2141 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012
Re: It all started with...
" It all started with...Thatcher. She privatised...Ever since they were privatised, the cost of electricity has gone through the roof."
That is crap, and you are either ill informed or intentionally dishonest. Which is it?
Electricity prices fell fairly consistently from privatisation in 1990 right through to 2003. See chart 2.1.2 on page 10:
And that's when the government's Renewables Obligation kicked in, followed by the government's energy supplier obligations like CERT & CESP, then the EU's Renewables Directive, then EU's Emission Trading System, then the government's Energy Company Obligation & WHD, more latterly by the government's UK Carbon Price Floor, and soon to be joined by the government's Capacity Mechanism. Have you spotted how the words "government" and "EU" appeared rather frequently in that lot?
And in your enthusiasm for state management and for the party that has repeatedly rained economic death on this country, you overlook that last time the state ran the whole show we did indeed have to get the candles out.
Re: four words... WE NEED NUCLEAR POWER
And four words: It costs too much.
UK government are desperate to get EdF to commit to a new nuke at Hinckley Point to give them something to announce so that they can pretend their comedy energy policy is working. However, EdF don't want to sign and the sticking point is money. Even on starting cost projections EdF need £100MWh to make it work, compared to wholesale prices at the moment of £45 MWh - and that's assuming that new nuclear power doesn't have to shoulder the vast social obligations that government think should be in your electricity bill, nor the costs of subsidising renewables.
Then you've got the problem that both previous EPR projects are six or more years late and three times over budget. If the French will bankroll the Hinkley Point over-run then that's fine by me, but if not then we're looking at £300 MWh, which is almost seven times current wholesale prices, even including EU and UK carbon taxes.
Feel free to help yourselves to nuclear electricity at that cost, but lets make sure that customers who don't want a seven fold price increase can opt out, leaving those who do to pay themselves. Technically and safety wise I think nukes are a fantastic power generating solution - its just the way we currently do them isn't economic. If that changes I'd welcome them with open arms, but I don't see that anytime soon.
"Where's the huge margins?"
"They build them away, as any good listed does."
Unfortunately that's rubbish for a single country based company. Any competent observer can track if cash is out of kilter with reported profits, or if the balance sheet is mis-shapen, or if the tax rate is inappropriate to the described business, or the dividends don't correlate with the P&L result. And there's nowhere for SSE to hide the money, added to which they are legally obligated to report costs and profits by segment to OFGEM, who do their own audit on those figures, over and above the normal statutory audits.
If you were talking about a multi-national company, involved in multiple business lines, or with tendrils to opaque tax havens then you'd have more of a case, but that's largely the province of big US tax dodging tech & coffee companies, pretending that they buy licences or services at vast cost from offshore subsidiaries.
Re: Odd thoughts but...
"Efficiencies in use of energy, insulation, new building materials - and massive decline in heavy industries that used electricity - should mean our demand for electricity supply decreased, but apparently not.",
It has. In 2008 UK electricity production was 385 TWh, by 2012 that had come down to 361 TWh, despite an increase in the population from 61m to 61.4m in the same time frame. The slow change reflects the fact that housing stock is (in the bigger picture) added to rather than replaced, and that the changes in British industry haven't been great over this time frame.
"Just because the generators are turning doesn't mean that there is a light bulb on at the end of the line. "
I believe you'll find that electricity requires a circuit, in which case you are accusing the electricity industry or others of hiding a ten trillion watt lightbulb somewhere. I think somebody would notice that, myself.
Re: Milking the bunnies
"The populations are using more and more energy for televisions, home cinemas, central heating, luxuries, iphone etc. etc...Surprisingly there are no viable energy solutions available for the ever increasing demand. So what do we do, nothing, we continue to consume as ever before.."
Globally yes. But in Europe in general, and the UK, no. UK and European total and peak power demand has been sliding for about five years now. The problems we now have aren't about excess or growing demand, they are about the move from having excess supply capacity to insufficient capacity. And where government should have thought about cost and security of supply, instead they spent all their meagre intellects and much money on the drive for renewables, which contribute only modestly to gross generation supply and nothing to peak capacity.
