certain got my penny's worth!

On 28 Nov 2009, at 14:30, Doug McDavid wrote:

> This thread alone is worth the price of admission!  Great stuff!
> On Sat, Nov 28, 2009 at 4:28 AM, Frank Wood <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Ha ha, love the "marginal seat theory!" Where on earth did we get the idea
>> that we humans are rational beings!
>> Yeh, we're extremely rational in the context of greed and power and the
>> notion of power extends to the "I'm right and you're wrong" attitude. That
>> is why your carefully balanced approach is the way to go.
>> Regards
>> Frank
>> On 28 Nov 2009, at 12:12, russell_c wrote:
>> Thanks Frank,
>> ... and yes, there is that zeal is creeping in, and unfortunately, many
>> opportunists can smell a "win" ... and that will surely attract the "lovers
>> of winning" ... and so, off we go on another round of tail chasing. It's not
>> that they are completely wrong, just not completely right, and the
>> simplicity of over self confidence is always a concern. One step closer to
>> blind fundamentalism?
>> Oh, and thanks for the agricultural angle. Guess what: not only is Australia
>> not responsible for the coal based greenhouse gasses that China produces
>> from burning the stuff we export to them; but also the farming lobby here
>> has successfully managed to get exclusions from the emissions trading system
>> being proposed! It is called "marginal seat theory" I think! (see:
>>,23739,26350929-953,00.html )
>> Now we know there are a lot of sheep (and cattle) down here, and some even
>> have learned to walk on two legs, and vote, but this type of partial
>> partisan response will just distort the whole by over weighting the load on
>> those other parts that cannot afford the right lobbyists.
>> You have nailed it here imo -- "... develop sustainable societies that
>> effectively respond". Unfortunately, while economics theory and praxis
>> cannot operate outside/beyond the "Growth" paradigm, we will just have to
>> communicate in that weird language that growing small is not shrinking!
>> Pulling out is not surrendering, stopping is not failing, etc...
>> Mind numbing! So, surely, one of the functions of groups like this is
>> ensuring that we can see more clearly through what is happening and
>> communicate with others as Margaret Mead implied:
>> I specifically want to consider the significance of the set of
>> cross-disciplinary ideas which we first called 'feed-back' and then called
>> 'teleological mechanisms' and then called 'cybernetics' -- a form of
>> cross-disciplinary thought which made it possible for members of many
>> disciplines to communicate with each other easily in a language which all
>> could understand. (cited in
>> )
>> Unfortunately reasonable climate science speculation (e.g. Lovelock et al)
>> is being used for partisan corporate politics and unsustainable policy
>> implementation! BAU I'm afraid.
>> Cheers
>> Russell
>> p.s.  Oh, BTW, the other $2.50 cause is the 80% of CO2 human activity
>> systems living on less than $2.50 per day! And as mobile phone penetration
>> heads into the exponential in developing economies (e.g. see various World
>> Bank reports) we will see more awareness of the differentials between rich
>> and poor ... and we may start to hear echos of those famous 17th C French
>> words "Let them eat cake!".
>> On Sat, Nov 28, 2009 at 7:19 PM, Frank Wood <[log in to unmask]>
>> wrote:
>>> Great piece of writing Russell. The biting irony is that it is the
>>> environmentalists that are the reductionists with their $2.50 relay
>>> attitude.
>>> There are so many vested interests on both sides of the debate that any
>>> genuine enquiry into what should be done gets lost.
>>> To add to the complexity, I saw part of a TV programme a few days ago (it
>>> was to do with Obama's carbon reduction campaign) which said that most of
>>> the "greenhouse gas" was caused by food production.
>>> Here is an article that lends support to this assertion.
>>> Rearing cattle produces more greenhouse gases than driving cars, UN report
>>> warns
>>> and another article on the proposed remedy.
>>> 'Burpless' Grass Cuts Methane Gas From Cattle, May Help Reduce Global
>>> Warming
>>> but here again dear old complexity rears its head again. And of course
>>> there is the issue of gene modification. Oh dear.
>>> We expect in our campaign to cut down CO2, that third world countries to
>>> cut down or cease logging. Of course these countries see through our
>>> hypocrisy. Consider that the UK used to be almost covered in forests and
>>> now....
>>> I still think that we must develop sustainable societies that effectively
>>> respond to climate change (whether it be warming or cooling) and worry less
>>> about Gaia as that old girl is going to do her own sweet thing anyway.
>>> Frank
>>> On 28 Nov 2009, at 00:55, russell_c wrote:
>>> Hi Nick,
>>> Re: $2.50 causes
>>> Yes, I still don't know whether I fully 'get it' in respect to this
>>> example either. I came to a similar conclusion as yourself about the
>>> multiple causes -- with one additional aspect: it was also a comment about
>>> reductionist ways of thinking in respect to complex problems.
>>> I think the author was pointing to the phenomena of a whole organisational
>>> system straining to get the simple answer as a cause. It (ie those in it)
>>> fears the looming circularity of deep systemic investigation.
>>> The $2.50 climate change cause 'issue' is said to be CO2, or 'carbon',
>>> reflecting the escaping output sun rays/energy and thus bouncing them back
>>> to earth.
>>> And of course, as in all these things, the underlying assumptions are not
>>> often questioned. We assume that this heating phenomena is not the Gaia
>>> system (of which we, by definition, must be a significant thinking part)
>>> working in its own time scale to extend our happy modern existence between
>>> the next pending 10,000 year interglacial cold cycle.
