Trouble around the world

May 14, 2008

A cyclone in Burma and an earthquake in China.

Natural disasters are just that.  Natural.

It doesn’t mean that we should be any less sympathetic or charitable.  Luckily China has, in it’s own ways, the resources to deal with a disaster of this scale.  However, with possibly hundreds of thousands dead or dying and damage to infrastructure beyond comprehension hopefully they will be more open to outside help than the dictatorship that is Burma.

I have been reading in newspapers, online and hearing over the radio how this secretive state is blocking foreign aid at almost every turn.  Either simply not letting aid and aid workers in, or placing unreasonable conditions on the aid agencies involved.  The ruling military power is taking the abuse of human rights to new levels and we as a civilised world should not take their ‘no’ for an answer.  Forcing aid in via peaceful means should be considered.

The world is at a stage in it’s life, with us as the dominate species, where nobody should go hungry, nobodies human rights should be infringed on and we should be looking after our fragile planet.  Even more so in a time where millions of litres of water has to be shipped in to Spain, just for people to be able to drink, due to never before seen levels of drought.  Sceptics beware, global warming may just be rearing it’s head enough to bite.

Sadly, even in times of desperate need, lives that could be saved through the goodness and charity of others is refused and the human race suffers needlessly.

Our evolution stutters in the face of adversity and our right to call ourselves civilized should be called in to question more often than not.

We fail to act over atrocities like genocide in Africa.  Yet fall over ourselves to initiate a wars over oil and imaginary WMD and terrorists, killing those we profess to save.

I hope with all my heart that the influential Super Powers of the world are subject to the political changes necessary to rip up the rotten foundations of our political morality and that grass roots voters open their eyes and minds to the reality of our existence.

We are one species, one human race on one small planet.


When I was 12

April 10, 2008

Large rocks, severed heads, and flaming pots of oil rained down on Baghdad, capital of the vast Islamic Empire, as its weary defenders scrambled to reinforce gates, ditches, and the massive stone walls surrounding the fortress city’s many brick and teak palaces. Giant wooden manjaniq catapults bombarded distant structures while the smaller, more precise arradah catapult guns pelted individuals with grapefruit-sized rocks. Arrows flew thickly and elite horsemen assaulted footmen with swords and spears. “The horses . . . trample the livers of courageous young men,” lamented the poet al-Khuraymi, “and their hooves split their skulls.” Outside the circular city’s main wall—100 feet high, 145 feet thick, and six miles in circumference—soldiers pressed forward with battering rams while other squads choked off supply lines of food and reinforcements. Amid sinking boats and burning rafts, bodies drifted down the Tigris River.

The impenetrable “City of Peace” was crumbling. In the fifty years since its creation in A.D. 762, young Baghdad had rivaled Constantinople and Rome in its prestige and influence. It was a wildly fertile axis of art, science, and religion, and a bustling commercial hub for trade routes reaching deep into Central Asia, Africa, and Europe. But by the late summer of A.D. 813, after nearly two years of civil war (between brothers, no less), the enlightened Islamic capital was a smoldering, starving, bloody heap.

In the face of disorder, any human being desperately needs order—some way to manage, if not the material world, at least one’s understanding of the world. In that light, perhaps it’s no real surprise that, as the stones and arrows and horses’ hooves thundered down on Baghdad, the protected core of the city hosted a different sort of battle. Within the round city’s imperial inner sanctum, secure behind three thick, circular walls and many layers of gate and guard, under the luminescent green dome of the Golden Gate Palace, Muhammad al-Amin, the sixth caliph of the Abbasid Empire, spiritual descendant of (and distant blood relation to) the Prophet Muhammad, sovereign of one of the largest dominions in the history of the world, was playing chess against his favorite eunuch Kauthar.

A trusted messenger burst into the royal apartment with urgently bad news. More inglorious defeats in and around the city were to be reported to the caliph. In fact, his own safety was now in jeopardy.

But al-Amin would not hear of it. He waved off his panicked emissary.

“O Commander of the faithful,” implored the messenger, according to the medieval Islamic historian Jirjis al-Makin. “This is not the time to play. Pray arise and attend to matters of more serious moment.”

It was no use. The caliph was absorbed in the board. A chess game in progress is—as every chess spouse quickly learns—a cosmos unto itself, fully insulated from an infant’s cry, an erotic invitation, or war. The board may have only thirty-two pieces and sixty-four squares, but within that confined space the game has near-infinite depth and possibility. An outsider looking on casually might find the intensity incomprehensible. But anyone who has played the game a few times understands how it can be engrossing in the extreme. Quite often, in the middle of an interesting game, it’s almost as if reality has been flipped inside out: the chess game in motion seems to be the only matter of substance, while any hint of the outside world feels like an annoying irrelevance.

The messier the external world, the more powerful this inverted dynamic can be. Perhaps that is why Caliph al-Amin, who sensed that his hours were numbered, preferred to soak in the details of his chess battlefield rather than reports of the calamitous siege of his city. On the board he could see the whole action. On the board he could neatly make sense of significant past events and carefully plan his future. On the board he still might win.

“Patience my friend,” the caliph calmly replied to his messenger standing only a few feet away and yet a world apart. “I see that in a few moves I shall give Kauthar checkmate.”

Not long after this, al-Amin and his men were captured. The sixth Abbasid caliph, victor in his final chess game, was swiftly beheaded.

Chess lived on. The game had been a prominent court fixture of Caliph al-Amin’s predecessor, and would voraciously consume the attention of his successor—and the caliph after that, and the caliph after that. Several centuries before it infected feudal Christian Europe, chess was already an indelible part of the landscape adjoining the Tigris and Euphrates. This simple game, imbued with a universe of complexity and character, demanded from peasants, soldiers, philosophers, and sovereigns an endless amount of time and energy. In return it offered unique insights into the human endeavor.

And so, against all odds, it lasted. Games, as a general rule, do not last. They come and go. In the eighth century, the Irish loved a board game called fidchell. Long before that, in the third millennium B.C., the Egyptians played a backgammonlike race game called senet. The Romans were drawn to duodecim scripta, played with three knucklebone dice and stacks of discs. The Vikings were obsessed with a game called hnefatafl in the tenth century, in which a protagonist King attempted to escape through a ring of enemies to any edge of the board. The ancient Greeks had petteia and kubeia. These and hundreds of other once popular games are all now long gone. They caught the public imagination of their time and place, and then for whatever reason lost steam. Generations died off, taking their habits with them; or conquering cultures imposed new ideas and pastimes; or people just got bored and wanted something new. Many of the games fell into such total oblivion that they couldn’t even make a coherent mark in the historical record. Try as they might, determined historians still cannot uncover the basic rules of play for a large graveyard of yesterday’s games.

Contrast this with chess, a game that could not be contained by religious edict, nor ocean, nor war, nor language barrier. Not even the merciless accumulation of time, which eventually washes over and dissolves most everything, could so much as tug lightly at chess’s ferocious momentum. “It has, for numberless ages,” wrote Benjamin Franklin in 1786, “been the amusement of all the civilized nations of Asia, the Persians, the Indians, and the Chinese. Europe has had it above 1000 years; the Spaniards have spread it over their part of America, and it begins lately to make its appearance in these States.”

