Current affairs, Past events & Future trends

The 21st century is seeing the impact of globalisation in many forms. International citizens of mixed parentage, universities promoting distance learning, affordable air flight and the digital and genetic revolutions.

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Saddam gone, who next?

Well I am back folks; as you know any occupation worth doing takes time. Even students who do not have the best reputation regarding this do have to put the effort in, allbeit just before deadline time. This is the cause of much caffeine intake or daytime TV intake, or simply web 'research'. Or blogging.

The big news was surely the confirmation - if we needed it at all - that Saddam Hussein was going to be brought down in the gallows, executed as much of the world thought he might. Hanging is not as easy as shooting by firing squad, it is a slower and more old-fashioned type of death. This is a rather perverse time to be analysing the pros and cons of technology, but in this case one wonders whether they should grant him his wish for a quick death. After all the Kurds want him dead and don't mind how this occurs.

Just over 3 years ago his statue was sent tumbling down. Now his actual flesh will be brought down below the ground to be buried. A lesson to all aspiring politicians; keep on the right side of the great powers and know when one's time is up. Hiding behind a computer screen with ego is in the long-term less risky than showing off in front of the media and country, whatever the merits or not of a particluar ruler's regime. Once you are of no use, it is time to move one, life is that harsh.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Track to top destination

Just remember that you heard it first here. The latest scheme by an ambitious entity has been revealed. The matter at hand concerns the way to pull up and over established giants. Anytime an organisation comes to prominence there is always a transfer of knowledge from forebearers. Wiping the slate totally clean in real life never really happens, apart from in the case of forgiveness from God through confession with the Catholic priest, naturally.

In the fight for hegemony amongst TNC's staff are constantly being lured by offers of greater benefits across the road from their employer's. As Trevor Bayliss puts well, the ubiquitous inventor, the process of innovation builds upon previous gains and progress. Indeed, the famous words attributed to a certain person probably were uttered by someone of a preceding generation, only to be put into a more memorable context by the great man now qouted.

So we see that China has stipulated the transfer of technology with every company it allows into the middle kingdom to build transport infrastructure. For the continental European and Canadian giants in the field looking to support the growth of the rail industry in the country, they need to provide access to some of their blueprints in exchange for access to the largest national market in the world.

Therefore do not be surprised to see the 'made in south East Asia' label to be appended to large locomotives. Imagine that; one year providing the trains to China, then the next receiving similar vehicles back but better from the former recipient turned developer.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Wow! Technology, industry

As you read through the regular posts, you may have noticed a regular trend that appears throughout this website. I, and many others, are big believers in the power of technology. Remember this does not just mean the latest MP4 player, G3 enabled mobile phone or sleek new gadget. There exists technology in all areas where innovation is let loose to confront problems and take the load off the common man. It makes life a great deal more tolerable. The truth of the matter concerns the technology we have just described. For economists technology is society's pool of knowledge regarding the industrial and agricultural arts. So this derives the techniques in use and directs the use of scientific knowledge, setting a limit on the amount and types of goods that can be put out from a specific total of resources.

That technology is flexible is being utilised in the disposal industry. One may throw away stuff carelessly but this stuff has to go somewhere (unless of course it is in one's backyard). Indeed the pile up of waste is such a problem that there are regular world summits and now some of it is shipped to poorer parts of the world to be dismantled to the detriment of many a downtrodden worker. The latest is that garbage usually headed for the landfill site may be incinerated to release gas to power stations; in fact the actual energy produced in the process of burning can more than maintain the station itself. This is not to even mention biofuels that can be drawn in to extract valuable energy.

The plans to do this for a much greater percentage of waste is ready. And of course much of it originates or is perfected on computers. As in this piece of work. Whether you wish to subscribe the first verb or the latter one is down to you.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Fired up


Energy is required of all living creatures in order to survive. More specifically, electricity is the lifeblood of most of the world today in many forms. Of course, electricity is a series of pulses of energy sent down a cable of some sort, and is created from natural resources from the ground, or increasingly from nuclear or even renewable sources such as the sun. If you have noticed there has been consolidation in this sector of the past couple of years, with Europe seeing the rise of so-called 'national champions' who dominate their area in the home country and beyond. The European Commission wants - amongst other things - greater unison between energy corporations on a Europe-wide scale. This may have something to do with the greater strength of Russian counterparts and the need to also balance on the other side US power.

It then comes as a surprise when with these accepted facts in mind as regards national proctectionsim that some organisations see fit to deny its existence. The energy market is controlled in part by State-backed companies that prevent other national firms from taking too great a stake. Germany was asked to give up the 'golden share' it holds in Eon. However, the issue of this was disputed by the supplier itself. For it said there was no golden share. So who is right?

The humour abounds in the broadsheets and online news. One can be sometimes unsure of the actual truth. The globe is warming, or is it just part of a short-term cycle? Of course, the many blogs out there are quite truthful; I leave you to figure out which ones.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Lubricate the wheels of government

Human resources are not enough to deal with the issue of natural resources. As the planet becomes apparently more polluted and less forthcoming when it comes to new oil fields, it appears the best politicans can do is bluff and bluster. Some amazing statistics come to the fore when reading up on such matter. The United States is still the big player when it comes to consuming oil for the gas-guzzling cars, but China is coming in at a close second (like in everything these days it seems). China itself is using dirty coal for the majority of its energy needs. It gets better. The remainder is from oil, that well known cleaner alternative...but the government has a great trick up its sleeve: building many new nuclear power stations. Not quite what the environmentalists and conservatists had in mind, but oh well.

In the minds of many the motor car industry has so much clout that they do not wish to see a switch away from gasoline - ditto the oil industry - that may threaten their sales. There does exist many alternatives, not least sugar. Yes, rather than eat it, one can configure engines to consume a derivative of it. The highlight of the series of reports had to be the Swedish government coming out with a white paper titled 'making the nation oil free'. In fact upon closer inspection of the document, the actual aim is just to reduce oil dependence as opposed to getting rid of all oil use. Please explain what the difference is, someone.

It must have seemed much more simple in the old days just after the Middle Ages when one of the European regents ordered oil from the Latin American region, the first oil 'trade'. How times change.

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