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Goodness Gracious, Scary Nuclear Power

By circletimessquare in Op-Ed
Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 12:00:00 PM EST
Tags: Nuclear Power, Environmentalism, Terrorism, Industrialization (all tags)

Energy is what a nation needs. But what we don't want to do is fund religious fanaticism or destroy the environment. And so, finally, with high prices because of the rising industrial powerhouses of China and India leading to huge demand, the fat car loving Americans are finally beginning to blink and wonder about their addiction to oil. This is a good thing. But what will they use instead?


Like eager publishers at a videogame convention, lots of sexy ideas float out there, tempting us with their merits. Hydrogen, biodiesel, hydro, coal, wind, tidal, geothermal... the list is endless.

Many of these energy sources are what you would call boutique: they are excellent sources, but they simply are small potatoes. When and where they exist: wind, tidal, etc., god bless them and use them. But they can't even begin to make a dent in a nation's energy needs.

Hydrogen gets a lot of talk, but it's not really an energy source so much as an energy storage medium that figures in any talk right now about new large-scale energy schemes for getting away from oil dependence. Hydrogen warrants doubt because while it certainly is extremely clean, under the surface it has problems: transport flexibility/ volatility, for one. And unfortunately what hydrogen proponents don't tell you about, or don't realize, are the simple rules of thermodynamics: you can't convert from one energy source to another without wasting a bunch of energy. So hydrogen, in many ways, since there is no way to make massive quantities of it natively, is kind of like calling electricity clean as compared to gasoline use... when you are completely forgetting that coal-powered plant belching in the background making your precious "clean" electricity.

What problem does hydrogen solve that electricity/ batteries do not already solve as a medium? And even if you can articulate a good niche hydrogen can fill that electricity can't, aren't you forgetting that we already have all this electricity-based infrastructure? And are you taking into account all of the extra energy we would be spending converting our energy sources into hydrogen? Hydrogen really is some sort of faddish joke, that if you understood the real science surrounding its use, unless you could devise some fantastic way to make lots of it, cheap, you'd immediately discard the idea.

Biodiesel or ethanol is a wonderful idea. Brazil has wonderful success with ethanol that warrants serious admiration. However, it's still burning carbon and putting it in the atmosphere. That is, you haven't gotten rid of any of the environmental concerns with smog and greenhouse emissions. You're burning something, it makes CO2: that's a problem.

Fusion and solar, whether land-based or in some sort of wacky orbital scheme, are the kind of energy sources that are probably our best bets... if we ever master the technology to properly and/ or more efficiently harness them.

So what about our old hated bogeyman nuclear? I'm not talking about nuclear powered cars silly, I'm talking about cars powered by batteries refilled nightly from cheap nuclear electric power. Nuclear certainly has made a lot of headlines with a certain theocracy in the Middle East pursuing it for "peaceful" purposes. But there is something about nuclear everyone should know: it isn't your father's nuclear.

Allow me to introduce you to the pebble bed reactor. So what? Well: no Chernobyl, no Silkwood, no Three Mile Island, no China Syndrome: these things are built with safety in mind. The fuel goes into these little pebbles, that, unlike traditional reactor fuel designs, don't decide to melt into the earth and spew radioactive clouds if no one is monitoring them. If you walk away from a pebble bed reactor, if you allow all of the water to boil off, what happens? It just sits there, it does not require dynamic active maintenance to keep safe.

What about all those nasty eons of nuclear waste? Well that's something else that is new, nuclear reprocessing. Well, not really new, but a new way of thinking about nuclear fuel. Traditional reactors use 5% of their fuel, and the rest goes into 10,000 year storage. Yuck. What if instead you designed a system where you paid attention to the chain of nuclear decay, and reused the radioactive byproducts as fuel? This would be via breeder reactors, suitably poisoned and engineered to prevent easy and/ or hideable plutonium production. Such an exhaustive flexible fuel effort would use 90% of your fuel, and whatever remains has a half-life of danger on the order of decades, rather than thousands of years. You could even, believe it or not, use all of that old nuclear waste sitting around right now in rusting drums as a fuel source. Now there's a thought.

You'll also hear people moan about a fuel shortage with nuclear: except that there is none. The Indians use thorium successfully in their nuclear design, and there is a lot of that around. Additionally, all of the uranium stores are not sitting in countries where you would fund Wahhabi Islam by mining it. The U.S.A., for one, could become largely self-sufficient energy wise. Now how's that for an energy national security policy?

The French and the Japanese are already way ahead of the USA in this regard, having decided long ago that nuclear was to be the backbone of their energy needs (and a good train system rather than cars, but that's another subject matter). There is even talk of giving small, unhackable nuclear power plants to third world and second world countries: a form of economic aid, like building bridges or highways. All the benefits of cheap power for hungry growing economies, none of the geopolitical headaches of scary governments splitting the atom for who knows what purpose by themselves in secret. Many of the ideas coming from the West right now for dealing with Iran's nuclear ambitions center around variations of this idea: tying Iran's fuel supply to Western or Russian sources.

The world does not need nuclear weapon proliferation. But the world does need energy security. If the West were to accept that nuclear is proliferating and will proliferate, but endorse and foster the process with safe technological means tied to them as the fuel source, rather than blustering and denying the subject matter, then maybe they can get ahead of the curve of world opinion working against them. But right now, the West's attitude just drives nuclearization underground, completely within the hands of questionable governments rallying the cry of hypocrisy and nationalism, to make atom bombs in secret.

And finally, there is the stigma of nuclear power. But all of the stereotypes of nuclear power are based on out-dated understandings of the technology available to us. It's like trying to talk about what an iPod is capable of when you are only familiar with vinyl records. You can design fuel cycles, fuel methodology and nuclear plants such that terrorism and weaponization concerns are minimized and poisoned.

Still, of course, nothing is completely safe. But we don't live in a world where you choose your energy source in a vacuum. All energy sources have their downside, and so the pros and cons must be weighed against each other so that the best energy source is the one that satisfies a number of criteria, and none of them do that completely.

And do people really want to send their sons and daughters to die in the Middle East, where all of their oil money goes to fuel the conflicts there, rather than deal with the much smaller risks of nuclear power? Surely the Not-In-My-BackYard crowd can agree that a very safe nuclear power plant a few hours away from their house is safer than handing cash to militant religious radicals: this is what the current oil-based energy status quo is like.

And environmentalists, chaining yourselves to railroad tracks to prevent nuclear shipments: what are you really fighting for? The preservation of the status quo of using CO2 belching cars and coal power plants, which destroy the environment? In many ways, nuclear is an environmentalist's best friend, no joke.

No energy source in this world is without tradeoffs. But in a world where CO2 environmental concerns and oil-fueled terrorism concerns are coming to the forefront, I hope everyone can agree that nuclear is our best bet, not without pimples, but with the least dangers and complications of what we have to choose from before us.

And guess what? China and India are rapidly industrializing. It is a standard joke that oil prices went through the roof after the start of Gulf War II, and this is in large part to supply insecurities, but even if, via some miracle, those insecurities were to subside, you'd still have to deal with an energy ravenous muscular Chinese economy. The writing is on the wall: the golden age of the oil-powered car is over. The love affair is ending. Cheap oil is never coming back. Make your choice on a new energy source, and make it a good one.

And nuclear seems to be the best choice when you take all of the factors into consideration: sustainability, supply, technological feasability, security, and the environment. Nuclear has warts, but it gets better marks than other energy sources across all of the concerns that we have to contend with when thinking about making the switch to a new energy source.

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Poll
What should power the energy hungry world?
o Gas 16%
o Coal 14%
o Nuclear 70%
o Hydro 43%
o Biodiesel/ Ethanol 36%
o Hydrogen 20%
o Tidal/ Wave Turbine/ Ocean Thermal Column 47%
o Geothermal 43%
o Solar 52%
o Fusion 49%
o Deep sea methane hydrates 16%
o Wind 48%
o Dilithium mediated antimatter-matter collisions 25%
o Maxwell's Demon 20%
o Limitless zero-point energy 21%

Votes: 97
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o pebble bed reactor
o nuclear reprocessing
o small, unhackable nuclear power plants
o Also by circletimessquare


Display: Sort:
Goodness Gracious, Scary Nuclear Power | 394 comments (324 topical, 70 editorial, 5 hidden)
You forgot to mention how (2.00 / 4) (#3)
by Kronecker on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 05:16:27 AM EST

all the cheap designs that would be most suitable for mass-production lack containment buildings. This is somewhat of a bad idea in our current situation, as I'm sure you'll agree.

So you see, we'd have to get rid of the nuts first (theirs and ours). But then if we do that we might as well keep using oil unopposed, at least until fusion is feasable.

--
At some point we have to face down a culture in which not only the mob in the street but the highest judges and academics talk like crazies. - Mark Steyn

I am quite disagreable (2.25 / 4) (#4)
by khallow on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 05:32:56 AM EST

You forgot to mention how all the cheap designs that would be most suitable for mass-production lack containment buildings. This is somewhat of a bad idea in our current situation, as I'm sure you'll agree.

No, I don't agree. Sounds instead like a major cost has been removed. The pebble bed reactor, for example, doesn't appear to need a containment building.

So you see, we'd have to get rid of the nuts first (theirs and ours). But then if we do that we might as well keep using oil unopposed, at least until fusion is feasable.

Most places have procedures for keeping nuts away from the nuclear materials. Why should this be a problem for the US or most of the world?

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Because (none / 1) (#90)
by debacle on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 10:32:40 PM EST

It's been noted that people have been granted access without authorization to several nuclear reactors in the united states, most of those existing on college campuses.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]
You forgot limitless zero point energy (2.00 / 6) (#9)
by tetsuwan on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 06:13:13 AM EST

These guys are serious

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance

added ;-) nt (none / 1) (#13)
by circletimessquare on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 06:32:55 AM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
LOL thanks (2.75 / 4) (#30)
by a lengthy sabbatical on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 11:13:21 AM EST

i needed the laugh this morning.

"if you're the kind of person who might feel victimized in a purely text medium, you should probably go to husi." - bunk
[ Parent ]

Right (2.00 / 2) (#315)
by trhurler on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 09:37:47 PM EST

And some guy in Russia invented a perpetual motion machine using nothing but hand tools. Whatever. Even if this idea "worked" it would likely be draining energy from a finite pool we can't see yet that might serve some unknown purpose; does that sound smart to you?

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
You seem to have forgotten (none / 1) (#355)
by tetsuwan on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 05:55:49 PM EST

That I know more physics than you. The link was a joke. I'll go to a seminar about the Casimir effect next week, and somehow I doubt it will mention being able to extract an infinite amount of work out of it.

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

Power Tower (none / 1) (#376)
by phraud on Thu Jul 20, 2006 at 02:53:50 PM EST

Check out This

Google Boeing Power Tower, or Rocketdyne, etc.

These are massive solar electricity generating stations.   They are cheap, and can power the world if we dedicate enough space for them.   There is plenty of space, as you would want them to be in deserts, and barren regions.
You create your own reality. Leave mine to me.
[ Parent ]

Fission and biodiesel for now, (2.76 / 13) (#11)
by Kasreyn on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 06:19:44 AM EST

aiming towards phasing things out with more efficient geothermal, solar, hydro, and wind use. Eventually, effective fusion should phase everything else out. I may have very little faith in the morality or wisdom of my species, but I have no doubts about its technical capacity.

Fission is one of the best power sources available at the moment. In my opinion, the people worrying about meltdowns are fucking pussies. People are choking to death on smog, and we're up to our assholes in trouble in the Middle East over oil, but they'd rather bitch and moan for eternity because of two accidents. Chernobyl was caused by idiots, and Three Mile Island was exaggerated by them. Fuck those NIMBY bastards. Build the reactor in my town. It's not like I need my sperm for anything. Bury the waste under a mountain for now. Like I give a rat's ass about tainted groundwater in Bumfuck, Nevada when oil addiction is a far bigger problem for humankind. If the groundwater around said mountain goes bad, you move the people away. Fuck, let's use those new eminent domain powers from Kelo. Screw the whiny rustics, we need a place to dump glowing slag that's far from urban centers. Once we develop fusion, we take it back out and burn it in the fusion reactor along with all our garbage. Or we put it in a fusion-powered rocket and fire it into the sun.


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
+3,000, and also... (2.33 / 3) (#15)
by circletimessquare on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 06:36:22 AM EST

by using breeder reactors and consuming the waste, what was once only 5% used and left over nasties with half lives on the order of eons can be used 90% use and leave nasties with half lives on the order of only decades

so you don't even have to worry about the waste concerns you bring up so much, we just need to reeducate people that the waste concerns really aren't that bad with modern fuel reprocessing schemes


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Why do people clamor for a silver bullet? (2.50 / 4) (#293)
by mikehoskins on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 10:37:34 AM EST

Why do people want to focus on one or even two forms of energy (or alternative energy)?

Two words I'll throw out, that, to me are most germane to any alternative energy discussion:
  Energy Independence

If we are in short supply from 1-2 sources of alternative energy, we are doomed -- this is a new form of Energy Dependence.  This is why sticking with oil as our primary source of (transportation) energy makes no sense at all, nor does moving to one or two new forms of energy.

Nuclear fusion/fission, wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, biomass, burning of trash, methane recovery from trash, ethanol, new coal with sequestration of CO2, electric storage, flywheel storage, hydrogen storage, etc., should all be explored together.

The cheapest alternative sources of energy production and storage (per KWH, per mile/kilometer, per unit of greenhouse gasses, etc.) should be explored first and given the most early attention.  Also, we should mitigate (but not necessarily eliminate all) CO2 production.

However, we should not stick with one or two or three sources of energy/storage -- ever!

Again, there is no silver bullet.

All forms of energy production fluctuate, but never all forms at once.  When multiple sources augment one another, we can avoid shortages.

Let's take cars as an example....

In hybrid cars, for example, this could relatively easily be put to use:
  * E85 fuel and other "flex fuels" -- flexible from 100% gasoline/diesel and 0% ethanol to 15% gasoline/diesel and 85% ethanol (primary)
  * Hybrid storage of energy produced by engine (primary)
  * Plugin electric -- large battery storage, precharged during off-peak hours (primary)
  * Regenerative braking (secondary)
  * Solar cells on hood, roof, and trunk (secondary)?

In the above, you have 4-5 sources of energy/storage:
  * Gasoline/diesel (hybrid storage)
  * Ethanol (hybrid storage)
  * Electricity (from grid)
  * Momentum (when braking)
  * Solar (on sunny days)?

Electricity, in turn, can come from many sources, as can diesel (biodiesel, for instance) and ethanol (and perhaps gasoline, in the future).

In this case, if we are in low supply of oil, who cares?  We can go 85% ethanol, or perhaps a 50%/50% blend of the two and plug it in.  If electricity goes way up in price, on the other hand, don't plug it in.  If we have an Ozone warning, fill up with E85 and be careful to plug it in the night before.

As opposed to the current gasoline-only or diesel-only problem we now face, this creates flexibility and efficiency.  It also creates Energy Independence.

This is also very doable at the pump.  I saw an estimate that just adding hydrogen to gas stations all across the US would cost about $1 trillion USD -- just for the pumps and transportation -- not counting automobile production or H2 production.  I can almost guarantee that E85 will cost a small fraction of that (perhaps it can be mixed at the pump, as needed, making it cheaper to augment existing sites).

I'd be willing to bet that engine redesigns aren't all that expensive, either, since many of the major car companies already know oil and have experimented/produced E85 vehicles in the past/present.  (Again, E85 vehicles normally let you go back to 100% gasoline/diesel on the fly)....

Hybrids are already in production, of course.  Plugin electric hybrids are already coming to the customization market, with interest from major car manufacturers.  Hybrids already get excellent fuel economy and emissions under certain conditions.  Plugin electric hybrids and flex fuels can certainly improve an already excellent system.

With flex fuels, a plugin hybrid could be an excellent way to Energy Independence.

For example, if you need to commute daily, plug it in and quietly/cleanly use electricity for nearly 100% of your daily commute.  (Of course, electricity may generate CO2, depending on the source.  From a factory, however, this can be sequestered).

If you need to go on vacation, perhaps the first 100 miles are electric, while the rest of the trip is gasoline/diesel or E85, or some other blend....  One you stop somewhere for several hours, charge it back up then....

Perhaps solar and regerative braking could supply 1-5% on a vacation and 5%-10% in stop-and-go traffic on a hot summer day and keep the radio and AC on full blast....

I'm sure the same could be said of powering the grid from many forms of energy, simultaneously.

There simply is no silver bullet, nor should there be.  (Silver is a pretty expensive way to make a bullet, and it can't handle the stress, anyway).

[ Parent ]

What's with the obsession with the Hindenburg? (2.28 / 7) (#23)
by vadim on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 07:47:46 AM EST

It's a lot more complicated than "hydrogen goes boom". Gasoline does that as well, but nobody seems worried. Not to mention that the skin was coated with the components of thermite (google for some videos, it's quite impressive stuff)

Hydrogen, IMO, has much more significant problems than that. The main one is that it requires very complex development and infrastructure, while not being able to store all that much energy. I have suspicions that the push for hydrogen is in part an attempt to maintain the status quo.

After all, electric cars are simple. Electric motors are highly reliable, and don't need a vast amount of moving parts to support them. You can even put motors in the wheels, eliminating the need for a transmission. But of course, that would make the current lucrative market in replacement parts hard to maintain.
--
<@chani> I *cannot* remember names. but I did memorize 214 digits of pi once.

look everyone! (1.33 / 6) (#45)
by circletimessquare on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 12:39:09 PM EST

i'm obsessed with the hindenburg!

i see big blimps, everywhere i go

OOOOOOOO

I'M OBSESSED

OOOOOO

OH THE HUMANITY!!

TEH HINDENBURG IT FILLS MY MIND

OOOOEEEEOOO

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

It's just stupid (2.00 / 2) (#65)
by vadim on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 02:11:27 PM EST

There's no such thing as a safe fuel. Hydrogen explodes, but so does gasoline. Steam engines blow up as well. Batteries contain acid and can explode if overcharged. Flywheels can release their energy in spectacular ways.

Objecting to hydrogen on the basis of "it goes boom like the Hindenburg" is just nonsense. If  the Hindenburg is a valid reason to stay away from hydrogen, then 9/11 should be a valid reason to abandon the use of jet fuel, and the Ford Pinto should have eliminated the use of gasoline.

Reality is a bit more complicated than that. Cars running on hydrogen obviously are nothing like a blimp, and as evidenced by the Pinto, there's more than one way to design things. Some are prone to horrible safety issues and some aren't.

IMO, a much better argument can be made by looking at what an hydrogen economy requires, and wondering why go though all that trouble when electic cars have just one problem to solve: batteries.
--
<@chani> I *cannot* remember names. but I did memorize 214 digits of pi once.
[ Parent ]

You're funny (1.66 / 3) (#302)
by 7h3647h32in6 on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 04:59:27 PM EST

Gasoline does NOT explode unless it is in a gaseous state. Gasoline can be easily transported and stored as a liquid until it is needed to combust as a gas. If gasoline is in a liquid form, it merely combusts the gaseous gasoline that evaporates off the surface of the liquid. Hydrogen also combusts as a gas, but cannot be easily reverted to it's liquid state, making it very hazardous to transport due to it's combustibility in the oxygen rich air.

If you research fuel trucker spills, most catch on fire from sparks from steel scraping pavement, which then ignites the gasoline as it runs all over the ground until it burns off. Hydrogen would not burn off, but instead blow the steel container to pieces, throwing tankard shrapnel into traffic.

[ Parent ]

Hydrogen and Batteries (none / 1) (#69)
by Coryoth on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 03:00:11 PM EST

The real decision here is about how to store your electricity. You can use chemical batteries, fly wheels, capacitors, or hydrogen. Each option has various pros and cons. Capacitors just have really low energy density, so their not that great an option. You've already noted some of the issues with fly wheels. Thaqt leaves hydrogen and chemical batteries as the two beig contenders. Hydrogen technology is still gearing up, while battery technology is established and still making significant advances. The downsides for batteries tend to be energy density, and charge/discharge rates. Issues with hyrodgen tend to relate to bulk (energy density by mass is good, but by volume it sucks) and transmission (hydrogen pipelines aren't as good as normal electric lines for long distances).

In the end I expect we'll ned up with a mix of batteries and hydorgen: both have different advantages suiting them to different tasks. I think claiming hydrogen is not a viable storage technology is to overlook some of the downsides of chemical batteries. Of course Hydrogen is no silver bullet, and has its own issues and hence situations where it is less appropriate. There are places where it does make good sense however.

[ Parent ]

Charge/Discharge Rates (2.00 / 3) (#208)
by frankwork on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 08:37:45 PM EST

Discharge rates aren't that serious of a limitation: a properly-sized battery can provide the sorts of power levels that drivers are accustomed to.

Charge rates, on the other hand, are a different story. A standard filling hose has an energy flux on the order of 10 megawatts (or threeish if you factor in the chemical-to-mechanical conversion efficiency of the engine). A high-end fast charger tops out at about 60 kilowatts. So even taking into account the differing conversion efficiency, an electric vehicle will take about 50 times longer to refuel.

The saving grace of battery-electric vehicles is that there's a "gas pump" in every home with a pipeline straight to the "refinery." Coupled with the many other advantages of EVs, the driving-time-to-refueling-time ratio is an acceptable tradeoff for non-roadtrip use.



[ Parent ]
Case by case (1.50 / 2) (#216)
by Coryoth on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 09:14:31 PM EST

Discharge rates aren't that serious of a limitation: a properly-sized battery can provide the sorts of power levels that drivers are accustomed to.

But cars are not the only use for energy storage. There are other applications where discharge rate matters, and in those cases hydrogen and fuel cells look like a much better option.

The saving grace of battery-electric vehicles is that there's a "gas pump" in every home with a pipeline straight to the "refinery." Coupled with the many other advantages of EVs, the driving-time-to-refueling-time ratio is an acceptable tradeoff for non-roadtrip use.

But it doesn't compare very well to an electric vehicle refilling at a hydorgen station in about the same amount of time as a internal combustion car at a petrol station. Besides, once you get into cars the energy/mass density becomes important, and hydrogen is a winner there too. Of course batteries are easier to recharge on the go via things like regenerative braking.

The point is that really there is no "better" in any universal sense, it's a matter of case by case evaluation, because each different use case has different constraints and requirements, and thus different optimal solutions.

[ Parent ]

An easily solved problem. (1.50 / 2) (#252)
by dissonant on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 03:32:15 PM EST

Standardize the size of batteries for automotive and motorcycle use.  Larger vehicles that need more power simply carry more cells.  The cells can be swapped out at a "charging station" much like propane tanks.  This also allows you to carry "jerry cans" if you like going to more remote areas that don't have charging stations.


[ Parent ]
Supercapacitors plus batteries (1.50 / 2) (#321)
by Eccles on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 12:39:05 AM EST

Combine a battery with a supercapacitor. The supercap doesn't have much power density, but it does have high output. So you use it for acceleration, then recharge it as you drive at more constant speeds. 98% of the time, I'm driving less than 100 miles a day and could use an electric. The rest of the time, I could rent a car or fly. The technology exists for an electric car that is fast enough and with enough range for most daily drivers.

[ Parent ]
The real decision here.... (none / 1) (#370)
by DavidTC on Tue Jul 18, 2006 at 11:28:52 AM EST

...I think, would be if we want to attempt to transport hydrogen anywhere, as some people have been supposing in this hypothetical 'hydrogen economy', despite the fact that makes very little sense to me.

Maybe we want to give people faster gas station stops by providing them with a bucket of hydrogen or an already charged battery for their depleated one, but that doesn't mean we need to ship those things...we can just make them or charge them at the gas station.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Hindenburg Deaths by cause (3.00 / 2) (#366)
by anonimouse on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 07:09:55 AM EST

From falling/ jumping from airship: 33
From diesel burns: 2
From hydrogen explosion: 0
~
Sleepyhel:
Relationships and friendships are complex beasts. There's nothing wrong with doing things a little differently.
[ Parent ]
I agree (2.85 / 7) (#24)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 09:46:13 AM EST

Iran has the right to nuclear power.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
everyone has the right to nuclear power (2.40 / 5) (#44)
by circletimessquare on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 12:37:33 PM EST

including iran

no one has the right to nuclear bombs

including the usa

and therein lies all of our problems


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Finally (1.50 / 2) (#109)
by BJH on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 02:50:57 AM EST

You said something I can IAWTP to.
--
Roses are red, violets are blue.
I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
-- Oscar Levant

[ Parent ]
Bomb (1.50 / 2) (#228)
by Xptic on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 12:20:26 AM EST

Somebody has to have the bomb.

It'd be nice if we could turn all the stockpiles over to the UN.  Lock them in a safe and have three dials with three different countries having combos.

Somebody has to have the bomb so that when North Korea decides to run south, we can stop them without loss of US lives.

[ Parent ]

Because if no one has the bomb (none / 1) (#238)
by Trevasel on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 11:19:35 AM EST

No one can set us up the bomb.
-- That which does not kill you only makes you stranger - Trevor Goodchild
[ Parent ]
But they want a design usable for weapons (2.00 / 4) (#74)
by BerntB on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 05:34:14 PM EST

Wasn't Iran offered non-heavy water reactors in the latest deal?

I dislike the idea of new members of the nuke club. Now it is politically impossible to use nuclear weapons. If lots of more countries get them, the threshold will be lower.

Arguably, Asia might be more stable with Indian and Pakistani bombs. But if all the countries then get nuclear weapons... they are bound to be used.

If terrorist-financers like Iran get them, more countries need them... (Don't claim that Iran wouldn't give out nukes to terrorists -- they supply money to groups that explictly targets civilians.)

(And then we have the possibility of some real crazies doing a revolution in Pakistan or Iran and bombing the city where Rushdie lives...)

[ Parent ]

Hook, Line, and Sinker ... (1.50 / 2) (#255)
by icastel on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 06:28:01 PM EST

... is what you've swallowed.  You really believe that the iranians are trying to build nucular weapons just so they can "give them to the terrorists," don't you? Pretty much verbatim from a dub-ya! speech.


-- I like my land flat --
[ Parent ]
Terrorists? (2.25 / 4) (#256)
by cdguru on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 06:43:04 PM EST

Never.  The Iranian President has a much better use for nuclear weapons - to remove the affront to the Middle East that is Israel.  He has basically said that is their intent in so many words over the past six months.  Over and over, in public and to many different crowds and interviewers.

I would suggest we believe him.

[ Parent ]

Where did you get your multiple PhDs? (1.00 / 2) (#268)
by BerntB on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 08:03:12 PM EST

Since you know how the priests in Iran thinks, you should have multiple PhDs and earn lots of money as a consultant to lots of states.

Helvete, you obviously even know what the priests will think in five-ten years time!

Again:
The Iranians are supporting people with money and equipment that have civilians as primary targets. That is generally accepted as a bad thing, hence it is a war crime.

Since you know everything, tell me -- where does their lines go? What will they do?

Ok, ok.

You might also think it is ok that countries get nuclear weapons if we aren't certain -- just have good reason -- to think they might use them?

