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Comment Re:Fucking rednecks (Score 1) 1030

Everyone seems to conveniently forget that Chinese photovoltaic industry is built with mostly European technology. European companies had or were delivering some 150 turn-key factories to China, India and other countries around 2009, and they made claim that with their production lines could produce panels at very low cost. European companies had problems because they had older and less efficient production methods. It is a bit like selling tools to gold diggers, it makes more profit than digging the gold. Thin film people can beat the cost per Watt, but the panels are already so low cost that installation, electronics, wiring and support structures are substantial part of investment, so efficiency becomes important.

The EU-China trade war is typical trade war, the party (EU) which wants to stop the flow of cheap panels is loosing by getting its demands met. A low cost solar panel imported to EU is making net profit to EU, as it produces much more energy during its lifetime than was made in its production. Even if Chinese government subsidized Europeans making cheaper energy, it would be a win for Europe. EU wants China to get more of that profit, at cost of allowing European Solar industry to become even more uncompetitive by avoiding necessary restructuring and innovation.

Comment Re:Let's compare the two (Score 1) 559

If you take binary yes or no, both can be renewable ways of generating motive power.

However, it is better to use numbers, as renewable energy, at least the one most widely available, is all solar based. You take solar panel, and turn sunlight into electricity at panel efficiency of around 20% and system efficiency of around 20-30% off that for grid and conversion losses, and loose further 30% in the electric car. Or you plant some plants, algae, or other biological stuff, and have them turn sunlight into biomass at conversion efficiency from 3%-6%, and then, at use that to refine some biofuel, loosing some 10-50% of energy, loose maybe 10% in transport, and then drive your ICE car, loosing 80% there. Solar+electric cars is approximately 50 times more efficient. That is, take a hectare of land, and it will produce energy for daily 50km commute for close to 1000 cars, or about 20 ICE cars running on renewable biofuel.

Above 3-6% efficiency for photosynthesis is theoretical number, not really see in nature.

Above 20% efficiency for solar panels is current high quality consumer panel efficiency, grid losses are measured losses in grid where I live (Finland), and electric car efficiency is average efficiency claimed for most electric cars (converted car can be a bit lower).

Hectare example was calculated on solar vs. palm oil, taking numbers from palm oil plantation press releases. With palm oil, world energy need cannot be met even if we use most rain forests and most arable land. Photosynthesis requires water and good conditions as well. You can plant Jathropa in desert, but the efficiency is close to zero.

Solar panels can be installed on desert or rooftops, and as you need 1/50th of space, it actually is feasible.

In some locations, you may have other effectively renewable sources of energy, such as geothermal. Obviously, in most cases that usually drives electricity generation.

Comment Re:So now (Score 1) 656

About 30 days in jail and a hundred bucks for trespassing. That'd be the going rate..

For 30 year sentence, the prosecutor's cut for the prison company's sales margin is 30*365*50*0.25*0.10 = 10950 USD, assuming 25% sales margin and 10% kickback of sales margin from prison companies. It is likely that prison companies also make extra money for forced labour etc, but for simplicity's sake lets leave that out for the moment. Now, 30 days only makes 30 USD. Guess what the prosecutor will be shooting for ?

Now, has anyone cross-referenced prosecutor's and judge's shareholdings for prison companies and other related businesses? Might be interesting...

Comment Visibility in news (Score 1) 506

Obviously, this was all over arstechnica, slashdot, reddit, huffington post, cnet. So, obviously this is news. Copyright stuff itself probably not mainstream, but getting censored should be. Lets see what the mainstream news media says about it:

(Typing "Copyright reform" and "Derek Khanna" to relevant search boxes on mainstream news sites)

CNN.com: Nothing
CNNmoney: Nothing
Wall Street Journal: Nothing
USA Today: Nothing
NBC News: Nothing
Fortune: Nothing
CNBC: Nothing
Business Wire: Nothing
The New York Times: Nothing
Al Jazeera: Nothing (Maybe not that relevant in Middle East)
Financial Times: Nothing (Well, they are in Europe)
Washington Post: Nothing (Kind of thought that these guys were whistle blowers somewhere in history)
The Onion: Nothing (Not even The Onion!)

The American Conservative: Several articles refer to event, including text of original paper. Not mainstream, maybe?

