Saturday, February 2, 2013

Why this is Wrong... "In six daylight hours, Earth’s deserts soak up more energy than humanity uses in a year. "

I hate this quote -"In six daylight hours, Earth’s deserts soak up more energy than humanity uses in a year."  It is often used by solar energy companies to drum up support.  I don't have a problem with solar energy,  but I hate when people use confusing comparisons just to prove their point.  It's like saying that "This skyscraper weighs 150 blue whales, and is 15 giraffes high".  Aka it makes no sense.

Numbers (the wrong way):

Deserts on earth:  -all land 150,000,000 km^2, deserts ~ 1/3 of land = 50,000,000 km^2

Insolation for the 6 hours around solar noon near equator: 1300 W/M^2

Energy use of earth for year: 143,851 TWH (terra watt hours)
= 143,000,000,000,000,000 WH(watt hours)

For those 6 hours: 50,000,000,000,000 M^2 (of deserts) X 1300 W/M^2 X 6 Hours
= 390,000,000,000,000,000 WH

390 PetaWatt Hours  is more than double 143 PetaWatt Hours
Wow so much power!!!

Numbers (more correct):

Deserts on earth: 50,000,000 km^2 - 13,700,000 km^2 (antarctic) - 13,800,000 (arctic)
-We are not going to put solar panels up in these deserts.  It would be dumb.
= 22,500,000 km^2

Insolation for 6 hours around solar noon: 750 W/M^2
- 1300 W/M^2 is what we get from the sun at the top of the atmosphere.
- deserts are not all at the equator (but most included are close)

(2.25 X 10^13 M^2) X (750 W/M^2) X 6 Hours=  1.01 X 10^17 WH

Uh oh!!  Now it seems that we get 101 PetaWatt hours from those deserts in the 6 hours, while we use 143 PetaWatt hours....

Oh Noes!!  Here comes some more reality!!

The efficiency of solar cells ( in super happy land ) : 40 %
Land use efficiency of solar power farms (efficient ones): 50%

So this brings us to 101 PetaWatt Hours X 0.4 X 0.5 =  20.2 PetaWatt Hours

But wait, there's more!!
Transmission losses and storage losses!
~ 6% loss in transmission (best case)
~ 5%  loss in storage and discharge from battery (best case)

20.2 PetaWatt Hours X 0.95 X 0.94 = 18.1 PetaWatt Hours

So if we cover all of the available deserts in the world with solar farms, it will take about 48 hours of  sunlight at noon to supply the world for a year.  This is nearly a tenth of the surface of the Entire Fucking Earth.  Fuck,  Humans are Fucked.
Fuck me, I'm a human.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ruining the World on the Cheap - Part 2

The plan: Destroy the Oil and Natural Gas Pipelines

Everyone loves thermite.  It burns extremely hot, and will melt pretty much everything (perhaps not some exotic ceramics).  So let's use it to cause a collapse of the world economy (and by that I mean the economy of the USA).

This plan requires
- a group of people working for free (we will call them "terrorists")
- powdered aluminum (2500$/tonne)
- powdered rust (750$/tonne)
- magnesium ribbon/scrap (3000$/tonne)

So let's say we have 100 million budget for thermite.  At a aluminum to rust ratio of 1:3, with a tiny bit of magnesium, we could prepare about 20 thousand tonnes of thermite.   Now lets say we use 1 tonne per action, so we need 20,000 cell phones rigged to ignite the magnesium and about 1000 trucks.  Each truck crewed by one "terror cell", with shovels. Perhaps we need another 20 million ( 1000 trucks * 10000$ + 20,000 cell detonators * 500$).

The Plan: Destroy Oil and Natural Gas Pipelines.

Most pipelines are buried under a mound of dirt.  This is great, as we will use this to contain the thermite and makes them easy to find.  We just need to dig 20,000 holes above the pipes, fill the holes with thermite, then set the igniters.  When they all go off at the same time, all oil and natural gas will be shut off at once.  The USA has about 800,000 km of pipelines, so we would put a hole every 40km or so.  It would be better to place the holes closer on major pipes, and farther apart on closer ones.

This would cripple the economy for months.  People would not be able to drive, power plants would shut down, everything would stop.  For months.  For cheap.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Ruining the World on the Cheap - Part 1

Hey evil billionaires, this series is for you!  It will be a how to on destroying the world, with less than 5 Billion dollars.

Part 1 - Greenhouse Gasses!