Re: Cloud cuckoo land thinking...
"Call me cynical but why on earth would I believe an energy sector player when they tell me they are going to close gas plants by 2016? "
Because the spark spread (look it up) is below the cost of keeping the plant open, particularly if your running hours fall due to subsidised renewables, and your effieincy is clobbered by the intermittency of the same renewables. If there's a prospect of the plant becoming economic in future then it may be mothballed rather than closed, but in the chaos of European and UK energy policy that still involves a risk.
"Green taxes - I have a degree of sympathy there with complaints, but context is everything ie how much of our energy prices are down to green taxes (and what are those taxes used for ie supporting the poorest and energy efficiency measures)? 10%?"
Don't mix up the green and social aspects. DECC already have, and it's a right pig's ear, albeit one that keeps me in a job. The social costs are about £2bn a year at the moment across industry (aggregate costs of WHD, CERO, HHCRO and CSCO schemes), and as there's 26.5m UK households, with average annual leccy bills of around £500, that's 15% just on social obligations - obligation costs are recovered on electricity bills, not gas bills. If you included gas bills then you could say that the average social cost was circa 7%, but for consistency you'd then need to include the £2bn spent on winter fuel payments by central government, pushing the aggregate figure back to 15%.
The subsidies for renewables are hidden by the way that they are funded. Not only do you have direct subsidies like grants, tax allowances, ROCs and LECs, but you've got a market structure that meets demand by selecting the lowest marginal cost (not paid price) of plant that could meet total demand, and then pays everybody the highest marginal price. This worked well in the days when all generation could be despatched as required and before subsidies wrecked the merit curve, but now means that wind power enjoys an unintended must run status. As a consequence, in addition to the subsidy credits it also gets paid the same as the most expensive plant in the market. Unraveling the full value from this is difficult - the direct subsidies are about 5% of your bill, the benefits of system marginal pricing probably add at least the same again. And that's why developers are rushing to carpet both land and sea with wind turbines - despite their paltry and unreliable output, the economics are excellent.
"Gas should be piped along the gas pipelines and used at the consumer end with only one conversion point."
Sadly not. To simplify a range of complexities, the limited benefits of using waste heat from small scale local generators are more than offset by the low efficiency of small generation, the loss of economies of scale, and the grid context (need for full grid cover for peak demand, impact on baseload from embedded generation).
Microgeneration at the household level is very inefficient, and uses noisy, short lived assets. I should know, having reviewed one of my employer's customer propositions in this space - it was laughable, and didn't even make financial sense with government Feed In Tariff subsidies. The quoted efficiencies by suppliers make the flawed assumption that the thermal and electrical outputs are needed at the same time, and ignores the grid context that means any material microgeneration output means tweaking down nice efficient baseload.
Larger scale CHP has a little bit more going for it, but even then the capital cost is vast, around £5k per property, yet still requiring full grid cover because the power element can't be sized to meet peak demand. Put simply a small GT or large reciprocating engine will never have the efficiency of a decent CCGT.
The correct solution for heat is actually to take the heat from big power stations and use that where circumstances permit (high density housing or business needs). For any big coal plant more than half the input energy is lost up the cooling towers. With suitable encouragement that could have been sold to residents and businesses in nearby towns and cities. Modern piping can easily shift heat long distances, so a run of up to ten miles to an urban centre wouldn't be a problem, but the limiting factor is the average network length per property, because insulated pipes cost at least £1,000 per metre (so detatched houses aren't economic to supply, and even semis are usually too expensive).
"Well... all this and price gouging by the energy companies (shareholder return is the only thing that matters - investment is contra this"
Do please comment when you know what you're talkiing about. The reason that there is a risk of blackouts is because EU rules are forcing the shut down of most coal plant, and prior investment by companies in efficient gas plant is being undermined by the way government has mandated and bribed renewables developers to build wind turbines.
