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Comment: Re:It's a sad sign of the times (Score 1) 467

by rhakka (#41972007) Attached to: Tapping Shale Reserves, US Would Become World's Top Oil Producer By 2017

"close or equal to"?

really. wow, that's amazing. I would love to hear more about how the pollution involved with manufacturing solar panels, which will then generate many times their energy of manufacturing over the lifetime of the panels, is somehow "close to, if not equal to" that of, say, burning oil for home heating oil, or as gas in cars, or coal for electricity, including THEIR extraction and refining externialities.

be sure to show your work, cause that's quite a doozy of a statement. It reeks of complete bullshit, actually. How many people per year die of solar panel manufacturing related pollution and manufacturing, vs oil production AND POLLUTION AND USE? do the words "orders of magnitude apart" mean anything? check out "smog related deaths" sometime. it's illuminating. and those are generally just talking about people who actually die from the immediate consequences of smog inhalation. now consider the impact on lung disease as a whole. very small doses of critical thinking are all you need.

markets cannot adjust for externialities in any truly meaningful way without very heavy educational loads, especially for complex questions. it is why a slavish devotion to free market principles is childish and shortsighted. it's a frightfully flawed model if actual human welfare is of concern.

Comment: Re:It's a sad sign of the times (Score 3, Insightful) 467

by rhakka (#41967251) Attached to: Tapping Shale Reserves, US Would Become World's Top Oil Producer By 2017

but external costs are paid via mechanisms that are NOT included in the cost of the fuel.

the medical and pollution aspects of fossil fuel use... to say nothing of the global warming costs and, up until recently, our geopolitical control costs (military)... are all costs associated with oil that we pay for via taxes, insurance premiums, and other mechanisms that don't dissuade oil usage per se.

until those externialities are captured in the cost of a barrel of oil, the playing field against clean alternatives is not level. thus the need for subsidies on clean alternatives. because the free market simply cannot handle external costs in a legitimate way.

Comment: Re:Why bother without IRV (Score 1) 221

by rhakka (#41753201) Attached to: Third Party Debates Moderated by Larry King: Discuss

actually, in maine the democrats have realized IRV is important. strong independents just keep running and they finally got it. last time in state committee it was a party line vote to go to an IRV system.

what it will take to get the republicans on board, I'm not sure. it's cost them elections too. but here I think they assume the math favors them without IRV.

so now we're just waiting for a democratic majority again. if it's soon, we may even pass it next time.

Comment: Re:Why bother without IRV (Score 1) 221

by rhakka (#41753037) Attached to: Third Party Debates Moderated by Larry King: Discuss

the basic rule that a lower ranked vote for a candidate should never hurt your higher ranked choices makes it preferable, to me, than approval or a "true" condorcet method.

IRV is break-able... all electoral systems are. but it's much, much less breakable than 1 person 1 vote. and it allows a voter to express an actual preference.

a place to read up on this stuff is here: http://www.fairvote.org/

Comment: Re:Hmm... (Score 2) 345

by rhakka (#41336099) Attached to: How Viable Is Large Scale Wind Energy?

ceramic bricks are not a better storage material than water. especially not if you need water as an end result. you might be able to achieve higher densities with ceramics by jacking the temperature up higher, but you'll never achieve the level of cost effectiveness with ceramics that you can with water and insulation.

you can question my on demand assertion, but for anyone with regular DHW usage it's pretty easy math. the efficiency gain never even comes close to balancing out the increased first and maintenance costs. as your DHW increases, the efficiency differential decreases as well as jacket loss becomes a smaller and smaller percentage of the total load.

Comment: Re:Hmm... (Score 2) 345

by rhakka (#41335361) Attached to: How Viable Is Large Scale Wind Energy?

storing hot water for domestic use is a trivial engineering problem. your 25% is wrong... it's more like 10% for a standard tank... and slightly better insulation would fix even that. there are tanks now with 3" of insulation that lose very little heat. also bear in mind that 10% number is only as big as it is because the amount of energy most people use for Domestic hot water is very small, like 40-50 gallons a day. it's not objectively very much energy in any case.

on demands don't make any sense for anyone right now.

we can greatly upsize tanks and store heat for space heat too. make ice for cooling. lots of ways to store useful thermal energy exist. between those and electric cars we have the capability to increase grid storage rather massively in a relatively short period of time with technology that exists today.

