As we approach the centenary of the introduction of ‘Gross Domestic Product’ (GDP), it’s time to acknowledge that this anachronistic atrocity should be consigned firmly to the history books, where it belongs. GDP is indeed ‘gross’; it has no soul. It loves catastrophes because of the rebuilding they require, and it encourages antisocial activities (such as weapons manufacture, for instance).
Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants.
Volume Twenty-one, Number Seven,
Bob Rich’s rave
*About Bobbing Around
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* From me to you
My wish for you
On civil liberties
Third free online positive psychology session
In campaign mode
From me to you
My wish for you
On civil liberties
I have had correspondence with a person I like and respect, who has cited evidence that the COVID vaccines used in Australia frequently have side effects the authorities are hiding. At the same time, this person is against mandatory mask wearing, and restrictions on personal freedom. Here is my reply:
If the vaccines used in Australia are not safe, then we need other protection measures.
The global flu epidemic of 1918-1920 killed an estimated 50 million people. If you multiply that by the population increase, that’s about 350 million.
And for many years, the flu virus has mutated every year, so people needing protection get a flu shot every year.
How do you protect people from an airborne virus if you can’t rely on inoculation? In order of effectiveness:
1. Masks. Having an infected person efficiently masked provides significant protection to everyone else. An uninfected person gets moderate protection from correctly wearing a mask.
2. Contact tracing + quarantine. Since a virus spreads exponentially, each infection isolated has a huge effect; each loose in the community a potential disaster.
3. Contact tracing is only possible when the number of new infections doesn’t overwhelm the available resources. So, lockdowns, limiting movement and intermixing is essential to make it work.
So, I am puzzled. If your statements about the vaccines are correct, you should be all for alternative public health measures.
As for violation of human rights, it is no more so than many other measures.
Mandatory seatbelt wearing was introduced when I was a young man. I considered this an attack on my freedom: in the low-probability event of a car smash, it should be my right to protect my personal safety or not. Today, I don’t know anyone, including me, who doesn’t automatically engage the safety belt. But this only protects one person.
Drink driving is another. It has more justification, because a drunk driver has a significantly higher risk of a smash, and risks other occupants of the vehicle, other road users, and often people on footpaths or even inside buildings. All the same, a drunk driver is at risk of causing only one adverse event.
So, why do you object so strongly to public health measures that mandate actions designed to stop a societal catastrophe?
During the Second World War, cities at risk of night bombing had mandates against showing a light from a window. This was a justified infringement of individual freedom, wasn’t it?
Third free online positive psychology session
I circulated this to all the Greens in Australia, and am reproducing it here because this free session is available globally.
I know it is the middle of the holiday season so everything stops, but I need to publicise a free online positive psychology session scheduled for
SATURDAY 8 JANUARY, 2022, 11 am (Australian Eastern Daylight Saving Time, GMT+11).
In our insane world, all of us will benefit from increased resilience, inner strength and calmness by learning the tools of positive psychology, and this is our service to Greens members and supporters anywhere in Australia.
This is the third of three sessions, partly to offer a free sample of our 5-session course, which is a fundraiser for our campaign in the Casey electorate in Victoria.
I would be very grateful if you can draw people’s attention to it by forwarding this email, and listing it on Facebook pages and the like.
The first two sessions were very well received.
People who want to participate should RSVP to this email address, and read an award-winning short story, Two women aged 55.
They can also contact me via the registration page for the main event, Climate and COVID Anxiety. (This is course is only available within Australia.)
I will email them the link to the session.
All the best for 2022,
In campaign mode
If 2 years of worldwide lockdown has not affected global warming, is there really anything we can do about it ever? Or are we just barking up the wrong tree in the 1st place?
This was a question on Quroa. To my immense surprise, it received several denialist answers. I just cannot conceive that in today’s world that is possible. So, I gave this answer:
There WAS a temporary slowing, but it was a mere blip, for two reasons.
First, industrial activity slowed, but still went on.
Second, there was considerably less air pollution, which provided less shielding from UV light. So, the net incoming radiation increased.
The point is, you cannot have an infinitely growing economy in a limited (and in fact shrinking) natural system.
Also, exclusive focus on climate change is a mistake. It is merely one serious symptom of the real problem, and merely one of several causative factors of global extinction. Other examples are plastic, poisons killing the small life on the planet in huge numbers, loss of topsoil, use of fresh water faster than it can be replenished. There are several others, but I hope you get the idea.
The real problem is a global culture of greed, hate and aggression. The consumer society is consuming the planet.
In a sane world, everyone, regardless of wealth, nationality or any other feature would be cooperating toward survival, and creating a good world for everyone instead of one in which some people own obscene amounts of possessions, with others starving in direct consequence.
There are many of use striving for this change. Join us.
On a personal level, live simply so you may simply live.
To get a fuller explanation, please read How to change the world.
New York City is ungassing itself
Within the next few years, new buildings in New York will be all-electric. America’s most populous city joins over sixty others, and this is a big deal.
Since New York State’s electricity supply is rapidly greening, this will save heaps of carbon emissions (carbon dioxide when the gas is burned, and methane from all the many leaks and inefficient uses). Equally important are effects on health. Burning methane indoors is known to have multiple health effects.
Good move: KEEP CARBON IN THE GROUND!
Lloyd agrees with me
Please read this brief, well written essay by Lloyd Alter in Treehugger.
Then, if you haven’t already, read my essay, How to change the world.
We offer the same solution to the world’s environmental problems.
