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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Osborne Gives £60 Million A Year To ESA - His Argument For Doing So Would Only Make Sense If He Were Instead Spending It On X-Prizes

  Here is the text of a rather interesting speech read by George Osborne, but drafted at the behest of him and Science Minister David Willets, to the Royal Society.

    It names 7 areas of scientific endeveour where Britain has a particularly strong position and where government assistance could and should help that industry and thus the economy grow.

They are:

The Big Data Revolution and energy efficient computing;
Synthetic Biology;

Regenerative Medicine;


Energy Storage;

Advanced Materials;

Robotics and Autonomous Systems;

Satellites and commercial applications of Space

     That is a pretty good list and with the exception of some fluff about windmills in the energy storage section and CO2 absorbing concrete in the materials one, more free of eco-nutery than one would expect of a government document. 

   My particular interest (and how I found out about it because it was clearly the bit that interested the media) is last - the space stuff.

  Finally there are the opportunities to be a world leader in satellites and commercial applications of Space.

The UK space sector, including such companies as Astrium, Inmarsat and Avanti, already generates £9 billion a year for the economy, and has grown at over 8per cent per year through the recent difficult economic times.
Our ambition is to have a £30 billion industry by 2030.

We are now at a watershed where space is transitioning from a celebration of science endeavour into a capability that impacts on our everyday lives.

Live transmissions of news and sports are driven by satellite telecommunications, and satellites are bringing broadband to rural communities across the UK, while providing enormous export opportunities.

The new generation European navigation programme brings very precise location capabilities opening up new markets.

Because space involves substantial investment, much of it is better done through international collaboration.

In particular, the UK gains great scientific and industrial benefits through being a strong but selective partner in the European Space Agency. 

We engage particular strongly in a number of areas of high added value including telecoms, earth observation and meteorological satellites.

The European Space Agency is holding its four-yearly Ministerial meeting later this month, where commitments for the period to 2017/18 will be made.

I can now announce that, subject to negotiation with our European partners, the UK is willing to commit an average of £240 million per year over the next five years through ESA to high value scientific and industrial programmes which will benefit the UK.

Subject to satisfactory negotiations, substantial benefits to the UK will flow from this investment, and the private sector itself has already identified projects to the value of £1 billion that will flow from this investment.

I am delighted also to announce that ESA has agreed, to site its telecoms satellite headquarters in Harwell, Oxfordshire.

This will crystallise a major space hub at Harwell and create 100 new high-tech jobs there.

  The BBC report calls that an extra £60 million a year which is not exactly what was said but I will take it as the intent. That is a 22% increase which is only 4% a year for an industry agreed to be growing at "over 8%" (the ministry has previously said 10% but either way it is more growth than the entire rest of the economy is managing) so despite all the trumpetings he seems to have brought forth a mouse.

  More importantly it is all going to Europe on the dubious grounds that "Because space involves substantial investment, much of it is better done through international collaboration". ESA's record is of having decades of a budget half the size of America's, if one includes the semi-independent French and German space programmes, without achieving even putting a single person above the atmosphere & without any plans to do so in future.

 Justifying giving money to ESA on purely economic grounds is clearly even more false than justifying the euro on economic rather than political grounds.

   By the very argument Osborne is using, the money should be going into X-Prizes, which nobody argues is not a 33-100 times more efficient use of money. By the argument he is using it should be rising faster than the rate at which the industry is growing, leading it forward, rather than slower, which acts as a brake.

  I suggest at twice the rate if we want a world leading role. That would be about 18% or £50 million a year If it increased the rate of growth of the £9 bn industry that extra money would come back, in spades. With 40% of all money in the economy coming to the Treasury each 2% additional growth in the space industry would make the Treasury £36 bn better off and bringing the UK industry up to the 17% annual growth in the commercial space sector the US has achieved is clearly possible.

