5SpeedRacer5 comments

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

On the matter of the false dichotomy raised by the article is this idea that nuclear power is expensive. Well, yes it is. NEW nuclear power plants in WESTERN countries are extremely expensive. There is no denying that. But guess what. There are not many NEW nuclear plants in Western countries. It is a non-issue.

The issue in Japan and many other countries is whether to use the nuclear power plants they already have. Well, of course they should. All the costs have been paid. All the construction is done. All the safety checks have been passed. Most already have all the fuel they need. They are cheap to run. And they are CHEAPER to run than coal or oil plants, even with the moderate fossil fuel prices we have today. In countries that are rapidly adopting nuclear power, the safety features adopted through years of legal wrangling in Western countries are built in. Their reactors are cheaper to build, and easier to regulate. So they are building lots of them based on Western designs.

The only controversy is people's emotional, visceral rejection of nuclear power. The article wants to stir that up, I guess, and people posting above fell for it.

We are told constantly by the media that we need to emit less CO2. We have many technologies to do that, but none meets society's needs better than nuclear power. Then we are told by those same people that we must forget the goal and follow a different agenda for some political reasons that have nothing to do with AGW. I won't do it. Humanity's best weapon against anthropogenic climate change is nuclear power.

Humanity should use it.

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

The article has some pretty hazy, foggy, sloppy analysis that glosses over important changes and problems with a tired and strained simile: nuclear power and fossil fuels are the same thing. It ignores the real danger.

No. In fact, nuclear power is a SUBSTITUTE for fossil fuels. And it is a clean substitute that produces little or no CO2. That is just a fact. People who care about global warming and who care about the environment SHOULD BE nuclear power proponents. The fact that that many of them are is great. The fact that most aren't says a lot about the lack of grey matter among anti-nuclear people.

Is nuclear "the same as" fossil fuels? No. In Japan, utilities have used fossil fuels in huge amounts BECAUSE they have been forbidden by society from using nuclear power. Right? And in China, nuclear plants are being built quickly to avoid the use of fossil fuels, not to avoid solar or hydro, but IN ADDITION TO solar and hydro. Right?

So why write this article? Well, it is agenda-driven journalism. The article wants people to see nuclear as old, outdated, useless technology. The writer does so by lumping nuclear power in with coal and oil based on some false dichotomy, specious phrasing, etc. If you want the truth, go visit a coal plant, preferably one in China, and watch the rail cars of coal go in and the tons of ash and smoke that come out. Then go visit a nuclear plant. Nothing goes in, power comes out. After a few years, you might get some waste about the size of a Volkswagen beetle. They are as different as night and day.

The real danger that the article touches upon is NIMBYISM. The high costs of nuclear are related to over-regulation and yes, lawsuits, and people who just want to tell other people what to do. On this very site, we have had very liberal people post about how they don't like solar panels ON OTHER PEOPLE'S PROPERTY. They want to raise costs for other people and generally turn their preferences into public policy. Solar projects, highway projects, wind projects, and yes, coal and nuclear projects have seen huge costs get even larger simply because of obstructive minorities. This is not news. What IS news is that countries that can form a social consensus, such as China, Iran, and India and others, have no trouble at all building nuclear plants, funding great space programs, and funding medical care for their people.

Rising costs of nuclear power in Western countries reflect a lack of national, social consensus and the coming decay of those societies. That will be apparent by those societies' crumbling infrastructure, low birth rates, and decline of social initiative. I predict that as nuclear is used less in those countries, fossil fuels will be used more. In societies that are not decaying, nuclear will be used more, and fossil fuels less.

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Posted in: Japan, Russia to survey disputed isles in June for joint projects See in context

It is a good sign. I don't expect much to come of it.

Let's all remember that Putin's people invited investors from ... what was it Sudan, Somalia, and Slovenia?.... about a year ago and they could not find anything to invest in. So if they are begging off even after promises of favorable treatment, why would any investor in her right mind want to start something in this political minefield?

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Posted in: China's reforms not enough to arrest mounting debt: Moody's See in context

"China has managed to avoid financial crises that dogged Japan and the West. That is despite China having an overheated property market for quite a few years, plenty of private debt and stock market crash"

And when you say DESPITE, you mean BECAUSE. If you bother to read the article, you will see that Moody's concern, and everyone else's, is that China has addressed every problem with more debt. Need some growth? Here is some debt. Too much debt? Here is a swap... so we will take your debt and you can take on more debt. Stock market down? Here is some debt. Want a third home? Here, have some debt.

