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Link Roundup, 7/6/2017

Link Roundup, 7/6/2017

From Motherboard: We’re a cheap battery away from the end of fossil fuels.

From Digg: Mark Zuckerberg appears to be running for President on a basic income platform.

From the Washington Post: How video games contributed to the self-driving car.

From The Atlantic: A look at Connecticut’s growing economic troubles.

From Scientific American: Are you a magnet for mosquitoes?


  1. Interesting article on energy – Most of these articles seem to be 5 to 10 years behind the times
    I keep seeing articles quoting costs for solar panels and storage that are miles higher than the prices that I can get as a single individual.

    I believe that we have already reached the stage where solar and storage will explode – we don’t need a better chemistry we just need enough “Gigafactories” to come on line

    I’m thinking seriously about getting another lithium ion pack to act as storage for my grid tied solar system (we get very low rates for power back int the grid) and also to be a range extender for my Electric Roadster

  2. If this past year has taught us anything, it’s that anything can happen in politics, for better or worse. That said, I am legitimately concerned that Zuckerberg seems to be woefully underestimating just how big a lift a basic income is, both in terms of it as a social movement and a legislative accomplishment in a time where we can barely even keep the damn lights on.

    If nothing else though, at least it would get the message and idea out to a helluva lot more people than we’re doing right now. That would be welcome progress.

    1. Fox news hasn’t noticed basic income as a policy to demonize yet. They will soon and then a huge number of Americans will see this as the socialist plot to end all that is good in their Murica.

      I’m beginning to think a earned income tax credit may be the smart way to start. Even a somewhat generous increase in what is now available would get us on our way. As a tradeoff we could offer a lower minimum wage. We could also try “last resort employer” also. This could get us miles down the road from where we are now. As long as Obama doesn’t say anything positive about these policies.

      1. Notice Zuckerberg’s praise of government fish hatcheries. My state stocks the local streams with catchable trout every spring. But, talk about the old give a fish or teach to fish story. But he seems enamored with the thought that Alaskans can at least go to the river and catch their dinner.

      2. “I’m beginning to think a earned income tax credit may be the smart way to start. Even a somewhat generous increase in what is now available would get us on our way. As a tradeoff we could offer a lower minimum wage. ”

        I like this very much. I have said Joe Martini is as stupid as Joe Six Pack. If you had a minimal income barter power is then in the worker’s corner. The minimum wage is irrelevant. And capital while still important would have no more barter power than labor. How many capitalist would recognize this? Not many I believe.

      3. As a means towards a basic income, I’m against the EITC because it only affects those with actual earned income, hence the name. A negative income tax would be far more broad-based and target the very poorest among us (many of whom have no income at all), which is precisely what a UBI’s primary goal is.

        If any policy goal meant to advocate a basic income doesn’t achieve this ends, it’s a failure and should be abandoned.

        My hope is that Zuckerberg, when and if he announces his run, will use his power and influence to have independently run basic income experiments across the country, hopefully in some of our poorest areas, like McDowell County, WV, and others. If we do that, we can both make a credible, local case and make inroads in otherwise solidly Republican territory at the same time.

        Zuckerberg says he wants a new social compact for America. If that’s true, then he’s got to be smart about it and prove it to the poorest and most desperate among us.

      4. EITC misses a huge part of the benefit of a basic income, in that it still forces folks to participate in the workforce to access the benefit. This compounds our issues in a demand constrained economy with labor oversupply (and subsequent downward pressure on wages, etc.). That said, I would support it as a compromise… its likely better than the status quo, and if it normalized the idea of providing a basic cash safety net, that’s a good thing. It just shouldn’t be the opening gambit, divorced from the broader intellectual/economic rationale for a UBI.

        I do think however that a Universal Basic Income/Reverse Income Tax might be less a heavy lift than some expect. I highly doubt it raises any big hackles from the left… it will take some more socialization of the idea but in my conversations with lefties, its a pretty easy sell. And there is a fairly strong right-leaning intellectual base of support for it. So you get 30% of the support from the (farther) left, convince half the 40% in the middle, and get 10% more from the farther right 30%… that is 60% support.

        Its a somewhat unlikely coalition given current partisanship… but the groundwork for substantial bipartisan support is there. Sure, we get 20% of the far right screaming about “communism” and they likely will scare off half the folks in the middle… but that may not be enough to scuttle it.

  3. The article on clean energy is spot on
    The power company I retired from is moving to solar and smart grid for it’s business model. With good cheap power storage, cheap solar cells and a basic income another science fiction idea will become reality. The death of cities. People will move deeper into the woods and industrial centers will become automatic more allowing very few work workers to produce industrial goods as is now food. It will also make it much harder for big brother to spy on you or control you too.

  4. Enjoyed the article regarding solar polar from Motherboard. IMO, the basic premise is correct and the transformation will happen much quicker than most people realize. When inexpensive storage is developed the entire equation will change. Widespread rooftop solar with on site storage becomes very feasible. The transmission systems will adapt to the widespread use of distributed generation. That will include developing a smart grid, giving the utility the ability to dispatch power from distributed batteries and controlling power consuming devices. It will lessen the need for peaking facilities such as gas turbine plants. There is a lot of potential.

    That is the reason the short sighted outlook of Scott Pruitt and the current administration is so ridiculous. They are just handicapping the US and allowing the key technologies to be commercialized elsewhere, such as China. Fortunately, there are areas of the US that sees through this and are proceeding. These areas include the west coast, New England and many of the highly urbanized areas, such as Denver, wherever they are located. Even much of the Great Lakes Area is moving in that direction. These backwards looking people will not reverse the trends, though they may bend the trend lines in the US temporarily.

    1. We have indeed teach the tipping point. Feudalism is not going to fit into the new world coming. Goods will be plentiful, cheap and with a basic income everyone can afford them. With power portable people will not have to or want to love concentrated. The other necessary utilities have long been solved for rural life. Education can be done mainly online. All this will make the old feudal model unworkerable.

      1. My old company is using it’s last remaining permit footprint for a coal fired power plant to put in a solar farm. That is a very big deal as it takes much time, money and political capital to win any permit in Florida. They believe that coal is truly dead. Hillary should of campaigned more for white working class votes. Trump is going to run his mouth but not do anything for your brother. But Hillary might of pushed programs to get displaced coal workers into new industries through inducements for the industries to locate where workers are and help said workers retrain and relocate for jobs that are growing not dying.

      2. Hillary’s program did include such items of assistance. However, there was very little coverage of those programs. The MSM was more concerned with horse race coverage, her emails and investigations and Trump’s latest peccadillos. Of course FAUX News had even less substantive coverage. My biggest complaint was there was very little if any substantive coverage of policy proposals during the 2016 election. That election is only the most recent and probably the worst, but in general the election coverage in the US is almost totally void of real comparative substance. One has to dig into the candidate’s past writings including Tweets and obscure dull media such as the New Yorker, Foreign Affairs, The Economist, the Atlantic, PBS, NPR, NY Times and others. But very few people other than political junkies such as those on this blog read or listen to that boring stuff. Besides those outlets are all associated with those ‘librul elites, who can’t be trusted.’

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