Small schools

Filename     Spectator re closing small schools   (Lexar)
Date:           26 May 13
From:           Frank Gue, 905 634 9538
Re:               “Closing small schools” Saturday’s Spec      249 words
 
Dear Lee:
 
Mr. Templeman makes a strong case for small schools.  Some examples support him, both anecdotally and statistically.
 
The Chief Justice of Canada, Right Hon. Beverly McLachlin, got her primary and secondary schooling in a four-room wooden school house in the foothills village of Pincher Creek, Alberta.  Among her teachers was my sister Julia, who started there at the princely salary of nearly $1,000 per year.
 
I was fortunate to have had my primary education at Queen Alex in Edmonton, under the redoubtable W.S. Fleming.  It housed about 400, each of whom he knew by name.  I  complained that my group had an assignment of a subject we hadn’t studied.  Why us?  I asked.  Because you can, he replied.  Through a long life I have been grateful that my education under Mr. Fleming was far better than most.  I know how to use the verb “to be”, where the East Indies are, and how to do arithmetic in my head.
 
Re small schools: In a sample of 25 Burlington schools, I divided each school’s EQAO results by its costs.  I found that results per tax dollar rose very noticeably up to a school population of about 550 to 650 and fell quite sharply thereafter.  Schools of 1,000 did markedly less well.
 
This says nothing about big-school social disadvantages like bullying and time wasted busing kids to them.  These additional problems are serious and well documented.
 
There is good evidence that small schools should be encouraged, not closed.
 
F.
 

 

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Climate Change Hoaxes

Sent 23 May to Editor, Engineering Dimensions

 

Filename: Climate Change and the PEO  (Lexar)

 

 

 

Dear Ed:

 

Barrie Jackson’s letter in the May-June Dimensions deserves comment and supplementation.

 

We are all Bachelors of Science or some similar title, are we not?  Should we not all be very jealous of the correct application of science, particularly where it drives public policy?  And should we not be publicly and vocally alarmed when we find junk science driving public policy?

 

Yet that is exactly what we have today; junk science driving public policy.  Note:

 

*  A 2 deg. rise in global temperature is not some law of nature; it ws taken out of the air by some unidentified non-scientist connected with the IPCC.  Some of the most rapid evolutionary periods in  geological history had temperatures as high as 9 degrees (some say more) above today’s.  Historically, many more people have died of cold than of heat, and continue to do so today.   Further, global warming has temporarily ceased.   Yet of one thing we can be absolutely sure: global temperatures will now rise, fall, or stay the same.

 

*  The CO2 concentrations in these high-temperature periods have been as much as 15 times today’s.  We owe our huge deposits of coal, oil, and gas to the growth in these high-temperature, high-CO2 intervals of fabulous tonnages of plant matter upon which fed the biggest land animals that ever lived.  In modern times, commercial greenhouse managers pump CO2 into their greenhouses to improve markedly the yields of their hydroponic crops.  The dreaded “tipping point” of 400 ppm of CO2, recently passed,  is just like 2 deg. C rise; an arbitrary number out of someone’s head.  One respected expert, Bob Carter, says we are living through a “CO2 famine”.  Perhaps we have not noticed that every morsel of food we put into our mouths has passed through a series of energy conversions of whose efficiency we engineers can only dream: It was originated photosynthetically by combining sunshine, water, trace elements, and CO2 from the air   into some plant matter that some living creature (sometimes ourselves directly as in the case of e.g. fruit) can use and convert.  We need more CO2  in our atmosphere. 

 

*  Supposedly “scientific” proofs of anthropogenic warming depend largely upon analytical work that is riddled with biases, toadying to special interests, errors of omission and commission, deliberate falsification of data, misuse of statistics and, to cite more than one authority, lies and fraud.

 

*  Frantic programs by national governments, particularly in Europe, to control CO2 emissions, have cost hundreds of billions and will cost trillions in a few years, bankrupting them.  This money would provide safe drinking water and sewerage to every human on the planet, several times over.  Are we sure that the double-dip recession Europe is now enduring is not related to their waste of resources on expensive solutions that cannot work to problems they do not have?  Or that the same fate does not await us if we persist in using billions to buy things like wind machines, without proper cost-benefit analyses?  

 

And no, I refuse to have that characterized as a political innuendo.  Nor will I be mistaken for an anti-environmentalist.  As a responsible engineer engaged for decades in development of public policy and also as a dedicated dirty-fingernails gardener, I am as aware as anyone of the need to protect the precious environment we are busy destroying.  But we have to do it in a proper scientific way.

 

Compounding all the above, we have the implacable eco-terrorists who very effectively use the media to propagate their misinformation.  This is epitomised by the Hon. Nigel Lawson, formerly Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the foreword to his excellent little book “An Appeal to Reason”.  One publisher, in an apologetic letter of rejection, said it was sound and well reasoned but “too outside the conventional orthodoxy” to command a big audience.   This is a universal complaint of people who dare to challenge the diktats of the unaccountable supremos of the IPCC.  The media will shut them down.

 

Engineers must speak up.  Do you know who your MPP or MP is?  Find out.  Are you in the Centre for Engineering and Public Policy (OCEPP) initiative?  Make your voice heard.  We engineers tend to work head-down over our beloved formulae and  computations and let the rest of the world go by.  This has to stop.

 

Regards,

 

 

Frank Gue, P.Eng.

