Archives for category: Energy

Sometimes it’s good to admit the fact mother nature is a bitch. She don’t care. She doesn’t care about flowers. She doesn’t care about rocks. She doesn’t care about dogs. She doesn’t care about tigers. She doesn’t care about sharks either. She doesn’t care about you and me or even our babies. She doesn’t even care about cute little kittens.

Mostly, she can’t care. She only works with energy. When energy builds up and becomes unbalanced, mother nature finds ways to dissipate it, sooner or later.

As Galileo said, “Eppur si muove.” The earth moves. It constantly shifts from energy input from the motion of the core. The energy input builds in faults and hard places, and the softer places move variously. Gradually, the energy buildup is stronger than whatever it is built up in, and things break and move rather suddenly.

This map indicates the movement:

Here is an informative map of where the build-ups and breaks occur:

Wiki has a nice overview:

The central US has its share of faults. The big one, the monster, is in the Missouri boot heel: And Missouri’s own take on it: Consider this summary of major faults in North America:

Comments about faults: It is noteworthy that central US movement is slower than the west coast, and things take longer to build up, and can go quite quiet for long periods.

Oklahomans, learn something about the ground under your feet. Go here: Loads of information to download as PDF books. Good source for teachers.

The earthquake that woke up nearly everyone in the central US this morning is reported by OK Geo as: 12:02:44.426999 36.425 +/- 0.4 -96.929 +/- 0.5 5.6 +/- 1.2 5.5 MW OGS

That was 07:03 CDT. Google puts that in the middle of nowhere between state highways 18 and 177, north of state highway 15, south of the Arkansas River. Pawnee County, in the vicinity of Sooner Lake, which is in Pawnee and Noble counties.’30.0%22N+96%C2%B055’44.4%22W/@36.4198352,-96.9786396,14980m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d36.425!4d-96.929

Of course, not everyone felt it. Some of that is just attributable to individuality in person and circumstance, but some of it is attributable to the nature and variability of the ground and rock under our feet. Some spots shook a little, some a lot. Here is a representation from USGS: Relatives from Kansas City contacted us about the quake, when they felt it.

It was big, and shook a lot, but some spots are quite where shaking seems likely, and other spots shake far away, while areas around didn’t notice. The vibrations transmit as far and as wide as possible until the energy of the quake is used up and absorbed into the softer, looser, ground.

Check this article indicating significant earthquake potential in much of Oklahoma.

Here is a good one, which says, “Earthquakes are occurring in the basement
below oil and gas activities.” The USGS is making the case that the injection wells matter. They admit they really don’t understand yet. They also note that we’ve been doing this for decades, and it only just now seems to matter. In my opinion, oil/gas/water activities are only altering the way the quakes happen. Mother nature sets the stress, and she relieves it. She doesn’t care how. Our activities alter the how, not the amount.

Here ya go:

I’ve seen more news on fusion power generation lately. Among the various claims, a company in Britain seems to think they can run D-T fusion in a tokamak as small as 1.5 meters.

I doubt it. I really doubt it.

D-T is almost certainly what we will use on earth and, perhaps, the moon, and D-T produces material-damaging 14 MeV neutrons. The neutrons also activate the materials, meaning the entire power unit becomes radioactive waste.

A sufficiently small D-T unit may be able to run longer because it will have low structural requirements, but the neutrons embrittle the materials such that the steel (or other material) walls become easy to break, like glass. At some point, the power unit is not structurally sound. It becomes unsafe and must be decommissioned, dismantled, and disposed of as radioactive waste–all of it.

Fusion power of some sort will be the only significant source of power at some point in humanity’s future, but it is not clean and not limitless. That mostly means it will always be expensive with high engineering requirements. It has very significant engineering and safety challenges, including environmental impacts. Granted, most of these challenges are likely to be easier to deal with than other power options, but it is simply false and misleading to suggest that fusion will be clean and inexhaustible.

We will burn fossil fuels for the foreseeable future. (The alternative is mass murder on the order of a billion people.) Nuclear fission will dominate in coming decades, for decades, perhaps for a century or two, then fusion. Once fusion is working, and we overcome the startup and growing pains, then it will be the only significant source of our energy needs for as long as humans do what humans do. I just happen to think generations of us will pass from this earth before the first gigawatt-hour of consumer-electricity is generated by fusion power reactors.

I saw this on Facebook and was flabbergasted. I started to scroll past, but too dumb. Had to says so.

I started to move on, but couldn’t. This is simply mean and exploitive. Fortunately, most of those exploited can afford it. Dumb green westerners might learn from having their money taken from them.