Take SSE, simply because they are a UK listed company, and they are present right across the energy chain but with minimal foreign activity to confuse the numebrs. Their return on assets last year was a miserable 2.4%. My building society are getting that on my mortgage. Where's the huge margins? Where's the reward for the risks and skills needed to operate ten of thousands of km of network, to build, run, maintain and upgrade high relaibility power generation? Where's the incentives to invest, when previous investment has been expropriated by government, or made unprofitable by their policies? For the foreign owned UK power companies, but for the fact that there's no buyers, it would make sense to sell their UK operations.
Re: Oh no, it will be worse than that ...
"We are already paying subsidies for "green" sources and nuclear, so why not those to ..."
Not sure why the sarc tag, as this is DECC's solution. It's called a "capacity mechanism", and it's arrangements are being drawn up as we speak, and involve paying people to maintain the gas plant in working order, whilst paying fat subsidies to the crappy renewables.
Sitting in the hallowed halls of one of your energy suppliers, I can assure you that we don't send round toughs, and we don't have much clout with government. That's why you are at increasing risks of blackouts and higher energy bills, precisely because the politicians are idiots, and haven't listened to industry (or even their own regulator, who briefed MP's on these risks at least five years ago, if not longer). Note in particular that the cause of the risk is that you have (a) EU mandated closures of coal plant under LCPD, and (b) retirement of gas plant because under the current market rules set by government, these are unprofitable to run.
Bear in mind that the risk of blackouts is rising, not absolute. If everything works as National Grid project, with no failures and no unexpected rise in electricity demand, then you'll be fine, the lights stay on, and everybody's happy (apart from at the rising bills to pay for the tree huggers follies). In the near term we have a bigger problem with gas, where a cold winter could tip us over the edge, because we don't have enough storage. Last winter we came within about 48 hours of losing gas supply, although in the first instance it will be big industrial users who are told to stop using gas (those in interruptible contracts).
"People have identified a number of situations where there may be problems - rural areas, limited functionality on phones. But that's no reason not to press on with a solution "
No, it's no reason not to press on with a trial to establish how well it would work (or a reviewing of the Swiss and other experience).
Even with a modern smartphone in areas of network coverage there's often topographic circumstances where the typical cheapy phone GPS receiver doesn't work with any accuracy for point locations, even though the software makes a good fist of your location as you drive, so rushing out a handset based measure could be a half baked fix that then becomes a barrier to a better, if slightly pricier network solution.
Wouldn't you rather have the best affordable solution, rather than the quickest knee jerk solution?
I doubt any sensible person would mind their location being shared when making an emergency call, particularly when approximate location is already tracked and recorded by the network.
The problem of handset based (GPS/wifi) solutions is that they depend on a compatible and enabled phone with sufficient battery life to do that, even in the way you suggest. So no use for dumb phones, possible problems for foreign sims roaming in the UK, and always the risk of unforseen tech or power problems (eg with rooted phones running custom ROMS, or unsupported phones).
I reckon on that basis the answer has to be network based. Lets see what the industry reckon the cost of network based tracking is, and whether that makes sense. For some ballpark figures, if the costs nationally were half a billion quid to add this capability (which seems generous to me), and these were amortised over four years, then it adds about 20p to each monthly bill (or equivalent on PAYG top ups).
Given the hundreds of quid being added to (say) my energy bill by government rules that don't benefit me, adding a few pence to my monthly phone bill seems a no brainer.
"No it's not to reach your calorie limit, it's to reach the daily requirements that your body requires in order to have the correct balance of proteins, carbs, lipides etc"
I don't think anybody really mooted trying to live on McDonalds, with the exception of that film producer trying to make a point that you can't live on the stuff. But that's no more extreme than saying you can't live on any unbalanced diet, processed or not. Even on a balanced diet I doubt that most people get their fully daily requirement of everything.
In fact, today's a fast day for me. So I've probably not acheieved my daily allowance for anything. But that (the Michael Moseley Fast Diet) is one way of enjoying McDonalds and not ending up a lard arse.
"Does Dad barbeque in the back yard? "
And that's different to buying from McDonalds? Not in this house it isn't. I'm still struggling to convince my wife that the letters s-a-l-a-d do not feature anywhere in barbecue, but it's a fact.
