[nSLUG] Measured wattage of atom system

Daniel Morrison draker at gmail.com
Tue Sep 16 17:54:07 ADT 2008

2008/9/16 Jason Kenney <jdkenney at gmail.com>:
> Oy!
> Let's try to clear a few things up.  Then I promise to only complain
> about the computery assertions I disagree with.  :)

Wow, what a reaction.  I'm afraid I don't have the time to clear up all the
misconceptions here... all I hear is a lot of nay-saying and straw-man
bashing.  I'll do my best to run through it.

> Next, I seriously hope you are not suggesting that we just convert
> massive portions of our power system to solar and wind on the hope it
> will be enough and work out.

???  What kind of idiocy is this?  Build a renewable energy plant, then
decommission the old one.  Don't decommission old plants unless you know you
have new capacity.  DUH.

> The next generation of solar cells MIGHT BE more efficient?  I am
> beginning to detect a pattern here...

Picking at my words.  "might be either dirt cheap, or highly (75%) efficient".
As in: will be either dirt cheap, or highly efficient.  The "might" refers to
the fact that I'm _not_ a magician, and so can't predict which one will come

The patterns are in your head.  Don't say "it can't be done because the
propenents use words like 'might'".  You sound like a right-winger.

Left-winger: Scientists say that the evidence indicates a trend in which the
following (bad scenario) is likely to occur within 10-15 years.  How are we
going to deal with it?

Right-winger: You said "might"! and "trend"!! and "inidicates"!!! and
"likely"!!!!  You're full of shit!  Vote for me and I WILL lower taxes, lower
the price of energy, and fire anybody who doesn't speak in absolutes!  Power
to the people!(1)
(1) and by 'people', I mean 'the people with money', by which I mean, 'the
military industrial complex'.

(To any right-wingers who are actually rational: it was a joke.
Sorry.  There are irrational left-wingers too. )

Have you read the research paper in which experiments with varying the doping
level of (I believe it was) gallium arsenide in solar cell silicon indicate
that a near 80% efficiency solar cell can be created by using continuously
variable frequency absorbing solar cell?

Have you read the news articles about the new batch of startups that are
printing solar cells (cheaply) on mylar foil, instead of the expensive vacuum
silicon buildup currently in use?

> Electricity is only a transmission medium for energy.  It is not a
> source in itself (really, the Sun is the only source of energy we have

Energy is not a source.  Boil some water on your stove.  Then tell me that the
water doesn't contain energy because it isn't a "source".  Short circuit a car
battery with your tongue and then tell me that electricity isn't energy.

> Ultimately in Nova Scotia fossil fuels are still the predominant
> source of energy for home heating, whether you are using coal ->
> electric heat, or natural gas -> electric heat, or oil directly.  I
> don't understand what you mean by "high-grade energy".

Look it up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy

> Could be, huh.  It could also not be.  What guarantees do you have
> about it ultimately being a superior solution to just using more
> (standard) nuclear power for the moment?

Yo!  Caveman!  Stop banging those rocks together -- you'll never make fire.
Come over here and eat your yummy raw antelope guts!

Enough said.

> The fact is there no hard guarantees you or anyone else can provide.

Or you, for that matter.  Guarantee me that the continued use of fossil fuels
won't make the environment unlivable for human beings.

Thought so.

> I for one am uncomfortable with betting on magic technology appearing
> in the future.

That's a nice broad statement anyone can agree to.  I'm glad all the people
using solar/hydra/wind/wave power don't have to rely on magic.

> The history of energy production technology has not exactly been full of
> major developments in its past.  They have been few and far between.

Oh, I can agree with that.

prehistory - basic solar
prehistory - discovery of fire
 -- hundreds of thousands of years - "few and far between"
3000 BC??? - oil/animal fat
2000 BC??? - gunpowder
19th century - fossil fuels, steam, electricity, natural gas
20th century - advanced solar, nuclear fission, and everything else
future - nuclear fusion

Based on trends, I'd say that the "few and far between" years are behind us,
and the "rapid technological progress" is upon us.  Glad I don't have to rely
on magic!

(And yes, I made all those dates up.  I don't think I'm more than a few
thousand years off in any direction -- but even if I am, so what?  It's an
illustrative model).

>>   "I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I
>>   hope we don't have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle
>>   that." - Edison to Ford and Firestone in 1931
>>           (from "Uncommon Friends" by J.Newton)
> That's a convenient quote, but of course completely irrelevant today.

The sun isn't the most massive source of power available to us?  The most
inexpensive?  How is this quote irrelevant, exactly?

> FYI Edison did not even support AC power or motors in his day!  This

Non-sequitur.  The man might have been a genius.  He was not infallible.

If you care about the future of the human race, for God's sake man, open your


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