23 votes

Andrew Yang’s plan to tackle climate change, explained

96 comments

  1. [13]
    rkcr
    Link
    I used to think of nuclear power as the alternative to coal. While I still think it's a necessary transitional power source, I now think it's silly to go all-in on it. Wind and solar are both...

    I used to think of nuclear power as the alternative to coal. While I still think it's a necessary transitional power source, I now think it's silly to go all-in on it.

    Wind and solar are both cheaper than coal nowadays, whereas nuclear is way more expensive than any other energy source (including coal). Also, as stated in the article, Yang is gambling on technology that isn't fully ready yet! To top it all off, nuclear disasters are still a thing.

    Why bet on technology that's more expensive, isn't ready yet, and prone to disasters, when we already have cheaper, renewable energy sources today?

    13 votes
    1. [10]
      Autoxidation
      Link Parent
      I don't think going 100% renewables in America is doable with current technology. The research seems to agree. 80%? Seems doable, but nuclear would be the preferred option to cover that last 20%...

      I don't think going 100% renewables in America is doable with current technology. The research seems to agree. 80%? Seems doable, but nuclear would be the preferred option to cover that last 20% until renewable tech/fusion catches up and allows us to move off of it.

      Solar and wind come with their own problems, and current solar power technology actually has a higher carbon footprint per kWh than nuclear does.

      8 votes
      1. [9]
        mike10010100
        Link Parent
        What about space solar? I didn't see any consideration to that when discussing "geophysical constraints".

        What about space solar? I didn't see any consideration to that when discussing "geophysical constraints".

        1 vote
        1. [8]
          Autoxidation
          Link Parent
          That's only a concept. I'm discussing current technology, so space solar isn't even an option.

          That's only a concept. I'm discussing current technology, so space solar isn't even an option.

          2 votes
          1. [7]
            mike10010100
            Link Parent
            Fair enough. I just see it as less of a "concept" and more of a possible solution that people haven't yet tried because of high initial costs.

            Fair enough. I just see it as less of a "concept" and more of a possible solution that people haven't yet tried because of high initial costs.

            1. [6]
              NaraVara
              Link Parent
              Presumably beaming the energy down to receivers on Earth with directed laser emitters? That sounds like a huge efficiency loss from attenuation in the atmosphere. Once you factor in the expense of...

              Presumably beaming the energy down to receivers on Earth with directed laser emitters? That sounds like a huge efficiency loss from attenuation in the atmosphere. Once you factor in the expense of putting stuff in space I have doubts as to how useful that would be.

              Plus the strategic issues. A power plant on Earth you can defend with countermeasures. Satellites are easy to take out. And power generation is one of those things countries think of as being extremely crucial to national security.

              1 vote
              1. [5]
                mike10010100
                Link Parent
                Not when it's specially tuned microwaves, no, it actually cuts right through atmospheric interference. True, but if you have to fall back to terrestrial power sources, that's not the end of the...

                That sounds like a huge efficiency loss from attenuation in the atmosphere

                Not when it's specially tuned microwaves, no, it actually cuts right through atmospheric interference.

                Plus the strategic issues. A power plant on Earth you can defend with countermeasures. Satellites are easy to take out.

                True, but if you have to fall back to terrestrial power sources, that's not the end of the world, I'd think. It would also lead to new advances in space defense.

                1 vote
                1. [4]
                  NaraVara
                  Link Parent
                  What about stuff like birds or aircraft that get in the way? One of my friends used to be stationed on an aircraft carrier and said if a seagull was sitting on one of their gigahertz transmitters...

                  Not when it's specially tuned microwaves, no, it actually cuts right through atmospheric interference.

                  What about stuff like birds or aircraft that get in the way?

                  One of my friends used to be stationed on an aircraft carrier and said if a seagull was sitting on one of their gigahertz transmitters when they send out a transmission they could basically cook them alive.

                  1. [3]
                    mike10010100
                    Link Parent
                    Aircraft are easy, don't fly there. If we're going to start worrying about birds flying into a very narrow beam of microwave energy, then we should probably talk about how many birds windmills...

                    Aircraft are easy, don't fly there. If we're going to start worrying about birds flying into a very narrow beam of microwave energy, then we should probably talk about how many birds windmills kill.

                    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/how-many-birds-do-wind-turbines-really-kill-180948154/

                    The fact that a handful of birds may die doesn't really offset the advantages of truly clean energy.

                    1. [2]
                      NaraVara
                      Link Parent
                      I think the challenge becomes there is constantly changing because the satellites will keep moving around. And the question is more the environmental impact of the thing. It's not really worth it...

                      I think the challenge becomes there is constantly changing because the satellites will keep moving around. And the question is more the environmental impact of the thing. It's not really worth it to say this thing is also bad, you have to be able to do a comparative analysis.

                      This is the issue with political conversations that try to sell us on speculative future technology. It always sounds rosy and great because, not being burdened with the realities of corporeal existence, we don't have to think seriously about the challenges and problems that come from practical, real world implementation. It becomes the glitzy promises of the shiny new monorail thing up against the dismal realities of existing things where we need to worry about money and safety.

                      That's not to say we shouldn't do research and tests and pilot projects to try these things out. But we should avoid promising them as the magical solution to our problems before they actually exist. It ends up serving only as a distraction, taking up discussion time from tried-and-true solutions and attracting funding that could be used to implement things where the risks are known and the challenges/costs are well understood.

                      1. mike10010100
                        Link Parent
                        Geostationary satellites are a thing, and declaring a several-mile-wide no-fly zone in the middle of the desert isn't exactly a horribly difficult thing. That's true, but I think any environmental...

                        I think the challenge becomes there is constantly changing because the satellites will keep moving around.

                        Geostationary satellites are a thing, and declaring a several-mile-wide no-fly zone in the middle of the desert isn't exactly a horribly difficult thing.

                        And the question is more the environmental impact of the thing. It's not really worth it to say this thing is also bad, you have to be able to do a comparative analysis.

                        That's true, but I think any environmental analysis will show that this is far better than, say, firing up 10 new nuclear plants.

                        It's just weird that in a discussion about a politician claiming we should focus on a new nuclear technology that hasn't yet reached production capacity and has several major flaws that need to be fixed, we can't also speculate on the feasibility of existing tech being used in novel ways.

                        1 vote
    2. skybrian
      Link Parent
      I'm a Yang supporter, but I think it's fair to say that he's very optimistic about new technologies and at times it comes across as a bit naive. (In his book, for example, he quotes a Musk...

      I'm a Yang supporter, but I think it's fair to say that he's very optimistic about new technologies and at times it comes across as a bit naive. (In his book, for example, he quotes a Musk prediction uncritically, without noting that Musk hardly ever makes his deadlines.)

      I'm not sure it matters though. No presidential candidate's plan is going to look the same after it gets through Congress. They are more a statement of values than an actual plan. And as a generally pro-science guy, I assume he will have no trouble getting scientific expertise or listening to it.

      I find it rather weird to hear his vision called "bleak." He's hedging his bets, which seems appropriate? The pessimistic parts seem more well-founded and unsurprising than the optimistic parts.

      5 votes
    3. NaraVara
      Link Parent
      Nuclear plants take forever to actually pay back their startup costs. At least financially that’s a hell of an expensive transitional technology. You’re basically committing to maintenance of the...

      I used to think of nuclear power as the alternative to coal. While I still think it's a necessary transitional power source, I now think it's silly to go all-in on it.

      Nuclear plants take forever to actually pay back their startup costs. At least financially that’s a hell of an expensive transitional technology. You’re basically committing to maintenance of the plant for a generation or two and waste management for way longer.

      3 votes
  2. [83]
    Amarok
    (edited )
    Link
    Andrew just dropped this one today. Here's a direct link to his plan. The most striking departure from other candidates is his plan to invest fifty billion into molten salt reactors and fusion.

    Andrew just dropped this one today. Here's a direct link to his plan.

    The most striking departure from other candidates is his plan to invest fifty billion into molten salt reactors and fusion.

    11 votes
    1. [82]
      burkaman
      Link Parent
      Departure in that it's less than other candidates? From Elizabeth Warren's plan: https://medium.com/@teamwarren/my-green-manufacturing-plan-for-america-fc0ad53ab614 I don't think fusion or molten...

      Departure in that it's less than other candidates? From Elizabeth Warren's plan:

      My plan has three elements:

      Green Apollo Program — a commitment to leading the world in developing and manufacturing the revolutionary clean energy technology the world will need, like the way we invested in innovative science to win the race to the moon. That means $400 billion in funding over the next ten years for clean energy research and development — more than ten times what we invested in the last ten years. It means the creation of a National Institutes of Clean Energy. And it means provisions to ensure that taxpayers capture some of the upside of their research investments and that our research dollars result in manufacturing in the United States, not offshore.

