Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Road Not Taken (Yet) - TCS Daily

The Road Not Taken (Yet) - TCS Daily

The use of atomic bombs for interplanetary space travel.  It was a serious idea, for awhile.  It could be taken seriously again some day, according to this article.

comment:  I wouldn't bet on it.

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown -- clip

It's Halloween.  But it's raining around here.  That's not good if you want to get outside and wait for the Great Pumpkin tonite.  Maybe they'll get drunk and see pink elephants instead.  An easier way to see pink elephants would be to... oh never mind.

Can we really be this dumb?

Apparently, yes.  It looks as if we are all barking up the wrong tree.  Ammonia could power our cars today, according to Greg Vezina, who retrofitted a car to run on ammonia way back in the eighties.  It's even worse than this, as you listen to Vezina, it isn't even a new idea.

So, what would it take to start doing this today?  In short, what would it cost to retrofit a car today?


More about Greg Vezina.  He doesn't fit the mold, you might say.

Obligatory, 10.31.15; What would it take to start this up?

The proposition would be a company that took waste and made useful products out of it.  The process used for that would be plasma gasification.

Here's a couple of posts in which I covered the subject.  I referred to this proposition in order to mine an asteroid, as you may also recall.

What are the downsides?  It takes a lot of energy, for one.  But it is net energy, so it can produce more than it uses.  Not only the energy as a product, but it also reclaims a lot of elements that can be reconstituted back into whatever you wish to make.

The torches are probably pretty expensive as well, but I haven't priced one, so I don't know.  What if you could use these on a small scale, like on my ranch?  Is it too expensive to set up?  The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had something called the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge.  What became of that?  Here's the video of the winner.

An idea here can be used for anything, like coal.  What the heck is the difference?  You take something regarded as waste and dirty, and convert it into something useful.  Is that really too difficult of a challenge?


A little research has located this company, which may be based in the UK.  It isn't necessarily plasma waste converter, but it does use some of the same ideas.


I won't be doing anything like this except perhaps on a small experimental basis.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Quick Post, 10.30.15; Thinking in terms of principles and concepts

Just a quick observation here that I believe that our culture is going downhill because nobody seems interested in principles or concepts.  Instead, the wagons are circling, and people are dividing into opposing camps.  If we are lucky, cooler heads will prevail.  If not, things could go downhill even faster than before.

I included the part on taxation for that very reason.  Yet, the crowds are all going where the noise is greatest, I suppose.

The noise and finger pointing is increasing.  The appeal to reason will not be heard.

Obligatory, 10.30.15; Cruz's Tax Plan

A write up about Cruz's tax plan is here.  A summary given is quoted:

Senator Cruz’s tax plan would significantly alter the federal tax code. It would completely repeal the corporate income tax and all payroll taxes and enact a 10 percent income tax and a 16 percent “business transfer tax” or value-added tax.

Generally speaking, I don't look favorably upon repealing the corporate income tax.  If anything, it should be higher.  This puts me outside the mainstream of GOP politics, and probably puts me somewhat in the left wing camp on this issue.

These are strange days indeed.  Don't know what the fascination is for GOP candidates to cut the corporate tax.  They like to talk about "original intent" of the Framers of the constitution.  This original intent did not tax individuals, but collective groups.  There is an explicit embargo upon a "head tax" in the original text of the Constitution.

Although it appears to eliminate individual taxes in some cases, it would be better if it eliminated all of them.


The text of the US Constitution is here.  The specific text referred to is this:

No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, --- Article I, Section 9

 Capitation means "head".  No taxes upon individuals, that is what is meant.  This was overturned by the Sixteenth Amendment to establish an income tax.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Home again, 10.29.15; General notes

Thinking more about the move out west.

What about buying a trailer and living out there?  A trailer could cost about $3800 based upon what Wishbone said that Number One told him.  That doesn't include moving it out there and setting it up.  It may be possible to set it up myself.  In fact, it will become necessary eventually to know how to do that.

Aside from those considerations, it would cost about $450 a month to rent a space.  Let's say a hundred a month to service the debt for 3 years.   That's $550 a month.  After that, there's the moving costs, and maybe an insurance cost.  Would that make sense, then?  It would be cheaper, but not necessarily easier than what I had planned.

Aside from that, a load has been lifted regarding the condition of the truck ( van ).  The repair done yesterday restored it to excellent running condition.  It no longer has the hesitation, nor the miss.  It started missing on Monday, and I waited until Tuesday to put it in the shop.

