Heat pumps: more than 80% of households in Great Britain ‘satisfied with system’?

PXL_20230526_182634779 So claims the Graun, h/t Twatter. What the Graun won't do, because they are clown journos who don't understand the concept of sourcing, is link to the study they are relying on. But I digress.

Speaking of digressions: while induction stoves are nice and I personally prefer them to gas, only idiots write things like "Cooking with a gas stove is like smoking indoors". Let's try to retain some connection to reality folks.

So, back to the study (pdf). And we care, because heat pumps are a nice and probably efficient way to electrify us, and reduce our dependence on evil Putingaz. So we'd like people to like them, if possible. But reading the Graun, our radar should be triggered by the phrase "broadly similar levels of satisfaction" compared to conventional heating; and then you notice that the Graun provides no way to compare; well, they don't want you to think for yourself; they'd rather do the thinking for you. So, oh yes as I was saying, back to the study.

You'll immeadiately think of a lot of reasons why this survey can't really be that much use, and you'll be right: those with heat pumps are likely a different demographic to those without; those who have deliberately decided to try this new-fangled tech, ditto; and so on. Interestingly, one problem - that there are more gas boilers - isn't a problem here; they have ~2k heat pump responses and ~1k gas. But if we ignore all those caveats for the moment, and ignore their words, we can look at figs 11 and 12 to compare. Following them (I think) I'll pick the percentage of "very satisfied" + "fairly satisfied" as my Key Metric.

For gas, for the category "hot water", that gets you 94% and for heat pump, 88%. For "space heating", 85% vs 83% (I'm reading these by eye of course so don't complain if I'm a percentage point off). For running costs, 59% vs 67% (Higher levels of satisfaction with running costs are likely to reflect the high efficiency of heat pumps and the high cost of gas during the 2022-2023 cost of living crisis. It may also reflect that heat pump users are on average likely to be more affluent, meaning that costs are less of a concern.). There are other categories; my impression is that gas wins, by a little, more often than not. The report says that Nearly three-quarters (73%) of heat pump users had the same or higher levels of satisfaction with their heat pump compared to their previous heating system but I would place little reliance on that, since anyone who has bothered to switch over is likely motivated. This is supported by fig 14, which shows that people who moved into a property whose previous owner had installed a heat pump where, marginally, net less satisfied than with gas.

So, overall, this is reasonable support for heat pumps not being a disaster area, and generally being about as good as gas.


Bad beekeeping, spring 2023

Another year another spring and I wonders, yes I does, if my bees have made it through the winter. The answer appears to be yes, at least one of two hives has, we quietly forget the other one which had died out last autumn. And so on a sunny Sunday afternoon just after Champs Head I went out to Coton; from a distance all is well:


From closer up things are not bad, there is honey in all five supers


but perhaps the pattern is not all that could be desired.


I predict pain and effort when I come back in a week or two to take some honey off.


We'll see.


Update: recolte

I ended up taking off three supers, saving my poor old back by trundling them into the car with the aid of N's wheelbarrow. I wanted to do them at my leisure at home, foreseeing (per the above) some pain. However, things turned out surprisingly well: very little had set, and much of that was probably from a previous year. I could have taken off more I suppose, but some of it wasn't very capped, and I like to leave them something, and three fairly full supers is quite enough to manage in one go.


Here's the "spinning zone" in the Newe Place, the old BAS mahogany bench is coming in useful at last.


And if you like to watch honey folding, there's a video here.

Update: return

On a warm sunny Sunday a week later I took the spun supers back


The hive was fine before; they were happy during; and fine after. Note the woodpecker damage in the top super in the wheelbarrow. I ended up (by happy chance) swapping that for one of N's supers, and took that home to repair in due course.


My apiary.


How an Early Oil Industry Study Became Key in Climate Lawsuits?

doc16_p110 Another in the who-knew-what-when games, from the Yale Environment 360. I think it is yet more proof that people are lying to themselves and are going to get badly disappointed when this hits a competent court1; but in the meantime people are presumably getting paid for this trash, and making reputations out of it.

Aanyway, what they're getting over-excited by now is a 1968 paper commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute, the powerful fossil fuel trade group, and written by Elmer Robinson and Bob Robbins, scientists at the Stanford Research Institute. The claim made is that it shows that the science around climate change was clear. Of course, it does no such thing, which anyone vaguely sane could tell without reading it, because we all know that the science wasn't clear in 1968.

They provide a link to excepts (though as far as I can tell not to the whole thing) helpfully highlit to guide your eye. But if you allow your eye to slip away from their guidance (yellow) to my guidance (green) you find "Whether one chooses the CO2 warming theory as described in detail by Revelle and others or the newer cooling prospect indicated by McCormick and Ludwig, the prospect for the future must be of serious concern".

So far from the science being clear, they weren't even sure what direction the temperature trend would be. Which is unsurprising, because we all know that in 1975 the NAS wrote we do not have a good quantitative understanding of our climate machine and what determines its course. Without the fundamental understanding, it does not seem possible to predict climate.


1. That the Supremes recently denied oil companies moves to get some cases moved from state to federal courts doens't help anyone very much, I think. A whole pile of lawyers get lucky, because they get to make a pile of money. The state courts will decide whatever, and the decisions will get appealled to the Supremes, which will throw them out if they've been stupid.