"This is exactly the kind of bad eating habits that most doctors would like to see people avoid."
I'd hardly say that my very infrequent binge eating at Chez Ronnie is a matter for the concern of doctors. But your post seems to have got itself in a muddle. I'd need to eat 2x my McDo blow out to hit my calories for the day, not 3x.
And even I'd draw the line at six Big Macs and three cheeseburgers in one day. That could sit heavily, and it could mean a "three flusher" the next day.
"Good point but, disappointingly, you can still be hungry after a Big Mac. "
I find hunger can be kept at bay by two Big Macs. On one occaision I did have to add a cheesburger as well.
No. Flogged their stake about five years ago.
"And is there really no other option than a multinational on those occasions? Support your locally owned and run greasy spoon and go for a bacon sarnie* (and a proper cup of tea) there instead."
I do that as well, but this thread was about McDonalds. I think the very varied quality of greasy spoons and "traditional fast food" are part of the reasons for the success of the big chains. I love a proper Cornish pasty, but I'd say that the good ones are outnumbered by the bad in a ratio around ten or twenty to one, and those bad ones tend to feature undercooked onion accompanied by gristle in salty brown water, all wrapped in an LD50 of heavy, unpleasant pastry. Likewise, the best fishnyips can be infinitely more succulent than McDonalds offerings, but you really need to know the establishment before going there, to avoid the charlatans flogging expensive, badly cooked, bone riddled coley fillets accompanied by pale, flacid, greasy chips. Even the simple bacon sarnie can be a problem, with poor availability of bread of the requisite thickness and quality, and a common enthusiasm for cheap and undercooked bacon.
The whole point of McD's is that the product is fairly well standardised (so I know what I can order before I get there, and what it will be like when I get it), and the food is processed and homogenised (so that I don't end up with mouthfuls of blubber or gristle). Or perhaps more correctly, I can't tell that I have ordered and chosen to eat something made from blubber, gristle, spincter, eyeball, ear, spleen, nostril, and every other dangly, wobbly dirty bit of cow.
Re: As an educated Yank ...
"As an educated Yank ... ... the entire mcdonalds franchise is a horrible, horrible embarrassment"
Why? It's not pretending to be something it isn't. It meets a clear market demand. It's globally pretty successful. And when I'm really, really hungry, a couple of Big Macs, or a Big Mac and a Chicken Legend really hit the spot. As for the sugary drinks and shakes, they can stuff those where the sun doesn't shine, likewise the horrible desserts, but the core product is something to be celebrated.
The only complaint I do have is the variability of service where they don't police the franchises effectively, but there's far worse places.
"Big Food trying to get themselves in the same sentence as healthy."
Maybe, but I don't care. A Big Mac may not be proper food, but there's times when only something of that calorie density will do, and the golden arches are a welcome sight. I'm not fat (in fact two stone lighter than the beginning of this year), and rather resent the snooty "oh, such fatty plebian junk, it should be banned/taxed etc". And if those who dine there too regularly wish to do so, and "lard up", why not allow them to do so?
Admittedly there's a health cost we all bear from the overweight, but as with smoking, I'll wager that the pension and life extension health costs that arise from successfully stopping people becoming hambeasts are greater than the costs of living with the problem and dying earlier.
Re: Gotta have a little fun with the UFO nuts
You're onto something!
But rather than celebrating Amanfrommars' often unintelligible output, what about a selection of some of the commentariat's more reviled/celebrated/interesting posts, painted as fluorescent green against a black background in a fixed phosphor dot style font? Part Matrix, part Tron, part commentard.
Military green, with Korean lettering
It'd be a blighter to find if lost, but think of the panic and subsequent free press coverage if found by a member of the public. Perhaps a painted note on the fuselage asking the finder to contact the military attache at the North Korean embassy.
