Monthly Archives: January 2007

Battery Technology

There are many new competing battery and super high density capacitor technologies (ultra capacitors) emerging that promise to make electric vehicles truly viable.

See this article on ultra capacitors as an example of one of these new technologies. These articles often talk of ultra capacitors as if they are equivalent to batteries except that they can achieve ultra high charge and discharge rates.

I am skeptical with respect to the technology described in this particular article because it depends upon changing the dielectric to allow the ultra capacitor to hold a charge of several thousand volts. The problem with this is that what allows these high capacities to start with is a very high surface area electrode with a very thin layer of dielectric insulator. The thicker the dielectric, the less the capacitance and the less total surface area can fit in a given volume. But to withstand high voltages the dielectric has to be thick.

There is another aspect of ultra capacitors that make them a problematic replacement for a battery. A chemical battery maintains a relatively constant voltage across the majority of it’s discharge cycle. An ultra capacitor does not. This means that whatever circuitry feeds power from the ultra-capacitor to a load also needs to dynamically transform the voltage and I’m not really sure how that would be done.

State of the Union

I am so tired of Bush coming on television and telling us the economy is rosy and we must persevere in Iraq.

The economy is NOT rosy. They manipulate the core inflation rate by excluding housing, fuel, and food, the things which are essential to our existence and which have inflated in cost the most.

The economy is NOT rosy. They fake the unemployment figures by not counting what they call “discouraged workers”, those that have been unemployed so long that they have dropped off the unemployment roles.

The economy is NOT rosy. They talk about the number of jobs created, but they don’t tell you they are exceed by the number of workers looking for jobs or that the jobs are largely minimum wage service jobs that nobody can live on.

Bush continues to try to tie Iraq to terrorism even though the CIA has stated that there was no credible link between Iraq and terrorism. The invasion of Iraq has created a whole new generation of terrorists where none existed.

The figures for American deaths in Iraq is bogus. They act as if 3,600 families having lost their children for oil company profits is not tragic. Many more Americans have died than that. If a soldier is seriously wounded, they fly them to Germany right away. If they subsequently die in Germany, they are not counted as an Iraq fatality. Supply line and security, were outsourced in this war. More private citizens in these functions have died than soldiers.

Iraqi deaths don’t count. Estimates range upwards of a million Iraq deaths. In addition to military action, some have starved, or died from heat because electricity to run air conditioning was cut off. Iraqi people died from disease when clean water wasn’t available. People will have to live out the rest of their lives paralyzed or with missing limbs.

This war has created terrorists, destabilized the middle east, reduced Iraqi oil production driving the cost of crude up worldwide, and killed and maimed countless people. But we must stay the course, kill and maim more people, keeping the price of crude, and oil company profits, high.

The truth is the economy is in a serious world of hurt. The fed is caught between raising the interest rate causing an already failing economy to collapse, and not raising it causing foreign investors in the dollar to lose faith in our currency and divest causing the value of our dollar to plummet, and if that were to happen we would not be able to buy the oil we have become dependent upon.

To resurrect the economy we must cease the military adventurism and rapidly eliminate our dependence upon foreign fuel. There is no reason we should be dependent upon foreign fuel. We actually have vast oil reserves in the United States. At one point we did not have the technology to extract oil from oil shale or tar sands, but there are processes now for doing both at under $15/barrel and our oil shale deposits exceed all of the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia several times over.

We also have vast deposits of sour heavy crude, like that in Venezuela. Our refineries are not build to process this oil however. That needs to be remedied. If I were king we’d have a substantial import duty on foreign crude and refined products to encourage the oil companies to build the necessary refinement capacity and shift dependency to domestic sources.

Another source of oil we have is deep deposits under granite capstone, as predicted by the abiotic oil theory. We have super giant fields in the Gulf of Mexico and in Utah. They require drilling some five miles down through granite to tap, but we have the technology to do this.

The Russians became the worlds second largest oil producer, and for a short while the worlds by drilling for this abiotic oil. China has recently discovered abiotic oil in Viet Name and North Korea. This abiotic oil is found under inverted bowl shaped granite formations which trap oil rising from the earth’s mantel below them.

