SOME people are not happy with the NSW government approving the Kurri Kurri gas plant as reported in the Herald, ("Kurri locals say recently approved gas project 'doesn't add up'", Herald, 22/12). Unfortunately for the next several decades NSW needs base load power stations (coal and gas).
Why? Here's a good reason. Wednesday night last week was hot, humid and windless. Many homes would have had air conditioners and fans on full power. At 9pm on Wednesday, NSW was consuming nearly 10,000 Megawatt hours of electricity but only three per cent was being generated by wind farms. It will be many decades before wind farms can provide most of our overnight power.
Since nearly all of our ageing coal power plants will be gone by 2030, we need new gas plants and maybe coal plants to fill their void. The world has been building wind and solar farms for nearly 30 years but only eight per cent of the world's electricity is generated by them. Europe, UK, US and Russia realise the benefits of gas plants. In the past 30 years the amount of electricity produced globally by gas plants has tripled and they now produce 25 per cent of the world's electricity. NSW has abundant sources of gas and must follow the lead of these countries.
The state and federal governments are making it very difficult for NSW to develop its abundant gas reserves. And we will need to use our gas reserves or start suffering blackouts on hot, humid nights and on cold winter nights.
IT has been a very challenging time for almost two years. Newcastle has had more than its fair share of examples of the everyday needs of the general public not being met. The lack of maintenance means safety, comfort and well-being have been neglected.
At present the tipping point has been the decision by the City of Newcastle to re-surface the designated streets for the Supercars event, as well as the proposed footpath leading to the Anglican Church. In contrast, some footpaths in Wickham are downright dangerous and the City of Newcastle have been sufficiently advised. There is no justification to deny repairs to footpaths in the original area of Wickham and those closely surrounding the heritage area.
We are not talking about major works. When compared to the couple of examples I have mentioned above, I believe it would be a much-needed uplift to the area including more appropriate street safe access for vehicles. It needs to be a safe thoroughfare for older pedestrians and parents with prams.
'TIS the season to be analogous, or so it seems. The hunt for situations just like our current pandemic, therefore instructive in how we should behave now, has produced an exotic search for familiar parallels, conjuring up some strange bedfellows, though hopefully not in hospital.
We are told, for instance, that refusing vaccination is analogous to swimming outside the flags, but still expecting to be rescued. Slavery was abolished centuries ago, so now, the argument runs, we're free to not get jabbed in the arm, and need to be treated as adults. Bans on naked flames during bushfire season make sense, so that's proof that governments can restrict freedoms temporarily, for the common good.
There are notable Biblical analogies, still lurking. "Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church." - St. Paul, Ephesians 5:22
The problem with these arguments is that counter-analogies exist. What if there are no flags, or the lifeguards are incompetent? What if backburning might save your house? Slaves might be freed from chains, but free to harm others? And domestic politics have come a long way since Paul's letter drew parallels between Jesus and that bloke drinking beer on the sofa watching the cricket.
As usual, Plato long ago saw this analogical fallacy - "Arguments that make their point by means of similarities are impostors, and, unless you are on your guard against them, will quite readily deceive you".
The case for vaccinations is compelling and needs no help from analogy. Rather, the case for vaccination rests on observable truths and evidence. Our ethical imperative is to protect each other, especially those too young, old, or sickly, by getting vaccinated.
HAVING read about the devastating effects of the Spanish flu of 1918-20, I have always been somewhat mystified as to how it virtually disappeared after only two years.
In that time, this world-wide pandemic has killed 20 million people but some estimates put the figure as high as 80 million.
Although vaccines were manufactured to counteract that virus, they had no impact on the Spanish flu because the medical field, at that time, did not know what a virus looked like. They thought that it was some kind of bacteria. Microscopes strong enough to see viruses weren't developed until about 1930.
Apparently, the Spanish flu virus mutated into something quite innocuous and it ceased to be a problem. Is this what is happening to COVID-19? After many months and many deaths, the original coronavirus was pushed aside by a more contagious strain in delta. Not only was it more easily transmissible but it also more virulent and the world-wide death toll rapidly mounted. Now the world has omicron, a more contagious strain again, and it his has spread throughout the globe in only a matter of weeks. Although it is still early days, it appears that omicron is only about 20 per cent as virulent as delta and is therefore causing very few deaths among the double and triple vaccinated members of the population.
It may be, that only the elderly, and health compromised people, will be in any real danger. If this truly reflects the current situation, then coronavirus could be well and truly gone before Christmas 2022. But what if the next mutation is even more contagious and more virulent? Only time will tell.
OUR Premier believes that people have no right to choose to end their own lives despite extreme suffering, and he opposes the assisted dying bill. At the same time, Premier Perrottet believes that individuals should choose to protect themselves from infection. Our Premier's conflicted stance reflects the conflict within Christianity itself.
Some Christians believe that they are trusting and honouring God by refusing virus protection. Others think that this is 'tempting' or testing God. If the refuseniks become infected or die, both sides are winners. The refuseniks would maintain that they had honoured God but he had made a sovereign choice to infect them (praise God!). The other Christians would maintain that God had struck the refuseniks down because they had tested or tempted him. Crazy stuff!
Call me a bogan, but I love my old Landcruiser. On one of its few Saturday trips, I parked it at work to get something from my office. Imagine my horror when I came out and saw a scrape along the passenger door. Imagine my surprise when I saw a note on the windscreen. This never happens anymore. Most people scurry away pretending no one noticed. Not only did this person leave their details, they also offered to pay and have already paid the smash repairer in advance for the work. I publicly say thank you to Holly, and thanks for your integrity.
MIKE Sargent (Letters, 23/12) suggests that the fast bowlers on both sides in the Adelaide Test were bowling too short, thereby foregoing the opportunity to 'swing' the ball. Perhaps the 'swing ball' has become a thing of the past, its demise coinciding with "Sandpapergate"?
SCOTT Morrison's decision to withdraw the peacekeeping force from the Solomons has rolled out the red carpet to China to establish another foothold in the South Pacific. This man is a complete fool.
BRAD Hazzard predicts COVID will infect every Australian. If that's true wouldn't it be most effective to promote herd immunity?
UNTIL I read Tony Brown's opinion piece ("Why it's not all about personal responsibility", Herald, 23/12), I never thought that anybody would weigh in on the complex COVID matter and try to reduce it to a strawman argument involving criticisms about Newcastle's licensing conditions. But I guess where there's a will, there's a way. I would suggest that Mr Brown consider the fact that the trial of weakened licensing conditions in Newcastle was dependent on the results 12 months after the lockout laws were removed in Sydney in 2019. Well, here we are, over two years on from Sydney scrapping the laws, and, despite what the experts in the field thought would happen, there have been absolutely no reports of any major violent incidents in or around any Sydney licensed premises. Perhaps Mr Brown should also consider the fact that COVID is an airborne virus, and even if only one person had the virus, it very likely would've spread just as easily inside the Argyle House nightclub, regardless of whether or not shots of alcohol were served. To try to suggest otherwise is an extremely long bow to draw.
REGARDING the man who paid off the lay-bys at Marketown - what a wonderful Christmas present to so many. Newcastle people are good people and this is just one very fine example of this city's generosity. It is all the better that he required that his name not be used. Well done to all of you, staff and donor!
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