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Cosmos, with Neil DeGrasse Tyson - In which we learn that FOX is not the same as Fox News

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Posts

  • KleinKlein Registered User regular
    Just to comment on the solar panel roads and speaking from a background in energy and organic photovoltaics, putting the panels in the road would not be a good investment.

    Heat being the biggest issue, this would lower the efficiency and lifetime of the cells dramatically, and being next to other hot cells and cars won't help. Think it would be expensive to replace roads once? Now do that every 5 years or so because your efficiency dropped dramatically.

    While there are many areas of solar technology growing, there is still a lot of research still needed before these can be implemented everywhere. Personally, I like the idea of a paint on solar cell such as dye bases cells(though they are not nearly efficient enough and they need to solve the redox issue first). Check out quantum dots to see some real cool stuff with solar technology, I can see this potentially displacing average silicon cells if they can increase durability, get rid of toxic metals, and find a way of making more homogeneous dots.

  • CycloneRangerCycloneRanger Registered User regular
    edited June 2014
    Veevee wrote: »
    Emissary42 wrote: »
    Veevee wrote: »
    Emissary42 wrote: »
    Hydrogen has some unique difficulties, particularly when it comes to storage: it's small enough to diffuse into the walls of its container, rendering it extremely brittle in short order. Now, using electrical power to catalyze methane might be a better choice but off the top of my head I don't recall if that was efficient enough to be useful compared to batteries.

    Edit: the methane would be produced with CO2 and water

    But the whole point of getting away from Octane is to eliminate CO2 emissions, so why would we then switch to methane which also produces CO2 when burned? Yes it does produce less CO2 than octane due to chemistry, but you'd have to burn more to produce a similar amount of energy as Octane which would just about cancel out any CO2 reductions.

    Unless octane (the molecule) is added, none would be involved in the process. You start with electrical power, water, and CO2, and end with O2 and methane. This being the case, the methane only exists as an energy storage medium with no change in atmospheric CO2 when it is burned or passed through a fuel cell to access that energy.

    I see. CO2 in, the same CO2 out. Not great in my view since it still deals with greenhouse gases which I'd like to see humanity move away from completely, but it's a hell of a lot better than the current method we use to power vehicles.
    This kind of thing, right here? When people don't understand the science behind a problem and comprehend it only in vague terms of "this stuff is bad", yet still feel the need to hold forth on it? This is why we're still using coal instead of fission plants.

    Humanity is never going to "move away completely" from greenhouse gases, nor would that make even the slightest bit of sense. It's like saying we should move away from using oxygen because it causes fires.

    CycloneRanger on
  • JacobyJacoby Registered User regular
    I remember there being some talk in my province (Newfoundland) about using hydrogen as part of a wind project. We've got an area on the west coast of the island called the Wreckhouse. The mountains there funnel the wind so you get really strong gusts there (enough to flip transport trucks), but the wind isn't as consistent as you need for good wind power.

    The idea was to have the wind turbines power electrolysis to generate and store hydrogen, then either burn it or use it to drive a fuel cell. That way, you smooth out the power generation. I don't know if anything came of it, unfortunately...

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  • CycloneRangerCycloneRanger Registered User regular
    edited June 2014
    Anyway, maybe this is worth talking about despite my having thought that the latest Cosmos episode explained it quite adequately. There is nothing wrong with combustion as an energy source per se; the problem is what we're combusting and where (when) it came from. If your car ran on wood (or vegetable oil or whatever) it would be carbon-neutral when viewed over a timescale of years. Consider a car running on oil produced by some kind of crop. The oil burned in your engine produces CO2 which is discharged into the atmosphere, absorbed during plant growth, and turned into, among other things, more plant oils next year. What you've really done in this case is create another (very inefficient) means of capturing solar energy and using it to power your car. There are environmental costs of this kind of scheme, but they're not related directly to climate change--you're wasting water, consuming additional cropland, using fertilizers/pesticides as the case may be, and potentially driving up the cost of food crops via competition*. The fact that you're burning canola oil in your car won't cause climate change.

