30 June 2010

Update for Deepwater Horizon Oil Containment and Relief Wells

Update: A supertanker converted into a giant skimmer capable of cleaning 20 million gallons of oil water a day, is arriving in the Gulf of Mexico for final testing by the US Coast Guard. The skimmer/tanker "A Whale" flies a Taiwan flag, and was outfitted especially for the Gulf oil spill. Now it is up to the USCG to determine whether the huge skimmer -- 3 1/2 football fields in length -- will be certified to work in US waters. BP is likely to agree to most any price, just to put the giant skimmer to work in the most visible manner possible.

The US EPA has absurd rules for water purification in circumstances such as the Macondo spill -- requiring any water replaced in the Gulf to be 99.999% pure. 99% pure is not good enough, even if the intake water was only 70% pure. Calling the US government insane in such circumstances is to be too kind. And a 1920 federal law, the Jones Act, has been a large impediment to allowing foreign nations to assist the US cleanup efforts. The Jones Act is a sop to labour unions that the Obama Pelosi regime cannot afford to dispense with -- even if it means $ billions of unnecessary damage and untold hardship.

We're currently collecting at a rate of about 24,000 barrels a day, so roughly 1,000 barrels an hour. What I would say is this is progressing well. The equipment is operating very efficiently, very effectively and we always just need this to keep this in contact if it's not collecting all the oil and we're determined to find ways to do that.
__Kent Wells Tech Update PDF

Rough weather in the Gulf has forced a delay in the plan to add the Helix Producer to the containment effort. The Helix Producer would collect an additional 20,000 + barrels per day from the BOP. It will take roughly a week for the storm waves to subside enough to complete the 3 additional days of work necessary to add the Helix Producer to the team.

Now in the meantime we will continue to be collecting from the enterprise and the Q4000, so we'll continue to collect the 24,000 barrels a day. We believe both those vessels should be able handle these sea states and so the way I would summarize this is the sea states that we'll see will not impact our ability to continue on with the subsea containment we have now. It will not impact the drilling of the relief wells.
The only thing it will do is it will cause a delay of about six days, whatever the weather is of bringing the next phase of subsea containment online.
__Kent Wells Update PDF

The above image illustrates the total containment effort including the Helix Producer with its floating riser, and the two relief wells.

So I think if I talk in terms of the first relief well being drilled by the DD3. we're currently at a measured depth of 16,770 feet. The well is progressing very well. We've made three ranging runs and I'll talk a little bit about that in a minute but we're now roughly in sight on a horizontal plane about 20 feet from the existing Macondo well.

Now it's important to remember we still have another roughly 1,000 feet to be drilled vertically but we're getting very close. And so this is what I want people to realize. So we started the well at the surface some 2,800 feet away from the well. And we've now got to within 20 feet of it. And we will start what we call paralleling the well.
So we will be drilling vertically right down beside of a constant ranging so we know precisely where we are.
__Kent Wells Update PDF

Go to this Kent Wells video with animation for a good view of the relief well ranging efforts to line up the relief well with the original well, for the purpose of entering the well and killing the oil flow permanently.

More on the Helix Producer here, and here.

Short report on a new, larger LMRP cap capable of completely containing all oil flow, which might be installed by mid-July. Remember that the relief wells are scheduled to intersect the original well bore sometime in early August.

This Kent Wells video presents an inside look at the relief well team operations on-site

Observation of the live cam at the wellhead demonstrates a fluctuation in oil spillage around the LMRP cap. But in general the spillage flow has been significantly down from the first week or so after cap placement. After the Helix Producer is successfully added to the effort, it is unlikely that very much oil -- relatively speaking -- will spill around the cap -- even the smaller cap which is currently in place.

Below is an overflight of the surface containment effort on 29 June 2010, along with shots of some oil slicks far offshore.


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Yet Another Source of Human Genetic Variability

The genetic difference between individuals and between groups of related individuals, just keeps getting larger. Wikipedia lists 7 types of genetic variation, but of course there are more. Probably many more.

The latest type of genetic variation to be acknowledged comes as a startling revelation that roughly half of the human genome is made up of "transposons", or jumping genes.
Transposons, or "jumping genes," make up roughly half of the human genome. Geneticists previously estimated that they replicate and insert themselves into new locations roughly one in every 20 live births.
New results suggest that every newborn is likely to have a new transposon somewhere in his or her genome.

...Transposons resemble e-mail spam: short repeated sequences that have no obvious function other than making more of themselves. The full name for the type of transposon that is most abundant in the human genome is retrotransposon.

The "retro" term comes from how they replicate: first, the DNA is transcribed into RNA, and the RNA is reverse-transcribed into DNA again. This process normally only happens during very early in development, when the cells that will become eggs and sperm have not turned down a separate path of differentiation.

...While working in Devine's lab as a graduate student, first author Rebecca Iskow, Ph.D. devised a technique for "amplifying" the stretches of individual genomes that border transposons and reading thousands of the junctions with advanced sequencing techniques, then comparing them to the reference human genome.

"The basic problem was that a new insertion can be anywhere within three billion base pairs – how do you find it compared to all the other ones?" Devine says.

Ninety-seven percent of genomes the team surveyed had at least one rare insertion of the L1 variety of transposon that was present in only a single human in the study, and some genomes had several. Since the study surveyed 76 genomes, "rare" insertions could still be shared by large groups consisting of thousands of people. Rare insertions corresponded to the most recent transposons, which are less likely to have their jumping abilities impaired by other types of mutations.

Devine's team also showed that transposons frequently jump to new locations during the process of tumor formation. Surveying 20 lung tumors and comparing their genomes against the normal tissues they came from, the team found that six tumors had new transposons insertions that were not present in the normal adjacent tissues.

"This indicates that transposons are jumping in tumors and are generating a new kind of genomic instability," Devine says.

Transposons can inactivate tumor suppressor genes and can facilitate rearrangements that involve large stretches of chromosomes. Geneticists have already identified many transposons that interrupt genes and cause human diseases, including neurofibromatosis, hemophilia and breast cancer.

...The research was initiated at Emory University School of Medicine, where Devine was in the Department of Biochemistry. Iskow, (now a postdoctoral fellow at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston) was a graduate student at Emory. The findings were published in the June 25, 2010 issue of Cell. Two other papers on human transposons appear in the same issue of Cell. _ScientificComputing

More at Eurekalert.

Wikipedia lists these forms of human genetic variation:
2 Measures of variation
The transposon variation would need to be added to the list, perhaps at this year's meeting of the Human Genome Variation Society in November.

