They didn’t have the arguments on their side, but they had all the energy

According to Stephen Moss in “A few months ago, I woke up to Brexit. Here’s my advice to US voters

Our arrogance had lost us the referendum.

The neighbourhood in which I live had been festooned with Leave posters. The Leavers really wanted this and were prepared to make public their preference. In sporting parlance, they were up for it. The then Ukip leader Nigel Farage said his supporters would “crawl over broken glass” to get to polling stations to vote to leave the EU, and he was right. Leave may not have had the arguments on their side, but they had all the energy. Remain, who didn’t put up posters or show any passion for their cause, were supine in the face of their rhetoric. “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” How right Yeats was.

Does all this remind you of anyone? Trump may talk nonsense a lot of the time, but there’s no denying his energy, passion and rhetorical skill. I watched several of the debates involving the Republican hopefuls, and he was incredibly bullish and entertaining. There was no denying he was box office.

Cold fusion (LENR) and near room temperature superconductivity — a USA government report

According to the report “INVESTIGATION OF NANO-NUCLEAR REACTIONS IN CONDENSED MATTER“, from the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency,

By using the Pd/D co-deposition technique and co-depositional variants (based on flux control), solid evidence (i.e., excess heat generation, hot spots, mini-explosions, ionizing radiation, near-IR emission, tritium production, transmutation, and neutrons) has been obtained that indicate that lattice assisted nuclear reactions can and do occur within the Pd lattice. The results to date indicate that some of the reactions occur very near the surface of the electrode (within a few atomic layers). Also, the reactions may be enhanced in the presence of either an external electric or magnetic field, or by optically irradiating the cathode of cells driven at their optimal operating point (OOP). Optimal operating points appear when heat, power gain, or helium or tritium production, are presented as a function of the input electrical power. They allow standardization, and driving with electrical input power beyond the OOP yields a falloff of the production rates.

Besides LENR, the Pd/H(D) system exhibits superconductivity. Palladium itself does not superconduct. However, it was found that H(D)/Pd does and that the critical temperatures of the deuteride are about 2.5 K higher than those of hydride (at the same atomic ratios). This is the ‘inverse’ isotope effect. In these early measurements, the loading of H(D) in the Pd lattice was less than unity, i.e. H(D):Pd < 1. Later Tripodi et al.  developed a method of loading and stabilizing 50 µm diameter Pd wires with H(D):Pd loadings greater than one. These samples have exhibited near room temperature superconductivity. Examples of measured superconducting transitions of PdHx samples are shown in Figure 1-2.

We believe the two phenomena, LENR and high Tc superconductivity, are related and that both need to be investigated in order to gain an understanding of the processes occurring inside the Pd lattice. The scope of this effort was to design and conduct experiments to elucidate the underlying physics of nuclear reactions occurring inside Pd-D nano-alloys and to make that data available to theoreticians to aid in their ability to develop a theory that explains how and why low energy nuclear reactions can occur within a palladium lattice.

Tip of the hat to Frank Acland.

The cloud never forgets — “You may not know what you do on a regular basis, but I know”

According to Bloomberg’s David Gauvey Herbert in “This Company Has Built a Profile on Every American Adult

IDI, a year-old company in the so-called data-fusion business, is the first to centralize and weaponize all that information for its customers. The Boca Raton, Fla., company’s database service, idiCORE, combines public records with purchasing, demographic, and behavioral data. Chief Executive Officer Derek Dubner says the system isn’t waiting for requests from clients—it’s already built a profile on every American adult, including young people who wouldn’t be swept up in conventional databases, which only index transactions. “We have data on that 21-year-old who’s living at home with mom and dad,” he says.

and

The reports also include photos of cars taken by private companies using automated license plate readers—billions of snapshots tagged with GPS coordinates and time stamps to help PIs surveil people or bust alibis.

and

Users and industry analysts say the addition of purchasing and behavioral data to conventional data fusion outmatches rival systems in terms of capabilities—and creepiness. “The cloud never forgets, and imperfect pictures of you composed from your data profile are carefully filled in over time,” says Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates, a consulting firm. “We’re like bugs in amber, completely trapped in the web of our own data.”

and

“You may not know what you do on a regular basis, but I know,” Rambam says. “I know it’s Thursday, you haven’t eaten Chinese food in two weeks, and I know you’re due.”

See also “Surveillance vs. morality“.

