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back to article Beware evangelists

Evangelists. Plenty of them hang out in the sustainability and collaboration fields where I work. Some irritate while others are acceptable. And this isn't because they necessarily reflect my views. (In case you were wondering.) The trick is to spot, early on, which variety you're faced with and make your excuses and leave if …

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negative evangelists

surely we should call them devangelists ?

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Don't listen to evangelists.

Use the best tool for the job at hand. That's why I have multiple platforms with multiple OSes in my company. They range from System Z7 to XP. Linux isn't amomg them. I loathe ppl who try to make an religion out of Zeroes and Ones.

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Linux

It will happen to you, one day

Sitting at home, on a Sunday, there's a knock at the door. You get up and answer it. On your doorstep is a well-dressed young man who asks "Do you use a proprietary operating system on you computer?".

You glance down and see part of a Penguin image on the leaflets he's carrying......

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Anonymous Coward

Evangelists? Parrots

I wholeheartedly agree with the issues. Besides that I also try to separate true Evangelists (those that have tried to actually think about it) from the Parrots that simply echo a politically correct opinion without even have read the original sources.

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WTF??

I hope the Register didn't pay for this pile of tripe. So people who feel strongly about a subject, whether right or wrong, are probably to be weeded out and ignored? And we should just carry on doing bad stuff, irrelevant of how bad it is, until we've got a nice handy everyone-agreed solution.

Surely the point of evangelists is that they tell you what they think is the best thing, and then you make adecision for yourself? Heaven protect us frrom any more idiocy like this pile of horse manure."More from this author?" I don't think so.

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The Register

The story was widely covered but few publications would have ended up with such a rich discussion as The Register. As you know, this is a hugely popular online IT publication which takes no prisoners.

The Register?

Sorry never heard of it.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Antoinette Lacroix

Of course, being as it is *you* who is defining what is the best tool for *my* job, I should just put up and shut up should I? I would absolutely love to use what would be the best tool for me in my job - i.e. the one that *I* would work best with rather than the one that someone else dictates to me would be the best one I should work with - but it is knob-ends like you that prevent me from doing so (well, at least until I got my new job, where I will be using the best tool for my work instead of fricking Windows XP again).

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Evangelists For Hire?

I believe we have (at least!) one in government - Darth Mandelson.

"Find out who pays for their evangelism in money or in other ways."

Well that's easy, it's David Geffen... What do we do next, short of throw a party on a yacht in Corfu?

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Coat

Cheers Tim

I'll put you down as an evangelist, then?

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Go

Well, we know why this got published...

"...The Register. As you know, this is a hugely popular online IT publication..."

@TimLennon: Did you even read the article? It was not about avoiding evangelists, but about keeping an open mind and not simply taking evangelists' views without the requisite 64.80mg dose of sodium chloride.

If you read the article with an open mind, it provides some useful perspective. If you don't, it still provides the perspective, you just don't get it.

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"...what impact on our lives a profound cut in consumption will cause? "

Seems you haven't considered what the alternative, ecological and commercial, might be of not profoundly cutting consumption. Tell me what happens when cheap energy runs out, please. Either that or reassure me there'll be plenty of it for the foreseeable future, ta so much.

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Badgers

The titles will continue until morale improves

On the one hand, I agree with the notion that people should, when dealing with problems, be objective about both the nature & scope of the problem and the various attributes of the possible tools for solving the problem.

On the other hand, it's a sad state of affairs that this fairly simple point can be considered sufficient subject material for a piece like this, because that speaks volumes about the fraction of people who just won't bother checking for the best tool and will use either the first one they find or their personal favourite, regardless of its suitability to the task at hand...

Is there an icon for wanting an improved human species?

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FAIL

The answer has to be to filter them as quickly as possible.

Good idea, I'll ignore anything by David Tebbutt in future because there's a strong streak of hypocrisy (do what I say, not what I do) running through this article!

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Anonymous Coward

The Incidental Evangelist

"In pop psychology, the former are the I'm OK, you're not OK brigade - the same mentality, incidentally, as criminals."

I had written quite an interesting piece on the obvious paradox of all this, but it would far more fun to write something like this:

"In pop psychology, the former are the I'm OK, you're not OK brigade - the same mentality, incidentally, as David Tebutt."

"In pop psychology, the former are the I'm OK, you're not OK brigade - the same mentality, incidentally, as the legal system."

"In pop psychology, the former are the I'm OK, you're not OK brigade - the same mentality, incidentally, as psychology."

