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Old 02-18-2008, 12:10 PM   #51
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Yes They have really taken the global warming thing too far. There are so many other environmental/energy problems that get covered up by this. The media just loves it because it is so fun to cover. I think the reason why it has suddenly showed up in the media is because many of the elite have switched their investments into ethanol/solar panels/wind energy/carbon trading. Just a guess, hard to really know. But the smart consumer will figure out how to use the least of all of these items, to avoid being enslaved by the costs. I dont claim to know how much the globe is warming due to human interference, but to be on the safe side I conserve everything. Part of this is just me being cheap.

I am lucky now not to be renting. I have never owned my own place before, but can really do all of the energy efficiency things i dream of. The place is pretty well set up though with passive solar heating thru south facing windows. It is old though and has lots of gaps in the walls, keeping me busy. I cant say I did it all myself, I needed a loan from my parents to make it happen. It was really nice to heat with wood this winter. I have never done a whole winter that way. It cost 20$ in chainsaw supplies, 120$ in wood that I bought to get started, and time. That got me through the winter in cold central ny, heated much of my water for baths and cooked most of my food. The propane bill was 26$ for about 4 months for extra water heating and cooking.
I have friends in the hills who burn both wood and coal. One of them said, "I paid $100 to heat my home this winter". I looked at him with envy, we could never approach that figure with NG, not even with high eff furnaces.

I'm glad you can do it, James. Wish it was me. I like city living. However there are always alternatives.

Gene

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Old 02-18-2008, 12:17 PM   #52
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The solar power setup we have generates 300 watts under full sun. so a sunny day gives us 1.5 KWH (20cents of power) a day. Most residential systems are much larger, ours is more of the cabin size. we have two deep cycle lead acid batteries we got for free that only have about 40% capacity compared to new ones. We power about 4 lights, radio, computer, fan, battery charger, and vaccuum, when its sunny. No fridge, we have a root cellar which works except in the middle of summer, when everything is fresh from the garden anyway.
Wow! You're "off the grid". Good for you!



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as far as mercury goes, you are right, no one knows exactly how much the body can take, or can excrete. my guess is it depends on diet, weight, sex, age, etc. I would like govt to keep regulating this because it affects people's health. They do need to figure out accurate limits. I dont like that my pregnant wife can't eat many fish I catch in lakes around here (according to govt). I know that so much energy is being wasted to heat giant homes where no one is even there most of the day. In Ithaca, two trainloads of coal are burned per day at the power plant.
Mercury in the sea is naturally occurring to a certain extent, but the levels have been increasing, especially high up on the food chain. A pregnant woman is only supposed to eat 2 servings of tuna per month. I don't want to be coerced to be more vegetarian because of mercury. I love seafood and milk cheese and butter. I want to be able to eat these items from local pastures, lakes with out an unsafe level of mercury in their flesh/milk.
I believe in freedom, but dont believe in freedom to pollute in unlimited quantities.
I can see your point on that, James. I don't claim to have the answers but I sure would like rules and regulations that are based upon good science and careful debate. We're not getting that right now and it's a disservice to us all.

As for heating homes when no one is around.... habits have to change.


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I wish the government would encourage u.s. manufacturers to produce an efficient car. They know how to do it. It involves aerodynamics, light weight, and an efficient engine. They designed aero cars and never really sold them: GM Impact (give me one with a gas or diesel engine!), ford probe concept, and several others. I believe that part of the reason GM is in the dumps right now is because they have not made an efficient simple low cost car. If they made something with better gas milage than civic and yaris for the same cost it would sell like mad right now. the profit would not be as high per vehicle, but many more vehicles would be produced and sold.
If GM, Ford or Chrylser made something I could repair I'd have taken the slight hit in fuel economy. Saved me money in the long run.

They don't make cars that a shade tree mechanic can repair. You need all sorts of hoists, special tools and other things. My Toyota needs a diagnostic scanner, an oil filter wrench and a few other tools until it grows quite old. That's it. I have the 2007 manuals here on PDF.

I agree that US makers could do it. Why they don't is a partial mystery to me. They don't seem to realize that keeping market share means keeping an affordable "entry level" car in the market to entice buyers to hold brand loyalty. They're so busy thinking about the next quarter that they fail to see the future.

I'm glad I never got that MBA. Business school would have educated the common sense right out of me.

Gene
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Old 02-18-2008, 04:06 PM   #53
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One last thing:
Gene-your work in energy effiency is highly appreciated.
i concur! and your true to life experiences have been very educational if not entertaining. certainly your apposing view(to the norm) should be at the very least considered by ALL.
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Old 02-18-2008, 09:05 PM   #54
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So we believe whatever Gene says, but not in the significance of global warming. Did I get that right?

