Friday, 26 December 2014

Proof Australia must pay – and remedy in the most rigid manner

Whilst I have known for some time how southwestern Australia and Central Chile have experienced severe declines in rainfall over the past forty-five years, an unseen revelation from scientists in California is much more conclusive proof of the impact of Australia’s dreadful (and deadly) pro-freeway transport policies. Although there does actually exist some doubt about the nature of changes in Califonia, there is no questioning in southwestern Australia and little in Chile that these changes are one hundred percent man-made.
What as been revealed according to Time Magazine (from a study in Geophysical Research Letters) is that the present drought in California, which has seen Los Angeles receive only 12.01 inches (305 millimetres) of rain between July 2012 and June 2014, is the worst as far back as paleoclimatic records go. The journal says that this does not only reflect the low rainfall but hot temperatures due to Australian-produced (indirectly as well as directly) greenhouse gas emissions. This is admitted even in a more recent study that suggests LA rainfall will remain the same in the future – in contrast to Santiago whose eight-year average rainfall of 224 millimetres (64 percent of the virgin mean) is the lowest on record, and more so Perth where only two wet seasons in the virgin period had less rainfall than the average since 2006.

The basic issue is that not only does Australia have the highest per capita emissions and some of the worst policies – when it has the resources and the need to have the very lowest emissions and cleanest policies were its mining lobby controllable – but that its incomparably abundant land and fossil fuels relative to population means that, as other nations improve their regulations of greenhouse pollution, there is every incentive for polluters to set up operations in Australia.

In contrast, if it was Australia that was forced to cut its greenhouse pollution back, the very source of emissions in China, India, Europe, Japan, Korea and the Americas would be literally destroyed. Without the large deposits of structural metals from the Australian Craton – or having to have these moved emissions-free as ores to nations with reliable hydropower – the industrial sector of Eurasia and the Americas would have to completely change policies. Most especially, as I have noted before, it would involve much longer-lasting products to use less cheap mineral resources from Australia. Of course this would hardly be acceptable to the fashionable sectors of Enriched World society, where as Barry Schwartz in The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less and Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter in Nation of Rebels: Why Counterculture Became Consumer Culture, the majority simply want to be different in a manner impossible if Australian raw material production was severely restricted. However, this severe restriction will do much more to save the Earth from catastrophe than all the regulations in Europe, East Asia, North America and the Southern Cone combined: by requiring frugality where nature demands it.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

The ‘Dirty Dozen’ – with two totally unexpected omissions

Over the time I have read them – and it is my belief that even vehemently anti-Catholic people should read the “BACVR” Right simply to understand and know them – I have become aware that American conservatives have come to believe that “activist” judges in the Supreme Court have used their power to expand government beyond what the American Constitution intended.

Powerful feelings about the sinfulness of artificial birth control and homosexuality (regarding which there does not exist a single landmark Court case pre-Obama) tends to make 1973’s Roe v. Wade and 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey regarded by “casual” conservatives as the worst court cases, and those two are certainly the most discussed in “politically incorrect” books on the Supreme Court. The view of these court cases – even with judges like Antonin Scalia – is not based upon Catholic moral viewpoints forbidding abortion, but on the belief that the issue belongs exclusively to the states. In fact, the Supreme Court has never so far as I know been petitioned by the Catholic (or other traditional churches) to rule laws permitting abortion illegal, although such a paper could certainly exist inside sealed Court archives.

Robert A. Levy’s and William Mellor’s ‘Dirty Dozen’ cases comprise instead (in chronological order):
  • Home Building and Loan Association v. Blaisdell (1934)
  • Helvering v. Davis (1937)
  • United States v. Carolene Products (1938)
  • United States v. Miller (1939)
  • Wickard v. Filburn (1942)
  • Korematsu v. United States (1944)
  • Penn Central Transportation Co. v. New York (1978)
  • Bennis v. Michigan (1996)
  • Grutter v. Bollinger (2003)
  • McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003)
  • Kelo v. City of New London (2005)
  • District of Columbia v. Heller (2008)
What this list seems to confirm is that the “Millennial” generation, like the early “Interbellum” generation, is one that places great emphasis upon economic security at all costs, and that this tendency extends much further up the social ladder than just the working class.

Before the 1930s, the US – like Australia – had a distinctly religious and conservative proletariat of Irish Catholics forced out by the potato famine, but in that decade support for socialism (the dominant ideology of all working classes in Latin America and Eurasia) grew substantially as I note here, probably as a result of improvements to farming technology reducing the number of farmers in the Enriched World in favour of the more efficient Tropical and Unenriched lands. There is a possible element of “critical mass” in these legislations from both the 1930s and the 1990s/2000s (a residue from working classes radicalised by musicians like AC/DC, Metallica, Pantera and N.W.A. and perhaps the “New Atheism”).

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

An absurd look at a talented organist

Today, my brother returned for Christmas after a visit to China. On the way to the airport, Mummy reluctantly allowed me to play a recently-acquired copy of Roger Muraro’s rendition of Messiaen’s masterpiece Catalogue d‘Oiseaux. I had heard his rendition of Vingt Regards sur l‘Enfant Jésus before getting Muraro’s Catalogue d‘Oiseaux (which was actually recorded in concert despite not saying so) and, like other Messiaen pieces, its addictive and oddly accessible character shined through in the manner which listening for its intricacies and the natural images Messiaen aimed to convey completely distracted me from reading Edith Sitwell’s Selected Letters, which I also brought but only looked at two pages.

Being outnumbered one-to-two with my brother in the car, I was not able to listen to the second disc of Muraro’s Catalogue d‘Oiseaux on the journey home, but I did discuss it with my mother and brother, who have numerous severe criticisms of it – that it lacks rhythm and structure, that it is cacophonous, and that it lacks dynamics. It is true that Messiaen’s music – though it is strangely accessible – does lack conventional senses of rhythm and structure and has an extensive use of chromatic notes as can be seen in the bewildering texts which I simply could not play! However, the sense of dynamics make most older classical music sound unemotional, monotone and even soppy at times – the wonder of Catalogue d‘Oiseaux is the amazing range of textures, which symbolise the various bird voices of France’s landscapes. The quiet sounds of birds chirping – best seen with Carl-Axel Dominique’s rendition – contrast in the most wonderful manner with the louder sounds representing the alpine chough in the first piece. What my brother wrongly called blank parts are in fact slow and quiet passages, symbolising birds recapturing their breath after a song.

Perhaps being naïve and more importantly inarticulate (which my mother admits), I overstated some slight resemblances between real Messiaen and random noise on the piano, but tonight when my brother began to talk after returning home, the story became quite absurd. My brother said that Jennifer Bate – the premier interpreter of Messiaen’s organ works, who has won an OBE for her services to music –
  • drank milk from a bowl and ate Whiskas!
  • was owned by a woman who carried her around the world!
  • was quarantined on her entry to Australia!
  • had to have her playing of the organ edited to eliminate purring!
  • took drugs to keep her playing for long enough!
These are so ridiculous no words can be said – except that with organ music real Messiaen is actually more distant from a cat playing than with the piano. I don’t remember all the story but what I do remember is ridiculous enough I had to add it!

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Not a “play” at all

Yesterday, after thinking so for a long time after it was suggested by a relative of mine, I actually emailed Benjamin Wiker to ask his if his 2008 Ten Books that Screwed Up the World was a play on John Reed’s 1919 Ten Days that Shook the World. The assumption that Wiker’s publishers took the title directly form Reid’s book I never questioned even though there are just too many lists of ‘Ten...’ to be sure.

