QotD: Happy Halloween

Did you dress up today?  See any good costumes?

We in the office, being the naturally procrastinating type, did not managed to come up with anything interesting to wear today as a group. But we did dress up couple of years ago rather appropriately and here is the photo:

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Is it economic to be green?

After the Stern Review was released last week (more analysis here), BBC News message board is asking readers whether they are willing to pay green taxes. After reading a fair amount of the comments (~5 pages worth) I was dismayed that many BBC readers either think the review is just another British government way to tax the population, or climax changes are not scientifically proven, or worse still, admitted defeat because the small nation of Britain can't change the global climate so let's carry on as normal.

For the sceptics, why do they constantly asking for proofs? Does the IPCC reports proof enough? No. Do all the thousands of scientific papers on the subject enough? Apparently not either. I think it is because climate science (just like any science, really) is complex and the answers to any complex questions will inherently complex. But yet, most people are looking for the simple answer to ever more complex questions, in life or in anything.

As for those who don't want to pay the green taxes. They are the very same group of people that make me leave that country without regret. They want the best of both worlds, they want the cake and eat it. They complain about how bad the NHS is but yet don't want to pay the tax increase needed to modernize and reorganize the NHS. They just want their free health care. They complain about the state of the education system but yet do not want to pay tax that would raise teachers salaries or increase number of teachers. And with the green tax, apparently taxing the people who drive SUV/4×4 to deliver their kids to school is not right because their big car is 'essential' to their life.

Does having a conscious play no part in their decision making? Do we need the intervention of the Vatican church (or any religions for that matter) before the majority of the Earth's population will take notice? As much as I dislike religion as an organized movement, if that's what it will take to avert the upcoming climate crisis I am all for it.

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QotD: My First Flight

Do you remember your first flight? Where did you go? Why?
Submitted by Laurel.

The first time I flow was when we took a rare vacation as a child. It must have been around 1987 or 1988. My parents and I went to Peking (Beijing) for a week vacation and since there is no cheap direct flight between Hong Kong and Peking we had to travel to Canton (Guangdong) by boat (I think) for an internal flight. At that time Air China was called CAAC (Civil Aviation Administration of China) but their schedules keeping was so bad that we joked CAAC actually stood for China Airline Always Cancelled. In fact, on our return trip from Peking our flight was mysteriously cancelled without notification and we got stuck in the airport (comprise of a largish brick house with no door and a long strip of concrete runway, I'm sure there must be a control tower somewhere out there) for 4 hours waiting for the next flight that may or may not arrive. The weather was brutal, think bitter winter wind in Northern China, and without any heating in an open brick house it wasn't much fun for that 4 long hours.

I was excited about flying and I kept asking my dad to take photos of the aircraft wing even though it was pretty boring. I was also very excited about airline food but it turned out that the mainland Chinese had a very different idea about airline food than the rest of the industry. We got served a pork chop in a paper box but when we opened the box, we found that the they had not heated up the food. So for lunch we had a frozen pork chop that could probably kill someone if you threw it hard enough. Needless to say, none of us ate that. Fortunately, one of the people on the vacation tour group had packed a bunch of instant noddles so we asked for hot water from the air hostess and shared the noddles among us.

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QotD: All My Computers

How many computers do you have in your house? 
Submitted by Foomper.

Ok, let me count… I have two (a 15" Titanium PowerBook and a 15" Compaq laptop). Leah has three! (20" Intel iMac, 12" Aluminium PowerBook, and a 12" iBook) Ok, the iBook was kind of crippled so it doesn't count. The LCD screen's back light doesn't work any more after a liquid spillage caused by the other occupant of the apartment (e.g. not me).

I know having 5 computers in the apartment is a little on the excessive side but some of them will be 'liberated' soon.

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