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.)

Popular Posts

Saturday 28 January 2006


If a giant asteroid was heading for the earth we would spare no expense, no amount of international co-operation and effort, no technology to destroy it.

If aliens were real, and were about to invade or were threatening to, we would spare not expense, no amount of international co-operation and effort, no technology to defeat and destroy them.

When the Nazis--who were very real--tried to take over the world, we spared no expense, no amount of international co-operation and effort, no technology to defeat and destroy them.

But we allow the equally real, modern-day enemies of the human race to flourish--the Boys from the Black Stuff (i.e., the coal and oil barons) and the Big Iron carmakers. We do more. We encourage them, we applaud them, we join them, we help them as they go about their business making the products that are wrecking the only planet we can live on in the entire universe. We even measure the success of our economies by how well they do it. We allow them to destroy us. We call it progress.

Thursday 26 January 2006


O goody! The 'exoplanet' hunters tell us they have spotted a 'cousin' to the earth. Hmmmm. 5.5 times the size of the earth, which means you would weigh 5.5 times as much if it's about the same density. It is also -223 degrees Celsius, a tad chilly for getting up early in the mornings. And it is about 235 million miles away from its star, which is only a reddish one, so the light would not be too bright. And it is about 25,000 light-years from here.

So to get to this hellish 'cousin' you would have to travel at the speed of light for 25,000 years, if that were possible--i.e, about 560 million years at the speed of our rockets. And the same back if you found it was not like the Bahamas, or that squadrons of something frigid and slimy objected to your company, or that you had forgotten your lunch or that you hadn't locked the front door before you left.

Even a phone call home would take 25,000 years to make a connection, then you would have to wait 50,000 years between saying something and hearing the response. That would make even a short conversation ten sentences each go on for a million years. If you got a wrong number it would take you 50,000 years to find out, then another 25,000 to re-connect. If your batteries lasted that long. Even nuclear power would be iffy. Those sorts of numbers are way outside the half life of fissile atoms. Maybe you could use a bicycle generator...

Those exoplanet guys are semi-morononic profligate loonies. They are wasting buckets of money in the name of some tooth-fairy, substitute religion and calling it science. Meanwhile, back here on the only planet that we can live on in the entire universe that we know of and can reach--which makes it the only one, period--it would take just $US500,000 and less than two years to produce a planet-friendly car that would save us from the worst consequences of our fossil-burning addiction and madness.

Wednesday 25 January 2006


If you take a large bell-jar, put a lighted candle and a mouse in, then put the cork on, after a while the mouse will keel over and die, because the burning candle will have consumed so much oxygen that the mouse will be asphyxiated.

Burning oil and coal does the same to the earth, but it takes longer because the earth is a big jar and there are plants making oxygen. But, slowly, slowly, slowly, as we keep burning the Black Stuff and bumping off plants we are reducing the percentage of oxygen in the air. So far, the coal boys assure us, we have reduced it only .03%. But the more carbon-dioxide there is the less oxygen there is, and the level of carbon-dioxide is rising at an accelerating rate, so the level of oxygen is decreasing likewise.

When do we start worrying? The section on this page headed 'Physiology of Asphyxiation' shows that degrees of asphyxia start surprisingly early. Even at 20% of oxygen by volume you get 'dimunition of physical and intellectual performance.'

The US safety body, OSHA, can shut down a public building if the level of oxygen in it drops only 1%. And OSHA rules say that miners and other people who work underground or in confined spaces must wear safety gas-alarms that will sound off for evacuation at 'the hazard level of 19.5% oxygen.' At sustained levels of 16.5% (about the concentration in the air you breathe out), we can die from asphyxiation.

This page gives all the OSHA regulations, and includes this paragraph: 'Oxygen deprivation is one form of asphyxiation. While it is desirable to maintain the atmospheric oxygen level at 21% by volume, the body can tolerate deviation from this ideal. When the oxygen level falls to 17%, the first sign of hypoxia is a deterioration to night vision which is not noticeable until a normal oxygen concentration is restored. Physiologic effects are increased breathing volume and accelerated heartbeat. Between 14-16% physiologic effects are increased breathing volume, accelerated heartbeat, very poor muscular coordination, rapid fatigue, and intermittent respiration. Between 6-10% the effects are nausea, vomiting, inability to perform, and unconsciousness. Less than 6%, spasmatic breathing, convulsive movements, and death in minutes.'

It is therefore not a good idea take much oxygen out of the atmosphere. Below 20% none of us can function at our best, at 19/5% the hazard starts in earnest, and every 1% drop below that is a really bad idea. The risk is increased if the displacing gas is carbon-dioxide, because increased carbon-dioxide levels in the body compound the effect of reduced oxygen by messing up our respiratory reflex, which is controlled by the level of carbon-dioxide.

If we were to burn all the 1980 billion tonnes of coal known to exist in the world, we would remove about 3% of the oxygen. Then there is the oil on top of that...

The earth is a big jar, but we need to snuff that candle.

Wednesday 18 January 2006


The true ROI is not a dollar dividend [ROI means return on investment, which also means king in French, so it makes a nice pun because the ROI rules the heads of business greedies]. No, the true return is the planetary one--and there always is one, either positive or negative. Even if you never made a cent, if you benefitted the planet you got the best dividend there is, particularly in these abnormal days when the future of civilisation is being trashed.

The worst international crimes are not committed by war-criminals, they are committed by those who made the dollar ROI king--what you might call the peace-criminals: those who in times of peace act in such ways that vast numbers of people will die or will have their lives made nasty, brutish and short.

