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Comment Re:That quote can't be right. (Score 1) 271

All else being equal, the surface temperatures in Kelvin will go as the fourth root of the flux, because emissivity is proportional to T^4 and you presume that outgo = incoming energy in rough equilibrium. So temperatures in Kelvin varying by 2.3, which is still a huge difference but not 30.

Comment Re:But they use lithium-ion (Score 1) 201

| If you want a car analogy for charging your car, try this. Uber "surge" pricing. The more people using Uber, the more normal pricing approaches surge pricing, and the higher "surge" pricing goes.

And the market response on supply from increased prices? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?

If utilities start to see more overall electricity demand from vehicles, they will also have more money. Some of the money which used to go to petroleum will go to them. They will have more money to add capacity and storage. Most vehicles will charge at night when costs will stay low for quite a while. At some point, utilities will pay people to plug in their car at 6pm and discharge it for a couple of hours to lower peak demand, and then recharge it back at night.

Comment Re:But they use lithium-ion (Score 3, Informative) 201

Argh. The CA utilities have a good reason for this---the gas supply and storage is constrained because of the major leak at Aliso Canyon. They don't have capacity to run the NG peaker plants now, couldn't get it to be installed before the summer of 2017, and would prefer to store up cheaper electricity from the daytime.

It's up to the storage suppliers to bid on the project and choose the technology, and they have all the motivation to choose the most cost-effective one for the project. They know that capacity will degrade with some rate, and probably decided that the likely cost of adding capacity in 10 years would be less than doing something different now. Perhaps there aren't fully proven ready-to-go nickel battery storage units.

The requirement from the utility was to get something installed, successfully, now. No time to waste with a technology that wasn't production ready or had supply problems.

Comment Solar City acquisition reason (Score 1) 121

I think the reason for the acquisition is consumer finance.

The business model of companies like Solar City is making money off loans, with the hardware as the hook to get the loans. This will be important with the much more widely sold Telsa 3. Now, the model S is sold to very wealthy people who don't usually need financing or have significant credit risks. In the mass market, that won't be the case any more.

Having experience with loan acquisition and risk pricing is very important to business success or failure. SC presumably has experience in this.

Comment Re:Harness economic self interest (Score 2) 502

> If we observe a cycle happening dozens of times, but assert that THIS TIME it's somehow being driven a different mechanism, certainly the onus is on us to explain conclusively how & why the previous mechanism stopped and a new mechanism took over.

Sure, that is very true.

And the answer is the following:

The evidence is geological, that when humans mined coal, there were no coal shafts and evidence of previous mining and combustion from 120,000 years ago. Instead, the isotopic and geological analysis shows that the carbon which is being emitted now is from human activities which didn't exist 120,000 years ago.

Something new is definitely happening: human mining & combustion.

Comment Re:Two questions before I call BS. (Score 2) 502

In any case, the whole question here is about sea surface temperatures.

Looking further deeper into the oceans (which has a higher heat capacity of course and therefore shows trends better) always showed an unremitting upward trend with no pause.

Comment Re:instrumentally homogeneous temperature records (Score 1) 502

> Environmentalists were loudly warning us about "global cooling" and an upcoming ice age during the 1960s and 1970s.

No they weren't. And scientists certainly weren't.

The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus

Climate science as we know it today did not exist in the 1960s and 1970s. The integrated enterprise embodied in the Nobel Prizewinning work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change existed then as separate threads of research pursued by isolated groups of scientists. Atmospheric chemists and modelers grappled with the measurement of changes in carbon dioxide and atmospheric gases, and the changes in climate that might result. Meanwhile, geologists and paleoclimate researchers tried to understand when Earth slipped into and out of ice ages, and why. An enduring popular myth suggests that in the 1970s the climate science community was predicting “global cooling” and an “imminent” ice age, an observation frequently used by those who would undermine what climate scientists say today about the prospect of global warming. A review of the literature suggests that, on the contrary, greenhouse warming even then dominated scientists' thinking as being one of the most important forces shaping Earth's climate on human time scales. More importantly than showing the falsehood of the myth, this review describes how scientists of the time built the foundation on which the cohesive enterprise of modern climate science now rests.

