Apr. 2nd, 2009

webfarmer: (Default)
The process of de-industrializing, and de-unionizing, the USA for fun and profit seems to be almost on autopilot now. China has so many advantages, it's hard to see Detroit or any of what remains as a manufacturing base get back into the game without some major policy shifts. Even more than what the Obama folks may have in mind. It's not like they've got radicals in those areas.

China Vies To Be World's Leader in Electric Cars - NY Times - 01 Apr 09

"Chinese leaders have adopted a plan aimed at turning the country into one of the leading producers of hybrid and all-electric vehicles within three years, and making it the world leader in electric cars and buses after that. The goal, which radiates from the very top of the Chinese government, suggests that Detroit’s Big Three, already struggling to stay alive, will face even stiffer foreign competition on the next field of automotive technology than they do today."

"To some extent, China is making a virtue of a liability. It is behind the United States, Japan and other countries when it comes to making gas-powered vehicles, but by skipping the current technology, China hopes to get a jump on the next."

"China is tackling the challenges with the same tools that helped it speed industrialization and put on the Olympics: immense amounts of energy, money and people. BYD has 5,000 auto engineers and an equal number of battery engineers, most of them living at its headquarters in Shenzhen in a cluster of 15 yellow apartment buildings, each 18 stories high. Young engineers earn less than $600 a month, including benefits."
webfarmer: (Default)
The process of de-industrializing, and de-unionizing, the USA for fun and profit seems to be almost on autopilot now. China has so many advantages, it's hard to see Detroit or any of what remains as a manufacturing base get back into the game without some major policy shifts. Even more than what the Obama folks may have in mind. It's not like they've got radicals in those areas.

China Vies To Be World's Leader in Electric Cars - NY Times - 01 Apr 09

"Chinese leaders have adopted a plan aimed at turning the country into one of the leading producers of hybrid and all-electric vehicles within three years, and making it the world leader in electric cars and buses after that. The goal, which radiates from the very top of the Chinese government, suggests that Detroit’s Big Three, already struggling to stay alive, will face even stiffer foreign competition on the next field of automotive technology than they do today."

"To some extent, China is making a virtue of a liability. It is behind the United States, Japan and other countries when it comes to making gas-powered vehicles, but by skipping the current technology, China hopes to get a jump on the next."

"China is tackling the challenges with the same tools that helped it speed industrialization and put on the Olympics: immense amounts of energy, money and people. BYD has 5,000 auto engineers and an equal number of battery engineers, most of them living at its headquarters in Shenzhen in a cluster of 15 yellow apartment buildings, each 18 stories high. Young engineers earn less than $600 a month, including benefits."
webfarmer: (Default)
Obama Depressed, Distant Since 'Battlestar Galactica' Series Finale - The Onion - 31 Mar 09

"Obama told aides he feels 'like a cylon without a Resurrection Ship.'"
webfarmer: (Default)
Obama Depressed, Distant Since 'Battlestar Galactica' Series Finale - The Onion - 31 Mar 09

"Obama told aides he feels 'like a cylon without a Resurrection Ship.'"
webfarmer: (Default)
I've been starting to follow Nicholas Kristof on Facebook and Twitter (will probably unfollow on Twitter). His latest column notes the latest silent disaster of the poor. A couple thousand dead killed by terrorists in the USA is enough ignite nationalist fervor and switch on billions flowing to the military industrial complex. By contrast, there's almost a complete silence on the generation of the collective mass graves of the poor on this planet.

At Stake Are More Than Banks - Nicholas Kristof - NY Times - 01 Apr 09

"According to World Bank estimates, the global economic crisis will cause an additional 22 children to die per hour, throughout all of 2009. And that’s the best-case scenario. The World Bank says it’s possible the toll will be twice that: an additional 400,000 child deaths, or an extra child dying every 79 seconds."

"The British prime minister, Gordon Brown, has a steady hand on his economy and has pioneered approaches to bank nationalization that we could learn from. But much of Europe seems paralyzed. Japan’s prime minister, Taro Aso, drew on the lessons of Japan’s 'lost decade' to scold Germany in an interview with The Financial Times for its dithering about a stimulus. When a Japanese prime minister scolds you for passivity, you know you’re practically a zombie.

As usual, the greatest price for incompetence at the summit will be borne by the poorest people in the world — who aren’t represented there and who never approved any bad loans. I’m just back from Haiti and the Dominican Republic where I saw the impact of the crisis firsthand. In the Haitian slum of Cité Soleil, ravenous children tore at some corncobs that my guide had brought; it was their first food that day."

"One of the most preposterous ideas floating about is that the world’s poor feel 'entitled' to assistance. Entitled? Wall Street plutocrats display a sense of entitlement when they demand billions for bailouts. But whether at home or abroad, the poor typically suffer invisibly and silently.

