Pyramid Comment

This journal takes an alternative view on current affairs and other subjects. The approach is likely to be contentious and is arguably speculative. The content of any article is also a reminder of the status of those affairs at that date. All comments have been disabled. Any and all unsolicited or unauthorised links are absolutely disavowed.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pensions

The growing burden of a reducing number of taxpayers and the growth of public pensions, splits the public and private sectors more and more. Inflation is running at almost 5% and pay increases (if at all) are around 1-2%. Rail companies are allowed to increase their charges by 3% in excess of inflation. Any reason for this is absolutely unjustified. The only obvious argument that can be formulated to explain this complete lack of logic is the survival of the rail companies at the expense of the captured consumer market. Technical blackmail, or so it would seem. Charge the passenger more so that he/she can travel to work in the quest of earning less than the increase. The conclusion here is obvious: meltdown will just arrive quicker. The commercial parasite continues to feed itself. The food source will, of course, be decimated, though the human survival instinct is simply exploited. People usually find a way to survive. The commercial enterprises simply help themselves to more and do nothing. Except take even more. This is true parasitism.

All the rhetoric and 'talking up' of the economy can be seen ever more clearly for what it really is. A skewed mix of a decreasing number of those able to afford the 'luxury' of working, while the number of out of work people increases. The growing (global) population is already too BIG, chasing a decreasing number of jobs and is still rampantly growing more and more out of control (this perversely suggests there once was control). As technology advances, fewer workers are necessary to undertake the more complex tasks overseen by computer, while the select few in the financial banking sector (not renowned for any real ability) continues to rake in grotesque payments, while the ordinary worker pays the price through job insecurity and the associated worry. A service industry can produce nothing and just... serves. A greater number of (well paid) servants is paradoxically more and more in charge (and control) of a dwindling number of those ostensibly being served. This is only illusion and like oil, gas and drinking water (around 3% of all water) will decline and eventually disappear.

Planet Earth with too many people living longer defines the trend that continues to grow. Life expectancy is increasing, but not the quality of life since old-age does not mean a better existence. Life may lengthen, but it's quality can deteriorate and some survive into old age with faculties intact, though many end in care homes and need constant (and expensive) support. Working longer is not always a choice, but a need. Ignoring the government conditioning that many 'enjoy' working, there is a greater number who would rather not work and convert a working life into a more leisure-based existence in older age. The nauseating inference is that if the increasing number of the older generation do not work then they are lazy and a burden. This totally ignores and attempts to misdirect attention away from the very serious problem of a younger generation that at best produces nothing and simply serves or at worst is dependent on benefits with little prospect of ever working or generating an actual desire to work. To be self-reliant has the important psychological benefit of self pride that goes with self-responsibility.

Older people need to sell their worth to fund costs in retirement homes and many are mentally deficient through age-related disease in care homes. Working on into old age is designed to defer retirement and working longer fills the pension fund pot with more virtual money without the need to 'pay' any of it out. Investment of pension funds to effect growth has seen a great deal disappear as the Winners And Losers redistribute any increase in the pot through continued contribution. Pension funds are not ring-fenced. The failure to protect these funds  exposes them to continues raids and is used in the attempt to create more money. That cannot work by definition: Winners And Losers. Longer mortgages have been introduced as house prices have increased. House prices rise more rapidly than salaries increase and the consequence is that more must be borrowed to 'buy' a home and the massively increased debt and the associated interest eventually paid to a lender. Some will profit, though only on the provision of a 'buyer' who somehow 'finds' the money. Cash sales can be either through borrowed or saved money. The buyer doesn't need to know or care. Clearly, any favourable attitude towards this trend is lunacy as the future and the current and next generations are being betrayed. Pension funds 'contain' a lot of virtual money. Inheritance is changing as lives are being maintained longer, though not the quality. Selling a home to raise the necessary revenue to fund lodging (or rent) in a retirement home destroys any possibility of  passing on any 'inheritance' potential.

