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The Impossibility of Energy Efficiency

Are our pursuits of energy efficiency all for naught?

Are our pursuits of energy efficiency all for naught? David Owen's recent article in the New Yorker called "The Efficiency Dilemma," makes a convincing case for the frustrating fact that as efficiency increases so to does usage. Better, more affordable air conditioning systems make us dramatically increase our use of air conditioning. Similarly, the cheaper, larger Energy Star designated refrigerators (like the 40 cubic foot one above) that monopolize our kitchens compel us to buy twice the food we need (and waste fully 40 percent of it). Then we relegate the old inefficient refrigerators to our garages where they consume massive amounts of energy for the non-essential cooling of cans of soda and frozen food. So, the more efficient stuff, from cars to ovens get, the more quickly we adjust and begin to consume more—not less—energy.


Owen is not arguing that we return to cooling our food on giant ice blocks but the argument against prevailing wisdom that increased efficiency leads to more responsible use is compelling to say the least. It all stems from the Jevons Paradox, wherein technological progress that increases the efficiency with which a resource is used tends to increase (rather than decrease) the rate of consumption of that resource

In 1865, the then 29-year old English economist William Jevons argued persuasively that by making better use of energy, we just end up using more of it in the end. Jevons was focused on coal but now, over a century later, Jevons' observation lends credence to the contemporary, not-often discussed reality that we have to tackle the problem not just of efficiency but consumption. In essence, by improving efficiency, we're providing cheap, easy access to energy and there's just no motivation to cut back. Moving forward, energy policy will have to pay as much attention to reduced consumption as increased efficiency. Only when these go hand in hand, will we realize any true benefit.

People are still making fun of him decades later but Jimmy Carter may have had it right back in the 70s when in winter, he donned a wool cardigan, turned the thermostat down and encouraged his fellow Americans to follow suit. No one wanted to hear it then and well, some things never change.

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Center for American Progress Action Fund

Tonight's Democratic debate is a must-watch for followers of the 2020 election. And it's a nice distraction from the impeachment inquiry currently enveloping all of the political oxygen in America right now.

For most people, the main draw will be newly anointed frontrunner Pete Buttigieg, who has surprisingly surged to first place in Iowa and suddenly competing in New Hampshire. Will the other Democrats attack him? How will Elizabeth Warren react now that she's no longer sitting alone atop the primary field? After all, part of Buttigieg's rise has been his criticisms of Warren and her refusal to get into budgetary specifics over how she'd pay for her healthcare plan.

The good news is that Joe Biden apparently counts time travel amongst his other resume-building experience.

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Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert

This election cycle, six women threw their hat in the ring for president, but is their gender holding them back? Would Americans feel comfortable with a woman leading the free world? Based on the last election, the answer is a swift no. And a new study backs this up. The study found that only 49% of American men would feel very comfortable with a woman serving as the head of the government. By comparison, 59% of women said they would feel comfortable with a woman in charge.

The Reykjavik Index for Leadership, which measures attitude towards women leaders, evaluated the attitudes of those living in the G7 countries as well as Brazil, China, India, and Russia. 22,000 adults in those 11 countries were surveyed on their attitudes about female leadership in 22 different sectors, including government, fashion, technology, media, banking and finance, education, and childcare.

Only two countries, Canada and the U.K., had a majority of respondents say they would be more comfortable with a female head of state. Germany (which currently has a female Chancellor), Japan, and Russia were the countries least comfortable with a female head of state.

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Culture
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

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Politics
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

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Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.

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