February 27, 2023

Interesting Things on the Internet: February 27th 2023 Edition

  • Smart technologies for disciplining the poor. "Prepayment meters don’t protect customers at all. They protect suppliers and humiliate customers." All of this. The gas meter in my flat is a pre-pay one. I wish I'd kept the leaflet that I got at the start of using it—it was full of patronizing copy explaining how it made my life better and was for my benefit. People with well-paid jobs sat around and wrote that copy. It's written to make them feel better, not the customer who reads it. Thankfully I don't need to worry about how to pay for it, but it's still no end of annoyance: I'll wake up to a cold flat because it's run out; I have to leave the flat and go into the basement (where the meter is) to turn on the "emergency credit"; it can only be topped up at a handful of places, which require a special trip as they're not particularly convenient; you have to top-up in cash, you can't pay by card; the maximum amount you can top-up is £99 (it's gone up since the cost-of-living crisis, it was £49 before then), not £100... It's full of things like that, seemingly designed for the customer's inconvenience.
  • Britain is screwed. "On most measures, the [UK] has the most limited welfare state of any developed country, including the United States"
  • Don't believe ChatGPT - we do NOT offer a "phone lookup" service. You best hope that you don't end up the target of ChatGPT's plausible bullshit. Sigh.
  • How Clean is Hydrogen, Actually? Interesting discussion about the challenges of using hydrogen as a fuel.
  • Gas industry paid lobbyists £200,000 to get MPs’ support for ‘blue hydrogen’. The MPs and areas mentioned in this article are around Teeside, but we have similar large petrochemical plants and plans here in the North-West. We need alternative employment options, to let the workforces transition as well as our energy sources.
  • BBC Radio 4 - Seriously…, The Privatisation of British Gas. Not related to the last two links. As Denise notes: "Tell Sid he already owned British Gas." Late on in the podcast they note that big, nationalised industry was good at the start and drifted into bureaucracy; and that privatisation shook things up but then suffered from the same state. They wonder if that's inevitable and just a cycle that will repeat. How about we try finding a way to keep the energy companies smaller and in public ownership? How about we acknowledge the tendency towards stasis and try to design a system that allows for change?
Posted by Adrian at February 27, 2023 01:27 PM | TrackBack

This blog post is on the personal blog of Adrian McEwen. If you want to explore the site a bit further, it might be worth having a look at the most recent entries or look through the archives or categories over on the left.

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