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Blog

3 Big Energy Mistakes Not to Make in 2017, or Ever

energy mistakes

As soon as Rick Perry is confirmed as the new Secretary of Energy and finds out where his office is, he will be deluged with requests—for policy changes or new policies, requests to hire somebody’s friend, to have a meeting with every interest group in town, to make speeches at conventions, to testify before various House and Senate committees, and on and on.  He will be very surprised at how many new good friends he has, people he may never even have met.  Mostly he will get requests to spend money, the government’s money, really your money and my money.  Everyone loves you when you spend money. It’s the easiest thing in the government to do.  And everyone who asks for money will have a justification that’s not laughable as to why spending this particular amount of money on this particular worthy cause is in fact worthy.  Nobody comes to you and says, “Please spend money on this, even though it’s really worthless, and benefits no one but me.” Continue reading

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We Need A Solar “Bill of Rights”

SolarIn November of 1973, as a consequence of the Arab-Israeli Yom Kippur war, OPEC, the association of Arab oil providers in the middle east,  instituted an oil embargo against the US and most western countries in Europe, all of whom were considered major allies of Israel.  The US was supremely unprepared for this. Long lines at gasoline stations and endless suggestions of policy changes in Washington ensued.  The president, Richard Nixon, declared a goal of energy independence for the country. Continue reading

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Reflections on Travel to Southeast Asia

southeastasiaDear Aunt Janet—

I: Three days in Thailand

It’s not so good to have your international flight delayed out of LAX for three hours. Because we were connecting to Bangkok by going through Guangzhou in China, this caused the need for rebooking (line standing time: one hour), and sitting around at the airport for an extra three hours in the morning after getting up at five and driving two hours to get to the airport.

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I’m A GMO, And So Are You!

gmoIt’s hard to catalog all the issue silliness that seems to pervade the public arena, which means things that show up in the newspapers or that lead to campaigns to make governments or businesses or normal people change their practices or even their preferences. There are a lot of good things, of course, such as forcing the British Open to stop playing its matches at courses like Muirfield, which don’t admit women. Jeez, are there still such institutions in 2016? Well, yes, the eating clubs at Harvard have the same problem except for the golf part. And I am particularly fascinated by the campaign to Save the Vaquita. I had to look this up to find out that it was a small porpoise found only in the norther reaches of the Gulf of Mexico and which is being exterminated by Mexican fishermen using gill nets. I can’t find a good t-shirt to buy to support them, however. Marketing is everything.

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Agenda for the New Secretary of Energy – You Can Work From Home!

Huff PostFor better or worse, there will be a new administration on or about 20 January of next year, and the scramble for jobs working in the new administration has already begun. In Washington this is politely called “transition planning,” and both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have already formed teams to engage in this recruiting and placement fair. Governor Christie leads the Republican team and Clinton’s is chaired by Ken Salazar, currently a Washington lobbyist but formerly a Senator from Colorado and Secretary of the Interior. Continue reading

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I am voting for Hillary Clinton because of Tim Kaine

Huff PostIt is no secret that neither of the two major party presidential candidates has set any records in voter esteem. Since polling on this issue began they place first and second for highest negatives of any candidate ever at this point in an election cycle. It’s 57% negative for Donald and 52% for Hillary, according to the most recent CNN poll. Continue reading

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Huffington Post: The End of Coal

Huff PostPresidential candidate Hillary Clinton is not an energy expert. She probably has some such person on her campaign staff, but she didn’t need them when she told the unfortunate truth to a West Virginia audience. She said, “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.“ This occurred at a roundtable forum in March in Kentucky, hosted by CNN. The statement was made in the context of proposing to replace these jobs with renewable energy jobs, and was not made as a policy prescription, more as a statement of fact.

Was she right? What is the future of coal in the US, and more broadly in the world?

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Huffington Post: Welcome Back to “the World,” Vietnam Vet

Huff PostThe Veterans Administration organized a nationwide function on the 29th of March this year. The purpose was to recognize and “welcome home” all Vietnam veterans. It was pretty low-key, but events were being held in 5388 locations around the country. I saw an announcement of it in the local paper. It was to be held in the Scottish Rite Event Center in Mission Valley of San Diego. If you want to be enlightened or possibly confused about just what a Scottish Rite is, have at it. It has something to do with being a Free Mason or possibly a Freemason, and not much of that has to do with masonry, plaster or brick-laying. But never mind all that, the place is a big bland hall used for meetings and perhaps weddings if the church of your choice is full or you’re not a church person. I don’t think you can practice the black arts there, maybe the grey ones.

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Huffington Post: Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been A Muslim? Part 2

Huff PostPart 1 of this article covered the unanticipated, stupid or maybe just amusing consequences of Donald Trump’s proposed ban on letting Muslims enter the US. Some of these problems can perhaps be corrected, at least over time. But now we move on the really difficult part of administering this “Muslim ban.”

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Huffington Post: Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been A Muslim? Part 1

Huff PostAmong the parade of unreasonable ideas that Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump has put forth is that we should seal our borders and stop granting visas to anyone who is a Muslim. His press release  says that he supports “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

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