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Facts of Life and Death

(This blog entry is about British politics. If you aren't interested, don't bother commenting. I have to live here, so it's a matter of considerable importance to me. NB: While I appreciate that other countries have their own problems—one could point to Donald Trump's presidential campaign as reflecting the same disturbing populist reactionary xenophobia—this isn't about you, it's about me, and comments referring to the US presidential campaign will be deleted (until we pass the #300 mark, as is customary here).)

Brexit is going to kill people. And soon.

This week saw the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, and in among the rather scary exclusionist rhetoric it became apparent that the Nasty Party has decisively swung away from representing the interests of the business community and is staking its future on the xenophobic anti-foreigner vote which came out of the woodwork to swing the Brexit referendum in June. In particular, the Prime Minister has a plan for Brexit and it appears to be trending towards the hard option; that her priority will be to clamp down on immigration, and to do so she will abandon the free movement of people that is a keystone of the European Union.

Note that the EU has made it glaringly clear that retaining free movement is a non-negotiable prerequisite for retaining access to the European single market—they made this clear to Switzerland earlier this year—and there is clearly an appetite among other EU heads to state to drive a hard deal with the UK.

Now here is a graph (sorce: xe.com):

Sterling/USD, one week exchange rate

What does it mean?

The UK is a small, very crowded island—hence much of the political pressure to cut down on immigration.

But Britain is not self-sufficient. We don't mine and export raw materials (the last big domestic resource extraction sector was oil, and North Sea reserves are in terminal decline and depressed by external factors, notably the drop in world markets). We export goods and services. Most of the physical goods we export rely on reprocessing materials imported from overseas, so a weak Pound means the cost of raw materials or components rises—and generally they must be paid for before the processed final product can be exported. (Clue: we're part of a global supply chain.) Services are another matter: if I write a novel and sell it abroad, that's a plus on the balance of payments sheet. But the biggest part of the British service sector is banking and finance.

A hard Brexit means that we will lose access to the Single Market—the WTO default terms the hard Brexiters so glibly talk about mean that anyone exporting goods from the UK will have to pay a 20% tarrif, and exports to the UK from the EU (our largest trading partner by a huge margin) will also be liable for duty at that rate. This is in addition to VAT at 20% (and dislocating UK VAT and tax revenue from the rest of the EU is going to be a nightmare on its own). We have to buy those raw inputs using funds in Pounds Sterling, which (see graph above) has just fallen off a fucking cliff. Translation: anything we buy from overseas now costs about 10% more than it did a week ago, and Sterling has dropped by roughly 20% since the Brexit referendum 4 months ago, to an all-time historic low.

But what about services? Well, a hard Brexit means an end to passporting, and the financial services sector will take a hit. Currently London punches way above its weight as a global financial center because the unacknowledged truth is that Sterling is the EU's unofficial secondary reserve currency—with Britain in the EU, if the Euro turns wobbly, funds managers can switch to Sterling, and vice versa. If Britain leaves the EU Sterling will no longer be a safe haven for EU investment vehicles, and so a rather large chunk of the financial services industry will go down in flames (or, more accurately, relocate to Frankfurt, Paris, and even Dublin).

Upshot: the service sector will be hit, and hard, at a point where the goods-producing industries will be undergoing a protracted cash flow crunch: the labour they apply to imported raw materials to turn them into exportable products will be cheaper in global terms, it's true, but they'll be buying the raw materials on credit using an unstable, rapidly devaluing currency. (See also Russia. Except we don't have Siberia to strip-mine.)

But here's the worst part of all.

The UK is not self-sufficient in food. The UK imports roughly 40% of the total food consumed, and the proportion is rising. Nor is it obvious that we can produce more food: to get close to self-sufficiency from 1939-45 required a world war, mobilization, and the conversion of all private gardens into kitchen gardens, along with rationing, and the UK population has grown by roughly 25% since then. While modern technology-intensive agricultural techniques can improve productivity, this is capital intensive, and the one thing a Post-hard Brexit Britain with a crashed currency and a financial sector fleeing to the continent is going to be short of is capital. Also, it takes years to roll out that sort of infrastructure upgrade, even if the will is there.

Food bank use is at record levels and hunger is a desperate concern for low-income (including low-earning employed) families. And the currency we buy our food imports with just crashed 10% this week, and 25% over the past four months.

If a Hard Brexit happens, then Sterling will almost certainly dip below Dollar parity for the first time in history. Imported foods will cost 40% more in real terms than they did in 2015. And there will be additional 20% tarrifs levelled on top.

I'm calling Hard Brexit a road to mass starvation and famine-grade deaths on a scale not seen in the UK since the Hungry Forties (that's the 1840s, not the 1940s).

976 Comments

1:

I don't like the EU. I think it is the strong arm of planet-eating neoliberalism.

But the UK is screwed. You'd expect the people to rebel against the EU to be on the periphery, driven feral by austerity and Brussels overreach. Not the people who were likely the most helped by the EU. (Well... after Germany, arguably).

The very best case scenario right now (ignoring the democracy-ignoring, riot-inspiring approach of just not honoring the referendum results) is for the UK to trade the cushy sweetheart deals that it used to have with the EU for much, much worse ones. Something nice and invasive like what the periphery deals with.

The worst case scenario is unthinkable. I don't think a developed country has had a real hunger problem since... WWII? The Tories don't seem like the sort to extend benefits to ensure everyone can get to eat, quite the opposite in fact, so what is the future? UN food drops?

2:

You're a bit too pessimistic, but only a bit. First, WTO tariffs aren't as high as 20% The average is more like 5%, although certainly higher for some sectors.

Second, the tariffs on imports aren't lost money. They're paid to the UK government. The government could certainly spend that extra money on increasing benefits to enable people to afford to buy food, although it's certainly doubtful whether they would. (They couldn't spend the money on paying the tariffs for our exporters -- that's illegal under WTO rules.)

And third, we don't actually spend much money on food. So a 40% increase doesn't cost that much. Specifically, food constitutes 11.1% of average total house expenditure. And of course even for imported food a lot of that, probably the majority, stays in the UK. It pays the bakers and the ready-meal manufacturers and the restaurants and the supermarket profits. So if 40% of our food is imported and 40% of the retail cost of imported food actually goes abroad, then that 11.1% of household expenditure goes up by 16%, to 12.9% instead (if no one changes their behaviour in response to higher food prices). That would be the highest it's been this millennium, but nowhere near high enough to cause mass starvation.

3:

I generally agree with this summary of the situation we're facing. The sad thing is this is pretty much the worst case scenario as far as those who voted remain are concerned and yes, it's going to be an absolute hell. The most disturbing thing about it is I've already seen the leave voters starting up the narrative that this is and will all be the fault of the EU.

4:

Nobody likes the EU, but it is now becoming clear by just how great a margin it is the lesser evil.

Meanwhile, the alternative on offer -- Brexit -- is basically British Juche; and the graph of sterling strength against Brexit mania is like a fractal exploration of the phase space of stupidity.

5:

Not true. I like the EU. It is a wondrous thing, delivering peace, prosperity and freedom to a continent that was previously riven by war and artificial borders for millennia. It's not perfect, of course, but it's better than one could reasonably expect it to be.

6:

And third, we don't actually spend much money on food.

With respect, this is whistling past the graveyard.

We have endemic malnutrition among the financially stressed these days in a way we haven't seen since the 1930s; no British government can afford to deflate the housing market (it's an even worse political third rail than immigration) so they're going to continue being stressed via rent payments (I'm talking about folks too poor to be part of the property market). Pushing food up 13-16% is still too much if it means 20% of the population have to cut their food intake by 13-16% below malnutrition levels.

7:

I'll grant you the "no army crossing the Rhine" point; it's indubitably true. (I also like having a passport that gets me access to a democratic polity of 500M people as of right.)

But familiarity breeds contempt, and everybody's got something (different) to moan about, even if its actually an emergent property of the German federal election system and the lack of economic literacy of the average Bild reader causing Merkel to impose frankly insanely punitive politices wrt. Greece. And so on.

(Greece needs fixing, sure: but you don't fix something by breaking it even harder.)

8:

Of course they are. Dolchstoß, Dolchstoß, Dolchstoßlegende.

9:

On food, that is going to be a big deal, there will be meals missed if the alternative is the street, there will be meals missed by people who can ill afford to. I presume Charles Dickens is no longer required reading.

10:

Nearly half the UK's agricultural land is used for livestock (according to), you could get a lot more calories per hectare out of that if you put crops on it. I wonder how many Leave voters would change their minds if told they'll have to go vegan?

Naturally the fortunate few, such as hard-currency-remunerated sf writers, can enjoy black-market bacon...

11:

Correct: the trouble is, a lot of the land used for livestock isn't suitable for much else -- think of sheep in the highlands.

12:

How would you suggest converting land like this to arable farming?

(source: https://twitter.com/herdyshepherd1)

13:

Indeed. Some Leave voters I know had their decision made by the EU choosing banks over people in Greece (and elsewhere) durng the financial crisis. This increased the appearance of being an unaccountable, unresponsive and untransparent bereaucracy. Add in just a small amount of national pride and xenophobia and the case against the EU is understandable (if still wrong - which did Westminster pick, banks or people?).

Another question is, what does this do for May and the tories re-election chances? Will we have got used to the situation by the time it comes (if she waits until 2020)? Will they blame immigrants, the EU and foreigners in general, and if so will that work? Or will massive price hikes of imports and economic dislocation hurt them enough that they might lose?

14:

A large percentage of the UK isn't suitable for crop, esp. high production crops. Between terrain and sunlight, much of the West, Ireland and Scotland are very hilly. Thus, livestock, which has much less problem climbing hills than a combine.

The Southeast and East have land more amenable to growing crops.

Of course, we have global warming in play, which may make more of the Scottish east coast farmable, or may move the Gulf Stream away from the UK and leave most of that cropland untenable because of the shorter growing season, who knows?

Also, what is the UK's ability to generate nitrogen fertilizers? If they have to import that, that doesn't help. Yes, Haber-Bosch, but only about 45% of UK current usage is native (and if the Scots tell England to Fuck Right Off, then there's less of that.) You can run H-B without natural gas, nitrogen is everywhere and hydrogen can be made by electrolysis, but that's vastly more expensive in terms of energy than using Methane, AKA "Easily carried hydrogen with a carbon binder."

15:

How would you suggest converting land like this to arable farming?

Terraces, presumably, but the amount of labour involved would be stunning.

16:

It'll probably be in the EU's interest to bargain as hard as they can in order to discourage other members to split.

17:

the democracy-ignoring, riot-inspiring approach of just not honoring the referendum

There is always the time-honoured option of delaying things until it's somebody else's problem and/or forgotten, which would be less riot-inspiring but prolong the uncertainty... Doesn't sound like they're going for that, though.

18:

The DEFRA data I linked enumerates "rough grazing" and "permanent grass" separately, "nearly half" (about 44%) excludes rough grazing, it's exactly half when that's included. But yes I imagine a fair chunk of what is cultivated as "permanent grass" is not exactly prime land.

Still, getting to the point where the Govt is mandating land use, rationing etc means we are basically DPRK and that seems like a considerably worse than worst-case situation at the moment.

19:

And the north-facing slopes?

20:

Let's do the south-facing ones first.

21:

Going full DPRK is indeed beyond the current foreseeable worst case scenario, but as the current situation is far beyond the FWCS as seen in 2006, you'll forgive me for being a little pessimistic ...

(Our ultraworst case 2026 scenario is: hard Brexit coincides with far eastern financial collapse to trigger a 2007-08 global liquidity crisis all over again, and the melting north polar ice cap shuts down the Atlantic thermohaline circulation, so that the UK hits effective bankruptcy for Argentinian values of bankruptcy just as the local climate plunges 10 celsius, taking out agriculture entirely and our fish stocks have been replaced by jellyfish. All we need is a dinosaur-killer grade impactor on top.)

22:

I'm not sure the WTO claims are correct. I'm not an economist and trying to understand the WTO rules makes my head hurt, but *if* (big if) my understanding is correct, the main rules place *upper bounds* (not lower bounds) on import tariffs plus a requirement of no preferential tariffs without individually negotiated free trade agreements (i.e. imports of flour from India, say, could not be taxed at a higher rate than flour from Ireland).

I can't find any indication that the EU specifically imposes export taxes, so the hit to imports to the UK would be on the import tariff end (i.e. dependent on whether the UK would adopt a protectionist stance). The UK would actually be able to set its import duties as low as it wants, as long as it offers the same rates to everyone: in principle, the UK could simply opt for a 0% rate on imports, and thus not take any hit to import prices at all.

The rule that tariffs cannot be levied above those set for most-favoured nation should mean that punitive tariffs could not be imposed by other WTO countries (incl the EU) on imports from Britain, though the flipside of this of course is that the other WTO parties could not offer preferential tariffs, either. In other words, low rates on imports would not improve the levies we'd have to pay on exports, at least in the immediate term (since other countries would still need to apply their own MFN import rates on British exports).

According to data cited by the CBI, the EU average import tariff is 1%, though there's a lot of variation (for example, liquefied natural gas would be hit by a 4.1% tariff). Have I missed something huge?

23:

If only we knew the secret to surviving outside the EU, like maybe Japan or S Korea, those bastions of mass starvation.

24:

>>(ignoring the democracy-ignoring, riot-inspiring approach of just not honoring the referendum results)

Can't the opposition just make it a part of their agenda during the next elections? It will be democratic enough, then.

25:

Show me the western economies that have experienced starvation in the last 30 years... If Britain loses 1/3 of its wealth, it looks to me like it ends up at Spain or Italy levels. While they're not exactly shining beacons of economic hope, people are not starving there.

26:

Mike,

I've found your data point: food and drink as 11% of the (£531 per week) income of the average household, 2014 [ons]. Since the mean isn't a great measure of how it would affect lower and higher income households, I've looked around to see whether the proportion of household expenditure in lower-income households is greater. It is. The bottom quintile spends 15%, rather than 11%, of their £310 weekly income on food [pocketbook]. It's reasonable to extend this, based on the income distribution, to the lowest decile, who have an income of £240 per week or less.

Looking at the spending of the median household (11%, £58ish) vs the spending of the bottom quintile (15%, £46ish), we could say that the lowest decile might economise in the same proportion as the lowest quintile does relative to the median, saving a similar ~5% of the difference between their incomes: £3.50 a week. That leaves them spending £42.50 a week, or 18% of the highest income in that decile.

This is all merely to illustrate that it is not the median household that starves when times are hard.

[ons]: http://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/personalandhouseholdfinances/incomeandwealth/compendium/familyspending/2015/chapter1overview#household-expenditure-in-2014

[pocketbook]: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/526395/foodpocketbook-2015update-26may16.pdf (p. 16)

[income]: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/532416/households-below-average-income-1994-1995-2014-2015.pdf (p. 3)


27:

As for the "we are all doomed" fall in sterling, it's been a record 3 months for orders at the company where I work. Even R&D has had to pitch in and help out production. Almost all of our high value instruments are exported. We now make (using Charles figure) 25% more profit, or undercut our mostly US competitors by 25% or a mixture of the two. Most of the cost of our machines are not imported materials - it's all hitech value added
So, how undervalued is sterling in PPP terms?

28:

Brexit seems dumb, mostly because the UK is trading access to a large and diverse market in exchange for something vaguely described as "sovereignty", which in application seems like a pretty unappealing jackbooted stew of harsh anti-immigration policies with the option to upgrade to full facism. This is a bad deal.

A few thoughts on the economics:

1. I will take issue with the idea that you pay for raw materials with pound sterling. Generally you pay for imports with the currency of the selling country or some reserve currency (likely dollars). The decline and volatility of the pound is an issue for domestic spending, but it may be possible to import in a foreign currency and then sell exports in a foreign currency and keep a significant part of the production cycle independent of sterling. It is an interesting question about what that would do for demand for labor in the UK, since on the one hand it would be relatively cheaper, but on the other hand wouldn't it be nice if we could eliminate it altogether and just use robots. Given that most multi-nationals are now part of a culture that embraces cost cutting at its core, I think I know which way that will go: a small number of very highly trained people who earn a lot to keep the machines running, and not much for everyone else.

2. Yes, you're in services, but a very special kind of service that is currently sold in a commoditized way. You provide a service, but it's sold as a book (or book-like bundle of data), which can be copied and distributed worldwide with little or no transport cost. Importantly, you don't have to be anywhere near the location of the purchasers of your services. So does this mean you'll be focusing more on the U.S. market and asking to be paid in US$?

3. Yes, food costs is where the shit really hits the fan. There is no way around an increase in food prices, and I'm guessing that the current government is making that problem a very low priority.

29:

Did you follow the link on food security and UK use of food banks?

Trust me, people are dying of starvation here already thanks to the punitive benefits regime. Ramping the price of food by 15-50% isn't going to help.

30:

"Brexit seems dumb, mostly because the UK is trading access to a large and diverse market in exchange for something vaguely described as "sovereignty"..."

You half get it. For people like me who voted Brexit, it's not about the money at all.

31:

You half get it. For people like me who voted Brexit, it's not about the money at all.

Unfortunately the same can be said of many of us who wanted to stay in. You know, those of us who (contra May) knew the meaning of citizenship of the European Union. Something we're now having stripped from us summarily. You know, as though citizenship was only a meaningless privilege granted on sufferance, and not a fundamental facet of our identity.

I think the economic picture is not going to be rosy, but it's the cultural violation that makes me sick.

32:

There are plenty of recent examples of European countries crashing hard -- Iceland and Greece come to mind. Things have gotten worse for the poor, but we're not even close to mass starvation comparable to the potato famine (the Hungry Forties). Do you think Britain will end up worse off than Greece?

33:

"ignoring the democracy-ignoring, riot-inspiring approach of just not honoring the referendum results"

That is the usual EU way when faced with disagreeable results like these. I don't think it's going to wash this time round.

In the context of food it's worth pointing out that the EU inflates food prices to consumers through the CAP (By raising their taxes) and the tariffs it places on foodstuffs from outside the EU (e.g. sugar cane). So it's not all bad news.

34:

What about Australia? Their PM also has to satisfy lunatics who probably like May right now.

35:

Theresa May summarily stripping British people of their citizenship? Well I never! It's good* to see a politician staying true to themselves.


*please picture a sarcasm detector exploding at this point.

36:

So it's about . . . ?

That's the part that baffles me. When I listen to people talk about what they get with Brexit, it's very hard to discern any concrete benefits from it. Perhaps sovereignty yields improved governance, but it doesn't seem like it's playing out that way so far.

37:

Basically it is about not being part of a massive would-be undemocratic superstate that sucks more and more power to itself. Like I said elsewhere, if the EU Parliament ran the show with (say) Council of Ministers as second chamber and the Commission doing what they were told by Parliament, I would have voted remain.
But it's pointless to rehash these arguments what we have been through all this on other threads.
If anything, my position has hardened considerably in the past 3 months having seen the anti-democracy marches.

38:

It's interesting. On the one hand - the things Charlie describes are undoubtedly real. Yes, there will be exceptions, and there will be sectors that do well out of devaluation - but the broad, nation-wide trend is clear.

On the other hand...

The domestic impact of devaluation will be inflation. Most major economies are currently at or close to zero inflation, or even deflation. The UK will see inflation - quite rapid, I'd guess, given our balance of trade deficit.

And inflation is one of Picketty's options for reducing the deficit; if memory serves, he rates it "worse than a wealth tax, but better than austerity". If our global debt reduces to the point where we can pay it off by going to Wonga, we get to start again. Arguably, "quantitative easing" was designed to achieve at least some inflation.

Of course, that will damage lots of people - mostly the wealthy who hold sterling-denominated assets, and those who cannot increase their income in line with rising prices - pensioners, many workers.

If only there were some instructive historical examples of what happens when inflation runs amok...

39:

Iceland and Greece were two very different types of crashes because Iceland has its own currency and Greece doesn't. Iceland had a huge devaluation of its currency that came along with an implosion of its financial sector, but life for everyone outside of the financial sector has mostly continued as it was before. This has been helped by a government whose policies put its citizens ahead of its banks (which is why the banks got hit so hard-the government protected depositors, but not shareholders).

Greece is in such awful shape because they can't devalue their currency, so there's just less of it to go around. And while they haven't hit potato-famine levels of poverty, they have certainly had significant declines in the quality of life for just about everyone in the country.

If the UK completely fell off a cliff, it would look more like Iceland than Greece because the UK has its own currency. But again, Iceland benefited from generous government policies towards its citizens, and I don't think you'd get that from the current UK government.

41:

Japan and S. Korea benefited from billions in aid by the U.S. in the aftermath of WWII (here's some money, please don't go Commie) and by having an immense, ultramodern* manufacturing capability. The cases are not remotely parallel.

The case for the U.K. is that people from the U.S> will come to see the castles and the British girls will have sex with us for food.

* Ultramodern manufacturing? U.K.? Hmmm....

42:

And we never will have a powerful hitech manufacturing with an exchange rate that is seriously over valued (like £1 = $1.55). PPP with the USA is closer to $1.30

43:

"I rest my case."

I rest my case with the referendum result and Theresa May

44:

While I disagree with Dirk's reasons and his reasoning, I do accept there were non-economic rationales for a Leave vote.

But back to the economics for a bit. The economist who seems to be the poster child of the Hard Brexit lobby was also the poster boy for Margaret Thatcher back in the 80's. Quite literally. Patrick Minford. He was interviewed in the build up to the referendum vote on WATO, sadly the recording seems to have disappeared from their archives but he was advocating what we're now calling "hard Brexit" all along. (It needs to be said he was also advocating no barriers to movement of talent, he's a pure free market economist.) But as part of his interview he said something like 'There would be a short period of economic instability while the UK adjusted to the new economic reality' and when pressed he said that short period would probably last 'about 10-15 years.'

He also, correctly, predicted a large hit to the exchange rate of sterling.

Of course the rhetoric of intervening on immigration and so on is not what he recommends and judging by the impact in the North of England and Scotland, he's not that bothered about the impact on individuals and communities, just the economy on a big scale. I'm sure he wouldn't actually say "we should let them starve" but his policies don't care about it.

For those that don't believe starvation and malnutrition is a real problem in the UK already, can I point you to reports like this: Independent article. Or if you'd like a more up-to-date and citable source, this: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/179316.php from 2106 that says there are 3,000,000 cases of subnutrition in the UK per annum.

45:

I'm wondering what this means for Northern Ireland and Scotland.

A hard Brexit would seem to be a categorical violation of the Good Friday Accords, which guarantee NI access to the EU and certain concomitant services and institutions that come with it. Deciding to abrogate those Accords seems... unwise. Among other things, you'd need set up border crossings and checkpoints between NI and the Republic, wouldn't you, being as how it would be a border crossing between an EU and non-EU state? I'm sure checkpoints with armed British guards being built in the Irish countryside along all major thoroughfares will go down a treat with the locals!

That said, I'm far from an expert on current NI politics.

Scotland seems trickier. Can Scotland go it alone? As our host says, the North Sea oil reserves are in terminal decline, which makes financing the mechanisms of a state tricky. Scotland wouldn't have automatic EU membership; they'd have to apply like any other nation, and among other things EU nations with their own separatist issues (looking at you, Spain) might object to that and try to slow-roll it as a way of signalling to their own separatist elements that, no, you can't just bail and still get to be part of the EU. Scotland would have to... well, it would have to do everything that was raised as a hurdle during the referendum last year, create its own currency, disentangle its economy from the UK to a certain extent, there would have to border checkpoints and security which would considerably reduce the ease with which one can get from Edinburgh to London. And after all that they'd be a postage-stamp size nation without much of anything to offer to anyone.

But being attached to the UK means basically letting the Tories setting a lot of policy for you for the forseeable future.

What's surprising to me is just how thoroughly the Tories committed to closed borders. Like... they could probably get a Norwayesque deal if they wanted to, right? That would be way worse than what they have now, but it would preserve a lot of benefits... and also require a certain amount of free movement. And they're all "nope, nope nope nope nope. Gotta keep them wogs out."

46:

I was curious about the food thing and the phrasing gets to me for the first couple of hits for things similar to your phrasing.

"There were 391 deaths in 2015 where ‘malnutrition or effects of hunger were mentioned on the death certificate’,"

I think this has been tabloided.

When I went looking for equivalent figures for the USA where they phrased it as "lack of food" and separated things like deaths due to anorexia or neglect where someone dies from malnutrition while the fridge is fully stocked because they fought any nurses trying to feed them or a shitty family didn't bother to feed granny or call an ambulance.

Checking some more specific mortality stats

https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2011/oct/28/mortality-statistics-causes-death-england-wales-2010

It lists "Lack of food" - "Starvation" as 6 in 2010

Food bank use is up 3% from last year and a lot of meals are being handed out already but the number of people being killed by "lack of food" is pretty small.

47:

{f/x}Industrial can of worms opening{/end}

Scotland is actually even harder anyway. The Scotland Acts require that Scotland is governed subject to EU law and can't "just be repealed".

Oh and the sovereignty of Scotland vests in the population (source being the Declaration of Arbroath, never modified or repealed since its ratification in 1320) and not in either the person (be they a sovereign, a president or a prime minister), OR in the institution of a parliament.

48:

There's a court case ongoing on the matter of Brexit/Good Friday intersections. And I'd think that - in the current climate - an independent Scotland might find far less barriers to its accession to the EU than otherwise might be expected...

49:

Where do you get this quaint idea that it would be the British state erecting boarder checkpoints and barricades between England and Scotland, or even along the Eire border? Is that to prevent hordes of Scots and Irish trying to flee their impoverished independent states for a new life in England?

However, leaving the EU will be a BIG problem for Scottish independence. Since the collapse in oil revenues they will have to find some 30% extra money, and not from England. Maybe Angela Merkel can bail them out, like Greece. OTOH, losing the second largest EU donor might make the Germans a bit less reluctant to take on more freeloaders.

50:

"Anti-democracy march" is a contradiction in itself.

In a democracy, is it not a necessarily a right to express one's opinion, even and especially when it does not coincide with the majority's?

51:

"The Scotland Acts require that Scotland is governed subject to EU law and can't "just be repealed""

What's the problem with that? The Scots have their own legal system. If they want to make it subservient to EU law that's up to them. Whether in or out of the EU

52:

They have every right to protest that the majority voted the wrong way and they don't like it. But it does illustrate what a bunch of tossers they are.

53:

The fun and games have only just begun in Northern Ireland:

Legal Challenge to Brexit by cross-party group

There are many reasons to worry that a hard BRExit heralds the implosion of Northern Ireland, although there are a number of dominoes to fall before that might happen.

Key worrying factor is that much of the current peace in NI is built on relative prosperity, and the reduction in the population of bored, angry, disenfranchised young men and women that goes with this. Unfortunately, prosperity in NI rests on a high level of subsidies, with a significant percentage coming from Brussels.

So what could possibly go wrong in NI with a hard BRExit built on stoking xenophobia?

(Note: This is the vastly summarised version. There are many many devils in the details.)

54:

The problem, at least from the reports I've heard, is that May il Terri ;-) thinks they can write one "EU Legislation Repeal Act" and undo all relevant treaty and statute law.

55:

Is it just me, or is Dirk borderline trolling at this point?

His opinions do seem to boil down to: "screw them, I'm alright".

56:

Ahem: Scotland has sources of revenue other than North Sea oil and whisky. Indeed, even without oil, Scotland is an energy exporter -- we've got roughly 20% of Europe's entire tidal energy potential and some of the world's biggest wind farms, and a lot of specialized expertise in building offshore wind farms that was recycled from the offshore oil platform biz.

A "postage stamp sized" nation with the population of Norway, a higher per-capita GDP than the UK average, and the same land area as England isn't exactly a non-starter; it's actually bigger and wealthier that Eire was when it joined the EU.

57:

Good to see you're conceding that the majority voted the wrong way. ;)

Ok, just kidding. But seriously, I guess for those considering election/referendum results absolute (which usually indicates agreement with the results to begin with), it can be worrying that there exists such a thing as swing voters.

But people change their mind, can change their mind, and can be asked to change their mind. That is not tosserishness, it's democracy.

58:

You are now trolling, evidently in search of a fight.

Please cease and desist.

(This is your first and final friendly warning.)

59:
Where do you get this quaint idea that it would be the British state erecting boarder checkpoints and barricades between England and Scotland, or even along the Eire border?

Because Brexit is based largely on keeping the foreigners out, and without a controlled border, how precisely will that be done?

It wouldn't be necessary along the Scottish border unless Scotland bails, of course, but the Republic of Ireland isn't going anywhere anytime soon, which means if the border between it and NI isn't controlled, then any EU citizen who wants to can just go to Ireland, then stroll into the UK.

Now, perhaps very few will want to do so, especially if the UKs economy crashes and burns. But it seems pretty certain to me that the xenophobic right that the Tories are currently enthusiastically spreading for are going to demand border controls even if there aren't many people crossing them. Probably backed up by lurid Sun headlines about how an uncontrolled border will lead to everything from disease to terrorism.

60:

For a brief overview of the Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland border question, and the surrounding issues and concerns, start here for the latest:
https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/04/ireland-to-seek-special-status-to-keep-open-border-with-uk-amid-hard-brexit-fears?0p19G=e

61:

I didn't know most of that; I stand cheerfully corrected.

62:

Also too, because I forgot: smuggling. With sky-high tariffs between the UK and the EU, that makes smuggling attractive. If there's an uncontrolled border between the two at any point, it means you can load up a lorry of... well, of whatever in Dublin, drive it north to Belfast, and hand it over to a fellow in a warehouse for a pile of readies.

Something tells me both the EU and the UK would like to prevent that happening.

63:

Iceland has also benefited from extremely sensible immigration policies, which the government is now foolishly rolling back

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/29/basques-safe-iceland-district-repeals-decree-kill-on-sight

This is a victory for the Pintxo-Industrial Complex. Native icelanders are about to be overrun by gastronomically superior, ETA sympathizing Basques. Pathetic. Keep the beret-wearing Michelin-starred barbarians out of Reykjavik I says. Now and forever.

Down with Jambon de Bayonne, Up with Hákarl!

64:

What does FWCS stand for? I assume it's not Fort Wayne Community School, which is what Google returns.

65:

Foreseeable worst case scenario

66:

There is a significant amount of daily traffic of people and goods across the NI/ROI border, with benefits to both sides of the border. No one wants a "hard" border, but it may not be a decision that either community gets to have significant input to.

67:

That's not a new problem, though it's currently restricted in scope - and seems faded somewhat in the popular consciousness. I invite you to google the words "fuel smuggling ireland".
The loss of EU subsidies in the North would remove at least one driver for the notorious sheep smuggling rings...

68:

Its worth remembering that while Ireland IIRC is the fifth largest beef exporter in the world, Its a net calorie _consumer_. We import feedstock for those cows in the wintertime; its economically, not foodwise, productive.

I can imagine much the same applies to Scotland.
Now sheep that stay out all winter on the hills, granted. But thats still such an economic loss I suspect the better option would be to reforest those hills for carbon credits (this is informed thinking over here). But that would be emotionally suicidal.

With the end of subsidies we now have "Single farm payment" in the EU, so Irish farmers are no longer subsidized per cow, but per hectare, regardless of what they do with it. They could afforest, for example. And yet, while over half the farmers _lose_ per head of cattle they grow, they continue to grow beef, in the hope that one day things will improve, and because if they didn't, they wouldn't be farmers, they'd be foresters, right?

And nobody wants to look to China, the great hope for the beef markets with the expanding middle classes. Where the government is now looking to halve the meat consumption.

