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[Science] A thread of good guesses, bad guesses and telling the difference.

evilbobevilbob Registered User regular


Post about your favourite guesses here.

All sciences and related fields welcome. Space program stuff in particular is quite popular even if it's not directly science or engineering related.

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Posts

  • PolaritiePolaritie Oh I didn't see this box. Registered User regular
    I was wondering how far over the old thread would get.

    My estimates were too low.

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  • hippofanthippofant ティンク Registered User regular
    Polaritie wrote: »
    I was wondering how far over the old thread would get.

    My estimates were too low.

    What were your error bars though?

  • PolaritiePolaritie Oh I didn't see this box. Registered User regular
    hippofant wrote: »
    Polaritie wrote: »
    I was wondering how far over the old thread would get.

    My estimates were too low.

    What were your error bars though?

    Sample size of one!

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  • VeeveeVeevee WisconsinRegistered User regular
    Was there a reason to make a new thread, other than the tradition of 100 pages being the max?

    I thought science was all about breaking tradition and forging a new path based on logic and reason. If the science thread can't even do that, how can we expect the scientific greats of our time, like Stephen Hawking, to do so, too?

    Yes D&D Science thread, I blame you for the Stephen Hawking jaguar commercial.

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  • WinkyWinky Registered User regular
    Man I need to set aside a day to just watch Feynman lectures.

    ElvenshaeAlanF5
  • evilbobevilbob Registered User regular
    Winky wrote: »
    Man I need to set aside a day to just watch Feynman lectures.

    Always worth doing.

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  • ElvenshaeElvenshae Registered User regular
    Winky wrote: »
    Man I need to set aside a day to just watch Feynman lectures.

    Surely you're joking!
    Take 2 days!

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  • SyngyneSyngyne Registered User regular
    Veevee wrote: »
    Was there a reason to make a new thread, other than the tradition of 100 pages being the max?

    I thought science was all about breaking tradition and forging a new path based on logic and reason. If the science thread can't even do that, how can we expect the scientific greats of our time, like Stephen Hawking, to do so, too?

    Yes D&D Science thread, I blame you for the Stephen Hawking jaguar commercial.

    Old thread hit critical mass and underwent fission.

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    Elvenshae
  • Emissary42Emissary42 Registered User regular
    edited October 2016
    Researchers unintentionally stumble across a single-step catalyst to convert CO2 into Ethanol at room temperature.

    Emissary42 on
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  • SyngyneSyngyne Registered User regular
    Emissary42 wrote: »
    Researchers unintentionally stumble across a single-step catalyst to convert CO2 into Ethanol at room temperature.


    *somewhere in future space*

    Captain: Damage report, ensign.
    Ensign: Sir, environmental control is struggling. Damage to the air filters has resulted in CO2 approaching toxic levels.
    Captain: Understood, ensign. All hands, prepare for happy hour. Sound Disco Alert.

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  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    Emissary42 wrote: »
    Researchers unintentionally stumble across a single-step catalyst to convert CO2 into Ethanol at room temperature.


    Holy shit. Thats....huge.

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  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    Veevee wrote: »
    Was there a reason to make a new thread, other than the tradition of 100 pages being the max?

    I thought science was all about breaking tradition and forging a new path based on logic and reason. If the science thread can't even do that, how can we expect the scientific greats of our time, like Stephen Hawking, to do so, too?

    Yes D&D Science thread, I blame you for the Stephen Hawking jaguar commercial.

    Sorry, the old thread didn't make it past peer review.