      Green Industrial Mobilization — a commitment to using the full power of the federal procurement process to spur innovation and create demand for American-made clean energy products, like how we mobilized our industrial base during World War II. That means a $1.5 trillion federal procurement commitment over the next ten years to purchase American-made clean, renewable, and emission-free energy products for federal, state, and local use, and for export. The United States is currently projected to spend roughly $1.5 trillion in the next ten years on defense procurement — a bloated number that’s far beyond what we need to keep ourselves safe. We should spend at least that much on purchasing American-made clean energy technology to address the climate crisis that threatens us all.

      Green Marshall Plan — a commitment to using all the tools in our diplomatic and economic arsenal to encourage other countries to purchase and deploy American-made clean energy technology. This includes a new federal office dedicated to selling American-made clean, renewable, and emission-free energy technology abroad and a $100 billion commitment to assisting countries to purchase and deploy this technology.

      https://medium.com/@teamwarren/my-green-manufacturing-plan-for-america-fc0ad53ab614

      I don't think fusion or molten salt is necessarily the wrong path, but why would government policy specify what to research? What if 4 years in, we discover a much more promising candidate for zero emissions. Can the money be easily redirected? If so, why specify in the first place? Why not just invest in research and let the researchers figure it out, or at least delegate to a council of experts to direct high level efforts?

      6 votes
      1. [81]
        Litmus2336
        Link Parent
        I think they refer primarily to Bernie's plan, which includes no new nuclear power & phasing out existing plants. Warren, as far as I can find, has said nothing conclusive about whether she...

        I think they refer primarily to Bernie's plan, which includes no new nuclear power & phasing out existing plants.

        Warren, as far as I can find, has said nothing conclusive about whether she supports nuclear power.

        4 votes
        1. [80]
          Amarok
          Link Parent
          The other candidates don't talk about nuclear power far as I can tell, let alone get into the details of new nuclear vs old nuclear. If you haven't been educated on MSRs, you know nothing about...

          The other candidates don't talk about nuclear power far as I can tell, let alone get into the details of new nuclear vs old nuclear. If you haven't been educated on MSRs, you know nothing about nuclear power and your opinion on nuclear power is misinformed. Nothing watching a two hour lecture can't fix.

          Yang is specifically calling out the thorium fuel cycle, thermal reactors, and both molten salt reactors and fusion power as the ideal solution - with an eye towards having the first new reactors coming online in 2027. That's the correct answer to the nuclear question and the energy crisis.

          Yang also committed to a public relations campaign for new nuclear to help reeducate everyone about it. His policy has the same exact points I've been posting in nuclear power related threads on Tildes for months. The man does his homework.

          I wonder if he'll bring it up on the debate stage. That's a rough subject in America - people who live here are utterly clueless about nuclear energy, almost to the last citizen. All they know is China Syndrome and Chernobyl.

          6 votes
          1. [70]
            emdash
            Link Parent
            But it's not about new nuclear vs old nuclear. It's not a technical argument anymore. It's an economic & financial one that needs to avert an environmental crisis. Solar & wind are already cheaper...

            But it's not about new nuclear vs old nuclear. It's not a technical argument anymore. It's an economic & financial one that needs to avert an environmental crisis. Solar & wind are already cheaper than new nuclear, and they require no investment via government funded research. There's no lead time. You can't build a quarter of a nuclear power plant and generate electricity—you can with solar.

            Nuclear, new, old, fusion, fission, thorium—ANYTHING—is economically DOA.

            6 votes
            1. [53]
              Amarok
              Link Parent
              This nuclear power plant comes off an assembly line in shipping containers for a couple hundred million per unit. They are portable. They also generate other profits besides the electricity. Seems...

              This nuclear power plant comes off an assembly line in shipping containers for a couple hundred million per unit. They are portable. They also generate other profits besides the electricity. Seems like it's plenty competitive with green energy, and in particular, it can go places green can't, or where the green isn't generating enough. There are many places where green solutions aren't practical, these plants work there too. Yang's proposing we need it as a stop-gap, and that we can make a lot of money being first to market these and sell them to the rest of the world. Giving them to African countries instead of having them take old coal plants from China, for example. That's a tangible benefit.

              11 votes
              1. [52]
                emdash
                Link Parent
                Can you point me to a working, scaled assembly line that is producing shipping container-size nuclear reactors a a sub $1b price point right now, today? The answer is no, because it just isn't...

                Can you point me to a working, scaled assembly line that is producing shipping container-size nuclear reactors a a sub $1b price point right now, today? The answer is no, because it just isn't proven yet. As Elon Musk has found, building an assembly line for a four wheeled vehicle costs billions and takes years of pain. Building an assembly line for nuclear reactors is an untackled problem of herculean proportions that no one wants to touch.

                Solar panels are coming off pre-existing, already amortized production lines in the gigawatt scale right now. The economics are super clear on this front.

                12 votes
                1. [51]
                  Amarok
                  (edited )
                  Link Parent
                  Your refusal to take the hard science seriously demonstrates why this has to be funded by the government to get off the ground. It was proven in the 60s, operated successfully for several years....

                  Your refusal to take the hard science seriously demonstrates why this has to be funded by the government to get off the ground. It was proven in the 60s, operated successfully for several years. How about you watch that entire video I linked, and then we talk about it? I don't feel like typing up war and peace every time someone challenges the basic facts on thorium. :P

                  Edit: For those with shorter attention spans, PBS has a short on it. Really lacking in detail compared to the longer video, though.

                  6 votes
                  1. [47]
                    emdash
                    Link Parent
                    But my point is it's not about the science. It's the economics & industry. I accept that the idea operated successfully and theoretically works (although probably hasn't been revised to modern...

                    Your refusal to take the hard science seriously

                    But my point is it's not about the science. It's the economics & industry. I accept that the idea operated successfully and theoretically works (although probably hasn't been revised to modern standards). But to have something tangible and working, you need more than ideas. Just like we landed on the moon in the 60's, that doesn't mean we can still produce moon rockets.

                    The industry, scale, and public+private will don't exist to produce modern nuclear reactors cheaply, let alone from a production line. This is my argument for why modern nuclear is DOA when competing economically against other renewables.

                    10 votes
                    1. [46]
                      Amarok
                      Link Parent
                      It definitely hasn't been revised. Last one was basically just a giant bucket in a garage. China is making them already, as is Europe. It seems as if not everyone agrees with you on the economics....

                      It definitely hasn't been revised. Last one was basically just a giant bucket in a garage. China is making them already, as is Europe. It seems as if not everyone agrees with you on the economics. That argument didn't sway them. What make you so sure they can't beat renewables in cost?

                      4 votes
                      1. [41]
                        emdash
                        Link Parent
                        I'm going to apply the "agree-to-disagree" idea that was floated several meta-threads ago here and discontinue my responses as this is clearly an impasse. That being said, in the future I'm sure...

                        I'm going to apply the "agree-to-disagree" idea that was floated several meta-threads ago here and discontinue my responses as this is clearly an impasse.

                        That being said, in the future I'm sure many would appreciate it if you didn't engage in subtle jabs such as "For those with shorter attention spans" and "Your refusal to take the hard science seriously". It makes commenting here less enjoyable for all involved.

                        10 votes
                        1. [3]
                          Eva
                          Link Parent
                          I don't agree with @Amarok, largely dislike Yang, and am not particularly sold on the benefits & plausibility of nuclear in comparison to solar (nuclear physics is my fiancée's field, and I'm in...

                          I don't agree with @Amarok, largely dislike Yang, and am not particularly sold on the benefits & plausibility of nuclear in comparison to solar (nuclear physics is my fiancée's field, and I'm in an adjacent one, so I'm at least fairly confident that I have at minimum a higher-than-average understanding of it), but it appeared to me as if you were the uncivil one in this conversation, personally.

                          1. Amarok
                            Link Parent
                            Part of it's definitely on me. I was conflating his replies with vivaria a bit.

                            Part of it's definitely on me. I was conflating his replies with vivaria a bit.

                            3 votes
                          2. emdash
                            Link Parent
                            Interested to hear your reasoning for this?

                            Interested to hear your reasoning for this?

                            3 votes
                        2. [37]
                          Amarok
                          Link Parent
                          That's fine. Perhaps in the future we can avoid demanding everyone present their PhDs before sharing their opinions, as well.

                          That's fine. Perhaps in the future we can avoid demanding everyone present their PhDs before sharing their opinions, as well.

                          3 votes
                          1. [36]
                            LukeZaz
                            Link Parent
                            Did you mean to imply /u/emdash did that? Because that comes off as more bad faith to me. I agree with the prospect of nuclear power, but continuing to poke at people isn't going to help, if...

                            Did you mean to imply /u/emdash did that? Because that comes off as more bad faith to me. I agree with the prospect of nuclear power, but continuing to poke at people isn't going to help, if that's what was intended. If not, I apologize for misinterpreting.

                            5 votes
                            1. [18]
                              mike10010100
                              (edited )
                              Link Parent
                              I hate to say it, but this is a common thread when talking with Yang supporters. I know Deimos dinged me last time I got into an argument with Amarok, but it seems like he vigorously defends...

                              Did you mean to imply /u/emdash did that? Because that comes off as more bad faith to me

                              I hate to say it, but this is a common thread when talking with Yang supporters. I know Deimos dinged me last time I got into an argument with Amarok, but it seems like he vigorously defends anything remotely related to Yang at any possible moment in some of the most toxic manner possible.

