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Keep that Santorum out of our science

Jeez…Rick Santorum, young earth creationist, climate change denialist, anti-stem cell research crusader, fundamentalist/evangelical Christian, has just accused liberals of being anti-science. He might have been right if he’d been talking about the liberals who are mushy-headed over alternative medicine, but in this case, he’s pinning his accusation on the fact that we don’t want to burn more coal.

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum charged on Monday that President Barack Obama and Democrats were “anti-science” because they refused to exploit the Earth’s natural resources to the limits of technology.

Over the weekend the candidate had been criticized for saying that President Barack Obama followed a theology that was not “based on the Bible.” He later insisted that he was talking about the president siding with “radical environmentalists.”

“I accept the fact that the president’s a Christian,” Santorum told CBS host Bob Schieffer on Sunday. “I just said when you have world view that elevates the Earth above man and says that we can’t take those resources because we’re going to harm the Earth — like things that are not scientifically proven like the politicization of the whole global warming debate.”

The scientific view is that global warming is occurring, and that it’s driven by anthropogenic production of greenhouse gases; the politicized, ideologically demented view is a denial of the evidence. Like Santorum’s nonsense.

This is a speech he gave to the crowds in Ohio:

But if we don’t provide those opportunities for those jobs that can sustain a family, for power in this country that is affordable, not just coal but all energy. It drove the economy of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio for a long time. And through a variety of things — yes, problems with management, problems with negotiations — but actually there were bigger problems. The bigger problems of environmental regulation. In many cases environmental regulation that has gone extreme, particularly in this administration.

What they have done? And I referred to it the other day and I got criticized by some of our, well, less-than-erudite members of the national press corps who have a difficulty understanding when you refer to someone’s ideology to the point where they elevate Earth, and they say that, well, men and humanity is just of a variety of different species on the Earth and should be treated no differently.

Whereas, we all know that man has a responsibility of stewards of the Earth, that we are good stewards and we have a responsibility to be good stewards. Why? Because unlike the Earth, we’re intelligent and we can actually manage things.

Did Santorum just call the press “less-than-erudite” while arguing against the idea that humans are one of a variety of different species on the planet? What a maroon.

And yes, we’re intelligent, and we should try to manage things. So what does that make a head-in-the-sand denialist like Santorum who wants to allow unrestricted, unmanaged exploitation of natural resources? Not a good steward, I would say.

Comments

  1. AsqJames says

    The scientific view is that global warming is occurring, and that it’s driven by anthropogenic production of greenhouse gases

    Global warming threatens world’s security, existence, Vatican tells U.N.

    Why is it that catholic republican politicians lean heavily on their church’s doctrine on some issues (abortion, contraception, gay marriage…basically anything to do with minority rights or dirty sex stuff), but ignore church teaching in other areas (the death penalty, universal health care, social justice, environmentalism, war…basically anything which goes against the profits of their donors)?

    Gosh! You don’t think it’s all about their own personal gain & prejudices and nothing at all to do with God do you?

  2. Szin says

    Since I think neither Romney nor Santorum will beat Obama in the presidential election, I really want this man to beat Mitt Romney, just for the hope that the American people will really begin to see what kind of psychotic religious nut-jobs people like Santorum truly are.

  3. jamessweet says

    I just said when you have world view that elevates the Earth above man and says that we can’t take those resources because we’re going to harm the Earth

    FWIW, I partially agree with this point on narrow technical grounds. I’m not concerned about “harming the Earth” per se, and it bugs me when a certain type of environmentalist is all focused in on how we are the big bad humans messing things up for perfectly lovely Mother Nature. My first priority is humans, and then the more intelligent mammals, and then everything else after that.

    It’s just that environmental damage has a tendency to hurt humans, both in the present and in the future. Not that Santorum ever thought that deeply about anything…

  4. says

    Democrats were “anti-science” because they refused to exploit the Earth’s natural resources to the limits of technology.

    When conservatives and eco-turds say this what they mean is turning the living space of brown and poor people into unlivable shit holes. He’s asking why you don’t let him take a dump on your carpet.

  5. says

    Szin,

    don’t, just don’t. There are always unknowns, and the Republican candidate might just win. So Romney is the “safe choice” here.

  6. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    I just said when you have world view that elevates the Earth above man and says that we can’t take those resources because we’re going to harm the Earth

    I read this and was immediately reminded of the Frothy One’s political ancestor, Sir Boyle Roche:

    Why we should put ourselves out of our way to do anything for posterity, for what has posterity ever done for us?

  7. says

    men and humanity is just of a variety of different species on the Earth and should be treated no differently

    No, I think that was Santorum, believing that schoolchildren have no more right to learn biologic science than does your neighbor’s dog.

    Myself, I would prefer that we teach human children the best of human knowledge, by contrast.

    Glen Davidson

  8. says

    Democrats were “anti-science” because they refused to exploit the Earth’s natural resources to the limits of technology…for my benefit

    Fixed.

    People forget that when politicians start talking about drilling in public land or raping wilderness they are talking about defiling land YOU as the public own and are entitled to. They want to take some away from you to give to the wealthiest. Who cares if that cheeseburger is being nibbled on by a starving kid, Santorum is hungry NOW so GIVE IT!

    All of conservatism is a war chant of “MINE MINE MINE”

  9. Szin says

    pelamun,

    Honestly, unless Obama does something insanely stupid before November, I think there’s a 100% chance he wins the election. He has pretty much everything going for him right now. Romney is a walking symbol of everything that a majority of the country, both Left & Right, think is wrong with the country. Santorum and his religious insanity, his anti-women’s right stance offers nothing either. The GOP knows this, which is why they were so adamant to get someone else to run, to the point that they might actually back Santorum’s psychotic dogma.

  10. says

    Szin,

    – Obama could be incapacitated. The probability is low because he is young, but it can happen.
    – Some scandal could emerge, some nasty October surprise. Or the financial crisis could be back with a vengeance.

  11. raven says

    Jeez…Rick Santorum, young earth creationist, climate change denialist, anti-stem cell research crusader, fundamentalist/evangelical Christian,…

    You left out a lot here. Like.

    1. Anti-women

    2. Anti-Birth Control

    3. Anti-mainline Protestant. He is on record as calling mainline Protestants a “shambles” and “gone from xianity” due to attacks (presumably successful) by satan.

    Guy is a warped and broken human. He really thinks we should go back to the Dark Ages.

  12. Moggie says

    Many of Santorum’s base believe the biblical end times are not far off, and that tends to make environmental regulation seem less important. No point in preserving the world for your descendants if Jesus will return in your lifetime.

  13. Szin says

    pelamun,

    Yeah, the first is very unlikely. However, that was part of the reason why McCain lost to him in 2008, because even the Right couldn’t risk Palin being President, which considering McCain’s age & health was an actual possibility. Romney & Santorum are like Palin, in the regard that with the economic crisis that occurred before Obama even took office so fresh in everyone’s mind & wallets, a lot of people might not risk a GOP President so soon, especially when the Obama campaign reminds people of GM throughout the campaign, which they will. Also, if another financial crisis comes back with a vengeance, then the people are screwed no matter who is President.

    Also, I honestly believe that our electoral system is immensely broken and flawed as it is, so if someone like Santorum or Romney win and screw up like country like many intelligent people think they will, maybe that will actually wake people in this country up.

  14. seculartranshumanist says

    Do you have any quotes from Santorum actually stating he’s a young earth creationist? Perhaps my Google-fu is weak, but I couldn’t find anything actually supporting that.

  15. says

    Szin,

    I disagree. The Supreme Court situation is reason enough alone why the US needs a Democratic president next term as well. A number of justices are so old that they will step down or die next term, and I don’t have to explain to you how much damage President Santorum could wreak here. A President Romney too, but he will probably still listen to the Republican establishment more than Santorum.

  16. says

    I was raised in an extremist Catholic family (my father was a failed Trappist monk). I went to Jesuit schools, just about the worst of the lot. Yet, I do not recognise Santorum’s Catholicism.

    Even though I should say that PZ made a mistake by calling him “fundamentalist/evangelical Christian”, his Catholicism is so strange and so alien that PZ is right. This guy is no Catholic, he is clearly a member of the American Taliban, and a dangerous fanatic.

  17. raven says

    Obama could be incapacitated. The probability is low because he is young, but it can happen.

    Hate to say it but it is a lot worse than that. He could be assassinated. They just caught a Moslem suicide bomber wannabe a few days ago. A few weeks ago some weird xian guy from Idaho fired a rifle and hit the White house. Obama has received more death threats than any other President. In fact, many fundie xian ministers have been imprecatory praying that the Sky Fairy kill him.

    The financial crisis could roar back to life for sure. It is projected to drag on until 2018 or later.

    The Europeans are almost in worst shape than we are. They are juggling too many balls in the air and could take us down with them.

    We could end up in another war, maybe North Korea, maybe Iran.

    Obama could meet some nice looking young intern. Hmmm, well forget that. I think he remembers what happened to Bill Clinton.

    A whole lot could happen in the next year. You never want to say never.

  18. says

    A few weeks ago some weird xian guy from Idaho fired a rifle and hit the White house.

    When the President wasn’t even in the district. Snicker.

  19. says

    I’m really happy to see religion taking such a large role in all this, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. And I’m happy to see Santorum add scientists and environmentalists to the list of mobilized opposition (currently includes women, secularists, …crap, the other groups currently escape me!).

    I don’t want to count our eggs before they hatch either, but it is looking really good for Obama at the moment. I’d rather see Santorum than Romney get nominated, because I think Santorum will be easier to beat in a general election, and I see Santorum—and the continued growth of religious influence in the republican party—as a great wedge between the absurdity of religious belief and modern average rationality. His popularity has had some great benefits to the antitheism movement.

    On the other hand, I don’t want to underestimate the power of racism, or the power of disenchanted liberals to stay home in November. BUT, if Santorum somehow did get elected—wow, could you imagine the kind of backlash against religion in 2016!?

  20. christophburschka says

    I’m amazed this man can even utter the word “science” without combusting like a vampire that has dined on garlic.

  21. raven says

    Yet, I do not recognise Santorum’s Catholicism.

    I don’t either.

    It seems to be a version from the Dark Ages. He does channel Thomas Aquinas a lot with his bogus “natural law”.

    There is no such thing as natural law. It is just a way of saying whatever anyone pulls out of their hash for brains mind is what god really wants. “If humans were meant to travel in cars, he would have given us wheels and internal combusion engines.”

    It seems to be a blend of antique Catholicism, the worst of modern rural southern fundie-ism mixed in with some rage and a lot of misogynism.

  22. brentalistair says

    pelamun,

    On the issue of Santorum versus Romney, I think you are overestimating the degree to which their governance would be significantly different from each other. A Mitt Romney win would probably also mean a Republican majority Senate and House. However either of them likes to portray themselves ideologically – and the truth is that on issues that matter, they are really not very different – it is the congress that will drive the agenda. I think either will lose, but as unlikely as it is, I hope for Santorum because it is clear to me that he will be much easier to defeat. But in truth either a Romney or Santorum presidency would be unbearably horrible.

    Rick Santorum, young earth creationist

    I actually wasn’t aware of this and I am not actually doubting that its true but it surprises me because Santorum is very Catholic and Catholicism typically rejects Young Earth Creationism.

  23. brentalistair says

    @pelamun

    On the issue of Santorum versus Romney, I think you are overestimating the degree to which their governance would be significantly different from each other. A Mitt Romney win would probably also mean a Republican majority Senate and House. However either of them likes to portray themselves ideologically – and the truth is that on issues that matter, they are really not very different – it is the congress that will drive the agenda. I think either will lose, but as unlikely as it is, I hope for Santorum because it is clear to me that he will be much easier to defeat. But in truth either a Romney or Santorum presidency would be unbearably horrible.

    Rick Santorum, young earth creationist

    I actually wasn’t aware of this and I am not actually doubting that its true but it surprises me because Santorum is very Catholic and Catholicism typically rejects Young Earth Creationism.

  24. Szin says

    pelanum,

    That’s actually my point. Let them, cause it seems to be the only way people will actually wake up and take notice to how insane and flawed our electoral process really is. It’s the same thing that happened in Wisconsin with Scott Walker. He royally tried to screw the people over, and it got so bad that people could not ignore it anymore and they actually took a stand against it.

    I mean, listen to what you’re saying. What kind of system of government do we have when we HAVE to vote for one party over the other because the other party is insane and we can’t risk letting them get into power? When you vote for “the lesser of two evils” you’re still getting evil! The Democrats really aren’t that much better than the Republicans, but people have no choice but to vote for them because they feel they can’t risk the Republicans getting into power again. It’s the same with the GOP voters and how they feel about the Democrats. With the electoral system the way it is, voting for a 3rd party candidate is literally throwing your vote away, and even if it wasn’t too many people won’t risk it out of fear that one of the main two parties might win over the other.

    So I’m fine with it either way. If Obama wins, maybe the country will get better. If either Romney or Santorum wins, maybe the country will get so bad that people have no choice but to stand up and fight for what’s right.

  25. says

    brentalistair,

    I’m well aware that a Romney presidency would still be a disaster. But I still think he would be more pragmatic than Santorum. There are some power struggles going on behind the scenes, and I do think that Romney would be more likely to listen to the establishment. Though of course that this very establishment is identified with people like Karl Rove and Dick Armey doesn’t give one much hope here either.

    It’s true the poll figures say that Santorum would be easier to beat. But if Obama is to win reelection he should be able to defeat Romney as well.

  26. says

    I actually wasn’t aware of this and I am not actually doubting that its true but it surprises me because Santorum is very Catholic and Catholicism typically rejects Young Earth Creationism.

    NO it doesn’t. The church officaly sort of denies it, but does nothing to correct this ‘misconception’

  27. raven says

    GOP candidate Rick Santorum responded directly to Huntsman in this fashion:

    “I don’t know exactly how God did it or exactly how long it took him, but I do know that He did it. If Gov. Huntsman wants to believe that he is the descendant of a monkey, then he has the right to believe that — but I disagree with him on this and the many other liberal beliefs he shares with Democrats. For John Huntsman to categorize anyone as ‘anti-science’ or ‘extreme’ because they believe in God is ridiculous.”

    Santorum does indeed seem to be a young earth creationist.

    He doesn’t accept evolution at all, zero.

    This isn’t even Catholic dogma.

  28. says

    Szin,

    I fully agree the system needs to change, but why start with the presidency?

    I have been trying to determine if the Constitution mandates the First Past the Post system, at least it doesn’t appear in the text itself. If that’s true some states could start experiments in proportionate voting (I do know that such proposals were put forward for the electoral college votes of some states, and some states indeed already do so, but the Electoral College of course is from a different article of the constitution).

    Even without changing the voting system, a third party could try to build up some support in some areas, to become a viable alternative to the Democratic Party. NY State has some smaller parties playing a role in state politics, maybe one could build on that, for instance.

    The UK had a viable third party increasing their seats in parliament over the years despite the first past the post voting system, before they utterly destroyed their credibility by forming a coalition with the Conservatives.

  29. Szin says

    pelanum,

    It’s not that it has to start with the Presidency, but rather that something has to wake people up and a Romney/Santorum presidency could do exactly that.

  30. josh117 says

    “how about reducing energy consumption. There’s a thought…”

    So, you also want to reduce us to the dark ages, and remove all advances of the industrial revolution that have made our lives better? Just checking.

    As of this moment AFAIK, the only promising technology that can allow us to keep our current lifestyle and not destroy the environment is nuclear fission. The sooner we all recognize this, the sooner we can start funding research and development into safer and cheaper nuclear fission tech.

  31. says

    Szin,

    my ‘nym is pelamun

    Yeah, but you seem to be willing throw minorities under the bus in order to wake people up. Does your definition of “people” exclude those minorities who would suffer first if the Republicans had their way? They are mostly aware and awake already.

  32. Amphiox says

    It’s not that it has to start with the Presidency, but rather that something has to wake people up and a Romney/Santorum presidency could do exactly that.

    “Waking up” the people with a Romney/Santorum presidency is akin to “waking up” a sleeping man with a .45 to the forebrain.

  33. says

    josh117,

    the US consumes more energy per capita than other western nations (the only exceptions being mostly countries from colder climates).

    Also, with the rate of consumption increasing in developing countries like China and India, the West will have to decrease its consumption even more. Or what excuse do you have to deny China and India the level of consumption the West enjoys today?

  34. says

    It’s not that it has to start with the Presidency, but rather that something has to wake people up and a Romney/Santorum presidency could do exactly that.

    There won’t be a Shire, Pippin.

  35. josh117 says

    “I love it when someone shows up with the intent to derail a thread into their pet subject.”
    Sorry, I try to correct dangerous misinformation whenever I can.

    To pelamun,
    That’s why I say nuclear fission for everyone. It has the added benefit of making energy cheaper, which will raise the standard of living, which will likely make people less religious. It also has the added benefit of lowering birth rates, helping overpopulation as well. It’s win-win all around.

  36. raven says

    Reposting this and it is on topic. Santorum doesn’t think much of mainline Protestants.

    True. The latest example is Rick Santorum. He claimed in a recent speech that the mainline Protestants were a “shambles” and “gone from xianity”. It’s always nice that the Catholics haven’t forgotten those heretical Protestants. With any luck they can restart the Reformation wars again. It’s all amusing in a Dark Ages sort of way.

    Santorum (edited for length):

    This is a spiritual war,” Santorum said during his August 29, 2008 speech. “And the Father of Lies (Satan) has his sights on what you would think the Father of Lies, Satan, would have his sights on: a good, decent, powerful, influential country, the United States of America.”

    “And of course we look at the shape of mainline Protestantism in this country and it is a shambles. It is gone from the world of Christianity as I see it.

    So they attacked mainline Protestantism, they attacked the Church, and what better way to go after smart people who also believe they’re pious — to use both vanity and pride to go after the Church.”

  37. says

    josh117,

    you’re a Poe right?

    Nuclear energy is only great until the next meltdown. There’s also the waste issue. China is still planning to build 30 nuclear reactors. I’m shuddering at the thought.

  38. josh117 says

    To pelamun
    I again suggest you do some actual research on the issue. Excluding Chernobyl, you’ll find that the number of people who have died from nuclear power is less than a /single/ coal mine accident. It is by far the safest form of power generation according to the historical record. This hysteria over meltdowns is entirely unfounded.

    Yes yes, I know you’re going to quote Fukushima, but the radiation levels are completely overblown. Last I checked, the areas in the “contamination zone” or whatever are lower than several major cities, such as Denver AFAIK. Also, the linear no threshold (LNT) is bunk, and has been disproved time and time again.

    Still, I’m not necessarily advocating light water reactors. If that was my only option, I might. Instead, I’m advocating research into other fission technology, such as IFR and LFTR, which are ridiculously safer compared to modern light water reactors. For example, LFTRs cannot melt down any more than a car can melt down. It lacks the requisite moving parts. Also, LFTRs will produce about 1/100 of the nuclear waste of a modern light water reactor, and the waste will only last for about 300 years compared to 10,000+ years of modern reactors. This is an amazingly better deal than pumping out CO2 and other waste of coal, natural gas, etc. And the beauty is that LFTR may be cost competitive with coal.

    See energyfromthorium.com for additional details.

  39. says

    josh117,

    bad move arguing with coal mines. I mean I’m not exactly a fan of coal energy either…

    But irrespective of how many people have died from nuclear power, there is just no guarantee that a worst-case scenario can be ruled out. You blithely excluded Chernobyl, but the problem is that you can’t rule out another Chernobyl in the future. Especially not in China. But even the US was very very lucky with Three-Mile-Island.

    Kudos to the governments of Germany and Switzerland for paying attention to the will of their people.

  40. says

    I vote we put his head back in the sand.. together with the rest of him. The crap he’s selling about MY country (the Netherlands) makes me really want to put him on the euthanasia list he insists we’re keeping. Accusations of forced euthanasia from a country that allows states to execute prisoners.. Douchebag
    (pardon my language)

  41. Uncle Glenny says

    josh

    Yes yes, I know you’re going to quote Fukushima, but the radiation levels are completely overblown. Last I checked, the areas in the “contamination zone” or whatever are lower than several major cities, such as Denver AFAIK.

    Doesn’t sound it to me. (just posted today)

    There’s a couple good videos by Fairewind in there.

  42. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    On a full life cycle analysis including construction, fuel mining and processing, electricity production, waste management and decommissioning no, nuclear fission is not ‘cheap’ , nor is it clean, and it is not zero emission either.

    For thorium reactors still waiting to see one.

    The first thing we should be doing is reducing consumption, which in spite of some people’s misconceptions can be done without negatively impacting lifestyle, mostly because people waste so much energy without thinking about it.

  43. says

    Uncle Glenny,

    your link is borked.

    Multifarious,

    what’s he saying? But don’t forget that the Netherlands gave the US the racist wonder that is Peter Hoekstra…

  44. josh117 says

    To pelamun
    The coal mine thing was merely to emphasis how safe nuclear really is. Some people get lost in the hype and forget its amazing safety record.

    Again, I’m sorry but I have no recourse but you call you ignorant. You mention Chernobyl as a plausible scenario today. It’s not. I please ask for you to educate yourself just a little on nuclear reactor design before you dismiss the whole lot. No one has ever built such a retarded reactor design like Chernobyl for the past 50 years. It could never happen again. No one in the past 50 years has ever built a reactor with a positive thermal coefficient of reactivity.

    And again, it needs emphasizing. Alternatively technologies like LFTR /cannot/ melt down. Cannot. Physically impossible. It’s like asking for a car to fly. Don’t even make the Titanic analogy – you would be wrong. Perhaps when you educate yourself, you’ll see why.

    It’s simple that yes, accidents are possible. But a dispassionate view of the risk benefit analysis puts nuclear fission as clearly the best option.

  45. josh117 says

    To Uncle Glenny
    See:
    http://energyfromthorium.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=51&t=3259

    >The annual cumulative radiation level was calculated to reach 508.1 millisieverts in the Koirino district of Okumamachi, which is three kilometers west-southwest of the nuclear plant, and 393.7 millisieverts in Ottozawa in the town.

    >Half a Sievert/year is about the radiation dose received by the highest cohort of the Taiwanese cobalt-60 contaminated appartments.
    >That group had a cancer incidence several times lower than the Taiwanese average.

    Ok, so yes. Half a Sievert/year is relatively bad. You can go up to about 100 milliSievert/year before there’s any statistical correlation with harm. You ought to try to avoid that 500 millisSievert/year. However, it’s not the doomsday that it’s made out to be. And to try to claim that this should prevent building of /newer/ safer conventional reactors is silly. And to try to claim that because of that, we shouldn’t do research into newer safer reactor is not only absurd, but willfully ignorant, deluded, and malicious.

  46. josh117 says

    >On a full life cycle analysis including construction, fuel mining and processing, electricity production, waste management and decommissioning no, nuclear fission is not ‘cheap’ , nor is it clean, and it is not zero emission either.

    Can you link to your analysis? I never claimed it was magic. I said that conventional light water reactors are cleaner and safer. I did specifically mentioned that LFTR has the potential to be cheaper than coal too, implying the modern light water reactors are in fact not cheaper than coal.

    >For thorium reactors still waiting to see one.

    I cannot claim with absolute certainty that it will work, but I can claim that for the couple of billion dollars it would take to do the R&D, it’s retarded not to. I just feel so sad sometimes looking at the 20~ (?) billion Euro budget on ITER, which will go nowhere, and think about how much productive use we might get out of that money funding LFTR, IFR, and other reactor programs.

  47. tim rowledge, Ersatz Haderach says

    “how about reducing energy consumption. There’s a thought…”

    So, you also want to reduce us to the dark ages, and remove all advances of the industrial revolution that have made our lives better? Just checking.

    Without making any comment on which power systems I may or may not like to support, this statement is ludicrously wrong. Reducing energy consumption is *not* the same – not even faintly -as reducing quality of life, ability to manufacture, travel etc. Energy wastage is astonishing. An old friend coined the term ‘negawatts’ to try to illustrate how poorly the oh-so-clever capitalists are doing their supposed job of optimising the use of resources for the market.
    Better house design and construction can both save money and improve comfort, safety and health. Better health care can save energy as well as money. Better transport design. Better product design. And on and on. Reducing energy usage by means of actual science, engineering and design can provide a better life at the same time.

  48. says

    Yeah, Chernobyl wasn’t just bad design, it was a terrible decision made by the operators as well.

    I support nuclear power, but I think Fukushima effectively eliminated it from the debate. At this point I think the inertia of pollution has probably already screwed us all with climate change anyway, so drastic environmental engineering is our next hope.

    I am a little weirded out by fears of nuclear power, the French do it much better than us, but still, all the reactors we worry about are decades old. Think of the changes in knowledge and technology in the last 40 years—it’s a completely different world that engineers and scientists are working in today. Accurate simulations of contingencies are fairly trivial now, whereas 30 years ago they were computationally prohibited.

    But nope, a 10 meter wave hits a 5.7 meter wall and a 40+ year old reactor and people call it unsafe. Yes, we’ve got a ton of unsafe reactors here in the US, just like people driving 40 year old cars are less likely to survive a serious accident than people driving newer models.

    Also, the costs of nuclear power were driven up by protests, which effectively delayed completion (or even stopped completion), which caused delayed repayment of 5-year loans by another 5-years, during which interest compounded—it’s not exactly accurate to cite the costs as prohibitive.

    And citing the dangers just feels like anti-scientific fear mongering of the Michael Crichton sort.

  49. josh117 says

    It is a dishonest argument that saving “negawatts” alone with the status quo will fix global warming or improve our energy security, especially as noted else-thread with other energy consumers coming online, like China and India.

    I am all for saving energy where it makes sense. It is not a solution unto itself.

  50. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Quoting Rev. BigDumbChimp
    >josh117 are you nettle?
    Never heard of him, no.

    You have a /certain/ style…

    Anyway, if you look above the comment box there are a list of tags that you can use to emphasize in your writing. Including italics, bold and the most important, blockquote.

  51. Rey Fox says

    I also love it when people come in with abbreviations that they don’t explain. Pretty much proof that they just want to talk over everyone.

  52. josh117 says

    To Rey Fox
    I’m sorry that I can’t give a brief overview of nuclear design in 5 seconds.

    LFTR – Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor
    IFR – Integral Fast Reactor

    There. Is that better now? You still have no clue what it means. I provided a link or two, and google works as well. It is unreasonable to ask more of me. Do you wish for me to copy-paste the entire wikipedia entry here?

  53. says

    (and no, you’re not “all for saving energy”. By pushing a technology which is still far from being commercially viable, you’re just giving people excuses not to save energy.)

  54. josh117 says

    To Uncle Glenny
    Again, 500 mS/y is nothing to sneeze at. I am all for overhauling these old bad reactors, replacing them with newer safer ones, and for researching better safer alternatives like LFTR, IFR.

  55. says

    @Josh

    Block quote is done as

    Bracket “blockquote” bracket text bracket “/blockquote” bracket.

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  56. gragra says

    What I don’t get is how they’re all on the same side now. I thought fundagelical protestant christians thought catholics were mary worshippers and papists.

  57. josh117 says

    Quoting pelamun
    >(and no, you’re not “all for saving energy”. By pushing a technology which is still far from being commercially viable, you’re just giving people excuses not to save energy.)

    I am in favor of solutions. “Saving energy” alone with just the status quo will not solve for global warming nor energy security. You are welcome to continue to attribute arguments to me that I did not make, but I will not respond to such strawmen.

  58. says

    Also wanted to say I think increased efficiency is a wonderful goal, but it doesn’t appear to be a complete solution to the problem—neither does nuclear though, it really appears that we should be grabbing any solution we can, including all of the above.

    Concerning the waste, I’ve never understood the “bury it and forget it” attitude, all that 10,000 year and million year container stuff—I’ve even heard a professional physicist suggest shooting it into space! What a terrible idea! (10k$/lb for 77,000+ tons? And 2 in 150 shuttle launches disintegrated in the atmosphere without massive radioactive payloads!)

    Why not just ship it all to one central, safe, remote location, and then keep an eye on it? Inspect it every few months/years/whatever, guard it with military personnel, repair or replace damaged or corroding containers—just stop storing it in the plethora of storage facilities in which it currently sits, which were never designed to hold it in the first place!
    /twocents

    But seriously, nuclear in America was on shaky ground before Fukushima, it’s virtually dead until our nation gets more educated. Speaking of which, this article explains why the French are so much better than us on nuclear, despite their popular opinions being very similar to ours. The key difference is they elect scientists and engineers instead of lawyers for their government, so they actually trust their politicians on technical matters. Which made me wonder, why the fuck are we electing lawyers!?

  59. truthspeaker says

    Multifarious says:
    20 February 2012 at 7:41 pm

    I vote we put his head back in the sand.. together with the rest of him. The crap he’s selling about MY country (the Netherlands) makes me really want to put him on the euthanasia list he insists we’re keeping. Accusations of forced euthanasia from a country that allows states to execute prisoners..

    We prefer to think of it as forced euthanasia without age discrimination.

  60. truthspeaker says

    gragra says:
    20 February 2012 at 8:24 pm

    What I don’t get is how they’re all on the same side now. I thought fundagelical protestant christians thought catholics were mary worshippers and papists.

    They’ve called a truce until the secular threat is defeated.

  61. robro says

    Perhaps Santorum’s brand of Catholicism is related to that of Mel Gibson and his dad, Hutton (heard a who?). I know they are considered very fundamentalist. However, I haven’t heard Santorum say bad things about the poop.

  62. Uncle Glenny says

    I’ve wondered if, even though nominally Catholic, Santorum hasn’t been conditioned by fundigelical friends & neighbors. Aside from the pre-ancient Catholicism, of course.

