Tag Archives: nuclear

Friday Linkage 5/24/2019

You may not believe climate change is here and you may not believe that the strange weather we have seen this spring is the future, but I have seen what our flagrant disregard for science has wrought and it is not pretty.

Rain events that were once rare are now common.  Floods in Iowa are an annual or more regular occurrence.  My prediction is that after a wet and cold spring we will have a hot and dry summer.  Nothing like a little baking heat and drought to bookend the seasons.

On to the links…

How the Baby Boomers Wrecked the Economy for Millennials—Let’s start a new trend where we replace “Millennials are killing…” with “Baby Boomers wrecked…”  Never has a generation produced so little when given so much and left such a mess for future generations to clean up.  As a member of the tail end of Generation X—whatever the hell that means anymore—I feel like we will spend the next twenty years sweeping up the rubble of Baby Boomers’ excess.

If 2020 Democrats Are Going to Be Serious About Climate, They Need to Cut Out Congress—The U.S. Senate is a retrograde institution run by a power hungry vestige of the post-Civil War southern power structure who cares for nothing other than his own political power.  The 2020 Democratic nominees need a plan that can be acted on from Day One in office.

Scientists Have Pinpointed the Mystery Source of an Ozone-Destroying Chemical—Trump may be wrong on almost everything, but his desire to realign our relationship with China may not be that awful.  His methods are crap, but there is something fundamentally rotten about the way that China does business.  Agreements are meaningless, business is paramount, everything else be damned…kind of sounds like the modern Republican Party.

Xcel’s Plan to 2030: Close Two Coal Plants, Extend Nuclear Plant, Add More Solar—Coal is dead.  It is just going to take some time for the dinosaur to roll over and actually know its dead.

Puerto Rico Got Rid of Its Coal Ash Pits. Now the Company Responsible Is Moving Them to Florida.—At what point can we just write off the entire state of Florida?  If there is a bad idea that has failed everywhere else, it will get a new lease on life in Florida.  If there is a grifter who has been run out of every town in America, that person will eventually end up somewhere in Florida.

Critics Question Ethics Behind Impossible Burger’s Rapid Fast-Food Expansion—The purity police are out to get Impossible Foods now that they are working with fast food chains.  This is ridiculous.  Every animal based burger replaced with a plant based burger is a win.

Impossible Foods’ Rising Empire of Almost-Meat—The buzz is there.  Now it is time for Impossible Foods to see if they can execute in an efficient enough manner to actually scale their business.

It’s Not Just Salt, Sugar, Fat: Study Finds Ultra-Processed Foods Drive Weight Gain—Maybe the new guideline should be “If you cannot figure out how to make the food at home you should not eat that food.”  Can’t figure out how to make a homemade PopTart?  Do not eat a PopTart.

It is Solved by Walking—Just putting one foot in front of the other is a powerful choice in a world defined by our mechanized transport.

Americans Need More Bike Transit – And these Nonprofits are Bringing It—Bicycles are a humble solution to the problem of transportation emissions.

There Is No Excuse for You to Casually Drink Bottled Water—Outside of people dealing with the aftermath of natural disasters, why are we even having this discussion about bottled water?

It’s Time to Embrace American Hemp Production—Did you have that guy in your dorm who always liked to tell you about the magic nature of hemp?  I remember that guy.  Maybe he was not so crazy after all.

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Friday Linkage 12/14/2018

If you needed another reason to be thankful that Democrats whooped Republicans’ asses in the midterm elections look no further than Iowa’s own Steve King.  During a recent hearing with Google CEO Sundar Pichai, King managed to claim the throne of “biggest asshat in Congress” by actually demanding the names of approximately 1,000 people who worked on the company’s search algorithms.  Yep, a sitting member of Congress just asked a private company for the names and social media profiles of 1,000 employees to check for bias.

Now, I ask Steve King or any of his cronies what law has been broken to make this demand even the least bit tenable?  I will hang up and wait for the answer.

