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Comment: Re:IANA Physicist, So... (Score 3, Interesting) 630

by blindseer (#46711431) Attached to: Navy Debuts New Railgun That Launches Shells at Mach 7

traditional aircraft carriers and these will get a lot smaller as drones take place of manned strike craft,

I also believe aircraft carriers will get smaller but not for the reasons you state. I believe that they will get smaller because there will be a greater reliance on vertical lift aircraft, helicopters and tilt-wings. I also believe that aircraft will get faster and have longer range, allowing for lesser reliance on carriers. The politics of flying through nations that might not like to get involved would be solved with aircraft that fly high enough to be considered orbital, and therefore technically in outer space, and therefore flying above "airspace".

Much of that is more about the "how" of shrinking aircraft carriers, the "why" is more about economics. Current carriers are big, slow, and very expensive which makes them easy and tempting targets. For the price of one US Navy aircraft carrier the Navy could have four amphibious assault ships, either choice capable of carrying 80+ aircraft. The amphibious assault ships get cheaper by the dozen but the aircraft carriers cannot, there are only a dozen afloat at any given time which makes economies of scale difficult.

Part of what makes aircraft carriers so expensive is the power plant, nuclear power is expensive. It looks like newer, smaller, safer, reactors which will allow for putting nuclear power in smaller ships, removing the range advantage of the larger aircraft carrier. Addition of jet fuel production systems on board means that they will not need to have oilers come by as often for supplies.

Smaller, faster, cheaper, and still capable of long term missions would be a great alternative to the super carriers we have now. Easier to defend against cannon fire and missiles, due to smaller size. If one is lost or damaged in battle then the reduction in fighting capability is reduced.

I believe your description of sea battles are accurate. The cannon fire is not fast or accurate enough to compete with missiles. Rail guns increase the rate of fire, reduce the weight of the ammunition, and reduce the cost, making it a very good alternative to current missiles and cannons. The range and accuracy of the rail guns might not yet compare to that of the missiles but are still a leap in improvement over cannons.

Comment: Re:Panasonic (Score 1) 151

by blindseer (#46695915) Attached to: Tesla: A Carmaker Or Grid-Storage Company?

You certainly wouldn't need a battery "the size of Oklahoma", it's just insane. A typical home battery is about 1x1x0.3m.

To power the entire USA overnight you'd need a battery somewhere on the scale of Oklahoma. I my calculations I figured a battery the size of my desk, 1x1x2meters, but I also computed a size to last through common Midwestern winter storms that can leave you without sun for four days.

Eventually organic cells will be good enough and cheap enough for widespread deployment anyway.

Eventually we will have nuclear reactors that chew up seawater, sewage, and nuclear waste and spit out clean potable water, rare metals, and electricity. I have my own theory which we will see first.

I never suggested anyone go off-grid either, but any connection costs can be more than covered by feed-in tariffs on any excess you produce. One reason that some German cities are looking to buy their electricity grids is so that they can reconfigure them to better support small scale generation and feed-in.

If the grid is using natural gas for peaking power then all that solar power does is produce more CO2, natural gas turbines are not efficient but they are cheap. The solar power does not make up for the additional CO2 produced from the peak power.

If the utility is providing battery storage instead of or along with the natural gas power then you end up with a battery the size of Oklahoma. Obviously we aren't paving over Oklahoma and turning it into one big battery pack but the scale of the battery power required is impossible, there is not enough lead, lithium, nickel, or any metal really to build a battery big enough. Putting the batteries in the basement of people's homes does not change that, the demands on these metals to make the batteries will drive prices through the roof.

The only way to change this dynamic is an energy source that is reliable and cheap to produce those metals, in that case solar power gets priced out of the market.

Solar power does not work, it's too expensive. Barring some quantum leap in solar power technology it will never be cheap enough for grid power.

Gas in the US is really cheap, although it is worth pointing out that it is partly due to the cost of fracking being externalized.

