Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Monday, January 29, 2007

Hydrogen - a good use for wind power

A recent post on Zaius Nation challenged the popular conception that hydrogen could be used as a green fuel source. Since it takes more energy to make hydrogen from water than can be recovered from burning it, its a net energy sink. Rather it is suggested that hydrogen should be thought of as a battery. One of the drawbacks of wind power, is that the wind is variable, and therefore can't produce a consistent amount of power. But if wind power were turned to distilling hydrogen, then the hydrogen could be stored and used when needed.

Plugin Hybrid Vehicles

A recent report from the DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory indicates that if all the cars and light trucks in the nation where switched to plugin hybrid vehicles, off-peak electricity production could fuel 84 percent of the vehicle fleet.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Headbanger Cat

More Snow

We're now up to six weekends of snow. Denver has reached the annual average snow pack for the year and we haven't even started having our heavy spring storms.

We took the little dog for a hike along Cherry Creek. Its freely flowing even with the single digit temperatures because of the intermittent hot springs along the creek.

Contrary to what has been suggested, Kelly loves to roll and dive into the snow. Today was no exception.

Friday, January 26, 2007

New and Improved blogger

Well I've switched to the new and improved blogger. No issues so far.

I discovered that Kelly loves peanuts. I had a handful and she started begging. I figured she wouldn't actually eat them, so I gave her one and she snarfed it down. I continued giving her one at a time. This went on for almost 10 minutes. She just keep wanting more.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

More on the Sate of the Union

For another take on the state of the union check out this great piece of satire. The first 2/3 are the standard Bush is a fool sort of thing good for the occasional chuckle, but the Democratic response at the end is a fantastic skewering of Hillary and Obama. The interaction between Chaney and Speaker Pelosi at the end of the Presidents speech was a nice touch too.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Why most climate scientists believe that human influence now dominates natural variability in climate

The Boston Review has a nice article on climate change written for a general audience. The whole article is a bit long, but worth the read. The authors main conclusion is that almost all climate scientists today believe that man's influence on the climate dominates that of natural variability.
To quote from the article; this figure shows the results of two sets of computer simulations. In the first (blue) uses only natural forcings, such as variable solar output and dimming owing to aerosols produced by known volcanic eruptions. The second (in red) adds anthropomorphic influences such as sulfate aerosols and greenhouse gases. The solid curves show the averages of multiple simulations. The observed global average surface temperature is depicted by the black curve. One observes that the two sets of simulations begin to diverge during the 1970s and today have no overlap at all. This exercise has been repeated many times with the same qualitative result: one cannot simulate the evolution of the climate over last 30 years without including in the simulations mankind'’s influence on sulfate aerosols and greenhouse gases.

So what does this mean?

Projections based on climate models suggest that the globe will continue to warm another 3 to 7°F over the next century.

The warming of already hot regions is expected to be somewhat less, while the warming of cold regions like the arctic is projected to be more, with nighttime temperatures increasing more rapidly than daytime temperatures.

huge quantities of water were locked up in the great continental ice sheets. As polar regions warm, it is possible that portions of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets will melt, increasing sea level. Should Greenland ice cap to melt, sea level would increase by around 22 feet—flooding many coastal regions including much of southern Florida and lower Manhattan.

The twin perils of flood and drought both increase substantially in a warmer world. Expect it to rain harder in places that are already wet and at the same time expect the intensity, duration, or geographical extent of droughts to increase.

It is possible that negative-feedback mechanisms that we have not contemplated or have underestimated will kick in, sparing us from debilitating consequences. Equally likely there are positive feedbacks that could make matters worse than projected.

President Wants to raise taxes

Despite what he claims, the President's new health care proposal would raise taxes for anyone who currently gets medical coverage from their employer. A typical middle class family would get dinged for an extra $1000. Read my lips....

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

State of the Union - Too little too late

The president gave his state of the union speech this evening. All these new ideas - at least new for him. It would have been a great message when he was re-elected, rather than I have a mandate and "I'm goin do what I want." It all feels like its too little and too late. You have to wonder were all this was during the last six years. At least it is only 727 days, 14 hours, 17 minutes until election 2008.

In contrast, the author David Brin has some pretty good ideas of what the new congress could accomplish in its first 100 days. Its definitely worth the read.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Snow again

We got another few inches today. That makes five weekends of snow in a row. Ironically little of this snow is making it into the interior ranges where the ski resorts are located. For once Denver is getting a real winter.

Kelly still enjoys the snow as long as its not in her yard.

With all the snow the local wildlife is starting to get hungry.

Monday, January 15, 2007

A call to boycott J.C. Penney over dog fur

In a previous post I talked about the practice of using canine-fur as jacket trim on products made in China. While the use of raccoon dog fur is not in itself illegal, these jackets were illegally labeled as made with fake or raccoon fur. Once Macy's became aware of the mislabeling, they did the right thing and pulled all the jackets from their stores. J.C. Penney, unfortunately, after initially pulling these barbaric products, has returned then to their racks after hand correcting the labels. Their reasoning is that the animal isn't really a domestic dog and that foxes are canines too. That logic is has a fatal flaw. Wolves, coyotes, and African dogs are also canines and are also not domestic, but civilized people don't cover themselves with the fur of these animals. Penney's is making a bad call and they should be punished for it. So we encourage everyone to join a boycott against the company and to let them know what you think of their actions.

Friday, January 05, 2007

More Snow

Another morning of fresh snow. About 6 inches. Took Kelly on a long hike and then curled up and sleep all day.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Arthur C Clarke's list of the best science-fiction films of all time

The story goes that during the production of 2010 Arthur C. Clarke was asked to list the top ten science fiction
of all time. His rough cut of 12 is;

1. Metropolis (1927)
2. Things to Come (1936)
3. Frankenstein (1931)
4. King Kong (original version) (1933)
5. Forbidden Planet (1956)
6. The Thing from Another World (original version) (1951)
7. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
8. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
9. Star Wars (1977)
10. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1980)
11. Alien (1979)
12. Blade Runner (1982)

With Jedi and Star trek II still under consideration.
In hind sight, the question should have been two questions; the best and most important films. So as a meme, what would posters select as the 5 most important and 5 best (not necessarily exclusive) sci-fi films of all time?