@johanknorberg in “Power to the People”, a must see documentary on energy

Yesterday I came across a very good link to the “Free To Choose TV” website, which I had never heard before. And what a great positive surprise this was!

This website hosts many different documentaries on topics I like such as economics and economic inequality, energy, freedom and history.

The documentaries are all free to watch, and in fact the website links to the YouTube videos which are free to be linked directly to, for easier consumption of the content on any device.

This evening I had some spare time, and I decided to watch the energy documentary “Power to the People” written and conducted by Johan Norberg, who currently works at The Cato Institute.

Norberg is the author of the book “Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future” which was also featured in a very interesting book presentation event at Cato.

What I did not know is that Norberg had also worked in the energy field by creating the documentary “Power to the People”, which is a must-see for anyone who is interested in understanding more about energy, not only on the technical domain, but also for the economics involved with energy harnessing, production and distribution, and the impact of energy poverty on the communities which to this day still do not have access to electricity.

The documentary has a very negative view of the infamous German “Energiewende” and its damaged imposed to the society, including the loss of private and historic property due to increasing need to rely on lignite coal in Germany, after the inexplicable decision to shut down perfectly healthy nuclear power plants there due to a tsunami on the eastern coast of Japan.

Do yourself a favour. Watch it. You will understand energy a whole lot more than what you do today.

Is Sweden a Socialist Utopia? @DrMaxham with @CarlSvanberg

The latest episode of the Yaron Brook Show has been hosted by Amanda Maxham, a speaker which I happen to know already from her speeches on GMO and past hosting of the same show, during the frequent travels of Yaron Brook.

Amanda was also a guest of Alex Epstein’s “Power Hour” podcast when Alex Epstein slightly changes course from energy to cover GMOs, one of Amanda’s topic of research, which she covered also in this paper, also referred to in the podcast object of this post.

Today’s show topic was the myth of socialist scandinavian countries such as Sweden and Denmark, which are mistakenly used by the left as proof that socialism works, and that it brings wealth and good lifestyles in the countries where socialism is applied by the ruling coalition.

The discussion is quite interesting, and focuses on the many memes which circulate on social media, falsely portraying a mythical socialist society where things work well.

Except that neither Sweden nor Denmark are socialist countries.

They are very much mixed economies, with a high social cost due to fairly high taxation, which has rendered being an entrepreneur in such countries almost a nightmare.

This is confirmed in many different ways by the guest of the show, Carl Svanberg, who is a Swede, so he knows a thing or five about his country, and about the many companies which have fled or shut down since the country turned more toward socialism in the 1980s.

IKEA was mentioned a number of times during the show, but I should add something which was probably not known to Amanda not Carl.

Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA, has lived here in Switzerland from 1976 until 2014, and at age 88 he decided to return back to Sweden. And IKEA’s holding company, Inter IKEA Holding SA, is based in Luxembourg, a famous tax haven in the center of Europe.

This is yet another proof of the fact that rich people “vote with their feet” and are able to have a better life in freer countries such as Switzerland, and can move the center of their assets in other countries where the fiscal burden is lower.

The final part of the show is also very much worth listening to, as it’s focused on Amanda’s strongest topic, genetic engineering.

If you like flowers, you have to listen to it. And if you like research on plant genetics and some history, you’re in for a treat.

Sometimes it’s not too bad to be missing Yaron during his travels!

 

The two US Presidential candidates roasting each other

This US Presidential campaign has been truly remarkable, mostly in a bad way, with lots of foul play and needless rudeness from both sides.

We are finally getting closer to the vote on November the 8th (yes, remember, it’s November the 8th, not January!) and thankfully the debates are over. But we will see more drivel coming from left and right, that is for sure.

Last Monday October 17th though there was a different opportunity for a fierce conflict between the two candidates, this time not as a debate, but rather with two separate speeches at a charity dinner in New York City, where both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were present.

Trump spoke first, then Clinton spoke immediately after.