Interestingly, copyrightalliance,org mentions it, but does not say what was the controversial proposal, just says "it should have been left there". (True, removing it started some Streisand effect, it it had just been left there there might have been some discussion but it would not have been such a major thing, just some controversial proposal from young politician).

This is worrying as we are not seeing full Streisand effect - most Americans will not see this at all, as they only consume mainstream news. With SOPA google, Wikipedia, and other mainstream sites protested, so mainstream media could not really ignore the event.

Comment Re:The Wireless Networks are setup wrong! (Score 1) 151

I pitched this to investors 8 years ago, and got "Telecoms is not in fashion right now", "3G cost billions to design, and you claim to do same result better for peanuts (20M :)", "This seems to be a massively good idea, but our tech advisor says it is not possible". We did do some prototyping with seed money, but mothballed it when the capital clearly was not there at that time. Maybe we should take it out and try again...

Comment The paper seems to ignore refining completely? (Score 1) 341

I could not find anywhere in the paper mention of electricity consumption of refining, it seems to take only two things to account, pump-to-wheel for ICE, and generation-to-wheel for electrics, and then add on top of that energy consumption of making the car. Do I read it correctly? If yes, this is not exactly scientific.

At least in the US, refining consumes approximately the amount of electricity used by electric car for the whole distance, which makes it pretty hard for any ICE using gasoline or diesel to compete in energy/pollution ratio with electric cars, unless making the electric car would consume hugely more energy than making a ICE car. I cannot see that very likely, as ICE car will gobble huge amounts of energy during its lifetime (my oldish lexus uses approximately 4000 litres of gasoline, or about 1000 Gallons, per year, for approximately 30000km I drive yearly! This equates more than 10000kg of CO2).

From quick google around, making a car seems to produce 6-20kg of CO2 per kg, lets assume that a normal car production is 10000kg or CO2 and electric 20000kg, so the difference is 10000kg of CO2. Which seems to be 1-2 years of CO2 emissions of a typical driver?

For gas cars, the amount of CO2 produced by making the car itself will be around 5-10% of amount of CO2 it will puff out during its useful lifetime. For electric cars, the ratio is different, but mostly due to fact that electric car is much more efficient when used, so larger part of its lifetime CO2 production relates to manufacturing it. If comparing to an ICE car, it will break even quickly and save huge amounts of energy from then on. There is no way a gasoline car could match electric at use, as ICE already consumed the same amount of electricity before it is even filled up, due to electricity used at the refinery.

And if you put the savings on gasoline into installing a beefy solar installation on your roof, you won't make pretty much any CO2 after panel CO2 debt is paid (approximately 1 year). And, then, drive for free, besides, which is a notable benefit for most people. Two years savings on gasoline buys me a 4kW solar system, which gives me some 60-80 km per day, enough for all my city driving, and probably leaves some extra kWh for other stuff.

Comment Re:01001110 01101111 00100001 (Score 1) 642

for i in 01010010 01100101 01100001 01101100 00100000 01101101 01100101 01101110 00100000 01110000 01110010 01101111 01100111 01110010 01100001 01101101 00100000 01101001 01101110 00100000 01100010 01101001 01101110 01100001 01110010 01111001 00101110
do
echo -n `echo 2 i $i p | dc` | awk '{ printf "%c", $1 }'
done

Comment Tracking systems cost and need maintenance (Score 1) 159

You will also need controllers and stuff in addition to the $50 electric motor. If you are handy, you build it out of spare bits from the computer junk box, but if you are normal consumer, you will go to solar store and want a ready-made system. That will not be $50. Adding one zero will not be enough, I have been asking around.

A Motor needs servicing and electronics to run it, more mechanics which can break down, etc. When servicing company needs to go on site to fix it, it will cost far more than $50. It only makes sense for a very large system, where single motor can tilt large number of panels connected with rods or such. Panels are around $900 per 5 square meters (approximately 1kW peak power), so the focus is shifting into how to install these cheap in fixed angles, such as going from aluminum structures to plastic molded things etc. It simply becomes cheaper per kWh produced. For example, normal roof material and installation cost is around $1000 per square meter, 5 times the cost of panels, to give some relationship. While roofing is more expensive, panel installations need to carry similar loads, with the difference mostly being not needing to keep rainwater off.

