Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fossil fuels saved the whales

There aren't too many folks who haven't heard the environmentalist's pleas to save the whales.  Human beings are so cruel, they claim.  Only humans would hunt whales to extinction for their blubber.  In the old days, whale blubber was turned into whale oil, which was used to light homes before there was such a thing as electricity.

If it wasn't for oil, whales would have been hunted to extinction for sure by now.

If it wasn't for coal, forests would have been denuded of trees by now.

If we go Barak to the future, the trees and the whales won't be safe.  But those who won't think for themselves believe what the environmentalists say.  They will stop the fossil fuel industry from saving the whales and the trees.

Yeah, I know it all sounds so extreme.  But truth is extreme.  So are lies.  You don't find the truth by splitting the difference.

Save the whales.  Keep the fossil fuel industry going.

Hostess Brands closing for good due to bakers strike - Nov. 16, 2012

Hostess Brands closing for good due to bakers strike - Nov. 16, 2012

I want my Twinkies!  I want my Twinkies!  I want my Twinkies!

Bad News: Meghan McCain Wants To See Some Changes In the GOP, Or She's Going to Stop Being a Republican


Meghan McCain said,
these issues have been important to the demographics that the Democrats carried on Election Day—single women, minorities, and young people.

Those demographics were carried because the Dems cater to them at the expense of the rest of society.  It may be a sad fact, but the only way the Republicans can be "relevant again" is to play the same game.  But the twist is not to cater to these same people, but to the people that elect them in the first place.  The conservatives won't play that game at all,  but the "moderates" who do, such as the Republicans like McCain, want to emulate Democrats so much that they may as well become Democrats themselves.


The party will disappear because the conservatives are getting sick and tired of the betrayals of the so-called moderate wing.

Obama's "Forward" Theme is Orwellian Doublespeak

Does the so-called "progressive" movement really want progress?  Personally, I think not.  Hence, the entirely deceitful use of the term "forward".  It is doublespeak.  The opposite of its true meaning, which is to deceive the public.

Rush Limbaugh doesn't think the people of California are being deceived.  They are getting what they want, he says.  Do they want to die?  If not, then they are being deceived.  For that is where the far left will take us.  It has happened before.

It was seen in the old Soviet Union, but now is seen in America- Old Soviet jokes become the new American reality.

  • America is capitalist and greedy – yet half of the population is subsidized.
  • Half of the population is subsidized – yet they think they are victims.
  • They think they are victims – yet their representatives run the government.
  • Their representatives run the government – yet the poor keep getting poorer.
  • The poor keep getting poorer – yet they have things that people in other countries only dream about.
  • They have things that people in other countries only dream about – yet they want America to be more like those other countries.

If the far left gets its way in America, fracking will cease.  Fracking is the only thing that has worked to produce jobs in the last four years.  Obama took credit for it, but he would end it if he could.  With his re-election, he just might.

Fracking is one of those things that a entrepreneurial nation like the United States has been known for.  Something the far left hates with a passion.

The far left is hostile to the industrial revolution.  They would prefer to return to the Stone Age, where they might be happiest--- if happiness is even possible for them.  I would not object to their going, if they would just go there by themselves and leave the rest of us out of their plans.  You may think this is over the top, but that is the way they think.  These people now dominate in the administration.  Look for them to start undermining any attempt at energy independence and production.  They will attempt to impose solutions that don't work, such as conservation and renewables.

Personally, I wouldn't be opposed to renewables, if they were economically sensible.  But they are not.  One way that they might become sensible is if we started space settlement.  But don't count on Obama to be interested in this.  Obama seems to view the space program as a bread and circus operation just like he views everything else in government and the economy.  Hence, he might get talked into increasing NASA's budget if it means increasing pork in areas that might help secure political advantage.  But for no other reason, such as actually doing anything to help this country.

How would renewables work better if we settled space?  Asteroidal platinum may be used to make the fuel cell work on an economic basis.  But to get platinum in large enough quantities cannot be done without space infrastructure that house large numbers of people in space permanently.  They would provide goods for trade-- among these goods would be platinum in amounts we can scarcely conceive.  This platinum could come from mining asteroids.  The platinum exists in space, but the will to go get it does not.

The far left despise the term "space colonization" because it reminds them of the Western world's colonization of the Third World.  It was so unfair.  It ruined the environment, they say.  They would not approve of the same thing done in space even though nobody lives there to oppress.  At least not yet.  But not that many lived in the Americas either before the Europeans came.  There are probably more Indians now than before Columbus.  They had to reproduce in large numbers so that they could be oppressed enough for the left to exploit politically.

If the left gets their way, we may just go Barak to the Future.  But would you like that?  Probably not, but the doublespeak may deceive you into the idea of liking being killed.  Like in Benghazi.  Or like what existed in America before the Europeans brought civilization.  You know, cannibalism and such.  That's what makes it doublespeak--- it isn't going forward to the future, but backward into the barbaric past.