    Moving carbon around within the carbon cycle doesn't cause significant climate change--what will cause climate change is adding CO2 to the cycle. The problem with coal and oil is that by burning them you're increasing the total amount of carbon that's cycling right now. Put another way, the trouble with fossil fuels isn't the "fuel" part, it's the "fossil" part.


    *Personally, I'm skeptical of biofuels. My money's on electric cars via improved fuel cells, batteries, or capacitors.

    CycloneRanger on
    Zilla360
  • King RiptorKing Riptor Registered User regular
    Dedwrekka wrote: »
    Nothing says fixing the world like covering the Gobi, Sahara, and Nevada with panels.

    Yes. Wind turbines too.



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  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    This kind of thing, right here? When people don't understand the science behind a problem and comprehend it only in vague terms of "this stuff is bad", yet still feel the need to hold forth on it? This is why we're still using coal instead of fission plants.

    No, it's really not. I linked to the reasons that the U.S. doesn't use fission plants earlier, and it has nothing to do with fear mongering or a failure to understand science.

    With Love and Courage
  • V1mV1m Registered User regular
    Gigantic amounts of coal industry lobbying funds?

  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    No; mostly, it was an uninterested investment community. For one reason or another, nobody was interested in ponying up the capital (in many cases, because investors knew it would take a very long time to make any money from an investment).

    It's bitterly hilarious that the old Conservative talking points still stick. 'Fuckin hippies! Fuckin Greenpeace! They ruined nuclear!'

    Of course, neither Greenpeace or the 'hippies' were the ones controlling investment capital. But nobody ever says, 'Fuckin Wall Street cheapskates! Fuckin suits!' even though they are most certainly where the buck stopped.

    With Love and Courage
  • Mild ConfusionMild Confusion Smash All Things Registered User regular
    To be fair, at this point if I had to choose between large public investments in future energies, it'd be for Solar over nuclear.

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  • Wraith260Wraith260 Happiest Goomba! Registered User regular
    Phyphor wrote: »
    The Ender wrote: »
    Emissary42 wrote: »
    Not to cramp on the enthusiasm for the solar roads technology, but there are tons of far better ways to implement huge amounts of solar power that are vastly cheaper and more efficient.

    For one, what happens to the efficiency of the road as it's slowly worn down by abrasive sand, dust, gravel, and miscellaneous debris? Add in the constant fatigue from multi-ton vehicles constantly going overhead and you can see these things won't have nearly the same operational life as standard solar panels. Hell, you'll still need to build a solid base underneath them with concrete or they'll shift and loosen, turning the roadway into some sort of cyberpunk cobblestone surface while breaking their interconnects in the process (to say nothing of the smoothness of the ride on such a road).

    And that only begins to allude to the cost involved to make and maintain a roadway sheathed in armored solar panels; it would make far more economic sense to just cover the roadway in solar-lined tunnels, or build super-long, ribbon-like solar plants along the edges of highways or under long-range transmission lines. At least with the first option you're also marginally reducing energy consumption to keep vehicles cool, as they would be partly shaded from the sun while on the road.

    Well, you guys could at least be bothered to read the FAQ, where the inventors discuss these sorts of concerns.


    I'm not sure if Solar Roadways is the future or not, but I'm not going to begrudge someone for taking the technology somewhere interesting & building prototypes to see how well it can perform.

    We could, but they conveniently leave out anything that could possibly be negative. After all, they are a business and a startup. Look at their numbers page, sure they have impressive energy generation totals, but they don't then go into a breakdown of how useful it would be, how much transmission loss there would be, or how much heating the outdoors uses.

    $6900 / panel according to http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/solarpower/6155110/Solar-panel-roads-could-solve-energy-crisis.html, plus installation costs

    The energy they produce would be worth about $277/year each. Assuming a 1% discount rate, they would pay themselves off in a little over 20 years, so even if all their claims are true and you sell all the electricity for profit they're break-even. Over the same period, repaving everything every 5 years, the capital cost of asphalt is 1/6th, and you're better off with solar panels not on the roads, because if you go to their numbers page they start out with one number and end up with a realistic generation amount about 60% of that. Rooftop panels don't have to suffer all of the losses they do.

    yeah they're not economical at the moment, but something like that won't get economical until a massive infrastructure project

    I think turning parking lots into solar panels is a better idea right now, as it will provide lessons and lower their price

    and that's exactly what they are doing. from the FAQ,
    Why don't you start with something easier like sidewalks, driveways or parking lots before installing roads?