                              5 votes
                              1. [17]
                                Sahasrahla
                                Link Parent
                                I don't want this to be something personal or meta about different users, but in reading some of these discussions I haven't gotten the impression that Amarok (or their contribution to these...

                                I don't want this to be something personal or meta about different users, but in reading some of these discussions I haven't gotten the impression that Amarok (or their contribution to these topics) is "toxic" at all and I strongly disagree with that. With respect, I think you're letting your strong objections to Yang cloud your view of one of your fellow users. This is a small site and it's natural to see the same people appear on certain topics and there's nothing wrong with that, just like there's nothing wrong with taking a pro- or anti-Yang stance.

                                Again, I'm a bit reluctant to write a meta post like this about certain users, but I want to make it clear that your characterization of Amarok isn't how everyone sees them and I appreciate their contribution to Yang-related threads because often there's not much content on most topics anyway.

                                8 votes
                                1. [16]
                                  mike10010100
                                  Link Parent
                                  And, with respect, I think you're letting your strong tendency to promote and support Yang cloud your view of the entire discussion being had above. Right, the problem is when I see the same...

                                  With respect, I think you're letting your strong objections to Yang cloud your view of one of your fellow users

                                  And, with respect, I think you're letting your strong tendency to promote and support Yang cloud your view of the entire discussion being had above.

                                  This is a small site and it's natural to see the same people appear on certain topics and there's nothing wrong with that, just like there's nothing wrong with taking a pro- or anti-Yang stance.

                                  Right, the problem is when I see the same materials/tactics on every social media site, specifically surrounding Yang. Hell, just the other day on the Yang subreddit, they targeted a random person's Twitter poll about Yang v Sanders, repeatedly made fun of the user who posted it, brigaded it so hard that the user took it down because it was obviously useless, then celebrated the person taking it down, saying that means "we won".

                                  I want to make it clear that your characterization of Amarok isn't how everyone sees them and I appreciate their contribution to Yang-related threads because often there's not much content on most topics anyway.

                                  And I'm perfectly okay with the fact that not everyone sees him that way. I assumed when I gave my opinion on the matter that I was merely representing myself, but clearly you've taken that to mean that I thought everyone on this site agreed with me. That is not the case.

                                  As for "there's not much content" for Yang, I think a cursory glance at almost any comment section surrounding the Democratic primaries will show that is not the case.

                                  3 votes
                                  1. [2]
                                    Sahasrahla
                                    Link Parent
                                    This is a clearer example of a toxic comment. I feel like my views are being poorly understood and misrepresented—and while that can innocently happen and I'm not always capable of sharing those...

                                    This is a clearer example of a toxic comment. I feel like my views are being poorly understood and misrepresented—and while that can innocently happen and I'm not always capable of sharing those views in a way that's clear—I feel like you're not interested in trying to understand my point of view because by some tangential connection I've been tarred and feathered by the actions of people I'm not even associated with. I don't know what constructive things I can say here except please consider the person on the other side of the screen as an individual and assume good faith unless you have a very good reason not to.

                                    8 votes
                                    1. mike10010100
                                      (edited )
                                      Link Parent
                                      I assume good faith until people prove otherwise. Twisting my words is a good indicator that the conversation is not being had in good faith. For example: claiming that I thought my personal...

                                      I assume good faith until people prove otherwise. Twisting my words is a good indicator that the conversation is not being had in good faith. For example: claiming that I thought my personal opinion was the opinion of most on this website.

                                      I've been tarred and feathered by the actions of people I'm not even associated with.

                                      No, but just like we must consider why and how Trump's rhetoric draws racists and horrible people to his following, we must consider the manner in which Yang has chosen to engage places like 4chan in order to get his ideas to a wider section of people, and what kind of people that choice might draw.

                                      3 votes
                                  2. [13]
                                    JeanBaptisteDuToitIV
                                    Link Parent
                                    It's 'brigading' to vote for your prefered candidate in a public online poll?

                                    It's 'brigading' to vote for your prefered candidate in a public online poll?

                                    1 vote
                                    1. [2]
                                      Deimos
                                      Link Parent
                                      Yes, if you're not the intended audience of the poll. That's pretty much the definition of brigading—coordinating a group to influence something that was intended for a different group. Even if...

                                      Yes, if you're not the intended audience of the poll. That's pretty much the definition of brigading—coordinating a group to influence something that was intended for a different group.

                                      Even if the poll is technically public, that's just because... almost everything on Twitter is public. People still write tweets for an expected audience, everything isn't supposed to be an open invitation for the entire internet to reply. A lot of Twitter drama happens because of that mismatch of expectations, where suddenly something is pulled into a different context, in front of a different/larger audience.

                                      If it's easier, think of it in terms of reddit subreddits. If someone starts a thread in /r/cats for "what's your favorite breed of cat?", there's nothing useful that comes out of /r/dogs coming over and voting for dogs to try and prove something. Yes, the poll would have been pointless anyway, but that's not a justification for invading and destroying it. Just look at the thread on reddit about the poll, they know perfectly well what they're doing. This isn't some major national poll, it's a random guy with less than 2000 followers and they're acting like it's essential to show their dominance.

                                      9 votes
                                      1. mike10010100
                                        Link Parent
                                        Before someone jumps on you for the analogy, it would be a bit more like someone from /r/tabby making a post saying "look at this post on /r/cats about the best breed of cat, you know what to do",...

                                        Before someone jumps on you for the analogy, it would be a bit more like someone from /r/tabby making a post saying "look at this post on /r/cats about the best breed of cat, you know what to do", and then gleefully celebrating when the overly tabby results force the person to scrap the poll.

                                        they know perfectly well what they're doing

                                        And this, I'm afraid, is a trend I've seen among the Yang Gang: despite the fact that they show every indication of knowing exactly what they're doing and how it's wrong, to everyone outside their in-group, they project a "I don't see what wrong about it, you're just not being fair because it's Yang" attitude.

                                        I mean FFS, this is on their front page right now:

                                        https://www.reddit.com/r/YangForPresidentHQ/comments/cw6419/yang_responds_to_sanders_interview/ey8hh65/

                                        4 votes
                                    2. [10]
                                      mike10010100
                                      Link Parent
                                      Yes, when you act as a lightning rod with the purpose of skewing the poll in your candidate's favor to the point where it's no longer a statistically visible poll.

                                      Yes, when you act as a lightning rod with the purpose of skewing the poll in your candidate's favor to the point where it's no longer a statistically visible poll.

                                      3 votes
                                      1. [9]
                                        JeanBaptisteDuToitIV
                                        Link Parent
                                        I don't think a public Twitter poll conducted by 'New York for Bernie Sanders' would be statistically viable anyway. Also, the comments in that poll were full of #BernieSanders2020 type comments,...

                                        I don't think a public Twitter poll conducted by 'New York for Bernie Sanders' would be statistically viable anyway. Also, the comments in that poll were full of #BernieSanders2020 type comments, so by your definition Sander's own supporters were also brigading. Anyways, I think it's more likely that Yang supporters just have a stronger Twitter presence than them 'brigading'.

                                        2 votes
                                        1. [8]
                                          mike10010100
                                          (edited )
                                          Link Parent
                                          If you can find me the corresponding post telling everyone to vote for Sanders on said poll, I'll concede that. I mean it's a literal post talking about the poll and celebrating when it was taken...

                                          so by your definition Sander's own supporters were also brigading

                                          If you can find me the corresponding post telling everyone to vote for Sanders on said poll, I'll concede that.

                                          Anyways, I think it's more likely that Yang supporters just have a stronger Twitter presence than them 'brigading'.

                                          I mean it's a literal post talking about the poll and celebrating when it was taken down, but sure, go ahead and ignore the literal call to action on a popular Yang subreddit, followed by a bunch of highly-upvoted posts making fun of the fact that it was deleted.

                                          https://www.reddit.com/r/YangForPresidentHQ/comments/ctne5y/the_bernie_poll_was_deleted/

                                          And something that basically disproves your assertion that there is no brigading and it's all just "more Twitter presence", here's a post on the front page right now telling everyone to brigade the Twitter thread:

                                          https://www.reddit.com/r/YangForPresidentHQ/comments/cw6419/yang_responds_to_sanders_interview/ey8hh65/

                                          1 vote
                                          1. [7]
                                            JeanBaptisteDuToitIV
                                            (edited )
                                            Link Parent
                                            I don't see how a call to combat blatant misinformation/propoganda (e.g. 'Andrew Yang is a Libertarian Venture Capitalist that wants to eliminate the social safety net. He is also imperialist.')...

                                            I don't see how a call to combat blatant misinformation/propoganda (e.g. 'Andrew Yang is a Libertarian Venture Capitalist that wants to eliminate the social safety net. He is also imperialist.') on Yang's own Twitter page is brigading. Sure, he's being a little dramatic trying to frame it as some war between Sanders and Yang, but besides that what exactly is he doing that is wrong? Are Yang supporters supposed to refrain from defending him so as to avoid 'brigading'?

