Xenophilia (True Strange Stuff)

Blog of the real Xenophilius Lovegood, a slightly mad scientist

Archive for the ‘Earth’ Category

A map of human problems

Posted by Anonymous on June 21, 2014

20140621-135253-49973427.jpgI want something I can’t find on the net, something big and important. I want a visual interactive map of human problems and where we are along the various paths to solutions. I want everyone to be able to interact with it, add to it, vote on it!

We have all this information, so organize it! Who can help? Google? I want a globe where the continents are categories.

Here is a great planet maker: http://planetmaker.wthr.us/# I’d like something like terrestrial planet X.0 with randomly generated continents like this:
http://www-cs-students.stanford.edu/~amitp/game-programming/polygon-map-generation/demo.html

I want to zoom in on a problem to see the bleeding edge technology with details explained so anyone could understand it.

Update:

“At this year’s CeBIT exhibition, the team from Fraunhofer IGD / Fraunhofer IDM@NTU, Singapore, presents a new, exciting, X3DOM-based prototype for fast, intuitive exploration of information, which is entitled InfoLand. Information is presented on a multi-touch interface through a graphical representation, serving as an information or marketing tool for industry partners and collaborators, researchers, and students. Information is presented in the form of text, images, videos and 3D models, which can be accessed intuitively.”

Sounds like the InfoLand engine is close to being capable of what I’m imagining, but it doesn’t seem to be available for anyone to use.  What are the big categories?

Here’s a nice model as a start, but replace the Earth continents with the human problem continents, let them take different shapes as people add content and as old ideas erode.

http://workshop.chromeexperiments.com/projects/armsglobe/

Posted in Alt Energy, Do stuff, Earth, Education, Health, human rights, Money, Physics, Survival, Technology, War | 5 Comments »

NASA Study: Civilization collapse difficult to avoid on current course

Posted by Anonymous on March 18, 2014

20140319-213029.jpgA new study sponsored by Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.

Noting that warnings of ‘collapse’ are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that “the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history.” Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to “precipitous collapse – often lasting centuries – have been quite common.”

The research project is based on a new cross-disciplinary ‘Human And Nature DYnamical’ (HANDY) model, led by applied mathematician Safa Motesharrei of the US National Science Foundation-supported National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, in association with a team of natural and social scientists. The study based on the HANDY model has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed Elsevier journal, Ecological Economics.

It finds that according to the historical record even advanced, complex civilisations are susceptible to collapse, raising questions about the sustainability of modern civilisation:

“The fall of the Roman Empire, and the equally (if not more) advanced Han, Mauryan, and Gupta Empires, as well as so many advanced Mesopotamian Empires, are all testimony to the fact that advanced, sophisticated, complex, and creative civilizations can be both fragile and impermanent.”

By investigating the human-nature dynamics of these past cases of collapse, the project identifies the most salient interrelated factors which explain civilisational decline, and which may help determine the risk of collapse today: namely, Population, Climate, Water, Agriculture, and Energy.

These factors can lead to collapse when they converge to generate two crucial social features: “the stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity”; and “the economic stratification of society into Elites [rich] and Masses (or “Commoners”) [poor]” These social phenomena have played “a central role in the character or in the process of the collapse,” in all such cases over “the last five thousand years.”

Currently, high levels of economic stratification are linked directly to overconsumption of resources, with “Elites” based largely in industrialised countries responsible for both:

“… accumulated surplus is not evenly distributed throughout society, but rather has been controlled by an elite. The mass of the population, while producing the wealth, is only allocated a small portion of it by elites, usually at or just above subsistence levels.”

The study challenges those who argue that technology will resolve these challenges by increasing efficiency:

“Technological change can raise the efficiency of resource use, but it also tends to raise both per capita resource consumption and the scale of resource extraction, so that, absent policy effects, the increases in consumption often compensate for the increased efficiency of resource use.”

Productivity increases in agriculture and industry over the last two centuries has come from “increased (rather than decreased) resource throughput,” despite dramatic efficiency gains over the same period.

Modelling a range of different scenarios, Motesharri and his colleagues conclude that under conditions “closely reflecting the reality of the world today… we find that collapse is difficult to avoid.” In the first of these scenarios, civilisation:

“…. appears to be on a sustainable path for quite a long time, but even using an optimal depletion rate and starting with a very small number of Elites, the Elites eventually consume too much, resulting in a famine among Commoners that eventually causes the collapse of society. It is important to note that this Type-L collapse is due to an inequality-induced famine that causes a loss of workers, rather than a collapse of Nature.”

