atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#1180: How to be "carbon-free" in 10 years.

Al Gore says we should put forth a massive effort to go carbon-free in 10 years. He uses the "moon shot" analogy, but in fact a "Manhattan Project" would be closer. Just politically incorrect, because "Manhattan Project"=nuclear bombs, you see.

But it would be a lot more accurate. If we're going to go "carbon-free" without losing any of our standard of living, we're going to need a lot of nuclear reactors. I mean, a lot of them. And not just to replace all the coal- and oil-fired power plants, either, but to provide electricity for all the electric cars--which would have to be designed, tested, manufactured, and sold en masse in 10 years.

Look, I'm driving a 13-year-old car--both out of preference and necessity--and how will Mr. Gore get me to buy an electric car? Will he just give me one?

I don't know how many millions of cars there are in the US, but they would all have to be replaced with electric ones...and our electrical generating and transmitting infrastructure couldn't take it.

...so we'd also have to string literal millions of miles of power lines.

The article says that Gore thinks we can go "carbon-free" without a massive switch to nuclear power. That just shows how much Gore doesn't know about little things like science and engineering.

* * *

"No climate crisis". Apparently the computer models overstate our climate's sensitivity to carbon dioxide. They overestimate the forcing due to carbon dioxide by 5-20 times; a more realistic forcing means that total warming by 2100--absent no other factors--won't be more than about 1°.

Oh, and there I found this link to a discussion of 35 major factual errors in Give Me MoneyAn Inconvenient Truth. Heh.

* * *

Ilana Mercer discusses Barak Hussein Obama's search for "a war he can call his own".

And Erik Rush discusses how little sense of humor the Left has. Remember, liberals only find it funny when Republicans are being excoriated. A joke about a liberal or Democrat is a deadly insult.

* * *

Long-time readers of the Fungus know how I feel about NASA and the Space Shuttle. Well, early this morning I got an interesting comment from Robotguy that I decided to post here and discuss:
"the Shuttle booster hardware, at least, is already man-rated and proven."

The Shuttle is NOT "man-rated". It would have to have a survivable abort mode all the way from ignition to orbit, which is something that the shuttle fleet has never had. The best they could come up with is a few alternate landing sites besides the Cape, if they had to jettison the fuel tank and SRBs on the way up, and a bar that could stick out the hatch (along which a parachuting astronaut could bail out if need be; the bar would shove the astronaut under the wing instead of impacting with the wing - assuming that they survive a Mach-20 bailout in the first place).

There hasn't been a "man rated" American vehicle since Apollo (and I'm not sure that was man-rated either). The shuttle fleet was simply grandfathered in - allowing NASA to set the bar higher for everyone else than they set for themselves. Not only that, if NASA followed the rules it sets for SpaceX and others, the Shuttles wouldn't be allowed anywhere near the ISS either.
I find that fascinating.

While I meant "man-rated" in the sense that they use it to fly people, I would never have guessed that the shuttle wasn't actually "man-rated" in the de jure sense--and, sad to say, I find it completely unsurprising the NASA exempts itself from the rules it makes everyone else follow.

Anyone who's read Buzz Aldrin's book Encounter With Tiber (which, by the way, is great SF) gets--in the first 50 pages of the book--a front-row seat for a Space Shuttle "abort to parachute". The shuttle loses two main engines and ends up having to ditch, and the astronauts aboard the thing have to bail out and use the "escape bar", and one of them is killed.

...and in the real world, the Shuttle program has had fatalities in both ascent and descent mode--complete "loss of mission"--due to poor design and execution...and we just kept going on with it instead of replacing the stupid thing with something that makes sense.

It would be funny if it weren't such a tragedy: NASA took a usable, tested, and viable booster (Saturn V) and replaced it with something that cost more and did less...and now they want to replace that system with something that requires twice as many flights to do what one Saturn V could do.

Assuming, of course, that the SRB vibration problem doesn't ground the whole program.

NASA is behaving like an 18-year-old who's making $30,000 per year while living with his parents: it won't be dissuaded from buying the shiny new car even though there are practical considerations which would make a more mature person consider buying something older but proven.

Well, WTF, did we really want to go to the moon, anyway? Somehow I doubt it.

* * *

Somehow, one of my cats got the idea that she can wake me up when she's hungry.

Well, actually, she usually doesn't wake me up; she somehow ascertains that I'm awake, and then gets on the bed and stands on me. I don't know how or why, considering that I have never made a habit of getting out of bed and immediately feeding the cats--never. It must be a holdover from her previous owner.

This despite the fact that there are two kinds of dry food in a dish right next to the moist food.

Well, today it worked as well as it always does: it's now 8:30 and she is only now getting fed.

She needs to lose some weight anyway.
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