Sunday Morning Garden Chat: ‘Farming’ the Sun

From the Washington Post, “The next money crop for farmers: Solar panels”:

ORION, Ill.— Randy DeBaillie pointed to the power meter on his snow-covered farm: Even on a foggy, monochromatic day, with the sun barely piercing the clouds, the flat black panels planted nearby in two long rows were generating electricity.

“There’s enough energy produced to run the whole complex,” said DeBaillie, 50, who farms 6,500 acres with his brother and cousin. They typically grow corn and soybeans each spring, but this year they want to put more solar panels on 15 acres — and sell the energy.

The earnings, he said, would be about three times what an average harvest would yield there.

Across the flatlands of Illinois, a new crop is rising among the traditional waves of grain as farmers increasingly make the same calculation as DeBaillie. Hundreds have applied to host acres of solar panels on their property, a move encouraged by a state law requiring that renewable resources provide 25 percent of Illinois power by 2025.

The shift is controversial, and not just because of how it could alter the pastoral landscape. Taking some of the most fertile soil in the world out of production could have serious consequences for a booming population…

In the northwest corner of Illinois, where his great-grandfather emigrated from Belgium during World War I, four generations of DeBaillies have worked the land. Randy DeBaillie built the half-dozen red sheds that serve as the headquarters for the family business. On a bitterly cold winter morning, they were surrounded by deep snow drifts. A thick sheet of ice blanketed the driveway. He stepped out anyway, wearing knee-high rubber boots and worn tan coveralls, to get to his solar panels.

If too much snow piles up on the panels, they cannot function properly. So he’ll grab a squeegee and clear it off…

Darn, I knew there’d be a catch. :)

Maybe this will be the year (to take up my usual garden-chat trope) when we finally get solar panels installed on the roof of our 1200sq ft house. Massachusetts has a pretty good set of rebate / installment incentives, but that means we also have a plethora of overhopeful short-term, sometimes fly-by-night installation companies. And while the Spousal Unit has gotten as far as signing a preliminary contract with at least one of the half-dozen salesmen who’ve inspected the ‘new’ roof, the shingles remain bare. Since I know all too well that we just barely get enough sunlight to grow tomatoes in a good year, I suspect our projected production capability is sufficiently marginal that we’re not exactly a top-tier prospect.

Apart from mechanical contrivances…

What’s going on in your garden (planning) this week?

276 replies
  1. 1
    eclare says:

    I have far too many trees over my house and yard to make solar panels or a garden work. Good thing I like hostas!

  2. 2
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Taking some of the most fertile soil in the world out of production could have serious consequences for a booming population…

    Perhaps we should end this population boom, then.

  3. 3
    la caterina says:

    Good morning all. Insomniac here. Nice to see folks are around.

  4. 4
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    My pig/sheep farming buddy just went solar on his 40 acre farm, put them on the southern exposed roof of one of his barns. It will supply all their needs. The up front costs were pretty steep (he told me, I’ve already forgotten). Our house gets good morning sun all year long with good afternoon sun in summer and fair afternoon sun in winter. A pro would tell me, “Cut down these trees.” and I would reply, “Go fuck yourself.” Someday I’ll do it but the cost is such it will have to be DIY, so I’ve got some learning to do. Besides, I need a new roof first.

  5. 5
    Momentary says:

    A field of solar panels combines well with sheep – the sheep keep the field mowed and can shelter under the panels. Some farms doing that here in the UK.

  6. 6
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Hilde Lysiak is making news again instead of just reporting it:

    It sounds like something from children’s fiction: a 12-year-old intrepid journalist who fights off threats from the mob and local police to self-publish the truth about her local area in her own newspaper. But Hilde Lysiak, the editor of the Orange Street News, is the real deal. In 2016, when she was just nine years old, she broke the story of a homicide in her hometown of Selinsgrove, Arizona, interviewing witnesses and locals hours before other news outlets had ever reached the scene. Hilde’s scoop became a bigger story than the murder. Since then she has broken exclusives on rapes, robberies and a roaming mountain lion as well as fending off threatening text messages after reporting on an alleged drug dealer.

    Now Hilde is making headlines of her own once again, after she filmed an Arizona town marshal, Joseph Patterson, threatening her. In the feisty exchange, she repeatedly asks the officer why he threatened to throw her in juvenile prison and what crime she had supposedly committed. Patterson incorrectly tells her that it would be illegal for her to post a video of the exchange online. It’s a first amendment right to film and publish exchanges with law enforcement. Patterson has since been disciplined by local officials.

    According to Hilde’s account in the Orange Street News, she had been riding her bike chasing down a tip when Patterson stopped her. She identified herself as a journalist and Patterson told her: “I don’t want to hear about any of that freedom of the press stuff … I’m going to have you arrested and thrown in juvie.”

    After asking what she could be arrested for, Hilde claims Patterson first said she could be arrested for “disobeying his command”, then for riding on the wrong side of the road, then because a mountain lion was spotted in the area – although she points out that “other people in the area who were not kicked off the road”.

    The recorded exchange took place after this initial threat, when Patterson again says he could arrest her and Hilde repeatedly asks what crime she has committed. Patterson this time tells her she lied to law enforcement. The video has now been viewed more than 170,000 times.

    Kids these days, they got no respect. This one is gonna go far.

  7. 7
    Bess says:

    There are farms that use higher than normal solar racks and run sheep or do truck farming under the panels. Pretty much no wasted land.

    My experience (dry in the summer California) is that the grass that grows under my ground mounted solar panels stays greener much long than surrounding grass that is exposed to the midday sun.

    And sheep seem to enjoy the shade of the panels on hot days. I would expect you would have a longer growing season for plants like lettuce if they received midday shade.

    If your house isn’t suitable for solar on the roof or you live in apartment an option is community solar. There are groups in many communities which have banded together to purchase some land and install racks of solar panels. That electricity is sold to the grid and they get credit to offset the electricity they take from the grid.

    Solar is coming down rapidly in price. In some parts of the country it’s more expensive because the local installation industry is not well developed. If it’s high where you are keep checking back from time to time.

  8. 8
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    That is one of the things I have noticed since being back in the UK is the abundance of wind and solar farms around. They are everywhere. People have solar panels on the roof as a matter of course. We went for a drive up in the Lake District and stopped at the top of one of the passes at the Pub up there and they have both a wind turbine and solar panels. Whereas before during bad winter weather they would lose power due to the snow and ice they now generate their own. It definitely is the way to go.

  9. 9
    Cermet says:

    Interesting that the very up-side article on solar power, a method a dying family farmer can get into the black, has to add that utterly pointless and without merit sentence about losing “productive” soil. LOL. First even if that was an issue that mattered, then why do vast subdivisions for housing on the “most” productive and close to the market city farm land not get similar coverage? Also, most farms lose top soil at alarming rates, and the chemicals tend to create ground water issues and fertilizer run off issues; these should have been added for “balance” if they wanted to cover all issues – pointing out that solar power prevents these rather bad outcomes over and above reducing AGW issues (which, in the long run, will destroy far more useful crop land in third world countries, by the way.) But of course, that wasn’t the purpose of adding a “down” point. It was to satisfy the Kock sucker bothers media watch dogs for the AP. How else to get it out on the “wire”? Wish I was just being paranoid.

  10. 10
    Bess says:

    There are lots of images online for grazing sheep and farming underneath solar panels. Do the google if you want to see.

    Most large solar facilities seem to be moving to single axis trackers. By tracking the Sun throughout the solar day the capacity factor rises from about 20% to around 30%. And the cost is only 10% more than fixed mount panels.

    This not only means a lot more electricity generated per panel, it also greatly extends the solar day. When the Sun rises in the morning the panels are pointed toward it and start pumping out full power as soon as the Sun is high enough to minimize the atmospheric haze. And output stays high until just before sunset as the panels follow the sun like big rectangular sunflowers.

    Single axis trackers and panels are mounted on top of a single pole which is driven into the ground. And tracking racks have to be set further apart than fixed racks so that they don’t shade each other early/late in the day. That makes for a very uncluttered area beneath the panels.

    In fact, there’s no reason why the panels couldn’t be mounted high enough for cattle to graze underneath.

  11. 11
    OzarkHillbilly says:


    then why do vast subdivisions for housing on the “most” productive and close to the market city farm land not get similar coverage

    I have read a number of such articles. Farming is a complex subject and the inevitable industrialization of it in a capitalist society with all of the attendant problems even more so.

    I would not expect a single news article, even one in the WaPo, to go in depth on the entirety of the subject for the simple reason that their readers eyes would glaze over and never finish it. I’m happy for the few times they accurately report on any single aspect of it.

  12. 12
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    @Bess: When we visited the Bowland Wild Boar Park in the summer DH noticed that they had those pole mounted panels which moved to follow the sun. They, along with the panels mounted on the roofs of the various buildings around the park made them pretty much self-sufficient on the electricity front.

  13. 13
    Raven says:

    We saw a big solar facility just off 75 outside of Gainesville , Fl on our way to the beach last week.

  14. 14

    In southern Germany, we saw solar panels along the edges of the fields near the roads. It’s an area that’s often not planted anyway.

  15. 15
    NeenerNeener says:

    I’m only getting a tax refund this year because of the plug-in hybrid car I bought last year and the solar panels I had installed on my garage roof last fall. The federal rebate goes down substantially every year so anyone planning on getting solar installed should do it soon.

    I haven’t seen much of a dent in my electric bill yet, but I can’t really expect to when the days are short. The panels are producing enough to cover the cost of charging my car though, and as the days get longer my electric bill should go down even farther.

    I wish I could have had some of Tesla’s wall-mounted batteries installed to collect the excess power instead of sending it back to RG&E, but they don’t sell them in NY yet, and that would have probably tripled or quadrupled the total cost for the panels.

    All in all, I’m glad I did it.

  16. 16
    Bess says:

    In Italy I noticed that several modest sized solar arrays were sited in parts of farmer’s fields which were pretty much unfarmable. That land is still available for the wild plants that support little beasties so nothing is lost.

    Many years ago I saw how farmers in France planted trees as ‘living fence posts’ and then cut the trees off at the top of the wire. The trees would sprout back from the tall stumps and the shoots would be thinned, allow to grow larger, and then harvested for firewood.

    Farmers could probably use solar posts along their fence row. Very sturdy fences and a source of income without giving up any farmland.

  17. 17
    Baud says:

    OT. I thought this article was interesting.

    The economists of the early 20th century did not foresee that work might evolve from a means of material production to a means of identity production. They failed to anticipate that, for the poor and middle class, work would remain a necessity; but for the college-educated elite, it would morph into a kind of religion, promising identity, transcendence, and community. Call it workism.

  18. 18
    rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone 😄😄😄

  19. 19
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: That is perfectly sensible, ergo it will never be done here.

