For my regular visitors, if you find that this blog hasn't been updating much lately, chances are pretty good I've been spending my writing energy on my companion blog. Feel free to pop over to Home is Where the Central Cardio-pulmonary Organ Is, and see what else has been going on.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Disclaimer

When I passed around the link to the Global Warming Swindle documentary, I ruffled a few feathers. Which is fine. Feathers should be ruffled every now and then. If gives a nice, tingly feeling, and keeps the blood flowing. ;-) On one particular email list, however, the discussion as gone on to the point that I feel the need to continue it off list, so I will be posting a series of my responses onto here. Before I begin, however, I wish to post this disclaimer and lay down a few rules of discussion.

  • This is an anonymous blog. For the first time, I am inviting a fairly large number of people who know me IRL (In Real Life) to read it. I am asking these people to please respect my anonymity. Any comments that I find to give too much information about who I am will be removed. I'm already far easier to find on the net than I am comfortable with. *L*

  • I will not tolerate rudeness, name calling and insults. This discussion is for the exchanging of ideas and the debating of issues. I understand that it is a passionate topic and it is sometimes difficult, but please refrain from attacking the people you disagree with. If you have a problem with an issue, confront the issue, not the person. Any posts that cross the line into personal insult will be deleted. (in fact, one of the posts I will be making deals directly with this issue) If someone else feels a post crosses that line and I haven't deleted it, please feel free to call my attention to it. Please read on for possible exceptions...

  • In this next series of posts, I will be quoting and responding to specific topics and comments. I will not, however, in any way identify who made those comments. In fact, I will be avoiding looking at who said what as I wish to respond only to the comments made, not to the person. In many cases, the comments I will be quoting are chosen specifically because I have seen them so often from other sources, not just that individual. Therefore, any time I use personal pronouns in responding, I want it to be clear that I mean it in a generic sense, not aimed at any individual. I put a lot of effort into my writing to make it as clear and understandable as I can, and I find using he/she's and they/them's and other combinations to be convoluted and unnecessarily confusing. When or if I use the term "you" or other person pronoun when responding to a quote, I want to make it clear now that I mean it in a broader sense than the individual who's comment I am quoting. Likewise, I know that for the sake of clarity or simplicity, some responders will also use personal pronouns when they are meant generically. If possible, please re-read your responses before posting them to make sure there is no confusion, or add in a disclaimer if necessary.

The posts to follow will be slow in coming. I put a great deal of effort into my writing at the best of times, but more so when dealing with such an impassioned subject. I don't have a lot of time to dedicate to, either, so things may seem spotty, and I ask your patience.

Thank you.

4 comments:

  1. Howdey Kunoichi,

    Thank you for offering your blog as a forum for discussion. I had thought of doing something similar but I am positive someone would get offended by something on my blog so didn't offer it up. :-D I also Like anonymous blogging.

    I am not too sure how to go about doing this but thought I would post this in the comments section of this post of your's. Is OK? Yes no? I'll go through and try to delete all personal references I had left in. For posting to the egroup. Feel free to edit or get me to edit any information you think should go. I think I removed all personal information.

    Beginning of my response:
    I will be slicing, commenting, and sending my response in sections as it works better for me to do so. And will keep individual posts shorter. Salutations.

    The person who's post I am responding to wrote sections marked with ">":

    I'll start Mine with ~~ for clarity:

    > There are challenges with most current forms of
    > alternative energy:
    >
    > 1) Power density - solar power works great for
    > watches and
    > calculators but cannot support high amperage-drawing
    > devices such as
    > stoves, heaters, refrigerators. Same issue with wind
    > power.

    ~~I have two appliances that I am told would give solar power trouble but not make it impossible to complete those asks. My stove and my clothes drier, not sure about the dishwasher, though I don't use it. All the other blips, bleeps, and lights I have would work with solar power. There are also alternative methods of cooking besides our conventional stove/oven combos and line dried clothes always smell so nice. Ikea has a nifty thing you can install around a window. There is a family in our group running a fridge/freezer with a small solar panel and (I'm assuming) converter. The lack of solar energy use in residential building and planning has more to do with the lack of personal/social/community commitment by the residents. We are lazy/busy people. It doesn't take much to figure out how to incorporate it into our lifestyles, if we make the commitment. More people using it would increase the monies for research and would improve pricing and user friendliness. DVD players were hugely expensive when they first came out now I could pick one up for $40.00 or less. The law of supply and demand.