To solve the world's problems, just build your own world as you like

How much matter would it take?  And where would it come from?

Let's assume that you have a torus ( think do-nut)  which is 1000 meters in diameter, with a thickness of 100 meters.  Assuming an outer skin or shell of 1 cm thick, this gives a mass of 170796 tons of iron.

But you would probably not want to use iron all around.  Or iron at all.  A better choice would be stainless steel, which would not rust.  The moon has plenty of iron and silica for glass.  The new man-made world would be made primarily of these two components.

If you use fused silica glass half and half, the weight would be reduced by half, then add back 27% of the missing half. giving a result 85398+23860 equals 109258 tons.  If you wanted a thicker skin, double the thickness, and thus double the mass.

How to assemble all of this?  If you lifted 1000 tons at a time, you would need 109 launches, probably from the moon.  If you fused the two pieces together on the ground, then launched, it would still require a tremendous amount of lifting power as well as significant assembly still required in space.  You would have to fit the 109 pieces together in space.

Not to worry.  Parkins' device is claimed to be able to lift as much as 20,000 tons per launch from Earth.  Besides, the moon's gravity is only 1/6ths of the Earth's, so that's doable-- at least in theory.

With a potentially mammoth launcher, you could divide it up into just a few sections.  Each would be lifted off the lunar surface, docked with each other, and finally secured to each other.  A new world thus constructed.

Time to work to make it a livable habitat.

It would be spun at 1 RPM in order to give artificial gravity of 1 g.  You would start working on the inside so as to make it livable.  It would need shielding from cosmic radiation.  Plus a way to grow food and keep water.  And so on and so forth.  The energy source can be the sun, as it shines eternally in space.

You could build as many of these worlds as you wish.  With cheap access to space, people could start populating it.  The new worlds could be placed in Lagrange points.  There are five of these around the Earth-Moon system, plus five more around the Earth-Sun.  You could also place these around Mars and Venus.  Plenty of places available.

The sky is literally the limit.


One of the basic ores on the moon would be ilmenite  With that resource, you can make iron, oxygen, and rutile ( titanium).  Another basic ore would be silicon dioxide, or just plain old beach sand.  You can make glass out of that.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Union: 'Bain-style' killing of Twinkie - Kevin Cirilli -

Union: 'Bain-style' killing of Twinkie - Kevin Cirilli -

Al-Qaeda’s alive, Twinkies are dead,” Limbaugh said.

Somehow, in the liberal's alternative universe, it's all Romney's fault.

Are these people nuts or what?  But they are running the country.  It isn't an alternative universe.  God help us.

Down the memory hole

Just tried to find that Hillary melt-down that happened sometime during the 2004 Presidential election.  She went bonkers claiming that the Bush Admininstration was trying to silence her and other critics.

I don't recall that ever happening to her.  But I do recall that she did do that and Limbaugh had her on tape and was making fun of her rant.  That exists somewhere on tape.

But you can't find it on the internet. I'm looking for it, but can't find it.  It seems like everything on the net is temporary.  Stuff can just be flushed down the memory hole.  Other stuff isn't.

Just wondering if people are getting too "in the moment" in their thinking.  Don't forget the past.  But it is being forgotten.

Why is that?

ITER gyrotrons push technology to the limit

ITER newsline


  • if you want to name a device based on the rotating motion of electrons, gyro and tron come in quite handy. By calling such a device a "gyrotron" you will convey a very clear notion of the principles it is based upon.
  • Gyrotrons are powerful devices that have very few applications: industry uses them as heating tools to process glass, composites and ceramics; in magnetic fusion, they contribute - along with ohmic and neutral beam heating - to bringing plasmas to the temperature necessary for fusion.
  • Gyrotrons are, essentially, energy-delivery devices.
  • In ITER...will be composed of more than 20 gyrotrons which will deliver a combined heating power of 24 MW.


That answers some of my googled question of how powerful are gyrotrons.  Apparently, these are about 1.2 MW each.  The mass of each is not stated.  One can guesstimate, but it is likely to be wrong.

How many of these could be put on a single rocket and blasted into space?  Just one at a time, or could several be packaged together and sent up?

Then, there's this:
"Progress is constant," says Darbos "but we are all working at the limits of technology. We have no experience in steady-state gyrotron operations: the DIII-D Tokamak operated by General Atomics in San Diego has experience with HF pulses of a couple of seconds only, and the Wendelstein 7-X Stellarator, which will implement 10MW of steady-state gyrotron power, is not yet operational."

So, would it be better to just make a really big one and send it up?  Or a few big ones and send them up separately?