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  • SanderJKSanderJK Crocodylus Pontifex Sinterklasicus Madrid, 3000 ADRegistered User regular
    Everything is a guess to some degree.
    One that is a nice topic for ethics discussion is: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Marshall
    wiki wrote:
    In 1982, they performed the initial culture of H. pylori and developed their hypothesis related to the bacterial cause of peptic ulcer and gastric cancer.[7] It has been claimed that the H. pylori theory was ridiculed by the establishment scientists and doctors, who did not believe that any bacteria could live in the acidic environment of the stomach. Marshall has been quoted as saying in 1998 that "(e)veryone was against me, but I knew I was right."[10] On the other hand, it has also been argued that medical researchers showed a proper degree of scientific scepticism until the H. pylori hypothesis could be supported by evidence.[11]

    After failed attempts to infect piglets in 1984, Marshall, after having a baseline endoscopy done, drank a Petri dish containing cultured H. pylori, expecting to develop, perhaps years later, an ulcer. He was surprised when, only three days later, he developed vague nausea and halitosis (due to the achlorhydria, there was no acid to kill bacteria in the stomach, and their waste products manifested as bad breath), noticed only by his mother. On days 5–8, he developed achlorydric (no acid) vomiting. On day eight, he had a repeat endoscopy, which showed massive inflammation (gastritis), and a biopsy from which H. pylori was cultured, showing it had colonised his stomach.

    The man infected himself with bacteria he suspected gave people ulcers, and developed an Ulcer

    He won the Nobel prize 21 years later.

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  • NotoriusBENNotoriusBEN Registered User regular
    let's kick off with some Neil deGrasse Tyson.
    "Science is a process. Its not just about the answer."

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  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    This thread does not have enough bugs.

    @Arch

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  • ArchArch Actually just 981 bugs in a human suitRegistered User regular
    I bugposted right when the last thread closed qq

    dont have a new good bugscience post today....I'll look around tho

  • MvrckMvrck Registered User regular
    Emissary42 wrote: »
    Researchers unintentionally stumble across a single-step catalyst to convert CO2 into Ethanol at room temperature.


    Holy shit. Thats....huge.

    Like, this is right? This is a massive, massive breakthrough if it is as energy efficient as they claim. Or is there a magic saturation point of the CO2 required to make this work where you can't just passively convert the atmosphere?

    PwH4Ipj.jpg
  • PhyphorPhyphor Building Planet Busters Tasting FruitRegistered User regular
    It looked like they bubble CO2 through water (for H I guess) and by applying a current they get ethanol instead of O2 from the electrolysis? Yield is probably dependent on CO2 concentration, but maybe it can work with atmospheric levels

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  • CampyCampy Registered User regular
    So this is obviously a news source and not even a pop sci article or whatever, but reducing cow-based methane emmissions by a huge amount seems like a Big Deal. Like save the fucking planet kinda Big Deal.

    Though I do wonder what kind of trade off there will be for growing the huge quantities of seaweed will be required to feed all of humanities cattle...

    Incenjucar
  • redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    Campy wrote: »
    So this is obviously a news source and not even a pop sci article or whatever, but reducing cow-based methane emmissions by a huge amount seems like a Big Deal. Like save the fucking planet kinda Big Deal.

    Though I do wonder what kind of trade off there will be for growing the huge quantities of seaweed will be required to feed all of humanities cattle...

    probably pretty trivial to the land and fresh water required to grow grass, and it is around 2℅ or so of the feed(still a lot of biomass). I'd worry about it impacting the local environment still, but it is currently grown for human consumption so that research may exist.

    This machine kills threads.
  • VeeveeVeevee WisconsinRegistered User regular
    Arch wrote: »
    I bugposted right when the last thread closed qq

    dont have a new good bugscience post today....I'll look around tho

    When are these god damn box elder bugs going to stop trying to invade my home? The cats find it amusing, the wife much less so.

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  • Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    Emissary42 wrote: »
    Researchers unintentionally stumble across a single-step catalyst to convert CO2 into Ethanol at room temperature.


    I would assume that to do this still requires a reasonably large energy input?

    Still pretty nice, given that the previous best method of converting co2 into complex organics involved planting a tree.

  • SealSeal Registered User regular
    Emissary42 wrote: »
    Researchers unintentionally stumble across a single-step catalyst to convert CO2 into Ethanol at room temperature.


    I would assume that to do this still requires a reasonably large energy input?

    Still pretty nice, given that the previous best method of converting co2 into complex organics involved planting a tree.
    Much less than traditional methods of producing ethanol, room temperature is a big deal.

