Monday’s Forum

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Mu Yixiao says:

    Tragedy in Waukesha

    SUV drives through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, killing five and injuring more than 40 people.

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  2. Kylopod says:

    I just got my booster yesterday. It was Pfizer whereas my previous doses were Moderna. Not what I would have wanted, but the vaccination site online said it had Moderna and not Pfizer, then after I walked the half-mile to get there I was informed they only had Pfizer. I could have looked for another place, but my understanding is that it just isn’t that big a deal, and the relative effectiveness of mixing as opposed to going with the same one is not known; it’s pretty certain I’ll get decent protection either way.

    I currently have a sore arm and about 100D fever, similar to my symptoms last time, but somewhat milder so far.

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  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    A Power Struggle Over Cobalt Rattles the Clean Energy Revolution

    How the U.S. Lost Ground to China in the Contest for Clean Energy

    The TL/DR is that the need for rare metals grows, the mines where the ore is produced have increasingly fallen under the control of the Chinese. In large part this is due to the lack of a cogent industrial policy in the US and its over reliance on laissez-faire capitalism.

    For environmental reasons, I’ve been skeptical of idea batteries, using mined metals are the answer to our energy storage needs that will enable the move from fossil fuels and this is another reason for that skepticism. There is research into other battery chemistry that could resolve these dilemmas, but until those technologies demonstrate that they can meet the performance of lithium/cobalt, we can’t plan on them as a path forward.

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  4. Neil Hudelson says:

    While this article doesn’t answer the cobalt-specific issues, there has been a decade-long hope that we can collect the rare earth metals saturated in abundance in the super heated groundwater we use in geothermal power production. Lithium in particular is found in abundance, but the water is so corrosive that separating the metals from it has been nearly impossible. One Australian company seems to have maybe possibly cracked the code.

    Lithium tends to exist in these reservoirs at a really high concentration–1k to 25k micro grams per kg of water. The other rare metals we need are much less abundant, often approaching 0 ppm.

    The exception seems to be Cobalt, at least sometimes. A survey of geothermal wells by the University of Utah found some wells approaching 800 micro grams per kilogram. Not enough to solve the issue, but giving hope for alternatives to Chinese-controlled mines.

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  5. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    From what I’ve read (as a layman), batteries are still our best option for energy storage and leveling. Lithium and other metals exist in the US in sufficient amounts. And… we’re about to have an entire mining industry looking for new jobs.

    Plus, it gets us away from reliance on the Chinese.

    Win-win-bonus.

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  6. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    …batteries are still our best option…

    Perhaps, but what is becoming apparent and usually poo-pooed by battery advocates is that the environmental costs of the mining and the disposal, recycling of the spent batteries are great. Add to that any electricity generated for charging coming from fossil fuel sources undercuts the benefit of battery storage. In the near to middle term, batteries are likely our best answer, but not necessarily a good one.

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  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Via Arwa Mahdawi at the Guardian:

    Peng’s circumstances may be extreme, but they are by no means unusual. When women speak up about sexual misconduct they tend to be punished for it. Speak up about sexual harassment at work and you may find your career suddenly starts to stall. You may find yourself being ostracized; being branded a troublemaker; threatened with the terms of draconian NDAs. Speak out about sexual misconduct at your university and you may find yourself being treated like you’re the one who did something wrong. You may get quizzed about how much you drank, what you were wearing, how many sexual partners you had. Speak out about the popular kid in your town? Your house might get burned down.

    That last example isn’t hypothetical – it’s what happened to Daisy Coleman. In 2012 14-year-old Coleman and her 13-year-old best friend Paige Parkhurst were assaulted at a party. After they accused the high school football star both girls were subjected to horrific bullying and harassment. The Colemans had their house burnt down, and mutilated dead rabbits were put in Parkhurst’s car. Daisy’s mother was fired from her job and the family ended up leaving town. Daisy died of suicide last year. Her mother took her own life four months later.

    From that last link:

    The organization that Daisy Coleman co-founded, SafeBAE, announced Melinda Coleman’s death on its Instagram page late Sunday.