Nissan CEO abandons '12 electric vehicle sales target

detroitnews  via Drudge

  • Nissan Motor CEO Carlos Ghosn finally admitted the automaker will not meet its sales target for its all-electric Leaf — in another sign of the broad struggle of the electric vehicle industry.
  • Ghosn — who has been far more bullish on EVs than any other major auto executive — said at the New York International Auto Show in March that the company would double sales of the Leaf in 2012 to 20,000. "We're not worried about it," Ghosn said then. "I feel very good about this objective."
  • For the year, Nissan has sold 6,791 Leafs, down 15.6 percent from this time a year ago.
  • Last month, the Volt had another best-ever month, selling 2,961 vehicles. In the first 10 months of the year, GM has sold 19,309 Volts, up 286 percent.

Based upon this, are the readers expected to believe that the Volt is a big success and the Leaf is a failure?

What are you expected to believe when news conflicts?  I heard that the Volt was in trouble.  Now this looks like the Volt is not in trouble, but other carmakers' electric cars are in trouble.

It's even worse than this

Media is in the tank so bad for Obama that they don't want the truth to come out about Benghazi.  That's the gist of this post.

There may be no evidence a YouTube video caused what happened in Libya, but there's even less evidence that the media wants to know what really happened. There's a fine line between biased and completely useless, and sometime during the 2012 campaign our media crossed it.

It just now occurred to me though, that the people don't care either.  The media may be hiding this, but if the public was sufficiently outraged, the truth would get out, and these people would be in big trouble.

But they aren't.  Where are the people?  Don't they care?


Maybe the general public doesn't know all of the pertinent facts.  Let me lay out some thoughts based upon what I've heard about:

Obama had to have known about the attacks early on.  Yet he did nothing about it.  Now, let's compare that with Bush's response to 911 and its aftermath.  Early on in the aftermath of 911, the far left said that Bush knew about the attacks and let it happen anyway.  The public wasn't outraged at Bush at first, to the contrary.  The public supported Bush at 90% approval level.  But years of left wing carping managed to drag Bush down to the low thirties.  By the end of Bush's presidency, it was as if the left's narrative about 911 was the truth and Bush really did let it happen.  But here's the deal:  whether or not you believe that, here's Obama letting the attack proceed and not doing anything about it and it is in plain sight.  But nobody on the left or the media seems to give a damn.  And the public also is indifferent.  My question is this:  what changed?  Why isn't the public outraged?


Maybe it is possible that people turned against Bush because of Iraq.  But Iraq was a response to 911.

Obama said in a debate that he was winding down two wars.  It wasn't pointed out by Romney how we got into these wars in the first place.  We were attacked first.

So, are we to believe that it is a bad thing to defend yourself against an attack?

Have the people internalized this now and refuse to respond to being attacked?

How can the people be led to a proper response when the opposition, meaning Romney and the Republicans, won't defend the principle of the right of self-defense?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Microwave beam facility at EML-1

What if you put microwave facility at the L1 Lagrange point?   Would the microwave beam make it all the way down to the lunar surface?

If so, it may be better to put it at the Lagrange point than on the surface.  From EML-1, you could have your microwave propulsion system power a lander/launcher reusable vehicle.  Such a setup would save a lot of trouble as you would not have to install it at the bottom of a gravity well.  Perhaps the entire thing could be setup with a few Falcon Heavy launches.

The concept could be tested in LEO.  If you wanted to install a LOXLEO device so as to harvest atmospheric gases at the edge of space, this type of system could power it as a proof of concept.

That means a LOXLEO system using a propulsion system like this could help with the propellant needed so as to get you to the moon.  And a similar propulsion system could help you land on it.

At the end of the installation of both, you would not have to launch much, if any, propellant from the Earth.  This would simplify a more ambitious undertaking, such as a trip to Mars, or to an asteroid.

Malicious Obedience

from the Urban Dictionary

The Modus Operandi adopted by those who work for people convinced of their own infallible decision-making prowess, where one gleefully does what they’re told, even though they know it’s misguided, and waiting for the moment when it all blows up in their supervisor’s face. The precursor to schadenfreude. Term introduced on the Handyman for the Common Man web-only TV show.

The one way that Republicans can compromise is to give the Democrats the bad shit that they want in exchange for some good shit that the Republicans should want.

The Republicans  should agree to taxes on the rich if it hurts Democrats more.  They could raise the minimum wage, since it will probably hurt one of their constituencies more.

What in exchange for these?  No deal on immigration.  A border fence.    Cut medicare and medicaid.

Those ideas could be useful for discussion.  But make the Dems pay for their higher taxes.  Make em pay a high price.

ParaPundit: Republicans And Democrats Defeated Republicans

ParaPundit: Republicans And Democrats Defeated Republicans


WTF is a Republican?  I notice that some bloggers and writers identify with Republicans.  Screw that!

It's independent now for me.

