[Now empty] [Now empty] [Bottom]
[There is no previous page. This is page one of a numerical series of files (1-1)]
[Next Page is environs2.htm]
Here you will find one man's opinion among many. Welcome to this series of files and to today's cacophony of opinion about The Environment!
"The economy is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way round." Gaylord Nelson (American environmentalist)
This series of files is a new feature for this domain of websites. The webmaster and several of his friends are convinced that lifestyles are going to change in the foreseeable future, whether we like it or not. Some changes to how we live can be guided by choice, either by group or individual choices. Other likely changes are going to be imposed by nature and local/regional/national circumstances. Some valued old notions about living life are going to have to be discarded, but which ones? How effective will be usual-style "politics" be?
Here is a good theme. It's from an environmental activist. Barbara Finch (via Gaylord Nelson, January 2009), of Armidale NSW Australia - where this website lives - "The economy is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way round, and we can't put the environmental crisis on the back burner." Barbara Finch said.
So what happens when we put concern about environmental issues on the front-burner?
(Remarks here are by the Editor unless otherwise indicated)
|Recent books on the environment|
|Books or websites? Which are more useful now?||Books or websites? Which will be more useful in the future?|
Some 2009-release books on the subjects noted below include:
Michael Cathcart, The Water Dreamers: The Remarkable History of our Dry Continent. (On Australia.) Text 2009, 327pp.
Soros, George: George Soros, The Crash of 2008 and What It Means. Scribe, 2009, 258pp. This book began life as a 2007 e-publication. (What went wrong with the world financial sector in 2008 was that financial engineers invented too many products with too little connection to economic reality, while regulators simply did not understand what was happening.) See also a view from Australia, Warwick Funnell, Robert Jupe and Jane Andrew, In Government We Trust: Market Failure and the Delusions of Privatisation. University of NSW Press, 2009, 309pp.
Depression, economic: See Harry S. Dent Jnr, The Great Depression Ahead. Schwartz Media, 2009, 376pp.
Dialogue: (As enviro-jive.) A euphemistic term used today when discussions are recommended (or needed) between parties whose positions are generally (and probably by definition) held to be irreconcilable for dogmatic or ideological reasons. Dialogue means: can a peaceful compromise be found? The answer often found is - not as such. Dialogue is seldom held between parties that agree, there is no need for it.
Eco-investment: Does it exist? Yes, Australia has a magazine named EcoInvestor, published by Victor Bivell. Go Google. Go figure.
Re Ecological diversity: Predictions of August 1999: A new book warns that globalisation will rob us all of our cultural individuality. Really? A single marketplace to deal in? A US-dominated market? Cultural homogenisation? Environments devoured? Less ecological diversity? Beware the "electronic herd" using the technology that brings you this very website, in fact! Not just globalisation, but Americanised-globalisation. Should the problem be called glocalism? What about act-local-think global? See Thomas Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree. Published August 1999 by Harper/Collins.
Economics, as irrational: George A. Akerlof and Robert J. Shiller, Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism. Princeton University Press, 2009, 230pp.
Future forecasts: George Friedman, The Next 100 Years: A Forecast of the 21st Century. Black Inc, 2009, 253pp. (George Friedman is head of Stratfor, a private intelligence agency based in Texas. His first book, 2004, was America's Secret War. Prognostication: USA will continue as the paramount world power.)
Books: New books we've noticed on questions environmental. James Lovelock, The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning. Penguin, 2009, 178pp. Also, Pat Hutchings, Mike Kingsford and Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, The Great Barrier Reef: Biology, Environment and Management. CSIRO Publishing (Australia), 2009, 392pp.
Lovelock, James: The man who from 1979 popularized Gaia as a name for Planet and Mother Earth. James Lovelock, The Vanishing Face of Gaia. Allen Lane, 2009, 178pp. And, John and Mary Gribbin, He Knew He Was Right: The Irrepressible Life of James Lovelock. Allen Lane, 2009, 240pp. Lovelock feels population by 2008 is quite unsustainable, recommends nuclear and solar power, and that future humanity might live best in Northern Hemisphere "lifeboat areas" such as island Britain.
Watson: Richard Watson, Future Files: A History of the Next 50 Years. Scribe, 2008-2009. (Predictions about trends to come, not without a sense of realism, some humour, the roles of cynicism in life as well as hope)
Ian Mannix, Great Australian Bushfire Stories. ABC Books, 2009, 224pp.
Amanda Ripley: The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes - And Why. Random House, 2009, 266pp.
Wade E. Martin, Carol Raish and Brian Kent, (Eds.), Wildfire Risk: Human Perceptions and Management Implications. Resources for the Future Press, 2009, 310pp.
John Handmer and Katherine Haynes, (Eds.), Community Bushfire Safety. CSIRO Publishing, 2009, 205pp.
Kathryn Gow and Douglas Paton, (Eds.), The Phoenix of Natural Disasters: Community Resilience. Nova Science Publishing, 2009, 725pp.
Middle East: Peter Rodgers, Arabian Plights: The Future Middle East. Scribe, 2009, 250pp. D. Springer, J. Regens and D. Edger, Islamic Radicalism and Global Jihad. Georgetown University Press, 2009, 320pp.
Activists (environmental): Expect environmental activists to suffer serious criticism if the information they provide is misleading. Social pressure from various directions will bear on activists who play political protest games in outdated ways. Activists will be forced to provide useful leadership, or be told to shut up. Expect to see better-educated environmental activists in the future, and be afraid if you don't.
Advertising: Expect to see less hedonism emphasised by the advertising industries. Except advertising revenues to drop, and consequent changes in all sorts of news and content media.
Africa: A continent where grown men had better behave like grown men who know useful things, otherwise there'll be revolutions, as the continent has had since World War II, which hardly looks like an enjoyable future.
