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Ask HN: What's the next big thing that few people are talking about?
495 points by ScottStevenson on Aug 7, 2022 | hide | past | favorite | 1174 comments
Blockchain & AI don't count, because they're being talked about plenty!

Personal vehicles will be getting both bigger and smaller. What's different from the past is that electric motors scale much better than IC engines. Both the world's smallest vehicles (kid's toys) and the largest vehicles (huge mining trucks) are both electric.

First the small. Cities will soon start to ban all but electric vehicles in their downtown cores (already happening in some Chinese cities). The primary reason being electric vehicles don't emit the poisonous gases that IC vehicles do. The next phase will be only EV's that are half the width of a normal car lane will be allowed in the downtown core. Most vehicles in the downtown core now are single occupancy, a city can double its downtown vehicle infrastructure for free by restricting most EV vehicles to taking up just half a lane. These vehicles will be much cheaper too, probably less than $10k.

Now the big. IC RV's are a bit of a pain but an all electric RV will be much better all around. That's because all of the required functions will be electric and run off the huge battery. Hot water, TVs, heat, refrigeration, very little maintenance just like a normal house, but smaller. Tesla vehicles already have "camp mode" and people love it. Image when Tesla builds an EV RV. This will become young people's 'First home'. Buy it for $70k and live in it for much less than rent. When you finish Uni, you own an asset rather than peeing your money away on rent. Oh and for weekend trips to the lake or the ski mountain and all that, couldn't be more convenient.

Remember, you read it here first.

EDIT ... a few typos

I think the recent electric scooter boom and subsequent pushback by communities shows that: - There is (IMHO huge) pent-up demand for last-mile style electric transportation: scooters, bicycles, etc. - The electric drive technology is starting to reach a point where it can support a whole new space of designs that make this sort of transportation appealing to a wide variety of users (i.e. not just fit young adventurous people; the elderly, young children, etc.) - Sadly, infrastructure, laws, and social norms move way too slowly and are the limiting factor for what could be a major quality-of-life improvement for many many people.

Note that "EV's that are half the width of a normal car lane ... probably less than $10k." is a pretty good description for the electric cargo bikes that are already starting to emerge.

I would love to see cities and towns adapt faster to accommodate things like this:

The Car-Replacement Bicycle (the bakfiets) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQhzEnWCgHA

How to Transport Kids by eBike https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCvx65egUDE

This American Mayor is Creating the Ultimate Biking City https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlVWv9O0qQ4

Electric cargo bikes solve so many problems I don't even know where to begin. Faster than cars in traffic, cheaper, easier to service, extremely flexible in configuration, modular, hackable, healthier, quieter, etc. They can carry a week's worth of grocerys and you don't even need to sweat. I have lost track of all the companies popping up in the last years with new products in the space like urban arrow [1], onomotion [2], babboe [3], carla cargo [4].

[1]: https://na.urbanarrow.com/ [2]: https://onomotion.com/en/ [3]: https://www.babboe.co.uk/ [4]: https://www.carlacargo.de/products/ecarla/

I am amazed by the Bakfiets, but i am confused at why delivery guys aren't already using it, there must be some reason for why these are unusable in other countries, like, here in italy we see delivery guys everyday and i think that if someone found it useful they would've already started using it, so, why not? What is keeping people from using the Bakfiets? There MUST be a reason for this.

I think in Italy there is still a cultural barrier

If you're ever in San Francisco, Miami, or NYC, check out what Revel is doing. Electric mopeds that rent for $0.50/min! They're such an excellent way to get around and see the city (at least in San Francisco where I ride them)

It is soooo expensive what was about $1/hour in China.

Tesla RV for 70k? Can you teleport me into your alternate universe, please? ;) Different brand might make more sense, but even those will probably cost you at least doulbe that, unless you're maybe only talking about certain climate zones, bare minimum living standards and an abhorrent range together with some other bad tradeoff decisions regarding price vs. quality. Or maybe in a decade or two (at today's prices/without inflation).

Also, others made the point already about rent for the space to park on (most likely outcome would be high taxes and rent for RV parks (don't think they'd be much more efficient than regular housing on a sqft basis, especially if you're not putting them on top of each other, Ready Player One style).

Also, others made the point already about rent for the space to park on (most likely outcome would be high taxes and rent for RV parks

I can't speak for everyone but the way I would circumvent that would be to buy a piece of unrestricted or minimally restricted land that allows an RV as a primary dwelling. This requires some research on youtube among the existing RV nomads. Non-farmable land is very affordable. Some states are stricter on this than others and some counties within those states also vary a bit. Land is an investment vs dumping money into rental space. A few acres of land, some solar panels on the RV and some next to it should provide enough power to get by. The missing piece is water and one can plonk down a large water tank and have a truck come out to fill it every 3 to 6 months and/or do rain capture assuming one knows how to implement proper filtration. Some states promote rain capture and some ban it. Many RV's already support composting toilets and have grey/black water tanks. Some states will require installing a septic system, whereas some states have rules on the books but nobody to enforce it. I would suggest also having an EV motorcycle or street legal side-by-side for going into town for groceries. That requires some research as well as to which of those is supported by that state/county/province. For internet there are 4G/5G modems specifically designed for RV's and boats that have multiple external roof mounted antennas and can use multiple SIM cards.

Plenty of people/road-nomads already do this. They have a piece of land that is their legal domicile and sometimes they just stay put on that piece of land. My preference if I went this route would be to have a hybrid RV for times when solar is not cutting it.

The downside of all this would be finding people that can perform advanced maintenance on the RV and staying close enough that a towing job would not be crazy expensive. Some mechanics can bring a subset of their tools out to the remote location. I would suggest researching RV's that are based on common platforms. The upside is that one could research which states have the most conducive weather, taxes, laws, culture, etc... and if any of that changes, just buy land in a better state, pack up your solar panels and move there. When the market is right, sell the previous few acres of land and the old tank. Tanks are affordable and it's easier to just buy a new one than to clean and move the old one. Another potential downside to putting an RV in the middle of nowhere is that when dodgy people find out someone is alone and isolated, they become a target. One has to be ready to defend themselves. Try to find a piece of land that is not visible from any of the roads.

I literally did this.

My recommendation is just learn how to repair the RV yourself. RVIA has an online cert program you can take for $300.

I know how to repair RVs and I just had to pay $6700 to repair a $55K RV before selling it. Do not underestimate how expensive RVs are to pay someone to fix.

That's awesome that you did your own training. Agreed the RV's, especially the less common platforms are crazy expensive to have someone repair and that is assuming one can even find a mechanic that will touch it. That's why I suggest using a common platform if one can manage having a smaller RV. One example would be RV's based on the Ford F450/550 platform [1]. There are plenty of Ford mechanics and I envision Ford some day having an EV or hybrid version of the example I linked. Linking overpriced example, there are more affordable examples

The people that build "custom schoolies" are especially on their own unless they are part of many forums/facebook groups of schoolies and can find a mechanic that knows how to work on school buses.

[1] - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53fkkxc-IWw [video, annoying music]

Half width vehicles ignores the following issues.

- Busses. How do you make them half width? (or perhaps, uncharitably, do you think public transportation is worthless?). If busses stay the same width how do you write the driving regulations for mixed width vehicles and retrain the driving public so that fatalities do not skyrocket.

- Bulk delivery vehicles. Same as above.

- Half width means less vehicle stability at speed. Reducing vehicle height is constrained by human size. Worse stability means reduced speeds to reduce fatalities. Consider San Francisco, where a large proportion of the city cars are from commuters traveling 30-60 miles per day. What are the rules for commuter roads with mixed width vehicles?

- Reduced width would likely mean smaller wheels, increasing rotational speed. Tire and brake pad wear is now a non-trivial factor of car pollution. Half width vehicles would / could make this worse.

very unsure if half width vehicles will become a thing, but what's for sure is that micromobility will expand. We will see more electric scooters, ebikes etc. They solve so many traffic and environmental problems in cities.

I wish there was something to make smaller vehicles more palatable. Where I live everyone drives huge vehicles. They need the AWD or 4wd for traction in the winter. They probably don’t need to be F150 size and above for that though. I’m thinking like a weight/size tax on registration.

Many US states have weight/size taxes and fines that are still "on the books" but haven't been enforced in decades. Maybe as gas taxes drop below certain funding goals they will re-evaluate enforcing them.

but this is just a bandaid on a much larger problem: our cities and highway system were designed and built in eras where the amount of cars on the road was a fraction of what it is now. I-95 has become a complete abomonation, and some e-scooters and bikes wont fix that

I really wanted to get an electric motorcycle, but the current market leader charges $20k for something that can get to highway speeds and go 70-80 miles on a charge. I'll have to stick to my $9k ICE motorcycle for now, unfortunately.

You just have the existing big lanes but limit them to buses, emergency vehicles, maintenance, and deliveries.

Or public transit becomes an enormous fleet of half-width on-demand driverless microcars

Battery's DO NOT scale like you claim.

A desiel semi is much lighter than an Electric Semi is. That's why Tesla Semi hasn't launched yet. They are currently trying to change the regulation for maximum allowances on US Roads from 10k to 14k.

The Delta-V on an electric vehicle has the problem that the battery scales more proportionately to weight and range than a desiel equivelent. Desiel gas has a tremendous amount of energy stored so compactly that is impossible to match with electric batterys.

That's why Tesla Semi hasn't launched yet.

On the other hand Volvo (and Scania) launched electric trucks years ago and I see them driving around all the time. So whatever is preventing Tesla trucks from launching it is related to them and their design and goals, not a fundamental problem with the concept of electric trucks.

Are you in Europe? If you’re comparing Americas/Australian to European truck designs, it’s an apples/oranges comparison.

You have to compare the compact stored energy of liquid fuels after it gets converted to useful forward motion via a heavy, noisy, inefficient, costly to maintain and fuel engines.

It's basically a thought terminating cliche at this point.

ICE cars are way lighter than EV cars with a reasonable range. It's not a cliche, it's a true constraint of reality, which EV enthusiasts decoupled from reality frequently seem to forget.

And yet reality tells us EVs are still 4x more efficient.

Efficient from a energy perspective != efficient from a convenience perspective.

Hydrocarbons are incredibly energy dense and cheap. It’s possible to pack so much more energy in such a lighter, more compact space with them that the overall vehicle can be dramatically lighter and have longer range at the same time.

Additionally, doing so is so cheap, it often more than makes up for any efficiency issues, especially if the comparatively better end to end efficiency (and lower pollution and maintenance costs) of a EV comes with convenience issues like reduced range, lack of infrastructure, etc.

For mid-sized commuter vehicles, it’s trending more and more towards EVs as prices drop, charging infrastructure improves, and usage patterns make it convenient (such as at-home or at-office charging).

It still has a way to go for things like commercial or heavy recreational trucks, RVs, etc. It also has a way to go in smaller vehicles like Motorcycles, where the reduced range (due to some pretty fundamental weight limits) makes them more suitable for moped like inner city commuting or very short range trips.

