Saturday, April 19, 2008

Carbon Free Energy - OR - April Chiaroscuro


Updated, 4/20/2008: I just couldn't let my Arcturus blog sit there as a pathetic empty shell, so I posted an entry there. Obviously, I'm not trying to "hide" here or there.

I'm home on this welcome rainy - stormy day here in Wash. D.C., searching the online UMCP library database of business journals (!) trying -- with little luck and unable to focus -- to do the assignment my boss's boss gave me about determining what are the "big issues" today facing businesses. I hate nebulous assignments such as this, and on a topic I know little about. Maybe she'll fire me if I don't Think Big Thoughts and come up with a Big Idea. Is this why I get paid $12 an hour??

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Continued from yesterday ...

The Carbon Cycle in fluxes of Gigatons (1 billion metric tons of CO2 equivalent) per year. Note that the fossil fuel component (5.5 GtC/yr) is a bit lower than the 8 Gt/yr figure quoted below. The 5.5 refers to atmospheric emissions and the remainder comes from land use changes, esp. deforestation. In addition, the human-related figures have risen since this image was created by NASA.

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So last night, something very bizarre occurred at the informal Maryland Public Policy School "prom" that was held in an overheated back room of the "Regional Food & Drink" (or just "RFD") restaurant on 7th St., right in the Chinatown - Verizon Center heart of Washington that is our miniaturized answer to NYC's Time Square, and a Lego Toyland version of what you would see in Hong Kong or Tokyo.

What happen did not involve me except in a very, very indirect and innocent bystander's way. However, it did involve one of my two professors -- both of whom were there -- and an incident at the front door as one of them tried to get back in, clearly intoxicated. There is an extra wrinkle to this, too, though THANKFULLY this does not involve me.

It's SOOOOOOOOOO nice to not be the guilty party for once in some late night drunken stupidity. OK, it hasn't happened that much with me, but enough, too much in my life, worst of all with Mr. Deneb.

I'd like to write more about it, but I think it better if I do not, at least not now. I am a bit worried because it involved my project course professor, though.

I called my dad as I walked back via downtown and Logan Circle to Dupont Circle and told him about it, as well as Gary.

It was a 65F balmy 1130PM Friday night hour after an obscenely hot April day, temps. reaching 85F at DCA and BWI. I hate April heat.

In fact, I hate heat in general, but so many other people seem to like it. I like cool, variably cloudy, intermittently showery weather this time of year with all the flowers in bloom.

And, yes, ultimately, what we are seeing IS due to global climate change ("global warming").

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Speaking of Mr. Deneb, and related to global climate change in a meta - phorical way, that boy has taken to posting pictures of himself on his blog, including those for a local t-shirt company for which he has on occasion modeled.

He is a very beautiful boy, although he knows it and if you could harness his ego as electrical power equivalent, you could, metaphorically speaking, probably easily power the electricity needs of all humans on Earth.**

**See below

While I have long posted pictures of myself on Arcturus blog -- which is now in a draft state dormancy but to be revived at some point in the next few weeks or months -- somehow it doesn't seem to have the same effect. That is, I don't photograph as nearly as well as he does. Because I don't look anywhere near as good as he does. Plus he is in a shape that I never have been in and never will at least not in this life.

Please, I ask certain blog readers to spare me any comments on this particular subject.

Yesterday was two years to the day of his posting on my then-infant blog telling me to fuck off that included his threat to ban me from Cobalt (his bar's sister establishment) if I tried to contact him at all in any way. And so I have not done so in that time.

See previous blog entry for additional background information.

As for his blog, I hope it is a big, huge success. And I hope he doesn't end it in the same way he ended the last one.

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**Weird Detour, Part 1: Ego-Generated Electricity and Climate Change Mitigation


There are 439 commercial nuclear power plants (units) in operation on Earth at present (and another 5 currently in long-term shutdown and another 35 under construction not included in these statistics) that have a combined net capacity of approximately 372 Gigawatts (or 372,000 Megawatts or 372 million kilowatts) that have an annual electrical net electrical generation of 2600 billion Kilowatt-hours.