The game would eventually pass into every city in the world and along more than 1,500 years of continuous history—a common thread of Pawn chains, Knight forks, and humiliating checkmates that would run through the lives of Karl Marx, Pope Leo XIII, Arnold Schwarzenegger, King Edward I, George Bernard Shaw, Abraham Lincoln, Ivan the Terrible, Voltaire, King Montezuma, Rabbi Ibn Ezra, William the Conqueror, Jorge Luis Borges, Willie Nelson, Napoleon, Samuel Beckett, Woody Allen, and Norman Schwarzkopf. From Baghdad’s Golden Gate Palace to London’s Windsor Castle to today’s lakeside tables at Chicago’s North Avenue Beach, chess would tie history together in a surprising and compelling way.

How could a game last so long, and appeal so broadly across vast spans of time, geography, language, and culture? Endurance is not, of course, a magnificent accomplishment in itself, but a compelling sign that something profound is going on, a catalytic connection between this “game” and the human brain. Another sign is that chess was not just played but also integrated into the creative and professional lives of artists, linguists, psychologists, economists, mathematicians, politicians, theologians, computer scientists, and generals. It became a popular and pliable metaphor for abstract ideas and complex systems, and an effective tool through which scientists could better understand the human mind.

The remarkable scope of this game began to infect my own brain after a visit from an old family ghost in the fall of 2002. My mother had sent on some faded newspaper clippings about her great-grandfather, my great-great-grandfather, a diminutive Polish Jew named Samuel Rosenthal who immigrated to France in 1864 and became one of its legendary chess masters. Family lore had it that Rosenthal had impressed and/or somehow secured the gratitude of one of the Napoleons, and had been awarded a magnificent, jewel-encrusted pocket watch. No one in the family seemed to have actually seen this watch, but they’d all heard about it. Four generations down the line, this story, retold to a boy from the Ohio suburbs, was just exotic enough, and just hazy enough, to set the mind racing. I had begged Mom for years to tell me more about the great S. Rosenthal and his lost watch.

As I combed through the records on my mother’s mother’s father’s father’s achievements, wondering what spectacular (if still hidden) intelligences had filtered down through the generations, I also became reacquainted with the game itself, which I had not played since high school (and then only a handful of times). Stumbling through a few dozen games with friends at home and with strangers over the Internet, I found that I was just as ambivalent about chess as I’d been twenty years earlier—charmed by its elegance and intrigued by its depth, but also put off by the high gates of entry to even moderately serious play. Graduating from patzer to mere competence would require untold hundreds of hours of not just playing but studying volumes of opening theory, endgame problems, and strategy. Years of obsessive attention to the game might—might—eventually gain me entry into reasonably serious tournaments, where I would no doubt be quickly dispatched by an acid-tongued, self-assured ten-year-old. Chess is an ultimately indomitable peak that gets steeper and steeper with every step.

I was also repelled, frankly, by the forbidding atmosphere of unforgiving rules, insider jargon, and the general aggressiveness and unpleasantness that seemed to accompany even reasonably casual play. I recalled one of Bobby Fischer’s declarations: “Chess is war over the board,” he proclaimed. “The object is to crush the opponent’s mind.” Fischer was not alone in his lusty embrace of chess’s brutality. The game is often as much about demolishing your opponent’s will and self-esteem as it is about implementing a superior strategy. No blood is drawn (ordinarily), but the injury can be real. The historical link between top chess play and mental instability stands as yet another intriguing feature about the game and its power. “Here is nothing less,” writes recovering chess master Alfred Kreymborg, “than a silent duel between two human engines using and abusing all the faculties of the mind. . . . It is warfare in the most mysterious jungles of the human character.”

Still, much to my wife’s dismay, I got hooked. It is an intoxicating game that, though often grueling, never grows tiresome. The exquisite interplay of the simple and the complex is hypnotic: the pieces and moves are elementary enough for any five-year-old to quickly soak up, but the board combinations are so vast that all the possible chess games could never be played—or even known—by a single person. Other parlor games sufficiently amuse, entertain, challenge, distract; chess seizes. It does not merely engage the mind; it takes hold of the mind in a way that suggests a primal, hardwired connection.

Even more powerfully, though, I became transported by chess’s rich history. It seemed to have been present in every place and time, and to have been utilized in every sort of activity. Kings cajoled and threatened with it; philosophers told stories with it; poets analogized with it; moralists preached with it. Its origins are wrapped up in some of the earliest discussions of fate versus free will. It sparked and settled feuds, facilitated and sabotaged romances, and fertilized literature from Dante to Nabokov. A thirteenth-century book using chess as a guide to social morality may have been the second-most popular text in the Middle Ages, after the Bible. In the twentieth century, chess enabled computer scientists to create intelligent machines. Chess has also, in modern times, been used to study memory, language, math, and logic, and has recently emerged as a powerful learning tool in elementary and secondary schools.

The more I learned about chess’s peculiarly strong cultural relevance in century after century, the more it seemed that chess’s endurance was no historical accident. As with the Bible and Shakespeare, there was something particular about the game that made it continually accessible to generation after generation. It served a genuine function—perhaps not vital, but often far more than merely useful. I often found myself wondering how particular events or lives would have unfolded in chess’s absence—a condition, I learned, that many chess haters had ardently sought. Perhaps the most vivid measure of chess’s potency, in fact, is the determination of its orthodox enemies to stamp it out—as long ago as a ruling in 655 by Caliph Ali Ben Abu-Talib (the Prophet Muhammad’s son-in-law), and as recently as decrees by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1981, the Taliban in 1996, and the Iraqi clergy in post-Saddam Iraq. In between, chess was tamped down:

in 780 by Abbasid Caliph al-Mahdi ibn al-Mansur
in 1005 by Egypt’s al-Hakim Bi-Amr Allah
in 1061 by Cardinal Damiani of Ostia
in 1093 by the Eastern Orthodox Church
in 1128 by St. Bernard
in 1195 by Rabbi Maimonides
in 1197 by the Abbot of Persigny
in 1208 by the Bishop of Paris
in 1240 by religious leaders of Worcester, England
in 1254 by King Louis IX of France (St. Louis)
in 1291 by the Archbishop of Canterbury
in 1310 by the Council of Trier (Germany)
in 1322 by Rabbi Kalonymos Ben Kalonymos
in 1375 by France’s Charles V
in 1380 by Oxford University’s founder William of Wickham
in 1549 by the Protohierarch Sylvester of Russia
and in 1649 by Tsar Alexei

But like the Talmud, like the theory of natural selection, like any organized thought paradigm that humans have found irresistibly compelling, chess refused to go away. Why were sixty-four squares and a handful of generic war figurines so hard to erase from the human imagination? What was it about chess that drew simultaneous devotion and disgust, and sparked so many powerful ideas and observations over many centuries?

This is what I set out to understand, through a close survey of chess’s history and a fresh look at the game.

Excerpted from The Immortal Game by David Shenk Copyright © 2006 by David Shenk.

