Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Tuesday Night Links

  • The reason to be bullish gas pipeline cos is not AI. The reason to be bullish is that the 2025-6 wave of LNG will basically max out remaining spare & last mile capacity from existing pipes and current regulatory system makes greenfield interstate pipes very difficult. They will be collecting max rate for a decade, and most will get to reset max rates a bunch higher in their next rate case to catch up to general inflation. [Dirty Texas Hedge]
  • Devon Eriksen recently pointed out that today's Marxists are hostile to space flight and off-world colonization. But in Cold War times, Marxists who ran countries were aggressively futuristic about space, treating it as the empire of their dreams. What caused this turnaround? To understand this, it's helpful that to notice that spaceflight is not the only technology about which Marxist attitudes have done a 180. Nuclear power is another. More generally, where Marxists used to be pro-growth and celebrate industrialization and material progress, they're now loudly for degrowth and renunciation. But the history of western Marxism is more interesting than that. Western Marxists flipped to strident anti-futurism in the late 1960s and early 1970s while futurist propaganda in the  Communist bloc did not end until its post-1989 collapse. That 20-year-long disjunct was particularly strong about  nuclear power, with the Soviets providing ideological support and funding to the foundation of European Green parties and the US's anti-nuclear-power movement at the same time as they were pouring resources into nuclearizing their own power grid. And that's your clue. Domestic Marxism  favored making power cheap and abundant, while their Western proxies pushed to keep it expensive and scarce and preached degrowth rather than expansion. Futurism vs. anti-futurism: why? [Eric S Raymond]
  • On October 17, the Ethics and Public Policy Center filed an amicus brief in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Mahmoud v. Montgomery County (MD) Board of Education. This case was brought by parents of children enrolled in Montgomery County Public Schools after the School Board denied parents’ request to opt their children out of the Board’s new sexuality and gender curriculum. The brief, co-authored by EPPC fellows Eric Kniffin and Mary Rice Hasson, argues that the district court improperly downplayed the conflict between the curriculum and their religious exercise. It shows that the curriculum does more than teach “diversity” and “inclusion”: it advances gender ideology. Drawing on the work of EPPC’s Person & Identity Project, the brief shows that gender ideology is fundamentally incompatible with Christian anthropology and Catholic teaching. [EPPC]
  • Industrialisation leads to relaxed selection and thus the accumulation of fitness-damaging genetic mutations. We argue that religion is a selected trait that would be highly sensitive to mutational load. We further argue that a specific form of religiousness was selected for in complex societies up until industrialisation based around the collective worship of moral gods. With the relaxation of selection, we predict the degeneration of this form of religion and diverse deviations from it. These deviations, however, would correlate with the same indicators because they would all be underpinned by mutational load. We test this hypothesis using two very different deviations: atheism and paranormal belief. We examine associations between these deviations and four indicators of mutational load: (1) poor general health, (2) autism, (3) fluctuating asymmetry, and (4) left-handed-ness. A systematic literature review combined with primary research on handedness demonstrates that atheism and/or paranormal belief is associated with all of these indicators of high mutational load. [Edward Dutton]
  • It is a concern that the miners are expanding met coal production even while the commodity price has been weak and their own shares have been "cheap". Warrior's new Blue Creek mine is expected to produce 5 million tons per year and Peabody's North Goonyella / Centurion mine is supposed to produce 3 million tons per year. To put that in perspective, 8 million tons of new capacity is about equal to what Warrior produces in total now. It seems like a possible "base case" is that the miners' predictable over-investment in capacity will result in the commodity price trending towards marginal cost. The miners will be able to earn a profit margin during times of strong steel demand, but we are not really seeing anything that would show us that mining has become a good business or that the executives recognize that they are not in a good business. [CBS]
  • At current (January 2023) coking coal prices of about $190 a tonne, both hydrogen and MOE production routes will be probably become cheaper than the conventional blast furnace approach within a few years. (I’m assuming $40 a MWh for renewable electricity for use in either alternative process). Moreover, a carbon tax/border adjustment of $100/€100 a tonne will make coal-based steel entirely uneconomic against both hydrogen and MOE. [Carbon Commentary]
  • In the MOE cell, an inert anode is immersed in an electrolyte containing iron ore, and then it’s electrified. When the cell heats to 1600°C, the electrons split the bonds in the iron oxide in the ore, producing pure liquid metal. No carbon dioxide or other harmful byproducts are generated, just oxygen. Furthermore, MOE does not require process water, hazardous chemicals or precious-metal catalysts. The result is a clean, high purity liquid metal that can be sent directly to ladle metallurgy — no reheating required. [Boston Metal]

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