Tuesday, January 30, 2007

terraforming for dummies

[Bush] cures are another form of denial via energy bulletin
Another proposal, from a scientist at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research, in Boulder, Colorado, suggests spraying billions of tonnes of sea-water into the air. Regrettably, the production of small salt particles, while generating obscuring mists, could cause droughts in the countries downwind. Another scheme would inject sulphate particles into the stratosphere. It is perhaps less dangerous than the others, but still carries a risk of causing changes in rainfall patterns. As for flipping a giant mirror into orbit, the necessary technologies are probably a century away. All these fixes appear more expensive than cutting the amount of energy we consume. None reduces the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which threatens to acidify the oceans, with grave consequences for the food chain.
The demand that money and research be diverted into these quixotic solutions is another indication that Bush's avowed conversion to the cause of cutting emissions is illusory...

In the first case, these hypothetical techniques proposed to address global warming are all extremely energy intensive (as are proposed techniques for excess carbon to be interred during production of energy.) If one is constantly spending energy to make up for the fact that one is constantly spending energy, there is bound to be less energy on hand for things like stir fried goat tacos for the super bowl party on the plasma telly.

Let's be frank. These ideas are desperate proposals for ad-hoc experimentation on our last planet. Asinine techno-fixes from folks who can't or won't cross their respective peer groups but don't mind torching the globe, if only they can maintain their professional dignity until they die.

The most reliable way to generate a linear outcome for the climate is to head back for familiar territory. Climate models are tuned for the stuff that has been observed, not the outlying edge cases which have a whiff of extreme non-linearity - along with the sulphur. Obviously, it is past time to give up carbon energy in measured chunks, replacing it with conservation and systems which can use ambient energy.

The thoughtful approach isn't yet in the cards. As Jesus observed, (sic,) it is easier for a (carbon rich) human to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for them to enter the Kingdom of (Earth). Because plastic is forever.

I'm getting concerned that Peak Oil, when it breaks through the plateau, could be a barrier to a planned energy descent to prevent runaway global warming. Yes, we'll be burning less - the question is will it be enough less.

Friday, January 26, 2007

just wanted to warm up my pizza

Monday, January 22, 2007

a year of oil via the oil drum

I can't help but swipe and reprint this image from The Oil Drum because as is often noted, a picture is worth one thousand barrels of oil. Note the Eiffel Tower for scale.

Another way to conceptualize this picture is that in last ten years, 10 of those dirigables have been released into the atmosphere, whereby they may float about and melt glaciers, stir up the tundra and bubble into the oceans.

Terraforming. What is good for the Venus is good for the Earth.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

uranium: I feel pretty

It was horrifying, horrifying! Richard Daughty, 321gold
So how big is the market for uranium, you ask. Well, now that you mention it, I would like to know, too! And, in sheer coincidence, here is the Money and Markets newsletter to say "In 2005, about 16% of the world's electricity came from 440 nuclear reactors. That required about 77,000 metric tonnes of uranium." That works out to, if I calculated it correctly, 175 tonnes per reactor.
But "mines only supplied about 48,000 tonnes", he says. The rest "came mostly from reprocessed Russian nuclear weapons - a program that's slated to end. Meanwhile, there are 28 reactors under construction around the world and another 62 are being planned. All told, scientists estimate that the world will need about 900 more nuclear power plants by 2050". Twice as many as now! Wow! And how! Maybe these guys are really on to something big with that uranium thing!

Near term investment opportunities aside, it is a big boggle for me consider that the unicorns and rainbows crowd thinks that 900 new nuclear reactors can be stoked with atomic coal.

We aren't doing it now, we're burning through prior (weapons) production, just as we are burning through long past discovered oil reservoirs for our liquid fuel. More damn energy laundering.

How will we dig endless amounts of uranium out of the ground? How will we distill it from the oceans?

Ethanol, I bet.

Weather today calls for periods of cloudiness, followed by a shower of diamonds from the blue sky. This is my personal plan to remove excess carbon in our turgid atmosphere - - yet I find myself blocked by a conspiratorial cabal of diamond merchants, naturally.

Reality has nothing to do with it.