Well it starts earlier than aged 12 for me really.

When I was in Primary School I had a fascination with Chess, I was indeed Chess champion back then.

Then I went off to Secondary School where peer pressure and trying to fit in made me lose my love of the game.  However I found out soon after starting there that my skills had not been totally lost.

I went to Germany with school as part of my German class and stayed with a family there for a week.  During that time the father of the household asked me if I would play with him.  The best of three as it turns out.  I lost the first, but won both of the next, much to the fathers displeasure I might add, proving to myself, as most kids that age think, that I was master of the universe.

I have lost any proper knowledge I had of the game from back then, even to the point of being afraid to really sit and think about playing someone who knows a little of the game. But being settled and content as I am with my life now, I think it is time to renew the love affair with the game.  So here I am writing this blog having placed a book about the history of Chess next to me and I am about to delve back into my childhood and much further into the human mind apparently.


Paul Thomas Anderson

March 17, 2008

My favourite film maker without a doubt. I have just watched Punch Drunk Love and that sealed my vote even if it wasn’t before. With films like that, Magnolia and There Will Be Blood, well, enough said.

The Iraq War has celebrated it’s 5th birthday. When the war started I was in London, I had disappeared and left my long term girlfirend and Dad for a week spent boozing and being generally off my face with two American women. I was a messed up naive 21 year old and my life was in tatters. I remember I supported the fucked up war. I was naive as I said, and younger than I ever thought my years could be. But I thought I knew everything as does every man that age.

Times change, I am still a fucked up guy, but I have more sense than I did then. What I read I can interpret with more pretentious life experience. I could spout all the statistics I have read about the war, what it costs in lives and money, history, health, oil, contracts and morality. But I don’t need to do that. The justification is there if that’s the way you see things. Or not if you don’t. There are solutions to problems, whichever ones we see fit as a world are the ones that will dictate our level of morality and evolution. Window dressing our responses does nothing other than show that they needed dressing.

New images for the palette.

[singlepic=21,100,75]

[singlepic=22,100,75]


