Monday Message Board

Back again with another Monday Message Board.

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link. You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page

32 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. Trading fungi

    Something completely different. From Merlin Sheldrake’s fine pop-sci book on fungal ecology, Entangled Life (paperback page 152):

    “[Toby Kiers] and her team exposed a single mycorrhizal fungus to an unequal supply of phosphorus. One part of the mycelium had access to a big patch of phosphorus. Another part had access to a small patch.[….] In parts of a mycelial network where phosphorus was scarce, the plant paid a higher ‘price’, supplying more carbon to the fungus for every unit of phosphorus it received. Where phosphorus was more readily available, the fungus received a more favourable ‘exchange rate’. The ‘price ‘ of phosphorus seemed to be governed by the familiar dynamics of supply and demand. […] The fungus actively transported phosphorus – using its dynamic microtubule ‘motors’ – from areas where it fetched a low ‘price’ when exchanged with a plant root, to areas where it was in higher demand and fetched a higher ‘price’”

    Read the whole thing. A few jottings.

    1. The symbiosis of plants and mycorrhizal fungi is quite fundamental to plants and the ecological web on which all land animals, including us, depend. Fungal trade is not some exotic niche phenomenon, it’s a keystone of life.

    2. Kiers’ experiments were conducted in a simplified lab environment. In the wild, the ecological web is much more complex, with multiple and competing plants connected to multiple and competing fungi supplying them with a bigger basket of essential resources, including nitrogen, copper, zinc, and water. In addition, there are mycelial networks of saprophytic fungi that live off dead plant material and do not connect to living plants. A patch of forest floor is home to a first-class fungal orgy. The real-life pattern of trade will thus be more complex; but for now, there no reason to think that it does not exist.

    3. Comparative advantage, along with diversity of wants and inflexible investments in material and human capital, have pushed human societies to an extraordinary level of specialisation and diversification. This does not seem to have happened to fungi. (I may be wrong here, I haven’t finished the book). Why not?

    4. At first sight, fungal trade with plants supports an imperialist narrative in economics – the market rules all! Not quite. For a mycologist, a living web links fungi to plants and animals in a range of commensality, from mutual benefit as with mycorrhizae to free-rider parasitism to outright pathogenicity and predation (some eat nematodes). From the ecological perspective, economics looks stuck in a crude binary paradigm, the majority seeing only benefit in exchange, the Marxist minority seeing only exploitation. Our esteemed host is the honourable exception with binocular vision.

    5. One creepy tactic parasitic fungi use with insects is to manipulate their behaviour, sometimes suicidally. In leafcutter ants, are the ants farming the fungus, or the other way round? Consider Rupert Murdoch as a fungus of this type. Are mycologists controlled by their pets?

  2. Putin in Ukrainian will be known for Holodomor + Zruynuvaty. Terror famine and raze.

    Depressingly, I have to conclude Putin equates to Hitler. 

    Holodomor – “a Ukrainian word for  “moryty holodom, ‘to kill by starvation’… also known as the Terror-Famine”. Wikimedia below. No wonder Ukraine’s gave it it’s own word.

    Putin is doing Holodomor PLUS Raze(ing) – starving Ukrainian people and razing infrastructure and public goods – famine / genocide and laying waste. History buffs, other parallels?

    Putin = Hitler = Holodomor + Zruynuvaty – Ukrainian words. 
    “English – Raze
    Zruynuvaty” via googl translate. 

    You read it here first. 

    Putin is a dummy if he thinks Ukraine will roll over considering the “Terror-Famine”, if nothing else.

    In 1933 Ukraine population change  −1,379%!

    Starvation & genocide in Ukraine by “Suspects” says Wikipedia! Soviet leader “Joseph Stalin and other party members had ordered that kulaks were “to be liquidated as a class””. Very suspect geopolitics! Suspect wikipedia editing. Suspect edits by – US executive branch? See “Holodomor recognised by” below.

    “Deaths~5.7m to 8.7 million
    “Suspects- Joseph Stalin”

    …” Joseph Stalin and other party members had ordered that kulaks were “to be liquidated as a class”…

    “Since 2006, the Holodomor has been recognized by Ukraine[11] and 15 other countries as a genocide of the Ukrainian people carried out by the Soviet government.[12]”

    “Declassified Soviet statistics
    (in thousands)[100]
    [from table]
    “Year –  1933
    Births –  471
    Deaths –  1,850
    change   −1,379%”

    “The term Holodomor emphasises the famine’s man-made and allegedly intentional aspects such as rejection of outside aid, confiscation of all household foodstuffs and restriction of population movement. As a large part of the wider Soviet famine of 1932–1933 which affected the major grain-producing areas of the country, millions of inhabitants of Ukraine, the majority of whom were ethnic Ukrainians, died of starvation in a peacetime catastrophe unprecedented in the history of Ukraine.[10]”

    Australia recognizes The Holodomor,  yet even though the US Senate & House voted to recognize;  “the executive branch has not formally stated this, the United States does not yet officially recognize the Holodomor as genocide.”.

    Sound familiar?
    “Both Russia and Ukraine have been subject to a series of severe droughts from July 2010 to 2015.[49]The 2010 drought saw wheat production fall by 20% in Russia and subsequently resulted in a temporary ban on grain exports.’

    Therefore Putin = Hitler.

