Sunday, February 25, 2007

Think of the Energy Needed to Run This World's Fair

Travel back in time, to the 1939 NY World's Fair. Empty your mind of 2007 ennui, and enter the child mind that is clamoring to be loosed. Futures past. Pay particular attention to the premonitions of nanotechnology and replicator technology.

Courtesy of Ephemeral Isle


Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Coming Ice Age--Were the 1970's Doomsters Right After All?

Little by little, intelligent people of good conscience are breaking their silence on the absurd crusade of the climate inquisition. Scientists who work with the IPCC are finding their work perverted to the ends of politicians, and that is not science. Nigel Calder, former editor of New Scientist, is just the latest person of integrity to say "enough!"
When politicians and journalists declare that the science of global warming is settled, they show a regrettable ignorance about how science works. We were treated to another dose of it recently when the experts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued the Summary for Policymakers that puts the political spin on an unfinished scientific dossier on climate change due for publication in a few months’ time. They declared that most of the rise in temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to man-made greenhouse gases.

....Twenty years ago, climate research became politicised in favour of one particular hypothesis, which redefined the subject as the study of the effect of greenhouse gases. As a result, the rebellious spirits essential for innovative and trustworthy science are greeted with impediments to their research careers. And while the media usually find mavericks at least entertaining, in this case they often imagine that anyone who doubts the hypothesis of man-made global warming must be in the pay of the oil companies. As a result, some key discoveries in climate research go almost unreported.

....Disdain for the sun goes with a failure by the self-appointed greenhouse experts to keep up with inconvenient discoveries about how the solar variations control the climate. The sun’s brightness may change too little to account for the big swings in the climate. But more than 10 years have passed since Henrik Svensmark in Copenhagen first pointed out a much more powerful mechanism.
More at Source.

Here is a call for sanity from a cooling (not warming!) New Zealand in the midst of the global warming stampede:
“Now, we are presented with an IPCC document that is a summary of a draft of an unfinished report not due for release until May, yet this summary is intended to guide policymakers. It is a document that ignores natural climate influences such as sun-related effects and cycles, and tries to pin the whole of the blame on human beings.

“I hope that people will take the time to read the measured and scientifically restrained comments of Dr Ross McKitrick and his co-writers, who sum up their findings with these words: ‘Consequently, there will remain an unavoidable element of uncertainty as to the extent that humans are contributing to future climate change, and indeed whether or not such change is a good or bad thing.’

And here is more from a foremost world expert in atmospheric science:
A GCM is a weather forecasting model in which the coefficients and parameterizations are tuned so as to obtain long-term results that have an air of realism. The model is then run for several tens of years. There are no penetrating studies of the way slight software mismatches might affect the average values of key output parameters fifty years from now. A forecasting model can make do with relatively crude parameterizations because the short-time evolution of the atmospheric circulation is primarily governed by its internal dynamics. Sloppy representations of boundary conditions, clouds, convection, evaporation and condensation do not mess weather forecasts up all that fast. But the long-term evolution of the general circulation is to a large extent determined by boundary conditions.

....I want to lobby for decency, modesty, honesty, integrity and balance in climate research. I hope and pray we lose our obsession with climate forecasting. Climate simulations are best seen as sensitivity experiments, not as tools for policy makers. I said it in 1990 and I am saying it now: the constraints imposed by the planetary ecosystem require continuous adjustment and permanent adaptation. Predictive skills are of secondary importance. We should stop our support for the preoccupation with greenhouse gases our politicians indulge in. Global energy policy is their business, not ours. We should not allow politicians to use fake doomsday projections as a cover-up for their real intentions. If IPCC does not come to its senses, I’ll be happy to let it stew in its own juices. There is plenty of other work to do.

Climate science has been hijacked by unscrupulous individuals both within and without the climatological community. The mad rush for power by these individuals will not be forgotten.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Nuclear Power Plant Construction to Accelerate Internationally

This post links to information on the rapidly accelerating plans for new nuclear power construction worldwide. The TVA in the southern US has immediate plans to build two new plants, with longer range plans for more.

This link will take you to a table listing different countries with their current nuclear plants, those under construction, those planned, and those proposed.

  • Canada* 18 now, 2 under construction 1.54 GW, 2 planned 2 GW
  • China 10 now, 5 under construction 4.1 GW, 13 planned 13GW, 50 proposed, 36GW
  • India 16 now, 7 under construction 3.2GW, 4 planned 2.8GW, 15 proposed, 11.1GW
  • Japan 55 now, 2 under construction 23GW, 11 planned 15GW
  • South Korea (1,7) and Russia (3,8) have a lot under construction and planned

Nuclear energy is getting safer, and newer reactor designs are more efficient. Even newer designs promise the ability to productively burn all those tons of nuclear waste that would otherwise require thousands of years of secure storage. Things seem to be working out all around for nuclear power.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Energy from Garbage: Another Approach

Ordinary matter contains large amounts of energy. Even garbage contains energy that can be retrieved and made to do useful work.
Researchers tested the first tactical biorefinery prototype in November and found that it produced approximately 90 percent more energy than it consumed, said Jerry Warner, founder of Defense Life Sciences LLC, a private company working with Purdue researchers on the project. He said the results were better than expected.

The U.S. Army subsequently commissioned the biorefinery upon completion of a functional prototype, and the machine is being considered for future Army development.

The tactical biorefinery first separates organic food material from residual trash, such as paper, plastic, Styrofoam and cardboard. The food waste goes to a bioreactor where industrial yeast ferments it into ethanol, a "green" fuel. Residual materials go to a gasifier where they are heated under low-oxygen conditions and eventually become low-grade propane gas and methane. The gas and ethanol are then combusted in a modified diesel engine that powers a generator to produce electricity.

Other approaches to extracting energy from garbage involves high intensity plasmas which create very high temperatures. The higher the temperature the better, when it comes to turning garbage into useful matter and energy.

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