It seems like only a total idiot might think that. But maybe you could motivate your position well and convince me?

[ Parent ]

Where did I get my PhD's? (none / 1) (#359)
by icastel on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 12:26:15 PM EST

In high school.  

Look, I'm not for anybody having a nuclear weapon (much less using one).  The reason I don't think Iran would use it, say, against Israel is because they pretty much know that if they do, it'll also be the end of Iran.  The people in power (Western, Eastern, etc.) want to stay in power and to do that they need to be alive, stating the obvious, and they need to have people to have power over.

Mr. Ahmadinejad is playing his own people trying to make them hate the Western evil and he's probably succeeding.  Western nations are doing the same with their own people.

You're right in that some countries might be thinking to use nuclear weapons, but I think it's unlikely.  So far the U.S. is the only country to ever use them, but that was under different circumstances (i.e. no one else had that bomb).

Also, you may want to review your definitions on "war crime" because it seems like you're just throwing that term out without really knowing what it means.



-- I like my land flat --
[ Parent ]

Missed answering, since you posted a week later. $ (none / 1) (#369)
by BerntB on Sun Jul 16, 2006 at 02:27:53 PM EST

(Also, it is a war crime to target civilians. A reference that says different would be interesting?)

[ Parent ]
It is a Crime Against Humanity to.... (none / 1) (#371)
by DavidTC on Tue Jul 18, 2006 at 11:43:50 AM EST

...deport or forcibly transfer a population, by, for example, moving them out at gunpoint and settling on their land, before Israel gets all high and mighty.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]
You know full well that (none / 1) (#373)
by BerntB on Wed Jul 19, 2006 at 09:11:03 AM EST

deportations was common occurrence during/after WW I/II.

Hell, the Finns and the Germans probably got the most unfair handling after WW II. The only ones that still complains are strangely the Palestinians.

Are you using different scales to measure different sides -- or are you claiming that the Israelis have done something like that after the first war 1948 when they were attacked by their neighbours? (Even then, wasn't it more a case of using that people fled than marching them off at gunpoint.)

Besides, I don't really think it is that bad when countries lose land area after starting wars to destroy other countries.

[ Parent ]

What? (none / 1) (#374)
by DavidTC on Thu Jul 20, 2006 at 12:17:31 PM EST

The Palestines aren't complaining they lost land in 1948. And, incidentally, 'they' didn't start the war, as they didn't fucking exist at the time. Surrounding countries started it. The war was merely in the area they are, and they lost like half their country to Israel, and they aren't complaining about that or demanding that back. (Well, as always, some are, but the PLO wants 1967 boundaries back.)

They're complaining they've lost land since then, as Israel has repeated conquered parts of them and placed civilian settlements there, despite the fact that originally Israel was supposed to occupy 50% of the area, and ended up with 75% in 1967. They want their 25%, aka, the West Bank and Gaza, not the 50% the UN gave them in 1948 or the whole area.

To recap: Despite the fact that Israel now has three times as much land as Palestine, when originally they were supposed to be equal in size, Israel still settles its citizens into officially Palestine areas, and then protects them militarily, which of course as Palestine has no military, or, at least, no effective military, the only way to fight them is guerrilla tactics. And, incidentally, Israel has about half the population, if it's a 'fairness' issue.

Don't think I'm on Palestine's side in all this. Some behavior isn't acceptable. OTOH, conquering parts of someone's country, putting civilians there, and then bitching when those citizens get blown up is stupid, at best, and is delibrately using them so you can crack down on the 'terrorists' at worse. I just almost always end up arguing the Palestine side because everyone has been brainwashed that Israel is magically in the right.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

You spoke about deporations (none / 1) (#375)
by BerntB on Thu Jul 20, 2006 at 01:14:15 PM EST

I was confused since there have not been any large-scale "deportations", WW II style.

Your argument isn't bad. I am not an expert but I'd imagine that Israel would argue that lots of Jews had to leave Arab countries really fast -- including Jews which owned land on the West Bank 1948. Israel took back what was theirs.

(Personally, I don't really have a problem with if countries that start wars lose land area.)

If the Palestinians really wanted a state, they could have gotten a good deal with Barak.

I really don't understand all the troubles since the Palestinians should be able to get a good deal going for right-to-return. The Israelis are sick of it all and just want peace, which I thought was the goal of the Intifadas and the terrorism.

If I was PLO's negotiator, I'd start with:
"If the Palestinians say we're happy, Israel will get peace, no bombs, no rockets, no trade blockades from the Arab world and earn really large sums off tourism. But we want area, water rights and lots of money for accepting the no-return policty for the refugees of 1948. The peace means that Israel can cut your military spendings to a fraction. Start by giving 70% of ten years military budget 2006 to the inhabitants in the refugee camps. We want payment for increased tourism, too, for twenty years."

[ Parent ]

In my book.... (3.00 / 2) (#377)
by DavidTC on Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 06:51:41 PM EST

....when the military takes over an area, evicts people from their homes, tears them down, and builds apartment buildings for someone else, and then protects those people at gunpoint, that is, in fact, 'forcibly transplanting a population'.

Doing it reeeeally-sloooowly doesn't make it less of a crime against humanity. Removing a native population by force and replacing it with yours is a violation of international law.

But, anyway, the secret to this whole conflict is two things. One that one side admits and the other doesn't: There are people on both sides who want the entire other country to not exist.

And one no one admits: And there are people who benefit from current conflict on both sides, and even third parties on both sides.

Which is why neither side takes the incredibly obvious steps towards peace that others can see. For example, replacing Israel troups with UN peacekeepers in Palestine. And not doing, for example, this fucking stupid stunt Hamas just did with the kidnapping, which was designed to provoke an overreaction.(1)

The political wing of Hamas was signaling the idea of peaceful coexistence, and Israel had also elected a government in that direction. So the asshats in the military wing of Hamas had to do something stupid, and the asshats in Israeli government have cracked down hard on Gaza and the West Bank in the past week in response, something the international community has mostly ignored due to Lebanon. Thus getting relations back where some people in Israel, Palestine, the US, Iran, etc, want them, where they're at each other's throat.

1) It's really sad when you consider the fact that Israel kidnaps Palestine civilians all the time and holds them without trial, but Palestine goes after a single military target and, boom. However, Hisbollah waltzes in and stole international attention away from the shit Israel's doing right now in Palestine in reprisal. (And they're supposed to be friends! Those bastards. That's like a best man who proposes to some girl during your wedding.)

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Not so easy... (none / 1) (#378)
by BerntB on Mon Jul 24, 2006 at 01:36:15 AM EST

I am not an expert, but how many jews were thrown out of the West Bank in the forties? With all their possessions confiscated? As I wrote, that is how I assume that the land grab is motivated.
It's really sad when you consider the fact that Israel kidnaps Palestine civilians all the time and holds them without trial, but Palestine goes after a single military target and, boom.
Afaik, Israel get terrorist suspects. This kind of long internments seems common for all states with serious terrorist problems. (Have HRW documentation that claims that Israel use it to terrorize civilians in many cases?)

Also, it is a war crime to not let the Red Cross/etc meet the kidnapped soldier. The Palestinians even demand payment to tell about his health state! There are some differences.

Consider that an 18 year old civilian was kidnapped and murdered at about the same time. And the rockets -- attacking civilians. A big reaction from Israel would coming.

Yeah, the order for starting trouble seems to have come from the Hamas leader in Syria.

The retribution policy is inflexible for a reason. If there were some combination of politics which would make Israel not do a revenge when its civilians were attacked, then that unusual combination would happen every week.

The Israelis are a bit cynical after Oslo 1993, when Arafat got security organizations of tens of thousands to stop the terror -- and continued to use terror as political pressure. But sure, Arafat was one of those that benefited from a continuing crisis, since he'd have been thrown out otherwise.

[ Parent ]

What? (none / 1) (#379)
by DavidTC on Mon Jul 24, 2006 at 12:16:29 PM EST

I am not an expert, but how many jews were thrown out of the West Bank in the forties?

So, if someone did it in the 40s, it's not a war crime. Got it.

Afaik, Israel get terrorist suspects. This kind of long internments seems common for all states with serious terrorist problems.

Oh, great. Now you're using the US to justify things. But even that doesn't work.

The Israeli military is in charge of maintaining security in Palestine under various international agreements. It is not in charge of charging people with crimes, or arresting people at all, although it can do that. It is certainly not allowed, under any interpetation of any international agreement or Palestine law, to detain people indefinately without charging them with a crime.

This isn't a government being too overzealous in their own country. Palestine is not Isreal, it is a nation, although not, technically, a sovereign nation at this point. But it's merely controlled by Israel, under various agreements and treaties, none of which lets Israel kidnap people and hold them without charge merely because it asserts something about them.

Also, it is a war crime to not let the Red Cross/etc meet the kidnapped soldier.

Isreal doesn't get to complain about that. They've been targeting medical centers and delaying the passage of medical vehicles, both of which are war crimes, but more importantly kidnapping people out of the RC's hands. From ambulences. It's the most blatant disregard of the Geneva Convention rules about medical protection I've ever seen. Once you start attacking the other country's RC, you lose the right to whine that you aren't being allowed to check in on a single capture.

And the rocket attacks don't have anything to do with Palestine. Hisbollah is not working for Hamas in any way, shape, or form, and Hamas is actually attempting to negotiate a prisoner return, for those aforementioned kidnapped civilians.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

I thought the Geneva convention was for (none / 1) (#380)
by BerntB on Mon Jul 24, 2006 at 02:26:24 PM EST

So, if someone did it in the 40s, it's not a war crime. Got it.
Well, the East European countries gave back expropriated houses after '89. Was that a war crime? (As I wrote, I don't really know about this, but your counter argument is not coherent.)
kidnapping [from] ambulences. It's the most blatant disregard of the Geneva Convention rules
Didn't the Palestinians use ambulances to freight a suicide bomber (one or more?) into Israel and for moving weapons? (Even UN ambulances?) Since the Palestinians used ambulances to move weapons around, they could arguably be allowed as military targets?

Am I mixing the different Conventions? I thought the Geneva convention only was for real combatants that follows the war laws like identifying themselves as combatants, don't use civilians for shields and don't attack civilians as primary targets?

Do fighters from any Palestinian group qualify for the Geneva Convention's protection?

Oh, great. Now you're using the US to justify things. But even that doesn't work.
I'm not an expert, but it seems that you switch from civil law and the Geneva convention for soldiers when it suits you? :-)

I wrote that most countries with active insurgencies do exactly things like that to people they suspect are (aiding) combatants.

I seem to remember that combatants can be kept until after the conflict, according to the Geneva convention? Would you argue the conflict is over? Neither would I.

What does the Geneva convention say about protection for people that break war laws, now again?

delaying the passage of medical vehicles, both of which are war crimes
By the way, I've seen Pallywood, so do you have a HRW ref to how often IDF has "kidnapping wounded from ambulances"? Please don't give that kind of partisan sources if you want to have any credibility, it sounds like Hung Fu.

[ Parent ]
Do you have any basis for your claims of perfidy? (none / 1) (#382)
by DavidTC on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 08:33:20 PM EST

Didn't the Palestinians use ambulances to freight a suicide bomber (one or more?) into Israel and for moving weapons? (Even UN ambulances?) Since the Palestinians used ambulances to move weapons around, they could arguably be allowed as military targets?

I have no idea where you got this idea from. That's perfidy, it's a war crime, and I'd like to see some actual evidence of it, instead of you thinking you might recall something like that.

The Palestine Red Crescent is recognized as a 'national Red Cross' by the International Commitittee of the Red Cross, and thus has the legal right under the Geneva Conventions for free movements, without the threat of delibrate assault, during any battle on the planet, assuming they are wielding the correct insignia. Working with any government to aid their military operations is flatly illegal for them and would have them removed from ICRC in a heartbeat.

And I don't think anyone would have had the slightest problem if it had been 'Let's check if this 'Red Crescent ambulence' is legit. But if Israel knew who was in the ambulance, surely they knew they were legit Red Crescent ones. Alternately, they didn't know, and just have some irrational hatred of ambulences.

Am I mixing the different Conventions? I thought the Geneva convention only was for real combatants that follows the war laws like identifying themselves as combatants, don't use civilians for shields and don't attack civilians as primary targets?

No. Different parts of the Geneva conventions apply depending on who you're fighting, but the protection and autonomy of the Red Cross not only applies to anyone who's signed the Geneva conventions, no matter who they're fighting and if they're signed, but firing on medical personal has, in a few cases, been recognized as a crime against humanity and thus even non-signaturies who violate it can be charged by any court that claims universal juridiction.

And, um...Palestine has signed the Geneva Conventions, which is exactly why some people in Israel were bitching it wouldn't let the Red Cross see the prisoner. Neither they nor Israel follow them particularly well, but you don't get to violate one part of the convention because your opponent has violated another. These weren't some crazy-ass Hamas ambulances, but actual Red Cross ones.

No one, under any law of war, can attack the Red Cross, at all, under any circumstances. I quote the 1st Geneva Convention, which has been law for almost 150 years:

24. Fixed establishments and mobile medical units of the Medical Service may in no circumstances be attacked, but shall at all times be respected and protected by the Parties to the conflict.
27. The staff of National Red Cross Societies and that of other Voluntary Aid Societies, duly recognized and authorized by their Governments, who may be employed on the same duties as the personnel named in Article 24, are placed on the same footing as the personnel named in the said Article, provided that the staff of such societies are subject to military laws and regulations.

Like I said, the Palestine Red Crescent is a duly recognized and authorized National Red Cross Society.

The doesn't excuse the Palestine's government to refuse to let the Red Cross look at its prisoner. I'm just saying, when it comes to bitching about violating the 'medical' rules of the Geneva Convention, Israel did something three or four orders of magnitude worse than Palestine by delibrately attacking the Red Cross.

Hell, Palestine's behavior isn't any worse than the US's. We have large groups of prisoners that the Red Cross isn't allowed to see, in secret prisons no less.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

You don't know about it?! (none / 1) (#383)
by BerntB on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 05:33:51 AM EST

First I'd like to note this, which discusses when Israel rebuilt Merkavas as ambulances -- because the Palestinians happily use anti-tank weapons on all Israeli vehicles, military and civilian.

Second, you never answered what protections people have that refuse to follow any war laws. All (but one?) of the Palestinian groups explicitly targets civilians. If you are going to just claim that "both sides break the war laws" -- then you really need to document that the Israelis do it at least a tenth as much as the Palestinians.

Third, you let go of the point that the Israeli's imprison civilians to harm the civilian population?

Fourth,

I have no idea where you got this idea from. That's perfidy, it's a war crime, and I'd like to see some actual evidence of it, instead of you thinking you might recall something like that.
Yes, it is a war crime -- by the Palestinians, which routinely use civilians as primary targets. I assume your surprise is humor? Seriously, they target civilians -- and you act outraged when they transport weapons in ambulances? You're a troll.

Just Google/... It is well documented. I am starting to wonder what kind of sources you read if you argue details about the Geneva conventions and how they are followed in Israel/Palestine -- but doesn't know the basics of one sides arguments.

[ Parent ]

Sigh. (none / 1) (#384)
by DavidTC on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 12:58:53 PM EST

Yes, linking to google is very clever...except that it's just a sounding box.

Most of those hits are refering to undocumented-except-but-Israeli-military instances, when they say they found an 'explosive belt'.

This has happened twice, BTW. Apparently, twice some incredibly organized terrorist organization has tried to transport bombs by tossing them under gurneys that children are laying on in ambulances, instead of, you know, actually putting them somewhere they might not be found in the ambulence. The alternate, and more logical explaination, that ICRC came to, is that they are being tossed there by soldiers searching the vehicles. To quote them: "Despite official Israeli allegations of Palestinian use of ambulances to transport weapons, no independent evidence has surfaced to support the allegations."

And many hits are just general unsupposed claims by the Israeli military that the Palestines do that.

OTOH, there actually is evidence the Israeli army has lied about this before. They said the ambulance fired on them. They eventually issued a retraction of this particular claim, when the footage by the local TV station was found, saying it was a 'mistake' that they repeated and continually insisted the ambulence had opened fire on the IDF. I wonder how many 'mistakes' aren't caught on video.

It may be a 'well documented' rumor, or at least 'well repeated', but it's just that. It's fucking made up propaganda, it doesn't matter how many people have repeated it.

If you want to google something, google 'Mahmoud Bajawi', an innocent ambulence driver who not only was imprisoned and beaten for 12 days to try to get him to confess to criminal activity, (Thus demontratrating that the other 'confessions' by medical personal are rather suspect.) but on another occassion had his ambulence stolen and driven around by the IDF and the ICRC had to step in and demand they give back. There's some actual documented perfidy for you, soldiers driving around in the other side's ambulance. That's two different kinds of perfidy there. (OTOH, I rather seriously doubt that particular joyride was sanctioned by the IDF.)

But, hey, maybe the Lebanon Red Cross will have something to say about Israeli's habit of attacking the Red Cross, because, yup, they've just fallen under attack.

As for Israeli's arming of ambulances, that's fucking absurd. If they want to start collecting the wounded in armed vehicles, whatever. But they don't get to claim medical immunity for them, except during the actual recovery. (Any personal actually recovering wounded are protected, but ambulences are protected at all times. Ambulences, however, have to be unarmed, except, I think, sidearms.)

And I don't justify various Palestines militas attacking civilians at all. It's reprehensible. However, Israel shoots rockets at Palestine civilians all the time, and, like I said, has imprisoned many of them without any sort of trial or determination of status. Both sides are pretty much equal in how much their fight has harmed civilians, it's just that Israel hides behind the banner of 'That was a legit military target, it doesn't matter that the attack also killed twenty Palestine civilians.', whereas Palestine often actually targets civilians, which is obviously worse.

That, however, doesn't change the fact that it's Israel screwing with the medical immunity, not Palestine. Israel is screwing with it by falsely claiming Palestine is violating it, and I'm sure any day now they'll start claiming Lebanon is too.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

That was funny (none / 1) (#385)
by BerntB on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 02:58:54 PM EST

The Palestinians target civilians as primary targets and you are certain they wouldn't use ambulances to smaller stuff, like transporting weapons in ambulances?!

Quite funny, really.

It's fucking made up propaganda, it doesn't matter how many people have repeated it. [...] It may be a 'well documented' rumor, or at least 'well repeated', but it's just that. It's fucking made up propaganda, it doesn't matter how many people have repeated it.
You got a serious reference for that claim, like NY Times? The Israelis has complained officially to the red cross. There are Palestinians in prison for doing it, which has admitted guilt in court.

All just a big conspiracy, right?

It wouldn't surprise me if IDF make things like this up for the propaganda value. But I doubt that they would need to, since the Palestinians do worse stuff. Someone that shoots unarmed Israeli children at close range is a hero. Israeli do follow human rights, more or less.

As for Israeli's arming of ambulances, that's fucking absurd. If they want to start collecting the wounded in armed vehicles, whatever.
(-: Well, it must have been cheap. Volume in a tank isn't a design constraint or anything, right? :-)

Again -- are you claiming that the Palestinians which use civilians as a terror target would think it immoral to shoot at ambulances?! Thanks, you made my Friday!

[ Parent ]

Do you not read what I write? (none / 1) (#387)
by DavidTC on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 05:01:15 PM EST

The Palestinians target civilians as primary targets and you are certain they wouldn't use ambulances to smaller stuff, like transporting weapons in ambulances?!

Neither the Palestine government nor Hamas operate the Palestine Red Cross.

You got a serious reference for that claim, like NY Times? The Israelis has complained officially to the red cross.

And, as you're apparently blind, I pointed out the International Committee of the Red Cross looked into that claim, on, yes, the complaints of the IDF and said 'Um, no. You put those there. That's just stupid.'.

There are Palestinians in prison for doing it, which has admitted guilt in court.

And there's one ambulance driver not in prison for it because he withstood 12 days of torture by Israel to get him to admit to some sort of wrong doing.

Sorry, the second a country uses torture, no confession counts, period.

Do you not read the damn posts you're replying to? I addressed both these already. Feel free to dispute the points I made, but don't pretend I didn't fucking bring them up.

Again -- are you claiming that the Palestinians which use civilians as a terror target would think it immoral to shoot at ambulances?!

I don't think there's any way that anything I said can possibly be interpeted as that.

I said these 'armed ambulances' that you brought up don't count as 'ambulances' for the purposes of the Geneva Convention. That's it. That's all I said.

I didn't say Palestines were justified shooting at either them, or normal ambulances, or that they were or weren't doing so.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

YOU missed where I asked for good sources again? (none / 1) (#388)
by BerntB on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 05:25:05 PM EST

Do you not read the damn posts you're replying to? I addressed both these already.
Do you not read the damn posts you're replying to? I again asked for references to credible sources.

I have seen Pallywood and I would be surprised if the Israelis didn't do the same thing. That you have so certain opinions on this matter looks very partisan.

Neither the Palestine government nor Hamas operate the Palestine Red Cross.
And that proves they are independent? :-)

Seriously, this was funny.

And there's one ambulance driver not in prison for it because he withstood 12 days of torture by Israel to get him to admit to some sort of wrong doing.
Again! What makes you so certain that testimony isn't a Pallywood production instead of an attempt at an Israelwood?
I said these 'armed ambulances' that you brought up don't count as 'ambulances' for the purposes of the Geneva Convention. That's it. That's all I said.

I didn't say Palestines were justified shooting at either them, or normal ambulances, or that they were or weren't doing so.

You condemned the Israeli side because they had violated the sanctity of ambulances, in very harsh words. You didn't complain about the Palestinian side. We know that is standard, since the Israeli side invested millions to get maximum armor protection for their wounded -- when the Palestinians doesn't have artillery.

[ Parent ]
Let me put it like this... (none / 1) (#391)
by BerntB on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 06:23:54 PM EST

And there's one ambulance driver not in prison for it because he withstood 12 days of torture by Israel to get him to admit to some sort of wrong doing.
There are real cases of people comitting suicide in jail. If someone is pressed to make a false testimony without breaking, then he'd probably be a case of "suicide".

That makes it unlikely that anyone will ever talk about how they were tortured to tell lies. (You should buy this argument -- since you think the Israelis murder civilians so easily.)

Another possibility is that the Israelis tried to get him to admit to things they thought he did -- but had got the wrong man.

Then, they get the right man (or gives up) and releases him. He tells what happened to him -- "they gave me a terrible time and tried to get me to admit to X". And the Israelis did that, but without trying to create a PR lie.

Or it was a Pallywood production. Or an attempted Telaviv production.

Which of the three theories is true?

I have no idea. Neither do you. But you have a certain opinion.

[ Parent ]

Oh, and this... (none / 1) (#386)
by BerntB on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 03:01:56 PM EST

And I don't justify various Palestines militas attacking civilians at all. It's reprehensible. However, Israel shoots rockets at Palestine civilians all the time
Since you are so well read on the war laws, why don't you give examples where they just killed civilians for fun -- without going after legitimate targets with those rockets?

What do the war laws say about hiding legitimate military targets among civilians, btw?

[ Parent ]

Israel bombs the Palestine government. (none / 1) (#389)
by DavidTC on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 05:25:06 PM EST

Since you are so well read on the war laws, why don't you give examples where they just killed civilians for fun -- without going after legitimate targets with those rockets?

Sigh.

Read this whole thing. No, not the first attack by Israeli bombing the PLO, although that's an interestingly questionable attack. Instead, read here:

In response, Israeli warplanes bombed three Palestinian police buildings.
...
Israeli helicopters attacked a Palestinian police station in Tulkarem, and tanks shelled police posts near Ramallah.
The military said the attacks were retaliation for the killing of the Israeli man.

These were the police. Not the military, not Hamas, police. Police are civilians. They weren't bombed because they were attacking, no one was firing from those sites, they were bombed because Israeli wanted to retaliate on Palestine, and the police are pretty much the only functional government building.

That is the textbook example of killing civilians, and, as a topper, retaliations against occupied populations for attacks are themselves additionally illegal, on top of the 'killing civilians' bit.

But, you're right in that Israel usually has an excuse for all those innocent people it keeps killing, that someone, nearby, was shooting at them. Or someone they didn't like lived in that buildings, along with a dozen innocent people.

I.e., the beatings will continue until the struggling against the beatings stops.

And of course it's against the law to hide military assets among civilians, and of course Hamas does that, and of course I condemn them for that, you idiot.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Guardian?! I asked for a good source (none / 1) (#390)
by BerntB on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 05:41:23 PM EST

Guardian is, afaik, a POS. I asked for dependable references. HRW, NY Times, etc.

You really had to go back five years to get a good example? This isn't that good, either.

These were the police. Not the military, not Hamas, police. Police are civilians. They weren't bombed because they were attacking, no one was firing from those sites, they were bombed because Israeli wanted to retaliate on Palestine, and the police are pretty much the only functional government building.
Those police buildings where afaik bombed when Israel picked the PA to pieces, when it refused to implement the 1993 Oslo agreement and stop terror attacks on civilians. That official buildings where bombed to hell was quite obvious early on. There were afaik few if any victims when they were bombed. Which even the Guardian article seems to support?

In the 1993 Oslo deal, the PA got tens of thousands of security police -- and should use them to stop the terrorism. (I think they were even armed by Israel.) From what I've read of interviews, they were more an asset in the Intifada -- and the terror.

I don't think that was a textbook case of killing civilians, since afaik mostly buildings died there, not civilians.

You don't really have any good support for your thesis that the Israelis are evil, it seems?

[ Parent ]

Here is a ref, that looks good (none / 1) (#392)
by BerntB on Sat Jul 29, 2006 at 06:40:51 AM EST

This looks almost believeable.

It condemns Israel for repeatedly shooting at ambulances and says that is an illegal response to take after the finding of ammunition, which they seem to treat as a fact.

I can't say I am surprised.

[ Parent ]

Hamas use rockets, too $ (none / 1) (#381)
by BerntB on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 07:48:45 AM EST

And the rocket attacks don't have anything to do with Palestine
I meant the rockes Hamas use to target civilians.

[ Parent ]
I Like What You're Saying (none / 1) (#393)
by czolgosz on Sun Sep 24, 2006 at 06:12:29 PM EST

The Iranians are supporting people with money and equipment that have civilians as primary targets. That is generally accepted as a bad thing, hence it is a war crime.

I wholeheartedly agree.

Ahmadinejad and his ilk are scum. But they're scum who have neither the capability nor the intent of attacking the US. So whatever the rationale is for attacking Iran, it's got nothing to do with defending our people from a foreign power. It's not our fight, and all the high-minded bullshit I keep hearing is just another way of saying that if we don't like a country's leadership, it's our prerogative to bomb, invade and then impose other leadership at gunpoint. That's not self-defense. It's empire.

It's much better to start by dealing with our own war criminals. They're a more immediate problem. Let's try all those who are "supporting people with money and equipment that have civilians as primary targets." For example, where did those cluster bombs come from that are scattered all over southern Lebanon, blowing up small children and peasants? And how many Iraqi civilians have been slaughtered in that war against yet another state that had neither the intent nor the capability to attack us? And then there's the promotion of torture.

