Tagged: rants RSS

  • jimmy 2:03 am on March 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: energy, , rants, solar, wind   

    I ran some numbers today. Numbers relating to the cost to build a new nuclear power plant. And the cost to install solar panels.

    To cut through the wordiness of both those links (mostly the former) here’s the highlight reel: since no new nuclear plants have been built in the USA in over 30 years, estimating costs is pretty much guesswork, but the 2007 guesswork puts prices at anywhere from $2/watt (lowest estimates, mostly from utilities and/or the possible contractors…in other words, people with questionable conflicts of interest) up over $4/watt ($4.3/watt via a later redacted report from a utility; and a S&P report that estimated “final construction costs” in 2007 dollars as $4.3-4.55/watt…that’s $4.57-$4.83 in 2011 dollars).

    Solar costs are much easier to pin down, since people are actually, you know, buying solar panels. That source there estimates that new solar costs around $4/watt.

    Wait, what?

    Here’s the best part: the cost of solar panels keeps dropping, while the construction costs to build new nuclear reactors (with things like 12-foot think concrete walls) keep going up.

    So here’s the question, if new nuclear and new solar cost the same, why the hell are we even considering a technology that has the chance (however small*) of blowing up and killing us all (yeah, that’s an overstate…unless “us all” is the subset of people living within a mile or two of the 104 nuclear power plants in America) instead of a technology that not only has no chance of blowing up and killing us all, but that can be installed in a decentralized grid, thus making our entire power system resistant to disruption from storms, terrorist attacks, earthquakes, or human error.

    Oh, and for what it’s worth, commercial scale wind turbines cost $1.75/watt.

    They also have no chance of blowing up and killing us all.

    *There are currently 442 nuclear power plants in the world. There have been at least 6 “nuclear accidents” in the past 51 years. Simple math (I know this probably calls for more advanced math, but I’m lazy) gives the “accident chance” at 1.36%.

  • jimmy 8:19 pm on March 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , economy, , , rants   

    I just love (sarcasm, btw) how in the face of $14 trillion in debt and a $1.3 trillion deficit the favorite target of some deficit hawks has become $10.5 billion in high-speed rail funding (I say “some” because I consider myself to be a deficit hawk and I don’t share this view). I really wonder if the governors of Florida, Wisconsin and Ohio were paying any attention whatsoever in school when they learned about how we got out of the great depression? Come to think of it, they probably went to the same schools as the people who thought it would really solve all of our economic problems to give a bunch of money (although calling trillions of dollars a “bunch of money” is kind of like calling the Pacific Ocean “some water”…it’s technically true, but grossly misleading) to the guys who created the problems in the first place (again with an analogy: “so, Mr. Murderer, what say we make your punishment a few days where we pretend to consider putting you to death, and then we give you an AK-47 and let you roam the streets again; sound fair?”).

    Interesting fact: Japan has the oldest HSR network in the world, and China has the largest (and fastest…did we still want to beat China? Because we’re losing this battle, too. Just saying.). Unemployment in Japan is 5.1% and in China it’s ~4.5% (as with all things China, it’s not entirely clear). In America it’s 8.9%.

    Oh I know unemployment probably has very little correlation with HSR networks, but I figure it’s as close as the HSR-deficit correlation, and it’s just as illogical.

    Speaking of illogic, I should remind the governors that I just got a carrier pigeon that the National Association or People Who’d Rather Live In The Stone Age is sending a “thank you” stone tablet in support of your bold deficit reduction efforts. It’s being sent by Norfolk Southern rail, so it should arrive within 36 hours.

  • jimmy 7:11 pm on February 25, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: nws, rants, ,   

    Two storms this week. First had a glaze of freezing rain before a good 3 inches of snow. Second had under 3 inches blowing snow. One had 12 hours lead time of a winter storm warning (after 24-36 hours lead with a winter storm watch), the other had a winter weather advisory issued 2 hours before the storm started. It might surprise you which storm matches which warning/advisory.

    Hint, the storm with more snow and the ice had only 2 hours notice.

    My local NWS office kinda fails at issuing warnings, it seems.

  • jimmy 9:19 am on February 23, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , rants   

    I love how people say Google will never be able to pull off a “social product” (like a Facebook or MySpace type service) because they’re all engineers (think Delbert) and are therefore not good at thinking in those terms, but then turn around and ascribe malice to mistakes that amount to “social awkwardness” (think Delbert at a party) on a corporate scale.

    I know it’s probably not the same people, but I kinda want to put both types of people in a room together and make them hash it out. Because both things can’t be true. Either they’re cunning geniuses who are just waiting until their servers collect enough information on all of us to enslave us all (or defraud us? Or something. It’s never quite clear. It’s just “scary”), or they’re a company full of kinda socially dumb geniuses who theoretically COULD do that, but in reality are too busy tweaking their super-fast JavaScript rendering engine to realize it.

    I’m probably beating a dead horse bringing Facebook into this, but FB knows 10 times what Google does about you, and they’re NOT awkward engineers. Do the freaking math there.

