2011-03-30

Libya: De-militarize, don't re-militarize

In the recent war in Libya I think we've done the right thing so far. It's been legal, and I agree with resolution 1973. David Cameron is now talking about arming the rebels. I don't think this would be legal, as it would contravene UN resolution 1970, the arms embargo. If it isn't legal, we shouldn't do it. Furthermore, even if it were legal, it would be a bad idea. Libya should be de-militarized, not re-militarized.

2011-03-29

Wiltshire County Council Paperless Billing

Here's an email I've just written to Wiltshire County Council:
Hi, I've just received my council tax bill, and I wondered if there was a paperless billing option? Eg. the bill could be emailed out, and the accompanying booklet could be online.
as ever, I'll let you know what they say...

2011-03-28

AV Referendum

I came home to find my polling card for the referendum on changing the voting system for parliament from first-past-the-post to the alternative vote. My preferred voting system is range voting. As I wrote on Polifesto, the problem with AV:
...occurs when you have two popular candidates with extreme opposite views, and one compromise candidate in the middle. If most people vote for one extreme or the other, but everyone's second choice is the compromise candidate, the compromise candidate gets knocked out. Under range voting the compromise candidate would have a good chance of winning.
Unfortunately range voting isn't an option in the referendum, so I'll be voting for AV as it's better than the current system. It does reduce the necessity for tactical voting, so it's a small step forward.

2011-03-20

Insuring A Nuclear Power Station

I'm on the Claverton Energy Group mailing list. Here's a (slightly amended) post from me on the safety of nuclear power:

It seems to me that the problem is the cap on the liability of nuclear power companies if there's an accident. That is, if an accident occurs and its clean-up cost exceeds the cap (£140m in UK) then the government has to pay the rest.

If this cap were to be removed, then the financial incentive to reduce insurance costs would drive safety improvements.

Furthermore, the position of the government is that nuclear power shouldn't be subsidized. But is not the cap on liability a subsidy?

I'm pleased that the government is talking about raising that cap to €1.2bn. It's not enough, but it's a start.

2011-03-07

Charles Stross

Palimpsest is the last story of Wireless, a collection of short stories by Charles Stross. Janos recommended Stross. In fact he did more than that, he presented me with a plastic bag filled with sci-fi books, one of which was Wireless!

But back to Palimpsest. It's a novella, and really could be turned into a novel. It was genuinely new and interesting. I loved the scale of it all. Awesome.