Reprinted below is a response to a “climategate” editorial published in the Wall Street Journal by Kimberly A. Strassel.

In the article Strassel quotes Rep. Jim Inhofe’s claims that “Cap and Trade is dead”.

With the CRU leak, many are holding Scientists to a ridiculous standard of behaviour that we wouldn’t even expect from Priests, Politicians or anyone else. Wow, you mean Scientists can be back-stabbing arseholes? Big surprise there! You mean they have pride, and occasionally massage results? Holy Obvious-Burgers Batman!

Reader thoughts welcome, though I do recommend you read the original article for some context.

Response continues…

It’s a real shame to see legislation on a globally important issue such as climate change treated with the same kind of partisan rhetoric as anything else.

Despite your accusations that the leaked emails are “damaging”, not one scrap of evidence has been unveiled that indicates that the published data is wrong, that the models are incorrect, or indeed that the planet isn’t warming and that this warming is caused by humans.

Human-caused climate change is real, and it is a genuine threat to continued prosperity and stability in the world. A few scientists blowing off steam or even hiding some results that they think don’t support their theories is nothing new. It does nothing to damage the credibility of the climate science field as a whole, unless journalists allow it the issue.

In over 900 papers published on the issue of climate change between 1993 and 2003, precisely none disagreed with the hypothesis that climate change is real and man made (cf. Oreskes, 2004). Such a consensus is practically unheard of in the history of scientific endeavour.

Yet in the mainstream media, over the last 5 years, we have seen 53% of articles published raising some doubt over the existence and causes of this phenomenon.

And while these scientific papers may disagree on the details, and individual scientists may let their egos and pride occasionally get in the way of professionalism, the same can be said for any industry. The overall trend is clear and unequivocal.

Even as the arctic disappears before our eyes (it will be GONE in summer some time between 2012 and 2015 – the entire arctic ice shelf!), and we witness the greatest extinction the world has ever seen, and sea levels are rising faster than even the worst-case scenarios published a few years ago, these articles continue to appear and set back the movement to really do something about this problem.

It is a shame that we may have to wait until it is too late before some people see fit to acknowledge the problem. Life is probably going to get quite uncomfortable, and your “economy” will not be able to save you when the planet no longer supports life the way it once did.

World leaders delay climate agreement beyond Copenhagen Summit

Today at the APEC summit, President Obama announced that top world leaders would not form a binding, global agreement on CO2 emissions reduction at the Copenhagen Summit this December.

They didn’t give any firm dates, beyond saying that such an agreement is not likely before the second half of 2010, which basically means 2011.

This is both disappointing, and an opportunity.

Disappointing because a binding agreement, even one that is a deep compromise, would at least establish momentum towards a low-carbon global economy.

An opportunity because citizens worldwide have more chances to press for strong action at the time a decision is finally made.

We should now shift our focus at Copenhagen, though not diminish our energy. The message is clear: the scientific community that has brought us so much progress and wealth over the last century are now telling us to drastically cut CO2 emissions or face terrible consequences. The community of the world overwhelmingly backs these conclusions and is ready to take action to switch to a new, sustainable way of living on the planet.

As Mr Gore rightly says, the only thing missing is political will.

Laughmageddon II: The Copenhagening

Over the last few months I’ve been gradually putting together a new comedy show. This will be my biggest ever, at a huge two-story venue at Trades Hall, Melbourne.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you: Laughmageddon II: The Copenhagening.

Fundamentally, it’s a bunch of top comics performing standup and a version of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”, in madcap, tag-team style. Expect music, sketch, animation, stand-up, surprise guests and more.

Here’s the details:

When: Friday, 20th November, 8pm

Where: “New Council Chambers”, Trades Hall, cnr Victoria Street and Lygon Street, Melbourne

How Much: Tickets are $25 full-price, $15 concession. All proceeds donated to the Australian Conservation Foundation for their “Road to Copenhagen” campaign.

For tickets and more information, head to the web site:


Shifting the bar for Fabulous

Seth Godin claims the Internet is “raising the bar for fabulous” globally. I tend to agree. The increased competition to stand out in a global online community should produce “higher highs” of creativity.

There’s a conundrum here, though. Is this phenomenon purely due to the network enabling us to find more things that are “cool”, or are more & better fabulous things actually being produced as a result of this competition? Or some combination of the two?

And, in a broader sense, are we rewarding glittery, fabulous, attention-seeking works of creative genius at the expense of some of the more boring-but-important stuff?

I think Godin’s assertion needs more data, but it’s thought-provoking…

ACN serves up a piping hot nonsenseburger

So an affiliate of ACN has commented yet again on my original post about their pretty lame video phone. I have no idea why. Well, some idea why – for some time I was the first or second google hit for “acn video phone“.

This comment is such a rich vein of comedy gold, such a teetering shambles of ideas and insults, that I feel it is my moral duty to reply sentence-by-sentence.

You are a fool no offense my friend but you don’t understand the concept of the video phone or the way the business works and that’s a shame.

If you don’t want to cause offense, start by not prefixing your apology with an insult.

I’m pretty sure I understand the concept of a video phone. It’s like a phone, but with video. However, the way ACN has built it, it’s like a phone that will only call other phones that belong to the same phone company, i.e. completely shit and useless.

