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Comments

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Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

floobedy Re:Law of Large Numbers (435 comments)

You missed the point of the post. Lovins was talking about unscheduled downtime like the wind not blowing, or a reactor scramming because of a tremor. He was claiming that renewables were similar to baseload power plants in that they both have unscheduled downtime. I was responding to that.

Of course there is also scheduled maintenance, but that's not what Lovins was talking about. That has no relevance to the discussion of whether storage would be required for renewables. If Lovins was talking about scheduled downtime then his point was even weaker.

3 days ago
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Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

floobedy Re:Law of Large Numbers (435 comments)

I don't think that's what he was saying. He appeared to be saying that no storage is required, aside from EV batteries.

4 days ago
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Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

floobedy Law of Large Numbers (435 comments)

I think the biggest mistake of the video, is when Lovins says that renewables are no different from baseload power plants, because baseload plants are down some fraction of the time also. He claims that power companies already compensate for downtime of baseload power plants by just having a few extra power plants. He claims that the same thing could be done with renewables.

That's just all wrong, in my opinion. It's a statistical error. Although baseload power plants are down 10-20% of the time, they are down at random. The downtime of any one plant is not correlated with the downtime of any other. As a result, if you have enough plants, then 10-20% of power generation is offline at any given time, as a result of the law of large numbers. That can be compensated for by building a few extra power plants.

With renewables, their downtime is not random. Their downtime is correlated with that of the other plants. For example, when the sun goes down, all solar panels stop working at the same time in a geographic region. Also, when the wind stops blowing (which can happen over a wide area), all windmills in that region will stop working at the same time. This is a much bigger problem than randomly distributed downtime.

If solar panels had randomly distributed downtime, and were as likely to generate power during winter nights as during summer days, then no storage would be required. We could just build more solar panels. This is because the randomly distributed periods of downtime of the solar panels would "cancel out" each other. However, it does not help to build more solar panels for the night time.

That is why renewables require storage.

4 days ago
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New Process Promises Ammonia From Air, Water, and Sunlight

floobedy Re:Ammonia fuel (117 comments)

Even if it only made 0.0001% nitric oxide and some kind of catalytic converter caught 95% of that, it would still destroy the environment faster than fossil fuels.

I doubt that. Burning a gallon of gasoline in an internal combustion engine produces about 1.5 grams of NOx, which is more than would be emitted by 0.0001% from ammonia combustion.

And that's if none of the ammonia ever escaped from vehicles, let alone the industrial production and transport.

Ammonia is a basic building block of life and is already produced in huge quantities by bacteria in the soil. Furthermore, it's produced in massive quantities by industry, at a rate of 150 million tonnes per year worldwide. That's more than 20kg per person, per year, worldwide, which is more than any other chemical. No attempt is made to confine that ammonia or prevent it from leaking into the environment. Quite the contrary, that massive quantity of ammonia is injected directly into the soil as fertilizer, or evaporates from window cleaner. The amount we are leaking into the environment right now, is vastly greater than the amount which would leak from the occasional defective fuel tank.

If ammonia is causing some dire environmental effect, worse than global warming, then I've yet to hear about it. I'm not saying you're wrong, but you'd have to provide some evidence for your assertion.

about two weeks ago
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New Process Promises Ammonia From Air, Water, and Sunlight

floobedy Re:Very amusing reading comprehension failure (117 comments)

Sure. Sorry to have offended you. I thought you were being snitty. I apologize for being aggressive in my response.

It's also probably harder to get the hydrogen out of the ammonia in secondary processes than from hydrocarbons - plus if it's fuel cell usage you do not need to go all the way down to hydrogen gas anyway.

I was originally thinking that ammonia could be used directly in internal combustion engines, as a replacement for oil when that starts to become scarce. Of course there are replacements for oil in most applications (plug-in cars and electrified rail), but there are some applications where a liquid fuel would be very helpful (such as remote construction equipment, ships, and so on).