Africa: A continent where in many areas, so-called grown men can't supply themselves or their families/children with clean, disease-free water and other basic necessities of life, particularly not, education. Tribalism notwithstanding, there is something wrong here with the contemporary, allowable definitions of "grown men" in Africa that African women, in particular, need to look at. A great deal needs to change if African countries wish to continue to receive what aid and charity they do receive from other countries. More so if climate-change problems assail any variety of regions in Africa. If there is one continent on Earth likely to be further weakened by climate change and re-ripened for re-pillaging by people from other countries, it is Africa! (Enough said - Ed.)
Ghana: Africa: Thank you Mr Barack Obama, President USA (his remarks made in Africa, 11/12-7-2009): Obama believes Africans need to do much more to help themselves. To apply the Rule of Law. To apply more just and effective styles of governance. What Africa (in the opinion of this website) needs to do is to pay greater attention to things which grown men in Africa should be doing. Leaving their children to use unhygienic water supplies is not one of them. Nor is taking bribes. African men and women need to ask, when are men in Africa going to get serious about the future! - Ed
Ghana: Africa: Thank you Mr Barack Obama, President USA (his remarks made in Africa, 11/12-7-2009): Obama believes Africans need to do much more to help themselves. To apply the Rule of Law. To apply more just and effective styles of governance. What Africa (in the opinion of this website) needs to do is to pay greater attention to things which grown men in Africa should be doing, and are obviously not doing. Leaving their children to use unhygienic water supplies, for example, is not one of them. Nor is taking bribes. African men and women need to ask, when are men in Africa going to get serious about their future! - Ed
Africa: drought: Africa's climate history has often featured mega-long droughts and another may be on the way, according to researchers. African countries should be preparing for one, they say, by developing infrastructure for water movement and desalinisation. The Sahel drought of the 1970s-1980s cost between 100,000 and one million lives. The droughts are similar to those seen in the USA (California and Arizona)and are associated with the AMO (Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation), a natural climate cycle which varies surface ocean and sea temperatures. Meantime, Africa can suffer other and even longer droughts, the causes of which are still unknown. (BBC RSS news headlines of 17-4-2009)
Africa: Dambisa Moyo, Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working And How There Is Another Way For Africa. Allen Lane, 2009. The author is an economist with work experience at World Bank and Goldman Sachs who grew up in Lusaka, Zambia. Her book by April 2009 has already been reprinted twice. A polemical attack on the "glamour aid" for Africa recommended by pop stars Bono and Sir Bob Geldof, and the reasons that enliven them, regarding Africans receiving aid. Starting with the fact that some African countries have been receiving aid for 60 years. Yet Africa seems to be poorer now than when decolonisation set in as a movement after WWII. Leaders in Africa have avoided being held accountable, relying on aid and not on taxation systems (which render them accountable to voters). This problem may only be fixable by African nations seeking only privately sourced capital for which they will be held accountable. (Which is a dubious proposition, this website thinks.) Except with the Bangladeshi banking model for providing micro-credit, which often as it happens works best with women borrowers. Africa continues to go backwards despite being given aid, Moyo insists. It is claimed that despite some US$2.3 trillion spent in Africa on anti-malaria measures, "the Western World" still can't get a US$4 malaria net to many poorer families. Moyo for her part has been criticised for being over-optimistic about the benign nature of market forces, and failing to criticise arms dealers and multinationals fostering corruption via bribery. So the jury on Africa would still appear to be out. But just look at Zimbabwe! Look at Southern Sudan!
Anarchy: (Predictions of) Warning of global anarchy. London: Climate change may lead to global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters, a secret report prepared by the Pentagon warns. The report, obtained by The Observer newspaper, was ordered by an influential US Pentagon adviser but was covered up by US defence chiefs for four months. Threats to global stability will "vastly eclipse" those stemmed from terrorism. There will be dwindling supplies of energy, food and water. Disruption and conflict will become endemic. Authors of the report are Peter Schwartz (a CIA consultant) and Dough Randall of Global Business Network. Amongst some views: Britain's winters will become similar to those of Siberia, as European temperatures drop radically by 2020. Netherlands will be disrupted due to violent storms, which will also disrupt water supplies in California. Water shortages will mean water wars by 2020. (Sydney Morning Herald, 24 February, 2004)
America: Or, the USA. A country where to fall sick is fatal to the rest of your life due to lack of a sensible national health care scheme and the outrageous costs of hospital and medical treatment. The most powerful country in the world, so it is said, which against the experience of the rest of the developed world's experience of how to manage health care systems (or not), chooses to use a health management model used before the American Revolution, when the plantation owner might choose to give health care to his slaves, or not, as he thought fit or could cope with. So today, large USA employers provide health care/insurance to employees and many people have no entry to that system due to their terms of employment with lesser firms. Conclusion: USA is not yet a country which considers health care systems in intelligent ways. Do not as years go by expect the under-developed world to be more intelligent in such respects, and be afraid for your health, very afraid, as you get older, whoever you are reading this, depending on in which country you live.
Bushfires (Australia): Anti-affluenza economist Clive Hamilton writes in crikey.com (9-2-2009): Climate scientists have been predicting more frequent and severe bushfires (as occurred in Victoria, Australia, January 2009) due to climate change for some years. A 2007 report for the Climate Institute by the Bushfire CRC concluded that we (Australia) could expect a two to four-fold increase in the number of extreme fire danger days by 2050 under a high global warming scenario, the path we are now on. It identified northern Victoria, the site of the most deadly fires over the weekend, as one of the areas most prone to catastrophic fires. The bushfires and the extreme heatwave, whose death toll when tallied will probably be in the hundreds and exceed that of the fires, are global warming made manifest in the daily lives of ordinary people. Over the last ten days we have seen the future. The question is: will we face up to it or pretend they are one-off events?
Call Centre People (behaviour of): "Your call is important to us." And your time is important to you. Yes, our time is important, too, too important to listen to lies. But our call is not important to them, otherwise they would answer it. Whose call, then, do they value? There is probably not much point in protesting. As long as they know that we know that they lie. We remember it when they lie. And that we may not forgive.
Cars: Australians are not taking to motor vehicles that are kinder to the environment just because they are kinder. Australians are reluctant to deal in incentives for purchases of green cars or penalties for buying non-green. Australia (a very car-dependent society) is one of the few developed countries that doesn't already tax cars based on their carbon footprint. See greenvehicleguide.gov.au/ which gives advice/stats on fuel use, vehicle emissions etc.
