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5SpeedRacer5 comments

Posted in: Woman arrested for burying cat carcasses in park See in context

"I loathe speculation on these sad stories"

But in the absence of truth, or even sufficient facts to draw strong conclusions, what are people left with? People will give a benefit of doubt, or assume the worst in most of these cases. I do agree that it often reveals more about the commenter than the story itself. But the way the stories are written also seems to invite the speculation, if you really think about it. People are curious, and skeptical. That can be a really good thing.

Is it useless? What good comes from it? Well, sharing opinions and speculation can spur people to learn more about these kinds of problems. These problems of animal abuse, dementia, and toxoplasmosis are certainly not going away. I have to admit my bias that an attitude of "tsk tsk" or "gosh how sad" seems far less productive to me than people asking questions or suggesting causes. Social sciences are more moral than many religions in this respect, if you ask me. Studying and understanding human behavior is a far more successful strategy, loathsome though it often is, than merely assuming that some people are "good" and others are "bad," and turning away in horror. All of us are potentially loathsome creatures. The fact that most of us are not is also an example of useful speculation. The fact that science builds and accumulates knowledge rather than dismissing it also suggests that it is the better course in the long run.

If we don't wonder WHY people do what they do, then we are wasting our time with psychology, a justice system, most laws, most social science, and most of government.

Finally, the REAL problem with speculation that shows up recently is that people often don't read or inform themselves before speculating. People don't even use the knowledge they have available. Lazy lynch mobs and agenda-driven witch hunts are all too common.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Woman arrested for burying cat carcasses in park See in context

I am not a doctor, but she should be tested for toxoplasmosis. She certainly has crazy cat lady syndrome. Go look it up. It is not a clinical term, but it might be someday. Wikipedia has long articles about this.

I suppose some people will see this as a chicken and egg problem. Does the crazy come from the cats, or do the cats come from the crazy? Why not both?

Anyway, the possibility of abuse to the cats should be investigated. I doubt it can be proven, and I would say trying to bury them in a park kind of labels this woman as someone who needs help. So there we are.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: Qatargas tells Japan's JERA no LNG supply impact after rift See in context

Kind of wondered about this. Japan was getting a lot of energy from Iran. Then Iran sanctions hit and all of that vanished. So Japan started getting more energy from Russia. Then Russia sanctions hit and that got severely limited. Then 3/11 happened and Japan had to look elsewhere for a lot of gas, FAST, and eventually settled on coal because who is going to put sanctions on Canada and Australia? Coal ain't great, but it is dependable.

And through it all, Japan has bought a lot of LNG from Qatar. Old dependable Qatar. So when the news came out yesterday, I was thinking... "Wow. Again? Japan just can't catch a break." Good to hear that Japan's contracts are safe THIS week.

Nuclear power is not just a domestic issue. It is a national security issue. The world is an unstable place, and I would rather bet on earthquakes and tsunamis than on the inconstancy of international sanctions these days. It is either that or depend on coal, as North Korea does. Or maybe Japan can buy North Korean coal after North Korea switches to nuclear.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Japanese men take out 'groper insurance' against false accusations See in context

Well this thread lost its mind in pretty short order. We have men's rights advocates and people who don't understand how the legal system or insurance works, and quite a few people who believe that all this is the fault of police, or something. Maybe DNA and fingerprints can give us truth!

Nope. The real problem here is that people live in crowded conditions, have too much stress, can't control themselves, etc. Throw in some bona fide mental illness in even 1 of every 100 train passengers, and you have an explosive cocktail of he said/she said, and everything blows up.

I know where this ends. More state surveillance. Most of the people posting here are vilifying the Abe administration for making new laws to prosecute criminals. It is an invasion of privacy, right? Well, apparently, people can't handle privacy without groping someone. So let's put cameras everywhere and allow people to have their own cameras to prove that they are not gropers. It has to be cheaper than insurance and cheaper than a few extra police officers. State surveillance is the path of least resistance. Yamanote is setting up cameras as I write this.