  63. DLC says

    All of the GOP candidates were asked in a previous debate if they believed in Creationism or not, and all but one of those present replied in the affirmative in one way or another. The one who did not was John Huntsman, who was rapidly run out of town on a rail.

  64. says

    josh117,

    instead of getting all huffy, you could explain why you’re pushing a technology that is not ready NOW. Solution to the energy crisis have to be found now, not in 30-40 years. If in 30-40 years LFTR are commercially viable and totally safe, that’ll be great, but the focus right now is on solutions that can be implemented within the next 10-15 years.

  65. josh117 says

    Excuse me good sir or madam pelamun, what energy technologies are there available now that can solve for global warming? Please don’t say “negawatts” / saving energy.

  66. says

    You see this is why I say you’re not really “all for saving energy”.

    But you seem to be incapable of answering a simple question: WHY are you pushing a technology that won’t be viable for 30-40 years?

    Indeed, increasing energy efficiency is the answer for now: this includes reducing consumption by implementing intelligent saving measures, as well as increasing the efficiency of renewable energy sources. There have been some breakthroughs in that area, I’m told, with market viability to be expected within the next 5-10 years.

  67. josh117 says

    You seem to be conflating terms. You are conflating “decrease lost energy from inefficient consumption” with “fundamental breakthroughs in solar, wind, et. al. which will make them cheaper”.

    Decreasing negawatts cannot solve for global warming. Are you serious? Let me ask you this question now: are you a Poe?

    As for the second, even if solar panels and wind turbines were free, it would still be too expensive. See:

    http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/11/pump-up-the-storage/
    http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/08/nation-sized-battery/

    To be fair, sodium-sulfur batteries appear plausible, and they were not discussed in the above link. However, they’re still too expensive to be practical by a magnitude or two.

  68. josh117 says

    My answer is that I do not know of any other more promising feasible technology that will allow us to keep our current standard of living. That is why I support next gen nuclear.

    You are ignorant of the issues involved, and just how difficult it really would be to make solar and wind a total solution. At best, they’re a 20-30% solution, aka a non-solution. I’m looking for the actual 100% solution.

  69. says

    I really don’t have time for this discussion with a what looks like a corporate shill for LFTR, but for instance the Green Party in the German parliament has a concept that goes like this:

    REDUCTIONS IN CO2 EMISSIONS

    a. Electricity

    – efficiency increases in electricity generation overall: 45-65m t
    – renewable energy output increase: 70-85m t

    b. Heating

    – building renovations: 30-35m t
    – renewable energy sources and cogeneration in heating: 85-95m t

    c. transportation

    – reductions and increased efficiency in transportation: 35-40m t
    – renewable energy sources in transportation: 15-20m t

    This could achieve a reduction of 40% compared to 1990 level by 2020. By that time, all nuclear reactors will be offline and many inefficient coal power plants will be shut down too. For the time beyond 2020 they advocate a decentralised energy supply infrastructure as well as development of new alternative energy sources (e.g. bio energy). While this restructuring is in process, they intend to temporarily rely on gas power plants.

    (Source)

  70. josh117 says

    I really don’t have time for this discussion with a what looks like a corporate shill for LFTR

    Oh lols. You can rest well assured that I’m a humble code monkey working in silicon valley, and I have no financial ties to LFTR in any way, besides my desire for energy independence, energy security, better environment, more peace, more prosperity and thereby less religion. Of course, you won’t believe me. If you’re in the San Fransisco California area I welcome you to meet me to prove otherwise. Short of that, I’m not sure what can convince you.

    For the time beyond 2020 they advocate a decentralised energy supply infrastructure as well as development of new alternative energy sources (e.g. bio energy).

    So, are they going to actually explain their energy plan? I see a lot of hand waving there, and no actual concrete policy proposals of how to generate electricity and other forms of energy. I mean, taken at face value, that sounds like they’re going to burn bio stuffs or something, aka literally burn wood in a stove. Surely they mean something more sophisticated and plausible than that?

  71. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    Anyone advocating any one technology as The Answer to climate change is talking nonsense.

    It’s going to take a lot of improvements in different technologies to reduce our emissions significantly. Increases in efficiency at the consumption end. Increases in efficency at the production end, both for renewable and more conventional sources. Reduction in energy use when it isn’t necessary, more houses being built with passive solar design in them, and, more importantly, the people living in them taking advantage of that design.

    While there are indeed improvements that can be made with the technologies where the vast amount of improvement needs to be made is in people’s attitudes. In their knowledge of how they can reduce energy use while still having a good lifestyle. In some cases an improved lifestyle (walking to the shops rather than driving for example can contribute to increased fitness levels).

    On the energy storage from renewables front, I suspect we’ll be heading in the direction of smart grids, so that the load and the supply can be more closely matched. Improvement in batteries for off-grid locations would also be good.

  72. patrickmccormick says

    I can’t discern what principles motivate Rick Santorum’s thinking on the environment. Is it that environmental laws are somehow fundamentally socialist? Does he think that God will prevent humanity from polluting itself into global crisis? Even if one adopted a Christian outlook on the Universe, it would seem as though believers are charged as stewards of nature, not licensed to fuck up the planet with reckless abandon. This is why Republicans strike me as fundamentally dishonest: the only underlying ideology they have is to oppose anything Democrats are for. Then, they go back and pretend as though their position is based on long-held principles, and that they didn’t just come up with it because it’s contrary to what liberals think. Now they’re saying that their position on climate change is somehow motivated by Christian precepts. Show me the fucking Bible passage that tells Christians that the earth cannot warm due to human activity. Show me one historical example predating the modern environmental movement, of Christian principles used in defense of the notion that humans can’t have a negative impact on the environment. None exists; these guys are just so dishonest, pretending as though it’s some kind of principled, historical position, to oppose environmentalism.

  73. says

    I second Ariaflame in the “no single solution” point.

    And I can believe Germany might pull off those claims, I drove from Geneva to Copenhagen two years ago, and southern Germany was covered in solar panels while Northern Germany was covered with wind turbines, it was pretty neat looking.

    But that’s not as attractive a solution in America, for one because we’re a lot bigger, and use more energy, and also because we haven’t been putting any effort in (likely to derail all these schemes, including thorium and conservation).

    The rest of Ariaflame’s points are great too. Knowledge must be the first “battle front”.

  74. hotshoe says

    On the other hand, I don’t want to underestimate the power of racism, or the power of disenchanted liberals to stay home in November. BUT, if Santorum somehow did get elected—wow, could you imagine the kind of backlash against religion in 2016!?

    No, and unfortunately I don’t have to imagine the alternative, miserable outcome. Heinlein already did, in “If This Goes On”, set after the elections of 2012.

    The story is set in a future theocratic American society, ruled by the latest in a series of “Prophets.” The First Prophet was Nehemiah Scudder, a backwoods preacher turned President (elected in 2012), then dictator (no elections were held in 2016 or later).

    Implausible ? Maybe a little, but not enough to be reassuring to us. Santorum/Scudder (or any evangelist christian) already has the Air Force completely on his side, what with the christian dominionists who have filled its highest ranks. The Army and Navy, maybe not quite so much, but he would be Commander in Chief; how effectively would any branch of the US military resist a coup by the already-elected president? And note, a Santorum/Scudder victory would be accompanied by a ReThug majority in the House and Senate, so there wouldn’t be even a minimum of pushback possible there.

    No, I don’t really think a Santorum election would be the last presidential election in the US … but I certainly don’t think there would be the tiniest silver lining in “backlash against religion” afterwards.

    Look at the Taliban governance of Afghanistan. Now imagine that exact same repression, but enacted by clean-shaven men in suits, against non-christians all across America.

  75. says

    Thank you, Ariaflame, for expressing my thoughts better than I could. AFAIK, “green energy concept” always advocate an intelligent mix of several approaches.

    The attitude needs to change. Otherwise people will always choose the cheaper solution, which is usually the less energy-efficient one (insulating houses costs money, after all).

    It’s especially ridiculous to tout a technology which is far from being viable. I’m not totally opposed to LFTR, but if it’s the best thing since sliced bread, the nuclear industry should perhaps invest in it and bring it to market, instead letting it slide since 1950. After uranium-based technology lost its charm in the 80s, they’ve had plenty of time now.

  76. josh117 says

    On the energy storage from renewables front, I suspect we’ll be heading in the direction of smart grids, so that the load and the supply can be more closely matched. Improvement in batteries for off-grid locations would also be good.

    As I asked else-thread of someone else, would you care to explain your energy policy in a bit more concrete details? Such as what are you actually going to use to make electricity?

    I disagree overwhelmingly with your “must be a holistic solution” attitude. It seems to be without basis. It seems to be some new age mumbo jumbo. Do you have actual reliable sources that support this?

    Again, renewables, aka solar and wind, (I really hate that name “renewables” – nuclear is just as renewable as solar and wind), will not be able to power our culture at our current standard of living. See links else-thread to “do-the-math”.

  77. josh117 says

    It’s especially ridiculous to tout a technology which is far from being viable. I’m not totally opposed to LFTR, but if it’s the best thing since sliced bread, the nuclear industry should perhaps invest in it and bring it to market, instead letting it slide since 1950. After uranium-based technology lost its charm in the 80s, they’ve had plenty of time now.

    Now we’re on to this fallacy. “It hasn’t been done yet, thus it must suck.” Ever heard of a catch 22?

    The answer to your dilemma is people exactly like you. You hear “nuclear” and you’re like “oh no. Can’t have that.”

    A slightly longer version is that LFTR is very bad for making bombs, and that’s why it was not initially pursued. Then Rickover decided to go with the known technology to make the nuclear navy, and Nickson (IIRC) helped squash LFTR because it wasn’t based in California and he wanted to give jobs to the nuclear people in his home state of California. Then there were some unfortunate coincidences, like when the lead proponent for LFTR was fired because he was making a fuss about light water reactor safety. The quote by the congressmen was something like “If you’re so concerned about the safety of nuclear power, it may be time for you to leave.” This is said to the dude btw who held the patents on the light water reactor, so he knew what he was talking about.

    Then was it Carter who made the “no reprocessing” rule? That basically outlawed LFTR. It was later lifted, but no one was interested.

    Combined with a strong anti-nuclear sentiment ever since, and it’s no surprise. We haven’t had a new nuclear reactor in the US for like 20 years? Except for that new one approved last month or so, over the strong objections of the shill appointed by Obama to obstruct nuclear work in the US. He said something like “It’s like we’re going on as though Fukushima didn’t happen.” Ugg. Just ugg.

    Oh, and then the current nuclear people want nothing to do with LFTR because it’s a completely different technology. It’s like asking “Why won’t current nuclear do solar and wind – it is so much better after all.” LFTR has little or nothing to do with light water reactor technology.

    There’s a video recap on the LFTR website where Sorensen goes over the history in more detail.

  78. says

    codyreisdorf,

    I do think in the US, the biggest problem is one of attitude.

    But if the government (or rather governments, incl. state and local levels) isn’t able to do something, then I’m afraid that the poor will suffer the most come the next energy crisis with ever-increasing gas and electricity prices.

  79. josh117 says

    Oh, and the NRC is completely insane with some of their regulations, and this bad regulation also stifles any chance of LFTR happening in the US through civilian channels. (Maybe the military will do it with a contractor. IIRC, that’s FLIBE’s business strategy.)

  80. says

    Yes, blaming Carter, very original. You do know that Carter left office 30 years ago?

    It’s not a fallacy. If there’s money to be made, there will be the will to do this. So the first two nuclear plants approved in the US since 1978, were they, by any chance, LFTRs?

    No? And now you blame the nuclear industry. Well there you go. Obama is to blame too?

    Holistic approach: You don’t understand the wisdom of “not putting all your eggs in one basket”? Well, I can’t decide if you’re just cynical in trying to derail energy saving efforts by touting a yet undeveloped technology, or just naive.

  81. josh117 says

    Yes, blaming Carter, very original. You do know that Carter left office 30 years ago?

    It’s not a fallacy. If there’s money to be made, there will be the will to do this. So the first two nuclear plants approved in the US since 1978, were they, by any chance, LFTRs?

    No? And now you blame the nuclear industry. Well there you go. Obama is to blame too?

    Look, you asked why it hasn’t been done. I have answered in terms of the history, the story. Those are the major players into why it has not happened. Yes, Carter’s policies, Nixon’s policies, and Obama’s policies now, and probably most of the other presidents too, have not been kind to LFTR. I’m sorry that you find history offensive.

    Very odd. You have a wonderful cognitive dissonance. You must be wondering why the nuclear people don’t pursue wind and solar, aka why isn’t the free market working. You’ve probably concocted some answers to that question, some possibly quite reasonable. Then you ask why the nuclear industry won’t do LFTR, and you fail to see how the same answers apply.

    Holistic approach: You don’t understand the wisdom of “not putting all your eggs in one basket”? Well, I can’t decide if you’re just cynical in trying to derail energy saving efforts by touting a yet undeveloped technology, or just naive.

    There is a subtle but important difference between putting all of your eggs in one basket, pursuing multiple approaches, and claiming that a solution must be a holistic one.

    I’m all for funding all promising approaches. I’m for funding research into sodium-sulfur batteries, LFTR, IFR, better solar and wind if we ever manage to solve our energy storage problem, and so on.

    I think it’s obviously stupid to claim “The solution must involve multiple independent complimentary solutions”. It may be true, but it’s obviously stupid to say it must be true. To quote PZ, “How do you know that?”.

  82. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    I did not say ‘holistic’ that was you. If you want to associate that word with mumbo jumbo, that’s up to you, but don’t attribute it to me when I didn’t say it. I am a scientist. I don’t believe in astrology, healing crystals, any gods or any woo based material (though I have trouble with Murphy’s law occasionally)

    It is true that solar, wind, etc. are not technically renewable on a cosmological scale, relying entirely on the sun being there to work. Of course if the sun isn’t there then we are all screwed anyway. But I figure we’ve got about 4 billion years before that is an issue.

    Given that nuclear fission has atoms splitting into two (normally) smaller atoms, I’m a little flummoxed at the idea that this is ‘renewable’. How do you get the bigger atoms back? Without using more energy than you got from taking them apart in the first place. Nuclear fission is limited of course by Carnot’s principle so in general you don’t get more than 30% efficiency out of that.

    And it’s the whole ‘standard of living’ I’m arguing against. You seem to be saying ‘I don’t want to make my life more energy efficient because I’m lazy and therefore we must use nuclear power.’ Of course we don’t currently have the technology for that to be cheap and/or completely safe. Even less so with the potential for them to be terrorist targets.

    Most of the technologies we term as renewable these days are either ones where the source of the energy is renewed at a faster or equal rate to the rate that we draw energy from it (Geothermal needs not to be overmined to be sustainable for example) or those in which the energy is obtained by interrupting a flow of energy that is happening anyway (solar, both PV and thermal, wind, hydroelectric, wave, tidal, to name the most common). Most of the common ones of these are now approaching market parity with coal and other conventional energy sources.

    To be effective we need to improve things on both ends of the electricity cycles. We need, as I said before, to be more efficient in our energy production, and in our energy consumption. We need to find ways of storing energy, or better matching consumption to production levels. And we also need to have distributed forms of electricity production from various sources so we are not putting all our eggs in one basket.

    These technologies are available now. They are being improved now. They have a very small risk to human lives (nothing being completely safe for humans, just see the Darwin Awards for proof of that). If you want to go and finance something that might produce inefficient electricity in 30-40 years, that requires extra funding and personell to make it safe, well that’s your choice. I might look at it again at the point in time when insurance companies are actually willing to cover it.

  83. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    I think it’s obviously stupid to claim “The solution must involve multiple independent complimentary solutions”. It may be true, but it’s obviously stupid to say it must be true. To quote PZ, “How do you know that?”.

    Because if that is not true, then what is the alternative? That there’s a single solution? The world is complex. What works in some places won’t work in others. That is why there must be multiple solutions. By having a mix of renewable sources then we are not reliant upon one and thus we still get energy from wind at night, and the more we have in the mix, the less fluctuations we get into the girds.

    Oh, and when you say that it’s stupid to claim something and act as if you are quoting someone. Actually quote someone instead of putting your own words in there. That smacks of strawman.

  84. josh117 says

    Given that nuclear fission has atoms splitting into two (normally) smaller atoms, I’m a little flummoxed at the idea that this is ‘renewable’. How do you get the bigger atoms back? Without using more energy than you got from taking them apart in the first place. Nuclear fission is limited of course by Carnot’s principle so in general you don’t get more than 30% efficiency out of that.

    It’s not entirely outside the realm of possibility that the Earth’s available thorium stores will last long enough under our consumption that we’ll still have it left when the Sun goes red giant.

    To be effective we need to improve things on both ends of the electricity cycles. We need, as I said before, to be more efficient in our energy production, and in our energy consumption. We need to find ways of storing energy, or better matching consumption to production levels. And we also need to have distributed forms of electricity production from various sources so we are not putting all our eggs in one basket.

    These technologies are available now.

    No they are not. They are not available now. Show me the cost realistic energy storage solution that can back solar and wind that is available now.

    LFTR is actually available now. The basic physics and manufacturing has been worked out. Compare and contrast this to the solar and wind solution, where the basic technology has not been worked out. We need fundamental breakthroughs to make solar and wind work.

    For LFTR, we just need 10-15 years to build a couple of test reactors to make everything works out right – less if we go Manhattan Project style (which is very unlikely). The 2040 numbers I’ve seen quoted are probably for when we can expect large scale roll out, not when we’re ready to begin roll out.

  85. josh117 says

    I think it’s obviously stupid to claim “The solution must involve multiple independent complimentary solutions”. It may be true, but it’s obviously stupid to say it must be true. To quote PZ, “How do you know that?”.

    Because if that is not true, then what is the alternative? That there’s a single solution? The world is complex. What works in some places won’t work in others. That is why there must be multiple solutions. By having a mix of renewable sources then we are not reliant upon one and thus we still get energy from wind at night, and the more we have in the mix, the less fluctuations we get into the girds.

    How do you know that a diversified portfolio of energy sources is the best solution? Which energy sources? How are you going to store the energy to cover nights, cloudy days, windless days, etc. I’m asking for specifics. Again, how do you know this? Until you answer that question, I’m going to continue to call bullshit on you.

    “What are the alternatives?” Cheap, safe, near-inexhaustible aka “renewable”, environmentally friendly, nuclear.

  86. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    ‘near-inexhaustable supply’ is not the same as ‘renewable’

    Energy storage devices and systems include: Smart grids, solar ponds, improved batteries, pumped water storage, compressed air storage, hydrogen storage.

    That you seem to think that nuclear, particularly a form of it that still isn’t available commercially, using toxic chemicals as well, is the answer to all our ills, is frankly laughable.

    You are also ignoring the human factor. You’re going to have difficulty these days getting people to be happy with living near a nuclear reactor, however safe you promise them it is.

  87. Russell says

    Santorum talking points stem from an evangelical epic entitled ‘Slaying the Green Dragon’ that teaches Dominion over fish & fowl takes precedence over climate models, laws of thermodynamics, and suchlike instruments of the devil.

  88. josh117 says

    ‘near-inexhaustable supply’ is not the same as ‘renewable’

    I thought we just agreed it was? Solar depends on the sun, and the sun will eventually run out. Geothermal depends on the nuclear reactions going on in the core and mantle of the Earth, and that will eventually run out. If projections show that the Earth’s useable supply of thorium will outlast the sun, then either we can call thorium reusable, or the entire term is loaded bullshit.

    “Energy storage devices and systems include:”

    * “Smart grids” Not an energy storage solution. Does nothing to help when it’s night and windless.

    * “solar ponds” What is this, exactly? Are we talking molten salt heat storage?

    * “improved batteries” Yes. It would be nice if we got sodium-sulfur down to affordable prices. This is technology that doesn’t exist yet. Again see:
    http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/08/nation-sized-battery/

    * “pumped water storage”
    Too expensive. Impractical. And that’s saying something when it’s currently the cheapest technology AFAIK. See:
    http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/11/pump-up-the-storage/

    * “compressed air storage”
    You’ve got to be shitting me now. Citations that this is anywhere near cost effective, please.

    * “hydrogen storage”
    I’m less familiar with this offhand. It’s again my impression that current tech is both too expensive and relies on material that is too rare to scale up to a nation-sized battery.

    That you seem to think that nuclear, particularly a form of it that still isn’t available commercially, using toxic chemicals as well, is the answer to all our ills, is frankly laughable.

    You do the same. Photovoltaic cell manufacture is far from clean. It probably uses more hazardous chemicals per MW and MWH than the equivalent nuclear plant. And your solution isn’t commercially available either. You still have done nothing to show how you’re going to provide power during the night, during winter, during cloudy weeks, during windless weeks, etc. At least my technology has had all of its fundamentals demonstrated in working prototypes. See:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molten-Salt_Reactor_Experiment

    You are also ignoring the human factor. You’re going to have difficulty these days getting people to be happy with living near a nuclear reactor, however safe you promise them it is.

    It’s sometimes customary in discussions of policy to ignore what will happen, and instead focus on what we would want to happen. I understand that politics has to come in at some level, but could we ignore this red herring for now? Or at least it would nice to arrive at the point where we both agree nuclear is best, if only it wasn’t for the idiotic populace.

    PS: I would rather live next to a nuclear fission reactor than a natural gas plant.
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/09/09/BADP1FBJRS.DTL
    That happened pretty close to where I lived. That killed about as many people which died from radiation from Fukushima during the accident, and injured far more. (Ok, it doesn’t have the leftover 500 mS/y problem, but that’s why I advocate safer reactors.)

  89. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    You don’t even know what a smart grid is do you?

    A well constructed one should allow for both balance of load and supply and storage.

    I’m afraid I can’t play with you any more today. I have actual work to do.

    I’m a litte curious though. Have you done any sort of back of the envelope calculations on how much it would actually cost to build enough thorium reactors to power the entire world at projected energy consumption levels given the lack of actual technology now, including of course building, mining and processing, waste storage (shorter half-lives still need to be stored for centuries to millenia), all safety features and of course, the frequently ignored by the nuclear advocate, decomissioning, the costs of which tend to balloon out in the experience of the UK government.

  90. tim rowledge, Ersatz Haderach says

    Every negawatt ‘implemented’ (not the best word for it but I’m buggered if I can come up with a better one right now) means pollution not emitted, global warming gases not belched out, money not spent on fuel, lives not lost in coal mines. And pretty much forever.
    Better design/engineering/science is *not* leaving it to the status quo. Gosh, some of the money saved might even get spent on more education to produce still better designers/engineers and scientists.
    The only people hurt by improving energy efficiency are some lazy capitalists and even they could learn to profit from it. RMI.org has some useful papers on the matter. I think they stand up pretty well.

  91. tim rowledge, Ersatz Haderach says

    I can’t discern what principles motivate Rick Santorum’s thinking on the environment. Is it that environmental laws are somehow fundamentally socialist? Does he think that God will prevent humanity from polluting itself into global crisis?

    That’s almost exactly what they claim; some bullshit about the ‘new covenant’ combined with the belief that their master will come along and kick the world into bankruptcy, take them all to their (well-deserved, natch) eternal reward and solve all ills.
    If anyone of you is a really good micro-biologist, please consider writing up a nice grant proposal for a virus that will effectively mimic their longed-for rapture and get the damn fools out of our way. It would be a kindness to them as well as us.

  92. josh117 says

    You don’t even know what a smart grid is do you?

    A well constructed one should allow for both balance of load and supply and storage.

    Yes. I’m not sure you do. It won’t make energy come from nowhere during the windless night.

    I’m a litte curious though. Have you done any sort of back of the envelope calculations on how much it would actually cost to build enough thorium reactors to power the entire world at projected energy consumption levels

    Not personally, but I could find some easily enough.

    given the lack of actual technology now,

    Again, false. How many times need I say this? I have a working prototype and known demonstrated well understood physics. You have “We’ll get battery technology advancements at some point”.

    including of course building,

    It’ll likely be cheaper than conventional light water reactors because it’ll operate at atmospheric pressure.

    mining

    Basically free. Thorium basically comes for free as a side benefit of rare earth metal mining.

    and processing

    Not sure offhand, but it can’t be more expensive than uranium isotopic enrichment. Thorium doesn’t require isotopic separation. Besides, the fuel cost of a reactor is only about 1/7 of the cost of electricity. The majority is building the reactor.

    waste storage (shorter half-lives still need to be stored for centuries to millenia),

    The waste from a LFTR will be back down to background levels in about 300 years. No millenia.

    all safety features

    Due to the inherent passive safety of LFTR, far cheaper than conventional light water reactors.

    and of course, the frequently ignored by the nuclear advocate, decomissioning, the costs of which tend to balloon out in the experience of the UK government.

    Don’t know offhand.

  93. SallyStrange: bottom-feeding, work-shy peasant says

    I can’t take someone who dismisses efficiency out of hand as part of the solution for dealing with global warming seriously. Seriously, what possible argument could there be fore simply emitting fewer GHGs? The whole “standard of living” thing is a bugaboo. There’s a lot of room between what we’re doing right now and stone age huts or whatever the stupid strawman was.

  94. josh117 says

    I can’t take someone who dismisses efficiency out of hand as part of the solution for dealing with global warming seriously. Seriously, what possible argument could there be fore simply emitting fewer GHGs? The whole “standard of living” thing is a bugaboo. There’s a lot of room between what we’re doing right now and stone age huts or whatever the stupid strawman was.

    You’re still not listening. I’m all for improving consumption efficiency, and research cheaper ways for power production. However, improving consumption efficiency is not going to solve global warming. We need a “new” energy source. Fission is it. Solar and wind is not.

  95. SallyStrange: bottom-feeding, work-shy peasant says

    Yeah, like Ariaflame said, no one thing is going to do the trick. Energy solutions are going to be specific to geographical area. Fission will help but it’s not going to be The Answer. There is no such thing as The Answer. That’s the sort of thinking that got us locked into this deathtrap of an economic system in the first place. It’s foolish to write off wind and solar entirely. All of it needs to be brought into play.

  96. Szin says

    pelamun,

    “Yeah, but you seem to be willing throw minorities under the bus in order to wake people up. Does your definition of “people” exclude those minorities who would suffer first if the Republicans had their way? They are mostly aware and awake already.”

    By people I mean EVERYONE. The poor, the middle class who are getting poorer, minorities, liberals, conservatives, EVERYONE. And yes, I’m willing to throw them under the bus because it’s the only way they are going to pick themselves up and fight. Guess what? They’re already in a shit situation, but they’re still not willing (or possible able due to basic survival needs) to do anything about it and if you honestly think that people are “aware and awake” then you are naive, especially if you think that Obama actually has a chance of losing the election which completely disproves your “aware and awake” theory. If they were actually “awake and aware” then the thought of Romney or Santorum or Newt as the President of the US should frighten the living hell out of them! But it doesn’t, because they’re idiots.

    Until things get SO bad that it comes to a point where either they fight or they possibly die, people aren’t going to do shit. Again, they already did this in Wisconsin. Walker threw the workers under the bus and the workers finally fought back. However, he was still elected. These absolute fucking morons and greedy corporate religious psychopaths continue to get elected. The sheer fact that Sarah Palin was almost our VP, or that psychos like Santorum are even allowed to run for public office in the first place is absolutely insane. It shows that there are ZERO standards for public office. ZERO. And this is perfectly acceptable to everyone as long as there is a “less evil” option to vote for. Obama is clearly a better option for the country than anyone running against him, but that’s because the people running against him are psychopaths. I’m not the one throwing these people under the bus, rather they are doing it themselves. If someone like Santorum is actually elected, then those people deserve him. As long as people continue to accept a “vote for the lesser of two evils” governmental system that is in place, unless they are willing to fight for a better system, they they deserve the government they get.

  97. SallyStrange: bottom-feeding, work-shy peasant says

    Also, you were totally dismissing energy efficiency. If that wasn’t your intention then I suggest working on your communication skills.

  98. SallyStrange: bottom-feeding, work-shy peasant says

    If someone like Santorum is actually elected, then those people deserve him.

    Nobody deserves that shit. Take your victim-blaming elsewhere.

  99. Rip Steakface says

    Josh, read one of the sites you linked, specifically the Do the Math blog. In one of the posts, he covers nuclear – in fact, the specific reactor types you are so enamored of. He doesn’t destroy it, and in fact believes that it’s definitely a decent part of the energy future. The difference is that it’s not immediately viable. Meanwhile, solar PV is already available and with some investment, could replace fossil fuels for electricity generation.

  100. josh117 says

    Also, you were totally dismissing energy efficiency. If that wasn’t your intention then I suggest working on your communication skills.

    I am dismissing it as a red herring. It is not a solution. It’s an add-on that can apply to any solution to the global warming energy source problem.

    Josh, read one of the sites you linked, specifically the Do the Math blog. In one of the posts, he covers nuclear – in fact, the specific reactor types you are so enamored of. He doesn’t destroy it, and in fact believes that it’s definitely a decent part of the energy future. The difference is that it’s not immediately viable. Meanwhile, solar PV is already available and with some investment, could replace fossil fuels for electricity generation.

    I again strongly argue that you are mistaken, that solar is actually not available now. No one in this thread has yet presented a coherent, specific plan for how to provide energy during windless nights, etc. In fact – LFTR is much closer to a working implementation than solar and wind as baseload power.

  101. josh117 says

    Yeah, like Ariaflame said, no one thing is going to do the trick. Energy solutions are going to be specific to geographical area. Fission will help but it’s not going to be The Answer. There is no such thing as The Answer. That’s the sort of thinking that got us locked into this deathtrap of an economic system in the first place.

    How do you know this? This again sounds like the greenpeace party line that corporations are bad, we need to get back closer to nature, etc. I again posit that sometimes there is a single answer. It is quite plausible that nuclear can provide cheap, safe, reliable, clean, renewable power.

