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Archive for the ‘Current Affairs’ Category

The Burj Dubai (Dubai Tower) really is an amazing accomplishment.

The Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa

Earlier in 2009 Dubai looked like it was on the verge of a financial meltdown. It was rescued by Sheik Khalifa of Abu Dhabi. The tower has been renamed the Burj Khalifa in his honour.

At 2700 feet it is massively taller than the previous record holder, Taipei 101, which stands at about 1500 feet.

And all those windows are being washed by an Australian company, Cox Gomyl.

Cox Gomyl spent $12 million designing and installing gondolas on telescopic booms which can reach every part of the tower.

Window Cleaners

Window Cleaners

Cool!

We arrived home in SA on Saturday night. Before church the next morning, we went to McDonalds for breakfast (Well why not? – It is cheap and convenient, they make good coffee, and the hot cakes aren’t bad) and picked up a copy of the reliably abysmal Sunday Mail.

There was a short article about the tribunal into the behaviour of Bishop of The Murray Ross Davies.

The Archbishop of Adelaide has had an extraordinarily difficult task in dealing with what is the worst crisis in episcopal leadership in the history of the Anglican church in Australia.

Earlier in 2009 the Archbishop had announced an enquiry into Bishop Davies’ actions as Bishop. That enquiry produced some 100 signed statements from people around the diocese alleging various kinds of verbal, spiritual and emotional abuse. Once those statements had been received, a tribunal could not be avoided.

The legal status of the tribunal is doubtful. Bishop Davies has made it clear he will not be stood down while the tribunal proceeds, and that he does not believe the Archbishop or the Primate have any right or authority to intervene in the Diocese of The Murray. He may well be right.

I suggested a couple of months ago that it was doubtful anyone outside the Diocese of The Murray could act to remove Bishop Davies. Nonetheless, clear findings of ongoing abuse by a carefully conducted and impartial tribunal might give Diocesan Council the stateable reasons and courage it needs to end Bishop Davies’ employment.

I hope and pray that the tribunal will reach its conclusions reasonably quickly, and that actions will then be be taken which will give the best possible outcome for the Diocese and for Bishop Davies and his family.

Whatever that outcome is, it is likely that this will be the end of The Murray as a conservative anglo-catholic diocese.

That statement needs to be clarified a little. The Murray is not an anglo-catholic diocese. It is a polychromatic middle of the road Anglican diocese which has been served by traditionalist anglo-catholic clergy.

As long as their views have been heard, and they have been treated with care and respect by their clergy, the people of the Diocese have been generous in accepting that the Diocese and the wider australian church have been well-served by the special witness of The Murray to a particular and important strand of Anglican faith.

That has changed.

Traditionalist clergy in the Diocese, and organisations like the Society of the Holy Cross (SSC) and Forward in Faith, have supported Bishop Davies to the point of refusing to hear or give any credibility to reports of  inappropriate behaviour by Bishop Davies.

Even worse, they have shared with him in efforts to damage the credibility of anyone who complained or did not toe the line. This has left lay people feeling betrayed and deeply hurt.

The crisis in the diocese is not just over Bishop Davies’ leadership. It is a crisis of trust in the clergy.

This sense of having been betrayed, not just by a traditionalist bishop, but by almost all of the traditionalist clergy and the organisations to which they belong, means that it will be near impossible for someone who shares Bishop Davies’ conservative views to be elected.

The Anglican Church will be poorer for this.

Finally, proof of global warming:

Proof of Global Warming

Proof of Global Warming

But then, what about this:

A new study shows no change in the proportion of atmospheric and absorbed CO2 for the last 150 years.

Many climate models also assume that the airborne fraction will increase. Because understanding of the airborne fraction of carbon dioxide is important for predicting future climate change, it is essential to have accurate knowledge of whether that fraction is changing or will change as emissions increase.

To assess whether the airborne fraction is indeed increasing, Wolfgang Knorr of the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol reanalyzed available atmospheric carbon dioxide and emissions data since 1850 and considers the uncertainties in the data.

In contradiction to some recent studies, he finds that the airborne fraction of carbon dioxide has not increased either during the past 150 years or during the most recent five decades.

The research is published in Geophysical Research Letters.

Oh, hang on. He looked at real world data. The man’s obviously completely unreliable.

Climate changes all the time.

How do we adapt to these changes in a way that assists the most vulnerable – that is, the poor?

One way is to adopt policies which will assist poorer people to develop the resources and strategies they need to buffer them from  rapid climate change.

Another is to make sure we know what is going on, so we can make plans to cope with the changes that are actually occurring.

