40 posts • joined Friday 27th April 2007 13:02 GMT
Well - seems pretty obvious to me. I didn't realise that really was a key concern of anyone. I thought it was more about the massive flooding, hurricanes etc. that will cause untold death and destruction.
There are other aspects that become a little 'out of control' as temperatures rise. One is the massive permanently frozen methane fields in Russia - and methane as we know has a much worse effect on global warming than CO2. Also, wasn't there some issue with plant life in the Ocean suffering? Not sure the rainforests were ever seen as a key issue.
Solar prices have been dropping fast. Panel prices dropped well over 50% since late 08.
The German government who have been guiding the industry towards lower prices year by year were caught by surprise and had to quickly vote in an additional subsidy price cut on top of their usual yearly subsidy drops this year. So the industry's prices have been dropping more quickly than experts had originally predicted.
Every year machines get cheaper, wafers get thinner, efficiencies go up, silicon gets cheaper to produce etc.
Subsidies mean the industry gets to the point of being cost competitive against traditional energy more quickly. The subsidies wouldn't be there if the industry didn't keep moving forwards.
To the point someone made about total cost of energy to make vs. output:
A) The equation changes dramatically as efficiencies of cells and machines improve year by year. I'm not sure how old the equation you saw is...
b) Panels last a lot longer than people expect. Those made 30 years ago are still working very well. Calculations have taken a much shorter period of time into account
3.5 Cents / Visit
That number seems too high. Partner site clicks are very cheap to advertise on, they normally cost me about 4p-5p per click. So they are assuming that every single person that misspells a domain clicks on an advert while they are there - which seems to be bad logic.
I would cut their estimated income number by a factor of 5-20 since most people will immediatey continue to search for their intended target site rather than hang around on the obviously wrong site looking at the adverts.
Are played ads really being watched?
The satirical website theonion.com has non-skippable ads. I simply put the volume down and look at another window while I wait for it to end - or open multiple windows so that I can then re-watch the videos without the ads.
I would probably do the same for youtube - open multiple videos and then replay them afterwards. I suppose this will work out fine for their revenues as they will shows as played all the way through, but it won't be real statistics about who is watching the ads unless they have a way to see if the video is on the active window.
I can't complain though - I suppose if I like a site enough then I should be willing to pay a subscription to have an ad-free version of it.
Business as Usual
It seems Marketing 101 these days to ensure that your new console / console upgrade gets sold out shortly before launch. I think a lot of people only realise it is something interesting after they see stories that they may have trouble securing one.
Even the worst console can make stories like this, they just need to make sure that production falls short of expected demand (not that I have anything against this launch - 1/3 less power consumption sounds good to me).
@Ross, Overseas Servers
It's really not that easy to play on overseas servers - there is a big lag issue. I am a long-time online games player (for the past 20 years, since times when you had to dial the game directly), and I spend most of my time in China these days. Basically, everytime I am in China I have to give up all my usual games and switch to playing Magic Online which is about the only game that lag won't make unplayable.
Unfortunately I can't read a word of Chinese, so that puts all the local servers out of reach. No need to the VPN tunnels / proxies that Shane mentions in his post - all overseas servers are available for anyone who wants them - for those that can put up with heavy lag and English language.
I should note that I am out in Anhui province - while people in Shanghai might find the lag issue not quite as bad. I am sure the Chinese WoW money making businesses are all based in Shanghai - but please remember that there is a big national market out there who mostly speak only Chinese, beyond that one city.
Solution to the problem
"If there were enough thermal plants in existence to cope with rare (but nonetheless certain to occur) events such as nationwide calms during winter evenings, some of these plants would almost never be in use."
Well - my suggestion is that you let people volunteer for a cheaper electricity rate. In return for 20% reduction in their electricity bill, they lose power to their house for a few hours each year during these extremely rare calm events - this way you don't need the spare just in case capacity.
I think there will be a fair proportion of people who will volunteer to put up with the odd electricity cut in exchange for cheaper bills.
Don't block everything from China!
Rich 2 => Please don't block all Chinese content. There are some nice chaps such as myself out there - I run a renewable energy information company in China, doing my bit to save the world, and it's a bit of a shame to get blocked by very strict Europeans.
