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Everything posted by brettbh

  1. >>and oh it sits in the middle of a desert so "wildlife" is not an issues here.<< Desert ecosystems are as important as any other ecosystems. >>The point is that in order for the switch to be made to more environmentally-friendly power, the cost had to come down to where it was on a par with coal etc. and now it has. Solar is always better than Nuclear and in this case I bet is much cheaper.<< But is it more environmentally-friendly? To produce the same amount of energy as a nuclear plant, a solar plant requires considerably more space. How much of our desert ecosystems do you think we should cover in solar panels? Calculate the GHGs produced by the manufacturing/construction process and divide that by the life expectancy of the plant (or the panels). Which has the smaller number? Nuclear or solar? And we really do need to start looking beyond the whole cost thing. So what if option A is cheaper than option B? If option B has a more environmentally-friendly outcome than option A, then option B is the one we should choose. When we're sick, we want the best and most effective treatment, not the cheapest treatment. We need to start thinking about environmental health in the same terms.
  2. The Population Problem

    French, Germans and Americans - they'd be the least missed ;-) But seriously, we need to: Enforce some form of population control; Replace coal-burning plants with nuclear plants while we work on a better option. Realistically, this is the only way that we can achieve a substantial reduction in our emissions in the short-term; Make massive investments in R&D in order to discover cleaner - and viable - alternatives for energy production and transportation. For example, enormous sums should be committed to projects such as ITER; Disregard economics. We need to start doing what's best for the environment, not what's best for the budget. Legislate to reduce energy consumption (goodbye Las Vegas!).
  3. >> ... now we need to implement it on a larger scale.<< Or do we? The 889 MW Davis-Besse Nuclear Generating Station sits on a 954 acre site, but 733 of those acres are devoted to a National Wildlife Refuge - in other words, the plant produces about 4 MW per acre (used for energy production). In comparison, the 10 MW El Dorado plant sits on 80 acres - and that translates to only 0.125 MW per acre. Which is the most environmentally-friendly option?
  4. The Population Problem

    >>I think it has been speeding up in the US due to the oil crisis and will see a jump after the election (maybe, if obama can overcome the democratic parties current do nothing attitude)<< Yup, but not fast enough. And there are, as I mentioned, enormous problems associated with renewable energy. The solar power plant that you mentioned in another post covers a considerable amount of land, but can meet the energy needs of only a relatively small number of people. To supply the weekly population increase (1.5 million) with solar energy, you'd need to construct a plant which was roughly 250 times bigger than the plant in Nevada. And, to keep pace with the population increase, you'd need to build a plant of that size each and every week. To meet the current energy needs of the US, you'd need to completely cover an area the size of Connecticut with solar panels. And a similar problem exists in relation to wind energy. To meet the needs of the population increase, you'd need to build about 60,000 very big turbines each and every week. To meet the current energy needs of the US, you'd need to completely cover an area the size of Texas with turbines. To put it simply, with our current technology, it simply is not possible to substantially increase renewable energy production without drastically changing the landscape and causing enormous environmental damage. >>Clearly solar and geothermal power are within the reach of the average person within the next few years due to advances in technology that have lowered the entry costs.<< Yup, but there are substantial problems associated with micro-generation too. For example, the costs, no matter how much they decrease, will still act as a deterrent to adoption, especially in developing countries. Furthermore, studies have shown that micro-generation does not always offer a carbon payback - in other words, more carbon is produced during the manufacturing process than is saved during the life of the unit. While people may get a cash payback from micro-generation, whether they'll get a carbon payback (and, if they do, over what period) is a completely different matter and not so easy to calculate. We are told that modest actions - such as reducing our energy consumption slightly - can help the environment, but that simply is not the case. The modest actions that we take count for almost nothing when the world's population is swelling by 1.5 million energy-using people each week. We are told that recycling will help. But how much will it really help when the expanding population is producing an additional 70 billion pounds of garbage each year? We are told that wind energy, etc. is a solution to GHG emissions, but the fact is that we cannot substantially increase renewable energy production without damaging our ecosystems. We are already seeing an extinction crisis (from Wikipedia: The 2008 Red List was released on 6 October, 2008, at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, and "has confirmed an extinction crisis, with almost one in four mammals at risk of disappearing forever." The study shows at least 1,141 of the 5,487 mammals on Earth are known to be threatened with extinction, and 836 are listed as Data Deficient). How much worse will that crisis become as we start erecting more solar panels, more wind turbines and diverting more waterways? And how much worse will it become as our cities and agricultural areas expand by 50% during the course of the next 5 decades? How long can our already depleted oceans supply fish for a population that is increasing by 1.5 million per week? The fact is that we are headed for an ecological catastophe. Global warming is a real problem, but it's certainly not the only problem. The world of tomorrow will probably be very different - and much less diverse - than the world we know today. We may be able to avoid the catastrophe, but need to take radical action in order to do so - action that is way, way beyond the baby steps we are taking today.
