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About aSteve

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  1. aSteve

    Hydrogen economy, anyone?

    Interesting find. If I'm free on that afternoon, I might wander over and try and blag some tea... I don't suppose "How do they store hydrogen in the Honda Clarity?" would be an awful question to ask, either. To my eye, the Bath stuff seems to be closer to blue-sky research than to practical engineering solutions for the here and now. I don't want to talk down the potential - but I don't expect that relevant results are imminent.
  2. aSteve

    Hydrogen economy, anyone?

    I'm from the UK - currently in Bath... The Birmingham uni thing sounds interesting - though it would be a real blag if I were to try and get them to show me their cars. The thing that provoked me to ask questions was the presentation of the Clarity in the mainstream media... as if it were a production-ready working vehicle. What interests me is that either: A.. The Clarity is viable already and is likely to secure massive support (financial and political in the USA) => Invest in whoever owns the critical technologies in the Clarity. B.. The Clarity is a rigged demo that is intended to dupe investors => Short sell Honda - their investors will work it out soon enough. I don't see much middle ground. If the Clarity is viable and works now, then I'd like to know who owns the technology... since that is substantially more valuable than the Clarity itself - which is, let's face it, a lacklustre saloon.
  3. aSteve

    Hydrogen economy, anyone?

    If the article is correct, then the Clarity must have a non-viable fuel tank... I'd be more inclined to presume that this is an academic researcher frantically trying to make his research sound practical in order to secure financing. I never fail to be amused at how far such demands can lead to the truth being stretched.
  4. aSteve

    Hydrogen economy, anyone?

    Specifically, what do you mean by 'hydrogen storage'? Do you mean a way to contain large quantities at filling stations, or to transport it to filling stations, or pressurised fuel tanks for cars, or something else? Given that we can cope with natural gas in general and LPG in converted vehicles, I don't see an especially big problem... Do you? Certainly not... in principle, something like the Tesler with a hydrogen fuel cell rather than thousands of batteries promises to be an epic technological advance. I'm getting the impression, however, that there are significant problems not yet resolved. While there's a concerted effort to generate hype, there is too much secrecy for me to be reassured. We know that electric motors work - it is only the power source that remains a problem... Fuel cells have been knocking about since 2001, at least, but I'm yet to see statistics showing technological/engineering progress... which, surely, is the key issue here. As far as I can tell, fuel cells should be cheap to manufacture... so, I'm puzzled by what's holding up developments.
  5. When I joined GEI, I was interested almost exclusively in the "Global Edge" - and hardly at all in "Green Energy" - But there's been a lot of water pass under the bridge since then. As I ponder the news these days, I'm thinking more and more about non-traditional energy - and anticipating that now is the right time to identify potential investment targets. ========================== I suspect that one of the few growth areas in the forseeable future will be electric cars - but not those powered by batteries - like the Tesler and other Californian racers... nor hybrids like the Prius, Volt or that ridiculous 4x4 by Lexus. I think the "next thing" might be hydrogen cars - maybe something based upon the technology in the Honda Clarity. My reasons for thinking this significant are: * Refuelling for long journeys is far easier with Hydrogen (no wait while batteries charge - or tricky engineering challenge to quickly charge. * A prototype of a practical looking car has been demonstrated to the press. * There is already one hydrogen filling station in the USA - and there is significant political will to invest in infrastructure projects... especially green ones... and there's no more significant project I can think of than implementing a hydrogen distribution network. * It would be quite a coincidence if the recent Russian shenannigans with natural gas was independent of the potential to convert natural gas into a hydrogen fuel. My biggest reservations are: * I can't find any significant technical information about the fuel cell used in the Clarity. I'd like to know, exactly, what technology it uses and who owns the patents on that. I'd like to know what power it can deliver - and what its life-expectancy is. This information is conspicuously absent from everything I've read. Wikipedia has some interesting data - but the info on the Clarity fuel cell stops at a 60% efficiency claim that seems too good to be true. * I don't know which companies would be best placed to build hydrogen distribution networks in the USA. Have any of the greener posters here been looking into this stuff?
  6. I've been looking at the FTSE 100 with a view to establishing a league table of the biggest debtors - both in nominal terms and as an LTV ratio. While, it seems, fairly easy to pick out figures for "loans" from the liabilities of the balance sheets (for the few companies I've randomly selected) the scale of the values in the asset column gave me a sobering thought: how are the assets on the balance sheets of FTSE100 companies valued? While I'm now sold on the idea of a personal project to identify the absolute level of debt for each company in the FTSE100 (as for their most recent balance sheet) I appreciate the limited use of such a naked statistic. The major problems I see with considering this statistic in isolation are: 1. The assets used to balance the liabilities tend to be presented as a lump-sum... why should we assume that these values are even vaguely credible? Banks have mis-valued their financial assets - I can only assume that the even more illiquid assets of corporations are even harder to value. Are these values purely subjective, and - if so - why should we trust any of them? Are some companies going to have extremely conservative asset valuations (in order to defer paying tax, maybe) while others stretch truth in the other way in order to maximise their leverage? 2. With prices as volatile as they are today, it seems utterly inappropriate to consider just the two headings (Assets and Liabilities) on a linear additive scale... For example, surely it matters what assets are held; how liquid and volatile their markets are - and the time-horizon at which they may need to be sold? On one hand, this all seems to be a 101-class on business, I don't see anyone (freely) publishing this sort of analysis. I guess some headway can be made using only the data published in balance sheets... and some guesses can be made about the assets of a company by virtue of their sector... but this seems very approximate. Has anyone any realistic ideas to refine my simplistic debt-model for corporations? Is is sensible to ask the extent to which corporations have hidden liabilities on their balance sheets - and could they be found by amateurs? Would it be interesting to compile data about the accountants who signed-off accounts - perhaps comparing names with controversial figures in the public eye? The HPC link? I think that stock market prices directly influences the value of pensions - and that the value of pensions directly and significantly affects the finances of a large number of property owners - possibly leading to forced sales. From the opposite perspective, for anyone considering buying a property with a mortgage, establishing an investment plan now is likely to influence ability/willingness to take on debt. Comments, thoughts, criticisms - anyone?
  7. aSteve

