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Georgia governor calls for even more nuclear power despite budget woes
  • Georgia has every reason to be a solar powerhouse. They have sunlight to spare and every reason to want to build it. Batteries are finally getting cheap enough to outcompete fossil generation, too.

    And they ARE building it, so they even are achieving learning curves on it. There are even Republicans on the PSC (Tim Echols) that are highly, highly pro-solar.

    Meanwhile Georgia Power is currently planning more fossil gas plants and extending the life of a handful of coal plants because they think they have a shortfall in energy forecasts for future demands. Because, among other things, so many huge tech datacenters are moving to the state (which of course many were doing on the promise of the quite green grid Georgia has to offer, which was the bait that is now being switched on them).

    Why? Because they're lazy, super conservative, and they get guaranteed profits off of capital investments. The Southern Company is one of the most powerful forces of great evil in the country and goes largely unnoticed. They are actively incentivized to fuck their own ratepayers in order to increase their profitability by the agreements and statutes that allow them to be the utility.

    The reality is that Vogtle was built and we should be glad for it and use it. It's spun up and producing gobs of power, and will continue to do so for a damn long time. Great. But in a state where fossil production is still being actively expanded, putting money towards ultra-expensive nuclear over incredibly cheap solar and storage, betraying your own potential "customers" in the process, is just idiotic.

  • Georgia governor calls for even more nuclear power despite budget woes
  • It's also for reasons with nothing to do with nuclear in particular. The US is just terrible at executing large civil projects. It costs more to build at large scales here than virtually anywhere else, for a confluence of reasons -- highly decentralized project management (state, county, federal, city governments all fighting for authority), lack of sustainable learning curves, NEPA being weaponized by NIMBYs to kill every project including environmentalist ones, plain dumb politics... you know you have a problem when you look onto the efficiency of Italian bureaucracy with envy, but meanwhile they can build e.g., rail projects at something like a third to sixth the budget the US can.

    A big part of the problem is that we insist on fully custom and experimental projects. Every fucking time. We never just use the catalog builds. We never set and stick to a standard. Not even in road design, where the AASHTO green book is treated like a fucking Holy Bible -- we follow its (largely dumb and dangerous requirements while still bespoking every fucking project.

  • A call to replace air conditioners with heat pumps in California
  • I, for one, would support a law that requires any new unit over a certain size must be reversible and maybe even a tier where they must have variable speed compressors. But I can already hear the Republicans lying that the feds are coming to steal your window units.

  • White House to announce actions to modernize America’s electrical grid, paving the way for clean energy and fewer outages
  • Don't be too depressed about it. The Texas grid actually isn't doing too badly in its emissions trends, in spite of their best efforts. It's so easy to interconnect resources to it that renewables don't need to stare down awful queues and huge fees to get onboard and selling power.

    That's sort of the other side of the story from what this policy announcement is about -- for the rest of the grid, a combination of FERC, state regulators, utilities, and such have created a system where it is very hard to get new generation online because of infrastructure problems.

    This is a gross simplification, but the way it kind of works is that in Texas, infrastructure is up to ERCOT and the utility. Generation is a lot more decoupled from its eventual transmission. It doesn't face the same terrible barriers to come online because of the deregulated market.

    Since solar is a fractional cost per unit energy than gas and coal, it out-competes them any time the sun is shining -- it can sell way cheaper and so gas/coal will either have to sell hugely below cost to compete or else they'll have to curtail. Wind is still a bit more expensive on average, but when the wind is going it tends to be able to do the same since it has no marginal cost. And the same situation also means that anyone who can make economically grid storage (which is already getting possible thanks to rapidly declining battery prices) can also out-compete the literal and figurative fossil generators.

    Both Texas and the US East and West grids need MASSIVE transmission upgrades to deal with an increasingly-electrified future, though.

    Don't misunderstand, Texas is a total mess. A profound lack of planning and both reliability and resiliency. But there's lessons to be learned from it -- decoupling production from transmission and some degree deregulation of that production can take advantage of very powerful market forces that already favor renewables. A post-transition future isn't just better for consumers because of eliminated emissions, it should also be cheaper power.

  • A burger being "100% Beef" is not a good thing
  • If you work any ground meat extensively, you develop extensive myoglobin networks. This is a process almost identical to kneading bread to develop gluten. Also turns the meat bright pink.

    This results in very chewy, tougher texture -- like in Swedish meatballs (or really good Chinese dumplings/bao!). It's also essential to sausage-making. It also makes them feel less juicy (because the ground beef holds onto the moisture more tightly). Not necessarily worse or better, but certainly different, and in my experience most burger-lovers find it undesirable.

    Maybe you prefer it. All the power to you if you do. Cooking like you were raised on often has a special place. But there's a reason nearly all the burgers in more elevated cuisine are not formed this way -- they want them to be tender and juicy.