Another scenario focuses on the role of continued resource exploitation, finding that “with a larger depletion rate, the decline of the Commoners occurs faster, while the Elites are still thriving, but eventually the Commoners collapse completely, followed by the Elites.”

In both scenarios, Elite wealth monopolies mean that they are buffered from the most “detrimental effects of the environmental collapse until much later than the Commoners”, allowing them to “continue ‘business as usual’ despite the impending catastrophe.” The same mechanism, they argue, could explain how “historical collapses were allowed to occur by elites who appear to be oblivious to the catastrophic trajectory (most clearly apparent in the Roman and Mayan cases).”

Applying this lesson to our contemporary predicament, the study warns that:

“While some members of society might raise the alarm that the system is moving towards an impending collapse and therefore advocate structural changes to society in order to avoid it, Elites and their supporters, who opposed making these changes, could point to the long sustainable trajectory ‘so far’ in support of doing nothing.”

However, the scientists point out that the worst-case scenarios are by no means inevitable, and suggest that appropriate policy and structural changes could avoid collapse, if not pave the way toward a more stable civilisation.

The two key solutions are to reduce economic inequality so as to ensure fairer distribution of resources, and to dramatically reduce resource consumption by relying on less intensive renewable resources and reducing population growth:

“Collapse can be avoided and population can reach equilibrium if the per capita rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion.”

The NASA-funded HANDY model offers a highly credible wake-up call to governments, corporations and business – and consumers – to recognise that ‘business as usual’ cannot be sustained, and that policy and structural changes are required immediately.

… a number of other more empirically-focused studies – by KPMG and the UK Government Office of Science for instance – have warned that the convergence of food, water and energy crises could create a ‘perfect storm’ within about fifteen years. But these ‘business as usual’ forecasts could be very conservative.

Continuity of Government, if the elites want it, is not going to be had by digging underground cities, stockpiling food, gas and water and waiting out the storm. The current fragile pyramid will not be maintained by the persecution of whistleblowers. Instead, the way to fix things is to get everyone to understand that we all fail if we don’t pull together. Teamwork or die.

Posted in Earth, Food, Politics, Space, Survival, Technology | 2 Comments »

Clue to earthquake lightning mystery

Posted by Anonymous on March 7, 2014

Glowing orbs over FukushimaMysterious lightning flashes that appear to precede earthquakes could be sparked by movements in the ground below, US scientists say. Unidentified glowing objects were spotted moments before major quakes in China and Italy recently.

These flickers could be triggered by shifting soil layers which generate huge electrical charge, say scientists. Using a tub of plain kitchen flour, they discovered an entirely new physical phenomenon.

They announced their findings at the American Physical Society meeting in Denver.

“Our first suspicion was this has got to be a mistake. There must be something stupid we are doing,” said Professor Troy Shinbrot, of Rutgers University, New Jersey.

“We took a tupperware container filled with flour, tipped it back and forth until cracks appeared, and it produced 200 volts of charge.

“There isn’t a mechanism I know that can explain this. It seems to be new physics. ” Repeat experiments with other granular materials produced the same voltage phenomenon. If it occurs along geological faultlines, sliding and cracking of soil grains could be generating millions of volts of electrostatic charge.

This in turn could seed lightning in the air above – creating a natural “early-warning system” for impending earthquakes.

Voltage fields

Voly spike diagramStories of “earthquake lights” have been recorded for 300 years, but were typically dismissed by scientists as hearsay, or fodder for UFO enthusiasts. However in recent decades – and with the advent of YouTube – sightings of “clear-sky lightning” have been captured, analysed, and confirmed by scientists.

Videos of luminous orbs seen during the Fukushima and L’Aquila earthquakes were widely shared online.

“We want to know – why does this lightning appear sometimes but not others?” said Prof Shinbrot. “Not every major earthquake is preceded by lightning. And not all clear-sky lightning is followed by earthquakes.”

To understand the link, scientists in Turkey have erected towers that measure voltage fields in the air over earthquake-prone regions.

“They’ve found there do seem to be precursors for some large earthquakes – magnitude 5 or higher. But the voltage signal is not always the same. Sometimes it’s high and sometimes it’s low. “Clearly there is a lot yet to be understood.”

