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Friday, March 16, 2012

 This is an article my aunt wrote about my grandfather who was editor of a Glasgow newspaper called the Bulletin.
By then JM (only his closest friends called him Jim) was an established journalist with George Outram & Co, whose proprietors had little sympathy with the rising nationalism among intellectuals and other eccentrics. He had to keep a balance between his intense concern for his native land and the pressures of working to support his growing family – his third child was born in the year of publication.

But it was also a job he loved. Born in 1900 in Paisley, he was brought up in Kilmacolm and gained an MA degree at Glasgow University before winning a scholarship to study history at Oxford. There he was said to have shocked his tutors by stating that he hoped to be good enough to become a journalist. For the winner of the 1922 Newdigate Prize for poetry it must have seemed a perverse ambition.

  There once were journalists with real standards of integrity, though it is clear that even then they were a minority
  If you get hold of a newspaper of the era you will see that there are simply far fewer actual words on them now and that of those words a far lower proportion of them used to be about "celebs", politician photo-ops and stories fed to them, by various sorts of advertisers and so pin doctors. Indeed looking at a modern "news" paper it is often almost impossible to find any real news in it. 

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Big Engineering 49 - Twice an Hour to Orbit

   Joseph Friedlander has an article on Next Big Future which gives all sorts of technical detail about how we could build an orbital launcher that could reach and return from orbit twice an hour.

  This amounts to a vessel loading pure water and carrying a reactor which will superheat the water to produce a steam rocket and take the craft to the edge of space where it releases a cargo rocket. At that height with no air friction even an amateur rocket could reach orbital velocity.

  Then it comes back, lands in the water, reloads with cargo and water and does it again. Twice an hour.

   This is how he puts it with the technological stuff shorn off.

Powered by a reactor light enough to fly, hot enough and with power enough to energize a reaction fluid (hopefully a light fluid with high exhaust velocity) and efficient enough to carry a large fraction of launch weight as payload to low orbit.

So a robust and buildable nuclear booster, massively reusable (a couple times an hour not a week) that uses fresh water as reaction mass (cheapest fluid available) that takes off and lands (and is based) in freshwater and repumps itself full within minutes for another run would be capable of greatly efficient amortization of costs and great economies of use.

It would accelerate for under 90 seconds, hop up to space and eject the multi-staged chemical rocket from an internal bay—the “garage”—the equivalent of an air launch but in space.

We have just now described a ’hopper’ architecture for a nuclear steam rocket. What is the difference between a nuclear steam rocket and a conventional steam rocket--such as the rocket used by Evel Knievel in his attempt to jump the Snake River Canyon near Twin Falls, Idaho on September 8, 1974.
A conventional steam rocket uses preheated water on the ground for launch with a simple pressure valve. Alas, the exhaust velocity is a mere 300 m/s or so.

What is different here? A nuclear reactor is heating the water literally on the fly—so we are not storing superpressured steam or supercritical water but low-pressure water in light tanks and heating it live. Exhaust velocity is around 6 times greater.

   This does not in any way expose radioactives to the atmosphere. The steam no more contacts the core than it does in a pressurised water reactor. They do release heated water into the sea as this releases steam into the air. In fact it very much the same thing. Or if you prefer similar to atomic powered ships of which there have been many, from commercial vessels to icebreakers through to aircraft carriers. It is hardly possible to sensibly argue against this craft unless they have been shown to be a problem.

   I assume Joe Insists on fresh water because salt water would be more corrosive. Otherwise these could be sea launched from anywhere in the equatorial zone. However, serendipitously, one of the products of the OTEC power systems suggested by Marshall Savage to power floating seasteds is distilled water.

   Because reactors have a minimum practical size and can become more powerful faster than they go up in weight this system is highly scalable.

For a 180 gigawatt ship (12000 ton class liftoff weight)—Super Saturn V class cycling twice an hour for a year that is .....8081.1 kilograms of U-235 per year (at $100000 a kilogram, over $800 million worth that must be replaced)...

for space boost to greatly lower costs of launching—it sounds nearly unbeatable. Rather than something like 1.3 billion to send a 50 ton spacecraft to the Moon, we can imagine doing it for something like $10 million (exclusive of the spacecraft of course). 2000 tons starting at 100 km even at standstill could send that much to the Moon in perhaps 4-5 stages. Doing that a few thousand times a year would enable the beginnings of Lunar colonization. Something to think about.