    That said, I'd call this product a meatball, meatloaf, or sausage sandwich, not a burger.

    edit: also, given the way you like to make burgers, I'd encourage you to try plant-based meat for it. I think you'll find it tastes much the same -- the exact properties of ground beef that get damaged by this extensive mixing are the exact ones that are hardest to replicate for all the plant-based meat brands, and since you clearly don't care for them you could probably really reduce your environmental impact by not buying the cow product.

  • From 2017 to 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor recovered $3 billion in stolen wages from employers
  • Also the DoL is perpetually under-resourced and short staffed. They aren't one of the "good" law enforcement agencies that get bipartisan support -- only the ones who beat up protestors get that kind of universal appeal, somehow. Even though funding to places like the IRS and DoL have insanely good return on investment.

  • From 2017 to 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor recovered $3 billion in stolen wages from employers
  • The whole "retail theft" wave is a moral panic anyway. It's not backed up by numbers. NYC and LA saw some elevation because of a small number of actual criminal organization that largely got rounded up and prosecuted. Most other "organized retail crime" stories are utter nonsense.

    Most of the rise in theft that people cited was based on a completely bullshit statistic which came from the NRF citing one of its own members testimonies in which that member cited an incorrect number. It was actual dogfooding being passed as statistical analysis and even they have backed down on it.

  • A former Miss America is running for Congress as a pro-choice – and anti-Trump – Republican in North Dakota
  • The political reality in ND is that having the (D) is the end of the road for you. Since neither party actually represents a specific policy platform, I guess it's 6 of 1 in an environment like that.

    After all, what are modern Republicans even about? Obviously they want to deny global warming, police uteruses, kill queer people, theocratize the government... but what policies do they actually care about that aren't equally present in the Democratic caucus?

  • RFK Jr Rejected by Libertarians After They Loudly Booed, Heckled Trump
  • Look, there's definitely some people who lean "libertarian" on paper who have valuable and interesting insights. Chuck Mahron/Strong Towns, for example. They're A+ in political ideas and messaging and you can definitely see NAP center stage if you read between the lines of what they are saying. Except I've never heard him use the word "libertarian". I suspect because he knows it is a poisoned brand and just generally doesn't like labels, though that's just supposition.

    But apply some Bayesian theory here and don't engage in any No True Scotsmanship. If someone tells you they are a "libertarian", that information on its own should give you HIGH confidence the person is somewhere between "Republican who has a gay daughter he doesn't want to see lynched" and "total crank sovereign citizen type". There's 1,000 false positives for every true one.

    If I were you, holding the sincere beliefs I have no reason to question you having, I would not want to be identified by that word.

  • RFK Jr Rejected by Libertarians After They Loudly Booed, Heckled Trump
  • Plenty of protected political speech involves deception with gain (especially gain of political office). Inciting violence is already against the law... and that law is a form of censorship.

    I’m concerned about the repercussions of allowing SCOTUS to set the precedent of what can and cannot be said or written by citizens or media to protect the feelings of others.

    And I am saying they already can do and did and you need to engage with that and not pretend there's some magical line that cannot be crossed. Defining what is and isn't protected speech is a complex and ever-ongoing negotiation. The links you provided are evidence of this -- are evidence that I am right. There isn't a clear categorical definition that separates the protected from unprotected -- what is protected and isn't protected is defined only by where the censorship starts.

    You should be highly concerned with the repercussions of the SCOTUS's decisions. They're a corrupt institution that historically nearly always act as a brake on expanding civil rights. Good news for you on this subject, this SCOTUS would never let a hate speech law stand -- they quite like to see vulnerable people persecuted. More good news: there basically are no hate speech laws. The only government agencies censoring political speech right now are far right conservative ones like Florida, doing the exact thing you fear. It aint progressives and it aint happening with support of progressives.

    But you can't pretend that speech isn't speech and censorship isn't censorship just to make your own political ideology easier to reckon. That's just embracing censorship in a different way.

    Again, many forms of censorship are uncontentious. Here we have links to two forms of censorship that are such. If there's some new kind of censorship you find objectionable, identify it and make the case for why it is worse than its counterfactual.

  • RFK Jr Rejected by Libertarians After They Loudly Booed, Heckled Trump
  • What does "protected by 'free speech'" even mean? Who is this free speech and how are they protecting or not protecting anything?

    Fraud is a form of speech. It's putting ideas out into the world -- ideas that induce a false understanding in another, typically to reap some material benefit to the fraudster... but lots of the protected forms of speech do that.

    The state punishes this speech by outlining a procedure for a harmed party to punish the fraudster, backed by the authority of the state (i.e., lawsuits).

    Just because speech is part of a contract doesn't magically transmogrify it into non-speech. Besides, what even constitutes a "contract" isn't something we can say is fully and perfectly defined...

    So here we have speech and punishment for it. That sums up to censorship. And how do we decide what is and isn't "fraud" and so does or doesn't qualify as protected speech? It's complicated. Very complicated. We have a huge statutory framework. Legal tests. We're still trying to specify the line. The target shifts through all of history. Cases get overturned and updated and our frameworks and tests evolve. Sometimes we go too far. Sometimes not far enough. Sometimes the shifting reality of how our society operates changes the balancing point. Sometimes we have simply been wrong and regretted it.