  5. The Population Problem

    >>But is is so much safer to talk about environmentally-friendly coats for chihuahuas and eco-beer!<< Yup, indeed it is. And it also provides people with an easy way out. They can string up their LED Chritmas lights, drink their eco-eggnog, wrap their presents in recycled paper and then smile with self-satisfaction, thinking that they've done their bit to help the environment and that the planet would be oh-so much better if only everybody were to be as responsible. Well, sorry to disappoint you, but even if everybody else was as responsible as you, it really wouldn't count for much. The world would still be on the road to becoming a stinking and crowded cesspit because we had to build 3 new cities each as big as Pittsburgh during the week between Christmas and New Year in order to accommodate an extra 1.5 million energy-using, car-driving, product-using, garbage-producing people. Unfortunately, because nobody is talking about the population problem, not many people really understand the extent of the problem. Put that to the test and ask your buddies. See whether they can tell you how many extra people are coming into the world each week. I can say with some certainty that hardly any will know, and that the majority of them will grossly underestimate the number. People need to realise that there is no easy or painless solution to our problems. Scientists tell us that if we do not reduce our emissions, the earth will warm with potentially catastophic consequences. But, realistically, we cannot reduce emissions while the population is increasing by 1.5 million each and every week. Renewable energy provides us with some hope, but transitioning shall not be a speedy process (renewable energy accounts for only 7% of US consumption) and is not without its own set of environmental concerns. Governments are unwilling to make radical changes and people are unwilling to make radical changes and sacrifices. Dilemmas, dilemmas ... >>The problem with population control as a serious topic, is that many of the areas where it is the most serious issue, are populated by non environmentally-friendly people who will scream racism at the very suggestion.<< Yup, it's an exraordinarily emotive subject which upsets people for a whole variety of social, religious and racial reasons - and understandably too - nobody wants to be told how many children they are allowed to have - which is probably why it's so conscientiously avoided (when did you last hear it discussed at a climate change conference). But it nonetheless needs to be addressed. We cannot hope the reduce mankind's environmental footprint when each week there are 3 million new feet in the world!
  6. >>Israel NEVER held their part of the cease-fire agreement and they started this war, not Hamas.<< Get real, Simon! Hamas is a violent fundamentalist regime, bankrolled by Iran and (rightly) branded as a terrorist organization by pretty much every country in the world. Hamas' stated mission is the destruction of the state of Israel. Hamas has persecuted Gazan Christians, Gazan Jews and Gazan homosexuals all of which have sought - and been granted - asylum within Israel. Hamas fired (or permitted to be fired) rockets into Israel throughout the period of the ceasefire. Those rockets may not have resulted in substantial casualities, but nonetheless could not be ignored by the Israeli government (what government would/could permit its people to be fired upon without responding?). That's not to say that the disproportionate Israeli response is warranted. There are bloody-minded idiots on both side of this conflict. So, I'll ask you again, Simon - what would be your preferred solution to this problem?
