Friday, December 12, 2008
BIG ENGINEERING 29 GREENING THE ARCTIC
The Arctic has been ice free quite regularly in prehistory. "The arctic may have periodically been nearly ice free in recent geologic history, after the last ice age ..... the ice cover in the Arctic Ocean was greatly reduced some 6000-7000 years ago. The Arctic Ocean may have been periodically ice free" Most calculation show that if the floating ice melted it would stay melted - ice produces a roughly 2 million square mile mirror, without which much more sunlight would be absorbed rather than reflected back into space. Currently Siberia, Canada beyond 100 miles from the US, Alaska & North Norway (about 10 million square miles) are barely habitable, most of their settlements being more for mining than agriculture. With a clement climate this would change.
HOW TO DO IT
Earlier I discussed the use of orbital mirrors to warm smaller areas. For this the size would change but the principle less so. Very large orbital mirrors at geosynchronous orbit(36,000 km up), angled towards the Arctic shores (though missing Greenland) would change the temperature balance.
An even more elegant solution would be to put up a Statite mirror
Statite (a portmanteau of static and satellite) is a hypothetical type of artificial satellite that employs a solar sail to continuously modify its orbit in ways that gravity alone would not allow. Typically, a statite would use the solar sail to "hover" in a location that would not otherwise be available as a stable geosynchronous orbit. Statites have been proposed that would remain in fixed locations high over Earth's poles, using reflected sunlight to counteract the gravity pulling them down. Statites might also employ their sails to change the shape or velocity of more conventional orbits, depending upon the purpose of the particular statite.
The concept of the statite was invented by Robert L. Forward. No statites have been deployed to date, as solar sail technology is still in its infancy.
So we aren't going to have it this next year but the principle is sound. Costing is impossible now but once we have a spacegoing civilisation almost all of what we would think of current costs (getting up there with thousands of tons of foil) would already be paid for. I would not be surprised if the ultimate cost could be placed at cents per acre - like the American west if you don't include subsequent inflation.
A statite reflecting directly at the North Pole would produce about 3 times as much sunlight as reaches the equator since (A) it would shine 24 hours a day, (B) the light comes straight down rather than most of it coming through extra atmosphere at an angle & (C) the current sunlight still gets in as well. Fairly quickly this would melt the ice within the target area. Then it would heat the water & since water moves around we could expect almost all floating ice to disappear shortly.
BUT WOULDN'T WE ALL DROWN
No. Firstly because there is already a proposal for getting rid of excess water by piling it up in the Antarctic so that anything but a very rapid melting can be dealt with. Secondly because 90% of the world's ice is in the Antarctic, slightly over 5% on Greenland, thirdly because the melting of floating ice does not change the volume in the water (which is why it floats) & fourthly because the idea of Greenland's melting, in less than 10s of thousands of years, is a non-starter. Greenland ice did not melt last time the Arctic was ice free indeed it has not all melted since:
"The dating of dust particles also showed that it has been at least 450,000 years ago since the area of the DYE-3 drilling, in the southern part of Greenland, was ice-free."
This is though many cycles of an ice free pole. Ice in the sea melts relatively easily because it is barely below zero & in moving water which is barely above (by easily I mean in months) & water is able to absorb or give out a lot of heat. Ice on land is on solid rock which itself has been deep frozen for the same period - the only way heat can reach it is from the air, which being much less massive than water can carry far less heat. Also the Greenland cap is up to 3 km deep. Even the most pessimistic of serious alarmists agree Greenland would take a millennium to melt.
A habitable North Pole would sharply reduce the temperature gradient between pole & equator across the Northern hemisphere. Polar bears have been around for 100,000-250,000 years so I don't think they would have much to worry about. But even more important is making this planet much more attractive to we humans who, after all, evolved in warmer climes & mainly in a warmer era.
"I think we may be a bit early dear"
Thursday, December 11, 2008
SHIRLEY WILLIAMS REPLIES
Williams agreed we had done this but justified it on the claim that Milosevic had done the same & that she personally had seen Serb troops committing such atrocities so that made it OK.
I subsequently wrote to her asking her to give details of these alleged atrocities & her role as observer. Today I have received her reply:
Dear Mr Craig,
I have received your letter of October 17th regarding my lecture at the Royal Philosophical Society.
I find your insinuation that I was untruthful in what I said in response to your question offensive in the extreme. I was in Kosovo at the height of the violence in 1995.
You incorrectly attribute to me a statement that eighteenth century politicians were not corrupt. Either you didn't hear what I said, or you mistook irony for a statement of fact. Either way such a statement would be completely incorrect.
To think that this is the standard of our senior politicians. Apart from the lies & general evil she has said a couple of things which are just plain stupid. My reply:
Dear Baroness Williams,
Thank you for yours of 3rd Dec. I note that that you have made no attempt whatsoever to provide places or dates for the Serb atrocities which you claimed, at the lecture, to have personally seen.