                                            1 vote
                                            1. [6]
                                              mike10010100
                                              Link Parent
                                              See, you're reframing literal brigading as "combating misinformation/propaganda". Did it ever occur to you that by participating in such a raid, those people are themselves spreading...

                                              I don't see how a call to combat blatant misinformation/propoganda on Yang's own Twitter page

                                              See, you're reframing literal brigading as "combating misinformation/propaganda". Did it ever occur to you that by participating in such a raid, those people are themselves spreading misinformation/propaganda?

                                              Sure, he's being a little dramatic trying to frame it as some war between Sanders and Yang

                                              But that kind of language and drama is all too much the norm on places like 4chan and 8chan, which is precisely where most of these people are coming from.

                                              Are Yang supporters supposed to refrain from defending him so as to avoid 'brigading'?

                                              Or perhaps they can just do their own thing without following the "orders" of some centralized location? Maybe just...you know....live their lives and talk about Yang when they can?

                                              1. [2]
                                                JeanBaptisteDuToitIV
                                                Link Parent
                                                Correcting propoganda != spreading propoganda. Also you didn't answer me on why the post in question is brigading. Says who? But if information which I believe to be factually incorrect/misleading...

                                                Correcting propoganda != spreading propoganda. Also you didn't answer me on why the post in question is brigading.

                                                which is precisely where most of these people are coming from.

                                                Says who?

                                                Or perhaps they can just do their own thing without following the "orders" of some centralized location? Maybe just...you know....live their lives and talk about Yang when they can?

                                                But if information which I believe to be factually incorrect/misleading is being spread on a highly visible Twitter thread, why am I in the wrong if I correct it and encourage others to do the same?

                                                2 votes
                                                1. mike10010100
                                                  Link Parent
                                                  Dude, this question was answered by @Deimos himself. The fact that you didn't reply to his explanation but are continuing to pretend like it hasn't been answered makes me think you won't be happy...

                                                  Correcting propoganda != spreading propoganda. Also you didn't answer me on why the post in question is brigading.

                                                  Dude, this question was answered by @Deimos himself. The fact that you didn't reply to his explanation but are continuing to pretend like it hasn't been answered makes me think you won't be happy with any explanation. You've come to the conclusion it's not brigading because of some unknown defintion, and that's that.

                                                  Says who?

                                                  Says the people who've been paying attention to Yang's campaign from day 1.

                                                  But if information which I believe to be factually incorrect/misleading is being spread on a highly visible Twitter thread, why am I in the wrong if I correct it and encourage others to do the same?

                                                  Why can't you just correct it yourself? Why do you need to call in a literal army of people? It's not terribly difficult to reply to several dozen twitter replies with copy/pasted information. It's ridiculous that you feel the need to call in a swarm of other Yang supporters to back you up. The truth should be self-evident. It doesn't require people flooding the airwaves.

                                              2. [3]
                                                skybrian
                                                Link Parent
                                                This absolutely is brigading. However, I don't think Yang supporters see it as being negative? It's more like, a public poll on Twitter between two candidates is an invitation for everyone to...

                                                This absolutely is brigading. However, I don't think Yang supporters see it as being negative? It's more like, a public poll on Twitter between two candidates is an invitation for everyone to brigade. it's a friendly, somewhat meaningless competition to see which group of fans is better at brigading. Sort of like sports rivalries. (The real polls are what matter.)

                                                Not everyone will see it that way, but I'm not sure it can be avoided so long as different people have different attitudes towards brigading.

                                                Maybe we shouldn't have polls on Tildes? It just leads to silliness.

                                                1 vote
                                                1. LukeZaz
                                                  Link Parent
                                                  This is exactly how I see it. The original tweet for the poll (now deleted; image lifted from a reddit topic linked a few posts up) literally says "RT AND SPREAD THE WORD!" — if that's not an...

                                                  It's more like, a public poll on Twitter between two candidates is an invitation for everyone to brigade. it's a friendly, somewhat meaningless competition to see which group of fans is better at brigading. Sort of like sports rivalries. (The real polls are what matter.)

                                                  This is exactly how I see it. The original tweet for the poll (now deleted; image lifted from a reddit topic linked a few posts up) literally says "RT AND SPREAD THE WORD!" — if that's not an invitation to brigade, I'm not sure what is. Whole thing was stupid to start with, if I'm honest; no way this poll ever could've been useful to anyone.

                                                  2 votes
                                                2. mike10010100
                                                  Link Parent
                                                  I mean just above you we have a Yang supporter not only not thinking it's negative, but denying it's "brigading" at all. I mean, no it's not? It's an invitation for anyone who follows that account...

                                                  However, I don't think Yang supporters see it as being negative?

                                                  I mean just above you we have a Yang supporter not only not thinking it's negative, but denying it's "brigading" at all.

                                                  It's more like, a public poll on Twitter between two candidates is an invitation for everyone to brigade.

                                                  I mean, no it's not? It's an invitation for anyone who follows that account or topic to authentically and individually engage in the content.

                                                  it's a friendly, somewhat meaningless competition to see which group of fans is better at brigading.

                                                  But do we want politics to be a literal game of football? Why are we actively rooting for this style of discourse?

                                                  Maybe we shouldn't have polls on Tildes? It just leads to silliness.

                                                  Or maybe the Yang Gang should stick to supporting their candidate in a natural way, instead of artificially boosting their presence by rapidly mobilizing via centralized pointers to content?

                                                  Every time I engage with Yang supporters, it feels a bit like I'm dealing with the Borg. They have all this copypasta ready to go, so you end up engaging in the same 4-5 bullet points. It's like a Gish Gallop but with a swarm of people all posting the same thing. It's a form of manufactured consent, and it feels icky to me.

                            2. [17]
                              vivaria
                              Link Parent
                              That's just me who's doing that, and mostly because I'm wary of @Amarok's methods of consuming and redistributing information. I don't know how else to conduct myself... I feel like I'm following...

                              That's just me who's doing that, and mostly because I'm wary of @Amarok's methods of consuming and redistributing information.

                              I don't know how else to conduct myself... I feel like I'm following them around like a living asterisk, and (understandably) frustrating them in the process. Should I stop?

                              3 votes
                              1. [16]
                                Amarok
                                Link Parent
                                It's a good question, you've definitely frustrated me a couple of times now. Most forums where I go to talk about this sort of thing people don't claim the conversation is useless just because it...

                                It's a good question, you've definitely frustrated me a couple of times now. Most forums where I go to talk about this sort of thing people don't claim the conversation is useless just because it isn't happening between a pair of PhDs. Your primary objection seems to be that if the person talking isn't an expert, it isn't a conversation worth having.

                                You object to my stating things with passion - as if I'd rather write a post full of maybes/ifs/etc which no one will take seriously. No thanks. When I provide plenty of sources, I get the impression everyone would rather continue to nettle me about the topic than consume the sources and comment on them. You can see how this looks like a double standard to me. Apparently every link I share fails to meet some invisible, ever changing standard. If people are serious about learning nuclear power, a two hour video by a subject matter expert is the best place to start I know of.

                                I was considering deleting my account, because if that's how Tildes is going to be, I'm not going to be commenting on it anywhere. I have a feeling that neither will anyone else. This courtroom mentality is very tiresome. I'd rather find a place with people that have more imagination and humor.

                                And yes, it pisses me off. Some days less than others - today is a bad smoking cravings day, so I'm on a very short fuse. Apologies if that came off as terse and sniping.

                                10 votes
                                1. [15]
                                  vivaria
                                  (edited )
                                  Link Parent
                                  First, before I say anything, I really want to thank you for sticking around. I also want to thank you for taking the time to express your feelings when you've had such a strong urge to leave...

                                  First, before I say anything, I really want to thank you for sticking around. I also want to thank you for taking the time to express your feelings when you've had such a strong urge to leave silently. As someone who has been gone for the past few months, having left silently myself, I know how hard it can be to stop yourself and take the time to talk about things. Truly, honestly, thanks.

                                  There's a handful of things I want to say, loosely based off of all of the junk I wrote in that other thread:

                                  1. Informal, casual chats about serious subjects can be worth having, as long as everyone involved is aware of the limitations of discussing things as a non-expert.
                                  2. Serious chats aimed at figuring out real, implementable solutions should be left to experts. They're the only ones who have the background to effectively evaluate the information they're consuming.
                                  3. Use of strong rhetoric by non-experts in "1."-style chats can give them the false impression that they're having "2."-style chats.
                                  4. Independent research that involves parsing difficult source material is dangerous to do as a non-expert, because of the experience needed to properly evaluate those sources. Doing it anyway can give people the false impression that they're equipped to have "2."-style chats ("look at my sources!"), when they're still only equipped to have "1."-style chats.

                                  It feels to me as if you're inadvertently blurring the line between 1. and 2. by falling victim to 3. and 4., especially when you say:

                                  You object to my stating things with passion - as if I'd rather write a post full of maybes/ifs/etc which no one will take seriously. No thanks. When I provide plenty of sources, I get the impression everyone would rather continue to nettle me about the topic than consume the sources and comment on them.