And that’s compared to normally aspirated gasoline. It’s harder still to beat diesel, especially if super/turbo charged which has better energy efficiency, higher energy density, and except for some jurisdictions cheaper fuel prices.

In what way?

Heavier vehicles cause exponentially more damage to roads. It’s not like building roads is an energy free exercise.

They are also significantly more dangerous in traffic collisions. That kinetic energy has to go somewhere when you crash.

Electric cars with current battery tech will only be a stop gap solution until we get something like induction in roads for longer distances.

Personally I think the Dutch and Danes have a better solution already with low tech bike infrastructure and electric or pedal bikes.

It’s cheaper, requires less maintenance and makes their populations healthier.

“Halving” vehicles has been possible for long time, also seen it mentioned numerous times over the years. Unless large & small vehicles never use the same roads, ever, it will never happen; imagine being in a small car and being hit by a large car, odd of person in small car dying are much higher. Basically, something like this will only have a chance in an authoritarian society.

As for the RV, you still need parking and most people don’t want to live in the middle of nowhere. Most cities are already strict on RV living, especially long term local RV living; if it became even more popular, they would become even more strict. RV also are impossible to insulate, as a result, frequently follow the weather; majority of people don’t want to be constantly driving around to find and adjust to a new location.

Nobody ever rides bikes on the road, you're right.

I think you need to see the problem in terms of "bigger, more protected bikes" rather than "tiny cars"

> Basically, something like this will only have a chance in an authoritarian society.

In fact, you already have no right to drive whatever kind of vehicle you want on public roads. There's no part of daily life that's more regulated. And there's no interesting argument about freedom to be had here. We build the roads as a society, so we have every reason to make rules about what kinds of vehicles are allowed on those roads.

Today, we allow an absurd range of plainly unsafe vehicles on our roads, but I think the status quo is untenable. As technology makes the cars safer it's going to be harder and harder to justify allowing giant vehicles piloted entirely at the discretion of flawed humans. In a world where the car knows you're asking it to speed up into a crosswalk full of children and can prevent you from doing it, it's basically absurd to insist that the car should instead respond only to the driver's whims. What I'm trying to say is that size is just one aspect of this. We need to entirely rethink what we're allowing on public roads.

Driving in general is completely unnecessary and results in all sorts of less than desirable outcomes. If it was up to me, whole industry would disappear unless the vehicles were for industrial or military use only, no were near humans, autonomously driven, zero emissions, etc.

Largest issue is not even death and pollution, it’s that they literally enable culture division and isolation - which is toxic to real progress.

> Unless large & small vehicles never use the same roads, ever, it will never happen

It has already happened. I drive an ebike in Paris almost every day. It's even smaller than a "half vehicle" and has absolutely zero protection, save for the helmet. I wouldn't trade an ebike for a "thin car" though, because an ebike can go anywhere. It's an incredible level of freedom.

> Unless large & small vehicles never use the same roads, ever, it will never happen; imagine being in a small car and being hit by a large car, odd of person in small car dying are much higher. Basically, something like this will only have a chance in an authoritarian society.

Some people are already driving smaller cars than I imagined we'd be comfortable with, but I can see ways to ease more people into the idea of trading their safety for a smaller car. High gas prices help, but things like reducing lane sizes just enough to make driving smaller cars feel more comfortable, but not enough to be too dangerous for larger vehicles, increasing the amount of small car only parking spaces, and lots of advertising money would probably convince a lot of people small cars are what they want. If car manufactures start making more and more tiny cars (especially inexpensive cars) many people aren't going to have much of a choice. I'm pretty sure most of the American public could be sold on it eventually if someone were willing to spend the money.

Too true. It not possible to reach any sensible climate goals by replacing all gasoline cars with EVs. We need to rethink mobility. And we need smaller vehicles in order to optimize battery-weight/transported persons/goods. And we need new solutions to safety instead of adding bulkier safety devices, which drag down transportation efficiency. Limit top speed?

commented further up with a similar sentiment but i'll comment here too. "rethinking mobility" will not fix how idiotically layed out most of our existing infrastructure exists today - especially large sprawling haphazardly built cities like LA and Austin

> Unless large & small vehicles never use the same roads, ever, it will never happen; imagine being in a small car and being hit by a large car

There's no need to imagine what that that would be like, because the situation has existed for years already: what you describe is just everyday reality for motorcyclists.

Will there ever be more than a fringe of the population willing to be exposed to the mortality risks motorcyclists are exposed to? Last time i looked your chance of being killed is an order of magnitude higher on a motorcycle.

That's as it may be, and it varies by culture, but it is clear that there can be no requirement for an "authoritarian society" before there could be smaller/narrower vehicles sharing the roads with larger ones, as this is already commonplace in many different kinds of societies around the world. In some places motorcycles/mopeds/tuktuks are more common than full size cars.

Some cities like Austin, TX allow RVs within the city if you have enough setbacks. Personally, it's quite easy to buy a small amount of land in unincorporated county land that's very close to a city. I did, and I can hit downtown in under 20 min. I wasn't even trying to optimize for distance, if I was I'd have bought 5 acres at 10 min out.

Electric RVs require: parking, charging facilities, sanitary facilities, and maintenance.

A few people with "camp mode" is a complete different proposition to millions of people with mobile homes. Not to say it couldn't be done, but cities would have to become mobile labour camps and the infrastructure costs would be significant - mostly the cost of space formerly used by brick and mortar real estate.

And owners would be charged rent for use of facilities. So that $70k is not going to be rent free.

all of this is likely to happen in Europe/China, much less in US where corporations still rule and there are much less federal rules, and almost no chance in most of Africa/MiddleEast/India which have no infrastructure for this.

How is living in an EV RV any different from living in a motor home today? Most people want an actual home/apt not a cramped car with no space, its not the same thing at all.

The Battery RV thing will probably hit the same issue as people who already tried this housing hack, legal bans.

They're still going back and forth in the courts but Mountain View, LA, San Diego and probably other such places that become the next target will probably fight this legally, for the same reasons they fight any other type of cheap housing.

Too soon

The infrastructure to fast charge EVs at home will require power grids to be of much higher capacity.

Also all the fossil fuel that we burn now needs replacement by non fossil fuel sources - other than Nuclear nothing can deliver.

We already know how slow the world is at re-embracing nuclear, so don't hold your breath just yet

I think this is a good insight, and I hope this comes to pass, but a couple points:

> the world's largest vehicles (huge mining trucks) are electric

What about cruise ships, freighters, freight trains, and aircraft carriers? They're diesel or nuclear-powered. Or maybe nuclear still counts as having an electric motor, just with a nuclear generator instead of a battery?

> only EV's that are half the width of a normal car lane will be allowed in the downtown core

Honest question: wouldn't tipping be a major problem for half-width cars? And the amount of space needed between cars wouldn't go down much, so if you need at least 4 feet of clearance on either side, and your lane is 5 feet wide, your cars can only be 1 foot wide. This explains why most vehicles thinner than a car are motorcycles or electric scooters.


Available in Europe since 10 yrs ago. Not a rare sight, but not super-popular either.

Also https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citro%C3%ABn_Ami_(electric)

Yes there are a lot of corner cases that I didn't belabor in my post. Most of the very heavy vehicles you mention are in fact already diesel electric. ie a diesel motor operates as a generator to provide electricity for the electric motor that moves things along. Just replace the diesel with a battery and you're there. (not as simple as it seems but right in theory)

With small cars in a city core these cars rarely go faster than 40 mph and on average about 30mph with traffic lights so you don't need the separation that you would want on a freeway. Several vehicles like this are already available or under development. I suspect that a Smart Car would come very close to meeting this spec already.

   > Honest question: wouldn't tipping be a major problem for half-width cars? And the amount of space needed between cars wouldn't go down much, so if you need at least 4 feet of clearance on either side, and your lane is 5 feet wide, your cars can only be 1 foot wide. This explains why most vehicles thinner than a car are motorcycles or electric scooters. 
Probably would be a problem. I don't know that the author was thinking "a car that is half the width of a normal car" as "a vehicle that takes up substantially less space". Perhaps we'll all be riding around in Go-Karts, who knows? :)

Freight trains are also electric, just with diesel generators. I'll completely speculate 2 things that stand in the way of them going fully electric:

1. Trains derail, crash, etc.

I live in a city that's a rail hub. We probably have a derailment every couple years even with annual rail/rail bed maintenance. They will fix the rail, the roads around it, and have everything back up and running in less than 2 days. You spill some diesel and it sucks to clean up. You spill Li and you walk into "environmental disaster."

2. Money. When it's cheaper, then they'll get serious.

To the last point it's similar to fleet vehicles for large fleets. You see a lot of pledges to go all-electric by 20XX. That's because replacing a fleet requires a TON of capital already, and fundamentally changing the vehicles is an order of magnitude higher.

Think about a delivery hub like the post office. They have a network already established for purchasing gasoline, delivering it, local storage, refueling process, etc. They have operations built around it.

You now likely have to have parallel infrastructure for electric, which means negotiating major power consumption with each local power company, purchase of new or adjacent land, buildout, etc. Can you refuel in the same time window to not effect operations? If not, can you shift operations without impacting customer experience?

Now, you will see companies deploying all-electric in niches, especially when it opens up new market opportunities. Those tiny urban vehicles could enable vehicles to go where they could not before, reducing time spent walking. And that might have a shorter timeline than autonomous drones that don't run old ladies over.

I think even more than cruise ships and freighters, the biggest all-electric vehicle impact would come from all-electric airplanes. They still haven't gotten off of leaded fuel (see #2). The emissions there are massive.

But I think #1 will be a barrier there too. And the bureaucracy will slow it way down just like it did with unleaded jet fuel, which exists now, but is essentially unused.

And I guess a theme I'm coming up with is that electric is cool and all, but won't impact big % points of emissions until it's adopted by cargo, not human transport.

And cases like trains and large ships that are electric, but fuel the local electric with local power generation bring up the other big point: How would we even begin to power cargo? It's orders of magnitude more massive than consumer vehicles and it's growing so fast that supply can't meet demand.

Anyway, whatever. I know enough to be dangerous but not enough to be an expert on any of this, and I'm rambling.

Trains would not be battery operated and have no risk of spilling the toxic battery components. They'd be powered by third rail or overhead wires. That is how most pure electric trains are powered today already.

It's also how cars could be operated - either by overhead or (more likely) inductive pick-up.

The battery concept is kind of dumb and a relic of IC engine thinking. For local urban journeys you could half-size the cars, provide common power, and add automated navigation to optimise density and efficiency.

Getting rid of batteries would hugely lower cost and weight.

Cross-country is a different problem, of course.