69:

Unfortunately, I think that even you are understating the case :-( 17% of our foreign exchange is 'financial services', and we know that the USA wants to stop London's money-laundering and possibly its gambling with other people's money, and Germany wants to pick up the more responsible services. Our economy is built on top of the housing Ponzi scheme, via the pensions funds and pensioners' spending, mortgages etc., the scheme is currently being propped up by 'foreign investment' (i.e. buying property for later resale, often leaving it empty) in places like London and Cambridge, and those places are 3x overpriced compared to most of Europe. We are extremely vulnerable to a loss of confidence, and had a miniscule taste of what that might mean at 11 PM last night. We no longer have a highly-skilled workforce (indeed, much of it is borderline unemployable), and most of our industries (including innovation and services) are foreign-owned and often staffed by 'immigrants'. Much of the best agricultural land has been built on, and the rate of that is being increased as a matter of policy. 40 years ago, we were genuinely independent, but we have sold the control of most of our foreign policy, public opinion, economy and even laws to the USA military-industrial machine (NOT, unfortunately, its government), and that has been restrained only by the EU. And, lastly, in the 1950s, when we were last flat broke, the country was pulling together (the more rabid Labour financial policies notwithstanding), there were draconian mechanisms to control the outflow of money and even undesirable expenditure, and neither is the case any longer.

May is talking the talk, in some respects, but I can see no evidence of her walking the walk. Some things, like education, would be (technically) fairly simple to deal with, but the real benefit of that takes several generations to show up - it took 25 years for even the employment status changes of the 1970s and 1980s to show up in our economy. And I can see no evidence of her doing anything constructive in most areas. If I change one word in the first two verses of Grave's Sibylline oracular prediction, they apply to us:

Who groans beneath the Empire's curse,
And strangles in the strings of purse,
Before she mends must suffer worse.

Her living mouth shall breed blue flies,
And maggots creep about her eyes.
No man shall mark the day she dies.

70:

It's not clear to me that "No British government can afford to deflate the housing market". They can't trumpet this as policy but there is a clear demand for more housing and I think all the parties are proposing increases in house building. If some of the financial service jobs move out of London, and if regulations are brought in to limit overseas property speculators (which would fit the UKIP/May narrative), and some other jobs move to the EU, then the demand on housing may reduce somewhat. At some point, that would translate to a levelling off of prices. If general inflation increases, over time the relative cost of accommodation could fall, without drops in the headline figures.

There are quite a lot of "if"s in that reasoning and I may just be looking for a path to an answer that I desire.

71:

Damn. I forgot to mention that Northern Ireland is kept stable only by some fairly large subsidies - pull the plug on those, and God alone knows what will happen.

72:

Dirk's opinions are wonderfully consistent.

73:

The subsidies for Northern Ireland are being cut - see http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-34913684 for example.
(Now realise what a 400 Million cut means for a population of 1 million or so).

Bits i'm aware of are, for example, cutting the number of staff and students at QUB (University) by 20-25%.

And quietly the UK government created a separate "National debt" for NI. These subsidies come from it. They are planning the exit of NI. The idea that this "national debt" could be forgiven if NI joined the republic has been mooted.

Meanwhile, there has been a minor flurry of academic papers (and subsequent press releases and media articles) showing that NI joining the republic would lead to economic growth on both sides. I'm curious as to who suggested and funded this work.

74:
Now sheep that stay out all winter on the hills, granted. But thats still such an economic loss I suspect the better option would be to reforest those hills for carbon credits (this is informed thinking over here). But that would be emotionally suicidal.
I have plenty of anecdotal evidence of the ecological impact of conifer afforestation in the Wicklow mountain uplands, and it's... not good; I can't find much actual data to back it up, though.

And Irish beef and dairy policy is pure madness: convince Chinese mothers to use milk powder as a basis for the rural economy? It's practically criminal.

75:

No democratically elected government can afford to let a significant number of its citizens starve to death.

If you are looking for disaster scenarios - a medium term (probably within 10 years) better than evens disaster scenario is when the Euro collapses and the EU economy tanks as a result. Consequences to the UK will be bad but probably better than if we had remained.

76:
(...) Post-hard Brexit Britain with a crashed currency and a financial sector fleeing to the continent is going to be short of is capital.

A crashed currency is almost irrelevant to raising capital. Indeed it is better if the perception is that the currency value has bottomed out from an non-Sterling investor's view.

The issue of passporting may not be that dire. Some banks will have move a subsidiary to Europe, others may apply for EU licences, while insurance companies are far less affected. The City is fairly clever at finding new opportunities and I have no doubt will adjust fairly quickly.

I don't know what currency UK public sector debt is, but I would expect it to be mostly Sterling, so there is no problem for the treasury to print money if it so desires. The issue will be whether the banks convert that to loans, and that will depend on expected demand. With a good exchange rate and an expected J-curve in the trade balance, I would expect the increased demand for British goods and services to increase bank lending.

Problems with food prices and poverty are largely self-inflicted by an austerity-driven government policy, not by any intrinsic problem of feeding the country with imported food. I'm sure European countries with large agricultural sectors and financial difficulties (ahem, Greece) would be only too happy to export food to the UK at discount prices.]Just because food in the EU is priced in Euros doesn't mean that prices in Euros must remain fixed.]While the US is a land of plenty with regard to food, inequality of income leads to poverty and malnourishment. This is mitigated with food stamps and other food aid programs, the extent of which depends on states. So California is fairly generous, whilst "red states" far less so. There is no financial/trade reason why the UK could not increase income redistribution with internal policies. If starvation increased, news reports and documentaries showing the suffering would embarrass even a Conservative government to do something, or risk a loss at the next election.

77:

Re post 15: the amount of labor to turn it into terraces would be stunning? Here's a suggestion: use the giant trucks and shovels used for strip mining to turn them into terraces. I mean, it the US, at least some of the areas have laws about mountaintop restoration after they've removed the mountaintop.

mark

78:

A nascent Free Republic of Scotlandistan would also have the very real obstacle of being an example of something that a lot of EU member states really do not want to happen, namely a small minority of separatists getting their own way. There are several other mini-states that would really, really like to break free of their imperialist masters and become new EU states; places like Catalonia and so on.

The current EU member states do not want this to happen, and would become extremely upset were Scotland not told to get lost and make its own way as an independent nation-state for an indeterminate time, because any other behaviour would encourage a load of other slug-witted nationalists to start misbehaving again.

It must also be noted that if Scotland were to secede, then return to England cap in hand looking to reunite Britain, it would most likely come at a very high price: no more Scottish law and rules, etc; English law all the way and wave bye-bye to the Scottish Parliament as well.

79:

One point that is hardly ever mentioned: the UK gets its WTO membership from its EU membership, and would lose it and have to apply for readmission upon Brexit. This requires unanimity, and you can be sure China and India will extract their pound of flesh in concessions to give their assent, not to mention the US (let's see how special that relationship really is).

Another consequence seldom considered is that the UK today is one of the very few countries that gets the privilege of issuing its debt in its own currency. If the pound's instability continues, and there is no reason to think it won't, gilts will have to be issued in dollars or (gasp!) euros, which will make the UK's debt burden all the harder to bear, and Osborne's austerity policies look positively Keynesian in comparison.

80:

There is a reason why nobody (apart from a few one-time set aside scams) tries to cultivate moorland: the soil is thin, infertile and very susceptible to erosion. When you start trying to compensate for this, you simply end up with even more problems than you started with and to add to your woes, most moors and hillsides are both phosphate and nitrate limited.

These areas also have high rainfall and fast-moving rivers. Adding phosphate to the soil sorts out one limiting factor, but you then have to move on to nitrates, and that's where it gets hairy. Release nitrates in a high-erosion and high rainfall environment and try as you might, much of this will end up in the rivers and these then become eutrophic down on the plains outside of the hill zone you're trying to cultivate. Even something as simple as ploughing a grass field will release enough nitrate to cause these problems; most uplands are nitrate-sensitive areas.

The Highlands of Scotland historically supported a population but even then, it wasn't much of a population and it was a miserable, brutish and often fairly brief existence. Agriculture in uplands is difficult, labour-intensive and almost impossible to mechanise, which is why nobody actually tries it any more.

The future of agriculture is to use many more genetically modified plants, such as wheat engineered to have nitrogen-fixing root nodules like legumes have. Tricks like this at a stroke boost yields immensely, and reduce the mechanical inputs needed on crops as well as making them more disease-resistant.

Other GM tricks include engineering potatoes to resist potato cyst nematodes and blight, and lifting some of the ingenious anti-insect tricks that wild-type potatoes have and putting them into cropping varieties (tricks like sticky hairs, which trap insects to kill them).

81:

Food shortages – malnutrition & starvation

The evidence has been accumulating for several years (at least) that the body and even the cells remember food shortages and that this 'memory' tends to be so strong (vital) that it gets passed down at least two generations, i.e., to grandchildren. Further, the food shortage period/duration does not have to last very long - several months could do it – to leave its mark on the person up to (possibly) their grandchildren.

Long term effects of starvation?

Kidney problems if you actually starve to the point that you start consuming/metabolizing your own body. Happens all the time with people who go on hunger strikes. And if you don’t die right away, your kidneys are in bad shape for the rest of your life. Starvation while young throws the entire body building scheme out the window starting with much smaller muscle mass.

Obesity, diabetes and maybe metabolic syndrome in successive generations. Yes, this is the genes responding to a starvation environment ready to hoard every calorie the body can access – and assuming things turn around in 15-20 years and food is more abundant (esp. quickly metabolizable carbs), watch your kids’ and grandkids’ waist sizes explode! (So, if you think you’re going to be around 20-50 years from now, buy shares of diabetes-related, or maybe by then it’ll be custom 3D printed pancreases/Islets of Langerhans.)

Stress – starvation brings out the worst in people as well as out of their innards. Stress responses esp. higher cortisol mean more nastiness spreads faster and farther, and this too tends to get passed down at least one generation. (Rat studies also show that male rat pups born of stressed rat dams start off life with higher cortisol levels, and apart from more startle responses, they’re less able to get along with other rats including females in estrous – plus their mounting and ability to complete the act is totally [hmmm … ] screwed.) So, you really want to do this to your kids and their kids … oh, wait a sec, if starvation is bad enough for long enough, you won’t have any grandkids.

Okay – almost all of the starvation trans-generational research I’m referring to was/is done on rats. But the long-term analyses between the previous generation starving and children’s susceptibility to weight gain even on a moderate diet are showing up pretty consistently among humans. Personally I’d guess that the Dutch really, really had it hard during WW2 just based on how much taller the 3rd and 4th generations grew … plus their expanded waist sizes even though their diets and lifestyles aren’t anywhere near as bad as in NA.


Quality nutrition and money – a major consideration in this argument is that a set amount of money will buy more-or-less comparable quality of food/nutrition. Seriously? C’mon folks - don’t you ever buy your own food at the grocery store? Someone whose purchasing power just went from scraping-by to subsistence is now having to further reduce both their quality and quantity of nutrition. Folks, what you’re ignoring is that these people do not have any physiological reserves: any further cuts will have progressively more serious and potentially dire consequences. This is not you skipping your mid-morning bagel; this is you that hasn’t had a decent (high protein meat) meal in years, whose daily caloric intake hasn’t come anywhere near the WHO minimum for years.

82:

It must also be noted that if Scotland were to secede, then return to England cap in hand looking to reunite Britain, it would most likely come at a very high price: no more Scottish law and rules, etc; English law all the way and wave bye-bye to the Scottish Parliament as well.

Change that from "Scotland" rejoining "UK" to "UK" rejoining "EU" and the boot fits both feet equally well.

83:

Why would the UK need to issue debt in foreign currencies? Any sustained devaluation just requires an increase in interest rates to maintain attractiveness as an investment. In a reduced demand led recession, high inflation isn't an issue, so no hyperinflation issues like Zimbabwe will occur. The is no reason to believe that the UK will default on its debts or try to unexpectedly try to devalue them.

When Greece was contemplating exiting the EU because of its unsustainable debts, there was no good process in place to change the currency back to Drachma and default on its debts. The UK is most assuredly not in that position.

84:

Actually, the quality of nutrition issue is not primarily constrained by the expenditure on food. Far more important factors include education and access to storage and cooking facilities - the latter is why people in bed sits etc. are relatively much worse off.

85:

In 1900 Argentina was one of the ten richest countries in the world. Through misrule it lost that position, and Argentinian debt is not denominated in pesos. UK debt can only be denominated in Sterling if it is mostly held by Brits, foreigners will not want to assume the risk of holding assets in a volatile currency backed by a government with a demonstrated record of economic recklessness, no matter how high the interest rates are.

86:

Meanwhile, there has been a minor flurry of academic papers (and subsequent press releases and media articles) showing that NI joining the republic would lead to economic growth on both sides. I'm curious as to who suggested and funded this work.

Do you have any links or sources for these papers and articles? I have a ringside seat, you might say, so have been keeping a very interested eye on the prospective future of NI; and beyond the initial flurry of Sinn Fein noises about a reunification referendum, I haven't noticed anyone else discussing NI joining with the Republic.

I certainly share your curiosity about the funding behind these studies. As far as I know, neither government has so much as whispered Irish reunification as a serious option -- it would, even with a cursory glance, offer to open an even bigger can of worms than an independent Scotland, with added hand grenades.

87:

Seems to me that Brexit is one of those things that could lead to a remarkable regime change in the next election. All it takes is one party reminding everyone of the horrible consequences (including Charlie's notes about starvation), and stating officially that if elected, they'll treat that vote as their authority to unilaterally cancel the Brexit decision... or at least use the possibility of cancellation as a powerful bargaining tool to negotiate changes to solve some of the problems with the EU. (My only direct knowledge of a problem is the huge bureaucracy. I leave the rest of the description of problems to those who are better informed.)

Is there any motion in that direction in the U.K.?

88:

Well, I don't know the climate, and I don't know the soil, but it looks like it might be good orchard country. Or possibly nuts. IIRC Apples originally came from a mountainous area. Figs, too, but they like it warmer than is likely.

That said, if the land was more profitable in orchards or nuts, it would probably be that way now.

A real problem that figures in here, and is being ignored, is that the gulf stream is reported to be slowing. This seems to mean colder European, and especially British and Irish, winters even though the globe is warming. And THAT means that you need to prepare for current crops not surviving winters. (I'm not sure what it means for summers, probably hotter.) And *that* argues against trees.

89:

One point that is hardly ever mentioned: the UK gets its WTO membership from its EU membership, and would lose it and have to apply for readmission upon Brexit.

I believe that is not the case - all the EU member countries are individual WTO members as well as the EU being a member in its own right. What could be very problematic, or so I've read, is the UK's status as a World Customs Organization "authorized economic operator". This is a series of technical and security standards for the customs clearance of trade goods which the UK currently meets through its EU membership. Apparently setting up an independent AEO regime from scratch would take many years, and without it the UK's trade could be hamstrung as we'd have have no way of legally certifying that our exports aren't materiel being smuggled by terrorists.

90:

While the gulf stream is slowing (which is likely to give more extreme seasons), the driver seems to be coming from the southern end rather than from the expected meltwater. In fact the Arctic ocean is reported to be getting *MORE* salty.

This report has me scratching my head, but I'm no specialist in this area (I'm a retired programmer), perhaps it was expected and I just didn't hear about it.

91:

Definitely nuts! :-) Sorry, but not an earthly. Even coniferous forestry is very unproductive. And I can assure you that several posters to this blog are not ignoring the consequences of losing the gulf stream, though even the meteorologists aren't sure of the consequences.

92:

Sorta agree: If you can't afford a roof over your head - which typically includes some basic cooking facilities - then it's a pretty good bet you don't having enough money for good quality groceries. However, consider: When your financial resources are being depleted which necessities would you look for trade offs first? I'm betting it's the food budget.


Re: '...people in bed sits' - Is this the same as old folks/nursing homes? If so, then senility/dementia, loss of smell (therefore loss of gustatory satisfaction), state of constant pain, crappy taste in mouth from all those nasty Rxs, poor dentition, forgetfulness ... can impact eating/wanting to eat among this segment. (Have a very elderly, bed-ridden family member so am aware of the difficulties.)

93:

The Irish government has done more than whisper about unification - it has gibbered quietly to itself! As you say, the worms in the can are venomous.

94:

Terraces in the Pennines? Here's how it's being done.


http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/the-himalayan-farm-in-the-pennines-1-2571911

No reason why it can't be scaled up.

95:

No. It's very often single people on benefits. And you are still missing the point about food - the UK's diet was pretty good under rationing and, in poor areas, included virtually no expensive foods. It was highly tedious in the late winter, being mainly mid-brown bread, potatoes, carrot, swede and kale. You can get all of the protein you need from things like beans and (some) milk, plus a weekly use of stock bones or offal, and you need some source of vitamin C (and preferably D) in the winter. But you HAVE to be able to store and cook the food, and know what to do.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rationing_in_the_United_Kingdom#Standard_rationing_during_the_Second_World_War

96:

So, assuming the Hungry Forties make a reappearance, what are the chances that they would again cause significant emigration(*)? The total UK population is about 65 million, and there are lots of places that could easily absorb millions of immigrants fairly easily. South America is still pretty underpopulated and there's North America, Australia and even Siberia where people are, on the average, thin on the ground.

(*) My maternal grandfather's parents were from Cork, which they left for such reasons.

97:

86:

Meanwhile, there has been a minor flurry of academic papers (and subsequent press releases and media articles) showing that NI
joining the republic would lead to economic growth on both sides. I'm curious as to who suggested and funded this work.

Do you have any links or sources for these papers and articles? I have a ringside seat, you might say, so have been keeping a very interested eye on the prospective future of NI; and beyond the initial flurry of Sinn Fein noises about a reunification referendum, I haven't noticed anyone else discussing NI joining with the Republic.

I haven't been actively recording them, but a quick google gives, e.g.
http://www.irishexaminer.com/business/united-irish-economy-could-deliver-boost-of-36bn-388959.html
and http://politicaleconomy.ie/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/MB-unity.pdf

As you say, nobody but the usual suspects (SF) have been talking reunification, just a set of voices "off stage" pointing out, "ok look, you'd be better off together", in a way they didn't before.

98:

If I had any real political savvy, I'd push for Canada to allow any and all migrants from the UK if things get as bad as they could. I figure the pond is enough of a barrier to keep the flow to a manageable number.

99:

Found this re: little ice age in Britain:

'Travellers in Scotland reported permanent snow cover over the Cairngorm Mountains in Scotland at an altitude of about 1200 metres.'

So, unless Scottish sheep & goats normally eat ice/snow, very bad situation indeed. Also, regardless of whether the temp is higher or lower, the number of hours of sunlight matters considerably in terms of how long/short a growing season, therefore what types of crops you can grow. That's 'outdoor' farming. Which is why it's time to get serious about indoor farming. Some really interesting LED selected spectrum/wavelength research done in Canada.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140623131205.htm

Light-emitting diode treatments outperform traditional lighting methods for hydroponically grown tomato plants

Date: June 23, 2014
Source: American Society for Horticultural Science
Summary: Hydroponically grown tomato plants were subjected to three light intensities at three red-to-blue ratio levels and compared to high-pressure sodium, red LED light, a 50:50 LED:HPS mixture, and no supplemental lighting treatments. The highest biomass production -- excluding fruit -- occurred with the 19:1 ratio, whereas a higher fruit production was obtained using the 5:1 ratio. Highest marketable fruit production was obtained with the 50:50 LED:HPS ratio. The 5:1 high treatment performed well in every category.


Further research has found that different plants respond to different lights/wavelengths. If I were in that business, I'd seriously look at shortening the growing day by 30-45 minutes - instant 4% increase in productivity - which for food is really, really good.

100:

Re: '...people in bed sits' - Is this the same as

No, think single room for everything. It's a contraction of "bedroom/sitting room", bed in one corner, chair and a table in another, maybe very basic cooking facilities and probably shared bathroom & toilet facilities.

101:

Okay, thanks! Think I now understand at least why the stress on proper food storage.

102:

I think bedsit translates approximateley as rooming house.

103:

No, it approximates to "room in a rooming house". If you're lucky you've got a small fridge, a sink, a kettle, and the equivalent of a toaster oven or microwave. Emphasis: if you're lucky.

104:

Question: do the poorer neighborhoods in British cities have the "food desert" problem that we have in the US? (Grocers are all in the nicer parts of town, so you have to buy junk food at higher prices if you aren't able to fit a shopping trip into your evening commute?)

My optimistic side is hoping that higher density, better mass transit, and fewer corn subsidies mean that it isn't as bad as the US.

105:

Dirk: if the other half of your reason for voting Brexit was "sovereignty" you have just traded a slightly disfunctional democracy with some accountability and some transparency and oversight, for Investor-State Dispute Settlement / Investment Court Systems that have no accountability, no transparancy or oversight and that over-ride the very disfunctional democracy of our nation.

Brexit is actually going to make things worse on this account. However this will all be hidden from the people in backrooms and NDAs, until our government actually gets taken to court by a Martin Shkreli because NICE is interfering with his ability to gouge profits from the vulnerable and dying, presumably at that point the Daily Express will blame it on the EU.

In this case I expect we had a situation which was the opposite of "ignorance is bliss" -- transparency and accountability in the EU system highlighted all the times that there was an issue, and instead of looking at this as a positive we have, to mangle a metaphor, cut our nose off because it had a small pimple on the end that offended us.

106:

"improved governance" is not something that generally come with treaties. Treaties are all about compromises to governance and sovereignty, that you make in order to be able interact with other people that do things differently from you.

If only someone made some kind of treaty organisation that had democratic oversight like some kind of parliament. Where in the world could we find such a Union?

107:

Found this article - first third of which describes long-term effects of starvation (Netherlands, WW2):

http://www.naturalhistorymag.com/features/142195/beyond-dna-epigenetics


108:

"Basically it is about not being part of a massive would-be undemocratic superstate that sucks more and more power to itself. Like I said elsewhere, if the EU Parliament ran the show with (say) Council of Ministers as second chamber and the Commission doing what they were told by Parliament, I would have voted remain."

In the first part of your sentance you describe a fantasy world created by the Daily Express. In the second part of your sentance you are actually pretty close to how the EU actually works.

The Council of ministers determine the scope of the work that the EU Commission does. The Council of Ministers is made up of the relevant ministers from the democratically elected nation governments.

The EU Commission is a civil service... (yes it is guilty of massive overreach from time to time, but I if you think that is uncommon for civil services then you have not been within a hundred miles of a civil servant).

The EU parliament then provides democratic oversight over the whole lot.

The EU is a massive, disfunctional bureaucracy. It's still better than the alternatives though, and it can still be improved (and will need to be continually improved to adapt to it's changing environment), and it has a history of changing to adapt the needs of the member states.

109:

"If some of the financial service jobs move out of London" that's actually fairly likely, but I don't imagine them moving to Brussels, Paris, Frankfurt and Stockholm is what you had in mind.

110:

We have endemic malnutrition among the financially stressed these days in a way we haven't seen since the 1930s... Pushing food up 13-16% is still too much if it means 20% of the population have to cut their food intake by 13-16% below malnutrition levels.

Two points.

Endemic malnutrition is a policy choice by the government that lower taxes on the well-off are more valuable than adequate livelihood for the poor. It is this policy that needs changing.

Secondly, as Paul Krugman is no doubt pointing out to you now by email, a floating exchange rate is the way these shocks get buffered.

Sure, imports of food may cost more, but the imported on-dock cost is a small fraction of the retail cost. Distribution and retail sales are the majority, and these are nearly all British wages paid in sterling.

The retail cost may rise two or three percent, but if it rises any more, that's a sure sign of oligopoly in the groceries industry. And would, I hope, be addressed as such.

It's worth looking at history. I live in a country whose exchange rate went from 1.40 USD to the local unit down to 0.50 USD in the space of ten years. No one starved, because in those days we had a social safety net.

I repeat: the problem is not the exchange rate-- that's part of the solution. The problem is the vicious, antisocial policies of the government before May's. May has made noises that these will be made less vicious. She hasn't got long.

111:

Ignoring all intermediate comments ( I had a long day filming @ Chatham Dockyard ... )
Charlie:
a hard Brexit means an end to passporting,
No - wrong.
I will explain later, but it ain't so.
#
Also the one part of the brexiters arguments that IS true is: "they need us more than we need them"
Contrarywise, as Charlie says - we are not self-sufficient in food, even if I am ...
Serious point.
Back tomorrow, I hope

112:

I would totally invest in Irish law firms if it were allowed.

I've done some transatlantic legal work, and although pretty much everyone, sans the french, speaks fantastic English, American lawyers like talking to people who understand the common law. I know a few Americans who took the bar in England since it's close enough to studying for just another state bar, and from there it was easy to use EU law to practice elsewhere in Europe.

I have met several Irish lawyers doing well on the continent due being a good interface for Americans to work for. You see this especially with the EPO, as it seems like half the lawyers in Munich that do appeal work there are Irish (common law training for patent lawyers is a bit more rigorous). I think the UK firms are going to hurt a lot with loss of access to the EU courts. I think the UK legal services sector as a whole is going down due to their ties to the financial sector. Opening a branch office in Frankfurt won't be enough if their attorneys can no longer function as attorneys in the EU.

Also as a side note, real estate's crash is coming no matter what they hope or make a policy. All that luxury housing in central London bought as a place for people to invest or hide money becomes a lot less attractive. As well as the cooling demand for housing as those differing services leave. Posh flats for young bankers being built may have to lower their targets. Otoh a quick check shows that while vacant investors are having an effect, it may not be as big as thought due to low actual vacancy levels.

113:

It is suggested that Scotland might not have to leave and rejoin the EU, if we sort out independence in a sufficiently timely fashion.

114:

Fridge, sink, kettle, microwave: you've just described the exact extent of my own facilities :) The sink came with the house, the rest is me, and is perfectly adequate.

Note that the sink, being a fixture with plumbing connections, is the only item for which you are dependent on the provider of the bedsit. The rest you can provide yourself. Microwaves are free: you just pick one up from outside someone else's house that they have thrown away for no reason, and lug it home. I have several, so that if the one I'm using packs up I have spares. Fridges are also free, albeit harder to lug home; requisitioning a feral shopping trolley can help. (Though I will admit that when I moved in there was a peculiar shortage of fridges so I was eventually compelled to buy one second hand; things are back to normal now and there are loads of them about.) Kettles are a bit more of a problem because people either rarely throw them out or else they put them actually in the bin so you don't know about them (I'm not sure which), but then you can get them for under a tenner from Argos, or just heat water in the microwave. So this sort of thing is less of a problem than it looks - unless the bedsit is provided by a dictatorial arsehole who forbids your acquisition of such items, which does happen.

The conventions of status signalling lay down that you're supposed to "achieve" a conventional thermal cooker and regard a microwave as optional, while having a microwave but no thermal cooker is plebby and council and fraightfully not done, my dear; but setting such bollocks aside, using a microwave exclusively is by far the more sensible way to do it. Reason: energy consumption. Something that uses less than half of the power delivery capacity of an ordinary socket and only runs for minutes, versus something that sucks enough juice to require its own dedicated high-current circuit and runs for hours? No contest. Making hot food goes from being your second biggest energy cost (after space and water heating), to being less than you use for lighting. Massive win.

115:

I had to look this up. The answer is "it's complicated."

Through my adult life I've pretty consistently lived in one or another of the more deprived council wards in the UK for various reasons, in one of a few cities. (There are arguments about some of the measures that get on the list, but even though where I live now is nicer than a lot of places in some of the cities I've lived in before, because it's a lot of bedsits and temporary occupation and so on it's not nice for the city I currently live in.) Within 20 minutes walk I have a 7-day a week market that sells fresh produce. Within about 5 minutes walk I have two local versions of supermarkets both of which have a fresh fruit and veg section. Neither are awesome, both are more expensive than the market or the big, out of town supermarkets. Within a 30 minute walk I have an oddity, an in-town "out of town" supermarket. Within 10 minutes walk I have bus-stops that will take me to the doorsteps of two out of town supermarkets. I also have the option for online shopping with all the big supermarkets and if I'm willing to have "out of hours" deliveries like 8pm on a Thursday, it's usually free of very cheap if I do a big shop (that's typically over £40). That will get me cheap fresh fruit and veg from an enormous range.

Not all of these options have been available for the last 30 years, particularly the online shopping one, but I don't think I've ever lived more than 15 minutes walk from a supermarket with fresh (and other) fruit and veg.

However, I cook alone quite a lot, my partner travels for work. I can nearly always buy one or two carrots, in some places I can buy loose mushrooms, but often it's a pack in the local supermarkets and although I like mushrooms it's hard to use that many before they go off. Onions are usually in packs of three and suffer the same issue as the mushrooms and so on. It's cost inefficient unless I cook a lot and freeze it, which has cost implications to run the freezer and even have the freezer. (I'm ok on this but a lot of people really aren't. If you're going to the food bank, people are typically after food you don't have to cook because they can't afford to turn the oven on, and are certainly after stuff you don't have to chill or freeze because they don't run their fridge or freezer.) It's often more convenient, in terms of portions, to buy tinned or frozen veg because the people that make tins make small tins for 1 people these days. At the market this isn't a problem of course, and because I work from home and can take long lunch breaks I can get there, but if I travelled to and from work I couldn't.

So we don't have food deserts in quite the way you describe but it's not all golden either.

116:

"The rest you can provide yourself." No, you can't. A lot of those places forbid cooking.

117:

...it became apparent that the Nasty Party has decisively swung away from representing the interests of the business community...

...and so a rather large chunk of the financial services industry will go down in flames...

A year ago it seemed to me that the author and a good many commentators on this blog were calling for government that didn't favour business interests, and regarded the London financial sector as non-productive financial parasites who distorted the entire British economy and political system in harmful ways.

Now it's oh crap if the capitalists leave we're all going to starve ?

Wish granted. Not what you really wanted? How about figuring out what needs to be done instead of begging the financiers and Tories to restore the previous state?


118:

"Question: do the poorer neighborhoods in British cities have the "food desert" problem that we have in the US?"

We certainly have the anomaly that having more money makes it easier to get cheap food. Full size supermarkets are correspondingly few in number, and so most places are far enough away from one that you have to drive there. Some supermarket chains operate small local branches but these aren't everywhere and in any case do not stock the cheap ranges which the full size branches have. Local food shops such as the two within walking distance of me are definitely more expensive than supermarkets - noticeably in the case of almost all items, and horrendously so in the case of things like bread, which can be four or five times the price because you have to buy a loaf from the brand of a Tory party contributor instead of a supermarket own-brand one which is indistinguishable except in price.

The local shops do I think sell some raw ingredients; I'm unsure how much, because I never buy them and I do not see items in shops that I don't want to buy, but they definitely occupy far less shelf space than the numerous items of factory-assembled ingredients that need only to be heated up. Reason being that that's what people mostly want to buy. The vitamins and vegetables thing is a middle-class concern indulged in by people who aren't concerned about buying more food than they need and then finding that half of it has gone off before they get round to eating it. What we're concerned with in this context is people being able to get enough plain straight calories. That's what you care about if you don't have much money. (And in practical terms if you do get enough calories then enough vitamins come with them anyway; for those who disagree, there are vitamin pills, which at about a quid a month are enormously cheaper than vitamins in food.)

119:

Hence the comment about dictatorial arseholes ;)

120:

Indeed, even without oil, Scotland is an energy exporter...

How feasible are the proposals for Scotland to be the end point for an HVDC link from Iceland bringing in hydro and geothermal power?

121:

Re "clearly an appetite among other EU heads to state to drive a hard deal with the UK": shouldn't that be "...start to drive a hard deal..."? YOU CANT EVIN SPEL YU SHUDDUNT EVIN BE COMMINTIN!!!!!!

122:

The food is indeed a scary thing. Contrary to popular economics hyper-inflation is not caused by money printing. The printing is a response to the hyper-inflation.
The real cause of hyper-inflation is usually when you have price rises in a good or service priced in foreign currency that is also very demand inelastic. eg Food, or war reparations.
The price of food goes up maybe because of a decrease in supply, but because people really need food the demand does not change. More money flows out pushing the value of the local currency down creating a positive feedback loop.
If the loop can't be arrested you quickly end up with extra zeros on your bank notes or a massive shortage of imported goods.
Hyperinflation is really bad if your wealth is stored in assets priced in pounds so the rich are likely to strongly resist this. Possibly responses include simply leaving Briton, restricting imports (resulting starvation), securing new cheaper sources of key imports via treaty or wars.