There are many alternatives to oil that can meet our energy needs, and for the sake of avoiding the climate on Venus, we should be vigorously pursuing these.

We need a change in direction. We need to take the money we’re throwing at Iraq, bring our people home, and put that money into energy independence.

Human Problems

In order to live on this planet in a sustainable manner we’ve got some real human problems to overcome. On the surface, we can look at corporations only interested in this quarters balance sheet. It’s tempting and easy to blame the corporate powers that be but I think we also need to take a look at us and our habits.

Our entire economy is based upon consuming. Industries invent more “stuff” to market to us so they can make money. Most of this stuff is stuff we don’t need, after all we survived fine without it.

The problem is that manufacturing all of this stuff we don’t need takes raw materials from the planet and generates pollution and waste. Even more than that, it takes human time to make, consume, and dispose of all of this stuff.

We spend money on Ipods, cd’s, computers with audio, stereo amplifiers and speakers, so we can have music. But, wouldn’t it be better to spend that time and those resources to get together with our fellow human beings and make and share music with each other?

We’ll spend money on a bow-flex or some exercise machine, when we could be out playing games with our friends and neighbors and family and getting exercise in a far more enjoyable fashion.

Then there is the Internet and the computer I am typing this on. It is my belief that humans have the ability to directly communicate with each other but we lost that when we cut ourselves off from the all that is. That ability of communicating directly would be so much more transparent than the most advanced computer and internet interface ever can be.

What makes me believe this is that I’ve had little flashes of this. In high school, I had a friend that moved up from San Diego. We would have conversations that never had more than the first couple of words of a sentence because the other person would already know what they were going to say and start to reply.

One day, he was describing to me a strip-mall where he lived, and all of the sudden I got an absolutely visual image like I was standing in front of it, and I stopped him. I said wait, does it have this store, and then next to it, this store, and then this, and so on. I was dead on.

I think this is an innate human ability that we’ve somehow lost. I don’t know why we’ve lost it but if we could get it back, all of this Internet would be unnecessary.

I’ve had some other weird experiences like this. One time I was flipping a nickel while sitting in a radio class at high school and called it heads/tails correctly 31 times in a row. Never was able to repeat that or anything like it.

I’ve had a number of things like this, that happened to me only once, happen. I believe it’s God’s way of showing me what we are actually capable of. I haven’t been shown how that we can realize these capabilities.

I think though that we should start where we can. Think about the stuff we buy, is it really necessary? And if it is, do we need a new one? Or can we use one that someone else no longer has a need for. This would take some of the pressure off of this planets resources. We need to start treating our planet better.

Death By Global Fart – It Has Started

The title of this article may look like a joke, but it is very serious.

Hopefully you’ve been paying attention to the news and you’ve heard about or read about the huge dead zones in the oceans. These are caused by nutrients from fertilizers and animal and human waste entering the oceans causing huge algae blooms near the surface blocking light preventing any plants below from receiving oxygen thus causing the water to be depleted of oxygen resulting in the death of everything in it.

It’s not just dead zones which can result in oxygen depleted waters. Mixing of deep ocean water with shallow waters can also do this.

Not quite everything and here is where the big problem lie. You see there is one life form that thrives. There exists a form of bacteria in the ocean that dies in the presence of oxygen but thrives in it’s absence. These bacterias obtain energy to drive their biological processes by combining sulfur and hydrogen into hydrogen-sulfide.

Hydrogen-sulfide is what gives rotting cabbage and farts their wonderful odor. At levels of about 100 times that at which you can smell it, it is toxic. If you’ve ever been locked in a small room with someone that had burritos for dinner the night before you know this.

A positive feedback cycle is possible where as these bacteria thrive, the hydrogen sulfide they produce can kill more oxygen producing life forms, resulting in more oxygen depleted water, and more anaerobic bacteria.

A mass extinction that occurred 250 million years ago in which 95% of the species died, is believed to be tied to just such a global bloom of this type of anaerobic hydrogen sulfide producing bacteria.

