ‘insight’ is appears to be somewhat limited. Where exactly does it say ‘one child’ in the Green Party population policy? I missed that bit.

        • Frank Macskasy

          He made it up. Right wingers are known to fabricate, exaggerate, and obfuscate. It’s their #1 tactic when they have no real way to rationally debate a topic.

    • I’m always curious about the child issue.

      Even a small change in temp is likely to kill an awful lot of people in the 3rd world. This will lower the population drastically.

      However, the problem will still continue because of our lifestyles in the 1st world, not because of overpopulation. I find people who support the no kids view interesting as I find it defeats the purpose of environmentalism(which is to ensure a decent society for ourselves and our child)

      I guess the no kids thing is a bit of utilitarian sacrifice, I won’t have kids so someone else’s will be okay.

      Either way, slightly disappointed to see no mention of the economic argument FOR New Zealand to take strong action on climate change. Simply the “world=good” argument gives fuel to the “NZ=0.01%” argument.

  2. If we don’t want this to be remembered as the age of stupid, umm
    Heres the go – We all need to do less. Learn and attain the skills involved in various hobbies, pastimes – like, carpentry instead of international airtravel.
    The Age of Less Is More Or Less.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    As long as capitalism rules we’ll continue being this stupid.

    • Swampy 3.1

      The Soviet Union was one of the biggest polluting countries in the world, even today their continent is littered with massive amounts of pollution. So their anti-capitalist ideology was completely irrelevant. Show me the proof that Communist China is a clean green nation (LOL).

      • Jeremy 3.1.1

        show me proof that the soviet union or PRC have ever been communist. It’s a label used by their politicians to gain power, not something they actually put into practice.

        • Swampy

          Sorry, that is an excuse. The same old one, that the Soviet Union or China is not ideologically pure and that is why communism “failed” in those countries.

          (Has the list of moderated flag words ever been published anywhere?)

      • Con 3.1.2

        Why do you expect someone else to show you proof, Swampy? Are you not up to the job of looking it up for yourself?

        China has a large industrial sector which exports vast quantities of manufactured goods all over the world, including NZ. Yet despite this they emit less carbon per capita than even good old “%10-20 PURE” New Zealand. But don’t let the facts get in the way of a good anti-communist sneer will you?


  4. no leftie 4

    Ken Livingstone says “Every single person in the country should be forcibly sat down on a chair and made to watch this film.”

    Note the “forcibly” and “made to” parts of his comment.

    Unless you market the message a lot better than that, you’ll continue to be very disappointed.

    • snoozer 4.1

      oh noes, Ken Livingstone’s language could be taken badly by PC crybabies like no leftie.

      I guess we’ll just have to stick our heads in the sand then and pretend climate change isn’t a clear and present danger.

      • no leftie 4.1.1

        Do you really think threats are the way forward?

        Be very afraid of anyone advocating violence in the guise of saving the planet.

        And in case you don’t believe violence is implied in Red Ken’s comment.

        Ask yourself “What if I don’t want to watch the Age of Stupid?”

        You’ll be “be forcibly sat down on a chair and made to watch”

        • snoozer

          threats? What threats? Did you see the words ‘should be’? Your upset about the choice of words an ex-mayor in another country?

          man, when muscular conservatism get replaced with these bedwetters?

          The fact is you don’t want to debate the issue. you would rather have a cry about some irrelevant guy’s choice of words. That tells me all I need to know about where you stand – you don’t want to do anything about climate cahnge but you’ve got no argument to back up where you stand, it’s just willful blindness.

      • Quoth the Raven 4.1.2

        Don’t be a dick snoozer and that goes for OOB. You don’t have to be a CC denier to recognise that what Livingston said is remarkbly stupid and does no help to the cause. I believe passionately in protecting the envrionment people like Livingston are incredibly unhelpful. What no leftie said is exactly right the message could be marketed a lot better. We don’t need idiots like Livingston turning people off.

        • snoozer

          who gives a damn what livingstone said?

          I think that’s oob’s point too.

          • Quoth the Raven

            If that’s the point that OOB was making then that is fair, but that was not the point you made in your first “PC cry babies” comment.

