There are No “Solutions” – Only “Trade-offs”

Today’s Electric Car Batteries Will Be Tomorrow’s E-Waste Crisis, Scientists Warn

Wind turbines kill endangered bird species, electric cars require toxic batteries and run off of coal-fired power plants, The infrastructure necessary to provide charging stations for plug-in EV’s will cost billions and require even more power generation, but no one wants a nuclear power plant in their back yard.

Engineering isn’t about “solutions,” it’s about picking the best options and minimizing the costs of the trade-offs.

Politics is only about getting elected and re-elected. Politicians can promise the moon without any concern about the costs – monetary, environmental, social. And they depend on a public ignorant to the realities. Shouts of “Consensus!” are used to ensure that no one opposed gets listened to.

That’s not how science – or engineering – work. Reality is what remains even if you don’t believe in it.

Bill Whittle

In keeping with my recent practice of “no new original content,” here’s Bill Whittle’s latest Afterburner – Gulliver, Unbound:


Paradigm Shift?

If real, this could be as significant as Watt’s perfection of the steam engine: Finally! Independent Testing Of Rossi’s E-Cat Cold Fusion Device: Maybe The World Will Change After All

Read it and all the links, but here’s the pullquote:

While a few commentators have raised criticisms concerning how the measurements were made and sources of error others have argued that the energy produced is so significant even knocking off an order of magnitude on either axis still portrays a process with insanely valuable output.

Faster, please.

Fracking Hollywood

A while back, I chipped in some cash so that the documentary FrackNation could be finished.  Well, it’s finished:


Yup, it’s going to be on cable, on AXS TV.  I’ll DVR it.  Should be interesting when compared to Matt Damon’s oil-money-funded feature drama Promised Land.

UPDATE: And they’ve upped the ante with respect to Promised Land:

Matt Damon called ‘liar’ by pro-fracking filmmaker

Accompanied by this photo:

Photobucket attended on a panel discussion about “Promised Land” featuring Damon and reported that Damon said the movie wasn’t political.

“I don’t want to call Matt Damon a liar but he’s a liar, really,” McAleer said. “It’s a deeply political movie and it’s deeply disingenuous for Matt Damon to say otherwise. … Matt Damon isn’t telling the truth.”

Quote of the Day – Hayward’s First Law

Hayward’s First Law of Environmental Energy Politics: there is no source of energy, no matter how clean, that environmentalists won’t oppose if it becomes cheap and abundant. — Steven Hayward, PowerLine: Algae Energy: Get Ready for the Turnabout

There were a couple of other really excellent pullquotes, like this one:

…unlike ethanol, wind, and many other energy boondoggles, there is a lot of private capital going into algae energy research, and while some research efforts clamor for government grants, etc, most of this is being done without government subsidy for the simplest of reasons: if someone can make algae fuels competitive with oil, they’ll make the next great energy fortune.

(My emphasis.)

It’s a short piece. RTWT.

Global Cooling Warming Climate Change

So, Instapundit links to a study that says, contrary to the received wisdom of the Warmists, the more people know about science the (slightly) less likely they are to buy into the idea of anthropogenic global warming (AGW).

I wonder why?

For example, we’re told – on the one hand – that the last decade is “undoubtedly the warmest 10-year period since the beginning of weather records in 1850.” Then we’re told – with equal sincerity – that every year since 1998 has been cooler than that “peak” year.

So, which is it?

The promoters of AGW say “both!” The earth hasn’t heated up since 1998, despite massive CO2 emissions? Well, there’s (always) a simple explanation! Asian pollution!

A new study demonstrates why global surface temperatures defied a decades-long trend and didn’t continue to rise between 1998 and 2008: Pollution-spewing, coal-burning power plants in Asia, while emitting warming greenhouse gases, simultaneously sent cooling sulfur particles into the atmosphere.

During that decade — sometimes cited as evidence to deny global warming — these Asian emissions mostly balanced one another and dampened the effects of natural cooling cycles associated with the sun and ocean temperatures.

But never fear, the thermostat’s ready to be cranked up again!

I recommend you spend nine minutes and watch this:


It’s worth your time.

UPDATE: From Watts Up With That comes the Quote of the Week from Minister of Parliament Graham Stringer from the investigation into ClimateGate:

“When I asked Oxburgh if [Keith] Briffa [CRU academic] could reproduce his own results, he said in lots of cases he couldn’t,” Stringer told us. “That just isn’t science. It’s literature. If somebody can’t reproduce their own results, and nobody else can, then what is that work doing in the scientific journals?”

It’s getting more funding and ginning up enthusiasm for more government power.

Kudos to Obama

Kudos to Obama

And I mean that seriously.

Fed Loan Guarantees May Boost Nuclear Power Return

$8B loan guarantees for Ga. plants may spur nuclear comeback 30 years after Three Mile Island

More than $8 billion in new federal loan guarantees to build two nuclear reactors in Georgia could be the first step toward a nuclear renaissance in the United States, three decades after the Three Mile Island nuclear accident halted all new reactor orders.

With the nuclear industry poised to begin construction of at least a half dozen plants over the next decade, President Barack Obama announced the first loan guarantees Tuesday, casting them as both economically essential and politically attractive. He called nuclear power a key part of comprehensive energy legislation that assigns a cost to the carbon pollution of fossil fuels, giving utility companies more incentive to turn to cleaner nuclear fuel.

“This is only the beginning,” Obama said in designating the new federal financial backing for a pair of reactors in Burke County, Ga., to be built by Atlanta-based Southern Co. Obama’s budget would triple — to $54.5 billion — loan guarantees available for new nuclear construction.

Of course, he killed the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage program, but . . .

I wanted to wait a couple of days and see what the liberals had to say about Obama’s announcement, and I’ve been surprised. Eminent nuclear physicist Michael Douglas (star of 1979’s The China Syndrome) now supports nuclear power. “(P)ioneering environmentalist Stewart Brand, the founder and editor of the Whole Earth Catalog” – for years an opponent of nuclear power – is now on board.

Hey, the religion of Anthropogenic Global Warming does have an upside!

But I still want my backyard nuke.

Some Government Bureaucrat . . .

Some Government Bureaucrat . . .

. . . will come along and quash his dream:

Teen’s DIY Energy Hacking Gives African Village New Hope

Some people see lemons and make lemonade. William Kamkwamba saw wind and made a windmill.

This might not seem like a mighty feat. But Kamkwamba, who grew up in Masitala, a tiny rural farming village off the grid in Malawi, was 14 years old in 2001 when he spotted a photo of a windmill in a U.S. textbook one day. He decided to make one, hacking together a contraption from strips of PVC pipe, rusty car and bicycle parts and blue gum trees.

Though he ultimately had big designs for his creation, all he really wanted to do initially was power a small bulb in his bedroom so he could stay up and read past sunset.

But one windmill has turned into three, which now generate enough electricity to light several bulbs in his family’s house, power radios and a TV, charge his neighbors’ cellphones and pump water for the village’s fields and household use.

Now 22, Kamkwamba wants to build windmills across Malawi and perhaps beyond. Next summer he also plans to construct a drilling machine to bore 40-meter holes for water and pumps. His aim is to help Africans become self-sufficient and resolve their problems without reliance on foreign aid.

(My emphasis.) There’s his first mistake.

RTWT, though. Kid’s got a future!

(h/t: Instapundit)