Thursday, August 04, 2011

What would a world of balanced books, balanced budgets and small governments look like in 2050 if the tea party won world wide?

The prerequisite for this is a stable gold based competing currency system with private mints and media based testing and verification of the coins, notes and digital accounts.

Most 'government' activities would be converted to charities with out a change of address or staff. Projects would be listed on web pages with a donate now button. The money donated comes from a bank account for the purpose. This account is a small or micro account that earns no interest because its not a term deposit. These donations are logged at the account and are tax deductible. The account would be topped up after a cell phone alert. Mixed with the free services an express service to paying customers might be added in the case of some non essential services. Immediate care for later voluntarism; paying with your own hands has been used in the third world often as an out growth of refugee and missionary work. It may come to the first world. The similarity to a co-op or mutual aid society should be noted.

Agencies that waste money wont get may donations. Agencies that are deemed unconstitutional will only get donations from their supporters and employees; that may be enough to keep them going but not enough for expansion. The productive wont subsidise the unproductive. The beseechers wont be rewarded at the expense of the producers.Those in true need will get help.

Long term private bond systems selling either to the public or to vested interest groups would cover  long term infrastructure including transport, ports, public parks, recreational and the fixed assets of police, courts, defence, civil defence, etc. Donations, tolls, rents and other usage fees would be accumulated to cover the bonds final payout. The option remains to allow fee access in many cases where donations are sufficient. If they are not then there is an error in how the public asset is operating. Some entities already bill people via their cell phone. Similar systems for large public recreational facilities, parking, camping, etc would be normal.

In the case of some RFID based toll systems the first few rides are free on a section of road you have never been on. Provision would be made for drivers to donate tips to working road crews, where they see them, electronically without stopping. By 2050 many vehicles will be fully robotic with toll functions automated and invisible.

There would be no huge unfunded pension liabilities such as social security and Medicare. Almost all people would have their own pension funds and medical insurance which are fully portable: not just interstate or inter job but internationally as well as nationally, perhaps trans-planetary given that some may no longer be living on planet earth.

Those that lack incomes would still have pensions and health care via charities that pay the premiums. Unemployment insurance would be cheaper because with a gold based competitive currency system there would be no booms or busts just steady growth at a sensible rate.  There may be fewer jobs building houses that a housing boom affords but there will be no risk of a bust either.  There may be some miscalculations leading to short term large scale losses where technology change, sudden disaster or the end of a fad ruins plans.

3D printed goods, digital matter and other equivalent technology would be cheap and nanofabricators might be available. These lower the cost of living for all making lower wages and smaller pension payments go further than they did in the inflation prone 20th century.

At the time of writing, 2011, new medical technology is coming on stream including adult stem cell cures for arthritic disorders, bone density loss, skin elastin loss, and diabetes. These treatments are cheaper than the many years of pharmaceuticals and doctors visits that they require. Cancer experts think that most cancers will be easily treatable by 2050. Robot cars will reduce road trauma to a fraction of the current rates. This means that most major drivers of rising medical costs. Gene-therapy for many rarer but very expensive disorders are being funded by aging billionaires; a dollar spent there saves five in later hospitalisation.

Defence might be significantly smaller, particularly the US military. I think some of the bases will still be out there in the world and several countries will still have a global reach. New techniques and new technologies coupled with a greater defensive focus, much more civil defence and robotic warfare will contribute to the shrinking of armies. The adult stem cell advances are already being used to repair the ware and tare that force many older soldiers to retire. Most don't leave because of combat injuries but because of strained joints and tendons due to the fitness regimen they must maintain. The cure of this problem coupled with robots carrying the heavy stuff will mean the average soldier wont be a teen or twenty something but will be much older men and women with the experience of decades. This will change war like nothing before it.