Comment It doesn't work that way. (Score 2) 502

> Because it is an extremely slow effect. You could have two broken legs, a large dog sitting on your back, and have your hands slipping in the mud when you tried to pull yourself along and you could still get away from sea level rise without any concerns of drowning. You can see it coming years, even decades, in advance, and you can step back at any time.

What happens is that a large storm at high tide, which would normally have been an unpleasant day, is now a Katrina-like $100 billion disaster as miles of coastline is flooded and destroyed.

Comment Re:So you say, Solandri.... (Score 2) 255

| But by abandoning the gold standard and not coming up with anything concrete to replace gold, we effectively said our currency is no longer tied to anything tangible of any value, so only faith in our leaders managing everything keeps it afloat.

| IMO, that's proven to be a terrible fiscal policy

Monetary policy, not fiscal policy.

| -- as we saw with the Federal Reserve running out of techniques or ideas to control things during the last economic crash.

To the contrary, the Fed employed a large variety of new techniques.

| Interest rates were dropped to near 0% and none of the decreases were having the expected/desired effect on the economy.

To the contrary, they had the expected effect. The european central bank stayed more orthodox and less accomodative, and their recovery has been weaker and later, to the degree that their interest rates and growth is still extremely low and the US Fed is on a path of rising interest rates thanks to an economic recovery, far lower unemployment, higher output, and still moderate inflation.

Ben Bernanke is the best Fed Chairman in the history of the institution.

Comment Re:Wrong even if correct (Score 2) 255

"The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Open Market Committee shall maintain long run growth of the monetary and credit aggregates commensurate with the economy's long run potential to increase production, so as to promote effectively the goals of maximum employment, stable prices and moderate long-term interest rates."

The point is that targeting 0% inflation results in much more harm to employment than targeting 2% inflation as is done.

And given that people have the opportunity to invest in all sorts of instruments that take this into account, it is not theft.

Comment Gold had a useful value once, but not any more (Score 1) 255

That value was proof in a low-information-velocity economy. Prior to the discovery of electromagnetism and its technology, there was no easy way to guarantee monetary payment over distances. I.e. payee didn't know for sure that payor was good for the money. In some limited areas where such thing could be checked and punishment made if found to be false (e.g. in a city or small political entity with reliable enforcement), you might be able to get away with more but in general, gold was the most effective and reliable transfer of that information.

That central advantage outweighed the other problems. And before the 19th century, economic growth rates were low all over the planet.

Today, electronic funds transfers can give notice of insufficient funds either immediately or with short notice, so the prime technological argument for gold is no longer applicable, and the monetary disadvantages are central.

The unsuitability of bitcoin as a currency for general economic use is the primary reason for its spontaneous popularity. Almost everybody who wants some is speculating on the possibility of instability in the 'shortage' direction. There is no bond market in bitcoin.

The other primary use case for bitcoin is of course enabling criminality---a means of clandestine monetary exchange outside the standard payment systems and their regulation.

Comment Re:Hmm (Score 1, Insightful) 1028

Why is Russia willing to pick a fight with the US again, and keep building new nuclear weapons and threatining people with them?

The US is maintaining only a 1960's ICBM and a 1970's SLBM, but Russia keeps building and designing new ones. Why? Why do they get a free pass to act like they are lead by a KGB thug?

Comment Re:No, they didn't. (Score 4, Informative) 1028

Actually most of the fallout comes from the fission products themselves. Modern nukes like a 300kT warhead from a MIRV are 2/3rds fission, mostly in the secondary. So the amount of radionuclides is almost proportional to yield and about the same between airburst and groundburst and it is a large.

It would be more widely dispersed in the air however, and perhaps that's the difference.

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