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Deceive the Credulous; Become Fabulously Wealthy

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Any thoughts on wind energy? I have a Texan friend who gets his panties really excited whenever wind energy gets brought up and I'd be interested to know if reality matches up to his hype.

You get the windmills with terrain limitations as they needed to be built in places with sustained wind gusts. They are great when they work if you don't care about birds. However, when the wind is too low, they actually require energy to keep them spinning to prevent damage and they shut down to prevent when the wind is too high to prevent damage.

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Decent efficiency when active, problem is finding a spot to make them so. That and bird deaths. And apparently...

 

wind_turbine.jpg

Any thoughts on wind energy? I have a Texan friend who gets his panties really excited whenever wind energy gets brought up and I'd be interested to know if reality matches up to his hype.

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Another "issue" that the enviros are bleating about is the reservoirs behind dams supposedly give off CO2 gas which will cause global warming.

 

http://www.seattleweekly.com/news/washingtons-big-dam-climate-nightmare/

 

It is the same logic that we should clear cut forests because termites eat rotten wood and give off CO2 gasses. 

 

We passed an initiative a few years back in Washington that labeled hydro dams as "polluters" for... reasons. But it boils down to the fact that dams do impede fish migration, particularly that of the five species of salmon but also steelhead and sturgeon.

 

Yes. Sturgeon.

 

The local PUDs which operate the dams on the Columbia/Snake Rivers have done a good job in putting in fish ladders as well as installing turbines that are safer for any smolt that pass through the turbines. I had a chance 13 years ago to stand inside a turbine chamber that was in the process of being replaced at Rocky Reach Dam. Let me tell you it was eerie being inside that much concrete. 

 

So a lot of progress has been made. The last couple years, the Columbia River has had extremely strong numbers of salmon that haven't been seen in decades. 

 

https://www.nwcouncil.org/news/blog/2016-columbia-river-salmon-runs-forecast/

 

Unfortunately, the nature of dams makes it difficult to ever replicate a natural river run. Historically smolt - juvenile salmon - when they migrate to the ocean are carried along by the current of the river so they don't expend energy while at the same time food is washed to them. A wild run salmon smolt will have its tail pointed downstream its entire trip to the sea. With reservoirs, there is less of a current. Therefore salmon smolt (steelhead etc) are forced to swim head down stream to the ocean, expending energy while food is stationary forcing the young fish to swim after it. This causes a higher mortality rate. Or weaker, smaller fish. There are also predators which gather around the fish ladders during the migrations. Cormorants, seals, sea lions, tribal fishermen... To offset this, the State of Washington has taken to collecting and barging/trucking smolt downstream which is a controversial practice.

 

Despite the historical benefits of hydro dams, we still have greenies and native americans who want to tear down dams, particularly those along the Snake River which are primarily used for agricultural irrigation. If you've eaten a McDonald's french fry or a loaf of bread, the wheat or potatoes in those products have been watered by those four Snake River dams.

 

There has been a successful dam removal on the Elwha River located on the Olympic Peninsula. About 110 years ago, a dam was put across the river - with no fish ladder - in order to run a pulp mill in Port Townsend. This destroyed the truly phenomenal Elwha Chinook salmon run. If you've seen any old fashioned photos of 100 pound chinook salmon, it probably came from the Elwha.

 

Since Clinton's environmental regulations and NAFTA killed the logging industry in Washington, there was no longer any need for the logging operation in Port Townsend and therefore no more need for the old-fashioned dam. It was removed a few years back. The Seattle Times has a rather in depth and ongoing series about the river's recovery. And to this jaundiced conservationist, the Elwha recovery has been a success - albeit an expensive one - so far.

 

http://projects.seattletimes.com/2016/elwha/

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As for wind power, it has been a fucking scam. Particularly in Eastern Washington where thousands of turbines now pollute the skylines of the Columbia and Snake River gorges. To be sure, it is a logical place for wind turbines since the wind just howls through these coulees. But we have a surfeit of power generating devices online already.

