Saturday, May 03, 2014

Let's talk electricity pricing

No pictures of fluffy sheep and green hillsides today. I was reading a blog post by David Stockman on a topic that I have long been mulling over. And that is the good, the bad and the ugly of reported rates of inflation.

The good would be the amount of inflation that is considered desirable, widely assumed to be in the vicinity of 2%, the bad would be the numbers as reported by one of several official government organs, and bad because those numbers are open to all manner of manipulation and thus second-guessing, and the ugly, the actual rate of inflation as experienced by we the people.

The power grid

So Stockman begins with kwh of electricity and proceeds into a number of different areas if you'd like to see the full piece click here: Stockman on Low-flation.

It so happens that I have my very own database of this sort of information - because I keep such things around on the off chance I might one day need it :-)

  I have had the same electric company for 6 years now, and I dug back through the pile to the first bill in February of 2008: $17.70 per kwh. Then I compared that to the bill from Febrary of 2014: $25.615

The rest is just plugging in to an online calculator. In a CAGR calculator that's 6.35% (the UGLY) well higher than Stockman's calculated 4.5% for the decade from 2004-5.

As it turns out, it has been a steady march,
Feb 2008: 17.70
Jan 2009: 19.558
Jan 2010: 19.558
Jan 2011: 21.306
Jan 2013: 23.299
Jan 2014: 25.615

which shows how the frog boils in the water, because I hadn't pulled out and studied the numbers behind the amount owing, and who really has time to?

To take it a step further, the BLS has a nice inflation (official inflation, see BAD above).

According to this cumulative inflation calculator, from Feb 2008 to Jan 2014 the official cumulative rate would be 10.50%. Indeed the BAD over at the BLS give you their official CPI inflation calculator which says $17.70 in 2008 would be $19.43 in 2014.

That's 19.43, at the official rate.
Not 25.615.

10.5% at the official cumulative rate over these 6 years.
Not 44.7%

Just one person's experience from out there in the real world that Stockman describes.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Three plums and an alien

Okay, there they are. The first and basically only plums we'll be getting from the four trees we planted 2 years ago. The plumcot tree grew one also, which blew off in a windstorm, and the italian prune plum (plum cake anyone?) has grown two, and we will fight the birds for them.
But these three, they are NICE.
Here they are again.

We won't be sharing with our resident alien.
 This purple puffnick from the street market is turning out to be one of the most useful and utilized Christmas prezzies of all. It just goes to show ...
So far he/she has 1. carried catsup and mustard to the dinner table 2. performed a variety of low gravity gymnastic tricks 3. administered discipline via karate chop to the head 4. stood at attention looking out the window at all hours.
What more could you ask for?
Maybe he/she DOES deserve a plum.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

All Whites trip

Last month me, Andrew, and dad decided that we wanted to go to Wellington to watch the New Zealand soccer team take on Mexico in a world cup qualifying match. We went with a couple of friends, Gavin and Jackson, for the day. I had to fly over in the afternoon because I had a school exam in the morning while dad and Andrew took the ferry in the morning. Luckily I knew a couple of people on the plane so I was able to get a ride with them in to town. At around 4 that day we all met up for some late lunch and then proceeded on to the game.

The All Whites were at a huge disadvantage having lost 5-1 in the opening fixture, but that didn't stop the NZ fans support. Thousands of people lined the streets in the procession to the stadium.

We got to the stadium pretty early to see the players warm up and the stadium was only a bit full when we got there, but by the kick off time it was packed.

New Zealand came out on attack but in the opening 30 minutes conceded 3 goals. The support was getting pretty silent, but the All Whites staged a little comeback at the end and scored two goals to the delight of the supporters. The final score was NZ 2 Mexico 4, but even though we lost it was a great trip and fun was had by all.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Raroa comes into Port Nelson, Labor Day 2013

It's Labor Day in NZ, and folks at the port were working hard. The rest of us got to wander down to the water's edge and spectate.

According to news reports this was the biggest ship ever to come in for a refit. I knew things were unusual when I woke up, checked out the window and saw one of the tugs shooting spectacular sprays from its firehoses - no pic sorry. This was all a bit of show, but it was enough to make us hop on our bikes and head down for a better look. This first one is the lead tug entering what is known locally as "the cut":


I am told that tug is here from Singapore, and you can see that our own tug, the little black and white fellow, looks like a toy beside it.

There is an equally large tug at the back, facing the other way, which perhaps gave the Boatshed and other restaurants at water's edge a bit more piece of mind should the wind kick up. You can see some tight navigation as the Raroa passes just above one of the principal channel markers.

She's in.

That red tug tucked in at the back came across from Wellington to help out. We like the sign on the back by helipad that says, No Smoking.

Yes the event brought out lots of folks. 

So this is what we got up to this morning. We've had high wind for a few days - glad it came right on the holiday.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Heat Sensors
Force Field
Underground Tunnels
Micro chipping
Red Line
Robot Guards
Pop up fences

OK. What do all these have in common? Well... they are all possible solutions that Andrew's Future Problem Solving group has come up with in order to increase the safety of the current future scene they are working on, in which cars are driven by ADS (Automated Driving System) and all cars are made and governed by an international consortium managed by the U.N. Here this team worked on the problem of the system's difficulty in detecting small objects.

Underground tunnels, while perhaps excellent at keeping pedestrians out of the roadway, rated poorly in terms of cost/efficiency, environment and health effects. Lots of pent up exhaust fumes.

Red lines, Software, and heat sensors were the top rated solutions according to criteria chosen by the students. Red lines being the most cost effective but least aesthetically pleasing.  Software is a game-based solution designed to educate young children in road safety.

We have been having fun with this, and as Dean has been participating in FPS for several years now, he has been mentoring this younger team. More on the class blog here:

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Recently we went to Australia, we did plenty of cool things but one of the definite highlights was going to the Tangaroa Zoo in Sydney. When we got there and it was amazing we were first in line so we got in really quickly and immediately got lost. We wanted to make to the bird show at 11 and we were in the zoo at about 10:45 so that didn't give us very much time. We rushed and ended up by the elephants but eventually we found our way to the bird show. The bird show was pretty cool we had parakeets chirping and doing tricks, hawks swooping right over our heads and a naughty owl that refused to do it's trick but eventually it was done and we had to move on. Dean soon realised that he was hungry so we had to stop to stop him from extensively complaining. After a 30 minute break we found our selves watching the gorillas, which was by far the most interesting they were fighting each other, running around and pounding there chests we spent around an hour there. we then explored all around the zoo seeing things like wombats, kangaroos, red pandas, crocodiles and even a platypus after spending the bulk of our day there (It was now about 5:30) we had to leave we really enjoyed our time there. here are some pictures of the animals. By Andrew

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Auckland Skytower

Recently my family and I went on a trip to Auckland . We did many interesting things but by far the funnest was on the first day when we went to the sky tower. It was dizzying to look up at let alone look down from epecially for mum who was very tentative...

I had to hold her hand before she would really walk across the glass
But it was understandable when you see what type of  height we were at.
Then when we were done with the mesmerizing heights we went up one more level to the buffet where we all ate about a million deserts.
The food was nice but the views were even better. he sky tower is definitely one of the best places to go in New Zealand and maybe even one of the best places to in the world. It was awesome.