  7. The Population Problem

    >>Not politically correct subject<< But it needs to become PC. The fact is that we cannot hope to reduce global energy consumption while the population is expanding so rapidly. We are producing more and more of our energy from renewable sources, but we are not transitioning fast enough (see attached IEA statistics). Furthermore, renewable energy sources are not without their own sets of problems - for example, hydroelectricity production damages the surrounding ecosystems and there is debate as to whether geothermal energy production leads to increased seismic activity - which act as obstacles to being able to substantially increase production. In short, there is no way that our current technologies can meet the energy needs of 10 billion people without a substantial environmental impact. >>Teach people what causes babies since they clearly have not figured it out!<< But that, of course, is not the case. When you actually think about the effects of the population increase, the realities of the situation start to hit home. The population is growing at a rate of 1.5 million per week. To put that number in perspective, in order to house all those people in a single place you'd need to build a city the size of Phoenix each and every week, or a city the size of New York every 5 weeks. Before the end of next month, the world's population will have increased by more than the current population of Sweden. Before the end of the year, it will have increased by more than the current population of the UK. Before the end of 2013, it will have increased by more than the current population of the US. Such growth is completely unsustainable. The reality is that there is no way that we can meet the energy and transportation needs of so many extra people without substantially increasing our emissions. But emissions/global warming are not the only problems associated with an explosive increase in the size of the world's population. Simply meeting the food, manufacturing and waste disposal needs of so many additional people will radically change our landscapes (with woodland being cleared to make way for agriculture, etc., etc.) and place a possibly catastophic strain on the health of the environment. Will we be able to make the changes that would be needed in order to avoid making the world a much less pleasant place to live (if not completely destroying it)? There isn't much reason to be optimistic. Government action has been pathetically inadequate. They are relucant to take any form of action to substantially reduce emissions as doing so would be economically damaging - the EU's new climate deal and the US's refusal to sign-up to Kyoto being prime examples - and act like ostriches when it comes to the population problem. Their investment in R&D has been - and continues to be - way below where it needs to be. Government is not prepared to act at even the most basic of levels - for example, why the heck haven't places such as Las Vegas been made to switch off their light displays? Government needs a push, but is anybody going to provide it? Seemingly not. The green movement also chooses to bury its head in the sand when it comes to the subject of population control and, instead of encouraging people to become activists in order to force their governments into the sorts of actions that are needed to substantially reduce emissions, prefers to talk about environmentally-friendly coats for chihuahuas and eco-beer.
  8. So, Simon, what do you think the solution is to this crisis?
  9. >>As long as they refuse to change their attitude, it does not matter how much effort the other side puts into it and trying to blame the "West" only goes so far. At some point hamas has to come to the same table.<< Should Hamas not be willing to change their Charter and accept the right of Israel to exist, Gaza should be temporarily placed under international rule. To end this conflict, the international community needs to enable - as fairly as possible - either for the creation of a state for Arabs within Palestine or for Gaza and the West Bank to be merged into Israel (there is already a sizeable Arab population in Israel, so this is certainly a possibility - in fact, it's something which some Palestinians have already called for). Which is the better option? Dunno, but it's something on which both sides could hopefully agree. The extremists would not be happy, but the majority of ordinary Gazans and Israelis would be glad for the dispute to be at an end. I'm not blaming the West for the Arab/Israel dispute, but the West is certainly partially to blame for its own bad relations with the Arab world.