So forget the Hitlers, the Stalins, the Pol Pots, the Mao Tse Tungs. And forget the fraudsters at Enron, Worldcom, Parmalat, etc. They are the small fry. Arrest the biggies, go after the real criminals, the peace-criminals, the garbage responsible for trashing the only planet we can live on in the entire universe, who will therefore cause the deaths of billions. Arrest the oil and coal barons, the Big Iron carmakers, the executives of the fossil-fuelled power-stations. Take them to the Hague, try them for crimes against humanity, lock them up for ever. Regrettably, it is no longer considered PC to hang people for crimes against humanity.

Monday 16 January 2006


An article in the Independent gives advance notice of the increase in atmospheric carbon-dioxide for 2005, and shows that for the first ten months alone it rose 2.2 parts per million, which means the rise for the whole year will be about 2.6ppm. That is a staggering 173% leap from the average of 1.5ppm per year where it has been for the last fifty years--and that was an annual increase that should never have been, and never would have if we had not developed our insane addiction to the Black Stuff. That steady rise of 1.5ppm per annum was bad enough, because it took us from the 280ppm that was safe for human life to the very unsafe 380ppm, but then three or four years ago it suddenly went to 2ppm, and now we have this even bigger jump.

So it now looks certain that the predicted accelerated-feedback has begun, in which the overheating earth starts adding ever more carbon-dioxide to the vast amount that we are pumping into the sky, because bacteria in the soil become more active, the permafrost thaws faster and faster, the oceans reach the limit of what they can absorb and start emitting what they have absorbed (warm water can hold less gas than cold), etc., etc.

So now we are really for it. It is not just the frogs that will be croaking all over the planet. Billions of humans will be wiped out of history too.

It is enough to make one weep, or rage, or both.

Meantime the murderous liars, the arrant knaves, the blind blockheads and the greedy sub-human rogues in governments, boardrooms and CEO suites all over the planet are carrying on as if nothing has changed, as if the normality of the past 10,000 years is still here. But they have destroyed it by their sins of comission and omission.

If you click on the link to the Independent, look also at the links at the foot of that article, the ones about Gaia and being past the point of no-return. It is nice to see that someone can also see that we cannot roll this one back--and is prepared to stand up and say so. We need everyone on the earth to shout the same message. Then even the blockheads might take a bit of notice and DO SOMETHING.

'Waiting for the lights to go out' is a brilliant article in one of the world's great newspapers. If you really care about the planet and human existence, click here and read every word.

Meanwhile, the EStarCar aches and agonises to be on the road, so as to help head off the very worst, which is now all we can do. So keep those dollars coming in. For the love of the earth. And the love of human life.

Thursday 12 January 2006


The fungal bullet wiping out frogs is being fired by the gun of global overheating, a recent study has concluded.

Surprise, surprise.

But nobody is doing a blind thing about it worthy of the name. 'Everything has changed, except man's thinking.'

Meanwhile a meeting in Sydney tells us that Big Business will fix this global-overheating thing. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha...

Monday 9 January 2006


EStarFuture has extended its innovative 'people-power, people-pennies for the planet' fund-raising venture, aimed at putting a truly green car on the road long before the Big Iron carmakets get anywhere near one, so that the planet will have a small chance instead of none at all, which is all it will ever get from them.

It is fitting that a car so configurable and user-friendly, and above all planet-friendly, should have highly configurable fund-raising system.

So to the original option of a straight donation to get the EStarCar on the road ASAP three others have been added: 'Buy' a slice of the EStarCar and thus put your name on a slice of green history; buy an EStarCar T-shirt; and become a member of the EStar Foundation.

The EStarCar is to be 4 metres long, which makes 4000 1mm slices, each is priced at $US125. If all 4000 sold, that would be the $US500,000 needed for the project. People who pay for a slice will be issued with an ornate certificate--proof positive of their green credentials.

The T-shirts are $US125 (expensive for a shirt, true, but the money is for the planet).

Memberships of the EStar Foundation are strictly limited to 555 (the number has a nice ring), so it is first in first served. They cost $US500, and last till the end of 2010. Members will have exclusive access to a site that will give special news and details of the EStarCar's progress towards the day when it first hums swiftly down the road--and, of course, all the news ahead of the rest of the world. They will also receive a Membership Certificate. And be on the email list for special announcements.

(There is also a sub-option in the donation section for anyone who might be so wealthy that 'pennies' means what many thousands of dollars means to everyone else. Donors who give $US10,000 or more will have the option of buying an EStarCar at cost when they become available.)

See the earlier post (back in November) for the first post on the people-pennies/people-power venture, and the EStarCar website for more details, and for specifications and images of the car. See also the full press article at Earthtoys, or on EStarFuture's news page (the latter link will be valid only during 2006, in case you are looking at this post from 2007 onwards).

Friday 6 January 2006


A new study, published in the journal Nature and reported by the BBC may well show what will be the result of our global addiction to burning the black stuff--the ocean currents that have made the world what it is will be pushed so far out of kilter that they will not come right again for 140,000 years. But don't worry, all you damned criminals that head the oil, coal, and car industries. It's not long to wait.

140,000 years is how long it took for global currents to come back to normal after the last sudden surge in global temperatures 55 million years ago. That was a rise of 4 to 7 degrees Celsius, exactly the sort of rise predicted by the end of this century (some models put it as high as 14 degrees).

O goody!

Tuesday 3 January 2006


The Geographic section near the start of the latest issue of the National Geographic magazine makes sobering reading. Of the 5700 species of frogs, toads, salamanders and wormlike caecilians that have been assessed, almost a third are threatened, and 168 have become extinct in just the last twenty years.

The 'canaries' in the coal-mine are coughing and spluttering and dying from man-made actions. What next?

For the horrid details the fragile world of frogs at the National Geographic's website.