Repossession of a failed (unsurprising) mortgage means that more re-lending can occur on the same property without the need to build new (higher cost) properties. The growing population that requires houses exceeds the numbers of properties on the market. The elephant in the room is that families evicted from their 'homes' by the entire global melt-down do not in reality just disappear, but will also require support. The taxation burden continues to increase with fewer contributors in work. Old people will eventually cease to exist and death is a fact of living for every individual that lives today. The cosmetics and 'beauty' industry panders to the ridiculous notion of staying young as though nobody ever dies and in the process 'makes' an absolute fortune simply by taking money from the gullible 'ugly'... freely given for absolutely nothing in return. A pot of some expensive and completely useless 'gunge'. And cosmetic surgery is an increasingly dangerous game. No 'cosmetic' product that does not include a knife has ever been proven to do as its marketing suggests. This must surely define stupidity: pay money to stay young. An absolute illusion. Everybody dies.

Job Creation

There will always be those that do and those that are simply parasites. After all, an ounce of image is worth a great deal more than a pound of ability.

The population growth is allowed simply so that the consumer market grows. The short-sightedness inherent within this model is that the growing numbers become less able to afford consumables and whether someone works or not, they consume the same amount of goods. In fact, more 'leisure time' as a result of not working increases the likelihood of being a consumer and not a provider. Except for trying to provide for a family that needs support, but is less able to sustain. The gap that divides the rich and poor continues to widen into a veritable gulf.

Logically, the wealthy will inherit what is left of the Earth. The demise of the poor (and functionally very able) will be superseded by the incapable rich. The rich are not naturally or particularly clever in a genetic sense so any perceived superiority is simple delusion. The 'wealthy' may inherit riches, but a skewed balance will eventually be reestablished as any value is debased. Value is just a concept and nothing tangible. An expensive car will be worthless when there is no fuel and the rich won't man the oil rig or the oil refining equipment. The parasite won't work for its survival and doesn't actually know how.


The parasite will eventually turn
and feed on its own kind.
  This is absolutely inevitable

Until the issue of the (global) population growth is seriously examined and action taken, there can be no future on Earth. Something must give. All politicians and those with any political allegiances must be disbarred from any discussions. Unless this happens, arguments will descend into the financial and be very quickly wrecked. But this won't happen. A global uprising and revolution probably will happen and could signal an all-out-war between the haves (protected by militaristic governments) and have-nots. Any useful future generation will be threatened with destruction and everything must then be lost.

The parasite may take, take, take everything, but is genetically...

stupid

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cameron, David: A Game Of Double Standards

It is alleged that (ordinary man, call me Dave) Cameron has rented out his own (£2.7m) property while taking advantage of the 'grace and favour' address of No 10 Downing Street. It's probable that a mortgage covers the Notting Hill property and as such the interest will be paid by the taxpayer as an MP expense. The rules about claiming rent and mortgage interest are not discussed here, but see section 2.1.3.1 Rent or mortgage interest (page 18 of The Green Book). This, in principle, could get tricky (for the electorate to understand): how does a (coalition) prime minister register a second home (in Notting Hill, London) even though the primary home is technically owned by the state? Certainly, as a 'grace and favour' (free rental) address, it does not belong to the incumbent/s. Given a (temporary) property to call home for free with all expenses/living costs/modifications/extensions/refurbishment/restyling paid for by the state (taxpayer) while still receiving income from the technically primary home, has an immorality attached to it.

Cameron pledge (April 2009)

As an electorate paying for all of this, is it being heavily short-changed for the provision expected for it? Everyone else appears to suffer the consequences except those fire-walled/ring-fenced at the top of the pecking order. Politicians first, everyone else second. This, of course, excludes anything 'royal', however minor or otherwise.

Nothing has changed: governments may alter the labels, but the same game-set-match is still played right up until the (very) bitter end. The game commences after the election is concluded (day one), but the set-match part is a done deal by the end of the first 100 days of power (or earlier). The ridiculous claim that everything is done to serve the people is still paraded in public whereas the clear message to the public is: we're in for 5 years or so and now you can't get rid of us, whatever we do or don't do. Politics will always have a stench attached to it as a concept.