  10. >>Only then will they realize that to "enforce a ceasefire" they will have to kill off enough of hamas that they will no longer be a threat.<< Not necessarily. Put a UN peacekeeping force into Gaza, and the Israelis will invariably stop shelling it. And, unlike Afghanistan and Iraq, Gaza is small enough that it could easily be policed in order to ensure that no further rockets are fired at Israel. Once such a ceasefire is in place, both sides should brought to the negotiating table and cautioned that, unless they reach an agreement which will bring a permanent end to hostilities, the international community will decide who gets control over what and that, in the pending that happening, both sides will face extraordinary sanctions. Beyond this, a solution needs to be found to end the ongoing dispute between the Muslim/Arab world and the Christian/Jewish world. There is constant tension between Iran and the US, between Jordan and Israel, etc., etc., etc. That has to stop. And in order for it to stop, we in the West have to accept some responsibility for the disputes and conflicts. While it's easy to blame the problems entirely on radical Muslim extremists, that is certainly not the case. We have meddled in Middle Eastern affairs and shaped our foreign policies simply in order to ensure our continued access to their oil (at a reasonable price). We buddied up to Saddam while he was gleefully gassing Kurds, but then decided he was the enemy when Iraqi tanks rolled into oil-rich Kuwait. The second war we then waged on Iraq was very probably motivated not by the threat of WMD, but by Iraq's massive reserves of oil ("I don't think the war would have happened if Iraq didn't have the second-largest oil reserves in the world," Sir Jonathan Porritt, advisor to Blair. "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil," Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the US Federal Reserve). Tens of thousands of civilians died during that conflict. We tortured them. We imprisoned them without access to any form of legal process. Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo should cause us to hang our heads in shame. Shrub and Blair should undoubtedly be indicted on war crime charges. The matter needs to be investigated thoroughly and impartially - and not simply by commissions within their own countries. They commenced a war without backing/permission from the UN Security Council and seemingly breached the UN Charter that prohibits war except in cases of self-defence. And their actions resulted in a massive loss of life. Should it be found that Shrub and Blair had reasonable grounds to believe that Iraq possessed WMD which presented a real risk to the US/UK, they should be completely exonerated. But should the evidence not support that, they should spend the remainder of their days in Guantanamo Bay. There is absolutely no reason why Shrub and Blair should be allowed to completely disregard international law and then avoid prosecution. Saddam was (rightly) brought to trial for his offences against humanity, and Shrub and Blair should be too. They need to be indicted in order to both ensure the integrity of US/UK political systems and to restore the confidence of the international community (including the Muslim community) in the US/UK. The time has come to admit our failings and change. When we become involved in Middle Eastern affairs, we should act for the good of the people in that area and not simply for the good of our economies. Similarly, our foreign policies should stop being dictated by access to cheap oil. We need to come together with the Muslim world and reach an agreement for lasting peace, but that will not happen while we continue to see ourselves as the blameless good guys and them as the evil bad guys. Maybe the Christian, Jewish and Arab nations should all heed the final words of the well-known philanthropist and humanitarian, Saddam Hussein ;-) "Remember that God has enabled you to become an example of love, forgiveness and brotherly coexistence ... I call on you not to hate because hate does not leave a space for a person to be fair and it makes you blind and closes all doors of thinking and keeps away one from balanced thinking and making the right choice."
  11. >>I think that in this case Mike Tyson was the one that started the fight<< Not at all. Mike simply wants live in peace in a house that has belonged to his family for more than 50 years. But MountainHiker is PO'd because the high priest of the local snake handling cult supposedly promised his great, great, great granddaddy that that property would remain in the MountainHiker family for all eternity. That's why MountainHiker thinks that the property is rightfully his and that's why he started throwing poo into Mike's yard. Furthermore, MountainHiker has stated that Mike's yard is going to keep on being bombarded with excrement until he ups and leaves and, "The banner of MountainHiker is raised over every inch of the property."