An irc conversation

December 17, 2007

[14:14:31] <bankrun> global warming is happening however its causes are cause of changes in the solarsystem
[14:14:52] <PJC> lol bankrun, you need to read more
[14:14:53] <gordonjcp> global warming *might* be happening
[14:14:55] <bankrun> which is changing due to the different constitution of the space its moving into
[14:15:09] <bankrun> at 500.000 km per houre
[14:15:11] <gordonjcp> but if it is, it’s mostly caused by changes in the solar system
[14:15:15] <gordonjcp> bankrun: yup
[14:15:25] <bankrun> which is changing due to the different constitution of the space its moving into gordonjcp
[14:15:26] <President_HuckaB> bankrun: which is due to the face on mars
[14:15:37] <gordonjcp> bankrun: we’re moving into a patch of space with rather less dust and rock between us and the sun
[14:15:39] <bankrun> President_HuckaB: its a egular hill
[14:15:41] <President_HuckaB> constitution of the space? this isn’t start trek
[14:16:02] <gordonjcp> there’s a hill that looks like a face near my house
[14:16:08] <gordonjcp> doesn’t mean it’s actually a face
[14:16:13] <bankrun> gordonjcp: the whole solarsystem is travelling into a different space
[14:16:15] <PJC> http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6290228.stm
[14:16:37] <bankrun> global warming is part of the galactic cycle this time
[14:16:41] <gordonjcp> bankrun: also, the nutation of the earth’s axis is subtly altering the seasons
[14:16:53] <President_HuckaB> earth’s axis of evil , if you will
[14:16:56] <PJC> and that has been taken into account bankrun, read New Scientist, things like that and you will be on the cutting edge of the science behind climate change
[14:16:59] <f15> I’m having my period
[14:17:08] <President_HuckaB> send me your panties
[14:17:28] <gordonjcp> basically if you haven’t passed O-grade physics or its equivalent, you shouldn’t talk about global warming
[14:17:32] <gordonjcp> or nuclear power
[14:17:36] <gordonjcp> or fossil fuels
[14:17:39] <President_HuckaB> whats your take on it gordon
[14:17:44] <President_HuckaB> gbl warming
[14:17:44] <f15> where do you live
[14:17:47] <gordonjcp> or indeed, anything considering the physical world
[14:17:48] <PJC> no doubt about that gordonjcp
[14:18:00] <bankrun> New Study Explodes Human-Global Warming Story http://www.newsmax.com/insidecover/global_warming/2007/12/10/55974.html
[14:18:10] Quit ben has left this server (Nick collision from services.).
[14:18:12] <gordonjcp> President_HuckaB: it’s probably happening to an extent, but the reasons behind it aren’t terribly clear
[14:18:25] <f15> ron paul commands the nwo
[14:18:26] <President_HuckaB> agreed
[14:18:30] <gordonjcp> President_HuckaB: certainly it wouldn’t hurt to pump less pollution into the atmosphere
[14:18:36] <f15> from his bunker w/alex he’s lover
[14:18:42] <PJC> The mechanism for producing such cyclical climate changes is still under discussion;” quoted
[14:18:50] <President_HuckaB> gordonjcp: at the expense of development i’m not so sure
[14:19:08] <President_HuckaB> easy for us to talk we’re in the richest 10%
[14:19:16] <f15> yes
[14:19:27] <f15> who wants to play a guessing game?
[14:19:40] <gordonjcp> President_HuckaB: yeah, but then both the developing world and the developed world need to look at how to develop in a sustainable way
[14:19:45] <f15> I’m thinking of a number between 1 and 2
[14:19:53] <gordonjcp> it’s probably easier for the developing world, because they’ve got a clean slate to start with
[14:19:55] <President_HuckaB> gordon: i think they’re doing their best now
[14:19:59] <bankrun> cosmic rays are the cause it says
[14:20:03] <f15> what is the number
[14:20:10] <PJC> the concensus of scientists throughout the world, it 90% plus is that the global warming we are seeing the beginnings of now is man made
[14:20:16] <President_HuckaB> gordon: there’s no timeouts in development
[14:20:26] <f15> what is the number
[14:20:36] <bankrun> PJC: you favour the global warming TAX ?
[14:20:39] <PJC> sure you get the crack pots who would rather the blame be anywhere else other than on us….
[14:20:41] <f15> what is the number
[14:20:47] <President_HuckaB> the developing world doesn’t have a clean slate since it most falls in the harsh environments on earth
[14:20:52] <President_HuckaB> most of africa is non-arable
[14:20:59] <President_HuckaB> central asia is a windy desert
[14:21:02] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:16] <President_HuckaB> much of russia is permafrost
[14:21:20] <PJC> bankrun: I favour any tax, corporate or public that makes the world ‘livable’ for future generations
[14:21:24] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:25] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:26] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:27] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:28] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:28] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:31] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:33] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:35] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:36] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:38] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:40] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:42] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:44] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:47] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:49] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:51] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:53] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:55] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:57] <gordonjcp> yeah
[14:21:57] <f15> what is the number
[14:22:00] <f15> what is the number
[14:22:03] <f15> what is the number
[14:22:04] <f15> what is the number
[14:22:06] <f15> what is the number
[14:22:09] <Nockian> PJC: not me.
[14:22:15] <gordonjcp> I personally don’t care if environmental restrictions put companies out of business
[14:22:19] <gordonjcp> fuck ’em
[14:22:22] <gordonjcp> adapt or die
[14:22:30] <President_HuckaB> i don’t think any portion of civilization has the luxury to go backwards
[14:23:22] <President_HuckaB> europe sits on its glass house dictating what should be done socially but what are the real effects of curbing development on the third world
[14:23:29] <President_HuckaB> they’ll die faster
[14:23:41] <gordonjcp> no
[14:23:44] <President_HuckaB> stands to reason anyway
[14:23:47] <Nockian> President_HuckaB: how is the Huckabee campaign dealing with the story about Huckabee’s son killing that stray dog by hanging it and slitting its throat? that can’t be good for the campaign..
[14:23:49] <gordonjcp> they need to develop in a way that won’t fuck them over
[14:23:51] <PJC> the US and other countries have their priorites wrong, channel some of the billions used for ‘war’ in countries that have ‘wmd’ and harbor ‘terrorists’ (hahahaha) into something other than killing, I’d rather we take the chance and change our ways now, with regards to climate change, and be wrong, rather than not, and have the senarios turn out to be right
[14:24:08] <President_HuckaB> Nockian: my son’s not running for president
[14:24:08] <gordonjcp> PJC: well yeah
[14:24:19] <Nockian> President_HuckaB: the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree
[14:24:27] <President_HuckaB> speak for yourself
[14:24:35] <Nockian> so that’s his official stance then?
[14:24:39] <gordonjcp> if the US spent a bit more money on sorting out its fuel usage than trying to invent wars then it would be better for everyone
[14:24:41] <President_HuckaB> afaik charles manson’s parents were fine
[14:24:55] <Nockian> President_HuckaB: actually, they were terrible people.. you should look into it
[14:25:05] <President_HuckaB> well hitler’s mother was niec
[14:25:14] <f15> is dvd hardware or software?
[14:25:38] <President_HuckaB> you sound like the type who would blame your parents for your own meager successes or lack there of in life
[14:25:38] <gordonjcp> here’s the US DOT planning on introducing laws that US car manufacturers will need to have an average of 35mpg across their model range
[14:25:47] <PJC> yep gordonjcp, but that wouldn’t create more oil or massive rebuilding contracts for certain people in the administration who happen to be board members etc
[14:25:47] <gordonjcp> wtf, 35mpg?
[14:25:54] <PJC> and thats just scratching the surface
[14:26:02] <gordonjcp> if my car was guzzling 35mpg, I’d suspect something was majorly wrong with it
[14:26:09] <gordonjcp> like maybe an engine fire
[14:26:13] <PJC> lol
[14:26:21] <gordonjcp> or a fist-sized hole in the fuel tank
[14:26:23] <President_HuckaB> i love how the left is up bush’s ass yet putin has carte blanche
[14:26:32] <President_HuckaB> and he’s doing much more damage to the global village
[14:27:17] <President_HuckaB> at least bush and liberals can both agree they are supportive of putin dismantling any freedoms in russia
[14:27:19] <f15> gordonjcp you don’t have a car
[14:27:41] Quit ron_o has left this server (Connection timed out).
[14:28:36] <BlimpMan> great
[14:28:39] <BlimpMan> i just got a bullshit parking ticket
[14:28:41] <BlimpMan> fucking mother fuckers
[14:28:43] <President_HuckaB> spasiba shoi
[14:28:52] <f15> blimpman how can you park a blimp?
[14:28:58] <President_HuckaB> it was me who gave it to you
