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Scoop Feedback: Touching the World

Scoop Feedback: Touching the World

The following is a selection of feedback and other unsolicited email received by Scoop recently. The opinions they contain do not necessarily reflect those of Scoop.

They do not appear in any precise order.

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Whats happened in BC?

Last month I was passing through BC Canada and there was an interesting issue in the media. The schol teachers had been trying to negotiate a new contract. The Govt unilaterally set their contract conditions. The teachers went on strike. The teachers were taken to courtfor their illegal activities (Teaching there is a essential occupation). The Judge did not fine them or imprison anybody but sequested their finances and vetoed strike paay. The teachers, as I left were hanging tough. I wonder what has happened: Does the govt win over the teachers right to negotiate? Whatever the result, the two sides will have something to learn from it.

Paul Bielski, Nelson.

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Once again the Dominion Post succeeds in revealing itself as a racist rag. Another of its major columnists, Rosemary McLeod, like Karl du Fesne, shows herself to be incredibly ignorant or more probably, with the assistance of her employing paper, utterly racist.

Can she not know that Zaoui came here believing in our reputation for fair play. After an inept interview without the assistance of an interpreter he was put into solitary confinement (tortured in UN terms) for ten months without charge and then in prison for over a year although declared a genuine refugee by the Refugee Status Appeal Authority which made a careful study of the case.

Equally abusive has been the government's failure to charge him with anything or have the SIS which calls him a "threat to national security" make any specific charge. Is this because France once more threatens to keep New Zealand exports out of Europe as they did after it did after the Rainbow Warrior affair in order to reclaim their agents or because the US, pleased by Algeria's ludicrous conferences against terror, would be further ofended by New Zealand's anti-nuclear stance- or is there another reason why the New Zealand government acts in this uncnconcionable way?

Whatever the reason , neither the Dominion Post nor the New Zealand government can be charged with fair play in the matter.

Jocelyn Brooks

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Dear Sirs:

I feel that India and the developing world should concider these low cost paths to fusion power. Not the ITER project taking thirty years.

I hope that you would be supportive of this article, which is a summary of my research over the last year. My hope is you will give a shout out about this Plasma Fusion technology as I have been trying to do in the forum and blog world.

I have posted this article at many physics forums, and it been published at two science news sites, but I have been surprised at the limited response. I guess plasma physicist are few and far between.

I am just a technology gadfly, intent to push this technology forward

Thanks for your attention,

Erich J. Knight

You will see that my injuries and correspondence with the principles involved have lead to collaborations, and hopefully will lead to more attention and funding to these efforts.

Here's an updated version of my article. If you know any plasma or atmospheric physicist I would love to have their take on the fusion section. The new lightning research I feel is most supportive. Thanks for any help

A New Manhattan Project for Clean Energy

Over the past year many luminaries have made clarion calls for a concerted effort to solve the energy crisis. It is a crisis, with 300 million middle class Chinese determined to attain the unsustainable lifestyle we have sold them. Their thirst for oil is growing at 30% a year, and can do nothing but heat the earth and spark political conflict.

We have been heating the earth since the agricultural revolution with the positive result of providing 10,000 years of warm stability. But since the Industrial revolution we have been pushing the biosphere over the brink. Life forces have done this before -- during the snowball earth period ( Cryogenian Period ) in the Neoproterozoic toward the end of the Precambrian - but that life force was not sentient!

Thomas Freedman of the New York Times has called for a Manhattan Project for clean energy The New York Times> Search> Abstract. Richard Smalley, one of the fathers of nanotechnology, has made a similar plea We are at the cusp in several technologies to fulfilling this clean energy dream. All that we need is the political leadership to shift our fiscal priorities.

I feel our resources should be focused in three promising technologies:

1. Nanotechnology: The exploitation of quantum effects is finally being seen in these new materials. Photovoltaics (PV) are at last going beyond silicon, with many companies promising near-term breakthroughs in efficiencies and lower cost. Even silicon is gaining new efficienies from nano-tech: Researchers develop technique to use dirty silicon, could pave way for cheaper solar energy New work on diodes also has great implications for PV, LEDs and micro-electronics Nanotubes make perfect diodes (August 2005) - News - PhysicsWeb And direct solar to hydrogen, I was told they have hit 10% efficiency and solved mass production problems: Hydrogen Solar home And just coming out of the lab, this looks very strong, it brings full spectrum efficiencies to PVs: UB News Services-solar nano-dots execute.cgi/article-page.html?article=75000009