His first aim is to understand the flour experiment – what is this new, unknown mechanism which generates voltage in the powder cracks?

“This is not what you typically think of as static – it’s not like rubber shoes against a nylon carpet. This is two layers of exactly the same material rubbing against each other – and generating voltage. “How is this happening? Your guess is as good as mine. “I think the reason that no-one has reported this before is that no-one has thought to look.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-26462348

Now that’s flour power, baby!

Posted in Alt Energy, Earth, Strange | Leave a Comment »

Plans to Destroy the Earth’s Protective Radiation Belts

Posted by Anonymous on March 4, 2014

nukeinspacestarfishprimeSince we’re coming up on the Fourth of July, and towns everywhere are preparing their better-than-ever fireworks spectaculars, we would like to offer this humbling bit of history. Back in the summer of 1962, the U.S. blew up a hydrogen bomb in outer space, some 250 miles above the Pacific Ocean. It was a weapons test, but one that created a man-made light show that has never been equaled — and hopefully never will. …

Some of the images in this video were until recently top secret. Peter Kuran of Visual Concept Entertainment collected them for his documentary Nukes In Space.

If you are wondering why anybody would deliberately detonate an H-bomb in space, the answer comes from a conversation we had with science historian James Fleming of Colby College.

“Well, I think a good entry point to the story is May 1, 1958, when James Van Allen, the space scientist, stands in front of the National Academy in Washington, D.C., and announces that they’ve just discovered something new about the planet,” he told us.

Van Allen described how the Earth is surrounded by belts of high-energy particles — mainly protons and electrons — that are held in place by the magnetic fields.

Today these radiation belts are called Van Allen belts. Now comes the surprise: While looking through the Van Allen papers at the University of Iowa to prepare a Van Allen biography, Fleming discovered “that [the] very same day after the press conference, [Van Allen] agreed with the military to get involved with a project to set off atomic bombs in the magnetosphere to see if they could disrupt it.”

Discover It, Then Blow It Up

The plan was to send rockets hundreds of miles up, higher than the Earth’s atmosphere, and then detonate nuclear weapons to see: a) If a bomb’s radiation would make it harder to see what was up there (like incoming Russian missiles!); b) If an explosion would do any damage to objects nearby; c) If the Van Allen belts would move a blast down the bands to an earthly target (Moscow! for example); and — most peculiar — d) if a man-made explosion might “alter” the natural shape of the belts.

The scientific basis for these proposals is not clear. Fleming is trying to figure out if Van Allen had any theoretical reason to suppose the military could use the Van Allen belts to attack a hostile nation. He supposes that at the height of the Cold War, the most pressing argument for a military experiment was, “if we don’t do it, the Russians will.” And, indeed, the Russians did test atomic bombs and hydrogen bombs in space.

In any case, says the science history professor, “this is the first occasion I’ve ever discovered where someone discovered something and immediately decided to blow it up.”

Code Name: Starfish Prime

http://redicecreations.com/ul_img/29182doomsday.jpgThe Americans launched their first atomic nuclear tests above the Earth’s atmosphere in 1958. Atom bombs had little effect on the magnetosphere, but the hydrogen bomb of July 9, 1962, did. Code-named “Starfish Prime” by the military, it literally created an artificial extension of the Van Allen belts that could be seen across the Pacific Ocean, from Hawaii to New Zealand.

In Honolulu, the explosions were front page news. “N-Blast Tonight May Be Dazzling: Good View Likely,” said the Honolulu Advertiser. Hotels held what they called “Rainbow Bomb Parties” on rooftops and verandas. When the bomb burst, people told of blackouts and strange electrical malfunctions, like garage doors opening and closing on their own. But the big show was in the sky.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2010/07/01/128170775/a-very-scary-light-show-exploding-h-bombs-in-space

In what sounds like the lunatic designs of a team of mad scientists, physicists are reportedly proposing a plan to wipe out the Van Allen radiation belts.