     Lets go with Sulfur Hexafluoride.  On Alibaba you can purchase SF6 for about 10$ per kilogram from china.  With a molecular weight of 146 grams/mole this would work out to 6.85 moles, which is about 153 liters.  Let's see what our money can buy, at 10$ per kilo thats 100,000,000 kilos of SF6.   Now SF6 has global warming potential of about 16300 times carbon dioxide, so let's call it equivalent to 2.12 X 10^14 kilos of CO2.
     Now this seems like large amount, but it is actually not as significant as you could hope.  This would only increase the amount of carbon dioxide (equivalent minus other gasses) in the atmosphere to 3.37 X 10^15 from 3.16 X 10^15.  It is significant, but would only accelerate global warming by about 40 years.  We need to get more efficient, obviously just buying this from some no name supplier in china is not effective.  So we need sulfur and fluorine.  Sulfur is easy,  just get it from Fort McMurray, AB.  They have way too much already from the refining of heavy oils.
Aerial photo of Tar Sand Sulfur, Athabasca Tar Sands, Alberta, AB  Canada  This pile alone is way more than we need, and could be obtained for
pennies per kg.  Now the fluorine is more expensive and harder to find, but there are many mines and  it can be obtained for about 0.20 $ per kilo commercially, probably about 0.10$ per kilo (or less) once we own the mine.  So let's estimate our costs for materials at about 0.08$ per kilo.  Production will cost much less than other producers, since we don't need to bottle the gas or ship it anywhere.  On a massive scale let's call production costs 0.42$ per kilo (because round numbers are nice).  This brings the total cost per kilo to 0.50$.  This is an increase of efficiency in the order of 2000%.  It will do. 
     New CO2 equivalent  4.24 X 10^15 kg.  This brings up the total CO2 equivalency in the atmosphere to 7.4 X 10^15 kg, Very Significant!  
Hooray!  The world is ruined! 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Youthful Clone Blood - Cures Everything!

       I read a NewScientist article today, about MS damage being reversed by youthful blood in older mice (here).  Now the interesting thing is not that the young blood helped with the damage, but the way they used the blood.  They actually mechanically attached the circulatory systems of the mice together!  I am sure this would be extremely horrible to be those mice.   

How to Live Forever in  Three Easy Steps:
1. Grow a clone of yourself (you don't want your body to reject the stem cells).
2. Attach the umbilical cord of the baby directly to your circulatory system (This way you don't have to feed it directly or ever change a diaper. Probably best to make it brain dead first, and give it some anti-growth hormones...).
3. Party on!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Bitmining? What in the 9 Hells is This?!?

      So, I am building a computer.  Just because I want to use something that isn't as old and slow as my laptop.  Then I started reading about graphics cards.  It turns out that there are a whole bunch of people using their computers, or more importantly their graphics cards, to make fake money.  They are "mining" for bitcoins.  Bitcoins are a virtual encryption based currency which was created by the labs at MIT.  Even though they are not real and have no real value people have been flocking to them.  And since they flock they drive the price up...  They are currently worth around 5 dollars each, but started at nearly nothing and have been up to around 30 dollars.  The distribution of new coins proceeds at a slow pace, but is governed by bitmining.
      I figure if I start with my graphics card I will make about 3 dollars per day.  Now if I had to pay for my own electricity this would probably bring profits down to about 1 dollar per day,  but I don't.  I am moving in to a place where the electricity is included in the rent.  Hopefully my graphics card will pay for itself in about 6 months, and I can get another one.  Hooray for 3-way Crossfire!

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Years sucks for News

Does anyone else get extremely bored looking reading all of those "best list of junk you already know about that happened in 2011".  I already know what happened.  The year is over.  Move on people....  We should be back in business shortly, but the lists dominate the news for several weeks.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Does Anyone Care?

     Well this week a bunch of people who control a bunch of countries are meeting in Durban, South Africa.  The main piece of Canadian news seems to be that Canada is not going to sign on to the update of the Kyoto    Accord. 
      First of all,  why would it even matter if we did sign up?  We did not even attempt to comply with it the first time.  We really like being a prosperous country and producing a huge amount of petrochemicals.  Any agreement without enforcement is unlikely to get results.  Canada is one of the few countries which could actually benefit from global warming.  Longer growing seasons,  opening of the north west passage for shipping, and selling all of that lovely tar sand oil. 
     Second of all, does anyone even care anymore? I think not.  People are so used to seeing climate predictions that have lovely little graphs with pretty colors.   An alarm that goes off for years quickly fades into the background noise of life.  The more graphs I see the more excited I get.  Apocalypse is exciting.