   I do not begrudge a penny spent on any of the other fields - they are ALL effective uses for government money, so little of which is normally used to generate wealth - but in the same speech he promises £40 million for Regenerative Medicine, a field with a world market of "just over £500 million, with forecast generating revenues of over £5 billion by 2021"

   The British space market alone is worth £9bn a year and the world market well over £200 billion today. In economic terms we should be investing at least 25 times as much in space & 100 times would be more sensible.


Some interesting quotes from the speech:

"I am glad to say that one of my predecessors has some small place in your Hall of Fame.
Charles Montagu, whose portrait is on display here today, was President of the Royal Society in the late 17th century, and at the same time as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
He made his mark as Chancellor, founding the Bank of England and so saving the country from bankruptcy after racking up debts after war with the French...

He only got the job because his illustrious friend, Sir Issac Newton owed him a favour because he had given Newton the then rather lucrative role of Master of the Mint."
    - I'm not sure if he is really openly trying to say even in Newton's day scientists sucked up to politicians so you should too you catastrophic warming promoters.

"In the long run it is technical change which determines our economic growth – we become more productive not by more back-breaking labour but by working with more knowledge in our heads and more equipment in our hands."

"Innovation is not a sausage machine.
You don’t get it by a plan imposed by government and you can’t measure it just by counting patents or even just spend on R&D.
It is all about creative interactions between science and business."
   - Exactly - grants don't & can't work. Prizes aren't guaranteed to work either but they are mush more likely to inspire innovation & obviously, when they don't they don't cost anything anyway. 

"I am up for the challenge set by Brian Cox and others of making Britain the best place in the world to do science.
Our decisions on tax and spending show we are serious about this."
    - Prove it. The government know prizes work. They have actively refused to even consider them, despite having no actual argument against them (my FoI proved both those statements). Start being serious.

"cash spending on science and research with a £4.6billion ring-fenced budget."
   - Looking at that figure we aren't told how much goes to actual science and how much to pushing the warming and other Luddite scares. Here is my estimate. NERC (Natural environment research Council) gets about £500 million, all of which is must be part of that budget. Professor Jones of climategate fame got £13.7 million from government of which £2.7 million came from NERC (20%) so extrapolating from that the eco-scare stuff must, unless the government produces credible figures, must be assumed to make up about £2.5 billion or more than all of the real science budget put together.

  "Scientific curiosity creates a need for new equipment which makes new science possible.
That creates new knowledge which in turn makes more new technology possible.
Market opportunities are opened up too"

"Prosperity and the power it brings are shifting to new corners of the globe, to countries like China, India and Brazil.
So as the Prime Minister has said, countries like ours are in a global race.
That we face a choice: Sink or swim, Do or decline".
      - and our science and engineering is the only absolute advantage we have

"It is not government who creates the scientific innovation, or translates into growth.
But we can back those who do."
     - That can only be done by prizes. Rewarding the winners not picking them 

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Cost Of Public Projects - Scotsman Letter

  This short letter in today, unedited. Continuing the questioning about the Aberdeen bypass and the general apparent inability to do infrastructure without out about 7 times more than the engineering cost going missing. As with defending the warming scam the silence from our legislators is deafening:

John Eoin Douglas (Letters,
 9 November) suggests that we “twin” with Amsterdam because it also has problems with its tram system. It might be even better to liaise with countries that have built a tram system successfully. When Melbourne can build 3km of tramline for £13.5 million, we may have something to learn.

Further, China can build a mile of road for £840,000, despite alleged corruption there, but Scotland’s Aberdeen bypass is £23.3 million a mile. Perhaps Alex Salmond could “twin” with its government to our benefit.

Neil Craig

Friday, November 09, 2012

Recent Reading

UK needs 330 billion pounds energy investments by 2030

If we stick to the official doctrine of windmillery.

Isn't it only recently that we were being told it would be £200 bn.

