19 April 2022

Clean Energy uses much less resources per MWh than other energy sources


Orders of magnitude less than coal.

04 August 2021



04 May 2021

 A worker and one of his two rescuers were tragically killed in a workplace incident that was not quite a freak accident but would have been difficult for a layman, at least, to foresee.

This short (6 minute) video is a highly watchable overview of the incident.

Understanding confined spaces is important. These deaths will not have been in vain if we can learn from them and prevent further such workplace deaths.


29 September 2020

What if a loved one is sucked in by a conspiracy theory cult?

1. “information hygiene”: ...If you must mock, mock in your own words or memes; don’t ever republish the original to a wider audience.

2. Remember, people reach out to social media when they’re seeking human contact;... Steer the conversation towards shared experiences and memories.

3. Don’t argue: Arguing the facts of an issue can have the effect of entrenching conspiracy attitudes in peers who may dig in to save face and defend their public social status.

4. Gently encourage doubts.

5. Acknowledge the genuinely good motivations of the person.

6. Don’t expect an immediate deconversion from the person you’re trying to help.


14 August 2020

Future of the International Order

The future does not lie in the return to dominant US leadership, great power competition or accommodation, or the post-Cold War utopia of a geopolitics-free world. For these are all false gods. The way forward lies in a more inclusive and flexible order, driven by a common imperative in meeting universal challenges, such as climate change, pandemic disease, and global poverty. Such an enterprise will be contentious and chaotic. But there is no alternative if we are to build a future that benefits the mass of humanity.

Lo, Bobo, Global Order in the Shadow of the Coronavirus: China, Russia and the West, Lowy Institute


26 June 2020

'Come on, dogs, I'll take you on'

This post relates to a recent event in which a mentally unbalanced person threatened people with a knife - what is it with knives? - which led inevitably to an altercation with police.

He then thrust a knife through the driver's side window of one stopped car and repeatedly threatened to stab the motorist before telling him: "You better get out of here or I'll stab you."

This case has some interesting aspects. The first is the approach of the police, which makes me think either they had reason to not fear the suspect or they did not want to take the classic dickhead approach, which is commendable.

Ms Mulley said that two police officers approached, prompting Mr Scales-Copeland to yell at them, "come on, you dogs, I'll take you on" before lunging at them.

That escalated quickly.

The officers used capsicum spray and a baton to try to disarm him.

Absolutely commendable, whether this was protocol or their own initiative. I suspect this might have worked had they had sufficient baton training - that is to say I strongly suspect police do not receive nearly enough baton training. This is on the police bureaucracy and the NSW Government, but to be a little harsh, it is open to police officers to seek private training at their own expense, and I imagine such training would be tax-deductible. Nevertheless, it should not be up to some young person to take control of the situation when a wealthy modern state is simply being cheap.

Mr Scales-Copeland allegedly stabbed one senior constable five times in the left thigh. The other officer was stabbed a single time in the right hand, with one finger cut to the bone, Ms Mulley said.

I'm not sure how one gets stabbed 5 times in the thigh.

The officer with the severely injured hand ran into the traffic to escape. The retreating officer could feel the alleged attacker slashing at the back of his police vest.

Strong play. This by the way is what the state expects a civilian to do.

The prosecutor said this officer, who initially had problems unholstering his gun because of his hand injury, fired two shots at Scales-Copeland but missed.

It really worries me when police miss. Pistol shooting is difficult in the best of circumstances, greatly affected by one's psychological state, and is no doubt made much more difficult with a cut to the hand. Nevertheless police receive very little pistol training and practice. See again my comments above about baton training: again, this is a little harsh but I personally know people who, upon receiving a pistol but no training, took it upon themselves to learn to use their tool. I understand police work 4 days on, 4 days off: if they are not busy moonlighting as security guards they have the time to do so.

And then again:

The second officer yelled "drop the knife or we'll have to shoot", but Mr Scales-Copeland allegedly kept advancing so the policeman fired but also missed before his gun jammed.

Again, it worries me when police miss. I stress again that hitting is not easy, but where do those bullets go? Also, note he appears to not have cleared the jam. Clearing a jam when under mere time pressure in a pistol match is difficult enough let alone when someone has just stabbed you and is threatening to do it again. This is a training issue: it needs to be trained regularly. We taxpayers need to stop being so cheap.

Bystanders helped the injured officers eventually arrest Mr Scales-Copeland after he dropped the knife.

I wonder if they'll get prosecuted for their efforts like Trolley Man?

It is gratifying to see policing occurring as I envision it: the people are the police; the police are specialists there to lead and reinforce the people.

This young man is lucky to be alive. I am glad that he is: no parent should have to learn their child had a mental episode and was shot dead by police who just couldn't be bothered trying something else. These guys did try something else and paid a high price - and could have paid the ultimate price - for their efforts. They have my respect and my thanks.

Text source: Sydney Morning Herald


16 June 2020

Arming New Zealand Police