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Saturday, March 05, 2011


   Looking at this graph a lot. Up till 1988 nuclear power production was a steep and rising curve. I have previously described how such a rising acceleration of a curve associates with being near the start of a typical S-curve rise which would thus normally be expected to continue rising at at the same or steeper rate for a long time when some other limit is reached.

   It is also worth noting that the theoretical minimum building time for a reactor is 3 years which I suspect means that the practical one, between the decision to allow building of a reactor and completion is about 10. Thus the halt at 1988 reflects decisions made in 1978. This in turn means that the decisions took place before Chernobyl or Three Mile Island (the only catastrophic disaster in the history of the world where nobody was killed or even injured) and they were not a cause of anti-nuclear propaganda but simply used by it.

    The way this graph stops almost flat rather than curving to a stop shows the interruption in the natural rate of growth, caused by anti-nuclear Luddism. The fact that there has been a rise in power production without a rise in the number of generators shows that improved computerised control systems and perhaps other technical improvement is still working and that nuclear costs are naturally still falling which in turn suggests the rate of increase of the curve should, if allowed to, still be increasing.

   The last 3 years of fast growth (1985-88) shows an increase from 200 to 300 GW, which is 66GW a year. Extrapolating that for the next 23 year shows we humanity should be using 1818 GW [300 + 23X66] or 4 times what we actually do.

   The previous period of 1975 to 1985 showed growth of 60 to 200, an average of  14 GW a year. The point about that is that it shows how fast the increase in the curve was. That suggests that for the following decade if that acceleration of growth had increased the following decade would have been likely to show a growth of 118GW annually from 1989 to 1998.

    And 170 GW annually from 1999 to well today.

    That would mean we would now have been producing  3690 GW instead of 400.
    Even at the assumed 1989 rate of growth we would now have 3014 GW.
    Taking the most conservative assumption of no natural increase in growth rate, which is not really compatible with the observed increase in production due to efficiency we still now get 1818 GW. Of the three that most mathematically probable is the first.

     Back then nuclear produced about 20% of the world's power. It is now marginally lower than that.  So a roughly 8 fold increase in nuclear power would have meant at least 160% of what we actually produce would now be nuclear or that we would be producing 240% in total.

     The close correlation between wealth and electricity production has been established. So even assuming it were not an absolute correlation, humanity would all average at least twice as well off as we actually do without these anti-nuclear Luddite parasites.

  It is a rising curve we could get back on at any time. One which Asia, not being run by fascist parasites or complete idiots according to choice, is currently on.

  This is the figure for Britain and is similar. We used to produce 10% of the world's nuclear power, Doing it now with nuclear being most of the world's power would be even more effective.

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Friday, March 04, 2011



Dan Jarvis (Lab) 14,724 (+13.53%)

Jane Collins (UKIP) 2,953 (+7.53%)

James Hockney (Conservative) 1,999 (-9.01%)

Enis Dalton (BNP) 1,463 (-2.90%)

Tony Devoy (Ind) 1,266 (+3.58%)

Dominic Carman (LibDim) 1,012 (-13.10%)

Kevin Riddiough (Eng Dem) 544 (2.25%)

Howling Laud Hope (Loony) 198 (0.82%)

Michael Val Davies (Ind) 60 (0.25%)

    Nobody ever thought anybody but Labour were going to win which probably worked to UKIP's advantage.because people didn't feel they "have to vote Conservative to keep Labour out". Which makes the AV vote important because if it passes nobody need, ever again, feel constrained to give their vote to the 2nd worst choice to keep out the worst.
   The media are concentrating on the Pseudoliberals* being knocked into 6th place which is universally described as "humiliating". Here is the BBC showing "due balance" by devoting their space to the leader of the 6th place party saying it doesn't count and not even mentioning that for the first time UKIP have got into 2nd place. I am also listening to the BBC discussing this with and only in relation to the LudDims.