Politicians would still exist but their function would mostly be confined to media like functions of oversight, and law making not handling trillions of dollars of someone else's money. Campaign donations may still exist but will be much lower because most will be also donating directly to the genuine needy and other causes.  The politician is just another middleman. The pork barrel would be almost empty and those that want a free lunch at the governments expense would find life harder.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Minecraft fun

I've mapped hoboland [probationary player area] on the wrxds server. Mine craft has a in game mapping systyem that allows you to make a map object and use it to map the world. You must wander around with the thing in your hand to get the map made. Given that the game has zombies, cliffs, deep holes, traps and lava ponds that can get interesting at times.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Human rights for mother earth?

 Some want to grant mother earth human rights.
Defining what is needed to sustain the earth and humanity at the same time is easy? 
  • Avoid extinction of properly defined species by allowing ownership and breeding. Farming endangered species if needed, keeping them as pets if possible, and creating seed banks and private parks.
    • Develop tools to increase the efficiency, productivity and intensity of some natural resource systems so that others can be rested allowing recovery. Intensive crops and hydroponics replacing unproductive peasant farming.
      • Develop industries that buy degraded systems, speed its recovery and sell at a profit the improved land or resource. Private parks and Permaculture. [Only in a government monopoly can land become so degraded that it can't be restored. Love Canal was an official government and army waste dump before Hooker Chemical were given federal orders to dump there. "The corporation refused to sell, citing safety concerns, and took members of the school board to the canal and drilled several bore holes to demonstrate that there were toxic chemicals below the surface." Wiki Sale of the site]
      • Where viable recycle; where that's not viable, store waste in safe land fill for later mining and recycling. The first profitable landfill mine was in Israel in the 1950's. There are hundreds today.
      • Develop a diversity of energy technologies, using fossil fuel to increase the wealth of society and buy time while other energy technologies are matured to cover base load energy and transport.
      • Rule no technology out unless it proves truly and indisputably unsafe and uninsurable.
      • Farm the seas don't just hunt them blindly. Fertilise, sow and reap for maximised yields. Farmers must own their area of the sea.
      • Finally, remember that there are 3 other terrestrial planets, 80 moons and 1 billion asteroids in this solar system. All have resources. 
      We already have a name for the key tool that allows all of this, its called 'capitalism and private property rights'.
      If property rights are allocated properly then it has the same effect as granting rights to the earth itself because in the free market no land or resources has a zero value. When you declare something priceless and strip away property rights you make it worthless and put maintenance in the hands of disinterested bureaucrats who can easily drop the ball and become more concerned about the size of their desk than the species they protect.