  3. Well, I wish the fungi supporting the spotted spurge (Euphorbia maculata) in my new sub-tropical native gardens would cease and desist. The evil spotted spurge was imported in pots with my new plants by a sub-standard landscape gardening company which failed to properly deliver on its claims, undertakings, guarantees and contract. Of course, all that is standard these days dealing with companies operating under the aegis of neoliberalism where the customer is always wrong and simply there to be ripped off. The endless rain has been manna from heaven for the spotted spurge, same as my hard clay and the bare 1 to 2 cms of mulch spread when the contract specified 10 cms. Strange to say 1cm of mulch is optimal for spurge. It acts as a germinating medium and it can still reach the clay quickly which it loves. Germinates less well on bare clay. Doesn’t like deep mulch as the baby tap root can’t reach the clay.

    The areas between my plants have now become experimental plots where I test different methods of spurge extermination without poisons. Putting 10 cm of mulch where it should have been in the first place has proved most successful. Weeding by hand is hopeless. Spurge is adapted to produce seed in no time and adapted to disturbance. As you pull them out they drop hundreds of minuscule seeds. New plants pop up in no time and start seeding by the time they reach a small fingernail size with about 5 leaves. Pulling out hundreds of those in gardening gloves is hopeless: gardening gloves because of the death adder sighted twice. Never seen a death adder here before. All the rain has encouraged it to take up residence. Must admit my scuffling-animals-at night-problem seems to have disappeared. This death adder is very fat. Hope it’s not pregnant. They give birth to live young. Death adders love hiding in mulch and leaf litter. Which do I hate the most, spurge or death adder? No contest, I hate the spurge most. At least the death adder is native.

    “The Common Death Adder may give birth to up to 24 live young. Danger to humans. Death adders have relatively large fangs and toxic venom and, before the introduction of antivenom, about 60% of bites to humans were fatal.” – The Australian Museum.

    Luckily my land and trees abound in magpies and kookaburras. I’m relying on them to kill and eat any baby death adders.

    Had just over 1 meter of rain in 3 to 4 days during the rain bomb. All the physical landscaping, retaining walls etc. held up marvelously as done by a different company. I live on a hill. If the rain storms and showers ever stop for more than 2 days straight I can get new mulch in and smother the evil spurge for ever. Wish those fungi would stop helping them. I wear snake gaiters now.

  4. KT2,

    I have to agree. Putin functionally equals Hitler. Avowed differences (if any) in ideology mean nothing. The outcomes, the consequences matter. We simply need apply consequentialist ethics. As I said in an earlier post “Fascist is as fascist does.” Putin and his regime are fascists. Fascists with nukes, the world’s worst nightmare!

    Bizarrely, the Trumpists admire Putin and want to emulate him. The world exists on a knife-edge now. If the USA becomes fascist with Trump then we are exactly in 1984. Three fascist superpower blocs confronting each other in endless war… or the nukes just fly. I feel I live on an alt-earth now. It’s so bad it doesn’t feel quite real.

  5. Ikon, good moniker – alt-earth.
    “I feel I live on an alt-earth now. It’s so bad it doesn’t feel quite real.”.

    So bad it doesn’t feel quite real!
    My child – yr9 – has been “lobbied and prooagandised” -grrrrr – by the NSW Education Nuclear Lobby & Propaganda Dept – given a science assignment:
    “Site a nuclear plant on the east coast of Australia “.

    The 2 only links provided – ANSTO & world nuclear org. Orwellian name for >80% of all nuclear bodies & enterprises. The lobby +100 – education & knowledge amnesia + 20yrs.

    “Nuclear waste to arrive in Port Kembla from UK this weekend”

    “Nuclear waste – domestic Australian issues

    And in 1st page of results – the propaganda arm of the nuclear military industrial complexes – an article I won’t link to by ta da – the world nuclear ‘org’. They are very organized yet very un-charitable. Triple grrr.

    I am placing an foi to nesta – curriculum authority etc. Much squirming, obfuscation and blackouts I expect.

    “Alt” is the new ism.
    “Will you join me in the alt-centre?” by Nicholas Gruen

  6. James, thanks for the segue from fungi to Soil Carbon. JQ said in 2012: ” * Soil carbon storage, much beloved of Opposition climate spokesman Greg Hunt and others, is (almost) a complete furphy”. ^2.

    JQ it seems as usual you are ahead of the zeitgeist, re soils. Time for a soil carbon update considering humus “The magic molecule you can just stick in the soil and expect to stay there may not exist.”! From:

    “A Soil-Science Revolution Upends Plans to Fight Climate Change

    July 27, 2021

    “A centuries-old concept in soil science has recently been thrown out. Yet it remains a key ingredient in everything from climate models to advanced carbon-capture projects.”

    “But over the past 10 years or so, soil science has undergone a quiet revolution, akin to what would happen if, in physics, relativity or quantum mechanics were overthrown. Except in this case, almost nobody has heard about it — including many who hope soils can rescue the climate. “There are a lot of people who are interested in sequestration who haven’t caught up yet,” said Margaret Torn, a soil scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.”.

    “A new generation of soil studies powered by modern microscopes and imaging technologies has revealed that whatever humus is, it is not the long-lasting substance scientists believed it to be. Soil researchers have concluded that even the largest, most complex molecules can be quickly devoured by soil’s abundant and voracious microbes. The magic molecule you can just stick in the soil and expect to stay there may not exist.”

