Some fun stuff and some economics

March 24, 2011

Hello again!

I’d like to bring to your attention some fun stuff I found very recently, and then take a look at what’s happening in the world.

The Internet is an amazing place and I’m a bit of a lurker, but it is being used in ways that are not always wholesome, and I’m not talking about phishing, trojans, worms or spyware et al. I’m talking SPAM! What do you do with this stuff when it drops into your junk box? Well, Online Tech Tips, from a computer guy (Aseem Kishore) has the answer. There’s no point in me explaining it to you because he’s already done the hard work, screen by screen. I love these new tools for making fun out of those who seek to abuse us via our tech, and I also like the visual clouds software that has been produced (wordle et al) because they are nice little pieces of software that people have written and put out into the public domain for us to try them out. Spam Recycling.com is a quirky way to while away an hour on a wet afternoon. . So – to all spammers – we can now turn your dross into an art form!  If anyone manages to produce something really cool, I’ll happily post a copy here for everyone to see and you keep the copyright of your spammer artwork of course! Now, lets see what I can make…………

I’m amazed by the amount of reporting recently on energy use and petrol/gas prices across the world – especially in times of a global downturn, political instability, wars and natural disasters.

Well, let’s start with the Chancellor’s Budget yesterday.  1p off petrol duty and £100m given to councils to fix potholes (Yippeee), but don’t get the champagne out just yet because the oil companies are going to pay 32% tax on their oil and gas production, where they were previously taxed at 20%. Never doubt that this tax will be passed onto the lucky consumer to cover at the pump, as the oil companies have to placate their shareholders with large dividends. The consumer has to find ways to reduce the burden of petrol taxes imposed on them, and many new ideas are being born via Internet services on how to save money to counteract these(hidden) hikes. I’ll be looking at these new Hybrid online services soon as there are a good number of them sprouting up.

So, let’s go back to petrol prices. The UK doesn’t just obtain its oil and gas from the North Sea and surrounding regions, it purchases it in advance on the global commodity exchange markets, known as the futures markets. It’s a complex system, but the price of keeping our cars on the road doesn’t look like it’s going to drop or even stabilise anytime soon, as there’s too much going on in the world that is going to affect world oil and gas prices. The UK doesn’t have the technology to refine certain types of oil, and so relies on other refineries abroad to do it for us. There’s a cost involved – obviously.

I saw this great article in The Economist – that, if you are interested in global economics – will explain what is happening right now in the oil markets. Entitled “Oil Markets and Arab Unrest:  The Price of Fear – A Complex Chain of Cause and Effect Links the Arab World’s Turmoil to the Health of the World Economy”. This article explains how oil prices affect the global economy and how intervention by OPEC, global central banks, and OECD countries can affect it. It also explains what governments are doing to replace the use of petrol/gasoline with alternatives such as replacement biofuels or alternative transport such as electric cars. And finally, what are the renewable energy alternatives that can satisfy Asian country requirements; those who have ongoing and increasing needs for power as their infrastructures grow and their countries become more developed? Also, take a look at the comments posted at the end of the article. It’s such a massive subject, that I’ll be taking a more in-depth look at this, and renewable energy again in later blogs. Feedback as always, is acknowledged and published.  I’ll be back soon.

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