Monday, February 11, 2008

toe hold

I read with interest in the current issue of Science that lo and behold, ethanol emits as much green house gases as petrol when all inputs are considered. I seem to remember last April blogging the same conclusion based improperly on logic and intuition. Vindication is sweeter than light crude.

For the curious, I present my frozen toe:
As you can see, the nail has turned a lovely blue shade and there is a minor fault or perhaps a subduction spread occurring at the base. Guesses as to when the entire facade lifts off can be made at this address.

Suzanne took me to the theater this weekend. We saw "The Gift of the Coat" by Sean Dixon. The story is of a philanthropist who gives a bum his expensive coat only for same bum to get killed for it by a thief. An iteration of the Law of Unexpected Consequences I suppose. It was technically superb but the lead was a little too affected.

This week we're off to spend the week in Banff. Its sort of a try it on for size experiment to see how it feels as we're contemplating a move out there. Mountain biking, climbing and skiing literally out the back door is the drawing card and amazingly, its slightly cheaper than Calgary and Canmore.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Price is Right

When I read the Saturday Globe and Mail I pretty much take exception to nearly everything which is why bothering to write about any of it is like the eye trying to resolve a star in a distant galaxy. As a very typical example though was an article discussing the merits of a government financial incentive to automakers to help them make more fuel efficient cars. The author was a complete idiot since there really is no difficulty at all making a fuel efficient car. The trouble is making the public drive a fuel efficient car. For heavens sake put a small engine in a small car and presto! A car that gets 90 MPG right now. Of course it wont rev loud and go faster than the speed limit but it will be efficient which everyone claims to want. Which leads me to the following conclusion verified on a daily basis: freedom can not co-exist with environmental stewardship. This program is a grant that allows car buyers to have their cake and eat it too. Any news article that fails to show this incentive program as anything other than a pandering to a greedy consumer via the automakers isn't worth the paper its printed on.

On a softer note though, my cynicism of America was lessened of late after watching the two Super Tuesday debates this week. The Republican debate was indistinguishable from parody. Mitt Romney, a guy who believes in con artist John Smith's wacky tale of "golden tablets" and talking white salamanders otherwise known as the Mormon faith, and John McCain argued over who supports the war more! And while Rome burned, Nero played the violin.
The following day Billary Clintama spoke most eloquently after clearly agreeing beforehand to have a public love in for the sake of the cameras. Really though, I would vote for either of those two for anything. They didn't talk down, they outlined their positions without sketching their opponents with misleading hyperbole. In short, they behaved like adults rather than children. I can't say I've seen that ever on any political stage. It was kind of a dream come true in fact, for a second, it almost seemed like they were behaving as though the electorate was educated and rational which is of course a long standing fantasy of mine. When I look to America jealously at their politicians, you know I've been in Alberta too long!

While standing on a snowy mountain top this week drinking in the view, I couldn't help think of the markets which roller coastered rather heavily this week. It occurred to me that since stock prices change constantly and some times drastically, the price is always wrong. Some would say that the price is always perfectly accurate since the price is always what someone wants to pay. Which is true but that price, since it always changes, was clearly the wrong price. Which makes the markets inherently irrational contrary to common thought. I say this because real value doesn't change that fast. which leads me to the price of Oil.
The amount of oil in the ground is more or less estimated yet the price wildly fluctuates. Is this real supply and demand? The supply isn't really going anywhere OPEC quotas notwithstanding. No, instead the price is based entirely on Fear. America saber rattles Iran and the price jumps not because there is suddenly less oil in the ground but because of Fear of supply problems. Since the major oil consumers have been using more and more oil every year, fear of supply is clearly just a myth. Like Romulus and Remus, supply and demand are bedtime stories.