Nevermind that we’ve really only just begun to explore and understand the Van Allen belts – those pesky bands of radiation around our planet allegedly serve ’no purpose’, and are choking up Earth’s orbit with radiation that harms people or satellite equipment that travel through them. So, the physicists’ strategy is to use giant radio transmitters on the ground to beam very low frequency (VLF) waves into the belts to break them up and clear away those tenacious protons and electrons. …

Will the destruction of one of our planet’s features such as the Van Allen radiation belts cause unforeseen and catastrophic consequences? According to the global scientific community, “the easy answer is: probably not. ” …

Many satellites and other orbiting equipment have to shut off periodically, though, to avoid damage in the belts. That’s a problem when launching equipment is often the single most expensive element of a mission; science will not abide a field that mucks with its experiments, nor even one that makes them ship expensive shielding into space. If there would really be no downside to destroying the belts, then why not just do it, if we can? Notice that there are two “ifs” in that statement. The second is the easier of the two: Can we clear the belts?

A new proposition from scientists around the globe claims that very low frequency radio waves could be used to disburse Van Allen protons in the lower atmosphere, clearing several helpful new orbital distances for use by satellites and other equipment. Radio waves have problems getting through the highly charged ionosphere, which sits between us and the Van Allen regions, but scientists are hopeful that powerful emitters could mitigate this problem. Satellite-based VLF radio emitters have also been proposed, but such devices would take too much energy for an orbital platform.

One older idea for disbursing the belts was called HiVOLT, or High Voltage Orbiting Long Tether. This would be a system of five cables, each about 100 kilometers long, used to create a magnetic field that deflects the orbit of these particles. This could hypothetically change the orbital period of the particles so they either crash into the atmosphere or careen off into space — possibly thus disbursing the belts in as little as two months.
Read the full article at: geek.com

http://redicecreations.com/article.php?id=29183

Studying Earth's protective radiation belts

Two regions of radiation encircle the Earth. They’re called the Van Allen belts, and they are a pair of dynamic regions of trapped radiation, separated by a void and held in place by the Earth’s magnetic field. They protect the planet from the radiation of space and the effects of solar weather.

http://lightyears.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/09/studying-earths-protective-radiation-belts/

The reptilians live safely underground and will not mind much when life on the surface is cooked by space radiation.

Posted in Earth, History, Physics, Space, Strange, Technology, War | Leave a Comment »

Beijing smog: industry getting away with mass murder

Posted by Anonymous on February 23, 2014

20140223-093100.jpg
Beijing faced some of its worst smog levels ever starting Friday, when the government raised the city’s four-tiered smog alert to “orange,” the second-highest level on the Chinese government’s air pollution urgency system. The alert prompted schools to cancel outside sports and health officials to issue advisories suggesting children and the elderly stay indoors.

The orange level alert was raised on Friday as heavy smog rolled into China’s capital, blanketing the city in a thick, gray haze that is expected to last for the next three days. According to the Associated Press, government officials were reluctant to raise the urgency level to orange because it would be difficult to enforce certain measures – like taking half of the city’s cars off the road – meant to alleviate high levels of pollution, but public outcry on the Internet and in the media pressured the government to issue the warning.

“When the alert is at a low level, the measures are not effective, but those for the high-level alert are not feasible,” Ma Jun, of the non-governmental Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs in Beijing, told the Associated Press. “The government is reluctant to raise the alert level.”

Beijing’s tiered air pollution alert system was introduced last October. Despite periods of heavy and dangerous smog, the plan’s stricter measures have never been implemented.

The orange alert also led to bans on barbeques, fireworks and even halted demolition work in the city. Reuters reports that if the pollution urgency alert is raised to “red” – the highest level – the government would be forced to close schools and yank half the city’s vehicles off the road, based on the last number on their license plates.

According to Reuters, city officials sent inspectors to several factories around the capital and warned them that any emissions violations they found would be met with fines.

If the current level of air pollution in Beijing lasts for more than three days, the government will have to raise the urgency level to red.

In January, Beijing officials recorded dangerous levels of poisonous smog. Density readings that measure the amount of particulate matter in the air exceeded 500 micrograms per cubic meter – about 20 times as high as what the World Health Organization considers safe.

Over the past several decades, as China has rapidly developed, tons of pollutants have been spewed into the air. Health officials estimate that China’s air pollution is killing hundreds of thousands of people every year. Between 2002 and 2011, lung cancer cases in Beijing nearly doubled. …

http://www.ibtimes.com/beijing-air-pollution-alert-raised-orange-first-time-after-smog-levels-become-hazardous-1557352

This situation is disgusting and shameful, a great example of lies and collectively broken priorities. Auto pollution is only 4% of the problem. Everyone there must wake up, understand the most significant contributors and then care enough to change and stop fouling the air. There is no doubt that the air pollution is killing people. Is that what you get in Beijing for murder, a fine?

