Monday, May 22, 2006

The member from Whoop Whoop and his perpetual motion.

I was listening to the radio this afternoon while doing some hand picking. Because I am a docile lab rodent, I didn’t bother adjusting the frequency, I just listened to whatever the radio was tuned to. Today that was the Australian radio equivalent of C-span. Members of parliament were talking, for five minutes each, about whatever was on their minds. Topics ranged from superannuation rights of same-sex couples to poverty in aboriginal communities.

One of the members, who I will kindly refer to as the Honorable Member from Whoop Whoop, started talking about drought in inland Australia, and ways to address it. He suggested that part of the solution to this continent’s water shortage could be desalination plants. These could be set up on the east coast, and water could be pumped up over the Great Dividing Range. And then he came up with the cleverest idea of all: Pump the water....

“...via a new hydro-electric power station. The power generated by a new hydro-electric generation plant could offset the substantial energy costs associated with desalinization.” *

In other words, use the water running down the western side of the divide to pump the water up from the ocean, and use any excess power for the desalinization. He could have stopped there, but no, he wanted to prove that he was a rational, circumspect, professional statesman.

“I realise this sounds simple, but obviously it requires a more thorough examination than I am able to provide, especially in the time allowed in this debate.” *

Simple indeed. so simple, it even ignores the CONSERVATION OF FUCKING ENERGY! I mean really- without a more thorough examination, who can authoritatively discount it?

I have a better idea. Take the money needed to build a desalinization plant big enough to service agriculture, and spend it on science education in public schools. Or better yet, on science education in parliament house.

I shouldn’t be that surprised. The entire corporate agricultural industry is built on subsidies and protectionism, so getting something for nothing probably seems perfectly natural to this bonehead’s core constituents. Why not apply the same reasoning to the natural world?

So, I’m no longer surprised that Australia has shown no interest in addressing global warming. If the politicians don’t understand conservation of energy, then how can you even start to explain the heat budget of the atmosphere? We’d be better off suggesting that they simply retire those old fashioned coal plants for perpetual motion machines. After all, they’re infinitely more efficient. And closing all the coal mines would weaken the unions.

* Quotes are from the official parliamentary Hansard- Page 66.

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