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Comment: Re:Survival (Score 2) 414

by PopeRatzo (#48024891) Attached to: Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

Can you point me at an example of this verbiage somewhere?

I found this pretty quickly. It seems like local officials are using overbroad interpretations of codes to keep people from disconnecting from the grid. I don't know how widespread it is.

Pardon my linking to Reason Magazine. I don't like to use them as a news source because they're kind of unhinged over there. But they have the most thorough coverage of this story that I've found. If you want a more balanced source, the same story is covered by Al Jazeera and several local Florida sources.

Comment: Re:Externalities: (Score 1) 414

by PopeRatzo (#48024843) Attached to: Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

OK, I get it. I agree. There are some externalities that are obvious, like the downstream pollution caused by certain types of mining or drilling.

But there has to be proof when you try to put a number on it, whether it's a $5 solar surcharge or a 20% tax on solar cells. Like you say, "prove it". Unfortunately, it seems like the only proof they need is a fat bundle of bills in a lobbyist's hands.

Comment: Re:The obvious solution will meet fierce resistanc (Score 4, Interesting) 414

by PopeRatzo (#48024129) Attached to: Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

I don't know if you've been following this story, but the efforts of the energy companies to thwart any development in renewables has gone a heck of a lot further than a $5 monthly surcharge.

In Oklahoma, Wisconsin and other states, they are requesting special taxes on solar panels. They don't even care if the money goes to them, they just want solar users penalized. Yes, this is about more than just the economics of energy. There is malicious intent.

Comment: Re:Externalities: (Score 1) 414

by PopeRatzo (#48024087) Attached to: Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

That's like saying, "Anyone can say anything, so that means everything is BS except what I say".

I can't tell. Do you not believe that there can be costs in a product or service that are not reflected in its price because they are passed along to others? Or were you just offering us all a Zen koan?

Comment: No rule (Score 5, Interesting) 169

by PopeRatzo (#48023301) Attached to: New Research Casts Doubt On the "10,000 Hour Rule" of Expertise

I hate hearing described this supposed "10,000 hour Malcom Gladwell rule". There's no such thing. Gladwell has long been trying to explain that the 10,000 hour rule was not a recipe for success, only a requirement for mastery. The fact is that mastery is no guarantee of success.

And lately, Gladwell has been giving a much greater emphasis to the notion of love for what you're doing being a more direct quality of those who are successful. And it's more than really just "love". There's an element of intent and desire and yes, love. What made Michael Jordan shoot free throws for hours and hours after it had gotten dark when he was 12 years old? And continue to do so when he was 27 and already a world champion? Why did Charlie Parker disappear for three years and practice 13 hours every day after he had been so badly embarrassed on the bandstand for not knowing how to play in more than one key? Part of it was his desire to "show those guys" after his earlier failure. And part of Michael Jordan's incentive was his famous (or infamous) almost pathological competitiveness. But those things are never enough. Because spite and desire can only take you so far, and they both have negative effects. They'll eventually eat you up (as may have been the case in Bird's example, because clearly his drug use and self-destructiveness would seem to indicate that something was eating him up). But to put the time in requires love. Doing something because it's something you can't imagine not doing. Because that's how you see yourself - that's who you are. The possible financial rewards are not nearly certain enough for that to be the sole motivation. I will bet that Michael saw himself as a basketball player and Bird as a jazz man well before they were on their way to success.

There's no guarantee for success, but there are recipes and the ingredients are often kind of specific. The good news, is that if you really love doing something, it improves the chances the recipe will be successful. Kind of like garlic and butter. There's no guarantee that a dish will be delicious, but if you start with garlic and butter, the odds improve, you know?

Comment: "commercially reasonable" (Score 5, Insightful) 125

by PopeRatzo (#48016861) Attached to: FCC To Rule On "Paid Prioritization" Deals By Internet Service Providers

Really, this notion of "commercially reasonable" scares me the most. I'm guessing you could cover a lot of very very bad behavior by companies if the regulatory standard is "commercially reasonable".

Remember, this is the FCC head and former cable executive who was appointed by someone who people on the Right call a "Marxist". Tom Wheeler should be shown the door immediately. In fact, he never should have been allowed anywhere near a regulatory agency. Whenever tells me they want people in government who have real-world business experience, I think how that's the last thing we want. Government and regulatory agencies should under no circumstances be run like a business world and experience as a business executive is the last thing we should look for in political leaders. It's like hiring a bank teller based on his experience as a former embezzler. Which reminds me, this is every bit as big a scandal as the recent story of the banking regulators who had the cozy relationship with Goldman Sachs.

If you don't know about the recent Goldman Sachs story, you really ought to take a look:

Meet Carmen Segarra, whose 46 hours of damning audio tape make her sort of the Edward Snowden of the financial world. And she's every bit as heroic as Snowden. I'm sure the lawbreaking at Goldman could be said to have been "commercially reasonable" too.

Living in an oligarchy sucks balls. Godspeed to any future whistleblowers who decide to make the personal sacrifice to give us these glimpses into the lives of our not-so-benevolent overlords.

Comment: Re:Electricity? What? (Score 1, Funny) 51

by PopeRatzo (#48016795) Attached to: Kano Ships 18,000 Learn-To-Code Computer Kits

I actually received one of those as a Christmas present back in 1966!

I had one of those, too. Right around the same year. I seem to recall blowing it up with M-80s because it wouldn't help me with my homework. I mean, what good is a computer if it can't help you with your homework? I did like the first three experiments in the booklet that came with the Digicomp and then thought, "I wonder how this thing would blow up?" And by the way, it didn't blow up nearly as well as my Revell model of a 1966 Pontiac Tempest.

I did better with Estes model rockets and small creatures. We had a space race to win, after all, and I wanted to do my small part. I never did learn to code. Soon after, I learned how to masturbate and that turned out to be more engaging than the Digicomp and that was that.

Comment: Re:Rent a Tesla for $1 (Score 1) 329

by PopeRatzo (#48016385) Attached to: State of Iowa Tells Tesla To Cancel Its Scheduled Test Drives

If your baseline is North Korea...

I'm curious. Why would anyone use the baseline of North Korea? Are they in any way representative? They are probably the nation in the world least like other nations in the world.

I'm not exactly certain of the point you were trying to make, but suggesting that North Korea should be some sort of representative for the state of the developed world is a little bit loony.

Wouldn't it be more reasonable to use other countries that are similar to the US as a metric to measure how well we're doing, as you say, "democracy-wise"?

We could start by looking at voter turnouts in other developed nations. Yeah, we're in negative territory there. How about income equality? Well... not so good there. How about social mobility? Education? Health of the population? Mental health of the population? Violent crime? Incarceration levels?

Maybe you're right. Maybe comparing ourselves to North Korea is the only way we can look good, because we sure as hell don't look so good compared to the other developed nations of the world.

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 1) 488

by PopeRatzo (#48013689) Attached to: Utilities Should Worry; Rooftop Solar Could Soon Cut Their Profit

As a result, whenever you add wind or solar to the network, you have to have a reliable burner based power plant with turbine running at operational speed and in phase with network ready to pick up the slack the moment wind blows too hard and it gets hit with more load from the network.

You make a very good case for more investment in the infrastructure so we're not saddled with an energy source from the 18th century and an energy infrastructure from the 19th.

That solar is a failure, not so much.

The Force is what holds everything together. It has its dark side, and it has its light side. It's sort of like cosmic duct tape.