                                  I think it's very possible for someone to leave room for error and uncertainty in how they communicate ideas and still be taken seriously. If anything, it makes them more credible, as it shows they understand where the limits are in their own understanding. Instead, though, if someone uses the same overzealous confidence for everything they discuss, regardless of their formal education in the subject, it becomes harder to tell what's worth taking seriously and what's just for fun. And that's how misinformation spreads, even if in good faith.

                                  9 votes
                                  1. [14]
                                    Amarok
                                    Link Parent
                                    That's fair. Perhaps our disconnect comes from this being in ~news and talking about a political candidate endorsing this technology. If this was in ~science or something like askhistorians on...

                                    That's fair. Perhaps our disconnect comes from this being in ~news and talking about a political candidate endorsing this technology. If this was in ~science or something like askhistorians on reddit I'd behave differently (and probably not comment at all except to ask questions).

                                    Have you actually watched the talk I linked yet? I'd like to get your read on how reliable you think that particular source is. There's plenty of technical material in there, all simply explained as the talk progresses by someone who is qualified by degree and experience. Once the Q&A begins (after he sits down) you can skip the last hour if you want, since that's mostly just nuclear geeks (some of whom are now running thorium pilot programs because they attended this talk) chewing over the ideas.

                                    3 votes
                                    1. [11]
                                      vivaria
                                      Link Parent
                                      Oof, yeah, that's probably a good point. This entire topic is a bit of a mishmash between The science of nuclear energy A meta discussion on whether we should even be discussing the science of...

                                      Oof, yeah, that's probably a good point. This entire topic is a bit of a mishmash between

                                      • The science of nuclear energy
                                      • A meta discussion on whether we should even be discussing the science of nuclear energy without first ensuring we've got /r/askhistorians-levels of rigour
                                      • A political discussion about Yang vs. other candidates
                                      • A meta discussion about the conduct of Yang supporters (?)

                                      I'm here just for the second one, you're here for one and three (I think?), and others are here for scattered reasons from one through four. This mix of priorities is probably a recipe for disaster, heh.

                                      I'm at work, but I'd be happy to chat more later on about the specific source. I'm glad things didn't escalate between us. :)

                                      5 votes
                                      1. [10]
                                        Amarok
                                        Link Parent
                                        Me too. This particular technology (nuclear power) is something I've been reading about and keeping up with since high school, back in the 90s. It's the single most important topic out there right...

                                        Me too. This particular technology (nuclear power) is something I've been reading about and keeping up with since high school, back in the 90s. It's the single most important topic out there right now - how to generate limitless clean energy. I tend to get more passionate and less objective because I've seen so many engineers and scientists make these statements over the years - I'm not used to seeing them as controversial or poorly sourced. The disconnect between the science and the public perception of this particular industry is truly staggering. It's as if the pubic and the scientists live on different planets.

                                        Yang's policy includes a commitment to close that gap. I'm wondering how the hell he'll ever be able to do it. If he goes on about nuclear power on the debate stage, he's going to need an incredible pitch. I'm certain he'll be asked about it, since nuclear is the key difference between his plan and others in the race. It's a prickly issue in the USA, too, so if the debate moderators want a hit of controversy or a way to trip up Yang, they'll bring it up for sure.

                                        4 votes
                                        1. [9]
                                          vivaria
                                          Link Parent
                                          You've hit the nail on the head here. That's exactly how our perspectives differ. From my perspective, all I can really process is your delivery of the information -- I have no way of recognizing...

                                          I tend to get more passionate and less objective because I've seen so many engineers and scientists make these statements over the years - I'm not used to seeing them as controversial or poorly sourced.

                                          You've hit the nail on the head here. That's exactly how our perspectives differ. From my perspective, all I can really process is your delivery of the information -- I have no way of recognizing whether the information itself is valid.

                                          So, I see "strong rhetoric" + "grand claims" + "dodgy sources" (well, only that one I pointed out last thread) as part of the delivery and my red flags are going off for wanting to halt things and get some more rigour in place before even continuing. (Hence my eternal complaining of "we're not experts! we can't evaluate this information! we need experts!")

                                          3 votes
                                          1. [8]
                                            Amarok
                                            Link Parent
                                            Hopefully we'll start attracting experts to Tildes someday. Given reddit's treatment of AMAs, I think it's pretty likely we could pull those communities over here and give them a much better...

                                            Hopefully we'll start attracting experts to Tildes someday. Given reddit's treatment of AMAs, I think it's pretty likely we could pull those communities over here and give them a much better platform. That was what put reddit on the map, and they've allowed those wonderful discussions to fall by the wayside.

                                            3 votes
                                            1. [7]
                                              vivaria
                                              Link Parent
                                              Until then, I'll probably still have my reservations about science-y discussion (as it relates to hot-button issues with existential implications). It's hard not to feel reservations when I know...

                                              Until then, I'll probably still have my reservations about science-y discussion (as it relates to hot-button issues with existential implications). It's hard not to feel reservations when I know there are other communities (such as AskHistorians) with strict moderation to keep things in check. Tildes feels very... "anything goes" by comparison, so the thought of misinformation slipping through the cracks scares me. Bad information can still be civil and reasonable, so it's less likely to get flagged by someone like @Deimos.

                                              I won't barge in to your threads with snarky meta comments anymore, though. :)

                                              2 votes
                                              1. [3]
                                                Deimos
                                                Link Parent
                                                We're way off into the weeds here (seriously, this comment will be 22 replies deep), but I wanted to mention a few factors I consider important for thinking about misinformation from a moderation...

                                                We're way off into the weeds here (seriously, this comment will be 22 replies deep), but I wanted to mention a few factors I consider important for thinking about misinformation from a moderation perspective (as in, why I might decide why or why not to remove something; it's not just about civility):

                                                1. Expectations - Depending on the "venue", people's expectations about the accuracy of information they're reading can be very different. For example, something that's like "Ask nuclear scientists: how viable is modern nuclear power?" is extremely different from "Let's discuss Andrew Yang's climate plan which includes nuclear power". There's a much higher standard expected of the former, which is exactly why subreddits like /r/AskScience and /r/AskHistorians moderate so strictly.
                                                2. Motivation - There's a huge difference between someone posting misinformation out of ignorance and out of malice. If someone's just wrong but is open towards changing their mind, then it's useful for them to be corrected publicly. It can also help other viewers with similar misconceptions learn too. However, if someone's deliberately spreading misinformation and keeps doing it despite being corrected, that's a much more significant issue.
                                                3. Potential impact - Misinformation needs to be treated a lot more severely if it has the possibility of causing harm. For example, if someone is posting false or questionable medical advice, that absolutely needs to be shut down. But in the case of topics like this one, there's practically nothing at stake. Nobody with any sort of influence over future adoption of nuclear power is going to make any decisions based on the outcome of arguments between random people on internet forums. Regardless of how accurate or inaccurate the information is, nothing will change, so I don't think strict moderation is required. The purpose is just having a discussion, not trying to definitively solve the topic.
                                                13 votes
                                                1. vivaria
                                                  Link Parent
                                                  Thanks! This is what I was hoping for when tagging you.

                                                  Thanks! This is what I was hoping for when tagging you.

                                                  4 votes
                                                2. mike10010100
                                                  Link Parent
                                                  No, but misinformation can lead to candidates being elected who mirror the misinformation surrounding a given topic. That is a consequence of this, no?

                                                  Nobody with any sort of influence over future adoption of nuclear power is going to make any decisions based on the outcome of arguments between random people on internet forums.

                                                  No, but misinformation can lead to candidates being elected who mirror the misinformation surrounding a given topic. That is a consequence of this, no?

                                                  1 vote
                                              2. [2]
                                                Amarok
                                                Link Parent
                                                Maybe we need a [citation needed] button/label. That might help bridge the disconnect a bit when someone's making claims and other users want to see evidence - but without heckling the poster....

                                                Maybe we need a [citation needed] button/label. That might help bridge the disconnect a bit when someone's making claims and other users want to see evidence - but without heckling the poster. They can just signal their desire for more factual information instead.

                                                6 votes
                                                1. vivaria
                                                  Link Parent
                                                  I like that. Although, it wouldn't address my concerns about the difficulty in evaluating sources... not that those are easy to address, mind you! For example, it would still be possible to...

                                                  I like that. Although, it wouldn't address my concerns about the difficulty in evaluating sources... not that those are easy to address, mind you!

                                                  For example, it would still be possible to respond to that label by overwhelming someone with bad sources that are difficult to critically analyse (both for effort reasons, and because it takes a certain background to really vet something). Then we're back to "battle of the sources" with each person saying their sources are the credible ones, and the other person's sources are the cherry-picked ones.

                                                  I feel like it might be better to get the opinions of moderators from those rigorous academic subreddits. I'm sure they have plenty of experience towards building communities explicitly for the purpose of discussing challenging subjects.

                                                  4 votes
                                              3. NaraVara
                                                Link Parent
                                                Anything goes is dangerous enough, but anything goes among intelligent people with a talent for rhetoric. . . very dangerous. And I say this as someone who is VERY VERY good at projecting himself...