Hopefully, there should be more (The Daily Telegraph) about this in the days/weeks to come.

Where Clegg lives is of little consequence. Spain, maybe?

The background of Cameron is one that involved public relations (after fast track and complete education through the established-establishment route) and as such is an appalling example of how it just doesn't work. For all the rhetoric, Cameron has already failed at an early hurdle. Only 1700+ days to go (assuming a 5-year stretch only). Once wealth is in the blood it seems just too hard (if not impossible) to let any financially advantageous situation escape. Cameron is a (very) wealthy individual, yet the 'do as I say, not as I do' attitude clearly transcends everything and protecting their own (maybe: DA). While the British population is collectively being exhorted to accept massive cuts, Cameron fails to heed his own advice. Public relations should clearly indicate that to encourage the target to accept this change, the message must be backed up by actions.

It is, but the direction is diametrically
opposite to where it should be going

It would have been a relatively small amount to sacrifice in order to show sincerity and encourage public support. But like the monkey with a closed fist inside the sweet jar that won't let go of the goods... too late now and if this is public relations training then obviously it will constantly fail. Always look to see who benefits. Answers regarding true beliefs and standards are usually forthcoming.

It's quite incredible, but not at all unexpected. The first 100 days of power are over and now events are moving in the way they are expected to go and Cameron has created a massive rod for his own back and at the same time distanced any public support for the difficult times ahead. That is difficult for everybody else except Cameron and the already extremely wealthy. This is British (establishment) politics and the rich-poor society. Instead of a true leader showing the way, this one simply takes advantage of a trivial amount in Cameron monetary terms (£72,000) and torpedoes any (if genuine, but now highly suspect) real conviction for change.

Predictably, it also seems that Clegg is showing his real motivation of power lust. The question about motives must be asked. Is it a Clegg personal ambition for power or a real desire to lift the (Lib Dem) party to greater heights that enables Clegg to apparently sacrifice the party ideals? The Lib Dem MPs considering deserting the Coalition Ship for the Labour camp is the clearest sign yet of failure. It's a disaster, yet the Cameron and Clegg behaviour clearly indicates where true aspiration may be found. Whenever a compromise is accepted then some will win more than others potentially lose. It is the nature of compromise. Giving up some ground to gain ground. The balance between winning and losing may become very skewed and totally unacceptable. The compromise would ideally satisfy all parties involved, but actually causes more resentment as being forced to give up something precious becomes repugnant. Compromise is inevitable: it is the nature of a coalition.

But this is politics where the very quaint (and unreal or naïve) concept of fairness cannot exist.

Statesmen these people are not and it seems never will be whatever the rehearsed speech (author unknown). The real change must start with these people themselves. It just never does. It's all backward 'progress' and should offer no surprises.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Nuclear Energy And The Future

Arguments regarding nuclear power have to be considered against the protectionism mounted by the oil and gas industries and the loss of immense profits as the stake. The profit and associated share values are the relevant business words in any commercial enterprise and safety will appear (if at all) only somewhere in the shadowy background. Safety issues constitute an attack on profits. Benefits are (mostly) financial and this can point to the probable reasons for creating fear with respect to nuclear power. Certainly, the potential for hazard is real, but the reality may be somewhat different. Misconceptions arrived at through caution have consequences, yet it remains critically important to weigh up the potential risks against the very real downside of using fossil fuels. The case in some respects becomes stronger in favour of nuclear power, but carries increased complexity in its opposition.

The fossil-based substances can never be replaced. Once they have been used up then that’s it, certainly for the currently existing population and its future generations. But that cannot by definition be for very long. There can’t ever be more for minimally hundreds of thousands of years. This is similar in principle to enjoying a feast of all the remaining food and water, leaving the larder empty rather than conserving food while attempts are made at finding an alternative source. One is obviously sensible and the other is just plain stupid. Ironically, if the original oil is not abiogenic, but from organic living sources that have died, the organic waste of the existing human population when it expires will, in part, replace what it has consumed. Eventually the human parasite will put something back in a (forced) selfless act. Itself.