"Hey, watch me make Gene write like 10 paragraphs with one sentence "
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Old 02-19-2008, 10:28 AM   #55
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I'd also like to know if the mercury burden from coal fired power plants in our food is any greater than the naturally occurring mercury in seafood?
If 'naturally occurring', why has there been an increase in advisories.

Those levels have been increasing do to decades of human pollution. We've stopped using mercury in many products, but burning coal accounts for up to a third of the US's total mercury pollution output. We've just started regulating the mercury emissions, so it is dropping. Didn't come across anything recent on emission levels, besides projections of when legislation is fully enacted.
http://www.fossil.energy.gov/program...ycontrols.html

It's good it is being regulated, but the stuff already out there is going to stick around for awhile.

Which goes back to the OP, while new(post 2004) coal power plants will have the means of controlling mercury emissions, home heating units won't. NG is cleaner, and I bet more efficient than a coal unit. Cost can become an issue, but a boiler or furnace that burns one flammable gas can pretty much burn any other.
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Old 02-19-2008, 10:38 AM   #56
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So we believe whatever Gene says, but not in the significance of global warming. Did I get that right?

"Hey, watch me make Gene write like 10 paragraphs with one sentence "
There is significance to the idea of human caused global warming - you really can get people with scientific training to create a product that fits the conclusions that you demand if you pay them.

We also saw this sort of effect in the USSR, when Lysenko demanded "proletarian science" of Soviet Biologists. Except instead of gulag American and European scientists who are "global warming skeptics" are sent to a career Siberia. This supports arguments from authority - those who "know" are good, those who "dissent" are not really authorities.

The "proof" of my assertion is a total lack of replicable experimental data. Considerable amounts of fraud - ground based test stations parked next to heat vents, tennis courts and so on. A heavy reliance upon "computer models", in other words glorified weather forecasts.

Maybe people really are starting to change climate through carbon dioxide? How would we know given the shoddy science shown so far?

If the weather is hot it's global warming. If the weather is cool it's the instability of global warming. If there is too much rain or too little rain, too much sun or too little sunshine. As if the world's weather from time immemorial was a consistent, but today due to SUVs we're being destroyed.

A theory which explains everything explains nothing. We're not talking science, we're talking politics at this point. It stinks.


The reality is that the western world's way of life isn't going to cut it in the global market over the long haul. We're not paying attention to long term market trends, wherein rising middle classes overseas are competing with our working class for the same petroleum.

Where I draw the line is how "global warming" political non-sense shapes our future. The theology of the evil of carbon dioxide constrains alternatives.

We could use clean coal technology to make liquid fuels. Nope, that creates evil carbon dioxide. Instead we'll build windmills and wish a lot.

The US has billions of barrels of oil under Colorado in the form of oil shale. Oh no! We can't use that! Yeah, we'll let the Chinese and Indians have it in twenty years or so. Anyone who protests will get the Wackenhut treatment.

We could build more nuclear plants. Nope, nobody wants the waste. Anyone who did would get a visit from the Acorn crowd, WWF or Sierra Club. Nukes aren't "sustainable", even if they generate almost no evil carbon dioxide.

Nuclear Fusion? Nope, it's "unproven", the "energy of the future, always". We won't do more than Tokamaks and we're dithering over the money on building one in France. Meanwhile Robert Bussard's work goes begging for money. He claimed he could do fusion with boron and hydrogen, no radiation. The guy had a PhD from Princeton, which counts when it's time to talk about global warming, but not when a lifetime of work sits idle because it fit's nobody's agenda.

We could rely more upon local farmers like we did sixty years ago. We're already seeing this effect with "microbreweries" and small organic farmers. Nope, we have to have city farms and each of us has to grow our own food like they do in the Third World. The return of peasantry. Yippee.

We could work more closely to home, telecommute and have a bit less efficiency due to smaller economies of scale in our food and commodity supply chain. We might have to live in the cities again. Be fun to see those official parasites and kids wounded by the Great Society trying to cope with armed former suburbanites with great work ethics.


I shared my own experiences in the wonderful world of kidney dialysis. I gave everyone interested enough clues and a way to confirm or refute my story. Just go to your local clinic.

Also briefly described how I individually help to save scarce resources at work, creating far more of an impact than the hypermiling and other modest things I do on my own.

I'm still waiting to hear what old Skewbe does for a living. He or she seems handy with electronics, I saw that from the posts on putting an MPG gadget on their Metro. We'll see.