"So if I call Subway it will instead of "ring ring" go "eat fresh" "
That depends. RBT could presumably be paid by the organisation that the call is for, in which case they pay and they choose. Or you could pay and have your choice. But don't forget the companies already have this option at no cost by having your call automatically answered and playing their own recorded message. Usually this pseudo RBT is bad music and intermittent honey tongued lies about how valuable your call is to them, but a few are daft enough to force feed you product advertisements.
Re: News from the trenches
"study a little of exactly what civil society entails"
No, sir, I think you need to study what civil society entails. It isn't a bottomless pit of public spending to bring every desirable aspect of town to country, nor even country to town. And it isn't about magicking up broadband as a universal human right, to suit the convenience of a few, at the expense of the many. If you beg to differ, where's the line? Do you want rural public transport to have the frequency of the Bakerloo line? Of subsidised arts and culture to give the people of remote hamlets local access to performances by the RSC? Or rural emergency services response times of a handful of minutes? Or access to expert healthcare in well equipped hospitals?
It works both ways, but there's a reason why the countryside is relatively pretty and relatively unspoilt, and a related reason why stuff's cheap for those in the satanic mills.
Re: News from the trenches
"You may find your pint of Milk, Loaf of Bread and other such consumables has just gone up 3000%"
Only if I choose to buy it from you, which obviously I wouldn't. There is no such leverage where I can grow my own or buy on the open market. Funnily enough, those are both options for the rural broadband requestors - do it yourselves, or be prepared to pay what a commercial provider demands.
Re: News from the trenches
"The question is if investment into further development of those area's might benefit the larger community on the long run. "
Well come along then! We understand how the rural digital have-nots benefit. But make your case as to how rural broadband helps those who currently live in well served urban areas, and those who currently live in a rural area and don't care about the lack of broadband?
As somebody living in a well served urban area paying a commercial operator (VM), I can't see how I am helped in any way by subbing your broadband. Probable outcomes are a very marginal decline in some urban property values, and rising pricing and more development in rural areas as reluctant townies find they suddenly can live in nice rural areas and still be connected.
So even if the financial case were supported, will the proponents of rural broadband be happy with higher property prices and additional development? My money's on the notion that they want the convenience of broadband, but most would be deeply unhappy with its consequences.
The modern day Clearance
From Wikipedia: "On 23 July 2007, the Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond unveiled a 10 ft-high bronze "Exiles" statue in Helmsdale, Sutherland, which commemorates the people who were cleared from the area by landowners and left their homeland to begin new lives overseas."
Maybe the clown can now unveil a big bronze statue to the modern day clearances, depicting those cleared from the land by the failure or the Scottish Parliament to subsidise roll out of free rural broadband, piping red-hot grumble into every remote croft?
The new statue could feature a frustrated highlander, kilt akimbo, sitting in front of a PC connected by a dial up modem featuring the flag of St George. A box of tissues is next to the keyboard, but it is symbolically unopened. This poignant work of art would be installed at the mouth of Glencoe, depicting to the world how even today all suffering in Scotland is the fault of the English.
"I guess the UK must have it's own Guantanamo Bay somewhere else in the world where the terrorists are interrogated,tried and executed,"
My money's on Rhyl.
"Thank god somebody is protecting is from the imminent threat of Brazilian invasion"
Too late for that. Every bird in London has a Brazilian, so that's about three and a half million.
Re: The problem is
"The reason we don't have the IRA blowing up bombs is simple. We *negotiated* with them, and discovered that there was enough common ground to move forwards."
No, the leadership (as opposed ot the thugs at the bottom) were ensnared with the promise of power sharing, and sucked into the foul bureaucracy that passes for democracy. And as a result c**ts who previously spent their days plotting to murder civilians now spend their time arguing about the minutes of the last meeting, and feeling slighted if non-attendees or a meeting don't send apologies.
Let's not pretend this is about concensus. There is no common ground, but the outcome for those in Norn Iron who don't wish to murder or be murdered is a good one.
A fine idea. Would you see a range of phones to accomodate variations?
Galaxy Curve Athlete: Very right curve for the pert buttocks of a fit body
Galaxy Curve Slack: Slightly less curved for more everyday behinds that could do with a bit of exercise
Galaxy Curve Hambeast: I think that one speaks for itself.
