Friday, January 27, 2017

Metallic hydrogen

Metallic hydrogen, once theory, becomes reality.

"This is the holy grail of high-pressure physics," Silvera said. "It's the first-ever sample of metallic hydrogen on Earth, so when you're looking at it, you're looking at something that's never existed before."

To create it, Silvera and Dias squeezed a tiny hydrogen sample at 495 gigapascal, or more than 71.7 million pounds-per-square inch - greater than the pressure at the center of the Earth. At those extreme pressures, Silvera explained, solid molecular hydrogen -which consists of molecules on the lattice sites of the solid - breaks down, and the tightly

bound molecules dissociate to transforms into , which is a metal.

 predictions suggest metallic hydrogen could act as a superconductor at room temperatures.

Among the holy grails of physics, a room temperature superconductor, Dias said, could radically change our transportation system, making magnetic levitation of high-speed trains possible, as well as making electric cars more efficient and improving the performance of many electronic devices.

The material could also provide major improvements in energy production and storage - because superconductors have zero resistance energy could be stored by maintaining currents in superconducting coils, and then be used when needed.

"It takes a tremendous amount of energy to make metallic hydrogen," Silvera explained. "And if you convert it back to molecular hydrogen, all that energy is released, so it would make it the most powerful rocket propellant known to man, and could revolutionize rocketry."

The most powerful fuels in use today are characterized by a "specific impulse" - a measure, in seconds, of how fast a propellant is fired from the back of a rocket - of 450 seconds. The specific impulse for metallic hydrogen, by comparison, is theorized to be 1,700 seconds.

"That would easily allow you to explore the outer planets," Silvera said. "We would be able to put rockets into orbit with only one stage, versus two, and could send up larger payloads, so it could be very important."

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Neil deGrasse Tyson thinks that global warming skeptics are insufficiently educated.

Neil deGrasse Tyson thinks that global warming skeptics are insufficiently educated.

Been following this issue since the late 1980's.  I was very concerned about it.  Since the early 90's I started reading skeptics who thought that this issue is overblown.

When a model doesn't agree with the data, then one should modify the theory.  This is how science is suppose to work.  The whole argument is about positive feedbacks versus negative feedbacks.  The data supports the negative feedback models.  Instead of the climate sensitivity being 3.3 or 2.2 celsius per doubling of CO2, it is much less than 1.

The positive feedback models proposed by the alarmists do not logically make sense:  If heat causes positive feedback then we should have a runaway greenhouse.  It would not be unlike the perturbation when a microphone gets too close to a speaker.

When it took a hundred years for the temperature to increase 1 degree fahrenheit, and when you consider just how costly the transition away from fossil fuels is, both in terms of cost and millions of human lives lost, then it makes more sense to adapt to the very gradual changes in temperature. 

The benefits of increased CO2 have been enormous in terms of increased crop yield, and will continue to be benefit humanity as it goes up.  If I had the power to make the CO2 level 600 parts per million, I would do so, but it will happen anyway regardless of what western countries do.  During the last period of glaciation, CO2 levels became dangerously low to the point of being 30 parts per million away from threatening all life above sea level.  If  you look at CO2 levels through the entire history of the earth, it has been one of enormous decline, dangerously so, until humans reversed the trend.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Fwd: easy C02 to fuel

'Proven one-step process to convert CO2 and water directly into liquid hydrocarbon fuel

A team of University of Texas at Arlington chemists and engineers have proven that concentrated light, heat and high pressures can drive the one-step conversion of carbon dioxide and water directly into useable liquid hydrocarbon fuels.

This simple and inexpensive new sustainable fuels technology could potentially help limit global warming by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to make fuel. The process also reverts oxygen back into the system as a byproduct of the reaction, with a clear positive environmental impact, researchers said.

"Our process also has an important advantage over battery or gaseous-hydrogen powered vehicle technologies as many of the hydrocarbon products from our reaction are exactly what we use in cars, trucks and planes, so there would be no need to change the current fuel distribution system," said Frederick MacDonnell, UTA interim chair of chemistry and biochemistry and co-principal investigator of the project.

