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Comment Re:Commit to puchasing 100% green energy when buyi (Score 1) 188 188

To be responsible for your actions and for the condition in which you leave the world. To me, letting CO2 (and other pollutants) out unnecessarily is similar to raking your leaves onto your neighbor's yard. It's solving your problem by making it someone else's, someone who might not actually be able to overcome the problem, such as residents of a disappearing small island or sealife being poisoned.

I'm looking at switching to a heat pump. An air source heat pump might be $13K. A ground source heat pump is $40K before subsidies/grants. The ASHP uses more electricity, but saves almost the same amount of CO2 as the GSHP. (Yes, both would be powered from green electricity.) Since society could buy 3 ASHPs for the cost of 1 GSHP, the ASHP is more effective with respect to pollution savings.

Comment Re:Gas, CO2, and heat pumps (Score 1) 688 688

A link regarding that 1% number. Yes, in a year, humans emit about 0.5% of the CO2 compared to the CO2 emitted by non-human processes. The problem is we've been doing that for over 100 years, with nothing absorbing that extra CO2. Assuming that was a linear increase from 0%, you end up with humans contributing 25%.

I'll let you provide citations for the rest of your numbers.

For clarity, the numbers in my original post were from the EPA's Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies calculator. I am not a climatologist. My "otherwise, we're hosed" comment is personal opinion, based on
A) articles I've read on climate change and
B) the number of people like the AC above who won't trust climatologists until the planet is beyond hope.

Basically, if you don't trust climatologists, you shouldn't trust doctors, engineers, ... well pretty much any expert. After all, they're just in it for the money, right?

Comment Gas, CO2, and heat pumps (Score 2) 688 688

Until gasoline includes a fee to cleanup the CO2 released, EVs will be more expensive. But then, any environmental cleanup effort is going to cost money. I don't expect everyone to be able to afford this. I *hope* that anyone with extra cash does something to fight climate change, especially the fossil fuel industry since they've made billions (trillions?) putting us in our current situation. Otherwise, we're hosed.

That being said, I'm not sure the battery technology is good enough. It sounds as if in 3-5 years we would see significantly better batteries. Outside of that, an EV would fit my life (and 10 mile commute) fairly well.

I'm currently looking into replacing my gas furnace with a heat pump, powered by a combination of solar-, wind-, and hydro-generated electricity. This will cost less than half the price of a Volt/Prius/etc and will probably reduce my CO2 emissions by 3 tons, as opposed to the 2 tons I would save if I bought an EV. Other benefits: no battery and less CO2 released during manufacturing. The negative is that my winter heating costs will double.

Comment Yep. I'd pay money. (Score 3, Interesting) 236 236

I'd pay money for a Facebook or GMail that didn't sell/give my info to others. I can probably solve the second by running my own mail server, but I don't have the knowledge yet.

But, of course, if someone were to try to make Cashbook, they'd end up having the community split between themselves and Facebook. And who knows, Facebook might sue over a patent.

Comment A Baseball Pitcher throws a fastball (Score 2) 525 525

The pitcher is 100ft away from you. The ball is travelling 100mph (160km/h) and appears to be heading for your head. You have a split second to make a decision. What do you do?

Are you going to wait until you know your model is 100% accurate? After all, a gust of wind can blow the ball off course. A bird could swoop or a meteorite could fall and deflect the ball. Those possibilities wouldn't be realized (or not) until they happen or the ball hits your head. What do you do?

Me? I'd dodge. The risk isn't worth the cost of dodging.

And yes, I am dodging. I've done the stuff that saves me money: efficient appliances and solar panels. I *hope* that everyone tries to do at least that.

I have starting doing stuff that doesn't save me money: planting trees, conserving forests, changing home heating systems, etc. These help the climate change and health problems, but result in a net loss in my financial account. I *don't* expect everyone to do this, just those that can do it, especially those who have made millions or billions from burning fossil fuels. You would expect people around you to clean up after themselves, right? Not solve their problems by dumping them on your yard?

Comment Pretorian Technologies - Joystick, Trackball (Score 2) 100 100

Pretorian Technologies of Lincolnshire, UK specializes in computer devices for disabled, and semi-disabled users. They make a wide variety of trackballs, joysticks, mouse alternatives, big switches that can be activated by your elbow or knee, iPad switches, bluetooth linked switches etc.

Their devices are aimed at those with "limited hand control, fine and gross motor skill difficulties, poor hand-eye coordination, limited manual dexterity, repetitive strain injury, involuntary muscle spasms, spastic and flaccid paralysis, cerebral movement disorder or central neuromuscular disability and inflammatory or degenerative change"

  From their website,

The n-ABLER Trackball is the most adaptable Mouse Alternative on the market specifically designed to address the needs of computer users with limited hand control, motor skill difficulties, poor hand-eye co-ordination, lack of manual dexterity and involuntary muscle spasms.