Some of the comments amused me, though not in a good way. One person considered that having less — you know, like only one bathroom in a three-bedroom apartment — could have come straight out of Marx’s Communist Manifesto. This reminds me of the old joke of four people in a lifeboat, with waves washing over the gunwale. Three are desperately bailing, but the fourth is drilling a hole in the bottom. When the others remonstrate with him, he says, “What’s it to you? It is under MY seat!”
Environmentally beneficial farm
Sundrop grows tremendous amounts of food in the desert: they supply Coles with tomatoes.
Several problems with modern farming are:
- The use of dreadful chemicals that poison everything, including you, me, the decisionmakers and shareholders of the companies making them, and more important, the small beings that all more complex life is based on.
- Artificial fertilisers that actually destroy soil organisms and soil structure, then leach into waterways producing dead zones.
- Fresh water at such rates that major aquifers have been depleted, leading to little problems like major ground subsidence and seawater being sucked inland, destroying the source of drinking and irrigation water for large areas.
- Major fossil fuel use for all the huge agricultural machines. It is no exaggeration to say that the food you eat is transformed petroleum, and we need to get off that particular addiction.
Sundrop is a privately owned business (you can’t invest in it, sorry) that avoids every one of these problems. Thermal solar power is used to desalinate seawater in a way that causes no harm to the nearby marine area. Solar electricity powers everything. Hydroponic farming allows food to be grown in an area without suitable soil (or rainfall), and there is absolutely no need for pesticides.
I do have one criticism. It is very high-tech. Oh, the cost has been paid off long ago, but it is an example of the thinking that technology can save our world, which can be shown to be false. Also, a wealthy business can do it, but the people who need food-growing opportunities are the poor of the world.
All the same, it is a magnificent contribution to staving off disaster.
The ideal beach towel
Convert 20 PET bottles into fibre. Weave the fibre into a towel. Doesn’t sound easy to me, but this is the invention of Wayne Goodwin, an Australian environmental sciences High School teacher.
Sand doesn’t lodge in this towel but is easy to shake off. It dries you very well, then the water rapidly evaporates from it.
How do I know? My grandbabies in Sydney are keen beach-goers. Indeed, they are both “Nippers,” that is, embryo beach lifesavers. And my darling daughter Natalie gave them one of these towels each as a Christmas present.
Every day is Christmas. Next time you feel like giving a present to a saltwater person, check out the perfect beach towel.
Looking over a writer’s shoulder
Hi lovely people,
I need advice on a political problem in one of my works in progress.
This is an alternate reality science fiction series, and the time is 2015. My heroes are trying to stop the genocide of the Rohingya in Myanmar, and manage to communicate with two of the four fictional generals who rule that country.
Both these men turn out to be decent, and doing their best to minimize harm.
This was fine until earlier in 2021, when the real rulers of Myanmar revealed themselves to be power-addicted psychopaths.
One of the two generals becomes an important secondary character who joins our heroes. To change this requires a major rewrite of two entire volumes, and more minor changes in a third.
So, my question is, if you were reading this story, would the disparity between the real and fictional rulers of Myanmar pull you out of the created reality?
Maraglindi, reviewed by Laurie Zelinger
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Maraglindi, a story about a young Aboriginal girl. As a New Yorker with a limited knowledge about this population, I was fascinated by the culture and character development that Dr. Rich described. I particularly enjoyed his judicious use of language, where he capably described some scenes in a single paragraph when additional detail was not required. Even though the story takes place almost 200 years ago, given the current climate of overt and micro aggressions toward various groups of people, this piece is important in this current day and age as it takes the reader on a journey where one’s biases about others are examined and addressed.
Please Explain Vaccines to Me: Because I HATE SHOTS! by Laurie Zelinger
I don’t like being a pincushion. Do you?
A great many children also object.
Laurie specialises in child psychology, and has written at least six other lovely little books to help parents manage difficult issues.
This book has three components. First there is a personal message to the caregiver, in which Laurie reveals that she herself has a fear of needles. Then, we have the two parts I am used to seeing in Laurie’s books: an illustrated story to be read by or for the child, and a mini-instruction manual for the parent.
Both are excellent. I particularly like the research-based but fun activities she describes for reducing anxiety regarding a range of medical procedures that include a skin puncture, such as local anaesthetics in dentistry, inoculations, insertion of an IV line, etc.
Please Explain Alzheimer’s Disease to Me: A Children’s Story and Parent Handbook About Dementia by Laurie Zelinger
A delightful little boy tells a story about unfortunate changes in Grandma. He and his cousin laugh at first, but their parents are sad.
His mother explains the situation to him in a way any small child will understand, and so he engages in useful activities to help the beloved old lady to cope a little better.
This is excellent modelling for children facing the same problem, and for that matter, also for their parents.
As with all of Laurie’s books, the second half is explaining the science and instructing the parent of a child affected by a grandparent’s dementia. In addition, this book also teaches a considerable amount about the care of a demented person.
Highly recommended if you find yourself in this difficult situation.
Liminal Spaces, by Laurie Corzett
Twilight, the wee hours,
the dark of the moon
places where magic reigns,
crossroads, crises, cusps.
There is static on the radio.
my voice was singing
taking flight to surround me,
the sound of music,
a comforter of down
to ease my soul.
I’ve been trying to define a taste,
a sense of bittersweet and salt.
I’ve been trying to find a trace
a footprint in the desert,
a sound, a scent,
I’ve been trying to find a trace of me,
a piece to fit the puzzle,
my contribution to the grand design.
Seeking in the shadows,
the space between
myth and matter,
those places words
On those insubstantial plains
of myst and awe,
the stuff of dreams,
threshold of wonder,
Fun with fluids
It takes a genius at communication to make science fun. That’s what Shane Keating has done in explaining classical fluid dynamics while giving you a laugh or three.
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