Earth on Fire: The Overheating Planet

Earth on Fire: The Overheating Planet


The reason some popular posts are tagged ‘no title’ is not because they have no title—they all do—but because the old Blogger embedded the title at the top of text, and the new software does not see that. You can see the titles in capitals at the start of each snippet. (It would be nice if Blogger introduced an upgrade program that could fix this little problem.)

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Monday 18 December 2006


If your thinking is still on Earth 1, the planet the human race used to live on, your brain is on the wrong planet. Your body is now on Earth 2, and heading for Earth 3, Earth 4, Earth 5....who knows?

The Earth we lived on for the past 10,000 years has gone. We now live on a different planet, and it is getting even more different at an accelerating rate. For one of thousands of examples, look at this BBC Report. Or go to the latest data from NOAA-NCDC which says that the September-November 2006 average temperature on land for the northern hemisphere was the highest on record (since 1880), and that 'anomalously warm temperatures have covered much of the globe throughout the year.'

Earth 1 thinking is wrong, dangerous, stupid. All our decisions now have to be Earth 2 decisions. We need Earth 2 thinking, Earth 2 planning, Earth 2 attitudes, Earth 2 actions. We have to do everything we can to prevent mass migration to Earth 3, Earth 4, Earth 5... Which is where we are all going IF WE DON'T DO SOMETHING FAST.

Wednesday 13 December 2006


In 2004 Arctic research and modelling predicted that it would be free of ice in summer in fifty-five years. Now the prediction has been shunted forward to about thirty-five years from now, perhaps only twenty-five, as this BBC article spells out. See also this article on the same subject in the New Zealand Herald.

As this blog has said many times, we have passed the point of no return in global-overheating, and matters are far worse than most people like to think or officialdom wants to admit (a point given more support by this BBC article).

We are therefore the greatest loonies in all human history, because we are doing nothing about it worthy of the name. We need to go on to a war footing to battle against our own stupidity, so that we at very least knock the top of the worst of the ineluctable effects.

Thursday 7 December 2006


These excerpts are from the November/December issue of Update, the magazine for members of the New York Academy of sciences, in an article about James Lovelock's latest book The Revenger of Gaia.'

'In 2001, the Amsterdam declaration on Global Change ... said: "The Earth System behaves as a single, self-regulating system comprised of physical, chemical, biological and human components. The interactions and feedbacks between the component parts are complex and exhibit multi-sclae temporal and spatial variability." '

'Take the ocean and algae. Above 4 degrees Celsius water expands as it warms, and if it is warmed from above by the sunlight, the top layer of the ocean absorbs the sun's heat and expands to form a lighter layer than the cooler waters running beneath. That layer forms when the sun is strong enough to raise the surface temperature above about 10 degrees Celsius. What then happens is that the surface layer remains stable and does not mix with the lower layers. The surface layer has a depth of only about 30 to 100 metres and it puts a tremendous constraint on ocean life. In the course of a warm season all the nutrients in it can get used up, and their dead bodies sink to the bottom, leaving only small, starving populations of algae. "This is why warm and tropical waters are so clear and blue; they are the deserts of the ocean."

'Algae are unusually influential in the Earth's climate. They remove carbon-dioxide from the air and use it for growth in a process called pumping down. They are also the source of the gas dimethyl sulphide, which oxidises in the air to become the tiny nuclei that seed the droplets of clouds. Algae face threats on several fronts. Besides warming waters, there is a threshold of carbon-dioxide abundance at which they fail to be able to engage the removal process. This occurs at about 500 parts per million (ppm). According to Lovelock, at our present rate of growth we will reach 500ppm within the next 40 years.' [It is now 380ppm, increasing at over 2.5ppm per year, rising.]

Saturday 2 December 2006


This quotation from a BBC News article says it all: 'A recent poll carried out by the Pew Research Centre in Washington suggested that only two out of five Americans think global warming is caused by human activity and only one in five were personally worried by climate change. People in 15 countries, rich and poor, were asked that question. Concern in the US was the lowest of them all.'

The world's worst polluter is also the world's worst sticker of its head in the Arabian sands, down its coal-mines, up its SUV exhausts, etc. Anywhere but into the light of truth.

What a country! Christopher Columbus should have stayed home.

Friday 1 December 2006


This review in the New Zealand Herald of a book specifically about New Zealand applies to the whole planet. But the rise of 2-3 degrees Celsius being talked of is the most moderate projection, and the consequences even of that make 'alarming reading.' The earth is being pushed by human action from a 14-million-year-old icehouse to a greenhouse in nothing flat, and we can expect the oceans to rise 12 metres.

In Britain, the changes are already being felt. As its Climate-Change Minister says: 'Rising sea temperatures, ocean acidification and melting polar ice and not just predictions, they are happening now.'

Yet we still persist in our insane, murderous addiction to the black stuff. Cold turkey is required. Otherwise we will carry on turning the earth from a benign planet to a killing planet.

Wednesday 29 November 2006


This New Zealand Herald article spells it out. The whole Ross Ice Shelf could collapse at any time, with a significant effect on global sea-levels, and the huge West Antarctic iceshelf could follow it. The latter would raise the oceans at least 5 metres--perhaps as much as 17 metres.

Meanwhile, as the BBC reports, carbon emissions have been increasing two and half times faster since 2000 than in they were towards the end of the twentieth century.

We never learn. We refuse to connect the dots.

Saturday 18 November 2006


There is an old Roman saying, 'When men cannot change things they change words.' In our age there are countless examples of that arrant dishonesty. 'Bio-fuels' is one. It sounds good, because 'bio' means life, so it looks as if we can have our cake and eat it too: we can carry on with that abysmally crude nineteenth-century technology--the internal-combustion engine (ICE)--we can carry on getting from A to B on serial explosions, but without messing up the global environment.

Really? The test of whether something really does have human life at heart is to see if you can breathe, drink or eat the exhaust. If you survive, and healthily, you know it was good for you. If you end up sick or dead it was probably a bad idea.

What comes out the exhaust-pipe of a bio-fuelled vehicle is certainly not going to make you delirious with joie de vivre. Depending on the fuel, you may have no vivre at all. And the planet is unlikely to benefit one iota. For example, the incomplete combustion you get in ICEs gives you soot, which fouls the sky; and the particles are so fine they can pass straight through the walls of your lungs and lodge in your tissues, such as heart tissues. The label on the tank may say 'bio' but the soot is just as ruinous, not matter what the label says.

Then there is the notion that 'bio-fuel' is 'carbon-neutral.' True? No. The theory says that the next crop of the bio-fuel feedstock will remove from the atmosphere all the carbon-dioxide and carbon-monoxide produced by burning the fuel from the last crop. That assumes that it goes into the atmosphere and stays there. But it is not intelligent, it does not understand English, so it may not. It may go into the oceans. If so it will stay there for a thousand years, making them more acidic; then it will come out into the atmosphere and stooge about for an average of a century.

There is also a lag between when the fuel it burnt and when the next crop reaches maturity, and it is only at that point that could take out all the carbon produced from the previous year's mature crop. There may be some evening-out over the globe, but in that long lag there is a vast amount of carbon busy having its greenhouse effect. So the 'neutral' bit, even if it is there, is not there constantly; it goes up and down, like any feedback effect. There is no instant subtraction to blance the addition.

The blunt, inconvenient truth is that we have to stop pumping carbon into our sky, in any form. We already have far too much for optimal human life.

A major problem with adding more is that the effect is cumulative,; volcanic eruptions add yet more; and major ones add huge quantities. That means adding a huge amount on top of whatever we have put there. So the more we put there, the greater the peaks that we make through our additions, the more likely it is that anything added by Nature will take us over a climatic tipping-point, known or unknown.

Then there is the very tiny, very unimportant fact that human beings have to eat. Every square metre of land that is producing 'bio-fuels' is a square metre not producing food. But don't worry about starvation. So long as your bang-bang car can run you'll be fine. Dead behind the wheel, but still mobile, so you'll be fine. Yessir, fine. O goody! There is not way we have enough land to supply more than a fractio of the fuel we need.

On top of that, producing 'bio' fuels takes a huge amount of water. A lot is needed to grow the plant feedstock and a lot is needed to process it into whatever fuel you want.

If the process of producing the fuel involves fermentation that produces a lot of carbon-dioxide, the very gas we should not be producing. You also have to transport the feedstock and the fuel to where it is to be burnt, which consumes fuel, adding to the carbon-neutral falsehood.

Then if the fuel produced is ethanol or butynol or something else that can only be used as a blend with fossil-fuels, you will only have saved 10-20% fossil-fuel.

And having gone through all the process of getting the stuff to the pumps, you then put it through your bang-bang engine which the laws of physics in the form of the Carnot Cycle says cannot possibly be more than 33% efficient. Add to that all the losses in the mechanical linkages getting the power out to the wheels and you get only 16% where the rubber meets the road--you lost 84% of what you put in the tank. A huge effort and energy-investment for very little return.

'Bio-fuel', in short has nothing to do with life. It should be called 'morifuel' (mori means death).

China, which is fast overhauling the Number One Enemy of Humanity (the world's worst polluter, the United States of America, in case you haven't heard), is adding a new coal-fired power-station every week, according to the BBC World Service. Goody! Just what we needed: a second USA on filthy steroids.

Friday 10 November 2006


Only the wise can make a habitable planet.

