Alternative Energy Sources discussion

Ron Earp

Admin
I live just a few miles where the Super Conducting Super Collider was to be built in Texas (now cancelled). There was a lot of concern then of the same thing...
Only fearmongering and anti-science "concern". The worlds largest collider went on to be built in Europe where it is the center of high energy physics research on the globe, most recently proving the existence of the Higgs particle, a particle that should have been discovered in Texas. Such opportunity missed in the US as we allowed science to be trumped by short-sightedness and lack of vision.

I remember seeing this piece a few years back, an interesting read for those unfamiliar with the situation.

 

Randy V

Staff member
Admin
Lifetime Supporter
Only fearmongering and anti-science "concern". The worlds largest collider went on to be built in Europe where it is the center of high energy physics research on the globe, most recently proving the existence of the Higgs particle, a particle that should have been discovered in Texas. Such opportunity missed in the US as we allowed science to be trumped by short-sightedness and lack of vision.

I remember seeing this piece a few years back, an interesting read for those unfamiliar with the situation.

I'm personally not worried about a new black hole being formed here on Earth or the atmosphere igniting - but I am curious how many are concerned..
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Good article. Long, but very well written.
I know from talking with the locals that they were never really addressed on levels they understood. After all, how do you cook down something this high tech to the point where the common individual can feel assured?
 
The basic issue with fusion energy generation is that currently no experimental fusion reaction creates more energy than is required to bring about the reaction. This is called the "Q" factor. A Q factor of more than 1 means that the fusion reaction creates more energy than the energy required to bring about the reaction. So far, we're not there yet. The joke about fusion energy research is that successful fusion energy is about 30 years away....and will always be about 30 years away.

The scientists and researchers have been developing better and better "tokamaks" - this is basically the device that holds and contains the fusion reaction when it happens so it doesn't blow the whole place up. Super magnets and other new advanced material science are allowing the scientists and researchers to get closer and closer to Q of 1. It seems the bigger the tokamak the easier it is to get to 1 and beyond, and this is the reason for the Iter project in France (~80% complete as of today) - the largest fusion reactor in the world, and one of the largest building projects of human history if not the largest.

Fusion energy has the advantage that it doesn't put off huge amounts of toxic radioactive waste.....unlike fission. Nor does it require enormous amounts of available water for cooling such as fission. So, if the scientists and researchers can make it work and get well beyond a Q of 1 then it could be a very viable source of clean energy. Research continues by a large range of companies, some even located in the US such as Commonwealth Fusion in Mass.

Of course, energy creation is just one side of the coin - energy storage is the other side. Creating energy is no good unless you can effectively store it and transport it. There's a lot of innovative work going on in energy storage as well. My company is working on the next step in improved batteries: www.brightvolt.com

This is a gradual process. The trick is to push the R&D along at a pace fast enough for the commercialization of it to make a difference in a relevant time frame. Seems like the relevant time frame is getting shorter and shorter.
 

Ron Earp

Admin
I know from talking with the locals that they were never really addressed on levels they understood. After all, how do you cook down something this high tech to the point where the common individual can feel assured?
Sometimes.............you can't.

Last week I flew with an instructor to get my tailwheel endorsement. Over lunches I learned he is an antivaxxer, and, thinks there is a conspiracy around vaccines and nearly eveything else in the government. I understand mRNA vaccines and how they work via my job and indeed Moderna and Pfizer, and nearly every other biotech and pharma company in the US, are clients of ours. He asked me what I thought, I told him in the best possible terms and using simplistic analogies, but the response is "but how do we really know"? And that almost comes down to the fact that one understands and "knows" because one understands the science.

I love astrophysics. I read about it and listen to podcasts about it in my spare time. I find it enjoyable. I have a pretty strong background in science, physics, and math. But with my basic knowledge when reading real astrophysicists discussing topics I cannot understand everything that is covered. I'm completely okay with that but I don't state that the results can't be true because I don't have the depth of knowledge or understanding to compeltely grasp the topic at hand.

It's hard to bring people around to understanding some science. And what makes it doubly difficult is the internet. Anyone can type whatever they want into Google and find "news" or "science" that supports their preconceived ideas or position.

The death of experts is what I truly lament. In today's media enviroment a scientist who has devotes his or her life to a topic and knows it intimately can be trumped, pun intended, by someone pushing a political or social agenda. That's sad. The biggest sad.
 
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Im surrounded with anti vaxxers. I just cant deal with the nonsense anymore. The stuff they say about Dr Fauci is just beyond the pale.I consider him an EXPERT who has contibuted to the saving of thousands of lives. Im a Polio survivor.There was no complaining about the Salk or Sabin Vaxcines.Parents just took their kids to get the shot or the sugar cube as soon as they could. Thats how polio was put in its place. By EVERYONE doing their part.
I just dont get this anti science BS.
 

Chris Kouba

Supporter
It's hard to bring people around to understanding some science.
I would argue something slightly different- that it's hard to bring some people around to understanding science. The analogy I make is that some people think Science is written into a book, and the scientist just go look in the book when they need an answer and then figure it out.

The fact is that science is a process, and that process iterates. As we decode the world around us, the manner in which we engage it will change- until that understanding changes again, in which case, our engagement will change again... I think that is a concept that some people cannot get their minds around, and it is lethal, both figuratively and literally.
 

Howard Jones

Supporter
The fact is that science is a process, and that process iterates. As we decode the world around us, the manner in which we engage it will change- until that understanding changes again, in which case, our engagement will change again..

