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Comment: Re:What the (Score 1) 207

by Rei (#46293715) Attached to: Chevron Gives Residents Near Fracking Explosion Free Pizza

The actual point of concern from fracking is not about the fluids, the water, or any of the bullshit you see people ranting about. The problem is that they are re-using old wells which were drilled a long time ago, and those wells go through the water table and natural aquifers in many cases. Those old wells tend to have shoddy and/or degraded casings (the walls of the wells are lined usually with some type of concrete or metal tubing to prevent them from collapsing), so when they are pumping the shit down the well they can tend to leak somewhat.

Well put. It's important to realize that by the very nature of there being trapped gas, that means that there is at least one (generally several) layers of highly impermiable cap rock above the natural gas, so thick and durable that they've contained a highly-mobile gas for millions of years (despite earthquakes and the like), all of which is several kilometers down - versus the groundwater which is a couple dozen to a couple hundred meters down. Creating cracks a couple dozen centimeters long several kilometers well below the cap rock down has essentially no effect on the leak rate from the reservoir up through *kilometers* of rock (which would take ages for anything they're injecting now to reach anyway). The problem is the well, which by its very nature must pierce through each layer on its way down - including your groundwater layers. Even new wells aren't perfect (as we well know). Reusing old wells is a recipie for leaks.

The solution to water shortages isn't to cry about frakking, it's to start advancing our de-salinization technology

I don't know... desalinization generally takes crazy amounts of energy to produce enough for agriculture, just by the very nature of the energy state of saltwater versus fresh. There is one concept I read about a few years back which I thought was pretty clever that might work around that, though - it was to use open evaporation pools to create super-saline water and to have it flow past two ion-specific membranes (one for negative ions, the other for positive) connecting to adjacent pools, creating a salt gradient pressure into those pools. Each of those pools in turn have their opposite ion-specific membrane connected to a final regular-saltwater pool. For an ion to follow the diffusion gradient and leave the super-saturated pool into an adjacent pool, that adjacent pool must suck an opposite ion from the final saltwater pool - which it will do if the gradient from the super-saturated pool is strong enough. The final pool stays balanced because ions are being lost to each adjacent pool. Eventually the final saltwater pool will become freshwater.

That which I find really neat about this concept is that it doesn't use electricity beyond basic water pumps and the like - the energy powering it is simply evaporation of seawater, which is ridiculously easy to achieve in many desert locations. In many places a mere jetty is enough to turn hundreds of square miles of ocean into an evaporation pool. The challenge is of course mass production of sufficient flow rate ion-selective membranes and keeping them from clogging.

Comment: Re:What the (Score 1) 207

by Rei (#46293649) Attached to: Chevron Gives Residents Near Fracking Explosion Free Pizza

I'm not sure I'd call a sodium reactor more safe. Heck, liquid sodium explodes in contact with concrete, and the very reactor itself is built out of concrete. They have to clad it in thick steel as a precaution, and after a sodium leak in Japan, the sodium ate over halfway through the steel. Liquid sodium is not nice, friendly stuff.

And I don't think there's anywhere *near* enough data on thorium reactors. All the happy-go-lucky stuff sounds all too much like the sort of sales pitches that accompany each new generation of nuclear reactor.

If I had to pick one that I thought had the most promise, it'd be lead-bismuth. Now, they have their own set of corrosion problems, no question. But at least there's a damned lot of data from the former USSR on how to prevent it. Beyond that, leaks are pretty harmless (apart from economically) - your worst case scenario is that your reactor entombs itself in lead, which most people would consider *desirable* in a worst-case reactor leak. There's no explosion risk from lead-bismuth. It's a breeder approach like sodium, so little waste and highly efficient fuel usage. And the emergency circulation in modern designs is mostly passive.

But honestly, the biggest issue I have with nuclear is cost. The nuclear industry is one of the few industries out there that has demonsingtrated a long-term *negative* learning curve in terms of cost. That is, the longer we run nuclear power plants, the more added risks we learn we have to address (which costs money), the higher the disposal cost estimates versus earlier estimates, and on and on. Scaling factors mean that plants usually have to be very large which means that you don't learn as much from building lots of them with varying approaches. And the generally best way to deal with a problem of escalating costs on a design - start anew with a radically different design - means you start the learning curve over, which takes decades on nuclear due to the slow pace. And the newer approaches are often more complicated in order to solve the previous problems, which introduces new potential avenues of failure.

