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Comment Re: Interstate commerce? (Score 1) 306

= = = http://www.powermag.com/ferc-b...
Throwing yet another twist into a long-running saga, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on April 27 blocked a pair of power purchase agreements (PPAs) that would have supported continued operation of FirstEnergy’s Davis-Besse nuclear plant and several aging coal-fired plants belonging to FirstEnergy and AEP.

The Pubic Utilities Commission of Ohio approved the PPAs on March 31 over strident objections from ratepayer groups and rival generators. FirstEnergy and AEP say the PPAs are necessary to keep the plants operating, and that their closure would imperil reliability in the state. Consumer groups charge that the deals, which would have allowed the utilities’ distribution units to purchase power from the plants at guaranteed, above-market rates for eight years, amounted to corporate welfare.

On April 27, in a pair of rulings, FERC agreed with the groups challenging the PPAs, rescinding previous waivers it had issued to FirstEnergy and AEP allowing them to purchase power from their affiliate generators. Loss of the waivers effectively blocks the utilities from purchasing power under the PPAs until FERC has had a chance to review them.

“While it is true that Ohio ratepayers will continue to have a statutory right to choose one retail supplier over another, we conclude, based on the record, that [Ohio ratepayers] are nonetheless captive in that they have no choice as to payment of the non-bypassable generation-related charges incurred under the Affiliate PPA,” the FERC ruling said. “These non-bypassable charges present the ‘potential for the inappropriate transfer of benefits from [captive] customers to the shareholders of the franchised public utility,’ and, thus, could undermine the goal of the Commission’s affiliate restrictions.”= = =

You need to read up a bit on the FERC, federal primacy in interstate power markets, and how the bulk electric system works.

sPh

Comment Re:All about the fight (Score 1) 306

= = = http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...
WASHINGTON — As President Barack Obama was celebrating his inauguration at various balls, top Republican lawmakers and strategists were conjuring up ways to submarine his presidency at a private dinner in Washington.

The event — which provides a telling revelation for how quickly the post-election climate soured — serves as the prologue of Robert Draper’s much-discussed and heavily-reported new book, “Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives.”

According to Draper, the guest list that night (which was just over 15 people in total) included Republican Reps. Eric Cantor (Va.), Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Paul Ryan (Wis.), Pete Sessions (Texas), Jeb Hensarling (Texas), Pete Hoekstra (Mich.) and Dan Lungren (Calif.), along with Republican Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), John Ensign (Nev.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.). The non-lawmakers present included Newt Gingrich, several years removed from his presidential campaign, and Frank Luntz, the long-time Republican wordsmith. Notably absent were Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) — who, Draper writes, had an acrimonious relationship with Luntz.

For several hours in the Caucus Room (a high-end D.C. establishment), the book says they plotted out ways to not just win back political power, but to also put the brakes on Obama’s legislative platform.

“If you act like you’re the minority, you’re going to stay in the minority,” Draper quotes McCarthy as saying. “We’ve gotta challenge them on every single bill and challenge them on every single campaign.”= = =

Comment Re:All about the fight (Score 2) 306

= = = Often the "compromise" wanted is complete capitulation so the people who see themselves firmly on the "right" can appear "strong". = = =

Otherwise known as a "Mitch McConnell compromise". You give us everything we want, plus the transfer fee for the gaming license, and we get to go on TV and explain to our base that you capitulated.

sPh

Comment Re:Wind and Solar are Environmental Disasters (Score 3, Informative) 306

Gas turbine power plants are not exactly friendly to birds. I've walked across parking lots in the morning that looked like the dumpster at the rotisserie chicken place had been knocked over.

sPh

(insects are drawn to the warmth radiating from the exhaust stack wall. Birds dive after the insects, and if they dive through the exhaust, toasted bird)

Comment 3D movies and television would be good if.... (Score 2) 379

... one, there was no requirement to wear glasses, and two, no matter where you are viewing it from, you would see it as it would naturally be seen from that angle if the things depicted in the scene were real and solid objects in the space that they seem to be in. Each of your eyes, by virtue of seeing the image from a slightly different angle, would cause your brain to perceive a 3 dimensional image automatically, exactly as you perceive the real physical world around you.

The only way to do this that I know of is with holograms, but seeing a full color holographic display at any time in the near future seems unlikely.

Comment Re:Very dissapointing. (Score 1) 552

Yup, and it's apparent now that probably the only reason he ever said what he did in the first place was because at the time, he likely didn't think it would actually happen.

Nowhere in his original comment did the word "immediately" appear. Although the Justice Department claims that Assange's comments were not the basis for her sentence being commuted, the conditions that Assange originally stated were nonetheless fulfilled completely by Obama's decision to do this, and Assange is now backpedaling and trying to make it look like he might have meant something other than the words that he actually originally said.

And for what it's worth, her sentence *WAS* commuted 'immediately'. Obama decided it, and it's now it's happened. Done and done. It's my understanding that the 120-day waiting period until her actual release is standard for giving the person opportunity to relocate successfully instead of just pushing someone out to the curb from prison and them not having anywhere to go or anything to do.

