LEGO Ball of (death)


This is the best Mythbusters video ever.  They took about 1 million LEGO bricks and made a giant, 7foot wide “ball” out of them.  It didn’t really work, but it has one of the most spectacular things I’ve ever seen happen, I won’t spoil it for you, but skip to 3:09 in the video if you want to see it.

Now, I love LEGOs, but I think this was alittle wasteful, I mean, they took all the LEGO bricks in North America, and then another half a million from someone else all in the name of Science, and good TV.  Well, hey, it was pretty damn impressive.

Make Yourself Sick

The get out of work free card has a whole new world open to it.  Makeyourselfsick.com puts a new spin on faking a call to your boss/teacher, claiming you’re sick.  I didn’t try it cause it requires you to call a number where I assume they record it, then I guess you pick some sickness, and apply it to the recording, and something else.

If they had it so you could just record through a microphone connected to your compouter, I would have tried this out multiple times, but I’m not gonna call this number, I hate calling numbers.  Anyway, the idea is interesting, and with alittle work, it could be a goldmine!

Warnings and Notices

Most of the time those little blurbs of warning text on products are there for legal reasons, and server no other purpose then to state the obvious.  However, these warnings are much more vauge, and interesting, and therefore, awesome:

ADVISORY: There is an Extremely Small but Nonzero Chance That, Through a
Process Know as "Tunneling," This Product May Spontaneously Disappear
from Its Present Location and Reappear at Any Random Place in the
Universe, Including Your Neighbor's Domicile. The Manufacturer Will Not
Be Responsible for Any Damages or Inconvenience That May Result.

ATTENTION: Despite Any Other Listing of Product Contents Found Hereon,
the Consumer is Advised That, in Actuality, This Product Consists Of
99.9999999999% Empty Space.

I only wish there were links to the products that they appeared on. Oh well, still good fun, I like people with s sense of humor.

What’s your wireless network named?

Remember Echo Base?  Yea, we thought that was an awesome name, which it is, but Gizmodo wanted to know what you called your WiFi network, and there are some good ones.  Some of my favorites include:

  • i eat babies
  • puppy killer
  • SquirtleSquad
  • ( o )( o ) – (what does that look like?)
  • Free Ice Cream in 101 – (the apt next to mine )
  • Philotic Web – (Ender’s Game only)
  • POLICE
  • lazer_penguins_in_outerspace!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Kevin_Bacon – (You are now connected to Kevin_Bacon)
  • OMG! Ponies! – (The best April fools prank ever)

They all pale in comparision to this guy though:

I live next to a hotel so obviously I named it: “Email xxx@soandso.se for access” and when they do, they give me money and I give them the universe, or the password.

Capitalism and passive advertising equals ka-tching!

However the amount of people who named their networks:

  • Virus land (or some variation)
  • Free Porn (or some variation)
  • SPAM (or some variation)
  • Skynet (I will admit this was the name of mine in college)

is reallllly too high to be healthy, I’m scared for the world if these people think they are original, although, in defense of Skynet, if we don’t get the word out, then we are doomed to die.

Batman and the Terminator

I like Batman, I like The Terminator, I like when they are together in a great trailer mashup.  I do not like the overly loud soundtrack, but nothing is perfect.  Feast your eyes on this masterfully created combination of the Batman movies, and the Terminator movies, it’s only flaw is the too loud to hear the dialogue music, but since it’s the Terminator music it’s almost acceptable.

This lovely find comes courtesy of Filmonic

Going Green, or Not! part IV – The CO2 Myth

Welcome to Part 4 of the Going Green, or Not! series.  Today I will tackle Carbon Dioxide, that lovely deadly gas we exhale every day.  As always part I, part II, and part III are just clicks away, so please catch up to them if you haven’t read them yet, and if you have, then dive right into this controversy spurring post of the dangers that don’t exist with Carbon Dioxide.

