3/18/2019

Renewables Aren't Going To Save Us

We've been hearing for some time now how the only answer to save the planet was to switch all of our electricity over to renewables, ditching coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear power. Most of those making such claims obviously haven't done the math, haven't figured out that it is impossible for all of our energy needs to be met with renewables unless they are willing to allow widespread ecological damage that will be required in order to realize the 'dream' of renewable energy. An example I used in one of the Disqus comment threads laid out the problem, running a rough calculation of what it would take to replace a single nuclear power plant, specifically the Seabrook Nuclear Plant in Seabrook, NH with solar.

Seabrook is a 1300MW plant. The grounds take up about a square mile of land on the New Hampshire seacoast. A 1KW solar panel is about 18 square feet in area. It would take 1,300,000 panels to equal the output of Seabrook. But that would only be the instantaneous output.

To provide the equivalent of a Seabrook 24 hours a day, 7 days a week would require many times that number, assuming that sufficient power storage capability existed. For the purposes of this exercise we will assume that it is close to the equinox, so there would be 12 hours of sunlight and 12 hours of darkness. We can assume that maximum effective generation takes place for about 4 hours every day, but to be overly generous, we'll assume 6 hours. To provide enough power for 24 hours you would need 4 times as many solar panels since you'll need to generate a full 24 hours worth of electricity in only 6 hours, with one-fourth for immediate use and the other three-fourths being stored for use later in the day when there is little or no sunlight. So that increases the number of panels needed by a factor of 4 which brings the total needed to 5,200,000. But wait, there's more!

You also have to take into account that it isn't always sunny during daylight hours, so there will be a less than 100% sunlight available during the 6 peak hours. Again, we'll be generous and assume that any deficit will be only 30%. That means there will need to be 30% more panels to make up the deficit. That takes us to 6,760,000 panels. There are still a lot of other factors that would need to be taken into account, but I'd need a bigger blog to address even a few of them, so we'll go with the 6,760,000 panels for the rest of our calculations.

Since each panel is 18 square feet in size, that means the total area of the solar array will be 121,680,000 square feet in size. That equates to 4.36 square miles, and that assumes all of the panels are built with no gaps between panels. Since that isn't practical, it's more likely that there will need to be space between rows of panels to allow for maintenance, rain and snow run off, as well as thermal expansion. So let us assume that there will be one panel's length between rows. That doubles the area covered to 8.72 square miles. So in order to replace a Seabrook, we'll need almost 9 times the land area, and that's assuming almost ideal conditions. Seeing as we are almost halfway between the equator and the North Pole, the useful amount of sunlight available to the solar arrays will be less than what I've calculated here. The area needed to provide adequate electricity equivalent to the Seabrook nuclear power plant, at least during the winter months, is likely to be double of what I've already calculated, meaning 17.44 square miles. Now multiply that by the number of Seabrook power plant equivalents – nuclear, coal, and natural gas plants, and you'll see the problem.

There's also the matter of severe weather that can damage or destroy large portions of the solar arrays.

Then there's wind, something I've always found intriguing, but also troubling considering the large amounts of land they require, the documented health problems associated with them, and their deleterious effect on birds and bats.

Keep in mind that my calculations above are merely back-of-the-envelope estimations. I know I've left out a number of factors that can affect the numbers. But when the We-Can-Replace-All-Of-Our-Energy-Needs-With-Renewable-Energy believers choose to ignore major factors, including the vastly increased demand for electricity that is supposed to replace fossil fuels, I have to get my three cents worth in. (Where do they think all of the electricity needed to charge all of those wonderful electric vehicles is going to come from?)

Then there's this:


'Nuff said.

3/17/2019

Thoughts On A Sunday

Our first hint of spring weather – two days of temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s – has ended and we’re back into more winter-like temperatures. The colder temps will slow the melting of ice and snow, reducing the possibilities of ice dams and flooding in the area.

The ski areas in New Hampshire have reported that business was up this year with the weather cooperating by providing more than sufficient snowfall throughout the ski season. While there were no big storms dumping feet of snow, the series of small storms with snowfall totals between 3 and 8 inches gave us more than enough snow to keep ski conditions perfect throughout the season. Our local ski area will be closing on April 7th, a bit earlier than some of the other areas in the state. Since it is a three-season resort they close earlier in order to start making preparations for the summer season.