A previous generation of leaders who got involved in a war of choice against weaker nations and deliberately disregarded the Geneva Conventions ended up on trial at Nuremberg, and many of that odious contingent found themselves at the end of a rope. I don't support the death penalty, so I'd settle for seeing our generation's crop of swaggering, murdering liars locked up for life instead. But regardless of how they're dealt with, accountability and the rule of law beat impunity anytime. That's what I and a lot of other Americans and other people in the world want to see. Until we get there, we have no moral lectures to give to the rest of the world, and no right to stick our nose into their politics unless our survival is at stake.


Why should I let the toad work squat on my life? --Larkin
[ Parent ]

You commented 2 months later :-) (none / 1) (#395)
by BerntB on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 01:09:14 AM EST

I didn't see this until much later.

Since you know what the theocrats in Iran will do with nuclear weapons, I'll defer to your wisdom... :-)

Just note that democracies don't make war on each others (not even USA). When dictators get nuclear weapons, move to Iceland.

If this continues, every damn country on the planet will have to get nuclear weapons. You really think that will be good for anyone?

All the Arab countries that feel threatened by the Persians are starting "peaceful" nuclear programs. They aren't that democratic, either.

[ Parent ]

Converting between energy storage media: (1.75 / 4) (#31)
by skyknight on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 11:17:55 AM EST

There is loss whenever you perform such a conversion, but from the perspective of the system as a whole it can still be a net win. Why do you think we have diesel-electric locomotives? Why does ATP get used in biological organisms? Your use of this as a reason to dismiss hydrogen is too facile.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
well shit (1.50 / 4) (#38)
by circletimessquare on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 12:26:44 PM EST

if we can harness ATP, that pretty ends all arguments about energy storage mediums in terms of efficiency

but until then, there's tradeoffs wtih the conversion

that's my only point

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

My problem is that... (2.75 / 4) (#50)
by skyknight on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 12:56:46 PM EST

you neglect to mention that energetic physical processes can be done far more efficiently in the controlled environment of a power plant as opposed in the engine of a car for many energy sources. While every conversion has its overhead, the end-to-end system may benefit from inserting an additional conversion. As such, saying that an extra conversion between storage media is being imposed is not by itself a sufficient argument against inserting that conversion step. You're offering a straw man, and I'd suggest tightening your argument while it's still in the edit queue.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
not really (2.50 / 2) (#52)
by circletimessquare on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 01:06:12 PM EST

the observation that converting to an UNNECESSARY energy medium is valid


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
You don't actually make that observation... (2.00 / 3) (#55)
by skyknight on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 01:10:42 PM EST

at least not with any resembling evidence.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
one would hope the obvious (none / 1) (#56)
by circletimessquare on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 01:15:37 PM EST

doesn't need "evidence"

for example, it's stupid to convert all of my currency to thai baht, and then back to dollars, before buying a can of soda, because it's a superfluous and unnecessary step that anyone can appreciate


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

First... (2.85 / 7) (#58)
by skyknight on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 01:32:38 PM EST

you claimed you were making an "observation" when really you were making an assertion. Now you're arguing by false analogy. I think somewhere in the middle was a straw man, though I'm having trouble remembering all of the phases. I can only begin to imagine what comes next from your bag of ineffectual tricks.

I fail to see how it is obvious that adding hydrogen as an intermediary storage medium is a waste of energy. The thing is, it isn't actually obvious. You merely perceive it as being obvious as a consequence of your lacking much understanding of physics and systems engineering. It would only actually be obvious if you were both an expert mechanical engineer and chemical engineer, and even then you'd probably still have to do a lot of reading.

I'm not saying that adding hydrogen into the mix will make things more efficient. I'm just saying that it's not at all obvious that it won't. Have you read up on all of the numbers pertaining to the sub-systems that make up the transportation system? I doubt you have. I suspect the truth is that you've assumed that a complex thing is in fact simple as a consequence of your lacking analytic ability. Your frantic hand waving does not constitute a proof, or even enough evidence to dispel reasonable doubt.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
zzz (1.11 / 9) (#61)
by circletimessquare on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 01:47:28 PM EST

when in doubt, nitpick the obvious to death


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Conversion of some sort is required (2.75 / 4) (#72)
by Coryoth on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 05:07:03 PM EST

Given that you'll be converting the electricity to chemical potential energy for batteries you're going to be making a conversion step anyway. The question is not "should there be a conversion step " (unless you plan the electrify roads or some such), but "what's the most effective conversion/storage system for use X". Because hydrogen and batteries have different pros and cons they tend to be best suited to different uses. Batteries have pretty poor energy density by mass with respect to hydrogen, and also tend to have much slower charge/discharge rates. That means that a car using batteries is going to be heavier and is going to have issues with long recharge times compared to simply swapping out hydrogen storage containers for a fuel cell.

Of course hydrogen has its own issues - mostly energy density by volume, and efficient transport (easier to just use electricity over high density lines) which make it a lot less suitable than chemical batteries for a wide variety of purposes. Mindlessly writing off one or the other without considering the needs of the use to which it will be put is simply foolish. But then that's generally never stopped you in the past. For a man who descries dogmatic views you seem to have an awful lot of them.

[ Parent ]

Actually, probably not. (2.50 / 2) (#339)
by fyngyrz on Sat Jun 24, 2006 at 08:36:25 PM EST

Ultracapacitors will most likely be replacing batteries within just a few years (prototypes exist now) that store energy as separated charge (IOW, still as electricity) rather than in chemical form. Ultracaps will offer significant advantages, given the point when the energy density is equal or better than a battery.

  • They charge (a lot) faster, and they don't heat (waste energy) when they do
  • They discharge (a lot) faster if required meaning higher surge energies can be withdrawn from them
  • They support far more charge/discharge cycles than do chemical batteries.
  • They are a lot less toxic to produce
  • They are a lot less toxic to dispose of

Mind you, this could all fall apart if for some reason the actual manufacturing of ultracaps of battery equivalent storage turns out to be impractical, but it's looking really, really good right now.


Blog, Photos.
[ Parent ]

Someone should invent (2.00 / 8) (#67)
by zenador on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 02:25:25 PM EST

Microwave power plants like the ones in Sim City 2000. Those were pretty cool, especially when the beam missed the dish and blew something up.

In reality they are sadly harmless :-( $ (2.00 / 5) (#73)
by BerntB on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 05:23:00 PM EST

(Google for it, there are good solutions known for decades.)

[ Parent ]
Where will the fuel come from? (2.20 / 5) (#68)
by gpig on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 02:40:16 PM EST

http://society.guardian.co.uk/societyguardian/story/0,,1791356,00.html

From the linked article:

"The idea of "peak oil" - the year when global annual production of oil reaches its highest point and thereafter declines irreversibly - is now central to the debate about oil as a world energy source.
....
Do we now want to repeat the same mistake with nuclear? The supply of uranium has already reached its peak, in 1981."

You don't have to use Uranium (2.80 / 5) (#71)
by MMcP on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 03:37:50 PM EST

Look it up.  

[ Parent ]
bullshit (2.66 / 3) (#104)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 01:33:42 AM EST

and even if you were right, use thorium, or another source

supplies are fine for now

although in a century or two we better have made the switch to fusion, no matter how much of the heavy radioactive shit we have sitting around


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

This is unsupported (2.72 / 11) (#75)
by guidoreichstadter on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 05:34:17 PM EST

and wrong:

When and where they exist: wind, tidal, etc., god bless them and use them. But they can't even begin to make a dent in a nation's energy needs.

This article on wind power states:

Past Energy Department studies have concluded wind harvested in just three of the 50 American states could provide enough electricity to power the entire country, and that offshore wind farms could do the same job.

wikipedia states that full utilization of onshore commercial wind energy resources would provide about 40 times current world electricity consumption, or 5 times current total world energy consumption, and convenient offshore resources would provide several times more energy. These figures are backed up by a recent study published by the American Geophysical Union.

One of the drawbacks of wind, hydrothermal and other resources is their uneven geographic distribution, and the state of storage and transmisson technology for electrical energy limits their penetration of distant energy markets. In this regime, photovoltaic production can be sited to take advantage of geographically intensive development of alternative energy sources or nuclear power, and the resulting manufactured product, widely distributed to sources of energy consumption, would represent a net export of energy from these regions during the energy payback period of the photovotaic use cycle. This would allow more efficient continuous intensive utilization of these geographical energy resources than merely serving the local population demand and the limits that direct electrical energy transmisson would entail.

At any rate,it may be possible to profitably mitigate CO2 emissions from conventional fossil fuel plants.

also, as a lot of people have pointed out, biofuels derived from atmosperhic CO2 are fairly close to being carbon neutral. Biofuels derived from algal precursors can be mass produced in non-arable or marginal terrain without displacing food production or ecological diversity.

Wind power is already very close to being cost competitive with conventional fossil fuels, and economies of scale and technological developments that will reduce these costs are still developing rapidly. While nuclear power also offers a comparable economic alternative to fossil fuels, I don't think there are compelling reasons why society should favor nuclear over wind power.


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.

What about migrating bird populations? (2.14 / 7) (#78)
by skyknight on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 07:27:08 PM EST

That's a lot of rotating blades. Maybe you don't even like birds, but secondary effects can be tricky to guess.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Zero impact (2.33 / 3) (#79)
by Coryoth on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 07:34:46 PM EST

There is no such thing as zero impact energy generation - it just isn't going to happen. What we can strive for is to have a limited and reasonably easily accountable impact. Even that's not trivial - who would have thought to take CO2 emissions from coal plants into account 80 years ago?

As these things go wind farms look to be relatively low impact, particularly if they're off-shore. Combine that with increased use of geothermal and solar and nuclear and you start to get a reasonably low impact and decently heterogeneous energy generation scheme.

[ Parent ]

has to be taken into account (2.33 / 3) (#84)
by guidoreichstadter on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 09:25:44 PM EST

but probably dwarfed by other human causes.

wind currently provides about .5% of US electrical energy use, and according to this article, commercial wind turbines cause the direct deaths of only 0.01% to 0.02% of all of the birds killed by collisions with man-made structures and activities in the U.S. Much larger fatalities arise from collisions with transmission lines, telecommunication towers, automobiles, houses, high rises, etc. Assuming that the average risk exposure can be maintained while scaling up to total US electricity production from wind, the extrapolated fatalities from collisions should be only around 10% of current fatalities from collisions with man-made structures. We could reduce current fatalities by that much by grounding power distribution lines.


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]

wind power is land hungry (2.00 / 3) (#224)
by iggymanz on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 10:46:31 PM EST

huge wind farm in California produces 120MW at the same cost per MW as nuke plant, except nuke plant takes up far less land and puts out 800MW per reactor.  Add to that you need a WINDY place, and wind is strongest during off-peak hours, and it just doesn't compare to the good old fashioned atom mill

[ Parent ]
right (none / 1) (#305)
by guidoreichstadter on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 05:36:37 PM EST

but the land is still potentially usable for agriculture, grazing or conservation. In the case of offshore wind farms, the space consideration is relatively moot. The modular and distributed nature of wind energy can be an economic and security asset as well.


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]
good points (none / 1) (#362)
by iggymanz on Fri Jul 07, 2006 at 12:39:35 PM EST

but we really need a good energy storage mechanism to make wind power hugely useful for general purpose needs.  We're getting very close from several directions, including fuel cells, super capacitors, superconductors.

[ Parent ]
All our energy needs could be solved.... (none / 1) (#372)
by DavidTC on Tue Jul 18, 2006 at 12:07:05 PM EST

...with, say, a cheap, very dense, 90%-effective storage medium for electricity, when you can get out 90% of the electricty you put in.

Seriously. Forget nuclear, forget coal, forget gasoline. Everyone could operate on solar power and wind, mostly self-generated, although cars might need charging/battery swap stations for the road, but those places would generate their own power.

And large industry would need some sort of purchasing system. But no private individual.

Assuming we have something dense enough, we could even replace almost every battery with a mechanical 'shake charger' like those 'self-winding' watches have, that's the size of a battery and fits in place of one.

The only reason anyone has to purchase power is because storing it is so much a hassle and generates so much waste. No individual uses more power than their property can trivially generate.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Alternatives (2.50 / 4) (#227)
by Xptic on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 12:13:29 AM EST

Wind and tidal power are really bad ideas.

Both systems tap into self-regulating systems.  If you remove energy from that system, you'll cause a climate shift.

Geothermal is a little better.  But, again, you are tapping into a system without knowing the end result.  Bring lots of thermal energy to the surface and you could cause a climate shift.  You could also cause instability in the crust.

Solar energy might work for some areas.  But what about the energy required to produce, install, and maintain hundreds of acres of plate glass.  Hell, corrosion control for a sun farm would be a massive undertaking.

Every alternative has drawbacks.  It's easy to produce a (mostly) clean coal (or oil) plant.  It's hard to roll out an untested system without knowing what the effect will be in 200 years.

[ Parent ]

what are the figures? (none / 1) (#304)
by guidoreichstadter on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 05:15:51 PM EST

It's difficult to weigh costs and benefits without a quantitative understanding of the effects. Do you have any information about calculated climatic effects from wind, tide or geothermal energy use?


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]
Nope (2.00 / 2) (#316)
by Xptic on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 09:52:29 PM EST

No figures.  But, as Stephen Colbert says, "I know it in my gut."

If you tap into a system and remove energy, you will change the system.

We don't need energy for the next 50 years.  We don't need energy for 100 years.  We do need a source that will work for thousands of years.  

Burning shit for 10000 years may or may not have put us in a bad spot.  The first guy to build a fire probably wasn't thinking about CO2 emissions.  The first guy to use whale oil probably didn't think about extenction.

But, in this day and age, you have to know that just because you can do something does not mean you should.

Biodiesel is renuable and has no CO2 imbalance.  But how well will cropland fare for the next 1000 years of heavy crop growth?  Especially after we have tamed the very rivers that gave the cropland its richness to begin with.

Do you honestly think that removing 1000th of a percent of the ocean's currents will not have an effect?

Do you honestly think that removing 1000th of a percent of the atmosphere's currents will not have an effect?

Maybe it's the best choice for now.  But, it's just a stopgap measure for long-term sustainability.

[ Parent ]

Biodiesel (none / 1) (#327)
by somaudlin2 on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 06:04:30 PM EST

Current scientific research says it'd probably be most efficient to use oil producing algae which can grow in non-potable water for our biodiesel production. There would be much less worry about landmass or water usage.

[ Parent ]
Algae (2.00 / 2) (#328)
by Xptic on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 08:54:21 PM EST

I thought about that too.  But where will you put them?  You'll have to build enormous tanks somewhere.  You'll have to provide nutrients to the water.  You'll have to deal with the runoff.

You also need to consider that a specific ammout of sunlight is absorbed and reflected.  If you change this ratio, what will change?

Let's say the desert reflects 50% of the sunlight that falls.  Now you put algae tanks there.  All of the sudden, energy that would have been reflected back into space is converted to biodiesel.

Global warming.

[ Parent ]

Could be good (2.00 / 2) (#320)
by Eccles on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 12:33:06 AM EST

If it slows the winds, extreme winds (hurricanes and tornados) are generally a BAD thing. But you're being a BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything.) Yes, enough wind power *might* affect climate. But pumping C02 into the atmosphere will, definitely. Nuclear fails not because of the Greens, but because it is simply too expensive. Even Price-Anderson and other subsidies haven't changed this. For nuclear, pick two of: safe, cheap, powerful.

[ Parent ]
What? (2.00 / 3) (#324)
by Xptic on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 05:46:01 AM EST

>>But you're being a BANANA

Not really.  I just want to see something that works with as little impact as possible.  Wind, tidal, and solar do not fit into that category.

Not to mention that, yes, the systems are ugly.

>>Yes, enough wind power might affect climate. But pumping C02 into the atmosphere will, definitely.

Enough wind power will change the air currents.  Climate may change due to this.

If you take CO2 out in summer and put it back in in the winter, then climate will not change.

>>Nuclear fails not because of the Greens, but because it is simply too expensive.

It's expensive because of the hippies.  The plants are not expensive to build.  The system is a simple heat exchanger.  The fuel in a pebble-bed breeder is fairly self-renewing.

I don't really think fission is the way to go.  But fusion is prepetually 20 years away.

[ Parent ]

No alternatives (2.75 / 4) (#254)
by svampa on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 06:27:26 PM EST

How much energy do you need make biodiesel?

That is an importat point, the EROEI. For example, years ago, to get 100 barrels of gasoline (that is, to to extrat it, refine it, and transport to gas station) you had to use 1 Barrel of oil. Nowadays you have to use 10 barrels. Probably in a fews years you will nedd to put 50 barrels.

That is what is called EROEI (Energy Return on Energy Invested):

1 barrel -> 100 barrels EROEI= 100/1 = 100
10 barrel -> 100 barrels EROEI= 100/10 = 10
The higher EROEI, the better enegergy source. If EROEI is less than 1, then you put more energy than you get.

For Saudi's oil the EROEI is 10, for USA's oil is 3.

Having said this, the problem with wind mills, solar energy etc is a low EROEI (very close to 1), or perhaps below 1. A wind mill requires tons of steel, that have to be manipulated with heat, and later transported to where you are going to build the mill. Manufacturing a solar cell requieres a lot of energy as well (solar cells are said to cost more energy to build than they will produce in all tis life). etc

the problem with biodiesel is similar. Moreover, you must be awere that they use another important and limited resource: land

If you use the trees, you must be aware that you can't cut more than they grow. For example if a forest gows a 10% every year, you can't use more that the 10% of the forest per year. So if you have forest of 1000ha, you must not cut more than 100ha per year (of carefully selected trees).

We could grow other plants which grow faster and produce more biodisel per Kg, but be aware you must produce less food and less pastures.

For example 1ha of rape you get a crop of 3.5 tons of grain, a ton procuces 415 Kg of biodiesel. So from a field of 1ha we can get 1,45 tons of biodiesel. To move all the cars in Uk you would need 25.9 Millons of ha, nevertheless in UK there are only 5.7 Millons of farming land.

Now add the energy for the manofacturing plant, for moving the rape from the field to the plant, and the energy to grow it..

Without fossil combustibles with have much less energy, nothing in the near future will replace it.



[ Parent ]
not quite (2.66 / 3) (#303)
by guidoreichstadter on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 04:59:54 PM EST

energy payback period for manufacturing, installing, maintaining, and finally scrapping modern wind turbines is on the order of months

energy payback period for modern photovoltaics is much longer, but they generally have an EROI greater than one over their normal lifespan, so are not really useful as a primary energy resource. It is useful to think of solar cells as compact sun powered batteries with a very long lifetime. Accordingly, solar panels can be used to 'embody' the energy from wind farms and distribute it to end users who are far from the production site.

Other forms of solar energy such as solar thermal have a much greater EROI and are suitable as primary energy resources.


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]

correction (1.50 / 2) (#308)
by guidoreichstadter on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 07:52:21 PM EST

this page from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's website states that the energy payback period for various types of PV systems is on the order of 2-4 years, with an expected lifetimes of up to 30 years, yielding EROI around 8 to 15.


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]
blah (2.22 / 9) (#76)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 06:05:28 PM EST

Biodiesel or ethanol is a wonderful idea. Brazil has wonderful success with ethanol that warrants serious admiration. However, it's still burning carbon and putting it in the atmosphere. That is, you haven't gotten rid of any of the environmental concerns with smog and greenhouse emissions. You're burning something, it makes CO2: that's a problem.

But you grow plants which take in CO2 before you burn it, so it doesn't create greenhouse gases.

This article contains many factual errors but I don't have the energy to point out all them.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour

deforestation and inefficiency (2.00 / 2) (#91)
by khallow on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 10:41:22 PM EST

My take is that the carbon release comes from deforestation. That frankly IMHO is most of Brazil's carbon emissions.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Nonsense (1.50 / 2) (#314)
by trhurler on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 09:36:25 PM EST

The amount of CO2 used by plants is not equal to the amount you get back out. The plants use C02 as fuel, but it is hardly the only place they get any carbon anymore than it is the only place YOU get carbon. And ALL that carbon goes up in the smoke.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
my demands (2.44 / 18) (#77)
by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 06:38:20 PM EST

40 toxic acres and a telepathic mule.

--
Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.

Sounds like you've been playing SimCity. (2.00 / 4) (#81)
by livus on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 08:01:50 PM EST

Outside of that context however, I find a lot of this unconvincing. For example, how you can go on about hydrogen without even mentioning Iceland is beyond me.

I totally agree with your premise that we should abandon oil. But replacing it with nuclear power seems like jumping from the frying pan into the fire to me. Sure it might be easier, but that doesn't make it better.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

i told you in my post below (none / 1) (#99)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 12:56:49 AM EST

this isn't a doctoral dissertation

so thank you for bringing up iceland and hydrogen, i know nothing about that

now kindly educate us all on the matter rather than assuming it is my responsibility to be omniscient on the subject matter

it's called a discussion... understand the concept?

k thx


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

saying it's not a dissertation (2.66 / 3) (#100)
by nostalgiphile on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 01:20:09 AM EST

Is no excuse for not doing your research.

"Depending on your perspective you are an optimist or a pessimist[,] and a hopeless one too." --trhurler
[ Parent ]
actually, it is an excuse (2.00 / 2) (#101)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 01:23:27 AM EST

this is a wide open free site, get it?

i have no responsibility to you whatsoever

you're not my professor, you're not paying me

you have no right to assume any responsibility or accountability from me whatsoever

because it's a free and open discussion board

you apparently cannot grasp that concept

many people here on the other hand dillweed CAN understand that concept, and they jump into the discussion with their wisdom, to add to the discussion, and enrich it

now, pretty please with a cherry on top:

tell us all about iceland and hydrogen

or shut the fuck up


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

wrong reply box, idiot (2.20 / 5) (#102)
by nostalgiphile on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 01:27:57 AM EST

Livus is the one who mentioned Iceland and hydrogen power, not me.

I am the fucktard who told you yer article is full of ad hominem asides and unpersuasive reasoning.

"Depending on your perspective you are an optimist or a pessimist[,] and a hopeless one too." --trhurler
[ Parent ]
so google iceland (none / 1) (#113)
by livus on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 06:03:00 AM EST

Iceland uses a lot of hydrogen.

If you're going to say an energy source won't work you should check first to see if it has.

I don't expect a dissertation.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

why is it my responsibility (1.33 / 3) (#199)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 06:08:40 PM EST

to support YOUR assertions?

ADD to the discussion jackass, make your OWN contribution, or shut the fuck up

but denigrating my contribution by saying "hey, you don't know everything, you don't know what i know, so you can't say anything" is just fucking retarded

i'm not saying you can't add to the discussion, why do you think it is important to say i can't?

i have to know everything there is to know about a subject matter before i can open my mouth?

before you answer yes, consider that you don't know everything about me

(snicker)


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Don't pretend you can't read (none / 1) (#206)
by livus on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 08:25:40 PM EST

you know perfectly well that I was saying why I think your argument's unconvincing.

It still stands.

Your argument's still unconvincing.

I have the right to say if I find a story doesn't add anything to the issue.

I'm not saying you have to know anything.

You don't even have to write a story for k5.

I like some of your stories though. And I like your comments.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

asshole (1.50 / 4) (#209)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 08:38:59 PM EST

all i've heard from you is

"iceland"

and

"hydrogen"

kindly connect the dots and flesh out the words or shut the fuck up

but "why don't you google about my assertions" as a response to my request that YOU FUCKING CONTRIBUTE SOMETHING isn't valid

at all

i'm glad you like my stories

i'm glad you like my comments

so why don't you give me something to work with so i might be able to return the favor someday?


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

cutie (none / 1) (#212)
by livus on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 08:55:44 PM EST

no.

I choose to STFU.

If I wanted to write my own story on Iceland I would have.

I can't be bothered.

I'm switching to an energy company that uses wind power. Nuclear energy is banned in my country.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

good for you (1.16 / 6) (#214)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 09:00:40 PM EST

now take your initiative to completion next time

if you won't back up your statements, don't make any

if you had chosen to STFU to begin with, you wouldn't be dealing with CTS calling you an asshole

because someone who makes assertions and won't back them up is, indeed, an asshole

byebye asshole

enjoy your STFU

maybe you can try contributing for real next time


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

no, I won't (1.66 / 3) (#215)
by livus on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 09:06:22 PM EST

I'm not ever going to write your story for you.

I'm not ever going to structure your argument for you.

You call me an asshole all the time. Nothing I do will change that.

I still like you though.

Cya.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

(slaps forehead) (1.75 / 4) (#217)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 09:25:12 PM EST

it's not for me

the only reason i'm asking for this shit is because you attacked my position

if you post, post for yourself

but when you post, back your shit up

how fucking complicated is this?


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

it was in the voting queue (1.50 / 2) (#218)
by livus on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 09:50:54 PM EST

I was explaining my vote.

That's why I criticised the way your article was written.

That was all.

I was just expressing my opinion.

The return key is addictive.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

opinion+backup (2.00 / 2) (#220)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 09:56:06 PM EST

beats opinion alone

that is all


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

At last. (1.50 / 2) (#222)
by livus on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 10:00:50 PM EST

That's all I was saying, too.

We agree.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

LOL HOMO nt (1.33 / 6) (#234)
by Comrade Wonderful on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 09:51:56 AM EST



[ Parent ]
lollers. n (none / 1) (#272)
by livus on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 08:40:23 PM EST



---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
nuclear powered cars (1.50 / 6) (#85)
by United Fools on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 09:32:48 PM EST

Think about it. Such a car never needs to be refueled in its lifetime!

We are united, we are fools, and we are America!
better yet (2.50 / 2) (#86)
by Zombie Stanislaw Lem on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 09:40:14 PM EST

unshielded nuclear powered car.

Never has to be refueled in yuor lifetime or in many lifetimes of yuor heirs,
which should be short enough to multiply with abandon.

[note, any moderation or posts made on or after 01/04/2007 were probably made by the jerk/s who stole my account after I left.]
[ Parent ]

better yet (none / 1) (#98)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 12:54:36 AM EST

FLYING nuclear powered cars


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
nota bene (3.00 / 2) (#144)
by Zombie Stanislaw Lem on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 12:02:17 PM EST

produce your offspring BEFORE driving; as you will shortly thereafter be sterile.

[note, any moderation or posts made on or after 01/04/2007 were probably made by the jerk/s who stole my account after I left.]
[ Parent ]

He's Got a Point (none / 1) (#207)
by frankwork on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 08:30:51 PM EST

After all, the theoretical limit on specific energy is c squared.

But achieving that with near-term tech is about as likely as building Maxwell's Demon.

[ Parent ]

re: nuclear powered cars (1.50 / 2) (#266)
by slashcart on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 07:41:37 PM EST

During the 1950s there was a brief period called the "atomic age" during which Americans were fascinated by nuclear power. During that era it was assumed that in the future all things would be powered by nuclear reactors. Nuclear technology would replace everything--all electricity would be generated by nuclear plants, cars would be powered by small nuclear reactors, etc.

