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Daily Roundup

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Michael Cullen’s only legacy crumbles to dust

Cullen was generally regarded as a steady steward of the nation’s funds, although many who said so conveniently ignored the fact he did so during an economic boom time when he had no idea what to do with all the money coming out of the tax payer fountain.

Upon his departure, the purchase of KiwiRail at the blunt end of $2B was as cynical as it was an act of sabotage.

But all through this period, and until recently, people still thought kindly of him when talking about KiwiSaver.

That myth just fell apart too.

KiwiSaver tax credits cost more than $800 million a year but careful analysis by Treasury economists of the best data we have on household finances can find no evidence it has boosted the accumulation of wealth, a key objective of the scheme.

Research by David Law and Grant Scobie published by the Treasury examined data from Statistics New Zealand’s longitudinal Survey of Family, Income and Employment (SoFIE).

Their first look at SoFIE found that between 2008 (the first “wave” of data after KiwiSaver was introduced in 2007) and 2010 (the last before it was discontinued) both members and non-members of KiwiSaver increased their savings, defined as net wealth or assets minus liabilities.

But non-members fared better than members, averaging an increase of $32,000 or twice that recorded by KiwiSaver members.

In English – people who avoided KiwiSaver and made their own arrangements are better off than the state-run semi-compulsory scheme that was supposed to save us (heh) from ourselves. Read more »

Even Google Engineers now say Renewable Energy ‘Simply won’t work’

windturbine

Google is one of the biggest investors in renewable technology. They have poured billions into research and now their top engineers say that renewable energy is hopelessly flawed.

Eric Worrell at WUWT explains:

A research effort by Google corporation to make renewable energy viable has been a complete failure, according to the scientists who led the programme. After 4 years of effort, their conclusion is that renewable energy “simply won’t work”.

According to an interview with the engineers, published in IEEE;

“At the start of RE<C, we had shared the attitude of many stalwart environmentalists: We felt that with steady improvements to today’s renewable energy technologies, our society could stave off catastrophic climate change. We now know that to be a false hope …
Renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach.”
http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/renewables/what-it-would-really-take-to-reverse-climate-change Read more »

The Huddle at 1740

newstalkzb

It’s Monday and I’m on ZB with Larry Williams to do The Huddle with pinko attack blogger David Farrar

Our topics will be:

  • First up we’ve got the winners and losers in the Labour line up.
  • Then  moving on and the hand wringing goes on over Roger Sutton’s resignation.   Read more »

Patrick Gower on Andrew Little and today’s announcement

Not surprisingly, the Labour fanboi is excited as the new Labour leader has managed to make it through 3 pressers and 2 interviews.  Yes, that’s all it takes to call a winner.

Little has barely put a foot wrong in his short time as leader, and the conservative reshuffle announced is another example.

I’ve now watched Little get through three press conferences, two major interviews and a reshuffle with no black marks.

With the reshuffle, Little has shown considerable political skill as he goes about building the complex latticework of loyalty required to run the Labour caucus.

The reshuffle is what John Key would call an elegant solution.

I think it has the right mix of a good deputy, Grant Robertson and David Cunliffe in the right spots and an effective front and mid-bench.

If it wasn’t Monday, you would be forgiven for thinking it was Throwback Thursday, given he has chosen Annette King as his deputy.

King was of course on Team Grant and hardly screams next generation.

But I actually think King as deputy is a good call. Aunty Annie is a cross between Labour’s Mother Hen and a Courtney Place bouncer. She is highly effective in Parliament, incredibly loyal to Labour Inc, doesn’t want to roll him and will be a good mentor to Little now he has plonked her in his inner circle.

Due to the time of year, I think Little will get the benefit of a few months of performing under very low pressure.  This will lead to a false impression and sense of competence.  One thing that Paddy forgets is that it isn’t just a case of being a steady leader – his talent below him will continue to be the gifts that keep on giving.  Let’s see how he survives a few scandals.   Read more »

Business that needs to dump into a river to operate isn’t viable

Two stories today about Canterbury rivers:

Dry weather has seen South Canterbury’s rivers reach “exceptional” lows, with farmers shedding stock and irrigation restrictions in place.

Figures from Environment Canterbury’s monitoring sites indicated five rivers across the region were below half of their average flows for November.

The Orari River was flowing at a rate of 3.9 cubic metres per second (cumecs) at a monitoring site in the Orari Gorge, while it dried up completely while flowing across the plains in some places.

ECan’s surface water science manager Tim Davie said having the river dry up so early in the summer was “exceptional”, and concerned members of the public had begun asking about the region’s low river levels. The Temuka River was flowing at 1.2 cumecs, less than a quarter of its usual flow.

Opuha Water Limited chief executive Tony McCormick said the Opuha Dam was now 56 per cent full, and the dam could reach its half-full trigger point for irrigation restrictions by the end of the month.

Irrigation restrictions had not been required for dam users since October 2011, when they were required for just three days. McCormick said restrictions would undoubtedly last longer this year.

“It’s a very serious situation.”

And now for story number two:   Read more »

Mental Health Break