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Flowing Mercury

This is probably one of the coolest designed fountains ever.  Instead of using water, it uses liquid mercury.  Deadly, but beautiful.  It’s so different, the texture of it, it makes it look exotic, and cool.  Reminds me of the T-1000.  It was built to honor the memories of the mercury miners of Almaden, currently it is housed behind glass, to prevent people from toxic exposure to the metal and awesome super powers, birth defects.

Look at it balled up like that, isn’t it beautiful looking?  To think that that joined together is really a merciless killing machine…

That view actually makes it alittle hard to see that it’s mercury, and not water.  But you get an idea of what the structure of it is like, and it is a cool looking fountain.

This got me thinking, why don’t we have other liquid fountains.  Like any of the other elements, they would have to be enclosed to keep out the heat/pressure, but I’m sure they would look pretty cool!

{MAKE | photos}

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Military robots are a Bad Idea

When will the military learn.  Have 4 Terminator movies not been enough to show that robots do not belong on the battlefield, or making the decisions, or anywhere besides a book.  You would think that anyway.  But it seems that saving one human life on the battlefield is worth killing 1000 human lives in 5 years.  I don’t know about you, but that’s not logical.

A company has designed a robot that can take power from biomass.  This is an awesome concept.  If we can power a robot from biomass, why not a car, or an airplane, or a house?  No, first we make a military application of the technology, then it filters down to the public (in actuality, that’s how it’s happened for the past 100 years or so).  But the implemtation of the technology is wrong.

They are working on a robot that feeds on all sorts of biomass, that includes dead human bodies on it’s endless search for whatever it was programed to do.  Well I’m going to take this situation a few steps further because I have an imagination, and I know how to use it.

So, you made this robot, it can roam the land forever using plants and animals for food.  There’s a storm, it gets struck by lightning, it gains sentience, instead of a fun loving awesome robot like Johnny 5, we get a killing machine sent on a mission from Hell to destroy all humans.  It’s not long before this robot learns how to construct primitive versions of himself by abducting other robots and hardware.  Soon enough there’s an army of biomass eating baby robot killers.  Under orders from the HERO (Human Eradication-Relocation, Organization) high command, the army soon overwhelms the humans in the outlying areas of war torn countries.  Soon all traces of humans are gone, and the military is in the process of considering dropping atomic bombs to cover it up.  Unfortunately for us, our fear happy government is too scared to use the one weapon that can save us, and HERO quickly makes its way across the seas and oceans and comes ashore everywhere.  There are too many of them to be effectually contained.  The only hope is to wipe them all through a coordinated global nuclear strike.  But time is running out.

The HERO high command being born of the military, has access to the codes and satellites used and knows of this plan.  They have sent drones out on missions to consume the components of the nuclear bombs – yes they have evolved to consuming all matter now.  Also, HERO high command has carved out themselves an underground base in sub-Sahara Africa for multiple logistical reasons, so should the drones fail, the high command will still be around.  And then it’s a simple matter of going topside and flourishing, because radiation has no effect on a machine.

The world is slowly falling to the agents of HERO.  There is no turning back now, the robots have won.  Even with the nuclear strike, enough of the drones survived to wreak havoc with the surviving humans.  A group of humans have banded together to form a resistance.  The call themselves the Robot Revolutionaries, RR.  They have captured many agents of HERO, and have reverse engineered much of them.  They have also discovered something, a plot that could destroy what we know of humanity at present.  There is not much that can stop it, but for a lone person named A.E.P. Who is this A.E.P.?  He must be found, but he could be anywhere in history…
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awesome DIY science the greatest video

RC Plane F(l)ight.

This video is the most awesome thing I have ever seen.  Pasqualy had himself an awesome 4th of July.  He modified a cheap EasyStar RC plane with a wireless video camera, and some model rockets/fireworks attached to the undersides of the wings to have the most fun ever.

I simply cannot explain just how awesome this whole thing seems.  I want to do it, I’m looking at prices for all of this, and I think I can get it down to under $200.  And my friend suggested we get a second plane in on it and dogfight, that would be fucking awesome.  I need to do this, more so that I have needed to do anything I’ve said in the past on this blog.

Watch the video, read about his other experiments, and just be awed at the awesomeness that he has achieved and you have not. {Hacked Gadgets}

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a stumble science strange

Becareful, electricity is dangerous

And according to this German handbook from 1933, some strange situations can lead to some painful deaths at it’s mysteryous hands.

I don’t think the water stream would be constant enough, it’d probably go through the ladder.

Haha, that picture just makes me laugh.

There must be something wrong with lamps in pre-WWII Germany, cause it seems that by touching one you die.

