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Ken Fabian

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Everything posted by Ken Fabian

  1. The Australian experience is of politicians and political organisations making in-principle statements of acceptance of climate science and the importance of emissions reduction policy whilst their actions say they don't accept it at all. In some ways hiding opposition and obstruction behind a facade of accepting and supporting climate action - given journalists and media show little interest in calling them to account - appears to allow them to neatly sidestep closer examination of where they really stand and what their energy policy goals really are. Energy supply reliability as an unassaila
  2. I suspect that as President, Mr Trump can choose not to accept the advice put before him. Where I live it's a bit different but as I understand it he appoints the department heads of his choosing so those presenting unwanted advice - such as that climate change is real, serious and will increasingly have economic and global security implications - can be replaced. I'm not sure to what extent those in such positions are legally bound to present the reports and advice from their department, but there are ways and means - budgetary, administrative and legislative - to render many unwanted advisor
  3. EdEarl, I think exploitation of space resources requires a lot, lot more than better automation with AI - and automation that can mine, refine, manufacture and replicate the most advanced technologies, including itself, in such a hostile environment are a long way off. Accessible resources are either deep in gravity wells or so far out from the sun that nuclear power is the only viable energy option. Fissionable ores in concentrations that are usable tend to arise as a consequence of hydrogeothermal processes and are going to be scarce in asteroids - the tech as well as fuel for that will be a
  4. That we are creating and experiencing a cumulative ecological disaster appears well documented and that will impact humanity, but humans remain tough and resourceful so it's not likely to lead to human extinction. EdEarl, I'm not convinced about Post Scarcity and even less convinced Space can provide it - not without some extraordinary technological advances. Whilst improved technologies can squeeze more from finite resources on a finite world they remain finite - and the technologies themselves rely upon can be highly dependent on availability, at reasonable cost, of those finite resource
  5. I would say it's extremely unlikely we can make this planet uninhabitable without some serious intent to do so involved. With climate change I think it's not a matter of going past the point of no return, but that there is a progression of tipping points that could be seen as points of no return, each with consequences that are effectively irreversible; a lot of change is already unstoppable but we can still make more.
  6. I'm not convinced Mutually Assured Destruction was ever an intrinsically stable deterrence - and my understanding is there were some close calls besides the Cuban Missile Crisis. Not that it wasn't a real deterrence, but it doesn't apply so well when there is confidence that the enemy will be unable to retaliate after extreme force is used. Between well armed protagonists even a small possibility of a retaliatory strike is likely to remain as a serious doubt, but when the enemy is seen to be incapable of retaliation the confidence of a Commander in Chief that a nuclear strike can win a war wit
  7. I wonder if solar technology has been changing too rapidly for solar roofing to take off in a large way - a big commitment to a production facility when PV costs for competing "add-on" systems can halve in a few years can be risky. That the PV technology still has so much potential for improvement may see this kind of integration deferred but I think we will eventually see some form that's an enduring winner, superior enough that it becomes the standard that is emulated . Others have tried and many have fallen by the wayside but I think it's inevitable that it does get successfully integrated
  8. I suspect that as long as some nations feel entitled and even obliged to keep them as their weapon of last resort they will be sought by others to be theirs. They do seem to be highly prized status objects for a lot of nations, even ones with well equipped "conventional" militaries. Given the prevalence of "maximum force" style of military logic - more prevalent I suspect than Sun Tzu inspired "winning without engaging the enemy in battle" style - it's difficult to believe someone won't use them. Perhaps when faced with losing a war by other means. It chills me to know that Kennedy was being a
  9. HB of CJ certainly ticks many of the standard boxes when it comes to rejecting what science tells us about messing with the concentrations of greenhouse gases of our atmosphere. Follow the money? I think the bedrock foundation of high level mainstream political support for climate science denial and obstruction is about avoiding the perceived economic costs that flow from acceptance of climate responsibility. To what extent politics leads or follows is probably irrelevant but I think the most politically influential sector of modern nations is commerce and industry and the larger parts of thos
  10. I suppose we should add safe deconstruction and disposal to the essential project specifications.
  11. I think this kind of engineering needs to have large safety margins built into it - so if the currently available materials are only just sufficient for the structure to support itself that won't be nearly good enough. I doubt static charge or heat conduction are likely to be real problems. I don't know if carbon nano-tubes are tolerant of heat and cold - certainly they are good heat conductors - but whatever is proposed needs to consider the heat differences between full sun and Earth shadow which are, by ordinary standards, extreme. Exceptional heat conductivity may be an asset. Vac
  12. my thoughts? These 'free' energy devices sound like a version of a perpetual motion machine, but there are good reasons why they don't ever run continously or produce more energy than was initially put into them. The output of an alternator or generator will be equal to the energy the motor driving it uses minus the waste heat from friction and other inefficiencies. The output of the generator will not be enough to power the motor under load and the combination will run down and stop. I suggest looking up the law of Conservation of Energy or First Law of Thermodynamics. The best "free
  13. I saw that - perhaps one of the best graphic representations of historic global temperature so far. Maybe the IPCC could learn a thing or two.
