Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Live Earth

Alright.. .Live Earth happened on 7/07/07. The aim to increase global awareness of global warming. And they did this through the entertainment industry. I guess that that was probably a good idea, but did it work. What will it accomplish? Hasn't everyone already heard about Global Warming?

So what if every Tom Dick and Harry know about Global warming? Knowledge is useless without action. I think that one of the greatest things that has happened in regards to the environment is what was put in place by town councils..

Recycling bins.

Not much effort on the part of Tom, Dick or Harry, no significant extra cost for them either. All in all a good effort. I think that this is one of the criteria if people really want to combat the Global Warming "crisis", it needs to be easy, and cheap. I'm not a rich man, I care about the environment, but I can't afford to buy stuff at a premium because it's good for the environment. I just can't. I think that instead of spending squillions on a 24 hr global concert, each country should have spent that money and started systems similar to council provided recycling.

This does not even touch on the fact that global warming itself is a human induced problem. It may actually be a sampling problem. Looking at the graph below shows a sharp rise in Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in the 1900s (approximately). But, how did they get the CO2 levels from prior to 1900s...From ice core measurements. After the 1950s (thereabouts) they used direct measurements. Is it possible that the direct measurements are higher than the ice core readings? Honestly, I don't know, but I would hesitate to compare apples with oranges. I mean doesn't the meaning of some phrases change when you go from one language to another? I see this as a similar problem.

Another bit...Look at the graph, notice the UNITs on the that's parts per million. Currently, we are sitting at 0.0383% CO2 in the atmosphere. So 0.0383% of the gas in the atmosphere is CO2. Pretty bloody small percentage there.

Also, if this was such a real phenomenon, why don't all scientists agree that this is a human induced problem? Wikipedia even mentions that (independant) scientists have put forth other hypothesis that explain Global Warming, that, "the warming is caused by natural fluctuations in the climate or that warming is mainly a result of variations in solar radiation".

I think that the best example of this may be the last ice age. The planet warmed up quite alot back then didn't it? And there was no human intervention either. There were no humungous factories spewing forth gases into the atmosphere, or cars, or blah blah blah. Yet the globe warmed on its own....

There was also, apparently, a Little Ice Age which began around 1650AD and ended around 1850AD. Is it possible that the miniscule temperature increase since 1850 (about +0.8 degrees C) might be due to the ending of said Little Ice Age?

ALSO, (yes it goes on) we have no idea of how the climate or weather patterns behave. You can't predict the weather next week let alone what it will be in 2100. Any prediction about what the future weather will be is only a prediction based upon some computer model with well-defined variables, which were initially designed by a person. If they leave out a variable you get a different result, if you weight one variable differently, you get a different result. Simply put, it's a prediction. Only that. Like the call-centre psychics, they predict based on assumptions. A little harsh there I know, but I'm trying to drive a point home.

The atmosphere is a complex entity, constantly changing, and we are not sure if the change is actually even due to human activities.

So, I would have liked Live Earth to have addressed the scientific merit of global warming, greenhouse gasses, and the proof that we are at fault, or that we can even change what the Earth may be doing of its own accord.

I do not want to sound anti-environmental or anything... Because I'm not, I believe in trying to protect the environment as a responsibility of ours. BUT, I do not like the idea of jumping on a band wagon which uses fear as its only weapon (the fear of climate change causing natural disastors etc... which is apparently unproven and spouted forth as shock media).

Ummm.... That's all I have to say about that.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The letter.

So.... I checked the mailbox yesterday (Tuesday) and I saw this unceremoniously shoved into my mailbox.

A letter from the Postgraduate Unit at Sydney University. So I took it... Went back in the house... Sat on the couch... and opened it.

"Dear Michael

I am pleased to advise you have been recommended by the Board of Postgraduate Studies in Dentistry, Medicine & Pharmacy for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Medicine), subject to specified emendations being made to your thesis as required by one or more of the examiners..."

The letter goes on, but that was the meaty bit..

So what does this mean? I looked at the reviewer's reports. The first one said it was fine, no need for any changes. The second reviewer pointed out 6 typing mistakes. And the third reviewer wanted me to add a few references to a section or two. That's pretty much it.

There was lots of praise so I am pretty happy with that. They liked the pics and artwork and the style etc.... All I have to do now, which I did 99% of it last night, was to make the changes, send a summary letter of the changes to a guy down the hall from my office, then he sends an e-mail off and that's it. I'm Dr. Amon. So long Mr. Amon!!! I then will have to print out new copies of my thesis and bind it properly etc, but after I'm Dr. Amon.

I just thought that I would let you all know, especially all those poor souls who read my blog throughout the last half of last year where I did alot of complaining etc. Here's the result. My thesis passed!!!!!


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Nervous much?

Well, about 4 or so months ago, I submitted a thesis. This thesis detailed alot of the work I had done in the past 3 and a halfish years (including writing time). I have been a bit anxious lately because I was told that I should know the outcome in 3 months.

3 months came.

3 months went.

In knew nothing.

So I called the University today to see what the deal was.

They told me that they had heard back from the 3 reviewers and they thought my thesis was crap and that I needed to start over. No, I'm joking... Trying to allay my own uncomfortable uneasiness that I am presently shrouded in.

I was told that the University did, however, hear back from my three reviewers and that the head guy of something (can't remember his title) was looking it over for approval. This does not mean that it has been accepted "as is," it simply means that the Head Guy looks over all the reviewers' comments (from each and every thesis submitted) and then sends a letter to each candidate (myself being classified as a candidate) including copies of the reviewers' comments and the final decision on the outcome of my thesis.

This is standard procedure. And what usually happens is that the reviewers want a few changes before final acceptance. This is fine and dandy. But my problem lies in the fact that I will have to wait to hear by post until next week sometime. While I know that the papers are sitting on said "Head Guy's" desk. 3 and a half years of my life. Of Bec's life, of Alex's life. None really of Madison's life though....

I want to know now!!!!!

It's pretty (highly) unlikely that it will be rejected flat out. So I guess I'm not worried about that though... What can I compare this to... Ummmm, I don't know.. Besides to say that it's like awaiting to hear the final judgement on something that you have put your blood, sweat, and tears into and knowing that the results are sitting on some guy's desk, awaiting his perusal.

The nervous twitch begins....

Anyway though, I should stop it with that because it will only freak me out even more. (PS though: please don't leave comments of encouragement or don't worry things, as I am only venting, and realistically, a few changes will have to be made, and then it's done, other comments are warmly accepted, but please keep within the post's subject matter, or within the guidelines of shamelessly flattering my good looks, writing prowess, innate knowledge, staggeringly (deficient) wit, etc).

So I'm on the Facebook thing. You can find me by looking for Michael Amon. There's a picture of me as my thumbnail thing, but if you don't know what I look like, just look for a guy that looks like me. I am impressed a bit with Facebook though, I have now been in contact with many people I had lost contact to. But my concern is the longevity of said contact. It's still digital communication. and I am piss poor at keeping contact with people (you know I love you Phil and Tamara, and Amanda) and I don't really think that Facebook will change this. Not any more than e-mail did. I need to be constantly harassed by people in order to write back for chit chat (that's a free invite for people to harass me to contact me, I don't take offense but feel guilty).

Anyway though, Facebook has given me insight into other people's lives who I haven't seen in years (decade?) from high school etc. So I guess it's not bad, but I just don't have the time to put into it... So if you are one of the people who I am a friend of in Facebook, sorry I suck.