Around Colorado: April 7, 2009

Sam Adams Alliance

As noted, I won the “Modern-Day Sam Adams Award.” Patricia Calhoun has written about it over at Westword, and bloggers Ben Degrow and El Presidente have also picked up the story. I appreciate the warm wishes.

Windmills and Mechanical Energy Storage

Earlier this year I wondered whether it might be possible for a windmill to “slowly lift a giant boulder in the air” in order to store the energy, then drop the rock slowly to run a generator. However, one my friends who is a professional scientist pointed out to me that a small-scale system just isn’t feasible. You’d have to lift a huge rock quite a ways into the air for even a small amount of electricity. To get enough weight to generate significant electricity, you’d have to build a large and expensive infrastructure. The plan is at least well beyond the backyard model.

Another scientist, Brian Schwartz, pointed to a write-up of “pumped-storage hydroelectricity.” The idea is that you pump water into a reservoir, then release the water downhill to run a generator. The problem with adapting such a system to wind power is that it’s only feasible where the natural landscape provides the relevant features.

I think the lesson here is that there’s no “get electricity quick” scheme that works. For most areas, the only feasible and cost-effective options, so far, remain fossil fuels and nuclear power. But the greenies don’t like either of those.

Million Dollar Man

Ward Churchill wants his job back — or a million dollars. Because, you know, it’s not about the money for him. It’s about the blackmail.

Tax Man on Steroids

Vincent Carroll points out that the State Supreme Court, in ruling that the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights doesn’t really mean what it says, “sets up Coloradans to be nibbled to death by one tax hike after another.”

Get ready to pay. Because state legislators are infinitely better at spending your money than you are.