Hell is empty, and all the devils are here
In my entire long and sometimes misspent life I have never seen such destruction and despair, incompetence and ineptitude, lies and chicanery, to match that which is surrounding the COVID-19 virus this weekend. It’s a Sunday, but don’t even think about trying to go to church for holy service, because you can’t. Stop complaining about civil liberties, because you don’t have any. Give up on ever having a job again. And forget it when it comes anyone actually running the nuts and bolts of your country, because they’re all ‘working from home’.
The whole world seems to be on the road to Hell, herded along by all the devils and demons who are supposed to be suffering in purgatory. Instead we’re all learning the lesson of suffering here.
go to heaven for angels
take the road to hell for casual sex
For all the good you have done, for God’s sake Go!
There is political and economic chaos in the United Kingdom today after our Prime Minister, Theresa May, came to the Houses of Parliament and humiliatingly postponed a crucial vote on the exit of this country from the European Union. Mrs. May made lots of lame excuses as to the reason she suddenly put off this key vote, but the real reason is that she knew she was going to lose, very badly.
This postponement of a vote by a Prime Minister is almost unprecedented. It shows an appalling lack of courage, commitment, and belief on the part of the now lame-duck Mrs May. It shows this Prime Minister as a disorganised, shallow charlatan, unworthy of her great office.
If one really believes in something then one fights one’s corner to your last breath. You don’t cut and run leaving utter confusion and disarray in your wake. In the House of Commons, members of parliament laughed at this pathetic woman who showed a shambolic and cowardly side to her nature, who obviously doesn’t even know the meaning of the word courage.
Courage is the determination to do something that really frightens you. Courage is going the extra mile, telling the whole truth, and if you have to, then admitting defeat and walking away.
All good men have courage. It’s a shame that some self-serving women don’t even recognise the concept of true and honest bravery. Those women, like Mrs. May, should just be forgotten and left to rot in the dust.
Some say that a hero can only die once, but a coward dies many times. And that if you hvre never been afraid, then you cannot ever be truly brave. All I know is that brave men and women are few and far between.
Environmentalists are killing the planet, destroying the economy, and stealing your children’s future.
A bunch of rabid environmentalists have forced the British Government to announce that all petrol and diesel cars will be banned from the year 2040. Nobody ever accused rabid environmentalists of being intelligent, or having any common sense. Banning diesel and petrol cars, (or will it be all cars that have exhaust emissions?), has staggering implications that the officials, politicians, and environmentalists haven’t properly thought through.
In Sweden, Volvo has announced that from 2019 all of its new models will be either completely battery powered or hybrid vehicles. There’s a couple of interesting points here. Firstly this move will put a whopping premium on the price of all new Volvo’s. And secondly, hybrid cars still have to have a petrol or diesel engine that will produce nasty polluting exhaust fumes.
Diesel exhausts are killing us all, allegedly.
Across Europe several major cities, (Paris, Madrid, Athens), say that diesel cars will be banned from entering their environs from 2025. The Hell-Hole that is Mexico City has followed suit ~ ha! The mayor of London, Mad Sadiq Khan, wants to ban Petrol and Diesel cars from London by 2050.
These headline grabbing moves will achieve absolutely nothing except to cost consumers and taxpayers trillions of Pounds / Euros / Dollars. Banning diesel and petrol cars in the UK will impose vast costs on drivers for little environmental benefit.
There is no conceivable way that the British electricity generating and distribution systems will ever be able to provide enough power for all those battery powered cars, (and vans and busses, and trucks?). Just where will all the extra power come from? The back of an envelope estimate is that all these electric vehicles will add an extra 30 gigawatts to UK peak demand, and that means we would need 50% more generating capacity. That’s equivalent to another half-dozen huge nuclear power plants like Hinkley Point, or another 20,000 wind turbines, (which only work some of the time). I have no idea how many acres of solar collectors it would take to generate that amount of power, but they don’t work at night, which is when most people will be charging their electric vehicles.
The British Government says it will install a fast charging point every 20 miles on major roads ~ imagine how many holes in the road and road works delays that will mean.
