Sunday, 29 December 2013

Nuclear Energy

Japan is a relatively technologically advanced society. A Tsunami could have caused their Fukushima reactors to melt illustrated the inherent instability of these reactors and the danger they pose to humanity. Here is a story from RT which focuses on the sickness suffered by the first responders.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

How many countries' leaders are able to mingle with common citizens?

The Chinese President Xi Jinping was able to eat in a local restaurant without heavy security. Can USA president do that?

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Voting in the USA Senate

The USA parliament looks like a diseased brain, with no neural connectivity between the two halves of the brain

Soap Mistaken For Cocaine Lands 2 People In Prison For A Month

Two people spent a month behind bars after police pulled them over in Pennsylvania and found two plastic-wrapped packages of homemade soap in the trunk that troopers mistook for cocaine. [source]

That two months would worth a lot of money for these two people. Sue, sue sue!

USA Defence Budget

How can a democratic government have a defence department which has no oversight by the congress on its spending?

My personal experience in dealing with the USA defence's finance section is simply one word - incompetent. When we sent them an invoice with all the payment details, they transferred the money to a USA bank (which they should know we are an Australian company). When we chased them up, they agreed to resend the money - to another USA bank again! This occurred at least three times. It is frustrating to a small business but shows a larger problem on their side.

Indigenous Groups Win Right to Seize Chevron's Canadian Assets over $18 Billion in Amazon Pollution

A third country became the jurisdiction of a judgement made another change in order to seize the asset of Chevron's Canadian assets. The good news is that the indigenous groups have won.

Friday, 20 December 2013

China rejects unapproved US origin GM corn

545,000 tons of MIR162 genetically modified corn have been returned to US. The reason is that the corn does not meet Chinese quality standards. Interesting....

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Back slash of NSA tapping

'NSA ruined it!' Brazil ditches Boeing jets, grants $4.5 bln contract to Saab - the title of an article in RT. [source] Is this the first when countries "punish" the USA by placing large contracts to companies other than the US?

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Yemen's parliament bans US drones

"Remember that the terrorists that we are after target civilians..."

So are the drone strikes by the US government.

Syria is a humantain nightmare

The atrocities done by the rebels ...

Now, how the international community will react to this...

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Syrian rebels execute civilians

Who is the bad guy?

Police brutality - in Sydney

This happened in March, 2012.
As well as shooting Curti 14 times with the stun gun, the officers used up to three cans of capsicum spray at close range and a baton, knelt on him and handcuffed him. After Curti ceased struggling the officers checked his pulse and a few minutes later he stopped breathing. Officers performed CPR until the ambulance arrived. The paramedics asked the officers to uncuff the unresponsive Curti, and attempted to resuscitate him. He was pronounced dead about 20 minutes later.[source]

On 13th December this year, NSW DPP determined that there was sufficient evidence to charge four of the officers with criminal offences. Senior Constable Eric Lim and Senior Constable Damien Ralph may be charged with common assault. Senior Constable Scott Edmondson and Constable Daniel Barling may face charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm or, alternatively, common assault.

Hockey to reveal 'savage budget cuts'

Let's the blame game begin...

Monday, 16 December 2013

Blaze burnt out 20-floor building overnight, but the tower did not collapse

Admittedly, this is a much newer building compared with the Twin Towers, but as can be seen in the footage, the flame was much stronger and lasted much longer. The inferno did not bring down the building. I am still puzzled why the Twin Towers and Building 7 all collapsed onto their respective footprint on that one day.

For comparison, here is a footage of the Twin Tower building burning just before the South Tower collapsed. A smoking flame could not be hotter than a bright orange flame.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

China Has Landed Her First Moon Rover

The Soviet Union first crashed a probe onto Moon in 1959. It was also USSR which successfully returned lunar soil sample in 1970. The first human landing on the Moon was done by Neil Armstrong on Apollo 11 on 20 July 1969.