[14:29:08] <President_HuckaB> you’re in atlanta right
[14:29:09] <bankrun> Study says sun getting hotter http://www.lubbockonline.com/news/092897/study.htm
[14:29:19] <President_HuckaB> especially in the summer
[14:29:45] <bankrun> Things Are Heating Up http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~kaisler/articles/event_horizon/heating.html
[14:30:03] <f15> bankrun: do you know how to swim?
[14:30:07] <President_HuckaB> As much of the U.S. is being blasted by vicious ice storms, a blockbuster report published in a prestigious scientific journal insists that the evidence shows that climate warming is both natural and unstoppable and that carbon dioxide (CO2) is not a pollutant.
[14:30:09] <President_HuckaB> nice.
[14:30:10] Quit nomin has left this server (“Leaving”).
[14:30:12] Quit r420r has left this server (“Leaving”).
[14:30:19] <BlimpMan> i’m so angry
[14:30:28] <skyfolly-home> i am so excited
[14:30:29] <BlimpMan> why does this little parking ticket piss me off so much?
[14:30:34] <bankrun> Strong Evidence Points to Earth’s Proximity to Sun as Ice Age Trigger (8/27/2007) http://www.geologytimes.com/Research/Strong_Evidence_Points_to_Earths_Proximity_to_Sun_as_Ice_Age_Trigger.asp
[14:30:35] <f15> blimpman maybe you shouldn’t fly a blimp
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[14:30:45] <f15> aka don’t have a cow man
[14:30:52] <President_HuckaB> man’s entire development revolves around natural catastrophe
[14:31:23] <f15> actually around blimps
[14:31:25] <President_HuckaB> dating to the eruption of mt. toba 74,000 yrs ago
[14:31:28] <PJC> climate change isnt just ‘warming’ it involves changes to regional weather and trends, and an overall world wide temperature rise
[14:31:35] <quamster> did Greenland melt yet?
[14:31:42] <skyfolly-home> melting
[14:31:51] <f15> soon will be gone
[14:31:52] <quamster> ah yes
[14:32:02] <President_HuckaB> manmade global warming is false
[14:32:02] <f15> very soon
[14:32:08] <President_HuckaB> its a boondoggle for the left
[14:32:11] <bankrun> in case there was manmade global warming youd expect the atmosphere to rise in temperature before the surface does
[14:32:22] <skyfolly-home> huge icebergs are floating north from antartica
[14:32:24] <President_HuckaB> manmade global warming is the left’s equivalent of terrorism
[14:32:27] <President_HuckaB> except its fake
[14:32:30] <President_HuckaB> and terrorism is real
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[14:32:44] <President_HuckaB> but neither have a significant mortal impact on a large pop
[14:32:46] <PJC> President_HuckaB: and you are on the outside looking in, delusion is a comfortable and warm blanket to be wrapped up in
[14:32:46] <bankrun> but the earths atmosphere isnt that warming
[14:32:50] <skyfolly-home> yea right, and UFO is real
[14:32:56] <President_HuckaB> pjc: you are too
[14:33:02] <PJC> mhmm
[14:33:02] <bankrun> so thats why now they claim its cosmic rays
[14:33:03] <President_HuckaB> you’re just too ignorant to realize or admit
[14:33:21] <quamster> were all gonna die
[14:33:40] <President_HuckaB> now that we’re haveing a record winter, the global warming spinsters are trying to say its not “warming”
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[14:33:51] <President_HuckaB> gore sounds like a genius in august don’t he
[14:33:52] <bankrun> beside CO2 is not a very effective greenhouse gas , unlike methane that is isolating heath from the earth
[14:34:07] <skyfolly-home> oh well, many people dun cry until they see the coffins
[14:34:21] <President_HuckaB> fearmongering
[14:34:30] <PJC> terrorists, which terrorists, the USA ups and downs its terror alerts to ensure people like you are always worried about something that isn’t there, terrorist attacks in the USA? Last one was 9/11, surely the world wide web or terror is better than that?
[14:34:35] <bankrun> and methane is spewed out in huge quantities as the methane lakes in siberia melt
[14:34:47] <President_HuckaB> pjc: just like global warming is used on people like you
[14:34:51] <deff> global warming is a reptilian conspiracy anyway
[14:34:52] <PJC> as for global warming, yeah its not in your face now, but I like to think of people and a generation other than mine
[14:35:01] <President_HuckaB> fear mongering is fear mongering
[14:35:13] <President_HuckaB> yeah terrorism is sold the same way
[14:35:19] <President_HuckaB> on a long term , results-free basis
[14:35:20] <PJC> not really President_HuckaB, science speaks, the US government doesnt hold any sway with me
[14:35:32] <PJC> wmd in Iraq?
[14:35:33] <President_HuckaB> g.warming is your sides version of fear mongering
[14:35:35] <BlimpMan> i just filed an appeal
[14:35:36] <bankrun> so at least we can be sure that if the earht warms is warms at ever increasing speeds
[14:35:36] <skyfolly-home> why is it so hard to convince people into believing the world is getting warmer and warmer?
[14:35:37] <BlimpMan> i should be str8
[14:35:41] <PJC> terror attacks iminent?
[14:35:41] <President_HuckaB> science doesnt speak
[14:35:53] <President_HuckaB> the U N isn’t science
[14:35:56] <skyfolly-home> is saving that big deal?
[14:36:06] <bankrun> so thats why the scientists cannot predict too far ahead, they forgot for instance the methane lakes in siberia
[14:36:22] <President_HuckaB> bankrun is providing material sources
[14:36:23] <PJC> like i say, you are free to your delusions, I prefer common sense and current science over Bush
[14:36:28] <President_HuckaB> unlike pjc with wild speculation
[14:36:59] <PJC> i see lol
[14:37:00] <bankrun> and thats also why any predictions of future warmings will be underestimated
[14:37:11] <President_HuckaB> global warming is a boondoggle
[14:37:15] <President_HuckaB> and they are trying to save it
[14:37:24] <President_HuckaB> its guaranteed money
[14:37:33] <deff> lol
[14:37:35] <President_HuckaB> from corporations, all the better according to socialists
[14:37:36] <bankrun> and over time the differences between the herren scientists and the reallife situation will get worse
[14:37:37] <deff> money from what
[14:37:48] <deff> how exactly do you monetize on global warming
[14:37:49] <bankrun> so they have to adapt and adapt
[14:38:03] <President_HuckaB> university/research funding
[14:38:17] <President_HuckaB> government appropriations
[14:38:18] <deff> uh that’s a huuge money machine indeed
[14:38:21] <bankrun> but in ten years from now you wont recognize those that advocate the manmade global warming
[14:38:21] <PJC> ok President_HuckaB, you are entitled to your opinions, you go ahead panicing about your terror attacks, and I’ll make a little effort in my household, just incase the made up global warming happens
[14:38:21] <President_HuckaB> wasted on bullshit like that
[14:38:27] <deff> grow a brain, half of it at least
[14:38:31] <President_HuckaB> deff: it is
[14:38:35] <President_HuckaB> huge money actually
[14:38:49] <deff> it isn’t
[14:38:51] <President_HuckaB> there are multi million dollar grants
[14:38:54] <President_HuckaB> for research
[14:38:57] <deff> couple of millions is peanuts
[14:39:00] <President_HuckaB> especially when someone drops the g-bomb
[14:39:09] <President_HuckaB> there are hundreds of grants
[14:39:11] <President_HuckaB> get a clue
[14:39:11] <PJC> huge money = the reason the USA doesnt want to commit it targets
[14:39:20] <PJC> *to
[14:39:36] <PJC> the only country that stood in the way of them btw lol
[14:39:37] <skyfolly-home> it is not about global warming, it is about pollution really.
[14:39:44] <deff> billions made on oil or saved by not investing in new technologies are huge money
[14:39:59] <deff> research grants, gimme a break
[14:40:11] <President_HuckaB> you have no education so what would you know
[14:40:17] <President_HuckaB> you sound like a total idiot scoffing at grants
[14:40:22] <skyfolly-home> and you think oil is unlimit?
[14:40:24] <President_HuckaB> you’re totally out of your scope
[14:40:28] <President_HuckaB> you show it
[14:40:35] <bankrun> skyfolly-home: if the UN uses the carbon tax to reduce co2 emissions its not bad at all
[14:40:40] <PJC> how would you know his education President_HuckaB? you are the one who disputes common, well known accpeted science
[14:40:47] <President_HuckaB> co2 isn’t a cause
[14:40:58] <bankrun> however co2 is a pollutant
[14:41:01] <President_HuckaB> reducing it may be meaningless
[14:41:03] <quamster> alan keys said its hot air from most politicians
[14:41:13] <tuxick> traffic pollutes a lot anyway
[14:41:15] <quamster> he might be on to somthing
[14:41:15] <bankrun> not making a mess is always relevant President_HuckaB
[14:41:18] <tuxick> in several ways
[14:41:23] <deff> President_HuckaB: research is peanuts compared to manufacturing and actually implementing those technologies, you are not going to convince me otherwise
[14:41:36] <President_HuckaB> gov’t appropriations also
[14:41:36] <tuxick> smell, noise, chaos in general, ugly roads
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[14:42:02] <bankrun> sustainability starts by not wasting
[14:42:06] <President_HuckaB> its the research money thats sets the standard
[14:42:09] <tuxick> i remember when i visited Dublin, all i remember was NOISE
[14:42:16] <tuxick> especially the heavy traffic
[14:42:29] <President_HuckaB> you want chaos, stroll through brazzville
[14:42:35] <President_HuckaB> brazzaville
