Weekly salon 8/2

1. Chance meeting

This is Nine’s Dom Lorrimer’s pic of Tanya Plibersek’s chance meeting with Craig Kelly in the corridors of Parliament House.

That article is by a couple of academics, who give a lecture on how to deal with nutters who don’t respect science.

Jacqueline Maley in the SMH said Plibersek was calm and all class, but the incident reminded voters that Morrison had to accommodate some strange back benchers to keep everyone in the tent.

Not entirely calm, from what I heard. Her mum lives in Kelly’s electorate.


    “My mum lives in your electorate and I don’t want her exposed to people who are not going to be vaccinated because of these crazy conspiracy theories that you’re spreading,” she said as journalists and cameras looked on.

Kelly reckons he’s been a victim of ‘cancel culture’.

At The (un)Australian Scotty from Marketing reminds the press that he has already flogged Government back bencher Craig Kelly with the warmest of lettuce.

The AFR reports that Liberals in the Sydney seat of Hughes are preparing to roll Craig Kelly in preselection. He had been saved from previous challenges by Morrison and former Liberal leaders Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott. Next time his luck will run out.

2. Doomsday clock stays 100 seconds to midnight

Doomsday Clock hovers dangerously close to midnight, as experts warn of ‘crossroads’ on climate change according to The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, who take their work very seriously indeed.

The clock was set at 7 minutes to midnight in 1947, has been back there at least once – in 1968 after France and China developed nuclear weapons.

Rachel Bronson is president and CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:

    The clock was set to 100 seconds to midnight last year, the closest to midnight it has ever been.

    Experts said at Wednesday’s announcement the pandemic is an example of how governments and organizations are not ready for global emergencies.

    “We recognize that humanity continues to suffer as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads around the world. The pandemic will recede eventually,” said Bronson.

    “Still, the pandemic serves as a historic wake-up call.”

    It is, she said, a vivid illustration that national governments and international organizations are not prepared to manage complex and dangerous challenges, including nuclear weapons and climate change, which currently pose existential threats to humanity.

    The pandemic also brought on challenges as it sparked what the World Health Organization calls an infodemic, an overabundance of information that “includes deliberate attempts to disseminate wrong information to undermine the public health response and advance alternative agendas of groups or individuals.”

    “The COVID-19 pandemic and its accompanying infodemic have become intertwined with critical uncertainties regarding science, technology, and crisis communications,” reads the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ statement published on Wednesday.

    The bulletin also noted in their statement that 2020 saw the effects of climate change around the world, including massive wildfires in North America and Australia and rising sea levels and melting sea ice and glaciers. (Emphasis added)

3. Are Google and Facebook as bad as claimed?

Eric Beecher says Fake News: How Australia’s biggest publishers are trying to bluff the government.

Beecher, who has worked for big media in this country, and left to publish small media, like Crikey and InQueensland, says taking a big stick approach to Google and Facebook will not solve the issues facing publishers, large and small:

    Ten days ago, I watched as the representatives of three very large, multi-billion-dollar media organizations, sat here, before your committee, insisting that this legislation is essential to their survival.

    Two of those companies, News Corporation and The Guardian, are foreign-controlled, with deep pockets. The other is an entertainment business whose serious journalism is a small and almost financially irrelevant part of its overall media portfolio.

    I have watched and listened to those companies tell the government … the opposition … this committee … and the public … that Google and Facebook have destroyed their business models by stealing both their content and their advertising revenue … and therefore, that they need legislation to force those two global behemoths to compensate them — to the tune of $1 billion a year, in the estimation of the executive chairman of News Corp Australia.

    The truth is that there is no content stealing. There is no breach of copyright.

I don’t understand it all, but I can’t see Google is doing anything but helping news publishers. It takes eyeballs too their stuff, no?

4. Hydrogen news

Hydrogen seems to be the latest thing. In the AFR, hydrogen buses are to hit the roads in Australia soon. A sustainable investment group TrueGreen Impact has teamed up with Chinese company Foton to make four 45-seat hydrogen buses in China to ship to Australia in April.

