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Comment: Re:Solar's problem is political not technological (Score 2, Informative) 176

The triumphant little guy sticks it to The Man, news at 11. More like, the distributed smart grid (or whatever) turns out to somehow be more expensive and less secure than advertised, and given the noteworthy lack of philosopher kings to run it, regulations become necessary to curb the worst misuses and excesses. (Assuming the distributed smart grid (or whatever) is actually viable.) Meanwhile, back in the real world, note the progress of solar in Japan, where the utilities (that would be, the folks running the grid) are somehow unhappy about having to both eat higher costs and to install new infrastructure to support all the new solar stuff.

Comment: Re:Seattle has "no zoning" to prohibit this? (Score 1) 296

by thrig (#49650575) Attached to: A Visual Walk Through Amazon's Impact On One Seattle Neighborhood

Eh, what, developers are not offering parking?

"The recommendations (all meeting materials available here) were based on a survey of 219 newly reviewed or permitted residential developments in parts of Seattle where no parking is required, which found that three-quarters of developers are choosing to build parking anyway"

So, 75% of developers without all the usual minimum parking mandates choose to plonk out parking slabs anyways. Could you perhaps expand on what you mean by "too many of them get build without parking" in light of this? Are the mere 25% who choose not to waste space and money on parking really that objectionable? (Disclaimer: car-free in Seattle since, oh, 1994 or so, so lack of parking is a huge bonus in my book. About time we go more of that.)

Meanwhile, on the ugly townhomes front, the following is fairly indicative of how things played out.


Comment: Re:What an Embarrassingly Vapid Article (Score 1) 477

Inevitable, eh?

  * Jobs are lost as the middle class continues to bump along the path of
      downward mobility, as it turns out re-training a wheel-wiggler to
      some high-education computing job isn't as easy a transition as the
      move from horse reigns to wiggling that wheel was back in the day.
      And how many computing jobs does one exactly need? And how much does
      automation contribute to the rather low labor participation rate?
      Can't raise revenue if folks aren't working.
  * An hour drive? Ouch, car sitting. Hope you got a gym membership or
      something to help undo that damage. Meanwhile, how much do all the
      roads, sewer, electricity, and other services cost for those
      sprawling suburbs? They'll have to build up, or fall down. The amount
      of tax revenue from those sprawling nowheres connected by expensive
      car sewers ain't that great.
  * Drunk driving can already be solved by not zoning the boozing with
      massive, expensive parking lots. Stumbling distance, no car sitting
      required. Simple, inexpensive, and no money wasted on parking, roads.
  * Speaking of parking, it really is already quite silly. See Donald
      Shoup on the high cost of that. Reforms there are badly needed,
      though I'm going to imagine that the car sitters will not much like
      the results (fewer spots, actual market pricing instead of blindly
      following some quasi-religious document from the 1950s, etc).
  * How exactly will the roads be maintained? Congress is busy raiding
      the General Fund to prop up the quite insolvent Highway Trust Fund,
      states are slumped out dead over the "build new!!" lever and how
      about maintenance of what is already built? Uh, yeah, hmm. Not at all
      a pretty picture. And how many trillions is the American Society for
      Civil Engineers asking for in road funding? Can all those Walmart
      workers and Detroit mechanics who already cannot afford a car really
      afford yet more spending on roads?

Comment: don't bother (Score 1) 98

by thrig (#48970705) Attached to: Google To Compete With Uber, Uber To Explore Autonomous Transportation

Short distance travel? Walk. Avoids the health risks of all that car-sitting. How is your road funding going, by the way? $65 billion in bail-outs to the delightfully insolvent highway trust fund, the industry slumped out dead over the "build new road" lever and crickets on the topic of funding basic road maintenance are a few of the blinking red warning signs I've noticed. Ah, hmm, looks like they'll be needing another "bridging the gap" road funding tax increase in Seattle, as the previous one has already run dry. And my oh my look at the potholes! Heh heh.

Comment: not where the brakes need be applied (Score 1) 304

by thrig (#48898623) Attached to: Government Recommends Cars With Smarter Brakes

Well, if you like throwing money at symptoms, I guess this might help (how much will it cost?). Won't do anything for the broken road design, where the Federal manual literally defines a street as "see: highway." Speed on, car-sitters. Meanwhile, those looking for a less, ah, passive role in their daily transportation options might instead consider what the Strong Towns folks are saying.