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It didn’t take long for the clueless Progressives to lay blame for the mass shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand on both Donald Trump and Chelsea Clinton. (I never thought I’d use those names together in the same sentence because of their identical experiences.)

First, Alexandria Occasional-Cortex blames Trump and the NRA for the actions of the racist Maoist-leaning Australian. Then Chelsea Clinton is accosted for her condemnation of anti-Semitism which her pro-Palestinian accoster equated to Islamophobia, and hence the cause of the shooting in New Zealand. (No, I don’t understand that logic chain either, but then a lot of Progressives don’t really ‘do’ logic, they do ‘feelz’ and programmed talking points. No thought required...or tolerated.)

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern figures she knows how to prevent another such shooting: ban all semi-automatic rifles.

The problem?

While the guns used by the shooter were legally purchased, they were illegally modified. This goes to a problem that many in government always choose to ignore, that being if someone really wants a firearm, there are always ways to get them, legal or not. If the shooter in this case hadn’t had access to legal firearms he could modify, he could have gotten them through illegal means. Most gun control laws apply to law-abiding citizens, not criminals. Criminals don’t care about the law and won’t be cowed by such laws.

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Is CNN doomed?

Yes. Yes it is.

Keep in mind that a lot of its viewership is captive audiences at airports. That is not a formula for continued survival.

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It seems that one effect of the Trump economy is that the number of job openings is greater than the people available to fill them. But don’t worry, the Democrats have a plan to fix that problem and reverse the dynamic, returning us to the bad old days of the Obama economy – high unemployment, low economic growth, high taxes, and business-killing regulations.

But don’t worry, the Democrats will find some way of telling you you’ll be better off with the loss of jobs and confiscatory taxes.

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Are things falling apart in France? If what’s been going on in Paris is an indicator, it’s quite possible.

The Yellow Vest protests are again growing in size and the violence that goes with them is growing as well. When President Macron is only paying lip service to the issues that have fueled the protests did he really expect the protests and protesters to go away? That the protests have also spread to a few other countries within the EU is also telling anyone paying attention that the EU is in trouble.

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If the Democrats can’t beat Trump at the ballot box, they’ll do what they can to keep him off the ballot entirely by making it a requirement for presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns. While a federal law is unlikely to ever make it through Congress and past a presidential veto, that hasn’t stopped the Democrats in two states from trying do just that.

Donald Trump didn’t release his taxes. He refused to bow to liberal media pressure. Yet, for New Jersey, they’re advancing legislation to keep any presidential candidate off their ballot if he or she didn’t release their tax returns. In Washington State, they’re trying to do the same thing last week.

I’m not sure the legislation passes the smell test. Can states force candidates to divulge private information like tax returns as a qualifier for being allowed to run for public office? Is it constitutional? How far will the Dems take it? Will they require disclosure of phone records, text messages, and e-mails next? What about sexual history? How far with these butt-munches go in order to disqualify their opponents from running against their candidates?

One has to remember that the Progressives are all about power. They may use the language of democracy, free speech, privacy, and civil rights, but they are not in favor of any of those things. Their actions prove that want unrestricted power over the populace and will do anything to get it. We’ve already seen their street thugs, Antifa, use violence to intimidate or silence their opponents. Now making sure that only people they approve of can run in elections is another indicator of what they plan to do.

One has to remember that the first president to reveal their tax returns was Richard Nixon. There is no law or requirement for presidential candidates to reveal their tax returns. None. Nor should there be. All a tax return will do is allow the Democrats to point out every trivial ‘deviation’ as some kind of indicator of high level corruption even though those deviations are no different from those of millions of other taxpayers.

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If we need another justification of why we need to get our southern border under control, look no further than the latest outrage by way of MS-13. In this case MS-13 gang members stabbed a teen over 100 times and then set their victim on fire.

These are the type of immigrants congressional Democrats are ‘protecting’ with their opposition to tightening border security and extending the border wall. Even though the victim was affiliated with MS-13, that doesn’t give the Democrats a pass on stopping the flood of illegal immigrants crossing the border.

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If you need another indicator that spring is closing in, I just secured my boat slip for another boating season and have put in a repair order for work to be done on the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout, aka The Boat, before it goes back into the water in May. It doesn’t need a lot of work, just routine maintenance (oil change and tune-up) and changing the bar and ring anodes on the stern drive.

Hopefully The Boat will be back in the water by the second weekend in May.