    This is assuming producing the actual catalyst isn't too difficult, which I'm guessing isn't too hard given it was produced on accident from a botched batch of graphene.

  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    Emissary42 wrote: »
    Researchers unintentionally stumble across a single-step catalyst to convert CO2 into Ethanol at room temperature.


    I would assume that to do this still requires a reasonably large energy input?

    Still pretty nice, given that the previous best method of converting co2 into complex organics involved planting a tree.

    Yes. But that isn't particularly material. One of the most problematic aspects of renewable energy is that their energy output is often not timed well with peak usage. You cannot easily turn it off or on at will. Similarly you cannot simply "store" it because its very difficult to store that much energy.

    At that point the actual efficiency of the renewable resource doesn't matter much because you can't use it.

    However with this type of a system you can reduce that efficiency in order to easily transfer energy to whenever you need it. Ethanol essentially becomes like a battery. You use renewable energy to make ethanol during the day, and then you burn it at night, capture the CO2 and water.. and then remake the ethanol during the day again.

    It could essentially make the entire electrical system hydrocarbon free.

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  • PhyphorPhyphor Building Planet Busters Tasting FruitRegistered User regular
    Well there have always been options for that. Pump water uphill, water electrolysis, store as heat. This may be more efficient

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  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    Phyphor wrote: »
    Well there have always been options for that. Pump water uphill, water electrolysis, store as heat. This may be more efficient

    Also transportable. You can solve for transportation this way too.

    MvrckJacoby
  • redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    Phyphor wrote: »
    Well there have always been options for that. Pump water uphill, water electrolysis, store as heat. This may be more efficient

    Also transportable. You can solve for transportation this way too.

    and booze production. no more messing about with fermenting grains or potatoes.

    water + co2 +catalyst + electricity = vodka soda on demand.

    winning.

    This machine kills threads.
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  • PhyphorPhyphor Building Planet Busters Tasting FruitRegistered User regular
    redx wrote: »
    Phyphor wrote: »
    Well there have always been options for that. Pump water uphill, water electrolysis, store as heat. This may be more efficient

    Also transportable. You can solve for transportation this way too.

    and booze production. no more messing about with fermenting grains or potatoes.

    water + co2 +catalyst + electricity = vodka soda on demand.

    winning.

    They said they were expecting methanol but got ethanol instead; there's probably still enough methanol around I wouldn't put it anywhere near my mouth though

    Magic Box
    Academician Prokhor "Phyphor" Zakharov, Chief Scientist of China, Provost of the University of Planet - SE++ Megagame
  • ArtereisArtereis Registered User regular
    I wonder if production yields would be enough to kill corn ethanol,

    EncTicaldfjam
  • CampyCampy Registered User regular
    All the other storage methods have their own pitfalls. Water electrolysis and the storage of the tiny atoms of hydrogen (and their inclination for large explosions), water pumping and the environmental issues with damning, heat and the pesky laws of thermodynamics.

    I was only half listening to the video I think they mentioned that their production efficiency was ~65%, peaking into 70%. Seems pretty damn good!

  • PolaritiePolaritie Oh I didn't see this box. Registered User regular
    Campy wrote: »
    All the other storage methods have their own pitfalls. Water electrolysis and the storage of the tiny atoms of hydrogen (and their inclination for large explosions), water pumping and the environmental issues with damning, heat and the pesky laws of thermodynamics.

    I was only half listening to the video I think they mentioned that their production efficiency was ~65%, peaking into 70%. Seems pretty damn good!

    I'm pretty sure it's not the hydrogen that's explosive, but the oxygen. Or rather, the mixture of the two. Even if the hydrogen leaks, it can only combust in proportion to atmospheric oxygen in the same volume (at a 2:1 ratio). This is probably less than all the hydrogen.