This is actually something I’ve been told don’t shower or take a bath durring a thunderstorm, it leads to death.

I can’t figure out what the hell this baby is doing, but it doesn’t look safe regardless, crazy dead child.

Fortunately for us Mythbusters proved this to be completly false.  Yay not dead!

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Pandemics

My favorite flash game has a 3rd variation, Pandemic Extinction of Man.  Of all three versions of the game, I think this one is the most dumbed down.  Just look at this:

The world is split up into 10 sections, each has 10% of the world’s population, represented by the little people.

Green means healthy people, red means infected people, and black means dead people.  Of each of the 10 areas, you can spread the virus through, or attack airports, water, or the country’s attempt at a cure.  If the country is not infected, but shares borders with one that is, you can attempt to infect it with the “!” icon.  That’s the newest feature, controlling the virus itself, and not letting a random generator do it.  It lets you actually control which places you attack, which is nice.  And except for Greenland, and the South Pacific (Australia), all of Europe/Asia/Africa is reachable through land, you need a plane to get to the Americas, and you need a plane to get to Greenland and South Pacific.  And you can do whatever you want, for the low cost of 1 point each.

Look at that.  That’s all you get to control?!  No individual features of the virus like in Pandemic II, and no control of it’s transmission attributes like Pandemic.  That truly is dumb simple, and I don’t like it.

However, it’s one saving grace is that unlike Pandemic II, it is winnable.

Orange areas show infected countries, see, all of them are orange.

I choose f-11 because it was very governmenty.  I could have chosen Captain Trips, but I felt this virus didn’t deserve the honor and prestige that that name inspires in me, (yes inspires).

Unlike the other games, this one is probably the most realistic.  Because after 0% of the population dies, and 1% is infected, all the other countries start to develop a cure.  (Just like in real life, when one kid who may have swine flu, the entire school is shut down for 2 weeks for disinfection).  But that being said, I have been able to beat it repeatedly, unlike Pandemic II.

Fuck you Madagascar.

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Deadly Computer DIY internet science

Don’t Breathe, you might get sick!

This is such a true comic.  I hate the way our society has become “There is a chance you could get cancer this product must be taken off the market!”  Little do you know that that chance is near 0%, and the case it’s based on is full of other variables that no one takes into account (kinda like the whole global warming issue huh?!).

If there’s one thing wrong with the way we live it’s in too much fear.  We fear the slight chance that one day we will get a cold, so we use bleach to clean every area of our house.  Sure it allows us to live in a germ free environment, but the minute we get some germ, our immune systems are so underdeveloped that we quickly go into a tailspin and end up in the hospital (which in effects reinforces our germophobic habits).  Now, don’t get me wrong, bleach is an awesome product, and useful for cleaning up blood evidence, lots of things, but you don’t have to go spray the door handle right before you touch it.

When did we forget to live life to the fullest, and instead live life in fear?  Why must every product we buy/sell be 100% chemical free, antibacterial, biodegradable, not tested on animals (or humans), and guaranteed to not harm ants?  Where are we going as a society like this?  Nowhere.

This is a major problem in the way American’s live.  Remember the 1950’s, we were king of the world.  Everything we did was exciting, and new.  Thing’s didn’t have a purpose, no one cared if their shampoo was tested on a monkey, as long as it didn’t make their hair fall out, they were fine with it, and kept buying it.  People traveled the world, got sick, and then got better.  They weren’t afraid of getting sick from something just because someone else got sick before them.

What has changed us?  Money.  Money has caused the media companies from moving to reporting real news, to whatever they think will get the most people to watch.  Not only that, but frivolous lawsuits have all but destroyed the legal system of this country.  What once was common sense, is now written law.  And if it’s not written down, then you don’t have to follow it, and if you get hurt, it’s not your fault, it’s the other people, because they didn’t tell you that when you pull the trigger of that gun, it shoots something that can really hurt you.

Change your habits, be more open minded, take chances, and stop caring if you might get sick from some minute particle that only appears when there’s a full moon, and you say the magic words.  If you live in fear of getting cancer I have news for you, just kill yourself now, because nothing you can do will prevent you from an act of nature.  Sure some things are more likely to cause cancer (radiation poisoning), but unlike the State of California, some things are useful to life, and make it worth living.

Live life, stop worrying, and have fun.

{Bunny Comic}

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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.

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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.

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Going Green! or Not, Part II – Nuclear Energy

This is Part II of the on going segment called Going Green! or Not series deals largely with renewable energy.  Mainly I take a stab at all the myths associated with nuclear power.  It’s awesome because a lot of people don’t know anything about nuclear power, where as I know quite a lot.  If you missed part I of the series, fear not, it’s just a click away. Otherwise, step right up, and read on my friend.