    .”The carbon price: three months on” – from 2012 – JQ said:
    “* Soil carbon storage, much beloved of Opposition climate spokesman Greg Hunt and others, is (almost) a complete furphy”

    Commenter “murph the surf. says: November 3, 2012 at 3:36 pm
    …”At a recent AFI talk in Armidale they stated clearly that they had found no way to make a positive return either financially or through the current protocols for Soil C storage.”…

    And “Bill Burrows says:
    November 5, 2012 at 12:45 pm @Ronald Brak
    …”It seems to me that as far as agriculture is concerned, too much of what we want to do to lower GHG emissions, involves “not seeing the wood for the trees”.”

    JQ, do you know Rod Gill?
    “Environment. The carbon price: three months on. October 29, 2012 John Quiggin 83 Comments. The UQ Risk and Sustainable Management Group, which I lead, held a small workshop last week, looking at early experience with the carbon price. We plan to produce an edited volume from it, to be published .. ” › files › 811 › WPM08_1.pdf

    Via a good discussion at naked capitalism;
    “We linked to this article from Quanta — “A Soil-Science Revolution Upends Plans to Fight Climate Change” — back on 7/28. I will begin by quoting great slabs of it to make its thesis clear, or at least those parts of the thesis necessary for a pivot to the question in the headline. (As a spoiler alert, it seems to be that only the most sociopathic of market makers — “an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what it is” — will attempt to price goods whose nature is not known. If the Quanta article is correct, carbon markets, and markets for ecosystem services generally, will have turned out to be such markets made by such makers[1]). Is the Soil an “Ecosystem Service” That Can Be Priced?
    August 1, 2021
    Lambert Strether

  7. JQ, Terry Tao has an Alt to Bayesian re …”why terms like “1 in 1000 year flood” need to be retired in favor of probabilities, updating using Bayesian reasoning.”

    Ask Terry Tao.
    “99% success = one nine of safety 
    9% success = two nines of safety 
    99.9% success = three nines of safety”

    Terry Tao “Nines of safety: a proposed unit of measurement of risk”. 

    Long post replete with proofs, definitions, reasons and examples. Terry Tao is no short read. Table uses Latex so cannot be viewed here. What say Ernestine et all?

    This proposal would take 30yrs of education and implementation imo to embed as generic or to overide zeitgeist. 

    But in scientific works? Aid memoir? Sectors? Worth a try in one of your papers. Seeds for excellent debate too.

    “Nines of safety: a proposed unit of measurement of risk

    Posted by Terence Tao

    “In everyday usage, we rely heavily on percentages to quantify probabilities and proportions: we might say that a prediction is  accurate or  accurate, that there is a  chance of dying from some disease, and so forth. However, for those without extensive mathematical training, it can sometimes be difficult to assess whether a given percentage amounts to a “good” or “bad” outcome, because this depends very much on the context of how the percentage is used. For instance:

    (iii) On the other hand, a medical operation that only had a , , or  chance of success would be viewed as being incredibly risky, especially if failure meant death or permanent injury to the patient. Even an operation that was  or  likely to be non-fatal (i.e., a  or  chance of death) would not be conducted lightly.

    (iv) A weather prediction of, say,  chance of rain during a vacation trip might be sufficient cause to pack an umbrella, even though it is more likely than not that rain would not occur. On the other hand, if the prediction was for an chance of rain, and it ended up that the skies remained clear, this does not seriously damage the accuracy of the prediction – indeed, such an outcome would be expected in one out of every five such predictions.

    (v) Even extremely tiny percentages of toxic chemicals in everyday products can be considered unacceptable. For instance, EPA rules require action to be taken when the percentage of lead in drinking water exceeds  (15 parts per billion). 

    “Definition 1 (Nines of safety) An activity (affecting one or more persons, over some given period of time) that has a probability  of the “safe” outcome and probability of the “unsafe” outcome will have  nines of safety against the unsafe outcome, where  is defined by the formula
    (where  is the logarithm to base ten), or equivalently

    “Remark 2 Because of the various uncertainties in measuring probabilities, as well as the inaccuracies in some of the assumptions and approximations we will be making later, we will not attempt to measure the number of nines of safety beyond the first decimal point; thus we will round to the nearest tenth of a nine of safety throughout this post.

    “Here is a conversion table between percentage rates of success (the safe outcome), failure (the unsafe outcome), and the number of nines of safety one has:
    “Success rate 
    Failure rate 
    Number of nines infinite
    [ Table uses Latex – view in page]

    “Now to give some real-world examples of nines of safety. Using data for deaths in the US in 2019 (without attempting to account for factors such as age and gender), a random US citizen will have had the following amount of safety from dying from some selected causes in that year:
    “Cause of death
    Mortality rate per  (approx.)
    Nines of safety
    [ Table uses Latex – view in page]

    “Proposition 6 (Nines of safety extend expected onset of risk) Suppose a certain risky activity has  nines of safety. If one repeatedly indulges in this activity until the risk occurs, then the expected number of trials before the risk occurs is .

    “Proof: The probability that the risk is activated after exactly  trials is , which is a geometric distribution of parameter . The claim then follows from the standard properties of that distribution. 