Parapundit: Obamacare Will Raise Immigrant Quality

A silver lining in the ObamaCare fiasco?
My contrarian take (that has only just now occurred to me): Obamacare will accelerate the automation of low skilled jobs. This could deliver a big net benefit, especially on immigration.

 If you think that's wild, get this:
My biggest complaint about Obamacare: It doesn't raise labor costs enough. We need to tack another $5 per hour onto minimum wage jobs. We need a higher minimum wage. This should be an urgent priority for the Republican Party. With both parties supporting this improvement to the American labor pool it could pass into law quickly.
Now that's what I call thinking outside of the box.  If a straightforward argument doesn't work, then go for the guile.

Hard left won't compromise on taxes

Is this a problem?  Only if you are a squishy Republican.  Let the hard left have its way.  Don't compromise and make it stick.  You might lose, or you might win.  It is risky, but why play it safe?  You have nothing to lose now.

The left is not so friendly and caring to ordinary folks as they pretend to be:
Two days after the election, Obama's favorite economist, Paul Krugman, set the tone for the intransigent left in a column titled: "Let's not make a deal." Boiled down, his advice to Obama was this: Don't give in to any Republican demands, even if doing so would "inflict damage on a still-shaky economy." After all, Obama would be better positioned to "weather any blowback from economic troubles."[ emphasis added]
The IBD had a take on the election which I don't necessarily agree with:
But the public also kept the GOP in control of Congress, sending a clear message that they want both sides to strike a deal.

Why can't the election be seen as a vote for gridlock?  Who cares if the country goes over the fiscal cliff?  The presumption is that we need the spending.  What if the reduced spending and higher taxes actually help the economy?


It is rather sickening to read how the government wants to change the deal that they made to reduce the deficit less than a year and a half ago.  That's what the "fiscal cliff" actually is.  It is their deal, and now it is a bad thing that must be changed.  Before, it was the deficit that was the bad thing.  Now it is the fiscal cliff that's the bad thing.

a pileup of scheduled tax increases and spending cuts that threaten to drain $560 billion out of the economy next year and derail the recovery

The "pileup" was a negotiated deal to do something about the deficit.  Anybody care to remember that?

 As I read it, it looks like manipulation to get the tax increases the left wants.  They cite opinion polls as evidence that the Republicans should compromise.  But wait.  Despite having a low approval rating, the Congressional political makeup remained the same.  So, which polls matter more?  The ones that the media cites, or the ones that actually got these people their jobs?  The relevant quote below:

Two in three of those surveyed in a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll during the past week want the two sides to split their differences, 45% want an equal division between tax increases and spending cuts, 30% want mostly spending cuts and only 10% oppose tax increases altogether. One in three expect negotiations to fail and the economy to tumble over the fiscal cliff.

The first scenario is the most desirable.  That scenario, as pointed out in the article, will not be the disaster it is being hyped to be.  Growth will return by the end of the year, according to the article.  But the recession will be blamed on going over the "fiscal cliff".  That's how it is being reported, anyhow.

Using gyrotrons for harvesting oil from shale

Speculation alert:

While studying the idea of beamed propulsion, I came across this video. I didn't put it up because it didn't seem all that interesting. However, this morning, I noticed an article on Instapundit about getting oil out of shale.

While it didn't mention gyrotrons, the idea of using gyrotrons for heating occurred to me. You see, there are those who don't believe this oil can be recovered economically.

However, that belief may be mistaken. If you use gyrotrons, you can selectively heat an area underneath the surface. That's interesting, because the shale is underneath the surface. Thus, you can heat up the shale underground, then harvest it.

What about the energy source to operate the gyrotrons?  I was thinking nuclear energy from molten salt reactors.  These reactors can be made small enough so that they can be moved from one location to another.  They wouldn't require water in order to produce the electricity.  And they could produce liquid fuels that can be used for transportation.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

One Graph That Shows Which Party Really Looks Like America


The Republican Party looks like America. The Democratic Party does not. And it is the Democratic Party that needs to work harder to be more representative of America.

He has the statistics to back it up.

The Democrats play identity politics.  Especially with race.

"He who smelt it dealt it."

Short beef about Limbaugh

Limbaugh talks about job losses and insurance coverages being lost with ObamaCare- where was this when it mattered?  It seemed that all he wanted to talk about was polls.  To be fair with Rush, I didn't listen to every single word he said, but it seemed like he did talk a lot about polls, which don't tell you anything to help you decide who to vote for.

Limbaugh is bitching about low info voters - blaming the voters won't do if you as the info guy won't talk about the info.