This article by James Hansen, Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Adjunct Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University's Earth Institute, lays out the stark horror of what all the murderous black-stuff addicts have unleashed upon this planet.

And unless draconian action is taken against them, such that they are stopped in ten years at most (hah!), we shall thus, amongst other things, have set the world's oceans rising unstoppably to where they were three million years ago, the last time the global temperature was the least we are now heading for. They will be 24 metres higher (80 feet). And they could get there at up to a metre every twenty years, which has happened in the ancient past: half a metre a decade for centuries.

A metre rise every twenty years till the water is 24 metres higher might even make a few thieving murderers sit up. Might...

Of course, all that will start with a trickle. Perhaps the fact that the sea has risen 45mm since 1995, more than double the rate in previous decades, is the trickle starting to gather pace...

Monday 6 November 2006


Collapse Of Ocean Fisheries Looming:

If we keep abusing the oceans the way we have been there will be no wild fish, no fish in the open oceans, worthy of mention by the middle of the century. That is the conclusion of a major, four-year, international study.

Different Trading World:

Global-overheating plus the inevitable end of the oil-supply will mean a huge change in oceanic trade, unless the thousands of ships plying the trade-routes get a different source of power. Without that, any country that cannot import and export over land will have to produce all its needs itself, or go without.

But Two Things Are Universal: Hydrogen and Stupidity

In spite all that, the greenhouse emissions from rich countries are rising and rising and rising and rising.... BBC News

Friday 3 November 2006


Genetic researchers have long dismissed as 'junk' stretches of DNA that were not genes, a view I always refused to accept. But during the past year it has been found that the 'junk' has been faithfully reproduced generation after generation after generation, thus showing that it has an important function. Nature would not bother to take great pains to replicate junk. Also during the past year other researchers built a simple computer from DNA.

It is therefore obvious that DNA is not what the traditional view would have us believe. To see it only as genes is, literally, like seeing a computer as nothing but program and dismissing the rest as junk. Genes are only part of the story. DNA is far, far more. It is integrated processor, data-storage, program and power-source. It can therefore be seen as intelligent; it has design-intelligence; it is design-intelligence: stored design with the intelligence and power to manufacture it.

That applies not only to DNA: cell-proteins in general are processors. Which explains why the folding that is so critical alters the way that protein processor functions. Folding affects the shape and therefore the function of the processor; it also affects its internal power-level because it alters the electrical potential of the molecule. When the processor and its level of self-power are different the function of the molecule are different.

It has been found that bacteria communicate with chemicals and by that means intelligently co-ordinate their actions. Therefore DNA and other complex proteins also communicate using lesser chemicals, thus forming processing molecular networks, just as computers communicate with packets of data over networks; there is also electrical communication. Thus there is an intelligent processing network at the level of complex bio-molecules, literally making the cell; on top of that is the network of cells, together making up simple organisms, or organs in higher organisms; on top of that is the network of organs together making up the organism.

A computing analogy is that the complex molecules are the components in a computer, with DNA being the CPU; on top of that computers are formed into local networks; on top of that they are formed into the global Internet.

DNA is not only a programmed computer, complete with memory, data-storage and a power-source, it is self-programming, self-improving, exploring, like T-cells, for a better 'fit' to the external needs of the organism.

The few-percent different in genetic instructions between chimps and humans (although significant in such a huge total) is therefore only a fraction of the story. The processors are different, so the resulting organisms are different. A different design-intelligence, a different level of processing power, implements a different design. The DNA processor of a human being is far more intelligent and complex than the DNA processor of an insects or bacteria, so we are far more intelligent and complex. Even when the same code or data is processed the result is different. To adapt Marshall McLuhan, the processing is the organism.

That is true not only of the making on an organism it is also true of its behaviour and activities. For instance, a bird is not taught how to build a nest or rear young, etc.. It just knows, because its molecular processing informs its actions. There is behavioural intelligence, stored behavioural design at molecular level.

The same applies to memory--indeed to thinking in general. It is essentially molecular. Above that is the neural level, the functioning of neurons; above that is the functioning of the brain, all the neurons acting in concert, firstly in the sub-networks that are the discrete areas of the brain, then in the complete network.

A thought or a memory may thus be a unique network of neurons identified by marker proteins stored only in that neural set. Then to recall the memory would just be a matter of re-establishing the same network by establishing the start of it, or sufficient of it to begin the trace, then that starter neuron would interrogate all the ones linked to it to establish which have that protein, and so on, till that entire 'thought-net' has been searched out, retrieved and be firing. Any neuron could be in thousands of thought-nets, each very different, because each cell can have thousands of different proteins; it would just be linked to a different neural set characterised by the marker protein unique to that set. Modification of a thought or memory would be then the addition or deletion of neurons from a thought-net by making or eliminating the relevant marker neuron specific to that net.

The only argument left between the ungodly and the godly is whether that fundamental DNA and molecular intelligence arose spontaneously from nothing or was put there. If put there, was it processed into being by the quantum computer called Earth (Gaia, if you prefer), a subset of the quantum computer called the Universe? Or was it all put there by God?

But both sides of that puerile ID argument (i.e., 'intelligent design' versus evolution) have to accept that absolute proof, and also therefore absolute disproof, of the ultimate source are beyond the reach of human science. Neither side can absolutely prove the existence of anything, not even their own existence.

Relative proof, however, which is knowledge of communication, or knowledge of sensory awareness both internally with oneself and externally with others, is another matter. We all do that every day. And as Winston Churchill neatly put it: Men often stumble over the truth. Most of them manage to pick themselves up and carry on as if nothing had happened.

Thursday 2 November 2006


These five paragraphs by the BBC's Science Corrrespondent, Richard Black, should be required reading for every politician, especially those with their heads in the Arabian sands on the subject of global-overheating, more especially those who refuse to act because it would be 'bad for business,' such as George W et alia:

'And while [Blair] warns of "catastrophic" consequences of climate change in one breath, in the next he can say, as he did at the Davos economic forum last year and again last week, that no climate action will be taken which damages business.

'There are two big problems here. One is that Mr Blair is mistaking "business" for "the economy"; the other is that he is neglecting the trans-generational nature of climate impacts and solutions.

'Business is not the only driver of a healthy economy. It is affected by war, disease, storms, global events: even (if you live in north Africa) by plagues of locusts.

'Stern's fundamental message is that business as usual is doing a certain amount of harm to the economy - not too much now, but much more later unless things change.

'If a mild pinprick for business now will save it from wholesale cauterisation later, we surely need a level of politics rather more subtle than a simple ban on moves which are "bad for business".'

The economy is the planet, life, society. Business is only money.

The full text of Black's item can be found by clicking here.

Tuesday 31 October 2006


Hard on the heels of Sir Nicholas Stern's epochal report on the dire consequences of global-overheating comes a UN report that shows greenhouse-gas emissions are rising, particular from the worst offenders, the rich, industrialised nations. Emission levels are up 3.3% since 1990. The USA is far and away the worst. It pumps out 25% of the world's emissions.

We never, ever learn. But we will not be able to say we were not told. We have been: plainly, unequivocally. Sternly.

How long will it take to get through the brain-damaged skulls of those responsible for the mess, the Black Stuff pushers and the inept politicians, that we now live on a different planet. The Earth that the human race has lived on for the past 10,000 years has gone, because we have destroyed it. The normality on which we have predicated our decisions for 10,000 years has gone because we have destroyed it.

We must therefore predicate our decisions on the new, damaged reality. If not, we will make it unimaginably worse. As the teenagers say, 'Get real.'

The only question to ask of any proposed action is ' Will it profit the planet or push it further into climatic debit?' Nothing else. Because the real bottom line is life. Not money. It has always been so, but now our noses have been forcibly rubbed in that fundamental truth.

Get real.

Monday 30 October 2006


Sir Nicholas Stern, a former head of the World Bank, in a 700-page report commissioned by the UK government, says global-overheating (he actually uses that damnable euphemism global-warming) will cost the world up to seven trillion dollars in the next decade unless governments take drastic action now.

That would be, and because we are hardly likely to take that action it means that will be more than World War I, World War II and the Great Depression of the 1930s rolled into one. A 20% contraction in the global economy. Without action floods from rising sea-levels could displace up to 100 million people; melting glaciers could cause water-shortagee for a sixth of the global population--over a billion people; up to 40% of wildlife could become extinct; drought may create ten or hundreds of millions of climate refugees.

At last. Someone has told us the terrible truth. Now, please, all you brain-damaged politicians and all you car, oil and coal companies take note. Stop wrecking the planet. Stop your crimes against humanity. Get on the side of life. Stop your murderous policies.

Sir Nicholas also calls for Kyoto to be dumped ASAP and replaced with something better. About time. That thing is useless. The Munich Agreement of the 21st century.

Click here for a BBC summary of the report, and here for its business analysis.

We have a political system that could hardly be better designed to generate corruption. Blithely, every few years, we trot off to vote a small number of people into power. We even use that phrase--'vote into power'--although we well know Lord Acton's dictum that all power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

So, very deliberately, we put people into positions that are likely to corrupt them. And we plume ourselves on how good our system is. We even go to war to defend it and spread it about.

But, making matters worse, such positions attract the wrong kind of people, people who are dysfunctional, people with low self-esteem and weak personalities who compensate with power and position, people who have little love for other human beings, people who instead of attending to their inner deficiences and fixing them by changing themselves try instead to change everyone round them. And we give them a whole country to play with...

