Blog Archive

Monday, March 1, 2021

Our Beautiful Universe, Shape of my Day, Brexit Latest, Unlocking the UK, Bitcoin - the start of the end?

Our Beautiful Universe

In these difficult times, it is good to remember how beautiful our natural world is. Here is our moon with a clarity never seen before:

Most people are unaware that the moon is not entirely grey; it has several shades that are imperceptible to the naked eye and difficult to pinpoint even with an efficient camera. The image combines 20,000 photos taken with a telescope to get this perfect picture. It took several weeks to achieve. The photographer's name is Andrew McCarthy. For those who see water in the blue part think again, it is only molten lava solidified around 700,000,000 years ago. To use a non-scientific metaphor; it's dark blue rock.

A benefit of the pandemic has been less pollution and less consumerism of the type that destroys our planet. Let's hope these are trends that grown and continue forever.

And perhaps even more exiting, both China and the USA have sent unmanned mission to Mars in recent months. Bear in mind that it takes about 7 months for a robot to get to Mars from Earth. Here is some high quality 3D film sent back by NASA's Mars Perseverance Rover last week:

The Shape of my Day

Work, Lunch, Walk, Exercise, Netflix/Amazon Prime.

That just about sums it up. I get up, wash and have some breakfast. Them I start my work, standing in front of my MacBook in my study all morning with an occasional tea break.

Either before or after lunch we go for a walk, weather permitting.  Then I work until about 5pm when I do one hour's exercise on my cross trainer and my indoor bicycle.

From 6pm to 7.30pm we make then eat supper.

The evening is usually spent in the lounge watching Netflix, iPlayer or Amazon Prime.

Pretty much 7 days per week.


Brexit Latest

"The volume of exports going through British ports to the EU fell by a staggering 68% last month compared with January last year, mostly as a result of problems caused by Brexit, the Observer can reveal.

The dramatic drop in the volume of traffic carried on ferries and through the Channel tunnel has been reported to Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove by the Road Haulage Association after a survey of its international members. In a letter to Gove dated 1 February, the RHA’s chief executive, Richard Burnett, also told the minister he and his officials had repeatedly warned over several months of problems and called for measures to lessen difficulties – but had been largely ignored." The Guardian 6th February 2021

"A lobster exporter who is winding up his 60-year-old family business has blamed the government for failing to be honest about Brexit red tape and hidden costs. Speaking from Bridlington on Monday, where he is in the process of dismantling hundreds of lobster crates, Baron said: “All we have had is bullshit from the government, promises that haven’t been kept. I am winding up the business while I still have enough to pay redundancy to my staff." The Guardian Feb 8th

Three sectors badly affected by Brexit:

Fishing - much of the UK shellfish is now banned in the EU and the new export delays make fish as far less attractive and less profitable export. Problematic since the majority of British fish is exported to Europe.

Performing Arts - touring musicians, actors, rock bands and so on now need to apply for separate permits for each country they wish to perform in. Many are saying it is no longer financially viable.

Financial Services - the government's 'oven-ready' Brexit deal did not include this sector, one of the largest in terms of employment and wealth creation in the UK. Big chucks have already moved to Europe. That's more than €6bn a day of euro-denominated share trading which has already left London for Amsterdam and Paris. On February 8th, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) announced that trading of European carbon futures will move to Amsterdam from London in the coming months. More to come - watch this space.

As you can see from the government chart below, Fishing and Performing Arts aren't going to do huge damage to tax income, but Financial Service could well wreak havoc. And guess who's going to have to pay the shortfall??
Financial Services is by far the largest payer of Corporation Tax. By miles!

Unlocking the UK

The Prime Minister announced his long awaiting plan for unlocking England on the evening of February 22nd. The over-riding theme was caution. This is a slow clear plan with no going back. This must be the FINAL LOCKDOWN. All businesses will be able to open from June 21st at the earliest if all goes according to the plan. 

It's going to be hard:

Bitcoin, the start of the end?

Having increased in value roughly 5 fold over just the last couple of years, this article makes me think even more than before that it's not sustainable:

"One Bitcoin transaction has the carbon footprint of 700,000 Visa payments, said Alex de Vries, an economist who created the Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index. (Smaller estimates still reckon it’s in the tens of thousands of equivalent credit card transactions.) “The Bitcoin network already requires half the amount of electrical energy to operate as all global data centers combined,” Mr. de Vries asserted."

The New York Times, February 23rd 2021

Bitcoin consumes the same amount of energy as a country like the Netherlands. And most of that consumption is from fossil fuels.

It's not going to end well is it???

See me next month.

No comments:

Post a Comment