If I used the van to move the trailer out west, it would need some upgrades.  That's a lot of weight to pull for a long distance.

Five more months on the lease.  A decision needs to be made soon.


You can do better than that with that RV space in El Paso, but I don't know what it is like.  Maybe $350 a month all bills paid is within the realm of possibility.


I'm going to let this one go by.  If there's something cheap sometime when I'm ready, I may look into it, but now, no.

Direct-Pay USA

American Thinker

Article proposes another way to handle health care in this country.

Great!  I really hate this system that we have now.

Obligatory, 10.29,15; A few comments on news items

There's plenty of news out there, but I'll comment on only a few things.

As for the debate last night, the consensus is that Bush lost.  Nobody seems to like Bush.  I know I didn't like him all along.  As for the rest, a bit of surprise is the weakness of Huckabee.  He seemed to poll pretty well in the last cycle, but he isn't doing so well this time.  As for the big picture, there is a claim that it is now down to four candidates, maybe six.  If it has winnowed down this much, it strikes me as another case of having the thing decided for us before anyone votes.  Let the voters decide.

Does it matter who wins?  Unless the GOP finds a way to restructure the electorate, the outcome is almost guaranteed to be a Democrat victory.  I don't see anything like a restructuring happening, unless you figure in Trump.  But Trump sounds a lot like a Democrat, so it fits in with the notion that the GOP is just another version of what we've already got.  Unfortunately, what we've got is not.

It's the money that wins.  The money never loses.  You can tell that from the AGW discussion.  Who wants AGW legislation?  Money people.  Why?  So they can rip us all off even more.  There is a subpoena for information from NOAA about the climate research.  What are the grounds for refusing to comply?  Amongst all the possible things that could be requested, the least controversial should be information about scientific research.  That proves to me that it is all political.  There shouldn't be an controversy about the release of any material whatsoever about climate research.  Everybody should be able to see everything.  There's nothing confidential about the subject at all, unless you are trying to hide something.

As far as I can tell, there's nobody trying to get at the reasons why things aren't improving the way they should.  Trump is tapping into the feeling with what he has been saying about winning.  "We don't win anymore."  Perhaps that is what could make the difference this time.  Money talks, BS walks.  If he can show the way to winning, it may be the thing that carries him to victory.  But if money wins, do we win?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Quick post, 10.28.15; Chevy Volt

A thought occurred to me:  why not convert the Volt to run on the Stirling/ammonia powerplant as I mentioned?

The Volt gets 37 mpg in "charge sustaining" mode.  Using a Stirling could bump that to 48 mpg .  The conversion to ammonia means a bigger fuel tank, but the higher mileage mitigates that somewhat.  Still, for a 300 mile range, you could have a tank of about 16 or 17 gallons.  That's not unreasonable.

It's a thought.  Such a project is out of my skill set, though.  Besides, I don't have the time.


The ammonia has only about a third of the energy of a gallon of gasoline.  Hence, the need for a tank that is about 3 times the size.  Five and a half gallons of gas would be equivalent to 16.5 gallons of ammonia.  That's 264 miles in range for the ammonia and about 40 miles for the battery for a total of about 300 miles.

Obligatory, 10.28.15; Some random thoughts

Let's start off with the observation that for me personally, things seem to be going downhill.  Yesterday, the truck had to go into the shop.  It does have a lot of miles on it, and it does seem cheaper to keep it, but that's true only until the thing breaks.  A coil went out on one of the cylinders.  It has eight cylinders, so if a coil went out on all eight, it would cost a lot of money to fix them all.  I'm just going to fix one.  Hopefully, they don't go all out at once someday.

It's not only the truck, but my health too.  Heck, I'm getting old.  Seems like a struggle every day just to keep myself physically up to doing another day's work.  But I have to work, because I'm not rich.

But that kind of thing is probably not interesting reading.  But what is?  I just spent an hour and a half scanning the news.  Perhaps it has always been like this.  It just seems like things are falling apart.  But if you mention this, it seems that people just don't want to face up to it.  They want to hear that things are getting better or going to get better.  But what if it doesn't?

It isn't guaranteed that there will always be relative prosperity in the world.  Much of the history of the human race has had it the other way around.  What we have had for the last century of so in the US is fragile.  It could be lost at any time.  It is like life itself.  One moment, it is here; the next, it is gone.

It isn't guaranteed that there will always be peace in the world, either.  We've had seven decades since the last world war.  Could there be another big one?  If there is a big one, it will be the worst yet.

