California’s Solar Panel Edict

first_imgGarth Heutel is an associate professor of economics at Georgia State University. This post originally appeared at The Conversation. Environmental economics 101Many renewable energy experts, including economists like me, want governments to do something to address climate change but question the mandate.University of California, Berkeley economist Severin Borenstein summed up this take in his open letter to the California Energy Commission opposing the rule. University of California, Davis economist James Bushnell also opposes the mandate for similar reasons.Above all, what we economists call “command-and-control policies” like this mandate — inflexible requirements that apply to everyone — often don’t make sense. For example, going solar is less economical in some cases. Even in sunny California, builders can construct housing in shady areas, and not all homeowners use enough electricity for the investment to pay off before they move away.The mandate does have some exemptions tied to shade and available roof space, but there could property owners subjected to the requirement to own or lease solar panels who might consider it unreasonable.We tend to think that “market-based policies” would work better. By relying on incentives instead of requirements, people get to decide for themselves what to do.Good examples of these policies include a tax on pollution, like British Columbia’s carbon tax, or a cap-and-trade market, like the European Union’s Emissions Trading System. Instead of restricting the right to pollute, these approaches make people and businesses pay to pollute, either through taxation or by buying mandatory permits.The flexibility of market-based policies can make meeting pollution reduction goals cost-effective. When people — or businesses — have to factor the costs of pollution into their decision-making, they have a financial incentive to pollute less and will find ways to do so. By reducing pollution as cheaply as possible, more money is left over to spend on other pressing needs like housing, health care and education.This advantage is not merely theoretical. By many accounts, market-based policies have successfully worked according to theory, including the U.S. sulfur dioxide trading program and the EU’s carbon trading program.California itself has a cap-and-trade market. I believe that expanding and improving it would cut carbon emissions more cost-effectively than the solar mandate would.Many economists also fear that the mandate will worsen California’s housing unaffordability. This crisis has many causes, such as restrictive zoning regulations that curtail construction. But the solar-panel requirement, which could increase the cost of a new home by more than $10,000, probably won’t help, even though supporters of the policy argue that the solar panels will pay for themselves in terms of lower monthly electricity costs. More than two sidesYou might expect the debate over this policy, which became official when the California Energy Commission unanimously voted in favor of it on May 8, to pit two well-defined camps against each other.Environmentalists who prize fighting climate change might love it due to a presumption that increasing the share of power California derives from solar panels will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by cutting demand for natural gas and coal.On the other hand, those who question whether the costs of addressing climate change are worth it might hate the solar mandate, since they either see no benefits or think the benefits aren’t worth the costs. More California rooftops will soon sport solar panels, partly due to a new state mandate requiring them for all new houses and low-rise residential buildings by 2020.This rule immediately sparked lively debates. Even experts who generally advocate for solar energy expressed skepticism that it was actually a good idea.As an environmental economist who studies the design of environmental policies, I believe that doing something about climate change is important, but I don’t consider this new solar mandate to be the best way to achieve that goal. I’m also concerned that it could exacerbate problems with California’s housing market. But there are more than two sides. A practical policyAfter mulling all the various arguments made by these different camps, I don’t think that whether California’s rooftop solar mandate is the perfect policy for the climate or the state’s homebuyers is the question.The answer to that question is a resounding no — but that is beside the point because no policy is perfect. The key question is whether this policy — given its imperfections and given the difficulty in passing more cost-effective policies — is a winner overall. That question is harder to answer.Ultimately, I believe the mandate will yield some environmental benefits, though they could be more cost-effectively achieved through other means. The solar mandate’s fansThe solar mandate’s defenders, including Gov. Jerry Brown and Sierra Club leader Rachel Golden, make several arguments — two of which I find credible.The first is what I’d call the “Panglossian” argument, after the character in Candide, Voltaire’s 18th-century classic satire. In what Voltaire would call “the best of all possible worlds,” taxing carbon would make perfect sense.But this is a world riddled with political obstacles that make enacting almost any climate policy next to impossible. If a big American state can enact an imperfect law like this mandate that might do some good, then it should go for it.The other argument I find reasonable is that by drumming up more demand, the solar mandate will expand the solar panel market — thereby driving solar costs down, perhaps more quickly than a carbon tax would. There’s some evidence supporting the theory that these mandates can spur innovation in renewable electricity technologies.If the mandate works out, it might address two issues at once: shrinking California’s carbon footprint and bolstering technological progress in the solar industry.To be sure, the cost of residential solar panels has plummeted in recent years, although generating solar energy through rooftop panels remains less cost-effective than power from utility-scale solar farms. RELATED ARTICLES California Poised to Require Solar PanelsThe California ModelTo Net Zero and Beyond The Department of Energy Chooses a Definition for Net ZeroBuilding a Low-Cost Zero-Energy HomeRevisiting Net Zero Energylast_img read more