And none of those underlying problems has been solved. It has been papered over with loan agreements. That is really the point. Moodys is simply saying that all that debt that has been thrown at OTHER problems is creating a problem that is not being addressed.

The article includes one more gem: "shadow banking." Oh wonderful. So in addition to the official debt figures, we apparently have a large debt market that is wholly off the books.

But no, everyone says it must be Moodys that is the problem. Moody's has been around longer than China's "new economy." They have seen this thing over and over again.

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Posted in: Say thank you or be identified, police tell owners of lost items See in context

Smith, that is easily the most informative and reasonable post I have seen from you in years. Literally years. I congratulate you for your honesty and your sentiments.

Many years ago, I was given an exam as part of a job application process that asked odd questions such as, "Do you believe that most people steal?" and "How honest do you think people are?" I thought the questions were absolutely bizarre, so I just answered them as quickly as I could. I found out later that the particular job required someone who assumed honesty, but who was circumspect enough to know that not all people are honest. Think about how rare that is. Or is that most people between a 6 year old and a cop? Hard to know for sure.

And one premise of the test is that people who assume other people are dishonest are likely to be thieves themselves, given the opportunity. Practicing honesty is seeing honesty all around you, and being shocked by dishonesty where it is proven.

Now it sounds quaint and smarmy to say this, but it is true. The REWARD you get for returning something and not stealing it is the ability to see an honest world around you, no matter how small, and living with the expectation that if human kindness exists within you, it must exist in the heart of someone else.

If the police are trying to encourage people to connect with strangers that way, then they are doing a great public service. If they are mandating it, then the point is lost.

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Posted in: Hawaii sues Ford, Nissan and Toyota over Takata air bags See in context

This is classic. Step back and look at it. The claimant gets all lawyered up and then makes a statement and announces a lawsuit.

Now stop right there. What do the media do? They sensationalize, using words like "grenade" to exaggerate the claims and scare people. Nobody in Hawaii is even accusing anybody of an injury or problem at all. The allegation is simply that somebody should have known something a decade ago. Good luck with that.

And what do the defendants do? They say NOTHING. Because of course they say nothing. Their lawyers tell them that because they have nothing to gain by defending themselves. They minimize damage to the brand by just pleading guilty or no contest. Just keep it out of court.

What happens next? WITCH HUNT! Everyone pile on. Bring up allegations of disgruntled employees. Hearsay. Alleged victims. Something that might have happened 10 years ago. Whatever. Why not? The defendants are SURE to remain silent, so let the absurd claims and exaggerations go on ad infinitum! Nobody will sue you for making any old claim you want to. Editors and journalists do not even exist anymore. Just buy your PR and let the law firm pay for it.

This has happened over and over and over. Lawyers and the press have done this to Audi, GM, Toyota, Takata, TEPCO.... and they will keep doing it. Lawyers and the press have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain. Wider publicity means more plaintiffs, even if they are just making things up.

It is the "ambulance chaser / new media" shakedown, and it WORKS! The only defense is to hire better lawyers and pay for better media coverage.

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Posted in: Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding tests mechanical wave power generation system See in context

These provide power 24/7, which is good. Somehow, sticking a bunch of metal under the ocean and letting the waves beat on it does not strike me as efficient, but that is just my bias, I guess.

Opening my mind a bit to the notion, it occurs to me that there are large areas of coastline that people are turning into waterbreaks and seawalls, etc. We have this image of every inch of coast being a nice beach or a port or whatever, but there are plenty of places you could set these up. Cheaper than managing a dam?

And then just letting the daydreaming go... I can see rural villages along the coast turning into solar, wind, wave, hydrogen power nexuses, supporting industry with cheaper power than that from fossil fuels burned to support cities.

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

The article is full of hints if you look for them:

"China is unique" and "China's debt is no greater in real terms than that of the US or the UK" and "rapid growth of personal debt and public debt" and "debt-financed growth" and "bank failures within three years"

The "don't worry" points all seem to say that things are different this time because reasons. And the "you should worry" points all point to trends that have been building for a long time, and which the government has not been able to solve.

This is classic. Just as sure as tariffs lead to deadweight loss, we can expect that this will not end will for the Chinese people.