Because so much data has been lost/manipulated, etc, we have very little idea what has really happened over the last fifty years.

One thing is for sure. it isn’t getting any warmer.

There are record low temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere, from the US and Canada to the UK to China and Siberia.

Bitter Winters in the Andes can no longer be described as an anomaly. Growing numbers of children – hundreds in some small rural districts – are dying each year from cold.

 It’s time we stopped playing global warming computer games, and started dealing with real world changes, and the real world needs of  people who cannot, as Al Gore can, squander 200,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year.

via Hyscience

Tiger Woods will recover as a golfer. Can he recover as a person?

Brit Hume says it depends on his faith – what he needs is forgiveness and redemption.

Brit’s answer: Think about what the Christian faith has to offer.

Wow. It is interesting (and encouraging) to hear that kind of straight talking in a secular news commentary program.

Click to download the Easy Guide to the Politics and Science of Global Warming

It is a PDF file just over 1MB in size.

Feel free to copy, give to friends, post to politicians, etc!

One of the worrying things about the cherry-picking, data fudging, distorting, lying, fund-grabbing behaviour that has characterised global warming alarmism over the last two decades, is that we now have no idea at all what the climate has been doing.

Much of the original temperature data seems to have disappeared, leaving only value-less ‘value-added’ data.

What data we have, when the Urban Heat Island Effect  is taken into account, along with the fudging and cheating, shows little or no warming, or even cooling.

Climate changes can be and have been devastating in the past, rapid cooling far more so than gradual warming.

There is nothing we can do to stop natural climate change.

We can prepare for it. And that preparation may save millions of lives.

There is no doubt that next major change will be towards a cooler world.

Let’s hope we can quickly get past the hiatus in real climate science caused by well-funded claims of non-existent anthropogenic global warming, and find real world data that will give us real world answers.

In the meantime, it is a deadly cold Winter in the Northern Hemisphere:

A Cold Winter in Europe

A Cold Winter in Europe

After considering a number of possible candidates for the next major science scare, the UN today annouced the winner was the asteroid Apophis.

‘We’ve got as much funding, and as many free holidays, as we are likely to get from global warming,’  UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon announced today. ‘It’s time to move on.’

‘The asteroid Apophis meets all the criteria for the next DSSO. There is a slim chance it could cause major destruction, on a scale the world has never seen.’  He said.

‘It will take billions of dollars in research funds, and several conferences, before we know whether this destruction is likely or or not. But the consequences of not acting are so dire, that even if the science is not proven, we owe it to our children and grandchildren to put the planet first, and give the world the benefit of the doubt.’

Anatoly Perminov told the Russian radio station Golos Rossii: “People’s lives are at stake. We should pay several hundred million dollars and build a system that would allow us to prevent a collision, rather than sit and wait for it to happen and kill hundreds of thousands of people.”

Mirrors, lights and even paint could change the way the object absorbed light and heat enough to shift its direction over 20 years or so. With less notice, mankind could be forced to take more drastic measures, such as setting off a massive explosion on or near the object to change its course.

Smoke and mirrors?

Same deal as climate change, then.

PS.  Ban Ki Moon didn’t really say any of that. But he might as well have.

Another worthwhile therapeutic result from adult stem cells.

Useful applications from embryonic stems cells – 0. From non-destructive, ethical stem cell research, over 70, as at 2007.

Researchers have used stems cells taken from mice to create tooth buds. A small incision was made in the animals’ gums and the bud implanted. New teeth grew.

The tooth bud produces a new tooth, and the bone required to anchor the tooth to the jaw.

Professor Paul Sharpe, a specialist in the field of regenerative dentistry at the Dental Institute of King’s College, London, says the same techniques will produce similar results in humans:

Using a local anaesthetic, the tooth bud is inserted through a small incision into the gum. Within months, the cells will have matured into a fully-formed tooth, fused to the jawbone. As the tooth grows, it releases chemicals that encourage nerves and blood vessels to link up with it.

There were widespread reports yesterday that the death of an unborn child had brought Victoria’s Christmas road death toll to 12.

Quite right. The child was a person, and its death is a tragic loss.

But what makes this child a person, and another child at the same stage of development an object which is inconvenient, and which can be destroyed and disposed of?

There is no difference in the child – just in the parents’ attitude to it.

Is that all it takes to make one a person, and one not?

I’m with Horton – a person’s a person, no matter how small.

Indonesia – Give These People the Same Special Deal

People Smugglers – Hear, hear!

Failing to acknowledge the crisis caused by its changes to Australia’s immigration policy, the Federal government is steadily digging itself into a very deep hole.

