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A.steve

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Everything posted by A.steve

  1. Not by me. Google offers valuable services, but I consider Facebook mostly negative. I was not suggesting that Facebook and Google's energy use is justified by the benefit of their services to society. I did claim that Facebook and Google design their systems with the intention to minimise computation (energy use) relative to those companies' objectives. In contrast, Cryptocurrency mining is designed to maximise computation (energy use) as the cost of this underpins the value of the currency.
  2. OK - I'll try being more explicit. Apparently, the "UK will face worse inflation than other major economies, says Bank governor". This begs the question: What does the Bank governor think is "worse inflation"? Since 1992, led by the Bank of England, every substantial central bank, worldwide, has targeted an inflation metric. At the outset, this was RPIX - which was acknowledged to be a blunt tool... RPIX was rapidly selected - acknowledged fit only for the short term. Targeting RPIX was more sensible than the policies targeting the ECU - but that was a very low bar. In the early noughties, the inflation metric was revised... from RPIX (a somewhat arbitrary choice) to CPI (also known as HCIP). This wasn't an arbitrary choice... it was a choice that is well documented (including by the people who defined it) as unsuitable for 'domestic monetary policy'. Perhaps there is a debate about whether the inflation outcome of the past few decades arose from central bank policies, or independently of them - or despite them. What is clear, however, is that the inflation, as measured by the targeted metrics, (which had been very high in the 1970s and quite high in the 1980s) fell dramatically from the early 1990s onwards. Of course, neither the inflation metrics (RPIX nor CPI) were adequate measures of inflation. For example: both dramatically under-represented the cost of accommodation (houses) which were (in the most part) deemed assets - relevant to investment - economic transactions that should fall outside the metric's remit. Roll on a few more years. There has been a major global debt crisis. Excess debt has threatened systemic solvency of the entire western financial system. Throughout Europe, national debt to GDP ratios are increasing substantially - in excess of limits previously identified by diplomatic efforts. Corporates are turning out to be too-big-to-fail... and this threatens the entire basis of economic competition to guide western economies. Interest rates (bond yields) near zero prevents the usual financial constraints from their role as the 'invisible hand of god' to guide vibrant economies independent of central planning. If the monetary system has been broken (there is little doubt it has) then one has to ask what the central bank would want to do to rectify the situation. Might they want to try imposing 'shocks' (comparable with those promoted by the "Chicago boys" in South America?) Might they want to abandon pursuing a symmetric 2% CPI target at a 6-month horizon? If so, is the plan for more, or less, inflation (as measured by CPI, or RPI, or monetary expansion, or some other metric)? I'm anticipating the nay-sayers insisting that 'the elite want the status quo' - but that does not make sense. The elite will be able to benefit from any policy - assuming they know what the policy is before the rest of us.
  3. That certainly seems to be the case if you believe the mainstream media narrative. Playing devil's advocate, for a moment, how can we be sure that what appears to be the balance of public opinion is actually the balance of public opinion? It is not without precedent that the public mood has been misjudged - and, when that happened in the past, many commentators were confident because they were not aware of anyone contemplating any competing narrative. While I can see no way that Russia can justify its behaviour... I also think a lot of funny-business has been going on in Ukraine. I suspect it has been the business of elite (non-Russian) interests in the West. As I'm not party to the details, I don't know how I feel about them.
  4. I think the point is that Google and Facebook objectives are orthogonal to using a lot of energy... They try to achieve their objectives as efficiently as possible. Inefficiency, however, is the main point of bitcoin mining... a key design feature... which is why it is more entertaining to highlight cryptocurrency energy use to enviromentalists than the resources used by Google, Facebook et al.
  5. I understand that propaganda, of the form you describe, was common under (at least some) communist regimes. Are those techniques exclusively communist? It seems, to me, that they could be effective if adopted by any ruthless, dishonest, autocracy. The same principles work at every level of abstraction - from abusive governments to playground bullies... the more ridiculous the narrative... the greater the power accrued by imposing it. If one's arguments strive to be rational and verifiable, one's opponents are empowered to challenge them. If the arguments are obviously preposterous, yet were not successfully challenged, the protagonists promoting the ideas are untouchable.
  6. I've always considered "honourable' be annunciated with a healthy dose of sarcasm - and for 'member' to take definition #5 rather than 1-4. It's the age-old problem that power corrupts.
