Monday, September 12

Money down the drain

203° 20' NET

I have no idea how much money US government uses for flood-control and for building barriers and such. Looking at the resent events it looks like it's not enough.

It's not cheap to build dams and barriers against raising water levels or floods. Over here in the Netherlands they take this issue very seriously. The costs in euro's are in billions, one barrier can cost 200-300 million alone. Like this one for example, the New Waterway barrier:

Europe's New Orleans is Rotterdam, another city built on a flood plain at the mouth of a continent's greatest river. The disaster half a century ago led to a massive building program, the Delta project, which was completed only in 1997 when Queen Beatrice inaugurated the New Waterway barrier, a €260-million ($385-million) hydraulic gate that protects Rotterdam from the ever-rising seas. The expense has been enormous and continues, hundreds of millions of euros every year and a new program is under way.

This means you have to have a fat budget for these kind of plans and will to see it through. It also means these kind of projects lasts for years even decades. The new project will take €2.2 billion over the next 10 years.

Now, if a nation of 16 million can do this, why is it so hard for a nation of almost 300 million to do?
If money is the issue, I have an idea where it could be taken from. I'm not going to go into politics too much, only to point out that for me personally it feels purely ridiculous that US defence budget - if you can call it that, because for me defence budget means money you use for defending, not preempting - is over 400 billion dollars. 3.3% of GDP (Feb. 2004) used for military expenditures is kind of nuts. Not highest in the world by any means, but for a modern, democratic nation with reasonably stable neighbours it is a lot. What makes this really nuts is the fact that the budget is almost equal to the rest of the world. Yes, that's right - USA puts up pretty close half of the money used in defence worldwide. That's some kind of a record, only I don't know if it's something to be proud of.

Just a couple days ago Jane's reported that:

The United States' Fiscal Year 2006 (FY06) defence budget represents a continuation of the previously established priorities, although various pressures will persist in tightening the US Department of Defense's (DoD's) fiscal belt.

Sounds like a good idea.

Vector at Monday, September 12, 2005

Comments 1

Thursday, September 8

Blogger is *#$%@!!!

I'm starting to have it with this blogger thing! Either it is NOT working right with firefox or then it just randomly chooses to crash when you are almost done with your post - in anycase, it FUCKS me up!!

I had a nice, informative post about Dutch damsystem linked to New Orleans and all that stuff, blah, blah, blah, and only had to make a final hyperlink to one webpage. I pressed the link button, got the little pop-up, right clicked on it to past the link and with that I got my desktop. My browser had closed with all the websites.

MAybe I'm swithing over to Blogsome, which is a very good service, fast and reliable. Hadn't had a problem with is so far.

And no, I don't save my posts as a Draft every freaking 2 minutes.

Vector at Thursday, September 08, 2005

Comments 6

Monday, September 5

Gas prices

092° 30' NET

I just saw this article about gas price gouging in New York and what to do about it. Fadel Gheit of Oppenheimer, the elder statesman of oil analysts also says:

We have the largest gasoline reserves in the world - more than all of Europe combined - yet the President is asking European nations to send gasoline. They are laughing at us, because they already pay $6 a gallon. It's like begging from the homeless.

Actually at the moment in the Netherlands the price is about US$ 7.3 per gallon while in the US an average price is around 3 $.

1 gallon = 3,785412 liters
~ 1.55 € per liter -> 5,8673886 € per gallon
1 € = 1.25752 US$ -> 7.38 US$ per gallon

Anyway, he has the right idea.

Over here the prices are controlled which means you don't really get a much better prices anywhere. I think the differences in prices between different pump stations are minimal.

Vector at Monday, September 05, 2005

Comments 2