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Comment: Re:The solution is infill. . . (Score 1) 453

by Jeremi (#48447261) Attached to: In a Self-Driving Future, We May Not Even Want To Own Cars

Straight out of Agenda 21. Stack-and-pack all the people, allow ownership and taxation of property, but control usage from a central authority, and slowly ban development, and eventually humans entirely, from the vast majority of land.

As the human population approaches the planet's capacity, such authoritarian measures are going to proliferate, if only because the alternative is economic failure and societal collapse.

In a sparsely populated, open system (e.g. the Old West), there are effectively unlimited natural resources, so no formal resource management is necessary. Libertarian/individualist principles work fine there, as what group A does or doesn't do to the environment has limited effect on group B, who (in the worst case) is always free to find a new plot of land to live off of.

In a submarine at sea, at the other extreme, resources are extremely limited, and everybody depends on everyone else to keep the environment stable. Bad actors cannot be tolerated. Therefore, in submarines you will find only very authoritarian social systems, as more permissive structures would tend to get everyone killed in short order.

Population growth moves us steadily away from the "old west / do whatever you want" scenario and towards the "submarine / co-operation is required to stave off disaster" scenario.

Decry it as creeping socialism (or whatever) all you want, but you're looking at a symptom, not the underlying problem.

Comment: Re:But Car2Go has (Score 1) 453

by Jeremi (#48447219) Attached to: In a Self-Driving Future, We May Not Even Want To Own Cars

[The ZipCar] will also still be there after you finish shopping.

That's a very good point -- but OTOH if you are worried about that, you also have the option of leaving your Car2Go car "locked" (and thus guaranteed to stay put) while you shop. You'll pay more if you do that, of course, but it's up to you to decide whether you prefer "cheaper" or "guaranteed available".

Comment: Re:Who pays for the infrastructure costs? (Score 1) 516

by Jeremi (#48417739) Attached to: Rooftop Solar Could Reach Price Parity In the US By 2016

Then you're living in a daydream. There simply isn't enough land for things like big solar farms to create that scale. Or wind farms. And, for ENVIRONMENTAL reasons, Hydro in at least the US is nearly as developed as it's going to get.

The point is, non-renewables run out. That's why they are called non-renewable. That means we will be transitioning away from them at some point, whether we like it or not.

Whether we end up transitioning to solar, wind, fission, fusion, or just to shivering-in-the-dark in an open question, but we will be transitioning to something, because once the oil and coal has been burned, it won't be coming back.

Comment: Re:Who pays for the infrastructure costs? (Score 1) 516

by Jeremi (#48417681) Attached to: Rooftop Solar Could Reach Price Parity In the US By 2016

What money is that? They already have sources of power as it is.

Residential power demand grows over time, as more houses are built, and/or people in existing houses start using more power.

When an area's peak power demand surpasses the capacity of the power company's existing power plants, the power company has to build more power plants; otherwise they risk brownouts or blackouts during peak usage periods (e.g. hot summer afternoons when everyone is running the A/C).

Building (and then maintaining) those additional power plants costs the power company money.

On the other hand, if the new houses (and/or some of the existing houses) add solar panels, that reduces the peak power demand, which means that additional peaking plants no longer have to be built, or maintained. That reduces the power company's future costs.

That's why it's not "charity" -- it's a win/win situation for both the consumer and the power company.

Comment: Re:They WILL FIght Back (Score 2) 516

by Jeremi (#48415523) Attached to: Rooftop Solar Could Reach Price Parity In the US By 2016

What about bird kills, though.

Bird kills do happen. The relevant questions to ask would be: (a) how much do wind-farm bird kills effect the bird population, relative to other sources of bird mortality, and (b) how many birds would die in the alternative scenario, where the wind farm is not built?

The answer to (a) is: not very much.