I also do know way that business works. Or, at least, the way it should work. Businesses should be built on quality, competitive products and services, and not by playing on people’s fears and insecurities or by misrepresenting your entire business model. cough

It is not a pyramid scheme because pyramids are illegal in a lot of countries including my own.

That’s absolutely right. It’s a multi-level marketing scheme, which is basically a pyramid scheme that’s been set upon by lawyers who tune its parameters until it barely falls into the category of “legally acceptable”, but still no further towards to golden chalice of “socially acceptable”.

I don’t know about yours but this company is in 20 different countries all around the world and i have had no complaints with my customers and people who have chosen ACN as there provider.

Awesome, you should have your customers leave positive feedback somewhere, anywhere online. This blog perhaps? Because all I can find is complaints about both the product and the company. The only positive comments are universally left by ACN representatives themselves, who obviously have a financial motive for doing so.

Also, your comments about my company  (“I don’t know about yours”) not being in 20 countries are utterly irrelevant. You know what else is in at least 20 countries? Al Qaeda. Scientology. Herpes. It’s not exactly a sign that you’re a force for good. And the implications that my opinion isn’t worth anything because I don’t have a sprawling global organisation are just as tenuous. You don’t know anything about me, so how about you engage with my arguments on their own terms rather than shooting the messenger?

This is not a get rich quick so if that’s what you were looking for right off the bat then i am sorry to say that nothing in life is that easy.

It certainly isn’t a get-rich-quick. By all accounts it’s a never-get-rich-at-all. But it paints itself as something far more insidious – a path to financial independence and personal success. It is not that. Like virtually all MLM or pyramid schemes, it is a path to social isolation, stress, and ultimately depression. In the introductory video, Donald Trump claims that video phones could one day be bigger than the property market. It’s this kind of unfounded claptrap that misleads people into thinking they’d better jump on the bandwagon. I’m sure Mr Trump is a great guy, but I’m not sure he’s really examined this product or market in great detail. He was just a piece of acting talent. You paid him to read from a script.

This is simple you sell EXISTING services wireless, local and long distance, TV etc. If you recall way back bell was the only option for Internet and home phone, do to deregulation it opened up the doors for other companies like Sprint, Rogers, AT&T etc”…. ACN is just another one of those options.

So you sell highly commoditised products into a saturated market? WIN!

The difference is they have a method that bypasses advertising, marketing and mass mailing which costs millions a day to allow people like myself and others to acquire customers themselves and by doing so putting themselves in a position to earn a percentage of there customers bills every time they pay them.

This is one of those equations that just doesn’t balance. If regular telecommunications providers have to spend millions of dollars a day advertising and building customer relationships, and ACN doesn’t, then that means ACN must be getting millions of dollars a day in free labour. It’s just a fact. What’s more, the act of talking to people one-on-one is so inefficient compared to a television ad or billboard that reaches thousands or millions of people in one shot that ACN is probably getting several multiples of the money spent by traditional telcos in terms of free labour. And how is it getting this free effort? On the back of its new signups, frantically calling family members to reach their sales quotas and get more deeply embedded into your organisation. To finally, maybe, one day make the big bucks. Meanwhile, ACN rakes in hundreds of dollars in signup fees, and its members scrape by on the meagre profits of deeply commoditised and mature markets.

And the cruelest part is, you won’t let your own affiliates advertise themselves in any way. So they always have to resort to direct contacts – family members, friends, new relationships – which inevitably results in social isolation. It’s sad.

This is legit the start up fee is basically a license to sell telecommunication services and telus phones and plans, like any license you want to acquire there is a fee.

That is just a lie. ACN profits from these fees. ACN has already paid its own licensing fee to the government (whether on credit or outright), and it is a fixed amount, not one that scales up with each new member. Therefore each member that is added pays just as much money for an ever-shrinking share of this “license”.

If your offering is so compelling, I dare you to stop offering your members a share of revenues or commission from anyone they sign up to be a reseller. Watch your company dissolve immediately. The money your members are making should speak for itself, but it doesn’t. Because it’s not there.

There will be exceptions, of course. I bet 5% of your members make a living. The inner 5%.

ACN takes care of all customer service all technical service and all the things nobody wants to do when they open there own business.

Unfortunately for your members, customer service is by far the biggest differentiator in a commoditised marketplace like telecommunications. And, again unfortunately for both your members and customers, your customer service and technical support sucks.

Try opening up your own Telus phone booth and see how much it costs you i guarantee that it is nowhere near $500. This is your own business you have the ability to sell all the services that you use today and the services of the future, your going to pay for them anyways why not make some money off of it.

You will categorically not make some money off of it. Not enough to pay for your time and heartache, anyway. Look at the market in Australia and you’ll see it flooded with ex Allphones or Telstra reseller franchises as everyone exits this increasingly unprofitable market (and don’t go thinking that all your free labour makes your model “profitable” – for you, maybe). Nobody is making money from just the telecommunications services any more – it’s the add-ons, headphones, smartphones, etc.

I use airlines all the time too. I’m not thinking of starting an airline. I wouldn’t make any money. Same goes for telecommunications, including your lame-ass, locked-down “video phone”.