Time: what even is it?

The Australian 10 August 2012

A5 print $44 [wp_cart:electricityprices_print_A5:price:44.00:end]

A4 print $66 [wp_cart:electricityprices_print_A4:price:66.00:end]

A3 print $88 [wp_cart:electricityprices_print_A3:price:88.00:end]

I’m pretty sure the phrase “the science is in” is one of those jokes a scientist made that everyone took seriously and it was too awkward for the scientist to clear up. Science is of course never in, in fact scientists go round actively trying to disprove things they just recently proved which is frankly a PR disaster, so the best thing you can do is talk about varying degrees of certainty because otherwise some bastard in a labcoat will prove you wrong and you will have to fight to the death in an arena so everyone can work out what’s actually going on.

Anyway, if there was something the science is pretty “in” on, it’s entropy, which is a bit like the GST but more annoying because there aren’t any loopholes, even if you buy some in from overseas on the internet.

Basically every time you do something, entropy takes a cut, which is why running an electricity grid is trickier than you’d think because electricity goes off pretty quickly so every time you make it or store it or move it around the place entropy is pissing you about and all these people who probably couldn’t tell you exactly what Ohm’s Law is (no googling chaps) start jumping up and down and shouting baseload at you like they know what it means and then there’s the Greens getting mad because we’re all going to die and then Julia looks sad because she can’t get her message out because we’re all idiots and the media or something and then Tony gets mad because he doesn’t know what Ohm’s law is and can’t use Google and anyway climate change is made up okay it isn’t but it is frankly a bit sooky and everyone gets exhausted because of entropy and goes back to watching the Olympics.

Look, I’m not even going to go back and check if that last bit was a sentence because I am a busy man and this blog post is all about time and the science on that isn’t in at all, but it’s probably something to do with  entropy which sadly only goes the one way, and politics is all about pretending entropy doesn’t exist because entropy is all bad news, so this is where we run into a problem and hopefully somewhere near the point.

You may have noticed your electricity bill going up a bit over the past few years. This is something to do with entropy (the economist version of entropy is “in the long run we’re all dead” which is typical of those miserable bastards) and possibly “baseload” because somebody probably knows what it means but mostly it is to do with the phenomenon of “gold-plating” the electricity grid which is the theory that people who run monopolies will rip you off to the maximum extent possible, but it’s probably still cheaper than building multiple electricity grids.

The Government has, you may also have noticed, introduced a price on carbon recently, the idea being that this will encourage people to use renewable energy here so we can sell more coal overseas and they can have global warming over there instead. The trouble with this is it’s going to make the price of electricity go up a bit, and they quite rightly don’t want to take all the blame, hence all that gold plating that was going on has suddenly become a big deal and Something Must Be Done, presumably by inventing a time machine, which is a problem because entropy only goes the one way and anyway there’s all that stuff about killing your grandfather which seems a bit harsh and also somewhat counterproductive.

The Opposition has also pinned its hopes on the aforesaid time machine by claiming that it’s all the carbon tax’s fault, presumably by sending it back in time to a point before Arnold Schwarzenegger became Governor Of California and it all gets a bit complicated, but again, it’s a problem because there is no such thing as a time machine apart from the one that goes forwards at one second per second, though I suppose if someone invents one in the future because the science on entropy wasn’t quite as in as everyone thought (bloody scientists), somebody can go back in time and invent it much earlier so everyone gets to be vindicated retrospectively, or possibly in advance and patent lawyers get to be incredibly rich.

Look, I don’t really know what this is all about, though I can confidently guarantee that your electricity bill is going to keep going up no matter what anybody says so sorry about that, maybe get some solar panels in as the sun’s good for a fair while yet, though entropy’s working on it.

Suffer little children

The Hobart Mercury 12 July 2011

As those hardy souls who are not fooled by facts argue when it comes to climate change, nature does indeed run in cycles. In the case of the human species, the cycle goes thus:

  1. Somebody has a great idea.
  2. It’s a spectacular success.
  3. Some boring person points out that perhaps we’re overdoing it a bit and things are bound to go pear-shaped eventually.
  4. There’s a big argument about it, until…
  5. Things go pear-shaped.
  6. After the dust has settled, the survivors vow never to make the same mistake ever again until…
  7. Somebody has a great idea (see 1)

With fossil fuels and resulting climate change, we’re currently at 4. While you’d be mad to think that the carbon tax is going to solve the problem by itself, with any luck it might be a start to mitigating the disaster our children and grandchildren are going to have to deal with down the track. So quit whingeing about a few extra dollars on your electricity bill and put a bloody jumper on instead. The place will warm up eventually.

A spoonful of sugar helps the carbon tax go down

The Australian 11 July 2011

We all want to save the planet, but unsurprisingly nobody really wants to pay for it. Fortunately this diabolical dilemma has been solved through the miracle of recycling. What the Tax Taketh Away, The Tax Giveth Back (terms and conditions apply, and if you’re in the steel industry try not to look too smug).

Just as saving Australia from the Global Financial Crisis involved us battlers selflessly choking down a wodge of cash for our country, it seems the same principle can also save the environment from Global Warming, or at least look like it might be sort of nudging things in the right direction a very little bit. It will be interesting to see if it can save Julia.