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Comment Re:But .. but but but. Bullshit. (Score 1) 504

Thanks for the reply.

> How long does it take an investment in a solar plant to catch up to an investment in a natural gas plant for a given region with current solar and natural gas costs? If you support the answer to that question, I will have more confidence in your opionion.

I wonder if time to investment parity is the best indicator of each industry's trajectory. Might it be better to look at the lifetime profit of comparable capital investment, after interest, risk, expenses, and maintenance?

I'd be interested in seeing some spreadsheets on this, but it's notoriously hard to come by unbiased data.

In any event though, the supply-and-demand curve for pricing NG is invariably up (as supply is exhausted), and solar is down (as manufacturing improves and pays down capital), so even if we're not at the point where solar investments are less profitable than NG, notwithstanding a complete societal collapse, that point is inevitably marching towards us.

Comment Re:But .. but but but. Bullshit. (Score 1) 504

Reading your conclusion that solar is more subsidized than NG I feel it's partly because of market distortions in the USA. (This bias may, or may not be, related to the pre-existence of gas plants i.e. the absence of capital cost).

Once one looks outside the USA solar appears to be a clear leader in at least certain areas. Take Dubai, where solar beats out both coal and gas plants by a substantial margin:


Another illuminating post is from the Economist:


In any case, some thoughts below.

> What is your definition of "highly subsidized"?

The ordinary definition is something like "a benefit made by the government or a public body to assist an industry or business so that the price of a commodity or service may remain low or competitive."

In the case of natural gas, it's a combination of:

1. ultra-low interest rates; and
2. so-called "dumb money" (including, perhaps especially, public pension funds) debt-financing of shale companies.

(I'm aware that one could argue that these are not strictly subsidies, but that doesn't deflate the point that NG is surviving on cheap credit and not competitive advantage).

Once these factors dissipate, natural gas might be substantially more expensive â" and quite a bit more expensive than solar.

Of course one could argue that solar similarly benefits from low interest rates. The key difference is that NG is a resource industry (usage decreases supply, thereby increasing cost), and solar is a manufacturing industry (benefitting from economy of scale, etc, where costs go down as more is manufactured).

Comment Re:But .. but but but. Bullshit. (Score 1) 504

> I learned about Zero Henge [sic] in 2009 when they guaranteed that the US financial system was about to have a "complete economic collapse". Needless to say, this never happened. But the article scared me for a couple years, until I realized that it, and the site as a whole, are full of shit. It's time you realized this too.

This is ad hominien i.e. directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining.

ZH certainly seems histrionic at times. This has no bearing on the article at instance.

We don't dismiss all mainstream media because they touted the "WMD" line.

There are certainly facts ZH has reported that have turned out to be quite astute, including:

1. offshore oil inventories
2. OPEC failing to stick to a deal
3. pension fund collapses (particularly the Dallas FF pension fund)
4. GDP predictions
5. Interest rate hikes (or lack thereof)

There are also a slew of topics on which it appears to be entirely in outer-space.

One must therefore weight each topic on its individual merits i.e. review carefully and think critically.

On economic collapse, I feel that ZH correctly estimates the present downward pressure, but fail to account for the capacity of existing economic institutions to absorb that pressure.

All to say, dismissing the report because it comes from ZH is a logical fallacy that bears no persuasive weight whatsoever, and in any case ZH has a history of being right on some topics.

One beauty of the natural gas topic is that it is falsifiable - we'll see a collapse / consolidation of the industry, or not (unless it stays on life-support indefinitely, I suppose).

Comment Re:But .. but but but. Bullshit. (Score 4, Informative) 504

> Nat Gas is the cheapest.

Natural gas is highly subsidized, and even still no company has pulled a profit on natural gas since 2008.

Plus the costs, which can be huge, are externalized onto taxpayers and landowners.

Take Pennsylvania, which made $204 million on taxing shale, but road damage from nat. gas was over $3.5 bn. That's just one state.

Plus, many natural gas companies have stopped paying landowners en masse. What happens when their class action lawsuits start to come through?

Natural gas being cheap is a short term aberration.

For reference:

Comment Re:Over/under: Invasion of sovereign nation or tru (Score 2, Insightful) 821

> Two years ago, Russia invaded a sovereign country, Ukraine, and occupied it.

In 2003, the United State of American invaded two sovereign countries, Afghanistan and Iraq, and occupied them.

As a reminder, the response of the world was basically wagging their finger at the USA, saying "bad Americans, bad boys" - no concrete action.

The Bush administration set the precedent for the international ambivalence to invasions by Russia of Georgia and the Ukraine.

So the USA may not be in a position to criticize Russia on the military actions taken on behalf of its energy sector.

Comment Re:Simple answer (Score 2) 491

>> It's unfit for the purpose
> There is nowhere in the US that has that concept.