    We get this question often. It's always been our intention to start with those applications before moving on to roads. We anticipate a learning curve, and the need to tweak our technology. We don't want to learn our lessons on the fast lane of a highway! After success with slow moving, lightweight vehicles (of parking lots, etc.), then we'll move onto residential roads.Our final goal will be highways.

    the goal here isn't to go all out right off the bat, but to grow the project and refine the tech as lessons are learned. every road and highway is certainly the end goal, but the project is only just getting started and they know that they are a long road ahead.

    override367
  • VeeveeVeevee WisconsinRegistered User regular
    edited June 2014
    Anyway, maybe this is worth talking about despite my having thought that the latest Cosmos episode explained it quite adequately. There is nothing wrong with combustion as an energy source per se; the problem is what we're combusting and where (when) it came from. If your car ran on wood (or vegetable oil or whatever) it would be carbon-neutral when viewed over a timescale of years. Consider a car running on oil produced by some kind of crop. The oil burned in your engine produces CO2 which is discharged into the atmosphere, absorbed during plant growth, and turned into, among other things, more plant oils next year. What you've really done in this case is create another (very inefficient) means of capturing solar energy and using it to power your car. There are environmental costs of this kind of scheme, but they're not related directly to climate change--you're wasting water, consuming additional cropland, using fertilizers/pesticides as the case may be, and potentially driving up the cost of food crops via competition*. The fact that you're burning canola oil in your car won't cause climate change.

    Moving carbon around within the carbon cycle doesn't cause significant climate change--what will cause climate change is adding CO2 to the cycle. The problem with coal and oil is that by burning them you're increasing the total amount of carbon that's cycling right now. Put another way, the trouble with fossil fuels isn't the "fuel" part, it's the "fossil" part.


    *Personally, I'm skeptical of biofuels. My money's on electric cars via improved fuel cells, batteries, or capacitors.

    Thanks for making me feel stupid. To be fair (to me), that post was made after a long day at work and I (want you to believe that I) wasn't thinking clearly.

    But seriously, thanks. Every time I feel like an idiot it just drives me to become less of an idiot.

    Veevee on
  • Peter EbelPeter Ebel CopenhagenRegistered User regular
    The solar panel road thing is certainly a creative solution. They're looking at piezoelectric elements as well, which sounds like an elegant addition. I hope it works out.

    Fuck off and die.
    Zilla360
  • DedwrekkaDedwrekka What Would Nyarlathotep Do? Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    That's awesome.


    Hydrogen fuel still has the problem of inefficiency: you have to use electrolysis to get it, and you burn more power extracting it than you gain in fuel. You'd have to have a huge supply of other renewable energy in order to mass-produce the hydrogen at a loss... and if you already have the renewable energy supply, I have to ask why you'd be bothering with industrial-scale hydrogen production anyway?

    Transportation. You can imagine that a large portion of the earth best suited for massive constructions like solar farms isn't exactly close to cities. So, you can use hydrogen as a transportable medium. Farms closer to cities provide power, farms further provide hydrogen.

    Everything you would produce for power transport is going to be at a loss, you just have to deal with it.

  • Emissary42Emissary42 Registered User regular
    There's another interesting concept I've heard that gets around some of the difficulties of constructing additional long-range transmission lines to take advantage of solar or wind-rich areas: huge, shippable high energy density batteries. In essence, you would have cargo-container sized batteries that you would charge at a power plant and then ship for use at some other location. The trick is, you need an energy density greater than or equal to petroleum to pull off such a system along with a really good reason why it's better than building the power lines, as inclement weather could cause shipping delays and plunge an area into darkness. The main advantage is you can take advantage of many of our existing transport methods for petroleum (rail, truck, ships) without any serious changes to that side of your infrastructure.