Oxfam has calculated that financial firms around the world have already received or been promised $8.4 trillion in bailouts. Just a week’s worth of interest on that sum while it’s waiting to be deployed would be enough to save most of the half-million women who die in childbirth each year in poor countries.

The 500 richest people in the world, according to a U.N. calculation a few years ago, earned more than the 416 million poorest people. It’s worth bearing in mind that the first group bears a measure of responsibility for the global economic mess but will get by just fine, while the latter group has no responsibility and will suffer the worst consequences."
webfarmer: (Default)
I've been starting to follow Nicholas Kristof on Facebook and Twitter (will probably unfollow on Twitter). His latest column notes the latest silent disaster of the poor. A couple thousand dead killed by terrorists in the USA is enough ignite nationalist fervor and switch on billions flowing to the military industrial complex. By contrast, there's almost a complete silence on the generation of the collective mass graves of the poor on this planet.

At Stake Are More Than Banks - Nicholas Kristof - NY Times - 01 Apr 09

"According to World Bank estimates, the global economic crisis will cause an additional 22 children to die per hour, throughout all of 2009. And that’s the best-case scenario. The World Bank says it’s possible the toll will be twice that: an additional 400,000 child deaths, or an extra child dying every 79 seconds."

"The British prime minister, Gordon Brown, has a steady hand on his economy and has pioneered approaches to bank nationalization that we could learn from. But much of Europe seems paralyzed. Japan’s prime minister, Taro Aso, drew on the lessons of Japan’s 'lost decade' to scold Germany in an interview with The Financial Times for its dithering about a stimulus. When a Japanese prime minister scolds you for passivity, you know you’re practically a zombie.

As usual, the greatest price for incompetence at the summit will be borne by the poorest people in the world — who aren’t represented there and who never approved any bad loans. I’m just back from Haiti and the Dominican Republic where I saw the impact of the crisis firsthand. In the Haitian slum of Cité Soleil, ravenous children tore at some corncobs that my guide had brought; it was their first food that day."

"One of the most preposterous ideas floating about is that the world’s poor feel 'entitled' to assistance. Entitled? Wall Street plutocrats display a sense of entitlement when they demand billions for bailouts. But whether at home or abroad, the poor typically suffer invisibly and silently.

Oxfam has calculated that financial firms around the world have already received or been promised $8.4 trillion in bailouts. Just a week’s worth of interest on that sum while it’s waiting to be deployed would be enough to save most of the half-million women who die in childbirth each year in poor countries.

The 500 richest people in the world, according to a U.N. calculation a few years ago, earned more than the 416 million poorest people. It’s worth bearing in mind that the first group bears a measure of responsibility for the global economic mess but will get by just fine, while the latter group has no responsibility and will suffer the worst consequences."
webfarmer: (Default)
Just released, a new report from the Maryland Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) on the prospects for nuclear power. New happenings at Calvert Cliffs nuclear power station probably had something to do with the motivation for this report. AREVA now controls Constellation Energy which runs the Calvert Cliffs plant.

The High Cost of Nuclear Power - Executive Summary - Maryland PIRG [Complete PDF here]

"Clean energy solutions are able to meet demand for electricity in small, modular amounts – posing far less financial risk than new nuclear power plants.

The 2008 meltdown of the U.S. financial system and the ensuing economic crisis could retard growth in demand for electricity. As a result, the demand a nuclear power plant is meant to serve may not materialize. And since nuclear power plants are large and inflexible, this possibility poses a serious financial risk for any utility considering a new nuclear power plant, and its customers. Construction of a nuclear power plant cannot be halted halfway to get half of the power output – it’s all or nothing.

In contrast, clean energy solutions are typically modular – they can be assembled into units tailored precisely to an evolving need for electricity."


Firm Applies to Expand Nuclear Plant in Maryland - Washington Post - 31 Jul 09

"The first application to build a new U.S. nuclear power plant in three decades has been filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, bumping a proposed third unit at a Calvert County site to the front of a list of reactors being considered by the nuclear power industry.

Constellation Energy Group of Baltimore has filed a partial application with the NRC, asking the commission to review environmental plans for a 1,600-megawatt reactor at the Calvert Cliffs site in Lusby, Md., that could cost $4 billion."


Groups Aim to Stop New Nuclear Reactor - HometownAnnapolis.com - 01 Apr 09

"Neumann said nuclear power is 200 percent costlier than combined heat and power technologies - a single integrated system of electricity and thermal energy - and 50 percent more expensive than wind power. The consumer groups are asking the Public Service Commission to deny UniStar Nuclear Energy, the joint venture of Constellation and Electricite de France, its request to build a third nuclear reactor in Calvert Cliffs, Calvert County."
webfarmer: (Default)
Just released, a new report from the Maryland Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) on the prospects for nuclear power. New happenings at Calvert Cliffs nuclear power station probably had something to do with the motivation for this report. AREVA now controls Constellation Energy which runs the Calvert Cliffs plant.