Perpetual motion refers to a condition in which an object continues to move indefinitely without being driven by an external source of energy. In effect by its very definition, Perpetual Motion is a system wherein the item in question consumes and outputs at least 100% of its energy constantly, sustaining no net loss as a result of the laws of thermodynamics. Using modern terminology, any machine that purports to produce more energy than it uses is a "perpetual motion machine", although somewhat oddly named as they may not include any moving parts.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

you are with us or against us

What's In It For Bush?
Suddenly the media is full of Bush (administration) propagandistic assertions designed to make the American public believe that Iran is the enemy that is fighting against our troops in Iraq.
A former member of the National Security Council gave me a possible answer. Bush can bury his defeat in Iraq with a “victory” in Iran.
Here is the victory scenario: Bush and Cheney will claim that their air attack on Iran succeeded in destroying Iran’s (non-existent) nuclear weapons program. The victory claimed by the Bush Regime and the propagandistic US media will “make America safe from nuclear attack.” This will restore Bush’s popularity and move the US back to a 50-50 political split in time for Karl Rove to steal the 2008 election with the fraudulent electronic voting machines built and programmed by Republican operatives.
The former national security official believes that Bush will be able to claim victory over Iran, because Iran will avoid responding militarily. Iran will not use its Russian missiles to sink our aircraft carriers, to shut down oil facilities throughout the Middle East, or to destroy US headquarters in the “green zone” in Baghdad. Instead, Iran will adopt the posture of another Muslim victim of US/Israeli aggression and let the anger seep throughout the Muslim world until no pro-US government is safe in the Middle East.

Following the news on Iran is sickening. The USS John C. Stennis carrier group left Bremerton yesterday to "project" power in the Gulf.

Only Congress has the power to stop the Bush administration. It is a question of politics.

Politics as usual will not win the day. The scenario outlined above is a best case scenario which results in total strategic failure some years AFTER Bush has left office. Congress must step up.

There are worse scenarios latent. And perhaps more likely ones.

Ocean man, take me by the hand, lead me to the land that you understand
Ocean man, the voyage to the corner of the globe is a real trip
Ocean man, the crust of a tan man embibed by the sand
Soaking up the thirst of the land

Ocean man, can you see through the wonder of amazement at the oberman
Ocean man, the crust is elusive when it casts forth to the childlike man
Ocean man, the sequence of a life form braised in the sand,
Soaking up the thirst of the land

Ocean man, ocean man
Ocean man


Saturday, January 13, 2007

foiled by Comet McNaught

Just a side note from the usual energy fare locally.

Last night I took a course home from work which would put me in prime viewing position of the Mighty Comet as the sun set in the SouthWest.

Of course, naturally, after 3 days of clear and cold, the clouds had rolled in to obscure the view.

Today, I see this at SpaceWeather.Com - The sucker is visible in broad daylight.

Great. Thirty degrees and snowing in Seattle today. Marvelous. Comet is flying to Australia to get some surfing in, meanwhile.


DAYTIME COMET: Comet McNaught is now visible in broad daylight. "It's fantastic," reports Wayne Winch of Bishop, California. "I put the sun behind a neighbor's house to block the glare and the comet popped right into view. You can even see the tail!"

Just hours ago, Mark Vornhusen took this picture of the comet between clouds over Gais, Switzerland:

Thursday, January 11, 2007

frosty law

Federal Way schools restrict Gore film
"Condoms don't belong in school, and neither does Al Gore. He's not a schoolteacher," said Frosty Hardison, a parent of seven who also said that he believes the Earth is 14,000 years old. "The information that's being presented is a very cockeyed view of what the truth is. ... The Bible says that in the end times everything will burn up, but that perspective isn't in the DVD."

Condoms don’t belong in schools. Condoms can break. Sex education classes should be hands on oral sex labs, good for a biology credit, and possibly photography. On this, Frosty and I agree - - and we agree on nothing else.

However, I should point out that, had Señor Frosty actually WATCHED the nazi-produced propaganda film starring Albert Gore he might have noticed that Albert and “the Frosty” both agree that in the end times, everything will burn up.

Really, really, burn up. Don’t be confused by the rising oceans, my dear, the bushes are burning just off the beach.

"Somebody could say you're killing free speech, and my retort to them would be we're encouraging free speech," said (school board member) Larson, a lawyer. "The beauty of our society is we allow debate."
School Board members adopted a three-point policy that says teachers who want to show the movie must ensure that a "credible, legitimate opposing view will be presented," that they must get the OK of the principal and the superintendent, and that any teachers who have shown the film must now present an "opposing view."

