Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - ergophobe

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 406
Ha! Well, we're going to need a new car sooner or later. Might as well be one that simplytheresa is excited about.

If it's $45K, I'm down with that, but I'll be surprised especially since it was announced as AWD. That would make it the cheapest AWD vehicle on the market.

Yes, but the county can do things if there's a will. In our county, that included
 - off-the-shelf plans that require no engineering, or whatever
 - rezoning some areas to allow smaller lots
Things like that. I think the point of the article is that Kern County hasn't made any efforts to make it easier to build cheap homes.

Water Cooler / Re: UK energy
« on: January 15, 2022, 11:32:26 PM »
Cool stuff. I really wanted solar shingles to be ready for prime time, but they weren't. I'm happy with our small panel array and unlike you, I like seeing it up there on the roof. Our house has very poor curb appeal (major error in construction not paying attention to that), so it can only help ;-)

>>ban the sale of portable generators in the state

I get the reasoning. Unfortunately, it's the whole-house generators that drive me crazy. I hope price of batteries comes down fast before the whole-house generators sprout like weeds.

>>much prefer cooking with gas vs. electric

I used to say that. I insisted on it when we built. Having visited friends/family with more modern electric ranges, I now think only a commercial gas range with piping to match so it spits out huge heat can compare to a nice modern electric (i.e. induction or glass top with IR coils instead of those old coil ranges like I had way back which do indeed suck). Standard gas ranges, in my recent experience, are much less functional than a modern electric range, except in one respect.

Other than the power outage consideration, I think induction is superior in every way. Oh... and price. They're not cheap.

And we have a panoply of camp stoves, from ultralight to two-burner, that we can deploy during power outages.

>> Leaf Blowers

The elderly neighbor came to me distraught the other day. She was walking her dog and I was out using my leaf blower. "They're going to take those away from us you know?"
"Not this one. It's battery-powered."
"Do you like it?"
"I love it. I wouldn't consider buying a gas leaf blower ever again."

I'm super happy with the electric pressure washer.

My friend, who I've helped take down trees over 100' tall, showed me his new electric saw. He loves it. Another friend has an electric saw that he uses for everything up to 32" - he has the backpack battery so he can go all day, but does say that adds to fatigue, so he only uses that if he has a lot of starting and stopping. If he's going to just cut and cut, he still uses gas.

There are fewer and fewer small machines where gas is better. I now avoid gas whenever possible. No oil to change. No gas that goes bad. No carb that gets gummed up in the off-season (since most small machines are seasonal or very intermittent in usage). Less noise.

I'd love an electric snowblower. That's the one machine where I've had them go "bad" on multiple occasions (gummed carbs) and when you need it, you often really need it. But when I look at the videos, they are a joke. Beyond 6" of snow, they won't work and I can still shovel 6" of snow without problem. If the snowblower can't handle two feet of snow, it's not worth owning for me.

In the 1980s I did a lot of hitchhiking in the contiguous US, Alaska and France. How I dressed (and shaved) had a huge impact on wait times. I also picked up a lot of hitch hikers.

But... then my friend picked up two hitch hikers who were arrested a couple hours later at the Canadian border. Fugitives wanted for murder down south. And one guy who picked me up had a gun that he started waving around at one point. A couple of gay men who made advances, not in particularly threatening ways, but I realized they could have driven me way off the main road and I would have not been able to stop it. And then, most frightening of all, a car full of guys who were sharing a case of beer with the car ahead of them on winding roads in rural France. When they ran out of beer in the car ahead, the driver would put out his hand and the car I was in would come up even to the lead car, even on blind corners, and pass beers to the lead car.

Now I only pick up people who look like lost hikers/climbers trying to get back to their cars in national parks and similar places.

I also experienced some incredible kindness when hitching and picked up some really interesting people, but over time I just did it less and less. And that's the downward spiral. Every time someone like me stops giving or taking rides, the safety of the whole system ratchets down.

I imagine the same process happening with the Trusted Driver system. Eventually, cops really just don't want to deal with people who can't be bothered to register as Trusted Drivers and that starts to have an increasingly negative impact on interactions with law enforcement.

Water Cooler / Re: UK energy
« on: January 15, 2022, 07:15:58 PM »
We are still on propane for heating and hot water and we don't have air conditioning, so our best strategy for time shifting there would be to get a bigger propane tank and buy in the summer when prices tend to be lower.

