Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Offloading: Telcos, Energy, Politics, US and Physics

I waver sometimes about the objectives for this blog. In particular, I am torn between recording events/issues that strike me at the time, versus attempting some useful, coherent comment on same (ie, adding value to the information). A lot of it comes down to time constraints. I could make an entry every day if I allowed myself to be brief. A lot of interesting points go down the gurgler because of those time constraints.

So today I’m going to offload a few brief points. Noteworthy recent items:

Issues on privatising telecommunications:
1) Telstra (Australia’s erstwhile government Telco) seems to find it cheaper to drag out litigation of unwinnable cases than to share infrastructure appropriately
2) Thailand is claiming a Singapore-owned Telco is being used for spying. (an idea not beyond the pale)

Alternative energy:
1) On wind power, I’ve never heard discussion of the environmental effects of wind turbines slowing down the wind. One solitary article/paper found on the web, by David Keith of the University of Calgary.
2) I read that roof-installed solar power is 8-14% efficient. Max efficiency is in desert: 50%. Still a way to go (didn’t save source, maybe Wikipedia).
3) See Eu energy policy - very forward thinking

Heard both opposition leader Kevin Rudd and PM John Howard talking on ABC tv. The difference could not be more stark. Rudd is intelligent, articulate, and to the point; Howard is evasive and politicking. For the first time, a major politician is clearly exposing Howard’s weaselness (something like “I may have been guilty of some circumspection on climate change”). Expect signs of sinking, desperation as the election approaches late this year.

An interesting piece on BBC radio overnight. Americans were interviewed on results of a survey showing an appallingly low regard for the US internationally. Interviewees were young, articulate (university setting?) and keenly aware of problems with US foreign policy. The tide may be turning.

Some interesting parallels drawn in the New Scientist between symmetry groups and dimensions – might there be 26 dimensions? Memo to self: brush up on string theory!

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