    “We are in shock and disbelief to share with our SafeBAE family that we lost Melinda Coleman to suicide this evening,” the organization said. “The bottomless grief of losing her husband, Tristan, and Daisy was more than she could face most days.”

    Melinda Coleman’s husband, Michael, died in a car accident in 2009, according to the Kansas City Star. In 2019, her son Tristan, 19, also died in a one-vehicle crash in western Kansas; Melinda Coleman was in the car but survived, the Star also reported.
    ……………………..
    Norris told TODAY Coleman, 58, was devoted to her children and sought to serve as a model of living through adversity. She is survived by two sons, Logan and Charlie.

    Jeebus. How much adversity is a person supposed to take?

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  8. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    What an awful story. That poor woman.

    When I was in high school, it was pretty much accepted that any complaint against a male athlete, particularly a football star, would be ignored, so it was pointless to make them. Even worse was the way the male teachers toadied to those guys. Grown men slobbering over boys, jockeying to gain their favor.

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  9. becca says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Let’s hear it for asteroid mining!

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  10. Sleeping Dog says:

    The view from Beijing.

    The fallout from the not-guilty verdict in the jury trial exposes that the “democratic political system” in the US has failed to heal the “illness of social polarization and racial divergence,” said Chinese experts on Sunday, predicting that similar cases and riots could increase during the 2022 midterm elections and the 2024 presidential election.

    Chinese analysts said that cases such as this which could spark conflicts and violence in the US will increase as both the Democrats and the Republicans want to make the best use of the divergence between left and right, black and white, rather than heal and unify the society, because the two parties survive on and profit from worsening social divisions.

    This is an illness that is deeply rooted in the bones of the US’ two-party political system. “US democracy” is losing the ability to solve such a problem and more similar cases will take place in the future, observers noted.

    ——————–

    An increasing number of incidents similar to the Rittenhouse case and their resulting social contradictions will continue to take place in the US, Xin predicts. “With more social issues being politicized under partisan rivalry, the US will suffer worse and more intense social divergence,” he said.

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  11. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    There was a news item a couple weeks ago talking about new research in Li batteries. It seems that ones made from recycled material turn out to be more efficient and longer lasting than ones made from raw materials.

    And all the other storage options I’ve seen talked about are physical–like pumping water up a hill and then releasing it through turbines when generation is needed. That might be okay in California (umm.. if they had any water to spare), but it’s not so great for Minnesota. 🙂

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  12. wr says:

    @Kylopod: “I currently have a sore arm and about 100D fever, similar to my symptoms last time, but somewhat milder so far.”

    My Moderna booster last week hit me just as hard as dose 2 and kept me down longer — maybe 36 hours instead of 24. Still, a worthwhile reminder of how happy I am to get the booster because having those symptoms for real, and for weeks, just feels like hell.

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  13. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    It’s so much better when there’s only one party and a monolithic racial culture. Right?

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  14. Sleeping Dog says:

    And another from Europe.

    “The visible deterioration of democracy in the United States, as seen in the increasing tendency to contest credible election results, the efforts to suppress participation (in elections), and the runaway polarization… is one of the most concerning developments,” said International IDEA secretary-general Kevin Casas-Zamora.

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  15. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    How best to build up to Cultural Revolution Part 2?

    At least a Second Great Leap “Forward” is unlikely.

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  16. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    It’s so much better when there’s only one party and a monolithic racial culture. Right?

    🙂 This is sort of turn about is fail play, that type of analysis of China appears regularly in the US press.

    What our concern should be is that how China views what is transpiring here, will be similar to how other countries are viewing us. One of America’s selling points has been acceptance of diversity of opinion, that has been eroded noticeably by the rise of illiberalism.

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  17. Andy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    My wife’s cousin has three little kids that were at the parade with their grandparents. They were right next to the band when the vehicle hit. Fortunately they were not injured but obviously are traumatized.

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  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    US added to list of ‘backsliding’ democracies for first time

    “This year we coded the United States as backsliding for the first time, but our data suggest that the backsliding episode began at least in 2019,” it said in its report.

