Monday Message Board

Another Monday Message Board (I’m travelling in the US, so it’s still Monday). Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

14 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. “Adani Australia: Investigation uncovers tax haven ties to British Virgin Islands”

    That’s the headline on the ABC website today. There’s a kind of double irony in all this. A coal company has ties to a tax haven recently devastated by a hurricane arguably intensified by climate change factors. Added to this, we recently had Richard Branson’s call for government aid to repair the British Virgin Islands.

    Let me see if I have this right. A company wants government subsidies to mine more coal, to release more greenhouse cases, to cause more climate damage, to enable it to place proceeds in a tax haven susceptible to climate-change-exacerbated hurricanes which cause damage there that another tax-dodging tax haven resident wants fixed by a government he avoids paying taxes to.

    And there are still people who try to argue that unfettered capitalism leads to the most rational and efficient outcome!

  2. Was anyone else amazed at the comments a week a so ago regarding dropping a Bank Royal Commission after the major Banks announced that they were scrapping the surcharge on interbank ATM transactions? The surcharge was blatant robbery in an era of electronic links but surely and hopefully a RC would look at issues of major importance such as the role the banks have taken over in the control of money supply and other financialization issues which directly effect the country.

  3. @Ikonoclast
    Bear in mind that these Caribbean tax haven headquarters often consist entirely of a postbox – and not much else.
    Don’t worry Iko, these accountants are way too slippery to be affected by unnatural weather events.

  4. Odious George Brandis’ appointee Donoghue QC is coming up against the noble Justin Gleeson SC next week in the High Court.
    Gleeson appears to be representing Tony Windsor hopefully both for legal advice and advocacy.
    Tony Windsor has insisted on his right to appear preferably with good stuff like Barnyard’s spruiking his “Kiwiship” contrary to his plea of ignorance of it despite Daddy being one and thereby any reasonable person being put on notice.
    Unless Barnyard “fesses up”, I hope the High Court judges won’t like being victims of being leaned on and accordingly “so decide”.

  5. @Smith
    I wonder what prompted the Spanish authorities to decide that the most appropriate response to the situation was “well if they think we’re evil oppressors, we’re gonna damn well act like we are!”

  6. The Spanish Civil War never really ended in the hearts of the people of Catalonia. Just like the American Civil War lives on in the hearts of some people in southern USA states because of the repressive actions of the victors. Gracious winning never seems to have become a reality after civil wars.

  7. Ikon – there is some small irony to a chosen tax haven for major coal and climate changing conglomerates being in the firing line of climate impacts, but their actions there aren’t much affected and can be moved as easily as they move their money around.

    The Four Corners expose is long overdue. Events in Las Vegas can delay and distract the asking and answering of questions by Turnbull, Joyce, Palaszczuk and others but I am expecting they won’t be able to dodge them. Of course our Forkies did not even mention climate change or the continuing amnesty on externalised costs that is a defacto subsidy that grossly distorts all assessments of the relative merits of coal extraction, export and use.

  8. Among the regular flow of announcements of battery “breakthroughs”, here’s one from Toshiba that looks like the real thing:
    Toshiba seem to have got the energy density of their lithium titanate battery up to that of the best lithium-ion ones, with a startlingly fast potential recharge time. The disadvantage of press releases from corporations over ones from university research labs is faster spin. The advantage is that the corporations are much likelier to know how to manufacture.

  9. @sunshine
    That anyone could think settlements on Mars make any kind of sense makes me question “the best among us” tag.

    My own thoughts on this –

    A wholly self reliant colony is effectively a whole independent society and advanced industrial economy of sufficient size and complexity to supply every need without resort to trade. In the case of Mars, more and more advanced technology per person than anything on Earth. Self sufficiency looks like an emergent property arising from a long and successful history as a trading outpost of Earth’s economy. There are no readily exploitable resources on Mars that can’t be supplied much more easily and cheaply here on Earth. There is no pre-existing infrastructure to enable trade, unlike the historical examples of colonisation done using proven, everyday technology; colonists often used the cheapest, worn out ships that were due for replacement, not ships in advance of anything available, made especially for the purpose.

    I don’t know what Elon Musk is really thinking. Perhaps his successes with e-cars and batteries were never such huge leaps except in terms of scale of financing.

    I can only see space colonisation as a consequence of successful, economically viable exploitation of resources, and those are not going to happen on Mars. Even mining iron from asteroids competes against pig iron at $300 a tonne, delivered to any major port in the world – and, so far as I am aware all the iron in the samples from meteorites are in alloys with nickel and separating them is no easy or cheap matter. Similarly the precious platinum group metals known to exist are at parts per million within such alloys. Perhaps much better ores can be found after surveying and sampling but the most recent mission to do that is expected to return asteroid sample materials at $500 billion per tonne, at an optimistic best.

    It isn’t a lack of will or misguided priorities at Nasa that failed to realise the great expectations, it the continuing absence of any kind of sound economic basis to build them on. Close to Earth space activities for purely Earth based economic purposes have proven successful – because the economics stacks up.

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