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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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.