Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Nothing to see here ... which is to say, just Loydie of the Amazon, a standard Tuesday groaning, and an ancient bit of kit from the bromancer ...


The gift that keeps on giving ...

The pond is sure John Brack wouldn't mind, and soon enough the pond might be dropping into the NGV to revive fond memories. (Naturally going by way of Collins street).

In other news, the pond had a win last night ... for some reason, the pond's logarithms last night threw up (the pond uses the words precisely) the latest Guy Ritchie movie. It looked 1080, it sounded good, and it ran ad free, what with the miscreant who did it not wanting to leave any trace. 

The pond loathes Guy Ritchie movies, and sure enough, this was down there with the worst of them, ersatz sub-Quentin and Morricone - there was even whistling - and a defamatory Churchill imitation, and nonsense about the brave British in a glib, nonsensical way that defamed the original British fighters who embarked on the real raid. 

Yet the pond watched to the bitter end, way past midnight, two hours of ahistorical adventure for boys gibberish, as a form of payback. If Ritchie was on kickers, maybe the whole sending up of the YouTube system might have cost him a ha'penny, and the pond was pleased to play its role, even though the temptation to tear out eyes grew stronger with each passing frame ...

Meanwhile, the reptiles had yet again managed to ignore the trial of the century thus far, and the war in Ukraine, but did at least note that several war criminals were in the ICC sights, with Benji doing a comical L'État, c'est moi, it's anti-Semitism, routine ...

Both sides involved in the genocide got agitated, which has to be a win ... per the pond's Haaretz daily news briefing ...

  • PM Netanyahu called the ICC move an "outrage," saying its equivalence between Israel and Hamas was an example of the "new antisemitism that has crossed from campuses in the West to the court in The Hague."
  • War cabinet minister Benny Gantz said that "Placing the leaders of a country that went into battle to protect its citizens, in the same line with bloodthirsty terrorists – is moral blindness."
  • Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid condemned Khan's announcement as a "disaster," and voiced hope that the U.S. Congress would convene and condemn the move.
  • President Isaac Herzog said the decision was "beyond outrageous, and shows the extent to which the international judicial system is in danger of collapsing."
  • Far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said the ICC move was "a display of hypocrisy and Jew-hatred" that "we haven't seen since Nazi propaganda."
  • Hamas criticized the application for arrest warrants against its leaders, saying the "decision compares the victim to the executioner and encourages the occupation to continue its war of extermination."

Meanwhile, the IDF was promising at least another six months of fighting, or ongoing genocide if you will.

A pox on the lot of the genocidal lot of them; if only there were a few more failing choppers to take out a few more homicidal theocrats ...

Domestically, in mid-winter, the reptiles had already begun to offer "summer fears" as their featured item.

The pond was well over it and looked below for relief, only for things to get worse ...

Not a Tuesday groaning, not the bro repeating himself yet again, not ancient Troy still blathering about the Hawke/Keating years, not simplistic "here a conflict of interest" Simon talking about the lights going out as if the country was in the blitz ...

But at least Lloydie of the Amazon had returned to sort things out ... 

These were the first words to dribble from his keyboard since the 12th of April, the twelfth of never, a long long time, and so it was sure to be a mighty effort ... especially with a terrifying snap of a whale-killing windmill to set him off ...

Actually the situation has become so dire that the pond couldn't help but note this story ...

And so on,  while over at Crikey, the keen Keane and the devilish Dyer were having fun ... Dutton’s nuclear would spike electricity bills when (if) they start in the 2040s. (paywall)

...That means consumers have faced a total 9.6% increase in electricity costs to pay for the new reactors.
That’s not modelling or estimates — that’s cold hard cash that American consumers are having to fork out, every quarter, forever, to pay for nuclear power.
Who would bear the cost of the inevitable budget blowouts of Dutton’s reactors? There is literally no major infrastructure project in Australia in recent years that has not experienced major cost blowouts. Consumers would be looking at similar increases in their power bills as the residents of Georgia — or higher.
This is why, as the IEA said, “no nuclear reactors are under construction now in the United States”. American electric utilities have learned from Vogtle’s delays, cost overruns, regulatory problems and massive lift in power costs for consumers. They have shelved plans for 24 other reactors proposed between 2007 and 2009.
The much-vaunted — by the Coalition — NuScale small modular reactor in Idaho was abandoned earlier this year amid cost blowouts that saw the likely consumer price of electricity produced by the plant rise by more than 50% to US$89/MWh. Two half-built reactors under construction in South Carolina were abandoned in 2017.
Westinghouse, whose technology is used in the Vogtle 4 station, is focused on trying to sell its reactor design abroad, as Americans come to realise that, even despite having had a nuclear power industry since the 1950s, more nuclear power plants are too costly for consumers to wear. But the penny hasn’t dropped with Dutton and his media champions yet.