Assange is a liar. Full stop.

Comment Re:"developed an artificial intelligence(AI) progr (Score 1) 153

The definition of artificial could be obvious... it is anything that is not natural. which is to say that it is not made or caused by mankind. Artificial intelligence would therefore be intelligence that *has* been made or caused by mankind. However, since "intelligence" is so poorly defined, the expression still cannot mean anything, despite half of the expression having an unambiguous meaning.

Comment Another study? (Score 2) 134

I don't remember exactly, and maybe someone will remember and have a link handy, but I think there was a recent study (in the past few years) that suggested that mild forms of synaesthesia might be extremely common, and in fact simply part of how human intelligence works.

I think the suggestion was that there are various ways that we connect sense information naturally, and unavoidably. Red is hot. Blue is cold. Red tastes like cherries and green like sour apple. Odd numbers might seem sharp to you, while evens seem rounded. Someone yelling angrily at a certain pitch might conjure the feeling of running your hand the wrong way on a cheese grater. You might feel a tactile sense of pain when hearing finger nails on a chalkboard.

Now someone is going to come forward and point out that many of these things might just be learned associations, which is true. I think the argument was that the ability to make these associations, as well as the ability to form and understand metaphors like "His voice was like rubbing your hand the wrong way on a cheese grater," implies that your brain is already capable of tying different kinds of sensory information together. Visual information can have a sound. Sounds can have colors. Colors can have tastes. What we call "synaesthesia" may just be an amplified version of this very common phenomenon.

Comment Re:"developed an artificial intelligence(AI) progr (Score 2) 153

The only reason the term doesn't have any meaning is because everyone's definition of "intelligence" is different in the first place. If you can define an unambiguous metric for intelligence, then it becomes pretty obvious what AI has to be: intelligence that is artificial, rather than natural.

Comment Re: It's about landmass (Score 1) 466

I think the Gigafactory 1 will make ZERO cars. It's about making batteries.

I tried to point out that it was a typo.... I didn't clarify immediately because I thought it might have been clear. What I meant was:

Do you seriously think the gigafactory is going to be making anything for anything but luxury-priced cars?

I wouldn't trust *any* company these days to bring down their own prices unless they were driven to do so by competition. Tesla is already having considerable success at selling cars priced more than 3 times as much as a similarly sized gasoline powered car, what possible incentive would they have to change that unless somebody else starts competing directly competing directly in their own class? I have heard, but not been able to confirm that other EV manufacturers are going to benefit from Tesla's gigafactory, but I'm pretty sure that if they did, Tesla would probably charge fees for its usage that would make it unviable for other manufacturers to be able to lower their prices much anyways. The only real difference would be in the quantity they could produce, not the end consumer price.

Comment Re:It's about landmass (Score 1) 466

If you reread what I wrote, I said that in general, the most costly maintenance that needs to be done on cars doesn't tend to happen any sooner than the extended warranty would *otherwise* offer. I did not suggest that everyone would necessarily get an exteded warranty. I do, but that's beside the point. My own experience is that the costs of doing so are *MORE* than compensated for by even a single unexpected incident that would otherwise be covered, and are in fact only modestly above what you would have otherwise paid for the kinds of regular maintenance it covers in that period anyways. bviously they are making a profit on it, but I don't object to other people making money, nor do I object to paying a little more for a convenience factor. I *do* object to paying more money for something that is less convenient, however, and the cost of maintenance over the first 5 years or so works out to perhaps a quarter of the price difference between an EV and a comparable sized vehicle, where gasoline is perhaps double that. Just around the time that the different in up-front cost for an EV might otherwise start to pay for itself in terms of savings, you have to replace the battery, which chews up another several years worth of maintenance and gasoline. Sure, in the long run an EV will save you money.... but the amount of time that you have to wait for it to do that is longer than the time that most people even own a car, unless they drive old beater cars that are so reliable that they'd be nuts to consider a trade-in.

And frankly only an idiot buys a new car.

Bad form... that's called poisoning the well, and is a type of ad-hominem argument that is equivalent to a logical fallacy.

I buy new cars because my experience has been that they have fewer maintenance issues and unexpected surprises than used vehicles. This makes them easier to budget for. I don't buy a car because I expect to get my money back, I buy a car to reliably and economically get me from place to place. Generally, I will try and drive a car until the cost of maintenance starts to climb to unacceptable levels. This invariably happens much sooner with used cars than with new. And somehow, my trying to be prudent with the money that I have at the moment makes me an idiot... Not sure how that works, but if you want to believe that, I'm not gonna stop you.

Comment Re: It's about landmass (Score 1) 466

I saw the typo instantly after I hit submit, but I was hoping it would be clear. Apparently not.

What I meant was:

Do you seriously think the gigafactory is going to be making anything for anything but luxury-priced cars?

It's Tesla's gigafactory.... And Tesla is not cheap. Even their so-called economy model costs more than 3 times as much as a similarly-sized gasoline car. Tesla isn't about to lower their price because they are already associated with a luxury brand, and people who can afford them are buying them, so Tesla has no incentive to drop their price.

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