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Comment Worse than a bus (Score 1) 10

It will leave from a terminal, not from where you are. It will arrive at a terminal, not your destination. It will go on a schedule, not when you're ready. It will be a lot more expensive than a bus ticket. It won't work in bad weather. There will be TSA (unless we come to our senses before 2026).

It's not an inherently bad idea, but who is it for? Who'll be willing to pay the fare? Who has a 2 hour commute?

Are they going to swap out the battery with a charged one for the return trip? And why are they saying it will be quiet? Are helicopters loud because of combustion, or because the blades disturb the air?

Comment Re:Sociopaths gonna sociopath. What's new? (Score 1) 169

Well also the more you have the more you can lose.

This really isn't new. Back in the great depression much of this discussion of this as well.

"I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'" - composed in 1934 by George Gershwin
"Folks with plenty of plenty.They've got a lock on the door. Afraid somebody's going to rob 'em.While there out (a) making more - what for"

Comment Re:Hydroelectric (Score 1) 294

Green is a bit of a flexible term - many things are green in some ways and not in others. By some measures plastics are green - deforestation would be a LOT further along if plastics hadn't provided a cheaper replacement for wood, on the other hand it is very not green because it isn't biodegradable and kills animals.

In the case of woodburning generators - they are green from a climate change perspective as they are carbon neutral, the carbon they burn are already part of the short-term carbon cycle and if you didn't burn it the bacteria that ate the wood after it died would have released the same amount of CO2, which is exactly balanced with the O2 the tree produced in it's lifetime.
It is less green in some other respects (like particulate polution) - though it is much, much greener than coal in those regards.

Comment Re:except it wasn't people renting out their rooms (Score 3, Insightful) 127

However the law shouldn't had been such a blanket ban, but more targeted towards people who abuse the service. Stipulations such as a minimum living time, in the building by the owners say 200 days a year. Rules to insure that safety and equality measures are taken place as AirBnB does have a problem with people excluding minorities. In essence to make sure people who are using the service are not playing by a different set of rules.

Comment Re:Title is misleading... (Score 1) 294

>Renewables are still mostly more costly than coal,

This is not even generally true anymore. Here in South Africa we have two big coal plants being built (both now several years late and way over budget), and the government is trying hard to get a 15-Billion rand nuclear deal passed (because the president's son owns the biggest local uranium mine - and that's just the start of the corruption). If it goes ahead- that will be 15 years minimum to get any power from, and likely far more overbudget (nuclear always is).

There was a study done here - which compared the cost per kw/h of those plants with wind and solar (our climate is among the best for solar with well over 300 sunny days a year and lots of coastal wind too). At the original quoted prices - with the expected costs of coal/uranium factored in the coal plants came in at around R1.20 per kw/h over their lifetime. Nuclear at about R1.90 - Solar - 75c, wind slightly worse at 95c. Oh and a solar plant with the same capacity as those coal plants can be up in 2 years, to match the nuclear you only need to add another 3 months - and they are usually under-budget.

We don't have much hydro possibility and we're already using what we can (mostly imported from our neighbours), the area is completely geologically dead (so no geothermal) and our tides are tiny (so tidal isn't practical) but we should be investing in what we can do.

But let's assume that solar and wind wouldn't be reliable enough to supply our industrial needs without excessive investment in additional storage tech (and the nicest one - hydro-pumps aren't an option). That still leaves the obvious answer which I wish government would take: give people serious incentives for home solar. Lets get every house off the grid, we distribute the cost (and it's been shown that solar is so economical here that if you BORROW the money to do solar you will still profit because the savings exceed the the interest rates, you can pay back the loan with the savings and have money left over - and that's assuming a worst case scenario where the batteries have to be replaced in just 5 years and the panels in 7 - they've both been way beyond that for some time). If we get all the residential demand off-grid, then the grid ONLY has to worry about supplying industry - which means we no longer need to have shortfalls (coal which provides nearly all our power at the moment can't keep up. We have one active nuclear plant but that only supplies one city). And by distributing the cost so widely the price per taxpayer is hugely reduced and you can optimise the process to build high-demand first.

Then your need for the grid-plants is lower, so you can get rid of half of them and use the savings to upgrade and maintain the other half.

The idea that solar and wind is more expensive is simply not true. Now it may be MORE true in Europe and the USA where, presumably, the climate mandates a greater investment in storage - but it isn't true globally. The real market where they lose is the market for bribing politicians. Big Russian government-owned nuclear companies (whose track record includes the worst nuclear disaster of all time) can afford much bigger bribes than solar companies can.

Comment Re: Sociopaths gonna sociopath. What's new? (Score 3, Insightful) 169

Yep, GP loses at bad-research bingo. Also, he missed the actual problem with this research: the subjects are divided into classes by self-reporting. So the headline should read, "People who consider themselves above other people pay less attention to others." It's not an un-interesting result, but it is not quite as interesting when you put it that way.

I've worked with people of all classes, and anecdotally at least I've found that F. Scott Fitzgerald was right: the rich aren't like you and me; they have more money. Old money at least lives a little bit like the people you read about in Jane Austen books; a lot of their energy goes into socializing with others of their class. So it would be interesting to look at old money/new money this way. Another interesting confounding factor is urban/rural. Rural people tend to be poorer. Urban people actually get more human interaction per time while participating in less per person encountered.