The answer to (b) would of course depend a whole lot on how society chose to produce its energy instead of by from wind. If society continued to burn fossil fuels instead, the likelihood is that climate change would wipe out a lot more birds than windmills ever could. OTOH, if society chose to build nuclear plants or solar plants instead, it's possible that those options would kill fewer birds. As with most hypotheticals, there isn't an easy answer; but pretty much every energy solution (other than energy conservation, which is very much underrated IMO) comes with some environmental cost, and of course bird conservation is only one of many considerations that have to be taken into account.

Comment: Re:Signed by whom? (Score 1) 327

by Jeremi (#48415319) Attached to: Apple Disables Trim Support On 3rd Party SSDs In OS X

So if dancing pigs is as much of a support cost for companies as you claim it is,

How much of a support cost did I claim it was? I don't recall putting an actual value on anything. I only pointed out that a benefit exists. Whether that benefit makes the lock-everything-down strategy worth pursuing or not (for a given product) would depend very much on who the product's target-market it is and what the product is used for.

Comment: Re:They WILL FIght Back (Score 1) 516

by Jeremi (#48415289) Attached to: Rooftop Solar Could Reach Price Parity In the US By 2016

Wind power is a joke regardless of how you look at it. It's more environmentally disruptive than yesterday's technology and doesn't scale nearly as well

One interesting thing about Wind Power that is demonstrated by your Google Maps link is that once the windmills are built, the land around and between them is guaranteed to be left largely undeveloped for the lifetime of the site. That is to say, people won't build houses or businesses there, and not much else can be built there either since it would disrupt the wind flow that the turbines depend on.

Given that, the construction of windmills at a site might actually be an environmental plus(*), since it keeps creeping suburbia away and leaves 95%+ of the area unaffected..

(*) okay, an environmental lesser-of-two-evils, anyway. The environmental ideal would be no human presence on the land at all, but that's often not an option.

Comment: Re:"eye sore" (Score 2) 516

by Jeremi (#48415259) Attached to: Rooftop Solar Could Reach Price Parity In the US By 2016

I wonder if the greenies would complain if instead we put up a billboard.

Yes, and they'd be right to do so. A wind turbine may disturb a pristine landscape, but on the other hand it's also helping transition us away from our dependence on fossil fuels, so there is a compensating environmental benefit.

A billboard, on the other hand, despoils the landscape and has no compensating environmental benefit. From an environmental perspective, it's a total loss.

(of course if you'd like to have both your pristine landscapes and your wind turbines, than placing the wind turbines several miles off-shore might be the best-of-both-worlds solution to pursue. There's lots of wind there, and very few tourists)

Comment: Re:Who pays for the infrastructure costs? (Score 1) 516

by Jeremi (#48415221) Attached to: Rooftop Solar Could Reach Price Parity In the US By 2016

Is the solar install base REALLY going to be able to accommodate a 15-30,000% (fifteen to thirty THOUSAND percent) increase in deployment?

Note solar alone, but renewable sources will at some point have to take over the entire load, because non-renewables, by definition, will not be economically viable at some point.

The only question is when.

Comment: Re:Who pays for the infrastructure costs? (Score 1) 516

by Jeremi (#48415201) Attached to: Rooftop Solar Could Reach Price Parity In the US By 2016

Should the power companies be FORCED to just eat the fees of hooking up and stabilizing a power source that's only producing cheap power during periods where demand is lowest?

Sure -- they can use some of the money they save by not having to build and maintain more peaking plants, because residential solar will now handle that issue for them.

Comment: Re:Paralyzed yet Fully Aware (Score 2) 105

by Jeremi (#48398135) Attached to: How To Anesthetize an Octopus

I've never been able to figure out why they execute people with drug combinations at all -- if the goal is a quick, humane, unembarrassing death, why not just flood the execution chamber with nitrogen or some other inert gas? By all accounts, dying of nitrogen suffocation is quick, reliable, and painless -- you don't even feel like you're suffocating, since that feeling is brought on by a buildup of CO2 rather than by a lack of oxygen. Instead, you just pass out.

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