    “”Thus, for instance, if one performs some risky activity daily, then the expected length of time before the risk occurs is given by the following table:
    “Daily nines of safety
    Expected onset of risk
    One day
    One week
    One month
    One year
    Two yearsFive yearsTen yearsTwenty yearsFifty yearsA century”

    Tao in reply to comment :
    “One could take an economic viewpoint here and assign a monetary cost to any given risk. One crude metric here is the size of insurance policies that people generally take out against a risk: for instance if the average size of a life insurance policy is $1 million, then this would suggest that death would be equivalent to a cost of $1 million, or six orders of magnitude more than a dollar. Each nine of safety would then reduce this cost by an order of magnitude, for instance if one had six nines of safety against death as you suggest then the net cost of action #2 would roughly be a dollar. Doing a similar exercise for the cost of action #1 (figuring out the monetary cost of catching a cold and multiplying by 10%) would then allow for a comparison. So the question is how many orders of magnitude of cost one has for any given negative outcome.
    (Of course, one could argue that not all costs can be measured by purely monetary means,. ..”… 

  8. KT2: – ““Site a nuclear plant on the east coast of Australia “.

    The 2 only links provided – ANSTO & world nuclear org.

    Here are some more references:
    1. World Nuclear Industry Status Report – 2021, published 28 Sep 2021, 409 pages

    2. IAEA Report No. NP-T-2.7 Project Management in Nuclear Power Plant Construction: Guidelines and Experience, published Feb 2012, 139 pages

    Click to access Pub1537_web.pdf

    3. Coastal Risk Australia provides an interactive map of which coastal areas are at risk of flooding due to sea level rise (SLR). Select a location, select ‘Manual’ mode, and adjust the slider to required SLR scenario. Professor Jason Box says SLR is likely to be more than 1 metre by 2100; substantially more if ice shelfs collapse in Antarctica. Also allow for additional storm surges.

    Nuclear fission technologies:
    * are too slow to deploy – an inexperienced country like Australia would need 15-20 years to get the first reactor unit operational – too late for climate change mitigation & replacing Australia’s retiring coal plants;
    * are far too expensive – unsubsidized LCOE US$131-204/MWh (Lazard’s LCOE Analysis v15.0, 2021);
    * are generally inflexible – cannot ramp up/down rapidly;
    * can trip-out without warning – large units (usually with 1-1.5 GWe output) that trip-out without warning can destabilize grid.
    * rely on finite fuels – rapidly depleting high-grade uranium reserves cannot sustain a so-called ‘nuclear renaissance’ in the longer-term;
    * produce a toxic waste legacy that will long outlast any energy benefits gained.

  9. Geoff M, sincerely appreciated and will oass on. JQ is the reference for cost.

    Two Nines example. Very Terry Tao not us hoi poloi.

    Terry Tao today might say to Daniel Andrews: “a two nines” event. Hmmm…

    “This is a one-in-100-year event and just carving up the GST with no regard for what Victoria and NSW has been through just doesn’t make any sense,” Andrews said.

    “This is not a parochial agenda. It’s just a fairness agenda.”

    Daniel will be slammed by the news corpses and (s)lobbiests. Good ideas.

    Maybe some economics professor might detail ‘the consequences ‘ of Daniel & the Lions.
    Daniel is in high office by the popular vote by Victoria the People. Daniel’s jealous rivals trick Victoria the People into issuing a decree that for thirty years no reforms should be addressed to any policy but by the powerful; anyone who disobeys this edict is to be thrown to the lions of gods of conservative crony austerity in perpetual purgatory & profit

  10. Tony Abbott appears clueless about ‘peak oil’ at the Sydney Writers Festival 2008 – see YouTube video titled Tony Abbott, Sydney Writers Festival 2008. Excerpt: Peak oil, duration 0:02:06.

    It seems he (among many) may well be gaining a first-hand experience of the consequences of ‘peak oil’ soon.

  11. KT”; Your soil science stuff is worrying. But I don’t see how it invalidates the core propositions of conservation agriculture:
    1. Intensive agriculture – with deep ploughing, monocultures, heavy use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides – has made the sector a net carbon emitter.
    2. Different farming methods – no-till planting, crop rotation and mixing, biological pest control, reduced and targeted use of pesticides and fertiliser, better selection of silage crops – can increase the equilibrium biomass in soils.
    3. During the transition to the new equilibrium, conservation agriculture leads to net sequestration of carbon.
    Where does this go wrong?

  12. Pollyanna department

    Against my principles, I could not resist passing on this:
    “.. an MIT spin-off company called Quaise received a lot of attention for announcing it would be using a directed energy beam to drill down around 20 kilometers below the surface. Temperatures there are expected to be in the region of 500°C, which would allow for efficient extraction of heat, thanks to the really cool properties of so-called supercritical water.”

    The energy beam is not a laser – which has been tried for rock drilling but does not work well – but microwaves. As in your kitchen, except that the power is a megawatt. The “gyrotrons” used were developed by the Soviets for the failing but very well-funded attempts to build fusion reactors, which call for extremely hot plasma, so we might get something back for our and the USSR’s money. The planned boreholes are so deep they can go more or less anywhere, including the sites of mothballed coal power stations, which already have reliable old steam turbines and grid connections.

    We should not rely on this sort of thing, but it’s well worth a shot. If advanced hot-rock geothermal can be made to work, it’s a nearly ideal source of energy: >90% reliable, fully despatchable, very safe, low nuisance, widely available.

  13. James “But I don’t see how it invalidates the core propositions of conservation agriculture:”.

    We could debate ‘conservation agriculture’ yet I get your point.

    The latest soil science doesn’t invalidate the core propositions of keeping agricultural land in a baet ir better state. Inky enhances the potential fir better soil and support by government and teh market.

