Technology

The Politician who is about practical solutions

How often is there a simple and practical solution to a problem in a country but the politicians in power ignore it? We all know that some problems are easily solved yet for various reasons politicians refuse to solve them. Let’s say that the government is the parent and the problem within society is the teenage son. The teenage son stays up late every night playing on the internet and is ignoring his parents telling him to turn off the computer at 10 pm. One set of parents offer their son a reward if he follows their rules but after a while, he goes back to his old habits and as he is no longer motivated by the reward. The other set of parents threatened to punish him but he takes his punishment and then does it again because the drive to be online with his friends is just too strong. The third set of parents turns off the router at 10 pm and the problem is solved.

President Trump is a politician who offers practical and easy to understand solutions. They are simple and everyone can understand them. Building a wall between America and Mexico was one such simple solution. There is a tool available to Trump that is so simple and effective a solution to the problem of illegal alian workers that you have to ask why no other government has used it before? It is called the E-Verify system and it immediately solves a problem that no previous government has.

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The Medieval Chastity belt is back and has sold out in Germany

Remember these? While some historians claim they did not actually exist in medieval times that has not stopped modern versions being invented. The so-called myth about chastity belts was that Knights would put their wives in them to ensure that they were not unfaithful while they were gone. Looking at the ones on display in museums with all the protruding teeth around the openings they also look well designed for preventing rape. In Germany rape has become a serious concern for German women thanks to Angela Merkel welcoming in men from a culture that actually has a gang rape game called Taharrush.

Ultimately, the chastity belt’s existence as a legitimate historical artifact should be relegated to the category of myth, experts say. However, a recent tech innovation, designed to protect women from sexual assault, has been criticized as a modern reimagining of the chastity belt. AR Wear, “a clothing line offering wearable protection for when things go wrong,” developed underwear and other garments that would be difficult, if not impossible, for an attacker to remove.

The controversial product, which was accused of placing the burden of rape prevention on victims rather than perpetrators, gained notoriety in 2013 after the company launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. AR Wear claimed the garment fabrics could not be ripped or cut, “so that women and girls can have more power to control the outcome of a sexual assault.”

AR Wear reached their funding goal and finalized a prototype in 2015, but currently their products are not commercially available.

-livescience.com

In Germany however a modern version has been commercially produced and has sold out. Their target market is German women who like to jog. Read more »

The Future of Energy: Man-made Global Warming and the Great Policy Error

GUEST POST

Today’s guest post by Whaleoil reader Bruce Alan Forbes is the final part of an article he wrote called The Future of Energy with predictions for 2040. As it was an in-depth analysis I divided it into six posts so that we could discuss each part separately.

Man-made Global Warming and the Great Policy Error

The catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) – or dangerous man-made global warming/climate change – movement is the main reason why governments have implemented policies that every year cost consumers and taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. Although they are having little or no effect on CO2 emissions, these policies have in the meantime reduced millions of people in the developed world to fuel poverty, and are preventing hundreds of millions of people in developing countries from gaining access to cheap, reliable electricity from gas or coal-burning generators. This constitutes one of the greatest and most pervasive government policy errors in history.

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The Future of Energy: Nuclear, Gas and Coal-based Generation

Nuclear power plant with yellow field and big blue clouds

GUEST POST

Today’s guest post by Whaleoil reader Bruce Alan Forbes is part of an article he wrote called The Future of Energy with predictions for 2040. As it is an in-depth analysis I divided it into six posts so that we could discuss each part separately.

Nuclear, Gas and Coal-based Generation

Nuclear power stations operate at high capacity factors and generate large amounts of CO2 – free electricity. They have enormous potential for achieving major reductions in emissions of CO2. Unlike intermittent and unreliable renewable sources, they do not need the inefficient, fossil-fuel burning, backup power stations to maintain output when the wind does not blow or the sun does not shine. Statistics show convincingly that nuclear power is by far the safest form of large-scale electricity generation.

In contrast, coal-fired power stations are responsible for the deaths of thousands of miners worldwide each year and hydropower stations have also killed thousands of people.

At present, nuclear power is typically more expensive than gas or coal-fired power generation in the U.S. and Europe. This is due to the long construction times resulting from bureaucratic regulatory hurdles. Eventually, nuclear power stations will become the main source of clean, low-cost electricity; particularly in non-OECD countries.

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The Future of Energy:Renewable energy subsidies & Reducing Emissions

US-Energy-Subsidies

GUEST POST

Today’s guest post by Whaleoil reader Bruce Alan Forbes is part of an article he wrote called The Future of Energy with predictions for 2040. As it is an in-depth analysis I divided it into six posts so that we could discuss each part separately.

Current Subsidies

Worldwide, hundreds of billions of dollars per year are spent on subsidising wind and solar electricity generation, and on pursuing the development of marine power technologies based on waves, tidal currents and tidal barrages. In most countries, renewable energy is subsidised by the taxpayer and/or electricity consumer. “Feed-in tariffs”, “Production Tax Credits”, “Renewable Portfolio Standards” and “Renewables Obligation Certificates” are all forms of subsidy. The developers or investors benefit from subsidies and tax breaks that, in some cases, result in them getting their money back in very short periods. In nearly all cases, the cost of paying these subsidies is either added to the cost of electricity paid for by all consumers, or is derived from governments’ other tax revenues or increased government debt. It is these subsidies, not economic merit, that have produced the explosion in renewable energy projects over the past decade. Without subsidies, constructing wind and solar farms for connection to the grid would be a hugely loss-making business.