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Posted in: Say thank you or be identified, police tell owners of lost items See in context

I think people are mixed up. Look. If you find something that is not yours, you turn it in to someone in authority. It is not your property. It is not your affair. At that point, your role is DONE.

Then that authority performs a service to a person who has lost the item. They keep it. They judge whether someone is a rightful owner, etc. It is a hassle. It is their duty. If part of their COST placed on the person who claims it is to thank the person who found it, who can say that is unfair? Seems a small price to pay and the authorities want to build/maintain a harmonious society by giving credit to the finder.

If the claimant then wants to say that for reasons of privacy, she would rather not do that, the authority records it as an exception, tells the claimant to be more careful, and life goes on.

Enforcing good will and mandating proper conduct is not how things are SUPPOSED to be, but selfish people do ruin things for the rest of us.

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Posted in: U.S. military in Japan unveil Global Hawk surveillance drone See in context

I think its great. There are some parts of the world that require scrutiny. This does the job well and does it cheaply.

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Posted in: Trump budget calls for deep cuts to social safety net See in context

wait a minute... the US has a social safety net?

Because I was under the impression that the US has a lot of stopgap disaster prevention measures in place just to keep horrible atrocities from occurring, but does the US even have a competent systematic structure that one could call a safety net?

Let's review: Volunteers run food banks. Churches run shelters. Food stamps. School meals. Hospital emergency rooms. A smattering of municipal and state programs. And almost nonexistent federal programs.

So let's cut that? What are you cutting? Some housing and medical programs, I guess. How terrible. Is this what it has come to? Is this really going to make America great?

America in 30 years will be known for its cheap food and abundant but dilapidated housing. Medical care might be almost inaccessible. If its social structure survives, it will be sustained by its ability to provide, wholly through charity, for its people, not according to a principle or standard. It will just do the best it can.

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Posted in: Due to the effects from the inauguration of [U.S.] President Trump and the series of terrorist incidents, the tendency to shun European countries and the United States is only growing stronger. See in context

Yes. Simply in terms of stability... in terms of policy... there are better places to be these days. There is also some confusion as to whether the terror, fear, and Trump are symptoms or the disease.

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Posted in: I recognize how disappointed Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe is that the TPP did not proceed, but the reality is that there is no political will in the United States for it, neither in the Democratic side nor in the Republican side. So, while the American media say that President (Donald) Trump killed it, that’s really not the case. It wasn’t going to go through, in any event. See in context

Truly truly one of the saddest comments from a US official recently.

Background: After WWII it has been US policy to expand free markets to support capitalism and democracy worldwide. Go and debate that all you want, but that is what the GREATEST GENERATION put on its banner and it set up institutions and policies to do that. By and large it worked. That part is not so debatable. All of humanity is better off because the US did not simply turn every nation into a colony and tell it what to do and where and what to trade. Not perfect, not consistent, but that was basically the deal. England, France, Germany and all the colonial powers were FORCED to let go and for better or worse, we have had a regime where pretty well everyone gets what they want.

THAT was NO ACCIDENT, people! It took effort, sacrifices and compromise, and no, America did not always get everything it wanted, but it was STILL better off by participating than by not participating.

This Wilbur Ross is an oaf. An idiot. Trade policy is NEVER POPULAR and it is easily spun by special interests. It is not the product of legislatures. It takes difficult deals that require a lot of behind the scenes work for decades. But the benefits are worth it. (NAFTA was hugely beneficial. My opinion is that the US and Mexico would be better off today if they had developed with normal policies instead of pathological ones. But trade is not their problem.)

Wilbur Ross is worse than a do-nothing. He appears to be actively DECONSTRUCTING what American soldiers died for. By discouraging and withdrawing support, he is saying that America just does not care anymore, and why don't we just go back to 1936 anyway, with everyone just trading with their colonies and throwing up tariffs to benefit the highest bidder while making consumers pay for it?

Americans have no clue how much they benefit from the international system they struggled to create. All they can see is costs. Like toddlers, they are going to destroy many things that they cannot begin to appreciate. Wilbur Ross is a toddler himself, paradoxically put in charge of a machine he did not make and cannot even understand.

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Posted in: Toyota, Nissan, others get behind fuel cell push in Japan See in context

"Battery research continues to accelerate, from what I can see. "

Tesla pays good money to keep this PR meme going. Meanwhile, Tesla has been buying Panasonic batteries that are more or less the ones it was producing for computers a decade ago. Batteries are going to get cheaper because of some slight innovations in processes, and from a glut caused by overcapacity in the next few years, but no great innovations in the batteries themselves is coming.