  12. Simon says: >>Or maybe it was individuals in Gaza who fired those home-made rockets that anyone can make because they were frustrated and angry over the fact that Israel NEVER held their part of the agreement?<< I suspect that the majority of rockets fired before, during and after the ceasefire were the work of individuals rather than official representative of Hamas. I also suspect that Hamas did nothing to stop the firing of those rockets. I wonder how many people Hamas has imprisoned for firing rockets into Israel? >>Oh come on Brett. Get real here. If you have been bombed, oppressed, terrorized and your whole city is in a siege by Israel you would be mad as hell against them.<< I'd like to think I'd be a realist and recognize that the attacks were due to the actions of the terrorist body that was acting as my government. >>They have also offered to extend the truce if Israel would only lift the siege on Gaza.<< Pah! I suggest you go back and read the previously posted interview with Hamas: Abu Marzouq: We have three conditions for any peace initiative coming from any state. First, the aggression of the Israelis should stop. All of the gates should be opened, including the gate of Rafah between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Finally, Israel has to withdraw from the Gaza Strip. We are not saying we will stop firing rockets from the Gaza Strip to Israel - we are only talking about stopping the aggression from the Israelis against the civilian population in the Gaza Strip. So, basically what they want is for Israel to stop bombing them while they continue to bomb Israel. They are not willing to recongize the right of Israel to exist and will not enter into a long-term agreement that would enable Israel to continue to exist. What do you think would happen if Israel were to withdraw from the Strip and open the gates? Do you think the attacks would stop? No, of course they would not - Hamas have even stated that they would not. Hamas would simply use it as an opportunity to build up weapons which would then be used to attempt to remove Israel from the map. Ultimately, Hamas want to do exactly as it says in their Charter: raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine. Miguel says: >>Some Israelis are so anti-Semitic<< No, some Israelis simply oppose the war - in the exactly same way that some Americans and Brits opposed the war in Iraq. Both you and Simon seem to think that being critical of Hamas translates to supporting Israeli actions, but that's not the case. Were MountainHiker to decide to start chucking dog turds into Mike Tyson's yard because he thought he had some claim over Mike's property and was determined to force him out, I doubt that Mike would respond simply by chucking some dog poop back. His response would most likely be completely disproportionate: he'd probably beat MountainHiker senseless and bite off his ears. And what would happen if MountainHiker were to promise to stop chucking turds but then they kept on being thrown from his property onto Mike's? Would Mike believe him when he said that it wasn't him, but his buddies who were now throwing them? Probably not. But even if he did believe it, he'd probably still beat MountainHiker senseless again for permitting his buddies to do it. Now, Mike is a real bad ass and I certainly wouldn't support his OTT actions - but, at the same time, I wouldn't support MountainHiker's either. He's the cause of the problem and should never have chucked (or permitted his buddies to chuck) poop from his yard into Mike's. The dispute will only end when either 1. MountainHiker accepts that the property is rightfully Mike's and stops chucking poop or 2. a neighbour steps in and forces them to reach an agreement. Option #2 is exactly what needs to happen in Gaza. The UN should step in, enforce a ceasefire and pull both sides to the negotiating table to hammer out a deal which can lead to lasting peace.
  13. Earth on the Brink of an Ice Age

    >>I think it is worth looking at what these speculations and see if they are smoke and mirrors are is there something to it?<< I don't. The fact is that nobody - nobody - can say with complete and absolute certainty what's happening with our climate, whether we are entering a period of warming or cooling or whether it is man that is causing the change (if there is indeed a change). So, what's the point in debating? Doing so will simply confuse and blur matters further. Heck, people cannot even agree on the rights and wrongs of what's happening in Israel/Gaza despite the fact that the background and history is well known and documented - so what's the chance of being able to reach an agreement on the realities of climate change when the available information is entirely speculative and often contradictory? This is why the green movement needs to change the emphasis of its message. Telling people, as Monbiot has, that the immediate abandonment of all air travel is the only way to prevent catastrophic warming - if, that is, it isn't already too late to stop the warming process - isn't going to encourage change. Telling people that the global population is higher than the earth can sustain and that reducing the population is the only way to combat warming isn't going to encourage change either. What are we supposed to do? Vote on whether it's the Americans or the French - or both - who are eradicated? That's simply not going to happen. I must say, however, that the population problem is real and one which is often ignored (because, I assume, there is no easy answer). The world's population has increased more than 2x since 1960 and, each week, the planet becomes home to more than 1 million new people. In 1960, there were under 3 billion people on the planet. Today, there are 6.7 billion. By 2060, the population shall have increased by another 50% to almost 10 billion - 3x the number of people that there were in 1960. How the heck will we meet the food, clothing, energy and transportation needs of all these extra people while also reducing our emissions? Realistically, we probably cannot - at least, not with our current technologies. But I have digressed ... The green movement needs to change the emphasis of its message and become the voice of reason and common sense. People such as Monbiot shouldn't be saying that Shrub is destroying the environment simply because he can and that we absolutely must abandon air travel