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Comment At What Cost? (Score 1) 502

Clinton Plan To Power Every US Home With Renewables By 2027 Is Achievable

Many things are achievable but still not worth doing:

Dude 1: "So I got wasted, hooked up with that skanky 60-year old fat chick from the bar, lost my car keys and walked home in the rain, slipped and fell in a pile of dogshit."
Dude 2: "That's...achievable!"

Anyway, the kind of people who work for a living and pay taxes might ask, "so how much is this going to cost me?"

Well it might not be as bad as Obama's plan which, in his own words, would cause electricity prices to "necessarily skyrocket."

Though if we emulate Denmark or Germany then our electric bills will be about 2.5x what they are now. Over at Watts Up With That, Willis Eschenbach plots renewable energy adoption of nations vs. their respective consumer electric price. As he explains, he derives the plot from two graphs first presented together here by Paul Homewood.

Comment Re:Everybody List What You Think Went Wrong (Score 5, Insightful) 550

The reason for this decision is that the Slashdot Media business no longer aligns with the broader DHI strategy, which has been refined to focus on providing digital recruitment tools and services to connect employers and recruiters with talent in multiple professional communities.

What that means in plain English is that DHI thought they could use this place as a jobs board until they noticed that companies want to hire productive employees who do actual work instead of wasting time on Slashdot.


Comment Selfless Charity or Profits? (Score 1) 84

So is giving away free internet service to the poor a profit maker for Google or is it selfless charity?

It might well be a profit maker for these reasons: Google gets x amount of advertisement revenue for each new internet user in the U.S., because each new broadband user which Google connects brings Google additional advertising revenues. And Moore's law has dropped the cost of providing service to very low. And Google might be able to claim a charitable tax deduction for this giving. And the best pricing strategy for Google is to charge each customer exactly the most which he will pay. Price discrimination is illegal but charitable giving is a loophole; If the poor will not pay for internet service, then giving them internet service for free while charging those with more money, who are willing to pay for their broadband, is a good pricing strategy.

From a cynical perspective, Google is exploiting the poor by using them as ad-click monkeys.

From an optimistic perspective, free enterprise makes voluntary acts of charity measurably profitable to the giver, in addition to the intangible profit of good-will earned by giving.

Comment Re:Free? Who said anything about free? (Score 2) 432

then why don't you pay double for your gasoline? you are getting a 50% discount thanks to government subsidies

There is no such thing as 50% government gasoline subsidy in the United States, nor any combination of indirect subsidies which reduce its price by 50%. You are making up a lie to support your position.

and you should also be paying more for milk and other dairy products whose prices are artificially lowered by government actions

It is the opposite. Prices of farm commodities are artificially raisied, not lowered by the government. These are FDR-era programs, often called "price supports". It was recently the subject a U.S Supreme Court case, Horne v. Dept. of Agriculture in which the court ruled against the government. It is also the entire purpose of the federal corn ethanol mandate to drive up corn prices by artificially stimulating demand.

Comment Management as Automated Competitive Service (Score 1) 432

In the gig enonomy, you no longer work for a boss who controls you. Instead, you choose from what automated service to purchase the management work which he/she formerly performed.

The so-called "gig economy" replaces inflexible and inefficient management and regulatory structures with flexible, competitive, efficient and inherently fair and safe automated services. It is the continuation of two trends: automation and the transition to a more efficient horizontally-integrated economy away from a vertically-integrated economy. Now the workers can choose ad hoc services which were traditionally performed by management, choose as an automated electronic service rather than committing to employment under a fixed management and regulatory structure. Computing as service (cloud computing) and the earlier transition to shipping as a service away from in-house shipping departments are two other examples of horizontal restructuring. Eventually everything except core expertise associated with your business identity will move out-of-house and be purchased as a service.

