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The Real Fryed Fish


God's illgitament son
Location: state of confusion

Total posts: 1489
Posted:Ok so as I am sure some (if not most) of you know the Kyoto pact was inacted today. Now the devide is split down the middle on if this will do any good, so I pose this question to you........

What if global warming is a natural process? What if the planet warming, the polar caps melting, and the eventual flooding of Earth is supose to happen?

Now I am not disputing the fact that we do need to start taking ALOT better care of this planet. Deforestation, the polluting of our ocean and seas, and the general watse we produce is all a major problem; and I am sure it plays at least a small part in global warming...........but what if this is going to happen no matter what we do?


You can't avoid pain by fencing yourself from it.
Some times you need the help of others more than anything else
But you have to let them close enough to help......
People want to be needed, I found that out too

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The Real Fryed Fish


God's illgitament son
Location: state of confusion

Total posts: 1489
Posted:Written by: Gnarly Cranium

Fryed_Fish :
.......Define 'natural'? Sure the planet has its little ups and downs. Like ice ages. But are you REALLY suggesting that our current situation has nothing at all to do with us???




First off welcome to HoP, noticed this was your fist post, we have an intro section you may want to check out wink

no i am not suggesting that this has nothing to do with us, (read my first post a little closer) what i am suggesting, is that maby, just maby, we are not the only cause, and possibly not even the MAIN cause. for all we know this is what our planet goes threw every few thousand years or so........look at current weather patterns........my state was hit 4 hurricanes in 2 mounths (roughly) the west coast of the states was hit with sever storms causing mud slide etc. el nino is one of the srtongest (acording to local media, but i dont trust them to much) the earth quake fallowed by that devistatiing tsunami....moment of silence.......................................................the volcano in washington state (the name escapes me) that woke up this year, granted it didnt blow up, but its awake.......

all this says to me that the world is going threw some changes, and maby global warming is part of that..............is that clear enough?


You can't avoid pain by fencing yourself from it.
Some times you need the help of others more than anything else
But you have to let them close enough to help......
People want to be needed, I found that out too

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The Real Fryed Fish


God's illgitament son
Location: state of confusion

Total posts: 1489
Posted:Written by: Gnarly Cranium

Fryed_Fish :
Do you have any imagination at all? Can you even begin to wrap your brain around what this means?

WHY the hell do people insist on acting like this might all just be a bad dream or something? Common sense people! I mean come ON!! Wake up!!





yes i do have an imagination, and, from looks of it, yours is running away with you......as for the secon part, no one is acting like this might be a bad dream, how ever you are OVER REACTING TO A TOPIC ON AN INTER_NET MESSGE BOARD!!! calm down some bro, before you piss people off.....just a thought


You can't avoid pain by fencing yourself from it.
Some times you need the help of others more than anything else
But you have to let them close enough to help......
People want to be needed, I found that out too

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Gnarly Cranium
SILVER Member since Feb 2005

Gnarly Cranium

member
Location: San Francisco, USA

Total posts: 186
Posted:Plate tectonics is not new.



That volcano in Washington, Mt St Helens, exploded violently in 1980 (the same day I was born actually), and has been quietly sneezing up a bit of ash every few months ever since. It has been 'awake' for thousands of years, just like all sorts of other volcanoes in the Cascade range (I live in that area, I see the steam vents when I go skiing) and thousands of other volcanoes throughout the world.



The earthquake in Indonesia had been coming for a long time, they get one that big in that region every 300 or 400 years. Actually we're due for the exact same type/size of earthquake where I live too (though we're lucky enough to have plenty of seismometers and warning systems, and we don't live by the millions on lowlying islands...).



The climate changes that are coming are far bigger than just a few extra hurricanes and mudslides. We could end up with hurricanes in the Pacific, or heck, just about anyplace else, who knows. Earthquakes aren't likely to be part of it though, we have nothing to do with those. (that 9 in Indonesia was a release of energy equivalent to 1,000 H-bombs going off at once... we're almost ants compared to that and atmosphere temperature is irrelevant)



'For all we know'...? Scientists aren't dumb. With ice cores from the Antarctic sheets they can get exact samples of what the atmosphere's content was like hundreds of thousands of years ago. From fossils they have a pretty clear idea of how much of what was alive when. We may not be EXACTLY right about everything, but we know enough to be pretty sure how it all works and just what goes on 'every few thousand years' and heck, even every few million. Close enough, anyway.