    It’s foolish to write off wind and solar entirely. All of it needs to be brought into play.

    I’m writing them off as not implementable right now. We need further innovation before they become practical. Whereas nuclear is feasible now.

  102. SallyStrange: bottom-feeding, work-shy peasant says

    This again sounds like the greenpeace party line that corporations are bad, we need to get back closer to nature, etc

    Sorry, but you have to be either dumb or dishonest to achieve that level of strawmannery.

  103. josh117 says

    I’m sorry. I have a very low opinion of Green Peace due to the perpetual lies and misinformation they put out about nuclear and other things.

  104. SallyStrange: bottom-feeding, work-shy peasant says

    It’s foolish to write off wind and solar entirely. All of it needs to be brought into play.

    I’m writing them off as not implementable right now. We need further innovation before they become practical. Whereas nuclear is feasible now.

    This is pretty much a reversal of reality. Not only are large-scale commercial utility installations implementable, they are being implemented right now. Whatevs.

  105. SallyStrange: bottom-feeding, work-shy peasant says

    I’m sorry. I have a very low opinion of Green Peace due to the perpetual lies and misinformation they put out about nuclear and other things.

    So, dumb then.

  106. SallyStrange: bottom-feeding, work-shy peasant says

    Silicon valley code monkeys apparently have real difficulty with systemic thinking.

  107. SallyStrange: bottom-feeding, work-shy peasant says

    I again posit that sometimes there is a single answer.

    In contradiction to all evidence and common sense. The reason being that no energy source can parallel oil for ease of access, production, and transportation. Nuclear can perhaps be safe and reliable and even relatively cheap, but it will never be as convenient and easily transportable as oil is. When we say that there is no one solution, what we really mean is that there is no energy source quite like oil. If you can explain how nuclear can possibly rival oil in all of its characteristics, then perhaps you’d have a case to make. As it is all you have is bald assertion. And the revelation that you’re such a lazy thinker that you allow your hostility for Greenpeace to distort your perception of opinions that bear only the slightest resemblance to those advanced by Greenpeace. Go away, little boy. I’m sure some Ron Paulites will be fascinated by your simplistic intellectual posturing.

  108. Rip Steakface says

    I again strongly argue that you are mistaken, that solar is actually not available now. No one in this thread has yet presented a coherent, specific plan for how to provide energy during windless nights, etc. In fact – LFTR is much closer to a working implementation than solar and wind as baseload power.

    I intended to imply that I agree with the Do the Math blog’s ideas regarding energy. Basically, the whole point is that you’re half-right and that nuclear is probably the best option for baseload power. It’s not intermittent like solar and wind, so it would supply a steady undercurrent (pardon the pun) of power, eliminating the storage problem, while solar and wind cover the rest of the energy problem.

  109. josh117 says

    This is pretty much a reversal of reality. Not only are large-scale commercial utility installations implementable, they are being implemented right now. Whatevs.

    I ask again for the umpteenth time, what installations? What installations are going to provide power during windless nights? Again, even if solar panels or wind turbines were free, it would do nothing to help at all.

  110. josh117 says

    while solar and wind cover the rest of the energy problem.

    It’s only 20-30% of total electricity consumption. It’s a red herring. Talking as though it’s an alternative to nuclear is just silly. It’s a little cherry on top, if you so want.

  111. josh117 says

    To SallyStrange, ok, I can go with multiple different techs seem likely for all of our energy consumption. I’m still personally holding out on cheap enough electricity from nuclear that synthetic diesel, gasoline, or dimethyl ether can be cost effective. You are definitely right that the energy storage density of gasoline and oil is unparalleled for most applications.

    However, my main thrust was that it’s patently silly to say that the solution to providing electricity for the grid must have different energy sources.

    So, you’re going to use Ad Hominem. Call me a Ron Paul fanboy even though I think he’s a retard, and libertarianism is completely intellectually bunk. Perhaps, instead can we have a discussion about how we’re going to end global warming and preferably maintain something like our current energy consumption patterns?

    But really, Green Peace lies out of their ass for all things nuclear. It’s really quite sad. Moreover, the founder of Green Peace actually left the movement. His own words were that it changed from protecting the environment into a kind of anti-capitalist, anti-corporation movement.

  112. Szin says

    @SallyStrange

    “Nobody deserves that shit. Take your victim-blaming elsewhere.”

    Bullshit. You’re going to tell me to feel pity for any woman who votes for Santorum, knowing FULL well what his dogmatic beliefs are on women’s rights just because they don’t “like Obama?” Or any homosexual who votes for Santorum when he doesn’t even view them as human beings who deserve basic human rights?? Not a fucking chance. He’s absolutely insane, and if people want to elect insanity, then they’re insane as well!

  113. josh117 says

    Earlier, someone asked for some numbers. Here are some.

    Robert Hargraves – Aim High! @ TEAC3
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOoBTufkEog&feature=channel

    They claim it’s about 5.4 cents / kWh for coal, and about 3 cents / kWh (projected) for LFTR. They also suggested that it’s possible to produce synthetic gasoline at about 4 dollars a gallon.

    I started tracking down some of those citations, and I found:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/19/science/19carb.html

    Projected $4.60 per gallon price at the pump. We’re almost there already.

    It’s all about cheap electricity. (Ok, not all, but cheap electricity helps a lot.)

    I need more time offhand to double check the veracity of some of this. I really ought to save the good analyses I find.

  114. StevoR says

    Santorum? Yep he really is *that** isn’t he.

    Mr Stinkyfrothymix living up to his name once again I see.

  115. StevoR says

    @132. Szin :

    Bullshit. You’re going to tell me to feel pity for any woman who votes for Santorum, knowing FULL well what his dogmatic beliefs are on women’s rights just because they don’t “like Obama?” Or any homosexual who votes for Santorum when he doesn’t even view them as human beings who deserve basic human rights?? Not a fucking chance. He’s absolutely insane, and if people want to elect insanity, then they’re insane as well!

    Problem is when both candidates – all realistic options to vote for – are insane.

    What about when as South Park aptly displayed it, when you’re being forced to vote for a Giant Douche or a Turd Sandwhich & your single vote isn’t going to count anyhow?

    I shudder to think about Santorum as President – but I don’t think Obama deserves to be voted back either.

    There’s not a single one of those running – Obama included – who I’d like to see win or who I’d trust with my life or my wallet or babysitting my dog.

  116. StevoR says

    What they really badly need onthe the ballot is a :

    None of the above – elimate allof them and come back withsome respectable choices

    box instead – and when that wins overwhelmingly as it would, that’s what bothparties have to do.

  117. KG says

    Anyone naive enough to believe the projections of nuclear zealots hsould take a look at the history of Oikiluoto 3, the first new nuclear reactor ordered in western Europe, which was supposed to be the proof that nuclear reactors could be built on time and on budget:

    the original commissioning date of the third reactor was set to May 2009. However, in May 2009 the plant was “at least three and a half years behind schedule and more than 50 percent over-budget”. The commissioning deadline has been postponed several times and as of November 2011 operation is set to start in 2014.

    Nuclear zealots also completely miss the point about Fukushima. It is irrelevant that it directly caused no immediate deaths: at a time of utmost national crisis, the Japanese government was obliged to devote vast resources to evacuating a large area, and could not send planes through the area around the reactors to those areas worst affected by the tsunami; how many lives were lost because of this is impossible to calculate. The familiar tale of nuclear industry lies and short-cuts to evade safety regulations has also emerged.

    I’m all in favour of new types of reactor being trialled; but until examples have been up and running for years, we will not know whether they are viable – and we do not have that much time to wait: to be reasonably confident of avoiding catastrophic climate change, emissions have to peak within the current decade, and thereafter fall rapidly, reaching near zero by 2050. While renewables are certainly not a complete solution, they accounted for over half of new electricity generating installed capacity globally in 2010. (This is admittedly the basis of comparison most favourable to renewables, as solar and wind in particular are intermittent.)

    The plain and unpalatable truth is that there is nothing anywhere near a complete technical solution, from any combination of nuclear, renewables, carbon capture and storage, and energy efficiency*. Large-scale behavioural change in the rich countries and above all the USA, is essential – less travel, particularly flying and private vehicle use, fewer electrical appliances and less use of them, less meat and dairy, colder homes and offices in winter and hotter ones in summer, etc.. It is also, of course, politically impossible.

    * Nor from geoengineering fantasies.

  118. Guest Speaker says

    God help us all should this religious nitwit be elected president – and I really mean “us all”, such as the citizens of the Maldives when their country goes underwater because of some American idiot’s policy on greenhouse gas emissions.

  119. quoderatdemonstrandum says

    Rick Santorum, young earth creationist, climate change denialist, anti-stem cell research crusader, fundamentalist/evangelical Christian

    Anyone have good evidence that Santorum is a young earth creationist?

  120. says

    Several things

    1) I am not against nuclear energy, even potentially current models, as part of a push to improve efficiency.

    2) Even if nuclear salvation are as good as they claim; we STILL should focus on efficiency and conservation. I’m reminded of Allan Moore’s take on Swamp Thing where the character basically becomes a nature god and has a meditation on his power. Ultimately he concludes that while he’s powerful enough to fix the pollution and devastation of earth and to give humans arable land…he’s not powerful enough to prevent them from increasing their resources squandering and gluttony in response. Fixing the problems would make it worse down the line as humans stupidly compensate for risk and would get a false sense of security with their resources. It seems to be the same issue. More energy won’t fix ta problem that is fundamentally “we are irresponsible with energy”

    3) It’s doable. There was an optimistic projection that with 100% everything right and govs dedicated to doing it, they could rework the power grid within 40 years to be sustainable…on the US standard of living

    4) Argument from consequence. No one WANTS to lower their standard of living…but Americans especially have to face facts that this standard may never have been sustainable as the world population grows. Getting back to living within means may be necessary. Whining about how bad it wold be doesn’t make it so. No one is talking stone age here, we’re probably talking an end to SUV’s and motortopia with the US actually investing in some good public transport to reduce emissions and increase efficiency.

    5) there’s a lot of pie in the sky solutions for new tech that aren’t nuclear. I’m rather fond of the sky-hook idea that my undergrad physics professor shared. basically an orbital satellite system to collect solar radiation and beam it back down to earth for usable energy. IIRC there has been some proof of concept for wireless energy transfer even. Plus there are possibly a great other number of fun benefits to gain from a sky-hook system. I mean if we’re gonna think big and in the future, nuclear is small potatoes. Let’s think of a sky infrastructure to revolutionize energy and possibly transportation.

  121. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    Synthetic diesel or fuel josh? Why not move to electric vehicles while you are at it. Far more efficient than using ~30% efficient electric power stations to power synthetic fuel production (which will have its own efficiencies, josh if he’s done the research on that could perhaps tell us the efficiency there) to create fuel which will be burnt at around 20% efficiency.

    Mind you, if we do move towards electric cars (and there does seem to be some movement in that area as more manufacturers are bringing out models) then the cars can be used, while plugged into the smart grid, as storage. During periods of peak renewable or other electricity production energy gets stored in them. During periods of low production if turning off the pool pumps etc. isn’t enough then they can supply energy back to the grid. The more there are of them, the less each needs to feed back.

    A bit of a shame the GENESIS idea doesn’t have the technology to work. Relied on room temperature superconductors to form pretty much all the major electricity lines. Was pure speculation, but would have been nice and would have dealt with the whole ‘what if it’s dark and windless and the tides aren’t going and every other piece of renewable generation is amazingly not producing at the same time’ problem. The chances of that being the case everywhere are pretty remote. But of course that is another of the ideas that would be nice in theory. In practice, apart from the whole not having the materials, or at least as far as I know, the expense of doing it, and the politics would almost certainly stuff it up.

    After its vandalism of scientific crop research in Australia Green Peace is not currently on my list of favoured organisations.

  122. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    @We Are Ing #142

    The trouble with the skyhook stuff is that first we’d have to clear out the debris that is cluttering the Low Earth and Geosynchronous orbits.

    I believe there are some proposals for laser ablation, but the people with working things up there don’t want them pointed at those.

    I am not demanding the immediate cessation of all nuclear power (though the continual eroding of standards so that the older USA stations can meet them that I read about is worrisome, alas that I can’t remember where it was and my google-fu has failed me tonight). I just don’t think, with the nuclear industry’s track record, not to mention the increased risks of proliferation (I know josh’s preferred reactor produces less stuff for this than standard or fast breeder reactors. Less is not none) that it is the perfect solution that some people might want it to be.

    All technologies have their pluses and minuses, and their use should be evaluated depending on the area in which they are to be used.

  123. wasd says

    Remember 2011?

    Remember how Rick Santorum was one of those things that a few fanatics are really really into, but that didn’t really effect most of us? The pundits were tumbling over each other to call Romney the “presumptive nominee”, Meanwhile those of us who know a little about American religiosity know that while an atheist might not stand a snowballs chance in hell of getting elected* Mormons are only ever so slightly more electable. Anti-mormon feelings might not always register that strongly in media capitals like NY and DC, but they are there. This left a large contingent of deeply frustrated, desperate, strictly religious men aging for Santorum. Still, we go by the numbers and we didn’t really worry, the guy didn`t have any money, and basically he still doesn’t.

    Remember 2011?

    Remember how on it continuing mission to peacefully reconcile religion and science and being the ultimate anti-Randi foundation the Templeton foundation handed out million UK pound prices. Odds are people have been called “shrill” from their gold plated podiums at one time or another.

    Turns out there is one reason Santorum has been bubbling up amongst the fray in the republican field: a super PAC that few had heard about before that has been spending big on TV ads in the states where Santorum recently came out on top. Red White and Blue pac is basically Foster Fries baby, he is one of those typical millionaire GOP true believer donors. Someone who pulls his wallet every time the GOP screams “Watch out: the gay abortions are coming to get you!”.

    There has been quite a bit of attention for these true believer billionaire donors. And why wouldn’t there be, many are proud of all the money the spend. IMHO they are less important than other sources of money though. Unlike the money coming lobbyist and the Washington revolving door set the money from true believers isn’t all that likely to steer policy. After all, true believers can always be scared into giving up more money no matter how little a politicians has actually achieved on their pet issues. (Obama fans, take note) If fighting corruption is your thing you should ask why Santorum put a pharmaceutical industry lobbyist in charge of his “healthcare policy and entitlement reform policy”, and what happened to all the other staffers from Santorums days in congress who moved into the private sector since then…. can they come back as well?

    The full moneytrail is of course, only one click away. Novartis and especially Roche make a lot of money on contraceptives, BTW. Funny how some people care more about the ethics of spending money to try and save poor women from breast cancer at places that also receive donations of evil pro-sex bloodmoney than they do about the ethics of receiving some of that tainted evil pro-sex blood money themselves.

    But hey, playing celebrity political donor bigot bingo is fun too… guess who the number two donor behind the surge of Santorum has been?

    Name: John M Templeton of Bryn Mawr Pensylvania 19010
    Occupation: John Templeton foundation/executive
    Total contribution: $250,000

    I think its time people ask a few questions about who would want to be the recipient of Templeton money! His right wing donations go back decades (Christine O`Donnell, Ron Paul), he was always just another old rich white guy funding bigotry, only now his donations are big enough to help decide a presidential primary.

    *) only 49% of Americans would vote for a qualified Atheist from their party which doesn`t sound like a lot…. but it was good enough for Bush Jr.

  124. w00dview says

    The “environmental regulations destroy the economy” meme is one of the most blatant examples of rightwing lies out there. Not one recession has even been caused by environmental policies, not one. Cutting taxes on the rich and loose regulation on financial institutes, all stupid randian ideas have fucked up economies pretty blatantly though. Third world countries are not in the situation they are in because of national parks and conservation programs. You would think after stuff like the Clean Air act and other such legislation greatly improving quality of life that people would recognise this line as conservative propaganda. We never seem to learn though…

  125. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    We never seem to learn though…

    This is not an unusual situation. In the 1960s and early 1970s, there were quite a few failures of private dams (Buffalo Creek being one of the most well-known) which led to the federal government issuing regulations regarding private dams. Now, very few remember why the regulations are in place, so there are lobbyists seeking to remove those regulations as the exemplary safety record of the mining industry over the last 40 years shows these regulations are not necessary.

    We need to remember that there are multiple generations who think that smog is just a smudge in the sky and a pretty sunset, or that a water pollution issue is a small oil spill in a creek. They do not remember the completely and totally dead rivers in Massachussetts due to industrial pollution. Nor do they remember a river in Ohio catching fire. So now, of course, we have lobbyists asking that the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act be gutted or revoked because when one looks at the water and air today, it is obvious that, due the exemplary efforts of private industry to quell pollution, the regulations are an unnecessary drag on jobs/the economy/profits/stockholders/etc.

    The coal industry takes credit for saving the lakes and streams of New England. Remember, they are the ones who paid for and installed the sulfur scrubbers and other pollution controls which have reduced acid rain in the northeast. Acid rain is no longer a problem, so why should the regulations about sulfur emissions still be on the books impoverishing the owners of the coal plants and making electricity more expensive?

    US industrial accidents, while still far higher than I think they should be, are far, far, far lower than fifty or eighty years ago. Workers are less likely to be killed or injured. But that damned OSHA keeps coming in and fining the safe companies for stupid and minor oversights. This, again, costs the middle-class stockholder money which should rightfully be theirs.

    The clearest example I can think of is not environmental, but it still shows the problem. In the 1930s, commmercial and investment banking were divided up. A bank could be commercial or investment, not both. And this worked quite well into the 1990s. And banks whined and complained and lobbied to have these horrible, onerous, old-fashioned regulations removed because, since the 1930s, banks have (with a few exceptions) been paragons of financial virtue. But they were prevented giving the customers what they want by these old fashioned job killing regulations. So they were deregulated. And all in the US have paid for this. Multiple times.

    One of the most annoying things about any progressive programmes is that, once the programme actually takes effect, once the workers are relatively safe, once the fish are no longer dying, once towns are no longer being wiped out by dam collapses, the people who actually benefit forget. They forget why those regulations were important. They forget the bright orange rivers with no fish. They forget the haze of smog which caused burning eyes and fits of coughing. They forget the excesses of for-profit businesses trying to wring another quarter-of-a-percent profit out of a coal-fired plant, or a coal mine, or a textile mill. And then, after a well-financed lobbying campaign, deregulation becomes a necessity to protect those poor job-creating companies.

    Successful regulations have a tendency over the years, to look unneccesary. Because they work.

  126. w00dview says

    Successful regulations have a tendency over the years, to look unneccesary. Because they work.

    I think this is a point that needs to be bought up time and time again libertarians whining about the evil gubmint punishing those poor, defenseless job creators. Folks really seem to take for granted that these regulations are put in place to protect them from the excesses of corporate power.

    I might as well bring up the fact that the libertarian threads are amongst my favourite on Pharyngula. I use to be pretty naive about it and thought it was merely related to civic issues (gay marriage, abortion, etc.) so thought of it as a good thing. It was through reading these threads that I learnt of the batshit insane economic side and exposed it for the infantile, sociopathic crap it was.

  127. FilthyHuman says

    @KG

    Large-scale behavioural change in the rich countries and above all the USA, is essential

    True. Although might make it easier to get the emergent countries to start on those good habits too. The reason rich countries are in such trouble is that they did not develop good habits in the first place.

    less travel, particularly flying and private vehicle use

    I believe this may be less of a behavioral issues than an infrastructure issue. The public transport system in some places are just horrible (or non-existence). I also feel that there’s a stigma regarding the use of public transport in US (A “If you use one, you’re poor” thinking). That might require some educational push (or propaganda).

  128. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    I also feel that there’s a stigma regarding the use of public transport in US (A “If you use one, you’re poor” thinking). That might require some educational push (or propaganda).

    Which is also why, in the current political climate, slashing funding for public transportation is considered a perfectly acceptable way to fund tax cuts for the rich: Only the poor use public transportation. If there are no busses or trains, they will have to buy cars and become middle class. If we keep funding public transportation, it just enables the poor to continue being poor and dependent.

  129. FilthyHuman says

    Successful regulations have a tendency over the years, to look unneccesary. Because they work.

    Maybe in the future (or even starting now), they should start putting into the law itself the precise rationale for why the regulation exist in the first place.

  130. says

    hotshoe, Afghanistan is a very different country than America: average age in Afghanistan is 18.2, literacy rate is 28.1% (defined as age 15 and over can read and write; 43.1% male, 12.6% female), only about 3% have internet access. Not to mention poverty rates, religiosity rates, etc., all which work in the Taliban’s favor—it’s much easier to manipulate people when they don’t know anything, have very little to hope for and much to worry about. [CIA World Factbook]

    A religious coup would be extremely difficult in America, where a huge number of people are educated, support separation of church and state, and are well-organized.

    Look at the recent backlashes against the Komen foundation, and SOPA/PIPA—pissing off young educated Americans is quickly becoming the best way to lose your seat at the table. 99% of women (including 98% of Catholics) have used birth control at some point in their lives—the more the religious push these matters, the more people they will push to our side. We are finally crossing the threshold where the conflict between religion and modernity is favoring modernity.

    A religious coup here would be followed by a real revolution—they just wouldn’t have the support to maintain power. Also, I’m pretty sure that Sarah Palin and her thinly-veiled piety played a part in McCain’s defeat.

  131. abb3w says

    @141, quoderatdemonstrandum:

    Anyone have good evidence that Santorum is a young earth creationist?

    Question seconded.

    In particular, I’m looking for something to indicate specifically young earth creationist, as opposed to old-earth creationist, intelligent design creationist, or (unlikely) theistic evolutionist. My impression is that the Santorum Amendment shows his folly goes at least to ID (although in his 2005-08-04 NPR interview he backed off to something more a “teach the controversy” position), but he hasn’t been show to be OEC or YEC.

  132. anchor says

    “I just said when you have world view that elevates the Earth above man and says that we can’t take those resources because we’re going to harm the Earth — like things that are not scientifically proven like the politicization of the whole global warming debate.”

    Look who’s talking: Cheap. Lying. Scoundrel. If he consciously tried, he couldn’t inspire in me any more revulsion.

    I always register an impulse of visceral awe at the colossal irony in how ready anti-environment, anti-evolution, anti-science, denialist CHRISTIAN schmucks like him are in dissing and despoiling what is putatively ‘God’s Creation’. Whassamattayou? You brats throw tantrums because you can’t always play with YOUR toy, when anybody suggests that you are actually NOT being sufficiently careful with it and are often abusing YOUR ‘gift’? (YOUR toy belongs to YOU, does it?) You gonna whine boo-hoo from heaven after you’ve finished with it and broken your toy beyond any hope of repair? Because, like 4-year-old spoiled-rotten brats, you think YOUR TOY from Daddy God can’t be broken or harmed, because Daddy God would never ever allow that to happen? Uh…lessee, because He LOVES YOU so very very much?

    If anybody looks at an image of the Earth afloat in the vast abyss of space and they don’t personally identify themselves with that place, there’s something very wrong with them. If they think about what that planet actually is and it never crosses their minds that its a finely balanced and fragile environmental system that supports the life-cycles and functions for zillions of critically co-dependent critters in marvelous ecological intricacy, there’s something very wrong with them. It’s therefore either ignorance or stupidity. If its the former, due to a lack of education, then there’s a potential remedy. Stupidity carries the seeds of its own remedy too: extinction. It is for us to choose: do we admit to ourselves we’re woefully undereducated, or just plain stupid?

    If we do not personally identify ourselves with the planet which supports us, if we do not respect the Earth as we pretend to respect ourselves, if we do not “elevate” the environment above a hopelessly backward, idiotically medieval and petty world-view and all-around-lousy concept which places ‘Man’ above all things in the fracking universe, that hi-fallutin’ MAN crap isn’t worth piss.

    Santorum…an ignominious ignoramus such as he is a PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE? He can go find a crack somewhere to cuddle up to and leave the country and the world to serious people. As a matter of fact, considering their laughable performance thus far, the whole GOP line-up might as well throw in the towel and abort their efforts this year, based as it is on an attempt to shore up and resonate with the most pathetically lame, miserable and cynical set of attitudes the country has ever seen. How’s that for “sowing what you reap”, you disgraceful meddling corporate bastards?

  133. KG says

    FilthyHuman@148,

    Both good points. Unfortunately the rich in poor countries are just as greedy and irresponsible as the rich in rich countries. (The poor may be too, in all countries, but particularly in poor ones, they produce much lower emissions.)

    More energy won’t fix ta problem that is fundamentally “we are irresponsible with energy” – Ing

    Unfortunately, nor will energy efficiency, because you come up against the Jevons paradox.

    Contraction and Convergence at international level, and carbon rationing within countries are the way to go, but getting that agreed looks extremely unlikely, so I’m very pessimistic, because none of the technical fixes have a realistic chance of succeeding without big behavioural changes.

  134. says

    Ogvorbis, well excellently said. Another great example is the anti-vaccination movement—same exact process: efficacy of vaccination has created a false sense of safety as memories of terrible diseases fades from the popular memory.

    There is a similar problem in cases where science predicts a problem, and appropriate cautionary measures are taken such that disaster is avoided, after which people claim there was never any possibility of disaster in the first place. For instance, many people opine that H1N1 flu of 2010 was over-hyped, but you can’t really tell if it was over-hyped or not because we took such drastic precautionary measures: closing schools, aggressive vaccination, encouraging workers to call in sick if they had the slightest symptoms. Differentiating between effective prevention and false alarm is impossible from a layman’s point of view.

    I’ve been fascinated by this effect for some time, and I’ve been wondering if there is a formal name for the problem, or if anyone has studied it in detail. I’m not even sure which branch of science would cover such a phenomena.

  135. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    There is a similar problem in cases where science predicts a problem, and appropriate cautionary measures are taken such that disaster is avoided, after which people claim there was never any possibility of disaster in the first place.

    Another good example is fluorocarbons and ozone depletion. I have actually heard people say (rough translation from idiotese): “Back in the 70s they said that the aerosol was going to destroy all the ozone, so we got rid of all the aerosol cans and freon and now have to buy things ones that are more expensive and the ozone layer is just fine. Damned alarmists, making us buy expensive stuff for nothing.”

    I don’t know if there is a name for this. If there isn’t, there should be.

  136. FilthyHuman says

    How’s that for “sowing what you reap”, you disgraceful meddling corporate bastards?

    Pretty good for the corporations.
    They did make a shit-ton of money for the money spent in “Campaign Contributions”.
    Sure the “investment” this year wasn’t that good. But in every other years, they’re “Grade-A” investments (22,000% return!)!

  137. anchor says

    “Sure the “investment” this year wasn’t that good. But in every other years, they’re “Grade-A” investments (22,000% return!)!”

    So far.

    There is a principle called the law of diminishing returns, and they’re begging for it.

  138. josh117 says

    Synthetic diesel or fuel josh? Why not move to electric vehicles while you are at it. Far more efficient than using ~30% efficient electric power stations to power synthetic fuel production (which will have its own efficiencies, josh if he’s done the research on that could perhaps tell us the efficiency there) to create fuel which will be burnt at around 20% efficiency.

    Same old problems. Battery tech is still the weak point.

  139. josh117 says

    2) Even if nuclear salvation are as good as they claim; we STILL should focus on efficiency and conservation. I’m reminded of Allan Moore’s take on Swamp Thing where the character basically becomes a nature god and has a meditation on his power. Ultimately he concludes that while he’s powerful enough to fix the pollution and devastation of earth and to give humans arable land…he’s not powerful enough to prevent them from increasing their resources squandering and gluttony in response. Fixing the problems would make it worse down the line as humans stupidly compensate for risk and would get a false sense of security with their resources. It seems to be the same issue. More energy won’t fix ta problem that is fundamentally “we are irresponsible with energy”

    You’re not helping me here. You’re playing directly into the stereotype I have that you don’t actually want to fix global warming and let us have our standard of living. You are wrong. If you do the math, you will see that we cannot have our standard of living and stop global warming without a “new” carbon free energy source.

    3) It’s doable. There was an optimistic projection that with 100% everything right and govs dedicated to doing it, they could rework the power grid within 40 years to be sustainable…on the US standard of living

    Show me it. Show me the energy storage technology that will back wind and solar, or show me the new energy source tech that is on-demand.

    4) Argument from consequence. No one WANTS to lower their standard of living…but Americans especially have to face facts that this standard may never have been sustainable as the world population grows. Getting back to living within means may be necessary. Whining about how bad it wold be doesn’t make it so. No one is talking stone age here, we’re probably talking an end to SUV’s and motortopia with the US actually investing in some good public transport to reduce emissions and increase efficiency.

    Yep. You’re one of those people who think we’re “living beyond our means”. How do you know this? Why must we scale back? The key to solving overpopulation is letting everyone be as gluttonous as the US is. Malthus was wrong. Stop pretending he is right.

    5) there’s a lot of pie in the sky solutions for new tech that aren’t nuclear. I’m rather fond of the sky-hook idea that my undergrad physics professor shared. basically an orbital satellite system to collect solar radiation and beam it back down to earth for usable energy. IIRC there has been some proof of concept for wireless energy transfer even. Plus there are possibly a great other number of fun benefits to gain from a sky-hook system. I mean if we’re gonna think big and in the future, nuclear is small potatoes. Let’s think of a sky infrastructure to revolutionize energy and possibly transportation.

    I strongly object to this unwarranted insult. If you have actual objections to the plausibility of my plan, please bring them up. Either coherent specific complaints, or links to specific coherent complaints. I haven’t seen any yet.

  140. says

    Unfortunately, nor will energy efficiency, because you come up against the Jevons paradox.

    Thank you! That’s exactly what I was talking about with the Alan Moore reference. That’s a shorter explanation of the problem though.