1a. Thermionics: The direct conversion of heat to electricity has been at best only 5% efficient. Now with quantum tunneling chips we are talking 80% of carnot efficiency. A good example is the proposed thermionic car design of Borealis. ( GOLDEN-AGE-IBM.Speech.6=04.pdf ) . The estimated well-to-wheel efficiency is over 50%. This compares to 13% for internal combustion and 27% for hydrogen fuel cells. This means a car that has a range of 1500 miles on one fill up. Rodney T. Cox, president of Borealis, has told me that he plans to have this car developed within two years. Boeing has already used his Chorus motor drives on the nose gear of it's 767. (Boeing Demonstrates New Technology for Moving Airplanes on the Ground 801a.html ) The Borealis thermocouple power chips (and cool chips) applied to all the waste heat in our economy would make our unsustainable lifestyle more than sustainable. You may find an extensive discussion on thermo electric patents at: Nanalyze Forums - Direct conversion of heat to electricity੾

2. Biotechnology: Since his revolutionary work on the human genome project, Craig Venter has been finding thousands of previously unknown life forms in the sea and air. His goal is to use these creatures to develop the ultimate energy bug to produce hydrogen and or use of their photoreceptor genes for solar energy. Imagine a bioreactor in your home taking all your waste, adding some solar energy, and your electric and transportation needs are fulfilled.

3. Fusion: Here I am not talking about the big science ITER project taking thirty years, but the several small alternative plasma fusion efforts and maybe bubble fusion - Is bubble fusion back? (July 2005) - News - PhysicsWeb )

On the big science side I do have hopes for the LDX :

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Do you think its impossible for New Zealand to have a revolution in New Zealands political climate?

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Regarding Bush and the book by Goldhammer, it is strange that Mr. Goldhammer would choose a lion in which to place President Bush. Why? Because Jesus is refered to as a Lion/there is a Lion/Tribe of Judah. This is my first visit to your site. I did not read the full article when I say that it was not fair to President Bush, in my opinion. I will read the entire article since I am sending my comments to you. Do you not think you may also be wrong in many of your views or are you like those of whom you accuse? Methinks as your point your finger remember you also point to yourselves--everyone is right in his own eyes. You are no different than others.

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The Greens want to invest in rail upgrades instead of Transmission Gully.

What's with their love affair with rail? Why not congestion-charge the existing route (as required) and run express buses down it? - they go right into the CBD and are faster and cheaper, and even more energy efficient.

-By the way, the only cities that have successful rail systems in the developed world are cities with massive CBDs such as London and New York. As any objective transport engineer will tell you, it's very 'political' to have a commuter rail system in a country like NZ. Even Wellington, with it's relatively large CBD, was considering replacing their rail lines with buses (as they should).

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Recent elections have perhaps allowed a greater appreciation of what drove the desperate Mr Fawkes on that long ago November evening! In all seriousness though, our antecedent European culture is being eroded by a variety of influences, and it's our celebrations that help define us as a people. The perennial whiners and bleaters are given a voice by a money hungry media but they represent only a tiny percentage of opinion, confirmed by the massive sales of fireworks. Fireman too should take a positive from this event and use it as training for possible disasters to come. It's also a simple matter to lock pets indoors. Get over it.

Yours faithfully

nicholas keesing

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The PPTA seems to be in serious danger of becoming redundant as a Union for the 15,000 (95%) of teachers on its books. Instead of upholding member's core interests of employment agreements, conditions, and advocacy, the PPTA seems more concerned with "mixing 'n matching" children within school toilet blocks. I refer of course to the lunacy being trumpeted by PPTA President Debbie Te Whaiti that if a child's sexual orientation is opposite to their gender, then the child should be permitted to change or toilet in the opposing genders cubicles. This is minority-sanctioned madness. I would be interested to know if the 15,000 members of the PPTA have any idea that it is the members, not Ms Te Whaiti, that will incur the wrath and sanction of the parents of children affected by this gross abuse of trust and privacy. Might be time for the PPTA to "stick to its knitting" - serving the interests of those who pay membership fees for them to do so, rather than attempting to socially en!
gineer the school environment.

Yours faithfully

Steve Taylor

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[Re: Council on Hemispheric Affairs - Czech Republic Gets Heavy Handed Against Cuba]

What an incredible"reporting"(Czech Republic gets heavy handed.....)

I can hardly believe what a mealy mouthed but vicious socialist propaganda is published on your site,but perhaps this leftist spin is at par here.I admit that it is a first time I was here.Perhaps,I should be here more often so I can be more informed about looney spinning. Once again,I am just stunned by that article.

Jiri Hubacek,British Columbia,Canada

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I will boycott the forthcoming "Bond" abomination as well! They could have had Brosnan again--his Bond made over 1.5 Billion (american) dollars in four films--or a host of over "acceptable" people: Hugh Jackman, welshman Christian Bale, Clive Owen, or others. But they pick THIS guy? What? Wasn't Michael J. Pollard available??? (This is not to "snub" Mr. Pollard, but he's no Bond--neither am I, and neither is Craig!)

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[Re: Nepal - Yes, We Are Different !!]