    It plans to start making hydrogen buses in Australia by the end of next year at TrueGreen’s manufacturing site in the NSW town of Moss Vale with a goal of initially manufacturing 200 buses annually.

Elsewhere POWERPASTE, A High-Density, Safe, And Easily Transportable Hydrogen Energy Fuel has been invented in Germany:

    A team from the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM in Dresden has developed a hydrogen-containing paste that stores hydrogen energy at ten times the lithium battery‘s density.

    The hydrogen-based fuel that is ideal for small vehicles: POWERPASTE, is based on solid magnesium hydride, making it easier to store and use.

Meanwhile the Australian Government has released a ‘Do-Nothing Document’: Australian Electric Vehicle Strategy Lets Emissions Keep Rising.

The document forecasts that battery EVs would make up 26% of new car sales by 2030, while transport emissions would increase by 6%.

53 thoughts on “Weekly salon 8/2”

  1. Brian: What I read on power paste said that magnesium recovery issues would make this power very expensive.

  2. If you follow Jumpy’s link, make sure you read what National science reporter Liam Mannix writes at the end.

  3. For anybody who cares, Jumpy is arguing with the National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce and the Therapeutic Goods Administration, not Liam Mannix.

  4. Exactly right, zoot.

    John, I’m still trying to get my head around hydrogen. Cost seems to be a problem generally. Angus Taylor reckons it needs to be $2 per kg to be competitive. Tony Wood in the AFR says:

      Our best current knowledge indicates that even with hydrogen at $1/kilogram, for instance, green steel or green ammonia will still be more expensive than the fossil-based alternatives.

    Maybe in 10 years time costs may fall as they did with solar and wind.

    The SMH has a useful Explainer Hype or holy grail: What’s driving the hydrogen rush?

    Japan’s commitment to hydrogen might see it through to commercial viability.

  5. Concerning Google and Facebook Michael Pascoe says the case is ridiculous. See Media giants unite to deceive in Google, Facebook cash grab.

    He says it’s about advertising, not journalism.

    He says, certainly we could do with a bit of trust-busting, and the failure to pay tax is scandalous:

      It would be more legitimate for the government to do its job of collecting all the tax that should be collected and then, if the case for journalism as a public good is made, subsidising it.

      But that would stray into matters way too difficult and dangerous. Who would want the government to decide what journalism deserved supporting, especially this government of media mates that’s persecuting the ABC?

      So the government is running with a lie instead. Bernard Keane:

      “The code is justified by a News Corp lie, that Google steals news content and makes billions of dollars from it. The ACCC forensically compiled evidence that this was false. Knowing that the News Corp claim was wrong didn’t prevent Treasurer Josh Frydenberg from spreading it himself.”

    Murdoch and Nine are a bunch of hypocrites, he reckons.

  6. Brian: Ferric iron is trivalent and has a atomic wt of 55.8. On this basis a perfect process would produce 18.6 tonnes of pure iron per tonne H2. A cost of H2 of $1000/tonne puts the cost of H2 per tonne pure iron at $54/tonne iron.
    N2 is also trivalent and has a atomic wt of 14. On this basis a perfect process would produce 4.7 tonnes of pure NH3 per tonne H2.
    A cost of H2 of $1000/tonne puts the cost of H2 per tonne of ammonia at $213 per tonne.
    OK, the above is RAG and doesn’t include lots of costs. However, they do suggest that renewable steel and ammonia are not an impossible dream.
    Countries like Norway with cheap hydro power have used electrolytic hydrogen to make ammonia.

  7. Brian: Peter Dutton’s office fast-tracked one-off grant proposal days after donation given to support him https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-02-10/peter-dutton-office-fast-tracked-grant-proposal-after-donation/13126496
    “Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton’s office fast-tracked a one-off $880,000 grant proposal to a retail association eight days after it made a $1,500 political donation to the Queensland Liberal National Party — at an event Mr Dutton attended — for the purpose of personally supporting him.
    Key points:
    The National Retail Association (NRA) made a $1,500 donation to the Queensland LNP, saying it was to support Peter Dutton
    One week later Mr Dutton asked that an application by the NRA for a funding grant “be considered sooner”
    Mr Dutton said any suggestion he would be influenced “by a lawful donation to the LNP” was “false and highly defamatory”
    7.30 can reveal that Mr Dutton awarded a one-off “national security and criminal justice” grant to the Queensland-based National Retail Association, which represents employers in the retail and fast food industry.
    The revelation is part of a cache of ministerial briefings obtained by 7.30 under freedom of information laws that set out Mr Dutton’s awarding of grants from within a multi-million-dollar fund earmarked to support crime prevention efforts.

