Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Property Tax Proportionality and Sustainability


Property Tax

Recent reports suggest the Irish Government are planning a property tax that could place a burden on the average household of between €500 and €900 per year.

Joined-up-thinking, on the other hand, might suggest that a property tax should be proportional to income.

So, for instance, a TD (member of the Irish Parliament) on a basic of €93,000 plus their embarrassingly high levels of allowances and expenses that comes to €123,000, should pay 3 times the amount that a person earning €40,000 is asked to pay, and 6 times that of someone on €20,000.

Earn or Own More - Pay More

A High Court judge on €240,000 should pay no less than 12 times what a person on €20,000 is expected to pay for a similar type of property.

If the rate was set at €100 per year for a household on €20,000. The High Court judge's household should be charged €1,200 for a similar property.

If this type of proportionality and ethical balance was to be generally achieved, there would be much less resistance from the general population. Unfortunately the opposite has almost always applied.

In the much maligned Black Economy there is a high degree of proportionality in pricing. The known rich will often be charged a good deal more. There is lot to be said for some aspects of a black economy, without it in the 1980ies, a time of 35% VAT, much of the Irish retail and service industry would have ground to a halt.

Bottom line, the rich are NOT paying their fair share, The imbalance will eventually cause a tip-over effect.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Recession Statistics Ireland


30% Increase in 
Stress and Depression
in Children

 As if we needed any further proof of the severe damage to society being caused by the recession / depression - coupled with the perceived gross imbalances in our society, and further aggravated by the almost complete lack of moral leadership in the country, we now have presented to us a shocking new statistic regarding our children.

Mental Health Problems in Children up 30%

According to reports, mental health problems in children are up by 30% over the last two years. The recession is pointed to as being the prime factor driving this tragedy.

The problems presenting to clinics include social dysfunction, withdrawal symptoms, and depression.

An increase in the stress experienced in households affecting parental relationships and spilling over onto their children, is seen as the major factor.

Just to remind you of a few of the other depressing and truly shocking indicators of a deeply imbalanced and dysfunctional society.

An up-dated listing of various statistics:

(increased 42% in 5 years 2005 to 2010)
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE up from 2010 to 2011 by 15%
(11,000 women and children sought refuge in 2011 according to SAFE organisation).
UNEMPLOYMENT has increased by 352%
( from 4.2% in 2007 to 14.8% by October 2012)
UNEMPLOYMENT among 15 to 24y group nationally stands at 39%
UNEMPLOYMENT in the 15 to 25y group in some areas is at 74%
HOUSE BUILDING homes built 8,488 has dropped over 90% since 2006 at 93,000, and is 20% down in one year.
BUSINESS INSOLVENCIES Up 13.30% from 2010.
(1,684 companies failed in 2012 alone)
FUEL POVERTY, (the decision to Eat or Heat) estimated to affect 40% of citizens
FOOD POVERTY in 2010 was estimated to be at 10%
FOOD PRICES have risen by an average of 12% in the last two years.
HOMELESSNESS up by as much as 45% in Dublin.
(from 70 in 2010 to a current estimate of as much as 101)
RETAIL SALES are down by 5.50%
SUICIDES are up in 2011 from 2010 by 7%
TRUST in the Irish Government in a recent survey fell to a mere 20%
POLITICIANS are the 2nd least trusted profession in Ireland.
(Only 14% of Irish people trust politicians - I wonder why?  How about 26 TDs, members of the Irish Parliament, each claimed €5,000 expenses for August - when there are no sittings of the House)
DISPOSABLE INCOME SURVEY: 1.60 million Irish have €50 or less left each month after paying for essentials. In other words, roughly 36% of the Irish population have disposable income of €600 or less per year.
DISPOSABLE INCOME in lower income groups effectively down by nearly 19%

By contrast the imbalance in incomes:
INCOME FOR TOP IRISH EARNERS is up on average by over 4%
DUBLIN CITY MANAGER salary €190,000
COUNTY MANAGERS salary €153,260

Compare salaries:


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

SuperCapacitor UltraCapacitor Super Battery EEstor Vapourware


Lots of Hype 
But Years On

It would seem, looking at the energy storage development outfits several years on,  that the Ultra-Super-Capacitor and Super-Duper Battery which have been hyped and promised to us - are most probably in the "Vapour-ware" category. 

It looks to me like that the product of these companies is not actually physical, material or solid products, but rather cubic miles of hot vaporous hype, essentially investment and grant money attracting devices.

I have sort of tired of following these vapour wares, and given up on some of the BullSh** manufacturers like EEstor, Ecolocap etc.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Electricity from Sewage and Waste Water


Tiny Lab Test Sewage Fuel Cell

Electricity from Sewage

Up till now sewage and other waste water was treated by an activated sludge system or by anaerobic digestion methods. The anaerobic method produces methane, which in turn can be used to drive generators. The final dry waste product is almost sterile and can be used as organic fertiliser

Recently a science team at Oregon State University - led again, I am glad to say, by a woman - Professor Hong Liu, have developed a microbial “fuel cell” that can produce electricity directly from sewage and other waste water.

(I wrote some time ago about another lady scientist Ms Wang Qian who is working in Singapore on a revolutionary membrane for use in super-capacitors. I wonder how this is developing - must check it out!)

This ability of microbes has been known for a long time but the new approach can achieve 10 to 50 more times the electricity than previously possible.