In an article published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences titled "Solar photothermochemical alkane reverse combustion," the researchers demonstrate that the one-step conversion of carbon dioxide and water into liquid hydrocarbons and oxygen can be achieved in a photothermochemical flow reactor operating at 180 to 200 C and pressures up to 6 atmospheres.'


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Fwd: efficient incandescent

'The incandescent bulb is an example of a high temperature thermal emitter. It's very useful, but only a small fraction of the emitted light-and therefore energy-is actually used. In fact, most of the light is emitted in the infrared, which is invisible to the human eye. That's why researchers decided to find a way to recycle this infrared light and potentially help light at visible wavelengths….

surrounding the hot object with special nanophotonic structures that spectrally filter the emitted light, meaning that they let the light reflect or pass through based on its color. Because the filters are not in direct physical contact with the emitter, temperatures can be very high.

The researchers also redesigned the incandescent filament from scratch. In this case, they turned it into a piece that was laser-machined out of a flat sheet of tungsten, which makes it completely planar. Since a planar filament has a large area, it's efficient at re-absorbing the light that was reflected by the filter.

In the new-concept light bulb prototype, the efficiency approaches some fluorescent and LED bulbs. This could be huge for the future of light bulbs.'



Fwd: Gravity Waves

'There is a strong rumour that gravitational waves – one of astronomy's holy grails – have been found. Rumours have been circulating since November that 'something' was detected in September 2015. Analysis is currently ongoing and if everything checks out an announcement is expected in February.

The rumour of this possible detection was first mentioned in The Guardian on 7 December by Paul Davies. Now the story has now taken on a life of its own, thanks to a tweet by the physicist and author Lawrence Krauss.'

  My earlier rumor about LIGO has been confirmed by independent sources. Stay tuned! Gravitational waves may have been discovered!! Exciting.

— Lawrence M. Krauss (@LKrauss1) January 11, 2016

Friday, January 1, 2016

My "The Carbon Cycle" article and all Facebook responses.

See if you can follow me on this ...

The amount of carbon on planet Earth by definition remains pretty much the same. Man has been burning fossil fuels, which puts carbon into the atmosphere. Where did the carbon in the fossil fuels come from? It mostly came from plants and bacteria that got buried underground due to geological processes. Over millions of years natural processes turned the plants and bacteria into fossil fuels. Where did the plants and bacteria get their carbon from? They got it from the atmosphere. The carbon that we are now putting into the atmosphere originally came from the atmosphere.

To better understand this, we have to understand the complete history of atmospheric carbon dioxide on planet Earth. The original earth atmosphere was an amazing 43% carbon dioxide compared with the roughly .04% that we have now. That original atmosphere had so much pressure that it could crush a man flat. About 2.5 billion years ago, cyanobacteria began using photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide into free oxygen, which lead to the creation of our oxygen rich "third atmosphere" 2.3 billion years ago. At that time the carbon dioxide levels were about 7,000 parts per million, but it went into a somewhat steady but uneven decline because geological processes would sequester carbon underground. The decline was uneven because as part of the "carbon dioxide cycle", sometimes geological processes like volcanoes would cause massive amounts of carbon dioxide to be released back into the atmosphere.

Thirty million years ago during the Oligocene Epoch, the average temperature of the earth was about 7 degrees Celsius warmer than it is now. There was no ice on the poles, but the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was in rapid decline during this epoch. About 23 million years ago, at the beginning of the Neogene period, ice began to form on the poles. About ten million years ago, a series of intermittent ice ages began that continue to this day. I found one source that said that we are still technically in an ice age because we still have ice at the poles.

These ice ages helped create human evolution. The ice ages caused Africa to dry up which lead to some deforestation. This forced some arboreal (tree dwelling) apes to venture onto land. About 7 million years ago, the first apes that could comfortably walk upright appeared. They had evolved a new type of pelvis that allowed upright locomotion, which is about three times more efficient when trying to cross land.

