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ScienceNostalgia101

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  1. Okay, being that it's been a month I don't want franco's thread to go to waste... that and I've been thinking lately about this myself too. At 5 and a half minutes in, the narrator talks about the Kola superdeep borehole, which was halted only 1/3 of the way through the Earth's crust because at 180 celsius it was too hot for the drill to operate further. If one were to pour substances that had boiling points, even at high pressure, of less than 180 centigrade, down into that hole, could they have used the expansion due to boiling to generate power and/or bring the temperature down?
  2. Well, for starters, conservative pundit Gavin McInnes insists he's always called everything that isn't STEM "Marxist-Leninist brainwashing school" and blamed parents who sent kids there for them going into student debt. His fandom, which correlates with the large voting blocs of conservatives with whom colleges have to compromise in order to receive voter support for public funding, seems to for the most part agree with this. More broadly, TV news in general from time to time talks about automation and the replacing of old jobs with new jobs maintaining the robots that do the old jobs, but no particular names come to mind.
  3. I'm talking about how the usual reasoning for such bashing of every other degree program (though I more often hear it from conservative pundits than from actual engineers, granted) was about how we'll always need technology, yet now I'm being told using engineering to design robots to do the other jobs is unfeasible.
  4. So I'm reviewing my rules of radicals prior to teaching it to students, and found out I'm a little rusty on them. Suppose you hit an answer that ends with a prime number as your radicand. Provided you used mathematically valid reasoning to get there, does this prime-number radicand now suggest that you arrived at the most simplified form, or are there "dead ends" distinct from the right answer?
  5. So the same question applies. Can there be too many engineers, even if a large enough fraction of them are software engineers hired by a government program designed to make as many other jobs obsolete as possible? (Forgot I even had this thread until now, sorry about that.)
  6. So I was recently thinking about the similarity in formulae between spheres' volume (4*pi*r*r*r/3) and their surface area. (4*pi*r*r) Firstly, I noticed that the surface area looks like it's the derivative of volume with respect to radius... which come to think of it makes sense as the rate of change in volume at a point in time is that outer spherical shell being added times its thickness. But secondly I also noticed that the ratio of the two is r/3. As in, as if the average particle in a sphere were only a 1/3 of the way to the outside. More generally, V/A is in length units. Am I figuring this right? Does V/A represent average distance, root mean square distance, or whatever other measure of central tendency from center to outside? More generally than that, how is this extrapolated to other shapes? Does V/A represent anything in particular more generally or is its dimensionality usually meaningless?
  7. Majoring in engineering's kind of a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't these days. If you major in engineering, you're told there's an excess of engineers anyway and it's on you if you don't find a job with it. If you DON'T major in engineering in, you're trash-talked on the basis of whatever else you studied supposedly being worthless. What I'm wondering is, how can there be too many engineers in the first place? Surely all those other jobs could eventually be done by robots, and the more engineers we have, the sooner we'll get there. Why isn't the government hiring the "excess" engineers to design robots to do all the other jobs?
  8. https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/gtwo.php?basin=atlc&fdays=2 See, this is the kind of thing I was talking about earlier in the thread. Right now, off the coast of Cancun, Mexico, there's a storm brewing that has a 50-50 chance of developing further, on top of all the other storms the North American continent is about to face in the near future. Cancun is about 200km from the west coast of Cuba, while Key West, Florida, is about 150km north from Havana, Cuba. If we had rows of interconnected floating wind turbines along at least those stretches of ocean, to harvest the wind while it was still gale force, would at least somewhat cut down on hurricane development?
  9. They do that as well, but that's only part of it. On the news I often see footage of firefighters on the ground as well. I'm thinking it's because there's inevitably parts of the fire you'll miss from that high above.
  10. Would the initial investment eventually pay for itself, by the fact that you neither need to transport sludgewater nor use up tapwater every time there's a forest fire, or would maintenance costs prevent said initial investment from ever paying for itself?
  11. http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/38954656/brush-fire-in-lahaina-prompts-evacuations So apparently, in spite of the rain, wildfires are raging in Hawaii. There's plenty of water... it's just that most of it's not fit to drink. It seems inefficient to have to choose between "using tap water that had to be processed on the taxpayers' dime to be fit to drink, on a fire that can be put out just as effectively with impure water," and "trucking impure water from the flood to the fire." Why can't there be two separate sets of infrastructure; one for water that's pure enough to drink, and another that's adequate for firefighting purposes and doesn't have to be processed?
  12. They're hundreds of kilometres wide... so definitely tens of thousands, probably hundreds of thousands, of square kilometres. How efficiently could offshore wind turbines be mass-manufactured in assembly lines if we took all possible money away from building any other type of power plant? (Ie. Coal, oil, natural gas, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric and nuclear?)
