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Everything posted by mmalluck

  1. I don't really think you need to "store" the energy. It wouldn't be practical. To store the energy you'd need a giant capacitor. This capacitor would have to surge rated for hundreds of thousdands of amps and be rated for millions of volts. You'd end up with a structor as large as a storm cloud, with the distance between the plates being the same as the distance between the base of the cloud and the ground.... Not practical at all. True, modern science can probably do a little better (put some dielectric between the plates better than air), but not much better. The structure will still be huge. Instead of storing the energy maybe we should merely trigger a strike when we need the energy. There's all kinds of possible ways to trigger a strike (model rockets with a copper wire tether or big ionizing lasers). The question then becomes, what do you do with several million volts at several thousands of amps, that only last a fraction of a second?
  2. Let me ask you two question. How often do you polish silver? How often do you polish gold?
  3. You forgot one of the Bush Family's all time favorites: "Bombs Over Baghdad" by OutKast. /snicker snicker
  4. My physics college professor once stated that if you took someone and were able to force a mere 1% more electrons into thier body than they normal have, that the repulsive force of the electrons would cause this unlucky person to fly apart. The converse is also true. If you took away all of the negative charges, again the positively charged nucleuses would repel each other and you'd no longer have a solid. You'd have cloud of positively charged particles trying to get away from each other, or a plasma.
  5. mmalluck

    Why do we age?

    You say some rather confusing things here. You made a couple of assumptions that don't quite work.
  6. mmalluck

    Why do we age?

    Which is true, but you're making sound (intentionally or not) like evoltion is the reason why things die of old age. It's really the other way around. Evoltion works because critters die off. If every critter that was born survived, there would be no natural selection and no evoltion. Cellular disalignment doesn't work for single cell creatures now does it? They still get old and die. Bacteria are not immortal, though they can survive longer than some cells of the body. Cellular damage is the greatest contributer to aging and ultimatly death. Every calorie you consume*, every sunburn you recieve causes cellular damage. It's only a matter of time (or a probability) that this continous damage will eventually compound and lead to death. Now if all of your cells are aging, how is reproduction possible? Sperm and egg cells will age, mutate, and eventually wear out, so shouldn't every generation get a crappier copy? The answer here is that they do. The trick here is that all the disfunctional individuals get weeded out (natural selction, evoltion and what not). The individual made with the faulty cells doesn't make it too far out into the world and he's removed from the pool. *Several studies have shown that a calorie restricted diet will increase your lifespan. Metabolizing food releases free radicals that can have adverse effects on cells.
  7. Dak: You divide by (a-b), but from the very begining a=b, so when you are dividing (a-b) you are dividing by zero. That's a big math no-no. Ta da!
  8. First Nasa decided they don't have the money to keep the Hubble up and running and now Nasa is looking to scarp their currently operating unmanned missions. It's discussed here in this article. I think it's very sad that we could loose these probes right when the data they are returning is coming so close to fruitarian. We have the Voyager probes, which already have proved useful in finding error in classical Newtonian gravity, and are just now approaching the heliopause. Considering it's taken 30 years of funding to get them this far, why not wait until after we know how thick the heliopause is before we cut off all communications? The Ulysses is a solar probe and supposed to run until 2007 or 2008 (to the end of the current 22 year solar cycle). It would seem silly to pull the plug so close to the end. Apparently this is upsetting a lot of solar scientist. In the case of Voyager, it only needs 4.2 million a year to keep the project up and running. It's sad that they would consider cutting this project to save such a little amount (It takes a billion dollars for a single shuttle launch). I want people to get upset and think about doing something to help Nasa. If fans of Star Trek can scarp together several million dollars for another season of enterprise, why can't we do the same to help out Nasa?
  9. Hard drives are still the way to go for long term storage. Copy everything to a drive, pop that drive out of your computer, and stash the drive in a static free, air tight container. I prefer army ammo cases. If you're going for the extreme long term, it may not be a bad idea occasionally copy the data from one drive to another. This will do two things. First it will refresh the magnetic bits on the disk. They still degrade with time, seeing how they are subject to the earth's magnetic field like all other forms of magnetic media. The second thing is that by copying your data to a new drive every now and then, you make sure your drives never become totally obsolete. There's nothing worse then archiving data onto a media, just to have that media become so obsolete nothing can read it. The only question now is what is the expected shelf life of a hard drive?
  10. mmalluck

    Why do we age?