There is a reason why clans and tribes spring up so easily, and can maintain their identities for such long periods of time. Behaviour arises to a large extent from the genes. It is easier to understand -- and therefore trust -- someone who may tend to act and react in similar ways to oneself. Such tribal societies tend to marry and keep the wealth within the tribe.

Multicultural countries such as the US are attempting to accomplish on a national scale what has generally only been successful in large polyglot trading centers and imperial capitals, in the past. The low-trust interfaces found within ethnic, cultural, and religious heterogeneity can lead to higher rates of crime and vandalism.

Leftist postmodern multiculturalists tend to take exactly the wrong approach in this situation, by accentuating the differences in cultures and religions -- and trying to mould the law around these differences. In fact the opposite should be done. Each culture and / or religion must be forced to adhere to the same set of laws if a multicultural society is to be successful. That is one reason that Kagan and Sotomayor were such abysmally bad choices -- reflecting badly upon Obama's judgment. Both Kagan and Sotomayor are likely to pursue the leftist postmodern multiculturalist approach, which will result in deeper societal schisms, reduced trust, and increased violence.


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29 June 2010

Silver Is Likely to Multiply In Value Faster than Gold

Half of silver demand, or 435.1 million ounces, goes into industrial applications including electrical conductors, alloys, solar panels and batteries, according to GFMS Ltd., which compiles reports for The Silver Institute, a Washington-based industry group. That compares with 12 million ounces for gold, 3.85 million ounces for platinum and 6.19 million ounces for palladium. Industrial demand for silver will gain 14 percent in 2010, the most since at least 1988, Barclays estimates.

...Solar-panel installations may jump 44 percent this year to about 33 billion watts of capacity.....Crystalline silicon solar panels use as much as 0.12 gram of silver per watt of capacity. The metal accounts for about 35 percent of a silver- oxide battery and as much as 40 grams of silver are used in a 32-inch plasma TV screen, VM Group estimates. _BW

Silver has many more industrial uses than gold, but is also widely seen as valuable in itself -- as a form of wealth, or money. Silver's value at this time is historically rather low, compared to gold. If economic times turn difficult -- as they easily could at a time when the world hegemon is ruled by an unprecedentedly incompetent government -- silver's innate value as money would probably push its cost well past doubling, approaching a quadrupling.
Doubling as a store of value for buyers concerned about the economy and as an industrial material for those bullish on growth, silver is outperforming metals from copper to zinc this year and keeping pace with gold...."Silver is really attractive because you have strong investment demand and strong fabrication demand," said Jeffrey M. Christian, the managing director of CPM Group, a research company in New York...."You buy gold when you think the world is going to hell in a handbasket. You buy copper when the economy is booming. In between those two, if you're a bit confused, you buy silver."

The metal, used to create the first telegraph messages, rose 9.5 percent since the end of March, heading for a sixth quarterly advance. That's the best streak since 11 consecutive quarters through the beginning of 1980, a year after the Hunt brothers tried to corner the market.

While gold reached a record $1,265.30 an ounce on June 21, silver would have to more than double to get to the all-time high of $50.35 reached in New York in 1980. Silver rose 13 percent this year in London, gold added 14 percent and the London Metal Exchange Index of six industrial metals fell 9.2 percent. _SFGate
If paper currencies lose their value any more quickly than at present, a return to hard currencies is likely. If not in official markets, then in grey and black markets that are likely to spring up in ever more visible locations. Gold, silver, and copper would be used as money, but other things such as prescription drugs, common ammunition, and culinary substances such as salt and spices may all find themselves put to use as makeshift currencies. Barter is also likely to grow in popularity -- assuming a person has anything of value to trade.
....gold is rising due to the instability of the global financial system. Gold is money, and as the ultimate global currency and store of value, the yellow metal is regaining its place in history as a trusted reserve currency.

But throughout history, gold has not been the only monetary metal. Silver has always played a role alongside gold. In fact, up until the beginning of the 20th Century, more people used silver as money than they did gold. _GoldNews
It is a shame what governments have done to money, in their utter greed for dominance and power. People who are capable of thinking these things through will need to decide when to stop playing along.

In good times you want to grow your wealth. In bad times, the best that you can often do is just to hold on to it.

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We Are All Cyborgs Now:

The idea that a chip can interface between inputs and outputs of certain brain area is a very new concept in scientific circles, Prof. Mintz notes, although movies and TV shows about bionic humans have been part of the popular culture for decades. _ReNaChip
The chip sits just below the skin, on top of the skull. It senses brain activity via implanted electrodes, and it knows when to fire stimulatory pulses to the precise parts of the brain where they are needed -- to restore the desired brain function.
For now, the chip, called the Rehabilitation Nano Chip (or ReNaChip), is hooked up to tiny electrodes which are implanted in the brain. But as chips become smaller, the ReNaChip could be made small enough to be "etched" right onto the electrodes themselves.

For therapeutic purposes, though, only the electrodes will be inserted into the brain. "The chip itself can be implanted just under the skin, like pacemakers for the heart," says Prof. Mintz, who is currently conducting experiments on animal models, "ensuring that the brain is stimulated only when it needs to be."

One of the challenges of the proposed technology is the size of the electrodes. The researchers hope to further miniaturize deep brain electrodes while adding more sensors at the same time says Prof. Mintz. His Tel Aviv University colleague and partner Prof. Yossi Shaham-Diamond is working on this problem.

The international multidisciplinary team, includes other researchers from TAU — Prof. Hagit Messer-Yaron and Dr. Mira Kalish — and partners from Austria, England and Spain, regularly converge on the TAU campus to update and integrate new components of the set-up and monitor the progress of the chip in live animals in Prof. Mintz's lab. _Source

More here, here, here, and here.

The ReNa chip would function as a type of "nano-controller", riding herd over specific brain centers -- depending upon the person's needs. Initially, the chips will be used for brain rehabilitation and to modulate the effects of various neuropathologies. Eventually, the chips will be used to treat behavioural problems. Climate change deniers and the like. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

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28 June 2010

Updated List of Links for Free Online Lectures and Learning

It is possible to get a world class education free online, using web resources provided by the best universities and educators in the world. How much longer will parents pay universities tens of thousands of dollars a year and more, to provide their children with a world-class indoctrination and a slum-class education, when parents themselves could provide a top class education online for free -- and skip the crippling indoctrination (academic lobotomy) altogether?