      Friday, April 08, 2011

      If climate change was real and effected agriculture

      Assuming it was not based on flawed data, fraudulent scientific papers and exaggerated media claims used in UN documents. Assuming the world was warming and that changed growing patterns world wide, what would we do?
      1. We would need to retrain millions of farmers. Formal training for farmers, not agronomists, ordinary farmers, is needed anyway. Over 60% of Australian farmers are past retirement age. We need to train people to replace them anyway. Farming is not for amateurs. 80% of the third worlds farmers need training too regardless of climate change. Private, web or magazine based teaching is the cheapest option for agricultural extension with some investment in vehicle mobile teaching tools in remote areas. 
      2. As seasonal patterns shift farmers will need to change their choice of seed stock and crop variety. Seed company's have ample diversity in different seed stocks for wetter, drier, colder and hotter growing conditions. 
      3. Some farmers will need multiple on farm seed storage for several varieties so they can buy cheap, store long, sow what they need in rush without running fowl of a scramble for seed stocks and rising prices when it apparent that they will need a given seed type.
      4. We need to plant wind brakes, hedges and grass hedges [Lev 19:9]. These block hot and cold wind, flows of frost carrying cold air and by stilling the air over the field it reduces evaporative water loss. It can with good design modify the temperature back to the pre-greenhouse temperature where desired. If fodder, fruit or nut yielding trees are used they are an investment with a quicker return than wood. Such plantings should be tax deductible and should be depreciated as machinery is.
      5. When greenhouse models predicted increases in rain fall the IPCC painted it as bad by calling it Increased rainfall variability and talking about flash floods. That sounds bad but by simply adding artificial bends and meander in streams, overflow channels and ponds we can catch these rains. 
      6. At the smaller scale swales* or ploughing with a Yeomans** aerating plough make the water move into the ground rather than running off. The key is to hold the water on the land long enough to allow the water to move into the water table where it moves very slowly and feeds springs that run deep into the dry years. The most extreme but effective means of doing this is terracing. Even with all our modern technology we do much less terracing of farm land than our bronze-age ancestors did. why?
      7. Where increased drought is predicted we need cisterns. Covered water storage and underground canals. Ancient man could build these in the stone age. Can't we do better? Developing ways to make them cheap and easy to build should make you rich.
      8. Also in deserts we need to move to more drought tolerant crops with drip and underground porous pipe based irrigation. This makes the desert bloom. This means a shift from water hungry crops to things like dates, olives and fruiting cacti but moving from one mono-culture to another leaves you vulnerable. Mixing up different species and value adding removes the vulnerability to fickle market fluctuations. The boab tree seedling is the latest new desert cultivar.
      9. We are the first generation that don't move livestock away from drought enough. We also need to be ready and equipped to move livestock away from flood zones early. Using farmer to farmer agreements as a form of insurance and looking at transport and agistment for livestock as part of a drought insurance process. While individual regions are drought stricken often there is another accessible region that is not. If done well it could be cheaper than current government drought assistance. 
      10. We need to give our gazing land time to grow high and put down roots deep restoring soil carbon. This drought proofs and flood proofs farms. If we allow the animals to graze land too sparely they bite back the recovery growth and the grasses can't grow strong and deep, they have no energy. There is a solution Holistic Management created by Allan Savory and Jody Butterfield.
      11. Where floods are an increased risk we need to make hills creating high ground where there was none, so people and livestock can get above the torrent. About half the farms have the necessary equipment. The channels we dig to get the earth will catch flood sediment and retain water long after the flood is gone remaining green as the rest of the land browns.  
      12. We need to domesticate many new species. Why fear flood if you livestock is Hippopotamus or Capybara. Why fear drought if your farming a drought tolerant native desert grass or the boab. We are domesticating two new species a month world wide. If we farm endangered species, e.g. the American buffalo, we find that their population recovers. Why not farm seals for the skin and meat? Why not keep a hairy nosed wombat on your farm as a wild pet? Numbats and monkeys are good eating I'm told. Properly farmed they could feed millions.
      13. In the most extreme cases of weather based disruption we will need to build greenhouses and hydroponics. These are getting cheaper by the year and are far cheaper than replacing our energy infrastructure. They can be fully climate controlled. Climate change is irrelevant; They would work on Mars and even Venus. The air can be cooled with solar powered air-conditioning, heated with solar thermal and all water can be in theory retrieved and recycled by solar powered dehumidifiers. In practise it might be cheaper to deal with transpiration losses by hauling in water by rail or even truck. 
      14. We may need to develop radical new technologies: Machines that convert cellulose to starch, algae farms to supplement livestock feed supplies. These too can be air and water tight, recycling everything if needed to be. Even Food nano-fabricators are not in theory impossible there are people working on them today.
      All these things are doable, some may not be cheap but a little more inovation could make them as cheap as modern computer chips. Remember when a cheap computer cost a million dollars?
      Most of these things will need to be done anyway. If the government tries to do them it will never have enough money. Only by tapping the tools of the free market and developing new tools to capitalise individual farms and farmers (education and agricultural extension) will we succeed.
      World population is growing; Food production has always grown to match. The climate is always changing we need to be ready for anything. We have the tools and techniques its not impossible to adapt to anything.

      *If you don't understand any term feed it into wikipedia.
      ** Water For Every Farm. Using the Keyline plan. By P.A.Yeomans.   also uses swales.
      Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren developed some of these ideas into Permaculture. I recommend a Permaculture course. I've done one. Find a teacher that's greenhouse neutral, there are a few.