            There’s no need to turn it around on no leftie and accuse him of ignoring climate change we don’t know that he is. To me he made a perfectly acceptable observation in his first comment: “Unless you market the message a lot better than that, you’ll continue to be very disappointed.”

            • NickS

              Actually on one of the previous climate change threads, he did come across as not accepting climate change:

              The cost of doing nothing

              And sometimes civility is extremely over-rated when dealing with idiots.

            • Pascal's bookie

              Classic concern troll though Quoth. ”

              “Oh noes! you musn’t use that metaphor! Now I totes won’t listen to ur argument! and I relly reelly wants to discuss it but because you used a bad word I’ll just cry about that for some time and let’s all discuss my state of offendedness”

              fuck that.

              …and just saying, but there’s a certain irony given your tendency to use the ‘cultist’ language for anyone that doesn’t condemn Obama enough for your taste. No?

            • Quoth the Raven

              PB – As someone who likes to discuss Krugman a lot you might note that Krugman was one the first people to note a “cult of personality” around Obama.

            • Pascal's bookie

              So what?

              Because I quote Krugman on some matters, and because he has noted “”cult of personality’ around Obama”, does that mean we all must denounce everything Obama does?

              Jesus wept dude. just because I agree with some things Krugman says, that doesn’t mean I agree with everything he says. That would be cult like. Just because Krugman says there is a cult of personality around Obama that doesn’t mean that everyone who fails to denounce him to your satisfaction is a cultist, either in reality, or in the sense Krugman was talking about.

              You might also want to consider the effectiveness of your denouncing of anyone who isn’t left enough for you, or who uses words in ways you don’t agree with. You’ve got a lot of worthwhile things to say, and I was just noting an irony here, that’s all

              You can pay attention to it or not.

            • Quoth the Raven

              You are qite right PB I was just making the point that a others use the word cult in relation to Obama. I don’t denounce everything Obama does just 99% of it =) Damn it. I’ve already left this thread.

  5. outofbed 5

    Are we this stupid ?
    no leftie gives us the answer

    • no leftie 5.1

      Threats AND abuse.

      Good to see you’re holding the moral high ground.

      Great message to take to the public as well.

      [lprent: Your comments seem designed to disrupt debate and drag it to irrelevant flamewars. There is no significant abuse by my standards (and they are pretty much the only ones that count here). That means you are tettering on being classed as a troll – read the policy.

      If you wish I’ll demonstrate how I like to vent some real levels of abuse on trolls. I consider it a darwinian winnowing to get rid of bad behaviour. ]

      • no leftie 5.1.1

        Iprent attack, delete, whatever.

        I wanted to enlighten your readers about a ridiculous comment about The Age of Stupid made by a socialist hero.

        I also hoped to find someone else just as horrified by the violence implicit in that remark.

        I guess I’ll look elsewhere.

        • lprent


          You have to have something to say in a line that others haven’t already heard and dismissed as puerile when you were in nappies. You sound as stupid in strategy as Muldoon was in the 1960’s. Great tactics. Causes the country to fail a few decades later.

          I’d suggest that you learn to think past sniffing your own methane laden hot air.

          The only people that are allowed to try to control behaviour here are the moderators and the sysop. Don’t try it again…

  6. vto 6

    its better to burn out than to fade away..


  7. Brickley Paiste 7

    I like the smoking analogy. Another analogy people raise is the risk of nuclear doom during the Cold War. Putting aside the fact that the risk of nuclear war is still high, there is another problem with the analogy that I find unsettling.

    To avoid nuclear anihiliation during the Cold War, people had to refrain from action –launching missles.

    To continue climate change, we simply need to continue with business as usual.

    It’s much easier to avoid positive actions than omissions.

    • bobbity 7.1

      Yes we should stop living high carbon lifestyles – I mean who needs carbon anyway we should remove it from our diets immediately.