  • Just_Bri_ThanksJust_Bri_Thanks Seething with rage from a handbasket.Registered User, ClubPA regular
    Emissary42 wrote: »
    There's another interesting concept I've heard that gets around some of the difficulties of constructing additional long-range transmission lines to take advantage of solar or wind-rich areas: huge, shippable high energy density batteries. In essence, you would have cargo-container sized batteries that you would charge at a power plant and then ship for use at some other location. The trick is, you need an energy density greater than or equal to petroleum to pull off such a system along with a really good reason why it's better than building the power lines, as inclement weather could cause shipping delays and plunge an area into darkness. The main advantage is you can take advantage of many of our existing transport methods for petroleum (rail, truck, ships) without any serious changes to that side of your infrastructure.

    http://www.aquionenergy.com/grid-scale-batteries

    Some days I just want to smack people with a rolled up newspaper. Or a phone book.
    A folding chair is looking like an attractive option right now too...
  • SiliconStewSiliconStew Registered User regular
    edited June 2014
    Emissary42 wrote: »
    There's another interesting concept I've heard that gets around some of the difficulties of constructing additional long-range transmission lines to take advantage of solar or wind-rich areas: huge, shippable high energy density batteries. In essence, you would have cargo-container sized batteries that you would charge at a power plant and then ship for use at some other location. The trick is, you need an energy density greater than or equal to petroleum to pull off such a system along with a really good reason why it's better than building the power lines, as inclement weather could cause shipping delays and plunge an area into darkness. The main advantage is you can take advantage of many of our existing transport methods for petroleum (rail, truck, ships) without any serious changes to that side of your infrastructure.

    A supertanker can carry 2 million barrels of oil, that's 1.2x10^16 joules, or the energy equivalent of nearly 3 megatons of TNT. If it could even float with the weight of that much battery capacity, I'd be awfully nervous with that much stored energy around saltwater without significant safety features. Would make an impressive light show though.

    SiliconStew on
    Just remember that half the people you meet are below average intelligence.
  • Just_Bri_ThanksJust_Bri_Thanks Seething with rage from a handbasket.Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited June 2014
    Why would you need to put that many batteries on a boat?

    We ship oil to refineries, and then ship gasoline to distribution points. There is no need to ship electricity on an actual ship.

    Once we stop using oil, the need to use super tankers vanishes.

    Just_Bri_Thanks on
    Some days I just want to smack people with a rolled up newspaper. Or a phone book.
    A folding chair is looking like an attractive option right now too...
  • DedwrekkaDedwrekka What Would Nyarlathotep Do? Registered User regular
    edited June 2014
    Why would you need to put that many batteries on a boat?

    We ship oil to refineries, and then ship gasoline to distribution points. There is no need to ship electricity on an actual ship.

    Once we stop using oil, the need to use super tankers vanishes.

    You can't run a power line from Cairo to mainland Europe and expect there to be much power left at the end of it. See above about areas that are most useful for solar/wind farms not always being right near the cities that need them the most.
    You could cover the Sahara in solar panels, but then you have to figure out how to get it to everyone else. Shipping batteries was one suggested solution.

    Also the need for supertankers does not vanish, nor do the rest of the absolutely massive fleets of cargo tankers disappear. The idea that solar or wind will completely eliminate coal and oil is an unrealistic ideal that is actually holding back the implementation of such technologies. It's forcing oil companies into competitive mode instead of offering them the option of signing on and having control over the economic markets that will always require oil (such as plastics).

    Dedwrekka on
  • PhyphorPhyphor Building Planet Busters Tasting FruitRegistered User regular
    Dedwrekka wrote: »
    Why would you need to put that many batteries on a boat?

    We ship oil to refineries, and then ship gasoline to distribution points. There is no need to ship electricity on an actual ship.

    Once we stop using oil, the need to use super tankers vanishes.

    You can't run a power line from Cairo to mainland Europe and expect there to be much power left at the end of it. See above about areas that are most useful for solar/wind farms not always being right near the cities that need them the most.
    You could cover the Sahara in solar panels, but then you have to figure out how to get it to everyone else. Shipping batteries was one suggested solution.

    Also the need for supertankers does not vanish, nor do the rest of the absolutely massive fleets of cargo tankers disappear. The idea that solar or wind will completely eliminate coal and oil is an unrealistic ideal that is actually holding back the implementation of such technologies. It's forcing oil companies into competitive mode instead of offering them the option of signing on and having control over the economic markets that will always require oil (such as plastics).