There are very few combustible liquids which can be made out of the main constituents of air and water, and so wouldn't alter the composition of the atmosphere when burned. That's one reason I was excited about a process which produces ammonia using less energy.

about two weeks ago
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New Process Promises Ammonia From Air, Water, and Sunlight

floobedy Re:Very amusing reading comprehension failure (117 comments)

I was referring to how the above poster can find out about the relative danger of propane and ammonia and get some real understanding. Got it now?

I was referring to the paragraph I quoted, in which you were discussing making ammonia. I think you actually understand that.

You didn't know we were discussing making ammonia without fossil fuels, and you made a big fool out of yourself. As follows:

It doesn't come as ammonia. It comes as something like oil or natural gas, then you get hydrogen out of that, and then you make ammonia out of the hydrogen. It's an extra step

about two weeks ago
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New Process Promises Ammonia From Air, Water, and Sunlight

floobedy Re:Ammonia fuel (117 comments)

Don't guess or ask. LOOK IT UP... No, and for a very good reason. It doesn't come as ammonia. It comes as something like oil or natural gas, then you get hydrogen out of that, and then you make ammonia out of the hydrogen. It's an extra step

Why don't you try LOOKING IT UP by reading the actual article before commenting? The article (and the discussion) is about making ammonia without oil or natural gas, using a process other than Haber Bosch.

about two weeks ago
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New Process Promises Ammonia From Air, Water, and Sunlight

floobedy Re:Ammonia fuel (117 comments)

How would that be more dangerous than propane? LP gas would do exactly as stated above, if someone poked a hole in a fuel tank with their drill, they would get sprayed by rapidly evaporating fuel.

Ammonia is caustic and would cause a chemical burn on the surface of your eyes, unlike LP.

IMHO, this might be the way to have a hydrogen economy. If a nitrogen fixing process is easy and economical, making liquid ammonia is a lot easier and requires less pressure than converting water to hydrogen via electrolysis.

It seems much more sensible to use ammonia than hydrogen gas, because ammonia has handling and storage properties similar to propane which solves the major problem of hydrogen gas.

It makes a big difference if you can store something as a liquid and transport it through pipelines. That explains why oil sells for 10x more than coal, per BTU, and several times more than natural gas.

about two weeks ago
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New Process Promises Ammonia From Air, Water, and Sunlight

floobedy Ammonia fuel (117 comments)

Something not mentioned here is that ammonia is suitable as a fuel in internal combustion engines. Ammonia is liquid under modest pressures (like propane), is easily transported, and will burn inside an engine.

If we made ammonia out of nitrogen and water vapor, then it would become nitrogen and water vapor again when burned. It's a closed cycle that would not alter the composition of the atmosphere at all.

It probably wouldn't be suitable as a fuel for your car, because of safety issues (if you hammered a hole in the fuel tank, the fuel inside would flash boil and could shoot out into your eyes causing a chemical burn). However it would probably be fine for trains, airplanes, ships, and so on, where special handling procedures could be enforced and people could be required to wear goggles before working on the fuel tank.

about two weeks ago
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Tesla and Panasonic Have Reached an Agreement On the Gigafactory

floobedy Re:Cell and battery production in same plant (95 comments)

The amount of capital there has increased a lot over the last few decades. That implies fewer workers relative to capital, and higher wages for workers.

but there were plenty of places to squirrel that money away rather than pay workers.

When there's a scarcity of workers relative to capital, then workers have bargaining power. They can leave a job which pays too little for a job which pays more. It makes sense (ie is more profitable) for companies to pay more, otherwise they cannot attract enough workers to run their equipment. Competition among workers for jobs pushes wages up, when capital is abundant, just as competition between firms for customers lowers prices and pushes wages back down.

Companies in the US and western countries have always paid the lowest they can to their workers. Google has to pay $100k per engineer. If they paid only $50k, then all those engineers would go elsewhere and google would be no more. Labor is scarce in silicon valley, because there's more money than engineers. The relative scarcity of labor is what pushes the price of labor (wages) up everywhere, and is the only reason labor makes more than bare subsistence ($2/day) in any country. In countries where there is no capital (no factories, no investment money, etc), there is no labor scarcity relative to capital, and people actually make bare subsistence wages ($2/day).

about three weeks ago
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When Beliefs and Facts Collide

floobedy Re:Not surprising. (725 comments)

Sure it does. At least to those who aren't sure the earth is round.

