Solar Power is so Inefficient that Scientists had to create a Perpetual Heat Machine to make it more Efficient

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 15th, 2014

Week in Review

There’s a problem with solar power.  Night.  Clouds.  Rain.  Hail.  Snow.  Dust.  Bird poop.  Etc.  Actually that’s a little more than one problem.  There’s at least nine.  But the biggest problem is night.  Because it’s hard for solar panels to produce electricity from sunshine when the sun isn’t shining.  That is, until now (see Scientists Discover How to Generate Solar Power in the Dark by Todd Woody posted 4/15/2014 on The Atlantic).

The next big thing in solar energy could be microscopic.

Scientists at MIT and Harvard University have devised a way to store solar energy in molecules that can then be tapped to heat homes, water or used for cooking.

The best part: The molecules can store the heat forever and be endlessly re-used while emitting absolutely no greenhouse gases.  Scientists remain a way’s off in building this perpetual heat machine but they have succeeded in the laboratory at demonstrating the viability of the phenomenon called photoswitching…

So how would molecular solar storage work if the technology can be commercialized? Timothy Kucharski, the paper’s lead author and a postdoc at MIT and Harvard, told The Atlantic that most likely the storage would take a liquid form, which would be easy to transport.

“It would also enable charging by flowing the material from a storage tank through a window or clear tube exposed to the sun and then to another storage tank, where the material would remain until it’s needed,” Kucharski said in an email.  “That way one could stockpile the charged material for use when the sun’s not shining.”

Of course the takeaway from this is that solar power is so inefficient that Scientists at MIT and Harvard University had to make the impossible possible to make it more efficient.  And create a perpetual heat machine.  A self-sustaining machine.  Requiring no energy input to create energy.  If it works, great.  It would be paradigm changing.  But while we wait we should stop wasting money on solar panels.  Which can only produce energy when the sun shines.  About half of the day.  Unlike a coal-fired power plant.  Which produces power 24/7.  Regardless of night.  Clouds.  Rain.  Hail.  Snow.  Dust.  Or bird poop.

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Rent Control reduces the Amount of Affordable Housing

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 15th, 2014

Week in Review

Living in New York City is expensive.  High taxes.  And high property values.  But people want to live in the city.  And will pay very high rents to do so.  Which landlords can charge because there are people willing to pay them.  It’s the basic law of supply and demand.  It’s the same reason why beachfront property is so expensive.  There’s so little of it and so many people want to live there.  So the property goes to the highest bidder.  Which is why some of the richest movie and television stars own the best of these properties.  Because they are willing to pay the highest price.

Of course that’s all right for the rich.  But what about the poor and middle class?  Who can’t afford to live like rich movie and television stars?  Well, there has long been a cry for affordable housing for the less affluent.  And price controls.  To keep rents affordable for those of more modest means.  There have been various forms of rent control in New York City.  To make housing more available to the less affluent.  Which actually reduced the number of apartments available to them.  How, you may ask.  Well, when it comes to rent there are two parties.  A buyer and a seller.  We know why buyers are buying.  They want a place to live.  But why do sellers want to rent out apartments?  To make a profit.  And because rent control made it more difficult to make a profit landlords went elsewhere to make a profit.  Thus reducing the number of rental units available.

New York City still has rent-controlled apartments.  And people desperately want to live in them because rent everywhere else (at market prices) is so expensive.  So there are often battles between rent-control tenants and landlords who want to rent at market prices.  Like this (see Brooklyn landlords illegally harassed, targeted rent-stabilized tenants: suit by Erik Badia, Ginger Adams Otis posted 4/15/2014 on the Daily News).

The landlords targeted longstanding black tenants who lived in rent-stabilized apartments, the suit contends.

The plaintiffs pay anywhere from $600 to $1,400 a month for 52 three-bedroom units in the three buildings, according to the lawsuit…

The group claims the landlords, who bought the buildings in 2009, have neglected to do repairs in black-occupied units…

Approximately 15 new tenants have moved in since then, paying market rents as a high as $2,500, the plaintiffs claim…

Pilgrim, who pays a stabilized $950 rent for his apartment, said he has talked to new tenants who had told him they are paying more than double that rate…

“How can you go from paying $687 a month to $2,500 a month? They’re also taking advantage of these young kids,” Bell said.

The tenant sees the landlord as being greedy.  While the landlord sees that apartment being rented 72.5% below what it could be renting for.  If the roles were reversed the tenant would probably do the same thing.  Because people want to make money.  And people want to be rich.  That’s why they buy lotto tickets.  And try to make it in movies and television.  To be rich and famous.  They don’t buy properties to see how little money they can make with them.  They buy them to see how much money they can make with them.  Movie stars would never put their mansions up for sale at 72.5% below what other rich people would pay for them.  Just as a middle class homeowner would never sell her home for 72.5% below what someone would pay for it.