  20. 20
    frosty says:

    @rikyrah: Morning backatcha!

  21. 21
  22. 22
    Baud says:

    @rikyrah: Good morning.

  23. 23
    Bess says:

    There’s a section of rail in France that runs through a protected forest. The number of trees that were allowed to be removed was slight so the trees come right up to the rail line. Branches falling on the tracks wouldn’t be nice for high speed rail.

    The solution was to build a roof over the tracks and it’s roofed with solar panels which feed into the local grid and help power the train.

  24. 24
    rikyrah says:

    Hannah Giorgis (@ethiopienne) Tweeted:
    wrote about a new Smithsonian Channel doc that traces the origins and legacy of The Negro Motorist Green Book without centering white people, ahem

  25. 25
    JR says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: In a city solar water heaters are a no brainer. Even ten years ago, Beijing was absolutely bursting with them.

  26. 26
    Victor Matheson says:

    I have solar on my Massachusetts house and installed a $65k system on my church. Last year the church system saved us about $5,000 on electricity and generated over $5,000 in renewable energy credits from the state. That’s over a 15% return on essentially a risk free investment. Try to beat that on your savings account. My home system will pay itself off in about 6 years and then provide free returns for at least 20 years afterwards. I can’t say enough good things about solar in MA. The fact that everyone doesn’t have it is a massive failure of economic policy.

  27. 27
    wvng says:

    In WV the rules around net metering are up in the air because of new laws the republicans put in when they gained the majority several years ago. Final decisions are in the hands of the PSC, for years now, creating great uncertainty. If they make the rules conform to what the utilities want then the economics of putting panels in become impossible.

  28. 28
    Ramalama says:

    Cousins of mine in MA have signed a couple of agreements by solar panel companies. Had house inspections. They were told that the loan they would have to take out would be covered by the amount of energy they’d be selling back to the power grid….But no follow up. What’s going on there? Other people are experiencing this?

    Friends of mine in Vermont have maybe 40 solar panels affixed to the roof of their barn. It’s enough to have free energy, and sell a bit back to the state power company. They have a bunch of horses, couple of dogs. House was nicely lit and heated while I was visiting. It’s nice if you can cover the cost up front.

  29. 29
    Baud says:

    I’m thinking about getting solar for my house.

  30. 30
    Victor Matheson says:

    BTW, I used Rayah Solar for the church. They were great. Feel free to use them and generate a referral payment to my (pro-social justice, pro-women, pro-equality, anti-hypocrisy) church.

  31. 31
    JMG says:

    I am a Mass. resident, and like Ms. Laurie, I have had solar salesmen examine my house. They told me flat out my lot is too wooded for it to be practical unless I cut down many trees, which I do not want to do. It’s natural air conditioning in the summer.

  32. 32
    Victor Matheson says:

    @wvng: My sense is that a bank of Tesla wall batteries solves most of the net metering problems. But it does raise the cost.

    MA is really the perfect place for solar because our regular electricity is super expensive and there are also generous subsidies.

  33. 33
    Victor Matheson says:

    @Ramalama: Not my experience at all with two different companies.

  34. 34
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    O/T, but the first tweet of the day is hilarious on many levels:

    HOLD THE DATE! We will be having one of the biggest gatherings in the history of Washington, D.C., on July 4th. It will be called “A Salute To America” and will be held at the Lincoln Memorial. Major fireworks display, entertainment and an address by your favorite President, me!


  35. 35
    Matt McIrvin says:

    Could you have panels that can be easily moved from one field to another, so that the soil can be rotated between food production and energy production? I’m an ignoramus about farming but have a vague idea that might be better for maintaining the fertility of the soil.

  36. 36
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Baud: That’s an interesting piece. I’m about halfway thru it and I have a few disagreements about some of the assumptions he makes and then builds his arguments on top of, but he’s got me thinking at 7 am on a Sunday morning.

    Hmmmmm….. Not so sure that is a good thing.

  37. 37
    Baud says:


    He’s co-opting the normal DC July 4 festivities?

  38. 38
    Baud says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: My reaction too. Kind of loses it a bit in the middle. But it generally rang true to me.

  39. 39
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Victor Matheson: Pity about the latitude and the weather.

    I’ve pretty much determined that my house is badly placed for rooftop solar–trees that I mostly don’t own are placed such that I only get consistent sunlight on the roof during the late afternoon, and I doubt it would be cost-effective. But a fair number of houses around here do have panels.

  40. 40
    Bess says:

    @Victor Matheson:

    Tesla Powerwalls (storage units) may not make economic sense for some people at this time. Because Panasonic/Tesla isn’t making enough batteries to meet demand Tesla is keeping the price high in order to raise more cash for expansion.

    As more cell production comes online and as other companies enter the market the prices will come down.

    Because grid rates are so high in Australia Powerwalls seem to be making sense there. In the US the places where they are most likely to pencil out are for people who have high tiered rates. With some solar and storage they would be able to drop their level us grid use and pay lower rates for what they do use.

  41. 41
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Back on topic: I live in an apartment complex, so as a renter unfortunately can’t take advantage of solar (or other renewable) energy incentives. But cheers to all of you who have made, or are considering, the changeover.

  42. 42
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Yes you can, my buddy juices his electric fencing that way as he rotates his critters around his pastures. Not sure it makes much difference for the fertility of the soil to have panels fixed in place so much as it selects for more shade tolerant species to grow underneath them.

  43. 43
    Bess says:

    @Matt McIrvin: If you have usable sunshine from midday on you might find that west facing panels would work for you.

    In many locations panels mounted facing east or west will generate about 90% of south-facing panels. Panels are now affordable enough to allow adding an extra 10% of panels.

    If you can’t sell your extra production to the grid consider mounting about a third of your panels facing east and the rest facing west. That will give you a long solar day, spreading out your generation over more hours.

  44. 44
  45. 45
    Ken says:

    @Baud: Think of it as an extension of what he’s he’s done his entire life – slapping his name on someone else’s project.

  46. 46
    Bess says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    Solar panels are like a great big ridgid sail. It takes a strong mount to keep them from flying away. (I lost a rack in a big storm because someone failed to put a lock washer on one of the feet.)

    I suppose one could use some sort of trailer and water ballast but I can’t see that it would make sense. Put them up on a pole out of the way.

  47. 47
    mad citizen says:

    @Baud: It looks interesting. Wish I had come up with this idea back in econ. grad school. I never got into thinking about my “career” too much–work is a decent place to go and make money. To quote Peter Gibbons:
    “Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day, filling out useless forms and listening to eight different bosses drone on about about mission statements.”

  48. 48
    debbie says:


    Wow, an honest salesman. Go figure!

  49. 49
    debbie says:


    I am so sick of his “no has ever done this before” or “I’m the first to” or “it will be the biggest ever” when it is demonstrably untrue.

  50. 50
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Thanks for posting this. I read this a few days ago, fell in love with the story, and then promptly forgot it.

    To Town Marshall Patterson: Maybe if you spent more time going after drug dealers who threaten children, rather than cutting out the middle man and threatening them yourself, you might find… oh, who am I kidding. YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE! RESIGN!!!

    To Ms. Lysiak: You go girl! But please be careful.

  51. 51
    mad citizen says:

    @Victor Matheson: I think Tesla wall’s value is if you want to be off-grid, have something there in case the grid goes down, but how often does that happen? Otherwise the grid is balancing the power produced and consumed. There are new controls, etc. that will have to implemented on the distribution system for areas with a lot of consumer-production (the “prosumer”).

    There is plenty of land for however many solar panels/farms we need. A friend of mine once made the claim about not enough land. I did the calculation, we’re fine. You have to remember, our electricity supply will eventually be all wind, solar, hydro, gas, and some nuclear and a little coal until they retire. And storage to help balance it all.

    Wind farms have to shut down when the wind gets to around 43 mph (which is happening today in the midwest). A lot of us recently found out they also have to shut down when the temp gets to -20 to -30 F. That was an eye opener.

  52. 52
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Baud: Just finished it. I don’t know, good food for thought but it misses the mark with this cynical union carpenter atheist. He’s not writing about people like me tho. It may be broadly instructional about the pressures Millennials are under but neither of my Millennial sons fit the picture he has drawn. Of course they were both saddled with me for a father and I probably taught them a little too well.

    Still, very interesting. Thanx.

  53. 53
    tybee says:

    @Baud: that was interesting

  54. 54
    Amir Khalid says:

    I look forward to seeing photographs of the “crowd”.

  55. 55
    Bostonian says:

    Interesting discussion here.

    I agree with the general ridicule of this statement: “Taking some of the most fertile soil in the world out of production could have serious consequences for a booming population…”

    Taking some of the most fertile soil in the world out of production saves it for later. There, fixed it.

    The intensive farming practices we have developed in this country are terrible for the soil and other parts of the environment. Compared with single-crop boundary to boundary with application of fertilizer, pesticide, herbicide, and fungicide, leaving land alone under some solar panels is a win for fertility, as well as for wildlife.

    Maybe milkweed will grow down there and the butterflies will come back.

    Some grazers would not hurt the soil either. And, also, yum.

  56. 56
    Immanentize says:

    I have roof solar and am in line for a Tesla battery wall. There was a one year delay in getting the battery, but I am eager. In the winter months, I’m still producing about 90% of my solar needs. (I still have natural gas heat) Timing wise, I have learned to dry clothes when the sun shines for best offset. In the summer, the big electric cost is air conditioning which is mostly an evening energy draw. With the battery, I won’t have to pull from the grid as much — and when the electric does go off (Sandy did us in for 5 days) the daytime solar plus the battery will keep my fridge and other necessary stuff going at night.

    The system, with 30% tax rebate should pay off in 8 years. But that’s not the only reason I did it….

  57. 57
    debbie says:


    It’s almost liberating to have a job where I’m not fully invested in it. It pays the rent, and that’s enough for me. Past “careers” where I’ve really cared were sources of real pain when they ended.

  58. 58
    Spanky says:

    Tesla isn’t the only (nor cheapest!) option in battery backup. I use Wholesale Solar as an info source and one price reference point.

    (Note: I haven’t had any contact with WS other than reading their website.)
    (Other note: We still need to build the garage/barn before getting the solar installed.)

  59. 59
    Bess says:

    @mad citizen: Apparently future wind farms may not need to shut down in higher winds. (Hurricane conditions expected.)

    The problem of higher velocity wind is that the turbine gets overpowered even with the blades feathered. But by adding storage (batteries and ultracapacitors) the turbines can be allowed to spin with storage acting as a resistive load.

    That stored energy can later be fed into the grid when winds are lower.

    We’re about to see some major improvements in wind turbine performance. By moving to taller hub heights, using longer blades to generate more power in low winds, and using resistive braking there should be a very large increase in electricity generated per tower.