  8. John, honestly, I don’t follow the science in your 11:28 AM comment, but happy with your conclusion which suggests suggests renewable steel and ammonia are not an impossible dream.

    Peter Dutton simply changed the schedule put up to him by making handwritten alterations. No reasons given.

    Our problem is that we’ve come a long way since Mick Young stood aside because he hadn’t paid import duty on a Paddington Bear in 1984. Dutton would claim that he was doing his job as a minister.

  9. “Coal plants to close by 2025 under WA election renewable energy plan from Liberals” https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-02-11/coal-plants-to-shut-by-2025-in-wa-liberals-renewable-energy-plan/13143910
    Haven’t the WA Libs been listening to Scottie the coal kisser?

    The Libs are unlikely to win but this what is being promised:
    “A Liberal Kirkup government plans to close all publicly owned coal-fired power stations by 2025 as part of the “biggest jobs, renewable energy and export project in the nation”, meaning Muja and Collie would shut within four years.
    Key points:
    The WA Liberals say their energy plan will create tens of thousands of jobs
    Under the plan, WA would reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030
    Coal-fired power stations in Muja and Collie would shut within four years
    WA Liberal leader Zak Kirkup said the plan was the largest renewable energy project in Australia’s history, with estimates of $400 million being injected by a Liberal government alongside private investments.
    “The New Energy Jobs plan will help create tens of thousands of jobs right here in WA,” he said.
    “We’ll bring back manufacturing and help create a renewable energy future, not only for our state but for the rest of the country.
    “It will make sure we reduce power bills,”
    The Nats in WA are very different from the East coast mob and are not part of a LNP coalition.

  10. Brian: “To sum up, it sounds like hastily drawn-up election fodder, and is either muddled or deliberately misleading.” The point I was making was that a climate action policy was proposed.

  11. Of interest, in the AFR – BMW buys solar aluminium as supply chains go green:

      German carmaker BMW has signed a deal with the United Arab Emirates to buy green aluminium, underscoring how Europe’s climate goals are rapidly upending global supply chains and reshaping the geopolitical landscape.

      In a contract “valued in the three-digit million euros”, BMW said it would buy 43 million tonnes of aluminium produced in Dubai with solar energy, about half the aluminium requirement of its Landshut foundry near Munich.

      The carmaker is trying to cut the carbon emissions in its supplier network by 20 per cent within a decade, and hopes to get halfway to that goal by switching to solar-powered suppliers.

      Emirates Global Aluminium churns out more than 2.5 million tonnes of standard product a year. Last month, in what EGA said was a world first, it began producing green aluminium, which it calls CelestiAL.

      The metal is produced in its smelter with 560,000 megawatt hours a year of solar energy from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in the desert near Dubai, which the Gulf state says will, on completion, be the largest in the world.

    It seems big companies are heading in the direction they know they will have to go. By contrast, the CEO of Tomago smelter in NSW has said multiple times that you can’t run an aluminium smelter on green power. He seems the kind of bloke where counterfactuals would make no difference to his belief.

    John, I’ve just noticed that the New Scientist of 3 February online has an article A hydrogen fuel revolution is coming – here’s why we might not want it.

    It’s too long to summarise in a comment, but the bottom line is that hydrogen is going to have a place in a spectrum of future energy sources. The dirty secret implied in the bit that isn’t paywalled is that only 4% of hydrogen power produced globally is currently green.

  12. I should have the next post up tonight. I’d like to do about three more on the climate emergency, then return to what might be termed the ‘new normal’ of a more balanced output.