    > 2) Inconsistent power - cloudy days significantly
    > lower solar power's
    > energy capture; no energy at night - calm days or
    > too much wind
    > significantly lowers wind power energy capture.

    ~~Yup sure, but why would that stop us from using it? How much less residential power would we pull from the system/grid on an annual basis if we tried to make our own power usage/systems adapt or conform to our production? There is a high school in prairie province that built a wind turbine that is pumping out an incredible amount of power. More then they can use I think. Solar power, as technology exists now, doesn't work for industrial applications when it comes to running their machinery... What about the lights in the lunchroom? what about the power for their electric gates?

    > 3) Cost - the KW/hr price of these technologies
    > are massively higher
    > than 'conventional' energy sources.

    ~~Only because there isn't a market demand cost decrease like my reference to DVD players above.

    > 4) Location - solar decreases its performance
    > where there is little
    > direct sun (ie: other places other then around the
    > equator),

    ~~We have many hours of daylight a year in our area. Vancouver might have more problems though. They use solar power in Northwest Territories and on Baffin Island. Not year round obviously but it works for the days they have sunshine.

    >wind doesn't work where it is >calm,

    ~~And it works fabulously where there is wind. Is there a place in Canada with too low a wind volume? My husband might like to move there he hates the wind. Our shopping mall here uses 25% wind generated power. One problem with wind turbines ( The huge ones like this one http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:E-66_Egeln_feb2005.jpg
    ) is that they can be incredibly noisy. Canada doesn't have as many problems with population density and lack of remote land for turbine placement. Other countries like England have problems trying to find locations for such power generators where people won't be directly impacted.

    >water power only works near water, >etc.

    ~~There are some really intriguing tidal generators... again they need cash to research and develop them. As for dams??? I know there is huge local environmental damage from the flooding but as far as any residual pollution I can't recall if I've paid attention to the subject. Also most major cities and towns in North America are on the banks of water bodies. I'm not voicing an opinion on dams at this time.

    > Most are not transportable from >where the power is
    > made to where the power is needed >without huge cost.

    ~~Why would it be any different than the power recovery systems in place in Ontario? People can give their extra or unused solar or wind power into the local grid. Some power companies will even reimburse you for it.


    > Nuclear power is actually the >best alternative
    > energy source but
    > politics and/or environmental >activists stand in its
    > way.

    ~~What Politics are against Nuclear power??? Cost? The hazardous waste we have sitting in underground bunkers? Or the waste waiting for underground storage facilities to be built? The fact the US sells (uses?) their spent reactor Uranium (sorry can't recall the specific term for it at the moment) for weapons manufacture and maybe our politicians don't want that happening here?(There was a report I read part of recently that had statistics for soldier radiation exposure and cancer rates etc. from US reactor waste. if I can find it I'll pop the link on the bottom of this post)

    I would not stress "Environmental Activists" as the only people who are against Nuclear power. The idea scares most people. We REALLY don't know what we are doing when it comes to long term storage of the radioactive waste material. Scientist have theories,,formulas, and hypotheses or assumptions many of them might prove to be true. But they don't *know* for sure as they haven't had the long term experience with storing and processing the waste. They are hoping we stick with Nuclear power though for fear there won't be people, specialists, educated enough to handle the waste in the distant future if we don't.

    >It has massive power density, >extremely consistent power >quality, very cheap,
    > and can be built anywhere. It is >the only
    > alternative energy source
    > actually viable to replace any >conventional energy
    > production.

    ~~Is it? Does it NEED to be? Or are we just lacking in imagination? The amount of energy the earth is bombarded with on a daily basis is huge. The problem is no one can make money selling or mining the rays of the sun so we don't spend the cash for the research needed to use that power. Our governments don't look at options that don't create more jobs for their citizens and more money for it's corporations and tax base. It boils down to casssshhhhhh. Not a true nonviable power source.


