Booming Rooftop Solar Power Suffers Growing Pains

No doubt there will be pains (all energy  and economic transitions experience "pains") but this is poor reporting. Nearly the entire example rests on one case, one guy and his (minor) misfortune.

Why Global Warming Won't Go Viral

The global warming meme is this web of cultural expressions about the human relationship with nature (Harmony), with one another (Cooperation), and the threat of extinction for the human race (Survival) that evokes a wide diversity of sentiments about expert authority and political power (Elitism). 
And yet the core themes of the global warming meme evoke exactly this kind of crippling anxiety.  Are we out of harmony with nature?  Is it going to kill off everyone we have ever loved?  Does this mean there is something wrong with us?  Who has the audacity to claim that humans have the power of gods to shape the planet in such profound ways?  Questions like these cause people to react defensively or shut out the conversation entirely.  Our research shows that these are the questions that arise when climate memes enter the minds of people, explaining why both denialists and advocates respond so strongly to the different threats they perceive from the global warming meme. 
This is why global warming won’t go viral.  It is psychologically toxic to the human mind and won’t spread on its own. 

Worth a look at this study and their conclusions about what could be done to further the conversation of global climate change and specific action.

"Nature" More Persuasive Than Sceintists

A new poll shows that extreme weather events have more impact on changing the perceptions of climate change in respondents than scientific studies. Natural and socio-natural events, and our perception of them, can shift society's attitudes more than rational discourse and science. Perception/experience vs. rational thought. What does this mean for climate change politics? Well, as more and more climate events transpire, whether due to anthropogenic climate change or not, it's possible that public attitudes and perhaps politics will begin to shift even further in favor of concrete steps to reduce CO2 emissions. Yet, it is also possible that more frequent and extreme weather events, with death and destruction, will only fuel the politics of despair and give more weight to the secular Dooms Day environmentalism that is so popular. 

2013 Motor Trend's Car of the Year...

is the Tesla Model S. It is the first time an internal combustion engine automobile has not won the award. To quell any squabbling that this is eco-hype, Motor Trend says, "At its core, the Tesla Model S is simply a damned good car you happen to plug in to refuel."

 image via motortrend.com

image via motortrend.com

 

Organic: It's never been about nutrition

Organic agriculture is been about the elimination of pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones, and monoculture.

There is a new meta-analysis (aggregate of other scientists' studies) out from scientists at Stanford that the New York Times and others are running, which states that there are no nutritional benefits of organic produce and meats. Problem with the headlines: no serious proponent of organic produce and meats, and organic farming in general, was saying that the products were more nutritious. This always bugged me when I saw people, proponents or opponents, making this claim.

Organic agriculture has always been about rejecting pesticides, hormones, and industrial farming techniques (large inputs and monoculture), not about how the produce was more nutritious. 

A Choice

President Obama signed an Executive Order "Accelerating Investment in Industrial Energy Efficiency", which comes on the heals of new improved car fuel efficiency standars for 2025

Meanwhile, Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney turned climate change into a punch line during his acceptance speech as the RNC:

Obama has been pretty good about promoting new energy sources, green tech, and efficiency, not so good on climate change however. Romney, on the other hand, represents old, dirty energy production. Gas, coal, oil. No eye for the future, whether new energy sources or climate change.

Welcome to 3991 C.E. aka hell

I love this Reddit post: Lycerious has been playing Sid Meier's Civilization II for 10 years (not everyday) and has ended up in a nightmarish, apocalyptic world of perpetual nuclear and conventional war, global warming with oceans covering most of the land, only three mega empires left, and the remaining land is devastated and cannot support agriculture or urban civilization.

Highlights:

I was forced to do away with democracy roughly a thousand years ago because it was endangering my empire.

You've heard of the 100 year war? Try the 1700 year war. The three remaining nations have been locked in an eternal death struggle for almost 2000 years. Peace seems to be impossible. Every time a cease fire is signed, the Vikings will surprise attack me or the Americans the very next turn, often with nuclear weapons.

As a result, big cities are a thing of the distant past. Roughly 90% of the worlds population (at it's peak 2000 years ago) has died either from nuclear annihilation or famine caused by the global warming that has left absolutely zero arable land to farm. Engineers (late game worker units) are always busy continuously building roads so that new armies can reach the front lines. Roads that are destroyed the very next turn when the enemy goes. So there isn't any time to clear swamps or clean up the nuclear fallout. 

Music Industrial Complex

Even in the era of iTunes and the web (ubiquitous distribution), the music industrial complex has a firm grip on which bands get popular, and stay popular. Taste machines (record labels, critics, large media outlets, including NPR, iTunes homepage) continue to gate keep what’s visible and what’s hidden. The old gate keepers, radio, corporate stores, local stores, with their “in-the-know” curators, have largely faded in importance. But old and new gate keepers have taken their place.

iTunes and the Internet had (have) such promise to level the playing field, and my guess is that in many ways they have. Outlets such as Pandora, or even Facebook and Twitter, also represent new ways to find new music and for bands to find listeners. But many great bands remain unfound by the larger music listening/buying audience.   

A practice of “received taste” still pervades music consumption. We still need the desire for a “found, discovered, and shared taste.” Our new technologies and content delivery networks are only as good as desire to share and find new music. Today, new music is likely one or two clicks away. 

I’m listening to Norwegian band Gazpacho and their new album, March of Ghosts. It’s an amazing, beautiful album, with well crafted songs. You might be missing out.

If you like anything in the “rock” category, I think the following bands deserve many more listeners and recognition than they get. But don’t take my word for it, check them out for yourself. By the way, what are you listening to?

Gazpacho, Dredg, Anathema, Nosound, Porcupine Tree, Ours, Blackfield


R&D Is Good, Deployment Is Even Better

Google Phases Out Clean Energy R&D in Favor of Deployment

Buried at the bottom of an innocuous “spring cleaning” post on Google’s blog yesterday, the internet giant made a very important announcement: it will stop funding its Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal (RE<C) initiative.

But that’s not the whole story. And if you believe the headlines — “Google Abandons Renewable Energy Push”or “Are Google’s Green Days Over?” — you might think this is a negative development. But if you look at the details, it’s a story about how the company is adapting to a changing market and actually increasing investments in renewables.

Interesting article by Stephen Lacey on thinkprogress.org that clarifies Google's announcement that it is shutting down it's renewable R&D initiative. Google is not getting out of renewables but is instead shifting focus to deployment. R&D is good, deployment is even better.