Biography

RWP was born in Manchester, in the north of England, in the late 1950s, so he is very old. He really liked the north of England, which by 1965 was hip and had three TV channels, and where he went to a coed school. His parents, for reasons best known to themselves, then yanked him away, to Belfast and then Dublin, which had one TV channel that started up at 6 pm with the Angelus (Catholic call to prayer). He also had to go to an all boys school, where he realized he really missed girls. This probably let him focus on schoolwork, though, and at age 19, after he had finished college, he set off for America, where he still resides. He has a bachelors degree in biochemistry and a Ph.D. from Harvard in biophysics, and has lived also in Mainz, Germany, Setauket NY, and Richland WA. He currently divides his time between Nebraska, Rosslyn VA, and Florida.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Wind-power-driven blackouts in the UK this winter

The UK has invested heavily in reducing carbon emissions and installing wind capacity. The result...
Shops and factories will be paid to ration electricity to avoid nationwide power blackouts under a drastic government plan announced yesterday. Household energy bills would have to rise to compensate companies for turning off lighting and machinery during winter nights. It comes after the regulator Ofgen said that the risk of blackouts had doubled in less than a year because not enough new power stations were being built to replace old coal and gas plants.
Schadenfreude is misplaced. Obama plans to put us in exactly the same predicament, by closing coal power stations.

Wind power kills another high-value target

From Scotland
A bird from a species that has been recorded in the UK only eight times in the past 170 years died when it flew into a wind turbine — watched by scores of enthusiasts who had travelled to the Outer Hebrides to see it.
The white-throated needletail, the world’s fastest flying bird, was thousands of miles off course after turning up at Tarbert on the Isle of Harris. It was first spotted in Northumberland on Monday and experts believe that it may have come from Siberia.
Can't wait until we put these bird-blenders in the Nebraska Sandhills. If the fastest bird in the world, a mere 5 inches long, gets chewed up, imagine the carnage of sandhill and whooping cranes, ferruginous hawks, etc..

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Fossil-fuel companies are reducing our carbon footprint. Let's punish them!

The divestment movement in the 1970s and 1980s urged colleges, universities and other institutions to sell stockholdings in companies doing business in South Africa, at the time ruled by a racist and rather vicious regime. I was a small part of it. I sat out on the steps of University Hall, Harvard, blocking administrators from entering. It all felt very high-minded, and JK Galbraith gave us a clenched-fist salute, which was pretty darn kewl.

Unfortunately, some environmentalist kooks are now trying to emulate our success by campaigning for universities to divest from fossil-fuel companies, on the theory that said companies are destroying the planet. More unfortunately, the campaign has hit my institution, the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. And even more unfortunately, some of my less rational colleagues are apparently supporting it.

One of the most inconvenient truths of modern climate policy (for environmentalists, that is) is this. The US has dramatically reduced its CO2 output since 2006. This was done not by taxing carbon or by creating a corrupt malfunctioning carbon credit market. Subsidizing renewable energy and encouraging efficiency had relatively minor contributions. The major reason is fracking. It was done, not by the government, but by fossil fuel companies. Fracking releases natural gas, which is higher in hydrogen and lower in carbon than petroleum or coal. It's been so successful that natural gas is incredibly cheap, and companies that build natural gas engines for heavy trucks are prospering. Meanwhile countriies that have invested in renewables, and have restricted fracking, are increasing their CO2 output.

UNL has virtually no equities holdings anyway; the UNL Foundation, a private charity, holds most stocks associated with UNL. And I encourage the Foundation board to ignore the loonies and continue to hold -- maybe even increase -- our holdings in fossil fuel companies.


More on fracking; how the EPA used phony data and hilariously bad methodology in a 'draft report' condemning fracking, and then stealthily withdrew the report.

Friday, June 7, 2013

...but not if he's black and the crime was rape.

A 16- year old girl was allegedly raped under the 27th street overpass in Lincoln last night, around 1 a.m., by a stranger. In this case the Journal-Star did not give a description. However, KLKN TV does.
Police say the suspect is a heavy set black male, around 5'10".
You might think that if there is a stranger-rapist abroad in Lincoln (and one needs always to be somewhat skeptical of crime reports like this one) that it might be useful for the public to have a rough description. You might think.