The above picture is of the cooling towers at the Cattenom Nuclear Power Plant in France.

This includes 104 reactors in the United States with approx. 100 Gigawatts (100,000 Megawatts or 100 million kilowatts) of capacity that in 2007 generated 806 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity.

This image is of the core of the Advanced Test Reactor (which is not a commercial reactor) at the DOE Idaho National Laboratory, and the cobalt blue glow is from Čerenkov (Cherenkov) radiation
generated in the fission process in the reactor core.

These figures represent only approximately 18 to 20 percent of total electricity generation -- put at 17,350 billion (or 17.35 trillion) kilowatt-hours (globally) and 4000 billion (or 4 trillion) kilowatt-hours (the United States) in recent years (2005).

Source here.

The rest mostly comes from coal-fired power plants.

Since I, metaphorically speaking, estimate Mr. Deneb's ego to have an equivalent electricity generating capacity at 55,000 billion (55 trillion) kilowatt-hours, that's more than triple the current global electricity generation -- and all carbon free, too.

In 2006, humans released approx. 8.4 Gigatons (that's 8.4 billion or 8,400 million metric tons) of CO2 - equivalent, of which approx. 1.6 Gigatons came from the U.S. and about as much from China.

If China generated CO2 at the same per capita rate as America, it would generate about the same as current total global emissions (since its per capita rate in 2004 was 1.05 to America's 5.61). Source here.

There goes Greenland melting into the sea, with a quick 20 foot rise in global sea levels. (Source here.)

Yay. I'm for that.


Since fully 40 percent of these emissions come from fossil fuel-based electricity generation (mostly coal-fired power plants, the dirtiest by far coming from China), if we could harness Mr. Deneb's ego, we could go a long way toward addressing anthropogenic global climate change. That means climate change caused by people.

Yay, he wins.

Of course, much like nuclear reactors have that waste and waste disposal problem, all that ego - generated power would produce its own by-products of hurt and jilted feelings. The good news is this blog is so far undiscovered, and there does not appear to be any serious attempt to find it.

Yay, I win.

Of course, an actual star generates orders and orders and orders and orders of magnitude more energy than what humans do.

The Sun's "capacity" (output) based on its fusion rate is 386 billion billion Megawatts, which would give a yearly power generation (x 8760 hours) in the (ridiculously small) unit of the kilowatt-hour of 3.38 billion billion billion - kilowatt hours (3.38 octillion kilowatt - hours).


A star such as Deneb is on the order of 100,000 times as luminous as our Sun, so its energy output should theoretically be a factor of 100,000 or so higher than the Sun -- that would put it on the order of 386 million billion billion Megawatts, and its yearly power generation of 338 nonillion kilowatt - hours.

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One last Mr. Deneb-related item. His boyfriend's family dog just died. I am sorry to hear that. I know what that's like to lose your dog. It's just awful, heart wrenching.

His boyfriend posted on his blog this nearly 11 minute YouTube clip entitled All About My Dog -- Marimo, which I found directly from YouTube here. It is actually part of a larger Japanese film Inu no eiga made in 2005. (This image here is not from the movie.)

It's very hard to watch, a real tear-jerky, what with the painfully adorable puppy, the violin music, and the young girl who loses her dog, as told from her perspective and the dog's perspective. I cried the whole time watching it.

The Japan connection is kind of interesting for me -- no, not because of fact that "Mr. S," my previous name for Mr. Deneb, is also the name of a strange Japanese progressive rock band trio, and nothing to do with Godzilla, but rather for another, totally unrelated but important reason.

I love the hilly town and seaside imagery from wherever it was filmed in Japan.

By the way, "Marimo" is a strange name for a dog because the word is the Japanese version of what in English we call, variously, a Cladophora ball, a lake ball, or a moss ball. These are spherical velvety clumps of green algae that grow in lakes in certain places, including Japan.

Well, I suppose the velvety, soft ball description might befit a small puppy, though not the green part.