The two videos have been published on YouTube, and what is amazing to notice is that Trump’s speech has had more than 4 times the viewers of Clinton’s, were are talking more than 2 million views for Trump, and little more than 500 thousand views for Clinton as of today.

Hillary vs Donald

Donald Trump’s speech is here.

Hillary Clinton’s speech is here.

Both speeches are very much worth watching, as they have been used by the two candidates to keep beating each other up, in many different and creative ways, even sometimes with a lot of humour, yet a very serious humour.

I will leave it to my readers to decide which one of the two candidates was more convincing and compelling. I have my views, and maybe the difference in the number of views of the two speeches can also tell a tale.

One thing is for sure. We should all be very happy that this campaign will soon be over. Either way, we will have a President of the US which will be leading a very divided country, and she or he will not have an easy job at hand.

@seiercapital Lars Seier Christensen on Ayn Rand’s new revolution

Lars Seier Christensen is one of the founding members of Saxo Bank of Denmark, a very successful financial institution he created with his partners, and ran using Ayn Rand’s Seven Virtues as a guiding beacon, with great success. He left Saxo Bank at the beginning of 2016, to form his one-man investment company, Seier Capital.

On September 29th 2016, in New York, the Ayn Rand Institute held a fund-raising dinner during which Lars Seier Christensen was the keynote speaker.

The whole speech is very much worth reading, but the final part of his remarks gave me goose bumps, as they are oh so very true:

If we don’t succeed in changing the values and direction of at least the next generation, I fear the full prediction of Atlas Shrugged will become reality – and while that may hold some promise for the distant future, it is not something that I think people of my age feel like going through if we can avoid it.

We need a revolution. A revolution of rationality.

Yes, we need a whole lot more rationality. Something which seems to be very much absent in politics on a worldwide basis, as of late. Sadly so.

The full text of his speech can be found here.

And if you have not yet read “Atlas Shrugged”, I urge you to invest some time to read it. Now.

Yaron Brook speaking at The Ayn Rand Institute Revolution Dinner, New York 2016-09-29
Yaron Brook speaking at The Ayn Rand Institute Revolution Dinner, New York 2016-09-29

 

 

@yaronbrook on poverty and @PovertyINC #PovertyINC

One of the podcasts I keep listening to regularly is “The Yaron Brook Show”, with subtitle “Radical for Capitalism”, a view that I very much share with the Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute.

In the latest episode of his show, he tackles the issue of poverty, and he does so by using the documentary “Poverty, Inc.” as a common thread throughout the whole 1-hour long show, very much worth listening to.

I have already watched “Poverty, Inc.” as I had discovered it thanks to an event at the Cato Institute in early April, and I immediately ordered the DVD which I received in May.

I really liked the movie, and the harsh critiques against the business of charities and NGOs worldwide, which today are a huge industry, in a lot cases fueled by a lot of taxpayers money. It is clear that in a lot of cases the political decisions taken by the states and companies active in charity are doing more harm than good in the longer term, and the movie does an excellent job at providing hard facts to support this view.

In fact, in most cases what charities and NGOs do, after an initial benefit provided following the event which causes the intervention (earthquake, famine, civil war, flooding), is to simply damage the local economy to a point where there is no way out other than keeping the leash with those who now provide the “welfare”.

Of course no charity or NGO will work against their own interest, and so their aim is NOT to solve the poverty issue, but rather to keep it the way it is, so their existence can be further justified moving forward in time, and thus many years after the earthquake in Haiti, you still have hundreds of NGOs active there, because the local economy has been destroyed precisely by the handouts given by charities and NGOs!

Talk about a conflict of interests there…

The movie is a must-see in my opinion, as it will open your eyes on one more bad thing caused by the action of those who just want to feel less guilt and keep writing checks and donating huge amounts of money, rather than really solving the poverty issue.

Poverty which, without anyone’s intervention, has already been decreasing rapidly in many parts of the world, thanks to Capitalism, as Yaron Brook reminded us all some time ago.

And this is why we should all be strongly push in favour of Capitalism, and not against it. Because it’s thru Capitalism that we can get rid of poverty.