But for 1/10th of the price we could build 40 new nuclear plants and replace virtually all our current generators.
Blaming Hurricane Sandy on the greedy and industrious is just as mad as blaming it on gays (or witches)

--------------- Bananas will replace potatoes as a staple food - gone in 24 hours global warming nonsense story of the week. No evidence, no research, but if you mention "climate change"the media will give some parasitic "academic" his 15 minutes of fame. -------------------------------   Peter Lilley, sceptical and very smart MP (so not in the government then) complaint about how the BBC ambushed him in what they laughlingly call "debate". They told him it would be about the economics of fighting CAGW and made him agree that he would not in any circumstances criticise the "science\" that warming is happening - then deliberately turned it into a piece about alleged "new research" which they knew wasn't new & was evidence free, saying the "science" was more alarming than previously pretended. -----------------------------   Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, came forward to “take responsibility overall” for the attacks  at Benghazi, but per Ed Klein we now know behind the scenes Bill Clinton advised his wife  to resign over the possible criminal fallout of the Benghazi massacre.  Today we learn from sources  that not only did Hillary ask for added security, and was denied, but her closest advisers strongly suggested she seek legal counsel just days after the attack.     Move along - the media says nothing to see here. ------------------------------------   Germany is dumping electricity on its unwilling neighbors and by wintertime the feud should come to a head. The power grids in Eastern Europe are stretched to their limits and face potential blackouts when output surges from German wind turbines.

The Unbalance Sheet - An essay by John Brignall on how politics works

Rather long but worth it. An excerpt
 "a three-cornered conspiracy of selective silence between three parties – the zealots, the media and the political class. Consider the case of the hug-a-husky stunt. A politician seeking to raise his public profile arranges a highly choreographed sledge trek, accompanied by reporters and photographers, to view a retreating glacier. Any unbiased journalist worth his salt would have checked whether this phenomenon was the norm. Perhaps some did, but there was no mention in the media that he could have visited several other glaciers in the same country that are advancing, as are many throughout the world. The media, however, had their scare story, the politician got his splash and the climate scaremongers got their propaganda coup."

James Woudhuysen

The idiocy of the New Catastrophists

The disparity between commentators’ warnings of doom and their proposed social solutions is hilarious.
You might not know it, but we have just 50 months to pull the Earth back from an irreversible tipping-point that will likely lead to ‘climate disaster’.

One of the best writers on Spiked

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Thursday, November 08, 2012

Sir James Savile OBE, Hypocrisy, the BBC & what we want to see

   This is my latest ThinkScotland article. Please put any comments there.

  "The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones" to quote Lord Tebbit in one of the few things said on the subject that that doesn't have a whiff of witchburner's hysteria.

   The media much prefer a simple story of goodies and baddies to the sort of complexities of real life. Also not everything published is true. When the press ganged up on David Mellor with a story about him having an affair while wearing a Chelsea strip it was later said "the true bits weren't interesting and the interesting bits weren't true.

   That this famous 1970s disc jockey had sex with an inordinate number of consenting girls below the age of consent and that he made little attempt to conceal it seems beyond dispute. That he also did an immense amount of genuine work for charity. not just raising £40 million pounds but also doing very useful work that the authorities simply weren't able to, is also beyond dispute. How much his motivation for the latter was getting access to young women, pure altruism, or the desire of an ageing star to remain in the limelight is inprovable. With the exception of George Washington, who could not tell a lie, how many have motivations beyond question?

     Clearly anybody interested in knowing at the BBC would have known. And as with most scandals that come out (and presumably more that don't). Fleet Street is full of people saying they knew all along.

     The notorious British laws of libel matter here and the legal maxim is that the dead can't sue. So Savile became fair game as soon as he died. Once the media hunted for their own scoops. Now they run in packs after carrion.

     If you google "high profile soap star" + BBC + Savile you will see no name. But it can hardly be coincidence that so many different parts of the media have used that exact phrase. Clearly they all know who they are talking about, but they are waiting till he is dead.

     Compare this with the North Wales child care scandal, between 1974 & 1990. With massive abuse in dozens of homes, in which a whole range of "the great and good" were named, a report in 1990 seemed to tie up the 30% of the case they were asked to investigate. That one is now unravelling.

