Ronald Brak

Because not everyone can be normal.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Snakes on a Plane!

BIOLOGIST: Captain, the plane is full of snakes!

CAPTIAN: Okay, we'll arm ourselves with makeshift weapons and form squads and hunt them down one by one and beat them to death.

BIOLOGIST: Well actually all we have to do is turn off the plane's heating and since they're cold blooded they'll fall unconscious.

CAPTAIN: Don't give me that science crap! Next you'll be telling me you believe in global warming!

BIOLOGIST: But it's the truth! If we turn down the heat the snakes won’t try to bite us.

CAPTAIN: Yeah, well even if it's true, can you guarantee that no one will be bitten before the snakes fall unconscious? Can you be absolutely certain?

BIOLOGIST: Well I can't be 100% sure...

CAPTAIN: Then we have no choice! As long as their is even a one percent chance of an American airline passenger being bitten, we have to hunt the snakes down and beat them to death with carry on luggage bags, no matter how many passengers die in the process! Turn down the heat you say? I say let’s turn up the heat on these bastards! I say bring it on reptiles!

BIOLOGIST: But turning down the heat is a simple, effective solution! The snakes thrive on the heat we provide!

CAPTAIN: I’ll not ask a single one of my passengers to do without the heat they've become accustomed to. To do so would be to admit the snakes have already won.

BIOLOGIST: You're crazy!

CAPTAIN: Yeah? Well I say you're objectively pro-snake!

BIOLOGIST: But I told you how to defeat them!

CAPTAIN: A victory by your means would be worse than defeat! We must fight them in a way that sends a message to all snakes!

BIOLOGIST: That's insane! Snakes can't communicate! They respond to individual threats! If we turn the heat down they'll become much less aggressive and then we can land and get some professional reptile handlers to capture them.

CAPTAIN: The reason why we've never been able to defeat the snake menace is because of people like you! You want to turn down the heat! You want trained snake handlers to capture them! Well I tell you, the only thing snakes understand is force! The only way we can be safe is to exterminate them! After all, they hate us for our homeothermism! In fact, you’re looking a lot like a snake to me!

(The Captain beats the Biologist to death with piece of carry on luggage. A snake falls out of the luggage and bites the pilot on the arm. The pilot ignores the snake as it escapes and then he sits in his chair.)

CAPTAIN: I can pilot this plane better than anyone. Only I can see where we should be going, the proper course to take. And the snake venom in my veins just makes me more qualified, not foaming at the mouth crazy. Hey, what are those skiers doing up here in this cloudbank?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Guilt free petrol only 5 or so cents away!

Currently the human race is doing a very good job of screwing up the environment by dumping heaps of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The one with the largest effect being carbon dioxide, which has increased in concentration by 32% since the start of the industrial revolution. So it might be a good idea to do something to get some of this stuff out of the atmosphere. Carbon sinks are a way to do this.

Basically a carbon sink is anything that removes carbon from the air and locks it up. This can be as simple as growing trees or as complex as blowing mountains apart with hydrogen bombs to make carbon absorbing gravel. Other possibilities less drastic than nuking mountains include seeding the southern ocean with iron to increase plankton growth and changing farming practices.

Creating carbon sinks costs money. At first the cost may be low as less expensive options are used, such as growing forests on marginal grazing land, but to do it on a large scale might result in a cost of around $65 dollars per ton of carbon absorbed, according to some estimates. Assuming this figure is correct, then removing the carbon dioxide produced by a coal power plant would cost enough to increase the price of that electricity for consumers by over a third. This would make coal power more expensive than wind or nuclear.

However, coal is very cheap compared to oil. The costs of trapping carbon released by burning oil are much cheaper in comparison to the total price. Currently oil costs about $740 per ton. Since it is about 85% carbon, then the cost of absorbing the carbon dioxide produced by burning a litre of petrol in your car would only be about 5 cents. In other words, a 3.5% increase in the current retail price. If we tacked this price onto each litre of petrol sold it should be enough to pay for the removal of the carbon dioxide it creates. Now I suppose a lot of people don't want to pay an extra 3.5% for petrol, but I have also noticed that a lot of Australians were willing to pay a lot of money to help Asian people who were hit by a tsunami, so I think Australians are quite interested in saving people from being inundated by sea water. And just think, for only an extra 5 cents a litre you could fill up your tank and drive entirely guilt free.