Most of these links lead to university level lectures and entire courses available at no charge online from some of the best universities in the world. Some links go to a wide range of other multimedia learning materials, and some lead to online academic texts and notes. Most lectures are in video, some in audio, and a few in slideshow format. This is not an exhaustive list for free online higher ed. lectures and learning, but as of this date you can be sure that all links are active.

MIT Open Courseware courses with A/V materials

Tufts Open Courseware Medical, Dental, Veterinary Courses

Free Video Lectures Nice set of complete video courses

Learners TV More complete video college courses

Cosmo Learning 360 courses, plus series, seminars, documentaries, random learning videos and lectures

Home Education Open Courseware Page Nice set of links to courses and open courseware sites

Academic Earth Video lectures plus online degree info

Lecture Fox Thousands of lectures on wide range of topics

World Lecture Hall Vast searchable lecture resource.

Khan Academy Good prepping and home ed materials.

MERLOT.org Phenomenal range of multimedia learning materials and topics.

Textbooks Free.org Nice link list of free online educational materials.

Take any college class for free Links to open courseware collections and a lot of other learning resources

Open Culture.com list of 250 free online courses

VideoLectures.net A focus on computer science, but a wide array of other lecture topics as well.

YouTube Edu Not very useful in terms of academic content, but contains a lot of video material peripheral to what goes on at universities. Not for hard-core information junkies.

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How to Build an Online Video Education Empire

First, obtain a solid education in computer science, math, engineering, finance, business, and banking. Obtain the use of a large closet, for a production studio. For basic production equipment, get a $200 Camtasia Recorder, $80 Wacom Bamboo Tablet and a free copy of SmoothDraw3 on a home PC. DO NOT take education classes, and do not go through the teacher certification process and above all, DO NOT join a teachers' union!
"I'm starting a virtual school for the world, teaching things the way I wanted to be taught," explains Khan, 33, the exuberant founder and sole faculty member of the nonprofit Khan Academy, run out of his small ranch house, which he shares with his wife and infant son.

...every day, his lectures are viewed 70,000 times -- double the entire student body of UC Berkeley. His viewers are diverse, ranging from rural preschoolers to Morgan Stanley analysts to Pakistani engineers. Since its inception in 2006, the Khan Academy website has recorded more than 16 million page views.

At a time when conventional education is under stress, his project has caught the attention of educators and venture capitalists such as John Doerr, who just invested $100,000 to help pay Khan's salary.

Jason Fried, CEO of tech company 37signals, said he invested in Khan's nonprofit because "the next bubble to burst is higher education. It's too expensive. It's too much one-size-fits-all. This is an alternative way to think about teaching -- simple, personal, free and moving at your own pace."

...His approach is learn-as-you-go. Students can start anywhere in the curriculum. Stumped? Simply stop the video, and repeat. He's off camera and conversational. Lessons are bite-size. The modules offer immediate feedback -- what's right, what's wrong. There's conceptual progression.

...Khan's mother is from Calcutta; his father was a pediatrician from Bangladesh. His parents divorced when he was 3, and his father died when he was only 13. By high school, he was growing up in a New Orleans suburb with a hardworking single mother and a fiercely protective elder sister.

Valedictorian of his high school class, with a perfect math SAT score, he always regretted the way educators failed to show the beauty of what they taught. He dreams of a world free of dense textbooks, crowded lecture halls and bored students. Even children in developing nations can learn on a $200 refurbished PC. "There's no higher social return on investment," he said. "We can educate a million kids, for all time. We can build a lecture library that continues to deliver.

"This is the operating system for a whole new school." _Physorg
Salman Khan is driven to build his online educational system. He quit his well-paid financial job to devote full time to Khan Academy. If you hope to achieve comparable or better results, you will need to exhibit similar enthusiastic commitment to your own online education empire.

Current bloated bureaucracies of "education" are not focused on the education of students, and focus more on indoctrination than on education. Clearly a student-centered approach is necessary -- one that provides an education rather than an indoctrination.

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27 June 2010

Wanted: Crops that Plant, Cultivate, and Harvest Themselves


Humans have always dreamed of a Garden of Eden where they could pick their food fresh from the vine every day, without want or toil. One possible step in that direction is the development of perennial grain crops, which survive to grow in the same soil year after year.
Perennial grains would be one of the largest innovations in the 10,000 year history of agriculture, and could arrive even sooner with the right breeding programs, said John Reganold, a Washington State University Regents professor of soil science and lead author of the paper with Jerry Glover, a WSU-trained soil scientist now at the Land Institute in Salina, Kansas.

“It really depends on the breakthroughs,” said Reganold. “The more people involved in this, the more it cuts down the time.”

Published in Science’s influential policy forum, the paper is a call to action as half the world’s growing population lives off marginal land at risk of being degraded by annual grain production. Perennial grains, say the paper’s authors, expand farmers’ ability to sustain the ecological underpinnings of their crops.

“People talk about food security,” said Reganold. “That’s only half the issue. We need to talk about both food and ecosystem security.”

Perennial grains, say the authors, have longer growing seasons than annual crops and deeper roots that let the plants take greater advantage of precipitation. Their larger roots, which can reach ten to 12 feet down, reduce erosion, build soil and sequester carbon from the atmosphere. They require fewer passes of farm equipment and less herbicide, key features in less developed regions.

By contrast, annual grains can lose five times as much water as perennial crops and 35 times as much nitrate, a valuable plant nutrient that can migrate from fields to pollute drinking water and create “dead zones” in surface waters.

“Developing perennial versions of our major grain crops would address many of the environmental limitations of annuals while helping to feed an increasingly hungry planet,” said Reganold.

Perennial grain research is underway in Argentina, Australia, China, India, Sweden and the United States. Washington State University has more than a decade of work on perennial wheat led by Stephen Jones, director WSU’s Mount Vernon Research Center. Jones is also a contributor to the Science paper, which has more than two dozen authors, mostly plant breeders and geneticists. _WSUNews_via_BrianWang

Original study in Science (via Brian Wang)

Al Fin would prefer that more effort go into the development of a perennial barley -- rather than wheat. Beer made from barley is infinitely better than beer from wheat, and who has ever heard of a single-wheat Scotch? No, the best whisky is single malt, the malt being made from barley.

We are in the midst of a biological revolution. That revolution will certainly spread to agriculture, and everything else that biology touches. Fuels, chemicals, animal feeds, plastics, and more.

Expect conventional food crops and innocuous ornamentals and wild forage to be modified to produce virtually any chemical, any compound. I think you can see with a little imagination, that things are already well out of hand and soon to be completely out of control. Try to use your brain, because by the time the reality of tomorrow's harvest hits the mainstream, it will already be too late for the dull majority.