Mind you, I do receive 200 spam mails every day from mostly Chinese sources... :)
It would be nice for the authorities to crack down - I'm not sure how many more hundreds of spam emails I can put up with. McAfee doesn't recognise much of the spam from China, 95% of Chinese spam gets let through as normal mail.
I think it's a good idea to limit the use of virtual currency in China. There are a lot of people out there busy trying to trick others out of their cash - and I wouldn't be surprised to hear of countless thousands losing out to a tricky virtual currency pyramid scheme where a company sets a price for their currency and then quietly uses an unlimited amount of the currency to defraud people.
Re: Long Distance / Greg
There isn't that much inter-city travel done in China - mostly because of these long distances.
Most car travel is done around the local city, and you drive pretty slowly in the city since it's a constant battle between cars, bikes and people trying to cross the road. Some interesting facts about cars & China:
- If someone flashes their lights at you, it doesn't mean "After you." it means "Get out my way!", which gives you a useful indicator of the difference in driving styles generally.
- If you want to cross a busy road in China, you need to walk a bit out into the road so that the cars make an arc around you, keep moving slowly forwards and after the mid-point the cars will start to swerve the other way around you. If you stand at a zebra crossing and wait for cars to stop for you, you'll die of old age by the side of the road.
Back to more serious matters - the uptake of electric cars can be strongly influenced by capturing the taxi market. Half the cars on the roads are taxis, but in most provinces they are already running on compound natural gas which is already very cheap - so I'm not sure how easy it will be to convince taxi drivers to go for EVs instead. Possibly by releasing a number of taxi licenses that are valid only for EVs (taxi licenses tend to be pretty valuable, and can be sold for about £20,000 - at least that's the case in my local city).
Excellent Advertising Oppportunity
Once the GLA gets things going, I think there will be an excellent opportunity for some companies to put up some solar panels on their roofs and offer their own free charging points. It will only work when it's daytime, but in this way after the panels are bought it will cost the companies nothing to offer the electricity - and a nice way to do brand building for the next 30 years as the panels continue to churn out free electricity.
The price of solar panels has dropped 40% since the financial crisis, so a great time to go out and make some free 'leccy points.
Hopefully Chinese internet will be getting a nice upgrade with all the new spend the government is undertaking.
I have an office in central China and even with a fibre directly into my office we have very slow speeds to Western websites (and our local telecom tells us that further upgrades to our fibre speed won't help at all in the speed that we can surf the foreign sites). This lead to our quite small website needing to put up a China-based mirror for the Chinese language version of our website so that looking through our website wouldn't be too slow.
China is laying down some new international lines which will hopefully speed things up - but I have the feeling the real increase will depend on whether spam traffic shoots up after the new lines go in.
Good gas record
In my city of Wuhu, Anhui (China) - pretty much every single taxi (about 50% of the cars on the road here are taxis) run on CNG (compound natural gas) and if you take a look at the busses you will see that most have a CNG sign on them also. So most vehicles on the road are already low pollution, and the taxi drivers love the gas option because it is so cheap compared to petrol.
I do remember a bumpy time when taxis were first forced to install gas while I was in Beijing around 6 years ago - everyone got the cheapest unit installed to comply with regulations and taxis trying to run on the gas kept cutting out and pushing the button to just switch back to using petrol. But with the excellent savings to be made then taxis soon switched over to better gas units.
I suspect a similar trend will take place with electric cars - if it is cheaper than CNG, then they will want to switch to the most cost effective option. Traffic is pretty slow within all the cities - so who really cares about top speed...
I don't understand the numbers
"Carl Icahn has doubled his stake in Yahoo! despite sitting on a billion dollar loss from his first stake in the firm."
Icahn built up ..when shares were floating around $25.
..bought another 6.9 million shares - for less than $10 each."
I don't get the mathematics here. If he has doubled his stake, that means he initially bought 6.9 million shares for around $172 million. So how can he lose $1 billion from owning $172 million worth of shares?
Lower Lead in Blood
Hunters will more frequently live out in the country-side and will therefore be exposed to a lot less lead-based air pollution. So it is quite possible that they absorb less lead from their meat compared to the city dwellers who absorb it through their lungs.
