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Comment: You started so well, then went downhill (Score 0) 708

by stomv (#47455515) Attached to: People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use

In terms of criteria air pollutants (CO, NOx, SO2, PM2.5, PM10), it's certainly true that modern cars are cleaner, even an F150. But that 150 gets 12 mpg, less than half of the U.S. average mpg for new cars. Since climate change is a thing, since automobiles are collectively a significant emitter of CO2, and since the F150 emits twice the CO2 per miles as an average new car, and since those average new cars also emit small amounts of those criteria air pollutants, no a 2011 F150 is not a green car.

Then you just slip into some strange piece of climate change denier and anti-tax zealot. There's no question that the impacts of climate change are systemic, pervasive, and real. Parts of Miami and Norfolk VA are under water during high tide. Hell, there are island nations preparing to no longer exist. Somehow, these "local" disasters are hand-waved, along with the hurricanes, droughts, floods, etc. But you call high gas taxes ruinous for the economy and claim that they have no impact on the environment, despite the facts that (a) most Western European nations have high gas prices, (b) most have higher mpg fleet averages, and (c) most have economies that are functioning just fine.

We get it. Regardless of your actual age, you behave like the old Brits referenced in the summary. That doesn't warrant a 5: interesting, except that it's interesting that old British-type dudes who are entirely wrong on the science and implications of climate change (and foolish about tax policy) are on slashdot.

Comment: Re:Nuclear power loses? (Score 1) 268

by stomv (#47285927) Attached to: The EPA Carbon Plan: Coal Loses, But Who Wins?

Indeed. Existing nuclear wins because the metric EPA is using for compliance includes a portion of MWh generated by existing nuclear in the denominator (something like 5%). Therefore, keeping existing nuclear online will help states comply with 111(d). Existing nuclear is a winner under 111(d) -- including the nuclear units under construction in GA, SC, and TN.

New nuclear? New nuclear will never win. It's simply can't hold a candle to PV and wind in an unsubsidized market. New wind is cheap enough now, and new PV trending that way that it's not worth the tremendous risk associated with a long, large, non-scalable, expensive construction project.

Comment: Re:Big Oil wins (Score 2) 268

by stomv (#47285899) Attached to: The EPA Carbon Plan: Coal Loses, But Who Wins?

If your bills are going up 50%, its because your electric company is spending lots of money on existing coal plants so they emit less SO2, NOx, PM, and Hg. Of course, they'll emit about the same amount of CO2. Utilities that haven't insisted on coal coal coal haven't seen substantial increases in rates.

This is a generality -- individual utilities may have rate increases for other reasons, but very, very few utilities have had rates go up by 50% within the past 3 years. In fact, many utilities have had rate decreases.

Comment: Peak? (Score 3, Interesting) 268

by stomv (#47285869) Attached to: The EPA Carbon Plan: Coal Loses, But Who Wins?

Peak demand isn't as close to daylight as you might expect in the South. In fact, many systems are winter peaking (central Florida and Appalachia come to mind). Those systems peak winter 7-10am. Sure, the sun is just starting to come up, but PV isn't going to have a significant impact on that peak. Similarly, peak is 3-6pm. PV produces it's best power at high noon. As more PV comes on the system, the "net"-peak will push to 4-7pm, then 5-8pm. Again, solar contributes to meeting some of that peak, but depending on geography it isn't always going to align as well as you might think, including in the south.

Comment: For fuck's sake, how does this get a 5, Insightful (Score 3, Informative) 268

by stomv (#47285813) Attached to: The EPA Carbon Plan: Coal Loses, But Who Wins?

> I think you can be sure no matter how this plays out, power is going to be more expensive.

No, you can't be sure of that. Wind power in the central portion of the country is cheaper than coal now. PV is cheaper than market power in the Southwest and the Northeast now. Many coal plants in tUSA are 50+ years old -- they're going to retire soon one way or another. And, not for nothing, wholesale electric power is cheaper now than it was five years ago due to cheap natural gas (and, by the way, switching from coal to gas helps comply with 111(d) and saves money).

> if the coal-fired plants are removed from the equation before replacement sources of power are in place, there will be power shortage

If my aunt had nuts, she'd be my uncle. There's absolutely no chance that 111(d) will result in reliability performance below the industry standard 1-day-in-10-years. Just won't happen. Retiring a unit requires years of planning. Google "integrated resource plan IRP" for your favorite utility and hunker down to a ~120 page report, produced every 3-5 years, laying out the company's plan, including projected retirements, new units, new transmission, etc.

111(d) doesn't require any coal plants to retire. It requires our fraction of electricity generated from coal to be reduced. The coal plants can still be "plugged in" and operated during times of peak load (weekday summer afternoons and winter mornings); what they can't do is operate much the rest of the time. Instead, a combination of new energy efficiency measures, new renewable energy production, more frequent operating of combined cycle natural gas generators, and squeezing even more MWh out of existing nuclear units through uprates or reduced downtimes will be the way states will comply with 111(d).

Seriously slashdot. Pithy remarks more frequently display ignorance than insightfulness.

Comment: Not your business? (Score 1) 932

by stomv (#47216423) Attached to: House Majority Leader Defeated In Primary

As a Virginian (and now as a Marylander), I don't consider it any of my business who represents people in say, California.