The Chinese lunar orbiter Chang'e 1 executed a controlled crash onto the surface of the Moon on 1 March 2009. Chang'e 2 was launched in early October 2010 as a long-term mission with a lunar objective without landing. Today marks the success of soft landing of Chang'e 3 and successful launch of its rover.

How to deal with corporation

As I have alluded in previous posts, granting corporation personhood is wrong. The owners of corporation should be personally responsible for the wrongs done by corporations. Fining corporations is not punishment. Only jailing the owners of corporation making them personally responsible is able to have deterrence effect. Iceland sets a world model which governments should implement.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Australia revokes gay marriage law

The High Court of Australia revokes the gay marriage law in ACT because the court thinks the Federal Parliament should set the law, not a state or a territory.

My own view is that why not gay marriage. My moral principle is to use the following question to check the morality of a legislation. Is there harm to *anyone* if two persons (same sex or otherwise) marry? The answer is NO. I support gay marriage.

Police Brutality in USA

Why did a "law-binding" country do this?

Drone strike kills 15 wedding-goers. Has USA declared war against Yeman?

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Renewable fuel ideas

By collecting the pine needles from the forest (which is a potential fire threat) and making into a biomass briquet, the energy needs of brick firing kiln is met.

A similar project in Cambodia, this time transforming coconut shells and organic waste into charcoal and then press into briquet for home cooking use.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Chinese Yuan became the second most traded currency

The biggest news this week in economy is that Chinese Yuan has become the second most traded currency, rising from about 1% last year to around 9% now overtaking the Euro which drops from 8% last year to 6% now. That also means that the volume of Yuan increase was taken from the current world trading currency the US dollars.

My prediction, which is just common sense, is that the Chinese Yuan will increase its share as a trading currency in the coming years until it overtakes the US dollars by 2020 latest or many be even earlier. For those who can save money in Chinese Yuan, it is a safe bet that the Chinese Yuan will continue to increase in value at a rate better than inflation in the long run.

There are scepticism outside China about the stability of China. I don't see that a possibility as long as the Chinese government can maintain a reasonable grow. There are still a lot of people in poverty in China and these people are desperate to get a share of the economic development enjoyed by the people in the open cities. This remains one of the biggest challenge for the Chinese government, but I have confidence that they will be able to manage. My optimism is based on how the current leaders of the Chinese government have risen to power - through demonstrated ability of leadership in large corporations and/or different levels of government. Ruling 1.2 billion people is not an easy task, but they have 2000 years of history to refer to.

Should government keep topping up failed business?

Here is a dilemma any politician must contemplate. When a business becomes the major employer for a region, it is in a position to demand more and more support to remain in the region. Again, for any corporation, the sole objective is to make maximum profit for its shareholders. The moral issue of supporting the employees and the region hosting the corporation is only secondary. The issue of unviable car manufacturing in Australia is not new. Mitsubishi car manufacturing became unviable in Australia years ago. Subsidizing these car companies which have wrong products will only delay the inevitable. For low cost manufacturing, no one can compete with China where the major market is. The only right product is affordable electric models suitable for Australia and then the world. Large engine cars are models in the past.

Fracking - Hydraulic Fracturing

What is franking?

Friday, 6 December 2013

Working poor

Where to draw a line? Should investors allow their corporations to take the advantage of the poor lowering the wages of their workers to levels that the workers' basic living requirements are not reached?

Which is more important, trade or survival of its people?

India stands firm on farm subsidies, without which a large portion of its poor people will not survive.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Our world lost an inspiring leader

Nelson Mandela dies at aged 95.

Nelson Mandela Speech after election as President

BBC documentary of Mandela

History Channel - Miracle Rising South Africa

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Has the world been taken by bogans?