Some utility scale batteries using different materials, so called flow batteries, might be used in some applications, but battery research is pretty well dead in the water. There has been no silver bullet innovation to change the game since lithium ion batteries decades ago.

I don't see what you could possibly mean by "inevitable" when an "innovative" company like Tesla cannot even make and sell its vehicles profitably. A profitable battery vehicle is the Leaf, which is not making any claims to any big innovation. Normal people with normal incomes buy and drive Leafs. They work. They are profitable. Up until not long ago, Toyota used NiCd or lead batteries, and they worked just fine. Again, a profitable application. Innovation not necessary.

Triring hits the nail on the head with "dead weight." Anyone who owns a plug in or EV knows exactly what he is talking about. Tesla is a master of installing bigger batteries in EVs to move bigger batteries faster. It is a dead end cycle. Eventually you can have cars the size of railroad cars if you want, and charge them for a week, but you still have to move all that mass. It is a loser proposition. The sweet spot is not "more battery." It is "less battery." People are so fixated on "the battery" that they lose track of "efficiency."

But it is worse than that. YOu have to generate the electricity at the same time you charge a battery. That limits your options according to generation mode and grid capacity. With hydrogen, you can generate it however you want, whenever you want, and use it whenever you want. Fill your car in 5 minutes, not 5 hours.

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

""China's debt is mostly domestic," it added. "And our leverage is supported by a high deposit rate (at around 50 percent), (so) the possibility to trigger systemic risks is relatively low.""

This is what is known as "whistling in the graveyard." You know, if you live long enough, you get to see the same patterns repeated over and over. It is never exactly the same, but commentators make surprisingly similar comments, and people believe them in pretty much the same way. Everyone wants to say that it is different this time, but it isn't.

China has been painting itself into a corner for about a decade now, and the painting has gotten more frantic. The xenophobic rhetoric and military bluster are also good indicators of what is REALLY happening there.

Anyway, the statement above is interesting to me because Chinese observers apparently believe that systemic risks are all foreign somehow. As their returns on capital diminish to zero, of course their savings rates will go up. What else are people going to do with their money? The rising debt levels might be signalling that people are starting to risk other people's money, not their own, and they are getting ready for old age and foregoing current consumption. Without a floating exchange rate, there is no cushion from monetary policy or terms of trade.

No. The systemic risk is extremely high. Extremely. Their attempts to insulate their economy have sealed the economy up into a little box that can't stabilize itself. The smart money is leaving China. How can that be a good sign?

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Posted in: 2 more nuclear reactors in Japan clear regulator's safety review See in context

"All I know is that I loathe everything nuclear. E why are nuclear power plants in USA all those huge round concrete smokestack looking thingamajigs,"

Do you think it is possible that your ignorance of "everything nuclear" is tied to your loathing of "everything nuclear"? And if so, how is that situation ever going to correct itself?

OK. Where to start? Seems to me that a lot of outsiders want to tell people with all the knowledge and all the expertise what they should be doing. Seems to me that the operators of these plants met all of the technical requirements and they want to use the reactors to do what their company charter legally entitles them to do. The only knowledgeable person voicing any negativity at all is a former NRA person complaining about some possibility of earthquake, but his concerns must not be too important or he would not have been overridden.

And finally, please, let's all remember that Japanese nuclear reactors all reacted correctly to the strongest earthquake ever recorded in Japan. And let's all remember that safety measures have been taken given all Fukushima information available. Even with the information I have available to me, I would have to say that this facility can definitely withstand the same forces Fukushima Daiichi did. And this is not the Pacific Coast.

"Niigata earthquake knocked out a couple of reactors, "

I think it might have caused the reactors to shut down, as they are designed to do. I think "knocked out" is not accurate.

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Posted in: Jump in renewable energy jobs worldwide: agency See in context

This will have a large effect on reducing costs and increasing future innovation. It is a good sign.

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Posted in: Kyoto University gets billed for using Bob Dylan lyrics in speech See in context

I wonder if they can make this stick. I think when Dylan received the Nobel prize, a lot of his work might legitimately have come under fair use / public domain / public figure status. You know if Dylan wants a little money, ok, fine, but if they are asking for all kinds of egregious punitive damages, Kyoto U ought to fight it.

