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Forums > Social Discussion > Is time running backward? Stop the world I want to get off!

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Pyrolific
BRONZE Member since Jan 2001

Returning to a unique state of Equilibrium
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Total posts: 3288
Posted:http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200511/s1495178.htm
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"Australia's peak science organisation, the CSIRO, is considering a major change in the focus of its research program.

The CSIRO is likely to cut its rural research programs.

The document signals where the CSIRO is planning to concentrate its research funding in the future.

It recommends research into traditional areas like crops, livestock, medicine, drugs and renewable energy be scaled back.

Instead, the report highlights cleaner forms of coal fired energy, minerals, biosecurity and exploration for coal, gas and oil as areas where research should be focussed.
"

I simply cant believe is this day and age that a Government funded organisation is taking money from Renewable energy and spending it on further exploration for coal gas and oil. Im amazed.

Obviously there are other areas mentioned, but that one is the truly insane one as far as I can tell.


--
Help! My personality got stuck in this signature machine and I cant get it out!

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ben-ja-men
GOLD Member since Jun 2003

ben-ja-men

just lost .... evil init
Location: Adelaide

Total posts: 2474
Posted:without biosecurity big brother cant watch you as well and then ratings will drop, where will we be then

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourself, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous and talented? Who are you NOT to be?

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Dentrassi
GOLD Member since Apr 2003

Dentrassi

ZORT!
Location: Brisbane

Total posts: 3044
Posted:not really surprising considering that from memory the Chief Scientist Robin Batterham - who advises the PM on science related issues (since 1999), works for Rio Tinto - the global mining & resources conglomerate who hardle have a good environmental record (such as the Papua gold mine which contaminated a river with cyanide).

An interesting fact is that Rio Tinto make 20% of their turnover from their Energy division - which is made up from interests in coal mining and uranium.


"Here kitty kitty...." - Schroedinger.

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Eera


old hand
Location: In a test pit, Mackay

Total posts: 1107
Posted:On the other hand, without its mineral resources Australia essentially "has the economy of a third world country" (phrase from the Sydney Morning Herald).

Non-metropolitan Queensland is almost totally supported by coal. What would Western Australia be like to live in if it didn't exploit its iron ore and gold resources.

Australia has long-term contracts to supply China with coal and iron ore for the next ten years, but cannot afford to be complacent about what happens after that if it intends keeping its standard of living up.

CSIRO research in coal and mineral extraction does a lot of work looking at safer and more effective ways to mine currently uneconomic seams. The techniques are also applicable to general rock engineering; the tunnels you drive through in the mountains, the drilled underground reservoirs etc. Ignoring it does no favours to any of us.

Incidentally, my partner works at Hail Creek, a Rio Tinto-owned coal mine, and in terms of facilities it provides for its workers and its attitudes to health and safety, it's by far the best in the Bowen Basin.


There is a slight possibility that I am not actually right all of the time.

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Gnor
BRONZE Member since Mar 2003

Gnor

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Perth

Total posts: 5814
Posted:Self produced biodiesal is subject to heavy excise. How is that supporting renewable energy?

Is it the Truth?
Is it Fair to all concerned?
Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships?
Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?

Im in a lonely battle with the world with a fish to match the chip on my shoulder. Gnu in Binnu in a cnu

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Josh, like Dentrassi said, I also suspect Howard is using Governments funding to force the CSIRO to into coal gas and oil research.

Eera, if non-metropolitan Queensland is almost totally supported by coal, what happened to all the farms????


Gnor biodiesel is very inefficient.


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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Eera


old hand
Location: In a test pit, Mackay

Total posts: 1107
Posted:Stone, in terms of gross monies bought into the economy, farms are completely insignificant compared to mines; one coal train running between Moranbah (coal mining town 2 hours south west of Mackay) and Hay Point coal terminal carries over $1,000,000 in profit. Mines load up to 4 trains each a day and there are over 40 mines in the Bowen basin.

