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Comment Re:Employment is not the goal (Score 1) 364

I am not anti solar. I am pro cheap reliable safe energy. I believe right now the best energy source is hydrocarbons, but in the near future that will change to solar. that being said, I have to disagree with most of your points.

"That's because you're not liquidating hundreds of million's years worth of accumulated fossil fuel in a century or two" This is variation of the "peak oil" fallacy which has been repeated since the '70's. The reason it is a fallacy is because it ignores the effects of technological innovation on supply. The recent shale revolution in the US is a perfect example of this. We have known about these deposits for decades but lacked the ability to access them. As some have claimed that we were running out of oil the quantity of proven global reserves have steadily increased decade after decade and will probably continue to do so for the next century, far after demand for hydrocarbons plummets due to the decreasing cost of solar.

The fair comparison of R&D budgets is on a per kilowatt hour. Of course solar has huge gains to efficiency because it is a new technology relative to hydrocarbons. Of course the R&D spent on solar is much less then hydrocarbons - because solar produces much less total energy (at this point) then hydrocarbons. The difference in absolute R&D investment is not a positive or negative for either energy source. It is simply a predictable disparity resulting from the difference in maturity of the two technologies.

The argument you should be making in support of solar is that solar panels are semiconductors and therefore are subject to something similar to Moore's law. While the output of solar panels are limited by theoretical limits, the cost of production is decreasing at an exponential rate and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

"The real problem is that renewable energy does not conform to a centralized model of concentrated wealth accumulation, so wealthy special interests are blowing a lot of smoke in your ears about it." This is a crackpot straw man argument meant to deflect attention away from the real problem. There are "wealthy special interests" advocating for hydrocarbons, but the same can be said to an equal or greater degree for renewables.

The real problem with solar is the Intermittency issue coupled with the storage issue. Intermittency can not be solved for solar. The sun simply does not shine at night. It does not matter how cheap solar power is, it will never be our primary source of power until we develop a cost effective grid storage solution. The good news is that the cost of solar power is directly related to the cost effectiveness (efficiency) requirements for storage solutions. If solar power costs the same as hydrocarbon power, then the cost of storage must be 0 or the storage must be 100% efficient. If the cost of solar is half that of hydrocarbons, then the cost of storage can be up to half or the efficiency must be
I believe that the exponentially decreasing cost of solar power combined with the slow linear decrease in cost of on grid energy storage will cross the threshold of hydrocarbon parity in the next 5-10 years and continue to improve afterward resulting in a rapid transition to solar, but it will not (and should not) happen before then. This has nothing to do with "conform to a centralized model of concentrated wealth accumulation" and everything to do with you getting the best price for reliable energy.

Comment I don't know this (Score 1) 436

"You do know that money is not really created or destroyed, right?" I don't know this. Please convince me with evidence, facts, and accurate definitions. I suspect by money you mean wealth because I can come up with examples of money being created / destroyed all the time. The US Mint's primary purpose is to create money. Every time I use a $100 bill to light my cigar I destroy money. So, assuming you mean wealth, or some other economic term, please explain and defend. On the face, your entire claim appears to be built on a false fundamental assertion.

Comment Re:Net neutrality or net freedom, choose one. (Score 1) 235

It may be possible for regulations to unlock more freedoms, but your example does not support this position. I agree, traffic signals may reduce the risk of collision. This is the main argument given for regulation - safety - think of the children!!, but there are many examples in third world countries of road networks with little to no signals and the same freedom of travel. The more I think about it, the more I think maybe traffic signals are an example which actually supports my position. With out the regulations in place, we might have adopted / switched to roundabouts here in the US as many other people have. Roundabouts are better in low traffic because you roll on through and there is no waiting at an empty red light. Roundabouts are better in congestion in that they fail gracefully with load as compared to the catastrophic failure of grid-lock induced by traffic signals. I have heard roundabouts are safer then lights, but I'm not super confident of that fact without seeing a study. The main disadvantage of roundabouts is the space requirements. The US has more space then most places. Off the cuff, it seems that red lights may be another example of regulation stifling innovation and limiting freedom in exchange for a promise of safety.

Comment Net neutrality or net freedom, choose one. (Score 1) 235

Requiring "Net neutrality" requires regulation which by definition limits freedom. The internet has succeeded so spectacularly because it was unregulated. Regulations stifle innovation and limit progress and consumer choice. Net neutrality limits not only the freedoms of the companies providing access to run their business as they see fit, but the consumers ability to choose the type and quality of services they can demand. Maybe my provider wants to charge Facebook a premium for a premium delivery. That is their right. If I don't like it, I can switch providers. Maybe I want to pay a premium for premium delivery of Netflix. I should have that option. What really boggles me is that we think it is a good idea to allow the FCC to regulate the internet in exchange for "neutrality" The fracking FCC!!!! They regulate communications by radio (spectrum allocation), television, wire (telephone), satellite and cable. These are NOT the regulatory models we want applied to the internet. Maybe people have forgotten, but these are crappy distribution networks the internet was intended improve upon and replace. Asking the FCC to regulate the internet on behalf of the consumer is like asking the fox to guard the hen house on behalf of the eggs.

