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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Blast from the past: Milton Friedman on corporate responsibility

The recently demised Milton Friedman had the following to say about the social responsibilities of corporates.
If this statement is not pure rhetoric, it must mean that he is to act in some way that is not in the interest of his employers. For example, that he is to refrain from increasing the price of the product in order to contribute to the social objective of preventing inflation, even though a price increase would be in the best interests of the corporation. Or that he is to make expenditures on reducing pollution beyond the amount that is in the best interests of the corporation or that is required by law in order to contribute to the social objective of improving the environment. Or that, at the expense of corporate profits, he is to hire 'hardcore' unemployed instead of better-qualified available workmen to contribute to the social objective of reducing poverty.
In each of these cases, the corporate executive would be spending someone else's money for a general social interest. Insofar as his actions in accord with his 'social responsibility' reduce returns to stockholders, he is spending their money. Insofar as his actions raise the price to customers, he is spending the customers' money. Insofar as his actions lower the wages of some employees, he is spending their money." Friedman argued that such actions in effect turned executives into public employees or civil servants, levying "taxes" (in the form of corporate money allocated to social causes) and making "expenditures" -- a part of "the socialist view that political mechanisms, not market mechanisms, are the appropriate way to determine the allocation of scarce resources to alternative uses."

The difficulty of exercising 'social responsibility' illustrates, of course, the great virtue of private competitive enterprise -- it forces people to be responsible for their own actions and makes it difficult for them to 'exploit' other people for either selfish or unselfish purposes. They can do good -- but only at their own expense."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Nichia hits 138 lm/W

Nichia has developed LEDs with indium tin oxide contacts that can deliver an efficacy of 138 lm/W and an output of 402 lumens at 2A.

Japanese LED chip manufacturer Nichia has produced a small white-emitting LED chip that has an efficacy of 138 lm/W at 20 mA, and a larger device that delivers 92 lm/W at 350 mA.
The small chip, which measures 240x420 ┬Ám, has a color temperature of 5450K, a wall plug efficiency of 41.7%, and a forward voltage of 3.11 V at 20 mA.
The 1x1 mm chip has a slightly lower color temperature and efficacy, but can deliver 106 lumens at 350 mA and 402 lumens at 2 A, which is equivalent to the total flux of a 30 W incandescent lamp.
Both of the MOCVD-grown devices produce white light by exciting a yellow YAG phosphor with 450 nm emission from an InGaN/GaN LED. The high efficacy of the chips results from improvements in external quantum efficiency, according to Nichia's researchers.
The LEDs do not use a conventional translucent Ni/Al p-contact that has a transmittance of only 40%, but instead employ an indium tin oxide electrode with a transmittance of 95%.
Extraction efficiency is also boosted by growth on a sapphire substrate patterned with convex hexagons, which scatter more of the light emitted from the active layer.
Nichia's results compare favorably with those of Cree, which reported a white LED chip delivering 131 lm/W at 20 mA this summer. Nichia's results were obtained using pulsed operation (200 Hz repition rate, and a duty cycle of 1 %). Cree provided no details of its mode of operation.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Viscount Monckton of Brenchley debunked

More action from the flat earthers. A recent monograph by Christopher Monkton, an aristo who apparently dabbles in Atmospheric physics, questioned the current model of climate change and went on to cast aspersions on it. George Monbiot shows why it is that much crap. From the article :
The author of this "research article" is Christopher Monckton, otherwise known as Viscount Monckton of Brenchley. He has a degree in classics and a diploma in journalism and, as far as I can tell, no further qualifications. But he is confident enough to maintain that - by contrast to all those charlatans and amateurs who wrote the reports produced by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - he is publishing "the truth".

The warming effects of carbon dioxide, Lord Monckton claims, have been exaggerated, distorted and made up altogether. One example of the outrageous fraud the UN body has committed is the elimination from its temperature graphs of the "medieval warm period", which, he claims, was "real, global and up to 3C warmer than now". He runs two graphs side by side, one of which shows the temperature record over the past 1,000 years as rendered by the UN panel, and the other purporting to show real temperatures over the same period.

The world was so hot 600 years ago, he maintains, that "there was little ice at the North Pole: a Chinese naval squadron sailed right round the Arctic in 1421 and found none". By contrast the planet is currently much cooler than climate scientists predicted. In 1988, for example, the world's most celebrated climatologist, James Hansen of Nasa, "told the US Congress that temperature would rise 0.3C by the end of the century (it rose 0.1C), and that sea level would rise several feet (no, one inch)".

Most importantly, "the UN repealed a fundamental physical law", doubling the size of the constant (lambda) in the Stefan-Boltzmann equation. By assigning the wrong value to lambda, the UN's panel has exaggerated the sensitivity of the climate to extra carbon dioxide. Monckton's analysis looks impressive. It is nonsense from start to finish.