Phishing

If you get an email from “Wwf Security Consultant” with a link to confirm your email address (with http://www.wwf.org.au/confirm.php?email=youremail@address.com) – don’t click on the link. Seems some bright spark has decided to use wwf.org.au in a phishing scam (not 100% confirmed, but looks pretty likely). So, what do you do in this circumstance?

The IP address that the link /actually/ goes to is 205.138.199.146 (not one of our servers). Not sure if that’s useful – but thought I’d pass it on regardless…

Letter from Bangkok

Worldchanging: Letter from Bangkok:

5, 4, 3, 2, 1, click. At that moment, fourteen million Thai households, whose TVs are showing only this show (the PM has ensured that it’s on all seven channels), are supposed to turn off one unused light. Cameras with aerial views show houses, skyscrapers, whole cities darkening — not fully, but noticeably. And a small moving graph on the screen starts to register the change in energy consumption.

For five full minutes, the line on the graph snakes down and down and down, and the space above it turns a pretty red color, showing exactly how much energy this national exercise is saving compared to the same time yesterday. In just five minutes, Thailand’s national electricity consumption has gone down by over 700 megawatts — enough to shut down one of the country’s fourteen large hydropower stations.

Sounds like a pretty impressive way to raise awareness!

Machine Translations

I’m two songs into Machine Translations’ Love On The Vine, and I’m blown away! I hope the rest of the album is this good…

More on nuclear

Rant alert: I was going to post this in response to a comment by Ashley on the previous post, but I felt it worth putting in the main flow.

What’s interesting about this is that we picked up the meme on the media radar about a month and a half ago – the odd mention here and there, but nothing significant. Then the US started talking about it. Now Carr.

There are people in the environmental movement that think that nuclear is an option in some circumstances, and believe that the side-effects and potential safety issues are minor compared to the threat of global warming.

This may be true, and that’s why I think a truly informed debate would be good. Problem, in my mind, is two-fold. 1) I don’t think we’ll get a truly informed debate. 2) There are solid alternatives available now (or that are very close to commercialisation) that with a comparitively small kick in terms of funding (possibly less than required for nuclear) would get into the mainstream supply.

The other thing I can’t help think about is that a recent report has identified that we have world-wide wind resources, that are of sufficient power with currently available technologies to supply the world’s current energy consumption more than 30 times over.

With this in mind, the strategy seems sooooooo fucking obvious that you focus on a mix of clean alternative energy sources and efficiency – with a mix of short- and long-term projects. This will take time – years in fact – but it’s a ground-shift that needs to happen in public, business and political thinking.

As the funding and mainstream acceptance of the alternative sources increases, the price will drop and efficiency (of output) will improve. By focusing at the same time on efficiency (using less through process and usage improvements), you reduce the requirement for new power capacity moving forward, therefore making alternative supply even more viable.

Nuclear power is proposed as an “instant” solution, which, of course, is politically expedient, particularly when Carr is under attack on infrastructure issues. The fact is it is not. Nuclear is at best a medium-term solution (meaning, within the next decade). That’s about the same amount of time as it would take to get clean renewables to the point they need to be.

So, if you’re going to invest in a solution with a long-term perspective, which would you choose? This is why balanced and informed debate is needed, but more importantly we need the political will to make it happen.

As an aside, there is a lot of talk about infrastructure in Sydney at the moment. What amazes me is that we are suffering from water shortages that are partly a result of poor environmental management, and yet the immediate knee-jerk response is that the environmental movement is getting in the way of progress in managing infrastructure.

However, the environmental movement will solidly get behind infrastructure projects that also take the environment into proper consideration. Renewable energy and thoughtful water management are key to the success of our infrastructure planning into the future. This is not an impediment – it is a requirement – if our city and state are to remain strong into the future.

It seems the same old mistakes, with worsening consequences, are being played over and over. Will we ever learn?

Carr thinks nuclear

So this is what we get for campaigning against coal fired power stations. Yeh – if it were likely to be a balanced debate, this might be a worthwhile proposal. Because nuclear wouldn’t win the debate!

We have to get out of this mindset that one technology, one thing will solve the problem. WWF promotes (PDF) a mix of clean energy solutions that will create the base load power we need.

I, personally, am willing to concede that nuclear may be an option in some circumstances. To that end debate is needed. However, what seems to be lacking from the media attention around nuclear lately is that, to go nuclear we will also require significant investment – not just on building and maintaining the stations, but in research and development.

If this is the case, why is it that we are not spending this money on safer alternatives, that don’t have the potentially disastrous effects of nuclear – both in terms of waste and the potential for damage? IMO, it beggars belief.

I’m sick of old fart politicians, through short sightedness and ignorance, fucking up the environment that we, and our children, will inherit. I sure hope that common sense prevails in this particular issue.

Misquoted

One of my colleagues was misquoted in a major daily today. A classic case of a long (approx. 1 hour) interview boiled down into one misquoted sentence.

I can’t help but think two things: 1) how does the media justify/get away with this? and 2) I’m sure that weblogs and the net have a part to play in reducing the impact (if not the occurrence) of this kind of thing – transcripts of interviews and weblogs immediately come to mind.

MSM on blogs

Recently started seeing blogs hit the local metro press. And of course they fall into the same well documented traps of their US and UK counterparts – characterising blogs as “the loudmouthed crowd” and searching for the local stars or “A-listers of the blogosphere”.

Quick note to journos and editors: before you write an article on blogs, go read Dan Gillmor or Josh Marshall or Kevin Sites or Clay Shirky or Jay Rosen or Scott Rosenberg or Larry Lessig (I could go on…) – hardly the “loudmouthed crowd”. And recognise that the reason blogs work is precisely because it’s not all about the stars and A-listers – in fact quite the opposite.

Of course, blogs can just be random opinion expressed loudly – but that is to dismiss the wealth of knowledge being generated, accumulated and shared by bloggers. And that is a shame…

Liberal rebels

Webdiary: Rebel Libs leap from 5 to 9: Howard gets more talks.

After a two and a half hour debate, Georgiou agreed not to introduce his bills this week as planned, and to advise the next party room meeting, on June 14, of his intention to do so if no compromise could be reached with Howard. He would then insert the bill for House of Representatives debate on June 20. In the meantime, Georgiou and the other rebels agreed to talks with Howard and Vanstone.

Read the full text. I’m disappointed there isn’t more support for it…

Later, Margo sums up Labor’s lacklustre support as “gutless“. Too right.