Thursday, 1 November 2007

Most Terrifying Video You'll Ever See

Well, no it's not, but the consequences of doing nothing will be.

A logical "pros and cons" approach to the still politically thorny issue of global warming (that's climate change for all you skeptics out there).

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Monday, 29 October 2007

Chinese Lunar Obiter

The PRC are very proud of their achievement in getting a rocket with a satellite payload destined for the moon and year of topographical surveying from orbit. The news broadcasts from CCTV4 for the last 3 days, have devoted at least 15 minutes to replaying the launch and projected orbits, with ample interviews, shots of the command centre, and of excited young school students waving national flags, dressed up as astronauts, and the man in the street with telescope, scanning the skies (through the the smog and haze) for the bright dot that is Chang'e I. The launch is rightly, a source of immense pride and prestige for China. But as it enters an era of wannabe "(proto) Super Power", and increased influence on the world stage, brought about primarily by the insatiable need for raw materials and energy resources, to feed its own booming and the economies of its international trading partners, they are finding their pragmatic view on "non interference" in other nations' internal affairs, is coming under increasing scrutiny. As successive world powers have found over the millennia; it is one thing to become the Grand Pooh Bah, it is another to keep the title, while setting a good example, holding the moral, and actual (least you be attacked where you least expect it!), high ground, AND also keeping your people content, as well as providing a positive vision for the future and practically working toward it, not only for your own country, but other nations around the world. While the track record of our own "Western civilization" is a mixed one of tawdry, self serving bullying and strong-arm tactics, laced with, at best, a good dose of hypocritical tyranny and condescension heaped on the less fortunate peoples of the planet, we have at least maintained the pretence of the goals of universal human rights and suffrage, the rule of law and social justice, and sought to spread the practice across nations, once we'd got it half right ourselves. And as the current batch of "Super Powers" is finding, when throwing these particular babies out with the bath water, it's a bit difficult to keep the restless hordes within and outside your own borders in check, regardless of whether they are "enemy combatants", monks, dissidents, traitors, or just plain inconvenient or unpatriotic citizens. There is a saying (apparently a Chinese curse) to the effect, "May you live in interesting times". The times right now are very interesting indeed, with many local challenges and one almost overwhelming global challenge facing the whole of humanity. Sometimes I wish I had a Tardis to zip forward 50 or 100 or even 1000 years to see what becomes of us all. To our Chinese friends I say, welcome to the space age and ...."May you live in interesting times". (Aside: FIMDs crystal ball gazing says look for a Lunar landing timed to co-incide with the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics next year!)