Day: March 27, 2017

How Political Lunacy Sabotaged Australia’s Once Reliable & Affordable Power Suply

STOP THESE THINGS

If what Australia’s political brains trust has done to its once reliable and affordable power supply had been done by external agents, it would have been branded an act of terrorism.

The so-called ‘wind power capital’ of Australia, South Australia has become an international laughing stock: statewide blackouts, routine load shedding and rocketing power prices might be enough, you would think, to make its Labor government see sense.

Far from it, it is now looking to spend $150 million on a giant battery that will return power to the grid and ‘power’ SA for all of four minutes and to set up somewhere between 200 and 250 MW of diesel generation capacity to keep the lights on, whenever the wind stops blowing.

The absurdity of throwing $550 million at a perfectly avoidable problem, when Jay Weatherill had the option of paying a mere $30 million to Alinta to keep its…

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Following the break down of talks in Northern Ireland, what now?

The Constitution Unit Blog

Northern Ireland’s political parties have failed to reach an agreement that would allow a new power-sharing Executive to be formed by today’s deadline. This will have important legal and political consequences, possibly including the re-introduction of ‘direct rule’ from Westminster. These issues are looked at here by Alan Whysall.

Political negotiations have been going on since the election of 2 March, which was brought about by the decision in January of Martin McGuinness of Sinn Féin (who has since died) to resign as deputy First Minister. Yesterday, however, Sinn Féin said that the talks process had ‘run its course‘, and they would not be making nominations to Executive offices today. They did not say where the political process might go from here, but professed commitment to the devolved institutions returning.

Sinn Féin have significant grievances that they say must be resolved before a new Executive is formed. They…

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Labour/Green Budget Responsibility Rules

croaking cassandra

Grant Robertson, for Labour, and James Shaw, for the Greens, released on Friday a short document on the “budget responsibility rules” the two parties would adopt if they are in a position to form a government after the election.

As others have noted, it was PR win for the two parties, in what was in any case not a great week for the government (Afghanistan and all that).    If one criticism of the left-wing parties in the 2014 election was that no one seemed sure what a Labour-Green government might look like, or how the key figures might get on, this is the sort of initiative that helps build confidence and makes people nearer the centre, or just tired of nine years of a government that has accomplished little, think harder about the possibility of voting for a change.   Whatever their other specific policies, whatever their other limitations, in this release –  and…

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Updates on a Hamas story under-reported by the BBC

BBC Watch

In June 2016 the BBC Gaza bureau’s Rushdi Abualouf produced an article for the BBC News website titled “Gazans squeezed by triple taxes as Hamas replaces lost income“.

As was noted here at the time, Abualouf’s portrayal of Hamas’ “financial crisis” skimmed over the fact that the terror organisation’s prioritisation of rearmament and tunnel building plays a key role in the creation of economic and social pressures on ordinary residents of the Gaza Strip. The BBC’s correspondent preferred to focus audience attentions elsewhere:

“It [Hamas] has also faced a crippling blockade by Israel and Egypt and financial sanctions from other countries since it won Palestinian elections in 2006.”

“And Hamas’s financial crisis is unlikely to be solved soon with Israel and Egypt continuing their border closures amid fear of attack by militants from Gaza.”

In early February of this year the BBC’s Tim Franks visited the Gaza…

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Would @GetUp @SenSanders go back in Time Machine to their 1970s glory days?

US life expectancy is below naive expectations mostly because it economically outperforms

Random Critical Analysis

In my prior few posts I made a strong case that the United States’ exceptionally high health care expenditures are well explained by its unusually high material standard of living.   In response to this several people I have interacted with have fallen back to the position that something still must obviously be uniquely wrong with the US health care system because US outcomes are significantly below what one might expect given its level of spending:

rcafdm_306_life_expectancy_by_hcepc_oecd.png Life expectancy in OECD

They believe it cannot be a coincidence that the country that spends so much more than expected (according to naive expectations) also gets worse outcomes than expected and generally gets worse outcomes than the most developed countries of predominantly European and Asian origin.

