Montana city asks residents to limit water use to help coal-fired power company — WTF?


Click to enlargeBilling Gazette

Residents of an eastern Montana city are being asked to limit their water use so one of the largest coal-fired power plants in the western U.S. can continue to safely operate.

Colstrip Mayor John Williams asked the city’s 2,300 residents to minimize their use of water for sprinkling and irrigation through the end of August.

The notice came at the request of Talen Energy, a Pennsylvania company that operates the 2,100-megawatt Colstrip power plant.

Williams says low water levels and high temperatures have been causing problems with Talen’s water intake system on the Yellowstone River.

The company uses the water to cool its plant. It also provides water for the city under a longstanding agreement.

Talen spokesman Todd Martin said Tuesday there is no danger of the plant shutting down.

No danger of a shutdown till folks get bright enough to make the connection between climate change and the power plant needing more water. “Safely operate” means safe for profits to keep flowing.

Thanks, nikiv

Are millennials living with mom and dad in your state?

Young adults, often unable to find good jobs, even with a college education, are increasingly staying with their parents…

Almost a third of young adults — 18 to 34 — lived with a parent in 2014, making it the most common living arrangement for that age group for the first time in modern history, according to a study published earlier this year by the Pew Research Center…

Multiple reasons are behind the trend, lingering effects of the Great Recession, high housing costs and student debt among them. Whatever the causes, millennials in some states are living with their parents in far greater numbers than in others.

In New Jersey, a whopping 43.9 percent of young people are living with at least one parent, according to a Stateline analysis of 2014 census data from IPUMS at the University of Minnesota. Connecticut (38.8 percent) was second and New York (37.4 percent) was third, followed by Florida (37.2 percent) and California (36.7 percent).

States with the fewest young people living with a parent were North Dakota (15.6 percent), Wyoming (18.7 percent), South Dakota (19.7 percent) and Nebraska and Iowa (both 20.7 percent).

In New York City and surrounding states, scarce and expensive rental housing is a major factor pushing young adults to return home, said Dowell Myers, a professor of urban planning and demography at the University of Southern California…

Full nests are also prevalent in other areas where renters are severely burdened by housing costs of more than half of their income, such as Los Angeles, Miami and Orlando.

The high cost of homeownership is also a factor. Renters who might otherwise be homeowners end up renting longer, tying up the supply for those coming up behind them…

Millennials are the most educated generation ever. But in areas where housing is extraordinarily expensive, a college degree is not necessarily a ticket out of your childhood bedroom…

But financial stress may be only part of the story. More young people were living with their parents even before the Great Recession hit. Some see cultural factors at work…

Resurgent ethnic traditions may be another factor: In the New York metropolitan area, most adult children of Italian heritage live with parents…

In the New York area, “co-residence” rates are also high for people with Irish, Dominican, Puerto Rican and African-American roots…

And underemployment among young people…who can’t find the work they trained for, is also a factor, said Christopher McCarty, director of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

Florida’s official unemployment rate is 5 percent. But McCarty points out that 10.6 percent of workers are unemployed or underemployed, with low-paid jobs they are overqualified for or part-time jobs when they would rather work full-time.

Whatever the reasons, change is often difficult for the families involved, parents and children alike. Some of this brings smiles, scripts for TV sitcoms. Some of it can end in explosive differences, exaggerated intrafamily conflict.

Facebook now tags you by your politics — it’s how they sell you to advertisers, of course

Whether users are outspoken or not regarding their political views on their Facebook posts, the social network will still label them as either liberal, moderate or conservative.

Facebook has come up with a system to determine a user’s political leanings, based on his or her activity on the social network. The labels are not hidden from users, though, as they can be checked by accessing an account’s advertising preferences on Facebook.

On a browser, users should visit a specific Facebook page containing their ad preferences. They should then choose the Lifestyle and Culture tab under the Interests header and then look for a box labelled US Politics. If it is not there, clicking on the See More button should bring it up.

The label for a user’s political views will be shown in parentheses as liberal, moderate or conservative. Like all the other ad preferences on the page, it can be removed by clicking the X button in the top right corner, in case users are not comfortable with being tagged with such a label for their political leanings…

…The process is likely based on the user’s interests that somehow correlate with political views…but up to what extent and which interests exactly are unknown.

Facebook has been collecting information on its users for years, with all of what the social networks knows about each user accessible through the Ad Preferences page.

Little boxes, little boxes. Everyone making money off your cyberlife loves to put you into little boxes. Packaged all tidy, labeled to fit the crap definitions of a consumerist society – you’re crammed into a larger box of same-as-everyone-else they think you are.

Silly buggers.