Diesel Price Gouging-- Collusion?
Dear Editor, July 28, 2015
As a diesel car driver, I'm amazed that our fuel is still priced at around $4.39 per gallon here! The price has stayed the same while other fuels have dropped over the past couple of years.
I checked the EIA.gov website and see the average price for diesel in the US is currently $2.72, and even in California (gas prices currently higher than here), it's only $3.07!
I smell collusion or at least price gouging.…
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Battery Hype Debunked
Dear Editor, July 7, 2015
The Sony "Blue Ion" is simply the Sony Fortelion lithium battery using LiFePO4 technology and chemistry. The LiFePO4 developed and patented at the University of Texas is used by several lithium battery manufacturers in Japan, China, India, U.S. and Germany.
A Star-Advertiser story July 7, 2015 claims this battery will last 20 years. NOT true. Like almost all lithium chemistry this Fortelion battery has a life cycle expectancy of approximately 2,000 cycles (one cycle = one day) or 5.4 years. A 20 year "life span" is the number of years the battery will last if you do not use it at its full capacity. There is a big difference.
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Is Government a Business?
Dear Editor, July 1, 2015
Regarding J Scott Moody’s June 18 article “Hawaii Government Workforce Seventh Least Productive in USA:”
It's very difficult to measure productivity in government for a couple of reasons.
1. If we're talking about the paper in paper out aspect we don't measure success in units produced or volume. Rather it is a qualitative matter. It might be law analysis, for example, and that is judged by a smart versus dumb standard. Also even if we did think in terms of volume most of that is driven by what comes in from the outside. Even speed of turnaround isn't the right measure because sometimes you get better results if you go slow - consider criminal justice as an example.
2. If EPA sues more businesses are they being more productive? Many conservatives would say that it is better for society if they are less productive. In other words why is productivity even the right criteria?
3. The amount spent on salaries from state to state or government versus private sector doesn't mean much unless it is an apples to apples comparison. For example Texas may have fewer laws than California. Or for example if a college degree is always required for government and not for private sector that skews a comparison. Do you know that Honolulu and Salt Lake City have the same average temperature? Range is also a factor. You see what I mean?
4. Government has impacts that are hard to measure. For example what is the economic value of security? No one can say. Infinite, perhaps priceless.
So really I don't think productivity is the right question as applied to government. Although perhaps a crude measure would be to divide the annual cost of an agency by the number of pages of statutes that the agency is responsible for. Of course that isn't going to work for an agency that builds highways for example.
I don't object to reporting numbers I simply object to mis-characterizing the meaning of those numbers.
People want to run government like a business. It isn't a business and it isn't supposed to be like a business.