On to the links…

The Best Technology for Fighting Climate Change Isn’t a Technology—It is not just about preserving the forests that remain.  We need to institute a broad effort to regenerate the forests that we have lost.

The EU Could Halve Emissions By 2030 By Acting In Just Three Key Sectors—Cutting carbon emissions is not rocket science.  It is actually a lot like supply chain planning.  You identify the big movers in your supply chain and act accordingly.  If something is responsible for 2% of your supply chain cost you will not spend as much time and effort on it as something that is responsible for 25% of your supply chain cost.

Trump Prepares to Unveil a Vast Reworking of Clean Water Protections—Thanks to the utter ass beating that Republicans took in the midterm election the worst impulses of the Trump regime will be checked.  The latest bad idea to come from the worst presidential administration in U.S. history is just further proof that getting 2020 right is critical.

Getting Interior to Respond to Your FOIA Requests Just Got a Lot Harder—Absolutely nothing says corruption like making it harder for the public to know what is happening within your department.  Ryan Zinke is a corrupt public official.

New House Science Committee Chair to Climate Scientists: We’ve Got Your Back Again—At least there will be one venue in Washington D.C. where science is actually trusted.

Is Nuclear Energy the Key to Saving the Planet?—I do not know what to do with nuclear energy.  Yes, it is carbon free electricity.  However, the legacy of uranium mining in the West is not pretty and the waste is a real problem.

U.S. Coal-Fired Plants Depend on Maintenance Projects as Market Toughens—The economics do not favor coal and the current political climate is making many of the projects toxic.  When Donald Trump is no longer in office who will coal barons go to hat in hand?

Twin Cities’ Metro Transit plans to shift bus fleet to all-electric—Combine electric buses with bus rapid transit and you have an electrified way to move a lot of people without having to spend the time and money to deploy light rail or other infrastructure heavy projects.  If less people are driving for various reasons why not utilize the roads that we have already built?

Good News: Bitcoin is Becoming Worthless—Bitcoin is probably going to be remembered like those Tamagotchi things that seemed to be everywhere for a hot minute and then got lost in junk drawers across America.

From Freecycling to Fairphones: 24 Ways to Lead an Anti-Capitalist Life in a Capitalist World—I do not know if it is anti-capitalist or just a little less consumer focused.  Either way these are not bad ideas to spend a little less time worried about shopping during the holiday season.

The Golden Age of Rich People Not Paying Their Taxes—The pendulum has swung so far in favor the rich that you have to wonder if Donald Trump is the supernova before the inevitable fading.

Friday Linkage 10/19/2018

It is eighteen days until election day.  I will start every post for next eighteen days with the same message.

If you care about the outdoors, whether it is just to appreciate nature or to recreate, you need to read this guide to the midterm election put together by the Outdoor Industry Association.  Let me skip to the punch line: most, if not all, Republicans are bad for the land.

I understand that it is hyperbole, to some extent, in claiming that this is the most important election in history.  However, I do believe that this may be the most important election in my lifetime.  At least until 2020.

On to the links…

8 Things You Need to Know About the IPCC 1.5˚C Report—The IPCC’s report is not getting the attention it deserves because the United States is run by an orange monster who fills our heads with childish insults and ridiculous lies that a fourth grader using Google can debunk.

Can Consumer Choices Ward Off the Worst Effects of Climate Change? An Expert Explains.—We are told that our choices do not matter, but that is bunk.  Some choices matter more than others.  It is okay to get down in the dumps a little bit about climate change.  However, it is not all right to do nothing.

What Tiny Bhutan can Teach the World about Being Carbon Negative—I want to see a movement where people start saying, “Be like Bhutan.”

The Best Way to Reduce Your Personal Carbon Emissions: Don’t be Rich—Well, that is some advice.