     The Mail concentrates on the interesting point that Nick Clegg, who sits for a neighbouring constituency, didn't even bother to visit the constituency, which will not go down well with activists. Perhaps this is a sign that Clegg and the Pseudoliberals do not anticipate winning, or even standing, under their party label at the next election but will get either parachuted into safe Tory seats or lucrative sinecures which are in the Tory gift (eg Clegg following Mandelson's slime trail as an EU Commissioner).
     However the Conservatives have been even more effectively humiliated by dropping 4389 votes and being beaten by UKIP as well as Labour. This is not what parties of government expect.
     For UKIP it is a wonderful result. The LudDims having placed second last time should have been a very hard act to beat, even with their current low polls. For UKIP to beat the Conservatives in a Westminster election is amazing. I regard this as the 2nd of 3 hurdles the party need to become a, perhaps the, major player in UK politics.
     The first was placing second, behind the Conservatives but ahead of Labour, in the last EU election.    
     The second is showing they can outpoll one of the main parties in a Westminster election which they have now done.
      The third is changing the electoral system to one which doesn't disenfranchise anybody who votes for them, which is coming up in the AV referendum on 5th May where the odds look like being for a yes vote.
       Following those UKIP will be almost automatically one of the major parties, probably initially the 3rd one, held back only by the fact that 3 of the 5 terrestrial TV channels are state funded propaganda organisations which show absolutely no balance towards them. This is very important for Britain because currently the only opposition are statists, who in fact have no actual policies other than to promise that we can borrow £150 bn a year forever without it costing anything. If we don't have a free market government we desperately need a free market opposition. Note also that the BNP's vote fell even the BNP vote plus the English DFemocrats combined was less than the previous BNP vote. Generally the pattern is that UKIP do better in Labour areas and UKIP in Conservative but we now see UKIP have established themselves as the clear alternative to the established parties. Pity the Greens didn't stand and thus avoided humiliation.
      The Tea Party could work in America because their system of primaries allows their supporters to compete for the Republican nomination. In Britain that is impossible because our parties are rigidly controlled from above, making us a much less democratic nation. However if UKIP, who represent the same progressive libertarian streak (for nuclear power and against catastrophic warming alarmism). For the first time I think there is a good chance that we will see such a successful movement here. Indeed UKIP, being entirely able to stand in their own name at elections and then probably forming a coalition with the Conservatives (it is by no means clear who would be the larger partner) is an improvement over being a coalition within one party and having to offer only 1 manifesto to the electors.
     this is a spoof of almost any LudDim leaflet where they play with figures to fool nobody  
* I have decided to use the name Pseudoliberals as the proper title of the "LibDems". Liberals believe in liberty; in free trade; in market freedom; in the rights of small nations; in individual freedom. That is what the term meant when it was founded. I was expelled from the party on a specific charge of believing in most of these which, in an Orwellian reversal of language was described as "illiberal" and in in a perfectly accurate manner also described as "incompatible with party membership". It is the founding idea of the US Constitution as well. This was and is such a popular series of ideas that various sorts of fascist and socialists have adopted the name but not the principles. Such misuse of language is, I am afraid, endemic to politics because it is about persuading people by almost any means. However the meaning of the word is inherent and those entryists who have stolen the name simply are not liberals and cannot honestly describe themselves as such. Taking back the name, tarnished though it may have been, is an important battle in the fight for freedom. We can fight it on ground which favours us because the derivation of "liberal" is so obvious and winning it back will considerably help in the other battles.

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Thursday, March 03, 2011


      Whenever our rulers start talking about human rights they are trying to get us to support bombing somebody.
BRITISH forces are poised to storm Libya to prevent Colonel Gaddafi massacring more of his people with weapons of mass destruction...

Royal Navy destroyer HMS York, currently in the rebel-held port of Benghazi, will also be on hand to assist the relief operation...

Cameron confirmed he was still planning a no-fly zone over Libya despite a lukewarm response in other countries. ctd
        I regard the legal sovereignty of nations to be not only a necessary requirement for the existence of international law and respecting it to be the only alternative to every nation that can pointing nukes at every other one, but also the only barrier to a world state averaging a less competent and democratic version of the EU. And as the Green party, who support it for that reason alone, an EU style bureaucracy is the only thing that can prevent and reverse human progress.

