Microgrid Tuesday

Dragon Sculpture

Desert Heat Dragon

Borrego Springs, California, is a quaint town of about 3,400 people set against the Anza-Borrego Desert about 90 miles east of San Diego. Summers are hot—often north of 100 degrees—and because it lies at the far end of a San Diego Gas & Electric transmission line, the town has suffered frequent power outages. High winds, lightning strikes, forest fires and flash floods can bust up that line and kill the electricity.

“If you’re on the very end of a utility line, everything that happens, happens 10 times worse for you,” says Mike Gravely, team leader for energy systems integration at the California Energy Commission.

The town has a lot of senior citizens, who can be frail in the heat. “Without air conditioning,” says Linda Haddock, head of the local Chamber of Commerce, “people will die.”

But today, Borrego Springs has a failsafe against power outages: a microgrid.

Resiliency is one of the main reasons the market in microgrids is booming, with installed capacity in the United States projected to more than double between 2017 and 2022, according to a new report on microgrids from GTM Research.

@ ICN

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Steamy Monday

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Summer Zervos, who accused Trump of groping her in 2007, is suing the President-elect for defamation after he claims they never met at his hotel.

[P]resident Donald Trump may learn on Tuesday whether he will be forced to testify in court whether he sexually assaulted a former contestant on “The Apprentice,” that would put him in jeopardy of impeachment.

According to Business Insider, attorneys for the president will appear at a New York state Supreme Court hearing where they will try to have a defamation case filed by Summer Zervos thrown out.

Last year, Zervos, accompanied by her attorney Gloria Allred, accused Trump of kissing her, groping her breasts, and “thrusting” his genitals at her in a 2007 meeting at The Beverly Hills Hotel. After Trump called Zervos a liar when addressing the press, her attorney slapped him with a defamation suit for damaging her reputation.

Trump’s attorneys will attempt to have the suit dismissed, saying a sitting president can’t be sued — but recent history is not Trump’s friend in this matter.

Former President Bill Clinton was compelled to give testimony in a suit filed by Paula Jones, which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1997, and his prevarications lead to impeachment hearings.

@RAWSTORY

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Moonlit Sunday

WATCH OUT FOR THE SUPERMOON: The biggest and brightest full Moon of 2017 is coming this weekend, on Sunday night, Dec. 3rd. It’s a perigee “supermoon,” almost 8% wider and 16% brighter than an average full Moon. This morning, Dec. 2nd, Masa Nakamura photographed the waxing orb over Otawara,Tochigi, Japan:

Full moons vary in size because the Moon’s orbit is not a circle, it’s an ellipse: diagram. One side of the Moon’s orbit, called “perigee,” is 50,000 km closer to Earth than the other side, “apogee.” This Sunday’s Moon becomes full only 16 hours away from perigee, closer than any other full Moon of 2017.

Some people say you can’t tell the difference between a supermoon and a regular Moon. A 16% difference in brightness can easily be masked by clouds or the glare of urban lights. Also, there are no rulers floating in the sky to measure lunar diameters. Hanging high overhead with no reference points to provide a sense of scale, one full Moon looks much like any other. There is no doubt, however, that supermoons are genuinely bigger than their ordinary cousins.

To get the most out of Sunday’s apparition, try to catch the Moon just as it is rising or setting. This will activate the Moon Illusion and make the perigee Moon of Dec. 3rd look super, indeed.

@ SPACEWEATHER

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Sick Puppy Saturday

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One of the most hawkish members of Congress could soon become the new head of the CIA, according to senior Trump administration officials quoted in the New York Times. Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican, is potentially being tapped to replace current CIA chief Mike Pompeo, who in turn is reportedly being considered as a replacement at State Department for the hapless Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Cotton’s record of extreme public statements on both foreign and domestic policy is no secret. But one particular episode from his past points to a potentially dangerous convergence of views with President Donald Trump. In 2013, as part of a bill sanctioning Iran over its nuclear program, Cotton attempted to introduce an amendment specifically designed to punish the families of sanctions violators, “to include a spouse and any relative to the third degree,” specifically identifying “parents, children, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, grandparents, great grandparents, grandkids, great grandkids.”

The alignment of a bellicose president like Trump with someone like Cotton could be dangerous, both to America’s international standing and to the lives of people caught in the crosshairs of U.S. military policy.
In his justification for the amendment, Cotton cited the fact that individuals targeted for sanctions measures sometimes shift assets to family members as a means of escaping restrictions. To solve this problem, Cotton’s amendment would have targeted family members automatically — under provisions that would lead to a punishment of up to 20 years in prison. “There would be no investigation,” Cotton said at the time. “If the prime malefactor of the family is identified as on the list for sanctions, then everyone within their family would automatically come within the sanctions regime, as well.” Cotton called the principle “corruption of blood.”

@ TI

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Tesla Woes Thursday

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After Tesla’s Model S sedans and Model X SUVs roll off the company’s Fremont, California assembly line, the electric vehicles usually make another stop – for repairs, nine current and former employees have told Reuters.

The luxury cars regularly require fixes before they can leave the factory, according to the workers. Quality checks have routinely revealed defects in more than 90 percent of Model S and Model X vehicles inspected after assembly, these individuals said, citing figures from Tesla’s internal tracking system as recently as October. Some of these people told Reuters of seeing problems as far back as 2012.

Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) said its quality control process is unusually rigorous, designed to flag and correct the tiniest imperfections. It declined to provide post-assembly defect rates to Reuters or comment on those cited by employees.

The world’s most efficient automakers, such as Toyota (7203.T), average post-manufacturing fixes on fewer than 10 percent of their cars, according to industry experts. Getting quality right during initial assembly is crucial, they said, because repairs waste time and money.

@ REUTERS

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Right Wing Wednesday

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The conservative provocateur James O’Keefe’s latest stunt is possibly his biggest backfire: He attempted to sting The Washington Post with a fake Roy Moore accuser, but found himself stung, as the Post exposed the scheme in a detailed report on Monday night.

It’s been eight years since O’Keefe’s debut on the national scene. The videos in which he and Hannah Giles posed as a pimp and prostitute to record ACORN employees appearing to advise them on how to break the law made the kind of impact mainstream news organizations dream of. They lead to ACORN shutting down, and made O’Keefe a key figure in the conservative media of the time. While others in the blogosphere or on cable news complained about the left, O’Keefe was out there doing something about it, infiltrating liberal institutions and exposing their corruption.

But it’s been a long eight years. Despite a few big hits along the way, like a recording of an NPR executive making partisan remarks in 2011, O’Keefe’s modus operandi has increasingly shown its flaws. The Washington Post incident is just his most recent own-goal. Last year, Project Veritas accidentally left a voicemail for a George Soros group it was trying to sting, laying out its whole plan; there was the 2010 blunder when O’Keefe plotted to embarrass CNN reporter Abbie Boudreau by mock-seducing her on a boat equipped with sex toys; and there was O’Keefe and his colleagues’ arrest in New Orleans in 2010 during an attempted sting of Senator Mary Landrieu.

@ THE ATLANTIC

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