The first tool making ape that resembled modern humans, Homo habilis, arose 2.5 million years ago. It would be soon followed by Homo erectus, and then about 200,000 years ago, modern humans, Homo sapiens would arise. However, Homo sapiens almost died out. About 50,000 years ago an ice age in Europe had caused Africa to almost completely dry up. The total human population had dropped to 7,000 individuals living on the southern coast of Africa. During this period humans learned how to fish, make new tools, and create permanent dwellings. When the ice age abated, these humans with their new tools spread out to rest of the world at a pace of about a mile per year. This was the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic (Late Stone Age) period.

More ice ages would follow, and during each ice age human population would decline. It is no coincidence that all of human civilization (i.e. agriculture, use of metals) would arise during a "brief" warm period between two ice ages starting about 10,000 years ago. I have heard that no matter what we do, we will enter a new ice age in about 10,000 years from now, but I have also heard speculation that the next ice age will be delayed by global warming. This actually should be our goal, since humans have always declined during the ice ages and always prospered during the intermittent warm periods.

During the geological time period of the earth, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been on an uneven decline and mostly disappeared. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is necessary for plant growth, and I have read that we were running dangerously low on atmospheric carbon dioxide, about 00.02%, before mankind at least temporarily reversed the trend. I just read a wikipedia article that said that atmospheric carbon dioxide will eventually get so low that all plants and animal will die off. What mankind has done is put carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere that was previously there, thus possibly delaying the next ice age. Currently the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is about 00.04%.

Carbon dioxide by itself cannot cause significant global warming. There are diminished returns. Carbon dioxide has to double again to produce the same effect as the last doubling. The effect is not linear but logarithmic. What the alarmists are worried about, and they could be correct, is positive feedback. The warming of the earth causes more water vapor to enter the atmosphere, and water vapor is a much stronger greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, thus causing more warming. If this were true, however, the last warming period around the year 2000 should caused a continuous positive feedback, a runaway greenhouse, which didn't happen. Instead temperatures went into a major decline and hit a really big low point in the year 2007.

The skeptics believe that increased cloud cover reflects sunlight back into space thus causing a negative feedback. The skeptics are not "global warming deniers", which is a pejorative phrase used by global warming theorists to make the skeptics sound like holocaust deniers. These skeptics actually believe in global warming. At least, the legitimate skeptical scientists do. They just think that global warming is happening at a rate slower than predicted by the theorists. I can point you to an article that shows that the positive feedback models have been contradicted by the actual temperature data, which in reality has been closer to the negative feedback models.

The worst case scenario is that the polar ice caps will melt. If that happens we will lose some coastlines and all of Florida due to sea level rise. However, according to what I just read, it will take 5,000 years for the polar ice caps to melt. In other words, these are processes that take a very long time to happen. In this century we are only looking at modest temperature increases. In the meantime, humans are very adaptable. We are only five to ten years away from creating the first workable prototypes of nuclear fusion. It might take 25 years for this to be practical, but at that point if we wanted to get rid of fossil fuels altogether, we could. I think that we will also see advances in solar power, which is already happening, and battery technology to store the energy created by solar. In other words, we have it within our means to avoid any possible disasters that might be coming.

