Brilliant Twitter thread shows why Uncle Dittohead REALLY does not like it when you pop his Fox News info-bubble.

Clearly internal biochemistry and neurotransmitters can be hacked, — it’s what advertisers, flimflammers and religions have done for millennia.  But what we are seeing now, supported by networked technology – is next level.

MadGrampa on Twitter:

Fox’s confounding success in retaining and misinforming uneducated conservative viewers is the result of one particular unique behavior. And it explains the surprising ability of Fox viewers to be so susceptible to it all.

We are all familiar with Fox’s distorted misinformation and cartoon propaganda, but Fox specializes in a more important 2nd type of broadcast. And it’s this that’s responsible for the real Fox magic.

Every day, Fox seeks out minor, local stories and factoids that, on a practical level, are totally irrelevant for a national audience. Fox then distorts and exaggerates the stories to reveal affronts to core conservative politics or beliefs.

For example, “US Navy veteran ordered to remove American flag wrap from mailbox.” or “Illegal immigrant charged in deadly freeway crash.” or variations on the “war on Christmas” theme etc.

The facts of these stories impact the lives of none of Fox’s viewers, aren’t topics of national interest, and if disclosed, often weaken the story’s polarizing stance. Fox wouldn’t even broadcast these stories if it weren’t for the one critical benefit which I’ll get to.

To achieve that benefit it’s important that the story obviously incriminate itself without overtly articulating the verdict. Fox feigns objectivity, leaving space for the viewer to judge. That’s intentional; for the system to work, the viewers MUST be one to pass judgment.

It’s as if you’d reported “Blind man says ‘Sky is red’, wants stop sign painted blue”. By design, this triggers the viewer to cry, “THAT’S NOT RIGHT! The sky is blue! How dare he!” Many media pundits explain Fox’s stories like these as merely reinforcing viewers’ politics.

Others argue they are designed to enrage conservative viewers. Both criticisms are correct, but there is something more at work. These stories also exist to stroke the uneducated conservative ego.

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Yale Climate Connections:

Climate change policy analyst* Jerry Taylor spent more than 25 years earning his well-deserved reputation as the skunk at the picnic of American climate scientists.

Taylor – the focus of this month’s “This is Not Cool” video – cut his teeth as an energy and environment savant with the very conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), where he worked from 1988 to 1991. Then, from 1991 to 2014, he was with the free-market Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., where he eventually became a vice president. Through many of those years, Taylor was a frequent spokesperson for those scientists who regularly challenged whether climate change is real, human-caused, or, in either event, worth worrying about or doing anything to address.

A frequent commentator and analyst on those media outlets on the right politically – think Fox News, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, Regulation magazine – Taylor earned the respect of those generally regarded as “skeptics.” He now has come to call some of those Fox News hosts who had given him so much precious air time “howler monkeys,” just one example of his facile way with words that makes him so quotable and so sought-after by many in the news media.

But along with the preening admiration bestowed on Taylor from many of those most stridently rejecting climate science or any effort to manage climate risks, he also won the very begrudging respect of those mainstream climate scientists and policy advocates who, while admiring his communications savvy and stage presence, trashed what they dismissed as his pseudo-science proclamations.

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Our Energy Plan – Government of South Australia:

The State Government has unveiled a plan to roll out a network of at least 50,000 home solar and battery systems across South Australia, working together to form the world’s largest Virtual Power Plant.

Beginning with a trial of 1100 Housing Trust properties, a 5kW solar panel system and 13.5kWh Tesla Powerwall 2 battery will be installed at no charge to the household and financed through the sale of electricity.

Following the trial, which has now commenced, systems are set to be installed at a further 24,000 Housing Trust properties, and then a similar deal offered to all South Australian households, with a plan for at least 50,000 households to participate over the next four years.

A registration of interest will be is open for members of the public who wish to participate in the program.

The Government has released a market notice for a retailer to deliver the program, with a preference of bringing more competition into the market.

Analysis by Frontier Economics shows the 250MW plant is expected to lower energy bills for participating households by 30 per cent.

But wait, there’s more –

Bloomberg:

Natural gas is getting edged out of power markets across the U.S. by two energy sources that, together, are proving to be an unbeatable mix: solar and batteries.

In just the latest example, First Solar Inc. won a power contract to supply Arizona’s biggest utility when electricity demand on its system typically peaks, between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. The panel maker beat out bids from even power plants burning cheap gas by proposing to build a 65-megawatt solar farm that will, in turn, feed a 50-megawatt battery system. Read the rest of this entry »

solarpollinators

Yes, Solar energy in Minnesota is a thing.

Mankato Free Press (Minnesota):

The piece of land just east of Mankato was prairie for thousands of years. A century and a half ago it was plowed into farmland. Last year it was transformed to a massive solar array.

And this spring, the parcel will become a first-of-its-kind research laboratory — studying ways to make harmonious neighbors of solar arrays, prairie plants and agriculture.

“We certainly are aiming to demonstrate this in practice as well as theory that solar developments can coexist with agriculture in a very effective way,” said Marcus Krembs, director of sustainability for Enel Green Power North America. “… This is a really exciting project.”

Enel, which constructed the array as part of its 150-megawatt Aurora solar project, recently reached a research agreement with U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The joint study will examine best practices for vegetation selection and management at three Minnesota solar arrays in the 16-array Aurora project, including the 44-acre Eastwood array midway between Mankato and Eagle Lake.

With photovoltaic panels now covering thousands of acres of land in Minnesota alone, the results of the study are expected to be used by the state Department of Natural Resources in refining requirements for plantings at solar arrays. The research will look at which plants work best for bees, butterflies and other pollinators; how different plant species impact the health of the soil; and what mix of plants can keep the air cooler within a solar array, which boosts the efficiency of solar panels.

The Mankato site was chosen, along with arrays near Atwater and in Chisago County, to provide diversity in ecological and soil characteristics, Krembs said.

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