Pinata whacking not outsourced

Commentator 1: Hello, and welcome to a special Good Friday edition of INTELLECTUAL CAGE MATCH. Today we have a great match up for you. The topic is Global Warming and it’s the collective wisdom of Tim Blair’s commenters against Ryan Gwin, who is six.

Commentator 2: Ooh, that’s not fair.

Commentator 1: I know, but we couldn’t find any four year olds who wanted to take them on. But Team Blair has been training hard so we may have a contest here. Here’s hollingshead on their training program:

Hence why I stock up on Tim Ball videos.

C2: Ooh, they might sue Ryan if they lose. I remember back in ’04, when …

C1: You’ll have to tell us later because the match is starting. Ryan goes first:


Ryan Gwin is oblivious to everybody around him, hunched over the coffee table in the lounge room. He is toiling away with a pencil and paper, putting the finishing touches to an essay about climate change.

He is six years old.

“I wanted to make a book so we wouldn’t use cars so much,” he says, deadpan.

“Because cars use fuel and that goes up into the atmosphere and causes global warming.”

Ryan’s book, titled, How To Save Our World: To Stop Globl Waming, contains sketches of cars and planes, crossed through with red pen. It is both disturbing and inspiring.

On the last page, a blue and white State Transit bus chugs its way through the suburbs. In small letters, Ryan has written: “powrd by nachrl gas”.

The bus has become something of a theme — when his father, Rhys, returns from work, Ryan usually asks anxiously if his bus was a gas-powered model.

C1: Solid start by Ryan, the kid sure knows his chemistry.

C2: Yes, because natural gas is CH4, it has a higher hydrogen/carbon ratio than petroleum or coal and produces more energy per unit mass than those fuels.

C1: That’s right — coal produces almost twice as much CO2 as natural gas for the same amount of energy. Now let’s see if Team Blair brought their best game:

I admit I have only 2 years of university chemistry, but don’t you get just as much CO2 when you burn “nachrl gas” as when you burn anything else? Less smokey crap maybe, but just as much CO2. — surly

C1: Not a good start, surly forgot to allow for the different amounts of energy produced. Let’s see if they can recover:

Why is natural gas supposed to be better than petroleum? — Steven Den Beste

C1: Good move, now some Blairoid can explain H/C ratios and they’ll be back in this match.

C2: Hey! That was Steve Den Beste! Remember this?

C1: Whatever, let’s see what they do with this opening …

Because I own stock in a NG company. — rbj1

Because it’s natural, not processed, doncha know? Says so, right on the label. Just like Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. — The Real JeffS

C1: Ooh, not looking good. They really need someone to get them back on track…

I know you’re joking, but I bet there really are people who think like that. That’s one of those accidents of language, I suppose – in German, it’s Erdgas and Erdöl, and consequently I’m quite sure every half-sane person here realizes they’re pretty similar overall. — PW

I was being sarcastic more than I was joking, PW. I’ve met people who do believe that. — The Real JeffS

C1: Completely off track, they’re just chasing this “natural” thing.

C2: This has always been a problem for Team Blair, they are easily distracted, especially by shiny things.

Thanks to the SMH’s fawning review, the kid will be disadvantaged for life, having never been told that he actually sucks. — Dan Lewis

C1: The ref called that a foul.

C2: Looks like Team Blair is living up to its reputation for dirty play.

The French (naturally) part of the Netherlands is charging something like 20 euros if you use your barbie. They monitor barbie action from helicopters in the air. Why don’t we just legislate (or judicate) the value of pi at 3.014? DUMB DUMB DUMB — rabidfox

C1: Where the hell did that come from?

C2: An April’s Fools joke. Team Blair is flailing desperately.

Ever wondered why there seems to be so much so-called bullying at school these days? Well I reckon its because of the plague levels of little arsehole apprentice hippies like Ryan and Jake. I bet half the reason they are worried about water and garbage is because they spend most of their lunchtimes with their heads shoved down toilets or garbage bins. — hazza

C1: The ref is showing him a yellow card for that.

What’s the betting Ryan and Jake still wet the bed, and drink their own bathwater? — Habib

C1: And now a red card. They’re losing all discipline.

C2: This is turning into a blowout as bad as that match when Team Blair lost to a door which only opened if you pulled on it instead of pushing.

Coal and Natural Gas (Methane) have almost the same energy content per mole. They both have one carbon per mole. So their CO2 output/energy ratio should be almost identical. Therefore from a CO2 output point of view, they are basically equivalent. — Nicholas

C2: For the love of god! Stop the contest! Stop the contest!

Natural gas may burn cleaner than other fossil fuels (those unnatural fuels!) but there are indeed plenty of carbon atoms them thar molecules. — Hazy Dave

C1: Finally the ref steps in and stops it.

C2: Team Blair’s losing streak now extends to 43 matches.