    If the "International Criminal Court" is not wholly and completely corrupt they will reply to the western reference of Libya to them by pointing out that the deaths in the Libyan rising are of the order of 1,000th of those brought about in Croatia in Operation Storm, an operation de facto controlled by American and British staff officers and that on that basis no criticism of him by the pro-Nazi governments responsible for that genocide, can be valid until the war criminals behind that and other acts of genocide and worse have been given a fair trial. I do not expect the ICC to show such integrity. It is simply a propaganda organisation for its paymasters.

        For the same reason that we should oppose even people we don't like being beaten up by the police it is vital that we defend Gaddafi's Libya from casual invasion. The moreso because we only recently "legitimised" the regime when he gave up trying to produce nukes. If, yet again, we prove that promises of peace made by western countries are worthless, as we did over the occupation of Kosovo and the poisoning of Milosevic, then there cease to be any circumstances when other countries can "do business" with us. Jerry Pournelle puts it with biting satire:
Of course shooting down the aircraft of a formerly hostile which became neutral and was trying to be friendly foreign power has a rather murky status under international law. Only Great Powers can actually impose an aerial blockade. Do Great Powers have an implied right to make war on the nation which is this year the Chairman of the Human Rights commission of the United Nations? But the UN has suspended Libya's membership in that commission. So it's not too late for the US and Europe to get into the internal affairs of Libya. Who knows, there might be a bonanza in fishing in those troubled waters. Bring Gaddafi down, and there's all that lovely oil most of which is already in the hands of the rebels. We should get in there and choose sides, and support democracy and sow the Western dream.
But meanwhile the rebels are sort of in control in Tunisia, and someone is in control in Egypt, and we don't seem to know what to do about all that, either.
     A curious side issue via Steve Sailer that Col Gadafi is a blogger:

"The best thing I ever read about Turkey & the EU was an article by none other than..... Mumar Qaddafi. Check his website out:

The links are broken, but all seem to be old enough that you can get at them via the Internet Archive, for example the first two are &

Here's Kaddafi's root directory for all his musings. Did he write them himself? I dunno, but I sort of think he did. The notion that he's a bright guy with ADHD seems plausible."

------- The links keep being broken and yesterday the only one I could connect to was the Korea one. The english is fractured (but infinitely better than my arabic) but it is an intelligent analysis from which I learned something.

   Not as good a blogger as Vaclac Klaus, President of Czech republic or Sarah Palin but way smarter and more original than David Miliband's blog or anything I would expect from Cameron, Obama, Gordon Brown or most of the numpties  we elect.

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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Could TV debates be the next X-Factor?

  Glasgow University Union debate

    My latest ChangeScotland article is up on a subject previously discussed. If you want to comment please do so there. The broadcast media having refused to explain why they refuse to have such debates so far it will be interesting to see if any of them have any answer now.

Incidentally the poll on whether people would watch this is still running and you can vote here. Currently it looks like real debates would be more popular than Question Time (the political programme to aim at for popularity) .It would also be much popular than X-Factor though I suspect I may not be reaching a typical audience.

Could TV debates be the next X-Factor?

IT WOULD be astonishing what a high proportion of our national leaders first cut their political eye teeth in university debating chambers if it were not obvious what a vital role such organised arguments play.
Formal debating, normally two teams of two or three people each speaking in turn for around five minutes before an audience, is a formalisation of how non-dictatorial or monarchic governments are supposed to work and sometimes do. At least this has been the experience since the time of the ancient Greeks.
It is how Britain used to be run before three-line whips removed the power from Parliament and transferred it to the Cabinet, inner Cabinet and ultimately the Prime Minister and close friends.
In the Greek democracies debates were heard and judged by an assembly of the citizens (well the male, adult, free citizens). In Victorian Britain debates could only be heard in Parliament, a very small proportion of the population, thus Parliamentary sovereignty became the dominant ideal.
In the 20th Century the technology of radio and then TV made it possible for political discussion to be heard and judged in real time by the entire community, even more so than in ancient Greek times. But such open debate did not become the norm, except very occasionally in Presidential debates where, because not limited to one issue, they tended to turn into popularity contests rather than settling issues.

