*be sceptical - take nothing for granted!
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History

A Creation Story

 

In the beginning the Pacific Ocean was a formless void.  Then about 70 million years ago the Great God Vulcan said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters".  So he formed a great hot spot - a hole in the earth's crust through which magma from the mantle could leak, like air leaking from a netball.  Then Vulcan said,  "Let the dry land appear".

On the surface of the Pacific tectonic plate, below the water, a little pimple formed - pushing the land up until it became an island and with a 'pop', some red hot molten rocks and gasses squirted into the sky.  And Vulcan saw that it was good. 

But soon the Pacific plate drifted north, over his hot spot. So Vulcan repeated his trick again and again, creating a chain of islands.

 

Lyman Museum Lyman Museum
Lyman Museum Lyman Museum

Lyman Museum - the formation of the archipelago
 

Vulcan's hotspot is presently below Mauna Loa and Kilauea and the mere mortals a' top his other mountain have noticed that there's an almost linear relationship between the age of each volcano in the chain and its distance from Kilauea, the youngest, that emerged above water just 100,000 years ago.  They've also noticed that the island they call Oahu is over a million years older than their 'big island' of Hawaii.

 

Formation of the Hawaiian archipelago
Formation of the Hawaiian archipelago

Formation of the Hawaiian Archipelago - from the Hawaii Center for Volcanology website

 

Vulcan's islands were of pure sterile rock, born of fire. So Vulcan said, "Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon my isles".  Thus during the millions of years that followed, sea creatures came ashore and flotsam from trees and plant life washed ashore. Then those new-fangled bird things evolved to bring seeds in their guts and defecate in the soil.  And Vulcan saw that it was good.

A long, long time later, after lying unmolested for many hundreds of millennia, just seven hundred or so years ago, Vulcan caused an eruption creating a long white cloud so that following it from far away the first human settlers arrived (or was that New Zealand?).  After humans arrived an avalanche of change took place.  With them they brought new plants and animals and a whole new ecosystem began to evolve.  The first settlers were soon followed by others of their species, who possessed even more advanced technologies, and thus they brought even more change. Some might say devastation.

But mighty Vulcan's not concerned.  He has more islands planned. Underwater nearby he's already building another, Loini, that's not yet emerged from the waters and over time he intends to sink the present lot.

Praise be to Vulcan.

 

 


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Travel

Denmark

 

 

  

 

 

In the seventies I spent some time travelling around Denmark visiting geographically diverse relatives but in a couple of days there was no time to repeat that, so this was to be a quick trip to two places that I remembered as standing out in 1970's: Copenhagen and Roskilde.

An increasing number of Danes are my progressively distant cousins by virtue of my great aunt marrying a Dane, thus contributing my mother's grandparent's DNA to the extended family in Denmark.  As a result, these Danes are my children's cousins too.

Denmark is a relatively small but wealthy country in which people share a common language and thus similar values, like an enthusiasm for subsidising wind power and shunning nuclear energy, except as an import from Germany, Sweden and France. 

They also like all things cultural and historical and to judge by the museums and cultural activities many take pride in the Danish Vikings who were amongst those who contributed to my aforementioned DNA, way back.  My Danish great uncle liked to listen to Geordies on the buses in Newcastle speaking Tyneside, as he discovered many words in common with Danish thanks to those Danes who had settled in the Tyne valley.

Nevertheless, compared to Australia or the US or even many other European countries, Denmark is remarkably monocultural. A social scientist I listened to last year made the point that the sense of community, that a single language and culture confers, creates a sense of extended family.  This allows the Scandinavian countries to maintain very generous social welfare, supported by some of the highest tax rates in the world, yet to be sufficiently productive and hence consumptive per capita, to maintain among the highest material standards of living in the world. 

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Fiction, Recollections & News

Religious Freedom

Israel Folau refuses to back down, tells Rugby Australia he’s prepared to quit code

(Headline - Weekend Australian - 13 April 2018)

 

Israel Folau is a fundamentalist Christian Rugby League footballer who was asked on Instagram: "what was God's plan for gay people??".  He replied: "Hell... Unless they repent of their sins and turn to God".

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Opinions and Philosophy

The Chimera of Clean Coal

The Chimera - also known as carbon capture and storage (CCS) or Carbon Sequestration

 

 


Carbon Sequestration Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

Whenever the prospect of increased carbon consumption is debated someone is sure to hold out the imminent availability of Clean Coal Technology; always just a few years away. 

I have discussed this at length in the article Carbon Sequestration (Carbon Capture and Storage) on this website. 

In that detailed analysis I dismissed CCS as a realistic solution to reducing carbon dioxide emissions for the following reasons:

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