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Comment: Re:How is that startling? (Score 2) 341

by mspohr (#48480633) Attached to: Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election

Austin, Texas is the most liberal city in Texas. You would think they would have a liberal, progressive representative but not true.
The Texas Republicans have split Austin's votes as part of six different districts (some of which stretch for 50 miles). The result is that Austin has six Republican representatives, none of which represent the views of Austin. Austin is the largest city in the US without a congressional district anchor.

Comment: Re:Deliberate (Score 2) 630

by mspohr (#48468517) Attached to: Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

Nuclear power is pretty safe but not perfect. Coal is terrible. I think they both should be decommissioned as quickly as possible.
The problem is that "pretty safe" is not good enough. Nuclear power has had two serious accidents, rendering two regions uninhabitable for the the foreseeable future. I don't think it's reasonable to have "accidents" regularly which destroy entire regions. It's only a matter of time until the next accident.
Nuclear costs much more than renewables, takes longer to build, and regularly destroys regions. Renewables are cheaper, faster to build and don't have the toxic side effects of coal and nuclear. Much better investment.

Comment: Usual Wired hype... nothing to see here (Score 1) 124

by mspohr (#48468107) Attached to: How the World's First Computer Was Rescued From the Scrap Heap

Perot didn't rescue anything. They just found a few panels and wired them up with blinky lights, Hollywood style.

Here's a list of the ENIAC parts and their locations (from Wikipedia):
The School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania (where the ENIAC was built in 1943 and operated until 1947) has four of the original forty panels and one of the three function tables of ENIAC (on loan from the Smithsonian).
The Smithsonian has five panels in the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
The Science Museum in London has a receiver unit on display.
The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California has three panels and a function table on display (on loan from the Smithsonian).
The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor has four panels, salvaged by Arthur Burks.
The U.S. Army Ordnance Museum at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, where ENIAC was used, has one of the function tables.
The Perot Group in Plano, Texas has also seven panels and detailed history and explanation of ENIAC functions using text, graphics, photographs and interactive touch screen.
The U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY has one of the data entry terminals from the ENIAC.

Comment: Re:Deliberate (Score 1) 630

by mspohr (#48460015) Attached to: Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

That's true but nobody has been able to solve these problems. The EIR and lawsuits are the result of demanding perfection for what is inherently a very dangerous process with catastrophic consequences for any mishap and this is technically not possible. So it is a technical failure. You can design a system that will work perfectly most of the time. You can't design a system that will work perfectly all of the time.

Comment: Re:Deliberate (Score 1) 630

by mspohr (#48459809) Attached to: Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

Sounds like you are proposing heavy government intervention and at the same time proposing that the government stay out of the way. Not sure how this would work.
The problem remains that nuclear power plants have a high cost which keeps getting higher (negative learning curve). Nobody, not government, not free enterprise has been able to reverse that trend. Currently, nuclear costs more than 2x any other source of power. Also... very long lead time... minimum 10 to 15 years to get a plant running whereas solar and wind are 1 to 2 years and fossil fuel plants are about 5 years.
Theoretically, nuclear is a great option... practically, it's a failure with just too many difficult problems which are probably not solvable.

Comment: We're toast! (Score 1) 630

by mspohr (#48459293) Attached to: Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

From the IEEE article:
"As Hansen has shown, if all power plants and industrial facilities switch over to zero-carbon energy sources right now, we’ll still be left with a ruinous amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. It would take centuries for atmospheric levels to return to normal, which means centuries of warming and instability. "

Their main problem was that fossil fuels are cheaper because the infrastructure is already built and they can dump CO2 into the atmosphere without any cost.
The easiest way to address this problem is with a carbon tax which uses the money to build renewable infrastructure.

Even with this, we may be toast.

Comment: Re:What is it? (Score 1) 143

Actually, 80% of farm land goes to animals and raising feed for animals. This also contributes 18% of greenhouse gas emissions.
If we stopped eating meat, there would be surplus food for everyone, we could take a lot of land out of production and we would be half-way to reducing the 2050 target for greenhouse emissions.

Interesting article:
Climatic Change (2009) 95:83–102 DOI 10.1007/s10584-008-9534-6
Climate benefits of changing diet
Elke Stehfest Lex Bouwman Detlef P. van Vuuren
Michel G. J. den Elzen Bas Eickhout Pavel Kabat

Abstract: Climate change mitigation policies tend to focus on the energy sector, while the livestock sector receives surprisingly little attention, despite the fact that it ac- counts for 18% of the greenhouse gas emissions and for 80% of total anthropogenic land use. From a dietary perspective, new insights in the adverse health effects of beef and pork have lead to a revision of meat consumption recommendations. Here, we explored the potential impact of dietary changes on achieving ambitious climate stabilization levels. By using an integrated assessment model, we found a global food transition to less meat, or even a complete switch to plant-based protein food to have a dramatic effect on land use. Up to 2,700 Mha of pasture and 100 Mha of cropland could be abandoned, resulting in a large carbon uptake from regrowing vegetation. Additionally, methane and nitrous oxide emission would be reduced substantially. A global transition to a low meat-diet as recommended for health reasons would reduce the mitigation costs to achieve a 450 ppm CO2-eq. stabilisation target by about 50% in 2050 compared to the reference case. Dietary changes could therefore not only create substantial benefits for human health and global land use, but can also play an important role in future climate change mitigation policies.

Comment: Re:Maybe.....but maybe not (Score 1) 281

Just a few facts:
Toyota fuel cell car has a range of 300 miles... same as the electric Tesla.
Tesla can recharge in 20 minutes at a SuperCharger, not "hours".
Electric outlets are everywhere... hydrogen refuel stations are... where? (I think there might be one in California).

Comment: Re:Filling up a natural gas car currently no picni (Score 1) 281

A lot more places have electricity than natural gas pipelines. It's cheap to install an electric socket to charge an electric car. Everyone could easily do this at their house or business. I have friends who have Nissan Leaf cars and they just plug them into the garage outlet.

The key elements in human thinking are not numbers but labels of fuzzy sets. -- L. Zadeh

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