Profile

Cover photo
Mike Reeves-McMillan
Attended Massey University
Lives in Auckland
2,617 followers|778,473 views
AboutPostsCollectionsPhotosYouTube

Stream

Mike Reeves-McMillan

Shared publicly  - 
 
An excessively pessimistic view of marriage here, but great story fodder in this list of 100 marriages of different social classes (followed by 12 more in depth). Via +The Public Domain Review. 
1
Mike Reeves-McMillan's profile photo
 
Looks like this is Austria circa 1906.
Add a comment...

Mike Reeves-McMillan

Shared publicly  - 
 
When I review books, the ones that earn five stars have both fresh, interesting ideas and excellent execution. One or the other gets four stars, unless the weaker one is especially weak.

This is basically what +Rachel Aaron is talking about, from a writer's perspective, in this post, using the metaphor of the Great British Bakeoff.
 
Writing Wednesday: Flavor vs. Bake
First up, if you're at all interested in the self publishing business, go and check out the latest Author Earnings Report . It's one of their better ones and paints an amazing picture of the current Amazon book market (which is pretty much the #1 most impor...
First up, if you're at all interested in the self publishing business, go and check out the latest Author Earnings Report. It's one of their better ones and paints an amazing picture of the current Amazon book market (which i...
View original post
3
Add a comment...

Mike Reeves-McMillan

Shared publicly  - 
 
There's value in proceeding with confidence in your process, even when you don't have clear evidence yet that it's going to produce results.
 
Nothing in life and especially nothing in business is guaranteed, but if you have the right outlook, you can push past doubt.
View original post
4
Add a comment...

Mike Reeves-McMillan

Shared publicly  - 
 
Automation vs dissent: an SF story. 
I got into the passenger seat. There wasn't a driver seat. But after two turns, something felt wrong: the self-driving Taxy was heading the wrong direction.
4
Add a comment...

Mike Reeves-McMillan

Shared publicly  - 
 
Catting is exhausting. 
22
Add a comment...

Mike Reeves-McMillan

Shared publicly  - 
 
Via +Samuel Smith.

tl;dr: Looks like the net cost of transitioning from fossil fuels to nonpolluting alternatives is roughly zero in the long term. In fact, when you factor in reduction in negative health impacts, it's strongly positive (saving about $25 trillion by 2040).

This eliminates rational barriers to the transition, but there are still irrational barriers and vested interests, and they could still cause a lot of trouble.
 
...I have been pointing out for a while that following the steep decline in the cost of wind and solar energy, an energy transition is a free lunch. It’s a simple calculation.
Citibank are just the latest team of experts to confirm the “no or negligible net cost” conclusion. (Pdf report page 23; press coverage.) They make the total world outlays on energy to 2040 in a fossil-heavy BAU at $192 trillion, those in an energy transition at $190.2 trillion, net saving $1.8 trillion. The last number is well within the error range, and should not be taken too seriously. The less precise “next to nothing” conclusion is solid. I stress that is the consensus expert position: the IPCC WG3 (pdf, page 15) say the same thing, as do Fraunhofer IWES in Kassel for Germany. Can any reader cite a credible study suggesting the contrary? In case you are worried, these professional scenarios do include the costs of grid integration for variable wind and solar energy, it’s not back to candles.
Net cash cost of energy transition to 2040 ≈ $0.
Fossil fuels are also responsible for huge amounts of local and regional air pollution. This contributes to a steadily lengthening list of health problems and premature deaths. UNEP gives the world total of premature deaths from all air pollution at 3.5 million a year. The OECD has estimated the annual health costs (basis 2010) attributable to outdoor air pollution in its member states plus India and China at $3.5 trillion a year (pdf, page 2). Half of this is due to road transport. This estimate (endnote) excludes a good number of countries including Brazil and Indonesia, plus the effects of indoor air pollution from wood fires and kerosene stoves. It is almost certainly a major underestimate. A full energy transition eliminates all of these costs in time. There will be a few deaths from solar and wind installers falling from heights, and electrocutions from electric vehicles. More significantly, air pollution has improved in OECD countries since 2010, but not enough to change the overall picture.