Also, because broadcasting was then a natural monopoly, they tended to come excessively under the control of central government. From Hitler, broadcasting his rallies, to Roosevelt's fireside chats to the BBC reporting "climate change" those expressing opposing ideas have been relegated to minor or zero coverage.

Which brings me to the subject of this article.

I propose that one or more of our broadcasters test runs weekly debates, normally one hour long in a slot similar to Question Time. The proposition should be drawn from those submitted online by the public. The choice need not be always the most popular, since some motions could not provide a balanced debate, but the popular vote should be made transparently public.

Assuming three speakers per side, the first speakers of each side have six minutes to present their constructive cases, or in the negative's case a rebuttal. The other four speakers each have five minutes to deliver a speech supporting their team's main arguments. There is also an allotted three minutes after each of the first four speeches for cross-examination, during which the opposing team has a chance to clarify what was stated in the preceding speech. There are many variations in format and so long as they have general acceptance, no one format should be set in stone.

The popular decision could then be determined, X-Factor style, by phone votes. These, like Crimewatch "results" could be broadcast later.

This is not and should not be in any way authoritative - it is simply TV.

I am sure there would be paradoxical results. For example one week the majority would vote for more government spending and the next for tax cuts. Though it should be pointed out that politicians show no particular consistency in such promises either. I would not be surprised to find viewers showing more responsibility than our current political class, so many of whom have never held a job not paid from taxes.

I have previously sent this suggestion to all our broadcasters, none of whom answered (though ITV and C4 promised to do so). No independent company responded either. Clearly either there is an overwhelming reason why this is less commercially viable than present political coverage, so obvious it is not even worth mentioning, or there is some other agenda at work.

It would, however, be an incredibly inexpensive programme to produce. The moderator need not be drawn from the channels' expensive stable of talent, indeed the ideal moderator is almost invisible. No Dimblebys; no dog and pony team trailing round the country; little more than a couple of cameras and a venue. A comparison is with the BBC's Northern Irish alternative to Question Time, broadcast every fourth week and made in-house. Northern Ireland has 3.3% of Britain's population so this must be one of the least expensive shows on TV.

Indeed with the X-Factor voting option I suspect the debating programme would be in profit even on a budget of zero.

Another requirement is that the teams be transparently chosen as the best available to debate the subject under consideration. I remember being in the audience of BBC Scotland's last relatively real debate. This was on "Scotland's Energy Future" in which one team called for far more subsidised windmills and the other for nothing but subsidised windmills. This was less than a full discussion.

Would it be popular? While that cannot certainly be told without trying it I have run an online poll (still going here) which shows a potential audience approximately matching Question Time's normal three million, which is about as popular as politics on TV gets.

The important reason for doing this is not finance, that is merely to prove there is no commercial reason for not doing it, but that it would, using modern technology, allow the citizenry real access to political decision making, in a way not technologically possible since the supercession of the Greek city states and Roman Republic.

It would be uncharitable to assume the big media ignore this because they think it would have work and I await some other explanation, from them or anybody else, that satisfies the facts.

In any case we live in a world where media is no longer a monopoly. If this is indeed a commercially viable project then it may turn into another case of online players cutting off the media dinosaurs at the knees.

"Debate" on TV currently consists, at its best, of four people and a moderator, with the "official" view, taking on one with a different one, with discussion limited to a couple of sentences before interruption. That is why elections are now about "soundbites" rather than real issues, which in turn explains why our governance is so abysmal.

We know there is an audience to watch Anne Widdicombe dance or George Galloway play a cat. I believe there would be one to watch them debate positions they understand and believe in. Our present "democracy" is conducted rather as if Athens had told Demosthenes he was not allowed to debate but it would find time to let him juggle. Surely we can do better than that.

