Sunday, 20 November 2011

A weakness for outside backs

Having a look at a few rugby players on the web for the first time in a while, I foundthis 2008 list of the thirty best players of the past thirty years, excluding those not eligible to play for Australia:
  1. Andrew Johns
  2. Wally Lewis
  3. Brad Fittler
  4. Darren Lockyer
  5. Allan Langer
  6. Mal Meninga
  7. Peter Sterling
  8. Laurie Daley
  9. Brett Kenny
  10. Bradley Clyde
  11. Mick Cronin
  12. Steve Walters
  13. Glenn Lazarus
  14. Steve Rogers
  15. Gorden Tallis
  16. Shane Webcke
  17. Steve Roach
  18. Terry Lamb
  19. Ricky Stuart
  20. Ray Price
  21. Andrew Ettingshausen
  22. Danny Buderus
  23. Jonathan Thurston
  24. Cameron Smith
  25. Graham Eadie
  26. Steve Mortimer
  27. Benny Elias
  28. Wayne Pearce
  29. Nathan Hindmarsh
  30. Cliff Lyons
Although I have not access to enough rugby league footage to tell if this list really is accurate, what I do know about rugby league (the Super League war reduced my interest in the game I must confess) I can state that the main flaw with the list is positional. There is not a single winger in that list; though wingers never win player-of-the-year awards, that should hardly mean they should be omitted.
  • Eric Grothe senior would be the obvious choice to rectify this omission: for one thing he was one of only two players
Also, with fullbacks and centres, the list is not only weak but also places the few in those positions in odd places:
  • Darren Lockyer
  • Mal Meninga
  • Mick Cronin
are all very high given the lack of outside backs in the list as a whole. Then Graham Eadie, though from my limited experience watching the sport the bets player I have seriously seen, is a little too old (he first played in 1971) to be a part of a list covering the period from 1978 to 2007.

As for inside backs, it is hard to see apart from his bad injury record (his last injury-free season was in 1989) how Greg Alexander was not preferred over Steve Mortimer or Cliff Lyons.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Why Australia must be attacked hard and seen as THE priority issue

According to today’s issue of the West Australian, global greenhouse gas emissions have been rising as steadily as ever in spite of efforts to reduce them.

The paper says that, largely owing to the influence of China’s and India’s industrialisation along with that of many countries in Latin America, greenhouse emissions exceed worst-case scenarios despite efforts under the Kyōto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions having been fairly successful in other Enriched World nations. According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), however, these emissions were what would be expected.

Whilst the MIT does not provide major projections for the future, demographic data suggest that fertility in most of the nations which have experienced rapid growth will taper off to below replacement fertility and most likely to lowest-low fertility of below 1.3 children per woman. Under this condition, China, India, Brazil and other countries experiencing rapid industrialisation today would cease to have growth in greenhouse emissions. A recent article in The Spectator goes further and suggests that as these nations age they will lose not only their youth but also their working-age populations. Since most of these newly industrialising nations have had highly militant working classes, they are likely to have especially strong environmental movements even with the pollution problems (temporarily in practice) affecting their major cities. India, China and Brazil also are likely to have the same problems with welfare states and the potential for mass emigration that European and East Asian nations do. Ultimately, this could force many working immigrants into the ecologically sensitive land of Australia where no economic restraints on energy consumption exist because of the abundant land and coal reserves.

Such a scenario, which is in fact the logical result of industrialisation because of the precise reversal in resources between pre-industrial and industrial economies, could see the Earth transformed far beyond transforming its atmospheric CO2 levels to those found during most of geological history when climates, soils and ecology were globally akin to Australia and Southern Africa today. Burning all the fossil fuels available could transform the Earth into an extremely hot and even un-habitable planet, rather like Venus with its dense CO2 atmosphere and no water or free O2.

Although such would never be reached before the life-support systems of the Earth were degraded, what is much more likely is that the degradation will begin slowly when it is too late to reverse. Such occurred with Perth’s now-decrepit surface water supplies which require atmospheric CO2 under 300 parts per million to have frequent enough cold fronts to nourish them. It was not until the 1980s that concern about their viability was raised, but by then the damage was done even had Australia adopted a rigid 100 percent rail transport policy. The same could easily happen with diseases of plants and crops or frequently higher crop prices from tropical cyclones in the future.

The real solution, then, is for the governments of Eurasia and the Americas to set aside their differences, make cuts to welfare spending and even on local environment protection and really do something to press Australia for a rigid zero emissions target or to pay fully for the costs of climate change abroad brought about by its emissions. If all the energy devoted to local conservation had been so directed over the past twenty to thirty years, much more would have been achieved in the fight against runaway global warming.