We just got a refill at $6.36/gallon.

Philosophically, I want to get off fossil fuels and I intend to do so eventually. But if propane stays at $6.36/gallon, it might happen sooner.

The issue here is that our electrical infrastructure is so bad. A multi-day outage is something we expect to hit us every couple years, but they come in waves, so some years it's three multi-day outages in a few months with lots of small ones in between. We expect multiple 8-12 hour outages annually. So getting off fossil fuels means

 - more inconvenience, which would be fine with us but for the rental property
 - more batteries and bigger inverter, which is okay except that baseline inefficiency of an inverter is a function of capacity, not usage, so if you size up for no reason, you are throwing energy away.
 - a standby propane generator, which is not only back to fossil fuels, but also noisy, expensive and just feels like last century's tech to me at this point.

So my plan is to burn fossil fuels a bit longer. But as I say, there are a lot of economic/technology signals that would push that decision point earlier or later

 - changes to net metering
 - changes to price of fuels relative to one another
 - changes to prices of batteries and inverters
 - upgrades to our electrical infrastructure to make it more reliable
 - smart metering with ability to buy/sell power based on price and to be able to do so from home or car batteries

If you start stacking these one on top of another, pretty soon even people who believe that global warming is a good thing will be buying electric cars and converting their home heating. If none of these get deployed, even people like me who believe that countering global warming is urgent will be hanging onto fossil fuels a lot longer than I'd like from a philosophical/aesthetic point of view.

Water Cooler / Re: Stuck-In-The-House Product Review
« on: January 15, 2022, 06:34:26 PM »
>> too small to cook for two at one time

Small enough to put two in the microwave at once?

And do they brown the bread or just heat things up? I've never seen anything brown in a MW. It seems to go cold -> hot -> burned

Yes, I believe I posted that a couple days ago - down 40% since Jan 1.

That said, Boston peaked early. If you look at the other graphs for other cities, it looks a lot worse at places where omicron hit later. So Boston is almost certainly past peak. NY too. But the rest of us might just be getting there and here we tend to peak a bit after LA and SFO. So I think we'll need to wait and see what this week and next bring.

Water Cooler / Re: UK energy
« on: January 15, 2022, 06:22:03 PM »
>>This post

Yeah, that's where we're at. The biggest savings is from just not running the dryer during those times. If we had A/C, I would try pre-cooling the house too. But sometimes, 5pm is just the right time for a sauna, so it costs me $1.50 instead of $1.00 or whatever.

Note that all these calcs change if California rolls back net metering. If we can't sell our excess juice back to PGE, then it's worth it for us to install the fancy inverter and use all our juice instead of sharing it. For the grid, that's probably better. On hot days, PGE needs every watt of the power we produce. On cool sunny days, though, our power is really a liability for them. They have to figure out how to get rid of it and most assuredly would choose not to buy it if they could.

I believe that power auctions take place every five seconds or so. The price on a hot day when everyone is running AC in the Central Valley might be 1000X what it is on a cool, sunny, spring day. It's actually higher than that sometimes as there have been time that CA has to *pay* AZ to take our power. For the consumer, real-time auctions on a 5-second basis are probably too hard - once I start my dryer, I'd like to know the price won't spike 1000X before the load is done. But long-term, I only see net metering working if the real-world power auction price is reflected to the consumer and then I would get to decide whether to sell my solar power or bank it in my battery for use when prices are high.

Same applies to the car parked in your driveway with a 100kWH battery. For us, that would be 2-3 weeks of household power. We could sell high and buy low.

There are some social/economic just issues there too - it means people with old ICE vehicles and no household battery are at the mercy of the system. On the other hand, the constant auction that motivates me to sell from my household (or eventually car) battery would also even out the price spike by a lot.

The possibilities are really interesting there.

Yes, pre-holiday predictions were for a peak around Jan 15-20. I think the question is whether the faster incubation of omicron means we're already there or the higher virulence means we haven't seen the peak yet.

Should be soon, but the question is whether it will be before or after businesses shut down en masse. So far it's mostly reduced days/hours. But if case rates go up 20%, it's just going to be shutting the doors for a couple weeks.

Water Cooler / Re: Corona Virus - Save Yourselves
« on: January 15, 2022, 05:13:21 PM »
As indicated in the article, I wonder what they would find if they DID do the studies on other viral infections and find out if this is Covid-specific or something that just happens when we get the flu as well.

