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Everything posted by Prime-Evil

  1. I agree. Our whole economy is geared towards inefficiency and waste. Oil is just the fuel and the lubricant. It isn't enough to replace the oil. We have to change gears also.
  2. What's up with biofuels. Seems to me to be the wrong way to go, except perhaps in specific situations. I am thinking specifically about growing corn to make ethanol or growing canola to make biodiesel, or even the way we manage woodlots for cordwood, which is often no better than clearcutting, but on a smaller scale. Reasons I am opposed to biofuels: 1. The yield per acre is very poor compared to wind energy and solar energy. 2. We tend to burn alot of fossil fuels growing and processing these biofuels. 3. They are often grown in such a way that reduces biodiversity, reduces total biomass, and leads to soil degradation and ultimately erosion, desoilification, and desertification. 4. Often risk of forest fire is cited as a reason for removing more biomass from the woods. I believe this is a mistake. In many cases I believe the woods are dry because they have been managed to intensively. The challenge is in finding a way to return it to a more natural state of moisture content before it burns extensively. Exceptions: 1. If in a good year there is a bumper crop, then perhaps turning the surplus into biofuel as opposed to having it go to waste is a good option. 2. For the small woodlot owner that manages there land in such a way that the total biomass and biodiversity is increasing over time and the soil quality and biomass is ever increasing, then perhaps a certain amount of biomass could be harvested by selective cutting, or even fairly intensive coppice management in some areas, such as hedgerows, while allowing other areas to grow, and decay, naturally. Summary: In general I thing the agricultural land and forest lands of North Americal are already managed to intensively and we should not look to them as a source of alternative energy. Instead of using more fossil fuels to growing more corn to produce ethanol, we should instead find ways to grow our food using less energy. If we eat less meat we can return more land to forest land, and with more forest land, and by using less paper, we can manage our forests less intensively and grow more mature lumber products with less energy. Wind power is very compatible with agriculture. This should be the alternative source of energy from agriculture, not ethanol or biodiesel or cordwood. Finally, we should grow more trees and less grass in our suburbs. Instead of connecting our cities by cutting roads through our forests we need to start reconnecting our forests and wetlands by growing forests and reestablishing streams and marshes through our cities and suburbs.
  3. I think there is another option which is often overlooked, which is to do nothing. Now I don't mean stay at home and do nothing, but I mean if you have a garden or a piece of land, or if you are out walking in the woods, leaving things alone and seeing what happens is sometimes the very best option. I like this kind of gardening and woodlot management not because it takes less effort, but because I am more likely to discover things. It also tends to lead to more biodiversity and the soil and biomass tend to develop better if left alone. Of course it is always possible to increase biomass and biomass productivity by bringing stuff in from somewhere else, but it has to come from somewhere else? So doing nothing is the first option, or perhaps more appropriatelt, the zeroeth option. The next option would be to do what you gotta do, but do it most naturally. What is most natural is most likely to be minimal impact and make the best use of the biproducts. For example, if you gotta go, you gotta go. The question is what you should do with your feces and urine. The answer often depends on where you are at the time. I think urine should be used as fertilizer. Feces is probably best dry composted, and then buried under a tree. Mixing human waste with fresh drinking water is probably one of the most foolish things you can do, unless you have no options. Other things that you just gotta do, like food and water, should similarly be chosen for minimal impact by working more closely within some natural cycle, rather than against it. Same with clothing, shelter, and transportation. The next options involve what you do with your spare time after you have taken care of the essentials. In this respect I would suggest the more time you spend studying nature, directly or indirectly, either by reading books or simply by going for a walk in the woods, the more likely it will be that in the long run you will have a good and fulfilling life while doing the least harm. Cheers.
  4. Regarding the more general question of why simpler is more likely to be correct in matters which are not arbitrary, like boundaries of systems. In a situation where it is known that there is one solution but it has not been determined what the solution is because there are some unknowns, it can be stated that the simplest individual solution is more likely to be correct than any other individual solution, though perhaps not more likely than the combined probability of the other possible solutions combined. To prove this it is sufficient to prove that a simpler solution is usually more likely than a more complex one. I do not have a proof for this, but it is a good theorem. I believe it has to do with the fact that something is more likely to fail if it is more complex. That is, the probablity of something not being true is more likely because in a more complex system has more things that might not be true, and so the product of all of these things being true is more likely to be a smaller number. Of course this theorem also depends on the definition of simpler. This is an interesting concept for anyone involved with specialized disciplines such as Systems Analysis or Probability, but eventually bumps into Logic, or even more generally Philosophy. Very good question. All generalizations fail, but are still useful.
  5. The center of our solar system is somewhat arbitrary. Is it the center of mass of the sun or the center of mass of the solar system? What matter is included in the solar system, and what matter is part of our galaxy but not part of our solar system? What about energy? What energy is considered part of our solar system and what energy is not? Sometimes simpler is more likely to be correct. Sometimed simpler is just simpler. In this case I think simpler is just simpler.
  6. That's sort of what I was getting at. Wondering if there was a way to make an engine effectively smaller. Maybe recirulating some exhaust to run leaner or converting to hydrogen fuel or running a turbocharger to depressurize the engine below atmospheric pressure. It would be nice if you could buy engines off the shelf. Like take the 60hp desiel engine from a smart car and put it in a 4 seater, or even a minivan for just driving around town.
  7. All generalizations fail, but are still useful.
  8. I would be happy just to get better efficiency when driving 40mph or 60kph. How could I do that?
  9. Here is a practical question. Car engines tend to be grossly overpowered. If you are willing to give up maximum speed and accelleration for fuel economy, what modifications could be made to an internal combustion engine, besides replacing it with a smaller one? Let's assume you want to cut the maximum horsepower down to 60hp or so, and increase the efficiency mostly on the lower end, like in the 10hp range. The intention would be to use the car mostly in town and on back roads, and try not to drive much over 80km/hr, except downhills of course.