A launch pad located on the moon

Fiddling around with idea to use beamed energy to get a lander/ascender to/from the lunar surface.  It would be about the size of the lunar module from the Apollo Era.  To guide me in the calculations, I used the link below:

Here's a link to calculate the energy

Potential energy (PE) is just weight multiplied by distance upward; this is the same weight multiplied by distance upward, which is the same as mass multiplied by acceleration of gravity, multiplied by distance:

PE = w * h = m * g * h
g for earth is about 6 times that of the moon
g for moon is 1.622 meters/sec2
 Kinetic energy is just half the mass, multiplied by the square of the velocity:

KE = ½ * m * v2
calculations for 100 km above moon:

PE = (1 kg) x (100,000 m) x ( 1.622 meters/sec2 ) equal 162200 joules
KE for escape velocity moon 2.38 km/s equal 5664400 joules
KE for 2/3 escape velocity 1271375 joules, added together to get total energy required:  equal 1,433,575 joules

A Kilowatt-Hour is 1000 Watts for one hour, which is 1000 Joules per second for 3600 seconds, or 3.6 million Joules.

Therefore to roughly approximate, to launch 1 kg in lunar orbit at 100 km is equal to   1,433,575 joules /   3,600,000  Joules or about 0.4 kilowatt hour per kg.

That equals 1810 kilowatt hours energy for lunar orbit approximately for a mass about the size of the lunar module ascent stage which was 10000 pounds or 4500 kg.

Now guessing that to deliver 20 megawatt/hr of power for .1 hr or 6 minutes would be enough energy to get to lunar orbit--- to deliver that much energy would require 200 fuel cell units that could deliver 100 kilowatts each.

The idea here is to use Parkin's concept of microwave beam energy to land and take off from the moon.  It would have a performance ISP equal to a nuclear thermal rocket, about 850 sec., which would save mass in landing and taking off.  You would have to have a fuel supply on hand for taking off, of course.  Having the fuel depot located on the moon obviates the need to bring the landing fuel with you, simplifying matters greatly.

To execute this idea, you would need a crash landing trajectory that would be interrupted by the beamed energy to slow the spacecraft down to a soft landing.  That is to say, there would be no orbiting first.  That would require even more energy than the calculations above--- but not too much more.

You would place a microwave unit on the moon with an energy source to run it.  The energy would be beamed to the incoming lander as it gets into range.  You would have to slow down from about 5000k mph to zero in less than a few minutes ( without doing the calculations).  That's true because the beam may not have a range more than say 150 miles.  At 5000k mph, you will cover that distance quickly.

Taking off, just reverse the process.  After filling up the fuel tank of course.

The next question is: how big must the microwave unit(s) be to deliver say 30 Megawatts of power?  The current guess is that you could deliver these microwave dishes in a number of landings to a yet to be determined location on the lunar surface.  Each unit itself would be about the size of the lunar lander in the Apollo Era.  The microwave dish would be on top instead of the ascent stage.  Each dish would be an integrated unit complete with power source.

How many dishes to deliver the required power?

The rest of the topic is for later discussion.


You may need multiple launches of a the new big ass rocket being developed for a pretty penny.

See how NASA's new mega rocket, the Space Launch System, measures up for deep space missions in this infographic.
Source: All about our solar system, outer space and exploration

Falcon XX would have lift capacity equivalent to Saturn V or new SLS rocket
Or, you could use SpaceX's new family of Super Heavy Lifters.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Revisiting multi-megawatt microwave space launch system

My next brainstorm. Install a heavy duty beam propulsion system in space. Use this as an Earth Departure system.  Export a similar system to Mars for a capture in Mars orbit.

The idea is to get up to nuclear level ISP without having to carry a nuclear reactor in space.

You could collect solar power over a long period of time, and then release it quickly with beamed microwave power.

This idea was used in a doctoral thesis for launch from the ground.  Why not apply the idea in space?

A solar power array would split water into oxygen and hydrogen.  Then they are recombined into water in order to make electricity that will propagate the microwave beams.  The energy spurt will only last a few minutes, but can be very intense which will enable a lot of thrust to be applied to a spacecraft at maximum efficiency.

Another possibility is to use ultracapacitors.  Just use a helluva lot of them for a short time for a quick burst of energy.

The original idea is presented below:

Next Big Future: Prototype multi-megawatt microwave space launch sy...: More information on the renewed microwave launch into space project. According to Escape Dynamics, "the key operational components of the...

SpaceX developing SuperDraco engine for surface landings


This isn't exactly new news.  I found this via the comment section of a Next Big Future post.  The post was about NASA's recent announcement of plans for manned missions.

Now, here's the problem.  Even with greater thrust, you still need fuel.  Where do you put the fuel so that you can land on Mars or on the Moon?

The lunar module weighed about 35k lbs, if memory serves.  The ascent stage weighed 10k pounds.  That's fully loaded with fuel.  The empty weight of the Dragon is nearly that much by itself.  It's probably going to need at least that much in fuel to land and twice that much to land and to take off again.  In other words, it weighs about twice as much as the lunar lander did in the sixties.  Where are they going to put all that fuel?

