Beware The Bushwhackers Of Gallium Gulch !
indigestible energy ideas are in abundant supply, but Milk Of Alumina affords no relief, and it takes a tough chicken to cluck at the half-baked state of this bit of technofluff from Perdue ballyhooing the Hydrogen-Gallium Gospel
"New aluminum-rich alloy produces hydrogen on-demand for large-scale uses
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University engineers have developed a new aluminum-rich alloy that produces hydrogen by splitting water and is economically competitive with conventional fuels for transportation and power generation.
"We now have an economically viable process for producing hydrogen on-demand for vehicles, electrical generating stations and other applications," said Jerry Woodall, a distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue who invented the process.
The new alloy contains 95 percent aluminum and 5 percent of an alloy that is made of the metals gallium, indium and tin. Because the new alloy contains significantly less of the more expensive gallium than previous forms of the alloy, hydrogen can be produced less expensively, he said.
When immersed in water, the alloy splits water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen, which immediately reacts with the aluminum to produce aluminum oxide, also called alumina, which can be recycled back into aluminum. Recycling aluminum from nearly pure alumina is less expensive than mining the aluminum-containing ore bauxite, making the technology more competitive with other forms of energy production, Woodall said.
"After recycling both the aluminum oxide back to aluminum and the inert gallium-indium-tin alloy only 60 times, the cost of producing energy both as hydrogen and heat using the technology would be reduced to 10 cents per kilowatt hour, making it competitive with other energy technologies," Woodall said.'
What he didn't say was that the H2 yield from the 2 Al + 6 H2O = 2 Al( OH)3 + 3 H2 reaction is about 1 ltier of gas per gram of aluminum alloy.
A 3 liter engine operating on a lean ( 10% H2) mixture buzzes though 6,000 liters of air and fuel vapor in a minute, running at 2,000 RPM.
It will therefore require hundreds of grams per minute , or a multiple of 5 KG of aluminum alloy per hour . Call it 100 pounds a week. That means you will be carrying five pounds of gallium worth several thousand dollars in your 'gas' and milk of Alumina tanks ., the aluminum hydrodide slurry being about as far removed from what electrolytic aluminum plants consume as rusty bilge water is from iron ore.
Anybody for cars with calcium carbide / water acetylene generators ? The non-energy inputs are cheap, and the lime water can capture half the CO2 in the exhaust- but that makes it no more economic than the prospect of recycling galliumas an alternative to solving the hydrogen fuel storage problem per se.
The Report Of Ben Stein's Evolution Has Been Somewhat Exaggerated
Move over, An Inconvenient Truth. To paraphrase its American Spectator review by Tom Bethell, "The real question about" Ben Stein's gonzo opus Expelled " is not whether it is brutish or cruel or chilling or helpful to conservatism or harmful to it, but whether " the anti-Darwinian tract will roll the eyeballs of voters with IQ's above body temperature heavenward faster than reruns of Teletubbies or out-takes from Gigli
Having labored a lifetime in science journalism's vinyards without squeezing a sour grapes worth of intellectual nourishment into his flock,the venerable Bethell reports
" it brought tears of joy to my eyes. I have written about this controversy for over 30 years and by the movie's end I felt that those of us who have insisted that Darwinism is a sorry mess and that life surely was designed are going to prevail.
It would be uncharitable to suggest Ben has been putting Visine in the popcorn again, for Bethell recovered his clarity of vision to observe :
"I had not expected was that the film would take the war to the enemy...Oxford's Richard Dawkins... P.Z. Myers of the University of Minnesota... evolutionists who unflinchingly accept the logic of their own position and reject... the Rodney King mantra: "Can't we all just get along?"
WHAT DOES THE science show? The vast majority of species that once lived are now extinct. ..The real action today is within the microscopic study of living organisms..we are only beginning to discover the amazing complexity found at the molecular level.
... Now the cell is seen to resemble a high-tech factory.The growing allusions in the scientific literature to "molecular machines" have inspired one biologist..., to publish The Design Matrix. I don't know his real identity, which he conceals for obvious reasons...new research ... carried out under the auspices of the Discovery Institute ...is uncovering a miracle of complexity.
...Expelled makes use of Cold War imagery, and we are now in the Samizdat period ... when the most interesting Soviet authors used pen names to avoid being "expelled" -- to the Gulag...My only complaint about Expelled... is that its ending came all too soon. "
Those who can't wait for the final cut-- the pseudocumentary's directors are still weaving illusory interviews from out- of- context sound bites and shots of Stein talking at empty chairs-- can save $8 by watching this free and equally edifying ecumenical prequel.