To that end, Ford Motor designed and built a nuclear-powered car: the 1959 Ford Nucleon. The Nucleon had two working prototypes that were displayed at auto shows.

However, you could not drive it forever without refuelling. IIRC you had to replace the uranium every 10,000 miles or so. I imagine that when you needed to replace the uranium, you could take your car to "Jiffy Nuke" or something.


[ Parent ]

Nucleon was a model (2.00 / 2) (#351)
by SEWilco on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 01:53:24 PM EST

Ford's description of the Nucleon is that it was a 3/8 scale model.  No working prototypes.  And all the photos are of what looks like a scale model with opaque "glass" surfaces and no seams around the door and hood (front trunk?).

[ Parent ]
+1 insightful (1.00 / 3) (#87)
by Zombie Stanislaw Lem on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 09:52:20 PM EST

Now, dear CTS, please post an affirmation of your support for a Bright Nuclear Persia.

[note, any moderation or posts made on or after 01/04/2007 were probably made by the jerk/s who stole my account after I left.]

yes to nuclear power (2.00 / 4) (#97)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 12:53:52 AM EST

even in iran

no to nuclear bombs

even in the usa

the problem is with anyone thinking that iran really wants nuclear tech for peaceful purposes

uh, gullible lately?

so no to iran's current nuclear efforts, because no to nuclear weapon proliferation

and then tell the usa to get rid of its arsenal too

imagine that, intellectual honesty on the subject matter


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

The only bright nuclear persia (2.25 / 4) (#118)
by t1ber on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 07:50:17 AM EST

is going to be lit by a dull green radioactive glow if they keep this crap up.

Does he not want nuclear arms?
Does he want nuclear arms?

(Grain of salt warning:  Jerusalem Post, but I don't think that it's hard to mistranslate "nuclear" from Arabic).

And she said...
Durka Durka Mohammed Jihad
Sherpa Sherpa Bak Allah
Hadji girl I can't understand what you're saying.

[ Parent ]

Eh, I'll +1 it (2.40 / 5) (#88)
by t1ber on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 10:30:33 PM EST

Only two problems:
  1.  Biodiesel is only OK in the context of using cast-off oils that are normally treated as waste.  People using old McDonalds oil, for instances (and there is a lot of it not just limited to McDs) in their diesel engines are much more interesting to talk to then people screaming about ethanol in south america.  Aside of the fact that the guy down there is an asshat and has clear-cut a good portion of the rain-forest.
  2.  And do people really want to send their sons and daughters to die in the Middle East, where all of their oil money goes to fuel the conflicts there, rather than deal with the much smaller risks of nuclear power?

I find that remarkably close-viewed on the subject.  Militant Islam has been around since, well, the inception of Islam and it's here to stay.  The Middle East happens to have the worst of it, and it may go away once the oil kingdoms dissolve.  To buy into the blood-for-oil tagline is really pretty poor showing.

And she said...
Durka Durka Mohammed Jihad
Sherpa Sherpa Bak Allah
Hadji girl I can't understand what you're saying.

Just so you know (2.42 / 7) (#95)
by The Real ChefSalad on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 12:12:59 AM EST

Using vegetable oil (like from McDonald's) in a diesel engine is NOT Biodiesel. Those are two separate concepts. Diesel engines just happen to run on vegetable oil (although they can't be started on it, reducing it's viability as a replacement fuel, but making it a good suppliment). It also just so happens that diesel fuel can be made synthetically from biomass fairly cheaply. When diesel is made from biomass instead of petroleum it is called biodiesel.

Please don't anonymise me again, rusty. I'm having a hard time remembering what my current user name is.
[ Parent ]

so I guess the question is... (none / 1) (#121)
by t1ber on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 09:52:06 AM EST

Taking a page from the hydrogen-from-water thread I have elsewhere, linky me to the kit to run on McDonalds oil? I'm seriously considering converting my truck to diesel + vegitable oil + hydrogen from water as a project after I get some major purchases out of the way. It's a Next Year thing, but I can start buying parts now.

And she said...
Durka Durka Mohammed Jihad
Sherpa Sherpa Bak Allah
Hadji girl I can't understand what you're saying.

[ Parent ]

Here's a link to the veg. oil car shit (1.50 / 4) (#142)
by The Real ChefSalad on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 11:58:16 AM EST

Everyone knows it's Linky,
What walks down stairs, alone or in pairs
and makes a linkity sound?
A spring, a spring, a marvelous thing,
Everyone knows it's Linky.

It's Linky, it's Linky,
for fun, it's a wonderful toy.
It's Linky, it's Linky,
It's fun for a girl and a boy
It's fun for a girl and a boy.

Please don't anonymise me again, rusty. I'm having a hard time remembering what my current user name is.
[ Parent ]

circletimessquare talks about nuclear power? (2.00 / 8) (#89)
by debacle on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 10:31:02 PM EST

You can find your goddamned news back in 2002, at about 11.

It tastes sweet.
I always vote.... (1.66 / 6) (#93)
by mybostinks on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 12:03:08 AM EST

your stuff up. I don't even care how vitriolic it gets either.

FUCK YOU YOU FUCKING MOTHERFUCKER YOU... (2.00 / 6) (#96)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 12:50:53 AM EST

oh sorry... uh, thanks


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Brazil, Ethanol & Carbon (2.60 / 10) (#94)
by blackpaw on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 12:09:39 AM EST

Biodiesel or ethanol is a wonderful idea. Brazil has wonderful success with ethanol that warrants serious admiration. However, it's still burning carbon and putting it in the atmosphere. That is, you haven't gotten rid of any of the environmental concerns with smog and greenhouse emissions. You're burning something, it makes CO2: that's a problem.

I was under the impression that since Brazil's sugar cane gets its carbon via the atmosphere (CO2) that its carbon neutral - i.e. burning the ethanol just releases carbon that was extracted from the air in the first place.

corectamundo (2.00 / 3) (#111)
by caridon20 on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 05:28:51 AM EST

This is correct and applies for all ethanol created from biological sources.

/C
Dissent is NOT Treason Quis custodiet ipsos custodes
[ Parent ]

In fact... (2.33 / 3) (#201)
by localroger on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 06:22:06 PM EST

...bioethanol is essentially solar energy. The ultimate energy source is sunlight on chlorophyll; the cost of converting from biomass to ethanol is just an additional inefficiency in the system. The ethanol step is a transport medium to get the energy from where it is collected (the farm) to where it is used (your car, en route). Since there is a hell of a lot of sunlight out there the inefficiencies aren't critical, and it's an infinitely renewable system.

I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds -- J. Robert Oppenheimer
[ Parent ]
nitpicker :) (none / 1) (#233)
by caridon20 on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 07:39:50 AM EST

The big point is to improve the eficiency in the mobile unit as that is the place with the bigest limitations.

So the sooner we can use fuelcell/electrical instead of ICE for ethano the better.

/C
Dissent is NOT Treason Quis custodiet ipsos custodes
[ Parent ]

Energy Storage (2.60 / 5) (#107)
by blackpaw on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 01:45:01 AM EST

You seem to gloss over the problem of energy storage, particularly when it comes to cars.

Current state of battery tech still has large problems with weight, cost, capacity and recharge times.

Hydrogen, as you noted has a huge raft or problems to do with efficiency and infrastructure.

Fuel Cells look promising, but still have a ways to go.

However all of these could be solved with sufficient resources and motivation.

exactly, battery technology sucks (1.66 / 3) (#131)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 10:30:39 AM EST

but we already have all of this electrical infrastructure

so using electricity as an energy medium, augmented with current battery technology, however sucky as it is, is still our best bet

the point is, electricity/ batteries works

works HORRIBLY

but WORKS

it's the best choice, right now, from the other options you mentioned

this understanding could easily change with further tech development

or maybe not change at all, if we finally build a really great battery


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Given that I (2.00 / 2) (#140)
by xC0000005 on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 11:44:44 AM EST

installed six batteries in my VW last week, I can attest that this is true. I would love to try supercaps instead, but for now, batteries it is.

Voice of the Hive - Beekeeping and Bees for those who don't
[ Parent ]
Minor error about Ethanol (2.50 / 6) (#110)
by caridon20 on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 05:16:45 AM EST

you miss hte point about ethanol and C02.

You do not increase hte amount of C02 in the biosystem when you burn ethanol because the plants you made ethanol from have already sucked C02 from the air when they grew upp.

So the net amount of CO2 is constant.

/C
Dissent is NOT Treason Quis custodiet ipsos custodes

Pebbles my ass (1.20 / 5) (#112)
by imrdkl on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 05:42:00 AM EST

Hot rocks is what they are. Rocks that stay hot for 50000 years. Until the long-term storage is built and in-use to manage this stuff I just cant get behind the idea, no matter how stable the process. The storage of the by-products is still in limbo, and doesn't seem to be going anywhere except to neverending litigation.

One should dig a hole before building a latrine.

please try to understand (1.66 / 3) (#129)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 10:23:46 AM EST

the concept of half-life

thank you

that if you burn from one element to another, and you purposely design your fuel cycle so the end product is an element with a half life on the order of decades, not thousands of years as 1960s era nuclear technology created, then that really means something


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

I'll try to understand a half-life (1.00 / 5) (#141)
by imrdkl on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 11:52:07 AM EST

If you'll try to get one.

[ Parent ]
Untrue (2.50 / 4) (#313)
by trhurler on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 09:34:53 PM EST

First of all, we have numerous technological solutions to waste management by now - most of them have simply been ignored by policy makers.

Second, not all nuclear cycles end with products that are radioactive for practically ever.

Third, nuclear and figure out the fuel issue as we go is better for both us and the world we live in than continuing to burn coal.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
I'd really like to agree (2.33 / 3) (#323)
by imrdkl on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 05:05:16 AM EST

I do agree, in fact - in spite of my preference for other forms of energy. The pebble-bed reactor is by far and away the most viable producer right now - but the forces which stand in it's way wont be swayed until something is done about the mess which has already been made, imho.

[ Parent ]
I +1 this comment (1.50 / 4) (#367)
by Comrade Wonderful on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 03:33:45 PM EST

only because it did not start with 'Uh'.

[ Parent ]
Uranium might be running out as well (2.00 / 5) (#114)
by nebbish on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 07:00:18 AM EST

And as sources in Australia and Canada are depleted, we'll be looking to central Africa for supplies, in places like the Congo. It might be a long way off but it hardly seems like a good long-term plan.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee

or just switch to another element (2.25 / 4) (#128)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 10:21:40 AM EST

your scaremongering about supply shortages is ridiculous, especially considering what supply shortages with oil is doing to our societies already

so how about we admit there is not radioactive element supply shortage...

or even better...

even if i were to grant you all of your scaremongering, could you please grant us that we have at least 1-2 centuries of nuclear power, until we finally get fusion figured out?

in my mind, nuclear is not meant to be, and never will be, a permanent solution

just a way for us to get off our oil dependence, for the sake of the environment and not funding religious extremism, until we finally get fusion figured out

global warming and islamonazis, versus any problems that exist with nuclear

doesn't the switch sound acceptable to you?


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Less with the scaremongering (2.50 / 4) (#136)
by nebbish on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 11:11:01 AM EST

I'm pointing out a potential drawback. Yes, nuclear power is preferable to burning fossil fuels, but that doesn't make nuclear power perfect by default.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

nuclear power sucks (2.00 / 5) (#137)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 11:14:26 AM EST

it's just the least sucky of our current options now, until we get fusion figured out


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
OH NOES! (1.33 / 3) (#244)
by Talez on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 01:16:12 PM EST

So we run out of Uranium...

We'll just switch to thorium which is perfectly feasible as a nuclear fuel and also far more abundant than uranium.

Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est
[ Parent ]

On Biomass (2.62 / 8) (#115)
by Morally Inflexible on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 07:17:55 AM EST

the real problem with biomass is not the CO2 produced (it should be neutral in that respect; the plants pull carbon out of the air, then when you burn them, they release the same carbon back into the air. The net carbon effect should be pretty much zero.) The real problem with biomass is that modern farming takes a lot of energy in the form of chemical fertilizers (from what I understand, most of them are made from natural gas.) and it would be very difficult, even with the use of chemical fertilizer to grow enough biomass to supply all our energy needs.

Biomass, I think, has the same problems you ascribe to hydro... it's great where you can get it. When you can recycle waste biomass as fuel, that's awesome, but it just doesn't make economic sense as a large-scale energy source.

btw, +1, good article

also: (2.50 / 4) (#126)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 10:17:14 AM EST

  1. you're still smogging up the urban centers with exhaust. it's nice to talk about how the CO2 balance is neutral, but go to mexico city or hong kong and see where the CO2 output goes and tell a resident of mexico city or hong kong it is neutral. no CO2 output period is best, or at least away from the urban centers, for the sake of lung cancer and quality of living in the cities

  2. you're still putting environmental pressure on uses for land that could otherwise go to conservation means. and it would be nice not to belch CO2 into the atmosphere, period, no matter where the CO2 originally came from. considering how much we have to make up for for our last 2 centuries of burning too much carbon, maybe we should stick some of that Co2 into biomass and keep it there, locked in peat and the earth permanently, to restore us to some pre-global warming status quo


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Are you suggesting (2.00 / 4) (#135)
by Des Beelzebubs Rechtsbeistand on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 10:52:57 AM EST

that CO2 causes lung cancer?
Some by-products of the exhaust might, but CO2 most certainly does not.

As it is, your article contains glaring factual errors (PBRs contain no water, AFAIK. Bio-fuel IS CO2 neutral) So I will have to vote -1. Although I agree with your main thesis.

Rate comments: [no |v]
[ Parent ]

smog does, diesel particulate does (1.40 / 5) (#138)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 11:18:36 AM EST

which is what you get when you burn carbon based fuel sources in massive quantities in urban areas

duh

that's all i was saying

and finally, this isn't a doctoral thesis, it's just a forum for discussion

so don't be so severe, it just means you're an overexacting asshole

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

if the discussion is based on misconceptions (2.37 / 8) (#147)
by Des Beelzebubs Rechtsbeistand on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 12:17:24 PM EST

it's a fucking waste of time and space.
You could have gotten your facts right and it still wouldn't be a doctoral thesis. It would be a sound basis for discussion, though.

If by discussion you mean people pointing out factual errors and you calling them overexacting assholes, well that's not the kind of discussion I'm interested in.

So -1 it is.

Rate comments: [no |v]
[ Parent ]

that's your problem (1.57 / 7) (#148)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 12:52:16 PM EST

you're confusing your misreadings with my misconceptions

the assertion you are saying i made about CO2 is something i never said

so you're demanding from me some more exactness, when you can't even bother to read

maybe you should fucking learn to pay attention, no?


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

maybe you should fucking read your own article (1.40 / 5) (#152)
by Des Beelzebubs Rechtsbeistand on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 01:00:36 PM EST

because it's right there in your fucking article.

Biodiesel is CO2 neutral, period.

Rate comments: [no |v]
[ Parent ]

exactly what is in my article? (1.37 / 8) (#154)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 01:03:50 PM EST

your claim that i said CO2 causes smog?

do you want me to link to your own fucking comment in this same thread above? can't bother to remember what you said 10 minutes ago?

and yes, biodiesel is carbon neutral... nice change of subject!

but since you brought it up, please show me where i said it wasn't!

TRY READING COMPREHEnSION SOMETIME ASSWIPE

K THX


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

who gives a shit about smog? (1.40 / 5) (#158)
by Des Beelzebubs Rechtsbeistand on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 01:23:27 PM EST

plz make a link to my comment above, follow it and fucking read it. Can't bother to remember what I said less than 10 minutes ago? It's right there in your fucking article.

TRY READING COMPREHEnSION SOMETIME ASSWIPE

The subject is that I'm voting down your piece of shit article because it's full of factual errors.

TRY READING COMPREHEnSION SOMETIME ASSWIPE

Get your facts straight and I will vote it up. I said I agree with your central thesis, but you fail to make a convincing argument.

TRY READING COMPREHEnSION SOMETIME ASSWIPE

Rate comments: [no |v]
[ Parent ]

hong kong, mexico city (1.75 / 4) (#162)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 01:30:51 PM EST

http://www.kuro5hin.org/comments/2006/6/18/3152/84938/12#12

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
I bet (2.00 / 6) (#161)
by Sgt York on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 01:29:47 PM EST

there are a lot of people thinking of at least one CO2 source they'd like to see stop spewing into the astmosphere....

And FYI, it's primarily the diesel partuculates that cause cancer and other lung problems. CO2 isn't nearly as big a deal as the other crap internal combustion spews out. Your point is valid, but CO2's not the real big problem with car exhaust.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

well yeah (2.25 / 4) (#163)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 01:34:47 PM EST

but my point is rather than getting into an endless discussion of the pros and cons of burning things for power, just use nuclear power-> cheap electricity-> batteries

then you have NO emissions, which is a superior satus quo, and makes the entire argument about carbon neutral this or that or smog/ CO2 this or that completely moot

not spewing ANYTHING into the atmosphere is superior


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Wish you hadn't (3.00 / 2) (#166)
by Sgt York on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 01:54:29 PM EST

capitialized "no" there...."Huh? Where is the nitric oxide coming from?... ooohhhhh...."

And I'm in 2/3 agreement with you. I just advocate hydrogen over batteries, and that's really just splitting hairs.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

smog! i win teh prize! (1.66 / 3) (#168)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 02:00:44 PM EST

NO from smog!

and it doesn't hurt to inject a little laughing gas into the conversation ;-)

(or wait... isn't that N2O? ;-P )


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Not if we use Hemp (1.50 / 4) (#236)
by harrystottle on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 10:26:41 AM EST

http://www.lightparty.com/Energy/Hemp5.html

Mostly harmless
[ Parent ]
RE: On Biomass (none / 1) (#358)
by stoothman on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 10:57:29 AM EST

Actually, cereal grains and and their ilk are not currently being looked at to develop long term ethanol production. They are used now for two reasons. One, over production of cereal grains in countries producing ethanol, particularly the US. Two, ethanol production with these materials is a very mature technology and is very well understood. In the future the best candidate for ethanol production appears to be switchgrass, industrial hemp or some other similar biomass source. Both are low input, high yeild crops. Another benefit from these crops is the associated production of vegetable oils from a portion of the crop.
Switchgrass : a living solar battery for the praires

Trolling, trolling at Kuro5hin
For many a blustery remark
Is made for me to grin
[ Parent ]
-1, cts. (1.33 / 9) (#119)
by vivelame on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 08:32:47 AM EST

plus, "oooh look shiny!!11!!!" rants about nuclear power are sooooooooo 1975.

And i'll just mention in passing the hypocrisy of "Nucular is good for teh US, rah rah! Nucular is bad for teh mullahs, what with all their oil?? Nuke them, rah rah!"

--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."

fyi (1.50 / 2) (#122)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 10:00:54 AM EST

http://www.kuro5hin.org/comments/2006/6/18/3152/84938/97#97

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Reasonable Case (1.50 / 4) (#130)
by harrystottle on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 10:28:35 AM EST

But I'd still rather see the resources we'd need to devote to solving the problem for 50 years with fission redirected to the much greater long term potential of fusion. If we had a global "Manhattan Project" and the funding equivalent to, say, one third of the Iraq war, we could probably have fusion reactors up and running in 25 years

Mostly harmless
fission is not meant to be a final destination (1.33 / 3) (#132)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 10:34:28 AM EST

at best, i say 1-2 centuries of fission use, before we finally figure out fusion

fusion should be our final destination, i agree with you

but the point is to get off oil and off of all of the global warming/ religious extremism problems that go with that NOW with fission

and i really think your fusion estimates, no matter how much $ we have, is rather optimistic

such that we should make the switch to fission now

holding out with oil until we get fusion figured out doesn't make any sense to me


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

WTF? (2.83 / 6) (#133)
by Coryoth on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 10:47:02 AM EST

at best, i say 1-2 centuries of fission use, before we finally figure out fusion

So we should use fission because of some random numbers pulled out of your ass? How much do you know about fusion technology? How much do you know about the current state of development? Are ou, perhaps, involved with ITER? Or are you completely ignorant and simply making up guesses as to how far away fusion is based on nothing more than your personal dogma mixed with occasional mentions of fusion power from the popular press?

Seriously CTS, there's nothing wrong with suggesting that more use of fission power - I would generally agree with it - but you really do a disservice to that suggestion by using such half assed and incompotent arguments against anything that taints your dream of fission reactors anywhere. Get a grip.

[ Parent ]

i'm just a troll on the internet (1.25 / 8) (#134)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 10:51:13 AM EST

but what's more interesting is how you expect me to be an expert before i can open mouth

i could level the same charge at you moron...

you disagree with my estimates

ok, that's fine

what are your estimates dear dipshit?

and more importantly, WHATEVER your rose colored glasses estimates are, i only have this to say to you (clears throat):

"How much do you know about fusion technology? How much do you know about the current state of development? Are ou, perhaps, involved with ITER? Or are you completely ignorant and simply making up guesses as to how far away fusion is based on nothing more than your personal dogma mixed with occasional mentions of fusion power from the popular press?"

fusion has been a few years away... for decades

i'm simply asserting that the problems to achieve sustained fusion are huge, no matter how much money and albert einsteins we have


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Poor quality trolling (2.80 / 5) (#174)
by Coryoth on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 02:36:19 PM EST

You see the difference between you and me is that I am not making any estimates. I happily admit that I don't really know. You, on the other hand, are making bold assertions about things that you clearly know nothing about. Do I expect you to be an expert before you open your mouth? No, feel free to open your mouth and comment - just be aware that the further you stretch away from things you have much real knowledge on with your assertions, the less seriously you'll be taken.

You could have said "How soon fusion will be practicable doesn't seem to be very clear yet, so investing in fission in the meantime is no unreasonable". Certainly I think both you and I have sufficient knowledge to have some certainty that there are no concrete predictions being made on when fusion will be practical. That, however, might sound far too reasonable, and would concede the point that investing in fusion now is definitely a positive step. Instead you made bold assertions of fact for which you have not the slightest bit of support.

Please try to troll better in the future.

[ Parent ]

i'm trolling just fine dear (1.00 / 6) (#198)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 06:03:45 PM EST

methinks your standards are too high for opening one's mouth

the difference between you and i is my standard for opening my mouth is "i could be wrong, but i'm going to say what i think makes sense" while yours is "i won't open my mouth until i'm 100% certain"

the trouble is, the world is full of grey areas, so you're limiting your topic list to a very small group of items

and the grey areas in life is where all of the action is at in terms of something being worthy of talking about

so you'll excuse me if i don't feel your limitation

i don't think i know everything, do you?

but that i don't know everything is a constraint on my ability to speak?

really?


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Sigh. (2.33 / 3) (#202)
by Coryoth on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 06:30:47 PM EST

the difference between you and i is my standard for opening my mouth is "i could be wrong, but i'm going to say what i think makes sense" while yours is "i won't open my mouth until i'm 100% certain"

Yes, that explains why I wrote this and the various comments following describing how a policy of requiring 100% certainty is foolish and counterproductive.

I think it is pretty clear that I'm not asking for 100% certainty, but rather arguments that at least have some manner of credible backing - you know, unlike your "Fusion won't be ready for another century because, um, I said so" and "Biodiesel is bad because your urning something and making CO2... and I'll just ignore the fact that the entire process is CO2 neutral" and "Batteries are universally better than hydrogen for energy storage because, um, I said so". You know, some manner of reasoning, with a little bit of evidence upon which to ground it? Surely that's not too hard?

I'm sure you'll just keep foaming at the mouth though. You seem allergic to things like evidence based reasoned debate.

[ Parent ]

2 things (1.33 / 3) (#204)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 07:07:49 PM EST

  1. fusion has been a few years away for the past 10 decades. it's a huge problem if you understand science. we're nowhere near just a breakeven point after billions spent and the best minds hard at work. trust me, it's not coming in our lifetimes

  2. burning things is bad. end of story. period. you don't want to put CO2 in the atmosphere. it doesn't matter where it came from. i understand why you call it neutral, but it's not neutral in the larger scheme of things. the larger scheme of things being we've been putting too much CO2 that we dug from the ground into the atmosphere for the last 200 years. therefore, the only thing that is truly carbon neutral for us right now is to plant trees!


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
great, more cts autoeroticism (1.50 / 4) (#145)
by Linux or Mac OS X on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 12:06:29 PM EST

are you guys TRYING to get me to take the dupe horde out of retirement?

stop it.


"Ugh, my stomach is full of tequila and semen." - LilDebbie


ysb

i'm a very pathetic person (2.00 / 4) (#151)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 12:57:09 PM EST

just look at me and my behavior here on k5

however, to hold more than one account on this site, to take this bullshit THAT seriously, is being 10x more pathetic than i could ever be


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

ok, I win then. (2.00 / 2) (#153)
by Linux or Mac OS X on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 01:01:07 PM EST

whats my prize


"Ugh, my stomach is full of tequila and semen." - LilDebbie


ysb
[ Parent ]
you get to fondle yourself liberally (1.00 / 2) (#155)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 01:04:49 PM EST

go, claim your prize

bye


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

done! (2.00 / 3) (#159)
by Linux or Mac OS X on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 01:26:27 PM EST




"Ugh, my stomach is full of tequila and semen." - LilDebbie


ysb
[ Parent ]
I don't see waste reprocessing becoming popular (1.83 / 6) (#146)
by mettaur on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 12:16:36 PM EST

It's not economically viable to reprocess the waste when you can ship it off to some third world country and get fresh fuel cheaper. Thank the Free Market. It might become popular later, when ore begins to run out.

Slightly Offtopic:
In Australia, there is a government appointed "neutral" panel which is supposed to be debating the prospect of using nuclear power here. One of the 6 guys on the panel, when asked what we would do with the waste, suggested that we use it for central heating. I can't remember the exact words, but he basically said he would be happy to paint the walls of his house with nuclear waste etc.
When everybody else expressed horror after realising he wasn't joking, he claimed that this was perfectly safe and wasn't dangerous, it's just the silly greenies that think that nuclear waste has any health issues related to it.
Hopefully this fucktard won't be on the panel much longer.


--
[Applying business theory to trolling]
he's confusing uranium with ayer's rock (2.50 / 2) (#149)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 12:54:14 PM EST

common ozzie misperception

(it's just a joke dear ozzies)

(i see you snickering there kiwis)
 

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Australia (1.66 / 3) (#240)
by sholden on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 12:38:38 PM EST

Nuclear power would be ridiculous for Australia - it'd need huge subsidies to compete with the massive amounts of cheap coal sitting in the ground.

In most places nuclear power makes perfect sense - in Australia it'd be stupid.

It's all just political games...

--
The world's dullest web page


[ Parent ]
Nukes, hydrogen, and TCP (2.80 / 10) (#156)
by Sgt York on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 01:18:48 PM EST

No, not the internet TCP, this TCP (company website).

cts asks "What problem does hydrogen solve that electricity/ batteries do not already solve as a medium?"