Here is the movie trailer:

The continuous growth of @humanprogress in the world @CatoInstitute

The Cato Institute hosted a briefing from the Human Progress project last week, and has published the video of the event online.

The event title is quite clear on what has been going on in this world: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy: The Cato Institute’s HumanProgress Project”.

There are in fact many reasons for being very upbeat and happy of the developments we are witnessing on this planet, especially in the last 50 years. This image tells it all:

The event video will open your eyes on many truths which the catastrophists do not want you to know about. Enjoy the view!

http://www.cato.org/multimedia/events/dont-worry-be-happy-cato-institutes-humanprogress-project

After the video, proceed to the HumanProgress.org website and browse the data, and create the views you prefer. I am convinced you will be surprised by how good things are in today’s world.

And the good news is, there is always room for improvement!

@RubinReport on the interview with @Nero on campus at UCLA last week

I have discovered Dave Rubin and his “Rubin Report” not long ago, when Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute was his guest on the show, and the two had a great interaction. Truly a great interview, well worth watching!

After watching the show with Yaron Brook, I watched a few more interviews, and found the episodes with Milo Yannopoulos. He was a guest twice, once in October 2015 and more recently in March 2016.

Both interviews with Milo were a big eye opener for me. It is not common to see a left-leaning liberal like Dave Rubin entertain a pleasant and fruitful discussion with a classical liberal and libertarian like Milo Yannopoulos, and do it in a fun way, disagreeing when it’s time to disagree, and agreeing when both views are in sync.

What a breath of fresh air! No wonder Dave Rubin is very much at odds with the current “regressive left”, as he likes to call it, full of political correctness, which is another way to spell bullshit, and full of one-way lies. Because, let’s face it, today’s left does a lot of things which, had they been done by someone on the right, would make them cry bloody murder.

Basically, he is upset and sick of seeing the left apply double standards on everything they do, and is trying hard to make more people understand that this is very wrong, and is only playing in Donald Trump’s favor for the upcoming US Presidential elections this coming November.

Want more proof of the many wrong things the leftists do? Then just watch and listen to what Dave Rubin said regarding the event he and Milo had at UCLA a few days ago:

This comment from Dave Rubin clearly remarks the issue the left is facing, and not only in the US:

A group of these protesters created a human wall to stop people from getting inside. Apparently they’re opposed to Trump building a wall, but not opposed to building one themselves.

This is precisely why I will never be able to subscribe to the ideas of this kind of left. They are always in favor of double standards, what is valid for the others is never valid for them.

And when a left-leaning liberal like Dave Rubin highlights these things so clearly, maybe there is hope that something will finally change in this world.

@EIAgov Primary US Energy Source-To-Sector Chart 2015

EIA, the US Energy Information Administration, has just released a very interesting chart which demonstrates the flows between the primary energy sources and the sector which uses that specific source of energy.

This chart shows really well how petroleum products are fundamental for the transportation sector, how gas is playing a very major role in both industrial and residential and commercial uses, and how nuclear is 100% used to produce electricity in the US; there are some cases where heath from nuclear fission is used for industrial and residential environments here in Switzerland (Beznau and Gösgen NPP).

US_primary_energy_consumption_2015

The EIA newsletters are always a very nice source for information, though they are mostly focused on the USA. Still, they represent trends of the country with probably the most advanced technology in the energy space, so we can always learn a lot from this information.

Here is the full text of today’s “Monthly Energy Review” newsletter:

PRIMARY ENERGY SOURCE-TO-SECTOR CHART — May 31, 2016

U.S. Energy Information Administration releases 2015 U.S. primary energy consumption chart 

EIA’s newly updated source-to-sector chart shows the disposition of the 98 quadrillion Btu of energy consumed in the United States in 2015. The chart illustrates how much petroleum, natural gas, coal, renewable energy, and nuclear electric power is distributed to the electric power sector and the end-use sectors.