    Political Alignment

    It means that you're not part of the majority (all but 2/3 respondents are classified as left-leaning anarchists... or, maybe, fundamentalist communists hell-bent on destroying the state) - but you buck the trend... you're a right leaning anarchist. Whatever. :-)
  8. I'm aware of very many who take it at face value... which is worrying.
  9. Aherm, you might disagree with the interpretation on theological grounds, but it is the same film.
  10. aSteve

    Political Alignment

    I've noted that the politicians are (almost) all on a / line across the graph - ignoring nut-cases for a while. Maybe this explains why I'm not encouraged to vote for any of them? I still think it's a funny idea that politically I occupy the centre ground of moderate anarchy. Maybe the questions are loaded?
  11. It is only badly researched if you consider it to be factual.
  12. aSteve

    Political Alignment

    Economic Left/Right: -0.88 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.26 I've done this before too. I remembered myself as being dead central (left/right) last time, and a little more anarchic (Libertarian)...
  13. Yes, I've watched and read (I think) all the Money As Debt stuff. I found it thought provoking for the naive (which is probably 99.9% of the population on this topic) but not a reliable reference by any stroke of the imagination. An early claim by both the MAD crowd and the Zerigeist bunch is that, in a debt based monetary system, there is a mathematical impossibility for all the debt to be paid back. This is utter nonsense... the most obvious thing their argument overlooks is that interest is paid to those who interact in the real economy... the interest is spent and can be earned. Another snag is that their position is presented as if the world would be better without debts... and nothing could be further from the truth... debt is the only real form of objective material value... and it would exist everywhere in the form employed by Siscilian gangsters if it was not enshrined in money. Zeitgeist and the MaD crowd also overlook the wider role of fiscal policy, taxation and state justice. If either material makes you think "I wonder how it really works" - then that is great... by analogy, a bit like the kid who watches Knight Rider then decides to study automotive engineering. It's all good as long as there's no talk about turbo-boosts causing you to fly; impenetrable shells that can demolish stone walls - and an artificial intelligence demonstrated by a strip of red lights lit in a banal sequence. Zeitgeist, like the best fiction, is based in fact... as are the musings of the MaD crowd.
  14. I watched the Addendum (because I found Zeitgeist curious) and found it even more flawed and patronising. It's an interesting idea for fiction... I'll admit... and feel that it speaks volumes that it is associated with Ron Paul.
  15. aSteve

    Builders indices...

    Hmm... I'd want to exclude the "Materials" aspect - assuming that's talking about mining and quarrying etc. I'm not looking to buy builders now... but I think it will be an interesting possibility to track over the next six months. My hunch is that, in the UK, at least, we're going to see some shenanigans to allow the government to continue to spend... and construction would be a good employer. I'm interested to establish several things to investigate the prospects of this hunch: 1. Are there equities with exposure to potential profits from construction without exposure to large-scale land-banks or unsold inventories? 2. Do the market caps reflect an abrupt slowdown in the market as a whole? 3. Are there investment trusts that can be bought at a discount - taking a medium term view that... in 3-5 years sentiment will have changed... and, in buying through an IT, for example, it is possible to benefit from 'free' leverage (assuming the IT trades at a discount)?