Science, Technology, Nature, Humanity & Sundries January 10-11, 2015

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Environment, Nature,  Global Warming & Space

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Just a reminder to keep things in perspective and have a good weekend before going back to work on Monday!

UHNQG10

Comments

  1. This is something so important I’m going to post it again. It got lost in another thread yesterday, but the implications for Australia’s future are so profound that it’s worth another look. So if CB will allow it:

    Renewable Energy: the other side of the story

    Last week I posted the podcast featuring Ozzie Zehner (an ex-employee of General Motors, btw) about how renewable energy was fatally flawed because it relies on fossil fuels for manufacture, it pollutes, it’s expensive etc etc. 😯

    This week we hear the other side of the story. Zehner is comprehensively debunked by a top Stanford university academic and green tech investor, Dan Miller. Radio Ecoshock host Alex Smith also does a pretty good job of dismantling Zehner’s thesis.

    http://www.ecoshock.net/downloads/ES_150107_LoFi.mp3

    And here’s something extra you might like:
    Rethinking Economics in an Age of Climate Change
    http://youtu.be/GCkCVFI3934
    (miss the first few minutes of boring intro … the rest is mind blowing!)

    • migtronixMEMBER

      What do you mean “comprehensively debunked”?!

      The whole argument is Cornucopian!!! Which you yourself say is a pipedream. So which is it? This is why when you lot say “debunked” I stop listening….

    • I watched the youtube – “Rethinking Economics in an Age of Climate Change”

      The start is quite evangelical in tone and emotive rather than scientific.

      However, once he starts talking about the economic problems, he makes sense. The analogy of the global economy being a broken OS is quite apt. To be fair, this is essentially the same message as Chris Martensen Crash Course – although Chris Martensen comes across as more rational. Ditto Prof Albert Bartlett. Similar ideas.

      I think you would find that most of the MB posters would agree with this idea of a broken economy. The unfortunate truth is that there is probably nothing we can do about the broken global system and its uncertain outcomes. We have a complex system that evolved. It was not designed – it does not have a failsafe or govenors. It has evolved for maximum growth at any cost.

      In my opinion, the idea that financial tools, taxes, trading schemes will change the Global OS is probably just wishful thinking. Change will come in two ways. First is disruptive technology. Second is catastrophic collapse. Nothing will change while we allow ourselves to be subordinate to the Bankers.

      • Oh, good comment DM!

        The unfortunate truth is that there is probably nothing we can do about the broken global system and its uncertain outcomes. We have a complex system that evolved. It was not designed – it does not have a failsafe or govenors. It has evolved for maximum growth at any cost.

        So true. “We come into a period that calls for a dramatic change in practically everything.” Dennis Meadows, author of “The Limits to Growth”, 2012

      • interested partyMEMBER

        DM

        Add to your final paragraph that time will be the great arbiter.

        The question I have is can we afford the time to squabble. To act to mitigate and eventually be wrong is ok with me, and should be ok to all rational beings…… but to ignore and carry on with business as usual and willingly fight that process only to be proven incorrect, that is, that we do have a uncontrollable problem/predicament …….well…….how can I put it, we would have to be judged as having less collective intelligence than a petri dish in the sun !!!

        Some of the posters here at MB seem to be beyond all rationality and reason. If it comes to pass that yes, we are in trouble and it spirals out of control, I trust that those who played their part in fighting the awareness of the general population are dealt with accordingly. I for one will not shed any tears.

      • @ IP

        “Control” is an illusion that comes from our individual way of seeing the world. Complex systems cannot be controlled in any way that we can understand. They are not linear or rational.

        The problems we have are simultaneously obvious and invisible. For example, cities are huge engines of waste and consumption. They used to be essential, but not so much as technology advances. The mainstream opinion is that making them bigger is the way to improve our future. Even Labor politicians believe this.

        If you can’t even get a general awareness that unlimited growth is impossible, any other attempts at enlightenment are a lost cause.

        Civilization has a fever. We just need to let it run its course and hope for the best.

      • The question I have is can we afford the time to squabble. To act to mitigate and eventually be wrong is ok with me, and should be ok to all rational beings

        Apropos.

      • interested partyMEMBER

        DM
        From where I sit, hope is a very bad strategy.

        I acknowledge your thoughts on control and do agree on cities doing nothing bar disseminate waste and welfare.

        My biggest issue here is how some spread doubt and misinformation to further some cause ???? it’s completely illogical. I am astounded with some of the rubbish that is put forth as rational discussion……absolutely astounded. This doubt hampers any small window we may have ( assuming a real predicament ) at addressing this issue. I had a higher opinion of humanity but it does appear we are surrounded by imbeciles intent on taking all with them.

      • interested partyMEMBER

        edit…comment in response to a post that has been disappeared, it seems.

        3d,
        I will look at those.

        What is becoming apparent here is the depth of indoctrination society has been subjected to regards living in an economy vs a biological system. The ability of the economic to kill the biologic is there for all to see….if one were only to be observant. But I fear we are far to intelligent for such a simple observation.

        On the mitigation costs………….totally irrelevant. Print the stuff.

      • “From where I sit, hope is a very bad strategy.”

        There is the core of the problem. If you have no control, hope is all you have got. Strategy is only useful if you can make stuff happen. Sad but true.

        Even though Australia is tiny, there are useful things we could do. Divert a few billion to CSIRO. Hobble negative gearing and clip the wings of the FIRE sector. Start a national project to land a rover on Mars. Try and develop a viable solar power generator. Hell .. even make solar panels and batteries.

        All these things would have technology spin offs, employ people and improve the national IQ. Harmless at worst, beneficial at best. Every single one of these suggestions would be met with a Bankers “No!”

        Who would pay?
        Waste of Taxpayers money
        Let the market decide
        Budget deficit
        etc etc etc

        The point is we can’t do anything really unless the bankers and politicians allow it. All the chatter about destroying the planet is just noise. The cartoon Apropos posted above is just more of the same. There are many things we can imagine that would be harmless at worst, beneficial at best – but they are all invisible to the financial mindset.

        We are captured. We now have a deeply ingrained belief in money, debt, markets and growth.

        I think that the most likely candidate for making changes is probably Elon Musk. Electric cars. Cheap Internet.

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2828539/Elon-Musk-s-mission-700-cheap-satellites-provide-internet-access-world.html

      • interested partyMEMBER

        DM,

        I propose that we take it out of the bankers hands and make something happen ourselves.

        If this is truly an existential threat then bring out the big guns.
        Something along the line of this….

        “I hereby mandate the next 12 months mortgage payments of all mortgagees be directed toward a global mitigation fund that will act on several fronts simultaneously targeting best practice solutions to counter the effects of our past activities. There will be no debt involved. It will transverse national borders and cultures. It will be a global effort. It will be our last chance.”

        Do we have what it takes?
        I don’t like ‘hope’…
        Give me a fight to be a part of.

      • IP you are in QLD, there is an election coming up,put something together and lets see how you go.
        Was it the Copper string or Copper line, Townsville to Mt Isa power link. Solar (tracker) power that and you may get it off the ground.

        Should the price of gas go up, the cost to generate power in Mt Isa and Cloncurry, will nearly make those operations unprofitable. WW

      • interested partyMEMBER

        Wiley,
        We both know the answer to that one.
        There will be a time and place that fits the actions…in the mean-time, if I can get people to consider alternatives then that is what I will do. There are too many fools out there that think it is all bunkum and that needs to change before we really can make a difference.
        I have already changed my lifestyle for the better. It is slowly leaching out past the fence-line as more people question the processes and activities. Logic and common-sense do prevail if given a chance.

      • Interesting Thread !

        @DM theres little doubt in my mind that the global economic system has transitioned into a fully chaotic operational mode.

        Having worked a great deal with chaotic systems I’d politely suggest that in many ways chaos is more controllable than linear, the key to controlling these systems is to understand the distributions of the Probability Density Function (PDF) . Typically the control will attempt to squeeze the distribution by somehow punishing the outliers. Interestingly Gaussian distributions tend not to be as easy to control as distributions that are clearly bimodal.

        Anyway controlling chaos is the task at hand, so IF bankers aren’t up to the job then it might be time for them to officially hand the reins over to others with the requisite skill set. Actually what concerns me is that this is happening already with banks investing heavily in automated trading systems that seem to only really benefit the bank but not their customers. They are maintaining a veneer of respectability over an industry deliberately constructed to steal quarters from everyone’s pockets. What’s concerning is that neither the bank’s management nor their political betters seem to understand whats happening …..makes me wonder if a technical elite isn’t already controlling the reins.

        Just before Xmas I hosted a partners meeting on “Understanding VAR” . Now dont get me wrong I’m not an expert on VAR far from it, however I have been spent a lot of my time over the last year optimizing a trading platform that was derived from a continuous VAR analysis platform. The purpose of the meeting was to take a 50000 ft view of our business interests and understand them in the context of an options portfolio AND then close the loop by managing the portfolio with a VAR methodology. The basic idea is to create a synthetic hedge for our very illiquid investments and manage this somewhat automatically. …

        To close the loop .the aim of our system is to engineer stability from Chaos.

        Having done this task I can say with certainty that traditional bankers are absolutely clueless about this new world of VAR and synthetic hedges..

        • GunnamattaMEMBER

          I like this idea, but I think you have to bring it back a step.