Guest authors are brilliant for showing off their prejudice, and sort of schoolboy like attempts at broken system cheering.

The I'm OK you're not OK lot are into selfishness and exploitation, not criminality per se, the mother who feeds her starving children with stolen bread is a criminal, but she is also not selfish. A person who writes an article to attack another profession to gain exposure for themselves, is not a criminal per se, but could be described as selfish and exploitive.

For those interested in the original writing, I went for the Apartheid laws, Germany's laws in the 1940s could have done but a bit passe. I am sure there are also quite a few laws in Soviet Era, and throughout history in all nations there are laws based on selfishness and exploitation.

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I do not vouch for Linux personally...

...but I've found it has its uses. For example, I am current experimenting at work with software that is intended to boost productivity by helping to streamline some of the humdrum paperwork (I have permission to do this in my limited setting). Since the Linux distro and software I am using are free to use in any environment, I see it as the ideal software to use for the experiment since I am using this in a commercial environment where any proprietary software could run afoul of licensing issues.

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Stop

@Bluegreen:

So you expect six billion people to just give up on doing stuff overnight? Most of our jobs *require* energy. Without those jobs, there will be a lot of people living on welfare. (Some nations are already almost entirely dependent on charitable donations from other countries.)

Climate Change isn't a lie, but the mountains of fatuous bullshit it's buried under obscure the fact that our climate has been changing since the Earth cooled. Climate Change isn't news. Running out of cheap / easily-accessible fuel isn't new either. The "Peak Oil" problem might happen tomorrow or in a few generations' time, but it's not the first "Peak" the UK has ever seen: our forests were almost wiped out during the Late Medieval period as our population expanded, resulting in what could be termed a "Peak Wood" crisis.

The short-term solution is to address the worst excesses and prime the R&D pumps. The medium-term solution is push R&D into alternative, *continuous* energy sources. (I.e. not windmills and sunshine.) The prognosis for a workable form of nuclear fusion seems decent at the moment, but it's still a work in progress. In the meantime, we need something to tide us over which isn't too dirty. Nuclear fission has an undeservedly poor reputation thanks to the shoddily built Chernobyl plant, but the French seem to have this technology nailed.

Fission would bridge the gap between now and the day when fusion (or something else) finally goes mainstream. In the meantime, the pitiful amounts of nuclear waste needs to be disposed of. Using subduction zones for this purpose seems to be viable technically. This removes the final obstacle as nuclear waste material isn't particularly abundant (or even all that dangerous when handled properly) compared to fossil-fuel waste.

The UK needs new power stations *now*. We're already talking about electrifying more of our rail network. We're also seeing—at last!—the beginning of the end of petrol and diesel-fuelled vehicles. Where are we going to get the electricity to run all this?

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@Sean Timarco Baggaley

Point by point:

> So you expect six billion people to just give up on doing stuff overnight?

If energy runs out, that's pretty well what's going to happen anyway. That's my point.

> '...termed a "Peak Wood" crisis'

Assuming that's true (I don't know) I'd guess they depended on wood far less than we depend on fossil fuels (FF) today (they didn't require it for transport or agriculture to the extent we depend on FF today, for mechanised tilling, crop gathering, fertilising, transport (loads of it!), packaging, turning it into meat rather than eating it as plant matter, other stuff I've missed).

> The short-term solution is to address the worst excesses ...

Yes. I'm with you here. That's what I'm saying. The question then has to be addressed of what constitutes an excess.

> Nuclear fission has an undeservedly poor reputation thanks to the shoddily built Chernobyl plant, but the French seem to have this technology nailed

Umm. I spent quite a lot of time looking into nuclear stuff some while back and very little of it made me comfortable. Referring just to chernobyl shows how much you know about the subject. It's much bigger than a single accident. I'm not actually inherently anti-nuclear because my view is that nuclear is theoretically safe to an arbitrarily small margin *but* due to politics/money/apathy, that margin will be widened inevitably. It's a human problem, not a technical one (technical problems can be solved, I get the impression that human problems are much, much harder).

> pitiful amounts of nuclear waste

I don't know if you're referring to physical size or risk.

> (stuff about subduction zones)

I don't know why this is not more often mentioned. I'll read up on it. Possibly because subduction zones have upwellings of magma all over. Dunno.

> or even all that dangerous when handled properly

'handled properly' - see my point on widening safety margins above. Google for example B215 sellafield.

You know tons more about climate than I do and I bow to that, but I know more about nuke waste handling than you do (not as an expert but as someone who had to do a lot of reading up on it from public sources) and much of what I found was deeply disturbing.