  60. 60
    Bess says:

    @Spanky: I bought my most recent panels and racking from Wholesale Solar. I had a good experience working with them.

    That’s a single data point….

    Connecting wire was cheaper from Amazon.

  61. 61
    Spanky says:

    @mad citizen:

    I think Tesla wall’s value is if you want to be off-grid, have something there in case the grid goes down, but how often does that happen?

    Often enough in our neck of the woods, at the far end of a grid dendrite. And the next war will be fought on-line, and infrastructure is always a juicy target in war. Just sayin’.

  62. 62
    mad citizen says:

    @Bess: Thanks Bess, for dropping the wind knowledge on me. Coincidentally, I’m touring NREL in Golden this Thursday, looking forward to that.

  63. 63
    Victor Matheson says:

    @mad citizen: yeah, I’m not sure about how they currently wire in the batteries. But in theory, the battery concept is easy enough if the state/power grid decides to screw you on net metering. With a big enough or smart enough battery you never dump electricity into the grid just into your battery so all of your generation goes directly to offset your power consumption instead of into the grid at a big discount.

  64. 64
    Bess says:


    (Hurricane conditions expected.)

    Er, excepted.

  65. 65
    WaterGirl says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Rome is burning, and what does the idiot in the white house care about? A party! With a parade! And with that, let the daily head banging begin.

  66. 66
    joel hanes says:

    The never-to-be-sufficiently-damned Republicans in Iowa are advancing a bill requested by the regional electric company to rescind net metering, so that the utility is not required to credit individual solar owners for the power they contribute to the grid.

    Because of course they are.

  67. 67
    mad citizen says:

    @joel hanes: Indiana is phasing out full retail rate crediting of net metering. You had to have an installation in by the end of last December to be grandfathered in for a while (think it’s 10 years). The reality is, with the solar costs coming down so substantially, the utilities and others can more easily make the argument to get rid of the full credit. But let’s be honest, crediting a homeowner’s solar/wind at the full retail rate is a subsidy to that customer at the expense of everyone else. It doesn’t take account of transmission/distribution and overhead costs, etc. Full credit net metering is a program that helps well-to-do customers at the expense of average and poor customers.

  68. 68
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I need a new roof too which is holding things up but you might have something like this in your area.

  69. 69
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Thanks for this. I’ll bring it to the attention of management, although I’m less than sanguine about the chances they’ll adopt it. Maybe I’ll feel more optimistic after coffee.

  70. 70
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Baud: And then I read this:

    Muffin Break faces backlash after boss says millennials won’t do unpaid work

    The cafe chain Muffin Break is facing a backlash from customers after its general manager said that entitled millennials weren’t willing to do unpaid work to get ahead.

    Natalie Brennan told News Corp there was “nobody walking in my door asking for an internship, work experience or unpaid work”.

    The comments have been roundly criticised. Advocates for franchisees and workers say they demonstrate broader problems within the franchise sector, which small business owners have complained is based on an unsustainable business model and leaves workers susceptible to underpayment.

  71. 71
    Baud says:


    Customers need to start demanding free muffins.

  72. 72
    debbie says:


    Good. I hope it hurts her for a long time. The “broader problem” is corporate America, the ultimate mooch, who expects something for nothing.

  73. 73
    wvng says:

    @joel hanes: in WV the likely worst case change would be crediting power contributed to the grid at wholesale rates rather than retail. But wholesale is about 50% of retail, so it is still a huge problem.

  74. 74
    Bess says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: It’s not a management thing. It’s for individuals. You could potentially be the only one in your apartment building who participates.

    It’s actually a group of individuals going together to build a small solar farm and share ownership.

  75. 75
    oldgold says:

    Several years ago there was a lot of buzz around the promising idea of embedding solar panels in roadways. In theory these solar panels would produce energy, light the roads, melt the snow and ice and spare productive land from being overrun by solar panels.

    This seemingly bright idea has now been tested and the results to date are underwhelming.

    Solar Roadways

  76. 76
    Ken says:


    (Hurricane conditions expected.)

    Er, excepted.

    Unfortunately, both.

  77. 77
    joel hanes says:

    Full credit net metering is a program that helps well-to-do customers at the expense of average and poor customers.

    And which provides considerable incentive for individuals to take steps that will reduce the carbon emissions from electricity generation, and thus save all our asses.

    Climate change is a goddamned existential crisis. Some of the measures required are going to burden people unequally.
    A carbon tax, which I strongly favor, will hurt people of modest means much more than it will hurt the affluent. That’s how all market solutions work; they discourage or encourage at the margins.
    It sucks.

    An earth that’s 5 degrees F warmer will suck much worse.

  78. 78

    @Baud: In response to that tweet:

    If this goes well, I think we should follow it with a big party in Times Square the night before New Year’s Day.— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) February 24, 2019

  79. 79
    Baud says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:

    The party when Trump goes to prison will be ginormous.

  80. 80
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Baud: Worldwide.

  81. 81
    JPL says:

    @Baud: Please let it be so.

  82. 82
    Brachiator says:

    Tax reminder on energy systems

    Expenditures for solar energy systems increase the basis of the taxpayer’s property, but the property’s basis must be decreased by the amount of the credit allowed.

    An informal poll of tax preparers suggests that a number of people don’t even think about this.

  83. 83
    Another Scott says:

    @wvng: Virginia is similar, as I understand it. Dominion is perceived as fighting solar (and is pushing giant fracked-gas pipelines (and a lot of their investment in renewables is apparently simply buying up other companies and not adding new capacity themselves)) – I don’t know how much of it is true. My former office mate has had panels in his MD house for around a decade.

    One thing I don’t like is that at least around here, all the home solar systems by default put power back on the grid. So when a pole goes down up the street (as happens at least a couple of times a year) and you lose power from the grid, you also lose power from your panels. So, you’d need a backup generator on top of the panels (or a massive array of batteries).

    I keep hoping that the regulatory and subsidy issues, and the power company fighting/gaming it, etc., etc. get worked out soon. Large Democratic majorities in the state House and Senate this November could make a big, productive, difference. I want us to get a plug-in hybrid as our next car, and that means upgrading our ~ 55 year old electric service. It would be nice to have the option of doing all the electrical changes (new breaker panel, new outlets, transfer switches, solar panels, backup generator, etc., etc.) all at once… I keep telling myself that those of us that can reasonably easily afford to do these things to reduce fossil fuel usage really need to do it.


  84. 84
    a thousand flouncing lurkers (was fidelio) says:

    Parking lots. How many parking lots are there in this country, and how much power could be generated by mounting solar collectors above them? I doubt most of the vehicles parked in them would suffer as a result.

  85. 85

    @SiubhanDuinne: So transparently pathetic, sad really.

    ETA: How is your cold?

  86. 86
    Amir Khalid says:

    Halftime in the English Premier League’s Sunday matches. Arsenal 2-0 Southampton, Manchester United 0-0 Liverpool. Arsenal have been average but Southampton have been awful. Liverpool have had most of the possession, but seem to have left their shooting boots on the team bus. They’ve also had to replace an injured Bobby Firmino. United have had three players off injured, including the substitute who came on for the first player injured. Another injury and they’ll have to play a man short.

  87. 87
    Bess says:

    @Another Scott:

    There are inverters that will disconnect from the grid when the grid goes down (to protect people working on the line) but continue to power your house.

  88. 88
    Brachiator says:


    Hannah Giorgis (@ethiopienne) Tweeted:
    wrote about a new Smithsonian Channel doc that traces the origins and legacy of The Negro Motorist Green Book without centering white people, ahem

    Thanks for the tip. I forgot or didn’t realize that my YouTube TV subscription includes the Smithsonian channel.

    Also, your tip should be repeated in a future thread.

  89. 89
    Amir Khalid says:

    A commenter on BBC’s live feed asks, what if United’s keeper gets injured? Well, David de Gea goes off and is unreplaced. An outfield player puts on gloves and plays in goal.

  90. 90

    Balloon Juice hive mind I need fashion advice. If you are going to an important meeting/interview what would you wear a knee length skirt and a jacket with riding boots or dress pants. It is going to pretty cold with below freezing temps.

    ETA: If I am not meeting anyone I like to wear jeans and sweaters in winter and sturdy shoes that won’t win any fashion contests.

  91. 91
    sdhays says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: So many of his tweets are cartoon-level narcissist. Sooooo….neeeeeeedy!

    I have to give him credit, though. He knows that a majority of the people reading this tweet would have thought that by “your favorite President” he meant Barack Obama, so he clarified it to make sure no one was confused. That’s more self-awareness than I’m used to from the ASSet.

  92. 92
    joel hanes says:

    @a thousand flouncing lurkers (was fidelio):

    Parking lots.

    Here in Santa Clara, the high-school parking lots have been covered with solar panel “carport” roofing, and are now net electricity exporters. The district’s electrical bill for those facilities is zero or shows a credit, even though they’re heated with electricity.

  93. 93

    @schrodingers_cat: Dress pants because I’m more comfortable in them.

  94. 94
    Amir Khalid says:

    Liverpool really need to bring on a game-changer like Xherdan Shaqiri.

  95. 95
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @joel hanes: every summer, when I get into my solar oven of a car after twenty minutes in the damn grocery store, I wonder why this isn’t done everywhere. I’m sure there are complications in different regions, problems that a dumb guy like me doesn’t foresee, but I can’t believe there aren’t huge benefits to be derived, and not just my personal comfort, which of course should be a national priority.

    Also, or at least, new, large parking lots should be required to be broken up by lines of trees. I’ll leave the specifics to some sciency types

  96. 96
    sigaba says:

    @Ramalama: A contractor said he’d get right back to you and has now disappeared? What a shocking development!

  97. 97
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @debbie: Corporate America is parasitical in nature. This is not what Adam Smith had in mind, of course, but reading The Wealth of Nations isn’t a priority at business schools.

  98. 98
  99. 99
    tobie says:

    I just got a call from the RNC asking me whether I felt Trump was doing a better job as President than Obama. God knows how they got my number. Anyhow, I said “absolutely not” and now kind of regret that I didn’t go with the simpler “no” since I don’t know what their voice recognition system logged as my response.

  100. 100
    Sab says:

    @Amir Khalid: Just curiou. How do you pronounce Xherdan?

  101. 101
    joel hanes says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    large parking lots should be required to be broken up by lines of trees.

    I agree completely, but retailers hate them because they obscure line-of-site to the signage, and because dealing with the leaves costs money, and because they slightly decrease the capacity of the lot.

    And yet, you’ll find all the employees cars clustered under tree shadows, no matter how far they are from the entryway, along with the cars of every non-handicapped customer lucky enough to get a shady spot.

    BTW, cars in California are best white, for exactly the oven-interior reason you mentioned.
    Our roofs should be white too.