    Studies have shown that the greater the caloric intake the shorter the life span of a organism. It has to deal with the fact that processing calories causes damage to your mitocondria, which is cumulative over time. If your mitocondria wear out, you die. It would be interesting to see a caloric intake per cell verses lifespan plot for various organisms.
  11. I just love the thought process our military demonstraights. "Hey guys, I've got a great idea! Lets spread our nuclear waste all over someone elses country side! If we give it the right slant, they'll love us for it afterwards too!" /end political rant
  12. Lets not forget that Plutonium can easily be rendered into a pyrohoric metal. Let it sit in the air long enough and it'll start making plutonium hydride, a fun little pyrohoric substance. You'd be very unhappy if your sample decided to spontanusly combust, melt through your box, and release lots of fun oxides into the air. Uranium will also burn in air, but it has to be given some activation energy. It's kinda like magnesium in that sence. The army loves making armor percing rounds out of it because it's heavy, hard, and burns on impact. The oxide dust it produces can also be very hazardous. It builds up in your kidneys and can give you all kinds of troubles.
  13. Hmm on second thought maybe this would have been better in the Psychiatry/Psychology forum. If the powers the be (mods) see that way as well, cool.
  14. I was thinking about the human mind and why problems in society exist (culture clash, racism, religious clash, etc) and I think it all comes down to the human mind and it's relationship to our animal past. In order for the human mind to operate it must simplify the world around us. The most basic form of simplification is by lumping things into categories. That's why we name everything we come across. We can put it into a category more easily. One could argue that science is nothing more than an advanced form of lumping things into categories. For some religion becomes a means of making things easier to sort into categories. The categories are already given, all you have to do is sort accordingly. Part of the problem is that the human mind is lazy; to use an old adage, it likes to think the world is either black or white. This simply isn't the case, but a lot of energy has to be invested to reevaluate everything that has been lumped into categories already. This happens with scientific discovery. It often takes a very long time for people to be able to resort their world into the new classifications discovered. Still many people choose not to reevaluate what they have already pegged into categories and problems arise from this. I have a friend who makes a predetermined judgment on where they'll like a person basis merely on their name. Apparently all "John"s go in one box, all "Sally"s in another. Other sort by race, religion, or sexual preference. It's part of human nature. Lets looks at one of the oldest classification made by the human mind; The categories of "Us" and "Them". I'll speculate to say that the categories of "us" and "them" stem from a time when human interaction was much simpler. You lived in a tribe or pack. Those in your pack were part of "us". All the things that would help you survive were part of "us". "Us" was inherently good. Everything and everyone that was unfamiliar became part of "them". "Them" was inherently bad. It meant you approached "them" with caution, if at all. These were basic survival skills and served us well. Today, in society this "evolutionary mental baggage" is still around us, but it no longer serves as great a purpose. "Us" might be your friends, your football team, your church, your culture, or your country. "Them" is all those who are not part of "Us". "Us" is still seen as inherently good and "Them" is inherently bad, but our categories are now much more arbitrary. Are those who cheer for another football team really bad? How about those who aren’t your friends? What about those who go to a different church or have different beliefs? What about people living in another country with a different culture? The knee-jerk reaction is to say yes, but often this simply isn't the case. This evolutionary mind set no longer serves us in the same manner. It is no longer needed. There's other evolutionary baggage that has been identified and an attempt to eliminate these characteristics from our society. I'm talking about the 7 deadly sins. Let’s look at them: Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed, and Sloth. I could argue that each of these would aid an individual in a primitive society, but no longer in the society of today. Even though these characteristics still exist, we no longer have as much need for them. In a way you could say that society has evolved faster than the people in it and this is causing problems. I've just been milling over these thoughts and thought I'd share them with you all. If nothing else it will give you something to think about. Is there any part of psychology that works on identifying these influences of the older parts of our minds?
  15. Um, i think you got that backwards. It looks bigger when it's on the horizon because you can compare it to your suroundings. When it's up in the middle of the sky you don't have any point of reference, so it looks smaller. Then again, I live in Georgia, so my horizon is a close as the nearest tree, hill, or building. I suppose if you were out in a flat desert area, the converse could be true.