*cough* anyway, I've been lurking around here for a few weeks, and was signing up anyway to ask poi questions (I just ordered a fuzzy pair to start learning, yay!) and then this came along and got me all gnashy, heheh. Think I've looked over the intro stuff already. So hi! smile



*edit*(overreacting? eh? Not overreacting. this ain't just a message board topic... been seeing all sorts of ridiculous stuff about this for years, it's a major peeve of mine... wasn't hollering at you specifically just the world in general *shakes fist at it*)

EDITED_BY: Gnarly Cranium (1108583831)


"Ours is not to question The Head; it is enough to revel in the ubiquitous inanity of The Head, the unwanted proximity of The Head, the unrelenting HellPresence of The Head, indeed the very UNYIELDING IRRELEVANCE of The Head!" --Revelation X

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The Real Fryed Fish


God's illgitament son
Location: state of confusion

Total posts: 1489
Posted:Written by: Gnarly Cranium

been seeing all sorts of ridiculous stuff about this for years, it's a major peeve of mine... wasn't hollering at you specifically just the world in general *shakes fist at it*)



just make that part a little more clear next time bro

beerchug no worries


You can't avoid pain by fencing yourself from it.
Some times you need the help of others more than anything else
But you have to let them close enough to help......
People want to be needed, I found that out too

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Prometheus


Prometheus

Diamond In The Rough
Location: Richmond, Virginia

Total posts: 459
Posted:Written by: Gnarly Cranium

Even if it -was- a 'natural' process and if it IS 'supose' to happen, we are in BAD trouble. Okay okay the Earth is not going to implode. Life (of some form) will survive. But like George Carlin says, "The planet is fine! .......The PEOPLE are censored."



This would be my point. We aren't in danger of causing the planet any harm. We are destroying our tiny little corner of it. I'm just sick of environmentalists clamoring that the planet is in danger. WE are in danger. We need to maintain fresh water supplies, edible food and sources of energy to survive. Our current rate of pollution is working against that. But don't try to imply that we are damaging or affecting the Earth, that's just arrogance. We're damaging ourselves. Period.


Dance like it hurts; Love like you need money; Work like someone is watching.

Never criticize someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes. That way, when you DO criticize them, you are a mile away, and you have their shoes.

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Sym
BRONZE Member since Sep 2004

Sym

Geek-enviro-hippy priest
Location: Diss, Norfolk, United Kingdom

Total posts: 1858
Posted:Ok, I cant really add anything to what vanize said.
Hes (of cause) right in saying that we dont know much about it. I thought (wrongly it seems) that the Permian extinction was assumed my most to have been caused by the Siberian Traps or volcanoes. It seems to be a plausible aid to the changes in that it cant have helped per se.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permian_extinction?http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming
br>We seem to be swapping freely between geological and human scales here. Geologically speaking were not looking at much here. (again, with vanizes points taken in to consideration). But I think we have a great deal to do with the speeding up of the changes. I think we all agree that _something_ causes climate change? Or drastic change at least. I think Humans are doing a lot of damage to the earth (no...not permanent, I know the earth is going to be ok) all for what? I think we need to change in a big way and soon, at least think of your grandchildren, or there grandchildren.

FF, your question really was what if. Well it is a natural process. There is no more point to it than there is us talking about it (take from that what you want).

Gnarly Cranium: We cant assume that the dramatic weather is to do with us, but it is a coincidence. As you rightly say, the earth quakes cant really be pinned on us at all.
Scientists aren't dumb I think vanize has showed us that ;-) We might have a load of data from loads of places but its all to do with how one interprets it. For example, we might know that the CO2 levels went up by x amount at y time, but thats it. Its up to us to find out why and most of the time we have to guess. At the moment there are a few schools of thought.


There's too many home fires burning and not enough trees

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snork


member


Total posts: 52
Posted:vanize that's why I said several critical failures.. like large holes draining all the coolant.. and then the backup coolant not comeing in for some reason, etc etc..

from what I understand, even if they do melt down, it wont be as terrible as chenyable. at worst it would destroy the reactor but it wouldn't escape all the barriers and whatnot.


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=Flashpoint=
SILVER Member since Sep 2004

=Flashpoint=

Pasta of Muppets
Location: in the interwebs..., United Ki...

Total posts: 2719
Posted:You want an extinction event? Try Yellowstone national Park blowing up. All of it. There's a geothermal bloom happening under there now, and any second it could go boom.

Bye Bye America


ohmygodlaserbeamspewpewpew!
ubbrollsmileubbrollsmileubbrollsmileubbrollsmile

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Pyrolific
BRONZE Member since Jan 2001

Returning to a unique state of Equilibrium
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Total posts: 3289
Posted:I wonder if a plane with a few hijackers flying into a nuclear reactor would be enough to cause a meltdown?

