Thursday, 16 February 2012

Minimum Price for Alcohol Isn't Necessary.

First, let me state some facts: I have never smoked, ever. I also rarely drink.

So, you'd think it was strange if I was against the anti-smoking laws and against minimum pricing on alcohol.

With the smoking laws, I think its too draconian. It would have been far better if public establishments were allowed to make up their own policies on smoking. Once the policy is made, its up to employees as to whether they work in a smoking or non-smoking environment. The phrase is informed choice. A normal adult should assess the risks in any activity they partake in and then decide themselves if they do it or not.

The same goes for minimum alcohol pricing. The problem is binge drinking. However, I don't see much of it on Havant high street, nor do I personally binge drink. So why should I, or any of the people in Havant be punished for a problem they aren't causing?

The answer is nanny knows best: we're all being treated like kids, because there's a section of the population that refuses to grow up. You see it in schools and even in families: collective punishment. If one of you can't behave, all of you get to suffer. 

However, we already have a law covering alcohol abuse. Anyone in public who is drunk and incapable should be liable to a being drunk and disorderly. So why aren't people that binge drink and cause trouble (the supposed reason for bringing in a minimum price) charged with that existing law? Why do we have to have yet another law that punishes everyone instead of specifically targeting the law breakers and trouble makers?

Now I have heard that alcohol pricing might fall foul of EU anti-competition laws, effectively installing a tariff on alcohol that restricts it's sale and is therefore restricts free trade. It would be an interesting court case.

Ed Milliband: Dead Man Walking.

Well, its just a matter of time before Ed Milliband is ousted by Ed Balls, as EdB has started his bid for leadership in earnest.

However, I'm not altogether sure that his his entourage have much of a plan. Agreeing with everyone about everything isn't a way to win hearts and minds. It just makes him sound like a grade A jerk.

And we haven't forgotten Ed Balls was part of the government that got us in this mess in the first place.

He didn't speak up against Labour's excessive borrowing then did he? He didn't agree with Tory "cuts" then did he?

But I'm sure enough Labour activists will be cajoled to vote him in as leader, especially since everyone in Labour have finally noticed EdM's total lack of charisma. 

Ed Balls is the least qualified person to get us out of this mess, given his wholehearted support for everything Labour did even as it drove us off the rails.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

This is a "Very Good Day for Northern Ireland"??

A £580 million investment in Northern Ireland is supposed to "potentially" sustain 3,000 jobs.

That's over £193,000 per job, an obscene amount in anyone's eyes. Now, either the N.I. assembly is completely incompetent, or the jobs don't actually cost that much.

I just wonder how much of that £580 million is going on consultations, surveys, executive salaries and all the other associated perks for the privileged that soak up public funds and finance the governmental gravy train...

Monday, 13 February 2012

Being Bold With Renewables.

Its now dawning on an increasing number of people that the renewable energy sources of choice aren't going to hack it in the future.

Wind power only produces its full capacity for a fraction of its availability. Usually, when its very cold outside, we're experiencing a high pressure system with low winds. We very rarely have Arctic-style blizzards, where it's extremely cold and windy. Most snowfall and frost for instance is coupled with low winds.

Solar experiences similar issues: cold weather happens in winter (obviously), but in winter we have short days and long nights, so energy production is curtailed. Happily for solar, we sometimes experience cold weather with clear conditions, which at least helps with energy production. Sadly in winter the sun is low in the sky and is extremely weak.

Wave power could be worthwhile, if it could be harnessed in a safe manner. Unfortunately we often experience huge storms which threaten wave power installations.

So, what do we do?

We look at a naturally occurring naturally cyclic phenomenon: the tides. The Severn barrage has been on and off for years, generally opposed by the bird-loving naturalists.
Well I'm sorry, there isn't anything there that can't fly off and find another feeding ground elsewhere along the UK coast. Its time the strategic national interest was put before a bunch of birds.
Lets start thinking of us for a change and get something in place that will generate regular zero-emission energy. The major upside of tidal energy production is its predictable, so that conventional fossil fuelled power stations know when to be online to take up the slack when the tide has gone out.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Interesting New Predictions for Global Cooling at WUWT.

I've ranted on this blog and elsewhere for years that the current CO2-driven global climate models were wrong. I've always maintained that we are at the mercy of our closest star, that ball of burning gas at the heart of our solar system, the Sun.

I'll tell you for why; its because I know the awesome power of the Sun. I'm a lapsed Ham Radio operator and one of the crucial things in obtaining reliable global contacts using short wave radio (in the days before satellites) was to be up to date with Solar Activity and where on the solar cycle we were. The sun you see is so powerful, even 93 million miles away, that it energises our upper atmosphere in such a way that you can bounce radio waves off it, just as you can bounce radio waves off a solid satellite dish. Imagine: a layer of gas and particles so energetic they have a similar property to a sheet of metal... that's pretty energetic! Mind you, that's just the invisible effects. All you really have to do is sit out in the sun on a sunny day, or get into a car left out in the sun to understand there's a fair bit of energy being pumped into that small space from its origin, so many million miles away.

So its a no-brainer for this Johnny average to assume that there is so much energy hitting the Earth from the Sun, that changes in the Sun's energy output would far and away swamp any man-made effects, such as the increase in CO2.

This report by David Archibald at Watts Up With That on the Norwegian paper is an interesting one, especially for it's predictive and apparently quantative nature. If global temperatures do change as predicted by 0.21C per year of solar cycle, it would (a) be immediately provable and (b) historically provable by previous solar observations. It will be interesting to see how this theory fares in it's predictions.

The sceptic in me says that temperatures are hardly likely to fall in such a steep way, due to the heatpump effects of the oceans, but along with this report by Dr Nicola Scaffetta, the Solar-activity-based models seem to be making a better job of reporting global temperatures than the CO2-driven models.

As an aside, and sort of linked to this thread, are the ongoing studies to see if particles from the Sun have an effect on cloud formation. CERN's cloud experiment is one such example. Water vapour is the most prolific "greenhouse gas" we have and even moderate effects on its production will overwhelm the CO2 models.

Only time will tell of course, but all the while we are pumping billions into what may be one of the largest global white elephants in history.

Here's a parting though: Instead of pumping billions into the reduction of CO2 at source, why can't we pump billions into the reduction in the need for energy at the point of use? If for instance we put those billions to use insulating existing and future houses to Arctic standards, we would reduce the need for energy which satisfies the CO2 proponents and also guard against the global cooling predicted by the solar observers. Hedging your bets and picking options that cover both scenarios would be the sensible and logical option, but naaa, governments don't do sense.