  16. The projection area... that's what what I was using with the parabolic dish. The surface area doesn't matter, only the area across the apature of the dish. That's the most sunlight you can collect. Calbiterol, your calculations look good for the most part. The "312.5 W per m^2" figure can be a little misleading, as this is the daily average power, and not the true power density for a given square meter of sunlight. Lets say you get 10 hours of sunlight down there in sunny California. (312.5 W *24h)/ 10h would give you a power density of 750W / m^2. Going back to the equations: 750W/m^2 * 105 m^2 yeilds 78.7kW. 25kW/78.7kW gives us an efficiency of 31.7%. This is just barely edging out traditional solar panels. True, they may not have run this in "the" best area, which could make the efficiency rise. I like the chart you included. It'll give me some better numbers to play with for more fun later.
  17. Still, you can't get more than 1kW of energy per square meter of sunlight. Lets look at the area the 38-foot-diameter dish takes up. (19 feet)^2*pi = 105.362726 m^2...... 1 kW of energy falls on each square meter, so in theory this generator should be able to make 105 kW, but it's pegged at 25kW. 25kW/105kW yeilds an efficentcy of 24%. Hmm. Looks like you'd be doing better with the 30% efficent solar panels. Okay, neat fact time. The surface of the earth 5.1*10^14 meters squared. If the 1Kw / square energy density was true for every place on earth (it's not, but you try and calculate it all over the globe), then the total incident power that falls on the earth is around 510 trillion kWs.
  18. If you look at the link I included, you'll see it includes all power used in the industrial, comercial,domestic, and transportation markets. Basically everything. If the panels were 90% efficient and you could get 8 hours of sunlight out of them, you'd get 7.2Kwh out of every meter of panel per day..... Each person whould need 25 square meters of panel to break even and the total area of all the panels combined would be 2847 square miles. That's about the half the size of Connecticut. That's still no small area.... I wonder how efficient plants are at converting light into biomass?
  19. How viable is solar power? I was asking myself this question and here's the numbers I came up with. In 2001 the USA used 96275 trillion BTUs of energy that year. This comes to 3.22 trillion watts. Now there are about 295 million people in the US, so this comes to about 11Kw per person at any given time. This means each person uses is responsible for 262 Kwh of power per day. Now lets say that square meter of sunlight provides 1 kw of energy on average, the average area gets 5 good hours of sunlight per day, and the typical solar panel is about 30% efficient. This means that for every square meter of solar panel would render 1.5 KwH every day. This means that each man woman and child would need 174 square meters of panel to be responsible for all the energy made and used in their name! If every person in the united states of America put up solar panels. We would have over 51 billion square meters of panel, that's close to 20,000 square miles of panel or the equivalent of covering most of West Virgina over in panels. Now these numbers account for all energy used both domestic, industrial, and exported. Also these numbers do not account for the added or lost efficiency of converting systems over to pure electrical power as opposed to chemical energy processes like the internal combustion engine. I left the links to my math in just incase I botched anything.
  20. Thanks, I'm getting my numbers together to start a thread on solar power. This these will come in handy.
  21. This is a big muddy moralistic middle ground. It really stems from the question, is man above nature and if so should he be held to higher standards and if so should his life be given greater value. Most will argue that a human life has greater value than animal life; the question is where do we draw the line. What sacrifice is too great? How do we assign value to an animal's life and not make this decision arbitrary? Are the cute ones more voluble? What about the smart ones? Or how about the ones that act the most human? What about the ones we domesticated? Muddy muddy MUDDY. To the people who feel that the explotation of animals is wrong, I ask you, how can you account for nature? It is a part of the natural world that one species subsist and explotes those below it. Does this make nature immoral or is man above nature held to higher rules? If man is to be held to higher rules, then how can you say his life is just as valuble as another animal with out making the decidion arbitray? If all animals and man are given the same value, then how is it that animals are allowed to kill each other, but not man?
  22. Ah, I see. I knew I messed something like that up. BTU and Joules convert directly... A watt is a Joule/ second.... So fixing my math.... In 2001 the USA used 96275 trillion BTUs of energy that year. This comes to 3.22 trillion watts. Now there are about 295 million people in the US, so this comes to about 11KW watts per person at any given time.
  23. I'm trying to figure out the energy consumption per person per day in the US, but I think I'm messing my dimensional analsys up somewhere. Whoever figure it out first gets a cookie! In 2001 the USA used 96275 trillion BTUs of energy that year. This comes to 3.22 trillion watts expended annually or 8.82 billion watts each day . Now there are about 295 million people in the US, so this comes to about 30 watts per person per day ..... wait this can't be right.... Am I doing this wrong, or is my data bad?
  24. Yeah that's a good simple flyback driver. It's not a bad driver for someone just getting into high voltage stuff. If you want something a little more involved and stable, I'd try scopeboy's flyback driver. It also makes a fairly decent tesla coil driver for small coils.
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