atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#7233: Definitely hot out there

8:30 PM I step out on the front porch and it's like stepping into a soggy electric blanket. Dewpoint is 74 and when I checked the weather site they said "83" which makes for a heck of a heat index.

Spent maybe ninety glorious minutes laying on a float in the pool this afternoon, though, and I'm still a little unsure about the cost/benefit ratio involved with this whole "pool" thing. It's a lot of work even to have one of these easy-set pools going, and so far this year I've gotten two days' use out of it. Would have been three if my wife's knee hadn't been acting up last week, or the week before, or whenever it was.

The weather around here being what it is, an unheated pool is only really any fun on the warmest of days; otherwise the water is cold enough that I've got to go through a period of acclimation that doesn't seem worthwhile. That reflexive gasping on immersion is uncomfortable.

I'd estimate today's water temperature to be somewhere in the mid-seventies. 80-82 is the idea pool temperature and Lake Michigan typically gets to around 70 in the latter part of summer, and its current temp is somewhere between those.

Anything bigger than this is probably going to need active heating to be comfortable. Or else we'll have to get rid of the shade by the pool so it gets more sunlight during the course of the day.

I think this size is perfect, myself; it's big enough for floats, shallow enough not to need a ladder to get into it, and after all it's just me and my wife using it.

* * *

Only someone who doesn't understand how incredibly inefficient refrigeration is will think this makes sense. I like how the caption for the diagram talks about "waste cold"--if there were ever a phrase which was thermodynamically meaningless, it's that.

They're desperately seeking a good way to store energy because renewables are unpredictable and cannot be controlled, but it's difficult to store industrial quantities of power. I notice that the various schemes which are touted as possible solutions to the problem never seem to amount to much; I've seen article after article about this or that or the other method, but never any follow-up articles about how successful a particular method was and how they're going to try building a larger facility to see how it scales and-and-and.

The push for renewable energy is going to go down in history as one of the most idiotic and quixotic fads ever to seize the human race.

* * *

And here's more of the same. Hydrogen has been touted, again and again and again, as the best-possible fuel for use in all sorts of vehicles because "the exhaust is water!"

The problem is that hydrogen isn't an energy source. At least this article acknowledges that, though not in so many words. There isn't anywhere you can go on Earth (or off it, either, as far as I know) where you can drill for hydrogen, which means you need to pump water or something into an electrolysis unit and crack the molecules apart. There has to be an energy input to make water into hydrogen, here, because water is in a ground state and mostly nonreactive. Hydrolysis is the energy input, and it's bleeding inefficient.

If you have methane gas, you can crack the hydrogen from it--but it's easier just to burn it as-is. Sadly, methane is a hydrocarbon (we call it "natural gas") but wells are our principal source of it, making it a fossil fuel.

The push for hydrogen is the same push as the air liquefaction storage plant above, and for the same reason: trying to "decarbonize" transportation, to make it "renewable". That's fine if your energy is free, but it isn't, not even with renewables. But you can't build an airliner which will fly halfway around the world on electric motors, because storing the electricity needed to run those motors will take up too much of your plane's lifting capacity.

Anyone who mentions the electric airplanes as "proof" that electric airliners are possible can leave now. Those are purpose-built aircraft which can loft an extremely limited payload, and every gram counted when they were being built and provisioned. Label that one "not nearly ready for prime time" on your way out, please.

Running an airliner on hydrogen will work, yes, in that you can take a current commercial aircraft and fly it a very long distance using only hydrogen as fuel. But you'll be pulling out the kerosene tanks and substituting cryogenic storage, and that means weight. And hydrogen is not a dense fuel, as this cutaway of the Space Shuttle main tank will attest:



Note that the hydrogen tank takes up most of the volume of the thing? While the liquid oxygen tank is just the nose section? That's becase liquid hydrogen is thin. 71 kilograms per cubic meter. Jet fuel is 804 kg per cubic meter, almost ten times as much.

In terms of volume, jet fuel is somewhere near 34 megajoules per liter while hydrogen barely squeaks past 10 megajoules per liter.

Of course hydrogen has the highest energy density per kilogram; hydrogen packs 141 megajoules per kilogram against jet fuel's 43. But that kilogram takes up a lot of space: a kilogram of liquid hydrogen takes up 14 liters of volume against 1.2 liters for a kilogram of jet fuel. That kilogram of liquid hydrogen gives you about 3.3 times the energy as jet fuel, but takes up about 11.7 times the space.

This reduces your airplane's range a bit.

* * *

No. While I will agree that Olivia de Havilland struck a sound blow against the alliance that Hollywood had with the USSR and communism, she cannot be credited with, "ending the alliance of Communists and liberals in Hollywood."

The fact that Dalton Trumbo is still lionized by the film industry is itself proof that "tinsel town" is just as communist as it ever was.

Someday I hope to live in a world where "racist" has been replaced with "communist".

* * *

Chicago cops punished because the rioting got too close to mayor's home.

Meanwhile, the feds are doing what Chicago cops have not been allowed to do. "The neighborhoods so far are quieter already because they know the feds are here." The feds aren't practicing the commie-lib "catch and release" that the Democrat machine has the municipal police doing. "The word on the street is exactly this--the feds are here and they're handing out years like Halloween candy."

In other words, if you commit a crime, you're very likely to do the time--and in the federal joint rather than county lockup.

* * *

So, my weekend--none of the chores I had intended to do were completed. Saturday, the tree guys were here nearly all day, and I couldn't access the garage since that's right where they were working. Today was lost in sleep, idle floating, and reading the Gate manga, which is--by the way--a great read.

I'm not unhappy about it, but it does mean that I'll have to cut the grass after work this week. Not sure when that'll be, though, since it looks like rain tomorrow and quite possibly Tuesday.

Every time I go into the garage for something I take a couple moments to gloat over how much free space there is after the maybe ninety minutes' work I did last week. I've got the fever now, and something inside me keeps yelling More! More! but it's hot and I'm tired. But I have been eyeing the north wall of the garage with a gimlet eye, thinking about how I can clean, organize, dispose, and stow the things arranged along it.

Probably leave the tool cabinet where it is, but there's room for more useful things along that wall if I only first get rid of the junk....
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