  13. Wasn't sure whether to take this to the physics or chemistry forum, as it involves both, but for now I'll put it here. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/24/hurricane-lane-could-cause-white-out-landslides-with-kilauea-volcano.html Why would lava contain hydrochloric acid? Wouldn't hydrogen chloride be more likely to come out of solution at the higher temperatures of lava than at the lower temperatures of rain-cooled lava? Or does it dissolve-without-dissociating in lava, then react with rainwater to form hydrochloric acid? I was expecting this to be an "at least we won't have to worry about the lava once the water freezes it, or about the ash once the rainwater dissolves it" situation. So much for that...
  14. Bumping because of Hurricane Lane. (It's been a week and a day since the other post.) Another question now; if they had enough rows of offshore wind turbines, harvesting about 3/5 of the wind energy at every row, would they be able to prevent hurricanes from forming in the first place?
  15. That actually sounds like a pretty damn good idea. Would any of us be entitled to a slice (however small) of the profits if they ever used it?
  16. That's why I was suggesting finding some way to store it. I'm not sure how best to go about it, though.
  17. Yeah, I was thinking add it gradually, and find some way to store the CO2 (and/or use the forces resulting from a pressure change as an energy source if possible) while generating it. Also, if it releases heat energy, you could force the steam through a turbine and generate power while you're at it.
  18. They said there are 256 cubic km of CO2... that'd be 256 trillion litres, or 11.4 trillion moles of CO2. CaO + CO2 -> CaCO3 To neutralize that much CO2 you'd need 11.4 trillion moles of CaO. Its molar mass is 56g/mol, so we're talking 640 trillion grams. That's 640 billion kilograms, or 640 million metric tons. This source says worldwide production of CaO is at hundreds of millions of metric tons per year. It's only a few years' worth of the stuff. You could put it on a boat (or a fleet of 'em) and let the currents take it to the east coast of Africa, then some trucks can take it the rest of the way. You mean to say people won't crowdfund to save lives? Methane might still be released, but it could be ignited.
  19. Huh. Both happened in major cities too. Rather than "don't have a basement," though, why not just have the elevators not go to the basement and for it to be a maintenance area accessible to maintenance personnel only?
  20. So basically, this lake has a lot of dissolved CO2, and people are concerned that seismic activity is all it'll take to make life-threatening concentrations of it come out of solution and suffocate nearby villagers. Doesn't limewater react with CO2 to form calcium carbonate? Why not just pour enough quicklime into this lake to convert all the CO2 to chalk?
  21. Thank you for the information! This is the best explanation yet!
  22. You mean something like this? That's kind of what I had in mind when I said "horizontal instead of vertical." I didn't mean the axis was horizontal, I meant the blades, instead of going up and down, went from N to E to S to W... or in the other direction, depending upon how the hurricane approaches it. As for other wind turbines, even if they have to shut down for full-blown hurricanes, doesn't that still mean they can sap the energy of developing hurricanes? (Ie. Ones that haven't yet achieved hurricane force winds but might not at all if wind turbines sap their energy sooner?)
  23. "Hermetic" elevator? What of the notion of making it out of glass, such that it can be, like other glass, broken in the case of an emergency? That way they could also see what's going on outside the elevator and whether it's better to stay or go. As for Frank's idea, what I was thinking was concave-up, not concave-down. (Ie. Inverted dome to collect the water.)
  24. Inspired by my own thread on forest fires. https://energyeducation.ca/encyclopedia/Betz_limit So basically, the Betz limit suggests that a theoretical maximum of 59.3% of energy could be extracted from wind at a time. That leaves 40.7% or more still in the wind. So, wind retains at least 0.407 times its maximum energy; which, by E=mvv/2, suggests it retains 0.638 of its speed. Does that mean that with a long enough row of closely-packed, highly-efficient wind turbines designed to handle hurricane-force winds, you could reduce the wind speeds from 120 km/h to about 77km/h, storing the excess energy until the power lines are repaired? Alternatively, what if one build a GIANT wind turbine... and/or made it horizontal instead of vertical. (Ie. Flat to the surface... or close-to-flat, given Earth's curvature.) If it were hundreds of kilometres wide, would any hurricane that passed through it turn horizontally aligned blades and convert the kinetic energy to storable electrical energy that way?
  25. Gah, forgot 2nd time around that I even specified saltwater 1st time around. The idea was that it'd be a waste of fresh water to use it or this and I'd like to use something otherwise useless. Even so, the idea is at the very least use something other than tapwater, to make use of the thermal energy. Not that I've let go of the saltwater idea completely... could a secondary container separate water whose salinity is increased by boiling from the less-salty water such that sea salt could be concentrated and stored? Do the materials this used in order to store molten salt hold a chance of being used on the inside surface of such a large container? Pond water or lake water, at least if it was from unused areas, might be preferable to saltwater, but what about sewer water? Would the methane vapours produced be ignited by the heat, further helping to boil the water?
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