Nor have you made any attempt to prove your extraordinary justification that Milosevic had been engaged in the same atrocities, including child sexual enslavement & the cutting open of teenagers to steal their body organs for western hospitals, which you acknowledged "police" under British government authority engaged in.
I note also you do not deny knowing in advance that the war was fought to support the only people engaged in genocide in Kosovo, the NATO armed KLA, as the Foreign Secretary had admitted this to Parliament 2 months prior.
In fact, as you now admit, you were not in Kosovo during the fighting. You only visited in 1995, which you, alone in the entire world claim to have been when the violence was "its height". Everybody else says the first attacks in the NATO armed KLA terror campaign were in 1996 & it did not get going in earnest till 1998.
Since you maintain your claim to having seen atrocities, of which you refuse to give details & that Milosevic personally, like yourself, was involved in dissecting people for our hospitals I must accept this as representing the absolute pinnacle of honesty of which you are capable. On the other hand these are obviously lies which could never have been maintained by anybody who was not a wholly corrupt, obscene, racist, Nazi whore.
I find your insinuation that I was in any way untruthful in anything I have said about you offensive in the extreme. Lying about Milosevic is even worse.
Should this country ever have a legal system which has any respect for the rule of law, mass murdering Nazis like you will be hung by the neck (I would also like to see the death penalty applied to the likes of Rosemary West though obviously she does not compare in murder or atrocities to yourself).
On your very minor point you say both, that in the lecture, you never held up 18thC British politics as uncorrupt & that you did but it was meant in a humorous & ironic manner. A small amount of thought would show that both statements cannot be true. Perhaps you could advise which of these ignorant lies you wish to stand by?
One of the atrocities the Nazi whore justified
BROWN SAVES THE WORLD BUT NOT GERMANY
Our British friends are now cutting their value-added tax. We have no idea how much of that stores will pass on to customers. Are you really going to buy a DVD player because it now costs £39.10 instead of £39.90? All this will do is raise Britain's debt to a level that will take a whole generation to work off. The same people who would never touch deficit spending are now tossing around billions. The switch from decades of supply-side politics all the way to a crass Keynesianism is breathtaking. When I ask about the origins of the crisis, economists I respect tell me it is the credit-financed growth of recent years and decades. Isn't this the same mistake everyone is suddenly making again, under all the public pressure?
...It's the yearning for the Great Rescue Plan. It doesn't exist. It doesn't exist!
...When in doubt, I'd say the risk is greater of burning money without significant effects and in the end having a budget weighed down with even more debt. For me the only stimulus measures that make sense are those that create jobs and have a positive structural effect beyond the economic cycle.
Having quoted Herr Steinbrück as saying there is no rescue plan here is mine from a post I put on John Redwood's blog:
The thing wrong with this recession is that all the pain, cuts & unemployment are being borne by the productive party of the economy, not by the government part. That will not only not get us out of recession it can only get us deeper.
I think it is to late for a mere cut in public salaries above £100,000. I even think we are beyond a hiring freeze in the civil service I suggested at the beginning of the year. We need to abolish sizable parts of government. Particularly the regulatory parts & the quangos, many of which not only absorb their own budgets but massively increase the costs of productive industry. Regulations cost the people 20 times more than they cost the government to enforce.
That & telling the Atomic Energy Authority that they are licencing any successful nuclear reactor design this day would not only end the recession but get us growing nearly as well as China, India, most of East Asia & South America still are in this alleged “world recession”.
When Brown says we are in a world recession it is simply a lie. There is a recession in America & the EU & some spillover effects elsewhere. It is possible China's growth will fall to 8% because their export market is drying up but that is not, by any standard, recession. It is therefore certain that this is a structural problem within those countries submitting to Luddism rather than a world problem beyond their control. In fact what we are seeing is exactly what the Luddites called for when they said they wanted more government & EU regulation specifically to stop the "continuous economic expansion" they alleged were suffering from.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
POLL - HOW MUCH SHOULD THE GOVERNMENT SPEND?
How much of the national economy should, in an ideal society, be spent by the state?
This means all the money spent by the state - defence, administration, quangos, police etc but also social security, NHS, education, rail & windmill subsidies, X-Prizes etc.
I would be really interested in knowing what people would like the answer to this to be so please take a few seconds to answer it. Call it research.
I have put this poll both here & on my 9% Growth party blog so it is likely responses here will largely reflect people who are not regulars on aA Place to Stand.
BIG ENGINEERING 28 MASS PRODUCING WORLDS
One of my earlier articles was about building an O'Neill space settlement. What do you need to do so?
Well specifically you need a Moon base with bulldozers or something equivalent to dig ore up, an accelerator/catapult to put ore into orbit, a very large sack in orbit catch it with, a large mirror to smelt the ore & a lot of people to fabricate it into such a cylinder.