  102. 102
    joel hanes says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:


    I believe the traditional locution is “rent-seeking”.
    They sure do seem to hate actual competition, and will go to extreme lengths to prevent it.

  103. 103
    Amir Khalid says:

    Wikipedia says, jer-dan sha-kiri. Who has finally come on for Jordan Henderson. He should have come on when Bobby Firmino went off in the first half.

  104. 104
    Heidi Mom says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Bearing in mind that I’m the last person anyone should ask for fashion advice — dress pants, for a more put-together look.

  105. 105
    a thousand flouncing lurkers (was fidelio) says:

    @joel hanes: That’s what I would expect if it was tried, and I’m glad to hear it’s being done in places. It seems to me that we’re so used to parking lots that we don’t even see them anymore. There are so many in the US though, and no good technical reasons I can see for not trying this.

  106. 106
    Suzanne says:

    @joel hanes:

    large parking lots should be required to be broken up by lines of trees.

    Developers also hate the cost of putting in trees and maintaining. Every owner I work with directs us to put in the bare minimum amount of landscaper required by code, and not one plant more.
    Solar canopies are HATED by developers due to first cost.

    The place to get this stuff done is at your city level. Almost every city has a zoning ordinance with requirements for setbacks, parking counts, landscape density, etc etc etc.

    And developers absolutely know this and make their voices heard.

    No reason citizen groups cannot do the same.

  107. 107
    Ramalama says:

    @Amir Khalid: I know nothing about ‘football,’ the universal edition except for what I read in one novel: Red or Dead. by David Peace. I loved it and I’m not even a fan. Have you read it?

  108. 108
    Ramalama says:

    @Victor Matheson: Rayah Solar for the church — is the church in Massachusetts? I’ll let my cousins know about the company.

  109. 109
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: @OzarkHillbilly: FWIW the very first noteworthy thing I saw on my very first trip to Europe (1980) – onboard the train that ran from Frankfurt Flughaven to Mainz, where I would be looking for a Pensionzimmer for the night – were the small fenced gardens stretched along the railroad right-of-way. Unsuitable for other purposes, they served quite well growing flowers for the inhabitants of apartment buildings closer to the cities. Germans – most Europeans – love their fresh flowers!

  110. 110
    Ramalama says:

    @sigaba: Just relaying what family members told me. I have very little experience dealing with contractors period — and all of it being in Quebecistan where my partner cajoles, harangues? and makes people return calls, and show up. It’s a talent. Which I do not have.

  111. 111
    Amir Khalid says:

    Never seen it here. I can’t say I’m a reader of football fiction. I must say a novel about the legendary Bill Shankly sounds interesting.

  112. 112
    way2blue says:

    In Tyrol (western Austria & northern Italy) and Bavaria (southern Germany), solar panel arrays on barn roofs are quite common. Here in northern California—the town I work in has solar panel roofs above the parking lot at the town center, and my (federal) workplace installed solar panels above its parking lot as well. And installed EV charging stations. I am in the process of installing solar panels on the south-facing roof of my house along with two Tesla PowerWalls. The outfit doing the work, got up on the roof to calculate how many panels we’d need to zero out our annual, grid-based energy needs (based on a review of 10 years of electrical bills, plus estimate of charging new EV based on average monthly mileage).

    With the new EV, we were permitted to change to a tiered electrical rate plan, so charge the EV during lowest tier. And should be able to tune the solar-battery system in order to put excess electricity into the grid during the highest tier for maximum credit, plus take it from the grid during lower rate tiers. Hope so…

  113. 113

    @Heidi Mom: The @WaterGirl: @Dorothy A. Winsor: The skirt is pretty formal and both outfits will look pretty put together. I am petite and look better in skirts but pants are definitely the more comfortable option especially in winter.
    I was not sure about the boots. Since that’s what will make the outfit with the skirt more tolerable in winter.

  114. 114
    Ruckus says:

    All but one of the VA facilities that I’ve been to have rather large solar panel installations. One has them over most of the parking areas – provides electricity and shade for the cars. One built a huge solar farm where the old building had stood for a few decades but needed replacing 25 yrs ago. And in socal they should generate a fair amount every day. There will be the odd rainy day of course…

  115. 115
    tobie says:

    @rikyrah: That was an interesting article on the Sunrise Mvmt. Their tactics do seem to come from the Tea Party–ambush politicians on your own side, demand fealty to your positions or face constant disruption. This paragraph gets it about right:

    The “fight” being more important than actual results and action seems to have become a staple of ideologues…But while right wing bizzaro activists are interested in fighting against people and cultures they see as their enemy, the Left’s ideological wing has a particular affinity for training its fire on people and lawmakers it claims are its friends.

    Feinstein posted a climate resolution last night that follows the IPCC’s guidelines of complete decarbonization by 2050. Like the GND, it announces benchmarks, although it’s more specific about what these benchmarks are in various sectors of the economy. It doesn’t address economic or social justice so in this sense it’s a much more narrow proposal than the GND.

  116. 116
    Amir Khalid says:

    It ends without goals at Old Trafford. Liverpool’s forward line has had an awful day, with Firmino injured and Salah out of sorts..

  117. 117
    Sab says:

    @Amir Khalid: Thanks. I’d comment about the game results but wouldn’t want to be a spoiler.

  118. 118

    @tobie: Are they just clueless or are they malicious? Or are they being used?

  119. 119
    Ruckus says:

    @joel hanes:
    When I lived in snow country, black cars. In a solar oven like socal, white. Mama didn’t raise no fool. (I may have fought her on this but still she did her best.)

  120. 120
    Suzanne says:

    The answer to every once of these questions about why we don’t have something completely commonsensical as a requirement is money. Solar costs money, landscape costs money. Yes, I know they save money in the long run, but most developers build with financed money and most don’t plan to own long enough to see the payback, or they don’t think they can get high enough rents to offset the cost.

    Europe has this stuff due to good regulations and good incentives.

    If we want this stuff, we need to go to every City Council and say that we want it. Developers and large building owners lean on City Councils like you would not believe. They have land-use attorneys who make friends with the Planning & Development departments and the City Building Officials and the City Managers. But City Councils are terrified of citizens. However—-citizens rarely, if ever, show up.

    Every time a new project comes up for public comment…..COMMENT! Read the Zoning Ordinance, and offer feedback.

  121. 121
    Ruckus says:

    The RNC asked that? You may be too nice a person but my answer would have been “No Fucking Way.” Melt the damn machine.

  122. 122
    Suzanne says:

    @Ruckus: The VA has a requirement for solar panels. Most developers do not.

  123. 123
    Juice Box says:

    @a thousand flouncing lurkers (was fidelio): Italy has lots of solar panel covered parking lots. It’s becoming increasingly common here in the southwest as well. A Walmart near my parents’ house in Arizona put in a couple of rows panels and they became the most popular parking spots. Profit-driven Walmart then proceeded to fill most of their lot with panels.

    We put in too many panels and sell the excess electricity back at wholesale rates. I need to get an electric car, but I drive so little that I have a hard time justifying it. I am going to put in a hybrid electric water heater some day. If the furnace ever dies, I may even look into an electric replacement. My lighting is LED and my cooktop is induction.

  124. 124
    Amir Khalid says:

    Well, Liverpool are back at the top of the table with a one-point lead over City, but the forwards’ dreadful performance today against an injury-depleted United is something to worry about.

  125. 125
    Baud says:

    The most concrete data point that appears in almost all of these stories comes from a survey of staff turnover by Senate office from 2001 to 2016. It’s called “the worst boss” list. Klobuchar topped it. (She slipped to third-worst in the 2018 version, a point cited far less frequently.)

    The rest of the list is interesting. Of the top 10 “worst bosses” in the Senate in 2016, seven were women and just three were men. At the time, then, about a third of female senators were worse bosses than nearly 96 percent of all male senators. That could be objectively true. Or maybe there’s something else going on.

  126. 126
    tobie says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I don’t know. But one thing that struck me from the article rikyrah linked to is that they didn’t make an appointment to meet with Feinstein to make a pitch for an accelerated timeline for dealing with climate change. I’d be grumpy too if at the end of a long day a large group of people showed up in my office and yelled at me and told me you do things my way or get lost. Yes, Feinstein is a centrist and an institutionalist. Why not try to co-opt her for your cause? If nothing else, she know how things work in DC and has a lot of experience getting legislation passed. She could be a great ally. But the Sunrise Mvmt is dead set into turning her into an enemy so they can flush out the old guard.

  127. 127
    Kelly says:

    Here in Marion County, Oregon solar panels are so popular with farmers the county is considering zoning restrictions to discourage them from high value farm land.

    We had a solar survey and the beautiful 100+ foot Douglas firs on the adjacent state park land shade us out.

    Parking lots and the flat roofs of big box commercial buildings seem like ideal sites for solar electric. Pouring money into tax credits to make such installations compelling strikes me as a worthy response to our climate crisis.

    I’ve long been of the opinion that the building code should have a provision to require at least enough solar to offset the air conditioning on all sites that get enough sun.

  128. 128
    WaterGirl says:

    @schrodingers_cat: It’s the boots that led me to say no to the skirt and yes to the pants. If it were summertime, my answer would be different. Pants, for sure, for this meeting. IMO

  129. 129
    MomSense says:


    Feinstein is a centrist on some things but not on gun control or climate change. She told them honestly and directly what the problem is – GOP Senators. If the “sunrise movement” wants to make a difference they should spend all their time on Republicans. Feinstein will propose legislation as liberal as that 60th vote in the Senate. Also too fuck this Green New Deal. It’s a non binding resolution. It’s about as useful as renaming post offices after Al Gore.

    AOC has more charisma than sense. She’s got me at my last fucking nerve.

  130. 130
    Ruckus says:

    @Gelfling 545:
    Reading that I remembered that when I lived in Ohio, BP – that’s British Petroleum, put up a new station that had solar on the canopy, and the installer, a subsidiary of BP, told me that it would provide enough power to supply the station with all it’s needs, pumps, lights, heat. IOW, a world wide petroleum company had a solar subsidiary and was installing solar on it’s new properties almost 2 decades ago. Not a US petroleum company mind you but still.

  131. 131
    tobie says:

    @Uncle Cosmo: What you saw were the famous “Schrebergarten” colonies that the education reformer Daniel Schreber introduced at the tale end of the 19th century to give urban, industrial workers some access to green space on the weekends. Schreber also had various theories about the importance of calisthenics in primary education. One interesting tidbit about him is that his son Dr. Daniel Paul Schreber had a psychotic breakdown and wrote a memoir about his experiences as a medium for cosmic forces that became the basis for Freud’s theory of psychosis (and especially why in Freud’s view psychosis was immune to psychoanalytic treatment).

  132. 132

    @tobie: Sunrise movement does seem to be more clueless than malicious. Their goals are lofty but their tactics are detrimental to their goals. I have little faith in the ideological pure be they left or right.