    Then we have the \Kincora Boys Home in Northern Ireland where it is alleged by Private Eye, high-ranking members of the Whitehall Civil Service and senior officers of the UK military were involved in the sexual abuse of boys. But not mentioned by the BBC or rest of the British press.

   Or the more recent Rochdale case where the "professional carers" & apparently the police, decided the girls had made a "lifestyle choice".

   But bigger than any individual is the fact that, as David Cameron told parliament "While those in the care system account for just one per cent of children, a quarter of those in prison were in care as children."

    Similar figures apply to the numbers of illiterates, drug addicts, alcoholics and just about every measure of human failure.  All beneficiaries of our "professional carers". We wouldn't treat dogs as our "care " system treats nearly 100,000 children (and rising fast).

    Yet, as Christopher Booker and he alone in the British media, has been trying to report for years, at least 10s of thousands of decent children, with loving parents have been seized by "social workers". Children damned to the abuse and hell of "care"; not allowed to testify in the courts which damn them; hidden from public view by the decision of these same "courts" that the press must censor any reporting; None of this habeus corpus stuff for kids. This has become so outrageous that the governments of India and Slovenia are taking legal action against our own to defend the human rights of kids here.

   After all the purpose of social work is to pay government employees not the nominal one of helping kids.

   But if this is how our government treats children in Britain how about overseas.

  Kathryn Bolkovac, working for the British controlled High Commission in Bosnia was fired because she had raised objections to western officials of that entity buying girls, as young as 11, from our freedom and democracy loving Moslem hirelings there, to keep as sex slaves. In a British court she charged her employers with unfair dismissal and won, but fortunately for her employers, this was not considered newsworthy by our broadcasters and following their lead, almost all of our press.

   And then a few years later we occupied Kosovo where, in flagrant breach of the occupation agreement we appointed the KLA as police. Among numerous atrocities our "police" were assisted in was, according to Major Plummer, of the Royal Greenjackets, that what must amount over time to thousands of children, mostly but not all, girls were kidnapped and sold to brothels both in Kosovo and across the western countries.

  It would be little short of treason to hide this from seniors so we must assume that this and worse was done with the full knowledge and support of everybody in the line of command up to and including Mr Blair. The BBC and other reporters can hardly have been ignorant either but whether it was their duty to report it or otherwise must depend on one's view of what journalistic ethics consists of.

  A few weeks ago the BBC broadcast Question Time just after the Savile story broke. One guest, Janet Street Porter said she had known about Savile for decades but, being the delicate helpless flower she is, she had been afraid to speak out. In that spirit she then said she knew of a number of serving Beeboids who were similarly guilty but still alive and being a delicate and helpless flower she wasn't going to name them.

   The other non-party guest Benjamin Zephaniah said that when he had been young and in "care" but fortunately not young enough, the "carers" had abused mercilessly and gave as an example a boy he had tried to protect but who had been so scared of the social worker's anger that he had begged to go to him when he called.

   The other guests then all spent their time agreeing with Janet how dreadful Savile had been.

Coincidentally the same day this was published a committee of our lying parasitic MPs called for more children to be seized by our child abusing "caring professions".

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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

If America Were A Company That Couldn't Choose Competent Management A Demerger Would Be The Only Choice

   At the end of the Obama reign, with China growing at 10% and the USA either barely or not at all, the US economy will be half, or less, as big compared to China’s as it was at the start. China is now bound tio become the world’s leading economy.
. Everything else, even the fact that Obama’s victory depended on blacks voting, with a soviet style almost 100% for him and hispanics by 73%, despite his abysmal record, it seems unlikely the Republicans can ever win, pales into insignificance.

  This is current GDP for both:

1 United States $15,075,675 million

2 China 11,299,987 million

Thus the US is still 33% richer. However with 4 years of 10% growth China will be, excluding inflation in both countries, $16,544,309 million.