    Alexander Hudson, a co-author of the report, said: “The United States is a high-performing democracy, and even improved its performance in indicators of impartial administration (corruption and predictable enforcement) in 2020. However, the declines in civil liberties and checks on government indicate that there are serious problems with the fundamentals of democracy.”

    The report says: “A historic turning point came in 2020-21 when former president Donald Trump questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 election results in the United States.”

    In addition, Hudson pointed to a “decline in the quality of freedom of association and assembly during the summer of protests in 2020” after the police killing of George Floyd.

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  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Andy: Too close to home.

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  20. Mister Bluster says:

    From yesterday’s Biden Preparing for 2024 Run thread:

    …this will get lost in the sauce of the internet,..

    Not if I can help it.

    Bnut says:
    Monday, 22 November 2021 at 01:07
    @Michael Reynolds: It’s not an open thread, but I have wanted to say for at least a decade that you have a profound command of language that I am jealous of. We disagree on enough things but those are for another day. Nothing else to add, this will get lost in the sauce of the internet, but you have actually made me more aware of my own words and phrasing, especially as it concerns online interaction. Hat tip to you, and to this site and it’s commentators.

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  21. Mister Bluster says:

    Also from yesterday’s Autocracy thread:

    @Andy:..And, IMO, we ought to give anyone with a Hong Kong passport the ability to stay in the US. The same goes for other countries with despotic governments.

    This may have changed since I last heard. It is my understanding that children fathered by United States soldiers and sailors by women of the land where they are in combat are not United States Citizens by birth.
    If this is still true these children need to be considered for full USA citizenship.

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  22. just nutha says:

    @Sleeping Dog: (Got an Edit 🙂 ) One of my teachers in high school (67-70) was a party in a rare earths mining project. As I recall, mining had pretty significant environmental costs. Maybe the situation has improved; I remain skeptical, as usual.

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  23. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    This may have changed since I last heard. It is my understanding that children fathered by United States soldiers and sailors by women of the land where they are in combat are not United States Citizens by birth.

    Not exactly.

    Between 20 and 25 people annually will be impacted by this change, the USCIS official said, citing data compiled from the last five years.

    Those who will be affected by this change, according to USCIS, are:

    • Children born abroad to non-U.S. citizen parents and are adopted after their birth by a U.S. citizen, a U.S. government employee or U.S. military members.

    • Children born abroad to lawful permanent residents that are not U.S. citizens and are a U.S. government employee or U.S. service member who is naturalized only after the child’s birth

    • Children born abroad of two U.S. government employee or U.S. service member parents who do not meet the residence or physical presence requirements to transmit citizenship to their child at birth (or one non-U.S. citizen parent and one U.S. citizen parent who does not meet these requirements)

    –USA Today

    It changes the definition of “residing in the US”, and requires a different form to be used. It’s not an across-the-board denial of citizenship for those children.

    That being said: Give permanent resident status to anyone from HK that wants to come live here–and then un-muck the path to citizenship for everyone.

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  24. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Batteries of some sort will be essential for the electrical grid to store power made by solar and wind sources, as these cannot be produced on demand.

    They don’t need to be lithium ion batteries, though.

    There are other storage mechanisms. All, BTW, lose some power on conversion and re-conversion of energy, as dictated by the laws of thermodynamics (there are no loopholes in natural laws). You could use electric power from wind or solar to compress air, for example, and then use the compressed air to turn a turbine to produce electricity. You could also wind up springs, pump water uphill, drag a railroad car up a slope (really), and there are more, I suppose.

    Batteries might be more efficient.

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  25. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: That this is the first time the US has made the list is disturbing in its own right, unfortunately.

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  26. CSK says:

    Depressing as it is to mention, Donald Trump reports that his son-owned vanity press, Winning Team Publishing, sold one million dollars’ worth of his coffee table picture book in 24 hours.

    There really is a sucker born every minute.