Climate change: 2004: Australia: Environmentalist activist Tim Flannery warns that Australia is particularly vulnerable to climate change. Cities might become “ghost metropolises”. Environments will be severely diminished. There will be “conditions not seen in 40 million years”. (Flannery enthusiastically continues such warnings to mid-2006.)
Climate change denial: A brand-new mental disorder being invented by 2008-2009 to help us demonise climate change sceptics and deniers. Is this just new-wave eco-psychobabble or is that, psycho eco-babble? Will climate change denial become a crime, as Holocaust Denial re World War II is in Germany (the country which produced the Holocaust). Debate is one thing, demonisation is quite another, one would have thought. It is reported in Australia by 7 March 2009 that The Centre for Psycho-Social Studies at University of West of England, is organising a multi-disciplinary event named Facing Climate Change. It is the first UK national conference to ask questions about climate change denial, and will star climate change activists, eco-psychologists (who? what?), psychotherapists and social researchers. Apparently, cognitive dissonance is all the rage here and wars have been declared by our new-mammal brains (neocortex and so on, what lets you do maths, buy TV with a Plasma screen, and look up bargain prices for international air travel on the Internet) on our old, reptilian brain which is what programs our primordial instincts, sex, eating, and worries about food supply problems. We want to save the planet, but we won't reduce the size of our personal carbon footprints. We might be addicted to consumerism, or be irresponsible, or just plain thoughtless. Well, we've all heard the old 1970s phrase about "psychologism-gone-mad", psychobabble. This seems to be a whole new, very modern, mind virus problem to worry about - eco-psychobabble It seems to this website that climate change deniers, and we do know a few, are merely stupid, if they aren't simply old as well as stupid.
Commitment from government? The following Australian URL was available some time ago, no longer available by 7-3-2009 - Energy - Technology - Sustainable Energy Development Authority formerly at: http://www.seda.nsw.gov.au/
Coral: The Great Barrier Reef (eastern Australia) is under dire threat. Coral around the world (eg, The Maldives), a good indicator of environmental/oceanic health, is under threat everywhere.
Debt: Debt will become unfashionable. If you can, rid yourself of debts. Don't get into debt again for frivolous reasons. Saving will be in. Cut back on non-essentials. Your thrift and evidence of it will be taken as evidence of your authenticity, and demonstrate that you are a serious person. (View from Richard Watson, "adviser on future trends", W/e Australian, 3-4 January 2009)
Disease: In any variety of countries, expect more and stranger sets of health problems to arise, especially where natural disasters compound existing risks of disease(s) outbreak(s) in any particular region.
Economics: Expect great changes in terminology. Ideas of "growth" need to be revised. It may become a matter of pride when governments and their economic advisers can report the maintenance of a steady-state economy. Environmental issues will work to cap projections on likely or achievable profit levels. (Banks will learn or may even be forced by governments to plug ethical questions re environmental health into their responses to loan applications. This will become clearer once the dust has settled from the 2008 world financial crash.)
Eco-psychobabble: See Climate Change Denial elsewhere in this series under "C".
Education in Science: As climate change problems roll on, expect it to be asked, are more young people required to be educated in Science? Will there be special teacher slots created in state education systems for specialist Eco-Science teachers? Will corporations employ specialists in Environmentalism to help supervise the environmental impact of the industries they manage? Will newspaper and magazine editors publish more letters on these scientific aspects. Will more members of the public write letters which ask such freshly searching questions? Ask a greenie today how much Science and Statistics they actually know well and can confidently apply.
Energy: Energy supply operations will likely be asked to manage systems which enable small producers to contribute electricity to their regional grid, and be paid for it. (From wind farms, from mini-hydro-electricity, etc.) Both provisions and uses/non-uses of electricity will increasingly be seen as commodities.
Executives, overpaid: Pompously overpaid executives. Where do they come from? Where do they stash their own money? The movement to discipline them has still not succeeded by 2009, despite the 2008 world financial crash. This website has found an old article as early as April 2002, noting growing public outrage about outrageous payouts to failed executives,from unionists, radio shock jocks, business reporters, welfare activists, shareholders and churchmen. It does seem that by 2009, all such people have failed utterly to rein-in the pomposity of such overpaid egos. Perhaps the worst failure of all has been shareholders, who still seem quite helpless to protect their own money from the vulturedom of the overpaid egos. Apparently, peer pressure runs rampant amongst adults who are capitalists, who are allegedly quite sane and sit on company boards, yet feel immense social pressure when the notion arises from their competitors, that their executives might be underpaid. (My company is as wealthy as your company?) Critics of executives sit about arithmeticalizing about the multiples of an average worker's wage that the executives receive, while the smarter executives, who know more maths, seem to be reaching for the exponential. The idea that executives would participate in profit-sharing schemes was a notion exported from the USA from the 1970s, but commentators failed to see it as organised rapacity. Was this partly due to continued short-term pressures to maximize profits? All the business community cared about was results. (2008 was a good result, was it?) When failed executives still receive enormous payouts (vulgarly known as "piss-off payments"), this is due to an original contract made before the executive had failed. No one seems to be able to cure this problem. And so by 2009 the whole lamentable charade still goes on. While a lot of people think that overpaid executives should be obliged to return the money to the company they failed. And so it appears that naive adolescents are not the only class of people in the world to suffer horrendously from the agonies of peer pressure. The CEOs of huge companies - grown men most of them - are particularly vulnerable to it as well. The poor darlings. (W/e Australian, 27-28 April, 2002, by Miriam Cosic).
Fast food: Does fast food have too much salt in it, which is a danger to health? As in burgers and sandwich-style products? Does excess salt encourage higher blood pressure, a danger to health? Such questions were surveyed in Australia by February 2009, by personnel associated with Sydney University and The George Institute for International Health in Sydney. Also associated with AWASH (World Action on Salt and Health organisation. Which asks, is the fast food industry acting in responsible ways? The answer, probably not. (See article, Australian newspaper, 5 February, 2009)
Flood: Have you ever considered how seldom humanity produces a really memorable song about a massive flood? Whatever, consider a memorable song from the early bluesman of Southern USA, Leadbelly, from many years ago, probably about a flood of the Mississippi. His song, Backwater Blues. Magnificent description in its way. Go listen. Go figure.