And when, one day, you wake up feeling like an animal in a cage, you will know it is because you are treated like an animal in a cage because some people act like animals. Most countries are using terrorism to justify state surveillance, but in Japan, groping will do. Everyone will feel safer in a nanny state. Trust me.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Honda to test fuel-cell taxis See in context

Let me suggest something truly revolutionary: JapanToday should make some donation to Wikipedia, just a teeny tiny amount, and then put a link, just ONE LINK, at the end of every story, to a related topic. It would get people thinking, or it might present an alternate viewpoint, or maybe not.

AND/OR put a link to one or more earlier JapanToday stories. You already have the stories, so it costs you zero to guide people to those earlier stories and get a few more page views. Anyone clicking on today's story is KNOWN to be interested in the topic, so send them to other stories on the same topic.

We can have smarter readers, smarter comments, and more page views. Minimal cost.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Honda to test fuel-cell taxis See in context

Not many vehicles at all, but this is the way it starts. Fleets of taxis and commercially owned vehicles will get bigger and bigger, which will support the infrastructure, which lowers costs and widens the markets. The article really should mention that the H2 you put into your car is free, for now, so if you drive the vehicle A LOT, the high price tag might still make it useful for you.

Not sure when I will be getting my FCV. I was really excited about getting one until I found out I had to wait because there was no H2 nearby. Then I found out that the H2 station will be a good distance from my home. Then I found out that it has no plug in capability for charging just for short trips.

They want people to buy them and use them intensively every day, and I am just not that kind of driver. So I will just have to sit back and watch for a while.

"The FCV can travel about 750 km per charge, and it takes about three minutes to fill the vehicle w"

You know, a conspiracy theorist would conclude from the FCV coverage that the press has been bought off by Tesla. I have yet to see an FCV article written by someone who is not an idiot, or who has an idea what a fuel cell is or what it does. An FCV is not "charged" with hydrogen. It has a tank that gets filled up with H2 from a pump at a filling station. Do you "charge" your car with fossil fuel gasoline? Like I said, a conspiracy theorist would conclude that all of this erroneous coverage occurs on purpose, but an alternative hypothesis is that every journalist on the planet knows less about most things than I do. Could that really be true?

Or there is the breathless slobbering about how x is the greatest thing ever, like home battery systems, but they just wind up being impossible to justify financially. More useless journalism. Sigh. I guess it is nice that people know more about these technologies, but it usually comes with such a large dose of misinformation that I wonder if it is worth it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan's battleship Yamato to be reproduced with VR tech See in context

um. Nice. I guess. You know, in the mid-90s, people made levels for the game DOOM all the time, and included various famous places. and I know there was a boom for many museums and famous locations to incorporate VR representations.. about 15 years ago.

So this is not NEW NEW. I guess the representation will be nicer and all that, but the idea itself is so old that it is probably not patentable, meaning that if it had been patented, the patent is already expired.

So I guess I am supposed to be impressed that it is the Yamato, but the ship was grey on the outside and beige on the inside, so.. it is a good student project and all, but ..

Well, ok. I guess I will give this a golf clap and move on....

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Japanese men take out 'groper insurance' against false accusations See in context

"somebody might say something about getting up in front of a judge and explaining why you bought groping insurance when you are not a groper. That is going to look pretty bad.

Not really. The person simply needs to show a couple of examples of false accusations, and their fear becomes justified"

Haha. Then let me amend that to "anyone who has groper insurance and has been accused multiple times of groping" needs to tell that to the judge. Remember, "failure to convict" does not mean that someone is innocent.

This is just me, but I think I would rather take my chances as "a regular guy" than present myself as a guy who is constantly accused of sexual misbehavior AND a groper insurance customer. A judge is going to look at the former and say, "hmm. That could be me." He will look at the latter and say, "Here is a guy who has not gotten nailed yet. " It would probably be worth paying for the lawyer myself, actually, just not to be painted with a broad brush of stink.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Posted in: Fretting over savings, Asia's moms and pops turn to bitcoin See in context

"The fundamental concept of bitcoin is no different than any other currency - it only has value based on people's confidence in the currency. "

Seems legit. Sure. And no politicians and governments to fool around with it and mess up the value, so bitcoin is better than fiat currency, right?