    I presumed changes in energy usage were part of efficiency. Ie it’s more effective to use a blanket at night than a heater.

  141. josh117 says

    (I know josh’s preferred reactor produces less stuff for this than standard or fast breeder reactors. Less is not none)

    I grant you this, in some regard. I grant that the profileration game is hard to play. Too many “what ifs”. However, let me correct you that LFTR is not a matter of “less plutonium”. It’s more of the fissile fuel (U233), depending on design, is invariably contaminated with U232, which IIRC one of its immediate decay products is a huge gamma source, which makes is nigh impossible to make a bomb from it. Centrifuging it with such a low mass difference would be a huge pain, and the gamma rays would be toasting your humans and equipment on site pretty quickly. High quality explosives used in nukes would also be destroyed pretty quickly by the gamma rays; addition to the electrics as well.

    Some designs do call for protactinium separation, which can be used to get pure U233, but whether the design would allow this as it’s all happening in the hot cell is questionable. I am too ignorant to know. Still, if we’re concerned enough and the protections available are insufficient, then the physics do show that we can get away without protactinium separation and still break even on breeding fissile.

  142. says

    I strongly object to this unwarranted insult. If you have actual objections to the plausibility of my plan, please bring them up. Either coherent specific complaints, or links to specific coherent complaints. I haven’t seen any yet.

    it’s insulting that i pointed out there were other possible technological solutions? What the fuck is wrong with you

    Yep. You’re one of those people who think we’re “living beyond our means”. How do you know this? Why must we scale back?

    Um the US uses how much resources compared to it’s % of world population? I wasn’t aware this was heavily disputed that we take more than our fare share.

    You’re not helping me here. You’re playing directly into the stereotype I have that you don’t actually want to fix global warming and let us have our standard of living.

    I want to fix global warming by starting to reduce trends in emissions and energy waste NOW, not in the next generation. Somebody Else’s Problem was what got us into the mess. You keep harping on standard of living? You really would prefer that we have fleet of gas guzzlers on the road when we can have public transport? It’s a horrible idea to get a good cheap quick way to move people?

  143. says

    FilthyHuman,

    Although might make it easier to get the emergent countries to start on those good habits too

    This is key to understanding why Copenhagen failed. As long as the industrialised countries, above all the United States, don’t make credible efforts to change their consumption habits, China and India, from national pride and the experiences of colonialism/imperialism alone, will never budge in these climate negotiations.

  144. josh117 says

    Unfortunately, nor will energy efficiency, because you come up against the Jevons paradox.

    Again more Malthus crap. (Yes, I know it’s not specifically Malthus. But it’s the same idea.) Jenova is wrong on the universal claim. The key is to get people rich enough so they start having less kids. That’s the only (moral) way out that I know of.

    Contraction and Convergence at international level, and carbon rationing within countries are the way to go, but getting that agreed looks extremely unlikely, so I’m very pessimistic, because none of the technical fixes have a realistic chance of succeeding without big behavioural changes.

    Counterexample – nuclear.

  145. says

    Again more Malthus crap. (Yes, I know it’s not specifically Malthus. But it’s the same idea.) Jenova is wrong on the universal claim. The key is to get people rich enough so they start having less kids. That’s the only (moral) way out that I know of.

    it’s not wrong just because you say it’s wrong. This is an observed phenomena. It seems to happen on multiple levels as part of the mind’s innumeracy. See also risk compensation or people’s ‘diet math’.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risk_compensation

  146. says

    Also if I may snark, if Joshy here is a tech jocky, presuming his attitude is standard issue to his field, that does explain why so many interfaces don’t seem to care at all about what the user would find continent.

  147. says

    Yep. You’re one of those people who think we’re “living beyond our means”. How do you know this? Why must we scale back? The key to solving overpopulation is letting everyone be as gluttonous as the US is.

    Please tell me you’re joking here. Seriously.

  148. josh117 says

    I strongly object to this unwarranted insult. If you have actual objections to the plausibility of my plan, please bring them up. Either coherent specific complaints, or links to specific coherent complaints. I haven’t seen any yet.

    it’s insulting that i pointed out there were other possible technological solutions? What the fuck is wrong with you

    Oh wait, you were serious? You actually think any plan that involves putting solar panels into orbit to power the Earth is cost effective? Let me laugh harder. You need some basic engineering classes before you can continue taking part in this discussion. Putting something into orbit has an insanely high cost. I’m not joking when I say I’d have to do the math to check whether hamsters in wheels could be cost competitive.

    (I assumed it was ridicule because you used the Dennett term “sky-hook”, which I assumed was being used derisively.)

  149. says

    Counterexample – nuclear.

    Forgive me but I havn’t seen you address the criticism of the energy that goes into GETTING nuclear fuel sources. Mining and all that.

  150. josh117 says

    Yep. You’re one of those people who think we’re “living beyond our means”. How do you know this? Why must we scale back? The key to solving overpopulation is letting everyone be as gluttonous as the US is.

    Please tell me you’re joking here. Seriously.

    Gluttonous might have been the wrong work. Standard of living is a better word. Security and knowledge that you have sufficient food stuffs, that you have basic conveniences, etc. We need to give this to everyone, and that requires cheap energy. We don’t need to move the US back on energy consumption. We need to move everyone else to US levels of energy consumption if we want to solve for overpopulation. Again, Malthus is wrong. The data clearly indicates that as the country gets richer and better standard of living, they have less kids.

    This is the only moral way I know of to fix this problem. The alternative is to make Africa’s et. al. standard of living less, resulting in more death from starvation. Is that what you want?

  151. says

    Oh wait, you were serious? You actually think any plan that involves putting solar panels into orbit to power the Earth is cost effective? Let me laugh harder. You need some basic engineering classes before you can continue taking part in this discussion. Putting something into orbit has an insanely high cost. I’m not joking when I say I’d have to do the math to check whether hamsters in wheels could be cost competitive.

    The idea was presented by a folk at NASA so I gave it some credence.

    Actually I don’t think his idea was a skyhook just a satellite system, since the idea didn’t need a tether to transfer energy.

  152. says

    The data clearly indicates that as the country gets richer and better standard of living, they have less kids.

    That doesn’t address their actual resource foot print! USers use a lot of resources even with the lower birth rate.

  153. says

    This is the only moral way I know of to fix this problem. The alternative is to make Africa’s et. al. standard of living less, resulting in more death from starvation. Is that what you want?

    You’re a fucking idiot who has no idea about how or why people act.

  154. josh117 says

    Quoting
    http://yubanet.com/scitech/The-world-can-be-powered-by-alternative-energy-using-today-s-technology-in-20-40-years.php

    Jacobson said that the variability can be overcome.

    “The most important thing is to combine renewable energy sources into a bundle,” he said. “If you combine them as one commodity and use hydroelectric to fill in gaps, it is a lot easier to match demand.”

    Wind and solar are complementary, Jacobson said, as wind often peaks at night and sunlight peaks during the day. Using hydroelectric power to fill in the gaps, as it does in our current infrastructure, allows demand to be precisely met by supply in most cases. Other renewable sources such as geothermal and tidal power can also be used to supplement the power from wind and solar sources.

    This is a pipedream. If you look at the actual wind data, as I have, this is simply not true. Goddamnit, why is this lie perpetuated? He has actually looked at the data? Wishing for it to be true will not make it true. Specifically “Wind and solar are complementary, Jacobson said, as wind often peaks at night and sunlight peaks during the day.” is just wishful thinking contrary to all of the known evidence.

  155. says

    Furthermore the lower birth rate would be a lagging effect. You still have a sharp increase in resource consumption before a die down…or die out.

    You could also get a bit of a birth boom before it tapers off because of culture lagging behind ecology. Medicine and nutrition mean more children survive, but families are still in the paradigm of producing more children as if they were living in substinance standards. If the culture refuses to change because they heavily locked in value to large families as signs of prestige or wealth you’re utterly fucked. Which is what’s happening in some parts of the world right now.

  156. says

    This is a pipedream. If you look at the actual wind data, as I have, this is simply not true. Goddamnit, why is this lie perpetuated? He has actually looked at the data? Wishing for it to be true will not make it true. Specifically “Wind and solar are complementary, Jacobson said, as wind often peaks at night and sunlight peaks during the day.” is just wishful thinking contrary to all of the known evidence.

    And it’s different from your pipe dream!?

    You do not just saying it’s false doesn’t make it so. If you want to site some other sources go ahead. That’s how we do it in the science world, code monkey

  157. says

    This is the only moral way I know of to fix this problem. The alternative is to make Africa’s et. al. standard of living less, resulting in more death from starvation. Is that what you want?

    Okay, you weren’t joking. You’re just stupid. My bad.

  158. says

    May I remind you that you’ve put all your eggs in a technology, that’s not even demonstrated! And you’re yelling at everyone who says that we should hedge our bets and do what we know will work in smaller ways? What are you going to say if the Thorium reactor turns out to have unexpected down sides or just isn’t practical!?

  159. josh117 says

    Josh are you seriously insisting that we must not sacrifice a single SUV or else we lower our standard of living?

    I’m all for electric cars if they’re doable. I’m all for standard of living reductions if required. I don’t think you understand just how ineffective a plan you are proposing. See else-thread for Denmark on how just a bad an idea this is. You’re going to increase CO2 emissions from the additional natural gas plants, make electricity cost more, and delay us from getting to an actual solution.

    I know I said elsewhere that we should try to ignore “what will happen” in policy discussions, and I’m about to violate that here, so sorry in advance. While I think nuclear has a strong hurdle to overcome in public sentiment, telling people they can’t have refigerators or heating during the night is going to be a bigger hurdle.

  160. josh117 says

    May I remind you that you’ve put all your eggs in a technology, that’s not even demonstrated! And you’re yelling at everyone who says that we should hedge our bets and do what we know will work in smaller ways? What are you going to say if the Thorium reactor turns out to have unexpected down sides or just isn’t practical!?

    Nowhere have I said that we should stop research into other things. I have said numerous times we should continue research into other things. I have been claiming that with the tech as is, nuclear is our best and only option, and thus we should start building the prototypes, and proceed with rollout asap.

  161. says

    This is the only moral way I know of to fix this problem. The alternative is to make Africa’s et. al. standard of living less, resulting in more death from starvation.

    This is an excluded middle fallacy.

    The US uses far more energy than required. Ing’s talk of SUVs as basic transportation is just one example. Many folks I know keep their houses heated to 75 degrees in the winter, and cooled to 68 in the summer. We eat foods that have been centrally processed and shipped all over the country rather than choosing regional foods. We insist on using our SUV basic transportation to run to the store for our six-pack of beer. We tend to live many miles from where we work.

    And so on.

    There is much we could do to reduce the amount of energy we consume, without starving.

  162. says

    @Josh

    I’m done with you. You either an idiot or trolling. I responded respectfully and wasn’t against you and you took it as an insult and insulted me. You’re opinion is worthless and you won’t back up actual honest problems people have with the technology. You’re dishonest, rude, and seemingly socially ignorant.

  163. says

    @Josh

    Oh please. You’ve done nothing but attack people for daring to suggest that we do something else because it might cut into an undefined standard of living. You ignored my comments about not being anti-nuclear and optimistic of the new technologies and just insulted me for it. It’s pathetic and this is the last comment.

  164. josh117 says

    it’s not wrong just because you say it’s wrong. This is an observed phenomena. It seems to happen on multiple levels as part of the mind’s innumeracy. See also risk compensation or people’s ‘diet math’.

    I suggest you look at the actual evidence.

    http://www.indexmundi.com/g/correlation.aspx?v1=67&v2=31&y=2004
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sub-replacement_fertility
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/43/TFR_vs_PPP_2009.svg/220px-TFR_vs_PPP_2009.svg.png

  165. josh117 says

    There is much we could do to reduce the amount of energy we consume, without starving.

    But not enough to solve for global warming on wind and solar!

  166. says

    What is it with engineers thinking they’re an expert in other fields?

    Moving on, is there anyone sane here who wants to talk about energy? Anyone with advice on things one can do to lower their energy usage (and bill)

  167. josh117 says

    Forgive me but I havn’t seen you address the criticism of the energy that goes into GETTING nuclear fuel sources. Mining and all that.

    All the thorium we would need will come from the byproduct of rare earth metal mining, from a single mine. Thorium is more or less free for the purposes of this discussion. The expense is all in the reactor itself, handling of the wastes afterwards, reprocessing, and decommissioning the plants.

  168. SallyStrange: bottom-feeding, work-shy peasant says

    Investors disagree with josh about the “un-implementable” nature of solar, wind, smart grid, and energy storage technologies. Despite the recession, investment in these alternative energy industries grew steadily during the last half of 2011 and is projected to increase its growth rate during 2012. The US has 25 gigawatts of solar production installations in the pipeline, and not just in California either. Admittedly, this is tiny compared to overall energy consumption, but it does make it clear that anyone who claims that commercial solar installations are unfeasible is either ignorant or lying.

    I agree that josh is probably not all that bright. Look here:

    So, you’re going to use Ad Hominem. Call me a Ron Paul fanboy even though I think he’s a retard, and libertarianism is completely intellectually bunk. Perhaps, instead can we have a discussion about how we’re going to end global warming and preferably maintain something like our current energy consumption patterns?

    That was in response to this:

    I’m sure some Ron Paulites will be fascinated by your simplistic intellectual posturing.

    Anyone with half a brain can see that I never accused him of being a Ron Paul fanboy. I merely noted that his simplistic intellectual posturing would be impressive to someone who was.

    josh has done nothing but discredit his pet technology in this thread. If the type of reactors he is promoting really are a potential silver bullet for our energy problems, it isn’t evident from josh’s reactive and mostly evidence-free posts here.

  169. says

    But not enough to solve for global warming on wind and solar!

    Nope. Not worth talking to. I’ve seen that mindset sooooo many times before.
    .
    *Yawn*

  170. says

    But not enough to solve for global warming on wind and solar!

    Maybe so, but stop pretending that reducing the energy consumption of the average westerner wouldn’t be helpful in making our world a sustainable one to live in.

  171. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    There is much we could do to reduce the amount of energy we consume, without starving.

    But not enough to solve for global warming on wind and solar!

    I think that you, Josh, are the only one here arguing for a single point solution. Yes, damnit, nuclear energy should certainly be a part of the solution if certain difficulties (engineering, environmental, and societal) can be dealt with. Solar and wind certainly have their place. As do geothermal (limited), tidal, and, if we are willing to kill our rivers, hydroelectric. Energy efficiency is also a part of the short and long term solution. As are other possible energy sources which have been touched on in this thread.

    Again, you seem to be the only one arguing for a single point solution. Which may well work. Maybe in 20 years. Maybe in 70. The point that others have been making, which you have been dismissing, is that a realistic solution will require expansion and contraction in lots of different areas, both on the production and consumption side. To argue for one, and only one, solution, using starving African strawmen, is disingenuous.

  172. josh117 says

    Admittedly, this is tiny compared to overall energy consumption, but it does make it clear that anyone who claims that commercial solar installations are unfeasible is either ignorant or lying.

    You’re not listening. The problem is not the cost of the wind turbines or the solar panels. It’s storing it for the windless nights, etc. The wind turbines and the solar panels could be free, and it will still be too expensive. Please try to actually read my points, and address them.

    josh has done nothing but discredit his pet technology in this thread. If the type of reactors he is promoting really are a potential silver bullet for our energy problems, it isn’t evident from josh’s reactive and mostly evidence-free posts here.

    I bet I’ve done more linking to evidence than everyone else in this thread put together. Let me go count. A quick glance shows it to be about the same number of citations and links from me as everyone else in the thread.

    I’m not really sorry that I’m getting annoyed by people who blithely ignore reality and refuse to answer my points. I’ve had at least 3 people now not read the whole thing, come in, and say the same thing, without answering how to store it in the night. I’m now in the process of regathering my links to evidence that wind is too intermittent to rely on.

  173. says

    Szin @116,

    you don’t seem to understand the situation of minorities at all. Do you think it is LGBT people (BTW, don’t use “homosexual” as a noun) voting Republican? How moronic is that?

    Especially in a first past the post voting system, it is always very important to safeguard the rights of minorities. In the US, the Supreme Court has had the role, and in the UK, the famous “unwritten constitutional practice.

    Also, what Sally said.

  174. josh117 says

    The point that others have been making, which you have been dismissing, is that a realistic solution will require expansion and contraction in lots of different areas, both on the production and consumption side. To argue for one, and only one, solution, using starving African strawmen, is disingenuous.

    They have not presented a solution. They have presented a rather expensive and environmentally unfriendly way to get 20% of baseload, and one that they’ve lulled themselves into the false sense of security as though it’s going to make a damn difference.

  175. josh117 says

    Nope. Not worth talking to. I’ve seen that mindset sooooo many times before.
    .
    *Yawn*

    Please prove me wrong. Show me the links of the actual good studies with evidence that show whatever plan can work. I will change my mind when shown. I’m currently in the process of refinding the links that show the opposite.

  176. josh117 says

    Maybe so, but stop pretending that reducing the energy consumption of the average westerner wouldn’t be helpful in making our world a sustainable one to live in.

    Again, that may be useful. It is not a solution. It is not an alternative to nuclear. It is a little cherry on top in terms of the policy problems.

  177. SallyStrange: bottom-feeding, work-shy peasant says

    Yep. You’re one of those people who think we’re “living beyond our means”. How do you know this? Why must we scale back? The key to solving overpopulation is letting everyone be as gluttonous as the US is.

    Sure, no problem… we just need four more planet to mine for resources.

    Malthus was wrong. Stop pretending he is right.

    Bullshit. You know who else thinks that Malthus was wrong? Libertarians. Ron Paul fanboys. Singularitarians. (Is that a word?) In other words, stupid people who have pie-in-the-sky fantasies about silver bullet technologies. People who don’t realize that the green revolution had an unsustainable rate of production increase. The earth is finite. Ecological laws are real. Technology will not save us forever. If you’d care to convince anyone otherwise, as noted before, you have to do more than simply assert that Malthus was wrong.

  178. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    They have not presented a solution. They have presented a rather expensive and environmentally unfriendly way to get 20% of baseload, and one that they’ve lulled themselves into the false sense of security as though it’s going to make a damn difference.

    You really are wedded to your one, very specific, solution which will solve all of our ills, aren’t you? From my study of history, I have learned to be very, very, very wary of those who demand that they have the one and only solution.

  179. josh117 says

    And it’s different from your pipe dream!?

    I will gladly reconsider if you present any credible sources that demonstrate my idea is a pipedream. I’ve been looking on and off for years, and I haven’t found it yet. I actually challenge my own ideas.

    You do not just saying it’s false doesn’t make it so. If you want to site some other sources go ahead. That’s how we do it in the science world, code monkey

    Offhand, here we go. I’ll try to find some more stuff later. I really ought to get back to work.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/6957501/Wind-farms-produced-practically-no-electricity-during-Britains-cold-snap.html

    http://energyfromthorium.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=36028&sid=70d3b3333ed1afce166cf74bfe1807dd#p35952

  180. josh117 says

    You really are wedded to your one, very specific, solution which will solve all of our ills, aren’t you? From my study of history, I have learned to be very, very, very wary of those who demand that they have the one and only solution.

    Again, I am for continuing research into all promising alternatives. It would be great if we reduced the cost of sulfur-sodium batteries by 10x or 100x. We might actually be able to use solar and wind then. I am also for implementing the best solution we have now, and that’s nuclear AFAIK.

  181. SallyStrange: bottom-feeding, work-shy peasant says

    Again, that may be useful. It is not a solution. It is not an alternative to nuclear. It is a little cherry on top in terms of the policy problems.

    You acknowledged that there is no energy resource that parallels oil for energy storage density. The logical conclusion from that is that there is no single point solution. You admitted that this is true, but now you appear to have backtracked. Can you even maintain a consistent position? Can you absorb new information and hang onto that new information, or does it all go flying out of your head once you read one of your trigger words (“Greenpeace!” “Standard of living!”)?

    You are the one holding up the single-point solution as the default approach. So far, you have not explained why you think this is feasible. You vacillate between admitting that it may not be feasible and asserting that it is, but so far you’ve offered no evidence in support of your bald assertion.

    In addition, you appear to be asserting that the solution to our energy problems is to increase per capita energy consumption (“make everybody as gluttonous as Americans”). That simply defies logic. Like I said, you exemplify the engineering/code monkey aversion to systemic analysis. The onus is on you to demonstrate that this is not true. I don’t take you seriously. I just can’t, after this bit of jarring idiocy. If you want people to take LFTR reactor technology seriously, the best thing you could possibly do at this point is shut up about it.

  182. josh117 says

    Yep. You’re one of those people who think we’re “living beyond our means”. How do you know this? Why must we scale back? The key to solving overpopulation is letting everyone be as gluttonous as the US is.

    Sure, no problem… we just need four more planet to mine for resources.

    The only way out I see is to reduce the world’s population, and you do that by making everyone richer, more secure, and wealthier. IIRC, a lot of western industrialized countries already have negative population growths if you factor out immigration. We’re getting there. Just need to do a little more.

  183. josh117 says

    Again, that may be useful. It is not a solution. It is not an alternative to nuclear. It is a little cherry on top in terms of the policy problems.

    You acknowledged that there is no energy resource that parallels oil for energy storage density. The logical conclusion from that is that there is no single point solution. You admitted that this is true, but now you appear to have backtracked. Can you even maintain a consistent position? Can you absorb new information and hang onto that new information, or does it all go flying out of your head once you read one of your trigger words (“Greenpeace!” “Standard of living!”)?

    I admitted very clearly that multiple techs are probably required for all human usage of energy. In that same post, I also clearly spelled out that it’s quite plausible that only one solution is needed for the grid, nuclear. See post 131.

    You are the one holding up the single-point solution as the default approach. So far, you have not explained why you think this is feasible. You vacillate between admitting that it may not be feasible and asserting that it is, but so far you’ve offered no evidence in support of your bald assertion.

    I think a single point solution for powering the electric grid is more than plausible. You make enough nuclear reactors, and voila, grid is powered. Do you want citations that nuclear power plants work?

    In addition, you appear to be asserting that the solution to our energy problems is to increase per capita energy consumption (“make everybody as gluttonous as Americans”). That simply defies logic. Like I said, you exemplify the engineering/code monkey aversion to systemic analysis. The onus is on you to demonstrate that this is not true. I don’t take you seriously. I just can’t, after this bit of jarring idiocy. If you want people to take LFTR reactor technology seriously, the best thing you could possibly do at this point is shut up about it.

    Sometimes reality is counterintuitive. The solution to overpopulation, short of killing people, forced sterilization, or other evil, is to make them richer. Reproducing citations here:
    http://www.indexmundi.com/g/correlation.aspx?v1=67&v2=31&y=2004
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sub-replacement_fertility
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/43/TFR_vs_PPP_2009.svg/720px-TFR_vs_PPP_2009.svg.png

    I’m sorry that you find reality counterintuitive. To be fair, what exactly is your plan to solve for overpopulation? Promote condom use and hope?

  184. SallyStrange: bottom-feeding, work-shy peasant says

    http://www.indexmundi.com/g/correlation.aspx?v1=67&v2=31&y=2004

    GDP is a poor measure of a country’s wealth, let alone its ecological integrity. Yes, as GDP increases, the birth rate falls, but per capita energy consumption also increases. If the increase in per capita energy consumption equals or outdoes the decrease in the birth rate then we are right back where we started.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sub-replacement_fertility

    Ditto.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/43/TFR_vs_PPP_2009.svg/720px-TFR_vs_PPP_2009.svg.png

    Ditto.

    Americans are 5% of the population but consume 25% of the world’s resources. Hence my comment about the four extra planets. In order to make American-style consumption possible for the entire world, without changing our standard of living, we’d need to decrease the world population by 80%. This goes beyond oil vs. nuclear, we’re also talking about total arable land, availability of fresh water, global fisheries, mineral resources, overall ecological integrity. Which, as I mentioned, GDP does a terrible job of measuring.

    Fail. Your move, code monkey.

  185. says

    I’m sorry that you find reality counterintuitive. To be fair, what exactly is your plan to solve for overpopulation? Promote condom use and hope?

    Stop acting like a jerk. We all agree that at some point an increase in wealth in developing nations will lead to a reduction in population growth, however even with a global population half the size of what it is now consuming energy and resources at the rate of the US, we’d be stripping our planet bare before you can say ‘oops, we fucked up again’.

  186. josh117 says

    Stop acting like a jerk.

    Then stop strawmanning me. I specifically mentioned multiple energy solutions are required, but the grid may potentially only need one. This was argued in one post. This is the same post you cited. Thus, you have blinders on, a rather selective reading.

    We all agree that at some point an increase in wealth in developing nations will lead to a reduction in population growth, however even with a global population half the size of what it is now consuming energy and resources at the rate of the US, we’d be stripping our planet bare before you can say ‘oops, we fucked up again’.

    Who said I want to stop at 1/2?

    And who says I care if we’re stripping our planet bare except for the repercussions it has on intelligent creatures, now and in the future? I believe my plan is the best bet we have to conserve our resources, reduce hunger, overpopulation, solve for world peace, lower religiousity. (joke)And it’ll even give a free pony to every girl on the planet (/joke).

    My plan sucks. Do you know of a plan that sucks less?

  187. josh117 says

    Americans are 5% of the population but consume 25% of the world’s resources. Hence my comment about the four extra planets. In order to make American-style consumption possible for the entire world, without changing our standard of living, we’d need to decrease the world population by 80%. This goes beyond oil vs. nuclear, we’re also talking about total arable land, availability of fresh water, global fisheries, mineral resources, overall ecological integrity. Which, as I mentioned, GDP does a terrible job of measuring.

    Fail. Your move, code monkey.

    “decrease the world population by 80%” I don’t see a problem with this. Do you see a problem with this?

  188. says

    “decrease the world population by 80%” I don’t see a problem with this. Do you see a problem with this

    You willing to volunteer to be part of the 80%?

  189. SallyStrange: bottom-feeding, work-shy peasant says

    I’m sorry that you find reality counterintuitive.

    That’s yourself you’re talking about there.

    To be fair, what exactly is your plan to solve for overpopulation? Promote condom use and hope?

    I also support increasing the standard of all living for all people. I just realize that it’s foolish to think that the current wasteful American standard is the one to aspire to.

  190. Therrin says

    “decrease the world population by 80%” I don’t see a problem with this. Do you see a problem with this?

    Hey josh, I gots a nifty moonbase fer sale, currently occupied by one like-minded genocidal aussie. Interested?

  191. says

    josh:

    But not enough to solve for global warming on wind and solar!

    Jesusfuck, but you’re still beating the extremes, and excluding the middle.

    I never claimed it was the total solution, did I? I mentioned that you were engaging in the fallacy of the excluded middle. Which you were, and still are. I wrongly retracted that when I saw that you had made a comment about being willing to reduce your quality of life a little bit, if necessary.

    Now I see you’re still just as binary as you seemed. It’s either your way, or no way. And since you’re not entirely clear on what your way is (though it seems to be, “install nuclear plants all over the place and make everyone as grossly overconsuming as the US”), it makes it rather difficult to discuss this with you.

    Magic Nuclear Tech is not going to save us. It’s not good enough right now. It probably won’t be for many, many years. Meanwhile, we’re shortening the number of years we have left by burning through fossil fuels like we can just dig it up from the ground. While we’re waiting for your Magic Tech to save us all, we’re fucking up the world as fast and hard as we can.

    So, why not try to buy us a few more decades by not fucking consuming so much?

    All I was saying was that we don’t have to starve to do so.

  192. says

    Thank you nigel, for expressing exactly what I wanted to get across to josh…

    I actually no longer think he’s a corporate shill, because the more I read about LFTR, the more it becomes clear that it is still far from viability and nowadays it’s mostly connected to one person (Sorensen) pushing it through that website josh keeps linking to obsessively…

    Mind you, if Sorensen’s idea succeeds, more power to him (though there are some environmental concerns with LFTR that needs to be addressed first), but we can’t wait decades for his idea to come to fruition.

  193. josh117 says

    I never claimed it was the total solution, did I? I mentioned that you were engaging in the fallacy of the excluded middle. Which you were, and still are. I wrongly retracted that when I saw that you had made a comment about being willing to reduce your quality of life a little bit, if necessary.

    I’m willing to reduce quality of life. I apologize if this part of my argument wasn’t clear: no matter how much you reduce quality of life, solar and wind will not cut on it their own. You need to “support” them with nuclear, gas, coal, etc. By support, I mean provide the majority of the electricity from alternate sources.

    In addition, even if you improve consumption side efficiency, again solar and wind will be insufficient on their own.

    The fact remains that sufficient energy storage technology is not here AFAIK. Please point me towards something to show me wrong.

    Now I see you’re still just as binary as you seemed. It’s either your way, or no way. And since you’re not entirely clear on what your way is (though it seems to be, “install nuclear plants all over the place and make everyone as grossly overconsuming as the US”), it makes it rather difficult to discuss this with you.

    I’m not the one making the rules. Physics is. Where are your alternate proposals? Again, my plan sucks, but it’s the best plan I know.

    Magic Nuclear Tech is not going to save us. It’s not good enough right now. It probably won’t be for many, many years. Meanwhile, we’re shortening the number of years we have left by burning through fossil fuels like we can just dig it up from the ground. While we’re waiting for your Magic Tech to save us all, we’re fucking up the world as fast and hard as we can.

    Citations. This is simply wrong. Our light water reactor technology is enough, at a higher cost yes. If people like you stopped obstructing and delaying their construction, they might get a little cheaper. You are flagrantly wrong here. I fully agree that we’re wasting what little time we have, which is why we need to start building nukes now.

