Ho ho ho!

After a year’s vacation, I just upgraded my WordPress installation to the new, latest, and greatest. A pat on the back for me. I think my blog is even visible to people who visit. This is part of my new program of personal transparency.

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Hydrogen Economies

The mass media, who have a pretty good record of getting any important news wrong, have been talking up the ‘Hydrogen Economy’ quite a bit. They are mostly referring to the notion of putting powercells in cars, which split water into component hydrogen (and oxygen), then using the hydrogen as a pollution-free fuel to run vehicles.

This is a very sexy idea. It will require a gigantic investment in new infrastructure throughout the world (hydrogen manufacture, refill stations, ubiquitous fuel-cell automobiles), but this gigantic investment is small change compared to really big investments like the Iraq war. (Actually, building a hydrogen-owered world would cost slightly more than the Iraq war.)

It is also a wrong idea. It cannot ever work. This is explained nicely in an interview with Dr. Ulf Bossel, organizer of the Lucerne Fuel Cell Forum, in an interview on The Watt website dating back to 2006. Here is an illuminating excerpt:

With the same amount of electricity, original electricity, be it from wind solar energy, with the same amount of electricity you can drive an electric car three times farther than a hydrogen car. On 100 kWh of electricity you can drive an electric car 120 kilometers while a hydrogen fuel cell car of similar size can do only about 40 km. If we want to have mobility and a sustainable future, we have to go for electric cars and not for hydrogen cars because we electric cars are less costly to operate. It is not the vehicle technology, but a question of energy cost of the fuel. Hydrogen must always be much more expensive than electricity needed to split water by electrolysis etc. That is a very clear picture. I have analyzed the situation to illustrate how much water and electricity is needed for certain hydrogen jobs. If you take the Frankfurt Airport and Frankfurt Airport is perhaps comparable to the airport at Montreal. About 50 jumbo jets leave Frankfurt every day, each charged with 130 tons of kerosene. If you replace kerosene by hydrogen on a one-to-one energy base, each plane needs 50 tons of hydrogen. As a side remark: 50 tons of liquid hydrogen occupy 720 cubic meters of space, while 130 tons of kerosene take only 160 cubic meters. We need totally different airplanes for hydrogen. But that is another story. To fill the 50 jumbo jets one needs 2,500 tons of liquid hydrogen every day. 22,500 cubic meters of water, the water consumption of a city of 100,000, must be split by electrolysis. For this one the continuous electricity output of about eight nuclear power plants is needed. Now, if the entire traffic at Frankfurt Airport was all done with hydrogen, one would need the water consumption of the City of Frankfurt plus about 25 nuclear power plants. Using hydrogen for all public air and road transport in Germany, it would take the power output of about 400 nuclear power plants plus enormous amounts of water. You need nine kilograms of water to make one kilogram of hydrogen. The Rhine river and all other rivers would be dry in the summer because the water is used to make hydrogen. So, we are really approaching limits and we have to talk about these limits before we talk about a hydrogen economy.

Question of the Week

Why douse fields with pesticides if the bugs we kill are more nutritious than the crops they eat?

Signature question of the Let’s Eat Insect movement, justified by phentermine facts, rendered difficult by western culture. in today’s NYTimes.

Minimum Wages in Europe

Hello world!

Garbage In or Garbage Out?

From a recent article on the Oil Drum on using superkites to propel ocean freighters, I learned (always read the comments!) that the Emma Maerks is the world’s largest cargo ship. You can see what it looks like here.

In a recent voyage, it left China, destination Europe, with a load of 11,000 20ft containers full of:

Martini glasses, sports bags, shower gel, shampoo and bath foam, pinball machines, toothpicks, chopsticks, electric guitars, tool boxes, drum kits, lamp shades, silver and wooden photo frames, wooden trouser hangers, candles, books, laptop computers, singing and dancing gorilla toys, poker tables, bingo sets, lunchboxes, cuddly toys, make-up, dolls, toy motorcycles, christmas decorations, sofas, puzzles, televisions, frozen mussles, computer parts, CD players, fax machines, key rings, jam, noodles, biscuits, pumpkins (frozen), more than 1000 bales of carpet, 117 boxes of girls jeans, 40 boxes of brass, 2000 pairs of mens shoes, 9000 pairs of trainers, three boxes of spectacle frames and more than 1500 frozen cooked chickens.

On the return trip to China it loaded up with:

Plastic scrap, waste paper and card, waste electronic components, repairable electrical goods and scap metal.

If I knew what geo-economic tea leaves looked like or how to read them, I’m sure I would know what this all means. Meanwhile, I just have to rely on hunches.