Carbon Dioxide, CO2, is often claimed to be the leading cause of global warming.  Everywhere you look you see it weather it be your carbon footprint, or the carbon emissions from cars, or planes.  Carbon dioxide is the poster child for global warming, and without it, they wouldn’t have a case, let alone a “theory”

I found this documentary awhile ago, The Great Global Warming Swindle (GGWS).  I’m embedding it at the end for all those who care to watch it, be warned its over an hour long. But first let me tell you that there is a lot of controversy over this documentary, and weather it’s factual, or skewing the truth a little.  Well, that doesn’t really matter, because the point of the film is to get you thinking, and thinking is what I’ve done.

Now, back to CO2, here’s the opening paragraph on Carbon Dioxide from Wikipedia:

an example of a CO2 atom
an example of a CO2 atom

Carbon dioxide (chemical formula: CO2) is a chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom. It is a gas at standard temperature and pressure and exists in Earth’s atmosphere in this state.

Carbon dioxide is used by plants during photosynthesis to make sugars which may either be consumed again in respiration or used as the raw material to produce polysaccharides such as starch and cellulose, proteins and the wide variety of other organic compounds required for plant growth and development. It is produced during respiration by plants, and by all animals, fungi and microorganisms that depend on living and decaying plants for food, either directly or indirectly. It is, therefore, a major component of the carbon cycle. Carbon dioxide is generated as a by-product of the combustion of fossil fuels or the burning of vegetable matter, among other chemical processes. Large amounts of carbon dioxide are emitted from volcanoes and other geothermal processes such as hot springs and geysers and by the dissolution of carbonates in crustal rocks

It is important to note where CO2 comes from.  Proponents of global warming would have you believe that CO2 is entirely a man made gas, when in fact, it’s one of the building blocks of life – All plant life depends on CO2, and all animal life depends on plant life, so reducing/removing CO2 from the atmosphere is dooming us. But that’s not all of what they’re saying.  They claim that the human emissions of CO2 is having a significant impact on the planet’s atmosphere, when in fact estimates up to 97% of the CO2 released into the atmosphere every year come from 100% natural sources, these include, all living organisms (of which there are a couple of orders of magnitude more then humans), volcanoes, and most importantly oceans.

This is where the first seeds of controversy come up in the GGWS, they claim that volcanoes release  more carbon then humans do, that is wrong, as multiple facts show.  However, this is where more controversy should arise.  No one says anything about the rest of the natural world, the animals, and absolutely no one says anything about the oceans.  So just as the writers, directors, and producers behind GGWS skimmed over some information on their graphs, the very people who attack them completely ignore 2 significant factors of CO2 emissions.

In fact, every source I found that attempts to discredit the documentary ignores the Oceans entirely.  Why are these people ignoring the very things that control our planet?  Yes, the oceans control our planet, they dictate what lives and what dies, liquid water oceans are the one thing that separate us from every other orbiting body in this solar system (except maybe Europa).  Why are they being ignored?  Because they throw a wrench into the well oiled machine that is the current Global Warming theory.

The oceans release, and absorbs vast amounts of CO2, both man made, and natural.  This is natural, and part of the life cycle of the earth.  Another thing that’s part of the life cycle of earth, is change.  Through change comes evolution.  Since the beginning of time (or the earth, whatever), the earth’s surface has been evolving, and the life inhabiting it has done the same.  One of the main arguments is that the increased CO2 levels will increase the acidity of the ocean, causing mass deaths of marine life.  Well my friend, to quote Dr. Ian Malcom:

If there is one thing the history of evolution has taught us it’s that life will not be contained. Life breaks free, expands to new territory, and crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously.

I’m simply saying that life, uh… finds a way.

What that means is that sure the changes we make now will effect life, but guess what, it wont disappear, not in a long shot.  It’s natural that animals and species die off, and evolve, unless it’s directly related to man (I guess you could argue, everything is, and to that I say, stop, shut up).  Anyway, lets go back to CO2, and Global Warming.

Did you know that CO2 has an insignificant effect on the earth’s atmosphere?  Did you know that water vapor (yes, the same water vapor from cooling towers) accounts for 95% of the greenhouse effect on the earth?  I bet you didn’t.

