Bye Golly, Noddy!

One of the striking features of the Dr Seuss fuss is that most commentators seem to be treating this as something new. No one I’ve read in US commentary on the topic seems to be aware that “Dr Seuss, cancelled” is a shot-for-shot remake of a British drama.

It reminded me immediately of the arguments about golliwogs in Enid Blyton’s Noddy books, which started just about the time (a long, long time ago) I grew out of those books, and moved on to reading such gems as the Famous Five . After a long series of adjustments, turning golliwogs into goblins and so on, the issue was resolved by the reissue, in 2009, of a new canonical series, with no golliwogs. (There’s still controversy about golliwogs in general, but not wrt Noddy).

As is always the case, once you know what to look for, you can always find someone who’s made the same point before. In my case, very close to home. Here’s Kate Cantrell and Sharon Bickle from the University of Southern Queensland making exactly this point, with many more examples.

Finkel on getting to zero

Former Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, with whom I worked on the Climate Change Authority a few years back, has a new Quarterly Essay, on Getting to Zero (emissions). Some quick observations

  • It’s far too generous to the current government. However, it makes sense for Finkel to be diplomatic and diplomacy abhors frankness
  • A comprehensive and readable wrapup of the main issues in managing an orderly transition with the current system
  • Most notable, Finkel is very cool on nuclear energy and carbon capture, both of which he has discussed sympathetically in the past

It’s paywalled, but I’ve posted a couple of relevant passages over the fold

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A new sandpit for long side discussions, conspiracy theories, idees fixes and so on.

To be clear, the sandpit is for regular commenters to pursue points that distract from regular discussion, including conspiracy-theoretic takes on the issues at hand. It’s not meant as a forum for visiting conspiracy theorists, or trolls posing as such.

Energy return: ratio or net value (revised)

Quite a while back we had a discussion of the idea of Energy Return On Energy Invested (EROEI) as a measure of the viability of solar and wind energy. I did the numbers for solar (including battery backup) and came to the conclusion that EROEI was at least 10 and therefore not a problem.

The issue has come up in an email discussion I’ve been having. Thinking about it, I concluded that using a ratio of energy generated to energy invested is incorrect. As a starting point, I assume that we want to consider energy separately from market goods in general. Producing new energy requires inputs of both energy and market goods (including labour and capital). Think about this example

Technology A uses 1 Mwh of energy input and $180 of market inputs to produce 10 MWh of energy output

Technology B uses 1 Mwh of energy input and $600 of market inputs to produce 20 MWh of energy output

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