Wiring sucks and is faulty. It's already a problem with mass transit-systems today. Wiring the whole city? Good luck not burning down the city because of stupid people doing stupid things. The demand for independent vehicles still remain in the city, at least in the next decades. And batteries are at the moment the only viable technology for this. Hydrogen might become another solution, or maybe one of the magic fuels in development turns out to be real and useful, who knows.

Many diesel trains and ships are using the engine as a generator to drive electric motors.

It provides a lot of flexibility.

> largest vehicles (huge mining trucks)

Battleships, Oil tankers, Oil rigs, container ships, nuclear submarines... Are all NOT electric.

honestly many are, they are just producing their electricity on-site using other fuels :) u can't realy store enough energy in a battery to cruise the atlantic.

EDIT - think of nuclear submarine as a swimming nuclear power plant

> The next phase will be only EV's that are half the width of a normal car lane will be allowed in the downtown core.

i don't think anyone's going to bother

i think we'll just all do what paris did and kick them out, rather than to try to create a whole new batch of differently-sized ones

Please change electric to battery powered... I don't think the largest mining trucks are battery powered. They have diesel generators that power an electric drivetrain.

It depends upon where you are loading up your material. There are huge electric dump trucks that make more electricity carrying material down the mountain than they need to us to drive empty back up the mountain (45 ton eDumper).

> Buy it for $70k and live in it for much less than rent.

what about parking, that will just become another ever increasing form of rent.

Hi. An electric tv is my dream.

Is your current television set a diesel one?

I use Interactive Reality Entertainment. It’s co2 free

Energy? I feel like it's been talked about a lot but maybe not?

Solar panels are dropping in cost at an exponential rate [0]. As of this writing, consumer "new" panels are $0.75/W and used are at around $0.30/W right now (I won't give a link as a Google search will do).

Battery technology is also dropping at an exponential rate. I believe, with a little effort, one can purchase batteries at about $0.08/Wh.

Taken together, one can purchase a 30KWh (daily) solar panel and battery storage system for about $4,200 (not including labor and extra hardware/electronics), which puts the return on investment (ROI) at about 3.5 years if we consider the average house spends around $1200 (in the USA).

Dropping costs will quickly put that in the 2 year ROI range which, in my opinion, is the inflection point where it effectively becomes too good to pass up for the average consumer.

The dropping price of energy comes with all sorts of side effects, like a potentially decentralized energy grid, use cases for excess energy (eg bitcoin mining, carbon capture, hydrogen production, etc.), novel power storage systems etc., which is maybe the "novel" part that I haven't heard too much talk about.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swanson%27s_law

This is actually talked about on every HN energy thread and it’s now incorrect, particularly about batteries.

Solar has supply bottlenecks at the moment that are stopping further price declines- hopefully they will get solved.

But there’s a lithium shortage that is already showing up in the price of lithium going up 5x. Analysts predict that by around 2025 lithium will limit the battery market that is trying to grow 40x to meet electrification demands [1]. Note that opening a new lithium mine takes a minimum of 7 years. sodium based batteries are coming to help this situation, but they are a new technology that will take time to productionize and ramp up.

[1] https://youtu.be/5v-DTS-ibow

Over the course of 10-15 years, I don't think you're correct. Solar is (in my opinion conservatively) expected to drop by 34% by 2030 [0] and, though I'm having trouble finding anything that spells it outright, demand and production of batteries is projected to increase dramatically that will, in my opinion, most likely allow for production efficiencies to reduce cost.

Even the video you link claims to be 'bullish' on production. I didn't see any claims about price in the future, just production, though I might have missed it.

In my opinion, we're seeing a lot of 'whiplash' effects from the supply chain issues but, as the pandemic recedes, these should resolve in the next couple of years.

[0] https://www.thesolarnerd.com/blog/will-solar-get-cheaper/

I am quite bullish on long-term battery production as well. But I recognize that we are heading for some pain in the near-term where supply will not keep up with demand.

I like that solar analysis, but I also think it is possible that the high demand for solar and high commodity (energy, etc) costs could continue to stop solar prices from dropping for much of this decade just as we have seen recently.

The temporary whiplash concept for inflation hasn't panned out yet. I follow Lyn Alden's economic analysis closely and she has been predicting this decade to be inflationary. These predictions started over a year ago when the Fed kept saying that inflation was temporary.

Tangentially related, there are a bunch of calculators out there for ROI on installing solar, but there doesn't seem to be one that will take into account the opportunity cost of installing solar now instead of waiting until it's cheaper. I would love to see one for that.

I've been thinking about this a lot with the current congressional action. I need a new roof ~now. But I have a lingering fear that huge product improvement will happen in the next 18 months due to added government money. I don't know enough about the industry to weight in that possibility.

Keep in mind, with the new law you are talking about, more money will be dumped into the market with no increase in supply.

That is what is called inflation. If people have an extra 7500 to buy solar, then solar becomes up to 7500 more expensive.

This assumes supply is perfectly inelastic. Even assuming, it also ignores the fact that the money is only dumped in one nation.

I'd absolutely do it now. The price of solar has been beneath that of racks, mounts, wiring and installation for a while now. Even assuming a major breakthrough your costs probably wont change that much because panel cost isnt a big % of what your costs will be anyway.

There's also a risk that supply chain bottlenecks/cold war with china will drive up the cost & your electric bill is only gonna go up.

Agreed, do it now. The cost of panels in Australia is already going up due to supply issues thanks to covid, and I don't think you'll see prices come down again for a few years even with that investment.

Hopefully the other pieces get cheap enough to enable some revolution in the wiring side of it. Falling costs enable some acceptable loss of efficiency, so you can blow 100W on unnecessary power conversion and another 100W or whatever on losses due to smaller cabling.

It badly needs to be standardized in a consumer-friendly way...like power-over-ethernet in reverse. Field-installable, hot-pluggable, fool proof connectors. You can get 90W over some variations of network cabling...bump that up a couple sizes so you can handle 400W.

So you buy a bunch of solar panels and some patch cables, and plug those in to a one or more "power switches" on the roof top. Then run a QSFP+ equivalent "power backhaul" down into utility room where you have your "power aggregation switch" which has a bunch of (power)QSFP+ ports and plug batteries in to a few of those. And of course a couple big QSFP28 ports to an inverter to power legacy 120V loads, which maybe someday you don't need any more as household things move to using PoLE (power over large ethernet).

This is basically the idea behind microinverters

I saw an article recently (here maybe?) that the world could switch to 100% green energy and make the investment back in 6 years. I haven't looked at the math behind it, and actually getting that many solar panels up is going to take some time too, but it really seems to me like this is the main thing we should all be focusing on right now. Because of high fossil energy prices, getting rid of Russian gas, and of course because of climate change. Three very big reasons to go all out on clean energy.

That just another "study" of Jacobson, the Stanford professor that sue other scientists when they criticise one of its study and make Stanford pay for the lost lawsuit. Anyway his work is just not very good, unrealistic assumption everywhere, there a better energy modeler out there, look at the work of Jessie Jenkins, Tom Brown, NREL, Clack....

The switch to green will take longer without petroleum.

Apologies for responding to my own message but I wanted to add that we can also put a timeline on it.

The dropping price puts the rollout/adoption within the next 10-15 years.

So it's not just a matter of 'if' but we have a guess as to when as well.

Something about this cannot be right, surely? You are saying one can invest in a solar setup and have 7+ years of free electricity, and all that starting after 3.5 years?

I would be very suspicious around claims from people trying to sell you solar panels. There are a lot of incentives in the US such as tax credits. This is good but a lot of people in green energy industry include that into calculations, which is fine except its under the assumption that the incentive will persist. Even Tesla shows you "net effective" price of their car by calculating the gas savings (e.g. Model 3 purchase price is 47k but they "potential savings" price is 38k which include potential incentives and gas savings of $8,600)

There are other gotchas like PACE loans being senior to your mortgage. So if you get a PACE loan, the loan is transferred to the person buying the home and is senior to your mortgage.

I'm also suspicious around the maintenance and longevity claims. For instance, from my experience, the energy efficient light bulbs do not live up to to their claims. I changed about half of my lightbulbs within three years and they supposedly have a 20+ year lifespan. It's fine that they don't have a crazy lifespan, but it just shows the industry is okay with outright false claims.

Overall I think the industry is so juiced by incentives and manipulated by regulations that it attracts shady players.

LED bulbs can last 20 years if they're designed to. Most of what is sold is generally very low quality, with poor heat management, low quality power circuitry and excessive load on the LEDs, which all result in shortened life. It's a shame. Some of the first bulbs I got were good quality and I still have them in frequent use 10+ years later. Many others have been quickly failing junk.

I have been living fully off solar (and some wind here and there) for 10 years. Its amazing. Never do I stress powerlines going down, brownouts, etc.

You can run a fridge, lights and a laptop 24.7 on about $300 of solar. You can add panels as your needs and budget increases. The biggest cost is the battery.

Do you have a writeup of your setup? Do you use lead acid for your batteries?

Besides the money issue, the biggest concern I have are balancing the batteries, getting the right inverters, keeping the panels clear and figuring out what inefficiencies are during the non-summer seasons.

I'd check out Lithium Solar on youtube - he's got a fairly comprehensive set of videos on almost every topic regarding batteries, inverters and general setup.

I'd love to learn more about your setup. I'm very interested in investing in a solar + battery self-sufficient setup for myself, but without electrical engineering experience it's quite intimidating.

Likewise, I have been living off-grid with solar for well over 20 years.

My batteries have always been lead-acid, simply because L.A. is still much cheaper than Lithium and alternatives.

I've recently taken my first set of Lead-Acid batteries out of service. They powered a small fridge, etc, via 200W of solar panels for over 20 years with essentially zero maintenance, except for occasional top-up of distilled water.

Inverters were a problem at first. I had a series of Inverters die over the years, until I started buying Victron products. Have had zero problems since. Rule one, is "don't buy cheap inverters".

The best part is that secondhand solar panels are now very cheap. The reason is that Gov regulations for grid-tie prohibits the use of second-hand panels, so people doing upgrades will basically throw away their old panels.

My setup runs a conventional fridge/freezer, and a large computer which is on-line for most of the day, as well as my workshop full of electrical tools. I do have a large generator, but the only time it gets run is when I have some welding to do. I don't even gave a battery charger hooked to it.

There are so many myths about solar: Lead-Acid batteries don't last as they are destroyed by deep-cycles. Yes, but when you size the system, you should aim for a deep discharge maybe once a month. This still should result in twenty years life or so. I live in a wet and cloudy part of Australia, and this winter my batteries have never been as low as 80% capacity, and it is rare if the batteries haven't returned to 100% charge by 10:00am each day.

Probably the main problem with solar is that people are stupid. One of my neighbours installed a modest solar system, only to have it regularly fail due to low battery voltage. Long story short: The supplier fitted a Watt meter which tracked the consumption at each outlet. It showed that that the problem was in his daughter's bedroom. A quick search revealed a huge radiator under her bed that she was running each night. Problem solved.

