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Comment Re:Wind and Solar are Environmental Disasters (Score 1) 400

There are a few combined cycle GT power plants in the US (more in Europe), but the vast majority of gas turbines are used for cycling and summer/winter peak power. It is not cost efficient to use a recovery boiler in that type of service.

And in the US at least combined cycle GT plants have proved operationally difficult, with turndown and stability problems often requiring the use of duct burners to keep the boiler side stable (there goes the efficiency) and high forced outage rates on the boiler. I've seen a lot of large GT plants (50 - 150 MW) with space on the layout drawings for "future HRSG". That's where you park your truck.

sPh

Comment Re: Interstate commerce? (Score 1) 400

= = = 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) 400

= = = 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) 400

= = = 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) 400

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 Re:Roundup backpack=bad ? (Score 5, Interesting) 130

The problem is that neonicotinoids are about as close to an ideal insecticide as we could hope to have. They're effective on a broad spectrum of insects, they don't harm plants, and they're really quite safe around mammals. For example, dinotefuran has an oral and dermal LD50 in rats of > 2000mg/kg, is not known to be carcinogenic, and is not known to be a neurotoxin. It's also essentially non-toxic to birds, fish, and aquatic invertebrates (important because of chemical run-off.) I'm not saying I'd sprinkle it on my breakfast cereal, but I wouldn't get sick from it.

They just happen to be 50 times as lethal to bees as to any other insect. So even the lowest doses used to control economically damaging pests are still going to kill huge numbers of bees, because the tainted nectar and pollen that comes back with the bees feeds the colonies.

I really like the stuff for INDOOR control of greenhouse pests. Outdoors, I won't use it.

Comment Re:Cloud-connected means disposable (Score 1) 101

It's not their "fault" because they were under no contractual obligation to provide support. Why should they continue to make their expensive resources available for free, when they're not making them any money? Especially when they're running out of money and a sugar daddy like Fitbit shows up with a wad of cash.

This is textbook capitalism. Nobody sells you stuff in order to make you happy; they sell stuff in order to make money. Never, ever forget that.

Comment Re:Fitbit must die (Score 1) 101

Sorry, I'm calling 100% bullshit on this one.

The fitbit app has never asked for access to my contacts, and it would only request access if I asked it to "Add Friends" and explicitly tapped on the "Contacts" button. All the "friends" I've added have been done so without granting access to the whole contact list, I've simply typed in their email addresses. And it's never sought access to my "call history", or whatever other evil conspiracies you imagined it might have done when you typed etc., etc.

Now go be a good son. Give the fitbit back to your dad, apologize for being overly paranoid, show him how it works, and help him keep up his health.

Comment Re:so what? (Score 2) 101

The real issues I see are that fitness trackers [...] don't provide workout plans to meet the needs of the individual [...]

Everything else you said is spot on, but you missed on this one. If you're interested and motivated, the Fitbit app offers a few generic workout videos and plans, but they offer a "Fitstar Personal Trainer" app, which does provide personalized workout plans. Open the Fitbit app on your phone and tap the "Guidance" compass icon to get started. Once upon a time, many years ago, they would link you up with an actual human trainer, but I don't know what they offer now.

Comment Cloud-connected means disposable (Score 4, Insightful) 101

It's not Fitbit's fault; it's the entire business model of the Cloud. Sell some cool tech thing that's cloud-dependent, run low on cash because those servers aren't paying for themselves, get bought by a bigger company. Fitbit just knows how to play the game, for now.

Who's really to blame when you buy a cloud-dependent toy, with no service contract to guarantee cloud availability for the next 25 years? What other outcome were you possibly expecting to happen? The only rational question is, "how long will I get to play with my cool toy until the company pulls the servers down?" And you should factor that limited lifespan estimate into your purchase price.

Comment Re:Unless it costs more (Score 1) 130

The current processes work pretty well. My dentist can get me in the chair, pop in a tooth-colored filling, and get me out in less than 20 minutes, at which time I'm free to eat whatever I want, and it costs only a few hundred dollars. If I have to have a temporary tooth cap, wait ??? weeks for the regrowth to take place, make another appointment to get the cap taken off, pay the patent-inflated price for the magical tooth-growing sponge, and then pray I don't get tooth or bone cancer, I think I'd rather stick with the old fillings.

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