Apollo 15 Lunar Module lifts off the Moon. View from TV camera on the lunar rover.

What Musk is appearing to do is to try to make a capsule into a lander and a reentry vehicle too.  That's two separate missions.  How the devil is he going to do that?!?

Monday, November 12, 2012

One more election post

This may be the last one, but I'm not sure.  When the spirit moves me, I'll write something.

This post is about something basic.  When you encounter a problem, do you look for causes outside of yourself, or within yourself?  Do you look in the mirror, or do you point fingers?

That's not the way this post started.  I was going to do another post-mortem type of post which basically came down to blaming other people rather our own side.  It was going to be basically a finger pointing exercise against the general public.  Then I remember something I've seen plenty of times in my life when things weren't going so well.

It goes something like this:  "If I have a problem, I caused it."

This may sound too good to be true.  Why blame yourself when there's plenty of reasons to blame others?  The blaming of others may well be justified.  There really are people who try to stand in the way of your success and will go to almost any length to try to make you fail.

It is not as if somebody can't succeed at making you fail.

No, this isn't any goody two shoes type of advice.

It is really the only way to get through life sanely.  Nobody is perfect.  A little more self-improvement never hurt anybody.

So, instead of blaming the Democrats, the media, and the people in general, the Republicans ought to say something like this--- "I screwed up.  I will try to do better next time."

In the end, you are the only one who has complete control over how you deal with the problems in your own life.  Own it and stop worrying about the other guy.


What I wrote here seems to conflict with what Limbaugh said recently.  Consider the following quote:

Republicans are always the architects of the problem. Republicans are the ones who don't care. Republicans are the ones who are unfair. Republicans are the ones who are racist or whatever. So the left covers up its own mistakes by blaming others for them and then doubles down on the mistake by creating it all over again in the solution to the problem.
So, you say that the other guy always says "it's your fault".  But by doing so, he never does anything to better himself.  Eventually, this other guy falls into a deep trap of his own making.  My point is that you can't do anything about that.  I suppose you can try, but you have no control over other people's decisions.  You can't control the way they think.  What you do have 100% control over is how you think yourself.

I agree that the answer isn't to become like them.  The answer is to become a better version of yourself.


Yet another thing here.  Becoming a better version of yourself does not mean becoming more of what you find fault with in others.  What does that mean politically?

There wasn't any defense of Bush.  Why not?  Are Republicans conceding that Bush caused the Great Recession?  Why not deny that Bush was at fault?  Why not defend Bush vigorously?  His jobs record was better than Obama in both of his terms.  His deficit record was better than Obama's in both his terms.  Why not defend Bush?

Oil production is increasing.  Why not attribute that to Bush's policies?

Bush didn't even defend himself.  Why let the Democrats attack without any self-defense?  This isn't an advocacy of blaming the other guy for your troubles.  Let the other guy be the other guy.  Forget about the other guy.  Let the Democrats slip into greater and greater reliance upon government.  They weaken themselves this way.  You have to be a better version of yourself.  A better version of yourself sticks up for himself.  To become a better version of yourself means to not let yourself become a pushover in order to please someone who doesn't like or respect you anyway.


Basically, I think this has been a roundabout way of saying that the Republicans lost in 2012 because they wouldn't defend Bush.  In addition, Bush wouldn't defend Gingrich in 2000.  But Gingrich wouldn't defend Bush's dad after the 1990 tax increase.  So, the lack of defense of Bush is probably a part of the intraparty bickering.  But the intraparty bickering is a result of the lack of a strong stand against the Democrats.

The answer isn't to give in to the Democrats.  The answer is how to remain united so that you can beat them.

Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

A new area of research for the blog.

Delphi's SOFC cost between 8 to 9 thousand dollars for a 5 kw system.

Delphi said it would compete against "midrange" APUs—i.e., in the $8000-$9000 installed price range (some diesel APUs are as much as 50% higher).

That means 4 of these would go for 36 grand.  Much cheaper than platinum fuel cells.  What's the weight on this thing?

A clue here, but the write up is 4 years old
A specific effort was dedicated to system design and component integration. The result was a highly integrated system weighing in at 85 kg (39 kg/kW)

For a 5 kw system, that's 39kg*5= approx 200 kg.  Too heavy for a trailer.  On a car?

It takes 2 hours to warm up!  Too long.


There may be something else going on at Howard University--- link  here.  I don't know if they've got anything yet.

It is darkest just before getting even darker

After some thought, it appears that the trailer idea is flawed.  It won't work economically.  The problem is that the cost isn't better than just renting a car.  I figured that range extension would improve the sales of battery powered cars, but the cost of fuel cells is just too high to make that work.

It is a discouraging thought.  For one thing, getting a large enough supply of platinum so as to lower prices won't be easy.  It won't happen soon, and it may not ever happen at all.  In addition, the progress of finding other catalysts to replace costly platinum does not appear to be very fast.  Finally, there appears to be significant skepticism in some quarters that this will ever work at all.