However, there are kids that need reliable power and inexpensive fuel in their communities, and feel-good nonsense is what they get.

Here is what I posted on Facebook:

I’m reluctant to share this. I honestly cannot believe it. It is what green-addled minds think “makes a difference.” As soccer balls, they cost $100. Ouch. As flashlights, I think a single buck a the dollar store will get you as much portable light.

How long might the battery last? Three years max. How long will the soccer ball itself last, maybe a year?

The 50,000 claimed as sold would be $5,000,000 ($100 x 50,000). Somebody got rich, and some poor families got rooked.

Hand-crank generators capable of charging electronics can be had for $9. Of course, those don’t last long either, but at least it is a real solution for a real need, unlike an expensive soccer ball marketed as “renewable energy”.

A sucker really is born every minute, and thank God for all the rich fools so willing to part with their money.

Still, there are people who need power, and it is not only harmful, but insulting to placate them with such drivel.

Relevant Magazine should be ashamed.

Well, I need to read what the Pope wrote for myself, rather than take others’ word for it.

In the meantime, this particularly article is evenhanded and well quoted.

I do think the statements regarding climate will prove embarrassing, perhaps even regrettable and possibly even harmful.

Even older than the church, Primum non nocere: “First, do no harm.”

Anything that increases energy costs and food costs, including converting corn to motor-fuel is immoral, sinful, harmful to people, especially the poorest of us.

I assert boldly that burning edible food for fuel is sin. It is immoral. I will go so far as to say it is a crime against humanity. It increases the cost of energy, increases the cost of food, and reduces the availability of food. What could be more harmful to the poorest two-thirds of our population?

The fact is that actions taken in the name of saving the global climate, and actions taken in the coerced (referring to subsidies funded by taxes) support of alternative energy sources, are causing measurable harm today, right now.

No harm done today can ever be construed to justify a possible lessening of harm in some distant future.

We will do what we must.

Today, for our generation, for our children and grandchildren today, we should do all we can to improve all proven energy sources, especially nuclear, but also coal, oil, and natural gas. We have a moral imperative to increase availability of fuel and power production and to decrease the cost by all means of efficiency gains and economy of scale.

More energy, not less. That will accomplish the Pope’s stated goal of assisting the poorest of us.

Watts Up With That?

Guest opinion by Joe Ronan


Laudato Si – A cry for the poor

Why is Pope Francis writing about climate change?  Because he cares for the poor, and wants us all to look at how we use the resources of the world.  His objective is to ask each of us to look at how we use the resources available to us, and how to be good stewards of creation.  Whether we consider ourselves as owners or tenants of this planet we are asked to use it’s bounty to the good of all, and to avoid laying it waste to the detriment of our brothers and sisters.

He looks at a number of ways in which the poor more than most suffer from environmental damage that man has control over.    The first thing he mentions (paragraph 20) is something well aired on these blogs: atmospheric pollutants affecting the poor, using as…

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If you want to save the earth, save the people first. If you want to save the people, get power to them. Affordable fuel and electricity will do more for the environment than anything else anyone can do, and it will save the humans and eliminate needless pain and suffering while doing so.

James Conca, writing for Forbes,, points out some interesting facts about electrical power in the USA.

The Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station generates most of the electricity for Phoenix, Arizona, coal makes up the rest. Kinda cool, really.

Mr. Conca provides this table:

Energy Source         average cf         high cf

Coal                              65%                   75%

Natural gas                50%                   85%

Nuclear                       90%                   98%

Wind                           30%                   45%

Solar PV                     20%                   30%

Solar thermal            24%                   40%

Hydro                         40%                    45%

Geothermal               70%                   75%

It should really drive home the pitiful uselessness of all varieties of wind and solar. Read the rest of this entry »

I posted this to Facebook, and as I seem often to do, I decided to record it here:

Nuclear is inevitable. We are going to use uranium. We will eventually use, and probably switch entirely to thorium, but regardless, we are going nuclear. Fission for decades, perhaps centuries, then fusion, but don’t hold your breath. Good points here, and toward the end it discusses Washington (the state) specifically.

“Nuclear energy accounts for 63 percent of carbon-free electricity in the U.S. and people need to know that,” Brown said.

Most of the 37% remaining is hydroelectric. (Look it up for yourself if you wish. Something like 2% is wind and solar. Hard to pin down given various complicating factors, including incentives to be disingenuous in reporting.)