[14:42:38] <PJC> increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, trap more heat, its a smiple experiment to do. But much easier on a large scale, say a planet for example….
[14:42:52] <skyfolly-home> people should stop bitching about global warming, instead they should emphasize on protecting the environment, we are killing the earth
[14:42:57] <PJC> not to mention methane, which is x20 as potent
[14:42:58] <President_HuckaB> there are dozens of shitty cities you would reject in favor of dublin believe me
[14:43:16] <bankrun> methane!
[14:43:20] <PJC> stopping global warming involves protecting the earth skyfolly-home
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[14:43:34] <bankrun> you will fail PJC
[14:43:56] <skyfolly-home> PJC: i know, but these freaks think we are threatening them with sudden death
[14:44:02] <guest1234> niggers
[14:44:10] <skyfolly-home> lol
[14:44:16] <PJC> lol skyfolly-home, typical knee-jerk reaction
[14:44:22] <bankrun> global warming is unstoppable
[14:44:36] <skyfolly-home> PJC: nah, i am taking it easily
[14:44:38] <PJC> bankrun: we might fail, but that doesn’t mean we shouldnt try
[14:44:48] <PJC> i meant them skyfolly-home lol
[14:44:48] <guest1234> PJC, so stop farting so much
[14:44:57] <bankrun> if you think we live in a greenhouse you are wrong , the earth changes
[14:44:57] <skyfolly-home> PJC: oh
[14:45:06] <PJC> guest1234: stop eating meat 😉
[14:45:35] <bankrun> PJC: besides i dont want to life in an artificial environment which has sprouted out of your brain
[14:45:51] <guest1234> PJC, I think the foods which are high in fiber causes one to fart a lot, not the meats
[14:46:02] <skyfolly-home> nah, we just care for our next generation
[14:46:18] <bankrun> PJC: i would rather consider people like you a threat to nature
[14:46:30] <bankrun> PJC: no in fact i do
[14:46:33] <skyfolly-home> if the world isn’t this fucked up, i would consider having one more baby
[14:46:42] <PJC> guest1234: I meant methane produced by the farmin industry, anyways. like I say, you are entitled to your opinion, carry on as you are. but I’m entitled to mine
[14:46:59] <bankrun> PJC: always regulating our world into what the wheater should be or should not be
[14:47:18] <PJC> bankrun: I’m guessing that yopu are one of those people who thinks anyone who doesnt agree with you is a threat to anything and everything you are discusdsing
[14:47:52] <bankrun> PJC: im telling you you want to fuck with our environment into creating some artificial world
[14:47:57] <f15> skyfolly-home, are you a female?
[14:48:04] <PJC> bankrun: we are already doing that
[14:48:07] <skyfolly-home> f15: lol, sounds reasonable
[14:48:13] <bankrun> PJC: you dont know that for sure
[14:48:23] <bankrun> PJC: but already you know the solutions
[14:48:30] <skyfolly-home> i am a male, altough with small dick
[14:48:38] <bankrun> PJC: change the whole damn globe is your solution
[14:48:41] <bankrun> haha
[14:48:56] <f15> ha
[14:49:11] <bankrun> skyfolly-home: there are some trolls in this room
[14:49:11] <f15> I have largest penis in channel 5 inches
[14:49:16] <PJC> i dont know that the human race is using our resources faster than they can be replenished and that we are putting greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere faster than the earth can reabsorb them, causing a chain reaction of consequences? yes, i do know that
[14:49:24] <guest1234> You ought to be using farm animal dropping as a fuel
[14:49:24] <skyfolly-home> it is not about changing, it is about prevention, people
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[14:49:38] <bankrun> PJC: and so you fix the results of the causes ?
[14:49:48] <skyfolly-home> why you wear a condom while fucking around
[14:49:49] <bankrun> PJC: by changing the whole globe to your likings ?
[14:49:50] <guest1234> You know, use a cow shit to heat up your furnace instead of wood
[14:49:52] <PJC> bankrun: yes, change the whole way we use are world
[14:49:58] <PJC> *our
[14:50:05] <skyfolly-home> diseases are fucking natural way to die
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[14:50:23] <f15> skyfolly-home, mental ones
[14:50:25] <guest1234> skyfolly-home, you cheat on your wife a lot?
[14:50:29] <bankrun> PJC: if you think co2 is the problem then fix that
[14:50:38] <skyfolly-home> guest1234: i cheat on yr mom
[14:50:44] <casanova-> The opening ceremony of the Pentagon as the ministry of defence in the USA was on September 11th.
[14:50:51] <guest1234> skyfolly-home, you do cheat on your wife often, right?
[14:50:59] <skyfolly-home> guest1234: nope
[14:51:06] <f15> casanova- lulz
[14:51:09] <guest1234> skyfolly-home, just once in a while?
[14:51:10] <PJC> I can’t on my own, but hopefully the world will come to realise, as it is now, when 140+ countries sign a treaty promising to change how we do things
[14:51:16] <skyfolly-home> guest1234: never
[14:51:18] <casanova-> f15 that’s true just wiki it over
[14:51:22] <bankrun> PJC: but to change the whole world around it is ridiculous and the results wont be desirable
[14:51:41] <PJC> bankrun: you say that with such conviction, have you do it already?
[14:51:47] <PJC> *done
[14:51:53] <casanova-> Also, the founding cornerstone of the WTC in NYC was laid on a September 11th.
[14:51:54] <f15> casanova- is it the word of the lord?
[14:52:00] <skyfolly-home> so i mean preventing global warming is not trying to change the world, just prevent it from dying
[14:52:23] <f15> casanova- OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG
[14:52:32] <PJC> indeed skyfolly-home
[14:52:40] <bankrun> fixing causes is one of mankinds greatest waisted efforts up until this day in history
[14:52:50] <bankrun> eh
[14:52:56] <bankrun> fixing results i mean
[14:53:03] <f15> casanova-, do you write for wikipedia?
[14:53:04] <casanova-> The state of Israel followed an invasion of British naval troops in palestine, beginning on September 11th. 19222
[14:53:15] <PJC> well, you give up before even starting bankrun, thats not in my nature however
[14:53:20] <guest1234> f15, I do, don’t you?
[14:53:31] <skyfolly-home> if you are stuck in the desert with few water, would you drink it in one day or sip bit by bit?
[14:53:39] <f15> I wrote the disambiguation page for f15
[14:53:54] <bankrun> PJC: no i dont waiste energy and time on fixing problems, id rather fix the causes
[14:54:06] <tuxick> skyfolly-home: i’d drink it all and then privatize water supplies!
[14:54:07] <guest1234> I try to lock my edits as much as possible so the morons can’t fuck it up
[14:54:26] <skyfolly-home> tuxick: then you’d die in one day
[14:54:30] <f15> guest1234, what’s your problem with the mormons?
[14:54:31] <casanova-> The country which has the richest copper reserves in the World, a holy land of the Incas, Chile, experienced a fascist revolution with Gen. Augusto Pinochet, which resulted in the birth of the modern computer industry… on September 11th. 1973
[14:54:49] <skyfolly-home> casanova-: lol
[14:55:02] <guest1234> f15, because it’s a cult?
[14:55:10] <PJC> bankrun: I think you missed the point, the idea is to fix the causes
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[14:55:17] <casanova-> Coincidence?
[14:55:21] <f15> casanova-, bogus?
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[14:55:32] <casanova-> no the dates are correct
[14:55:32] <PJC> causes of global warming
[14:55:44] <guest1234> f15, they believe that they’re truly the “saved” ones, and rest of the people are non-factors to them
[14:56:08] <guest1234> f15, they believe the “non-saved” ones do not matter (rest of us)
[14:56:12] <f15> guest1234, so what are they going to do to us?
[14:56:16] <casanova-> Wasn’t there a bill passed on September this month…
[14:56:25] <casanova-> this year
[14:56:26] <casanova-> oop
[14:56:31] <guest1234> f15, Soylent Green?
[14:56:33] <f15> casanova-, the dollar bill
[14:56:46] <casanova-> that was june 1913 wasn’t it?
[14:56:49] <f15> guest1234, what can we do to stop soylent greens?
[14:57:08] <f15> casanova-, no that is yesterday
[14:57:10] <guest1234> f15, sounds like a poorly written bot
[14:57:21] <f15> casanova-, now they got a chip in yer hed
[14:58:03] <f15> guest1234, soylent greens say that golbal warming is going to cause imminent disaster but in fact global warming is natural
[14:58:34] <PJC> i would rather we had tried and be wrong, than to have shrugged our shoulders and be right, there is enough money floating around the global economy to make the changes and cause little or no problems around the world. What would have happened if the billions spent on the war in Iraq had been spent on the issue of global warming, would America and the western world now be under attack, would terrorist attack have increased, would
[14:58:34] <PJC> there be world war 3, would society as we know it be falling apart?
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[14:59:13] <skyfolly-home> meh, they just dun get it
[14:59:29] <f15> how about we use the money to buy more money
[14:59:33] <PJC> lol
[14:59:36] <f15> like in that game
[14:59:44] <PJC> Second Life?
[14:59:58] <skyfolly-home> lol, dollar to yen?
[15:00:03] <f15> a dollar costs less than a yugo to produce
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[15:00:07] <PJC> lol
[15:00:21] <f15> therefore we could fucking print more dollars for dollars
[15:00:36] <f15> and have infinite moneys
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[15:01:15] <f15> LOL