I don't buy it. Bitcoin does not have UNDERLYING value that is greater than our governments and social systems. It has value that can only exist ON TOP OF our layers of civility, national systems, agreements, and yes even computing power and international communications. It is not going to be a world currency. EVER. ... simply because no government is going to give up its power or responsiblity to control its own destiny.

And that is a good thing. At least it is if you do not live in some third world hell hole. Come on. Gold has been traded freely since 1972, and it is not "a world currency." People will play with Bitcoin, and some really poor people will scam and scheme with bitcoin, but teh wealth of the world will stick to Swiss Francs and bearer bonds and oil contracts. And the day that changes, Bitcoin will be worthless because the society that makes that "playtime" possible will have crumbled.

Ooops. Did I say "playtime"? Yes. Go back and read the article. Huge risk. No guarantees. Etc. Worse than a casino. People who play with bitcoin are going to lose it all someday, probably to some dumb virus or worldwide hiccup. I won't have any sympathy at all. And life will go on because real money is not going to be invested in Bitcoin.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: BOJ's balance sheet tops Y500 trillion; on cusp of overtaking Fed See in context

"Either some of the JGB's they own won't be redeemed or they will monetize the debt or we are facing some form of economic"

Or something else entirely. A false trichotomy? I think you have listed the three most panicky probabilities, but the least likely.

Come on. Really? This is not an EITHER OR situation at all. I can think of at least five other outcomes that are extremely boring. The most likely outcome is that nothing is going to change at all. The debt will be rolled over. The interest rates will stay low, as they probably should, and the assets of dead people will be taxed away to pay for the debts of dead people. Inflation will stay low for fundamental, not monetary reasons. If it goes up a bit, so much the better. 3% inflation is not going to panic or kill anyone.

The market agrees with me. Go out and try to short the yen. You will get a lot of takers. And that should tell you something.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Posted in: Toyota ends tie-up with Tesla See in context

This is really old news. I am not sure what was announced particularly, but I know that two years ago, or maybe three, Musk was insisting that Tesla still had projects with Toyota after their EV collaboration was cancelled, and Toyota strongly denied it.

I think of Tesla as a yappy chihuahua and Toyota as a reliable Dalmation or Golden Retriever. Toyota is a service dog and Tesla is kind of this twitchy, loud, high maintenance "rich people" dog. A long time ago, Toyota and GM had a joint venture and had a huge plant together in California. GM eventually gave up, so Toyota got the plant for next to nothing. Then it traded the plant to Tesla for a huge block of stock. It also produced some cars with Tesla, but they did not sell. Tesla went on to hype their own cars and jack the price up, and Toyota and Tesla have gone their separate ways. That was years ago.

Another wrinkle is the weird ideological split that has developed. Musk relies on making his vehicles with 100% battery power, whether that is efficient or convenient, or not. Toyota simply does what works for customers, keeps efficiency high, and keeps costs down. Friction arises when Musk makes claims that are just not true, and when he promises things he cannot deliver. He uses the old tools of Bill Gates: FUD and vaporware.

Whatever. Tesla will now have to try to mass produce cars profitably. It has not ever done either of those things. If it can survive the next few years, it will be a much different company. Toyota just makes cars people want, and it keeps making them better as it moves to better technologies incrementally. It seems stodgy, but is it? To me, it is Tesla that is wedded to an idea so strongly that it cannot escape and grow. Toyota is the company that is still free to innovate and strive for better things.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Japanese men take out 'groper insurance' against false accusations See in context

"But we're talking about those falsely accused,"

No. We are not. The headline says we are, but we are not talking about that at all. ANYONE can purchase this insurance, and you can bet that a good number of them are going to be stalking mashing perverts. Moral hazard virtually REQUIRES that the people who are likely to purchase this are people who believe that they might be accused, and a good number of them are going to be guilty as charged.