  7. My point is not that everyone who goes to a club wants to be groped - but, it seems to me, likely that some do. I don't think 'innocent' is a plausible explanation - given the resignation. My problem with your explanation is that being "a bit of an idiot" prevents one from holding a significant position in government... then it seems unlikely that any government could be formed from any of the candidates. This makes me wonder if the admission is actually a euphemism for something more.
  8. I'm not sure... Perhaps it isn't only right-wing politicians and sexual deviancy? I think sexual deviancy is common among politicians for a variety of reasons. I imagine that power corrupts - and that sexual deviancy is one outlet. All that said... I am surprised by these recent stories... not because I thought better of the MPs... rather, the opposite. The admissions are preposterous - not just embarrassing... but also absurd. It almost feels as if someone has stronger blackmail material - and the admissions made are the minimum required by the blackmailer. For example, here... with this story... what exactly is the transgression? People go to "private clubs" for all sorts of reasons - and I'm sure many have sexual motives for attending... and I'm sure drinking too much isn't too wildly 'out-there' - nor would alcohol causing impaired judgement. The MP doesn't admit to having assaulted the two men - so, one assumes, they must either have been willing participants... or, at least, be willing to tolerate his conduct. The whole thing smacks of being inadequately explained. I suspect the resignation was really about something else.
  9. What if people who want to control more than one home are, instead, required to own a shell company - perhaps in an offshore jurisdiction - and for the shell company to own the real-estate? Arranged this way, the pesky stamp duty could also be avoided just by buying/selling the company. What could possibly go wrong?
  10. I wonder... what is considered the worse inflation - inflation that is too low, or inflation that is too high? Or... is the worst inflation the inflation arising from inappropriate inflation metrics being used, globally, for monetary policy, for decades? 🙂
  11. I wonder... what is considered the worse inflation - inflation that is too low, or inflation that is too high? Or... is the worst inflation the inflation arising from inappropriate inflation metrics being used, globally, for monetary policy, for decades?
  12. I am saying that those who seek to use politics to promote their own interests use "green" as a vehicle for their own objectives. There are many reasons, other than those from the "green" and "climate change" lobbies, to want to minimise waste; maximise efficiency and minimize genuine pollution (i.e. toxic emissions - c.f. carbon dioxide.) These valuable contributions to society are ignored by green lobbyists because it is difficult to enrich oneself, while providing no value whatsoever, by promoting them. Engineering solutions that are better, in every way, and letting people choose whatever they think is best for them. I suggest not trying to impose arbitrary authoritarian restrictions that only serve to enrich a minority and disadvantage everyone else.
  13. 🙂 More accurately, using a narrative of renewable energy as a strategy to achieve political ends is an agenda. I am not a fan of the political ends. I do like the idea of distributed energy production; I love the idea of a robust energy supply infrastructure; I'm a huge fan of anything that challenges centralisation. I am not a fan of financial intervention... to pick particular winners in the green-game... and I feel that autocratic interventions will almost certainly be, at the very best, a double-edged sword. I expect that such interventions will enrich some cronies of insiders who should have fiduciary accountability to the public... but, in practice, will not be held accountable. I expect that official stimulus will encourage sham schemes while discouraging any objectively worthwhile innovation. I expect it will entrench inadequate technologies and set back genuine technical advances.
  14. I don't see why it wouldn't work. It's obvious that board positions are not awarded in a meritocracy.
  15. Why do you want to flood the market with free money for anyone who can spin a story aligned with a particular political agenda? That sounds like an awful idea to me. We can be certain that, if there's free money available, it will arbitrarily inflate asset prices... and, by so doing, reduce opportunities and stagnate the economy. As for preferring KWH to AU, that's awfully technocratic. Elon Musk's grandad might have approved... but I don't. Founding the monetary system on energy is arbitrary... and would have vast numbers of negative consequences that would eventually come to be described as perverse and unexpected.