It's a real problem. All issues of safety and the environment aside, if nuclear can't address the cost issue, it has no future. Cost kept investors out of nuclear more than NIMBY for three decades. They've been trying again with this latest round of nuclear construction (often with citizens picking up the financial risk if not outright the tab), but the results thusfar haven't been very appealing, with lots of cost overruns.

Comment: Re:Scientists Create Pizza That Can Last Years (Score 2) 207

by Rei (#46293571) Attached to: Chevron Gives Residents Near Fracking Explosion Free Pizza

Cooked with natural gas, no doubt!

Seriously, though... I mean, "NEWS FLASH: Mass production of gas sought for its high energy and ease of combustion poses a fire risk!" Who here is surprised by this? Are there people in town going around saying, "My god, I knew they were producing *natural gas*, but I had no idea they were producing something that could *catch fire*!"

Comment: Re: Uh (Score 1) 545

by Rei (#46164217) Attached to: Getting Young Women Interested In Open Source

According to US crime statistics, 99% of sexual assault perpetrators are men. 91% of sexual assault victims are female. That is, to put it bluntly, even when a man is a victim, the perpetrator is still overwhelmingly likely to be a man. And if you want to fall back to the "guys aren't as likely to report being raped by a woman because it'd be embarrassing" canard, you really think that it would be any less embarrassing for them to report being raped by a guy, given the male taboo about anything homosexual?

The simple fact is, statitically, it's almost exclusively men who rape. Not 100% exclusively - given the vast number of rapes, even 1% is still a large number. But, statistically, the percentage of perpetrators that are women is very small.

And let's get out of the BS denial mode. The simple fact is that about 1 in 4 women will be raped in their lifespan, and polls of college-age men show that approximataely one in 10 have already raped, and of those, about a third are serial rapists. These numbers aren't appearing in a vaccuum; you need to stand up and deal with the elements in male culture that treat it as fine to treat women as objects, conquests, and makes sexual consent out as optional. I find it incredibly disturbing the percentage of men who don't even know what consent *is* or that they have to get it ("If she passes out she's fair game", "She's my girlfriend so it can't be rape", "She didn't physically fight me when I forced myself on her, she only *told me* not to", "If she didn't want it she wouldn't have dressed like that", etc).

These are your friends, your family members. Stop turning a blind eye to the problem, admit it exists, and if you see these sort of attitudes expressed, F*'in say something. Your silence or friendly laugh gets interpreted as agreement.

Comment: Re:I'm male but... (Score 1) 545

by Rei (#46161099) Attached to: Getting Young Women Interested In Open Source

If you actually believe that, you do not understand people, much less women.

Because, of course, women are not people?

FYI, the statistical psychological differences between men and women are generally quite small. Blaming your lack of understanding of someone on their gender is not almost certainly wrong, but it's a defeatest attitude - it's blaming your failure on something you cannot change so why even bother, "They" are just un-understandable!

Comment: Re:Uh (Score 1) 545

by Rei (#46161065) Attached to: Getting Young Women Interested In Open Source

Right, so women sexualize men as much as men sexualize women? That's why... oh, let's just pick an example... there's at least 10 clubs where women strip for every one where men strip - and at least half of those are for gay men? That's why we have words like "booth babes" but not "booth dudes", because the former has to be at least an order of magnitude more common, even in fields where men and women are represented in roughly even numbers? I could keep going if you'd like. Heck, do I even need to go into the ultimate example of sexualization/dehumanization of an individual, sexual molestation and assault?

Don't give me this false equivalency BS. There's a serious problem with men - not all men, far from it, but a huge percent - treating women as though they're simply things to sleep with rather than people like themselves, and it is NOT anywhere near on the same scale in the other direction.

The first step to remedying a problem is admitting that it exists.