  133. 133
    WaterGirl says:

    What a gorgeous picture of Steve! (Cole’s twitter feed on the right.) I love pet photos where they are looking you right in the eye. Steve is just stunning. All my favorite Lily pictures are of her looking straight into the camera. My heart melts.

  134. 134
    MomSense says:


    Are you saying wear a skirt over dress pants? That I wouldn’t do. I love riding boots with tights and skirts. They work better with wool/tweed as opposed to a lighter or more formal fabric. That may not be the right outfit depending on where you are interviewing.

  135. 135
    Ruckus says:


    And with that, let the daily head banging begin.

    I’m not banging my head on the table any longer, I need all the available power that’s left inside. And banging the head on a table of the most needed person in this case, drumpf, is illegal. Besides that wouldn’t make any positive difference to him. A valuable service to the world sure but we have to be practical and proper here.

  136. 136

    @MomSense: Nope. Skirt with boots OR dress pants.

    ETA: Yeah me too. I have nice tartan wool skirt and I frequently pair that with an Irish fisherman’s sweater and boots.

  137. 137
    Amir Khalid says:

    What does one call the young of a bobcat? A bobkitten?

  138. 138
    tobie says:

    @MomSense: The person I’m angry at is Ed Markey. He’s an experienced legislator. He knows what resolutions and bills look like. He knows the GND is lacking in substance and that including guaranteed healthcare, guaranteed housing, guaranteed pensions, and guaranteed jobs in a climate bill dilutes the environmental message.

  139. 139
    tobie says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I think the Sunrise Movement knows full well what it’s doing. They are closely aligned with Justice Dems and work in tandem. Three minutes separated their posting of the doctored video and Waleed Shahid’s retweeting of it. The two work in tandem.

  140. 140
    Baud says:


    The GND itself is fine as a statement of ideals. It’s not fine as legislation or as scripture. It’s that confusion that seems to be the source of the problem.

  141. 141
    tobie says:

    @Baud: Exactly. You said it better than me.

  142. 142

    @tobie: The Justice Ds are malign, I was just giving Sunrise Movement the benefit of the doubt because their founders are young, in their twenties. But right now they are on my last nerve with their antics.

  143. 143

    @Baud: Baud is right, as always.

  144. 144
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Yeah, I have some disagreements as well with the article. Not so much the idea of “workism” as a national religion and its misplaced applications in public policy, but the ideas of where to find commitment and passion. I have always felt that hard work, excellence, thoughtfulness, practice, etc. need to be in place in some measure during any activity, whether work or leisure. You have to be realistic and not overly obsessive (I work hard at cooking well, including taking notes after a new recipe, but I do not plan to be the next Julia Child). Focus improves the joy of the activity. What I find in the 20 somethings I know is that they see these qualities as only applicable to the job. Outside of the job, they don’t want to think, and they are totally passive. So then they stress out trying to squeeze out the good qualities of hard work only at their jobs, can’t do it, and get depressed. As for those my age, I find the obsessive people are basically management time wasters who spend long hours redoing what their employees have done. Bottom line — US ideas of work, and leisure, and family are screwed up.

  145. 145

    @Amir Khalid: Bob cub? Or bob kitten? I think kitten. If it purrs its a kitten if it roars its a cub.

  146. 146
    Baud says:

    Several players with the University of Mississippi basketball team took a knee during the National Anthem before their game Saturday in protest of a Confederate rally being held near the arena.

  147. 147
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Dress pants will be warmer, and it’s become quite acceptable for women to wear pants(!) in business. Even without a matching suit jacket and carefully yet conservatively coordinated blouse. Light brown shoes with navy is still unacceptable as tasteless, unless you’re Italian.

  148. 148
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @tobie: I’m not so much angry at Markey as I am worried about more pragmatic and effective Dems not getting that you have to be really careful about trying to ally yourselves with the no-allies-to-the-right litmus testers of Wilmer World. AOC has sent signals that she’s willing to work the system– i.e. her endorsement of Pelosi both with her vote and with her social media and public persona– and that she’s going to join the “Democrats are the real enemy” crowd. Maybe Pelosi needs to organize interstate Co-Dels so AOC can learn that not all Democrats vote like Brooklyn.

  149. 149

    The hive mind has spoken. Pants it is.

  150. 150
    Baud says:


    I’m too late to the discussion, but I would go with no pants.

  151. 151
    Baud says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Maybe they could do a Rep Swap, like that old Wife Swap show except with congresscritters.

  152. 152
    Suzanne says:


    flat roofs of big box commercial buildings seem like ideal sites for solar electric

    Agreed. However, depending on where the building is located, solar arrays can increase structural requirements due to uplift. Building code can mandate sufficient structure for new builds, but existing buildings can be difficult (again, depending on where the building is).

    The I-codes are redone every three years (and even the places that don’t use the I—codes like CA have the I-code as the model). Zoning ordinances usually on a similar schedule. Again, this is mostly handled locally, which is why it is so important to go to City Council and DRB meetings!

  153. 153

    @Baud: Too cold for that, I am afraid.

  154. 154
    Ruckus says:

    @mad citizen:

    “Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day, filling out useless forms and listening to eight different bosses drone on about about mission statements.”

    I’ve often wondered what does the world gain with the work that a lot of those people in those cubicles are doing? How much of that is that they trying to sell something that no one needs to people who don’t want to purchase that something to make a profit for someone who doesn’t give a shit about anyone or anything else? Maybe it’s that I’ve worked most of my 55 yrs of working life, making stuff that other people use to hopefully enrich their lives, like molds for Barbie dolls, molds for water bottles because someone sold them the idea that water systems are unsafe, even though the company gets their water from that same source and we spend a lot of money driving water around in bottles made from petroleum products, using petroleum products when a pipeline is far more effective…. There was/is other stuff! OK I’m apologizing to the world now…..

  155. 155

    The meeting/interview is at an academic publishing house that makes test materials for many professional certifications and publishes college text books.

  156. 156
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Frozen out of edit function, so

    I am worried about more pragmatic and effective Dems not getting that you have to be really careful about trying to ally yourselves with the no-allies-to-the-right litmus testers of Wilmer World.

    See also: all the 2020 hopefuls who were so quick to sign on to Wilmer’s MFA bill, and are now trying to explain that there are many paths to UHC that aren’t necessarily Single Payer Now, Single Payer Only, Single Payer Or Your Disturbing Lack of Faith Has Been Noted.

  157. 157
    Victor Matheson says:

    @Ramalama: yes, Massachusetts church. Sturbridge. For the life of me, I can’t remember who did my house in MA, but they were good as well. Anyways, Rayah did great for me in central MA, but I am sure they will install anywhere in the state.

  158. 158
    tobie says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: My speculation is that Markey thought he was being helpful promoting something that is in fact important to the party as a whole. The idea of linking climate action to a green economy, green jobs, green infrastructure, a green-blue alliance, etc. has been around since Jimmy Carter. I’m sure some version of “Green New Deal” will be at the top of the party’s platform in 2020. The problem is that broad alliances don’t seem to work well in the twitter age, and you now have thousands of activists on twitter, dkos, and Facebook convinced that anyone who wants to aim for complete decarbonization by 2050 instead of 2030 is in bed with the petroleum industry. What could be a unifying message for Dems has become a cudgel.

  159. 159
    Baud says:

    @tobie: Reminds me of the between the $12 and $15 minimum wage. $15 has caught on, but almost every place that has implemented it is gradually phasing it in, so it’s not like even that was something that really blue areas felt could be done immediately.

  160. 160
    WaterGirl says:

    @Amir Khalid: bobbaby?

  161. 161

    @tobie: I don’t they think they are as numerous IRL as they seem on the social media.
    Bot accounts != people.

  162. 162
    debbie says:


    I hate myself for saying this out loud, but go with the skirt.

  163. 163
    Bess says:

    @tobie: I only watched the first video that was posted here. I was really disappointed in how Feinstein interacted with the young people who came to talk with her.

    Were she a physician I’d say she showed terrible bedside manners.

    (I’m a Feinstein supporter and consistant Diane voter.)

  164. 164
    Ruckus says:

    @Cheryl from Maryland:

    US ideas of work, and leisure, and family are screwed up.

    Work makes money for someone, leisure only sort of does that, at least for the person doing the leisure, because of course you have to buy something to have leisure with, an electronic game, sports equipment, etc. But maybe the kids are on to something, not spending money for leisure is actually leisurely time spending. The question is, should someone have to spend money at all times for stuff, so that some can have more than enough? We don’t need to be productive in some way every waking hour of the day, cogitation is not necessarily a bad thing.

  165. 165
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Baud: I agree with the view that it is a worthy statement of ideals. It can also be used as a selling point for incremental legislation. If one can say, “This bill would move us along on the path to Item 3 (or whatever) of the GND,” it would help to get people on board. If something is explicitly framed as a step toward a greater goal, it is harder to argue that it doesn’t go far enough.

  166. 166
    stinger says:

    @schrodingers_cat: This sounds quite a bit like my employer! We don’t have very strict dress guidelines (which may vary somewhat by location), but pants are acceptable everywhere. Good luck to you!

  167. 167
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Baud: Reminds me of the between the $12 and $15 minimum wage.

    You beat me to it. In a similar vein, I wonder how many of the people passionately waving “NO TPP” signs in Philly two years ago could tell you what TPP stands for today

  168. 168

    @debbie: You have no reason to apologize, curious why you disagree with the consensus. BTW I was leaning towards the skirt initially.

  169. 169
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Bess: Are you saying that the only video you saw was the edited one?

  170. 170
    debbie says:


    They’ve internalized that Trump’s Bully Method is the way to go. There will be much, much more of this, I’m afraid.

  171. 171
    Baud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    If something is explicitly framed as a step toward a greater goal, it is harder to argue that it doesn’t go far enough.

    I don’t know. That’s what Obamacare was, but that’s what people kept arguing (until they actually risked losing it, and then people liked it).

  172. 172
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Darn, I knew there’d be a catch. :)

    If Musk and Michael Crichton have taught society anything – anything new is EVIL!!!

    And since I am on to airing of the grievances – what the hell is everyone’s problem with high tech? We all agree that global warming is the major problem yet the second they start raising windmills and installing solar panels it’s denounced as pure evil. Yes the reason we can’t have solar panels because in a country were food is so cheep the poor have been known to literally eat themselves to death we might lose farm land. The Horrors! It’s like Tesla and their zero emission cars, that HAS to be evil because well just know nothing good comes out of capitalism.

    Perhaps everyone might want to take a step back and consider there are others in the society with agendas to make these things look bad, like say billionaire coal mine owners who have been known to fix elections so hiring hacks to write hit pieces on green energy isn’t beyond what they might do? Or the press is mostly about sensationalism so wants to present all things in the most pessimistic fashion because their audiences are addicted to fear?