      On a more rationale note why don’t we hear more about the soot that’s pumped into the atmosphere by the real polluters

      ” …Soot may be a contributor to the disappearance of glaciers in some regions and could even explain the accelerated rates of melt in the Himalaya-Hindu-Kush,”

      “… scientists urge rapid reduction of black carbon emissions to slow warming in the near term and help avoid passing the temperature thresholds for abrupt climate changes. Unlike CO2, where a significant fraction remains in the atmosphere for over a thousand years, black carbon only stays in the atmosphere for a few days to a week. Hence, reducing black carbon emissions has an immediate effect on global warming. In contrast to reductions in black carbon soot, cuts in CO2 emissions, while essential, do not produce significant cooling for at least a thousand years “

  8. Maynard J 8

    To no leftie and Quoth the Raven – if you get put off by a comment by an ex-mayor, then being put off by the comment by an ex-mayor is the least of your problems.

    Let me put it this way – why waste time and energy on people who piss and moan about semantics, since they are clearly not going to give a hoot about the real issue if they are that desperate to divert themselves from it and take a good hard look at the ‘framing’ of said message.

    To quote – Trying to have a conversation with [them] would be like arguing with a dining room table.

    • Quoth the Raven 8.1

      If you care about the environment then you should want the environmentalist message to be as disasociated as possible from aggressive statements such as Livingston’s and so you should make a point as I have to criticise those who do damage to the environmentalist message. Furthermore if you care about the environment you’d want other’s to care about the environment and as ‘no leftie’ rightly notes you’re not going to get that with people like Livingston spouting virulently aggressive shit, you’re just going to turn them off the message. People who care about the environment should denounce people like Livingston. Here’s a quote and from someone with better credentials than a new labour hack or republocrat:

      “However much I may sympathise with and admire worthy motives, I am an uncompromising opponent of violent methods even to serve the noblest of causes.’ – Gandhi.

      • Maynard J 8.1.1

        To be honest I thought about that as I wrote what I wrote above and you are right in general terms – there is no point trying to antagonise people with your message.

        However I think the example given is an utterly weak one. It is a pretty standard phrase, common parlance, to use, and no one would give it a second look unless they already had a whopping great big chip already lodged firmly at shoulder height.

        The use of such an argument against that specific message turns on my internal dining room table indicator.

        • lprent

          And my troll senses activated. But no leftie has been on a while without activating those, so got a warning rather than my more abrupt handling…

        • Quoth the Raven

          Thanks Maynard for a reasonable and well-argued reply others could learn from you.

  9. Rex Widerstrom 9

    Is that the Meremere power station in the pic? If so, not the best example of anti-planetary activity, given that it’s being turned into a recycling plant.

    Seeing it, however, reminded me vaguely of sometime circa 1995 when NZ First was approached by a company whose name I can’t now remember who had a plan to ship domestic rubbish from most of the upper North Island to Meremere and burn it at very high temperatures, with smoke filtration and other appropriate safeguards in place.

    I’m no expert but it looked at least feasible to me, yet the company concerned couldn’t get enough interest from the government of the day to make it worthwhile their going to the next stage. Some local authorities seemed to prefer their landfills and, IIRC, there were objections from local Maori (I dimly recall being sent up to negotiate with Sir Robert Mahuta and other kaumatua).

    I wonder what became of it all eventually? I mean clearly it never happened, but how close it came and whether it was in fact feasible.

    Anyway, interesting to see Nikau Contractors coming up with much the same idea over a decade later. Clearly there was less red tape for them to overcome, or something.

    • Maynard J 9.1

      It is Huntly. E3P was an advance, but clean coal is a bit too far away at this stage.

    • lprent 9.2

      Huntly power station…

      • Rex Widerstrom 9.2.1

        Oh yeah… there’s no river right in front of Meremere. Doh! Well I got the general geography correct…

        I really do wonder what happened to the proposal to burn most of the North Island’s waste at Meremere though… think of the landfill that wouldn’t be filled right now, leaching heaven knows what into the soil, if it had taken off.

        The company was called Olivine. I think this is them mentioned here.

        All I can find that seems relevant is a reference in an old ARC document of 2000 which says:

        There was a proposal to convert the old Meremere Power Station into a waste incineration plant in order to generate power, however this did not get consent to proceed.

        That seems, on the face of it, to have been a shortsighted approach. I wonder if waste-generated electricity is viable nowadays?

