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Yearly Archives: 2017

Where are the robots?

Automation

Peak oil demand was the big story last year – at least until the oil price rose above $60 a barrel and we all woke up.  The idea was that a brave new world of automated technologies powered by renewable energy was just around the corner.  There was even concern …

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Taking a Russian approach to climate change

Fake News

The problem with Russian “fake news” is that it isn’t all that fake.  This is why Western politicians go out of their way to avoid giving examples, while media outlets attempt to conflate it with the output from Bulgarian clickbait factories. Outlets like Russia Today and Sputnik use a different …

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Arctic oil decline

Arctic oil

The rocks beneath the Arctic may be awash with oil, but it seems that few energy companies are in a hurry to extract it.  In Alaska, attempts by the Trump administration to revitalise the Arctic oil industry seem to have fallen flat.  According to VOA News: “Seven bids were received, …

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The age of intermittency

Intermittency

Physicist David Korowicz once posed this thought experiment: imagine that all of the computer chips made since the financial crash of 2008 had some flaw that caused them to suddenly stop working.  Could we simply go back to the conditions of 2008? The answer, of course, is that if all …

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The bad smell of UK shale gas

H2S

The embryonic, and probably unprofitable, UK shale gas industry faces yet another obstacle according to Robin Grayson, a geologist and member of the Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain. Grayson, reported in the Blackpool Gazette, claims that any shale gas recovered from the Bowland shale formation will contain a high …

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UK government has a cruelty problem

Tory cruelty

This morning, observant people in Cardiff will have learned from their local paper (these things never make the national news) that: “A 32-year-old woman has been found dead in a Cardiff park.” In homelessness, at least, it would appear that government attempts to promote gender equality are paying off.  As Dawn …

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Thatcher’s legacy

Thatcher's legacy of debt

Twenty seven years ago today one of Britain’s most successful – and divisive – prime ministers left 10 Downing Street for the last time.  In her wake lay the ruins of Britain’s industrial past.  Coal, steel, shipbuilding, factory and rail towns had been reduced to a shadow of their former …

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The Root of All Evil

In the millennia prior to the creation of modern finance, everybody knew that money was the root of all evil. Most religions bracketed the sin of usury – charging interest on money loans – alongside murder. Usury was so ruinous of individuals and civilisations as a whole, that periodic “debt …

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OBR is wrong… things are much worse

Black Swans

The big announcement in yesterday’s budget was not the cut to stamp duty, additional funds for Universal Credit or some extra cash for the NHS.  The real showstopper was the announcement that the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) had downgraded its growth forecast for 2017 from 2 percent to just …

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