    To head off a comment I see coming, the waste produced by conventional light water reactors can be burned in several of the new reactors proposed, including IFR and LFTR. And reprocessing can greatly reduce the volume of waste as well. Yes this kind of reprocessing is a profileration risk, but compared to the alternatives I’m sure we could cook up some sort of international treaty that would not let other people get nuclear bombs.

    So, why not try to buy us a few more decades by not fucking consuming so much?

    I’m fully ok with this. I’ve said this many times now. I’ve also said that this is not a replacement, but merely a supplement, to an actual energy policy.

  194. josh117 says

    You willing to volunteer to be part of the 80%?

    I hope through better standards of living, better governance and better security, through promotion of family planning and contraceptive use, and maybe even something like China’s one child policy, we will be able to reduce population to numbers like that through attrition from death by natural causes.

    Again, do you have an alternate proposal? I see a lot of attacking of me going on, but not alternative proposal. What I have seen in this thread is a bunch of stuff claiming to be a proposal, and one or two actual proposals that rely on wind patterns that are simply untrue. I have provided citations to this effect else-thread.

  195. josh117 says

    I also support increasing the standard of all living for all people. I just realize that it’s foolish to think that the current wasteful American standard is the one to aspire to.

    You didn’t answer my question. What is your plan?

    And I didn’t mean literally the American standard. It was used as a ballpark. I did mention that “gluttonous” is a wrong word. We need a high enough standard of living to lower birth rates, and we also like a high standard of living for everyone for moral reasons too.

  196. says

    Then stop strawmanning me. I specifically mentioned multiple energy solutions are required, but the grid may potentially only need one.

    I’m strawmanning you? What? I could point to you strawmanning others (like saying some here would wish us to return to the dark ages), but when exactly did I strawman you. I have merely expressed that I disagree with your dismissal of wind and solar power as ‘a little cherry on top’ and that I find your desire to keep consumption rates in the US unchanged (and your suggestion that the rest of the world should follow its example) ridiculous.

  197. josh117 says

    I actually no longer think he’s a corporate shill, because the more I read about LFTR, the more it becomes clear that it is still far from viability and nowadays it’s mostly connected to one person (Sorensen) pushing it through that website josh keeps linking to obsessively…

    Can you share some of those links please that show LFTR will not work? I’ve been looking for them for the longest time, and I never find any legit ones. With full funding, 10-15 years until we start mass producing modular plants is within the realm of plausibility.

    Mind you, if Sorensen’s idea succeeds, more power to him (though there are some environmental concerns with LFTR that needs to be addressed first), but we can’t wait decades for his idea to come to fruition.

    What is your alternative proposal? Wind and solar will not work as is due to lack of current energy storage tech.

  198. says

    I should have refreshed the page before I commented. I see you’ve explained your position on the things I mentioned more fully and while I, after reading this, no longer disagree as violently as I did before you explained yourself, I do think you should have made yourself a bit more clear to start with.

  199. says

    josh,

    I’m no longer interested in talking to you. You have obsessively derailed a topic which was about Santorum’s ideas about science to one about your pet solution to all problems of humankind.

    A reasonable person would have posted once, or twice: “look at this technology, it might give us another option”.

    It’s SIWOTI than anything else that keeps people from ignoring you completely, because any objective observer can see that you are delusional troll obsessed with THE ONE TRUE technology to end all technologies…

  200. says

    Thank you nigel, for expressing exactly what EVERYONE wanted to get across to josh…

    FTFY

    Not that it[‘ll work. He’s killfiled now but I think I can follow the conversation from just one end he’s so one note

  201. josh117 says

    I’m strawmanning you? What? I could point to you strawmanning others (like saying some here would wish us to return to the dark ages), but when exactly did I strawman you.

    Ack, my apologies. I didn’t follow the quote chain back correctly.

    I have merely expressed that I disagree with your dismissal of wind and solar power as ‘a little cherry on top’

    Citations reproduced here. Tell me if you want more or first-hand published studies.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/6957501/Wind-farms-produced-practically-no-electricity-during-Britains-cold-snap.html

    http://energyfromthorium.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=36028&sid=70d3b3333ed1afce166cf74bfe1807dd#p35952

    and that I find your desire to keep consumption rates in the US unchanged (and your suggestion that the rest of the world should follow its example) ridiculous.

    Do you think my plan will not work in the long run to solve for world peace (somewhat), energy security, global warming, and overpopulation? What is your alternate proposal?

  202. John Morales says

    Josh @224, I do not think ‘viability’ means what you apparently think it means.

    Wind and solar will not work as is due to lack of current energy storage tech.

    One example: Pump water into storage so as to accrue potential gravitational energy, release it upon need.

    (Well, yeah, that works, but is it viable? ;) )

  203. josh117 says

    A reasonable person would have posted once, or twice: “look at this technology, it might give us another option”.

    A topicality argument now? Really? I am willing to let this die if you are, but this is the most pathetic excuse I have seen in a while. That’s all I did, until you asked if I was a Poe in post 47. I have henceforth been defending my position, while occasionally going into less than formally nice rhetoric. For some of that, I apologize.

    Still, fuck you.

  204. says

    @Pentaomid

    No you were right before hand. His clarification is clearly back peddling. If you see his response to me, I have basically the position he now claims to have and he attacked me over it.

  205. josh117 says

    Josh @224, I do not think ‘viability’ means what you apparently think it means.

    Wind and solar will not work as is due to lack of current energy storage tech.

    One example: Pump water into storage so as to accrue potential gravitational energy, release it upon need.

    (Well, yeah, that works, but is it viable? ;) )

    Perhaps, yes. You mean to say “viable” means “may work in the future with unspecified advances in technology?”. Pumped storage seems unlikely to meet that critereon. See “do-the-math” links else-thread. Sodium-sulfur batteries look to be the most promising of what I know, but I am rather ignorant on the subject.

  206. josh117 says

    I should have refreshed the page before I commented. I see you’ve explained your position on the things I mentioned more fully and while I, after reading this, no longer disagree as violently as I did before you explained yourself, I do think you should have made yourself a bit more clear to start with.

    I didn’t quite realize the positions of everyone else, and I did intend to only pop in and say “Yo guys, look at nuclear. It’s awesome.” I lost sight of that and derailed the thread, yes.

    I do think this thread was very useful. I didn’t quite realize that so many apparently reasonable people were opposed to cheap energy. My silly Republican friend claimed this, and I thought “no way”. I will have to apologize to him.

    If I could do this over, I would probably have said:

    Solar and wind cannot provide the necessary electricity for the grid. The energy storage problems are not there. (Citations) Some people claim that if you bundle them together with a smart grid, then it will work out. The evidence is clearly against this for the wind patterns. (Citations) It remains the simple fact that no amount of increase of efficiency of solar cells and wind turbines, and no amount of increase of consumer efficiency, can make solar and wind provide the necessary continuous power to the grid.

    Nuclear is safer, greener, and potentially cheaper with a little investment than solar and wind.

    Malthus is wrong. People when given large amounts of resources in fact do not overpopulate. The populations actually shrink. The only moral and workable path I see to fixing overpopulation is to raise people out of poverty. One required key to this is cheap electricity.

    If you have any legit citations to prove this wrong, please provide them.

  207. says

    OK, since you asked, I thought you were a Poe because you wrote:

    It has the added benefit of making energy cheaper, which will raise the standard of living, which will likely make people less religious. It also has the added benefit of lowering birth rates, helping overpopulation as well. It’s win-win all around.

    Since you have demonstrated bad communication skills all over this thread, I would probably need to explain to you that most people associate nuclear fission with radiation which can lead to lower birth rates through sterilisation. A better communicator would probably have phrased it differently, in order to avoid giving this impression.

    However, due to your obsessive derailing, I understood quite quickly that you weren’t a Poe at all….

  208. josh117 says

    I’m sorry that you immediately assumed the hysteria of nuclear power, and buy in to Malthus despite the overwhelming amount of evidence to the contrary.

  209. josh117 says

    However, due to your obsessive derailing, I understood quite quickly that you weren’t a Poe at all….

    I have been merely replying. As have you. We both derailed it. Had you posted nothing further, nor would I. This remains true now.

  210. slc1 says

    Re josh117

    May I suggest that, in addition to developing more efficient nuclear power plants, we should consider phasing out coal burning power plants in favor of natural gas. The amount of carbon produced by burning natural gas is 1/2 that produced by burning coal for the same mega-wattage generated. There is currently a surplus of natural gas, even from conventional drilling sources and a massive amount available through fracking. I am aware of the environmental problems with fracking but that’s something we should be working on.

  211. John Morales says

    [OT]

    You mean to say “viable” means “may work in the future with unspecified advances in technology?”

    No, I mean to say that ‘viable’ means capable of being done with means at hand and circumstances as they are.

    (That includes political circumstances)

  212. says

    Can you share some of those links please that show LFTR will not work?

    Can you point to the links that show that it works? I mean, instead of ones that gloss over the current technical difficulties?

    I’ve been looking for them for the longest time, and I never find any legit ones. With full funding, 10-15 years until we start mass producing modular plants is within the realm of plausibility.

    Y’know, I remember people saying exactly the same kinds of things about fusion, and about string theory, and about quantum computing. Not long before I got into computers (a long time ago), they said the same thing about hard AI. “It’s just a technical problem at this point. We can solve it in 10 years, easy, as long as you give us lots of money.”

    Sorry if I’ve seen that show too many times to find it a reasonable argument. What you predict to be viable in the future is, at best, a poor prediction and at worst, a pipe dream.

    And I’ll get behind expanding conventional nuclear production once you’ve demonstrated a decent waste disposal system. Otherwise you’re just moving the fucking up of the planet from global warming to radiation pollution.

  213. tim rowledge, Ersatz Haderach says

    What is it with engineers thinking they’re an expert in other fields?

    Uh, narrower brush please. Or perhaps a *much* wider brush- we see far too much of the ‘expert x-ist publishes report on y’ to really be able to single out engineers. Or biologists.

    Some engineers also have qualifications and experience in other fields.
    Some engineers understand about not being expert at all subjects.
    Some manage both.

    Besides, code-monkey is not often an engineer’s position. Code-monkey is like a plumber or electrician; one (hopefully) skilled at doing a technical job but not generally educated in the theory behind the work. My experience in Silicon Valley suggests that code-monkeys are not often even interested, let alone skilled at, system thinking. Concentrated, narrow-focus, determined whacking at code, sure.

  214. John Morales says

    josh117,

    the more I read about LFTR, the more it becomes clear that it is still far from viability

    Can you share some of those links please that show LFTR will not work?

    [re gravitational storage] (Well, yeah, that works, but is it viable? ;) )

    I included a link else-thread that demonstrates that pumped water storage as-is is not viable.

    <snicker>

    (My point, it flew over your head)

  215. echidna says

    josh:

    You need some basic engineering classes before you can continue taking part in this discussion

    Wow, I find that offensive.
    Ok, well here I am. I’m an electrical engineer, area of expertise in power systems. System planning, system analysis, generation, transmission and distribution systems, electrical market systems (the sort set up to minimise gaming of the market), all that good stuff.

    Josh,
    You’ve missed the number one point of this thread. Whatever technical solutions are viable, nothing happens with infrastructure unless there is the political will. With someone like Santorum, there is no political will.

    The next thing that you’ve missed is that for systems projects of any decent scale, you need decent lead time. Not happening.

    So, in the absence of political drivers, it’s important to get the low cost no-brainer solutions in place, to at least reduce the size of the problem before it hits us on the head.
    The first thing is manage existing power usage better. Reduce consumption. Remove tax subsidies to aluminium smelters. Establish some regulations for peak usage times. Establish an energy auditing service, to help people and businesses reduce their electrical bills. That kind of thing.

    Local generation, like solar has no transmission costs (or losses). So use it, reduce that overall load.

    Once you’ve moved the mindset of the population from “God will provide” to “what more can we do?”, you are on your way.

    As for storage, you might want to reference engineering publications that talk about the issues, rather than somebody doing back of the envelope calculations for what it would take to use hydro to do the whole job of energy storage. There are other ways. http://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/energy/the-smarter-grid/scientific-american-ranks-energy-storage-technologies

  216. josh117 says

    Y’know, I remember people saying exactly the same kinds of things about fusion, and about string theory, and about quantum computing. Not long before I got into computers (a long time ago), they said the same thing about hard AI. “It’s just a technical problem at this point. We can solve it in 10 years, easy, as long as you give us lots of money.”

    Sorry if I’ve seen that show too many times to find it a reasonable argument. What you predict to be viable in the future is, at best, a poor prediction and at worst, a pipe dream.

    This is a stupid fallacy. This is the fallacy of “it hasn’t been done yet; it must suck”.

    This also contains another fallacy. I don’t know if it has a name offhand. You are conflating together a bunch of proponents of completely unrelated technologies, and because the rest didn’t work, LFTR won’t work. So, no advancement will happen ever?

    Moreover, as I try to stress, LFTR has had all of its fundamentals well demonstrated. It’s known physics. We’ve had a working prototype for 5 years.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molten-Salt_Reactor_Experiment
    There is an amazing wealth of information collected by ORNL (Oak Ridge National Labs) available online.

    Fusion won’t work because the high energy neutrons will destroy the containment building in hours or days. It’s a pipedream. Also, compare and contrast with LFTR – no actual working prototype that’s gotten positive power generation. The analogy fails.

    String theory I also happen to know a little about. If you know anything about modern physics, plenty of very knowledgeable physicists are dismissive of string theory as well. Thus far, they haven’t made any novel predictions. There is no consensus that it will work. String theory also hasn’t had its “working prototype”. The analogy fails.

    As a computer scientist, I happen to be a little knowledgeable about AI and quantum computing. I can also tell you that most people in the industry have known for a long time that what the public imagines as AI is not happening anytime in the foreseeable future (short of just copying the human brain). Quantum computing? Maybe. Again, there’s still fundamental breakthroughs required. We have something that can factor 15 in faster than polynomial time, but we don’t know how to scale it up to arbitrary problems. The consensus in the industry is again that it won’t work, and I’m sure I can find plenty of papers pointing out the limits of knowledge that are preventing us from moving forward. This is again in stark contrast with LFTR where all of the fundamental physics are well known and well studied, and there has been a working prototype.

    And again, I must point out the hypocrisy of your position. This arguments apply to LFTR, but not to solar and wind and “renewable” technologies, which in fact are farther from working than LFTR.

    And I’ll get behind expanding conventional nuclear production once you’ve demonstrated a decent waste disposal system. Otherwise you’re just moving the fucking up of the planet from global warming to radiation pollution.

    Reprocessing can greatly lower the amount of actual waste. IFR and LFTR can actually burn the waste as fuel. (By burn, I mean fission it up into non-harmful fission products.)

  217. John Morales says

    josh117:

    Reprocessing can greatly lower the amount of actual waste. IFR and LFTR can actually burn the waste as fuel.

    And breeder reactors are a great idea, technically.

    (Gee, I wonder why they didn’t take off IRL)

  218. josh117 says

    Wow, I find that offensive.

    I cannot have a serious discussion about energy policy with someone who thinks they know enough, but actually knows nothing. As an analogy, as Dan Dennett once said “There is no unoffensive way to say ‘Good sir, have you considered the possibility that you have squandered your life on a lie?'”. In a similar vein, there is no simple way to say that the other person is entirely unqualified to take part in a useful discussion due to his complete ignorance of the issues involved. Anyone promoting space solar as a viable solution in the next 100 years has no clue what they’re talking about – and yet the person thinks he knows enough to tell me wrong, and that solar and wind can work.

    As for storage, you might want to reference engineering publications that talk about the issues, rather than somebody doing back of the envelope calculations for what it would take to use hydro to do the whole job of energy storage. There are other ways. http://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/energy/the-smarter-grid/scientific-american-ranks-energy-storage-technologies

    Fallacy: appeal to authority. The calculations show that the link is wrong. It shows it’s wrong by an order of magnitude or two. Note that your link doesn’t provide numbers, so I have nothing more to say.

  219. josh117 says

    (Gee, I wonder why they didn’t take off IRL)

    I suspect you’re being sarcastic. I explained elsethread why in post 96.

  220. John Morales says

    josh117:

    And again, I must point out the hypocrisy of your position. This arguments apply to LFTR, but not to solar and wind and “renewable” technologies, which in fact are farther from working than LFTR.

    Ahem.

    (Care to contrast the installed capacities of each type?

    Because I do not think “farther from working” means what you apparently think it means)

  221. John Morales says

    [meta]

    I suspect you’re being sarcastic.

    Your acumen is impressive.

    (If pragmatism is not of relevance, why do you spruik LTFRs over breeders?)

  222. josh117 says

    (If pragmatism is not of relevance, why do you spruik LTFRs over breeders?)

    I am confused. LFTR is a breeder reactor. It takes thorium, converts it into U233, the fission of U233 releases ~2.3 neutrons on average, one to fission another U233, and the other to convert one thorium atom to U233.

  223. josh117 says

    Ahem.

    (Care to contrast the installed capacities of each type?

    Because I do not think “farther from working” means what you apparently think it means)

    That we have wasted money on something that will not work with available tech is not something in favor of it. I again ask for explanations of how to provide electricity during the night, windless months, and so on. As explained elsethread, smart grids don’t cut it when the entire country is without wind for months on end, like recently in Britain. If you look at the actual data, you will see it’s empty promises.

  224. John Morales says

    josh117,

    LFTR is a breeder reactor.

    So it is.

    I stand corrected and am embarrassed thereby.

  225. josh117 says

    Josh,
    You’ve missed the number one point of this thread. Whatever technical solutions are viable, nothing happens with infrastructure unless there is the political will. With someone like Santorum, there is no political will.

    The next thing that you’ve missed is that for systems projects of any decent scale, you need decent lead time. Not happening.

    So, in the absence of political drivers, it’s important to get the low cost no-brainer solutions in place, to at least reduce the size of the problem before it hits us on the head.
    The first thing is manage existing power usage better. Reduce consumption. Remove tax subsidies to aluminium smelters. Establish some regulations for peak usage times. Establish an energy auditing service, to help people and businesses reduce their electrical bills. That kind of thing.

    Local generation, like solar has no transmission costs (or losses). So use it, reduce that overall load.

    Once you’ve moved the mindset of the population from “God will provide” to “what more can we do?”, you are on your way.

    I did want to say that I completely agree with this.

    However, I have been clear for most of the thread that I think this is sometimes used as a red herring – whenever it’s used in place of nuclear, the argument is disingenuous. Greater consumptive efficiency, lowering consumptive, smart grids, better house insulation, whatever, work just as well with nuclear as they do with solar and wind. It’s a distraction. The real issue is how do we provide the baseload power.

  226. John Morales says

    josh117:

    I again ask for explanations of how to provide electricity during the night, windless months, and so on.

    Do you mean energy to waste, or energy to meet reasonable requirements?

    I’m all for nuclear, but I not discount geothermal, tidal or other forms of massively under-developed non-nuclear baseload sources.

    (You can speak globally, or you can speak locally, but to conflate the two is disingenous)

  227. says

    I suspect you’re being sarcastic. I explained elsethread why in post 96.

    Refresh my memory. Was that the post where you confused correlation with causation (increasing wealth lowers the birthrate) or the one where you glossed over the problems with nuclear energy (like storage of spent fuel and other things)?
    I’m not against fission power, entirely, but I can’t see it as anything more than a stopgap until longer term solutions come along. And without investment, those solutions will likely never happen.
    And the idea that conservation isn’t worth the trouble, because it’s not a solution, is irresponsible. If I’m running out of money (and I am), I deal with the problem at both ends–try to obtain more, while conserving what I have. Duh.
    You remind me a whole lot of some Larry Niven/Jerry Pournelle essays I read about 25 years ago. They too argued that wealth limits population. The difference is that Niven & Pournelle understood that energy isn’t the whole picture–metals and minerals and other resources matter as well–and that space contains not only these things but raw, unfiltered sunlight, so they regarded a continuing space program as absolutely vital.
    Newt Gingrich’s pandering in Florida notwithstanding, that doesn’t seem to be the direction we’re heading.
    Your one-note song may be considered catchy where you are (which I take to be the ancient supercontinent Panacea), but here it’s about as popular as “Daydream Believer.”

  228. josh117 says

    Do you mean energy to waste, or energy to meet reasonable requirements?

    I’m all for nuclear, but I not discount geothermal, tidal or other forms of massively under-developed non-nuclear baseload sources.

    AFAIK, geothermal cannot provide the required baseload alone.

    Tidal and wave power is interesting. I was initially surprised how little coastline you need to power a country. Still, AFAIK, it’s quite expensive, too expensive. If it gets cheaper through innovation or breakthrough, I’ll definitely be on board.

    (You can speak globally, or you can speak locally, but to conflate the two is disingenous)

    My point is merely if we want refrigeraters, home heaters, aluminum smelting, etc., then we must have continuous uninterrupted baseload power, or sufficient energy storage to mimic it. Solar and wind do not provide that continuous uninterrupted baseload power, and the energy storage solutions are nonexistent at cost effectiveness AFAIK. Thus, we should be looking elsewhere for baseload power, and/or looking for further innovation before deployment. As it stands, it seems nuclear is ready now, insofaras light water reactors can be built now, and prototypes for the new reactors can be built now without new insights and innovations.

  229. josh117 says

    the one where you glossed over the problems with nuclear energy (like storage of spent fuel and other things)?

    I did not gloss over it. There are very good solutions, including reprocessing to reduce the volume of waste considerably, and burning it in new gen reactors. Britain has already / is building 2 such waste burner reactors to get rid of their excess plutonium stockpiles. Ok, not the same thing as burning LWR (Light Water Reactor) SNF (Spent Nuclear Fuel). I forgot offhand whether such reactors could do that too, or if you need a different kind. I apologize – I’m only an amateur trying to help save the world, one discussion board at a time.

    I’m not against fission power, entirely, but I can’t see it as anything more than a stopgap until longer term solutions come along.

    Why?

    And without investment, those solutions will likely never happen.

    Correct. That’s why I advocate substantial funding. Imagine taking the ~2 billion IIRC “cash for clunkers” or whatever program, and spending that on LFTR. That would be enough to do 5 years of development from what I hear. Far better use of the money to reduce CO2 than the “cash for clunkers” program (which to be fair probably had more aims than merely reducing CO2, but that was one of the thing which it was sold on IIRC).

  230. echidna says

    Josh,

    The calculations show that the link is wrong.

    That’s just bullshit.

    The hydro calculations are intended to show that hydro is not a total energy storage solution. But no one expects hydro to be able to cope with the entire energy storage of the USA. There are other methods to store energy.

    Look, you are derailing a perfectly good topic with fine detail about a specific type generator, in a context that you don’t appreciate.

  231. josh117 says

    The hydro calculations are intended to show that hydro is not a total energy storage solution. But no one expects hydro to be able to cope with the entire energy storage of the USA. There are other methods to store energy.

    Ah, I misinterpreted. My apologies. Let’s look at that link again:
    So, pumped water gets a 4 when it’s completely impractical, and nothing rates better than a 4. I’m confused. I thought we were discussing implementable ideas?

    Look, you are derailing a perfectly good topic with fine detail about a specific type generator, in a context that you don’t appreciate.

    As I have already said, apparently we’re in a stalemate. You keep replying to me, I keep replying to you. If you quit first so will I, but I’m rather anal about when someone tries to prove me wrong.

  232. John Morales says

    [meta + OT]

    I’m rather anal about when someone tries to prove me wrong

    Welcome to Pharyngula! ;)

  233. josh117 says

    Thank you. Unfortunately, it seems I’ve already been killfiled by several people. That was never my aim. Sometimes I do use too much vulgarity and am abusive, but I reread the thread, and I see nothing that I would reconsider w.r.t. attitude and language if I did this again.

    I don’t think I’ve had this kind of abuse and denial of reality for posting simple facts of physics since I got banned from the evolutionfairytale.com forums for correcting an admin about evolution. (I was curious how the creationist mind worked. I never talked to one before. I have a slightly better idea now, perhaps.)

  234. echidna says

    You’re not even wrong. You are just focusing on the hunt for the magic bullet for energy production.

    There are many partial solutions, a combination of which can buy us a lot of expertise, flexibility and diversity. We may need all of that.

    The topic of this thread is a most important and urgent issue. It is the political situation in the US, and the anti-science, delusional rhetoric that too many people are buying into.

  235. josh117 says

    There are many partial solutions, a combination of which can buy us a lot of expertise, flexibility and diversity. We may need all of that.

    Except this claim is false. With the possible exception of this new geothermal power which I haven’t heard about before today, there are no other partial solutions of note for the continuous baseload power. That’s what I’ve been saying.

    The topic of this thread is a most important and urgent issue. It is the political situation in the US, and the anti-science, delusional rhetoric that too many people are buying into.

    Several people in this thread too.

  236. says

    You weren’t killfiled for vulgarity, which is the norm here, except for gendered insults, but for repetitive stupidity and obtuseness (at least that’s what I assume, I dont’t use killfiles as a matter of principle).

    Just count how many times you have posted on this thread, and how often you posted multiple post in a row….

  237. josh117 says

    For the most part, I posted only one post per post I to which I was replying. It is not my fault that there was a lot of people posting who asked for my reply or warranted it.

  238. echidna says

    Josh:

    As I have already said, apparently we’re in a stalemate. You keep replying to me, I keep replying to you.

    I think you have me confused with somebody else. I posted my first comment on this thread at 244.

    Your reply to that post can only be characterised as dismissive, something no engineer appreciates on a topic within her field of expertise from someone outside it.

  239. josh117 says

    Yes, I am aware that this was a different poster. Same reply applies though. Yes it was my intent to be dismissive when they begin to discuss energy policy, then try to end discussion on a good note for them by saying “and don’t be off topic”, despite them just typing an off topic post. It’s infuriating.

  240. echidna says

    Except this claim is false. With the possible exception of this new geothermal power which I haven’t heard about before today, there are no other partial solutions of note for the continuous baseload power. That’s what I’ve been saying.

    And this is what I’m talking about. You just don’t know what’s out there, what’s possible, what is being looked at, what the literature says, and yet you confidently, and dismissively, make assertions about the state of play.

    Geothermal is not new to me.

  241. josh117 says

    And this is what I’m talking about. You just don’t know what’s out there, what’s possible, what is being looked at, what the literature says, and yet you confidently, and dismissively, make assertions about the state of play.

    Geothermal is not new to me.

    Before you jump to conclusions, can you look at the rest of the thread and see the context, please? The specific geothermal being mentioned as possibly supplying all of the baseload power is:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enhanced_geothermal_system

    I’m pretty sure this is a rather niche idea. I’m looking over the wiki page right now, and it seems there’s maybe half a dozen implementations, so decidedly a rather low portion of the market.

    The context of my quote was that “regular geothermal” as I understand the term requires specific locations, and is impractical to provide baseload power to the entire US, for example. I would think that would be a rather uncontroversial claim for someone marginally knowledgeable in the field, or at least understandable.

    Still, it does not bode well considering it took over 200 replies to finally get to a technology that I could not dismiss out of hand with readily available citations. I am ill prepared to discuss this particular idea of drilling deep cores to harness geothermal power. Be honest now echidna, have you heard of this before? Do you consider this a serious contender in providing all of the baseload power, or at least a substantial fraction of it, for affordable prices?

  242. John Morales says

    [meta]

    josh117:

    Yes it was my intent to be dismissive when they begin to discuss energy policy

    It seems to me that you labour under a misapprehension; the subject of this post is the the bases for attitudinal instances towards environmentalism in general, and Santorum’s attitude in specific.

    (I adduce both the post tags as evidence (“Posted in Environment, Kooks, Politics” and a revealing locution as quoted (“stewards of the Earth”)

  243. josh117 says

    John Morales
    ?
    It was a rather long run-on sentence. You snipped it incorrectly, to make it sound as if I said something else. Your snip:

    Yes it was my intent to be dismissive when they begin to discuss energy policy

    A proper snip would be:

    […] it was my intent to be dismissive when they […] try to end discussion on a good note for them by saying “and don’t be off topic”, despite them just typing an off topic post.

  244. echidna says

    I first visited a geothermal plant in 1987, in New Zealand, so yes, of course I’ve heard of it before. You are still asking a silly question: could geothermal provide all of the base load power?

    There are two parts to that questions. Can it provide baseload? Of course it can, it’s not constrained by time of day. All of the baseload? I wouldn’t expect it to. 10% is not unrealistic.

    Prices become affordable when production volumes increase. New Zealand is still commissioning new plant.

    Geothermal doesn’t have to be large scale, either:
    http://www.earthtechling.com/2011/02/geothermal-chosen-over-solar-in-nevada-desert/

    Don’t forget that local solutions have an advantage of not having losses in the transmission and distribution systems.

  245. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Please prove me wrong.

    Sorry fuckwitted cupcake. You must prove yourself right, as you are considered wrong until you do so. Welcome to science. And if you can’t do that, shut the fuck up. (good advice anyway, your monomania is wearing thin.)

  246. echidna says

    Thanks, John M. I’ll spell it out for him:
    I’ll quote PZ in the OP:

    The scientific view is that global warming is occurring, and that it’s driven by anthropogenic production of greenhouse gases; the politicized, ideologically demented view is a denial of the evidence. Like Santorum’s nonsense.

    So the obvious response to GW is to cut down on the anthropogenic production of green house gases. What is the political response in most of the world? Developing an appropriate energy policy.

    Josh:

    Yes it was my intent to be dismissive when they begin to discuss energy policy, then try to end discussion on a good note for them by saying “and don’t be off topic”, despite them just typing an off topic post. It’s infuriating.

    Are you sure, Josh, that energy policy is off-topic?

  247. josh117 says

    Josh:

    Yes it was my intent to be dismissive when they begin to discuss energy policy, then try to end discussion on a good note for them by saying “and don’t be off topic”, despite them just typing an off topic post. It’s infuriating.