    Actually you can. You can run HVDC systems for a couple thousand km

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  • DanHibikiDanHibiki Registered User regular
    Also nuclear wessels

  • Mild ConfusionMild Confusion Smash All Things Registered User regular
    Wuclear Nessels?

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  • Just_Bri_ThanksJust_Bri_Thanks Seething with rage from a handbasket.Registered User, ClubPA regular
    All the technologies we need to totally eliminate coal and oil use in the world currently exist. We are well past the stage where people can go "Maybe someday we will figure out how to make this happen." We know. It is a solved problem, intellectually. All we need is to start using all the cool toys we have invented.

    Some days I just want to smack people with a rolled up newspaper. Or a phone book.
    A folding chair is looking like an attractive option right now too...
  • KingofMadCowsKingofMadCows Registered User regular
    The thing that we need the most right now also happens to be what we talk about the least, conservation. We really need to waste less energy and resources.

  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    Phyphor wrote: »
    Dedwrekka wrote: »
    Why would you need to put that many batteries on a boat?

    We ship oil to refineries, and then ship gasoline to distribution points. There is no need to ship electricity on an actual ship.

    Once we stop using oil, the need to use super tankers vanishes.

    You can't run a power line from Cairo to mainland Europe and expect there to be much power left at the end of it. See above about areas that are most useful for solar/wind farms not always being right near the cities that need them the most.
    You could cover the Sahara in solar panels, but then you have to figure out how to get it to everyone else. Shipping batteries was one suggested solution.

    Also the need for supertankers does not vanish, nor do the rest of the absolutely massive fleets of cargo tankers disappear. The idea that solar or wind will completely eliminate coal and oil is an unrealistic ideal that is actually holding back the implementation of such technologies. It's forcing oil companies into competitive mode instead of offering them the option of signing on and having control over the economic markets that will always require oil (such as plastics).

    Actually you can. You can run HVDC systems for a couple thousand km

    That's what I do in Minecraft.

    And if it works in Minecraft I always just assume it works exactly the same IRL.

    With Love and Courage
  • Peter EbelPeter Ebel CopenhagenRegistered User regular
    Dedwrekka wrote: »
    The Ender wrote: »
    That's awesome.


    Hydrogen fuel still has the problem of inefficiency: you have to use electrolysis to get it, and you burn more power extracting it than you gain in fuel. You'd have to have a huge supply of other renewable energy in order to mass-produce the hydrogen at a loss... and if you already have the renewable energy supply, I have to ask why you'd be bothering with industrial-scale hydrogen production anyway?

    Transportation. You can imagine that a large portion of the earth best suited for massive constructions like solar farms isn't exactly close to cities. So, you can use hydrogen as a transportable medium. Farms closer to cities provide power, farms further provide hydrogen.

    Everything you would produce for power transport is going to be at a loss, you just have to deal with it.

    Isn't hydrogen transportation rather a large problem for the so called hydrogen economy? It remains a gas even under high pressure, so the energy you're getting out of a tank full of hydrogen is going to be a lot less than you'd get out of a same size tank of natural gas. I hung around some nano tech dudes at the university here and improving hydrogen transportation was one of their main concerns.

    Fuck off and die.
  • Mild ConfusionMild Confusion Smash All Things Registered User regular
    I'm more worried about a tanker full of hydrogen exploding.

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  • DedwrekkaDedwrekka What Would Nyarlathotep Do? Registered User regular
    All the technologies we need to totally eliminate coal and oil use in the world currently exist. We are well past the stage where people can go "Maybe someday we will figure out how to make this happen." We know. It is a solved problem, intellectually. All we need is to start using all the cool toys we have invented.

    Because plastics and lubricants will stop being a thing?

  • NyysjanNyysjan FinlandRegistered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    No; mostly, it was an uninterested investment community. For one reason or another, nobody was interested in ponying up the capital (in many cases, because investors knew it would take a very long time to make any money from an investment).

    It's bitterly hilarious that the old Conservative talking points still stick. 'Fuckin hippies! Fuckin Greenpeace! They ruined nuclear!'