Israeli Defense Force Responds To Criticism Of Games On Its War Blog

first_imgThis is the meat of the IDF’s explanation:“In no way is ‘IDF Ranks’ meant to gamify Operation Pillar of Defense or any military actions during the operation. We embarked on the operation for serious reasons – Israeli civilians have been the target of rocket fire for over a decade – and we continue to see it with the utmost seriousness.”I take that response very seriously. But I’m genuinely surprised that the decision to turn IDF Ranks back on did not strike anyone as unserious. As I’ve tried repeatedly to make clear, I thought the initial social media campaign was quite seriously executed. It was well done. It captivated the media and steered the conversation. Then the game knocked it off the rails. “The IDF blog itself was launched in 2009 and is not a ‘war blog,’ but rather a site meant to encourage transparency and provide breaking news regarding events in the area,” the IDF says.Surely that was the original intent, but that changed on Thursday when it became a live blog for an ongoing attack. And again, just to be clear to critics, I did not find that practice inherently problematic. I found it interesting and mostly successful.“During Operation Pillar of Defense we provide our readers with news updates and operational information regarding IDF actions. In other times, though, the blog has hosted varying content, from reports about routine activities to more lighthearted personal stories. It is this content that ‘IDF Ranks’ was meant to promote.”Yes, I’m sure it was, but the IDF turned the game off at the outset of Operation Pillar of Defense, and then it turned the game back on. When asked why this happened, the IDF offered this explanation:“Over the past two days the blog has experienced technical difficulties due to high traffic, and ‘IDF Ranks’ was temporarily taken down to make necessary adjustments to our systems.”I was on top of the live-blog story very early, and I never saw a trace of any game components until 36 hours or so after the campaign began. It’s plausible that the IDF took it down for traffic reasons at a very low level of traffic, but, if I may editorialize just a little, I’m suspicious of the answer.I followed up to ask why the game was turned back on and got this response.“We turned it on because it is an integral part of the blog and has been for four months. After the site was briefly down because of the spike in traffic, we isolated it as a potential factor and, once we rectified the technical difficulties, brought it back up again.”If you say so. Whether this is the entire explanation or not, we can certainly conclude that running a fun game on a live blog about serious military action wasn’t troubling to the decision-makers at the IDF. The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos jon mitchell Related Posts The Israeli Defense Force spokespeople behind the IDF Blog, the @IDFSpokesperson Twitter feed, and the rest of the Operation Pillar of Defense social media campaign were quick and forthcoming in response to my inquiries about the light-hearted game that took over the gravely serious blog yesterday. I included some of the IDF comments in yesterday’s story but I want to look more closely at the rest of their messages.The IDF spokesperson who responded to me explained that “[t]he game ‘IDF Ranks’ was conceived and launched four months ago … as part of our efforts to create a interactive community to encourage social interaction generated by the IDF social networks online.” Basically, it gives you badges and ranks for actively using and sharing the stuff on the blog. Not very fun, but not a big deal.center_img A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit Tags:#War Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verificationlast_img read more