        Sorry, I’m wandering slightly off topic, all prompted by a photograph. Gawd, next thing I know I’ll be using phrases like “in my day…” 😯

        • Chris

          There was indeed a proposal to convert the old Meremere power station into a very large incinerator.

          The Authorities asked how was the smoke going to be treated (among other questions.) The applicant replied that well, the wind would waft it away. And how was the applicant proposing to deal with the dioxins and other chemical nasties in the smoke? The wind will simply waft it away.

          Sigh. It’s not surprising that the Authorities declined the application, and equally it’s not surprising the level of stupi-duty that exists.

    • vto 9.3

      sheesh Rex “Is that the Meremere power station in the pic?”

      if ever there was proof that this blog inhabits a world removed that is it

      • Rex Widerstrom 9.3.1

        Sheesh vto, I haven’t been near the place for almost a decade (so I am removed… not quite by the entire world, but by a contient), and last time I went by they’d pulled down one smokestack, leaving two.

  10. outofbed 10

    Ken said we should watch the film
    You quote fucking Gandhi FFS

    I care enough to want my Grandchildren to live a life without worrying about the fucked up planet,,
    The question asks
    ” Are we this stupid?”
    The answer it seems is yes

    • Quoth the Raven 10.1

      Ken said people should be forced to watch the film. This thread has got out of hand because of the unreasonable reaction to ‘no leftie’s’ comment. However, unreasonable ‘no leftie’ usually maybe his first comment was reasonable. The comment may seem innocuous, but I felt I stand up for ‘no leftie’s’ position even if I’m a rabid leftie.

      I’m forever quoting famous anarchists haven’t you noticed?

      • snoozer 10.1.1

        grow up QtR, we’re trying to discuss the greatest threat facing mankind and you’re having a cry over some person’s choice of words.

        • Quoth the Raven

          Don’t let me stop you. You’re under no compulsion to reply to my comments. Go ahead converse. Show us your great scientific knowledge.

          • Quoth the Raven

            I leave this thread now. I have too much work (actual science) to do anyway.

        • mike

          “greatest threat facing mankind” Is that since the Y2K bug was going to render our computers useless?
          I bet you switched yours off at 11.45pm right…

          • Con

            Yawn. You forgot to mention the “global cooling” scare of the 1970s, and the faked Apollo “moon landing”. Please try harder.

      • no leftie 10.1.2

        A rabid leftie and a red(brown)neck fighting back to back against fanatics threatening violence to further their claims – who would have thought?

  11. Andrei 11

    Age of stupid – huh

    Yep people are as gullible as ever.

    Ten years from now people will be watching the “Age of Stupid” and rolling in the aisles.

    My daughter was subjected to Al Gores nonsense in Social Studies a week or so ago – she didn’t buy it, a lot the flaws in reasoning were obvious even to her thirteen year old brain.

    • snoozer 11.1

      please andrei, enlighten us. Tell us how climate change is a load of rubbish.

      No, you won’t be doing that eh? And if you try, you’ll get a deluge of facts and figures that will leave you without answer. Easier to stick to the silly comments about Al Gore than try to argue the science eh?

      Get your 13 year old to explain radiative forcing to you. Once you understand that we’re putting more stuff in the atmosphere that traps heat and that stable climates are vital to our economy, the rest of it is just nitpicking.

    • lprent 11.2

      Ummm is this the Andrei that shows up at tbr along with that Wishart?

      If so I’m surprised you haven’t tried to sue someone for pointing out that you are full of bullshit.

      Guilt by association being one of Ian Wishart’s ‘logical’ arguments. It seems fair (if you are that Andrei – and you certainly sound like it) to apply the same technique to you.

      Of course he usually has to make up the ‘association’ with an dissociative argument like ‘has associates whose names sound italian, therefore there is a mafia connection…’. Has anyone seen Mario yet?

      I don’t think that your opinion is worth much.

  12. outofbed 12

    “daughter of a RWNJ thinks doesn’t believe in AGW horror”
    let me guess jesus is her saviour ? and she approves of smacking ?

  13. George D 13


  14. RedLogix 14


    Why so gullible? I’ve read a few of your comments over the last few weeks and I’m at a loss to understand exactly what you are trying to say. I’m guessing that you have uncovered some fatal evidential flaw in the science underpinning AGW, but I’m struggling to get a grasp on the detail you must have in mind.