                                                Tildes feels very... "anything goes" by comparison, so the thought of misinformation slipping through the cracks scares me.

                                                Anything goes is dangerous enough, but anything goes among intelligent people with a talent for rhetoric. . . very dangerous.

                                                And I say this as someone who is VERY VERY good at projecting himself as an authority on subjects that I shouldn't be given that kind of credibility on.

                                                And ironically, the stuff I'm actually credibly authoritative on also tends to be the stuff where people push back on me the most. Probably because, having actually studied the things, I'm either making leaps of logic that I'm not bothering to close for others that make it harder for them to follow, or I'm trivially glossing over some very common misconception that most people walk around with, or because my background makes me more prone to dive into nuances that outsiders think is gobbledygook.

                                                4 votes
                                    2. skybrian
                                      Link Parent
                                      I think part of this is not coming across as giving homework? We are all here to share links, and giving sources is a good thing, but I think writing a mini-review of content you think is great is...

                                      I think part of this is not coming across as giving homework? We are all here to share links, and giving sources is a good thing, but I think writing a mini-review of content you think is great is a better way to promote it than saying "you must watch this."

                                      Speaking for myself, I dislike watching talking heads videos and will read a transcript whenever available. I'm a Yang supporter and I've never seen any of his speeches or interviews - that's just not how I do things. My idea of good video is raw footage of something happening in the world, embedded in a written explanation of what we're looking at.

                                      Still, this sounds like a good one and you might try sharing it top-level?

                                      4 votes
                                    3. mike10010100
                                      Link Parent
                                      Why would you behave differently when it's about a political candidate talking about science vs. a discussion of science itself? In fact, wouldn't you take the political candidate's endorsement...

                                      Perhaps our disconnect comes from this being in ~news and talking about a political candidate endorsing this technology. If this was in ~science or something like askhistorians on reddit I'd behave differently

                                      Why would you behave differently when it's about a political candidate talking about science vs. a discussion of science itself? In fact, wouldn't you take the political candidate's endorsement with an even larger grain of salt and much higher reservations than if it were scientists discussing/endorsing it?

                      2. [4]
                        mike10010100
                        Link Parent
                        Can you cite the numbers/cost for these? I'd love to read more.

                        China is making them already, as is Europe.

                        Can you cite the numbers/cost for these? I'd love to read more.

                        3 votes
                        1. [3]
                          Amarok
                          (edited )
                          Link Parent
                          Sure thing. The best simple overview of the projects (and a little history) is in this daretothink article. Next Big Future has a summary of many of these pilot programs. There's another good...

                          Sure thing. The best simple overview of the projects (and a little history) is in this daretothink article. Next Big Future has a summary of many of these pilot programs. There's another good overview from Nanalyze.

                          At this point projects are popping up faster than we can reasonably keep up with them. These reactors are going to be a reality within ten years. To me, the real question is, who is the one who will sell them to the rest of the world? Right now China has a ten year head start and ten times the funding of the other players. That seems like cause for concern. Yang's funding proposal would leave them in the dust overnight, and that is a big deal... though if I'm honest, 50Bn is overkill. Two would do it. Ten would do it in just a couple of years. I guess the rest is for fusion. :P

                          Yang is the only one running with his eye on this particular ball, just like UBI and dozens of his other policies in several different areas. When someone comes along that's clearly more forward thinking and well informed than other candidates, then cites many common sense (to me) policy positions I've been talking about for years, they get my support. It's as simple as that.

                          6 votes
                          1. [2]
                            mike10010100
                            Link Parent
                            Ah sorry sorry, I thought we were talking about shipping container sized reactors. My bad. Do you have any links to that?

                            Ah sorry sorry, I thought we were talking about shipping container sized reactors. My bad. Do you have any links to that?

                            3 votes
                            1. Amarok
                              Link Parent
                              Seaborg is the company chasing that particular horse, though a lot of people are talking about it and I don't expect them to be the only one for much longer. I also believe that Thorcon is...

                              Seaborg is the company chasing that particular horse, though a lot of people are talking about it and I don't expect them to be the only one for much longer. I also believe that Thorcon is planning for an assembly line production of portable reactors, though these are only meant to be shipped in containers and assembled on site, rather than running inside the shipping container for the reactor's lifespan.

                              Both of these projects hold out the possibility of manufacturing nuclear reactors about the same way we manufacture airplanes. They should be able to build a dozen a month, possibly more.

                              If you'd like to hear it from the horse's mouth, watch Seaborg's presentation and Thorcon's presentation from industry conferences. The videos are more up to date than any articles.

                              2 votes
                  2. [3]
                    mike10010100
                    Link Parent
                    What hard science? It hasn't even been tried in any scalable capacity yet!

                    Your refusal to take the hard science seriously

                    What hard science? It hasn't even been tried in any scalable capacity yet!

                    4 votes
                    1. [2]
                      Amarok
                      Link Parent
                      Every single design principle of these reactors was tested successfully in the 60s, before we even had computers or modern materials science to help out with the designs. It was roughly twenty...

                      Every single design principle of these reactors was tested successfully in the 60s, before we even had computers or modern materials science to help out with the designs. It was roughly twenty three thousand hours of operational experience, testing, and experimentation. There are no 'gotchas' waiting to break this project. All of them were eliminated before most of us were even born.

                      This molten salt nuclear engine works exactly as advertised, and that's a fact. They don't need scaling. These designs scale like legos. If you want ten times the power, you chain ten units together.

                      3 votes
                      1. mike10010100
                        Link Parent
                        Except, of course, that you've failed to discuss the fact that molten salt is incredibly corrosive, and would require a whole new type of material to be developed in order for them to not degrade...

                        Except, of course, that you've failed to discuss the fact that molten salt is incredibly corrosive, and would require a whole new type of material to be developed in order for them to not degrade rapidly.

                        http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2017/ph241/sunde1/

                        https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780081009062000057

                        https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11837-018-2981-2

            2. [16]
              spctrvl
              Link Parent
              That's only the case when disregarding the cost of energy storage, which isn't something that should be done when talking about fully decarbonizing the power grid. Current prices for utility-scale...

              That's only the case when disregarding the cost of energy storage, which isn't something that should be done when talking about fully decarbonizing the power grid. Current prices for utility-scale battery installations seem to be a bit over $300/kWh (pdf warning). So for a hypothetical 1GW solar installation to maintain its power output for even four hours of unproductive conditions, you would need a storage facility costing over $1.2 billion. If you want anything approaching base load reliability, you get into and above nuclear price territory fast. Because of this, at present, rather than batteries you get nice, carbon spewing peaker plants.

              It's true that there are workarounds and options besides batteries, like pumped hydro, and it's also true that batteries are still getting better, but at present it's not quite as financially clear cut as solar and wind just being out and out cheaper, not when you're looking at using them to power the whole grid.

              5 votes
              1. [15]
                CALICO
                Link Parent
                There's also the problem of lithium. It's an ecological disaster to mine, and there's only so much of it. Asteroid mining would help with sourcing without further taking a shit on the increasingly...

                There's also the problem of lithium.

                It's an ecological disaster to mine, and there's only so much of it.

                Asteroid mining would help with sourcing without further taking a shit on the increasingly smaller amount of untainted ecosystem, but that's a ways off yet.

                Regardless of the economic power behind solar and related energies, you need a baseload power source. Current and next-gen nuclears are pretty dope. The question of waste isn't something to ignore, but the footprint is small. Batteries work too, but that has an immediate ecological cost at scale. There are other storage media as well, each with their own pros and cons. But you need something, and money shouldn't have to be the deciding factor in everything. A more enlightened society ought to value more than your currency of choice in the face of the Holocene Extinction.

                Call me am idealist.

                5 votes
                1. [14]
                  spctrvl
                  Link Parent
                  Yeah, using Lithium-ion instead of saltwater or flow batteries for grid storage is almost criminally wasteful, especially with a fleet of however many hundreds of millions of cars that still needs...

                  Yeah, using Lithium-ion instead of saltwater or flow batteries for grid storage is almost criminally wasteful, especially with a fleet of however many hundreds of millions of cars that still needs to be electrified.

                  If you're gonna go to the trouble of setting up a bunch of space infrastructure though, space based solar is really where it's at in the long run. It's arguably even better than fusion, since it's simpler, requires no fuel once set up, and beaming in power as microwaves produces only a fraction of the waste heat that running a steam turbine does. But since the CEO of the current leading space development company also makes a lot of money selling batteries, it might take a little while to get there.

                  4 votes
                  1. [4]
                    CALICO
                    Link Parent
                    Space Solar is the dream. As much as a contentious person Musk is, I appreciate that he exists. For one, it's something working towards human space utilization, exploration, and colonization....

                    Space Solar is the dream.

                    As much as a contentious person Musk is, I appreciate that he exists. For one, it's something working towards human space utilization, exploration, and colonization. Secondly, SpaceX and their successes inspire competition. In such an underutilized sector there is an immense potential for renown and profit, and ought to work well to motivate us to works towards every 8yo's dream of a sci-fi future.