In fact, Kyoto U might cite the Nobel announcement and ceremony as precedent for use of Dylan properties without compensation at an academic event. I think Dylan performed his work there, and some lyrics might have been included in news accounts. Nobody paid for those, right?

Don't think artists should be ripped off, but I don't think Kyoto U is making money off of this use, either. And I would bet that they are representing him as an academic prize winner, not a rock star.

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Posted in: SoftBank-Saudi high-tech Vision Fund raises $93 bil See in context

This guy has lost a lot of investors a lot of money. During the dot com bust, SoftBank lost something like 95% of its value. If everyone is into big promises that are short on delivery, just follow this guy and good luck to you.

With all of the reverse splits and dilution, I am pretty sure the stock is STILL not up to the level it was in about the year 2000. Yep. The stock has a negative return over 17 years. Can't be absolutely sure of that, but no way that stock has doubled more than 4 times during that period, so I feel safe with my guess.

Remember when Son was going to lead a solar revolution in Japan? What about this plans for doing the same in India? I keep hearing announcements from this guy, but no follow through.

haha. The article mentions a 50 billion promise from Son to Donald Trump. Right. That is going to happen. Trump holds fundraisers for disabled veterans and the funds kind of disappear, and Son makes his promises and we never hear about it again. These guys are peas in a pod.

In all seriousness go look at what this guy has promised people since the mid 1990s and then try to match it up with what he has actually accomplished. PT Barnum's circus is gone now, but PT Barnum is alive and well in this guy, M. Son. People keep falling for his spiels.

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Posted in: China, Japan extract combustible ice from seafloor See in context

"Actually there is a small risk in causing a tsunami by extracting too much methane hydride from one location si"

Yeah. Seriously? You mean like all the tsunamis caused by all the underwater oil and gas drilling taking place worldwide? Those tsunamis? Rock dome or no, the extraction process takes enough time that subsidence is likely to occur slowly, not all at once. You could even pump sea water or sludge into the cavity if you wanted to. The pressures at such depths will probably do it anyway. You are leaving, at worst, a vacuum in any extraction, but much more likely that sludge or seawater or other sediments are going to push in on the extracted area.

There ARE examples of dome collapse after oil and gas extraction, and they killed nobody and devastated nothing.

One liter of methane hydrate gives 160 liters of methane gas, so you are not even talking about huge volumes of extraction to get a meaningful benefit.

Look. I get that you are desperately searching for some reason that this must be a bad idea. I get it. Just like people desperately want to justify Japan's use of coal instead of nuclear power.

Such concerns are a hill of beans. Your last sentence should probably be

"The reason why Japan is hesitating in extracting the material is that they were forced to do research on how to extract it by a bunch of worry warts with minimal knowledge who are content to let Japan damage the eco-system by continuing to burn coal from Australia."

China is not similarly constrained. Isn't that wonderful?

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Posted in: China, Russia launch long-haul challenge to Boeing, Airbus See in context

Sure. They can do it. It is probably a good thing to have competition, and it fits their diplomatic strategies to launch and support this.

But it will take heavy investment in a mature industry. They could lose their shirts. You know, everyone paints the Chinese as these titans of commerce, but they have made a lot of dodgy investments that they might have to eat someday.

I am sure Russia is just happy to be invited to the table.

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Posted in: Email fraud targeting elderly bilks Y40 billion a year ... and it's rising See in context

Rich, vulnerable people are free to do whatever they want. This is going to happen. An elderly immediate family member was computer virus/phishing scammed about two months ago. I just told her flat out that before she lets anyone have access to her computer remotely to "diagnose" it, she ought to just buy a new computer.

My favorite line, "But this wasn't from India. He said he was in New Jersey."

In all seriousness, I would sooner give away all of my money to loved ones and live as a monk than be rich and targeted by scammers nonstop in my declining years.

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Posted in: Venezuela's Maduro attacks 'fascist' protesters for setting man alight See in context

I tend to think that if people really wanted to burn every accused Chavista in the country, the place would be a volcano. If people in the crowd were saying that they were lynching a thief, I am much more likely to believe that. If you look at how Maduro is going for the "the other guy is worse than Hitler" attack, it smacks of what Putin does to Ukraine... all you have to do is shame the other guy with some atrocity, and that makes your own record look better.