  13. Brian: I get the New Scientist delivered weekly. I would have said the article was a wee bit ambivalent but that may be showing my bias on the subject.
    Breakthroughs in electrolysis, alternate fuels, charging batteries while truck is on move etc. could change the game.

  14. See, now we’re talking technological solutions rather than money stealing, so refreshing.

    I recommend the latest Joe Rogan podcast with the most innovative African American ever, Elon Musk.

    Do ya self a favour.

  15. A South African/Canadian/US citizen born in South Africa is the most innovative African American ever? That’s an innovative approach, particularly since you excoriated Musk the last time you mentioned him. (No, I don’t have a link, but you weren’t happy he was pulling down an enormous stipend for running a company which had yet to make a profit – “ripping off the government” if memory serves.)
    My choice for most innovative African American ever would be Miles Davis, but George Washington Carver would have to be a contender and I would argue Martin Luther King also deserves to be up there. All were born in the USA.

  16. Elon Musk was born in Africa and is now an American, simple.

    Trust the admitted racist to bring race into it.

    I, for one, abhor racism and racists like zoot.

  17. Elon Musk was born in Africa and is now an American, simple.

    Not quite that simple, since the term “African American is based on ethnicity.
    Which you knew. The only reason you included it was an attempt to troll the libtards who read this blog (I don’t believe you think Charlize Theron is African American). I obliged you by responding, now go away little man – you’ve had your jollies for today.

  18. Brian,

    Jumpy, would you please stop banging on about zoot being a racist.

    I don’t know if I can Brian.
    Open Racism, I find, deserves open condemnation.

    He admitted he was a racist by stating “ we’re all racist “ but he doesn’t know many people in the larger scheme of things. He certainly doesn’t know me in the slightest.Just his family, friends and particularly himself. He injects race into every issue he can, and did again above.

    That sort of thing should be called out not harboured and defended as you are doing.

    Racism isn’t boring to me, it’s disgusting.

  19. Jumpy, your case would be much stronger if you provided examples of the consistently racist comments I have made here (you know, E…Vid…Ence or your pants self combust and all that).
    Otherwise you are simply repeating ad nauseum your misinterpretation of a single comment I made which you failed to understand (willfully probably, or am I giving you too much credit?).
    It does get tedious.

  20. jumpy, why don’t you give your favourite search engine a workout. I did and came up with:

    Implicit bias: Is everyone racist?

    Are We All Racists Deep Inside?

    Implicit bias means we’re all probably at least a little bit racist

    Most of us abhor racism, but the evidence is that we are not qualified to know whether we are racist or not.

    I’ll run with “Few people openly admit to holding racist beliefs but many psychologists claim most of us are nonetheless unintentionally racist. ”

    Have you done a test?

    The chances are that you, like most of us, are unintentionally racist without knowing it. Somewhat.

  21. Not buying it Brian.

    Racism is a weed that can only grow in the soil of a collectivist, and arrogance it’s fertiliser.

    Leave me out of that.

  22. My original comment, which Jumpy pounced on with such glee, was trying to make the point that as I grew up I absorbed the racist attitudes of my elders but because I am aware of this inherent racism I am able to ensure my words and actions are never informed by those attitudes. Obviously that’s a concept way beyond Jumpy’s understanding since he chose to make it a cheap gotcha (a bit like Biden “announcing” to the world that he had organised fraudulent voting. Some people make the proverbial sack of hammers look intelligent).

  23. Racism is a weed that can only grow in the soil of a collectivist, and arrogance it’s fertiliser.

    I believe “In Jumpyworld bullshit is called bullshit.
    Bullshit.

  24. Jumpy: “Racism is a weed that can only grow in the soil of a collectivist, and arrogance it’s fertiliser.” I hadn’t thought about Hitler as a collectivist let alone all the rabid racists of the British Empire.
    My observation would be that a lot of racism is driven by insecurity.

  25. John, you may want to look up the definition of collectivism.
    Hitler certainly was, and brutally arrogant about it.