The answer is weight. Electric engines are far more efficient than internal combustion, from a weight-to-power ratio point of view. This means that you don't have to spend as much energy hauling around a heavy engine (or transmission). The reason we don't all drive electric cars, however, is that batteries have a much lower energy density than gasoline. The heavy batteries offset the lightweight engine. The highest energy density batteries I know of are Mg-hydride(Ni) batteries, with an energy density of about 8,300kJ/kg. Gasoline has an energy density of over 47,000 kJ/kg.

Hydrogen, OTOH, is very energy dense; over 100,000 kJ/kg. Volume isn't a big issue either; at 200atm (not a very high pressure; SCUBA cylinders are about 200atm), 1L of hydrogen is 16kg. 1L of gasoline is less than 1kg (it floats on water). Think about it; in the most mass-sensitive application (space flight), what is used as the electrical energy storage medium? Fuel cells; hydrogen.

This is its benefit over batteries as an energy storage medium. I don't know the numbers offhand, but electrolysis is quite efficient and (like batteries) there are hardly any raw material transport costs involved. A hydrogen gas station could generate hydrogen on site; all they'd need is a large water tank, a compressor, and electricity (preferably supplied by a brand spanking new system of nuclear reactors).

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.

meh (1.80 / 5) (#160)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 01:27:06 PM EST

i'm not convinced

we both agree on nuclear powered cheap electric

good

then it's just a question of the transport medium for applications that can't be plugged into a wall

you say electrolysis->hydrogen

i say batteries

i honestly believe batteries, as awful as the tech is now, is still superior

yes they are heavy, but they are less complicated and less prone to danger

and as for the energy loss: electrolysis versus battery charging... the answer as to which is probably here, in which conversion step wastes less energy


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Efficiency (2.40 / 5) (#164)
by Sgt York on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 01:46:44 PM EST

Yeah, my numbers are all out of memory and based on quick & rough calculations, but I think they're at least close. And we do agree on fission, although I am not as pessimistic as you wrt the problems of fusion being worked out, and I think other alternatives should be pursued at the same time.

The two issues are safety and efficiency. TD tells us that energy will be lost in both processes (charging a battery and splitting water). But you can't just look at conversion efficiency. Since you need 10x more mass to carry the same amount of energy in battery form than you do in hydrogen form, you are going to waste a lot more energy just hauling those batteries (even empty batteries) around. This will have a negative impact on the efficiency. I think that with current technology, hydrolysis would have to be a lot more inefficient than battery charging to offset the weight problems. However, you still need to take into account the weight of the fuel cell or burner; I have no idea how much that would need to weigh.

I doubt safety would be too much of an issue. Anecdote: I do a lot of scuba diving. One time, while we were driving to a dive site, my buddy got in an accident. Wound up upside down. He had 6 full scuba cylinders in the trunk, which were scattered along the road after the accident. None burst, or even leaked. And those were cylinders not rated for collision and just wedged in place so they wouldn't roll around. Anecdotal and very lucky, yes, but with proper engineering I think hydrogen tanks in cars could be made just as safe as gasoline, if not safer.

Anyway, you asked what benefit hydrogen has over batteries, and there it is.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

well said, i can't argue with you (1.33 / 3) (#167)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 01:58:33 PM EST

because you are being honest, so i'll be honest too: hydrogen might be better than batteries when all the pros and cons are weighed up

add to that new technology that changes both of our equations, and different needs for different applications, and it's probably not hard to see what the truth really will be: a future where both are used, depending upon the application

kind of like how internal combustion engine makes sense sometimes, and diesel engine other times

i'm just kind of miffed at all the hype hydrogen gets, when a real understanding of the science involved tells us its real potential


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

*blink*...*blink* (2.50 / 6) (#169)
by Sgt York on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 02:01:41 PM EST

what...um...huh?

cts agreed with someone?

That settles it. K5 is dying.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

It happened yo me once too (2.75 / 4) (#196)
by tetsuwan on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 05:56:13 PM EST

Outrageous.

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

I had to 3 one of his comments once. (3.00 / 4) (#322)
by pwhysall on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 03:23:33 AM EST

I'm still in therapy over that.
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]
Hydrogen (2.85 / 7) (#173)
by Fon2d2 on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 02:33:49 PM EST

A long time ago I came across a paper that pretty much convinced me that hydrogen is never going to cut it.

See here.

Among this paper's main points:

  • It is not gravimetric energy density (kJ/kg) that matters, but volumetric energy density (kJ/L) since fuel tanks will always be of limited volume.
  • Whereas hydrogen blows away the competition in gravimetric energy density, fuels such as liquid propane and liquid octane still beat out liquid hydrogen in volumetric energy density by a factor of 3 or 4.
  • Whereas normal liquid carbon based fuels can be stored in atmospheric conditions, hydrogen would require high pressure or cryogenic tanks, thereby using more of its latent energy in transportation and further reducing its effective energy density and overall energy return.
  • In fact, all components of a successful energy economy (production, packaging, storage, transfer, delivery) are too energy expensive when condisering hydrogen for a hydrogen economy to ever be practical.

It's worth a read.

[ Parent ]

thank you thank you thank you (2.00 / 2) (#175)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 02:56:00 PM EST

exactly

hydrogen, when you think about the logistics and thermodynamics, doesn't make any sense


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

That is (3.00 / 5) (#177)
by Sgt York on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 03:35:02 PM EST

an unpublished paper written by two guys that work for a company that makes methanol fuel cells. Surprisingly, it concludes that methanol-based fuel cells are superior to hydrogen-based fuel cells.

Although their points look good, and their ideas certainly have merit, the potential for bias is far too high. I am intrigued but far from convinced by that single writeup.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

Methanol economy vs. hydrogen economy (2.20 / 5) (#185)
by joib on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 04:43:32 PM EST

If you want more (and perhaps less biased and more credible as well) arguments in favor of a methanol economy, check out Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy, written by Chemistry Nobel Laureate George Olah.

[ Parent ]
Thanks, but (2.71 / 7) (#190)
by Sgt York on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 05:21:23 PM EST

I got the pro-MeOH, anti-H2 argument from that paper. And like I said, it's interesting and has a lot of good points. Instead of finding more people that agree with those two guys, I'd like to find a few people that disagree, then weigh the arguments.

For instance, to make synthetic MeOH, you need CO2 and hydrogen. CO2 is in the atmosphere, but at low levels and hard to isolate. I don't even have to go into the problem the hydrogen requirement poses. One of the arguments is that hydrogen is volatile and explosive; so is MeOH, or any other fuel. Volatility is a byproduct of high energy density. MeOH is a wonderful solvent and is hygroscopic, which means that you's have to revamp most engine systems to use it in significant mixtures or wind up with heavy corrosion.

It's not obvious which technology is superior. They both need in-depth, unbiased analysis to determine which works better. In the end, it will probably be that MeOH works better in some applications, and H2 in others.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

Thanks for pointing out those problems (2.50 / 4) (#241)
by Fon2d2 on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 12:54:38 PM EST

I never really thought of the paper as pro-methanol but anti-hydrogen. I guess I didn't realize it was written by people that work for a company that makes methanol fuel cells. The points against hydrogen seem valid enough, and they go into a great deal of depth to make the case against it. But they spend almost no time analyzing methanol. They just come out and say it's what we should use. Funny that.

[ Parent ]
Pluggin my POV (none / 1) (#186)
by joib on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 04:46:59 PM EST

I wrote kuro5hin story a few years ago, with the same article among my references.

[ Parent ]
Might be how I came across it <n/t> (none / 1) (#189)
by Fon2d2 on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 05:12:27 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Pebble Bed Reactors are the shit. (2.50 / 4) (#171)
by gordonjcp on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 02:24:54 PM EST

Think about it - would you have bought a diesel car 20 years ago? How about now - and in fact a diesel car one the Le Mans 24-Hour this weekend.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


Nuclear bogeymen (2.42 / 7) (#176)
by Fon2d2 on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 03:06:05 PM EST

Nuclear energy has suffered something of a PR problem for it's entire existence. You state the publics' fears are overblown because new technologies make nuclear energy much safer. I believe they have always been overblown. It is important to get the nuclear bogeymen out of the closet so they can be seen in the cold light of reality how miniscule they are. Although I applaud your promotion of new nuclear technologies, I am dismayed at how readily you give credence to the bogeymen of the past:

So what? Well: no Chernobyl, no Silkwood, no Three Mile Island, no China Syndrome: these things are built with safety in mind. The fuel goes into these little pebbles, that, unlike traditional reactor fuel designs, don't decide to melt into the earth and spew radioactive clouds if no one is monitoring them.

It should be understood that nuclear reactors currently in use in the US, such as the light water reactor are very safe. Even this nuclear technology does not begin to compare to the deaths, illnesses, pollution, and risks imposed on society by burning coal.

Not only is nuclear energy cheap, but with technologies such as pebble bed and breeder reactors, there is enough energy to last us for a very long time.

I'm not going to try to make any convincing arguments here. The people that want to learn more will read on there own. So, with that, here are some links:
World Nuclear Association
Nuclear Energy FAQ
Nuclear power, is it really dangerous?
The full text of Bernard Cohen's book, The Nuclear Energy Option

you're wrong, fears are founded (1.33 / 6) (#178)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 03:47:12 PM EST

one word: chernobyl

that is, when nuclear works, it is great

but when it goes bad, it devastates

i think they still track strontium from that event in cow's milk from northern europe

that's not funny dude, that's not to be dismissed lightly

you are right: there is such a thing as false alarmism

but there is also such a thing as false complacency

i think you're a little too comfy with older nuclear tech

modern tech makes nuclear palpable again

but older nuclear tech was and still is downright scary


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

That's right (2.40 / 5) (#179)
by tetsuwan on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 04:03:03 PM EST

In northern Sweden, some 1500 miles from Chernobyl, it is still, 20 years later, not safe to fish in the lakes or pick mushroom in the forest. It is quite fearsome also that it was not until the nuclear fallout was registered in Sweden, that it was officially acknowledged of the accident by Soviet.

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

yup, old nuclear tech is/was scary (2.25 / 4) (#180)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 04:09:41 PM EST

and i'm certain the guy we're responding to will just say "hey man, what's wrong with a little nuclear fallout in your mushrooms?"

pffft


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Chernobyl (2.71 / 7) (#191)
by Fon2d2 on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 05:27:38 PM EST

I was specifically talking about the US. I do not advocate the use of RBMK reactors, such as Chernobyl, which are unstable by their design. That design compromises safety so that the reactor can also produce plutonium for weapons production. An RBMK reactor would never have been approved in the US.

It should also be noted that not only was Chernobyl being operated far below safe power output, many safety mechanisms had been deliberately turned off. This was for the sake of getting some test plan checked off, and it was an engineering disaster.

The point is that nuclear power isn't the real threat; It's how it's used. Russia was very irresponsible, but the US nuclear industry doesn't deserve so much bad PR. Three-mile island was nothing like Chernobyl. TMI was entirely contained, like it was supposed to be. If anything, TMI of the safety of nuclear energy, and the effectiveness of its safeguards.

Anyways, I digress...

[ Parent ]

good info i wasn't aware of (1.60 / 5) (#193)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 05:35:27 PM EST

but you should be aware that average guy on the street paints the entire concept of nuclear power of what the worst implementation of it is/ was

i'm not saying that is right or wrong, i'm saying that's just the way it is

so what we have to do is not divorce ourself from older russian technology when championing the new pebble bed reactors, but divorce ourself from all older nuclear technology period. because all of it is tainted in the eyes of the public. whether that is right or wrong is not the point, that's just the way it is. so what is more important to you: getting nuclear tech used again? or correcting a common misperception from decades ago?

hurricane katrina (oil-fueled global warming) and 9/11 (oil-funded religious extremism) has made the public take notice of other options like nuclear again, and this is a good thing, for the world' ideolgoy and the world's environment, if we can shake this hydrocarbon addiction

but to win the hearts and minds of the average joe, we have to totally divorce ourself from the past of nuclear, whether american or russian

yes, nuclear has bad pr

so listen to me, and learn the ways of good pr

yes, i'm just a random troll on the internet, but i hope you can appreciate the logic of my words regardless of my nonexistent credentials

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

good points (2.40 / 5) (#237)
by Fon2d2 on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 10:40:35 AM EST

I think as far as PR for the nuclear industry, the damage is done. I'm not sure the best way to correct that, but what you're saying makes some sense. But here's a question for you: if we acknowledge old nuclear technology as unsafe, what's to make the public trust in new nuclear technology. I would rather combat the bad image with hard facts and statistics that stack up overwhelmingly in favor of nuclear power, old or new. That way you can promote the idea the public has been sold a line and that nuclear power really is our best move forward.

One of the main impediments right now I think are environmental organizations. The Sierra Club, of which I am a member, has recently redefined its priorities, making energy its foremost. It will now push heavily for solar and wind, and heavily against nuclear and coal, even clean coal. Their stance is that all coal is dirty, but I remain unconvinced as far as clean coal is concerned. The sad thing is, they also promote natural gas plants. Natural gas (in NA) is going to start becoming scarce. It's not a long term solution.

The hardest part I think is promoting a pro-nuclear viewpoint. It's like talking about global warming to somebody that doesn't believe in it. There's always some objection. Except everybody thinks that way about nuclear. "Nuclear is dangerous. Everybody knows that". I have enough information in my head to be pro-nuclear but not enough to argue effectively. Maybe eventually I can get there.

[ Parent ]

fuck chernobyl (2.14 / 7) (#194)
by crazy canuck on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 05:51:05 PM EST

if some moron without a license or any driving experience/lessons gets at the wheel of a bus and mows a crowded sidewalk, are you going to blame the bus?

Chernobyl's design was bad to begin with. The chernobyl incident is proof that the Russian design was poor and unsafe, not that nuclear power is bad.

[ Parent ]

rolls eyes (1.60 / 5) (#197)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 05:57:46 PM EST

the old technology versus user argument

"guns don't kill people, people do"

...and the potential uses and failures of the use of a given technology never come into play?

we don't hand out rocket launchers to kindergarten classes

if you can appreciate that nugget of wisdom, then maybe you can appreciate that the technology in question actually figures in its praise/ condemnation, not just whoever is behind the wheel

in other words, yes, someone has to fuck up for something bad to happen. the question then is: how badly can they fuck up, and how easily can they?

that matters in considering something like chernobyl

the technology in question is trainted by its potential uses and failures

not just the users

that is why new nuclear technology like consuming byproducts in breeder reactors and using pebble bed reactors is very important when considering whether or not to adapt nuclear again


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Nuclear is not enough. (2.60 / 10) (#183)
by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 04:19:52 PM EST

I can see nuclear plants keeping the Christmas lights on at night and food fresh in the refrigerator. I can even imagine electric cars moving us to and from work and PTA meetings. That's small potato stuff consistent with diminishing returns from technology. But it's not enough. It took one hundred years to configure civilization to work with oil; almost everything we consume nowadays is either made from materials manufactured from oil or it requires massive amounts of oil inputs to grow/manufacture and move around the world cheaply (so much for globalism.) So although nuclear fuel will buy us some time, we have to wrap our heads around the fact that there are no alternatives to oil: it's a resource, not a technology. Once it goes, well, it's gone and life will never be the same again. So what are we going to do? Cuba shows the way. I think we have to be realistic in the present and deflate cargo-cult fantasies of technology and economic growth extending indefinitely into the future for the benefit of self-stimulating individuals working against the common weal. No combination of alternatives to oil can sustain our current, and imo unrealistic, economic behavior. Individuals, governments and corporations will have to make sacrifices in the short term for everyone's long term benefit. This will require changes in our society's (dis)organizing principles, because for people willing to sacrifice their immediate economic interests in America today, payback is unemployment and massive debt. That's fucked up beyond measure. So the problem is social, I feel.

We'll see how it goes with electric cars. They're a good test because they need hardly any servicing, so we're talking about a public policy that will kill the enormous economic contribution regular cars make in our society. For that reason there'll be a lot of institutional resistance to electric cars. If the resistance can't be overcome, that suggests structural defects technology can't address.

--
Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.

cuba shows the way to my ass (1.50 / 6) (#184)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 04:32:42 PM EST

in which there exists a glorious farm collective

let us all extoll the triumphant concept of allowing everyone to be only as rich as the least productive members of society

i mean just look at china: decades of hard core communist rhetoric, and what do we have as a final product of all of those little red books?

autocratic capitalism

the social inequities that are appearing over there will make the child labor, unlimited work hours, monopolies employing armed gangs (pinkertons) and other horrors of the gilded ages of victorian times in the usa look like a socialist utopia

it's the most rabid capitalism socity on the planet right now, by far, it's social darwinism

and this, after decades of communist rhetoric!

mindboggling

the most rabid capitalist society on earth

i think the chinese have something to teach us all about the folly, i mean er wisdom of the way that is communism, no?

mr. spaghetti, you're a fucking luddite communist

we will all be happier and better when we throw off the yoke of capitalism and technology and satisfy ourselves with being pastoral farmers, is that it?

dude: morons like you were defeated last century

kindly go into your corner and decompose

along with the rest of your comrades and your defeated failed flawed ideology

or rather step away from the keyboard and go focus on your manure compost pile

because isn't this internet stuff, the product of the evil technology worshipping military industrial complex, a little outside the purview of your ideology?


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

And America Inc. shows the way to... (2.40 / 5) (#187)
by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 05:07:03 PM EST

Where we are today, writing articles about environmental collapse and resource depletion. All I'm saying is the motive and responsibility to look after the future does not rest with institutions and governments whose first order of business is to make money. If that entails communism in the American imagination, then the days ahead are going to be dark, simple as that.

Please stop screeching at me, I am very sensitive.

--
Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.
[ Parent ]

if that entails --> (none / 1) (#188)
by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 05:09:14 PM EST

if the alternatives entail

--
Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.
[ Parent ]

well said mr. vermicelli (1.60 / 5) (#195)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 05:52:08 PM EST

we both agree there is a problem. my problem with you is in your depiction of the solution. the answer to the problems we face on energy supplies is not found in a compost pile in cuba. it is found in...

drum roll please...

technology

imagine that!

now kindly look at your calendar

it says 2006

if our grandchildren are to be living in a world that is better than this one in 2106, it will not involve adopting your ideology, which seems straight out of utopian anti-technology pastoral fantasies of collectivization straight from 1906

understand me mr. worm food?

what you seem to be championing is dead, kaput, finito

so you can make your contribution to cuba's green revolution by reporting to your local compost pile... the contribution of your body of work will be greatly appreciated

(snicker)

and ps: if you don't want to be screeched at, don't post on the internet

i'm sorry you're very delicate

i'm not

don't bring your violin to a streetbrawl


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

my ideology: isism (none / 1) (#203)
by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 06:37:50 PM EST

Your ideology: as bad as communism but in the opposite direction.

Technology is certainly part of the solution and I would suggest that you take a closer look at the technologies used in Cuba's green revolution before going off about communism, which is troll fucking herring. This isn't about ideology, although it helps if your ideology isn't a compulsion to view the world through the filter of our selfish interests. This isn't even about means. Compare: Cuba: green revolution; America: a movie starring Al Gore. Cuba GDP: 33 billion. Wal-Mart revenue 2006: 316 billion. For shame.

--
Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.
[ Parent ]

the opposite of communism (1.40 / 5) (#205)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 07:29:27 PM EST

is libertarianism

communism posits altruism as our salvation

libertarianism posits selfishness as our salvation

both are fucking stupid, because mankind is both altruistic and selfish at the same time, and any ideology that depends upon only one or the other isn't really in touch with human nature, and therefore doomed to fail

what i am is a social capitalist. that is: a society powered by a capitalist engine with generous social services. universal healthcare. support for the poor and old. that's me, that's my belief system

i am not a social darwinist. but capitalism is the only tool we know for creating wealth in our societies. therefore, you let welath be created via capitalism. then, via government hooks into the system, you siphon it off to prevent ugly social injustices from rearing their ugly heads. it's a balance between competing natures, a harnessing of selfish interest for greater good. it's paradoxical. just like human nature

now, as to your championing of fucking backasswords cuba: cuba has nothing to teach us. absolutely nothing. championing anything that failed ideology has for us can only be laughable. your "green revolution" is nothing but the luddite idiocy of abandoning our technological progress for a simpler age.

how very romantic. how very stupid

so you should consecrate your romance by stop using the internet and stop using penicillin, or wake the fuck up and realize there is no future in looking backwards

the solution to our energy problems is new technology. not abandoning our modern lives for pastoral living

here, read all about it:

At a March ceremony in Havana marking the 15th anniversary of a national computer education center, Castro said Cuba needs to get used to a "new world that keeps changing around us." At the same event he promoted the idea of grooming software developers at the University of Computer Sciences, a campus about 50 miles south of Havana that aims to attract the country's brightest tech students and teachers.

That seemingly progressive approach contradicts Cuba's Internet policy, said Damian Fernandez, director of the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University.

"The effort to curtail Internet usage goes against the government's attempt to bring Cuba into the 21st century and globalize its economy," Fernandez said. "You can't have it both ways. You can't restrict and modernize. This is condemning the country to the third or fourth world decades from now."

The computer literacy campaign is part of Cuba's "long-term strategy for development to take advantage of its well-educated workforce," said William LeoGrande, a Cuba expert and dean of American University's School of Public Affairs. If the effort is successful, he said, the government could possibly develop a software industry along the lines of its advanced biotechnology sector. However, the lack of Internet access "puts a crimp in that strategy, because so much cutting-edge information appears first on the Internet," he said.

Cuba's intranet offers software-related courses from database and Web design to artificial intelligence. However, without permission to use the Internet, prospective techies can't download software, take online classes at Spanish-language programming site www.lawebdelprogramador.com, or ask for help on message boards.

Paris-based Reporters Without Borders has placed Cuba on a list of 15 Internet "enemies," in a class that includes North Korea, Myanmar, Iran and China. In February, the group said Cuba uses the U.S. embargo as a "pretext for a repressive policy toward the Internet. The chief reason for keeping citizens away from the Internet is to prevent them from being well-informed."

hey cuba, here's a fucking idea: howabout give your citizens some basic fucking freedoms to express their thoughts and their minds?

that intellectual wealth creates guess what? financial wealth

you don't promote a more just society by impoverishing everyone and disallowing them freedom of expression and freedom of thought

you just lock yourself into obsolescence and mediocrity

look forwards, or don't bother looking at anything at all

looking backwards to a mythology of absolute financial equality that never existed and never will is not social justice. mainly because keeping everyone only as rich as its stupidest, laziest member means everyone suffers in poverty

what cuba needs is to go capitalist

asap


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

I don't get it. (2.33 / 3) (#210)
by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 08:42:47 PM EST

Why does this have to be about your political opinion of Cuba? What makes you think anyone cares, least of all Cubans, and what would you have me say in reply -- I should google for unflattering articles about accelerating social and economic inequality in the United States of Dumb Fuck? Declining marginal returns from investments in technological solutions to socioeconomic problems? Literacy levels and general intellectual awareness dropping faster than middle class savings? The replacement of cultural content with kitsch? What the fuck would any of that (and lots more where it came from) have to do with the point that we can't solve our environmental and resource depletion problems with technology alone? You don't like Cuba? DON'T MOVE THERE! Look, this is very simple. Cuba is actually environmentally accomplished. America is one environmental horror story after another. For God's sake half of you still think global warming is scam by Kofi Annan. If you are so ideologically-addled to think we have nothing to learn from Cuban's example, by all means let's rub your magic lamp instead. That'll show them.

--
Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.
[ Parent ]

i can respond to you with a parable (1.25 / 4) (#211)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 08:55:26 PM EST

under the taliban, heroin poppy production in afghanistan simply stopped. it blew the minds of drug trade analysts, how that was even possible. but extreme allegiance to sharia law will do that to a society. yes, poppy is very profitable, but if your government will just shoot you in the head if they see you anywhere near the stuff, you tend not to want to grow poppy regardless

likewise, i am absolutely certain that cuba is an environmental paradise. being a communist "paradise" will do that to a country. however, much as with afghanistan and heroin poppies and sharia law, i'd prefer the proliferation of poppies than how human rights are treated under sharia law. likewise with cuba and communism and environmentalism, i'd rather some polluted rivers than how human rights are treated in that autocracy

am i making sense yet dear luddite?

and ps: fuck the usa. i don't defend the usa. i speak from a position of universal human rights. so please, attack the usa all you want. but don't confuse attacking the usa with attacking my opinion. understand that concept?

ideology is the issue here, not nationalism

if i can escape that trap, one would hope you can too


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

That's great story, CTS. (2.80 / 5) (#223)
by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 10:29:54 PM EST

Thank you for finally recognizing the Cuban people's environmental accomplishments and the resourcefulness of their revolution. I know it must have been hard for you to do that. Alas I don't have the troll's bollocks to contrast Cuban with American-style democracy and freedom. Suffice it to say (ah ha ha ha) the issues are complex and commercialism, materialism, and individualism are pretty thin gruel when it comes to their meanings.

am i making sense yet dear luddite?

You certainly are. But, just because I didn't descend fully-formed from the technological singularity or was shat from a silicon bitch doesn't mean I'm a luddite. I evolved here. I exist as one organic miracle linked to others. The natural environment is my one and only home and I am intimately adapted to it in every one of my fibers. And I emphatically don't want cargo-cult techo-weenies to continue to fuck it up with their magic oofle dustTM and gears. Does that make me a luddite? Then I guess I'm a luddite.

and ps: fuck the usa. i don't defend the usa.

Yours is the activist and moralistic Americanism, not the nationalist one, charged with the moral power to evangelize the world. Your tireless advocacy of "moral" foreign policies slated to work in tandem with America's commercial and domestic interests refer.

--
Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.
[ Parent ]

turn 90 degrees (1.00 / 2) (#259)
by circletimessquare on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 07:14:54 PM EST

there

now you are looking at me

instead of addressing the bogeyman in your head

all of your words above are assuming i am somehow defending the west

the concept that continually escapes you is that i am arguing from a position of universal human principles

so what do i do?

i make a post, full of passion, arguing from a position of universal principles. i do not require the elevation of the west in my formula. i do not require the degradation of nonwesterners in my formula. i simply require the equality of all human beings. i do not need the west to make my arguments have moral authority and intellectual cohesion. i simply need a human conscience

and what do you do?

you look right past me, to some bogeyman stereotype of a neocolonial imperialist westerner in your mind, and you address him, as if that were me

except that visage isn't me

it's simply supplied by your inflexible mind, that is trapped in a paradigm of the world that we are moving past, have moved past

and you are unable to keep up

still having arguments that have long been settled with long dead ghosts

history does not inform your opinion. you're trapped in history. the concept of fundamentals shifting beneath your feet escapes you. your mind has latched onto one paradigm from the year 1600: western colonialism, and your mind has promptly closed on it. no other paradigm of how to look at the world and the conflicts in it seems to be able to inform your opinions. you're trapped. your mind is closed, your stereotypes and prejudices are screwed tight, and your mind refuses to see anything else except what your mind puts before it

you look at me, and you invoke tribal vendettas i have no part of

if the usa were to fall on times as hard as myanmar, n korea, pre-war iraq- countries truly basketcase by ANY measure, the ture bottom of the barrel that ALL peoples of the world can agree on are in dire straights- not by some western measure, then i fully expect, in the principle of human brotherhood, that the us be invaded to stem the suffering and put it back on the right track

that is who i am, that is the argument i am making: universal human principles of mutual support according to universal standards of human dignity

that's me. really. that is what i am arguing for

really

now i kindly ask you, that if you ever address me again, that you refer to WHAT I AM ACTUALLY SAYING and WHAT I ACTUALLY REPRESENT

rather than what you are doing now: looking at me and addressing the stereotypical bogeyman in your head, assuming i have anything to do with it. a delusion that has nothing to do with who i am or what i am saying

and you could easily see that, you could argue with me about PRINCIPLES AND IDEALS rather than TRIBES AND SOCCER TEAMS, if you only let some prejudicial inflexibilities in your mind free

capisce?

or is your next post pointed at me going to be all about my defense of washington dc?

