Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 20th Mar 2011 20:20 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless A major deal just went down in the United States, which seriously shakes up the mobile industry on the other side of the pond: AT&T has announced it plans to buy T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom.
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RE[4]: Invisible hand
by Neolander on Mon 21st Mar 2011 20:33 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Invisible hand"
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

Cap and trade ? Sorry, I don't know of this english expression, can you explain how it works ? Is it when governments reimburse part of the cost of some products depending on their priorities ?

Didn't know that this crazy light bulb ban was also applied outside of my country ;) In my family, we gently "fight" it by buying halogens, which are still allowed to be sold : they last longer than classical incandescent bulbs, eat about half less power, and contrary to fluocompact bulbs they actually work properly and don't have some suspicious background around them.

About nuclear power plants... As a citizen of France and a physicist, I have a love-hate relationship with them. I think that until renewable, clean, and preferably decentralized sources of energy like wind power, hydropower, and photovoltaic panels are ready, it's technically the best option for massive production of electricity. But in many ways, the market and politics around nuclear power stink, and I'd prefer them gone...

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: Invisible hand
by spiderman on Mon 21st Mar 2011 22:10 in reply to "RE[4]: Invisible hand"
spiderman Member since:
2008-10-23

In my opinion the best option is to consume power more intelligently. We just can't replace Nuclear power and have the same power output. We need to consume less power. Electric heaters should be banned and electric cars are a dead end. Home working should be the first option when possible.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: Invisible hand
by ricegf on Mon 21st Mar 2011 23:15 in reply to "RE[5]: Invisible hand"
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

Sorry, I'm commenting way to much (and way off topic), but...

"electric cars are a dead end"

Why is this? Electric cars can be directly powered by fully sustainable energy sources like wind, solar and geothermal. Sustainable hydrogen would be manufactured using electricity (most today comes from fossil fuels, of course) but at a significant efficiently loss, and the other alternatives of which I'm aware pollute rather badly.

"Electric heaters should be banned"

So you prefer wood-burning stoves or fossil fuels? Hibernating underground? Freezing all winter?

Sorry, just not following what you're suggesting here.

+1 on the telecommuting, though. I truly enjoy it!

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: Invisible hand
by Neolander on Tue 22nd Mar 2011 06:48 in reply to "RE[5]: Invisible hand"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

That's one of the way photovoltaic power et al could be ready : reducing the demand ;)

However, your specific ideas raise interesting questions... I agree that electric heaters are a bad idea, but what can we use instead ? Solar heating is great, but in practice it has this big problem that it produces much less heat in winter and that heat cannot be stored for long periods, making it only suitable for "faucet" warm water. Geothermy is also nice, but does not work very well on the individual housing scale and AFAIK also requires specific natural conditions to work efficiently. Then we have the combustion way... After years of evolution, gaz heating has reached a very nice state, where it's both very efficient and quite clean in terms of pollution, but the available sources of gaz won't last forever and whether we manage to produce enough methane after that remains to be seen. Wood is quite interesting, but requires a big tree-planting policy to work : will we have enough space and political power to enforce that ?

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[6]: Invisible hand
by Neolander on Tue 22nd Mar 2011 07:03 in reply to "RE[5]: Invisible hand"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Cars are a *huge* issue, and not only a technical one. Nowadays' urbanism is heavily based on cars, especially in countries which don't have a rail network from the pre-car era like the US. If we want to switch to bike + rail, we must reduce the distance between the average home and train stations/basic services/work, which implies living in higher-density housing and thus forgetting about the dream of the pretty individual house with its garden - which would be best for several other technical reasons, but is a huge sociological issue. If we do not want to go to that extreme, we could also keep a bus network, but then we must much improve the engine which buses are based on. And afaik, the electric car is currently the best technical option in this regard, especially when coupled to better and cleaner electricity storage like hydrogen.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: Invisible hand
by ricegf on Mon 21st Mar 2011 23:10 in reply to "RE[4]: Invisible hand"
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

Cap and trade is a plan by which the government creates a fixed level of allowable pollution, breaks it up into "credits", and sells them to businesses who create pollution as a side effect of running their business. Generating pollution without a credit results in a significant fine, but if a company has extra credits, it can sell them on the open market for whatever they will bring.

Yes, it's a form of taxation. But it makes pollution a business expense, so an otherwise $1 widget made with a lot of pollution may turn out to be less profitable than a $1.50 widget made with little pollution, and it offers competitive advantage to finding "greener" manufacturing processes. It also allows that "invisible hand" to help allocate the pollution we decide to allow in our environment to benefit the most people.

It has obvious disadvantages, of course. How does the government know how much pollution is the "right" amount? If enviro-nuts gain control of government, they may clamp down on credits and strangle the economy, while businesses have even more motivation to corrupt the process and create and endless supply of cheap credits.

C'est la vie.

All that is why I'm only mildly enthusiastic. Might work better than what we have now, which is a government demanding that businesses spend 50% of their profit to increase pollution filtration from 92% to 93%. *sigh*

Well, I also agree that nuclear isn't the long-term answer. It just has great base load characteristics to supplement the growing wind power system in Texas.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: Invisible hand
by Neolander on Tue 22nd Mar 2011 07:39 in reply to "RE[5]: Invisible hand"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

I see a big, big issue with that : it decides on who can pollute based on financial criteria (can they pay ?) alone. Even if we see money as a reward for good work (which is questionable), it means that the right to pollute is a reward, which is not quite the mentality which we want to achieve.

It's like the developing countries problem when talking about environmental issues : as they start to develop an industrial ecosystem, they work on the cheapest areas first, which are also the most dirty. We "occidental" people are then only happy to leave it to them, wash our hands, and point our finger on them screaming "Look where the pollution comes from ! Them pigs !" on environment-related summits.

Reply Parent Score: 1