The Market Ticker
Commentary on The Capital Markets
2017-09-19 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 180 references
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What do you get when you reduce diversity of generation of electricity, take offline nuclear plants, demand that nobody use coal any more, and otherwise restrict where power comes from so you have fewer and less-diverse sources of energy?

You get crap when a hurricane shows up, that's what.

Many of those powerless residents are now asking hard questions of the area's power monopoly, which has spent millions of dollars fighting policies that would have strengthened the grid in the event of a major storm like Irma and, more broadly, stemmed the carbon-fueled climate change likely fueling monster storms.

"I am one of the many that has now been without power for more than two days as a result of Hurricane Irma," Elise McKenna, a West Palm Beach resident, told New Times via email. "My confusion came when so many of us lost power during the early hours of the storm that basically avoided us. We've been told time and time again that rate increases were to help prepare us for future storms."


Look, there are plenty of reasons to rag on FPL.  One of them is their insane (and heavily-lobbied for) requirements for connections to the grid for alternative energy sources.  But attempting to blame heavily-lobbied-for requirements on solar installs for the current outages is stupid -- first, there are next to zero solar installs on a home that can start and run an air conditioner, so in this particular instance you'd still have your sweltering heat.  Remember, it's not the running amps that matter it's starting amps and there is no buffer on a solar panel array that comes from the "sag" that a rotating generator has.  This works to your advantage when starting a motor load such as a compressor; a 5 ton AC unit can be successfully started on a ~14-15kva genset -- usually.  No such luck with solar; you need to be able to source the entire lock-rotor rating on the motor for a short period of time without tripping the inverter connected to the panels.  This could be as much as 140 amps, which means you need somewhere on the order of 30kva of solar panels with nothing else running to start that unit.

Now there are "cheats" available, including true PWM-modulated start units.  They cost a few hundred bucks.  Do you have one in your condenser?  The time to figure it out isn't after the hurricane comes, by the way, and they're not standard in any off-the-shelf household units.  Guess how many of those units are likely found around Florida's home A/C units?  What is zero, Alex?

Now let's say you put one of these in.  You're good, right?  Yes, right up until a cloud shades part of your panel array and the output drops below the running amps of the unit momentarily.  Oops.  There's another trip and again with no buffering from the grid off goes the air!

Can you build a fully-independent, buffered power system?  Sure.  How much money do you have?  There are damn few if not zero of those laying around in residential installations simply because they make no economic sense even with tax subsidies if you can connect to the grid.

So yeah, spare me the whines about solar and how FPL "screwed" you, because the typical larger residential solar system delivers something like one quarter what it takes to start that AC unit.  Maybe.

The real issue here is twofold, with the largest issue being a major reduction in the diversity of generation sources.  This hurts bigtime when bad things happen to the grid, because you can have all the power generation capability you wish but if you can't deliver it to customers it's worthless.  In addition concentrating generation sources mean that when one larger system gets taken down due to severe weather it impacts more people since there are fewer, larger generation sources rather than more, smaller ones.  The more screaming you do about Globull BULL**** the more you make this problem worse.

The one place FPL could have done more and better is underground transmission.  But that's not a panacea.  Underground vaults can flood and if they do they can short out the lines, which is just as bad as having them blown over and can be worse if they're energized at the time.  Never mind that it's a hell of a lot harder (takes longer) to fix an underground vault and put it back in service than it is an above-ground transformer!  Not only is it more expensive to run wires underground it requires more and thicker wire too because the heat dissipation capacity of said wire is less.  Combined with less diversity of generation sources you wind up with more "pockets" of material size where restoration takes longer.

If you live somewhere subject to severe weather you need to think about these things in advance.  Yes, it sucks with no A/C in Florida.  Been there done that.  But reality is that it is we, the people who have permitted the scam known as "Globull Warming" to take root, it is we the people who have made demands and then we get upset when the consequences come.

Either cut the crap or buy a generator large enough to start your A/C -- and if you do the latter then marvel at exactly how cheap your power from the utility company really is when you have to feed that biatch with gasoline or diesel.  You'll gain a lot of respect for the power company the first time you actually run one of these things for a while and total up the gas bill along with the required maintenance such as oil changes and the like -- which, when on 24x7, are required every couple of days!

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2017-09-18 08:09 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 109 references
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No, not my art, and yes, I'm biased.  I think it's all extraordinary work....

Sarah's art.  She's selling some (nowhere near all) of her recent work, and you're invited to check it out and let her know what you'd like!

Please do drop over to her blog's post and check it out!

Thanks in advance!

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For a firm to place someone, who happens to be a woman, with a Masters in Music in charge of their corporate data security is not only either an obvious diversity hire or one of the most-obnoxious acts of nepotism or otherwise "paying it backward" of all time.

For that to have happened within a company that holds personal data on damn near every single American adult is outright criminal.

That the company appears to have tried to whitewash or even cover it up is even worse.

This calls for not just prison for the executives involved but the corporate death penalty for the company.

Folks, either we all stand in unison and demand that this firm be put out of business now and forevermore, and that for the indefinite future you are able to freeze and unfreeze your credit file without cost, at any time and for any reason or we as a nation deserve to be nuked to ash by the Korean Rocketman.

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2017-09-17 14:53 by Karl Denninger
in Foreign Policy , 258 references
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Maybe -- just maybe -- our government is waking up.

The latest dubbing of Kim-Jung-Nutjob as "Rocket Man" may be the start.


The declaration that we have "run out of UN options" is a better indication, and long overdue.  Obviously new sanctions did nothing to convince the North Koreans not to launch another missile -- this one apparently successful as well.  With each additional launch they learn more about re-entry and how to harden the "terminal package" portion of said missile.

Re-entry is mostly about angles and material science.  It's a function of ablative material, how heat is conducted into the inside of your warhead, and making sure the projectile remains stabilized through the air so it doesn't break up.  It took us a few tries to get it right, and it's taken Rocket Man a few tries too.  He will achieve it, if he hasn't already.  Note that nobody is talking about "lots of piece" returns this time around -- which means he might have gotten it figured out.

So we're back to the question I've asked repeatedly: Do we simply accept that North Korea has and will continue to perfect nuclear-armed missiles, or do we not?

If we do, and I remind you that other nations that have "given them up" have seen their leaders removed and killed at our behest or even via our direct action, including in some pretty nasty ways, then it's definitely time to cut the ****.

If we do not then it's also time to cut the **** because the longer we wait the worst the (very bad) consequences of doing something about this are going to be.

There are no "good" choices here.  Only a selection of not-so-good to very bad ones.

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2017-09-17 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 193 references
[Comments enabled]  

No, I won't be giving you rat bastards any money in the future....

The venerated Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., has announced it will tear down the Johnson IMAX Theater—the premier theater in the United States dedicated to documentary films about nature—in order to sell more fast food.

That's outrageous.

The Smithsonian IMAX is a really cool thing, as are all of these theaters.  But ramping ticket prices have certainly not helped, so now it's would you like fries with that? instead.

Oh, also at outrageous prices.

I suppose it's fitting that our so-called national "historical society" would choose to add more insanely-unhealthy food options while destroying educational opportunity.

It fits right in with Facesucker, Snapcrap and Spoogle.


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