    Are you sure, Josh, that energy policy is off-topic?

    No.

    Moreover, what I saw happen was that you commented on subject X, then in the same post told me I was being bad for commenting on subject X, as if to ensure that you had the last word. Post 261. Excerpt:

    Look, you are derailing a perfectly good topic with fine detail about a specific type generator, in a context that you don’t appreciate.

    It does seem other people consider energy policy to be off topic though, so I’m trying to cut back on posting, moreso than before.

  248. josh117 says

    Is “Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls” a troll? Should I bother replying in the future?

    For now, in short, I have provided evidence and citations that I think proves my case, and I used a proverbial “please prove me wrong” as a token of good will that I am not close minded and that a reasonable discussion may be had.

  249. says

    josh,

    it’s good practice to find out about the traditions and rules of a website before you start posting on it. Then you might have known what this “OM” thing in Nerd’s ‘nym means.

  250. echidna says

    Nerd is no troll, and is a long-standing outstanding Pharyngulite. OM in a person’s nym, means that they have been honoured by acclaim. (see Mollies tab above) And as for the topic, the other people are right. I said it myself in #266:

    The topic of this thread is a most important and urgent issue. It is the political situation in the US, and the anti-science, delusional rhetoric that too many people are buying into.

    As for me, I have said more than I intended. Josh, you are seeking a magic bullet, and dismissing approaches that don’t provide a full solution.

    The full solution will be a systemic approach to curb demand while reducing production of greenhouse gases. The US will not get anywhere until political messages are consistent with reality.

  251. josh117 says

    As for me, I have said more than I intended. Josh, you are seeking a magic bullet, and dismissing approaches that don’t provide a full solution.

    Ok, I swear this will be the last time I reply to this point. Let me try an alternate phrasing.

    I am looking for a complete solution. A 20% solution that costs more than a 100% solution (for the grid) is a red herring, and spending money and time on the more expensive 20% solution is a complete waste.

    I am looking at what energy sources can provide the majority of the baseload. Anything else is distraction. I reject this implicit premise that “It’ll be a mix of everything” as entirely unsubstantiated. I am keeping my mind open to such things, but thus far (except this novel new geothermal), nothing seems to up to task to providing all of the baseload except CO2 producing sources, and nuclear.

    I am not necessarily looking for a magic bullet. If the solution was 10% geothermal, 10% wave, and so on, I would be for that. However, geothermal likely cant even meet 10%, wave is too expensive to do anything, and so on.

    In the words of the do-the-math blog:
    http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/11/pump-up-the-storage/

    Yes, a diverse portfolio of a half-dozen inadequate solutions may be able to add to an adequate solution. But a half-dozen woefully inadequate solutions cannot pull off the same stunt. So far, my quest keeps turning up the woefully inadequate type. The scale of fossil fuel replacement is so daunting that we very quickly get into trouble when putting numbers to proposed solutions.

    (Emphasis in original)

  252. echidna says

    Could you point me towards this “introduction for new members”, please?

    Look under the tab marked “Dungeon”. You will find that the standards and practices are outlined there.

  253. echidna says

    (except this novel new geothermal)

    Your ignorance is showing. Geothermal plant have been around for a hundred years, about 60 years for serious production.

  254. josh117 says

    Your ignorance is showing. Geothermal plant have been around for a hundred years, about 60 years for serious production.

    Your inability to read is showing. Again, we’re talking about a very specific kind of geothermal,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enhanced_geothermal_system
    which according to wiki has 1(?) functioning commercial system, without even a company name to go with it. I call that novel.

  255. echidna says

    I’ve been reading some more of Tom Murphy’s stuff on the “do the math” site.

    He argues that there is an energy crisis coming up and that our reliance on and expectations of fossil fuel based on recent history is unrealistic. He points out that monolithic approach is not going to work. People who dream of techno-fixes are dreaming.

    I’ve got no argument with him.

  256. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Josh117—> Killfile for terminal insipidity and aggressive bullying.

  257. John Morales says

    [meta + OT]

    Nerd, I don’t share your feeling re josh117.

    (Funny, I don’t consider myself particularly tolerant)

  258. wbenson says

    Least we forget:
    Congressman Rick “Santorum worked with the Discovery Institute’s program director Phillip E. Johnson in 2000 and 2001 drafting the pro-intelligent design Santorum Amendment and in March 2006 wrote the foreword for the book, Darwin’s Nemesis: Phillip Johnson And the Intelligent Design Movement a collection of essays largely by Discovery Institute fellows honoring Johnson as “father” of the intelligent design movement.”
    [Lifted from the Wikipedia topic “Sternberg Peer Review Controversy”]

  259. josh117 says

    [meta + OT]
    John Morales, thank you. I would have sent this in a private message / email or something, but I couldn’t quite find a way to do it.

    I’m still trying to self analyze to see if I did anything wrong besides repeating myself. I mean, sure, I said some of the stuff over and over, but that’s only because I saw the same IMHO wrong arguments leveled at me over and over.

    I do not believe it is fair that I am called out as “insipid”, “Lacking qualities that excite, stimulate, or interest; dull” for repeating my arguments with my best attempts to rephrase and clear them up, but others in this thread are not when they leveled the same accusation over and again. Perhaps it’s bias because they believe those claims but not mine? I believe that is not fair. Still, I can cop to this.

    What I do not get is “aggressive bullying”. I was strong and assertive yes, aggressive one might say. Who have I bullied?

    pelamun when he/she suggested that I just say a couple positive things then leave, while initially mocking my attempts to do so by calling me a Poe? I might accept his/her version of the events as some sort of accident, but I still feel the hypocrisy is amazing with that.

    I was also rather uncouth with echidna when he repeatedly interpreted “new novel geothermal” as the common geothermal, not the one that has 1-2 working installations with mile+ deep core drills. I mean – I strongly believe there is no legitimate excuse for that. He was not taking me seriously at all as he made the same mistake in about the same number of posts in the same day in the same thread.

    I cannot cop to the bullying charge.

    Do all people who bring in supported but unconventional viewpoints get such treatment around here? I am quite distressed over this. If I can’t even convince people who I would normally call open minded, skeptical, and pro-science, what hope do I to convince the American public of the benefits of this strategy, and of the foolishness of pursuing deployment of wind and solar without some further technological breakthrough?

  260. John Morales says

    [meta]

    josh117, relax. You’ve put your case best as you can (and you’ve addressed objections raised best as you can) but clearly it was not found to be compelling.

    That said, commenters here don’t appreciate those who indulge in hobby-horse riding, particularly when it derails the general discussion — and I regret to inform you that is how you’ve come across.

    (BTW, Echidna is a woman)

  261. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I cannot cop to the bullying charge.

    Sorry, classical definition. Either we agree with you, or you stay in our faces until we do so. You aren’t allowing us to make up our own minds, like a non-bullying person would do. Classical bullying.

    Here’s a clue. If your posts are one out of every ten, discussion. One out of every two or three, bullying. Now look at your pattern of posting. Being ardent is fine, but you need to get it all in perspective. You lost that perspective, and stepped over a line.

  262. josh117 says

    [OT]
    I know this is going to sound as though I have some chip on my shoulder, some negative attitude, or something, so I’m prefacing this with this to hopefully lessen the impact.

    Sorry, classical definition. Either we agree with you, or you stay in our faces until we do so. You aren’t allowing us to make up our own minds, like a non-bullying person would do. Classical bullying.

    I don’t think I can agree with this assessment of my posts. Sure, a lot of my posts was just repeating myself. However, I like to think though a majority of my posts contained new pertinent information. I need to emphasize this point because my plea rests on this assertion – I assert that a majority of my posts contained new pertinent information and I was not rehashing the same old same old.

    If I am the only voice in a discussion for side X, and 3-4 people are bringing up what I consider to be new false assertions in every post, shall I stay quiet in order to preserve this posting ratio? Again, I know I must sound like an ass, but I am trying to be as honest and nice as I can. I sincerely doubt anyone else besides me would correct what I see as misinformation on this topic here, so it’s apparent to me that my options are to let the bullshit slide, or to correct it.

    Finally, how is what pelamun, echidna, and the rest did to me any different? They are more guilty than I for repeating the same thing over and over again. It’s only bullying if I’m the one and they’re the many? It’s only bullying if my opinion is unpopular in the forum? I must respectfully disagree with your assessment, and call into question your objectiveness and whether you have a bias.

  263. Therrin says

    Electrical engineer’s opinion versus armchair scientist’s opinion, in the area of energy usage and sourcing? Not a hard decision whose voice is more likely to be well-informed.

    Also, there is no excuse for repeating yourself over and over and over. And over. My likelihood of following a link declines the more it is spammed at me, so whether it has valid research or not posting a site whose name sounds like an industry booster project is not a good form of debate (hey look, coalisclean.com, I bet they produce tons of peer-reviewed sciencish doggerel).

    (Ok, that last sentence kind of merged two thoughts, and staring at it isn’t making it fix itself. Thanks doctor for not refilling my Adderall while I wait for a specialist to contact me “within 5 business days”.)

  264. Therrin says

    If I am the only voice in a discussion for side X, and 3-4 people are bringing up what I consider to be new false assertions in every post, shall I stay quiet in order to preserve this posting ratio?

    Yes. If you’ve made your point, then your point stands on its own. If you haven’t, then all you’re doing is banging us over the head with words.

  265. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    Part of the problem as I see it is that josh is advocating thorium based nuclear because it is base load power.

    Of course something that is base load power is no more able to provide 100% of grid power, never mind other needed energy sources that aren’t electricity based, than any others single technology.

    There is no reason why people shouldn’t use decentralised power if they want. If they put pv on their roof then it will fairly closely match the load during the day and reduce the costs that they pay others for electricity. Who are we to mandate that they rely totally on centralised power?

    But yes, it is a bit away from the original topic, except as related to the anti-science and anti-renewables that the Santorum and other rethuglicans favour.

  266. SallyStrange: bottom-feeding, work-shy peasant says

    I didn’t see josh as bullying. Just annoyingly thick.

  267. josh117 says

    [OT]

    That said, commenters here don’t appreciate those who indulge in hobby-horse riding, particularly when it derails the general discussion — and I regret to inform you that is how you’ve come across.

    Yes, I fully accept that.

    It would be nicer if that’s what I was accused of, though. (I kind of was early on when I was called a plant for “LFTR”. Last I heard, Sorenson and FLIBE are pursuing a military contract to get around the NRC regulation roadblock, so that would not really be right.)

    This is important to me, what I see as tantamount to saving civilization, world peace – the lot of it. Or at least avoiding a lot of pain in the “post-oil” period when we’re scrambling to actually come up with a reliable way to heal everyone’s home during winter, transport and grow our food, etc.

    I reread the thread again, and I think at most ~4 of my posts were duplicates (which was simply responding to duplicates), and the rest raised new points and arguments that were brand new. I feel quite safe that I was in fact not “classical bullying”.

    I am starting to believe that there is an bias against reality in this blog on this topic, and because I’m squashing their renewable dreams, I must obviously be wrong, and all other sorts of bad stuff. There also seems to be a sense of “us vs them” aka factionalism, as I’m being written off as first a corporation plant, then a libertarian crank, and near the end I think someone associated “anti-renewable” with Republican and Christian. I am neither Republican nor Christian, and I am anti-“renewable” because of the evidence.

    PS: I was just talking with a friend of mine, and he suggested looking at heliostats, aka concentrated solar on a working fluid such as a salt, hooked up to a steam turbine, and the salt to store heat for the night. Seems interesting. Some of the levelized costs look close to coal. I haven’t had enough chance to dig into it yet. I suspect it’ll only work for warmer aka sunnier climates. In addition to this new geothermal deep core stuff, I have some new research to do.

  268. josh117 says

    [OT]

    Of course something that is base load power is no more able to provide 100% of grid power, never mind other needed energy sources that aren’t electricity based, than any others single technology.

    Can you please explain what you mean? Would it be fair to simplify it to the following?

    Of course something that is base load power is no more able to provide 100% of grid power […] than any others single technology.

    I think you’re saying that no single technology is physically to provide 100% baseload power. Is that right a fair rephrasing?

    If so, I think this quite wrong, obviously so. Coal, oil, natural gas, and so on, are all quite capable of individually providing 100% of the grid’s electricity.

    Did you mean to imply the following implicit condition?

    Of course something that is CO2 free and that is base load power is no more able to provide 100% of grid power […] than any others single technology.

    In which case, I know I’m “classical bullying” now, or “horse riding”, but whatever, I will ask it again. Why doesn’t nuclear fit this criteria?

    Perhaps you have more implicit premises, like “waste free”, or “renewable”, or some such? Could you please clarify what you’re meaning to say?

    And while I’m here replying to this particular person, let me throw this in:

    Part of the problem as I see it is that josh is advocating thorium based nuclear because it is base load power.

    I’m also a big fan of IFR for the near term, and probably a fan for LWR for immediate roll out, as I’ve said numerous times here. I’m honestly too ignorant to know of all of the wonderful nuclear advances that are available, though I do try to learn as best I can. Pigeonholing me as LFTR-only isn’t really fair nor accurate.

  269. says

    I didn’t see josh as bullying. Just annoyingly thick.

    His insulting and belligerent attitude to people who are on his side but less jerkish and dogmatic about it is either bullying or a bad case of “not helping”

  270. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    If I am the only voice in a discussion for side X, and 3-4 people are bringing up what I consider to be new false assertions in every post, shall I stay quiet in order to preserve this posting ratio?

    You are not the only one claiming that nuclear power, including the possible future use of thorium reactors, are a possible part of the elimination of fossil fuels. You are the only one, however, claiming that your is the only one that has any possibility of working and therefore we need to ignore all the rest. What many commenters have been saying, and you refuse to even consider, is that a multi-faceted approach to the elimination of fossil fuels is the way to go. So, no, we do not have you claiming X and everyone else claiming Y and Z. Instead, we have you claiming X and others saying that X, Y, and Z may all be useful.

    In short, I agree with you, and have done so repeatedly, that nuclear power, including possible different forms of nuclear power, should be explored as a part of the CO2 solution. And, every time I have agreed with you, you have dismissed a carefully culled part of my comment in order to continue your percieved victimhood. It is getting old. Quickly. My kids did this when they were in their mid-teens and I was glad when they grew out of it.

  271. says

    Basically by dismissing all energy saving measures and other energy sources you just antagonised probably everyone here.

    I mean even I would have been inclined to listen to your ideas if you had them presented differently. While I oppose traditional nuclear power due to its safety issues, I’m well aware that phasing it out will take decades in most countries, in which period it will help the carbon foot print. Now if in 30-40 years’ time your LFTR is viable and all safety and ecological concerns have been resolved, then it might be a good option. But in the meantime we need to go ahead with reducing emissions now, and that’s where a mix of pushing renewable energy sources and reducing consumption comes in.

  272. wbenson says

    I’m surprised that no one has mentioned InSan’torum’s claim that Satan has already taken over higher education:
    “He [Satan] was successful [in his attack on America]. He attacks all of us and he attacks all of our institutions. The place where he was, in my mind, the most successful and first successful was in academia. He understood pride of smart people. He attacked them at their weakest, that they were, in fact, smarter than everybody else and could come up with something new and different. Pursue new truths, deny the existence of truth, play with it because they’re smart. And so academia, a long time ago, fell.”

  273. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I am starting to believe that there is an bias against reality in this blog on this topic, and because I’m squashing their renewable dreams, I must obviously be wrong, and all other sorts of bad stuff.

    You are wrong in thinking only one approach will solve our probleme. Because you don’t listen to other’s you come across as monmanical/bullying. Your idea can’t work, as the time frame is wrong. Discussion starts when you realize you could be wrong. If you can’t be or won’t consider you are wrong, then you are preaching reverend, which is timesome

  274. josh117 says

    [meta + OT]

    You are wrong in thinking only one approach will solve our probleme. Because you don’t listen to other’s you come across as monmanical/bullying. Your idea can’t work, as the time frame is wrong. Discussion starts when you realize you could be wrong. If you can’t be or won’t consider you are wrong, then you are preaching reverend, which is timesome

    Take a step back and look what you just did. You and everyone else in this thread are the ones doing the bullying. This line has been repeated time and time again without any support whatsoever. I have yet to see papers or arguments that has withstood some cursory analysis and which justify your positions that: 1- the solution to the grid must be holistic, and 2- that there is an alternative technology to nuclear that is ready now and that is CO2 free (except for this deep core geothermal). I believe I have presented several cogent arguments to the contrary. (In short, my argument is the lack of an alternate technology that is available now – though I am looking into heliostats and deep core geothermal which I did not know of before yesterday.)

    Again, I’m not disputing that the solution cannot look like this. I’m disputing that you know it must look like this. Again, how do you know this? Give me papers or citations or something that first lay out a plan, and then show this plan can work. Having 10 people merely repeat the same thing over and over again doesn’t make it true. That is classical bullying.

  275. rr says

    josh117:

    looking at heliostats…

    Josh, solar thermal with molten salt storage is already up and running at the Andasol solar power station in Spain.

    Today we use multiple methods of generating electricity: coal, oil & natural gas fired plants, hydroelectric, nuclear, and increasingly wind, solar and geothermal. Why do you think that dropping everything else to focus on nuclear is the way forward? Here in the US we’d have to build hundreds of new nuclear plants; they are ridiculously expensive and require massive amounts of maintenance, and we still don’t have a method for long-term storage of spent fuel. And ultimately you’re just kicking the can down the road – there is only so much uranium to mine, and nobody is using thorium yet, just one plant under construction in India.

  276. josh117 says

    To rr, to avoid classical bullying, I will not repeat myself. I will note that you have strawmanned me, and I have addressed most of your points eles-thread.

    One new point – you overlooked how IFR and other reactors can run on U238, which there is plenty of. Hell, I’ve heard people say that it could be cost effective to mine granite for the U238 content for CANDU reactors – another thing on my list of “things to research and confirm”.

  277. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    That is classical bullying.

    No. It is not bullying. It is trying to introduce just a bit of reality into the derail. You keep insisting that solar and wind cannot possibly supply the entire grid, so we should not use them at all. You insist that demand reduction can not eliminate the need for a grid, so there is no point in trying. You keep insisting that you have the only possible correct answer (and keep backing it up with references to a website devoted totally to thorium-based reactors (hardly peer-reviewed, more of a fan club)) and that only your answer should be pursued. As has been pointed out again, and again, and again, nuclear power, within certain parameters, is a viable part of the solution. To imply, though, that it must be 100% thorium reactors, reactors which have not been tested at anything close to the scale needed, shows tunnel vision on your part. This is not bullying. This is pointing out that, while many of us agree that your thorium reactors may be part of the solution, they are not the solution.

  278. josh117 says

    To imply, though, that it must be 100% thorium reactors, reactors which have not been tested at anything close to the scale needed, shows tunnel vision on your part.

    Strawman.

  279. josh117 says

    I replied too soon, my mistake.

    No. It is not bullying. It is trying to introduce just a bit of reality into the derail.

    Citations please.

    You keep insisting that solar and wind cannot possibly supply the entire grid, so we should not use them at all.

    Strawman. My actual argument is: They supply constant power at effective cost with current technology, and as such the focus of the energy discussion should be on an actual solution to global warming.

    You insist that demand reduction can not eliminate the need for a grid, so there is no point in trying.

    Strawman. I claimed that we should focus on R&D on tech before rolling out solutions that are insufficient with current tech, and also focus on other solutions which are currently neglected which have all of the basic physics and engineering demonstrated.

    You keep insisting that you have the only possible correct answer

    Sort of a lie. I’ve been asking for alternatives, but I have claimed at the start of the thread AFAIK nuclear is the only answer, and that photovoltaic and wind are not.

    (and keep backing it up with references to a website devoted totally to thorium-based reactors (hardly peer-reviewed, more of a fan club))

    More peer reviewed than some sources, and a minority of my sources were that website.

    and that only your answer should be pursued.

    If you mean thorium only, blatant lies and strawmen. If you mean pursue R&D in nuclear only, blatant lies and strawmen. If you mean pursue rollout only of technology which have demonstrated that it can work with prototypes, then yes.

    As has been pointed out again, and again, and again, nuclear power, within certain parameters, is a viable part of the solution. To imply, though, that it must be 100% thorium reactors reactors which have not been tested at anything close to the scale needed, shows tunnel vision on your part.

    Strawman.

    This is not bullying. This is pointing out that, while many of us agree that your thorium reactors may be part of the solution, they are not the solution.

    No, this is blatant bullshit.

  280. josh117 says

    Strawman. My actual argument is: They supply constant power at effective cost with current technology, and as such the focus of the energy discussion should be on an actual solution to global warming.

    Teaches me to post when angry. Missing a “not” in there.

  281. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    One new point – you overlooked how IFR and other reactors can run on U238, which there is plenty of. Hell, I’ve heard people say that it could be cost effective to mine granite for the U238 content for CANDU reactors – another thing on my list of “things to research and confirm”.

    So now you are backtracking on your repeated assertions that thorium reactors are the only possible way to eliminate fossil fuels?

    Or is that also a strawman since, though you have implied it multiple times, you now walk it back?

  282. rr says

    josh117:

    and I have addressed most of your points eles-thread.

    OK, if you say so. How do you plan to get the US NRC to test and approve all this new technology? How are you going to finance hundreds of new plants, using this new technology, at $10-20 billion each?

  283. josh117 says

    So now you are backtracking on your repeated assertions that thorium reactors are the only possible way to eliminate fossil fuels?

    Show me the post number, the quote, where I said that.

  284. josh117 says

    OK, if you say so. How do you plan to get the US NRC to test and approve all this new technology? How are you going to finance hundreds of new plants, using this new technology, at $10-20 billion each?

    Good questions. I don’t have good answers. Hopefully by raising awareness, electing pro-nuclear politicians, and public funding, like ITER.

  285. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    Screw it. Josh, congratulations. There were people here who would have been very interested in finding out how thorium based reactors might fit into the drive to eliminate fossil fuels. I really cannot speak for anyone else, but you have now reached the point at which I really do not give a flying fuck what you say. Park your ego and open your ears (eyes, in this case). Other people, besides you, may have good ideas. But until you start actually reading or listening, you will continue to chase potential allies and supporters away. Good job, asshole.

  286. josh117 says

    Screw it. Josh, congratulations. There were people here who would have been very interested in finding out how thorium based reactors might fit into the drive to eliminate fossil fuels. I really cannot speak for anyone else, but you have now reached the point at which I really do not give a flying fuck what you say. Park your ego and open your ears (eyes, in this case). Other people, besides you, may have good ideas. But until you start actually reading or listening, you will continue to chase potential allies and supporters away. Good job, asshole.

    I do not appreciate baseless accusations of dishonesty.

    I call you dishonest. Where is your quote of me in this thread where I claimed thorium only? I call you out.

  287. echidna says

    Josh: you have completely mischaracterised Ogvorbis’s quote, who said nothing like what you claim.

    You are clearly not reading what people say. For a really obvious example that doesn’t just show an argument that you chose to ignore: if you didn’t realise that I am a woman, you hadn’t read #270.

    Regarding the geothermal argument: you wish to dismiss geothermal technologies as insufficient, but only wish to discuss a particular new type of geothermal that is able to use an inferior source of heat. Think about why your insistence on discussing only the capacity of EGS is ridiculous.

    Regarding the idea that there is no single answer to meet energy needs:
    #121

    How do you know this? This again sounds like the greenpeace party line that corporations are bad, we need to get back closer to nature, etc. I again posit that sometimes there is a single answer. It is quite plausible that nuclear can provide cheap, safe, reliable, clean, renewable power.

    I think you ought to visit the EPRI and MIT sites. You will find that this is indeed the party line: of the people who do research into energy solutions, whether from academia or the power industry.

    Josh, you really, really need to take a break from chasing shiny technologies, and start looking at how energy systems work, and the sorts of time frames and constraints that are involved even when the technology is known. Read what the experts have to say. No, this is not the fallacy of appealing to experts, this is becoming informed.

    Also, you have mischaracterised Tom Murphy’s site. I suggest that you read it through again, completely, this time trying to understand what he’s trying to say, rather than trying to grab bits that you can use to bolster whatever thought you have flitting through your head at the moment.

  288. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    [OT]

    Of course something that is base load power is no more able to provide 100% of grid power, never mind other needed energy sources that aren’t electricity based, than any others single technology.

    Can you please explain what you mean? Would it be fair to simplify it to the following?

    Of course something that is base load power is no more able to provide 100% of grid power […] than any others single technology.

    Actually I meant any other single technology. Hail Typos!

    I think you’re saying that no single technology is physically to provide 100% baseload power. Is that right a fair rephrasing?

    If so, I think this quite wrong, obviously so. Coal, oil, natural gas, and so on, are all quite capable of individually providing 100% of the grid’s electricity.

    Actually that is a fair rephrasing. Though I was mostly thinking of nuclear and individual renewable technologies at the time. I was not quite correct. Natural gas could do it, but it would be expensive, oil might, but again expensive and the whole peak oil thing makes that not optimum. Hydroelectric can do it in countries where that is a possibility (Norway springs to mind). Possibly geothermal, not sure of the technicalities there. But coal cannot. Not these days. And I don’t think nuclear can easily either. It’s because of the difference between base load and peak load. At the moment most places use coal for the base load and natural gas to follow the peak load. Because we don’t use energy at a flat constant rate. So if you wanted to use a single energy source to produce all your grid electricity it would have to be one that was flexible enough, and swift enough to adjust the output to match the load. I wasn’t aware that this was a feature of nuclear power stations which tend, as far as I am aware, to produce energy at a constant rate due to the need to keep the nuclear reaction at a steady level. I suppose one method would be like they do with diesel generators. Have stations always producing more energy than peak, but dump the excess energy. But that somehow seems wasteful to me.

  289. josh117 says

    [OT]

    So if you wanted to use a single energy source to produce all your grid electricity it would have to be one that was flexible enough, and swift enough to adjust the output to match the load. I wasn’t aware that this was a feature of nuclear power stations which tend, as far as I am aware, to produce energy at a constant rate due to the need to keep the nuclear reaction at a steady level. I suppose one method would be like they do with diesel generators.

    That’s a design choice of conventional nuclear reactors. You can design conventional light water reactors to be better at load following. Or so I’ve heard.

    What I’ve seen much better arguments on is that some of the newer reactor techs can be much better at load following. For example, a large salt buffer pool could provide power for the low time of the day, just as potentially the heliostats could. Of course, now I’m potentially playing double standards – it works for nuclear but not solar? To shame. That’s why I mentioned both. Another aspect is with the relatively strong negative temperature coefficient of reactivity of some of the newer reactor techs, it could be much better at load following. Again, or so I’ve heard.

  290. josh117 says

    [OT]

    Josh: you have completely mischaracterised Ogvorbis’s quote, who said nothing like what you claim.

    Let’s review the conversion.

    He clearly said:

    To imply, though, that it must be 100% thorium reactors, reactors which have not been tested at anything close to the scale needed, shows tunnel vision on your part.

    I replied:

    Strawman.

    He said it again in his next post:

    So now you are backtracking on your repeated assertions that thorium reactors are the only possible way to eliminate fossil fuels?

    My reply:

    Show me the post number, the quote, where I said that.

    He responds with a tirade about me being an asshole or something, failing to admit that he clearly strawmanned my entire position in this entire page.

    He is either stupid, or trolling, or so completely enraged or dismissive to even pause, even for a moment, to take an ounce of consideration for my point. Which, I am not sure. I stand by my claim that he is being dishonest.

    As for you echidna, please stop this groupthink. It is most frustrating.

    This entire exercise has been an exercise in groupthink and dogma. I have not been given a fair chance, and I have been stonewalled, strawmanned, parodied, ridiculed, and been dismissed at every step of the way.

  291. josh117 says

    OT
    Meh, so sue me for not using a single post to contain both replies.

    Also, you have mischaracterised Tom Murphy’s site. I suggest that you read it through again, completely, this time trying to understand what he’s trying to say, rather than trying to grab bits that you can use to bolster whatever thought you have flitting through your head at the moment.

    I like to quote the parts that seem reasonable, and dismiss the parts that are blatantly ignorant. For example, consider:

    http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2012/02/the-alternative-energy-matrix/

    Like all reactors, thorium reactors fall into the high-tech camp, and include new challenges (e.g., liquid sodium) that conventional reactors have not faced.

    His ignorance is astounding. For starters, LFTR does not use liquid sodium, at all, ever, in any of the proposed design variants. It’s even in the name, Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor. It’s a salt of fluorine, beryllium, and lithium. (There are some proposed variants, all include fluorine, and none include elemental liquid sodium.) This should be a dead giveaway that he’s talking out of his league, and hasn’t even bothered to learn even the bare essentials of the technology. It is most disheartening.

    To compound his error, there was another claim in that above quote that using liquid sodium is somehow a new novel challenge in nuclear reactor design. This is also false. For example:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monju_Nuclear_Power_Plant

    The plant exists. It operated well for many years. This is not a new novel untested problem.

    However, yes, it had an accident. Liquid sodium isn’t the nicest stuff to use. That’s probably why Tom Murphy used “liquid sodium” as a descriptive, to highlight the risks of the technology. That’s also why we know he has no clue what he’s talking about here as LFTR does not use liquid sodium. This is a very very important point to know. The lack of liquid sodium is one of the great benefits of LFTR commonly used in discussions comparing LFTR to IFR, as IFR designs often use liquid sodium.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integral_Fast_Reactor

    Finally, his math was actually quite light. Instead of the more rigorous approaches he took to the other proposed solutions, of doing the math, seeing if it’s plausible, he instead played on many of the common fallacies, like “it’s never been done before”. He has “red” mark in the demonstrated category for thorium breeders (aka the worst mark), despite the existence of the test reactor that ran for 5 years, the molten salt reactor experiment (link else-thread). There is a fundamental difference between fusion (marked in red) and LFTR.