This is not an article about groping, or being falsely accused of groping. It is about being accused of groping, and someone selling insurance to cover the costs of a defense. So we need to avoid discussions of groping, testosterone, wider social issues, etc. Someone is offering a product, and people will buy it. The article should have more data so that we can judge the value of this insurance, the incidence of ALL accusations, the likely damage resulting from it, and the charges for mounting a defense, etc.

The discussion is hopelessly distracted. It should be in the business section. The accusations cost people money. The insurance protects people from financial harm.

And while we are at it, somebody might say something about getting up in front of a judge and explaining why you bought groping insurance when you are not a groper. That is going to look pretty bad. THAT discussion is missing too, but it hits closer to the mark of the core of this "news story" than anecdotes, misogyny, and all the rest.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Yokohama mayor apologizes to boy bullied for being a Fukushima evacuee See in context

"platform for defending nuclear power"

Why does it need a platform? Look at today's CO2 headline and despair. Nuclear power deserves to be defended if it produces less CO2 than coal, oil and natural gas. It deserves to be defended if it produces far fewer toxins than the alternatives. Cadmium from solar panels, lead and mercury from coal, carbon monoxide and PCBs from oil and gas... those are lethal to humans FOREVER. Not just 100 years or a thousand years, but FOREVER, and they are being put into the atmosphere directly and daily, killing millions each year. The toxins are not contained or stored, but simply spewed and nobody seems to care, especially anti-nuclear people.

But a bully won't look at things rationally. I have never met a bully who respected math. A bully will repeat a tired mantra and create a rationale for extortion or demand apologies from a weakened victim.

I am not, by the way, extending my metaphor to the entire nuclear industry. I am simply saying that demonizing all things Fukushima has always been wrong, and it does not matter if it is a little kid or a large company. We all do the best we can and act in good faith. Tepco too. Those people are not ghouls. That needs to be recognized. Does someone need to have a "platform,," or can a person simply state an honest perspective and an observation?

You see, the VICTIM of bullying is not the issue here. The issue is, "Why do people who are doing their best deserve social derision far far out of proportion to some alleged risk they pose?" I contend that the kid is being "blamed" for the same thing Tepco is being "blamed" for. They were both at the wrong place at the wrong time.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Posted in: Yokohama mayor apologizes to boy bullied for being a Fukushima evacuee See in context

"" bullied Fukushima refugee children and TEPCO are both entirely innocent "

Well, if you don't want it twisted, don't twist it. Really, what is the difference between this kid and Tepco? It is 2:45 pm on Friday afternoon, and everything is fine, and 5 minutes later you are fighting to pick up the pieces, doing the best you can. And you do it. And you survive and everyone is safe, and then you have to endure 6 years of bullying by people who were not even there and who had no stake in what took place in Fukushima. A bunch of people in Tokyo feel high and mighty and push the survivors around for years.

I was here. I have watched the media and the politics, and bullying is bullying, and to me the only difference is what is alleged, what is extorted, and what their political agenda is. It has gone on for six years, and I have seen it all. The question is, are you going to keep bullying, or have you had enough? Do people finally have the decency to see that Tepco has been working tirelessly to meet its responsibilities? Do they understand that Tepco employees had families in Fukushima too? I think they know. Bullies just don't care.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Posted in: Yokohama mayor apologizes to boy bullied for being a Fukushima evacuee See in context

"He was called "germ" in reference to nuclear contamination and forked over 1.5 million yen to classmates."

Awful. Hysteria did this. Presumably, people played up a non-existent threat and used it to extort money from someone who felt guilty for something beyond his control. He did not ask to be in an earthquake or tsunami, or to be involved in a nuclear accident that killed nobody. The threat he posed to his schoolmates was entirely nonexistent. Nobody was harmed by radiation, and yet they bullied and bullied this kid until he "forked over" huge amounts of money to get them to stop. He just wanted to get back to normal. He just wanted to be a student and be part of society.