WHEN I AM DOING SUCH THING YOU BLIND VENAL FUCK!

now if you will excuse me, i have to go pick up my check from mossad, for i have completed my task of casting aspersions on "light" and "truth" in these threads. i will now go back to what i enjoy best, which is sucking dick cheney's cock, and drinking oil from the skull of an iraqi child

btw, in case you hadn't noticed

THAT WAS A FUCKING JOKE

AN OBVIOUS CARICATURE OF HOW YOUR ENFEEBLED MIND LOOKS AT THE WORLD

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

you may find this is relevant (2.00 / 6) (#221)
by guidoreichstadter on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 09:57:44 PM EST

are you familiar with the phenomenon of worker owned democratically managed cooperatives? Here's a brief wikipedia reference to one of the major contemporary experiments, the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation. I think that these kinds of organizations are a more appropriate coupling of human intention and productive technology. Embedded in the contemporary western economic and political context, they are internally planned, productive, responsive and profitable. Being constituted on a basis of worker democracy, they organize activity to satisfy the goals set by their worker members, not the exclusive profit and power maximization imperatives observed across the spectrum of absentee owned, capital controlled corporations. Actually, there was a discussion about this as it relates to global warming in a diary a while ago.

While it's not a panacea and the contemporary implementations of worker democracy are primitive, I think it's a very significant anomaly and a very significant first generation implementation full of imlications. I'd be more than happy to pay for this book if you're interested. It covers the fascinating history of the development of the cooperative complex as well as the organizational strucutre and dynamics.


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]

That's looks interesting, thanks. (none / 1) (#229)
by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 12:21:39 AM EST

I'll order it with Values at Work.

--
Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.
[ Parent ]

awesome (none / 1) (#243)
by guidoreichstadter on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 01:07:39 PM EST

here's some more worker democracy links through this comment


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]
why are you morons (1.00 / 4) (#273)
by circletimessquare on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 08:50:05 PM EST

championing a dead ideology?

did you miss the last century of history or something?

your ideologies have failed, miserably

china couldn't cut it, china is now the most rabidly capitalist country around... after decades of communist rhetoric! mind boggling!

and russia is just as autocratic as china, but unlike china, the only people who seem to prosper are the mafia!

this is the end result of communism: worse social injustice than anything communist ideas pretend to solve

so why did china and russia fail on the path to the noble worker's paradise dear great champions of the worker, dear geniuses guido and signor?

cia mind control rays?

or gee, i dunno, here's a really wacky concept for you two:

MAYBE THE FUCKING IDEALS YOU CHAMPION SUCK?

you DON'T promote social justice by insisting everyone be as poor and miserable as a society's most lazy and stupid member!

you let everyone make as much money as their faculties and industriousness allows them too, and in such a society with such wealth, you have more than enough to siphon off the top and provide for social safety nets for those who can't compete

pure capitalism is injust. but capitalism is the only engine mankind knows of for creating wealth. therefore, you harness capitalism in the name of social justice and provide for social safety nets so that no one truly suffers

what kind wacky idea is that?

it's something with more social justice for the average worker than your DEAD DEFEATED IDEOLOGIES claim you have a solution for

YOUR IDEOLOGIES MEANS MORE SOCIAL INJUSTICE FOR THE AVERAGE WORKER

POINT OF HISTORICAL FACT

so hey you two morons: WHY DON'T YOU FUCKING PAY ATTENTION TO HISTORY

namely, YOU'RE IDEOLOGY DIED LAST CENTURY, IT FAILED, IT IS FUNDAMENTALLY FLAWED

PLEASE TRY TO CATCH UP TO REALITY

K THX


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

i pay attention to history (1.50 / 2) (#307)
by guidoreichstadter on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 06:13:47 PM EST

you don't pay attention to what i write :(

here is a parable on history for you:

"Those who opt to make history and change the course of events themselves have the advantage over those who decide to wait passively for the results of the change"

-Father José María Arizmendiarrieta, the founder of the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation.

Please read this and tell me if it sounds like Communism, Cuba, China or the USSR to you.

Cooperation is the central engine of any successful economy. The historical and contemporary patterns of human activity that you call capitalism have been marked by the fact that their forms of cooperation have been organized and directed primarily under the control of and in the interests of a small unrepresentative elite minority of the very wealthy and powerful. Democratic worker cooperation is a form of social technology for reorganizing economic activity under more egaltarian, decentralized, popular direction, control, and management with significant implications for the social, political and cultural development of modern societies.

It's a practice, not an ideology. It is not about totalitarianism, state control of the economy, or "making everyone as poor and miserable as society's most lazy and stupid member." It is about people learning and becoming empowered together to take direct participation in organizing and guiding their work, their communities, their political systems, and their lives.


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]

cooperation is bullshit (1.66 / 3) (#309)
by circletimessquare on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 08:34:20 PM EST

any ideology that depends too much upon human altruism, or too much upon human selfishness (like moronic libertarianism) is doomed to fail

human nature is a duality of altruism and selfishness

you can't ignore one in the favor of the other, or you don't have a society which adequately reflects human nature, and is therefore doomed to failure

your ideology works perfectly, if human beings suddenly started acting like they never have in their entire existence

pfffffft

but please, be my guest: go ahead and build your utopian fantasy

you wouldn't be the first, you won't be last, and you'll always be the fringe

you don't succeed at anything in life by willfully denying the existence of human nature as it is... the good, the bad, AND THE UGLY: the unfortunate but absolutely unalterable psychological nature of human beings

your entire ideology is built upon a quicksand of self-delusion about the nature of the human beings around you


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

cooperation works (2.20 / 5) (#325)
by guidoreichstadter on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 10:58:32 AM EST

Mondragon is the 7th largest corporation in Spain, its productivity is nearly double the national average. The major barriers (and there are large ones) to the spread of coopeative forms of organization are technical, economic, and cultural. They don't have anything to do with immutable human nature or inborn psychological constraints. Your cultural exposure has left you unprepared to accept the possibility of a superior form of social technology, democratic worker cooperation, yet it exists, and works. You are a big fan of democracy, right? Worker cooperation is fundamentally just the aplication of democractic principles to the economic realm. Your perspective is like that of someone who has lived in an autocratic political system their entire life and cannot comprehend that a democratic form of government is possible. But just as there is no inherent human limitation that makes democratic political organization impossible, there is no inherent human limitation that makes industrial democracy impossible. If you are inteterested in learning more, I would be more than happy to pay for this.

In the meantime, read this:

some excerpts:

If one enters a Mondragon factory, one of the more obvious features is a European style coffee bar, occupied by members taking a break. It is emblematic of the work style, which is serious but relaxed. Mondragon productivity is very high -- higher than in its capitalist counterparts. Efficiency, measured as the ratio of utilized resources (capital and labor) to output, is far higher than in comparable capitalist factories.

One of the most striking indications of the effectiveness of the Mondragon system is that the Empressarial Division of Mondragon has continued to develop an average of four cooperatives a year, each with about 400 members. Only two of these have ever failed. This amazing record can be compared with business start-ups in this country, over 90 percent of which fail within the first five years. I have seen a feasibility study for a new enterprise. It is an impressive book-length document, containing demographics, sociological analysis of the target population, market analysis, product information -- just about everything relevant. When a new prospective cooperative comes to Mondragon seeking help, it is told to elect a leadership. This leadership studies at the Empressarial Division for two years before they are allowed to start the cooperative; they thus learn every aspect of their business and of the operation of a cooperative.

Mondragon is not utopia. While it does not produce weapons, useless luxury goods, or things that pollute the environment, it does produce standard industrial products using a recognizable technology of production. It does not practice job rotation, and management is not directly elected from the floor -- for good reason, since experiments elsewhere that have tried this have not worked. Members vary in the nature of their commitment. In fact there is something of a split in Mondragon between those who see Mondragon as a model for the world and those who prefer to keep a low profile and have no interest in proselytizing beyond their confines. ...

It developed a system of individual internal accounts into which 70 percent of the profits (a more accurate term is surplus) of the cooperative were placed. Each member had such an internal account. 30 percent were put into a collective account for operating capital and expansion, with a portion of that being earmarked for the community. The individual internal accounts noted receipt of the potion of the surplus earmarked for it, but this was then automatically loaned back to the cooperative, with interest paid. Upon leaving, members receive 75 percent of the accumulated funds credited to their internal account, while 25 percent is retained as the capitalization which made the job possible. This system essentially allows the cooperative to capitalize close to 100 percent of its yearly profit and gives it a capacity for internal capital accumulation unequaled by any capitalist enterprise. It also establishes an ongoing flow-through relation between the individual and collective portions of the surplus.

Mondragon has revolutionary implications, primarily because its structure of democratic governance, with worker ownership and control, challenges the capitalist system at its very heart. Where capitalism awards profit and control to capital and hires labor, Mondragon awards profit and control to labor. In the process, it has developed a worker-centered culture which, rather than infantilizing, empowers. Mondragon members are citizens of a worker commonwealth, with the full rights that such citizenship confers. This can be seen best in the steps that have been taken to make the formal system of participation into a working reality: different systems of leadership have evolved, and with them, a growing sense of teamwork. For example, a furniture factory now operates completely through work teams. Thus the formal system has led to the ongoing evolution of a democratic process which is the real indicator of its success in revolutionizing the relations of production.

Also, Mondragon has created a total system where one can learn, work, shop, and live within a cooperative environment. (On such total systems, see Antonio Gramsci.) In such an environment motivation is high because members share an overall cooperative culture which integrates material and moral incentives, and which extends into every aspect of life, work, community, education, consumption, and family. A member of the Empresserial Division has underlined the uniqueness of Mondragon viewed as a total system, pointing out that this system goes far beyond what can be found in the Basque culture. The proof of this is to be found in the efforts needed to socialize new workers into the system; the simple fact of being Basque is hardly enough to guarantee effective participation.

Why does Mondragon work so well? Part of the answer lies in the unique culture of the Basque region. Members of the staff of Mondragon with whom I have talked (those of Ikerlan, the research institute, and of ULARCO, the first of the mini-conglomerates) have doubts about whether the model can be exported, arguing that the cohesiveness and communitarian traditions of the Basque culture alone make it possible. But Anna Gutierrez Johnson, a Peruvian sociologist who has studied Mondragon extensively, believes that basically it is the organizational pattern that makes the whole system work, and that this is exportable. I share her opinion, but also believe that in the United States our culture of individualism and adversary worker-management relations is a major impediment. Workers have little ideological consciousness in this country; moreover, they have very largely bought into the capitalist system and often see work as a ticket into the middle class. But their lack of ideology is nonetheless a plus in one way, for the secret of Mondragon is, above all, organizational, not ideological: it is how-to knowledge that makes it work. Knowledge, for example, of how specific industry sectors work, of how to facilitate cooperation between the CLP and worker-entrepreneurs, of how to ensure that individual enterprises are integrated into the Mondragon community. ...


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]

that's very interesting (2.33 / 3) (#329)
by circletimessquare on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 09:52:15 PM EST

but you'll forgive me if i have a healthy cynicism about salesmen

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
ok i just read about it (2.00 / 3) (#330)
by circletimessquare on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 09:58:36 PM EST

they employ 3rd world factories where the people there aren't members of the cooperative!

isn't this the big evil no-no? globalization and "exploitation" of the poor 3rd world and all that?


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

right (1.50 / 2) (#352)
by guidoreichstadter on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 02:22:48 PM EST

From a pragmatic point of view, building employment in the 3rd world is better than no employment, and Mondragon-run factories offer a better deal for their employees and the community than a sweatshop run by an intermediary or a corporation interested in nothing but maximizing profit. Better than Mondragon-run factories, though, would be independent self-managing external cooperative networks associated in mutually beneficial economic interaction with the Mondragon network.

Can Mondragon single handedly extend its cooperative model to the developing world? It's not a simple matter of declaring a company to be a cooperative by fiat. The process is ideally led by the workers themselves. Enthusiasm is a precondition, but not enough- the creation of successful cooperatives requires the applicable technical and managerial competencies, understanding and committment to cooperative practice and culture among the potential cooperators, financial backing, etc.

Almost all of the associated Mondragon cooperatives have been formed within the Basque country by a process of organic growth as members leave an existing cooperative to associate with the empresarial division and the caja laboral popular, the cooperative bank, to incubate and hive-off a new cooperative. There have been several cases of previously owned traditionally capital controlled basque firms that have been bought out with the support of the employees and retrofitted into cooperatives, but this process has proven to be costlier, riskier and more difficult than organic expansion- in which growth has been driven from below by self-organizing groups of individuals sharing a common affinity and competency with cooperative culture. The question of how Mondragon can catalyze and support the growth of cooperatives outside of its traditional geographic, cultural and economic milieu is a pressing one and the subject of internal debate and inquiry. Working groups within Mondragon are currently developing and implementing measures to assist the group's non-cooperative holdings in implementing progressively greater self management and control, and assuming the significant financial responsibilities that come with democratic worker ownership and control.

It's a very important question, and Mondragon is not the only insitution adressing it. There are a large number of independent organizations and movements developing globally that tie in to this basic issue of participatory democracy and economic democracy. I'd suggest looking into solidarity economy and the world social forum for other allied tendencies.


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]

You're wrong about hydrogen (2.50 / 6) (#192)
by crazy canuck on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 05:35:17 PM EST

I agree that we should use nuclear power, but you're wrong about hydrogen and batteries.

electrical batteries take a long time to charge. Refuelling with hydrogen could be just as fast as today's refuelling with gasoline.

I am a nuclear scientist (2.85 / 14) (#213)
by f36c on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 08:55:52 PM EST

And from that perspective this piece is really interesting. I'd agree with a previous poster that nuclear power has never been, even comparatively unsafe. I'd wager 95% of people with scientific credentials in the field agree with me. The only reason nuclear power isn't much more cost effective is the incredible levels of red tape we've built around it (some of it warranted, I'm not arguing we throw off the shackles)

Factoid:
Coal plants put more radioactivity into the environment through their smokestacks than nuclear plants through all pathways.

Circle Times Square:
re:hey man, what's wrong with a little nuclear fallout in your mushrooms?"

Well, hate to break it to you, but there is nuclear fallout in your mushrooms. There is fallout everywhere and in everything and has been globally since 1945. It has spread through the atmosphere and it's nearly impossible to find stuff without fallout in it. (Interesting aside: steel produced before 1945 obviously has no fallout, so a micro industry exists salvaging WWII steel and selling it for detection applications that fallout might interfere with) The fallout is not hurting you, but it's precisely the terror you showed, CTS that is nuclear's bad press.

.012% of the potassium in your body (and you've got a lot of potassium) in your body is radioactive and shooting you full of cancer causing beta radiation. It's not something humans introducted to the world. We exist in a sea of radioactivity, which I think if it were better understood would lead people to much more rational approaches to radioactivity.

well no shit sherlock (1.00 / 9) (#219)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 09:52:00 PM EST

it's the basis for carbon dating, radioactivity is everywhere. but ther eis a difference between accepting what you cannot contor, and casually assuming you have the right to add any more radioactivity to people' slives, and they shouldn't or couldn't have a say over it

i don't care how small the amountis. it's oyur attitude that worries people

i'd like to see you take that attitude to the political bodies which approve funding and/ or more reactors

i'd think you find that your attitude won't get any more funding or reactors

you think?

nuclear power has a terrible pr problem

now i am getting some idea why

you like reading my posts

did you read this one?

but you should be aware that average guy on the street paints the entire concept of nuclear power of what the worst implementation of it is/ was
i'm not saying that is right or wrong, i'm saying that's just the way it is

so what we have to do is not divorce ourself from older russian technology when championing the new pebble bed reactors, but divorce ourself from all older nuclear technology period. because all of it is tainted in the eyes of the public. whether that is right or wrong is not the point, that's just the way it is. so what is more important to you: getting nuclear tech used again? or correcting a common misperception from decades ago?

hurricane katrina (oil-fueled global warming) and 9/11 (oil-funded religious extremism) has made the public take notice of other options like nuclear again, and this is a good thing, for the world' ideolgoy and the world's environment, if we can shake this hydrocarbon addiction

but to win the hearts and minds of the average joe, we have to totally divorce ourself from the past of nuclear, whether american or russian

it's not about the science, it's about the perception

so learn to shut up, or say nice things

why?

FOR THE SAKE OF NUCLEAR

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Bullshit (1.20 / 5) (#225)
by tdamon on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 11:00:57 PM EST

If a Model T existed before 1945, it was irradieted along with everything else.  The only clean source, in your false scenario, would be metal from deep underground.


I got a sweater for Christmas. I really wanted a moaner or a screamer.
[ Parent ]
3/5 for you (2.75 / 4) (#226)
by f36c on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 12:05:19 AM EST

Points for realizing above ground wouldn't work, you lose two points for not considering underwater storage.

Deep underwater is nearly as good as deep underground, and there are all these nice scuttled ships to use. (So as not to disturb the dead)

evidence for persistent unbelievers:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A2497494
and plenty more with basic googling skills.

[ Parent ]

Noted (none / 1) (#250)
by tdamon on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 03:06:34 PM EST

and I will stand corrected.


I got a sweater for Christmas. I really wanted a moaner or a screamer.
[ Parent ]
Mistatements (2.00 / 7) (#230)
by StephenThompson on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 01:05:51 AM EST

CTS has made a couple mistatements here.  First off, the Brazilian ethanol does not increase atmospheric CO2 because the crop removes the same amount from the air when it grows.  Now, from a comment below he seems to believe that CO2 causes cancer!  No, CO2 is a natural byproduct of respiration and has no harmful side-effects.  Ethanol engines can be made to burn sufficiently clean that pollution is not a factor.
Now, the Brazillians use sugar cane to make their ethanol, but the continental US isnt the right climate for sugar cane. Today we use corn because of a strong corn economy (and lobby) but corn is not nearly as efficient as sugar-cane. (I suggest sugar-beet might work better.)

Next CTS ignores the breakdown of a pebblebed reactor in Germany.  I believe Germany completely abandoned the idea afterwards.  So, pebblebed reactors are not the silver bullet of nuclear, and more yet needs to be done.

diesel particulate causes cancer, not CO2 (1.80 / 5) (#231)
by circletimessquare on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 01:12:49 AM EST

so don't smear me with your inabilities at reading comprehension

and here's a wacky concept for all you "but it's carbon neutral" morons:

mankind has been pumping CO2 into the atmosphere for decades

therefore, the only CO2 neutral technology out there is planting trees!: recapturing some of that CO2

meanwhile, an energy technology which doesn't impact the CO2 cycle AT ALL, input or output, is superior to one that just treads water

isn't it wise to let CO2 levels diminsh to preindustrial levels?

how the fuck do you do that when you're still burning shit?

how about this "but its carbon neutral" morons: howabout we stop buring shit for awhile and let CO2 levels drop?

how does that sound to you?

or is that to wacky a concept for you to consider?

as for pebble bed reactor failure: yup, there was a failure

and?

did i see nuclear was spotless and without risk?

nuclear technology SUCKS

it just happens to be the LEAST suckiest tech we got right now

feel me now?

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Where do trees go when they die? (2.40 / 5) (#232)
by spasticfraggle on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 03:50:53 AM EST

They dont suck up CO2 and then jump into fucking holes in the Space-Time vortex, taking the carbon with them. No, they die, decompose, and where does the carbon go? Into the fucking sky!!!

Carbon levels won't drop because we stop burning plants.

Of course, technically it isn't trees, as ethanol production is from cane/corn. Getting it from trees would be a big win for a lot of northern countries. And there's a lot of work going into working out how to do that.

--
I'm the straw that broke the camel's back!
[ Parent ]

what a fucking moron (1.80 / 5) (#245)
by circletimessquare on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 02:32:31 PM EST

they go into the earth you dumb fuck. it's a carbon sink. ever hear of coal? oil? peat? where did all that carbon come from einstein?

CO2 levels WILL drop when we stop burning shit

DURRRR

debating simple science facts that elementary schoolers can appreciate on k5 is a such a joy


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Yawn (2.60 / 5) (#284)
by spasticfraggle on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 01:30:53 AM EST

Given that we're talking about a period of one to two hundred years (before the fabled energy glut of the Holy Fussion finally happens), the rate of peat "production" (never mind coal - do you have any idea how long this stuff takes?) makes it worthless as a carbon sink. Not to mention the fact that the kind of irrigated areas used for biomass production aren't going to suitable for peat generation.

I will admit (being a reaonable person) that if the entire world did stop burning biomass there probably would be a short term drop in CO2 as the plants acted as a sink. But as the lifetimes of those plants is reached, the carbon is released again. It doesn't turn into peat anymore than it vanishes into another dimension, the conditions for peat to form are very much the exception - as you'd know if you'd ever been in say a meadow or a forest.

CO2 levels would stop faster not if we stopped burning shit, but rather if you just stopped talking it.

--
I'm the straw that broke the camel's back!
[ Parent ]

Here's a way (2.40 / 5) (#239)
by Sgt York on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 11:46:19 AM EST

to reduce carbon in the atmosphere. Take a buch of crabon-containing compounds, say plant and animal matter. Dig a hole in the ground, toss the stuff in, seal it up on all sides and fill earth back on top. Done. Carbon sealed up in the ground for the long term.

I say we start a massive effort to tie up carbon-containing materials in this manner. Call it Fill the Land with Carbon nahh...too long. Something more catchy...Fill the Land? No, sounds kind of religious. Got it: Project Landfill. Perfect.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

that just happens anyways (1.66 / 3) (#246)
by circletimessquare on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 02:33:40 PM EST

that's where coal and oil come from. the plant dies, the carbon goes into the soil. you're done

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
There never was a breakdown (2.80 / 5) (#288)
by Des Beelzebubs Rechtsbeistand on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 05:51:27 AM EST

there was a minor incident, where a fuel sphere got stuck in a pipe, when it was about to be removed from the reactor.

In fact they have performed an experiment where they removed all control rods and stopped the cooling system. The reactor remained stable.

Germany completely abandoned the idea of nuclear power, because that was a pet project of the green party nuts. Those morons had decided to rely on coal and imported nuclear energy from France instead.

Rate comments: [no |v]
[ Parent ]

What to do with radioactive waste? (2.60 / 5) (#242)
by Talez on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 01:07:09 PM EST

Stick it in an RTG of course!

While current RTGs can't just accept regular nuclear waste (with its different halflifes and elements and whatnot) with a bit of research they probably could. Then we could just stick the waste in an RTG and use it to crack water. Get the hydrogen, pump it to wherever, release oxygen into the atmosphere.

You get clean hydrogen, oxygen is a waste product, nuclear waste is dealt with.

Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est

Lovins: Nuclear power is a waste of money (2.50 / 2) (#247)
by freestylefiend on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 02:36:00 PM EST

Writing in the Guardian, (The chief scientific adviser has become a government spin doctor, mirror (not The Mirror)) Monbiot discusses a paper by Amory Lovins. It claims that money spent on nuclear power will generate less than would be saved by spending the same money on energy-efficiency.

depends (2.00 / 2) (#257)
by khallow on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 07:00:45 PM EST

That depends on who's spending the money. If I'm an electric company, I lose money from generic energy efficiency. I might make gobs of money (or at least not lose gobs of money) from peak load reduction, that is, reducing demand at the peak times of the day.

If I'm the electricity customer, I may or may not benefit from employing energy-efficiency measures. My take is that most people and businesses don't bother when electricity is cheap.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Collective spending (1.50 / 2) (#289)
by freestylefiend on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 06:25:32 AM EST

I think the point is the government subsidises nuclear power to save the environment, that is inefficient compared to other subsidies. I don't think that there is a free market in nuclear power. States, with their planning rules and strategic interests, call the shots.

[ Parent ]
thanks (none / 1) (#332)
by khallow on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 01:24:47 PM EST

That makes sense. Government subsidies to nuclear power definitely are known to be among the most messed of subsidies.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Good article (2.00 / 2) (#253)
by stuaart on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 04:45:44 PM EST

I missed this one in the queue somehow, but I would have +1FPed it. There is one issue that I'd draw attention to: that nuclear power is not the be-all and end-all to energy problems. Certainly we should not assume that renewables ``can't make a dent'' in the energy requirements of many countries. I feel that the only way the impending energy/environmental crisis will be solved is by approaching energy production in a non-homogeneous fashion. This means saying `yes' to a bit of fossil fuel, `yes' to nuclear and `yes' to renewables.

Technology and the economic/technological/logistic/etc structure for exploiting fossil fuels is already established. Technology for exploiting nuclear fuel, as the problems with the pebble bed reactor shows, has some way to go. The same goes for renewables. In these cases, it is not necessarily that we can't use nuclear or renewables very well, or that the technology to harness the power is not around, but rather that the associated structures such as the supply chain, logistic and economic support, as well as the social `structures' (e.g., people expressing strong desire for nuclear and renewable solutions and strongly reacting against fossil fuels) are not well-developed or established.

Once those structures are developed, including the social ones, nuclear power and renewable energy sources will flourish. But of course it takes a lot of work to get all that in order, and it seems that this is what should be focussed on, i.e., getting political and grassroots support for nuclear and renewables, getting commercial support structures developed, and so on.

Linkwhore: [Hidden stories.] Baldrtainment: Corporate concubines and Baldrson: An Introspective


SACRILEGE! (2.14 / 7) (#258)
by somaudlin2 on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 07:14:47 PM EST

CTS wrote a story that included very little of the following elements:

Inane Dogma
Intellectual Fallacies
Insane Political Memes
Incoherent Rantings
and
Intense Flames


Of course it still included:

Slight Rightwing Cheapshots
A Complete Disregard for Any Other Opinion
A Linguistic Style Reminiscent of a Crack Whore


All and all, I must say: Good job. I hope all of the rest of your articles are this way or better.

p.s. If you decided to shotgun mouthwash tomorrow I'd still probably rejoice.

how do you do a shotgun mouthwash? (2.33 / 3) (#260)
by circletimessquare on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 07:16:22 PM EST

could you demonstrate for me?

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
I'd love to (1.00 / 2) (#261)
by somaudlin2 on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 07:18:59 PM EST

please close your eyes and open your mouth as wide as possible. Alternatively, call Orion Blastar over and offer him a hotdog.