Stephen W Gordon
Stephen W Gordon Glad you pointed out humans nearly went extinct during the last period of extreme climate change. 
I don't worry about the Earth. I'm just concerned future Earth might not be a place that can support humanity. Or at least not billions of us. 
So if we gamble and get this wrong we might just be waving bye bye to 6 billion or more of our closest friends.
John Coffey
John Coffey Humans almost went extinct because the atmospheric levels of CO2 declined and the earth got too cold, not the other way around. The term "climate change" is meaningless because the climate is always changing.
John Coffey
John Coffey This is like Pascal's Wager where the consequence of not believing in the ordained doctrine is so terrible that you might as well throw away all your incredulity and ability to reason and believe it anyway.
John Coffey
John Coffey Thanks for replying. I appreciate knowing that people are reading my posts.
John Coffey
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Chip Evans
Chip Evans The oceans heat and become more and more acidic. This heating slowly releases co2 and methane trapped in both land and deep ocean permafrost, further amplifying the greenhouse effect in a way that we cannot control. This is also complicated by rapid deforestation, reducing the rates at which co2 is removed from the air. Tectonic shifts are also a result, dramatically increasing seismic activity, and further adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. The possibility of a runaway greenhouse effect is real and will have severely detrimental longterm effects on the climate; ones that will be beyond our control. It's not just some water rising, but irreversible damage to our ecosystem.
John Coffey
John Coffey Ocean PH is 8.1, which is basic. There has been a change, but that change doesn't seem to me to be drastic. Yet.
John Coffey
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John Coffey
John Coffey My point was that the CO2 that we now put in the atmosphere was previously in the atmosphere. Previous time periods were warmer and had higher levels of CO2, but were relatively stable. The long term trend over geological time periods have been for the CO2 to decline and for the earth to get cooler. The decline in CO2 has also been a threat to the environment, and I think that a modest increase is an improvement to the environment.
John Coffey
John Coffey My other point is that if this really is a problem, we are rapidly headed toward a technological solution.
Stephen W Gordon
Stephen W Gordon John, warming isn't like getting a few extra days of summer. 
Over 2/3 of the world's population live with in a 100 miles of the coast. The two largest American cities are on the coast. Rising ocean levels represent a GRAVE concern. 
Places we now grow food will be come unavailable. 
If the oceans warm the plankton in the top layers die, the food chain in the ocean will collapse. The only thing missing from this scenario is the zombie apocalypse.
But good job on finding the 8 scientists who dispute climate change. I'm sure they are right and NASA is wrong. I'm sure they are right and the 150+ world leaders who showed up in Paris last month are wrong. I'm sure they are right and the science agencies of the UN are wrong. You are on the wrong side of this one.
John Coffey
John Coffey
Argument from authority (Latin: argumentum ad verecundiam) also appeal to authority, is a common form of argument which leads to a logical fallacy.[1][2]
John Coffey
John Coffey Polar ice caps will take 5,000 years to melt. Seas rising at 10 cm per century. The coasts are not disappearing any time soon.
Stephen W Gordon
Stephen W Gordon Don't agree with your sunny (pun intended) predictions of how slight and slow the ocean will rise. The lsland nations of the pacific are in panic mode as they don't share your optimistic outlook.
John Coffey
John Coffey Steve,

What would you do if a majority of people believed in something that you know is wrong? I think that I know exactly what you would do. You would call them idiots.

I am sorry that you are not able to see the truth. All the information is available to those willing to look at it.

There are certain red flags that are so flagrant, that a rational person should be able to look at these and realize that something is wrong:

Politicized science is dangerous. It means that there is an agenda behind the science. When the US Government is spending 3 Billion dollars per year on Global Warming research, and so are other countries, then there is a financial incentive for people to keep saying there is a problem. If there is no problem, then there is no funding.

When many people claim the science is 100% settled then this should immediately be a cause for concern. Science is never 100% settled.

Therefor some people have suggested that we should not allow debate on the matter, and even suggested that global warming skeptics should be jailed!

Carl Sagan would have never supported the suppression of scientific information. He supported someone who he thought was wrong only because others scientists were trying to suppress the man's views. Yet that is what is happening. An editor got fired for publishing a skeptical viewpoint. Major scientific journals are refusing to publish any peer reviewed skeptical articles. Global warming theorists have actively campaigned to have such articles suppressed. This alone should cause a rational person think that maybe the skeptics might have a point, otherwise people wouldn't be trying so hard to suppress their views

Real science makes hypotheses and then tests those hypotheses with data. If the hypotheses don't match the data then real science either discards the hypotheses or changes them. We should be concerned that previous predictions of warming have been off by several fold, and yet we are still told that we are headed for disastrous warming.

We should be concerned that climate scientist were trying to hide the cooling that took place in the last decade, have altered past temperature records to make the warming seem more pronounced, have used only a fraction of the data available, and when asked to turn over their data threatened to delete the data and then actually did so!

There is this notion that there is an arbitrary temperature that we should never vary from. This should be some cause for reflection. In reality, temperature is always changing, and there is no "correct" temperature. It is likely that the earth being a couple of degrees warmer is actually a good thing. The problem is that some people think that we should never change anything.