There are some indications that it is beginning to happen again:

So far people can only speculate on the smell, but I think it’s no coincidence that it’s happening first in the most populous region of the United States. Dump huge quantities of sewage into the Ocean, feed the bacteria, cause a large bacteria bloom, anaerobic bacteria thrive and when the wind blows the right way New York gets to enjoy it.

This time it only sent 12 people to the hospital. It’s a problem that is going to get worse if we don’t take action to stop it.

General Insanity Threatens Our Future

I am more than a little bothered by the fact that junior decided to ignore the will of the American people and instead send another 20,000 of our youth to Iraq.

I am troubled by the fact that junior continues to portray Iraq as the source of 911 terrorists when the CIA found no involvement in terrorism by Iraq.

We face some real problems on this planet, global warming being one major problem, dead zones in the ocean being another.

Presently, 20% of the world government budgets are wasted on military expenditures, 6% of the world GNP goes to the military.

In 2005, the US consumption of oil was 20.8 million barrels per day. The military directly consumed 132,788 barrels of oil in 2005. This may sound like a drop in the bucket but remember that the US has outsourced many of the functions traditionally done directly by the military, supply line and security for example.

It’s impossible to know the REAL percentage of the GNP dedicated to military expenditure, but the above the board percentage is a little more than 6%. This does not include though many ancillary expenses nor does it speak for the huge black budget figures that are not available to the public. Even at the 6% figure, that translates into a real consumption of around 1,248,000 barrels per day.

2006 oil production in Iraq was 2.14 million barrels per day, still 400,000 less than pre-occupation levels. So our military consumes more than half of Iraq’s entire production. Between the reduction in production and the waste, together this is taking more than half of Iraq’s oil production off the world market.

In case you’ve been wondering why you’re paying almost $3/gallon for gas (more in some regions), when you take half of the production of oil from country with the 2nd largest oil reserves in the middle east, you are going to create shortages and drive the price up.

This is directly ruining the US economy. Oil has recently come down to around $55 per barrel, from at times more than $70, but pre-war it was under $40, usually close to $30. The direct result of this has been a huge increase in the US trade deficit.

The huge increases in the US trade deficit has weakened the dollar against other currencies and the result of that is that the fed has had to raise interest rates to keep foreign governments from totally divesting of US currency, thus causing the value of the dollar to totally plummet. The result of the increased interest rate, combined with a record national deficit financed at that high rate, is to ruin the economy.

Because the US economy is the biggest economy in the world, around 13,475 billion, when the US economy suffers so goes the rest of the world.

In 2005, in terms of purchasing parity, Chinas national GDP was 8,883 billion, at the official exchange rate (because China currency is not yet fully floating), 2,225 billion. I wasn’t able to find the GNP rate for China for 2006, but I did find the growth rate in 2006 was 10.2%, and so the 2006 rate can be calculated as 9,789.07 in reach purchasing power, and 2,451 billion under the official exchange rate if they haven’t changed since 2005 (and they probably have). The US debt is 70% of GNP, China debt is 10% of their GNP. They’ve had 10.2% growth in the last two years.

Estimates abound that suggest that China’s economy won’t overtake ours until around 2050, however, as part of their gaining favorable nation trading status they had to agree to convert their currency to floating market rate currency. As they do this, the numerical GNP will come to reflect the real GNP. At the current growth rates of the US and Chinese economies, China will overtake the US in terms of real purchasing power in only six or seven years. However, given the debt ratios my expectation is that Chinas rate of growth will increase while ours decreases or even goes negative.

We need to fix our military expenditure and our energy situation if we are to survive as a nation. If you look at what is happening in this country now, we are going exactly the same direction that the Soviet Union went which eventually resulted in it’s break up.

We need to start tapping our own energy reserves, and we do have huge reserves in this country. There are heavy crude deposits on part with those in Venezuela in California. There are large deposits of oil shale and tar sands. Initially extraction was very expensive, but oil from these sources can now be produced for under $15/barrel. There is a deep super-giant oil field underlying Utah which is sweet light crude, but to get to it requires drilling 20,000+ feet through granite bedrock as this oil is under a granite capstone as predicted by the abiotic oil theory. There is a super-giant field recently discovered in the Gulf of Mexico that is larger than Ghawar, formerly the worlds largest and it is my understanding the quality of that oil is good as well, but that requires deep sea off-shore oil drilling.