The British Government are also considering slashing the maximum speed on our motorways to 60 mph, and what is that supposed to achieve except more fines from speeding tickets?
This all seems a bit rich considering that the whole man-made global warming agenda has been exposed as nothing more than a massive fraud. The best estimate is that if all the trillions of dollars Obama proposed to spend on his Clean Power Plan to tackle non-existent man-made global warming was actually spent, then global temperatures would perhaps be reduced by 0.057 degrees Fahrenheit ~ one five-hundredth of a degree.
Climate change is a normal, natural, and perpetual process which occurs, and has always occurred, with sublime indifference to man’s puny input. ~ James Delingpole.
There are a few inconvenient truths that politicians and environmentalists would rather the public didn’t wake up to;
- Man-made global warming / catastrophic anthropogenic climate change doesn’t actually exist in any meaningful form ~it’s nothing but a fraud, a massive scam designed to give politicians back control over an increasingly independent populace.
- There is no such thing as completely clean power. Green Energy produces nastier and longer term environmental pollution than does burning fossil fuels. Nuclear Energy is a case in point, look at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima. Wind turbines have a massively negative impact on the environment, are bad for wildlife, and a blot on the landscape. All batteries are inherently polluting, expensive, and dangerous.
- Switching to electric-powered private transport will require at least a 50% increase in electricity generating capacity in any country that tries it.
- A vast investment in an infrastructure of new charging points to support all these new electric vehicles will be needed.
- Electric vehicles cost a hell of a lot more than an exactly equivalent bike / car / van / truck / bus powered by an internal combustion engine.
- Electric vehicles are less capable, and have a shorter life-span, (about 5 years), before major maintenance is required, (new batteries), than do ‘conventional’ cars, trucks, and busses.
- There aren’t enough qualified mechanics to maintain the huge increase in the number of electric vehicles the politicians propose.
- Disposing of all of the ‘dead’ batteries will require a huge investment in a recycling technology that, as yet, doesn’t actually exist.
- The value of used vehicles powered by petrol and diesel engines will plummet, destroying the economies of the developed world. There is a vast investment in lending to finance vehicle purchases.
- Internal combustion engines don’t have to run on either petrol or diesel fuel. Is a ban on ethanol / methanol / vegetable oil / propane / butane fuelled vehicles also proposed?
- Are politicians also proposing to ban aircraft / railway engines / ships / electricity generators powered by fossil fuels ~ otherwise what’s the point?
- If Politicians think the backlash against Hillary Clinton was an isolated aberration, they’ve got a big surprise in store after all this banning cars crap.
In my life I’ve seen some insane ideas put forward by politicians at the behest of special interest groups, but a total ban on the internal combustion engine running on fossil fuels has got to be maddest thing I’ve ever heard. But then, politicians, special interest groups, and bureaucrats have never been known for putting much thought into anything.
Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it. ~ Henry Ford
At least I have the personal benefit of being able to totally and completely ignore all this banning petrol and diesel fuelled cars crap. Not only that, because I live in a democracy I can cast my vote in ways designed to discomfort the current crop of lightweight, insane, political pygmies. (And that’s an insult to pygmies and the mentally ill.)
Meanwhile, the Lotus 7 is 60 years old this year. Now that’s a great car.
read about the Seven
Most of the news media has confidently predicted that Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States.
Most of the news media confidently predicted that the United Kingdom would vote to remain in the European Union in our referendum of 23rd of June 2016.
In the event England decisively voted to leave the European Union, and a new word entered the language; Brexit.
Leave aside the political rights and wrongs, and instead look at the effect that politics has on the Pound or Dollar in your pocket.
The immediate impact of Brexit has been twofold.
- The value of the pound fell dramatically on the foreign exchange markets, (FOREX). There was no good reason for this other than the Political Establishment creating alarm and despondency in Project Fear, in an effort to persuade voters to opt to remain in the hated European Union.