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  27. Mister Bluster says:

    Lest we forget…

    November 22, 1963

    Lyndon Johnson 36th President of the United States

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  28. Kathy says:

    @just nutha:

    There’s a difference between abundance and concentration. Usually the element you want to mine is found in relatively high concentrations, but this means most of the ore you take out is not the element you want. So you may need to dig up tens of tons of ore to get half a ton of metal.

    Separating them varies by ore, a lot, but will involve water, chemical solvents, and energy of some form, usually electricity or heat. This leaves a lot of left-over ore and water mixed with whatever solvents were used in the separation. That’s rather dirty. These leftovers are hard to store or dispose off.

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  29. Mu Yixiao says:

    Off on another topic: I’ve started watching Star Trek: Prodigy. I know I’m several decades beyond the target audience, but I find myself really enjoying it. It’s simple, clean, mildly optimistic, and has some really good voice acting.

    After Discovery, it’s a breath of fresh air.

    I’m also looking forward to the upcoming “Strange New Worlds”.

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  30. Jen says:

    Okay–two comments above reference lithium as a metal, I thought it was a salt? (I know it’s an element, trying to figure out the difference as described above).

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  31. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    I’ve seen it defined as an “alkali metal,” if that helps.

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  32. Mu Yixiao says:

    Latest from BBC says that the Waukesha incident was NOT a targeted event. The driver was apparently fleeing from a crime.

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  33. Michael Reynolds says:

    If the focus is on climate change – as it should be – then let’s not make the perfect the enemy of the good. We need to define what we’re after, which I think comes down to less CO2 and methane. If that’s the goal, then debris from mining is not a major concern.

    When you are in a war fighting for your life you don’t stop to worry that your brass is littering the area. Wars are not won by fighting every battle simultaneously. Just getting CO2 and methane under control is a labor of Hercules which we will be damned lucky to accomplish even partly. Define the objective, analyze the battle space, assess the opposition, and concentrate your forces. What we are doing on environment is too little strategy, too many time-wasting tactical skirmishes. Fuck the tailings, fuck the aesthetic impact, and while we’re at it, fuck the whales. Are we serious about climate change or are we dicking around?

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  34. just nutha says:

    @CSK: Additionally, our friends at Wikipedia note:

    The alkali metals are all shiny, soft, highly reactive metals at standard temperature and pressure and readily lose their outermost electron to form cations with charge +1. They can all be cut easily with a knife due to their softness, exposing a shiny surface that tarnishes rapidly in air due to oxidation by atmospheric moisture and oxygen (and in the case of lithium, nitrogen). Because of their high reactivity, they must be stored under oil to prevent reaction with air, and are found naturally only in salts and never as the free elements. [emphasis added]

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  35. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    These kids today just don’t get crime. Whatever this asshole was fleeing, running down dancing grannies is not going to help his case. Same principle as carrying a gun on a burglary – you’re trading a possible 3 to 5 for life without parole.

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  36. Jen says:

    @just nutha:
    @CSK:

    Thank you both! That makes sense now–meaning, why I thought lithium–>salt, I mean.

    It stuck in my brain because one of those NPR shows (Radio Lab, maybe?) had a program that talked about elements, and one was lithium. It was observed that towns with slightly elevated amounts of lithium in their water supply had lower crime rates, lower domestic violence episodes, etc.

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  37. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    The suspect is 39, and has a very long criminal record, so he wasn’t a neophyte.

    I’ve read he was fleeing after an altercation involving a knife, and had gotten out on bail two days previously.

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  38. just nutha says:

    @Michael Reynolds: If debris was the only issue, that might work as a consideration. Sadly, the issue as I understand it is debris and water pollution and deforestation (with, ironically enough, accompanying climate issues) and air pollution of other sorts. Feel free to make corrections/additions as required.

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  39. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    Well, the drug known as lithium is a mood stabilizer, so… 🙂

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  40. Kathy says:

    @Jen:

    Quick rule of thumb: salts are compounds, metals are elements.

    Few metals are found in elemental form, as most react with other elements to produce compounds of various sorts. The big exceptions are mercury, gold, and silver, and the other noble metals.