Comment: Re:Nuclear power is corporate welfare (Score 1) 314

by rhakka (#39087649) Attached to: Small, Modular Nuclear Reactors — the Future of Energy?

Here in the northeast you can get PV installed for $3.50/watt in many cases (PRE SUBSIDY). we broke the tipping point not long ago compared to our cost for grid electricity. I just updated a PV quote here and we'll do about 13kw array for about $45k. this morning's numbers, using canadian solar panels (not even chinese units). In some areas like the NW we won't hit parity anytime soon (cheap hydro) and a few others who are just burning coal with no thought for anything else will be slower too. but we're the leading edge, and most of our electricity is more expensive hydro, nukes, and natural gas... not the dirtiest mix around, and it has your magic wunderkid, nukes, well represented. that won't be saving us anytime soon. PV will make building nukes cost prohibitive in comparison.

http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/guest-blogs/pv-systems-have-gotten-dirt-cheap -- note, I know the writer of that blog, he's a sharp and very thoughtful guy who cares about environmental causes but has no patience for solutions that aren't.

also note: when he wrote the article, it was $4.50/watt. That was last fall, so the price has continued to plummet per watt. now, our grid electricity's standard offer will drop to 0.14, but that just puts it back to parity at $4.50/watt... and we're still doing a lot better at $3.50/watt..

finally, remember that distributed solar has very little in the way of transmission and overhead costs like centralized generation does. cost for generation is only part of the equation. backyard nukes might also benefit from that advantage, but really... cheap solar vs a backyard nuke? yeah, I wonder which one will win out. what we need is good, cheap, flywheel or capacitor storage.

Comment: Re:Nuclear power is corporate welfare (Score 1) 314

by rhakka (#39076445) Attached to: Small, Modular Nuclear Reactors — the Future of Energy?

he's probably confused because he doesn't consider successfully shifted external costs like health care, environmental cleanup, risk mitigation, lost resource production, war and military expenditures to be "subsidies". Of course, if we appropriately taxes the sources of those problems (fossil fuels, nuclear) to cover their costs, we'd be all green already. But of course that isn't a subsidy, right? it's just life without sufficient regulation of energy production.

He also apparently isn't aware that solar PV is already at parity with grid electricity over 25 years in a few parts of the US.

Comment: Re:Bogus premise (Score 1) 591

by rhakka (#38699340) Attached to: The New Transparency of War and Lethality of Hatred

we now live in a world where 8 people who are dedicated an unafraid to die can kill thousands and send an entire country on a ten year pyhhric spending spree to attempt to guarantee their own safety. Most soldiers on the planet already meet this definition and religious fanatics add millions more.

You can never, ever cow a population so completely as to avoid that possibility now. the small cells are far more empowered in today's age than ever before. Your 1940's tactics are quite simply no guarantee of safety these days. If you conquer and rule an area you might be able to cow that population, but you cannot do it to the whole world, and unlike the old days that educated the men of the 1940's and to an even larger degree than was true IN the 40's a global war can be waged almost trivially easily by small groups of people in a way that was never true in the past.

  and at some point you will sacrifice so much in your quest to root out the enemy, that you'll lose out in the end anyway. you will spend yourself into oblivion trying.

That, incidentally, was Osama Bin Laden's own stated strategy for fighting superpowers. I'd say he did a pretty damn good job. We've adapted and appear to now be focusing on killing the controllers of the terrorist networks but they have gone cellular before and can do so again. Sabotauge and individually placed explosives can do so much more interested things these days than back in Hitler's day, don't you think?

Comment: Re:Amused being an example of "death panels". (Score 3, Interesting) 495

by rhakka (#38639984) Attached to: How Stephen Hawking Has Defied the Odds For 50 Years

when you can use a service and pay nothing extra for it, you might forgive a person's use of the word "free". it's certainly accurate in terms of its impact on that person's life. especially when the tax is collected in proportion to your ability to pay, so it's not like it's a "fixed expense" to any given person.

it's the ultimate insurance. everyone is in, no one is out, and there is no profit motive to denying you care, just a regard for the actual resources available. awesome.

The Force is what holds everything together. It has its dark side, and it has its light side. It's sort of like cosmic duct tape.

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