The second of two new nuclear reactors in Georgia has entered commercial operation, capping a project that cost billions more and took years longer than originally projected.
Georgia Power Co. and fellow owners announced the milestone Monday for Plant Vogtle’s Unit 4, which joins an earlier new reactor southeast of Augusta in splitting atoms to make carbon-free electricity.
Unit 3 began commercial operation last summer, joining two older reactors that have stood on the site for decades. They’re the first two nuclear reactors built in the United States in decades.
The new Vogtle reactors are currently projected to cost Georgia Power and three other owners $31 billion, according to calculations by The Associated Press. Add in $3.7 billion that original contractor Westinghouse paid Vogtle owners to walk away from construction, and the total nears $35 billion.
Electric customers in Georgia already have paid billions for what may be the most expensive pow.er plant ever. The reactors were originally projected to cost $14 billion and be completed by 2017...
...Regulators in December approved an additional 6% rate increase on Georgia Power’s 2.7 million customers to pay for $7.56 billion in remaining costs at Vogtle, with the company absorbing $2.6 billion in costs. That’s expected to cost the typical residential customer an additional $8.97 a month in May, on top of the $5.42 increase that took effect when Unit 3 began operating.
Even as government officials and some utilities are looking to nuclear power to alleviate climate change, the cost of Vogtle could discourage utilities from pursuing nuclear power. American utilities have heeded Vogtle’s missteps, shelving plans for 24 other reactors proposed between 2007 and 2009. Two half-built reactors in South Carolina were abandoned. But Westinghouse is marketing the reactor design abroad. China has said it will build more reactors using the design, while Bulgaria, Poland, Peter Dutton and Ukraine also say they intend to build nuclear power stations using the Westinghouse reactor.

Sorry,  the pond doesn't know how Captain Spud managed to make himself the story yet again, and as for Lloydie of the Amazon, he was a complete bust. 

To mangle a once famous comic, such wretched. words, and so few of them ....

Meanwhile, the track record of the planet, or the nuking of the country to save it, doesn't give the pond any confidence that things will improve anytime soon.

Before beginning the standard Groaning about immigration, the pond would like to apologise for running it. 

You see, each weekend the pond gets up very early to go to the supermarket, as a way of cutting down time in the hellhole. 

That means the pond keeps the company of many shelf-stackers, and to put it politely, not many of them are Anglo. There they are, beavering away, stacking shelves for a pittance, and what thanks do they get for it? Just a lot of groaning.

Later today, the pond will head off to RPA for a routine check up, and the chances of encountering lost remnants of a 1950s Australia are between none and nihil ...

The pond always likes to remember this when the old biddie starts on one of her bloody furriner rants ...

The reptiles offered lots of visual distractions ...

None of them stopped Dame Groan ... though Golding did capture the mood ...

The pond hasn't seen that sort of octopus since The Bulletin's glory days ...

Sorry, back to the groaning ... there are still three gobbets to go ...

Wilcox captured the deepest fears of the old biddie ...

How Dame Groan needs her scapegoats ...

Luckily around this point the old bigot began to run out of steam ...

Moving right along, the pond had one last duty for the day ... the bromancer bleating, for the umpteenth time, about defence ... so familiar that the pond decided it was like a recitation of the catechism ...

Could it be worse?

Well over in another place (paywall) they did have a dinosaur from the past doing the defence thingie ...

In that offering the ancient blatherer concluded grandly ...

In the 21st century, given the global nature of the threats democracies face, and the closer strategic integration of the Indo-Pacific with the Euro-Atlantic, the notion of proximity is becoming increasingly less relevant. While successful regional diplomacy is a self-evidently good thing, it must not come – and does not need to come – at the cost of neglecting our vital interests elsewhere in the world.
And although the core focus of AUKUS is the Pacific, it should not be forgotten that the key decisions of our two partners will be made in Whitehall and the Pentagon – in capitals on either shore of the Atlantic.

Whitehall! Rish! Oh the grand old days of empire ...

Meanwhile, perhaps realising that the bromancer was just going over old ground, the reptiles slipped in any number of visual distractions, including a gigantic snap of the liar from the Shire in hectoring, finger-pointing mood....

Getting them all out of the way didn't help ... the bromancer was determined to be unhappy ...though he did let slip his agitation at not being invited on to Insiders so he could bore everyone even sillier than the current crop of bores ...

