Monthly Archives: August 2013

Why Should the Developing World NOT Be Encouraged to Develop?

I am about to buy a book called “Aim High” on Kindle and I read the book summary:

Aim High proposes using thorium energy to address environmental problems. Mankind’s fossil fuel burning releases CO2 into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming and deadly air pollution. Natural resources are rapidly being depleted by world population growth. Safe, inexpensive energy from the liquid fluoride thorium reactor can stop much global warming and raise prosperity of humanity to adopt US and OECD lifestyles, which include lower, sustainable birth rates. Thorium fuel is transformed to uranium-233 which fissions, producing heat and electric power at a cost less than that from coal power plants–the only way to dissuade developing nations from burning coal. Thorium produces less than 1% of the long-lived radioactive waste of today’s nuclear power plants. Existing nuclear power plant waste can be consumed. One ton of plentiful thorium costing $300,000 provides 1 GW-year of electric energy, enough for a city. A 5-year NASA-style shoot-the-moon project can complete technology development of this inexpensive, safe, clean power.

As any reader here knows, I am pretty much up on the thorium LFTR power plant subject.

One passage (in bold) in this summary caught my attention and made me ask the question in the post title.

One way to make a Liberal squirm is to catch him/her in a conundrum between their encouragement of the downtrodden and their fervent desire into not have any more CO2 enter the atmosphere.  Since they believe that any development of third world countries is fraught with increases to global. this makes some sense. Continue reading

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Past Activist Naughtinesses That Didn’t Make It Very Far – And One That Did

I present four examples of environmental activists and their claims:

Example 1

Back around 1988 there was a claim that 25% of the waste in our garbage dumps was plastic baby diapers.  It was also a time when our store shelves were well-stocked with biodegradable plastic trash bags.

A professor of archaeology at Southern Illinois University thought that the diaper thing would make a good challenge and project for his students.  They all went out to dumps and began counting and measuring and weighing, among the rats and flies.

They found out some notable things in their field work and their later analyses, all of which was in contradiction with what the common wisdom was at the time.  You see, most people then believed that, yes, there was too much plastic being discarded – the old “wasteful American” meme, aimed at one particular class of products.  This even though millions of Americans did, in fact, take up the biodegradable call to arms and tried to buy biodegradable trash bags in their effort to not inure the environment any more than necessary. Continue reading

New Ideas for Thorium?

In a comment on Thorium Reactors Jeff pointed out how it would change our electrical grid – or at least allow us to change it.

That brings to mind the question of what changes Thorium LFTR reactors might make in the world.

I know I don’t know all of the possibilities.  I think it would be cool to ask for your ideas:

WHAT CHANGES DO YOU SEE POSSIBLE IF WE CHANGE TO LIQUID FUELED THORIUM REACTOR POWER PLANTS?

I will submit two and I am eager to see what others think might happen.  Any and all changes are welcome.

THE LESSONS OF THE YOUNGER DRYAS IMPACT EVENT

The latest papers that support the Younger Dryas Boundary impact event hypothesis (YDB) give us an object lesson in science, as we have followed all the YDB developments since 2007 and even before.

On one hand it is very cool (like I’ve said before) to be this close to a revolutionary concept that has taken more and more form as time has gone on (irrespective of how much more work there is to be done by the YDB Team and the independents).  As solid as the work has been, season after season it’s been a privilege to see it all come in, one paper at a time.

On the other hand, it has also been educational about how resistance to new ideas by some groups/teams/cliques are possibly causing them to almost defraud science with sloppy work that is so slanted it is hard to see it as anything but intentional.

But let’s give them the benefit of the doubt for the moment; perhaps they are in areas they don’t know well enough.

After all, it is NEW, and new means new ground, new associations, and new interpretations of past studies. And it is not just a little bit new. It is a LOT new.  Since that scientific past was gradualistic and the new hypothesis is non-gradualistic, the underlying foundation shifts to an entirely different framework, and some existing evidence will need different interpretations and existing ideas may need different approaches.

There may be a LOT that needs rethinking.  It’s not just that gradualists might fight tooth and nail. Evidence that has been interpreted as climate-caused may have to concede that the climate ITSELF was not a cause but an effect.  Bond events and possibly Heinrich and Dansgaard-Oeschger events may have to be rethought.  The emptying of Lake Agassiz may have a different history.  The Great Lakes may become the region of great searches for one or more impact sites (albeit shielded by ice sheets).  (That might be much easier – or harder – than the search for Alvarez’s impact site 30 years ago.)

What are NOT new are the physical laws governing the chemistry, geology, impacts, atmosphere, ice ages, botany, climatology, and NEOs – though even those may need to be looked into as regarding corollaries and assumptions arising from the laws (as understood before and after).  In addition, it will likely require broadening inch-by-inch what is accepted about impactors and impacts:  First it was nothing that could fall from the sky; then it was small rocks, then it was meteors only, then it was comets hitting planets, and soon it will be objects hitting Earth.

What’s next?  To find out how differently composed objects have impacted in different ways?  I would hope so.  We can’t fall back to one of those earlier understandings.  New times are afoot! Continue reading

CO2 and Sea Levels – Let’s Look at Them from a Different Angle

From an article at WattsUpWithThat.com:

“Nor is there any reference to our slowly rising sea levels, a rise certainly not accelerating, all despite the clearly increasing CO2 levels.”

Sometimes it is useful to look at numbers from the other way around. So, let’s look at CO2 and its increase for just a second in a reverse way:

…Since the beginning of the Mona Loa CO2 data began in March 1958, non-CO2 in the atmosphere has fallen from 99.968538% to 99.96033%.

If graphed with a zero Y-value, to all but a microscope this would appear as a straight and horizontal line.  I know this, because I just did it.

Thus if non-CO2 is graphed vs the sea level rise, it is not surprising that sea level rise is not being affected by the CO2 increase.

***
In high school journalism we learned to be alert to statistical shenannigans, how the presentation of statistics had everything to do with the propaganda being presented. “Propaganda” is not my word, but that of my teacher. We were first of all taught that one means of propagandizing with stats is to not graph with a zero Y-value. Another was to reverse the percentages, as is done with CO2.

The latter is often done in medical studies, claiming that a certain finding is “significant” because the incidence of a disease has gone from, say, 1.25% to 1.85% – an almost 50% increased risk. However, that can also be read as an avoidance rate changing from 98.75% to 98.15%. Patients would feel much more positive if the latter percentages were presented – and especially if those were presented on a graph. But such a presentation isn’t convenient for garnering funding or approval for preventive drugs, so that isn’t done.

In the case of CO2 the preventive drug is all things green – according to those framing the problem. A straight horizontal line isn’t convenient to raising alarms.

***

As to the sea level rise being all but constant since forever, for those who don’t know this, it has been about 3mm per year in almost the entire time it has been measured – and no rise at all in the last two decades when the compiled global average temperatures showed increased temps for a third of that time and then none for the last decade plus.

Thus, with both CO2 rise and sea level rise being mostly constant it is possible that both are tied together.  This might be one causing the other or both being influenced by some other effect.  Or it might just be a coincidence.  Correlation does not mean causation.