On Sunday I suggested that if Obama won it would mean that it is now impossible to elect a free and progressive government for the USA:

"If Obama gets back in I think the only hope for salvaging something will be that those states that want progress and growth quit the Union. History teaches that the most innovative and progressive societies are those where states are smaller than the cultural unit and so creative individuals are free to move and create beyond the reach of authoritarian small regimes.
Ancient Greece, Renaissance Italy and Europe of the ages of empires are examples. One example would be that when Christopher Columbus couldn't get support from the king of Portugal he was free to try the kings of England, France and Spain until he hit - while at much the same time, following the voyages of Cheng Ho, the Chinese emperor could simply order that ocean going travel would stop and it did.
Would SpaceX do better in a free market Florida or Texas than in a United States of America. Almost certainly. Perhaps absolutely certainly if Obama was running the USA. I would not guarantee it would do better in both, but it wouldn't have to. The original Federal US government was an attempt to fuse the individual freedom of small states with the ability to preserve internal peace of an empire. We are about to see if that vision is unsalvagable."

   I think that is clearly true. One factor affecting it is that both California and Pennsylvania (both Obama states) are going to go bankrupt before the \USA does. It seems unlikely that obama would be able to resist pressure to bail them out or that most of the other states would do so.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Publication Bias In A Society Which Says What Should Be Published

  This via Steve Sailer is, in my opinion, an important finding. It is about sociological studies purporting to find that people who are told they will do badly tend to do badly. Saying that this is so is the common explanation for the poor & particular immigrant groups doing worse than average & is used to justify many billions of £s of programmes by which social workers guarantee that they can reverse the trend. So far without much success, except in terms of social workers careers.

  However that is not the important point.:

RF: Your paper with Roland Fryer and Steven Levitt came to a somewhat ambiguous conclusion about whether stereotype threat exists. But do you have a hunch regarding the answer to that question based on the results of your experiment?

List: I believe in priming. Psychologists have shown us the power of priming, and stereotype threat is an interesting type of priming. Claude Steele, a psychologist at Stanford, popularized the term stereotype threat. He had people taking a math exam, for example, jot down whether they were male or female on top of their exams, and he found that when you wrote down that you were female, you performed less well than if you did not write down that you were female. They call this the stereotype threat. My first instinct was that effect probably does happen, but you could use incentives to make it go away. And what I mean by that is, if the test is important enough or if you overlaid monetary incentives on that test, then the stereotype threat would largely disappear, or become economically irrelevant.

So we designed the experiment to test that, and we found that we could not even induce stereotype threat. We did everything we could to try to get it. We announced to them, “Women do not perform as well as men on this test and we want you now to put your gender on the top of the test.” And other social scientists would say, that’s crazy — if you do that, you will get stereotype threat every time. But we still didn’t get it. What that led me to believe is that, while I think that priming works, I think that stereotype threat has a lot of important boundaries that severely limit its generalizability. I think what has happened is, a few people found this result early on and now there’s publication bias. But when you talk behind the scenes to people in the profession, they have a hard time finding it. So what do they do in that case? A lot of people just shelve that experiment; they say it must be wrong because there are 10 papers in the literature that find it. Well, if there have been 200 studies that try to find it, 10 should find it, right?

      I think this is almost certainly the case throughout the ologies (the non-rigorous sciences where politicians make it clear what results are desired).

     It does happen even in the hard sciences. Here is Richard's Fetnman's description of how this bias slowed the determination of a cricial number in Millikan's experiment because millikan had got it wrong first. However in physics it does seem that these errors get corrected in time.

     Not so in the politcal "sciences". There something called the megastudy is comon. This is a simple technique whereby "researchers" to lazy to research simply add up all the published research and average it out.

   By definition if there is any publication bias at all then the result is bound to reflect that bias. Studies showing no result or the opposite result aren't published or simply aren't included.