Is the biofuel dream over?

December 14, 2007
  • 15 December 2007
  • From New Scientist Print Edition.
  • Fred Pearce
  • Peter Aldhous

Can biofuels help save our planet from a climate catastrophe? Farmers and fuel companies certainly seem to think so, but fresh doubts have arisen about the wisdom of jumping wholesale onto the biofuels bandwagon…….

About 12 million hectares, or around 1 per cent of the world’s fields, are currently devoted to growing biofuels. Sugar cane and maize, for example, are turned into bioethanol, a substitute for gasoline, while rapeseed and palm oil are made into biodiesel. That figure will grow because oil is so costly, and because biofuels supposedly emit fewer greenhouse gases than fossil fuels.

But a slew of new studies question the logic behind expanding biofuel production. For a start, there may not be enough land to grow the crops on or water to irrigate them, given other demands on global agriculture. Worse, any cuts in carbon dioxide emissions gained by burning less fossil fuels may be wiped out by increased emissions of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide from fertilisers used on biofuel crops.

In parts of the world, shortage of water is already putting a brake on agricultural productivity. According to Johan Rockström, executive director of the Stockholm Environment Institute in Sweden, switching 50 per cent of the fossil fuels that will be devoted to electricity generation and transport by 2050 to biofuels would use between 4000 and 12,000 extra cubic kilometres of water per year. To put that in perspective, the total annual flow down the world’s rivers is about 14,000 km3.

A more modest target of quadrupling world biofuel production to 140 billion litres a year by 2030 – enough to replace 7.5 per cent of current gasoline use, would require an extra 180 km3 of water to be extracted from rivers and underground reserves, calculates Charlotte de Fraiture at the International Water Management Institute, based near Columbo in Sri Lanka.

That target may be manageable across much of the globe. But in China and India, where water is in short supply and most crops require artificial irrigation, de Fraiture argues that there is not enough water even to meet existing government plans to expand biofuel production.

Another contentious issue is how much land is available to grow biofuels (New Scientist, 25 September 2006, p 36). And the answer appears to be not much, a point that Sten Nilsson, deputy director of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria, makes using a “cartographic strip-tease” based on a new global mapping study.

Beginning with a world map showing land not yet built upon or cultivated, Nilsson progressively strips forests, deserts and other non-vegetated areas, mountains, protected areas, land with an unsuitable climate, and pastures needed for grazing (see Maps). That leaves just 250 to 300 million hectares for growing biofuels, an area about the size of Argentina.

Even using a future generation of biofuel crops – woody plants with large amounts of cellulose that enable more biomass to be converted to fuel – Nilsson calculates that it will take 290 million hectares to meet a tenth of the world’s projected energy demands in 2030. But another 200 million hectares will be needed by then to feed an extra 2 to 3 billion people, with a further 25 million hectares absorbed by expanding timber and pulp industries.

So if biofuels expand as much as Nilsson anticipates, there will be no choice but to impinge upon land needed for growing food, or to destroy forests and other pristine areas like peat bogs. That would release carbon now stashed away in forests and peat soils (New Scientist, 1 December, p 50), turning biofuels into a major contributor to global warming

De Fraiture is more optimistic. Her modest projection for a quadrupling of biofuel production assumes that maize production will be boosted by 20 per cent, sugar cane by 25 per cent and oil crops for biodiesel by 80 per cent. Assuming future improvements in crop yields, de Fraiture estimates that this might be done on just 30 million hectares of land – or 2.5 times the area now under cultivation.

Even today’s biofuel yields depend on generous applications of nitrogen-containing fertiliser. That contributes to global warming, as some of the added nitrogen gets converted into nitrous oxide, which is a potent greenhouse gas. Over 100 years it creates 300 times the warming effect of CO2, molecule for molecule. And now researchers led by Paul Crutzen of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany, who won a share of a Nobel prize for his work on the destruction of the ozone layer, claim that we have underestimated these emissions. Factor in their revised figures, and cuts in CO2 emissions as a result of replacing fossil fuels may be wiped out altogether.

“Fertilisers contribute to global warming, as some of the added nitrogen gets converted into a potent greenhouse gas”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggests that between 1 and 2 per cent of nitrogen added to fields gets converted to nitrous oxide, based on direct measurements of emissions from fertilised soils. But nitrogen from fertiliser also gets into water and moves around the environment, continuing to emit nitrous oxide as it goes. To estimate these “indirect” emissions, Crutzen and his colleagues calculated how much nitrogen has built up in the atmosphere since pre-industrial times, and estimated how much of this could be attributed to the use of fertilisers.

This suggested that between 3 and 5 per cent of the nitrogen added to the soil in fertilisers ends up in the atmosphere as nitrous oxide. Crucially, that would be enough to negate cuts in CO2 emissions made by replacing fossil fuels. Biodiesel from rapeseed came off worse – the warming caused by nitrous oxide emissions being 1 to 1.7 times as much as the cooling caused by replacing fossil fuels. For maize bioethanol, the range was 0.9 to 1.5. Only bioethanol from sugar cane came out with a net cooling effect, its nitrous oxide emissions causing between 0.5 and 0.9 times as much warming as the cooling due to fossil fuel replacement.

