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


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment Re: Straight From Greenpeace Agenda (Score 1) 275

Well, we already have the plants, and they are obviously not getting the job done. We likely don't have enough land that can grow them, and it might even be dangerous to create some kind of super-plant and stick it into the sea without knowing the environmental impact of doing so - what if it overmultiplies and not only clogs the seas to make shipping impossible, but sucks virtually all the CO2 out of the atmosphere and plunges the planet into an ice ball. I once read of an alien attack that was accomplished entirely by tricking our scientists into creating some single-cell critters that they carelessly allowed into the environment, they found their ways to the sea, and commence to sucking all the oxygen out of the atmosphere, suffocating all animal life on the planet. Forget how the planet was saved, but it was probably unworkable and the planet would actually have been destroyed.

Doing our geo-engineering without summoning the fire of using living things to do it might be a safer route. If we make a machine that is detrimental to our survival, we can turn it off. Living things in the biosphere are much harder to control.

Comment Re: Straight From Greenpeace Agenda (Score 1) 275

The geoengineering that needs to be worked is one that extracts the CO2 from the air and turns it into carbon and oxygen. Make it something that runs on solar energy and generates electricity at the same time and it'll be a winner. The STEP process:


would be something that would fix things forever, but apparently no one has actually gotten this thing to work. Somebody should. We could run it, have more and more pure carbon than you could get out of coal mines, and then recycle the carbon thru power plants to make even more electricity with _just_ CO2 as an emission, rather than CO2 plus SO2 plus mercury plus uranium plus radon plus a thousand other things not good for living things to contact.

Comment Re: Straight From Greenpeace Agenda (Score 1) 275

The thing to stop is the diminishment of the prosperity we actually need to have in order to research the solutions to the problem. Research costs money, and if the country is pauperized by ill-conceieved and ineffective half-measures to attack the problem that don't actually have a hope of making a significant difference, the real solution will be delayed instead of hastened.

What we need first and foremost is a much improved battery. I call it the "magic battery" which needs to be cheap and small and cheap and rugged enough for automotive use and cheap and durable enough to not be wearing out and further increase cost and cheap and easily manufactured in quantity and cheap. Oh, and it has to be cheap so customers can buy a $12,000 electric car that will do everything that a $12,000 gasoline-powered car will do.

What we need is to be able to leave the oil and gas and coal in the ground, and we can't do that until we can make cars and planes and boats and ships and locomotives run on electricity. For that we need the magic battery. Otherwise, for solar and wind we need a world-wide power grid so that when the wind stops blowing at night, we can get our power from the Sahara or the Ukraine. A world-wide power grid and a magic battery will together solve the problem, but both will be expensive to make happen, and will be delayed by a strategy of "conservation" and maybe even "efficiency" if that is misapplied, such as vacuum cleaners that just make it take twice as long to do the carpets because they're underpowered.

Work the solution, but don't diminish us as a strategy.

Comment Re:Go Karts (Score 1) 126

SCCA Solo 2 has a class for karts, shifter karts to be exact, and those are some of the scariest rides on the planet. And they'll give you a helluva shaking especially if the Solo 2 venue is not entirely smooth. So it'll scare the piss out of you and shake the kidney stone out of you.

You can get full-up, "used very little" shifter kart setups pretty cheap as racing hardware goes - less than $10K in a lotta cases for absolutely everything you need - because people buy 'em, put 'em on the track, it scares hell out of them, and they immediately put it on the trailer and then onto ebay.

Comment Re:In other words (Score 1) 126

My kidney stone was fairly huge when discovered, and so did not attempt to pass itself, therefore no pain. My urologist went in with a laser and turned it into little grains of sand. OK, I bled for 2 weeks afterward, got used to seeing red pee, and still half-expect to see red pee now a year later. But it has healed. Still, it would be preferable to jump on a coaster, dislodge a sand-grain-sized kidney stone such as I passed AfTER my laser surgery, and 1) not have any pain and 2) not have any surgery and 3) not have any bleeding.

This is a real nice excuse for a 69 year old man such as myself to go ride rollercoasters with all the kids. Maybe I should get a season ticket...

Comment Re:But climate change is a myth!!! YODA GREASE (Score 1) 206

Locomotives run on diesel, so more CO2. Could they run on electricity? Maybe. We have 100's of thousands of miles of freight rail, and converting them all to grid electricity may or may not be possible. Ever notice that tunnels have only inches of clearance? Where do you put the extra wiring? And of course we still can't make the grid electricity with just solar and wind because if the wind stops blowing at night, we're screwed. Maybe solvable in the long run by a global high voltage DC power grid, but then do we want to rely on electricity from potential enemies like Russia just to get electricity from the Ukraine? We should, as a strategic plan, keep our electricity generated within our borders, but to do that, we have to be able to store solar and wind electricity. We can't yet do that.

