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Comment: Re:Why not a separate WAN? (Score 3, Interesting) 72

by bobbied (#46761597) Attached to: Lack of US Cybersecurity Across the Electric Grid

Add to that how dumb some of the components of the energy grid are, and you have a situation where you really do have to prepare yourself for the worst. I think the overall chaos and complexity is likely the only thing that has protected it to date.

Now you are just pandering fear. You rightly observe that it would be an extremely complex problem to try and disrupt the power infrastructure in this country using what is connected to the internet. There are a multitude of systems, control types and locations, all of which are constantly changing over time. This makes trying to figure out how you could use these contact points to actually do something significant to the power grid using the internet a problem complex enough to be worthy of a supercomputer and a long time to research and catalog what was accessible would be required to feed such a computer.

But there is one thing you forget (or just don't know). MOST of the critical infrastructure, the really important stuff, is NOT unprotected. It is very much behind firewalls with encrypted VPN links. You might find access to some backup generator on the web, but a major power plant will be secured pretty well. They are not going to let some yahoo hacker mess with millions of dollars of equipment, but they might let the building manager monitor his emergency backup generator from home or something. The really critical stuff is protected. What's not, is the far flung stuff, the really remote substation, and how much damage are you going to do from there? Not much, certainly nothing of national significance or more than say an Ice Storm.

Cyber attacks are not that big of a risk... How do I know? Has it happened yet? Even on a small scale? Why? Because nobody thought of or tried it? No, because it's way too hard of a problem for just anybody to mount an effective attack, and if they HAVE done it, there was so little disruption in things as to be insignificant compared to other events which happen more often.

Comment: I remember Y2K, do you? (Score 2) 72

by bobbied (#46761353) Attached to: Lack of US Cybersecurity Across the Electric Grid

So here we go again... Some uncontrollable thing is going to disrupt our electric grid and technological infrastructure!

Just over a decade ago it was Y2K. Folks where stockpiling food, water and fuel for generators in fear that the electric grid was obviously going down at 12:00AM January 1, 2000 when all their 2 digit year clocks rolled over.

Since then, I've heard stories about people who fear an EMP that will take out the grid and are out stocking up on food, water, fuel getting ready to live without power for years..

Last week, here on slashdot, we had a story on a huge solar storm powerful enough to bring down the grid... Folks where encouraged to stock up, by food, water, fuel and prepare for weeks without power..

So, here we are today discussing a cyber attack on the power grid that could bring the grid down.... Need I type the rest?

Really? Look, it would *really* suck if the power grid in North America went down. Yes people would die and it would be a huge mess to fix with disruptions in food supplies and fuel. Of all the ways the grid could be disabled, cyber attack is the least likely and the one easiest to fix. It's unlikely to take the whole grid down unless the saboteurs where extremely crafty and organized. They would have to first find enough infrastructure to access, manage to break in, understand how all the stuff they could control was interconnected and what failures they could induce and THEN coordinate all the individual attacks well enough to actually do something more than just local damage before they cut power to enough infrastructure they needed to continue the attack. How all the infrastructure is connected and interrelates are not easy problems to solve.

We have bigger fish to fry than fearing some mythical cyber attack on infrastructure like the power grid. I won't say it will NEVER happen, but you are talking about something that his bordering on impossible. This is like Y2K. A bunch of Chicken Little's that don't have a clue about how things *really* work or how resilient things really are overall, stoking up panic over small things. So, go stock up on food, water and fuel, just don't do it because you fear some cyber attack on the power grid.

Comment: Re:What if we overcorrect? LA comparison (Score 1) 330

by bobbied (#46759449) Attached to: Climate Scientist: Climate Engineering Might Be the Answer To Warming

This is certainly NOT progress if what you say is actually true. But I think there might be more to your friend's story.

I'm willing to bet there is a government regulation angle, where to encourage PV development the utility is being forced into this and sees it as another regulatory cost. I'll also bet that it's not really about keeping the grid stable, but keeping the government off their back. I say this because it is technically simple to keep the grid stable and maintain the infrastructure. But trying to integrate the "on again and off again" nature of PV or Wind power is complicated, technically difficult and contributes to instability and costs to the grid operator.

However, this is Iowa.... There is lots of open space in Iowa with nothing but barbed wire between it and the north pole...

Comment: Re:by what right? (Score 1) 330

by bobbied (#46757301) Attached to: Climate Scientist: Climate Engineering Might Be the Answer To Warming

You have hit on the truth here. This cause has become an ideology. An ideology that is about the advancement of what they believe, over what they can prove, in any way they can. They conscript "useful idiots" who buy into the ideology and will vote for candidates that support their cause. It's no longer science or a debated question, it's an issue to vote on now.

Comment: Re:What if we overcorrect? LA comparison (Score 2) 330

by bobbied (#46757231) Attached to: Climate Scientist: Climate Engineering Might Be the Answer To Warming

Shesh, nope. First, what tax subsidies are you talking about? There is no way Coal is subsidized, nor is oil and gas.