The chart shows that in 2015:

  • The electric power sector was the only consumer of nuclear electric power and the largest consumer of coal (91% of total coal consumption), renewable energy (53% of total renewable energy consumption), and natural gas (35% of total natural gas consumption.).
  • Seventy-two percent of all petroleum consumption was used by the transportation sector, where it supplied almost all (92%) of the sector’s energy needs.
  • Natural gas supplied 76% of the primary energy used by the residential and commercial sectors and 44% of the primary energy used by the industrial sector.

The primary energy source-to-sector chart is based on energy statistics from the Monthly Energy Review, which provides monthly and annual data on total energy production, consumption, and trade; energy prices; overviews of petroleum, natural gas, coal, electricity, nuclear energy, renewable energy, and international petroleum; carbon dioxide emissions; and data unit conversions.

Carl Gustaf Lundin of @IUCN_Marine on nuclear ships and @PandorasPromise

Last week I had the pleasure of listening to a presentation by Carl Gustaf Lundin, Director of the Global Marine and Polar Programme at the IUCN, hosted by the Commune in the Rolle Castle.

I was particularly curious about the topic as the title of the presentation could have been quite controversial, especially on climate-related issues, the title being:

From plastic pollution to climate change: major threats to the oceans and how to fix them

What I found was a different kind of an environmentalist, someone who is deeply knowledgeable in his direct field, but also does not live in a vacuum and knows really well that the role played by fossil fuels and nuclear in our society is quite important, and must not be played down nor “forgotten” like many other pseudo-environmentalists do.

Also, the climate-related points he raised seemed to be quite subdued, as he definitely is not a catastrophist, and seem to take a very reasonable approach to “climate change” as opposed to what many other pseudo-environmentalists do.

Two points raised by Mr. Lundin in his presentation were especially relevant for me:

  1. he mentioned the oil&gas industry as a very minor source of pollution for the oceans and polar regions. The pollution generated is very small and very local, and can be dealt with fairly easily with the technology we have today. Even in the unfortunate cases of accidents like the major oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon accident,  a tragic event which costed the lives of 11 people and created major environmental damage, the effects were very local and will not last too long.
  2. commercial ships carry 95% of the goods worldwide, they truly are the workhorse of the commerce industry. Such ships are very pollutant, since they run on fuel oil for the most part, but it is inevitable and impossible for our society to prosper the way we are doing without them.

It was obvious to me that Mr. Lundin has both his feet firmly on the ground of coherence and realization that, while some damage to the environment can and does happen due to what men does on this planet, we have to recognize that we cannot do without such wonders like commerce and the cheap and reliable energy coming from burning fossil fuels.

His position triggered some interest in me, and during the question and answer after his speech, I took the microphone and asked his point of view on the possibility to use a much cleaner form of energy to propel ships across the globe, nuclear power, like the civilian Russian icebreakers are doing already.

Much to my surprise, Mr. Lundin answer in a very open and mildly pro-nuclear way, knowing full well both the benefits and limits and inherent issues that come with nuclear power. After all, he comes from Sweden, a country where 40% of the electricity is generated from nuclear power!

He also hinted to the future developments in nuclear technology, including thorium-based fuels, which he is very much in favour of given the better qualities of thorium in the nuclear non-proliferation field, as thorium would be very difficult to use to make nuclear weapons.

During lunch I had the pleasure to exchange a few words with Mr. Lundin, and found a very knowledgeable person in the field of energy, who knows very well the limits to the “green renewables” and is very aware than fossil fuels are here to stay, and while they do create some pollution, at this time they are something we simply cannot do away with.

He is also very positive on nuclear energy, and hopes to see more research and new technology come out in the future.

I told him about “Pandora’s Promise”, a movie which tells the story of different environmentalists who have changed their mind on nuclear, and he was not aware of this movie. He also said that within IUCN there are many who would not touch the nuclear topic at all, which is what I am always afraid of.

This is the kind of environmentalist the world needs! Someone who is able to understand why and how a society thrives, and that policies which will damage people in the name of the environment are doomed to fail.