in order to have any chance of avoiding a catastrophe which it may already be too late to avoid. People do not want to hear that and will choose not to believe it. Especially as such claims are not conclusively supported by science. A much better message would be that we cannot afford to play Russian Roulette with our environment. The consensus is that the world is warming, and a majority of scientists believe that man is contributing to that. We need to work on the assumption that the scientists are right and work to reduce our emissions. To do otherwise would be completely irresponsible. Furthermore, even if the scientists are wrong, we still need to take action in order to ensure that we can support the world's rapidly expanding population without crippling the environment. Similarly, we also need to make sure that we cap the population at a level that can be sustained. It's simple. It's accurate. It cannot be disputed. And it may actually get people to believe and act. Footnote: I'm really not sure why the matter of population growth receives so little attention - possibly because it's an uncomfortable subject and there is no easy solution - but it is undoubtedly a major problem. During the next 50 years, the world's population will increase by almost 50%. That means a 50% increase in energy consumption, a 50% increase in manufacturing, a 50% increase in waste production, a 50% increase in wood consumption, a 50% increase in agricultural activities, a 50% increase in construction, 50% more pollution being dumped into the oceans, 50% more fish being pulled from the oceans, etc., etc., etc. and this will place an enormous strain on the health of the environment. We already have smog hanging over cities and an enormous brown cloud over Asia. How much worse will that become when the earth is supporting 50% more people? And if you think that we are already causing the climate to warm, then how much warmer will it become when there are 50% more people using cars and using electricity? Not to mention the amount of green space that will need to be used for new manufacturing plants, garbage dumps, houses, factories, etc., etc. To combat these problems, we need to make massive - absolutely massive - investments in new technology. We have to find ways of making our transportation cleaner. We have to find ways of eliminating our reliance on fossil fuels and producing clean energy. We have to find ecologically sound ways of producing the food we need. We have to find more efficient ways of recycling (and recycling more). And we need to cap the population. There really is no alternative here. We either do this or we watch the planet turn into a stinking cesspit which is incapable of sustaining its constantly increasing population. Unfortunately, our current political systems/governments are completely unfit to deal with the problems that we are facing. They are more interested in economic wellbeing than environmental wellbeing. Some refuse to sign-up to Kyoto. Others introduce "new deals" - snake-oil regulations which enable them offshore C02 production to developing countries. But none would be willing to remove billions and billions from their economies and invest that money in environmental/technological R&D. And nor would they willing to introduce policies which would make their industries less competitve in international markets. That must change. We need a new set of global political ethics that are capable of driving the changes that are necessary. We need to find co-operative global solutions to the problems we face today. Every country needs to completely transition to clean energy, and we need to make the investments that will enable that to happen - not only in our own developed countries, but in developing countries too. To make that happen, we'll need to bolster their economies - take money from our pocket and put it into their pocket. Whether or not clean energy is more expensive and will increase the cost of living/the cost of products is completely unimportant - we absolutely need to transition. We need global solutions which enable C02 production to be reduced, not offshored. We need to find ways of producing the food that 10 billion people will need without depleting the environment. We need to find ways of enabling 10 billion to travel in an energy-efficient manner. We need to realise that we are but one among millions of interdependent species and that, to succeed, we must care for the other species. We need to start using the resources that are currently committed to petty wars and disputes more constructively. We need to stop competing to produce the cheapest products, and instead work together to produce what we need in the most ecologically responsible manner. And, most importantly, we need to control the population. We need to work out how many people our planet and current technologies can realistically sustain, and then work to cap the population at that level. Forget about the antiquated superstitions of the Catholic Church - contraception is absolutely necessary! There are already millions of people in the world who are without food. How many more will be without food when the population swells by a couple of billion? How many would starve should crops fail due to droughts caused by climate change? And the fact that there will be more people consuming more energy/producing more C02 makes such an event all the more likely. Furthermore, people need to accept that drinking eco-beer and wearing environmentally-friendly undies is not enough - in fact, it's nowhere near enough. Do those things if you want, but do not make the mistake of thinking that you are doing much to help the environment - or that you are doing everything that you need to do in order to help the environment. To bring about the changes that are needed, people need to become activists. Those with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo - such as the oil companies who sponsor and support our governments - will undoubtedly resist. To overcome this and bring in a new era of global co-operation in which the environment and not the dollar is king, people will need to insist that their leaders base decisions not on what is best for corporations and the economy, but on what is best for the planet. In short, the time has come to forget about individual national interests and adopt the motto: all for one and one for all and all for the environment.