In this blog post I will address the so-called “outcomes” dimension and explain why these apparently sub-par outcomes are not only not otherwise inexplicable, but can actually be explained in a fairly straight forward and parsimonious fashion  For…

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By the numbers: Lifetime Performance of World’s First Offshore Wind Farm

Watts Up With That?

Decommissioning of world’s first offshore wind farm offers an opportunity to see how industry costs have changed over the past 25 years.

Guest essay by T. A. “Ike” Kiefer, CAPT, USN (ret.)

Lifetime Performance of World’s First Offshore Wind Farm

Decommissioning has started at the 26-year old Vindeby offshore project, one of the world’s first The 4.95MW Vindeby offshore project was installed in 1991 using 11 Bonus 450kW turbines. It operated 1.5-3.0km off the southern Danish coast.

The first offshore windfarm in the world has just been decommissioned and is now being torn down ( http://www.windpoweroffshore.com/article/1427436/dong-begins-vindeby-decommissioning-pictures ). Its lifetime performance specs are illuminating in comparison with recent wind industry data, and alternative generation options.

1991 Vindeby Offshore Wind Farm – Denmark

Years of Operation: 1991-2016 (25)

Capital Cost: 75M Kroner = $13M (1991USD) = $23M (2017USD)

Number of Turbines: 11 @ 450 kW

Lifetime Generation: 243 GWh

Nameplate Capacity: 4.9 MW

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Labour/Green Budget Responsibility Rules

Nice discussion of the Labour Greens crown of thorns.

croaking cassandra

Grant Robertson, for Labour, and James Shaw, for the Greens, released on Friday a short document on the “budget responsibility rules” the two parties would adopt if they are in a position to form a government after the election.

As others have noted, it was PR win for the two parties, in what was in any case not a great week for the government (Afghanistan and all that).    If one criticism of the left-wing parties in the 2014 election was that no one seemed sure what a Labour-Green government might look like, or how the key figures might get on, this is the sort of initiative that helps build confidence and makes people nearer the centre, or just tired of nine years of a government that has accomplished little, think harder about the possibility of voting for a change.   Whatever their other specific policies, whatever their other limitations, in this release –  and…

View original post 2,743 more words

Take-aways from the Washington, D.C. Heartland Climate Change Conference

Watts Up With That?

By Andy May

This was my first climate change conference and I had a great time. So, here is a quick note sharing my most memorable take-aways from the conference. Most of the comments below are paraphrased, but if they are exact quotes, I’ve put them in quotation marks. To hear the full talk by any of the speakers go to the Heartland.Org site here.

The most memorable statement is from Myron Ebell. Three U.S. elections “have turned on climate issues.” These are 2000, 2010, and 2016. In 2000 Al Gore lost because he lost West Virginia. This “was due entirely because someone named Buck Harless put,” in every voter’s mailbox a study he commissioned showing the effect on West Virginia’s coal industry and economy of Al Gore’s proposed policies. The 2010 election was turned by the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, which caused the House Democrats to lose 20 seats…

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The Limits of Bayesian Inference

ThinkMarkets

by Gene Callahan

Dan Klein’sKnowledge and Coordinationhas something interesting to say about Bayesian inference, although he never explicitly addresses that topic. Consider the following:

Here, we have the distinction between responding to the realization of events within a framework of recognized variables and relationships and the discovery of a fresh opportunity to embrace a new and better framework or interpretation. This element of epiphany, of finding fortune by interpreting the world differently, is the subtle and vital element in human decision making. Yet, it is absent from equilibrium model building. In equilibrium stories, agents never have a “light bulb” moment… (p. 13)

Kirzner’s alertness is the individual’s re-interpretation of that world [of a world of already-interpreted “facts”]. (p. 14)

“Equilibrium” is meaningful only in reference to a specified model… (p. 28)

Bayesian inference, similar to equilibrium theorizing, works within a fixed frame of interpretation: it “is meaningful only in reference…

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