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A mid-year ‘rant’ from Dr Underwood

More verbal incontinence from one of the masters of drivel… But, perhaps I promote myself too aggressively… This is to be a rant on the milder end of the spectrum. While I enjoy stimulating thought and opinion, both consonant and dissonant, perhaps a less polarising offering is appropriate for now.  

So, there will be no references to my strong atheistic, pro-vaccination, sexually liberal, socialist leanings.

Those seeking to be offended may have to look further afield…perhaps President Trump’s twitter feed would be a consistent place to start? Or Mr Morrison’s Religious (Pro)Discrimination Bill? Oops, I said I wouldn’t go there…hmmm…just can’t resist. I mean to say, as an atheist employer, I would have no grounds to discriminate against an employee of any gender identity or preference on the basis of their personal choices, nor would I, yet, should I identify myself as being a fine, upstanding person of some monotheistic faith, should Mr Morrison’s bill succeed, I would be within my rights to do exactly that…discriminate. Am I missing something here? Surely, we don’t need to enshrine bigotry! My Australian Atheist colleagues are running a campaign, ‘Don’t Divide Us’, making exactly this point. I commend to those like myself, who feel that issues of faith should remain personal issues, and not the subject of government or legislation, to get on board and resist…ahh, that feels better! 

Now to matters more urbane, my wife and I took possession of our new electric car last month. For some years I have followed the development of the electric car industry with interest, no less because of my trenchant dislike of the oil industry and its close association with one of the greatest threats the human race, including my children, will face in the coming decades…climate change, global warming, call it what you will. Turning such enormous volumes of the world’s sedimentary carbon into atmospheric carbon over the past century or so, and generating obscene profits in the midst of the environmental destruction, fertile ground for the seeds of my contempt. But, I digress…

Without promoting the brand, our new vehicle is an amazing example of technology, most of which my pre-WorldWideWeb brain is struggling to take in. Remember, my fifth-year thesis was written on a typewriter…with carbon copies. No word processor, no fax machine…these were over a decade away. Yes, I am a dinosaur, a living fossil! Just ask my (young) adult children!

Rather than fearing the technology, I am in awe of it. The manual to drive my new car is thicker than many of my university text books were! Yet, pore through it I did. Blind spot warnings, lane divergent warnings, satellite navigation, cameras and sensors on all corners, emergency braking technology and self-correction to return the car to my lane when I stray…a bewildering array of safety features, and just the sound of wind and road noise as you cruise effortlessly at the speed limit (not over it, the car warns you about that too!). Impressive digital dash and touchscreen to access the car’s many functions, my phone links seamlessly with my car…there is no escape. This is the future, and so exciting it is! 

Now to engineer the solar technology to power our car, and our house, from the energy of the sun…fusion power from a freely available source in the sky. Moving to all electric is our next project with solar hot water and heating/air-conditioning, water autonomy, our veggie plot…the list is still fairly long, yet it clearly is the future as we all move toward a lesser impact on the planet, hopefully to leave it habitable for the generations to come…..now where did I leave that herbal tea?? (LOL …see, I have embraced the 21st century!).

Dr Alan Underwood

June 2020

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