I'd be curious what your wind setup looks like. I have some land off grid which gets good wind, and I'm trying to decide whether that could be a reasonable alternative to solar. I don't see nearly as much information about residential wind turbines as I do solar.

300 dollar was like 10 years ago, now it's more like 3000.

Sorry, but no. If anything solar gear has got cheaper in recent times. Secondhand Solar Panels are almost free at present. And the price of batteries is dropping fast.

It's not wildly far off but I think his battery costs are a stretch. In fact double that would be a challenge to have a quality and reliable system. But it is definitely lass than 3x. Right now the best value for batteries I'm getting is 0.18 per w/h. To get 0.08 you would have to doing something like recycling small cell or ev batteries which isn't necessarily scalable and comes with some risks.

Panel costs are accurate and the additional electronic expense is not super high. $1000 should be enough for most setups.

For most people the issue is space. This is going to be another thing where the poor are taxed. A significant amount of single family residences dropping off the grid will cause prices to go up for the people that don't have the luxury of 4000 sq ft to fill with solar panels.

The $0.08wh is something that you have to hunt around for.

Just a cursory look on Aliexpress gives $0.12wh for LiFePo4 batteries [0] [1].

Looking on Alibaba, I see some potential sellers that might get below that $0.12 but it takes looking around and potentially talking with sellers. I do think it's possible but it requires some hunting, especially in the 'consumer' quantities we're talking about (sub qty 100).

[0] https://www.aliexpress.com/item/3256803821576908.html?spm=a2...

[1] https://www.aliexpress.com/item/3256803518663847.html?spm=a2...

Why is this hard to believe?

Not for nothing but there are solar bitcoin farms that are popping up for precisely this reason.

In the region where I live (upstate New York, USA), there are solar panel fields where just five years ago there was nothing.

One reason is that this will make it a matter of survival for energy companies and governments to mandate connection to the grid and buying of electricity, for fear of having these critical companies fail.

Because this is not going to make all energy cheaper. It's going to massively increase the cost of "legacy" energy while making some types of energy free.

Perhaps they will use a "social" cost-sharing, or ... well I don't know, but essentially the time will come when living in the countryside will come with "free" energy (not unlimited though), and cities will come with punitively expensive energy.

PV can scale down pretty far, yeah, but it can also scale up. Having guys crawl around on rooftops trying not to damage your shingles is a lot more expensive than just setting up some panels in a field. The majority of PV getting installed is utility-scale, not household-scale, so you can buy cheap PV energy and live half a block from a supermarket and half a block from a chichi cafe.

As for costs, there's been concern for more than a decade about the "utility death spiral" scenario: some users disconnecting from a grid would spread the fixed costs of things like transmission and black start over a smaller number of remaining users, leading more of them to disconnect, and so on. So far it hasn't materialized anywhere, but as far as I know it could. I don't think the same scenario is likely with "legacy energy" like gasoline and natural gas, because the fixed costs are so low.


Taxation of energy is a big revenue stream for the governments. What happens when people start putting independent energy sources to power themselves and it causes significant revenue drop ? Would the government tax them for putting up solar on their property ? Couple this with electrification of transportation and you have another taxation source (fossil fuels) losing revenue. This would lead to a disruption in the social power dynamics in a country.

Yes, energy companies can invest in these too, but why would I buy from them if I have my own generation ?

Fuel tax will definitely be replaced with some other form of car tax, at least in most of Europe. I don't see any way around that.

But I don't quite see how free countryside electricity would mean expensive electricity in cities? Large scale wind and solar will decrease grid prices too, and most people live in cities anyway so the people dropping off grid doesn't seem like an issue for electricity transfer costs. Plus off-grid won't happen anywhere with a real winter, so most of Europe is excluded already.

California is already debating a tax on residential solar generation, even if it never hits the grid.

What if energy companies also invest in "free" energy?

Of course they will, but energy companies have a larger minimum capital expenditure than a household looking to invest in generation. And the energy company will likely still carry the full cost of transporting energy, which becomes more expensive with more energy sources connecting to the grid.

It would be a change in the dynamics of economies of scale vs small and nimble, greater lobbying power is one thing economies of scale still have a big advantage in so GP's comment seems plausible.

Exactly. There will be no need for "legacy" energy. Companies that are too invested in fossil energy can die and be replaced with companies that invested in solar.

I'm not sure about the US as installation costs there are very expensive, but in my part of Europe I had 10kW of roof mount solar installed for €10,800 at the end of last year.

The calculations I did for it in 2020 were that the payback period would be 7 years, or 6 with government incentives. That was when electricity was 15c/kWh though... if energy prices stay at the current level I will break even in less than 4 years. I generate around 8000kWh a year, which at current prices is €3200.

The panels should last forever (assuming no physical damage from hail storms etc), they just decrease in efficiency. The inverter should last at least 10 years, but that's easy to replace as it's not on the roof.

That seems like a decent price. If you talk to the places in Homedepot they are floating $30-$40k for an install

Surely this doesn’t include installation or something? I have been quoted $1.50-$1.80/w installed.

I did qualify that this was not including labor and the other hardware and electronics needed for such a system.

The (relatively) high cost is most likely because of labor and (in my opinion) inflated hardware costs of battery and solar panels.

Labor is a massive expense and can't be discounted but one could imagine a solar panel "kit" that just includes the hardware that you can install yourself.

One could also imagine that the costs of labor being subsumed by a larger entity that can take advantage of economies of scale and provide solar energy like a "classic" energy company. I believe something like that is already happening in the region where I live (upstate New York, USA).

For places where labor might be cheaper, then total costs would also come closer to raw hardware costs.

> Labor is a massive expense and can't be discounted but one could imagine a solar panel "kit" that just includes the hardware that you can install yourself.

Installing high-wattage DC lines without any training at all is a great way to get house fires.

Also, I haven't got whole lot of un-shaded roof space.

I don't understand why commercial solar isn't even bigger than it is - are they waiting for prices to come down, or what?

People do all sorts of home renovation with lighting, fuse boxes, outlets and the like. I don't want to dismiss safety concerns but at the same time this is well within scope of many home owners.

> I don't understand why commercial solar isn't even bigger than it is - are they waiting for prices to come down, or what?

I think this is a really good question and I don't know the answer to it.

My not-very-well-informed opinion is that there are a confluence of factors involved:

* Infrastructure buildout, especially in the USA where the infrastructure projects take massive amounts of effort and the population is spread out over a large area of land, takes a lot of time, effort and money.

* The prices involved aren't as lucrative yet as they could be. When the price per MWh is 1/10 that of coal, then we'll see huge rollout (in my opinion).

* Adoption/rollout is happening but, in some places at least, there's government capture preventing widespread rollout/adoption (Pennsylvania?)

* Aging infrastructure prevents large scale energy injection at random points.

To the last point, here in New York state, I've heard one has to pay to first do a survey if the site where you want to build a solar array can actually inject that much more energy into the grid (at a cost of $10k+ or more) and even then, you're limited by what the aging energy infrastructure can support, capping the amount of energy available.

As someone who does lots of home renovation solar is not even close to in the same league as other types of work. Speaking as someone who has put in new circuits into a live panel.

First off you need roofing skills, which 99% of homeowners have no idea how to do safely, often needs specialized equipment, and you run the risk of falling off and basically paralyzing yourself for life. Then you have the issue of having run conduit correctly, grounding everything to code, having disconnects installed in the right places, which is going to vary from state to state and even city to city based on what the laws are.

If you don't electrocute yourself, and manage to not fall off the roof and die, and somehow connect everything correctly, there is approximately 0% chance the local utility agrees to connect your system without a licensed electrician who is willing to vouch for the work you did.

I absolutely appreciate all these risks. I have seen ads tho for diy solar where companies give you a kit and help you work through the permitting process. Also a couple YouTubers documenting the process.

Land is expensive. I am actually surprised why the companies don't lease home solar panel kits, e.g. you sign up and they install at minimal cost, and you pay for the electricity generated by the solar panels, but at a reduced rate compared to the grid. The ownership of the panels stay with the company leases them.

Those structures do exist, but they're not normally popular. Look for "power purchase agreement" solar plans. Normally those involve some pretty long contracts that are hard to get out of, contracts transfer to the new owner of the house so it can make your house less desirable, often require you to buy all the power they generate even if you don't need it all, need to call their contractors to remove the panels whenever you need roofing work done, you've got a lot of equipment in your house that isn't yours.

I wouldn't do it. I don't need yet another interested party when trying to sell my house eventually, and I don't want to scare off would-be buyers with potentially complicated contract terms.

This is actually a very common model (along with the similar "power purchase agreement" (PPA) model).

Was in a mega rental house and my wife burned her hand on the wall. Someone prior had done some diy electric work. The diy gas lines is what got us in the end.

You can install it yourself, its not rocket science. Plenty of online tutorials.

What about my fear of heights? :lol: . There is a reason I chose a desk job!

There are 'ground mount systems' for solar panels that are popular if you have the space.

A cursory look on YouTube gives many results [0] [1] [2].

There are fields of ground mounted solar panels in the country side where I live.

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7t4hGBWLtxM

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dzar3xqCb6k

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tc-wgpGfbtA

> Taken together, one can purchase a 30KWh (daily) solar panel and battery storage system for about $4,200

I haven’t researched it but I feel like I’d have pay 20-40K for such a system. What gives?

Is it all just labor and regulations? Why can’t we solve that?

$4,200 is _very_ optimistic for the panel/battery cost for a 30kWh system. The GP comment also conveniently excluded "labor and extra hardware/electronics". There's a lot more that goes into a solar power system (especially one that has to manage batteries) than just slapping the panels on the roof and dropping the batteries off in the garage. Inverters, chargers, grid integration equipment, etc.

I'm also not sure what you mean by "just" labor. You're talking about a critical system, that has the possibility of seriously injuring someone (including folks outside your house) or causing extensive property damage if not installed correctly. That seems like a thing where skilled (and fairly compensated) installers and some degree of regulation is very appropriate.

> Why can’t we solve that?

Maybe this is the next big thing.

I wouldn’t get too excited for decentralized energy.

More energy sources means more power lines all over the place.

Few things get NIMBYs worked up like power lines.

The social aspect will be harder to solve than the engineering.

I would like to see a more in depth treatment than what I've seen (or what I've thought about).

Certainly cross country electric lines aren't going to needed as much because the energy can be produced by a relatively clean factory. With coal, we want it very far away enough away from consumers so as not to cause health concerns. Decentralized energy, at the very least, means we can create solar power plants next to larger cities and towns.

In terms of the wires in urban centers, I don't have a good sense. I can see where you might be right but at the same time, that infrastructure is already there and there are efficiencies to be gained by not transporting electricity over many miles of copper.

I also agree that the social aspect but there's a large pressure to find solutions because energy costs are going to be dropping by an order of magnitude or more.