  26. Meanwhile to get back to the original troll, SBS has a series called The African Americans. It seems to be available on demand.
    I leave it as an exercise for our Mackay correspondent to demonstrate for us where Elon Musk and Charlize Theron fit in (“E…Vid…Ence or your pants self combust.” and all that).

  27. While I’m here I’ll add a quote for the benefit of the “Abraham Lincoln was a Republican” crowd.
    On 18 September 1858 Lincoln said:

    I will say then, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters of the negroes, or jurors, or qualifying them to hold office, of having them to marry with white people. I will say in addition, that there is a physical difference between the white and black races, which I suppose, will forever forbid the two races living together upon terms of social and political equality, and inasmuch, as they cannot so live, that while they do remain together, there must be the position of superior and inferior, that I as much as any other man am in favor of the superior position being assigned to the white man.

    In 160 years the GOP hasn’t moved from that position.

  28. John, you may want to look up the definition of collectivism. Hitler certainly was, and brutally arrogant about it.

    And the brutally arrogant (and racist) British Empire??

  29. Have a go at the racist flailing will ya….

    And yeah, to be a British Imperialist you’d have to be and arrogant collectivist.

    And racists like you it seems.

  30. Once again Jumpy’s failure to master the English language leaves him looking a fool. Nobody here identifies as a racist. (Acknowledging aspects of your character does not constitute identifying as any of those aspects.)
    Seriously, who pays you to come here and make a goose of yourself?

  31. Have a go at the racist flailing will ya….

    Flailing? I’ll show you flailing.

    And yeah, to be a British Imperialist you’d have to be and arrogant collectivist.

  32. Can’t be arsed looking but is it narcissism where any attention, positive or negative is better than no attention at all? You know, the “Look at me!” attention seekers?
    Or were they just starved of affection as children?

  33. Racism is a weed that can only grow in the soil of a collectivist, and arrogance it’s fertiliser.

    You are arguing by assertion, jumpy.

      “No one is immune from inheriting racial, gender and sexual orientation biases,” says Derald Wing Sue, PhD, a professor of psychology and education at Teachers College of Columbia University, who studies multicultural counseling and racism. “Everyone, including marginalized group members, harbors biases and prejudices and can act in discriminatory and hurtful ways toward others.”

    That’s from here.

    I’m not an expert on racism, but it seems you know better than those who have studied the issue.

    I don’t identify as a racist, and I’d be astonished if anyone on this blog did. Yet if I did the test mentioned in the earlier link, I’d be surprised if there wasn’t some residual racism there.

    It’s pointless trying to discuss anything with someone who doesn’t accept evidence or argue logically.

  34. Brian, I took the Project Implicit Racism Test and it confirmed my self reported bias (dammit!) 🙂
    Thank you for the links.

  35. Zoot, I went to the cheapest boarding school in Brisbane for secondary education. We had about 20% of the enrolment who were ethnic Chinese, Indians and a few PNG natives.

    I remember as a prefect having to read out the list of Saturday morning chores that had to be done by the boys after Saturday morning prep. One Chinese boy got very angry when I called out his name. I asked him to stay aside, and we had a chat.

    Seems I was pronouncing his name in a way that he saw mocking or insulting. It was ignorance, so we got it sorted.

    In these suburbs where I live now we have become very familiar with other races, but one day at a mobile phone service shop in a shopping centre a man served me who I would guess came from Somalia.

    I remember being startled, because faces blacker than black are still uncommon.

    I assumed he would be fine, and he was, but the initial reaction was quite involuntary.

    Jumpy is confusing ‘implicit bias’ with avowed racism, and is refusing to recognise that the odds are that he has implicit bias too.

    Seems to me a bit arrogant. There are other epithets, but I won’t go there.

  36. Brian, I had an experience similar to yours in the mobile repair shop. I stopped at a deli to buy cigarettes (a long long time ago) and was shocked when I realized that my immediate response to the family who were the only other customers was fear. They were Aboriginal and my response was fleeting but it brought me up short.

  37. Our lives are a project we need to keep working on. Apparently our man in Mackay has reached a stage where he believes he no longer needs to, in this aspect at least.

    I can’t walk in his shoes, so I can only point to the experience of others and the evidence of research.

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