Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment Hoax? Maybe, maybe not Nuclear fuel reprocessing (Score 1) 828

I am very skeptical. I have friends who have degrees in nuclear physics and this was my first choice for a career except when I saw the Fonda's in China Syndrome creating hysteria I decided to get into computer Science instead.

I know of no laws of physics that allow this gadget to work.

However this was also true when Einstein published his papers on special relativity. It took a generation of physicists to retire before that was proven. And as Richard Feynman said: There is plenty of room at the bottom as in we still have likely more to discover than we currently know.

Here is a reason the "customer" might not want to be known. Suppose it doesn't work. Politics says a major firm will walk away with egg on the face and no major firm wants this.

So we need to sit back and let these events unfold as they will. If it works then great. But it still does not solve a problem which has been solved in the 1960's through the 1990's This problem is the "spent fuel problem". There is enough energy sitting in the swimming pools on the current nuclear reactor sites to power our world for 1000's of years. Generation IV reactors like the molten salt reactor from Oak Ridge or the IFR which Argonne labs designed... either will burn that "spent fuel" and they can do this because the fuel is not "spent" at all. Its not waste. Its fuel.

These are tested designs and the physics is worked out and IMHO it is totally stupid to not be using them. It is totally fraudulent for the media and our governments to be totally misrepresenting the physics. Here is one example. I read in the papers that fuel reprocessing should not be allowed because:

The because is because of Plutonium. We can make bombs from Pu239. Well this is true. It is also true there is Pu239 in the "spent fuel". What is not told to the public is that there is also Pu240, Pu241 and Pu242 in that "spent fuel" and no one in their right mind would try to make a bomb with that stuff.

So what we should stop doing IMHO is enrichment because the main reason for this is to make bombs. Canada has the Candu and its proven and we don't need enrichment. We don't need to shut down NYSE:USU. I was a stock holder and made money. We need them to start doing reprocessing.

If we clean the crud from the "spent fuel" we can stuff it into Candu reactors and run them for 1000's of years. This is how we get rid of the nuclear "waste". At any time we can build the gen IV reactors.

But the thing is its still going to take a 1000's years to burn it and during this time there is going to be all the electricity our world needs flowing from these reactors.

If the e-Cat works then what? The nuclear industry dies and then who looks after the swimming pools.

In a way I hope the e-Cat doesn't work. I'd like to have one in my car and another heating my house but I think I would rather like to see a logical well thought out energy system which gets rid of the highly radioactive isotopes. This means fuel reprocessing and we shut down the enrichment industry because we already have too much.

Comment Re:Fueled by pre-loaded hydrogen (Score 1) 479

They are apparently using pretty high hydrogen pressure. If the metal can absorb this then there is quite a lot of potential energy in the pressure drop from the high pressure hydrogen source. Next it is reported that the reactor is about a liter in size.

Could the potential energy of the compressed hydrogen provide the energy?

If so then perhaps they extract all the hydrogen back out at low pressure and of course use an external system to re-compress it in which case perhaps they have a battery. Such a system would not use up any hydrogen to speak of. They might lose a little along the way of course.

What I can't figure out is how a number of very heavy weight physicists would miss something like this. All reports I've read is that there is a lot of head scratching going on.

Comment Re:Crackpot ideas (Score 1) 182

this story has already rolled over the hill so to speak but hopefully you will follow up on your ideas. If you are not already doing this I think you should pursue a career in physics.

These are good ideas.

You wrote of a lighter than air structure. How about a vacuum window? Its been done. Aeogel is translucent and can carry the load. Glass mind you is very strong and it can be supported by little struts made out of say titanium and this is a commercial product. But aerogels might be a more interesting architectural product.

The problem is going to be manufacturing aerogel in quantity and in forming it. But as we know its mostly not there.

Contact me if you like... I'd like to work with you on this and you have my email. maybe we can form a hot air research lab.

Comment Projects not viable Re:Oil is too cheap (Score 1) 314

Unfortunately many alternative energy projects are not viable at any price. There is a difference between chemistry and physics and wishful thinking.

