When Solar Goes Bad: A Case Study


Apparently someone reposted an old 2015 story and gave it new legs, and my news feed has been full of reports regarding a rural town voting a moratorium on solar energy because the panels would, among other terrible effects, suck up all the sun and stop photosynthesis.

I think you guys are being unfair and are just following the critical mainstream media on this, without paying attention to the evidence which is right in front of you.

In September, I unwisely had solar panels installed on my house, believing the environmental propaganda that they would provide me clean energy without nasty side effects. And sure, by my calculations we’ve produced over 3.4 megawatt-hours of power so far even in a rainy October, the equivalent of more than 4 NYC-LA flights and saving over 60 trees’ worth of CO2.

But. You know there’s a but.

My trees were full and green when those panels were installed. And look at them now. Brown leaves or even bare branches — it’s true. I installed the solar panels, and the trees stopped photosynthesizing. YOU CAN’T ARGUE THE EVIDENCE.

Roof with solar panels beside leafless branches and trees with dead leaves.
You can’t argue the evidence, people.

(Update: Wanna see how this solar thing worked out for us? Read on here.) 

Write Fights Right!

Sanjuro final duel, two samurai facing each other with spectators in background
If you’ve seen Sanjuro, you know this isn’t a still, but a playing video.

I love good fight scenes. In a story, I want to feel the action. In a film, I want tightly choreographed combat. It’s fine if it’s realistic (the long tension of Sanjuro‘s final duel, and we’ll just ignore the period blood effects), fake realistic (the bloody impact of Logan), crazy physics-defying martial arts (the alternate-world movement of The Matrix), or just plain fun (Captain America kicking Nazi tail). But lame action, the writer glossing over it or the director trying to fake it with shaky cam, makes me feel cheated.

So I try to write good action scenes. And most of the time I feel I do an okay job.

But I’ve been really struggling with one scene. It’s very short, an attempted bar fight which is over in under three seconds. But because it’s so fast, it’s hard to write; I don’t want to lose flow or add length with a lot of explanation, yet the physical actions are fairly complex. I’d been frustrated by this for an embarrassingly long time. So I called in an expert, Carla Hoch.

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Celebrating 2017 — With Loot

list of handwritten creative ideas
I need a bigger fire for all my  irons.

We need to step back sometimes to be able to see the bigger picture.

I had been a little down on myself for not publishing as much as I’d wanted and being behind on my idea list. I have a beefy project list that feels like I’ll never catch up. (I wrote it out as an Idea Debt Inventory for a productivity lesson. Lemme tell ya, that’s simultaneously inspiring — look how much I can create! — and super-depressing.)

But then I started doing the math for this year, and wow, I’ve had a more productive year than I thought. No wonder I felt busy.

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