Although Wiker – despite not being the “vice squad” type person one critic of his work said – is not perfectly responsive to emails and I admit without a grudge he almost certainly considers too trivial or too repetitive the majority of what I have sent to him, he did respond to this email form yesterday smoothly and said quite simply
“no, nothing at all”
So, what I’ve found is that I had a myth on my hands from my half-sister for six full years! It’s notable that one discussion of Human Events’ ‘Ten Most Harmful Books of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries’ did mention Reed’s book (these are just the relevant texts altered as little as I can):

Books unworthy enough but not listed by Human Events include:

  • Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward (Mark Twain called it “the latest and best of all Bibles”)
  • Herbert Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man (“Fiction calls the facts by their name and their reign collapses,” “the prevailing mode of freedom is servitude,” “the process by which logic became the logic of domination,” blah, blah, blah)
  • Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States (critique)
  • Leo Strauss’s Persecution and the Art of Writing (“one may wonder whether some of the greatest writers of the past have not adapted their literary technique to the requirements of persecution, by presenting their views on all the then crucial questions exclusively between the lines”)
  • John Reed’s Ten Days that Shook the World (“the author sleeps forever under the Kremlin Wall”)
  • Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation (PETA awards an abridged version to new members)
  • Henry George’s Progress and Poverty (save for the Bible, said to be the most widely read book in the English language in the 19th century)
  • Richard Dawkins’ The Blind Watchmaker
  • Michael Harrington’s The Other America
  • Gunnar Myrdal’s An American Dillema
  • Wilhelm Reich’s The Mass Psychology of Fascism (“although it is rightfully a critique of Nazism he argued that it stemmed from sexual repression. The book was a huge hit with the 60s generation and New Left and we now have social decay as a result”)
  • The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley (“death and brain damage, the human wreckage from the book can be found in many nursing homes today.”)

Friday, 5 December 2014

Egalitarianism versus global warming inaction

I have been of recent weeks investigating whether Australia’s dreadful record on greenhouse gas emissions may be related to absence of egalitarianism inherent in its unpredictable and low-productivity environments. I do not believe Australia’s dreadful per-capita emissions should ever be explained away in terms of distances. After all Australia’s extremely flat terrain is perfectly suited to high-speed rail transport that could eliminate most direct and indirect emissions from cars and airline, yet Australia lags fifty to seventy years behind most of the Enriched World in developing fast rail!

The notion that Australia’s extremely low secondary productivity and variable runoff – or superabundant flat land in a hot climate – compared to the young Enriched World inherently produces different cultures from the same initial settling population is one I have come to accept as potentially very true. This month, the CSIRO’s Jennifer Price and Zoe Leviston have provided a study that does show:
  1. the conflict between egalitarianism and global warming inaction
  2. how the extreme isolation of outer suburbs from a global culture contributes to greenhouse scepticism being entirely mainstream there
Titled ‘My country or my planet? Exploring the influence of multiple place attachments and ideological beliefs upon climate change attitudes and opinions’, Price’s and Lewiston’s article shows how a strong “nationalist” perspective and acceptance of hierarchies as mandated by traditional Christianity – especially Catholicism and Orthodoxy – among residents of “remote” suburbs contributes to denial of global warming.

The study pitifully failed to separate inhabitants of fringe suburbs, who because they are less dependent upon natural bounty for their livelihood are probably even more likely to be greenhouse-sceptic than rural people, from residents of inner cities. This would be particularly useful in the table asking “What do you think would be the economic impact on Australia of making significant reductioons in greenhouse gas emissions, as part of global action involving all major countries?” (though as Jan-Erik Lane shows, this action really should be confined to energy-producing Indian Rim nations), where it would certainly reveal whether climate-dependent rural communities really do understand man-made global warming or confirm to John Snarey’s prediction that highly variable hydrology is the prime producer of strong religious faith and potential belief that God will always provide rain regardless of how much greenhouse gases we emit.

The results do confirm stereotyped viewpoints that atheist and globally-oriented people are most concerned about global warming. This, of course, reflects the extremely developed sectors they participate in, which my previous posts emphasise as unable to build a stable civilisation, because economic change is too rapid to raise children and political demands too extreme.

Australia’s uniqueness compared to nations of the Enriched World – who share essentially the same soils, flora and fauna – undoubtedly should encourage nationalism, even if not warlike as in the fascism. Radical internationalism is unlikely to cover the core population of a nation specialising in primary production and which possesses large and mostly undiscovered quantities of resources glaciated or “collided” (plate tectonic activity) out of existence elsewhere.

The problems noted in Two Nations when Pauline Hanson emerged almost two decades ago have not diminished, and cannot whilst the suburbs and rural areas remain culturally and economically isolated from the rest of the world without being in any way self-sufficient (after all, low-input agriculture in Australia has been a known impossibility since the Austronesians saw our north coast). They will always seek to work with people of similar interests, and Price and Leviston have only confirmed what we know.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Australia’s debt for the pollution it exports

Today The Guardian has shown a list of wanted environmental fugitives, all connected either with rhinoceros poaching or illegal logging. Whilst the rhinoceros poaching epidemic which claims up to six percent of the global rhinoceros population each year is deplorable, and illegal logging of tropical forests can have major consequences in terms of erosion and loss of species, Interpol’s list cannot by any means be complete. Whilst killing of endangered species is a grave offence, the much more delicate, but potentially more destructive in the long-term, issue of the “export” of large quantities of pollution from Australia needs to be discussed as well.

Export of greenhouse pollution from Australia is a global concern, and there is no doubt that corporations who profit from unlimited greenhouse gas emissions have major direct and indirect influence on Australian politics. Being completely legal, these polluting corporations’ influence is likely larger than rhinoceros poaching and logging corporations of the humid tropics, but no doubt exists they should pay the global costs of the pollution they produce.

Australia’s politics – which the last few years plainly show as diverging rapidly from Europe, East Asia and the Americas especially regarding issues like greenhouse emissions and freeway building – is generally ignored by ecologists, even whilst admitting Australia possesses unique problems with  ancient soils, warm oligotrophic seas, low biological productivity and high rate of postindustrial species extinctions. The notion that Australia be naturally ultraconservative and community-oriented (contrasting with individual-oriented Eurasia and the Americas) precisely owing to the low and variable productivity of its ecosystems is seldom asked by ecologists but firmly supported by ecological anthropology. John Snarey’s ‘The Natural Environment’s Impact upon Religious Ethics: A Cross-Cultural Study’ (from the June 1996 Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion) shows a powerful relationship between scarcity of water and belief in the type of deity found in Abrahamic religions. Snarey’s model suggests in the long term that Australia, with even in humid regions half the ratio of runoff to precipitation and three to five times the variability in runoff of Europe, East Asia, the Americas and New Zealand, would maintain traditional Christianity whilst those nations become uniformly atheist.
Global distribution of coefficient of variation of annual runoff taken from ‘Global streamflows – Part 3: Country and climate zone characteristics’ in Journal of Hydrology (2007) 347, pages 272 to 291.
The failure of Australia to even equal reduction targets of incomparably smaller per-capita polluters, together with a change from lip service to outright opposition regarding emissions-cutting investments (public transit, renewable energy, abandonment of proposed roads) suggests Australian culture today is fundamentally different from other OECD nations and that these differences are rapidly intensifying.

If Australians be unwilling to accept the sacrifices (higher taxes, short-term loss of the freedom from cars, less personal space) needed to reverse transport and energy policies toward public transit, then international organisations possess no choice but to step in and state bluntly that Australia has a basic duty to pay for (present and future) disasters abroad that are substantially its making.

Monday, 24 November 2014

The hard truth about fuel excise

Although it is news to me that proposals to re-index fuel excise in Australia have been made and – remarkably due to the dilly-dallying of the Greens – failed, my discovery that evening has made me wish to look at how absurd in ecological terms Australia’s extremely low and declining (in real value) fuel excise is.

Although in the real world fuel excise pays for road upkeep and not environmental services, my opinion is that fuel excise is legitimate if and only if it pays for ecological services that a free market cannot, whether conservation reserves or mass transit projects. Thus a country’s legitimate level and quantity of fuel excise can be determined by the amount of land it needs conserved, but which a free market cannot protect from ecologically destructive development.