    Now I think I know what you actually are trying to say. That political speech needs to be highly protected from government meddling. That's hardly a radical idea. I don't know any credible person who disagrees with it.

    But there's also a significant legal grey area between which, for example, it becomes hard to identify where political speech ends and direct calls to violence start. Surely it isn't protected for a political leader standing in front of a riled mob to point across the street to his political enemy and shout "go kill him, now!" But where's the exact point where the rhetoric shifted from "proper" political speech to a call to violence, exactly? How much subtext and implication are we going to accept? How riled does the crowd have to be? Either way, by outlining a point where speech can end you up punished, we've censored that speech. And censorship through civil action is still censorship, don't be confused.

    In its best form, the state exists to help balance rights in tension. When one person's speech rights are out of balance with the harms that speech inflicts on another (such as in fraud or an incitement to violent), the state exists to mediate that. And we should want it to be just and fair when it does, and balance that tension in a way that creates the best possible environment. Join the reasonable people and discuss where you think things fall on that balance. Don't pretend there's some magical and inviolable difference between this censorship and other kinds that are acceptable, though. Have a reason.

  • RFK Jr Rejected by Libertarians After They Loudly Booed, Heckled Trump
  • But literally all modern states have media censorship. Literally all of them. For example, prohibitions on libel or fraud. That's censorship. Confidentiality of national secrets is a form of censorship. Hell, even copyright laws can be interpreted as a form of censorship.

  • RFK Jr Rejected by Libertarians After They Loudly Booed, Heckled Trump
  • In modern history, it's typically the right wing dictators that got voted in through "legal" means, and it's the right wing dictators that achieve power by slowly controlling what can and cannot be said by the media. The leftist dictatorships, if you want to call the soviet-style ones as such, do so through violence and the military. You have it exactly backwards which sins here come from which wing. It doesn't pass a common sense test, so I think you may need to go back to school.

    And let's not get bogged down in utter bullshit. We're talking about "progressive" censorship here, which almost certainly means hate speech laws. There have been exactly zero dictatorships that flowed out of political movements of intentional inclusivity. Neither the Nazis nor Soviets were concerned with "hate speech". They both were all about it.

  • These 11 LGBTQ federal judges are making history - and are all appointed by Joe Biden
  • To be clear, I object to both comparisons-- both to the population-wide demographics and the law-wide one -- though I do clearly think it's a conversation worth having.

    Because it fundamentally misunderstands what the purpose of representation is. Representation is not an ends on itself, so "matching" population demographics is useless for anything other than identifying likely discrimination. It's not a numbers game. There's no "but hey, look how close we truly are to achieving good representation!" It's not that, because it's still remarkable that this many queer people have been put into power. They're the exception to prove the rule that the field is still inherently hostile to them.

    The goal isn't "equal" or "proportional" representation or anything like that. The goal is elimination of the systemic discrimination. The goal is ensuring that brilliant new minds aren't being filtered out for being different from the social norms. This is back to the old RGB quote.

  • RFK Jr Rejected by Libertarians After They Loudly Booed, Heckled Trump
  • That's libertarianism in a nutshell, though. A political ideology founded from liberalism which claims to reject all of liberalism while also being just the same as liberalism embraced by people who actually kind of hate liberalism. It's a lot of very confused voters registered to that party.

  • RFK Jr Rejected by Libertarians After They Loudly Booed, Heckled Trump
  • Literally everyone censors speech, and is fine with it. Everyone, with exceptions so scant that may as well not exist at all.

    Laws that prohibit workplace harassment. Defamation. Laws that punish incitements to violence. Laws that punish fraud and confidence scams. Laws against insider trading. Even things like RICO. These are ALL, in varying forms, limits on speech that are basically uncontentious to most normal, well-balanced people. These are limits on speech so ubiquitous and accepted that people have actually somehow convinced themselves that somehow "free" speech is clearly categorically different than these other things even when it plainly isn't.

    The only people sincerely for (edit: total) free speech are honest-to-god anarchists. True "free speech absolutists" basically do not exist, and when someone claims to be one it really just means they want to be able to get away with using racial slurs in public.

  • Ultra-miniature DIY solar projects?

    What exists right now for someone who wants to make a very small solar project?

    A family member of mine was hoping to put 1 or 2 panels on the roof of their ADU to power maybe just the small window air conditioner in it, or at least offset a lot of its energy use. Is there anything practical for doing this that doesn't cost multiple thousands of dollars?

    In my imagined setup, there would be 1-2 panels on the roof connected to a cheap consumer battery (something like a small ecoflow). The appliance would try and run only off the battery, but if the battery charge level dipped to low it would have some controller that would switch it to grid power until the charge level was back up. I would not want to feed any power into the grid, but I wouldn't want the person living in the space to have to manually switch the power source between the battery and a regular outlet.