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Comment: Re:Produce in your garden? (Score 1) 187

We've been carefully growing for two full seasons, with some plants getting multiple cycles. No losses at all, other than one hailstorm, which we now prophylactically deal with by having the project under a bit of roof where it can still get the sun it needs, but hail can't hit it straight on. Not a perfect solution, but it's something. And it has worked.

I am convinced that the details matter.

Comment: Re: Wasted Energy? (Score 1) 187

Well, not really. The issue is that there are lots and lots of AC devices out there, so what you're doing is converting to a form that is in most common use. If you have surplus power that is free (solar as under discussion), there's no problem, resource-wise, in doing it just that way. Which makes it not very moronic at all. Kind of convenient, actually.

Considerations for a free, non-polluting resource have to be approached with an open mind. The range of consequences is different. They can be quite favorable.

Comment: Re: Wasted Energy? (Score 1) 187

It is MUCH easier to power them off than to build a solar+battery+inverter+separate cirquit[sic] to power them.

Oh, no doubt. But that wasn't what the GP was saying. Also, even though it's easier, it uses up a costly resource when it's on. The solar powered widgets do not. So you save some; the solar system saves all. Food for thought. Gotta figure the ROI. It's not that hard, either. Plus there's the dependability issue. Power fails, your devices keep running... that's nothing to sneer at.

Comment: Here's the thing about change. (Score 1) 274

by fyngyrz (#49367385) Attached to: Experts: Aim of 2 Degrees Climate Goal Insufficient

*change* that undermines human plans represents a big challenge.

Not when the change is so slow that you have generations to decide to move away from it, or alter your investments, it isn't. Every generation typically goes into new homes. Somewhere. Eventually, a generation (not this one or any one soon) will go... "y'know honey, instead of moving here in Miami, let's check out Vermont." Or where ever.

And you know what's kind of irritating? I never hear anyone going on about sea level rise mention this little fact: Change is the hottest possible breeding ground for opportunity. Change means employment, undertakings, recovery, rehabilitation, relocation, new methods, new ideas, new crops, new businesses. And so on.

Comment: Ocean Levels (Score 2) 274

by fyngyrz (#49367361) Attached to: Experts: Aim of 2 Degrees Climate Goal Insufficient

Since you obviously haven't been here for a while, many parts of Florida are underwater at high tide.

But not newly underwater. Sea levels have risen about 200 mm, or about 7.8 inches in the last century (1910 to 2008) (also, the rate of rise hasn't changed much, either -- see linked graph again.) Which time period has to include almost all, or perhaps all, of Florida's sewer infrastructure -- Miami was officially incorporated as a city with a population of just over 300 on July 28, 1896. Fort Lauderdale was incorporated even later -- 1911. This tells us quite handily that region's sewage infrastructure was built during that 7.8 inch rise.

So if Florida's infrastructure is seeing drainage run backwards due to an 8 inch change in levels, that is clearly related to absolutely dismal design and implementation -- not to sea level rise. I mean, good grief. What do you think the design criteria were? "If anything at ALL happens, sewers should overflow?" Please refer to the actual data when making claims. Also: If your public officials have been telling you that this is due to sea level rise, they are lying through their teeth, and you should take them to task for it. Good luck with that.

Florida is fighting that losing battle quietly.

Yes, no doubt. But they aren't fighting with sea level rise. They're fighting with incompetence.

Comment: Records? Let's look: (Score 2) 274

by fyngyrz (#49367221) Attached to: Experts: Aim of 2 Degrees Climate Goal Insufficient

you can say the drought was exacerbated by record high temperatures

You can say it -- the question is, can you show it? Take a look at the actual data and you will see that although the average is running a little warm, all of 2012, 2013, 2014 and what we've had thus far of 2015 are just about devoid of record temperature excursions.

My understanding is that it is lack of precipitation -- not high temperatures -- that account for California's current problems. Which you can also see on that same page on the bottom graph. The span from March through October is devoid of precipitation. In the background in the darker color, you can see the "normal" (the average) for the region.

Dustbowl, anyone? Much, much worse than California's problems -- and definitely not attributable to "global warming" in any significant way.

Comment: No. Not ten. (Score 1) 187

$10 a month is $120 in a year, $1200 in ten years, $4800 over a working lifetime (40 years or so.) The question isn't what can you buy with $10. The question is, what could you buy with $4800? That, and how much will it cost to save that $4800, because that has to be taken right off the savings.

Math. Do you have it?

Comment: Wasted Energy? (Score 1) 187

Wasted energy is still wasted energy no matter how you produce or buy it. Getting the energy from solar is no excuse for sleeping devices to hog that much amps.