To determine the area of land requiring conservation, but un-conservable under a free market, one needs to subtract successively from a country’s land area:
  1. land whose flora and fauna is younger than 15,000 years due to glaciation and hence completely lacks unique species or refuges therefor
  2. land over the slope limit for efficient arable farming of 11 degrees
  3. land which can support low-input agriculture – defined as agriculture without phosphatic and chalcophile element fertilisers or artificial river impoundments
(It is important that if a point of land meets more than one of those categories, it be counted only once).

If we follow those criteria, we find that Australia’s land almost never meets any of the three criteria that deem conservation unnecessary. The only soils in Australia capable of anything approaching “low-input” agriculture – the cracking clays of the Darling and Cooper basins within a crescent approximately from Singleton to Birdsville – are too heavy to plow without advanced machinery. Except its far southeast, this region also has much too erratic a rainfall for rainfed farming. Moreover, unlike other areas with similarly erratic rainfall in Central Chile or northwest India or California or the Brazilian sertão, it has no truly permanent water sources due to extremely high evaporation.

The proportion of Australia’s land under 11˚ slope, as can be seen here, is easily the highest of the world’s larger nations – in fact the proportion of land of very low slope that Australia has is exceptionally high and not exceeded even by small nation-states.

Thirdly, no more than 500 square kilometres of Australia (less than 0.001 percent) was glaciated during the Quaternary, whereas Canada and many European nations (approximately those north of a line from the Severn to the Rhine to the southern border of Poland to the Gulf of Anabar) were entirely glaciated for most of the Quaternary and have been habitable for only brief periods.

If we combine these three, we see that Australia has over seven million square kilometres (well over 90 percent of its land surface) needing conservation but not conservable in a free market. In contrast, all the other OECD nations combined possess only very small areas that fail all three tests above – highly leached land in the American South and a few sandplains in California, France and Portugal. These probably total not more than about ten thousand square kilometres or 0.1 percent the total area of “valuable but economically unconservable” land in Australia.

From this simple if unrefined and imperfectly measured logic, Australian fuel excise should by ecological criteria total well over ninety-nine percent the total fuel excise of all OECD nations, measured as a percent of the total fuel excise paid buying one litre of fuel in each OECD nation. This is especially true if one factors high conservation costs for example in controlling pests like the cane toad and rubber vine in remote areas. The fact that actual Australian fuel excise is not 99%, but nearer 1% of the OECD total says much about the influence of the car and energy industries in Australia, as well as our family- and community-oriented “car culture”.

This does not in any way diminish the fact that a situation where Australia pays a fraction the fuel excise of many entirely-glaciated nations with no land requiring uneconomic conservation stands untenable, nor that improvements as inadequate as increasing Australian excise from 25 percent to 50 percent the OECD mean would change nothing. History shows that even modestly and inadequately less cheap petrol (say down from 800 millilitres/$ to 600 millilitres/$) produces major effects on motoring habits – so what would a realistic cheapness of under 60 millilitres/$ achieve?? Fuel efficiency would increase spectacularly but resources to pay for the global costs of the vast quantity of greenhouse pollution Australia and its minerals produce would nonetheless become much greater. Moreover, Australia’s land supply is so abundant that such fuel taxes would not affect – especially if development regulations were simplified – family formation so much as lower taxes in the Enriched World do.

Friday, 21 November 2014

“Cat playing the organ”? Emphatically no, but deception is so much easier than with the piano!

In a recent post about the offensive but funny criticism my mother and brother have give on-and-off for the past decade of Olivier Messiaen’s keyboard music that it is “a cat playing the piano” or “a cat playing the organ” rather than humans, I discussed my own efforts to compare real Messiaen performed by humans with a real cat playing the piano. I concluded that there is so way to confuse the two though some resemblances may exist.

Last night when I played Vingt Regards sur l‘Enfant Jésus by Yvonne Loriod downstairs at the same time as I was watching Essendon beat Melbourne in Round 9, 1996 – Messiaen defeating football for the attention of my ears – my brother said Vingt Regards was like a cat chasing a mouse inside the piano! My mother said Vingt Regards sur l‘Enfant Jésus – the French of which I have always been dreadful at pronouncing – was like a cat on drugs playing the piano, although unlike with Catalogue d‘Oiseaux I was listening to the very performance recommended in 1001 Classical Recordings You Must Hear Before You Die.

Tonight I have tried to look for cases of a cat playing the organ as opposed to the piano – after all it was with Messiaen’s organ works that the notion of a cat playing first occurred! As I said in the previous post, Messiaen’s organ works are much more inaccessible and mystical than his piano pieces with their dramatic dynamics that are oddly accessible and to me likeable.
This is the only video of a cat playing or sleeping on the organ I have found. My brother says that the long quiet parts in Messiaen’s organ works are just like a cat sleeping on the organ.

If you listen briefly to real Messiaen after hearing this, you can think it is a bit like this, but a really careful listen to Jennifer Bate will show that she is much, much further removed from any sort of cat playing the organ than such pianists as Håkon Austbø, Roger Muraro (who looks on the cover like a monk), Martin Zehn or Carl-Axel Dominique could! The dynamics in real Messiaen organ pieces, though quiet, are much more planned and softer than a cat could ever be!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

“Like a cat” – not a new idea!

As I said in my previous post, for a long time, my mother and brother have loved to say that Messiaen’s keyboard music is the equivalent of “a cat walking up and down” the piano or organ.

Ever since I  have been told that – and it has occurred on and off as I listen to Messiaen for a decade – it has deeply offended me for the very simple reason that glancing the score of Messiaen’s keyboard music shows that something with a brain as small as a domestic cat would have no hope of playing it with genuine accuracy. It is true that cats trying to play the piano may give noise faintly similar to real Messiaen, but there is no way even a trained cat could reproduce Messiaen as Zehn, Loriod or Austbø do.

What I have found today, surprisingly, is that my mother’s and brother’s notion that Messiaen’s keyboard music is the equivalent of a cat playing is not new at all. Rather, as ‘Music’s restless avant garde: Still a “wonderful adventure”’ says, the notion of music being “like a cat” playing the piano is:
“a favorite wisecrack from those who have not yet made the transition to new music (or found the piece that will open the door for them as ‘Washed by Fire’ did for me).”
Mostly, though, the “cat notion”, as Michael Johnson says, is applied to music much more radical than Messiaen, such as Helmut Lachenmann. However, there is one conspicuous case of choreographer Manard Stewart, who had exactly the same feelings on first hearing Messiaen that my mother and brother had – yet came to admire Messiaen after repeated listenings!

There is though another site on YouTube that also says Messiaen’s music – though only if poorly performed – can sound like a cat walking up and down the piano, and this may be someone with more experience listening to Messiaen than I have.

Both these facts surprise me – perhaps it reflects me not knowing as much as I think, as with the case of soccer fans who call gridiron and even (Australian) football “handegg”, which I noted a couple of years ago to be a very old pejorative.

Monday, 17 November 2014

How Abbott helps the “99 percent”

Whilst there is every reason to be uncompromisingly angry at Tony Abbott’s undoing of Australia’s woefully inadequate climate policies, there also needs to be some understanding and even credit that Abbott knows what he wants just as much as the Enriched World leaders – to be precise, each is doing what the other should be!

Steven Mosher in his book Population Control: Real Costs, Illusory Benefits shows that under present levels of government economic control fertility rates in Eurasia, the Americas and New Zealand will never stabilise above 1.35 children per woman, which is equivalent to a population decline of a third each generation. Along with an inverted population pyramid and old-age dependency rations of one-to-one with cradle-to-grave welfare states brought about via generations of political activism, the economic effects are shown by Mosher to be catastrophic. They will, as he says on page 9, place a huge tax burden on the small workforce and further reduce fertility. The alternative of increased use of robots have major costs, since it is difficult to develop robots for jobs outside of the manufacturing sector and a declining population will make such work more difficult (page 17 of Population Control).