Galaxy Curve Waterproof V: WIth a V shaped back, this sits firmly in the cleft, and is water proofed to prevent sweat damage.
Galaxy Curve Anorexia: A normal flatphone but enabling the excessively thin to buy into the Curve brand (you can see I'd have been great in marketing).
Re: Once upon a time......
From the Book Of Ledswinger, verses 14-15
14:1 "Then a miracle happened. Someone made displays out of hardened glass. No scratches, no stick on placcy layers, no ruined LCD bits."
14.2 And yay, the people did shout praise and thank god, turning away from Nokia's small but mighty 5800, and the people did make a great feast of burnt offering for the iPhone. But a new plague did spread across the land, when the miracle device did then get dropped but a single cubit onto unfertile earth. In that moment the work of satan was done, and the perfectness of the display was ruined forever.
15:1 The people wailed and rent their garments, and did yet gnash their teeth at the hundred quid plus bill for a new screen and digitiser. The prophets of the people's false idol that was called Apple were thus yet multipled, but the people were deceived still, and laughed yet at the thought of plastic screens.
15:2 Base and cursed with cartoony graphics was the iPhone, yet the people did worship King Steve and did demand yet more of the same. In return for tribute the false king did yet churn out more of the same, and the people did lap it up, and the king's house was full of silver. And even then the king did not pay his tithe to the US treasury.
15:2 The priests of expensive and undurable chattels did rub their hands and take the name of Nokia in vain, and poured scorn on those who claimed plastic might yet serve the will of god. And the wicked continued to insist that all should buy flat glass slabs from the temples of Orange and O2, ignoring that one size does not fit all.
Re: Scratch resistance?
"This is why I think this whole thing is a bad idea. There is no plastic yet that does not get attract scratches."
Some more than others. CR39 used for sunglasses is fairly scratch resistant, and that's real commodity grade stuff these days. I'd wager that there are plastics that don't scratch too badly. In fact my old Nokia 5800 survived two years of use by me, and then two years of use by my son with no significant scratching. Of course, being a resistive screen the UX was horrible, but in terms of durability there were no major concerns.
As anybody who's had to fork out to replace a cracked screen on a smartphone knows, there's a price for the brittleness of glass touchscreens.
I might like this
Seems a great idea. A gently curved phone could better fit in many pockets than big rectangular flat slabs, being plastic it won't shatter as easily when dropped, and being curved (concave side being the touch side, I'm assuming) it won't be subject to as much scratching from being slid along tables. So long as the curve isn't too great I can't see that there's too much impact on viewing the screen.
The main downsides are that this will undoubtedly be another phone with a non-user changeable battery, (but I seem to be in a minority of one on that subject) and a question mark over how well the screen resists scratching from touch use. For the fans of solid build I'd guess that this won't have a solid alloy chassis, so it's going to creak a bit, but personally I can live with that.
Whether the market will accept novelty from a company like LG rather than the likes of Apple we'll have to wait and see.
Re: Steve Jobs
"So don't just blame the bankers, a huge % of the western population cause this shit and as sorry as I am to say this, our collective greed will, without doubt, mean it will happen all over again. Give it about 15 - 20 years."
15-20 years? You've not heard of the UK government's help to buy scheme, then?
And sadly it isn't just Joe Public addicted to the Kreditade, it's the goverments of most developed countries. In that case it is instructive to observe how the solution to excess public borrowing and spending in the Eurozone, UK, Japan, and US is to borrow more and keep spending, which then feeds the consumer credit bubble because these governments need to keep interest rates low to avoid bankrupting themselves, thus they create cheap credit for banks, inflating asset prices, and encouraging risky lending.
Re: Average Consumer
"You're just not going to hear the difference with all the background noise while on the daily commute/treadmill/etc."
At any decent bit rate people will struggle to tell the difference when run through a top notch hi fi.
I play 256kbps MP3s from my phone into a Quad system fronted by electrostatic speakers. Listening to anything from classical choral through 70's rock to an assortment of today's music, the limiting factor is invariably the original recording, production and editing.