  With small modular reactors being about to be built at under £200 million each such a craft should be "easily within the means of even the smallest nuclear power." While this does not inherently require technology only available to government, as the Orion nuclear explosion powered ship did, it could, in theory, be done purely by private enterprise. In practice I think it would require the explicit support of government, though not necessarily, its money.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

BBC - Not Only Not A Balanced News Organisation - They Don't Just Slant It They Make It Up Too

  Bishop Hill points to this article from Jo Nova comparing how the BBC, who have a legal legal requirement of "due balance" balanced their accounts of climategate and hackgate.

    It will come as an enormous surprise to anybody who thinks the BBC is a news organisation rather than a state propaganda one that their behaviour differed 180 degrees. For hackgate the BBC were straight off the ball reporting so fast that they didn't have time to even check with Heartland and find that the main document was a forgery. On climategate they simply didn't report the actual subject at all, simply that the CRU had been hacked, something for which there is no evidence whatsoever even yet. It is considerably more probable that it was leaked from somebody inside , disgusted at the way CRU was refusing to respect the FoI law. The first BBC story was not about Climategate, but about a possibly mythical “hacking”.
So when did the BBC report the emails? Short answer: I don’t know. Did they? (Can anyone find a story where they did? I can’t, but it’s a big site).
The big concession from the BBC was that one early news item (Mon Nov 23rd 2009, by nameless at the BBC) actually does quote one single Climategate email — though prepacked with the response from Phil Jones both before the email, and after it, lest anyone read it “uninoculated” and think for one second that scientists really ought not be using tricks to hide declines. The subheader above this devastating email is, wait for it, “Globally Respected”. That’s something science journalists at the BBC most surely will not be when the public realizes they’ve been carefully spoonfed only half the story.
The original BBC “News” item still headlines it as a “hack”, calls the person who released the emails an “offender”. It did not mention that it might have been a legal leak by a whistleblower, or that some of the emails were subject to FOI anyway, and all of the emails were work related emails funded by taxpayers. So the BBC didn’t report on ClimateGate, and they didn’t get much about that other “hacking” story right either.
When the BBC talks about the damage to science, they discuss how science is ‘damaged’ by leaked emails but not how science is damaged by scientists who hide declines…
It’s what they don’t say that advertises their bias.
At the same time as ClimateGate was running hot, Richard Black wrote a story about the mysterious lack of female skeptics, and he referred to me vaguely, but wouldn’t name me, link to me, or write and ask my opinion. Not too hot on the research eh Richard? I had the answer he wasn’t looking for: Why don’t women want to face global bullies? I can’t imagine…
When ClimateGate II broke, Black was fast — fast to do damage control for his favorite pet theory. See ClimateGate II: Handy Guide to spot whitewash journalism – The top 10 excuses for scientists behaving badly.
Always remember, in the handy-guide to journalist-spotting: Real journalists reort what happened and PR agents cover up what happened.
  However I also spotted how the BBC had  gone yet a further step beyond mere total bias to iinventive propaganda. They had invented a brand new name for the Heartlnad hacking - "Deniergate" - and claimed, falsely, that this was being used commonly across the blogsphere.. Obviously it failed to report, then or later, that the "deniers" had done nothing scandalous as the real scandal was that their pal had fabricated the important part of the "evidence".

I commented:

Though Black did write “”Denier-gate” is the label being applied in the blogosphere” but that is certainly not fully true and may be a deliberate lie.
When I read it I googled the term and found no mentions which clearly predated his own so it was certainly not generally applied across the blogsphere.
I did email the BBC asking for confirmation of which blogs he had seen it on but the BBC have decided not to reply.
I think it quite possible he invented the term and claimed it as general. This is not as unusual a tactic as it may seem as it adds non-existent public support to the journalists story. Hence, for example, the media insisted Milosevic was popularly known as the “Butcher of Belgrade” despite there being no fighting in Belgrade, him actually killing nobody (as proven in his “trial”) and the term only working in English. A similar example is the “Glasgow kiss” (headbutt) which appeared first in a newspaper article which claimed it was inn common usage & now IS in common usage.
Of course it is always possible that the BBC will indeed , belatedly, reply to the emial stating which blogsites had used the term "deniergate" before they did.

Indeed if the BBC is in any way whatsoever an honest organisation they will be able to and will wish to.

I am willi8ng to take betsw that the BBCis not, ionn the most minisclue degree, honest  and that nobody working for it believes it is. If there is anybody at all in the entire orgasnisation who thinks he/she works for an uncorrupt news organisation rather than a wholly dishonest, fascist propaganda organisation they will certainly wish to defend its good name by pointing out what facts Richard Black's calaim was based on. I will, of course, publish such a reply - nobody can accuse me of not being infinitely more honest than the entire BBC.