Gene
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Old 02-19-2008, 11:23 AM   #57
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Bussard's Award from the International Academy of Science

http://www.science.edu/TechoftheYear/TechoftheYear.htm



EMC2 Fusion Development

http://www.emc2fusion.org/

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Old 02-19-2008, 11:30 AM   #58
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If 'naturally occurring', why has there been an increase in advisories.

Those levels have been increasing do to decades of human pollution. We've stopped using mercury in many products, but burning coal accounts for up to a third of the US's total mercury pollution output. We've just started regulating the mercury emissions, so it is dropping. Didn't come across anything recent on emission levels, besides projections of when legislation is fully enacted.
http://www.fossil.energy.gov/program...ycontrols.html

It's good it is being regulated, but the stuff already out there is going to stick around for awhile.

Which goes back to the OP, while new(post 2004) coal power plants will have the means of controlling mercury emissions, home heating units won't. NG is cleaner, and I bet more efficient than a coal unit. Cost can become an issue, but a boiler or furnace that burns one flammable gas can pretty much burn any other.
Couple of possibilities....

1. The Japanese tragedy of mercury poisoning got people "looking" for mercury in seafood.

I still recall Swordfish being banned in the US in the 1970s. It came back from the ban years later save for pregnant women.

2. There really is more mercury in the seas.


Just because coal fired plants are the largest sources of mercury in the US does not entail that the amount of mercury put out there is necessarily beyond the ability of the eco system to process it.

I certainly support examining this question. It would be irresponsible to assume that mercury from coal fired plants does not harm the environment. It would be irresponsible to burden consumers unnecessarily with the costs of remediating an issue that doesn't require remediation.

Please keep in mind who pays for this. Utilities are not high profit operations, they are stable investments. Consumers pay.

Gene
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Old 02-19-2008, 04:22 PM   #59
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We should be investing in research for fusion and other types of energy. It is a great idea, at least in theory...we should see how it pans out on a small scale. We should also be installing wind turbines...and we are. I think we will see the resurgance of nuclear power...there was a reason that they stopped building them: it really was too expensive to dispose of the waste and decomission the plants...but now with rising oil and ng prices, it is starting to make sense again.
The solution is not going to be one item...though I am hoping something new and powerful will arise...but my guess is the future involves diversifying power supply and concentrating on conservation because prices will be high. hopefully we will improve all the standard forms of energy so we can burn them cleaner.

Gene-what do you think about the stringent emission standards that started in california and spread to the rest of the country? I almost think it has gone too far in that there are so many o2 sensors and cats to fail that every vehicle is more expensive and likely to fail. It sure has cleaned up the air a lot in the cities though. You can see it. Arlington, VA where i grew up has less smog, and there have to be almost twice as many vehicles there as 25 yrs ago. When you smell the exhaust of my parents new civic, it doesnt even smell like exhaust, and it is supposedly cleaner than the air in L.A.

For the record I work for a flower shop delivering flowers in the off season. In the summer I plan to start selling produce at the farmers market. Its my first year on the farm, so we will start off small. Next month I would like to start out installing solar panels on remote houses...we will see if this pans out.
I think the world is going to be much less "free" in the future, so we should enjoy it (responsibly), and find ways to secure freedom for our families and communities. I am not talking about imperialism. More locally based democracy, and keeping people happy and healthy. And thats where my farm comes in, providing nutritious local produce that will keep people strong and healthy. We have really lost much of that in the last 50 years, and are now much more dependant on doctors and dentists. It robs us of energy and money that could be used for many valuable projects : like a new and clean source of energy, maybe even fusion.

On clean coal- I don't know if coal could ever be considered clean, as the mining of it is so destructive. But it is good that they are working on new ways to extract the energy without the emissions. It may be part of the solution whether the greens like it or not.
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Old 02-19-2008, 04:59 PM   #60
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for those not paying attention(or not comprehending)...

what Gene says must be taken at face value. you decide for yourselves to believe his experiences or not.

i personally choose to accept him at his word. incidently, some of his stated facts and stats CAN be confirmed.

it is ironic that Gene does more for the GW movement than the hard-core tree huggers, especially since he does not support nor deny GW.

but again, there is no way to confirm his actions/employment. in the same token, we cannot confirm that anyone here that claims to be green is not actually polluting the earth more than the average person!

so let's put an end to the childish, personal attacks and get back to the subject. some of us are listening and learning beyond the accusations of over-worded posts, who's a BSer, conversations w/ self only, etc.

if you don't like what's being said, then troll SOMEWHERE ELSE!!!
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