The High Cost of Nuclear Power - Executive Summary - Maryland PIRG [Complete PDF here]

"Clean energy solutions are able to meet demand for electricity in small, modular amounts – posing far less financial risk than new nuclear power plants.

The 2008 meltdown of the U.S. financial system and the ensuing economic crisis could retard growth in demand for electricity. As a result, the demand a nuclear power plant is meant to serve may not materialize. And since nuclear power plants are large and inflexible, this possibility poses a serious financial risk for any utility considering a new nuclear power plant, and its customers. Construction of a nuclear power plant cannot be halted halfway to get half of the power output – it’s all or nothing.

In contrast, clean energy solutions are typically modular – they can be assembled into units tailored precisely to an evolving need for electricity."


Firm Applies to Expand Nuclear Plant in Maryland - Washington Post - 31 Jul 09

"The first application to build a new U.S. nuclear power plant in three decades has been filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, bumping a proposed third unit at a Calvert County site to the front of a list of reactors being considered by the nuclear power industry.

Constellation Energy Group of Baltimore has filed a partial application with the NRC, asking the commission to review environmental plans for a 1,600-megawatt reactor at the Calvert Cliffs site in Lusby, Md., that could cost $4 billion."


Groups Aim to Stop New Nuclear Reactor - HometownAnnapolis.com - 01 Apr 09

"Neumann said nuclear power is 200 percent costlier than combined heat and power technologies - a single integrated system of electricity and thermal energy - and 50 percent more expensive than wind power. The consumer groups are asking the Public Service Commission to deny UniStar Nuclear Energy, the joint venture of Constellation and Electricite de France, its request to build a third nuclear reactor in Calvert Cliffs, Calvert County."
webfarmer: (Default)
Not very good news from across the pond.

Fiscal Stimulus and the Environment - Green Standing - The Economist - 02 Apr 09

"Mr Brown’s green New Deal looks similarly flimsy. On March 31st HSBC, a big bank, published a report ranking countries by how green their economic-stimulus packages were. The bank reckons that Britain is allocating just 7% of its fiscal stimulus to greenery, compared with 12% in America, 34% in China and a whopping 81% in South Korea (see chart). A separate report prepared for Greenpeace, a pressure group, by consultants at the New Economics Foundation (NEF) considers only genuinely new funding and arrives at a figure of just 0.6%, or £120m.

Private-sector caution reflects this official inaction. Lower oil prices, sagging demand for energy and hard-to-get credit have caused many firms to cut back on renewables worldwide. But there are particular problems in Britain, not least the falling pound (most of the wind turbines installed there, for example, are built in continental Europe).

Energy companies such as Centrica and EDF, a French firm, are re-evaluating their British renewables projects. Lord Browne, a former boss of the big British oil firm BP, doubts that Britain’s laissez-faire energy policy is up to the job of decarbonising the economy, and wants state-owned banks directed to finance green-energy projects. (BP has opted out of the British renewables market because it expects low returns.) And last year Royal Dutch Shell pulled out of a £3 billion wind-farm in the Thames estuary."
webfarmer: (Default)
Not very good news from across the pond.

Fiscal Stimulus and the Environment - Green Standing - The Economist - 02 Apr 09

"Mr Brown’s green New Deal looks similarly flimsy. On March 31st HSBC, a big bank, published a report ranking countries by how green their economic-stimulus packages were. The bank reckons that Britain is allocating just 7% of its fiscal stimulus to greenery, compared with 12% in America, 34% in China and a whopping 81% in South Korea (see chart). A separate report prepared for Greenpeace, a pressure group, by consultants at the New Economics Foundation (NEF) considers only genuinely new funding and arrives at a figure of just 0.6%, or £120m.

Private-sector caution reflects this official inaction. Lower oil prices, sagging demand for energy and hard-to-get credit have caused many firms to cut back on renewables worldwide. But there are particular problems in Britain, not least the falling pound (most of the wind turbines installed there, for example, are built in continental Europe).

Energy companies such as Centrica and EDF, a French firm, are re-evaluating their British renewables projects. Lord Browne, a former boss of the big British oil firm BP, doubts that Britain’s laissez-faire energy policy is up to the job of decarbonising the economy, and wants state-owned banks directed to finance green-energy projects. (BP has opted out of the British renewables market because it expects low returns.) And last year Royal Dutch Shell pulled out of a £3 billion wind-farm in the Thames estuary."
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