There Is a Point At Which It Will Make Economical Sense To Defect From the Electrical Grid

Michael J. Coren reports via Quartz: More than 1 million U.S. homes have solar systems installed on their rooftops. Batteries are set to join many of them, giving homeowners the ability to not only generate but also store their electricity on-site. And once that happens, customers can drastically reduce their reliance on the grid. It’s great news for those receiving utility bills. It’s possible armageddon for utilities. A new study by the consulting firm McKinsey modeled two scenarios: one in which homeowners leave the electrical grid entirely, and one in which they obtain most of their power through solar and battery storage but keep a backup connection to the grid. Given the current costs of generating and storing power at home, even residents of sunny Arizona would not have much economic incentive to leave the electric-power system completely — full grid-defection, as McKinsey refers to it — until around 2028. But partial defection, where some homeowners generate and store 80% to 90% of their electricity on site and use the grid only as a backup, makes economic sense as early as 2020. [A]s daily needs for many are supplied instead by solar and batteries, McKinsey predicts the electrical grid will be repurposed as an enormous, sophisticated backup. Utilities would step up and supply power during the few days or weeks per year when distributed systems run out of juice.


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The 8 best new Photos features in MacOS High Sierra

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Apple dropped the first public beta for MacOS High Sierra on Thursday and, as many have already pointed out, many of the biggest changes to the software are ones you can’t easily discern.

That’s because Apple spent more time on improving core technologies and performance than on flashy new features.

That said, Apple did pay particular attention to its Photos app, which is getting a ton of upgrades with High Sierra. Here’s a look at the eight of our favorite new feature coming to Photos.

1. Refreshed user interface

The first thing you’ll notice about the new Photos app is how much easier it is to navigate with the new persistent sidebar on the left and the new editing panel, which allows you to see all the adjustments you can make in one place. Read more…

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Inkwell, a family of hand-drawn yet formal typefaces

Type designer Jonathan Hoefler’s latest work, Inkwell, is a family of cute, hand-drawn imitations of distinctive type families of past and present. He fears that it will be compared to Comic Sans, popular with the people but reviled by the pros.

“Comic Sans is shooting for ‘informal’ but hits ‘amateurish,’” Hoefler says. “I wanted Inkwell to be informal, but proficient.” Indeed, Inkwell’s “tiny universe of fonts” contains both serif and sans versions, plus four decorative fonts including a cursive-like script, a blueprint-inspired all-caps set, even a blackletter. (“Think less ‘death announcement,’ more ‘country club invitation.’” Hoefler says.)

Inkwell’s a lovely antidote to Comic Sans, but the fact you can pay $400 for it and yet find these anxieties and ironies in every line says something about the beast’s power.

Sometimes I look at the dawn and I think Comic Sans may be the greatest typeface of all time. If there were another bloodsoaked civil war in this country, leaving it and half the world past it a wasteland scoured of life and beset by a heavensent grief and heartache that makes us pine for death even as we understand finally that the wrath of God lies sleeping, the armistice will be printed in Times New Roman and the new constitution in Comic Sans.

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Calgary Flames pick up Eddie Lack in three-player trade

The Calgary Flames acquired goaltender Eddie Lack, defenseman Ryan Murphy and a 2019 seventh-round draft pick from the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday in exchange for defenseman Keegan Kanzig and a 2019 sixth-round pick.

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Ransomware has been around for almost 30 years, so why does it feel like it's getting worse?

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Ransomware is not new. The malware, which encrypts data and demands payment in exchange for decryption keys, has been with us for almost 30 years.

So why does it feel like it’s getting worse? Well, that’s because it is getting worse. 

In seemingly no time at all, ransomware has gone from an obscure threat faced by a select few to a plague crippling hospitals, banks, public transportation systems, and even video games. Frustratingly, the explosive growth of ransomware shows no signs of abating — leaving victims wondering why them, and why now?  Read more…

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