One thing Covid has taught me is that we know a lot less about viral infections than I assumed we did.

Monetization / Re: Weedmaps
« on: January 15, 2022, 05:10:48 PM »
As a non-smoker, I don't know what the cost of illegal pot is so it's hard for me to know whether $161/pound + 15% of retail cost is expensive or not.

Water Cooler / Re: UK energy
« on: January 15, 2022, 05:07:50 PM »
>>Peak Shaving

That was our Plan A for our solar + battery system. However, the inverter we have is highly efficient but fairly dumb. The smarter inverter that allows programming for time of use was an *extra* $4500 at the electrician's cost, without markup (and he was willing to install it at his cost).

The average differential between peak and off peak is less than 15 cents/kwh (in the summer at the highest tier it is 20 cents). We use about 2-3kwh/day during that time. Let's say 3. So that's 45 cents per day of cost shifting we can do with time arbitrage. Let's call it 50 cents. That's about $180/year. That gave us a 25-year payback. The batteries are guaranteed for 10000 cycles if you discharge to 20% or more (i.e. never use more than 80% of capacity). If we did time shifting, we would therefore have to replace our batteries in 27 years, which means that we have to factor in the cost of the batteries too.

So we are looking at 25 years just to break even on the upgraded inverter. Once we accelerate the EOL of the batteries and factor that in, at current prices, peak shaving would cost us a fortune.

After we ran through all these calcs with the electrician and got the system installed, as he was going away, he said, "I'm really glad you decided on the simpler inverter. I like this inverter a lot. It never goes down. The smart inverters end up ruining a lot of my weekends."

At the height of the lockdown in the first wave, our county had something like 8-10 active cases and 0-2 hospitalized. Current report is 58 active cases and 16 hospitalized. And keep in mind, with the new quarantine rules, "active cases" is cut almost in half.

The main hotel in the park has 12 of the kitchen staff out. Going into the MLK holiday, the concessioner is just hanging on. Ski areas too. Unless we are at the post-Christmas peak and things get better from hear, expect things to start closing. That is, if current rates go on for another couple weeks, businesses will simply start to close.

Already, my transmission repair is pushed back a couple weeks - too many mechanics in quarantine.

It's interesting that it is presented as a benefit for Trusted Drivers rather than a Big State interference in your private life.

Of course, ticket by mail was already implemented in Switzerland when I lived there in the 1990s and in Australia when I visited in 2002. I don't know about other countries (i.e. is the US an outlier or are CH and OZ outliers among rich nations?)

I do wonder about a progression
 - a select few opt in. Police barely notice, but start saying to themselves, "Oh, cool, I don't have to confront this person face to face, that's a relief."
 - more people join, especially people of color who might think that as Trusted Drivers they are less likely to get pulled over for DWB. Police start to see text tickets as normal
 - it becomes normal. Millennials and Gen Z thinks it's rude to telephone a friend without texting first. They hate meetings and prefer chat/email. They do not want face-to-face encounters with police. They all opt in.
 - now a minority refuse to opt in. The police catch someone for a traffic violation, look it up and think, "Damn. That a##hole hasn't signed up for Trusted Driver and I have to put myself at risk and confront him/her." Now the officer is worried and in a bad mood and the encounters increasingly go poorly. More people opt in.
 - now only the few are opted in. Those who are not are disproportionately hostile to law enforcement. Now you get pulled over for speeding and the officer calls in backup: "Untrusted driver 12 mph over the limit. Requesting backup."

It's sort of like the progression we've had with the denormalizing of hitchhiking. By making it such a fringe activity, it means that only people on the fringes hitch and pick up hitchhikers, which has made it probably more dangerous than 50 years ago.

Water Cooler / Re: Is it time to review Smart TVs ??
« on: January 15, 2022, 04:38:39 PM »

I have to say that my 92yo dad loves Alexa. He recently got Alexa set up to run his TV and to add appointments to his iPhone calendar. And with a simple, "Alexa, what do I have scheduled today," Alexa reads out what he has on his schedule for the day. Alexa interfaces with his Nest thermostat. So when he's cold, he just says, "Alexa, turn the heat to 72," and it's done. Alexa can check whether his garage door is open or closed.

I see an Alexa-enabled Smart TV in his future.

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 406