Cross-posted at abu al-fin

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26 June 2010

All the Oil In the World

Brian Wang provides an edifying comparison of the amount of oil and the amount of water in the world.
If you mixed it all of the oil into the oceans then you would be looking at about 1 part per million. Which is about 35 times less than the EPA defined safe limit of 35 parts per million limit. _NextBigFuture

Oil and water have been mixing for billions of years. When oil mixes with water, the oil is consumed by micro-organisms, and the water abides to provide a home for sea animals, to circle the Earth time and time again, to fall from the sky, to freeze in glaciers miles thick . . . . over and over through the eons.

The deep offshore oil drilling game has just begun. Any nations which prohibit the drilling of oil off their own coasts are simply dooming themselves to buy expensive oil from foreign sources -- many of them quite violent and disreputable. Humans still need oil, will continue to need oil, gas, and coal for several decades.

Humans have only depended on fossil fuels for just over 200 years, and have several hundreds of years of fossil fuel reserves remaining (counting all forms of fossil fuels). The life of the land and the oceans can handle far more CO2 than the trifling 0.04% that resides in the Earth's atmosphere. Most of Earth's land and sea life evolved at a time when the CO2 concentration was several times higher than at present, and would be thrilled to have more carbon.

But it might be best for industrial nations, at least, to shift to safe, clean, compact nuclear power. A wise use of nuclear fuels could provide humans with tens of thousands of years worth of fissionable fuel. It would take us between 30 and 50 years to shift most of our power generation away from fossil fuels and over to clean and sustainable nuclear fission.

In that period of time, unlimited nuclear fusion is likely to be quite close -- if not already arrived.

"Greens", or faux environmentalists, want to shut down fossil fuels and nuclear energy. They believe that by doing so they will be "saving the Earth." But it is their religion, so they are not thinking rationally.

The Earth is doomed -- has always been doomed -- since before it originated. But there is a question of what will be done on the planet while it exists.

The only intelligent life known to exist, exists on this one planet. Faux environmentalists wish to bring about a great human dieoff.org, to save a planet that is already doomed. They wish to bring about this dieoff as soon as possible -- preferably before humans develop the type of technology which would allow them to travel to space where they could protect the Earth and Earth life from malevolent heavenly bodies and other forces. If advanced civilisations are starved by well-meaning "Greens", then humans will remain stuck on the ground -- unable to protect the planet from its greatest threats which will come out of the dark void.

Humans are on the brink of developing technologies that would allow for clean and relatively limitless energy. Technologies that would allow the cleaning of Earth's land, water, and air to pristine conditions. Technologies that would see Earth life colonising the solar system and beyond -- guaranteeing a far longer existence in the universe than confinement to only one planet would have allowed.

Many of Earth's governments have fallen into the hands of faux environmentalists and dieoff.org enthusiasts. The United States' government is one such. Many nations of Europe suffer from the same faux environmentalist religion as well. Australia and Canada have also had their struggles with the malignant quasi-religion of the great dieoff.

It is good to know if your government is under the control of an elitist group of quasi-religionists of doom. You need to know what you are working and paying for.

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25 June 2010

Submersible Seastead with Human-Powered Commute

Some seastead will be unable to move out of the way of large storms due to their design. If such a seastead were able to safely submerge to a safe depth below the wind and waves, it could solve the problem of storms without the need for a large and expensive floating breakwater.
The Sub-Biosphere is able to float on the surface as a floating seastead, or to submerge to become an underwater habitat. This bi-functionality would serve well for marine research.
By building modules that could separate and either float or submerge as individual components, the Sub-Biosphere could allow for significant exchange between similar seasteads, and provide for flexible changes in size and population.
For underwater movement between modules, submerged seasteads, or seafloor habitats, the Scubster pedal-powered wet sub provides both exercise and undersea mobility.

All of this subsea activity is merely prelude to the coming of Homo Submarinari -- a new subspecies of human which will be able to live virtually its entire life underwater. With gene-engineered gills and partially webbed hands and feet, healthy permanent subsea communities of Homo Submarinari would provide a close watch on the health of the oceans, along with permanent surface seasteads.

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24 June 2010

BP Increasing Recovery of Oil at Macondo Well Head

The logistics coordinator onboard the ship that has been siphoning oil from a gushing well in the Gulf of Mexico tells The Associated Press that a cap on top has been reattached and is again capturing some of the crude.

The crewmember on the bridge of the Discoverer Enterpriser said the cap was placed back on the gusher around 8 p.m. It had been off for more than 11 hours. _NOLA
The LMRP cap over the leaking Macondo well was temporarily removed due to an ROV mishap -- but is now back in place and recovering large amounts of oil, as before.

BP is adding yet another oil recovery ship to the medley -- the Helix Producer.
The Helix Producer will be collecting oil from the BOP and feeding it to the Loch Rannoch for storage. Note the preparation of underwater dispersant tanks, in case the fleet has to abandon the site due to an approaching hurricane. Speaking of which, the picture of the Gulf hasn’t changed much since yesterday, questions on the possibility of a hurricane being formed by the end of next week remain in the air.
With the addition of the Helix Producer, BP will be able to recover over 30,000 barrels per day of oil. That level of recovery should result in a significant observable decline in hydrocarbon leakage around the LMRP cap, as seen on the live cam. [Update 09:50 PDT: It appears that BP has significantly ramped up oil recovery so that relatively little oil [compared to earlier in the week - AF] is now spilling around the LMRP cap, as seen on the live cam. This is a remarkable improvement in just a matter of days.]

BP continues to prepare for hurricane season with construction of the floating detachable riser, and a seafloor based automated dispersant system. Relief well drilling continues ahead of schedule.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration is pulling out all stops in order to shut down oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic -- despite a federal judge's ruling that such a moratorium would cause irreparable harm to the economies of the Gulf region. But it is possible that irreparable harm to the Gulf offshore oil industry is precisely what Obama Pelosi has in mind.

Most of the offshore rigs are manned by non-union crews. And Obama has thrown in with George Soros in the big Brazilian offshore oil play. Soros needs those rigs down in Brazil -- so it is vital that Obama shut down US offshore drilling to free up the rigs for Mr. Soros' big project.