Well, that could get tricky. Remember why MSNBC fired Phil Donahue a few years back. Producers would scramble for three repuglo-fascist shills to counter-screech about nukes in Iraq, yet they still measured up as inconsequential pip-squeaks to the great white eminence Phil of Don-a-Hue.

For “opposing” viewpoints to global warming, we’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel these days. One might imagine Frosty has a mean powerpoint presentation exposing all the mendacity.

“The glaciers aren’t really melting,” he might begin. “They are being raptured early, on account of being so heavy.” click click.

Students should hear the perspective of global-warming skeptics and then make up their minds, (board President Ed Barney) said. After they do, "if they think driving around in cars is going to kill us all, that's fine, that's their choice."
Asked whether an alternative explanation for evolution should be presented by teachers, Barney said it would be appropriate to tell students that other beliefs exist. "It's only a theory," he said.

Oh dear, I think Edward is not a schoolteacher, and therefore does not belong in school - - but that is only my theory:

In common usage, people often use the word theory to signify a conjecture, an opinion, or a speculation. [...]

In science, a theory is a proposed description, explanation, or model of the manner of interaction of a set of natural phenomena, capable of predicting future occurrences or observations of the same kind, and capable of being tested through experiment or otherwise falsified through empirical observation. It follows from this that for scientists "theory" and "fact" do not necessarily stand in opposition. For example, it is a fact that an apple dropped on earth has been observed to fall towards the center of the planet, and the theory which explains why the apple behaves so is the current theory of gravitation.

"From what I've seen (of the movie) and what my husband has expressed to me, if (the movie) is going to take the approach of 'bad America, bad America,' I don't think it should be shown at all," Gayle Hardison said. "If you're going to come in and just say America is creating the rotten ruin of the world, I don't think the video should be shown."

Bad America! Bad America! Go clean your room! (And don't lie, Gayle, you haven't seen anything of the movie. What would Jesus say.)

I hope Frosty never expresses anything to me in person. I would hate to fall sway to his magnetic gaze, although it is an open question whether he would be able to maintain his hypnotic hold on the Federal Way School board and a monkey at the same time.

Joan Patrick, Kenna's mother, thought it would be a good idea for students to see the movie. They are the ones who will be dealing with the effects of a warmer planet.

"It's their job," she said. "They're the next generation."

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Bridging Peak Oil and Climate Change Activism via energy bulletin
By now a disturbing trend becomes clear: the two problems of Climate Change and Peak Oil together are worse than either by itself. Strategies that might help to keep lights burning and trucks moving while reducing emissions are questionable from a depletionist point of view, while most strategies to keep the economy energized as oil and gas disappear imply increasing greenhouse gas emissions. As we will see, the closer we look, the worse it gets.
As noted above, both groups need to design a survivable energy transition strategy in order to “sell” their message to policy makers. Carbon emissions come from burning depleting fossil fuels, the primary energy sources for modern societies. Thus both problems boil down to energy problems—and energy is essential to the maintenance of agriculture, transportation, communication, and just about everything else that makes up the modern global economy.

This is one of the best articles I've read regarding peak energy and climate change in the last year. In fact, had Heinberg posted it a few days earlier, surely it would be in contention for an Oscar.

The barriers to solving our problem are many, but primarily it is a mis-identification of the solution(s) coupled with cultural inertia. It has been the pattern of the twentieth century in the sciences to consider disciplines separately, and minor fiefdoms then rise forth, tone deaf to information from other disciplines which may instruct local models du jour.

This is what Heinberg is describing, and in proposing a joint solution to two problem domains which takes in to account the range of observable and relevant variables he has created a strong synthesis of the two fields. The framework now describes one problem domain, with some strong first order suggestions shaping a strategy. Much more cohesive then my own first stabs at considering peak energy activism as a subset of the global warming response.

This is state of the art thinking, wherein the negative outcomes are molded into the solution. In a way, the movement is growing up - - less mind share is spent in the musty, darkened halls of the "quasi-survivalist" peak oil fear sites, and more in forging a path.

I'm there. Fight until you can't fight no more. There will be plenty of time for nihilistic hedonism if human coastal cities turn into foam licked playthings of a hungry ocean while bands of merry chimps huddle just above sea level as a carbon soaked sky presses down.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

beady eyed shards of a happy new year

Greetings. I’ve been on an irrational vacation. An irrational vacation is where one tries to take some time away to relax, and ends up more stressed than when working. So I’m back on the stick.