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  41. Michael Reynolds says:

    @just nutha:
    Water pollution is an issue. It is not an existential issue. In much the same way, wind turbines killing birds is a problem, but not an existential one. Plastic in the ocean, air pollution in Los Angeles, loss of biodiversity, all problems, but not the problem. If we were making great progress on the problem, I’d be all for giving some attention to other environmental problems. But we have a limited number of people who care about climate change, powerful opponents, a sketchy ability to craft a message, huge inertia, and stakes that could not be higher. Right now we have millions of people who think they’re solving the climate crisis by re-cycling their grocery bags. The more empty virtue signaling, the less actual progress because well-meaning but irrelevant actions bleed off the sense of urgency.

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  42. Jen says:

    @CSK: Yep, that’s what they were talking about–lithium for treatment, but then it delved into other aspects of lithium (listen past the poetry opener). So very interesting.

    @Kathy: Thank you–that’s a good way to remember.

    OTB delivers again: come for the politics, get a crib sheet for chemistry. 😀

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  43. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    And cooking tips, and reading, viewing, and listening suggestions, and history lessons, and…

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  44. Jen says:

    Federal judge throwing some serious shade:

    A federal judge took aim at former President Donald Trump on Monday for lying about voter fraud during the 2020 presidential election, saying that former Vice President Al Gore had a better standing to challenge the 2000 election results but that he was “a man” and walked away.

    “Al Gore had a better case to argue than Mr. Trump, but he was a man about what happened to him,” Senior District Judge Reggie Walton said of Gore’s decision to end his presidential bid following weeks of legal battles. “He accepted it and walked away.”

    *Giggle.*

    Via CNN.

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  45. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    If there’s one thing Donald Trump isn’t, it’s a man, if by man you mean a strong, mature, stable, competent adult.

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  46. Monala says:

    @Michael Reynolds: not an existential problem, but I did recently read about a potential solution to wind turbines killing birds: paint one of the blades black. The contrast with the white blades makes the turbine more visible to birds, and better helps them avoid it.

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  47. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    There is one other environmental problem that has a potential to be existential to a degree that worries me.
    Maybe.
    And for similar reasons: impact on current human ecology/economy:
    pollinator insect population collapse.
    It could damage modern agricultural systems on a scale second only to shifts in temperature/rainfall patterns on the key grain production zones.

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  48. JohnSF says:

    @Kathy:
    IIRC arguably the best options for energy storage for intermittency correction are molten salt (especially if you are using solar thermal) and hydrogen.
    Li batteries are similar for energy density but cost and resource availability may make them not the best option for grid (as opposed to domestic and vehicle) storage.

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  49. just nutha says:

    @JohnSF: I suspect that if you well becomes contaminated with benzine from fracking, you’ll think that’s an existential problem, too. But only for you. And that’s part of losing the battle on climate–even in the worst case scenaria, most societies will only be inconvenienced, not destroyed. From that perspective, not even climate is “an existential crisis.”

    Pollnator population collapse may actually be the existential crisis. And the few articles I’ve read hint that we don’t have the tools to address it.

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  50. dazedandconfused says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Some landmines have to be dodged. The obvious step, for the truly serious but tragically naive, would be to advocate a very big reduction in the earth’s human population. A crusade against all dicking around might find itself well-dicked.

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  51. Gustopher says:

    @Monala: JFK Airport is right next to a couple of wetland wildlife preserves.

    This leads to the absurd detail of the airport hiring people to shoot birds that fly in the wrong direction from the wildlife preserves, which are the only spot where a great blue heron can hang out in the area.

    It’s one of those things that is either very funny or very sad, but I can’t tell which.

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  52. JohnSF says:

    @just nutha:
    Existential for humans as whole, probably not. For our current civilization? Highly likely IMO.

    Best models of previous high-temp climate patterns of pre-Pleistocene (which are based on rather inadequate evidence and modelling, admittedly) indicate v. likely desertification in several key grain cultivation zones: US/Canada prairies, NE China, NE Argentina.

    Other arable areas may be less affected as straight line temperature rise or drought is not likely longer term outcome.
    So NW Europe; N India ? (depends on monsoon which we don’t really know how will be affected) or even become available due to increased rainfall or warmth: Arabia, S. Siberia, possibly the Saharan fringe.
    This is very much not as currently generally expected from “straight lining”.