Both customers and workers benefit from replacing the costly and clunky managers and regulators with a competitive, cheap, safe and fair automated services. It is old-style management and government which is useless and burdensome and it is those interests who Hillary appeals for political support. The gig economy is a power-to-the-people trend which Democrats inherently despise. Their own ideologies are power to the politicians, power to the union bosses, power to the trial lawyers, power to the MPAA, Export-Import bank, medicial insurance companies and any other big-business interest will buy their votes. Power to the bureaucrats and regulators, certainly yes. But not power to the people, never to those poor, stupid common people who must be kept under the thumb of their bosses who are, in turn, controlled by the government.

There is an even more insidious problem for Democrats with the gig economy which is that it exposes the many actual workers directly to the massive taxation and regulatory burdens imposed the federal government. And those workers are aghast and horrified by what they now see. A substantial role of business management is as intermediaries between the government and employees, exposing the insane and massive regulatory and tax burdens to relatively few managers at large corporations while shielding the relatively many workers under them from full knowledge. Now when Democrats attempt to apply the burdensome fines, fees, taxes and regulations directly to many small business and individual workers in the gig economy, there is massive public outrage. Democrat politicians are freaking out. For example:

- Chicago just enacted a lunatic Cloud Tax. The liberal entrepreneurs who previously supported Democrats who enacted that tax are furious.

- from Bloomburg, about Bill DeBlasio :

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio presents himself as a champion of the technology industry. The industry says he’s trying to smother progress one app at a time.

  The mayor’s plan to require Uber Technologies Inc., Lyft Inc. and other ride-hailing services to get city approval for upgrades to the user interface on smartphone apps — and to pony up $1,000 each time they do — has rankled a broad swath of companies, with 27 signing a letter protesting his plan. It’s also raised questions about whether the mayor is siding with taxi and limousine owners who helped finance his 2013 campaign.

Expect the same sorts of things from Hillary if she is elected.

Comment Why Is It a Crime to Evade Government Scrutiny? (Score 0) 308

Over at the Atlantic Monthly Conor Friedersdorf addresses the same issue, the recent criminalization of circumventing government surveillance, in the context of the prosecution of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert. Notably, he states, "Prosecutors may suspect Dennis Hastert of serious misconduct, but charging him with trying to avoid surveillance risks criminalizing harmless behavior." Harmless behavior which apparently now also includes the clearing of browser data.

So according to the U.S. Department of Justice, withdrawing money from a bank account in small increments or clearing browser data, in and of themselves, are now criminal acts. But it's just fine to delete thousands of government emails which are under congressional subpoena and which were illegally maintained on a private server.

In the U.S., law is not justice. It is a tool used by powerful thugs to threaten and persecute their political enemies while coddling their allies. Also, it is actually possible to renounce U.S. citizenship and I hear the weather is nice in Chile.


Comment New Era? (Score 3, Insightful) 391

Ghost Gunner...may signal a new era in the gun control debate

Presumably he means a "new era" of debate in which gun-rights advocates are not resoundingly winning that debate. This week's news is that the Texas legislature approved campus carry and both houses of the Maine legislature approved constitutional carry. And those immediately followed the Federal Courts rollback of carry restrictions in DC. And last year Illinois legalized concealed carry.

I don't see how Andy Greenburg using a "Ghost Gunner" is going to reverse that trend.


Comment Cool Old Technology (Score 1) 557

What Cool New Tech Would You Put In?

Some of the best new home technology is actually old technology:

- Masonry Heaters, were invented in the Neolithic Era. Unlike wood stoves or fireplaces they burn clean with almost 100% efficiency and require infrequent fueling, only once or twice a day. They also look cool, have a neat ambiance and fuel costs are far lower than any alternative.

- Nickel-Iron Edison batteries were invented over 100 years ago by Waldemar Jungner in 1899 and developed by Thomas Edison in 1901. The nickel iron batteries in Jay Leno's 1909 Baker Electric Coupe are as good as new. Unlike any other home electric backup storage technology they last for basically an infinite number of charge/discharge cycles and have many other desirable characteristics such as immunity to 100% depletion (which destroys lithium and lead-acid batteries) and the are environmentally friendly, non-toxic and 100% recyclable. The only downside is their mass, but unless you will be driving your house around, it's by far the best option. And unlike aluminum batteries, and the Tesla Powerwall, the Nickel Iron batteries are available today.