"Needs to have ultra high resolution"
For who's benefit? You have an owl listening to your music for you?
"With storage, bandwidth and silicon ever cheaper, why not?"
As noted by earlier contributors, beacause nobody cares.
Storage, bandwidth and silicon have got ever cheaper over the years, and still you will struggle to find any decent lossless catalogue available for download. And that will continue until you can offer the masses hi-fidelity music without in anyway impinging on (for example) the speed of the download/stream, without compromising the amount they can store, and without them paying any more. The sad record of digital failure that passes for the music industry would seem likely to torpedo any prospect of hifi downloads even if the technology were able to offer it without any compromises.
And then there's the demand side: Those who claim to care about sound quality are split by more schisms than the church, with true believers still at war over analogue versus digitial, semiconductor versus valve amplification, every form of equipment and interconnect, the true range of frequency response needed for fidelity, sampling rates, codecs, error correction, etc etc etc. Arguably the people who don't care about the quality, but just want to listen to the music are in a stronger position both for enjoyment and their pilosophical integrity than the hi-fidelity mob.
"they will be obliged to aggressively monetize their users. Will the users all stick around for that?"
It works for Google. All depends on how agressively, and how much they want to make. Looking at reported numbers they need to quadruple revenues or more to support the valuation, so that's a whole lot more advertising on average.
But one way of helping achieve that is simply to earn as much from non-US tw*tters as they earn from Yank tw*tters, as the limited data they have disclosed suggests US users generate six times the revenue. There's plenty of things they could expand - premium subscriptions, higher business charges, more advertising, more data sales, progressively reduced standard service, etc
Re: Of declining importance for power generation
"the survival issue is there's only so much oil(gas/coal) in the ground, what needs to change to make the market economics reflect the real world of two/five/ten/fifty years (or more) from now?"
The economics reflect the short term market structures, because the longer term stuff gets discounted (as in discount rate, not as in ignored). But the point of shale gas is that although there's only so much in the ground, there's far more than the declared reserves of the energy companies. Shale gas could be supplanted in its economic significance by better means of extracting shale oil and tar sands. Certain countries have vast shale gas reserves (eg France) but are currently opposed to extracting them). When all the shale gas is gone, and the tight oil and tar is in decline, there's gas hydrates.
Eventually it all has to move away from fossil fuels. But the raw availability of fossil fuels won't be a limiting factor for a couple of hundred years, long beyond the asset life of the extraction and power generation plant.
Re: Of declining importance for power generation
"I for one would be interested in whether this could be used to improve efficiency of peak support in addition to base load (maybe by making CCGT more efficient in a support role?) "
I doubt it. The issue is that you use OCGT for frequent or unpredictable peaking. Hitherto in the UK the peaks have been fairly predictable, so we were able to run inflexible legacy coal further down the merit curve as your peaking plant and use CCGT as mid merit.
In the largely post coal world after LCPD closures, gas becomes the marginal plant, but it isn't economic to maintain and run marginal gas plant as combined cycle if the demand becomes unpredictable (that's why the renewables bashing is important - they cause the problem) hence the proposals for downgrading good CCGT to OCGT. If efficiency were the sole issue rather than cost, then you would already be operating the gas turbines as combined cycle for peaking.
So improving the efficiency of the condensors on a gas turbine in combined cycle doesn't have much bearing on the choice of OCGT versus CCGT, because the technology in question probably still won't mitigate the extra O&M costs of the combined cycle plant given the expected future duty cycles.
Re: I used to thump them
"Seriously there are still shops in the UK hiring nazis? in uniform as well? haven't they heard of a little event called world war II? "
People get far too hung up on WW2. Surely instead of remembering the bad things that went on seventy years ago, we should just remember the good things. Obviously there's not that much that the nazis did that was good, but autobahns, uniforms and Volkswagen must be high up on the list. And rallies, they did them well too, although best not to dwell on the speeches. And standing up in the back of open top cars, long before the pope got round to doing it.
