Monthly Archives: November 2008

An idea I had last year

Published / by Bagheera / Leave a Comment

I’ve been mulling this over for quite some time now, and I think it’s time to write it down.

When I found out I was going to be in Australia for a while, I got to thinking about some of the challenges facing the country.

Now, energy production in a cheap, sustainable and environmentally friendly way is a challenge that faces all countries. A challenge that is uniquely Australian (ok maybe not unique, but at least not all face it) is a fresh water shortage. Fresh water is used in agriculture here to such an extent as to deplete some natural waterways completely – there are many issues with fresh water supply, including a long lasting drought.

Combining these two issues, I got to thinking of thermal solar power. Australia is an extremely sunny and warm country – energy a’plenty. Why doesn’t Australia set up power plants that harness solar energy – to my knowledge these plants work by solar rays being focused on water tanks which then heat up. The hot water turns to steam that drives a turbine.

Here comes the interesting bit – why don’t you construct a plant that harnesses solar energy and converts it to electricity, and THEN condense the steam that drives the turbine and produce drinking water form it?? The byproduct would be mostly salt, which means you would get a trifecta of useful products here:

– Cheap electricity

– Fresh drinking water

– Industrial (or table possibly) salt

So, what’s stopping you? The solar tech exists. Fresh water production in this manner is a very old concept – and who doesn’t like salt?

Oh and no sense trying to patent the idea, since I’ve just made it public.

A crisis here, a crisis there, a crisis everywhere.

Published / by Bagheera / Leave a Comment

Currently there is a “financial crisis” going on. It all started with a bunch of overzealous bankers pawning off bad loan derivatives on others – succesfully. The interesting part is that the media exacerbated things to such an extent as to lead to an actual recession.

If the matter had not been HUGELY publicized, consumer confidence would not have tanked, commercial orders would not have tanked, tax revenue would not tank, and jobs would not be plummeting. This is an extremely expensive lesson in the costs of having a global media network – if only the financial system was in trouble, and the issues were mitigated through a stimulus/security package, then that would have been that. But no, every media outlet has been positively battering the public with news of just how bad this is for month now – resulting in people believing it, stopping spending, and sending the economy from perceived difficulty to real problem really quickly.

I’m not saying stop reporting, but at least try to be fair and unbiased. It’s NOT a catastrophe, at least it wasn’t until you made it so. I blame YOU, mainstream media, for the next few years of hardship until the average consumer regains the confidence to go buy that next big screen tv.

In addition, the “crisis” word seems to get thrown around a lot. There are currently forest fires in California – as there is pretty much every year – but this year it’s a “crisis”, at least on the news on tv.

It’s a matter of cry wolf – when our alien overlords finally invade, noone will actually think twice when the media proclaims “interstellar immigration crisis”.

More on GM in trouble

Published / by Bagheera / Leave a Comment

It appears that GM is finally in it’s last death throes. I’m not nearly as happy about this as I used to be. Not to be smug, however, I should point out that I predicted this over a year ago. Not that it was particularly difficult to predict, GMs products are some 10 to 30 years behind the times, and as soon as the home market realised, it was bound to go bust. Any bailout now, will only lead to bankrupty being postponed for however long the government money lasts. Competition at work, let’s face it, your product sucks, you should fold quietly.

Granted, GMs products are still more medieval than modern, frankly it’s a wonder they survived this long, but the reason my animosity has lessened is that Opel will be going down with GM because it is a subsidiary. This means german jobs lost and a worsening of the European economy. The German government is currently considering a bailout (yes, ANOTHER bailout, will it never end) for Opel but I don’t see how such a measure would benefit anyone but the American parent company.

The other issue here is the excessive use of bailouts. It’s ridiculous, heck I’d even go so far as to say it’s scandalous. Investors made good bank for many many years with these companies who posted consistent profits and sent them on to investors. Now that the proverbial fan has been soiled, noone wants to take responsiblity.

I say let them go bankrupt, let the investors find their shares to be worthless – that’s the way of a market economy. Bailing out big business and by extension the people who profited by virtue of partial ownership, is tantamount to leaving behind free market altogether. What we are approaching is rather a no-fault market. This means that if it goes well you get to pocket a wad of cash, and if it doesn’t – heck the government will cover you losses, meaning every Tom, Dick and Harry will be picking up YOUR tab.

Sometimes I wonder how share holders sleep at night. Then I wonder how CEOs sleep at night. Finally I fall asleep wondering how policy makers are allowing this to go on without getting assassinated yet. In the morning I am usually crudely reminded that it is allowed to go on, because the very people the flawed system benefit, are the ones that already have money. The rich get richer. It’s depressing really, but at least we know where from and why the armed revolution will come.

Disclaimer: I believe in a free market system with certain checks and balances – it’s just not what is in place, like it or not. What we have is government sponsored profiteering for the wealthy. In a certain sense, we haven’t moved an inch since nations used to sponsor pirates to prey on others in colonial times. The circumstances have changed, the tactics have not.