  15. Andrei 15

    I don’t think that your opinion is worth much.

    Well I don’t think that matters particularly in the scheme of things.

    You can debate this matter from a viewpoint drawn from historical records, geological records, physical chemistry, geography, meteorology, astronomy or non linear dynamics and various combinations thereof or you can go down the propaganda route with tacky movies and demonization of those who don’t share your viewpoint calling them stupid or worse.

    The second route is easier but at the end of the day completely unproductive.

    And when the world doesn’t end and all the dire predictions don’t come to pass who will look stupid then I wonder.

    • RedLogix 15.1

      You can debate this matter from a viewpoint drawn from historical records, geological records, physical chemistry, geography, meteorology, astronomy or non linear dynamics and various combinations thereof

      Cool. So you DO have some new information we haven’t seen before.

      • Andrei 15.1.1

        Oh sure, but it is casting pearls before swine – your ears are blocked and your minds are closed.

        An exercise for the reader

        Determine the total volume of ice in Antarctica

        Assume it is at an average temperature of -1C

        Calculate the total energy required to raise it to 0C

        Calculate the total energy required for the phase change from solid to liquid.

        Calculate the annual total solar energy reaching the earths surface

        Assume all this goes into Antarctic ice melting

        Calculate how long before Antarctica is ice free

        Show all your working and assumptions

        • NickS

          Cue mega irony when one realises all of Andrei’s assumptions and condition are highly unrealistic…

          • Armchair Critic

            I think Andrei’s point is that if you apply some completely unrealistic assumptions to some simple mathematics you end up with an unrealistic answer.
            In this case, the ice would melt at a ridiculously quick rate.
            I’m guessing Andrei is sick of tbr so he is gunning for a job at treasury, or as an advisor to ACT.

        • RedLogix

          Rough 1st order calculation:

          Volume of Antarctic Ice = 30 *10^6 km3
          = 30* 10^6 km3 * 10^3 kg/m3 * 10^9 m3/km3
          = 30 * 10^18kg

          Latent Heat of Water = 334kJ/kg

          Total Energy to change phase = 334kJ/kg * 30 * 10^18kg =~ 10^22 kJ

          Total Solar Irradiation = 1.7 *10^14 kW (Not all of this reaches the Earths surface, but near enough)

          1 kw = 1 kJ/sec

          Time to melt = Energy/Power
          = 10^22 kJ / 1.7 * 10^14 kJ/sec

          =~ 0.5 * 10^8 seconds =~ 1.6 years.

          I dunno, my math is so crap I don’t ever believe my own answers until someone else checks them; but I’m still not sure what answer you were looking for.

          Certainly no-one is suggesting that both the WAIS and EAIS will melt in the next year or so. That would raise sea levels a catastrophic 60m or so. Much more concerning is the unstable WAIS which could well become ungrounded and breakup (because much of it is sitting on bedrock many km below sea level). If all of it broke up,sea levels might rise by 6-7m, but even just 1-2m of that in the next century would be pretty hard to cope with.

          • Andrei

            Great work though you omitted the calculation the energy requirement to raise the ice by -1C to 0C.

            The assumptions are unrealistic of course, as was pointed out but the more realistic you make them the further out the melt will become.

            I am going to try and get my boy, a year 12 physics student to have a go at this and see what he come up with.

            Its not going to happen any time soon that is for sure.

    • lprent 15.2

      So are you the Andrei from tbr? Just to get a context from whence your scientific illiteracy comes from….

  16. Bill 16

    “we will be able to demand changes from the market”

    Em, no you, I, we won’t. But if you seriously think otherwise then will you please outline a scenario showing citizens demanding and achieving ‘changes from the market’? A command economy along the lines of what was implemented in the USSR can dictate the market but there are a whole host of reasons for not wanting to go down that path.

    Then you say “We need to take responsibility at an individual and community level..” Okay. But how does that square with “we need to demand our governments make high-carbon lifestyles unattractive and unaffordable”. Are you suggesting that the government impose responsible behaviour through penalising certain irresponsible lifestyles? And that the government will do so in reaction to demands coming from responsible individual and community behaviour?