   If there is political pressure to show an effect where in fact there is none wjay we would expect is a significant number of results showing no effect (because that is what they are seeing), none or almost none showing a negative because they don't get published, and a few showing a positive result because statistically a positive result through random chance is as likely as a negative one.  essentially we shoild see the right hand of a normal curve. If actual fraud is also involved we would see the number of results at the far end of the curve, which should be very small, greater than expected.

  Which reminds me of the passive smoking "research". This is from the speech I made to the LibDems when I was the only person to speak at confernce against the smoking ban.

   A BMJ statistical analysis found only slight statistical significance when 48 studies were combined. Looked at separately only seven showed significant excesses of lung cancer meaning 41 did not.Further the combined risk was merely 24 percent, also called a "relative risk" of 1.24. Such tiny relative risks are considered meaningless, given the myriad pitfalls in epidemiological studies. "As a general rule of thumb" says the editor of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine Marcia Angell, "we are looking for a relative risk of 3 or more" before even accepting a paper for publication

   I didn't realise it at the time but if only 7 "studies" show any effect and 41 don't then we are seeing the right hand of a normal curve.

     Actually if those 7 were significant enough to bring the average risk up to that level they must have been well beyond what would appear in a normal curve and most, if not all, have been false.

   The degree of political pressure to come up with such results can be shown in this response from the BMA in which they try to claim at the same time that both their own claim that passive smoking kills 1,000 across Britain annually and Jack McConnell's claim that it kills 1,000 among the 8% of Brits who libve in Scotland. The 2 are clearly incompatible not only to anybody with any scientific or medical knowledge but even to anybody capable of simple artithmetic. Whatever one may think of our doctors it is undeniable, from their response, that their professional organisation is either wholly unsceintific and innumerate or wholly and completely corrupt and dishonest, or both.

     In turn this means that ANY result which is close to the edge of stratistical observation but has political support must be assrmed purely speculative until rgw=ere is a large number of completely independent double blind studies proving it. This is the method used in research of medicines and nothing else can, by definition, be believeable.

     No wonder Lysenko came up with reults to "prove" his claims. The same would have happened had eugenics remained socially acceptable or telekinesis or that contact with Green party members causes cancer.

    Not saying the last is true but I will say that any Green party supporter who denies it but claims the passive smoking scare is genuine is a liar.



Monday, November 05, 2012

"comforting to know that we can still be world-beaters"

  My recent letter in the Scotsman about how our public building costs are at least 8 times what they should be produced 2 good supportive letters on Thursday:

When an American tourist told Basil Fawlty that he owned the “crummiest, shoddiest, worst-run hotel in the whole of western Europe”, Major Gowen, the gin-soaked retired resident, sprang to his landlord’s defence, exclaiming: “No! No, I won’t have that! There’s a place in Eastbourne.”

At the risk of sounding like the major, I would take issue with Neil Craig (Letters, 31 October) that the 28-mile Aberdeen bypass costs are world-beaters. In fact, they are as nothing to the scale of costs of the recently completed M74 extension.

Using Transport Scotland’s 
distance of five miles (8km) for that project and Audit Scotland’s total cost for the extension of £692 million, this works out at a world record cost of £138.4m per mile!

This must have come as a shock to Dr Stephen Ladyman, who as roads minister in 2006 stated in answer to a House of Commons question: “The average cost for constructing a mile of motorway is £29.9m.”

It is comforting to know that we can still be world-beaters; the M74 extension, the new Forth bridge, the Scottish Parliament, and last, but not least, the Edinburgh trams, confirm the old adage: “Wha’s like us?”

Tom Minogue

Neil Craig is absolutely right about the excessive costs of the likes of the Aberdeen bypass and the new Forth crossing.

The Millau viaduct in France, the highest, longest, cable-stayed bridge anywhere, co-designed by Norman Foster and built by the French in only three years from 2001 to 2004, cost only €394 million. Just watch the video on YouTube.

We spend a substantial fraction of that simply in legal costs to get things started.

Where are you, Alex?