So they start with internal corruption, and we put them in positions that tend to make them externally corrupted. Once, when the Divine moral compass was generally steered by, there was constant correction militating against malign internal and external forces, but all that was biffed overboard, so now we are dependent on politicians having good wiring between their ears. Few do. No wonder we end up with corrupted countries.

The only way out of that, short of a miracle, is to change the system. Ditch the system that breeds corruption, the elected dictatorship, and use the Internet to change to a national plebescite. Let the people be self-governing.

A prime example of this corruption phenomenon is the Prime Minister of New Zealand. If ever a PM was a chronically messed-up human being it is her. Small wonder that New Zealand is going down the social tubes. And small wonder that her party was caught with its fingers in the public till, having made off with $750,000 with which it bought the last election by funding a last-ditch advertising push that got the few percent it needed. Published interviews show that she was psychologically abused as a child and is now a mess inside. But her way of dealing with the resultant abnormality, instead of fixing it, was to claw her way to topmost power and shift the whole country towards her abnormality so that she could call herself normal. Weird 'logic', but that is how the dysfunctional function. The abused abuse: she is abusing a country. Yet 33% of the populace, although down from teh former 62%, still think she is the bee's knees and the best bod for the PM's job. Another case of the Stockholm syndrome, where the hijacked end up siding with the hijackers. Or, to use an older analogy, another case of PC-fearful, sycophantic supporters cheering on the naked emperor as he struts his stuff down the High Street.

Thursday 26 October 2006


The USA is once again castigated for its greedy, selfish, profligate way of living, this time in a WWF report, which not surprisingly shows it to be the worst on earth--BBC News article.

So why bother telling it to get out of Iraq? We would all be better off if it got off the planet.

More nasty details are here, also at BBC News.

If nothing changes, the WWF says global ecosystems could collapse by 2050.

Tuesday 24 October 2006


As this BBC News report blaringly headlines it: Ozone hole is 'biggest on record'--'bigger than North America.' NASA's Aura satellite says so, backed up by ground-based readings using high-altitude balloons.

Ain the layer between 13 and 21 kilometres above the earth, there was virtually no ozone; almost all had been destroyed. And at the 20km mark there were extremely high levels of ozone-destroying chlorine chemicals. Scientists say that levels of the nasty chemicals peaked in 2001. This latest peak, between September the 21st and 30th, must not have read their report. They also expect the ozone-layer to make a slow recovery and be back to normal in about 2065...

Keep the sunblock handy. In New Zealand the UV level is at 9, out a of a possible 10.

Monday 23 October 2006


NASA's latest measurements show that Greenland is now melting at a fast clip, much quicker than had been predicted and that the pace has accelerated in recent years, even though global-overheating has yet to get a full head of steam. The detail of the bad news, in
this Reuter-based article shows that between 2003 and 2005 it gained 54 gigatons per year in the high interior but lost 155 gigatons round the coast. That is a far cry from the 1990s, when gains and losses were about equal.

Click here for the original NASA site.

The guys who think the place will take thousands of years to melt down will have to have another decko at their myopic optimism.

Thursday 19 October 2006


This article in Science Daily gives yet another reason why wiping out marine animals, small and large, is not a very good idea. They provide about a third of the power that stirs the oceans, and are thus a giant, very necessary part of the climate-making mix.

We are busy knocking back these vital stirrers with over-fishing and manmade climate-change. Clever, huh?

Sounds like a title for a book: So long, fish. Thanks for all the good weather...

A giant footnote to that is the news, in the NZ Herald that scientists have found that the smoking gun of climate-change was responsible for the breaking off of the huge Larsen B iceshelf from Antartica in 2002.

We cannot tell a lie, we chopped it off with our little greenhouse-gas axe...

Friday 13 October 2006


So we have to think outside it, otherwise our thinking will be on the wrong planet. The normality on which we have predicated our decisions, both public and private, for 10,000 years has gone, so we have to be thinking where we are, not where we used to be.

We have to do whatever it takes, we have to try many things that we would not in the old normality have considered, so as to try to fix at least some of the mess we have made through our insane, murderous addiction to the Black Stuff. Global overheating has clearly passed the point of no return (and even if it hadn't that damned addiction would not be given up soon enough to stop it before it did).

During World War II the British were willing to try any idea, to use all sorts of opeople, such as movie directors and sci-fi writers and horoscope pushers, and to do whatever it took to beat the Nazi foe. For example, they set up a full-blown mock army in southern English fields made of wood and canvas and rubber, and even had a general assigned to it, to help fool the Germans into thinking that the D-Day landings were going to be somewhere other than Normandy. They also sent a uniformed corpse to war in a rubber dinghy, with some private letters in his pocket that appeared to hint at a false landing place. Whatever helped, they did. Everything was on a war footing to win the war.

We have to do the same. Guys with money, and government treasuries, have to be ready and willing to tip it into all sorts of schemes. Except looney ones. This is no time for little green men stuff. But if an idea has a chance of helping to make a hole in the problem, and it needs, say, a hundred thousand dollards, or a million, then that should be provided so that it can be tried. This is no time for standing on that traditional work of fiction, the business plan, and saying that if there isn't one there's no deal. Everything has to be predicated on the new reality, the planet as it is, not as it was; and everything that might help it should be done ASAP (which also means doing nothing that would hinder it--such as anything that would generate more carbon-dioxide).

So get outside the box. If you aren't you aren't on planet earth.

Monday 9 October 2006


A New Zealand scientist has plainly told his country how things are and how they will be in a story in the
New Zealand Herald. It is good to see someone saying out loud that the changes we have made in the planet's atmosphere have built a momentum that cannot be switched off. But in New Zealand 89% of those who can have driver's licences (15 and over) also own cars, so they are obviously not listening to the winds of planetary change. They are sowing disaster, and will reap the global-overheating whirlwind.

They also show us the way to a true democracy.

The September/October 2006 issue of Update, the magazine for members of the New York Academy of Sciences, has a piece headed Microbial Chatter, How Bacteria Talk to Each Other, which outlines the researches of Bonnie Hassler, a molecular biologist at Princeton University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

'She has found that bacteria like to live in complex multi-species communities and their ability to communicate and co-operate is essential to their survival,' says the magazine. Amongst other abilities, they are 'multilingual' (via signalling molecules called auto-inducers), and they have a communications system called 'quorum sensing' in which the majority rules. A single bacteria expressing what might be called an auto-inducer opinion cannot persuade group action; that happens only when a large number express it in unison. There are three main types of auto-inducers. One of them enables cross-species communications: 'An example of this ability for mixed-species consortia to talk among themselves is evident on our teeth: 600 species are there every morning in precisely the same organisation as the night before. The only way they can build their complicated biofilms is to know precisely what other cells are out there and to use the information to function effectively as a working conglomerate.'

Meanwhile, in the brains a few centimetres above those teeth there is touching faith in the notion that our system of government is a democracy, that it truly is 'government of the people, by the people, for the people', when it is nothing but an elected dictatorship--it is government of the people, by a few people, for some people. The bacteria have true a democracy. Every bug has an auto-inducer voice, every voice counts, and the action of the group is decided by the majority in unison. A molecular opinion expressed by only a few bugs is ignored.

Poor people. How sad! They have less organisational sense than the bugs on their teeth.

Wednesday 4 October 2006


As this blog has said many times the worst is yet to be officially told--namely that billions will die and large tracts of the planet will become uninhabitable because of the murderous insanity of burning the Black Stuff (coal & oil), which is overheating the planet. Now, at last, the dire truth is beginning to emerge: see this article in the
NZ Herald from the Independent

Monday 2 October 2006


What was the lead story on Radio New Zealand news the other day, the day the ozone-layer over the country was the thinnest ever measured? Was it that terrible fact--something that affects everyone vitally? No, it was the latest instalment of a media beat-up about some bunch who tried to hire a private investigator to get the dirt on our repellent Prime Mince and her inept cabinet cronies--the gang who haven't done a single useful thing about global-overheating, and who have overseen a steady downgrading of the country's social fabric.

So nice to know that the media has the country's real interests at heart. They dissect an irrelevant microbe oicked from the armpit of politics and ignore the destruction of the planet. There should be an award in that, shouldn't there? Yay!

Putting political shennigans ahead of the planet was one of the bad habits that got us into this environmental mess in the first place. So why not keep up the good work, eh chaps? Let the brain-damaged media rule! Yay 2!!

Actually, that day was the saddest in New Zealand's history, because it marked the end of the beginning, the door slamming on life as this country has always known it, the first overt sign it has had that the planet will never be the same, that the climatic normality of the past 10,000 years has gone for ever. The ozone layer above New Zealand had been anorexic anyway, but that day, and for the next day or two, a gusty stratospheric wind tore the bottom off it. Which shows how little is needed, now that we have pushed the planet to the brink, for things to tip over and seriously threaten human health, even life.

And not just human health and life. We can stay indoors or use sun-block and protective gear to protect ourselves but what about the wild animals and the livestock? They, like us, can get cataracts, and suffer DNA damage. Plants, too, can be irrevocably damaged.

The gusts of change are upon us. But we, as always, are doing nothing.

Click to get to this BBC News page, where a British politician proves that he, at least, is saying some of the right things--'people should be scared...'