Most Australians want:

  • Everyone who comes or wants to come to Australia to be treated with dignity.
  • Preference given to people who are in genuine need, or have some clear benefit to offer (the two are not mutually exclusive, of course).
  • Preference given to people who don’t try to push their way to the front of the queue.
  • Overall immigration controlled in a way that takes note the of availability of infrastracture and environmental resources.
  • Overall immigration controlled in a way that maximises opportunities for immigrants to integrate without excessive stress for them or for their new communities.

It can no longer seriously be denied that the Labor government has implemented a group of policies which encourage queue jumpers and those who prey on them.

60 boats carrying illegal immigrants have been intercepted on route to Australia in the last 12 months, compared with 18 boats in the previous six years.

The Christmas Island detention centre is overflowing.

Resources re-directed to illegal immigrants are stolen from people in greater need – people who follow the rules, wait in refugee camps, who do the right thing.

Why should they bother?

Our neighbours are asking us to think again, and to take responsibility for the difficulties caused not only to ourselves, but to them.

But still the mess caused by Labor’s new ‘compassionate’ policies has not dented the teflon brain of Prime Minister Kevin (Special Deal) Rudd.

Wow! An alarming headline.

But not a very informative one, unless we are told what that intake is being tripled from and to.

Reading the small print we find that FebFast, another charity group no one has ever heard of, undertook a survey which found that:

… most respondents drink one day a week and that during the festive period that increases to three days a week. One-third of Australians consume more than 10 standard drinks a week during the festive season.

That doesn’t sound too alarming to me.

“There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the summer and the season’s festivities, but we need to be aware of how much some Australians get carried away and take celebrations to excess,” FebFast chief executive Fiona Healy said in a statement.

Absolutely. An average of one a half drinks per day during the festive season. This outlandish festivity must be stopped.

I don’t fancy their chances in the Northern Territory, land of sweeping plains and swooning Kidmans, where no respondents to FebFast’s survey said they consumed too much alcohol.

Jo Nova has put together a massive wall chart of highlights (low lights?) from the FOI file of documents and emails from Hadley.

It details more than twenty years of data fudging, bullying of scientists with alternative views, pressuring scientific journals, hijacking the peer review process, and outright lying about the evidence for anthropogenic climate change by a small cabal of well-funded public servants.

The only disappointment is that Jo repeats the furphy about the medieval church silencing sceptics. Jo is usually a careful researcher and clear thinker, so this is a little surprising.

In reality, the medieval church was the friend of science, and consistently encouraged the asking of questions and the search for truth.
 
This is one of the reasons it is the West that has been the home of science, and Western thought which has provided so many of the answers to questions about the natural world.

But that hesitation aside, Jo’s wallchart is a product of a prodigious amount of work, displayed, as always, in a clear and interesting way.

A few belated suggestions for Tiger and the plastic playmates.

Tiger:

Some women chase sports stars, or anyone who is rich and famous.

When women approach you and offer to have sex with you, this is not because they like you, care about you, or want to get to know you better.

Women want to have sex with you because you are a trophy. The purpose of a trophy is to be displayed. So don’t expect them to keep quiet about it.

You make most of your money from sponsorships – manufacturers and retailers paying you to endorse their products.

They pay you to endorse their products because the they think the public trust you, and will believe you when you say that a product is of good quality and worth buying.

But if you show that your word means nothing, even when given to the people you love, why should the public believe you when you tell them to buy a certain brand of sneakers, or car, or life insurance?

And if there is no reason for the public to believe what you say, there is no reason for sponsors to pay you to say it.

Playmates:

If you dress, walk, talk, and generally act as if you think the only important thing about you is your sexuality, don’t be surprised if some men agree with you.

This means that instead of relating to you as a person with ideas and values and perspectives worth considering, they will relate to you only with an interest in the pleasure they imagine they could get from your body, that is, as a kind of masturbation aid.

This demeans both you and them.

It also almost certainly means that while you will be appreciated as a party girl, someone to date, a good sport, you will not be a person most men would want to have a long-term relationship with, one in which you and your thoughts and feelings are valued.

And I don’t blame them.

I for one was grateful for China’s new assertiveness at Copenhagen.

I am less impressed by the combination of insecurity about its internal politics and disregard of world opinion that is increasingly evident in China’s represssion of dissent, and limiting of its citizens’ access to news sources.

The eleven year sentence imposed on 53 year old professor of literature, Liu Xiaobo, for ‘subversion’ has drawn widespread condemnation from world leaders.

This has been ignored. Chinese leaders clearly believe (and rightly) that they have more to be worried about from their own citizens than from the current rash of limp wristed leftist Western leaders.

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