Star Trek “Beyond”

The Star Trek reboot movies have been criticised for not having the sense of exploration and philosophical idealism of the TV Series. Will “Beyond” be any different? It may. Not because a “Fast and Furious” director is on board, but because Simon Pegg is writing it.


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Tesla’s ‘secret plan’ working

Tesla has sold over 100,000 of their expensive Model S EV’s. In the first 24 hours of unveiling their $35,000 Model 3, they’re already sold over 100,000! Their secret plan of selling to the rich until they could afford to mass-produce for the middle class is working.
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EU Syrian swap pointless!

I don’t understand why the EU are sending Syrian asylum seekers back to Turkey only to collect another bunch from Turkey and bring them back to the EU! I originally thought this was about taking the economic migrants from Afghanistan or Iraq back, but it’s actually swapping Syrian for Syrian. If this is a Tony Abbott exercise in ‘Stopping the boats’ (presumably to save lives) then why not just stop any further boats, and build processing centres in Turkey? Why move Syrians back to Turkey where they will probably end up going through another processing centre only to come back again later on? And why oh why didn’t the west start a ‘policing action’ war against the Assad regime when this thing fell apart 5 years ago to prevent all this in the first place?
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Batman V Superman

Batman V Superman takes itself too seriously, tries to cover too much territory, doesn’t explain anything about Wonder Woman, and like all cross-overs, has the risk of combining too many HUGE characters into too short a span of time, reducing the all important character development. This reduces us to watching just another DC smash-fest in which we’re wondering, “Who’s that woman and where did she come from and what can she do? What can this big ugly monster do? Why didn’t DARPA or Google Alphabet pull apart Superman’s Kryptonian Scout ship to discover how to do something *really* useful like… fusion energy? Why did they give the Scout ship to a guy that had just appeared a little psychotic and unbalanced at a public library function? And, when these main heroes suffer in battle, why do I feel like I’m just watching a cool Youtube special effects demonstration rather than an actual blockbuster movie? Why don’t I *care*?”
Now watch Ben Affleck’s face as he realises he’s in another shocker. So sad. So much superhero potential, so much blandness. The only good thing for me was seeing the end of “Man of Steel” through Bruce Wayne’s eyes and realising what petty little ants us human beings were in that titanic battle… how frightening Superman was. But with the lack of true character development, and their whole titanic struggle bouncing off “Why did you say Martha?”, I’m wondering if this movie will even breakeven?

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Eco-modernists attack Bernie Sanders!

Last week, Breakthrough’s Director of Research argued against Bernie Sanders’ alleged climate goals. As Nordhaus wrote for USA Today, Sanders would shut down nuclear power plants and ban fracking nationally — two actions that would increase, not decrease, carbon emissions. Sanders also relies on much-discredited modeling for a 100% renewables vision of the future. Nordhaus’ op-ed was covered by David Unger at the Christian Science Monitor who wrote that more inclusive climate strategies that include natural gas and nuclear might be enough to win conservatives over to climate action.
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Great eclipse!

Given my blogname, a friend sent me this. It’s so eerie, like the times we live in I guess.


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Norway used their oil resource well

Australia’s resource boom could have invested in a permanent, constitutionally protected Sovereign Wealth Fund for all time. The world’s best example of a SWF is Norway. They realised their oil resource was a singular gift that only one generation would profit from unless they taxed it, and invested that tax in a constitutionally protected SWF where no politician could touch the capital investment for all time. They can only live off the profits. *All* future generations will have that *bit* more to play with because of Norway’s wise investment strategy. They now have the largest SWF in the world, and all future generations will enjoy the interest on $855 billion. As the wiki says:

SWFs are typically created when governments have budgetary surpluses and have little or no international debt. It is not always possible or desirable to hold this excess liquidity as money or to channel it into immediate consumption. This is especially the case when a nation depends on raw material exports like oil, copper or diamonds. In such countries, the main reason for creating a SWF is because of the properties of resource revenue: high volatility of resource prices, unpredictability of extraction, and exhaustibility of resources.

There are two types of funds: saving funds and stabilization funds. Stabilization SWFs are created to reduce the volatility of government revenues, to counter the boom-bust cycles’ adverse effect on government spending and the national economy. Savings SWFs build up savings for future generations. One such fund is the Government Pension Fund of Norway. It is believed that SWFs in resource-rich countries can help avoid resource curse, but the literature on this question is controversial. Governments may be able to spend the money immediately, but risk causing the economy to overheat, e.g., in Hugo Chávez‘s Venezuela or Shah-era Iran. In such circumstances, saving the money to spend during a period of low inflation is often desirable.

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