  16. I wonder if the employees will experience a transitory period of dismissal? If slimming down the workforce could make it more efficient? Perhaps it will all be outsourced to a competent supplier? I wonder who would bid for the work? 🙂
  17. Going up, or down, 15% over a year is neither a flash crash nor its opposite. I'm also going to mention that I was talking about the price of the assets themselves, and not an index designed to give the illusion of there being a liquid market. All the emotive talk of rapid market changes is very silly. General real estate prices can only be said to have moved when a lot of transactions have happened at prices different to those expected. No matter how you spin it, these transactions will take time. A crash can't happen overnight. In a heartbeat, people can lose their source of income (e.g. job or speculative investment portfolio); any liquid market can crash in a similar period. When the asset is unique (fine art; land; real-estate; collectables - etc.) then there can't be a flash crash because no-one expected a liquid market. If there are no buyers today - that's not unexpected... and waiting (with delusions) will be commonplace. What you won't get is a rapid across-the-board adjustment... just a steady drip of common sense to gradually cool some of the more rabid bullish expectations. Why would it be newsworthy if "VI bulls" ignored narratives of falling prices? I believe prices are falling. I do not believe that this is a 'flash crash' - I do not expect the prices to rapidly recover. I think we're looking at a decade or two with falling real prices. I'd expect the earlier years to demonstrate (ex post) falling nominal prices - and later years to demonstrate stagnant or slowly rising nominal prices.... but only if wages rise substantially across the board.
  18. Accurate. Real estate is an illiquid asset - there is no liquid market in which a 'flash crash' could emerge. Any price changes in this market are recognised far, far more slowly.
  19. I agree with much of your post... it's obvious that the public pays the cost (who else could pay any genuine cost) but you're right that the real question is about costs and benefits... which demographics pay which costs - and which demographics benefit. I am not convinced that Politicians are the key beneficiaries - as, if that were the case, I'm sure there would be a lot more tariffs than we have today. I can't provide a strong argument against that claim... However... I don't necessarily see it as valuable to protect the incumbent owners of the industry from commercial failure. I think there is something to be said for creating an environment in which new businesses could emerge... under new management.
  20. More relevantly, those in the animal kingdom are not judged by human society on the basis of ethical assessments of the choices they make.
  21. 🙂 Whatever the approach... it's going to be a messy situation. I'm not sure if the alternative you've identified is feasible - or not... but I note that it is closer to the narrative I perceive as having been told to the masses. Banking is dangerous... that's how it came to be regulated. Nation states and banking have intimately entwined fates... and systemic effects of policies have dramatic impact on everyday people - whether they realize it or not. While I may be in the minority of one, I am offended by inconsistency in justification narratives. I think it a travesty when things that are bandied around as principles or irrefutable rules one minute - are ignored the next. I'm less concerned with whether we have high or low inflation; high-or-low interest rates - etc. I am concerned that those in positions of power and influence are able to misrepresent reasonable expectations of future prospects. It is egregious when, in a competition between two demographics, rules are changed the moment the demographic who were dominant are faced with the reality of having recklessly taken risks that the other demographic took seriously.
  22. Splitting hairs - maybe... or seeking accuracy to get a sensible perspective. The word 'man' conveys a lot of baggage... it is not enough just to be male - unless you're using the word in the sense of 'mankind' - where a women and children are also men. The key adjective in the primary definition is 'adult' - which forces one to ask if it is reasonable to insinuate that someone who fails to take responsibility for their choices can, in fact, qualify. As an adjective, adult suggests "having attained full size and strength; grown up; mature: an adult person, animal, or plant; of, relating to, or befitting adults". Someone who recklessly procreates (male or female) and fails to take responsibility for same fails to meet that definition - in my opinion.
  23. That's very liberal of you to allow them to chose their own nouns... A dangerous game - there's no telling what some whimsical promoters of chaos might choose. It is technically possible for someone to become a father after they have died. I think, linguistically speaking, a corpse is distinct from a man. As for the physical act of fertilising, you are aware, I'm sure, it's technically possible for that act to be performed by a woman... ergo, you don't necessarily need a man in order to fertilise a woman's egg. A boy may also be biologically capable... but that doesn't necessarily make him a man. Where we use words, they convey rich meanings... I think the quirks arising from diverse perspectives when interpreting words often generates insight. 🙂
  24. I am under the impression that the narrative that has been used to politically justify the banking system has been that the central bank is a state utility - but the privately held commercial banks are responsible for managing commercial risks. I have never been under the impression that this argument was ever water-tight. We agree that there are significant ethical and philosophical problems with the conceptual models we use to justify the banking industry.
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