  173. 173
    frosty says:


    I’ve often wondered what does the world gain with the work that a lot of those people in those cubicles are doing?

    I’m one of those sitting in a cubicle staring at a screen 8 hours a day. I’m a consulting engineer working on watershed plans and stormwater retrofits to help fix the damage from earlier, “uncontrolled” development. I like to think the work makes a difference. Occasionally there’s some monitoring downstream that shows it.

    Unpaid overtime for proposals is baked into the business so in that respect I’m contributing to the national average of long hours at work.

  174. 174

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: IIRC, BJ FPer and commenteriat was overwhelmingly against it too.

  175. 175
    debbie says:


    Publishing. Another reason to go with a skirt, trust me.

  176. 176
    Ruckus says:

    Because the minimum wage didn’t keep up with the cost of stuff for so long, it is far below what is now the real minimum and to raise it in one step would be economically bad for a lot of businesses which would possibly go out of business, creating even less available money for the employee. IOW the system has been built up around a lot of people having shitty wages and while that is bad, no wages is worse. The system needs to be fixed but it needs to be fixed at both ends of the spectrum.

  177. 177
    MomSense says:


    I think I have the same outfit! I love my herringbone and tweeds,too.

  178. 178
    frosty says:

    @frosty: Although to be fair I’m typing this in Florida sitting by the camper in a state park. Part of my 3rd annual unpaid month off Snowbird Road Trip. Helps reduce the annual long hours somewhat.

  179. 179
    debbie says:


    Sorry for multiple posts, but I was in publishing for almost 18 years. It’s a pretty conservative industry, academic publishing even more so. They hire retired teachers as sales reps. Nothing cutting edge about that.

  180. 180
    tobie says:

    @Bess: In the longer video things look bit different, though DiFi is clearly tired and impatient. I think it’s wrong to say the activists wanted to “talk to her.” They didn’t make an appointment, they showed up unscheduled en masse in her office, they filmed the whole encounter, and then posted a doctored version of the video to embarrass her. That’s not a negotiation or a conversation. That’s an ambush.

  181. 181
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Baud: I don’t think that the incremental nature of the ACA was clear enough to the general public. We political obsessives knew, but did anyone else?

  182. 182

    @debbie: Even the divisions dealing with STEM (physics and technology, in particular)?

  183. 183
    Mary G says:

    @Suzanne: Where I live the most hotly contested elections are by far for City Council, going back decades, because it’s DFH’s vs. Developers. I didn’t hear a peep from Feinstein or DeLeon about the senate, but had candidates knocking on my door for the locals.

  184. 184
    Bess says:


    I would think that were the panels racked in pairs on an east/west orientation the updraft problem would be largely eliminated. There would be no large surface for the wind to get behind and create lift.

    This is an image of an E/W installation on the ground. There are some similar rooftop systems.

  185. 185
    debbie says:


    I was at Scribner and then Macmillan. Both had trade (regular) books, as well as high school and college and reference. There wasn’t much of STEM when I was there. But I will tell you they dressed more conservatively than we common book whores and when you got off the elevator at their floor, it was like walking into the kind of library where you still get shushed.

    If you are leaning toward a pantsuit, I’d add a tasteful scarf. I’m only half-joking when I say pearls would also help.

  186. 186
    stinger says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:

    billionaire coal mine owners who have been known to fix elections so hiring hacks to write hit pieces on green energy isn’t beyond what they might do? Or the press is mostly about sensationalism so wants to present all things in the most pessimistic fashion because their audiences are addicted to fear?

    Los dos.

  187. 187
    debbie says:


    Also, is this a publisher who’s been around for a while or a newer one, attuned to tech, etc.? If newer, the pantsuit would work. If an older house, I’d go with the skirt.

    Wearing tights with the boots might help with keeping you warm.

  188. 188
    Suzanne says:

    @frosty: I’m also a cubicle worker. I’m an architect who specializes in healthcare buildings. I’d like to think that that matters.

    And you’re right—there is much uncompensated overtime.

  189. 189
    Bess says:

    @tobie: I don’t care if they just showed up.

    They were kids and were putting out energy to fix things that impacts them. She should have graciously greeted them, apologized for not having must time for them, listened to their pitch, and thanked them for their efforts.

    Then a quick explanation of the lack of Democratic votes in the Senate along with a statement that she and others were working up a version that had a chance of passing. A promise to give each of them a copy of her plan and to carefully read their ideas and see if she could get more into the bill she is working on.

    Feinstein has been in this game a long time. She should be able to handle a group kids better than she did. She was very harsh and very dismissive. A massive fail, IMHO.

  190. 190

    @debbie: The parent company is British and has been around for a while.

  191. 191
    debbie says:


    You are painting with a very, very broad brush. Cubicles can be confining and isolating, but they can also be conducive for collaboration with co-workers.

  192. 192
    Bess says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: No, according to the text in the post the edited video was the last one. I watched the first which was supposedly not edited.

  193. 193
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Totally OT, but since we don’t often collide in the comments: I met a man a couple of weeks ago who looks more like Townes that JT does.

    Also, too, please try to manage your envy that I get to spend the rest of the day working on a final privilege review of docs in a patent infringement case that a judge ordered be produced by March 21, and you do not.

  194. 194
  195. 195
    Suzanne says:

    @Bess: That depends on prevailing wind patterns in your specific location, the slope of the roof, the construction type of the building, the size and spacing of the panels, and myriad other factors.

  196. 196
    stinger says:

    @debbie: Without knowing exactly the type of company, I’d certainly agree with you that at our company (not a Scribner-type “publishing house”), the sales reps dress conservatively. If s_c is interviewing for a non-sales position, pants would be fine, esp. for the cold weather. My 2 cents.

  197. 197
    stinger says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Sounds more and more like my company!

  198. 198
    lumpkin says:


    There’s something off about this story. There is no Selinsgrove, Arizona.

  199. 199
    debbie says:


    You could be right. But the bottom line is not to let the outfit “outshine” the person wearing it.

  200. 200

    @debbie: That’s not going to happen even if I am wearing a hand woven silk sari with gold threads. I don’t blend into the background.

  201. 201
    Bess says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I don’t think that the incremental nature of the ACA was clear enough to the general public. We political obsessives knew, but did anyone else?

    I think few people understood the ACA. I know that I spent a lot of time on non-political sites correcting misconceptions and explaining parts which people had simply never heard of. For example, no one knew about the part that trained more physician assistants, opened clinics in areas of need, and digitizing medical records as ways to cut the cost of medical care.

    Almost no one away from political junkie sites had any idea of most of the things Obama accomplished. Many assumed he did little to nothing for the environment or climate change.

    Same for Hillary’s agenda. Basically people assumed she had none.

    We can’t depend on the major media to get that news out. They haven’t and they won’t. We, someone, needs to figure out a better way to communicate with the average voter.

    Maybe we need an American Has Talent type show with someone with Warren’s ability to communicate simply and clearly to bring the facts where there would normally be commercials.

    Not that that’s a real idea. It’s an attempt to suggest we need to do some way out the box thinking in order to create a better idea.

  202. 202
    The Pale Scot says:

    Another great read from UK journalism, imagine this being printed in the WSJ.

    Theresa May is the Death Star of British politics

    Time and again my informants — MPs, former MPs, civil servants, special advisers — tell me, eyes flashing, that I’ve got it wrong and the public have it wrong, and she’s so much worse than that. She’s not normal. She’s extraordinary. Extraordinarily uncommunicative; extraordinarily rude in the way she blanks people, ideas and arguments. To my surprise there is no difference between the pictures of her that Remainers and Brexiteers paint.
    Theresa May, they tell me (in a couple of cases actually shouting) is the Death Star of modern British politics. She’s the theory of anti-matter, made flesh. She’s a political black hole because nothing, not even light, can escape. Ideas, beliefs, suggestions, objections, inquiries, proposals, projects, loyalties, affections, trust, whole careers, real men and women, are sucked into the awful void that is Downing Street — and nothing ever comes out: no answers, only a blank so blank that it screams. Reputations (they lament) are staked on her, and lost. Warnings are delivered to her, and ignored. Plans are run by her, unacknowledged. Messages are sent to her, unanswered. She has become the unperson of Downing Street: the living embodiment of the closed door.

    Who does that sound like, Hmmm… scratches chin

  203. 203

    @stinger: Its not a sales position. More like an editor in charge of putting together questions, answer keys etc.

  204. 204
    stinger says:

    @debbie: I don’t disagree at all — but if I were on the committee/in the meeting, I’d be eyeing those boots! They’re gorgeous!

    From everything I know about s_c based on her years of comments on this blog, she will present professionally for whatever position or purpose. Due to her uncertainty, I’d lean toward the skirt, but pants are unlikely to be a negatively deciding factor. Unless it’s in NYC?

  205. 205
    Ruckus says:

    Wasn’t saying that all cubical jobs were a waste of time. Was saying that there are cubical jobs that exist to fill the work day, not to be in some way productive. Take politics in this country. How many people are in this work, not to be productive but to be the exact opposite?

  206. 206
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho:

    Also, too, please try to manage your envy that I get to spend the rest of the day working on a final privilege review of docs in a patent infringement case that a judge ordered be produced by March 21, and you do not.

    I am going spend most of my day reviewing documents produced by junior staff.

  207. 207
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @lumpkin: From what I’ve read earlier, she’s from Selingsgrove, PA. It’s not clear why she was in Arizona.

  208. 208
    Bess says:

    I assumed you were talking about uplift on south facing panels on a flat roof. That sort of array does leave the panels sticking up where they catch the wind. Putting them facing east and west eliminates the ‘sail’.

    On a sloped roof there is not enough space underneath the panels to create lift.

    Panels facing east or west generate about 90% as much electricity as south facing panels. Plus it greatly extends the solar day. You can run some numbers using this online calculator.


    Chose country, state, and city. Compare monthly/annual irradiance based on facing direction and angle.

  209. 209
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Suzanne: What do you know, with your education and training and license and shit, compared to a random Internet expert? Jeez.

  210. 210
    Haroldo says:


    It is a trifle odd. She’s from Selinsgrove, PA according to her twitter ( ). The filming of the cop was in Patagonia, AZ. It looks as tho’ she was down in AZ for awhile.

    ETA: What Gin & Tonic said in, I think, #307.

  211. 211
    WaterGirl says:

    @debbie: @schrodingers_cat: Those boots don’t look the least bit conservative to me, and pearls would absolutely not go with the boots.

    edit: bottom line: most important thing is that you be entirely comfortable with what you are wearing.