    Sorry, but if you want to advocate political solutions they need to display a level of consistency absent from this post. They need to be thought through much more thoroughly and carefully if they are to be taken seriously or as anything beyond a pointless and impotent list of commandments.

  17. coolas 17

    Haven’t seen the movie but given the title seems spot on.
    Earth cannot support the goal of ‘under-developed’ counties achieving the lifestyle/consumption of the ‘developed’ West.

    If China & India consumed as much per capita as Americans we’d run out of resources real fast. But that’s the goal of ‘development’: more and more consumption by more and more people. It can’t be sustained.

    Humans seem hard wired to wanting more and more, and the changes needed to sustain life on Earth require we do with less and less..

    Of course we’re stupid because we waste finite resource on things fighting wars. How dumb is that.

  18. Ranginui 18

    Kia Ora, I agree with post, but it doesn’t go nearly far enuff. I live in the bush – I come out an use my ladies computer – and boy that’s the life. I think we shoudl get back to basics, no cars, no buses, nothing that requires energy except the fire that keeps me warm. I’m working on a wooden bycyle during my day time, but not having any steel for a knife I’ve had to chisel out a peice of ponamu with a stone. man it’s hard work carving a bike – but it’s going to worth it casue my moko’s are gunna have plenty of resoures to hand on to their moko’s and they can hand it on to their moko’s and so on. Tell you what though it was bloody cold this winter eh, am I allowed to burn milk bottles?

  19. lprent 19

    Mike: no. I wasn’t running COBOL or fortran programs. The bios date and time routines at the time were good to 2032. The operating system was something like 2070. The databases I used weren’t daft enough to code in bcd for dates.

    Why should I have been worried?

    The real issue was from COBOL systems coded in the 50-70’s. They got upgraded or replaced well before the date because if the fuss. Which is why there was a fuss made. Of course the technophobes in the media played it up, but noone in the industry was particularly worried

    You’re a fool if you think that the co2 acculmulation is a similar level of an issue.

  20. I think the age of stupid fits well, along with the terms the age of NOW and the age of self focused. Thinking about the future seems lost on many today, all they are concerned about is getting the most they can NOW.

    I fear for my children’s futures more each passing year seeing who is responsible for making the decisions that will affect them.

  21. lprent 21

    Umm I forgot to mention the greedy it sales people and empire building it managers. They were also into talking it up for their own benefit. But they know bugger all about tech.

    Always look at the techs to find out how serious a problem is. In 1999, programmers like me were blasé. In 2009 the working climatologists and earth scientists (like I trained for) are distinctly worried.

  22. Gus 22

    I have to say this posting has given me a glimmer of hope. Since I turned 18 I have voted Labour – well at least my party vote, ok well last time I gave it to National because frankly I had had enough of the nastiness that seems to be developing into a norm with Labour devotees. Enough on that. Gotta say I drive a V8 and don’t buy into the whole argument but this, balanced, relatively unemotional piece will make me re-think my attitude. Nice to see a posting that pushes a point without going into attack mode.

  23. deWithiel 23

    Ah well, as I quipped on election night, we’ve shifted from being the shaky isles to the stupid isles. The failure of the electorate to understand the science of climate change and its personal responsibility is an extraordinary inditement of our education system. Actually, the failure of the electorate to understand the fundamental consequences of the National party’s selfishness on this (and a myriad of other) issues is an even more damning assesment of the way we’re taught to think.

  24. deWithiel 24

    Ah well, as I quipped on election night, we’ve shifted from being the shaky isles to the stupid isles. The failure of the electorate to understand the science of climate change and its consequential responsibilities is an extraordinary inditement of our education system. Actually, the failure of the electorate to understand the fundamentally selfish nature of the National party’s policies on this (and a myriad of other) issues is an even more damning assesment of the way we’re taught to think and act.

  25. infused 25

    Another yawn fest. Get a new cause please. No ones buying in to your shit. The trailer was the biggest pile of alarmist shit I’ve ever seen. Talk about playing on emotion.