The fact remains though that when you factor in water vapor, the charts start to get very different, significantly different actually.  So different, as to show that man has absolutely no significant long term effect on the atmosphere.  But hey, why would you want to know that?

Here’s some graphs to help drive the point home for you:

Water Vapor vs. the other green house gasses
Water Vapor vs. the other green house gasses
Contrubitions of man-made CO2
Man made vs. natural CO2 emissions
Man made vs. natural methane emissions
Man made vs. natural methane emissions
man made vs. natural nitrous oxide emissions
Man made vs. natural nitrous oxide emissions
Man made vs. natural water vapor emissions
Man made vs. natural water vapor emissions
Man made vs. natural CFCs
Man made vs. natural CFCs
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If it wasn’t obvious from above, surly it is now, human CO2 emissions are insignificant. Also that water vapor emissions from cooling towers, yea, it doesn’t do anything.  In fact, when you factor in everything, and do the math, human’s contribute 0.28% of the total greenhouse effect.  After you do some more math, you get: “0.117% of the greenhouse effect is due to atmospheric CO2 from human activity”. {Graphs and information from Geocraft}.

So in other words, all the effect the media, the governments, the scientists, and everyone would have you believe is tiny, and insignificant.  So I ask you now: Who’s cheating who?  Who’s being true? And Who don’t even care anymore?

In effect, almost everything you’ve been told about global warming, and carbon dioxide by the media, the government, and people in general is wrong.

Here is the GGWS video, it’s long, but worth the watch I think.  I didn’t tackle everything they brought up in it, but I stayed on the CO2 part at least.

If you’re interested, here is a good break down of most of the GGWS video, but it falls prey to the very traps that I mentioned above.

Today being Earth Day I hope you all get some relaxation in, and treat the earth well.  That means go about you’re normal daily life.  That’s one more notch in the going green belt, let’s see how long we can make it.  Fortunately with this belt people get smarter as it goes on, so the longer the better.  Stay tuned for part V coming whenever I get around to finishing it.

Funny Exams

Ah the time when taking exams was a part of life, sadly, I no longer have to take any exams, but if I did you could rest assured that I would fill out a few of them like the examples at this aptly named website.  For those who don’t know, I did fill out a funny exam once, and I got extra points for it.  It was some math problem that I didn’t know how to do, and it happend at Christmas time, and the drawing on the test had a red and green line, so I said the area between the two curves is equal to Santa Claus, and drew a stick figure Santa and some reindeer.  I should look for that paper and scan it in…

Although all these exam questions are pretty good, they all pale in comparision to Peter Nguyen He is a genious, I bow to him.

Adolf Hitler is 120 years old!

Today marks the birthday of the world’s oldest non-living dictator, Adolf Hitler!  120 years ago today he was born in Austria, he went on to try and become an artist, but didn’t do so hot, so instead he went for world domination.  A pretty nice secondary goal if you ask me.

The failed Führer started his run to greatness in 1923, but was unsuccessful in that too.  So he was thrown in jail for a few months, where he wrote Mein Kampf, his handbook for the future.   Over the course of the next 10 years, he slowly, and legally built up a following, that eventually led to his appointment as Chancellor of Germany in January 1933 by Hindenburg.  He used the disastrous outcome of WWI for Germany, and the global depression to snowball his way into the hearts of the German people.

In another few years he got the Nuremberg Laws passed, which allowed him to begin his crusade against the Jews, and other undesirables.

In 1938, TIME magazine named Adolf Hitler their Person of the Year, and a scant year later, That person started The Greatest War in the history of the world.

After a series of unfortunate events which led to Germany’s defeat, Adolf Hitler was reported to have committed suicide with his new bride, Eva Braun.  However, there are widespread reports that Hitler, along with other high ranking members of The SS escaped to South America, Argentina being the most likely place, and are lying in wait to begin again new on the Fourth Reich.