Why does the pond do it? Why is the pond such a masochist?

There were other fun things to read ... like Erum Salam's story for the Graudian, ‘Scary’: public-school textbooks the latest target as US book bans intensify.

The wave of book bans sweeping the US, typically reserved for works of fiction deemed controversial, has hit textbooks used in public schools, marking the next step in Republicans’ war on education.
The board of trustees for the Cypress Fairbanks independent school district in Houston voted 6-1 earlier this month to redact certain chapters in science textbooks, including those about vaccines, human growth, diversity, and climate change.
The motion to remove the chapters was made by the board’s vice-president Natalie Blasingame and almost unanimously supported.
Blasingame, who has served on the board since 2021, did not give a specific explanation for the decision, but said the subjects go beyond what the state requires to teach and creates “a perception that humans are bad”.
Last year, the Republican-controlled state board approved textbooks for the schools’ science curriculums, rejecting several books on climate, so the local school district’s censorship of these textbooks is even more restrictive.

And so on, and the pond likes a good scare, but all the bromancer could offer was a standard serve of patented bro fear-mongering ...

Why doesn't the bro do comedy? Emma Beddington had a go at it in Free the fridges! Make dishwashers great again! US conservatives have odd priorities

...Energy efficiency – how dare they? Thankfully, the indefatigable wingnut, er, wing of the Republican party is on the case. I bring you, with boggle-eyed incredulity, news of the Hands Off Our Home Appliances bill, plus the Refrigerator Freedom and Liberty in Laundry bills. The aim of these extremely normal proposals is to restrict the Department of Energy’s freedom to set efficiency standards for domestic appliances. Because, presumably, reduced carbon emissions with the bonus of lower energy bills are an affront to American values?
But the names! “Liberty in Laundry” I keep repeating to myself, delightedly. I could get behind liberty from laundry, but for US laundry libertarians it’s a case of: give me a 90C (200F?) wash and the longest, least-efficient spin cycle going, or give me death. Then Refrigerator Freedom! Is it daubed with the stars and stripes, bellowing that they’ll never take its right to be coal-fired? My best guess is that the aides tasked with giving bills names are competing to see how far they can take it before their bosses notice. If they’re still playing, could I offer Make Dishwashers Great Again (the name of a real petition protesting about environmental standards)?
I’m laughing because it makes a change, and banging your head against a wall hurts. Climate scientists are “hopeless and broken”, torn between incredulity and the deepest despair at our continued collective inaction on climate breakdown as temperature records are broken monthly and marine life dies; a fifth of women in the sector are having fewer or no children, fearing for their future. But the real problem is being forced to pay less for energy and reduced exposure to environmental toxins?
I wish I thought British common sense would save us from similar ridiculousness but I’m dubious. The Daily Mail went incandescent at the phasing out of incandescents in 2009, trying to kick off a Great Lightbulb Revolt; we panic-bought high-voltage vacuum cleaners when they were about to be withdrawn and feared “Brussels” would come for our powerful kettles pre-Brexit. Although no labour-saving devices are involved, recent low-traffic network protests – opposing “the oppressive yoke of walkability” as Bloomberg put it – have the same irrationally self-sabotaging feel.

The pond was transfixed, swept back in time to the great light bulb wars that were doing the rounds way back when the pond started blogging.

It's been years since the pond thought of little Timmie Bleagh, and yet there he was still cluttering up the full to overflowing intertubes with a post from November 2009 moaning about energy-efficient light bulbs ...

They were great days with young Bleagh and Akker "Bunter" Dakker valiantly fighting to maintain the right to pay higher energy bills ...

Sorry, it's wrong to distract from the bro's urgent, terrifying message that he might not be able to mount his war with China by Xmas ...

Couldn't the bro try his hand at comedy just once?

Even the keen Keane had a go in Crikey ... (paywall) ...

...As an Anglophone culture in the age of the internet, Australia will inevitably share cultural conflicts with the US and the UK, but SDC says that potential has been stifled by the media and government policies.
“As Australia’s media environment is dominated by American culture war giant News Corp, it acts to suppress Australian-produced cultural conflicts in favour of cheaper, US-produced conflicts that the company imports in large numbers without regard to local conditions. Indeed, News Corp’s importation of US cultural wars may violate Australian anti-dumping laws and should be investigated by the Anti-Dumping Commission.”
According to the consultants, The Guardian acts as a similar vector for progressive culture warring, importing conflicts around abstruse identity issues and claims of privilege from elsewhere in the Anglophone world. “While not on the same industrial scale as News Corp, together it means that the Australian media environment is one in which genuinely local cultural conflict is difficult to find amid what, in other markets, would be termed ‘cheap imports’.”...
...The consultants urge the establishment of a $5 billion national culture war fund to subsidise the development of “an authentically Australian cultural conflict industry”. The fund would provide production subsidies for culture war content, concessional loans for producers and an innovative equity scheme in which producers of culture wars could share with government the ownership of the intellectual property of conspiracy theories, protest movements and campaigns of vilification.
The fund could lead to Australia generating over $10 billion a year in cultural conflict exports and 15,000 jobs across the information, media and professional services sectors, modelling commissioned for the report shows. Together with the “soft power” benefits of such an industry, this would lead to additional growth of 1.2% of GDP between now and 2050.