Re: Tesco are the worst
"(*) There ought to be a word created for this "clumping" behaviour. When I drive a van I make a point of parking in the middle of nowhere. It's only a matter of time before all the adjacent spaces have been filled by badly parked morons. Yet the surrounding spaces remain empty."
Strange, isn't it. There's that unwritten urinal etiquette that everybody (apart from the mad) know innately, and follow precisely without complaints. Why can't people do that when parking?
Re: I used to thump them
"I no longer slap the ones in my favourite local Sainsbury, but I still do so anywhere else I think I can get away with it....BTW You do know that in Sainsburys you can elect to 'use your own bags' and enter up to 9 'own bags' to gain 9 extra nectar points credit."
You are a vandal and a fraudster. And on that basis I have upvoted you.
Re: Which is worse...
" or standing behind a woman buying 50 fiddly objects who finally realizes she actually has to pay for it all and proceeds to dig through a bag the size of a duvet for ...."
They all do that. But if swimming pools can do "ladies only" sessions, then maybe those expensive bastards at Tesco could do us "bloke shopping Thursday". No kids, no women (and no old blokes - sorry, if you're over 60 you're not wanted unless you pass a test of basic bloke shopping competence).
And then we can all wander round not speaking to each other, getting what we want quickly and efficiently, cursing and swearing to our hearts content. Bliss.
Re: They are evil
"Wait, you actually found a supermarket with POLITE and FRIENDLY staff??!!"
Speaking for myself I don't go to the supermarket for social contact, so they can be as rude and miserable as they like. What I draw the line at is excessively foul BO, or worse still BEING FUCKING SLOW.
In fact, I'll revise my views on the fly: Never mind the pong, the wise shopper picks the till with the smelly, surly faced ADHD sufferer who is standing up and fidgeting. He won't engage with you or other shoppers in front of you, and he'll whizz your stuff through quick as shit, not regarding the risk to your eggs, and give you tons of bags without the sniffy "I'd prefer to look after the planet" look some cashiers give you when you ask for your five hundreth bag.
Re: Waitrose FTW
"It was exactly the same when Safeway tried this in the mid 90's. "
Here too. But I've beaten the auto tills by going to Aldi. Much cheaper, most of the quality is well up to scratch, with a few exceptions. Nice small stores that you're in and out of in not time, rather than our local Tesco, which is so bloody big you can see the curvature of the earth along the till line.
Interesting thing is that Aldi employ people rather than machines, and they're privately owned, so it's the owner's money on the line. Everything else about Aldi is done on the cheap, so this tends to suggest that self scan and robo-tills are sold by "retail consultancies" and EPOS makers to talentless big-corp retailers who can't spot how crap these system are.
Mind you, we've still got a load of those green Safeway self scan crates, used for all manner of storage round the house.
Re: Don't use these evil things ever!
"Maybe we all need to consider the larger consequences of using automated checkout tellers at grocery or other stores."
Where do you stop on that road? Will you ban ATM's for putting bank clerks out of a job? Computers for making HR administrators and accounts clerks surplus commodities? Car factories for making artisan customer builders unemployable (and them in turn for reducing the employment prospects of grooms and stable boys)?
You are Ned Ludd, and I claim my five pounds.
"The last time I shopped regularly in the Co-op the assistant served you with everything you wanted. Then your money was put into a little container on an overhead cable"
My god, you must be old! Have you transitioned to an Elder race, or even Sublimed? What are the supermarkets like in the sublime?
Re: "Any assassination could be seriously damaging to this nascent diplomacy"
"It would be equally convenient for the more hawkish types in Washington and Jerusalem. So there's that. Machiavelliean scheming is not limited to the ME, in case you hadn't noticed."
You're right on that. But the previous assassinations which we can surmise are foreign planned had a purpose in themselves, and usually involved a degree of public open space. Shooting some near-nobody in the woods is a bit pointless when if you want to stir things up you could continue popping at their nuclear scientists, or waste some minor politician or senior government administrator. Look at how the Taliban destabilise Afghanistan by rubbing out district governors, their deputies, judges, or moderate tribal leaders.
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