      Thursday, March 24, 2011

      If sea level rise was real and became a problem

      If the worst case scenarios for sea level rise come true and we get between 30 cm and/or 9 metres of sea level rise in 100 years, what's the worst that could happen?
      • We would need to rebuild our coastal resorts. We do that anyway about every 60 years. They are not built to last and go out of style soon after their paid off. If its profitable no government funds are needed. If its not profitable blow it up and make a park.
      • We would have to jack up or move a few hundred historic buildings. At five million each that's a few billion and half that will be millionaires 'moving house'. 
      • Some low lying towns will need to dig a hole and build a hill in or next to town. If they are smart all new structures will be multi-story and will be built on that hill or will be connected to it with a bridge at 3 to 9 meters above sea level. Turn the hole into a nice lake and put floating houses on it. Most towns already own the needed earth moving equipment. In 100 years you can heap up a lot of dirt. (I do not trust dykes and levee banks, too many have failed, why make them when for the same cost you can raise the town.)  If you loose crops in a flood then you were growing the wrong crops in the first place. Grow something you can harvest before the flood season. 
      • We need to farm coral in the pacific to make more sand fill to adjust the hight and shape of about 300 atolls. The coral will grow up to match sea level rise but there will be lags and cases where the natural process messes up the real-estate values- atolls move about; real-estate boundaries don't (they could and should on atolls but don't now). 
      • We would need to "build up" on those islands and out over the lagoon or the open sea with floating factories, malls and apartments. Most of the low islands of the Pacific, Caribbean and Indian ocean are under developed and needs reconstruction anyway. Those Island nations own millions of hectares of sea bed with minerals; They only think their poor. If its profitable government need not interfere.
      • Some coastal farms will need to switch to growing salt tolerant crops or fish. We already have a salt water irrigated grain:  Palmer's grass ( Distichlis palmeri ) A biofuel crop: Salicornia bigelovii and a sugar crop: Nypa fruticans.(mangrove palm) There are many other halophytes, salt tolerant plants, being developed as crops.
      • Some third world estuarine systems will need to be redesigned and rebuilt with all of the above measures. However since they are third world countries they need the development anyway. If they can't discover (or refuse to accept) the tools of modern democracy, development and capitalism then they will stave long before the sea rises to get them.
      That's it! A few trillion dollars of free enterprise and profitable development or redevelopment that would have happened anyway. The occasional million dollar community investment in the form of donations to educational institutions and heritage foundations so they can re-educate builders and farmers and move the odd historic building. It need not be done at all with taxpayer funds.

      Sea level rise is much slower than a tsunami. While the latter is horrendous; even the elderly in some cases outran the Japanese 2011 tsunami. Whole cities can outrun sea level rise!

      Tuesday, March 22, 2011

      Earth Hour advocates miss grid storage

      Those that push Earth Hour fail to acknowledge that without backup systems or candles, both mostly fossil fuel technologies, solar fails in winter, particularly if there's snow.
      I'm trained in that field: Energy storage is the critical tool we need to make grid solar and wind work. According to calculations grid storage needs to be 16 to 18% depending on whether it snows and how much biofueled grid power is available as a backup tool.
      We have the technology.
      Pumped storage between dams (or cisterns) of different hight is 90% efficient but the greens wont allow more dams.

       Its particularly effective if wind and solar drive water pumps directly since both are more efficient at pumping at low wind and on dim days.
      Hydrogen is a viable technology too if your not trying to make it for transport. Hydrogen electrolysis is 80% efficient. The inefficiency often cited occurs where your then liquefying the gas, that's very inefficient.
      If you store the gas in a simple 18th century gasometer it would be cheap and sustainable grid storage particularly if the hydrogen is plumbed into a conventional coal fired power station.
      Yet no government has backed such a simple technology and the greens might oppose the gasometer's.

      Compressed air storage is also viable, 2 working plants at the large scale and several at the micro/ house hold scale,  but because its 130 year old technology you can't get a patent and capital markets are not interested if the solution is not exclusive. To do 10000 compressed air systems you need at least 100 companies.