Bogan "is Australian and New Zealand slang, usually pejorative or self-deprecating, for an individual who is recognised to be from an unsophisticated background or someone whose speech, clothing, attitude and behaviour exemplifies a lack of manners and education." [source]

In a leaked email written, Queensland MP Alex Douglas wrote, "the world had been taken over by bogans who lived empty lives on a diet of grease. It is no longer satisfactory that they will just buy (and wear) ugg boots, watch Big Brother, choke on a diet of grease, dye their bright purple (sic), tatoo (sic) and rejoice in their ignorance." [source]

While politicians may not necessarily watch Big Brothers, wear ugg boots and dye their hair purple, the lack of leadership in dealing with the greatest problem facing humanity makes me wonder if it is a case we get what we deserve?

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Watch your own citizens...

Is it right to watch every citizens of your own countries and the rest of the world?

When the political leaders are as stupid as them...

I really don't know what will help the Americans.

Why do people fight for buying towels?

Not only were people buying towels at Walmart, the Wall Street Journal's Tom Gara found that customers were turning violent to buy inexpensive ones. [source]

Why people turned violent just to buy some towels?

Monsanto - the most hated company

Why do people hate this company?

Monday, 2 December 2013


His maiden speech to the Australian Parliament.

Company Tax: He suggested paying company tax at the end of financial year. Provisional tax is calculated based on the previous year and this allows the government to have a constant stream of income instead of getting most of the government income at the end of the year. I do not support his view on this issue.

Education: Education is important. We all know that. He was not specific on how to fund the education program.

Debt Ceiling: I agree, there is not a problem in Australian Government debt ceiling. As long as the government debt is repayable in a short term future, that is not a problem in any sense of the word.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Pope urges world leaders to fight poverty

May be the Pope can start by donating the majority of the wealth of the Catholic Church to the poor.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Graincorp Take over rejected

Our treasurer has rejected the take over bid by a US company of Graincorp citing community concerns.

I agree with the reject but for national security reason.


Fracking is only a transitional technology. In the long run, we need renewable energy. Whatever fossil fuel left, we should make good use of them to make renewable energy.

The key problem is that corporations are here for a single purpose - making maximum profit. Many corporations have become too powerful and are not bound by morality. In the pursuit of short term profit, damages to the environment are neglected or ignored. By the time environment damages become evidence, they will be gone or just pay a fine - a cost in making more profit.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Spy and Broken Promise

The following video should have been split into two:

First Spying. The handling of the spying by our government was less than skillful. I just hope they can learn and improve.

"Turn back the boat". No, it does not work that way!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Transgender and homosexuality

The identification of an individual (for their own gender identity) does not affect anyone else except him/herself.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Education - roll backs

Five years of negotiation are going to the drain because the new government wants to give more to the rich and less to the poor!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Are we seeing a new paradigm in solving international conflicts?

I have noticed that in the last few months, there are two successful events of solving international differences through negotiations. The first is the Syria's chemical weapon and the second is the Iran's nuclear program. A unilateral use of force does not solve problems - like the so called war against terrorism. It is more like a terror war. Please, we need more progress in the direction of using negotiations to solve our problems.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Stop and Frisk

Here is an example of how police can abuse such a power.

This clip shows the racism in America.


Profit-focused corporation does not care about the environment. The only purpose is to make money. Government has the moral responsibility to guard the interests of its people, not the corporation. Unfortunately, many democratic governments are corrupted to the core.

Friday, 22 November 2013

How Carbon Trading Can Be a False Solution

As I have put it two posts before, carbon trading is the idea of creating a commercial market for processes which inevitably puts carbon into the atmosphere a mean to responsibly put the same amount of carbon back to a safe storage.

The problem the world is facing is that special interest groups, such as oil producers and coal producers have billions of dollars worth of "goods" underground. They want to make maximum profit - any corporation's only reason of survival. If there is a price on pollution, their "product" can become unattractive in the market place - hence a lower profit.

I am sceptical about letting these profiteers having control of the carbon trading market. False sequestration storage, temporary instead of long term storage of carbon are just possible areas of fraud. However, so far the best method to mobilize humanity is via commercial exchange - a win-win strategy in which the trading partners are equal partners, both sides rewarded by benefits to each other and themselves.