In most interesting social science research it's not the first and obvious way of dividing up people that draws your attention (e.g. rich/poor, young/old, male/female); it's the second cut. That's because most of our pop-psych deals in the first cuts (men are from Mars, women from Venus); the second cut tells us the ways our intuitions are limited.

Comment Re:Renewables will never work (Score 1) 294

Of course - you aren't counting the millions of people NOT getting serious respiratory diseases from coal (which kills at every step of production - indeed it is the deadliest form of energy by a huge margin and has by far the highest rate of death for people not directly involved anywhere in the production chain) which you no longer have to pay for.
Considering that Canada has single payer healthcare - EVERYBODY who does NOT get sick from coal is money in YOUR pocket.

But sure, let's keep coal going, we'll just make the market far - that doesn't just mean gettting rid of all subsidies - it means the costs they've been outsourcing onto the rest of society, they have to pay - and charge their customers. So you have to have a ZERO emision plant, and you'll just have to pay for those scrubbers and (for disposing of the used filters in a sustainable manner) by charging more. It means ZERO coal dust mining operations - we don't even HAVE the tech for that so they'll have to invest in some serious R&D - which they'll be charging back to customers. Most people suggest dealing with this stuff by taxing them- but this is a more efficient way and nobody gets to argue the tax is out of line with the actual cost of the impact (either too low or too high) and there is zero risk that the tax will end up being lost to corrupt politicians or anything BUT cleaning up the mess. So, I favour just forcing them not to outsource their costs. Which is against every principle of a free market anyway as it forces people to bear the costs of a transaction they are not party to and have not consented to.

Now sure, we'll also let solar and wind and hydro pay for whatever costs they impose, by forcing them NOT to impose those costs.

You may find that coal power will cost a shitload more than those - because it's harm factors are so incredibly high.

But unless THAT Is what you're comparing, you are not comparing apples to apples and your argument is bullshit intended to push your personal ideology and not based on any real facts or economics.

Coal ALWAYS costs MUCH more than any other power source - its just that most of the money you spend on it you don't KNOW you're spending on it. Con artistry is not savings.

Comment Re:Renewables will never work (Score 1) 294

After eating curry my pants can be fartless for several minutes at a time.

Germany is a seriously tiny country. Yes, yes I know it looks big on the map- that's the mercator projection for you, Iceland looks bigger than France on that same map and the actual place can down in Lake Michigan. So can Germany by the way.

Comment Re:Subsidies (Score 1) 294

>Except the Iraq War did NOT make the transport of oil more secure, and did NOT lower the "true cost" of oil in anyway. It did the exact opposite.
Failing at the goal doesn't mean you subsequently get to pretend that wasn't the goal. Just because the execution was terrible doesn't mean the plan wasn't bad as well.

Comment Re:Subsidies (Score 1) 294

>Colonialism involves colonies, where the inhabitants of the area in question are citizens of the mother country.

So according to your bizarre and unique (made up) definition - the Dutch colonies (which once spanned half the globe) were not colonies then. Since nobody in them were citizens of the mother country, the best you could hope for was 'employee of the corporation' - but most were simply 'slaves' or 'natives to be shoved aside'.

In fact, hardly any colonial power EVER granted citizens to the people of the colonies - that would mean you have to give those people RIGHTS and no colonial government wanted to do that. Citizens of the motherland who went to live in the colonies usually retained their citizenship - but the people being taken over never gained it.
In the aftermath of colonialism a lot of colonial powers gave a path to citizenship for their former non-citizen subjects - which usually only consisted of some rules to make emigrating to the land that once ruled you a little easier than it is for other people. The levels of that vary greatly even within a single colonial power. For example citizens of former British colonies can get automatic citizenship in Britain - but not ALL former colonies. It does not apply to South Africans for example.

Comment Re:Subsidies (Score 1) 294

> The price of oil skyrocketed when war broke out in 2003, and remained high for more than a decade.
That was pretty good for the oil companies.

You're assuming there are only one kind of subsidy. Subsidies can be tailored to reduce the price you pay for a product - or just to give money to those who produce it so they keep doing so. Just because it wasn't the former kind, doesn't mean it wasn't the latter kind.

Farm subsidies fit almost entirely in the latter category as well - they actually make food more expensive world-wide because farm subsidies in Europe and America make it impossible for farmers in other countries (which have more suitable climates) to actually compete despite their cost of production being lower. That actually means that, eventually those unsubsidized farmer start going out of business - forcing their countries to become food importers rather than exporters, which raises prices even in the countries that used to supply their own food with exports to spare. Nobody wins.

In fact- farm subsidies are so bad that, every year, farmers in Europe and America burn crops because the subsidies are contingent on keeping supply below a certain level - they burn so much produce every year that just the food burned could feed every hungry person on the planet. Nobody in the world needs to be hungry- we produce enough food to feed everybody on earth twice over but we burn so much that huge numbers of people still starve and a massive percentage of the global population have no food security - they may get enough food over time to survive but they never know if they will eat today.

Subsidies don't always bring prices down - many are DESIGNED to keep prices high. Some oil subsidies are in that category as well.

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