These simple calculations, which set increased nitrous oxide emissions against reductions in CO2 emissions caused by replacing gasoline or diesel with biofuels, do not account for all the greenhouse gas emissions associated with producing, processing and distributing the various fuels. Now Michael Wang of the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois has taken Crutzen’s upper estimate for nitrous oxide emissions and plugged it into a sophisticated computer model which does just that. When he did so, bioethanol from maize went from giving about a 20 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions, compared to gasoline, to providing no advantage at all. Still, Wang suspects that Crutzen’s method may overestimate nitrous oxide emissions. “It is a very interesting approach,” he says. “But there may be systematic biases.”

Crutzen stresses that his paper is still being revised in response to comments he has received since August, when a preliminary version appeared online. “Here and there the numbers may change. But the principle doesn’t,” he says. “It’s really telling us about a general problem with our lack of knowledge about the nitrogen cycle.”

With governments and businesses backing biofuels as part of a “green” future, that represents a disturbing gap in our knowledge.

From issue 2634 of New Scientist magazine, 15 December 2007, page 6-7

So the biofuel solution is running into problems, well its an emerging technology and it isn’t the only solution / possibility for humans to switch away from fossil fuels and other green house contributors.

Onwards, always onwards 🙂


World Energy Revolution Needed For Climate, Says Condoleezza Rice

September 26, 2007

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Monday the world needs a revolution on energy that transcends oil, gas and coal to prevent problems from climate change.

“Ultimately, we must develop and bring to market new energy technologies that transcend the current system of fossil fuels, carbon emissions and economic activity. Put simply, the world needs a technological revolution,” Rice told delegates at a special U.N. conference on climate change.

A landmark report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change this year said human activities such as burning fossil fuels and forests are very likely causing climate change that will lead to more deadly storms, heat waves, droughts and floods.

The Bush administration’s position on climate change has evolved from skepticism to agreeing to work with other large emitters to forge international goals to reduce greenhouse gases. Rice will host a two-day meeting this week for the world’s biggest greenhouse-gas emitters.

President George W. Bush opposes mandatory caps on greenhouse emissions, preferring voluntary goals.

He believes the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gases unfairly exempted rapidly developing countries and that ratifying it would have hurt the economy of the United States, the world’s largest emitter of heat-trapping gases.

Addressing climate change requires an integrated response that encompasses environmental stewardship, energy security and economic growth and development, Rice said.

“How we forge this integrated response has major consequences, not only for our future, but also for our present and especially for the millions of men, women and children in the developing world whose efforts to escape poverty require broad and sustained economic growth and the energy to fuel it,” she said.

BEYOND KYOTO

Since 2001, the U.S. government has invested nearly $18 billion to develop cleaner sources of energy, Rice said. Those include technologies that run on hydrogen, permanently burying emissions of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, advanced nuclear energy, renewable fuels and greater energy efficiency.

As the world looks to form a new emissions-cutting agreement to succeed the first phase of Kyoto, which expires in 2012, many countries say only mandatory caps on emissions can effectively prod the private sector to cut emissions.

British Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said earlier on Monday the United States and other large emitters must take on binding reduction targets on greenhouse gases.

“It is inconceivable that dangerous climate change can be avoided without this happening,” he told reporters at a meeting at the British mission.

Backers of mandatory emission caps say they promote low- carbon technology by, in effect, making polluters pay for emitting greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide.

Rice did not mention greenhouse gas-cutting goals, but said one of the biggest challenges is encouraging private sector investments to bring about a low-carbon energy future while ensuring continued economic growth.

“President George W. Bush opposes mandatory caps on greenhouse emissions, preferring voluntary goals.”

Without any caps and targets that are mandatory I feel that we will see what is happening most of the time now.  Companies putting out TV advertisments showing how ‘green’ they are but no real substance or change.  The worlds largest producer of the gases that are changing the face of our world forever really need to do more.  Saying ‘please’ to offenders isn’t really strong enough.

On a personal note, now that my daughter is in the world I feel the need more than ever to make a difference for the future of our small planet.  We don’t have another one.


O Canada, what are you doing?

September 19, 2007

Our civilization’s addiction to oil is being displayed in all its nefarious glory in the tar sands of Canada. According to Chris Nelder:

What we have here is arguably the most environmentally destructive activity man has ever attempted, with a compliant government, insatiable demand, and an endless supply of capital turning it into “a speeding car with a gas pedal and no brakes.” It sucks down critical and rapidly diminishing amounts of both natural gas and water, paying neither for its consumption of natural capital nor its environmental destruction, to the utter detriment of its host. And all to eke out maybe a 10% profit, if it turns out that the books haven’t been cooked, and if the taxation structure remains a flat-out giveaway.

Greenpeace recently announced a new campaign against the tar sands, pointing out that “Tar sands produce five times more greenhouse gases than conventional oil, because they are energy-intensive, requiring huge amounts of natural gas to separate and process the bitumen.”

As I recently posted, processing tar sands leads to more pollution in the United States. Tar-sand oil production leads to more global warming, is being pursued because of peak oil, and continues the wholesale destruction of ecosystems, as Nelder enumerates:

 

Tar sands plants typically use two to four barrels of water to extract a barrel of oil … and after it’s been through the process, the water is toxic with contaminants, so it cannot be released into the environment. Some of it is reused, but vast amounts of it are pumped into enormous settlement ponds to be retained as toxic waste. These “ponds” are actually the largest bodies of water in the region — big enough to be seen from space — and some of the world’s largest man-made ponds overall, with miles of surface area. It may take 200 years for the smallest particles to settle down to the bottom of this toxic brew, which also contains very high levels of heavy metals and other health-threatening elements … With the tar sands currently producing at the rate of about 1 million barrels per day (mbpd), water levels in the river are already going down. Given such intense water demands, it’s completely unclear how production can be increased to the target of 4 mbpd by 2020.

The natural gas used is so unsustainable, oil companies are considering putting nukes on top of the tar sands:

Professor Kjell Aleklett of Uppsala University, a recognized expert on tar sands, puts it bluntly: “The supply of natural gas in North America is not adequate to support a future Canadian oil sands industry with today’s dependence on natural gas” … After gas, the next obvious choice is nuclear energy — building dozens of nuclear plants to generate the heat needed to create the steam needed to drive the hydrocarbons out of the sand.

So how do we end this addiction? Let me modestly propose three broad policy goals:

  1. Use less oil in vehicles, which obviously means higher mileage standards, but should also include a sufficient program of R&D and government purchases of electric vehicles. But we need something that can help reduce the number of miles driven, or else oil use will creep up over the years as people drive more, so:
  2. Radically increase funding for light rail, electrified rail freight, buses, and high-speed intercity rail;
  3. and now for something different — how about freezing construction of new highways, and instead using the money for R&D, public transit, and fixing the existing roads and collapsing bridges? The people organizing the recent fast against global warming called for a freeze on coal plant construction; to that demand we could add a call for a halt to new highway construction.

Between tar sands and other petroleum boondoggles on the one hand, and biofuels production on the other, we need to find ways to decrease the need for the use of fuel-based vehicles, for the sake of the planet and its people.

Jon Rynn

The evidence is in open view and plain to see, yet we continue to do things that are blatantly obviously damaging to our current situation.

The way to go forward with energy production is laid out in front of us. We have all the technology needed to produce green energy…… Yet we continue to pursue strategies like this.