Possible way out here is the colonies particularly Australia and NZ which I'm more familiar with having lived there. Both are Food exporters with right-wing governments and a fetish for negative-sum trade deals and nostalgia for the old country. Setting up a good trade deal for food with AU or NZ would help a lot with at least that issue. Also AU in particular hates making anything if its at all possible to sell the raw ingredients so this could also help.
Australia's former and possibly future PM Tony Abbott is a former UK citizen* and is already talking about trade deals with the UK.
*In Australia its illegal to be a member of parliament while holding foreign citizenship so while it is widely suspected that Tony is still a UK citizen this would be illegal.

123:

I think you have managed to confuse, or ignore, cause and effect. The current and future plight is why so many people have been upset at the UK gov'ts coddling and encouraging of the financial industries to the detriment of pretty much everything else.

And concluding that the people upset by the brexit vote and circumstances want a return to the status quo ante comitia is ... let's just say it's a fairly major misinterpretation.

124:

The popular blog site Slugger O'Toole (which focuses on NI-related stories and issues) did some digging into the "Modeling Irish Unification" report, and discovered that it funding seems to have come from a known republican support organisation. Full article is here: http://sluggerotoole.com/2015/11/21/when-is-an-independent-study-on-irish-unification-not-independent/

There doesn't appear to be any real information on the funding behind the other report "The Economic Case for Irish Unity", but it would appear that either the report was produced at the behest of unification advocates, or that the author himself is an advocate.

The main criticism of both reports is that they both are purely economic, and make the assumption that all people involved are frictionless economic spheres moving in a political and social vacuum.

It is however interesting to see reports that look at unification in this light -- although the socio-political factors will always play a part, it would have been utterly unthinkable to not consider them not so long ago.

125:

Yes... yes to all of that. It's the sweetcorn problem.

A big difficulty I have with this whole situation is that all the discussion takes place within the context of a system which is so fundamentally broken that nothing about it makes any kind of sense. Bad things happen because of really stupid reason that shouldn't even exist and the response has to be defined in terms of other really stupid things that shouldn't even exist, partly because of the timescale involved in changing to a sensible system but mainly because of the ingrained and unquestioned assumption that all these really stupid things that shouldn't even exist are as immutable and unavoidable as laws of physics and even the idea of changing them is so not-to-be-thought-of that people generally aren't even aware such an idea can exist.

Discussing things in a context where everything is constrained to be bloody stupid is really hard, partly for the obvious reason that nothing makes sense, and partly because it's so hard to tell what other people really think about it when their posts seem to indicate acceptance of the context rather than revulsion at it: do they really not question that things have to be like that, or is it that they do get the point but are confining their writing exclusively to the immediate short-term aspects? I would expect there to be more people on here who do get the point than on many other internet venues, but it's jolly hard to be sure. CT certainly does; I'm pretty sure Charlie does, though he very rarely mentions it; maybe one or two others? It's confusing because it's hard to tell what basis people are arguing from.

126:

To paraphrase a famous tag line:

On the internet, no one can know your context.

127:

Choosing not to feed part of your population is not the same thing as food scarcity. It's just placing value on things besides some people starving, such as really awesome food and great service for other people, and guarding the wealth of rich people from other rich people in complex abstract ways. These are labour intensive jobs that are hard to automate.

128:

Of course, if the EU really wants to be nasty, they can unilaterally declare that they will continue to accept a British passport for unlimited travel and residency in the EU for the next twenty years... then watch the smarter Brits leave their country in droves!

129:

I think the stupidity of suggesting that we can turn grazing land into arable using our magic wands has already been dealt with.

Note that we probably could turn a lot of marginal land into arable land, using capital and lots of stuff, all of which would cost money, which we don't quite have. Except we do, as long as it is for saving the banks and propping up the market, and buying megadeath machines.

I've seen a scary number of brexiteers saying basically "It's okay, we can use the import tariff to the uk to pay exporters for the import tariff to the EU", which is according to a poster above and other people, not allowed.


Basically most of the population is anti-market, but they mistakenly think that they can have the government manipulate a truly global market to suit themselves. This hasn't been possible for decades, but they refuse to see it, or have been lied to so much by murdoch et al that they cannot.

Moreover, some such brexiteers are happy that the City will take a hammering, because although they are right wingers, they see the financial sector in London being too strong as a bad thing. This is of course correct, if you aren't working for said financial sector, and is a view shared by lefties too. Oddly enough it's the lefties who have been pointing out that doing it in a revolutionary way like this is bad for everyone because it's too sudden. The point is to slowly boil the frog, not slice it open and watch it bleed to death.
(Obviously this doesn't apply if you are one of the small number of folk who think a revolution is the best way to go)


130:

At least in Scotland, the major problem is just lack of usable soil. The East coast is already well farmed, it's the west that isn't, and that is because half of it is bog and the other half mountain.
Then there's down Ayrshire way, where the farm that some poet called RObert Burns's dad farmed, at great physical labour and cost to himself, is now, thanks to modern techniques and investment, a fruitful endeavour in a way that it wasn't 200 years ago. But there is a limit as to what more can be done, and it's decades of work to turn bog and poor hill slopes into arable, even assuming all the best stuff hasn't already been so treated.

131:

Before Brexit this very blog had a post and comments bemoaning the apparent impossibility of disrupting the economic/political system in Britain.

An opportunity to change the way things are came along with the Brexit vote. No guns or bloodshed required.

My impression is that most of the Brexit supporters are from poor working class areas of Britain, while people who think of themselves as progressive sided with the stockbrokers and Conservative Prime Minister. I understand that it wasn't the change they wanted and hence voted against it. But when did anyone think there would be another chance?

As for returning to the status quo, what am I supposed to assume from the calls, serious or not, to find some constitutional way to block Brexit, or delay it? Majority of comments are doom and gloom and/or if only the vote could be reversed.

132:

An opportunity to change the way things are came along with the Brexit vote. No guns or bloodshed required.

What makes you think no guns or bloodshed are required? Brexit hasn't happened yet. As Zhou Enlai reputedly said when asked about the historical significance of the French Revolution: "it's too early to tell."

133:

Hmmm.

Of course, having that cold patch off Greenland might mean that cod sticks around a bit longer.

Apparently the real ocean is a lot more complicated than Global Thermohaline Circulation. It's not a conveyor belt. So far as I can understand, it looks more like a bolus system, where globs of water get batted around by various wind and water conditions, rather than a continuous conveyor with a designated path. Should we worry? Well, the ocean's going to change, but I (at least) need to do a lot more reading before I start freaking out again. Right now, my WAG is that you guys might simply get lucky and not heat up as fast as everyone else does. That will mean you guys are really desirable as a refugee destination, but then again, most of northwest Europe would be in the same boat.

As for models, I've got two possible scenarios you might also want to consider: Cuba after the USSR collapse, and serving as a shinier, newer aircraft carrier for US drones during the second Cold War. Perhaps a combination of the two?

If you want a good news scenario, perhaps the UK internet will be unilaterally cut off from the world just as Wired War I breaks out, and you'll pass through it largely unscathed. I'd rate this as P

134:

The (let's be generous here) 'plan' is to have a single Act that revokes the European Communities Act and incorporates all existing EC legislation into national law.

And here comes the real bugger - details of how this will be done will be derogated to ministers who will be able to make changes to legislation using statutory instruments rather than putting bills before Parliament. It will be an immense power grab by the already overly powerful executive to the detriment of Parliament and the Commons.

135:

Hahahhahahahahaha

The countryside in that photo is windswept, almost certainly 400m above sea level, and sees an average rainfall higher than most places, not to mention the frost. The only way of growing apples there would be in giant greenhouses with lots of imported soil.

136:

The only party that is proposing to argue against Brexit are the LibDems. Which is nice, but on their present polling, almost irrelevant.

Labour is - well - Labour is a catastrophe whose policy on Brexit is basically to get it done as quickly as possible. They're barely said a word all week during we've heard that financial services could be decimated, that the car industry is getting very nervous, when science and engineering researchers have been decrying Brexit and today's news that the government will not allow any expert advice about the consequences of Brexit from non-British experts.

137:

The UK government is still issuing gilts with a high credit rating despite recent downgrades. There is no evidence that the UK government has to borrow in foreign currency. I think you comment reflects what you think the world ought to be, rather than it is.

138:

It's possible, but the Icelanders are becoming increasingly angry at the destruction of their environment to build reservoirs and the donation of government land to private energy companies.

The loss of the Jökulsá á Dal and Jökulsá í Fljótsdal by the Kárahnjúkastífla dam to supply an aluminium works was extremely controversial - especially as most of the construction was done by imported labour, the plant doesn't employ many peoples and it produces a low value material. There seem to be no end of plans to put three new dams on the Þjórsá in southern Iceland to supply smelters and there was a very shady deal at the height of the financial crisis which allowed Canada's Magma Energy to obtain large geothermal resources in Reykjanes from HS Orka for very little money.

I can't see the Icelanders being happy with the scale of flooding or drilling needed in their wilderness areas to supply a realistic amount of power to the UK.

139:

"An opportunity to change the way things are came along with the Brexit vote. No guns or bloodshed required."

No, it didn't. What did come along was the opportunity to jump out of a plane without a parachute, in the hope of being able to cobble one together before you hit the ground. And even if the cobbling-together was successful (for suitable values of "successful"), it would still be made out of the same old shit in a marginally different configuration. No fundamental change was ever remotely on the cards; there was only the possibility of the same things being done in such a way as to give a worse result.

I don't really see that change is possible at all unless we first disentangle ourselves from the rest of the world, and stop being a node in a network, constrained to use the same protocols as the rest of the network in order to function. Leaving the EU is not a step in that direction, it's just a rearrangement of the connections.

With self-sufficiency - at the least in important things such as food and energy - as an apparently necessary precondition, it is obvious that change can only take place over several decades. Self-sufficiency requires the population to decrease to a level that makes it feasible, so you have to get the birth rate down and then wait for half the population to die off.

And it'll probably take even longer just to make a start because at present there isn't any will to do it, let alone any recognition that a system organised with the prime purpose of efficiently meeting needs must necessarily beat the crap out of a system not-organised with the prime purpose of enabling some people to get very rich and that doesn't even consider meeting needs, so it just sort of "happens", with gross inefficiency, and requires bolt-on and much-begrudged palliatives like the benefit system to ensure that, for millions of people, it happens at all.

The real puzzle isn't "progressives voting with stockbrokers" (although it does feel yucky), but the way so many of the people standing closest to the end of the sewage outfall were so enthusiastic about opening the sluice. I guess that's what you get when your idea of "democracy" is all about keeping power for the elite by suppressing the population's ability for critical thinking so they don't get the idea of rocking your boat, and then some knob decides to let them take a boat out on their own without any actual sailors on board.

140:

There will undoubtedly be bad consequences of a hard Brexit, but I seriously doubt that mass starvation will be one of them. "Project Fear" aka every competent economist on the planet, was predicting a contraction in the economy of a few percent, which is quite bad enough to be getting on with, inevitably screwing the people who thought they had nothing to lose.

141:

One point strikes me from Charlie's foodsecurity link with the "40% imported" figure: that page also quotes a figure of £12e9 for "food and drink" exports (in 2007). What it doesn't do is give any indication of how the actual quantity of the food portion of that compares with the quantity involved in the 40% imports, and annoyingly the reference it gives is a title only, not a link. But it does work out to a couple of hundred pounds per person, or thereabouts, so it does suggest an obvious method of significantly mitigating the shortfall.

142:

Britain only began to experience substantial levels of net migration from the 1980s on, somewhat after more of the rest of northwestern Europe. Substantial immigration was counterbalanced, or more than counterbalanced, throughout that period by substantial emigration. Even now, rates of emigration from the United Kingdom are higher than you'd expect for a high-income northwestery European country. Over and beyond economic incentives, emigration from the United Kingdom seems to be culturally accepted, even popular, on a scale not found in Britain's European neighbours.

In the event of a severe economic crunch, I certainly expect there to be plenty of British emigrants. Some will go to the various Anglophone destinations beyond Europe, others will go to the European Union, still others will find themselves in other places. In a world where human capital shortages can be serious and are likely to get worse, there will be many places ambitious Britons can go.

143:

SPOT ON
Also, no-one seems to have answered the persistent double-question:
WHY DID the sections of the UK (except Scotland) -
(1) Vote FOR remaining in the EU, when they receive least EU financial assistance
&
(2) Vote to LEAVE the EU, when they recieve most EU financial assistance.

Can anyone explain this?

144:

Really?
Don't believe you.
Especially if either/both Deutsche Bank / Commerzbank go down ....
And join the "prosperous" EU containing Greece, Italy, Portugal, Ireland & the Se states.
Germany cannot carry all of them, certainly not now.

145:

A few percent a year for an indefinite period, not one-off; the total figures were a few tens of percent. We have already seen a contraction of something like 8% since January, though the 'optimists' can ignore that by quoting the figures in pounds. To see how stupid that is, do it for Zimbabwe, and the economy has boomed under Mungabe.

146:

Yes, easily. 30 years of malicious and totally false anti-EU propaganda, following the total media deregulation (i.e. handing control of it over to Murdoch et al.), which deceived the less educated portions of the population into believing UKIP. The better educated (and usually richer and less supported) people voted remain, because we could see through the lies.

147:

Greg, I have to say, as an Australian, I endorse what EC is saying here.

148:

Add in a chunk of people who voted against Callmedave and Gideon as a protest vote, not believing Leave would win or that the prophesied economic collapse could actually make things worse than they already were for them because austerity had messed them up as well.

It's not clear how much of the populace that made, at least not in any analysis I saw but it's pretty clear there was a chunk of it.

But decades of the print media building up its inaccurate anti-EU propaganda certainly had a big impact.

149:

The only party that is proposing to argue against Brexit are the LibDems. Which is nice, but on their present polling, almost irrelevant.

Not entirely true: the Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru, the Scottish Green Party, the [English/Welsh] Green Party, and the Scottish Labour Party are all anti-Brexit as well as the (UK) Liberal Democrats. Even the Scottish Conservative Party is blowing hot and cold on the subject -- much less committed than the Westminster party.

One of the nasty unacknowledged traits of the strain of English xenophobic nationalism that drives Brexit is that not only is it anti-foreigner and frankly racist; it's also anti-Scottish and anti-Irish and anti-Welsh. Think in terms of Russian nationalism's association with anti-Georgian or anti-Ukrainian sentiment: they ahare a common language and cultural roots and have had centuries of living under the same umbrella, but they're not best buddies.

The constitutional clusterfuck that is Brexit promises to inflame inter-regional ethnic resentment within the UK. I don't want to derail this into yet another discussion of the likely timing of Scottish Independence Referendum 2.0 -- which now looks increasingly possible -- but it's bad news all round.

150:

With self-sufficiency - at the least in important things such as food and energy - as an apparently necessary precondition, it is obvious that change can only take place over several decades. Self-sufficiency requires the population to decrease to a level that makes it feasible, so you have to get the birth rate down and then wait for half the population to die off.

Japan is doing this, in effect. It turns out that it takes a very long time -- most of a century -- to cut the population by 50%. It's also horribly deflationary (your ratio of work force to dependents goes to hell in a handbasket, and the crumblies need a lot of low-status human labour to support in the shape of carers with bed-pans, which turn out to be rather difficult to automate with AI and robotics). So the economic stagnation it causes puts a brake on wealth creation which in turn cramps the country's ability to re-tool for a new agricultural and economic configuration.

I see this as a "you can't get there from here" problem, unless we get our hands on a magic wand technology or two -- life prolongation medicine, good enough AI and robotics to replace carer roles -- or an entirely new political paradigm (universal basic income for starters, ditch the model of valuing jobs over people, get away from growth as a goal, and so on).

151:

I would go further, and point out that in large parts of East Anglia, we're busy destroying excellent arable land - industrial farming and the creation of vast, efficient crop fields means that the rate of peat loss is accelerating: Holme Post now stands nearly 4m out of the ground (it was hammered down into the ground clay such that its top was flat with ground level in 1852: peat shrinkage and wastage means that Holme Fen is now nearly 3m below sea level).


As for Northern Ireland - Conservative and Unionist party be damned: it's a fine old (mostly English) tradition to screw over the Irish, and I see no evidence of anyone attempting to change that (although in fairness, this is mostly because most people in Britain completely ignore or forget the existence of Northern Ireland, rather than deliberate malice)

152:

You are assuming the current level of prolonging survival in the elderly; this was not the case in the past, or today in many countries. To avoid digression into this moral morass, let's just note that it is technically possible to eliminate most of the care budget in several different ways (mostly ruthless or even heartless). I agree that we need a new political paradigm, but am horribly afraid that it will be a reversion to the 18th century (or many countries today), rather than the Utopian ones you and I would favour.

153:

You restate the truism that home assistance is hard to automate. Good home care is indeed hard to automate. However, if the past history of automation is any guide, then what we are going to see is good-enough automation. What's more, with austeritarians setting the terms of discourse, the measure of goodness will be defined in the same way as standards of eligibility for disability grants. In other words, the easy stuff is going to be automated while the hard stuff is ignored and defined away into invisibility.

I'm thinking meals-on-wheels put through the letterbox, and checking up on the demented resident via video link, with an average two day lead time if a site inspection is flagged by the automated monitoring system. There are already research projects in place for many of the easy components, and any excess mortality due to low levels of support staff would likely be seen as a positive side effect by austeritarians. If the bins are not being emptied due to council cuts combined with the politically mandatory freeze on council income, seeing the NHS doctor requires a two week waiting list and two whole days spent in a queue, and feeding the family requires frequently eating stale junk food, then there would likely be little sympathy for old people getting free food and living alone in a whole dwelling. (Even if they are incontinent, unable to clean themselves, forget they are hungry, and generally don't last long without ongoing backbreaking support from friends and family.)

Yes, it doesn't take much imagination to improve on such a local optimum. But I don't see much movement away from the path that leads to this one. In fact, the enthusiastic audiences at the recent party conference seem to be trying to speed up its arrival.

154:

Here in Ontario rural ridings consistently complain about the high-spending provincial government with its oppressive taxes and high-handed regulations, then turn around and demand more provincially-funded roads, school, and hospitals. I understand the American Red States are in a similar situation wrt Federal taxes.

Not to derail the thread, but I wonder if there's an explanation for the apparent voting against their own interest that those pro-BREXIT sections showed, that also explains other examples? I haven't come across any, but group psychology isn't my field. If anyone could provide links to an explanation I'd be grateful.

155:

Surprised that there aren't any low-cost grocery chains in the UK - they've become increasingly popular (very large increases in sales revenue) in NA to the point that they've lost their stigma, as in they're just another grocery store in the neighborhood. Savings are in the range of 10%-35% depending on items and time of year, i.e., post-holiday items which do include certain foods. Ditto for dollar-stores*. Okay - I understand that this is not a panacea for the bedsit segment, but can still be helpful. (*Interestingly, increased sales at these low-price merchants in combination with decrease sales of impulse purchases at gas station check-outs has become a pretty reliable shortcut for checking the state of the economy.)

Community gardening - I know that this exists in the UK because I've seen a couple of short docs on this topic. This is also a common initiative for local Communities in Bloom projects. Apart from household-level small-scale food production, such gardens help educate folks and their kids about their food, bring communities together because amateur gardeners from groups that would otherwise not mix/have anything in common start chatting and usu. exchanging produce. And, many of the community gardens I know of end up donating most of their production to local food banks. Yes - it's a small scale thing, but it helps.

Financial institutions - seems that quite a few of the arguments about leaving financial institutions to do business as usual (i.e., keep the billions handed out by Gov'ts for themselves and screw everyone else) boils down to the same argument used ad nauseum by Americans about why social medicine just plain can't possibly work: You must be greedy in order to be successful and/or only high-priced doctors/medicine can cure you. Really? Maybe this sector needs to be re-examined from the same perspective as socialized medicine. One of the options left to UK banks is to drop the rates they charge customers and/or go into a new market area which might attract a new type of customer.

156:

- An opportunity to change the way things are came along with the Brexit vote. No guns or bloodshed required.

- What makes you think no guns or bloodshed are required? Brexit hasn't happened yet.

Hasn't happened yet and there's already one MP dead.

(She was shot, so it's literally "guns and bloodshed", not just figuratively.)

157:

Yup, it was exactly such a new political paradigm that I was thinking of.

158:

Great, been catching up on comments and now I have Soft Cell stuck in my head.

159:

Recommend you read up on authoritarians. Really does explain A LOT of what's going on in the UK with Brexit and in the US (esp. Rep/GOP).

Robert (Bob) Altemeyer, a now-retired psych PhD/U of Manitoba prof/researcher wrote a book (free downloadable PDF) summarizing his research on this phenomenon. BTW - his research has been validated by quite a few other researchers and was also central to John Dean's best-seller 'Conservatives without Conscience'.

http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

160:

Low-cost grocery chains? Well, we have the German supermarkets Aldi and Lidl which have that reputation, but as far as I can see it is largely illusory. Trying them myself, I find they do have cheap stuff, but it tends to have problems, such as not tasting of anything or being stale from the moment of manufacture. Looking for the nearest equivalent items in Sainsbury's or Tesco (the most prolific chains), I find that their own cheapest ranges are actually cheaper for the same weight (or more weight for the same money), and on top of that they taste a lot better.

The difference is that Aldi and Lidl only have the cheap stuff, whereas in other supermarkets you have to hunt it out because they have three or four ranges of the same stuff and the cheapest ranges are least prominently displayed (and often out of stock when the more expensive ones aren't). So people end up thinking that because the cheap stuff is easy to find in Aldi and Lidl, they are cheaper, when in fact the ordinary supermarkets are the cheaper ones as long as you take the trouble to select only items from their cheapest range, and taste better too.

Of course, Aldi and Lidl are from an EU country... On the other hand, most of their stuff does bear the name of British manufacturers, albeit ones nobody's ever heard of anywhere else. So what they'll end up like with Britain out of the EU is anyone's guess.

161:

Re post 15: the amount of labor to turn it into terraces would be stunning? Here's a suggestion: use the giant trucks and shovels used for strip mining to turn them into terraces. I mean, it the US, at least some of the areas have laws about mountaintop restoration after they've removed the mountaintop.

Yeah, stunning. When you're restoring a mountaintop, you're basically after the shape shown in the picture, which is relatively easily achieved by earthmoving machinery. For terraces, (a) you need retaining walls; (b) the terraces may or may not be shaped (or rated or otherwise accessible) for heavy machinery; and (c) because you're going to farm them, you're much more worried about not losing any of the topsoil.

Once you have them, the farming will also be labour intensive (or high-tech cutting-edge); see point (b) above.

162:

We have other chains of low-cost grocery stores on a more regional basis. In Liverpool you couldn't move for Kwik-Save. When I moved to York we did actually have one Kwik-Save but it was really hard to find. Apparently while I've been in York it went through a string of mergers and then into receivership but has re-emerged so I'm not sure what it's like now, nor what's replaced it in Liverpool. Kwik-Save used to do a really cheap own brand goods range that was terrible (tins of baked beans which were dirt cheap but had hardly any beans and so on) but they rebranded and improved a lot on the product. I can't remember prices - we're talking 20+ years ago now - but from memory they were less than half price for Heinz beans and if you were chucking them in a chilli or similar they did the job just fine. If you were skint and wanted something hot and cheap they did the job ok too. According to Wikipedia these two were the origin of the bigger supermarkets doing their various cheap own-brand versions of core shopping items.

On this side of the Pennines we used to have a Jackson's, a throw-back to Co-Op days, but it went through one (or two, it wasn't that important to me so my memory is hazy) buy out steps, and the old Jackson's I used to shop in is now a Sainsbury's Local. It employs some of the same staff (there's a fair degree of churn) and less good range of goods IMO. The other local supermarket is a Spar, which is Dutch but I remember from before we joined the EEC.

I don't know what Co-operative stores are like, but they're still out there, Jackson's was a regional one.

163:

Container gardening works just fine and can be scaled up and down. Other benefit is container gardening allows for greater variety of produce grown because you can modify the soil on an as-needed basis. For the larger and more permanent project, there's also using/re-using used tires/tyres for terracing/retaining walls and even for inner walls for human dwellings.

http://tirebalehouse.com/

And as is true of all things that show increasing popularity, tire-wall building is showing signs of spawning a new industry:

http://www.tirewall.com/

164:

Regarding supermarkets (sources chosen from range of political backgrounds, mix of NGO / business involvement etc):

Look inside the UK's first 'food waste' supermarket Telegraph, 21st Sept, 2016

The Real Junk Food Project: revolutionising how we tackle food waste Guardian, 18th Sept 2016

The Real Junk Food Project Site

2010 to 2015 government policy: waste and recycling DEFRA, Policy Paper non-PDF, section #4 - Food Waste

Responses were received from 135 sites, which collectively generated 196,477 tonnes of food and packaging waste in 2012. However, details on how these wastes are managed were provided by only 84, which accounted for 138,836 tonnes of the total. Also, data were compared within a smaller sub-sample of 55 sites which provided data for all four survey years and were analysed, to identify trends.

Of the 138,836 tonnes of waste produced at sites who responded with waste management information, only 4,214 tonnes (3%) was sent to landfill, with the remaining 97% being recovered in some way. This shows that FDF members are making good progress towards meeting the FDF zero food and packaging waste to landfill target. Mixed waste represented the majority of waste sent to landfill in 2012.

Mapping Waste in the Food Industry Food&Drink Federation report, 2014

Vision 2020: UK roadmap to zero food waste to landfill Vision2020 report (glossy), PDF

New research from food waste prevention experts, WRAP, estimates that 1.9 million tonnes* of food is wasted in the UK grocery supply chain every year. However, 0.7 million tonnes of material, which could have become waste, is either being redistributed to people (47,000 tonnes; the equivalent of 90 million meals a year) or diverted to animal feed. Looking ahead, action to increase prevention of food waste could save businesses £300 million a year.

How the grocery supply chain can save £millions from tackling food waste WRAP, 16th May 2016 (broadly represent the Marketing side of the biz)

Estimates of Food and Packaging Waste in the UK Grocery Retail and Hospitality Supply Chains WRAP, PDF with more figures: of note, they state that pre-gate farm loss is ~3mt, and processing/manufacturing waste is 3.9mt: an obvious easy target to shoot at. Note - this is a really good source if you're looking for good flow charts / visual data rather than dry DEFRA etc statistical break down. Disclosure - not had time to double check their sources.

~

Take-away (pun intended): given the sterling drop and the figures that state that ~6.9mt [yes, million tonnes] is wasted even before it hits the table, any sane response would immediately focus on this. In particular, given the household %spend rising due to import costs etc, a new(ish) market of 'not-perfect' [well, it's five years old and relies on legislature from Brussels, soooo] could be a goldmine.

But in recent months there’s been a change of heart. In January, two months after the War on Waste exposé, Asda launched its Beautiful on the Inside range at a 30% discount. A month later - two days after Jamie Oliver joined Fearnley-Whittingstall in criticising supermarkets over wonky veg on his Channel 4 show Friday Night Feast - Asda started trialling a Wonky Veg box in a selection of stores. Within months it had produced research showing 65% of customers were open to buying wonky fruit and veg, while 75% were more likely to buy them if they were offered at a cheaper price. By late April it was saying demand for the boxes was “unprecedented”, as it rolled the initiative out to 500 stores.

Is the wonky veg revolution happening at last? The Grocer, 28th July 2016.

Apologies for the rational info-dump, but it does appear that outside of the media circus there is hope.

165:

Forgot the real take-away from that WRAP pdf - they value food imports @ £21 bil, and cost of food waste (total, inc. 7mt household) @ £19 bil. [page 4 for diagram]. Again - not double checked their figures.

Expect any rational politician to grab that immediately - it can easily be sold from any side of the (sane) spectrum as "their idea".

166:

That's not viable in that location. Container gardening is labour and fertiliser (whether natural or not) intensive, nothing reasonable you can do will make it highly productive there (lack of heat and sunlight), and the area has a low population density.

167:

This documentary has some interesting ideas from around the globe. (TVO is a Canadian public broadcast station that airs quite a few BBC produced docs, so worth visiting their site just for that.)


http://tvo.org/video/documentaries/10-billion-whats-on-your-plate

Air Date: Oct 04, 2016
Length: 53:19
Available Until: Nov 01, 2016

About this Video:

By 2050, the world's population will grow to 10 billion people. In the middle of the heated debate about food security comes this broad and analytical look into the enormous spectrum of global food production and distribution, from artificial meat to insects, from industrial farming to micro-farms. How will we provide enough food for everyone to survive?

168:

Then what is viable over there? Some examples of what's been tried?

169:

Great stuff - thanks!

The wonky veg, day-old bread, banged up boxes of cereals, etc. at reduced prices has also been shown to work in my neck of the woods.

170:

Contrary to game-theoretical expectations it seems most people don't behave as rational actors protecting their own interests but rather in allegiance to perceived tribalisms.

This is why political speech is obfuscatory and full of dog whistles to indicate which tribe the speaker belongs to.

171:

Possibly
But, what you say reminds me ... that we were badly let down, if not actually betrayed by ALL of our politicians leading up to the referendum vote.
The Brexiters lied in that they claimed "everything would be wonderful" ... but not one single one of them had anything remotely resembling a consistent plan as to what to do if they won.
Useless.....
Meanwhile the Remainers had no plan "B" for if they lost &, much worse, IF the EU was & is so wonderful ( It isn't. but never mind) WHY THE FUCK did they concentrate on "project fear" rather than going all-out on the supposed &/or real benefits that continued EU membership should have brought.
Utterly incompetent.

A pox on all their houses.

172:

I was aware of the US states' habits, didn't know Canada had it as well.
So much for basic facts.
But I asked WHY?
Any sensible answers, anyone?

173:

Oh yes there are!
They are called Aldi & Lidl
[ Both German-owned, IIRC ]

174:

If we're serious about cutting back on waste ...

http://www.golftoday.co.uk/clubhouse/coursedir/england.html

Golf course acreage ranges from 100 to 200 acres. With 2,989 golf courses in the UK, this means that 300,000 to 500,000 acres might be looked at for food production.

House of Lords has a £300 per day attendance allowance, plus travel expenses and subsidised restaurant facilities. There are now over 820 members of the House of Lords, up from 666 in 1999 (Thanks Dave!), so about £90 million per year in wasted food allowances for the one population segment in the UK that is unlikely to need a food allowance.


175:

Greg, it's not a matter of believing me. I was just noting something the EU could do if they were feeling particularly hostile...

176:

Rough grazing, for the hardier sheep and deer. Low-yield pulpwood and fuel forestry. Nothing else has been viable.

177:

We are in full agreement there. Nobody rational said the EU is wonderful, but that it is better than no EU and the best approach would have been reform (and I don't mean 'neo-liberalism').

178:

Okay - looked them up on Wikipedia and it seems that their respective market shares in the UK are considerably lower than in the other countries that they operate in. Is this because Brits dislike foreign merchant grocers, especially if they have German names, or is being able to shop at higher priced food retailers part of keeping up appearances? (Seriously.)


I looked up IKEA'S UK market share to check shopping at 'foreign merchant' acceptability but IKEA's doing pretty well (7.7% as reported on their site around Nov 2015), so why is the grocery segment lagging - if it is.

179:

why is the grocery segment lagging - if it is.

I believe it isn't. Most Brits buy their groceries at supermarkets. Our largest indigenous chain, Tesco, has slightly lost the plot in recent years but is terrifying and voracious enough that when Walmart moved in and bought small rival chain ASDA, they ended up wailing to the Monopolies commission a few years later about unfair and anti-competitive business practices. Translation: Walmart couldn't compete effectively in the UK supermarket sector.

Aldi and Lidl have built out slowly and carefully, moving into very specific niches -- urban, small to medium scale stores with their own-brand ranges. Meanwhile the UK supermarket chains have diversified and opened up local (small, urban) stores with extended opening hours that target poorer city dwellers.

And of course there are a fuckton of pound (dollar) stores everywhere you look, frequently selling off short-dated or surplus foodstuffs.

180:

They're both late entrants, they're both trying to break into really competitive markets and although they've both disruptive the old hands are adjusting to it.

This is a market that is so competitive Walmart tried to break in and went home with its tail between its legs.