    > And many countries like Germany, >Spain, Italy, Poland,
    > Sweden, and
    > especially France all use this >means without any
    > waste issues.

    ~~A story about Nuclear power and waste in France.
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/reaction/readings/french.html
    If you read that article. Can you/anyone help me work out the figure concerning the lighter? Canadas population is 32,872,766 divided by four 8218191.5 now what would be the formula be to multiply that by the size of a lighter? where is my husband when I need him...? Assuming we went totally nuclear. (why do I want to put Dude on the end of that sentence? Growing up in the eighties has had long term effects) How much nuclear waste would we be looking at storing after twenty years? I think they wrap each http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:CANDU_fuel_bundles.jpg
    in a meter of cement prior to long term storage so workers monitoring the wste are protected. So how large a space would we need after twenty years?

    >France
    > gets around 95% of their energy >requirements from
    > using something
    > called 'reprocessing' of which >Canada's very own
    > Candu reactors are
    > the world's leader in this >process - a process with
    > no long term
    > nuclear waste to try to get rid >of. Too bad we
    > don't use that
    > capability in our own reactors...

    ~~Are you sure you mean CANDU there are 18+ CANDU reactors in Canada? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CANDU

    Then the post moves on to discuss Kyoto so I will stop here. And save my response to Kyoto for my next post. I couldn't find a link to the Us reactor waste being used in weapons I'll give it another go later and hope I'm not mistaken. Or maybe if I'm mistaken it would be a good thing.

    TeeBuck

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  2. Thanks, Teebuck. Lots to think about here.

    I, personally, would love to be "off the grid." Part of it is that I hate being dependent things like a power company. Having grown up in an area that wasn't exactly a priority on the grid, power outages were frequent, and I liked that we weren't all that dependent on electricity. We could still heat our home, feed ourselves, provide ourselves - and our cattle - with fresh water, and so on.

    I would love to take advantage of alternative power sources - something that's not a possibility for us in an apartment right now. Geothermal technology was something that really caught my attention, as well as the use of wind and solar power.

    There are just a couple of concerns I have about wind and solar power than I need to learn more about.

    With solar, the power may be clean, but the panels may not be. I need to research it more, but I've been told that the materials used, as well as the methods of manufacture, are far from clean. Also, I believe there are disposal issues for broken panels, because of these materials.

    With wind turbines, there is turning out to be an unexpected problem with birds. The large fields of wind turbines are killing fields for birds because they often can't see the moving blades. Last I read about it, there was no workable solution to this problem yet. It may not be an issue for the lone home that has a few turbines on the roof, but if there are enough of them, it would become a problem there, as well.

    Something I need to do more research on.

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  3. Thanks Kunoichi, for the invitation to your site. It’s very impressive!

    Hi TeeBuck,

    I don’t agree with the belief that human activity is dim due to being busy/lazy.

    I look around our human world, and it continues to get better and better - there must be a huge social and personal commitment because it is massively easier to destroy than build (takes years to build a building and ten seconds to blow it up), and yet we have lots of buildings. Humans, by their nature, tend toward the more positive aspects of our nature - and yes, we can get distracted and destroy (usually when gov’t. is involved), but the long term tendency, and massive by orders of magnitude, is very positive (just look around at where we are in civilization vs. living in caves).

    Any move to any alternative energy has to do primarily with cost and reliability. There are alternatives to anything - thank the free market economy for that - however, the ‘best’ choice is a personal decision - but for many the cost is the primary driver. Solar is very expensive alternative. Consider these USA est. costs:
    kWp = Kilowatt peak kWh= Kilowatt hours
    *note the ratio of kilowatt peak to kilowatt hours will vary from one energy type to another, since this is dependent upon output (load factor) and also the operating costs of each technology are different.

    Solar ----------------- $6,000-$10,000 per kWp or 20-40 cents per kWh
    Fuel Cells ------------ $3,000-$4,000 per kWp or 10-15 cents per kWh
    Wind Turbines --------- $1500-$3000 KWp or 5-10 cents per kWh
    Coal Fired Plant ------ $500-$1000 per kWp or 1.5 - 3 cents per kWh
    Nuclear Plant --------- $50-$100 per kWp or 0.1 - 0.4 cents per kWh

    And please remember, that the costs for solar quoted above was for predominantly sunny area where the cost is amortized over a large number of sunny hours - which Canada certainly is not famous for due to our Northern Latitude.

