11 thoughts on “Open Thread for November

  1. Some interesting cutting edge energy ideas to ponder:

    Isentropic battery:

    Underwater energy storage bags:

    Hydrogen electricity generation:

    I actually like these ideas because they have a chance of making it beyond research and development.

    This one probably has some way to go:

    Are there any others?

  2. California’s Clean Energy Future Implementation Plan may represent this country’s first feeble step in the right direction. See also California’s Inter-Agency Roadmap, which gives timelines and summarizes the above plan.

    The document is mostly about clean alternative methods for electric power generation and distribution and only briefly touches on alternative energy fuel vehicle technology in Chapter 7, “Additional Areas.”

    The goal of California’s program, they say, is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and by 80% from 1990 levels by 2050. Californians are progressive and the Plan appears to have survived Nov 02, but they are not martyrs. With California’s future economy not looking overly promising, public opinion could sway at the slightest of breeze, and the best laid plans could soon lie rotting in the gutter.

    Only time will tell.

  3. I think this is a fairly ingenious idea suited to sunny locales close to an ocean …

    The Seawater Greenhouse

    Just a pump and a fan needed (and an ocean and sunlight).

    The air going into the greenhouse is first cooled and humidified by seawater, which trickles over the first evaporator. This provides good climate conditions for the crops. As the air leaves the growing area, it passes through the second evaporator over which seawater is flowing. This seawater has been heated by the sun in a network of pipes above the growing area, making the air flowing past much hotter and more humid. It then meets a series of vertical pipes through which cool seawater passes. When the hot humid air meets the cool surfaces, fresh water will condense as droplets that run down to the base where they can be collected.

    The cool and humid conditions in the greenhouse enable crops to grow with very little water. When crops are not stressed by excessive transpiration, both the yield and the quality are higher.

    The simplicity of the process imitates the hydrological cycle where seawater heated by the sun evaporates, cools down to form clouds, and returns to the earth as rain, fog or dew.


  4. Canada in 2050? Not so bad, really. The biggest expense was the nearly six thousand kilometer, seven meter high fence along the border and the massive military force required to keep out illegal American aliens.

  5. … the world can watch and learn from Canada, because if there is one thing that Canadian politicians and business leaders do well, it is this: They can teach the world how to avoid action on climate change.

    The following is the text of Ian Angus’s keynote speech at “Smells Like Green Spirit,” a conference sponsored by the University of British Columbia Student Environment Centre, on January 19, 2008.

    How to Avoid Action on Climate Change

    The problem is that no one wants to take responsibility for mitigating climate change. Are only politicians and business leaders responsible? What about the rest of us? No one wants to give up his/her God-given houses, cars, food, luxuries, and incomes to help reduce CO2 emissions. Thankfully we don’t have to, because our “lethargic” politicians and business leaders have made it so easy for us to lay our blame on them.

    Here are the seven points Angus makes in the above article about politicians and business leaders:

    1. Deny that action is necessary
    2. All Talk and No Action
    3. Shift the Blame
    4. Lower the bar
    5. Focus on ‘intensity’
    6. Ignore the elephant in the room
    7. Leave it to the market

    Couldn’t Angus have made those same seven points and others about us as well? Politicians and business leaders are people just like us. They too worry about having to give up their God-given houses, cars, food, luxuries, and incomes, in addition to worrying about being criticized by people that their jobs depend on, people who also worry about having to give up their God-given houses, cars, food, luxuries, and incomes. What would we do to them if they actually forced us to do what we are blaming them for not doing? Replace them in the blink of an eye, no doubt.

    So the next time we are tempted to sling How to Avoid Action on Climate Change accusations at our politicians and business leaders, perhaps it should be in front of our own mirrors.

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