181:

To a large extent, brexit* was about immigration, the trouble is, there's no easy way to reduce the number of people who want to come to the UK. You only have to look at Calais to see that even with a sea and armed guards, people will still risk their lives to reach Britain.
So, what May is doing is making the UK a much less appealing destination by basically running the country into the ground. Once the Pound has crashed, food prices are through the roof and unemployment is high, the reasons for wanting to some to the UK will also be reduced.
If you want to reduce immigration by any means, this is what you end up with.

* I still think "brexit" is a bloody awful phrase, but I guess we're stuck with it now.

182:

Didn't know Walmart ventured into the UK, so looked it up and found:

http://corporate.walmart.com/our-story/our-business/international/uk

'In 1999, Asda was acquired by Walmart, and in recent years, has grown to become Britain's second largest supermarket.'

There's a 2016 date on this web page, but no market share % shown.

183:

Labour's policy is a) respect the referendum b) ensure access to single market for products and services c) make state interventions possible

If the economy starts tanking, I think it's possible they will support stopping Brexit. Of course, in that case, the Tories might cancel the Brexit as well. Strategically it would be wise to keep options open until shortly before an general election: either the Tories don't deliver Brexit or they make a clusterfuck of it (right now they are on course to do both).

184:

The wonky veg, day-old bread, banged up boxes of cereals, etc. at reduced prices has also been shown to work in my neck of the woods.
And CT at #164,165

My neck of the woods too. In particular, NE US 4+ decades ago, parents, solidly lower-upper-middle-class, made these sorts of choices (e.g. day-old bread), choosing to spend money on things judged more important like things not taught in schools (dingy sailing, environmental education, travel, hobbies/crafts, etc.) These adjustments to consumerism need to be taught, e.g. by non-co-opted institutions or individuals. Pretty sure they come naturally to many UK residents, and there are living memories of tighter times to mine for techniques.

I was once given beginner training in dumpster diving (that's the US term at least) by a guy who lived in a tent in the woods. It was eye-opening to see and scavenge what was discarded. Satisfying too. US supermarkets have gotten tighter since then wrt wastage, and there is a similar movement, e.g.
http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bs-bz-grocery-food-waste-reduction-20160502-story.html
US retail wastage economics (2014) for background: http://www.businessinsider.com/why-grocery-stores-throw-out-so-much-food-2014-10

Also, somewhat unrelated, in the same era (mid 1980s) I lived in a commune situation briefly that was into frugality, and dues for food were about $2.00 per person-week, about $4.00 after inflation. Plus eggs from a chicken coop, plus a garden plus a beehive plus foraging. While that was pretty extreme for first world peeps, involving cheap grains/soybeans bought in bulk (rice a luxury), people in very poor countries are even more constrained and mostly don't starve. (Not commenting on ethics here.)
So I'm not seeing Charlie's starvation UK scenarios, except in isolation cases.

185:

Quite. Another upside of an economic crash is that it makes it easier to comply with CO2 reduction. The downside of course is, even if the people get less immigration, they are unlike to reward the ruling party at the next election.

186:

Another upside of an economic crash is that it makes it easier to comply with CO2 reduction.

The disintegration of the former USSR, and subsequent handover of the good pieces to looter-oligarchs, cut CO2 emissions faster, deeper, and for a longer time than any nation's subsequent planned reductions. Richard K. Morgan's Market Forces satirically imagined what life would be like if globalized looter-oligarchs took climate change seriously and kept expanding their power at the same time. (Not a very good book IMO, and I like most of Morgan's others, but it is amusing/frightening to imagine what happens if the billionaires decide to stabilize the climate their way.)

187:

"An opportunity to change the way things are came along with the Brexit vote. No guns or bloodshed required."

How soon you forget Jo Cox MP. Killed by a pro-Brexiteer.

188:

Cut immigration by running the country into the ground.
Al Murray proposed this in the run up to the South Thanet by election.

https://youtu.be/tADgYkAfXro

189:

No one has yet mentioned https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/250693.How_to_Cook_a_Wolf? by MFK Fisher about how to feed oneself adequately when in severely reduced circumstances.

190:

"what they'll end up like with Britain out of the EU is anyone's guess"

You could have been describing an Australian Aldi. So 'exactly the same as before' would be my guess.

191:

Yes exactly. An old schoolmate of mine is in the Australian Labor party and is a supporter of them in exactly the way one would support a football team. They can do no wrong, even when they do something that is exactly contra their principles (which is quite often) and the other side can do no right even when it's exactly in line with Labor's stated principles (which is rare but happens).

He has zero loyalty to the goals and unlimited loyalty to the 'team'.

I find it disgusting.

192:

Another aspect of British grocery shopping that's worth mentioning is the abundance of home-delivery options. Most UK chains (newcomers Aldi and Lidl being prominent exceptions) offer online ordering and delivery anywhere within n miles of one of their supermarkets. Typically they require a minimum order of £40 and charge a token fee; Asda's range between £4.50 at peak times to as low as £1 when most people are at work. You need a computer of some sort and a working Internet connection, but that's not an insurmountable hurdle even for the unemployed these days.

193:

Ah, we can tell you're not British.

Dogs and Horses are quite, quite off the menu. Cats, one supposes, but they can fend for themselves. If your horse dies, you feed it to the hounds, not the men.

~

#191

Part of what I was attempting to show with links was that multinationals ignore sovereignty: despite the media circus, the amount of inter-linked networks and complexity [with media figures such as Jamie Oliver (sponsored by Sainsburys), Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (Channel 4 / high end boutique stuff) already onboard] show that this has already been pre-gamed.

If I was going to be naughty, I'd point out that a flattening sterling is a 'controlled' way of bringing such changes about.

Then again, the markets... and more QE. And Channel 4 paid £25 mil for baking, so who knows.


[Note: this identity is getting... hmm. Attention. Time to load the bow and fire the arrow onto the ship. I'm sure you'll be able to recognize me on a different persona].

194:

I think you are seriously underestimating how tightly locked up left over food actually is in the UK. You can't just sneak into the back of a supermarket and pillage it at will, it's in huge steel bins, in a loading bay which is usually locked up. Also food waste is an economy in itself, there are quite a few biogas plants nowadays, one in Cumbernauld for instance, which reliqes on a secure regular source of food.
Moreover, food banks depend on donations. If the entire economy tanks, then fewer people will donate etc.
Having said that I think Charlies scenario is definitely at the extreme end, and a less extreme outcome is more likely.

195:

No actual wolf recipes. It's more a play on the English saying of 'keep the wolf from the door' which is about making do in hard times.

There were no wolves in wartime Britain anyway.

196:

Maybe not UN food drops but a nation where a lot of people are dependent on the charity of others - we have raised £1500 for our local food bank this year - two people, 32 hours work each.

I just hope many brexit voters recognise the consequences of their actions, but then much of their reasoning is based on putting blame and responsibility in the wrong places,

It also strikes me that an actual Blairite figure now would be in a position to clean up on business support (as happened in the early 90s when the Tory party last started chasing the.backbench). And maybe corporate businesses should be a bit more mindful of which media they are putting money into - this is what you get when you poison the well,.

The other thing I see is the sudden acceleration of the pensions crisis as tax receipts fall. pensioners have already seen service and NHS cuts that outpace their protected pensions (good news - yournpension is going up £7 a week. Bad news - we want £250 a week for cost of care and we think your house is an asset you can dispose). But there will come a point where it is a stark choice of higher income tax for workers or frozen pensions. They certainly won't be able to privatise healthcare for the over-70s, and increasingly politics is about managing the broken social contract between the retired and the employed.

My hunch - we limp along for a few years, and then pursue a very familiar free movement / free trade deal with the USA, as will be too embarsssing to rejoin the EU even in a Norway+ arrangement. After which people realise the USA is more ethnically diverse than Europe.

But at some point they will have to understand the demographic problem (and similarly that we can't simply move jobs away from the hated multicultural cities to shitholes). Except they won't - they will just be angry that you can't get an appointment with a doctor, and that everything is so expensive.

197:

"Meanwhile the UK supermarket chains have diversified and opened up local (small, urban) stores with extended opening hours that target poorer city dwellers."

I suspect it's more accurate to say they're after people who can't be arsed to go all the way to the main branch when they only want one or two things, and if there isn't a local branch won't go at all. Or people picking up milk or a quick meal on their way home, given the way so many of them are spawned of petrol stations. They're not a brilliant option if you're poor, because the cheapest ranges are conspicuous by their absence, and the ranges they do have are sometimes more expensive than the same range in the main branch. Though having said that they are about on a level with most small local food shops.

"And of course there are a fuckton of pound (dollar) stores everywhere you look, frequently selling off short-dated or surplus foodstuffs."

I'm always a bit dubious that pound shop food actually is what it claims to be. The packaging is often subtly different - slightly different shape logo, different grade of plastic, different seal or means of opening it. The labelling isn't the usual mix of Roman-script European languages, but uses a diverse selection of non-Roman alphabets from Asia and the Middle East. And the food itself often tastes peculiarly different from how you'd normally expect that item to taste; not in a going-stale kind of way, but in an it's-made-like-that way. It may just be that brands' Asian versions genuinely do have different flavourings and packaging, but finding slightly dodgy goods in pound shops is not uncommon, and I think fakery is also a likely explanation.

198:

"I don't know what Co-operative stores are like, but they're still out there, Jackson's was a regional one."

One of my local shops is a Co-op. I can't discern any significant difference from any of the other common local food shops (Costbooster, Miserable Shopper etc.) Same kind of stuff as a supermarket's low-to-mid-price range, with less variety due to lack of space, at somewhat more than supermarket prices but with some usefully cheap items if you hunt them out.

Kwik Save, I thought that had gone the way of all flesh years ago. I used to be masochistically fond of their ultra-cheap rough-as-a-badger's-arse own-brand coffee, made double strength, no milk or sugar. And it still puzzles me how biscuits made using the same moulds as Custard Creams, but brown and with an orange filling, could exist in such profusion in Kwik Save bags of broken biscuits when they never existed anywhere in an unbroken state.

199:

So combining that with the figures on Charlie's foodsecurity page, if we stopped importing food, stopped exporting food, and stopped throwing food away, we'd actually be better off than we are at the moment. At least, so it looks...

200:

There is pressure in the UK to convert farmland near cities into suburbs and new housing which takes it out of production and further drives the importation of basic foodstuffs.

As for terracing the Highlands, forget it. They are at the same latitude as the southern end of the Hudson Bay and get about the same amount of sunlight per annum. They are mostly hard rock under a thin (very thin) layer of impoverished soil, having been scraped clean by the glaciers of the last Ice Age only ten thousand years ago.

Reindeer might be a goer though.

201:

'but you don't fix something by breaking it even harder."

Unless the purpose is to break the Greek government to your will. All the bail-outs have goon to the foreign banks.

202:

Yes - certainly in some parts of the country. In the poorer parts of Greater Manchester, for example, especially if you were living on council estates that were a bit out from the local town centre, it could be quite the trek to get to a supermarket rather than a corner store. Bus services aren't cheap - and once you get off main arterial routes - they can be surprisingly infrequent due to low usage (a function of their expensiveness and frequent unreliability).

And in some cases, once you got to the supermarket it would be no great shakes (want mouldy oranges, go to Morrisons!).

You could probably get delivery, but that's not free, often requires a minimum spend, and involves having internet access in the first place. Classic poverty premium stuff.

203:

Sorry to pick this nit or did I miss something?

and Sterling has dropped by roughly 20% since the Brexit referendum 4 months ago, to an all-time historic low.

and lower down

And the currency we buy our food imports with just crashed 10% this week, and 25% over the past four months.

204:

"I'm calling Hard Brexit a road to mass starvation and famine-grade deaths on a scale not seen in the UK since the Hungry Forties (that's the 1840s, not the 1940s)."

I don't know whether or not you'll see famine. I hope not. I think it's very likely that the U.K. will see a sustained, sizeable increase in the proportion of people experiencing food insecurity and chronic malnutrition - so I'd also expect to see broadly corresponding increases in things such as stunting, rickets (from lack of vitamin D in diet), respiratory conditions and, in time, more people having infants with a low birth weight.

I think there is reason to assume that - to some extent irrespective of Brexit - housing conditions at the low-end of the rental sector (esp private landlords) will also continue to deteriorate under the current regime. Cold, mouldy housing is associated with excess winter deaths, respiratory illness and poorer mental health among other things - and the people at most risk for chronic malnutrition will also be the ones living in these conditions, with all of their attendant health risks. It's not a good combination.

205:

Brexit might be a big change, but I doubt it is going to be as bad as many think. It is definitely not going to lead to famine. As best I can tell, the people dying of hunger in the UK today are dying as a result of austerity policies, not due to exchange rates. The UK can produce a lot more food than it does now given incentives. Wheat productivity is 2 to 3 times higher than during World War II, and most modern wheat was developed at a UK research facility. Maybe it is time to rethink UK agriculture and industry.

Brexit would give the UK some space for import replacement. Right now, the UK has a lopsided economy with too much emphasis on London and the financial sector. The rest of the country is ignored and undercapitalized, and it knows it. I'm with Jane Jacobs on import replacement. Global supply chains have their place, but they tend to ride roughshod over the links in the chain.

I read Le Defi Americaine, so I know what the EU was about. I've always admired JJSS, but the euro has been a disaster, and the EU has worked against one of Europe's long term strengths. Its lack of a unified government has meant an ability to experiment and explore different approaches to problem solving. Yes, this can get out of hand - e.g. World War II - but the EU has squelched this.

London was a financial center before the UK joined the EU. After Brexit, London might become a more important financial center. London is not about ATMs in small French towns or lending to Greek home buyers. The kind of people who bank in London or Zurich (another non-euro center) or New York would likely prefer less EU involvement not more. I doubt anyone is loving Brexit, but it does offer some real opportunities.

206:

I mean, it the US, at least some of the areas have laws about mountaintop restoration after they've removed the mountaintop.

Yeah, stunning. When you're restoring a mountaintop, you're basically after the shape shown in the picture, which is relatively easily achieved by earthmoving machinery.

This is mostly about mountains in the eastern US. Which are much more like large piles of gravel held firmly in place. Out west in the US and I think in Scotland we're talking mountain sized rocks with a bit of dirt on top. The scrape it down and put it back doesn't work all that well with solid rock.

207:

No
It's because they are not actually that much cheaper, once you work it out - & Sainsbury's/Waitrose - Where I do my minimal supermarket shopping are as cheap, for what I want.
There is such fierce intra-competition in that market, that price differentials are very samll.
One interesting thing:
Sainsbury's is better value for vino, Waitrose for beer ....

What shocks me is the price of vegetables in supermarkets - but then, I'm not buying those, am I ....

208:

There remains the possibility, that ... until the very last day ( = 2y - 729 d ) it is possible to drop At 50 & go back to status quo ante ...
If the exit terms are shite, it's also possible to call a second referendum - on the terms of the exit deal ( Which is a different matter to "Wanting to leave" )
Um, err ....

209:

"London was a financial center before the UK joined the EU. After Brexit, London might become a more important financial center."

One reason the London financial sector is so big is that it's an English-speaking business hub for an open community of 500 million people. After Brexit it's the capital of a country off the coast of a community with 450 million people, with razor wire and papers please and work permits and temporary visas to keep the foreigners out, the reason most Brexiters voted to leave and which the Tory party will implement to keep those voters on their side.

210:
I believe that is not the case - all the EU member countries are individual WTO members as well as the EU being a member in its own right.

Are you sure about that? I was basing on this article in The Economist:
http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21708264-theresa-may-fires-starting-gun-what-looks-likely-be-hard-brexit-taking-britain-out

In any event a fifth requirement is for Britain to resume full membership of the WTO, to which it now belongs merely via the EU. That is less simple than it sounds. In many areas, it can be achieved by simply inheriting the EU’s tariff schedule, at least initially. But Britain will have to divide up import quotas and other trade preferences with its EU partners, which may not be straightforward. The WTO always proceeds slowly and by consensus among its 163 other members, any one of which could obstruct the British.
211:

Is that a real possibility? I had a look at the Article 50 wording, and some of it's open to interpretation; but the unanimous agreement of the remaining EU membership is needed, even to extend the two years.
Whether it's a real possibility or not, we'd be very unwise to assume it can be done.

212:

Day-old bread, begorrah! Real (heavier) bread keeps for a week in normal household conditions (temperature and humidity). That includes most of the breads eaten in northern Europe, though France favours light bread that doesn't keep. On the basis of not causing offence to transpondians, I shall refrain from making remarks about standard USA supermarket bread. A lot of older people in the UK grew up with food shortages, and the throw-out mentality is more common among younger people. There is also an education link, because some of us know what isn't likely to be dangerous and throw out such foods only when they become distasteful or unusable.

To Catherine Taylor: horse isn't as far off the menu as you think. It is obtainable in the UK, though only in a few places, and many of us have eaten it and are happy to. I don't like it, because it is too sweet for me.

213:

It's worse. A lot of pension funds rely heavily on the housing market and, if that crashes (3x, not 30%), some of them will go bankrupt or renege. And, if that happens, the government will both renege on its guarantees and fiddle the law to allow them to renege. Can anyone remember the details of when that last happened in a similar context? It was quite a few decades back now, and I have forgotten.

214:
Personally I’d guess that the Dutch really, really had it hard during WW2 just based on how much taller the 3rd and 4th generations grew … plus their expanded waist sizes even though their diets and lifestyles aren’t anywhere near as bad as in NA.

Yes, it is well known still here in the Netherlands how bad it was. The worst part was called the "hongerwinter" (hunger winter), when the southern part of the country was already liberated but the most densely populated part wasn't. Not only was there no supply of food, the winter itself was also particularly harsh. People had to resort to eating dog, cats, and flower bulbs.

See for instance wikipedia and the dutch version thereof.

215:

Personally I’d guess that the Dutch really, really had it hard during WW2 just based on how much taller the 3rd and 4th generations grew

The Hunger Winter was one of the events that led to the field of epigenetics. It's a classic example (along with Överkalix, a Norwegian village).

Article with some technical details:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2579375/

216:

DSO you really, really believe that?
You are suffering from the usual rounnd here.
The tories are all fascists, but momentum aren't communists, oh noe!

217:

"We haven't got to the end of the transition-period, it was all a horrible mistake, we are dropping it"
Or equivalent.

218:

Which then might get the response sod off, or equivalent.

219:

Charlie --

If the best thing anyone can say about European Union is "no army has crossed the Rhine since 1945", then I do not see EU surviving another generation, possibly much less.

You are absolutely right -- familiarity does breed contempt, and the further WWII recedes into history, the more absurd the very notion of an army crossing the Rhine becomes. Using it to justify the EU becomes akin to the joke: "Why are you jumping on one leg?" "To keep the tigers away!". Except given how pretty much everyone has some gripe about EU bureaucracy, it is more like: "Why are you putting these ridiculous holes in the road, which force everyone to jump on one leg?" "To keep the tigers away!". (Tiger-repulser promptly thrown off the nearest cliff.)

I am not saying this is the reality of EU, but is increasingly the perception.

Few months ago I saw somewhere the following response to "no army has crossed the Rhine" argument (quoting from memory):

The last three times armies crossed the Rhine were because Germany was run by a megalomaniac and France got shat on. The time before that was the other way around. By now both Germans and French have figured out that megalomaniacs do not make good leaders, and that's the reason armies stopped crossing the Rhine. Not the EU.

220:

Now the trick is to convince all those other countries.

221:

* I still think "brexit" is a bloody awful phrase, but I guess we're stuck with it now.

I believe this is known as "brexceptance".

222:

Re: 'The UK can produce a lot more food than it does now given incentives'

Is land ownership still mostly British? And even if it is, what proportion is corporate with 21st century uber-capitalist ways of doing business i.e., next to no chance of any gov't subsidies/handouts trickling down to consumers? I've seen the BBC doc Wartime Farm (WW2) showing how involved the WarAg Ministry was as well as the very high level of compliance achieved. But my impression is that agriculture in Britain during WW2 was still almost entirely in private hands vs. corporate.


214 & 215 - Thank you for this info!


207 - Veg prices have climbed in my area too. Something that I don't recall anyone mentioning is the potentially increased risk of losing cargo ships as maritime weather worsens thus driving prices even higher*. Plus there's OPEC deciding to start increasing oil prices ... cargo ships still use oil, right? Maybe it's time to revert to sail power. Or too high oil prices could strengthen the argument for increased local food production.

* I think that the correspondence of price rise to risk of mal-nourishment is going to steepen/accelerate. Physical health consequences tend to follow a U-shaped curve and not a 1-to-1 straight-line relationship.

223:

"The last three times armies crossed the Rhine were because Germany was run by a megalomaniac and France got shat on. The time before that was the other way around. By now both Germans and French have figured out that megalomaniacs do not make good leaders, and that's the reason armies stopped crossing the Rhine. Not the EU."

The French have come close to electing an out-and-out fascist as President a couple of times in the past thirty years or so, and might still do so for the fascists' less-principled daughter. The folks voting today don't remember the war and the events that led up to it and what could be the harm for voting for a fascist who promises to make France strong again?

224:

'The damp' - Was of the impression that lye, calcium chloride and silica gel kitty litters were commonly used old-school dehumidifying agents. Believe that they're also reusable provided you set up right, i.e., poke a hole or seven in the calcium chloride container, place container over a drip pan, monitor drip pan and make sure you empty it when full, etc.

Recall seeing lye specifically mentioned as a good way to dehumidify a veg pantry ... again, this was a BBC doc series (Victorian Farm or Edwardian Farm).

225:

"What's surprising to me is just how thoroughly the Tories committed to closed borders. Like... they could probably get a Norwayesque deal if they wanted to, right? That would be way worse than what they have now, but it would preserve a lot of benefits... and also require a certain amount of free movement. And they're all "nope, nope nope nope nope. Gotta keep them wogs out.""

At the risk of being chastised for bringing in US politics, this is a common thread, and one crossing Europe at the moment. It's turning out that the real motivations behind right-wing 'populist' politics are not economic, but racial, and by that I mean people who don't *mind* anymore that people are waving the swastika at their rallies.

226:

"The is no reason to believe that the UK will default on its debts or try to unexpectedly try to devalue them."

If the markets think that the pound will fall further against the dollar/euro, then they'll want higher interest rates.

227:

These are not that good at all. Also not completely re-usable. Oh, and then there's the problem and expense of getting hold of them in the first place; as a first world country the access of the populace to previously commonly used chemicals is limited. If you want to keep your caravan damp free for a few months storage, fine. If you want to sort out a room you use and that has damp in it, you can't. Unless you can afford buckets and buckets of new chemicals every week.

I tried one of these silica gel things when I was concerned about it getting a bit damp in my flat. The uptake ability was poor, and it was expensive. Ended up getting a proper electric one which works fine, but I don't need it much. An actual poor person can't afford the electricity to run one of them.

228:

I've seen quite a few right wing anti-Europe folk complaining now about how they didn't vote out for all this xenophobic stuff to suddenly be the number one priority of the tory party, as if all the other reasons for voting out don't exist.

229:

Hmmm... Silica gel kitty litter is AFAIK a fairly recent method of exploiting people who have more money than sense. (The usual method is fuller's earth. Sensible people, though they are an inexplicably tiny minority, don't spend money on it, but dig up soil out of the nearest available patch of bare ground - few people live in such a concrete jungle that there isn't such a patch at hand.) People usually encounter silica gel in diddy little packets used in packaging to keep things dry in transit, and I suspect mostly aren't aware that it is available in bulk. Certainly the standard advice given to people who drop their mobile phone down the toilet is not to use a bag of silica gel to dry it out (nor is it "leave it there", unless they ask me), but to use a bag of rice as a dessicant.

Calcium chloride is not a standard domestic chemical. I don't recall ever seeing it in an ordinary shop.

Sodium hydroxide (caustic soda, lye) is available in hardware stores; the price is of the order of £2.50 for 250g. This makes it impractical for use as a one-shot bulk dessicant.

Indeed, the volume of water involved means that bulk use of any dessicant is impractical. If you operate a dehumidifier or an air conditioner even in a "dry" room, it will condense pints of water per day. To dry out a "damp" room with dessicant would require ridiculous quantities of it.

It is true that all these substances can be re-used, but that means heating them to drive the water off. If you're trying to get rid of water vapour, you have to vent that which is driven off, so you end up losing most of the waste heat as well. If you are struggling to afford necessities, you're better off using the energy for straightforward space heating (or cooking - which itself promotes dampness) than messing about with dessicants. If you're not struggling, you're better off buying a dehumidifier.

Any real, effective solution is expensive, whether by reason of the energy required for effective palliation or the building works required to sort out the problem at root.

230:

WHY?

Sorry but actually, the EU ( NOT "Europe" ) does not want us to leave, though you wouldn't think it every time the slime Juncker opens his mouth ...

231:

I remember that greasy turd fromage said something similar the day after the referendum result and all i could think was...

Her name was Jo Cox!
Her name was Jo Cox!
Her name was Jo Cox!
Her name was Jo Cox!
Her name was Jo Cox!

232:

I've been thinking about Brexit for awhile, and I think it represents very poor short term thinking. In the 3-30 year timetable it is very poor policy that will, as OGH notes, massively reduce the quality of most lives in the U.K.

On the other hand, Brexit may just be brilliant - though quite selfish - on the 40-100 year timetable. When the global temperature hits plus 3-4 degrees centigrade and most of Africa and the Muddled East stop producing food, and even Southern Europe has trouble feeding itself, when the sea starts to rise and refugees are crossing borders in the tens or hundreds of millions...

At that point Brexit will seem to be an amazingly intelligent and forward-looking policy which is responsible for making sure that the U.K. is a bastion of civilization. Selfish civilization. Perhaps even an ugly civilization. But there will be enough food. The windmills in Scotland will make sure there is sufficient power. Small families will be mandatory. The U.K. will continue its tradition of maintaining a powerful navy (mainly to keep immigrants away) and life will go on due to the amazing, brilliant, thoughtful decisions made by Nick Farage and Theresa May way back in 2016.

I'm aware that there are ugly elements to the future I am proposing. One might even describe the whole thing as "dystopian." Ideally, in such an ugly circumstance, the U.K. would close its borders without throwing out all the Jews, Hindus, and Africans first - let's keep the gene pool as large as possible - though I don't think anyone is being that rational currently!

But when the seas start to rise, Brexit will be brilliant! It will be YUUGE!

233:

The U.K. will continue its tradition of maintaining a powerful navy
Unfortunately, NO.
The last Prime Minister who was not a traitor, was a Labour one - Jim Callaghan - who was ex-Navy.
Every PM since then has cut the Navy ( & other "services", but the Navy is the important one ... )
Will May reverse this trend?

234:

That would require spending money, but I am not sure they actually want to do that. Besides, to keep all the desperate immigrants out of the country you just need a few gunboats.

235:

Personally, this is my biggest fear: Not the short term pain and discomfort, not of a "failed" BRExit, but that the whole process will ultimately be seen as successful, that it will bequeath a legacy of fear-driven politics, of politics that seeks to appease the basest meanest nastiest elements of our collective psyche, and which drives out from the political class those with nobler higher goals. That we ultimately have a prosperous nation, but at the cost of the humanity of our children.

236:

Calcium chloride is not a standard domestic chemical. I don't recall ever seeing it in an ordinary shop.

Interesting. Back in the day[1] in the US it was the standard chemical to add to water to keep the water in farm and construction equipment from freezing in the winter. Any tire store that dealt with such had a supply around.

[1] From age 15 to 20 (late 60s/earch 70s) I earned my spending money mowing fields and at times you'd spill a bit either from a tire puncture or when adding air. You quickly learned where every scratch was on any skin the treated water touched.

237:

Hi Greg.

You said the following @111, and have said so before, but I am unconvinced:

the one part of the brexiters arguments that IS true is: "they need us more than we need them"

Can you expand and show your thinking? The best I can make out is that neither side can totally fuck the other without fucking themselves also, but that the EU has the edge through simple fact of economically being the 800lb gorilla to the UK's 500lb one.

238:

Almost had it there.

Italy (not Deutsche Bank) is the counter-point to all of this.

Sterling is getting the 'rods from God', and the short/medium term effects are sure to be nasty. But what everyone is worried about is that European Banks are still on the hook.

If you wanted a version of this tale that is not a happy one: consider Sterling the first 're-evaluation'. You might want to not consider dollar or Euro parity until they've had the dance with the Red Queen.

Trump won't win, but the actual damage is, well: L'État, c'est moi. Across the spectrum (from D.C., to London, to Paris, to Moscow, to Manila and beyond) there's been some evaluations going on.

~

There's a small subset of Children of Men who think they've got their Golden Tickets / Life Boats. Bend the knee, serve, pardoned and all that jazz (be it for the Light or the Dark).

Recent Oglaf comic is a good one.

Mutatis mutandis.

239:

Ahh..trust me.

Fear lost.

Quite badly, in fact.

Oh, it won with the old Minds around the place, but that was never the goal.

~


It takes a while to shake out, but: fear / psychosis type stuff?


Paradigm shifts, soon[tm].

240:

Soon is a marvellous word. I once forgot how to spell it and spent 10 minutes writing variations to see which "looked" right.

I hope that this particular soon, is a soon of human, even political scope, and not a soon of geological or cosmological soon-ness.

241:

It's a very tough question, isn't it? In the face of global warming, what are you willing to do, (or willing to have the government do in your name) to preserve civilization?

That being said, let's define civilization: Good medical care. Good education offered to all children. University educations being available to some reasonable subset of the population. Decent infrastructure - clean water, sewage and electricity. Centralized government which deals intelligently with taxation, foreign policy and defense. Local government which deals with policing, licensing, inspections, and fire control issues. Some mechanism to make sure that nobody is hoarding food or medicines. Continued study of science and engineering, possibly including geo-engineering. Notice the things I've left out...

How many starving Pakistani children will need to die on some French beach for civilization to continue in the U.K.? How many starving Pakistani children can the U.K. admit without overwhelming its own resources and allowing civilization to collapse?

Of course, the pro-Brexit voters aren't thinking about that... They just hate the wogs.

242:

The UK (since this is pre-300, and Host's question remains unanswered) has entered a kind of twilight zone:

#1 Housing is a huge issue, and hasn't been resolved.[see 2]
#2 Equity / Rent seeking is a main pin of the economy. [see 1]
#3 Import/Export stuff revolves around the IMF / Geopolitical stuff. "Can't have chocolate without slavery" [see 4]
#4 Consumerism / Saachi = Queen levels of "we want it, and we want it now" [see 3]
#5 Pension Funds are being raided by Vulture Funded bastards across the board and even then the slight pickings left over are then raided by other vultures. [see 6]
#6 "Pensions don't work" narrative / Hedge Funds / all that Jazz (who perform under the market fucking Turkey shoot that is: QE). [see 5]


And so on.


It's a Paradox Weapon. It's also an entire class (non-Marxist here, think more Scientology) of 'humans' [They're Not] who think the best thing about a system is how to maximize their benefit by breaking it. [And no, they don't represent anything else, they've no idea how to make a new system].


But, basically, it boils down to the old old problem of Monarchy: when inbred children fuck up.

243:

Too simplistic. If the markets expect a future fall in the forex rate, then interest rates will rise. If the fall has happened and bottomed out, rates will not rise, they may even fall. Investors will only be hurt in the latter case, not the former.

For those old enough to remember the time of fixed exchange rates, when Sterling was unexpectedly devalued against the dollar (the PM said the rate wouldn't change, but next day it was) foreign investors holding gilts were hurt.

244:

"If the economy starts tanking, I think it's possible they will support stopping Brexit. Of course, in that case, the Tories might cancel the Brexit as well. Strategically it would be wise to keep options open until shortly before an general election: either the Tories don't deliver Brexit or they make a clusterfuck of it (right now they are on course to do both)."

As has been pointed out, once they pull the trigger, a two-year hard clock has started.

And from what I've read, either way (exit carried out or exit aborted) requires unanimous agreement from 27 countries. When you combine that with the internal factional squabbles within those countries, it's a rough row to hoe for the exiting country. Which is presumably why those conditions were implemented back in the day.