 

Don't get me wrong. It is IMPRESSIVE seeing these turbines that are a couple hundred feet high with 80-120 foot blades rotating. It's like an H.G. Wells novel driving through the scablands between Ellensburg and George and in other places. 

 

The issue with the turbines is that even though they claim to produce 1 or 2 percent of our power generated in Washington, this is because the hydro plants are taken off line for that percent. Water still flows through the dam - because of salmon migration - but it just goes over the gates or through a neutral turbine which is intentionally not generating energy that way bookkeeping can say the wind turbines are pulling their weight. And just as was mentioned earlier, the second the wind dies down, hydro or Hanford nuke plant has to pick up the slack. 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbia_Generating_Station

 

They are obvious make-work projects designed to enrich General Electric which - surprise - is a HUGE Obama contributor. Also damning is the amount of pollution generated to construct these things from copper to rare earth elements. 

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Any thoughts on wind energy? I have a Texan friend who gets his panties really excited whenever wind energy gets brought up and I'd be interested to know if reality matches up to his hype.

 

They would be OK in some sort of weird, alternate universe where people didn't realize that you can burn petroleum, coal, natural gas and uranium to spin turbines.

 

A big turbine can be rated for 8.0 MW, which is serious power (that's as much power as the total solar flux on a two acre field.  That's not the equivalent of two acres of solar panels; it's way more than that, I'm not even account for loss factors and inefficiencies in panels), and as ShamefurDispray points out, they actually do reach that rating because they have to be feathered from time to time to prevent overspeeding and ripping the blades off.  The power ratings on solar installations can basically considered to be outrageous lies from the stance of realistic bookkeeping.

 

But they average far less than that, and they do work whenever the hell the wind is blowing.

 

Also, the total installation of wind turbines in the US currently kills something like as many birds per year as hunters on the East Coast do during the Atlantic Flyway migration.  And windmills are way less picky about killing endangered species than hunters are.

 

I had an idea once of putting a bunch of bauxite smelters out by wind turbines.  Basically you'd ship bauxite out to these places and it would get smelted into aluminum whenever the wind got around to blowing.  No line losses, no headaches of trying to integrate an irregular power source into the grid, and smelting bauxite is a reasonably high-value activity.

 

But then I realized nuclear exists so why fuck with it?

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The biggest thing that wind farms harvest is so-called green dollars from entities like Seattle City Light which "buys" X amount of kilowatt hours each year specifying it must come from win turbines. It's all one big shell game.

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They would be OK in some sort of weird, alternate universe where people didn't realize that you can burn petroleum, coal, natural gas and uranium to spin turbines.

A big turbine can be rated for 8.0 MW, which is serious power (that's as much power as the total solar flux on a two acre field. That's not the equivalent of two acres of solar panels; it's way more than that, I'm not even account for loss factors and inefficiencies in panels), and as ShamefurDispray points out, they actually do reach that rating because they have to be feathered from time to time to prevent overspeeding and ripping the blades off. The power ratings on solar installations can basically considered to be outrageous lies from the stance of realistic bookkeeping.

But they average far less than that, and they do work whenever the hell the wind is blowing.

Also, the total installation of wind turbines in the US currently kills something like as many birds per year as hunters on the East Coast do during the Atlantic Flyway migration. And windmills are way less picky about killing endangered species than hunters are.

I had an idea once of putting a bunch of bauxite smelters out by wind turbines. Basically you'd ship bauxite out to these places and it would get smelted into aluminum whenever the wind got around to blowing. No line losses, no headaches of trying to integrate an irregular power source into the grid, and smelting bauxite is a reasonably high-value activity.

But then I realized nuclear exists so why fuck with it?

Apparently you can't let the smelters stop halfway through or bad things happen.

The wind folk dispute the bird issue, as you'd expect:

http://wind-blog.com/?p=503

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All the times I've illegally trespassed under wind turbines, I haven't seen a dead bird.

Oh yeah. That's ANOTHER reason I fucking hate them. Because now I have to obtain written permission to go on the public lands in Eastern Washington where these boondoggles are built.