Food: Worry about food prices. The use of agricultural land to provide material for conversion to fuel for vehicles (biofuel), merely increases the price of food, so this allocation of land is unsustainable (as governments will find). Corporations using agricultural land and existing, developed-world management assumptions have a lot of rethinking to do.
Globalisation: research on: Friends of this website have lately recommended a useful website on issues of globalisation. The website is produced in Canada and is sceptical about globalisation, to say the least. See: http://globalresearch.ca
Global Village, The: What really gives in the laneways of the global village by 2009 but global climate weirding? Expect more global weirding. Who can you really trust to give you an accurate report on any examples of global climate weirding?
Global warming: You might risk environmental exhaustion, or becoming cynical about risk from global warming. Will fear give you compassion fatigue regarding the environment? You will fear being manipulated by the way greenies try to manipulate public opinion. You will feel confused about marketing tactics using environmental awareness (all that "planet saving" stuff) as a cynical ploy. (View from Richard Watson, "adviser on future trends", W/e Australian, 3-4 January 2009)
On insanity in the USA: "How can a society that exists on instant mashed potatoes, packaged cake mixes, frozen dinners, and instant cameras teach patience to its young?" - Paul Sweeney(From Wordsmith, 2008) (See Instant gratification in this series)
Government (Australia): Australian journalists have a quaintly glib habit of remarking, and repeating, that "a week is a short time in politics". Why is it then that they have so little conception of how short a week is in the history of good government? And how long a week can seem where bad government reigns? Expect greater concentration of media ownerships in Australia as advertising revenues slacken in years to come.
Globalisation: research on: Friends of this website have lately recommended a useful website on issues of globalisation. The website is produced in Canada and is sceptical about globalisation, to say the least. See: http://globalresearch.ca
27 AUGUST 2009 - Solar System Generates Free Power for Council
Council has recently installed a photovoltaic (PV) grid connect power generation system on the roof of the Duke Street Recycling Centre in Grafton. The system generates electricity from the sun and feeds this back into the power grid. Council then get paid by Country Energy for this power.
Clarence Valley Council Mayor, Richie Williamson said “It is estimated the 5 kilo-watt (kW) system will generate around $2500 worth of electricity per year as well as off set some of Council’s greenhouse gas emissions.” “The system will also be an educational tool and demonstration model for people wanting more information about installing photovoltaic systems.”
The PV system was installed by local Grafton based company BF Industries Pty Ltd who specialise in grid connect and stand alone solar power installations. Council also proposes to install several other PV systems in the local government area on other Council buildings in the near future.
The project has been funded from Council’s externality charge at the regional landfill. Revenue from this charge is used on environmental projects to off set some of the impacts from the landfill. Additional funding for the project was also received from the Australian Governments Green House Office.
An added feature of this system is that the power generation rates and other output data can be viewed in real time via Council’s web site. Also on the web site there is technical data about the PV grid connect system so people can find out more about the benefits of installing PV systems.
If you would like more information about the PV solar system visit Council’s web site at www.clarence.nsw.gov.au - /cmst/cvc009/view_doc.asp?id=4686&cat=269 for more detailed information.
Press release ends: Authorised by: Richie Williamson MAYOR 02 6643 0245 or 0427 457 382
For further information contact:
Richard Roper Senior Environmental Officer (02) 6645 0249
www.clarencenews.net is a service provided by Clarence Valley Council
Greenhouse Gas emissions: See George Monbiot, Heat: How To Stop The Planet Burning. Michael Joseph, 2006. (Dire warnings on greenhouse gas emissions, etc)
Jeremy Leggett, Half-Gone: Oil, Gas, Hot
and the Global Energy Crisis. Portobello Books, 2006, 320pp.
that since 2000, there's been a stream of reports, books and articles
warning that oil supplies are dwindling. Historically, recessions tend
to follow "oil shocks". In 1956, the US geophysicist M. King Hubbert
predicted that American domestic oil production would peak in 1971. [It
peaked in 1970.] World oil reserves are lately over-estimated. Decline
supplies will coincide with impacts of global warming. Early corrective
action is needed. (See other books such as Matthew R. Simmons, Twilight
in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy.
Richard Heinberg, The Party's Over: Oil, War and
the Fate of
Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth. Bloomsbury, 2006. (On urgent needs to solve world environmental problems)
Heatwave: India: BBC News headlines, 28 June 2009:
India heat wave sparks protests,
By Rahul Tandon, BBC News, Delhi
Protests are growing in Delhi over power cuts as the Indian capital remains in the grip of a heat wave. The government of the northern state of Punjab has announced that its offices will shut early as it also attempts to deal with a similar power crisis. In Delhi, police have been called to break up demonstrations outside the offices of electricity companies. Hundreds of people turned up at the house of a state minister demanding a solution to the problem. As residents wait for this year's delayed monsoon, it is getting hotter and hotter and the disruptions to power supplies are getting bigger and bigger. Most of the residents at the protests are without power for between six to 10 hours a day. With temperatures in the mid-40s, there is an increasing demand for electricity as everyone tries to cool down. The system here is unable to cope.
Hollywood: A very powerful influence on the imagination of people all around the world, especially younger people. A US cinematic institution which used to make imaginative movies, but now largely confines itself to boring remakes. However, it is not true that Hollywood has run out of ideas. The problem is that ideas have been run out of Hollywood. To help cure this disaster, this website now presents its beginning list of topics mostly not yet treated by Hollywood in either large or small scale, that would make interesting movies.
Hollywood and its ills, again: This website is highly amused to read in The Australian newspaper (30-3-2009) a story that actor Dustin Hoffman has decided to accept an offer to head-up a movement to agitate for the writing of much better-quality scripts for sci-fi movies that feature better-informed views of science etc. This website cries out, Hear Hear! Now, let's try every other discipline of thought known to man that Hollywood could start to think about!
