Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 296

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Friday - Sunday, November 1 - 10 2013 (diary)

Alfred Wegener, 1910 In 1906 the German scientist Alfred Wegener presented his theory of Continental drift, the idea that all our continents originally had been just one large landmass, which was broken up and drifted apart over time. Hardly a scientist in the world agreed with his theory, which was discredited by most for around 70 years!
It was not until the 1970s, when detailed surveys of the ocean floors were carried out for navigation charts of the then new atomic submarines, that it was discovered that Wegener had been absolutely correct. His idea is the foundation of modern plate tectonics.
I personally became acquainted with Wegener's theory around 1960 at one of our weekly lectures from Prof L.U. de Sitter, then the undisputed World authority on structural geology. De Sitter presented it as one of the possible options for the structural evolution of the earth (and had included it in his famous textbook on structural geology), but that was as far as he went.

History is full of these events, where a sole scientist comes up with a breathtaking new idea, but is widely ridiculed by the rest of the scientific world for many years.

Brian Greene, in his wonderful book "The Fabric of the Cosmos", relates another such occurrence, this time with a tragic consequence for the scientist in question Ludwig Boltzmann, who had formulated the workings of entropy in one single equation : S = k log W.
Boltzmann spent a lifetime convincing his science colleagues of his discovery in vain and, highly depressed, finally committed suicide in 1906. Only shortly after his death was Boltzmann's theory accepted by the world as being correct and fundamental to the principle of entropy. Boltzmann's formula is now engraved on his tombstone in the Zentralfriedhof in Vienna.   (Brian Greene paid homage to Boltzmann by filming his visit to the grave and including it in his TV Documentary on the Cosmos.)

In Kalgoorlie, WA, 1970 Even I myself have been the subject of such scientific denial in 1970.
Based on my chemical analyses of core samples from the ancient (nickel bearing) ultramafic rocks in the Archean Greenstone belt of Western Australia, I proposed a mechanism for their formation (through a process of "multiple intrusion", common in younger mafic rocks).
I presented my findings in a confidential report to the company I was working for, Selection Trust, who (for economic reasons) did not allow me to publish and present my findings at the first World Archean Conference in Perth in 1970.

Dr.Tim O'Driscoll (my boss at the time) however was permitted to present a paper to the conference. In order to record my findings in the scientific public domain O'Driscoll managed to include one of my graphs in his presentation (with me acknowledged as its originator) which showed the principle of my idea.
My theory was widely considered impossible, as it did not fit the Archean environment as most geologists then imagined it to be.   The chief Geological consultant of our company (a professor from Canada) even flew over to tell me face to face how very wrong I was.
Ten years later, in 1980, when a rerun of the World Archean Conference was held, once again in Perth, it was clear that my original theory was now universally accepted. (Predictably without me being acknowledged for it, but thanks to O'Driscoll the record is there.)

Why have I written all the above ?
During the past week three very prominent Australians (Former Prime Minister John Howard and two retired former "captains of industry") have publicly warned against the now general "religious acceptance" of man made Global warming.   Replies in the TV media have been plenty and scathing : "how can the vast majority of scientists be wrong ??".
These are clearly people with little idea of what goes on in science all the time. History shows that scientists often tend to remain stuck in a mental box of denial, especially when the facts don't support their theory.
In the case of Climate change, world temperatures have remained the same ("flat lined") for the past 17 years, and the computer models used are old and unreliable as their predictions don't fit the reality.
The present Australian Government at least is remaining low key on the subject by not sending a Minister to the upcoming Climate Change conference in Warsaw.

The melting of the ice at the North pole has been well documented for a number of years.
But only in recent time reports have been made that while ice is disappearing at the North pole, ice is rapidly accumulating at the South pole.

So here is a thought :
Should we look at what occurs underneath our feet, instead of what is above us to understand fluctuations of global temperatures ?
The South pole is located on a thick continental plate, whereas the North pole is right above the very thin crust of the ocean floor : a very significant difference !

Could it therefore be that global temperature fluctuations which occur over the entire geological time span, are perhaps at least partly the result of temperature variations of the convection currents in the underlying mantel of the earth ?

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Monday - Wednesday, November 11 - 20 2013 (diary)

Springtime in the Northern Territory Although the weather is becoming increasingly humid, I do enjoy this springtime period in our tropics. Many trees are in bloom now with spectacular colourful flower displays, a feast to the eye.   Rain has also started to come our way with 265 mm (10½ inches) so far this month.

Our oldest dog Roxy has been put to sleep last week.
She has been suffering from rheumatism for some time now and was on daily medication. Recently her nature has become more and more aggressive, attacking the dog of our neighbour on three recent occasions, so the decision was made to take her on her final journey.
Our other dog Chase appears to be adjusting fine to the loss of his companion, Roxy was always dominating him, and could become quite fierce and unfriendly when anything like food was involved.

I have increased my daily exercise regime again. At the beginning of this year I started with daily half hour walks around the perimeter of the property on which I live. Some time ago I increased that to 45 minutes walks 5 days a week, and last week I have added swimming in the Palmerston pool twice week, doing ten 50 meter laps per day. So all up each week my exercise consists of 18 km of walking plus 1 km of swimming, and I feel all the better for it.
I purchased a 30 times ticket at the pool so I have to keep it up, at least during our summer months while the water is lovely warm.

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Thursday - Saturday, November 21 - 30 2013 (diary)

My ASUS tablet I am becoming more and more familiar with the workings of my new ASUS mini Tablet (powered by Google's Android operating system) and am starting to enjoy it immensely.
I have already downloaded two dozen great classic novels and I just have subscribed to The Australian newspaper.
I have been buying this paper over the past few weeks, but reading it outside the Palmerston Library Bistro (as I do) is awkward as the breeze makes handling the large pages at times difficult.
Now reading from my Tablet is wonderful, besides you access the latest developments almost instantly as they occur or are reported upon.
The subscription is only $4.- per week, whereas the regular paper version price is $2.20 per copy (and that only recently since the local supermarkets have started selling the paper here in Darwin).

Frankly also The Australian is now the only reliable source of information in terms of politics these days.
As far as political reporting is concerned the ABC TV (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) has become a dirty word.
Heavily influenced by left wing groups and organisations the ABC is not only anti-conservative (the Liberal-National coalition in this country), but blatantly anti Australian.

Two years ago (in 2011) the ABC's Four Corners program was the catalyst for the ban on live cattle transport to Indonesia (implemented by the then Labor Government). The country still has not fully recovered from this disaster.
This past month the ABC was the instigator of the spying allegation of Australia on Indonesia's President and confidants (back in 2009 under the then Labor Government headed by Kevin Rudd), in a deliberate attempt to obstruct the present Abbott Government. It is galling to many Australians that this has happened by an Institution which is funded by the tax payers.

In these first few months in office the new Abbott Government has shown its competence and mettle on the International stage with a firm stance on a number of critical issues. In comparison the Labor opposition acts like a bunch of minnows playing small time negative politics with every issue. In the long term this will only harm the Labor party itself, increasingly becoming a party for ignorants, dummies and left wing extremists only.

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