Saturday, May 31, 2008

high oil prices are awesome!

People are driving less- even Americans, business class only airlines are going bust (woohoo!) and public appeals for efficient public transport as an alternative to private are growing. Sweet.

George knows it too.


So does Johann.

ecohackers 2 - the revenge

Someone's managed to do something decent with all the wondrous technology we've developed. Its simple enough to be practical and theoretically viable. Watch this space . . .

do you want a new nuclear power station at Hinkley?

You can register your opinion with the Western Daily News.

Friday, May 30, 2008

punkscience is now a union member

I just joined Unite-Amicus. I thought it was the right thing to do and Peter Tatchell agrees. We shall see how this pans out . . . .

They happened to offer new members the chance to register their political position in the form of a questionnaire. Unfortunately I am physically incapable of turning down any opportunity to slate the Labour party. Hence:

interesting renewable generation factoid

According to Caroline Lucas, research shows that wind energy creates over 2000 jobs per terawatt of energy produced, compared to just 75 for nuclear.

I'd be very interested to find that research. A quick google failed to produce anything tangible.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

why "ecohackers" are fucking stupid

Paul Crutzen, professor emeritus at Utrecht University's Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, suggested a project to use balloons or artillery shells to put 1.9m tonnes of sulphur into the atmosphere to cool the Earth. The model for this idiocy was the eruption of Mount Pinatubo (see the article for an awesome photograph).

Punkscience would like to remind this fuckwit where acid rain comes from. Yes, its sulphur in the atmosphere. And this twat is advocating adding 1.9 million tonnes of it (equal to the annual sulphur emissions of Canada, or 10% of US emissions)??

Phil Kithil, chief exec of US firm Climos, wants to exploit the phenomenon of iron-limitation in the surface waters of the Southern Ocean.

Punkscience thinks: 'Obviously he rather idiotically failed to look at the detailed scientific evidence from previous attempts to make this crock of shit work.' -To save you a lot of digging through peer-reviewed science (I did a review of a couple of the papers from the SOIREE experiment which followed up the IRONEX one from the previous link) I can tell you that it doesn't work. To elaborate, because I like to think I know what I'm talking about, production- and carbon sequestration- does increase in surface waters as a result of iron enrichment. However, this sequestration is short-term and the carbon is released again within a few years. For sequestration to work over meaningful time-scales of centuries that would help mitigate climate change the carbon has to be exported to depths greater than ~500m in order for the carbon to not be returned to the surface in the short term and released again. This doesn't happen.

As for the third idea for the floating tubes; it sounds great but the numbers there should tell you whether it will work: 14400 of these tubes (60km x 60km with one every 500m) is a LOT. This screams BLAG!!! to me at a very loud volume. His proposal to cover 80% of the earth's surface is a little infeasible as it implies a number of the tubes in the billions. Who is going to manufacture them in the next decade when oil prices are screaming upwards and resource wars are already breaking out?

Ditto for Peter Flynn's idea of 8000 floating platforms. I imagine there are less than 8000 in the whole world right now- there's only 450 in the North Sea.

If those ideas are infeasible then the ones about putting shit into orbit are the product of minds which resemble large bags of mixed fruit and nuts. -FYI, it costs a little over £3000 per kilogram to put an object into low earth orbit and several times that for geostationary. And that was before oil reached $135 a barrel.

My point is that dream-uber-techno-solutions simply aren't practical or workable. The only solution is George's: Reduce emissions now and pump all that money into expanding renewable generation capacity.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Green Vehicles

They make this little gem (credit to EcoGeek). Its very similar to something that I want to build myself, originally inspired by the Aptera. The reverse trike layout, the side-by side seats for two. The main difference between the TRIAC and the Aptera is that the latter has an internal combustion engine powering a generator as well as conventional battery storage so that although it can be used as a true BEV it can also be used as a hybrid, achieving 250mpg. That's pretty damn sweet!

The reason this phenomenal mileage is achievable is simply that the Aptera is so thoroughly streamlined that it doesn't have to waste >80% of the energy in its fuel pushing air out of its way. I can't begin to compete with that but I did want to put together a BEV at home that would allow me to scoot around town cheaply and with minimal emissions. So I've been researching suppliers thet hree main components needed for a BEV: The batteries, a speed controller and the motor. The chassis can be a straightforward welded steel job (I looked into a bamboo frame too, BTW) and the running gear can come off bikes. The best bits I've come across have been these guy's speed controllers and motors from China. As for batteries, I had the idea of using recycled lead-acid batteries from a scrap yard- often these are perfectly serviceable (unlike the vehicles they were in).

Whether this turns into any more than a pipe-dream remains to be seen but its fun to research and in a few years I have a nasty feeling that incentives to move to electric powered transport will be particularly prevalent.


Another reverse trike. Not very green but highly badassss!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Michael Meacher

He voted for the Iraq invasion and, therefore, is a git. However, he's bang on with this CiF article about UK politics.

Vote Green.

Friday, May 23, 2008

punkscience is back . . .

. . . and he's struggling to come to terms with the world he's returned to.

Bombs in Exeter (where he works).
Oil at $135 a barrel.
Nu Laybur in meltdown and the prospect of a Tory government (can it be worse than Labour?)

The saga continues. Watch this space . . .

Thanks for the love, chaps. Much appreciated.