    Of course, neither Greenpeace or the 'hippies' were the ones controlling investment capital. But nobody ever says, 'Fuckin Wall Street cheapskates! Fuckin suits!' even though they are most certainly where the buck stopped.

    Here's one of the reasons i think governments should be the ones running majority of the power generation (other industries they should control (fully or mostly) being public mass transportation (trains and busses), communications and water), governments can work on 50 year timelines, you pony up cash now, it pays back in a generation, and eventually actually makes some extra income to the state.

    This comes with the assumption that people elect sane people who want the government to work, so it might not work in US.

  • N1tSt4lkerN1tSt4lker Registered User regular
    This is a country where in some districts "I've got zero Washington experience" is an actual selling point. .... *sigh* If we didn't already have an interstate highway system, I don't think you could get it done now as ridiculous as the "but private companies should do all the things--the government is just for having a military!" ideology has gotten. Of course, if an administration wanted to push for a fed-organized and backed development of nuclear and renewable power-grid replacements, the interstate highway system should be their go-to analogy. But there are so many people who legitimately believe that market forces will always work toward the best interest of/meeting the needs of the consumer above all, that it would be a tremendous uphill battle. "If it was really that good of an idea, a private company would have done it by now" is a line of argument that I hear a lot, completely ignoring the fact that companies transparently support milking the status quo because they don't care about what's best, they care about what makes the most money now. It's a major reason we still have swiped credit cards here rather than chip-and-pin.

    The Ender
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    In lighter news, I chatted-up a meteorologist who was very butthurt about Tyson dismissing 10 day weather forecasts. He used to be a pretty zealous climate change 'critic' (though he's since come around), and once went on a short little televised rant about how dubious global warming is.

    "The technology is really good these days, and predictions are really accurate as long as you're using the right technology. That guy isn't an expert in Doppler and shouldn't be promoting the public misconceptions about unreliable weather reports,"

    "Oh. So, I guess you could say it's unfair for someone who's not an expert in given field of science, but has a lot of respect & is seen as someone extremely smart, to go on TV and promote a controversy within that field of science?"

    I may or may not have been shot daggers.

    With Love and Courage
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  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    Some districts? Given people's hate of Congress right now?

    Herbert Hoover got 40% of the vote in 1932. Friendly reminder.
  • SticksSticks Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    In lighter news, I chatted-up a meteorologist who was very butthurt about Tyson dismissing 10 day weather forecasts. He used to be a pretty zealous climate change 'critic' (though he's since come around), and once went on a short little televised rant about how dubious global warming is.

    "The technology is really good these days, and predictions are really accurate as long as you're using the right technology. That guy isn't an expert in Doppler and shouldn't be promoting the public misconceptions about unreliable weather reports,"

    "Oh. So, I guess you could say it's unfair for someone who's not an expert in given field of science, but has a lot of respect & is seen as someone extremely smart, to go on TV and promote a controversy within that field of science?"

    I may or may not have been shot daggers.

    If I remember correctly from Nate Silver's book on predictions, 10-day forecasts are actually less accurate than just taking the historical average for that day. So, there is good reason to dismiss them.

  • KhavallKhavall British ColumbiaRegistered User regular
    edited June 2014
    Didn't Nate Silver also though mention that meteorologists intentionally misreport 10-day forecasts because people suck at statistics?

    Like that if there's a 5% chance of rain and it rains people will be mad at the weather person(5% means it won't happen, right?), but if they report it as a 50% chance of rain and it doesn't rain, people will just be happier.

    Khavall on
    Smrtnik
  • Peter EbelPeter Ebel CopenhagenRegistered User regular
    I'm more worried about a tanker full of hydrogen exploding.

    Natural gas under pressure explodes rather a lot as well.

    Fuck off and die.
  • OgotaiOgotai Registered User regular
    edited June 2014
    That is pretty much what they do here for some times of year (now in particular). Unless a front is coming through, somewhere in the parish a bunch of little (but still strong) local storms are going to form each afternoon. So storming rain one place and sunny less than mile away happening all over. Any day like that just has "partly cloudy 40-50% chance of rain" stuck on it in the 10-day. Which everyone I know translates into "good weather unless you happen to be standing in an unlucky spot that afternoon"

    Ogotai on
  • TraceTrace GNU Terry Pratchett; GNU Gus; GNU Carrie Fisher; GNU Adam We Registered User regular
    I don't think I've ever had a ten day forecast be right.