You want to "internalize the external"? Here's one for you, people will cut down your house for firewood and kill you to eat your flesh if they get hungry enough. If we don't keep fracking for natural gas then people will get cold and hungry and do ghastly things to each other. I believe AGW is a myth but I'll tolerate it so far as we have the same goal, cheap and plentiful energy.

I did the math on solar power many times and it never works out in our favor. Part of the problem is that solar power is so diffuse, we'd need massive amounts of land for solar power. That land could be used to grow food, and I like food. Nuclear power, if done right, is the safest power source we have. Even when done wrong its safer than most every other alternative. It's cheap and we'll never run out.

The externals on oil and natural gas are nothing to me. If the oil goes away right now there will be war.

Comment: Re:Enough with the grid storage RIGHT! (Score 1) 151

by blindseer (#46691379) Attached to: Tesla: A Carmaker Or Grid-Storage Company?

Nuclear is NOT carbon free you have to build it...with plenty of fuel burning equipment.

I didn't claim it was carbon free, I stated it had the least output of CO2/watt than any other power source available to us now.

Salt reactor? Why are not there many?

Because the country that developed the technology, USA, has created a regulatory structure that favors solid fueled reactors. Why it is that way is a very long story. Other nations only have the papers published on the technology and therefore are a few years behind the USA on the technology but are catching up fast. Sounds like Canada will be building some very soon.

Just stop using so damn much power people!

Tell that to the people that live in mud huts. If this technology gets developed we can turn seawater into clean fresh water and electricity, and do so at a profit.

You seem to think that there is some inherent evil in consuming energy, I do not believe so. There is almost always room to improve energy efficiency but we need energy to feed, clothe, and shelter ourselves. Once we are warm, fed, and happy we need energy to communicate, learn, and explore. We are not going to land on the moon with solar panels. Windmills won't make airplanes fly.

Without nuclear power we revert to near caveman lifestyles. Without nuclear power we need to burn things, wood, coal, whatever. Civilizations have ended because they had to choose between getting apples from the tree in the spring or burning it to survive the winter. That generally works for all bio-fuels, we get to eat OR stay warm. We can't have both if we burn our food.

Comment: Enough with the grid storage (Score 1) 151

by blindseer (#46689007) Attached to: Tesla: A Carmaker Or Grid-Storage Company?

How big would a battery have to be to run the USA overnight so we can run everything off of solar power? How much material would this take? How much would it all cost?

I've seen these numbers before and it's not good. We are going to be a coal powered nation for a very long time. I see wind power as promising, the price isn't too far off from what natural gas and coal costs. Solar is just so extremely expensive that it is only considered in the most unusual cases. Wind and solar both rely on cheap electric storage which I don't see happening any time soon.

If people start building grid level electric storage because materials get cheap then the demand for those materials will drive the price back up. I say that instead of trying to store electricity when it's produced by unreliable wind and solar that we should develop technology so that cheap energy like coal, natural gas, and nuclear can load follow like the expensive natural gas and oil fired generators.

If the concern is CO2 output then nothing can beat nuclear, not even wind and solar. We have drawings of nuclear power plants that can load follow, we need to make them real and see how they compare to the theory. I think nuclear the the future, not big batteries.

For those that scream, "What about the nuclear waste?" I say look up waste annihilating molten salt reactor.

Comment: Re:Panasonic (Score 3, Interesting) 151

by blindseer (#46688825) Attached to: Tesla: A Carmaker Or Grid-Storage Company?

I had a discussion with a coworker about the viability for solar power and out of that discussion came a challenge to find out what it would cost for a solar power system for a home. Taking up the challenge I spent a weekend doing the math on what it would cost to take my house off-grid and live off a solar and battery system. What I found was that it would cost ten times what I pay now for electricity.

What I worked with was the going average cost of common lead-acid batteries for storage, the estimated cost of common solar panels, and the electronics to make it all work. It's been a while since I did this research and I'm not sure if I assumed three or four days of electric storage. If we assume just one day of storage, which means no backup for a stormy day, then I might be able to halve the cost of the system but that still only gets us to five times the cost of utility power.

