Tuesday, July 19, 2016

NY Times Writer: Nominee For The 2016 Geico Rock Award -- July 19, 2016

From The New York Times. If necessary, google: how renewable energy is blowing climate change efforts off course. The article begins:
Is the global effort to combat climate change, painstakingly agreed to in Paris seven months ago, already going off the rails?
Germany, Europe’s champion for renewable energy, seems to be having second thoughts about its ambitious push to ramp up its use of renewable fuels for power generation.
Hoping to slow the burst of new renewable energy on its grid, the country eliminated an open-ended subsidy for solar and wind power and put a ceiling on additional renewable capacity.
Germany may also drop a timetable to end coal-fired generation, which still accounts for over 40 percent of its electricity, according to a report leaked from the country’s environment ministry. Instead, the government will pay billions to keep coal generators in reserve, to provide emergency power at times when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine.
Renewables have hit a snag beyond Germany, too. Renewable sources are producing temporary power gluts from Australia to California, driving out other energy sources that are still necessary to maintain a stable supply of power.
In Southern Australia, where wind supplies more than a quarter of the region’s power, the spiking prices of electricity when the wind wasn’t blowing full-bore pushed the state government to ask the power company Engie to switch back on a gas-fired plant that had been shut down.
But in what may be the most worrisome development in the combat against climate change, renewables are helping to push nuclear power, the main source of zero-carbon electricity in the United States, into bankruptcy.
It's a great article but you will have to go to the link for the whole story.

The next president of the US will determine the direction the US takes with regard to unreliable, non-dispatchable, costly energy.

The writer of this article is a nominee for the Geico Rock Award -- anyone paying attention has known about this problem for at least the past decade. This writer and proponents of wind/solar have finally come from under their rock. What a great article.

My hunch is the US Congress is starting to see the mess we've gotten ourselves into.

Happy Belly

This is most interesting.

I just received two bags of incredibly good trail mix from Amazon. For free.

Each bag is 16 ounces. I have finished one bag, but will probably save the second bag for a special occasion.

I went to Amazon.com to order more Happy Belly Trail Mix but was unable to find the product.

I googled: did Amazon discontinue Happy Belly trail mix.

Just the opposite.

This is a really, really interesting marketing "ploy." Amazon, apparently, is "carpet-bombing" the market with new products but making them available only to their Prime customers. I assume, Jeff Bezos hopes this will get the buzz going and induce more folks to sign up for Prime. A two-fer.

I was aware of the scheme but had not paid attention to the details. After being unable to find Happy Belly Trail Mix at Amazon, googling brought me to the explanation over at The Wall Street Journal:
Amazon.com Inc. in the coming weeks is set to roll out new lines of private-label brands that will include its first broad push into perishable foods, according to people familiar with the matter.
The new brands with names like Happy Belly, Wickedly Prime and Mama Bear will include nuts, spices, tea, coffee, baby food and vitamins, as well as household items such as diapers and laundry detergents.
The first of the brands could begin appearing on Amazon’s namesake site as soon as the end of the month or early June.
Consumers have warmed to private-label brands since the days of generically named products sold in plain white packaging. Today, retailers from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to Sephora to Dean & DeLuca sell a range of in-house brands that some may even view as higher quality.
Amazon’s latest lineup is aimed at winning sales in niches with generally higher profit margins, as well as giving the Seattle retailer a potential edge in crafting new products ahead of its own vendors.
“Amazon is ‘carpet-bombing’ the market with new products,” said Bill Bishop, chief architect of brand consultancy Brick Meets Click. “Private label allows them to test out new prices and distinctive flavors with less risk.”
Mr. Bishop said private-label goods boast higher profit margins than name brands because companies save costs on marketing and brand development. And with Amazon’s rich trove of data, it may better predict which products will sell well to its customers.
Amazon will only offer the private-label products to members of its $99-per-year Prime membership, this person said, potentially giving the program a boost.
More at the link.

Healthy? Lots of nuts -- lots of nuts -- and unsalted. All types of nuts (including almonds and cashews), raisins, and a few M & Ms.

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