Of course - this doesn't mean that the city dwellers who ingest additional lead won't become rabid raving lunatics: marrying their horses, allowing their empires to be invaded by Mongolian hordes etc.
"Perhaps the problem can be bypassed instead by present or yet-unknown technology. It is difficult to speculate about what such an advance would be, since the nature of the future is that it is unknown."
With Kyoto, many people are searching for this technology because it will make big piles of cash.
When Pollution = Cost, Technological Solutions to Pollution = Save Big Money.
If you pump all the money into short-term charity items, then people will be pumping money into family planning drug development etc. because that is where the money is - and this future unknown technology will never take off because no-one cares about it (and the genius scientist who was going to develop the technology that saves the planet is instead making some miraculous family planning drug).
Age issue a problem
The thing putting me of Warhammer is that it will be full of teenagers - just like WoW is.
I have found:
Ultima Online - lots of teens
Everquest - mostly adults
Dark Age of Camelot - mixed
World of Warcraft - lots of teens, not many adults stick with WoW from what I could tell
Age of Conan - mostly adults (thanks to the 18 rating)
I'll stick with Age of Conan until one of the new games decides to make the sensible decision to have separate servers for adults and teens. As long as teens realise that "Adults server" means less sexual talk/behaviour rather than on the Teen server then I think they will stick to their servers.
I don't think Conan has anything that deserves the 18 rating - but it does wonders for the behaviour of people in the game.
Some items work well on Buy-it now
Sometimes Ebay works very nicely as a shop - for the very niche items.
Eg. I am buying some live fish on Ebay - much better than searching through websites. And if I want the fish, I don't want to wait days for an auction to end, I want to immediately purchase. The same for when I wanted some long ethernet cables without the hasstle of going down the shops.
They do get annoying on auctions where you want second hand stuff - but I think you can normally chose 'Condition - used' to filter them out - not much Buy it now options on used goods.
As to small item fees - I guess Ebay must be losing a bit of money on them and making the good money off the power sellers.
I think people are being too harsh against the buyers in this story.
I often need to purchase things through the internet with my credit card, and I assume a certain level of protection against getting ripped off.
For example, I bought £500 of bamboo from a website. Now all I had to go on were a bunch of pictures that some guy could have ripped off from some other website. Sometimes you need to assume they are telling the truth, rather than calling them up and asking them to bang the phone against the bamboo pots so you can hear that they are real.
Just like I don't have the time or inclination to go out and research bamboo to death before I buy it (they could have made up the bamboo names and photoshopped the pictures for all I know), the same goes for people that fancy an iPhone but don't feel like researching the situation for countless hours.
The businesses that accept credit cards understand that it isn't so easy to set up, there are some security measures in place. Lloyds inspected my business carefully before they allowed me to take credit cards, and when I was younger and wanted to set up a different website business my request to take credit cards was simply refused by all banks due to lack of track record. As you can see from this story, the police know exactly who did this - if it was so easy to rip people off then nobody would know who ran the website, or where the money had gone to.
It's pretty obvious that Google would need to pay many times more once their plans became public. They would have received a much better price if they told the guy some time ago that Knol was one of a number of options they were considering, and how about accepting 30,000 Euros to swap to Knol.net instead...
I think this is great for everyone.
- Chinese standard HD pirate disks would not 'leak' out to other countries and cause IPR problems outside of China. Most pirates wouldn't bother with the expense of making pirate DVDs for export, and the government could crack down heavily on those that do.
- China can then get less bother on the IPR issue. If Western IPR was stuck on all DVDs and enforced properly there would be a lot of unhapiness in China. No-one would be able to afford DVDs anymore and a popular source of entertainment (and also English language learning) would be snatched away from everyone.
- Chinese manufacturers can start up with lower entry barriers to serve their local market, and then be able to grow into offering Western technology to Western markets.
Automatch - seems quite useful
I think Automatch will be helpful to a number of companies. I think it will work even better if they apply a discount to the Automatch results (and only allow a % of budget to go towards Automatch to stop people spending most of their budget via automatch).
A lot of companies who don't have the time to spend days refining their search terms may find this feature helpful - and if they have conversion tracking switched on then they will find some nice new terms to add to their main list.