A case in point is bio-ethanol from starch. While it is not true that this is an energy loss, the issue is that the energy gain is not so great. Farmers probably can produce all the bio-fuel they need... for themselves. They cannot both feed millions of hungry urban mouths as well as millions of hungry urban gas tanks.

If we see oil prices run up over $150 per barrel I'm sure we will see a lot of finger pointing at politics and so forth. The truth is the problem is not a political problem ... it is a geological problem. We are reaching the limit of our ability at this time to mine hydrocarbons from the earth.

Perhaps a new technology will come forth. If so the judgment day will be pushed back a bit. We are still facing the inevitable. We are at or near peak oil. We need alternatives which are synthetics and we don't have them. The reason we don't have them is because we haven't built the plants.

The technology exists and has existed for decades. Part of the solution is coal->liquids with Natural Gas providing Hydrogen as a feed stock. I'll demonstrate why below. This is the Fischer Tropsch process. Look it up.

The reason we need a source of hydrogen is as follows. Coal has a hydrogen:carbon ratio of say about 0.6. It varies a lot. This means our coal feedstock might be say C(n)H(0.6n).

The liquid fuels we pour into our gas tanks are alkanes and they have a hydrogen:carbon ratio of about 2 and the chemical formula of C(n)H(2n+2). So for each carbon atom we mine from Coal or from Bitumin for that matter we need to find an atom of hydrogen. If we cannot find that hydrogen atom then we need to discard about 1/2 the carbon we mine. Well - we can burn some of it for energy... but people have their religions and they don't want that!

What they want is nirvana and it doesn't exist.

Comment Biobutanol (Score 1) 314

I rather doubt anyone is sitting on any old patents or will be any time soon. Sure BP and Dupont are working on biobutanol. They are probably working with Clostridium acetobutylicum. This was isolated before 1915 and was used industrially for decades.

What they are likely trying to do is mutate the beast so it will produce concentration of bio-fuel which are competitive with other sources which traditionally have been petroleum based.

I just don't know why we have all these conspiracy theories and why these theories seem to be promoted by the least informed.

Comment Racket (Score 4, Insightful) 254

You participated in a racket and were ripped off and now you are proud? Its clowns like you who don't fight that encourage them to continue the racket.

I had my car towed across the street once... a construction crew wanted to dig up my side. I have no problem with that. What I didn't like was the ticket for parking in the no parking zone. The issue is the no parking zone showed up probably at 7 am in the morning after I left.

You better believe I fought them! racket. Ont he way home from winning (for the wrong reasons... racket remember) I met my neighbor who had also been parked. I asked him why he didn't get a ticket. He said he did and he paid it.

Its people like my neighbor who encourage this abuse by paying.

Rule of thumb. Fight ALL tickets. Never allow them to profit from the racket and we'll hopefully get the racket more under control.

Comment CLf's wrok for me in my office... no where else (Score 1) 1049

I use three (3) 13 watt CLF's in my office and they work great. I leave them on 24x7 because I"m in and out a lot and at a total of 39 watts they use about a kilowatt hour per day which costs me about $3.00 per month and they do help heat my house - but not as much as incandescent would.

Since I leave them on 24x7 I find there is no lag for them to come on... which is one complaint people have. Next I get at least eight (8) years (70,000 hours) from them which is substantially more than what they are rated for. But this is what you get when you never turn them off.

I find the spectrum is excellent.

Everywhere else I use incandescent. I typically get over 5 years service from each of these bulbs as well because I'm not in those rooms very often so it takes a while to build up to 1000 hours.

I expect I'll horde enough incandescents to carry me through to 2020. If I have to replace the CLF's during this time its not an issue. I like the leds... but I think I'll wait for the price to come down.

Note I keep my computers on 24x7 as well and typically get more than a decade from these components. In fact my desktop machine has been running since 1998. Since it also runs linux I rarely have to reboot.

Comment It is easy to call the phone comapny (Score 1) 395

it is easy to call phone companies.... real easy. They usually have an investor relations department so just call them. They also usually have a legal department and usually they are quite good at answering the phone. Its just the rest of the whole companies typically which stink.

