Friday, June 15, 2012
Thursday, May 03, 2012
It is about how eagles are killed by wind turbines along the Norwegian coast; they can't see them.
And I wondered why they don't surround them with a thin wire mesh. Not enough to block the wind, enough to block the birds.
And I have read and listened to a lot of criticism about hydroelectric power.
They wipe of fish; on one major river in Sweden, less than 0.1% of some species survive the journey through the four power stations along it's course.
Plus, rotting vegetation that is a result of flooding caused by the dams can create serious levels of carbon emissions, depending on location; in Brazil, it can take decades for the dams to create enough power to make up for the damage they cause.
Plus, they are made less effective by rivers freezing in the Winter, when power is needed the most.
And I though, why not build smaller turbines, micro-turbines, again with meshing, along the bed of the river? They'd be relatively difficult to maintain, what with silting, but, no dead fish, year round power, no need for dams.
As I said, probably hair-brained. But i don't know who to send them to in order to be ridiculed publicly. So you get to read them. Lucky you! :p
Friday, February 18, 2011
What is a share?
I mean those things that are traded on the stock exchange. The basis of our pensions, one of the indicators we use to measure how our economy is doing.
It's exactly what it says it is, of course. It's a part ownership in a commercial enterprise, sometimes giving one a voice in the running of that enterprise, sometimes not.
But that's not how we treat them. We treat them as entities in themselves.
The price is notionally based on the performance of the company. If profits are good, the share usually reflects this. But the share price is no longer in any reasonable proportion to the dividend. Some companies issue no dividends at all; you are expected to make your profit by trading in the shares.
The shares hav become an entity in themslves. One buys them on the basis that one thinks that the share price will rise. The bosses bonus is often based on goals for the share price.
Companies now have a dual function; to provide a good or service, and to inspire confidence in the value of it's stock. There is a corelation, but in the abscence of meaningful dividends in scale with the price, it is a largely theoretical one.
Simply put, the stock market has become a pyramid scheme. We have a commodity that has value based on a faith that in the future, some-one else will have a greater faith in the value of the commodity.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
As things stand, rents in Sweden are extremely low; they've been kept that way by apartment blocks owned by the local councils, which have been run at cost price. I think that it's one of the reasons that living standards have been so high in Sweden; the cost of owning a home runs at an average of 30% of a households income.
Now a law has been passed obliging these apartments to be run for profit; no improvements can be made with-out justifying them on grounds of increased income. Rents in private apartments will no longer be set against these rents plus a determined mark-up.
So everything will spiral.
The justification being used is that not enough building is going on, but that's hardly strange in today's strangled economic conditions.
It makes me sad. In Ireland, working for the county council, there was no way that I could have afforded a home of my own, I'd have had to share a fairly small apartment, and that would have consumed probably 65-70% of my income. Here, I've had a lovely apartment, and had most of my income over.
Why change this? It worked. I would have thought that it was worth protecting, more important than the possibilty of a small group of people making large sums of money.
Friday, October 23, 2009
(My having to publish this here illustrates the problem. I can share this with precisely one person on Google Wave, as things stand).
When I'm using email, I can communicate with anyone who has an email address, on any platform, as long as I know that address. With Google Wave, they must have a Google account.
With a blog, I can publish, and anyone with a H.T.M.L.-capable device and an internet connection can read my blog, and reply. Blogs often become conversations. With Google Wave, I can only communicate with other Google Wave users.
Google Wave needs to be available to people who don't have an account.
Googe Wave needs to have a general publication option.
Of course, it has definite pluses. Being able to have a conversation involving several people, where one can see what is happening live, but doesn't necessarily have to be online for the whole conversation to keep it alive; what a godsend. Especially once it goes mobile.
So; this is an exciting idea, but it needs to be more open.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Currently, the Social Democrats are losing a P.R. war in Sweden; the media are asking them if they are the party of raises taxes; and they hum and haw, because they don't want to say yes, but they can't honestly say no.
They sound turn that question around and say that they are the party for seeing that government does it's job; namely, that society works for every-one, and no just the seventy percent (and falling) of people that can make a ruthless market economy work for them.
But they also need to acknowledge that the system as it was has faults; that simply giving people who fall out of the working mainstream money doesn't work either for individuals or society.
A lot of people in Sweden are on early retirement because they couldn't cope with working life, sometimes from as early as their twenties. A lot of immigrants find that it is nearly impossible to find work unless one can create it for ones self, an ability that we don't all possess. And a lot of Swedes aren't good enough at school to get a qualification and find themselves competing for the unqualified tasks, of which their aren't enough to go around.
But I can say from both personal experience and statistical data that not having something to work for in life is soul destroying; people who are retired early don't live as long as every-one else.
I'm not saying that society should find make-work, or punish people who can't find regular work; but that a role for all of these people who are left behind must be found. Because it's unacceptable that people should be left behind, and it's a problem that's only going to get worse.
And it's a problem that the current government doesn't acknowledge. Paupering the workforce to make them more competitive might create more jobs; but you've also paupered the work force. That's not a solution.
And I doubt that it will work. There will always be some-one who is more competitive.