Currently, there are well in excess of 400 nuclear power stations around the world and produce more than 17% of all electricity used, roughly the same as hydroelectricity. Renewable sources (wind, biofuels etc) produce only around 2%. Hardly a threat to the energy industry. The nuclear power carbon (dioxide) footprint is zero, since it's not possible to create this gas in any nuclear (power) energy process. The yield of CO2 in transportation of all the fossil fuel based sources (oil, diesel, gas and coal) is at least 750 times the amount relative to nuclear fuel delivery and maintenance of waste (g/kWh energy). The volume of solid CO2 ‘created’ annually has been described as a 1-mile high cone with a 12-mile circumference of its base (about 3.8 cubic miles).

The issue of nuclear waste is probably the most contentious, but in context the materials that are used are radioactive to begin with and so the waste does not add to the overall amount. Mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium and thallium, are toxic chemicals and always will be. The creation of these elemental materials would be measured in billions of years. But the purified metal would have come from an inorganic ore. The toxicity of a pure metal and an ore containing the metal is different, but should still be regarded as a highly toxic source. The original sources of radioactive materials like uranium would have been mined in different places before being combined for use in a nuclear power station. Each original source may have been at a lower concentration, but the combined effect from these multiple sources when ultimately processed (as waste), will be in a higher concentration from a single location.

Nevertheless, to suggest that in 600 or so years, the high-level waste will have simply faded away is a particularly simplistic and very weak argument. In terms of human survival, this period represents a very long way back from today in terms of human history to around the 15th century. It also implies that the original activity billions of years ago was zero and so raises the question of how the radioactive nature was initially acquired and its activity enhanced. The potential hazard is still real, however described. The annual physical amount of spent fuel from a 1000 MW nuclear power station may only be enough to fill a small car (allegedly), yet is still a (relatively small) source of a deadly cargo and in one place. Whether only one Albert Hall-sized vessel full of highly radioactive waste instead of the several apparently described by the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM), over a 40 year period this is still an immense amount of waste. A future of nuclear power can only escalate this estimate of waste dramatically.

The amount of radon gas breathed in by the UK population is thought to be 500 times that from the nuclear radiation produced by the nuclear industry. The danger here is comparing radiation from the nuclear industry and natural radon. Uranium and radon are not the same thing. The source is again confused or just obfuscated. The concentration of radiation from just a few nuclear sites does not compare with the diluted natural spread over an entire country from its rocks and soil. The Three Mile Island 'incident' may have not caused any direct deaths, but a safe landing by an aircraft in distress does not downplay any potential for a disaster, but only describes the outcome. The Chernobyl and Windscale disasters may have been 'accidents' (Chernobyl: steam explosion in an unstable reactor and being used for improper experimentation), but especially the Windscale (Sellafield) affair is a stark reminder of the potential for (absolute) decimation.

Uranium may not be a rare element, but the mining, transportation and processing will all increase the commercial profiteering potential. Coal is an abundant source, yet coal-fired energy production will never be cheap. Justifications for keeping the price high will always be promulgated and the commercial impact must never be overlooked when considering the viability of alternatives. Blind-thinking (stupidity) is simply the vision of the man-made concept of profit as being on the path to survival. Defunct governments sycophantically pursuing the favours of the highly profitable oil and gas industries downplay and shun the less instant nuclear ‘fast buck’. Artificially massaging conventional fuel prices upwards encourages these sources to be less desirable in the consumers' collective mind, so easing the path towards the introduction of nuclear energy. When the threat of power depletion is judged more economically real and so financially advantageous to the suppliers than at present, the industry will be motivated into action, but at (and to) the higher cost to the consumer. The pressure from the consumer to actually demand nuclear power will increase.