Going Green! or Not, Part III – The Impact of Nuclear Energy

This is Part III of the on going segment called Going Green! or Not.  Today I’m going to try and wrap up nuclear energy, hopefully I’ll end with a bang.  As always, if you missed any of the other installments, they are but a click away Part I, Part II. So let’s get back on track, and get to the atom smashing power of a nuclear reactor.

Nuclear energy is up there with abortion, capital punishment, and Yankees/Red Sox, everyone has an opinion, and everyone thinks they’re right, and just mentioning your opinion is grounds for termination of your friendship.  Unlike all the moral issues associated with the other three, nuclear energy is a misunderstood, unknown technology.  It was born from War, but used for good, it was the hopes and dreams of millions of kids to sail across the stars on a nuclear powered star ship, what happened to those dreams?  Fear, scaremongering, and false information.  The Chernobyl disaster, and Three Mile Island Incident really destroyed the nuclear industry when it was just getting interesting.  Before I go on, here’s a little background on both incidents for you:

Chernobyl:

Chernobyl MonumentChernobyl Monument {An1m4l}

Basically what happened was a perfect storm of accidents, human error, and bad design.  While performing an experiment that simulated a blackout, the core ran away from them, got too hot, and there was nothing they could do to cool it off, because the cooling pumps were intentionally shut off for the experiment.

In the worst areas of the plant, humans could receive a lethal dose of radiation in several minutes.  In terms of deaths, 56 people died directly, 4,000 cancer deaths, and ~600,00 people were exposed to elevated radiation levels, the effects of which are still being felt.

It’s also something to note that had the they passed the test, they would have found out that failed the test, because of the meltdown.  And yes, that makes sense.

Three Mile Island:

This was another series of unfortunate events that on a normal day, wouldn’t have been an issue, but when combined, was a problem.  However, in this case, it wasn’t a deadly problem.  The plant operators were stuck with too much information, most of which was useless, and didn’t know what to do when the reactor lost its cooling water, and quickly became over heated, causing the core to partially meltdown.  Unlike Chernobyl, the problem was caught, and fixed, and almost no radiation released to the atmosphere.

Zero people died directly, and numerous studies over the years have shown zero deaths from cancer attributed to the radiation that was, or was not released.

Now that you know this very basic history, (and it is basic, there is much more to each event, (here’s a nice Chernobyl resource)), it should be somewhat easier to understand where I’m going here.

These people over at AlterNet seem to think there’s problems with nuclear energy, and that it can’t help.  They’ve come up with 6 reasons why it wont save us, and quite frankly, they suck.

Reason 1. Length of time to come on: It currently takes so long to come online because of all the bureaucratic crap we have to go through to get one even commissioned.  Between the valid issues such as: “is this a viable place for the plant”, “is there suitable water supply”, “is the area in need of more power,” we get the fucking nut jobs that chain themselves to trees and prevent things from moving froward.  If it were legal to kill people trespassing on your property (it is in some places, look it up!), then these plants would get built much quicker, and with much more fun.

Reason 2 & 4. Insurance and Cost: When compared to wind, or solar which once are put up require only regular maintenance, sure nuclear costs more money.  But in terms of sheer wattage, you get more bang for your buck at a nuclear power plant, then a wind farm.  And, when the wind stops blowing, or you get a week long snow storm, nuclear power plants will still crank out 1MW of power.

Reason 3. Waste: I dealt with that last time.

UraninitePitchblende, is the most common ore mined to extract uranium

Reason 5. Peak Uranium: Just like Peak Oil (which I will get to later), this is a make believe term made to scare you.  They claims that there is only 60 years worth of uranium left in the earth to mine and use for fuel.  What he isn’t saying is that there is 60 years left of uranium we can access today.  Mining technology gets more advanced every year, and in 6 decades, I have confidence we will be able to dig deeper, and in more remote places.

