Nature, Energy, Technology Wow Moments

Can a fly’s eye(s) be used for solar cells? Apparently so. Speaking of which, I have a gripe. Nuclear power supporters have always ignored the fact that Nuclear power (a.k.a. “unlimited safe free energy”) is more expensive than other traditional forms of energy. In the mean time, anti “alternative” energy, often the same people, have touted that Solar is too expensive to be worth it. Well, guess what. A recent study seems to have shown that Solar power is cheaper than nuclear. So, there you go.

Berry Go Round # 30, the Plant Carnival, is up and running at Brainripples. This is your window to amazing plant photography (and some insects too) as well as discussions of plant evolutionary biology.

There is now a fast hybrid car, and it’s a porsche.

And: Apparently, they’ve cracked the mystery of how rubber bands work!

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3 thoughts on “Nature, Energy, Technology Wow Moments

  1. Some day I wish we could get past the renewable-energy dicksizing.

    Solar power in Anchorage (not much sun, long periods with damn near none, lots of water, low temperatures) is, I suggest, inferior to nuclear.

    Nuclear power in Gila Bend (too much sun, little cloud cover, little seasonal variation, high temperatures, water shortage) is, I suggest, inferior to solar.

    Palm Springs is a lovely place to have both solar and wind. What’s more, they coexist on the same land rather nicely.

    I suspect that neither Gila Bend nor Palm Springs are going to be great places for tidal power any time soon.

    All of them beat coal — but coal is what we’re building, at least in part because the solar, wind, tide, and nuclear advocates are busy generating arguments against wind, tide, nuclear, and solar that the coal and oil industry can just pass along to legislators and the public. That they don’t have to buy and can (honestly, no less) present as being from sources that aren’t invested in fossil fuels.

    Here’s a radical thought: how about we just freaking start building them. Wind, solar, tides, nuclear, whatever — but stop with the stupid coal plants!!!!

  2. This was debated considerably on Slashdot. I think the biggest criticism is that the estimated cost for nuclear seemed a bit higher than in countries such as France.

  3. I think the biggest criticism is that the estimated cost for nuclear seemed a bit higher than in countries such as France.

    That doesn’t make the estimates unreasonable. Thanks to the (very) uncertain regulatory environment downstream [1] and long approval times, proposed plants have to highball potential costs. Also, France has some economies of scale to work with vs. the US, which hasn’t built a nuclear plant for over 30 years. Finally, France reprocesses used fuel rods where the USA uses them for political leverage and makes operators store them onsite.

    Bottom line: we probably are more expensive than France, but wouldn’t necessarily be more expensive after the first few.

    [1] First you spend several billion, then you apply for a permit to operate (which is not guaranteed) then you try to get the local utility commissions to let you recoup your expenses (also not guaranteed.)

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