Monday, July 30, 2012

Thorium Reactors


Thorium Reactors
Real or Imaginary Proposition?

I signaled some weeks ago that I would be writing a post or series of posts on a safer form of nuclear energy using the element Thorium.

I have not forgotten about this - the reason for the delay is that I am taking some time to read up a bit more thoroughly on the subject. There is a great deal of material and differing opinions about the effectiveness, the safety, even the viability of this nuclear reactor type. It is therefore appropriate for me to signal some further weeks of reading time before I kick my ball into the field.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Ireland Hard Hit - Blog 500,000 Hits


When I started six years ago, I did not envisage the day when this blog would reach the half million hits. This evening it just rolled past that signpost.

While considering the blog statistics with some small degree of satisfaction, I could not but react to recent Irish national statistics with a growing sense of impending gloom and doom.


UNEMPLOYMENT among 15 to 24 year olds  =   39%

UNEMPLOYMENT 15 - 25y group some areas =  74%

RETAIL SALES are down by = 5.50%

SUICIDES are up by =  7%

TRUST, BELIEF, and HOPE in the Irish Government fell to a mere =  20%

DISPOSABLE INCOME for the less well off is DOWN by almost = 19%

While INCOME FOR THE FAT CATS is up by over 4%

It's a gloomy outlook - especially when one considers the almost complete lack of mindful measures being taken to re-balance the situation, coupled with the sad dearth of clear moral leadership.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

SolidMax F Multi-Fuel Boiler


 An Initial Look
At Another Multi-Fuel Boiler

Econ Fuels Monavalley Industrial Estate Tralee are now agents for a number of solid fuel boilers, this part of the business is now called Econ Boilers.

I had a look some months ago at an insitu and working Cetik triple pass steel boiler which I found quite impressive in its efficiency and design. It is a semi-automatic multi-fuel boiler. It is quite a large piece of machinery and need to be housed in a garage or boiler-house.

The latest addition to the Econ range is a cast iron sectional multi-fuel boiler called the SolidMax F. This is a much tidier size of boiler with the flue outlet in the more conventional position at the back of the unit. It therefore could be accommodated in tighter spaces in boiler houses and garages etc.

The castings appear to be of good quality and it has a very heavy-duty cast  grate - which can be simply and easily replaced when the time comes.

The boiler is made by Adarad in Turkey and that fact alone might suggest a better quality of metal and casting.

Price in approximately €1400, which is very reasonable for a 37Kw boiler. The rating of 37Kw max. is given when using coal the output when firing kiln dried hard wood is 27Kw max.

Econ Boiler are now on-line at
Adarad Manufacturers are at


Monday, July 16, 2012

Political Ireland Indebted and Socially Imbalanced State


The Earth is Rumbling

I hear an ECHO of my voice!
Others are as Grievously Angered
At Irish Injustice

The rich - poor divide in Ireland is widening considerably - like an ominous crack in the Earth's crust. So says Social Justice Ireland a membership based organisation, with a Catholic priest and a nun at the helm, and operating a sort of moral and ethical think-tank on social issues.

They scrutinised a recently published set of figures from the CSO (central statistics office) and concluded the following:

(1) Disposable income -- cash left after paying taxes etc. -- fell by 18.6% over the year for the least well-off households.
(2) While it rose by over 4% for the high earners and better off.

Social Justice Ireland calculated that, on average, the top 10% of the population received almost 14 times more disposable income than the poorest 10%.

Figures for 2010 indicate that the poorest households had a disposable income of only €174 per week or €8,900 per year, while, by way of an insult to them, the richest had no less than €2,369 per week or €123,500 per year. Dail deputies and government members would be in the top earners!

In a published statement Father Healy, the Social Justice Ireland Chairman, said: "There is something profoundly wrong with Government decisions that produce this lop-sided distribution of income favouring the richest when Ireland's poor and middle-income people struggle to make ends meet in these extremely difficult times" 

I would fully agree with the findings of Social Justice Ireland and I think the moral and ethical lead should come from the Government and members of the Irish Legislature by their taking a voluntary 50% cut in their inappropriately high salaries, and by the capping their immoral expenses at say €10,000 of receipted expenses per year.

These actions would not save a great amount of money - but they would give a badly needed moral lead to a demoralised Ireland.

Time - for taking moral action is, I believe, fast running out. If the sickening imbalances are not dealt with rapidly - we may well see civil disobedience, targeting of the rich, and rioting in the streets.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Irish Politics Gombeenism and Joined-up Thinking


The Irish Department of Public Expenditure and Reform - the same one I stupidly expressed some hope in - has issued plans to cut the numbers of public sector workers by a further 4000. Putting 4000 more people out of work and adding to the dole queues - sounds like a great plan?

Don't suppose there was any real consideration of cutting down on the over generous conditions, wages, benefits, and pensions in the Public Sector, and use the savings to perhaps actually add to the numbers of those employed. But that would strain the Public Sector brain too much - and on top of that you would have the "Privileged" and "Entitled" classes start to scream in anger at being dispossessed - and that can never be allowed to happen.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Recession Depression Suicide Irish Politics



The Irish Economy is DOWN, and the number of Suicides in Ireland is UP. Up 7% on last year, in fact. And, of course, last years figure was also up on previous years.

It's not rocket science - put people under severe financial stress and take away their hope - and you will get massive increases in depression and suicides.

I wonder then could those people, bankers, legislators, etc., who caused the recession in Ireland to be so severe by their actions or inactions, be actually tried for manslaughter?

No doubt what worsens the pain and anger is seeing the fat cats get away with so much and the over large membership of the Irish Legislature pay themselves more than handsomely and award themselves MASSIVE expenses. The same is true of all those protected Public Sector jobs with guaranteed incomes and pensions. Can this slap in the face to those so badly affected by the economy really be allowed to continue?