"told to go back to Fukushima or stay away under the false premise that they would contaminate others with radiation."

I wonder when people are going to look around and say, "Hey, maybe we have been bullying Tepco and its employees too. We exaggerate the risk from radiation, extort money from them, make them apologize incessantly for simple things, and accept a false premise that they would contaminate others with radiation." Maybe we just are not there yet. Someday, we will be. People who have not and will not be harmed are bullying Tepco just for doing their jobs.

I also want to make the obvious point that Yokohama benefited for 30 years from Fukushima Daiichi, which supplied cheap power to Tokyo. For someone from Tokyo to bully someone from Fukushima is truly adding insult to injury. They and their families shared none of this boy's sacrifice, but derived full benefits from it for 30 years. Truly reprehensible.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Posted in: CO2 concentration levels in Japan hit record highs in 2016 See in context

Hmm. What changed since the Kyoto accord. I wonder. Oh yeah. Kan turned off all the nuclear reactors and forced utilities to use coal, oil and gas.

So blame this on the DPJ and anti-nuclear hysteria everyone. You asked for CO2, and you got it!

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Posted in: Why nuclear could become the next 'fossil' fuel See in context

"the economic case without subsidies is not that sound for most and for all in certain cases eg. solar can be economically viable in very sunny climes but the case does not stack up for more northerly areas where most of the industrialised countries (and therefor energy demand) lie."

Just not true. Solar thermal needs direct sun to be economical, so it is used in places like Spain, North Africa, Arizona, and California. PV, on the other hand, is not so reliant on the same wavelengths (UV, not IR) and so it works well pretty well irrespective of latitude. Almost all of the PV powerhouses are above 30 degrees latitude: China, US, Japan, Germany, Australia....

It also has to be said that PV solar in MOST places these days has passed grid parity, which is the point where it is cheaper than grid electricity. Subsidies are no longer necessary to make PV profitable. Finally, I don't understand what industrialization and energy demand have to do with anything. Many places that are solar leaders have decreasing demand for power, Japan, Germany, some areas of the US. ... and some have no particular need for power at all, such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, China.

There is nothing "wrong" with solar PV, and it would be great if people adopted it more. There is also nothing "wrong" with nuclear power, and we would all be better off if it were used more. The mistake that people make is choosing sides and making it an either/or dichotomy for really no reason whatsoever. Having complementary technologies makes everyone better off. Understanding their applications and limitations correctly is what people should do first.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Why nuclear could become the next 'fossil' fuel See in context


Here is, quite LITERALLY, what you wrote.

"nuclear IS quite literally a fossil fuel, as it uses radioactive rocks. "

I responded to that because I know you have been using English for at least 15 years. Now you have included emphasis there, and you have used the word literally. Where is the straw man?

I think you created it. Do you even English, bro? Because I think you are saying now that you did not write literally. You think you wrote "figuratively." But you didn't. I have to take you at your word for what you actually wrote. You not only took the care to write "literally." You also emphasized IS (you did not even use capitals to begin your sentence, so you MUST have meant IS when you typed IS) and you modified literally with "quite." You were not mistaken when you typed it. You really meant it.

As it stands, your science is quite literally questionable. Nuclear is not literally or actually a fossil fuel in any commonly accepted sense of the word. Even the headline puts the word fossil in quotes to signal that it is not LITERALLY a fossil fuel.

Regarding your other points, they are incorrect too. Nuclear is not replaceable by any resource Japan has available, other than fossil fuels. Coal releases more radiation and toxins than nuclear power does. That was covered very well in another recent thread. Geothermal is insufficient to meet Japan's needs. Hydrothermal resources are also limited, and heating lakes destroys habitats. PV cannot scale and certainly cannot do so in the short or medium term. And your other points are just vague.

