Friday Linkage 7/15/2016

Appliances are insane.  I do not mean the actual appliance itself, but rather the entire ecosystem of appliances.  Take the refrigerator in my home for example.  It is approximately five and a half years old.  In that period of time it has had one service call to replace the drain hole valve that was an almost universal problem on this model and it has iced over on three separate occasions.  Iced over you ask?  Well, imagine coming home to find out the refrigerator is not cooling but everything appears to be working fine.  Yeah, the coils are iced over because of humidity.  WTF?

Thankfully, the internet is a wonderful repository of knowledge on how to fix stuff.  It is also a repository of completely bonkers information, but I was able to get a hold of a technical sheet that walked me through how to diagnose the problem.  Apparently, everything is working and I just need to clear the coils of packed ice.  Awesome.

I realize that I am rambling somewhat, but I want to get across the point that a refrigerator is a mature technology that costs a lot of money.  Actually working in a trouble free manner should be table stakes.  However, this does not appear to be true.

On to the links…

Exxon Is Still Helping Fund The Spread Of Climate Denial—If there is a worse actor vis a vis climate disinformation I want to know about them because ExxonMobil really takes the cake.  Coal companies may have been the target of opportunity for the last decade, but with that industry in its death spiral it is time to really turn up the heat on ExxonMobil.

The Government Should Get Out of the Coal Business—This is not Mother Jones or the Sierra Club saying that the government should get out of the coal leasing business.  It’s freaking Bloomberg.  When the establishment business press has turned on coal you know the gig is up.

The Republican Party’s Platform Says Coal Is ‘Clean’ Energy—Apparently, Republicans thought that George Orwell’s 1984 was a “how to” manual and not a cautionary tale.  Again, these are the same people who tell us that the solution to gun violence is more guns and that government budgets can be saved by cutting taxes.  How soon before “drill, baby drill” makes a comeback on the campaign trail?  Paging Sarah Palin…

Exelon Readies Super Microgrid Controller that Allows Microgrids to ‘Talk’ to Each Other—The idea of microgrids always comes up in the aftermath of a major natural disaster because the idea of islands of electric power in a sea of blackouts is viscerally appealing.  It now looks like the technology to support that idea is finally maturing.

3 Sure Signs of Texas’ Emerging Solar Market—Texas is the “great white buffalo” of solar.  The state is big and sunny.  Great white buffalo.  Maybe the reality is finally catching up to the dream.

In Defense of Rooftop Solar—Distributed, rooftop solar is taking it on the chin lately as power companies and traditional energy providers push a more centralized agenda that looks a lot like the status quo with somewhat greener energy.  Of course these entities hate rooftop solar because it moves the locus of control from the provider to the consumer.

Cutting the Cable: Kangaroo Island Eyes Switch to 100% Renewable Energy—When presented with the bill to update the ageing centralized power infrastructure the leaders of Kangaroo Island decided to modernize via cutting the cord.  Literally.  Islands, with their isolated power grids, will be the laboratories where we figure out how to transition to 100% renewable energy.

Fast Charging System for Electric Buses — Quicker than Filling a Tank—Buses and garbage trucks have always seemed like the ideal vehicles to be electrified first, as opposed to passenger cars, because of fixed routes and established centralized garages.

How One Man Repopulated a Rare Butterfly Species in his Backyard—It is amazing what a single, dedicated individual can do to make the world a better place.  Think about thousands or even tens of thousands of people making these kinds of efforts.  Sometimes I have my faith in the human race restored.  Just a little bit.

We Need to Call American Breakfast What it Often Is: Dessert—My wife and I have run into this looking at cereal for children.  We were aghast at the amount of sugar in cereals promoted as the “smart choice.”  This one breakdown is all you need to know:

muffin = cupcake
smoothie = milkshake
granola = streusel top
yogurt = ice cream
waffle = cookie


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