- Used shipping containers: Build your house out of them. Invented, depending on your point of reference, some time between 1933 (first containerized shipping in Europe) and 1968 (ISO standard published). It's environmentally friendly and your house will be impervious to tornadoes and earthquakes. Container homes have gone from being kind of trailer-park to high-design.

Of course I would want modern options such as photovoltaics and a ground-source heat pump, in addition to the old stuff. So my advice: You will do best to select the best of both the old and new, instead of exclusively one or the other.

Comment Re:Gamechanger (Score 1) 514

I think that power companies should offer more incentives for people to have these in order to smooth out the electricity demand.


Why is not the optimal consumer incentive which the electric company could offer the price difference between peak and non-peak rates? By "optimal" I mean socially efficient, not the biggest or whatever you happen to want the most.

Comment Re:Can't wait to get this installed in my house (Score 1) 514

...over the ten year warranty period you'll save ~$3000...

That number is way off. You have performed the calculation incorrectly because you omitted the opportunity cost. If you do the calculation correctly, then I estimate (using amateurish cost-accounting methods below) that you end up at around break-even if you buy the battery. Which is extremely interesting, because, assuming rational consumers, as manufacturing costs fall, that would be the consumer price threshold at which these batteries could be marketed and they just started being marketed at that price.

So about the opportunity cost: I have no idea what value is conventional to use as the opportunity cost. But the stock market seems like a reasonable choice. So if you invest the initial $3,500.00 in the stock market instead of buying a battery, and we assume 6.5% returns compounded annually, that works out to to an increase of $3069.98 over ten years. That is the about the same gain., ~$3,000, which estimated in savings on your electric bill after the recouping the battery investment. So you are about $3,000 better off after ten years either if you invest a sum of $3,500.00 in the stock market or if you invest the same sum in a home battery.

Of course there would be more things to consider in making an accurate calculation: differing tax treatments, risk and uncertainty between the choices, what residual worth your battery has after 10 years and its rate of depreciation, the inflation-reduced value of the initial $3,500.00 had you invested it. Also, to do the comparison correctly, assume that the accumulating savings on your electric bill are invested after the battery is paid off. Maybe someone who actually knows how to do cost accounting will chime in here with better estimates. Nonetheless, the claim that you neglected to account for significant opportunity cost stands, even if I failed to calculate that cost conventionally or sufficiently accurately.

Comment Jenny McCarthyism (Score 1) 256

And for those who get their medical advice from Playboy's Playmate of the Year there is Jenny McCarthy, of whom Wikipedia reports:

"McCarthy's public presence and vocal activism on the vaccination-autism controversy, led, in 2008, to her being awarded the James Randi Educational Foundation's Pigasus Award, which is a tongue-in-cheek award granted for contributions to pseudoscience..."

"McCarthy's claims that vaccines cause autism are not supported by any medical evidence, and the original paper by Andrew Wakefield that formed the basis for the claims...

"In January 2011, McCarthy defended Wakefield..."

So in honor of Ms. McCarthy, can we henceforth refer to populist medical quackery practiced by uncredentialed public attention seekers as "Jenny McCarthyism?"

Comment Re:1 million dollars per family? (Score 1) 540

$200 million dollars for 224 low income family homes. I get that there are lots of construction costs other than just the houses, but that still seems like a pretty steep price per home.

Lucas already owns the land so that is purely construction cost, and therefore he must be building luxury housing for the poor. Nothing unusual about that. In fact, government Section 8 housing vouchers are capped at $2,200/month. So a low income apartment could rent for $2,200.00 tax payers contribution + renters contribution.

Lucas will recover some of it back in revenue from rents. At $200 million for 224 homes that is $892,857.00 per home. A low-income person can afford up to $2,200/month in rent. So $892,857.00 per apartment / $2,200 monthly rent / 12months per year = about 34 years. So he would be break-even on construction costs after 34 years. Of course that is a ball-park figure because some costs and some benefits (tax deductions) are excluded in that calculation.

You cannot have a science without measurement. -- R. W. Hamming