The problem is that Saudi production only costs around $7/barrel, Iraq, less than $4 if you don’t factor in the occupation expenses picked up by US tax payers, so oil companies would prefer those sources.

There is also the issue of the quality of the oil reserves here. What we have here in the US is largely sour heavy crude and bitumen (very heavy hydrocarbons, tar like). Since the lighter distillates are the most needed for gasoline and diesel, and since sulfur content is regulated to minimize acid rain, refining these heavy sour crudes requires cracking (breaking the long hydrocarbon molecules into shorter molecules) and the removal of sulfur.

Existing US refineries are largely not equipped to deal with this heavy crude. The oil companies would rather extract oil cheaply in the middle east and elsewhere, that they can then refine cheaply, than extract oil in the US which is twice as expensive as many foreign sources, and build additional refinery capacity that is equipped to handle heavy sour crude and bitumen.

For environmental reasons we really need to employ alternatives to burning hydrocarbons for energy, however, in order to avoid complete economic collapse, we have to eliminate our dependence upon foreign oil now. We have adequate domestic reserves to meet our needs for many years, and that can be greatly expanded if we switch to plug-in hybrids which, save for the Pacific Northwest region, can live on surplus power production and grid capacity.

In the Pacific Northwest, where a large amount of the power is hydro which can be throttled as necessary, there is no such thing as “surplus” power, there is only so much water and it can be used whenever so surplus capacity here does not exist.

The bulk of the US drives less than 50 miles per day, so plug-in hybrids capable of going 40 miles on batteries could eliminate 80% of the US gasoline consumption. About 45% of US oil consumption is gasoline used by cars and trucks. If we could eliminate 80% of that, we would eliminate 36% of US total consumption and reduce our oil imports by more than 50%.

This would be a huge win for our economy and environment. Transportation as a whole accounts for 69% of US oil consumption.

It is my belief that we should electrify our railways and go back to relying largely on trains for cargo transportation instead of trucks. Electricity can be produced from any energy source, including many renewable environmentally friendly sources, solar, wind, geo-thermal, and hydro-electric.

And with respect to hydro-electric, I’m troubled by the recent blow up the dam trend based upon the theory that they are responsible for fish population reductions.

The majority of these dams have existed for thirty or more years, yet, thirty years ago there wasn’t a problem with fish runs until the problems of over fishing and dead zones in the oceans became common.

The solution to the fish population issue is to solve the problem of nutrients from fertilizer run-off and animal and human waste, from going into the oceans. We should start by eliminating unnecessary fertilizing. Having a green lawn isn’t worth killing off all the life in the oceans. The use of fertilizers can be greatly reduced by more intelligent farming practices. One large problem is over-watering which leaches all the minerals out of the soil, down into the rivers, requiring fertilizers to replace them which are subsequently washed down the rivers by over-watering.

I’ve mentioned this before and I’ve had people try to tell me that we’re using water much more efficiently now but it just ain’t so. Anybody that believes otherwise only needs to drive up to a rural area like Burlington WA area, and look. You can’t help but see the huge circular sprinkler systems that are dumping so much water on the field that part of it is under water. These really should be replaced with much more efficient computer controlled drip irrigation.

If we can reduce or eliminate the need for fertilizers, we can also reduce our oil consumption because many of the fertilizers are petroleum derived.

If you buy the line that this has already been done, I suggest you go to maps.google.com and take a look at a satellite image of any farming region. You will see the circular growing areas characteristic of these large circular sprinkler systems. These systems basically have a big pipe with sprinklers that is suspended above the ground on a series of wheels and revolves around a central hub. Because the water is sprayed great distances in the air, a large percentage is lost to evaporation. Because there is no active control, too much water is applied.

Sewage treatment should all have tertiary treatment and animal wastes that are composted and then used for fertilizer should be composted in such a way that water can’t leach nutrients from the composting waste and transport it to the rivers. When the composted waste is used, watering should be carefully controlled to prevent run-off.

