Friday Linkage 10/14/2016

It is less than two weeks until either Loveland or A-Basin in Colorado open for the 2016-17 ski season.  With the Thanksgiving holiday coming up I am tempted to see if I can convince the family if they might want to take a trip to get some turns in.

On to the links…

27 Charts that will Change how You Think about the American Economy—It’s election season so every half-assed political hack will parrot the line, “It’s the economy stupid,” over and over again as if it were some mantra to keep the Trump sexual harassment hydra at bay.  Take a look at this series of charts to get a better understanding of where the American economy actually stands at the end of 2016.

German Lawmakers Vote to Ban the Internal Combustion Engine—This reminds me of the line in the movie The American President where Annette Benning’s character tells someone on the phone that her Volvo is going to be a classic due to proposed legislation.  Make that Volkswagen a classic.

The Baseload Party Is Over For Key Coal-Fired Plants In Texas—This is where it really ends for coal.  The last defensive fortification in its wall against cleaner technologies has been its ability to deliver cheap and reliable baseload power.  Now the ability to provide cheap power is threatened by low usage factors.

The Energy-Efficiency Revolution—This is a very important fact: Economic growth, as measured by GDP, has become decoupled from increased energy consumption in developed countries.  This was a trend you could have bet your mortgage on in the past and it has been broken.  No longer can reactionaries claim that increased energy efficiency and other measures will cause growth the slow or cease.

Efficiency Saves Developed Countries $540 Billion a Year—Efficiency is your mom telling you to put socks on when your cold.  It’s a little bit of a nag, but it’s right.  And it is cheap.  And it is effective.

7 Solar Myths — Busted—Solar is the real deal and the sooner people come to realize this fact the better off everyone is going to be in the long run.  Like climate change or energy efficiency, reactionaries trot out tired myths to “prove a point” but they are wrong on almost all accounts and need to be swatted down.

The Solar Energy Paradox: Why Solar Is Booming and Companies Are Going Out of Business—This same thing happened in the 1990s with computer manufacturers and in the 2000s with Internet focused companies.  Sales were booming, new customers were flocking, and companies were failing or reorganizing left and right.  It’s the nature of the business cycle.

Cheap Solar Power in Texas May Depress Peak Electricity Prices—Solar electricity, generated for pennies or less during peak times, may displace on-demand natural gas generation and depress overall prices.  When natural gas prices increase again this disparity will become even greater leading to a greater deployment of solar technologies.  I love positive trends.

Wind Is the New Corn for Struggling Farmers—Payments for siting wind turbines are a good chunk of revenue for a lot of rural communities in Iowa that would be struggling mightily right now based on depressed commodity prices.  I also think it is important to recognize that cheap wind power is keeping electricity rates low for Americans as well.

Island in the Sun: Saint Lucia Goes Solar—Island nations are a critical laboratory for renewable energy, especially solar.  The islands often import most of their power in the form of diesel or bunker oil for generators that are dirty and inefficient.  The expense is an enormous portion of many island nation’s collective budgets.

Beware the “False First Step” of Buying Stuff to Achieve a Goal—Somebody asked me one time if they should buy a new bike to get ready for the forthcoming riding season.  New bikes are fun.  New bikes are not necessary to get riding.  As a matter of fact, we already own too much stuff.  I am guilty of this as anyone as evidenced by my new skis.  Damn it.

Omega-3 Oils in Farmed Salmon ‘Halve in Five Years’—Some people like salmon, but some people have turned salmon into a religion that shares some of the same traits with the kale people.  Heck, there is a Venn diagram that shows an intersection of salmon, kale, and quinoa people.  At the center is the person in your office who microwaves a plate of salmon for thirty seconds too long and turns the surrounding air into a chemical weapon worthy of North Korean dictators.  And I like salmon, kale, and quinoa.  I digress.

10 Things You Do Not Need for Your New Baby—So much stuff.  I get it.  People like to buy baby stuff because babies are pretty cool.  In the end, however, the little people end up wearing the same three outfits and playing with the same toy.  What they really need is to be held, a lot, and loved.  Everything else is gravy.

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