The Environment

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Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Thu Oct 19, 2006 11:59 am

All quibbling aside, I find retreating glaciers and diminishing polar ice shelves moderately convincing evidence of either warmer or dryer weather. Since the ocean I live beside still looks wet, I'm inclined to buy the "things are warmer" explanation.

I believe I'll stay out of the butterfly, satellite, and sunspot discussions, though.
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Postby Shapley » Thu Oct 19, 2006 12:31 pm

Well, I know that our local conditions are different - the summers are much cooler than the summers of my youth. However, the growing season is longer and the winters are milder. On average, I would say that temperatures have risen, but I would say that they are equalizing, milder summers and warmer winters, with the increase in winter temperature being greater than the decrease in summer temperature, for a net overall increase in temperature, but not a significant one. I know this is an unscientific survey of temperature, and very localized, but it is consistent with what is being reported globally. That would be at odds, however, with the computer model predictions.

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Postby Catmando » Thu Oct 19, 2006 12:33 pm

It's all cyclical, that's my personal belief.

We've definitely had warmer than winters in Manitoba the last 4 or 5 years.

In another 100,000 years, give or take a few 1,000, Canada will be the tropical destination of the North!

Can't wait! :P
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Postby Shapley » Thu Oct 26, 2006 2:24 pm

Daylight Saving Time Yields Massive Daylight Surplus
October 25, 2006

Daylight Saving Time Yields Massive Daylight Surplus
Copy and paste this code into a new post in Blogger, MySpace, or any other blog tool. It will display this Onion headline, picture, and teaser copy on your page, depending on what you select above.

WASHINGTON, DC—Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman announced Monday that the country's seven-month-long effort to conserve sunshine has resulted in the largest national daylight surplus since October 2005.

"We have built up over 200 hours of this precious, life-giving resource," said Bodman, noting that "the sun's rays are not going to last forever." "We have decided it would be most prudent not to squander this valuable daylight by distributing it to Americans, instead suggesting that they all just wake up a little earlier."

Bodman said the surplus will be stored in the Strategic Daylight Reserve—a system of opaque, sealed-off underground tanks located in Arizona—and only tapped in the case of the sun burning out or a particularly rainy afternoon.


Yeah, it's from The Onion. It's pretty quiet, and there's not much news to comment on, so I thought I'd try this.....
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Postby piqaboo » Thu Oct 26, 2006 2:41 pm

I think we should send it to the troops.
Used at 50% strength, it could deprive a lot of insurgents of the cover of dark...
Altoid - curiously strong.
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Postby Shapley » Thu Oct 26, 2006 2:57 pm

Instead of this 'spring forward, fall back' nonsense, what if we just 'spring forward' every six months? It'd be easier to remember, and we'd build up a massive surplus - we'd gain a whole day every twelve years! Keep it up long enough and, by the time the Sun burns out, we'll have enough sunlight saved up to last us for years.

One concern, however. Does all that stored sunlight contribute to global warming?
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Postby shostakovich » Sat Oct 28, 2006 9:24 am

I don't think the oil companies would want so much solar energy available to the public. The plan has no chance under Bush's watch.
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Postby jamiebk » Sat Oct 28, 2006 9:50 pm

Shapley wrote:Instead of this 'spring forward, fall back' nonsense, what if we just 'spring forward' every six months? It'd be easier to remember, and we'd build up a massive surplus - we'd gain a whole day every twelve years! Keep it up long enough and, by the time the Sun burns out, we'll have enough sunlight saved up to last us for years.

One concern, however. Does all that stored sunlight contribute to global warming?


No, but for some reason I have trouble falling asleep! :rofl:
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Postby Shapley » Fri Nov 10, 2006 11:00 am

Quod scripsi, scripsi.
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Postby Haggis@wk » Sat Nov 11, 2006 11:12 am

Popular Mechanics

”Switching at least one Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb cuts around $30 off your annual electricity bill, according to Bob Aldrich of the California Energy Commission. “We’ll all save money and reduce global warming,” he says. “And, we won’t have to build new power plants.”