  14. EdEarl; actually I've been impressed by how many new battery options are becoming available, the rate of improvements and price improvements. Still a long way to go but compare to even a decade ago, when a home PV solar installation had the option of Lead-Acid or none - and those were almost exclusively for remote area off-grid applications. Hybrid grid connected systems that included storage were not even on offer, whilst now almost every installer offers it - I think we have come a long way quite quickly.
  15. Motorcycles are more dangerous. Yet every situation can be different. Recalling a terrifying close call whilst riding - I spotted a job vacancy sign on a factory front and was looking at it as I approached the top of a rise and returned my attention too late; traffic was backed up and I was going way too fast to stop behind it. Only hard braking and swerving just in time - still travelling quite fast - to pass just on the verge side saved me from serious injury and possibly death. But had that happened driving a car I could not have swerved around like that. The consequences might not have bee
  16. I suppose that is true - and the willingness of commercial enterprises to invest in battery development suggests results are seen as achievable. Interestingly most of Tesla's batteries appear to be based on a type of Li-Ion that isn't cutting edge; it sounds like economies of scale and optimising the production of them has been how they've reduced costs. Still, I think the fundamental research that tends to be more reliant upon taxpayer funds is probably still crucial to making the big leaps possible and I'm not convinced energy storage has been strongly supported - not relative to the sca
  17. The combined resources of the most technologically advanced nations hasn't built a single working fusion power plant. Being optimistic is okay with me but improving energy storage looks far more likely to have significant and tangible impacts on our energy systems. Whilst I would not like to see such efforts to develop working fusion cease I would like to see advanced energy storage research - which looks to have enormous potential for viable results on shorter time scales - get more support.
  18. I think we are better positioned to invent, improve and produce better batteries than ever and the motivation to do so has never been stronger. Stationary storage and transport suitable storage are different enough that they may be done by very different means, however any EV suitable battery that is low cost enough will - as Lithium in several forms is already doing - be potentially able to compete as stationary storage. I think flow batteries - still have a lot of potential in stationary applications, with it's expandability of storage capacity independent from charge and discharge capac
  19. EE - it's not clear from the map Sensei included what sort of geothermal it shows. I suspect it may be or include hot rock geothermal, which is not hot because of heat from magma, but from long term internal low level radioactivity.
  20. Maybe they have greater choice, but perhaps they suffer more harassment, greater likelihood of rape or be more at the mercy of macho competitiveness, where the alpha male gets - by intimidation of other men, the women and their family - the girl he wants.
  21. Agree there is a strong correlation with education. Availability of affordable contraception, especially to women independent of husbandly permission would be a big factor. Dramatic change to birthrate can have awkward consequences down the line though. re China, the skewing towards boys over girls seems likely to create an enduring influence towards lower birth rates, even though the one child rule looks like it's being relaxed. Has that imbalance been advantageous to the girls or made them more vulnerable? How high populations, raised on unsustainable foundations, interacts with the
  22. EE - there are different types but the most readily usable is in volcanically active areas. It can range from using the hot water that wells up for heating, to drilling down to where the water is at higher than surface boiling point - kept liquid by being under pressure. It boils from it's own heat once the pressure is removed, ie raised to the surface. Usually doesn't require pumping. More geographically available is what we would call Hot Rock Geothermal - or Enhanced Geothermal. It makes use of geological hot zones, often deep granites that are heated over eons by their own natural low leve
  23. Interesting idea to have each mirror independent and mobile. It would get down to relative costs and on the face of it they would be more complex and likely to be less reliable which may eat away at any advantage in site preparation and maintenance. Autonomous robotics may be put to better use ... in site preparation and the manufacture and maintenance of permanently placed mirror assemblies.
  24. From afar it does look like religion has a powerful influence within US politics and also like those religious views that tend towards climate science denial lending weight to denial by many politicians. This may not be an accurate reflection, despite some of the Presidential candidates making utterances I took that way. Australian politicians are less likely to express their religious views so openly but they are certainly there. And I suspect for some it verges on being a crusade kind of war, where being misleading and deceptive and even outright lying about their true views and intentions i
  25. Yes, and, as I understand it, there was an actual effort that including inviting leading scientist to The Vatican, to better understand the science prior to The Pope's pronouncements. I would note that Australia's Archbishop Pell has a history of strident objection to climate science, including likening it to a new green paganist religion to be rejected by good Catholics. He also promoted such views via handouts to every child at catholic schools in the lead up to a previous election in Australia as well as addressing the Global Warming Policy Foundation - with a thorough reiteration of mo
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