computers suck goatee-stroking musing, or something WAGDAIYF

Trolling the Bruce Nuclear Cost and Clean Air Calculator for Fun & Profit

You might have seen the Bruce Power Cost and Clean Air Calculator. It’s supposed to show that nuclear is both cheap and clean, and using anything else would make your bills and your emissions go through the roof. Well, here are 40+ scenarios that all save money and emissions while using no nuclear and no coal:

  1. 3.9% Solar, 5.7% Wind, 0.2% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 90.2% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $5.09/month and 89.7 t/CO2 annually.
  2. 2.1% Solar, 10.1% Wind, 0.3% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 87.5% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $8.97/month and 89.2 t/CO2 annually.
  3. 0.5% Solar, 23.6% Wind, 0.4% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 75.5% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $2.75/month and 88.7 t/CO2 annually.
  4. 2.1% Solar, 2.5% Wind, 0.8% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 94.6% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $16.32/month and 87.1 t/CO2 annually.
  5. 3.1% Solar, 0.2% Wind, 1.4% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 95.3% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $13.27/month and 84.5 t/CO2 annually.
  6. 0.6% Solar, 5.4% Wind, 1.8% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 92.2% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $19.52/month and 82.7 t/CO2 annually.
  7. 1.9% Solar, 15.8% Wind, 2.5% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 79.8% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $2.48/month and 79.8 t/CO2 annually.
  8. 0.3% Solar, 13.6% Wind, 2.5% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 83.6% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $12.08/month and 79.7 t/CO2 annually.
  9. 3.0% Solar, 11.7% Wind, 2.9% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 82.4% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $1.21/month and 78.0 t/CO2 annually.
  10. 0.1% Solar, 24.8% Wind, 3.1% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 72.0% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $1.35/month and 77.3 t/CO2 annually.
  11. 2.7% Solar, 4.8% Wind, 3.6% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 88.9% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $8.77/month and 75.2 t/CO2 annually.
  12. 4.1% Solar, 1.2% Wind, 3.9% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 90.8% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $5.96/month and 73.6 t/CO2 annually.
  13. 1.3% Solar, 0.3% Wind, 5.6% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 92.8% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $18.44/month and 66.3 t/CO2 annually.
  14. 2.4% Solar, 0.1% Wind, 6.0% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 91.5% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $13.26/month and 64.7 t/CO2 annually.
  15. 3.8% Solar, 4.6% Wind, 6.5% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 85.1% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $1.99/month and 62.2 t/CO2 annually.
  16. 1.4% Solar, 11.8% Wind, 6.8% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 80% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $5.54/month and 61.0 t/CO2 annually.
  17. 2.9% Solar, 5.7% Wind, 7.0% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 84.4% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $4.64/month and 60.1 t/CO2 annually.
  18. 0.6% Solar, 14.4% Wind, 7.6% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 77.4% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $6.09/month and 57.7 t/CO2 annually.
  19. 0.7% Solar, 12.1% Wind, 7.9% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 79.3% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $7.64/month and 56.4 t/CO2 annually.
  20. 2.1% Solar, 2.9% Wind, 8.5% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 86.5% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $104/month and 53.5 t/CO2 annually.
  21. 1.9% Solar, 13.5% Wind, 8.6% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 76.0% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $0.36/month and 53.1 t/CO2 annually.
  22. 2.5% Solar, 3.5% Wind, 8.6% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 85.4% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $7.63/month and 53.1 t/CO2 annually.
  23. 0% Solar, 5.4% Wind, 8.7% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 85.9% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $17.02/month and 52.9 t/CO2 annually.
  24. 0.5% Solar, 0.4% Wind, 8.8% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 90.3% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $19.53/month and 52.4 t/CO2 annually.
  25. 1.6% Solar, 3.9% Wind, 9.7% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 84.8% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $10.31/month and 48.5 t/CO2 annually.
  26. 2.6% Solar, 6.6% Wind, 9.9% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 80.9% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $2.76/month and 47.6 t/CO2 annually.
  27. 0.6% Solar, 9.6% Wind, 10.5% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 79.3% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $8.70/month and 45.2 t/CO2 annually.
  28. 1.4% Solar, 1.0% Wind, 10.5% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 87.1% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $13.58/month and 44.9 t/CO2 annually.
  29. 0.9% Solar, 12.1% Wind, 11.7% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 75.3% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $3.96/month and 39.9 t/CO2 annually.
  30. 0.4% Solar, 13.9% Wind, 12.6% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 73.1% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $3.89/month and 35.7 t/CO2 annually.
  31. 0.3% Solar, 10.7% Wind, 13.3% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 75.7% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $6.89/month and 32.9 t/CO2 annually.
  32. 0.3% Solar, 10.5% Wind, 13.3% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 75.9% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $7.11/month and 32.8 t/CO2 annually.
  33. 0.2% Solar, 17.8% Wind, 13.6% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 68.4% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $0.18/month and 31.8 t/CO2 annually.
  34. 2.3% Solar, 6.9% Wind, 14.0% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 76.8% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $0.96/month and 29.8 t/CO2 annually.
  35. 3.5% Solar, 0.2% Wind, 14.0% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 82.3% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $2.11/month and 29.7 t/CO2 annually.
  36. 0.6% Solar, 15.2% Wind, 14.0% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 70.2% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $0.68/month and 29.6 t/CO2 annually.
  37. 3.1% Solar, 3.4% Wind, 14.9% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 78.6% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $09/month and 26.0 t/CO2 annually.
  38. 2.2% Solar, 3.6% Wind, 16.8% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 77.4% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $2.65/month and 17.8 t/CO2 annually.
  39. 1.4% Solar, 1.3% Wind, 17.1% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 80.2% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $8.29/month and 16.2 t/CO2 annually.
  40. 1.1% Solar, 4.5% Wind, 18.2% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 76.2% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $5.74/month and 11.5 t/CO2 annually.
  41. 0.1% Solar, 13.3% Wind, 19.1% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 67.5% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $0.70/month and 7.9 t/CO2 annually.
  42. 0.1% Solar, 6.4% Wind, 19.8% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 73.7% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $7.47/month and 4.7 t/CO2 annually.
  43. 0.7% Solar, 8.7% Wind, 20.6% Gas, 0% Nuclear, 70% Hydro and 0% Coal saves $1.73/month and 1.2 t/CO2 annually.