Comment: Re:Is no one else concerned? (Score 1) 161

by Rei (#46127569) Attached to: World's First Magma-Based Geothermal Energy System

I've seen different maps define it differently, but most maps of Reykjanes include all the way up to Mosfellsbær (to go any further is to be on Kjalarnes). But then again, when most people want to talk about closer to Reykjavík they talk about either Reykjavík or Höfuðborgarsvæði... so I'm not sure if technically it's part. Either way, it's close. There are known magma chambers that are considered a threat to Reykjavík if they went off.

These eruptions aren't little point effects. As the fact that they've poured out hundreds of square kilometers of lava fields should be pointed out. ;) Hafnarfjörður and parts of Reykjavík are on top of relatively young lava fields. Hraunbær (Lava Town) is just to my south. And thats just about flooding with lava, let alone ash and gas consequences. So yeah, it's a serious matter - it's just one unlikely to be affected for the worse by drilling.

Comment: Re:But will it work elsewhere? (Score 1) 161

by Rei (#46124819) Attached to: World's First Magma-Based Geothermal Energy System

Energy from magma chambers only works... wait for it... in places with magma chambers.

Any more easy questions?

If you want a "works everywhere" tech to watch, watch EGS. My favorite variety is a no-fracking variety where they branch off the well in the hot zone and use a conductive grout, turning the well into a giant heat exchanger. Totally closed, so it's non-corrosive and strata-indifferent - needs only heat. But of course, in the end it's going to be whatever's most economic that will take off.

Comment: Re:1.3 miles? (Score 2) 161

by Rei (#46124787) Attached to: World's First Magma-Based Geothermal Energy System

So you think cooling down the magma (boiling water) increases the likelihood of an eruption? Do you think water will go through the pipe with enough pressure to break the pipe and rupture the surrounding rock, when they're controlling how much water they send down the pipe in the first place? You think dissolved gasses will come out faster somehow when they're doing nothing to reduce the pressure on the magma?

There's no logical reason why such a borehole should trigger an eruption. It should overall decrease the risk by taking heat out of it, making the magma more viscous if not outright solidifying it.

Comment: Re:Fracking bad herp derp (Score 1) 161

by Rei (#46124759) Attached to: World's First Magma-Based Geothermal Energy System

RTFA. The "deadly chemicals" used were precisely one chemical: that deadly dihydrogen monoxide stuff.

Fracking is not all a single process. At its most basic level, it's simply water injection. You *can* inject all sorts of other stuff in for various reasons (most of them oil-specific and totally unrelated to geothermal power prouction), but they're not fundamentally required for all fracking.

Comment: Re:Is no one else concerned? (Score 5, Informative) 161

by Rei (#46124715) Attached to: World's First Magma-Based Geothermal Energy System

Haha, actually it was accidental. When they broke through into a magma chamber, that wasn't the goal - they didn't realize they were that close, they were just trying to tap the hot rock near it. But after magma filled up the borehole a couple dozen meters, they decided to try to turn lemons into lemonade and produce steam... and it actually worked.

But yeah, I think a lot of people have a gross misunderstanding how drilling works. You're not creating some big open hole that magma can just shoot up. If you tried that, the hole would collapse before you got very deep at all. Your hole is full of "mud" that is at least as high pressure as the surrounding rock. The gas isn't going to suddenly come out of solution and trigger an eruption when you drill into magma, you're not reducing the pressure on it.

And I'm sure it's mentioned somewhere below, but whoever wrote this article is an idiot. The mantle isn't full of magma, it's solid. The crust is where magma is found They did not drill to the mantle, they drilled into a magma chamber.

The only thing I learned from the article was that they plan to try the same thing in Reykjanes. I fully expect people to freak out, given that's where three quarters of our population lives ;) Also, I didn't know the stats on the sort of power they were getting out of that well... 36MWe of 450C steam from a single geothermal well is bloody insane. Hopefully this will prove to be economical and thus an incentive to stop destroying all of our rivers one after the next for hydroelectric power. : Oh, and I'm not surprised to learn that Alcoa was helping. There's three aluminum smelters here, and even the smallest of them uses more power than all of the homes and businesses combined. They built the largest hydroelectric plant in Europe (in the middle of the formerly-largest-undeveloped-wilderness in Europe) just to power a single smelter.

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