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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 02:20 AM
Number of posts: 29,798

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China installed 20 GW of solar power in first-half (2016); triple from a year ago

Jul 22, 2016
China installed 20 GW of solar power in first-half; triple from a year ago

China installed 20 gigawatts (GW) of solar power capacity in the first half of 2016, three times as much as during the same period a year ago, state news agency Xinhua reported late on Thursday citing the country's largest solar industry lobby.

The surge in capacity extended China's lead over Germany as the top solar generator, said Wang Bohua, General Secretary of the China Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA), according to Xinhua.


Production of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules also increased to 27 GW, up by 37.8 percent in the first half of the year, the CPIA said in a report on its website, adding that the profit margins of the major manufacturers improved to an average of 5 percent from 4.85 percent last year...

Alien hunters are fixated on a mysterious star, which refuses to reveal its secrets

Alien hunters are fixated on a mysterious star, which refuses to reveal its secrets

Twinkle, twinkle... (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

WRITTEN BY Akshat Rathi

A mysterious star has attracted global attention since its strange properties came to light in October last year. The star showed an odd pattern of dimming that could not be explained by any known natural phenomenon. Among the hypotheses that has yet to be disproved: the star is surrounded by an alien megastructure.

Such extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, as the famous astronomer Carl Sagan put it. Ever since Tabetha Boyajian of Yale University found KIC 8462852, or Tabby’s star (named after her), professional scientists and amateur astronomers have been pointing their telescopes towards a small part of the night sky to collect more data.

A flurry of studies published over the past year show that the more data scientists collect, the stranger the star’s tale becomes. Every attempt to rule out the alien-megastructure hypothesis is met with more data that stops it from being discarded.

The sign that started it all
NASA launched the Kepler mission in 2009. Its aim was to search for planets by fixing its gaze at a tiny patch in the sky. When it spots a star’s light suddenly dim, it means that a planet has crossed between the star and the satellite. The amount of dimming is related to how big the planet is.

This is monotonous work. NASA created software to interpret the dimming—planets orbiting a star dim the light at regular intervals, so the agency’s software flagged these episodes to scientists to confirm the readings. A contingent at Yale, meanwhile...

More at http://qz.com/752783/alien-hunters-are-fixated-on-a-mysterious-star-which-refuses-to-reveal-its-secrets/

Free trade losing its luster

Free trade losing its luster
AUG 8, 2016

KUALA, LUMPUR/MOSCOW – In its May 2010 “Global Survey,” McKinsey & Company reported that “the core drivers of globalization are alive and well.” In an April 2014 report, the firm went further, declaring that “to be unconnected is to fall behind.”

But now McKinsey seems to have changed its tune. In a new report, “Poorer Than Their Parents? Flat or Falling Incomes in Advanced Economies,” the McKinsey Global Institute asserts that developed countries should not expect further gains from the process of globalization. Income growth has stalled since the 2008 financial crisis and “even a return to strong GDP growth may not” reverse the trend.

Specifically, McKinsey finds that, from 2005 to 2014, real (inflation-adjusted) incomes remained flat or fell in 65-70 percent of households comprising 540 million people across 25 advanced economies. In the United States during this period, 81 percent of the population experienced flat or falling real incomes; in Italy, 97 percent did. By comparison, from 1993 to 2005, advanced-economy real incomes remained flat or fell in less than 2 percent of households.

Government transfers and tax cuts mitigated some of this trend’s effects by leaving families with additional take-home income, especially in strong welfare states. But even with those measures, up to a quarter of households in some countries experienced stagnant or lower disposable incomes between 2005 and 2014.

The years since 2005 have shown globalization to be a double-edged sword, and even conservative politicians worldwide have stopped cheerleading for it....

More at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2016/08/08/commentary/world-commentary/free-trade-losing-luster/#.V6jcR2Vh2Rs

“How much more miracle-y do you need your miracles to be"?

"...here are all the latest charts and facts"

You’ll Never Believe How Cheap New Solar Power Is
BY JOE ROMM JUL 18, 2016 9:29 AM

Solar energy has grown 100-fold in this country in the past decade. Globally, solar has doubled seven times since 2000, and Dubai received a bid recently for 800 megawatts of solar at a stunning “US 2.99 cents per kilowatt hour” —unsubsidized! For context, the average residential price for electricity in the United States is 12 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Solar energy has been advancing considerably faster than anyone expected just a few years ago thanks to aggressive market-based deployment efforts around the globe. Since it’s hard to keep up with the speed-of-light changes, and this is the fuel that will power more and more of the global economy in the near future, here are all the latest charts and facts to understand it.

If you are looking for one chart to sum up the whole solar energy miracle, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) Chairman Michael Liebreich has one from his keynote address at BNEF’s annual conference in April titled “In Search of the Miraculous”:

Solar’s exponentially declining costs and exponentially rising installations (the y-axis is a logarithmic scale).

Thanks to sustained long-term deployment programs, Liebreich explained, “We’ve seen the costs come down by a factor of 150 since 1975. We’ve seen volume up by 115,000.”

“How much more miracle-y do you need your miracles to be,” Liebreich added.

What that chart doesn’t reveal is that the price drop and the sales volume increase are directly linked....

Six more charts at: http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=post&forum=1127&pid=103504

Chiyonofuji (the Wolf) dead of pancreatic cancer at 61.

I feel privileged to have been introduced to sumo while the Wolf was undisputed champion. He was incredible.

The Low Carbon Economy GS SUSTAIN equity investor’s guide to a low carbon world, 2015-25

The Low Carbon Economy
GS SUSTAIN equity investor’s guide to a low carbon world, 2015-25

We explore the low carbon economy, now a growing, $600 bn+ pa revenue opportunity. Between 2015 and 2020, solar PV and onshore wind will add more to global energy supply than US shale oil production did between 2010 and 2015. By 2020, six in ten lightbulbs will be LEDs; and our analysts expect carmakers to sell 25 million hybrid & electric vehicles by 2025, 10x more than today. We estimate that these technologies will save >5 Gt of CO2 emissions per annum by 2025 and could help global emissions to peak earlier than expected around 2020, with ripple effects felt across our global coverage.


The Myth of the Nuclear Renaissance - The game is already over for nuclear energy

The Myth of the Nuclear Renaissance
The game is already over for nuclear energy.

July 18, 2016, at 2:00 p.m.

Dear editor,

Desperate times for the nuclear industry call for desperate rhetoric. Hence the reach, once again, for "renaissance," even though the facts support no such thing and the industry itself dare not even resurrect the mythological moniker. ["The New Nuclear Renaissance," 6/11/2016]

With nuclear power priced out of the market – not only by natural gas but, more importantly for climate, by renewables – die-hard nuclear proponents are dressing up old reactors in new propaganda.

Sodium-cooled, fast and even small modular reactors are all designs that have been around – and rejected – for decades.

Sodium-cooled reactors are prone to fires, explosions and super-criticality accidents. A rapid power increase inside the core of such a reactor could vaporize the fuel and blow the core apart. Far from "walk away safe," these on-paper designs have not been submitted to the kind of rigorous "all scenarios" testing that could definitively designate them as meltdown proof.

The reactor that consumes its own radioactive waste as fuel is not the waste management panacea its sounds like...

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