My lament in my last post was that people use fuzzy, vague science. Now I wonder at some people's abilities for English expression.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Pentagon declares success for key test of missile defense See in context

"244 Million for one test? Damn......I wish I got paid that much for one"

Stop an ICBM in mid flight and we'll talk about money over lunch sometime.

We should all take note that if we thought that the nuclear arms race was expensive, we ain't seen nothing yet. Now, each THAAD missile is worth as much as London, New York, Beijing, or Tokyo. Defense contractors are going to make not trillions... but gajillions... from political instability. Every nation that feels the least bit threatened will have to have the newest model.

All the contractors have to do is kick back a little to North Korea from time to time to keep the good times rolling.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Suspect in fatal Portland attack yells about 'free speech' at hearing See in context

Well. He can yell anything he wants to, right? It just has nothing to do with anything. If he really believed in free speech, he could have expressed that right and used it in all kinds of ways without killing people. And he is going to be charged and probably convicted of murder. ... which has nothing to do with free speech.

Not really much interesting here. America has many such people who just can't seem to control themselves short of killing others.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Posted in: Trump dismisses 'fabricated' report of son-in-law's outreach to Russia See in context


I am pretty sure that Jared offered up his own explanation and he did so without any duress whatsoever. He was not under arrest or charged with anything. He had counsel present too. Is Trump going to say that J Kushner was lying? Because that is the only way this could be fabricated.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: TEPCO officials visit homes in Niigata to apologize over latest blunder on safety issue See in context

Well, you can call it lying and deceit, or you could call it a clerical error that the company is bending over backwards to apologize and bow and scrape over.

It would not be news if it were not Tepco. And Tepco would not be news if it were not for something that happened six years ago that was beyond their control.

Why not save our outrage for someone who really deserves it? All these people want to do is provide reliable, stable electricity..... the yardstick of civilization ... to paying customers. Keeping them from doing that is only going to raise their costs, and your prices. So enjoy your vitriol... you are paying for it,

The number one reason I am glad I am not a Tepco customer is that I don't have neighbors like the people posting above. Number one reason. By far. And a distant number 2 is that I am going to get cheaper electricity because my utility is not burdened by having so many unreasonable customers.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Posted in: Number of 2011 quake, nuclear evacuees dips below 100,000 See in context

"so the numbers of evacuees hasn't decreased, "

If they decreased any faster, someone would criticize the government for removing people from the rolls of "clients of the state," so that is not going to happen, right? Are you understanding the process here or are you just going to find fault any way possible. In fact, reducing "the number of evacuees" is what the LDP government spokesman was recommending two weeks ago and he was forced to resign. Remember that? I am pretty sure you commented on that news.

"ust the support and and the way they are classified has changed."

Well. Yeah. What else is there to change? They are classified to determine their degree of support. Their classification is according to their calculated level of support. So you say this like it is a bad thing, but it is the process. Why be disappointed?

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Posted in: Number of 2011 quake, nuclear evacuees dips below 100,000 See in context

So wait a minute. I get "evacuated" from a tsunami-affected area, go off to live with my son in law in Niigata, have no plan to return home, ever, but as long as my hometown has not been reconstructed to my standards of "inhabitability," I am still an evacuee and entitled to compensation of one kind or another?

Gosh, you know 3/11 was horrible and all that, but how are these areas ever going to be reconstructed and reinhabited if people are just going to remain scattered throughout the country, counted using various systems, without any community or political cohesion?

By my reckoning from the numbers above, only about 55,000 of all "evacuees" are remaining in the area, presumably overseeing reconstruction of their former homes. Apparently the rest are maintaining claims of one kind or another, but not participating in reconstruction. Is it a stretch to think that they might not even WANT reconstruction? Maybe they are happy where they are.

Not long ago, the LDP guy in charge of reconstruction told people that the government is dong everything it can, and that maybe people should just go home. I think this is what he means. SIx years on, we should be looking at an end to this process of rebuilding these communities. If people do not move back themselves, how can they expect others to do so? The process cannot progress if the people don't move back or move on.