How Much Energy is Used to Heat, Cool, and Light our Homes in Different U.S. Climate Regions?—Where we live goes a long way in determining our energy usage patterns.  However, I would argue that this analysis is incomplete without looking at transportation emissions by climate region. Someone in New York City may use more energy to heat and cool their residence than someone in Orlando but that Floridian sure as hell uses a lot more energy for transportation.

Even Trump is Beginning to Realize that He can’t Save Coal—Coal is dead.  Trump, in some ways, hastened its demise because political opponents have no need to even attempt to cater to a craven interest group that will utilize all the political chicanery of nationalism to achieve its financial goals.

White House Shuns Energy Secretary’s Coal & Nuclear Bailout—The plan was shit, but that did not stop Rick Perry from trying to accomplish the goals of his buddies in the coal industry with the nuclear boys along for the ride.  When even Donald Trump’s administration realizes that something is a bad idea you know it was really bottom feeding.

Hawai’i Looks To Add 260 Megawatts Of Solar & 1+ Gigawatt-Hour Of Storage—If there is one U.S. state that can go completely renewable in the short term it is probably Hawaii.  The state’s residents pay a lot for electricity and it is disconnected from any larger electrical grids as each island is basically its own mini-grid.

Sony Brings its 100 Percent Renewable Energy Goal Forward a Decade—The federal government and many states may be absent from going after ambitious goals, but large private companies that are bigger energy users than some small countries are making a commitment to renewable energy.

40% Of China’s Coal Plants Are Losing Money, Reports Carbon Tracker—Is China the great economic bubble of our time?  I am beginning to wonder if the entire economy is being run like a giant Ponzi scheme that everyone is afraid to question because the impact of collapse would be so damaging to the world economy.

Global Warming to Leave us Crying in our Costlier Beer—Global warming has come for chocolate and coffee.  Now it is coming for our beer.

Beyond Meat’s Veggie Burger Produces 90% Fewer Greenhouse Gas Emissions than Cow-Based Burgers—You can question the health benefits of an ersatz beef patty.  You can even question whether the effort to mimic animal protein is worth the effort when high protein, meat free dishes can be ultra-appetizing without resorting to culinary trickery.  You cannot deny that on a emissions versus emissions basis there is no question replacing a beef patty with a veggie patty is a winner.

New Study Suggests it’s Time to Replace Modern, Grassy Lawns—If there is one change I wish every homeowner, regardless of climate, would do it is taking out as much of their home’s lawn as possible.  Yes, it is hard work to initially remove lawn and replace it with something more planet friendly but think about the benefits.  No more mowing.  ‘Nuff said.

Friday Linkage 6/8/2018

Can we begin to say the words “dictatorial” when speaking about Donald Trump?  He is not a dictator, but he sure would like to be one.  It’s not surprising given his personality, his history, or the sycophants who surround him.  The man believes that winning an election through the technicality of the Electoral College has given him the mandate to reshape America in his orange image.

However, every vote can be an opportunity to offer rebuke.  The midterm elections coming in November offer the best opportunity to gut punch the efforts to gut our democracy.  I may not like Nancy Pelosi, but can you imagine Trump having to deal with a woman on daily basis to get anything through Congress.  The steam is already coming out his ears and his thumbs are ready for a tweet.

On to the links…

New Disclosures Contradict Pruitt’s Claims about Lobbyist Connected to his Fancy Condo—Scott Pruitt is the whack-a-rat of political scandals and corruption.  He just keeps on popping up no matter how many times he gets smacked in his smug face.

Noted Competent Man Scott Pruitt’s Latest Scandal Involves Chick-fil-A—Nothing says “drain the swamp” like trying to use your position as Trump’s poisoner in chief to strong arm a religious extremist chicken chain into giving your wife a franchise despite her lack of experience in the industry.

How Does Scott Pruitt Survive?—I will give you one reason: his actions enrich corporate America at the expense of the American people.  It’s not too hard to figure out.