Washington has tremendous hydroelectric resources. Grand Coulee Dam and the system on the Columbia is awesome. It is, however, max’ed. Also, enviros, including Algore, hate the dams. They even brag when they get one of them torn down. So, there is good reason for Washington to not offer incentives for hydro. However, nuclear is another matter. I don’t like incentives, but if they are going to give them for stupid stuff like windmills, they might as well provide them for smart things like SMRs.

Final thought on this article, carbon dioxide is an essential ingredient of life on earth. Carbon dioxide is not detrimental in any way. It is plant food, and plants are animal food. Water and oxygen, the other two essential ingredients, are far more damaging to humans and our infrastructure. Water kills millions, including hundreds of young children, every year. Carbon dioxide ensures we have enough food to feed ourselves. We will burn until we have no need. We will burn everything that will burn until electricity is inexpensive and readily available for all energy needs. We will burn for decades to come. If burning worries you, become an activist for nuclear. Educate yourself and get busy.

I was referring to this Forbes article:


Like it or not, ready or not, nuclear fission will provide most of the power for society in the future, fairly near future, for a very long time.

Too many factors to forecast the timeframe, but it is inevitable. It is certain.

Forbes ran this article about the movie, Blackhat.

I don’t think I’ll ever bother seeing the movie. I sure didn’t get the nuclear bit of it in the trailer.

I doubt I could stomach the bad science and tech.

For as bad a Chernobyl was, it was tiny as disasters go. Russia and Ukraine had and continue to have far worse problems.

As bad as Fukushima was hit, it turned out trivial. An inconsequential blip in the sad devastation of the overall catastrophe.

Nuclear power plants, even intentionally, cannot result in catastrophes. Chernobyl was a one-off. It was a bad design that only the Soviets would use. It was their baby. They had pride involved. Not only was it their idea, but they had confidence in their engineering ability to control it. Props. They did a good job for a long time. It was hard. The design was bad and inherently unsafe. It was good engineers and scientists that kept it from killing many times. It was political hubris that caused it once it did happen.

Anyway, all of the nuclear power plants running cannot do what Chernobyl did. Even the Soviets abandoned the idea and replaced them as fast as they practically could.

Nuclear fission power is the safest option we have. It is the most sustainable too. We can reasonably expect to power all our needs with nuclear fission for many centuries, even with optimistic estimates of growth and development. Even if we get to 10 billion people. We almost certainly will not get to that many people. Given a bit of prosperity and good odds that children will make it to adulthood, people don’t have too many children.

Of course, we could roll back the clock just a few centuries, when half of all people died before their eighth birthday. Sad isn’t it. Let’s not go back. Windmills are a sad and harmful attempt at. Let’s quit with the windmills. Windmills suck.

I agree with Dr. Shughart, but he misses the point.

The alternative to coil, oil, natural gas, and nuclear is not wind and solar. Heaven knows it is not wind! Despite the assurances of prominent science communicators, solar cannot and never will provide significant amounts of the power we need to survive.

See, the alternative to coil, oil, natural gas, and nuclear is slavery and death.

Before the energy era, primarily based on fossil fuel, life was hard, brutish, and short. Those who lived in a poor semblance of affluence did so at the direct expense of others: slaves, serfs, vassals, subjects, whatever the name, culture, and time. Note, we pretend that is still the case, but that is a lie. Everyman in the developed world is free to own his own stuff and work for his own benefit, not his lord’s. The liberals and progressives are working diligently to make us a feudal system again, but most of the time I don’t believe they are succeeding.

Regardless, energy for machines and technology have freed us from the misery that was life for most of human history.

The only alternative to coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear is misery. There will always be powerful people. Our current system of politics and readily available, reasonably inexpensive energy is the only attainable way to keep the powerful from enslaving and killing the rest of us.

Our collective history skews us to fear the powerful. Our recent history of the success (to a poor extent, but the illusion is powerful) of the masses, the labor movement, and some of the popular uprisings make us think we can collectively control the powerful. We cannot.

Our only defense against the powerful is readily, reliably available energy (fuel, power, electricity) at affordable prices for the people. Then the individual is empowered to defend himself. (Ladies, you are included. Don’t get political over grammar rules.)

Dr. Shughart suggests that CO2 is problematic. It is not.

Carbon dioxide is plant food. Anyone against feeding plants is also against feeding people. More plant food means more plants. More plants means more to eat and fewer people starving. The other factor in ending starvation is readily available fuel and electricity to get the food to the starving and refrigerate it until they get to eat it.

Again, being against coal especially, but coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear collectively, is to be for slavery, starvation, and death. This goes for oil infrastructure too, like the Keystone Pipeline.

