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I'm going to do thoughts for the day.

Today I have been thinking about progress.  

I recently installed a pellet stove to compliment my heat pump.  As they are considered a renewable biomass heating device, tax payers are giving me 26 percent of the cost back.

The general consensus is that heat pumps are the most efficient way to heat your home.  The problem is that most heat pumps don't operate well below 40 to 30 degrees F.  Below that outdoor temperature most heat pumps will use resistance heat strips to maintain comfortable circulating air temperatures.  Most will not even keep up with demand below 10 degrees F at most.  There are cold climate heat pumps that can even operate in arctic conditions but they are expensive and most HVAC installers don't even offer them for a vanities of reasons.  Primarily as there are still a specialty market of sorts and difficult to service.  The current consensus is that the best compromise for most homes is a dual stage compressor with a multi speed air handler.  They will still need electric heat strip furnaces for backup.  The ideal situation as far as cost go is a gas furnace backup but you lose your all electric price reduction from the electric company.

Heating with pellets is more expensive than gas but much less than resistance heating.  I have calculated approximately how much I can save by supplementing my heat pump with a pellet stove and it's around 300 dollars a year.  With the tax credit and installing it my self that means about a ten year pay back at which time the pellet stove will likely need replacing.  Heat pumps have about the same life expectancy and payback period.  A gas furnace and standard airconditioner remain by far the more economical route to take assuming you have gas service available, I don't.  Without the all electric discount that is being subsidized by people with gas furnaces it would be even worse.  If your home isn't well insulated don't even think about a heat pump they will not cut it or be very expensive to operate.

So I'm heating with wood as people did 200 years ago.  The point of this story is that as soon as progress isn't measure in efficiency and convenience it's a strange sort of progress.  Efficiency is the logical way to address co2 emissions but the touchy feely sorts that have taken over society have no imagination to speak of.  Most of their "ingenious"  solutions are backwards.  Mass transit to replace the freedom of automobiles.  Electric everything without improvements to generation, convenience and distribution. Mass transit didn't come into existence because it was better than individual transportation, it came into existence because it was the only solution at the time. Most people couldn't afford private transportation and cleaning up horse dung is a mess.  Wind generators and solar cells to some extent are very old technology.  My dad had a wind generator on the farm because electric service didn't arrive until the 1950s.  Solar cells have been around since the 1960s with some increase in efficiency and lower costs but still that is almost 60 year old technology that doesn't look to be getting much better.  Electric cars were some of the first automobiles produced.  Real innovations seem few and far between today.  Granted there is a steeper curve because the "easy" stuff has already been done but still it is depressing to see society go backwards to old technology

Yes my pellet stove has a computer that was unavailable when great granddad burned wood and it is a marvel but there were self feeding coal burners.  If we had focused on efficiency and keep the activist managers in planning departments out of the loop and maintained educational standards who knows where we could be today.It feels like were getting dumber and regressing to more primitive times in some ways.
       

wolfhnd 8 Nov 19
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I wrote in 2005 that the level of innovation in the United States had tapered off and was actually decreasing. I was pretty much ignored. Miniaturization is not real innovation, it is an incremental change. By 2015 it was clear to a much broader audience that it was getting worse. By 2018 I was talking to Fortune 50 R&D and university leaders about the problem.

2020 killed a lot of things....

I thought I was the only one around here that understood the fact that we are getting dumber. 🙂

If you have an open mind it is obvious. For those aware of the problem the controversy is over how much is driven by genetics. I think the answer is equally obvious. Smart people have fewer babies with the exception of certain religious communities. The industrial revolution has reduced selection pressures, meaning the weak, the sick and or mentally deficient have higher survival rates and reproductive rates than in the past.

Nature is a bitch and see doesn't care about your feelings or moral sensibilities.

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