                    4 votes
                    1. [3]
                      Sahasrahla
                      Link Parent
                      That seems like the kind of thing that Blue Origin (Bezos) would be into. Whereas Musk is focused on Mars (with near-Earth applications serving to finance the effort) Bezos is more inspired by...

                      That seems like the kind of thing that Blue Origin (Bezos) would be into. Whereas Musk is focused on Mars (with near-Earth applications serving to finance the effort) Bezos is more inspired by Gerald K O'Neill's The High Frontier which calls for a near future of space habitats and moving industry off Earth. I'm definitely impressed by what SpaceX has accomplished and I think their goals are important ones to pursue, but I'm also interested in seeing what Blue Origin can accomplish by following its much different vision. Really, I'm just glad we have a couple of innovative and well-financed efforts (that are already showing practical results!) that see a future for humanity in space as well as on Earth.

                      3 votes
                      1. [2]
                        spctrvl
                        Link Parent
                        Gotta say, that Blue Origin presentation earlier this year got me pretty hyped: finally, a New Space CEO that's read O'neill! It's too bad there's not a spaceflight company or group that has...

                        Gotta say, that Blue Origin presentation earlier this year got me pretty hyped: finally, a New Space CEO that's read O'neill! It's too bad there's not a spaceflight company or group that has SpaceX's rockets but Blue Origin's vision. Starship is a brilliant rocket, but using it to colonize Mars instead of developing cislunar space is a big mistake, that comes from a rather dated and unrealistic idea of space colonization as the business of settling and terraforming planets.

                        I'm still decently optimistic though. SpaceX still needs to turn a profit by selling flights to third parties, and there's gonna need to be something big going on up there if those Starships aren't just going spend most of their time sitting on the ground between Martian synods. Even if New Glenn doesn't work out to be particularly economical, BO can presumably charter SpaceX's fleet to move massive amounts of cargo.

                        2 votes
                        1. Amarok
                          Link Parent
                          Those space mirrors Yang mentions in this policy strike me as a missed opportunity. Build them as solar sails instead, then capture several terawatts of power for use in orbit. I'd like to see...

                          Those space mirrors Yang mentions in this policy strike me as a missed opportunity. Build them as solar sails instead, then capture several terawatts of power for use in orbit.

                          I'd like to see someone start talking about building sky towers, orbital rings, and a rocketless ground-to-orbit infrastructure. The cost is higher, sure, but the rewards are much greater. Then you can use this infrastructure to launch the solar sail arrays, and use the rings to pipe the power back down through the towers or beam it to where it needs to go. It can also power the rings and the transportation infrastructure built around them, making cost-to-orbit dirt cheap using electric trains. Once the rings graduate from scaffolding to a solid platform with livable habitats, it can power the space industry and manufacturing in orbit.

                          4 votes
                  2. [9]
                    mike10010100
                    Link Parent
                    This, a million times this. We've had the tech to do this, the problem is that once you set it up, you stop being able to justify continuously increasing prices. It's a "bad investment", which is...

                    If you're gonna go to the trouble of setting up a bunch of space infrastructure though, space based solar is really where it's at in the long run

                    This, a million times this. We've had the tech to do this, the problem is that once you set it up, you stop being able to justify continuously increasing prices.

                    It's a "bad investment", which is why it will never come to fruition under capitalism.

                    2 votes
                    1. [8]
                      spctrvl
                      Link Parent
                      I disagree, there's plenty of money to be made in SBS, with high barriers to entry and minimal ongoing costs. The failure of capitalism to develop this industry is a lot more to do with high up...

                      It's a "bad investment", which is why it will never come to fruition under capitalism.

                      I disagree, there's plenty of money to be made in SBS, with high barriers to entry and minimal ongoing costs. The failure of capitalism to develop this industry is a lot more to do with high up front costs, and the near inability of markets to prioritize long term investment over short term gains. Same reason fusion research gets peanuts when we're sinking billions into new coal plants.

                      1 vote
                      1. [7]
                        mike10010100
                        Link Parent
                        Right, but eventually your consumers see the minimal ongoing costs and, once you've recouped your initial investment, must question.... why are we paying so much for what is now essentially free?...

                        with high barriers to entry and minimal ongoing costs. The failure of capitalism to develop this industry is a lot more to do with high up front costs

                        Right, but eventually your consumers see the minimal ongoing costs and, once you've recouped your initial investment, must question.... why are we paying so much for what is now essentially free?

                        A much better option would be to have a socialized energy company launch such a product. It makes electricity usage near free, would spark a revolution in electric transportation, would revitalize our aging energy infrastructure, and would make the US an immediate front-runner in clean renewable energy.

                        Same reason fusion research gets peanuts

                        Well fusion gets peanuts because when it comes to waiting 10-15+ years for a viable energy source (or unknown time frame), vs putting existing tech up in space or making existing tech more efficient/cheaper, I think it makes sense to gravitate towards the existing tech.

                        But the coal plants? Oof I agree with you there. That's entirely political, I'm afraid.

                        2 votes
                        1. [6]
                          spctrvl
                          Link Parent
                          I dunno, consumers sure don't tend to ask those questions when it comes to other things with minimal marginal costs, like SMS or mobile data caps. As long as it's cost competitive, I doubt they'd...

                          I dunno, consumers sure don't tend to ask those questions when it comes to other things with minimal marginal costs, like SMS or mobile data caps. As long as it's cost competitive, I doubt they'd care. Because of the rent seeking potential there, I'd totally prefer a nationalized approach like that.

                          Well fusion gets peanuts because when it comes to waiting 10-15+ years for a viable energy source (or unknown time frame), vs putting existing tech up in space or making existing tech more efficient/cheaper, I think it makes sense to gravitate towards the existing tech.

                          I think the causal arrows are reversed there: fusion research takes so long because it's underfunded. We've known the basic principles of net gain fusion for years, it's just that nobody wants to pay up for the tokamaks big enough to do it. ITER, a project funded by a dozen or so of some of the world's richest counties, barely managed to scrape together two weeks of US military funding for a 20 year program.

                          1 vote
                          1. [5]
                            CALICO
                            Link Parent
                            The atrocious state of Fusion Research funding is made pretty visceral, and difficult to dismiss in visual form. U.S. historical fusion budget vs. 1976 ERDA plan

                            The atrocious state of Fusion Research funding is made pretty visceral, and difficult to dismiss in visual form.

                            U.S. historical fusion budget vs. 1976 ERDA plan

                            6 votes
                            1. [4]
                              Amarok
                              Link Parent
                              Fusion really comes down to one thing: plasma confinement. Everything else is simple compared to that one gigantic hurdle. The best hope for real progress there is Wendelstein 7-X in Germany. It's...

                              Fusion really comes down to one thing: plasma confinement. Everything else is simple compared to that one gigantic hurdle. The best hope for real progress there is Wendelstein 7-X in Germany. It's a fiendishly complex machine designed by supercomputers to improve on the weaknesses of the Tokamak designs. It's not a reactor, it's a plasma confinement testbed. What they learn over the next couple of years from that experiment will inform the next generation of fusion research. We should be able to figure out how to get past break even with their results.

                              We do have similar research in the USA, see the Helically Symmetric Experiment.

                              Yang's funding proposal would certainly be enough to make progress on all of these technologies. The chief hurdle is that the uncertainty level scares away commercial investments. The universities and startups working on this stuff have to rely on private grants and philanthropic investments almost exclusively. They do get these investments, but only a few million here, few million there, so the pace is very slow. Government funding can solve that problem.

                              We went to the moon in what, 8 years? If we really want to go hard after fusion and molten salt, we can do that again. It's a question of political will and public buy-in.

                              3 votes
                              1. [2]
                                CALICO
                                Link Parent
                                I didn't exist yet during the Apollo Program, so I can't speak to how things actually were, but Kennedy's Moon speech has always held a fire within it that I don't see in any appreciable amount...

                                We went to the moon in what, 8 years? If we really want to go hard after fusion and molten salt, we can do that again. It's a question of political will and public buy-in.

                                I didn't exist yet during the Apollo Program, so I can't speak to how things actually were, but Kennedy's Moon speech has always held a fire within it that I don't see in any appreciable amount today. I certainly get the perception that fire was roaring in America in the 60's–onward. Growing up my schools had pretty shitty funding, and therefore plenty of textbooks from that general era. I devoured that stuff. The future was going to be amazing, and we were going to do so many things.

                                Well yes, but actually no.

                                In many ways, we've made a lot of social and technological progress. But what happened to the dream?

                                I know the space race was largely a geopolitical contest of ideology, and it wasn't a pure endeavor.

                                But was it more political than aspirational?

                                There's so many amazing futures we could be working towards collectively right now, but my interpretation of the present is that, by-and-large & speaking generally, we're kinda just sleepwalking.

                                How do we wake up and chase a new dawn? Reach out and grab what's there to be had?

                                3 votes
                                1. Amarok
                                  Link Parent
                                  It's coming. You can see it in the open discussions of socialism and the mistrust of naked capitalism. I think we're about to see an evolution in capitalism that realigns the incentive structures...