Communities HAVE been successful at reconstruction. Others show remarkably little progress. I am not sure the government can be blamed for that.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

Posted in: Sharp cuts size of storage battery system See in context


In the math post above, about line 15 is

I can get electricity after 11 pm at only 10 kWh. 

It should be

I can get electricity after 11 pm at only 10 yen per kWh. 

I also note that some asterisks I used as TIMES symbols in the 7 x 30 parts of the equation were deleted. Maybe people can figure that out.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Sharp cuts size of storage battery system See in context

You can probably do this yourself, but WHAT variables would change the equations above? Lower battery price. Low interest rates. High fees on electricity usage. Cheap night electricity rates. FIT rates going lower than about 15 yen. All of those might make batteries look cheaper by comparison.

One takeaway from the article is how expensive the batteries actually are when you get them from a reputable dealer. Remember that Tesla sells AT A LOSS. I think it is one reason why it is taking so long bringing its products to market. The more they sell, the more they lose. If you want a product that works properly, and which is guaranteed by Japanese standards, it is going to cost a little more.

The business model of a utility is to keep costs as low as possible because it is a natural monopoly. In countries where utilities are horribly mismanaged, you find people looking for alternatives... grasping at straws... hoping for companies like Tesla to save them. It is tragic. A chaotic market wasting huge amounts of capital. The fact that you can't find a way to get electricity much cheaper than you can from your utility is a testament to how well Japanese utilities are doing their job.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Sharp cuts size of storage battery system See in context

"if only it were cheaper""Tesla will save the day" etc. Come on people. Do the math. Look at your electric bill. People have been trying to sell me these systems for years and they RELY on people being greedy, fearful, and stupid. Are you? The last salesman I talked to made a great spiel, but after he was all finished, I just pulled out a calculator and my electric bill and did the math. I told him if he knocked his price in half, I might consider it.

Do I have your attention? OK. Let's take it from the top.

 A battery for my house! What a great idea. If it is about 7 kWh, that should be enough for use during an evening, when the sun is not shining, but electric rates are still high. I can save a lot of money! And it is great for the environment, right?

But let's do the math, just to be sure. 

Let's assume that the rate for electricity is 30 yen per kWh, but I can get electricity after 11 pm at only 10 kWh. Let's also assume that I have solar panels on my roof, and I can sell electricity to the utility for 30 yen per kWh, and that the system is 100% efficient and no taxes, just to make calculations easy. I can get a system for about 300 man, installed, or I can believe Tesla and wait for their system, which will probably be 100 man, installed. 

How will I use it? I will be GREEN and I will charge it up fully during the day with my solar panels and then use that electricity in the early evening. Assuming I can do that every day and assuming that I am not using that electricity for something else during the day, and that I use ALL of that sweet sweet wattage, then I can "save" 7 * 30 = 210 yen per day. Wow! But if I do that, I am "giving up" the money I could have received from selling that power to the utility. So I am not really "saving" anything.

But what if I am not GREEN, and I just charge my battery up every night, and then use that power during the day, every day? Well, that is (7 30) - (7 10) = 140 yen per day. Wow! And I do not even need solar panels at all! So that is a great deal. That is 140 * 30 = 4200 yen per month, or 5 man per year. Easy money! 

Wait. How much does it cost again? Oh yeah, if I believe that Tesla can actually deliver this system to me now, and if I believe that I can actually install it for 100 man, and if the utility will allow it, then it will pay for itself in only 20 years. Well, that is not so great, but, well...

It is worse than that. After 20 years, you will have charged and discharged this battery 7300 times. So as soon as it gets paid off, you will need a new battery!