I think the vast majority of scientists are fairly sure that human actions are causing global warming at the never-before-seen rate we have today.

I'm amazed that people dont seem to care about the amount of human suffering that will occur / is occuring as a result of global warming and climate change. Do you really need a flood or a mudslide to wash away your family before you will start caring? or perhaps a wild fire? how will you drive your SUV to Walmart if a twister just blew it away?

It just constantly amazes me that people seem to think that climate change is something that will happen elsewhere.

we all live on the same planet folks, and we better start pulling together before it gets really ugly for everyone (except the mega rich).

Josh


--
Help! My personality got stuck in this signature machine and I cant get it out!

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vanize
SILVER Member since Aug 2001

vanize

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Austin, Texas, USA

Total posts: 3899
Posted:Written by: Sym_


Scientists aren't dumb I think vanize has showed us that ;-) We might have a load of data from loads of places but its all to do with how one interprets it. For example, we might know that the CO2 levels went up by x amount at y time, but thats it. Its up to us to find out why and most of the time we have to guess. At the moment there are a few schools of thought.





Thank you Sym. I'd also like to point out that we do have said core ice samples and such, but they require interpretation and cross referenceing to a large degree. you can say, relative to this or that, this era was different in such and such a way, but you can't know when EXECTLY that was, just make a good guess and put some rather large error bars on it. Few things in science outside of the lab are "EXACT". heck - I work with direct measurements of of atmospheric density variations measured directly from a satellite in orbit above the earth, and I can't even promise "EXACT", and I am working with the best technology in real time, not some inference from an ice core that has had millions of years and hundreds of variables working on it.



Gnarly Cranium is guilty of a thing that even many scientists are guilty of - assuming that all science is hard fact. it is not. when someone talks of ice cores and conclusions from them, he sells it to the press and the public as "here is what we learned" because science gets funded off of "pretty pictures" and "gee-wiz" factoids, but when research is presented to the science community itself, it is more like, "well, this indicates that maybe something like that could have happened". I've seen the lectures for scientists for global warming, extinctions, and all the rest many times, and I assure you there is nothing positively and precisely known about much in the past, and error bars are generally quite huge and invite copiuos sceptisicm most times. Yes there were dinosaurs and extinctions and warmer periods and periods of increased volcanic activity and all that - these things happened, but when it happened and what effect and all that is a patchwork of good guesses that can only be fit into a general timeline that is not specific enough to really lend itself credibly to cause and effect, but only specualtion.



science is even taught to university science students as hard fact, but when you get into grad school, you start to learn the the philosophy of it, rather than the facade (there is a reason the highest degree is called a Philosophy degree - Ph.D.)



Anyway, science isn't always exact. Scientists HAVE to admit this, or they lose their credibility, and we are no so stupid as to do that. We are stupid enough to spend years and years in school and being basically slave labor as grad students for the reward of crappy paying and hard to find jobs that are always under threat of being cut by the financial whimps and irresponsibility of whatever current government there is though...


-v-

Wiederstand ist Zwecklos!

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vanize
SILVER Member since Aug 2001

vanize

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Austin, Texas, USA

Total posts: 3899
Posted:Written by: snork

vanize that's why I said several critical failures.. like large holes draining all the coolant.. and then the backup coolant not comeing in for some reason, etc etc..

from what I understand, even if they do melt down, it wont be as terrible as chenyable. at worst it would destroy the reactor but it wouldn't escape all the barriers and whatnot.



exacatly. it wold have to be a serious of unlikely and/or premeditated events, and even then, you are correct in saying that a true meltdown is extremely unlikely with a modern reactor, even in the case of an increadly detailed and well planned terrorist attack.


-v-

Wiederstand ist Zwecklos!

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funky_hats


funky_hats

eating apples with chopsticks can be rather difficult
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Total posts: 167
Posted:ummm but they call it the green house effect...?
Isnt a green house used to keep the warmth in? so if there was a hole in it, all the warmth would be let out, the heat wouldnt come in...
so maybe they just named it incorectly, or the whole concept is gobbledegook. confused


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arashi


arashi

Pooh-Bah
Location: austin,tx

Total posts: 2364
Posted:I only have one thing to say on this topic. stop yer grinnin and drop yer linen.

our algae and phytoplankton are likely toast, so our O2 and seafood's out too. oh well, sorry, third world civilization. you like beef or what? wanna buy some fresh recycled air?
warning: blasphemous humor;
Written by: vanize

Scientists HAVE to admit this, or they lose their credibility, and we are no so stupid as to do that. We are stupid enough to spend years and years in school and being basically slave labor as grad students for the reward of crappy paying and hard to find jobs that are always under threat of being cut by the financial whimps and irresponsibility of whatever current government there is though...



organizes a lineup of virgins bathed in honey
here ya go old pal... pick 72. allah loves you.