I Am Not Afraid

I just came across this paragraph from the Downsize DC organization that should well become a mantra for well-being in the world we live in. It is meant to be sent to people who represent us politically, and since this is the way I’ve felt for the last 20 years, it just has to be true:

I am not afraid of terrorism, and I want you to stop being afraid on my behalf. Please start scaling back the official government war on terror. Please replace it with a smaller, more focused anti-terrorist police effort in keeping with the rule of law. Please stop overreacting. I understand that it will not be possible to stop all terrorist acts. I accept that. I am not afraid.

Thanks to Bruce Schneier for this.

A Graph is Worth a Thousand X-rays

healthcare spending

phentermine

Eight No Trump, Redoubled

Below is a photo of the American women’s bridge team after they won the Venice Cup, a world-class bridge event, recently held in Shanghai. Please note the little hand-printed sign held by one of the team members.

no to bush

This sign is causing all sorts of trouble back in the US of A, where criticism of The Leader is not tolerated. The whole sad, sad story is here.

National power sector emissions (tons of CO2):

From the Carbon Monitoring for Action (Carma) website, the list of worst polluting countries by their power stations (in tons of CO2):

  • US – 2,530 million
  • China – 2,430 million
  • Russia – 600 million
  • India – 529 million
  • Japan – 363 million
  • Germany – 323 million
  • Australia – 205 million
  • South Africa – 201 million
  • UK – 192 million
  • South Korea – 168 million

(Source: Carma/CGD)

Watch Full Movie Online And Download Boyka: Undisputed IV (2016)

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Quality: HD
Title : Boyka: Undisputed IV
Release : 2016-09-22.
Language : English.
Runtime : 87 min.
Genre : Action.
Stars : Scott Adkins, Bashar Rahal, Teodora Duhovnikova, Alon Aboutboul, Valentin Ganev, Julian Vergov.

In the fourth installment of the fighting franchise, Boyka is shooting for the big leagues when an accidental death in the ring makes him question everything he stands for. When he finds out the wife of the man he accidentally killed is in trouble, Boyka offers to fight in a series of impossible battles to free her from a life of servitude.

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Sweet Energy Perspectives 1

Back in the late 80’s, early 90’s, when I was living happily ever after in Newport RI, US of A, I published a newsletter on my faithful MacPlus called the New Hydronics News. The NHN dealt with America’s appalling approach to energy use in the very specific domain of residential and commercial confort control, aka HVAC, aka heating/cooling systems.

I had 2 reasonable motivations for creating that monthly journal. One was that I was considered by some to be the ‘guru of heating in America’, and sustaining that honorific required that I publish (to better perish later). The other was that I was considered by most everyone else living in the amber waves of grain to be the devil incarnate, a greenie pinko commie, and thus, un-American in every way. Every month for 4 years, I challenged the heating community for its in-your-face, narcissistic profligacy that so characterized the US of A during the Reagan/Bush I years (and shows few signs of winding down at present), until one day, some guys in a pickup truck yelled out out me, “Hey pinko, if you don’t like it here, why don’t you move to, uh, mmm… France!” Which I think is what I did.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

I remember in one issue of NHN, around the time of GBush I’s war on Iraq, I quoted Meyer, Travis McGee’s best friend in John MacDonald’s wonderful series of thrillers, when he said something like

The US has 6% of the world’s population and uses 30% of the world’s oil, plywood, white paint, peanut butter, rubber bands and suntan lotion. We want the rest of the world to love us, to emulate us. What happens if the wish comes true? Will 100% of the world’s population need 500% of the ressources we Americans use now? Has anyone besides me thought this through?

This he said in 1965 or thereabouts. When I quoted this 25 years later, the message was still as futile amongst the grass-roots of l’Amérique profonde.

Fast forward almost 20 years and no one outside the US of A doubts the wisdom of these words (even Australia is coming around). Incredibly, within the States, there are still so many people who can’t get their head around all this. Twenty years ago, GBush I famously said as he cheerleaded Iraq war I: ‘the American lifestyle is not on the table’.

With this as backdrop, and as we speed into the peak-oil era, where the only real comfort is the deeply human thought that catastrophe is only catastrophe if I’m still alive to see it, I want to start writing again about living in the world as though these things really matter.Maigret’s Night at the Crossroads film download

I’ll conclude this first post with a citation from Berkeley Professor Tad Patzek, who writes about biofuel issues (thank you Oil Drum). He analyzes how much of the earth’s surface would be required to generate the energy requirements to drive a car 23000 km (15000 miles) a year with diverse energy options presently being considered by non-deniers.

1 m2 of medium-quality oil fields needs 620 m2 of corn fields to replace gasoline with corn ethanol and pay for the free energy costs of the ethanol production. [Putting this in perspective…], one can drive our example car for one year from ~30 m2 of oil fields, 90 m2 of photovoltaic cells, 1100 m2 of wind turbines, and ~18000 m2 of corn fields.

Has anyone thought this through?

>

Mini-me?

I’ve just learned that there is another person on this planet with the name Denny Adelman. I don’t understand how this can be possible, but since I found his name on the internet, he must be real.