    It neatly puts the market and politics in the frame for dishing out of rhe pork barrel from their narrow minds, and will define rapacious behaviour as we are getting to the point of ‘real’ valid biotic and dynamic metrics under our feet.

    And allows JQ and others to strengthen efforts for reasonable use of economics in support of better agricultural practices.

  14. We have failed by allowing Putin to not face up to reality.

    Putin et al are, beside war crimes, making holodomor + Zruynuvaty – terror famine and raze, has psychologically committed:

    > The McNamara fallacy, also known as the quantitative fallacy

    > via Plato’s Cave, where Putin, being UNreasonable, has been chained to the wall of his bunker cave all his life, facing his shadows projected on the wall from objects passing in front of a fire – the world and society – behind him as he can’t face society – and he gives names – wwring language – to these shadows from his own conception of the ahadows via the reality he refuses to face, as indicated by the The McNamara fallacy.

    The shadows are the prisoners’ – Putin’s reality – but are not accurate representations of the real world he refuses to accept nor face.

    The shadows represent the fragment of reality that he perceives through his senses and warped aparartus and it’s senses, while the objects under the sun represent the true forms of objects that he could perceive if he thought reasonably.”

    Hence his decision to bomb the ahit out of Ukraine. And cause Holodomor + Zruynuvaty. Terror famine and raze.

    Watching unbearable hardship in Ukraine plus the seemingly leaden Russian war machine (as noted by an ex CIA head on the news) and the Ukraine soldiers firing at tanks from 20m away, you have to ask – war what is it good for? And wonder if Putin madena plan but neglected the maxim – after the first step the plan needs to be changed. Or something similar.

    Russia will dissolve itself. No reparations, just a jubilee with conditions, after a truth and reconciliation commission. And anyone identified as still stuck in Plato’s cave gets to go the the new land – SomeIsleLand, forever sanctioned, until they recant violence. Ala far right continual fights for top dog status causing never ending chaos internally, those we deport to SomeIsleLand will constantly be in chaos of their own making until exhausted or dead. Swords & plowshares only. No explosives or machines. Contained. Yet free to live by the plowshare or die by the sword. Studio Ghibli movies only external entertainment.

  15. And one day I’ll out my glasses on.

    Geoff M and JQ referenced in science project. Thanks.

  16. I award Marina Ovsyannikova the “Bravery for Truth Award”. Does such exist?

    And asylum quixk smart.

    “‘They’re lying to you’: Russian TV employee interrupts news broadcast

    “Marina Ovsyannikova ran on to the set of the Channel One transmission shouting: ‘Stop the war. No to war’

    “An employee on Russia’s state Channel One television has interrupted the channel’s main news programme with an extraordinary protest against Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

    “Marina Ovsyannikova, an editor at Channel One, burst on to the set of the live broadcast of the nightly news on Monday evening, shouting: “Stop the war. No to war.”

    “She also held a sign saying: “Don’t believe the propaganda. They’re lying to you here.” It was signed in English: “Russians against the war”.”

  17. Broadcast on ABC TV Media Watch last night (Mar 14) was a segment titled Petrol Peter. It seems Peter Khoury from the NRMA is the ‘go-to guy’ for commentary on fuel prices. Per Isentia, Peter’s notched up more than 200 mentions across TV and radio since the start of the year — and 40 of those are in the last week.

    What a difference 6 weeks makes:

    DAVID KOCH: Peter, there are suggestions that petrol could hit 2 even $3 a litre. Is that likely to play out?

    PETER KHOURY: Oh goodness no, hopefully not …

    – Sunrise, Seven Network, 28 January, 2022

    And last week:

    NATALIE BARR: OK, what are petrol prices going to get to in Australia?

    PETER KHOURY: We have no idea where we would set the ceiling at this point …

    – Sunrise, Seven Network, 8 March, 2022

    Perhaps Peter Khoury should be looking at what the loss of Russian oil exports, representing about 5 or 6% of world supply, might do to fuel prices in the longer-term, and which countries may have the combined capacity to fill that gap and when?

    Posted on Nov 19 (before Russia invaded Ukraine):

    The only countries with material remaining spare capacity are Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Iran, and Russia. Iraq has spare capacity, but given the security considerations, it is extremely unlikely production will grow in the near or medium term. We have discussed our skepticism regarding Saudi spare capacity in the past and intend to revisit the important topic next quarter. Ultimately, we believe Saudi Arabia can produce between 10 and 10.5 mm b/d – well below the stated 12.2 m b/d capacity. Saudi has only produced above 10 mm b/d on two occasions and both times it was for only a brief period and the fields had to subsequently be rested. Assuming Saudi has pumping capacity for 10.5 m b/d (a big if), we believe total OPEC+ crude capacity to be 46.9 m b/d – not enough to meet global demand by 4Q22.

    The era of cheap oil has ended forever. When are energy commentators in the media going to admit that? Or is it about propagating false hope and wishful thinking? I’d suggest that helps no one.

  18. THE Problem.

    The Australian Putin. Being Telegraphed and Couriered to the masses via the dark shadows slippery slope of memory manipulation. No need of controlling media.

    “”Well, fancy that. The dark arts of media management laid bare.”

    Media Watch:…
    “So, what did Albanese actually say in that speech? Well, he certainly evoked former Labor leaders:

         “ANTHONY ALBANESE: … I’ll take my lead from Bob Hawke and his successor Paul Keating.
    – The Australian Financial Review Business Summit, 9 March, 2022

    “But how many times did John Howard’s name score a mention? In fact, not once. That is zero.