-Such a price the gods exact for song: to become what we sing
-Seek freedom and become captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty.
-When the center of the storm does not move, you are in its path.

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vanize
SILVER Member since Aug 2001

vanize

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Austin, Texas, USA

Total posts: 3899
Posted:honey.... I LOVE honey! ubblove

-v-

Wiederstand ist Zwecklos!

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Sym
BRONZE Member since Sep 2004

Sym

Geek-enviro-hippy priest
Location: Diss, Norfolk, United Kingdom

Total posts: 1858
Posted:Someone once said that a scientist isnt special because of what he knows, hes special because of the way he goes about finding things out. (Probably a massive misquote)

It takes many years for a scientist to say something happened or didnt happen and say it without doubt or controversy. Unfortunately the media seem to want a sound byte fact from them so they can make a witty headline out if it. Most people just read the headline without ever know the full story (or wanting to know!).

OWD, you might want to read the following:
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=105
br>http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=110

I dont know much about it, and Ive only read the first one. For anyone who has a RSS reader that they use a lot there are a few good blogs Ive been reading for a few months now:

http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/index.rdf
br>http://www.corante.com/loom/index.xml
http://www.chriscmooney.com/rss.asp
br>

funky_hats, the greenhouse effect does not refer to green houses. Its a massive and incorrect simplification to think of the greenhouse effect as a greenhouse. I dont know much about it but I know that glass green house work by preventing convection and the greenhouse effect prevents (or lessens) radiation loss. They are not the same.

I guess the name is misleading and having a different name would help people think about it as a different thing.


There's too many home fires burning and not enough trees

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vanize
SILVER Member since Aug 2001

vanize

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Austin, Texas, USA

Total posts: 3899
Posted:actually in the beginning it was thought that greenhouse gasses would work about like a greenhouse, but that is now recognized as a gross oversimplification. the name stuck though. but in basic theory, what a green house does is let in visible light thru the glass, that light is absorbed by the ground and then re-radiated at heat energy instead of light energy (same thing, just different frequencys of EM radiation, one we feel, the other we see). while glass is clear to visible light, it is opaque to infrared light (heat), so the heat cannot get out. so basically the greenhouse is a way to trap light energy and keep it as heat energy using the ground as the energy changing device, and the glass as a sort of one way energy door. greenhouse gasses do more or less the same thing. CO2 (for example) does not effectly scatter visble light, but it does scatter infrared light, which is analogous to but not exactly like being opaque to it like the glass of a greenhouse is.

where things get more complicated is that most greenhouse gases are also things that interact with both living and non living matter, unlike glass. it is totally unclear what kind of dynamic equilibria both the living and non living parts of earth have with various atmospheric gas quantities. change one thing, and other things change in response, possibly mitigating the first change (which is what is meant by dynamic euilibrium - things change in order to keep things the same), and then what does that change do to affect other things? it all becomes very chaotic very quickly, and even if you could describe it mathematically or model it with a simulation, you would probably find non-unique answers, meaning you lack the ability to predict even if you do have a clue as to how the system works, which we really don't anyway.

and that is how greenhouse gasses are different from a greenhouse - a greenhouse works in a very predictable fashion.


-v-

Wiederstand ist Zwecklos!

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Prometheus


Prometheus

Diamond In The Rough
Location: Richmond, Virginia

Total posts: 459
Posted:Written by: Josh

I wonder if a plane with a few hijackers flying into a nuclear reactor would be enough to cause a meltdown?


It's highly improbable. When a nuclear meltdown occurs, the fuel core actually melts, resulting in a dangerous release of radiation. In most cases, the large containment structure would prevent radioactivity from escaping. eek

A plane has crashing into the structure wouldn't cause a meltdown, but it could result in radioactive contamination that would certainly be a big problem. Last I heard, most reactors are significantly vulnerable to a large projectile attack. But then, until very recently, their biggest concern was the China Syndrome...


Dance like it hurts; Love like you need money; Work like someone is watching.

Never criticize someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes. That way, when you DO criticize them, you are a mile away, and you have their shoes.