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Tuesday, March 01, 2011


  I'm going to stick with my estimate of yesterday that building a factory able to mass produce nuclear reactors at a rate of 1 per week would cost not more than £30 billion, at least until some better way of estimating the cost comes up. I am thinking of something equivalent to Boeing's Everett factory where they manufacture a large proportion of the world's aircraft.
   I suspect that the $1 bn price that Westinghouse have given as the long term price of their AP1000 could be considerably cut if we were getting into real mass production like this, particularly with a sensible regulatory regime. In which case the price given becomes very much an upper limit. I suspect that if that price, let alone a lower one, were firm and our government had undertaken to purchase in volume there would be absolutely no problem issuing bonds/shares etc to raise the money internationally. Indeed it would considerably increase Britain's credit worthiness to know that we were seriously trying to improve our economy.

     And here is Tim Worstall on a proposal to replace traditional measurement of GNP with measurement of light emitted. Since all this light comes from electricity this is very close to saying electricity use is a better measure of national wealth than official measures of GNP are.
There is a serious suggestion out there, one which this Worstall fully supports, to move from the archaic and confusing idea of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a method of measuring wealth to what I call “the Worstall Standard.” Surprisingly, the suggestion is not one of this or any other Worstall, but rather comes from sober and competent economists (however rare that combination is thought to be these days).

There are many limitations of GDP as a measure: cleaning up pollution adds to it; a man marrying his housekeeper reduces it; it does not account for the oppression of women in the unfair division of household duties; does not take count the things that really matter such as love, satisfaction with life, equitable distribution of incomes, nor that in Al Franken we have finally knowingly elected a comedian to the Senate.
And Bill Gates is ready to fund a politically acceptable reactor design. Admittedly he thinks that what is needed is to produce a design that answers all the eco-fascists alleged problems, which I think naive because they will oppose anything that brings progress. I think that all that is necessary is to say that they have no rational arguments against nuclear and tell them to take their irrational hatreds and go to hell.

   PS Looking at that Earthlights picture the Highlands and Islands of Scotland are about the most uninhabited area of Europe, we also still have an unparalleled scientific expertise per capita. Particularly if the transport infrastructure were improved with the Scottish Tunnels Project, it would be the ideal place for such an enormous factory.

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Monday, February 28, 2011


  As Jerry Pournelle pointed out yesterday "energy prices are a major factor in economic growth, and everyone knows it." I have also previously calculated the amount of GNP produced by developed countries per kw of energy and it is clear that, except in places like Afghanistan the average was $3.90 and in Britain it $6.14 , the highest of any sizable country in the world.

      It is therefore no surprise that China's economy ($2.45) is growing at 10% and in Britain "THE average UK wage in 2015 will be less in real terms than it was in 2003, according to a new analysis by a think-tank.

Published ahead of the launch of a commission on living standards in the UK, the figures from the Resolution Foundation underline the extent of the squeeze on families on middle incomes"

     There are other things holding us back which is why I think the that growth of 23.8% annually is possible. However there can be and indeed is no real dispute that with a reasonable increase in electricity supply we would get comparable growth.

     Nor has there been any dispute that, if we mass produced reactors, we could produce power at around 7% of current costs.

    For most of this century it has been accepted in intellectual circles that the Soviet style planned economy had proven more successful than free enterprise because Stalin achieved a, then, world record growth rate of 10%. In my youth I inclined the same way and it is certainly something which anybody saying economic freedom works must explain. Here is my explanation. 
Production increased – 1927-1937 electricity by 700%, - a growth rate of 23%
      With that growth rate, achieved by pure brute force the Soviet overall economic growth rate looks anaemic.

      In Britain the total role of the government is to prevent or delay construction of new power plant; to insist on the money going into windmillery which produces little power in the most expensive way; and absolutely to ensure a regulatory regime that massively increases costs.

