Thursday, January 26, 2006

A cold synopsis

Here's a pretty good synopsis of what the cold is doing here. Add this:

----The schools have been closed for a week. They call it a quarantine closure but it's because of the cold. (Those happen every year for flu reasons.) But knowing what kind of a strain has been put on the power grid, it just might be a way to lower the power drain by keeping a large number of public buildings--the schools--closed.

----There are shortages that I reported. The milk shortages are being blamed now on the fact that Russia has prohibited Ukrainian dairy imports for phytosanitary reasons, that jewel of an all-purpose category used as cover for policy decisions or retaliation. The Russians have done this and it threatens the industry here with losses of around $30 million. It doesn't seem like much but every little bit counts for some of these industries. (It has been reported that some producers will have to shut down because of it.) But it seems to me that the Russian action ought to leave more production here for sale which would keep prices down and increase the supply. My wife thinks that we are getting better cheese at a lower price, at least, and there is no shortage of that. But milk has been short in some stores.

----There was a picture last night on TV of a boiler in a building that leaked water like a sieve-- literally like a sieve. (The gas flame could be seen behind a curtain of water droplets.) And the water was hot water. That's a problem with a number of these old buildings. They're supposed to be kept up by the city but they aren't. The city workers either don't do the upkeep--it interferes with other things they've got going on in their lives-- or have to be bribed to do it and the tenants don't have the money for that, or there is no money for the extensive repairs and replacements that are needed in the budget. So energy flows down the drain--also quite literally.

----It would be interesting to see how all this slowdown caused by the cold will affect the economy. I suspect not all that much because it is small and not too specialized. This sort of thing would be felt much harder in the US. But I'll let the economists have their say and step back into my own comfortable little world.

1 comment:

lawrence said...

interesting blog. we are SO different. and worlds apart. thanks for sharing.