I’ve put three in my computer room/office ceiling fan at home. They take a second to come on so that can be disconcerting. Also the lighting is slightly…odd. I don’t know quite what to say about it.

It seems to be very adequate for my purposes but I’m beginning to suspect that I should have used one or two instead of all three
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Postby analog » Sat Nov 11, 2006 3:49 pm

Haggis@wk wrote:Popular Mechanics



I’ve put three in my computer room/office ceiling fan at home. They take a second to come on so that can be disconcerting. Also the lighting is slightly…odd. I don’t know quite what to say about it.

It seems to be very adequate for my purposes but I’m beginning to suspect that I should have used one or two instead of all three


Interesting observation, Haggis.

I've become an advocate of those things.

The first time I tried one it lasted just a week. That expensive experiment made me so mad it was years before I tried again. Now the one in my kitchen has been on continuous since 2003.


Three places I really like them are:
Reading lamps - they don't immerse you in a cloud of heat.
Hard to reach fixtures - they can last for years.
Recessed ceiling fixtures with 60 Watt rating - they don't cook the wires in the box above.

The delay on initial startup seems to vary with brand, but all I've tried take some time to reach full brightness. If I'm in and out of a room that's real annoying so I just leave it on.

You're right, the light is odd, probably deficient in long wavelength. On cool evenings I sometimes turn one of those halogen torchiere lamps in the livingroom to very low brightness. Until your post I hadn't thought about why do I do that, probably it floods the room with that "warm" near infrared we all like. As Penultimate Cheapskate though, I avoid that in air-conditioning season.



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Postby dai bread » Sat Nov 11, 2006 6:10 pm

I have a lot of those bulbs in my place. They're in places where the lights are left on for long periods, like the hall & stairwell, and the homestays' rooms. The word "off" doesn't feature in their vocabularies.

Analog's point about not cooking the fittings is valid, and a bigger consideration than you might think. Even 60w will cook a light fitting over a few years. Also, you can put the equivalent of 100w in a fitting rated only for 60.
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Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Sat Nov 11, 2006 8:34 pm

Those fluorescent bulbs give me a headache if they're the only kind in a room. Seems they actually de-light and re-light each time the current reverses - 120 times a second. This is not visible as a flicker, but your eyes are still continually adjusting to a continually changing light level. Use of a few of the incandescent bulbs, strategically placed, helps a lot.

I use full-spectrum lighting where I sew. It's important for color-matching. And I need lots of light there, or I can't see the sewing thread on the background cloth. (I get cranky when I can almost see what I'm doing.)
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Postby analog » Sat Nov 11, 2006 9:03 pm

Haggis' article mentioned the LED lamps. I didn't know they were getting almost cheap enough for us civilians. A few projects ago I looked at them for emergency exit lights but they were too expensive to compete with flourescent. Personally I like them better.


Image

You see these Luxeon brand high power (a watt or two) LED's in high end flashlights now retailing for around thirty bucks, which is less than the bare LED cost me just three years ago.

Household lighting load is small compared to heating & air conditioning but enough small drops will make a dent in the ocean. As these things make their way into the municipal lighting industry, like streetlamps, they'll make a significant difference in our nation's night time energy consumption.
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Postby barfle » Sun Nov 12, 2006 8:32 pm

The light bulb is just about the only one of Edison's inventions that hasn't gone obsolete. The phonograph, the ticker tape, DC central power - all replaced by more mondern technologies.

But the LED is making inroads. About the only thing they aren't used for in automobiles these days is headlights, and it ain't going to be ten years for that to change, too. I've seen LED light bulbs, but they ran around $150 in 1999. I haven't seen any for sale recently, so I really don't know.