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Hungry Plankton Gobble CO2, Astound Scientists


There is so much that scientists still do not know about Earth's climate, the oceans, the carbon cycle, and so much more. Recently, scientists were surprised to learn that plankton travel relatively long distances -- in terms of ocean depth -- to seek out both nutrients and CO2. Back to the drawing boards.
For almost three decades, oceanographers have been puzzled by the ability of microscopic algae to grow in mid-ocean areas where there is very little nitrate, an essential algal nutrient. In this week's issue of Nature, MBARI chemical oceanographer Ken Johnson, along with coauthors Stephen Riser at the University of Washington and David Karl at the University of Hawaii, show that mid-ocean algae obtain nitrate from deep water, as much as 250 meters below the surface. This finding will help scientists predict how open-ocean ecosystems could respond to global warming.

...Surface waters in this and other mid-ocean areas contain almost no nitrate or other plant nutrients. Yet each year, microscopic algae (phytoplankton) flourish in these vast, open-ocean areas. Although miniscule in size, these mid-ocean algae consume about one fifth of all the carbon dioxide taken up by plants and algae worldwide.
To solve this mystery, Johnson and his fellow researchers used a robotic drifter called an Apex float, which automatically moves from the sea surface down to 1,000 meters and then back again, collecting data as it goes. Researchers at the University of Washington outfitted this drifter with an oxygen sensor and a custom version of Johnson's In Situ Ultraviolet Spectrophotometer (ISUS), which measures nitrate concentrations in seawater.

...From January through October of each year, the instruments on the drifter showed a gradual increase in oxygen concentrations in the upper 100 meters of the ocean. At the same time, the float detected a gradual decrease in concentrations of nitrate in deeper waters, from 100 to 250 meters below the surface.
Johnson and his coauthors found that the amount of oxygen being produced near the surface through photosynthesis was directly proportional to the amount of nitrate that was being consumed in deeper water. _Physorg
Science is still relatively ignorant about the deep processes of life and climate on Earth. Certainly far too ignorant for humans to base the future of their civilisations upon half-baked computer models which leave out the most critical parameters -- and include too much uncertainty to reliably predict anything at all.

Science is just barely beginning to learn a few of the things it would need to know to predict a future climate. It is time for the rational humility of our present limitations to enter science at all levels once again -- particularly in the areas where science intersects with politics and public technological and economic policy.

There are a large number of ocean organisms that take CO2 out of the atmosphere on a semi-permanent basis -- as is obvious from observing geologic phenomena such as limestone and chalk. Fossil fuels are still being formed under the oceans, as well as the massive layers of fossil rock. All of that carbon was cycled through life forms -- including the lowly plankton.

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23 June 2010

Explosive Reality Behind Climate: Accelerating Uncertainty of Clouds

It turns out that uncertainties in the energetic responses of Earth climate systems are more than 10 times larger than the entire energetic effect of increased CO2.15 If the uncertainty is larger than the effect, the effect itself becomes moot. If the effect itself is debatable, then what is the IPCC talking about? And from where comes the certainty of a large CO2 impact on climate? _Skeptic_via_WUWT

The rapid growth of uncertainty means that GCMs cannot discern an ice age from a hothouse from 5 years away, much less 100 years away
Skeptics are the smart ones in this case, since they understand that the uncertainties in the scientific prediction of future climate are far too large to allow any meaningful prediction. And yet President Obama, the EU, the IPCC, and the kleptocracies of the UN are willing to institute a massive redistribution scheme worth trillions of dollars, based upon "science" which is not really science at all -- merely a belief orthodoxy of interested insiders.
The difficulty is serious even over short times. The inset to Figure 4 shows that after only 20 years, the uncertainty from cloud error is ±22° and for forcing, it’s ±3°. The effect of the ~1% forcing uncertainty alone tells us that a 99% accurate GCM couldn’t discern a new Little Ice Age from a major tropical advance from even 20 years out. Not only are these physical uncertainties vastly larger than the IPCC allows in Figure SPM-5 (Figure 1), but the uncertainties the IPCC allows in Figure SPM-5 aren’t even physical.16

When both the cloud and the forcing uncertainties are allowed to accumulate together, after 5 years the A2 scenario includes a 0.34°C warmer Earth but a ±8.8°C uncertainty. At 10 years this becomes 0.44±15° C, and 0.6±27.7°C in 20 years. By 2100, the projection is 3.7±130°C. From clouds alone, all the IPCC projections have uncertainties that are very much larger than the projected greenhouse temperature increase. What is credible about a prediction that sports an uncertainty 20–40 times greater than itself? After only a few years, a GCM global temperature prediction is no more reliable than a random guess. That means the effect of greenhouse gasses on Earth climate is unpredictable, and therefore undetectable. And therefore moot.

The rapid growth of uncertainty means that GCMs cannot discern an ice age from a hothouse from 5 years away, much less 100 years away. So far as GCMs are concerned, Earth may be a winter wonderland by 2100 or a tropical paradise. No one knows. _Skeptic_via_Wattsupwiththat


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Synthetic Biology: One Bright Doorway Into the Future

If you want self-replicating nano-assemblers, you do not need to look further than your own body and bodily excretions. Biology is the proof of concept of self-replicating nano-machines, and synthetic biology is rapidly becoming an rocketing ride into a future of diminishing limits.

Brian Wang presents an interview with synthetic biologist Andrew Hessel (featured in the video above). Excerpts:
Question: What is the main purpose of the singularity university?
Answer: I am the co-chair of bioninformatics and biotechnology at the Singularity University. Singularity has a very unique business model when it comes to education. We focus on training students in technologies that can go exponential. I emphasize to the students that the reading and writing of genetics code is an exponential technology in the same way for biogenetics that Moore's law is for computing. We are hitting the knee of the curve of that technology.
Question: Craig Venter’s team recently created a new prokaryotic life form. How important is this accomplishment?
Answer: I believe Venter’s accomplishment will have profound ramifications. I see DNA as a programming language, and like any language there are three components - reading, writing, and comprehension. Craig has been at the forefront of reading and understanding DNA code, and today he is a leader in synthetic technologies. The creation of an artificial prokaryotic life form only scratches the surface of the greater potential of synthetic biology. The ability to easily engineer living organisms is perhaps the most powerful technology humans have made to date.
Question: What will be the first mainstream application to be introduced that is dependent on synthetic biology?
Answer: That is the billion dollar question. If I had an answer to this question, I would be locked in a lab developing it. There are some clues, though. Historically, biotech has focused on treating illnesses, but the average consumer isn’t sick. This limits the marketplace. In health, people spend money on things that gives them tangible value in their everyday lives, at affordable prices. This means energy, building materials, household products, cosmetics, foods, pets, sensor and diagnostic technologies, and perhaps even smart drugs and intoxicants, like beer or wine. Whoever successfully brings biotechnology innovation to the masses will generate a fortune that rivals Google.