Surely this would sort out all the defence issues that bedevil the bromancer on almost a daily basis?

No? Never mind, stripped of his illustrations, the bro could manage just one final, small, short spurt of existential despair ...

The pond really must give up the vice. Apparently little boys grow hairs on their palms and little girls deflower their valuable badge ...

Sorry for that link, but whenever the pond reads the bromancer, for some reason the pond always thinks about wanking ...

And so to end with an infallible Pope, adding to either the comedy quotient or the despair for the day, depending on mood ...


  1. Here is the perfect gift for potential commanders of AUKUS - a submarine training simulator including preparation for Space Defence aka nukes in space.

    "Barotrauma is a 2D co-op submarine simulator – in space, with survival horror and RPG elements. Steer your submarine, complete missions, fight monsters, fix leaks, operate machinery, man the guns and craft items, and stay alert: danger in Barotrauma doesn’t announce itself!"

    You think I'm joking don't you. As players are able to engage in missions, machinery and preparedness "stay alert", it actually seems an excellent training tool. Can't survive a mission in Barotrauma, die in Viginia Class. A bargin.

  2. The oz war mongers and climate deniers need to read the latest update to ""Economics of National Security: Managing America’s Resources for Defense" by US President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, presented on April 27, 2023:
    "The US must ensure that it has the “capacity to produce and innovate, and to deliver public goods like strong physical and digital infrastructure and clean energy at scale.”

    Via nakedcapitalism links today. (thanks Lambert)
    "Seven decades later, this mode of thinking has become newly relevant, because it offers the necessary framework for operationalizing the “modern industrial and innovation strategy” that US President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, presented on April 27, 2023.

    "According to Sullivan, the US faces multiple, mounting economic- and national-security concerns, owing to its “hollowed out” industrial base, “a new environment defined by geopolitical and security competition,” an “accelerating climate crisis and the urgent need for a just and efficient energy transition,” and “the challenge of inequality and its damage to democracy.” All these problems demand “an economic mentality that champions building.” The US must ensure that it has the “capacity to produce and innovate, and to deliver public goods like strong physical and digital infrastructure and clean energy at scale.”

    1. It seems that there isn’t enough profit in the new ways of warfare to excite the animal spirits of the MIC.


  3. Perry and Joe: "Electricity users face a heightened risk of blackouts during peak demand in NSW and Victoria this summer..." But "this summer" is nearly 6 months away and we're about to enter "this winter" shortly. So are we Welshies and Vics about to suffer heaps of winter blackouts instead ?

  4. While I realise that the Dame rarely backs up her whinges with hard evidence - the occasional citation appears to be thrown in as an excuse for further groaning - I was particularly intrigued by this passage -
    >>There is also the very important issue of the diminution in the quality of the offerings for domestic students. They are commonly forced to undertake group assignments with international students with very poor language skills. They end up doing all the work, but the final mark is shared by the whole group. Last time I looked, degrees are awarded to individuals, not groups. There is also the issue of cheating, which is not well-controlled.>>

    I searched the remainder of her offering for any evidence in support of these claims. Nuthin’. No surprise there, but I expected at least an “I understand” or “anecdotal evidence indicates….”. I suppose that when you’re the Dame you simply expect that your prejudices will be accepted as fact.

  5. Oh yes indeed, "...the great light-bulb wars...". I remember them well, but not very many seem to remember them at all - a quick scan of the web found about zero mentions and unlike the phase-out of incandescents back then, hardly anybody has reacted to the phasing out of fluorescents now.

    But as you say, DP they were, and "still are, "fighting to maintain the right to pay higher energy bills..."

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AF8d72mA41M

    2. Yeah, thanks Anony. Gallium nitride forever 😃

      Anyway, re the light-bulb wars, my recall is that there were people buying up large numbers of incandescent globes so that they'd be able to keep on paying higher electricity bills for a long time to come. But they're a bit cheaper than stocking up on washing machines and fridges.