Now I’m gonna move on from the Planet Green channel, and attack the industry in general.  No where is the idea of green technology more prevalent then the community of Stumble Upon.  I can’t stumble a day without getting 3 advertisements for solar power.  (Before you tell me I can adjust my SU interests, don’t, I know that, and I accept it cause I like to read them, and then give thumbs down and real world reviews, it makes me happy, I’m an evil person).

Solar power is one of the biggest things I see, with wind coming in second.  I prefer wind power simply because in the event of a nuclear winter (or something similar), wind generators will still work.  Anyway, back to the matter at hand yet again.  It’s not the efficiency of one or the other that matters, (both hover around 20%), it’s the writing style that is used to introduce them.  It’s full of hopes, and dreams, and love, and sometimes kittens.  Take this story from Clean Technia: MIT Energy Storage Discovery Could Lead to ‘Unlimited’ Solar Power.  It’s a very uplifting story that links to a source story, and provides almost no original content of themselves (an underlying problem of the blogosphere itself (something I’ve contributed to no doubt as well)), and a video, I couldn’t find the video they said on MIT’s page, so that leads me to believe it really didn’t exist, they just wanted to look like they were doing research.   Anyway, the the last paragraph is this:

No news has yet been released of a predicted timescale to commericial development or mainstream adoption.  However, Nocera has said that he’s hopeful that within 10 years homes will no longer be powered using electricity-by-wire from a central source. Instead, homeowners will be able to harness solar power during daylight hours and use this new energy storage method for electricity at night.

If you read between the lines of that you can find out what it really means: This is just a theory, it will never get made into production because it’s not practical, we’re just telling you this for good publicity, give us more money please.  They claim that within 10 years everyone will use one of these.  Well, pretend for a minute that you have a time traveling DeLorean, and you go back in time to 1955, you would hear this quote:

Nuclear-powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality within ten years.

Well, it’s been nearly 55 years, and we’re lucky to build a nuclear powered power plant now a days, (more on that next).  My point being, the above theory sounds great, and awesome, and revolutionary, but, in practice, the likelihood of it coming true is 0%.  So take that nugget of information with a grain of salt.

So, about nuclear power.  What do you know about it?  Or, more importantly, what do you think you know about it?  Is it dangerous to the environment?  Is it deadly?  How many accidents have there been since it was put in use?  How many at civilian controlled power plants?

Did you know that there have been 8 partial meltdowns, one total meltdown, and one partial core meltdown over the 50 years since nuclear power plants have been in use (this is not taking into account military ships, of any nation).  Did you know that on the International Nuclear Event Scale there is only one event in the highest spot – Chernobyl, and that by it’s standards, Three Mile Island only rates a 5?  (From a country that was always one upping the soviets, they sure got us beat in terms of nuclear problems).  Did you know that when a nuclear reactor has a meltdown, it doesn’t explode like Ivy-Mike above, it just releases a cloud of radioactive gas into the atmosphere letting nature decide who lives and dies.  Anyway, I’m not going to dabble in terms of destructive nature of nuclear energy, for I could do that forever.

Nuclear reactors are closed circuit systems.  That means the water that is in direct contact with the control rods is sealed, and never leaves the system (assuming no breach, or meltdown).  Nuclear reactors are built around bodies of water such as the sea, and rivers so that they can use that cold water to cool the pipes containing the super heated steam.  This water leaves perfectly safe if not a little warmer.  And those cooling towers, guess what, they release nothing but steam into the atmosphere, guess what steam turns into, rain!

Now, I won’t fool you, nuclear reactors do have some waste, and it’s in the form of super irradiated fuel rods that stay that way for tens of thousands of years.  There are three main concerns with this waste:

  • What to do with it
  • How to deal with transport
  • What happens if terrorist get a hold of it

Well, the first two are rather simple to answer, and they come in multi-part answers, isn’t life peachy?!  So let’s get to them:

The current plan for spent nuclear fuel is to ship it off to underground caves and keep it there until the robots take over and use it as their fuel source, the sun goes nova, or we forget about it.  That’s a great solution because the granite mountains that hold them are some of the strongest natural materials on Earth.  In order for the mountain to erode away to nothing, millions of years would have to pass by.  But what if an earthquake comes?  Well my friend, that’s the advantage of having millions of years of geological data on hand,  the locations chosen were chosen because of their low level of seismic activity.  Which means that if there were a major earthquake to happen, leaked radiation would be the least of our worries, trust me.