Wool and pineapples may support a family or two but they sure don't employ over 1500 people on site plus contactors per farm or pump massive amounts of money into infrastructure.

The economies of Rural Queensland pre- and post Joh Bjelkie Petersen (Premier who essentially opened the mines up to international trade) are very different indeed.


There is a slight possibility that I am not actually right all of the time.

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Dentrassi
GOLD Member since Apr 2003

Dentrassi

ZORT!
Location: Brisbane

Total posts: 3044
Posted:I completely understand the importance of Australias primary resources to us - id be a hypocrite if i did since im an engineer myself who deals with all types of industry - my problems is the CSIRO diverting funds from renewable energy research among other areas, which i had an issue with.
Coal is undoubtedly a critical resource for our country, but looking at the long term sustainability of Oz I would prefer research to renewable energy rather than other projects for instance the curiously named 'Clean Coal' concept currently being trumpeted around. I feel that many of the Mining and Resource companies have enough of a financial base to fund there own research - then again i do understand the importance of the CSIRO being respected within industry.

Rio Tinto like most other primary resource firms has excellent records in Australia because we have relatively high enforces standards of work safety and company responability. Most have active HSEC teams to monitor safety, well being of workers, and open lines of construction communication when it comes to these issues. However from what ive seen many of these companies are not nearly as diligent when overseas depending on the country - but i can see this may be going off on another tangent here.


"Here kitty kitty...." - Schroedinger.

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Eera


old hand
Location: In a test pit, Mackay

Total posts: 1107
Posted:You are absolutely right about companies not being so diligent overseas; the big gold miners are paranoid about the Africans realising they may be able to sue over the huge cyanide pits left open, and I've seen diamond mines in Namibia where they follow the slope of the diatreme exactly as it's cheaper to pay compensation for workers killed in stove-ins than it is to engineer the slopes or go underground.

I'm playing Devil's Advocate a little bit as I really don't like the automatic "Fossil fuels = bad" reaction without the wider view being looked at.


There is a slight possibility that I am not actually right all of the time.

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Dentrassi
GOLD Member since Apr 2003

Dentrassi

ZORT!
Location: Brisbane

Total posts: 3044
Posted:i completely agree smile

"Here kitty kitty...." - Schroedinger.

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Dunno Eera, insignificant it may be, but u can put an extra $7.2 billion in my pocket any day of the week wink

Anyhow, how much of Queenslands mineral wealth is actually owned by Australia?


ABS Source: Australian National Accounts, State Accounts (cat. no. 5220.0)

The contribution of agriculture to the Queensland economy can be measured in a number of ways. The most direct measurement available is the gross value of agricultural production, which is the value placed on recorded production at wholesale prices realised in the market place. In 2000-01, the gross value of agricultural production for Queensland was $7.2 billion.

Other measures of the contribution of agriculture to the economy include:

1. gross farm product (GFP), which is a measure of the value added in production by farm businesses. In 2001-02, the GFP for Queensland was calculated to be $5.4 billion, or 4.5% of gross state product;

2. the value of exports of agricultural commodities from Queensland (i.e. export products sourced from the agriculture industry), which was $470 million.


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:PS Eera. If you really don't like the automatic "Fossil fuels = bad" reaction without the wider view being looked at, then perhaps you support the story that global warming is a myth.

If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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Dentrassi
GOLD Member since Apr 2003

Dentrassi

ZORT!
Location: Brisbane

Total posts: 3044
Posted:that hardly seems fair Stone. I certainly believe that global warming is a major problem that we are not doing nearly enough about - but what Eera was saying (correct me if im wrong), and what I agree with, is if you look at Coal mining from the purely environment perspective - sure its bad, but when you look at it also from the social & economical at the same time it changes things - we need jobs, cash flow, and energy for our country to sustain our standard of living which we are used to - which compared globally is quite high.

Its just a shame that our country is so dependant on the fossil fuel & mining sector to provide these.

EDITED_BY: Dentrassi (1130898234)


"Here kitty kitty...." - Schroedinger.