 

 

Lowering peak energy demand with a bank of lead-acid batteries in the basement

Background: For stationary storage in a moderate climate, such as in a basement, lead-acid batteries still have a total cost of ownership comparable to lithium-ion batteries.

According to Samantha Page

In the basement garage of a high-end apartment building in the middle of New York City, a few electricians are quietly installing a century-old product that is now poised to revolutionize an industry — and maybe lead the United States into a carbon-neutral future.

Taking up about two parking spaces is a wall of boxes. They are simple lead-acid batteries, similar to what keeps the lights on in your car. But these batteries are linked together, connected to the building’s electricity system, and monitored in real time by a Washington-state based company, Demand Energy. Demand’s installation at the Paramount Building in midtown Manhattan is going to lower the building electricity bills and reduce its carbon footprint, even while it doesn’t reduce a single watt of use.

Every night, the batteries charge up. Every day, they run down, providing a small portion of the building’s energy and reducing the amount of power it takes off the grid. This cycle of charging during low-use times and discharging during high use times helps level out the Paramount’s electricity use.

and

American home bills usually have a flat rate for the amount of electricity the resident uses. No matter when it’s used, or how quickly power is drawn, the rate is the same amount per kilowatt hour. Flat rates are like an odometer saying how many miles were drive — or, in this case, how many kilowatt hours (kWh) have been used. But for commercial and industrial properties, including residential apartment buildings, the electricity bill also has a demand charge. The demand charge acts like a speedometer: Not only is a business charged for the total amount of electricity it uses, it is also charged for how quickly power is taken. A business will receive a higher bill for using 10 kWh in an hour than for using the same 10 kWh over, say 10 hours. In New York, demand charges make up, on average, half of commercial and industrial customers’ bills.

Electricity rates are designed like this because utilities don’t like peaks in demand. Peaking plants are expensive, wasteful, and dirty. But from the utility’s perspective, putting a lot of electricity on the grid is also bad news. The higher the peak demand, the more infrastructure — wires, generators — has to be built. And transmission congestion means a less efficient system. (Line loss, a phenomenon in which not all the electricity gets from point A to point B, is greater when the transmission system is overloaded). Not to mention the risks of brownouts and blackouts that increase with too much strain on the grid.

Hitler “enthroned by stupid elite politicians” who “asssumed they could manage” him

According to Neal Ascherson

Ullrich has strong feelings about the way Hitler came to power in January 1933, enthroned by a ‘sinister plot’ of stupid elite politicians just at the moment when the Nazis were at last losing strength. It didn’t have to happen. He constantly reminds his readers that Hitler didn’t reach the chancellorship by his own efforts, but was put there by supercilious idiots who assumed they could manage this vulgarian. ‘We engaged him for our ends,’ said the despicable Franz von Papen. A year later, in the Night of the Long Knives, von Papen was grovelling to save his own neck.

Designing a practical electric airplane — hydrogen fuel cells

According to Tom Neuman in “How I Designed a Practical Electric Plane for NASA: To win a competition, a Georgia Tech student devised a fuel-cell plane to rival today’s best-selling small aircraft”

Fortunately, electric propulsion offers some flexibility that the engineers at Cirrus did not enjoy. Unlike combustion engines, electric motors are compact and efficient. These small, light motors can be placed in many more locations on the aircraft than would be practical for a combustion engine. If applied strategically, this tactic can distribute the power production across more or larger propellers. And the greater the area swept by propellers, the more efficient and quieter they become.

I ran yet another analysis and found a sweet spot in efficiency using two rather large propellers attached to a pair of motors. Instead of mounting them conventionally, on the wing or fuselage, I put them in my design atop the plane’s V-shaped tail, where the airflow is cleaner.

This simple strategy not only improved propulsive efficiency (from 85 to 92 percent), it also benefited the plane’s aerodynamics. Now air could flow more cleanly over both fuselage and wing. And although the propellers were large, putting them on the tail meant that I didn’t have to increase the height (and therefore, weight) of the landing gear. Having short gear made choosing retractable wheels much more palatable, and this reduced drag even further.

When I ran the next analysis, I found that this change, combined with some more optimization, decreased the plane’s energy consumption by another 27 percent. Indeed, this design change had lowered the power demand to the point that it became feasible to fly the plane on hydrogen-powered fuel cells. That’s when I dubbed my V-tailed, hydrogen-powered design “Vapor.”