Rick Perry’s Premium Class Travel Cost Taxpayers $63,500 Last Year in First 7 Months Alone—This administration is giving out a master class in grift, if not outright theft.  The corruption is so pervasive that garden variety corruption just does not cut it as headline making news anymore.

Trump orders Department of Energy to look into propping up failing coal plants—This is the beach that the Trump administration wants to die on.  In an effort to line the pockets of coal barons who backed Trump early and often the administration is going to go against the advice of everyone except Rick Perry and the coal barons.  Good luck with this.

All Of US Could Be Powered By Solar Alone?—This does not even beg the question of do we need to produce as much power as we use today.  What if we used dramatically less power at home and at work?

Nevada Utility Is Putting $2 Billion into Solar Power and Storage—$2 billion is a lot of money.  The better part is that energy storage is part of the equation.  Nevada should be a great test case for solar plus storage because the state gets a good amount of sunshine, the population is relatively concentrated, and utilities finally seem ready to embrace the future.

How California is Bringing Solar Energy to Low-Income Renters—Unfortunately, solar photovoltaic systems are generally something deployed by the affluent on homes that they own.  Renters or low income households have not been able to take advantage.

What Does it Mean to be Frugal?—No word in our lexicon has a more troubled meaning than frugal.  Something that should be celebrated is generally regarded as a bad thing.  Frugal is more often than not associated with being cheap.  It is not, however, a synonym for cheap.

How to Use Less Plastic Without Fully Going “Zero Waste”—No one ever comes out and says the best way to make less waste is to buy less stuff?  Oh right, advertisers are not down with that message.

Bangkok’s Hidden Train Repair Yard Keeps Thailand on its Rails—The transformation of these rail cars from dilapidated to functional is amazing.  It makes me wonder how much usable life we leave in the things we junk.

In Our Overworked Society, Take Time to Do Nothing—We work too much and relax too little.  Is it a wonder that our brains are fried, our focus gone, and our sleep is troubled?

This Weed-Killing AI Robot can Tell Crops Apart—What if you could deploy a similar technology that does not use herbicides at all?  Imagine a solar powered robot running along the rows of plants with an armature using a pair of snips or cutting wheel to trim weeds.

Not Everyone Loves the Museum of Ice Cream and Its Instagram-Famous Sprinkle Pool—Who would have thought that having people frolic in a pool of plastic sprinkles would be a problem when those sprinkles inevitably ended up outside?  Oh wait, anyone with half a brain.  Do we really need a pool of faux ice cream sprinkles in a faux museum dedicated to ice cream that really only serves as a backdrop for people’s Instagram photos?

Friday Linkage 2/2/2018

Is anyone else going to spend the weekend consciously avoiding the Super Bowl?  Maybe it is a good weekend to hit up the local ski hill.  #OptOutside does not just have to be about the day after Thanksgiving.

On to the links…

Iowa Lawmakers Consider Ditching State’s Energy Efficiency Programs—These programs are popular.  These programs save people money.  These programs save energy.  What say you Republicans?  Kill it!  It is as if Republicans across the country have spent the last year huffing paint fumes and decided that they were going to gut popular programs nationwide in one orgy of political self immolation.

Trumps Asked for a Van Gogh; The Guggenheim Offered this Gold Toilet—This is just too perfect.  Who said museum directors do not have a sense of humor?

Scott Pruitt’s First Senate Oversight Hearing Was a Total Sham—Sham?  I was going to go for goat rope or shit show myself.  What do you say Scott:

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EPA Uses Posters to Troll its Own Employees—Just when you thought it could not get more Orwellian under the Trump administration Scott Pruitt comes out of his hole—soundproof and guarded by an around the clock security detail—to one up everyone else.

New Emails Reveal Scott Pruitt was Personally Involved in Erasing Climate Data from EPA Website—It’s our boy again.  He really hates the truth doesn’t he?

