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Comment Re:Three Seashells (Score 1) 131

and basically all paper (it's just cheaper for paper).

A lot of the paper pulp is coming from tropical palm plantations; they are much quicker to yield than temperate forests. Paper pulp demand is still causing deforestation in tropical areas, just not so much in the US.

Comment Re:Toilet paper and timber? (Score 1) 131

With paper, the tree is crushed. Why would you need a large straight tree for that? Economics re-enforces this. You're not going to pay extra for a large tree just to crush it

What? Have you even been to an active paper company forest?

This reminds me of the Mike Rowe's TED talk about how a lot of people talk about things they think they know.

Yeah.

Comment fires not just for ecoterrorists (Score 1) 131

Oregon's done a lot since the "plant three for every one you take" rule came into effect; we now have forest fires instead of clear cuts. I am assuming the ecoterrorists like Tre Arrow actually prefer fires.

As we're figuring out, the occasional fire is actually good for the environment. I'd still rather harvest a lot of the trees up here rather than suffer through the fires. Even if the result is simply burning them in a clean power plant(compared to uncontrolled forest fire combustion), that's a lot of green energy right there.

That being said, farmers are idiots a lot of the time because there's lots and lots of monocultures out there. They seem to do mostly fine.

Comment Re:Also the Solution to the Last Mile Problem? (Score 1) 97

Salisbury's solution to this problem is on the right track but it's not the correct solution. If companies sue for unfair competition, they'll win. Governments should not be ISPs or content providers.

On the other hand, if businesses are so unwilling to provide decent service, the local community standing up a local ISP through the government is a logical choice, though yes, I'd prefer if they formed a cooperative or something. Maybe they can 'spin off' the ISP services in a few more years. But consider that the government is also providing the water & sewer services - somebody else posted the city's audit/budget page, and water/sewer is literally the next page up. They also run a bus system.

In short, it depends on how you view internet connectivity today - do you look at it as a utility or not? If you do, government action, especially when the market isn't responding satisfactory, makes sense.

As for unbundling layer 2 & 3 service*, most areas don't do that - I get ALL my phone service, including long distance, from the local phone company. I don't rent the pipes then pay to have water delivered from a different company, nor with the electric company. I view it as an efficiency thing - is the added competition over layer 3 providers going to improve provision of service more than the efficiency of the local cooperative providing everything? Personally, my thought is that the latter will be more efficient.

*I'm using terminology seen elsewhere in the thread, even though this isn't a very correct way to refer to the split between getting a connection on the MAN and actually getting on the internet.

Capitalism will keep all the private providers in check. There's no way Comcast and it's ilk would behave the way they do if they had to compete for your business.

For the record, I'm a 'practical minarchist', IE 'moderate libertarian', and I agree with you, mostly.

Here's my thought: If Comcast and their sort were providing satisfactory service in these areas, the local communities wouldn't feel the need to create their own networks.

If you manage to so piss off the locals that they, by stint of majority vote, approve the creation of a 'public utility', cooperative, or whatever to provide internet services, I think you should face the consequences. If you sue them because they'd be 'competing', well, tough shit, odds are you were an effective monopoly in the area and you done screwed up. In which case I think that you should not only owe court costs, but a portion of the construction costs for their new system.

Don't want that happening? Actually provide adequate service at adequate prices.

Comment Re:It's all about the money, honey (Score 1) 97

Okay, so they 'lost' $144k in 2014. The service is isn't even years old, and it takes a few years to start making a profit on this stuff. Per the article, they have 3.3k users, and 25% penetration in homes in their allowed service area. They made $4.4M from subscribers, or $1,342 each, or an average of $112/month.

That would work out to 108 more customers to break even, assuming zero marginal cost. Going by operating expenses of $2.96M, that's $897 of cost per customer, per year. Leaving marginal revenue of $445, or 324 new customers needed to break even, or right around 10% more people.

Shouldn't actually be that difficult. Looking at previous 2 years - they were losing closer to $4M/year, but looking at the expense lines, they were still expanding their network, spending more money to get service to customers than they were bringing in.

That's without considering that they paid down $400k of principle and $1.3M in interest. If you figure that they're paying something around 5% on that debt, that $400k will save them ~$20k in interest next year. Or - in less than 12 years they'd be breaking even from debt repayment alone.

BTW 'infrastructure depreciation' tends to be weird - I know that when I was in federal service we operated a LOT of equipment that had a technical value of $0, IE fully depreciated, but it was still usable, so we did. For example, you might fully depreciate a car over 5 years, but keep using it for 10.

Comment Re:EPB in Chattanooga area rolling out soon (Score 1) 97

Technically speaking, you'd only need 1 10gig connection - into a router that feeds multiple 1G computers. And a family large enough to use enough of the computers to make it make a difference.

Still, keep in mind that 'business' is a subset of their planned users. I know plenty that would be more than happy to pay $400/month for 10gig. Dad's company pays far more for far less.

Comment Get some competition, watch that rise. (Score 1) 97

One of the things that we've seen in the USA is that there's a very positive correlation between competition amount and service provided.

Areas where there's no competition tend to languish and suffer slow speeds for high amounts of money. Areas with competition tend to get lots of bandwidth at very reasonable prices in comparison.

I'll note that the 'competition' has to be competitive - sometimes you get the Cable & DSL companies essentially colluding so they're more or less the same level of mediocre.

Comment Re:Three Seashells (Score 1) 131

An interesting point but hopefully the answer isn't to put it all "under the plow" for the sake of poachers.

Hell no. But there are already ranchers in Africa that are raising Rhinos and humanely cutting the horn regularly, storing the currently illegal to sell product. Allow them to profit from it and the practice would relatively explode, even if still confined to said ranches. Meanwhile, they make enough money from their operations to hire sufficient security that poachers would find getting the limited amounts of horn from Rhinos on the ranch which have their horns regularly trimmed too little return for the risk - besides the whole idea that it'd crash the rhino horn market at least a bit.

As for costs of harvesting from a tree farm - that's complicated. You can grow trees further north, for example, than bamboo. Even then, we know how to make products from wood that we don't have experience with for bamboo. I'm sure substitute processes can be developed, and should probably be explored, but you can end up with a sugar cane/sugar bean split where 'both' is the ultimate answer.

Comment Re:Natural causes (Score 1) 131

Wildfires in Alaska 'cost' us tens of millions even in a low-fire year.

Trick is, it's like Yellowstone. You get 2-3 years of opportunistic plants (fireweed), then the forests start regrowing.

If I don't mow my yard regularly the trees around my house would spread TO my house within 2 years. As is I'm trying to push them back a bit.

Comment Re:Three Seashells (Score 5, Informative) 131

would translate into a smaller footprint required to produce.

This brings up an important point that detracts from the article. Toilet paper and timber today are overwhelmingly produced from farmed trees. Timber is, generally speaking, sequestering the wood. Discounting the costs of processing and shipping, toilet paper is actually renewable. After all, after you harvest a field to make into TP, you simply plant more trees.

Remove them, and you might run into the problem seen by African Rhinos - where complete bans on their horns actually increases their vulnerability to poachers, because you've removed much of the economics of having them, thus reducing money available to protect them and even breed more of them.

Lions aren't easy to farm either, but at least the Chinese are doing it.

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