Monday, July 09, 2012

Law Makers & Peasants + Angela Merkel & Enda


Enda Kenny 
Angela Merkel
Immoral Imbalances
Can't resist this Rant

Irish motor tax is costing me 7 cent per Km. That is because I own an 8 year old 2L diesel and travel some 10,000Km a year.  The road tax even if I do not move it from my driveway is 660Euro a year.

That is on top of 51% tax loading on every drop of fuel, plus the original cost of a car has no less than 42% tax added.

If cars were a luxury it might then be acceptable to tax it at these levels, but in rural Ireland, with no adequate public transport, it is IMPOSSIBLE to live and work without the use of a car.

If I had enough money to buy a new car, I could get away with half the road tax or less - another Catch 22!  Because I have not got money, I cannot save money - Gee I wonder what is wrong with that system?


I find it inappropriate, perhaps even illegal, and nothing short of immoral that a National Legislature can vote it's own salaries, salaries paid regardless of attendance or performance, they also vote their own embarrassingly high expenses. This and other factors has made our National Legislature nothing more than a self-serving institution.

I find it highly immoral and offensive that members of the Irish parliament can claim up to 37,000 Euro in travel expenses, while, at the same time, not allowing a PAYE worker claim for the cost of running a car which is 100% needed in order to get to work.


Enda Kenny gets €200,000, while Angela Merkel with 10 times the responsibility and a huge country and economy to worry about gets €220,000. No wonder then that Enda gets short shrift when coming with the poor mouth or begging cap in hand.


Ireland has serious and immoral imbalances between the top earners and the bottom. Public servants are, for the most part, overpaid, over privileged, and under-worked. So are members of Parliament, the Judiciary, and many professionals in the professional power groups like legal and medical muscles. Top those imbalances off with the really rich who can afford to have accountants and legal teams helping them to dodge most of the taxes they are morally bound to pay, and you have a very unsteady system.


Saturday, July 07, 2012

Winter Fuel 2012-13 Oil -Gas - Electricity - Coal?


What Will You Heat
Your Home With
Winter 2012-13?

In Ireland we can expect heating oil prices this winter to be at around €1 per litre - a fill of oil costing close on €1000. Electricity price are set to rise also. So what is the trend for winter fuel?

AFAIK there is no official indicator of the domestic fuel type trends. However, from my quite limited perspective, I see a massive move towards solid fuel boilers, ranges, insets, and stoves.

Why do I think this move to solid fuel might be happening? There are I think two main factors driving the trend:

(1)  Price. The price of oil has generally increased the last couple of years, with a minor, and no doubt - short lived dip recently. On top of the world price, Ireland has 12% VAT and a double whammy in the last two years of Carbon Tax. Personally, I moved away from oil completely last winter because of price but found solid fuel giving better comfort as well as lower costs.

(2) Supply. Those of us who lived through the two oil crisis will be, forever more, wary of the supply chain for oil. Unless you have massive tanks and a big wad of money to store up a full year or more of oil, you are at the mercy of (a) wars, (b) speculators, (c) weather, and other factors which could leave you without deliveries. You are also at the mercy of the oil companies and one cannot trust them to be anything other than profit making giants.

Solid fuels have a distribution system along much less central lines, and therefore better prices and deals are to be had.

With multi-fuel solid fuel systems that can burn just about anything, and you know you can keep some sort of heat going. Additionally, you can stack bags of coal just about anywhere, and the low-life scum that steal oil are much less likely to take the effort, time and trouble to steal coal.

A Winter's Supply in hand

With solid fuel, you are not forced into buying large amounts. You can buy a few bags when you have the cash throughout the summer and stockpile for the winter in easy stages. Those in the countryside can stock up on logs throughout the warm months.


Wednesday, July 04, 2012

The Foundations of Irish Stability are Crumbling


Trust is the Foundation 
of Every Successful Relationship

Ireland Seriously Lacks Trust

A fascinating, revealing and recently published survey by the Edelman Trust Barometer has come up with some rather shocking findings for Ireland.

The dogs in the street know that the people's trust in politicians and in the process of government has taken some severe knocks in recent years. A survey published only months ago shows that a mere 15% of Irish citizens actually trust politicians. This means that the country is being run by the 2nd least trusted group of professionals. The parliament can only hold respect and trust from 15% of the citizens. That would be unsustainable in any business setting!!

Wanker Banker

However one profession shines out (maybe that should read CRAPS OUT) at lower than even the political - bog snorkeling - low-hitters - and that group are the bankers. A mere 6% of people trust this lot of hood-winking shysters.

Some of the Published Results

  • People's trust in the Irish government is at an extreme low of just 20%.
  • Citizen's belief and trust in the system of government fell 11% since 2009.
  • The world average is 52%.
  • Ireland at 11% trust level in government is at the bottom of 23 countries that were surveyed.
  • Trust in the business sector is also low in Ireland, although there has been some increase in confidence.
  • Some 82% of the people surveyed believe that business has to be regulated by strict laws which in turn are equipped with adequate teeth in order to ensure ethical and responsible behaviour.
The People's Solutions

For government and business to regain any sort of trust the following were the top rated prerequisites given by Irish respondents

  • That Government and Banking take full responsibility for the crisis (85%),
  • That actions are taken to protect the welfare and safety of customers and employees (81%) 
  • That Government and other Institutions openly communicate about the extent of the crisis (81%).
With both the Irish legislature and the Irish banking system so terribly low in the public's perception, it begs the question: Is Ireland crumbling like Rome did? Rotting from the core?