Friday, July 25, 2008

Assortment

1) Don Surber fact-whips Obama senseless.

2) Ten historical mysteries, via The Scribbler’s Pen.

3) If you’re going to jail, you’re already looking at an awful experience, so do yourself a favor: don’t make it worse.

4) Also, if you’re already in jail, doing light time at a minimum security facility, the same thing goes: don’t make it worse (H/T to friend and commenter, Mojo).

5) I drink lots and lots of espresso. If you’re fond of the genuine café cubano, Marta at Babalú shows you how to do it up right.

6) One begins to wonder: does T. Boone Pickens really believe in the efficacy of wind power, or is he just talking up a bad investment? Conceptually, wind power sounds like a great idea, and it may actually be; but I’m concerned that the usual suspects are going to flog it as an excuse to avoid drilling for oil (which, in fairness to Pickens, is not, I believe, an argument he has made).

7) ”A little vegemite on your platypus fritters, luv?”

Update: Friend and commenter Retread draws attention to another Don Surber post on matters environmental.

14 comments:

the_real_jeffs said...

Wind power is not a bad investment, but I wouldn't stay in it for the long term.

Wind farms can tap into another aspect of the energy potential available on this planet. The solution is straightforward, and the industry is cranking up.

HOWEVER......

Wind power is not reliable. Power generation requires several different types:

+ Base line power, which provides a CONSTANT source, because the world is usually running 24/7. Electricity is in constant demand. Nuclear, coal, and gas power plants are the best (in that order). Dams can as well, depending on water availability.

+ Peak power, which can add large amounts of power in short order. "Peaks" occur when demand increases suddenly, like waking up in the morning, turning on the lights, and making a pot of coffee. Most everyone does that around the same time (0500 - 0730 local, say), and the surge is very large. Base line plants can handle that, but dams are very useful as well.

Wind power is neither, because the wind blows when it wants to. Many locations do have a constant wind, but even those can slow down or stop.

Finally, wind power is really high tech; those blades are EXTREMELY efficient, the sort of thing that we can do after designing aircraft for three generations. But the set up is amazingly sensitive; too many bugs splattered on the blades can put it off balance, not a good thing.

And, oh, yeah, the gear is expensive to begin with. Start up costs are high.

So wind power is useful, but it's not a solution, any more than solar power is (for similar reasons). Both have applications, but for special cases.

Besides, Pickens is also for oil drilling as well.

Which just makes me wonder just what he's up to.....playing both sides against each other? Hmmmm......

Anonymous said...

Hi paco XX ":":"::"": 1.618

the_real_jeffs said...

BTW, Obama is already senseless. As in "common sense". But I agree with your assessment of Don Surber's post.

Anonymous said...

Don Surber has a post (An Ill Wind Blows)on wind power which quotes a study discussing the extra wear and tear on fossil fuel plants caused by taking them on the off line when the wind power doesn't meet demand. In a nutshell, trying to substitute wind power may well result in more CO2, not less.

If I was more code savvy I would have provided a link, but as you are all going over to Surber's blog to read how he beat up Obama with facts, scroll down for the wind post.

How's the Mrs. Paco?

Retread

Paco said...

Retread: Mrs. Paco is very slowly recuperating; still feeling quite a bit of pain, but able to get around a little better. Thanks for asking.

Paco said...

RJ: I was counting on you, as an engineer, to 'splain it to us! Thanks!

Minicapt said...

If I remember the presentation accurately, Mr Pickens wishes to install enough wind power systems to pump 'x' amount of power into the US grid. According to his numbers, 'x' is the amount of power generated using Natural Gas. If wind power replaces the Natural Gas, then that amount of Natural Gas could be liquefied for use in the transportation and cars. That in turn would replace the amount of oil used to produce gas and diesel; which appears to be the amount of oil imported from countries nat always friendly to the US. Which would mean no more drilling.

For my next act ...

Cheers

Paco said...

Thank you, Captain, for paying attention so I don't have to!

Hi, 1.618!

the_real_jeffs said...

paco, good to hear that the missus is improving. My thoughts are with you.

minicapt, that is the best use of wind power, as a means to shift energy demand from one source to another. I suppose there would always be a minimum amount of wind power available, statistically speaking, so you could bank on some, with enough wind farms tied into the national power grid.

Minicapt said...

True, but Mr Pickens' campaign is to generate the requisite public support to coerce the government to give him the financial supports he would like to receive for being such a nice guy in developing such a splendid utility for the good of the public. He wants to be paid to make money, whether or not wind power is feasible.

See: http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/story.html?id=675273

Cheers

the_real_jeffs said...

Ah, thank you, minicapt! I knew that Pickens had an angle here, and I see it clearly. Yep, his hand is reaching for the public purse.

Steve Skubinna said...

Pickens is also in favor if increased drilling to increase domestic sources of petroleum. In fact, he says it makes no sense not to drill where we have it. As I understand it, his "We can't drill our way out of this" line refers to long term energy production. In the short term he supports doing whatever is available. So long as we need petroleum we need to get it where we have it.

Doesn't fit so well on a soundbite, though. "Maverick Texas oil man at odds with Bush policy" plays a whole lot better in the MSM.

mojo said...

Good lord, the poor schmuck offed himself? I didn't know that.

And the egotistical sociopath just had to kill the wife and kid too. Great.

Kill yourself, asshole, and I don't care. But what the hell did the wife and kid do, ya sick bastard?

Ash said...

Mojo,

Society's truly sick don't need any provocation. They're already most of the way there.