It is simply not likely that Europe, North and South America, East and Southeast Asia or New Zealand can retain even their current level of pre-eminence in the world faced with such high welfare dependency.

In this context, Abbott’s goal to dismantle environmental regulation and the welfare state is a globally unique opportunity to give Australia long-term economic precedence over nations whose populations do not permit such dismantlings, probably because their reliable runoff and high secondary productivity – an issue I am trying to discuss with Carlos Botero – diminish natural religious faith and increases support for regulatory government, individualism and egalitarianism that eat away at the propensity to have children. (This may be especially true in urban areas where Sydney needs a storage size about seven times that of London or Los Angeles, eleven times that of Tōkyō, and thirty times most Canadian and Scandinavian cities).

The result, as I have said before, is strong communities in Australia’s suburbs who tolerate a low quality of life in a harsh environment, and no doubt would willingly accept a society free of any public welfare. As Hans Hoppe points out, in the absence of public welfare before World War I (though welfare was widely supported except by women, the ruling classes, and the dwindling rural peasantry) fertility rates were about four times the level Mosher shows likely under the present high-tax system – which will be intensified by commitments to reduction in greenhouse emissions. Thus, we can reasonably expect that by the mid twentieth-century, Australian fertility – already about 0.5 child per woman higher than in Europe and East Asia – will diverge further and further from other OECD nations. With greatly less regulation, job-creating but polluting industries now located in the US and China will simply move to Australia. Consumer goods as cheap as would be available if all produce were for Australians would no doubt increase fertility further – and of course the resources for overseas industries in coal, bauxite and iron ore are largely concentrated in Australia so it becomes a simple manner to move them to factories here instead!

Consequently, it is not likely that there will be many benefits in the long term from the US and China’s reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Without saying or doing anything designed to directly appeal to the majority of people faced with the large tax burdens of the natural resource-poor northern and western hemispheres, Abbott’s highly traditional welfare-free, low-regulation, pro-development policies can give these people a much more “comfortable” life with abundant housing space, low taxes, and a strong sense of community lacking in the “selfist” lands of the northern and western hemispheres. I can testify how Australia offers these things from living in Singapore – where food is extremely expensive – and in the very noisy and crowded cities of Europe. I can also testify how only a small minority of people can afford to pay the high taxes the climate policies of Europe, East Asia and North America will require, or to live in very small dwellings with no space for a family. Abbott is, without any publicity, offering something that will give the majority much greater wealth and hope for the future than the very pessimistic attitudes prevalent there give.

There is no denying the immense costs to the global environments where species-poor, high-secondary-productivity lands are protected in preference to species-rich, low-secondary-productivity ones, but we should try to be realistic about Abbott’s real intentions and how they will give Australia a large economic advantage that will at best make Eurasia and the Americas regret lack of pressure on us.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

“A cat playing the piano”? Not really, but closer than I would like, perhaps!

When I played Jennifer Bate’s renditions of Messiaen’s organ work on a car trip to my late father in Kew a decade ago, my mother and brother used to rudely say to me that Bate was not a human, but “a cat walking up and down the organ”! This really, really offended me, since I knew from merely looking at the text that Messiaen’s music was extremely complicated – even impossible to decode with the repeated chromatic notes – and it was clear to me a cat with a much smaller brain that a trained musician would never be able to replicate it!

Note how chromatic Messiaen’s compositions are from the score above of Petites Esquisses d‘Oiseaux, which is available from Naxos performed by Håkon Austbø.

The notion that Messiaen’s music was like a cat playing has recurred recently in my mother’s mind when I bough a second copy of my favorite classical composition, Catalog d‘Oiseaux – this time by the Norwegian Håkon Austbø whereas my previous copy was by Martin Zehn. Though she was less offended than when hearing the quieter and less accessible organ pieces – which do possess tremendous power – it seemed ruder and more offensive for having been so long with that ridiculous idea first came into my mother’s (and brother’s) head.

So tonight, I thought I might see if there actually was some sound from a cat playing the piano to see whether it was so unlike real Messiaen that my laughter in ridicule was justified. It was to my surprise that I actually found something reasonably close to a cat playing the piano on YouTube – although the idea of my mother and brother was that the cat would actually walk up and down the piano and recreate Messiaen perfectly!

This one clearly is not Messiaen – though there are a few tiny traces of the sound of Catalog d‘Oiseaux and other Messiaen pieces.

This cat clearly is not like Messiaen at all – it is the random noises one would expect from a cat playing the piano!

Although this is not even a proper acoustic piano but a synthesised piano, the sounds actually mesh a little when I listened to this and Håkon Austbø simultaneously (this on the computer and Austbø on a speaker).
This cat is closest to my relatives’ description, but furthest from real Messiaen!

So I can say that perhaps there is a tiny grain of truth that Messiaen’s music on piano or organ is like a cat – but not nearly enough to make me feel a mixture of severe offence and laughter! Probably more offence with my look at a cat actually walking up and down a piano!

I have told my mother – and did tell her a long time ago – that she should stop saying Messiaen’s keyboard music is like a cat playing, but she says and I admit I find too much laughter in it!

Monday, 10 November 2014

National park fallacy in the Enriched World, part II

In a post which I took a long time over but finished yesterday, I showed very clearly why complete conservation for non-human uses, whilst necessary for large parts of the Unenriched World merely so their species can gain enough food,are counterproductive in the Enriched World because of the low biodiversity and high secondary productivity resulting from the very young soils and the fact that most of the Enriched World was not habitable for up to ninety percent of the last two billion years.

According to some of the comments on this post by Rod Dreher, notably one from a person called “Greg”, the large-scale abandonment of unprofitable farms in Ohio has led to an explosion in the population of white-tailed deer – from seventeen thousand in the 1970s to seven hundred thousand today. This is aided by economic declines in the industrial sectors where the Enriched World has less comparative disadvantage than in agriculture, and excessive regulation of land use in a region whose flora and fauna is much too young for endemic species to evolve. In fact, as shown in the article ‘The Latitudinal Gradient in Recent Speciation and Extinction Rates of Birds and Mammals’, most species endemic to the Tropical World (though not the Unenriched World) actually evolved in the Enriched World during the brief interglacials as they had to adapt to the extreme abundance of food, then re-colonised the Tropical World as small-range endemics, often in those parts of the Tropical World that share the Enriched World’s fertility. “Will” from Mississippi says the same thing about foxes in London, where they are rapidly entering suburbs.

When one considers how productive for animal biomass and how heavily regulated Enriched World cities are – not only in land use but also minimum wages et cetera – it is no wonder that the most competitive species are, given the opportunities they are by a welfare and working class viewing quality of life above all else including human relationships to the point of “selfism”, able to grow rapidly in numbers.

No doubt the Enriched World populace does fear the presence of large carnivores – most of whom went extinct when humans peopled the region and were able to develop much greater hunting skills than in the low-productivity Unenriched and Tropical Worlds – would spell danger for its comfort. However, as Siarlys Jenkins says in the comments, and I pointed out in the post mentioned at the beginning of this one, regulated hunting of animals in the Enriched World would allow humans to use its large secondary productivity as a major protein source rather than sucking the fragile waterways of arid regions – where vegetarianism has been the historical norm – dry. It might even ameliorate or counter the negative consequences of increased marginal land farming from removing Enriched World farm subsidies, which have long been a sticking point for me once I have recognised the naturally poorest lands for farming as economically having the largest comparative advantage.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Hawking confirms Harrington and Keenan

Around a decade and a half ago I was forever changed by the discovery of Joe S. Harrington’s Top 100 Albums, which showed just how derivative and dated the seemingly enjoyable music played in the cloistered suburbs where I grew up actually was and is.

