Just spotted this at the ATA website:

So how seriously is [the threat of climate change] being taken in Australia? The government has committed $100 million over 5 years. That’s just 20 million dollars a year – less than half the 55 million dollars spent on the recent industrial relations advertising campaign.

I hadn’t connected those dots – but definitely puts things into sharp perspective. The money they’re referring to is the funding announced at the recent Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate meeting in Sydney in which the government announced a plan that sees greenhouse gas emissions double by 2050 *(while at the same time claiming that this is a 20% reduction).

Palestine is still the issue…

Jim Moore: Oh yea, real smart: >Rice Wants Nations to End Hamas Govt. Aid.

Since I began reading Robert Fisk’s The Great War for Civilisation : The Conquest of the Middle East I can’t help but think that the media coverage over here is grossly inadequate. I read an SMH article that glazed over huge issues, and trotted out that old favourite “the peace process” getting “back on track” (if you manage to read the book, you know why I glaze my eyes over when I read that).

Makes me want to buy a subscription to the Independent (which I might yet do) to get Robert’s take on the situation.

The other thing that the book has done is make me want to spend a coupla hundred bucks and buy one for the government and shadow foreign affairs ministers (along with some other pollies) – the parallels between the current situation and past conflicts abound – and some extremely prescient comments by past politicians (such as Churchill) are just simply too extraordinary to ignore.

Algal Biofuel

WorldChanging: Turning Emissions Into Fuel With Algae:

Isaac Berzin has developed a method of capturing CO2 from smokestack emissions using algae, and turning the result into biofuels including biodiesel, ethanol, and even a bio-coal substitute. His process, based on technology he developed for NASA in the late 1990s, captures more than 40% of emitted CO2 (on sunny days, up to 80%) along with over 80% of NOx emissions; in turn, it produces biodiesel at rates-per-acre that could make a full conversion to biofuel for transportation readily achievable. Berzin’s company, Greenfuel, has multiple test installations underway, and expects to have a full-scale plant up and running by 2008 or 2009.

A great article on a very promising technology – with due coverage of potential downsides.

Foreign aid

WorldChanging: Remittance – New Ways to Send Money Home.

An interesting article, but one pull quote really caught my attention:

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of remittance income to most African nations and many developing nations. Nworah cites a figure of $300 billion dollars sent from diasporas to developing nations via remittance. In Africa, the amount of money remitted by diaspora workers – $17 billion per year – is larger than the amount of foreign direct investment in Africa, and rivals official development assistance grants or loans ($25 billion per year). In some African nations, remittance represent as much as 27% of the gross domestic product of some nations. …

Increasing findability

Iain Barker with an excellent primer on information scent.

Enabling people to find the specific information they require amongst the hundreds and thousands of other pieces of content available on a site can be a difficult task.

…It is interesting to note that the Orange homepage doesn’t actually contain the global navigation that appears on all other pages of the site. This is a point often forgotten on many sites, the homepage is the only page that doesn’t need to employ the same global navigation as the rest of a site.

The principle roles of the homepage are to confirm to users that they have in fact arrived at the right place and provide them with a clear and simple first step towards the information they require.