I calculated that if I cover my entire roof with solar panels that even in the winter I'd have enough power to run my home, assuming average power usage, excepting big power items like stoves and clothes dryers, I assumed that such items would be run off of natural gas. In the summer I'd have a glut of power, enough to run an electric car.

For a moment let's assume you are correct and prices come down to where everyone would rather buy solar panels and a battery pack for their home than rely on utility power. What happens for extended periods of poor weather? People would have to have either utility power for that or, I assume more likely, a backup generator. A utility is going to want a monthly service fee for the wire to the home even if no power is consumed, at least that is how I pay for my natural gas service. A generator isn't free either but we are assuming the total cost is still in favor of solar panels on every rooftop.

What other question I have is how much material will this take? That's a lot of valuable metals in people's basements, or placed on a grid for utility provided storage. I recall seeing someone that did the computation and for grid storage for the entire USA it would take a battery the size of Oklahoma that was two stories tall. Perhaps I recall incorrectly, I'm probably off by an order of magnitude or two but the battery had to be huge.

If your prediction does come true I don't see that happening for a very long time. Solar panels and batteries have a long way to go until they are cheaper than coal and natural gas. I think we will have nuclear power cheaper than coal first.

Comment: Too many layers of abstraction (Score 1) 126

by blindseer (#46615501) Attached to: Famous Paintings Help Study the Earth's Past Atmosphere

We take a painting of a sunset from someone that died 500 years ago, maybe we have several paintings to remove some variation, but still this is where they start. Now they have to account for the shifting of the color due to aging of the paint. They they have to account for the paints that were even available to the artist.

Presumably they can determine date, time, and location from the scene begin depicted but I recall that some of these artists at that time would paint a single scene over the span of a month. It's not like they were taking a photograph, the time to paint the image could take a considerable amount of time. Then maybe I know nothing about painting, perhaps they did this in one sitting over the span of minutes, or even seconds.

What do the people studying these paintings know about the vision of the person that painted it? I recall hearing of several famous artists that were colorblind. A colorblind artist could paint a very detailed paining of a fruit bowl, for example, and it would look completely natural to someone with normal vision. The painting may show red apples but the real ones used for inspiration may have been green. The oranges, bananas, and grapes could all look equally natural in the painting but also have obvious deviations from the real fruit if placed side by side.

I want to know who is paying for this so called scientific analysis. This research does not seem to be driven by someone with a deep understanding or respect for science.

I recall some interesting studies of paintings in the past where people would look for scenes depicting times and places for clues of climate change. They'd look for things like plant life, when snow was on the ground, and so on, where the color accuracy would not be a significant matter. One particular example I recall was of people ice skating on the River Thames, this is significant because the river does not typically freeze in modern times. There were also images of grapevines growing in places where they do not today. These paintings can give some very interesting and quite conclusive evidence of the climate in historic times and not rely so much on the interpretations, visual acuity, and materials available to the artist at the time.

This study does not sound like science to me.

Comment: Re:less government, more nuclear power (Score 1) 703

by blindseer (#46572193) Attached to: IPCC's "Darkest Yet" Climate Report Warns of Food, Water Shortages

Do you have anything constructive to add or are just going to give out insults?

IPCC gives a dire warning that if we don't change our sinful ways then we are going to starve to death. Seems to me that nuclear power reduces our carbon output and does so at a price competitive with current energy sources.

A bonus to nuclear power is that, if we make wise choices on the design and location of the power plants, we can use the heat from the plant that might normally go to waste and desalinate water. That solves another problem that the IPCC warns us about.

Even if AGW is not a real threat it still sounds like nuclear power is a good idea. Just that if AGW is real then not only is nuclear power a good solution it may be the only solution.

Comment: Re:Oopsie! (Score 1) 154

by blindseer (#46571131) Attached to: What Fire and Leakage At WIPP Means For Nuclear Waste Disposal

Let's see the cost of developing a new technology to dispose of the waste, as you estimate, would be billions of dollars. How much is it costing to store this waste currently? Who is paying for that?

