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Comment: smart specialist, dumb generalist (Score 1) 343

This guy is a climate scientist but obviously knows jack-all about energy systems.

he argues that hat renewable energy alone will not be sufficient to address the climate challenge, because it cannot be scaled up quickly and cheaply enough, and that opposition to nuclear power 'threatens humanity's ability to avoid dangerous climate change.'"
Which ignores the fact that both solar and nuclear have had recent explosive growth, while the last time a nuclear plant came in on time and on budget was back in the 50's when they thought that radiation was good for you.

Comment: CO2 uptake by warm oceans? (Score 1) 95

by PermacultureEngineer (#45305583) Attached to: How Earth's Biosignature Will Change As the Planet Dies
The bit about having all the CO2 absorbed by the oceans doesn't make a lot of sense. Water can dissolve more (soluble) solids as the temp increases, but the solubility of gasses goes DOWN with increasing temperature. Not that I would expect the reporter to know this or ask about it - it isn't Ars, after all.

Comment: One word: Kinect (Score 1) 550

Personal experience: I'm a long-time gamer, and I was trying to get my wife interested in Xbox or PC gaming. She steadfastly refused to get engaged... until we got a Kinect for the Xbox. Somehow, the motion control made it much more compelling for her than just twiddling joysticks. She got into the Kinect Adventures that ships with the unit, then Fruit Ninjas (maybe the best kinect implementation ever), Wreckateers, Motion Sports Adrenaline, etc. She still won't play FPS or MMOs, alas, but at least we now share the gaming hobby, if not exactly the same taste in games.

Comment: BS (Score 1) 758

by PermacultureEngineer (#42481909) Attached to: Anti-GMO Activist Recants
To feed a growing world population (with an exploding middle class demanding more and better-quality food), we must take advantage of all the technology available to us, including GMOs. To insist on 'natural' agriculture and livestock is to doom people to starvation, and there’s no logical reason to prefer the old ways, either.

This is a bunch of crap.
Modern industrial agriculture does NOT maximize food output per acre. It certainly does not maximize food output per input (fertilizers, fuel, etc). It maximizes food output per farmer. And it does so by disregarding good soil and water management practices, which means that it damages the systems it relies on over the long term.
Much higher yields can be obtained by intensive cultivation of smaller plots of land, with much more attention paid per acre. These techniques usually (though not always) also serve to preserve soil, nutrient, and water resources.

Comment: Re:Um... (Score 2, Insightful) 590

That's right. A 737-300 burns about 5500 lbs/hour at cruise (~2500 kg/hour). Jet-A contains 43 MJ/kg (lower heating value). So energy to cruise is about 107,500 MJ/hour = 29,800 kWh per hour The terrestrial solar maximum (insolation on a hot sunny day at noon at the equator) is +/- 1000 watts/m^2. It's actually a bit higher at the equator, and will be higher still at cruising altitude. Call it 2000 watts/m^2. So, just to maintain cruise speed (which is its most efficient operating mode, vs, say, takeoff or landing) you would need 15,000 m^2 of 100% efficient collector area. (Commercial PV is 15-25% efficient). A 737-300 is about 28m (wingspan) x 33m (length). So even if the airplane were a solid square of 100% efficient collector, it would still be an order of magnitude too small to power the plane at cruise. The fundamental problem is that people do not understand the relative energy density of fossil fuels relative to renewable sources. Renewable sources are inexhaustible, but they are sparse. Fossil fuels are distilled sunlight - very dense. If solar energy is beer, petroleum is whiskey.

We want to create puppets that pull their own strings. - Ann Marion