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Eera


old hand
Location: In a test pit, Mackay

Total posts: 1107
Posted:Stone, there have been a couple of global warming threads in which my views on it (roughly, if we look at it from a purely human perspective it's going to be massively inconvenient for us, but ultimately there will be very little effect on the Earth as a whole as the global temperature naturally goes up and down hugely and, hey, the world survives) have been aired. But that's off topic.

As a fag-packet calculation, one company (BMA) that employs 650 diesel fitters at an average wage of $120,000 pa puts $78,000,000 into the economy. That's 1/10 of the gross agricultural production from one company paying one relatively small group of people.

The ever-eloquent Dentrassi has summed me up better than I can myself. Ultimately there may be a need for alternatives but right now the world as a whole is set up to deal with fossil fuels-particularly the expanding countries who make up the majority of Australia's markets. There is a demand which we supply.


There is a slight possibility that I am not actually right all of the time.

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ben-ja-men
GOLD Member since Jun 2003

ben-ja-men

just lost .... evil init
Location: Adelaide

Total posts: 2474
Posted:Written by: Stone

Gnor biodiesel is very inefficient.



most technologies are when they first start out, i mean look at the capabilities of the first computer. i went to a seminar last week on biodiesel, initially it was a case that as much energy had to be put into the process as was extracted from it now its more in the region of 1 in 1.3 out.


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourself, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous and talented? Who are you NOT to be?

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Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted:Well, this all sounds terribly familiar. Just ask any American about "Clean Coal Technology." Our President mentioned it once...

Imagine the impact if, say, tomorrow someone published in a physics journal that they had surpassed "break even" fusion.

It's not so simple as the immediate commencement of orderly construction of fusion plants. See, there's a fundamental rule of technological advance: *IT WON'T HAPPEN UNLESS SOMEONE CAN A) MAKE MONEY WITH IT OR B) KILL A LOT OF PEOPLE WITH IT*

So someone, maybe one of the more forward-thinking energy companies (Amoco-BP, Texaco, Shell) might start working on how to build a commercial fusion reactor that would be profitable. Some of the...um...less forward-thinking (read: "evil") companies (*koff*Exxon-Mobil*koffkoff*) might start public relations blitzes about how dangerous fusion is.

So suppose they now are starting to build the first few commercial fusion reactors. Electricity costs probably wouldn't plummet at first and fossil fuel demand probably wouldn't go down at first, either, because people would still be driving fossil fuel-powered cars. But as fusion power got less and less expensive, it probably would overtake fossil fuel.

In order to completely replace it, a few technological advancements would have to be made. Some sort of instant repowering of electric cars (whether fuel cells with the energy input from fusion in the form of electrolysis of water...or removeable/replaceable batteries that would be changed at a service station) would be necessary, for example. And air travel would also require some significant re-thinking.

The end of fossil fuel dominance would lead to economic upheaval. The Gulf Coast of the United States would be economically devastated. Fusion power would require some blue-collar labor for reactor assembly, but nothing like the vast industrial infrastructure required for fossil fuel mining and refining. The sociopolitical arrangement in the Mid-East where the entire economy relies on oil, would probably be put a bit out of sorts, as well. It's difficult to predict the result of the West suddenly picking up and pulling everything out of the region. The region would undoubtedly sink into third-world barbarism with no income to speak of, but there wouldn't be sufficient funds to support terrorist networks.

All in all, it would be an interesting world..


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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Dentrassi
GOLD Member since Apr 2003

Dentrassi

ZORT!
Location: Brisbane

Total posts: 3044
Posted:Written by:


most technologies are when they first start out, i mean look at the capabilities of the first computer. i went to a seminar last week on biodiesel, initially it was a case that as much energy had to be put into the process as was extracted from it now its more in the region of 1 in 1.3 out.







I believe it was the same with Solar panels - at first they were grossly inefficient from the energy life-cycle-analysis perspective - theres common urban myths going around stating they still are - however I believe that point in technological development has been surpassed so now they will produce significantly more energy than consumed in production (although I will go off and check for some valid figures somewhere.)