> Certainly cross country electric lines aren't going to needed as much because the energy can be produced by a relatively clean factory. With coal, we want it very far away enough away from consumers so as not to cause health concerns. Decentralized energy, at the very least, means we can create solar power plants next to larger cities and towns.

Your going to need very long electric lines, to send clean energy from places where its sunny to places where it cloudy, or from places where its windy, to places where its currently calm.

Sorry, I'm not quite sure I understand your point.

There are places that have so much cloud cover year round that it makes solar adoption there effectively impossible? The frequency of these places is such that their energy needs requires the infrastructure remain in place?

Or less. People are using solar to go off the grid.

This is something that I think has basically flown under the radar of mainstream understanding: you can now live "off the grid" and have many of the perks that used to be the domain of grid-connected living.

Not all of them... but "off grid" no longer means living like Ted Kaczynski. The popular understanding has yet to catch up.

You can have artificial lighting all night long (thanks to LEDs and batteries), computers (ideally you want to avoid the DC -> AC -> DC conversion), Internet access (although most satellite systems aren't really optimized for low power yet), running water (solar-powered pumps, cheap large-capacity plastic storage totes), etc.

The items that are still hard to get, because of their inherently energy-intensive nature, are hot water out of the tap on demand, and interior climate control (space heating especially). You need a pretty big solar array and battery system to run even a fairly efficient (AC or heat pump) climate control system. Lots of people get around this by siting their off-grid cabins in places that don't require AC, and making the interior volume small enough to heat with a small biofuel furnace (like a modern, efficient wood stove) that can burn locally-obtained fuel.

Decentralization has never worked in the history of mankind. I don't know why people continue to get hyped up about decentralization topics.

The internet?

It was created as a decentralized network, but is it now? It may be in some technical sense, but for all practical purposes, it's collectively centralized.

One interesting documentary on this topic is Adam Curtis' All Watched Over by Machines of Every Loving Grace.

> which puts the return on investment (ROI) at about 3.5

Fyi, that's time to break even. ROI is measured in % (annualized, usually).

Panels are dropping but installation costs have not. Now more than have of the cost is installation. The real impact will be with the utility size installations. We need a way to reduce cost for all the other costs outside the panels.

yeah, sure, sounds great... but how to afford a house on which I could put those panels on?

WLAN sensing. Off the shelf mesh wifi systems are capable of sensing people reliably. This includes qty, position, motion, & gestures.

Here is the IEEE spec due for approval in a year or two: https://www.ieee802.org/11/Reports/tgbf_update.htm

I have mixed feelings on the tech. The home security implications are amazing, and things like automatic fall detection for the elderly would be a literal lifesaver. Small business could gain great insight into customer behavior.

On the other hand, it's just creepy. How do you prevent the next apartment over from spying through your walls? Is the hotel wifi going to recognize and catalog physical activity between two people?

Anyway, Plume already makes a home security system that utilizes the tech.


Most big retailers use this tech already to track how customers walk through their stores.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/264822934_Mining_of... https://www.aislelabs.com/blog/2022/04/04/combining-camera-a...

There's lots of other examples, this was just a quick google search.

I remember interviewing for shopping centre chain (mall). They had this in 2018 already. It had an accuracy of +/- 1m but they had ways to normalise it to the layout of the store. Didn't require them to even be on the network just have their wifi on.

They not only used it to price their storefronts but also they also could tell their renters which parts of the store had higher traffic. Meaning they would know what sells better, where people go from which section. It's literally web analytics but irl.

This specific tech - WLAN sensing - tracks the signal disruptions caused by the water in our bodies. This makes it quite different than all previous techs that require the target to have a broadcasting device or other ping-able tracker. Reportedly, even pets are easily identifiable.

I had no idea about this and the implications are truly terrifying and amazing.

Its not just wifi at home the entire world is now a big mesh network. So theoretically it means literally everything everywhere which has wifi coverage can now be tracked with amazing accuracy. Quite possibly the most scary/invasive tech.

meh, the FBI, CIA, and all big tech already know you are at home... does it really matter if they know you are on the couch or at your dining room table?

It may give a means to triangulate _what_ you're doing while on the couch or at the dining room table.

"Nothing to hide" may be true, until someone passes an immoral law.

> On the other hand, it's just creepy. How do you prevent the next apartment over from spying through your walls? Is the hotel wifi going to recognize and catalog physical activity between two people?

I would imagine you just take the "country/private club" model and extend it out.

e.g. a private club enforces limits on who can access the club and you get more "privacy" since the other people in the club also had to pass through those limits.

In this case, the club/hotel/builder of your house can say "the walls are all Faraday rated so that you get audio, visual and EM privacy when you stay here"

I can't imagine most people are going to put up with their cellphones not working in exchange for the privacy

Not the person you're replying to, but if you're willing to do that to your walls, you're probably willing to pay for an external antenna and internal transmitter

Well, this is something I completely did not expect and now I am going down the rabbit hole of how this works...


Welp, welcome to the surveillance state, everyone!

What is qty? Quantity of people? Quality of signal? Something else?

> This includes qty, position, motion, & gestures.

Wow. That's terrifying.

oh my god

Tooling for developing real-time collaborative remote working environments is about to take of dramatically.

CRDTs [0], while complex to work with untill recently, are now so much easer for developers to use with toolkits such as Yjs[1] and AutoMerge[2]. SAAS and PAAS companies proving tooling around these, enabling developers to easily build collaborative tools for specific niches and verticals are going to explode into the market.

Every 5-ish years there is a big “new” database tech that receives massive investment for both enterprise and small business. Real time CRDT based data stores are the “next big thing” - in my view.

CRDTs are often only talked about in relation to rich text editing, but “generic” CRDTs that represent “standard” data types (think JSON), and basic operations to them (inset, edit, remove) are able to represent so much more. You can use them for building so many CRUD type business apps, and by using a CRDT as your base data representation you get conflict free collaborative (and offline) editing for free.

The nice thing about both Yjs and AutoMerge is that they provide both Rich Text and JSON-like data types, covering 95% of what people would need for building business apps.

0: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict-free_replicated_dat...

1: https://github.com/yjs/yjs

2: https://github.com/automerge/automerge

Did this 20 years ago in an FMMS. It's not worth it. It's better to have an arbiter source of truth that can guarantee ACID principles with transactions rather than introduce merge conflicts or lose transactions for lack of synchronization. The internet is almost everywhere, so use that rather than provide academic features that cause more headaches than they solve. SQL databases with transactions and row locks are invaluable inventions.

Also, if you want to collaborate, synergize, innovate, and revolutionize consider OTs. They're a known quantity. Handling merges of data is fraught with landmines.

You can't sell 2 of something to the same person offline and know if they wanted 1 or 2. Plus, giving an end user the ability to resolve merge conflicts is asking for theft and fraud.

Actually the theory to do this correctly didn't exist 20 years ago, so things truly are different now.

Sources and references help you make your argument shine!

Not a “proper” reference but according to Wikipedia (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict-free_replicated_dat...):

> The CRDT concept was formally defined in 2011 by Marc Shapiro, Nuno Preguiça, Carlos Baquero and Marek Zawirski.

Now, that’s not to say the gp wasn’t referring to using some of the CRDT concepts before they were defined collectively under that banner.

i don’t want to realtime collab. i want to concentrate and get my shit done. slack is a nightmare for example. there is always a fool constantly interrupting your flow.

You might be missing the point. Some examples of realtime collaboration in the world of remote work can be: google docs / sheets, project boards (trello, miro), whiteboarding (jamboard, zoom), design/drawing, or even coding (VS code sharing).

> even coding (VS code sharing).

Damn that sounds terrible. I'll give points for google docs, but i am unconvinced by the rest.

Collaborative content creation in tools like Miro/Lucid can work well, especially when on an audio call at the same time. It’s the best execution of the whiteboard experience in a remote working environment that I have experienced so far.

who wants to be constantly on audio calls while writing software?

yeah, I don't get this either. Then again, I never understood pair-programming either. Git is enough collaboration for me ;)

i don’t. like i said, i want peace and quiet to focus on my work.

The same technology that makes realtime collaboration (e.g., figma) go is the technology that makes it possible to build high performance single-user apps that you can open on your phone and desktop at the same time (e.g., roam). It's collaboration whether it's two users or two devices from the same user.

The web will go multiplayer because it's the only way to make high performance UIs that are multi-device without locking. The multi-user realtime collaboration bit just comes along for the ride.

as always in this industry, in love with the tech and not paying attention to how this can be abused

Agreed. I chunk slack messaging the same way I do email. I have two channels that I'll take realtime notifications on, but if someone raises those flags without very.good.reason, they'll hear about it. I generally won't see anything on those channels more than once a month.

For special 'war room' projects I'll set up a special channel that I'll pay attention to for real time colab, but those are very unusual situations with a well defined end date.

Another project to add to the list is Replicache https://github.com/rocicorp/replicache

Sync work process is inefficient. 80% of the time I would define work process to be asynchronous e.g. with git branch, pull request, docs, backlogs. This is efficient collaboration.

Real-time collaborative tool is a thing but not going to be big.

Ideally, I would go 100% async work if possible.

Figma is a pretty good example of real-time collaboration while still maintaining an asynchronous primary workflow.

Pair designing could happen while meeting where there's not only approval process but also some tweaks here and there. In normal workflow, work should be done as single responsibility (feature) per designer. Synchronous workflow within tool is not that better than it's done by talking (letting 1 person doing it)

I like where this is going. I feel append-only architectures are under appreciated.

I'm not nearly educated enough about this subject to try to summarise it, but the research being carried out by Michael Levin's group into how organisms control anatomy growth is completely fascinating and has the feel of a breakthrough. Almost all the talks I've seen are good, for example:


Creating new species without genetic changes seems wild!

This one is the winner for me in the thread. I saw a video of it a while ago and I was fascinated by the idea that voltage differences are the way the DNA gets expressed. Yet nobody seems to be taking about the bioelectrical science of it except for this small academic crowd.

Oh yeah I saw this a while ago on HN. Really mind blowing. I can definitely see us being able to regenerate limbs in the future because of this.

I am also not nearly educated enough, and also following this work very closely. With the strides made in the past several years I'm always surprised I don't see it being discussed more (outside of a niche of academics)

Thanks for sharing this. I have no background in biology but from what I gathered watching the talk this is some real sci-fi shit. Very cool

Deconstruction of discourse: the vast majority of humans out of the decision loop.

All the main online sources are moving to subscription models with higher subscriptions for the real information. Only those with money will have access to information that informs decisions. At the low end, information is bundled only for its entertainment or propaganda value.

At the same time, decisions are increasingly automated as vast data streams are digested by automated processes.

20 or 100 years ago, people could stop work or stop buying or protest in the street. 20-100 years from now, there will be nothing the vast bulk of people can do to change their fate.

The resulting lack of citizen governance will at best be a world broken into geographic silos headed by corporate keiretsu.