  14. See the extract from the Al Jazeera interview in this post.
  15. >>Never said that they had the right to murder anybody, but they have the right to defend themselves or not?<< Yup, but Hamas does not want to simply defend itself; (according to its Charter), Hamas wants to kill the Jews: "The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him." And then "Raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine." >>Not what i meant. I meant YOUR country not if you lived in Gaza<< Were the Canadian government to be similar to Hamas, I'd want them to do exactly as I said.
  16. Google

    Makes you realise too that in order to substantially reduce our impact on the environment we need to either 1. radically change what we do, even at the most basic of levels; or 2. discover ways to reduce our impact without giving things up (in other words, ensure that our transportation, computing, manufacturing processes, etc., etc. become more energy-efficient and are powered by clean energy). Realistically, option #1 isn't going to happen any time soon. And that means we need to focus our attentions on #2.
  17. Google

    I'm really not sold on carbon offseting. Yup, but Google makes for a more interesting headline than AltaVista or Dogpile :-) Actually, Google have been involved in/supported some interesting projects:
  18. Simon says: >>None of these rockets and mortars is the work of Hamas<< Why do you say that? Because nobody claimed responsibility for some of the rockets? Or because some previously unheard of group claimed reponsibility? Miguel says: >>But i do think that what the British did after WW2 was wrong and that the Arabs have the right to be angry about it<< And the Jews could be angry too! And they could also be angry at the Italians who expelled them from the Land of Israel a couple of thousand years ago and at the Spanish who expelled them from Spain in the 1400s. And the Brits could still be angry at the Swedes over Viking raids and at the Germans, Italians and Japanese. And black Americans could still be angry at the white Americans who imported their ancestors. And both black and white Americans could be angry at the Brits. Get over it! The Muslim world needs to accept that things are as they are and to work towards peace. Were every country, race and religion to hold onto their old grudges, the whole world would be at war! >>So what would you do if your country was occupied?<< Were I a Gazan, I'd want my government to accept that Israel has a right to exist. I'd want my government to remove from its official Charter all references to killing Jews and "raising the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine." I'd want my government to cease the actions that cause it to be branded as a terrorist organization by almost every country in the world. I'd want my government to break its links with Islamic Jihad and other terrorist organizations. Once that had been done, I'd want my government to come to the negotiating table with Israel and work out a deal.
  19. List of rocket and mortar attacks in Israel in 2008. This is a list of rocket and mortar attacks on Israel, which occurred in 2008. A cease-fire was agreed to by both sides and began on June 19, 2008. Rocket and mortar attacks still continued throughout the cease-fire although less frequently than before the cease-fire went into effect. A total of 20 rockets and 18 mortars were launched from the signing of the ceasefire until the beginning of November.
  20. As I said at the start of this thread, neither side are innocent victims. But the fact is that the underlying cause of this conflict is Hamas' objective to destroy Israel.
  21. >>That is something completely different to this situation and you know it. The germans had a choice and the possibility to change direction. But they choose not to.<< No, it is not completely different. The Nazis wanted chunks of Europe; Hamas wants Israel. And Hamas do indeed have a choice and the option to change direction. They can simply amend their Charter to recognize the right of Israel to exist rather than threatening to kill the Jews and raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine. >>They have a good reason to want that. That territory belongs to them since before the crusades, but a couple of centuries ago the British occupied them. So after WW2 the British, pressed by the Americans, gave the authority of those lands to the Jews. And this is how the Israel is born.<< Oh, get real! The Land of Israel has been ruled by Greeks, Persians, Assyrians and Babylonians. The Romans expelled the Jews and the Muslims then expelled the Romans. Who had what and when is old history and completely irrelevant to today's situation. The fact is that Israel has existed as a country for more than 50 years and should be allowed to continue to exist.