- The price to the consumer of all kinds of goods and services has been increased by mostly unscrupulous suppliers and retailers off the back of Brexit and the fall in the value of the pound. Some of these price increases are fairly justifiable, for example the UK price of petrol, (gasoline), has soared. But then oil is priced and traded in US Dollars. Some price increases blamed on Brexit are just fatuous, for example Walkers Crisps, (chips), have increased their prices by 10% and blamed it on Brexit. Walkers crisps are made in Britain from British potatoes.
There is one lesson to be learned from this. Markets, manufacturers, retailers, service companies, and politicians will use any change in the world order to justify price rises / tax increases / rapid falls in the financial markets. What they are saying to the man in the street is; ‘don’t blame us, it’s all your own fault for voting for the wrong result’.
What you didn’t know is that the major players in any market; banks, brokers, governments, insurance companies, speculators and the like, can all make money in a falling market, (aka a bear market). Principally they do this by ‘selling short‘, that is they sell stocks, commodities, foreign exchange that they don’t actually own for delivery at a future date. Then, when the market concerned falls, they buy the stocks, shares, commodities, foreign exchange they need to complete the contract ~ but here’s the thing, they buy at a lower price because the market has fallen.
Now, you or I can potentially make money in a falling market by selling short through our broker, but this is a very bad idea, because what you are doing is creating a risk where none exists, and that’s just gambling. Entering into this kind of deal is a very fast way to go broke.
However, it benefits the major players in any market to create uncertainty, because where there is uncertainty and chaos there is profit for them. And, where does this profit come from? Actually it comes from you and I, the average man in the street. Because of political uncertainties the cost of just about everything I buy, including my overseas road trips, has gone up. The value of almost everything I own has fallen, including stocks, bonds, and hard cash.
Should Donald Trump be elected President it is likely that chaos will hit the US financial markets. You can even take a bet on what will happen to Wall Street after the election. I can firmly predict that if Clinton loses the value of the US Dollar will fall, as will the Dow Jones Industrial Average. And why is that? Because it suits the speculators to make it so.
As it happens, nobody yet knows what will happen to the UK economy now that we are committed to leaving the European Union. Nobody yet knows what kind of President Mr Trump will make, nor what kind of handle on the US Economy Mrs Clinton has either. Most of the short-term economic impact of politics is down to speculation and not fact.
Personally, I disagree with just about everyone in that I believe Trump will make a better president than Clinton, (as far as the US Economy is concerned), and that Brexit is better for the UK Economy than staying in the European Union and Single Market could ever have been.
But then, I’ve never been one to have fashionable views.
these opinions are mine, and mine alone
There has been much talk about the fall in the value of the Pound Sterling against the United States Dollar and the bastard Euro since Britain voted to leave the European Union. Without getting into the politics of it, what’s all this about, and what does it all mean?
To start with; the exchange rate, or foreign currency exchange rate, or Forex rate, measures the value of a base currency, (your own currency usually), against a foreign currency. Thus the $ / £ rate is currently about 1.22, which means one pound sterling gets you one dollar and twenty-two cents. The exchange rate is the price of one currency against another. Some people also use movements in exchange rates to measure the strength of a currency’s underlying economy. This is like measuring global warming by looking out of window at today’s weather. It’s a
piss very poor gauge.
However, long-term trends do tell you something ~ like the recent fall in the value of the pound could have been predicted years ago because of the amount of UK debt sloshing around. The fall in the value of the pound has very little to do with Brexit, and a lot to do with the UK government printing too much money for years, and years, and years…
A weak economy is the sign of a weak economy, and a weak economy is the sign of a weak nation. ~ Ross Perot
Ross Perot doesn’t know much about Forex either.
What does this mean to you and me? Well, for a start, the exchange rate tells you very little about how much your savings / salary / holiday money is worth in your preferred destination. For that you need to know about purchasing power parity. What this theory says is that my money still goes a hell of a long way in Orange County, California, USA. As an example, car rental and the price of petrol / gasoline, is still cheaper for me in the USA than it is in England. So is the cost hotels, eating out, and etc. I have suffered a potential windfall loss in the change in the price of the USD against GBP, but on the scale of things does that worry me? Nope.
