Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Energy, Engineering, Environment, Junk Science, Law, Politics, Progressivism, Science/Technology | Tags: Arctic Ocean Drilling, Puget Sound"s Elliott Bay, Royal Dutch Shell
Seattle is an interesting city, sinking slowly in the West¹. but still reliably, environmentally green. This is the city that insists that grocery store customers use cloth bags for their groceries, or pay for the other kind. That fines citizens $50 for putting any foodstuff in the garbage can instead in the yard waste can. Nearly 98 percent of its energy comes from renewable sources, thanks to Columbia River Dams, which the County Council wanted to tear down until they took a field trip and found out how big they were. Now, a national furor has erupted over Foss Shipyards’ lease of their docks to Royal Dutch Shell for the regular maintenance and repair of their Arctic drilling rigs. (Shown above a 2012 photo of Shell’s Kulik leaving Seattle)
In the first place the green loonies assumed that they were going to start drilling for oil in their beloved Puget Sound. Seattle always has indignant protesters willing to come out and demonstrate. But when it turned out that it was just for the repair of their Arctic Ocean drilling rigs, they switched their environmental angst to the Arctic Ocean. The City Council was up in arms, a court challenge was filed by environmental groups, and protesters have vowed to block the rigs arrival with a flotilla of kayaks in Elliott Bay.
“You have signed a lease that will amount to a crime against the planet,” said Zarna Joshi, 32, a Seattle resident who was first to speak at a raucous three-hour public meeting this week before the port’s commissioners. The meeting was packed mostly with opponents and punctuated by the occasional dissenter, pointing out the hypocrisy of protesters who had arrived to denounce Shell in vehicles running on gasoline.
Officials at the publicly owned Port of Seattle have strongly defended the lease, saying that the two year contract will bring in millions of dollars in revenue and create hundreds of good jobs on 50 acres that Shell would use just west of downtown. In any case, the decision to allow oil exploration in Arctic waters is federal policy, and not anything that the port or the city or the state can alter.
It’s all about climate change, of course, and politics, and the politics of climate change — science is not involved, only emotion and Democratic talking points.
“Hosting the Arctic drilling fleet in the city of Seattle is an activity that, if successful in drilling and extracting oil from the Arctic, will almost certainly mean that all of the industrial land in Seattle will be under water, and is completely inconsistent with the region’s and even the port’s goals,” said Mike O’Brien, a Seattle City Council member.
¹Seattle has long had an elevated roadway along the water front to let drivers bypass much of downtown Seattle if they choose, but it is old. Almost as long has been the fight over a replacement. Freeway, tunnel, street-level replacement. Property owners of lots facing the waterfront have always fought for a tunnel to remove the unsightly Alaskan Way Viaduct, and they eventually won the argument. Digging began, giant tunneling machine “Big Bertha’ went to work, drilled a few feet and ran plumb into a huge old drainage pipe that they didn’t know was there. They apparently cannot proceed, they cannot remove the pipe, and the people in those waterfront properties are finding that their buildings are sinking, slightly, but regularly. No answers.
Filed under: Capitalism, Domestic Policy, Economy, Engineering, Politics, Taxes | Tags: Google, Tesla, The MacCult
I guess if you making cars for millionaires, you can buy a lot of robots with which to make them — but this process is pretty cool. The times they are a changing. Henry Ford would be astonished to see how his ideas have developed.
Elon Musk’s Tesla is currently the No. 1 electric car maker — with vehicles ranging from $70,000 to $100,000 — and Google is working on George Jetson-like driverless cars. But neither is close to cornering the market on mass-affordable electric cars.
Elon Musk is the biggest parasite in the world. Tesla does not exist without tax payer money. The driverless car is a solution in search of a problem and it is far from being practical.
An interesting post from The Z Blog, on Apple, Google,Tesla and trends.
And here’s Bjorn Lomberg explaining why there are NO benefits whatsoever to electric cars.
It is time to stop our green worship of the electric car. It costs us a fortune, cuts little CO2 and surprisingly kills almost twice the number of people compared with regular gasoline cars.
Electric cars’ global-warming benefits are small. It is advertised as a zero-emissions car, but in reality it only shifts emissions to electricity production, with most coming from fossil fuels. As green venture capitalist Vinod Khosla likes to point out, “Electric cars are coal-powered cars.”
Filed under: Capitalism, Domestic Policy, Education, Engineering, Freedom, History, Politics, Science/Technology | Tags: Managing the Flow of Words, Our Personal Body of Knowledge, The Information Age
Only 39 years earlier, Bell had spoken to Watson in the first phone call ever, in Boston — just after Bell had patented the telephone.
By 1915, the American Telephone and Telegraph Co. network crossed the continent with a single copper circuit 6,800 miles long. It could only carry one call at a time — but hearing another person’s voice from the other side of the continent was truly astonishing. There were already 8.6 million phones served by AT&T, but the first intercontinental call was a major public event. The call went from New York to San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition., where they were celebrating the completion of the Panama Canal.
We are inclined to forget that, for example, our founding fathers if they wanted to communicate with someone at a distance, had to send a rider carrying a message. Their days were uninterrupted by such things as the telephone, a radio, TV, computer, cell phones that we take with us so we don’t spend a moment unconnected.
We are so accustomed to multi-tasking and a constant flow of voices and opinion, sales and entertainment, that we don’t recognize the loss of silence, uninterrupted contemplation, time to think deeply. That blessing greatly contributed to the care that went into the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution itself, and that clear thought, perhaps impossible today, may well be why it has lasted so well.
The current presumption is that all our equipment will go away and we will have wearable technology or implants so that we are never, never disconnected.