The cost of storing this waste now has to paid for by the government, and has to cost millions of dollars per year. How much it costs exactly I do not know. We are pretty certain this storage cost will only increase and the waste will continue to be waste until we find something else to do with it.

So, it seems to me that even if there is not a profitable business case to burn this waste in a reactor it does seem logical to me that the government would be able to make the case to at least try developing some of these technologies to dispose of this nuclear waste and potentially extract energy from it.

Even if this expending of billions of dollars does not ultimately prove successful in disposing of the waste we get a few things out of it. We get people trained in dealing with the waste, people get jobs for a few years, and we learn more about the properties of this waste. So, we might not learn how to make the waste go away forever but we should learn a few things on how to at least manage the waste more intelligently.

What has happened though is that this expense is a pretty low risk, a lot of people have already done plenty of research in waste burning reactors. It seems to me that many people are already willing to spend their own money to develop this technology because they see a potential profit if it works. So, the government doesn't need to spend this billions of dollars, they just need to allow private citizens to spend their own billions of dollars.

As one advocate for developing waste burning reactors put it we have thousands of tons of nuclear waste now. They want one ton of this to develop the technology. If it works they turn all that waste into money, if they fail they added a few more tons of waste to the problem. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

Comment: less government, more nuclear power (Score 0) 703

by blindseer (#46559687) Attached to: IPCC's "Darkest Yet" Climate Report Warns of Food, Water Shortages

Personally I believe AGW is a farce. It's a lie from the government to make the government bigger. It's a smokescreen to hide the intent of those in power to grab more power from us and make us feel good about giving them more authority over our lives.

That said, let's assume I am an ignorant paranoid fool and AGW is real. What should we do about it?

We don't burn coal because we are assholes that want to watch the oceans boil from global warming. We burn coal because it is the best means we have to provide the lifestyle we enjoy. It appears to me that a majority of people in the government think that to improve the situation it must tax the coal burners, which makes a profit, and give it to the windmill manufacturers, which only make a profit when handed government subsidies.

The ultimate goal, so it seems, is to tax the coal out of existence so that we can all breathe the cleaner air that drives our windmills. Problem with this is, where do the subsidies come from when there is no more coal to tax?

The current path that the IPCC has laid out for us involves taking money from people that know how to make it and give it to people that can make up a good enough story on how they can stop the rising of the sea with their brand of snake oil. All that does is leave us poorer and rarely produces something actually viable.

I keep hearing how profit is evil from those that claim to be more righteous than me. Profit is not evil, profit is good. Why do you go to work every morning? I say because it is more profitable than staying home. Profit is what allows you to buy the food, shelter, and clothing for your children. If we want to make the air cleaner for our children then we need to make creating cleaner air profitable.

Wind and solar power are "profitable" only so long as it takes profit from others through taxes and gives it to them with subsidies. It cannot produce profit on it's own, barring some unusual circumstances. Advancements in technology may change that but in the here and now profitable wind and solar is rare. Hydroelectric is profitable but there are few places left worth a dam. Coal and natural gas is profitable but that is what is supposedly causing all the trouble we are in. That leaves nuclear power.

Nuclear power is profitable, clean, and safe. Bring up all the nightmare scenarios you want from things like Fukushima, Three Mile Island, and Chernobyl but they are all irrelevant. We've learned from those and we don't build nuclear power plants like them any more. Nuclear power is so safe that we put it on submarines. These people live within feet of an operating nuclear power plant for months on end without concern, and have done so for decades.

What about the nuclear waste? Look up "Waste-Annihilating Molten Salt Reactor".

We don't need more government. We need more nuclear power.

Comment: nitpicking nomenclature (Score 4, Informative) 66

by blindseer (#46556001) Attached to: Goodyear's New State-of-the-Art Airship Makes Its First Flight

This means that the craft is technically no longer a blimp or dirigible because the structure of the envelope is no longer supported entirely by the gas inside.