          Like most participants in most systems I would expect bankers generally to have little idea of the complete system – but only a detailed knowledge of the system as it relates to them. Eg algae doesnt know why rivers/coastal waters have more nutrients or sunlight sometimes, it just knows (does it even do that? Or does it just respond to in the way it always has, which has been acculturated/bred to its needs over a long time) it blooms (reproduces) at various points when nutrient and sunlight levels are up. Same as rabbits when the grass is up or rats when there are plenty of scraps to be had. I tend to see bankers in this type of light insofar as I dont think they would see their role as creating order out of chaos but as serving their needs out of changes in the environment in which they exist.

          Agree totally that most bankers are clueless about synthetic hedges. The number of people within the system who ‘get’ many of the tools they use is actually fairly small – their expectation would be that the tools they are told are available do what they assume they will do. That said, they pay good money to some highly intelligent people who do ‘get’ it (mathematicians and technical people generally) to make sure that the tools deliver the outcomes expected. Very very rarely do they pay much attention to the wider implications unless they think there is something in that wider known unknowns world which they they think can turn a buck.

      • @ChinaBob,

        You are aware that VaR refuted as mathematically incoherent, woefully ill suited to longer duration forward guidance, and best of all a great tool to abuse in order to game bonus remuneration or gin up financial paper. Value-at-risk uses historical data which is like trying to project past events onto the future. like trying to drive your car into the the events in your rear view mirror.

        1-Not all asset classes are included in the VAR calculation, because accurate pricing is not available. This was even before the crisis, where assets rarely traded and pricing was scarce. The VAR models that were used didn’t take into account future toxic assets, most of which were off balance sheets and tied up in structured investment vehicles. Even today this is true.

        2-Data used in VAR calculations are based on historical data. We live in a real time dynamic world yet we are using models that are static in nature. These results are unrepresentable of future results. This is what is also called “Future Blindness.” People tend not to be able to anticipate a future they have never personally experienced.

        3-VAR as well as Black Scholes and other risk measurements do not and can model the basic problem of liquidity. When markets are pressured the liquidity generally dries up. LTCM was brought down because the firm held hundreds of billions of assets that were not liquid. The VAR Model doesn’t make the basic allowances for liquidity risk.

        4-The most important assumption that VAR makes that is empirically and academically wrong is that asset prices follow a “normal” distribution or the classical bell curve. A lot of people tend to call these type of distributions “Gaussian.”

        Mandelbrot’s work on fractals bares this out, as shown by bonds not following Gaussian metrics i.e. the equilibrium illusion [EMH]. This is part of the dilemma Nassim Taleb also get on about, with Fat Tails. In fact such base assumptions which are metaphysical in nature, used to inform the mathematical and physics behind such models, can actually increase risk [see LTCM et al] Sort of storing risk potential until boom. Why do you think Basel is all over this and the utilizers are squealing like little piggies.

        “Yves Smith is similarly scathing of VaR as an effective risk management tool in her book Econned (2010). Aside from arguing that the degree of abstraction necessary for the production of a VaR discards important information about the behaviour of the underlying systems, she directly devalues what a VaR estimate is really worth. By adopting confidence levels of 95-99%, which are relatively good at predicting day-to-day risk, she argues that VaR does not focus on what is really important to risk managers, namely what lies in the remaining 1-5% of the loss tails.

        Indeed, VaR is silent with regard to what lies beyond the chosen confidence level, and this silence can prove deadly. Hull (2012) in his book Risk Management and Financial Institutions details how undesirable risk-taking can be inadvertently encouraged when VaR is used to try and limit the risks taken by a trader. In essence, traders who like taking high risks in the hope of realising high returns (and fat bonuses) are able to structure trades that satisfy VaR limits imposed by a bank while simultaneously exposing the bank to massive losses in the silent tail, utilizing a return distribution that is anything but ‘normal’.”

        Its like trying to mathematically judge irrationality with a tool that prefers flawed precession [desire] over accuracy at its inception [human frailty e.g. reality].

        Skippy…. If you have not read Econned please do, you might not agree with everything but, challenging your biases is critical in any field of pursuit. At least its a well researched and cross referenced bit of kit. Cheers.

      • @Gunna No argument from me, its precisely why I was mentioning that the pollies seem to defer to the bankers who talk a good game but in reality defer to the trading tool providers. Now the tool providers wrap their products in at least 100 levels of obfuscation claiming all manner of protection for “commercial in secret” reasons but in the end analysis they all seem to have decided that nicking quarters out of Joe Average’s pockets is the best game in town. The Aussie Super system would have to be the best possible example of this. Naturally they also need to create the illusion that the pot (sum of all investments) is larger when any idiot can see that’s its shrinking. All done with the magic of advanced math….which fortunately we no longer teach in Aussie schools.

        I also agree with the inherent horizon problems that prevent anyone buried in their part of the system from ever really understanding the system. Can you imagine algae devising schemes to steal all the sunlight ….the most probable result is an algae bloom where they all die.

      • Was hoping for a reply from China Bob, Gunnamatta others as to encourage further unpacking of this critical issue, for the readership – commentariat.

        Skippy… especially since it played such a main – key feature in the entire GFC episode, w/ then lends itself to the dramas we face today with the highly coupled global markets. Cheers.

        PS. Bob I’m not going to accept the dog ate my home work.

      • @Gunna
        The number of people within the system who ‘get’ many of the tools they use is actually fairly small …..That said, they pay good money to some highly intelligent people who do ‘get’ it
        Yea no complaints 😉 😉

      • @Skippy
        long post which raises a lot of issues…might make sense to create a new thread, so I’ll reply at the bottom of the page and break the reply up so that hopefully its gets posted.

      • skippy – absolutely correct in my view regarding VAR

        The worst part of VAR is the build-ups of risk it allows traders to accumulate in the false belief of constant correlations and liquidity

        Imagine how useless the VAR for a book of crude positions from August this year would be in hindsight now we are down three months in an elevator

        I am still waiting to see who is holding something ugly in the background from selling puts prior to the collapse.

        Liquidity though is the big one for me.

        The equity momo traders all think they can exit at the same time, the bond ETF traders all think there will be liquidity when the time comes for exit – they are deluded and the VAR models are particularly hopeless at managing such risk.

        Markets are so fragmented now.

        All those who are excited about getting tight spreads on 100 AAPL shares are going to be in for a rude shock when the algos get turned off and the market goes no bid.

        VAR is great for risk managers because it is a perfect crutch. We were being frugal – it was a market event nobody could have forseen that caught us out.

        Another 1 in 6,000,000 year event – just like the one from last year…

      • @XHina Bob,

        Could you please show me your work out, in how you, interpret intentional fraud, politically driven events [financial and industry back seat drivers], force majeure events of magnitude – mathematically.

        Conversely how does one measure the accuracy of the underlining metaphysical assumptions if everyone does not share the same religion [beliefs as a baseline]. This gets into terribly wonky territory like parxeology [deductive reasoning… cough biased navel gazing], which further devolves into begot-isms, boom – bust et al.

        Skippy… the worst part is when the scientific fail rate finds potential and then inverts w/ in orders of magnitude, especially when the whole thing is nothing more than gossamer threads hyper extenuated and tightly coupled. It sings like a warehouse of strangled cats.

      • I had not heard about VaR – I tend to the view that Financial Mathematics is an oxymoron.

        My understanding of complex systems is they are often comprised of loosely coupled, nonlinear sub-systems. They are noisy and often move between modes or states. They are hard to predict because most of their state is unobservable and the mechanisms driving them are not a completely mappable set.

        Complex systems often have stable regions where they can be modeled – even to the extent of predicting when they will change mode. The statistical methods to predict complex systems ultimately fall back on the cherished belief that at its core, our environment is ultimately a well conditioned, predictable system. This is true until it is not true – and they patch the model.

        My biggest problem with the VaR idea is that it just legitimatizes the whole broken mess that is economics. It seems to be a yet another way to work out tricky ways to game the system for advantage where there can be no overall outcome than less than zero sum. Like HFT where you build special hardware to gain uS advantage in electronic trading. How on earth can that build a better world in any way at all?

        Historically there were other times when clever people went to great lengths to flog a dead horse. Before accepting the heliocentric model, complex clockwork machines were devised to explain the movement of the sun and planets around the earth. The simple solution was unthinkable – so don’t rock the boat and keep on with the “right” approach.

        Just out of interest, I was wondering how many people actually understand what is meant by a non linear or chaotic system. I am sure there are some people here who are much better mathematicians than I am, but others who aren’t sure what this looks like.

        Anyway, I thought of a really simple equation that is a real monster. It is easy to try it out and should give an idea of how nasty and deceptive a nonlinear system can be.

        First take a random number .. rand() .. every time you look at it, it returns any number between 0 and 1. A random, unpredictable answer.

        Next calculate the result of this simple equation

        y = x + 0.01 / ( 50 – (x + rand() ) )

        You can try this – what you will find is that for all numbers except 48 – 51, the answer will be within 1% of a 1:1 match. If you only use numbers, say from 1 to 20, you can predict the answer to better than 1%. It looks like a linear system with a bit of noise. y = x … you can bank on it. try it with a calculator or excel. Try and plot it – see what you get.

        Between 48 and 51, that second term ( 50 – (x + rand() )) can evaluate to a tiny number – then it blows up and swamps the y = x. The equation is predictable – as long as you never plug in a number from 48 to 51.

        This is a simple example of how modelers can be fooled by systems that look like they are predictable … until they aren’t. This is perhaps a way to mathematically visualize what the so called “Black Swan” idea is about.