    “And you have to listen closely to detect any reference at all:

      ;   “ANTHONY ALBANESE: … a former Liberal prime minister once said that in the race for economic reform you would never reach the finish line because it was always advancing and there would always be something else to do to make our economy stronger and more productive. I didn’t always agree with him but I agree with him on that. 
    – The Australian Financial Review Business Summit, 9 March, 2022

    “A former Liberal PM being you-know-who. 

    “So how, in the hands of The Australian, did that passing nod to ongoing economic reform turn into this front-page splash?

    “Was The Australian just taking a liberty and beating up the story? It seems the answer is no. 

    “We asked the paper to justify its reporting and editor-in-chief Chris Dore told us:
    “Albo’s office contacted our political editor before publication to point out the reference to Howard in the speech in an attempt clearly to get us to highlight the reference he was making … He clearly attempted to suggest he shared Howard’s approach to reform.

    – Email, Chris Dore, Editor-in-Chief, The Australian, 14 March, 2022

    “Well, fancy that. The dark arts of media management laid bare.

    “How better to rebrand a lifelong lefty than to have the media sizing him up against a Liberal Party legend. And no fingerprints to give you away. 

    “But is it true?

    “Having approached Albanese’s office multiple times for comment, we finally got a call from the man himself who said he had “certainly” not called The Australian.

    “We then asked him and his office to confirm or deny that a call had been made but we did not hear back.”

  19. Scott Akexander at astralcdexten. “Ukraine Warcasting

    “Changes in Ukraine prediction markets since my last post February 28:

    > Will Kiev fall to Russian forces by April 2022?: 69% —→ 14%

    > Will at least three of six big cities fall by June 1?: 71% —→ 70%

    > Will World War III happen before 2050?: 20% —→21%

    > Will Russia invade any other country in 2022?: 12% —→10%

    > Will Putin still be president of Russia next February?: 71% —→ 80%

    > Will 50,000 civilians die in any single Ukrainian city?: 8% —→ 12%

    > Will Zelinskyy no longer be President of Ukraine on 4/22?: 63% —→20%

    Putin stays, Zelinskyy stays. Interesting. June 1 and even I will be “fatigued” and the spectre of acceptable deaths will haunt us.

    Any costs predictions HQ?

  20. It seems Australia’s diesel fuel normal consumption cover is around a little above 20 days, per a tweet yesterday by Matt @crudeoilpeak (including a graph of Australian diesel fuel consumption covers from 2010 through to Dec 2021):

    @jcobevans #Australia diesel stocks consumption cover a bit above 20 days. Result of 20 years of complacency, both Coalition and ALP
    @ScottMorrisonMP @AlboMP #Peakoil covered up by #Covid19
    @GladysB @Dom_Perrottet

    Minister Angus Taylor has introduced regulations mandating from July, fuel importers and refiners will be required to maintain a minimum 24 days worth of fuel onshore for national security purposes.

    I’d suggest this is all short-term thinking. More Australian fuel storage won’t help with sustained declining global oil supplies, but will increase Australian fuel prices further. The only longer-term solution is to rapidly reduce petroleum dependency.

  21. “No Duty of Care” makes for “Now, their [our, yours, mine!] task is to be spectators, not participants.” (fn-chompsky)

    “The full bench of the federal court on Tuesday … deciding that … ● the duty of care should not be imposed on the minister.●”

    The missing phrase “Duty of Care”
    is at the root of everything wrong with government, markets,  global warming – add your own disaster topic.

    No duty of care, linguistically, legally and constitutionally:
    ● extinguishes any and everything thing you, we, stand for, and 
    ● expunges our power, 
    ● hobbles any benefit your works may achieve 
    ● rendering all able to be overturned by Australia’s “full bench of the federal court” and I assume The High Court. 

    Hope is expunged as well, unless a change in The Constitution.

    Proof – “The full bench of the federal court on Tuesday … deciding that … ● the duty of care should not be imposed on the minister.●”

    “Sussan Ley does not have duty of care to protect young from climate crisis, appeal court rules

    “Eight teenagers and a nun had previously won their case against the federal environment minister related to the expansion of a NSW coalmine

    [Sussan, I- “changed (my) name from Susan to Sussan after reading about numerology” Ley… Wikipedia]
     – “The federal environment minister, Sussan Ley, has successfully appealed against a high-profile court decision that found she had a duty of care to protect young people from the climate crisis when assessing fossil fuel developments.”

    Go teenagers &  “octogenarian nun, Sr Brigid Arthur CSB”

    Su-ss-an Ley “has master’s degrees in taxation and accountancy” and makes sure fossil fuel pollutes and pays no tax using Australia No Duty of Care to protect them and not us nor the Commons. 

    Our government has NO duty toward us for anything at all and will argue such at anytime to protect itself and NOT protect humans nor the planet, in support of a company which:! Pays effectively No Tax!…
    – Whitehaven Coal
    – 5 year total income
    – 5 year taxable income
    $11,198 (? No ref)
    – 5y margin –  0.00%

    – 5 year tax payable – 0

    – tax rate –  0.00%

    Oops. “CathNews – Teenagers, sister win major environment case
    “The Federal Court has formally declared the environment minister has a “duty to take reasonable care” that young people won’t be harmed or killed by carbon dioxide emissions if she approves a coalmine expansion. ”

    JQ will you please write about and link topics to No Duty of Care. 