And that’s just my mind speaking, here are some facts: at current reactor design, and current demands, there is enough high grade ore to last 85 years.  With new more efficient reactor designs capable of using lower grade ore, there is enough for 2500+ years.  These designs are in use, or in development now, and if it weren’t for reason 1 holding us back, we’d have no problem at all.
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Reason 6. Carbon Emissions: This is the one reason I somewhat agree with, but at the same time, when you think of it, it doesn’t mean anything.  During the operation of the plant, it releases no carbon emissions, making it clean.  However, people argue that mining and enriching the uranium releases carbon.  You’re right it does, but if you don’t mine uranium, then you must mine coal, or natural gas, and those release carbon emissions in the mining process too.  So the mining carbon emissions are canceled out.  Next you have the building of the plants.  Wind turbines, and solar cells are not born the earth, they are manufactured just the same, they use steal, and glass, and plastic.  Sure they use less of it, but they still use it, so the construction, and manufacturing is canceled out.  So, what’s left is a power plant that produces an average of 6 GW/hr (6,000 Mega Watt hours) a year, and releases no carbon.

If you don’t believe me, check out the research Barry Brook did concerning increasing the mining operation in south Australia.  He even got a nice graph which I’m embedding at near full size so you can read it well about it:

Vattenfall finds that averaged over the entire life cycle of their Nuclear Plant including Uranium mining, milling, enrichment, plant construction, operating, decommissioning and waste disposal, the total amount CO2 emitted per KW-Hr of electricity produced is 3.3 grams per KW-Hr of produced power. Vattenfall measures its CO2 output from Natural Gas to be 400 grams per KW-Hr and from coal to be 700 grams per KW-Hr. Thus nuclear power generated by Vattenfall, which may constitute World’s best practice, emits less than one hundredth the CO2 of Fossil-Fuel based generation. In fact Vattenfall finds its Nuclear Plants to emit less CO2 than any of its other energy production mechanisms including Hydro, Wind, Solar and Biomass although all of these processes emit much less than fossil fuel generation of electricity.

Now, let’s take a look at the different types of nuclear reactors:

PRessurized Water ReactorPressurized Water Reactor Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Boiling Water ReactorBoiling Water Reactor Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • Fast Reactor {FR}
    • The first one’s developed to produce electricity, current FRs are liquid metal cooled, which provide better thermal transfer than water
  • Pressurized Water Reactors {PWR}
    • The most common type of nuclear reactor, there are two coolant loops, which means the radiation is separated from the cooling water loop
    • Requires high pressure liquid for cooling, which means high strength materials = expensive
  • Boiling Water Reactors {BWR}
    • Fewer components in the loop less confusing setup in general
    • A much larger pressure vessel = expensive
  • Generation III+ Reactors {G3+}
    • Advancements made on current gen nuclear reactors
    • Increase the life of new built systems
    • Uses less fuel, more efficient
  • European Pressurized Reactor {EPR}
    • A Generation 3+ reactor currently being built in Finland and France expected to open in 2010
    • 300% redundancy in cooling
    • 8.5 foot thick concrete wall designed to withstand airplane impact, and system overpressure
  • Pebble Bed Reactors {PBR}
    • Generation IV reactor, not in use yet, still testing
    • Able to use enriched uranium, or natural uranium = less carbon emissions
    • Exceptionally safe design

With the construction of G3+ reactors, and the developments of the PBR, the world of nuclear energy is about to change radically.  The only thing standing in it’s way are these types of people.  Man do I hate them.  But anyway, there are much more things regarding the different nuclear reactor types.  I could try and go into explaining it myself, but that’s not what I’m trying to do.

And looking to the future, some researchers in California have come up with a prototype for fusion using Lasers! It’s not true fusion, because that’s still unobtainable, but they use the Lasers start a regular fission reaction.  And if that’s not enough, they have claimed that they will be able to use the spent fuel from existing nuclear reactors to power this fusion/fission reaction.  However, I am skeptical of this new technology, because the running joke is that fusion is 20 years away…always.

That is nearly all the nuclear energy information I have for you.  I have a few other resources that don’t really fit this part, so I’ll use them later on.  Stay tuned for future installments of the Going Green! or Not series.