Green Living

I ran across a site that has a fair amount of useful information and suggestions with respect to how to live a green life style called Green Living.

Unlike some of the other resources I have found, this one has an abundance of suggestions that are easily implemented, as opposed to requiring a $60,000 retrofit of your house or something.

War

Just in case someone hasn’t already deduced this, I am opposed to war. I mention energy and food production as being major problems in terms of environmental damage and being unsustainable. War is right up there and contributes substantially to difficulties solving the other problems.

The American public is easily manipulated by those in power. They simply create a crisis that requires them doing what they want to do as a solution, and then we demand they do it.

We don’t elect the people really in power. The people who are really in power are global, they have no allegiance to our nation or any other. They only want to maintain their wealth and power at any cost, Human life means nothing to them.

Those really in power make sure that enough of the major party candidates represent their positions to maintain a majority.

Look at the last presidential election, George Bush and John Kerry, both Harvard graduates, one of them even attended classes there. Both members of Skull and Bones. They are distant cousins.

Neither was in favor of getting us out of Iraq. Clearly, the powers that be preferred to keep G.W. in office else they wouldn’t have bothered to rig the elections or bring up the old standby distraction issues of gay marriage, abortion, and flag burning.

Between the two parties it was a lose-lose, though I believe Kerry may have been slightly less evil. I think of the two he is more intelligent and thus slightly less easy for the powers to be to manipulate, hence their preference for Bush.

These people, the ones really in control, whatever label you want to give them, powerful multi-nationalists who control banking, energy production and distribution, food production and distribution, etc, whatever label you give them, they seem to have some dangerous beliefs.

One thing I am convinced they believe is that the scenario presented in Revelations, as frequently interpreted, will be played out, and the world will be against Israel and Israel will be victorious. I think this has a lot to do with our support for Israel in spite of the fact that it alienates every Arab nation and maintains instability with accompanying high levels of death and suffering in the region.

I also believe that these people are convinced that we’ve exceeded the planet’s carrying capacity by a about 5-1/2 billion and they’re intent on culling the human heard. Of coarse they will exempt themselves from this culling. They view war as a step in the right direction.

A lot of people feel Iraq is about oil, that our nation needs oil and we will do what we have to do to secure it. The truth is our nation is floating in oil, but most of it is expensive to extract and refine. The recent super giant field discovered in the Gulf of Mexico is larger than Ghwar, formerly the largest oil field in the world.

Cheap production of middle eastern oil undercuts the market and prevents the oil companies from getting $70/barrel for oil so they keep the middle east destabilized to prevent that from happening.

Scientifically, we could have brought controlled nuclear fusion on-line in the 80’s if we had the political will and were willing to invest the resources necessary to do so. Over the last two decades, the science surrounding plasma confinement has improved, but by the late 80’s we knew enough to reach break-even, it would have required large reactors, but we could do it.

It is my believe that if Armageddon happens, it will happen only as a function of self-fulfilled prophesy. We need a more balanced approach to the middle east, one that allows those people to determine their own destinies without our interference.

Instead of wiping out 90% of the population, I believe we could live in a sustainable manner by using the resources we have intelligently. Addressing the energy situation will address any water shortage by making desalination economical. It would eliminate the incentive to fight over energy or water which seem to be major areas of contention these days but it
would not address religious differences.

I would be willing to bet that we’ve wasted more oil on the Iraq invasion and occupation than we will ever get from Iraq. A good start would be to stop wasting resources fighting over those that we have.

So what do we do? We can’t seem to change our government through elections in so far as our involvement in war is concerned. We can’t seem to do so through mass demonstrations because they don’t get coverage from the controlled commercial media.

I am feeling pretty frustrated about the whole situation as well as pretty depressed.

Alternative Energy Blog

I always enjoy it when I run into like-minded people interested in the same issues that I am. I ran across this Alternative Energy Blog and thought it was interesting.

There are many aspects of the way that we are presently living on this planet that are unsustainable, but it is my view that the two most problematic areas are energy and food production so I am interested in any resources that deal sustainable energy and food production. If you know of any, please forward them to me and I will post them here.