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snork


member


Total posts: 52
Posted:Well, a plane smashed the pentagon, and only damaged one section because it had a lot of high pressure sprinklers and fire control systems, and was generally built to be strong. Unlike the WTC that was built to survive earth quakes and wind, not protect agaisnt bombs or contain massive steam explosions and melt downs which are possible in a reactor.. Not all but a lot of reactors have multiple very large barriers between the exterior and the reactor. Im guessing a plane wouldn't penetrate through the barriers.. but it's a pretty big guess.



and if anyone brings up the A MISSLE HIT THE PENTAGON thing, ill skin you alive.

EDITED_BY: snork (1108661072)


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Drutt


Drutt

newbie


Total posts: 3
Posted:Hello everyone - not posted before but I've been reading stuff on this site for about 4 years.

I should probably stay out of this one as I work for an environmental charity and will get really worked up, but I wanted to say a couple of things.

A lot of you have talked about the fact that the Earth has lived through Climate shifts before, and I can understand what you're saying but it has never had to endure the kind of abuse which we have inflicted on it since the industiral revolution. The environment has limits to the resources it can offer us, and we have refused to live in harmony with it. Some of you have talked about nuclear power being a solution, but I just don't see how anyone can think that. Yes, it will provide a quicker alternative to fossil fuels than renewables, but it's not the answer. If we decide to build more nuclear power plants as an alternative to fossil fuels we will end up creating a great deal of radioactive waste which will continue to exist for hundreds of thousands of years.


My personal opinion is that we all need to take responsibility for our beautifulplanet and start taking care of it. I also think that the reason many people are so keen on nuclear power is that it is the one proposed solution which does not involve any of us personally modifying our lives.

Many people are never going to walk instead of drive their car, have solar panels fitted on the roof of thier house, recycle, or use ethically sourced products, because that might involve people putting themselves out.

The government should be investing in renewables instead of nuclear, public transport instead of new roads, organic farming instead of supermarkets and GM and on educating the next generation about how to live an environmentally friendly, ethical life. They should be putting a stop to new incinerators being built and work on recycling schemes, and puting a stop to ANY airport expansion.

I could be wrong though, maybe this is all completely natural.

wink


Be the change that you want to see in the world

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Sym
BRONZE Member since Sep 2004

Sym

Geek-enviro-hippy priest
Location: Diss, Norfolk, United Kingdom

Total posts: 1858
Posted:I think this could get out of hand from now on...

Drutt, Welcome. I hear you, but I don't 100% agree with you on every point you made. However, I don't think this is the place to talk about some of them - Maybe we (you) should start threads to talk about them.

I know, I know, I've not stayed on topic 100%, but some things like GM and the highs and lows of nuclear power might get us more off topic still...


There's too many home fires burning and not enough trees

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spritie
SILVER Member since Sep 2001

spritie

Pooh-Bah
Location: Galveston, TX, USA

Total posts: 2014
Posted:Sym, I think all things that Drutt mentioned are very applicable to this thread as well as global warming.

Drutt, I agree with what you have said, and think it was a perfect post for your first one. Welcome aboard. What our planet is undergoing at the moment is natural, but we are doing a bit more than just helping it along at the moment. I wish big industry would see that the goal isn't to just make money. We need to preserve this wonderful planet that we are living on both for our health and for it's health.


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Drutt


Drutt

newbie


Total posts: 3
Posted:Sym - Fair enough, but most of the threads on this board end up evolving into something else. There's a difference between deliberately trying to change the topic of a thread and posting the feelings that a previous post brought up. I'll leave it up to the mods to let me know when I should start a new thread beacuse If I'd have posted a new thread about nuclear power I probably would have been directed to this thread and told to close mine. I respect your opinion but it was my first post, give me a break. wink biggrin

spritie - Thanks for the welcome. I agree with what you say completely.

I spend my days campaigning to stop governemnts and big business destroying the planet and abusing human rights so maybe I'm just a bit biased!!
I really do see how if you sit too far on either side of the discussion you can twist the facts to suit your argument but I want to die being able to say that I left this planet in a better (or at least as good a) state than I found it in. The thing is - I know for sure that recycling and being very energy concious isn't going to damage the environment, so whether human beings are causing climate change or not (which I think they clearly are) isn't it better to be on the safe side??


Be the change that you want to see in the world

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Prometheus


Prometheus

Diamond In The Rough
Location: Richmond, Virginia

Total posts: 459
Posted:Written by: snork
and if anyone brings up the A MISSLE HIT THE PENTAGON thing, ill skin you alive.



It wasn't a missile.

It was a drone aircraft with an explosive device. ubbrollsmile

But that's a whole 'nother thread... biggrin


Dance like it hurts; Love like you need money; Work like someone is watching.