Worrying about movements in currency exchange rates is a lot like worrying about what the weather is going to be like next week. It’s interesting, but pointless.
Forex rates do have an effect on people, but not in the way you’d think. Forex rates, interest rates, purchasing power, inflation, government fiscal policy, all these factors kind of mush together to create an amorphous mess that hardly anybody understands. So let me break it down for you.
- The man in the street and small businesses. Forex rates hardly affect you at all, in relative terms. When it comes to the cost of your vacation abroad the movement in exchange rates is a tiny proportion of your overall spend. Here in England stuff you buy at home may get slightly more expensive, but that’s really down to lying politicians and the bosses of big businesses using exchange rate movements as an excuse for price hikes. If exchange rates had gone the other way do you think things at home would get cheaper? Of course not.
- Businesses buying and selling overseas. Here the sterling / dollar / euro / yuan exchange rates actually mean something. It means stuff you sell in pounds sterling has become better value abroad, while product you buy abroad in foreign currency has become more expensive. So what? That’s what management is all about, and if you don’t understand Forex, why are you dealing in foreign currencies anyway?
- Multi-national companies. Forex rates affect the big multinationals not at all, it’s merely another variable in their international treasury management operations. When a multinational like Unilever says they have to increase their prices to UK supermarkets because of the fall in the value of the pound, they’re lying.
What really impacts on everyone is this purchasing power parity thing, and that’s a lot more complicated than just exchange rates. For example, the national minimum wage and cost of health care has a lot to do with purchasing power parity.
As far as governments, central banks, and politicians are concerned, they could care less about Forex rates. They may talk a good talk, and wring their hands from time to time, but they really, really don’t care.
What should you do about movements in foreign currency exchange rates?
- Don’t worry about it, because it’s as pointless as worrying about the weather.
- Don’t create translation exposure. Pay for stuff in your own currency, and if you’re selling abroad, then sell in your own currency ~ (if you can, if not consider forward currency cover). Don’t ever borrow money in a currency you don’t earn. Also, don’t save in a currency you don’t want to spend.
- Don’t buy complicated Forex products, (if you don’t understand it, don’t buy it), or pay for advice on exchange rates. In fact never, ever, pay for financial advice of any kind.
- Shop around. Buying or selling foreign currency is the same as buying and selling anything else. Spend a little while looking for the best deal. But beware, there are more crooks in this market than there are in the used car business.
- Forget exchange rates and look instead at purchasing power. If I can buy the exact same thing on Amazon.com in $ as I can on Amazon.co.uk in £ which is going to be the better deal? You know what? 99% of the time it depends on where I want it shipped to.
The true currency of life is time, not money, and we’ve all got a limited stock of that. ~ Robert Harris
Mostly, movements in foreign currency exchange rates are simple ~ they will affect you in ways you cannot understand, cannot predict, and can do nothing about, so forget it. For some people, foreign currency exchange rates are frighteningly complicated and dangerous animals, but given that these people usually work deep in the research engine rooms of the world’s biggest banks, it’s safe to let them get on with whatever it is they do, which is not a lot.
Burning coal is the most efficient and cost-effective way to produce large amounts of electricity. Unless you happen to live in an underpopulated country that is also blessed with many large lakes, mountains, and rivers, or Iceland.
However, apart from in the industrial powerhouse countries like China, Germany, and India, the idea of burning coal is an anathema to politicians, left-leaning media, and the metropolitan elite. They all
believe profess to believe that burning coal causes global warming, and unless every country in the world stops burning coal we are all going to die / drown / choke / starve.
We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business. ~ Hillary Clinton
In that one sentence Hillary Clinton conclusively demonstrated that she is unfit to hold the office of President of the United States. Either she in scientifically uneducated, or a liar, or both. She shows that she cares far more for the few fashionable metropolitan elite than for the vast majority of real Americans. She demonstrates that she has no grasp of day-to-day economics, hard science, or industrial strategy.
Hillary Clinton doesn’t like coal or coal miners. Next to coal, the most cost effective way for Britain and America to generate large amounts of electricity is to burn natural gas obtained by fracking.