So the next big technical thing will be domain-specific semantic models to drill down past what AI can do with probabilistic models -- just as the economy has moved well past bulk goods to bespoke services, e.g., the Nature article today providing a model for immune system cell-surface-protein interactions: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-05028-x

Pre-internet, everyone had to pay for access to information… how is that different from what’s happening online now?

Maybe it was a uniquely open time and we are reverting to what it was like in the past?

I think it's worse. Pre-internet, people paid for access to the same information, information written by journalists, distributed by a select number of papers.

Today, and perhaps worse going forward, this is reversed: a select number of persons pay for access to journalistic quality. The rest consume what the market hands to them, for whatever underlying reason.

If you're correct, the current intermediate condition where people have removed themselves from the (true) information loop but remain in the decision loop is the scariest state in that decline.

This is so bleak. Because it's probably true.

DC home electricity. If your future home has solar and local storage, and your domestic usage is mostly in appliances which convert back down to DC immediately behind the plug socket (most of us have this) then at some point we're going to start wanting to power our homes like houseboats or camper vans.

Yes, this won't help for (eg) appliances with heating elements, I'm probably talking about a second discrete wiring loop rather than a total replacement, and it's hard right now to find a TV with the DC transformer on the outside.

But it'd be quite a lot more efficient for almost everything else most of us do. Look around the room you're in now and count how many things use more than 19V DC internally. Where I'm sitting right now, it's None.

> and your domestic usage is mostly in appliances which convert back down to DC immediately behind the plug socket (most of us have this) then at some point we're going to start wanting to power our homes like houseboats or camper vans.

Most of these appliances use low voltage which travels poorly over long distances. Your car, camper van, and boat all use ultra-thick cables to move 12 volts. This is quite uneconomical for anything larger than a small studio apartment. (Copper isn't cheap.)

Furthermore, note that I said "12 volts," which is what cars and capers use. (Not sure about boats.) Some DC appliances need 5 volts, some need 20... They'll all need converters.

So how are both of those problems solved? You'll probably send 100-200 volts, DC, though the wall! The big question is, does this really simplify anything? The big advantage with AC is that it's super-easy to change voltage with a simple transformer. What do we gain by going DC in the walls? Are there any real advantages in simplifying voltage conversion at appliances? Is it worth the added complexity of a whole-house AC-DC converter; or the complexity of a DC grid?

My thoughts exactly. A/C has some important electromagnetic characteristics that make it a lot easier to transport. Particularly for long distance lines, high voltage is critical and transformers make it trivial to modify voltage levels, such as to get to 120V for the house. it's also a lot easier to convert AC to DC than the other way around. If we start transporting with DC, we take on a number of problems/challenges that we don't deal with now.

I could see a point in time where there are AC outlets and DC outlets in a house depending on where the power comes from (power lines vs. solar panels/battery), but unless we radically decentralize (which I don't see happening) it seems unlikely to me that we switch to DC for long-distance power transmission.

Would it make sense to think about upping the line frequency ? IIRC Engineering 101 said that 50~60 Hz are frequencies most dangerous to humans; choosing a higher line frequency would be safer to work with and would (natch!) permit the use of thinner conductors.

> it's also a lot easier to convert AC to DC than the other way around. If we start transporting with DC, we take on a number of problems/challenges that we don't deal with now.

Which brings up a very good point: What happens when grid-scale battery storage is common? Does a DC grid make a lot more sense then?

Isn’t there also a marginal safety advantage for AC in that because it’s an alternating current, you can let go of whatever is live you’ve grabbed and is shocking you? Whereas with DC, your muscles stay contracted and you can’t let go.

Yes, I have heard that higher voltage DC plugs would be designed differently to break arc in a safer manner too, example research: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8566878

This isn't going to happen because it's much cheaper to transmit higher voltages than higher currents.

Your PC running at ~500W only needs a conductor capable of transmitting 4.2A with conventional 120V.

If you switch to a 12V source, that same 500W now needs a 42A conductor.

It's just not practical.

It seems that other than a few power hungry appliances (oven, kettle, washing machine, heat pump, water heater, gaming PC) the rest are low-power digital devices that need up to about 200W (PS5 gaming console peak reported usage, even large TVs use much less than that).

I would love to see a comprehensive study of a home that would be designed and built around the concept of using two energy sources: AC and 48V DC, backed by battery storage and power grid in case of smaller installations or northern climate.

Would it make sense to do that on a large scale? Having smaller, energy efficient house should limit the need for long copper cables, we would also exclude all those AC-DC converters from today's devices - leaving us with something similar to a USB-C PD (working in the range 5-48V, which of course still is a converter but could be a standardized DC-DC one).

If I am correct then the main advantages would also include not running solar inverter all the time but only when there is a need for a lot of power (where it should be much more efficient) thus also extending its lifespan.

Having said that I do not have enough knowledge to judge whether possible gains would warrant going into this direction for future home installations. I would very much appreciate all comments and maybe some further reading material.

But wouldn't this cause more issues?

Sure, all my things may work with 12DC internally, but they expect 120AC (or w/e depending on country) at the plug, so I wouldn't be able to use them if I switch.

The idea being that consumer items will, more and more, be able to take DC directly instead of expecting AC.

For example, any device that takes in USB power with a 120VAC "wall wart" plug can just be used with a buck convert plug instead or being powered directly from the DC current.

LED lighting is taking in AC then converting to DC to power the LEDs. Your phone is taking in AC then converting to DC to power it. Your laptop is taking in AC then converting to DC to power it.

There are some household machines which will require some heavy duty power draw but much of the consumer products we use is powered off of DC to begin with. Powering directly off of DC would be cutting out the "middle man" of AC.

How inefficient is the conversion process really though?

Power conversion efficiency is at best the 3rd or 4th important factor here.

The first factor would be the hodgepodge of wall dongles one needs to own and maintain (plus the cost of buying a dongle for each device that doesn't have one, or multiple of them per device in case you want to charge your phone/laptop/etc in more than one location at home).

The second factor is the "smoothness" of your DC sources. Most of the common LED lamps have a pretty ugly signal shape, and not at all close to a DC flat line. This is mostly unavoidable as AC->Smooth DC conversion is more expensive than AC-> DC + a ton of 120Hz, 240Hz,... on top of it. So, common LED lights tend to opt for cheaper "electronics". People notice the flickery LED lights to various degrees (some get headaches, some outright see the flickers, some claim to be totally oblivious to the difference). The DC "quality" also affects some fairly sensitive electronic devices, so some AC->DC adaptors are fairly sophisticated. A central high quality AC->DC convertor (combined with DC wiring) has better scalability when you need to care about smoothness (it can be a basic quality of life matter for some people).

The third and fourth factors are power discipation and conversion efficiency. They are the same thing, with two remedies: more $ to remedy the inefficiency (which is really small these days, if you go for switching convertors), and plans for heat to discipate properly (devices end up with pretty hot adaptors).

It varies pretty wildly, often efficiency ends up being dependent on the load since power supplies usually get optimized for a certain load range. Individually, the numbers might not look too bad, but when you think about how many individual AC->DC supplies you have, the losses can add up.

I've been involved in a side project developing a consumer-friendly rating of "power quality" for AC devices and AC->DC power supplies which summarizes efficiency over a range of loads, as well as incorporating power factor measurements. We've been testing common devices such as USB power supplies for phones and such, as well as things like laptop power supplies, due to how numerous they are. We've had a few surprises, for example, Apple power supplies generally don't fare that well.

Power Quality Score: https://pqs.app/ Detailed test data is public for some devices but not all, since we're trying to find paths to revenue starting with subscriptions for full test results. Let us know if you have feedback.

You might also be interested in the Youtube channel of my friend/PQS collaborator, where he's done some "deep dive" videos of testing some of the devices in the PQS database- particularly AC->DC USB power supplies due to how ubiquitous they are now- https://www.youtube.com/c/AllThingsOnePlace/ .

I"m not sure I'm really the person to answer this but I would guess inverter and/or buck/boost converters are in the 90%-95% range. So, chaining DC -> AC -> DC gives about anywhere from 15% to 30% losses.

I think the better argument is one for reduced 'hardware complexity'. Instead of having an inverter that then goes through a rectifier, all you need is a buck converter.

Yes, it causes issues today. But tomorrow, I'm expecting that the transformer will be outside the device (as now with wall warts and most laptops) rather than inside (as with your TV). And that minority who are handy enough with tools can patch past the internal transformer with a soldering iron and a screwdriver in the meantime.

> I'm probably talking about a second discrete wiring loop rather than a total replacement

I have considered this sort of thing for the basics around the house (in my head at least). A seperate lighting loop in each room + outside, comms cupboard and some usb/usb-c ports. Could be all powered by a couple of car batteries and not a lot of solar panels.

100% would do this sort of setup if I built a home office shed, but otherwise the plans remain in my head.

(Sorry, replying to myself but by way of example I recently discovered that "old"-style UK plugs -- BS546 ones -- are still rated for DC domestic supply. So in at least one or two corners of the world this whole notion is already supported with a semi-familiar interface.)

Ooh, fascinating. AC is better for long distance transmission, which solar + local storage obviates. Do you happen to know of the efficiency we might stand to gain from switching appliances to DC?

So you've two competing losses: transformers and voltage drops over long DC circuits.

When I was last looking into this myself -- and lamenting you couldn't find PoE LED lights for love or money -- it sounded like (IANAEE) voltage drops start becoming a thing you have to care about around 50 or 100 feet, depending on the gauge; wiring a house with DC isn't impossible but it might require a little bit of care or some thought.

Being honest it's not a massive amount of loss if your entire supply is coming from the grid. But if you're generating and storing energy at home, then it's much more significant because you add the transformer's losses to the additional losses spent in your inverter.

You need to move to higher voltage DC which will present some challenges you don't get with AC, for example if you get an arc in a switch or a circuit breaker with AC it normally extinguishes quickly at the zero voltage crossing, whereas DC will just keep arcing until stuff starts to burn.

I thought even long distance transmission now use HVDC(High Voltage DC) lines, for various advantages, for example not having lines for 3 phases.

LDx HVDC has a small set of use cases where it is more efficient than HVAC. But yes, in some cases it can work better over distances of hundreds of km.

There seems to be quite a number of HVDC lines in the grid, for example in Europe [0].

[0]- https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:HVDC_Europe_annotated-2...

Underwater ! And in many cases connecting grids that are not synchronised ?

That's not what power transmission is about. Transmitting AC is more efficient over long distances. What you use in your house is irrelevant.

Climate migration. What happens Europe now/since 2015 is nothing that will come in the next couple of years. And the individual countries and so as the EU is pretty much unprepared. I'd even say that will be one of the cause of downfall of the union.

I am under the impression that instead of preparing for climate immigration, EU citizens are actually slowly but surely mutually brainwashing themselves into increasing hate towards immigrants as a whole. From what I read and understood about climate change, a tsunami of immigrants from southern hemisphere countries towards northern hemisphere countries is to be expected.