Never criticize someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes. That way, when you DO criticize them, you are a mile away, and you have their shoes.

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snork


member


Total posts: 52
Posted:and all the crew and passengers were.. drone people substituted with real people at birth.

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Gnarly Cranium
SILVER Member since Feb 2005

Gnarly Cranium

member
Location: San Francisco, USA

Total posts: 186
Posted:May as well also note, the greenhouse effect keeps us alive. Without enough of those gases up there keeping us warm, the planet would be crazily cold-- like Mars. The trouble is, the life that exists here now is adapted to live within a very narrow range of overall global temperature and climate behavior. A 0.3% shift in temperature is enough to cause mayhem. (On the niftier side, if we go to Mars, a century or so of manufacturing greenhouse gases there could heat it up to livable conditions. It would actually be pretty damn simple to terraform Mars-- it's like a handy-dandy freezedried planet just waiting for a bit of water and a trip to the microwave. And with no indigenous life to worry about trampling or getting diseases and whatnot from, really we couldn't ask for a more ideal potential colony.)



In somewhat encouraging/disturbing news, I saw a report last night that if the thermohaline cycle of the gulf stream DOES shift (due to massive influx of fresh water from melting glaciers in eurasia and melting Greenland), it may actually bring a cooling effect. There's some evidence that the gulf stream may have shut on and off 6-8 times in the past 10,000 years since the end of the last ice age, each time causing cooling (most recently in the 1830s, causing famine and millions of deaths). That may buy us some time, or it might just make things worse, who knows.





Oh... and as for all this stuff about nuclear reactors. There's no point bothering with anything so psychotically dangerous. There are PLENTY of better ways to get power. Hydrogen, for one-- which can be manufactured by nothing more radioactive or pollutive than algae, or even just taken straight from water. Course that still burns, which means co2, but at least there's nothing nastier coming out. Solar power isn't the greatest either, since solar panels themselves are so expensive and polluting to manufacture to begin with... but as soon as we can build a solar collector in space (which actually we're pretty close to, just $7 billion or so to make a Jacob's Ladder once buckminsterfullerine strands are long enough to build one) we'd have damn near free power for pretty much -everybody-. It's not hard. People just won't do it cause certain groups would lose money.







*edit* Drone people?? Oo!! Are those like pod people???

EDITED_BY: Gnarly Cranium (1108677547)


"Ours is not to question The Head; it is enough to revel in the ubiquitous inanity of The Head, the unwanted proximity of The Head, the unrelenting HellPresence of The Head, indeed the very UNYIELDING IRRELEVANCE of The Head!" --Revelation X

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snork


member


Total posts: 52
Posted:unfortunatly the algae is to slow to actually have any practical effect,

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Sym
BRONZE Member since Sep 2004

Sym

Geek-enviro-hippy priest
Location: Diss, Norfolk, United Kingdom

Total posts: 1858
Posted:Drutt, Sorry dude, I do think that talking about GM food is a little off topic, but as you say most threads go off topic anyway. But thats no reason for everyone to do so! Anyway, seeing as this is my 2nd post in this thread alone where Ive half annoyed someone I should just shut up! Sorry and welcome again. At least you chose a good thread to make your first post in; you could have asked how to make colored flames or something!

Spritie, point taken, see above.

I think that _some_ campaigns have has some very good results, but some have had some very bad ones. Im with vanize on the nuclear power thing, I also think its about the only realistic option in the short term. The waste wont ever go away, but its not _bad_ for the environment as such. That is to say that it could be very bad but its not bad if its disposed of well. Where as burning fossil fuels is inherently bad. As I say, this is what I think about it and I dont expect to change anyones mind with this post! Im getting out of my depth here (looks at vanize for factual support!) Im just a simple amateur biologist! Ill talk about GM for as long as you want to!

Fryed Fish, do you have an answer you are happy with? Or was the question rhetorical?


There's too many home fires burning and not enough trees

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vanize
SILVER Member since Aug 2001

vanize

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Austin, Texas, USA

Total posts: 3899
Posted:yeah, well, I don't want to jump on what gnarly cranium said again, but hydrogen generally isn't a good power source - it does burn clean, but it takes more energy to produce than you get out of burning it. the ash from burning hydrogen is water BTW, not CO2. and it takes more energy to turn water back into hydrogen and oxygen than you get out of burrning it afterwards, and thanks to entropy that will always be the case.