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And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where spring is just around the corner, the snow and ice are melting away, and thoughts of warm days out on the lake are starting to intrude.

3/10/2019

Thoughts On A Sunday

It’s been a snowy day today here in New Hampshire, with about 4 inches falling here at The Gulch. It was also the day that Deb and I went to our tax guy to get our 2018 taxes done. Considering the heaviest of the snow was falling when we were on our way to our tax guy’s office, 4WD was a necessity. The roads went from barely dusted to covered in less than half an hour.

At least the a lot of the snow that’s fallen today won’t be around all that long as we’ll be seeing temps in the 50’s by the end of the week.

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It looks like the Left is working very hard to kill the economy, showing their animosity towards free enterprise.

The recent fiasco surrounding the building of Amazon’s partial HQ2 in New York is the latest development in the war against free enterprise. Because of opposition from anti-business politicians, notably Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Amazon decided to pull the plug on investing billions of dollars into the campus that was planned for construction in Queens.

The loss of the venture—which would have created 25,000 new jobs paying an average salary of $150,000 per year—marks a significant loss for the area economy and is a window into the future if the Left’s newly intensified anti-business canon is left unshackled.

Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal” is a set of goals that embodies this extreme agenda—a platform comprised of socialist policies claimed to be silver bullet solutions to everything from climate change to income inequality. The resolution not only calls on Congress to eliminate a vast majority of current energy infrastructure and renovate or rebuild all structures in the country, but seeks to upend the U.S. Constitution as we know it—including its safeguards for free enterprise.

The history of the Left’s success when it takes control of economics is dismal. The most recent example of the Left’s failure is Venezuela. They took control of every aspect of the country’s economy and destroyed it. Venezuela was the wealthiest nation in South America. Now it’s the poorest. On top of that, they can’t even keep the lights on. That is the future the Left has in store for us if they have their way, AOC’s Green New Deal ‘utopia’ notwithstanding.

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As a follow-on to the above, there’s this from Steve Sheldon that shows us that the Left can’t do math. If they could, they’d realize that no matter how much money they take away from the wealthy they won’t have nearly enough to pay for all the socialist utopian things they’ve promised to deliver.

They won’t even be close.

Yet there are Leftists (like Kamala Harris) who think that the costs of things like the Green New Deal can be safely ignored. It has a price tag of $93 trillion. That’s trillion with a ‘T’. That’s almost 5 times the US Gross Domestic Product.

That’s not something cannot be ignored unless your plan is to destroy the US economy and return us to a hand-to-mouth existence. (Of course the Leftist Powers That Be won’t have to live that way, just the peons, meaning anyone who is not them.)

This is one of the things they have in mind for us:


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A lot of people would like to see the changes between Standard Time and Daylight Savings Time go away. I am one of them. So is the New York Times.

Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire are at the extreme eastern edge of the Eastern Time Zone. The Eastern Time zone is quite ‘wide’ at the northern latitudes in the US. Looking at a North American Time Zone Map one can see that moving the three states into the Atlantic Time Zone makes sense. Daylight Savings Time would go away and the need to change the clocks twice a year would do likewise.

I can certainly live with that.

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Town meeting is this coming Tuesday here in New Hampshire. It’s where voters in various towns will gather to vote on their town’s spending, zoning ordinance changes, and other issues. School district meetings will be a couple of days later for some towns. Both of these meetings determine how much the towns will spend and in turn how much the townsfolk will be paying in property taxes.

It is this last part that many Flatlanders have a difficult time understanding.

They move in “from away”, propose all kinds of spending for nice-to-haves to recreate what it has they had where they came from, and then get upset when their property taxes go up if they get their way. They have a total cognitive disconnect between spending and taxes. They don’t understand that there is rarely a source of funds outside of those from their town. The state isn’t likely to provide funds for nice-to-haves when they have so many need-to-haves to take care of first.

As an aside, if the state has surplus funds they tend to go one of two places: the state’s Rainy Day Fund or back to the towns in the form of additional funding for things like road paving/reconstruction, water projects, and other projects that have already been approved and are in progress. (No new projects can be funded this way.) The additional funding helps towns do more work on existing projects such as road paving and reconstruction. Towns usually have a list of roads that will be repaved/repaired each year and they budget for that list. If additional funds become available, some roads from the next year’s list are moved up to this year. So far I haven’t heard anyone complain because their road will be fixed and repaved a year earlier than originally planned.