And from memory, 'Clean Coal' is advertised at cutting emission by 20% - its an improvement sure - but dont forget about the remaining 80% of emissions!

EDITED_BY: Dentrassi (1130905651)


"Here kitty kitty...." - Schroedinger.

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Hi Dentrassi we need jobs, cash flow, and energy for our country to sustain our standard of living which we are used to which compared globally is quite high. Well spoken, thats the same excuse Mr Howard and Mr Bush use for doing nothing. !

Enviro friendly Rio Tinto at work wink


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Ben mate, its simple do you spin with alcohol or D 60 ?

If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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Dentrassi
GOLD Member since Apr 2003

Dentrassi

ZORT!
Location: Brisbane

Total posts: 3044
Posted:Written by: Stone


Hi Dentrassi we need jobs, cash flow, and energy for our country to sustain our standard of living which we are used to which compared globally is quite high. Well spoken, thats the same excuse Mr Howard and Mr Bush use for doing nothing. !







Are you proposing that australians do not need or want jobs, cash, and energy? even the Greens focus on those issues - although approaching it more a completely different direction!



my personal opinion is probably more reflected by the next line I wrote:

"Its just a shame that our country is so dependant on the fossil fuel & mining sector to provide these."

EDITED_BY: Dentrassi (1130910431)


"Here kitty kitty...." - Schroedinger.

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:You are right Josh, time is rumming backwards.



New thinking Lightning, that really is the way forward. So I hope you appreciate the humor when I say , I seem to me I remember reading an article on fusion in that um journal Nature, a while back. Umm, what ever happend to that Crick and what 's his name? wink



Eera, massively inconvenient is more that a bit of an understatement. Sorry, I'm not familiar with your opinion on global warming. Though, it seems pretty obvious that the frequency of droughts and hurricanes has increased. Even beyond known records.



The theory that its ok to do what ever we like, because the planet will survive leaves me cold. Not much there for the next generation is there? To finish, Ill say that as a farm boy and agricultural scientist, I really take exception to your suggestion that farms are completely insignificant. Try eating brown coal for breakfast.



Ben, I think solar is the most sustainable form of energy, and bio diesel very inefficient. So how has it has changed so you to get 1 in 1.3 out? The oil for bio diesel has to be grown at a high fossil fuel cost, and ethanol is a really, really inefficient fuel. Are the abstracts published on the net?



Dentrassi, where did I imply that Australians do not need or want jobs, cash, and energy. The real shame is that our country doesnt have a leader with more ticker hohoho





hehe

EDITED_BY: Stone (1130940890)


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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Eera


old hand
Location: In a test pit, Mackay

Total posts: 1107
Posted:I deliberately chose to say "massively inconvenient" as I dislike hysterical language. It should be pointed out that we look at global warming from a purely human-lifespan perspective. From an Earth-history view having standing ice on the surface is highly unusual; the average temperature is normally a lot higher than it is right now. Even 2000 years ago grapes were grown in central England and Malaria was rife in Europe. We are in the middle of a cold snap that one way or the other, will come to an end.

But this has been dealt with elsewhere.

We also need to consider things like the alternative uses for resources. So far we've been focussing on fossil *fuels*. The oil industry is largely driven by our need for plastics, the light fraction which cannot be used is what we put in our engines, so while we have little alternative there we still need that particular sector.


There is a slight possibility that I am not actually right all of the time.

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Eera, I dont think we will agree on this. I just dont understand how people can ignore the obvious; that the planet does have a life span and we are poisoning it. Though, I am interested in reading about Malaria being widespread in Europe.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that the light fraction in fuel meant lighter as in ignition. And the this fraction is increased for winter conditions when cars are harder to start.

I think we need to get time running forward again. Perhaps, we should stick to posting ideas on renewable energy or the most efficient ways to improve current technology.



Cheers smile


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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