A complete energy transition would eliminate these health costs gradually, and in the end completely. Using a straight-line reduction from $3.5 trn a year in 2015 to zero in 2060, we get a total saving of $25.3 trillion.
Health saving to 2040 from energy transition ≈ $25 trillion.
So the net undiscounted cost to 2040 of the energy transition (cash for energy plus health) is minus $25 trillion. That’s a $3,500 bonus for every man, woman and child alive today.
I have not included anything for avoided GDP costs from extreme weather, hotter summers, and sea-level rise. Citi guesstimate these at $44 trn to 2060 (pdf, page 8). Here’s a higher estimate. On top of that, there are avoided burdens in loss of biodiversity and the risk of catastrophic disaster. These impacts are all real but methodologically difficult. It’s not downplaying these to leave them aside as superfluous to the proof. Discounting (what rate?) would also add a layer of technical difficulties and does not affect the conclusion.
We are faced with the greatest free lunch in the history of humankind.

Turning it down
One objection is that if it’s so, why haven’t we tucked in already? Replies:
Cultural, economic and political inertia
The world’s energy system is enormous. The trillions in physical and financial assets and the millions of workers are supported by a whole ideosphere of professionals who have spent their lives thinking and writing about fossil fuels. One example among many: the energy statisticians at the EIA do a good job on fossil fuels in the USA, but their forecasts on wind and solar have been laughable. The IEA in Paris have been almost as bad. There is something wrong when the best forecasters on global solar pv installation have been at Greenpeace.
Vested interests in fossil fuels
The Kochs and others have been fighting with desperation and complete lack of scruple for their businesses to survive. It’s already too late for several large coal companies. Curiously, the industry has not yet mobilised to stop the electric car threat. Possibly because Big Oil is still living in a dreamworld where oil and gas continue to grow to 2035 and carbon emissions don’t fall at all. If they ever wake up, they will be up against the electric utilities and a good part of the car industry.
But don’t underestimate their past work. The Cloud of Unknowing created in the English-speaking world by Exxon and the Kochs on climate change must count as one of the great achievements of agitprop. The denialists still show up in dozens on Joe Romm’s blog and others, and it’s not likely they are all paid: many are Willi Münzenberg’s “useful idiots”. The denialist control of the Republicans in Congress is partly venal, but partly also convinced. It’s not like the political protection of Florida sugar barons from cheap imports, which everybody accepts as purely mercenary, and has no ideologues.
There are other losers more deserving of our sympathy, like coal-miners and roustabouts. The benefits of the transition would allow generous compensation, retraining and community regeneration policies, but on past experience these are sadly unlikely.
Front-loading of the spending
In the early years of the transition, spending is higher than under BAU. Renewable energies and electric vehicles are nearly all upfront capital expenditure, with very low operating costs. In their infancy, they also need subsidies to get them along the learning curve to cost parity. Fraunhofer’s scenario of the costs of the Energiewende in Germany shows the problem.
The problem should not be exaggerated. The infant subsidies to wind and solar are largely past history, or embedded legacies like FIT guarantees that don’t affect future investment decisions. Brazil and Chile are installing wind and solar without subsidy. Electric vehicles are still dependent on subsidies, but the learning curve on batteries is so steep that the subsidies may go in five years. In any case, OECD countries are operating well below full employment, so the opportunity cost of additional public and private investment will be negligible for some time to come.

As Mike O’Hare has stressed, climate change is the problem from hell because it’s all about externalities: the harm to other people and the biosphere caused by actions that look beneficial to individuals and organisations like companies. It is therefore an issue of collective action, and the solution goes through government. The dominant ideology of today, free-market liberalism, is instinctively opposed to such solutions and therefore minimizes the problems. Combined with the front-loading, we are facing some combination of carbon taxes, costly emissions regulations, subsidies to clean technologies, and direct public spending say on railways and buses. Merkel and Cameron, fearful of the impact of household electricity surcharges, have already backtracked on solar subsidies.
The world may get lucky on some of this. The subsidies to wind and solar energy are largely history (Danke, Tak, Arigatō). Those to electric cars – up to €10,000 a pop in France – won’t need to last long. Electric buses are competitive on a lifelong cost of ownership basis. Green technologies may win in power generation, transport and heating/cooling without any externality pricing. I don’t though see a transition happening in aviation, shipping, steel and cement, or large-scale reforestation, without the heavy hand of government. Large scale carbon sequestration, if we find it necessary (and James Hansen is usually right), cannot be a commercial proposition without carbon pricing or equivalent regulation.

The imaginary free rider problem
The international free rider problem was a major obstacle to a global agreement when it was assumed that the net costs of climate mitigation were large. The benefits of action in one country would mainly accrue to foreigners, so you needed an impossible global deal before anybody got started. With the falling costs of renewable energies, and the realization of the local costs of air pollution, the problem has disappeared in fact. A rational policymaker in most countries will find that national climate action has net benefits in isolation, though these are much higher if everybody else joins in. This has made possible the turnaround in the prospects of climate negotiations, seized on by Christiana Figueres, and then by Barack Obama and Xi Jinping. However, not all policymakers are rational, and the free rider fallacy still grips many in the US Republican Party and elsewhere.