  22. EU's new figurehead believes climate change is a myth

    >>This is a fine example of the mind-and-right-wing-gap between Europe and America. George Monbiot is Europes leading green and social commentator. Calling Monbiot stupid.. Well.. That is just stupid.<< Whether or not Manbiot makes some valid points is irrelevant. The fact is that if he's going to prefix his discussions with idiotic claims ("Shrub is destroying the environment because he can"), then a substantial number of people will dismiss him as a nutcase and, accordingly, he'll fail to get his message to those people. Which represents a wasted opportunity.
  23. >>The rockets that Hamas are shooting haven't even killed 20 people yet. The Gaza deathtoll has now passed over 700 innocent people and children. Overkill, anyone? Disproportionately, anyone?<< And more than 1,500 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians in suicide bombings, etc. Yup, the Palestinians may be suffering more casualties, but that certainly does not mean that they are blameless victims. >>It's easy for us Westerners to accuse Hamas for terrorism. But they are the true democratically elected government there (more than what you can say about President Bush and his election), and who are we to say they are terrorists when they are just trying to defend themselves from a mighty and powerful, and illegal, occupier by the only means they can?<< Hamas' intentions go beyond defending Gaza; they want to destroy Israel and return the territory to Islamic rule. >>They would be called butcher, madmen, terrorists. Even if you are a hard-core Israel supporter no matter what they do, you have to agree with that. Hamas would be called terrorists for that same exact action. The double standard is sickening. [source]<< Source? What sort of source is chat show host Cenk Uygur? The comment, "Mandela, Gandhi and King were not just non-violent -- they were bold," demonstrates his lack of knowledge. Ghandi and King may have been non-violent, but Mandela certainly was not (which is not to say that his actions were unwarranted). >>If you look at the damage and suffering caused you can clearly see that Israel is carrying the biggest burden (I dont even think you can compare the sufferings between Israelis and Palestinians).<< And Nazi Germany suffered substantially more losses during WW2 than the UK and US combined. Does that mean we should feel sympathy for Hitler and co.? >>Perhaps the Israelis dont want the Palestinians to remain and live in peace.<< Hamas' Charter is to, "Raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine." Article 7 of the Charter states, "The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharqad tree would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." Hamas' leader Mahmoud al-Zahar stated that he, "Dreams of hanging a huge map of the world on the wall at my Gaza home which does not show Israel on it. This dream will become real one day. I'm certain of this because there is no place for the state of Israel on this land." Why would you even attempt to put a spin on this, Simon? Hamas are terrorists, plain and simple, and are listed as such ny numerous countries and the EU. Their stated aim is to destroy a country that is recognized by the international community.
  24. what's you favorite song lyric?

    Haha! Splendid!
  25. >>I just heard on the radio that the Israelis had bombed a large house. And the Red Cross wanted to go there and help the people there but they were not allowed by the Israelis. So after 3 DAYS of negotiations the Israelis allowed the Red Cross access to the house. When they got there the Israeli army had surrounded this big house which was in ruins and started to make a huge wall around its area. Inside the ruins the Red Cross found 3 small children, badly hurt and barely alive. Around these 3 children there was 12 dead people, including their parents, laying dead on the ground.<< Sad. And it's equally sad that numerous Israeli men, women and children have been killed by Hamas' suicide bombers. But that's the way of wars: shitty things happen. The cause of this conflict is that Muslims consider that they have a religious claim to the land upon which Israel stands and so do the Jewish people. The conflict will end only when either 1) Muslims accept that Israel has a right to exist or 2) Israel ceases to exists. If Israel permits Hamas to collect weapons, those weapons will be used against Israel. Remember, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and their partners are not interested in compromise; they simply want Israel destroyed and for the land upon which it stands to be returned to Islamic rule. To my mind, it is unimportant whether it is Muslims or Jews who are religiously/historically entitled to the land upon which Israel stands. The Muslims have no more chance of expelling the Jews than the people native to Australia and America have of expelling the white settlers. And nor should the Jews be expelled; Israel has become to the Jewish people what Australia and America have become to white people. It's their homeland and they should be allowed to remain. The Muslim world needs to accept that and needs to agree that Israel has a right to exist. Then and only then can there be peace in the region.