This is what happens when you let people run loose with geiger counters.
Radiation is everywhere. In bricks. Bananas. Cigarettes. Airplanes. There are places in the world where natural radiation is hundreds of times higher than average – and people flock there to bathe in radioactive spas and mud baths, local populations thrive without any significant harm.
There is nothing inherently differentiating those sources of radiation from other, man-made types of radiation. On a geiger counter they all look the same.
And yet when there is a slightest threat that the radiation could come from a NUKULAR PLANT, the world panics. For the last three-four days, all newspapers around the world had been reporting that an amateur team measured a radioactive hotspot in Tokyo. The conclusion was obvious: Fukushima! All experts and scientists have lied to us – a radioactive fallout from the doomed plant had reached Tokyo and Yokohama, and who knows where else. It’s worse than Chernobyl. It’s worse than Hiroshima. We will all die of cancers.
Turns out the ‘radioactive hotspot’ was a basement storage full of old bottles of fluorescent paint.
OfGen announced today that all major energy companies in UK have had a record boost in profits last year, in fact, the greatest in history. Good for them, eh? We need good news in this economic climate. Except this is the year in which ALL energy companies have raised prices, some by as much as 20%
But, shouldn’t competition and free market should sort this out? Seems not. Energy is one of those commodities which are notoriously difficult to regulate by free competition. You need big investment to get onto the grid, and once the few main providers get their prices up, everyone else has to follow. The energy market is, effectively, an oligopoly. One by one, over the last few months, we have seen the big providers hiking their prices almost in unison, until there was nowhere left to go. There are still some differences, you can still switch to something slightly cheaper, but there is no company that would be as cheap as it had been a year ago. There was some weak outcry against it, but it was silenced by the claims that the companies would start running losses if they couldn’t do it.
“Losses” in corpospeak means, apparently, “less than record profits”.