      • @DM Next calculate the result of this simple equation y = x + 0.01 / ( 50 – (x + rand() ) )

        cute example of the inherent dangers of any divide-by-zero (or near zero), I admit its easy to code and hard to see your mistake however personally I’d fire any modeler that made this mistake, frankly there’s no helping him/her. I’ve given up on how many times I’ve had to tell people constructing models that Tanh is their best friend use it to keep the results bounded and btw dont divide-by-zero

      • CB, I think you might have this around the wrong way.

        I am not suggesting that a modeler would write an equation like this, but the equation is like a Black Box that you put numbers in and get a result. Based on this, a modeler would attempt to build a predictive model that can anticipate the result without submitting a request. That is the goal of financial modeling (and climate modeling for that matter).

        The interesting thing about this “cute” equation is that between 48 and 51, it can’t really be modeled. The result is wildly unpredictable So, in any model that is constructed for this Black Box, for values between 48 and 51, there will be a gap. Here be Dragons. The Dragons of Probability.

        I suppose the objection to this would be to argue that in real world systems, regions of wild uncertainty just don’t exist. Well CB, I know you have an engineering background, so I am sure you know that there is a very simple example of such a singularity. The humble LC (inductor/capacitor) tank has a resonant frequency where it has a theoretical infinite impedance. That is a physical system known to engineers for over a hundred years.

        The way numbers work is very mysterious and a lot of what passes for mathematics is quite dubious. I watched many of the videos by Professor Wildberger and found them very enlightening.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0yMyUn–0s

      • @DM
        I think you are the one misunderstanding the purpose of VaR.

        In general it is not the tool for deciding weather to trade or not but rather the tool that shows how to balance your portfolio risk and take actions when bounds are being reached / exceeded. In the case that you had a wideband data source that occasionally drifted into the 48 to 51 region than you’d just exit all trades, transitioning to that region would be trigger to exit the positions. With this in mind all you need to generate is a signal that is significantly different from the norm, there is no value in creating control signals that disappear to indeterminate levels or shoot off to infinity. That’s why my reference to liberal use of Tanh. Tanh is a function that’s linear where it needs to be but limits nicely without creating any first order or derivative discontinuities. Tanh has this inherent ability irrespective of the data that you feed into it.

        If you choose to operate in the occasional 48 to 51 region than you become the “specialist” you’re the one that differentiates your strategy by understanding that this oddity its actually just an L/C oscillator, that’s your value. unfortunately if 48 to 51 is just the occasional operating area than there is no money in understanding this abnormality and conversely if 48 to 51 is the normalish operating region (constrained by some preconditioning) than everyone will have a model that provides better (useful) information about this region.

        In today’s High speed environment you can quickly enter and exit positions in normal markets so most VaR strategies would try to trade out of their positions if anything unusual happens. In your Airbag case the game would be to identify that a crash was highly probable and sell the “airbag control position” to some unwitting stranger…and with the sale transfer the liability for not understanding what to do, once the crash was over and the wreakage was at rest you could buy back the (airbag control position) naturally minus the liability for events that preceded your new entry point.

    • Ok I’ve now heard both. The Zehner one was standout for me. Fact is all renewables are reliant on fossil fuels in some way – this cannot be evaded. His realistic appraisal of solar cell technology was a revelation.

      The second interview was interesting enough but caution need be the word given Dan runs a Green Tech venture fund and obviously has interest maintaining investment and subsidies ( without which much green tech is stuffed ).

      • Fact is all renewables are reliant on fossil fuels in some way – this cannot be evaded.

        If true, humanity is screwed. The fact that you delight in this is a testament to your epic stupidity.

    • re:
      “the rest is mind blowing!)”

      This story is even too much for the IPCC to swallow. Facts are that the growth rate of atmospheric methane has been declining ever since it was realised it could be shipped across oceans as fuel – commonly known as LNG or piped cross country to population centres. Atmospheric methane is forecast to stabilise at 1800ppb – absolutely minute amount:
      http://www.cmar.csiro.au/research/images/cg_CH4.png
      Second fact is that Arctic ice cover was the same in 2014 at it was in 2008:
      http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/
      Recent data indicates Arctic sea is expanding as the Antarctic ice has been doing for many years now.

      But why let facts get in the way of an ex banker chasing funds for a a good cause – his financial future. Nothing like some emotive scare mongering to capture the hearts and minds of the gullible.

      • re
        “Artic sea ice may be expanding in winter, but it is thinner and total mass is trending massively down. Hence Ice free summers, loss of albedo effect …”

        The chart you link to is out of date. Arctic ice volume has been trending up since 2010:
        http://psc.apl.uw.edu/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/schweiger/ice_volume/BPIOMASIceVolumeAnomalyCurrentV2.1.png
        The earth has been cooling now for 17 years as the sun moves to lower activity and will continue to cool for at least another decade. Land temperatures are the first to respond to reduced thermal input. Antarctic ice is now at record levels and Arctic ice volume is increasing from its lows in 2010. Current levels were last seen in 2006. These changes lag the surface temperature due to the much greater thermal inertia of the oceans.

      • Interesting links Rick..

        Facts about Antarctic Sea Ice for 2014

        Sea ice in Antarctica was at satellite-era record high daily levels for much of 2014. On September 22, 2014, Antarctic ice extent reached 20.11 million square kilometers (7.76 million square miles). This was the first year in the modern satellite record that Antarctic ice extent climbed above 20 million square kilometers (7.72 million square miles).

        As the year drew to a close, sea ice extent again reached record high levels for the date by declining far more slowly than usual. Extent anomalies are particularly large in the Ross Sea and Amundsen Sea regions, and in the northern Weddell Sea—areas that have been anomalously high for most of the calendar year.

      • I have been looking into the science behind Peter Wadhams’ dire predictions with regard to Arctic ice and there is none – just some basic trending. He simply accepts that tiny concentrations of CO2 and methane can overwhelm the influence of H2O in the atmosphere and result in man made global warming.

        He has trended the decline in Arctic sea ice as the globe warmed by solar activity stating in 2012 that it would be zero in September 2015 or 2016. I note now that he has since adjusted his trend line to reach zero by 2020:
        http://barentsobserver.com/en/arctic/2014/11/expert-predicts-ice-free-arctic-2020-un-releases-climate-report-04-11
        I wonder at what point he will be completely discredited.

        A trend based on the period 2010 to 2014 would have the globe covered in ice by 2200 but my bet is the sun will be in a more active phase long before then and ice will retreat again.

      • A trend based on the period 2010 to 2014 would have the globe covered in ice by 2200 […]

        And what does it look like if we take the trend from 1980-2014 and not cherry pick the last few years ?

      • re
        “And what does it look like if we take the trend from 1980-2014 and not cherry pick the last few years ?”

        My cherry picking is as reliable as the cherry picked 1980 to 2014 period in the chart. If you take a period of excetionally high solar activity causing global warming you will get a downward trend in ice volume. I prefer to take a more recent trend during a period of global cooling. Peter Wadhams even states that the Arctic was ice free as recent as 60,000 years ago. Life on earth continued through the period.

        Give it a couple of years and Arctic ice will be at record level and the warmist cult members will be scratching their head as they have been over the increasing Antarctic ice. Al Gore had the globe ice free by September 2015 – he will be proven wrong.

      • interested partyMEMBER

        “Give it a couple of years and Arctic ice will be at record level and the warmist cult members will be scratching their head as they have been over the increasing Antarctic ice.”

        I very much would like you to be correct.
        I have spent several hours over the last two days exploring what fresh data I could find and have come to the conclusion that yes, there is fresh data out there that anecdotally confirms the warming….but the data does not get released as often or effectively as it should be. This has been one of the critical errors in the education of the global public. I agree that many of the faces that do step up and try to show the data have a shady history…that is, they have either been a banker or a politician. These are the last people you would expect the public to pay attention to…..and I am not surprised one iota that the message is getting hung up on a trust issue.
        Try this ….
        http://www.northernadaptation.ca/news/pan-territorial-permafrost-workshop-youtube-videos

        vid 8 on yellowknife.
        Something is going on.

      • My cherry picking is as reliable as the cherry picked 1980 to 2014 period in the chart.

        How is choosing the entire scope of the data presented “cherry picking” ?

        If you take a period of excetionally high solar activity causing global warming you will get a downward trend in ice volume.

        When did this “period of excetionally high solar activity” start and finish ?

        I prefer to take a more recent trend during a period of global cooling.

        Fair enough. How’s the trend look when you start at 2006, then ?

        Peter Wadhams even states that the Arctic was ice free as recent as 60,000 years ago. Life on earth continued through the period.

        And ?

        Give it a couple of years and Arctic ice will be at record level and the warmist cult members will be scratching their head as they have been over the increasing Antarctic ice.

        Except they’re not “scratching their head”, they’re explaining why.

        Al Gore had the globe ice free by September 2015 – he will be proven wrong.

        Al Gore ?

        My mistake. I thought you were discussing science, not politics. Carry on.

  2. Assuming it ends in success – the discovery of a new antibiotic is very exciting for humans,

    As for renewable energy – here is the favourite link I found this week:

    http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/ivanpah-solar-plant-falling-short-of-expected-electricity-production

    Another feel good government project.