Scott Pruitt is Slowly Strangling the EPA—Scott Pruitt has basically stopped the EPA from doing its mandated job because he does not like anyone getting in the way of the fossil fuel industry.  He is a paid lackey of oil and gas.  Nothing more and nothing less.

Don’t Look, But a Couple of Mega-Companies Are About to Take Over Your Food Supply—You may not pay attention to mergers between agri-chemical giants, but you should.  Our farm economy is going to be pinned between a few gigantic suppliers of inputs and a few gigantic buyers of commodities.

Cliven Bundy Is a Free Man. His Cows Are Still a Nuisance.—Cliven Bundy is a scam artist.  His children are fellow scam artists.  He has shown that he has no principles and cares only for keeping his name in the news as a way to keep dollars flowing in what is surely some twisted scheme.

The Real Lesson of the Energiewende is that the German Economy uses Too Much Energy—There is something important in this line of thinking.  We can never deploy enough renewables or enough clean energy if we do not adjust both the volume and patterns of our consumption.

The Allure of Horse-Powered Farms—I do not know about allure, but it sure looks a lot more peaceful than the mechanized warfare of a modern farm.

Seabins want to be the garbage cans of the ocean—How do we deploy these things into every marina in the country?  Seriously, how much could it really cost?

The Future of Nuclear Power? Think Small—Nuclear energy is like a zombie.  This idea never dies.

LPGAer And Frequent Trump Golf Partner: “He Cheats Like Hell”—I am sure just as he is pocketing his ball on a “gimme” 35 foot two break putt he is telling everyone within earshot that he is the best golfer.  So good, in fact, that if he had not wanted to be a multiple time bankrupt developer he would have gone on the PGA tour.  No lie.  The best.  Tremendous.  Put me down for a birdie.

Friday Linkage 12/15/2017

I was prepared to write some snarky comments about how the voters of Alabama could look past someone being a certifiable crazy person and child molester but could not stomach voting for a Democrat. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that at least enough voters in Alabama had the good sense to not vote for Roy Moore.

The frightening thing is that more than 48% of voters who participated in that special election thought that Roy Moore was the right person to represent them, the state of Alabama, and the values of the United States of America.  There is nothing that encapsulates our broken system, riven by partisanship, more than that fact.

Imagine there was a special election in say Colorado where the Democratic candidate was accused of cruising the mall for teenagers, had been twice removed from office for failing to follow the laws of the land, and had defended slavery.  Can you imagine the howls from people like Sean Hannity and Fox & Friends.  Instead, put an elephant on that candidate and he is the last, best chance to protect America from…access to healthcare?

On to the links…

Trump’s Interior Secretary: Shameless Tool of Oil and Gas Industries—The more light that we can shine on Ryan Zinke’s agenda and actions the better the world will be for it.  Like the other Trump kleptocrats he is gorging on a buffet of public goods to enrich his friends and donors.  Take a moment and read up on the scandals of the Warren G. Harding administration and tell me if you see some similarities.

The Interior Department Is Giving Business to Secretary Zinke’s Billionaire Pal—Can you smell the corruption that Ryan Zinke is cooking?  This guy does not care that he is corrupt because there is nothing you can do about it.  This guy is the point man for the theft of your public goods.

Reclaiming Appalachia: A Push to Bring Back Native Forests to Coal Country—Coal country is a damaged place.  Decades of dominance by companies that care little for the land or people has left a landscape scarred.  Healing that landscape in a deliberative way is a great step forward.

How American Cities & States are Fighting Climate Change Globally—The federal government is in the bag for fossil fuels and ideologues who would have you believe that human caused climate change is some kind of hoax cooked up by academics and liberals.  As if those groups can be counted on to agree on a menu for a campus mixer without things devolving into a bloodbath of recriminations let alone conspire on a global scale in secret.  Cities, municipalities, and states are where the climate change action is happening right now.

Here’s What Carbon Neutral Electricity Could Look Like for Fort Collins—Cities are starting to figure out just how much power they have to transform the energy system of the future.