      Assuming we have a continuous supply of 50Gw (a simplification) a 23 increase would mean 12 new reactors in the first year, 14 the next, 17 the 3rd and 21 the next (a total of 64),  26 the 5th and 33 the 7th.. In fact it takes 3 years to build a reactor so basically a factory churning out 43 odd reactors a year could be guaranteed to sell the lot even if it sold only in Britain. Since up to 7 reactors have been put, side by side, on one site that number could be held without building any new sites, though it might involve moving a few fences back 100 yards.

      With the new AP 1000 reactor currently retailable at £700 million; takinvg 3 years to produce the  reactor; a substantial, around 50% cut in regulatory parasitism; but still taking 3 years to complete each unit I would guess a factory mass producing a reactor a week would cost less than £30 billion plus time payments for the units from customers as they are being built. Stalin had to build the equivalent by main force but a free enterprise system could certainly do it with little more than giving permission, basing its regulatory regime on a proper comparison of the safety record of nuclear against other processes and guaranteeing purchase.

     If government construction were competent it would be better to borrow that $30 billion and build it for the nation giving the Exchequer an enormous profit, but, as the Edinburgh trams and new Forth crossing prove, that may not be an option.

     Whatever you say about Uncle Joe, for whom I retain a soft spot, he was constructive and never so cruel or destructive as to want to destroy 58% of his country's power supplies as the Holyrood numptocracy unanimously do. Nor are Westminster MPs {We don't know shale gas is, but whatever it is, we'd better stop it} much less Luddite.

more reactors without more sites
UPDATE I see that India has managed a 1 year increase of 35% in nuclear electricity so for us to aim at 23% does not appear overambitious.

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Sunday, February 27, 2011


      Jerry Pournelle answered a letter from a Penny McCracken who, saying that nuclear power was dreadful, claimed the authority of " I worked, mostly in aerospace and the Space Program, but also during the 34-year career, for two separate companies which built nuclear power plants.". I replied:

"Argument from Implied Authority

Penny McCracken saying she worked "for two separate companies which built nuclear power plants" implies but does not say she was in that part of the companies and thus implicitly has an informed opinion. I suspect almost any large company in the aerospace industry will have some link to some nuclear work.

I have found anti-nuclearists regularly claiming to have worked in the nuclear industry while being ignorant of the subject. Mrs McCracken is probably not inventing here but her argument would have been stronger if she had actually produced some argument against nuclear, apart from the Japaneseness of a producer, rather than making an argument from implied authority".

Jerry's reply  
I have no idea why she opposes nuclear power; but then I don't hear many rational arguments on the subject, As I relate in Step Farther Out, California's leading anti-nuclear "Small is Beautiful" leader used to boast that "The only physics I ever took was ExLax." I do not hear many rational discussions of the demerits of nuclear power, and except for Access to Energy there aren't many explications of the reasons why nuclear power is desirable. As I said before we invaded Iraq and continue to say, had we put the estimated war cost of $300 billion into US energy development we would not have to worry so much about the Middle East. As it happens the cost was -- surprise! -- a multiple of the $300 billion, with no real end in sight. I would prefer private energy development, but the TVA provides a model of a Federal energy agency that actually works. The important thing is that energy prices are a major factor in economic growth, and everyone knows it."

It is not my job to marshal the arguments against nuclear power. The anti-nuclear people are so successful in the wonderful American public school system that it is now simply assumed that educated and intelligent people are against nuclear power. This is a great accomplishment, for which the American people have paid a great deal of money, and will continue to pay it in pensions to those who achieved it. So it goes.

 I hereby invite anybody on the anti-nuclear side to say what rational arguments they have against nuclear power since, as he says, they are not readily available.

A point raised in a reply later on the site is that opponents aren't simply against nuclear power they are against any way, or at least any practical way, of producing power which can only be reconciled with the purest Luddism intent on reversing growth.

This is Profesor John McCarthy's site discussing nuclear power which you should read if you have any interest in the subject. Anybody saying why they are rationally anti-nuclear will have to say why he is wrong - not a task I envy.
     Rational as it gets?

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