    “BrightSource can burn a total of 1,575 million standard cubic feet of natural gas every year. To get a sense of that volume, an average U.S. natural gas-fired power plant might be expected to produce about 200,000 MWh from 1,575 mmcf of gas, according to the EIA”

    “The Mojave Desert plant, built with the aid of a $1.6 billion federal loan guarantee, kicked off commercial operation at the tail end of December 2013, and for the eight-month period from January through August, its three units generated 254,263 megawatt-hours of electricity, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data. That’s roughly one-quarter of the annual 1 million-plus megawatt-hours that had been anticipated.”

    “The Platts article broke new ground when it highlighted Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reports on second-quarter electricity sales from Ivanpah’s three units (from Units 1 and 3 to PG&E, and from Unit 2 to Southern California Edison; they can be seen here, here and here). The sales totaled 133,807 MWh, and at an average price of $167.85/MWh, that generated $22.46 million in revenue.”

    With $17 trillion in debt – you would think the USA has better deals to do than spending almost $2 billion on a completely inefficient bird frying project that needs an inefficient use of natural gas to achieve its failure.

    I wonder if Google’s sunfarms in South Africa are making money at the artificial feed in of 0.40euro a kWh?

    In the meantime South Africa is sitting on a sea of gas – “ready to spray gold all over the place” – but these boondoggles take precedence over letting the drilling get under way.

    • What a dopey link

      “Perhaps someday in the sparkling green future Ivanpah will wake up every morning to the tune of renewable biogas from a landfill or a dairy farm or whatever,” she mused, “but in the meantime fossil gas it is.”

      Haha – Unicorns

      Great headline – Notice how they don’t mention any hard numbers? Just dross about Fox News being mean to them

      This pile of feelgood taxpayers waste cannot repay its CAPEX – I wonder what it’s opex and depreciation schedule looks like – that 1500mmscf of gas it uses to prime the boilers isn’t free

      It wouldn’t bother me if Google was on the hook for it – but the government has lent them $1.6 bn

      Hopefully other governments learn a lesson here but I won’t hold my breath

      • migtronixMEMBER

        Won’t hold your breath? I’ll actively bet on it!

        I had this idea once about setting up a green hedge fund – the idea goes like this:

        Buy a sand bank in the middle of the ocean.
        Buy greenies to pressure some UN agency to declare a climate emergency.
        Get grant to do SFA with it, you know, for the Earth.

        Find another sand bank, rinse and repeat.

        Maybe you want to go in on this with me?

      • flyingfoxMEMBER

        Given that the US defense budget is ~ 700B, a 1.6 B loan to try to get renewable energy going is not a waste. Whether you believe in climate change or not, fossil fuels have a limited life. Renewable energy systems will not magically pop up when fossil fuels start declining…

        I wished people would have a open mind about these things…so much money is wasted everyday on many such projects, including blue sky ones. This is not for what benefits they will bring tomorrow, but what benefits they might bring in 20, 50, 100 yrs.

      • We currently have 200 years or so of uranium up our sleeve at current usage rates and nobody is even looking for it at the moment as it is uneconomic at current prices.

        Shale gas reserves globally are extraordinarily abundant and untapped. These resources are a result of men like Mitchell inventing new technology – looking for a competitive advantage and not a handout.

        I would summise there are half a dozen links above covering work in immunology, graphene cancer drug delivery and even geoengineering that would offer better outcomes to mankind than an uneconomic $2bn energy project that is negatively affected by clouds.

        I have a very open mind about these things

      • ‘Turfers and socks, wish you weren’t here. 🙄

        Nuke plants are simply not going to cut it. They cost too much and take too long to build and have intractable problems with waste and proliferation. Plus they will never be an option for poor countries.

        Three in every four nuclear power builds worldwide are running late.

        A review of the 66 nuclear reactors ‘under construction’ worldwide shows that 49 are running behind schedule, including all five in the US and most in China. The long and unpredictable build times of nuclear plants, and the extra costs that ensue, are a compelling reason not to depend on the technology for either power or to mitigate climate change

        We need local small scale options that will be working in a couple of years, not a couple of decades

      • Single issue guy who can’t keep his story straight, wish…

        We need local small scale options that will be working in a couple of years, not a couple of decades

        And yet in your Cornucopian “debunking” link above its asserted that you can’t move to renewable in a couple of years without a “carbon burp”.

        Again, which is it?

      • Please cut the offensive names – Mod

        We are not saying it starts or ends with any one individual, but ask that all people refrain from posting comments which are intended to do nothing else but belittle others

        We certainly understand strong emotions on some issues and respect to some extent strong language, but when comments posted are about nothing but petty point scoring, straight out name calling, or are generally racist or bigotry laden they diminish the substance of the site

        The same applies for those slipping in snide asides, or obviously irrelevant comment

        Please respect our intention to keep the site fairly cerebral

        We have noted the issue and have played around with different forms of moderation

        We will continue to do so

      • flyingfoxMEMBER

        @88888

        I personally have no problem with nuclear power accept that the majority of current fission power station designs are ancient and to a large degree not fail safe ( see Fukushima) and are designed to create fuel for nuclear bombs.

        Thorium reactors could be a great alternative but no one ( apart from India) seems to be developing them.

        There is also fusion but again this needs multiple billions and cold war/ manhattan project type efforts (if only those cold war phds would have been put to work on fission instead of finance).

        In the meantime, solar power is safe and feasible.

    • In the meantime South Africa is sitting on a sea of gas – “ready to spray gold all over the place” – but these boondoggles take precedence over letting the drilling get under way.

      The physics of your world, where burning through a millennia’s worth of fossil fuels in a century without consequence, must be interesting.

      • a millennia’s worth of fossil fuels in a century without consequence

        Do tell, millennia’s worth from what source? Your made up one?

      • No maybe you are right – the people of South Africa should suffer more brown outs and continue paying for diesel to get used in their peaking plants – to appease the very small minority of people who will point the finger at them for ruining the world (from their coal fired airconditioned homes)

        How dare they harbour desires for cheap abundant energy

        Then again – they will need the gas to fire plants to back the useless solar farms

      • No maybe you are right – the people of South Africa should suffer more brown outs and continue paying for diesel to get used in their peaking plants – to appease the very small minority of people who will point the finger at them for ruining the world (from their coal fired airconditioned homes)

        You appear to be lying.

      • Do tell, millennia’s worth from what source? Your made up one?

        By all means, amuse us with your alternative theory on where fossil fuels comes from.

    • “With $17 trillion in debt – you would think the USA has better deals to do than spending almost $2 billion on a completely inefficient bird frying project…”

      Yeah, like buying all those F-35 Lightning lemons? Heh, suckers.. oh wait!!

      • Please cut the offensive names – Mod do not want any money spent on any experiment that may lead to the world moving away from their employer’s polluting products.

        It’s that simple 💡

      • Or maybe we’re worried about what the consequences of a “carbon burp” trying to do that would do to our fair planet? 0.o

      • Yeah ‘whoops’ all round there.

        Military spending is a deep cesspit of waste.

        How many aircraft carriers do they have now?

        Insane

  3. migtronixMEMBER

    Thanks for the piece on software and grid storage, one of the things I’ve been saying for while, there a LOT we can do smarter and s/w is the way, the s/w revolution is still nascent…. but what do I know (AUD 8200 by the way).

    Another thing I always bang on about

    Even though this club on wheels is perfectly capable of driving itself, the F015 gives drivers the option to drive. Within the controls, the company has also tucked away a slider that pulls the computer driver between relaxed and vital modes—a minor touch that recognizes a passenger’s need for control over an autonomous system hurling them 70mph over the asphalt, even if that control is strongly limited.

    Almost here boys and girls

    http://www.bimzz.com/technology/mercedes-has-presented-its-first-full-concept-for-a-self-driving-car-which-is-more-tempting-than-googles/

    • Regarding the software and grid storage article I was actually thinking that it may be possible to incorporate an array of super-capacitors to potentially smooth large charge/discharge rates on the batteries.

      Thought occurred to me while reading up on ZBB’s bromide storage batteries but with the right software and information inputs it could be coupled to any battery system from electric vehicles, including those with regenerative braking to household and grid connected systems.

      • Actually flow batteries like Bromide and Vanadium are not really useful for Grid storage because their peak power output is limited by fluid flow and the Ion exchange membrane section. This makes flow batteries much better suited to supplying a smaller constant power over a longer interval (such as over night storage / power). the demand peaks that electricity power stations are trying to dampen typically only last for 2 or 3 hours and occur typically less then 10 times per year. Even if you extend the use to damping normal daily peaks you still would have less then 600 hours use in a year and an electricity cost for the grid of about $0.30 to $0.40/khw. That’s about 10 times the wholesale feed-in costs for electricity generated by coal.

    • Just watched an autonomous Audi RS7 do a hot lap of Hockenheim.

      Pretty cool – would like to see it in traffic/in the wet though.

      • migtronixMEMBER

        I can see a new advent in rap video clips — hot car filled with hot chicks — no dude!

      • The no fun crew will put a stop to that – not having to actually be at the wheel – a breathalyser and drug testing kit will drop from the roof every half hour

        No Krug No Fatties – still need a driver for rappers

  4. “Australia accelerates coal mine projects in the face of study that finds it should stay buried ”

    This article says it all really about the dinosaur/s in charge…

    • Perhaps everyone is pulling their oil out of the ground as fast as they can because of what ” replaceable battery technology” means.
      But the coal miners know they have some time before the grid can be made from renewables?.

    • I mean that study should be fricking HUGE HEADLINE NEWS all over Oz. The complete silence in our media on this is sickening!