(OOps, the webmaster says, a reader provides the following list of correction to the below on 1 August 2009 -
I don't quite know where to start with the mistakes in this. Guess I'll have to go through them one by one.
Movie on the Russian Revolution - Warren Beatty's Reds.
Stalin - mini-series starring George C. Scott as Stalin.
Pope Joan = already made. Stars Liv Ullman.
Movie on Akhenaton = Already made. The Egyptian. If I remember rightly, Michael Rennie played Akhenaton.
Movie on Freud. Already made years ago. Stars, I think, Montgomery Clift.
Movie on Jackson Pollock. Made 2 years or so ago. Made by and stars actor who said "Cue the sun."
I think there's been a recent movie about Wittgenstein, too. Suspect Anthony Hopkins had something to do with it.
There's a movie recently released on video about Castro, called Fidel! Quite good, too.
Have to say I like the thrust of your piece, though. Cheers, PB.)
Ideas Set One: 1917: The Russian Revolution (like, soooooo obvious, and so very Cecil B. DeMille!). World Zionism: The Counterfactual Other
Side (scads of dramatic possibilities, from the parting of the Red Sea to the phosphorous bombing of Gaza in late 2008-early 2009 by the world's most moral-ever military forces ever known to man).
The Indian Mutiny (of 1857). Also in India, the founding of Calcutta by Job Charnock before 1700, context, British East India Company etc., more big-river scenes and exotic locations, people and language sounds.
Karl Marx, Life and Times (except that some literary nerd has already complained that this script would be as boring as it would be tendentious. While the later assassination/death of Trotsky in Mexico has already been treated as a sub-plot in some movie we can't otherwise recall). Life of Stalin (if a movie on the disgusting Idi Amin, why not one on Stalin as well?). Simon Bolivar in South America, another life-and-times treatment.
A five-or-so-movie rendition of Thomas Pynchon's amazing novel, Gravity's Rainbow? Here, Stephen Spielberg, eat your heart out! What a missed opportunity here!
Another worthy novel would be Patrick White's Voss, based on the nineteenth century disappearance in Australia of German explorer Ludwig Leichardt. Interesting since Voss in background is a mini-encyclopedia of world mythology, the imaginative possibilities are absolutely breathtaking!
Also re Australia, Australian movie-makers have so far been so gormless as to not consider making a movie of The First Fleet (1788, the post-Aboriginal national origin), and yet this not need be an especially large-scale production, as it would be very easy to script a great-but-inexpensive number of indoor or below-decks scenes, and many boats-on-water scenes could be done via CGI in large Hollywood swimming pools. (The situation is wide open and quite paradoxical - while Australian actors invade Hollywood, and everyone notices due to celebrity worship today, Hollywood scriptwriters could easily move in to pillage solid Australian storylines by the dozen, and the contemporary, multi-culturalism-addled Australian film industry would not notice till it was too late! Nor would Australian journalists! Easy as pie!).
Another good idea for a series would be: The Bad Popes. (A movie on the Pope who was allegedly a woman - "Pope Joan" - would obviously be quite exotic.) More movies on noted heretics in the history of Christianity, eg., Giordano Bruno. More movies on noted heretics (Sufis) in the history of Islam (sensitive treatments since so many people of the world of Islam today are so sensitive, without being exactly artistic with it, treading a fine line here).
A movie set in India on the rise of the Sikhs and their religion, piteous stories of martyrdom and later enjoyment of success and acceptance.
Speaking of heretics, what about a movie on Ahkenaten, "the heretic Pharaoh of Egypt" (very Cecil B DeMille in a super-CGI kind of way)?
Oz again: Since the Australians are too lazy, a life-and-times movie of famous rock-and-roller Billy Thorpe (who left behind one or two books of autobiography to work with, easy as pie!)
Another good international life-and-timeser would be the Swiss depth-psychologist, Carl Jung (with lots of love-interests and a spectacular cast of troubled patients, with cameo appearances from Sigmund Freud on the sidelines). Hooray at last! we hear the Californian psycho-babble industry echoing. Narration, perhaps, by Sigmund Freud? Or, is that a movie on Freud (imaginative re-creations of the lives of his most troubled patients) with narration by Jung? Was Freud indeed a fiercely trail-blazing intellectual on the world history stage or just an old man with a good collection of artefacts from Ancient History?
More Elizabethianana? Life and times of playwright William Shakespeare (all a suitable stretch for the literary-minded audience).
Life and times of Socrates (thinking here about a thinker). Life and times of Aristotle (more thinking about a thinker). A life and times of Friedrich Nietzsche could be super-Wagnerian! A movie about Nietzsche in his own mind, to be narrated by Nietzsche, as he goes mad, contrasted with scenes of casts of thousands moving about in his strange imagination.
Movie on reasons for the establishment of the original Olympic Games (lots of domestic violence, athleticism-of-the-day, chariot riding, javelin throwing, peace treaties and timely interventions by arbitrary-minded Greek Gods)?
Ideas Set Two: Movies on ALL famous American musicians? Life and times of ragtime composer, Scott Joplin (a joyously enjoyable musician, wanted to write an opera but never did).
What about? A bizarrely-humourous Americana item full of quirky twists: such as, things that should not have ever happened in the Grand Canyon, but did.
More history? What about a ten-movie series based on the work of British historian Arnold Toynbee, on the rise and fall of civilisations. This would be very educational to watch while our civilization buckets about due to climate change.