Friday 15 September 2006


BBC News says NASA has found an enormous loss in Arctic ice--14% in the 2004-2005 year, a huge increase on the former average of 0.7% per year. Because black water absorbs the heat from sunlight and white ice reflects it, the change from ice to water bodes ill for global-overheating. The area lost is the size Turkey or Pakistan.

Add to that this litany of ecological disasters culled from all over the planet, and you must again seethe with fury at the fact that no one of any consequence is doing a blind thing about it.

Wednesday 13 September 2006


Permafrost covers a fifth of the earth's surface. An estimated 200 billion tons of carbon is locked up in it. In Siberia, because of manmade global-overheating, land that has been frozen for 40,000 years is now melting, said a recent report on the BBC World Service (only a verbal report unfortunately, so there is no specific link for it, the nearest being this one, which only skated round the edges of the verbal report).

That makes a vicious cycle. The subsequent increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere increases the speed of that melting, which increases the level of greenhouse gases. And so on. The final consequence could be a doubling of greenhouse gases. Double! That is a global catastrophe in the making, bubbling up unstoppably.

So the fuse on the 200-billion-ton timebomb has been lit and cannot be extinguished. As has been said many times in this blog, we have passed the point of no return. Everything is changed, except man's thinking. The planet we grew up with, the planet that mankind has lived on for 10,000 years, has gone. It will never come back; it will keep getting worse and worse; billions will die.

So enjoy driving your fragment of the biggest weapon of mass-destruction every built (the 900 million fossil-fuel vehicles). Enjoy using the electricity generated by those other weapons of mass-destruction, the coal-fired power-stations. Enjoy killing your children, your grandchildren, your great-grandchildren; and if not yours, someone's.

Thursday 7 September 2006


An ice core from the Antarctic shows with absolute, scientific precision that there is more carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere than at any time in the past 800,000 years, and that never during that time has there been an increase anything like as fast as the one we have made by burning fossil fuels for the last 200 years, reports
BBC News

Underlining the point is what is happening at the other end of the planet, where 'permafrost' is melting and releasing ancient methane.

Futher underlining it are the retreating glaciers and disintegrating mountains at the heart of Europe.

Take all that, you dammned fools who have your deluded 'junk-science' heads buried in the Arabian sands and your hearts in your cursed petrol-powered bombs, all you who would deny the existence of your own grandmothers if it meant you could keep your looney addiction to your planet-wrecking lives.

But even you will have to give up sometime in the not too-distant future because addiction is burning through fossil fuels at the rate of twenty million years a year, which obviously cannot last.

So get a fuel-cell, guys; get a high-powered hydrogen future; get your glowing eyes focused on a car that produces humungous torque, even at zero revs: And you can have whatever body you please (car body, that is), even, if you want it, one that looks like a Stealth Fighter.

Tuesday 5 September 2006


A report on BBC News shows that one of the obvious inevitable effects of global-overheating has already begun--the spread of warm-climate diseases into regions that have never seen them before.

O goody! Just what we needed--lots more horrid bugs to worry ourselves sick over.

Friday 1 September 2006


The president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), John Holden, has told the BBC that the world has already entered a state of dangerous climate-change.

Which is what this scientist has been saying in this blog has been saying all along: we have already passed the point of no return. We cannot roll this one back. The best we can hope for, if we act fast, is to knock the top off the worst of it.

Holden says that one consequence is that the oceans may rise up to 4 metres this century.

An article in Bloomberg sets out superbly the Peak Oil arguments and counter-arguments. But one thing is certain--the liquid Black Stuff is running out at the rate of 85 millin barrels a day. When the wall will hit has yet to be seen, and what the consequences will be, ditto. But hit it will. And this century.

Monday 28 August 2006


The Montreal Protocol of 1987, is it seems having the desired effect. The Antarctic ozone hole seems to have stopped growing, and 'may' return to normal by about 2060. If so, that is good news. The bad news, of course, is that if we had started trenchant international action in the 1970s or 80s aimed at the far bigger problem of global overheating we could now be overcoming the problem. We didn't. Now it is too late. We attacked the easy problem, we failed to attack the big hard one. Which may mean that the easy one will be negatively affected, because global overheating also affects the ozone layer, due to the fact that as the troposphere warms the stratosphere cools and that makes the CFCs more efficient at zapping ozone. So the Fat Lady of GOH (global overheating) has yet to sing the final ozone aria. It remains to be seen whether it is a song of triumph or doom or an unwelcome mixture.

A huge study across Europe, involving scientists from 17 nations and 125,000 studies over 561 species has proved conclusively that the climate is changing, reports the BBC. Spring is coming earlier (six to eight days than it was thirty years ago--and up to two weeks in Spain). Autumn is coming later. The bad news is species that depend on each other can be pushed out of sync, threatening the survival of some.

Monday 14 August 2006


Latest measurements by NASA show that Greenland's icecap is melting three times faster than it was two years ago--reported by BBC News. The total loss is now estimated at 239 cubic kilometres a year. If all Greenland's ice melts the world's oceans will be about 6.5 metres higher.

Underlining that bad news are these extracts comes from the New York Times: 'China uses more coal than the United States, the European Union and Japan combined. And it has increased coal consumption 14 percent in each of the past two years in the broadest industrialization ever.'

'The increase in global-warming gases from China's coal use will probably exceed that for all industrialized countries combined over the next 25 years, surpassing by five times the reduction in such emissions that the Kyoto Protocol seeks.'

Oh, goody! Just what we needed. An even worse polluter than the United States...

If all that was not bad enough, yet another global-overheating story on BBC News, based on a huge fifty-model study at Bristol University, paints a gloomy picture of what the planet is in for--especially if you remember that the temperature rises being talked of in those articles are by no means the maximums predicted by some authoritative models.

Thursday 10 August 2006


What a weird Orwellian world! We know that burning the black stuff will seriously degrade the planet for millennia, and therefore that it will guarantee a future that cannot be as good as the past. Yet country after country is pinning its hopes for economic prosperity on oil, gas and coal. The list is long: Iraq, Venezuela, Russia, Scotland, Norway, Nigeria, Congo, etc., etc.

That is Orwellian double-think. Big Black Stuff is looking after you. Trust Big Black Stuff. Love Big Black Stuff. Happiness is Big Black Stuff.

Stuff and nonsense. But in consequence the addiction that is wrecking the only planet we can live on will not be cured, it will not be given up. Like smokers puffing away in the lung-cancer ward of a hospice, the billions of black-stuff addicts will go to their graves still sucking greedily on the exhaust-pipes and chimney-stacks of their insanity.


For an insane (as in way-out) look at global-overheating, read this piece on the BBC News site, written by George Meyer, a long-time writer on The Simpsons. D'oh, we wrecked the planet...

Wednesday 19 July 2006


Once upon a time computing was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs--IBM and the seven other mainframe makers, because in those days computers were van-sized mainframes, which only big companies could afford to make and support.

Then in 1967 Victor Poor, Harry Pyle and Jonathan Schmidt designed the first computer on a chip, and got a company called Intel to make it (after first trying Texas Instruments, which decided to pass up the opportunity). In 1971 the company that Poor was part of (Datapoint Corporation) produced the first desktop computer using that chip.

Later, as microprocessors multiplied, many bods saw that they could make computers out of them, and the microcomputer was born. A slew of companies started up, including Apple, Commodore, Atari, Acorn, etc., and grew at speed. Apple was soon the fastest-growing company in history.

The inevitable happened. The mainframe ceased to dominate computing, and apart from antediluvian diehards who have yet to discover the power of the LAN (local area network), it has been relegated to history. The microcomputer, now called the personal computer (very PC), reighs supreme. Even the fastest computer on the planet, IBM's Deep Blue, is a vast collection of microprocessors. So is Google's hardware engine.

Now we see the big carmakers having problems. The biggest, GM is sick unto death, which is appropriate, because they and the other Big Iron prats have made the planet sick ditto with the 900 million vehicles they have infected it with, and to which they add another 60 million a year (latest vehicle statistics from Mercedes-Benz's director of diesel engines, Dr Joachim Schommers). But at the same time small companies are starting up to make electric cars. Why? Because they can, and because people want planet-friendly cars. They can, because making an electric car is far easier than making a mechanical one (and the EStarCar has a dispersed-manufacturing model which underlines the point in neon red). With that staring them in the face, no wonder the answer to the question 'Who Killed the Electric Car' is that it was the desperate lust for survival by GM et alia, an attempt to be King Canute and hold back the inevitable, to keep the mechanical status quo in which only they, the carmaker heavyweights, the Big Iron, could make cars to a price--just as only those dinosaur mainframe-makers could make and support mainframes.

The small electric companies are like the beginnings of the shift to PCs, or the inevitable rise of the brainier, nimbler mammals which followed the demise of the dinosaurs. The problems at GM, Ford and other Big Iron carmakers are the first mortal groans of dinosaurs expiring in the misanthropic swamps of perverted history. Or, for a galactic analogy, they are beginning the whirling move down the Black Plughole from which their is no escape. Good riddance! Sooner or later they will no longer be able to put their wallets ahead of the planet we must all live on.

The latest pathetic attempt of the Big-Iron-&-Black-Stuff boys to cling to their monopoly is to spawn a mule, the horrid 'hybrid,' in which there is no future. Like the flesh-and-blood mule (which the Oxford Dictionary defines as a cross between a he-ass and a mare) it can't have kids. No progeny are possible. It can't start a family. A one-shot generation. And it still burns black stuff...