      We have to go to UK media to find out that the most prestigious science journal in the world is saying that one of Australia’s crown jewel assets, it fossil fuel reserves, CANNOT sanely be mined!

      Pinch me somebody, wake me up, this must be a dream 😯

      • I’m not sure that this “research” was for Australian consumption. Most existing and planed Aussie Coal mines are foreign owned so it stands to reason that if foreign governments wish to curtail Australian coal extraction then they must compensate THEIR companies for the losses…its a bit rich expecting the Australian govt (or public) to consider compensating foreign owned entities for not mining. If I were to guess what happening it’d be that these coal miners (especially those loosing money mining coal) are trying to manage shareholder expectations for EU compensation for their reduced output….great work if you can get it.

    • Indeed Revert2Mean, it is sickening.
      We have the minds and resources to lead the whole planet on the renewable energy front but no, our pollies have to protect their best mate’s interests and the country can go to hell.

      We deserve it as a society really…

  5. PLUCKING TURKEYS AFTER XMAS. Too dirty for Goldman-Sachs. (edited from the Guardian)

    The next couple of months will show whether the climate concern is rhetorical or real.
    Most people know about the Tar sands of Alberta. In the coming months the new Republican-controlled Congress will demand that Obama approve the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. If he vetoes that and sticks to his principles, it will keep expansion of the tar sands in check.
    That will send some kind of signal: there is a limit somewhere to how much fossil fuel we plan to extract.

    Fewer people have heard of Australia’s Galilee basin, but that’s about to change.
    Work is scheduled to start in January on turning this remote basin into the world’s biggest coal mine — a colliery so vast that this single mine, would produce 6% of the carbon necessary to take the planet past a 2C temperature rise, the red line set by the world’s governments.

    Australia wants to build the world’s largest coal port and open a vast new low grade coal seam for mining. The country has issued permits for billions of dollars of infrastructure designed to last the century, even as delegates in Lima are conceding that the planet must be off fossil fuel entirely by 2050.

    The tar sands, and Galilee, represent the most extreme cases of extreme energy—and hence they become crucial tests.
    By their very ludicrousness they threaten to bring down the whole global climate negotiations.

    In the case of Keystone, an Obama approval would mean he heads to the big climate talks in Paris next year neutered, with no one believing he or his successors will actually take any political pain to uphold their promises.

    The Galilee is a little different. Australia’s far right government loves coal — it’s pretty much all they talk about. Its approval of the project can be taken for granted (though polling shows approval of the government itself is another issue, and that Aussies are turning restive at its fanaticism).

    But building out the ports and railways and giant pits will require huge sums of capital, and so it tests the resolve of the world’s financial system to come to terms with climate.
    Any bank that backs this ludicrous plan is announcing, it’s stuck in the 19th century, and cares nothing about climate change.

    Serious financial authorities (the governor of the Bank of England most recently) are warning that fossil fuel reserves risk becoming “stranded assets” as the world acts on climate change — investors in the tar sands, for instance, have already taken an enormous hit, and coal stocks have been tumbling for years.
    A British cabinet minister warned the other day that they were the “subprime assets of the future”, a sobering warning for everyone still recovering from the housing bust of 2008.

    So far the financial industry is showing relative sobriety. Goldman Sachs, for instance, has announced it won’t back the Galilee mines — and if you’ve found something too dirty for Goldman Sachs, that’s saying something. Citibank too. Deutsche Bank. HSBC.

    Campaigners will head into the hinterlands of Queensland to block preliminary work in January —They’ll also keep up the pressure on any institution or bank that is investing in the fossil fuel industry.
    For the first time, climate negotiators are talking seriously about phasing out fossil fuels by mid-century, meaning at least these two projects will be shelved. Fighting global warming is hard — but pulling the plug on these turkeys should be easy.
    WW.

    • migtronixMEMBER

      a colliery so vast that this single mine, would produce 6% of the carbon necessary to take the planet past a 2C temperature rise, the red line set by the world’s governments.

      WOW!! All backed up with handwaving too!

      Sorry WW stopped reading there.

      • How much power could a giant mouse wheel hooked up to the grid produce?.
        Probably not much i know but if every park had one?, at least most of us could do with the workout!.
        Or power generating gyms where you swipe your card as you go from machine to machine for the stat mad .

      • Mig the point is that it is not going to go ahead, seems the greenies are working up a serious head of steam.
        This project was to be the saviour of the QLD economy and the right to bulldoze its approval and seemingly funding for vital infrastructure, read railway lines, is the basis for the early QLD elections. Read LNP, i had Newman but i dont think he will survive, will say they have a mandate to start work. ITs going to be a hell of a row. WW

      • I don’t care about the project, it’ll earn export credits for Australia and leave a mess to clean up so whatever, I just don’t like BS in the guise of pressing concern.

      • The Galillee may as well be on the moon. It is totally uneconomic – that is why nobody will fund it.

        It will disappear like a “fast rail project white paper” after the election as someone points out that mines already in production with infrastructure 100kms from an existing port aren’t making money. This thing is 600kms inland !

        CanDo needs a ‘look over there’ solution for reelection as everyone works out the gas projects are about to start boning people and there aren’t any jerbs in the pipeline outside of building more apartments in Bowen Hills.

        I don’t know why he is using so much political capital on this dead duck – must have the same brain dead advisers as Abbot – the QLD ALP reps fit in a minibus.

        The Greens will pat themselves on the back but it has nothing to do with them

        The Greens don’t like the Keystone Pipeline for pure optics – the existing alternative, locomotives – blowup and level townships, but what do they care?

      • Mig, i want to ask if anyone uses the wheel at docklands you mentioned, but i am afraid of your answer.

        Perhaps if every council made their least used park into a “technology park”, get the kids involved designing/ making all matter of power generating machines.

        Make it a national competition. Power to the people.

        Never know someone might find a way of turning our road network into one giant solar cell. I say this because i mentioned it to my mum 30 years ago while watching Towards 2000.

      • Ok Mamboringo lets ask WW: Wiley what percentage do you give the notion that I’m paid by Big Coal to be here?

      • Ah Mig, you surely are independent. And just to piss in your pocket better across most subjects that nearly anyone else here.

        Metez 111. that idea of yours of a park, or a building where youngsters could go and learn the simple sciences of renewable energy, and basic electronics, is one hell of an idea. I’m going to do some work on that. We have mens sheds, this will be a boys sheds, girls will be welcome, I think I can swing that idea. Keep on to me about it. WW

      • Thanks Wiley.
        I do think people want to be part of the solution. Give them a small enough grouping to feel like a team member ( like their local park) and the competitive background of a national comp (business could fund prizes) then actual kw’s wont matter at first. Imagine the slightly overweight dad going hell for leather on the treadmill for their kid!, and all the locals for their suburb.

  6. migtronixMEMBER

    I have some important news for you StatSailor

    Except that is not what the graph shows at all. Yes, government forecasts are way off (forecasting is hard). But for over a decade, the Japanese government has been too pessimistic about the fertility rate.

    Just Look. At. The. Graph! Since 2005, the black line – the actual fertility rate – has been going up! It is now higher than the blue line representing the forecast from 2002. It is even higher than the blue like representing the forecast for 2008. The graph only looks like it goes through 2010, but a quick Google shows that the fertility rate is still over 1.4, i.e. higher than the 2002, 2006, or 2012 forecasts.

    In other words, Japanese fertility has been surprising on the upside for ten years and counting!

    http://noahpinionblog.blogspot.com.au/2015/01/japans-fertility-rate-is-rising-and-you.html

    • Didn’t realise it had ever been as low as1.2.
      I guess at 1.4 live births halve every 50 years not 40 as they did between 1974 and last year.

  7. EU and Russia: Lost in Space?
    http://www.insidegnss.com/node/4277

    A good piece about how the sanctions probably cost Europe two functioning Galileo satellites.

    As an aside, India has now managed to successfully launch three GNSS satellites.

    So, for those who are keeping track, the nations that have GNSS satellites up there are India, China, Japan, EU, Russia and the US.

  8. I’m more than happy for you to care about AGW to exclusion of everything and even try and turn every thread into it because you think everything is AGW – BUT you need to let people rebut you w/o being called “denier” or “sock puppet” or any of these idiotic accusations you’ve been leveling at me w/o foundation for 2 years!

    Give it up and let people debate and these threads won’t turn into a circus!

    EDIT: BTW for two years you’ve been saying I drive away subscribers and readers — LETS ask MB — have subscriptions been falling? Have eyeballs been dropping?

    • Mig is cool.

      i don’t understand half of what is said here ( my IQ must be rolling its eyes at me).and dare i say im not even a member ( do you offer scholarships!),just a poor factory worker trying to get my mortgage below my redundancy figure before they close .
      – washers,cooktops,range hoods,dishwashers and now fridges all gone, only cookers remain.

      The more said by anyone the better.

      But he’s no Peter Fraser ,the ultimate “duck”.

      • metez,

        Poor factory worker you may be, but more likely due to lack of opportunity compared to others. As to dumb, I don’t think so, otherwise you’d be unlikely to have stumbled across this site and then chosen to stay and read.

      • Thanks Dennis,
        i started reading MB after having house compulsory purchased by govt, sitting on sidelines with a wad of cash. Luckily in Adelaide you can still get a return verandah 100 yr house in good suburb for 500 k ( there was a lull in the market around august), and as i had paid down debt i could afford to increase lending.

        As to opportunity, ive had mine. Worked in computers, govt ( that’s where IQ comment comes from, Mig is probably smart enough to find out what it is!) and largest holograms in the world, but nothing was consistent.