No it doesn't. I was asking whether the procedure was logically valid, not whether some people think it's valid. The two aren't the same.

about a month and a half ago
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When Beliefs and Facts Collide

floobedy Re:It's Okay (725 comments)

You must be an American if you equate liberal with socialist. In Europe, they tend to be the very opposite of each other.

In the USA, the left appropriated the term liberal and started using it to refer to itself in the early 20th century. It stuck. As a result, the word liberal now has almost the opposite meaning in the USA as everywhere else.

about a month and a half ago
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When Beliefs and Facts Collide

floobedy Re:Not surprising. (725 comments)

For example some liberals are now promoting nuclear energey now that global climate change has proved to be a much bigger issue.

Some liberals do, but others don't. To me, it appears there's a small group of people who are reasonable and who really consider things. I would say that they are mildly liberal on average. Which does not imply that most people who are liberal are reasonable and really consider things.

about a month and a half ago
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When Beliefs and Facts Collide

floobedy Re:Not surprising. (725 comments)

this is why people don't believe in AGW. Because every time that a proponent of it comes into contact with something that disagrees with their tidy view of the world, the first thing they do is lash out. And in the minds of a rational person, this simply screams "scam."

You don't believe in AGW because someone on slashdot was impolite in a comment? Which proves the whole thing is a scam to any "rational" person?

Try this. People who think the world is flat are fuckfaces. Does that imply that the round-earth idea is a scam?

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Often Should You Change Jobs?

floobedy Re:Job Hopping (282 comments)

Of course, I explicity stated that on resume.

EVERYONE states on their resume that all their prior projects were very successful, and that they're excellent employees.

If your employer was going by your resume and had no direct experience with your prior work, then they had no way of knowing what kind of employee you'd be. No one "minded" six month jumps on your resume because you code in ruby on small projects, and it's common among that group of people to jump around all the time, so nobody cared.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Often Should You Change Jobs?

floobedy Re:Job Hopping (282 comments)

Although experience is awesome, new people always come in ready to work, and they always present fresh ideas.

New people do not always come in ready to work, and do not always present fresh ideas. You are conflating personality attributes, with whether someone is new to your company or not.

And, to be totally honest, I'd prefer to hire someone with 1 or 2 years of experience in my industry as compared to someone that had 25 years.

That is a tremendous mistake. Although there are diminishing returns to additional experience, only 1 or 2 years is not enough to be equivalent to someone with more experience. Granted, there is probably little difference between someone with (say) 8 years of experience versus someone with 25. However, 1 or 2 years of experience is not enough for complicated projects.

I would be curious as to why someone with 25 years hasn't taken the initiative to learn something new.

You are conflating experience, with not having taken the initiative to learn something new. You are also conflating lack of experience, with initiative. They are not related.

Many people have been programmers for 25+ years but learn new things all the time. Many people have been programmers for 1 year but are very resistant to learning new things. It's a personality attribute.

If you are not considering people simply based on their length of employment

That's not what the parent poster said.

if you were the hiring manager at my company, you would be the first one out the door.

Over and over again, you're just operating under the influence of incorrect inferences, crude and incorrect stereotypes you've invented, and incorrect generalizations you've reached. You repeatedly conflate things which have nothing to do with each other.

Happily, it will make little difference. Most places use a selection procedure which is equivalent to throwing darts at a board. If you had concluded that "people with green eyes feel special, so they'll bring fresh ideas", you'd probably have similar success to what you have now. That's what most places achieve. It will make no difference.

about a month and a half ago
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New Chemical Process Could Make Ammonia a Practical Car Fuel

floobedy Re:waste of time (380 comments)

Anhydrous ammonia is dangerous. Certainly much more dangerous than you seem to think it is.

Lots of things are dangerous. It's a question of the kinds of safety measures that can be used to prevent injury.