      Personally I always had a few incandescents in my cupboard as they were inclined to burn out moderately frequently. And of all those that I had when first the mini fluorescents came in. And how I still have a few incandescents (mostly a few 100W and some 60W) in my cupboard. Plus a few mini fluorescents as well, but I only use LEDs now, so they'll stay in my cupboard until I pass away, I suppose.

      Unless they become collector's items and I can flog then for some profit.

    3. From the same blogger


    4. The pond still has a commemorative 60w tungsten from a Tamworth Festival of Light, which is now a family heirloom, though a sale to little Timmie Bleagh couldn't be ruled out if he still yearns for that yellow glow, and if he's got the squillions required to acquire the treasure...

    5. Ah yes, Anony, the wonders of "planned obsolescence". But then, what would we do for wage paying employment without it ? And how will the everlasting LEDlight work out over a decade or five or a century or two ? The human invented 'economies' cannot function without a great deal of 'make work'. Which, when most of human work was about agriculture and farming, came naturally (at least in the days before motorised tractors and mechanised reapers and so forth), but we've now had to 'manufacture' it for well over a century - helped initially by the slow pace of developing human technology, but now we have to 'plan' how to keep ourselves in work (and profit) by bastardising our much too good technology.

      Incidentally, that one passing moment about the standardisation of the lightglobe screwin design: I've never used a screwin lightbulb in my life and I still don't. Just those 'click in' ones. I always took the screwin globes to be an American perversion.

    6. When obsolescence wasn't planned.
      "The Centennial Light is an incandescent light bulb, recognized as the oldest known continuously operating light bulb. It was first illuminated in 1901, and has only been turned off a few brief times since. It is located at 4550 East Avenue, Livermore, California, and is open to public viewing.[1]

      "Welcome to the homepage of the Centennial Bulb, the Longest burning Light Bulb in history. Now in its 120th year of illumination. For those of you coming here for the first time, feel free to explore the pages of our amazing little bulb, with pictures, stories, facts, and history"

  6. There are times when I wonder if there are several versions of ABC programs, because I have trouble recognising some of the comments about ABC programs when our esteemed hostess puts them up here.

    The Bro tells us that ‘ABC Insiders’ on Sunday came ‘With three highly competent panellists’. Not to go too far with ‘I tolja so’ - I did comment, on Sunday, that Phil Coorey, from ‘Fin’, was less coherent than the Sunday Chuckleheads on ‘Sky’, and offered no more searching analysis of the budget than fillers such as ‘it is what it is’. This might be more consistent with the Bro’s conclusion that the panel had not matched his own deep dive into defence projections, but it says little of his capacity to assess the work of other actual journos if he truly thinks that panel was ‘highly competent’, he is in the wrong trade. Hmm - actually, there is steady evidence that the Bro is not really fitted for any of the traditional ways of journalism.

    I guess his thought was that he had to get the mandatory shading of ABC into his column, and he would do it that way. Bro - maaate - Coorey comes from a media group similar to the one that publishes your words, and whose editor is steadily hauling it into the space that ‘Limited News’ doesn’t quite fill.

    Oh - against that, DP - thank you for 'Free the fridges'. This h'm'bl etc. did get several smiles from that lot.

    1. Chuckleheads ... a noble and useful word, not given its proper due ...

      The earliest known use of the noun chuckle-head is in the mid 1700s.
      OED's earliest evidence for chuckle-head is from around 1731–1800, in a dictionary by Nathan Bailey, lexicographer and schoolmaster.

      An oldie but a goodie especially when there's chuckles arising from your thoughts on the bro and the groaning ...

  7. For a few words there, Dame Groan came perilously close to offering comment from the broader field of economics, when she started a paragraph with ‘With blockages to any rapid increase in the supply of new housing - .’

    As with comment here about here sources of scuttlebutt that furrin’ students are free riders on group assignments, and (by means unspecified) share group degrees - a moment or three of the Dame’s precious time might have given us a list of those ‘blockages’. Of course, if she were to do that, and still follow the form of traditional economic discussion, she might have to show how the laughably generous ‘incentives’ to payers of income tax here, to persuade them to build housing ‘particularly for rent’, are achieving so little for housing.

    Those ‘incentives’ are continuing to reduce the tax ‘burden’ for those with incomes in the hundreds of thousand$. Perhaps Capt Spud would be prepared to put her in touch with his accountant so she could work with a real case study.

  8. Oh my, the times they are a-changin':

    The era of small government is ending. And Australians want to regain power ceded to the amoral forces of global capital


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