Nobody likes to think about these things, though.  It doesn't make interesting reading.  There's plenty of "good news" out there.  Let's focus in on the good news, and forget about this bad stuff.  But the bad stuff doesn't go away just because you ignore it.

I've noted how false things seem to be these days.  It seems to me that the truth is necessary if you are going to solve problems.  If you don't understand what the problem even is, how can you possibly have any hope in solving it?  Understanding the problem requires the truth in order to get at what it even is. There has to be a respect for the truth, because with the truth, you have the hope that you can deal with the problems as they occur.   But that doesn't seem to be happening today.  Tell the truth, and you can be in trouble.  Tell the truth about something, and people turn away.

Staying with the truth requires guts.  You will be punished for it, make no mistake.  It is long been known too.  A couple of my favorite proverbs

  1. A Mexican one says only fools and children tell the truth.
  2. An Arab one says that he that tells the truth must always have one foot in the stirrup.
Fear, intimidation, and falseness all seem to go hand in hand.  It is easy to say to have respect for the truth, but the world says differently.  It is hard to go against the world.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Trump losing his mojo?

He is said to have fallen behind Ben Carson in Iowa.  Big time.  So, this is starting to look a lot like 2012, with the flavor of the month candidacies.  Carson may not be the greatest, but he is definitely the latest.

While I am on the subject of 2012, Romney blew it, big time.  I was just thinking about the differences between sympathy and hostility.  For example, Romney is Mormon.  Many people won't vote for a Mormon.  Romney could have pointed out that at least Mormons are sympathetic to Christianity.  He could have contrasted that with Obama, who is clearly more sympathetic to Islam.  Which would you rather have?  A Christian sympathizer or an Islamic sympathizer?  Even atheists may have chosen Romney over Obama, if that question was put to them.  Romney never asked it.

Trump lost his mojo when he went after Carson's religion.  It isn't going to work in this election, although it might have worked on Obama.  Failed generals fight the last war.

Actually, Trump is helping Carson a bit by doing it.  He is highlighting his own weakness, while pointing out Carson's strength.

Anything wrong with this picture?

Dick York ( actor 60's sitcom Bewitched ) obtained from the blog Ace of Spades.

No wonder he didn't like witchcraft.
Heck, I thought he died, but he lived until 1992.  It was his back that caused him to have to quit the show.

At least his mother-in-law didn't turn him into a toad.

Ammonia from natural gas may be cheaper than gasoline

According to a more careful reading of that link in my post.  Natural gas prices ( 2010 in the link ) were about 1/6th the price of gasoline.  This is on a BTU cost basis.

If you were to convert natural gas to ammonia, run the ammonia in Stirling powered hybrid car, you could achieve even more savings.  Therefore, the stumbling block isn't necessarily price, it is probably going to be in the acceptance of a new way of doing things.

Stirling powered engines should be more efficient than internal combustion engines.  They were in the seventies when Ford experimented with them and found that they could save up to 30% on fuel costs.  A Stirling engine can run on any heat source, so combustion of ammonia would work just fine.

Now, if I could only get a few hundred million bucks to build a prototype, I could prove it.  Or maybe you could talk a major manufacturer like Ford to try marketing something they already experimented with.

Leave my sausage alone

According to the WHO, sausage is dangerous to eat because it is carcinogenic.  Bacon and ham, too.

Perhaps WHO should be disbanded along with the rest of the UN because it is hazardous to the health of our liberty.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Quick post, 10.26.15: Ammonia as an alternative fuel

I was looking for the cost per BTU produced and found that ammonia isn't as rich a source of energy, but it can be produced from cheaper sources, such as coal.

If there is to be a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, this is a way to do it.  The objection would be in terms of costs, but this doesn't have to be a stumbling block.

You want to solve this problem that you insist that we have?  Well, consider this.

Have the ratios changed between Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere v. the oceans? ( corrected)

A link was provided in the previous post that indicates that the ratio is 50 times the atmosphere.  Now, if the atmosphere has doubled its concentration of carbon dioxide, how has this affected the ratio between the atmosphere and the ocean?

Fifty times is like a dollar to 2 cents.  If it is that ratio today, what was it when the carbon dioxide level was half what it is today?  In other words, was it 100 times?  Was it like a dollar to 1 cent?

What I'm getting at is : Is the amount of carbon in the atmosphere have that much to do with the ocean's level?  If they move lockstep with each other, the ratios should also move in lockstep.  If there is no correlation, then they aren't moving together, so one has little to do with the other.  In other words, if it was 50 times the amount also when the levels were much lower, and 50 times now, then it means that an awful lot of carbon went into the ocean.  More carbon that we could possibly produce.