Peter Kent

   Tom Minogue previously wrote a guest post here, proving that not only is the new bridge grossly overpriced but that the old one can be maintained and have a 5th lane, tidal with the to/from work traffic, for a tens of millions at most.

   I like Fawlty Towers & can imagine both Holyrood and Westminster claiming the other as the equivalent of Eastborne.

  I have also had this response from a friend:

You make a good point. In my view, it costs more because they sign the wrong type of contract, where the over-runs and errors are for the clients account, as opposed to the contractors account.

Then there are too many hands on the tiller while the job is being done. Each hand not really knowing what the other hand is doing. Two classics are of course the Parliament and the Trams.

A lot of the money goes in dispute and litigation that we don’t even hear about as well. Not for nothing are some Edinburgh law firm partners enjoying £500k salaries. They have a ramp going, where they move the poor dumb client around their closed shop associated firms for “specialist” advice.
Sliceability as it is known in the legal and accounting professions..

Politicians and Civil Servants are just plain naïve. By definition they have to be, or they would have proper jobs.

Regards : Malcolm Parkin

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Sunday, November 04, 2012

Romney for President - Because Its The Economy Stupid

   Obama has presided over the worst recession since the 1930s and the most avoidable ever. I have described repeatedly how government simply getting out of the way would end recession. More importantly the rest of the world has proven it too. Growth outside the US has averaged 6%; outwith the US and EU. 7% and in China, 10%.

    Because of the effects of compound growth, after 8 years of Obama the rest of the world will have grown 60%, the non European bit by 72% & China by 2.14%.

    Romney made a remark about that in the final debate and he was completely correct. In the long term the diplomatic or "leadership" power of a nation ultimately depends on its national wealth. Making smart or stupid decisions about relations with Russia, China or our al Quaeda allies in Libya, Syria and elsewhere have short term effects but they are ultimately less important.

   Actually if it wasn't for the shale gas breakthrough, which has greatly reduced energy prices in the US, there is no serious question that the US economy would still be in sharp decline and it is undeniable that this revolution has happened against Obama's strenuous efforts. He said that his objective was to reverse the rise in sea levels - though no significant rise had actually been happening and that his policy was that electricity prices would thus "necessarily skyrocket" (as they are doing in Britain). In a second administartion, with no worry about having to be re-elected he would be able to carry out that policy.

   On the other hand Romney looks like a President tailor made for the present crisis. America's underlying problem is the massive growth in state parasitism, particularly regulatory parasitism that strangles the economy. Romney's greatest talent, the one that made him rich, is to be able to take a business that us stifled in its own bureaucracy and lack of innovation and remove the parasitic growths strangling it (though I have considerable respect for the fact that he was able to give his home state the best education systenn in the USA - something which, on its own, would justify his election in a normal era). There could hardly be a better fit for the times. Obama had never run anything before the presidency, and has, according to even his supporters, made a disappointing go of it. Romney has massive and successful experience of running many things - from companies to his home state to the Winter Olympics and left them all in a far stronger state that when he arrived.

   Personally I can't see that if the USA were not already a deeply failing society, that there could be any comparison between the 2 candidates.

   If Obama gets back in I think the only hope for salvaging something will be that those states that want progress and growth quit the Union. History teaches that the most innovative and progressive societies are those where states are smaller than the cultural unit and so creative individuals are free to move and create beyond the reach of authoritarian small regimes.

   Ancient Greece, Renaissance Italy and Europe of the ages of empires are examples. One example would be that when Christopher Columbus couldn't get support from the king of Portugal he was free to try the kings of England, France and Spain until he hit - while at much the same time, following the voyages of Cheng Ho, the Chinese emperor could simply order that ocean going travel would stop and it did.

   Would SpaceX do better in a free market Florida or Texas than in a United States of America. Almost certainly. Perhaps absolutely certainly if Obama was running the USA. I would not guarantee it would do better in both, but it wouldn't have to. The original Federal US government was an attempt to fuse the individual freedom of small states with the ability to preserve internal peace of an empire. We are about to see if that vision is unsalvagable.

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