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Anna Karenina

I saw the most recent filmed version of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina this evening. It was one of the most enjoyable movies I have seen in a long time. It had mixed reviews – many criticised its ‘theatrical’ aspects as detracting from the story. Most of the reviews are worth ignoring particular the silly nationalistic […]

Cats & the environment

A while back I ran a post on a really silly article in The Age defending the role of feral cats in the environment arguing that negative attitudes toward them were analogous to racism towards migrants. The facts are that cats are among the most destructive element in our local environment.

This claim is verified […]

Restricting carbon supply & climate change

The attractive feature of supply-based restrictions on the extraction of carbon-based fuels is that they raise the price of such fuels globally. Demand restrictions that are created, for example, by carbon taxes can, in a setting where they are imposed unilaterally, lead to carbon leakages because, in part, of an induced reduction in the global […]

An ambiguous ‘climate change adaptation’ case for air-conditioning

One of the weird arguments for guns by the US gun lobby is to distribute more guns so the innocent can protect themselves. This argument for air conditioning has similar elements. Air conditioning saves lives when populations are exposed to extreme heat events although the proliferation of such technology, will increase the number of extreme […]

Plague soldier beetles

My backyard has recently been invaded by countless thousands of Plague Soldier Beetles. I’ve seen them before but never in such vast numbers. A couple of trees in my backyard were covered with them. They seem to spend much of their time copulating (apparently 92% are having it off at any time) and sucking nectar […]

Native gardens & fire

A friend of mine told me that he recently cut out all of his native plants to reduce fire risks. He owns a country property in an area with high biodiversity value. His house and property were threatened by the bad bush-fires we had in Victoria recently. The same sentiments are expressed in this Canberra […]

Did the tree fall?

On Thursday during the sweltering Melbourne heat I decided, on a whim, to play golf at my local club. An uneventful round except that on the 9th hole I holed out – a hole-in-one. It was a 135 metre par 3 and I knocked it in the hole with a 6 iron – the first […]

Albanese goes

So Tom Albanese has been sacked (sorry, err, he “resigned”) as the CEO of Rio Tinto. He was only paid $7m in 2011 for his efforts at Rio Tinto so I guess there were warning clouds there. But after all, what did he really get wrong? Turning down BHP-Billiton’s 2008 3 share offer might have […]

Obama’s gun controls

I am pleased that President Obama is taking steps to scale back the availability of automatic weapons in the US and to limit the access to guns to those who are mentally disabled. Even if the measure fails through Republican-cum-interest group pressures it needs to be initiated so that the next inevitable mass slaughter triggers […]

Care ethics & feminism

Consider feminism and the application of care ethics to purely human ethical issues. There are related to certain environmental and animal rights ethical concerns (e.g. eco-feminism) and hence to issues I am interested in but I will not discuss such things here – they are more related in any event to feminist critiques of male […]

Climate change stopped 16 years ago

No, it didn’t.

OK I am a bit obsessed with this issue (and have addressed the issue recently here and in 2008 here) but the lie that it did stop still gets repeatedly cited as an “inconvenient truth” by populist commentators such as Alan Jones and in blogs such as Andrew Bolt and Catallaxy. I […]

Some pollution costs

While I was working in Beijing during 2010 some of the worst air pollution ever struck that city. It seems that these pollution records have been broken over the past few days with the thickest ever blanket of PM 2.5 particulates covering much of north east China – the video clip in this story promotes […]

Moylan’s ethics

Anti-coal campaigner Jonathan Moylan’s actions in disrupting the market for Whitehaven stock a few days ago was intended to be a moral action. It is not immoral to have principles and to take a strong stance against the use of coal given the imminent problem of climate change that the world now faces. On the […]

Alex Jones vs. Piers Morgan

Madness from the American right-wing on guns. Alex Jones vs. Piers Morgan. Scary stuff.

Feral cat eradication as racism?

This is probably the silliest op-ed I have seen in many years. At least on conservation issues. It argues that seeking to control feral cats is unnecessary since there is no evidence linking species extinctions to feral cat predation. It doubles up on the stupidity by arguing that the dislike of feral cats […]

Toilets versus computers

In an earlier post I discussed Robert Gordon’s argument that the big technological innovations (for example the discovery of the flush toilet) had already occurred and that more recent innovations – such as the development of the computer and computer-networking via links with telephones were having at best only marginal impacts on productivity. There is […]

Monsters & Men

Liked by Paul Krugman and Marginal Revolution (and me!). An invigorating (thanks RG), punchy rock group. Why are the Icelanders blessed with so many quality contemporary musicians?