Putting it in another way, the two numbers couldn't possibly be in lockstep.  The ratios have to be different now than then.  For if they are the same, human activity cannot explain the differing levels.

If they are moving in lockstep, the the pH would have moved a lot more than it did.  For all of that carbon would made a BIG difference.

Their numbers don't add up, methinks.

An alternative view--- Carbon dioxide is net beneficial

You would hear about these benefits more if the discussion were truly non-political.  The politics of AGW is definitely not scientifically based.  Yet the left insists that they are "pro-science" and that critics are "anti-science".

Sunday, October 25, 2015

AGW hysteria

There's talk that the carbon dioxide concentration is changing the ocean's pH.  That seems very unlikely to me.  What is pH, anyway?  It it the negative logarithm of the concentration of hydrogen ion concentration.

A neutral pH is about 7.  This means that the concentration is 1 part in 10 million, since 10 million is 10 to the 7th power, and the log is -7, because it is in the denominator, and is less than 1. ( 1/(10 to the seventh power) or 1E-7)

If you double the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere, you don't necessarily move the pH.  The ocean is already quite saturated with the stuff.  You have to prove that the oceans have MORE dissolved carbon dioxide than less.  Or a lower pH.  A lower pH means a more acidic ocean, with more hydrogen concentration than previously.  Have they proven this???

I suspect that they haven't.  You're talking about increases in parts per million in the atmosphere.  The change in pH isn't going to be significant, if there is any at all.

Still, the idea of pushing pollution in the atmosphere in order to stop AGW seems crazy to me, even if I'm wrong about the pH thing.


Googled the pH of the oceans.  It's 8.1, and is said to have moved .1 pH in the last two centuries.  I'm guessing that with the carbon dioxide already there, increasing it in the atmosphere seems unlikely to move the pH much, if at all.  Note that the pH has moved 25% vs. a doubling of the concentration in the atmosphere.  There is many times more carbon dioxide in the ocean than in the atmosphere.  I recall reading about that when reading about using the ocean's carbon dioxide to make synthetic fuels from seawater.  In other words, even if you double the atmospheric carbon dioxide level, this same amount will hardly budge the amount that's already in the oceans, which is many times more.

Heading for the New Dark Ages

Sometimes I think it isn't all in vain.  I've been warning about this in one or another for over a year, maybe two.

America is heading for an Empire, as the Republic is dead or dying.  As Rome's Republic fell, then it's Empire, so history will repeat itself unless somebody learns from it.

Rome itself was compared to Babylon.

Netanyahu's comment about the Grand Mufti wouldn't have mattered if Germany won the war

Couldn't resist making a comment upon that.  Here they are, speculating about what the Grand Mufti might have said to Hitler when they met, but it would have been irrelevant if Hitler had won.

Which allows me to segue into how Hitler lost:  He lost when he didn't finish off the Brits.  The British gave America a beach head in Europe, and a reason for America to get involved in Europe.  If England loses to Germany, the USA stays out of the war, in my opinion.

Hitler could have all but defeated the Brits if he had committed to victory in North Africa.  If he takes the Suez Canal, it would have been the end for them, and Churchill knew it.

Hitler didn't have a feel for overall strategy.  He could knock off countries one-by-one when they presented no problem.  But once the easy victories ended, so did Hitler's luck.  Still, England could have been beaten, and thus keeping the USA out, and sealed Germany's victory in Europe.  But it wasn't to be.

What would have happened to the Jews is speculation, regardless.

Trump Carson religion controversy

It seems the modus operandi of the media to play up the differences between the candidates, and hype anything that may seem controversial.  Trump seemed to be saying that his church is more popular than Carson's.  So?

If there's anything here worth mentioning, it is probably not conventional politics to get into the nuts and bolts of religion.  It would be best, from the political perspective, to be as broad as possible.  Trump runs the risk of alienating people that he will need later.  A more seasoned politician wouldn't have done what Trump just did.  This seems to be a part of Trump's appeal, that is to say, he is not typically political, but that kind of appeal can wear off.  Since he is so far ahead in so many polls, about now would be the time to start cementing the nomination.  Instead, he is risking getting into the kind of fight that the GOP and he doesn't need.

All in all, I'd say it was a self-inflicted wound.

Obligatory, 10.25.15; Added contact info

I've added an email address as contact info.  To access it, go to the page listed on the sidebar.  It is an experiment, so if the experiment goes well, it may stay.  Otherwise, it may go.