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Slowing Wind Energy Production Suffers From Lack of Wind 224 writes: Gregory Meyer reports at the Financial Times that electricity generated by U.S. wind farms fell 6 per cent in the first half of the year, even as the nation expanded wind generation capacity by 9 per cent. The reason was some of the softest air currents in 40 years, cutting power sales from wind farms to utilities. The situation is likely to intensify into the first quarter of 2016 as the El Niño weather phenomenon holds back wind speeds around much of the U.S. "We never anticipated a drop-off in the wind resource as we have witnessed over the past six months," says David Crane. Wind generated 4.4 per cent of US electricity last year, up from 0.4 per cent a decade earlier. But this year U.S. wind plants' "capacity factor" has averaged just a third of their total generating capacity, down from 38 per cent in 2014.

EIA noted that slightly slower wind speeds can reduce output by a disproportionately large amount. "Capacity factors for wind turbines are largely determined by wind resources," says a report from the Energy Information Administration. "Because the output from a turbine varies nonlinearly with wind speed, small decreases in wind speeds can result in much larger changes in output and, in turn, capacity factors." In January of 2015, wind speeds remained 20 to 45 percent below normal on areas of the west coast, but it was especially bad in California, Oregon, and Washington, where those levels dropped to 50 percent below normal during the month of January.

Comment Re:"Support" != actually sacrifice for (Score 2) 458

There you go again, pointing out truths that environmentalists don't want to hear :)

Don't worry, after they finally admit that CO2 doesn't drive global average temperatures or climactic swings, they'll find some *other* component of energy generation (say, magnetic fields, or plain old waste heat), and they'll demonize the hell out of that because it's causing a spotted tit-fox, or marsh trout to die off.

Warming, cooling, staying the same - none of it matters when it comes to "the consensus" :)


Most Americans Support Government Action On Climate Change 458

mdsolar points out this report in the NY Times: An overwhelming majority of the American public, including nearly half of Republicans, support government action to curb global warming, according to a poll conducted by The New York Times, Stanford University and the nonpartisan environmental research group Resources for the Future. In a finding that could have implications for the 2016 presidential campaign, the poll also found that two-thirds of Americans say they are more likely to vote for political candidates who campaign on fighting climate change. They are less likely to vote for candidates who question or deny the science of human-caused global warming.

Among Republicans, 48 percent said they are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports fighting climate change, a result that Jon A. Krosnick, a professor of political science at Stanford University and an author of the survey, called "the most powerful finding" in the poll. Many Republican candidates either question the science of climate change or do not publicly address the issue.

Comment Re:Therefore justifying the killing of others (Score 1) 894

Wasn't trying to push a button at all - I've got no problem with your cowardice, and obviously neither do you.

The only problem I have is your seeming insistence that others should share your cowardice. I get your point - I understand your argument about being cautious when dealing with over-sensitive and violent and/or powerful people.

Do you understand that others might value their principles over the caution you recommend? Or is that simply incomprehensible to you?

Comment Re:Therefore justifying the killing of others (Score 1) 894

So, you're a coward who frankly doesn't care about what other people think about their cowardice - a perfectly rational point of view, and I congratulate you for it :)

That being said...

1) it's not just about depicting mohammad, it's about mocking him, and other core beliefs of islam;

2) german anti-free speech laws are part of their culture;

3) fair enough - there are arguments for liberalization, as well as criminalization.

Can you understand why other people might not share your cowardice? It seems that your underlying assertion is "I'm a coward, and anyone else who isn't is completely irrational and stupid"...which, of course, is your free speech right to say, in my book :)

Comment Re:Therefore justifying the killing of others (Score 1) 894

Because expressing free speech is the moral equivalent of buying crack, right? :)

Your point of view is clear - you don't believe that either islamic culture, german culture, or drug laws should be changed.

Sounds like you're ready to say, "sure, go ahead, sit in the front of the segregated bus, while you're at it".

But hey, that's okay - if you want to be a coward, and just let the threats of the status quo determine the ability for people to exercise their freedoms, that's a perfectly reasonable position to take to minimize risk. Just don't expect people to be all that impressed with your point of view :)

Comment Re:And now that hard drives have gotten cheaper... (Score 1) 441

Ah, the "externalities" trope.

Your imagined, unrealized externalities of the future may indeed be dire, but that has nothing to do with whether cheap energy is a good thing.

Let's, for a moment, imagine a dire, future externality of solar power - say the ivanpah generator, reflecting into space, attracts a violent alien civilization that comes and eats 90% of our population. Are you happy to pad the pockets of solar executives at the expense of the future?

Now, maybe if you had concrete, actual, real "externalities" that were paid by "all of us", like say, solar subsidies for bird zapping solar plants in nevada, or regulations that raised the cost of energy paid by "all of us", you'd have a case to make...but imaginary harms in some hypothetical future with tenuous attribution hardly make for good economics.

Comment Re:Therefore justifying the killing of others (Score 1) 894

Got it, the "don't do risky stuff because people are crazy" line of thinking...

like don't wear a short skirt in a bad neighborhood if you don't want to be raped...

or don't be a black person whistling at a white woman if you don't want to be lynched...

or don't let people know you're gay if you don't want to be subject to chemical castration even if you happened to have saved millions of people during WWII with your code breaking work.

If I'm being to subtle, let me state it plainly - the problem isn't people who make fun of the holocaust or muhammad, it's the people who react against such speech in violent or oppressive ways. While we can raise our hands and just say, "well, that's just the way it is", if one truly believes in free speech, one must take up the fight against such backwards cultures, and not be intimidated by their threats that it will "not turn out well and stuff".

Comment Re:Therefore justifying the killing of others (Score 1) 894

Well, what you said was:

"Do you think drawing cartoons of Muhammad and making fun of him is "something that almost certainly needs to be said?"

"Shouldn't you go, right now, and draw funny cartoons that deny the Holocaust?"

My answer to both, is yes.

Whether or not you actually were trying to make a point with your questions, I suppose is an open question :)

Did you have a point?

Comment And now that hard drives have gotten cheaper... (Score 1) 441

...damn, we all better stop using computers!

Seriously, though, cheap energy (in absolute terms, not massaged by the heavy hand of regulation), is a good thing. Great, so we don't invest in more oil drilling...until consumption goes up, prices go up, and it becomes profitable. This is a *feature* not a bug.

Prices are momentary signals, not eternal mandates.

To downgrade the human mind is bad theology. - C. K. Chesterton