By the time we get through all of my conditions I do not think there will be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place. ~ Hillary Clinton
The really sad thing is that the other candidate for president is probably even worse than the harsh voiced harridan, albeit in different ways.
Where do the proponents of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change think the carbon in that coal came from in the first place? Outer space? (Well actually, it did, but that’s another matter.) It came from the carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere. Plants turn carbon dioxide into more plants, then over millennia that turns into coal.
It’s an inconvenient truth that predictions of doom by the man-made global warming alarmists, like Hillary Clinton, just have not come true.
If anyone bothered to learn some real hard science they would know that the only way mankind can possibly change the Earth’s climate is through all-out and total nuclear war. There is no empirical or hard scientific evidence that burning coal, oil, or gas can ever change the Earth’s climate. There is plenty of empirical and hard scientific evidence that burning fossil fuels in cities causes stinking smog ~ just look at London before the Clean Air Act, and Los Angeles, and any number of cities in China today.
Climate change is a normal, natural, and perpetual process which occurs, and has always occured, with sublime indifference to man’s puny input. ~ James Delingpole
Smog is not climate change. And, the ultimate cause of smog today is cars, buses and trucks. If some of the bone-idle, lazy, and indolent people would get out of their cars once in a while and actually walk places for a change, then there wouldn’t be anything like as much smog either.
Do yourself a favour and stop looking stupid by banging on about non-existent anthropogenic climate change. Learn some hard science, or just take a walk instead.
(By the way, the stuff coming from those ‘chimneys’ in the pictures is steam, not smoke.)
these opinions are mine and mine alone
Money ~ we all have the same problems. How to get money, how to get more money, and what do we do with it when we’ve got some money? Trust me on this one ~ MONEY IS NOT WHAT YOU WANT.
My best guess is that most of the people who read my blog don’t have 30 years in the money trade, or have a Masters in Finance, and another in Banking, along with a shed-load of other qualifications, so we’ll start working on 1.01 Money. (If you are a money expert, please feel free to comment, and disagree with whatever I say, but you better be damn right or I will make you look stupid.)
Money by itself is worthless. Money only has value by the nature of the things you can do with it. And mostly you can do 3 things with money.
- Money as a medium of exchange. Money is an intermediate in the exchange of goods or services. You go to work for money, and then you swap the money for the stuff you actually want and need. You don’t want the money, you want what the money can get for you.
- Money as a measure of value. The amount of money you have determines what you can get for your money. If you have a lot of $ or £ or whatever, you can get a lot of stuff. We know how much stuff we can get because everything is conveniently priced in money. The value of your time is also measured in money. (there is a price for everthing, up to and including sex)
- Money as a store of value. Instead of buying more and more stuff you don’t need right now, you just keep money in expectation that you can buy the stuff you need at sometime in the in future.
Money is a
piss poor very bad store of value, especially right now. Just how bad depends on how you warehouse your money. The worst store of value is lending money to a friend, at 0% interest, on the expectation that you will get it back. Next worst is actual cash, then various types of bank accounts, and then managed funds and so forth…
ALL Money Loses Value Over Time. Thinking that your money will be worth just as much, or more, in the future is the biggest confidence trick that Governments and the Finance Industry have ever pulled. However you keep your money, from cash to in your pension fund / 401(k), the amount of stuff you could have bought with the money you have put in, over time, will be a hell of a lot more than the stuff you can actually buy when you eventually come to take it out.
Why Store Value In Money? So, why bother with a pension / 401(k) / managed fund? Why not just buy stuff right now, and keep it for when you need it? There are a couple of reasons:
- Security. Unless your money is in a very dodgy bank, the chances are it will still be there when you need it to exchange for stuff. You can’t really say the same for anything much else, including the value of your home. (Insurance is another topic, for a future date.)
- Liquidity. You need some money that’s easily got at. So, what if everything you own, every last penny save for the few dollars in your purse, is invested in your home? The snag is, what if you need money next Monday? Money is very liquid, while all other assets have lower degrees of liquidity. In general terms, the less liquid your assets, the more likely they are to increase in value over time.