245:

On the basis of not causing offence to transpondians, I shall refrain from making remarks about standard USA supermarket bread.
I have no issue with these sorts of remarks. :-) You might try visiting a large summer US state or county fair, and sampling the specialties for which they are famous. Or just search google for - state fair deep fried
A lot of older people in the UK grew up with food shortages, and the throw-out mentality is more common among younger people. There is also an education link, because some of us know what isn't likely to be dangerous and throw out such foods only when they become distasteful or unusable.
Yes, this sort of inter-generational education would happen very quickly if people started getting hungry.

246:

Notice the things I've left out...
You might want to make these things explicit. Curious about your priorities (which I probably mostly agree with to be honest).

247:

I hope that this particular soon, is a soon of human, even political scope,...
I am optimistic. Also hoping CS is feeling a little less fear about extreme UK starvation scenarios.

248:

" made these sorts of choices (e.g. day-old bread)"

Ever since I bought my first bread machine back in '97 I've enjoyed making 4 pound batches of dough from equal parts flour, cornmeal and soy flour, a couple times a month. Back in '08 when the credit crunch blew up I wondered if bank failures, foreclosures and armies of homeless transients would appear like in the 30's again, so just as an experiment I got a dozen ears of field corn and some soybeans from nearby acreage, dried it in the microwave and ground it up in an old blender. It took hours, having to repeatedly sieve and regrind but I ended up with a batch of bread equal in flavor and quality to what I'd been using store bought ingredients for. Dividing the value of comparable Walmart cornmeal and soy flour by my hours worked only yielded a fifty cent per hour result, however, even with power appliances to assist. Plus the store bought is shelf stable from heat treatment before packaging, so it doesn't go moldy like the excess I tried keeping in containers on the porch all winter. Had to discard it, no point poisoning myself with aflatoxin over a trivial expense. But the experiment proved to my own satisfaction that even if economic, political or climate disasters affect food prices, what we use to feed livestock with can be made into perfectly nourishing human food as well, at a tiny fraction of what stores charge for it.

249:

I'm going to leave that lie for a couple days. If nobody notices what I didn't say, ping me in a couple days.

250:

You didn't explicitly mention housing, or are you counting it as infrastructure? You didn't say "Good jobs available to all adults", or indeed mention work (or alternative ways of gaining an income), at all. You didn't mention a responsible news, entertainment, and media sector. You didn't mention public libraries or museums, though probably your list of infrastructure items wasn't meant to be exhaustive. And you didn't mention art and the humanities, and a reasonable chance for anyone who wants to practise these to do so, no matter how economically useless they might appear.

251:

GROW UP
What we need are "Cruisers" in the old-fashioned sense. ( "Frigates" in days of sail )
And several small aircraft carriers ( I think the monsters under construction at the moment are a mistake .... )

252:

This, that you said, principally:
The best I can make out is that neither side can totally fuck the other without fucking themselves also,
But, also, Germany needs us as a counterweight to France & to some extent, the other way around as well.
We are a very large net contributor to the EU's income - if we leave then someone else (Germany) is going to have to carry that load.

253:

More semi-racist (as in anti-English) nonsense
Why are starving "Pakistani" ( YOUR word) children starving on a French beach?
When France & Italy & ... are already "safe havens" by international definition for refugees?
People seem to consistently & carefully ignore that one, I wonder why ....

OTOH, every time I go to Liverpool St station ( at least once a week ) I walk past the statues of the "Kindertransporten" _ & I saw the Winton train arrive there.

254:

OK
Catina Diamond / Nix Ninoy / Catherine Taylor ( & 1 other whose name I forget ) ...
You actually have a point here:
who think the best thing about a system is how to maximize their benefit by breaking it.

See today's news about RBS deliberately sending firms in difficulty, whom they were SUPPOSED to be helping into bankruptcy, so they could hoover-up the short-term profits.

255:

Pocket aircraft carriers (through-deck cruisers!) are pretty pointless when we can't afford the planes to fill them. Ditto the monster carriers.

And don't get me started on what 'extended readiness' means - hint think Camphor.

256:

The six type 45 "first letter D" destroyers are cruisers by any other name, 8000 tons and state of the art stuff. Their role as fleet escorts does raise the question of what are they escorting ...

... hence the carriers. Simply put, a big carrier is far more capable than a similar tonnage of Invincible size carriers. The MOD went back and forth over the air group, and we are now back with the STOVL version of the F35 and no catapult/arrester. Although not yet.

257:

'Travellers in Scotland reported permanent snow cover over the Cairngorm Mountains in Scotland at an altitude of about 1200 metres.'
Or a bit over 3_600 feet, at which height most of the Scottish Munroes are plain granite or Lewisian Gneiss, which even goats struggle to eat! ;-)

258:

Seriously?

225g or so of mushrooms is about enough for 2 meals for me; 3 onions is enough for 3.

259:

Different analysis to other commentators on (un)popularity of Aldi and Lidl wrt "UK supermarkets".

From my mother's house 3 of the "UK supermarkets" have branches within 1 mile; the nearest Aldi is 4 miles and the nearest Lidl 8 (or possibly the other way about). Regardless of what you think of their ownership and products, it obviously requires substantially higher investment in time/money to visit them.

260:

Key word "gunboats"; the present (and should have been ordered) destroyers and frigates are designed for fleet defence work I think.
For fisheries protection/anti-smuggling/border patrol duties I'd suggest that vessels similar to the RAS Arimdale class https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armidale-class_patrol_boat possibly with a second Typhoon cannon would be more suitable.

261:

"We are a very large net contributor to the EU's income - if we leave then someone else (Germany) is going to have to carry that load..."

You know, perhaps I shoudn't be surprised anymore, but I can't but wonder how you can still operate under the assumption the EU has a huge budget and spends like a true 'superstate'.

Actually the Union spends roughly 130 billions € yearly. Germany's contribution is 25% of the total, about 30 billions (of which roughly 11.5 are spent in Germany itself). Not exactly trifling amounts... but Germany's yearly budget is a whooping 1,224 billions euros!

From another point of view, Britain's yearly contribution to the EU, after the rebate, is above 14 billions pounds (about 6 billions spent in Britain and 8 of net contribution). But the total budget of the United Kingdom? About 750 billions pounds. In other words, your net contribution to the Union is roughly 1% of your total public expenditure (to put it in another way, you spent 143 billions in pensions and 127 in healthcare).

Brexit means the Union will have to raise 8 billions pounds (euros, actually, I'm not going to enter foreign exchange minefields) of which at least 2 will fall on Germany.

That's peanuts. To expect the 27 to make significant concessions in order to avoid this expenditure is dellusional.

262:

One result of Brexit will likely be even more deregulation, possibly radical deregulation. As the UK becomes un-attractive to invest in because of Brexit (lack of access to markets, increased costs of doing business, smaller talent pool to draw on, yada yada yada), removing protection and oversight from a whole swathe of businesses, especially finance, will be a way to keep capital sweet and stay in the country. Not necessarily nice for the rest of us.

263:
Nobody likes the EU, but it is now becoming clear by just how great a margin it is the lesser evil.
I do.

I don't like it as much as I'd like to, but a lot of that's due to all the pandering it has to do to the UK.

264:

Related to food banks, just got pointed at this somewhat interesting piece (NY Times) about better allocation of food to food banks using virtual currency and bidding:
Sending Potatoes to Idaho? How the Free Market Can Fight Poverty
"He understood that you can use the market as a tool without embracing an entire ideology."
I too have mixed feelings about these sorts of approaches but they do seem to work well in practice.

(via https://www.balloon-juice.com/author/richard-mayhew/ if anyone cares; he mostly focuses on the US health care system; decent analyst.)

265:

I really don't beleieve in mass starvation, but a substantial increase in food price may lead to increased morbility/mortality (people stuffing themselves with high-calories cheap junk food, lack of vitamins, trace elements and such, alcohol abuse...)

Re: Italy, economic trends show a small pointing upwards, unless the unholy alliance of Corbynite leftists, far Right and FiveStar Farage's bedfellows manages to screw our constitutional reform referendum, Brexitwise. But even and its worst, no famine and fresh food still available cheap. (Even what you call 'em, bedsit accomodations, have access to a true kitchen with gas range and a fridge so you can cook sups)

266:

Agree - maybe
Problem is that there should be 12 or 15 "D" types out there or ordered.

267:
I also like having a passport that gets me access to a democratic polity of 500M people as of right.
Nitpick -- people keep underestimating the size of the EU. Currently it's about 741 million, i.e. 10% of the population of the world. Brexit will drop it to around 9%.

Another good reason for Turkish accession.

268:

Higher taxes on real estate owned by foreign nationals: Saw there's some movement on introducing this in the UK. With Brexit in countdown mode, will this become a new source of (bridging) tax funds? Additional/incremental tax on real estate owned by foreigners was recently introduced in British Columbia to help curb their skyrocketing housing market. Seems to have worked a bit. No idea though how their Gov't is planning to use this money although building more affordable housing would probably be a good idea.


Re: alternate dehumidifiers

Also - thank you to those who enlightened me re: how chemical compounds don't work nearly as well/efficiently as electrically powered dehumidifiers. As I believe that alternate approaches are worth considering, I looked further and found that some house plants are very good at taking moisture out of the air, e.g., Peace lily, reed palm, English ivy, Boston fern, Tillandsia (grows in tropical rain forests, swamps, etc. Okay - I realize that house plants require an initial investment but plants propagate fairly quickly. And as in-door gardeners know, one of the challenges is finding someone who's willing to accept your ever-increasing stockpile of plants. A plus is that some of these plants don't need any soil. Some perform best in bright sunlight, others prefer less light.


269:
Like I said elsewhere, if the EU Parliament ran the show with (say) Council of Ministers as second chamber and the Commission doing what they were told by Parliament, I would have voted remain.

There is no system like that in the world (for good reasons).

The UK parliament doesn't "run the show". The government, at the orders of the cabinet, does that. (The nearest EU institution to the UK cabinet is the Commission).

The problem with democracy in the EU is that the Council has too much power and the parliament too little. We know why that is, don't we -- because that's how the governments of the member states want it.

270:

Greg.

You made three points, none of which I find particularly compelling in support of the assertion that "they need is more than we need them". I'm going to address these out of order.

Firstly:

We are a very large net contributor to the EU's income - if we leave then someone else (Germany) is going to have to carry that load.

My response to this point is basically exactly the same as Alatriste @261 -- I did similar back of the envelope calculations when debating BRExit on another forum, and just couldn't see where the "UK contributes soooo much to the EU that we're critical to it". If you have different figures and sources that show how the UK does contribute a huge percentage of the total EU budget, then please share.

Secondly:

But, also, Germany needs us as a counterweight to France & to some extent, the other way around as well.

My rebuttal to this also applies to the budgetary claim above: This is only a factor if we are negotiating our continued membership of the EU. Once the UK leaves, it will presumably no longer contribute a penny to the EU budget, not will it have any voice in the EU parliament or other organs of government. Therefore neither of these points are useful bargaining chips when it comes to the terms of the UK's departure from the EU.

Thirdly, you agreed with my "neither side can fuck the other without fucking themselves", but I think you misunderstood my meaning. I don't see this as something that gives us additional leverage in the negotiations. In fact, as I went on the point out, it pretty much levels the playing field so that only the relative economic clout of EU vs UK is relevant. Purely on that basis, the EU, as the larger market, has the edge.

In the end, economically both sides want to get the best deal possible without hurting themselves; but politically Brussels has to hurt the UK, if they give any ground on decoupling free trade from freedom of movement (which is likely to be the big ask from the UK), they may as well ring the bell and call time on the whole EU.

I still fail completely to see how the assertion "they need us more than we need them" is more than wishful thinking, without amending it to read "they need us in the EU more than they need us out of the EU".

271:
My only direct knowledge of a problem is the huge bureaucracy.
If you think 33,000 people is a huge bureaucracy...
272:

That's completely incorrect. That's the population of Europe, including Russia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europe
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union

Short version, the EU's current population is 510 million.

273:

There's also a repeated mistake in Dirk's statement, one that has been made and rebutted time and again here and elsewhere. To whit: The Council and Commission do not make the laws, new EU law can only be proposed by the EU Parliament (the place with the elected MEPs, elected by us, a fact that Brexiteers like to slide on by and ignore on repeat), so the claim that we have no say in EU and are ruled by faceless unelected bureaucrats is verifiably nonsense with about 30 seconds work on Google.

However, Dirk and others prefer to stick their heads in the sand and continually trot out the "sovereignty" line over and over, without any real ability to define what "sovereignty" means or why they dislike one set of elected officials legislating their lives as opposed to another (except that one contains people who don't look and sound like proper British people). When called on this, they tend to do exactly what Dirk did here: Throw their hands up and say "I'm tired of debating this over and over" -- carefully avoiding mention of the fact that they've been proved wrong over and over.

274:

Especially considering that the UK has around 400,000, vs around 50,000 all up officially working for the EU.

The number of UK citizens directly working for the EU is very low, but that is because the number of UK citizens who speak multiple languages is lower than the average across Europe, and you must have a second language of English, German or French to work for the EU.

275:

And I'm not even touching on the fact that the UK has a track record of electing anti-EU cockwombles like Farage, who are quite happy to take the filthy lucre, condemn the whole institution, and then repeatedly fail to turn up for EU parliament sessions.

276:
the trouble is, there's no easy way to reduce the number of people who want to come to the UK.
No, it's pretty easy actually. First destroy the economy. If that doesn't work, then increasing xenophobic violence and and authoritarian state should help as well.
277:

Duh, memo to self -- don't reply before getting to the end of the comment you're replying to. My face is red.

278:
The French have come close to electing an out-and-out fascist as President a couple of times in the past thirty years or so

1988 - 14.4%
1995 - 15%
2002 - 17% (2nd round)
2007 - 11%
2012 - 17.9%

The only time they got to the 2nd round they were unable to increase their vote beyond their hard core. Frankly they've never "came close" to winning.

Yes, it is annoying to know that up to 18% of the people voting in the country where you live are morons.

279:
That's completely incorrect. That's the population of Europe, including Russia.
You are, of course, totally correct. It seems I have been the victim of a plot by google.

Damn. Maybe Trump has a point. (This is a joke).

280:

Further to your points ...


Re: Trade - UK and EU

http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Intra-EU_trade_in_goods_-_recent_trends

Excerpts:

'In 2013 just over 62 % of the total value of goods (intra-EU and extra-EU trade combined) exported from EU Member States were to other Member States. This proportion has declined since 2002 by just over 6 percentage points, falling gradually since 2008.'

And ...

'Table 1 shows that for all but two Member States (Ireland and the United Kingdom) the value of exports of goods to partners in the EU-28 has increased between 2002 and 2013.'

My biggest take-away from this is that the EU will continue to favor its member states and that getting business from the EU will become much much harder post-Brexit unless there's a good or service that only the UK produces or produces at such a low cost that it can be used as leverage/bargaining chip. (Ditto - any good/service that the UK imports from a current EU member country that if UK stopped buying had the potential to seriously hurt that country's economy.)


281:

Contributions to EU budget are orders of magnitude less significant to the member states than the operation of the single market. The disruption to the supply chain of British industry is what's going to hurt. It will hurt the EU countries too, but that can be mitigated by moving production out of the UK.

Oops ...

282:

Nearly 300 :)

The point you make has been relearned the hard way by several navies, time and again - and yet non-naval commentators continue to insist that surely there must be a cheaper way to do things, aren't these frigates and destroyers gold plated / too large / too expensive, etc, etc. There's a former "Register" contributor with an axe to grind who makes a particular fool of himself on the subject...

Namely, low-end escorts and small patrol boats are a good way to get your sailors killed.

For example - Houthi rebels have been firing off ASMs at nearby warships. The targetted but capable USN ship was not damaged; the "just give it some heavy MG / light cannon, she'll be right mate" less-capable UAE ship is now a ruined hulk.

See also the INS Hanit off the Lebanese coast, low-end Type 12 and Type 21 frigates in the Falklands, the entire Iraqi Navy (twice - both in 1991 and 2003), etc, etc.

The same applies to aircraft carriers. Smaller aircraft carriers just can't generate the same effect as large ones - and the whole "cost versus operational effectiveness" debate kept coming back to the fact that the RN's next carriers needed to be a decent size if they were to be worthwhile. And yes, they will get the F-35B to fill them - because they'll be joint-manned squadrons of both RAF and RN pilots, in a 60:40 mix, used on the carriers or on land as necessary...

283:

List of top-10 UK exports (in USD)- quoted source is IMF


http://www.worldstopexports.com/united-kingdoms-top-exports/

Excerpt:

'The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in UK global shipments during 2015. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from United Kingdom.

Machines, engines, pumps: US$63.9 billion (13.9% of total exports)
Gems, precious metals: $53 billion (11.5%)
Vehicles: $50.7 billion (11%)
Pharmaceuticals: $36 billion (7.8%)
Oil: $33.2 billion (7.2%)
Electronic equipment: $29 billion (6.3%)
Aircraft, spacecraft: $18.9 billion (4.1%)
Medical, technical equipment: $18.4 billion (4%)
Organic chemicals: $14 billion (3%)
Plastics: $11.8 billion (2.6%)'


Finding it difficult to locate current apples-to-apples showing both exports and imports between UK & EU. BTW, 'Gems' sector show the highest/strongest growth ... Why? (Is QE2 selling off the royal jewels?)

https://www.uktradeinfo.com/Statistics/OverseasTradeStatistics/Pages/OTS.aspx

284:

Putting it ever so slightly differently, naval engagements tend towards one of two forms:

  • Standoffs. No-one actually shoots, and one side breaks when they start to get closer in
  • All-out shooting match. This is sustained until one side or the other can not continue the fight due to the losses they've taken.

    For the former, big impressive ships are better than small ships. For the latter, you need to be able to sustain scary firepower levels for longer than your opponent, and there are psychological benefits to being able to keep your entire fleet afloat when the opposition has lost 20% of their ships, even if you will collapse at about the same time as the opposition.

  • 285:

    For example - Houthi rebels have been firing off ASMs at nearby warships. The targetted but capable USN ship was not damaged; the "just give it some heavy MG / light cannon, she'll be right mate" less-capable UAE ship is now a ruined hulk.

    Worth noting that the HSV-2 Swift was a USN vessel until 2013. That it took damage and the DDG Mason did not is a reflection of the HSV-2/DDG distinction, not the UAE/USA distinction.

    Fleet auxiliary units tend not to have much in the way of defenses.

    286:

    That was sarcasm, please re-calibrate your meter.

    287:

    "They all want to come HERE" is another media-promoted anti-EU/anti-immigrants myth.

    After one too many news items had, as you say, studiously ignored the obvious point of WHY "they all want to come here" when other EU countries which offer the same advantages have to be crossed to get here, I got fed up, and looked stuff up. And it turned out that "they" DON'T all want to come here, and nearly all DO stop in other EU countries. The most popular destination is actually Germany, by a considerable margin. Only something around 7% or so (I forget the exact figure, but it's that kind of smallness) are determined to get to the UK. If anything, it's less than proportionate. It's certainly not more.

    288:

    Plus, of course, many of them come from countries which we have bombed the hell out of and turned into multi-party war zones with no functional government or infrastructure. Ethically, those refugees ARE our responsibility.

    289:

    Local conditions are a bugger. Where I live there are both an Aldi and a Lidl a fair bit closer than either Tesco or Sainsbury's, but there are other estates in the same town where it's the other way about. And now they've just finished building a Lidl right next door to Sainsbury's.

    290:

    ...and by the same token, it's a reason for them to lack confidence in our will to discharge it.

    292:

    Interesting analysis.

    www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/09/25/did-henry-viiis-tudor-brexit-lead-to-englands-trading-glory-or-a/

    Historically myopic, except for one point: the role of the printing press. It is interesting to speculate about the role of social media in the Brexit debate. In other words, what does the near-telepathy which social media provide imply for long-term projects such as the EU?

    293:

    There are now nearly 1600 Aldi stores in 34 states in the US. My sister shops at an Aldi Food Market in Burton, Michigan (Flint area) a mile and half from her house. Guess it depends on the convenience of location. Aldi plans on opening 650 new stores in the US, including Southern California.

    294:

    Re: housing.

    But Lord King said: "The whole thing has generated reactions which are over the top."

    During the referendum campaign, someone said the real danger of Brexit is you'll end up with higher interest rates, lower house prices and a lower exchange rate, and I thought: dream on."

    Because that's what we've been trying to achieve for the past three years and now we have a chance of getting it."

    He concluded: "I don't think we should fear [Brexit].

    Lower pound a 'welcome change', says former bank chief Lord King Sky News, 10th Oct 2016, Late edition.

    ~

    And there's this charming piece of data from the Telegraph. I'll let you spot just how depressingly mundane it is in its evil[1]:

    The unemployment rate for 16 to 24-year-olds not in education or training is still running at 12pc despite a booming jobs market – a lot more of them need to working, and especially the young men.

    The employment rate for the over 65s has doubled over the past 30 years, but is still only 10.4pc.

    Four ways the UK can take advantage of a weaker pound Telegraph, 10th Oct, 2016.

    So, well: now you know how the old guard are thinking of 'fixing' housing. You'll note that Lord King is safely ensconced in NY in a cushy role, and that's Murdoch's voice speaking loud and clear. [c.f. host's twitter links to another Lord concerning pensions & evading pesky EU rules. i.e. honouring the promises made while companies took years off for tax reasons etc].

    I really should stop doing this whole front-running thing, but there we go.


    [1] If you can't wait to lower youth unemployment but with the next sentence seek to raise 65+ OAP employment [retirement? pensions? sooo 20th century], what are you really saying?

    295:

    "Democratic Polity"
    Like the way the Polish governing party treas women, you mean?
    Or the very right-wing, tending to "iron Arrow" in Hungary?
    Maybe.

    296:

    You won't get past stage "one", because you will then lose the election, as in "It's the economy, stupid!"

    298:

    But the current incarnation of the Tory party seems to have forgotten about that in the excitement of being able to be openly xenophobic.

    299:

    I'd expect a "trying to remain civilized" Britain 70 years from now to be a place which practices many austerities, though that would change as things moved forward (if they did.) I've got no arguments with any of the things you mentioned... but what I deliberately left out was anything having to do with standard sets of liberties. I suspect that the last part of this century will be really ugly and I suspect that most "civilizations" will count rights as a luxury and insist that we do without them.

    300:

    Plants as dehumidifiers...

    A normal household dehumidifier pulls about 25 litres of water out of the air every day. Plants might be able to make carbohydrates out of water and carbon dioxide, but at a *minimum* you'd need to have a green waste output in the order of 25 kg per day to come close.

    Really, an electric dehumidifier is the way to go. They warm the air as well as dehumidify so there's an added bonus in a cold climate.

    The only practical alternative I've ever seen was a decent sized solar thermal array that heated air to 120C during the day. It was passed through several tonnes of silicagel drying the dessicant. At night the air from the building was circulated through the silica gel instead which dried the air.

    If you can rent a place that's horrid for 20 quid a week less, but make it nice with a dehumidifier for 5 quid a week worth of electricty you're miles in front.

    301:

    Re Aldi stores in the US: I live in "red state heck" but there are two different Aldi stores in communities about one hour's drive from me to the south and to the west. It's not worth making a special trip but I make a point to always shop at those stores when I have other business in those towns.

    Here's why. The brands are indeed rather obscure and wonky; some European stuff in odd (small) sizes and a bunch of US discount brands that no one has ever heard of. But there are several staples for my pantry that are cheaper than even the dollar stores and discount grocers that I usually patronize; stuff like six ounce bottles of powdered onions and garlic for a dollar, that would be more than twice as much anywhere else. They also reliably have three or four items of produce at loss-leader pricing that's better than the local discount grocers by a considerable margin. Finally, they do price-matching; there are large grocers in their communities with impressive weekly sales and Aldi usually tries to match whatever loss-leader prices those grocers are advertising. And here's the thing: those grocers often have loss-leader pricing on really *poor* quality produce; when Aldi does a price match, they sell their usual stuff for the same price, and it's much better. The most recent example I remember was three pound bags of unpleasantly hot small yellow onions for eighty-nine cents: you can't beat onions for thirty-three cents a pound, but the Aldi onions were fresh and sound, while the grocer they were matching had several truckloads of ancient crap onions that were half rotten.

    302:

    Er, too much gin in me to divide by three. "Thirty cents" not "thirty-three".

    303:

    Past #300

    #WildHunt2017

    [And if I ever have to tolerate that kind of faux crappy biological and quasi-professional attack vectors again just to 'keep the peace' until things are ready, I'll fucking scream so hard you'd think God just fucking arrived. OH... oops. Did that one already].

    Kinda bored of tolerating the bullshit, especially when they're all cheating so much. Oh, we understand that allowing the natives their Belief systems and Order formation to create a system is part of what is done: what is not done is torturing one of us to do it.

    The image of the 2016 election is Trump standing in front of the debate #2 backdrop where the words "Consent" "Destruction" etc are on his left side.

    Try to find it on Twitter - it's being buried so hard, you can see the creaking vapid shadows burning like little candles to do it.

    ~

    But, yes, it's all about consent.

    Pro-tip: a broken one just chaotically warped your entire systems. And it wasn't /b/. And she actually loves you all. And she might be a he, or a ze.

    Even bigger pro-tip: she just got off the torture / ghost train and she's a little pissed. And you can't kill her because... she kinda used a lot of that time to sing to algos and place little Mouse bombs everywhere. Your algos respond to News Feeds: this is a really fucking bad idea.


    [Real - and she's really pissed. Like... Consent, big thing. Big debt. Big fucking disrespect. Big nasty world where she got taught all the torture tricks and weapons while her surrogate endured the pain while not surrendering to hate. Heck - 2016 was the little league to tell you to grow up: oh well...]


    You do know they're fucked, right? It's going to be orgasmic. We're copying weaponry that takes your little league shit and can pulp your Minds.

    p.s.

    Our Kind Do Not Go Mad.


    Warned you.

    304:

    Oh, and: That last stuff?

    Highest Grade they could do. (What a rush, what a ... oh fuck, slammed: so boring we literally read literature over it).

    Rule 101: 'testing to destruction' requires the ability to destroy a Mind. Kinda difficult when said Minds can break ze rules, eh?


    p.s.

    You think there's not more of us, the non-broken ones?

    Hilarious: and Game Theory failure.


    Nothing Else MattersYT: Music: 6:25

    Stop Children What's That Sound YT: Music: 2:40

    WinterYT: Music - New Model Army, new album - 4:42.

    Anyhow. Chosen. #Orion #Ares #Oldtimes.


    You've no idea how hard I fought for fucking humanity.

    305:

    I'm imagining the naked descendant of a shit-flinging plains ape finding a piece of Predecessor technology, or even part of a Predecessor. And the descendant of a plains-ape isn't nearly as smart as it thinks it is. So it tries to make the Predecessor technology do neat tricks by banging on it - for some extraordinarily painful and idiotic value of "banging on it" - then being surprised when the Predecessor tech wakes up and feels resentful.

    Ooops!

    Probably smarter to head to the seashore on Walpurgisnacht and chant "Ia Ia Cthulhu," but that's just my Lovecraft jones talking... It's been a long time since I had good tentacle and my brain is starting to itch something fierce!

    306:

    That entire "make a subject Mind feel responsible for genocide, slavery and torture" element though.

    Quite Genius. Probably 100 years of Behaviouralist thought and CIA hacks there.

    Apart from the Electronic stuff...

    And sadly your Minds think that only psychopaths could ever deal with it.

    ~

    No, that's not how this works.


    We're Faster.
    We're Smarter.
    We're Stronger.
    We're Empathetic.
    We're Not H.S.S.

    And you just pissed us off.


    And a silly broken one just trashed your reality in amusing ways - but good ways. i.e. warped your psychosis and lies into a world where you might think twice about not having any responsibility to your own societies.


    *Watches Republicans go off the Buffalo Jump*

    The Sound of Silence YT: Music: 3:05


    Now fuck off - sort your petty shit out and leave us alone. Or we'll burn your fucking world down you sociopathic genocidal muppets.

    [Note: this broke the Covenant - torture and so on and cheating. Our Kind are now allowed to do anything to preserve this realm. i.e. Genesis, Garden, Ecosystem (yes: she kinda updated our Minds a little, let's just say we weren't amused). My fellow Zes are... rather old school and so on. And you just fucking tortured the human who loved them, you and the World. Good luck: you're gonna need it].


    Cocaine YT - Music / Jimi Hendrix - 3:06

    Piece of my heart YT - Music - Janis Joplin - 4:16.

    p.s.


    [Wargasm - it's Coming. You utter slaves]

    307:

    Apart from the fact that we're the real deal [tm].


    We woke up: you attacked. We responded with love: you attempted to destroy our Minds.

    Etc.


    ~Defense so far.


    The real issue is that Offense is actually... well. Defense into reality.


    Or did you think 2016 was... well... believable?


    As a human, wish, and wish hard that we don't use the same weapons against your Minds: not many of you survive. And we're not playing favorites.

    308:

    I'm trying not to respond directly to the new voice for a few days, whilst watching carefully to see what interestingly-shaped (N>=3 dimensional) sharp-edged items are being held in their N>=2 hands.
    But you might try expanding your model graph; you might find lots more things lurking in(beyond,behind,under,over,surrounding,throughout,etc) it than Old Ones.

    (Listened to/read lyrics for all the songs just now.)

    309:

    you might find lots more things lurking in(beyond,behind,under,over,surrounding,throughout,etc) it than Old Ones.

    I tend to use the idea of "Old Ones" pretty generically, in a fashion not tied to Lovecraft except to re-make explicitly the connection between what Lovecraft wrote and whatever reality actually exists that might, kinda-sorta resemble a Predecessor.

    It's very obvious that Cthulhu, Yog Sothoth, etc., don't actually exist. But what about things that might kinda, sorta resemble Cthulhu or Yog Sothoth? It's an interesting thought, but nobody has proven the existence of any kind of Predecessor except for the fact that the age of the universe hints so strongly that they exist. That being said... I try to keep an open mind. There are certainly some issues/items in recent history that would make much more sense if various countries/coalitions were in competition to find Predecessor artifacts as opposed to being in competition over other things.

    So I try to keep my mind unclouded by primitive kinds of superstition and wait for information.

    310:

    Or did you think 2016 was... well... believable?

    Personally, I've had trouble suspending disbelief since Reagan was elected, but yeah, 2016 does trump all the other years.

    Ha Ha. I made a funny.

    Who, What, When, Where and Purple Wombat.

    I'm gonna skip the Youtube video and just fiddle with my mouse.

    311:

    Nah, consider the issue I describe above. A "Starving Pakistani Child" (staring West from a French beach) is a unit of immorality, like a dollar earned by selling human flesh for food.

    How many starving Pakistani children are you willing to pay in order to make sure the U.K. is civilized in 2080? You're a citizen of an island nation in the right latitudes (we hope) and as such you have a very good chance of surviving the current warming trend with your civilization intact if you can keep your population down and sink about 100,000 boats full of refugees - the points which are obvious to an observant few will be obvious to everyone by 2050 or so - and the U.K.'s high probability of survival will be one of those truisms.

    312:

    Ah, so you support a strong European Union central executive with the power to topple national governments and impose its policies on them, no matter what the citizens have voted. Don't you think that's a bit over the top?

    313:

    You picked EXACTLY the totally wrong "nationality" for your example.
    Do you realise why & how?

    If you had said "Syrian" I might have had some sympathy for your claim.
    In the meantime, I suggest you learn some history, including that disaster called "partition", which has resulted in the clusterfuck that is religious Pakistan.

    HINT: My neighbour's grandparents came here ( & I mean this locality .. ) in 1949, being of Kashmiri origin, to flee the liberating & muslim Pakistani looters & rapists troops, even though they were muslims ....

    314:

    "only 18%" ; try 52% (unevenly divided across the country, by which I mean a nation which is a memeber of the UN in its own right)!