That's ridiculous. If you are tapping a constant, otherwise non-utilized stream of energy -- sunlight certainly qualifies -- if you're collecting more energy than you're using, and not running out during low-generation periods (clouds), there are no serious utilization issues unless your system is put together poorly or outright wrong.

You want to put all of your effort into reducing those things that cost you money and / or the environment its stability. Extra hungry wall warts running off solar power... they have no such significance at all.

You cannot over-utilize an infinite, zero-collection-effort resource.

Comment: Re: What Would be a Trivial Amount? (Score 1) 187

Many [car] brands are much better now.

We can thank the Japanese, and to some extent the Europeans, for that. They kicked Detroit's ass back to the starting line. To their credit, I have to say, they got the message and cleaned up their act, and yep, modern American cars and trucks are nothing like what they used to be. Fit, finish, longevity, performance, handling, mileage, amenities, safety, it's all better.

But my refrigeration gear is shite.

Comment: Um. My moderns sure have not laster... (Score 1) 187

The myth that appliances, tools, or cars lasted longer in the past is mostly false nostalgia.

That's not been my experience. I've been through quite a few "modern" refrigerators in my life (I'm 58.) My most recent purchase, a standup freezer, only lasted about a month past the 1-year warranty, and the compressor went nipples north. Cost a fair bit to have that compressor replaced -- even though it's a sealed, lightweight POS. My frig is about three years old, and we're already thinking of replacing it, as the amenities have failed -- icemaker, waterspout, filter system. Modern consumer level refrigerators and freezers just have not done well for me. Flimsy plastic shelves and fittings, ice makers that quit working in no time, filter systems that fail, the very cheapest possible compressors... meh.

There have been many days when I wish I'd thought to collect my mother's refrigerator / freezer. It's still at the old house, cranking along. It's been there since before I was born -- well over 60 years. Never broke down. Never needed repair. Never needed coolant / oil. Dead quiet. Looks pretty dated, all rounded edges and the like (it'd look right at home in a 1940's dwelling) but damn, for the money I've spent, I could have easily lived with it. At this point, it'd sure be a bitch to drag it from Pennsylvania to Montana, though. :)

Comment: Produce in your garden? (Score 1) 187

Surprisingly, growing your own food DOES save money.

It's not surprising -- it just isn't worth it for most people. To do it well, you variously need land; upkeep time; knowledge (pests you don't need, creatures you do, plant nutrition, how to harvest without doing damage, control of wastage, fertilizer issues, varietal information, home-cooking skills, canning skills); seed sources; patience; storage, fencing to control animal forage, sometimes a permit...

Or you can just go to the supermarket, buy a bag of salad and a can of beans, come home and cook dinner. Or hit a restaurant.

It's pretty easy to see why most people choose to exchange the labor they do via the obvious proxy (money.). It really depends where you want to put your effort. The money you save -- whatever that is in a particular case -- has to be of at least the same value as your time, otherwise, you're working against yourself.

We have a tower garden here. It was a gift, so the initial cost (to us) was nothing. Even so, the costs for the nutrients and starters and the small amount of electricity the nutrient pump takes adds up to be non-trivial, and the amount of produce isn't fabulous overall, all things considered. The quality of what it produces is, though. Buying it... I wouldn't even think of it. It's expensive. It's also kind of pretty when it's all growing like a little vertical jungle, but that's pretty minor in the larger picture.

Comment: News At 11 (Score 5, Funny) 223

by fyngyrz (#49358717) Attached to: Dark Matter Is Even More of a Mystery Than Expected

Dateline: Millions of light years (even faster parsecs than the Kessel run)

Lede: Scientists in the Dark; Does it Matter?

Today scientists announced that they can't see anything happening with stuff they can't see, but think is there, because otherwise the math is no good. After receiving directions to his laboratory on the phone, I went to see an authority on dark matter. During the interview, Dr. Seemore Lichspittle told this Any Paper, Any Time reporter that the thing about dark matter that one has to understand is that "it goes to eleven." When confronted with the observation that the sensing instruments only had scales from 0-10, he responded "Yes, yes, that's exactly it. The numbers... the numbers only work out in the dark. When the instruments are off. Matter of fact, it's all dark, really." At that point the interview was cut short as two lab assistants in white coats hustled Dr. Lichspittle into his own custom white lab jacket. Late for an important meeting, no doubt. As he left, nodding, he called back "it's really quite dark." Food for thought! Leaving Arkham, I was struck by the picturesque beauty of the stonework, and very appreciative of the tight security. We can rest easy, knowing that national treasures like Dr. Lichspittle work in such a safe enviroment.

To err is human -- to blame it on a computer is even more so.