  212. 212
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    @Ruckus: The kids I know spend many dollars on leisure — pot, alcohol, video games, takeout, films. But they can’t remember what they ate, or what they watched, or why they liked anything. They just consume. Maybe it’s just me, but it drives me crazy; it is so passive, and that passivity bleeds into their work. I was fortunate in that my job was to make things (intellectual making) for leisure consumption with a dash of learning — museum exhibitions. I also left work after 8 hours every day so my brain didn’t hurt and so I could limit useless management crap. Again, lucky, productive employee so I could get away with it.

  213. 213
    stinger says:

    @schrodingers_cat: If you will be warm enough in the skirt outfit, perhaps with tights, then go for that. It sounds as if you’d feel more confident in it. You want to be able to forget what you’re wearing during the meeting. If you’re on the test development side, then it really won’t matter once you’re hired. You can wear slacks, tartans, fisherman’s sweaters, and – YESSSS – gold saris after that!

  214. 214
    Ruckus says:

    Absolutely agree, very broad brush. This is a commenting process in which brevity is considered better, even when brevity isn’t always appropriate.
    The world has changed, as it always does and that includes the working world. There are more people, they are more effective, due to technology, due to education, due to the collaboration of cubicles/work groups. But all of these things also have their downsides, well other than the education part. And even there often we make a lot of education mandatory and then not use any of it other than the paper, when filling those cubicles. We are inefficient in different ways than we were decades ago. And we were inefficient then for sure.

  215. 215
    jacy says:

    The kid is teaching himself to make pie crust from scratch, so pray for him. (I never did get pie crust to come out right since I moved from CO to the south, so I just gave up and went with store-bought).

    We ate at Elsie’s Plate and Pie yesterday to celebrate his registration and he’s trying to recreate their coconut cream pie. It should be interesting. He already made me a lovely steak pita sandwich for lunch. I’m so happy that he loves to cook, but he’s like a the Tasmanian Devil in the kitchen — it always looks like a bomb went off when he’s finished.

  216. 216
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Suzanne: Yeah, this.

    Coming from the perspective of a reporter who covers rural town meetings.

  217. 217
    MomSense says:


    I fully admit to being an unconventional parent but I thought Feinstein was honest and treated the kids like informed citizens. She wanted them to each have copies of her bill and she explained to them why she didn’t agree with the GND. She also thanked them, said she may reconsider, and even talked to one of them about an internship. I thought the adults that were with the kids were insufferable. If this was really about the kids they should have been quiet and let the kids talk. The adults were using the kids like props and that pisses me off.

  218. 218
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    @jacy: Foolproof pie crust recipe for those of us who are poor bakers — make about half again as much as, say, the Joy of Cooking calls for. So for a single crust, 1 1/4 cups flour or 1 1/2 cups flour with the rest of the ingredients increased accordingly. Then the crust gets handled less and is more tender and you have more with which to work. CF

  219. 219
    Formerly disgruntled in Oregon says:

    @Bess: 100% agree. She ought to at minimum acknowledge the life-and-death seriousness of the issue – and sympathize with these younger people whose futures are significantly clouded by climate change. We all should be acting with much more urgency on addressing this crisis.

  220. 220
    Suzanne says:

    @Bess: Considering that prevailing winds in my area are east and west, we try to aim them southward to minimize uplift and maximize collection.

    That’s why specific location matters. Prevailing winds, building codes, type of buildings (this refers to construction type I through V), and other landscape conditions vary greatly from place to place.

  221. 221
    Ruckus says:

    Didn’t know that the VA was required to have solar. It is a good use of a lot of space though and I’d bet it saves a lot off the electrical bill. Wonder what the ROI is. I know it is overall positive but not how long it takes to get there, given the load and the output.

  222. 222

    @WaterGirl: I agree. No pearls with those boots.

  223. 223
    stinger says:

    @stinger: For context, I work at a British-owned company with a large North American presence in K-12, postsecondary, and professional markets. We publish paper and digital textbooks and assessments, with an increasing emphasis on digital, and employ a ton of people — usually former teachers — doing the type of work you’ve described. Go with the skirt! And good luck!

  224. 224
    WaterGirl says:

    @jacy: That all sounds like great fun! I love being around enthusiasm like that. What a blessing.

  225. 225
    debbie says:


    I was being facetious about the pearls.

  226. 226
    debbie says:


    Have you ever seen America’s Test Kitchen’s recipe for a pie crust? Part of the water is replaced with vodka. It’s supposed to be foolproof.

  227. 227
    Suzanne says:

    @Ruckus: ROI is affected by many factors, but 7-10 years is a reasonable expectation for I and B occupancy buildings.

  228. 228
    WaterGirl says:

    @debbie: Okay, I guess I didn’t catch that since you said you were half serious.

    But even an outfit that would go well with pearls would not go with those boots, so I’m gonna stand my ground with my comments. Worth every penny that SC is paying for them! :-)

  229. 229
    Jeffro says:

    Jen Rubin just posted “What Democratic candidates need to promise in 2020”, and then goes on to list all the opposite of all the shitty/illegal/stupid/corrupt things trumpov is doing, ie, the same things that the GOP let him get away with (and will still cover for, as far as they’re able)

    She then wraps up “Voters need to do better in 2020”.

    Jen honey, DEMOCRATIC voters DID do better in 2016, and we’ll DO IT AGAIN, thanks! Get your own fucking house in order or get on the D team and focus your ‘deep thoughts’ outwards, hmm?

  230. 230
    jacy says:

    Can I just drink the vodka and send somebody out for pie crust? I used to love baking more when I had time, now it’s like, eh, what can I buy? @WaterGirl:
    It’s funny, I’m out in the office working and he keeps coming out here and asking things like, “how many cups in a pound of flour?” I’m scared to walk into the house and see…..And I’m sure the cat and dog are helping….

  231. 231
    Bess says:

    @Suzanne: Suzanne, you are absolutely not ‘getting it’.

    I’ll just stop here as I’ve given you far more information than you should need in order to do an installation that avoid wind getting under/behind the panels. If you’re interested just go up the page and reread what I posted.

  232. 232
    Doug R says:

    I don’t see as covering land is really that much of a problem. In hot desert areas, shade is welcome relief. Most plants in the forest have to subsist on partial shade which carefully design would allow.
    As for fertile land, most of the tomatoes and peppers I buy are grown in massive greenhouses which don’t even use soil and don’t need poisons to kill other plants and pests.
    PS: We found a nice 40w panel at Costco for less than $200 that we’ve been futzing around with.

  233. 233
    Bill Arnold says:

    @joel hanes:

    It sucks.
    An earth that’s 5 degrees F warmer will suck much worse.

    This! (Italics – you’re an optimist.)

  234. 234
    Suzanne says:

    @Bess: Considering that I do this for a living, and have a license in building things, I think my knowledge is more credible than yours.

    BUT, you know, you have a link to an online calculator, so that’s totally the same.

  235. 235
    frosty says:

    @Ruckus: Agreed, I got your point when you were talking about the jobs having no point except to make a profit for people who don’t need the money. I’m glad I don’t have one of those.

    And we’re employee owned so if I manage to cover the profit on one of my jobs, part of it goes in my pocket. Hey! Incentive!! Pay people for their work!!!

  236. 236
    WaterGirl says:

    @jacy: In my house growing up, the person who cooked did not have to clean up. At least you don’t have to wonder how you will be spending your evening. :-)

  237. 237
    joel hanes says:

    @Bill Arnold:

    you’re an optimist

    Actually, I’m not; I think we’ve probably passed a couple tipping points and are doomed to greater than 600 ppm of CO2 and 8 degrees or so, which will mean a mass extinction. I won’t live to see it, but I’d bet the human population in 2150 will be less than 2 billion.

    But 5 degrees F would suck a whole lot more than some inequity caused by policies intended to mitigate that fate.
    People are still talking about climate change as if it’s optional, rather than life-or-death staring us in the face.

  238. 238
    Another Scott says:

    @Bess: You should have quit earlier. Suzanne knows more about building issues than you realize. Quit man-splaining to her.


  239. 239
    KSinMA says:

    @schrodingers_cat: This is in Mass., right? Almost anywhere in Mass., dress pants are always perfectly appropriate. Especially in the kind of work you’re describing. You could always drive over to the employer at quitting time and take a peek at what the women are wearing as they come out of the building.

  240. 240
    joel hanes says:

    She then wraps up “Voters need to do better in 2020”.

    Actually, I’m glad to see this.
    Too many people, especially voting-as-means-of-virtue-signalling left purists apparently believe that voters have no responsibility for outcomes, and that if no major party offers them a candidate with whom they want to get married and have kids, then the parties have failed them.
    They never like my opinion that they, the voters too pure at heart to vote for the lesser of two evils, have failed the nation.

    There’s a similar dynamic on the right which enabled Trump, and I’m glad to see Rubin calling it out.

  241. 241

    @stinger: The sari is peacock blue with some gold thread embroidery on its border and the pallu (that’s fabric that goes over the shoulder). Its a wedding reception kinda sari.

  242. 242
    Bill Arnold says:


    If you are going to an important meeting/interview what would you wear a knee length skirt and a jacket with riding boots or dress pants.

    Might be worth checking with the host. E.g. if it’s seriously science-related, being comfortable with and not mentally distracted by what you’re wearing might be most important. Your mind is what’s most important. (The other advice here is fine. Just be super together mentally, however you do that best.)

  243. 243
    burnspbesq says:


    “Economic and social justice” will be what prevents adoption of a GND. There will never ever be consensus on what those things mean, and they will draw attention away from the core environmental issues.

  244. 244
    satby says:

    @Bess: Suzanne is an architect. In Arizona. What’s your expertise in the area?

  245. 245
    Another Scott says:

    @joel hanes: It does seem hopeless in some ways, but we can’t give up.

    I assume you saw this news story in the last few weeks:

    Colonisation of the Americas at the end of the 15th Century killed so many people, it disturbed Earth’s climate.

    That’s the conclusion of scientists from University College London, UK.

    The team says the disruption that followed European settlement led to a huge swathe of abandoned agricultural land being reclaimed by fast-growing trees and other vegetation.

    This pulled down enough carbon dioxide (CO₂) from the atmosphere to eventually chill the planet.

    It’s a cooling period often referred to in the history books as the “Little Ice Age” – a time when winters in Europe would see the Thames in London regularly freeze over.

    “The Great Dying of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas led to the abandonment of enough cleared land that the resulting terrestrial carbon uptake had a detectable impact on both atmospheric CO₂ and global surface air temperatures,” Alexander Koch and colleagues write in their paper published in Quaternary Science Reviews.


    The lesson isn’t that we need to kill off 60 M people and let tropical forests take over again, but that changes in land use can have a fairly quick impact on CO2 levels (at least when starting from a low baseline). We could quickly scale up things like the Sahara Forest Project in Jordan if we wanted to (we don’t have to invent new physics to do it).

    Even if plants don’t really sequester CO2 over the long term (they eventually rot and release their CO2 back to the biosphere over tens of decades), they do help in many ways and will help in the short-term (next 50 years).