    The power of supply and demand economy requires the demand; and demand component is somewhat based on meeting one’s needs the most effectively. Solar is not popular, except in environmentalist conversation, because it cannot meet the needs effectively until a new technology with solar that can lower the price, improves reliability, and increases its performance - it will be used where no other feasible alternative could do the job. Much of the cost in solar is a consequence of the complexity of manufacture - these are not plastic injection pieces of equipment. They are still, essentially, made by hand due to the complexity and fragility of the product. (PS: Toronto University discovered/invented a solar cell that can use IR - increasing its efficiency by 5x, and can be ...wait for it... spray painted on any surface or weaved into cloth!...WOW~~! It is in the process of manufacturing into quantity; maybe 5 years away?!!)
    http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2005/01/10/thin-solar-panel050110.html

    DVD players are mass produced because they can be fully automated in its manufacture and its components. Solar is a bit more complex. And, as noted and confirmed, it is not the most eco-friendly in its manufacture.

    Because of the way the power grid works - the grid allows you to use electrical generators from all over the continent to power your home – it cannot support erratic electrical inputs. It is meant to allocate steady, constant and consistent power over the grid - the on/off/up/down nature of wind and solar plays havoc with the grid as the grid moves to remove excess power out and add power during brown-outs. It cannot manage erratic changes that sun/wind sources create.

    Power companies are not prepared for the massive variance of personal power reflection back into the grid. The number of individuals that they support is currently small, but the power companies will not allow a large, massive varying, power input into their static grid. That is the reason that Alberta has capped the creation of any more wind farms.

    And solar works where other sources cannot be provided easily or cheaply, like remote sites in Baffin Island, etc. I have used solar panels to power remote communication sites in the Caribbean - it works. This discussion is not whether the technology works, or is available or is useful - it is that is expensive when faced with cheaper alternatives. Believe me, I'd rather have used something other than solar because of the cost.

    And remember that wind turbines work within a range of wind speed - too slow OR too fast - and they lose their power outside a range. You need to tune a wind turbine to the expected wind, and any variance makes the turbine under-perform significantly. And besides the noise, they slaughter birds. We lived in where they have a wind farm, and you can see the pile of dead birds at the base.

    Solar/wind is used in places needing quick power installations - like emergency signs up on roads, or remote installations of communication equipment on mountain tops or on ships. It is great where nothing else can work. But it is quickly replaced as soon as something else can be made to work.

    Tidal Generators - require an enormous amount of shoreline - and only where the tide is significant AND easy to transport the energy. Tidal shores tend to be where ships sail - you can imagine the issue there! Major drawback of tidal power stations is that they can only generate when the tide is flowing in or out - in other words, only for 10 hours each day.

    The nuclear waste issue has long been solved (80 years now) by reprocessing. Choosing not to do that does not make nuclear energy bad, it means that political choices that were made bad.

    Regarding the military use of waste nuclear products - actually, I thought that too - that the USA uses commercial nuclear waste for weapons - but in a debate I had awhile ago, a senior US Navy Nuclear Engineer explained they do not, and gave me much research to prove his point. The US military operates and maintains an entirely separate nuclear and weapons program and all its depleted uranium and nuclear weapons are made from military only sources. You can be assured that commercial nuclear reactor waste is not killing things in Iraq or elsewhere. The commercial stuff in the US is buried.

    The amount of waste produced, by using reprocessing, amounts to a glass bottle the size of a cigarette lighter - while producing the electricity needs for a family of 4 for 20 years. This waste is highly radioactive - which means a short half-life. (Remember, long half life means low radioactivity; high radioactivity is short half life). Within about 10 years, most of the mass will have dissolved to a chunk of lead. Yes, it is dangerous as it is a gamma and neutron emitter, but can be easily stored under proper safety conditions. If it really was an issue, we could use this stuff to generate power by using what is called a ‘fast breeder reactor’. It is very costly - due to the need to protect the workers handling the fuel but then the entire nuclear fuel cycle is closed. Radioactive fuel goes in, and a chunk of lead comes out.