 

PS  I  have cited only snippets of the vast mass of debunk material available on the Net.  For instance, try Prof . Bob Carter, 

 

Climate Context As A Basis For Better Policy – YouTube,

 

or

 

Power Shift Away From Green Illusions

 

or 

 

Global warming hoax crumbling – frank.gue2008@gmail.com – Gmail

 

or

 

Relentless Liars: The Great Green Edifice is Crumbling

 

 

– for starters.

 

F.

 

Financiers and their Monopoly® money

Date:          8 Oct 12

By:             Frank Gue, B.Sc., MBA, P.Eng.,

                  2252 Joyce St., Burlington, ON Canada L7R 2B5

For:            Editors, The Economist  

Re:             “A $300 trillion question”, Sept. 29, “ … LIBOR … is set, every day, 

                  by the British Banker’s Association (BBA) …  “

 

Dear Editors:

 

When will you cease ignoring the glaringly obvious reason and responsibility for the historical repetition and increasing severity of the boom-bust cycles?

 

The current cycle started about 1971 and peaked in 2007-8, with plenty of warning dips interim.  Gradually, the financial industry constructed an imaginary economy using what it disingenuously continues to call “money”.  This economy could well be called, to paraphrase Dr. Eric Berne, “Games financiers play”.  Its Monopoly® “dollars” bear imposing names like “Collateralized Deceit- oops, no, sorry Debt – Obligations.

 

This imaginary economy drops grapples loaded with Monopoly® dollars into the real economy, to be exchanged for another few hundred million real dollars.  When some of the financiers’ greed finally overcomes their caution, this contrived situation becomes visible; honest actors in the farce are confused as to which are real and which imaginary dollars and refuse to trade any of them.  There is a bust.

 

Many of the financiers who did this, how they did it and when, are named and documented in current books.  One such is “Reckless Endangerment”, a meticulously researched chronology of the well designed, beautifully executed theft of big pieces of the world’s wealth.  Many of the perpetrators are still with us, inventing even more financial games with still more imposing titles.  Credit Default Swaps, anyone?  Derivatives?  We have, preying on the real economy, the  “outsized ambition, greed, and corruption” (to use the subtitle of the Endangerment book) of these financiers.  

 

The main driver of all this is the egregious conflict of interest of bankers setting rules for bankers.  Do I hear echoes of LIBOR?  The Federal Reserve?  Familiar names like Greenspan, Barclays, or Basel 1, 2, or 3?  For how long will a responsible journal like The Economist  ignore these plain facts?

 

No cheers,

 

F.

 

PS  How long has your dumb engineer been warning you of this?  Ten years?  Fifteen?  I’ve forgotten.

 

F.

 

Manufacturing – a country’s engine

Date:      7 Apr 13
By:          Frank Gue, B.Sc., MBA, P.Eng., Burlington, ON Canada L7R 2B5
For:         Editors, The Economist
Re:          Christ Pissarides and the Nobel Prize, P. 49, March 30th edition
File:         EconomistApril13reManufacturing        (Lexar)
 
Dear Editors:
 
Mr. Chris Pissarides is quoted as saying that relying on business services and tourism in an economy with no manufacturing tradition is quite sensible.
 
Mr. Pissarides must be asked to return his Nobel Prize and the cash that went with it.  Supporting this suggestion is a brief observational study of the worldwide move away from manufacturing and into services, couched in time-tested principles, adages, or aphorisms:
 
*  There are only three sources of tangible wealth: agriculture, extraction, and manufacturing.  Authority:  A fact of life.
 
*  There can be no consumption without production.  Authorities: (a) Practically, a fact of life, (b) Philosophically, “If they will not work, let them not eat,” 2nd Thessalonians, 3:10.
 
*  The country that loses its manufacturing has lost its engine.  Authority:  Akio Morita,  former President, Sony Corporation.
 
*  Whom the gods hate, they give abundant natural resources. Evidence:  The newspapers with any news of Alberta’s budget woes or Ontario’s decimated manufacturing sector, eg The Economist, p. 37, March 30 edition.
 
*   We can’t make a living taking in each others’ washing.  Authority:  (the highest of the lot): your great grandma.
 
Cheers,
 
F.

The “derivatives” scam

Date:  14 May 13
To:      Editors, The Economist
From:  Frank Gue, B.Sc., MBA, P.Eng.
Re:      “Defeat deflation”, p. 73, April 13 edition
 
Dear Editors:
 
In the endless references to deflation as an enemy to be defeated, productivity is seldom if ever drawn into the argument.
 
Let the ancient, much-criticized but never-discredited pq=mv formula be solved for “p”, the price level.  All else constant (which it never is, but that is another debate), if the quantity “q” of goods produced increases, the price level must fall.  This we seem to fear and detest as “deflation”.  Perhaps we should cheer and clap instead.
 
A current example of the operation of this law is computers.  For less than $1,000, a laptop computer can do infinitely more than could a massive, million-dollar, room-sized machine In the ‘50s.  pq=mv acted in spades owing almost entirely to better productivity.  E.g., memory was lodged in trays of wire-wound ferrite cores; 64K of “core” memory was considered a lot and cost kilobucks.  Today, a silicon chip with less mass than a single ferrite core houses gigs of memory and costs $4.95 (ref. Moore’s Law).
 
It is not reckless to extrapolate this experience to the whole economy.  This begs the question:  Why is a fall in price levels in an active, innovating economy automatically a bad thing, and a rise in inflation a good and necessary thing?  Furthermore, who or what is skimming off the difference between the yearly 2% or 5% fall in costs (i.e. typical productivity improvement levels) and a 2% to 5% inflation in prices?  Is it mainly, perchance, your beneficent government inflating away its obligations, as governments characteristically do?
 
Cheers,
 
F.