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Comment Re:Karma (Score 1) 393

Most other developed nations that utilize a lot of desalination (Saudi Arabia, Israel, UAE, etc.) actually pay less than 1/3rd per liter for desalinated water than we pay for water in Ventura County. If we could desalinate our water, we should be able to - theoretically - slash our water costs by a factor of 3...

Saudi Arabia's desalination plants are fueled by cheap domestic carbon fuels (almost all of their grid is power by either oil or NG). So don't expect the costs to transfer - or even be a desirable way to deal with the problem given its cause.

Comment Re:Did renewables replace any carbon based plants? (Score 1) 340

Until renewables become far cheaper, generate more kWh per square-foot, and solve the storage problem - they will never reduce or replace carbon based generation.

Did you include in the externalised costs?

If we include the coal externalities, it increases the levelized costs to approximately 28 cents per kWh, which is more than hydroelectric, wind (onshore and offshore), geothermal, biomass, nuclear, natural gas, solar photovoltaic, and on par with solar thermal (whose costs are falling rapidly).

I have some sympathy for the density argument, but I hope we can agree that using more land (or building nukes) is mostly a political choice, not a technical barrier.

Comment Re:Coal's not cheap (Score 1) 340

Fossil fuel tax breaks? And access to public lands that they have to pay for? Where oh where do those windmills and solar plants go?

On domestic land. Unlike the oil being pumped out of the ground in the ME that requires wars, half our carrier fleet and the blood of our soldiers and their civilians. Not to mention the short term price spikes the wars cause when they reduce supply (HT to a comment above).

Comment Re:empty waste land not equal to best location (Score 1) 159

But like the /. story about Kuwait a week ago: I can't grasp that the wealthy and powerful in such countries are to dumb to do anything with their wealth and power.

I can. I went to school with a bunch of them, and some of them are - to put it delicately - dumber than a bag of hammers.

Comment Re:Ah yes.. (Score 1) 195

This is already done for CO2 purification plants. Where do you think the CO2 for dry ice, carbonation, flash-freezing, etc. comes from? And don't forget that CO2 (that evil gas that's supposedly killing the planet) only makes up 0.04% of the atmosphere.

And the LD50 of Hydrogen Cyanide (another metabolic by-product) is also about 300ppm (0.03%). I'm sure you would have no problem breathing it. In fact, why don't you do so and leave the science to the grown ups?

Comment Re:Those Damn Blue LEDs (Score 1) 230

Actually, when they first came out, they were used because they were 'cool' and 'new'. We were all quite used to seeing red, yellow, and green LEDs for many years. Blue was just different and very bright in comparison.

The one place it really made sense was the locator light on servers. It was fairly easy to find the box with the blue light turned on.

Blue was also needed to make full colour images like in LED TVs. That was the application I remember generating all the excitement.

Comment Shape Dynamics (Score 1) 268

This all sounds consistent Shape Dynamics. IANAP, but according to Lee Smolin's book Time Reborn, this can lead to a preferred frame of reference, including an actual centre of the universe. It also make time into its own thing, disentangling it from space. Which could ruin time travel forever.

Comment Re:We need to stop the abortion. it's just horribl (Score 1) 301

There is exactly one reference to abortion in the bible. It's in Numbers 5, and it details the process for performing an abortion if you believe your wife has been unfaithful.

There's another (indirect) reference in Exodus 21:22 which prescribes a monetary penalty for inducing a miscarriage in a woman bystander. Which is hardly surprising because children were considered property at the time.

Comment Re:An alternative? (Score 4, Informative) 170

Stop clear-cutting all the trees for lumber and to put up crappy strip malls and subdivisions!

That is backwards. A mature forest does not remove net CO2. You need to cut it down, sequester the wood in housing or whatever, and then let the forest regrow. If forests are going to be used to remove carbon, we need to cut down more of them.

Well, but old growth forests actually remove more carbon than their younger replacements, so it isn't that simple:

"Rather than slowing down or ceasing growth and carbon uptake, as we previously assumed, most of the oldest trees in forests around the world actually grow faster, taking up more carbon," said Richard Condit, staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. "A large tree may put on weight equivalent to an entire small tree in a year."

So by leaving an old growth forest in place, we sequester the carbon (in the forest) and improve the uptake.

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