Here is some stuff that has been bugging me.

Misplacing the apocalypse via Energy Bulletin
To accept the "doomer" framework, is to assert that there is no way out from the present crisis – and that is to go beyond what the evidence as a whole supports. The evidence is clear that there is a major problem, but to assert that, eg, civilisation will come to an abrupt end is to move from the realm of demonstrable fact (imminent absence of resources on which we presently rely) to a contestable conjecture (there is nothing that we can do to mitigate the situation). At root, then, the "doomer" perspective is a denial of hope, and a denial of the possibility of redemption. It is a theological perspective, not a scientific one.

I enjoyed this essay, but I’ve been at this gig for a while now. The broken metaphor of the apocalypse is played out. As long as religion is on the button, I venture peak oil presents a civilization with the promise and hope of being Born Again – suffering a “little death” as the grand global ponzi economy built around efficiency and mind control crumbles in lockstep with the disintegrating highways and byways. Hallelujah.

If one wants a real apocalypse, than the poison of choice is a change in the weather.

Global Markets Face `Severe Correction,' Faber Says
``In the next few months, we could get a severe correction in all asset markets,'' Faber said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in New York. ``In a selling panic you should buy, but in the buying mania that we have now the wisest course of action is to liquidate.''
Faber, founder and managing director of Hong Kong-based Marc Faber Ltd., advised investors to buy gold in 2001, which has since more than doubled. His company manages about $300 million in assets.
``Everyday the world is burning more oil than new reserves are added,'' Faber said. ``You wont see $12 dollars again'' for every barrel of oil. ``The trend is likely more to be upside because demand in Asia is going to double over time.''

Just to be clear here, Faber is calling out a global depression, and I concur. The full enchilada, only 179.99 at Taco Bell. Double or nothing every day. The pressure is building, eventually China will reach a point where she cannot be the last one out the door with her dollar reserves and thus will emphatically act first. I don’t care if this seems inscrutable, if there were ever a time for a little auto-didactics-ism this is it. Become the skeptical expert. Why do people ignore physics? What are they teaching in schools these days anyways? Ugh.

South Korea builds world's largest garbage-fuelled power plant
SEOUL (AFP) - South Korea has opened the world's largest garbage-fuelled power plant and expects to reduce its imports of heavy oil by 500,000 barrels a year as a result.
The 50-megawatt plant, designed to provide power to more than 180,000 households, began operating on Tuesday. It sits on a mammoth garbage dump in the city of Incheon west of Seoul, the ministry said in a statement.

Ah yes, the power plants built on fetid heaps of stacked up trash, hectares by silos. This is the final, sublime form of industrial civilization, quietly munching recently excreted turds of garbage as the lights dim. Sustainable at last.

Climate Change is Killing the Oceans' Microscopic 'Lungs'
The fear is that as sea temperatures continue to rise as a result of global warming, the loss of phytoplankton will lead to a positive-feedback cycle, where increases in carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere leads to warmer oceans, and warmer oceans lead to increasing carbon dioxide concentrations.

Fear these days is actually reality just over the horizon, waiting to be observed. The dead, weed ridden oceans are mocking us from the soon to be, waiting to crown the king of the chimps with a crown of bleached coral and garland of shark fins.

Fuel tankers reporting increased methane venting from sea beds.
According to U.S. maritime industry sources, tanker captains are reporting an increase in onboard alarms from hazard sensors designed to detect hydrocarbon gas leaks and, specifically, methane leaks. However, the leaks are not emanating from cargo holds or pump rooms but from continental shelves venting increasing amounts of trapped methane into the atmosphere. With rising ocean temperatures, methane is increasingly escaping from deep ocean floors. Methane is also 21 more times capable of trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.
In fact, one of the major sources for increased methane venting is the Hudson Submarine Canyon, which extends into the Atlantic 400 miles from the New York-New Jersey harbor. Another location experiencing increased venting is the Santa Barbara Channel on the California coast.

I promised apocalypse.

This is one of those WTF stories. A little corroboration is needed, to take this out of the realm of the tin-foil. Yet venting methane in warming oceans is the opposite of unexpected. It is expected. Just seems a little… early. This could ruin our whole century.

Has anyone asked the boy king about his plans to address global warming?

Monday, January 01, 2007

rocket's red glare