The mentality that "the sky is falling" should cause some concern.

CO2 is a trace gas. It contributes to only 3.6% of the greenhouse effect and humans are only responsible for 7% of the CO2 emitted into the environment.

There is not a clear causality between CO2 and temperature. I hope that you understand that the issue of weather is more complex than just saying that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and therefor more CO2 means more temperature. It does, but it is not a real clear relationship. Actual weather is complex with many variables, and many possible feedbacks in the system. Any stable system is going to have negative feedbacks to perturbation. Ice core studies have shown that temperature increases have *always* *preceded* CO2 increases, and not the other way around.

Best wishes,

John Coffey
John Coffey
John Coffey Was aware of the island nations panic mode. Some of these atolls were nearly at sea level to begin with, so any sea level increase could erase the atoll.
John Coffey
John Coffey
Good news: posited global warming won't kill off ocean phytoplankton
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John Coffey

John Coffey
John Coffey Sea levels have been rising about 10 cm per century for around 400 years and have not accelerated due recent CO2 rise.
John Coffey
John Coffey My feeling is that the global warming has become a new religion not interested in facts and motivated and funded by people with political agendas. Of course carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and of course there has been some warming. It has always been a question of how much is happening and will this lead to disaster. The biggest point of contention has been the issue of positive feedback versus negative feedback. Twenty five years ago I was reading about how negative feedback mitigates the effect of CO2. At present, the data doesn't support the positive feedback models and agrees with the negative feedback models. However, the people driving the current hysteria, mostly politicians, aren't interested in the data.
John Coffey
John Coffey The point of my article is to look at the history of atmospheric CO2 of the earth and how CO2 has gone into extreme decline. We were literally running out of CO2. Carbon dioxide is an important nutrient to plant growth, and the increase has resulted in a greening of the earth that has made a huge difference in our ability to feed the world.
John Coffey
John Coffey This has been a topic of deep interest to me since the late 1980's. I have tried to find as much information about it as I could. About ten years ago I was curious about how much warming we could expect in the 21st century. I tried to look up as many experts as I could, and the range of expected temperature I got was from about 1 to 3 degrees Fahrenheit increase over a hundred years, with most predictions being around 1.5 degrees. I didn't find this particularly troubling, because my reasoning was, as I stated in the article above, that by mid century we should have the technology to eliminate fossil fuels altogether. I do not think that we will need to, nor do I think that we will want to, but if we decide that it is necessary, I think that it will be well within our means to do that. (I also think that the iron fertilization method described above would be a great way to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, but only if we need to.)
John Coffey
John Coffey "During glaciations the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere has fallen to as low at 180 parts per million. It needs to be stressed that plant life shuts down at 150 parts per million, as plants are unable to operate with the partial pressure differential of carbon dioxide between their cells and the atmosphere. Several times during the last 3 million years, life above sea level was within 30 parts per million of being extinguished by a lack of carbon dioxide."
Toly Zharkikh
Toly Zharkikh This thread was a good read. Thanks for posting. I do believe the climate change issue has become a religion for people, just like various political ideologies. The politicians are hyping it up because it creates justification for increase in government control over industry. From everything I have seen, our dictators are not benevolent. You can find an ulterior motive behind every act that they advertise as benefiting humanity.
Toly Zharkikh
Toly Zharkikh I used to believe in the runaway warming theory, but then I realized that nature tends toward stability. I believe the same about free market capitalism. Instead of the popular myth that it tends toward centralized wealth and monopoly, it actually tends toward decentralization, a more equal distribution of wealth, and none of these boom-bust cycles that most people accept as normal.
John Coffey
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John Coffey
John Coffey The term greenhouse effect is misleading, because the purpose of a greenhouse is to prevent convection. Our atmosphere is turbulent. A 2003 article stated that warm areas of the ocean create strong updrafts that carry heat to the upper atmosphere where some of the heat is lost to space as infrared.
Toly Zharkikh
Toly Zharkikh Finally something I can understand.
John Coffey
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John Coffey
John Coffey I don't know if I want to watch the whole thing, but the first 24 minutes is very good.