>>> One can take that 1974 Time article and replace a few key words and we
>>> have the same media-message being run today -- the sky will fall, the crops
>>> won't grow, the hens won't lay ... touching almost every deeply held often
>>> neurotic fear we have as a society, culture and empire. So how do we know
>>> the truth? We cannot, and so acting on the precautionary principle is the
>>> best defense. But again, what to do, or not do?
>>> What I'm really pointing to is the same phenomena that says bin Laden
>>> caused the Twin Towers attack and not the red flag of US foreign policy etc.
>>> It is the cultural/systemic blindness to the bigger systemic picture.(*) I
>>> saw it as a comment on the way 'the system' works -- i.e. who are the 'they'
>>> that will find the cause? IMO, they are the believers in their own
>>> confidences -- whatever side they take in a situation of concern. As Frank
>>> said: we need more humility by scientists.
>>> But the rush is on. And so now it is not science and its quest for truth
>>> and answers: it is politics and its power games. But what else can be done?
>>> Adaptation is the secondary theme in the climate change debate but it is not
>>> much focused on by the media. Why? Because it means operating system change
>>> (to use the computing analogy), not just program change. And can we trust
>>> systems programmers? Who are they working for? I think the elites are not
>>> yet certain of where they can stand safely in the wash up, and so things are
>>> more complex than they need to be.
>>> Instead of CO2, why don't we start with population, blame the medical
>>> sciences for stopping malaria, polio, plague, etc without also implementing
>>> birth control and sustainable socio-economic reform? What about the other
>>> 'club of rome' that will not support birth control etc? We will willingly
>>> look at plant food (CO2) as the enemy, but not the local doctor who is
>>> working beyond his/her wellbeing limits, usually on a healthy state subsidy,
>>> to save CO2 producing humans (you & I) who should perhaps cease this
>>> function permanently. Where do we stop? A $2.50 cause is all we need to stop
>>> the process of systemic change occurring naturally.
>>> One opportunity all this offers is a wide window on science studies.
>>> Russell
>>> (*) BTW, on my way out the door yesterday (c.o.b. Friday) a young lady
>>> came running past straight from a 1-day management guru seminar by some
>>> professor x, and showed me a slide that said tomorrows leaders will need,
>>> guess what, yes, "systems thinking". Oh, dear, here we go again! I responded
>>> that it will drive them mad if they try, and that imo leadership is so
>>> 'yesterday', as is management -- and that we are entering a heroic stage.
>>> G-d help us!
>>> On Fri, Nov 27, 2009 at 11:39 PM, Nick Green <[log in to unmask]>
>>> wrote:
>>>> Thanks Russell.
>>>> Re your previous on the $2.50 relay.
>>>> Both Stafford and Gordon emphasised multiple causes. So why did the relay
>>>> fail etc.  I have to say I didn't really "get it" at first because like any
>>>> other operational Joe I would go to stores and replace the relay job done.
>>>> But Pask and Beer wanted to look at how the relay was designed, managed etc
>>>> I eventually concluded. One can be very thick sometimes.  Pask preferred
>>>> "produces" rather than "causes". It's that circular causality problem again,
>>>> Does the spark cause the explosion or the presence of petrol vapour. We know
>>>> the product of spark, petrol vapour and oxygen is an explosion but there is
>>>> no single cause. Connect a bulb to a battery. Go away. Come back, The bulb
>>>> is out. Why? There's no way of telling until each component is tested in
>>>> another trusted circular system: the bulb, the 4 connections, the 2 leads,
>>>> the battery. All this means something for Climate change etc- not sure quite
>>>> what-yet.
>>>> From: russell_c
>>>> Sent: Friday, November 27, 2009 10:25 AM
>>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>>> Subject: Re: The Next 100 Years (CSIRAC)
>>>> If anyone is interested in this CSIRO 'report card' released today (27th)
>>>> then see:
>>>> and
>>>> On Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 8:00 PM, russell_c <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>>> Nick
>>>>> I'm not sure this is on topic, but this CSIRAC story (below) came
>>>>> through today and caused me to reflect on a comment (by Staford I think?)
>>>>> that "they will find the cause" to a major US power outage (a $2.50 relay?).
>>>>> Why are we blaming climate change causes on CO2 when the energy
>>>>> increases have a lot to do with the complexities related to power station
>>>>> upgrades needed for PC proliferation, building air-conditioning capacity
>>>>> increases, flat plasma screens and additional housing demand due to family
>>>>> break down etc.
>>>>> In respect to heat and power production -- are there any estimates of
>>>>> the energy generation involved in the growth of ICT and Internet over the 60
>>>>> years from when this machine came to be? (there is a picture with the story)
>>>>> Is this technology phenomena equally the cause of climate change and can
>>>>> it be somehow statistically correlated to CO2 increases?
>>>>> Russell
>>>>> Australia's first 'iPod' marks 60th birthday
>>>>> "The CSIRAC - Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research
>>>>> organisation Automatic Computer - is housed in the state's museum and has
>>>>> today been granted heritage listing as part of its birthday celebrations.
>>>>> It is the first computer ever to be made in Australia; the fourth
>>>>> computer ever to be made in the world; and the only first generation
>>>>> computer that remains intact. . . ."
>>>>> [snip]
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> -- 
> Doug McDavid
> [log in to unmask]
> 916-549-4600
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