Question: When will the first human organs be created using synthetic biology?
Answer: Human organ cloning is actually more about stem cell engineering than synthetic biology per se. I predict rapid advancements in that area, due to rapid 3D printing technologies. The leader in that space is a company called Organovo, which has just announced the first commercial cell printer. Once we can print cell-based structures, we can produce everything from synthetic foods to organs. Given an aging population, it’s only a matter of time before fully functional cloned human organs become commercially available.

Question: How much progress can be expected in the field of synthetic biology by 2020?
Answer: This technology is in the knee of the s-curve and will grow exponentially for decades. By 2020 we will be able to engineer simple living systems routinely, whether it be a single protein, a metabolic pathway, or simple multicellular creatures. Eventually, testing and measurement of what we’re programming will become the limiting factor. Overall, the potential of synthetic biology is comparable to the potential of computers. We’re going to see it broadly applied in human endeavors. _NextBigFuture

A lot of resources are being shunted toward the several areas of science that intersect with synthetic biology. The potential is enormous, but the eventual outcome is anything but certain. With so many different transformative offshoots likely to spring up, it will be easy to overlook some incredibly profound possibilities lying within the technology.

Is there anything that biology cannot do over time and with assistance? We may soon find out.


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"Even the Fission Products of Nuclear Fuel Aren't Really Waste"


As you can see from the graph, there’s not ALL that many significant (from a perspective of mass) fission products in the spent fuel. There’s xenon (#54) and neodymium (#60). Then there’s zirconium (#40) and molybdenum (#42) and ruthenium (#44). Cesium (#55), barium (#56), lanthanum (#57), cerium (#58), and praseodymium (#59) all figure in at varying levels of importance. And there’s samarium (#62) in there to make things difficult.
But it’s a smaller list than I would have thought, and the xenon, neodymium, molybdenum, and lanthanum are all recoverable at this stage. Something to think about–even the fission products of spent nuclear fuel probably aren’t really “waste” either. _More graphs at EnergyfromThorium

Commenters at the link above remarked at some of the high value metals and rare earths contained within nuclear "waste."

Of course when Generation III and Generation IV reactors begin to work in tandem, many of the troublesome ingredients of nuclear "waste" will suddenly become important feedstocks and co-products.

Nuclear reactors are safe, and getting safer. The Thorium cycle should offer even fewer things to worry about. Like everything of value, these things must be taken seriously, or they can exact a tremendous price.

We merely need to stop creating generations of fops and feckless fantasy dwellers, and learn to raise our children as emancipated humans.


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22 June 2010

Ramping Up Surface Oil Recovery

Kevin Costner's machines are hard at work cleaning up the Gulf oil spill, and are "doing fantastic!" The three Costner machines in deep water are processing 600,000 gallons of oily water a day! BP has ordered 27 more machines from Costner, which are being put together and made ready for hard service as quickly as possible. (over 20 million gallons of oily water was recovered in the last 24 hours in the entire response)

BP has received over 60,000 suggestions for dealing with the spill and cleanup -- including one suggestion coming from two former NFL superstars -- Troy Aikman and Drew Bledsoe. The two quarterbacks have teamed with Jean-Michel Cousteau to promote a technology for rapid, non-chemical separation of the oil from seawater -- using ultrasonic transducers to create sonic cavitation. Probably not the most useful intervention for this particular situation, but keep trying boys.

A more likely invention comes from a company based in Mobile, Alabama.
This invention, which is the greatest hope we have seen yet for collection and cleanup efforts in the Gulf of Mexico, is a new kind of machine that has a collection capability far greater than any skimmer that has been used before. To be exact, these machines each have a collection capacity of up to 4,000 gallons per minute. All the skimmers being used in the Gulf up until now are able, all together, to collect less than half a million gallons a day, while just one BRS-2 is able to collect 2 million gallons a day. Other skimmers work by corralling the oil, usually inefficiently, by dragging boom, over and under which much oil escapes before it can be collected. This machine works differently than all the others by using the force of motion for direct collection of oil and water, and can be more effective in conditions where other skimmers cannot even be used.

BP already has one of these new machines, which they have put to the test in the Gulf, and it has performed even better than expected. Production of more BRS-2 units is underway now. The technology is being leased by BP from the Petroleum and Environmental Clean Up Company, a Mobile, Alabama-based company whose owners are the inventors of this technology. _Source
One machine that can collect 2 million gallons a day by itself! It sounds promising. More information on this invention from video below. As always, mind the hype.

And then there is the supertanker option. And probably a lot of other ideas which may actually work, but which have gotten lost in all the noise. Eventually, the best ideas should work their way to the top of the stack.

Here's the deal: Humans are going to be drilling in deep water for the next several decades. And there will be spills -- spills far worse than the Macondo leak which has pushed President Obama well beyond his level of competency.

Current technology for dealing with deepwater oil well spills -- both at the wellhead and on the surface -- is abominably primitive and ineffectual. At least up until now. The disaster of the Macondo spill has spurred the implementation of technologies which may have had to wait for a decade to be tested, otherwise. When this happens again -- and it most assuredly will happen again somewhere in the world, many times -- the technology for dealing with it will have improved thanks to Macondo. Of course, most countries of the world will not go to nearly so much trouble for this amount of ecological impact. But the commercial impact is bound to spur a response even in other countries with less concern for the environment.

Better technology for preventing and dealing with disasters above and below is critical. At least for countries in North America, Europe, Oceania, etc. China is not as likely to be concerned with this level of ecological damage -- and China is rapidly ramping up drilling in the China Seas. Brasil is also increasing offshore drilling, and even Russia is looking to drill off Cuban and Venezuelan coasts. Better get ready.

BTW, a federal judge has come down hard on the Obama administrations ill-advised moratorium on offshore drilling in the Gulf. It has long been obvious that the entire Obama Interior / EPA crew is incompetent and dishonest beyond redemption. It is refreshing to find that others can see the obvious, as well.


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Singularity Summit in San Francisco, 14-15August

The Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence is holding its annual Singularity Summit in San Francisco on 14-15 August, 2010. Here is the program of events and speakers. A satellite conference, Advancing Substrate-Independent Minds, will be held on 16-17 August at the same venue -- the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco.

August is a good month to visit San Francisco, and there is no better setting for the Singularity Summit.

What is the singularity?