The smartest thing I've seen on the internet in a long time!

I would add that how individuals react to scientific advancement is a Darwinian process in itself. Maybe that's a good thing.
 

Ron Earp

Admin
I would argue something slightly different- that it's hard to bring some people around to understanding science.
Absolutely true. And we've witnessed the results of a lack of understanding of the scientific process in the form of complaints uttered by people you know:

"I just don't trust the CDC. First it's masks, then no masks, then sometimes masks, and then all the different directions on vaccines! They don't know what they're doing!"

Science is a process. We form a hypothesis, collect data, analyze, draw conclusions based on what we have observed and refine or formulate a new hypothesis.

Yep, and absolutely true about polio, smallpox, and all the rest - I appreciate not having those illnesses and I don't have them because of a vaccine. THANKS SCIENCE!
 
Anybody ever wondered about ice age, and how many times it occured on earth.
It always happens after the earth climate warms up.
That usualy happens when poles are shifting.
When poles are shifting, the equator moves the other direction (as the sun stays where its at but the earth moves in a differend direction).

If the equator moves so does the ITCZ zones warming up the earth on places that never been warmed up.

If the earth rotates in a differend direction, the moon does not. The moon does infuence the see tide, but now from a differend spot.

Gues what, the poles are shifting fast already (direction Siberia) and so fast they have to reset GPS data every 3 months.

Earth is doing a restard, as it has been doing for many times in its excistance. But politics worldwide decided that humanity is the issue.
We are not the problem.
 

Chris Kouba

Supporter
The smartest thing I've seen on the internet in a long time!
Thank you, Howard. I know how thorough you are with the amount of research and energy you put into what you do, so I will (modestly, of course) take that as high praise!

I would add that how individuals react to scientific advancement is a Darwinian process in itself. Maybe that's a good thing.
Hah! Indeed, but I just wish it wouldn't affect the rest of us as it does in this situation.


And we've witnessed the results of a lack of understanding of the scientific process in the form of complaints uttered by people you know:

"I just don't trust the CDC. First it's masks, then no masks, then sometimes masks, and then all the different directions on vaccines! They don't know what they're doing!"
This is the poster child case for this exact point and something which drives me batty. I didn't allude to it though as I didn't want to direct a forum thread in a potentially political direction. Our body of knowledge on anything is not stagnant. As we experiment, whether "successfully" or "unsuccessfully", our understanding of the world changes the way we act.

...absolutely true about polio, smallpox, and all the rest - I appreciate not having those illnesses and I don't have them because of a vaccine. THANKS SCIENCE!
^ Ditto!!
 
The problem seems to me to be people that are uneducated in and unqualified to speak about the subjects of climate change, vaccines, the need for alternative lesser polluting energy production and utilisation, etc but think that they are involved in some sort of intellectual discourse as they cobble together some pseudo logic and rant long and hard on the subjects, misinforming and confusing as they argue - much of their ‘information’ coming from sensationalist ‘news’ sources such as Rupert’s.

Listen to the scientists. The rest is just noise that at its root is designed to make money for people that would burn the world to sell more of their product.

I have had conversations on some of these subjects with respected scientists working on ocean temperatures and currents, and a physicist that has been studying the sun for over 60 years. They know their subjects and I respect and trust them and their motives. The rest can, as the Fonz would say, sit on it.

Watching the disregarding, slander and diminution of science by narcissistic sociopathic politicians, greed and power driven media billionaires, moronic celebrities, and misinformed (received) opinionated unqualified disciples who think that using google equates to research makes my skin crawl.

A member of my family is now a creationist, anti vax, anti climate change, alternative medicine, anti science nut job who has home schooled her kids in this crap because of the influence of southern American religious groups infecting Australia with their ridiculous bile.

It has to stop.


Tim.
 

Larry L.

Lifetime Supporter
I'm now really...REALLY...biting my tongue!
So, I be thinkin' I'd best refrain from occasionally checkin' in 'round here! ;-)
 
The US has been operating many small nuke plants for years, decades actually. They are in ships and subs. I had the pleasure to work on them at Pearl Harbor. They have it down....
 

Jeff Young

GT40s Supporter
The US has been operating many small nuke plants for years, decades actually. They are in ships and subs. I had the pleasure to work on them at Pearl Harbor. They have it down....
The military does, yes. Public and private utilities? Not so much. That said, my guess is the small scale nuke is probably the only way forward with them. The smaller scale does save some money. But even the smaller ones (see the article posted above) just are too expensive versus other energy sources. That's the reality of it, it's not all due to regulation, and until it changes we won't see widescale nuke construction like we had planned in 2008-2010 when I thin something like 30-40 nuke plants were on the drawing boards in the US. First LNG and then cheaper renewables killed them.
 

Jeff Young

GT40s Supporter
The military does, yes. Public and private utilities? Not so much. That said, my guess is the small scale nuke is probably the only way forward with them. The smaller scale does save some money. But even the smaller ones (see the article posted above) just are too expensive versus other energy sources. That's the reality of it, it's not all due to regulation, and until it changes we won't see widescale nuke construction like we had planned in 2008-2010 when I thin something like 30-40 nuke plants were on the drawing boards in the US. First LNG and then cheaper renewables killed them.
Just to reiterate, US military reactors are probably the safest in the world. Not sure there has ever been a significant accident?
 
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