Optimizing for the late evening will not create such a big benefit, as you will loose half of the panel surface when they start shading each other, and atmosphere will start eating into power quickly at low angles (in particular when some scattered clouds are blocking the sun). There are panels with surfacing which optically collects the sunlight from low angles more efficiently, but what really matters is cost and site. You win a lot more by installing at a good site and optimal angle than installing fancy systems to collect the last 10% of power, and getting panel area at the best times of day will buy a lot more kWh per $.

For small sites, tracking systems tend to be very expensive. I asked around for prices, and got tracking system costs supporting 5kW of panels, and the tracking system cost around $4000 with installation and panel supports (which are more expensive in this case). Enough to buy installation supports and panels for at least 3kW more. Group these extra panels into morning and evening sun and you will same or more power, but will not need servicing. Also, If you need to replace the tracking system, say, every 10 years, it will eat into your produced energy quite a bit. This is the same for small wind turbines, get more rotor diameter buys a lot more power than having 5% more efficient blade design.

And install a reflecting pond in front to mirror more sun into the panels, looks nicer, even if the amount of extra energy is negligible :)

Comment Re:Of course, prior to mid 1800s (Score 1) 252

Producing natural herbal remedies competes with remedies made by large corporations, usually patenting the same naturally existing elements, and thus is illegal. This was part of business already at 1700's, but in much smaller scale than today. It was more related to keeping the powerful in power by making sure the public had their bread and circus services than profit. Today, the society has advanced much further, by introduction of much more profitable system consisting of public services such as police forces and prisons run by large corporations.

Taking an example of stake burning: Stake burning is not very profitable, it takes a few hours and the revenue source is lost in the process. Most revenues, like media rights and tickets are one-time, and there is little side business generated by relatively simple process requiring only some wood, rope and matches and few hours of manpower. Also, stake burning faces heavy competition from terrorists and natural accidents.

Instead, jailing people for long periods of time provides continuous revenue source and much more complex system with more possibilities for increased revenue. For example, every inmate could produce 100+k revenues per year (ARPI, Average Revenue per Inmate), plus additional revenue from using inmates for manufacturing purposes, and selling products to them at good profit. New proposals have been made for inmates having to pay their stay at rates of $50 per night. As the inmates can only work for the prison operator provided factories, the process can be optimized so that all that revenue goes to the prison operator, or to a wider mesh of corporations, in addition to revenue from governments paying for running the prisons. Talk about captive audience.

To keep the revenue growing, you need long prison terms, and more punishable crimes. Thus, more and more things need to become illegal, and instead of fines, years-long jail terms are used. The ecosystem includes politicians who get paid for new laws, judges who get perks or direct commissions for longer prison terms, and the whole industry working around the prisons.

Getting other bits of the system privatized provides full vertical integration, and creates huge new possibilities. Instead of ARPI, we are talking about ARPC, Average Revenue Per Criminal. Imagine:

- Private police goes around arresting people for new crimes after taxpayer-paid private investigation. This can even be partially automated, in particular in copyright crime field, P2P tracking can be automatically used to generate arrest warrants, to generate a flow of mass crime. More complex Crimes can involve tens of people generating a large case, intelligence services, etc, generating millions of revenue per each case and all the money from the Criminal is taken and given to one or more of the corporations (Megaupload, for example) . Even false arrests are hugely profitable, almost anyone can be arrested by almost anything, buying fertilizers, making cynical jokes, talking with someone suspicious, etc. As most accountability has already been removed or is being removed, this is now perfectly valid business model, as long as appropriate measures are done to outsource to suitable offshore production units, for example, to Guantanamo.

- Criminal is taken to privately run court, where defense and prosecution lawyers, both paid by taxpayers, stage a good show, best of which can be sold media rights for. By increased number of criminals, lots of new facilities, court houses, etc need to be build and more people employed.

- Then the Criminal is put in prison, where both inmate's own and taxpayer money is squeezed out, and then for a predetermined time the inmate acts as production tool for some purpose. Around this number of taxpayer financed services are created, like counseling, education, training, etc.

- After release, the system will focus on turning the Inmate a Criminal again.

ARPC would probably double or triple with this system compared just to ARPI.