                                  It's coming. You can see it in the open discussions of socialism and the mistrust of naked capitalism. I think we're about to see an evolution in capitalism that realigns the incentive structures away from profit and towards prosperity. It's rather mind boggling that it's taken us two hundred and fifty years to get to this point in our conversation about market economics. Perhaps the old 'greed is good' creed will finally be consigned to the dustbin of history.

                                  I have a lot of hope for crowd funding. Dollars are votes - the best kind, the 'put your money where your mouth is' vote someone only makes when they are past talking. If our economic system makes the transition towards putting money gathered by taxes back into people's hands, instead of into corporate or government hands, I see that as a transfer of voting power rather than just a wealth transfer.

                                  Everyone around the world can chip in a buck or three each month not just towards their local businesses, but also towards crowdfunding projects that gain enough traction to get into the public consciousness. We may find a mechanism to get some of this stuff off the ground that doesn't rely on government intervention or a profitable business plan. A couple million people tossing in a buck a month towards a project is real money.

                                  2 votes
                              2. spctrvl
                                Link Parent
                                I think we're close enough to fusion at this point that building a power plant is more an engineering than a physics problem. Tokamak designs are pretty much already where they need to be in terms...

                                I think we're close enough to fusion at this point that building a power plant is more an engineering than a physics problem. Tokamak designs are pretty much already where they need to be in terms of performance, it's just a matter of building them in a cost effective manner. MIT's ARC and SPARC concept reactors are the best way forward in that regard IMO, since they reach ITER levels of performance for a fraction of the size and cost.

                                1 vote
          2. [9]
            warm-as-toast
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Alternatively, don't try to build an opinion in two hours on an immensely complicated subject requiring years of study to effectively grasp. (EDIT: For transparency, I'm @vivaria. Just got my...

            If you haven't been educated on MSRs, you know nothing about nuclear power and your opinion on nuclear power is misinformed. Nothing watching a two hour lecture can't fix.

            Alternatively, don't try to build an opinion in two hours on an immensely complicated subject requiring years of study to effectively grasp.

            (EDIT: For transparency, I'm @vivaria. Just got my account back, and won't be using @warm-as-toast anymore.)

            6 votes
            1. [8]
              Amarok
              Link Parent
              So, the video I linked of a nuclear engineer explaining everything I'm relating to you isn't good enough? Just what standard of proof are you looking for here?

              So, the video I linked of a nuclear engineer explaining everything I'm relating to you isn't good enough? Just what standard of proof are you looking for here?

              5 votes
              1. vivaria
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                As a rule of thumb, I try not to engage in topics I'm not an expert in. I advocate for acceptance of (and even encouragement towards) admissions of ignorance, and for strategically avoiding...

                As a rule of thumb, I try not to engage in topics I'm not an expert in. I advocate for acceptance of (and even encouragement towards) admissions of ignorance, and for strategically avoiding complex topics which require a deep background to grasp. Because of this, I wasn't looking for proof. Instead, I wanted to point out that the conversation in this thread is probably an unhelpful one, because (likely) none of us are in a position to properly evaluate information on nuclear power.

                I don't really have much more to say that wasn't covered in the previous topic I shared.

                EDIT: Oh, also, I do want to comment that someone can be "a nuclear engineer" and still be an untrustworthy source. I don't have the ability to defend or refute the source (see: not an expert), but I don't think you have that ability either, hence this being an unhelpful conversation.

                5 votes
              2. [6]
                mike10010100
                Link Parent
                Scientific consensus instead of a single cherry-picked source?

                Scientific consensus instead of a single cherry-picked source?

                1. [5]
                  Amarok
                  Link Parent
                  If you check that particular channel, you'll find hundreds of other nuclear engineers and physicists talking about this in the videos of the various nuclear conventions uploaded to that channel....

                  If you check that particular channel, you'll find hundreds of other nuclear engineers and physicists talking about this in the videos of the various nuclear conventions uploaded to that channel. You can be right there in the room with the experts talking for hours at a time.

                  The reason this source is cherry picked is because 1) he was the first to talk about it, 2) that video has the best content and the best presentation of the science and the scope of this technology, and 3) it's the only one that isn't terribly dry to watch. Nuclear engineers are a rather droll crowd, not many of them have Kirk's animated delivery.

                  4 votes
                  1. [4]
                    mike10010100
                    Link Parent
                    Yes, but that is not in the same league as a meta-study surrounding the general scientific consensus around a given theory, no?

                    you'll find hundreds of other nuclear engineers and physicists talking about this in the videos of the various nuclear conventions uploaded to that channel.

                    Yes, but that is not in the same league as a meta-study surrounding the general scientific consensus around a given theory, no?

                    2 votes
                    1. [3]
                      Amarok
                      Link Parent
                      Well, I can link you to a meta study of nuclear reactor types that shows MSRs curbstomp all of the other designs in safety and efficiency. Lots of sources for further reading in that paper's...

                      Well, I can link you to a meta study of nuclear reactor types that shows MSRs curbstomp all of the other designs in safety and efficiency. Lots of sources for further reading in that paper's citations.

                      I'd link you to one on the waste production and management except those studies are still works in progress. Molten salt loops built for testing this are only now starting to operate. I'm pretty confident in their outcome, though. I've seen some estimates say the waste will have a 97% volume reduction and remain dangerous for less than one hundred years, but those seem entirely too rosy to take seriously without hard evidence. I think the 300 year timeline is more realistic.

                      The big difference is that the thorium reaction chain just doesn't make the same kind of nasty byproducts that the standard uranium cycle produces. Since the fuel is in liquid form, rather than solid, the burn up is evenly distributed, rather than (as now) the outside of the solid fuel rods being consumed, and the inside being full of nasty byproducts and unspent fuel. We only burn a couple percent of a modern solid fuel pellet inside the reactor, then throw it in the spent pool. It's like living on the crust of your sandwiches. That's the chief problem (and insanity) with the current nuclear industry. We don't even reprocess the stuff back into usable fuel because it's too expensive and kills the profit margin.

                      With liquid fuels, you just keep it in solution until the neutrons have relentlessly hammered it apart into safe byproducts (safe here being a relative term). By the time it leaves the reactor it's lead and other stable isotopes, near the end of the decay chain. There's no place like the center of a fuel pellet for the byproducts to hide in the liquid fuel.

                      6 votes
                      1. [2]
                        mike10010100
                        Link Parent
                        I mean yeah, those aspects are the reason why MSRs are so lauded, but what about the fact that molten salt is incredibly corrosive and would require quite a few material science advances in order...

                        Well, I can link you to a meta study of nuclear reactor types that shows MSRs curbstomp all of the other designs in safety and efficiency

                        I mean yeah, those aspects are the reason why MSRs are so lauded, but what about the fact that molten salt is incredibly corrosive and would require quite a few material science advances in order to make the containment system not rapidly degrade over time?

                        1. Amarok
                          Link Parent
                          All nuclear reactors need refurbishment and parts replacement every decade or two, with the life cycle depending on the design. There are no materials that can handle that level of neutron flux...

                          All nuclear reactors need refurbishment and parts replacement every decade or two, with the life cycle depending on the design. There are no materials that can handle that level of neutron flux indefinitely. If you've got a nuclear reaction going, you're hitting everything near it with microscopic bullets all day long - the corrosion isn't worse than the neutron flux. Even fusion won't be able to get away from this replacement cost.

                          Replacing the plumbing, pumps, and other components as they age out or become brittle is part of the cost of doing business - for all reactors at any size all over the world. Molten salt reactors use Hastelloy-Nickel based alloys (there are many variants) because it's the least corrosive material we've discovered that can be produced at scale and operate in MSR temperature ranges. You can order this stuff online right now from a wide variety of manufacturers.

                          All this means is we change the pipes out to new ones, just like we already do for all nuclear reactors. They are easier to work on and replace inside a molten salt reactor because the designs are simple and accessible compared to the plants using water as the coolant. Fewer safety systems and other complexities in your way. The pipes are a lot smaller/weaker too, since they don't have to manage 90-150 atmospheres of pressure inside them. That means lower material cost for MSRs for those same replacements.

                          In other words, Hastelloy-N is already sufficient for the job, as it proved when it was first tested at oak ridge. Finding something better just saves you money and time replacing parts. I remember reading something about a variant with titanium added that could take higher temperatures, and I remember a long argument between materials engineers on reddit over if modern ceramics could take that level of neutron damage and hold up. We have plenty of choices and avenues of materials research available to pursue. I'd dig into it more but I'm not a materials scientist. What I can say for sure is that in all of the designs I've been keeping up with, not one single engineer is worried about the plumbing - beyond designing easy access to replace it. There does seem to be some difference of opinions in which combination of salts to use, though. Some of that is due to the corrosion.

                          I've seen life span estimates from five to sixty years for the pipes. You can imagine that a reactor running at 500'C is going to have a different replacement schedule than one running at 1000'C. Smaller and cooler seems to be the trend in the designs. You can read the original materials report from ORNL's tests on page 331.

                          4 votes