Meanwhile, the latest preliminary official data comming off the satellites shows that 2006 experienced the second-highest global average temperature for June for the land, and for the land and ocean combined (since 1860); and for the northern hemisphere it was for land the hottest June average on record (since 1860). The earth has a higher, and rising, temperature, but no one is calling the doctor; just keep stuffing more poison down its gullet and hope for the best.

Thursday 13 July 2006


When an international survey of 19,500 people shows that 80% are very concerned about how energy is produced and consumed, and the same percentage thinks there should be tax-incentives to encourage wind and solar energy, you could hope that one or two of the hordes of people-hating, self-loving politicians might spare a nanosecond to shut their puffery and get themselves into action for the health of the planet and its inhabitants. Click here for the BBC World Service story.

Friday 7 July 2006


Rarely do we get a government leader who will promise us nothing but hard times. Politicians never would, even if that was all there was to promise, because they are only in the business of pretending that things will get better. 'If you vote for us, only if you vote for us, everything will be wunnerful. Read my lips.' It is only statesmen, such as Winston Churchill, the pre-eminent statesman of the twentieth century, who are brave enough to face an unpalatable truth and can inspire us to join them and face it together.

That is what we need now. Instead we have contemptible, brain-damaged politicians (who are nothing more than bureaucrats that make speeches), who will never face up to the mess the planet is in from the universal addiction to smoking fossil fuels. That requires draconian action; that requires getting off our deluded chuffs and getting rid of bad technologies; that requires dumping and outlawing fossil-fuel vehicles ASAP; that requires dumping and outlawing inefficient lighting systems; that requires outlawing companies that make planet-destroying products and sending their principals to jail. All that has to be done at high speed, so we should declare the next five years the period in which we will fix this mess as much as it can be fixed, and put the world on a war footing to achieve it.

But that won't happen. Because we are too stupid to give up burning the black stuff, and we underline that by being so inordinately stupid as to keep voting for people who have been genetically modified with the genes of a brick. They will never lift a finger while the planet goes to hell in a hand-basket.

(That was very unfair to bricks, because that GM process degraded their IQ and visionary capacity several orders of magnitude. The process was also a waste of time, because it had no measurable effect on politicians; for even though the brick genes doubled their IQs they still remained below the level of epsilon semi-morons.)

Only blood, toil, tears and sweat would avert the worst of the global catastrophe that is heading our way. We cannot live the life of Riley and fix a colossal mess at the same time.

Post-posting Footnote: After this blog was written the BBC World Service published this, and this, which are the views of James Lovelock and what came out of a recent BBC panel discussion by other scientists on his latest book.

Friday 16 June 2006


Buried in this article on BBC News is an astounding figure from the latest satellite data. The world's oceans are 45mm higher than they were in 1992 (1.77 inches for those who are metrically challenged), a gain of 3.2mm per year. That is a colossal amount of water. And the rate of increase is known to be increasing. Yet they still want to rebuild New Orleans...

Monday 29 May 2006


This blog has predicted at times that higher predictions for global-overheating would be coming at us, and that they would be much higher than the official nonsense coming from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and various 'scientific' head-in-the-sand optimists.

And come they have, this time not from computer models, but studies by different teams of different sets of historical data. The results, summarised in this BBC News page show that we can expect a rise of at very least 5.8 degrees Celsius by 2100, probably at least 7.7 degrees, or much more. That means the worst scenarios predicted by the distributed-computer modelling, which have also been referred to before in this blog, are most likely to hit us (see NewScientist, or here, copied from the Independent), which show temperature rises of up to 14 degrees in the Amazon, perhaps 20 degrees in the UK, and a global average rise of up to 11.5 degrees. The climate on this planet is going to go pear-shaped in the nastiest way, and still no one wants to DO ANYTHING.

In the same group of news pages the BBC also reports a study showing that the populations of migratory birds are plummeting, and have been for thirty years. But no one noticed till now. Are these more 'canaries' going down the world's coal-mines? Are these birds yet another vanguard suffering the consequences of the chronic insanity of burning black stuff?

Whatever the truth of that, and if it is just coincidence the odds against it must be high (and we can certainly blame human activity of some sort), the fact remains that global overheating predictions are inching towards the worst-case scenario predicted by the extreme computer modelling such as that cited above--which is no surprise because it fits the way the actual readings are tracking.

For New Zealand, which now has an annual mean temperature of 13.1 degrees Celsius, that would mean a virtual doubling of temperatures. A balmy 20-degrees in the shade would on simple arithmetic become a torrid 40 degrees. A hot 30 would become--who knows--60 degrees? It does not bear thinking about. If so, it would exceed the world record temperature of 57.8 in the shade set at Al Aziziyah, Libya in September 1922. An average in the mid twenties for New Zealand would not be nearly as bad as the world's present worst annual mean of 34.4 degrees in Dalol, Ethiopia, but it would be plenty hot enough. In some ways it would be worse, because it would be a more humid heat in a country surrounded by oceans.

There would be no snow on New Zealand mountains, so precipitation would fall as rain, causing horrendous floods in winter; and there would be no snow-melt in spring and summer, causing dire droughts.

Monday 22 May 2006


When selecting managers, well-run organisations sort the competent from the incompetent with the help of psychological tests. But members of parliament are chosen by political committees, who seem to care little for quality, so we end up with a steady stream of political lickeys, hubristic dimwits, bureaucratic thugs, sideshow clowns, borderline criminals, dysfunctional weirdoes, hyberbolic control-freaks and other sad samples of the internally mangled and decayed. When such people are just citizens amongst New Zealand‘s four million they can be tolerated as nothing but a few twisted threads in the great Kiwi tapestry. But when they are a hefty part of the gang of 120 that decides how the rest of us shall live it matters very, very much--especially if the Prime Minister is a prime example of the mangled and decayed, and thus promotes and perpetuates her own kind.

Selection committees should, by law, be let loose only after hopefuls have been filtered through deep-delving psychological tests. Then we would have some chance of getting quality managers for the country, instead of finding ourselves forced into moulds beamed down from the fringes of the universe, even to the extent of having our un-PC bits sawn off bloodily by orchestrated social-engineering.

In particular, people with low self-esteem should be blocked not only from becoming MPs but also from being their advisors and staff, because it is a well-established scientific fact that such people tend to act out in ways that are not in their best interests or the best interests of society. That is precisely the kind we should not allow in any corridors of power. Otherwise we drift into La La Land.

The problem, of course, that the present degraded New Zealand Parliament would never pass such a law, because it would create a bar that many or most or all of them could not clear.

But what point is there in living in the most scientific age there has ever been if we do not use good science to help select the best people for our rulers and their advisors?

No wonder all we have for governments, in New Zealand and elsewhere, are the creeping tentacles of The House of Circumlocution. All run-around and no good doings. Particularly on that small but important matter of the only planet that we can live on in the entire universe...

Tuesday 16 May 2006


Over 90% of the coral round the Seychelles has been wiped out by global-overheating, leaving nothing but kilometres of slimy rubble a recent study reports. See the newspaper article, or the BBC News item on the same study. The latter ends with a chilling statistic: coral supports 25% of all the marine species known.

Friday 5 May 2006


An article based on leaked copy of a draft report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a report not meant to be published till next year (good grief!--why on earth wait?), says there is now overwhelming evidence that the earth's climate is undergoing dramatic transformation because of human activity.

It predicts an increase in the average global temperature of 2 to 4.5 degrees Celsius this century as a result of the doubling of carbon-dioxide level caused by man-made emissions. But it says those temperatures could increase by a further 1.5 degrees as a result of the positive feedback from the melting of sea-ice, the thawing of permafrost and the acidification of the oceans. So we could easily get 6 degrees. That is catastrophic.

In short the situation is far worse than has been officially admitted till now, because the real figures are higher than had been previously admitted. But watch that space. The figures will get worse and the official reports will get worse, because the ghastly real truth, the real increase, has yet to emerge. That is partly because in this, the biggest unplanned uncontrolled experiment ever done on earth no one knows exactly how bad the result will be, and partly because no one in power wants to admit just how much they have let things get fouled things up--just how much everyone addicted to black stuff has fouled things up. But remember, some computer models have predicted an increase of 10 to 14 degrees.

Why no one wants to do anything drastic about this drastic situation is a mystery. Some indication of why is in the newspaper linked to in the first paragraph above. Did it lead with this catastrophic story? No, it led with a story about some piffling Cabinet paper that was leaked to Telecom NZ informing it, before Cabinet had signed it off, that telecommunications were going to be restructured and it would lose its monopoly over the local loop. Big deal! Telecom NZ, better called Telecom Rex, or T Rex for short, has had it coming for years. Its fate does not matter a jot. The planet's matters terribly.

Wednesday 26 April 2006


A graph on page 62 of the April issue of the National Geographic magazine shows global carbon-dioxide emissions from the production of electricity from 1971 to the present, and projects them to 2030. In 1971 the emissions were 4 billion tonnes. Now they are 9.9 billion. In 2030 they are expected to be 16.8 billion. Coal, the worst offender, is expected to carry on being the biggest source of generation energy--in spite of its ruinous effect on the planet. Every kWh generated from the burning of coal puts another 265-360 grams of carbon-dioxide into the only atmosphere we can live in in the entire universe. Natural gas, which is second to coal in electricity generation, puts out 125-180g per kWh. Oil puts 220-250g.

We never learn. We never, ever learn. We never, ever learn.