Hollywood, again: It's about time! Hollywood by early 2009 is making movies about surrealist painter Salvador Dali. (Even if someone crass thinks it's amusing to make a story that Dali and Walt Disney once worked on a pornographic cartoon. The new movies are to be Little Ashes, about Dali's early years. Dali, directed by the UK's Simon West. Dali and I: The Surreal Story. ) It's good that Hollywood has already made movies about Van Gogh and Gaugin (starring Anthony Quinn), and Michaelangelo (starring Charlton Heston), but what about the rest of the world's painters? US artist Jackson Pollock? Various of the noted US C19th painters (magnificent scenery!). A few famous portrait painters of the world (so that the viewer maybe gets to meet the sitters for the portraits)? Manet in France? Monet in France? Constable and Turner in England? Renaissance artists such as Raphael? Think of the gorgeously lavish opportunities here for period pieces, period settings. Never let Hollywood's tendency to self-congratulation and over-hyped product-promotion blind you to the fact that the place has lately become mostly bankrupt of creative ideas. When you think art, think, "what Hollywood ignores". We leave the netsurfer here to make their own list of famous sculptors Hollywood has so far ignored, although French sculptor Rodin springs quickly to mind. Rodin is subject of a movie, we recall.
Campaign on Hollywood continued ... And if by 18-3-2009 we find that if the Chinese government is sponsoring a movie on Confucius, starring Chow Yun-fat (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, remake of The King and I, and often appearing as a Hong Kong movie-gangster), why can't Hollywood do the rest of the world's philosophers? What's wrong with doing a series of movies? George Lucas ("may the force be with him") does series. Philosophers after all have their professional battles, quotable lines, and their love interests, or lack of them. We have here, St Thomas Aquinas, who worked for the Catholic Church. Plato and Aristotle in Ancient Greece of course. Kant. Descartes (I think, therefore I am; I make Hollywood movie remakes, therefore I am Hollywood. And so on. I drink, therefore I become drunk.). John Stuart Mill in England. Friedrich Nietzsche went quite mad and Thus Spake Zarathustra (unfortunately he had no notable love interests, a scriptwriter problem). Wittgenstein (gave away the philosophy game). British Aristocrat Bertrand Russell (sorry, too much mathematics there?). What about the US thinker, a thinker on beauty, the nature of, George Santayana? Hollywood, where were you when philosophy fans and indeed humanity needed you?
It's easy to ramp up topics for new Hollywood movies. One topic leads to another so rapidly.
How about a life and times of Fidel Castro (before or just after he dies!)? How about, a movie on the first Catholic Pope to visit England since the time of Henry VIII? (Since NO Catholic Pope has visited England since Henry VIII, and probably never will).
IMBYS: Appearance of the IMBYS - People who want things happening In My Back Yard ... (the opposite of NIMBYS, who want things NOT IN MY BACK YARD, such as a nuclear power station). IMBYS will be motivated by matters social, economic, ethical, pro-environmental. They want to support local production. Inclusiveness. Self-reliance. They'll emphasise we-ness, not me-ness and selfishness. They'll support hand-made things, do it-yourself. Wonder whether supermarkets will start to give shelf space to local product. Do not hold your breath, however. Do not ask, what you can do for your country,or what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your local area without wondering if this is a new kind of parochialism. (View from Richard Watson, "adviser on future trends", W/e Australian, 3-4 January 2009)
Instant gratification: We have had 20 years of instant gratification. But expect maybe a return to the 1950s, where we see more tradition, simplicity, home made goods, some slower aspects of life. More home cooking. Expect more of delayed gratification, and hope young people find it character building. (View from Richard Watson, "adviser on future trends", W/e Australian, 3-4 January 2009)
Insurance (companies in Australia): need for attitude change. An early-2009-screened TV advert for Real Insurance has a character implicitly criticizing other insurance companies by way of saying, "I can't believe that I actually got something from an insurance company." Insurance companies are going to have to improve their reputations. Because in the future, they will be seriously outnumbered by victims of extreme weather events. Who may be less than happy if insurance companies misbehave. (In Australia, as a recent trend, an increasing number of TV adverts are implicitly criticizing aspects of modern life, but oddly enough, this is not being commented in mainstream media.)
Investment: Given the fallout of 2008 around the world, is there any point in reminding people that there used to be an old rule about investment, recognising that investment always has been risky, and always will be. "Never invest more than you can afford to lose or let go of".
Israel: A country (or, a new entity as a State) wondrously invented in 1948 by unique UN mandate, based on Zionist dreams nurtured in Europe and the UK the previous 70-80 years in ways not so far removed, in terms of a race-based ideology (alleged "pro-Semitism") of "blood, soil and parentland, to wit, 'the chosen people'", who are allegedly a race of humanity, from what became (gulp) Nazism in Germany. Historically, seldom has the UN otherwise fallen for a religious shibboleth in its deliberations. This unique political invention by the post-WWII UN dispossessed millions of (those who are today) "Palestinians", who are still seriously inconvenienced by Israeli chutzpah about the future of their newly-invented state, plus the now-standard Israeli view of the continued non-future of the dispossessed Palestinians in question. But in general, don't mention this ongoing war, particularly not in the mainstream US media, or you'll be bashed to death with a copy of The Old Testament/ Talmud/ Judaeo-Christian heritage/ whatever and accused in public of anti-Semitism as well by fiercely unscrupulous Zionists while Israeli settlers seek out "more living space" in what is mere semi-desert anyway. Of course, none of this nonsense can continue once the old, hardline Israeli Zionists die out (several of them having been terrorists for their cause in their youth). Israel, of course, once the Zionists die out, is destined to become a much kinder, gentler, modern, sane and secular, multi-cultural and proper democracy, and much less of a legacy-footprint of race-based, Hitlerian-Nazi ideology based on insupportable historical propositions and alleged theological precedents ("preposterous claims", as some informed pro-Palestinians say). God and various economic and other pressures willing. Shalom, as terminal compassion-fatigue re Israel's history sets in for this website, in a phosphorous-bombing kind of way. Or as we say in The Antipodes, God help Israel, since no one else but the US will, and the US is on the skids. It does rather seem to this website, that the only realpolitik reason the USA has ever backed Israel since 1948 is because Israel gives the US and its interests a reliable footprint in the Middle East, quid pro quo. And if not in time to come, then not. Once again, Shalom. -Ed
Knowledge: Knowledge might become power, but what is the price of knowledge where education is hampered due to criminals harming good government (as in Zimbabwe)? Why can't humanity keep criminals out of government? What is the state of knowledge (or lack of it) on this question? Why do historians so distrust bankers? Who should fund scientists? Why are you, the reader here, not thinking more about the state of knowledge in the world today, than you are?