[ Parent ]
i still don't get it (1.75 / 4) (#262)
by circletimessquare on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 07:19:36 PM EST

let me see you demonstrate

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Open your mouth and close your eyes (1.00 / 2) (#263)
by somaudlin2 on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 07:25:18 PM EST

or dangle a hot dog over Orion Blastar's fat drooling face (assuming you can get in range) and I'd be happy to demonstrate it for/on you.

I suppose we could also mention the war in Iraq around LilDebbie. That'd give a significantly sized shotgun mouthwash receptacle.

[ Parent ]
no, i still don't get it (1.40 / 5) (#264)
by circletimessquare on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 07:31:50 PM EST

could you demonstrate, i mean on yourself, show me how


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
This joke is old (1.00 / 2) (#265)
by somaudlin2 on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 07:37:16 PM EST

you lose, thxbye

[ Parent ]
a joke can age? (2.25 / 4) (#267)
by circletimessquare on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 07:50:18 PM EST

i don't understand, could you explain?


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
So whose dupe is bkeeler? Orion, is that you? (none / 1) (#319)
by somaudlin2 on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 11:12:41 PM EST



[ Parent ]
a lot of stupid attitudes about biodiesel/ ethanol (2.20 / 5) (#270)
by circletimessquare on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 08:14:05 PM EST

i've heard a lot of "but it's carbon neutral" from half a dozen or so morons below about biodiesel/ ethanol. here's a wacky concept for all you "but it's carbon neutral" morons:

an energy technology that puts no CO2 into the atmosphere is better than one that does, no matter what the original source of the CO2. why? because mankind has been pumping CO2 into the atmosphere for decades

therefore, the only REALLY CO2 neutral technology, considering how much we've pumped into the atmosphere already, is planting trees!: recapturing some of that CO2. meanwhile, an energy technology which doesn't impact the CO2 cycle AT ALL, input or output, is superior to one that just treads water. do you get the concept?

isn't it wise to let CO2 levels diminsh to preindustrial levels? how the fuck do you do that when you're still burning shit?

how about this "but its carbon neutral" morons: howabout we stop burning shit for awhile and let CO2 levels drop? how does that sound to you? or is that too wacky a concept for you to consider?


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

It is neutral, but ... (2.60 / 5) (#291)
by blackpaw on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 08:23:17 AM EST

meanwhile, an energy technology which doesn't impact the CO2 cycle AT ALL, input or output, is superior to one that just treads water. do you get the concept?

You seem to be the one that doesn't get the concept. Biofuels, aka Brazil's sugar cane ethanol output the amount of C02 that they extra from the atmosphere. Net result = ZERO C02 output, e.g. 2 - 2 = 0 ! not 4. So you can do nothing as you suggest, and not increase C02 levels or you could use biofuels and ah ... not increase C02 levels.


Where you have an interesting point that I had not considered before is that biofuels act as C02 concentrators, they still increase the smog levels in industrial/urban areas, not to mention the other harmful outputs of combustion.


And of course there are the harmful effects of mass agriculture, the impacts on water tables, fertilizers etc, lots of issues. I once thought ethanol could be a interesting item for Australia farmers, but considering the huge problems we have with water shortages and salination of farm land already, that's probably a bad idea.


So yeah - nuclear and decent electric cars. Why the hell doesn't Bush get behind this, make a Manhattan project out of it - image the tech that could be developed, the inspiration and moral it could provide for a USA that seems badly lost.


The last is a rhetorical question of course ...



[ Parent ]
I'm wasting my time. (1.75 / 4) (#296)
by is that a boat on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 02:21:31 PM EST

The point is to decrease CO2 levels in the atmosphere to what they would be if we didn't have several decades of combustion.

That is, of course, "negative" CO2 output is preferable to zero.  For example:
0 - 2 = -1

or:
10 (CO2 in atmosphere caused by industrialization) + 0 (CO2 emitted from nuclear technology and other sensible energy sources) + -10 (increase in flora) = 0 (CO2 back to preindustrial levels)

or:
learn how to goddamn read fuck you i hate you die motherfucker

[ Parent ]

thank you thank you thank you (2.50 / 2) (#297)
by circletimessquare on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 02:24:32 PM EST

why these fuckheads can't understand something an elementary school kid could just blows my mind

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
er, 1 - 2 -nt (none / 1) (#298)
by is that a boat on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 02:31:21 PM EST

:(

[ Parent ]
jesus, chernobyl (2.00 / 4) (#275)
by el_guapo on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 09:33:55 PM EST

research the term 'positive coefficient of reactivity' - the miracle of chernobyl is that it's only happened ONCE. long story short: chernobyl style reactors put out more power the hotter they get - causing a run away situation. a pressurized light water reactor has the same chance of pulling a chernobyl as the laptop i'm posting this from
mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
Allow me to guess... (2.50 / 4) (#290)
by skyknight on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 08:09:53 AM EST

Your laptop is more likely to be hit by an artillery shell than to have a nuclear meltdown. AMIRITE?

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
The carbon source matters (2.66 / 6) (#276)
by mikej on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 10:07:37 PM EST

Biodiesel or ethanol is a wonderful idea. Brazil has wonderful success with ethanol that warrants serious admiration. However, it's still burning carbon and putting it in the atmosphere. That is, you haven't gotten rid of any of the environmental concerns with smog and greenhouse emissions. You're burning something, it makes CO2: that's a problem.

There is an imporant difference: Burning carbon fuels derived from plants recently is a carbon neutral activity; You took carbon out of the climate last year and fixed it in the tissues of the plants, then put it back this year by burning the resultant ethanol. Burning carbon fuels derived from plants grown millions of years ago is a positive carbon input.  This difference is meaningful.


Ideology breeds hypocrisy. Just how much is up to you.

you fucking moron (1.30 / 13) (#278)
by circletimessquare on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 10:25:37 PM EST

which is better: treading water or improving?

which is better: burning something or burning NOTHING

we've pumped the atmosphere with CO2 ove rthe last decade or so

is it too wacky an idea for you that maybe we should stop pumping ANYTHING into the atmosphere and let our previous positive carbon input?

in other words, biodiesel/ ethanol isn't carbon neutral in the larger scheme of things, in the scheme of mankind fucking with the environment

and think of all those fields that could be forext instead!

i'm the biggest environmentalist on this site, apparently

or at least the one with the highest iq

jesus fucking mohammad you fucking "yeah but its carbon neutral" morons

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Yes. (2.60 / 5) (#294)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 01:52:07 PM EST

And once global warming turns our nation into tropical jungle, we'll be able to grow the sugar cane for ethanol.

Until then, it's more or less worthless. Sure, hippies get to feel good because we're using excess corn for enivronmentally-friendly fuel, but in truth, we could never power more than an insignificant fraction of current automobiles and trucks with it.

Ethanol = the wealthy 1% getting to drive around in ethanol-powered limos and the rest of us riding bicycles.

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]

These boots... (2.00 / 2) (#279)
by Pingveno on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 10:42:41 PM EST

are made for walking,
walking's what they'll do.
One of these days these boots
will commute to work near you.

Ready boots? Start walking.
------
In other news, more than 98 percent of convicted felons are bread users.

exxon (2.75 / 4) (#282)
by ruderod on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 01:23:23 AM EST

in their latest propaganda news letter to shareholders says that "peak oil is not anywhere near the foreseeable future".  What a bunch of crap.  And just last year they did mention it several times in their newsletters and yearly report.  So what has changed?  Greed.  They don't want people buying into peak oil.


Nuclear Power.... (3.00 / 11) (#287)
by QuantumFoam on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 05:30:06 AM EST

... a boat we missed three decades ago. I'm studying physics right now with a focus on radiation and have taken many nuclear science courses, so I'm pretty up on the subject. Basically, I want to thank each an every environmentalist out there for giving me a guaranteed job when I get out of college.

How are they getting me employed? Well, for the last 30 years they have fought nuclear power tooth and nail,  preventing any new plants from being built. Now that  fossil fuels are becoming more scarce, nuclear is being resurrected. All the new plants that will be springing up in the next several decades mean I have an excellent chance to make big bucks because most of the potential competition (the people who are 10 years older than me) was scared away from what seemed to be a doomed industry when they went to school.

So thanks environmentalists, sure we could have spent these last three decades making energy from transmuting elements (it's freaking alchemy) instead of spewing coal and oil byproducts into the atmosphere, sure we could have had the electrical generating capacity to make electric cars more viable, sure we could be significantly less dependent on the middle east right now, but you sucessfully stalled the inevitable for 30 years. Good work.

Why do I say we've missed the boat on nuclear power? Because you can't just throw these babies up overnight. You can construct a natural gas plant in a week, but it takes something on the order of 15 years to get a nuclear power plant from the groundbreaking phase to the point where it first achieves criticality. So, even if we start building them now, like right now, everywhere, we will still have to use increasingly-rarer, increasingly more expensive fossil fuels to generate electricty in the meantime.


Solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, and biofuel power are all cute little ways of generating energy, but they produce too few kilowatt-hours per dollar (or acre) to do more than suppliment real generation. We could have solar panels on every house and wind turbines anywhere we could squeeze them, but they will never work as a primary source of electricity.


The way to go is definitely reprocessing fuel. Each plant could have multiple reactors on site, each feeding the next, consuming the vast majority of waste they produce. Most fourth-generation reactors already do this in one package.

Seriously, humanity figured out that energy and matter are equivalent about 100 years ago, why the fuck are we still making light by breaking chemical bonds like fucking cavemen?

- Barack Obama: Because it will work this time. Honest!

Good point (2.50 / 2) (#350)
by stuaart on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 12:00:55 PM EST

but it's not just environmentalists who have helped move public opinion/governmental interest away from nuclear power. It's also the cold war environment and its connotations. For years `nuclear' has been inextricably linked with the word `weapon' without much understanding of the economic/technological/etc. differences between developments of weaponry and nuclear power.

Linkwhore: [Hidden stories.] Baldrtainment: Corporate concubines and Baldrson: An Introspective


[ Parent ]
Wait a second (1.25 / 4) (#292)
by Dorm for the Summer on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 09:16:45 AM EST

Aren't you one of the assholes that think we should destroy Iran for wanting to get themselves alternative energy sources? Hypocrisy thy name is cts

nuclear bombs, not alternate energy sources (1.50 / 2) (#295)
by circletimessquare on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 02:10:23 PM EST

gullible lately?


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
nuclear would be bad (1.50 / 2) (#299)
by jcarnelian on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 04:11:59 PM EST

Breeders are politically impossible to push through (and it's not clear whether they really work as well as propponents claim).  And without breeders, there are two major problems with nuclear power: our current nuclear reactors are irresponsibly wasteful with a precious resource, and we have no safe way of dispoing of the nuclear waste.

Nuclear may be a long-term option, but there needs to be a lot more work and quite a bit of political change.  In the current climate, it's a lousy option.

It's also completely unnecessary: if the US reduced its per-capita energy expenditure to just European levels, its energy problems would be solved, and that's something that can easily be done with today's technologies.

did you read the fucking story? (1.25 / 4) (#301)
by circletimessquare on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 04:54:50 PM EST

or is basing your opinion on 1960s era nuclear technology a valid pov?

i don't think so, moron

try educating yourself about new technology, then fucking open your mouth

you can't talk meaningfully about iPods when you are only familiar with vinyl records


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

thanks (2.33 / 3) (#363)
by jcarnelian on Sun Jul 09, 2006 at 12:00:10 PM EST

"or is basing your opinion on 1960s era nuclear technology a valid pov? [...] try educating yourself about new technology, then fucking open your mouth"

Ah, so educate me: what new developments in breeder reactors does the story actually refer to?  The story, in fact, mentions breeder reactors just once and contains no references to new developments.  Therefore, I pointed out that, in fact, we still have the same problems with breeders as we have had in the past: they are politically unpalatable and practically unproven.  And that means that the waste disposal issue remains unsolved.

Thanks for reminding me that some people (like yourself) are a little slow intellectually; I'll try to spell things out for you more clearly next time so that even people you don't miss the connection of my response to the article.

[ Parent ]

Nah (1.50 / 2) (#311)
by trhurler on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 09:32:48 PM EST

Breeders could happen; all that has to happen is the green movement needs to realize they're a superior alternative to exhausting oil and coal supplies and that nothing else is going to be cost effective at world scale.

As for European levels of energy consumption, you realize most of the US' electricity goes to business uses that aren't amenable to solutions such as "use LEDs" and "turn off the lights when you leave the room", right? And even if we COULD get down to European levels, we'd still be burning fossil fuels, which doesn't solve ANYTHING.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
typical excuses (none / 1) (#365)
by jcarnelian on Sun Jul 09, 2006 at 12:29:57 PM EST

Breeders could happen; all that has to happen is the green movement needs to realize they're a superior alternative to exhausting oil and coal supplies and that nothing else is going to be cost effective at world scale.

You're placing the blame at the wrong feet. The green movement may or may not have impeded the construction of nuclear power plants, but they have done nothing to stop the construction of breeder reactors. The reason why we don't have more breeders among our nuclear power plants is because they are because they are expensive, less proven, and, most of all, a proliferation concern to politicians.

As for European levels of energy consumption, you realize most of the US' electricity goes to business uses

What difference does that make to my comment? US businesses should be able to operate as energy-efficiently as European businesses. In fact, given the shift of the US economy from manufacturing to services, the intrinsic energy needs of US business ought to be decreasing drastically.

And even if we COULD get down to European levels, we'd still be burning fossil fuels, which doesn't solve ANYTHING.

That's the typical response of an addict who doesn't want to face his addiction: "because I can't solve the problem completely, I'm not even going to bother reducing it".

In fact, as I was saying, if the US reduced its per capita energy usage to European levels, that would already make a big difference for the environment and for global politics.

[ Parent ]

Approaches (2.33 / 3) (#310)
by localroger on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 09:18:10 PM EST

CTS, I understand your POV here. Really. There is a point at which the problem becomes so big -- maybe it already is -- that daring things must be done.

But before nuclear energy needs to go on the table, there are a lot of other things that should be done first. Yes, modern technology like the PBR is much safer than the old crap. But even PBR's require fuel processing and waste storage, and those functions are also dangerous and there are no clean solutions. (I personally favor burying the waste in mid-ocean subduction zones but nobody in charge seems to understand the advantages of that.)

Meanwhile, if we replaced every light bulb on the planet with a compact flourescent or white LED equivalent, we would instantly reduce the world's fossil fuel consumption by almost 30%. A massive international effort to recall incandescent bulbs and replace them with free CF's and, as they become available, LED's of similar output would initially cost money and create pollution, but it would pay for itself in both monetary and carbon terms within a decade. It's something that can be done now with existing technology, does not expand any seriously dangerous industries that are currently dormant, and it's a level of benefit nobody even pretends we could attain in a similar time either with new energy tech or improvements to cars. It's, you know, a lot easier to change light bulbs than cars. There are almost forty light bulbs in my own house, and most first-world homes are similar.

Put the kind of money we put into experimental hybrid cars and nuclear into light bulbs and see how fast the tech improves. Remember white LED's were invented by one maverick guy in Japan who worked with the harder of the two likely chemistries just because everyone else was working with, duh, the easier chemistry. Before you tell me all the roles low-power lighting can't fill, tell me how long that would stay the case with even a couple of billion $ in R&D money.

I haven't heard anybody even pretend that we could add 30% to our generating capacity in ten years -- more, actually, since the figure for lighting _includes_ non-generating uses like cars -- even if we started building nuclear plants as fast as possible tomorrow. So, before you ask us to do the seemingly crazy-stupid things we need to do to survive, maybe somebody ought to consider doing the just plain sensible things first, hmmmm?

(And no, I don't have a link for that 30% figure; I read it several years ago and lost the source. But if you think about what the formerly dark side of our planet looks like from space you'll see that it's not an unreasonable estimate.)

I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds -- J. Robert Oppenheimer

Nice idea, except (2.75 / 4) (#312)
by trhurler on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 09:33:38 PM EST

It still leaves us burning irreplacable fuels that pollute and may possibly or possibly not cause warming of the planet. 30% less is nice, but what is needed is more like 95% less, and that means nuclear power.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Nuclear is only the answer... (2.66 / 3) (#318)
by localroger on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 10:38:57 PM EST

...to a question that is not being asked.

That question is, "what do you do when all else failse." Because nuclear power is extremely dangerous, and in practice its dangerous processes will be in the hands of lunkheads who are more interested in getting home to mow their lawns than in filling out the same safety-related checklist for the 905th time. I work with these people.

The problem is not that a 30% reduction leaves us burning fossil fuels; nobody with any credibility is promising that nuclear, without other measures, will reduce fossil fuel consumption by 30% in the near term. The problem is that there are many other approaches, and I only named one. You get enough of those approaches together and solar and carbon-neutral approaches like bioethanol actually do start to look like they could fill the gap.

I am not fundamentally against nuclear power; I think there are purposes, like space travel, for which nothing else will do and you have to use it. I think there are safe ways to use it, but I don't think our current *cough* leaders have the will do do it right -- to manage the entire fuel cycle, from extraction to waste and everything in between, in a manner that is appropriate for the real risks that exist. If you do that, there is no doubt that nuclear is not cost-competitive with oil at current levels. I'm sure it would be cost-competitive with oil at 5x or 30x its current level, but at the same time so might various forms of solar and wind with the conservation measures that would suddenly look so much more practical.

I have never seen anybody credible suggest that nuclear in any current form -- even PBR's -- could possibly fill 95% of current energy demands. It simply isn't up to the task. The processing and waste issues would both bankrupt us and drown us in toxic waste. It would take decades to recover the costs, both economic and carbon, of such a construction boom even if it didn't poison us -- and your whole point is that we don't have decades. So really, we have to think of something else first.

I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds -- J. Robert Oppenheimer
[ Parent ]

Um (2.50 / 4) (#333)
by trhurler on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 06:11:03 PM EST

Honestly, I don't know where this notion that nuclear is so dangerous comes from. There have been precisely two real problems, one of which was due to the collapse of an entire economy and the other of which didn't do much damage. More people have died in propane accidents BY FAR. The reality is, light water reactors as we have used them are a poor choice. Reactor designs such as are used onboard US naval vessels are the sweetness: on land, it is trivial to build them so that they literally cannot release enough energy to escape their containment. They don't require elaborate cooling schemes that can easily break. They're simple, durable, and easy to build. They're so safe you could have one in every neighborhood.

As for the people who operate them, you realize that's a problem with everything, right?

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Nuclear is Dangerous (2.00 / 2) (#334)
by localroger on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 06:15:42 PM EST

It's not just reactors, and there've been waaaay more than two lethal accidents. There've been waaaay more than two dozen. And some of those processes, particularly the ends of the fuel cycle, aren't being addressed and can't be made much safer.

And yes, lunkheads who don't follow the manual are a part of every job, but in most jobs they can't contaminate the entire town for 50,000 years if they screw up.

If you wish, I'll list some of the other reactor and processing accidents that have caused major problems.

I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds -- J. Robert Oppenheimer
[ Parent ]

Er... (2.25 / 4) (#335)
by trhurler on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 06:29:46 PM EST

1) We already know ways to safely store the waste. The problem is not safety, but perception - nimbyism. We transport the stuff in steel containers with walls over a foot thick and morons act like they think it is going to somehow escape. You could drop a 500 pound bomb on those containers and they wouldn't rupture. And as for storage, people who aren't using the problem as an excuse to oppose nuclear instead of analyzing it rationally have no problem with the deep burial methods we're working on now.

2) Fuel production accidents/exposures used to be a problem. The last of the real problems are from decades ago.

3) Operational incidents: exclude Soviet and other "poor people cutting corners for stupid reasons" types of nonsense, exclude incidents that scared people but actually didn't do any significant damage, and there are almost none. There are only two in history, including these, that were really big deals as industrial accidents go. Keep in mind, even if a few dozen people die and a mess ha to be cleaned up, that's a whole lot less than die in petrochemical energy work EVERY YEAR, and a whole lot less cleanup as well.

The basic problem is one of perspective: you're exaggerating the problems of nuclear because you refuse to compare it to an HONEST reckoning of the alternatives' dangers.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
By point (2.75 / 4) (#336)
by localroger on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 08:26:04 PM EST

1. Sure we know ways to safely store the waste, but WE'RE NOT DOING IT. Point to me one gram of nuclear waste that has actually been put in safe long-term storage. It's all waiting for a myriad of technical and political problems to be ironed out, and meanwhile most of the waste is in drums and tanks.

2. Those transport containers have walls over a foot thick? Let's see, I've been doing a lot of looking at construction materials in the last few months... steel weighs right at 500 lb/cuft, and a typical tractor trailer has a payload of 50,000 lb, so not counting the actual waste the largest container that could be constructed that could be transported would be by my estimation, a cube of about 15 sqft per side (6 sides * 1 foot thick = 100 cubic feet = 50,000 lb) which would make each side around sqrt(15) or 4 feet, for a cargo capacity of actual waste of about 64 cuft. In practice I suspect you'd use a cylinder and get about 40 to 50 cuft after subtracting off the payload.

If they are doing that, it's a completely inadequate way to address the needs of an industry that is supplying a major percentage of our power. It's completely cost ineffective by any rational standard. And even if they are doing it in some cases, they won't do it if there is major volume involved because they won't be able to.

3. Well, how about if we exclude every accident that ever happened as something unlikely that will never happen again because we learn from our mistakes -- except that we demonstrably don't? Your argument amounts to "I've been lucky, so I'm gonna keep betting Don't Pass."

Here's a clue, trhurler: Nobody sets out thinking they are going to have an accident. All those "stupid" people did their absolute level best to keep something bad from happening, and I guarantee you they all thought they had done enough. They thought it in the 40's when they were moving out of the Manhattan Project after the death of Louis Slotin -- we'll never do that again. They thought it in the fifties when Windscale caught fire; gosh darnit, we never made that mistake again. They thought it in the sixties when the sodium coolant in the Fermi reactor was blocked and it almost melted down, wasting over $100 million investment. Well we never made that mistake again. They thought it in the 70's after TMI, which came within five minutes of a steam explosion that would have gone all Chernobyl on Pennsylvania; nobody knew it until nine years later when they finally got cameras in the reactor vessel, but they got the first trickle of emergency cooling restored as liquid uranium oxide was just starting to drip toward the floor. Well, we sure learned our lesson from that one, didn't we? And of course we would never, ever, ever do something as stupid as building a RBMK reactor, except that the reactor at Savannah River which was responsible for supplying nearly all of our Tritium needs not only had a RBMK-style positive coefficient, unlike the Soviet design it had NO PRESSURE CONTAINMENT AT ALL. Fortunately our guys were more careful than their guys and la-di-da but I'm sure the next thing something terrible happens it will sure come as a big surprise, wherever it may be.

As far as who's being honest -- I've admitted that nuclear is useful and that we need it for certain things, but ramping it up on a global basis to the extent the French have done won't work, the infrastructure to supply the fuel and handle the waste doesn't exist, and trying to build it in such a short time will result in exactly those stupid shortcuts you mention the Soviets making. This isn't something special to the nuclear industry, it's done in all industries as I have personally seen.

I have actually had an actual nuclear power plant in the United States forge my signature on a waiver, escort me into a protected waste storage area without the protective gear I had supposedly acknowledged that I knew I needed and had been given, and later fake my dosimeter reading. You probably didn't read about this or the shakeup that later corrected the situation after the wrong bigshot caught wind of it. And that's part of the problem with the nuclear industry too; because it is so dangerous, because it does to a certain extent rightly scare people, instead of the transparency we need to honestly evaluate how they're handling that danger the powers that be classify everything and try to hide what really does go wrong.

Frankly, I don't trust them, and while as I keep saying we do need them for certain things handing them the keys to the world is not any sane way to fix things.

I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds -- J. Robert Oppenheimer
[ Parent ]

Hmm (2.25 / 4) (#342)
by trhurler on Sun Jun 25, 2006 at 05:17:16 PM EST

1. Sure we know ways to safely store the waste, but WE'RE NOT DOING IT.
Because anti-nuclear activist assholes won't let us. You need to just admit that.
2. Those transport containers have walls over a foot thick?
Yes. If you didn't know this basic fact, you shouldn't be arguing the topic.
a typical tractor trailer has a payload of 50,000 lb
These are not typical tractor trailers.
capacity of actual waste of about 64 cuft.
Substantially more (due to your assumption that they're using standard trucks,) but that's mostly irrelevant because while the waste weighs quite a bit, it isn't all that large. A single reactor doesn't use all that much, and it lasts a LONG time.
If they are doing that, it's a completely inadequate way to address the needs of an industry that is supplying a major percentage of our power.
It is completely ludicrous, and completely unnecessary. However, anti-nuclear people are forcing it to happen. As usual, the biggest problem with nuclear is tha anti-nuclear shitheads.
Your argument amounts to "I've been lucky, so I'm gonna keep betting Don't Pass."
No, it doesn't. The vast majority of accidents in any industry are minor; it is not sheer luck, but rather just the nature of the beast. Really big disasters are always rare, and when they happen, people panic. However, an honest risk estimation usually shows that there's nothing wrong with continuing on with whatever activity you were engaged in. To the extent that we don't do that, it is either because we have something better that just didn't have any momentum until the disaster or because people are stupid and allow their fear to overwhelm the facts.
Here's a clue, trhurler: Nobody sets out thinking they are going to have an accident.
In the literal and pointless sense, this is true most of the time. In the sense you meant, it isn't - if people literally thought accidents just wouldn't happen, they would take no precautions whatsoever.
All those "stupid" people did their absolute level best to keep something bad from happening
No they didn't. Have you read any of the results of the investigations? In every major case of nuclear emergency, people DID NOT do their jobs. The equipment didn't just fail for no reason.
and I guarantee you they all thought they had done enough.
Nope. In almost every case, it was found after the fact that technical people had warned management, management had overlooked obvious violations of regulations by technical people, or both. People knew, but either their organizations were dysfunctional or those people didn't do their jobs.
They thought it in the 70's after TMI, which came within five minutes of a steam explosion that would have gone all Chernobyl on Pennsylvania;
Unlikely. Three Mile Island was equipped with reliefs for just that reason - to localize any escaping gases by preventing explosions that would tend to disperse them. There would have to have been multiple additional failures to cause a meaningful breach. And in any case, the real concern, radioactive iodine, simply wasn't present in the quantities it was at Chernobyl.
nobody knew it until nine years later when they finally got cameras in the reactor vessel, but they got the first trickle of emergency cooling restored as liquid uranium oxide was just starting to drip toward the floor.
Actually, a full third of the core liquified, but the containment vessel was designed by people who knew what they were doing, and it held. The problems with Three Mile Island were fundamentally about cost cutting decisions such as not installing positive feedback lamps for pumps and valves and so on. The people who did that should have known better - again, the problem was that people who DID have the relevant knowledge did not do their jobs. The technology itself was not particularly dangerous.
except that the reactor at Savannah River which was responsible for supplying nearly all of our Tritium needs not only had a RBMK-style positive coefficient
And adequate design and operational procedures to ensure that it wasn't a problem. Which it never has been.
unlike the Soviet design it had NO PRESSURE CONTAINMENT AT ALL.
Which means that in the event of a problem, it wouldn't explode and spray radioactivity for miles and miles.
the infrastructure to supply the fuel and handle the waste doesn't exist
Because the industry doesn't exist to use it and because anti-nuclear assclowns won't allow it.
, and trying to build it in such a short time
It doesn't have to be done overnight.
I have actually had an actual nuclear power plant in the United States forge my signature on a waiver, escort me into a protected waste storage area without the protective gear I had supposedly acknowledged that I knew I needed and had been given, and later fake my dosimeter reading.
Did you contact the appropriate regulatory body? If not, you're the problem.
You probably didn't read about this or the shakeup that later corrected the situation after the wrong bigshot caught wind of it.
Frankly, it becomes increasingly difficult to believe you. According to you, at one time or another you've been at the heart of every event in your lifetime, it seems.
And that's part of the problem with the nuclear industry too; because it is so dangerous, because it does to a certain extent rightly scare people, instead of the transparency we need to honestly evaluate how they're handling that danger the powers that be classify everything and try to hide what really does go wrong.
I didn't say the way people have handled nuclear technology has always been smart. I said the technology itself is not a problem.
Frankly, I don't trust them, and while as I keep saying we do need them for certain things handing them the keys to the world is not any sane way to fix things.
Clearly we must severely limit access to dogs, because some dishonest people have done bad things with dogs in the past and dogs have hurt people.

