California just reached ~95% renewable energy!

Something remarkable happened over the weekend: California hit nearly 95% renewable energy.

I’ll say it again: 95% renewables. For all the time we spend talking about how to reach 100% clean power, it sometimes seems like a faraway proposition, whether the timeframe is California’s 2045 target or President Biden’s more aggressive 2035 goal. But on Saturday just before 2:30 p.m., one of the world’s largest economies came within a stone’s throw of getting there…

The 94.5% record may have been fleeting, but it wasn’t some isolated spike. Most of Saturday afternoon, the renewables number topped 90%, with solar and wind farms doing the bulk of the work and geothermal, biomass and hydropower facilities making smaller contributions. Add in the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant — which isn’t counted toward California’s renewables mandate — and there was enough climate-friendly power at times Saturday to account for more than 100% of the state’s electricity needs…

There are now 14 electric grid operators participating in the imbalance market, from Arizona Public Service in the Southwest to Idaho Power in the Northwest to Warren Buffett-owned Rocky Mountain Power in the Intermountain West. Several utilities joined this month, including the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which has long zealously guarded its independence. Several more are preparing to join, as far from California as NorthWestern Energy in Montana and El Paso Electric in Texas.

By 2023, the market will cover 83% of electricity demand in the West.

That’s one of the sound, realistic, productive ways to manage climate change and turn energy production into a healthier industry for human beings. Not that conservative denialists care a rat’s ass about any of this. Truth is … we can continue on with this level of progressive change with no participation from rightwingers. They can continue to sit on their hands … while the rest of this nation moves forward.

Pope hosts conference on sustainability – takes delivery on Electric Popemobile


Click to enlarge

Vatican City wants to become the first C02 free country in the world through the use of electric mobility and renewable energy.

During Laudato Sì, a sustainability conference addressing key environmental issues and future mobility, hosted by the Vatican earlier this week, Opel’s CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann presented his Holiness Pope Francis with the keys to a brand new Opel Ampera-e…

During the conference, Vatican City, along with Opel and Italian energy company Enel, promised to develop a sustainable mobility program for the smallest country in the world.

The Opel Ampera-e isn’t a bad place to start, its 520 km of NEDC rated range dwarf its next closest competitor by at least 100 km.

Yes, it is a Chevy Bolt – the German version produced by Opel.

Researchers discuss lie-detection software – without ever mentioning politics or politicians


Dan Jurafsky of Stanford teaching computers to spot deception, anger, friendliness, flirtation

She looks as innocuous as Miss Marple, Agatha Christie’s famous detective. But also like Miss Marple, Julia Hirschberg, a professor of computer science at Columbia University, may spell trouble for a lot of liars. That’s because Dr. Hirschberg is teaching computers how to spot deception — programming them to parse people’s speech for patterns that gauge whether they are being honest.

For this sort of lie detection, there’s no need to strap anyone into a machine. The person’s speech provides all the cues — loudness, changes in pitch, pauses between words, ums and ahs, nervous laughs and dozens of other tiny signs that can suggest a lie…

Programs that succeed at spotting these submerged emotions may someday have many practical uses: software that suggests when chief executives at public conferences may be straying from the truth; programs at call centers that alert operators to irate customers on the line; or software at computerized matchmaking services that adds descriptives like “friendly” to usual ones like “single” and “female.”

The technology is becoming more accurate as labs share new building blocks, said Dan Jurafsky, a professor at Stanford whose research focuses on the understanding of language by both machines and humans. Recently, Dr. Jurafsky has been studying the language that people use in four-minute speed-dating sessions, analyzing it for qualities like friendliness and flirtatiousness. He is a winner of a MacArthur Foundation fellowship commonly called a “genius” award, and a co-author of the textbook “Speech and Language Processing.”

The scientific goal is to understand how our emotions are reflected in our speech,” Dr. Jurafsky said. “The engineering goal is to build better systems that understand these emotions…”

The practical political goal – from those most likely to fund this research – is to better spy on citizens of any nation.

For her continuing research, Dr. Hirschberg and two colleagues recently received a grant from the Air Force for nearly $1.5 million to develop algorithms to analyze English speakers and those who speak Arabic and Mandarin Chinese…

David F. Larcker, an accounting professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, audited a course in computer linguistics taught by Dr. Jurafsky and then applied its methods to analyze the words of financial executives who made statements that were later disproved.

These executives were, it turned out, big users of “clearly,” “very clearly” and other terms that Joseph Williams, the late University of Chicago professor who wrote the textbook “Style,” branded as “trust me, stupid” words.

No mention of political campaigns, budgets developed by Congressional hearings.

Beijing fulfilled the promise of a Green Olympic Games


Daylife/AFP/Getty Images

The Beijing Olympics met, if not exceeded, many of its pledges to be environmentally friendly, says the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

A study launched at a major U.N. environment meeting in Kenya said the organizers had made big efforts to cut air pollution and invest in public transport and renewable energies. Overall, the report by independently appointed assessors concluded Beijing had raised the environmental bar for such mass spectator events and left a lasting legacy for the city.

“The public attention of the world focused on the Beijing Games and whether the authorities could pull off a landmark event on many fronts including the environment,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner…

The report said Chinese authorities spent more than $17 billion on environmental projects for the Games last August, exceeding their pledges in several areas including tree-planting and improving air quality by reducing vehicle emissions.

It also praised the Games’ organizers for accelerating the introduction of energy-efficient infrastructure in Beijing — more than a fifth of electricity consumed in all the venues came from renewable sources.

If you only read American newspapers this would be an almighty shock to your system. Did you miss any photos of a typical gray and misty tropical Asian sky – labeled as pollution exceeding Los Angeles?

No one says Beijing and China have achieved the goals still before them in environmental pollution and ecology in general; but, turning your back on large-scale achievement because it doesn’t suit nutball politics is absurd. Just another reason why the trust level of journalists – in countries like the UK and US – is plummeting to match the politicians of both nations.