        The problem will be when i have to find my next job with a funny looking name at the top of my resume. Hiring Dutch Cossacks anyone?.

  9. Migtronix and Revert2Mean, take the weekend off, see you back Monday evening.

    Go out and smell the roses or do something else….but no more commenting from either of you.

  10. Cognisant of the near two decade pause in global warming climate scientologists adopted the broader undefinable ”climate change’ as the new bogeyman.

    This was an own goal as the general public are familiar with the notion that climate changes and has done so for eons. The random pulling together of each flood or fire or hurricane under the umbrella of climatastrophy weakened the AGWists case and has led to climatechangephobia wherein people are sick to death of hearing about it. Climate scientologists are the authors of their own demise!

    Best climate related links, pro and con
    http://judithcurry.com/2015/01/09/week-in-review-39/#more-17553

    Food for thought
    http://www.moralcaseforfossilfuels.com

    • @3D1K
      I’ve always found the exact timing of the “discovery” of AGW strange. the USSR was on the way out and a new boggy man was needed. Back in the days when Nuclear holocaust was the most probable end-game nobody (and I’ll repeat that) cared abut AGW, no politician cared and few scientists were even remotely interested
      Dont get me wrong personally I believe in AGW .but I’m still acutely aware that “solutions” must leverage the geopolitical space if they want the issue treated as existential by the public.

      • Maybe it was just hard to worry about sea levels rising or crops failing in 100 years time when people were four minutes away from nuclear oblivion at any given moment.

      • interested partyMEMBER

        China-Bob,

        I totally agree. We have little to no chance of that leverage occurring while the northern hemisphere continue to engage in a game of thrones.

    • @China-bob

      Climatic change has been observed since humans started terraforming due to Ag, only changes have been scale and speed of activity’s.

      Skippy… heaps of anthro and sociology data to support imo.

      PS. seems the so called skeptics are more on about delaying tactics than refuting, cashing in whilst opportunity exists. Monopolies are like that imo.

    • CB

      “I’ve always found the exact timing of the “discovery” of AGW strange.”

      Back in the early 90’s I worked close to Central. I used to see some guys selling “Socialist Worker”. One day I noticed that it was the same guys, but instead it was “Green Left”. It was obviously a rebranding strategy. I still have a copy of the Global Warming issue where Australia and Luxemburg were identified as the prime culprits on a per capita basis.

      The spin doesn’t really help – it just makes it harder to look for the truth.

    • AAPL have shown time and time again that they can’t get cloud/network services right. In the meantime, other hardware manufacturers are closing the gap between AAPL hardware and theirs (think Lenovo, Asus, LG, Samsung, Motorola, and even HTC).

      Well designed hardware is rapidly becoming the norm, and given advances in SOC systems (Arm and Intel are currently going all-in on SOCs), the days of the $1000 USD computer (outside of specialist applications) are numbered. Therefore, even if margins are fat, they’re being applied to lower sale prices.

      The real growth is in network systems. The investors know it, too.

      • Agreed on hardware

        The iPhone 6 from what I could tell delivered all it’s new features 12 months after the competition already offered them

        I gave up at iPhone 5 – it was a cheap piece of shit with no battery life – two of them fell apart on me.

        iTunes must be one of the worst pieces of software in the history of bad software

        I still have an iPad 3 or whatever- it hasn’t been plugged into iTunes since I registered it.

        How did AAPL miss Spotify?

        Who is left buying music on ITunes?

        There is no way in hell that service is going to get any traction in Asia.

        So Beats is the deal?

  11. The Income Gap at the Polls piece reaffirms my belief in the benefits of non compulsory voting. We should scrap compulsory voting here – I think the benefits would be immediate.

    And the Men who take Selfies…lol. I wonder if it will be read by ADHD Asberger types 😉

    • 3d I have been doing some research on selfies drones, ones you can program to fly a path and video panorama, I need them for a surfing project.
      But I am also going to run a couple over mine sites where I believe the operators are not complying with the rules of the lease. Will make some interesting footage.
      Many helicopter type drones now have a 10km range, and can payload air sampling equipment. that should be enough.WW

      • 3d good advice but nothing dodgy usually goes on about the airstrip, I wont be burning up unnecessary battery time videoing the windsock.WW

      • interested partyMEMBER

        WW,
        Haha….your’e gunna end up in a shit fight with deep pockets……all lawyer-ed up with the likes of Julie Bishop….lol…have fun. Go git em !!!

      • IP mate looking forward to it, I’ve seen enough violations of the environmental rights issued with mining leases to fill a journal.
        The weakest link in the chain is the mine manager, lets rip up a few of their authorisations and we will get things rolling.
        Legal or not plea bargaining works.WW

      • interested partyMEMBER

        Contracted to Barrick a few years back. I know what you mean.

        Take care. You got balls…..good stuff.

    • GunnamattaMEMBER

      I must confess 3d, when I spotted that piece I thought of you.

      Although I dont vote for any mainstream party I dont think it too much to ask of every last man or woman who lives here to go down to their local school or put in a postal vote, to go through the democratic process (even if that is a scrawled message to shove it) to to at least play an ostensible part in the process we have. Dont forget it was about 100 years ago (just post WW1) that voting became compulsory here and it became so because the powers that be thought it would save their bacon against a sentiment for exploring bolshevism.

  12. Also may I suggest you change your “Global Warming” heading in the Environment category to “Climate Change” from now on, as the evidence is everywhere indicating the contrary and you might as well have both bases covered. Ta.

    Probably best not to talk about things you don’t understand. Ta.

  13. Why is that people who are passionate about Climate change refuse to change their eating habits ie factory farmed meat. That one change in diet can bring forth significant reduction in emissions.
    Hypocrisy , Cognitive dissonance?

    I also find the article from above http://aeon.co/magazine/society/why-did-the-chicken-cross-the-world/ bit heartless in the current context. There is a probably need for it in a developing world, but we now have substitutes and alternatives, why persist with horror on such grand scale. Pasting a commentator from that article.

    “And the cruelty of factory farming? The suffering of these animals? The pollution and other ecological impacts? The danger of lost genetic diversity? The use of antibiotics to maintain such concentration camps? I would suggest a little Wendell Berry reading, Vandana Shiva, Wangari Maathai. Oh, and check out this wise man, Steinbeck: “When our food and clothing and housing all are born in the complication of mass production, mass method is bound to get into our thinking and to eliminate all other thinking.” This horrible factory farming system so gleefully proclaimed here is the result of greed and an atrocious lack of empathy and caring for other animals. It has institutionalized waste, gluttony and contributes to obesity. When we support and proclaim these systems we are contributing to the darkness and suffering that plagues this world. Tyson may be rich but we are all the poorer for it.”

    • The linked story is a great story of human ingenuity bringing superior standards of living to more people at a cheaper cost.

      Progress

      If you are wealthy enough and benefit enough from modern supply chains to be able to live to your satisfaction on whatever non-farmed chicken diet you have chosen – good for you.

      Many 100s of millions of people now have a superior diet and health than 50 years ago

      Take a look at the bodies of 70 year women from Vietnam or China and compare to Western counterparts.

      • Given projections for a peak population of 11 billion humans, factory farming is a necessary evil. A lot of ingenuity will be needed to keep starvation and malnutrition to a minimum over the next few decades.

        But progress? Not sure that’s the word I’d use.

      • There is a difference between eating meat for sustenance and eating it because its an addiction.

        For all the progress , Bowel cancer is sprinting ahead to be the biggest killer in Australia.

      • Meat addiction?

        Thanks for your concern re the bowel cancer – but please keep out of my dining choices and I will promise to stay out of yours

      • Oh well. I’ll enter the fray. Was entirely convinced whilst on a US study (Australian professor!) have been veg since. I don’t prosletyse.

        More trees, less cows.

      • There is a difference between eating meat for sustenance and eating it because its an addiction.

        What’s the difference ?

        For all the progress , Bowel cancer is sprinting ahead to be the biggest killer in Australia.

        I’m OK with sacrificing a decade of my life if I get to eat a nice steak a couple of times a week. Same with cheese and chocolate.

    • Why is that people who are passionate about Climate change refuse to change their eating habits ie factory farmed meat. That one change in diet can bring forth significant reduction in emissions.
      Hypocrisy , Cognitive dissonance?

      Begging the question fallacy ?

    • this is the case in all anglo-saxon countries where EMS stuff are not medical professionals. My (as patient) experience from very good private hospital in boston is almost the same.

      In most of continental europe situation is different. In these countries EMS is professional medical service (not paramedics) and a physician leads ALS. In other words doctor goes with ambulance and provides first aid as well as professional diagnosis and treatments. Because of this, large percentage of emergency calls result in no patient being transporter to the hospital and even those who need to get to hospital get partial diagnosis and some treatments in vehicle by the doctor.

      this significantly reduces burden on stuff in hospitals and also improves prognoses in many instances because there is no need for ambulance to get back to hospital for patient to receive professional help.

      this is especially useful in large cities with bad traffic.

      • That isn’t a bad way to cut down on the ambulance related admissions.

        There is also the problem of the people who show up and don’t need to be there. These are the people that treat A & E as their local GP. If you could also rid the waiting rooms of these people then things would really improve.

