Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Norman Borlaug and Jimmy Carter

Funny coincidence: at a time when Norman Borlaug and Jimmy Carter are both in the news, there's a new paperback version of Starved for Science, Robert Paarlberg's book on biotech in Africa. Borlaug and Carter both wrote forewords for the book.

Underwater Banks

Jack Shafer tweets an MSNBC article on underwater banks. After Q2 '09, only 3.6% of FDIC-insured banks had troubled loan values exceeding capital and reserves. But that number has been increasing steadily since 2007.

Guess the crisis isn't quite over.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thin-film Solar

So this is very cool.

It's not enough to make solar a replacement for base generation, but it should definitely help with peak summer production in warm U.S. cities.

Some additional realities:
- According to NREL, Nanosolar has the most efficient printed solar cell--at 16.4 perecent.
- No mention of small scale production. They seem to be focusing on metro scale and up.
- They're currently only producing 1MW worth of cells/month. But they say it'll be easier to go from 1MW to 100MW than it was to go from zero to one. Even so, it'll probably be a while until we see real economies of scale.