  1. #1 jre
    April 6, 2007

    Unbelievably hilarious!

    a blowout as bad as that match when Team Blair lost to a door which only opened if you pulled on it instead of pushing.

    Indeed, it’s not every debating team that can take to the field unopposed, and still lose. At one time, I thought the best use of the Blair site was as a kind of laboratory standard of stupid. Now, thanks to your reportage, I see that it can contribute to the general level of hilarity in the world.

    I was, however, a little surprised to see Steven Den Beste in there. Stupid as that particular comment was, SDB’s baseline stupid level does not really qualify him for this team. Now if they were competing in the Pathetic Wanker Cup, he’d be a starter for sure! In the immortal words of D2,

    Remember that living well is the best revenge. A simple corollary of this is that maintaining an anime blog is the opposite of “living well” and thus the worst revenge, so if you are in a pissing match with someone who does spend all his time protesting to the Internet that he really does shut his eyes when the naked cartoon children are on screen, honestly, then all you really have to do is sit tight and wait for history to rack up enough points on your side.

  2. #2 LogicallySpeaking
    April 6, 2007

    I think the hypocrisy of the comments is what amuses me the most. Forget the bad science – that’s just a lack of education. Skimming through the comments, you see many righteous statements about brainwashing kids. Of course, if you ran an equivalent piece about parents taking their kids to church, I’d be willing to be 95% of them would say nothing.

    And this is the heart of why these people are truly stupid. It’s one thing to not understand the science; I happen to have a very good science education, but I’m sure I would slip up if I discussed post-modern poets (case in point, there might not even be such a thing). However, being logically consistent is simply a matter of conscious choice. Either you choose to think rationally or you don’t.

  3. #3 Thom
    April 6, 2007

    Lambert, aren’t you worried that by linking to Tim Blair that you might actually be creating an audience for his nuttiness?

  4. #4 Kathleen
    April 6, 2007

    many righteous statements about brainwashing kids.

    or as the rest of us like to call it: “education”.

  5. #5 Reinder
    April 6, 2007

    If the French (naturally) part of the Netherlands is free from barbecue smoke, that’s reason enough to move there. I hear that real estate is cheaper there too, presumably because the houses there are all made of brie.

  6. #6 Ian Gould
    April 6, 2007

    “The French (naturally) part of the Netherlands is charging something like 20 euros if you use your barbie. They monitor barbie action from helicopters in the air. Why don’t we just legislate (or judicate) the value of pi at 3.014? DUMB DUMB DUMB — rabidfox”

    He thinks Belgium is part of the Netherlands; that “judicate” is a word and that the value of Pi approximates to 3.014 rather than 3.14.

    DUMB DUMB DUMB, indeed.

    Blairites don’t usually display that level of self awareness.

  7. #7 christian h.
    April 6, 2007

    You really can’t make this shit up. Good team in the booth, by the way. Should be hired by MNF.

  8. #8 mss
    April 6, 2007

    To paraphrase Mark Twain, “nobody can add to the absurdity of this [dialog], nobody can imitate it successfully, nobody can hope to produce its fellow; it is perfect.”

    But as a political scientist, I must say the discovery of a French-speaking Netherlands is a remarkable achievement, deserving wide publicity.

  9. #9 Abe G
    April 6, 2007

    Nothing’s more entertaining than stupid people who think they’re smart.

  10. #10 Reinder
    April 7, 2007

    MSS: I hear the taps there run with Duvel.

  11. #11 tim
    April 7, 2007

    This is actually funny. Well done.

  12. #12 Lamb of God
    April 8, 2007

    Jesus told me there’s no global warming. That’s all I need to know it’s true. Besides, if too much CO2 does turn out to be a problem when it fills up the atmosphere, He can just turn it into ether or something else like He did with the water into wine bit.

  13. #13 Ian Gould
    April 8, 2007

    Normally an article on Blair results in an invasion of his cronies and all sorts of ructions, not this time though.

    Could it be that we’ve finally hit rock-bottom, that there are some things even they can’t defend, like grown men having sadomasochist fantasies about young boys.

  14. #14 Brian Schmidt
    April 8, 2007

    Found this at the bottom of Blair’s post:

    “Commenting is not available in this weblog entry.”

    Sounds like Blair agrees with Lambert’s post:

    “C1: Finally the ref steps in and stops it.”

  15. #15 Hank Roberts
    April 9, 2007

    I went for

    The trouble ain’t that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain’t distributed right. ~Mark Twain

    but heck, they’re all appropriate:

  16. #16 z
    May 1, 2007

    Ergo, since pure hydrogen has no carbon content whatsoever, it cannot be burned; and the Hindenburg was destroyed by the high cosmic ray flux due to traversing the galaxy’s spiral arm.

    I can’t believe I missed this the first time around.

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