Last time I had a run in... I called the legal department and advised that if they didn't deal with me I would file and then they would have to deal with me. They dealt with me and I didn't need to file. But no one else in the comapny was that nice.

Comment What a phucking mess! What incompetence! (Score 1) 2254

What a mess created by an incompetent group of clowns. They don't test their code and three (3) days after they screw everything up to the point where the whole system is unusable... its still not fixed!

This is incompetence.

These bright light bulbs were not even smart enough to keep the old templates running! Clowns is too nice for them. Who ever heard of backward compatibility eh?

If I were managing /. they would have their walking papers immediately. But maybe this is why its still broken.

Comment This site suggests melting ice (Score 3, Informative) 654


Why Doesn't Anyone Mention the Record Growth of Sea Ice Around Antarctica?

Typical of the commentaries on sea ice is this by Harold Ambler, published, of all places, in the Huffington Post, on January 3, 2009:

        P.S. One of the last, desperate canards proposed by climate alarmists is that of the polar ice caps. Look at the "terrible," "unprecedented" melting in the Arctic in the summer of 2007...

So, to answer Ambler's final question:

        Why, I ask, has Mr. Gore not chosen to mention the record growth of sea ice around Antarctica? If the record melting in the Arctic is significant, then the record sea ice growth around Antarctica is, too, I say. If one is insignificant, then the other one is, too.

The answer is simple. The Arctic decrease is statistically significant, and the Antarctic increase is not. This is Stats 101. Ambler is flat out wrong. Not all trends are equally statistically significant.

What the last two (2) maps don't indicate is if warmer ocean temperatures increase precipitation inland.


I suggest if anyone wants to dig into this check Sciencebits. More specifically look here:


Since we are still waiting for a very anemic solar cycle#24 to build up sunspots, I think perhaps we should wait till past 2015 because it seems the great solar science experiment in the sky is already underway.


Comment Climate change to continue to year 3000 (Score 3, Insightful) 654


Yuppie! They've got the models to prove it:

Climate change to continue to year 3000 in best case scenarios

The study, to be published in the Jan. 9 Advanced Online Publication of the journal Nature Geoscience, is the first full climate model simulation to make predictions out to 1000 years from now. It is based on best-case, 'zero-emissions' scenarios constructed by a team of researchers from the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis (an Environment Canada research lab at the University of Victoria) and the University of Calgary.

The Northern Hemisphere fares better than the south in the computer simulations, with patterns of climate change reversing within the 1000-year time frame in places like Canada.

That's a pretty good model.

Who cares about 30 years of data when they can forecast out 1000 years!

Looks to me that after we drown because of rising sea levels then the sea level will go back down. Darn - and I want some ocean front property. Maybe this will drive the price down. Maybe it will drive the price up. Maybe can we use the model on the stock market? I hate to admit that probably some of my tax money funded this.

Comment Ya right! Give me a break! (Score 1, Insightful) 386

Lets see. There are 4046.8726 square meters in an acre.

Since we know the MAXIMUM solar energy is about 1 kilowatt per square meter and the ratio of the surface area of a disc verses a sphere is 1:4 we get 250 watts per square meter average over a day. We also have an idea of how many hours in a year which most would agree is 24*365 = 8760

So at MOST the energy falling on an acre is 4046 * 250 * 8760 (watt.hours) = 8,860,740 kilowatt.hours (note the units conversion from watt.hours to kilowatt.hours).

Gasoline has about 34.8 MJ per liter. There are 3.78 liters/ US.gallon so 34.8 * 3.78 / 3600 / 1000 = 36.54 kilowatt.hours per us.gallon.

But they claim they can get 10,000 us.gallons of gas per acre so this is 36.54E5 = 3,654,000 kilowatt.hours of product with an energy input of 8,860,740 kilowatt.hours max. This is better than 41%.

BUT! For about 1/2 the year it might be below freezing!

Now does anyone want to calculate the total land area on earth and translate this into barrels of oil equivalent per year? The world currently uses about 86 million barrels per day.

Slashdot Top Deals

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.