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Category: Science

And the cost of energy storage?

Kittner, Lill and Kammen made use of a model similar to the one for PV pricing in their Paper Energy storage deployment and innovation for the clean energy transition (PDF) to model and predict pricing for batteries.

A deeply decarbonized energy system research platform needs materials science advances in battery technology to overcome the intermittency challenges of wind and solar electricity. […] Here we analyse deployment and innovation using a two-factor model that integrates the value of investment in materials innovation and technology deployment over time from an empirical dataset covering battery storage technology. […] We find and chart a viable path to dispatchable US$1 W−1 solar with US$100 kWh−1 battery storage that enables combinations of solar, wind, and storage to compete directly with fossil-based electricity options.

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Evaluating the Changing Causes of Photovoltaics Cost Reduction

Evaluating the Changing Causes of Photovoltaics Cost Reduction

Why is PV Solar Energy getting cheaper and cheaper?

We find that increased module efficiency was the leading low-level cause of cost reduction in 1980-2001, contributing almost 30% of the cost decline. The most important high-level mechanism was R&D in these earlier stages of the technology. After 2001, scale economies became a more significant cause of cost reduction, approaching R&D in importance. Policies that stimulate market growth have played a key role in enabling the cost reduction in PV, through privately-funded R&D and economies of scale, and to a lesser extent learning-by-doing

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Runaway Feedback Loops in Predictive Policing

Die University of Utah and Prof. Dr. C. Obvious wrote a paper (PDF):

Once police are deployed based on these predictions, arrest data from the neighborhood is then used to further update the model. Since arrests only occur in neighborhoods that police have been sent to by the predictive policing algorithm itself, there is the potential for this sampling bias to be compounded, causing a runaway feedback loop. Indeed, Lum and Isaac have recently shown that this can happen.

To be fair, the paper is about how to remove this kind of bias from precrime systems. On the other hand, predictive systems using past data to predict future actions are obvious sources for feedback messing with the prediction. One would expect this to be taken into account from the start.

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Fermi vs. Fhtagn

There are things, Lovecraft hypothesizes, that Man is not meant to know. This paper is touching on these subjects: That is not dead which can eternal lie: the aestivation hypothesis for resolving Fermi’s paradox.

If a civilization wants to maximize computation it appears rational to aestivate until the far future in order to exploit the low temperature environment: this can produce a 10^30 multiplier of achievable computation.

We hence suggest the “aestivation hypothesis”: the reason we are not observing manifestations of alien civilizations is that they are currently (mostly) inactive, patiently waiting for future cosmic eras. This paper analyzes the assumptions going into the hypothesis and how physical law and observational evidence constrain the motivations of aliens compatible with the hypothesis.

So the Great Old starfaring civilizations exist, the paper suggests, but they are sleeping, waiting until the stars are, literally, right.

So much of Lovecraft is about astronomy and cosmology, and it did not stop with his death, if he actually died.

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The Science of People Not Returning Their Shopping Carts

You can Science on Anything, really. Here’s a discussion of “What is the moral reasoning of people not returning their shopping carts?”:

I always return my shopping cart because I don’t want to think of myself as lazy or inconsiderate.

vs.

I don’t return my carts on principle. Although I also don’t block parking spaces – i put them on islands and curbs. My assumption is that if the cart wrangler could get a better job, he would. So I’m doing my part to keep him gainfully employed.

The question generated so many comments that the original site had to turn off comments.

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