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Comment: Re:choose STEM if you want forced early retirement (Score 1) 148

by radl33t (#47329599) Attached to: What's Your STEM Degree Worth?
Perfect. I plan to retire around age 40. If I'm "forced" into it, then maybe I'll get a nice going away present. It's impossible to assign a value to the 7 years I spent in graduate school, its simply too astronomical. I expanded in ways and explored opportunities that impossible, and frankly inconceivable to me as a 'working man.' In exchange for some mild opportunity costs I spent 15,000 hours of my life doing exactly what I wanted, when I wanted, with who I wanted. When entering the workforce in my late 20s I had the zeal of a 18yr old matched with the maturity of my 40+ year old colleagues and the technical know-how to stand toe to toe with everyone. And a perspective defined by just as much experience as anyone.

Comment: not such a great task. only education and will pow (Score 1) 784

by radl33t (#46988257) Attached to: Scientists Warn of Rising Oceans As Antarctic Ice Melts
1. Deep energy retrofits on can reduce energy on buildings by 50%, most of this will payback and the building sector uses as much energy as the transportation sector
2. New buildings can be designed for 60-70% less energy consumption, often at lower initial cost or else certainly at quick payback
3. Educated and sensible use of electricity can trim residential and commercial plug loads by 50-80%
4. A grid dominated by natural gas, solar, and wind, could reduce ghg from the utility sector by 90% at less than 10 cents a kWh. For ~ .22 $/kWh you get storage and ~ 40 kWh of transportation.

All in all, its relatively trivial to reduce the energy footprint of an American by 60-70%. There are lots of Americans who do this. I would wager in fact, that energy conscious consumers do so while maintaining a higher quality of life than average. There are many examples where our "standard of living" is achieved, actually exceeded, in harsher climates (on average), using less energy. The idea that we need 9 GW scale nuclear reactors in the U.S. to run DVRs when similar and cheaper devices exist at 1% of that power consumption doesn't really put the American standard of living in the best light. Similarly the poorly constructed built environment in the US also ends up costing more through unnecessary energy expenditures. The amount of energy and time and money wasted on gross and often deliberate inefficiency greatly exceeds any and all of the transition costs to a more sustainable environment. That you could replace a DVR with a cell phone, make modest home efficiency improvements at 50%+ ROI and save more than the additional cost of solar energy is embarrassing.

Comment: Re:Deniers are too stupid to read -- prove me wron (Score 1) 661

astute perhaps, but to highly influenced by the inertia of existing thought. renewables will win the economic battle. nuclear (should have won) the economic battle (and may still). solar energy equipment hit global grid parity some years ago (~2011). only the cheapest big hydro developments and best CF wind sites can compete with even moderately good solar sites. the only way one can argue that any fossil fuel energy has lower LCOE is to ignore substantial costs in their development and consequences in their continued use. some of these are transparent, some are deeply embedded within 100yrs of economic development & infrastructure, others and born by all of us. A shift toward solar energy is inevitable and economics will drive this and is driving this. The rate of this shift is and will be correlated to the strength of political will and inversely correlated to the size of the existing institutional interests who refuse to adapt. This is resulting in development that ranges from shockingly rapid, efficient, and cheap to excruciatingly painful, long, and inefficient. The latter never ceases to amaze me although it repeats itself throughout history. Apparently successful institutional interests will squander their prosperity in a hilariously inefficient economic battle that they will ultimately lose. They chose that instead of using their prosperity to adapt.

Comment: Re:Activist investors (Score 1) 208

by radl33t (#46944513) Attached to: Stanford Getting Rid of $18 Billion Endowment of Coal Stock
it is increasingly likely that renewable energy returns will be significantly greater while offering less risk in the future compared to coal. Coal's future is mired in health and environmental problems that will be addressed (in some uncertain way) by the public and government. New coal generation is no longer economically competitive compared to alternatives. Private capital has been quietly making this shift from traditional energy companies into renewable energy for some time now at an overall scale much larger than Stanford's investments.

Comment: Re: being against subsidies.... (Score 1) 769

by radl33t (#46874689) Attached to: The Koch Brothers Attack On Solar Energy
Solar is cheaper than peaking natural gas at wholesale rates and nuclear power and much new coal. And it deploys automatically with 1/3 the infrastructure at 30x the speed. The economics of solar have been clear for a decade and indisputablely superior compared to hundreds of gw/billions $ of global fossil fuel productionfor several years. Nevermind the predictable multi decade march toward cost parity. Idiots will keep fighting long after it annihilates global energy markets long after billion dollar utilities all over the country enter irreversible death spirals because of a failure to adapt. they dont have much else to offer after they sold off a multitrillion dollar economy for maybe a 15 year extension to a dying economic hegemony. They lack the vision of their forefathers who developed the world fossil fuel economies only via epic public and private cooperation.

Comment: Re:Location, location, location (Score 1) 452

by radl33t (#36671922) Attached to: Renewable Energy Production Surpasses Nuclear In the US
As it is, bird people, environmentalists and "I don't want to see it but I want the benefits from it" people don't want wind and solar stuff all over the landscape.
Some. Other greenies quite like them. I'd wager that just about everybody prefers them to cooling towers and open pit mines.

Wind and solar take a LOT of space.
We have a lot of space.

Geothermal energy is one usually of opportunity and while technically it's everywhere, tectonically, it's not quite as available everywhere.
We won't use it everywhere.

And here's a thing -- even if we shut everything down now, we're already past the point of no return where global warming is concerned. We are going to see a continuation of a change in global weather patterns which mean rain, wind and water will all continue to change movement patterns which will transform where farming is done and more. What is a good location today, will not likely be a good location tomorrow and we don't really know yet where the good locations of tomorrow will be.
First, this is not the thing, as in [many peer reviewed citations needed]. Secondly, humans are adaptable. Some of us will carry on despite any extreme changes in climate. Thirdly, global geoengineering projects are not out of the question.

We don't need figures saying what we can and are doing today, we need to know if it's even possible to do what we wish for. Can we get 100% clean? If so, how can we do it? Is it sustainable? I'd really like to know. Why do you want to know? Do you want to hear the answers are "No" so you can admit defeat / not change / accept some other status quo ? Sustainability is an impossible dream. Go buy a V8 coupe and eat some grapes from Honduras, may as well enjoy the party? I'm sure you'll find that more palatable then: 1) abandon your car and AC 2) stop eating meat and processed & imported food 3) lower your thermostat or actually "engineer" residential construction 4) don't buy stupid shit. If a majority of people did these simple things, we could start abandoning large portions of our energy infrastructure (think 20 - 80%), (fortunately/unfortunately) we also dismantle similar portions of our economy.

backups: always in season, never out of style.