2006-02-24

Assimilated by the Borg

I'd delighted to announce that I am joining such august company as Chris Mooney, Tim Lambert, and many more in being assimilated by the Borg, aka Scienceblogs. It looks like I'm now online at http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/; there are still a few minor setup issues (I hope "who is that in the picture"? won't be an issue by the time you go over and check).

Fear not! My editoiral independence is unchanged, and I still get to be called Stoat.

11 Comments:

Blogger James Annan said...

Does it have a spillchucker :-?

12:00 am  
Blogger Belette said...

Pendant.

Miriam tells me that I ought to say that I'm *only* blogging there from now on. I thought that was obvious. But, here you are!

9:29 pm  
Blogger Rufus said...

I really wonder how having your expenses paid by SEED will effect your writing. Will you be as keen to scrutinize articles published in SEED magazine? Or will you ignore them even when you have something to say. Will you feel the need to adhere to the party line on global warming, just to please your publishers? By not remaining independent, you put your objectivity in question.

1:32 am  
Blogger Peter Hearnden said...

What Rufus says has validity. The forces of darkness will love to make the points he does, but with snark and spite. I don't see much point in giving them encouragement. Otoh, I'm sure you'll retain your independence, but it's appearance not reality that matters to the snipers.

9:35 am  
Blogger Belette said...

Seed has guaranteed my (and others', as far as I can tell) editorial independence. And the payments, though larger than google adsense, aren't large enough to buy my soul yet.

If Seed has a party line, I'm not sure what it is. Kevin Vrames has done one piece attacking Chris Mooney, so all is not sweetness and light between us, and I expect to disagree with K on occaision.

3:04 pm  
Blogger thefixer said...

I am going to post a comment that I wrote,,that was posted on a site,,after a bit i am going to post part 2

3:58 am  
Blogger thefixer said...