Whilst both then and now I have considerable criticism of Harrington’s philosophies, I still understand his music perspectives. Once one has a serious listen to the music of the 1960s and 1970s before I was born, one sees it has the same rhythms as even the least-disrespected music from my childhood.

It was the growth of grunge, which I utterly detested and detest as tuneless noise, which led to criticism on a wide scale of commercial music from the 1980s – my staple listening until the 2000s. I was rather faintly aware of this 1990s perspective before reading Harrington and David Keenan, whose 2003 The Best Albums Ever...Honest reinforced my new knowledge slowly but surely over the following few years.

What was new about Harrington and Keenan was how they exposed the commercial music of the 1990s as they did that of the 1980s. They showed there was nothing new in acclaimed bands like Oasis, Blur, Nirvana, Pavement or even Radiohead – and I can say I never dissent from such a perspective.
Yesterday I saw for the first time a new “worst albums” list from Flavorwire, a webzine I have not known before. It was written by Tom Hawking, actually form Australia and the webzine’s editor until recently changing to deputy editor. The full list is:
  1. Who Needs Guitars Anyway?; Alice Deejay
  2. Anthology; Alien Ant Farm
  3. About That Life; Attila (not Billy Joel’s high school band)
  4. The E.N.D; The Black Eyed Peas
  5. Enema of the State; blink-182
  6. I’m Not a Fan, But the Kids Like It!; brokenCYDE
  7. Merry Christmas; Mariah Carey
  8. Cut the ****; The Clash
  9. No Jacket Required; Phil Collins
  10. Scream; Chris Cornell
  11. To the Faithful Departed; The Cranberries
  12. Human Clay; Creed
  13. Sinner; Drowning Pool
  14. Saved; Bob Dylan
  15. The Eagles, generally
  16. We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic; Foxygen
  17. Terrapin Station; The Grateful Dead
  18. American Idiot; Green Day
  19. Yes, Please; Happy Mondays
  20. Primitive Cool; Mick Jagger
  21. Magna Carta (Holy Grail); Jay Z
  22. Shine On; Jet
  23. River of Dreams; Billy Joel
  24. Cracked Rear View; Hootie and the Blowfish
  25. Standing in the Spotlight; Dee Dee King
  26. Lick It Up; KISS
  27. Peasants, Pigs and Astronauts; Kula Shaker
  28. ARTPOP; Lady Gaga
  29. You Can’t Stop the Bum Rush; Len
  30. The Libertines; The Libertines
  31. Chocolate Starfish and the Hotdog-Flavored Water; Limp Bizkit
  32. Hybrid Theory; Linkin Park
  33. Secret Samadhi; Live
  34. St. Anger; Metallica
  35. How I Learned to Stop Giving a **** and Love Mindless Self Indulgence; Mindless Self Indulgence
  36. Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie; Alanis Morissette
  37. Mr. Blobby – The Album; Mr. Blobby
  38. Nastradamus; Nas
  39. All the Right Reasons; Nickelback
  40. Born Again; The Notorious B.I.G.
  41. Be Here Now; Oasis
  42. Julian Plenti Is… Skyscraper; Julian Plenti
  43. Come Clean; Puddle of Mudd
  44. Their Satanic Majesties Request; Rolling Stones
  45. x; Ed Sheeran
  46. Come On Over; Shania Twain
  47. Thirty Seconds to Mars; Thirty Seconds to Mars
  48. Woodstock 1999; various artists
  49. Raditude; Weezer
  50. The Most Wonderful Time of the Year; Scott Weiland
It’s notable how little there is from before the “punk revolution” – only the Eagles, an oddball Grateful Dead record and one album about which David Keenan would be in huge disagreement, whilst the presence of Dylan’s Christian album Saved shows the “post-AC/DC” tenor of the whole list. Even the 1980s is poorly represented with only Phil Collins, the Clash and solo Jagger, whilst the later Bush Senior period when metal and rap were changing the Enriched World (and I knew as little as if I were in a cloistered monastery) has only Billy Joel.

That leaves forty-three recordings from the last twenty years of the worst fifty – an indication that the culture of the Enriched World has lost the creativity it had between the 1960s and the early 1990s, even as its people aspire for more and more individualism. What this does suggest is that art and commerce are in general as far apart as ever, and that “art ” is very remote from “commerce” as people struggle with increased international economic competition and political systems that may encourage mediocrity or worse via their egalitarianism, besides perhaps leaving the more “feeling” types to concentrate on upbeat, conventional music. Harrington and Keenen admit such a decline but never relate it to cultural norms, which is something that perhaps could be done.

Friday, 31 October 2014

A “people’s” list of the best albums – familiar, really

Today, when searching Google for fan responses to changes of direction by various rock bands, notably the famous and extremely influential Pantera, I encountered this list of the greatest albums of all time from Pie and Bovril, which I later discovered to be actually a Scottish site largely focused on soccer.

The unusual thing about the Pie and Bovril list is that although it is written up by a single person, it is a list voted for by the fans, which will largely mean those who follow Scottish soccer which was the main subject of the site’s main page. Each user of the site voted for ten albums, and these were scored – I think according to the individual user’s rank thereof – and the top fifty albums were listed, with ranks equalled if the number of votes was the same.

The full list is:

=47: Rage Against the Machine; Rage Against the Machine (1992)
=47: Dookie; Green Day (1994)
=47: Ashes of the Wake; Lamb of God (2004)
=47: Generation Terrorists; Manic Street Preachers (1992)
=47: Moseley Shoals; Ocean Colour Scene (1996)
=45: Dirt; Alice In Chains (1992)
=45: Different Class; Pulp (1995)
=36: Paranoid; Black Sabbath (1970)
=36: Blonde on Blonde; Bob Dylan (1966)
=36: As Daylight Dies; Killswitch Engage (2006)
=36: In Utero; Nirvana (1993)
=36: Vs.; Pearl Jam (1993)
=36: Doolittle; Pixies (1989)
=36: Transformer; Lou Reed (1972)
=36: The Queen Is Dead; The Smiths (1986)
=36: The College Dropout; Kanye West (2004)
=32: Revolver; The Beatles (1966)
=32: The Music; The Music (2002)
=32: Screamadelica; Primal Scream (1991)
=32: Born to Run; Bruce Springsteen (1975)
=29: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars; David Bowie (1972)
=29: Bat out of Hell; Meat Loaf (1977)
=29: Urban Hymns; The Verve (1997)
=27: The Marshall Mathers LP; Eminem (2000)
=27: A Grand Don’t Come for Free; The Streets (2004)
=22: Powerage; AC/DC (1978)
=22: Rumours; Fleetwood Mac (1977)
=22: ...And Justice for All; Metallica (1988)
=22: Moving Pictures; Rush (1981)
=22: Radiator; Super Furry Animals (1997)
=20: Nightmare; Avenged Sevenfold (2010)
=20: The Blackening; Machine Head (2007)
19: Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness; The Smashing Pumpkins (1995)
18: The Number of the Beast; Iron Maiden (1982)
=15: Rust in Peace; Megadeth (1990)
=15: Loveless; My Bloody Valentine (1991)
=15: The Bends; Radiohead (1995)
14: Funeral; Arcade Fire (2004)
13: The Dark Side of the Moon; Pink Floyd (1973)
=10: (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?; Oasis (1995)
=10: Ten; Pearl Jam (1991)
=10: OK Computer; Radiohead (1997)
=8: Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not; Arctic Monkeys (2006)
=8: Siamese Dream; The Smashing Pumpkins (1993)
7: Definitely Maybe; Oasis (1994)
6: The Holy Bible; Manic Street Preachers (1994)
5: Automatic for the People; R.E.M. (1992)
4: The Stone Roses; The Stone Roses (1989)
=1: London Calling; The Clash (1979)
=1: Nevermind; Nirvana (1991)
=1: Appetite for Destruction; Guns‘n‘Roses (1987)

The thing is that, with the exception of a few modern albums like A Grand Don’t Come for Free and The Music and a few of the heavy metal albums, none of this is unfamiliar to me who has read music criticism for a very long time. The former is a rap-rock album that was described as similar to Eminem but not as good; the latter is alternative/indie rock from Leeds and influenced by the Stone Roses – neither is actually “out of left field” when one reads descriptions on Rate Your Music.