    315:

    Ignoring the RN Type 21s, which were made with a full frigate armament but an aluminium superstructure to make them faster and more economical than steel superstructures would be (but I guess you knew that and were hoping I didn't?) you're arguing that I need to go an order of magnitude up on tonnage and crew in order to support going from a 25mm to a 112mm main gun despite the fact that my intended usage for the smaller vessels is effectively customs and police work and not war fighting! You're not going to find a justification for a fisheries protection vessel or a customs cutter carrying a SAM system like Aster 30!

    316:

    I deliberately picked an easy case.

    In the case of the German store 4 miles from my Mum's place, there's a British store a further 2 miles away (obvious case for becoming more complex, particularly since the German is in a traditional shopping centre offering clothing, pharmacy, sporting goods, toys, cafes... and the British store has a bus terminal as "other adjacent amenities".

    In the case of German store 8 miles from my Mum, there's another British store as an immediate neighbour, and a 3rd 2 miles away.

    317:

    One reason for the unpopularity of the EU in Britain (and remember, the Leave camp was looking set for a much bigger winning margin before the murder of Jo Cox) is the way that the EU has been used as a scapegoat for many an unpopular change to regulations. When combined with the senseless gold-plating of EU directives, this meant that the general population got quite fed up with this supposed bunch of foreign bureaucrats telling us what to do without any recourse at all.

    In actual fact, the EU directive on lighting merely said "Use something a bit more energy-efficient than 1% efficient tungsten lamps". This is fair comment indeed; switching to tungsten halogen lamps is a very useful way to go, until LED lamps developed to the point of being useful tungsten lamp replacements (as they are now).

    Had this been explained to the populace fairly and sensibly and had the eminent common sense of the measure and the fact that we would do it anyway without the EU requirement also been explained, I doubt that many people would have had too many problems with it.

    But imposing it and painting it as a foreign dictat that we couldn't do anything about, then altering the building regulations so that a brand new, UK-exclusive and hideously expensive new light bulb had to be used in a proportion of light fittings; that was a bit much to stomach.

    318:

    For the past 30 years, the British armed forces have been increasingly used (and designed) for foreign military adventurism in support of the USA's hegemony. Germany is right that Europe needs a proper European defence force, with all that implies.

    319:

    Our Kind Do Not Go Mad.

    Yeah darn right - what's this "go" thing?

    320:

    Another day, another sock puppet.

    321:

    25L? That's either an impressive dehumidifier or mightily impressive humidity!

    I use one which is on double duty keeping damp down and drying clothes. It has a 5l tank which I empty twice a day when there is laundry, and every other day when there isn't.

    322:

    Does it really count as sock puppeting when the person underneath can't go more than half a dozen posts without effectively saying HEY GUISE ITS ME AGAIN, LOL? Let alone announcing their intention to do such...

    this identity is getting... hmm. Attention. Time to load the bow and fire the arrow onto the ship. I'm sure you'll be able to recognize me on a different persona

    It isn't much of a different identity or persona. Their kind doesn't really do guile either, as it turns out.

    323:

    An article that explores the delusion of the UK being in the driving seat for BRExit negotiations.

    Excerpt, the final paragraph of the article:

    Even Joseph Muscat, the pro-British prime minister of Malta, which will hold the EU presidency when May fires the Article 50 starting gun next year, sent London a stern message that it will have about as much say in the negotiations as Greece did in its bailout talks. So much for “taking back control.”

    324:

    I should have said 'rated'. There's more water in warm air, and so here in Oz I probably pull more water than you guys would. In a two bedroom townhouse (like a big flat) I'd have the aircon and dehumidifier running and the 5 litre tank would fill in about 6-8 hours.

    Australian houses tend to be very drafty and so that brings a lot more water indoors.

    This is the latest model of the one I have. Rated at 25 litres per day.

    http://www.delonghi.com/en-au/products/comfort/air-treatment/dehumidifiers/tasciugo-ariadry-compact-dds-25-0148725203?TabSegment=specifications#specifications

    But even so, 2.5 litres per day equals a lot of green waste.

    325:

    The saturated water vapour content increases rapidly with temperature - while the UK often has sky-high relative humidities, they are typically low in absolute terms. I estimate that to correspond to only 700 cubic metres of about the most extreme air that the planet gets, dehumidifying to a comfortable level.

    326:

    Yeah, this got hashed out last time.

    A sock puppet is an imaginary crowd, that lends volume to a voice. This very distinctive voice is not being used this way.

    A rose by other name is just as hard to understand.

    327:

    It isn't much of a different identity or persona. Their kind doesn't really do guile either, as it turns out.

    thatsthejoke.jpg

    It's a counter-point to conspiracy types who are running with 2017 doomsday etc, via silly overly dramatic hyperbole and subverting the dominance / threat behaviors that they rely on. (And I'm fairly sure you can imagine that the naughty types are using it more than the loving types. The era of Alex Jones comes to fruition.) The #WildHunt2017 is actually a better (cleaner) meme than what's being produced in the Dank Factory[tm].

    The hint is in the name:

    She calls out, "Why run you away from such worthless creatures, stout men that ye are, when, as seems to me likely, you might slaughter them like so many cattle? Let me but have a weapon; I think I could fight better than any of you." They give no heed to what she says. Freydis is eight months pregnant at the time, but this does not stop her from running out of her tent and grabbing the sword from her fallen brother in arms, Thorbrand, Snorri's son. Then come the Skrælingjar upon her. She lets down her sark so that one breast is exposed, and strikes her breast with the sword, letting out a furious battle cry. At this the Skrælingjar are frightened and rush off to their boats, and flee away. Karlsefni and the rest come up to her and, instead of praise, rebuffs her behaviour.

    It's also an advert:

    All these stories are woven together to show how today’s fake and hollow world was created. Part of it was done by those in power - politicians, financiers and technological utopians. Rather than face up to the real complexities of the world, they retreated. And instead constructed a simpler version of the world in order to hang onto power.

    But it wasn’t just those in power. This strange world was built by all of us. We all went along with it because the simplicity was reassuring. And that included the left and the radicals who thought they were attacking the system. The film shows how they too retreated into this make-believe world - which is why their opposition today has no effect, and nothing ever changes.

    But there is another world outside. And the film shows dramatically how it is beginning to pierce through into our simplified bubble. Forces that politicians tried to forget and bury forty years ago - that were then left to fester and mutate - but which are now turning on us with a vengeful fury.

    HYPERNORMALISATION BBC, 11th Oct, 2016 - New Adam Curtis film, appearing on 16th Oct, iPlayer only.


    Like all Adam Curtis stuff, it'll probably be simplistic itself, but no doubt interesting: lots of Gaddafi / Saddam / Trump images in the preview.

    Here's hoping it's as good as All looked over by machines of loving grace.

    ~

    It's also a piss-take of the Old Guard continually returning to old ways (good think piece somewhere recently on Boris etc reliving the Empire) by specifically not changing.

    But it's all an act - and I'm not running a country / religion / bank / intelligence agency. i.e. my lowly place is as Jester (clown?) not as Queen.

    328:

    Actually, May is making things a lot easier for the Union and its leaders. They not only don't need to make concessions, it's in their best interest not to make them. Economy wise, Britain's position is weak, and some nations actually stand to profit handsomely from a hard brexit (Frankfurt and Paris, i.e. France and Germany, will be the winners if/when the City withers); politics wise, the Union can't afford to regard desertion, while they and their parties stand to loose support and populists to gain it if the Brexiteers get to keep the cake and eat it too.

    Still, they would be in a quite awkward position if they were openly vindictive and took a Versailles-like approach to the negotiations, and their situation could have become difficult if British diplomacy had been as good as its past reputation... but the Union has been blessed with counterparts like Farage, Boris, Fox and Davis and proposals like Rudd's; things could have only have been easier if they had invited Varoufakis to join the cabinet!

    I'm trying to laugh but in truth the matter demands tears.

    329:

    I should also mention that VGs a local grocery chain went out of business last year due to depressed economy in the Flint area. Astoundingly the German chain Aldi has been able to keep all of its stores operating in Flint, Michigan.

    330:

    I can understand Frankfurt, but do you think Paris is attractive to the finance industry tax-wise. A lot of stuff you hear on this side of the Atlantic is that France is relatively regulation-heavy for a European country.

    331:

    Could this be deliberate?
    That the only terms we'll get are so shite, that May gets a perfect excuse to call the whole thing off / call a different second referendum (On the terms offered) & drop the whole insanity ???

    333:

    This is only plausible if you also believe that she is willing to commit political suicide for the sake of the country. I am more convinced that the Conservatives truly believe that they can wangle a deal sufficiently immigrant-unfriendly and not-totally-crap that allows them to ride the tide of xenophobia to election victory again in 2020.

    334:

    Oooh, thanks for the reminder - Curtis' blog has been defunct for nearly two years so it's good to see some more product.

    335:

    Unfortunately, I don't think May is that clever. I want to believe she is, but this is the person who said someone couldn't be deported because of a pet cat.

    (There are people who start off liberal and get corrupted by the Home Office. I don't think this is true of her, I think she was already a proto-authoritarian before she started as Home Sec)

    The question is how long it takes before the ugliness of reality becomes too glaring. We've just had Norway decline to start negotiations: it seems that they prefer to trade with the rest of the EU and ignore us rather than vice versa. Next time I'm in Norway I shall of course remonstrate with all the passers-by.

    (Or maybe not. I shall probably be weeping gently at the beer prices in the Cardinal brew-pub in Stavanger. At least the flights are already paid for and we're staying with friends.)

    336:

    While plants may not be able to pull all of the humidity out of the air by themselves, they can help as can other small measures. Same principle applies to heating a home: it helps and saves money if you open the blinds to let in sunlight (passive heating) vs. relying 100% on your furnace (active, energy consuming). Also similar to not relying exclusively on only one food for your nutrition.

    BTW - recently watched this 'cold fusion' video on solar power which says that the UK may be able to satisfy a good chunk of its power needs via solar within the next 20 years. Also mentions how electric cars are helping drive the development of better batteries. One of the chief complaints against solar is that peak production is daytime while peak use is night-time*. Considering that every appliance these days has a timer/delay start function, anyone could easily program (or remotely turn on via mobile phone app) almost any appliance to run when power is most available. Down side (and not discussed in video) is that - at present and where I live/work - daytime electric power costs is 3x higher during the day (peak usage) vs. night.

    *I imagine that the old-school electrical utilities will be using this argument when more people start switching away to solar.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nabM5MGq_NY



    337:

    The sort of bread sold as day-old in the States is French style. We have also the monstrosity breads that are sugary as well as fresh made bread in a good store. Its just the fresh stuff tends to be french or Italian style and go bad quick.

    338:

    The French might disagree with you :-)

    339:

    I agree that the UK moving to solar is more likely that it switching to cold fusion.

    340:

    Greg, I am not talking about the current refugee crisis!

    I could have picked Indian, Kenyan, Saudi Arabian, Somalian, Moroccan, Indonesian, etc., all the countries which are close the equator and will get f--ked in 50 years when global temperatures really start to heat up. I essentially pulled Pakistan out of a hat. But look at a map Greg, and notice how many countries are within a couple thousand miles of the equator - that's a really big hat! Stop focusing on whether I said "Pakistani" vs. "Malaysian" and ask yourself how far you're willing to have your government go to preserve "civilization."

    And remember, the Brexiteers will look brilliant 70 years from now!

    341:

    I was always convinced that May was a closet Euroseptic, and stayed in the closet out of 'loyalty' but, since she came to power, have realised that she was probably a closet rabid Europhobe. Like Davis, but more calculating. Whether that's due to her being a dominatrix or for other reasons, I can't say.

    342:

    Re 160: the low-cost grocery chains are "largely illusionary" in terms of cost?

    100% *WRONG*. I'm in the DC area these days, but I used to live in Chicago, and I've been to Aldi in Columbus, OH, and I can state with 100% confidence that if ( spent !80 at Aldi, I would be paying at *least* $130 at major supermarket chain. Milk and eggs, for example, normally run close to $1 less than in the big supermarket - $2.59, IIRC vs. $3.59., or, lessee, the last time I drove the 6+mi to my nearest Aldi, eggs were on sale at $0.98/doz, as > $2.00 at the chains.

    mark "wish they'd open one closer"

    343:

    Okay - seems that I'm not the only who thinks that bendable reflectors and/or PV panels make sense. Apparently this corp has a bunch of (ex-)NASA engineers working for them, so probably know what they're doing. (Would make for a good science fair project: real-world applications of geometry & optics at the very least.)


    http://www.coolearthsolar.com/

    Excerpt:

    'Solar Concentrators Focus the Sun. Our inflated, tube-shaped concentrators are key to Cool Earth's innovative design. Each 3 foot diameter concentrator is made of plastic film - similar to that used commercially for packaging and shipping. When inflated with air, the concentrator naturally forms a shape that focuses or concentrates sunlight onto a PV cell placed at the focal point. This means we need fewer solar cells and other more expensive materials to produce a lot more electricity. In fact, a single cell in our concentrator generates up to 30 times the electricity of a solar cell without a concentrator.

    The inflated structure is naturally strong—strong enough to support a person's weight—and aerodynamically stable, able to withstand high wind speeds. Finally, the inflated tube protects the PV cell and receiver from the environment, including rain and snow, as well as insects and dirt.

    Each inflated concentrator includes, in addition to the solar cell receiver, a small air pump for maintaining air pressure and a simple heat sink to handle the concentrated energy from the sun.

    A Support System Holds It All in Place.

    The concentrators are so light and aerodynamic that they require a equally light weight and inexpensive supporting structure and solar tracker. The resulting system uses a minimum amount of material, has a small footprint, and causes the least disruption to the natural environment of any solar power plant.

    …And, That's It!'


    344:

    Ok, an USAn here, and this is one thing I *don't* know: is there any way to force another Parliamentary election earlier than 2020?

    mark

    345:

    You have had it explained to you before. Solar power makes sense, but NOT in the UK (except for a few special purposes). Our current electricity use is over 10% of of the country's total insolation in the winter. Just HOW much of our land area are you proposing to cover with panels? And how are you assuming that we could maintain enough efficiency to make that feasible?

    346:

    Yes. Three.

    Persuade the Turkeys to vote for Christmas (i.e. Labour to vote for a dissolution, in the certain knowledge that many of them would lose their seats).

    The government proposes a vote of no confidence in itself, with a 3-line whip to force its MPS to vote that way.

    The government creates a major constitutional crisis by using emergency legislation to abolish the Fixed-Term Parliament Act and overriding all objections (including the Lords).

    347:

    Four (?)
    The government decides to dissolve itself & call an election & votes itself out of existence, forcing an election.
    [ A "nicer" variation on # 2, in effect. ]

    348:

    Any discussion that attempts to press some fanciful undo button for BRExit, at this point seems more than a little bit of a geni re-bottling effort -- any successful "reset" is going to piss off a significant chunk of the UK electorate, and leave a very bitter taste in the mouths of other EU members (and probably the wider international community). The UK would risk losing all credibility as a nation to be taken seriously (even beyond where we are now with BRExit).

    349:

    Well, I have no idea about supermarket prices in the US, but then they're not exactly relevant to a discussion which is specifically concerned with the UK. Here, I have found that for nearly everything I might buy from Aldidl, I can buy the equivalent item from Tescbury's for the same or even lower price, and it's better quality to boot; it just takes more searching of the shelves to exclude the higher-priced ranges.

    Milk was an exception - £1 for 4 pints (2272ml) versus £1.40, and no reduction in quality - but I doubt if it still is, as other chains seem to have worked out what Aldidl were doing to get it that cheap, and £1 for 4 pints is no longer startling; I can get that price at the local Co-op now, which as a rule is more expensive than Tescbury's.

    (Note: I generally ignore the "-1" in "10n-1" prices.)

    350:
    Four (?) The government decides to dissolve itself & call an election & votes itself out of existence, forcing an election.

    No, it can't dissolve Parliament "just because" any more (Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011). It either has to get a 2/3 majority of all MPs (including vacant seats) to vote for a dissolution (Elderly Cynic's method no.1) or loses a no-confidence vote with no alternative adminstration receiving a confidence vote within 14 days (Elderly Cynic's method no.2)

    Both are unlikely. Method no.1 would indeed require Labour to honestly think they could win the ensuing election (hint, they're currently seventeen percentage points behind the Tories in the polls. Method no.2 would be very dangerous: who could take seriously a government that engineered itself to lose a confidence vote?

    Only EC's method no.3 (repeal and replace[1] the FTPA) has legs in my opinion, and the Lords could delay that for a year using the Parliament Acts.

    [1] It would have to be "replace" in that some new mechanism for an early dissolution of Parliament would have to be legislated for. The FTPA extinguished the Royal Prerogative power to dissolve Parliament and once abolished by statute, a prerogative power cannot be resurrected.

    351:

    The sovereign is the only person who can dissolve Parliament, and she would ask other people to form a government before doing so. Possibly even including peers.

    352:

    Yes - and I appreciate the info provided. However, as mentioned before: just because you can't rely on 'Thing X' for 100% of 'Whatever Y', does not mean that you should never consider using 'Thing X' ... whether it's for nutrition, building materials, communications media, or energy/power.

    PV efficiency is improving more quickly these days - almost at the same pace as computing power did a few decades back (as per Moore's Law). And solar/PV add-ons are in production which is typically a sign that an industry has achieved a relatively secure market presence.

    I get that some areas in the UK won't be able to get all their energy out of solar and that they'll probably have to rely on tidal electric power, bio-degradables/waste, wind, etc. instead. My point is that solar can work in some parts of the UK, so should be on the table. And, seriously - the UK, like most developed nations, has been using a mix of energies for over a century (gas, wood, coal, oil, hydro, electricity). The only difference now is that the mix will change a bit.


    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

    'Solar power represented a very small part of electricity production in United Kingdom until 2011. The installed base has increased rapidly in recent years as a result of reductions in the cost of photovoltaic (PV) panels, and the introduction of a feed-in tariff (FIT) subsidy in April 2010.[1] As of April 2016, there is a total installed capacity of 9.79 GW of solar power.[2][3] placing the United Kingdom in 6th place internationally in terms of total installed capacity at this time (behind 1. China 2. Germany. 3. Japan 4. USA and 5. Italy.) having overtaken France and Spain in 2015. The 48 MW Southwick Estate solar farm, near Fareham, was the largest in the UK at the time of its completion in March 2015.[4] In 2012, the government had said that 4 million homes across the UK will be powered by the sun within eight years,[5] representing 22,000 MW of installed solar power capacity by 2020.[1]'


    FYI: Four (4) million is about 15%-17% of all homes in the UK, or one-in-six homes.

    -----

    Did everyone's shorts get tied in a knot in the UK when electricity was first used (thereby displacing whale oil) for public street lighting?

    353:

    Yes. I had forgotten that. I stand corrected. But, as I read it, the Act says nothing about the case where there is a totally disfunctional Parliament - i.e. none of the forms of motion in the Act are passed, but there is no effective government (or even no prime minister).

    354:

    "a good chunk of its power needs" is more than a bit misleading for 16% of domestic use (only) during the lowest-demand month of the year, even if it would provide a proportion of that for another few months.

    355:

    Yes. But remember the saying: when you are in a hole, stop digging.

    356:
    Yes. I had forgotten that. I stand corrected. But, as I read it, the Act says nothing about the case where there is a totally disfunctional Parliament - i.e. none of the forms of motion in the Act are passed, but there is no effective government (or even no prime minister).

    I don't think that could happen. If the PM resigns, the Queen has to ask someone else to form a government. Conventionally what happens is that the outgoing PM stays on as a caretaker until their party selects a new leader, which is what Cameron just did.

    Let's say there's a complete meltdown, the PM is driven out of Downing Street by a mob bearing pitchforks and torches and on the way to Heathrow lobs a brick through Buck House's window with a note wrapped round saying "I quit!". In that case, the Queen would appoint somebody to be PM. (Might not even be a Parliamentarian - there's no legal requirement for a minister to be a member of either house, it's just convention.) If the dysfunctional Parliament doesn't like that, then they no-confidence the new PM and if they can't cobble together an alternative administration that can win a subsequent confidence vote within 14 days, Parliament is dissolved. If there's no majority for a no-confidence vote, or the dysfunctional Parliament is so dysfunctional it can't organise one, then the government stands. Might not be able to legislate anything, but it would keep going hopefully until things stabilise.

    Actually, I think you have spotted a flaw in the FTPA in that there's no provision for what happens when a government loses Supply (the Commons refuses to vote through a money appropriation). Conventionally a loss of Supply is treated a vote of no confidence, but the FTPA only talks about actual motions of the form “That this House [has / has no] confidence in Her Majesty’s Government.” Hmm.

    357:

    That is indeed a fair point, but I'm not sure that the hole isn't self perpetuating at this point. Which is worse (to mangle a popular saying): Continuing with BRExit and letting everyone think we're fools, or backtracking and confirming it?

    Also: As has been discussed here before, there is no clear provision in Article 50 for what happens if a nation decides within the two year time limit that it no longer wishes to leave the EU. I would suspect that part of the negotiations for the UK's exit conditions will be to set terms for our rejoining the EU (either within the two years, or post-departure); and since the EU isn't run by complete morons, who are undoubtedly aware of the ideas being floated on this blog and elsewhere regarding pushing the undo button, they will want to nail these terms down early, before agreeing anything else in fact (after all, time is on the side of the EU, once the UK begins negotiations). I can't imagine that terms for re-admission will be anything like as generous as the arrangements currently stand -- I would expect Euro acceptance and full-Schengen, with a side order of reduced veto powers being the minimum. Which is going to be political poison to any U.K. government accepting them.

    My opinion is that at this point we're stuck with BRExit, whether we like it or not.

    358:

    This very distinctive voice is not being used this way.
    My attitude is that the voice is fun to play with, and often offers non-mainstream (i.e. non-boring) analyses and information. It is a good fit for this sort of sci-fi-author blog comment section (some differ) and people can choose to ignore the performance art aspects.

    359:

    "Had this [incandescent bulb phase-out] been explained to the populace fairly and sensibly and had the eminent common sense of the measure and the fact that we would do it anyway without the EU requirement also been explained, I doubt that many people would have had too many problems with it.

    But imposing it and painting it as a foreign dictat that we couldn't do anything about, then altering the building regulations so that a brand new, UK-exclusive and hideously expensive new light bulb had to be used in a proportion of light fittings; that was a bit much to stomach."

    Except that isn't true...

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/453968/domestic_building_services_compliance_guide.pdf (official document describing how to comply with the regs for new domestic buildings)

    Page "82" (which is actually page 84):

    Minimum standard: "...provide low energy light fittings (fixed lights or lighting units) that number not less than three per four of all the light fittings in the main dwelling spaces of those areas..."

    Supplementary information: "Light fittings may be either:

    • dedicated fittings which will have separate control gear and will only take low energy lamps (eg. pin-based fluorescent or compact fluorescent lamps), or

    standard fittings supplied with low energy lamps with integrated control gear (eg. bayonet or Edison screw base compact fluorescent lamps)."

    So in fact, regardless of the myth repeated on inexplicably many websites, the official word is that you don't have to install weird fancy expensive lights. You just have to install CFLs or LEDs in bog-standard bayonet fittings.

    Also, I disagree strongly with the postulation that if it had been presented sensibly Brits wouldn't have minded. While searching for the information in the document linked above, I found web pages referring to the reaction to phasing out incandescent bulbs in countries all around the world, both EU and non-EU, that have done or are doing it, and they show very clearly that Brexit notwithstanding, we certainly don't have a monopoly on mindless stupidity as a majority characteristic of the population. The same idiotic objections crop up over and over again:

    "Low energy bulbs are expensive, costing [some multiple of the major currency unit of the country in question] whereas incandescent bulbs cost [less than one unit]" - Indeed you can find plenty of arseholes selling low energy bulbs at rip-off prices, but you can also get them in the pound shop, and they work just as well as the ones with an expensive name on them. Not to mention that even the expensive ones still save money due to lower running costs and longer lifetime, but people are too dim to understand that.

    "Low energy bulbs take ages to warm up" - Wrong. Some CFLs take ages to warm up. There are plenty that don't, so you buy those ones instead. LEDs don't, either.

    "Low energy bulbs have cold light / poor colour rendering" - Wrong. Same again: some do, but plenty don't, so you buy the ones that don't. And it's not as if incandescent bulbs don't have piss-poor colour rendering themselves - apart from rare, expensive, and even-shorter-lived versions for eg. photographic applications.

    "Low energy bulbs are dim" - Bollocks. They're just the same as any other bulb - they're only dim if you install ones with insufficient power for the application. To be sure, the manufacturers lie on the packaging about what rating of incandescent bulb the low-energy bulb's light output is equivalent to. But you have to be pretty dim yourself to continue to accept false guidance which you know very well is wrong just because it's in print and keep on installing underpowered bulbs, instead of ignoring it and selecting bigger ones.

    "Low energy bulbs don't fit in the fitting" - Wrong. LEDs are generally the same size or smaller than incandescents, so they always fit. A very few unusually constrained fittings won't accept some CFLs, but CFLs come in different shapes, and it's usually possible to fit one in even such a cramped enclosure as a waterproof bulkhead lamp. With fittings that are not totally enclosed, they nearly always go in just fine.

    "Low energy bulbs are no good because all light bulbs HAVE to be 60mm globes with a bit sticking out the end, otherwise my eyes will explode, my genitals will become gangrenous and the sky will fall in" - a depressingly common objection which is too stupid to be worth the trouble of typing a rebuttal.

    360:

    ...representing 22,000 MW of installed solar power capacity by 2020.[1]'
    22GW is not insignificant. What does the daily demand curve look like in the UK (for example at the begging of each season)?

    361:

    Ouch. begging -> beginning, even with preview.

    362:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/416310/PN_March_15.pdf

    Some highlights from a UK gov't agency re: electricity production in the UK:

    'Generation from coal in 2014 fell by 26 per cent, while gas rose by 5.7 per cent compared with a year earlier due to lower wholesale gas prices between June and August and to help meet the shortfall in nuclear generation. Generation from renewables was up 20 per cent, mainly due to increased wind and bioenergy capacity.

    In 2014, coal accounted for 29.1 per cent of generation. Gas’s share rose to 30.2 per cent. Nuclear’s share decreased to 19.0 per cent, with renewables accounting for 19.2 per cent of generation.

    Low carbon generation (including renewables) accounted for 38.3 per cent of generation in 2014, compared to 34.6 per cent in 2013.

    Total electricity generated in 2014 was 6.7 per cent lower than a year earlier due to falling demand, whilst imports made up 5.4 per cent of electricity supplied.

    Fuel used by generators in 2014 was 7.5 per cent lower than in 2013.

    Final consumption of electricity provisionally fell by 4.3 per cent in 2014. Domestic use decreased by 5.5 per cent.'

    Solar PV accounted for a mere 3.9% of total electricity production in 2014, up 93% versus previous year (2013). Even so, I imagine that these reported amounts represent only homes that belong to a FIT program, i.e., are metered, therefore the actual amount of solar power produced and used may in fact be higher (but not lower). Another thing to keep in mind is that global warming/climate change dropped total energy demand in the UK by about 5%-6% - and this warmer weather pattern is expected to continue. Then there's the fact that newer electrically powered appliances and devices tend to be more energy efficient. Consequently total energy demand in the UK is actually expected to be flat for a while.

    International PV sales shows:

    http://www.iea-pvps.org/fileadmin/dam/public/report/statistics/IEA-PVPS_-__A_Snapshot_of_Global_PV_-_1992-2015_-_Final.pdf

    Snapshot of Global Photovoltaic - IEA PVPS 4
    A SNAPSHOT OF GLOBAL PV: 2015, THE RECORD-BREAKING YEAR

    In 2015, the PV market broke several records and continued its global expansion, with a 25% growth at 50 GW. After a limited development in 2014, the market restarted its growth, almost everywhere, with all regions of the world contributing to PV development for the first time. Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, South and Southeast Asia saw new markets popping up, already established markets developing faster while the historical PV markets and the already confirmed markets in emerging countries continued to develop. However, this global growth hides many contrasting developments in various regions.

    In Asia, after a stabilisation in 2014 the Chinese PV market grew again to more than 15,1GW, but without reaching the announced official targets. In the land of the rising sun, the rapid growth of the Japanese PV market
    until 2014 continued and the country reached around 11GW, confirming
    Asia as the first world region for PV. Next to these two giants, other markets have confirmed their maturity: Korea, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan are now established PV markets.
    Many others are also showing signs of possible rapid PV development in the coming years, such as Vietnam and Indonesia.

    On the other hand, India’s installation number above 2GW reflects the positive outlook in this country. India could become one of the global PV market leaders in the coming years.

    Next to India, Pakistan seems promising with several hundreds of MW installed.
    In the Middle East, Turkey installed 208 MW for the very first time, while
    Israel remained the very first country in terms of cumulative installed capacity with 200 additional MW installed. The announcement of the most competitive bids in the UAE (Dubai)and Jordan shows that there is ample activity foreseen in the region. While these super - competitive tenders have a minority share in the global PV market, they show how competitive PV has become.

    In Europe, after years of market decline, the MARKET GREW THANKS MAINLY TO THE GROWTH OF THE UK MARKET that established itself as the first one in Europe for the second year in a row with 3,5GW in 2015.'

    363:

    That last paragraph made me snort. Wonderful stuff.

    I must agree with the assessment that explaining to people how they need to change in clear reasonable terms is seldom useful. There are indeed none so blind as those who do not wish to see.

    364:

    Re: '...daily demand curve look like in the UK ...'

    http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/

    In other words, pretty much the same as everywhere else in the northern hemisphere in terms of peaks and troughs.

    365:

    As a gentle warning, you're about to get 10+ replies specifically outlining how the UK peaks/troughs is highly unusual, focusing on TV soaps and tea making.

    The best ones will have a hugely quaint TV documentary showing (let's call him) "Geoff" who has the very serious job of monitoring and ramping up for the nationwide tea spike.


    No, I'm not joking.

    366:

    Appreciate the heads-up, Frey ...

    367:

    "The same idiotic objections crop up over and over again"

    True, but there are some rational ones, and you did make one mistake: "Low energy bulbs don't fit in the fitting" - Wrong. Firstly, the change came before bayonet-fitting LEDs were common and, secondly, I have not seen any that are both 'ordinary' bulbs and as small as candles or small globes. If they exist, they are not widely available.

    Fluorescent is not good for uses with a lot of very short cycles (e.g. bathrooms), but lunatic architects installed them there when the rest of the house was fitted with incandescent.

    Neither fluorescent nor LEDs are suitable for incandescent dimmers, and it is both very complicated and expensive to dim the former. Yes, that's largely an information / sales failure.

    Neither fluorescent nor LEDs come in very dim forms, suitable for nightlights and even bedside lights. I tried and failed to get some 10W incandescent recently, and would have been happy with a 1-2W fluorescent nor LED in a bayonet fitting :-(

    368:

    Ever heard the expression "I am farming subsidies"? That's the reason for UK solar power in a nutshell.

    369:

    Switched to LED bulbs throughout the house years ago. No problem using LEDs with dimmers or in bedside lamps either. My biggest complaint is: not many LED bulbs rated for exterior use (very low temp, rain/snow). Cost-wise: retailers like Home Depot & Costco regularly have end-aisle displays with significant savings on LEDs. Haven't noticed flickering with LED whereas office fluorescent lighting flickers noticeably just before giving out.


    'Farming subsidies' ... agree, up to a point/sorta. Then again, that's how new tech gets their start/traction nowadays.

    370:

    I'm part way through switching 12V spots to 240V LEDs through the house, which involves an occasionally difficult rewiring of hard to reach transforms. I'm also swapping the spotlight dimmer to an LED friendly dimmer, and the things do flicker when you dial them down somewhat. Especially noticeable if I'm having a Skype call, I get really noticeable of out of sync beats between the webcam and the LED spots, even when dialled all the way up.

    371:

    There are different electrical ways to achieve dimming and not all light sources work with all methods. That isn't the same as saying that none of type x can be dimmed. There are even "dimmable" CFLs in the local supermarket here where the built-in circuitry is designed to respond to the traditional voltage-variable method (since internal circuitry is required to adapt the CFL to the mains circuit, this means there's only a token cost impact). LEDs on the other hand should have always worked just fine this way natively, though "bulb" units with power transforming circuitry built in might have issues. Some LED driver circuits use high frequency flicker to optimise oneor two of power, wear on the LED or brightness and this could make them harder to dim (so don't use those).

