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Comment Re:Sorry, wait - what? My cell phone is better (Score 1) 198

My thoughts exactly. Alternatively, get python running on Android and all of a sudden you can tack on whatever you need (Numpy/SciPy/Statstools etc, etc) and exceed the functionality of an entire piece of hardware. Just create a smart-phone/tablet front-end UI for one of the scientific computing packages (Sage or Python(x,y)) and TI is dead. When your product owes its utility to lagging technological literacy in education administration that business model isn't long for this world. TI would be better served moving to corner the software market...

Comment Re:Except (Score 4, Informative) 467

Oil demand in the U.S. (and the OECD more broadly) has declined and flatlined following the "Great Recession". Even in light of the recovery, petroleum consumption has remained essentially flat, with maybe even a slight decline from 2009. The economic shock of 2008's oil prices has violently reoriented the economy in some ways, and it's hard to think of a reason that oil consumption will ever tick back up as new CAFE standards come into effect. The use of oil for heating and power generation has been in decline for decades--the remaining demand is for transportation and petrochemicals. EIA US consumption data here:

Comment Only useful for "distributed" applications (Score 1) 227

Wind cost-efficacy is subject to significant economies of scale from size (increases energy capture from larger rotors and higher hub heights outweigh increases in capital costs from larger/more robust support structures)--I would not be surprised to see similar scaling from water condensing equipment. The bottom line is that for the mass extraction of water from air it makes more sense to build utility scale wind farms of (relatively, $ per kW) cheaper 1.5+ MW turbines to run relatively cheaper, but much larger water condensers than it is to make some flashy, small, and inefficient combo-device. But, it could work for remote locations without the infrastructure to support utility scale deployment. But, in that case, the infrastructure for proper maintenance is probably lacking too.

Comment Re:Joke or not ... (Score 1) 211

... people pay money for their analysis.

If my CEO believes in astrology or that the earth is only 6000 years old, I may think he's crazy. But I still need to know who has his ear.

Joan Quigley reference? Astrologer to the CEO of America.

Comment Please stop talking about offsetting oil use (Score 1) 401

The vast majority of oil use in this country is as a transportation fuel and is only used in a tiny minority of electric generating systems having been phased out for natural gas over the past 20 years. Nor is oil typically used in baseload plants (what geothermal offsets) during the few times it is burned. Therefore, building renewable electric generating systems of any kind (solar, wind, hydro/marine,geothermal) does not offset oil. Renewables offset old coal or the need for new combined cycle gas facilities...or other renewables depending on your capacity expansion assumptions. For geothermal to offset oil you would have to electrify an enormous portion of light vehicle transportation which is only going to happen across many decades given slow turnover in the vehicle fleet and the current limited penetration of EVs in the new vehicles market. Just a pet peeve of mine. Also, nuclear is still coming on strong in the south... at least for Southern Company/Georgia Power's Vogtle expansion

Comment Similar to US? (Score 2, Insightful) 359

I may be off base on this issue as I know very little about the subject, but is there not a similar law in the US? I seem to recall it being a factor in the relatively recent "lunatic flies a plane into IRS building" incident. If so, perhaps some wealthy and influential Ukrainian contracting firms have their fingerprints (and $$) on the change in law. I bet they are giddy at the prospect of offering a subsistence wage to previously self-employed (and better paid) coders.

Comment Re:People are going to whine and bitch, but... (Score 1) 381

Actually, you do, and utilities have always done this. Maybe you just never understood what you were paying for? Your electricity bill (if you are in a traditional monopoly regulated market) consists of a fixed base rate and a variable energy charge based on usage. More complex rate structures take into account required capacity (the analogue here would be max bandwidth available).

Submission + - Japan to standardize electric vehicle chargers (

JoshuaInNippon writes: Four major Japanese car manufacturers and one power company (Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, and Tokyo Electric) have teamed up with over 150 business and government entities in Japan to form a group to promote standardization in electric vehicle chargers and charging stations. The group hopes to leverage current Japanese electric vehicle technology and spread standardization throughout the country, as well as aim towards worldwide acceptance of their standardized charger model. In a very Japanese manner, the group has decided to call themselves "CHAdeMO," a play on the English words "charge" and "move," as well as a Japanese pun that encourages tea-drinking while waiting the 15+ minutes it will take to charge one's vehicle battery.

Comment Google PowerMeter -- Demand Response Market (Score 1) 160

I don't really think this has all that much to do with renewables, and everything to do with using their market share and data mining resources to build demand response capacity. Simplifying a little bit, in a power market (like Texas's ERCOT or the Midatlantic's PJM), you can "bid" a reduction in capacity/energy use into the market the same way a utility running a power plant can bid actual generation. Utility companies already have programs which lower your thermostat, cut off your water heater etc etc, it wouldn't surprise me if Google was attempting to do this on a larger, commericial scale.

Google currently has their "PowerMeter" service as a monitoring tool, but this could be expanded to a remote demand-response application (like Utility DR), allowing them to aggregate residential and small commercial customers. With their data mining abilities it won't be hard to accurately predict how much reduction in electricity demand they can actually get (how much you actually can handle your AC being turned down, not how much you say you will), and they can bid that demand into the power markets.

I recently worked at a utility which was concerned about a Google and/or Wal-Mart entry into the power markets. Why? They both have the name recognition and infrastructure to develop/market these programs to huge customer bases and undercut the current efforts. Interesting that this could be their big first step towards that.

Comment Asteroid != Climate Change (Score 2, Insightful) 391

A conspicuous "global killer" hurtling towards us overcomes the basic psychological barriers which inhibit the acceptance of global warming as a genuine, urgent threat (and which currently our hobble cooperative efforts). It's a good deal harder to "deny" that a giant rock is going to strike the Earth than it is to disingenuously claim "the science isn't there" about the highly complex, scientifically abstract climate system.

Comment Re:The proper Solution: (Score 1) 169

I think he means something more along the lines of sellers of applications. As a fan of linux, I can see this being awesome, but it would have a huge dark side. All the *nix only programs that are used to do important thing (like, you know, run the entire internet) would have to be released in Win and OSX forms. (nb, this would still only apply to the ones that actually cost money)

Comment Graduate Education, Anyone? (Score 1) 551

Reading their paper (RTF...P?), the words "masters", "doctorate", and "phd" don't appear outside of the footnotes. Wouldn't a large portion of the very best science students pursue a graduate education? Aren't people arguing we need more of those, not undergrads with a relatively generic degree in the sciences? The authors are asking the wrong questions.

Comment In what, 50 years? (Score 1) 679

These things are going to be way too expensive right now. You have serious frequency and intermittency issues which make the whole gig more expensive (requiring more tolerant equipment, fast-response storage, etc). The 'potential' sure is there, but it wont be happening. Long Island Offshore Wind Power (LIOWP) was scrapped over cost issues last year. Environmentalists and NIMBY whiners will complain about the impacts on the ocean floor, fish, birds (bah), and tourism. Even with a carbon price, coal and natural gas will probably be cheaper than offshore wind for at least a few decades. The current wind VC is all going into onshore applications, because it just makes more sense.

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