Trump’s Coal and Nuclear Subsidy Won’t Keep Power Plants Open but Will Raise Prices—Let’s see, a plan championed by all hat, no cows Rick Perry is destined to fail in its ultimate goal yet still raise prices for consumers. It’s like Republicans under Trump have decided that it is okay to get all of the downside risk while achieving none of the goals.  Also remember that this plan is essentially a sop to a half dozen or so coal barons who want a federal bailout without actually asking for a federal bailout.  You know, the free market and all.

The Federal Land at Stake in Trump’s Rush for More Drilling—Trump and the rest of his kleptocrat cronies are running high on the hog right now in transferring public goods into private resources.  If you think that there is anything public about land being opened for oil and gas drilling try getting near one of these facilities out west.  Your ass will end up in the back of a sheriff’s car real fast.

‘Death spiral’: Half of Europe’s Coal Plants are Losing Money—Coal is on the brink.  Why?  It is losing money.

Australia Has Already Hit 1 Gigawatt Of Solar Installed In 2017, Breaking Multiple Records—1 GW is a lot of solar.  Every week seems to bring a solar story from Australia that highlights that country going all in on solar.

Rooftop Solar and EVs Save Water and Cut Pollution in Texas – and Data can Help Us go Further—As we enter a period of climate change stressing water supplies it is important to consider the second order effects of renewable electricity.  It takes a lot of water to produce grid electricity from coal, nuclear, or natural gas.  A solar panel requires zero water to do the same thing.

Are Pigs Eating our Food?—This is a fairly nuanced look at the idea that livestock is eating our food in a 1:1 direct substitution.  The truth is much more complex, as the truth tends to be, as livestock—depending upon the species—eat residues from other agricultural production processes that are essentially waste products or eat substances that humans cannot eat directly for sustenance.

Expect a Meat Tax within 5-10 Years—Five to ten years seems a little sporty, but as we fully understand both the environmental and health impacts of eating meat there will be an increasing drumbeat for some sort of action.  In the United States I think that the easiest solution would be to end the crop subsidies that make CAFOs possible.  Without subsidized corn and soy there would be no way that companies could make CAFOs work.

How Our Housing Choices Make Adult Friendships More Difficult—Is it just our housing or is it our entire society?

Friday Linkage 9/8/2017

Labor Day week and the links are a little light.  Maybe I spent too much time reading about DACA, Hurricane Irma, and the forthcoming Iowa vs. Iowa State football game to really get my head into other news stories.

On to the links…

This EPA Statement Reads Like Something You’d Find in Breitbart—In a few years when the Trump Administration is little more than a steaming pile of bad memories the lasting damage will be unwound slowly and shit like this will just make us cringe in collective disbelief.  It is amazing that a group of politicians who accuse everyone outside their circle of being “fake news” is probably the largest source of bullshit every spewed from the West Wing.

Potential Carbon Capture Game Changer Nears Completion—Natural gas as a source of electricity is here to stay for a while, so if we could find a way to effectively and economically capture the carbon released as a result of combustion it could be a pathway to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Power Company Kills Nuclear Plant, Plans $6 Billion in Solar, Battery Investment—This happened in Florida, which is a state as hostile to a good idea as any that exists.  Heck, it’s a state that has elected Rick Scott to be its governor more than once.

How Tennessee’s Taken the Politics Out of Renewable Energy—Make it about choosing economically efficient solutions that provide renewable energy and even red states like Tennessee can get behind the green revolution.

Huge Tunisian Solar Park Hopes to Provide Saharan Power to Europe—The numbers are staggering.  4.5GW of solar is a monster number.  However, the dreams of tapping the Sahara Desert to power Europe always seem to be just a little out of reach.

After its Dams Came Down, a River is Reborn—The Elwha River will be a test case for dam removal going forward and it looks like an amazing success story.  Nature will find a way.