The law of supply and demand bring buyers and sellers together at a price they both agree on.  Making both parties happy.  When laws interfere with market prices (such as rent control) both parties are seldom happy.  Buyers tend to be happier.  But because sellers are so unhappy they stop selling.  Thus reducing the number of apartments available to rent.  Which is why rent control doesn’t work.  It actually reduces the amount of affordable housing.  So that only a very lucky few can enjoy life in a rent-control apartment.

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Marijuana may be Worse than Alcohol

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 15th, 2014

Week in Review

Walter White could cook the best meth on television.  And he could have had the greatest fake drug empire on TV.  But there was always one part of the drug business that continued to be the source of all of his trouble.  Distribution.  As his distributors all tried to kill him.  Krazy-8.  Tuco.  Gus.  Lydia.  He could cook the meth.  But he couldn’t move it.  Which forced him into dealing with these people who eventually wanted to kill him.  And they would have had Walter not killed them first.

Breaking Bad was only a television show.  But it showed a very difficult part of the drug business.  Distribution.  For you can make or grow all the drugs you want but if you can’t distribute them they won’t make you a dime.  Which is why Walter was forced into dealing with these people.  Because it’s not easy moving illegal drugs.  Even on television.

Colorado has decriminalized marijuana.  And they’ve had medical marijuana and medical marijuana pot shops for awhile.  A legal way to distribute marijuana.  Which may have caught the attention of people in the real drug business (see Colorado Pot Shops Raided By The Feds May Be Shut For Good by Matt Ferner posted 4/15/2014 on Huffington Post).

Four Denver-area medical marijuana businesses may be permanently shuttered after federal officials reportedly probing links with Colombian drug cartels raided the shops in November…

State regulators notified the four shops on April 3 that state licenses to operate as medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation facilities would be denied. The state alleged violations of state code that in some cases stretched back to 2012, according to state Marijuana Enforcement Division documents.

“You have operated the licensed premises in a manner that adversely affects the public health or welfare or the safety of the immediate neighborhoods in which your establishments are located,” the state notice of denial reads…

The Department of Justice has released little about the raids, which came less than two months before Colorado’s legal recreational marijuana shops opened. Federal authorities suggested the businesses may not have complied with guidelines outlined in DOJ’s August memo that assented to the new retail marijuana laws in Colorado and Washington state…

The DOJ guidance says federal authorities will continue to prosecute to prevent:

•The distribution of marijuana to minors;

•Revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels;

•The diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal under state law in some form to other states…

An unpleasant development for the ‘pot is no worse than alcohol’ crowd.  For pot does come with a little excess baggage.  A legal pot outlet may provide cover for illegal pot sales.  As the Feds’ raid on these Colorado pot shops would suggest.  But there is yet another unpleasant development for the ‘pot is no worse than alcohol’ crowd.  A study that shows pot may be worse than alcohol (see Casual marijuana use changes brain, new report shows by Kay Lazar posted 4/15/2014 on The Boston Globe).

Young adults who occasionally smoked marijuana show abnormalities in two key areas of their brain related to emotion, motivation and decision making, and the degree of changes appear to be directly related to the number of joints smoked per week, according to a new study by Boston researchers.

Other studies have revealed brain changes among heavy marijuana users, but this research is believed to be the first to demonstrate such abnormalities in young, casual pot smokers.

The scientists did not study whether the changes were linked to corresponding declines in brain function, but say the signs suggest young people might be especially vulnerable because their brains are still developing.

“This is when you are making major decisions in your life, when you are choosing a major, starting a career, making long-lasting friendships and relationships,” said lead author Jodi Gilman, a psychology instructor at Harvard Medical School and a brain scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The findings, to be published Wednesday in the Journal of Neuroscience, come amid an increased debate about the long-term effects of marijuana, as a growing number of states legalize the drug for medicinal and recreational use.

This is a tough development for Democrats.  Long seen as the cool political party by the young.  Because Democrats are the anti-parents.  When Mom and Dad told their kids to wait until they were in a serious relationship before having sex the Democrats passed out free condoms and provided access to abortion.  And when Mom and Dad told their children to say ‘no’ to drugs like Nancy Reagan the Democrats have been all for relaxing the drug laws.  As the war on drugs was costly and filled our prisons while being ineffective.  So the Democrats have been the party of sex and drugs.  While the Republicans have been the party of their parents.

So of course the young gravitate to the Democrat Party.  As the Democrats support these destructive lifestyles they so enjoy.  But as our kids suffer with STDs, deal with a pregnancy while still high school age and suffer from brain damage from smoking marijuana they may have second thoughts about the cool political party.  For all Mom and Dad wanted was for them to remain healthy and to be successful.  While Democrats appear to facilitate a destructive lifestyle just to win the youth vote.

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