For example, your car has antifreeze made out of methanol. If you consume even a tiny amount of that, it will cause permanent nerve damage and blindness. Your car also contains a large tank of highly flammable gasoline which can explode and light you on fire during an accident (whereas ammonia only combusts under pressure when it's in the cylinder of your engine). Your car also has a pressurized coolant system, and if you open the hood of your engine and unscrew the cap to the coolant system while the engine is hot, the coolant will flash boil and stream up into your face and burn your eyes. Your car also produces carbon monoxide during its normal operation, which will kill you if it leaks into the cabin. However, those things don't happen that often. The coolant cap has a sign on it saying "DO NOT OPEN WHILE ENGINE IS HOT", and the tank of gasoline is reinforced and protected in such a way that it doesn't usually explode during an accident, and the anti-freeze has a childproof cap and a prominent warning, etc.

Ammonia vapors are only dangerous in an enclosed space. You can tell right away if ammonia is leaking into the cabin because ammonia a characteristic pungent odor even at very low concentrations. (Contrast this with carbon monoxide, which your car produces now, and which can kill you and has no odor).

The main danger from ammonia is that it must be stored in mildly pressurized tanks. If you puncture the tank while staring at it, the ammonia can flash boil, stream out into your face, and cause a chemical burn on the surface of your eyes. That is the most significant danger. In order to mitigate this danger, the fuel tank would have to be designed in such a way that people do not have access to it, and it vents downward in case of accident. Also, refueling stations would be different from how they are now.

I don't know offhand how much of a danger ammonia fuel would be in practice, after reasonable precautions are taken. It's a question of what kinds of technological mitigations we can employ to prevent the fuel tank from splitting open and spewing into someone's eyes directly.

about 2 months ago
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Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds

floobedy Re:What the f*$# is wrong with us? (1198 comments)

That's the astonishing thing about this. I read some of Elliot Rodger's book, and he was obviously an extremely disturbed man, who had a severe case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and also had other psychiatric disorders besides. At various points, he considered lashing out violently against society for the "injustice" he suffered when he did not win the powerball $400m lottery, which he felt he had been certain to win, and was entitled to.

He was crazy. He had a whole team of shrinks working on him, since he was age 8, to no avail. For much of his life he went to psychologists every single day, to no avail. He was crazy.

Yet so many people on the internet will find the moral or political lesson in it. For example: this massacre just goes to show how depraved Hollywood culture is (the editorial at the Washington Post said this). Or, it just demonstrates what's really wrong in American culture (approximately a third of the comments on scribd said this). Or, it just shows how the country has become too conservative, or too liberal. Or, it's a classic example of postmodern leftism run amok ('"ELLIOT RODGERS: PSYCHO SPEWING POSTMODERNIST CRAP"). Or, this is just another example of geek culture, even though Elliot Rodger obviously was not a geek, and spent much of his free time shopping for expensive Armani clothing.

The very silliest of these claims, was the contention that it shows what's wrong with geek culture. Elliot Rodgers was obviously not a geek. Quite the opposite, he had utter contempt for geeks. He considered them as not "alpha" males, and therefore beneath contempt, and he says so repeatedly in his "manifesto". The very first people he killed were his geeky roommates, whom he stabbed to death for precisely that reason. Claiming that Rodgers was inspired by geek culture is the most absurd of the moral lessons being drawn, and is even less serious than claiming he was inspired by postmodern leftism.

But it doesn't matter Elliot Rodgers was obviously not a geek. Even so, his massacre will still serve for Arthur Chu's moral indictment. The massacre can still be used as an indictment of geek culture, despite the obvious lack of any real connection between geek culture and Rodger's acts.

about 3 months ago
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How much use would you get from a 1 gigabit internet connection?

floobedy Re:Missed the point (224 comments)

Though with Gig-level fiber, I assume I'd get both....

You wouldn't. Your latency would decrease only slightly. If you get 12mbit down, then you're located only a couple of miles from your DSLAM. You wouldn't reduce your latency by even 1% by having fiber to the home.

about 4 months ago

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