    Ikon, please comment on how duty of care may he enshrined, avoiding blackness, as you have more powerful language than I.

    James, what diplomacy or history have you encountered applicable to duty of care.

    Ernestine, has every model you’ve made been undermined in application by a lack of duty of care?

    Harry Clark, does economics curriculum ever touch on, or have you ever encountered duty of care?

    Duty of Care. My now enduring passion. I’ve avoided it for 50+ yrs.

    Question to all:
    What words or phrase other than Duty of Care, has as much potential benefit if enshrined in The Constitution or at Law? 

    Note: “as is” is probably the most powerful phrase for a large proportion of transactions in the market. 4 letters and a space expunges redress. Language is all powerful. 

    “Now, their [our, yours, mine!] task is to be spectators, not participants.”

    “Noam Chomsky’s Theory of the Good Life,”
    April 23, 2021. The Ezra Klein Show (The New York Times).


  22. Regarding Duty of Care,
    The Federal Court sensibly adds “it’s the job of our elected representatives in the federal government.”.

    Us. It us our duty to enshrine a Duty of Care.

    “So why was Ley successful? The federal court’s 282-page judgment offers myriad reasons for why no duty should be imposed on the minister. But what emerges most clearly is the court’s view that it’s not their place to set policies on climate change. Instead, they say, it’s the job of our elected representatives in the federal government.”

  23. Trumpists won’t read this book.
    “… human beings are required to exercise their epistemic agency under significant cognitive and situational constraints.”. 

    “Prejudice: A Study in Non-ideal Epistemology

    “Are prejudiced beliefs “imperfect cognitions”? …  To overcome the problem, we must presumably become better, more rational, cognizers.

    “That they are peculiarly harmful certainly should count against them, but doesn’t yet tell us why we’d be epistemically at fault for holding them (even taking into account recent arguments from “moral encroachment”).

    “In my recently published book, Prejudice: A Study in Non-Ideal Epistemology, I aim to provide an account of epistemic normativity starting from the recognition that human beings are required to exercise their epistemic agency under significant cognitive and situational constraints.

    “… this is too quick. Prejudiced beliefs are recognizably a kind of negative stereotype, and reliance on stereotype reasoning is arguably fundamental in human    social cognition.

    “…Human beings are constitutionally dependent on information garnered from their social environment. Some of these social environments will be deeply prejudiced, and we have very little say in which environment we are brought up in. It is naïve to think that we all form our prejudiced beliefs idiosyncratically, by reflecting on our limited individual experience with people of the relevant sort. Instead, we draw, as we must (even in the good cases) on testimonial resources available to us from our peer groups, often reinforced in institutional and para-institutional structures such as laws, school curricula, and patterns of social interaction. In the bad cases, it’s hard to deny that subjects may have strong testimonial evidence for what are recognizably prejudiced beliefs.

    Endre Begby
    Associate Professor of Philosophy

    A Study in Non-Ideal Epistemology”

    Endre Begby

    “- The first book-length study of the epistemology of prejudiced belief
    – Relates social epistemology to developments in social psychology and cognitive science
    – Informed by relevant, real-world case studies
    – Develops a unique, systematic, and rigorous platform for ‘non-ideal epistemology’, connecting knowledge with ethics

    And a potentially prejudiced review.
    “And this is what makes Begby’s work so informative and such a landmark in non-ideal epistemology, for by demonstrating how prejudice accords with our normal cognitive operations, it centers the humanity of all involved, even those perpetrators of so much so-called “inhumanity.””
    – Guy Lancaster, Marx & Philosophy Review of Books

  24. …”how much earth has-changed in only five-years”

    …”some of the changes are striking: Massive swaths of forest burned in Australia, Russia, and California. In Egypt, urban sprawl in Cairo edged out to the pyramids at Giza. Thefastest-growing city in the world—Gwagwalada, Nigeria—also spread into nature, in a pattern of urban growth that was repeated around the planet. In South America, millions of acres of rain forest were lost in the Amazon.

    “Esri is making these new land cover maps available for free to everyone—and they’re much more likely to be up-to-date than in the past.”

  25. Professor Terry Hughes tweeted Mar 16:

    Tragically, coral bleaching is now widespread again on the #GreatBarrierReef after an end-of-summer heatwave. The 6th event since 1998 appears to be unfolding.

    It’s a cry for help – Just in time for @UNESCO and ⁦@IUCN⁩’s mission.

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

    IMO, the Federal Coalition have demonstrated sustained inadequate action on:
    1) the existential threat of climate change;
    2) maintaining long-term energy and food security;
    3) responding to the COVID-19 threat.

    A vote for the Federal Coalition is a vote for civilisation collapse.

  26. “This paper argues that tackling this question today requires a new language.” – Woo Hoo! New language.
    “Braun, B. (2020). Asset Manager Capitalism as a Corporate Governance”

    Any comment on this JQ, et all.


    …” the Max Planck Institute’s Benjamin Braun argues in a paper called “Asset Manager Capitalism as a Corporate Governance Regime,” we have moved past that stage, to a new, weirder capitalism: “Asset Manager Capitalism.”

    “What’s Asset Manager Capitalism? It’s a market dominated by the asset managers from three giant index funds: Blackrock, Vanguard and State Street, along with a few other giant funds that roll up pension funds and other funds (vast family fortunes, managed funds).”…
    Thanks Cory.