      Exclusivity is the problem. World War one destroyed exclusivity in the fossil fuel game; we ended up with hundreds of companies in the game beaching each others patents willy nilly.

      When governments say their trying everything please remember its always a lie.

      In order to make this viable you also need a price differential between the makers of energy and the price of energy at the house hold or factory meter.  There needs to be a peak and off peak differential at the energy producer not the energy consumer. This margin allows the grid storage companies to buy low and sell higher into the peak demand. If renewables are paid the same price per watt regardless of their reliability there is no margin for the grid storage companies. They can't capitalise the needed technology. If Solar is subsidised without consideration for demand patterns and the need for grid storage the result is a negative margin blocking grid storage altogether.

      Some in the renewable industries reject base load energy  and the need to match generation to demand patterns. Yes it is possible to change demand patterns a little but these things are often locked into how all societies work. No society has been able to change them significantly. If grid storage is properly priced into a grid then there is less profit for intermittent energy producers like solar. However without grid storage these energy technologies are not viable beyond 6% of grid capacity.
      Generally grid storage should make renewables viable and reliable and therefore profitable. It should be profitable. If allowed, not encouraged just allowed, it should make a solar wind system viable as a response to real or perceived energy scarcity.

      Friday, February 04, 2011

      Torture is never simple.

      Why do we believe the claims of torture and oppression on the part of Mubarak's regime? The same people claim Israel, America and even Australia tortures Moslem. We know that's not true in our case, Australia, so why believe it in the other cases. Mosab Hassan Yousef in his book Son of Hamas showed that half of the torture in Israeli prisons is from scared Jewish conscripts and half is Palestinian on Palestinian abuse in search of Israeli informants or because some prisoner is not in the right faction. Is it the same in Egypt? In the Palestinian case the prisoners tortured by other prisoners invariable protect themselves and their families by blaming the Israeli government for the scars and missing fingernails.

      In vietnam the vietcong infiltrated the south vietnamese police, military and interlegence services. Some of the most fanatical and ruthless members of the south vietnamese forces turned out to be north vietnamese deep cover agents. To be ruthless in the name of the state you've infiltrated is a powerful propaganda tool. It allows you to expand attacks onto neutral targets.
       The wikipedia give the official cover story of the time. Blaming the pilots.
            You know that this image did more to win the war for the North Vietnamese than any other. What you did not know in the 1970's that it was a strike with napalm by South Vietnamese air crews on a civilian villagers and south Vietnamese troops well inside South Vietnamese lines and that it was caused by a North Vietnamese double agent who is believed to have switched the target coordinates and confined the target when the pilots were doubtful. The officer is now retired on a North Vietnamese army pension.

      How much of this sort of thing is going on in Egypt. How many of the Egyptian police and military are Moslem Brotherhood deep cover agents.

      Mubarak may be a despot but if he was as ruthless as they claim I would have expected Tahrir square to be knee deep in bodies by now; thousands dead in minutes. We don't see this! We see Mubarak moderating his actions at least in front of the camera. He is doing what many governments in the west would do, have done, in such emergencies. Muddled and botched attempts at law and order in the face of chaos. Not much different from Katrina or the French response to Moslem riots in the outer suburbs of Paris. We have only 6 officially dead and 900 wounded. We don't know what proportion of those are Mubarak supporters. We see the left wing anti-mubarak media under attack from Mubarak supporters. However would these western reporters be able to tell if they are being attacked by Mubarak supporters or moslem brotherhood fanatics playing both sides. Its only the translators words they understand.

      Remember the tea party marches in Washington, the few left wing reporters that bothered to show up made similar claims of pushing and shoving. Some of that was true.

      I think Mubarak should, and will, go soon. I don't think democracy will result. The world, particularly the western media are overdosing on naivety. The so called secular moderates that started this battle are no longer in control. Their hit and run protests of the first few days replaced with a very old fashion massive last stand in a public square. A very Islamic last stand at that starting with prayers. 
      An islamist dictator will arise, perhaps with a sham democracy as cover for a while. Remember Hitler was elected in a democracy.