Is that "fake math?" Maybe if you just use different numbers it will work out, right? Nope. If you get MORE than 30 yen for your solar electricity, you are better off selling that electricity to the utility. If you get ZERO from the utility for your solar electricity, then you still only make 10 man per year from this system, and the payback is 10 years (people in Australia, Tesla's big market, hope to do this). If electricity rates in Japan DOUBLE, then the payback might be 10 years. If the battery were totally free, it would still take you 2 years to pay for the installation cost (I might do this).

And if the battery cost you 300 man, as quoted above? You will be paying that money back for 60 years.  

Go ahead and badmouth Tepco and the other utilities. They do a great job providing you with cheap reliable electricity. If you think they don't, just buy a battery and try it yourself. Good luck with that.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Moody's downgrades China; warns of fading financial strength as debt climbs See in context

"nyone who didn't see this coming years ago was blind, China copied the Japanese formula right down to the bad loans."

Oh no, Joel. Didn't you read the opinions of the economic expert and financial writer above? He said it is different this time, and China is stronger than the US or Japan because it is more isolated. This time it is special. And you can hear that kind of talk over and over from hucksters and visionaries. Enron people said it. Dutch tulip buyers used to say it. Anyone with any vested interest, or just a prideful opinion, can think of a reason that history will not repeat itself.

But it always does, doesn't it? You and I are old enough that we have seen it all before. And when everyone else is slapping their forehead saying "How could we have known?" You and I will be sitting back laughing at all these idiots who ignored the obvious signs and similarities while looking for meaningless exceptions and justifications.

History is littered with the wrecks of proud societies that frittered their fortunes away on misguided notions. The notion that Chinese growth (which we rely on THEM to report) will go on forever is just another lie waiting to be exposed. It is quite possible that recent growth is entirely meaningless, and that "real economic growth" in China stopped years ago. Growth in the USSR went negative in the late 1970s and most people did not come to realize that until the 1990s.

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Posted in: Japan Inc sees better opportunities beyond China's 'Belt and Road' See in context

Countries and companies get richer and richer and eventually they wind up with more money than they know what to do with. Then they start getting whacky ideas. You know the exceptions? Boring companies. Boring countries. Switzerland. Toyota. Subaru. Finland.

So what is China doing? Well certain people think there is nothing wrong with China's economy at all, but we know better. And we know because China has NOTHING BETTER TO DO than throw money at a historical idea that outlived its usefulness in the time of steamships. I mean WHY? Because their economy is headed into the tip. Say good bye to your money China.

I remember when Japanese companies had so much money they thought the best thing to do with it was to buy golf courses and movie studios. Wow. Exciting. Fun. What an "out of the box" idea! And a couple of years later, Japan's economy is on the ropes.

Same with China. Just wait. There is a reason no Americans drive Route 66 anymore, and there is a reason the silk road has become a deserted..... desert. Apparently people need to learn this once every 20 years or so.

What fools these mortals be.

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Posted in: Why nuclear could become the next 'fossil' fuel See in context

"nuclear IS quite literally a fossil fuel, as it uses radioactive rocks. "

I have been in discussions like this for more than six years now, and I always assumed that the people in these discussions were more or less informed people with some idea about science, or at least how things work, and a vocabulary sufficient to engage others on this subject. I assume people are curious, and that they learn and grow.

So when this article comes up, and I see a headline that refers to nuclear as a fossil fuel, I would assume that people will examine that assertion critically and judge how nuclear power might be similar or different when compared to fossil fuels.

But people aren't critical, are they? Most people just believe any old thing they read with no consideration of the agenda, the twist or thrust of arguments, or even bald fallacies in their reading matter. They just lap up the pablum.

A fossil is, literally, a once living organism that has been transformed over time into an arrangement of minerals. Anyone can look it up, but that is off the top of my head.

Although fossils CAN contain radioactive materials, they are unlikely to be more radioactive than surrounding rocks, so no... fossils are not radioactive rocks.

So the statement in quotes above is as wrong as can be. And these are the kind of people who will take the article's assertions at face value.

I need to stop assuming so much of the average person discussing nuclear power. Average ain't what it used to be.

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