20140223-093114.jpg

Emissions from coal plants in China were responsible for a quarter of a million premature deaths in 2011 and are damaging the health of hundreds of thousands of Chinese children, according to a new study.

The study by a US air pollution expert, commissioned by Greenpeace, comes as many areas in northern and eastern China have been experiencing hazardous levels of air pollution in recent weeks.

In some eastern cities including Shanghai, levels were off the index that tracks dangerous pollution, with schools closing and flights being cancelled or diverted. Sales of air purifiers and face masks have soared with many retailers selling out of stock as residents try to protect themselves from the poisonous smog. In Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces visibility was reduced to less than 50 metres earlier this week and in the city of Nanjing a red alert for pollution was maintained for five consecutive days.

The analysis traced the chemicals which are made airborne from burning coal and found a number of health damages were caused as a result. It estimates that coal burning in China was responsible for reducing the lives of 260,000 people in 2011. It also found that in the same year it led to 320,000 children and 61,000 adults suffering from asthma, 36,000 babies being born with low weight and was responsible for 340,000 hospital visits and 141 million days of sick leave.

“This study provides an unprecedentedly detailed picture of the health fallout from China’s coal burning,” said Dr Andrew Gray, a US-based expert on air pollution, who conducted the research. Using computer simulations, Gray said he was able to “draw a clear map tracing the trail of health damages left by the coal fumes released by every power plant in China, untangling the contribution of individual companies, provinces and power stations to the air pollution crisis gripping the country.”

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/dec/12/china-coal-emissions-smog-deaths

Posted in Earth, Health, Survival | Leave a Comment »

Coventry residents left baffled by mystery ‘Independence Day’ noise

Posted by Anonymous on February 17, 2014

A mystery noise described as sounding ‘like something out of Independence Day’ has been heard in the skies over Coventry.

As wet and windy weather battered the city, several people have reported hearing the loud droning noise at around 2.45pm.

Reports have come in describing a loud noise in the sky which lasted around one minute and was heard by residents in Whitley, Walsgrave, Stoke and Wyken.

Mitch Wise, 19, from Walsgrave, said the noise was so loud he could hear it inside his house despite all the windows and doors being closed.

He said: “I did think it sounded like something out of Independence Day, that kind of noise.

“I was just in my bedroom when I heard this loud noise outside my house. I looked outside my window, but I couldn’t see anything.

“I saw two guys looking up to the sky outside. It was scary!

“I thought it was thunder at first but it was too long to be that or a jet.

“It was like a loud droning noise that lasted about a minute. I was just confused, I couldn’t work out what it was.

“It was a lot louder than a lorry going past. It was loud with all the windows closed, but when I opened them it was really loud.”

Another reader contacted the Telegraph to say the noise sounded like a hurricane.

via Coventry residents left baffled by mystery ‘Independence Day’ noise – Coventry Telegraph.

Here is an amusing compilation. At first it seems to have real footage with the audio people are hearing, but it is probably all fake. I could create these noises in my home studio.

Posted in Earth, Strange | Leave a Comment »

Warming Arctic May Be Causing Jet Stream To Lose Its Way

Posted by Anonymous on February 16, 2014

The jet stream that circles Earth's north pole travels west to east. But when the jet stream interacts with a Rossby wave, as shown here, the winds can wander far north and south, bringing frigid air to normally mild southern states.Mark Twain once said: “If you don’t like the weather in New England now, just wait a few minutes.”

He was making an unknowing reference to the , which drives the weather over North America and Europe like a high-altitude conveyor belt. But increasingly, the jet stream is taking a more circuitous route over the northern latitudes, meaning weather systems hang around longer than they used to. And a warming Arctic is probably to blame, says , a professor at Rutgers University’s Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences.

Francis — who says it’s too early to know if the well-established Arctic warming is caused by man or some natural phenomenon — was speaking during a session on Arctic change at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago on Saturday.

The wayward jet stream could account for the persistently severe winter weather this year in the U.S. and Britain, as well as California’s long drought.