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And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the snow is still falling, dreams of the upcoming boating season are intruding, and where Monday has yet again come around too soon.

3/03/2019

Thoughts On A Sunday

It’s another snowy weekend, with just a dusting on Saturday and more snow today with 3 to 6 inches of snow expected to fall by Monday morning.

While we haven’t had any big storms dumping large amounts of snow, there have been numerous small storms with snowfall amounts between 3 and 6 inches. The snow cover has been adding up and roads and driveways have been getting narrower with each snowfall. Snowbanks are frozen solid which means that cutting them back is difficult to do by hand or with a snowblower.

March is the snowiest month here in New England so if we have any big storms it’s likely some roads could become so narrowed that two way traffic will be difficult and driveways will become very narrow which will make it hard to get in and out of our vehicles.

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Speaking of snow and winter, the following be something only folks from the northern climes will get.

I received an urgent text from a friend the other day. The text read:

Some bozo put up signs advertising a local band or something called The Frost Heaves. Best get [the town Land Use officer] to take [them] down. That’s illegal, I hear.

Only in small towns….

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They can’t say they weren’t warned.

New York City experienced the worst decline in restaurant jobs since in 9/11 after the $15 minimum wage became a reality.

The Big Apple’s fast-food industry, The New York Times recently reported, has long served as a laboratory for progressive politicians and the nation’s labor machine.

But new economic research suggests their latest experiment is not going as planned.

Data show that following the labor movement’s “Fight for $15” victory, which imposed steep annual increases in mandatory wages for workers, New York City experienced its sharpest decline in restaurant jobs in nearly 20 years.

San Francisco tried it. Seattle tried it. Both saw the same effects – a loss in jobs – yet New York somehow figured it wouldn’t suffer the same fate as the other two bastions of Progressive thought.

They were wrong, as usual.

Here’s another look at the issue by way of The Lid.

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Of course Progressives want to apply 21st century ‘sensibilities’ to 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th century history. They also want to rewrite history, changing all of our achievements into examples of oppression by American white males and Western Civilization in general.

They best be careful because if they choose to ignore real history it may come back to bite them, hard.

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If we need any more proof of AGW, here it is:

Los Angeles didn’t see temperatures reach into the 70’s during the entire month of February.

So if we are to believe the warmists, AGW will trigger below normal temperatures. Does that mean it will bring on another ice age? If that’s the case, does that automatically imply that cooling the atmosphere will extend the Interglacial period we’re in right now?

The people want to know!

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Speaking of global warming and February, it appears the sun had absolutely no sunspots during the month. What’s also remarkable is the sun is the dimmest it’s been since satellite measurements began in 1978.

Hmm, could there be a tie-in between solar output and climate?

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As if we need any more proof that the Democrats in Congress do not understand the phrase “Shall Not Be Infringed”, all we have to do is look at the two “oppressive gun bills” they passed in two days.

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Believe it or not, there are people who firmly believe that toilet paper should be recycled.

I’m sorry, but some things should not be recycled. Soiled toilet paper is one of those things.

Sheesh.

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Did you know there are Three Rules of Hate Speech?

Rule 1. The First Amendment protects all ideas–loving, hateful, or in between.

In the United States, “hate speech” is just a political label, like “un-American speech” or “rude speech.” Some people use the phrase broadly, some more narrowly–but there’s no legal definition, because there is no “hate speech” exception to the First Amendment.

Rule 2. Some speech is not protected by the First Amendment, but that’s true regardless of whether it’s bigoted or hateful.

For instance, threats of violence are constitutionally unprotected.

Rule 3. Hate crime laws are constitutional, so long as they punish violence or vandalism, not speech.

The law often punishes people more because of why they did what they did. Killing someone for money will get you a harsher punishment than killing them out of momentary anger. Likewise, firing an employee because of his race will get you a civil lawsuit; firing an employee for most other reasons won’t.

Of course none of these rules will apply to the Progressive snowflakes because everyone knows that speech they don’t like is ‘literal’ violence, right?

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Like many of the Left, AOC is a firm believer in “Do as I say, not as I do.” This is particularly so when it comes to her hypocrisy in regards to climate change and her Green New Deal.

I wish I could say I was surprised, but I’m not.

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And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the lake is frozen over and snow covered, where thoughts of summer boating have started to intrude, and where visits to my storage unit to move my boat rigging from the rear to the front of the unit to make it easier to access when the time comes.