So now that my biases are on the table, all I can say is that I hope Venezuela finds some change soon. They are in bad shape and things are getting worse. The military has been co-opted so badly that they are not going to come in and restore order on behalf of anyone but Maduro, their sugar daddy. The country does not need to be poor and chaotic, but it is, and it is too bad.

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Posted in: Trump calls for international isolation of Iran See in context

Here is a fun trick everyone can try. Whenever Trump says something, try to figure out how it is connected with "the last person he talked with."

For instance, here he was talking to the Saudis, and then he says something unnecessarily nasty about Iran. See how that works?

But he does this all the time. He had plenty to say about China's trade and environmental efforts, etc. But then the goes to talk to them and immediately exonerates them. Everyone is off the hook for currency manipulation, in fact, ... apparently.

If you want to guess what he is going to say tomorrow, just look at whom he meets today. It is really that simple.

He goes to Israel saying that maybe mideast peace can be worked out? Not tomorrow. TOmorrow he will be spouting the Israeli party line. Bet on it.

The bottom line, of course, is that he HAS no policy. No background. No preparation. No direction. He is just drifting, and I suspect that he is a pushover in every single meeting he goes to with these world leaders. The man is a clown.

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Posted in: China, Japan extract combustible ice from seafloor See in context

"Why take substantial risks when there are other safer and cheaper alternatives"

I don't understand the question. What do you consider a "substantial risk" and what is a safer and cheaper alternative?

I will make the guess that you think methane hydrates are dangerous somehow and that you think that the world will never change.

Let's start here: what did people burn in lamps before they started burning this brown icky fluid that came out of the ground in Pennsylvania? Whale oil. And in fact the Japanese whaling industry got a HUGE boost from harpooning whales and selling to Perry-era America just so Americans could stop reading by candle-light. That's right. Today the US is pressuring Japan to stop whaling, but 150 years ago, the US was egging Japan on to kill more whales than all the buffalo on the great prairie.

How "fortunate" we and the whales were that chemists figured out the Petroleum thing in time to leave a few whales for people to bicker over. In much the same way, humanity appears to need to move on from petroleum, which is a dirty fuel that produces a lot of CO2. Methane simply produces a lot less CO2. Japan is fortunate to have a methane resource that is accessible, and it might wish to use it. Other countries will too.

But it is bigger than that. Economic theory holds that the discovery of this resource is likely to lower prices for all fuels, which might force out the use of fuels that have high social costs. Does that ring a bell? We can argue all day whether solar can end the use of coal or not, but expanded use of hydrogen, or even just methane, can DEFINITELY end the use of coal.

Those are a few reasons "why." You can probably think of more.

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Posted in: Exports propel Japan to trade surplus for third straight month See in context

"my great-great grandchildren already hate you "

People always say this kind of thing, and I always wonder what makes them think their great great grandchildren are not going to be total low lifes. They really really might be. Why bend over backwards to make their lives easy? They are just going to laugh at our clothes and hairstyles and say we smell funny. I also kind of wonder if people already have great great grandchildren. I mean, if everyone in someone's family winds up with a child at 15, presumably the result of a happy marriage, of course, then someone could be a great great grandfather/mother at age... 75. That would be something to brag about, and I bet people in Kentucky DO brag about what their great great grandchildren think of this or that policy.

Anyway, putting the hyperbole aside and talking about TRADE, ListntheTruth knows how Japan works. You know, Japan financed its train system using domestic funds, America did not even come close to accomplishing that even in the 1800s, when things were going well in terms of trade. And Japan continues a tacit policy of financing its debt through trade. Nothing wrong with that at all. Every seller has a buyer. Nobody's arm gets twisted. I think it is wonderful. I have not seen a good argument for how Japan "cheats," and I don't expect to. The yen is solid and it has been for the last .... well, since the Plaza Accord, really... and yet Japan still manages to compete.

Looks like the quotes in the article are made by people who understand that AMerica does not need a factual reason to call someone a cheater these days. So they are getting ready for everything. My impression, however, is that Trump has walked that back already. He never had a factual basis for his allegations about Japan. And he never will.

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Posted in: Toyota, Nissan, others get behind fuel cell push in Japan See in context

"Toyota and Nissan are getting behind fuel cell technology, because the Japanese taxpayers will be funding much of the infrastructure, and the subsidies that the automakers will get for the purchase of these cars."

