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Rest In Pieces: The Competition Commission

John Robertson, member of the Cross Party Energy and Climate Change committee went on public record saying: “The biggest opacity is the profit making itself, if you look at the bill you get through the door, the understanding you have of it. There is a need for the companies to explain how they make their profit and where; also make it easy for the consumer to understand their bill. We can see what is happening on the retail side, but not on the generation side of the equation.

The companies are jealously guarding their information. It is strange that you have six large companies, who all charge roughly the same, have roughly the same increases in price, and yet they are all meant to be in competition with each other”

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Natural Monopoly, Essential Goods and Regulation

If the public have a problem with the energy companies, they are first directed to Ombudsman Services, which suggests itself to provide ‘independent dispute resolution for the communications, energy, property and copyright licensing sectors’.

Ombudsman Services is funded by the companies it handles complaints about, which raises questions about conflicts of interest and influence.  According to WhatDoTheyKnow.Com, a website which covers Freedom of Information requests to 15440 authorities,  Ombudsman Services is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Read more

The Energy Companies Wear No Clothes

I have written these citizenship journalism articles as I have become increasingly interested in the hard details of what is driving fuel poverty as I and others encounter it. My experience with energy suppliers have been negative as a consumer which brings me to expect that the ‘customer’ is always wrong at every turn.

Energy companies yearly report increasing profits as my bills go up and up, and the service gets poorer and poorer. Similarly, the companies seem to be avoiding sufficient investment in sustainable infrastructure or technologies that will enable a society which does not squander intergenerational equity – i.e. the natural resources which belong to future generations.

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Mapping the Human Brain by Mike McInnes

A recent initiative of the US National institutes of Health (NIH) to map the human brain was announced.  The project has been entitled: “Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN).”

The quotation below is sourced from the NIH:

“On April 2, 2013, President Obama launched the BRAIN Initiative to “accelerate the development and application of new technologies that will enable researchers to produce dynamic pictures of the brain that show how individual brain cells and complex neural circuits interact at the speed of thought.” Read more

The Stepford Nannies: How “Choice Architecture” is Building a Perfect Society by Paul Whittaker

Over the last few years a methodology of social control has emerged whose claims of effectiveness, despite being rather modest in some respects, still appear to represent a significant breakthrough in the ability of governments to make society behave in the manner in which they desire. This methodology is known as Nudge Theory and it has been embraced on both sides of the Atlantic by David Cameron and Barak Obama and the craze seems to be spreading to other European countries.

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Censorship, Surveillance & Mass Infantilization by Paul Whittaker

Once upon a time we could rely on the Tories to lambast any suspicious examples of the nanny-state as quickly as they could identify them, but now, at the behest of the Daily-Mail they have concocted the most definitively nanny-state concept of all time: a system to filter the internet in order to protect the children (along with everyone else) from internet pornography.

In the wake of the Snowden leaks it is surprising how little concern and scrutiny David Cameron & Claire Perry’s attempt to install a massive censorship and surveillance program has attracted. Another piece of the puzzle which has received little comment is that this is not Cameron’s first attempt to tame the unruly internet. As well as the (rather flimsy) blockade on torrent sites there was an abortive attempt back in 2011 after the widespread rioting triggered by the police murder of Mark Duggan. Read more