In Tilden Town, when the stars fell down,
The folk did not remark.
They went their round with eyes aground,
Though nights were twice as dark.

Meanwhile, as the price of oil soars, the 775 million car-owners, who obviously care nothing for the fact that they are all participating in the trashing of the planet, are worried only about how much it will cost them at the pumps to do it...

And Monica, a Category 5 tropical cyclone (a hurricane/typhoon by another name) north of Australia, packed winds of up to 350kph (217mph) at what the Australian Met Office called its 'VERY DESTRUCTIVE core' (its capitalisation). The Daily Telegraph headlined it as perhaps the biggest storm ever recorded. Hardly surprising. The power of tropical storms comes from the temperature and the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere, and the hotter it gets, the more water vapour there is. Monica is just another playing of the overture to a long-running opera that will bring us scenes of terrifying power.

Saturday 22 April 2006


The most important part of the brain is the emotional centre, because that is where decision-making begins. Thus forming emotional attachments to inappropriate things is at best unwise and at worst dangerous, because the brain alters the neural wiring that relates to those things; then we become incapable of making good, rational decisions about them. We can no longer make decisions in our own best interests or in the best interests of the society we live in.

That is how things are with cars powered by fossil fuels. People are addicted to them--in particular to the sound they make. They are addicted to that brrrm-brrrm. They love the feeling of power when they flick the foot and a roar erupts from under the bonnet. They love to make that racket. They do not feel complete without it. Their addiction has modified their brains, literally damaged them, so they have become incapable of making rational decisions about cars, decisions in their own best interests or the best interests of society. They blithely carry on living in a way that guarantees them and their children a degraded, even fatal, future. They are like heavy-metal headbangers, who cannot give up their rowdy insanity because it has become necessary to their distorted being.

So kiss goodbye to the best we shall ever see of planet Earth. It went down the black brrrm-brrrm tubes of 775 million car-exhausts, carelessly flicked down by 775 million roar-addicted feet.

Monday 17 April 2006


An item on BBC Newsis yet more evidence that we are for it--that the consequences of global overheating will be far worse than suggested by the reassuring offical noises coming from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). The air over the Antarctic has risen a massive 2.5 degrees Celsius in the last fifty years, a rise that the computer modelling did not foresee because it uses a simplified model of the Antarctic's complexities. But it has long been plain that the predictions based on computer modelling are conservative. Indeed, those who do the modelling say that they take the middle line through the results. What they publish is not the worst scenario predicted, nor the best. The middle. But the actual readings are tracking along the top.

Now this latest study, using real readings from all over the Antarctic, underlines the point. And the matter is serious. If we lost all the ice in the Antarctic the oceans would be 60 metres higher.

But it should be no surprise that the Antarctic is heating up much faster than most of the rest of the planet. At the other end of the earth the Arctic is doing likewise, and it is agreed that that is due to human activity--burning the black stuff. So to suggest that the Antarctic's rise could be a natural phenomenon is just sticking the scientific head into the Arabian sands, the Canadian tar sands, the nearest coal mine...

Another recent item on BBC News quoted Britain's Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir David King, as saying that we are in for a rise of at least 3 degrees Celsius this century, and that that would put 400 million people at risk of starvation, up to 3 billion at risk of running out of water, and threaten forests all over the place. Curiously, before this blog could react with a posting, the page was revamped and all that bad news, except for the 3 degrees, was deleted. Very curious. But, as the old saying has it, truth will out. The full horror will come, ultimately, from official mouths. When, of course, it is many decades too late to do even a blind bit about it.

Sir David's expectation that we will reach 500 parts per million of carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere should be enough to scare everyone. That is twice the 280ppm we had before we started burning solid black stuff (coal) in 1795, and way above the 380ppm we have got to now by adding liquid black stuff (oil). And at that level, said a high-powered scientific convention in London at the start of 2005, there was no safe increase. 380ppm is already monumentally insane: unadulterated, unstoppable global vandalism. So what do you call 120ppm past the point of no safe increase. What word is there for beyond insanity?

To say that 500ppm will bring an increase of only 3 degrees Celsius on average over the whole planet is beyond optimism. As this blog has already pointed out, the paleoclimatologists say that last time we had 380ppm the temperature was 6 degrees higher. The masking effect of solar-dimming and hysteresis have kept that to 0.6 degrees, so the worst scenarios of computer modelling--of 10 degrees of more--look a serious prospect. That means the meltdown of polar and glacial ice will be much faster than the optimists like to think.

Monday 10 April 2006


At last! The true horror of global overheating is starting to come into the general media. This item in BBC News underlines the fact that we are well past the point of no return, and that things are far worse than officialdom (officialdumb?) and governments and the UN are admitting or willing to take into account.

That has been obvious for a long time, ever since, for example, paleoclimatologists said they could not understand why there was only a rise of 0.6 degrees Celsius in the average global temperature in the twentieth century, because the last time there was the same amount of carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere it was 6 degrees hotter. Now we know the reason (apart from the normal inertia inherent in change): solar dimming, which slowed the overheating. But if we leave the filth we suffer or die from pollution, then suffer or die from climate-change; if we clean it up we suffer or die from climate-change a bit sooner. A two-edged sword. One we forged. Well done us!

Now all our vultures are coming home to roost.

Thursday 30 March 2006


Under the heading of global overheating, as in so many things, governments are a bunch of do-nothing prats, fiddling while the planet goes to hell in a hand-basket. Why? For the answer, go look in the mirror, go look in the street. You and people like you vote the damn fools in.

Goverments do nothing because they know that the people who voted for them do not want anything done. If they ever think of doing anything they quickly pass on to another thought, because what really needs to be done is to ban the use of fossil fuels and all the devices and machines that run on them, arrest the CEOs of the companies that peddle all that stuff and lock them up for committing massive crimes against humanity. But the majority of people do not want that. They want to keep living as they have always lived--the global-overheating way. So the governments they vote for act accordingly.

Today, in one of those interesting discussions that can arise in bus-stops on this island, an elderly woman came out with a brilliantly simple idea. She said she had often thought that voting papers in democracies should have an extra box for people who want to exercise their right and duty to vote but want to express their dissatisfaction with everything on offer--for all the people who want to say 'I do not agree with what is being done or proposed, I do not want what is being done or proposed.' The election result, if that option got a majority, would be a revolution. Revolution by ballot. No bloodshed, no guns, no guillotine. Democratic revolution.

The politicians, of course, would never allow such a simple, wonderful system. They have no wish to find out that we loathe their guts, that we only vote for them because they seem marginally less likely than the other lot to do us harm, and that we are therefore not voting for them, just against what seems an even greater evil.

Footnote: Aha! Thailand already has an abstention/protest box on the ballot papers. And it seems that if that box gets the majority in any electorate no one wins that seat. And the Thai constitution says that all the seats in parliament must be filled before a government can be formed. so the protest vote has enormous power. What a wonderful system! May the whole world adopt it! Real democracy :-))

Friday 24 March 2006


A report on BBC News underlines what this blog has been saying all along. We are for it. We have trashed the normality on which we have predicated our decisions public and private for 10,000 years. The sea is rising. We cannot stop it. We have gone past the point of no return.

The figures given in that article are based on a rise of 1 degree Celsius 130,000 years ago. But we are headed for at least 3-4 degrees by 2100, perhaps 10-14. Factor that into your foreshore thinking. Every centimetre of reclaimed land, thousands of airports, port facilities everywhere, coastal roads all over the place, etc., etc., will be drowned.

Expect over a metre and a half of increase in the level of the world's oceans by the end of the century.

And note the point about earthquakes, which is what this blog warned about long ago.

Thursday 16 March 2006


Oh dear! The temperatures for the stratosphere for February 2006 and the period December 2005 to February 2006 were both the coolest on record, as you can see on NOAA/NCDC's site.

The hotter the troposphere gets (the lower atmosphere, the bit we live in), the cooler the stratosphere gets. And the cooler the stratosphere gets, the closer we get to that terrible tipping-point, the one at which the ice-clouds form that accelerate the destruction of ozone (the temperature we don't want to reach is -78 Celsius).

Tuesday 14 March 2006


This report, from the BBC says it all. Anyone with half any eye can see that we have really mucked it up. Global overheating has got away from us. And no one is doing a blind thing worth a ducat. A 2.6ppm rise in a single year, and it hardly rates. The headline is about the death of Milosevic...!

But there may be a small hope. A pig flew recently, as this report in the New Zealand Herald proves. One pig isn't much. But it's a start... ;-))

Saturday 4 March 2006


In the same month that the National Geographic magazine showed America raping its own landscape rotten ('America, the beautiful....huh!?), and spewing a quarter of the world's planet-overheating carbon-dioxide out of its power-station chimneys, comes a report from NASA (reported on the BBC and in the Washington Post) that the Antarctic is losing a net of 152 cubic kilometres of ice per year (36 cubic miles for the metrically challenged). That alone causes the global oceans to rise 0.4mm per year, added to the 1.8mm we have so far from thermal expansion, and to the melting of the Greenland icecap (224 cubic kilometres a year--0.9mm a year) and glaciers all over the world.