That leaves batteries.  I haven't heard much news on that subject for the last several years.  At one time, I was a bit more optimistic about batteries.  Not so much now.  It's taking too long.

With electrical cars not in the cards soon, we are left with internal combustion engines.  That's unsettling because of the hostility that the environmentalists have for fossil fuels.  Biofuels may be possible, but it will need an assist from electricity.  It is probably going to be hard to make all of that drop-in capacity from biofuels.  Biofuels can only serve to make fossil fuels go further.  It can't be a substitute.

It is encouraging that a lot of fossil fuel supplies are said to be coming to market in the next few years, but that is going to meet with some strong political opposition.

Politics is a problem, not a solution.   The left's solutions are not going to be pleasant.  The left just got mostly a green light to continue its hostility to the one option that will work.

I'm getting a bad feeling about this.  The outcome of the election was not encouraging.  Innovations are not progressing as fast as needed.  Political trends are moving in the wrong direction.  Not looking good.

A bright spot?  There's still the possibility of getting that platinum from space.  But it won't get much help from Uncle Sam.

Houston, we have a problem.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Ammonia As A Fuel

The nh3 fuels association website discusses the progress of SOFC.  These can use ammonia as fuel.

Been studying this all day. Great stuff out there. Check out this biofuels company that makes biofuels out of corn without destroying the food value of the corn.   One product is half of the ammonia can be used for other purposes, such as biofuel.  Have your fuel and eat it too.

Flight of 10 story tall Grasshopper rocket

Patience, young grasshopper.
"I seek not to know the answers, but to understand the questions."

Actually, I'd like some answers. Understanding the questions will help too.

Renault - Quickdrop / Battery switch

Here's a way to get a fast charge out of your auto battery pack.  A quick swap out of a recharged battery in place of a discharged one.

How 'bout them apples?

Bio-ammonia as a hydrogen source for fuel cells

Here's a slightly edited version of a previous post.  It is an alternative to using bio-methanol as a source of hydrogen for fuel cells.  That is to say, produce ammonia instead of methanol by using biomass.  The costs could be a bit higher, though.  The advantage is the efficiency of fuel cells.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Why fuel cells?

 It seems that hydrogen fuel cells are more efficient in terms of energy use. A fuel cell powered auto can get 60 miles to a kilogram of hydrogen. If the cost of a kilogram of hydrogen is twice that of a gallon of gas, it can still be economically competitive. Most cars get less than 30 miles a gallon for gas, thus the comparison.

It turns out that a kilogram of hydrogen produced from ammonia is less than a dollar per kilogram. Now, if ammonia can be synthesized from hydrocarbon feedstocks, the end cost of a kilogram of hydrogen could be competitive with traditional fuels such as gasoline. Let's say that refineries can shift production from gasoline to ammonia. The crude oil would go further economically if the price of a kilogram of hydrogen can be held under twice that of a gallon of gasoline. The cheaper the production, the greater the benefit.

 It also came to mind that natural gas is cheaper than oil these days. One could use the hydrogen in natural gas to synthesize ammonia. The chances that one could come up with a liquid fuel that is cheaper than gasoline and will go twice as far should not be too difficult to imagine.

As for the price of fuel cells, which are not cheap, these can also come down if the economies of scale can be applied. This will occur if popular acceptance reaches a sufficient number to begin large scale manufacturing. In addition, if an extraterrestrial source of platinum group metals is found, the price of could be further reduced.

 I bought a pdf on the subject. The cost of hydrogen from this method is about 2 dollars per kg. That was a few years ago, but it was in a time of high fuel prices, so the comparison may still be good. If so, that would mean about 1 dollar per gallon equivalent assuming the 60 mp kg holds up for this configuration. The analysis shows a considerable expense in setting up an electrolyzer. One would presume that if these were mass produced along with the fuel cells, the costs could be brought down to economic viability. This is my guesstimate at the moment. If there are other factors that aren't being considered here, I am unaware of them.

So, why not do this? It was done in the case of the Tesla Roadster, where a battery powered car was produced. Perhaps it would take a similar effort by someone who could pull off the same feat with hydrogen fuel cells. If you used the same approach, with a high end vehicle, such as a luxury car, you could get a foot in the door, so to speak.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Electrolyzing Ammonia for Hydrogen Fuels Continued

As I mentioned earlier, I purchased a pdf file which studies the concept in detail. Here is the money quote from the study:

According to scale-up calculations, using an in situ ammonia
electrolyzer on board will allow a HFCV to travel 483 km between
refueling by storing 203 L of aqueous ammonia. At 0.36 US$ kg−1
of ammonia, the cost of producing hydrogen on board is 2.02 US$

The price is right for the hydrogen, but there's a problem.