Got it? If you act against coal, you are acting in favor of enslaving and starving people, your brothers, your fellow-man.

Power to the people means coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear.

The EPA has become a monster that will destroy its creator, us. The EPA is the Frankenstein monster. It must be eliminated. We must repeal and replace the Clean Air Act with sensible, restricted, targeted legislation that makes sense for keeping our environment protected, but this replacement legislation must ensure citizens are not harassed and criminalized for building ponds on their own property. The new agencies to replace the EPA must be small, chartered, and limited, both in scope and in longevity. Such agencies should be chartered with Congressional oversight and not be put under full authority of the executive. Regulator agencies are law-givers, and thus must be under Congress, not the executive branch.

End the EPA. It is causing far more harm than good.

How many episodes of Cosmos so far? I don’t care. Only one good episode, last week. This week sucked bad.

Overall, I love what they are doing, but they are such bullies and so arbitrary!

Alarmism is alarmism whether delivered by a fire-and-brimstone preacher, or a snake-oil salesman, or by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Yes, I’m comparing the three together, equating them. Neil is simply acting to scare people when he ridicules religion or tries to scare us into killing each other in order to stop burning fuel. Yes, the greens, the climate alarmists, the “Agent Smiths” of the world are calling for mass murder when they call for the ending of the fossil fuel era. Neil is simply lying when he pretends solar power can run our industrial, technological world. Part of why we were able to end the heinous crime, the sin, of slavery, is because of the inexpensive availability of fossil fuel and our innovation abilities to turn chemical energy into mechanical energy and production.

The alarmists and greens claim they are calling for the greater good but what will result, if they get what they want, is tyranny, murder, and slavery.

Learn. Study. Seek truth. ALWAYS question authority.

When it comes to Cosmos, be as smart as an old cow; eat the hay, and spit out the sticks. Many aspects of each show are good, but some of it is rotten. Throw it out.

“obtain the holy grail of everlasting green power generation: self-sustaining fusion.”

 makes that whopper quoted above at

ExtremeTech doesn’t strike me as a first-rate news source, but I’m sure they try.

Regardless, even in the article, they are talking years away. The article practically admits that fusion is still 20 years away, as it has been for about 70 years now.

Fusion is not a pipe dream. It will power our lives eventually, but it is still likely to not happen within the lives of our children, even grandchildren.

I will have to look into why they’ve installed a beryllium first wall, but everyone realizes beryllium is highly toxic, right? It is extremely expensive too.

We shall see how JET completes its life, but rest assured its death will be an ordeal. The entire facility will be classified as radioactive waste. How’s that for environmentally friendly? Highly radioactive and highly toxic? Again, we shall see.

ITER may prove out, but it too will have a short life and tedious death. Materials advancements are the key, not the physics. That is just an engineering problem now. It is making the things well enough to operate safely for decades that is so impossible right now. Not to mention what do we do with a radioactive building when we are done with it.

So, fusion is inevitable, but never buy the line about “clean and inexhaustible.” Neither is true with the methods and materials we are trying so far.


This post is about how absurd it is to suppose that windmills can maintain an ever-increasing prosperity on earth by providing sufficient energy. It cannot be done!

The title I gave this post is my assertion that we MUST burn fuel to have enough energy to live without slaves. Specifically, inexpensive and freely available energy is what allows all of us westerners to live like kings of old. We accomplish with fuel and electricity what used to be accomplished only with grueling human labor. Read the rest of this entry »

In my opinion, Ralph Nader is personally responsible for more human pain, suffering, and death than any other person in all of history. It makes no difference his motives. He was and is wrong, especially regarding all things nuclear.

The common everyday poison nicotine is far more dangerous than plutonium. Even the dreaded dihydrogen monoxide accounts for more deaths per year. In fact, nothing accounts for more destruction than when that substance (water, to be clear) cooperates with life-giving oxygen to corrode our metals and deteriorate our structures.

Again, Ralph is wrong.

I routinely say that persuasion is an illusion. We will power our world with nuclear once the pain associated with doing the other things is greater than the fear of nuclear. I cannot persuade poor Ralph, nor anyone else, but we will wise up once the harm is obvious. (Hat tip to Homer–the Greek poet, not the yellow dude.)

The tried and true saying is “Follow the money.” Might this have anything to do with why our President opposes pipelines? “Berkshire Hathaway’s CEO, Warren Buffet, announced that profits jumped 7.8% to $2.37 billion on strong railroad profits at their Burlington Northern subsidiary.” (August 2013)

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