Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Checking In

I'm still slogging away at tax season. The crazy rush seems to be mostly over; now it's dealing with the aftermath. Being typical Americans, our clients only have one demand: I want it NOW!!! Meaning their refunds, of course. Because of all the problems the IRS is dealing with, we've been telling everyone to not expect their refund for three weeks. Two days after they file, they start calling every half hour asking if they have their money yet because some friend-of-a-friend got their refund already. I only filed one tax return today; the rest of the day was on the phone answering the same damn question over and over and over again. The worst of that should be over by the end of the week. Then the rest of the tax season will be the longer, more complex returns for somewhat rational people.

I never got to use one as they were a little before my time, but someone dug up a photo of one of the first hard disk arrays. The platters were over three feet in diameter and held a whopping 8 megabytes each. Sweet.

Gotta love that Laura Petrie in geek glasses look-alike.

One of the big debates among renewable energy geeks is if solar panels are really all that "green". Usually, the talk is about net energy, or the number of years a panel has to sit in the sun generating electricity before it "pays back" the energy (mostly fossil fuel) used to mine and refine the raw materials and then use those to build the thing. I've seen paybacks ranging from 7 to 20 years with the larger numbers being more credible from what I can see. But something I've not heard discussed is the toxic waste generated in the manufacturing process. Combine that with the net energy issue and solar looks more and more like an expensive way to generate electricity that is as bad or worse than burning coal. There is certainly a case to be made for solar electric in certain circumstances, but they are not the solution to all our problems.

Well, before I fall asleep sitting in front of the computer, I should head off to bed.

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