I have a brookstone flashlight (for some reason, I can't get a link to work in the preview page, but the number is 531731) with a single LED in it, and it's amazingly bright, especially for its size. These days when I'm coming home several hours after dark, it comes in quite handy. And I gave my wife a keychain flashlight for her birthday a couple of years ago, that is also quite bright, running off a single coin cell.
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Postby dai bread » Sun Nov 12, 2006 11:12 pm

We can now get LED strip lighting, in various colours, in sticky tape format, at $160/metre. I might put some in when I renovate our kitchen, but I'll think hard about the price of plain fluorescents first.
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Postby Shapley » Mon Nov 13, 2006 3:14 pm

Global Warming or Global Cooling?

An article from the India Times. I found this interesting:

A recent Washington Post article gave this scientist's quote from 1972. "We simply cannot afford to gamble. We cannot risk inaction. The scientists who disagree are acting irresponsibly. The indications that our climate can soon change for the worse are too strong to be reasonably ignored." The warning was not about global warming (which was not happening): it was about global cooling!


And this:

I have long been an agnostic on global warming: the evidence is ambiguous. But I almost became a convert when Greenpeace publicised photos showing the disastrously rapid retreat of the Upsala Glacier in Argentina. How disastrous, I thought, if this was the coming fate of all glaciers.

Then last Christmas, I went on vacation to Lake Argentina. The Upsala glacier and six other glaciers descend from the South Andean icefield into the lake. I was astounded to discover that while the Upsala glacier had retreated rapidly, the other glaciers showed little movement, and one had advanced across the lake into the Magellan peninsula. If in the same area some glaciers advance and others retreat, the cause is clearly not global warming but local micro-conditions.

Yet the Greenpeace photos gave the impression that glaciers in general were in rapid retreat. It was a con job, a dishonest effort to mislead. From the same icefield, another major glacier spilling into Chile has grown 60% in volume.

Greenpeace and other ecological groups have well-intentioned people with high ideals. But as crusaders they want to win by any means, honest or not. I do not like being taken for a ride, by idealists or anyone else.


V/R
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Postby Haggis@wk » Mon Nov 13, 2006 4:26 pm

What will we do when America’s lights go out?

”The ERO projects that U.S. demand will increase by 141,000 megawatts (MW) over the next 10 years. Supply, however, will increase by only 57,000 MW, and that assumes that all currently proposed new facilities are approved and built.

The system will be operating below the marginal capacity needed to ensure supply reliability at all times. In other words, in peak periods like heat waves, there won’t be enough electricity to go around. Blackouts will inevitably result

One key problem is the sheer difficulty in building new power plants in America today. Politically powerful green lobby groups object to the building of any new plant that does not use some form of renewable energy, yet renewable energy cannot meet demand for power on its own.

They also object to nuclear power stations because of their supposed danger, even though modern nuclear plants have an impeccable safety record. And they oppose coal-fired plants because of their alleged contribution to global warming.”


Is it time for nuclear plants?
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Postby Shapley » Mon Nov 13, 2006 4:36 pm

Is it time for nuclear plants?


Yes. Past time, actually.

The plants can be located in remote areas, away from population centers, if desired. I seem to recall that France has located most of its nuclear power plants in one general location. This may not be the best idea for safety, reliability, or security concerns, but it would be possible to create a small number of nuclear power farms at semi-remote locations around the nation.

V/R
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Postby barfle » Mon Nov 13, 2006 4:47 pm

Nukes have their own environmental issues, although emissions is very low on the list, with only one power plant I'm aware of that ever emitted any noxious substances, which would be Chernobyl.

Uranium is mined, with the radioactive tailings presenting problems at the mines, and disposing of the spent fuel remains a supercharged political issue, since lots of people are NIMBY about eternal storage, and even more seem to connect breeder reactors with weaponry.

Solve those problems, and I think we'll be good to go.

Too bad fusion is still a pipe dream, though. In theory, it ought to work in practice, but in practice...
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