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PGTS Elephantine Blog

Thread: General/Opinion

If at first you do not succeed ... You must be a programmer!

Putting A Bit Of Elephant In My Blog

Chronogical Blog Entries:

Date: Wed, 02 Jul 2008 16:16:25 +1000

Today, I received another email from Dan Byrnes, taking me to tusk yet again for not blogging on a topic that I often talk about, in my conversations and emails. A similar email, on a previous occasion, goaded me sufficiently to compose this piece of satire in my blog.

Dan writes as follows:

But I still say, you didn't talk enough about peak oil problems when the problems you were talking about were peak oil-type problems, and since then, the price of oil has risen, no?

All I can say, is, Christmas is coming, and so are higher oil prices.

And in any case, those elephants in the rooms, they're breeding lately, they're mutating, they might all take a DNA step back to being Mammoths, whatever. What does anyone do when the elephants in their rooms get too big? They have a lifestyle change, that's what they have, if only to avoid the stench of the elephant dung.

On the question of Hannibal, the question there is: did he use Indian or African elephants as he crossed the Alps to invade Rome? The only book I've ever read on this suggests he used Indian elephants, mostly as African elephants can't be domesticated. (Without quibbling too much, by way of asking about, if an elephant trained to be used as a weapon of war, is or has been "domesticated". Like, what's "domestication of elephants" about?)

The Romans, too, had elephants in their rooms, elephants called invading Carthaginians.

But really, correct me if I'm wrong here, a properly domesticated elephant is only one that can be trusted to serve wine at dinner parties, anything less, and the vet should be called about the tranquilizer dart gun.

Bearing in mind that well-domesticated elephants should only be told anything on a need to know basis, since their missions are for the most part, impossible anyway.

Re Peak Oil Problems, I doubt the question is, can the problems be domesticated, or not? I tend to think, not. That is, I don't think so.

When the elephant in the room gets too big, have you noticed, the walls tend to fragment, then the ceiling comes down, then the next room goes, and finally, much of the rest of the house. Or in some cases, entire government departments. Take the Australian Wheat Board right now, as an exemplar here.

Welcome to the sound of the clip-clop of horses' hooves. Sound of rumbling drays driven by displaced truck drivers, used to deliver supplies to what will become less-than-super-markets. And so on.

Peak Oil Problems? The un-supering of the modern world.

Hours of happy satire there, no? The un-supering thing. As with the oil-supertanker, when oil is so expensive, no one wants to charter it anymore. So it becomes an oil un-super-tanker. No?

Meantime, on another and even more merciless blog item, re Vista, you are quite correct, just when are computer-users going to realise what the go is with how good Ubuntu is? It took me a while to go Linux, but what we didn't know at the time was, that Ubuntu and wine had solved the problem that did most to keep me with Windows for so long, what to do with the genealogy database - which by the way, now, in some respects behaves much better with Ubuntu 8.04 than it did with Ubuntu 7.10. Not for any reason though that I can specify. It was a very arcane problem there. Twice now, an Ubuntu update to wine has jiggered an aspect of that database operation, then fixed it. It's a problem that will presumably come and go, every now and again, someone doing a wine update gets it wrong, at least for this particular database. S'pose it comes with the territory.

Cheers, Dan.

Sigh, Ok, ok, I haven't blogged about the problems of peak oil, and global warming, because this was supposed to be a Technical blog, that focused on Open Source Software. And in a way these are kinda off topic. Also the global warming elephant is just so big, it leaves me a little paralysed. Generally I think a similar paralysis afflicts governments and corporations all over the world.

But if Dan keeps goading me, I might begin injecting a little more elephant into this blog. Some of you may have noticed that, initially, I labeled this month's blog the Schadenfreude Blog. Actually my schadenfreude may be a little premature since the negative trend in Vista's market share may have been due to the XP cutoff date, rather than a genuine desire amongst computer users to liberate themselves from the yoke of Microsoftish dumbing downwardness. Only time will tell on that score.

Anyway to commemorate the month of the elephant I will label the July blog the Elephantine blog.

In the past few months, Tim Colebatch, economics editor for The Age has inserted quite a bit of elephant into his opinion column. A couple of weeks ago, Mr. Colebatch used the analogy of tidal flows. When a big tide comes in, he opined, some politicians, like the leader of the opposition, Dr. Nelson, declare that they will swim against it!. And they call for the populace to rally round them and, if successful, will swim even further out to sea where they will eventually drown. And some politicians like our new prime minister, Mr. Rudd, just get swept away by the tide.

What Tim Colebatch was alluding to was the need for more strategy and less tactics. Recently there has been a lot of noise, at least as loud as the trumpeting of a herd of angry elephants, as motorists drive angrily around bleating, and beating their breasts and tearing their hair about the outrageous, unjustified, quite unfair high price of petrol. Some of them mutter ominously about speculators, oil companies and profiteering. Ironically many of these latter day converts to socialism were formerly some of the most ardent admirers of our great capitalist free market system. But the irony is mostly lost on them. Another intriguing development is the reaction of our political leaders who dither and vacillate in their own personal futile thermodynamic infundibulum.

And if it is true that we get the leaders we deserve, then the unfortunate citizens of the USA must have done something truly dreadful to deserve the bunch of bozos who have hijacked the reins of government in their country. And if you think that language is a bit strong, you should hear the language I use when I talk about them in private conversation.

And those naughty speculators? Well they are mostly investing in futures markets. Actually it is more like gambling than investing. They are betting on the fact that oil prices will rise. And it seems like a pretty safe bet. Since the causes of the problem are structural (to use that lovely economic euphemism) and the solutions are all long-term and strategic, and yet to be embarked upon. Yes, eventually the price of petrol will go down. But only when we can demonstrate that we don't require it any longer.

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