1. Electric shock
The big story in Australian politics this week was the shocking state of the political debate on electricity. Giles Parkinson says, when you thought it couldn’t get any dumber, it did.
‘People will die due to renewables’, said Turnbull government MP Craig Kelly.
Commentators who don’t understand the grid should butt out of the battery debate, said Ketan Joshi, a communications consultant for the renewable energy industry. Continue reading Saturday salon 15/7
1. Cardinal Pell to face the music
Cardinal Pell is to come back to Australia to face “historical sexual assault offences“. There have been and will be many words written about Pell, but I liked Sean Kenny at The Monthly. Kenny is worth reading on the current political follies, but he says the Pell case reminds us that there are more important changes happening in society.
Charging someone so senior in the Catholic church would have been unthinkable not so long ago. Sexual abuse of minors is finally being taken seriously. Continue reading Saturday salon 1/7
Donald Trump in announcing that the USA will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement made a big fuss about the Chinese being able to increase their emissions, and that this was unfair to the US economy.
So what are the Chinese doing, and is it enough? Continue reading Are the Chinese doing their share on climate change?
Trump has announced that the US will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and seek to negotiate a ‘better’ agreement. I liked Emmanuel Macron’s reaction – “Lets make the planet great again”. Germany, France and Italy have committed to carry on, China will relish the opportunity to move into the vacuum.
Paul Hawken, who knows more about climate change action than most (post coming up) recently said:
First of all, let’s be honest: The US has never led in this area. Ever. When they’ve tried on an executive level, they’ve never been supported by Congress. States have led, cities have led, but never the federal government.
Even so, he said people in the US think they lead in “this stuff”. They don’t, it’s Germany, China, France and Denmark. Continue reading Trump shoots himself in the foot on climate
1. Trump’s Syria strike puts the world on notice
Trump’s launch of 59 Tomahawk missiles to smash a Syrian airfield has put the world on notice. As Trump enters talks with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, suddenly it is clear that Trump is not going to be isolationist, and no-one can be sure how far he will go, in Syria, the South China Sea, North Korea, or anywhere else..
The biggest question is what comes next? There are Russian troops on the ground. The Syrians and Russians have anti-aircraft weapons capable of bringing American planes down, which have been flying freely to strike ISIS targets. Continue reading Saturday salon 8/4
When Elon Musk dramatically promised to build a grid-scale battery in South Australia, the media was enthralled. Share traders and a string of Australian fund managers smirked. They’d seen it all before, and were shorting him in the market.
In that very week he was in the market with plans to raise $US1.15 billion in equity and convertible notes. I understand also that Tesla has gone strangely quiet about SA since then. Continue reading Climate clippings 201
Thomas Frank has recently been in Australia, spruiking his book Listen, Liberal or Whatever Happened to the Party of the People. He told Richard Fidler that
He told Fidler that Democrats believed that if people felt they had been left behind (“the deplorables”) it was because that is what they deserved. They had made the wrong choices, studied the wrong subjects, or hadn’t tried hard enough. Continue reading How Bill Clinton and Barack Obama prepared the ground for Donald Trump
The innovative LiquidPiston engine, mentioned by BilB, is targetting a global market worth $460 billion. It has a power to weight ratio more than ten times better than a regular engine:
The big bruiser on the left puts out 35 HP, the one on the right 40 HP. Continue reading Climate clippings 198
It has emerged that Donald Trump was from youth a regular church-goer and an enormous admirer of his pastor, one Norman Vincent Peale, whose 1952 book The Power of Positive Thinking was translated into 15 languages, remained on the New York Times best-seller list for 186 weeks and sold 5 million copies.
Peale’s son is not so keen on Trump, but Trump is very keen on himself. His biographer says Peale’s influence is the source of Trump’s boundless self-confidence, and is the key to his persona, along with his father’s modus operandi and interest in branding.
Trump’s “America first” meme presented as somewhat isolationist. What has emerged in his recent speech to the joint houses of Congress, is that Trump has in fact embraced American exceptionalism, the notion that America has a special role in the world to lead the all peoples and countries to the sunny uplands of peace, justice and freedom. Trump is going to save the world. Continue reading What is Trump up to?
1. Millennials lack hope
I heard it on the radio, and have tracked it down, I think, to The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2017. It depends where you live:
Millennials in emerging markets generally expect to be both financially (71 percent) and emotionally (62 percent) better off than their parents. This is in stark contrast to mature markets, where only 36 percent of millennials predict they will be financially better off than their parents and 31 percent say they’ll be happier.
Continue reading Saturday salon 18/12
On a superficial level I agree with President Trump that it was a “dumb deal” for the US to accept asylum seekers warehoused by Australia in Nauru and Manus Island. We should have brought them to Australia long ago.
What is scary is how Trump and his administration handled the whole thing. Via Bloomberg, this is the scene in his office:
Continue reading Dumb deal
Nate Silver, editor in chief at FiveThirtyEight, has been thinking about this issue for two and a half months, and has come up with perhaps the best analysis I’ve seen to date in The Real Story Of 2016: What reporters — and lots of data geeks, too — missed about the election, and what they’re still getting wrong.
Silver’s primary focus is on how the press covered the election, and how it is reflecting now on what happened. However, he puts his finger on some of the key factors. Continue reading How Trump won: the real story