The research team believe their microbial fuel-cell method could eventually change the way that waste water is treated all over the world.

Professor Hong Liu is seen holding a jar of "fuel", she believes the system will work on a commercial scale and will turn sewage treatment, currently a net energy user, into an energy producer.

The team reckon that their method works more efficiently than the current alternative; anaerobic digestion to producing methane. It doesn’t have any of the environmental drawbacks of anaerobic digestion such as hydrogen sulphide production or the possible release of methane to the atmosphere.

The “sewage” fuel-cell technology cleans the waste differently, bacteria oxidize the waste and in so doing produce electrons that activate the fuel cell creating electricity. Almost any type of organic waste material can be used to produce power.

The next big – big step for the team is actually getting it to work in the real world, and at a reasonable cost.

Good luck to you guys.


Thursday, August 09, 2012

Chimney Dampers Draught Excluders


Chimney Sheep
yea you read it right

Last December I wrote a post on heat loss from chimneys and covered some of the ideas available with which to block off unused open chimneys.


I had a note from Sally Phillips who runs a business called "Chimney Sheep" telling me of a cute and simple idea - a removable damper made of sheepswool felt, They come in a variety of sizes and shapes to fit most chimneys. Sally will even make up a special if you have an unusual chimney.

I don't usually give plugs to business' on this site - I get many requests - However, Sally's little industry caught my fancy and I am all for giving the small guy and cottage industry a leg-up if possible. Sally is making no special claims for this idea. It is simply a chimney stopper -  for unused chimneys - that will effectively stop the chimney behaving like a giant vacuum cleaner sucking up air and thus save a lot of heat - especially on windy winter nights.

Here is a link to Sally's web site:



Sunday, August 05, 2012

HSE Robbery Wasting Millions


Huge State Enema
Better Title for this Monster
As They Flush Our Money 
Down the Toilet

The Irish Health Service HSE are costing the Irish taxpayer some 12 times more for drugs than the generic equivalents purchased by the British Health Service are costing UK tax payers.

One example given in reports says the HSE pays 37 Euro for generic Plavix, a blood thinning medicine, while the British NHS is paying only 3 Euro for exactly the same medicine.

To add insult to injury, a completely half-arsed excuse for this immoral situation is offered by the Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers of Ireland. They say the reason for the 34 Euro difference is because generic drugs have a low market share in Ireland and that the Irish Medicines Board have ruled that manufacturers have to package their wares in a unique way for Ireland. Oh you don't say?

OMG I am bursting a gut here with the anger I feel for these useless, immoral shysters, complete wasters, rip-off merchants - that run the Irish public services – a line from an old movie comes to mind - - "Try 'em and hang 'em high".

TREASON: A violation of allegiance to one's country. The betrayal of a trust, a breach of faith, or an act of treachery.
This disgraceful and immoral behaviour IMHO amounts to nothing less than TREASON in the current climate.


Saturday, August 04, 2012

Spanish Parliamentarians Shame the Irish


Well Done Spain
If only Ireland could show
The Same Moral Backbone

I have just been reading the news that 64 out of 85 of Spain's previous government members have not taken their end of term hand-outs or pension sums, thus saving Spain about €5,000.000.

Five million is no more than a spit in the wind - but that is not the point here. It is NOT the money that counts - it is the honour, decency, ethics, morals, and backbone that has been demonstrated that gains my respect.

Wonder if the Spanish action could possibly embarrass the Irish crowd of greedy shysters into making a similar gesture?

I suggest that the Irish Dáil vote to take a 50% cut in their excessive salaries and to cap their immoral expenses - they just might then gain some respect and backing from the people.


Friday, August 03, 2012

Shopping for a Nuclear Reactor the AP1000


Window Shopping
A Nuclear Reactor

In the run up to some posts I am planning on a newer, cheaper, smaller, and purportedly much safer nuclear reactor type using Molten Fluoride Salt and the element Thorium, I am,  by way of comparison, doing a bit of window shopping on current reactors.

The Westinghouse AP1000

Today I am taking a look at the Westinghouse AP1000 - a monster reactor - at a monster price.

The above picture is one of the lower half of the containment vessel. Those are not Umpa-Lumpas or ants in white suits below, they are the construction workers.

Here is another picture of the containment bowl - you can gain a perspective from the worker on the cherry picker lift. An aircraft carrier would not have construction as heavy as this baby.

Why the BOMB PROOF casing?

The question immediately comes to my mind is; "why the need for a virtual bomb proof casing?" And the answer that immediately comes to mind is; "because it is housing a BOMB - a nuclear bomb"

Well actually there are TWO bombs involved. One is the reactor itself which can easily go into Run-Away reaction causing a meltdown with possible explosions. The other is the pressurised water system. In order to get enough umph to drive turbine generators they pressure the water to a very high degree, so that temperatures reach several hundreds of degrees Celsius.

Piping that presupposes an explosion

With water / steam at these enormous pressures, you have a bomb on your hands. Have a look at the pipes needed for an AP1000, and ask yourself why such exceedingly thick metal.

Metal pipes that thick immediately suggest cannon guns to my mind, Cannon guns suggest massive explosive force.

So if you were shopping for a gas cooker - would you be happy about a design that has 3" three inch thick metal piping and had to be housed in a massive bomb proof container?

Maybe I will hold off on buying the AP1000!!