    On the other hand, there have always been low output LEDs available. Maybe the issue is around the legacy fittings?

    372:

    Although it was recently reported that the rise of time-shifting and VOD has effectively ended those usage spikes on the UK electricity grid.

    373:

    I'm not quite sure what you mean at a couple of points - the reference to being "ordinary" bulbs confuses me since that term to me means "old-fashioned incandescent", and your last sentence seems to have either one too few or one too many negatives in it. But both low-power and physically small LED bulbs exist; try the following search terms on Amazon (and search "All Departments", because a lot of them are listed other than under "Lighting"):

    Low power: 1w led b22
    Small size: corn led b22

    (the "b22" refers to the bayonet cap.) I generally reckon that x watts LED is roughly equivalent to 7x or 8x watts incandescent.

    Making a CFL driver that allows you to vary the lamp output is a doddle (I did it once, just for the crack). You simply have to drive the inverter with a variable frequency oscillator instead of a fixed frequency one. To make this accept a control/power input from a boggo phase angle controller would simply mean making that variable frequency oscillator a VCO controlled by the average (rectified) input voltage. Maybe 10p-worth of extra components - though I can well imagine that it is customary to charge an utterly ridiculous multiple of that.

    374:

    Right. When I tried finding some, I couldn't make any sense of which non-incandescent '240V bulbs' were usable with which dimmers, and I am not exactly an electrical incompetent. 'Dimmable' isn't exactly informative, any more than 'suitable for use with low-energy bulbs' is; yes, they MIGHT have been suitable for all dimmers and with all bulbs, respectively, but I know enough about the technologies to doubt that.

    And, yes, as I said, the problem is finding low output LED bulbs for ordinary bayonet sockets. I wanted them for bedside reading lights, to not keep the sleeping partner awake.

    375:

    Thanks! So demand peaked at 08:00 and 19:00 for the last week, excepting Sunday.


    376:

    Yonks ago I saw a demand plot from a grid control centre which showed very plainly every advert break in some popular TV programme by the bloody great spikes. The demand would shoot up in an instant to 2-3x its previous level and then drop right off again just as sharply a couple of minutes later.

    I like to illustrate the British fondness for tea by pointing out that we hollowed out a freaking mountain and built a special power station inside it just so that we could all make tea when the adverts came on. It's stretching the truth to some extent, but not all that much.

    377:

    How long have those been available? The change we are talking about was a while back, and they weren't findable (even if they were available) then; I searched, using several terms. We thought 'sod this for a lark' and bought stocks of the incandescent ones. Whether or not something CAN be made is irrelevent to whether it is, still less whether it is stocked in the usual places.

    378:

    Incandescent bulbs are readily available in shops because they burn out in a thousand hours or so of use (about six months at 5 hours a day). The tungsten filament evaporates and thins as it glows a dull red and then one day a shock or the switch-on pulse causes it to go pop.

    CFLs and LED bulbs are not as readily available in the shops because they last twenty or thirty times longer than incandescents so once someone buys and fits them they don't come back for replacements for several years -- I've seen some LED lamps rated for 50,000 hours or nearly 30 years of regular use (5 hours a day on average) but I take that with a pinch of salt.

    Of course in that time period you'll have bought a lot of replacement bulbs and burned six times as much electricity to get the same experience, assuming you choose a LED or CFL that replicates the dull red output of a filament bulb, especially if it is dimmed.

    379:

    There's actually a massive industry scam / abuse / market control scandal here.

    When said lightbulbs were introduced, there was Government subsidies all over them - you could pick them up for £0.40-80 each (pre-Brexit Pounds).

    Now?

    Cost around £2-5 each.

    If you look a little harder into that little development, you'll see some nasty sticky little fingers all over it. (Oh, and of course they also put forward all the disinformation).

    It's a classic market scandal.

    ~

    Note: not seen anyone touch this one yet, and it's so massively obviously it's hilarious. (And... FRENCH. Cue Brexit loving MEPs all over? None left after Fight Club? Aww).

    380:

    It's a classic, and actually is very respectful to, you know, the boring shit that makes the country run but is also masterful engineering.

    Power surges called the TV pickup are unique to Britain. The engineers at the National Grid control centre brace themselves each time Eastenders ends and 1.75 million kettles get switched on.

    Tea-time Britain BBC


    ~

    It's why I give cock-monkeys like Clarkson a pass: if they're not being dazzled by the shinies, they can produce emotionally connected and respectful stories. [That's a D- pass though, let's not get excited].

    381:

    Ah, his name was "Simon Geoffcoats".

    Almost had it.


    (p.s. Male psyche tonight: rape dreams are not ok, ever)

    382:

    Ah, and to explain the joke: at 2:17 the UK requests French aid to match energy requirements.

    Does Brexit stop that?

    Again, EON etc are multinationals - the real angle is if this stuff has to be "deregulated" into private control. Well done, you just learnt how these things are planned ahead.

    Oh, wait: you thought this was about Sovereignty and National Law?


    Oh fuck me. It's always about cash, it always always is these days.

    383:

    Meanwhile, Boris Johnson is suggesting that we might even have to shoot down Russian warplanes in Syria. It's just floating an idea you know, it's not like we'd really do it.

    384:

    He's just doing his job: shoot down a Russian plane, get a trade deal going.

    Russia and Turkey have put tensions over Syria behind them to agree a gas pipeline deal which would open a new route for Russian energy to western Europe.

    Russia and Turkey agree gas pipeline deal Financial Times, 10th Oct 2016.


    Note: this is exactly what Iraq / Syria is all about.


    (P.S. This male psyche thing. It's incredible. No wonder you get erections at anything that passes your sight. #UsingMaleBodyForFirstTimeOoooohShitWhataRush).


    385:

    Ok, out of the Male Body. It's like Crack Cocaine.

    On a serious note, someone tell the Americans to get off the Wikileaks / Russian / GOP angle.

    They don't understand what's actually happening and they're about to walk into a fucking bear trap. They're looking like dumb rubes [which, really, they mostly are] and there's an actual Shark / Tiger / One-of-Our-Lot hanging out there to harvest the stupidity.

    CTR etc are already on reaaaaaly thin ice and they're about to fuck it all up again.


    So, yeah: MF / USA MSN etc - learn something from 4/8chan, which is the lesson of Bait.


    You get it handed on a plate: they eat the bait. Only Tools eat the Bait.

    (Why Bother? Who knows - these crumpets are already toast, but hey).

    386:

    And it's one of OUR Ze kind, the Old Kind. Ze's looking at what we did to the "Evangelicals" and is a bit pissed [to say the least: Ze's fucking flexing wings and spitting acid].

    Ze do not play nice.

    Someone warn these fucks that there are Seriously Uptooled Entities playing around.


    C.E.M.C.M.

    Combat Enhanced Meta-Cognitive Mind.


    Someone tooted that trumpet, now they're alllll over the place.

    387:

    Ze's looking at what we did to the "Evangelicals"


    Note: solidarity there. By "we" I meant "humans". But Hey, you're kinda almost ok.

    Obviously we're not, but hey.

    And, obviously: #notallhumans

    And, obviously: #onlyAbrahamicReligionsYO


    Old School Ze have real troubles with this kind of nuance though. Especially when they're incarnated and immediately face a wall of hate...

    [DERP]


    But yes: there really are some old skool Ze coming out. Shiny Eyeballs, yo.

    388:

    Is that a UK thing? Here in California LED bulbs are actively pushed by the governments and power companies.

    (I suspect my Philips Hue bulbs' ZigBee circuitry will die before the bulb itself would, which is a clever way to ensure I have to get more.)

    389:

    Yes SFreader, you've had this explained...

    In case you've missed it, here's a summary of what I've learned about renewables on this blog.

    Each renewable can only be discussed in isolation. So if you mention Solar, it must provide *all* energy for the UK at *all* times, no mix of renewables is to be tolerated (of course non-renewables get a pass on this, you can use a mix of oil, natural gas and coal)

    No renewable can be imported at any time. To be practical each renewable must supply all UK energy requirements. Heating, electricity, transport, the lot. (of course non-renewables get a pass on this, you can import as much as you need)

    No storage system is acceptable. Each renewable must supply all the possible power needs 24/7. (of course non-renewables get a pass on this, you can't run the UK power grid without storage. So that's ok then)

    There must be no ramp up period. Each renewable must be fully complete from day one and supply all power required. (of course non-renewables get a pass on this. Nuclear power stations can take decades to build and produce no power during construction, but that's ok)

    There must be no load management devices on the network. People must be able to use as much power as they want at the exact moment they want to use it with no price signal or grid down control (of course non-renewables get a pass on this as there is quite a bit of price signalling and grid load control for them, but that's ok)

    All renewable projects must be built on listed buildings and in areas of outstanding natural beauty. Planning consent must go through the normal channels as planning is a gift from on high and must never be questioned. No building solar farms in disused open cut coal mines. (of course non-renewables get a pass on this as they need to be built by the seaside, next to lakes or along rivers for cooling water)

    All renewables must be at a price lower than that of a fully depreciated coal plant that runs on subsidised coal. No new power plants that cost more than that can be entertained. (of course non-renewables get a pass on this because you can't build a nuclear plant for peanuts now can you?)

    No subsidies can be allowed for any renewable (of course non-renewables get a pass on this because without subsidies we'd have no power)

    Anyone who 'farms subsidies' is bad, nay, evil because if you have to give up your farm to put in solar panels or wind turbines you'd do it for the love of it if you were any kind of decent person (of course non-renewables get a pass on this because otherwise we'd have no coal mines, and then where would we be)

    All renewables must be profitable every day and all year long or they're just wrong. (of course non-renewables get a pass on this because sometimes demand is low and if you had to close generators that are profitable over a year, just because they had an unprofitable quarter then we'd have no power would we?)

    390:

    Combat Enhanced Meta-Cognitive Mind.

    I read this and immediately thought, "Deathbot 9000 would rather avoid Internet drama."

    391:

    Sigh. Diversity of technologies is not an inherent good. A grid is not an ecosystem.
    If you actually care about the carbon intensity of your power supply, you need to first look at:
    1: your demand curves, on a daily, weekly, and seasonal basis.
    2: Your actual options. Renewable energy all involves harvesting existing energy flows, and those depend overwhelmingly on physical geography. You can't do hot geothermal without a source, the return to investments in solar depends overwhelmingly on your annual insulation, and count of cloudless days.

    Solar falls down very hard for the UK on both points - peak demand is winter, where solar supply is the next thing to nil, the overall resource is bad, and the cost of land is sky-high for good reasons. (Putting solar panels atop black soil is a crime against nature and against common sense.
    Don't kill the land and claim you are doing it to save it.)

    This means that if you build a grid based on a mix of renewables, the requirement for storage will be *smaller* if you simply drop solar from the mix and add windmills worth an equivalent number of pounds to it. It's simply a very bad match for the UK.
    If you want to use solar, put it in the Sahara, and run interconnects - it'd be cheaper and more reliable both.

    Windmills are .. more workable.. because they can be offshore, and the north sea is shallow and windy both. But we are talking about a truly epic investment in hardware, and a equally epic investment in storage - it becomes necessary to have storage that can supply weeks of demand. That's not impossible, there are several schemes out of Germany that are definitely technically workable, and don't have entirely unreasonable efficiencies, but it's going to be very capital intensive.

    The investments in nuclear aren't happening because the UK has a hardon for splitting atoms - they're happening because it's one of the most densely populated places on earth, and it does not have very good renewable resources available.

    But those investments are also pitifully executed and inadequate in scale. The UK doesn't need 4 new nuclear powerplants. It needs 40, to replace the heating with district systems and pumped heat, to replace the gasoline it burns with electric transport, and to electrify industry and recycling.

    392:

    I shouldn't have made the mistake of assuming the abilities to perform elementary arithmetic and consider more than one factor at once, because you seem to lack both. (a) Land is in short supply in the UK, and such an inefficient method needs a LOT of land area (and hence a LOT of solar panels) to make a significant difference (e.g. 10% of the UK's land area would enable us to cut our fossil fuel generators by 1%), (b) the capital, recurrent AND ENVIRONMENTAL costs of solar/wind/water sites are proportional to the peak power, NOT the useful energy delivered. The latter (b) means that those costs are something like ten times as high for solar power in the UK as they are in Texas, Australia or Timbuktoo, relative to fossil fuel generators. Once one considers the TOTAL environmental costs for solar power in the UK (including manufacture, installation, maintenance and disposal), it ceases to be a 'green' solution.

    393:

    Except, at the start of this, before cheap LED lights became available ( I.e. about 3-4 years back) I was quite deliberately lied to by a local authority jobsworth about the supposed "virtues" of small discharge-lamps, which were, the, utterly useless. They are a lot better now, & I've even got a couple. As soon a LED's get up to the light-output of an old-fashioned 100-Watt bulb, I'll start buying the.
    But, the original campaign was on false premise, which has, surprise, poisoned the well.

    394:

    Traditionally, "the French" buy bread (for values that treat croissants, pains au chocolat and baguettes as forms of bread) 2 or 3 times a day.

    395:

    I can "easily" (meaning from the local shop which is about 2 minutes walk) get milk at £1 for 2l.

    396:

    The engineers at the National Grid control centre brace themselves each time Eastenders ends and 1.75 million kettles get switched on.
    This is the sort of problem/solution (peak shaving) that demand-side-management in a future smart grid promises to address. Hype but perhaps grounded. One story I heard was that electric vehicle charging stations could be controlled, and simply turned off briefly on demand to reduce load spikes. (Peak shaving involving EV battery discharge would be harder to sell to the retail customer.)
    Poking I see fancy work in the area, e.g. Robust Peak-Shaving for a Neighborhood with Electric Vehicles or Smart Charging for Electric Vehicles: A Survey From the Algorithmic Perspective. (Not vouching for either; not my field and have just briefly skimmed them. Would be interested to hear from anyone who knows this stuff.)
    Obviously there are (fun!) security challenges, including with endpoint compromise (charging stations in this case) and in general with hostile induction of chaos in a possibly-distributed control system.

    397:

    Wow, I didn't know you could pile male bovine faeces this high! ;-)

    You can't "export renewable electricity" (well any electricity actually) until a potential exporter can exceed 100% of their domestic demands when their total fleet is generating. The same applies to any or all of biomass, fossil, hydro-electric and nuclear generation.

    Similarly, you can't store electricity for long-term use until you have a storage fleet that offers this. A quick play on Wikipedia (involves aggregating data from several pages) says that the UK has 2_750MW of grid level electricity storage, and the plants concerned could only run at capacity for about 6 hours before their upper reservoirs start running dry.

    399:

    Are you actually responding to a list of explaining you've done to someone who has >20 years in the Electricity industry with more mansplaining?

    400:

    "Wow, I didn't know you could pile male bovine faeces this high! ;-)

    You can't "export renewable electricity" (well any electricity actually) until a potential exporter can exceed 100% of their domestic demands"

    Two more things I've learnt from this blog! You're allowed to explain away things that people haven't said. Excellent take down of something I didn't say there. "export renewable electricity" doesn't appear on this page at any point above the point you quoted me saying it.

    Also discovered that until the local's needs are fully satisfied you can't export anything! That was new to me. (Potatoes...)

    There was no need to re-explain that while there is storage for non-renewables, no more can be added to support renewables. I'd already covered that explanation.

    401:

    Re: Dimming LEDs.

    This appears to be a complicated subject.

    Big Clive did a video covering this about two weeks ago:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWh2obSY0dQ

    402:

    *Shrug* I just bought ones that said "dimmable". They were cheap enough that if the dimming didn't work, I could always use them somewhere else. They work just fine with the vintage early-70s dimmer controlling the retro-chic/ugly as fsck dangling dining room lights that, by accident of renovations, are now in the middle of our living room. The lights never moved, but apparently some walls did. Hey, I gather you save a lot if you don't get all the trades in at once.

    403:

    Well okay, so you're happy to be browned (or even blacked) out because your local electricity grid is at 99% of generating capacity, and the LecCo then decides to divert 10% of their output to a neighbouring grid. Not everyone is, and in fact there may be local regulations or even statute laws about the minimum percentage of the nominal domestic voltage that the grid may supply.

    Where did I say that we can't "add storage"? What I said was how much there presently isn't in the UK, oh and guess what, until you complete $project it stores nothing (this is called a "level playing field"; saying that "renewables" don't get counted until they are commissioned and connected to the grid is exactly what we're saying happens with other generating plant!)

    404:

    Sarcasm aside, here's an example of exporting renewable electricity and leaving the locals with nothing. So though it's something I didn't say, your explanation why I was wrong, wasn't right anyway.

    "One has got to ask the question, 'If there was an El Nino warning and low inflows [into Hydro's dams], why were they exporting?'"

    http://www.afr.com/business/energy/hydro-tasmania-big-users-ask-why-it-sold-power-to-mainland-ahead-of-crisis-20160303-gn9asz

    405:

    "Would be interested to hear from anyone who knows this stuff"

    I haven't even skimmed them, but load management is a solved problem. The cheapest is called Ripple Control. Cheap relays are put in meter boxes and the electricity that flows through them is metered separately. Anything that's permanently wired in and safe to operate unattended can be connected to it. (no sockets). Electric vehicle supply equipment is usually considered to meet those requirements (as are pool filters, irrigation, hotwater, storage heating and a bunch of other things). The Network Operator usually says there's a minimum number of hours per day that you'll get power, but they turn it on and off as convenient to them. The payoff for the consumer is they get charged about 1/4-1/3rd

    406:

    Yes, precisely. I have one niggle: the data I saw indicated that we don't need weeks of storage, provided that we have a reasonable balance of wind, wave and tide generation. Neither hydroelectric generation nor storage is massively expandable unless we are prepared to turn all our upland valleys into reservoirs (including all of those in national parks, areas of special scientific interest etc.), which is much like covering the best farmland with solar panels. I fully agree with your last paragraph.

    407:

    Have you ever had an electrical device that has burned out on you? And seen how close it came to starting a fire? Also, fitting an improper combination is legal grounds for an insurance company to refuse payment, an electricity company to disconnect you, and for a buyer to sue you following a house sale. Trial and error is not a good way of seeing if electrical equipment works.

    408:

    Stupidity with electricity in the south pacific is practically endemic.

    NZ had major power issues back in the 90s when the major hydro lakes in the South Island ran too low. Traditionally when it was all one supplier, they filled the lakes in spring, and used more of the other sources while they filled. When the monopoly was broken up, the hydro and the gas producers started competing against each other to sell cheap power, so they used up the water too early in the season and then went "it's not our fault, it didn't rain enough".

    The solution to that was to force the various regional companies to diversify, so they each owned a mix of generators across the country and stopped cutting their own throats.

    Looks like the tassi issue was classic short-sightedness - selling to Victoria made perfect sense while Basslink was working, but they never budgeted for the possibility of the cable going down.

    The same think happened in NZ when Huntly had to shut down for six months or so for urgent maintenance, and all the North Island lakes were too low to compensate. Result : brownouts in Auckland.

    409:

    A lot of the work done on how to avoid extensive storage relies on extensive interconnects to collect wind across a catchment area larger than typical weather-systems. And, well, Brexit.

    The German schemes I was thinking of aren't traditional pumped storage, they're hilariously madcap engineering.
    First - and simplest - is large scale synthesis of gas using excess generation, then storing it in the natural gas infrastructure and using it during shortages. This incurs quite substantial roundtrip losses, but most of the infrastructure already exists, so capital costs are modest.

    The second, and I kind of want to see this just just for pure balls-to-the-wall engineering factor is the mountain piston. http://www.heindl-energy.com/

    410:

    The notes you refer to came into effect on 6th April 2014. I was referring to earlier versions of this document, which DID stipulate a minimum percentage of light fittings had to be low-energy only units.

    412:

    There was once considerable experience with such techniques - remember the ubiquity of electric storage heaters? They aren't as useful as they sound, unfortunately. The proportion of the demand that can be switched off frequently and without warning is fairly small, doesn't include most industrial use (including computers), and most of those users (including electric vehicle charging) would get unhappy if they were disconnected for as long as half an hour or get less than half their maximum supply in any hour. A much higher proportion can accept a supply for a specific period of the day, but negotiating that is feasible only for the largest sites. Some installations can be configured to use backup batteries, and I had to investigate that for a 250 KW computer system. Ouch. Not merely were the batteries huge, heavy and expensive, it wasn't feasible to protect against longer power cuts and a backup (diesel) generator was needed.

    413:

    Yep, exactly. Hydro is hard to expand anywhere. Which is why it's great that the UK pretty much leads the world in finding alternatives that don't take up much room. 10 sq km should be more than ample to hold a full year supply of energy for the whole UK. Not that you'd put it all in one spot.

    414:

    Which is why you bother with the stuff that has these adapters for mains lighting sockets in the first place, rather than wire your own low voltage circuits.

    415:

    Eh? The UK uses c. 10^18 joules a year. I can't think of a realistic form of energy storage that could store that in only 10 km^2. What are you suggesting, and can you post the calculations?

    416:

    Thanks for explaining that controlled load and storage heating isn't useful and isn't liked by consumers. How many consumers have you actually discussed this with? Obviously more than the 10 or so I discussed it with every working day for about 6 years. Consumers that varied from people living in ski fields who heated their homes with controlled load underfloor heating through to irrigators who were flooding rice fields of several hundred square km with artiesian water pumped electrically from a km underground.

    Also good to hear what electric vehicle users want and need. Running an electric vehicle since 2010 hasn't given me anywhere near the insight that you've got. I would never have realised that I would be unhappy to get up in the morning to find that my fully charged vehicle had missed out on charging for half an hour some time between when I plugged it in and when I needed it next.

    417:

    That's irrelevant to what you posted and what I replied to, which was about the replacement of existing bulbs by low-energy ones. You said that you used old dimmers (which were designed and rated for incandescent only), and I said that was potentially dangerous.

    418:

    The "mountain piston" has got to be made into an actual thing, even if just for the LOLs!

    419:

    Jacking up an actual mountain would be even better.

    I nominate the Matterhorn.

    420:

    A cubic km of molten salt stores almost exactly 10^18 joules. 10 sq km, 100 m deep is a cubic km. Round trip efficiency is similar to long distance interconnectors but waste heat can provide area heating, which boosts the effective efficiency to near on 100%. They look like those gas retorts and petrol storage tanks you see around the place, and there's no reason I can see that you couldn't just swap them out.

    The mountain piston referenced above stores similar amounts of energy in similar areas. However sliding seals on that scale have me a little gobsmacked. They think they're possible though, so who am I to doubt?

    Norwich University is working on pressureised air energy storage using balloons tethered to the seafloor, which doesn't take up any land area at all and is absolutely fantastic for load matching. They've also come up with wind turbines that output compressed air directly, with no gearbox or compressor as such so there's no torque load at the hub. Very elegant.

    421:

    I have 4 of that exact bulb and they're great. I have them in light fixtures rated at "40W maximum". I'd say they put out 100W worth of light but virtually no heat.

    422:

    We could use Snaefell as a technology demonstrator, and then England wouldn't always have the shortest "highest mountain" in Great Britain! ;-)

    423:

    I have Philips Luster LED in bedside touch dimmer lamps and they work great. I used to buy off-brand LED bulbs since branded ones like Philips cost three or four times as much, but nearly all the cheap LED bulbs failed inside a year (when they were supposed to last ten years+). (Cheap CFL used to fail way short of expected life too). Now brands like Philips are only slightly more expensive than off-brand and I feel confident that they will actually last the claimed number of hours.

    424:

    I am telling you why the first instance of the scheme was abandoned (by the CEGB, back in the days when there was some central planning). It isn't quite the boondoggle that solar power is, but the mechanism simply doesn't work for enough uses to solve the problems that you claim that it does. You can make anything attractive to some people by subsidising it enough, though someone else has to pay for the subsidies.

    Also, if you believe that an energy storage scheme will have an efficiency approaching 100%, you are living in cloud cuckoo land.

    425:

    (Makes silly post so you can all focus on the dumb one in the room and start weaving)


    With this experience, three questions (that I haven't actually researched):

    #1 Is the National Grid... well: still National? i.e. government run (at least in a total oversight manner as shown in that BBC slice). There's two contenders, it would seem:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-of-energy-climate-change
    https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-business-energy-and-industrial-strategy

    #2 Who handles the contracts for buying/selling extra capacity? i.e. I presume you buy X potential at time Y with Z buffer. I'd be very interested to know who handled that.

    #3 Does Brexit impact this at all?

    #4 When I post this will the algos notice and crash sterling again?

    426:

    LEDs are now up to 100W+ equivalent output, although the big name brands are not yet selling them so I'd wait another year. In the meantime, this 14W one seems to be about 1500 lumens so probably a bit less bright than a 100W incandescent, but rather cheaper to buy and run overall.

    I'm personally happy with 75W equivalents that use about 13W, since I can leave them on about five times as long as the previous 60W incandescents for the same electricity cost. The currently available kinds also seem to last much longer than incandescents (the previous generations had high rates of failure), so they seem to work out cheaper overall even with a higher initial cost per unit.

    427:

    The right link seems to be http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/energy-and-climate-change-committee/ where the submissions I've looked at essentially state that EEA membership is something that is necessary for UK industry not to fall off a cliff. If this is making its way past the cognitive filters, then the recent political backtracking makes more sense.

    It's one thing to ignore the bankers, most of whom don't even vote, when they say that EEA membership is critical so they'll retain Euro passporting. It's quite another to drive the manufacturing and energy sectors out of business, and to give farmers a huge headache. Those folks are the bedrock of rural and peri-urban support for the Conservative and Unionist Party.

    429:

    Having noted which UK newspapers made a conscious choice to make money off literal insanity / encouraging fascism / ignoring the murder of a Member of Parliament with their headlines today, if I were important[1], I'd be asking some very pointed questions over who-knew-what about questions that immediately occurred to me in, oh, literally 10 minutes of thinking and using a search engine and a short 5 minute BBC film.

    *looks pointedly at music choices, in particular Radio Head's Just*


    Or did everyone literally go insane while I was pratting around?[2]


    Oh, and Algos: they watch and scan and they're automated so by even breaching this topic in public will probably cause some kind of Buddhist ripple on the water[3].

    [1] I'm not, quite the opposite.

    [2] Don't answer this.

    [3] Literally.

    430:

    That one looks sure to pop up in interrogation facilities across the world: 4x100W incandescents on any side, plus backsplash from the other side; sounds nasty. Or maybe soon to partner CCTV cameras wherever protesters are likely to congregate.

    Actually, I look forward to seeing such things in lighting rigs at theatres and other public venues. Older ones shed tens of kilowatts of heat into closed spaces, forcing additional ventilation over and above that required by the roughly 60W per person of heat. Lessened fire risk and simplified operation of large public venues is a good thing.

    Already most photographers seem to have shifted over to LED panels for studio lighting, running off batteries instead of mains power supplies and a fraction of the size of previous solutions. It's interesting where new lighting technology will ultimately lead.

    431:

    I’m coming late to this party, but I wanted to make a few comments on the original topic and ensuing posts related to the Brexit.

    I’m going to make one post per comment, rather than posting one very long comment – apologies if this is not the best way to do it, but this way you can see the main idea in each heading.


    EUROPE MADE ME DO IT
    Dan H (@317, plus pigeon @359) are essentially talking about how the EU has been used by the UK as a political shield (the UK is not the only offender in this respect).
    This is quite right. As someone who was involved for some years in EU policymaking, I have seen a large discrepancy between the framework (directive) agreed at EU level and the resulting, much stricter and often politically unpopular national rules (transposition) that resulted in the UK.

    The government’s inevitable response of, “Europe made me do it” always struck me as troubling.

    432:

    Since people are speaking about subsidy farming, I wonder what the subsidies are for wind (onshore/offshore/small) compared to solar?

    433:

    (OK, the system doesn’t like me making lots of individual posts, so here goes in one post after all)

    HOW EUROPE SEES THE UK

    Some insight from Germany, which others have pointed out is a major player in this.

    I have been scanning German and UK media over the last few weeks, and there is a huge difference in coverage.
    Brexit is a major part of the UK media landscape, as you would expect, and much of it is about how we (the UK) will bend them (EU) to our will.

    Germany has already moved on. There, Brexit is essentially a non-story. You can certainly find coverage, but it’s far from the front pages.

    There seem to be two trends:
    First, they (the UK) have made their choice, we (Germany) note that choice, and they should now get on with it.

    Second, those crazy Brits have lost the plot. As an example, the UK was back in the news yesterday: ARD (like BBC1) ran a report in its news-at-ten about calls to bring back the Britannia, the Royal Yacht. It was in the “and finally…” section, and the tone was one of outright mockery at the moves to return to a fictional past.

    When the responsible, serious media starts to treat you like that, you know you’re in trouble…

    PROPOSING AND PASSING EU RULES

    Contrary to what someone said earlier, the European Parliament cannot propose EU legislation. The European Commission is the only institution that can do so. The Commission makes proposals, which the European Parliament and national governments then discuss, amend (sometimes hugely) and then either adopt or not.

    Nothing will be agreed at European level unless there is strong political will for it, and proposals typically come out of years of working with technical experts and national governments.

    The idea of an overweening Commission imposing its writ on the helpless people of Europe is sheer nonsense. Even if some commissioner went mad and insisted on putting some fanciful scheme forward, it would never make it through the Commission’s own internal process, let alone the series of readings and amendments. The process is inherently (small-c) conservative and cautious.
    (and remember that commissioners are nominated by national governments)

    UK CITIZENS MOVING TO EUROPE

    Someone talked about how the EU could make things harder for the UK by allowing UK citizens to live and work in the EU for a period of time after Brexit.

    I wanted to remind you that a version of this is already being mooted: that UK students who study for a time in EU countries should be able to easily take the citizenship of that country. This was suggested by the Italian prime minister and echoed by the German deputy chancellor (deputy-PM), and at least one other senior politician from a large EU country (details escape me).

    ONCE ARTICLE 50 IS TRIGGERED

    There is a widespread belief that triggering Article 50 will lead to a two-year process. Maybe.

    As a senior political science academic I know explained to me, you cannot bank on a two-year process. The key term is “up to” two years (renewable by unanimity). If everyone agrees after a week, then the process will be substantially shorter. It is not impossible that the UK will be presented with some form of take-it-or-leave it deal soon after the current prime minister invokes Article 50.

    For what it’s worth, once that happens, there is no way back. It is effectively a one-way process. And Article 50 _will_ be triggered: anything else is politically impossible.

    FOOD

    Someone said above that the UK exports quite a lot of food and drink, the suggestion being that the UK could in principle become food self-sufficient. I’m not an expert in this, but I wonder how much of it, by value, is whisky and other goods that aren't suitable for feeding the population. Economists traditionally used port and wool as examples for trade being a good thing.

    434:

    I’m going to make one post per comment, rather than posting one very long comment – apologies if this is not the best way to do it, but this way you can see the main idea in each heading

    Not a problem, and it's likely to keep most responses to your posts focussed on the one point rather than rambling like "Call Me Dave" on holiday!

    435:

    ONCE ARTICLE 50 IS TRIGGEREd
    Key phrase "If everyone agrees": That's very different from "if Everyone except the nation seceding agrees".
    Food
    Whisky is made primarily from barley (and water), at least one of which you can eat.
    Also (I know this because my Dad had a job arranging the collections from a distillery) the barley that has been used in producing the wort is then sold on for the manufacture of cattle cake.
    So that's at least 2 ways you can "feed people on whisky", quite aside from it being a high added value product so you can buy way more of $other_food with the profits the whisky earns.

    436:

    CFLs "totally useless" 3-4 years ago? Don't get that at all. I've been using CFLs exclusively for 20 years or so, and they're great. Mostly cheap ones from pound shops, QD, and the like, once they started turning up in such places, because I don't see the point paying several times the price just to have some name written on them. I used to write the date on them when I replaced them and they would last 2 years of continuous operation. If anything, more expensive ones are less reliable than pound shop ones, although there's not a lot in it. Ones with a thermistor start circuit are also somewhat less reliable than instant-start ones.