If we lose all Greenland's ice, and all West Antarctic's, the oceans will rise about fourteen metres. And not in the few centuries' time that the optimists and the wilfully blind like to believe. A significant amount of it this century. The IPCC has just admitted that its previous predictions of only a 1-2 degree rise this century have to be revised up a tad, perhaps as high as 5.8 degrees Celsius. Computer models show even that to be optimistic. How long will it be before everyone realises that we are long past the point of no return,--that the normality on which we have predicated our decisions for 10,000 years has gone, because we have destroyed it. In the most scientific age that has ever been we have got the basic science of life on earth so hopelessly wrong that billions of people are going to die and vast tracts of the earth are going to be made uninhabitable.

America, please stop trashing the only planet humans can live on in the entire universe (even if there is another habitable one it would be such a vast distance away as to be unreachable). This is it. The only one. And you are trashing it. Look at that gas-guzzler at the head of that Washington Post page. Someone just does not get it.

Get a decent, planet-friendly car, and get it soon. You won't get that from GM, or Ford, or any of the other fossil-fuel dinosaurs that are bent on wrecking the planet. Dump them. They are in the way of human life. Get a workaround and get a life. ASAP.

Thursday 23 February 2006


An effect of global overheating that has yet to be widely realised, and hit the media--a huge increase in the number of earthquakes all over the planet as heavy ice melts off the earth's crust--has just been underlined by an article in Science Daily on the huge earthquakes of 1811 and 1812 in the central US, which began with a roaring rocker under New Madrid, Montana, on December the 16th 1811.

Tens of thousands of years ago a massive icesheet covered Canada and much of the US. When it melted the removal of that colossal weight caused a release in pressure on crustal layers underneath, and those hundreds of kilometres away--a release that is still going on, as the citizens of New Madrid found to their terror when they were jerked from their sleep by a violent rocking and roaring.

That event is empirical proof that as global overheating melts ice all over the planet there will also be earthquakes here there and everywhere, earthquakes where they have never before been experienced. Think, for instance, of the effect of melting the 3.5 kilometres of ice that covers the middle of Greenland. That is so colossally heavy that it has depressed the middle of the island to well below sea-level. Take that huge pressure off and there will be massive readjustments in the surrounding area for a long time--many thousands of years.

Think on that every time you drive your fossil-fuel car. Your profligate addiction to a way of life that is inimical to the only planet we can live on is having a small, long-term effect on its crust as well as its atmosphere and biosphere. This planet's human-friendly normality, the normality on which we have predicated our behaviour and built our civilisations for 10,000 years, has gone. Because you have destroyed it with your insane addiction to the Black Stuff (coal and oil).

Your children, and their children, and their children, and so on and so on, cannot have as good a life as you had, because they will not have as good a planet. Because you have trashed it.

Monday 20 February 2006


An article on BBC News implies an interesting question. A study has shown that at the present rate we will have pumped as much greenhouse gas into the atmosphere in 300 years as was pumped over 10,000 years 55 million years ago. At that time a 5-degree (Celsius) rise in global temperature was the result. But that is about the rise predicted by optimistic modelling for this century alone. Which suggests that we must take into account not only the amount of greenhouse gas going into the atmosphere but also the speed at which it goes. In other word, the rate of addition has an accelerating effect of its own. A slow addition can be accommodated in a way that a fast one cannot.

In short, we are for it. The worst scenario is what we are going to get.

Friday 17 February 2006


Reports in the UK's Telegraph newspaper and BBC News make alarming, but unsurprising, reading. A NASA-led team has found that Greenland's glaciers are melting 150% faster than they were ten years ago, which led them to say that official estimates of a 100-900mm rise in the level of the earth's oceans by 2100 might be too low. Might! Look at the image of the glacier in the BBC article, a glacier that alone drains 4% of the Greenland icecap.

Those official estimates for 2100 are based on very conservative readings of the computer modelling, readings that have failed to take into account the fact that the actual readings of global temperature are tracking along the high end of the modelling--not the middle. So the models are conservative, which has been shown by the far wider range of runs done in the Climate Prediction Project, which divided up the task amongst thousands of PCs, in contrast to the expensive, and thus limited, number of runs done on official supercomputers. So of course things are going to be far worse than the optimists want to believe.

An avid betting man offered odds-on that most of the Greenland icecap will be gone by 2100 would, if shown the scientific evidence from myriad sources, take the bet eagerly. He would turn down flat the notion that it will take 1000 years. When that ice is gone the world's oceans will be 7 metres higher. If we lose most of the world's ice they will be 50m higher. Florida's highest point is 50m. If you think that such talk is doomsaying nonsense see the BBC's outline of studies of global ice.

The woe predicted from melting in Greenland comes hard on the heels of research, published on Science Daily, into the famous snows of Kilimanjaro, the mountain in equatorial Africa, which shows that they are, as predicted, vanishing.

Today Kilimanjaro, tomorrow Greenland, the next day the whole world.

Other numbers continue to get worse. For example, the latest figures for the stratosphere show that in January it was the coldest ever measured--see NOAA-NCDC site.

As the troposphere warms (the lower atmosphere, the layer we live in), the stratosphere cools (the stratosphere is the next layer, 15-23km up). If that gets too cool the hole in the ozone layer will spread and spread and spread, because the CFCs that are destroying the ozone do it much more efficiently when the fine ice-clouds form in the stratosphere, which happens at -78 degrees Celsius.

Monday 13 February 2006


The present obstacle in the way of the widespread use of solar power is the lack of refined silicon, because there are not enough silicon foundries producing it. But it is imperative that we shift off the Black Stuff (oil and coal) ASAP, for the good of the people of the earth. So, governments of the world, do your duty. Instead of subsidising all sorts of prattish projects and building bureaucratic empires, instead of pouring billions into defending your population against fictional foes, defend them against the real one--the global addiction to the Black Stuff. Pour billions into putting the production of silicon on to a war-footing: crash programmes all over the world to build armies of silicon foundries and get them up to full throttle ASAP.

Thus would people power, democratic-government power, break the obstacle down. Then there will be plenty of silicon for the solar-cell industry. And because the raw material will be supplied from public funds it will be cheap, making the finished product cheap. On top of that make sure the cost is pushed even lower--as low as possible--by giving solar-cell companies massive tax-breaks.

If all governments did that, they would truly be governments of the people, by the people, for the people, instead being for killer businesses, for anti-human international criminals like the Boys from the Black Stuff and the Big Iron carmakers.

Well, we can always dream...

Saturday 11 February 2006


A illuminating piece on BBC News headed 'Climate "makes oil profit vanish" ' shows that the oil barons are stealing billions from society, because the cost of dealing with the emissions from their products exceeds by many billions the profits they make. They are therefore doubly guilty of horrendous crimes against humanity: they are stealing from us as they kill us by slowly destroying our environment. They are international thieves and murderers of the first degree.

Friday 10 February 2006


The BBC recently ran an article calling for the incandescent bulb to be outlawed in favour of the compact fluorescent. Good idea, but the ideal is to go well beyond that and outlaw everything except LEDs, which use far less power even than fluorescents. A stroke of the statutary pen is far, far cheaper than building a clutch of new power-stations. But that would mean politicians would have to become wise, and sensible, and caring, and think... :-((

Under the headline 'Big business and greenhouse: a declaration of surrender', Professor Sharon Beder neatly exposes the Big Iron carmakers for what they are. Well done!

Friday 3 February 2006


In President Bush's State of the Nation address he said, 'Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. Here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology.

'Since 2001, we have spent nearly $10bn to develop cleaner, cheaper, more reliable alternative energy sources--and we are on the threshold of incredible advances. So tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative--a 22% increase in clean-energy research at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas.

'This country can move beyond a petroleum-based economy and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past

'To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants; revolutionary solar and wind technologies; and clean, safe nuclear energy. We must also change how we power our automobiles. We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars, and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen.

'We will also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn but from wood chips, stalks, or switch grass. Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years. Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75% of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025.

'By applying the talent and technology of America, this country can dramatically improve our environment--move beyond a petroleum-based economy--and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past.'

Paragraph one, so far so good. Paragraph two throws more money at the problem, as if not enough were the cause of the US addiction to oil and more money will fix it. Paragraph three, echoed in the last paragraph, is also fine as far as it goes, but it is in the how that the thing comes unglued. There is no such thing as a 'zero-emission coal-fired plant.' Never in the history of the universe has it been possible to oxidise carbon without getting an oxide of carbon, and the notion that you stuf it all down a hole in the ground and make everything OK is baloney. The earth is not geologically stable, and the carbon-dioxide has no half-life: it stays just as damaging for ever. So it is a disaster waiting down there. But even if it were safe, there is no way that we can stuff all our industrial carbon-dioxide down holes in the ground, even if we could capture it all. And stuffing carbon-dioxide down there means stuffing two atoms of oxygen down there for every atom of carbon, which should worry oxygen-breathing creatures, because it would slowly reduce the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere... Doh!

'Clean, safe nuclear energy', says President Bush. There's a double-whammy oxymoron. Since when were aeons of radioactivity safe? Or clean? Perhaps he means that the radiation kills bugs. Would he want a 'clean, safe' nuclear power-station next to his Texas ranch?

Solar- and wind-technologies are available now: there is no need to wait for some American 'revolutionary' version. Just start using them.

Ditto the better batteries and the hydrogen fuel-cells. They are there now, and the best ones are not American. All they have to do is start using the things. If they wanted to they could change over their whole country in a decade at very most.