That must be contrasted with what seems to me our increasing inability to deal with the information age. What has come along with the increased flow of information is too much choice, and way too much stuff for which the word “information” does not really apply. Our educational system is not yet directly addressing information management, how to select that which is important, how to tell truth from falsehood, sense from nonsense, and how to form, from that flow, a life-enriching body of knowledge.
Filed under: Capitalism, Engineering, Freedom, Military, News, Science/Technology | Tags: 200 X Stronger Than Steel, A Wonder Material, The Potential of Graphene
Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 for isolating graphene in 2004— a wonder material: a substance 200 times stronger than steel, yet as thin as a single atom. By May of 2013, there had been more than 9,000 patent applications for graphene. From my 2013 post about graphene, some of those applying for patents were:
Companies like Apple, Saab, Lockheed Martin, Samsung, Nokia, BASF SE. The potential uses are as broad as filtering salt from seawater, flexible touch screens, anti-rust coatings, sports equipment like tennis racquets, DNA sequencing devices, and distilling vodka. Everybody is trying to patent everything, so that you have the option of suing your competitors later and stopping them. Labs all over the world are hard at work, as is the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
Dr. Geim, the Nobel laureate, has said that “Graphene opened up a material world we didn’t even know existed.” Scientists are looking at scores of other two-dimensional materials with unusual properties.
Graphene has remarkable properties that could revolutionize electronics, but new research has shown that the material is better than Kevlar at stopping bullets fired at supersonic speeds. Early research has shown that the material is able to absorb ten times as much energy as steel before failing.
“Graphene consists of single layers of carbon atoms, arranged in a sheet. Rice University researchers examined the behavior of graphene when subjected to simulated impacts from high-velocity bullets. A laser guidance system directed a silica bullet toward a small graphene target, containing several layers of the material. The laser evaporated a gold film, producing puffs of gas that accelerated the bullet toward its miniscule target at speeds up to 2,000 mph. Velocities of the projectile, taken before and after impact were used to calculate the amount of energy absorbed by the target.”
Because of the scale of the experiment, they could not use a real gun barrel or gunpowder. The tiny graphene targets distributed the kinetic energy of the impacting projectile first into a cone and then into cracks that radiated from the point of impact.
“One popular analogy is that graphene is strong enough to withstand the weight of an elephant balancing on a pencil. However, this is the first major study to examine how the substance could be used in blocking bullets.”
So far, high quality graphene can only be produced in small quantities, so commercial production of bulletproof vests is a ways off. Until now, Kevlar is the most common material used to manufacture garments to protect from bullets. It was first developed in 1965 at DuPont. By the early 1970s it was being used as a replacement for rubber in race car wheels. Today Kevlar is used in bicycle tires, sails for boats and drum heads — which is a pretty good demonstration of the widely varied uses that can come from a new material.
Graphene paint could mean the end of rust. Graphene oxide can be applied to metal, glass and brick, protecting the object from corrosion. Graphene paint can even be applied to sand, creating a tough transparent coating holding grains together in any desired shape. A method for producing sheets of graphene economically may not be far off.
The rewards for turning the enormous potential of graphene into real commercial products are so promising that the competition must be fierce. It sounds like there are some exciting stories waiting to be told. Stay tuned.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Energy, Engineering, Junk Science, Politics, Science/Technology | Tags: Changing Politics Worldwide, Failure of Green Politics, Renewable Energy Doesn't Work
Two engineers at Google were charged with thinking creatively about how to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy. After four years, the engineers had concluded that it simply could not be done, and the project was shut down.
As we reflected on the project, we came to the conclusion that even if Google and others had led the way toward a wholesale adoption of renewable energy, that switch would not have resulted in significant reductions of carbon dioxide emissions. Trying to combat climate change exclusively with today’s renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach. …
Incremental improvements to existing technologies aren’t enough; we need something truly disruptive to reverse climate change. What, then, is the energy technology that can meet the challenging cost targets? How will we remove CO2 from the air? We don’t have the answers. Those technologies haven’t been invented yet.
These engineers assume that the global warming theory is true, that the rise of CO² in the atmosphere is inexorable, and that the warming will have dire consequences for mankind. But renewable energy cannot make a significant difference.
Lewis Page writes in response in The Register about nuclear power. It is not, at the moment, cheap enough to provide a strong financial rationale, but that is because the costs have been forced far higher than it would be by the imposition of cripplingly higher health and safety standards. In the three nuclear “disasters” so far — Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima — the scientifically verified death toll from all causes is zero, 56, and zero. Other power industries come in far higher. Page writes:
There can’t be any doubt that if nuclear power had been allowed to be as dangerous per unit of energy generated as, say, the gas industry – let alone the terribly dangerous coal business – it truly would be too cheap to meter and Messrs Koningstein and Fork’s problem would have been solved for them decades ago.
The two linked articles are brief and should be read in their entirety. Neither assumes that carbon dioxide is possibly not the cause of warming, nor that as CO² continues to climb, and promote growth of the world’s plants, there has been no warming for over 18 years. CO² has been much higher in the past, and current levels in the atmosphere are not what is considered optimum for plant life. The planet has been much warmer in the past, as in the Medieval period that brought forth the Renaissance, and much colder as well, in the ice age and the little ice age — which some scientists believe we may be entering once again.
If Google listened to its own engineers, they wouldn’t be trying to get the taxpayers to bail them out for their federal loan for the enormous solar thermal plant at Ivanpah, which somehow didn’t get as much sun as they expected.
Anyone following the recent G20 will be aware that skeptical politicians such as Australia’s Tony Abbott and Canada’s Steve Harper have been under public pressure to change their public position. What is not so readily apparent is that there is a rather large voter backlash against their extreme green policies, and the failure of their massive investment in ‘renewable power.” Germany is building coal-fired power plants. Obama and his green policies were soundly rejected in the midterms, but as a true believer, he soldiers on, and blames everybody else.