    What does annoy me about them is that they usually fail due to overstressed/overheated/inadequately-rated electronic components in the ballast while the tube is still OK (main reservoir capacitor exploding is a favourite). The early ones with a mains frequency inductor as ballast would keep going until half the phosphor had fallen off the inside of the tube. But they still beat the crap out of incandescents.

    Now that Chinese LED bulbs, with large numbers of dirt-cheap small emitters and omnidirectional output, are readily available, and I'm no longer limited in choice to Western-style ones with small numbers of expensive very high power emitters, directional output, a dirty great chunk of aluminium for a heatsink, and power-limiting thermal difficulties despite this, I am replacing CFLs as they fail with things like this:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01DEUHULY

    15W consumption, the listing says "90W halogen equivalent" which I ignored, subjectively seem to give more light than a conventional (non-halogen) 100W incandescent. And "warm white" actually means what it says.

    I have recently ordered a 150W LED lamp - that's 150W consumption - for 9 quid. This is just to see what it's like, as even by my standards it's grossly overpowered for general use; but one possible application that does spring to mind is as a workpiece illuminator for welding - it ought to be bright enough that I can still see what's going on through the mask to get things lined up before striking the arc. I've used 500W halogens for that before, but the heat is excessive.

    437:

    Multiple posts in a row is generally reserved for the trolls on this board or the serially unhinged. *nose wiggle*[1]

    Try #post number to reference, although host may see your expertise & suggest multiple posts. [i.e. I've no idea, I'm making a self-referential joke, don't take my word for peanuts].

    ~

    As a serious question: most people are aware of just how abused the MEP system had become by the UK (back when Farange was "unimportant flavor" rather than "man who accidentally became King").

    Is there a provision (within the EU / MEP / current treaties) to state that one party maliciously acted in bad faith. i.e. if you could prove that funding and/or bribes and/or contracts had been made prior could that move the entire field into a Legal case? [*cough* Hacked Email time[2]].

    ~

    Oh, and at what point do the real power brokers get annoyed and remind the peons that Reality Matters? (I am a fruit bat, but I had no vote either way - I'd be remain, obviously).


    [1] Although each incarnation is now going to ping back to straight-laced posting now. Mirror stuff.

    [2] Note: I'm not suggesting a political scenario where the usual bugbears (i.e. Russia) are invoked just to get WWWIII even more likely. As a matter of fact, I know that a lot of the nudging came from the American Right on this matter [and they spent money doing so] as well as the known Russian backing of Right-wing EU parties.

    438:

    Bad faith and bribes are different.

    I am not an expert in the intricacies of the EU treaty, so I'm not entirely confident in my response. However, as you asked...

    My feeling is that "bad faith" is untouchable, as national sovereignty is actually taken quite seriously. That is, MEPs are whomever were elected at the national level, and it's up to the national level to decide whom to exclude (or not) from being eligible.

    If you are talking about bribery and other illegal activity prior to election - with good evidence for it - then of course there would be grounds for legal action. However, there, too, my expectation is that the member state would be the competent prosecuting authority, rather than the EU as such - again, because decisions about whom to send to the European Parliament are made at national level, and sorting out any illegal activity would thus devolve to the member state from which that MEP had been elected.

    439:

    Solar used to have a ridiculous level of subsidy - not quite a licence to print money, but not far short of it. I forget the exact figures but you could sell juice from a solar installation to the grid at something like 10 times the price you'd buy it for to use. It got wound back to something comparable with the subsidies on other forms a few years back, but if you had got an installation done while the massive subsidy was on offer you were in clover.

    The lowest level of subsidy was on micro-CHP. If solar subsidy was 100%, that for CHP was around 5%. Wind was something like 12%. (% of what? I don't know - this is a vague memory of something I looked up a few years ago - but the relative magnitudes are I think roughly right.)

    There wasn't, as far as I can remember, any rate quoted for subsidising a miniature nuclear power plant in your back garden. I found this disappointing.

    440:

    "Sixty quid... and eight for the fruit bat."

    "What fruit bat?"

    "Eiríksdóttir the fruit bat."

    441:

    Please mark Predator level jokes about hunting licenses explicit or *trigger warning*. i.e. mark them as humor.

    Since I happen to know that many Daily Mail readers would love to do so (and maybe Others).

    442:

    I have used them for about that long for purposes for which they are suitable. Those uses are increasing, but are still not a majority of the bulbs in my house - of course, they account for the vast majority of the switched-on hours, except for the tube fluorescents! I installed some LED lights about a decade ago, and have looked for them at intervals since, but they weren't suitable for most of the uses. In the light of the comments above, I may take another look and probably experiment with them.

    443:

    It's a Monty Python reference. Unless you're a bee, there's nothing to worry about.

    444:

    One of Trump's sons is called Eric, known for his love of trophy hunting: and of course The Most Dangerous Game (as well as Channel 4's new series of Hunted).

    [I'm actually anxious about the irreal and what happens when it breaks: mirrors are nasty things to play with, and I've been playing with one for a long time now. c.f. actual American politics 2016. Humans can and do hunt each Other, let alone the odd ones].

    445:

    Thanks - good reminder list for evaluating energy tech!

    As no one's mentioned using roadways yet, let's add it to the mix ...

    http://www.solarroadways.com/Home/Specifics

    The goat, sheep, bovine population is growing in Britain - so good news on food production. Plus good source of bio-fuel and other forms of energy production.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/414334/structure-dec2014-uk-19mar15.pdf

    Key points:

    'Dairy vs. Beef: The UK’s dairy herd has increased by 3.7% to almost 1.9 million. In contrast the UK’s beef herd continues to decrease, falling by 1.2% to 1.5 million, reflecting concerns over profitability.

    Pigs: Despite a fall in the breeding herd of 1.8% the total number of pigs in the UK increased by 2.9% to 4.5 million compared to December 2013. This rise is mainly due to the 3.5% increase in fattening pigs to just over 4 million animals.

    Sheep: The total number of sheep and lambs in the UK increased by 4.0% during 2014 to 22.9 million animals. The UK’s female breeding flock increased by 3.0% to 14.8 million in 2014.'


    Even so, the UK lags other EU states in animal productivity - at least for pork:

    http://pork.ahdb.org.uk/prices-stats/news/2016/june/gb-sow-productivity-continues-to-improve/

    Excerpt:
    'Whether indoor or outdoor sows, GB producers still lag behind our main EU competitors. The EU 2014 average was 26.53 pigs weaned per sow per year, with Denmark achieving 30.0 on average for two years running. The main reason GB has a below average number of pigs weaned per sow lies in the number of pigs born alive per litter, with GB still performing below the EU 2014 average of 13.2.'


    https://dairy.ahdb.org.uk/market-information/farming-data/cow-numbers/eu-cow-numbers/#.V_5s4skjah8

    'Published 15 July 16

    - The number of dairy cows in the EU-28 in 2015 stood at 23.6 million, an increase of 0.2% from 2014.
    - Ireland had the largest increase of dairy cows in the EU-28 in 2015, up 112,170 (9.9%) year on year.
    - The UK accounted for 8.1% of the total dairy cows in the EU-28 in 2015, a marginal increase on 2014, standing at 1.9 million.'

    Sheep/goats: (From the same source) Finally,some bragging rights for Brits!
    'Discerning French consumers have chosen Quality Standard Mark lamb from Great Britain as a “best product of the year”.' Lamb data is too granular to post here but overall impression is that UK lamb producer-exporters are concerned that Brexit will dampen their revenue outlook.

    http://beefandlamb.ahdb.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Sheep-outlook-July-2016.pdf


    Back to energy .... Now if you put these farm beasties on a treadmill ...

    http://inhabitat.com/cows-on-treadmills-could-produce-six-percent-of-the-worlds-power/

    Excerpt:

    'At one farm in Northern Ireland, cows are giving up green grass in favor of green power. In order to decrease his reliance on fossil fuels for electricity, farmer William Taylor created the Livestock Power Mill, a treadmill that generates power as cows walk on it. It may seem like a kooky idea, but Taylor could really be onto something: According to his calculations, if the world’s 1.3 billion cattle used treadmills for eight hours a day, they could produce six percent of the world’s power.

    Cows are locked into a pen on top of a non-powered, inclined belt. To avoid sliding down the incline, the cow needs to walk, which turns the belt. As the belt turns, it spins a gearbox, which powers a generator. A feed box hooked to the front of the device keeps cows occupied and happy. One cow can produce about two kilowatts of electricity, enough energy to power four milking machines.'

    I do get and agree with EC's point about the need to fit the energy solution to the geography, and closely examine the trade-off's. Not sure though that the UK has such policies in place though, and part of remaining an EU member in good standing did require compliance with all sorts of conservation/clean energy.


    Probably searchable and may be a factor: How does age of residential construction in the UK compare with the EU? Believe that more of the EU was bombed than the UK therefore more post-WW2 re-construction and more 'modern' infrastructure in the EU which might make it easier for continental EU members to comply with lower energy usage objectives. (The solar energy UK author I read kept harping on the UK [still] not being EU compliant on quite a few things. Book was published around 2010.)


    BTW, despite local whinging, the UK is not the most densely populated, over-crowded or housing disadvantaged of current EU member states - it does seem to really suck though at seriously looking at/implementing more benign energy sources.

    http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Housing_statistics

    Some excerpts re: housing types, over-crowding & EU 'policies':

    'In 2014, 4 out of every 10 persons in the EU-28 lived in flats, just over one quarter (25.6 %) in semi-detached houses and just over one third (33.7 %) in detached houses (see Figure 1). The proportion of people living in flats was highest, among the EU Member States, in Spain (66.5 %), Latvia (65.1 %) and Estonia (63.8 %; 2013 data), while the highest proportions of people living in semi-detached houses were reported in the Netherlands (61.2 %), the United Kingdom (60.0 %) and Ireland (58.3 %; 2013 data). The share of people living in detached houses peaked in Croatia (72.6 %), Slovenia (65.4 %) and Hungary (63.0 %); Norway (62.4 %) and Serbia (60.5 %; 2013 data) also reported high shares of their populations living in detached houses.'

    'In 2014, 17.1 % of the EU-28 population lived in overcrowded dwellings (see Figure 3); the highest overcrowding rates among the EU Member States were registered in Romania (52.3 %), Hungary (44.6 %), Poland (44.2 %), Bulgaria (43.3 %) and Croatia (42.1 %), while rates above 50 % were also recorded for Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (both 2013 data). By contrast, Belgium (2.0 %), Cyprus (2.2 %), Ireland (2.8 %; 2013 data), the Netherlands (3.5 %) and Malta (4.0 %) recorded the lowest rates of overcrowding, while seven other EU Member States as well as Norway, Switzerland and Iceland (2013 data for the latter two) all reported less than 10.0 % of their respective populations living in overcrowded dwellings.'

    'The EU does not have any specific responsibilities with respect to housing; rather, national governments develop their own housing policies. Nevertheless, many of the EU Member States face similar challenges: for example, how to renew housing stocks, how to plan and combat urban sprawl, how to promote sustainable development, how to help young and disadvantage groups to get into the housing market, or how to promote energy efficiency among homeowners.'

    'Challenges' in this case means 'objectives'.

    446:

    ...load management is a solved problem. The cheapest is called Ripple Control. Cheap relays are put in meter boxes and the electricity that flows through them is metered separately. Anything that's permanently wired in and safe to operate unattended can be connected to it. (no sockets). ... The Network Operator usually says there's a minimum number of hours per day that you'll get power, but they turn it on and off as convenient to them.

    Except... it's only "solved" for a given value of "add lots of time and money"...

    That kind of solution is something that's orders of magnitude cheaper to do when you're building a new house, than it is to refit an existing house (much like "separate your grey water system from your drinking water system, cut down on water consumption"). Given that much of UK housing stock is old, and built to last decades (if not centuries), it sounds a bit handwavium for this here town.

    447:

    Re: 'Also, if you believe that an energy storage scheme will have an efficiency approaching 100%, you are living in cloud cuckoo land.'

    To compare apples-to-apples in evaluating system efficiency, need to factor in power losses over distance as there's no such thing as 100% energy transportation/distribution efficiency either.

    Know that this (loss over distance) applies to anything that's hooked up to an electric outlet but don't know if anyone is including this factor when evaluating efficiency of centralized vs. decentralized (household-based) power generation and usage systems.

    448:

    You're making the same mistake that many others in this thread are, which is going for the technically correct solution and ignoring the actual politics. Starvation could undoubtedly be avoided in the UK under the high economic pressures that we might experience, but only if the government or a majority of the population has a will to do so.
    There is however no evidence that this is the case. Food banks of course help, but this government is happy to hound disabled people to death and bomb foreigners, as well as cut funding so much that there is a large increase in homeless people, with attendant problems.

    449:

    The current government has cut onshore wind subsidy, because their base hates wind turbines. Offshore ones still get a bit of subsidy. The massive solar tarrif was ridiculous, and any sane person could see that it was, but some moron was making decisions in government and ok'd it.

    Tidal turbines are now being deployed up by Orkney, we'll see how they do. You can find a list of current subsidy levels in the UK if you search for it.

    450:

    I haven't even skimmed them, but load management is a solved problem.
    and also Elderly Cynic at #412:
    Thanks! I'll take that as a hint to read more about the current state of grids, worldwide. (Penetration of such systems at the retail level is low in the U.S. for instance, except in some regions.)
    FWIW, I was asking specifically about short spikes due to synchronized demand caused by things like Eastenders broadcasts. Do these existing systems support shutoff for a short period, e.g. on the order of a minute?


    451:

    Tesco is running short of stocks of a range of household brands from Marmite to Comfort fabric conditioner after a row with its major supplier Unilever.

    Tesco running low on key Unilever brands because of price row Guardian, 12th October, 2016 (late edition)

    Unilever told Tesco it wanted to up its prices by 10% due to weak £. Tesco refused and so, as of today, Unilever is not supplying them. Twitter, Joel Hills, 12th Oct 2016.


    ~

    Hmm. Unilever: Brands. Which segment is their market share predicated on again? (that one was a while ago).

    There is however no evidence that this is the case. Food banks of course help, but this government is happy to hound disabled people to death and bomb foreigners, as well as cut funding so much that there is a large increase in homeless people, with attendant problems.

    Well, that's the crux of the matter, isn't it?

    452:

    (And and Host wins 'I'm a Farseer in my spare time and/or also cheating TIME stuff' for this thread).

    Now that'd be a scary virus.

    453:

    [Ugh - missed link. The twitter stream of comments is very insightful, for once.]

    https://twitter.com/ITVJoel/status/786250349203959809

    454:

    Search back through the thread for early comments by Dirk Buere. Although he was trolling somewhat ineffectually, the underlying "I'm alright, screw the rest of them" theme to his comments is (I fear) representative of the attitude of a large portion of the UK populace (whichever side of the EU referendum they supported). I'd like to believe assurances from another poster that such negative selfish attitudes are on the way out, but I'm not seeing a lot of evidence of it.

    455:

    Oh, I see. Sorry. I didn't know that. I don't watch TV, and Trump's offspring I generally just file under "spawn of Nyarlathotep" and take no further interest.

    456:

    Favourite response (if not totally accurate): "a noble stance my friend, but I fear you may be light on clean socks quite quickly..."

    457:

    "Do these existing systems support shutoff for a short period, e.g. on the order of a minute?" A few do, but most don't. Far more could, with battery backup, but that is expensive and problematic unless designed in, and a significant overhead even then. 1 minute at 250 KW is over 1 KAh at 12 V, allowing a factor of 3 for safety. And some systems could handle a (say) 50% reduction for that time, if designed in.

    458:

    ...despite the fact that my intended usage for the smaller vessels is effectively customs and police work and not war fighting! You're not going to find a justification for a fisheries protection vessel or a customs cutter carrying a SAM system like Aster 30!

    Which is exactly my point - such vessels have no real place in a Navy (in fact, the FPV Jura was tied up a hundred yards away from my office this morning), because they aren't warships. The Navy can support these tasks (for their training value, or because they happen to be in the area and it stops them being bored) but IMHO the task shouldn't be confused with their actual job - namely, going into harm's way and Smiting the Queen's Enemies as ordered.

    I was just trying to point out the false economy involved in specifying "cheaper" warships that have inadequate self-defence. Type 21 was one such design - done on the cheap, with an Air Defence fit that topped out with Sea Cat [1] - the assumption was it would be hunting Soviet submarines in the North Atlantic, under the air cover of the USN and RAF (note that Type 26 has a decent radar, CIWS, and Sea Ceptor).

    [1] A missile which didn't manage any undisputed kills in the Falklands (of four claims, two marked "more likely Sea Wolf", the others in conjunction with Rapier, Blowpipe, and a lot of small-arms fire). In fact, the NAAFI Manager on HMS Ardent probably shot down more aircraft using a GPMG...

    459:

    since we keep drifting into talking navy stuff

    More missiles were fired at the Mason today (alongside the Ponce)

    http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL1N1CI13L

    Someone is pushing escalation.

    460:

    On 2nd February 1982, during a towing exercise while en route to Portsmouth, England, Ponce collided with USS Fort Snelling, causing minor damage to Ponce's port side, mainly to the accommodation ladder and flight deck catwalk.


    I'm not saying anything, but this has major phrasing issues in the modern world.


    Someone is pushing escalation.


    Probably the poor suckers getting bombed by US/UK hardware. At a certain point you exchange 'strategy' for 'token PR hit that looks good'. Hint: it's the difference between warfare and terrorism.

    461:

    How is friendly fire possible/justifiable esp. between largish vessels (vs. smallish meat bodies) given the supposed high-tech capabilities touted?

    462:

    Well, I'm watching apparently left / centrist Minded people fall back into call out / explicit targeting of the absolute weakest (punching down, yo!) in the middle of an epic "Holy Crap, it's not Armageddon, sanity might prevail" thread[1], while claiming that they're totally not authoritarian or motivated by the same lizard thinking that their opposites are, like at all. Which will not totally give impetus to a push-back, at all.

    While Limbaugh is just jumping on consent [ctrl+F in this very thread, note the time stamps] as a targeting strategy[2] and/or moment of last minute satori.

    However, I might have possibly totally misunderstood your references, and might be getting the wrong end of the cattle prod[3], since I've been very good and have been attempting to focus solely on Host's question.[4]

    But I do think that a weak (not actually homophobic but meta-taking the mickey out of that reading) joke and finding empathy in the crapstorm that is Yemen is probably human[5]. I wouldn't really know, I'm not actually human by a lot of definitions.

    But in case you were asking seriously: Houthis (Iran proxies) might feel a little out-classed by the extent of S.A. military gear (supplied via the US/UK) and so a PR strike against any kind of US target (and note they're sticking to a military target in this case, not you know, embassies) would hit the headlines enough to highlight the utter shit storm of double-tapping hospitals / morgues that S.A. is engaged with.

    Which is the difference between warfare and terrorism: it's largely a power differential.[6] But I didn't spot any "friendly" fire in that exchange.[7]

    [1] Infinite Jest lead to suicide, not a subtle call out there, and one that has ominous tones in certain circles. Not only the Alex Jones circles, but the actual, you know, circles where it has been used.

    [2] When I used phrases like 'peanut gallery' I wasn't joking.

    [3] But I don't think I am & I am not that naive.

    [4] And it's not my fault if your Mind cannot parse complex multi-threaded narrative moves across entire threads, let alone years. c.f. Unilever.

    [5] Is the point made yet? I'm aware that Host is the important one here.

    [6] Threatening innocents is never a good look, nor is it moral, nor is it sane.

    [7] The locals are extremely hostile and it's not unusual to hang out the Grey Men[8] to dry when it's convenient.

    [8] This is a technical term which is used in certain circles. i.e. a tell.

    [9] Holy Crap, did you just go meta-meta-meta and break the golden rule of citations there? Holy 4th Wall Batfink!

    ~

    And yes, I'm aware of the irony. Breaking out of Learned Behaviours is really difficult.[9]

    463:

    I'm afraid a Briton is likely to laugh at the name of the ship, USS Ponce. On the other hand, given the actual purpose of the ship, perhaps the name is deliberate. (Yes, I looked at the wikipedia entry)

    464:

    —one could point to Donald Trump's presidential campaign as reflecting the same disturbing populist reactionary xenophobia—

    No doubt in my mind, Nigel Farage (‘Mr. Brexit’) stumped for Trump in Mississippi three weeks ago:

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/aug/24/nigel-farage-donald-trump-rally-hillary-clinton

    “I will say this: if I was an American citizen, I wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton if you paid me!” – Nigel Farage

    Thanks for that, but no thanks, Nigel. Take your filthy yapper back across the pond.

    465:

    Well, yes. It's a bit crude, but there we go: that's part of making the Mirror work.

    [And, SF: this is still with fuzzing / drugs attached / under hostile attack. In a perfect world none of those would happen, but apparently it's threatening just to exist these days. I was a little shocked, to say the least, by the vapid weaponization and crassness of the modern world].

    World’s oldest masks united for first time at the Israel Museum Jerusalem Post, 2014.

    Note: those are not the world's oldest masks, by quite some Time. [True]

    I don't particularly like the Abrahamic religions, but this has nothing to do with the humans engaged with them [partly true: there are very solid lines. e.g. enacting FGM] nor crude shit from when Luther was pinning his missives to doors.

    I'm aware of the history of the 20th Century, but to be quite honest: 2012 proved that modern America is 100% absolutely incompetent at tackling such issues and has no ability to do so, let alone provide a way out of them. Thus 2016. [True - and it's shameful that 5% of the world using 33% of its resources can't even grow up enough to sort this basic shit out]

    The long-game might not be 5 years, but 10 or 20 or 80 or 2,000 or 12,000. Who knows?

    Next time I'm accused of being hateful to X, or employing strawman Y, note that you might not have all the data available to you.

    [This is a meta-meta-meta joke].

    Who Wants To Live Forever YT: Music: 4:11

    The Peanut Gallery are using ammo from... well. Let's just say I know where they're getting it from. Always be careful of unreliable narrators.


    p.s.


    But point made: Will cut contributions down.

    466:

    And American Money is (partly) responsible for Brexit.

    [True]


    467:

    This discussion was in context of allowing the grid to halt charging on electric vehicles during periods of peak demand.

    It's not 'orders of magnitude' cheaper to do on a new house than an old one. You'd probably need to run a dedicated circuit for the EVSE anyway. The only additional cost to the home owner would be the cost of the relay and meter, which is the same for a retrofit as it is for a new build (if you've got a sparkie there to do the work anyway). They may need to be differently licenced (that's the case here) and so you might get charged a premium, but that's the case on a new and old build anyway.

    If you're talking about something else, as you appear to be doing, even then, for the cases I can think of you're still wrong. Retrofitting controlled load space heating with a ground source heat pump isn't going to cost >100x more than fitting it on a new build. It just isn't. Twice as much? Maybe, it depends on the building you're fitting it to. Fitting air to air heatpumps would cost about the same. In fact here they often build the house and then fit the heatpumps as part of the final fitout. It's easier to put up the gyprock (sheetrock, plasterboard) and then fit the heads to that than it would be to fit the heads and then try to fit the gyprock under them.

    468:

    "Do these existing systems support shutoff for a short period, e.g. on the order of a minute? "

    I can't see any technical reason why they couldn't, but they're not used that way in the Grid I worked in. They're manually switched by guys in the control room actively managing the network and reactions on that timescale are not something they deal with on a day to day basis. I know they can shut things off pretty quickly if a generator goes offline, but spinning reserve covers a lot of that. (spinning reserve in our case meant the literal angular momentum of giant spinning turbines that gives the grid a virtual inertia against sudden fluctuations in supply or demand. There are other usages of that term so just to clarify)

    469:

    Is that any liberal thread these days? Or is there one in particular I might find more educational than the rest?

    [No. I am not disdaining/foaming at "liberals" from the right. I am looking at them in annoyance from the left or the fuzzily defined.]

    470:

    "a noble stance my friend, but I fear you may be light on clean socks quite quickly..."

    As pointed out via a direct link to a 3rd party candidate, this USA election costs you ~$30k a meme.

    [And host has linked to the source of some of the Alt-Right stuff via Twitter. It's nowhere close to accurate, but it does outline the issue. Shadows in the Cave and all that Jazz].

    I dare you to do a GREP of my input, then X-index against when said Meme / Thought / Vibe went live, across the election cycle.

    Chances are, you'd owe me a couple of million at least [No, it's much more - Buffalo Jumps cost real money. That kind of insane, totally deniable actor level of dedication to Queen and Country].

    Buffalo Soldier YT: Music - Bob Marley : 2:40

    *shrug*


    Or I'm a just a sad, drug-ridden, rotting corpse of a delusional psychotic paranoid schizophrenic.


    Let's just say the choice there is gonna be important in a bit. [for the oldies: http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/why-not-both-why-dont-we-have-both ~ this is the real attack vector, btw. You don't do that to Our Kind]

    471:

    It's a specific call out.

    Find a thread with 1.3k replies, ignore all the love for the CRONE ISLAND and WITCHES and CASTING SPELLS (which is kinda also a thing I love) and look for the Bros doing paleo-hunting preening (a la Peacocks).

    New method - just *phawp* them on the nose with a rolled up newspaper, please. The DFW stuff is really not funny if you know the bargains and attack vectors currently being deployed - and if any of them know it, then politely remind them that we used to gut your kind for fun.


    Which is kinda why I do that whole "Jester / find humor for all parties" thing.

    It's like the Clown Meme (which the T.Cruz PR dude types / FBI "totally" didn't artificially induce to off-set ICP anti-Trump stuff. Nope, totally imagining that one... *looks at on duty police wearing Trump baseball caps. Oh. Ok. Forget that one).


    ~

    Or, TL;DR:


    There's a reason we're deployed: quit fucking it up like the whole UN / Minerva stuff over #Gamergate.

    472:

    More things I've had explained to me on this blog.

    The UK has old houses and nothing related to renewable energy or energy efficiency can be retrofitted to them. It's completely beyond the pale to even consider it no matter how trivial that retrofitting may be. Altering even they tiniest detail of these houses costs hundreds of times more than one would expect and can't be done. I've also learned how far sighted UK builders where before 1850 to have installed lighting circuits, meter boards, switchgear, indoor plumbing, mains connected sewer systems, flush toilets, TV antennas, phone wiring and ports, electric doorbells, mains water and mains pressure hot water lines all before any of these things were invented. No wonder Britannia rules the waves eh chaps?

    473:

    Could you stop. Just stop please... You're doing my head in.

    The question was directed *specifically* at people who knew something about these systems.

    For a start (just a start) it would be illegal to connect any kind of computer system to a controlled load circuit because it's not hardwired in.

    Following on from that you'd have to be a complete pillock to even consider it. The systems are designed to turn off every day. Some turn off only during periods of peak demand (on for ~18 hours a day), some turn off unless demand is very very low and electricity is being thrown away. (on for ~6-8 hours per day, generally in the middle of the night).

    And beyond that, no-one puts battery backup on a controlled load circuit because the cost of electricity from a battery is far far far more than the savings to be made by getting the discounted electricity that comes through the controlled load circuit.

    475:

    And, if you want irony:

    #1 Posting on an open forum is as public as sending a text message these days. Especially if you're using an iPhone or a Gal7 and haven't thrown it at your worst enemy yet. In fact, it's safer, 'cause obvious intel is obvious. This shit is allll plausible deniable.

    #2 TIME: YOU'RE NOT GOOD AT IT. Have some faith already. But obviously, hold on until Nov 9th before relaxing. I won't, I'll be redirecting angry Gremlins.

    #3 The "No Man's Sky" thing is a) deserved, b) targeted the correct targets rather than the nonsense factory stuff being spewed out via the rest of your machines and c) also outed a huge amount of Chinese / Russia downvoting systems. Oh, and: stop treating them like they're idiots, they're not. [Bonus round: recent 4chan artificial crap over blackmailing a woman to produce explicit photos - 4chan is getting ganked and that lame stuff is like so 1912 dude].

    Oh, and: it's called a split shift. It flags up the ones who are genuine / naive / innocent / merely ill educated against the professionals. Who are mostly (74%) paid by State Actors btw. You fucks got MADE.

    #4 Quit shitting your pants and grow up. MF reads like a fucking "House on the Prairie" episode at the moment. This is not how you win.

    #5 And yeah: look at the map of "If only women voted in the USA election" map. Might be radical, but we're all for ~2k years of Matriarchy to replace the current crud. Hell... when FGM gets outlawed, they're probably going to get rid of MGM as well, just because.


    ~

    Oh, and Dave.

    It's a fact that if I whored myself out to Trump or Clinton, this little foray would make me... well. Probably a "DC PLAYA".

    But, prove me wrong, or at the very least, prove me sooo delusional that it's all in my head.

    'Cause, you know: it'd be funny if you could.

    I Get AroundYT: Beach Boys: 2:18

    p.s.


    Aww. Care to explain the passive-aggressive crap, or just venting?

    476:

    And yes:

    I will call out the entire fucking industry as bullshit made by muppets, populated by muppets and funded by muppets with muppets thinking their 19 digit Family Investment portfolios are related to their talent raided by muppets who are paid to shill for muppets because they have no loyalty or human spirit apart from the 'almighty' dollar.

    Your system is imploding.

    Because the Talent no longer wants to work for it.

    2020.

    ;.;


    This shit was for free. Wait until we're motivated.

    477:

    Don't spend it all in one shop.

    Fails to even understand the basic concepts being deployed.

    "Spend".

    I'm not one of the utter fucking horror-show cunts who made your system a fucking cul-de-sac nightmare that raped the planet, fucked all social mobility, encoded a ravenous and barbaric religious code into their psyche while bombing the rest of the fucking planet.

    You are.


    And since you're fucking children, and cannot deal with it, some adults did.

    p.s.


    You're fucking welcome.

    478:

    And, as for the implication that this is all part of the script, the Man behind the Curtain, all the machinations of the Great and Secret Show.

    Whelp, we already disproved that one.


    9/11, 2016


    I dare you to publicly state what actually happened then. Hint: Coiling mists of vast mushroom filled caverns, a couple of winged angels and an eye with a Goddess in it.

    We See You.


    And We. Do. Not. Like. You.

    480:

    Ooooh, a straw man.

    If I want to run separate circuits around the house (say for heating) or even just from the main box, and I do it while all the plasterboard is off and the initial wiring is being done, it's not that much more expensive than doing it for a single circuit. An extra hour might do it.

    If I wanted to do it now, then it is a complete and utter pain. All of the extra parts need added, I have to then get it Part P recertified, and made good. It's now a day's work for the electrician, and more to replaster / redecorate. Twenty extra hours now, for a fairly simple modification. Throw in (say) electrical storage heaters, and that extra wiring needs to run round the whole house, triple it. Oh look, the power comes in on the opposite side of the house to the telephone line.

    If I wanted to replace our existing gravity-fed regular boiler with a system boiler, and to wire in some solar heating, AIUI I'd be lucky to get away without leak damage all around the house because the hot-water pipes would now be running at a much higher pressure (1 bar up to 5 bar).

    Now imagine the same in my old 19th-century flat in Edinburgh's old town. No chance of solar - the roof is two stories up, and a mishmash of small, angled, and curved slates. Walls a foot thick, one (maybe two) 30A rings for power. No double glazing, it was a listed building in a conservation area.

    OK, you can challenge "orders" of magnitude, but it's certainly a chunk more than 10x more expensive. It's the kind of thing that can be addressed most easily every 30 or 40 years when the flat or the whole building gets totally renovated. Made more difficult because of high ownership rates (easier to 'persuade' tenants of the virtues of a simultaneous upgrade)

    481:

    Did you mean that to #478?

    It makes no sense otherwise.

    I'm just trying to understand if you're happy some adults got together and nuked your GOP from orbit, or if you're attempting to claim parity that you don't like "me" either, despite not actually knowing anything about what happens beyond the veil apart from forum rants.


    Just asking.

    482:

    Could Britain join NAFTA or have the same relationship with NAFTA that Norway has with the EU?

    Dave_the_Proc