I'm scripting a sequel, in which Ben Stein journeys to the Red Planet by cab, eschewing rocket science in solidarity with Tom's agnostic view of Einstein's theory of general relativity. Once there, he'll interview an old friend of Tom and ID maven Michael Behe, the Face On Mars. Besides figuring in their inspirational writings, the face has authored as many papers on molecular and synthetic biology as all the Discovery Institute fellows combined. I hope Ben gets his autograph. And Bethell's too, on a copy of his classic article on the shape of scientific history to come :
" Darwin's theory, I believe, is on the verge of collapse...natural selection was quietly abandoned, even by his most ardent supporters, some years ago. Darwin, I suggest, is in the process of being discarded, but... it is being done as discreetly and gently as possible, with a minimum of publicity."
Discreetly to be sure. Some who knew Darwin were yet alive when Bethell's report of evolution's immanent extinction appeared in Harper's in 1976. With luck, Stein's comic reputation will be resuscitated next year, as gales of laughter greet clips of this cult classic in the making at Darwin bicentennial celebrations around the world.
Illustration by the author, Copyright 2008
He Wrote It Up And Submitted It To Nature
In an age of rising science journal costs, who could object to a substitute provided by most hotel chains at no extra charge ? But then, so is this video:
Admiralty Lawyers Avast !
Here be a new Tort: Carbon Offset Piracy
Climateer reports the scalawags may have added a new misdemeanor to the annals of Admiralty Law : Carbon Offset Piracy. Having promised more carbon uptake by seawater than could plausibly be delivered by shoveling rust over the transom of the cockleshell research vessel that is the main asset of the Enterprise, this merry crew has made off with the corporate flagship.
The yacht Weatherbird II possibly purchased with proceeds from scamming the faithful into greening the Vatican , has sailed out of sight of its creditors'
Hence Climateer is asking :
Is Something Very Wrong With Planktos?
Planktos is thirteen days past the date on which their 3rd quarter financials were due at the Securities and Exchange Commission. This is odd for a few different reasons. 1) The company has no revenues...2) Planktos has moved its only tangible asset, the good ship Weatherbird II, outside of U.S. jurisdiction. The boat is carried on the balance sheet at $796,727... PLKT also showed a $797,194 receivable, probably not from operations (they have no sales)...
The marine saga continues-- Last week the Spanish papers reported Weatherbird II had hightailed it for High Barbaree, Agadir to be exact, but now she is in Madeira, having been refused entry at Las Palmas on a claim of medical emergency due to , you guessed it, plankton poisoning.
The most recent account from the Spanish Mainsteam press, in El Publico, says Cap'n George wants the EU & Spain to pay Planktos to investigate the "Cigatura Crisis " it claims to have discovered en route to nowhere. Is this El Ultimo Suspiro Del Alabatroz , or will the conversion of cutlass rust into Sargasso blossom into the Treasure of the Indies ? The smart as paint money is laying two doubloons to a pottle of grog that these lascaradoes will end up keelhauled.
POSTSCRIPT 19 December:
Before the Securities & Exchange Inquisition could locate a comfy chair, or His Spanish Majesty's Admiralty a handy yardarm, Planktos announced it would attend to Suspending Operations itself.
3 January: They seem to have deep sixed their obligation to The Vatican
Stay tuned - they may yet be seen sailing in company with the gonzo French Nobel laureate who believes in the
biological transmutation of iron into manganese? There be a process promising great riches in synergy with cold fusion, as the two might
convert ironic phytoplankton into manganese nodules .
Technetium fertilization futures may be the Next Big Thing--a boiling Strangelove Ocean full of mutant squid could revolutionize carbon permit trading strategies--there is always business in great waters.
.........................They had a plan too>
WHY WORRY ABOUT THE SNL WRITER'S STRIKE?
LIVE FROM OSLO & BALI IT'S MONDAY NIGHT AT THE NOBELS!
You can't get away from the atmosphere in Northern Norway. The Aurora Borealis blazes until the rise of the Midnight Sun 1200 miles from the North Pole , whereupon the air over the University of Tromso starts to warm more avidly than in normal climes , because in the land of long shadows the sun shines through the atmosphere's thickness almost horizontally even at not-very-high noon, and the radiative loss of heat is just as thickly muffled.
The oblique light can give rise to amazing sights, like shadows with halos and triple images of the sun. Along long with these northern specters comes a parochial tendency to equate natural history in Ultima Thule with the way things ought to be throughout the world. The Rector Emeritus of Tromso's proudly self proclaimed Northernmost University shows this phenomenon at its most extreme.