 The best-known Singularity theorist/promoter, inventor Ray Kurzweil, defines the concept as follows:

Within a few decades, machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence, leading to The Singularity -- technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history. The implications include the merger of biological and nonbiological intelligence, immortal software-based humans, and ultra-high levels of intelligence that expand outward in the universe at the speed of light.

Al Fin suspects that Mr. Kurzweil's time frame is a bit compressed. Any transformative technology must work within a larger framework, which will include political, economic, and cultural constraints.

Most optimistic prophets of a technological future failed to take into account the "Obama Effect" -- the subtle suppression of cutting edge thinking and developments as a result of a corrupt and inward-looking political regime of exponential debt combined with a pernicious deflationary / inflationary wealth destruction. The less wealth, the less support for visionary projects.

Several conferences in the late summer and early fall are worth going to, if only to exchange thoughts with other forward thinking persons who are trying to see their way through some significant logjams holding back societal progress. Besides the Singularity Summit, there is also the SENS Conference, the Seasteading Conference, a number of space conferences, and a a number of other conferences, seminars, workshops, and similar excuses to get away for a mind holiday and pick-me-up.

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Unprecedented Ocean Cooling?


Now that we have a network of ocean sensing satellites (NASA Aqua) we can finally start to obtain some reliable ocean temperature data. The oceans hold 1,000 times as much heat as does the atmosphere. The ocean is also 100 times as important as land area in terms of heat balance and transfer. So when the ocean starts to cool this fast, you know that a change is coming!
Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) measured by the AMSR-E instrument on NASA’s Aqua satellite continue their plunge as a predicted La Nina approaches.

...To give some idea of what is causing the global-average SST to fall so rapidly, I came up with an estimate of the change in reflected sunlight (shortwave, or SW flux) using our AMSR-E total integrated cloud water amounts....What this shows is an unusually large increase in reflected sunlight over the last several months, probably due to an increase in low cloud cover.

At this pace of cooling, I suspect that the second half of 2010 could ruin the chances of getting a record high global temperature for this year. _Spencer_via_Wattsupwiththat
More at links above.

A decline in ocean temperatures suggests a global heat deficit -- which runs contrary to the orthodox climate religion of Mr. Gore and Obama Pelosi. Winters have already started to grow colder, with many Northern Hemisphere ski resorts staying open into May or June this year. If the shift to La Nina is combined with a recently eerily quiet sun, the consequent cooling may be unpleasant.

If winters get too much colder, Obama Pelosi may have to reconsider their half-hatched plans for national energy starvation.


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21 June 2010

Western Civilisation Relentlessly Disappearing

Despite the denial of the disinformed, demographics is destiny. Demographic decline will lead to war. Civil wars, wars of ethnic secession and insurrection, wars of conquest from within and without. Crucial resources that are already scarce due to political and economic mismanagement will become almost unobtainable.

A new dark ages is a virtual inevitability, if the western world does not wake up to its accelerating decline due to debt and demography.

The Global Baby Bust
Europe's Baby Bust
America Alone (Google Books excerpt)
America Alone (Amazon page)
A Return to Pastoral Europe?
Fiscal Policy and Fertility in the US
Transition of Europe and Japan to labour shortage economies
Fascinating Philip Longman presentation on depopulation
Russian plans to reverse population decline
No Easy Answers

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20 June 2010

The Gulf of Mexico is Alive and Will Recover Promptly

The Gulf of Mexico recovered promptly from a much worse spill in 1979, Ixtoc I. Recovery from the Macondo spill should be appreciably quicker, given the greater distance from shore, lesser quantity of liquid, and lighter grade of hydrocarbon.
...the Gulf Coast will almost certainly see a greater financial impact than ecological one. Oil evaporates, degenerates and sinks as it sloshes around with currents.

So far, using conservative estimates, at least 126 Olympic-sized swimming pools could have been filled with all the leaking oil, according to Ron Kiene, professor of marine sciences at the University of South Alabama and the Sea Lab. Using larger estimates, that figure jumps to 216 pools.

By comparison, the water in the Gulf would fill up 1.1 trillion Olympic-sized swimming pools. _Al.com

The news media loves to blow up a tragedy into a world-ending crisis. It sells more advertising. Politicians, trial lawyers, and political activists of the faux environmentalist variety also enjoy inflating a tragedy into the apocalypse. It helps them make money, get elected, gain political clout.

But it makes the public stupid when they pay too much attention to these bastards of duplicity. Recovery efforts at the well head recovered over 20,000 barrels of oil over the past 24 hours. A fleet of oil-recovery barges and oil skimming boats are competing for oil slick to recover and skim. Beach cleaning crews spend most of their time wishing for more tar balls, just to have something to do. And the relief wells are running ahead of schedule.
The first well has now been drilled to "just under" 16,000 feet, Vanhegan said. The second is at 9,778 feet. _NOLA
"They're starting to close in on the well," Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said. "The last thousand feet is a slower process and has to be very exact. _NOLA
On the Development Driller II, one of two rigs working on the effort, BP wellsite leader Mickey Fruge said the well has reached a depth of roughly 5,000 feet below the seafloor. There's still another 8,000 feet to go.
The other well is deeper, but drilling superintendent Wendell Guidry says it's anyone's guess which team will intersect the damaged well first.
"The main thing is, you know, we try to keep the guys focused," Guidry said. "We're just treating this like we treat any other well that we drill."
Once a relief well intersects with the damaged well, BP plans to shoot heavy drilling mud down the well bore, then plug it with cement. _Al.com
A sober observation of the live spillcam over the past two weeks should have put to rest the breathless speculation by "academics" of "100,000 barrels a day or more spilled." The upper credible estimate for spill rate in the early days of the spill was 25,000 barrels per day. After all the efforts to stop the oil flow -- including an attempted "top kill plus junk shot" and the various shearing and sawing on the riser -- the flow was thought to have increased by roughly 20% or perhaps a bit more.

Visually comparing the flow at the wellhead over the past two weeks allowed one to see the flow without any recovery (when a surface fire on the Discovery Enterprise shut down the LMRP recovery temporarily) to the present where a combined recovery effort through the LMRP cap and the "top kill" manifold is said to be collecting just over 20,000 barrels per day.

There is a clear and indisputable reduction in flow -- Al Fin geological engineers estimate that between 1/2 and 2/3 s of the current flow is being recovered at the wellhead. That would leave roughly 10,000 to 15,000 barrels per day or so leaking into the Gulf, most of it evaporating or being recovered by skimmers and vacuum ships. Some of it will wash ashore as tarballs, and some will slowly emulsify and be metabolised by bacteria.

And life in the timeless waters of the Gulf will once again return to an uneasy balance with its human co-habitants.