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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Recent Reading - On What We could Do Withjout the Ecofascist Parasites

Spiked article on the anniversary of the Japanese Tsunami (45.9 million items) & Fukushima (62.9 million) comparing deaths.

From the Fukushima radiation "disaster" itself - 0 deaths
Within the reactor site from the tsunami but prior to  and unconnected with the "disaster" - 2 deaths
From the anti-nuclear scare - 48-68 (depending on whether you count 26 who died much later because of electricity shortages)
overreaction to a problem can be worse than the original problem. For example, it was reported that 45 patients died after the botched and hurried evacuation of a hospital in the Fukushima prefecture, and this was not the only such case. One centenarian committed suicide rather than be forced from his home in the exclusion zone.
Most of Japan’s nuclear-power plants were shut down for testing after the accident or kept offline after maintenance for longer than expected. A country with hot summers like Japan has become reliant on air conditioning. With power supplies reduced, more people seemed to be affected by heatstroke. In July, it was reported that 26 people had died from heatstroke in the spring and early summer, compared to six people the year before. These may not all have been down to the problems caused by the nuclear shutdown, but it can’t have helped that people were being constantly nagged to reduce their power usage. Ironically, two workers at the plant, wearing very heavy protective suits to protect them against the radiation, died from heatstroke.
21,000 app on the less newsworthy event of the tsunami itself.
By comparison - 200,000 in the Indian ocean tsunami of 2004, which happened in less technologically advanced countries.

     Proving the Luddites are enormously more dangerous to the human race than nuclear power or any similar anti-technology scare they promote. At least proving it to anybody susceptible to evidence.That they and most of our media aren't susceptible to evidence is the big problem.
Bishop Hill has an article about one of the "due balance" BBC "reporters" called Gaia Vince, which I assume was not his birth name, pushing a scare story about "peak indium". Andrew also has a graph of long term prices proving it is another evidence free fraud.
The EU nomenklatura in a tizzy because Hungary has replaced its communist era constitution for something less politically correct. One doesn't hear much about this here - perhaps our nomenklatura are worried that people would approve.
"We've got to get rid of the Medieval warm period" to quote one of the snake oi salesmen masquerading as "scientists" at the CRU. Quoted from a Climategate email. The fact is
The idea of a medieval warm period was formulated for the first time in 1965 by the English climatologist Hubert H. Lamb [1]. Lamb, who founded the UK Climate Research Unit (CRU) in 1971, saw the peak of the warming period from 1000 to 1300, i.e. in the High Middle Ages. He estimated that temperatures then were 1-2 ° C above the normal period of 1931-1960. In the high North, it was even up to 4 degrees warmer. The regular voyages of the Vikings between Iceland and Greenland were rarely hindered by ice, and many burial places of the Vikings in Greenland still lie in the permafrost.
Glaciers were smaller than today
Also the global retreat of glaciers that occurred in the period between about 900 to 1300 [2] speaks for the existence of the Medieval Warm Period. An interesting detail is that many glaciers pulling back since 1850 reveal plant remnants from the Middle Ages, which is a clear proof that the extent of the glaciers at that time was lower than today
  During WW2 there was a serious plan to feed Britain from locally grown plankton. It turned out not to be feasible at the time because the technology wasn't good enough (& not very tasty either). However the technology has moved on. The sites were almost all in Scotland. I assume this is because colder water contains more oxygen and can thus grow more.
ten, 30sq m nets could in 12 hours catch enough plankton to feed 357 people
   That equates to 1.18 million people per square kilometre.

  Startram - linear accelerater to space for $40 billion. So about 25 times the cost of a tram from Edinburgh airport to about a mile from the city centre.
Bishop Hill again on an academic report on how "environmental science" is done
The idea is that normally you should not propose legislation until you’ve got the evidence to justify it. But there, you had the prime ministers and heads of state signing up to a target that no-one had done any impact assessment at all . . . they got them to sign up to these targets, 20% renewables and 10% biofuels, and then only later in the year did they do the impact assessment. And basically they said they didn’t need to [properly] impact-assess the 10% because it had already been approved by the heads of state! . . .”
As Sharman and Holmes pithily comment:
"The fact that the EC was endorsing a target without having seen a full impact assessment provides the first indication that motivations other than scientific evidence related to environmental sustainability and GHG emissions reductions played a part in the policy decision to establish the 10% target."
  How the US shale boom will change the world. I see no reason why it will be a purely US boom and no reason other than Luddism why it won't work across Europe.

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