World War III Is Already Here – And We’re Losing

first_imgEvery day the Pentagon is attacked 3 million times. They’ve infiltrated our banks. They’ve ransacked our technology industry. They’ve breached the networks of the Chamber of Commerce. They’ve read our email by taking down one of America’s pre-eminent technology companies, Google. It’s already World War III, people. And all we do is smile at the enemy.Last Wednesday, The New York Timesannounced that its computers had been hacked. That passwords had been stolen. That its private networks had been traversed with impunity by a bunch of brazen hackers. We’re not talking Anonymous here nor a bunch of ethical hackers. No we’re at war with China.To paraphrase an old newspaper joke, “what’s black and white and red all over?” The Chinese Red Army, that’s who.How do we know that? As William Gibson might bark, “Pattern Recognition!” Computer security experts consulting with The New York Times identified the malware “as a specific strain associated with computer attacks originating in China.”There other telltale signs. Like the fact the hackers broke into The Times’ computers starting on Sept. 13, as the newspaper was putting its final touches on a report that the relatives of China’s Prime Minister Wen Jiabao had accumulated a fortune worth several billion dollars through business dealings.The Definition Of WarIn May 2011, the Pentagon promised it would announce a formal strategy to deter cyberattacks by declaring foreign computer hacks an act of war. But despite mounting evidence that Chinese attacks continue relentlessly, there has been no further action. In view of all the recent happenings, that’s tantamount to raising the white flag.The New York Times was not the only company hacked. That same day, The Wall Street Journal admitted it too had been infiltrated by Chinese hackers who apparently were trying to monitor its China coverage. And Bloomberg computers were infected by Chinese hackers after the company published an article on June 29, 2012 about the wealth accumulated by relatives of Xi Jinping, China’s vice president at the time.But media companies are not the only ones being breached. An Air Force Cyber Command Recruiting video on YouTube urgently proclaims, “This building will be attacked 3 million times today,” while hovering over the Pentagon. Those are blatant acts of war, people, and the daily siege of the Pentagon is just part of today’s cyber-warfare landscape.Cyberattacks are exploding. In Jan. 2010, Google, Intel, Adobe and and more than 30 other companies were attacked in a coordinated terrorist campaign. Google said the attacks originated in China, which lead the company to abandon the Chinese market. If Google leaves the world’s largest market, what does that say about the enemy?In January 2011, Morgan Stanley admitted it too had been hit by the same China-based hackers who attacked Google’s computers, an operation dubbed “Aurora” by cyber-security firm McAfee. Terremark Worldwide estimates that the number of companies known to be hacked in Operation Aurora now exceeds 200.While government organizations and companies spend vast amounts of money on security precautions, the situation is so dire that the Defense Department, whose Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) developed the Internet in the 1960s, “is beginning to think it created a monster,” reports Bloomberg BusinessWeek.What Should We Do?Let me repeat that again, the inventors of the Internet you like and use so much think they’ve created a monster! So what should we do?I believe we need a serious dose of innovation and reinvention to stem this monster tidal wave.America today spends about $718 billion on defense and security. Most of that money is spent on resources and equipment designed for old-fashioned warfare.The reality is that World War III is being fought in cyberspace and most real-life interaction will be handled by robots. And in both sectors our public and private capital spending priorities are completely misaligned.The global cyber security market was valued at $64 billion in 2011, or less than 10% of what the U.S. spends on defense and security. Major U.S. players include CA Technologies, Cisco Systems, Fortinet, IBM, McAfee and Symantec. International security firms include Check Point Software (Israel) and Kaspersky (Russia).Our venture capital scenario is not much better. In 2011, VCs collectively invested $935 million in tech security companies, nearly double the $498 million they invested in 2010, according to a MoneyTree report compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the National Venture Capital Association and Thomson Reuters.Clearly, the U.S. cyber security market is woefully underfunded. As Delaware Senator Thomas Carper puts it, “The issue of Cyber Warfare is not science fiction any more. It’s reality.” Here’s what I believe we should do:* U.S. Defense Budget – America should reshape its defense budget to reflect the reality that World War III is already here and it’s being fought in the cyber trenches. This means the Pentagon should officially declare Chinese cyber attacks as foreign warfare and treat the matter with the utmost urgency.* Robotics – The worldwide robotics industry today is a $25 billion global industry, with most R&D activity taking place in South Korea and Japan. How can America allow its next-generation cyber-soldier technology to be based on foreign know-how? My recommendation: put the U.S. on a robotics fast-track with a combined government-private sector investment budget of $20 billion annually.* Cyber Security – Like the robotics industry, cyber security is in dire need of more attention, but it’s not very sexy. VCs are falling all over themselves to fund the next Facebook or Snapchat, but what if those services could no longer function because the Chinese brought the Internet to its knees with relentless denial-of-service attacks? That $1 billion VCs invested in 2011 in cyber security is a drop in the bucket compared to the Pentagon’s $718 billion budget. We need to ratchet this up to $5 billion, preferably $10 billion, by next year.* Internet 2 – As the pronouncements of DARPA suggest, the Internet was not designed for what it’s doing today. Please take some time to read this Bloomberg Businessweek story, it’s downright scary. We need to insulate this country from the enemy, and that means designing an all-new Internet, one created from the ground up for secure operations, and preferably one that insulates the U.S. from the rest of the world.I’m sure this last bit of advice will have free-thinkers around the world cringing. But when the Chinese decide that you’ve had enough freedom, it might be too late to come to your senses. I fully expect to be hacked by the Chinese this week.I’ve added Mandiant to my address book. I rather be safe than sorry. And please do contribute to my crowdsourced ideation engine to suggest more ideas on how we can protect ourselves in this brave new world.Image courtesy of Larry Ye / Shutterstock. Related Posts michael tchong IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…center_img Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now Tags:#China#cybersecurity#Government#international#security#War last_img read more