I think I'll use Automatch myself for short periods to discover successful new keywords. Seems a nice lazy way to improve results.
Lead acid / winter
From my father-in-law's experience with his electric bike in China - the lead acid battery works half as well in winter. Mind you, he's had the bike quite a few years and the battery life seems to be holding up fine apart from the winter problem.
Actually, in my local city in China where I reside half the year (Wuhu) - about half the vehicles on the road are electric bikes. Of all the cars on the road I would guess that about 1/3 of them run on compact natural gas which is much much cheaper to run. The only disadvantage of CNG is that it takes up half the car's boot space, but small price to pay!
Hopefully electric car technology will come to China soon, although recharging will be a serious problem to overcome. Electric bike batteries are simply lifted out and carried into the house to recharge - and I can't see myself lifting out a car battery and carrying it up the stairs. It's quite possible the local governments may put out charging points though, assuming the local car makers have something to gain from the market boost.
I really like the way they have integrated a solar indicator in there to show the strength of the sunlight. A lot of solar charged items require a lot of guess work about whether they are getting any benefits from their location. Hopefully we'll see these sort of indicators appearing more regularly on solar products.
Nice job Roberts.
Google dominating ads
Even if Google controls all search ads - that doesn't mean they control all internet advertising. I run a niche website where we sell our banner advertising directly to our customers - and I'm sure there are millions of sites out there who also sell ads direct.
If I stick Google bars instead of our own advertising, our advertising revenue would drop 10-fold. If Google get a monopoly position and their external website ad network rates become terrible for the website owners - is it so hard for 100 advertising companies to suddenly spring up talking to websites and convincing them to swap their Google ad bars for their webbars to get more revenue.
The internet allows for a vast array of websites aimed at specific topics - and where you have specific topics you can have not-too-hard direct sales to the people who want to hit that special target audience.
It's a nice start
It might not do too much, but it's nice to see steps in the right direction. They will want add a bit of pressure for the panel to be as light as possible - and moves towards making solar panels lighter will mean that a few years later some advanced cars may start sporting bigger panel areas on the roof, bonnet and maybe even the doors.
Once that sort of area is covered, then people who only make a few short journeys each week will see their fuel costs cut by a percentage worth looking at.
For the people that make longer journeys - well perhaps we'll see some solar power recharge spots with some early adopter companies putting up a PV array to charge up their employees electric cars. Woking already has a free recharge spot in one of the car parks for electric cars to get a free refill, and since Woking also has a big photovoltaic facade by the train station you could almost say people are getting their free solar power recharge there.
Renewable efficiency levels
From reading this article, I'm not clear if he has considered the constantly improving technologies of renewable energies. Renewable sources such as photovoltaics keep improving their efficiencies year by year. So if you implement a 10-year plan of rolling out renewable equipment, then the equipment installed in year 10 would be significantly more efficient.
Also ignoring PV on roofs in favour of PV farms in Africa makes financial sense if all expenditure had to come directly from the government's pocket - but one benefit of installing PV on roofs is to share the cost with UK residents who pay out some of their capital and recoup it over the years.
The reason for the low sex ranking
Most Chinese people using the internet do so from an internet cafe or at work. At both these locations it would be very socially embarrasing to look at pornographic material. The internet cafe local to me in China has some private booths that can be curtained off, I assume to surf porn in more privacy, but the cost of using these computers is three times more expensive per hour due to the extra space they take up.
There may be more searching of sex topics on the bigger web portals like Sina and Sohu - since a lot of young Chinese people want to learn about how contraception works etc. (and it doesn't get taught well by both schools and parents due to the cultural embarrasment over the subject). But it would still be very embarrasing for a young person to be seen in an internet cafe to be reading this material so that might only get done when the internet cafe is mostly empty.
Finally - Chinese people really are less sex-obsessive than Western people. So even if everyone moved to private computers there would still be a lower percentage of time spent hunting for porn.
1% saving is nothing?
It seems a pretty stupid comment to make to say that a 1% drop in global CO2 emmissions is a waste of time.
A solution to a specific sector that can result in a 1% drop across the whole world seems very nice to me....