Do a little research. Here's a starting point.

So the IMF calculated the "subsidies" they found to be $500 Million in the US and the site *you* send me to is claiming BILLIONS? Something is amiss here. I smell a rat, so lets ask some questions.

WHAT is a subsidy to you? A "special" tax break? A check that gets issued from the government directly to a producer? Neither of these exist. What we have is a bunch of people (like the authors of who are not above misleading people to trick them into believing their cause is just. They are LYING to you.... Wake up!

Comment: Re:What if we overcorrect? LA comparison (Score 1) 330

by bobbied (#46756977) Attached to: Climate Scientist: Climate Engineering Might Be the Answer To Warming

PV will NEVER be at "grid parity" on it's own. The sun does not shine at night and solar collection works horribly when it is raining during the day. Like I've said elsewhere, you are not going to run an electric grid using more than a few percent from solar, at least not the kind of grid we are used to and depend on. The same issues apply to wind power, except that the wind sometimes blows at night and when it is cloudy. Problem with both though is that you never really know how much power you are going to get from these sources so you simply cannot easily plan ahead.

Problem then becomes, how to keep the electric grid stable. One thing that is often not understood about the grid is that you must ALWAYS balance usage with generation capacity. This takes advanced planning to project the expected load and match that with the capacity. There is no planning capacity for solar or wind, you get what you get. This means that you have to over build wind and solar and under commit generation capacity based on the weather forecasts. In fact, I've been told that you can only really plan for about 50% of the projected capacity for a wind farm. So that means you usually are producing (and able to sell) only half of the power you generate with a windmill, which halves your profit and doubles your costs.

Renewables are helpful, but wind and solar don't work AT ALL on a cloudy calm day, what do you do then? Turn off the power? I don't think I would like going back to the stone age every so often. They are NOT an answer, and they are NOT viable.

You need to review that report from the IMF. The IMF report is WORLD wide, and if you look at what they call subsidies, the US rates lowest as a percentage of GDP. Also, the IMF includes things like subsidies for buying home heating oil for fixed income or poor citizens who find themselves unable to heat their homes, or helping with electric bills and other such support as being an subsidy. So, I would maintain that here in the USA the net of energy subsides are pretty much inconsequential and is really mostly already spent on renewables or on citizen welfare, not for the direct benefit of "big oil" or large companies.

Comment: Re:What if we overcorrect? LA comparison (Score 1) 330

The market will self-correct to cheaper Solar fairly quickly, if you can provide low-cost capital in low-interest loans from part of the money we save by removing those inefficient tax subsidies for coal, oil, and gas.

Shesh, nope. First, what tax subsidies are you talking about? There is no way Coal is subsidized, nor is oil and gas. There ARE significant subsidies and tax abatements for renewable energy already. Second, The problem is the huge drop in natural gas prices due to fracking and the increased production it has made possible. Projections are clear, we will have at least a decade of natural gas prices in the current range. It is what is driving old (and newer) nuclear plants out of business and it is driving electric rates so low that renewables are simply not viable.

Handing out low cost capital to solar ventures is STUPID unless you just want to loose the money. Remember Solyndra? There is a reason this company failed and it's not just because it was mismanaged and sucked cashless by a political contributor to the party in power or under cut by manufacturing in China... Solar is simply NOT viable yet for industrial or even small scale use outside of areas that have the correct kinds of weather (even then it's all but marginal and has really long ROIs). Most of the US doesn't have the right kind of weather to make solar work, even if costs where cut in half. It's going to be cheaper to make electricity by natural gas for a LONG time, especially over solar.


Comment: Re:What if we overcorrect? (Score 1) 330

I would agree that people died on average a lot sooner than we do now. We have advanced in our ability to treat illnesses that used to kill folks much younger, we eat much better and live longer, fuller lives. Now we die from things that where unheard of 200 years ago, but on average decades later than our forefathers.

Technology has it's advantages.

On that, I rest my case.

Comment: Re:It's springtime (Score 1) 330

Tom Wigley is one of the world's top climate scientists

That's damning with faint praise. It's springtime. The climate ninnies are out in full force.

I thought that the ninnies where only out in force when they where flying out to attend their "global warming" conferences, usually during an unusually cold snap.

Comment: Re:smart specialist, dumb generalist (Score 1) 330

Which ignores the fact that both solar and nuclear have had recent explosive growth

Due to HUGE tax subsidies and regulation that attempted to make the ROI on "renewables" good enough that they made sense, some sense. Most of these technologies are not viable in today's market on an even playing field. Not to mention the fact that most of these are actually stability issues for the grid, horrible on the environment and of dubious utility over the long term.

Comment: Re:Brilliant! (Score 1) 330

yes. One was random ignorant circumstance, the other a planned way to go forward and start correcting it.

Correcting is only a good idea if you know what actually caused the issue and you *know* how to fix it. As it stands, the answer is we don't know on both preconditions so it is crazy to attempt a "fix" right now.

The "cutting edge" is getting rather dull. -- Andy Purshottam