This really suggests that it is rare to see an album canonised by the public before critics see it – though the fact that many critics do not hear albums later acclaimed is of itself a major question.

Friday, 17 October 2014

The divergence revealed – again

Whilst I have known for a number of years now that Australia’s culture is diverging from that of the Enriched World, two articles I have looked at today seem to imply that this divergence is very real and actually occurring today.

Rod Dreher in ‘Wellesley’s First World Problem’ does a great deal to show just how masculinised (a synonym for secularised) the Enriched World has already become, as he illustrated women, frustrated that laws trying to equalise their outcomes with men cannot do so effectively, are beginning to actually take testosterone to turn them into men. Although the idea of women taking testosterone is not something I have imagined, if one looks at the Boomers’ cultural ambassadors AC/DC, one sees them say:
“Shoot to thrill”
“Play to kill”
Too many women
“Too many pills”
it is extremely easy to see why so many feminists would wish for women to be turned into men on a large scale. The very fact that radical feminists have embraced this rather than question the Weltanschauung of AC/DC – a worldview much more consistent through the AC/DC canon than is the Bible or the Qur’an) is very telling as to what it says about the mainstream of Enriched World culture today. A culture that follows what ‘Shoot to Thrill’ says is a culture that believes there are too many women and that it would be better with only men – despite the impossibility of reproduction! Dreher shows that women are trying to be men because they feel they will be stronger and tougher if they do so, even if there are regulations in colleges that they be only for women.

In contrast, The Guardian in its ‘Australia Is on the Road to a Tea Party Revolution’ reveals just how far and how rapidly Australia is moving towards the policies advocated by the Tea Partyists in the United States. Despite its criticism, The Guardian itself thinks this shift likely to continue because of Australia’s uniform media.

Whereas Obama’s support among the American Millennials was and is much too strong for any Tea Party revolution, and the Republican Party too pragmatic about losing more marginal states of the mid-east, Australia lacks such qualms. Its comparative advantage in land-intensive industries like family housing and agriculture means Australia still possesses a strong “community culture” that works in manual trade, mining and farming jobs largely lost from the Enriched World.

These people – in the middle and outer suburbs of Australia’s cities – express themselves primarily via family and community rather than what Michael Woolridge called “work”  but is more accurately “art” and constitutes the primary means of self-expression for people of the Enriched World and a few Australian academic communities. In addition to Woolridge, David Brooks has noticed how much smaller the “self” is in suburban Australia than for people in Blue America, Canada, New Zealand or Eurasia. As critics of the “War on Poverty” have argued, this sense of community in suburban Australia makes its residents extremely suspicious of people on welfare, because they believe in a level of self-reliance rarely seen in the Enriched World.

Outer suburbanites do recognise as few others do how the governments of the Enriched World, despite a rhetoric and ideology of radical egalitarianism, govern for a tiny minority – for a start those without high-paying jobs cannot afford the geographically restricted and heavily regulated housing supplies of most Enriched World cities. This is a critical problem for the Enriched World but one considered only by the Right, whose solutions are almost certainly effective but politically unviable. On the Left it is argued that increased welfare from taxing the super-rich could allow everyone to afford housing in cities like London, Vancouver or New York, an idea shown outlandish by history and one that makes the modern Left look extremely hypocritical.

The division we are seeing between Australia and the Enriched World is in many ways profoundly natural – experienced ecologists like Antoni Milewski, Tim Flannery, Ian Rowley and Dustin Rubinstein known that Australia’s animals are much more social and group-living than those of the Enriched World – and profoundly disturbing because it, as The Guardian points out, ignores the critical issues facing the future on both sides.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

An amazing blunder by a plumber

Today as I was browsing through The West Australian in the State Library, where I have a project of referencing and describing WAFL seasons for Wikipedia, I found, as I tried to look at the 2006 WAFL pre-season, an amazing story.
In Norway, a plumber at a bar had accidentally hooked beer hoses to water pipes and water hoses to beer pipes! This was so amazing and the story shocked me from the title so much that I felt I had to record it like I did almost no other story I have found browsing the papers, especially with Per Egil Myvang’s succint comment that it would take a lot of skill to connect beer to a water pipe!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

“Primitive peasant culture”? No, an industrial city!

For many years my mother and brother – who deplore my interest in the topic and say it shows I am not scientific – have said that stigmata stories in countries such as Italy and Spain and their absence in Australia reflect a “primitive peasant culture”.

I have told my relatives the difference is that in Italy and Spain the working classes favoured doctrinally atheistic Marxism, whereas those in Australia were very conservative and often practicing Catholics. Consequently, unusual means were needed for the Church to protect its right to state its moral position, since the working classes desired this impossible in order to eliminate opposition to the right to seize wealth workers believed the ruling and business classes usurped.

When today I read an article by Rod Dreher about the efforts of the US, especially the Northeastern states, to completely outlaw the practice of traditional Christianity as a step beyond legalisation of homosexual marriage, I recalled the story of Marie Rose Ferron, the only (major) stigmatist from North America. Upon reading Father Michael Freze’s They Bore the Wounds of Christ, I instantly took the fact that Ferron came from the most liberal and most atheistic region of the United States as proof that radical leftist working class politics was the driving force behind stories of stigmata and inedia (living only on the Holy Eucharist).
Marie Rose Ferron with spiritual director Father Gauthier
The desire to find out the history of radical politics in the Northeast drew me, though some will think this paradoxical, to Ferron, about whom I knew less than European stigmatics like Thèrése Neumann, Marthe Robin, Pio of Pietrelcina and Louise Lateau.

These are pictures of Marie Rose Ferron’s feet
What I found was revealing – that Ferron was a Québécois who migrated to Massachusetts due to lack of job opportunities in Québéc and the refusal of the government there to encourage industrialisation, and that Ferron’s stigmata were received when she was living in the Providence, Rhode Island metropolitan area! This counts as one unsurprising revelation, but a telling one. A stigmatist in a working-class industrial city is unlikely if stigmata stories are a product of a primitive peasant culture as those near me suppose. However, if my theory that modern stigmata stories reflect class war aimed directly or indirectly at the Catholic Church be correct, industrial cities are exactly the places one would expect stigmatists, since it would be there that stigmata miracles (whether true or not) most clearly oppose the beliefs of locals.

At the very time Ferron received the stigmata a strongly Catholic Democratic “industrial machine” developed in the Northeast and Great Lakes. This may explain the timing of her story and that of Rhoda Wise, as beforehand Catholics may have been too few among the ruling class for such need. At the same time, many in the working classes of the Northeast favoured policies much more radical and morally liberal than either the mainstream Democratic Party or (especially) more radically Catholic organisations like the Catholic Worker. Thus a fear that Communism could take over was present among Catholics in the Northeast in a manner contemporaneously absent from the rest of North America, which was then generally too conservative.