Any aircraft that obtains lift from a lighter than air gas is an airship or aerostat. An airship that has the ability to propel itself is a dirigible, one that cannot is a balloon. An airship that contains no rigid support structure for the envelope can be called either a blimp or non-rigid. An airship that has the envelope supported entirely by a solid structure is considered a rigid dirigible or a Zepplin, named after the person that developed that style of craft and the company that bears his name that built them.

Since these new Goodyear airships are semi-rigid and built by the Zeppelin company I would tend to call this type of airship a Zeppelin. Perhaps my tendency might conflict with others as it might be more correctly be called a semi-rigid dirigible that happened to be made by Zeppelin.

I agree that these new aircraft are not blimps but they are most certainly dirigibles.

With that said I'm not going to beat anyone over the head for calling them "blimps", everyone will know generally what they are talking about. I might even call them a blimp just because I've heard people using the words "Goodyear" and "blimp" together for so long that I'd have to be reminded that these new crafts are not blimps.

What gets crazy is that some airships are not technically lighter than air. They contain gasses in the envelope that is lighter than air but not enough to provide sufficient buoyancy for lifting the entire weight of the craft. They'd technically be still heavier than air and would require the engines running to leave the ground. I don't know if the Goodyear airships are lighter or heavier than air.

Whatever people want to call them I think these airships are cool. I believe this is a technology that will allow for some very large and heavy lifting aircraft that could compete with many other forms of transport over land, air, or sea.

Comment: If "pro" is the opposite of "con"... (Score 2) 335

by blindseer (#46545545) Attached to: Nate Silver's New Site Stirs Climate Controversy

If "pro" is the opposite of "con" then what is the opposite of "progress"?

The biggest problem I have with man made global warming scare is that the solution always seems to be bigger government and more taxes. These AGW alarmists go running to Congress to ban this or tax that but neither will really decrease AGW. The way to decrease AGW, if it exists at all, is to create alternatives. Give us something better and people will naturally gravitate toward it because it will be in their best interest to do so.

By creating legislation to bar people from doing something does not prevent people from breaking the law. Getting caught with the wrong kind of toilet or light bulb in your house is unlikely and there is no real punishment for doing so. So people will break the law. However, if you can convince people that using the wrong kind of toilet or light bulb costs them money then you have a convert.

What Congress has done is made it difficult to produce energy that is both low in carbon output and profitable. They shut down power plants and coal mines, and stopped issuing permits to drill for oil and gas on federal land. What happened? We buy our oil from other countries where they don't care about spilling oil into the ocean. We put high voltage power lines into Mexico where they don't care how many people die from inhaling the coal soot.

What we should do instead is allow for the creation of alternatives. There has not been a new nuclear reactor built in the USA for four decades. There might be some new ones being built now but all they do is build new reactors on the same site as the old ones. We need nuclear power. Without nuclear power we must choose between the status quo, continued reliance on fossil fuels, or reverting to a caveman lifestyle.

I find it laughable about how people will claim that wind and solar will save the environment and give us all the energy we need. Windmills have been shown to kill endangered Golden Eagles and Bald Eagles but Congress lets that happen because wind power is good. Except that wind power does not make a profit. Its economic viability exists only because of taxes, taxes derived from profitable coal energy. Solar power is no different, it kills birds by blinding or burning them and is only held up by taxing the coal industry.

What happens if Congress is successful in driving the coal industry out of business with taxes? The subsidies for wind and solar energy goes away. Energy prices will triple and people will have to choose between freezing or starving to death. Same goes for gasoline and diesel fuel taxes. If the gasoline and diesel fuel taxes go away then we have no money for the roads.

I believe AGW is a farce. I believe this because the actions of Congress show me that they are not serious about it so therefore they have not been convinced. If they were convinced of the existence of AGW they would not be acting as they do. If they thought that AGW was a real threat to the environment then they'd be building nuclear power plants. If they were concerned about the environment they they would not be building windmills that kill endangered species. What they have shown me is that their greatest concern is growing the size of government. What better way to grow government than to build an economy that depends on government?

