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Author Archive

Peak Globalisation

Written By: - Date published: 3:26 pm, August 22nd, 2021 - 72 comments

The first great era of globalisation from roughly 1840 through to 1914 took place inside a framework that we can now view as the last hurrah of empire. The logic of empire extends back to the invention of agriculture – a technology that fundamentally demands access to fertile land, rainfall and sunshine. This meant all […]

Escape Velocity

Written By: - Date published: 9:11 am, February 7th, 2021 - 93 comments

In this series so far I’ve examined three of the four terms in the Kaya Identity, population, economic intensity, and energy intensity. It can be conclusively shown that none of these factors can be reduced sufficiently to reduce CO2 emissions to zero – or even close enough to be useful. Let’s return to each one […]

Trifold Politics and Boundaries

Written By: - Date published: 8:47 am, January 30th, 2021 - 34 comments

Over the past year I’ve outlined in the comments an alternative triplet political model to the standard left/right description that’s the usual default. It’s the default for a reason, it’s simple and most of the time it’s a ‘good enough’ approximation to reality, and nothing I’m going to suggest below is intended or expected to […]

The Tinkers

Written By: - Date published: 9:45 am, January 3rd, 2021 - Comments Off on The Tinkers

My all time favourite sci-fi author Vernor Vinge depicted in his Peace War Trilogy a counter culture that had adapted to unique set of circumstances to produce a high tech/low energy society. The back story involves the discovery of a new weapon. Vinge being a computer scientist himself (he taught in the field at San […]

Is Progress Real?

Written By: - Date published: 2:41 pm, December 31st, 2020 - 65 comments

It’s hard to overstate the extraordinary merging of events in Europe that led to the Industrial Revolution exploding in the mid-1800’s. There was of course at least 200 years of prior scene setting, across the sciences, philosophy and political arena’s. In say the year 1600 the so-called Renaissance was really the project of barely a […]

The Malthusian Spectre

Written By: - Date published: 10:52 am, December 20th, 2020 - 46 comments

Population has always been a critical driver of events and prior to the Industrial Revolution we lived in a zero sum world, with energy and resources effectively limited to that which could be harvested from photosynthesis, one person’s gain was at the limit, always someone else’s loss. Very low density hunter gather populations could thrive […]

State Zero

Written By: - Date published: 10:38 am, December 17th, 2020 - 21 comments

This short post reprises a comment on Kaya’s Identity a few weeks back. Kaya identity is expressed in the form: F = P . G/P . E/G . F/E Where: F is excess global CO2 emissions from human sources P is global population G is world GDP E is global energy consumption And: G/P is […]

Energy’s Iron Triangle.

Written By: - Date published: 7:46 am, December 11th, 2020 - 62 comments

For those who don’t trawl through all the comments; a little personal background. I’ve been fortunate enough to have just finished up a 40 year career in technology and automation, most of it in heavy industry. Looking back it’s been one hell of an adventure, tough at times, but I’ve been one of those lucky […]

Domestic Fire Sprinklers

Written By: - Date published: 12:44 pm, June 18th, 2017 - 14 comments

For almost two decades there have been a number of perfectly acceptable domestic fire sprinkler solutions available in the NZ market. When building new I always wear the modest extra cost of installing them; our first ones during 2002. For most units it amounts to something under $4,000 which frankly is peanuts in the wider […]

A Constitution

Written By: - Date published: 11:22 am, September 26th, 2016 - 31 comments

Absolute h/t to Ovid who linked to proposals for a written Consitution for Sir Geoffrey Palmer this morning in Open Mike. The SpinOff 1. New Zealand should become a republic. 2. The Head of State should reflect New Zealand’s national 
identity, culture and heritage, and should be appointed for a term of five years on […]

In Defense of Tony Veitch.

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 pm, May 8th, 2016 - 174 comments

I was asked by trp to respond to his post earlier today separately. I’ll start by re-quoting a comment from Anne: I can vouch for the truth of that statement. That is not to degrade the ever present ‘intimate’ violence perpetrated by men against women and children. However women are just as capable of performing […]

Aussies may be bastards, but they believe in themselves.

Written By: - Date published: 1:41 pm, March 26th, 2016 - 31 comments

Here in Ballarat, Victoria we are having a mini-boom in manufacturing. Yes you read that right. We’re having trouble retaining good people because of the demand. Yes you read that right. This is because Ballarat has actively invested in providing core capacities like: We were lucky to get an early NBN rollout in FTTP. Some […]

Guest Post … Build Mass Movements continued.

Written By: - Date published: 12:09 pm, January 24th, 2016 - 63 comments

This is a repost of a comment from Incognito on the Building Mass Movements post, with some editing. It’s also linked to one of my points on the Fisiani Gets it Right post yesterday; how does the left with it’s vital and diverse components achieve a unity of purpose, while sustaining the integrity of it’s […]

Fisiani Gets it Right

Written By: - Date published: 6:41 pm, January 23rd, 2016 - 211 comments

Let’s get this straight. Fisiani’s on-going sycophantic love-in with John Key may be nauseatingly embarrassing to read, but this does not make him necessarily wrong. Unforeseeable circumstances aside, John Key will see out five or six terms in office. He will then likely hand over to his carefully anointed National party successor. National will govern […]

DoC Staff Striking during Conservation Week

Written By: - Date published: 11:48 am, November 3rd, 2015 - 30 comments

How far removed from a ‘cloth-capped mob of union-stirrers and industrial saboteurs’ would the staff of the Department of Conservation be? These people would have to be among the most valued and generally respected public sector workers in the country. And now they are reduced to this. DOC staff to take industrial action as Conservation […]

Where to the nation?

