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  Friday, 28 April 2006

Marsden Valley, tucked into the hills behind Stoke, has been providing me with quite a bit of photographic inspiration lately, but after the steady rains of the last week or so, the little river thats tumbles down the valley is looking a lot more dramatic. I spent a couple of hours up there this afternoon, clambering around in the mud, looking for good angles, and trying not to get my feet wet.

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8:37:15 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 27 April 2006

PowerLess NZ Press Release
21 April 2006

As the price of oil hangs at record heights, unmoving, like a pall threatening to choke economies and festering the sore that is inflation (October delivery contracts on the NYMEX are over US$75 a barrel), the cattle-class as well as the impotent media transfixed by daily trivialities and titillations by and large continue to remain clueless as to why we are paying almost $1.80 a litre at the pump.

Economists and "analysts" roll out the usual suspects whenever the price moves skyward, security worries in Nigeria, "weapons of mass destruction" in Iran, or was that Iraq, hurricanes in the gulf. The point today is any minor supply concern that results in a few thousand-barrel production cutback translates into a several dollar bull-run on oil on the mercantile exchange which is never clawed back. To say that "the end of cheap oil" is here is to merely state the bleeding obvious.

Matt Simmons energy investment banker and Peak Oil advocate argued that 2006 would be the year Peak Oil would be absorbed into the public consciousness as much as climate change and it seems he may be right. This week Helen Clark, New Zealand's Prime Minister joined a rapidly growing but exclusive club, the penny has obviously dropped she openly admitted the real reasons behind high oil prices, "because we're probably not too far short of peak production, if we're not already there" [1].

This watershed statement, which incidentally went over the heads of most of the media turkeys in attendance, has enormous economic and social implications. Firstly it absolves Trevor Mallard (acting Minister of Energy) from having to regurgitate International Energy Agency nonsense that Peak Oil is at least 30 years away. "Not too far short of peak production, if not already there" surely can't mean the same thing as 30 years away. The minister can now base policy in geological reality rather than the flawed economic "business as usual" fantasy that has cheap abundant oil production growing alongside the economy for all eternity.

But will he? Will she?

I can already hear the screams of the damned led by Peter Dunne, all the way down every double-laned highway in the country. By this very admission the Prime Minister puts the Government in a very sticky situation. If indeed we are already at peak oil multi-billion dollar roading projects are about as sensible as New Zealand developing it's own uranium enrichment program. But New Zealand is obsessed with the growth dilemma. Economic growth necessarily depends on a cheap energy subsidy, to grow economically one needs to increase energy consumption. As the price of oil continues to creep upwards the spectre of oil-shock induced stagflation looms. The economy is already stagnant. Interest rates are relatively high and inflation is expected to run at over 3% this year. Expect the ride to become somewhat bumpy over the next couple of years.

In light of Prime Minister Helen Clarks peak oil admission the concept of growth must be re-evaluated. Economic growth and oil production exhibit a linear relationship. As we enter the era of oil decline, Jim Kunstler argues the only growth we are likely to see is "growth in our exertions to stay where we are, and the truth is many of the weak will simply fall behind" [2].

If Helen Clark truly comprehends peak oil then momentous changes in public policy must follow, not to mitigate risk in light of such information incurs liability and, is arguably negligent.

The Clark led Government must start immediately with the recognition that we have adopted (and continue to develop at breakneck speeds) a suburban living arrangement for which the outlook is truly bleak. The public can no longer get what the public wants, the required message will not be popular.

Continuing to pump billions into roading projects, ultimately dependant upon the continued stream of cheap Middle Eastern oil after the Prime Ministers admission is moronic. With less oil being produced every year and as the price of petrol moves beyond Himalayan like territory, Transmission Gully (just picking one example), begins to look like a very expensive white elephant a monument to the exuberant industrial age when there was always more of everything.