Comment Re:But climate change is a myth!!! YODA GREASE (Score 1) 206

I do hope they get it worked out, but I was speaking of the present. According to the Wikipedia entry for Li-Air batteries, they still need significantly more development to be suitable for automotive uses. That may or may not ever happen. I hope it does. I would _love_ to have an electric car that will do everything my Subaru WRX will do now, including not breaking me up when I have to pay for it. Replacing the batteries rapidly would be a suitable substitute for having several-minute charging, so that's not a big issue in my book. It just has to work at the -30 degrees F that I've experienced in NW Ohio during the blizzard of '78 (My 77 Jeep started right up) and not commit suicide because of the temperature. Again, I _want_ an electric car, but I want to be able to set out for one of my favorite destinations, Tucson, Az. for events that I participate in there, and be able to doing in the same amount of time as I do with the WRX. That is about 3 1/2 days. I normally do 600 - 800 miles a day for the 2400 mile journey. Sitting around and waiting for a 45 minute charging of a battery would not work. Otherwise, electricity should be far more economical than gasoline in terms of $ per energy unit. I want that.

Comment Re:But climate change is a myth!!! YODA GREASE (Score 1) 206

OK, it was 87 - I thought that happened during my 2nd 1-lap, but it was my first. We were car 10, my buddy was in car 65 in a Yugo. We won, BTW. Anyway, I just misremembered the year.

And no, electrics can't do that, they''re not ever going to be doing that in ordinary lithium batteries. Those things need about a 10X reduction in price and a 2X - 3X gain in performance so they aren't so big and heavy and the cars don't have to be shaped like an airplane in order to cut the wind.

As for how much driving I need per day, today is a 40 mile round trip to town. On the days that I eat Pizza at Pizza Hut, it is a 30 mile round trip in the other direction. Yes, lotsa days I eat pizza and go to town both on the same day. Lotsa people drive 50 - 70 miles each way to work because they can only afford real estate down here in the boonies and the work is mostly in the big city, DC. The Tesla will do that, but it is around $100K.

I don't really think we're going to have electric vehicles 100% for a few decades. We can't just replace 90% of the cars with electric 'cuz then we'll lose the economy of scale with gasoline and more importantly diesel, and the the costs to move things by truck will have to contend with $10 - $20 / gallon diesel and American's lives STILL will be diminished with huge living cost increases.

Maybe someone will eventually stumble onto a better material than Lithium to store electricity. Maybe cold fusion wiil become real and every vehicle will have a reactor. But we either solve this 100%, so's we can leave the oil, gas, and coal in the ground, or we add to the CO2 in the air. Perhaps we can construct enough "scrubbers" to capture the CO2 out of the air and turn it back into carbon and oxygen, but that sounds expensive. But then at some point we _still_ run out of fossil fuels, even if it is 300 years in the future maybe, so we're still needing electricity and better batteries.

Comment Re:But climate change is a myth!!! YODA GREASE (Score 4, Insightful) 206

Actually, we don't. The most expensive cars are simply good for "in this region." The less expensive cars are only good for "around town." The batteries run down far too quickly, and take too long to recharge. No electric car today can perform as well as a 1989 Yugo. In 1989, some friends of mine drove a 1989 Yugo in the 1 Lap of America rally, 9000 miles in 10 days of circumnavigating the USA. No electric car could do that today. Then there's the trucks, locomotives, ships, boats, and airplanes. We absolutely do need to leave the oil in the ground, because the CO2 in the atmosphere is going to take 100,000 years to be scrubbed clean as it is. We're just adding to it every day.

And there's not a lot of hope in sight. People currently working the battery problem are not having a lot of success. See:


This scientists are currently coming up with just one answer on batteries, it is Lithium, and Lithium is inadequate. And we can't simply say that Lithium batteries are expensive and we'll just spend what it takes because that hammers the poor, driving those that are in poverty deeper into it and casting those that are just making it now into poverty. Poverty is more deadly than smoking, as it will take up to 10 years off your life. Smoking is only "good" for 7. Converting to batteries now would be a cruel, elitist thing to do.

We're either going to have to solve the battery problem, or solve some way to operate our vehicles on grid electricity done with nukes and geo. Wind and solar are too intermittent - the wind stops blowing at night and your iron lung becomes your coffin.... Not many iron lungs left, but there's the emergency room operation that goes dark, the backup generators fail to start, and the patient dies for lack of electricity in the ER. Dunno how to get grid electricity even to cars, let alone airplanes and boats in rivers and ships at sea.

Right now, we're really screwed. Will the brave scientists find the magic battery and save us like they did when they invented nuclear weapons and ended WW2? Stay tuned.

Slashdot Top Deals

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (8) I'm on the committee and I *still* don't know what the hell #pragma is for.