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Monthly Archives: October 2017

Can’t grow, won’t grow

Zero growth

While politicians and “Westminster Village” journalists trumpet the latest headline employment figures, the UK economy continues its post-2008 slump.  We know this because within the Office for National Statistics (ONS) employment report is this incongruous fact: “For August 2017 in real terms (constant 2015 prices) average regular pay (excluding bonuses) …

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The difference between “can” and “can”

Manned space flight

According to the green energy enthusiasts, we are well on the way to a world powered by renewables energy and an end to concerns about climate change.  Unfortunately, a more sober examination of the data produced by the International Energy Agency tells us that, in fact, new renewables (solar, wind, …

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IMF highlights serious banking risks

IMF bank weakness warning

The International Monetary Fund’s latest Global Financial Stability Report October 2017 has raised concerns about the profitability of nine “Global Systemically Important Banks” (i.e. the ones that are too big to fail).  Among the nine are two UK banks – Barclays and Standard Chartered – which the IMF lists as …

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Peak medicine

Antibiotic Resistance

One of the central themes of The Consciousness of Sheep is that systems fail at their weakest point.  When they do, there is often a cascading knock-on effect in which things that had been taken for granted suddenly become impossible.  For example, during the UK fuel crisis in September 2000, …

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A cautionary Brexit tale

A cautionary tale about Brexit

Everything seems to be going wrong for Britain’s Tory government since the loss of the Brexit referendum and the resignation of David Cameron.  The coronation of Theresa May was supposed to usher in a new era of strength and stability.  Instead it has brought vacillation and U-turns, a disastrous general …

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Energy cap – wrong answer, wrong problem

The last candle

Imagine you have just completed your weekly supermarket shop.  You get to the checkout, pack your bags and get ready to pay.  Then the person on the till informs you that as a standard rate customer, they will have to add a ten percent surcharge to your bill.  No doubt …

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The cure for wind

Windfarm construction

Once again we have a country whose electricity generation from wind was greater than its demand.  This time it was the UK’s green energy champion; Scotland: “WWF Scotland analysed wind power data provided by Weather Energy and found that wind turbines provided 86,467MWh to the national grid on 2 October, …

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Peak memory

Data storage

Central to the myth of the “fourth industrial revolution” is the idea that, unlike the planet, hyperspace is infinite.  The myth is easy enough to get away with when most of the Internet’s unthinking users spend their days staring transfixed at the screen of the latest i-phone. We’ve all heard …

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Headline oil finds getting smaller

New oil discovery

When an oil deposit of just a billion barrels becomes headline news, you know there’s trouble ahead.  Why?  Because it tells you that all of the large reserves have gone.  We are now drilling into the small, hard to recover deposits that require a large investment for very little return.  …

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Fracking fears confirmed

Fracking subsidies

While most anti-fracking concerns centre on the potential environmental damage it can cause, and a few raise doubts around unsuitable geology and geography, the industry’s Achilles ’ heel is in the way that it is financed. In the UK, proponents of fracking reference the apparent economic miracle in the USA …

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