Comment Re:big win (Score 1) 241

In Finland, the press completely ignored Pirate Party. During 3 months up to the election, there was one article, and even that was mudslinging on particular candidate's views. The press simply will not pass any articles, not even nasty ones, which would make people pay attention and look up what Pirates are actually promoting.

The press worked around the populist party instead, as they had no anti-copyright agenda, and had a colorful chairman as well, sells well and does not have business-interest damaging agendas. Most voting questionnaires from mainstream press and outlets, including national tv, we have were designed to carefully avoid any copyright and privacy related questions. Thus, the only way to voters to find Pirate Party candidates is actively searching knowledge, which the general public hardly ever does. I actually got pirate party candidate on top of my voting questionaire, but only because he happened to agree with me on many other matters as well. The questionnaire did not have a single question on copyright or privacy. The copyright lobby in Finland is very strong. Even though the latest version of new copyright law, designed to be intentionally unclear and ambiguous, got less than 10% acceptance in questionnaires, it was passed in the parliament as is. National TV regularly campaigns against any new development of technology or more open copyright legislation, even when it is clearly against interest of public and damages innovation.

Infiltrating popular newspapers is impossible, they are all owned by large media conglomerates, and any reporter getting out of line on any anti-traditional media views gets moved to home cooking department of the said newspaper or fired outright.

So, what would be a way for Pirate parties to make sure they actually are noticed, and how to get around press silence? Colorful chairman of the party? Big and noisy stunts? Advertising in google?

Comment Re:Ronald Reagan (Score 1) 2288

You missed the point on the National Debt issue. As everyone knows, US government income is calculated as height of $100 dollar bills stacked in feet, and expenses are calculated as height of $100 dollar bills stacked in meters. The politicians see that income is a larger number than expenses, and everything is fine.

In Europe, it is more complex. We use standard sized stacks 1 meter tall, but most countries still use income numbers in their pre-euro currency, such as Italian Lira or German Mark, and expenses in Euro. The result is complex, and is further confused by European banks playing pyramid games and chicken with government debt randomly borrowed between EU countries. Just like US, the taxpayers foot the bill. Or meter the bill, to be more accurate.

Comment Re:Well, Duh! (Score 1) 448

They are not cowards, they are smart.

The business to be made out of terrorism and terrorism-related wars is in trillions. The security theater with scanners, personnel and redesigning airports is just a small bit of it. If you use terrorism as an excuse for a war, that gives you sales of helicopters, missiles, bombs, consumables, after war rebuilding contracts, wheelchairs, meds and other stuff to fix soldiers with bits blown off. If you manage to get $2 out of every $10 spent in war, it sums up nicely. Added bonuses include ability to control oil and/or other commodity prices, with good multiples on futures and options. While the net effect on the economy is negative, the $8 comes from pockets of taxpayers, target country and generally someone else, so it is not a problem. Correctly timed war will also get you re-elected, so you can go on poaching for another term. After two terms you are maxed out, so you give the mess to someone else to clean up, blame him for the results, get elected again and repeat. Every cycle transfers a percentage of your country's net worth to you pocket, so the bigger the mess the better!

And these smart guys won't be suffering of the airport security, as they fly private jets anyway, but that is really the small bit of it.

Comment Re:Misleading CO2 (Score 1) 272

I would think that showing tailpipe emissions does make sense, as long as your electric bill also shows your emissions per kWh. You can generate electricity yourself, which is rarely possible or more difficult with liquid fuels. Ok, producing your own alcohol does have side benefits...

Generating 50 mile daily driving requires 20kWh (using your figure) requires approximately approximately 20m2 of solar panels (4kW). Cost is probably somewhere around 15k for that, assuming no subsidies. Seems actually less for current thin-film panels.

Combine higher energy efficiency of battery electrics and the investment buys itself back in reasonable amount of time, at current and likely increasing gas prices. That is, assuming you can find a reasonably priced plug-in or plug-in hybrid.

If your average driving is less than 50 miles per day, which is quite common, the numbers obviously come much more attractive and payback goes to few years. Being CO2 free becomes additional benefit.