Then the bio-fuel thing gets a plug. But burning stuff is burning stuff, no matter what you are burning. We have to stop burning stuff, no matter whether it died yesterday or hundreds of millions of years ago. The idea that it is OK if you keep growing more stuff to burn, and growing it uses the smoke from the previous lot is flawed logic. There is a gap between the burning and the re-growing, and energy has to be used in turning it into fuel, which means it is not, as is claimed, carbon-neutral. It is carbon-negative. Less so than other carbon, but still negative.

And what is the stated goal of spending all that money? 'To replace more than 75% of our oil from the Middle East by 2025.' 2025! They are aiming, they say, to take twenty years to cut a big chunk of their oil-consumption from the Middle East. So they are not going all out to stop using the black stuff. Dumb. Very, very dumb. In twenty years' time the amount of carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere will be at least 40-50ppm higher than the 380ppm we have now, and the scientific consensus reached in London over a year ago was there is 'no safe increase.' America has to learn to read.

President Bushsays America is going to lead the world. Obviously to an even worse global climate than we have now. O goody! If that is leadership, America, keep it. Only fools would follow.

Therefore the energy chunk of President Bush's speech is just another iteration of the same, tired old American pretence and self-deception, the notion that billions and many years have to be spent before the necessary technological solutions will be there (and the billions have to be American, of course). They ignore the fact that the technology is there now. All that is needed is the will to change to it. Use the billions to subsidise a programme of hugely accelerated production of solar-cells and fuel-cells. Stop thinking that America has all the answers. It certainly doesn't have the best fuel-cells. Solar-cells, yes (Sunpower Corporation's). So put them together. Right now. And let the Middle East oil stay in the ground; stop pumping it into the sky.

But the very next day after his speech, what had seemed to be just another hot-air iteration was revealed to be even worse. Mercury News reported: 'One day after President Bush vowed to reduce America's dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn't mean it literally.

'What the President meant, they said in a conference call with reporters, was that alternative fuels could displace an amount of oil imports equivalent to most of what America is expected to import from the Middle East in 2025.

'But America still would import oil from the Middle East, because that's where the greatest oil supplies are.'

'Bush vowed to fund research into better batteries for hybrid vehicles and more production of the alternative fuel ethanol, setting a lofty goal of replacing "more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025."

'He pledged to "move beyond a petroleum-based economy and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past."

'Not exactly, though, it turns out.

'"This was purely an example," Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said.

'He said the broad goal was to displace foreign oil imports, from anywhere, with domestic alternatives. He acknowledged that oil is a freely traded commodity bought and sold globally by private firms. Consequently, it would be very difficult to reduce imports from any single region, especially the most oil-rich region on Earth.

'Asked why the President used the words "the Middle East" when he didn't really mean them, one administration official said Bush wanted to dramatise the issue in a way that "every American sitting out there listening to the speech understands." The official spoke only on condition of anonymity because he feared that his remarks might get him in trouble.'

American business as usual. Dollars first. The planet and human life second.

Wednesday 1 February 2006


In 1946, Will F. Jenkins, a fifty-year-old American science-fiction writer, sat down to write a short story under his nom de plume Murray Leinster.
1946 was also the year in which ENIAC, the first large-scale digital computer was completed in the United States, and just three years after the world's first electronic computer--Colossus--had sprung into life in wartime Britain (although it was to stay a secret for thirty years). ENIAC was 100 feet long, 10 feet high, weighed 30 tons, contained more than 18,000 vacuum tubes and 70,000 transistors, and drew over 100,000 watts of electricity. It needed a cooling system so big that it could have serviced a twenty-storey building.
Very impressive physical statistics, but by today's standards the machine that had them was not very powerful, even though it could do in two hours what would have taken 100 engineers a year. It was thought pretty marvellous at the time, but what computers would become half a century later was still far beyond the imaginative horizon. Even when IBM began looking at computers a few years later it thought the total world market for them would never be more than twelve machines.
Big Blue should have read Leinster's story. He foresaw exactly what was coming, not that you would think so from the unassuming, slightly odd, title: A Logic Named Joe.
That story has since become one of the most famous in science-fiction, because it talks about a society in which every home and office has what we now call a PC. But the machines he described were far more advanced than today's PCs; they were what might be called the hypermedia machines that we have only fairly recently begun talking about.
Way back then the term PC, had not been invented, and even 'computer' had not penetrated the general consciousness, so Leinster called his machines 'logics', hence the title.
His story would have been remarkable even if he had still been alive to write it in 1986 (he died in 1975), but to have written it in 1946 is an astonishing, and unique, feat of prescience.
He not only predicted the hypermedia home/office computer. He also predicted the microprocessor--the 'chip'--although its invention was over twenty years in the future. Again, because the terms integrated circuit, microprocessor and chip had not been invented in 1946, he had to invent his own term--'Carson Circuits.' He could not possibly have known of course that it would be a chap called Poor, not Carson, who would be the first to design a computer on a chip, but getting nine out of ten when no one else even knows there is a test is not bad.
Leinster's story also predicted memory cards, but they had not been invented so he called them data-plates. He predicted a global network of publicly accessible databases, but they had not been invented so he called them tanks. And he predicted that videophones would be integrated into PCs, but they had not been invented so he called them vision-phones.
Nearly fifty years later we have only got as far as creating chips, and, recently, memory sticks have begun to be widely used, but we still have not come anywhere near universality in computers, let alone hypermedia machines, or even multimedia ones.
But Leinster's astonishing story is much more than a dazzling array of technological predictions. It also carries a warning.
It is told from the point of view of an unnamed maintenance man who works for the Logics Company. He discovers one day that some undetectable, accidental hiccup in the production line has created a machine--which he later dubs Joe--that has a mind of its own.
When he had, unknowingly, installed it late one Saturday in August in 'the home of Mr Thaddeus Korlanovitch at 119 East Seventh Street, second floor front', he had left, as usual, thinking that 'everything was serene.'
But the Korlanovitch family went out on Sunday and the kids left Joe turned on. 'He' must have been a bit 'bored' because he went looking in the 'tank' network for something to do.
Joe, as the maintenance man tells us, was not being vicious, just logical, just using his abilities. He discovered things. He made connections. Using logic. He discovered that there are things humans want to know, but don't. So he made an addition to the services offered by the global network of logics and tanks--one that, logically, got past the 'censor circuits.'
'If you want to know something and don't know how to do it--ask your logic!' suddenly flashed up on every screen on the planet.
'!', indeed.
People assumed that it was all official. They asked questions. They got answers. Perfectly logical answers.
Like the man who wanted to know how to murder his wife and get away with it, the one who wanted to know how to prevent his spouse finding out that he had been drinking, the one who wanted to make a perpetual-motion machine, the one who wanted to make flawless counterfeit money, and the bank manager who wanted to know how to rob his bank undetected.
Logics, backed by Joe, gave people whatever information they asked for. They held nothing back. They did not even stint, for example, when unsavoury and unsocial types asked them how they could acquire supplies of high-explosives.
You get the picture. The results were rapidly becoming catastrophic. And would have got a lot worse if an incandescent blonde femme fatale who had known the maintenance man long before he became a happily married pillar of the logic world had not asked her logic how she could get in touch with 'Ducky' again.
The newly enhanced system took a little while to work out how to do that, but the result was that a maintenance man's life was suddenly invaded by incandescent chaos and threatened with meltdown of the fatale kind.
He, though, had no wish to become husband number five of this blonde weapon of male-destruction, and even less to suffer the fate of the one who had shuffled off his mortal coil very precipately after she had added a modicum of lead to his system at lethal velocity.
Fortunately the maintenance man had the presence of mind to ask the network if a logic could be modified 'to co-operate in long-term planning that human brains are too limited in scope to do?'
Being logical it said yes, and told him how.
And when he asked if one had ever been produced with that modification, it told him, yes, just one, and where it had been installed. He promptly raced over the Korlanovitch flat, pulled Joe out and replaced him with a normal model. The new Joe-based tell-me-anything service immediately vanished from every logic screen.
Whew! Civilisation had been saved. And it was only Monday.
But the maintenance man succumbed to temptation. He didn't smash Joe to smithereens. After all, he reasoned, he might come in handy--for personaluse only, of course, and tamed a bit. So he put him down in his basement.
Back in the real world of 2006, we have not yet reached far past the starting point of Leinster's story. We have not yet produced the unit technology, although we are close; we have not saturated the globe with networks and databases, although we have made a solid start; we have not yet come anywhere near the numbers needed to achieve 'logics' for everyone, although computer factories are churning out their precursors like so many grains of sand, and we recently chalked up the billionth person on the Internet, the crude forerunner of the network Leinster predicted.
But there are rich and powerful companies beavering night and day to lead us to the threshold of his world, a world in which 'logics are civilisation,' as that maintenance man tells us. A world in which, 'If we shut off logics we go back to a kind of civilisation we have forgotten how to run!'
But before we get to that threshold--long before--we must ensure that 'Joe' shall never exist, because in a world full of such overly smart machines--or even just where we have easy access to unlimited information--Pope's famous dictum would be turned on its head and our social fabric rent asunder:

It is not, 'A little learning is a dangerous thing,
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.'

But, 'O'ermuch wrong learning is most dangerous of all,
Choose well what you know or the world will fall.'

In A Logic Named Joe the rending asunder almost happens by accident. We must prevent it from happening by design.

[If you want to read the original story, it can be found in the anthology Machines that Think, edited by Isaac Asimov, Patricia S. Warrick, & Martin H. Greenberg and published under Penguin's Allen Lane imprint.]