To set the market going, government should set "caps" to the amount of pollution their countries are putting into the atmosphere. These caps should be informed by science. It has been argued that developed countries get to the current position via polluting the atmosphere. It is unfair to deny the same path for the developing countries.

I totally agree.

A possible solution is to allow the developing countries a longer time period to eventually achieve zero carbon emission and then take down the emissions they have made while developed countries are obliged to a faster capping scheme to achieve zero carbon emission and then take down the emission their countries have made.

The first objective is to enforce the Kyoto Protocol. World nations must unite together to force USA to sign onto Kyoto Protocol and obliged to achieve the targets. It is politically difficult but the world needs to, this time, unite together and make that happens. For too long, the USA, with the support of her corporations, has been a bully. It is time the world act together. Citizens of USA, it is time for you to demonstrate your democracy is really a democracy. Tell your government and your corporations that it is about the survival of our grandchildren and hence it is OUR business. Act now!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Loss and Damage

The COP established a work programme in order to consider approaches to address loss and damage associated with climate change impacts in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, as part of the Cancun Adaptation Framework. [source]

It is a shame that developed countries are refusing to bear the responsibility of helping the poor to face the climate change issues when these poor countries are suffering as a result of the developed countries' irresponsible actions in the past.

How Carbon Trading May Work

There are natural (e.g. anaerobic decay or bush fire), industrial (e.g. steel manufacturing) and domestic processes (e.g. cooking) which inevitably will emit carbon into the atmosphere. There are also natural processes which remove carbon from the atmosphere. Plants grow by taking carbon dioxide from air, with sunlight and water. By treating the atmosphere as a big storage, as long as we remove as much as we put in, the storage will remain at the same level.

There are two issues here. First, there is already too much carbon in the atmosphere. Second, we need to stop putting more carbon into the atmosphere.

If we stop putting carbon in the atmosphere and reduce the natural processes of emitting carbon, nature will help us in reducing the carbon in the atmosphere, albeit very slowly. To address the first, we can "offset" the carbon emitted in our industrial and domestic processes by deliberately putting away additional equivalent amount carbon which we extract from atmosphere either artificially or naturally. To address the second, we need to stop land clearing of forest and prevent bush fire and so on.

To put away carbon from atmosphere, first we need to extract the carbon from atmosphere first. While scientists have been working hard, the best way is still to encourage nature to "additionally" remove carbon. Plant growth is one of such method. However, when plant dies, the decaying process will still emit carbon back to the atmosphere. In order to store carbon away, we can use biochar. By storing carbon (as charcoal) in agricultural land, we have a win-win situation of stable long-term storage as well as increase of land agricultural productivity. Since charcoal originates from plant material, if we grow additional plant and convert the plant material into charcoal and store these biochar in farmland, we offset the carbon emission in the other inevitable industrial and domestic processes.

Since we have one atmosphere. The emission in one place can be offset by plant grown in another area with the net effect of creating no additional carbon in the atmosphere. The question becomes what is the most efficient way of achieving this?

To return to per-industrial level of atmospheric carbon dioxide level, those countries which have contributed to the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide should have the moral obligation to take down those carbon which they have emitted. If the world can agree on a quota, we can have a solution. This is politically unlikely. So, let me just put in a case that every country is obliged to a zero-carbon emission at some point in the future. Since the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide is from the burning of fossil fuel, we can focus on fossil fuel to start with.

On average we can estimate how much carbon is emitted by measuring the amount of fossil fuels a country consumes. Government can charge a tax (or a price of pollution) on the fossil fuel. The income from the tax can be distributed to the people in the country in an equitable way to offset the inflationary effect of the additional tax. What is that "price" of pollution? Well, that can be determined by a market. Any market consist of buyers and sellers. If a business wants to avoid paying the tax, it can buy offsets. This creates the buyers. People can build business which deliberately put away carbon. These new businesses will become the seller. As long as the tax charged by government is higher than the cost of buying the offset (from where ever in the world), business will minimize the cost by buying the offset. Business will also try to improve their processes in order to minimize the amount of carbon emission in order to remain competitive.

