The Inexpensive Computer Comes With Expensive Shipping Option Only

When I read about the $9 computer on Crash Bang Labs’ Facebook page, I was ready to help kick start that CHIP. But I got to the payment screen when the shipping amount came up. How much could it cost I’d thought to ship a computer smaller than a couple of AA batteries? I braced myself for an exorbitant $5. If I was American, I’d have that somewhat greedy option. No, the over-popular CHIP computer (shipping next year) comes to Canada and most of the world for $20US (19% more than CAD right now)! It’s literally twice as expensive to ship a damn computer you could fit into your mouth, or into a tiny bubble wrapped envelope, than the cost of the damn computer.

Considering I can get “free” shipping from China for a $5 item on Amazon, the $5 to ship this within the USA is a bit much already, nevermind the 4 times too costly $20 to here.

Yes, CHIP looks really cool, and would work for all sorts of projects and not suck power. It’s basically the next version of the OLPC One Laptop Per Child computer for which I spent $400, years ago to get one, and give one to a child in Mongolia. So why did I baulk at paying $29 for CHIP now? Because I’m cheap? Because I dislike consumerism and buying things just because they are trendy and cool? Because I have a smaller computer inside me already? I don’t know.

This Isn’t Going To Work #skpoli

It’s 2015, and the entire effing cabinet should understand perfectly that climate change is a serious economic and environmental problem that’s overdue to be tackled.

I honestly didn’t know who the Environment Minister was before this shuffle, and from Cox’s early comment it sounds like I needn’t bother still.

The Baseload Mistake

One of the hangups some of my friends have about converting the electrical grid to renewable energy, has been the difficulty in storing electricity generated for use when energy input is reduced. Tesla Energy should help with that logistical problem.

In the meantime, we’re dealing with homes, power grids, and even an economy that cannot easily survive even short interruptions of constant energy input. That has to change to make our way of life even close to sustainable.

Is “baseload” power from coal even that important in grids of the near future?

“We all know that the wind doesn’t blow consistently and the sun doesn’t shine every day,” he said, “but the nuclear industry would have you believe that humankind is smart enough to develop techniques to store nuclear waste for a quarter of a million years, but at the same time human kind is so dumb we can’t figure out a way to store solar electricity overnight. To me that doesn’t make sense.”

Arnie Gunderson is right that it shouldn’t sit right with people.

Forbes wonders if nuclear power is now going to die. Not anytime soon, there’s too many billions of dollars already sunk into the technology and that industry is not going to go peacefully into the night as it runs out of money to manage security for all of the nuclear and industrial wastes it’s created.

Canada’s Oily Media

There are opportunities to support journalism in Canada that doesn’t take millions from the oil industry and the oil-soaked Conservative government.

Had you heard that the Conservative Party communicated with Enbridge, in secret, through Mike Duffy? If you don’t watch independent journalism online, you might miss important news like that.

The National/Vancounver Observer and CanadaLand are two independent media outlets in our country who can tell you the real story, because their funding doesn’t come from CAPP/Enbridge, and the Conservative government.

Think also about how Mike De Souza was laid off from Postmedia, after his reporting on the oil industry was about the only reason to read the National Post.

2020 Solar Power for 100% of Saskatchewan Homes Possible

This letter appeared in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix on Saturday.

In response to Kurt Soucy’s letter about the cost of powering the entire provincial grid with Photovoltaic (PV) solar power, I’d like to voice my support for his idea. It’s also possible to power every Saskatchewan household with concentrated solar thermal power plants similar to what’s already operating in California at Ivanpah. We’d need only three of those plants, and with a modification to their design, the solar power would be available into the night, using heat storage.

Mr. Soucy’s solar PV idea is sound also, and by aiming at powering only 410,000 households* instead of businesses too, we’re sure to have a diverse mix of power available for every electrical customer. Ivanpah took only 3 years to build, so at that pace, we could be most of the way to completely on renewable energy by 2020. The cost of 1 Ivanpah was $2.18 billion (USD), so 3 would be approximately $6.6 billion (USD).

The Premier just proposed we take another look at nuclear power, despite polling last year which indicated most people in Saskatchewan are opposed. Nuclear power can’t compete with the profitability of renewable energy, so I welcome a series of “[Solar] Power to Grow” forums held by the provincial government around the province. These forums were called for by citizens** during the Uranium Development Proposal (UDP) of 2009. Now that the Premier has suggested we need to revisit the UDP, this time we should give the spotlight to renewable energy. We stand to eliminate most of our carbon pollution, and lower our future utility bills if we make the best choices.

*According to http://www.stats.gov.sk.ca/stats/pop/2011FamiliesHouseholds.pdf

**

Forcing An Athiest to Practice Religion

Here’s what it can feel like to practice religion when you don’t believe in the common fantasy [AKA faith].

I knew from a young age that I didn’t see religion as a literal interpretation of moral code sent from God, but rather a human construct of what we (those writing holy books) wanted or imagined it to be. Being commanded to participate for years after in routine rituals is boring and felt like a giant waste of time/effort. The only consolation was that it was still time spent with family, and friends in the community sharing snacks and meals, (and a common fantasy, like the Riders having a chance at the playoffs) together.

It’s frankly disturbing to think about how writing the paragraph above would get me killed and disgrace my family, if it was any earlier point in history. Hopefully, we don’t return to those dark days.

I’m not an atheist so much as an agnostic. I accept there may be super beings invisible and unknowable to human perception, but also it’s better to suggest that you’re open to belief in the unknowable. That’s in part to calm the fears of those who recoil at the thought of atheism, and partly because I think it’s wise to realize that what never seems possible, happens all too frequently.

Oceans Rising Faster In Last 100 Years

Here’s a fantastically interesting lecture on the science of sea levels. Some counter-intuitive stuff goes on when an ice sheet melts, because an ocean isn’t a bathtub.