Posts by Bart Janssen

  • Southerly: A Tale of Two Iceblocks: Part…, in reply to Shaun Barker,

    Yeah it is pretty clear that NZ the best thing to do would be switch the bulk of our transport to electricity since that would convert gasoline use into (renewable) electricity use. Bearing in mind the energy costs of building new cars.

    But there are two things about solar electricity generation that make it slightly better - the first is the value of generating power close to the site of use, that acts to make the network more robust and reduces losses in the distribution network. Not a huge plus but still a plus.

    The second is that by adopting an new, but not yet perfect technology, you drive the improvement cycle and there is still a lot of room for improvement in solar electricity generation.

    That said NZ sucks for solar power, it's not hot enough for A/C to be relevant in summer and it is just too cloudy for really good energy production.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4103 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: DNC 2016: Beyond weird, most…, in reply to Tristan,

    They can afford a protest vote and don’t much care about those that can’t

    The key therefore is to make sure those that can't afford it actually do vote - that will take a committed focused democrat machine.

    Disrupting that machine is the key to Trump winning.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4103 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: A Tale of Two Iceblocks: Part…,

    Two phrases I find myself saying more and more often are

    unintended consequences
    and
    confirmation bias
    and
    unconscious biases
    and
    mathematically challenged

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4103 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: A Tale of Two Iceblocks: Part…, in reply to Moz,

    “shower helmets”

    lol

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4103 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: A Tale of Two Iceblocks: Part…, in reply to steven crawford,

    To bloody right, helmets law has no place in science or accountancy.

    Next you'll be asking us to believe in statistics

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4103 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: A Tale of Two Iceblocks: Part…, in reply to David Haywood,

    Alas that – obviously – you can’t just drop sunlight and wind as replacement fuels in a coal thermal plant (or even to directly replace coal thermal plants with wind and solar). So there are billions upon billions of dollars of equipment and grid connections worldwide that can’t be replaced quickly or easily. Not to mention transport infrastructure and so on and so on…

    Which is all true. We could not have switched instantly. But we could have said we need to switch as fast as we can so here's how long it takes to replace powerplants with hydro/solar/wind/nuclear, we stop building any more coal and gas plants at all and everyone has this long to replace their transport fleets with mass transit and electric.

    The engineers and science wonks could have come up with numbers for reasonable timeframes and got it done. By now we'd be worldwide all renewable.

    Instead we got an economic solution that would encourage everyone to change behaviour. The outcome was we got a bunch of politicians and lawyers and accountants who combined to figure out how to subvert the system and now we still have all those coal and gas powerplants and most of the world transport is still powered by gasoline and our atmosphere is getting worse all the time. The lesson is economic solutions don't work, someone always cheats.

    There is nothing about the economist's solution that has worked. And yet we still let the accountants and economists into the room whereas it's clear the only time they should be allowed into the room is to deliver the coffee and doughnuts.

    While I understand the point of your popsicle example, that the economics is wrong, I disagree with the solution.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4103 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: A Tale of Two Iceblocks: Part…,

    So back a few decades scientists figured out we were screwing up our atmosphere by emitting CFCs which were destroying ozone in the upper atmosphere and if we did nothing we'd all be fried to a crisp - actually we'd starve first because our crops would die.

    The solution was to ban the use of CFCs - which worked - this year saw the ozone hole decrease in size!!!

    Recently some other scientists figured out we were screwing up our atmosphere by emitting too much CO2 and methane and if we did nothing we'd all drown as the sea levels rose but again we'd probably starve to death first because all our crops would die.

    In a rational world we'd have banned high carbon emitting activities and solved the problem. But this time we let some accountants into the room and they came up with all these exciting formulas and theories about how they could use economics to solve the problem.

    The result is your popsicle problem. I'd argue that the solution is not to come up with more accountancy but instead to build a big spaceship and tell all the accountants and economists to hop onto it and the rest of us will be along shortly.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4103 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: The Best Possible Taste, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Yeah, when I was seventeen I was told, by my biology teacher, that if I wanted to be taken seriously, I should have a breast reduction operation.

    Also you shouldn’t care about your personal appearance you shouldn't waste time on a social life you shouldn’t wear nice clothes you shouldn’t …

    Essentially the whole range of activities that normal young adults engage in are considered “beneath a REAL scientist” especially anything feminine. And no that’s not just anecdata but folks have taken time to do the research and collect statistically significant data – again read Nicola’s book.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4103 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: The Best Possible Taste, in reply to BenWilson,

    As an aside, there’s exactly zero evidence for that currently, although it seems intuitively true.

    In science, the field I was talking about, there is a metric shittonne of evidence that having a group with diverse backgrounds and race and culture and experience and gender improves the quality of the scientific output.

    That is the reason every science institute in the world tries to get postdocs, so that diverse experiences and approaches can improve their output.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4103 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: The Best Possible Taste, in reply to steven crawford,

    What sorts of actions do you take? And what sorts of responce do you get from your counterparts at work when you do?

    I try, and it's likely that I fail sometimes because of unconscious biases, to make sure women get time ...
    time to make their point
    time to do their research
    time to lead
    I try to highlight when it's the women who came up with the ideas
    I hassle our HR department about promotions and the gender bias in our leadership and board of directors
    I point out again and again that diversity of approaches improves the quality of what we do but all too often people revert back to listening only to those who say the same things as they do and usually that means the boys club.

    I'm not as active as some, but I try.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4103 posts Report Reply

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