Now comes the question of transporting it to these mountain fortresses.  Wouldn’t you know it, they have a system for that.  The transports must follow a strict set of guidelines that includes:

  • A 9 meter (30 ft) free fall on to an unyielding surface
  • A puncture test allowing the container to free-fall 1 meter (about 37 inches) onto a steel rod 15 centimeters (about 6 inches) in diameter
  • A 30-minute, all-engulfing fire at 800 degrees Celsius (1475 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • An 8-hour immersion under 0.9 meter (3 ft) of water.
  • Further, an undamaged package must be subjected to a one-hour immersion under 200 meters (655 ft) of water.

If those don’t sound like much, here’s a video demonstrating it for you, go on, watch it, I’ll wait:

You see, these casks are designed to go to hell and back, and still not leak their deadly cargo.  If that’s not enough for you, in the 40+ years of them being in use, there has never been an accident that released radioactive material into the environment.  I bet no one ever told you that.  In fact, if you read over that site you’ll find a bunch of anti-nuclear information, just like a good propaganda website should have.  Anyway, the point is, the forces required to sabotage one of these shipments are far to great (it would be cheaper to just buy the material illegally somewhere) and for a true accident to cause a issue, you would need:

  • an earthquake
  • a lightning storm
  • a gas leak
  • a plane crash
  • a meteor strike
  • flying pigs

All to happen in a single, 50 square foot at the same time.  I’m not C3-P0, so I can’t calculate the odds of that for you, but let me assure you, they’re fucking ridiculously high.  And were one of those to all happen, it’s important to know that spent fuel is not flammable, and cannot cause a nuclear explosion.

The first two points are taken care of, now it’s onto the third, and probably most feared one, terrorists.  Frankly, I’m tired of that word, it’s evolved from a descriptive word of a group of people, into a meaningless fear mongering term of the media.  But regardless, it’s the best word we have to describe those groups of people.  Anyway, what would happen if some anti-human fanatic got their hands on all this spent fuel while it’s in transit (not likely), or after it’s in storage?  Well, it all depends on the type of waste they get their hands on.  Some of the spent fuel is weapons grade, and can be made to produce those sweet explosions like Ivy-Mike, but not much of it, and the process of getting it is not worth the rewards, meaning it’s cheaper and easier to just buy a nuclear bomb pre-made on the black market.

There are much more items to go into, I was going to try and get all the nuclear information into one post, but I surprised myself (ok, not really).  This post has reached the limits of what I think is long enough, so I’m gonna split it here, and you’ll get the rest of it before the week is up, don’t worry.  There’s plenty more for me to tell you on the benefits, and hazards (you see, I’m giving you both sides of the story) to nuclear power.  So come back for part III of the  Going Green! or Not series.  It’s sure to be an eye opener!

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Robots…

Skynet Research has sent me an email.  They claim that everyone can make a difference.  I believe them.  If we all band together, we can prevent the robot overthrow of our culture.  I know Skynet Research is a viral advertising method for the new Terminator Salvation movie (which I am excited for), but I cannot help but express my fears for our future right now.

We live in a world were the number of robots per worker is on the rise, were simple everyday things that humans do is being replaced by lifeless, fearless, soulless robotic beings, who’s only guiding force in this world is to overcome it’s masters, us.  Most robots are meant to go places that humans can’t or shouldn’t go.

But tell me, if you saw this rescuing you from a fire what would you think? You’d probably think, crap, the time has come, I’m gone.  What’s more, these types of robots are programed to collect humans already, so when the inevitably become self aware, they will have far little reprogramming to undergo before they can be shipped to the front lines to clean up the robot’s advance.

And if that’s not enough, this cute little guy was made with the best intentions, but when they turn, all I can say is carry a knife with you.  This “robot dog” is nice and useful on the front lines, it carries you’re ammo, and supplies, and whatnot, but it can also carry other robots, or guns, or both.  What we have here is the first Calvary of the new robot army.

If there’s one advantage we have over the robots right now, it’s that none of them look like humans, they all look like robots, or aliens. Not anymore with this new technology, it mimic the texture of a human face, providing all sorts of levels of wrongness to come.

Perhaps its just these next and last two images that bother me the most.

Here we have the original Terminator laughing at what he will one day become.  How sad and scary this sight is.  Surly he must realize the irony of the situation here.  The role that made him famous is about to come true, and he is grinning at it!

Seriously, wtf people.  Why is there a robotic T-Rex?  Are you trying to make it easier for them the devour us?  The only way it could be worse was if it was a raptor.  But with the way things are going now, that probably won’t be too far off.   I hope they just don’t use the flawed logic that John Hammond used in doing it.

{Robot photos}