LPG Gas: In Australia, why aren't more car owners (and vehicle fleet owners) switching to an LPG gas fuel supply? We wonder, why not. And we find ...
Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG): Consumer perceptions are that LPG is "working class" fuel and new car buyers are reluctant to buy LPG-fitted vehicles. Holden and Ford both find they can't give LPG technology away to consumers. LPG is more popular in the second hand car market. Consumers also see LPG as the fuel of choice for taxi fleets. (Sydney Morning Herald, w/e 14-15 Feb 2009)
Moon: As in Bad Moon Rising. A song by Creedence Clearwater Revival a long time ago now, about a badly-behaving environmental situation. It's happening now. Go listen. Go figure.
North Pole: Ships will be crossing the North Pole by September 2014, given the rates of ice-melting seen by 2009, and beforehand. The "north-west passage" has opened of its own volition. Thus an old historical obsession may be vindicated, possibly for reasons ultimately declared to be tragic. (Article by John Collee, w/e 10-12 April, Sydney Morning Herald.
Oil: Paul Roberts, The End of Oil: The Decline of the Petroleum Economy and the Rise of the New Energy Order. Bloomsbury, 2004, 387pp.
Oil: Oil Shock II: Cuts in investment and low prices could curb future oil supplies by almost 8 million barrels a day within the next five years, a study released yesterday shows. It is the latest warning that the world could face a new energy shock when the global economy recovers. There will be reduced investment in oil production and probably, low prices for oil. Report is by Cambridge Energy Research Associates. (w/e Sydney Morning Herald, 28-29 March 2009)
Outsourcing: According to some critiques of the Harvard Business School, it might become evident that when large companies begin outsourcing certain kinds of work, it may be because that company's management lacks expertise in industry in which they are engaged, and don't actually know what to do next. So they outsource. That is, the management consists of mere number crunchers who are ignorant of how to manage an arm of an up-and-running industry. The disease is called "content free management", and it contributed greatly to the 2008 world financial crash. Expect to see "business schools" around the world change their curricula.
Overpopulation as threat to environment?: If slowing world population growth is one key to solving global warming problems, why are leading climate change commentators failing to mention it? Will world population grow to 9 billion by 2050, as predicted? Would this mean an ecological disaster? Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, did not mention unsustainable population growth as a problem. Expect to hear more of phrases like "freeing women from the tyranny of unwanted fertility". (W/e Australian, 7-8 March 2009))
Peak Oil: Documentary (Video/DVD Copyright 2004), recommended by this website. The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of The American Dream. Concerned with the car-and-oil dependence of the American Way of Life since 1945. Hosted by Barrie Zwicker. Directed by Gregory Greene. Produced by Barry Silverthorn. Available from Electric Wallpaper. Featuring the recent work of a squad of writers concerned with the Peak Oil phenomenon, predictable decline in oil supplies, and how the world media tends to avoid reasonable discussion of the implications. Duration: 78 minutes. See: www.endofsuburbia.com/
Penguin: "A black AND white bird with attitude". (A little joke by a friend of this website, Paul Anglin, Melbourne)
Phones, mobile: Trick question: What is a mobile phone, really, at bottom? Particularly with the case of teenager users. Answer: A mobile phone is merely a set of electronically-working worry beads.
Politics: Right-wing politics in the USA - the lunatic right. Try to find, Thomas Frank, The Wrecking Crew. Harvill Secker, 2009, 369pp. (How the young acolytes of Ronald Reagan moved to the right of the neo-cons who advised George W. Bush, "a seriously disturbing picture", as a reviewer in Australia says)
Planet: George Monbiot, Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning. Michael Joseph, nd. (Dire warnings but with an emphasis on solutions)
Planet prognosis: The world has about a decade left to sort out the climate-change mess. ... things are happening as predicted but at several times the expected speed ... "In March 2009, one of Australia's chief scientists, Penny Sackett, told a Canberra gathering that we have six years to radically lower emissions, or face calamitous, unstoppable global warming" ... "my own grandchildren will live in a world where major cities are flooded, fertile plains become deserts, populations run out of food and water, rivers run dry, fishing grounds become dead zones, our rainforests and living coral reefs become curiosities of history" ... it's possible that in the light of evidence about global warming risks, the democratic process (in USA and Britain) is not working especially well. And, there is no model we can use for the effects of a phenomenon such as melting of the Greenland ice sheet (which is a mountain of ice three kilometres high). (Article by John Collee, w/e 10-12 April, Sydney Morning Herald. (A former medical doctor, Collee is the scriptwriter of the movie, Master and Commander))
Politicians: Politicians in your region should be regularly touring, especially in rural/agricultural areas, specifically to assess rising implications of climate change. If they aren't doing so, ask them personally, why not. Keep asking them what's happening.
Politics (left and right, the need for a new type of dialogue): Former Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett writes in crikey.com of 3 Feb 2009: "The political terms 'Left wing' and 'Right wing' were already in serious need of being totally re-defined, if not dropped altogether, given how much they have been twisted, distorted, inverted and conflated over the past few decades." And quite right too! - Ed
Reality TV: There is no such thing as Reality TV. Bravely resist anyone who tries to tell you there is. There is no such thing as a star of reality TV, but unfortunately there are amazingly gullible TV audiences. Oxymoron here, with the emphasis on "moron". By definition, anything on TV has been removed from reality by a thing called a video camera. But speaking of TV, and comedy series, there has been on international TV, and re-screened, a long-running US series on a group of lovably madcap medicos serving during the Korean War (MASH). If the Korean War was so funny, why is today's world software industry immune from such satire? Today, on a daily basis, computer users are subjected to the non-lovable madness of madcap computer programmers. But there is no TV series about the resulting madcap frustrations of computer-using! Why is this? Maybe the Reality TV people can take care of this for us? Soon. Because it's a very really and daily problem today.
