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Gthaberlach's Public Library

Aug 28, 16

Here is a breakdown of cost expenditures for the Manhattan Project sites, through the end of 1945:. . . . I’m a visual guy, so I of course immediately start looking at these numbers like this:

Which puts things a little more into proportion. The main take-away of these numbers for me is to be pretty impressed by the fact that some 80% of the money was spent on the plants necessary producing fissile materials. Only 4% went towards Los Alamos.

Aug 21, 16

the causes of this political crisis, glaringly evident on both sides of the Atlantic, are much deeper than simply the financial crisis and the virtually stillborn recovery of the last decade. They go to the heart of the neoliberal project that dates from the late 70s and the political rise of Reagan and Thatcher, and embraced at its core the idea of a global free market in goods, services and capital. The depression-era system of bank regulation was dismantled, in the US in the 1990s and in Britain in 1986, thereby creating the conditions for the 2008 crisis. Equality was scorned, the idea of trickle-down economics lauded, government condemned as a fetter on the market and duly downsized, immigration encouraged, regulation cut to a minimum, taxes reduced and a blind eye turned to corporate evasion.

It should be noted that, by historical standards, the neoliberal era has not had a particularly good track record. The most dynamic period of postwar western growth was that between the end of the war and the early 70s, the era of welfare capitalism and Keynesianism, when the growth rate was double that of the neoliberal period from 1980 to the present.

Aug 21, 16

Costs are not coming down in ways that favor land-based at the scales needed. Good article, good graphs.

Aug 20, 16

Political murders, particularly those accomplished with poisons, are nothing new in Russia, going back five centuries. Nor are they particularly subtle. While typically not traceable to any individuals and plausibly denied by government officials, poisonings leave little doubt of the state’s involvement — which may be precisely the point.

>“Outside of popular culture, there are no highly skilled hit men for hire,” Mark Galeotti, a professor at New York University and an authority on the Russian security services, said in an interview. “If it’s a skilled job, that means it’s a state asset.”

Aug 19, 16

Look at the graphics - how many people think life is worse than 50 years ago.

Aug 19, 16

Wonderful graphics - need for DISPATCHABLE power

July 7th was a calm, cold winter day across South Australia, as it was exactly one year before.

Demand for electricity reached a high of over 2183 megawatts in the early evening well above the typical South Australian average of around 1300-1400 megawatts. The calm conditions meant the output of the 1575 megawatts of installed wind capacity fell to almost zero by mid afternoon and contributed no more than 23 megawatts throughout the high demand evening period. With upgrades on the Heywood interconnecter into Victoria severely limiting the ability to import power, gas generators and a little bit of diesel were all that were available. With Engie’s gas (CCGT) Pelican Point station effectively mothballed (having earlier on-sold its gas supply into the gas market), AGL (Torrens A and Torrens B stations) and, to a lesser extent, Origin (Osborne and Quarantine stations) were in a pivotal supplier positions at various stages across the day, meaning they were needed to meet demand. The capacity bid into the market topped out at 2413 megawatts.
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<br />The relevant data is captured in the images below. The first shows the dispatch by fuel type over the period 6th July through to 8th July. The second shows the dispatch by generator/wind farm averaged across 7th July. The third shows the contributions made by interconnector, and different fuels, along with wholesale prices for the period midday through to 11 pm on 7th July.

Aug 16, 16

I find that DNA profiling reduces the probability of future convictions by 17% for serious violent offenders and by 6% for serious property offenders. These lower rates of new convictions are particularly striking given that DNA profiling should increase the probability that reoffenders get caught for any crimes they do commit. So, these are likely underestimates of the true deterrent effects of DNA profiling.

You might worry that if these car thieves are staying home because the police have their DNA, others will take advantage of the car theft opportunities, leaving the overall number of car thefts unchanged. Or you might think that DNA-profiled car thieves will just be more careful about leaving DNA evidence, and continue stealing cars at the same rate as before, only more undetectably than ever. But not so - DNA databases led to big reductions in overall crime: In my paper, I show that as databases in the U.S. grew between 2000 and 2010, violent and property crime rates fell as a result. Criminality wasn't redistributed or retooled, it was reduced - partly by deterring potential reoffenders, but surely also by catching serial offenders more quickly using DNA database matches.