  • jimmy 6:47 pm on November 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , rants, , , zuckerberg   

    One reason I intensely dislike Zuckerberg? He’s a freaking liar. “This is not an e-mail killer.” Hello. They’re giving 500+ million users [the option of] facebook.com E-MAIL addresses. There’s NO WAY they don’t think they’re going to pull several million teens off of Gmail or Yahoo or MSN. Sure, they’re not trying to kill enterprise Outlook users, but that doesn’t make it any less of a killer of some uses of e-mail. The entire presentation reeks of this. The multiple denials of this being a “Gmail killer” seem suspect at best.

    And this is from someone who doesn’t see myself using the new product. Though I can see how the “social graph filter” feature would be very compelling to many, many people. That’s why I think it’s disingenuous to say it never crossed their minds that this could “kill” (and/or take major share from) traditional e-mail. Especially since many features of it are a ripoff of Gmail’s priority inbox and Google Wave.

    /ten cents worth

  • jimmy 4:52 am on November 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: rants, whiny,   

    I seem to have caught a cold, which is making me cranky as all hell. Also? (NOTE: the following is so full of World of Warcraft geeking it’s not even funny.) Thrall seems to have wandered off from Orgrimmar, thus making [For The Alliance!] impossible to achieve for the next few weeks. Normally I don’t care what happens within the Horde, but I joined a PUG doing For The Alliance! today and it was disappointing to have missed him. Especially since I’ve never done a raid before.

    On the other hand, we easily downed the other three and had a lot of fun. Thanks random Cenarius folks!

  • jimmy 4:31 am on October 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , rants,   

    Yesterday’s The Simpsons episode apparently began with an intro created by a British street artist. While it was interesting, I’m honestly surprised by the chatter about it (4 tweets about it made it into @TopTweets, for example). Maybe it’s my 4+ years of university digital media arts courses, or maybe it’s just my indifference/annoyance with The Simpsons in general, but I find the shock and awe rather strange and, yes, a little annoying.

    • Elizabeth 12:40 pm on October 12, 2010 Permalink

      Um. People have heard of sweat shops, right? I’m confused about the uproar, too.

  • jimmy 3:28 am on August 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: conservapedia, fcc, government, , , rants, tea party,   

    Over 11 pages of Tea Party activists/groups signed this letter and not one person caught the huge factual inaccuracy in the fourth paragraph? The one about 1994 being “before the Internet was ever conceived”? Even if whoever actually wrote this letter doesn’t know the difference between the Internet and the World Wide Web (I don’t personally think the average non-geek needs to know the difference, however when we’re talking about Internet policy you damn well should know the difference) and was sourcing the date that Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the WWW, the citation of 1994 is still not correct, as “before the [WWW] was ever conceived” would be 1988 at the latest. But assuming they DID know the difference between Internet and WWW, it seems they didn’t take the time to quickly use the Google to find out a quick history of the Internet. Or, if they prefer, they could look it up on Conservapedia, which tells us that TCP/IP (basically what makes the Internet run) was invented in the 1970s, about 2 decades before 1994.

    On a side note, Conservapedia’s article on the Internet mentions Al Gore’s famous slip-up and explains why he said what he said: in 1991 he sponsored a bill that helped fund many computer projects, including the Internet and the first graphical web browser. I mention this because the aforementioned letter starts out “Over the past 25 years, the Internet has flourished in large part due to the extremely limited role that government has played.”

    Now, interpretations of “extremely limited” will vary, but I’d say the Congressional Act that Wikipedia credits with “building the Information Superhighway”, was lauded by then-president Bush and caused Marc Andreessen (a co-creator of the aforementioned web browser and now a private venture capitalist involved with Digg, Twitter, Facebook and Skype) to comment “If it had been left to private industry, it wouldn’t have happened, at least, not until years later” doesn’t really count as “extremely limited” in any way, shape or form.

    That bill was in 1991. Last I checked, 1991 was 19 years ago, which is less than 25 years ago.

    Get your numbers right, Tea Party, and we might be able to talk about “so-called ‘Net Neutrality’ regulations,” but until then leave the Internet policy debates to people who actually understand it. Or know how to use Conservapedia.

    OK, one last thing: dig into the history of ICANN and you can see the hand of the government all through it. It’s pretty technical and it’s hard to follow some of the different trails, but it’s clear that the US government has had a hand in Internet policy ever since the beginning, and still does.

  • jimmy 8:57 pm on August 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , rants,   

    I’m very black-and-white when it comes to loyalty. I can tolerate a reasonable amount of shadiness (nobody’s perfect, right?) but when a certain line gets crossed, you’re out. I’m sad to report that Google has now crossed that line in my opinion. This makes me unimaginably angry, not only because I wrote an impassioned defense of them just a few days ago, but because Google was the very best ally the Net Neutrality movement had, just dropping out of the fight would be one thing but to switch sides while pretending not to is just the height of arrogance, stupidity, hypocrisy, and just plain rude to anyone with half a brain. Trusting Google to the point of calling out the NYT was probably a stupid thing to do, but on the other hand they’d never shown themselves to be suck dickfaces before now. Quite the opposite, in fact, as I pointed out in my defense of them.

    I’m also just kinda depressed because I’m one of those kooky people who believes the corporations are out to ruin the world and with Google being mostly not evil I had a tiny bit of hope. Now that’s gone.

    Screw it.

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