  292. josh117 says

    Regarding the geothermal argument: you wish to dismiss geothermal technologies as insufficient, but only wish to discuss a particular new type of geothermal that is able to use an inferior source of heat. Think about why your insistence on discussing only the capacity of EGS is ridiculous.

    I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear earlier. I thought that we all agreed that “conventional” geothermal only works if the geology permits it economically, and in a vast majority of cases, the geology does not permit it economically. Thus, as it’s less than a 1% solution, we can safely ignore it when searching for our to provide our baseload for the grid.

    Later, it was suggested that I prematurely dismissed all of geothermal by John Morales, the most sensible and nice person in this entire thread. (Again, thank you sir.) He linked to an alternative version which might actually be scalable to make a damn. Offhand, drilling mile+ deep bore holes seems like an overly expensive idea, but I haven’t seen good arguments refute it yet, and some people are pursuing it, so I won’t dismiss it as impossible (at current tech).

    This is all fine and good, until echidna decided several times to entirely dismiss context, and conflate this novel deep core geothermal with conventional geothermal, in post 272 and 287. Both posts were quite rude and terse, and the entire thrust of both posts were “You don’t know about geothermal? You are not as qualified to speak on these matters as you think you are.” Had that been a fair assessment of my posts, I would agree. However, it was horrible strawmanning. The first such time, I assumed a reasonable person, and replied in a much nicer way, explainable any possible source of confusion. Then echidna did it again. There is no excuse for this. echidna is an asshat.

  293. echidna says

    Josh,

    I tried to make sense of your #321, which quotes Ogvorbis. You don’t even refer to the section that you quoted in your comment. I am not surprised that you think that nobody gets your points. You aren’t making them coherently.

    I have not been given a fair chance and I have been stonewalled, strawmanned, parodied, ridiculed, and been dismissed at every step of the way.

    Well, if you feel that way, it’s probably because your argument has been scattered across several comments without the appropriate context.

    You can do something about that, because it’s simply not true that people are out to ridicule you. Write your position down as if it were an introduction for a technical paper, outlining the problem of requiring new energy sources, and why current technologies are insufficient (or whatever you wish to say). Explain what your argument is, and the potential for a solution, and your recommendations.

    If you actually meant it, please explain what you mean when you accuse me of groupthink, with examples.

  294. josh117 says

    [OT]

    The first such time, I assumed a reasonable person, and replied in a much nicer way, explainable any possible source of confusion. Then echidna did it again. There is no excuse for this. echidna is an asshat.

    To be complete, echidna just did it a third time. Of course, now I’m just “classical bullying” (/sarcasm) because I’m pointing someone strawmanning my position thrice in less than 3 days in the exact same way, despite a very cordial, well thought out, explanation in post 273 after the first and before the second. I’ve tried repeating but rephrasing that clear, cordial explanation in post 327 (with a bit of snide at the end). Maybe it’ll stick this time.

  295. says

    So, Joshieboy, complaining about being treated unfairly. Well, you may have been treated with some hostility here, but maybe, Josh117, just maybe, you shouldn’t have started the conversation by saying

    “how about reducing energy consumption. There’s a thought…”

    So, you also want to reduce us to the dark ages, and remove all advances of the industrial revolution that have made our lives better? Just checking.

    if you didn’t want to come across as A)a complete asshole or B) completely dismissive of any methods or changes in lifestyle to reduce energy consumption.

    Just sayin.

  296. josh117 says

    [OT]
    Post 328: Quoting echidna:

    I tried to make sense of your #321, which quotes Ogvorbis. You don’t even refer to the section that you quoted in your comment.

    I’m sorry – I’m now not following you. Do you mean that my reply in post 321 lacked context? I agree. Next time I’ll be sure to re-quote the strawman text when I claim a strawman. Of course, I’m sure this’ll just piss other people off that I’m hounding him on a particular point, but you can’t please everyone now can you?

    Again, if you look back over the posts, the numbers were provided, you can see the clear strawmanning going on. When he was called on this, he went into a tirade calling me an asshole instead of defending his characterization of my argument (the strawman) via quoted text of me. Again, all quite clear.

    Post 328: Quoting echidna:

    If you actually meant it, please explain what you mean when you accuse me of groupthink, with examples.

    Consider Post 244, one of yours. You jump in and propose that there are effective energy storage solutions, and I’m being premature. Text:

    As for storage, you might want to reference engineering publications that talk about the issues, rather than somebody doing back of the envelope calculations for what it would take to use hydro to do the whole job of energy storage. There are other ways. http://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/energy/the-smarter-grid/scientific-american-ranks-energy-storage-technologies

    After a couple back and forth posts, we apparently came to the conclusion that pumped water storage is not even close to cost effective as is for a nation sized battery, and none of the other solutions in your link (the one in the above block quote) are rated higher than pumped water storage. This makes me think that you just hit google, posted something, without even a modicum of thought to see that what you posted refuted my points, because what you posted actually furthered my position by demonstrating that the consensus amongst scientists and engineers is that there is no workable solution.

    Post 266, again yours echidna:

    You’re not even wrong. You are just focusing on the hunt for the magic bullet for energy production.

    There are many partial solutions, a combination of which can buy us a lot of expertise, flexibility and diversity. We may need all of that.

    The topic of this thread is a most important and urgent issue. It is the political situation in the US, and the anti-science, delusional rhetoric that too many people are buying into.

    Here, you continue to perpetuate this straw man against me that I think there’s a magic bullet solution, it’s crystal clear, and that I’ve closed my mind to all alternatives. I’ve clearly said from the beginning, and clearly re-explained many times, that 1- I am all for R&D into promising technologies, including wind, solar, geothermal, wave, sodium-sulfur batteries, etc, 2- I believe the current evidence clearly shows that photovoltaic and wind turbines are nowhere near ready for prime time, and 3- that the only thing which I know of which looks ready for prime time is nuclear. Note that I didn’t LFTR, I said nuclear. As a matter of facts, I think LFTR, IFR, and other various nuclear fission tech is much closer to powering the grid than photovoltaic and wind due to the lack of cost effective energy storage.

    Post 272 and 287, again your post. Now, you’re jumping on the bandwagon that I’m just some uneducated country bumpkin, err I mean programmer. I think you were so rabid in coming to that conclusion despite the clear context surrounding those posts that you took “novel geothermal” out of context as a means to show I’m an idiot. I’ve already gone into details in post 327 and 329 on this issue. Please see them.

    Post 290, again yours.

    He argues that there is an energy crisis coming up and that our reliance on and expectations of fossil fuel based on recent history is unrealistic. He points out that monolithic approach is not going to work. People who dream of techno-fixes are dreaming.

    I’ve got no argument with him.

    This is a different bandwagon you’re jumping on. I still have not yet heard a cogent reply why nuclear cannot provide all of the grid power. The best I’ve heard is:
    1- “It’s not safe [enough]”, which is false.
    2- “the waste”, which has solutions, and it also produces less waste than alternatives
    3- “not soon enough”, to which I counter that I haven’t heard an alternative yet, so it better be soon enough, or we better find an alternative,
    4- “can’t load follow”, a recent complaint, which I think is untrue. I admit I’m less knowledgeable about this one.
    5- “unspecified ad hominem of me using ‘hopium'”. You reject a single solution because you’ve applied a label of “silver bullet”, and thus no solution can ever be right – evidence be damned. I’m much more bringing this back to an evidence based discussion and avoiding loaded and preconceived conclusions like that.

  297. josh117 says

    So, Joshieboy, complaining about being treated unfairly. Well, you may have been treated with some hostility here, but maybe, Josh117, just maybe, you shouldn’t have started the conversation by saying

    “how about reducing energy consumption. There’s a thought…”

    So, you also want to reduce us to the dark ages, and remove all advances of the industrial revolution that have made our lives better? Just checking.

    if you didn’t want to come across as A)a complete asshole or B) completely dismissive of any methods or changes in lifestyle to reduce energy consumption.

    Just sayin.

    I stand by my calculated exaggeration and joke strawman of your position. It was intended to jostle you into realized the implications of your claims. “Increasing efficiency” or “reducing waste” or “changes of lifestyle” alone cannot solve global warming, and as such I rightfully call them red herrings in conversations such as this when used as an alternative to nuclear or other solutions. If you do not provide the baseload power, then you will not have heat during some nights in winter, and people will freeze to death. This is not an exaggeration. I do not think you fully comprehend the scale of the problem, and how woefully inadequate your solution is. This says nothing of current farming techniques which are quite energy intensive without which we would starve, or industrial processes like aluminum smelting which require constant power. As an example, aluminum smelting requires constant uninterrupted power without exception. If it loses power at all, then the aluminum freezes solid, and more or less totals (destroys) the entire facility.

    These are a direct consequence of your proposed policies.

  298. echidna says

    I don’t think you are uneducated. I do think that you are not an electrical systems engineer.

    Stop telling me about what straw men people have been constructing. People are really just trying to reflect what they understand about your arguments. If what they are saying is not reflecting what’s in your head, then it’s up to you to get your arguments out there. If you think that people are just out to get you, then why are you still here?

    I’m really serious about what I said in #328. If you want your arguments to be understood, write it down coherently in a single screed, rather than expect people to read your mind from fragments in comments. Please don’t refer to what other people have said: we want to hear your argument in it’s purest form.

    Also, understand that not everybody here is from the USA. Our contexts may vary.

  299. says

    “Increasing efficiency” or “reducing waste” or “changes of lifestyle” alone cannot solve global warming, and as such I rightfully call them red herrings in conversations such as this when used as an alternative to nuclear or other solutions.

    Noone here, as far as I can tell, has suggested that these changes would be the full solution, just that these things will be a substantial part of a solution. Hell, they’ll even make implementation of your precious new nuclear reactors easier. Who is strawmanning who here exactly?

  300. echidna says

    Aluminium smelting. Ha. Aluminium is an energy sink, and government subsidies for it are a disgrace. Like subsidising growing rice in a desert, and not allowing it’s true cost to emerge in the market.

  301. josh117 says

    [OT]
    post 334, pelamun wrote:

    Noone here, as far as I can tell, has suggested that these changes would be the full solution, just that these things will be a substantial part of a solution. Hell, they’ll even make implementation of your precious new nuclear reactors easier. Who is strawmanning who here exactly?

    You, in post 330. It’s been a long long time, so let me reproduce the relevant subthread.

    Post 26, NotAProphet wrote:

    So I take it we’re in favour of nuclear power

    Post 30, pelamun wrote:

    NotAProphet,

    how about reducing energy consumption. There’s a thought

    Any reasonable person would conclude that you’re proposing this as an alternative to nuclear.

    Post 35, josh117 wrote:

    So, you also want to reduce us to the dark ages, and remove all advances of the industrial revolution that have made our lives better? Just checking.

    Post 330, pelamun wrote:

    if you didn’t want to come across as A)a complete asshole or B) completely dismissive of any methods or changes in lifestyle to reduce energy consumption.

    Now, I’m willing to concede the possibility that you misunderstood my initial calculated exaggeration in post 35.

    However, any reasonable person would conclude that my post 35 was indeed intended as a humorous exaggeration, but as evidently clear from this thread, your post 30 was quite literal. You deny (denied) any place for nuclear power.

    Moreover, I’ve made clear in numerous posts since then that I’m all in favor of reducing consumption if it’s based on good cost-benefit analysis of the money cost, materials scarcity cost, benefit for the environment, impact on humans, etc. Thus, I refuse to believe that you could have been participating as long as you have, and not noticed me say this repeatedly. As such, your text in post 330 is a strawman, and your post 30 is a dangerous evil that needs to be corrected. In post 30, you suggested that we don’t actually need nuclear, and we just need to reduce consumption, and everything will be A-O-K, a general theme which you have been continuing since then.

  302. echidna says

    Josh,

    Since you have apparently declined to respond to the invitation in #328 and #333 to lay out a coherent position instead of just attacking positions that you have, correctly or incorrectly, inferred from other people’s comments, I will assume that you are trolling. Bye. I’m sorry I wasted my time.

  303. echidna says

    Moreover, I’ve made clear in numerous posts since then that I’m all in favor of reducing consumption if it’s based on good cost-benefit analysis of the money cost, materials scarcity cost, benefit for the environment, impact on humans, etc.

    No, you haven’t. You really haven’t. That’s in your head, not in the comments. Hence my #328 and #333.

  304. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You and everyone else in this thread are the ones doing the bullying.

    No Josh117, you are bullying. Four posts in a row? Prima facie evidence. You aren’t listening. We have offer evidence which you ignore. Until you can admit you might be wrong, and stop setting the evidence bar in the stratosphere, you are bullying.

    Most of us here prefer a multipronged approach, which includes renewable energy sources, conservation, and maybe more nuke plants. But we won’t go to a single untried approach, as if it fails, so does society. Every little bit helps, which you can’t acknowledge.

    Time to stop your monomaniaical bullying, and fade into the bandwidth. You haven’t, and can’t, make your point.

  305. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Oh, and Josh117, you have had your say and then some. Nobody has stopped you from presenting your ideas. You have presented your ideas and we reject them as we can do.

    Bullying comes in when you take “having your say” to mean we must agree with you. There is prima facie evidence above you are in that mode. You need to understand the difference between voicing an opinion, and allowing us to agree with you or not, and forcing us to agree with you, which is a definition of bullying. You are definitely there

    Here’s the hard question: If we don’t agree with you after 1 day of you having your say, can you just fade into the bandwidth? Take a good hard look at your answer, and what you base it on.

  306. josh117 says

    I’m really serious about what I said in #328. If you want your arguments to be understood, write it down coherently in a single screed, rather than expect people to read your mind from fragments in comments. Please don’t refer to what other people have said: we want to hear your argument in it’s purest form.

    We need to reduce CO2 emissions. We want to provide sufficient power to maintain a semblance of a good life. At a minimum, this requires a constant electrical grid presence, such as for home heating, industrial uses, etc.

    Thus, any technology or technologies that cannot provide constant grid power will not fulfill this requirement. It might fulfill other requirements, but I argue that the baseload power is the largest portion of the grid, that the solution to that is of overwhelming priority. We also need to worry about load following as well.

    Moreover, it needs to be cost competitive with coal. Anything that isn’t close to coal will not be adopted by the developing nations, and without that we’re sunk from global warming. (Literally for some, metaphorically for most.)

    Thus, we’re looking for technologies that can meaningfully contribute to baseload power. Arbitrarily, one might say 5% as a completely arbitrary cutoff. If it can’t do that cost effectively, then with the limited options we have, we might as well ignore it for this simplistic analysis.

    Photovoltaic and wind turbines fail these requirements horribly at current tech. They do not produce constant reliable power to the grid. There are no known cost effective energy storage solutions either to produce a steady constant reliable power to the grid. Contrary to popular belief, smartgrids won’t fix this problem. There are weeks or months at a time where the wind doesn’t blow across the majority of a continent. Clouds also play havoc with predicting available solar energy.

    Tidal is intermittent, just like photovoltaic and wind, and thus not workable at current tech. To be fair, it’s intermittent at regular intervals, so the battery tech to back this up has smaller cost efficiency requirements.

    Wave tech is too expensive at current tech.

    (Conventional) geothermal is too dependent on rare geology at current tech, and thus not scalable up to any significant portion of this problem for a majority of the countries on the planet.

    Other technologies just made aware to me, heliostats and deep core geothermal, may work. I need more time to research. It is my educated guess that heliostats will not work for latitudes farther from the equator, and the cost even nearer the equator is probably higher than coal. It is also my educated guess that drilling deep cores for the “marginal” heat difference isn’t as cost competitive as some may claim. Still, I am trying to keep an open mind, and I am looking for evidence when I get some spare time.

    There are of course unspecified future technology advances that might make some of the above practical. For example, if sulfur-sodium batteries were made 10x (or more) cheaper, then we might be in business.

    I think we can safely dismiss biofuels due to the excessive land requirements.

    The last serious contender known to me is nuclear, which of course is a mixed bag of radically different technologies. On the whole, conventional light water rectors are currently cleaner, safer, and a bit more expensive than coal. Some people even believe that if we fixed some of the regulations, got some standardized designs, and prevented the delaying tactics of some greens, that conventional light water technology can become cost competitive with coal. There are proposed problems with nuclear. The proposed problems usually are either: 1- overstated, and less bad than alternative energy sources, 2- technology exists to fix it, or 3- simply wrong.

    Moreover, very promising nuclear technology, such as the CANDU, IFR, LFTR, have the serious potential to be cheaper than coal, along with other advances and benefits.

  307. josh117 says

    Here’s the hard question: If we don’t agree with you after 1 day of you having your say, can you just fade into the bandwidth? Take a good hard look at your answer, and what you base it on.

    Are you uncomfortable with the discussion? The discussion is advancing, contrary to your claims that it’s remaining static. I think we might get somewhere soon. Probably not an agreement, but at least a full understanding of our points of disagreement I hope.

    At the very least, it’s not merely me continuing this discussion. Other people appear interested enough to reply and make new points.

    If you wish to silence me, do so. Have PZ come out and tell me to stop. Otherwise, as long as there is an interest in this off-topic topic, I will reply. I will not thread necromancy – if other people stop posting, so will I.

  308. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I think we might get somewhere soon. Probably not an agreement, but at least a full understanding of our points of disagreement I hope.

    Those where there on day one. Everybody but you could see that. And you keep acting like agreeing with you is required for an agreement. You hijacked the thread to throw out you pet idea. We don’t have to come up with any plan, or agree with anything you say. There won’t be any policy changes coming out from this blog.

    Are you willing to lay off for a day? Nothing needs to be solved today, and you know it. Your monomania wore thin after the first day, and you have offered nothing new since. Your methods, not what you are saying, is my objection. I’m pointing our your method of argument is not condusive to real discussion as you simple can’t be wrong. Since you can’t be wrong, you can’t agree with anything but you inane idea.

  309. josh117 says

    Post 336, josh117 wrote:

    Moreover, I’ve made clear in numerous posts since then that I’m all in favor of reducing consumption if it’s based on good cost-benefit analysis of the money cost, materials scarcity cost, benefit for the environment, impact on humans, etc.

    Post 338, echidna wrote:

    No, you haven’t. You really haven’t. That’s in your head, not in the comments. Hence my #328 and #333.


    Post 62, josh117 wrote:

    I am all for saving energy where it makes sense. It is not a solution unto itself.


    Post 101, josh117 wrote:

    I’m all for funding all promising approaches. I’m for funding research into sodium-sulfur batteries, LFTR, IFR, better solar and wind if we ever manage to solve our energy storage problem, and so on.


    Post 114, josh117 wrote:

    You’re still not listening. I’m all for improving consumption efficiency, and research cheaper ways for power production.


    Post 117, SallyStrange wrote:

    Also, you were totally dismissing energy efficiency. If that wasn’t your intention then I suggest working on your communication skills.

    Post 120, in reply to above, josh117 wrote:

    I am dismissing it as a red herring. It is not a solution. It’s an add-on that can apply to any solution to the global warming energy source problem.


    Post 131, josh117 wrote:

    Perhaps, instead can we have a discussion about how we’re going to end global warming and preferably maintain something like our current energy consumption patterns?

    Admittingly, if you read in a really twisted way, I might have said the opposite in that post. I would stress the phrase “something like” as intending to not dismiss changes to consumption.


    Post 161, josh117 wrote:

    The key to solving overpopulation is letting everyone be as gluttonous as the US is. Malthus was wrong. Stop pretending he is right.

    Here, I intended the word “gluttonous” to be quite a vague term, in line with “in the neighborhood”. See later posts.


    Post 175, josh117 wrote:

    Gluttonous might have been the wrong work. Standard of living is a better word. Security and knowledge that you have sufficient food stuffs, that you have basic conveniences, etc. We need to give this to everyone, and that requires cheap energy. We don’t need to move the US back on energy consumption. We need to move everyone else to US levels of energy consumption if we want to solve for overpopulation.

    Ack, not quite a retraction yet. For that, I apologize. 2 posts that can be reasonably read to say I am against consumption decreases. The main thrust here is that we need to move Africa up to something like the US, or at least significantly move it up, not that the US exactly as-is is a perfect model that we should strive towards. I think this may have been taken slightly out of context.


    Post 184, josh117 wrote:

    I’m all for electric cars if they’re doable. I’m all for standard of living reductions if required.


    Post 196, pentatomid wrote:

    Maybe so, but stop pretending that reducing the energy consumption of the average westerner wouldn’t be helpful in making our world a sustainable one to live in.

    Post 202, in reply to above, josh117 wrote:

    Again, that may be useful.


    Post 220, josh117 wrote:

    I’m willing to reduce quality of life.


    Post 218, nigelTheBold, Abbot of the Hoppist Monks wrote:

    So, why not try to buy us a few more decades by not fucking consuming so much?

    Also post 220, in reply to above, josh117 wrote:

    I’m fully ok with this.


    Post 222, josh117 wrote:

    And I didn’t mean literally the American standard. It was used as a ballpark. I did mention that “gluttonous” is a wrong word. We need a high enough standard of living to lower birth rates, and we also like a high standard of living for everyone for moral reasons too.

    Here I correct my poor choice of the word “gluttonous”.


    Post 244, echidna wrote:

    So, in the absence of political drivers, it’s important to get the low cost no-brainer solutions in place, to at least reduce the size of the problem before it hits us on the head.
    The first thing is manage existing power usage better. Reduce consumption. Remove tax subsidies to aluminium smelters. Establish some regulations for peak usage times. Establish an energy auditing service, to help people and businesses reduce their electrical bills. That kind of thing.

    Post 255, in reply to above, josh117 wrote:

    I did want to say that I completely agree with this.


    Finally,
    post 336, josh117 wrote:

    Moreover, I’ve made clear in numerous posts since then that I’m all in favor of reducing consumption if it’s based on good cost-benefit analysis of the money cost, materials scarcity cost, benefit for the environment, impact on humans, etc.


    I’m never going to get an apology for any of the strawmanning going on, am I? Or even an acknowledgement that it has been rampant across more or less everyone in this thread who is against me? Yes – I am brazen enough to ask for an apology.

    (I do want to call out John Morales again as a nice person, and I’m sure there’s been a couple of other people who haven’t posted that much who haven’t strawmanned either.)

  310. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Josh117, people are still responding to you due to SIWOTI, Someone Is Wrong On The Internet. That person who is wrong is you.

    The weekly magazine for my professional organization does yearly studies on the energy crunch. They talk to experts, those developing new technology, and those who also deal with older technology like light-water nuke plants. In each and every article, they point out that a multi-pronged approach is required, starting with conservation and recycling, because there is no one form of energy that can take over in a reasonable time frame.

    Now, who am I going to believe? Reasonable experts, or a monomaniac with delusions of being right, who isn’t even in the field? I’ll go with the experts in the field each and every time. Which means you are wrong on the internet.

  311. josh117 says

    Post 339, Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls wrote:

    No Josh117, you are bullying. Four posts in a row? Prima facie evidence.

    Which 4 posts? I’m betting that they were probably mostly original content. As such, I flatly reject your claim of bullying. Your criterion of the percentage of the posts is a bad criterion to follow so closely.

    Post 339, Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls wrote:

    You […]can’t […] make your point.

    Prejudiced much?

    Post 340, Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls wrote:

    There is prima facie evidence above you are in that mode. You need to understand the difference between voicing an opinion, and allowing us to agree with you or not, and forcing us to agree with you, which is a definition of bullying. You are definitely there

    I reject this. I have been bringing up new aguments for each post, to address new points. This is contrary to your purported definition of bullying. This is instead a conversation which is evolving and advancing.

    Post 343, Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls wrote:

    Those [my arguments] where there on day one. Everybody but you could see that. And you keep acting like agreeing with you is required for an agreement. You hijacked the thread to throw out you pet idea.

    My arguments were not there on day one. I have been clarifying, adding, expounding, my arguments since then.

    And yes I hijacked it. I was not alone in the hijacking. I was more than willing to just pop in and say “nuclear is awesome”, until pelamun accused this simple act of being a Poe in post 47.

    But I did not hijack it alone. You single me out. You have not claimed others have done wrong. This is “Prima facie evidence” that you are playing favorites, that you have a preconceived notion of the right answer of this discussion, and that you are trying to silence discussion for whatever reasons that you have.

    Post 343, Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls wrote:

    Are you willing to lay off for a day?

    To show I am a reasonable person, I will not post until the weekend.

    Post 343, Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls wrote:

    Nothing needs to be solved today, and you know it. Your monomania wore thin after the first day, and you have offered nothing new since.

    I think it’s my unconventional (in this gathering of people) ideas which have worn thin, and my persistence to the evidence and the truth.
    Post 343, Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls wrote:

    Your methods, not what you are saying, is my objection.

    I do not believe you.
    Post 343, Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls wrote:

    I’m pointing our your method of argument is not condusive to real discussion as you simple can’t be wrong. Since you can’t be wrong, you can’t agree with anything but you inane idea.

    I can be wrong. Claiming via fiat and groupthink that I am wrong, and with pisspoor sources and citations, is not sufficient to counteract my reasonable and much better supported claims.

    As I said earlier, invoke authority the authority of PZ to order me to be silent, or I will continue replying as I have (minus the “I won’t post until the weekend” concession). I will stop when interest stops. I will not necromancy the thread, and I will not keep bumping to keep it alive.

  312. echidna says

    Nerd:

    In each and every article, they point out that a multi-pronged approach is required, starting with conservation and recycling, because there is no one form of energy that can take over in a reasonable time frame.

    Beautiful. Succinct. And right. Sorry for my severe case of SIWOTI…

  313. rr says

    One new point – you overlooked how IFR and other reactors can run on U238, which there is plenty of.

    Josh, you may be on to something – the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) looks like it could use the spent fuel we have sitting in pools here the US, and the waste it would produce would be dangerous for around 300 years, way better than having to worry about a waste repository good for a million years. I wonder why the industry isn’t promoting it.

    I still have not yet heard a cogent reply why nuclear cannot provide all of the grid power.

    How about: you’re going to have to get the majority of the population here in the US to support the construction of hundreds of new plants by an industry they don’t particularly trust at the cost of many trillions of dollars?

    I think it’s my unconventional (in this gathering of people) ideas which have worn thin, and my persistence to the evidence and the truth.

    What gets tedious is talking about talking. And a little humility can go a long way.

  314. Jerry Alexandratos says

    Josh,
    I am a biological scientist with a background in radiation safety. I am not irrationally afraid of nuclear power, nor do I promote its’ use. I do not have a vested interest in any one form of power generation. I have read about new types of power generation, existing and experimental, including fusion, fission (including pebble bed), solar (PV, water heating, and passive heating), geothermal, and also about power conservation. Can you agree to call me a well informed layman?

    While I am interested in the thorium reactor you have been discussing, I would like to point out some problems. First, the technology is still experimental. It sounds great, and I very much hope it works. However, a lot of great-sounding ideas may work in the small scale but fail when pushed up to a much larger scale. If you do not admit this potentially fatal flaw, then you become a fan(atic) instead of an advocate, and cannot be taken seriously in a discussion. Second, after Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima (sp?), nuclear power is regarded by the general public as unsafe. Rightly or wrongly, public perception MUST be considered because the general public must (a) indirectly pay for all new power plants, and (b) live with them. No amount of purely technical argument is going to convince people when a large proportion of the country does not “believe” in science, and seriously accepts a rabid anti-science zealot like Santorum as a potential presidential candidate. Disregarding human psychology and sociology is a recipe for failure even before the first LTFR plant is built, because it will never get licensed. (Yes, the DoD may eventually want a pilot plant. No, the DoD cannot force people to accept more plants for national grid use.)

    The main problems with your nontechnical arguments are as follows:
    1) You point out serious or minor flaws in other people’s arguments. You strictly limit their arguments to your own parameters (e.g. experimental, or in braod use, or capability of use as 100% baseload power), when _they_ did not start out with those limits. Nor did you state these limits before categorically ruling out broad categories of power. You then completely disregard the fact that the same exact arguments can be used against your own most favored experimental power source. Mote meet beam. Pot meet kettle.
    2) You make strawman arguments, e.g. deriding power conservation because it does not generate power, when the original commenter did not make that argument. You then play the martyr card when you feel someone uses a strawman argument against you. You can’t have it both ways, or you come across as a hypocrite.
    3) I am capable of reading your arguments once, following links, and comprehending them. If not, then I am capable of asking questions. I do not need your arguments repeated, ad nauseum. You do not make your point twice as strongly when you repeat yourself. I feel my intelligence is insulted when you do so. If you do not treat your audience as capable and intelligent, then they may resent you on an emotional level and treat you in a similar manner. As has happened. Get it?

    While you may be a good “code monkey” and engineer, your inability to engage in polite discourse (i.e. being dismissive to both laymen and experts on the subject at hand) and poor grasp of human psychology is a significant problem in getting your point across. I suggest that you take a break, even if the discussion continues without you. You do not have to take part in every single comment that mentions “nuclear” or “LTFR”. Given the hostility you have exhibited against others and have generated against you, cooling off might be a very good idea.
    regards,
    Jerry

  315. says

    I’m never going to get an apology for any of the strawmanning going on, am I? Or even an acknowledgement that it has been rampant across more or less everyone in this thread who is against me? Yes – I am brazen enough to ask for an apology.