    Abstract. “Who holds power in corporate America? Scholars have invariably answered this question in the language of ownership and control. This paper argues that tackling this question today requires a new language. Whereas the comparative political economy literature has long treated dispersed ownership and weak shareholders as core features of the U.S. political economy, a century-long process of re-concentration has consolidated shareholdings in the hands of a few very large asset management companies. In an historically unprecedented configuration, this emerging asset manager capitalism is dominated by fully diversified shareholders that lack direct economic interest in the performance of individual portfolio companies. The paper compares this new corporate governance regime to its predecessors; reconstructs the history of the growth and consolidation of the asset management sector; and examines the political economy of asset manager capitalism, both at the firm level and at the macroeconomic level.”

    “Asset Manager Capitalism as a Corporate Governance Regime”

    Braun, B. (2020). Asset Manager Capitalism as a Corporate Governance

    Regime. SocArXiv, (published online March 18). doi:10.31235/

    Genre: Preprint
    mpifg_on21_v6.pdf (Preprint), 612KB

    File Permalink:

    Name: mpifg_on21_v6.pdf
    Description: Full text version 6
    Visibility: Public

  27. Another Honest Government Ad on The Floods, tweeted today by Juice Media:

    From time interval 0:03:26:

    Or you could kick us out at the coming election and get a government that isn’t captured by fossil fuel interests and who won’t abandon and gaslight you as we head deeper into the climate crisis. Australien Government: we’ll literally get you killed if you re-elect us in May.

  28. Brrr.. getting colder… “we may have sleepwalked into Socialism With American Characteristics”

    “Writing about this for NY Magazine, Eric Levitz cites Matt Bruenig, who calls it “market socialism.” Asset Manager Capitalism has delivered low prices while “rationally planning” not just a single industry, but all the industries.

    “As the Big Three’s influence has expanded, prices have gone down.

    “This is the central planned economy that capitalists say could never work. But while we may have sleepwalked into Socialism With American Characteristics, those characteristics are very…American.

    “When three index managers plan the economy on behalf of the 50% who own any shares (or, more realistically, on the 10% who own 86% of the shares), they leave the rest of us in the cold.”

  29. Tweeted today by Crescat Capital portfolio manager Otavio Costa:

    The US continues to dump its Strategic Petroleum Reserve like there is no tomorrow.

    The government is now down to 33 days worth of oil supply at its current implied demand.

    That is one of its lowest levels in history.

    Energy and commodities columnist at Bloomberg, Javier Blas, tweeted earlier today:

    CHART OF THE DAY: We’re witnessing some large % swings in the oil market (based on Brent **closing** price), although certainly no unprecedented in size. The 13.2% drop last week was the 7th largest ever fall. And today’s 8.79% rise was only the 31st largest ever jump | #OOTT

  30. Knowledge now costs “HELP debt to nearly $66.4 billion”. JQ said “The idea of students as customers found its fullest expression in the disastrous VET FEE-HELP scheme,”^3.

    By using “Boomers” & “Millenials”^1. we obfuscate, with generational cohorts language, eliding effects of “trickle up”, “systemic disadvantage” and financialistion knowledge..

    Our knowledge provision now costs “outstanding HELP debt to nearly $66.4 billion”, ^2….”Since HELP is an asset on the Government’s balance sheet”, but “14.69 per cent for new loans incurred” us “debt not expected to be repaid’ (DNER)”, causing immeasurable trauma and providing a ready monopoly market for debt collection and enhances payday lenders. This further enhances a debt spiral and disadvantage of those without wealth. Ad infunitum, “it becomes a tyranny of the majority”.

    And abuses democracy. 

    “But if the same people keep benefiting from the decisions and the same people find themselves on the losing side of that democratic process it becomes a tyranny of the majority.

    “And the millennials (and their younger cousins gen Z) have a lot to feel aggrieved about.

    “School leavers are channelled into university at a rate like no generation before but our most recent graduates have an average student debt like none before.

    “The latest tax office figures show the average HELP debt has grown to $23,685.

    “Worryingly, almost one in 10 people with a HELP debt owe more than $50,000.

    “This debt is racked up even before many have entered the full-time workforce. Contrast that with their parents or grandparents.

    “The boomers and older gen Xers who entered university between 1974 and 1989 paid no tuition fees — nothing.

    “Why boomers are set for intergenerational payback as Australian millennials look to square the ledger”

    “Total amount of outstanding HELP debt

    “This release updates the total amount of outstanding HELP debt to nearly $66.4 billion in 2019–20, down from $66.6 billion in 2018–19 (Figure 1 below). This is the first decline in total outstanding debt since the series began in 2005. However, much of this decline is attributable to fact that, unlike prior years, VET Student Loans debts and debtors are not included in the 2019–20 financial year data. This is because the Education and Other Legislation Amendment (VET Student Loan Debt Separation) Act 2018 separated the administration of VET Student Loan debts for vocational education and training students from HELP debts for higher education students from 1 July 2019.”

    “Since HELP is an asset on the Government’s balance sheet, ‘debt not expected to be repaid’ (DNER) is arguably more important than the overall size of the loan portfolio. The latest DNER estimate from the Australian Government Actuary is 14.69 per cent for new loans incurred”

    JQ said “The idea of students as customers found its fullest expression in the disastrous VET FEE-HELP scheme, which provided a loan to pay for approved full fee-paying courses at a variety of institutions.”

    From “Dismembering government” By John Quiggin

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