    Mostly because it's been changed by day 5.

    Gnome-Interruptus
  • SticksSticks Registered User regular
    edited June 2014
    Khavall wrote: »
    Didn't Nate Silver also though mention that meteorologists intentionally misreport 10-day forecasts because people suck at statistics?

    Like that if there's a 5% chance of rain and it rains people will be mad at the weather person(5% means it won't happen, right?), but if they report it as a 50% chance of rain and it doesn't rain, people will just be happier.

    It's been a bit since I read it, but I believe his claims were that consumer facing meteorologists (weather channel, local news) tend to fudge 5% chance as 10-20% chance for those reasons. He is very bullish about advancements in weather prediction as a whole though, particularly for the national weather service and hurricane center. Considers it one of the few success stories in predicting.

    edit: and I believe the number fudging was for all forecasts. 10-day ones are just less accurate because the models are so sensitive to changes in initial variables. With all the feedback systems that make up weather, your models are all over the place by the time you get 10-days out. Even though there is only a minute deviation in the initial readings of temperature/pressure/etc.

    Sticks on
  • Mild ConfusionMild Confusion Smash All Things Registered User regular
    Peter Ebel wrote: »
    I'm more worried about a tanker full of hydrogen exploding.

    Natural gas under pressure explodes rather a lot as well.

    Yes.

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  • CycloneRangerCycloneRanger Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    This kind of thing, right here? When people don't understand the science behind a problem and comprehend it only in vague terms of "this stuff is bad", yet still feel the need to hold forth on it? This is why we're still using coal instead of fission plants.

    No, it's really not. I linked to the reasons that the U.S. doesn't use fission plants earlier, and it has nothing to do with fear mongering or a failure to understand science.
    The reasons we don't use fission plants are economic in the immediate sense, yes--but those economic reasons are tied to political reasons that are ultimately dependent on the perception of fission among the general population and the politicians representing them. Fission powerplants have a long project cycle compared to fossil fuels, which creates substantial financial risk. Some of that is ultimately technical in nature (an advance in renewable power could obviate your plant before you've made a profit), but there is also substantial regulatory or 'political' risk.

    In other words, the unfavorable investment climate for fission power is in large part due to the way it's perceived by the public and by lawmakers.


    To be honest, I'm not even sure that this is a battle worth fighting anymore, or that it can be won. Maybe Tyson is right to simply ignore it in favor of pushing solar. I am not ready to give up on fusion, though. I need that enthalpy for my goddamn spaceship.

    The EnderGnome-InterruptusZilla360Evigilant
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    This kind of thing, right here? When people don't understand the science behind a problem and comprehend it only in vague terms of "this stuff is bad", yet still feel the need to hold forth on it? This is why we're still using coal instead of fission plants.

    No, it's really not. I linked to the reasons that the U.S. doesn't use fission plants earlier, and it has nothing to do with fear mongering or a failure to understand science.
    The reasons we don't use fission plants are economic in the immediate sense, yes--but those economic reasons are tied to political reasons that are ultimately dependent on the perception of fission among the general population and the politicians representing them. Fission powerplants have a long project cycle compared to fossil fuels, which creates substantial financial risk. Some of that is ultimately technical in nature (an advance in renewable power could obviate your plant before you've made a profit), but there is also substantial regulatory or 'political' risk.

    In other words, the unfavorable investment climate for fission power is in large part due to the way it's perceived by the public and by lawmakers.


    To be honest, I'm not even sure that this is a battle worth fighting anymore, or that it can be won. Maybe Tyson is right to simply ignore it in favor of pushing solar. I am not ready to give up on fusion, though. I need that enthalpy for my goddamn spaceship.

    I hope ITER proves to be viable; i was very excited for the project, but all of the delays & cost overruns have really buoyed the critics of the project I know that have been skeptical it could ever work from the get-go. :|

    With Love and Courage
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