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Happy

Understanding the nature of the beast

Crap, I'm going to have to go back and re-read this now. I thought this said Understanding the nature of the breast. Paris would understand.

@Trevor Pearson - shame on you making me ruin a keyboard.

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Linux

Pardon me, sir...

...but have you heard the word of the Penguin?

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Pint

*evil grin*

The original article pays compliments to the Register and its commenters for having "attitude" and "taking no prisoners" in the face of "tripe".

Cue small avalanche of trollish posing and instant self-caricature... ;p

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Megaphone

@Steven Knox, @Mr. Tebbutt

"I'll put you down as an evangelist, then?" By which you mean 'Someone with an opinion he's prepared to offer? Yes, please do: I'll join you on the platform. If I get to be an 'acid rain zealot' by suggesting that burning coal is roughly analogous to shitting from a great height over large parts of northern Europe, then you'd better pigeon-hole me as an acid rain zealot, too, if that makes you feel better.

And Mr Knox? Yes, I read every word, and then I re-read it just to be sure. As Captain Underpants observes: "On the other hand, it's a sad state of affairs that this fairly simple point can be considered sufficient subject material for a piece like this ... "

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::heh::

"The answer has to be to filter them as quickly as possible."

ElReg publishing an article advocating filters? Cool. If any readers ever felt even slightly uncomfortable for using AdblockPlus, Flashblock and NoScript here on ElReg, they can rest comfortably. It's official, FiltersAreAllowed[tm] :-)

"Find out who pays for their evangelism in money or in other ways. Ask them what alternatives they know about in detail. And get them to tell you what the long term implications of their advocacy are likely to be."

Hey, ElReg, who is paying you for pushing "Cloud" stuff? What alternatives do you know about? Please publish details. Have you any clue as to the long term implications of your advocacy?

"Some will slink away from the interrogation."

No such thing as interrogation in this medium ... but I expect to be ignored.

"Some will bluster, so you can take your leave of them.

I'd rather taunt them, which (hopefully) will help others to allow themselves to question them for themselves (probably the only thing that Usenet was ever any good for, outside of sharing raw data). "Question Authority" has always been a mantra of mine, and in general I don't take anything I read online as authoritative. I hope I occasionally encourage others in my evil ways.

"Those that will remain probably have a good and well thought out story to tell."

Or they have a good story, which sells pixels on some homepage, somewhere.

Follow the money. That's the bottom line.

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Happy

Re: Zealot

Hi Tim. The zealot was an accident. I changed it because it was too harsh. But, obviously, the wrong version got submitted. Mea Culpa. No harm done if it provokes discussion.

I am anti-acid rain, anti-nuclear waste having to be guarded for millenia, anti-fossil-fuel-burning, pro- energy from sun, wind, wave, tide, geothermal (with some caveats on some of them). I am also pro- reducing energy use and soil, air and water pollution. Etc etc. Sustainability is probably my mantra, if I have one. But it has to be tempered with reality.

However, the article wasn't about what I thought. It was about evangelism in general.

Cheers

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Boffin

About that Nuclear waste

Here are some little-known factoids:

- A nuclear reactor(Enriched Uranium) leaves behind enough waste to fill an 18-wheeler's trailer each year (about 4,000 lbs/~2,000Kg), compared to a coal plant which fills that trailer every two weeks.

- If that "waste" was bread into Plutonium and re-used (currently out-lawed in the US as part of a non-proliferation "idea") the by-products would then be useful in medicine and other fields, also having a half life of years/decades rather than centuries/millennia.

- While Chernobyl did take a giant shit on the world, that was caused by running the reactor (housed in a tin shed) without coolant to "see what would happen" and then not being able to cool it as the coolant boiled away faster than they could add it, and thus became part of the problem.

- Three Mile Island *may* have contributed to 3 extra cancer cases in the immediate surroundings, or it may not have.

In short the only problem with nuclear fission is a very vocal part of the population hear the word "nuclear" and add "bomb" no matter the context. These people cannot/will not understand that there are other uses. I imagine that fire met with the same protests way back when.

..I can only hope that this bit of evangelism counts as the "good story" type.

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@Swarthy

- A nuclear reactor(Enriched Uranium) leaves behind enough waste to fill an 18-wheeler's trailer each year (about 4,000 lbs/~2,000Kg), compared to a coal plant which fills that trailer every two weeks.