This is asinine. The 100 US Senators and 435 members of the US House each have an equal vote in their respective chambers on all federal legislation. So long as you as a Virginian (and now as a Marylander) are subject to federal law, then each and every of those Congressmen have a direct vote on the laws that you are obligated to follow. Just because only 2 of the 100 US Senators will return your call doesn't mean that the other 98 aren't your business. They are United States senators, not California state senators. They write your laws; they're your business.

Comment: Re:As a pedestrian (Score 1) 490

Indeed. The article agrees with you -- it doesn't advocate for "blasting" through the light. It advocates for approaching the stop sign controlled intersection slowly enough to determine all cross-traffic location and speed to determine if it is safe to cross, and then doing so. That includes peds as cross-traffic. Further, it advocates coming to a stop at traffic light controlled red lights, determining all cross-traffic location and speeds, and then, once there's no risk of collision, proceeding.

For both stop signs and red lights, the Idaho stop advocates for pedestrian safety, not for "blasting through the red lights".

I fail to see why you didn't RTFA.

Comment: Still need pipes (Score 1) 206

by stomv (#46798981) Attached to: Obama Delays Decision On Keystone Pipeline Yet Again

If you're going to extract tar sands of their crude, then refining the crude in ND doesn't change anything. You've still got to ship liquid petroleum products from ND to the rest of the country -- and, in fact, the rest of the world since the USA is a net exporter of refined crude -- be it pipe, rail, or truck. Moving the refinery doesn't change the need for transport.

Comment: Does. Not. Compute. (Score 3, Informative) 206

by stomv (#46798975) Attached to: Obama Delays Decision On Keystone Pipeline Yet Again

My part of the country gets about 5% of our electricity from coal. The largest share (though not the majority) is natural gas, with big chunks of hydro, nuclear, and small but growing chunks of wind and solar and biomass/landfill gas. The carbon intensity of the electricity in my region per usable energy (say, per mile the vehicle can go) is less for electric than for gasoline, by a pretty wide margin.

Furthermore, if a person has PV panels on his own house, he can legitimately claim that his vehicle is low carbon emissions even if he does live in Kentucky or Ohio or Arizona or any other significantly-coal-dependent state.

Furthermore, coal plants are being retired all around the country. There's currently about 300 GW of coal fired capacity in tUSA -- by 2020 it will be closer to 220 GW. Folks who want less carbon emissions are opposed to building new capital infrastructure which will facilitate more carbon emissions for decades to come. Those folks would rather spend money (and create jobs) building wind turbines and solar farms and expanding subway and bus lines and switching more truck delivery to rails and switching from the manufacturing of gasoline fired autos to electric vehicles.

The folks who oppose the Keystone aren't in favor of coal fired electric power plants. That's pretty freaking obvious.

Comment: Not at all (Score 0) 206

by stomv (#46798959) Attached to: Obama Delays Decision On Keystone Pipeline Yet Again

Every action that increases the cost of gasoline decreases the consumption. For people who believe that climate change is real and caused/exacerbated by human activity, reducing the amount of gasoline consumed is a good thing.

Whether or not the cost rising results in more profits for oil companies (hint: it doesn't -- the profit per unit goes up, but the number of units sold goes down, and profits go down) is irrelevant to those who want less consumption of fossil fuels because, well, the carbon emissions are bad for mankind.

Comment: On reducing black-market value of vulnerability (Score 1) 235

by stomv (#46793943) Attached to: Bug Bounties Don't Help If Bugs Never Run Out

> "I'm not sure if there's anything a software company could do by themselves to lower the black-market value of a vulnerability in their product, other than voluntarily decreasing their own market share so that there are fewer computers that can be compromised using their software! Can you think of any other way?)"

Sure. Educate your users so that fewer of them allow themselves to be vulnerable to the bug. This doesn't work in all cases, but certainly some -- encourage your software users to use better network security, to avoid using their actual ID information, etc. If fewer of the software's users are valuable to the crackers because the users protect themselves, then the black market value of the vulnerability goes down. If my front door lock can be picked, I'm vulnerable -- but if I don't store my most valuable items in my house at all, the value of picking my lock goes down... maybe to the point where the cost-benefit ratio to the criminal makes my house a bad bet for a burglary.

Comment: Coal is certainly not clean (Score 1) 712

> Coal today is just as clean as other forms of energy when you factor in all the externalities.

No, no it isn't. Coal is far dirtier -- even modern scrubbed plants (of which most aren't) emit mercury and other heavy metals, and SO2. Less than they used to, but more than gas, hydro, wind, nuclear, and solar, which emit none. Both gas and coal emit NOx (the others don't). Extracting coal from the ground is horribly messy -- just ask the good folks who like to drink water in West Virginia. Storing the coal waste is also horribly messy -- just ask the good folks who live along the Dan River in North Carolina and Virginia. Oh, and then there's those pesky CO2 emissions. Coal emits twice as much CO2 as gas per MWh, and of course hydro, nuclear, wind, and solar emit zero or virtually zero.

Coal is far, far dirtier than gas. Coal emits twice the CO2 as gas. In terms of environmental damage, the power plants aren't the same merely because they all have downsides.

> The environmentalists need to learn to quit when they achieve "good enough".

I suspect that they know to quit when they achieve good enough. After all, being an environmentalist is hard work -- the pay sucks if you're even lucky enough to get paid to do it. You're up against deep pockets all the time. The environmentalists won't quit until CO2 emissions are down 80%, and that won't happen so long as we're getting any electricity from coal.

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." -- William James