Create the problem and
provide the solution

The human race will certainly reach an abrupt end along this path. Human survival and the survival of national economies move in opposing directions away from each other. The one cannot be linked to the other as is still perceived. Gluttony kills everything human. Global economies are based on profit and whether the energy source is nuclear or non-nuclear, the end result will be the same. No future sufficiency of any kind will ever rescue humankind from itself. The only real prospect of any long-term future must be through changed attitudes. The stupid and greedy will turn to the scientists in the expectation of salvation that in all probability simply won't happen since it cannot.

An example of attitude change can be examined in the ‘wealthy’ (those who have a belief in the concept of virtual money that has no real value) apparently viewing excess driving speed as their right regardless of the law forbidding it. Buying an expensive and reasonably high performance car (almost the norm nowadays) also appears to provide the license to exploit the performance. It’s hedonism. Illusion and fantasy. Again commercialism married to technology produces corrupt and selfish thinking. Tragically, it appears that the only way to educate such people into the real world is when their own child is killed in a road traffic accident (RTA). It is only then that a new paradigm is adopted. But by then it's too late. In any case, a few deaths however regrettably caused, do pale into insignificance when the entire global population of billions is the real stake.

The Moon is responsible for the tides and these have been happening for billions of years. There is no reason to suppose the Moon will stop revolving around the Earth before the extinction of mankind. Eventual depletion of coal, oil and gas resources will force the not-too-distant next generations to face up to what is being ignored now. These failing sources are the least favourable and with wind and solar power insufficient to meet the demands of a still-growing population of consumers that feeds the profit hunger of commercialism, nuclear energy is raised to being the most favourable, even if not the most desirable. This does remain as potentially very hazardous, even on a more considered, but limited, appraisal. Tidal power must be examined. It is limitless in its potential. And if electrical (lightning) storm power could ever be harnessed, the energy is truly staggering. Attitudes are changing and the groundswell is increasing, but there are not enough of the visionary individuals who are not constrained by profiteering sponsors and the opposition of the stupid masses to any future that has real potential.

Whether a nuclear energy source or something else then becomes tragically irrelevant. The only way to prevent the global disaster created by that part of humankind that craves power and/or wealth is to remove the toys of destruction. Take away the reward and the problem evaporates. Replace it with pain and suddenly the greed factor will change.

But it won't disappear

The war-like nature of Man will rise. The nuclear weapons of war will almost certainly be deployed so paradoxically speeding up the inevitable end of humankind. The artificial (man-made concept) of financial gains will produce destruction. It becomes simply a different paradigm to the greed effect that produces selfishness. The greater the population the greater will be the polarisation of those supporting or opposing nuclear power. It would be interesting to speculate how views will change when push comes to shove and all the other non-renewable sources run out completely. But then, of course, it will be too late. Mankind is not capable of self-regulation. It’s not in the psyche of mankind’s nature. It will be the epitaph upon the world where there is no human life.


The manufacture of man-made (non-natural) CFCs costs money and so the cessation of production when the deleterious effects to atmospheric ozone were identified had little consequence when compared to the exploitation of a natural resource that has no manufacturing costs except its collection, transportation, refinement and distribution (sale). Even the ‘waste’ has its uses: the non-volatile fractions (asphalt). Other man-made disasters remain local affairs (Bhopal). These 'accidents' are more reminders of the potential for events going wrong. Or natural devastation: hurricanes and tsunamis. Inundation.

The artificial justification is by the creation of wars to so create the market place where the weapons of death are then sold. It’s the commercialism of death. A commercial business expects to get a return on its products. The facilitation of war and death. To develop and manufacture weapons that are primarily and only designed to maximise the yield of death and destruction. The cynical attitude is sickening, but doesn’t stop it happening. This exemplifies the distinction between natural or unnatural products being exploited for good or evil intent. Nuclear energy and nuclear weapons co-exist in a polarised marriage. Inextricably linked and so forever forming the trigger for an Armageddon. The shameful Hiroshima and Nagasaki  atrocities, but war produces war-like behaviour. In ‘peacetime’ there may be no current world conflicts, yet such events are today a feature of everyday life in many places around the world. Death and destruction are facts of human existence. Power and control and ultimately supremacy over the subservience of everything else.