    You’ve got some nerve, Joshieboy. You’ve been strawmanning people, not the other way around. There may have been misinterpretation of your arguments, but I’d argue those were due to your lack of communication skills. Noone has strawmanned you, at least not intentionally. We’ve merely articulated wh

  316. says

    Okay, that was weird…

    Anyway, I’ll continue:

    We’ve merely articulated what we took to be your position as we perceived it from your argumentation. Apparantly we were horribly mistaken. I’m well aware that you’ve said a couple of times that you’ve got no problems with the use of multiple technologies, that you don’t dismiss energy saving measures or changes in standards of living, etc… However, the rest of your argumentation does seem to contradict this. Again, I think this may be due to some lack in communication skills.

    Also: stop confusing me with Pelamun. I’m Pentatomid.

  317. says

    Post 330, pelamun wrote:

    if you didn’t want to come across as A)a complete asshole or B) completely dismissive of any methods or changes in lifestyle to reduce energy consumption.

    Now, I’m willing to concede the possibility that you misunderstood my initial calculated exaggeration in post 35.

    However, any reasonable person would conclude that my post 35 was indeed intended as a humorous exaggeration, but as evidently clear from this thread, your post 30 was quite literal. You deny (denied) any place for nuclear power.

    Moreover, I’ve made clear in numerous posts since then that I’m all in favor of reducing consumption if it’s based on good cost-benefit analysis of the money cost, materials scarcity cost, benefit for the environment, impact on humans, etc. Thus, I refuse to believe that you could have been participating as long as you have, and not noticed me say this repeatedly. As such, your text in post 330 is a strawman, and your post 30 is a dangerous evil that needs to be corrected. In post 30, you suggested that we don’t actually need nuclear, and we just need to reduce consumption, and everything will be A-O-K, a general theme which you have been continuing since then.

    1) You’re confusing me and pelamun again. 330 was mine, 30 was by pelamun.
    2) How the fuck was 330 a strawman. Do you even know what a strawman is?
    3) When it comes to 30, you are strawmanning pelamun.

  318. echidna says

    Josh,

    When it comes to strawmanning, you are pretty awesome at strawmanning even yourself.

    The quotes used to justify your full embrace of broader solutions (A) in #344 are in italics, the full quote you took it from is also included. Do you imagine that saying ” Yes, A, but X overrides that” emphasises the A, or the X?

    114

    You’re still not listening. I’m all for improving consumption efficiency, and research cheaper ways for power production. However, improving consumption efficiency is not going to solve global warming. We need a “new” energy source. Fission is it. Solar and wind is not.

    I’m all for electric cars if they’re doable. I’m all for standard of living reductions if required. I don’t think you understand just how ineffective a plan you are proposing.

    where there was no proposal.
    220

    I’m fully ok with this. I’ve said this many times now. I’ve also said that this is not a replacement, but merely a supplement, to an actual energy policy.

    225

    I did want to say that I completely agree with this. However, I have been clear for most of the thread that I think this is sometimes used as a red herring – whenever it’s used in place of nuclear, the argument is disingenuous. Greater consumptive efficiency, lowering consumptive, smart grids, better house insulation, whatever, work just as well with nuclear as they do with solar and wind. It’s a distraction. The real issue is how do we provide the baseload power.

    Josh, you’ve quote-mined yourself, and you really don’t seem to have any idea of what you have been arguing, or listened to anybody else, let alone learned from them.

    I am glad to see your argument laid out like you did in #341. It’s clear that you aren’t looking at time-frames, and that is a big flaw in your position. The short and medium term is important too.

    By the way, it’s really bad form to bolster your own argument with “A reasonable person would interpret that as….”, as if you are the only reasonable person on the thread.

  319. echidna says

    and you really don’t seem to have any idea of what you have been arguing,

    Let me rephrase that in language that will resonate with you: the scope of your argument is ill-defined.

  320. halfspin says

    The problem with nuclear energy is that it’s all too likely to cause uncontrolled chain reactions that lead to catastrophic meltdown, as demonstrated by this comment thread.

  321. John Morales says

    [meta]

    josh117,

    Are you willing to lay off for a day?

    To show I am a reasonable person, I will not post until the weekend.

    So far, so good.

    It doesn’t actually show that*, but your silence since is impressive.

    (Kudos)

    * Rather, it evinces commitment and honesty.

  322. josh117 says

    I have waited as I said. I think that I now have a unique opportunity for some people to genuinely hear me out with an open mind.

    I assume that we’re all atheists here, and that we all aspire to be critical thinkers: we question our own beliefs. To not question a belief is to make it sacred. To not know the justifications for beliefs can be a form of faith. Of course, we all here have the belief that E = m c^2, and very few of us probably know what this means beyond a rudimentary level. This kind of belief based on trust is ok, because you know someone out there actually understands it, and has the evidence to prove it. However, a religious person, when he says he believes in the trinity, has no such recourse; there is no priest who claims to understand the trinity, nor who has the evidence to demonstrate it. (Borrowed from Dan Dennett.)

    I know my words will fall on deaf ears to most. This is already quite apparent, explicitly stated by one who is praised and respected in your community. “Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls” has said:

    You haven’t, and can’t, make your point.

    I cannot make my point. I cannot. There is nothing I can say, no factual evidence I can provide, which will convince Nerd that Nerd is wrong. I am unable but to recall the words of Kurt Wise:

    Although there are scientific reasons for accepting a young earth, I am a young age creationist because that is my understanding of the Scripture. As I shared with my professors years ago when I was in college, if all the evidence in the universe turns against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate.

    If what Nerd has said is not closemindedness, then I do not know what closemindedness is.

    I will not accept without evidence and compelling argument that a multi-pronged solution is the right solution. Splitting your resources across multiple approaches means spending your resources on less cost effective solutions, resulting overall in a more expensive, less effective solution – generally.

    Arguments for a multi-pronged solution can be true when there are diminishing returns and when the cheapest solution’s next marginal unit of cost is comparable to the next cheapest. Joining a dozen woefully inadequate solutions does not produce an adequate solution. However, this is not the argument being made. Some technologies, like conventional geothermal, are limited by diminishing returns. Most of the technologies which matter, like solar and to a decent extent wind, are not limited by diminishing returns. Moreover, there is good reason to think that economies of scale will kick in and cause increasing returns.

    Arguments for a multi-pronged solution can also be true if the technologies synergized in some way, one covering the other’s failing, so that neither can work alone, but they can work together. For example, if it was windy during the night and sunny during the day, or if it was always windy somewhere and the grid could transport the power, then the argument could be right. However, for wind, this is simply not true – sometimes it’s windy nowhere – and it’s outside the realm of plausibility to connect the whole world to the same grid so that “it’s always sunny somewhere”.

    Arguments for a multi-pronged solution can also be true if you need to have multiple solutions to prevent single mode of failure. However, it is incorrect to say that a multi-pronged solution backed significantly by wind and solar has less risk of a single mode of failure than nuclear. I advocate mass deployment only after when the technology has been demonstrated, and a bunch of working nuclear plants do not have a plausible single mode of failure. They do not care if it’s sunny or windy outside. They depend only on their demonstrated physics and engineering. Their only needs are building supplies and fuel, and those will last for thousands of years or more. Whereas I can easily imagine single modes of failure for a smart grid backed by solar and wind: night, and weeks or months without wind over large areas.

    I ask you, again, as humbly as I can, to show that you are critical thinkers, that you do not have the beliefs you do because of faith, dogma, or groupthink. I ask you, again, to give me primary or secondary sources, or point me to someone who is able and willing to give me primary or secondary sources, to back up your claims that there are in fact non-nuclear technologies deployable now that will reduce our CO2 footprint to stop climate change, to allow us to heat our homes during the night, to allow industry to flourish, to allow the internet to remain on at all hours of the day, etc., which allows us to raise our brothers and sisters across the world out of poverty, hunger and despair into a life style of security and dignity, and that any such solution will be multi-pronged.

    Yes, I have probably committed this blog’s equivalent of Godwin’s Law by comparing most of you to young Earth creationists. Thus I have “lost” the discussion. Perhaps you will be able to rise above and show that you do have justifications for your beliefs, if not for myself, then at least for yourselves, your own dignity, and our collective posterity.

    Goodness bless.

  323. josh117 says

    Look echidna, I have clearly stated that I am for reasonable lowering our consumption and standard of living. I didn’t cherry pick. You are conflating “for reduction of consumption” and “believes that reduction of consumption can radically alter which technologies are cost effective at providing grid power”. I do not believe that reasonable reductions of consumption will suddenly make other technologies cost competitive.

    However, if we don’t use grid power during some weeks or months during the night, then a smart grid backed by wind and solar can be cost effective. I do not consider this to be a “reasonable lowering of standard of living”.

    Thus you are simply wrong when you’ve claimed that I’ve claimed I’m against lowering our standard of living.

    Let’s look at posts 30 and 35. Post 30 in context was clearly promoting less consumption as an alternative to nuclear. I strongly feel that such policies have a very good chance to reduce our standard of living and our culture to something resembling a dark ages. I reject your claim that I strawmanned post 30.

    Also, when I earlier said a reasonable person would interpret post 30 as clearly anti-nuclear, this was intended in the legaleze sense, not as some “you’re all unreasonable” comment. I mean, this was my second post in the thread, near the start of the thread. Do you really think I would say “you’re all unreasonable” so early in the discussion? Please. You are riding me, taking everything out of context, making strawmans, and overall being very dishonest in your arguments.

  324. josh117 says

    Also, when I earlier said a reasonable person would interpret post 30 as clearly anti-nuclear, this was intended in the legaleze sense, not as some “you’re all unreasonable” comment. I mean, this was my second post in the thread, near the start of the thread. Do you really think I would say “you’re all unreasonable” so early in the discussion? Please.

    Actually, that makes no sense. Nevermind that part.

    You are riding me, taking everything out of context, making strawmans, and overall being very dishonest in your arguments.

    I still claim this.

  325. josh117 says

    So Josh’s strategy appears to be to talk until everyone else gets bored and declare himself the winner?

    Please do you have primary or secondary sources that show you’re right? I’ve done a good job providing my own sources that show you’re wrong.

  326. echidna says

    Josh@359,

    You are conflating “for reduction of consumption” and “believes that reduction of consumption can radically alter which technologies are cost effective at providing grid power”.

    What? Where have I said this?

    Thus you are simply wrong when you’ve claimed that I’ve claimed I’m against lowering our standard of living.

    All I have done is shown your full quotes where you have quote-mined yourself. I haven’t put any words in your mouth.

    I’ve done a good job providing my own sources that show you’re wrong.

    Wrong about what? You have argued against positions that you assume people are holding, not against things they have actually said. You have shown time and time again that you are not even trying to understand what other people are saying to you. In the power industry, longer term strategic planning starts with known technologies. Potential solutions are just that. You have conflated the need for research with longer term strategic planning, and been quite dismissive about short and medium term proposals. If you really want to convince people of your position, I would like to see a timeline, with sample load curves at various intervals of time with types of demand and potential generation. Better still would be some Monte-Carlo simulations of a range of demand and generation scenarios, with single-contingency events included to test the system.
    Why do I ask this? Because I don’t believe that you have grasped that the research into new nuclear technologies that you are pressing for is not going to give results in the required time frame, if it ever does. This is not a future, standalone project. This is an existing system, that needs constant attention to make it work.

    You are riding me, taking everything out of context, making strawmans, and overall being very dishonest in your arguments.

    Riding you? Possibly. SIWOTI is strong. I would be surprised if you can show me a single example where I have been dishonest, or created a straw man. Make sure to use only exact quotes and comment numbers.

    I don’t think that I have taken you out of context either, but given that we primarily disagree on the context of your arguments, I’m not surprised that you think so. In any case, I think that you do not grasp the complexity of the context.

    I will not accept without evidence and compelling argument that a multi-pronged solution is the right solution. Splitting your resources across multiple approaches means spending your resources on less cost effective solutions, resulting overall in a more expensive, less effective solution – generally.

    thereby setting yourself in opposition to every person and organisation with recognised expertise in the area. See Nerd@345, and visit the EPRI site. Consider the issue of local vs global optimisation (I mean problem space, not geographic space), and recognise that the system must be optimised primarily for reliability, including potential disaster scenarios. Cost-effectiveness, though clearly important, is secondary to reliability.
    Also, there is no “the right solution”, although I note that you haven’t clearly specified the problem. There are different solutions to our energy needs at every instant of time, in multiple geographic locations.

  327. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I cannot make my point. I cannot. There is nothing I can say, no factual evidence I can provide, which will convince Nerd that Nerd is wrong. I am unable but to recall the words of Kurt Wise:

    Right, you can’t make your point. Why? Because people more expert, with fuller knowledge of the subject, have shown it won’t and can’t work. As I said my professional journal, and journals/science magazines like Scientific American and American Scientist have reviewed this topic many times. Multiple times over the 35+ years I’ve been reading said literature. And none have come to the conclusion that your thorium reactor idea is any more than a supplement to the total energy package required in the future.

    I’m still seeing your inability to grasp to grasp that you could be wrong. You have such a overweening sureness you are right, it is almost holy. Until you can seriously come to grips with the idea that you are wrong, you can never be right, as there is certainly an error somewhere in your thinking. The first person fooled by the idea is yourself. You have to stop fooling yourself by allowing for the concept you could be wrong to seep in. Then, and only then, can you stop fooling yourself.

  328. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Josh117:

    I will not accept without evidence and compelling argument that a multi-pronged solution is the right solution.

    This is prima facie evidence you are besotted with your idea, and aren’t rational about it. Remember in science, you must prove your idea right. You are wrong until you can show it is right.

    When you consider yourself right and must be proven wrong (a typical godbot ploy BTW), you haven’t challenged your idea sufficiently on your own, and you are generally surprised that others don’t grasp your “brilliant” idea. The null hypothesis is always the current accept best practice. In this case, it is a multi-pronged approach for energy production/conservation. That is what you must refute. You haven’t done that, just alleged it with handwaving, smoke, and mirrors.

  329. josh117 says

    And none have come to the conclusion that your thorium reactor idea is any more than a supplement to the total energy package required in the future.

    You really need to stop being an asshat and strawmanning me. Nowhere did I claim LFTR only, or that the main focus should be on LFTR.

    . In this case, it is a multi-pronged approach for energy production/conservation. That is what you must refute. You haven’t done that, just alleged it with handwaving, smoke, and mirrors.

    It’s hard to refute an idea as nebulous as “multi-pronged approach”. Can you please refine this idea further so that it doesn’t have as much wiggle room as god?

    To the best of my ability, I’ve covered every prong of a possible multi-pronged solution.

    I think we agree that hydroeletric and geothermal cannot be rolled out in sufficient numbers to break 10%~ of the grid because of lack of suitable geology to make it cost effective.

    I have shown that solar and wind are too intermittent, and that a smart grid cannot solve this problem unless you’re willing to have no electricity for weeks or months during the night. I have also shown that no combination of available energy storage solutions can fix this cost effectively.

    That leaves the other ragtag contenders. Tidal is too expensive and not constant. Wave is too expensive. Burning biomass has too big of a land requirement and is probably too expensive.

    That leaves nuclear and the CO2 stuff. Conventional nuclear is close to cost competitive with coal, and might be made cost competitive with coal if we fix the regulations, get standardized designs, and get rid of the delaying tactics of some greens.

  330. josh117 says

    visit the EPRI site.

    Do you mean
    http://www.erpi.net/mission.html
    ?
    I’ve poked around, and I have seen no papers.

    You also mentioned the MIT website. I assume you mean this:
    http://web.mit.edu/ceepr/www/publications/workingpapers.html
    ?
    The best paper at hand seems to be:
    WP-2010-002 Why and How the European Union Can Get a (Near To) Carbon-Free Energy System in 2050?
    http://web.mit.edu/ceepr/www/publications/workingpapers/2011-008.pdf

    Let’s take a look at this quote too from that paper.

    But the output from wind and solar generation is both variable over time and imperfectly pr edictable, so that generators of both sorts are referred to as variable energy resources or VERs. The greater the fraction of generation coming from VERs as opposed to conventional baseload coal or nuclear plants, the greater the need for gas-fired reserve capacity. Thus subsidizing renewables may not be a sound response to energy security concerns (Moselle 2010). (Accommodating high levels of VER generation also requires significant changes in system pl anning and operations (NERC 2009).)

    So, adding more solar and wind requires adding more gas to back it, it’s not a good idea for energy security concerns, and it will require “significant changes” in system planning and operations, whatever that mean. I think they might mean “with very large rollout, no electricity at night for some weeks”.

    I don’t see any specific mention which energy solutions will allow Europe to go carbon-free. In fact, the data they present is laughably misinformative. The graphs they have mix solar, wind, wave, tidal, hydroelectric, biomass, and more. Some of these are intermittent and require very expensive backing energy storage to be practical, or they require changes to weather patterns to allow for wind to back up the intermittency of the others. The graph thus makes it look like these things are actually cost competitive while lying through their teeth.

    Are there any other papers I should be looking at?

  331. josh117 says

    Because people more expert, with fuller knowledge of the subject, have shown it won’t and can’t work. As I said my professional journal, and journals/science magazines like Scientific American and American Scientist have reviewed this topic many times. Multiple times over the 35+ years I’ve been reading said literature. And none have come to the conclusion that your thorium reactor idea is any more than a supplement to the total energy package required in the future.

    I’ve just been looking for such surveys that allow you to make such a claim. Alas, my google-fu is failing me. As you know such things, can do you point me towards the survey or surveys of experts and respected scientific institutions, please?

  332. josh117 says

    So Josh’s strategy appears to be to talk until everyone else gets bored and declare himself the winner?

    I’m pretty sure that’s everyone else’s strategy. I’ve given citations, compelling arguments, and asked for citations and compelling arguments from the other side. I have yet to get any.

  333. says

    Josh, you do know I kill filed you and can’t read what you write, right? Directly responding to me is pointless. Surprisingly, I’m still able to follow the discussion because you’re remarkably boring and insane.

  334. josh117 says

    Surprisingly, I’m still able to follow the discussion because you’re remarkably boring and insane.

    Asking for citations and compelling arguments is boring and insane. Gotcha. One week ago, that’s the last thing I expected to hear on an atheist science blog. Now, it’s par for the course.

    Of course, that’s unfair to you specifically because you didn’t see what I wrote. However, that is a fair assessment of most everyone else in this thread that is reading what I’m writing.

  335. echidna says

    josh117:

    Asking for citations and compelling arguments is boring and insane.

    I’m not making any claims, and I don’t work for you. You are making claims, and not listening, and demanding people refute you with citations and compelling arguments. Your behaviour is indeed insane. And boring.

  336. echidna says

    (echidna)

    vist the EPRI site

    (josh) Do you mean
    http://www.erpi.net/mission.html

    No, of course not. I don’t mean enterprise resource performance dinky little company.

    I mean the Electric Power Research Institute, which is the non-profit that more or less coordinates and publishes research across the many independent power companies in the USA. That you don’t even recognise the name tells me a lot.

    http://www.epri.com

  337. josh117 says

    Yes, I am rather ignorant and self taught in these things, which is why I’ve been asking for citations. Let’s go see if I can find anything on this site. I consider it somewhat rude to just point to a site that probably has a lot of irrelevant studies and links instead of the actual evidence, but I’ll take what I can get right now.

  338. josh117 says

    It seems that:
    “Engineering and Economic Evaluation of Renewable Technology” Parts 1+ may contain what I seek.

    Hmm, it seems that none of the papers are publicly available, and that it would be cost prohibitive for me to purchase any.
    http://portfolio.epri.com/purchase.aspx

    I’m sorry that this does little to change my mind. Do you have citations that are not exorbitantly expensive for me to read?

  339. Ichthyic says

    Yes, I am rather ignorant

    but you seemed perfectly willing to present your initial argument as if you were an authority on the subject.

    If nothing else, and there were other things, this is the primary reason you have failed to communicate with others productively in this thread.

    My advice would be to go really study the issue in depth, if you are at all interested in it, and then come back STILL with a much less authoritarian attitude about the issue, since EVEN THEN, there will likely be people participating in any given thread that will continue to know more about the subject than you do.

    or, you could just fuck off and not come back at all.

    I doubt tears would be shed, either way.

  340. echidna says

    josh,

    I consider it somewhat rude to just point to a site that probably has a lot of irrelevant studies and links instead of the actual evidence, but I’ll take what I can get right now.

    You don’t know enough to be able to evaluate papers and studies; it would be as pointless giving you citations as it would be asking a YEC to evaluate fruit-fly research. You need to look at the promotional stuff where they explain the broad issues. Explore. Enjoy.

    Yes, I am rather ignorant and self taught in these things, which is why I’ve been asking for citations.

    You are being gallingly rude in being so bloody dismissive of what I am trying to tell you, in the full knowledge that you are ignorant.

    You don’t need citations, you need a working background knowledge.

  341. josh117 says

    My advice would be to go really study the issue in depth, if you are at all interested in it, and then come back STILL with a much less authoritarian attitude about the issue, since EVEN THEN, there will likely be people participating in any given thread that will continue to know more about the subject than you do.

    I have to the best of my limited ability. I’m sorry that I’m not “in the know”. I also have plenty of anecdotal evidence that I’m right, and the best reliable citations I have found via google that I am right. All that has been presented here is anecdotal and a few spotty citations. Of those spotty citations which were available without purchase, none withstood a cursory examination or were merely fiats without citations.

  342. josh117 says

    You don’t know enough to be able to evaluate papers and studies; it would be as pointless giving you citations as it would be asking a YEC to evaluate fruit-fly research. You need to look at the promotional stuff where they explain the broad issues. Explore. Enjoy.

    Except that they lie frequently in such things. Consider your MIT paper. They blithely ignored the cost of energy storage solutions when evaluated wind and solar, which is a majority of the cost. All of the sources that people have tried to present in this thread already have not withstood cursory examination.

  343. Ichthyic says

    Except that they lie frequently in such things. Consider your MIT paper. They blithely ignored the cost of energy storage solutions when evaluated wind and solar, which is a majority of the cost.

    energy storage costs are not significantly different across sources, whether you are talking developing NEW sources based on petroleum, wind, solar, geothermal, etc.

    this is why we can legitimately compare costs between different methods of acquisition.

    You’ve convinced me of one thing: that you really don’t give a flying fuck about energy issues, and just want to troll for fun and lulz.

    wanker.

  344. josh117 says

    Ok, the assertion has been made that basically every reputable scientific organization supports the view that there are “renewables” ready now which can provide a majority of the power to the grid without unreasonable reductions of standard of living and without nuclear. I believe this to be false from my own research into the issue.

    This is not the same as evolution and climate change which have the full support of the entire scientific community.

    I’ve found plenty of groups holding that nuclear is necessary.

    Of course, if you do have the survey that shows me wrong, I will admit that I am wrong.

    From there, as there is no consensus, it follows that I better evaluate the issues myself. Every time I look at a paper that supports the plausibility of renewables, my limited knowledge is enough to destroy it. Usually it ignores the energy storage problems of wind and solar, as that is the backbone of most reasonable solutions.

  345. josh117 says

    The complete lack of a specific proposed energy policy plan is pretty damning too. Again, usually when I look at the literature, it’s primarily wind, solar, nuclear, and CO2 stuffs like coal, natural gas, oil. However, none of these papers give any attention to the energy storage problem, and largely ignore it.

  346. Ichthyic says

    usually when I look at the literature

    which apparently you most commonly don’t, since you’ve admitted you’re not willing to pay for access, or even VISIT A FUCKING LIBRARY to get it for free.

    fuck off, loser.

  347. josh117 says

    There are plenty of sources available for free. Have you looked at the sources? Why have you picked one side in this debate? Do you believe the vast majority of scientific organizations and scientists are on your side? Why do you have such a belief? If there is evidence for such a belief, can you point me where I can find it please?

  348. josh117 says

    why are you projecting?

    How do you know you’re right? I’ve done the best analysis I can of the issues, with the cited evidence, with the given explanations. Why do you believe one side in this debate?

  349. Ichthyic says

    How do you know you’re right?

    where, exactly, have I even stated my position, you trolley wanker?

    Do you even realize what it is that I have posted?

    no, evidently you don’t.

    run along and play now.

  350. josh117 says

    but you seemed perfectly willing to present your initial argument as if you were an authority on the subject.

    So, dismiss an argument because of negative qualities of the speaker. That’s an ad hominem if I ever heard one.

    No no, you’re now saying I’m not qualified to take part in this discussion, yet when I said exactly that to someone much less knowledgeable in this thread than I, I was called offensive by echidna in post 244, and the idiocy was not called out. Now that you’ve called me unqualified, I bet you won’t be called out as offensive like I was, despite much less basis. Hypocrisy.

    In fact, you didn’t give the same treatment to “We Are Ing” in post 142 who suggested the ludicrously stupid idea of space solar, whereas I’d like to think my arguments are at least within the realm of plausibility. More groupthink and bias.

  351. Ichthyic says

    So, dismiss an argument because of negative qualities of the speaker.

    straw man.

    *poof*

    again, run along, little wanker.

  352. josh117 says

    I’m a wanker when I have coherent arguments and disagree with you, and I’ll ill qualified to take part in the discussion, but someone who is completely and laughably ignorant in all things engineering, the person who suggested space solar, gets a free pass as long as that person agrees with you, eh?

  353. says

    Hey Josh while the big solution for you would be actually learning about energy a good partial solution would be to STFU and get over yourself

  354. echidna says

    Josh

    Consider your MIT paper.

    No, I referred you to the MIT website as a general resource, because you need a general understanding before you are in a position to evaluate anything. You are the one who located a particular paper and quoted from it.

    was called offensive by echidna in post 244

    No. You said “You need some basic engineering classes before you can continue taking part in this discussion”. I said that I found that statement offensive, and it is.

    The area that you need more background in is the interaction between scientific research and engineering planning, and subsequent implementation. You aren’t going to find that knowledge in the scientific literature, but you will catch glimpses of it if you read widely enough from the broad resources out there.

    Josh, you simply don’t know the extent of what you don’t know, and it looks like you never will because you never listen.

  355. echidna says

    Ichthyic addressed to Josh:

    Do you even realize what it is that I have posted?

    I don’t think he realises what he has posted, let alone the posts of anybody else. A lot of what he ascribes to other people is stuff he introduced himself.

  356. echidna says

    We are Ing,

    I just noticed way up thread you asking if someone wanted to talk about reducing energy consumption. Was that in general, or specifically to your situation? Are you still interested?

  357. says

    Both.

    We’ve put most of the appliances on surge strips that we can turn off when not being used hoping that would help reduce usage. And have set the thermostat to a few hours during the day to about 65 degrees (our Thermostat is not accurate) and use a hybrid car. Any other suggestions?

  358. echidna says

    Judging from the use of the hybrid car, you’re not only thinking of energy bills, but also on your environmental impact. Let’s start with the energy bill. So far so good with the thermostat and surge strips.

    If you were to have someone out to do an energy audit of your home, they would be looking for heat transfer in all its various forms. If you live in a sunny climate, you would want to use external blinds (or other shade) rather than internal curtains to block out the sun. In a cold climate, insulation would be your highest priority. Actually, insulation works in hot climates too: any passive regulation of heat is a good thing.

    As for lighting, I’m hanging out for LED lights to be readily available, and a bit cheaper.

    But rather than me going through stuff off the top of my head, it would be better to reuse other people’s work (engineer’s motto: don’t reinvent the wheel). I recommend this South Australian site which is quite comprehensive, and there is a home energy audit section in there under “understanding your energy usage.”

    http://sa.gov.au/subject/Water%2C+energy+and+environment/Energy/Energy+efficiency

    It’s worth looking at what other sites say, because you will get a sense of the relative importance of the suggestions.
    You might like this link from Queensland: http://www.moretonbay.qld.gov.au/uploadedFiles/moretonbay/environment/7%20Energy%20-%20Home%20Energy%20Audit.pdf

    or Canberra:
    http://www.heat.net.au/
    Victoria:
    http://www.powercor.com.au/docs/pdf/Community%20and%20Environment/Home%20Energy%20Self%20Audit.pdf

    In terms of environmental impact, from the perspective of electricity, you can think of aluminium as electricity in solid form. It’s incredibly expensive energy-wise, and as long as that’s not reflected in the market price, I think it is safe to say that industrial interests are overriding environmental interests.

    You might be interested in this site:http://www.energy.wisc.edu/eic/home.html, which I notice takes account of the number of aluminium cans you use in a week.

    If I’ve missed the mark with what you wanted to know, let me know.

  359. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    I’ve found plenty of groups holding that nuclear is necessary.

    Wow, Josh. You accuse everyone here of creating strawman arguments, and yet you keep coming off with shit like this. As I have stated before (and been ignored), many of us here recognize nuclear energy as a viable component in solving future energy needs. In other words, I, and some other commenters here are for the use of nuclear energy. In other words, a subset of this self-selected group, including me, wants to see the safe expansion of nuclear energy. To state, implicitly or explicitly, that, because I, or any other commenter, has questions about the viability of thorium-based reactors, that I am automatically against any and all forms of nuclear energy is both disingenuous and the creation of a strawman argument.

    But, you have shown no sign of actually reading anything that I, or others, write, so, even if you have some good ideas, they are lost in your rudeness and your monomania.

    And no, that is not an argumentum ad hominem attack. That is pointing out that a refusal to argue in good faith makes it very unlikely that even potential allies will side with you.

  360. says

    We don’t buy cans or anything I can see causing a high turn over of aluminum. Basically all we need to do is get our energy company in to install weather strips, difficult as we rent.

  361. KG says

    usually when I look at the literature, it’s primarily wind, solar, nuclear, and CO2 stuffs like coal, natural gas, oil. However, none of these papers give any attention to the energy storage problem, and largely ignore it. – josh117

    I just put the search term: “energy storage” renewable into google scholar, restricting the search to items published since 2005. It found “approximately 17,700″. I suggest you go and read them, then come back and continue your arson campaign against strawpersons. We’ll manage somehow in the meantime.