Sense of Wonder

Some days I need to re-acquire my sense of wonder, many times I end up here.

Sunday hodgepodge II

While the West is debating building nuclear power plants, China is building, Turkey is building, Iran is building, Russia is building, India is building, and both Australia and Finland are ramping up Uranium mining.

Meanwhile, other countries like Brazil are depending on Nuclear plants to help meet greenhouse gas goals, and the same opposition that has kept nuclear plants from being built in the west for thirty years still maintains their superstitious and uninformed anti-nuclear stance. It’s time for you to give Greenpeace a piece of your mind if you honestly care about the environment. One of Greenpeace’s founders, Patrick Moore certainly has….

All deaths to-date from nuclear power do not come close to equaling any single year of deaths from either coal or petrochemical power in the past thirty years. If you want a world of strife and warfare then keep energy sparse, expensive, and concentrated in a few countries. Maybe then we will see another year like the single one where deaths from nuclear did outweigh the deaths from all other power sources.

The Stars My Destination

Someone is finally going to make a movie from Alfred Bester’s “The Stars My Destination“. Constantin Film Development inc. and Impact Pictures appear to be putting together the film at present, and it’s about time.

TSMD is one of SF’s genre-defining classic works and it’s as current today as when it was written. It’s a Promethean tale of revenge ala The Count of Monte Cristo, with a back theme of the responsibility we all have in modern times with the powers granted through Science.

E.G. — if you have an explosive that can split the planet which is ignited by a thought then you must be responsible.

My only fear is that they will mess this up and make a special-effects dog’s lunch out of it instead of concentrating on the two major themes and three minor so artfully woven by Alfred Bester.

Gully Foyle is my name

and Terra is my nation

Deep space is my dwelling-place

and death’s my destination.

Alfred Bester, “The Stars My Destination”

Global warming developments

Interesting development in Canada, to paraphrase the essentials : if we knew then what we know now Kyoto would have never happened.”

The fact is that “the study of global climate change is, as the Canadian Prime Minister himself has said, an emerging science, and one that is perhaps the most complex ever tackled. It may be many years yet before we properly understand the Earth’s climate system. Nevertheless, significant advances have been made since the protocol was created, many of which are taking us away from a concern about increasing greenhouse gases. If, back in the mid-1990s, we knew what we know today about climate, Kyoto would almost certainly not exist, because we would have concluded it was not necessary.

To me the whole global warming debate has defocused and diminished the environmental movement, Environmentalists don’t need a new poster crisis every ten years. Agit-prop, new dogma, and crisis mongering never make for good policy — bolstering your cause with potential causality vs. proven facts is usually a bad thing, which usually achieves bad ends. The politics of the dogma debate and the geopolitical gerrymandering over the redistribution of wealth implicit in the Kyoto protocol have now engulfed and surpassed the original purpose for most proponents.

In Aristotle’s day, as philosophers used the word, “Praxis” defined a complete philosophical concept — it meant in simple terms ” A purposeful, reasoned action.” I am a proponent of Praxis, and when you take the reason from the action, you get an unreasoned action… Kyoto.

It makes emminent good sense to reduce airborn carcinogens from autos, manufacturing, etc., and you don’t need a crisis theory to prove it. Any toxicologist can provide you with ample evidence of the badness of introducing benzene compounds to human lung tissue.

The energy future — burning water

“The Future’s going to happen.”The Future and its Enemies, Virginia Postrel

In the last article I defined the problem, and will summarize it again below:

  1. Like it or not we are a high energy society — any city cut off from transport and energy is two to four days away from rioting and looting. (ala Katrina) We are dependent on plentiful energy for transport, growing the food we eat, and pumping and processing the waste we make. Any future in which energy is limited even slightly creates dim and horrific lives for most of humanity.
  2. The US is dependent on foreign sources of hydrocarbons for a large percentage of our energy needs.
  3. World demand coupled with politics has created high priced energy.
  4. Energy isn’t as plentiful as it needs to be if we want a clean environment.
  5. Current energy production methods create & disperse carcinogenic pollutants widely.

So in a nutshell if we want folks happy and the environment clean, then we need plentiful, cheap, clean energy produced here. Ok, so cheap is a nice to have – if we just want to save the US, it can be expensive energy. However, if we want third world countries to improve then energy needs to be cheap.

 Sounds like a tall order, but it’s really not. Every bit of technology needed is already here today, and tested. There are several solutions and in this series we will examine a few. Right now we are going to look into automobiles that run on water.

Positing unlimited, cheap electricity you can produce all the Hydrogen needed to fuel H2ICE engines. (Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engines.) If you have an H2ICE engine, you are basically burning hydrogen created from water, and creating water and laughing gas as the exhaust. 🙂

The NOx problem is one that they are tackling at the CRF lab at Sandia near my sister’s old stomping grounds in Livermore, California. The problem boils down to the same problem that plagues most speed junkies and engine tuners, how to get the most efficient fuel / air mix at the right time. Fuel injection, timing, & carburation in other words.

Well, that’s interesting, but I said this technology exists, and is tested now… so here you go:

BMW’s model

The 750

BMW 2005 version

  Continue reading “The energy future — burning water”

Energy ?! What, me worry?

This is the first of several articles on the subject of energy, what the future looks like, and most of all about our responsibilities. Unlike most folks looking at the problem I am not going to assume that we are all doomed. The problems around energy are all solvable and the future for everyone is bright, not dim. Continue reading “Energy ?! What, me worry?”

Fifteen minutes, or six hours?

If UBL is found by someone, do we want to be there in fifteen minutes, or four to six hours? If we need to hit a foreign weapons research lab for an assured destruct without using nuclear and we need to do it fast, do we have the means now? Continue reading “Fifteen minutes, or six hours?”