Subsidies mean people must do as the government says or they don't have a job. Taxes takes money only from those that know how to make money. The best thing that subsidies can do is take money from those that know how to make money and give it to those that know how to make money, which is no better than not taxing them in the first place. But subsidies don't always give money to those who know how to make money, but it does give money to those who know how to do what the government wants.

If Congress was serious about AGW then they'd stop taxing and spending. Instead they'd provide a legal and economic environment where people with the best ideas on saving the environment and the economy thrive. A good start would be to allow nuclear research to happen. They don't have to give them money, just permission to conduct their work.

Comment: Re:really? (Score 1) 143

by blindseer (#46536741) Attached to: Church Committee Members Say New Group Needed To Watch NSA

I fail to see the distinction. Someone that wants to disarm the public is not going to be concerned about their privacy. In order to get the guns the people in power will stop anyone on a whim to search for weapons. They don't need a warrant to search your house because you might have a gun inside. The gun grabbers will put cameras on your street, they will track where you go, they will record your phone calls. These people are sick, they have a pathology that creates in them a paranoia of others that might share their power and/or authority. They will project this pathology onto others that speak up against them.

Those that want to disarm you want to enslave you.

Comment: Re:really? (Score 1) 143

by blindseer (#46525435) Attached to: Church Committee Members Say New Group Needed To Watch NSA

She's 80 years old and will be 85 when she comes up for re-election again. She can be in office only so long before here own mortality catches up with her. I suspect she will choose not to run again even if she ultimately lives to be 102, her age will give cover for her falling poll numbers.

I'm sure the Democrats will find some other gun grabbing loon to take her place. I'm pretty sure that Californians will elect this as yet unnamed gun grabbing loon.

Comment: Re:States Committing Citizenicide (Score 1) 229

by blindseer (#46490125) Attached to: Elon Musk Addresses New Jersey's Tesla Store Ban

Right. Problem is that the people that moved out are those wealthy and/or smart enough to move out to avoid the high taxes. The people that move in tend to be those ignorant of the true cost of living (which means they will likely move out once they smarten up) or don't make enough income to pay much in taxes.

What is happening is that the people that know how to make money are leaving and the people that know how to leach off the state move in. If New York and California don't fix this then they will go bankrupt, if they haven't already.

Comment: Re:Here's my idea (Score 1) 229

by blindseer (#46490099) Attached to: Elon Musk Addresses New Jersey's Tesla Store Ban

Something like that is done for firearms. It is illegal to sell firearms by mail so what retailers will do is sell a kit that has all the parts of a firearm except the part that is legally the firearm. Problem with your example is that the critical part that makes the collection of parts a firearm is itself legally a firearm. In other words, what keeps the state from defining that part as a "car"? If that part is now legally a car then you are back where you started, Tesla will have to get dealerships to sell the "car part" since it is defined as a car under the law.

Continuing the firearm analogy what people will do is sell an "80% firearm" through the mail. It is lawful to produce your own firearm. It is lawful to sell machined hunks of metal through the mail. So what dealers will do is machine a part that is really close to being a firearm but still requires the drilling of holes or some other critical machining to technically be a firearm.

Tesla doing something like this would be very difficult. They would have to sell a "car kit" with all the pieces required to build a car but lacking some critical machine work so that they are not technically selling a car. The problem is that while people that manufacture firearms for their own use do not have to register them, excepting places like New Jersey where state law requires it, every state requires cars to be registered to be lawfully driven on public roads. That means the person that assembles the car kit would have to go to the state and complete all kinds of paperwork so they can drive their car.

Requiring people to buy a Tesla car kit, assemble it themselves, and go through the paperwork to have it registered would likely have a serious impact on people willing to purchase it. I would also believe this would make a serious support headache for Tesla as they would have people calling about how they could not get their car put together correctly.

In short, people tried that already and the people that wrote the laws have undoubtedly thought of that too.

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