Sure, some of these won’t be practical from a dispatch/capacity perspective, but hey, that’s Bruce’s issue to explain away.

I couldn’t have done it without this tiny routine to produce a list of random numbers that all add up to 1. No way was I clicking those sliders 10000+ times. Viewing the source was handy, though.

sub rndnormsum {
    # generate N uniformly distributed random numbers that sum to 1
    # see
    my $n = shift;        # number of entries to return
    my @arr = ( 0, 1 );
    foreach ( 1 .. ( $n - 1 ) ) {
        push @arr, rand;
    @arr = sort(@arr);
    my @result = ();
    foreach ( 1 .. $n ) {
        push @result, $arr[$_] - $arr[ $_ - 1 ];
    return @result;

Too much packaging, Newark

Newark really need to get a handle on their packaging.

I’d ordered a bluetooth adapter for my multimeter. It needs a little doohickey to attach to my meter, which Newark sent out by separate cover. This is how it turned up:

newark boxesSee the little orange thing on top? That’s the part. It’s 70×40×15 mm, and made in Malaysia. It was packed bubble wrap in a sturdy little cardboard box (163×73×43 mm, or 12× the volume of the part). That box was then packed in a very solid box (originally shipped from Penang to Gaffney, SC) measuring  200×200×170 mm; that’s 162x the part’s volume. Finally, that box was inside a third box of 330×245×220 mm, or 424× little doohickeys.

Thing is, the little doohickey is a tough injection moulded polymer part. It could probably be dropped in a padded envelope and survive any mail journey.

We’re going to die out for sure.

computers suck WAGDAIYF


Put me out to pasture, my conference swag skills are failing.

I picked this up at Solar Power International:

I thought I was picking up a USB memory stick, as I’d nabbed one in the same form factor before. Break off the backing card at the hinge, and you’ve got a nice tiny data store like the Kingmax ones I used to use.

On plugging it into my Mac, a couple of icons bipped on my dock, then Skype opened. Wat? More importantly, there was no storage to be seen, so once my virus fears had subsided a bit, I was determined to find out what this pointless piece of plastic was doing.

