Growing up in Mao’s China

A close and personal look at the Cultural Revolution and the Tiananmen Square Massacre

The story of Amei’s life began in a warm and comfortable family in an inner suburb of Beijing. Her time in the selective high school is delightful until Mao reactivated the class war as a vehicle to retain his paramount leadership after the disasters of the Great Leap Forward (the Great Famine),

Then came the nightmarish rampage of the Red Guards and the ensuing ten-year debacle until Mao died and the Gang of Four, headed by his wife, was brought down.

Amei spent most of those ten years in a village, 850 km west of Beijing on a high plateau not far from Xian. She met two old scholars who were sent out years before and they became her personal tutors as she read voraciously in their libraries, including the classics of western literature in Chinese translation. 

She learned enough English to help the old scholars run a program for English teachers when the education system began to revive after it closed down for the duration of the cultural revolution. She managed to get to university to study English and then she became an English teacher.

She experienced some of the horrors of the Tiananmen Square massacre as her students came back from the square carrying their dead and wounded friends in their arms.

Eventually she seized an opportunity to come to Sydney where she studied maths and taught in high schools and a coaching college until she retired in2017.

Available from Amazon Australia

The book is not in bookshops, to buy in Australia go to Amazon Australia, and search in BOOKS  for RAFE CHAMPION  (the co-author).


Is Putin in the bunker?

A week can be a long time in war.

The Russian president cut a diminished figure as he met with the same National Security Council by video link from an undisclosed location on Thursday. There were dark patches beneath his eyes and he seemed to falter as he stood to honour the Russian dead.

Away from the cameras, according to US intelligence claims, there have been uncharacteristic bouts of fury. The usually ice-cold Putin has been feeling the heat and taking out his frustrations on his inner circle.

How long before parodies of Hitler’s Downfall rants start doing the rounds?

Growing up in Mao’s China

Hot off the press! A close and personal look at the Cultural Revolution.

A timely reminder of the way communist regimes behave when push comes to shove.

The story of Amei’s life began in a warm and comfortable family in an inner suburb of Beijing. Her time in the selective high school is delightful until Mao reactivated the class war as a vehicle to retain his paramount leadership after the disasters of the Great Leap Forward (the Great Famine).

Continue reading “Growing up in Mao’s China”

Heads up for Flickerpower!

Flickerpower is launched with Captain Campion at the helm! This supersedes the temporary residence of the Energy Realists at RiteOn. The site is still a work in progress so don’t take any notice of the other material that is placeholding for proper content, the sharp edge is the list of Briefing Notes.

There are more notes to come, and there will be a continuous stream up to the election and maybe after that, depending on the energy and longevity of the team members.

These notes will be a handy resource for the candidates of the United Australia (Palmer) Party and others who are committed to commonsense in energy policy. We want the message of energy realism to travel through these candidates and their support teams to penetrate the grassroots of the electorate. People need to know things that the ABC and mainstream media are keeping secret, like the full-blown energy crisis that is blowing up in Europe and especially Britain.

A massive amount of energy has been expended by climate realists over the last few decades and that battle has been lost in the public debate because everybody (including me) has decided that they know all that they need to know about climate science and they don’t want to be told any more. In contrast, the key issues in energy can be explained to school students if they can be persuaded to pay attention for a short time. The evidence of wind droughts is clear, the “hole in the flood levee” principle is not hard to explain and also, with a bit more effort, we can explain why pumped hydro and batteries are a silly joke so far as grid-scale storage is concerned.


Environmental Issues with Construction of RE Facilities

Briefing Note 22.1 February 2022


Serious environmental issues arise at ten stages of RE production, from mining raw materials to the disposal of turbines, batteries and solar panels at the end of their working lives.

Critical issues at the phase of construction

RE facilities, including the poles and wires required to carry the power to market from remote locations, demand massive amounts of land, concrete, steel, and metals including the essential rare earths.

