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Comment 90% reduction in emissions is quite achievable (Score 1) 215

I founded an award-winning startup a couple years ago whose software tells you what your potential energy savings are, using only your street address and zipcode as inputs, so I've been tracking developments like this closely. What the experts call "sealing the envelope of the building," or thoroughly insulating the structure, does give you the biggest bang for the buck (although the ROI for triple-paned windows, as the article suggests, just isn't there). But that's not terribly sexy because once the insulation's in it's hard to brag to the neighbors about something that's invisible. An array of solar panels or a cool wind turbine are much better for that.

And NYC's solar potential is decent, at 4.08. That means that on average NYC gets 4.08 hours of peak solar production every day. A 200 Watt panel in NYC would therefore produce 200 Watts/hr for 4.08 hours, or roughly 0.8 kwh/day. You need 15 of those panels to produce the 12kwh/day, or 440kwh/month, that the average family uses.

When you consider those kinds of numbers, it quickly becomes obvious that all the chatter about "stressing the grid" with increased demand for electricity is FUD. What they're really worried about is this, which is already happening in Germany with the solar capacity they have today. That is, the profit curve for the fossil-fuel powered utilities has been gutted by renewables because they make most of their moneye during the height of the day when the demand is highest, and coincidentally exactly when solar performs best.

Especially now that we have seen several times this year, thanks to Hurricane Sandy and the Superstorm last week, that the grid is not reliable everyone is reaching the collective 'aha!' moment that causes a huge shift in energy consumption behavior and that the fossil fuel companies are terrified of.

Comment Germany has had consistent policy (Score 5, Informative) 644

Germany has advanced its clean energy capacity because it has maintained a clear and consistent policy of incentivizing it for over a decade. It is paying off. Last year they set a record by generating half of weekend electricity demand with solar. Denmark has managed something similar with wind power, getting 24% of its electricity that way.

Of course, Germany and Denmark have strong green constituencies who support those policies, but there are realpolitik concerns at work too. A few years back Russia shut down the natural gas pipeline that ran through the Ukraine to Germany and central Europe because they wanted to play politics with the Ukrainians. Natural gas prices spiked in Europe overnight and put a serious crimp in its economy. The Germans, Danes, and many others got the wake up call and have been driving toward energy independence hard.

There are longer term benefits for those economies who move their energy base off fossil fuels: predictable energy costs. In economic terms, when you increase the predictability and stability of key inputs businesses can better plan and grow, in the same way that low inflation means businesses can better know what their borrowing costs and real revenues will be.

Comment No Invisible Hand Here (Score 2) 251

The thing is, if we allowed the free market to work, then AIG, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, and all the big banks who participated in this would have evaporated overnight and regional banks who acted responsibly would have stepped in to fill the void. But the free market was not allowed to do its thing and we have a doubling down on crony capitalism that will fail again, bigger.

A lot of people like to pretend there's an all-powerful government out there that can suppress any dissent, but we've all seen the last 5 years just how little the people need to do for that illusion to vanish. Just look at how incompetent the government was at handling Hurricane Katrina, which was predicted well in advance and which they knew about for days before. Imagine if something unforeseen were to occur.

And at this point that's what's required to correct this situation.

Comment Aquaponics (Score 1) 141

Aerogarden is an appliance that grows fresh herbs on your countertop. It would be excellent to combine something like this with aquaponics so you can have a steady supply of both veg and fish in your kitchen. You can't be more of a locavore than that.

Comment Recommended Recipes (Score 2) 141

It occurs to me that I don't use the food I have that efficiently. If I want to cook a specific recipe, I go out and get those ingredients. Sometimes I have leftover ingredients. Sometimes I wind up with random things I can't think of how to use until they go bad and I throw them away.

So a useful feature in my kitchen would be an engine that would know what ingredients I have and how much, and what yummy recipes I could make with them that night. Even better, have that engine suggest recipes based on my likes & dislikes the way that Pandora or Spotify or Netflix recommend new songs or movies based on your preferences. For bonus points, have the engine be able to figure out how to re-use the leftover pork ribs from two nights ago into a new and different recipe (that is not soup :-)

Comment More than Cable (Score 1) 376

There's a deeper point in what you're saying, too. My kids don't know what Disneyland or Mickey Mouse is because Disney has been so adamant about locking away their content. The result is they are rendering themselves culturally irrelevant.

The "content creators," who you and I know are really "content distributors," are cutting their own throats. By pricing themselves out of the market and making it increasingly difficult to do business with them, they are driving people to find substitutes. And these days there are lots and lots of substitutes.

Comment I'm a Progressive Guy, but Enough is Enough! (Score 1) 515

Who cares about 'Innocence of Muslims?' It was a dumb, poorly made film. Though in parts it rather captured the spirit of the Koran with the incessant whining about how everybody better acknowledge Mohammed as the sole prophet of God OR ELSE. It rather reminded of me of South Park's send-up of Scientology, or Mormonism, or Catholicism, or Judaism, or any other religion under the sun.

Who cares? Grow the hell up, Muslims. Really. You are not the only religion on Earth, and your religion is as much fair game as anyone else's. The difference is, everyone else appears to be mostly adult enough to not lynch people for it.

I'm I insensitive? Who cares? But I am heartsick of every religious ninny of any stripe claiming religious exceptionalism.

Comment Solar Panels (Score 2) 191

Sorry to interrupt the FUD, but the Tesla supercharger stations supply the electricity from solar panels on their rooves. There is no emission shifting.

If you recharge the cars at your house or office, there may be some emission shifting, but we don't know for sure because we don't know where those facilities' electricity is sourced.

Comment Tesla Model S Range is 300 miles (Score 1) 191

It's right there on their site:

At a supercharging station it takes 30 minutes to recharge. On long road trips most people stop that long to eat, stretch their legs, etc.

Tesla is also building a network of supercharging stations, already having built quite a few in California. They say any Tesla car can recharge at them for free. And the best part is the electricity is supplied by solar panels on the stations.

It seems like they have definitively answered your range anxiety.

Comment They Know the End is Near (Score 1) 315

We the People have to move faster than bureaucracy and stupid people can. If we can end-run around these gatekeepers of the status quo then the future will be very, very bright. If not, it will be dystopian in the extreme and freedom will only be won with a shocking amount of blood.

If you are a technologist of any stripe who holds freedom above all other values, this must be your life's Calling.

It is mine.

Comment Really? That's 13 years from now (Score 1) 717

I'm chomping at the bit to get a Tesla Model S now. Nissan Leafs are improving with each generation, and nearly every other major car maker has hybrid models, if not EVs. Do you really think that ICEs are going to be around in 13 years?

I know and appreciate that the oil companies are pulling out all the stops with their FUD and astroturfing campaigns (sheesh, just judging by this ridiculous conversation on Slashdot!), but the broader tides are turning decisively against the Age of Oil.

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