Elsewhere in the world, global warming is as nearly impalpable as a plate glass window is invisible. Not at 70 North, where sunlight falls almost sideways through the air, To understand how this can be,
Professor Hanson succeeded in explaining 300 to 43, who doesn't seem to recall what Andover taught him about Xenophon's Anabasis, Athen's Sicilian Expedition or how Aeschylus' Persians ends
White House domestic affairs guru and Marvel Comics author Karl Zinsmeister might earn the same gong by rescripting Anabasis, AKA 10,000 as a sequel to 300. It seems a natural, as it features a Spartan
general arguing with a defeatist Athenian dogsbody named
Socrates, who's always asking why invading Persia is a better idea than drinking hemlock ?
Some sample dialog :
10,000 Scene V: After the battle of Cunxata
Xenophon: The Perslamofascist Tyrant Cyrus is toast, General Clearchus! Now how .................... do we get out of Babylon and back to Neopolis in time for the election?
Clearchus : (coughing blood) Hang a right at the light on the road to Damascus.
Xenophon : Won't the Gods be angry if we cut and run ?
Clearchus : (pulls spear from ear) Depends which oracle you ask.
....................................................( Dies, and is carried into the sunset on his shield )
10,000 won't cost a dime more than 300 to make-- Industrial Light and Magic can clone the 300 Spartans they already have on disc.
Quaternary Research editor Eric Steig's latest RealClimate post acquits Six Degrees author Mark Lynas of 'Alarmism.' You know--scenes of 20 foot sea level rise, out-takes from The Day After Tomorrow, that sort of thing.
I don't suppose he's looked at the self-advertising on Lynas's website, which features this splendid vista of London --St. Paul's cathedral is 365 feet high:
" SIX DEGREES: OUR FUTURE ON A HOTTER PLANET
... reveals why the western US, southern Europe and Australia are likely to become uninhabitable"
ANOTHER FORECAST FROM LYNAS ' WEBSITE:
High Tide –the acclaimed first book to tell the climate change story for a popular audience
"A glacier disappears high in the Peruvian Andes. Floodwaters surge across the English countryside. Ten thousand Pacific islanders begin to evacuate their homeland. A duststorm turns day into night across the Inner Mongolian plains.
...In this ground-breaking book, author Mark Lynas reveals... how global warming is hitting people’s lives, not in the future, but in our world today."
Are you really sure you want to learn to drive a Pixy, Puyo Or Pivo2 ? Forget real world announcements about fuel cell vehicles.Welcome to the alternate universe of fuel cell concept cars at the Tokyo motor show.
Suzuki’s Pixy + SSC is a car within a car; a three-wheeled single-seater pod-- the Pixy- that docks inside a hexagonal Suzuki Sharing Coach--the SSC, for (relatively) higher speeds and ranges, powered by a fuel cell and solar cell array.
If you don't find the battery powered Nissan Pivo2, with a cabin that spins round 360 degrees sufficiently cuddly , there's always the fuel cell powered Honda Puyo, a car covered in "strokeable soft silicone "intended to absorb collisions , and possibly invite the attention of love-lorn wombats.
Wired Science 's feature on the demise of chemical availability has Sci Am grumbling about sexism in the days of Ask Mr Wizard , when boys got chemistry sets but girls were expected to make do with junior lab technician kits. Perhaps they should be riled instead at the nanny state for the growing infantilization of science education.
While liability lawyers have been driving the number of chemicals in chemistry sets down to literally zero, lest kids burn , maim, derange or kill themselves, the number of chemicals in household drug cabinets has burgeoned , as has the availability of such hazardous substances as elemental phosphorus and iodine to do it yourself pharmacists.
Will some one please dig up mortality stats comparing elevensomething amateur scientists and the meth lab operators that provide work for underemployed SWAT teams? it is hard to believe that theJunior Lab Technician death toll to date exceeds the number of fingers on a nitrogen tri-iodide enthusiast.
When only criminals have chemistry sets, kids will have only the most widely available non-household chemicals and solvents at their disposal . This means a lot of explosive propellants and detonating compounds, for tens of millions of households have ample ammunition in their gun closets, nitromethane and ether in their garages,and acetone and peroxides on their powder room cosmetic shelves.
Why worry about sexism when the calculus of terror depends on the gap between peroxide sales and the number of blonde bombshells, and the mmonium nitrate in a nation's garden sheds can end up raising hell instead of roses and zucchini?
The well named "PR Wire" reports Messrs Avery and Singer claim to have chalked up 500 contrarian papers "mainly from the peer-reviewed studies cited in their [un-peer reviewed] book." authored if not from atmospheric scientists,at least by specialists in "tree rings, sea levels, stalagmites, lichens, pollen, plankton, insects, public health, Chinese history and astrophysics."