    Problem is: the current grain zones are critical to the feeding of a planet of billions of urban dwellers via mass scale agriculture.
    To shift production to new zones would be a colossal task.The infrastucture involved is on a monumental scale: farms, drying kilns, sealed granaries, grain elevators, roads, railways and canalized waterways, etc etc etc.
    It’s war-mobilization levels of effort.
    And the reason why free marketeer “adapt and mitigate” types are forecasting a fools paradise: neither free market economics nor liberal polities are likely to withstand the economic pressures of conversion.
    (Not to mention the teensy problem of sea level rise)

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  53. dazedandconfused says:

    @Jen:

    Seems like a riff off John Kelly’s recent assertion that Trump isn’t a real man.

    https://sports.yahoo.com/john-kelly-said-trump-real-141740403.html

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  54. Andy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    @Andy: Too close to home.

    Yes, it’s a good reminder that life is fragile and fleeting.

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  55. dazedandconfused says:
  56. Michael Cain says:

    @Kathy:

    Batteries might be more efficient.

    Use pumped hydro as your baseline for comparison — it loses about 10% of the energy each way, so is roughly 81% efficient. When they built the pumped hydro station near me back in the 1960s, there wasn’t anything else nearly that good. Good contemporary batteries, such as the lithium ion packs in EVs, are roughly the same. Compressed air is about 55% efficient if you’re really good at managing the heat differences that occur. Extracting electricity from molten salt storage is going to be quite bad, as the necessary steam turbine runs only 30-40% efficiency.

    Pumped hydro isn’t just for big mountains. The second largest pumped hydro station in the US (1.9 GW maximum output, 19 GWh capacity if the upper reservoir is full) is in Michigan with only 360 ft of head.

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  57. CSK says:

    @dazedandconfused:
    Everyone who knows Trump, or knows of him, knows that.

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  58. Michael Cain says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    That might be okay in California (umm.. if they had any water to spare)…

    San Diego is building a large new pumped hydro system. However…

    The pumped hydro stations don’t have to be in California. One of the things California is doing — I’m not sure it’s entirely intentional — is setting itself up to the transfer point for the entire Western Interconnect. CA already gets lots of power from out of state, with HVDC from both the Columbia River dams and the massive Intermountain plant in Utah. In about three years, when Diablo Canyon is shutting down, much of the replacement power is going to be Wyoming wind power from the downslope on the east side of the Continental Divide and the Transwest Express transmission line. They have the capital, if they choose to use it, to expand the West’s transmission network and shuffle around large amounts of renewable power. There is no reason why surplus hydro or wind power can’t fill reservoirs in Idaho that will eventually be hydro power used in California.

    Note also that as thermal power plants in the West close down, only a portion of the cooling water needs to be used to provide pumped hydro. There’s a big pumped hydro plant under construction in northern Arizona that will use part of the water rights the Navajo hold and were using to cool a big coal-fired plant. With some careful planning, the Navajo ought to be able to extract more money per year per acre-foot than they were before.

    If you work through it, though, I assert that there will eventually have to be a western interstate authority with powers similar to what FERC has, but without FERC’s eastern design biases…

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  59. CSK says:

    You have to see this, if for no other reason than to feast your eyes on the sight of Trump’s gut hanging over the black belt:

    http://www.nypost.com/2021/11/22/trump-receives-honorary-ninth-degree-black-belt-in-taekwondo/

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  60. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Cain:
    I don’t know about the US, but a study for the UK (original version lost in mists of time, but a comparable more recent study here.) :
    This study indicates that a 1.8 TWh scale storage which is probably the minimum required for an all renewable set, would require 60 Coire Glas scale storage facilities in the UK.

    The earlier study IIRC indicated that hydro storage for a full renewable grid replacing all current electricity generation and gas heating and transport would require the flooding of every single upland valley in the UK.
    And produce electricity at a cost at least five time current prices IIRC.