A single wind turbine contains around 900 tons of steel, 2,500 tons of concrete and 45 tons of nonrecyclable plastic. Transport of the materials adds to the environmental impact, as does the disposal of the components when the facility is decommissioned.

The AEMO Integrated System Plan to double our electricity supply using wind and solar power calls for a ten-fold increase in large-scale wind and solar capacity and more than 10,000 km of new transmission lines.

Environmental impact is the dirty secret of the RE industry and when environmentalists realise what is happening many will not tolerate that amount of damage.

Recommendation. Legislate for comprehensive environmental impact statements to support applications for RE development, taking account of the ten stages from exploration to waste disposal.

Mark Lawson. Journalist and author. Website Highly recommended (RC)


For more information on the ten stages of environmental impact see the paper by Bill Stinson that can be accessed at this link.

The ten stages

Phase 1 – Raw material sourcing – Environment Destruction.

Phase 2 – Raw material mining

Phase 3 – Raw material processing – Environment Destruction, Human Rights Abuse, Toxic Waste

Phase 4 – Approval – Supply Chains – Modern Slavery, Human Rights Abuse

Phase 5 – Fabrication – Large Scale Environment Destruction

Phase 6 – Transportation “Throughout the solar PV manufacturing process all of the materials and products must be shipped to and from more than a dozen countries around the world in large barges, container ships, trains or trucks – all powered by non-renewable oil.”

Phase 7 – Construction – Environment Destruction, Tenuous Supply Chain, Toxic Waste

Phase 8 – Operation – Environment Destruction, Flora and Fauna Destruction,

Phase 9 – Demolition and Rehabilitation

Phase 10 – Disposal – Environment Destruction, Toxic Waste

More trouble in the green paradise

How one disaster leads to another, the crisis in European high tech caused by the energy fiasco. European silicon output shrinking, metal smelters closing as electricity prices quadruple.

For high tech nerds and market watchers, the chip situation worldwide. But don’t worry the EU will legislate to fix it! EC president promises European Chips Act to quadruple homegrown production by 2030.

Ursula von der Leyen

SA the wind leader running on gas and coal

Approaching breakfast-time SA is importing half of its power from Victoria and 94% of the local generation is gas. The turbines are running at 2% of capacity and providing 5% of demand.

Victoria is generating a small excess of power but not enough to prop up SA without help from Tasmania and NSW. The Victorian windmills are running at 12%, just above wind drought level, and providing 8% of local generation, with coal delivering three quarters of the supply and gas 5%.

Across the NEM the wind is delivering 3.7% of consumption, running at 8% capacity and the fossils are giving 83% (coal 75%).

This is the snapshot at the time. In each state the upper, coloured bar shows generation and the lower (grey) bar is demand.

Continue reading “SA the wind leader running on gas and coal”

The ups and downs of RE in South Australia

Jess Hunt, an energy market designer with the Energy Security Board, posted a comment on LinkedIn to describe how the energy supply in SA was up and down in the week between Christmas and New year 2021-2022.

This week’s energy supply mix in South Australia is a great example of variability that we need to manage in a high VRE [variable renewable energy from wind and solar power] power system – over the course of the week we went from over 130% VRE to less than 4%, with everything in between. The challenge for policy makers is to design a market that can mix and match different types of supply side resources meet demand across the full spectrum of conditions.

Certainly that kind of variability is a major problem for grid managers  but the real challenge is to maintain continuous supply and I think it is clear that VRE has failed due to the problem of windless nights when there is no solar input and little or no wind power available.

Continue reading “The ups and downs of RE in South Australia”

Calling Paul Kelly and Greg Sheridan

Why are supposedly quality journalists so misguided on climate change?

Paul Kelly and Greg Sheridan have clearly taken on board the alarmist global warming narrative.

Never mind the performance of the hacks, what has gone wrong at the top of the profession and the once-were reputable newspapers?

Global warming and the reduction of CO2 emissions will probably be seen as the signature issue of public policy at the start of the third Millenium alongside the emerging role of China.

Continue reading “Calling Paul Kelly and Greg Sheridan”