    The problem some people have with nuclear energy is because they have been told only half the story.

    President Carter banned reprocessing in the hope that all the countries in the world would do the same - and eliminate the proliferation of nuclear weapons based on plutonium.

    The consequence was the requirement of burying unprocessed nuclear fuel - with the plutonium left inside.

    Plutonium itself is not that dangerous - it is a alpha emitter - it emits a fast moving helium atom. Now, remember, helium gas can be captured in a balloon - alpha emitters are not dangerous as they don’t penetrate the skin or even a thin material - a piece of paper is enough of a shield.

    However, if you ingest plutonium, it is very disruptive. Ionized helium (protons) are very, very hungry to find an electrons to turn it into a ‘normal’ atom - it is the most aggressive electron hunter in the universe. It steals electrons from your cells (called ionizing radiation), which disrupts the cell structure. Plutonium is a heavy metal, so it is hard to expel out of the body, and tends to accumulate in the worse possible organs - brain, liver, lungs.

    The breakdown of nuclear energy also creates some hot components - called "Dirty Daughters" - Americanium and Curium. They are gamma and neutron emitters.

    The problem starts if you keep these "Dirty Daughters" with Pu and U. You get the worse of both worlds - long life (due to the 10,000 – 100,000 half life of U and Pu) with high radioactivity (due to the Am and Cu). The answer is to seperate all of these components - Am and Cu - Pu and U. Use the latter to make energy - and problem solved.

    As far as the energy from the sun, yep, it’s a lot. But at watts/square meter - its not a "blow you over" amount due to absorbtion and reflection from the atmosphere and ends up at the surface is 3 to 9 kWh/m²/day - maximum. Solar energy is about 15% efficient, or 0.45 - 1.35 (kW/h/m²)/day. And at night, the amount is zero.

    And yes, to provide energy over a long term, someone needs to make money at this, or why would they do it?

    As far as how much nuke waste, post-processing....let me help your calculations. Reprocessing produces ~8 grams of waste, for 4 people, every 20 years, or 20.6 kilograms per year ~50lbs or about the weight of a small child per year FOR ALL OF CANADA. So you need a room about the size of a normal living room - IF YOU REPROCESSED. If you don't, then you need a lake-sized hole in the ground.

    And yes, we do have Candu reactors in use in Canada. We don’t reprocess our own nuclear waste even though we are capable of it.

    It is one of the best designed nuclear reactors in the world and (with no surprise) one of the most expensive. It is fail-safe using any fuel (enriched or MOX).

    I, too, would love to live off-grid. That would put the power (pun intended) back into my hands. It also means large financial sacrifices - so not currently an option. So if it was feasible you and I would already be using it.

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  4. Hello again TeeBuck,

    I have separated this from the above post because it is in response to the questions you asked previous to coming to this site. If I’ve missed any please let me know.

    That the hockey stick graph is wrong is pretty much agreed to by even the AGW crowd. Their answer now is “We’ve moved beyond a mere graph”. Even the IPCC has dropped the graph in this AR4, but not the statement of “highest temperature in the last 1500 years”. That is so typical – an error gets embedded so deep that it may take centuries to purge it.

    Dr. Hendrik Tennekes, retired director of the Royal Meteorological Institute of the Netherlands, wrote: "The IPCC review process is fatally flawed. The behavior of Michael Mann is a disgrace to the profession...The scientific basis for the Kyoto Protocols is grossly inadequate".
    http://tinyurl.com/2nfglr

    But, bear in mind here... the graph is wrong….its conclusion is wrong….but a graph is not proof, thus, a wrong graph does not disprove. The math process to build the graph was wrong. But that does not disprove AGW. So we must careful not to exaggerate.

    The rise in Co2 that trails temperature increase needs a bit of explaining.