  14. @Skippy
    You are aware that VaR refuted as mathematically incoherent, woefully ill suited to longer duration forward guidance, and best of all a great tool to abuse in order to game bonus remuneration or gin up financial paper.
    VaR is useless agreed BUT when its the tool methodology that the whole industry uses, your own beta will be higher if you use any other tool. So if your aim is to reduce the volatility of your Investment portfolio then you need to use the same methodology as the bulk of the industry. As Keynes said
    :Markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent
    The flip side of this is that everyone that values solvency must play the same game.
    Value-at-risk uses historical data which is like trying to project past events onto the future. like trying to drive your car into the the events in your rear view mirror.
    I worked with a director of engineering at a large high tech company that often ranted about how worthless it was to even look at your competitors Financial results for exactly the reasons that you outline….he used to say its was like trying to win the indi500 while demanding the driver focus his attention on the rear view mirror.

    • 1-Not all asset classes are included in the VAR calculation, because accurate pricing is not available. This was even before the crisis, where assets rarely traded and pricing was scarce. The VAR models that were used didn’t take into account future toxic assets, most of which were off balance sheets and tied up in structured investment vehicles. Even today this is true.
      True, very true but it is expected that those difficult to price aspects are properly priced by comparison with “similar” openly traded products. In this respect it was the misrepresentation of CDO’s etc as AAA grade that led to their phenomenal mispricing. Another related effect is huge difference between traditional insurance and the modern day “hedged investment” equivalent. Traditional insurers estimated the underlying risk of unusual events (long tail blips) and additionally the reduced value of their investments (during long tail blips) they created suitable under-writing formulas to reward them for accepting this risk (and the actual cost to pay-up) . Of course my returns are much better if I can convince the industry to simply “hedge” and dump the long tail risk (your future toxic assets) back onto the Central Banks (they’ll call QE sounds better than “Cash for Trash”)

      • @3d1k
        Sorry I wasnt ignoring you, all that I can say is that its irrelevant if Taleb is right or wrong because VaR has become the tool of choice, Flawed as it is its the tool of choice, now within VaR methodology/tools you still have a lot of freedom, this means freedom to mess-up and freedom to fix-up. the tool is simply providing a framework through which complex portfolios can be priced and specifically constructed to offset “hedge” known risks. Correlation can be your enemy or your friend, think of pair trades, where the value of the pairing is all in the correlated (or opposing) movement underlying equities Now under VaR does a pair trade have twice the volatility of the individual equity or zero (if perfectly matched).

        For me VaR is a tool that enables me to “prove” liquidity and actually meet demands for redemption’s without impacting our illiquid investments. You’d be surprised how many limiteds decided they dont really need to redeem their capital when you can demonstrate the ability payout and payout when and if they so choose. Also all partners are not equal some have the right to vet our operations at will, while others themselves construct synthetic equivalent structures to model their own exposure through us.
        Understanding the valuation tools they use enables me to structure the models / portfolios correctly. Btw at another level there’s also a certain model one-upmanship (our geek vs your geek) and given that geekdom is our domain we don’t really want to come off second best in such a show down.

    • Understand your point about environmental institutionalization effects, as well, as the underlining insurance [largely unregulated] and its contagion ability.

      That said most of this occurs with other peoples money w/ little skin in the game for practitioners. Were I to put little explosive charges on key bits of anatomy, which could blow off bits of external or internal anatomy, one would hope discretion would be more informed.

      This all gets back to the issue of long term greedy begot short term greedy which begot savage cannibalism. What informed those positions, who funded it and why. The bad if not down right ridiculous esoterica or mental crutches used to obfuscate this social engineering is an aside.

      The only thing America is manufacturing is Billionaires at the moment, 492 at the moment as compared to China’s 152.

      Number of billionaires in the United States from 1987 to 2012

      This graph shows the number of billionaires in the United States from 1987 to 2012. The number of billionaires in the U.S. has increased tenfold during this time, from 41 billionaires in 1987 to 425 billionaires in 2012.

      http://www.statista.com/statistics/220093/number-of-billionaires-in-the-united-states/

      Skippy… yet any thing that might save the criminally insane or their indoctrinated acolytes, from their machinations, is hamstrung by blithely evoking socialism et al. How far bloody right do we have to go until the wheels fall completely off… eh.

    • 2-Data used in VAR calculations are based on historical data. We live in a real time dynamic world yet we are using models that are static in nature. These results are unrepresentable of future results. This is what is also called “Future Blindness.” People tend not to be able to anticipate a future they have never personally experienced.
      No argument at all …but engineering my results through hedging the market movement is what enables me to continue to invest when others are running for shelter (and our limited’s are screaming for return of their capital…we need real liquidity when limiteds want their money back) used properly (in somewhat normal markets) VaR reduces my volatility and improves my appeal (value). To do this properly I must understanding VaR tools (along with possible flaws) and their use in investment flows which is why understanding VaR is vital even if you don’t believe in it as a long term/ long tail tool.

      • even if you don’t believe in its value as a long term tool

        Surely precious few people use it as a long term tool given it was specifically developed for a sub 24 hour time frame.

      • skippy,

        people might use it that way, but its creators pioneered it for use on a one to two day time horizon (or even less than a day) and were well aware of underlying assumptions that fell apart beyond that horizon. The idea was a single number to give to the manager of a trading floor so he could sleep at night.

        It’s a very limited tool for the reasons you mentioned, but its danger comes from people using it a long way from its intended purpose. Paracetamol is a pretty safe drug, but it can still cause great harm if you don’t follow the directions, and VaR is not as safe or useful as paracetamol.

        An important assumption in almost all VAR
        calculations is that the portfolio whose risk is
        being evaluated does not change over the risk
        horizon. This assumption of no turnover was not
        a major issue when VAR first arrived on the scene
        at derivatives dealers. They were focused on one or
        two-day—sometimes intra-day—risk horizons
        and thus found VAR both easy to implement and
        relatively realistic. But when it comes to generalizing
        VAR to a longer time horizon, the assumption
        of no portfolio changes becomes problematic.
        What does it mean, after all, to evaluate the
        one-year VAR of a portfolio using only the
        portfolio’s contents today if the turnover in the
        portfolio is 20-30% per day?

      • I also dont think there is any real reason to consider VaR as just a day trading tool it’s far more about understanding exposure (Risk) over a given time frame (one week, one month, one year….)

        wrt day trading I’d expect VaR to get in the way of efficient day trading. I’d assume a cash-out at the end of the day strategy to be far more efficient then trying to understand the correlation in holding risk. Maybe VaR has application in monitoring / limiting the extent to which your traders are all pilling into the same investment but I’d assume that’s normally handled by maintaining diversity at your trading desk level.

      • Spam it’s have eaten various attempts.

        My point was the creators of bar have highlighted that it was pioneered with a 24 hour time frame in mind and has assumptions which break down over a longer time frame. They have expressed concern in relation to some such uses.

    • 3-VAR as well as Black Scholes and other risk measurements do not and can model the basic problem of liquidity. When markets are pressured the liquidity generally dries up. LTCM was brought down because the firm held hundreds of billions of assets that were not liquid. The VAR Model doesn’t make the basic allowances for liquidity risk.
      Frankly in my industry even in normal times we have Liquidity issues that make LTCM look like the poster child for the prudent investor, indeed liquidity (or the lack there of) is the source of our extreme value fluctuations, for us hedging is about managing this problem and VaR is an essential element of the hedge. However as with all worthwhile undertakings it does help to put a skilled tradesman in charge of the tool.

      • Xhina-Bob,

        What you have neglected to address is the foundations to VaR are fatally flawed from inception by compounding normative input into an abnormal environment i.e. as long as the enviroment stays reality normal it will keep generating false positive price signals, yet at some point abnormal reality will manifest and send you back to the stone age.

        How do you think all the leverage was built up pre GFC, con]fidence fairy’s sprinkling down their risk off dust maybe[?] or as noted endemic bonus looting, more than likely both.

        VaR has been controversial since it moved from trading desks into the public eye in 1994. A famous 1997 debate between Nassim Taleb and Philippe Jorion set out some of the major points of contention. Taleb claimed VaR:[27]

        “Ignored 2,500 years of experience in favor of untested models built by non-traders

        Was charlatanism because it claimed to estimate the risks of rare events, which is impossible

        Gave false confidence

        Would be exploited by traders

        In 2008 David Einhorn and Aaron Brown debated VaR in Global Association of Risk Professionals Review[18][28] Einhorn compared VaR to “an airbag that works all the time, except when you have a car accident.” He further charged that VaR:

        Led to excessive risk-taking and leverage at financial institutions

        Focused on the manageable risks near the center of the distribution and ignored the tails

        Created an incentive to take “excessive but remote risks”

        Was “potentially catastrophic when its use creates a false sense of security among senior executives and watchdogs.”

        Even VaR supporters generally agree there are common abuses of VaR:[6][9]

        Referring to VaR as a “worst-case” or “maximum tolerable” loss. In fact, you expect two or three losses per year that exceed one-day 1% VaR.

        Making VaR control or VaR reduction the central concern of risk management. It is far more important to worry about what happens when losses exceed VaR.

        Assuming plausible losses will be less than some multiple, often three, of VaR. The entire point of VaR is that losses can be extremely large, and sometimes impossible to define, once you get beyond the VaR point. To a risk manager, VaR is the level of losses at which you stop trying to guess what will happen next, and start preparing for anything.

        Reporting a VaR that has not passed a backtest. Regardless of how VaR is computed, it should have produced the correct number of breaks (within sampling error) in the past. A common specific violation of this is to report a VaR based on the unverified assumption that everything follows a multivariate normal distribution.”