The Dwarfs’ banquet?

The free lunch explains why politicians as different as Barack Obama, Xi Jinping, Narendra Modi, Angela Merkel, Dilma Rousseff and David Cameron are all now backing the energy transition. It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and on balance their voters or subjects will not punish them for the policy. They and other nervous leaders are reassured by the examples of California, Denmark and Germany, whose aggressive climate policies are plainly no obstacle to prosperity. After decades of flaffing around, a decent climate agreement in Paris next month is now odds-on.
The obstacles to taking up the offer explain the hesitations, delays, ambiguities, and backtracks of these same leaders. The five reasons for inaction are incoherent in logic, but psychologically and politically they add up to a formidable constellation of nay-saying forces. Only a handful of countries have adopted a hard zero-carbon target, and they don’t include Germany. What politician has had the courage to tell the coal and oil industries that they must go out of business well before 2050?
The banquet is not quite like Aslan’s. The dwarfs are behaving more like terrified and hungry savages, darting in to seize a pie from the table, then running off to consume it in safety. There must be a catch. We won’t let go of our fears of joy and plenty.
Humankind may still fail. The rejection of the $25 trillion free lunch, if it continues, will be the greatest ever failure of public policy, worse than August 1914: since this time, all our grandchildren will be in the trenches at Verdun
Originally published on Same Facts. By James Wimberley There is a disturbing passage towards the end of the final book in C.S. Lewis’ Narnia septet: Aslan raised his head and shook his mane. Instantly a glorious feast appeared on the Dwarfs’ knees: pies and tongues and pigeons and trifles and ices, and each Dwarf had a goblet of good
2 comments on original post
3
Brittany Constable's profile photoDavid Friedman's profile photo
2 comments
 
If wind, solar or nuclear becomes substantially less expensive than fossil fuel, the transition will occur with no need for carbon taxes, renewable subsidies or similar policies. I am repeatedly struck by how the same people can both argue that such policies are essential and, by implication, that they are unnecessary.
Add a comment...
Have him in circles
2,617 people
Geoff Lynas's profile photo
gentil smith's profile photo
Susan Joslyn's profile photo
Philip Tolhurst's profile photo
Dee Solberg's profile photo
Michael Yowell's profile photo
Fiona Thomas's profile photo
paloma santos's profile photo
Jackie Price's profile photo

Mike Reeves-McMillan

Shared publicly  - 
 
From +standoutbooks, a simple formula for effective blurb writing:

1. Hook (context; why this story is interesting, usually because of a setting or character).
2. Conflict (what goes wrong).
3. Teaser of how the story might develop, the possibilities for triumph and disaster. 
4. An indication of how the story might make the reader feel.
5. Involve the reader with the word "you". 

The post makes the point that structuring a blurb this way gives the potential buyer the experience of already reading the book and wanting to read more

I would warn, though, especially for indie books, if you praise your own book too much in step 4 ("a stunning triumph of literature such as you've never read before"), it's more likely to repel readers than attract them. Use that step like a restaurant sign: this is the kind of experience the book offers. In other words, give genre clues, so the potential purchaser can decide whether that's the experience they want today. 
There’s a secret science to writing the perfect book blurb. This detailed guide will help you craft a powerful blurb that will convert browsers to buyers.
4
Jenn Thorson's profile photo
 
I would add to that comment about not praising your book too much, also don't compare your work to some other more known writer. "(A modern-day Hemingway!") (I've seen writers do this a lot and it never makes things look more professional.) Just let it stand on its own, and let readers make their own comparisons. It will save you pain down the road.

Add a comment...

Mike Reeves-McMillan

Shared publicly  - 
 
In connection with my day job, I just listened to this online interview series about the Internet of Things.

There were a few points that interested me as someone who likes to think about, and write fiction set in, the future:

- Industry will need different kinds of workers (more flexible, participating in lifetime learning, good at working in teams, doing more decisionmaking).
- Therefore, a different approach to education and a different education system will be needed.
- Who owns the data produced by the things you own? The manufacturer? You? The government?
- Resilience of the system is important as complexity increases - ability to "reboot" in an acceptable timeframe, or otherwise deal with failure in a way that doesn't cascade into other, linked systems.