Aug 15, 16


We're used to war as metaphor: the war on poverty, the war on drugs, the war on cancer. Usually this is just a rhetorical device, a way of saying, "We need to focus our attention and marshal our forces to fix something we don't like." But this is no metaphor. By most of the ways we measure wars, climate change is the real deal: Carbon and methane are seizing physical territory, sowing havoc and panic, racking up casualties, and even destabilizing governments. (Over the past few years, record-setting droughts have helped undermine the brutal strongman of Syria and fuel the rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria.) It's not that global warming is like a world war. It is a world war. Its first victims, ironically, are those who have done the least to cause the crisis. But it's a world war aimed at us all. And if we lose, we will be as decimated and helpless as the losers in every conflict--except that this time, there will be no winners, and no end to the planetwide occupation that follows.
. . . ..
As it happens, American scientists have been engaged in a quiet but concentrated effort to figure out how quickly existing technology can be deployed to defeat global warming; a modest start, in effect, for a mighty Manhattan Project. Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University and the director of its Atmosphere and Energy Program, has been working for years with a team of experts to calculate precisely how each of the 50 states could power itself from renewable resources. The numbers are remarkably detailed: In Alabama, for example, residential rooftops offer a total of 59.7 square kilometers that are unshaded by trees and pointed in the right direction for solar panels. Taken together, Jacobson's work demonstrates conclusively that America could generate 80 to 85 percent of its power from sun, wind, and water by 2030, and 100 percent by 2050. In the past year, the Stanford team has offered similar plans for 139 nations around the world.
. . . . .
Tom Solomon, a retired engineer who oversaw the construction of one of the largest factories built in recent years—Intel’s mammoth Rio Rancho semiconductor plant in New Mexico—took Jacobson’s research and calculated how much clean energy America would need to produce by 2050 to completely replace fossil fuels. The answer: 6,448 gigawatts.

“Last year we installed 16 gigawatts of clean power,” Solomon says. “So at that pace, it would take 405 years. Which is kind of too long.”

So Solomon did the math to figure out how many factories it would take to produce 6,448 gigawatts of clean energy in the next 35 years. He started by looking at SolarCity, a clean-energy company that is currently building the nation’s biggest solar panel factory in Buffalo. “They’re calling it the giga-factory,” Solomon says, “because the panels it builds will produce one gigawatt worth of solar power every year.” Using the SolarCity plant as a rough yardstick, Solomon calculates that America needs 295 solar factories of a similar size to defeat climate change—roughly six per state—plus a similar effort for wind turbines.

Aug 14, 16

Mr. Dow is a member of the Milwaukee, Wisconsin and American Bar Associations. He was born in Exeter, New Hampshire and graduated from Williams College (B.A., 1970) and Cornell Law School (J.D., 1973), where he was a member of the Cornell Law Review.

Mr. Dow was Peer Review Rated as AV® Preeminent™, the highest performance rating in Martindale-Hubbell's peer review rating system and was selected by his peers for inclusion in the 2009 - 2011 editions of The Best Lawyers in America® in the area of banking law.

Aug 03, 16

Orderism has started to challenge democracy in many parts of the world — Turkey, Poland, the Philippines. But Mr. Putin’s Russia believes it holds the copyright on this formula, and sees it as the sharp end of the wedge it is trying to drive among the nations of the West.

The ideology’s basic political premise is that liberal democracy and international law have not lived up to their promise. Instead of creating stability, they have produced inequality and chaos. The secular religion worshiped in the Western parliaments was globalization (or, in the European Union’s case, Europeanization). These beliefs, according to the orderists, overlooked the downsides.
. . .
It is the same moral weakness and decadence, orderism warns, that preceded the fall of previous empires.Orderism also claims that, on the global stage, international law is beaten into submission by the rules of the strongest, with terrible outcomes.

Aug 03, 16

Eric Rignot, a climate scientist at NASA and the University of California-Irvine and a co-author on Hansen's study, said their new research doesn't necessarily change the worst-case scenario on sea-level rise, it just makes it much more pressing to think about and discuss, especially among world leaders. In particular, says Rignot, the new research shows a two-degree Celsius rise in global temperature — the previously agreed upon "safe" level of climate change — "would be a catastrophe for sea-level rise."

Hansen's new study also shows how complicated and unpredictable climate change can be.

Jul 19, 16

Renewable sources are producing temporary power gluts from Australia to California, driving out other energy sources that are still necessary to maintain a stable supply of power.

In Southern Australia, where wind supplies more than a quarter of the region’s power, the spiking prices of electricity when the wind wasn’t blowing full-bore pushed the state government to ask the power company Engie to switch back on a gas-fired plant that had been shut down.

>But in what may be the most worrisome development in the combat against climate change, renewables are helping to push nuclear power, the main source of zero-carbon electricity in the United States, into bankruptcy.

Jul 19, 16

BNEF Chairman of the Advisory Board, Michael Liebreich gives his ‘state of the clean energy industry’ keynote at BNEF’s Future of Energy Global Summit in New York, April 2016.

(downloaded slides) NEED AN ENERGY MIRACLE - but a LOT is happening - and the market for photocells and HVDC will be LARGE

Jul 19, 16

Solar energy has grown 100-fold in this country in the past decade. Globally, solar has doubled seven times since 2000, and Dubai received a bid recently for 800 megawatts of solar at a stunning “US 2.99 cents per kilowatt hour” — unsubsidized! For context, the average residential price for electricity in the United States is 12 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Jul 18, 16

Yet again, China is floating around the idea of building floating nuclear plants, but this time they are planning on an entire flotilla -- in the South China Sea.

To provide power to the cozy artificial islands it has built up from reefs just sticking over the surf, China announced on Friday that it will construct a fleet of 20 power plants floating over the hotly disputed waters, People's Daily reports.

These power plants could provide electricity to offshore drilling rigs, as well as to the man-made tourist paradises of the South China Sea -- already filled with airstrips, vegetable gardens and lovely ladies with clarinets.

As part of China's Five Year Plan, it was announced in January that the country's first floating power plant would be ready to go by 2020.

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