• Sparkatus commented on the blog post Late Night: SolaRoad, The Dutch Answer to Solar Roadways

    2014-09-29 06:31:28View | Delete

    Hate to be a naysayer…but this just isn’t a very good idea.

    Positives:
    Roadways cover a lot of surface area.
    They tend to be concentrated closest to where people live.

    But that is about it.

    For the most part, the purposes of gathering solar PV and providing a convenient surface for traveling are at cross purposes. Trying to align them will create new problems gopher-ing up in other areas.

    Shady roads are nicer for travel, especially for bikers. Bad for solar. Roads lined with buildings or trees will have a dramatically reduced effective generation periods. The more people using the roadways for travel, the more the users will shade it themselves.
    Snow, slush, sand, dirt, rocks, traffic markings, are all at cross purposes to energy collection.
    Installation and dislocation costs for changing surfaces would be substantial. Solar is actually a very diffuse energy source. Static installations with no change over long periods of time increase viability, but roadways get torn up, patched etc all the time.

    Flow of electricity through a frequently damp porous surface leads to galvanic corrosion; with road salts for snow, this will only be enhanced. Drainage grates, street light anchor bolts, embedded reflectors, reinforced concrete will rust out at increased rates.

    Changes in road surface friction (such as large painted areas, metal plates,…) lead to accidents, particularly for motorcycles and bikes. Injury rates will go up if a surface optimized for solar collection is put in place.

    As Synoia points out, solar wants to be perpendicular to the incoming radiation; roads want to be flat or nearly so.

    Given the energy density of solar, the amount of energy to be captured in compensation for these tradeoffs is really low.

    Roofs and other shading structures are much more closely aligned with the goal of collecting solar energy.

    Now if we’re talking elevated solar over the roadways…that’s a different question.

  • It is a pretty grim picture…big money is consolidating power at the direct expense of the vast majority and crippling the ability of the democratic process to respond.

    It seems clear at this point that the crash greatly increased the power of the financial elites, with everyone else cowed by the risk of job losses.

    I just put together a mash-up of the Lorax’s “How bad can I be?” with Romney quotes peppered in. It’s obviously a cartoon, but dramatizes the situation pretty well. I’m not so sanguine about an easy happy ending in the real life version.

    Here’s the link:

  • It’s not like the word and the point were already in currency before that discussion. The discussion you link to was for a book called “Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008″.

  • Sparkatus commented on the blog post EPA to Release Fracking Rule Today

    2012-04-17 08:05:25View | Delete

    The Air Division at EPA is generally a very effective group, staffed by really hyper-competent folks. They’ve had some setbacks but over time they’ve built up a lot of organizational competence. Water and other groups dealing with Toxics have some successes but generally haven’t been as successful, both because of difficulty of issues, staffing etc. I think it’s clear that they haven’t built up the same esprit.

    Sub-surface water is a pretty tangled issue. Measurement of air quality impacts is also, generally, easier to do, even from off site.

  • I think non-disparagement is actually quite common in settlement agreements, particularly so with severance packages which might be considered a subset of settlements.

    Confidentiality agreements would be different, but confidentiality here would be one element within the settlement agreement rather than being the primary purpose.

  • Sparkatus commented on the blog post The #OccupyWallStreet Eviction That Didn’t Happen

    2011-10-14 11:12:25View | Delete

    Neat. I just tweeted ( @iamsparkatus ) a couple of #OWS photos I took earlier today down at Liberty/Zuccoti Park

  • Sparkatus commented on the blog post The #OccupyWallStreet Eviction That Didn’t Happen

    2011-10-14 09:04:42View | Delete

    It’s been ages since posting at the lake. I dropped by the park today to lend a little support and bear witness in case of trouble. It looked quite calm…and clean actually.

    Kevin, or anyone else, is any place better than another for posting photos?

  • Sparkatus commented on the diary post Obama Hits An Easy One, Rachel Maddow Cheers by Scarecrow.

    2011-04-14 08:33:13View | Delete

    It’s been ages since I posted here (paying close attention to policy in these dark times was negatively affecting my mood), but I had to delurk to express my agreement with this analysis of the situation. Thanks Scarecrow. Indeed this is candidate Obama again. It’s nice to hear some of the positives and the moderately [...]

  • I’d like to hear your plan. Non-fossil energy is my bailiwick.

    VC is poorly suited for many energy opportunities. High capital cost and lack of breakout profit potential don’t fit their model. Works nicely for software and other businesses that don’t have significant marginal costs to produce, but many have lost lots of money thinking their model works everywhere (eg Vinod Khosla…)

    There are other channels though.

    My gmail addy is speakatus.sparkatus if you want to discuss more privately.