I also came up with a story idea: in a world of automated machines which cooperate according to their digital model of the world, a person is voluntarily or involuntarily excluded from that world, and therefore at risk as well as free - the machines can't "see" the person.
About openSAP. openSAP is SAP's platform for open online courses. It supports you in acquiring knowledge on key topics for success in the SAP ecosystem. © 2013 - 2016 Copyright SAP – Legal Disclosure – Privacy – Terms of Use. Powered by HPI / openHPI (r3322). Helpdesk ...
1
1
Deborah Teramis Christian's profile photo
 
Interesting concepts you bullet-point in your post. Thanks for the idea-fest! I'll definitely check this out.
Add a comment...

Mike Reeves-McMillan

Shared publicly  - 
 
The latest Author Earnings report from +Hugh Howey and Data Guy refines the methodology of earlier reports, using better data, and finds that the previous figures were actually pretty accurate. 

Indie growth continues in ebook sales, as expected, but also in print and audio. And ebook sales overall continue to grow, now to over $2 billion a year from Amazon alone (almost half of which isn't accounted for by the sources that traditional publishers, and most journalists, use, because of books that don't have ISBNs). 
Two years ago, the first Author Earnings report revealed the growing market share of self-published ebooks. With data on hundreds of thousands of titles, it was suddenly possible to measure the relative sales and earnings power of ebooks according to publishing path. By sharing this data, ...
6
Add a comment...

Mike Reeves-McMillan

Shared publicly  - 
 
+S. A. Hunt's Malus Domestica is among many fine works on this affordable list.
3
1
S. A. Hunt's profile photo
Add a comment...

Mike Reeves-McMillan

Shared publicly  - 
 
Here's how things are looking for the Makers of Magic themed single-author collection that I talked about the other day. 

Of course, my editor may come back to me and say that the three stories I have with her are no good, or the market may not want them. But all going well, you should see this collection around the middle of next year. 
6
Add a comment...

Mike Reeves-McMillan

Shared publicly  - 
 
Howey's argument is that the reason the formerly dominant players in publishing are in trouble is that they don't provide service to authors or readers commensurate with their costs. He makes a strong case.
 
Considering the recent "indie-shaming" tactics by the New York Times that were brought to light by author Autumn Kalquist, the latest blog post by Hugh Howey is timely and spot-on relevant, as well as a fascinating read.

(And this is a link to Autumn Kalquist's blog, if you're interested http://www.autumnkalquist.com/20k/#comment-5067)
Over the last ten to fifteen years, the publishing industry has undergone a massive shift from print to digital and from the east coast to the west coast. Understanding this shift is critical for anyone working in the field or who wishes to. Taking stock can be difficult. All manner of publishing has been greatly…
View original post
5
2
Mike Reeves-McMillan's profile photoCharlie Kravetz (charlie-tca)'s profile photoDianne Hackborn's profile photo
2 comments
 
Also, much of that print price is there to pay for printing and physical distribution. In setting an ebook price as high as (or higher than) the paperback, publishers are exhibiting simple greed. Or attempting to manipulate me into buying the paperback, which I don't respond well to either. 
Add a comment...
Mike's Collections
People
Have him in circles
2,617 people
Geoff Lynas's profile photo
gentil smith's profile photo
Susan Joslyn's profile photo
Philip Tolhurst's profile photo
Dee Solberg's profile photo
Michael Yowell's profile photo
Fiona Thomas's profile photo
paloma santos's profile photo
Jackie Price's profile photo
Education
  • Massey University
    Health Science, 2008 - 2010
  • University of Auckland
    English, 1986 - 1989
  • Waitakere College
    1981 - 1985
  • Swanson Primary School
    1973 - 1980
  • Auckland University of Technology
    Celebrant Studies, 2005 - 2006
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Other names
Michael McMillan
Story
Tagline
Novelist, short story writer, book reviewer, nonfiction author
Introduction
I write a steampunk-fantasy series about heroic civil servants called The Gryphon Clerks; an urban fantasy series, Auckland Allies; and a lot of short stories, plus the occasional nonfiction book. I do a lot of book reviewing, too. I'm harsh but (I hope) constructive. Currently not accepting review requests.
 
I'll probably only circle you back if you engage me in conversation, and if you either mostly write about writing or something else I find interesting, or you're an unusually interesting and insightful person. Exception: I don't circle erotica writers, just because of what might show up in my stream. Nothing personal.
Bragging rights
While working for a certain notorious NZ publisher in my freelance editing days, I got out with all the money owed to me (if you knew NZ publishing up to the late 90s you'd know who I mean, and be impressed).
Collections Mike is following
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Auckland