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The Future of Energy: Wind Power

GUEST POST

Today’s guest post by Whaleoil reader Bruce Alan Forbes is part of an article he wrote called The Future of Energy with predictions for 2040. As it is an in-depth analysis I divided it into six posts so that we could discuss each part separately.

62 Siemens wind turbines of the type SWT-2.3-101 turn here in the wind park West Wind near Wellington in New Zealand. 

Wind Power,

Wind power has been around for thousands of years. 200 years ago, the Fens in the UK were drained using wind-driven pumps. Because they were expensive to build and operate, and the wind often did not blow when needed, these were soon replaced by low-pressure steam driven pumping engines that, by today’s standards, were very inefficient and extremely expensive. The drive for efficiency and low cost led to their being replaced with higher-pressure steam engines, diesel engines and finally, by electric pumps.

Wind power today suffers from the same problems it did hundreds of years ago – expensive machinery, low average output and the vagaries of the wind.

Wind farms do not generate much in light winds and they must be shut down in strong winds. Typically, they generate less than 10% of their rated output for 30% of the time, and more than 80% for only about 5% of the time. A wind farm provides expensive electricity at unpredictable times – often when it is not needed.

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The Future of Energy: The history of human energy use

GUEST POST

Today’s guest post by Whaleoil reader Bruce Alan Forbes is part of an article he wrote called The Future of Energy with predictions for 2040. As it is an in-depth analysis I have divided it into six posts so that we can discuss each part separately. Subjects to be covered are:

  1. The history of human energy use
  2. Wind power
  3. Solar power
  4. Renewable energy subsidies & Options for Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions
  5. Nuclear, Gas and Coal-based Generation
  6. Man-made Global Warming and the Great Policy Error

http://www.aboutbritain.com/images/articles/big/watermills-abandoned-mill-34763674.jpg

The History of Human Energy Use – from Roman Times to the Present

For thousands of years, human economic and social development proceeded slowly, primarily owing to the lack of an adequate, low-cost supply of energy. In Roman times, the primary sources of energy were manpower and animals. There were some water mills and windmills, but only one known example of a power-driven mass production factory. This lack of large-scale, low-cost energy meant that anything that needed a large power output was extremely expensive and this in turn limited economic and social development.

This situation remained more or less unchanged until Thomas Newcomen built the first practical steam engine in 1712. This was used to pump out the Conygree mine in the United Kingdom. This engine, with an efficiency of less than 0.5%, started the Industrial Revolution. Ever since that year, engineers have strived to improve efficiency. Today’s steam turbine power stations, with up to 100 times better efficiency, supply low-cost electricity to people all over the world.

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When the computer won’t do as it’s told who you gunna call?

stressed senior businessman gesture working laptop computer white desk

Dear Whaleoilers who have had trouble subscribing, I feel your pain I really do. We are putting together a tutorial with screenshots to show you step by step what to do but until that is ready to publish I have a possible answer.

When my 75-year-old Dad has an issue with his mobile phone he asks his grandchildren. The youngest is 5 and the oldest is 20 but they all have assisted him much to his amazement on a number of occasions.

My Mum is 68 and runs a large business but she rings me up when she has problems ordering tickets online or placing an ad on trademe and I talk her through it or just do it for her because it is quicker.

I am 48 and when I can’t work the damn Netflix I ask my children to sort it out and they always do. “Why have a dog and bark “I always say LOL.

The answer is the younger generation. They may have it easier in many ways than we did but my goodness they do know their way around a computer!

 

Media are embracing Facebook, but is it a good idea?

Media are embracing Facebook. We’ve seen fake news site TheSpinoff close comments and send everyone to Facebook, same with Radio NZ and a number of other sites.

Insiders at NZME. and Fairfax tell me that they are embracing Facebook for news because they get 100% of the revenue from ads…for now.

But as a long-term strategy, is it a good idea?

Nope. Frederick Filloux explains:

Facebook is made up of dozens of millions of groups carefully designed to share the same views and opinions. Each group is protected against ideological infiltration from other cohorts. Maintaining the integrity of these walls is the primary mission of Facebook’s algorithm.   Read more »

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If only media had used real big data for the US Elections

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The chart above was highlighted to me by a friend (who is brilliant at statistics) two days ahead of the election. She (and her husband) have been saying for months Donald Trump would win.

But, everyone (including me) ignored really big data, instead preferring to focus on single polls, and the data expertise of Nate Silver. My gut feel told me it was harder to pick than a broken nose, but these two were adamant, Trump was going to win. BTW they are the same two who in 2014 on election night called the election 3 hours before media did…no one will know that except the WO team, but they did.

Now, Nate Silver does use big data, but his data is just the polls all across the country, plus some demographic information and his proprietary algorithms and assumptions. It is all well and good, but when it fails people start questioning polls, so-called big data and ignoring data sets that are right in front of you. Instead of the wisdom of thousands of polls and dozens of pollsters, you are using the wisdom of search engines and millions upon millions of searches.   Read more »