We were told it was because of "safety" concerns since slivers of metal shear off the big blades.

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All the times I've illegally trespassed under wind turbines, I haven't seen a dead bird.

 

 

 

I think that's because they have people go around periodically and clean up all the corpses, but I don't know exactly what's up with that.

 

Thunderf00t has made an absolutely glorious video:

 

 

This is probably the most Platonically ideal example I've seen so far of this sort of science-fetishist sleaze.  Crowdfunding campaign?  Check.  Claims of do-gooder charitable intent?  Check.  Physically impossible claims?  Check.  Really dubious corporate structure that makes this look like maybe a premeditated scam?  Check and double check.

 

There needs to be some sort of taxonomy of this sort of scam.  It needs to be studied and dissected and understood wholly, because this Don Zacherl chode gives off the vibe of being a small-time bottom feeder who has been scratching away in DC just trying to hustle some bucks his way.  He probably believes that he's a good person doing essentially reasonable things.  He is not someone who has given their essence, intention and soul to their master Satan, and that's why he's such a sad piece of shit operating three fake companies out of a generic office block.  Trust in Satan Donny Z!  You've got the fundamental indifference to truth and goodness, and you've got a pretty decent scam!  Now, just embrace that what you really want to do is be a parasite, and know the ecstasy of accepting Satan as your master!

 

The zeitgeist in the US right now is that you can't subsidize obvious pseudoscientific woo.  If you were to go before the WHO and try to sell them on homeopathic remedies, you wouldn't get very far.  If you tried to sell the DOE on free-energy woo, you wouldn't go far.  Well, not very far:

 

 

But you come up with a stupid idea that has the veneer of scientific plausibility, and you can apparently get fat grants and delicious indiegogo money trivially.  Everyone knows that the air has water in it, so just suck the water out of the air to fix droughts.  Everyone knows that sunlight is energy, so just put solar panels in dubious places and you've got all the energy you could ever need!  Nevermind that it's very easy to calculate just how much air you'd need to move around to get a usable amount of water, or how much surface area you'd need to slather in PV panels to get a significant quantity of electricity.  Math is for nerds who worry about those sorts of details.  We're idea people!  We're investing in the future!  We are the world!  Yes we can!

 

Praise Satan.

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If you actually solve the problem, you can't make money from trying to solve it.

 

Where is your faith in the power of Satan?

 

As Thunderf00t points out, the problem isn't (usually) people dying of thirst.  Nobody lives where there's a high likelihood of dying of thirst.

 

The problem is dying of waterborne illness, not thirst (and in general, waterborne illnesses are a very ugly way to die).  And when it comes to portable, no-power water purification, boy howdy is that a solved problem.  You've got your iodine tablets, your reverse osmosis filters, hell, even putting contaminated water in a clear PET container and leaving it in the sun kills all the bacteria out to three decimal places.

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Well they're not as exciting as an impractical cool looking solution are they now?

 

The first thing you learn in sales is that one buys with emotions and try to justify with logic. To help them with the second part, you create a problem that may or may not actually exist and solve it with your product.

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Question: how much can we blame transhumanists and singularitarians for popularising the idea that pretty much any technology will become magic and break the laws of physics with a few years worth of intensive development?

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Read the things that people thought electricity could accomplish, and then the power of the atom. Commoners having no idea what science can do is a phenomenon that goes back as far as actual science.

This is true, except that it's often not complete peasants making the most outlandish claims.

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This is true, except that it's often not complete peasants making the most outlandish claims.

 

That's because peasants have no imagination.  I am working on a monograph of peasant phrenology that explains why their under-developed peasant brains are unsuitable for anything other than manual labor and being used as cannon fodder.  The poor dears lack the mental capacity for complex fabrication.  I will be publishing in the Journal of High-Energy Bourgeoisie Physics presently.

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That's because peasants have no imagination.  I am working on a monograph of peasant phrenology that explains why their under-developed peasant brains are unsuitable for anything other than manual labor and being used as cannon fodder.  The poor dears lack the mental capacity for complex fabrication.  I will be publishing in the Journal of High-Energy Bourgeoisie Physics presently.