The existence of a stigmatist in the middle of an industrial conurbation is certainly a challenge to the  “primitive peasant culture” theory of stigmatists, and strengthens my notion that the critical requirements for stigmata stories are:
  1. a politically radical and atheist working class that seeks to erase Catholicism from the public sphere
  2. a ruling class with a strong influence from Catholicism whose power is an obstacle to (1) achieving its atheist goals
This theory explains the concentration of stigmatists in southern Europe, the “headquarters” of Catholicism, and their absence from not only Australia but also the American South, which also has a long Catholic history but is little higher, steeper or (except for the Mississippi alluvial areas) richer in nutrients. Both regions are consequently naturally extremely conservative and have very limited or no class struggle. The one exception seems to be Latin America, which was strongly Catholic (but is now less so) mainly mountainous and had strong socialist movements, but never had the stigmata stories found in Europe. It’s possible that its ruling classes were not as ideologically Catholic as Europe’s (at least one Guatemala dictator was a born-again evangelical) but this is uncertain and needs more research on my part.

Friday, 3 October 2014

The impossibility of “efficient density”

The problem of the vast disparity in available land space versus population in Australia compared to the rest of the world is something seldom said but which I have emphasised – in case you are not familiar this site is the basic place to look to see how enormous a supply of land Australia has. Personal experience and reading has long made me suspicious that dense Enriched World neighbourhoods are in any way “liveable” – besides being unaffordable they are extremely crowded and noisy.

The claim that low-denity rural-style living as most Australians (although, most likely due to Enriched World farm subsidies, few actually farm) tends to reduce social interaction is one I have long been suspicious of both from personal experience and from reading books such as Arthur Brooks’ Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth about Compassionate Conservatism — America’s Charity Divide, Who Gives, Who Doesn’t, and Why It Matters. Nonetheless, whilst I intuitively thought that social interaction in flat, sprawling Australian cities must be much greater than in constrained, mountainous, high-density Enriched World cities, I never had any clear evidence.

However, Jan Brückner and Ann Largey – in a very poorly-styled and badly-written article and focusing only on the United States – have clearly shown that, as I expected, low-density “Australian” cities have much greater social interaction than high-density “Enriched” cities. Their article ‘Social Interaction and Urban Sprawl’, although lacking the most basic elements of writing style like given results in the introduction (which it does not) or clear tables showing the expected results of how high density creates noise and fear (which is again absent) and taking numerous reads to merely understand results in the final table, shows clearly how limited the group involvement of high-density “Enriched”-style cities is, and that group involvement is strongly correlated with the presence of school-age children which cannot be affordably reared in crowded, noisy Enriched World cities. Moreover, Brückner and Largey confirm Brooks’ simultaneous findings about the extreme selfishness of welfare recipients – who are the least likely of all groups to engage in group activities or even non-religious clubs.

Brückner’s and Largey’s final note is that:
With a negative effect of density on interaction, individual space consumption would tend to be too low rather than too high, tending to make cities inefficiently compact, as explained in section 2.
This, indeed, may be why Australian cities do not sprawl to the extremely low densities (less than 100 people per km2) the land supply would permit, because:
“Thus, the empirical results suggest that social-interaction effects may counteract, rather than exacerbate, the well-recognized forces (such as unpriced traffic congestion) that cause cities to overexpand.”
This would imply strong social and family interactions in Australian cities that the Enriched World (and even more the Tropical) lack the land to achieve serve to limit sprawl. It is virtually certain, too, that these strong social ties create higher religiosity and combine therewith to greatly reduce ideological materialism and individualism in Australian suburbs and exurbs vis-à-vis their complete dominance in the Enriched and Tropical Worlds.

The problem facing the Enriched World is that, although individual space consumption is too low, the region has much too little flat land to increase space consumption to the levels actually or potentially possible in Australia under Abbott. Even in low-sediment regions where building on steep slopes is low-risk in terms of water quality and erosion, there is very little land relative to population compared to Australia’s three people per square kilometre. In most of Asia, southern and central Europe, and the western Americas, the situation is much worse again, as tectonically active mountains make “minimum lot sizes” advocated at the end of section 2 out of the question due to major potential erosion problems and higher value for species diversity.

These simple facts suggest that Brückner’s and Largey’s theory of a socially efficient density is impractical in the Enriched World – at all events once the discovery of the role of chalcophile elements as biological catalysts allowed the correction of their severe deficiency in the Australian environment and the discovery of current electricity permitted smelting the abundant lithophile elements enriched in the Australian environment. Christianity, especially in its most radical Anabaptist forms, certainly was very successful at countering the natural individualism and egalitarianism of European and American environments before these discoveries and thus limiting the demand for space.

Abundance of noise resulting from extreme scarcity of space in Enriched World cities undoubtedly makes it impossible to maintain the rituals of traditional Abrahamic and Dharmic religions (which require deep silence). Along with, as Brückner and Largey briefly note, alternative forms of “entertainment” or “ritual” to religion and family gatherings like:
  1. political protests or activist movements
  2. live music, cinema or theatre
  3. live sport or games
tend to concentrate in the highest-density cities. They would also be more easily heard in a noisy environment with low sound attenuation, and history shows these alternatives have shaped the dense cities of the Enriched World as strongly atheistic and politically liberal. There is no political or practical possibility of this changing: in fact opinion polls suggest it is intensifying with the Millennial Generation and will further deplete the Enriched and Tropical World’s limited social capital.

Brückner and Largey – naturally – ignore the massive global pollution costs Australian suburbs impose, given that their greenhouse emissions per capita are four or more times higher than social-capital-depleted Enriched and Tropical World cities. If these costs were taken into account, Australian densities might rise if its suburbanites be willing to accept the large costs that must be paid, but as Melissa Sweet points out, that is almost impossible since the sacrifices in privacy and comfort of having by law to travel in crowded trains or buses is something history shows they will not accept – even without higher taxes on income and fuel to pay for it.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

A lesson with keeping clothes

A month or so ago, I replaced some partially torn winter pyjamas which I had worn with this tear for over a year after missing the window of opportunity to replace them in 2013.

Whilst I am aware that store-clothes must be washed before use, and have had a number of frightening experiences with non-colourfast clothes being placed in a warm or hot washing machine and destroying perfectly good whites, what I have experienced this morning is far worse than I feared.

Normally, I wash my sheets – two of my pairs being white and two a light blue – about every eight days, though my recent laxity and obsessiveness with statistics has lessened this. I planned last night to wash today the white 500 thread count Pima cotton sheets I bought in Northland during the autumn, and told my mother this in the morning. When I put them out, I saw that the part of the sheets upon which I lie – generally face down on my stomach – had dyed a light blue similar to my two blue pairs!

I was well aware my new striped royal blue pyjamas – made in Cambodia – were not colourfast from washing them in a hand-basin a number of times. I had noticed dye get into my fingernails on several previous wear of the pyjamas, but this really shocked me to the point of alarm!

When I actually washed the pyjamas, I was revealed my mistake very clearly. The pyjama bottoms, when washed with a quantity of OMO normal for a full laundry, turned so deep a blue in the wash basin that I felt it was almost worth a picture though I have no usable camera. Yet, the top part, when placed in water of the same temperature, remained relatively colourless until I added a smaller quantity of OMO, when they gradually turned as blue as the bottoms had! This made it clear to me that part of the problem of blue dye spreading was the result of my repeatedly using a quantity of laundry detergent designed for a full wash on one piece of sleepwear! It became obvious to me that in recent wears the pyjamas had large residues of OMO and LUX – residues which were helping the naturally non-colourfast dye to leak even when the pyjamas were dry, especially given that heat and sweat from my body over four or five nights would have provided moisture to dissolve the dye. The finding alarmed me, and I realised i would have to rinse the pyjamas until they were completely free of soap residues, and to use a fraction the quantity of laundry detergent needed for a full laundry! More than that I feel I should not wash pyjamas in the hand basin of the bathroom, since that basin is so cramped that the detergent is extremely inefficient at actually removing faeces and other stains from the pyjamas (I could see faeces in the pyjamas when I was washing).