        Skippy… come on Bob… humans are not functions of Brownian laws of motion. Deregulate markets, champion a survival of the fittest ethos, Turn the whole thing into a MOG [massive on line game], pay some very smart guys to play god with mathematics and when their done put them out to paddock w/ a fortune and then hand the keys over to the hyper individualistic kids….

        Additionally if you don’t have 100% transparency [aka no fraud intentional or other wise] the input data is corrupt.

      • @Skippy,
        You seem to think I’m some sort of VaR fanboi, whereas for me it’s a tool nothing more nothing less.

        As with all tools you can use them or abuse them, From a morality perspective one can only hope that the skilled users of the tools somehow eek out better returns over a longer term frame while the less skilled…find alternate employment.

        Sure the data is flawed, its fundamentally flawed because its based 100% on the past whereas your actual returns are always a function the future, it gets even worse if you think in terms of portfolio differentiation because completeness of the past data set creates a market bias that undervalues technology that could invalidate the whole dataset. I think what your missing is that’s also the beauty of this beast.

        Now wrt my original comment: I was suggesting its time for Bankers to admit that they’re clueless users of tools they dont understand. Instead they maintain political sway and open up the possibility for the bankers being manipulated by the tool makers….A thought that I find somewhat appealing….imagine how refreshing a world it would be if bankers were once again considered to be the idiot offspring of the inbreed 0.1%.

      • No Bob I don’t think your deluded, although it seems your not acknowledging the issue beyond the anecdotal, historical observations and concise rebuttals, to these tools operational validity and the dire consequences they can and have had imparted on the market as whole.

        But yeah… caveat emptor muchacho’s.

        Skippy… Bob I just use this one data point in an attempt to flesh out the bigger picture and again try Yves book, at least its a starting point. Kinda like anthropologists going for the rubbish trench to see what a society was up to imo.

      • Well… well… you lurk around “Cassandra” also, fond memories during the early days at NC whence we first met. BTW that flip flop Cassandra welds should not be taken lightly.

        Skippy…. wellie I guess in your case all I can say is… Party on GarthBob… sigh…

    • 4-The most important assumption that VAR makes that is empirically and academically wrong is that asset prices follow a “normal” distribution or the classical bell curve. A lot of people tend to call these type of distributions “Gaussian.”Mandelbrot’s work on fractals bares this out, as shown by bonds not following Gaussian metrics i.e. the equilibrium illusion [EMH]. This is part of the dilemma Nassim Taleb also get on about, with Fat Tails. In fact such base assumptions which are metaphysical in nature, used to inform the mathematical and physics behind such models, can actually increase risk [see LTCM et al] Sort of storing risk potential until boom. Why do you think Basel is all over this and the utilizers are squealing like little piggies.“Yves Smith is similarly scathing of VaR as an effective risk management tool in her book Econned (2010). Aside from arguing that the degree of abstraction necessary for the production of a VaR discards important information about the behaviour of the underlying systems, she directly devalues what a VaR estimate is really worth. By adopting confidence levels of 95-99%, which are relatively good at predicting day-to-day risk, she argues that VaR does not focus on what is really important to risk managers, namely what lies in the remaining 1-5% of the loss tails.Indeed, VaR is silent with regard to what lies beyond the chosen confidence level, and this silence can prove deadly. Hull (2012) in his book Risk Management and Financial Institutions details how undesirable risk-taking can be inadvertently encouraged when VaR is used to try and limit the risks taken by a trader. In essence, traders who like taking high risks in the hope of realising high returns (and fat bonuses) are able to structure trades that satisfy VaR limits imposed by a bank while simultaneously exposing the bank to massive losses in the silent tail, utilizing a return distribution that is anything but ‘normal’.”Its like trying to mathematically judge irrationality with a tool that prefers flawed precession [desire] over accuracy at its inception [human frailty e.g. reality]
      I’m not the system, lets face it I’m about as relevant to the global financial system as a flea residing on a dogs tail, it’d be the height of hubris to imagine that I controlled the dog and I in no way control what happens to the dog. For me the best possible outcome is maintain situational awareness so that I have options especially if someone decides to throw the dog into the pool or attach a flea collar. Sure you can criticize this by saying that there are 1000 similar hedgeis all using similar tools that will all try to get out the exit door at the same time. This is precisely why I try to understand the tool and manipulate it so that it suits our purposes and hedges our real exposure.

      A request from my partners to “explain” my actions is what necessitated me taking them on a deep dive into VaR and the vagaries of structured hedges. As it turns out someone (probably in Risk) decided to revalue our positions using another banks VaR tools without including any of our high risk low liquidity positions, I was kinda pointing out how monumentally stupid this was.

      • Despite it’s uselessness “an airbag that works except for in a crash” VAR employs 1000s of risk managers worldwide and I think you are basically saying you have to have your VAR explanations (and management) down pat to appease the partners – who are also beholden to other stakeholders looking for the number.

        It is what it is.

        I remember meeting one of the apparent rocket scientists running the Basis Yield Fund in 2006/07 and when going over their numbers in amazement – ie 20% yoy, no vol, no var, sharp ratio in the sky – I remember saying to them “why don’t you leverage this thing up” !

        Ha Ha – I think it had a 30% draw down in one month when the Bear Stearns funds went to zero (they were leveraged) and then went to zero within the next quarter or so.

        Those same rocket scientists ended up being shown to be Goldman’s Wooducks in the subsequent court cases about the infamous “shitty deal” Timberwolf…

        http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/30/us-goldman-basisalpha-idUSBREA0T1VN20140130

        Always best to look a bit deeper under the hood at where the returns are coming from and if you don’t understand – run away!

      • 8~

        Yep the behavioral incentive front runs the the whole shebang….

        Skippy…. yet some call it the scientific approach… head desk~

      • Watching decades of ‘financial modelling theory’ go to zero in the space of 18 months sharpened my complete distrust of anybody trying to model anything remotely chaotic.

        DarkMatter summed it up perfectly above.

        Finance has a very short memory though.

        We now sit around arguing over 25 basis points vs 50 basis points as monetary policy !

        Will EPS growth be 2% or 2.2%? (PE expansion/contraction could be 40%)

        The unemployment figure missed by 0.1% (95% confidence band probably 1.5%)

        Who cares?

        I still think statistics is totally foreign – even to a lot of super smart “maths people”

      • My VaR conperhension and DNA owes infinitely more to crytrologists of Stony brook than to any of the worlds Rocket scientists…hope you understand the reference.

      • “DarkMatter summed it up perfectly above.”

        I am Monster! I will take that as a compliment, although with regards to Financial Theory, I am more or less a Village Idiot.

        These Financial whizz-kids should have some humility and respect.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0yMyUn–0s

        3n+1 – it’s such a simple idea and yet unsolved for almost 100 years. That should make those quants avert their eyes in shame.

        Anyway, I don’t believe in irrational numbers, and I have deep reservations about probability and statistics. I just think a lot of these financial theorists are misguided.

      • SUNY… eh.

        Your not getting it Bob, you can’t turn humans into reductive atomistic equations, especially when were talking about economics and finance.

        Neuroscience, psychology and sociology are the tools for that job and its still in its infancy w/ the first two, huge strides in a last decades but skewed funding makes it hard yacka. Over the top privatization and rank ideological indoctrination has it own fat tail imo.

        Skippy… so much price and so little societal value…

      • At the end of this, someone read Taleb. All of the above, and yet he for nearly two decades, has said it from the get go.

      • Dude, the only thing that Taleb ever says is that Taleb is the smartest man alive. He’s like Marty McFly playing Chuck Berry on the guitar to the ’50s high school – everyone thinks it’s amazing because they haven’t heard it before. Yet everything he says about the limitations of these tools was explained by their creators at the time of inception.

      • That is a funny description of Taleb – McFly playing Chuck Berry!

        I loved Fooled by Randomness

        Everything since has been a stroke of the ego it feels

        That said – I generally hate selling vol – but must also say in the last 18 months I’ve have been a big donor to the premium fairy as the no risk world pushes forward

        Strange how hard it is to find any returns history for Empiricia or whatever it was called

        I’d imagine nothing happened in the world and their long vol trades bled them dry while they listened to Mahler and read Plato

        Book writing has paid off better for him than buying cheap options I think

      • Yet everything he says about the limitations of these tools was explained by their creators at the time of inception.

        Limitations?? These tools don’t work!! Period.

        They work in the sense that banksters and pseudo-scientific economists keep collecting bonuses using these tools as a fig leaf .. until everything blows up.

        China-Bob, these models is not what is going to save the corporations that use them. If you look at the GFC, the only corporates that survived and thrived are the ones that are Too Big to Fail. Moral of the story is not to use models, but to be become TBTF. 🙂

      • skippy,

        My point is just that if you look, you can find other books that say the same stuff without boring the pants off you by telling you how great the author is every second page.

        A slightly larger point is that everything Taleb says is well known It was well known before he said it, and then he made it more well known. So there are plenty of people working on alternatives. Far more interesting than saying VaR doesn’t work is talking about what alternatives are available, how come they aren’t used more often and which problems in the area are fixable conpared to those that aren’t.

      • @Mav The FED’s cash-for-trash window was open to a much wider variety of organizations and funds than were ever considered eligible for Australia’s TBTF guarantees. That fact alone tells you a lot about Australia and who really pulls the strings. Think about Babcock and compare the fortunes of the mini-me with the original…..Now just who are the masters and who are the slaves?