In the USA, their products are available through .... not cheap (the anti-tremor joystick costs $440) but they look excellent for the application. a giant 3 inch diameter bright red switch that talks bluetooth (for the iPad, I think) runs about $150. see

Comment Early analog work from the 1960's (Score 5, Informative) 33 33

From 1964 through around 1975, planetary astronomers at Tucson's Lunar & Planetary Laboratory used physical models to project and remap the moon's surface. They took high resolution photos through an earth based telescope, and then projected the images onto a spherical, white plaster globe. By carefully controlling the geometry, and knowing distances, angles, and (yes) lunar libation, they created detailed maps of the moon's near side, taking into account geometric distortion around the limbs. In this way, they could rephotograph parts of the lunar far-side.

The rectified lunar atlas can now be seen at

This was all done using telescopes, photographs, and optical projection ... all analog, earth-based work. (the main telescope was the 61" reflector at Mt. Bigelow in Tucson; the films were Kodak 3-AJ 10x10inch glass plates)

It was my honor to work with several of these astronomers, including Ewen Whitaker, Gerard Kuiper, Bill Hartmann, and Bob Strom. Brilliant scientists who would be astounded and impressed to see those NASA/Goddard videos. What we take for granted today, once required several years of detailed work.

Comment Glenn Seaborg - a great man (Score 4, Informative) 85 85

I was honored to know Glenn Seaborg while working at Lawrence Berkeley Labs in the 1980's. By then, Manhattan Project was long behind him, as was his Nobel prize, the Atomic Energy Commission work, and his chancellorship of the University of California. Yet he was still a kind and supportive scientist who was deeply interested in any research - whether in physics, astronomy, chemistry, or biology. He recognized the need to teach music and art alongside science and math, and would visit local high schools to encourage students.

I once met him at the Lawrence Hall of Science, walking around the old cyclotron. When I asked him about it, he said that he'd been wondering how the field magnets had been mounted (it was perhaps 40 years after the Manhattan Project). After a short chat he invited a few 12 year old kids over, and told stories about using the beast to create new elements. Amazing guy.

Comment Fresh out of college with 20 years experience (Score 5, Funny) 574 574

Can't resist tooting my own horn. These are from my Klein bottle website:

    TOPOLOGY CONSULTANT Part-time design of low-dimensional manifolds in glass, wool, plastic, titanium, niobium, pentium, and unobtanium. Ideal candidate is fresh out of college with 20 years experience in applied topology; and can solve Poincare's, Heawood's, and Hodge's conjectures. Pay & benefits are epsilon above unemployment. Compensation package includes trillions in worthless stock options.

    GLASSBLOWER Construct borosilicate manifolds using lampwork. Handy with glass lathe, oxy-hydrogen torch, and bandaids. Must know the usual cuss words to describe breaks & cracks. Experienced in minor burn treatment. Special bonus if you know the difference between inside and outside.

    MANIFOLD OPERATOR. Curvaceous, conformal Riemannian vector field desires normalized Ricci tensor with nice eigenvalues. Will relocate within proper metric space. No polymorphic permutations, please.


Comment Then Remove All Subsidies (Score 1) 488 488

I wouldn't mind paying the net metering fee, IF the subsidies for fossil fuels were removed as well.

An article at Forbes reports that coal increases health care costs by 19 to 45 cents a kwh. Oil increases the costs by 8 to 19 c/kwh, and natural gas by 1 to 2 c/kwh. Then there's the estimated cost of climate change, assuming we beat it. (Yes, I trust a near-unanimous group of subject matter experts. Heck, I bet those 97% would really like to be wrong, so we wouldn't need to do something about the issue.)

Summing up, I'd rather pay $168 a year for a connection, as opposed to paying an extra $1000/year for fossil fuel electricity. (5000 kwh * 20 cents/kwh). Actually, aren't we already paying that extra $1000/year in extra health care costs, property insurance, and natural disaster relief?

Comment Re:Here we go again (Score 1) 517 517

I agree with using renewables first. It bypasses the "subsidies" that the fossil fuel industry receive.

An article at Forbes reports that coal increases health care costs by 19 to 45 cents a kwh. Oil increases the costs by 8 to 19 c/kwh, and natural gas by 1 to 2 c/kwh. Mercury in fish is getting bad enough that Consumer Reports had an article on it last month. I'm pretty sure fish aren't mining mercury. Then there's the climate change issue.

Any one of those reasons, from three different sources, is good enough for me to prefer renewables over fossil fuels. For nuclear, I haven't decided yet, but I'm leaning in the direction of it being sold at the same time as renewable, not after all renewable supply is consumed.

"You're a creature of the night, Michael. Wait'll Mom hears about this." -- from the movie "The Lost Boys"