    First, this trailing of Co2 vs temperature is only detailed in ice core samples – and ice core resolution is measured in 100’s to 1,000’s of years, and is not ‘differentiateable’ to a yearly basis – that is, we cannot say the temp was -12C in 3356BC. We can say that the average temp. was -12C +/- 1C between 3,400BC and 3,200BC. That means we see a coarse averaging of the area around the ice merged into a single +/- 100 year view. To use these core samples to relate to a mere last century of measurements by man is extremely difficult, if not impossible. Further, remember where we find ice cores are in ice fields that haven’t melted in thousands of years – Greenland, Antarctica and some high glaciers – so it becomes even more difficult to claim that the conditions at these extremes are in any way representative of the Earth.

    One theory regarding Co2 trailing temperature relies on the fact that warmer water dissolves less Co2 than cooler water. As the water cools, more Co2 dissolves in the oceans. As the oceans warm, more Co2 is released out of the oceans. The oceans are the single largest sink of Co2 on Earth, more then 99.999% of all the Co2 on Earth is dissolved in the oceans. So, simple thermal expansion and contraction of the ocean could have massive effect on Co2 atmosphere content. And we are still coming out of an ice age – melting the coldest of water (and holding the most Co2) … ice!

    As far as ice melting causing an increase in ocean levels, remember this Archimedes question:
    How much overflow is there out of your water glass when all the ice in it melts?

    (Answer: none – the ice floating in the water has already displaced the liquid. Melting of the ice doesn’t increase the volume of displacement.)

    The primary cause of the increase of sea level is thermal expansion, not melting. Look at the Arctic in summer – it is nearly ice free all the way to the Pole – and this has been going on for 2,500 years or more – almost all the melt of the Northern glacial ice has already gone into the oceans. And Canada is actually increasing its shoreline by feet per year – not shrinking. We are still in isostatic rebounding from the weight of the glaciations 10,000 years ago. That is, our land is going up and out because of the removal of the weight of the glacial ice, that was once kilometers thick, pushing us down.

    And lastly, thermal expansion is regional. The Indian Ocean is heating faster than the Atlantic – so countries like India are seeing a faster rise in sea level than the Netherlands. Tasmania is seeing a lowering of sea level since the South Pacific is actually cooling.
    And Antarctica ice is GROWING by 65 billion tonnes a year.

    As far as your "why now?" question… there are a number of influences that converged. On a global picture, the failure of the socialist movement after the fall of the Soviet Union caused a number of ex-socialist activists to search for a new way to actively disrupt the growth of capitalism. Environmentalism, at its core, is anti-capitalist, so the influx of savvy, politically astute activists that shared the same basic anti-capitalism made a powerful partnership.

    The Canadian adaptation of Kyoto, with out any negotiations or debate, by the Liberal government is also easy to see. Besides the fact that Kyoto was drafted by Maurice Strong, ex-PetroCanada and Ontario Hydro CEO, UN under-sectary, and Chair of the UN Economic and Environmental Committee and Godfather of the IPCC – and one of the most powerful Liberals (who also gave Paul Martin his first job)... Do you remember the NEP (National Energy Program)?

    Alberta, by its self, has by current recovery methods the second largest oil reserve in the world (slightly lower than Saudi Arabia) via the tar sands. With a technology upgrade (that is most certainly capable), Alberta – by itself – will have more than twice the oil reserves of the next three largest... combined... (Saudi, Iraq, Iran …. Which is why the Americans have invested their army in those regions). Alberta, by herself, could supply the entire world’s oil supply for 25 years. At 3 trillion barrels of oil running at $60 a barrel that equates to $180 trillion. The net worth of all of Canadians combined is $4.2 trillion – Alberta tar sands could ‘buy’ Canada 40 times over.

    Now, seeing all that wealth, one can understand why the Liberals want a carbon tax AT SOURCE. Under the guise of ‘environmentalism’ they can make oil a bad-guy, tax it at source (instead of at the pump) so that any rise cannot be said to be due to any direct gasoline tax – the rise in prices can be blamed on the oil companies ‘profiteering’ – and allow the feds to tap into the unimaginable wealth. The Liberal political power base is in the consuming East (and who cares about how they vote in the West) – all clear signs of why they are so hot and bothered to make "Canada Green" via a vast taxation policy on resources.

    I share your concerns with the abuse of poor nations. It is just too sad that they abuse the process of loan payments and end up hurting the most wounded people on earth.

    bj

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