* Posts by Ben Wilson

4 posts • joined 22 May 2009

BBC iPlayer to require TV licence

Ben Wilson

Ex-pat's opinion.

I've moved to Canada. Here they have a couple of under-funded state state TV stations and a load of commercial channels (5 mins of adverts every 10 mins etc). Unless you've got PVR to weed out the good stuff from the mountains of crap, it's hardly worth having a TV.

There are a lot of shit things about the UK (which is why I left) but the BBC isn't one of them.

I would quite happily pay the license fee just to get i-Player, 4-OD etc. It would cost less than subscribing to a cable network and you'd get more decent stuff to watch.

The myth of Britain's manufacturing decline

Ben Wilson

A little dishonest.perhaps?

Since economic output grows exponentially, the real impact of manufacturing upon it ought to be measured as a proportion of GDP, not stated as a number of units. As an economist, he should know better.

As Worstall says, manufacturing has become more productive as technology improves and this has led to an absolute increase in the amount of units produced. But this is true for all areas of the economy. If you assume that the economy is growing at the same time, the graph looks more like a slowing manufacturing sector up to the 1970s as industry fails to update its technology, and then an progressive marginalisation of manufacturing as we move to a service based economy.

I'd be interested to see what the GDP adjusted graph would look like, and perhaps some time series from somewhere like Germany, where they modernised their technology rather than changed the basis of their economy.

Audi working on electric R8?

Ben Wilson

@Jason, @dai, @Jason McQueen

The turbines in power stations are around 40% efficient, the internal combustion engine 18% efficient. So if you just burned petrol (not renerables or nuclear) in the power station and lost half your energy in power transmission, charging/discharging the battery etc (a reasonable assumption) you'd still be doing better than an internal combustion engine. In addition, you'd have an engine that provided maximum torque over a far greater range of revs (so fewer gears) and of course it would be clean and quiet.

E-cars are a dangerous myth, says top boffin

Ben Wilson

36% efficiency not bad compared with internal combustion engine

IC engines have around 15% efficiency, so even if you lost half of the energy generated at the power station in the supply network, you're still doing better with an electric engine. Also, electric engines are quieter, cleaner, more powerful and don't need any particular kind of fuel.

So while, of course, the current set of govt initiatives are probably bollocks, no doubt the result of lobbying from the car industry, there is nothing wrong with the technology.


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