This relates to the article "Yes, we are different" by Chatyang Master, Friday, November 4:

Yes, Bahadur, or shall I better say Chatyang Master, Nepali leaders are different. But you are obviously different, too, because you are not able to see the difference between democratically elected governments, as in India or UK, and an illegitimate government that has got its power from a royal coup d’état and that tries to smash not only the democratic forces and the constitutional foundations of the country but that also suppresses the independent media and the fundamental rights of the sovereign people of Nepal.

Bahadur, you are also different, because you are not able or do not want or simply don’t have enough education to see the fundamental reasons for wrong development, socio-political exclusion and non-participation in Nepal and the dissatisfaction and resistance of greater sections of society that results from these mistakes of the past. This bad system with its hierarchical order and favouritism for some so– called high castes has been introduced by the royal Shah family and its close associates after the forceful unification of the country. Monarchy is responsible that the masses have been exclude from state participation till today. This problem cannot be solved by the militant suppression of the Maoist insurgency but only through fundamental constitutional, legal and socio- cultural regulations and changes in the ways of thinking and behaviour.

Bahadur, you are also different, because you do not want to accept the historical facts of the last 55 years. During this most modern time has monarchy cheated the Nepali people time and again. Instead of holding general elections for a constituent assembly within two years, as promised by King Tribhuvan in the Delhi compromise of January 1951, has the institution of monarchy undertaken everything to prevent the democratization of Nepal and to built up a free and equal society that is based on internationally recognized fundamental rights. Nepal has faced two royal putsches, one by King Mahendra in December 1960 and now another one by King Gyanendra on October 4, 2002, that was completed on February 1, 2005. The difference between these two royal coup d’états is that the one by Mahendra took place under a not really democratic constitution while the putsch by Gyanendra smashed the democratic constitution of 1990. This constitution had taken sovereignty away from the institution of monarchy and had laid it into the hands of the people. It had left no direct executive, legislative and judicial powers in the hands of the monarch. The latter has become a simple constitutional head of state without any own power sharing. The king is always bound to the decisions that are taken by elected representatives of the people. According to article 27 (3), it would have been the duty of King Gyanendra to protect this fundamental constitutional set-up. But he has done the opposite.

Bahadur, you are different, because you don’t want to accept that elections could not take place before the royal coup of 2002 because of the Maoist insurgency that has its roots in the dissatisfaction of greater sections of society with the royal politics; the bad party politics after 1990 are only a further reason but not the origin. The violent ways of the Maoists is a wrong way, but fundamental changes are necessary if peace shall return to Nepal. This is not possible by militant suppression of the Maoist insurgency, as the past 10 years have proved. King Gyanendra is in the same way unable to hold elections as the party system before his seizure of power. Gyanendra’s announcement of elections has only one reason: He wants to gain time to complete his putsch. Gyanendra has no constitutional rights to dismiss an elected prime minister, to appoint a prime minister of his own choice or even to take this position himself; he has no right to dismiss or nominate constitutional commissions or even introduce new one; he also has no right to hold elections without participating the political parties; and he has especially no right to suppress the fundamental rights of the people. All this turns the constitution of 1990 into the absurd.

Yes, Bahadur, there are currently bigger issues than elections. Elections can only take place in a peaceful environment. If the one-sided ceasefire of the Maoists runs out, it will be the third time that Nepal’s political leaders have missed the chance for peace. Future generations will have to call all responsible leaders to account: King, royal politicians, party leaders, army, Maoist leaders. Peace can only go hand in hand with fundamental socio-political changes. These changes are possible in a peaceful way and with respect of constitutional and fundamental rights and with the cooperation of the institution of monarchy. King Birendra had respected his new constitutional role after 1990, but King Gyanendra obviously does not; this alone is the reason why there is a growing number of people that search for a way without monarchy. But Nepal also needs a new generation of party leaders. Those who have played a leading role after 1990 have missed their chance because they were not able to democratize their parties and introduce the necessary constitutional, legal and social changes.

Bahadur, wake up and see the difference!

Pasang Sherpa
for Nepal Research

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I am an English Conservative living in the South East of England so my knowledge of politics in New Zealand is rather superficial, nevertherless I am not convinced that all privatisation is desirable. For example the UK Government decided to deregulate the old utility companies in order to encourage competition. It seemed like agreat idea at the time, however the legacy of all this tinkering with the old system is a modern nightmare which is unbelievably complicated for the private individual.

So be careful!

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Independent News eh. Is that "independent" of yer brain?

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I just came across your site on the web and have to say that your articles are informative and well-written. Good job!

Al Kolman-Stich
Minnesota, USA


[Re: A Culture Of Lies]

Bill Grigsby: A Culture Of Lies

A great run-down of the myths that have so successfuly been perpetrated on some of us (to be more precise, on those of us who don't bother to look farther than our TV or local paper).

Thanks, Mr. Grigsby.


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