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  61. Michael Cain says:

    @JohnSF:
    The US national labs have studied renewable supply for the US Western Interconnect for decades now. The first two big things that come out are (a) source diversity and (b) geographic diversity. California alone is almost twice the size of the UK. The WI is more than twelve times the area of the UK, and has some of the finest solar, wind, and hydro resources in the world. (Comparable populations, with the UK at 67M and the Western Interconnect at around 72M.) The WI also has a freaky population pattern — six-eight major metros and a vast amount of empty. The labs claim it can be done and have gone into painful detail. Not painlessly, but possible.

    Those same labs, at least as I read the work, throw their hands up when confronted with the US Eastern Interconnect.

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  62. just nutha says:

    @CSK: It’s so sad to see taekwondo whoring itself by pandering to FG’s ego and urgent hunger for photo ops. But it seems strangely appropriate that the NY Post covered it. Contrasts. Hmmm…

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  63. JohnSF says:

    This relates to the current crisis in European energy.
    The simple fact is that N Europe lacks the insolation for solar power to work in winter.
    With only 8hours of daylight at a maximum of 46.56° elevation, that is a December average insolation in London of around 0.75 kWh per square metre per day. (Can’t remember if that figure allows average cloud or assumes clear sky)
    By comparison Albany, New York gets about 3kWh/m2/day in winter.
    Los Angeles in summer around 6kWh/m2/day. I think. (Figures from old scribled notes).

    Given that our winters often see prolonged periods of cold but still air (hence our being prone to mist and fog) wind and solar can’t get it done.
    And stored renewables are still hopelessly expensive.

    So; Germany shuts down it’s nukes because “Atomkraft nein danke” has been a right on cause for forty odd years.

    Hence Germany burning lignite on a massive scale: around 200 million tonnes CO2 emissions in 2020.
    And the only alternative that works is natural gas NOT renewables, because of the insolation and intermittency ans storage problems.
    Energiewiende is a bad joke.
    Hence the German desire for Nordstream 2.
    Hence Russia has Europe over a barrel; hence the very real danger of Russia moving on Ukraine and Europe being paralyzed due to energy dependence made unavoidable by the energewiende in Germany and the reluctance to accept the need for direct state funding and direction of power policy.

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  64. senyordave says:

    @CSK: I would have thought Trump would go for the white belt or maybe eve an orange belt if there was one available.

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  65. Kathy says:

    Even out of office, our Golden Boy Benito keeps winning. The latest, the candidate he endorsed for Senate in PA has dropped out amid abuse allegations.

    Now, I’m not saying whoever El Cheeto endorses is always the worse candidate, but that’s the way to bet.

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  66. JohnSF says:

    The only alternative to nuclear power for Europe (which provides France with 75% carbon free energy) is the Rubbia plan: a massive north-south grid net to huge solar arrays and salt/hydrogen storage in the north west Sahara.
    (Something that has been in the background of some European thinking for decades).
    The problem: if Europe is going to be dependent on NW Africa for energy, you may replicate the dependency issue re. Russia.
    However, given the states of NW Africa are NOT Russia, history has some rather depressing indicators as to the likely results.

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  67. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    I saw that. It was very kind and generous, to all of us in this little cubbyhole of the internet..

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  68. Michael Cain says:

    @JohnSF:

    The only alternative to nuclear power for Europe (which provides France with 75% carbon free energy) is the Rubbia plan: a massive north-south grid net to huge solar arrays and salt/hydrogen storage in the north west Sahara.

    Exactly! Now, for the US Western Interconnect, consider that the southern half of BC in Canada is Norway, the NW part of Mexico is the NW Sahara, none of the transmission links have to cross anything like the North Sea, or the Mediterranean, or the English Channel. And the north-south Rockies create wind resources that the mountains in Europe don’t. And the population/demand is a small fraction of what exists in Europe. The only way the wealthy western states don’t make this work is if they are somehow kept from making it work.

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  69. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @CSK: Makes about as much sense as a 1-piece bucket of Church’s chicken…

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  70. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Yeah, you’d definitely come out ahead on the average.

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