The algae thing does show some limited promise, but that is a projct that has been ongoing for more than 60 years and they are just now starting to get it to work, and at large expense to produce only small amounts of hydrogen so far. Besides, that is only a (very inneficient) case of using solar power to do the water to hydrogen cracking for you (follow up point to this later)



Hydrogen is extremely dangerous to transport and combust. you can also use it in fuel cells too, but fuel cells are very expensive to produce and maintain due to the amount of platinum needed for the catalyst. platinum is quite rare and dificult to mine. the waste from the mining and ore refining process is hugely polluting too. research is being done to find other catalysists besides platinum, but it is not progressing well.



Besides, at best the algae requires vast amounts of sunlight - and even at ideal hydrogen production rates is less efficient at producing power for a given area of sunlight falling on the earth than even moderately efficient solar energy cells or collectors. But then again, producing solar cells creates a disproportionate amount of industrial waste for the amount of energy you get from them.



But solar energy is still an interesting idea (at least till you start looking at the numbers). Solar energy collectors in the form of focusing mirrors super-heating to run steam turbines is currently the best idea I know using present technology for a clean energy source, but to supply the power needed for all of north america, you would need a land area about 500 kilometers by 500 kilometers (taking into account all the various forms of inefficiency involved - maybe as much as 1000 kilometers by 1000 for an extra factor of 4 margin of error in that regard). so then, we would only have to destroy a habitate the half the size of arizona (or twice the size for the 1000 by 1000 arrray) to replace all the coal, petrolium and nuclear plants in the united states (and that is our best solar option - the algae farms would be bigger and produce far more industrial waste in the forms of sulphates (directly) and other industrial wastes from producing the hydrogen only permiable membranes, not to mention the problems associated with containing and transporting so much hydrogen and then burning it later - solar energy collectors at least directly energy in the power lines already)



so, that is what we are looking at. if we want a sun based energy, we have to give over a vast tract of land for it and face up to the fact that will will compltetly destroy any and all eco systems therein, and when our power needs double, as they will in the next ten years, then we will have to do it again to another equal sized tract of land , and when they double again from that last number in another ten years after that, literally the entire land area of the southwestern united states will be required to harness enough solar energy to supply north america. sounds great, doesn't it? Of course solar energy technology will be better and more efficient by then - mayby by a factor of 2 or 3 (a factor of 4 would bring you up to 100% efficient, which is impossible, and 50% would be amazing enough to acheive), but you think all that infrastructure will get rebuilt? I don't. Imagine how much it would cost in the first place, and then to just scap it and rebuild it?



Admittedly, the solar power won't all be collected at one site as I have implied, but you still need that equivelent area for north america alone, and that is still vast - basically every city would need an equivently sized solar array set out for it in a perpetually sunny area. noe some cities (like Pheonix Arizona, could get say 20% of their portion fit onto their rooftops or so, but only if you amke a lot of laws and force a lot of people to do things they don't want to do to their houses and buildings. Basically every North American currently needs the equivelent of about 20 sqaure meters of solar power even under the best sunlight conditions and best efficiency you could possibly hope for, and if the don't live in LA or Pheonix, considerable more unless you set their array up far away from them in a sunny area. more realisitically you need 3 or 4 times that - 1/4 of a football field per person assuming things are working right all the time (which they won't). where are you gonna put 400 million+ of those? And given Europes climate, distance from the equator (lower angle of sunlight means less energy recieved from the sun), and population density, solar power is simply not capable of providing them with enough energy because there is not enough land space - all they could do is by a chunk of africa and pipe in the enrgy - not very realistic.



But nuclear power can do the job without hardly even getting in the way. if all America's coal and petrolium burning power plants were nuclear, they could supply that amount of energy needed even after 2 or 3 doublings without any increase over the area now taken up by those fossile fuel plants, which really isn't much. And containment of nuclear waste isn't such a problem if you do it responsibly. Mind you it will be a problem after a while (in fifty years things might start getting worrysome admittedly). And yes nuclear waste is radioactive for a long time, but it is recycleable (though recycling is not yet done for cost efficiency reasons, though that will be cost effective soon) and really the challenge of continaing it effectly is less costly and probably less enviromentally damaging if done properly than almost any other power sourse we could now realistically use.