The Films and Career of Stanley Kubrick: An In-Depth Look

first_imgStep into the mind of Stanley Kubrick, one of history’s most acclaimed cinematic visionaries. The following videos offer unparalleled insight into his work, legacy, and influence.Stanley Kubrick is rightfully hailed as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. His unique approach to cinema continues to inspire some of the best filmmakers in the field. Now, art collective Raccord shines a light on the career of this undisputed master. Narrated by Cameron Beyl, each part of the series taps into a fantastic wealth of Kubrick knowledge.The Indie YearsRaccord begins the series with a look into Kubrick’s past, including his childhood and family in New York. Then we quickly move into his early career as a photographer for Look magazine, where he developed his compositional eye. Kubrick started his film career directing short documentaries for The March of Time newsreel series, and then went on to create his earliest feature films, including Fear and Desire, Killer’s Kiss and The Killing. What’s important to note here is that, during his first features, Kubrick was working as an indie filmmaker, essentially doing everything – as most of us do when starting out.The Epic YearsPart two of the series covers the Kirk Douglas years, including Paths of Glory and Spartacus. We also see Kubrick’s visual style begin to come into full swing with Paths of Glory, as he utilizes the dolly and one-point perspective which became his trademark shot. During a battle sequence in Paths of Glory, Kubrick employs a sequence of dolly shots, but in one of those in particular he adds a zoom lens that pushes in and out on Douglas to give the scene increased intensity. This was a first for its time.The Dark Comedy YearsPart three of the series introduces us to Kubrick’s only two comedies, both showcasing the talents of Peter Sellers –  Lolita and Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Within this era, Kubrick begins implementing experimental visual work such as quick zooms and the hand-held Cinéma vérité style used by documentary films such as Primary and fictional films such as Saving Private Ryan. A Master at WorkThis section is the longest in the series clocking in at one hour, but it covers the masterworks of Kubrick’s career, beginning with quite possibly the greatest science fiction film of all time – 2001: A Space Odyssey. He followed up with A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon and The Shining.There are three important firsts in these films. In 2001, Kubrick employed the use of amazing practical effects that influenced Star Wars and in turn the special effects in films today. In Barry Lyndon we see Kubrick collaborate with NASA in order to develop a high-speed Ziess lens which would allow for filming in natural low-light situations, an expression he began in A Clockwork Orange. Lastly, in The Shining, Kubrick utilizes the new invention of the steadi-cam which would allow the camera to move within a space that a dolly track would not.Final FilmworkConcluding the series, we look into Kubrick’s final two films: Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut. While not as heralded as his masterworks, Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut are still amazing works of art, both exploring the use of natural color and purposeful color.Again, Raccord and Cameron Beyl did a fantastic job encapsulating the entirety of Kubrick’s amazing career. Hopefully this series helps you learn about one of the greatest filmmakers and artists of all time, but also helps to inspire you in your own work.Did you enjoy the series? Did it inspire you at all? What director would you like to see Raccord highlight next? Let us know in the comments below!last_img read more