I'd be surprised if it a coal plant produced that little waste bulkwise, unless it was ground down. I've seen coal power station clinker and it's light but voluminous stuff. However, despite my comment about physical size or risk, you're still trying to equate the two so perhaps we should just dump our nuke waste in open slag heaps. Can you see a problem?

- If that "waste" was bread into Plutonium ...

dunno. No comment.

- While Chernobyl did take a giant shit on the world, that was caused by running the reactor (housed in a tin shed) without coolant to "see what would happen" and then not being able to cool it as the coolant boiled away faster than they could add it, and thus became part of the problem.

A decision was made to run a working nuke power station in a deliberately untested way. Are you though putting forward this as a pro or anti point for nuclear power? Kind of makes my point about human problems being harder to solve than technical ones.

- Three Mile Island *may* have contributed to 3 extra cancer cases in the immediate surroundings, or it may not have.

Does that mean up to 3 but perhaps less, or as few as 3 but perhaps more? Does that stat actually mean anything useful at all?

> In short the only problem with nuclear fission is a very vocal part of the population hear the word "nuclear" and add "bomb" no matter the context. These people cannot/will not understand that there are other uses. I imagine that fire met with the same protests way back when.

I'm partially with you. However I don't think we've evolved in the context of dealing with hugely dangerous threats, which is why we as a race prefer to ignore them. As I said, if we could solve the human problem of bad management I'd be very pro-nuclear.

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Megaphone

@bluegreen

You know, I'm considered pretty far-left for my country, (Canada,) and am pretty big on the save-the-whales, hug-a-tree, let's-stop-burning-***loads of coal etc. etc.

But you are full of crap my friend.

Nuclear is the only viable solution for *stable* power demand we have. Does it have it's downsides? Heck yeah! Just like anything else. The reality, however, is that there is flat out no alternative to it except fossil fuels. The reality that no person in this entire debate seems to be capable of accepting is that you have only three choices in this debate:

1) Nuclear energy. (Fission, and eventually Fusion.)

2) Fossil Fuels. (Until they run out.)

3) Massive planetary economic collapse, including, (but not limited to,) planet-wide retrograde society with limited or no access to modern medicine, massive starvation, and ultimately at least a decimation of our population.

You can only support an industrial-sized society as long as you have enough stable, consistent energy to support them. Solar, tidal and wind power are too unstable to provide anything except power to industrial sectors which can spin up their factories and then down again as supply becomes available. (Admittedly, this is a huge chunk of our power requirement as a society, so investment in renewable still makes lots of sense.) Geothermal is still too young, and bears it’s own risks. (Upsetting the delicate balance in geologically unstable areas by extracting too much heat, etc.)

That said, energy is spent for all sorts of critical things that maintain our society, and allow the earth to carry a population pushing 7 billion.

What you propose, (elimination of our only dependable generation capabilities, being fossil and fission) is flat out GENOCIDE. Even if every human being on earth gave up every creature comfort we had, and agreed to live in third-world conditions, there would not be enough energy to sustain our population's most basic needs. (Food, shelter, clothing, medicine, defence, disaster relief, etc.)

So, as a hippy-pinko-commie or whatever the righttards want to call me, I tell you this: we need fission, and we need it now. (I accept that even with breeding the fuel into plutonium, and reusing it, we've only got about 50 years worth of fuel there anyways.) With any luck, it's enough to get us to fusion. It certainly is enough to sustain 50 years of scientific research into real renewable sources that can replace both fossil fuels and fission.

Even if a dozen reactors go critical, and drop radioactive waste on a few million people, giving them a spate of exotic cancers, and even killing a few of them outright, that is a completely acceptable risk. We are talking about risking *potentially* a few million people “dying before their time” of cancer, versus the deaths of billions of us either dying outright from starvation, or “before our time” because we don’t have the energy to sustain bits of our society like proper hygiene, shelter or medicinal needs.

"The needs of the many" is a pretty clear guideline on this. You may be afraid of fission, but…suck it up, princess. Your fears about what *might* happen to a *few* people just aren’t that important compared to needs of 7 billion people.

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Boffin

@Swarthy

-A nuclear reactor(Enriched Uranium) leaves behind enough waste to fill an 18-wheeler's trailer each year (about 4,000 lbs/~2,000Kg), compared to a coal plant which fills that trailer every two weeks.

Solid waste, perhaps, but how much carbon dioxide?

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Alert

@Swarthy

And how radioactive is the coal waste?

(Rhetorical question)

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Thumb Up

How true

Thx, very very true

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