Slavery: Why is slavery in so many forms reappearing in the world? This is progress? We don't think so.
Stern warning: The 700-page Stern Warning is issued: October 2006: Sir Nicholas Stern is a British Treasury official who normally looks into externalities, risk assessments and mitigation studies. He began his working life as a mathematician. In 1967 on a visit to Ethiopia he was unforgettably impressed by poverty there, and has since cared about the less-developed world. In 2000 he became chief economist at the World Bank. In 2005, Stern helped Bob Geldof produce the Blair Government's Commission for Africa report. Now he has achieved world fame, or notoriety, for his study of the likely effects of climate change, The Stern Report. His conclusion is that doing nothing to try to stop global climate change will be more costly to the global economy than trying to stem changes and damage. He has become regarded as "the international rock star of climate change", though this hardly strikes this website as a sensible way to look at matters. Stern visited Australia to issue warnings in March 2007. He is particularly keen to see what Australians do with clean coal and solar power. (This website fails to believe in clean coal, and knows from since childhood that every bit of coal it has ever picked up is dirty and will blacken one's fingers. So how could anyone believe coal is clean or could be clean? In marked contrast, small rocks picked up from Australian creek and river beds are usually quite clean. People in the Australian government don't realise this?) (From article by James Button on Sir Nicholas Stern, Sydney Morning Herald, 24-25 March 2007)
Sustainability: jobs in the "sustainable economy: Is there such a thing yet as "the green economy"? Concerned with the general natural environment? With "green-collar" workers? Where do green-collar workers toil? Is environmental awareness now part of corporate thinking? One Australian group has been promoting sustainable business and economic practices since 1983. It's called Sizencorp, now headed by Mark Lister. Business models need to be adjusted so that sustainable practices are fundamental to them, not merely add-ons or adjuncts. Whatever, there may be a present shortage of "green skills" to fill out the green-collar workforce. Some of the green-collar niches are in consulting (valid research skills obviously required), jobs in renewable energies, energy and water efficiency, water management, architecture/design, building industry. Tradesmen in Australia have been boning up on topics such as solar hot water systems and natural wastewater treatment systems, new ideas in plumbing. All worth thinking about. (Item by Megan Byrne, My Career Jobs Section, w/e Sydney Morning Herald,18-19 April 2009)
Tax: Do not expect taxes to fall. As populations expand, environmental heath or repair will not be cheap to deliver or maintain. Expect to be asked to pay more tax. (The long run of the US Republican Party's fantasies about tax cuts is over. Repeat, over. What the USA badly needs to do is develop a Fed-led notion of national commonwealth in which all can share equitably.)
USA: The United States of America. A nation of about 305.8 million people with rapidly-changing demographics, more so as post-Obama voting patterns began to appear. A nation of chronic hysterics now (early 2009), many of them obese, self-boycotting their own national banking systems. Also suffering culturally and politically from religious fundamentalism (weird Christianity), embedded optimism and delusional happy-talk syndromes. Lacking gravitas, maturity and these days, international credibility. Goners, really. Pay them as little attention as possible.
USA (again): Why (by 2007 and later) are today's American corporations so big-headed? And are they suffering gross inflation of their egos? (Answer to the latter is yes.)
Wall Street, New York, USA: (In the generic sense of the US finance sector): By March 2009, Wall Street is obviously populated by some of the world's slowest learners, they just don't see that they are the cause of new economic problems in the world, as if previous situations around the world weren't bad enough. They just don't get it; name-able members of the US Congress think they don't get it. The American Insurance Group CEOs gave out absurd bonuses to staff of a badly-performing company - but why? It does seem as if the entire top echelon of executives in the US finance sector needs a complete cleanout and replacement by new recruits who have a sense of responsibility to themselves, their industry, the rest of America and the rest of the world. Anything less is quite simply, not good enough. So when will this management cleanout happen? This website asks.
War: What's economic about the political economy of war? When are "academics" going to start to write about such questions realistically? Expect yourself to write to "a public intellectual" in your country tomorrow and ask them about this, preferably with a few well-chosen specifics to mention.
Water, Bottled water: Do not be surprised if there is a growing consumer reaction against this absurd and unnecessary "product". Everywhere we go, in all situations, we are surrounded by pretentious people of all ages delicately sipping from plastic water bottles as though imbibing the elixir of life. Ridiculous! Totally unnecessary!
Water in Sydney, Australia, lacks of: "When you look at the long-term pattern, it's really quite frightening. You won't find any climate change skeptics in the water industry." Ms Kerry Schott, managing director of Sydney Water, w/e Australian, 7-8 Marsh, 2009. On the other hand, Sydney is coping reasonably well. She says, "Sydney is now using the same amount of water as it did in 1974, with one million more people, and the amount of water used per capita is the same as in 1945."
Water: Expect to see conflict or outright wars over water and water rights in a variety of countries. Expect to see less emphasis on the world's "holy rivers" and more emphasis on healthy, unpolluted rivers. Worry about the Murray River, Australia. Worry about the Mekong River, South East Asia. Worry about the Colorado River, USA.
Wealth: Notions of wealth and its use may change. Personal wealth may mean greater possession of political power (which activists will try to monitor). Notions of community wealth will change and environmental health will be more valued.
Wealth: Notions of wealth and its use may change. Personal wealth may mean greater possession of political power (which activists will try to monitor). Notions of community wealth will change and environmental health will be more valued.
Worry beads: Modern-day version, see Phone, Mobile, above.
Zimbabwe: Who else by 2008-2009 wants to see Mugabe and his henchmen exiled to Iceland while they prepare their defence after being charged by an outraged world for crimes against humanity? Such as ruining one of the great food-producing regions of Africa! (See items on Africa, above.)
[ name="bottom">] [Now empty] [Top]
This website: http://www.danbyrnes.com.au/
Below are items still uncollected
Comac O. Grada, Famine: A Short History. Princeton University Press, 2009, 317pp.
A.Barrie Pittock, Climate Change, The Science, Impacts and Solutions. CSIRO Australia, 2009, 368pp.
[Top of Page]
View these domain stats begun 18 December 2005