So what does that mean to the poor working stiff?
- Don’t have a lot of cash on hand, or a lot of money in the bank.
- Have some cash, some assets you can confidently sell in a few days ~ without having to have a fire sale. Also have some long-term secure assets, and here, property has traditionally been the best long-term way to hold your wealth.
- Do not ever pay for financial advice. (up to and including from me.)
Please also read my post Money. Feel free to comment or ask questions.
Next Monday’s post will be about some ways the average working stiff can make their money really work for them ~ instead of the other way around.
Electric automobiles have been around since the 19th century, Englishman Thomas Parker built the first production electric car in 1884. The land speed record was held by en electric car until 1900. Not much has changed since The Electric Construction Corporation’s car to today’s Tesla. (Nikola Tesla was a Serbian physicist.)
ALL electric cars have 5 main systems;
- The Vehicle. Since the early days this has standardised around 4 wheels, a chassis, and something to keep the rain off. The modern Tesla is maybe better looking and a hell of a lot more sophisticated than a 19th century dog-cart.
- The Electric Motors. These convert electrical energy into mechanical energy, (and nowadays they also convert mechanical energy back into electrical energy via braking regeneration). Again these are far, far better and more sophisticated than they were in Victorian England, but the basic principle hasn’t changed at all. Electric motors as used in cars have one huge advantage over the internal combustion engine ~ massive torque at low rpm, so no separate gearbox is needed.
- The Control System. Modern methods of controlling the amount of electricity that gets to and from the electric motor / dynamo are light years ahead of how it used to be done, which was basically a variable resistor. The Tesla has computerised Intelligent Motor controllers.
- The Batteries. This is the Achilles Heel of electric cars. Batteries are bulky, heavy, expensive, can burst into flame, and have a limited life. Early electric cars had a lot of damn heavy lead-acid batteries, of exactly the same type as a normal car has at the heart of it’s electrical systems. The Tesla uses a hell of a lot of lithium-ion batteries, of exactly the same type that powers your mobile phone and laptop / tablet…
- The Power Source. Electricity doesn’t appear for free out of thin air, it has to be generated from a primary energy source. For pure electric cars, like the Tesla Model S, this means plugging them into mains electricity to charge the onboard batteries. Hybrid cars also have an onboard internal combustion electricity generator. (Which makes one wonder why all the batteries and other complicated stuff? Why not just connect the petrol engine directly to the wheels? Oh, we’ve done that, it’s called a normal car.)
The Weak Point of any electric car is battery life. This comes in 2 flavours;
- Range. How far can one drive on one battery charge? The Tesla Model S is supposed to do either 230 miles, or 320 miles, on one charge. (Depending on how big a battery you’ve bought.) That’s assuming a constant 55mph, (and that you’re not killing the A/C). Also, charging a battery at a normal plug in socket will take 30 hours. In normal, everyday, long-distance motoring, that’s as much use a cell phone in a lifeboat, in the middle of the Atlantic ~ no damn use at all.
- Total Battery Life. How long will the vastly expensive lithium-ion battery pack last before it’s only so much junk? All batteries have a finite life, so how long will the battery in a Tesla last? If you drive it every day, then my guess is performance will start to fall off, (a lot), after 4 or 5 years. Total usable life? I have no real idea. Hey, I know the theory of making baked Alaska, but any real attempt by me would be just embarrassing. (If you want to be an expert start with Arrhenius’ Law.)
Tesla make great looking, technologically advanced cars, with one huge flaw ~ all batteries eventually die, even sophisticated rechargable batteries die eventually. One day the battery pack in your Tesla will reach the end of its usable life. But the Tesla is a fashionable throw-away product, made for fashionable throwaway people. (It’s also very unethical and environmentally damaging. Recycling lithium-ion batteries is damn difficult. You get toxic waste, not wildflowers.)
I would drive an electric car, if I had to. I would not choose any electric car for a cool road trip. The Tesla is very sexy looking, but it’s got no soul. For the price of a Tesla, I could buy a really cool car instead.