Comment Re:Boycott All hostess produsts (Score 1) 474

Tagged Insightful? Really? I'm gobsmacked. I'm trying to come up with a way of accurately describing the idea to " reduce the standard working week by one hour per year until we reach a 20 hour standard week." without being insulting, and I'm not sure there is one. This is a HORRIBLE idea. It is built on the flawed fundamental assumption that there are a fixed number of jobs. Look to history for a simple rebuttal. Global population has gone from 3 - 7.4 billion since 1960 and employment % is roughly the same. In the US 180 -320 million population while unemployment has stayed between 4-10% Technology has been eliminating some jobs while creating more new ones since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Reducing the work week to 20 hours is impractical. If you can't get almost everyone on earth to abide by 20 then the system fails. There are a lot of countries; a lot of global true poor; and a lot of people who enjoy work. Reducing the work week to 20 hours is immoral. The only way you can hope to achieve this, even within your own country, is by force. No one has the moral authority to tell someone else how many hours they can work. Reducing the work week to 20 hours is counter productive. By doing so you basically reduce the productivity of the affected region by half compared to 40 hr. weeks. This includes production of food, machinery, housing, and also things like scientific and medical discoveries, art, education, entertainment... everything. .

Comment Fracking, not what you think it is. (Score 4, Insightful) 155

You do realize that fracking has been done commercially since 1949 ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H... ), right? What environmentalist are really concerned with is called horizontal completions, but that just doesn't have the insidious ring to it that "fracking" does. If we called it by it's real name, it would be much harder to scare those of us driven by emotion instead of reason.

Let's not forget there are some benefits to horizontal completions. Thanks to horizontal completions petroleum products (gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, plastics and on and on and on) prices are plummeting. Thanks to horizontal completions, natural gas is now cheaper the coal in the US and coal power plants are being converted to natural gas which is all around cleaner, safer, and produces half the CO2 of coal. Thanks to horizontal completions, OPEC's 40 year cartel appears to be at an end, and horizontal completions dropping the price of oil has been the most effective "sanction" by far on Russia, putting more pressure on Putin and the ruble then all the heads of state combined.

Comment Children will have to teach adults how it works. (Score 1) 814

Children are not as dumb as you think. This will work as well at keeping children safe as child proof caps and parental internet filters. The one and only thing a firearm must do is absolutely, positively go bang every time you pull the trigger. Anything contrary to this principle will be rejected by the market. If you want to keep your child safe, 1. Teach them firearms safety. 2. store firearms in a secure and safe manner.

Comment Energy Density (Score 1) 590

There are two basic problems with a solar powered aircraft. First is energy creation. As many posters have pointed out, given the available surface area of a aircraft, even with ideal (perfect) solar panels, you would not be able to get close to producing the amount of energy necessary to keep the aircraft in the air. Second is energy storage. Since a solar powered aircraft can not generate enough energy during flight, it will have to have some form of energy storage. Currently the "best" option for storing energy in electric form is a battery. Currently batteries store so little energy per pound that it would be more accurate to call a solar / electric / battery powered vehicle a train then an airplane because it will weigh so much that it will never get off the ground. To get an idea of how abysmal batteries are, see wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_density Pay special attention to the graph. I don't work for Exxon, or anybody else that might benefit from continuing to burn fossil fuels. I just took a few physics classes in college. The basic math I picked up about how the world works in those classes informs me that a conspiracy among oil barons or power brokers is completely unnecessary since those bastard scientists have already "written" the laws of nature to ensure that most of our transportation energy needs can only practically be solved by fossil fuels given the current technological landscape.

Comment Re:Good while it lasted... (Score 2, Informative) 102

... who are sure to keep their prices fixed to one another.

As the owner of a medium size e-commerce site, I can tell you that most of the time that prices are fixed, it is not the fault of the retailers. Nine time out of ten, when you see every reputable retailer listing for exact same price, it is because the manufacturer has established a MAP (Minimum Advertised Pricing) policy where they will refuse to sell their product to any retailer who advertises their products below the MAP price. Most online retailers hate MAP as evidenced by our efforts to get around it by marking out prices, asking customers to create an account for best pricing, or not showing prices until the item is in the cart. These are all attempts to get around MAP policies which are instituted by manufacturers in order to protect their brick and mortar retailers by artificially inflating the price of the products online. MAP policies were illegal and considered price fixing in the US until a 2007 Supreme Court Case. More info http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimum_advertised_price.

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