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Political Cartoons

For the rest of this entry, I will just post some political 'toons taken from recent editions of Bartcop.

Barack and Hillary go fishin', circa 1963.

Just kidding.

I'll be glad once the frickin' Pennsylvania primary is over on Tuesday. Then it will be time for Hillary to drop out (sigh) and Obama to be put on a glide path to the nomination, only for this ignorant country to do EXACTLY what you know it will in Nov., and elect Grand Keebler Elf McCain.

You just know this is what is going to happen.

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Ha ha

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Just wait until the GOP Death Star goes into overdrive against Obama in the upcoming general election campaign, esp. with those comments he made.

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Is this a real picture?

Cue Lee Greenwood: "And I'm proud to be an American / Where at least I know I'm free ...!"

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The Bush Twins Legacy -- this about sums it up.

And with that, I will end this entry. I should not have written this entry, wasting about 5 hours in the process, as I actually have both school and job-related work to do this weekend.

I also need to do my laundry and I need to be on time for tonight's surprise birthday party group dinner at Buca di Beppo on Connecticut Ave. to which I've been invited.

It's supposed to be a rainy day tomorrow and into tomorrow night, with this 80 - to 85F shitty April heat ending. Good.

--Regulus

8 comments:

handmaiden said...

Interesting post. I googled Marimo balls, that was a new one on me. i love the idea of those soft green orbs floating around the bottom of the sea.

I also got a kick out of the Obama, Hillary photo. :)

fifi said...

You are getting artsome. Chiaroscuro indeed!
Did you take the first picture, its very beautiful. It looks like Rome. Or somewhere like that. I will be very jealous if you tell me it's your University. All buildings here are generally pretty horrible.

Hmm, dogs. Never nice to lose a pet,I cried for 6 months when my 12 year old burmese was run over, I had him since I was young and free, and still when I as a stressed mother. He knew me a long time, that cat.
Anyway, I hope Greenland doesn't melt in a hurry, otherwise I will hav the ocean at my doorstep, which could be quite nice, but I would rather some sand.

What is the picture with the white flower?

All interesting things here. So much to catch up on...

Regulus said...

Handmaiden: I got the Obama - Hillary pic from Bartcop.

I wish this whole obnoxious nominating process was over ...

Yes, Marimo balls are quite lovely. I caution you about watching the YouTube video to which I linked ... it's a real tear jerker. Marimo there is a dog, though, not a velvety ball of algae!

Fifi: No, I did not take that top picture. I got that off the internet. It was apparently taken on a rainy day in Como, Italy.

I'm sorry that happened with your cat. And based on some of the other things you wrote in your email to me, I realize some things have been quite difficult for you, and yet you have such an amazing outlook ... your postings are lyrical and beautiful ... you make me realize how self-absorbed and self-indulgent I am being.

Where did you go, though? I'm curious where those pictures were taken in your current entry. Those were absolutely beautiful. There seems to be few things as splendid as where the Southern Ocean meets the southern edge of Australia.

That white flower is actually a pink-hued one (it was dim in my apt.) It is one side of a double-flowering Kwanzan cherry. I found it walking home. It is on my little table next to an old Catholic Bible.

fingers said...

My model suggests that Deneb's huge ego-generator output is more than offset by the enormous drain created by the emotional-sump on Regulus...

fifi said...

We all have much stuff happen in our lives. I have many friends to whom really incredibly awful things have happened, and yet, they seem so on top of things...

I was on the south coast, not so far down as I possibly suggested, about four hours south of sydney, Tabourie, near Bawley point. A surf trip.

Anonymous said...

burp.

fingers said...

Hey Fifi...I was down at Bawley Point a few weeks ago.
Have you seen the stingrays feeding just off the boat ramp...

Regulus said...

Fingers: That's about right.

Fifi: Thanks for telling me -- I was wondering. I can't promise that I won't post one of those pictures in a future entry!

Anonymous: Thanks, Mr. Anonymous. I got your email, too.