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The Amount Of Land Required To Run America On Solar Power Is Shockingly Small

But there’s also a catch.

So you’re saying it would only take 0.6% of the surface area of the continental United States to power the entire country with renewable solar power? Just 11,200,000 acres to generate 4,000,000 GWh of clean energy?


Well, all right! Problem solved! Let’s just fill that area with solar panels and enjoy … right?

That would be great, but unfortunately, the answer isn’t so simple as staking a bunch of panels across 12 million acres and calling it a day. First of all, that 11.2 million acres will expand quickly once things like service roads, operational facilities and transmission lines are incorporated. And then there’s the fact that you can’t just build one massive solar array and walk away. Solar capture areas would have to be distributed over a wide area to avoid the problem of cloudy days or storms or other weather events that would obscure the sun pouring down onto your energy farm.

And just because these energy stations would likely be located in the desert (you know, where the sun lives) doesn’t mean you can just put them anywhere. There are animal habitats and ecological systems that need to be considered, as well as encroachment on Native American tribal lands. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Indian Energy: “while American Indian land comprises approximately 2% of total U.S. land base, it represents an estimated 5% of the total U.S. renewable energy generation potential.”

Then beyond questions of land use, there’s the issue of storage. After all, we don’t have dual suns that permit us to soak up solar energy 24 hours a day, and there will be inevitable interruptions in power relay due to maintenance or any number of incidents that can befall a power grid. That means we need storage — and really big batteries.

So, it’s not so simple as just throwing down 12 million acres of solar panels and hitting the switch. But no one ever said ditching fossil fuels completely would be cheap or easy. And if the return on this investment is saving our ability to inhabit the world, we think it’s worthwhile.

Infographics
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.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

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.

Culture

In the category of "claims to fame nobody wants," the United States can now add "exporter of white supremacist ideology" to its repertoire. Super.

Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, made this claim in a briefing at The Washington Institute in Washington, D.C. "For almost two decades, the United States has pointed abroad at countries who are exporters of extreme Islamist ideology," Travers said. "We are now being seen as the exporter of white supremacist ideology. That's a reality with which we are going to have to deal."

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Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

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