  26. infused 26

    And in answer to your question, only thestandard are this stupid.

    • NickS 26.1

      Yeap, because siding with the vast majority of climate researchers when we’re not experts on the subjects means we’re teh stupid…

  27. randal 27

    yes we are that stupid.
    read thorstein veblen on the theory of the leisure class and how human wants are insatiable.
    we need stuff so we are different from our fellows.
    gimme gimme gimee.
    afriend was in ethiopia during operation hope.
    recipients of aid would destroy anything they couldnt carry so nobody else could have it.
    other examples abound but its still the same old story.
    I just need a five hundred acre estate upstate in the hamptons so I can live my dream. a chopper to go to work in manahattan an a sports car and golf club membership and shall I go on?

  28. Adolf Fiinkensein 28

    randal yes, you are that stupid. And illiterate.

  29. Swampy 29

    No we are not stupid, because we are not kowtowing to the views of extremists in this important matter. How about some reality check here, Guyon Espiner in his political blog “How much more does Labour think the public is willing to pay to meet New Zealand’s climate change obligations, given we represent just 0.2% of the world’s emissions? ”

    Get a life, seriously. Why these extremists think NZ should sink into ground when our contribution could be wiped out by China’s non participation for example.

    In fact that is the debate, the Greens want to force extremist ideology (and that should get a lot more traction)

    • Frank Macskasy 29.1

      Perhaps an extreme situation requires an extreme solution?

    • Draco T Bastard 29.2

      How about some reality check here, Guyon Espiner…


      Guyon Espiner wouldn’t know reality if it hit him.

  30. Frank Macskasy 30

    I’ve always wondered…

    Considering that astronomers are discovering new planets outside our own Solar System almost on a weekly basis; considering that there must be billions of planets throughout just our own galaxy; considering that there must be tens of millions of planets that orbit their parent-sun(s) is just the right position – not too hot, not too cold – and considering that there must be several millions with just the right circumstances for life to emerge; and that ultimately, a million or two must evolve intelligent life,,,

    Why haven’t we picked up their transmissions? Radio, tv, radar, miscrowaves – a certain number of intelligent civilisations would utilise these tools as part of their industrial base.

    That we haven’t picked up their signals indicates that intelligent, technologically advanced races are very rare throughout this galaxy.

    Perhaps more rare than the odds should dictate?

    Could it be, simply, that most industrialised races will ultimately self-destruct, either by tribal warfare utilising atomic weapons – or by environment degradation.

    It’s the old story of the frog in pan of steadily warming water. It doesn’t realise it is in a fatal situation until too late, and it is dead.

    Civilisations may not realise that the pan of water is heating up. And yes, we are too stupid, collectively, to get out.

    • Draco T Bastard 30.1


      Actually, I believe studies have shown that silly little things like TV transmissions etc are unlikely to be picked up out of the background radiation further than a light year out.

      Environmental degradation shouldn’t cause an intelligent species to become extinct although it would be seriously culled. What is the most likely scenario, IMO, is that an industrial society uses up almost all of the resources available and then just doesn’t have the energy available to get off the planet even though it will have the knowledge.

  31. no leftie 31

    It’s good to finally see some debate here about about how the global warming message should be framed and not just the usual tiresome – yes its is – no it isn’t – back and forth.

    Because really who’s going to change their minds here? If you believe, it’s real – if you don’t, it isn’t.

    Also I don’t think the “do what I tell you to, or the world will end” message is a winner but I’m not sure what else you’ve got. Self-preservation is the only way people will put up with draconian controls and dramatic price rises but the sea will have to be lapping at their front doors before they’ll be convinced.

    Yet another “the end is nigh” film or politicians’ talkfest won’t do it.

  32. Swampy 32

    Depends on who is stupid and what.

    This is a die in the ditch issue for the Greens, but they need to remember they are on one of the political extremes. They’re there for a reason, the fact that people on the extremes of politics are always the ones who want New Zealand to martyr itself for their cause.

    I think Helen Clark came into this in a certain way because it’s clear she wanted to use New Zealand as a stepping stone to her United Nations career.

  33. BLiP 33

    I think

    Your claim fails at the skimpiest glance of the evidence.

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