I'll look forward to it arriving on my desk alongside my article on enzymatic nitrification of phenols in High Energy Biology.

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I'll look forward to it arriving on my desk alongside my article on enzymatic nitrification of phenols in High Energy Biology.

 

And be sure to catch the upcoming paper on high-speed collisions between popes and anti-popes in the Journal of High-Energy Catholic Physics.

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This is fun. I always thought the hype around this thing was shit.

 

Not that I totally agree with all of his points, but people took a paper that clearly outlined the limitations of this tech and went to town with it.

 

IMO, Scott Manley's video is better, not the least of which because it's only half the length.

 

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IFLS is at it again. 

 

https://www.facebook.com/IFeakingLoveScience/videos/1383435205010820/

 

I did the math, and they are expecting an average output of 10.07 W/m^2 from their PV units. Which isn't that bad I guess? At least their numbers aren't ridiculously stupid. 

 

But the premise is still dumb.

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IFLS is at it again. 

 

https://www.facebook.com/IFeakingLoveScience/videos/1383435205010820/

 

I did the math, and they are expecting an average output of 10.07 W/m^2 from their PV units. Which isn't that bad I guess? At least their numbers aren't ridiculously stupid. 

 

 

 

 

Good Lord this is awful.

 

0:27:  GWh aren't a unit of power, you dumbfuck, they're a unit of energy.  If you think this is a pedantic distinction, then you don't know the difference.  If you don't know the difference, you don't have an opinion.  You have a brain full of vomit.

 

Charitably assuming that they mean GWh/year, then that's about 80% of the US' annual electrical energy consumption.  This is an important distinction; there's plenty of energy consumed in the USA that is not in the form of electricity.  Steel mills, for the most part, burn coke rather than heating the iron ore electrically.

 

0:32:  10.1 W/m^2 is a surprisingly honest figure.  Ideal solar irradiance underneath a clear atmosphere is almost exactly one kilowatt per square meter.  Take into account clouds and nighttime, and the best parts of the USA manage about a third of that figure.  Multiply by the efficiency of currently produce panels, multiply by line losses, and I'd say that this number is ballpark accurate at least.  But as we'll see, this number isn't very useful.

 

0:35:  So, divide total power needed by power per acre, and you get the number of acres needed, right?  WRONG, YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT POWER UTILITIES.  The 4 petawatt hours (I feel dirty multiplying a perfectly good SI unit of power by some rando unit of time to get energy) per year figure (which again, was closer to 5 as of 2013) is an average of consumption for an entire year.  Power consumption isn't steady like that.  Not even a little.  Power consumption is lower (but not zero) at night, and higher in the day when people are more active.  Power consumption is higher in the summer and winter thanks to AC and heating.

 

Photovoltaic panels produce fuckall power when it's nighttime, so that's a problem.  There simply isn't any sort of mass storage for intermittent sources of energy; a fundamental technical roadblock that the video conveniently fails to mention.

 

Finally, and most damningly, eleven point two million acres is a fuckload of area.  Sure, it doesn't look big when presented as contiguous green blocks in the Southwest, but that's an area that's the same order of magnitude as the total amount of roofs, asphalt, concrete and other impervious surfaces in the entire United States.  Does anyone want to do rough estimates of whether anyone has that much cadmium on hand?  A back-of-the-envelope calculation of how many people it would take to maintain that sort of infrastructure?  Remember, the solar industry already employs as many people as the oil and gas extraction industry, and it produces a tiny fraction of the amount of energy.  If you think that this would be an economic undertaking comparable to flying to the moon, it may be because you're a worthless peasant who can't do basic math.

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Finally, and most damningly, eleven point two billion acres is a fuckload of area.  Sure, it doesn't look big when presented as contiguous green blocks in the Southwest, but that's an area that's the same order of magnitude as the total amount of roofs, asphalt, concrete and other impervious surfaces in the entire United States

perfect time for solar roadways  B)

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