He sits on the architectural commission of a small suburb of Dallas TX USA and approves the construction of picket fences around lawns, swimming pools, and since he is in TX, just maybe between country borders, around immigrant campments, or to hide secret extraterrestrial vehicles that are carefully hoarded by secret government agencies, too.

Of course, I don’t really know what he’s like. Does he have a wife and kids? An SUV? Does he play golf with Carl Rove? Some questions will never find answers. Others are just as well without. I’ll let this one sleep.

Addenda: No Sleep for the Wary Department…

Googled myself for the first time (it’s not that I’m less vain than you are, just that the idea never occurred to me) and discovered that there are several Denny Adelmans wondering about the US of A. Bet I’m the only one in France, though.

Dinner Story

Last night, over dinner and just the right amount of wine, I listened to a story by an 18-year-old Swiss girl visiting Albi for the summer who had not drunk any wine at all.

Last year, she told us, I spent 2 months with an American family in Colorado. I went to school, to fast-food restaurants, to the mall, to the mountains.

A well-rounded teenage summer, american-style.

But what marked me the most, however, was an experience that happened to someone else, a Swiss school friend of mine who had participated in the same exchange program as I had, but who found a spot in Texas. One day, my friend was in class, where she had been well-received by all. The teacher had turned on the television, and everyone was watching a newsreader tell greater Houston about the latest casualties in the Iraq war.

First mentioned were the number of American war casualties. The class was horrified, tears welled up, there was silence. Then the newsreader mentioned how many Iraqis had been killed in a horrendous marketplace suicide bombing. The class was transformed, cheering, applauding, punching the air.

What can I add to this? I know this young girl was telling the truth and I can’t imagine that her friend was making this up. It is like discovering that your chums’ bodies are inhabited by malefic extraterrestrial parasites. Are wide swaths of the USA (or maybe just Texas) fucked up beyond all repair? What is is the effect of such an event on a young sane mind, eager and excited about discovering America?

Good grief.

The Great One Addresses the World

13un8.jpg

Backrub of the Year

That is Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany and current President of the European Union, getting leadership lessons from the Great One.

bush01.jpg
Seen on Cracked.

The Unbearable Lightness of Eating

Body Mass Indexes from around the world. (From Wikimedia)

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Difficult to Watch

In the Guardian, Terry Jones of Monty Python fame makes some interesting points about the barbarian practices being used by the Iranians towards the 15 captured British naval personnel that they are now holding.

Amongst the disgraces that no civilized anglo-saxon should tolerate:

  1. Instead of putting cloth sacks over their heads when shown in public, the one woman captive (Faye Turney) is forced to wear a headscarf. The men’s heads are all… naked!!!
  2. Instead of putting duct tape over their mouths (before putting the cloth sacks over the heads), the captives are allowed, when shown on TV… to speak.
  3. Instead of putting each captive in solitary confinement, they are allowed to write letters home.
  4. And finally, “What is so appalling is the underhand way in which the Iranians have got her (Faye Turney) “unhappy and stressed”. She shows no signs of electrocution or burn marks and there are no signs of beating on her face. This is unacceptable. If captives are to be put under duress, such as by forcing them into compromising sexual positions, or having electric shocks to their genitals, they should be photographed”

Will us civilized westerners be able to maintain our sang-froid in the face of such affronts to our deeply held beliefs about what constitutes dignified treatment of prisoners? This is going to be a difficult test.

Update (2 april):

Just received this from Meredith:streaming movie Logan 2017

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Could This Possibly Work?

A friend just told me that she has heard on the news that immediately after GW Bush left Nicaragua on his current tour of South and Central America, local Mayan leaders performed a “cleansing ceremony” to rid their country of those nasty Bush vibes. I did a little searching and came up with this:

That a person like (Bush), with the persecution of our migrant brothers in the United States, with the wars he has provoked, is going to walk in our sacred lands, is an offense for the Mayan people and their culture,”
Juan Tiney, director of a Mayan nongovernmental organization with close ties to Mayan religious and political leaders.

I’m thinking that if this is an effective tool, people of all races and cultures would probably want to learn how to perform such a cleansing ceremony if there was the slightest chance that it could somehow lighten the horrible blight that the US President has unleashed on our world.

Estonia Revisited: Voting on the Internet

Back in June in this blog, I extased about my visit to Tallinn, capitol of Estonia. A beautiful medival city in a tiny Baltic state that was joyously grasping Life after liberation from the greyness of Russian occupancy.

Since that visit, I have learned that Estonia is considered the ‘Hong Kong of Europe’ for its forward-looking, distinctly non-European approach to facilitating entrepreneurship and encouraging innovation with acts, not words.

Today, I have just learned that Estonia will become the first country in the world to ever have a national parlamentary election completely held over the internet.

More here and here (in french)