"Every 12-24 months, U.S. plants are shut down and the oldest fuel assemblies are removed and replaced. All of the country's nuclear power plants together produce about 2,000 metric tons of used fuel annually. To put this in perspective, all the used fuel produced to date by the U.S. nuclear energy industry in more than 40 years of operationsome 40,000 metric tonswould cover an area the size of a football field to a depth of about five yards, if the fuel assemblies were stacked side by side and laid end to end."



currently nuclear power accounts for about 1/5th the energy used by the USA. so powering the USA completely by nuclear fuel would create another equal volume of waste every 4 years. in 400 years, you would have about 400 football field sized waste disposal areas around the USA (ok, yes, I have dropped my previous energy consumption doubling arguments, so really in about 50 years we would have about 100 of these sized sites). Heavens wouldn't that be horrible? well, it is no walk in the park to be sure, but I think it is a far sight better than having literally billions of tons of CO2, CO, sulfer oxides, and other even nastier pollutants poured into our communal atmosphere every year completely uncontained and uncontainable, causing a whole host of health problems for the whole world in increasing severity over time, not to mention global warming - which nuclear plants DO NOT contribute to beyond adding a little more water vapor to the air (H2O is also a greenhouse gas, which is why humid areas do not cool off so much at night as do say deserts).



In the long run, nuclear power won't save the day anyway, but it is a reasonable stop gap measure for the next several decades till we get working fusion reactors online and its waste can be effectivly contained. the day of fusion power is coming, and the only real pollutant from that is the completely innert and non-greenhouse gas, Helium. No global warming, no ozone holes, and under ideal conditions, one bathtub full of sea water could power new york city for a month, releasing only small amounts of oxygen and helium as by products (ever so slightly less than a bathtub full actually). Halliluja! But we need another 50 years to be able to get those fusion power plants going. It is definitely possible, and already starting severl years ago reactions have taken place in the lab where more energy was produced from a fusion reaction than went into making the reaction happen - including the energy required to crack water into hydrogen, make deuterium from the hydrogen, and the energy cost of powering up the research reactor (the UK was the first to pull off this scientific and enginnering feat, which was a sort of hoply grail to the science community - props to them). And continuously steps are taken forward to the goal of cost effective fusion reactors, which should realistically be able to supply mankinds energy needs indefinitely as technology developes once we have them.



But we need a stop gap till that day comes. Solar power can do part of it, but not a majority of it unless we commit vast tracts of land to being buldozed and construct something equivilent in size to all our cities put together (serously doubt that will happen) or we contruct space based solar energy generators (significantly greater collector efficiency in space and ability to make something far flimsier in zero-g means the cost of assembling solar arays in space may be compettitve with the cost of setting them up on the ground in the near future). Fossil fuels are dirty, and will be gone soon anyway. nuclear (fission) power is really our only choice till fusion power is ready for us to use.



if you want to save the world from the calamity of our own power use, then the most important thing you can do is urge your local politicians to put as much government money into fusion power research as possible. more research money = faster development. And don't forget to kill all the ultra rich and powerful oil company lobbyists that will be fighting against you.


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Gnarly Cranium
SILVER Member since Feb 2005

Gnarly Cranium

member
Location: San Francisco, USA

Total posts: 186
Posted:That's why solar collectors are better put in space. Far more efficient up there anyway. The power could be beamed down as microwaves, or pumped down a jacob's ladder. A jacob's ladder can also be used for power all by itself, if it's long enough to fling payloads (like nuclear waste!) out into space (into the sun!) on its own.

I'm not sure where fusion is right now, I know I saw a bit a while back about semispherical reactor rooms full of lasers that all fire at a teeny nugget of fuel, the whole process looked wicked, heh.


"Ours is not to question The Head; it is enough to revel in the ubiquitous inanity of The Head, the unwanted proximity of The Head, the unrelenting HellPresence of The Head, indeed the very UNYIELDING IRRELEVANCE of The Head!" --Revelation X

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vanize
SILVER Member since Aug 2001

vanize

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Austin, Texas, USA

Total posts: 3899
Posted:yeah - solar collectors in space is actually a reasonable idea, we just need to invest in space travel a little more first.



Fusion power is definitely the power source of tomorrow, unfortunately it is not ready to be the power source of today.



Personally I wouldn't want to fling nuclear waste into the sun, as it is actually a very valuable resource, it is just that we have not yet chosen to invest in utilizing it. I 100% feel that it should be stored, as it will certainly come in very handy one day once things get expensive enough to make it worthwhile to take a second look at it. Technically you should be able to get energy out of it all the way till you've reacted it into non radioactive lead. you just have to invest in developing the processes to do that.



lots of investing for the energy of tomorrow - money money money, and that is why we still have our coal burning plants from 80 years ago, because no one, not even we consumers who are all so worried about it, wants to invest their money in it. so It will go slow, and alternative energies won't arrive until the ones we have now become expenive enough to make the investment seem profitable quickly.



it is not till global warming is so evident that governments actually see the finacial fallout from it in undeniable ways that things will really be done about it, and until then all the scientists and eco-activists in the world are all just crying wolf for all the politicians care.


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