  246. 246
    Suzanne says:

    Let’s see….I have two master’s degrees (including one in sustainable building design), an architectural license, and ten years of experience in actually designing buildings with roofs, not to mention designing solar arrays on existing roofs. So maybe that’s enough credibility for someone to hear me on this:

    It is an easy thing to say “let’s put solar arrays on roofs of big-box buildings!”. It is far more difficult to actually DO. Depending on ***the specific conditions of the area***, and ***the design of the specific building under discussion***, this may or may not be feasible. The optimal configuration for solar collection ***may*** be such that there are conflicts with prevailing winds and uplift is created, meaning that additional structure would be required that the existing building cannot support. The roof deck may be too flexible, or the roof membrane may be in poor condition to be penetrated and need replacement. All of these are ***site-specific considerations*** and are why I have a fucking job. This is why I said that ***the feasibility of solar installs depends on many factors***. Considering that a huge part of sustainability is ***reusing and extending the life of existing building stock***, these issues will not be solved merely by implementing new building codes that apply only to new buildings.

    But back to the keyboard commando with her links.

    Hire an architect and an engineer, people.

  247. 247
    Another Scott says:


    But back to the keyboard commando with her links.

    Bess is a man. Adam had some run-ins with him earlier.

    Hang in there and don’t let him get to you.


  248. 248
    WaterGirl says:

    @KSinMA: @schrodingers_cat:

    You could always drive over to the employer at quitting time and take a peek at what the women are wearing as they come out of the building.

    That’s funny. I had the same thought and decided not to post it — first I thought it sounded too crazy and then I realized that it would be impossible to tell who was a secretary and who was a salesperson and who was an editor, and I’m guessing they could all dress differently.

    But I’m pleased to see that the idea wasn’t so crazy that someone else didn’t have the same thought!

    edit: Of course, if I need a new car, I go shopping in parking lots before I ever go to a dealer. I like this car, I don’t like that car. Pretty soon I can see a pattern, like maybe they all have a similar body shape, even if they are different manufacturers, or maybe I get a feel for the size of the vehicle I want. So maybe it’s not much of a leap to think about watching people come out of the building at closing time. :-)

  249. 249
    debbie says:

    @Another Scott:

    Yeah, but he was so instructive about bathing in an icy stream!

  250. 250
    Suzanne says:

    @satby: I’m licensed in Arizona, but have done projects all over the western US, including in snow/forest/mountain country, low and high desert, coastal/water areas, and seismic zones. In short, every building is different, and there are so many factors are in play that affect the “best” design that it is impossible to say with certainty how to proceed with a building project.

  251. 251
    frosty says:


    these issues will not be solved merely by implementing new building codes that apply only to new buildings.

    This is exactly the issue with stormwater runoff treatment, which is why my job is finding ways to retrofit it into places where it wasn’t designed to go. Regs on new development have been in place for decades but they won’t clean up the Chesapeake Bay by themselves.

  252. 252
    Suzanne says:

    @Another Scott:

    Bess is a man. Adam had some run-ins with him earlier.

    That explains the mansplaining.

  253. 253
    stinger says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Aaaahhhhhh…..

  254. 254
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @tobie: Fun facts! Vielen Dank!

    The gardens took me by surprise – I’d never heard about them – but I thought they were a great idea. I saw an entire rather substantial plot of land devoted to them not far from Tegel airport in Berlin in the early 90s. Not sure if they’re still there – you have to think building space is at a premium in that town.

  255. 255
    Livinginexile says:

    I received my black cat mug. Love it. It will be my favorite.

  256. 256
    stinger says:


    drive over to the employer at quitting time and take a peek at what the women are wearing as they come out of the building.

    I’ve actually done this! (Wasn’t hired for that particular job, alas.)

  257. 257
    stinger says:

    @Another Scott: Been wondering about this. Thanks.

  258. 258
    Suzanne says:

    @frosty: Yes, we deal with similar issues. How to improve energy efficiency of existing buildings built back when energy was cheap and no one knew about building sheathing. How to improve indoor air quality in buildings built before below-slab vapor barriers and when people stuck tile to drywall and when HEPA filters didn’t exist. How to improve accessibility for the disabled in old, shit-ass buildings that cannot accommodate clearances without massive renovation.

    New buildings are EASY. New development is EASY. It’s going back and fixing everything that we already built in order to make it functional and lasting that is difficult, expensive, and time-consuming.

  259. 259
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @WaterGirl: bobsyerankle, as in biting it.

  260. 260
  261. 261
    Another Scott says:

    @Suzanne: It’s kinda funny how so much of life is like that.

    Want a new national insurance program?

    Want a new electrical power distribution infrastructure?

    Want a system where everyone can go to college?


    It’s so very much easier when one isn’t constrained by what actually exists here and now…


  262. 262
    J R in WV says:

    @a thousand flouncing lurkers (was fidelio):

    Parking lots. How many parking lots are there in this country, and how much power could be generated by mounting solar collectors above them? I doubt most of the vehicles parked in them would suffer as a result.

    In Tucson and the rest of southern Arizona, there are huge arrays of solar panels roofing most parking lots, at churches, schools, Walmart. A few years ago I was driving in Tucson, which I don’t do all that often, and got squeezed against Davis-Mothan AFB, which occupies a couple of miles along the south side of Tucson.

    There is an array of solar panels running for about 3700 feet between the civilian street and the actual Air Force Base where work happens.

    On the south side of the base there’s an array 3,700 feet long and 1,200 feet wide. So solar is OK for the USAF, businesses and individuals. Our solar plant withstands very high winds, is mounted on a schedule 80 high pressure gas 8″ pipe embedded in a couple of yards of concrete.

    The newly installed battery bank is old fashioned lead-acid technology and Bruce, the installer, expects them to last between 10 and 20 years, this brand and model has been in service for other customers for 18 years now.

    The panels are 8 years old, look new, and still adhere to their “as manufactured” specifications for power output. Off grid, includes a 3KW Honda generator if needed, not so far. I ran it this year because the original battery pack reached end-of-life last summer and it was a couple of days before Bruce could bring up a new set. After being idle for nearly 8 years it started on about the 3rd pull!

  263. 263
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Suzanne: I suspect “Bess” is not a woman’s name but in fact an abbreviation for Besserwisser – which is German for “know-it-all.”

    Pro tip, “Bessie”: No one – no one – likes a “know-it-all.” Particularly when someone who’s knowledgeable in whatever topic they’re pontificating about points out that they don’t know shit.

  264. 264
    joel hanes says:

    @Another Scott:

    The lesson isn’t that we need to kill off 60 M people and let tropical forests take over again

    But it might help to kill 60 million cows (and a few million deer while we’re at it)

    Even if plants don’t really sequester CO2 over the long term

    The six-to-thirty-foot-deep black chernozem soil that underlaid the prairie contained a _lot_ of carbon. Some of it was built by wetlands that eventually filled themselves in or were drained, some of it was built by the prairie itself.

    Intensive row-crop farming depletes the organic matter in the soil.

  265. 265
    J R in WV says:


    If the meeting happens while the temperature is below freezing, or even just close to it, pants could be a life saver if there’s an issue with your transportation. Skirts are just not as warm as pants — the warmer choice could save your life in a rural accident. Good shoes/boots also, too.

  266. 266
    WaterGirl says:

    @Another Scott: I especially like how he scolds Raven like a schoolmarm (so disappointed in you!) at #187.

  267. 267

    @Uncle Cosmo: Bess has admitted to being a man IIRC.

  268. 268
    J R in WV says:


    …because of course you have to buy something to have leisure with, an electronic game, sports equipment, etc.

    You don’t understand leisure very well!

    Picture a chair, in the forest, surrounded by moss covered rock walls and boulders. Birds chirping and ripping open trees for bugs, owls hooting on the ridge. Sitting in the chair, listening to the woods. Quiet breezes and leaves turning in the wind. Sitting quietly in the chair, with a tall cold drink, iced tea or gin and tonic. If it’s cool, perhaps a cup of hot tea.

    All that other stuff is just a different flavor of work!

  269. 269
    jacy says:


    Thank you! So glad you like it!

  270. 270
    J R in WV says:


    @Suzanne: Suzanne, you are absolutely not ‘getting it’.

    I’ll just stop here as I’ve given you far more information than you should need in order to do an installation that avoid wind getting under/behind the panels. If you’re interested just go up the page and reread what I posted.

    Bess, you are the person not getting it. Unless you are a licensed architect, you are telling your grandma how to suck eggs. Suzanne is a licensed architect who designs and builds hospitals for a living, in AZ, where solar has been old news for a generation. You are not!

    You need to stop your know it all attitude with people who know far more than you do about many things. Next appearing, Bess, lawyer, doctor, candlestick-maker.

  271. 271
    Brachiator says:

    @The Pale Scot:

    Another great read from UK journalism, imagine this being printed in the WSJ.

    Theresa May is the Death Star of British politics

    The Sunday Times and WSJ are both owned by Rupert Murdoch. So, yeah, I can easily imagine this garbage being printed over here.

  272. 272
    Bill Arnold says:

    Just linking because this is a climate change thread.
    White House to select federal scientists to reassess government climate findings, sources say (Juliet Eilperin, Josh Dawsey and Brady Dennis, February 24)

    The National Security Council initiative would include scientists who question the severity of climate impacts and the extent to which humans contribute to the problem, according to these individuals, who asked for anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The group would not be subject to the same level of public disclosure as a formal advisory committee.

    My fervent hope is that one or more of the climate change denier scientists is intellectually honest, seriously steeps themselves in the literature for a few months and defects from their former Fossil Fuels Are Good camp. (They can stay Republican for other issues.)

  273. 273
    the Pale Scot says:

    @Brachiator: Forgot about that

  274. 274
    AnotherBruce says:

    @tobie: Also, the group did not make an appointment with Feinstein, they just showed up. I’m sure everybody has had experience with solicitors who knock on your door loudly and uninvited. That’s exactly what that shitty group did, and they exploited children to do it . If they can’t save their anger for trump, they should fuck right off.

  275. 275
    TerryC says:

    I’m curious if any of you have heard of or engaged in Campus Sustainability Day/Week/Month over the last fifteen years?

    It is my contribution to solving the climate change problem and it’s been “indoctrinating” college students since 2003. I came up with the idea during a phone call in April and we had the first day, with a PBS broadcast supporting it, that October. It’s still going on, one example:

    It may turn out to have been my best professional moment.

  276. 276
    sgrAstar says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Madame Cat: I admit to a lifelong love affair with clothes. I agree with the other fashion panelists/bj stylists- pants are the way to go. In addition to their inherent chic and weather-appropriateness, I also like pants because they eliminate the chance of wardrobe malfunctions and the associated knicker flashing. You should send us a pic!

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