Your use of MUCH in the sentence above really shows you don't have much confidence in the statement, right? Care to go out on a limb and just let us all know exactly how much of the infrastructure is government funded, how much automakers are getting, and what those figures might be as a percentage of what consumers are paying?

Or you can just admit you don't have any facts and you can give an idea of what an acceptable figure SHOULD be. Because, you know, Japanese voters have long supported environmental measures so one would think that spending funds on something society actually wants would be a good thing. Like solar, EVs, wind power, etc. aren't being subsidized worldwide these days?

It all seems pretty middle of the road to me. I don't see anybody getting really rich here, or taking opportunities away from the private sector. Would NO subsidies be the better policy here? I really fail to find much fault with Japanese policy either way. It is like calling Japan a war-mongering nation. People make that claim, and it really seems to make no sense at all.


There is actually a lot of hot research in this area that I would compare to solar research. People are starting to catch on that cutting costs of hydrogen production can be done in many many ways, and where battery research is kind of waning, hydrogen research is just beginning.

Think about all the ways that hydrogen production and consumption could be cheaper. If it could be done with less heat, less electricity, organically, or with cheaper chemicals, that would be great. If it could be done on very large scales or with certain chemicals that would make it easier and safer to transport, that would be great. If it could be stored safely and easily for very long periods, that would be great. Using waste heat from nuclear plants would be another way to make hydrogen cheaply.

I think that the ammonia process you are referring to is producing a chemical that can be a precursor to all sorts of useful chemicals. Ammonia can be used as is, or to make fertilizer OR hydrogen easier. The key is that ammonia is easier and safer to transport than hydrogen gas. Having a stable precursor chemical adds flexibility to its use, which increases scale and decreases costs.

But there are some fun things I have been working with related to the use of certain petrochemicals that can basically be "bumped up" with more hydrogen, then shipped, and then "bumped down" by taking out the hydrogen. If it can be done cheaply enough, then it is a great way to ship large amounts of hydrogen using... basically... an oil tanker. There are other crystal lattices that can be used, but the materials are expensive.

The competition of ideas in this field is exciting. No matter who wins, society will reap the benefits.

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Posted in: Manufacturers target rehabilitation robot market See in context

I am rooting for these people. This will improve our future.

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Posted in: Japan to tighten crackdown on coercion in porn video business See in context

" Think Japan is rated no. 1 in adult movies as compared to elsewhere. "

I wonder how this could possibly be true.

Separately, I think people are coerced into doing all kinds of things in Japan. It is especially bad for women and it really should stop. It won't.

I will make the bold statement that Japan has enough coercion to make up for its relative lack of violence. I don't know a lot of people in Japan living what I would call a "free" lifestyle. Maintaining one's independence and freedom from all kinds of foolish influences is a full time job in Japan. Money, education, ability, and family all help, but for a young woman alone, she is going to be "coerced" one way or another, and I am not sure how that is going to be stopped. I am SURE it can be improved, but probably never stopped.

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Posted in: Toyota, Nissan, others get behind fuel cell push in Japan See in context


Seems like a great idea, doesn't it? Remember cash for clunkers? If you do, then you might remember that Detroit HATED the idea of foreign car makers being, in effect, subsidized for having cars with better fuel efficiency than the old Detroit clunkers, which were scrapped wholesale. A subsidy is market intervention, and although a lot of countries kind of look the other way at subsidies designed to advance green technology, they would not stand by and let Japan throw money at the J market, which is mostly for J cars made in Japan.

All kinds of other factors are at play here. Subsidizing everything is the same as subsidizing nothing. Enforcement and paperwork costs go up according to the NUMBER of cars sold, not their value. And the shakken system ALREADY moves people in the direction of buying newer cars with better technology anyway.

I think Japan does a good job with all kinds of policies. It is not as "political" as many people might think. I genuinely believe that the government does a reasonably good job of taking care of people and advancing its policies.


I think you hit the nail on the head there. I think people have this idea that WOW, we can have cars with unlimited range that just run on water! It is like putting a windmill on a car and using the power to propel the car and generate wind for the windmill. .

You are right. We want to separate the generation from the use for the most part. We have a gas tank in cars, not an oil refinery, after all. People have assumed that batteries are the best way of doing that, but hydrogen appears to be better. Hydrogen can be stored in a tank, but it can be generated almost anywhere by lots of different methods. It is a whole branch of technologies, each of which might lead to even better things for humans.

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