There are some pretty poor marketing people out there. If you search for Wii on Google you will find a lot of useless ads from companies offering Wiis that they don't have.
I would like to find a Wii package where I don't have to pay £500+ (the extra controllers cost £45 each extra player for the motion sensitive ones, plus I want a couple of good 4 player games). I am happily clicking away on the Amazon adverts each day until what the promise comes true, and by then all the profit will go to Google advertising department and not Amazon.
My view is that the shortage is deliberate - either that or their country sales teams have very poor forecasting skills. If it is the second case then they should think on their feet and ship over a load of European stock and offer a free plug adaptor.
Regarding the comment on factory capacity being a constant - well the manufacturer should always fill up the channel inventory a month or two ahead of a big season, and they should have some warehousing facilities of their own within UK that they can pile high ahead of Xmas period. Also - production rate is often not a complete constant, if your factory is working 2 shifts (2*8 hours) then you can always make it a 24 hour operation in times of need.
"Solar power is seen as expensive, and it would obviously not be available at night - which is just when the Africans want it."
Off-grid solar power uses batteries. The cost of photovoltaics keeps dropping each year, and there are plenty of affordable home power photovoltaic solutions out there now as well as companies trying to leverage African entrepreneurs to distribute these systems.
Indian companies have demonstrated that photovoltaics pays for itself for lighting solutions vs. the cost of kerosene in lighting houses.
Could it be that the mice running on the treadmills were shaded from much of the UV light while on their treadmills - and that the lower exposure in this way led to a much lower incidence of skin cancer?
I wouldn't mind knowing also if these coffee drinking mice spilt a lot on themselves while drinking - because the dried coffee stains might make for a substitute sun cream.
Policing the forest
Very nice idea - but I hope they hire a very mobile team of armed rangers to protect the forest. If there is profit to be made from cutting down the trees, then the trees will certainly be chopped unless there is a real threat of being caught.
They mention hiring local people as rangers - I am not sure how well this solution will work. If a big logging company turns up with some bags of cash then I am not sure the local rangers will stop them, whereas a professional team of armed rangers will at least be a lot more expensive to bribe.
It seems logical enough that there will be more rainfall as global warming develops (more on global basis). If there is more heat, then there should be more water evaporation.
The extra water will contribute to the upcoming additional natural disasters - floods, mudslides etc.
Very expensive for thin-film
"Signet thinks it can reduce the cost of solar modules to between $3 and $4 per watt next year"
I am not sure how they can sell any thin-film panels at that price in 2008. There are certified panels for sale at $3.8 per Watt to be found at http://www.enf.cn/ecom/ - and that is for very small orders, not bulk price.
Thin-film in China is currently selling at an average of $2.4 per Watt. If they don't come in under the market price for silicon panels I can't see how it will sell, since a non-proven technology vs. a technology that is proven to last for decades in the field needs a cost advantage to sell.
"With the larger modules, there's less wiring, less framing, less handling and less overall infrastructure,"
Yes, except for the fact that thin-film panels are much less efficient and so their large panels may even produce less power as the smaller standard panels (which are all generally larger than the 1m*0.8m they are noting, they must be picking some old panels to compare with).
I had a mosquito fly into my ear drum, and it was very very loud and quite a shock to wake up to.
Only took me a few seconds to work out the solution though, which was to rush to the bathroom and pour water into my ear (just need to turn your head on its side for the water to go in). Not sure how someone can sit in an NHS waiting room for 7 hours and not think to put a bit of water in there.
The difference in panels
1 million panels & 40MWp = 40Wp per panel. It is actually more expensive to buy 40Wp panels than 200Wp panels with the same standard silicon technology, which means that they will be using thin-film panels.
The Potuguese site will be using the latest normal silicon panels, while the Canadian site will be using thin-film technology which has lower efficiency. But 40Wp per panel does seem pretty low even for thin-film considering it will come online in 2010.
The good news for the posters worried about killing off all life below the panels - they are put up in rows above the ground with gaps between each row, or on big tracking mechanisms that follow the sun.
If they are put up in rows then a farmer can have sheep munching the grass growing below the panels. If they are on big trackers then once again, plenty of things can grow in the shade nearby.
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