The sticking point in my opinion, is the cost of the electrolyzer itself. It is estimated from the paper that an appropriate sized electrolyzer will cost over 32000 dollars at then platinum prices that were half of today's price. It is quite clear to me that the price of platinum and platinum group metals will have to come down somehow, or some other way must be found. One way to lower the price of platinum is to mine a lot more of it. Thus a source of abundant platinum must be found. That source can come from outer space.

There may be a way to reduce these numbers, but it is clear that the numbers don't work without more platinum. That is my opinion.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

In situ hydrogen production from ammonia

Further reflection on this idea seems to rule it out unless a plentiful source of platinum becomes available. An alternative to this would be to produce the hydrogen at the refueling station. This increases the costs per kilogram because the need to put it into a form that it can be stored, such as high pressure or cryogenics.

The estimate for in situ hydrogen from ammonia was about 2 dollars per kg. Now if you were to compress it or cryogenically store it, that would at least double the price, I guesstimate. Even then, it would still be relatively cheap because of the high efficiency of hydrogen fuel cells.

The final hurdle would be to get the price of fuel cells down. This would be accomplished by the economies of scale that would come from mass acceptance of this mode of energy production. That hurdle could be overcome by having organizations with large fleets agree to purchase fuel cell vehicles of this type. That could be a problem. As in many cases, if enough people in leadership stepped up to the plate and committed to this, it just might be doable.


Here's a pdf file, but not the same one I mentioned above.  It describes a set up for an ammonia electrolytic cell.  The output is hydrogen.  Now, the idea of time share could be applied to this device as well.  Even though it is expensive, it can spread out over many users and make its usefulness more financially accessible.

Let's say $140, 000 for an entire system.  It has a useful life of 5 years.  That 260 weeks.  Average cost per week $538.46. A week per year would yield a cost of $2692.31.  Tacked on the price of a Nissan Leaf, and that puts an entire system at your use for less than 30k.  This would only be available for 1 week per year, but how often do you drive a lot?  Once a year during vacations?

Think about it. Wouldn't a range extender's availability be a selling point for a battery electric car with only a range of 70 miles or so?

The Campaign Made No Difference

Dick Morris

Demographic voting is the new norm in America. You vote based on who you are, not where you live or how well each campaign has articulated its case. 93% of blacks, 70% of Latinos, 60% of those under 30, and 62% of single people, voted for Obama. And white married couples over 30 years of age voted for Romney. Not much else matters.

Are you paying attention, Republicans?  You are the White Man's Party, whether you like it or not.  Better make the best of it.

Canada,South Africa : Ballard and Anglo American Platinum Developing Fuel Cell Home Generator For African Market [TendersInfo (India)]

Headline Story |

The home generator product is being developed as a means of addressing the many African households in rural communities that are currently unable to economically access the grid as a result of distance or terrain. The home generator will run on readily available methanol fuel, utilizing an integrated fuel reformer. Ballard is providing fuel reformer and fuel cell stack technology and Dantherm Power will provide the remaining system components needed for the finished product.


Just adapt this to the automotive market and whammo, hydrogen fueling stations.

Automakers take fresh look at hydrogen fuel cells

USA Today, Oct 2, 2012

  • Nissan became the latest last week to say it is ready to mass-produce cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Honda, Toyota and Hyundai say they will have fuel-cell cars — which create electricity on board to power the car — ready to go on sale by 2015.
  • Automakers have been finding ways to cut fuel-cell costs and to make longer-range hydrogen tanks, and as they have, along came another unexpected boost: America's huge supply of natural gas. At present, almost all hydrogen used in cars is made by separating molecules in natural gas, and the shale boom has created huge reserves in the U.S.
  • Nissan executive Andy Palmer noted that fuel-cell costs are now a sixth of the predecessor concept and that automakers now can mass-produce them "whenever hydrogen becomes widely available" for consumers. It's not, at least in the U.S.
  • Honda has already been letting consumers test its fleet of FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel-cell cars for a couple of years.
  • Trying to make hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles affordable remains "a very challenging business case going forward," says Charlie Freese, director of GM's global fuel-cell efforts.

I checked out fuel cell prices at this website.  A 5 kw fuel cell system, apparently without a hydrogen tank, costs 22k bucks.  You would need 5 of these to power a car down the road at highway speed.  I figured that if you put these on a trailer and used an existing electric vehicle, you could expand its range.

As I mentioned earlier, a time share set up could allow for a way to make these more affordable.  Let's say you rented the trailer for a week each year.  That's approximately 110k divided by 52 weeks which equals approximately 2k.  Over the lifetime of the fuel cell and car, assuming a lifetime of 5 years, that's 400 bucks additional cost for this feature.  Would it be worth it?

The cost of a battery powered Nissan Leaf is as low as 28K bucks according to the Nissan website.