If the government puts an extremely high price to the pollution, there is no doubt many businesses will appear overnight to become the sellers of offset. However, such a measure will be a shock to the economic system. To ease into a trading scheme, government can progressively increase the price at a known rate until a market becomes mature enough to take over. Eventually, polluters should be taxed at a punitive rate and countries should aim at a zero net carbon emission. In the transition phrase, countries should legislate to meet their committed target of reduction as soon as possible.

There are of course many technical details such as how do we ensure that the offset sellers have actually put carbon away for good for a long time. But I hope I have explained the key concept in a carbon trading scheme for laymen.

Two Degrees

Twenty years ago, governments agreed to limit the global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees. Don't be fooled by the talks in climate change. The world is on track to become FOUR degrees warmer.

At two degrees warmer, Marine life are at risk!

4 Degrees warmer, great cities will be washed away. What is the price to relocate the bulk of humanity from immersing cities?

5 degrees warmer, civilization collapses. Asking about the cost of survival in such a world is meaningless when civilization is no longer viable.

6 degrees warmer, there will be mass extinction. Nature will recover in a few million years. There will be no grandchildren's grandchildren. How do we face our grandchildren?

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Carbon trading scheme

The carbon tax repeal laws have passed the lower house. It is now up to the Senate to protect our environment.

Another extreme weather event - in Itality this time

Again, individual weather event cannot be attributed to climate change precisely. However, climate change predicts more frequent extreme events.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Which country has more responsibility in fighting climate change?

Should the current largest polluter pay most? or Should the historical polluters who put the pollutants into the environment pay most?

Fighting the climate change includes both stopping the emission of pollutants into the environment and cleaning up the existing pollutants. It is also important to help countries which suffer from climate change but have not contributed to the problem in the first place.

Where is human compassion and empathy?

It is an animal's act to beat up anyone. What is also worrying is the attitude of the one who was behind the camera. Where is human compassion and empathy?

Where is the line separating free speech and deliberate lying?

Iran Nuclear Program

The biggest bully in the Middle East opposed staunchy to any deal unless Iran completely gave up its nuclear program. Do anyone have a moral right to object development of nuclear program? Is it better to ensure Iran's nuclear program is transparent?

I would rather see a program being checked by International observers that it is for peaceful purposes than to see the program goes underground. Russia is hopeful that there is a real chance of solving the problem.

Monday, 18 November 2013

TransPacific Partnership

Who is the US government working for? US ordinary citizens or US corporate?

Wholesale spying on ordinary people

Spying is a fact of life in politics. When the stakes are high, any information is an advantage. It would be naive to think that governments do not spy on each other. The reason the leaks from NSA whistle blower Ed. Snowden are interesting is not intelligence are being gathered. It is about gathering intelligence of *everyone*. Of course, before the advent of information technology, it was physically impossible to tap into everyone's private life. The irony is that a government who proud itself as law-obeying is actually breaking its own constitution to spy on everyone including their own citizens. A bigger irony is that the US public seems to be interested in the drama of Snowden rather than talk about the implications of such whole sale spying.

Friday, 15 November 2013

2013 is one the hottest years in record

2013 looks like the eighth warmest year since records are kept 160 years ago. All the warmest 10 years are after 2008. WOW! Individual weather event cannot be attributed to the climate change. But a warming Earth predicts more stronger storms, rising sea level and shifting of rainfall patterns. The cost of inaction is now obvious and increasing. Anyone who still denies climate change needs a big stick to hit on his/her head.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Graincorp and ADM takeover