[1](2006) PM Talks Palestinian Aid, Health 'N' (Peak) Oil, Tuesday, 18 April 2006, 5:53 pm , Article: Scoop Audio.,

[2] Kunstler, J. (2006) April 3, Clusterfuck Nation Chronicles: Commentary on the Flux of Events.,

Steve McKinlay for
PowerLess NZ

PowerLess NZ is a growing group of scientists, energy analysts and concerned citizens whose principle objectives are to alert both Government and the general public to New Zealand's looming energy crisis. Our aim is to support development of renewable energy resources at both a private and public level, as well as encourage a firm move away from dependence upon fossil fuels.
Steve's blog is located at
More information about global peak oil and resource depletion can be found at

8:25:56 PM    Comment []

One of my favourite things to do on a weekday evening is enjoy fish and chips on the waterfront. Two blue cod and half a scoop from the Black Cat Fish & Chip shop, then down to the last park in the car park by the yacht club, next to the big picnic table. There I can eat my meal, watch the yachts, kayaks, fishing boats, and sunset. I can never resist sharing my chips with the ever present gulls. Their loud obnoxious behaviour aside (which is fascinating to watch) they are graceful, intelligent and resourceful creatures.

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8:12:46 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 26 April 2006

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7:09:05 PM    Comment []

Imagine giving a 40 minute presentation on the history of oil, war, and politics of the last hundred years AND making it not only informative, and provocative, but also hilarious fun.

Sounds impossible? Well Robert Newman does it in style with a brand of humor that is quintessentially British.

"This innovative history programme is based around Robert Newman's stand-up act and supported by resourceful archive sequences and stills with satirical impersonations of historical figures from Mayan priests to Archduke Ferdinand. Quirky details such as a bicycle powered street lamp on the stage brings home the pertinent question of just how we are going to survive when the world's oil supplies are finally exhausted."

Check it out here...

5:09:21 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 24 April 2006

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11:33:19 PM    Comment []

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  Sunday, 23 April 2006

I'm still here. I lost my blogging mojo somewhere for a week or so. It is becoming decidedly wintry here. It seems like the trees have shed most of their colour before I've really had a chance to appreciate it. Today it's wet and blustery out there and I've trying to dry two loads of washing. I've got the wood stove going and my lounge is full of damp clothes hanging from the ceiling. At least it means I'll be in for a nice roast dinner tonight. Nothing does a roast like that wood stove. It cooks everything so evenly that you don't even need to turn the veges in the roasting pan. They never stick and just fall apart when they're done. I think I'll try a stuffed pumpkin tonight with one of the smaller buttercup pumpkins I grew, and some baked apples for desert....

Speaking of winter, my winter garden is planted. Frost hardy varieties only like broccoli, cabbage, silver beet, and of course, broad beans. The vege bed in the photo below is built up with a load of free mulch. I thought I'd try it instead of pea-straw, because its... well, free. It pays to live next door to a professional arborist when it comes to composting.

1:51:23 PM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 18 April 2006

As someone who thinks 'visually' I have always pictured music in my head. Usually abstract, just shapes, colours and timed movement. When I try to recall a tune I naturally try to remember the 'shape' of it. 

This video had me from the first bar. (broadband needed - watch it at work).

10:28:47 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 17 April 2006

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10:14:54 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 15 April 2006

11:37:58 AM    Comment []

  Friday, 14 April 2006

"When you drink the water, remember the spring."
Chinese Proverb

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9:33:42 PM    Comment []

  Friday, 7 April 2006

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9:09:53 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 6 April 2006

My TV-b-gone arrived yesterday. In time for TV turn off week. April 24-30 2006 is the week. Why not take the challenge and find out how much TV really means to you. Go cold turkey, no TV for a week. Warning: Side effects may include decreased anxiety, increased social skills, increased cognitive ability, increased sense of well being.

Today with my TV-b-gone on my key ring I turned off a total of six TV's, including a bank of three big screens from across a large shop floor... unfortunately they were on a separate sound system... curses! I'm just getting warmed up. Wait till I start hitting the TAB's.

8:48:06 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 5 April 2006

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  Tuesday, 4 April 2006

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9:49:29 PM    Comment []

Kaycee got in a fight today...

...with two dogs, twice her size. You know, those ruffian type dogs who travel in locked boxes on the back deck of rough looking ute's. She got her butt kicked before I could make it to the scene. I think she was genuinely surprised that she wasn't the lean mean fighting machine she thought she was (she certainly doesn't she her small size as a disadvantage). She wasn't hurt and she was very brave. Even after the big ugly dog released its grip on her throat she got right up, shook herself off and went trotting right after it with her heckles up. I think she was trying to tell it that she wasn't ready and he should just TRY that again.

8:48:25 PM    Comment []

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