Unfortunately, these days a lot of energy is spent wringing oil out of deposits and the oil we get tends to be getting ickier and ickier and more costly to refine. It's not like the good old days when you could poke the earth with a giant needle and the black blood would come bubbling up by itself. Nowadays we oil junkies have jabbed the earth so much we can almost never find a good vien and when we do we often have to force the blood out. The additional cost of capturing carbon released in this process might increase the cost to 7.5 cents per litre.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Ask Doctor Libertarian!

Dear Doctor Libertarian,

While I agree that governments should not regulate shop opening and closing hours, I only feel mildly rueful about this and have no desire to buy guns and shoot federal police in the face. Is there something wrong with me?


Dear Confused,

Yes, there is something wrong with you. You are obviously a commie.

Dear Doctor Libertarian,

My friend and I are both libertarians, but sometimes when I am at his house and he gets annoyed with me he bans me from breathing his air. Can he do this? And if so is it all right for me to bring a bag of air over from my house to breath in these instances?


Dear Breathless,

Of course he has the right to ban you from breathing his own air! How dare you question his supreme right within his property! How dare you even call yourself a libertarian at all, you filthy pinko, hippy, commie scum! Not only does he own the right to all the atmosphere in and above his property, he also owns a wedge of the earth’s substance going all the way to the core! Even better than this, he owns a slice of the universe above his property containing countless galaxies and untold billions of alien slave races! See how much better everything is under libertarianism? Wouldn’t you like untold billions of alien slave races? Of course, since the earth rotates and wobbles there may be some dispute over who owns exactly which segment of infinity, but that’s okay. You can just sue people whose claims disagree with yours. Endless legal bickering is the most efficient way to run society.

As for your second question, yes you can bring a bag of air from your own property to breath, provided your friend doesn’t prohibit you from bringing it onto his property, but you will have to ensure that none of your neighbour’s air enters the bag via osmosis because that’s stealing. And in the same way that your friend has the right to prohibit you from breathing his air, he has the right to prohibit you from moving your bag of air to your face through his air.

Dear Doctor Libertarian,

If I put a sign up on my property says, “DO NOT INTERFERE WITH THE MOVEMENT OF PHOTONS,” and people on my property fail to turn invisible and continue to absorb and reflect light, can I sue them for the loss of photons, which are very valuable to me?


Dear Suememasen,

Of course you can sue them with interfering with your photons! What a stupid question! You had a sign right there saying don’t interfere with them, and your word on your property is law! You have the right to do whatever you want! And if pinko, liberal commies don’t like it they can go to hell! It’s their own fault anyway for insisting that God wasn’t created in our image, so we’ve had to compensate by becoming godlike ourselves in our own house, on our own land or in our own parent’s basement! Sue them! Yes, sue the apostate! Only by ignoring regulation and mediation and engaging in endless civil suits can we create libertarian heaven on earth.

Dear Libertarian Doctor,

My girlfriend says she is leaving me because I read her diary and urinated on her Barbie doll collection. But she agreed to be my girlfriend without negotiating a commitment from me to not read her diary or to not urinate on her Barbie doll collection. Does she have any right to leave me?

Lonely and asparagus smelling

Dear Lonely and asparagus smelling,

If she agreed to “never leave you,” or “to always be your girlfriend,” she has no right to leave you. However, if she merely agreed to, “always love you,” then this is open to dispute, as technically it may be possible for her to leave you but still love you. But still, you could always attempt to sue her for breach of contract on the grounds that leaving you is incompatible with always loving you and see how far you get.

If she didn’t make any commitments to you other than to be your girlfriend without any time period stipulated, then as an individual she has every right to leave you if she wishes and there is nothing you can do about it.

In that case you could always dig a big pit in your living room and cover it over so that when she comes to collect her CDs she will fall in it and you can contract with her to help her out of the hole in return for staying with you forever. After all, it’s your right to build booby traps on your own property and your right to negotiate contracts regulating the behaviour of the contracted parties. And the government’s only function is to enforce these contracts, no matter what they are.