Blinded by Progress

With the ongoing fixation on carbon dioxide being the cause of “possible global warming,” I think we may be “fiddling while Rome burns.” With all the talk of the dangerous build-up of CO2, nary a word is mentioned of “waste heat,” of which every BTU of energy that we consume becomes “waste heat.” The laws of thermodynamics say this is so, and cannot be rescinded. Eons ago, individual people discovered that fire was a source of power. The idea spread and eventually made modern civilization possible. In the more modern era, engineering as a discipline, already rooted, now flourished. But at some point, an assumption for the sake of convenience was made. This assumption was that the surroundings are an infinite heat sink. Bear in mind that for the purpose of designing, for example internal combustion engines, etc, then this assumption is perfectly valid, for a designer generally focuses only on the design of his or her particular project and not on any larger implication. The problem is that this early assumption, meant only for the purpose of designing various things that used energy, gradually grew into an assertation of fact about the larger world; a completely unquestionable tenant of modern engineering in relationship to the environment of the globe. Maybe it’s time to re-examine that assumption.
While the effect of large cities on the local climate is recognized, perhaps we should take a more inclusive all encompassing view of our energy usage. We are using gargantuan quantities of energy from oil, coal, gas, etc. all around the globe. A great deal of these fossil fuels is converted to electricity at huge generating plants. During the conversion stage, much of the heat energy is given off to the atmosphere either through the chimney along with the flue gases, or dissipated through cooling towers, or discharged as warm water into a nearby river. Also combustion releases water vapor, which has a greater “green house effect than carbon dioxide.” Further more, once the energy of combustion is converted to electricity, the trail of waste heat continues. As the electricity is transmitted, heat is given off along the transmission lines and at the transformers. When the electricity is converted into light energy or mechanical motion, most of this energy ultimately ends up as heat again. Although most of this heat loss is not noticeable, it is measurable, and added up. The amounts are very great indeed.
We have many millions of internal combustion driven vehicles around the world. They convert the energy given off by combustion into motion. Again, the total amounts of energy that these vehicles consume and give off as waste heat is staggering. These automobiles, trucks, trains, boats, and airplanes lose a good portion of the heat of combustion through their exhaust and then more again through their cooling systems. All engines need a cooling system: with land vehicles the cooling system gives off its heat to the air. With ships, that cooling system may be the rivers and oceans upon which they travel. The amount of heat given off into the rivers and oceans by the giant barges, tankers, and military vessels would be considerable. Also energy of motion is lost through friction with the medium through which they travel, whether that is the tires against the road, the air against the surface of the vehicle, or the water against the surface of the boat.
The fact that heat losses from the transmission of electricity and from vehicles is spread out over a wider area and not usually noticeable or easily measurable, does not make it insignificant. In total, the amounts are very large.
All of our dwelling places, large and small, over large portions of the globe, must be heated. If they are heated with fossil fuels, a portion of this heat goes into the atmosphere through the flue gases and the rest is merely delayed in the dwelling place. All this heat is dissipated to the surrounds through the walls, sooner or later, depending upon how well the place is insulated. If the dwelling is heated by electric resistance heat, the trail of heat lose begins at the generating plant and ends at the dwelling, with every BTU released into our environment.
All of societies mechanized activities including travel and industrial processes give off a certain amount of heat. The sum of all this waste heat forms a more or less constant baseline which is added to the Earth’s solar gain, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The magnitude of this baseline while large is growing ever larger.
Besides the magnitude of the heat that we are releasing into the biosphere perhaps there are also synergistic effects that come into play. Synergy can be defined as the interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects. For example we will commonly go into an area, raze the trees and bulldoze the greenery, which both had previously had a cooling effect, and then build blacktopped parking lots and roads and erect black-roofed buildings. Often we will do this in parts of the world that are already very hot. In addition we will then add internal combustion engines, fossil fueled power plants, etc. to the locale. It might be reasonable to assume that there would be a new warming effect from those changes. Perhaps this warming effect extends further and perhaps is greater than the sum of its components.
Not only do we add heat to the environment at all times due to travel, trade, and industry but we also exert feedback into the natural environment due to residential and business heating and cooling needs. During the “heating season” man’s consumption of all types of fuel and electricity increases in direct proportion to how cold the outside environment is. By necessity, the colder the weather, the more energy we infuse into our homes and businesses, and of course this all leaks “out.” Now an ever-increasing amount of electricity consumption is used for cooling both for air conditioning homes and businesses and to run the ever-increasing number of food and beverage coolers. These cooling processes consume more energy in direct proportion to how high the outside temperature is. By increasing the generation of electricity we also infuse even more energy into the surroundings as it gets hotter outside.
And what effect do the vast military, commercial, and pleasure craft navies of the worlds nations have on the ocean temperature or on just the surface temperature. It is said that various types of ships have their own unique heat signatures, making them readily identifiable by infrared imaging via satellite. For all the waste heat of the engines of gigantic battleships, cargo ships, tankers, and cruise liners is released into the surface of the ocean as they travel. Furthermore, ships that require cooling of product or people would use cooling methods that would result in the release of even more heat into the oceans. Although the oceans are vast, is it not possible that there is some effect, especially where marine traffic is large and/or where surface temperatures are already warm. Warm water tends to stay on the surface, and stay warm especially during times of little wave action and when days and nights are warm. Is it not possible that synergistic effects would be seen on sections of the world’s oceans?
There is theory of chaotic behavior, which states that the behavior of very complex systems can be perturbed by relatively small changes from within or outside the system. For instance, supposedly the beat of a butterfly’s wings in South Africa could trigger a blizzard in the Arctic. The point is that chaotic behavior is unpredictable. The weather is widely regarded as a chaotic system and we are making more than small changes to the “outside” world.
Some mental images maybe be appropriate to try to comprehend the scale of the changes that mankind is causing. If the early image of mankind was of scattered bands of people crouched around camp fires, then we have reached a point where a far different scene can be imagined.
It may help to conceptualize this by at first only imagining this on a small scale, say a countywide area. Now picture every source of energy consumption in that area as an open fire. In regards to the laws of thermodynamics it matters not that the energy conversion is contained within a house furnace, a car engine, or a massive electric generating plant. It matters not that the conversion from potential to kinetic energy takes place in an open fire or under the shielding of house furnace, a car engine or in the bowels of a huge electricity generating plant. All of that heat is sooner or later released to the great outdoors. So now imagine thousands and millions of fires visible from above. The whole landscape would be ablaze with fires large and small. Highways would be streams of fire as perhaps they are, for we are burning streams and rivers of oil, and gas as every BTU escapes into the greater environment.
How did we arrive at this point in time in which we talk about limiting production of CO2 while completely ignoring the inferno that creates it. Are we not in a manner of speaking, focusing on the gnat in our brother’s eye while overlooking the beam in our own eye. For if we could simply stop all man’s industrial production of CO2, then what would we do about the other greenhouse gases, such as water vapor, which is even more heat trapping and much more abundant.
If we could stop this excess production of CO2, by say, capturing it and burying it, would that then give us the green light to continue our profligate ways?
We have arrived or are approaching the time when mankind’s heat generating activities are approaching a significant factor of total solar gain. And now is when the numbers have to be examined closely by us all.
For some sources say that the total solar gain, that is the net input from the sun is about 7.577 x 1020 BTUs or 757,000 quads of energy, and that is total for the Earth.
Meanwhile mankind’s total energy consumption/release was for 1998 about 379.7 quads or 3.797 x 1017 BTUs.
And so it is that the figure seems to be only 1/500 of the total solar gain. Are these figures accurate? If they are, is it true that 1/500 is a minuscule amount? Is the timing and placement of man’s heat releases important in relation to climate?
I firmly believe that humanity can find the answers to our problems if we frame the questions correctly. I believe that we can come up with better methods of doing what we do. I believe that we can come up with much more efficient processes. And perhaps much of the energy we use doesn’t need used in the first place but is merely consumerism for the sake of consumerism