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  • CampyCampy Registered User regular
    Yeah, it's the rcombination of the O and H which is exothermic and very much so. I'm not sure what the upper limit of recombination will be given a certain mass of hydrogen released into our atmosphere, but I'm definitely not willing to stand particular close to any such experiment :D

  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    Hydrogen is a very light gas. Keeping it confined enough to explode is fairly challenging.

    Phoenix-D
  • redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    well, campy's comment about hydrogen being really little is kinda pretty accurate. The atoms are small enough, they get into the walls of containers, weaken them(which can result in failures), and then depending on how much h2 is around to mix with it can explode or just burn quickly.

    h2 is also pretty not energy dense. ethanol isn't as good as gasoline, but pretty sure it is hands down massively more energy dense and easier to store and in just in a lot of ways a better fuel.


    i sort of wonder what you do with all the extra O2 this kicks out. you would want a cheap way to separate that from the CO2. Is there an energy cheap way of doing that?

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  • DedwrekkaDedwrekka What Would Nyarlathotep Do? Registered User regular
    Artereis wrote: »
    I wonder if production yields would be enough to kill corn ethanol,

    I doubt it. Corn ethanol is too tied up in government subsidies right now.

    redxThroDisruptedCapitalistIncenjucar
  • Mr_RoseMr_Rose 83 Blue Ridge Protects the Holy Registered User regular
    This also solves for space travel. A legit CO2 recycler that actually recovers the oxygen as oxygen? Totally worth some small efficiency issues.

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  • Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    edited October 2016
    redx wrote: »
    well, campy's comment about hydrogen being really little is kinda pretty accurate. The atoms are small enough, they get into the walls of containers, weaken them(which can result in failures), and then depending on how much h2 is around to mix with it can explode or just burn quickly.

    h2 is also pretty not energy dense. ethanol isn't as good as gasoline, but pretty sure it is hands down massively more energy dense and easier to store and in just in a lot of ways a better fuel.


    i sort of wonder what you do with all the extra O2 this kicks out. you would want a cheap way to separate that from the CO2. Is there an energy cheap way of doing that?

    Throw a combustable gas in with it and burn it?

    Or maybe you could capture it with a metal electrode by oxidation. Pretty sure we have plenty of ways to seperate out oxygen.

    Edit: co2 is much heavier than oxygen so you could maybe even just seperate them by simple gravity or centrifugation, it just depends on what kind of purity you need.

    Edit 2: apparently researching further there are some even easier methods involving molecular seives and materials with selective adsorption, regardless the cheap separation of gasses is trivial with current technology.

    Jealous Deva on
  • ThroThro Registered User regular
    Dedwrekka wrote: »
    Artereis wrote: »
    I wonder if production yields would be enough to kill corn ethanol,

    I doubt it. Corn ethanol is too tied up in government subsidies right now.

    There's stuff that works better than corn now. Switch-grass for instance. Corn lobby gets what they want though.

  • BurtletoyBurtletoy Registered User regular
    edited October 2016
    Phyphor wrote: »
    redx wrote: »
    Phyphor wrote: »
    Well there have always been options for that. Pump water uphill, water electrolysis, store as heat. This may be more efficient

    Also transportable. You can solve for transportation this way too.

    and booze production. no more messing about with fermenting grains or potatoes.

    water + co2 +catalyst + electricity = vodka soda on demand.

    winning.

    They said they were expecting methanol but got ethanol instead; there's probably still enough methanol around I wouldn't put it anywhere near my mouth though

    Competetive inhibition.

    The treatment for accidental methanol ingestion is to drink ethanol.

    Burtletoy on
  • BurtletoyBurtletoy Registered User regular
    edited October 2016
    Here is the CO2 to EtOH paper for anyone interested.

    The researchers themselves are much more down to earth in their conclusions of the paper than the posts up thread are.

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/slct.201601169/full
    The overpotential (which might be lowered with the proper electrolyte, and by separating the hydrogen production to another catalyst) probably precludes economic viability for this catalyst, but the high selectivity for a 12-electron reaction suggests that nanostructured surfaces with multiple reactive sites in close proximity can yield novel reaction mechanisms.

    Burtletoy on
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