Who knew what when?

* ACX: Galton, Ehrlich, Buck.

Hard to Sue: A Feature Not a Bug.

The moral costs of markets: Testing the deterioration hypothesis.

Distribution versus Growth.

* NIMBY Is Economic Illiteracy: Denial of the obvious, not self-interest, is what strangles construction; or NIMBYism and Economic Ignorance.

All Medications Are Insignificant In The Eyes Of God And Traditional Effect Size Criteria: interesting in itself, but also in that it really has taken this long to think of using synthetic data.

How much money can electricity storage earn with power price arbitrage? (or: "where should you build your battery?")


What’s behind the dangerous new notion that democracy should be left to the well-educated?

Screenshot_20230503-140157 Asks Democracy, a Journal of Ideas. They are less than complimentary about that nice Bryan Caplan, but it is his twat that alerts me to the article. But then again, they haven't understood what Bryan, or the Libertarians or the Free-Marketeers are saying; so their attempts to have a conversation are doomed to failure.

To give the overall answer first, Bryan's view - well, and mine, but he is rather more famous, and for all I know I got it from him - is that democracy doesn't work very well in a number of respects1, that free markets are to be preferred when possible, and so the ideal direction to aim in is to push more decision-making into FM and out of D. This is of course entirely against the tenor of the times - so much so that the authors of our piece aren't even able to read it.

I continue with some quibbles: railing that Donald Trump was elected against the wishes of the majority of American voters is foolish. He was validly elected, get over it, stop whinging. Worse, this is an unreasoned attack on anything-but-simple-majoritarian-D and that is bad, because of the amount of unreason in that area is already too large. My view is that you have bigger problems; and especially if you're trying to start a conversation, leading off with partisanship is foolish.

The main bugbears of the article are Some right-wing intellectuals... argue that democracy should be shrunk down or even replaced by new systems of rule, where the intelligent and knowledgeable (i.e., those who believe in neoclassical economics and efficient markets) would be privileged over those too foolish and uninformed to understand their own best interests. Firstly, the "i.e. those who" is wrong; but that barely matters because while there are those arguing for limited francise (or so I assume; I don't read them) there are few and they aren't important, because - duh - it just isn't going to happen. There are far too many dumb schmucks out there who know very little, but they know that getting their pork off the state depends on them having a vote - in some obscure way that they don't understand and don't need to - and so are not going to give up that token-entitlement.

The solution to D's woes? Fixing democracy will require a myriad of reforms. Just in the United States, this includes preventing gerrymandering, getting rid of the filibuster, guaranteeing voting rights, and constraining the power of an anti-democratic Supreme Court. This is nonsense of course: the Supremes aren't anti-democratic, indeed technically they come to their decisions by voting; they just aren't elected by the bulk of the population, thank goodness. Putting them under democractic control would be a bad idea. As to the rest of the wish-list, I would be happy to see less gerrymandering; hating the filibuster just smacks of impatience; and you have all your voting rights already2. Further down he posits the brilliant idea that we should start experimenting with new institutions that might better harness disagreement; but this works rather better unconstrained by govt.

Penultimately, our authors have got the std critique wrong: it isn't that pols and voters are stupid and that clever people could do better; it is that pols are human beings; voters rationally put little thought into their voting; and people do better looking after their own affairs than other people's; that the right answer is seldom obvious and will rarely be found by something imposed top-down but is more likely found by experiment.

Anyway, that's enough ripping up their stuff. To return to what I'm pushing: coercion is bad, monopoly is bad, therefore govt is bad. And yet, some govt is needed. And yet, that doesn't mean that all the govt we have is needed; indeed, most of it isn't, and we would be better off served by people acting freely.

Oh, and lastly, I forgot to throw out the usual: D is a means to and end - flourishing society - not an end in itself; it has no intrinsic virtue, unlike freedom which has. See-also Meritocracy, democracy and competition.


Two views of democracy.

* What to DO about big problems?

Aristotle's politics.

* The Tyranny of Merit?

In Defense of Merit in Science twat Dawkins.

Political Capitalism: How Economic and Political Power is Made and Maintained.

Comparing Physician and Artificial Intelligence Chatbot Responses to Patient Questions Posted to a Public Social Media Forum.

Book review: Saving the Appearances - Owen Barfield.

Book review: Eversion.

All the arguments against EVs are wrong.

* The Volokh Conspiracy: A Flawed Attack on "Libertarian Elitism" About Voter Ignorance: ILYA SOMIN.

* And just so I can maybe find this one day in the future: delegitimising the Supremes / SCOTUS for your own political benefit because "the other guys" are in control is bad / reckless / foolish; e.g. see Michael Shellenberger (for it is he) criticising Pelosi.


1. Anyone mindlessly quoting Churchill in response will be spammed, as a sort-of Godwinning. Incidentally, in a jibe that I've only just thought of: that politics works badly is shown rather well by the sort of people you see at the top.

2. Recently, the UK has introduced photo-ID for voting. This is a shameless attempt by the Tories to disenfranchise some Labour folk but I don't care; voting is taken entirely too much for granted; anyone who can't be bothered to get themselves one of the many valid forms of ID doesn't deserve to vote.