But there is still no sign of CEI weighing in in Nature's new Climate Feedback news blog, nor has a peep been heard from the 17,000 scientists who famously signed the 1987 Heidelberg petition rejecting global warming. How many of them read it remains as controversial as their bibliographies ,or lack thereof, but at least they all have a place to publish now:
"the newest online resource from Nature Publishing Group, is now accepting submissions in all areas of biology, medicine (except clinical trials), chemistry and the earth sciences. Nature Precedings is a free open access service that provides a way for researchers to share preliminary findings, solicit community feedback, and claim priority over discoveries.
Since many K Street climatology references turn out to be museum pieces , this venue shouldbe doubly attractive as Nature Precedings "submissions are screened by our professional curators for relevance and quality ...There is never a charge to submit or access material on Nature Precedings."
Mere demography suggests that if 17,000 adult scientists signed the petition a generation ago, by now 5/6 of their 2.3 children should have grown up, making 50,000 new signatories available for the sequel, outnumbering the IPCC panelists by two dozen to one. This suggests a new , pro-active litigation and publication strategy for K Street Climatologists. Imagine what Mike Crichton could do with 17,000 signatures on a petition denouncing scientific consensus.
How could any serious journal turn down an article with 50,000 co-authors. when Nature regularly runs CERN and Human Genome Project submissions with as few as 500 ? Even Science's floridly green editor might pop for a paper cosigned by 2,000 or so postulating that global warming is a terrible misunderstanding arising from the derangement of generations of meteorologists by thermometers filled with neurotoxic mercury.
The New York Times is leading the charge for a total ban on the toxic heavy metal outside of ethnic restaurant kitchens, where its foodie columnists applaud the Feng Shui benefits of applying cinnabar paint to blast burner stoves. Seizing on the Times MSM status, State Climatologists can now argue that temperature measurements made with non-OSHA compliant mercury devices shoild be rejected on the grounds that a statistically significant number of global warming advocates have lately gone mad as hatters
Meanwhile, Discovery Institute lawyers can arrange for two dozen of the forty eight thousand scientists left over from Heidelberg II to endorse an Oath Of Compurgation swearing that whatever each of the 2,000 coauthors says is legally true, and that they are collectively innocent of all complicity in any conspiracy to persuade the public that science is not what it appears to be. Since DI lawyers are great champions of precedent, natural law demands they lead the anti-consensus consensus to substitute the Oath of Compurgation for newfangled peer review, as it ranks as the greatest legal stratagem of the Medieval Warm Period.
Yahoo! Music reports Michael Jackson is in discussions about creating a 50-foot robotic replica of himself to roam the Las Vegas desert. It claims his plans include an elaborate show in Vegas, which would feature the giant Jacko striding around the desert, firing laser beams.
If built, the metal monster would apparently be visible to aircraft as they come in to land. Luckman Van Pier, his partner at the company behind the proposal,
claims blueprints have been drawn up for the show and seen by the star.
"Michael's looked at the sketches and likes them," he told the New York Daily News.
Former Next President and perennial candidate for Imperial Planetologist Al Gore , here shown modeling the asbestos union suit of his alter-ego , Underdog , startled astronomers yesterday by telling a Capitol Hill audience that the surface of Venus is :
" hotter than boiling lead , and it rains sulfuric acid."
If true, the caped crusader's Nobel Peace Prize candidacy may turn into a revisionist run for the chemistry and physics medals, as those reactionary discipline, maintain CO2 has warmed Venus barely to the toxic metal's 622 F melting point , well short of the 3,180 degrees at which it boils , or even the temperature of the Vice President's Nashville swimming pool.
As CSPAN watchers dozed , not even the Hon. James Inhofe , Senator from the great lead mining state of Oklahoma , challenged the authority of the Tennessee lead-zinc mining magnate ,and sulfuric acid lobbyists failed to protest that acid rain keeps the sultry planet's polar temperatures hovering in the balmy 500's much of the year.
Smarting at the outcry over post offices turned into a temporal Twilight Zone by the removal of clocks visible to those waiting in line, the USPS has launched a futuristic PR salient featuring a Postal Jedi Website and a cloned army of R2D2 Postdroids impervious to rain, sleet, snow and incontinent or amorous RoboRottweilers
It had to happen sooner or later- the video capture of a live giant squid. This time ,its just a baby- scarcely 12 feet of Architeuthys , snagged 2,000 down on a hook baited with, what else ,a squid of normal dimensions. After a little sushi sampling, the scary calamari was consigned to a museum tank full of formaldehyde. Expect to see its big brother on Japanese TV sometime soon.