Remembering to use only a pinch of detergent – or for the first few times to simply rinse until zero soap residue is attained – is a major job for me now and one I lack confidence about.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

ZIP codes of the form RRRRD

In my previous post I did US ZIP codes of the forms Rw and DRw, finding that relative to the possible number they were much more common than usual, though recent work shows only one true repdigit ZIP code still in use for Newtown Falls, Ohio, as USPS has merged the two others and several other near-repdigit ZIP codes.

This post will see me do ZIP codes of the form RwD. Compared to previous repdigit and near-repdigit ZIP codes, this list is extremely easy because if any ZIP codes with the same first four digits exist, they will be in similar localities, as seen with the one extant and two recently merged repdigit ZIP codes.
ZIP Code City State Notes
22225ArlingtonVirginiain vincinity of Pentagon
22226ArlingtonVirginiabounded by Washington Boulevard, North Monroe Street and North Fairfax drive
Includes George Mason University
22227ArlingtonVirginiabetween 23rd and 26th Street South and bounded by Crystal Drive and South Clark Street
Includes DeVry University
22228Unassigned22229 formerly assigned to Arlington
33330Fort LauderdaleFloridabetween Sheridan Street, Southwest 26th Street, South Hiatus Road and southwest 148th Avenue
33331Fort LauderdaleFloridawest of 142nd Avenue and 148th Avenue to 185th Way
33332Fort LauderdaleFloridasouthwest of Weston Hills Country Club
33334Fort LauderdaleFloridaOakland Park region between Northeast 18th Avenue and North Andrews Avenue
33335Fort LauderdaleFloridaPO Boxes only
33337Fort LauderdaleFloridaPO Boxes only
33338Fort LauderdaleFlorida
33339Fort LauderdaleFlorida
44440Mineral RidgeOhioin Mahoning and Truble Counties, part of Youngstown metropolitan area
44441NegleyOhiobirthplace of eccentric anarchist and pacifist Ammon Hennacy
in Columbiana County on Pennsylvania border
44442New MiddletownOhioin Mahoning County on Pennsylvania border; part of Youngstown metropolitan area
44443New SpringfieldOhioin Mahoning County
44445New WaterfordOhioin Columbiana County southwest of Turnpike
44446NilesOhioin Trumbull County; part of Youngstown metropolitan area
44449North BentonOhiorural area of Mahoning County south of Berlin Lake and Route 62, due east of Akron.
55550Young AmericaMinnesotaPO Boxes only
55551Young AmericaMinnesota
55552Young AmericaMinnesota
55553Young AmericaMinnesota
55554Young AmericaMinnesota
55556Young AmericaMinnesota
55557Young AmericaMinnesota
55558Young AmericaMinnesota‘Young America Corporation’ only
55559Young AmericaMinnesotaPO Boxes only
66667TopekaKansasPO Boxes only
88880UnassignedNo extant ZIP codes begin with “888”
99990UnassignedHighest ZIP code is 99950 for Ketchikan, Alaska
This result shows that 27 of 90 RwD ZIP codes are in use, or exactly thirty percent. This, in fact, does suggest that the US Postal Service avoids repdigits to some extent in a manner the DRw ZIP codes from the previous post did not.

RwD ZIP codes in use are only found in five of the possible nine regions (there are no ZIP codes from ‘00000’ to ‘00499) and for street addresses in only three – mainly in Arlington, Virginia and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The number in use could easily fall as PO Boxes are used less, too.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

ZIP codes of the form DRRRR and RRRRR (repdigit)

In a previous post I recalled a project I tried to do at zipinfo and zipdecode a list of prime near-repdigit ZIP codes. In 2004, I had noticed how, looking only at the prime subset, few ZIP codes of the form DRRRR or RRRRD seemed to exist, and originally planned to examine this.

However, a clearer look shows that in fact near-repdigit ZIP codes are more common that I imagined when I first re-did my work on zipdecode a couple of weeks ago. Thus, I have felt that to list them I will have to subdivide near-repdigit ZIP codes according to the form of the number.

This first installment will look at DRRRR-type near-repdigit ZIP codes, and in the process I will also look at true repdigit ZIP codes. When I first realised not all possible ZIP codes were in use – and the number actually in use for contiguous US addresses covered in zipdecode is fewer than even the 42,000 or so currently in use – I found these numbers interesting because of the coverage of palindromic prime ZIP codes by The Prime Pages and I wanted to look at other unusual codes – as well as prime postcodes here in Australia. I did a bit of work now deleted from the Prime Pages back in 2004, but for some reason felt I should re-do this.

ZIP Code City State Notes
12222AlbanyNew Yorkbetween Washington and Western Avenues
Includes State University of New York campus
13333East SpringfieldNew YorkNortheast of Osego Lake
15555QuecreekPennsylvaniaShared with ZIP code 15561
16666Osceola MillsPennsylvaniaWest of Phillsburg and State Game Reserve 33
17777WatsontownPennsylvaniaon Susquehanna River north of Harrisburg
21111MonktonMarylandnorth of Baltimore on I-83
22222Unassigned (22222 was previously assigned to part of Arlington, Virginia)
25555PrichardWest Virginiaon Kentucky border on Big Sandy River – a tributary of the Ohio River
32222JacksonvilleFloridasouth of 103rd Street, east of Cecil Commerce Center and north of Argyle Forest Boulevard.
35555FayetteAlabamanorthwest of Tuscaloosa on Route 43 in county of same name
37777LouisvilleTennesseeon Tennessee River south of Knoxville
43333LewistownOhioin Logan County 5 kilometres from Indian Lake
44444Newton FallsOhioon the Mahoning River southeast of Warren in Trumbull County
48888StantonMichiganin rural Montcalm County on state 66
51111Sioux CityIowaMostly Sioux City Gateway Airport, but north to Missouri River (where borders on South Sioux City, Nebraska) and east to I-29
52222Deep RiverIowain Poweshiek County,about 75 kilometres (45 miles) from Iowa City.
54444KempsterWisconsinin rural Langland County in north of state
55555Unassignedformerly assigned to Young America, Carver County, Minnesota
56666PonemahMinnesotain remote Beltrah County on Red Lake Indian Reservation
57777Red OwlSouth Dakotain Meade County east of Rapid City
61111Loves ParkIllinoisin Winnebago County in northernmost part of state; part of Rockford statistical area
62222BellevilleIllinoison Missouri border in St. Clair County; most populous city south of Springfield in downstate Illinois
63333BellflowerMissouriin Montgomery County on lower Missouri River
64444EdgertonMissouriin rural Platte County on border with Kansas
part of Kansas City metropolitan area
65555RaymondvilleMissouriin Texas County in southern Ozarks
71111Bossier CityLouisianain Bossier Parish, part of Shreveport metropolitan area where second largest city
72222Little RockArkansascity downtown directly south of Arkansas River
74444MoodysOklahomain Cherokee County in east of state
75555BivinsTexasin Cass County on border with Arkansas and Louisiana
76666MertensTexasin Hill County in the north central part of the state
79999El PasoTexasPO Boxes only
82222Lance CreekWyomingin Niobrara County in east of state
83333HaileyIdahoin central mountains of state, seat of Blaine County
famous as current home of 1980s tennis star Mats Wilander and birthplace of poet Ezra Pound
92222BardCaliforniain Imperial county on Arizona and Mexico border
95555OrickCaliforniaon North Coast in Humboldt County
96666FPOUnited States Navyall ZIP codes from 96200 to 96699 are Pacific military
Overall, thirty-three of ninety possible ZIP codes of the forms Rw and DRw are in use, which is only marginally lower a proportion than for all possible US ZIPs and does not suggest near-repdigit ZIP codes are avoided – my mother said today they would be much easier to remember and that people would say them “one double one double one” for the (unassigned) repunit ZIP code. Only codes with repeated zeroes seem to be avoided, perhaps because most state capitals in the US are relatively small towns with a public service orientation much more pronounced than Canberra – for example Frankfort, Kentucky has only 25,000 of about 4,400,000 people in the state.