Written By: - Date published: 8:04 am, December 23rd, 2014 - 143 comments

Left wing politics in New Zealand bends most of its attention and energy inwards onto the nation state. This is of course understandable because traditionally Parliament has been the prime locus of power.  But no longer; two quite distinct forces are at work to change this picture. The first is globalisation. We are in its second […]

All Antennae – No Compass

Written By: - Date published: 7:16 am, August 27th, 2014 - 51 comments

Duncan Garner lets it all out of the bag.  Part of the problem is that under any normal circumstances Cabinet Minister Judith Collins would have been sacked for trading dirty secrets with Cameron Slater, the low-life blogger WhaleOil. But none of this is normal. Because the prime minister, and others in his office, have been […]

Forty Christmases

Written By: - Date published: 11:20 pm, December 25th, 2013 - 49 comments

Exactly 40 years ago to the day I was having a white Christmas – on the summit of Mr Fyfe overlooking Kaikoura. Today I celebrate another Christmas, high on another mountain, in another part of the world – with a light dusting of very dry, very icy snow drifting on the wind. The decades in […]

More BS Numbers from the Right

Written By: - Date published: 10:25 am, March 24th, 2013 - 27 comments

Today we again have the Herald’s resident ignoramus Damien Grant sounds off about something he knows nothing about. As usual just looking at numbers without understanding what they represent and leaps to wrong conclusions. For a start he tries to compare the $8000  Watercare charge for a new water supply connection with the much smaller […]

The Human Cost

Written By: - Date published: 5:26 pm, March 23rd, 2013 - 57 comments

The funeral was a very full house and hard. You may have even seen it on Campbell Live;  The Herald gave it front page this morning.  Now comes the hard part, surviving the aftermath, the years with a hole in your heart, the family with a missing part. We never really had a cycling culture […]

The Stealth Dismantling of Environmental Protection

Written By: - Date published: 12:14 pm, March 6th, 2013 - 27 comments

To a first approximation the protection of the environment in this country is managed by two distinct entities; inside the Conservation estate it falls to DoC and outside of that it falls onto the Regional Councils. Under this government both are being slowly dismantled. Over the last month I’ve had the opportunity to talk extensively with DoC […]

Five Broken Things.

Written By: - Date published: 7:56 am, February 16th, 2013 - 81 comments

Universal Basic Income UBI

Yesterday I rather shamelessly threadjacked one of Irish’s posts on a Colin Espiner column in the direction of the Universal Basic Income idea. In this post I want to also shamelessly filch from Gareth Morgan’s book The Big Kahuna, specifically Ch.5 “The Five Big Issues” and wrap it into a quick read. (At some points […]

Media Medicine

Written By: - Date published: 8:33 am, November 28th, 2012 - 45 comments

The relationship between media and politicians in this country has become incestuous and toxic. For much of the time they confine themselves to merely slanting the game with spin and framing language. We’ve learnt to live with that. But increasingly we are witnessing instances where a pack mentality dominates the story, placing journalists themselves as […]

Treachery

Written By: - Date published: 10:09 am, January 28th, 2012 - 703 comments

Fran O’Sullivan is an enemy of the people. Her article in this morning’s Herald will forever brand her as a traitor to this country. She will be shunned and reviled by people who understand what a disgusting sell-out she has become. There is no coming back from this. The Crafar decision is a victory for […]

Two Left Feet, or a Kick Ass Combo?

Written By: - Date published: 8:45 pm, January 20th, 2012 - 26 comments

“We believed in ourselves”

Written By: - Date published: 7:35 am, December 13th, 2011 - 48 comments

Read this and weep: New rolling stock (carriages) for South Island scenic rail journeys are as good as, or better than anything I have experienced anywhere else. They rival equipment used on Switzerland’s premier scenic rail journeys, including the famed Zermatt to St Moritz Glacier Express. And, best of all, the new rail vehicles, classified […]

Creating Jobs for the Young…and not how you’d expect.

Written By: - Date published: 10:42 pm, August 20th, 2011 - 48 comments

So we can safely predict this National govt will score it’s usual epic fail around youth unemployment. And we all know the reasons why this is such a critical issue, so I’m not going to re-hash them either. It’s just that both sides in this debate keep missing the crux of the matter… what is […]

The Heart of Utoya

Written By: - Date published: 8:09 am, July 31st, 2011 - 46 comments

So Breivik has given us an eyes wide open gaze into the abyss. Chilling isn’t it? Much has been written in the last week about the political atrocity he committed, yet this article in the Sunday Star Times today is equally wrong. Here is why. Many years ago I recall listening to a BBC correspondent […]

How to tell you have a Tory govt

Written By: - Date published: 5:01 pm, April 16th, 2011 - 7 comments

Brian Fallow is one of the Heralds more understated columnists. Brian and I probably vote differently, but I find his articles usually worth the read. But there is understatement, and then there is deliberate obfuscation. His column today starts out workmanlike enough, repeating the PM’s case how average wages/salaries have increased in real terms around […]

Universal Income Revisited

Written By: - Date published: 11:44 pm, February 28th, 2011 - 96 comments

The tax system we currently have is a relic of the pre-IT age. In the days of manual clerk-handled accounts, it was impractical to reconcile tax accounts more than once a year. The introduction of PAYE in 1958 was welcomed as it eliminated the need for ordinary people to find the cash for a large […]

John “30-sec” Key…. smile and walk away.

Written By: - Date published: 8:33 pm, January 3rd, 2011 - 103 comments

The two significant things from the Herald interview: #1 The signalling by John Key of his willingness to step down. #2 The view of John Key that “essentially there is no money”. “There won’t be money for us and there won’t be money for Labour,” John Key. The significant thing about the first statement is, […]

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