Cignal HD blasts Gamboa by 67, sets new D-League record

first_img1 dead in Cavite blast, fire What ‘missteps’? Cignal took advantage of the extended garbage time and shared the wealth, with Byron Villarias wounding up with 17 markers, five rebounds, and two assists, Jeremy Bartolo nabbing 14 points, and Dan Sara chipping in 10.The huge win is a good workout for the Hawkeyes, as they brace for a Finals rematch against Racal on Tuesday.“This was our preparation for our game against Racal. Again, we need to win these games so that we’ll have a little buffer in order for us to achieve our goal of making the quarters,” said Fernandez.Ken Acibar was the lone Coffee Lover to notch double-digits with 10 points and four rebounds, while Val Acuña added nine for Gamboa (1-2).The Scores:ADVERTISEMENT World’s 50 Best Restaurants launches new drinking and dining guide Read Next Pamboy Raymundo. PBA IMAGESCignal HD delivered Gamboa Coffee Mix a 67-point shellacking, 118-51, Thursday in the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.Pamboy Raymundo and Jason Perkins kickstarted the rout as the two teamed up for 13 of the Hawkeyes’ 27 first quarter points, before the rest of the squad picked up the slack and dominated the second quarter, 23-7, to grab a 50-24 halftime lead.ADVERTISEMENT Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken It was all Cignal from there as it set a new PBA D-League record for the biggest winning margin at 67 courtesy of a Mark Bringas lay-up with 13.9 seconds remaining in the game.It shattered the previous record set by the Boyet Fernandez-mentored NLEX when it battered Zambales M-Builders by 64 points, 125-61, on January 30, 2014.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“My reminder is simple: I wanted to see the discipline on our execution,” said Fernandez, as his side improved to a 4-2 slate.Raymundo finished with 17 points, Raymar Jose dazzled with 15 markers, seven rebounds, and two dimes in his 16 minutes on the floor, and Perkins poured nine points, 10 boards and four assists after missing the Hawkeyes’ last game against AMA Online Education. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games MOST READ View comments CIGNAL HD 118 – Raymundo 17, Villarias 17, Jose 15, Bartolo 14, Sara 10, Perkins 9, Bringas 9, Arboleda 6, Potts 6, Cahilig 6, Batino 4, Sumalinog 3, Arong 2, Atkins 0.GAMBOA COFFEE MIX 51 – Acibar 10, Acuña 9, Montuano 8, Dadjilul 5, Jumao-as 4, Vidal 3, Avenido 3, Padilla 2, Knuttel 2, David 2, Lacastesantos 2, Sarangay 1, Riva 0, Arellano 0.Quarters: 27-17, 50-24, 90-35, 118-51.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparc Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Summer of Hype: Mayweather, McGregor know how to sell a show LATEST STORIES WATCH: Firefighters rescue baby seal found in parking garagelast_img read more