In many European countries you can select the power source you can select from various power companies and often they also have packages with various power sources. You can pick wind-only capacity, CO2 free only, or nuclear only, whatever you wish. Transmission cost is separately priced, so your bill ends up with cost of transmission (approximately half) and cost of generated electricity. While the electrons are not tagged, it works, they build more wind turbines the more they sell wind-only power. Wind is obviously more expensive than nuclear, but CO2 free mix is quite reasonable.

European Emissions trading has also motivated many coal power sites to use wood instead or reduce power outside peaks, so the network is cleaning up even on the worst offenders.

Comment Where did they find so expensive turbines? (Score 2, Informative) 510

The cheapest turbine they have is 4300 euros. This is ridiculously high price. In Finland, you get a 2.1m diameter rotor for less than 1000 euros (controller, mast, turbine), and a full kits with batteries, inverter and solar panels for 1400-2500 euros. A 3.2m diameter turbine here costs around 4000 euros and 8m diameter turbine around 20k-30k depending on configuration. These are list consumer prices including taxes. The prices quoted in the Dutch "test" seem to around 4 times what you pay here!

The quoted average wind of 3.8m/s seems inland wind speed. It is quite obvious that there is no point in installing turbines in locations where the average wind speed is low, but they seem to get some power from the larger turbines, though the price level they have kills the payback times.

They correctly point out that taller mast makes a difference, but one point for large industrial turbines is ignored - industrial turbines do need a grid to deliver the energy. For small turbines, the idea is to use the energy where it is produced, avoiding cost of grid. Grid cost in Finland is around half of the the bill, and taxes around 30%. We have grid/transmission cost separately priced so you can select to buy renewable-only energy from grid).

They did figure out, which I assume most people in industry already know, that the diameter is the interesting factor. The power generated is in relative to diameter and square of wind speed and efficiency factor. There are lots of snake oil companies out there claiming bogus production numbers, which is unfortunate as it spoils the reputation of good idea. There can be easily spotted by calculating a wind area covered by the turbine and dividing that by price. As getting efficiency up by few percent tends to be very expensive, it is easier to just make simple blades few percent longer. The cheapest wind turbines sold here have continuous profile blades, and they still perform nicely, even though the center part of the turbine probably does not do much work.

We have 2.7m diameter unit (www.tuulivoimala.com, 500W nominal) at our vacation home we use in summertime. This is very non-optimal location, only northern winds and too much shadow for solar, so we took more diameter and big battery pack to offset non-windy periods. We use the power for lights, computers, 3g WLAN access point for network. Total cost of all electrical installation including lights, wiring, 2kW inverter, 980Ah battery pack, was less than getting grid to the place. Not enough for heating, but we burn wood for that, the plot is large enough to provide us practically unlimited supply of firewood. The power has been plentiful for our use. Electric chainsaw works for chopping the firewood, though we need to avoid continuously sawing more than 1 hour to avoid emptying the battery pack more than third :)

If you do not have a grid connection, the install cost of it will offset quite a big turbine and solar installation, so small turbines are very popular in vacation homes. And for vacation home, the more remote the better. Which means very expensive or impossible grid connectivity. In Scandinavia, solar does not work early spring or late fall, so wind turbine here may be the only option if you need electricity off-summer times. Combining solar and small wind turbine makes a lot of sense as the electrical installation is similar.

The same thing applies to developing countries. It often makes more sense to go directly to renewables than build grid to every small village. In south solar power or hybrid solar-wind is probably more dominant.

They claim that turbine does not even make up the energy used in making it. This is true only if the turbine is located in a low-wind location, or it is faulty design (no diameter!). I agree fully that it does not make sense to install turbines in city areas where buildings mess up wind flows. The location has to be one with good wind conditions.

To our experience, if you already have grid connection, you do need more than just price of electricity as motivation for renewable energy installation, as the payback times are long (less than 10 years only in optimal locations). However, you get additional benefits, independence from grid, good feel factor of using renewables, not paying tax for electricity, etc. And the price of wind and sun is not going up.

Comment Robust solar charger (Score 1) 184

Suntrica makes a flexible charger with buffer battery, they presented it in Mobile World Congress, see http://www.suntrica.com/. It looked like very robust design, and they had charger tips for almost anything. It is not the top efficiency panel as it is flexible, but if the idea is to charge handheld gadgets it is likely to be plenty enough, and buffer battery allows you to have it in the sun all the time and charge the device when needed.

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