4:14 am  
Blogger thefixer said...

I hear it constantly stated--constantly stated, as if it is known without a shadow of a doubt,,that THE AMOUNT OF SOLAR GAIN IS SO GREAT RELATIVE TO THE AMOUNT OF ENERGY THAT HUMANKIND RELEASES AS WASTE HEAT,,,THAT HUMANKINDS ACTIONS ARE INFINTESSIMAL-----THIS IDEA IS ACCEPTED AS IF SAID BY G-d.

But who knows this to be true?
..only the few scientists that have told us what the solar gain is!

Supposedly the amount of energy given off by humankinds actions are small relative to the solar gain,,,but how many sguare miles of solar collectors would be nessesary to make a modern steel mill?

OOOPS---CAN YOU SEE IT YET?

How much oil being burned to make a modern high rise operate,,would translate into solar collectors?

perhaps 2 square miles

ta da,,and the answer is----we are using and releaseing so much more infrared energy then has previously been seen on this Earth,,that humankinds actions are a force that we disregard at our own peril

Forget about CO2 effects,,,it is the waste heat stupid

That waste heat eventually melts the artic,,then the antartic...but when the refrigerating effects of those two are gone,,,then watch out,,for we will no longer have a buffer----then the summers will get really hot!

There are ways to alleviate and prevent disaster,,-in part 3

4:55 am  
Anonymous tin359 said...

I have nothing else to say but goodluck! Enjoy every road you endeavor. I hope you get to achieve what you are striving for.

6:22 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How embarrassing for you. To be associated with a lot of other jerks who are totally unable to come up with even the slightest evidence for this fraud you are all pushing.

None of you has the evidence. So lets get this over with now.

1. We need evidence for the likelihood of catastrophic warming.

2. Evidence for the idea that a little human-induced warming IS A BAD THING during a brutal and pulverising ice age.

and

3. While it seems entirely plausible we still need evidence that CO2 can warm anything in a non-negligible way globally and at sea level.

11:26 pm  
Blogger webmaster said...

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3:27 pm  

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