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Stella, We Can Save 90% On Air Conditioning Bills!

When it comes to home comforts, few inventions can beat the air conditioner for its ability to help us tolerate the dog days of summer. The problem is, when it comes to energy-guzzlers, few inventions can beat the air conditioner.

But the National Renewable Energy Laboratory has invented a new air conditioning system that uses 50 to 90 percent less energy than the best available units. The Desiccant-Enhanced eVaporative air conditioner -- DEVap -- combines membranes, evaporative cooling and liquid desiccants in a way that has never been done before.

NREL mechanical engineer Eric Kozubal, who co-invented the system, says the goal is to revolutionize cooling while removing millions of metric tons of carbon from the air. It cools and dries the air in one step. Evaporative cooling, blowing air across a wet surface to promote evaporation, has long been used in swamp coolers, as Technology Review notes. The DEVap takes it a step further, dividing air into two streams that are separated by a polymer membrane.

Water passes through one airstream, making it cooler and wetter. The cooler air cools the membrane, which cools the air on the other side, without making that side any more humid.
Another process dries the air, making the system effective even in humid locales -- a big step toward reducing refrigeration-based air conditioning, which is used in most of the country and is responsible for about 5 percent of the nation's energy consumption. _Popsci
If you live in the hot, humid "big easy" otherwise known as N'wollens, staying cool through the muggy warmth of sprummerautumn can be expensive. But scientists at the US National Renewable Energy Lab have updated an old idea and brought it into the modern age -- by combining dehumidification with a "swamp-cooler" style evaporative cooler. By updating the technology, NREL researchers promise to cut 90% off the cost of cooling for New Orleans and other similar sweltering tropical and quasi-tropical warm spots.
What's new, Kozubal says, is a design that manages to merge evaporative cooling and desiccant drying into a cost-effective system. "It makes this type of air conditioning viable for commercial and residential processes for cooling," he says.

The industry is working on a variety of methods to improve the efficiency of air conditioning, Jacobi says, from the use of heat exchangers to improvements in the compression systems of traditional machines. "It's an area of great importance to the nation, because about a third of our nation's energy use is in buildings."

The U.S. uses about 100 quadrillion British Thermal Units each year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Up to 40 percent of that is used in buildings, with about 5 percent going to air conditioning. Kozubal says his system could cut that in half in less-humid areas and by up to 90 percent where humidity is high. "When you talk about a technology that can save 2 to 3 percent of the nation's entire energy supply, that's quite a lot," he says.

The desiccant used in the system is relatively harmless (calcium chloride is used in road salt), though its corrosiveness requires that metal be eliminated from the hardware. What's particularly attractive is that it replaces the chlorofluorocarbons that are used as the refrigerant in traditional air conditioners. Those CFCs can easily leak, and every kilogram of them provides the same greenhouse gas effect as about 2,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide.

Kozubal says it might take about five years to develop the system to a point where NREL can hand it off to industry for commercialization. The system is designed to replace existing systems without many changes, so it could be phased in as people upgrade their old air conditioners.

The desiccant can be reused simply by heating it up to boil off the water it's absorbed. In an industrial setting, that might be done using waste heat from another industrial process. In the home, natural gas or solar energy would work. In fact, Kozubal says, the setup could make solar thermal energy systems, which absorb sunlight to heat a home and its water, more cost effective. During hot summer days, solar energy that might otherwise go to waste could therefore actually help keep a building cool. _TechnologyReview

It is not the combination of evaporative cooling and dehumidification that is new. It is the way in which the two processes are combined into one integrated system.

Air conditioning has always been a huge obstacle to comfortable living off-the-grid for those living in the Eastern part of the United States. Too much power is required to cool a home in a hot humid environment, to expect a small solar or wind off-grid system to be able to keep up. But cut that power requirement by 90% and suddenly a lot of people who thought they'd never be able to comfortably declare independence from the power utility are suddenly emancipated.

Just let him in, Stella. He can explain. Everything.


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19 June 2010

Nuclear Renaissance vs. Obama Pelosi Energy Starvation


From coal to oil sands to oil shale to shale gas to offshore oil to arctic oil to nuclear energy -- the Obama Pelosi regime has been focused on shutting down all forms of reliable, large-scale energy to US industry and the US economy. The nuclear renaissance -- the sprouting up of large numbers of new, clean, safe nuclear power plants -- is a direct threat to the regime's plans. What are those plans? To force the US into the dead-end boondoggle of unreliable big wind and big solar, the quicksand suffocation death of the US economy.

The 6th blog carnival of nuclear energy is up at NEI Nuclear Notes (via Brian Wang). The 6th Carnival takes a look at the nuclear renaissance, among several other topics. Dieoff leftists will resist any form of abundant, clean, and reliable energy. But outside the US, it is no longer up to them. From the Carnival:

Despite what some may like you to believe, the nuclear renaissance is upon us. Don’t let anyone get away with telling you otherwise — they are badly misleading you.
How about this for some supporting statistics29 new reactors, totalling 26 gigawatts of electricity output (operating at high capacity factors without the need for energy storage/backup), will start operation in 13 different countries in the 2010 — 2012 period – that’s within the next 3 years (average reactor size is 880 MWe).
In a debate between Stewart Brand (pro-nuclear) and Mark Jacobson (anti-nuclear), Mark Jacobson tries to make the case that we can generate all of the energy that we need without nuclear power (and without fossil fuels) … one of Jacobson's main distortions is that nuclear power is slower to develop than solar and wind.
I am all in favor of building more solar and wind, but it is wrong to say that building a lot of it is faster than building nuclear power. Nuclear power increased by 300% since the 1980s in the United States. Since 1987 the US alone has added 345 TWH of nuclear which is more than the entire OECD has now for solar, wind and geothermal.
The nuclear renaissance is on -- but not in Obama Pelosi's US. The reich is focused upon energy starvation for the US, and nuclear power just provides too much energy and is too sustainable for too long -- particularly when Gen III and Gen IV reactors are combined in complementary fuel and power generation.

Gen III and Gen IV reactors will do away with the problem of persistent nuclear waste. And just in case you are worried about nuclear weapons proliferation from nuclear waste -- don't be. Reactor grade plutonium in nuclear waste is not weaponisable (via Charles Barton).

The only hope for the US to break out of the Obama depression and energy starvation is to erase the regime and start again with a clean slate of more rational actors.

Go to the Carnival of Nuclear Energy #6 for more ideas and links.

Adapted from an earlier posting at Al Fin Energy


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