All but the last of these are structures that once created can be used indefinitely (mostly more indefinitely than on Earth because there is no weather in space to wear things out) & indeed are fairly easily scalable. Scalability & cinsequent economies of scale are what make most big engineering projects so attractive. That is to say productivity can be increased continuously simply by making stuff bigger or utilising it more fully. If a big bulldozer with 1 driver working for 5 year can dig up enough mass for 1 cylinder then 10 much bigger machines can supply 20 times as much. They can be repaired by 1 man on site but actually driven remotely by people in Los Angeles or Glasgow, or if those 2 turn out to have an outdated electricity supply & intermittent blackouts because of the Luddites, Shenzen or Seoul. The Moon being a big place & with a low gravity which allows digging as deep as you want. The problem with workers on site is why it has been proposed that the first thing to be built would be a much smaller Bernal Sphere for the workers to live in.
So if it takes 5 years to make the first cylinder, say about 30 years from now, that cylinder would provide housing for the crew to build others, indeed the replication of such habitats is an intrinsic part of the concept.
Self-replication is an optional attribute, but many think it the ultimate goal because it allows a much more rapid increase in colonies, while eliminating costs to and dependence on Earth. It could be argued that the establishment of such a colony would be Earth's first act of self-replication. Intermediate goals include colonies that expect only information from Earth (science, engineering, entertainment, etc.) and colonies that just require periodic supply of light weight objects, such as integrated circuits, medicines, genetic material and perhaps some tools
So lets assume it takes 5 years from the first shovelful to finish the first cylinder in 2038. Lets also make the much more conservative assumption that productivity can increase by 10% a year (conservative because that is what the entire Chinese economy is now doing so it is clearly very possible to do it for one particular edge of the envelope industry).
Now lets apply some compound growth to that. Doing compound growth calculations in your head is actually relatively easy if you know the trick. The trick is the Rule of 70 (also known as the rule of 69, which is most accurate & the rule of 72 which is easiest to use if you are calculating in fractions rather than decimals.
What it says is that to achieve a doubling under compound growth you only actually need approximately 72 percentage points of growth. For example the cube root of 2 is 1.189. 18.9% X 4 = 75.6%. It won't give you an exact figure but is a first approximation capable of being used in discussing any project.
So taking that the doubling time of habitat production, assumed at 1/5th per year, is 7 years. By 2045 we are producing 2 every 5 years, by 2054 it would be 1 a year & by the end of the century (actually 2096) we would be at 64 new O'Neill colonies a year. At about 560 km surface area in each cylinder (30 km long with 3 km radius) this is 36,000 km of new territory, all with the best possible climate & fertility & now animal life we didn't introduce. That is the size of Taiwan or 1/6th larger than Belguim.
Again this can be ensured by X-Prizes - awarding a prize not just for building the first one but either smaller prizes for subsequent ones or prizes foe each increase in production above the previous maximum each year.
Mark Twain advised "Buy land, they've stopped making it" & indeed it has been a very good investment ever since. Also a very good cause of wars. That can be a temporary condition if we let it.
Monday, December 08, 2008
57 DEMONSTRATE AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING - MASSIVE BBC COVERAGE
Mr. Prosser: Do you know how much damage this bulldozer would sustain if I just let it roll over you?I suspect on some H&E type rules requiring airports to close down in such circumstances.
Arthur: How much?
Mr. Prosser: None at all.
As normal the BBC coverage was substantial & as favourable as it is possible to be ion the circumstances quoting the eco-fascists extensively & climate sceptics not at all.
The BBC's Stephen Chittenden, at Stansted, said protesters had brought concrete blocks and 6ft-high security fencing with them and erected a "stockade" about 50m (164 ft) from the runway. They then chained themselves to the fencing.
One of the activists taking part, Lily Kember, 21, said they had forced their way in using bolt-cutters while the runway was closed for overnight maintenance work.
Ms Kember said she was "incredibly apologetic" that passengers had been affected, but added: "The effects of climate change are going to be monumental."
Plane Stupid said on its website that the action was intended to draw attention to CO2 emissions from the aviation industry.
One protester, whose full name was not given, said: "We're here because our parents' generation has failed us and it's now down to young people to stop climate change by whatever peaceful means we have left.
"We're afraid of what the police might do to us, we're afraid of going to jail but nothing scares us as much as the threat of runaway climate change."
Compare & contrast the motivation of the 11,000 steel workers who demonstrated last week purely asking that they be allowed to make a living with these publicity seeking hypocritical eco-fascist vandals. The hypocrisy & class based hatred imfecting the "greens" is shown by this news article about one of their leaders
A leading anti-aviation activist has secretly flown to New York to hold meetings with American airport protesters - and see the sights. Former public-schoolgirl Katrina Forrester, who helped co-ordinate campaign group Plane Stupid's third runway protest on the roof of the House of Commons in February, boarded a BA flight out of Heathrow on Tuesday.
While that news got covered by the Daily Mail the BBC decided not to do so. God bless the Daily Mail - the BBC would be greatly improved if it hired some of their journalists rather than the racist liars who appear in the Guardian. The BBC is still censoring any reporting of the 11,000 strong anti-alarmist demo last week.