Oh, wait. The problem isn't the dogs.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
I'm just gonna mention one thing (2.80 / 5) (#343)
by localroger on Sun Jun 25, 2006 at 08:59:59 PM EST

These are not typical tractor trailers.

O RLY? Then I would ask you to specify exactly what kind of tractor-trailers these are. Because there ain't a lot of wiggle-room here. You see, the specific industry I work in -- the one that does tend to get me into a lot of interesting places -- is the SCALE industry. So I may not know a lot, but I DO know a lot about what things weigh.

A "typical" tractor-trailer, aka 18-wheeler, is a tractor with two front wheels and dual rear tandems (2 axles * 4 wheels), and a trailer with dual rear tandems (2 axles * 4 wheels) for a total of, duh, 18 wheels. In every state in the USA those are limited to 80,000 lb gross, which means 45,000 to 55,000 lb payload depending on the tare weights of the tractor and trailer.

Every state also allows tri-tandem trailers (frequently used in heavy hauling of dirt and gravel) to carry 88,000 lb gross.

Other configurations are offered in some states, but typically not in the southern states where I work because our roadbeds tend to be soft. Up north you will see trailers with six axles and "helper" axles and long tongue trailers on things like cement trucks that aren't allowed down here, but even with all the permits, all the waivers, all the extensions, and all the extra axles you will never find a road-going truck carrying much more than 120,000 lb gross. There are too many problems with bridges (and in fact the exceptions to the standard model are based on what is called the "bridge formula," since bridge loading is the limiting factor in really heavy loads).

So the square-cubed law being what it is, even with a lot of very expensive trip add-ons (and make no mistake it's very expensive to carry a load over 100,000 lb; the permits are expensive, you need spotters, and a lot of other crap) you'd get maybe 100 cuft of waste in a load. Assuming it's not heavy waste that would significantly add to the weight of the container itself.

What I am getting from your tone here is that you don't know fuckall about transportation, and the conclusion I cheerfully draw is that maybe you don't know fuckall about anything else, either. I have actually been in a nuclear power plant as a contractor; I wonder how many times you have. It's very easy to sit in your armchair and write about industries as if they are tokens in a game of The Sims. It's a lot different when you work there.

Here's another clue. One of the plants we rebuilt after Katrina makes liquid hydrogen. In the decade and a half I've done work there they have always emphasized that H2 is never, ever vented, being hazardous and all that. Every trailer has a time limit based on its insulation and refrigeration capability, and it MUST be gotten to an offloading facility before that time limit NO MATTER WHAT. It's one of those principles, like the nuclear industry has. You NEVER offload one in the field, EVER, for any reason. La-di-da. I was once told a heartwarming story of how a H2 truck went over a 100 ft cliff in the Carolinas and the trailer was picked up, put on a flatbed, and hauled to the offloading facility in time to keep it from venting.

After Katrina, I was helping put together the loading scales, two of which were already in use, when a sound like the fart that ended the world knocked me over. In response to my "WTF was THAT?" the plant guy said blandly, "Oh, that was just the H2 trailer venting. We haven't got the pressure gradients right just yet."

That's not the nuclear industry, it's just industry. H2 doesn't particularly bother me, since it tends to float up. But as Bob Dylan once said, people don't do what's right; they do whatever's most convenient, then they repent. That's the way it's been in every industry I've had contact with, including nuclear, but in nuclear we can't afford that attitude.

I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds -- J. Robert Oppenheimer
[ Parent ]

Three things (2.25 / 4) (#345)
by trhurler on Sun Jun 25, 2006 at 11:45:41 PM EST

1) As with most people who work in an industry, you come to believe that what is normal is what is. Yes, the trucks in question have to follow specific routes because of bridges. The news reports say they even have to traverse at least some of the bridges alone, and they clear traffic for this purpose. These things are unbefuckinglievably huge. In order to run one, they have to get permission from a lot of people, but not as many as you'd think because the various federal agencies involved have the right to use the interstates in almost any way they want without any real interference. If they ran them regularly, they'd quickly tear up roadways. I don't know how huge they are exactly, because the published reports don't say, but they are MUCH heavier than even the heaviest normally allowed trucks. There is no reason for us to argue this, it has been published in the news multiple times, and if you actually care, you can easily find out without even having to resort to that, I'm sure.

2) H2? Who gives a shit? Even if the trailer literally exploded (which it can't do, being as there isn't enough oxygen in a close enough proximity to set off that much hydrogen,) it'd be an industrial accident on the scale of, say, the recent propane explosion in St. Louis. BFD. For any REAL accident that could occur, the danger is even lower. I wouldn't want to be the driver, but other than that?

3) Yes, as I said about ten fucking times now, the people in the nuclear industry have done some stupid things on occasion. You're right that transparency would be needed; it always is. However, I'm not talking about the people. I'm talking about the technology, which IS NOT substantially less safe than many other industrial technologies.

I should also point out the "intelligence" of the average anti-nuke idiot (and no, I know you aren't him - but how much opposition would there actually be if it weren't for the idiots? Exactly!) Said idiot:

a) Typically believes that at any moment, vast areas could simply vanish in a huge cloud due to "lost" nuclear weapons, despite the fact that such weapons simply cannot go off. No matter what you tell him, he won't believe it.

b) Typically believes that living near a nuclear plant is a constant process of being irradiated. In reality, you get more radiation exposure from coal plants and even from having a brick front on your house.

c) Typically believes that reactor grade fuel is immediately fatally harmful. In reality, even if a substantial amount of the stuff is sprayed into the air, average individual radiation exposure is very difficult to push over what you'd get in a normal year of your life, and this is the sort of accident that likely will happen to you either once in your life or not at all. In fact, with one or two exceptions, exposures to most of those exposed have averaged very close to what you'd get from a chest x-ray.

d) Typically believes that all reactors are equivalent to nuclear bombs that are barely controlled. Again, you cannot convince him otherwise; he is impervious to facts.

e) Typically thinks we're hauling nuclear waste around on the highways in rusting barrels shoved into an ordinary trailer and/or that terrorists are going to attack a trailer full of useless nuclear waste ("let's irradiate half a dozen motorists! That'll be a great way to waste tons of time and effort, and is a great reason to get a dozen or so of us captured and/or killed!") This is sort of like the belief by farmers in Bumfuck Idaho that terrorists are going to kill their cows, so please send Homeland Security to protect them.

f) Typically thinks nuclear reactors are all inherently unstable, all capable of melting down and venting atmospherically, and all generate huge quantities of waste regularly. The reality is that modern reactor designs mostly cannot vent to atmosphere without being bombed first, modern designs which haven't been put into use but easily can be often produce short lived isotopes as waste, create their own fuel (more than is put in even,) and themselves are good disposal sites for military stockpiles by converting them into MOX and so on. Again, try to convince them, and it won't work. They're not listening.

g) Is unwilling to even consider cost benefit analysis; in his eyes, the cost is infinite, because the real cost to him is the terror he feels. The terror is not legitimate concern; it can be differentiated in that it is not in proportion to the actual risks, in that it is not based on an actual knowledge of risks, and in that it most typically includes elements of "reasoning" which are based on outright falsehoods.

h) Often has his nuclear views embedded in a much larger web of beliefs about industry, government, economy, environment, and so on which themselves are highly questionable at best.

Vast safety improvements in nuclear which could make it a practical large scale endeavor are mostly held back by anti-nuclear people rather than politics, money, or whatever else you might name. Meanwhile, we continue to operate existing facilities without most of these improvements because when you get right down to it, the alternatives are unacceptable to people.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
OK (1.66 / 3) (#353)
by localroger on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 08:59:15 PM EST

First of all, we have now established that you don't know anything about transportation. It's not about "routes" because of "bridges." It's about, if you have a truck of a certain gross weight and axle configuration, this is what the permitting process will cost. And over 88,000 lb it gets expensive fast. And you obviously have no clue what you're talking about. I have actually done some reading since our last tete-a-tete and these are, in fact, rather ordinary tractor-trailers except for their payloads. It's the only even semi-economical way to do things.

It is rather amusing to contemplate that the average truck driver, who has an IQ in the mid 2 digits, actually understands this stuff much better than you do -- because he has to. If he doesn't get it, he gets a ticket, and those tickets rack up expensive fast. It's actually amazing how much people we consider "stupid" can learn when they really actually are given a reason to care.

Second, well I said "who cares" about H2 myself. My point was that the industry has a lot of long-standing absolute rules, very similar to those of the nuclear industry, and very similarly enforced and of which they are very similarly proud, and which very similarly go out the window when they're inconvenient.

Third, I really don't care about the intelligence of the average (or above, or below average) anti-nuke idiot, or genius, or whatever. I do care a lot about not so much the intelligence but the level of care exercised by actual nuclear industry workers, who IME are no different from other industry workers, who IME tend to get complacent and take shortcuts no matter how hard you supervise them. Like I keep saying I work in industry, and the level of care exercised by workers at oil refineries and chemical plants worries me. I have friends who were scheduled to inspect a scale located about 35 feet from the catalytic cracker that exploded in Norco in the 80's about 7 hours after the accident happened. Industrial accidents occur with a definite and non-preventable non-zero frequency, and you cannot write that off or pretend it doesn't exist. And if you do, or try to, I won't trust ANYTHING you bring to the table, because it's fundamentally dishonest and stupid.

I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds -- J. Robert Oppenheimer
[ Parent ]

You're not getting it (2.50 / 4) (#354)
by trhurler on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 09:35:08 PM EST

When DOE, NRC, DOD, and so on decide something is going to happen, the DOT guys don't get to say no. These trucks have established routes, they get their permits because Uncle Sam says so (often with DOD licenses that more or less allow them to do anything they want without ANY civilians having any say in the matter whatsoever,) they often have armed (albeit discreet) escorts, they're oversize, overweight, monitored out the ass, they don't stop at weigh stations or anywhere else except predefined safe stops, and so on. They are essentially completely outside the regular laws and regulations for the trucking industry. As you would know if you'd made even a rudimentary investigation into the topic. As for the trucks you're talking about, that's probably the low grade waste, and not the stuff that goes into category B casks. Those casks are huge, heavy, bulky, and as you say, seemingly impractical - but they're also impervious to train derailments, 100 car pileups, jackknifing, rolling, being slammed into from any angle by large masses, submersion to significant depths, and so on.

As for industrial accidents, my entire point is that they occur with a definite non-zero probability - but that almost all of them are not nearly as big a deal as people claim. Every time one of these things happen and almost nobody is harmed, we have the media saying "it was a miracle," but the reality is, miracles don't happen over and over again - what is in fact occurring is the normal way of things, which is that most accidents aren't that big a deal.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Speaking very slowly (3.00 / 4) (#357)
by localroger on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 08:02:58 PM EST

The grade B casks are in fact limited to 80,000 lb gross because that is the standard weight of a highway trailer. While all of the shortcuts and bypasses you mention could be taken, they aren't, because the routes are kept secret and you can't keep the routes secret if you are making a big deal of a high, wide, heavy, and obnoxious load. These trucks do stop at weigh stations, because not doing so is a great big indication that something weird is going on.

The fact is if you have a load that is nonstandard or does nonstandard things, and you don't tell the civilian police about it, it will get noticed, and the last thing they want is for these loads that might be terrorist targets to be noticed. When they ARE noticed interesting things happen -- I was once told a story about how a seemingly innocuous citation resulted in the weigh station being taken over by army personnel who arrived in helicopters. Yeah, they do stuff like that. But they try to avoid it, because it blows their much more effective cover defenses.

And my point is that your understanding of safety issues seems to be about as deep as your understanding of transportation issues, which is to say it's half bullshit and the other half doesn't exist. This shit looks different when it's a theoretical issue you're writing a white paper about than it does when you are actually working thirty feet from the pressure vessel.

I know you will choose not to believe this, but I really don't have a chip on my shoulder about nuclear power (unlike, I admit, a lot of other people). To a certain extent it's necessary, but having worked in industry, knowing the people who operate processes, and knowing something about the existing scale of extraction and waste management infrastructure, I have to say that the idea that we can scale our nuclear industry up to the level France has in ten or twenty years is just plain batshit insane. Yes, if you ignore certain unpleasant realities and catapult the propaganda you can make it look like a good idea, but it isn't. If we had fifty years instead of ten things might be different. But we can make a lot more progress a lot more quickly with a lot less hazard on the conservation side. We have limited resources to devote to the project, and IMO anything directed toward expanding nuclear is a waste because those resources would have larger and more immediate benefit in other directions.

This is not to say nuclear is inherently bad, could never be made to work, or should be abandoned. It's to say that it is not the magic bullet that will fix the current problem with global warming, and pretending that it is will just ensure that we waste our time on boondoggles instead of doing something constructive that might actually fix the problem.

I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds -- J. Robert Oppenheimer
[ Parent ]

Actually, I'm gonna mention a couple more (2.25 / 4) (#344)
by localroger on Sun Jun 25, 2006 at 09:10:47 PM EST

Actually, a full third of the core liquified, but the containment vessel was designed by people who knew what they were doing, and it held.

I don't think you are really this stupid, so it must mean you are really lying. TMI's containment didn't "hold," the steam explosion was averted at the last moment because, even though the principals at the time didn't know the core was melting, they finally did get some coolant running which froze the core in place before it could reach the pool of water at the bottom of the building. Everyone, even the Con Ed guys, have admitted that if coolant flow hadn't been established within just a few more minutes the dome *would* have blown. It wasn't good practice or good design; it was, after a run of exceeding bad fortune, one lucky break.

unlike the Soviet design it had NO PRESSURE CONTAINMENT AT ALL.

Which means that in the event of a problem, it wouldn't explode and spray radioactivity for miles and miles.

I really don't believe you are this stupid, so it just means you are lying. Of course a meltdown at C reactor would have sprayed radiation for miles; it's not Chernobyl's containment building that caused the explosion. I wish I could summon up the charitability to call you a dumbass for saying this but, well, I'm not feeling that gullible tonight.

I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds -- J. Robert Oppenheimer
[ Parent ]

at the risk of actually concurring with turdhurler (2.50 / 2) (#360)
by el_guapo on Fri Jun 30, 2006 at 08:49:17 AM EST

"which came within five minutes of a steam explosion that would have gone all Chernobyl on Pennsylvania" this really shows you know nothing about this topic. TMI could NOT have 'gone Chernobyl' - not possible. could it have had a steam explosion? sure. and it would have been contained in, ummmmm, what is it? oh yea - the CONTAINMENT BUILDING. chernobyl had no containment building - and the vast majority of damage/injuries was caused AFTER the steam explosion (little solace to those who got injured/dead in the steam explosion) - when the graphite moderator ignited and started spewing massively radioactive crap into the atmosphere. TMI was completely over-blown by the media. PLWR's simply cannot 'go Chernobyl' any more than my stereo can 'go Chernobyl'
mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
[ Parent ]
Fossil fuels aren't exactly safe (none / 1) (#349)
by pyro9 on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 01:16:11 AM EST

Of course there have been accidents. However, don't forget to balance the nuclear energy fatalities against the many who have died in various coal mining accidents or black lung. Also add in the towns that have been perminantly evacuated due to coal mine fires (still burning out of control decades later). See:Coal Fires

Also add up the many cases of mercury poisoning from coal plants (and the fact that practically ALL fish contains mercury now) Also add up acid rain.

I'm not trying to claim that nuclear energy is somehow idiot proof or that it's not truly a disaster if things go wrong enough, just that our other energy sources have a similar or worse record. The deaths they cause don't draw as much attention because they tend to happen a few at a time, or in many cases are written off as 'natural causes' when in fact, decades of exposure to the pollution can take years off of a person's life.


The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
Inherent safety (none / 1) (#368)
by cburke on Tue Jul 11, 2006 at 05:59:00 PM EST

And yes, lunkheads who don't follow the manual are a part of every job, but in most jobs they can't contaminate the entire town for 50,000 years if they screw up.

Which is why the focus must be on inherent safety, so that a lunkhead who doesn't follow the manual will at worst cause a loss of power production, but never a breach of the core.

Three Mile Island was almost there.  It suffered both a horrible operator and design error that resulted in the complete failure of the control rods.  In the world of sci-fi reactors which explode like hydrogen bombs for some reason, isn't this on of the nightmare scenario that sets it off?  Shouldn't the town have been contaminated for 50,000 years?

Well in reality, a well-designed (though far from optimally designed) reactor overheated, melted, fell into the graphite pebble bed beneath it while the continment did it's job.  Inside the plant it was hell, sure, but the surrounding area received no more a dose of radiation than it would have in a normal day of operation if that was a coal plant.

That's the way to do it.  Failures should result in a loss of power production, at worst a loss of the reactor itself, but never an unstoppable chain reaction.  TMI was headed that way, and we've learned how to do better since.  Inherent safety should be the key word -- hopefully not buzzword -- of nuclear design.

[ Parent ]

CF Bulbs (2.83 / 6) (#326)
by Western Infidels on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 04:54:48 PM EST

Meanwhile, if we replaced every light bulb on the planet with a compact flourescent or white LED equivalent, we would instantly reduce the world's fossil fuel consumption by almost 30%.

...I don't have a link for that 30% figure; I read it several years ago and lost the source. But if you think about what the formerly dark side of our planet looks like from space you'll see that it's not an unreasonable estimate.

By all means, we should move to CF bulbs where appropriate. They save so much electricity (and ultimately money, too) that they're a complete no-brainer, at least for places where they won't be turned on and off very often, which can wear them out very quickly.

But I don't think that 30% thing can possibly be right. CF bulbs use about 25% of the power of a conventional light bulb, saving 75%. They could only shave 30% from global electrical consumption if a whopping 40% of all the electricity currently consumed is being used for old-fashioned incandescent bulbs.

But lighting is actually a relatively small consumer of power, residentially speaking. Most residential electricity powers major appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, clothes dryers, water heaters, air conditioners, furnace blowers, etc. Most estimates are that only 5% to 10% is used for lighting.

Commercial lighting and street lighting (the light that shows up in the space pictures) is usually done with other technologies that are already more efficient than CF or LED, like low pressure sodium lamps.

[ Parent ]

Breeder Reactors? What Breeder Reactors? (none / 1) (#317)
by A synx on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 10:01:19 PM EST

I agree totally, except for one slight problem.  Has anyone ever even <u>designed</u> a breeder reactor that would actually not be an energy loss overall?  I mean, sure you could heat water to power a turbine over the toasty byproducts of our fission reactors, but I thought there was something about that plan that really didn't hold uh.. water?  Last I heard breeder reactors were about as feasible as fusion reactors, and given the potentials of both, I'd put my money on the fusion.

They work (2.75 / 4) (#337)
by Keepiru on Sat Jun 24, 2006 at 06:21:24 PM EST

Actually, most commercial power reactors breed to some degree.  They turn (normally waste) U-238 into Pu-239, which they then burn.  They don't tend to get MORE energy from the Pu-239 than they got from the U-235 in the first place (commonly something like 30-60%), but the original energy isn't wasted.  They're just getting a little extra life from their fuel.

A CANDU can run on almost-all thorium, using just a little bit of U or Pu to light things off.  They also breed substantial amounts of Pu-239 when running on uranium, as above.

A "true" breeder reactor breeds more fuel than it uses, so it can just be fed fertile, but non-fissile material forever, and keep running.  Those are harder, but a number of prototype designs exist and work.

[ Parent ]

The Integral Fast Reactor (1.50 / 2) (#346)
by Mike Hunt on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 12:04:25 AM EST

Fast reactors, such as the IFR (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integral_Fast_Reactor), which integrate breeding of fissionables into their fuel cycle, have been proven to be both technically and commercially feasible for many years.

The IFR design is able to burn a high-90 percent of fuel which it is fed, and is able to eat most transactinides, reducing them to short-lived poor metal radio-isotopes (with half-lives in the order of 300 years).  The design is also passively safe, in the sense that a loss of coolant will simply expand the (unmoderated) fuel, and due to doppler broadening, the expanded fuel will not reach a criticality.

Unfortunately the project was killed by the Clinton administration because we all know that nuclear reactors are bad.

The Russian BN350/BN600 designs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BN-350_reactor) are similar, one of which (BN600) is still in service and being used for both power generation and desalinisation.  I'm not sure how safe this design is, however.

I used to have a .sig, but the government told me it would cause cancer.
[ Parent ]

place your blame correctly (none / 1) (#364)
by jcarnelian on Sun Jul 09, 2006 at 12:06:14 PM EST

"Unfortunately the project was killed by the Clinton administration because we all know that nuclear reactors are bad."

If it only were as simple as "leftist environmentalist nuts shut down breeder programs because they think nuclear technology is bad".

In fact, the primary objection to breeder reactors is that they are considered a proliferation risk, a view shared by many people across the political spectrum.

I don't know whether they're right.  But until someone can demonstrate the political feasibility of widespread use of breeder reactors, I consider any other use of nuclear energy highly irresponsible; it is not acceptable to generate nuclear waste without having deployed and implemented a clean, safe means of disposing of it first.

[ Parent ]

Been done (3.00 / 3) (#348)
by pyro9 on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 12:58:20 AM EST

Breeders have been operated successfully. So far they have been discouraged for commercial use because they produce plutonium and so fears of proliferation.

Of course, that ignores the little detail that it's HARDER to clean up plutonium from a breeder into weapons grade material than it is to enrich natural uranium.

It also ignores the small detail that avoiding breeder technology and fuel reprocessing hasn't stopped Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea or Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons (with great success) but HAS caused us to accumulate a great deal of 'waste' is more or less perminant 'temporary' storage when we could be using most of it as fuel.


The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
biodiesel and ethanol != greenhouse emissions (2.40 / 5) (#331)
by nsayer on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 01:25:32 AM EST

biodiesel or ethanol is a wonderful idea. Brazil has wonderful success with ethanol that warrants serious admiration. However, it's still burning carbon and putting it in the atmosphere. That is, you haven't gotten rid of any of the environmental concerns with smog and greenhouse emissions. You're burning something, it makes CO2: that's a problem.

The difference is that it's carbon we didn't dig out of the ground - carbon that was laid down millenia before the first human walked on two feet. The carbon you burn when you burn either of those sources came largely from the atmosphere while the plant was alive. Thus there is no net greenhouse gas increase - certainly not compared to petrodiesel and other mined hydrocarbons.

Don't get me wrong - I'm in favor of nuclear power, and I'm not suggesting either biodiesel or ethanol as a replacement. But it's not as easy to dismiss as you suggest.


Yes, but... (2.00 / 3) (#338)
by fyngyrz on Sat Jun 24, 2006 at 07:47:06 PM EST

...if the plant pulls the carbon out of the air and you DON'T burn it, then you have a net carbon reduction. Plus, more corn on the cob.

Blog, Photos.
[ Parent ]

A particular note (2.00 / 2) (#340)
by Yamasa on Sun Jun 25, 2006 at 06:37:29 AM EST

One other detail is important about the agricultural fuels.  Ammonium/a (I can never remember which is which) production consumes 3% of the world's power production, currently.  That's fertilizer.  So, that means that there's still oil being burnt to make biodiesel, which puts us back where we started.  And trust me, on the scale that we'd need for a switch to biodiesel, we'd need plenty of chemical fertilizer.

I don't really have any particular feelings about the article.  Regardless of whether or not you agree, it's the reccomendation of the US-China scientific partnership and furthermore the trend that other countries are following, that nuclear is going to be one of the first dikes put in place.  God, you guys are such knee-jerk fucks sometimes.  :)

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Not terribly important (none / 1) (#347)
by pyro9 on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 12:38:35 AM EST

So it might take biodiesel to make biodiesel. That's nothing new since we use a great amount of fossil fuels to run the drills, refineries, tankers (ship and truck) etc as well as to make and transport the drilling equipment itself in order to extract and process fossil fuels.

As long as the fuel output exceeds the input by a sufficient margin (where the excess energy output actually comes from solar power collected in the plants) it is just as viable as fossil fuels (where the excess energy output actually comes from solar energy collected millions of years ago).

Not that you did this but it's quite annoying when people desperatly add up every potential energy input to an alternative energy (to the point where you might expect even one passive solar water heater to cause the universe to die by ice within a year) but ignore the many energy intensive processes in fossil fuel production.

That said, nuclear power IS one of the more attractive options and if well managed is probably the LEAST environmentally harmful. At least with nuclear power, the waste is well contained where it is created while coal and gas generation makes the many tons/year of waste 'disappear' into the air (so we can all breathe it in). If we actually had to look at the waste from a coal plant in solid form (and consider how long THAT must be stored before it becomes safe) nuclear would seem a lot more attractive to most people.


The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
Pebble production (none / 1) (#356)
by stigmata on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 07:54:23 PM EST

Pebble bed reactors are a great idea, until you realize that the precision required to manufacture the fuel for a safe reaction is very high. There really needs to be no defects in the pebbles or else the reaction's ability to regulate itself will be nonexistent.



"But like all puppets you think you're actually human. It's the puppets dream, being normal. "
pebbels are graphite? like Chernobyl? (none / 1) (#361)
by gbruno on Tue Jul 04, 2006 at 09:50:25 PM EST

The pebbles are graphite, and an Emotionalist (Terror is an emotion) could tip a bucket of kerosine over them & set them alight.
Sure, they have self-limiting criticality, but they do burn.  Wormwood featured burning chunks of graphite whizzing through the air.

Nuclear power: requires an armed militia to guard the waste for maybe 10 half-lives (250,000 years?)
This militia guarantees that civil rights are trampled forever... protests cannot be permitted where the waste trucks pass...

(what is the cost of 1/4 million years of militia salary?)

Welsh lamb still requires radioactivity tests 20 years after Wormwood...

[ Parent ]

Goodness Gracious, Scary Nuclear Power | 394 comments (324 topical, 70 editorial, 5 hidden)
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