Sure there is, embodied as UCC 2-314 [https://www.law.cornell.edu/ucc/2/2-314]: courts may imply a Warranty of merchantability when (1) the seller is the merchant of such goods, and (2) the buyer uses the goods for the ordinary purposes for which such goods are sold. Thus, a buyer can sue a seller for breaching the implied warranty by selling goods unfit for their ordinary purpose.

There is also UCC 2-315, fitness for particular purpose [https://www.law.cornell.edu/ucc/2/2-315]:

> Where the seller at the time of contracting has reason to know any particular purpose for which the goods are required and that the buyer is relying on the seller's skill or judgment to select or furnish suitable goods, there is unless excluded or modified under the next section an implied warranty that the goods shall be fit for such purpose.

By being part of the Uniform Commercial Code, it is a nearly universally accepted law across the United States.

The UCC is mostly a codification of a much longer standing bit of law with similar aims and construct, the implied warranty of fitness for purpose, that iirc as part of the common law predates the sovereignty of the United States.

Comment Re:uranium runs out (Score 2) 320

Good catch. Thorium can't be used to produce weaponizable plutonium. My recollection is:

P-239 is weapons-grade plutonium.

U-238 is weapons-grade uranium.

P-238 is an alpha emitter, degrading to U-234(5?) (i.e. it skips U-238).

Thorium produces P-238 (and not P-239/U-238), so it is not useful for nuclear fission weapons.

In any case, I recall back in the debate about uranium or thorium reactors, DoD refused to produce Thorium precisely because they cannot be used to produce nuclear weapons.

Comment Re:uranium runs out (Score 1) 320

> Not to mention thorium. My CRC Handbook says that the available energy in the earth's crust from thorium is greater than uranium and all fossil fuels put together; thorium is about as common as lead.

The problem appears to be that you can't make plutonium from thorium.

And plutonium is the military industrial's buy in.

Otherwise it's just relatively inexpensive, safe energy. Clearly nobody actually wants that.

On point, the explosion in question was waste from nuclear weapons production.

Comment Re:Reminds me of a crazy, hot girlfriend (Score 1) 320

> Nuclear energy is the crazy hot girlfriend of energy. She may be nice, kind, and wonderful for days, months, or years - maybe decades. But someday, somehow, she's going to go berserk on you. 100% chance. And cleaning up the mess at that point will leave you with a very long term scar.

Coal is the dysfunctional fat chick that'll take anyone for a ride, but eventually comes knocking on your door pregnant and tagging along a few babies, named Katrina, Sandy, Ike, .... Keep banging coal and whatever life you had before will end up being over.

Comment Re:Trust the jury ... (Score 1) 192

The jury doesn't send people to jail: they vote guilty or not guilty and the judge decides the sentence, expect possibly in death penalty cases. And, in the U.S. at least, the jury isn't allowed to be told what the possible sentence is.

Close, but not *quite* it.

Jurors are finders of fact. They determine what happened, "as a matter of fact.", so to speak.

Judges are finders of law. They determine a conclusion, "as a matter of law."

Judges can also be finders of law, where there are no jurors and in other situations.

So a juror can find, as a matter of fact, that someone intended to and actually killed someone else, and thereby committed homicide. A judge can find that as a matter of law the act of homicide is a punishable offence, and compel this person to incarceration for a requisite period of time.

In that sense, jurors do indeed determine the presence or absence of culpability, or wrongful guilt.

Sentence can vary depending on the facts found by the jurors. Jurors can determine whether there was intention to murder, whether it was planned, an act of emotion, or self-defence.

What jurors find, in other words, is not strictly limited to the presence or absence of guilt.

Comment More sinking in Miami (Score 4, Insightful) 239

People will keep flocking to one of the fastest growing city in the USA, even though it will continue to have increasingly devastating consequences from regular flooding for the population and industry, particularly farming.

Wall street, on behalf of rich people, will short-sell (via complex derivatives that mask their intent) the Florida property and life insurers, mortgagees, corporations, and property owners.

Florida will continue to deny the existence of climate change at the popular and official levels.

Comment A couple points (Score 1) 424

First, the best treatment of the prequels, and one of the most brilliant things I have ever seen period, is the Star Wars prequel reviews by Red Letter Media. They're here:


I found something meaningful in those reviews, they just captured a sentiment for me â" and I totally recommend checking them out.

Second, maybe the title should be "Disney: George, you're done with Star Wars."? :)

Comment Re:Just starting now? (Score 5, Interesting) 373

Seriously, has this ever been a problem?

There have been a half-a-dozen incidents of planes overrunning runways on takeoff or otherwise crashing because of the difference between the expected average weight of passengers and their actual (obese) weight, most notably Obese passengers could have caused plane crash, May 2003, aka Air Midwest 5481.

Further reading: The true costs of heavier passengers: Part one

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