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Comment: Re:Solar power and industry (Score 1) 337

by Firethorn (#49140137) Attached to: The Groups Behind Making Distributed Solar Power Harder To Adopt

I wouldn't want to run mission-critical volume business operations on it, especially in an area where clouds come and go, but it might be useful for spot jobs.

Which is why I didn't even propose that it run entirely from that heat at any time. If a cloud passes overhead the induction heating system would just run more. Think of the solar heat as a pre-heater, it saves electricity by replacing it with cheap solar.

Comment: Re:Net metering is little more than theft (Score 1) 337

by Firethorn (#49139979) Attached to: The Groups Behind Making Distributed Solar Power Harder To Adopt

In order to translate "lives lost" into money, you need to start by assigning a value to a human being, a completely arbitrary number.

Happens every day. NHTSA rates the value at saving a human life (VSL) at $9.1M. Insurance adjusters do it. Courtrooms do it. Etc...

And while arbitrary, it's not completely arbitrary. A lot goes into the figuring. Expected lifetime earnings, funeral costs, medical expenses, school costs, all goes into the figures.

Predicting extra illnesses relies on collecting data from medical studies subject to massive publication bias and never designed for that purpose.

Again: Educated guess. We know mercury in the environment is bad. Ergo, we set the fees for emitting it extremely high. $10M/ton might actually be an OOM low. $100M/ton might be closer.

Whatever. The idea is that you have a serious board that 'does their best', and regularly reviews the pollution list, adding new pollutants and adjusting the fees as new science gives you 'settled' values. I say settled because values shouldn't be assigned on the basis of 'cutting edge' science, but science that has been verified for a bit. If nothing else, it allows industry to keep an eye on the studies and have a good idea what they're going to be charged in the future.

As for parking/speeding tickets, first you'd have to define a goal. When your publicly stated goal is prevention, but your actual goal is revenue generation, of course the fee structure is going to look odd.

That is why people are getting upset with the regulatory overreach we are experiencing now. People are faced with arbitrary fines completely out of proportion to any harm they could conceivably be causing.

Ah, good thing I'm talking about fees, not fines. It's the difference between a sales tax and a speeding ticket. I also explicitly stated that the schedules would be set in proportion to harm being caused, at least as best as we're able to. Of course, that brings up a different point - it should probably charge different amounts depending on whether the pollution is affecting the ground, air, or water.

As for civil asset forfeiture, I laugh because I just got a nice letter back from my senator after I wrote him to ask for actions to seriously limit said seizures. I haven't heard back from the other congressional members(state & federal) that I also wrote, but oh well.

So I'll repeat: These are fees, not fines, in that they're not punitive. Things do tend to get crazy when you go punitive. This is 'simply' an attempt to render an external cost not paid by the business doing the industry, an internal one, so they have incentive to reduce their pollution. While actually REDUCING the regulatory burden, because now rather than sticking their noses in 'state of technology' and saying you have to have XYZ technologies installed, they simply charge for your emissions, and the business installs XYZ simply in order to save money. They even have incentive to seek new pollution control technology because it'll save them money, as opposed to the current situation where they don't want to see new technology because the EPA will subsequently mandate it.

Comment: Re:Net metering is little more than theft (Score 1) 337

by Firethorn (#49138889) Attached to: The Groups Behind Making Distributed Solar Power Harder To Adopt

Very well stated. I'd also note that the 'easiest' way to cut all pollution from any one industry is to get rid of the industry. It'll most likely move to China and result in even more pollution on the planet, but at least it's not in your yard! Well, unless you're along the west coast of the USA.... A substantial amount of their air pollution is from China at this point.

Anyways, my whole idea is to turn the externality of pollution into a cost paid by the business, even if it's in a flawed 'guesstimate' way.

So there needs to be a balance, and to find the right balance you have to study and know how much you value things.

Very much so.

Comment: Re:No wonder congress wants to defune DHS (Score 1) 249

by mrchaotica (#49136785) Attached to: Drones Cost $28,000 Per Arrest, On Average

I get, and sometimes sign, online petitions from the democrat party (as well as tea party-type petitions -- liberals incorrectly think I'm a liberal; conservatives incorrectly think I'm a conservative; go figure). One of the latest ones was titled something like "OMG, the Republicans want to shut down DHS; sign this to stop them!" and all I could think was that it's about damned time -- why the fuck would I want to stop them?! Shutting down DHS is an example of the Republicans doing something right, for a change!

But of course, since the Republicans are doing that the wingnut liberal lobbyists have to oppose them, even though it makes no damn sense...

Comment: Re:I wonder why... (Score 1) 182

That is because every municipality went through the time when there was no taxi regulations. There was rampant fare kiting, discrimination, lack of coverage, lack of insurance, poor customer service, bad drivers, poorly repaired vehicles, etc

Here in the USA, we still have all of that, except fare kiting.

Comment: Re:Net metering is little more than theft (Score 1) 337

by Firethorn (#49134707) Attached to: The Groups Behind Making Distributed Solar Power Harder To Adopt

Really? And what would the basis for these calculations be?

The usual: Lives lost, work days lost due to extra illness, medical care, damage to infrastructure and habitats, etc...

I think the very idea that you anybody can assign a meaningful, fixed dollar amount to pollution is ludicrous.

Then you're not thinking it through very well, because we do it all the time. Are many of these numbers anything more than WAGs? Often no. We can't assign meaningful damage to any given pound of pollutant, but we can make an educated guess, and that's really all I'm asking for.

If the further developments in science say that $10M per ton of mercury released is understating the cost, then we increase the fee.

Comment: Re:Net metering is little more than theft (Score 1) 337

by Firethorn (#49134397) Attached to: The Groups Behind Making Distributed Solar Power Harder To Adopt

And these numbers come... out of your ass?

Those two numbers? Yeah, pretty much pulled out of the ether, just to make an example. Calculating the real charges for polluters would require pulling out the serious spreadsheets and crunching some numbers.

Why? Are you thinking you'd rate them differently?

Comment: Re:Net metering is little more than theft (Score 1) 337

by Firethorn (#49133193) Attached to: The Groups Behind Making Distributed Solar Power Harder To Adopt

Do you understand what this means:

Fossil fuels are being burned in places like China to manufacture panels that, over the next 30 years, will not produce a greater amount of energy than went into the creation of the panel (and inverters, etc).

ibpook's original statement is incorrect for modern panels, and has been for quite some time. Modern solar panels will create more Joules of electricity than the joules it took to make them, their mounts, and yes, even the inverter, in about 4 years. Even if they were initially made by burning coal for energy, they will eventually more than offset that carbon by displacing carbon here in the USA(or Europe, or anywhere). Even if it's displacing natural gas, or in a slightly non-optimal area. Up here in Alaska, it might take 6.

Comment: Re:Realistic (Score 1) 337

by Firethorn (#49133147) Attached to: The Groups Behind Making Distributed Solar Power Harder To Adopt

I posited on using 'retired' EV batteries here.

Heck, a solar future where most cars are charged in the daytime(at work?) because it's cheaper would have massive load leveling capabilities simply by playing with the charging amounts for the vehicles.

Still massive numbers of home power batteries depends on numerous factors, including where you put them. Don't forget the fire hazard for LiIon.

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