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Comment Re:Crap (Score 1) 177

US figures given here... The single most abundant generation source is coal. However, if you combine nuclear, hydro, and renewables, coal is 37.6% vs 30.3% for "non-greenhouse" sources in 2012. If you add nat gas which is cleaner and more efficient even though it does create CO2, total generation from "cleaner" sources is 61.3% vs coal's 37.6%. In other words, it isn't such a bad thing to power your cars with electricity.


Comment Re:Captain Obvious (Score 1) 341

Car noise is less from the engine and more from the tires on pavement. Of course there are exceptions to this. However, you pick a decent mid-size/compact sedan which is the most common vehicle, and the car hardly can be heard by itself until someone slams the pedal down. While it's moving at steady speed, the only discernible noise is the "whoosh" of air and tire noise.

My solution to the concerns of quiet electrics: "Hello folks, we have put 4 state of the art noise-makers on all our electric cars. They are made by Michelin and come with a 60000mi warranty!"

Comment Re:Location of pollution (Score 1) 341

I think the lack of transport in a city like Milwaukee is more based on growth rate than actual money issues. Milwaukee is an "old" town. It has relatively stagnant growth. Therefore, the ability and will to plan for future population increase is lessened. In contrast, many of the southern "boom towns" that have double digit growth in the 90's and 2000's have created ground up transit systems including light rail. Many of these didn't work well (hello Atlanta) because urban planning foresight has been generally pitiful in the south. However, the point being that in order to cross the hump from a large enough city without an option to one that invests in new transport infrastructure is usually a prospect for future or a recent past trend of fast growth. If MKE grows again (unlikely based on US population shifts), then public will for rail transit and the like will increase. Until then, it's likely you are stuck with what you have.

Comment Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (Score 2) 920

Don't worry. Tobacco is well on its way to being banned. Also, we tried the alcohol and I hope you know how well that turned out. In the last 5-10 years, tobacco use has been so restricted, it is getting to the point where it can only be a "closet" drug. You have to be sitting at your home or in your car if you want to enjoy it. At the same time we are restricting tobacco, we are loosening the restrictions on marijuana. It was rare to hear about "medical marijuana" just 10 years ago. Now we have a thriving legal marijuana industry in some states. Eventually, I suppose we will eventually reach an equilibrium. You can expect a backlash though if marijuana use reaches a high enough percentage of population when people start to show the same long term health problems that you will get inhaling any type of smoke.

Comment Re:PR math is wrong! (Score 1) 410

The Amp rating of the panel does not mean you consume that much power all the time. The estimates are based on avg power usage over time. It also should include average power output over time. I.E. solar only produces power during the day. A suburban home probably uses 1-2kWhr per month (depending on weather).

Comment Re:New favorite unit of measurement (Score 1) 410

Wind is probably the most recent energy related example where the subsidy worked. In the 2000's, wind got a big boost in gov incentives in the US. As such, people started buying turbines as fast as they could be created. More competitors entered the market to cash in and by the time 2008 rolled around there were lots of producers and lots of competition. Of course, we needed an economic downturn to convert the sellers market to a buyers market. That's when the competition really heated up as turbine suppliers are fighting not just for huge profits, but now for survival. In the last 2-3 years, the cost/kW of wind power has come down (from the perspective of turbine base cost) because of competition and improved technology that was initiated by government subsidy. It will be interesting to see how it continues past 2012 when the PTC expires and gov tries to cut costs now that wind has become less popular with joe voter. We'll see also if logistics can improve to prevent the upward trend in installation cost.

Comment Re:Waste of R&D dollars, if you ask me (Score 1) 130

You assume microsoft wants to recoup the cost on this generation of console release. Sounds like this is a good way to debut a new technology such that it can be refined and improved for the next generation console. 360 is already 5yrs old. The next iteration is due

Consumers are paying to beta test a technology that will really hit the big time in the next console generation.

Comment speculation anyone? (Score 4, Insightful) 322

Ugh, what a terrible article. There's no firm conclusions at all, just mindless speculation. Here's some gems: "The only thing I can say is that it is something designed to go bang" and "'If I had to guess what it was, yes that's a logical target' he said, 'but that's just speculation'"

This could be an interesting topic, but unfortunately, it is turned into a pointless article spewing wild guesses. And the findings are to be submitted in a closed door security meeting? WTF? I guess we'll never know.

I have programmed many PLC's in my day, but unfortunately not Siemens. Does anyone have experience with siemens that can comment on the mysterious operational block 35?

Comment Re:Hunters and responsibility (Score 1) 1141

You certainly have a valid opinion, and there are plenty of examples I'm sure of people acting outside the defined ethics and laws. However, this is a true statement with most subjects. You can certainly CHOOSE to oppose hunting, and actively CHOOSE not to hunt. At the same time another party can CHOOSE to hunt within the relatively tight guidlines of the hobby. The status quo allows both parties to continue to choose for themselves. Banning hunting (instead of regulating it) will then remove that choice from one party. Not exactly fair. Plus, the people who don't follow the rules will continue to not follow them (although likely in lower quantity). A difficult decision perhaps, but I would rather keep individual choice than let the poorly behaved members of the community ruin for the rest.

Comment Re:Much ado about nothing (Score 1) 506

Using wind as a base-load generation source is never the intention. Most RPS of states in the US max out around 20% of overall capacity. Of course, out of that 20% a good deal is hydro. So the wind power is only a small portion of the total capacity of the system. Therefore, wind is intended as a supplement to the big base load nuclear and coal. There is an upper limit to the amount of wind power we can use reliably (and it is somewhere in the 20% range). However, in most places outside of europe, there is a long way to go before we reach it.

Comment Re:NIMBY (Score 1) 252

Loud? Not really. I've been to many wind sites. I actually have to focus to notice the noise. At worst it's equivalent to a car driving down some distant highway. I would concede that offshore designs I've seen are a bit loud, but they don't have the constraints here because they are separated by miles to any population.

Disrupt Wind Patterns? What is the problem with this? Wind turbines certainly don't change weather patterns. Are you sad you can't fly a kite? I guess that could be a problem.

Natural View? I can't win this argument. A person's opinion on the look of a wind turbine is exactly that; an opinion.

Comment Re:Hurricanes... (Score 1) 252

Not really. Wind turbines have a cut-out speed. This is usually 20m/s or so. The cannot continue to produce power at higher wind speeds because the loads on the tower and blades will be too much to handle. Also, the speed of the turbine is surprisingly variable. There is a "rated speed", but the turbines operate outside this level much of the time. For offshore applications, the wind must blow up to 15m/s before rated speed is reached. That means any wind speeds below have a nearly linear relationship to the rotational speed of the turbine.

Hurricane wind speeds are 33m/s or more.Turbines also have max survivable wind speed. Not sure exactly what this is, but for land based, I seem to recall 50m/s or so. Level 3 or more hurricanes would surpass this.... The wind turbine companies though understand the maximum ratings or their product and would not allow installation in an environment that exceeds the survivability of the turbine.

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