I would rather have my elected ones work on a framework that will govern how this immigration could occur and how to make it work in everyone's bests interests. But it seems that people will mostly vote for whoever tells them he or she will make the country impenetrable.

Europe's population is aging drastically, we make less children and our workforce is shrinking. We produce less people that can offer social/medical/health care to the elders, less people who can pay taxes, and also less people who can defend the territory in case of armed conflict. Retirement planning is a catastrophy (younger generations are privileging individualized financial planning mechanisms instead of State protected and tax deducible solutions, and conversion rates for pension funds are also diminishing year after year). Finally, "non-white" immigrants seem to be perceived by locals as posing a security threat and nothing more.

Whether I look at my family, my friends or my colleagues, I feel surrounded by people who refuse to engage in the thought experiment further than "we should reinforce our borders".

Am I in denial when I acknowledge that both a mass immigration will occur towards the northern hemisphere, whether smoothly, or by force, and that any economy needs to preserve a strong workforce to keep florishing?

What am I missing here?

Outside observer, but my understanding is that a big concern is that people from more illiberal cultures will make the nation more illiberal. There is also concern that making low skilled labor more plentiful will be harmful to the prospects of existing low skilled labor. A third concern would be that if the immigrants express an ethnic preference for their own community, this will cause increasing difficulty for existing residents. If you want to convince people that immigration will be in their best interest, I'd start by finding ways to ameliorate those concerns.

Agreed. It seems to me e.g. Germany is very open to immigration in all forms, IF, immigrants are willing integrate sufficiently into the EU value system concerning equality of sexes, blindess towards ethnicity, freedom of religion etc. They're not brainwashed at all, they want to keep their culture free of brainwashing.

Europeans would rather go Japan - ie. keep their national identity and downsize, than America - healthy demographics, but constant cultural clashes and crime waves.

Do you think then that those crime waves in America are mainly caused by immigration, or by racial/cultural diversity? Care to elaborate?

In full honesty, I fail to see how crime waves in the USA could be explained by immigration or racial/cultural diversity. From what I understand, it is mostly a consequence of families living through precarious jobs (and poverty), limited access to good education and a general lack of trust in the government, which they either perceive as powerless, or extremely unfair/brutal.

If I acknowledge that some communities are more likely to live their daily lives under these three factors altogether, it could explain why these communities may be more vulnerable to daily life challenges, and more easily resort to violence. Still, that doesn't give me a causal link between racial/cultural diversity and violence, far from it, but I can understand why those who prefer taking shortcuts may end up reaching this conclusion.

This shortcut is also very comfortable for the peace of mind: once I attribute violence to racial/cultural diversity, I can also safely conclude that I will never be part of the problem (if I consider myself as being part of the "good" racial/cultural group)...

I have lived in some of the poorest areas in Brazil, United States, Colombia, and Mexico. I have also lived in Moldova, and some really shitty parts of south St. Petersburg in Russia, and Kyiv.

I have noticed a very very very strong correlation of how dangerous it can be just to walk outside alone, or at night, or walk in public with your cellphone. I believe there is a link between violence and race and culture.

Thank you for your contribution.

I am sorry to ask but I have the feeling that something is missing in your comment. You said you have lived in poor areas and observed violence, or did you mean that you witnessed violence only in a subset of the areas you listed?

I have experienced violent muggings myself, witnessed violence/assaults, sometimes even without reason or purpose, in Brazil, specifically Rio/Sao Paolo, Oakland/South Berkeley(during the early/mid 2000s before the tech hit), Bogota, and Medellin. I lived years in Mexico(CDMX/tlalnapantla) and experienced all but the most opportunist crimes, like pickpockets, and nonviolent crimes.

Contrast that with living in a very poor neighborhood in Chisinau, in Moldova. Iasi, in Romania, Kiev, and Saint petersburg. I never really felt in danger at all, I could walk home at whatever hour, go on a walk, take out my cellphone. The closest to being dangerous was desperate drug addicts in St. Petersburg.

These places/slums in eastern europe are just as poor, have the same problems with the same drugs. But the level of random violence in 'diverse' places just doesn't exist. I know it sounds fucked up like I am a fox news anchor, or something, but it is just something I have noticed.

It seems the more monoculture a society is the more safe it is in the poor areas. Specifically Europe, Asia, and the middle east. I don't know how to explain it without sounding like a racist so I wont.

I doubt that Japan would like to have them.

He means that Europeans want to mimic Japan, not that Europeans want to move to Japan.

The EU can mostly integrate migrants from within the EU, conflicts because of East to West migration aside (see Brexit). It can also integrate migrants from other countries with shared cultural values like the US, Australia, Japan, etc. Basically other democracies and allies.

It has consistently failed to integrate other migrants, especially from the MENA countries. At this point, experience has proven that such large integrations are and will be out of reach for the EU.

The only logical conclusion is therefore that the EU has to prepare to reject further migration. Even hopeless cases like Sweden are starting to take action in that direction.

The EU is quietly building a militarized and draconian border control that matches the US.

While I can see you try to be nuanced you're only achieving depicting the situation in a moralistic view.

You're postulating many things that are not necessarily true (by definition) : - that massive immigration to the EU will succeed - that EU needs more unskilled labor

So "serious" politicians shouldn't promise one thing or its opposite but have a global view of the best interests of THEIR electors and act accordingly.

I will hence have to take the antithesis to balance it overall : - with automation and the current unemployed people ("natives" or not) already in the EU, more unskilled labor is not what is needed - a cohesive society is not solely based on its productive capacity

its better to develop Marshall like plans for the affected areas (MENA + WESTERN AFRICA); them will generate stability,jobs,commerce and returns for investors. the problem is local political leadership which will want "tailored kickbacks" even at their countries stake (or will cry to go on China lap). but Necessities like the "green wall" could create an example on wich plan future project and garner support at alls levels. Btw Europe doesnt need migrants, its mostly overpopulated and economies are more about outputs than unskilled workforce. Paying pensions will be a problem, solvable with bankruptcies that could maybe cure the fetish for welfare socialism of PIGS+France. nations cant absorb generally speaking more than a low percentage of immigrants/settlers before creating problems/attritions.

its beeter to develop Marshall like plans for the affected areas (MENA + WESTERN AFRICA); them will generate stability,jobs,commerce and returns for investors. the problem is local political leadership which will want "tailored kickbacks" even at their countries stake (or will cry to go on China lap). but Necessity like the "green wall" could create an example to wich plan future project and garner support at alls levels. Btw Europe doesnt need migrants, its mostly overpopulated and economies are more about outputs than unskilled workforce. Paying pensions will be a problem, solvable with bankruptcies that could maybe cure the fetish for welfare socialism of PIGS+France. nations cant absorb generally speaking more than a low percentage of immigrants/settlers before creating problems/attritions.


Just to be contrary, I feel it's worth considering that as solar overtakes wind as the cheapest electrical source and keeps dropping, and everything electrifies, even fertiliser and methane production, the migration might go in the other direction.

Sun too hot for agriculture? Stick some PV over it as shade.

Not enough water, stick some PV over it for shade, use it to power trickle irrigation of desalinated water.

If carbon offsets are used to install PV in such nations, it's a win-win-win-win.

Another post talks about a new generation buying battery EV RVs to live in. If they did, where would they tend to go? Somewhere where the climate provides cheap solar power and low heating needs.

I agree, but I don't think the "few people talk about it" criterion applies. It's not that it doesn't come up in debates, it's that nothing much comes of it (yet).

Nothing comes of it because we're regressed into a hyper-sensitive society where topics that remotely involve race can't be discussed anymore for fear of someone's feelings getting hurt. Empires have collapsed in the past because of migrations of peoples, this is potentially no exception.

We'll most probably increase the handouts to the autocrats bordering us, so that they'll do the dirty job in our place. See Erdogan, see how what was basically a State coup went almost unnoticed in Tunisia.

This is one of the reasons we moved from California to Ireland. People thought it was weird in 2013. Less so now.

They were telling us Manhattan would be underwater by now 20 years ago.

Please state your exact point.

One narrow interpretation is that one particular study that you did not cite got it wrong.

One broad interpretation is that we should not pay attention or give credence to the good faith estimates offered at the time.

I get tired of snarky one-liners that don't say what they mean. They do not promote useful discussion. My comment here would not be necessary if you took a few minutes to elaborate about what you meant.

Lastly: Estimates change. No model is perfect but some are useful.

Not the OP, but I think the point is valid.

I was born in the 70s, and my entire life I've been hearing climate alarmism - the end of the world is nigh (or just around the corner). No, really, this time it's for real! Donate here to stop it.

Most of the "solutions" I've seen are worse than the problem. Recycling was a major con that no one wants to talk about.

Carbon offset credits? Really?

With the amount of alarmism and blatant opportunism in the space, it's pretty hard to sift through and focus on real, meaningful change. Like not wasting precious aquifer water on lawns.

Simple stuff that would have real impact. Taxing the hell out of single use plastic water bottles.

We've done it before. The anti CFC thing was a huge success. Seems like that should be a model to follow.

Instead of pearl-clutching global alarmism, we should narrowly focus on concrete problems with real, measurable solutions, and address them one by one.

CFC's had a more or less drop-in replacement. Sadly we lack this for fossil fuels.

And my entire life I've been hearing predictions of climate change that would start getting serious... right about now. And here we are. A bit ahead of schedule, really.

According to what measures?

Sea level rise? The rate of increase hasn't changed. Actually it was highest during Lincoln's presidency.

Droughts? Actually less severe and less frequent than 100 years ago.

Severe weather? Wild fires? Also, pretty much unchanged or slightly decreased.

Global temperatures? Sure, seem to be increasing moderately, but there's a ton of complication there. And we don't really know what the impact will be.

I think it's better to stop handwringing over pessimistic alarmist models and to focus on solving real, concrete, addressable ecological problems.

I'll hear you out, if you cite your sources...

> I think it's better to stop handwringing over pessimistic alarmist models ...

Which climate models are pessimistic in your view?

Which models are alarmist? Please define alarmist as you are using it. What exactly are you measuring when you say "alarmist"? Is there a threshold?

Let's get some common footing. Here's a thought experiment and question: Let's say Organization X finds in 90% of model runs, the global climate is disrupted to the point that the USA will face between $400B and $800B of additional costs starting in 2040 and increasing somewhere around 1% to 3% per year.

* Is summarizing this finding alarmist? Of course not -- it is only describing a model's prediction.

* Is the model alarmist? What would make it alarmist? If the assumptions are unrealistic? But all models are imperfect. So how unrealistic must they be?

On the flip side, What models do you recommend? Please share how your favorite models are funded.

> ... and to focus on solving real, concrete, addressable ecological problems.

According to your definitions of "real", "concrete", and "addressable".

Do you think NASA's writing on climate change does not reflect reality? That is is not concrete? That the problems are not addressable? So is NASA alarmist w.r.t. climate change?