The stick identified itself to the system as an Apple keyboard (USB ID 05ac:020b), and spits out the following characters (captured by cat and xxd on my Raspberry Pi):

0000000: 1b72 1b5b 317e 1b5b 3477 7777 2e62 757a  .r.[1~.[4www.buz
0000010: 7a63 6172 642e 7573 2f73 6365 2d32 3230
0000020: 0a                                       .

After reading about evil USB dongles, it seems that the Ctrl-R keypress it’s sending is the Windows “Open Browser” command, and then opens the url This link redirects to, which appears to do some Flash/JS stuff which I don’t want to understand.

The funny thing is, the card has the perfectly respectable (well, respectable if you consider a US .gov website as such) link printed on it. Even printing a card with a QR code linking to that address would be less opaque.

(This is not a link to goatse, honest.)

As is, a bunch of plastic was wasted in vain just to save people typing an URL. We’re all going to die, and it really is your fault …


OpenEI – Organizing the World’s Energy Information

This looks like fun, especially when you see the sponsors: OpenEI – Organizing the World’s Energy Information.

WAGDAIYF Wind Things


Bellamy calls for more sea power
Apparently, David Bellamy said that “if people wanted to help combat climate change they should wear an extra layer of clothing in winter”. Uh, what?


smarter meter

I just signed up for Toronto Hydro‘s Time-of-Use (TOU) Metering programme. While it was mentioned in this month’s PowerWISE (hey, am I the only one who reads the info inserts that comes with their bill?), it doesn’t seem to have been officially launched.  On first look, it’s fairly nifty (click the image for a full-sized view):
daily TOU breakdown hourly
Since I’m a Bullfrog customer, I don’t think I get charged TOU rates (hey, it’d be nice; actually, if coupled to current capacity, I’d make hay while the sun shines/wind blows/water flows …) but at least I get to see the data. I wonder if the front end is scriptable? I’d love to be able to track my usage day by day.

(And to think, yesterday I was on the cusp of buying a Black & Decker Power Monitor. If it had ethernet/wireless/bluetooth, I’d have been on it like an X on a Thing That X Likes. It looks a bit complex to install.)


clean coal funnies



Generation costs/kWh for new nuclear (including fuel & O&M but not distribution to customers) are likely to be from 25 – 30 cents/kWh.

Business Risks and Costs of New Nuclear Power, Craig A. Severance, January 2009. [via Climate Progress]

the old country WAGDAIYF

a green Scottish New Year dilemma

I can’t really wish that Lang May Your Lum Reek if I’m concerned about CO2 and smog emissions, can I?


hey, Bruce, you lose something?

It’s a bullshit story. There is no issue.

— Duncan Hawthorne, chief executive officer of Bruce Power, dismissing the seriousness of losing a highly radioactive reactor part when contacted by the Toronto Star.

cars suck WAGDAIYF

1kg of recycling

I wish the Toronto Star would stop giving me their Saturday edition. I already get the newspaper, so the Star is recycled unread every week. If it wasn’t 50% car section, I might take a glance.


perhaps the most sugar-coated admission of peak North Sea oil

The North Sea has almost as much oil left as has already been extracted, a BBC Scotland investigation has been told.

— BBC News, Oil reserves ‘will last decades’.


shock! this just in …

Research by the National House Building Council foundation (who represent more than 90% of plain ordinary non-ecohome McMansions built in the UK, unlike these guys) shows that buyers are not interested in ecohomes. Well I never!

banjo guitar WAGDAIYF

don’t fret

We played guitar and banjo for most of Earth Hour. This is how my fretting hand ended up:



puts the moronic in oxymoronic

sustainable oil sands

i think that any commentary would be such a cheap shot that i’m refraining entirely …


Mr BigHands fears clamminess

A guy in our office washroom used NINE paper towels to dry his hands today. Two is maybe okay; you can make do with one.


sins of emission

The Observer on carbon rationing action groups, or CRAGs: Want to cut your carbon? Join our club. There’s one in Vancouver.


no surprise there

Bruce nuclear revamp $300M over budget


snarky, but right

A nice piece of informed snark from Joseph Romm: “How do we really know humans are causing global warming?“.