Graincorp is an Australian grain receival and storage company owned by grain growers. See wikipedia article. Grain, being an annual crop, can be controlled via the transport and storage lever. With the expansion of Graincorp in the past years, it has essentially established a monopoly position and obtains the control of grain production. If the major shares remain in the hands of the growers, the interest of the growers will be looked after. Archer Daniels Midland is an American global food-processing and commodities-trading corporation. See another wikipedia article. In 2012 Graincorp received acquisition bids from Archer Daniels Midland. Australian parliament is considering the bid and Treasurer will be determining if he would approve or veto the bid. Australia produces more food than we can consume. About 1/3 to 3/4 of grains are exported. At the moment, the main export which drives our economy is from mining resources - which are of finite supply. On the other hand, food - which depends on sunshine and water - is renewable. In the long term, food will become a critical factor when Earth continues to warm up and current farmland's climate make the land unsuitable. International companies do not have royalty towards another country. If the controlling of Graincorp is transferred to a foreign country, I'm afraid Australian growers will be the losers in the long run. Is a short fall in profit of Graincorp a reason to sell it?

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Storms and Climate

What are hurricanes, typhoons and tropical cyclones?

Why the strongest storms are getting stronger?

The warmer the ocean, the more energy is available to fuel the storm energy - converting the heat from the moisture into destructive wind. The stronger is the wind, the higher is the storm surge. With sea water rise, this added storm surge is destructive.

Human causes the global warming. Unfairly, those who contributed most to the warming are not those who suffer most from the warming. In the case of Haiyan, they are the poor people in Philippines.

Two times Australia Former PM, Kelvin Rudd Quits

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd announced his retirement from politics in an emotional speech to Parliament on Wednesday night, adding "it really is time for me to zip". [source]

The most memorable moment of Kelvin Rudd is the apology to the stolen generation:

Catholic Church and Child Abuse

The investigation report by Victoria Royal Commission into the child abuse by institutions was handed down today. Catholic church is singled out as the worse organization. International outcry of child abuse by clergymen has been loud and clear. It is time for the government to take action and start closing down this criminal organization. I suggest we can start by taxing all the churches, just as any other businesses would be.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Carbon Tax repeal

By calling a price of pollution as a tax was the wrong move by the last Labour government. Repealing the carbon trading scheme is the wrong move in litigating the carbon we human have put into the atmosphere. By Australian has made a wrong choice in voting for this Prime Minister, I guess we have to wait another 3 years before something good can happen. Unfortunately, that also means that the carbon reduction scheme has to be tougher if it can be effective.

Nuisance Nuance: UK's annoying behavior law threatens protesters, criminalizes childhood

The right to protest is under threat in UK, what's next?

"Stop This Madness": Filipino Climate Chief

Individual weather event is not evidence of climate change. But warming of Earth predicts stronger storms and extreme weather. New South Wales suffered bush fire in mid spring, an once 100 year event just months ago. Philippines suffered the worse storm in Earth's history last week. Another severe storm is blooming nearby.

How do we face our grand children when they ask what have we done to stop climate change while we still can?

Bonus: Report of Haiyan

Friday, 1 November 2013


The world is changing faster and faster.

At this time, the short election cycles (3 years in Australia and 5 years in USA) has grown a generation of political leaders who think short term and think for each election cycle.

However, humanity is facing a real challenge.

Oil is a finite resource. The price of oil will increase as the production becomes more difficult and expensive. With current large scale farming closely linked to oil-based fertilizers, food price will also increase. I have no crystal ball and have no idea when this will happen.

Science is clear that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. The higher is the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, the larger is the greenhouse effect. With the shift of the energy balance, Earth will warm up. Human has only 5,000 years of written history. During all these years, we have never had CO2 level as high as today.

Higher global temperature means more ice will melt leading to rising sea level. Most large cities are built near the coast, at almost the current sea level. As sea level rises, the cost of moving these cities will be astronomical. Many poor countries are in low lying areas. Movement of these displaced people will become a major source of problem/conflicts.

Although governments have agreed to limit the rise of global temperature to 2oC, the target has already become unachievable. There is already 0.9oC since the industrial era. There is another 1.6oC coming no matter what we do.

As the climate is moving towards a new equilibrium, weather is going to fluctuation violently. Heat records and cold records have been broken in the last 10 years almost routinely. Huge storms are more frequent than normal.

The short election cycle means that politicians are not going to solve the problem with long term view. What can an average citizen like me can do?