Archives for posts with tag: 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.

Statistics don’t care to be saved.

“As a physician, I am intrigued, if not put off, by the EPA concept of “premature deaths.” How am I to know that that unfortunate patient, who has just died, died prematurely? If asked, he would undoubtedly claim that he had died before his time, no matter the actual cause. All deaths are “premature” when viewed subjectively.” Dr. Charles Battig

Dr. Batting uses examples to explain why EPA rules will help no one. While reading Dr. Battig’s keep in mind that our air and water in the USA have gotten significantly cleaner every year since 1970 when we first started keeping track. Every year cleaner for 45 years. Our air and water are cleaner than they were 100 years ago? How clean do we need to be?

Cleaner than clean hurts.

The bottom line is the EPA rules will hurt the bottom line, especially for those with the lowest bottom line. EPA rules passed the point of diminishing returns long ago. The EPA causes far more harm than it mitigates. The EPA is the most dangerous thing known to mankind.

End the EPA.

The practical way to end the EPA is to repeal the Clean Air Act. I hope that is possible.

Political will will have to be high. Those voting to repeal the laws that empower the EPA must have sufficient backbone to take the name calling and threats.

The politicians will have to replace the laws, because we do actually need to protect our air and water, but the laws must be targeted and specifically limited in scope and control. Very specific. I expect that will cause some problems and confusion for a while as lawyers fight each other and politicians to iron out the details. Still, it has to be better than what we have.

EPA is killing us.

EPA is the most dangerous thing on earth.

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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Willis’ article is well presented and insightful. The comments, particularly those of RGB, are quite valuable. Some of the comments are good examples of what not to do. Some are educational and valuable.

Willis and RGB contribute greatly to WUWT, and they are among the greatest minds of our time. If you research the site, with the built-in search or your favorite search engine, you will find a wealth of knowledge and insight.

You will understand the global climate better if you read this article and the comments. The time spent reading will prove worthwhile.

While RGB points out that CO2 physically acts to increase global average surface temperature, Willis shows (in this and prior articles) that CO2 is not the only factor, and as RGB points out, more heat doesn’t necessarily mean hotter; it can instead mean faster, or slightly larger dissipative emergent phenomena.

Carbon dioxide is an essential ingredient in life. We must have it, and it has been deficient in the environment throughout human existence. It is likely still deficient. CO2 is no more a pollutant than O2 and H2O. Oxygen is a killer. Water, even more so. We humans suffer more expense and direct tragedy already, directly due to these other two essential ingredients of life than any plausible scenario associated with CO2.

We will burn all of the fossil fuels unless a genius breakthrough occurs. We will run out of all of it before CO2 even begins to become a true concern to the well being of humans and the biosphere.

Mostly, I agree with RGB (and Willis routinely expresses full solidarity with this sentiment) when he says that climate related policies, and even the vast sums spent on climate research are harmful to the least among us. The Pope wants us to respect the poor. That starts not with only small kindnesses, but with cheap energy by every means available.

RGB is correct when he says:
“At heart, all poverty is energy poverty. The units of energy are the units of work, and work, one way or another, is wealth.”

Watts Up With That?

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I got to thinking about how I could gain more understanding of the daily air temperature cycles in the tropics. I decided to look at what happens when the early morning (midnight to 5:00 AM) of a given day is cooler than usual, versus what happens when the early morning is warmer than usual. So what was I expecting to find?

Well, my hypothesis is that due to the emergence of clouds and thunderstorms, when the morning is cooler than usual, there will be less clouds and thunderstorms. As a result the day will tend to warm up, and by the following midnight it will end up warmer than where it started. And when the morning is warmer than usual, increased clouds and thunderstorms will cool the day down, and by the following midnight it will end up cooler than when it started. In other…

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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.

“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.


Eliminate the EPA and replace it with a restricted and targeted agency. Place strict guidelines and limits, and even limit funding.

Regulations are killing our country. I thank Senator Inhofe for stemming the tide of global warming alarmism, but the President and the EPA are determined to inflict the pain on us regardless. We must eliminate the EPA. Repeal the clean air act and replace it with updated and more sensible legislation. Legislation that has specific targets. It must not allow for “as low as reasonably achievable” standards. Our air and water have gotten better every year since enactment. Regulations are so bad that agricultural dust is a violation.

Carbon dioxide is an essential ingredient to life. It is not a pollutant. The other two essential ingredients to life as we know it are oxygen and water and are both far more dangerous than carbon dioxide. Oxidation in all its forms account for the majority of the damage in our world. Fire and corrosion are inexorable destroyers, always have been, always will be. Too much oxygen is even more dangerous than too much carbon dioxide. Likewise with too much water. Read the rest of this entry »

Windmills killed over half a million birds and nearly a million bats in 2012. Where will it end?
AP has distributed a story carried by many news outlets, including Fox, The Guardian, etc. I like the variety of headlines. Some hardly admit the point while others all but accuse the President of killing eagles and fighting oil production.
A quote: “More than 573,000 birds are killed by the country’s windfarms each year, including 83,000 hunting birds such as hawks, falcons and eagles, according to an estimate published in March in the peer-reviewed Wildlife Society Bulletin.”
The link to the journal should work, but it is available after purchase only, and I didn’t register to find out how much it is.  Read the rest of this entry »

Mizzou announces a break through in plasma physics and our energy future.

My bs alarm sounded when I read this gem, “However, Curry warns that without federal funding of basic research, America will lose the race to develop new plasma energy technologies.”

Sorry, but no. Federal funding is the death knell of all good science!

Then, the big deal! They can generate a plasma doughnut in air! Wow! Or something. Are we building a plasma cannon or an energy generator?

Of course, the next lines are the grandiose claims of how much could be accomplished if they could only get sufficient funding, and of course a little whining about sequester et al.

Unfortunately, this looks like a headline only. There is no there, there.

I cannot reblog the article again. (WordPress does not support that.)

However, Anthony updated the article on falling gasoline usage to show that although things are worse than I thought, they are not as bad as implied by the first take on the data.

Adding more data, Anthony shows that gasoline use is dropping, but we are probably not in some hidden economic collapse. Well, good to know we aren’t on cracking thin ice, but I do think things are getting more precarious than shown by the market, and especially worse than shown by government numbers.

Note the graph below is from the EPA.  Read the rest of this entry »

I have a quote below that I pulled from Anthony’s site (WUWT:, which he pulled from Bishop Hill (link below), with additional credits, from James Lovelock.

I love that Lovelock says fundamentalists have taken over environmentalism. I think despite the fact that he is a zealot himself, he finally noticed just how religious and dogmatic it all has become. Gaia, Mother Nature, or some ideal of greenness has come to replace God in the modern religion, which is a hybrid of the faith of our fathers, the love of nature, and simple self-worship. Read the rest of this entry »

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