Comment: just this morning, (Score 1) 375

by thrig (#48508641) Attached to: The Cashless Society? It's Already Coming

the barista fumbled with the card for a few swipes, unplugged and replugged the card swipy thingy and then after a few more swipes and apologies, much as one would whack a misbehaving laundry machine with broom a bit, the magic went through. I paid with cash. I guess a few of the vendors at the farmer's market also take those swipy thingies as well (slowly...connection? no?).

The tight couplings to the power system and lord knows what all else is doubtless a Normal Accident waiting to happen, but the power is always on, packets always flow, and the data centers always run, right? — resilient. That's the word I'm looking for.

Comment: Re: Are renewable energy generators up to task ? (Score 1) 488

by thrig (#48371967) Attached to: Denmark Faces a Tricky Transition To 100 Percent Renewable Energy

Renewable generation plus better energy storage, such as hydrogen production and then use in fuel cells or hydrogen tolerant combustion engines.

Next problem?

One problem with renewable generation would be the order-of-magnitude higher costs Germany has shelled out for renewables (same cost as building the entire French nuclear fleet) mostly to just replace the German nukes while still retaining a hefty appetite for Carbon. Another problem is the oops-not-yet-invented-nor-even-a-path-to-market of whatever your "better energy storage" might be (pumped storage is, well, the Tenn. Valley Authority were rather shy about the efficiency numbers of such when a coworker asked, and I guess there's a lot of battery research going on but that invention thing and being viable in the marketplace are still two rather important hurdles). Otherwise, I've certainly heard much of Hydrogen since those Caltech folks wheeled a Hydrogen car around their parking lot back in the 1970s, then shelved it. In related news, TEPCO is proposing a new coal plant for Fukushima, China in 2011 had 79% coal burn for their energy, and Carbon consumption since the 1990s has grown at a faster rate than renewable usage has.

Comment: Re:This is missing one of Silk Road's major featur (Score 1) 108

by thrig (#48337089) Attached to: After Silk Road 2.0 Bust, Eyes Turn To 'Untouchable' Decentralized Market

A businessman and governor can certainly come to some sort of mutually willing and beneficial agreement regarding the management of, say, coal fly ash on the property of said business, perhaps in the area of how well all those expensive regulations and inspections are carried out, and Governor Pat McCrory did work for Duke Energy all those years. Oh, your downstream water is now a little polluted? Whoops, tee-hee! No crime, just two willing folks who came to an understanding, uh-huh.

Comment: Re:drill for nothing and frack whose land? (Score 1) 250

The high cost of oil and low interest rates (and being completely and totally addicted to oil) are more compelling reasons why America went bonkers for Bakkenpuffs; the recent price dip should be a good test to determine just how resilient those producers are, and to see who is out swimming sans skivvies. Also, the population density is rather higher in Europe, which may nix or upsize the costs of any fracking, depending on where those hypothetical fields might be located (there was a recent 96% slaughter of the reserves projected for the Monterey Shale, fluffy optimism and bad data being hallmarks of this field), and the land usage rights would also need delving into. So whatever "new" methods there might be may not fly at all in the EU, assuming that there is profitable oil to be had—for example, how are those fields in Poland panning out? Hmm, hmm, "Fracking Setback in Poland Dims Hope for Less Russian Gas." Righty, then. Consider also the brutal decline rates of fracked wells; Rune Likvern has written several times on the "Red Queen Running" state required to keep the tight oil party flowing.

Comment: More like high price of oil revolution (Score 1) 104

by thrig (#48301339) Attached to: Chinese Hackers Mess With Texas By Attacking Fracking Firms

'The technology revolution that is "fracking"' is a curious claim (some would call it a lie), given that the technology is something like four to six decades old, and has been used to drill oil well before the recent high cost of oil (how about that global conventional crude oil peak back in 2005?) caused fracking to actually more than break even. Granted, "The high cost of oil revolution" would probably not sell copy, and the recent slide of prices will mostly put the hurt on one of the few bright spots (flaring pun included) in an otherwise stagnant or declining oil industry (the oil majors as recently as March were muttering something about the new "age of austerity" and "loosing their shirts" in natural gas).

"When it comes to humility, I'm the greatest." -- Bullwinkle Moose