What about the reinsurance industry? Let's take Swiss Re. Are they alarmist?

Please point us to some solid writing (such as a credible report) that summarizes your views.

Two final questions: have you studied economics? built predictive models? I'd like to get a sense of good ways to have this discussion. Perhaps we can cut through a bunch of preliminaries and cut to the chase.

Do you agree that the following framing is a useful way to think about our response to climate change? Technological constraints define what levers can be pulled and at what cost, in the short-run at least. Political decisions drive how governments spend money. Economic factors constrain financial and monetary options. Over the medium-term, investments in science and technology tend to increase expand the option space.

Your assertions are trivially disproven - or put into their proper context - here:


It's pretty strange how all of those metrics start at 1960, no?

When you expand the window, the picture changes.

Droughts and heat waves in the 1800s and 1930s were devastating killers, and some of the most severe in recorded history.

>> https://www.epa.gov/climate-indicators

> It's pretty strange how all of those metrics start at 1960, no?

No, "all of those metrics" on the many pages linked from the EPA page do not start at 1960.

Stop making false statements. Doing so hurts your credibility and wastes our time.

Try slowing down and reminding yourself of your preconceived biases. Double check what you are seeing. Look for things that don't confirm what you already believe.

A bunch of them do. Heat waves, river floods, etc...

For the heat wave chart, the stated reason for this is that it's the date where most urban areas started keeping careful records.

They also, as a footnote[1] include an image going back much farther [2] which completely changes the picture and analysis.

However the text description is all about the increase since 1960, only barely mentioning that it was much worse in the 1930s.

How is it possible to look at this and not question it?

Making false statements? Slowing down and reminding myself?

I've spent countless hours looking at original noaa data related to climate change. I've seen a very clear distortion of data in reporting.

> Double check what you are seeing. Look for things that don't confirm what you already believe.

That's great advice, maybe we should both take it? [3] [4]

I don't need to go through every single measure here, it's pretty easy to discover for yourself if you take a real look at the data.

The severity and frequency of things like droughts, severe weather, heat waves are flat, if not in decline when you look across a broader window.

Sea level rise is pretty linear for as long as it's been measured [5]

NOAA data is pretty clear on this.

Arctic sea ice? It has a well known oscillation that generally runs close to 180 degrees out of phase with antarctic sea ice. Again, super easy to learn about if you dig in. Did you know that Arctic sea ice actually increased from 1979 to 2015? [6]

Also, measuring sea ice is notoriously difficult and error prone, and satellite data doesn't do a very good job of it. Also easy to learn about.

My overall point, which for some strange reason gathers a ton of open hostility, is that we're much better off focusing on concrete ecological issues that can be solved today (not draining aquifers, better agriculture practices, elimination of weird farm bill subsidies to harmful crops, etc...).

It's amazing how just pointing that out garners the sort of personal attacks that you leveled at me. Slowing down sounds like good advice!

[1] https://www.epa.gov/climate-indicators/climate-change-indica...

[2] https://www.epa.gov/system/files/styles/small/private/images...

[3] https://www.epa.gov/climate-indicators/climate-change-indica...

[4] https://www.epa.gov/climate-indicators/climate-change-indica...

[5] https://www.epa.gov/climate-indicators/climate-change-indica...

[6] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S20959...

> It's amazing how just pointing that out garners the sort of personal attacks that you leveled at me. Slowing down sounds like good advice!

Please show me the personal attack.

Here is what I wrote:

> No, "all of those metrics" on the many pages linked from the EPA page do not start at 1960. / Stop making false statements. Doing so hurts your credibility and wastes our time. / Try slowing down and reminding yourself of your preconceived biases. Double check what you are seeing. Look for things that don't confirm what you already believe.

I said you made a false statement. You did. I did not call you names; e.g. I did not call you a liar.

Claiming there is a personal attack when there is none is not acceptable. I can criticize your ideas -- that is fair game.

It is understandable to feel hurt when ideas you hold are criticized. You may consider these ideas to be part of your identity. But these are not personal attacks.

I respect that you have researched the climate change data. I likely would agree with some of your conclusions.

You focused your 10 replies to his post on the unimportant bits instead of addressing the many plots referenced that clearly indicate what he means.

How does the data referenced map to your understanding of climate change?

> My overall point, which for some strange reason gathers a ton of open hostility ...

I asked many questions about your overall point. I would not use the word "hostile" to characterize tough questions.

Yes, you are getting pushback. I can't speak to others, but I've found your core arguments to be too vague to be useful. I don't think it is "strange" when some people to question what you write.

> It's amazing how just pointing that out

Well, you "aren't just pointing that out". There is context. My many comments around this thread show that I've engaged and tried to make sense of what you mean, in terms of concrete examples.

Also, I hope you can recognize that some of your language resembles climate-denial language. With this in mind, you would do well to be mindful of how you are coming across.

Also, another observation. The language you are using matches the language of "I'm the victim here". I don't know if you intended this. That kind of language is regularly used to deflect.

Please reply to my other comments. I am willing to consider your arguments -- probably more so than many people here on HN who read your comment and probably thought it wasn't worth their time to respond. But I'd prefer to read them coming from a published source. Why? I'd like to read not only the content, but also about the authors, the funding, and the counter-responses.

> I hope you can recognize that some of your language resembles climate-denial language.

I'm old enough to remember when being skeptical of authority was actively encouraged in liberal thought.

Sorry for the snarky response, you seem like a genuinely decent person.

I think, like a lot of folks who engage in this topic, that it's just exhausting.

It seems like any opinion apart from "we're all gonna die!" is just mercilessly attacked.

The data is all there, it's pretty easy to follow.

I'm just sort of over the whole "we must radically restructure civilization because of these climate models" stuff.

I don't think it's warranted based on the data I've seen.

>> I hope you can recognize that some of your language resembles climate-denial language.

> I'm old enough to remember when being skeptical of authority was actively encouraged in liberal thought.

Your response is a redirection. Try again to answer the question. I'm probing to see if you have some self-awareness.

> It seems like any opinion apart from "we're all gonna die!" is just mercilessly attacked.

Well, what you see depends on where you look. Where are you looking?

Perhaps it is time for you to look elsewhere?

> My overall point ... is that we're much better off focusing on concrete ecological issues that can be solved today (not draining aquifers, better agriculture practices, elimination of weird farm bill subsidies to harmful crops, etc...).

Thank you for giving some concrete examples of what you mean.

However, I'm still not convinced by the "that can be solved today" criteria. One key problem with such criteria is that someone can say "that can't be solved today" in order to avoid taking action. What is your response?

In my other comment, I offered a very high level summary of how science, technology, governance, economics, and finance relate w.r.t. climate change. I was hoping to see your response. Your response these very much connects to the "that can be solved today" criteria.

Sustained investment in research and development is important because science and technology can expand the solution space. In parallel, more public awareness can increase the political will for increasing the budget for action. (Of course, there are many other components necessary for humanity to address the situation.)

A meta-comment. You are getting a lot of pushback because it seems to me that you are moving the goal posts. Here is what I mean.

You wrote "alarmist" but did not explain what you meant. I asked detailed questions so that we could get on the same page. No response, right? Or did I miss it?

You give specific examples that fall into the category of, e.g. (paraphrased) "if look at X data over a sufficiently long time frame, it does not show a clear trend." Yes, this is correct for some cases. And these are pointed out in the EPA descriptions. So this does not support your alarmist claim.

You complain of being personally attacked.

In summary, this trajectory looks a lot like moving the goal posts away from explaining what is alarmist about climate change models.

If you've changed your mind about what claims you want to make, please do so. But I have not seen good argumentation or explanation for what seemed to be your core argument.

Will you acknowledge your error?

I'll point it out again. This:

> It's pretty strange how all of those metrics start at 1960, no?

Is quite different from this:

> A bunch of them do. Heat waves, river floods, etc...

You can't have it both ways.

> Making false statements?

Yes. I've demonstrated clearly that you wrote a false statement by saying "all". Then you shifted your position to say "a bunch of them".

Why not acknowledge your mistake?

> Slowing down and reminding myself?

Yes. When was the last time you actually said to yourself, e.g. "I have a tendency to get annoyed by how reporters cover climate change. I should not let my annoyance spill over into other trains of thought, such as the claim 'climate change models are alarmist'".

Adjust as needed to suit your situation and thought patterns. If you try it, I think you'll find benefit.

Because pedantry is boring?

> Because pedantry is boring?

This kind of deflection does not reflect well on you. On the other hand, you could accept and acknowledge that you spoke/wrote incorrectly.

This is the kernel of your thinking I've been waiting for. You've seen what you call a "very clear distortion of data in reporting". Emphasis mine. (A suggestion: if you would lead with this sentence this up-front, these kinds of online conversations can be much more productive.)

Now, if one makes a claim that there is a "very clear distortion", it is incumbent upon you to show the analysis -- or to cite it. You are the one making the claim; don't ask someone else to do it. A credible analysis must be statistical, not anecdotal.

In Australia, we've experienced all of the above within the last couple years. Worst droughts in 20+ years, biggest bushfire season ever, and now record breaking flooding.

This is not correct and proves the point made in the parent's comment.

Australia had much more severe bush fires in the 70s [0].

Note that many Australian plants are have evolved to adapt to bush fires, which means they must have been a staple of Australian ecology for many millions of years.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1974%E2%80%9375_Australian_bus... in 1974, 290m acres burned vs https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019%E2%80%9320_Australian_bus... in 2020 which has a highest estimate of about 86m acres burned.

> Instead of pearl-clutching global alarmism, we should narrowly focus on concrete problems with real, measurable solutions, and address them one by one.

Many neoclassical economists would argue against this approach. Fix the incentives, they would say, and things will work out.

> Carbon offset credits? Really?

Your argument is incredulity? Give your reasons. I don't want a vapid rant.

> Recycling was a major con that no one wants to talk about.

Except for all the people who take climate change seriously, like the EU and China:


Trying to individually address negative effects of climate change individually would be ...

(1) expensive

(2) difficult to manage administratively

(3) imbalanced across programs

(4) unresponsive as conditions or impacts change

(5) corruptible, since special interests could focus their efforts to carve out irrational and unfair exceptions for themselves

(6) overly politicized during budgetary decisions

... compared to addressing common causes more broadly.

We can't talk about a point being valid or otherwise if it is not clear. Saying vague statements such as 'but they predicted X and it didn't happen ...' is nearly useless when it comes to understanding and predicting X.

The 2001 IPCC report projected 3-14cm of sea level rise in the period 1990-2025. Per wikipedia, actual sea level rise from 1993-2017 was 7.5cm.

IPCC, see summary of Q3.9 on p9 https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar3/syr/

"They" also were telling us the US west would experience drought, fires, and increased heat waves.

How low is Manhattan? Projections have always been around 50-100 cm sea level rise for the next century.

I'd argue we'll see more around 'Climate Mitigation' than migration.

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