  10. I don't think arguments against global warming need to be valid. They seem to be just as effective when they are not.
  11. Frozen peas maybe. http://ubu.wfmu.org/sound/365/03/365-Days-Project-03-01-welles-orson-frozen-peas-spot.mp3
  12. What is ironic is that both creationists and evolutionists, for lack of better terms, are both seeking to oversimplyify the complexity of all creation, or the universe, for lack of better terms.
  13. Depends on what you mean by 'good or not'. If all you want it money, there are easier ways to get in to medical school. If all you want is to be used and abused without any respect from the rest of society, there are easier ways to achieve that also. So why do you want to be an engineer anyways? Let me guess. Good marks. Shitty guidance councillor.
  14. Just as the other creation myths which preceeded it, once the "Evolution" creation myth is dumbed down enought to be wrong, it will become almost universally acceptable. I mean all except for those few remaining holdout nerds and nerdets that refuse to be wrong, even when it could get them laid.
  15. Do something practical, like make a small alcohol stove to boil water. Or make a small still to distill ethanol from beer. Or just make your own beer. Or just drink beer.
  16. I understand a species has to be somewhat arbitrary. Nature does not know or care what a species is.
  17. Good details. Thanks. $10/day. Ouch. I was in Bermuda in 1996 for Race Week at the dinghy club. Loved it. I would suggest emailing Nissan, but also just finding the perfomance of any similar sized deseil engine and then scaling it to your specific specs. Here is a wacky idea. You build a boat and go sailing once a week and drag paddle wheel or propellor downwind to produce and compress hydrogen by electrolysis, and then use the hydrogen tanks for your emergency generator. I understand if you convert a gas or desiel engine to hydrogen you will get higher efficiency but less power. Lets see now. 40kwh/day x 3412 BTU/kwh x 7 days / 52,000 BTU/lb / 40% = 46 pounds At 10,000 psi, 10g/litre = 10kg/m3. 10 x 46 / 2.2 = 209 cubic metre I guess you would need a pretty big sailboat.
  18. In the lab I am a scientist, but when I go for a walk in the woods, I am a creature. Some might even say, a specimen.
  19. I think everyone has to believe in a creation myth on some level. It doesn't have to get mixed in with science, and science doesn't have to get mixed in with everything. When I watch the sunset I am comfortable believing that my fellow creature, Brother Sun, revolves around that other fellow creature, our sister Mother Earth, as it appears to always have since creation and appears that it always will, even though it does not, has not, and will not. As far as I am concerned in my every day life, even just 10,000 years is forever. Well maybe 100,000 years. Also, as much as I respect Albert Einstein, Newtonian physics is close enough for the girls I go out with, and the woods will alway contain many mysteries that can reveal themselves on their own. In the lab I am a scientist, but when I go for a walk in the woods, I am a creature.
  20. More technically I think the oceans are the dominant oxygen factory and the Forests are the dominant living carbon warehouse. We need both to remain in business. Also 'Northern' forests store more carbon because they store in in the ground and not just in the air. They are somewhat more robust for this reason, but several cycles of careless clearcutting and replanting they can also suffer desoilification, erosion, deforestation, and desertification. The shifting of climate towards the poles will not help either. The Canadian shield does not have enough soil and will not get enough sunlight, even if it was 5 degrees warmer. Boreal forests on the other hand will become drier and suffer more forest fires, or if the dry litter is removed, suffer soil degradation. The only way to keep a Boreal forest really healthy is to keep it wet, and to keep it wet you can't clearcut. You have to do more selective cutting and leave some mulch behind also. We need to manage our forests less intensely, perhaps with more men and horses taking less wood, and let them build up biomass, in the soil as well as in the air. Canada and USA together have 20% of the forest land and 33% of forest biomass. Russia has 30% of forests and perhaps 50% of forest biomass. Tropical rain forests might be 40% of forest and 33% of forst biomass. The deforestation is happening here at home also. We just don't see it.
  21. I really don't think people can be convinced based on the weather or sea level rise. People are fairly superstitious about the weather and it is something we all understand and connect with more than 380ppm CO2. But the only really hard facts at present are the CO2 levels. By 2020 the weather evidence should be much more convincing, but many people still will not be convinced until the corporations and politicians and religions decide it is in their best interest to convince them of the facts. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out, but teh demand for oil and energy will remain very high until the establishment makes some other centrally controlled source available. I think there will be a major economic recession along the way to 'ease' the transition. Energy will remain 'relatively' cheap in North America, even with government tax, but there will be a period where people will buy less simply because they don't have the money. To create jobs people will be employed to build the new infrastructure. Planting trees and hedge rows. Building wind turbines and hydrogen plants and pipelines and distribution centres. So on and so forth. The oil companies will probably transition to becoming the electricity and hydrogen companies. They question is whether they will do it soon enough and how seamlessly they can do it without too much of a recession to cause a revolution, and while still maintaining enough profit to remain in control.
  22. I think wind power can also be distributed, and I think the grid will become more decentralized also. Wind power will also need to be near pipelines for hydrogen produced from surplus power on windy days. Farms will use land for growing food, but also be net exporters of wind generated electricity and hydrogen. They will probably use their own methane, but run tractors primarily on hydrogen, filling up directly at the Wind Tower. Wind Turbines will typically be a 3.0 MW wind turbine on a 80-120m Tower, with one every square kilometer or 100 hectares, 200 acres.
  23. Hehe. Your sort of half right anyways. Highly-leaky and semi-something.
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