In all of the talk recently about the “,” you’ve already heard some of this. But as explains:

“The strength of the jet stream is directly proportional to the difference in temperature between the poles and the tropics. When it’s strong, the jet stream tends to take a straighter path, but when it’s weak it meanders. As the Arctic is experiencing warming at faster rates than the tropics, that difference is getting smaller, so the jet stream is weakening along with it.

“What that means for mid-latitudes, where Britain [and the U.S. are] located, is weather that stays in place for longer. Weather patterns will be more likely to get ‘stuck’ over a location, yielding long periods of rain and sun rather than Britain’s traditional ‘changeable’ skies.”

“The temperature difference between the Arctic and lower latitudes is one of the main sources of fuel for the jet stream; it’s what drives the winds. And because the Arctic is warming so fast, that temperature difference is getting smaller, and so the fuel for the jet stream is getting weaker,” Francis says. “When it gets into this pattern, those big waves tend to stay in the same place for some time. The pattern we’ve seen in December and January has been one of these very wavy patterns. …

via Warming Arctic May Be Causing Jet Stream To Lose Its Way : The Two-Way : NPR.

This is how it can be extra cold in some places due to overall global warming.

Posted in Earth | Leave a Comment »

Video: What happens when lava engulfs a can of Coca Cola

Posted by Anonymous on February 16, 2014

Here … cans of Coca Cola are placed in the path of an advancing 2000 degree F lava flow in Hawaii. The first had a hole punched in the top to stop it from exploding while the second was still sealed.

The cans are gradually absorbed by the oozing flow and the cans eventually melted completely, according to Brian Lowry, who braved the heat to film the sequence.

Video courtesy of Lavapix

This from the same person shows perhaps the ultimate way to cook a tin of ravioli:

via Video: What happens when lava engulfs a can of Coca Cola – Telegraph.

Posted in - Video, Earth, Strange | Leave a Comment »

Drilling surprise opens door to magma-powered electricity

Posted by Anonymous on February 8, 2014

… Can enormous heat deep in the Earth be harnessed to provide energy for us on the surface? A promising report from a geothermal borehole project that accidentally struck magma—the same fiery, molten rock that spews from volcanoes—suggests it could.

The Icelandic Deep Drilling Project, IDDP, has been drilling shafts up to 5km deep in an attempt to harness the heat in the volcanic bedrock far below the surface of Iceland. But in 2009 a borehole at Krafla, Northeast Iceland, reached only 2,100m deep before unexpectedly striking a pocket of magma. The molten rock was intruding into the Earth’s upper crust from below at searing temperatures of 900 to 1000 degrees Celsius.

This borehole, IDDP-1, was the first in a series of wells drilled by the IDDP in Iceland looking for usable geothermal resources. A special report in this month’s Geothermics journal details the engineering feats and scientific results that came from the attempt to harness the incredible geothermal heat. (The only previous case like this was in Hawaii in 2007, but that well was sealed in concrete.)

Wilfred Elders, professor emeritus of geology at the University of California, Riverside, co-authored three of the research papers inGeothermics with Icelandic colleagues. “Drilling into magma is a very rare occurrence, and this is only the second known instance anywhere in the world,” Elders said. The IDDP and Iceland’s National Power Company, which operates theKrafla geothermal power plant nearby, decided to make a substantial investment to investigate the hole further.

This meant cementing a steel casing into the well, one with a perforated section at the bottom closest to the magma. Heat was allowed to slowly build in the borehole, and eventually superheated steam flowed up through the well for the next two years. Elders said that the success of the drilling was “amazing, to say the least,” adding, “This could lead to a revolution in the energy efficiency of high-temperature geothermal projects in the future.”

The hole funnelled superheated, high-pressure steam for months at temperatures of over 450 degrees Celsius—a world record. In comparison, geothermal resources in the UKrarely reach higher than around 60 to 80 degrees Celsius. The magma-heated steam was capable of generating 36MW of electrical power. While relatively modest compared to a typical 660MW coal-fired power station, this is more than half of the Krafla plant’s current 60MW output.

Most importantly, it demonstrated that it could be done. “Essentially, IDDP-1 is the world’s first magma-enhanced geothermal system, the first to supply heat directly from molten magma,” Elders said. The borehole was being set up to deliver steam directly into the Krafla power plant when a valve failed, which required the borehole to be stoppered. Elders added that, although the borehole had to be plugged, the aim is to repair it or drill another well nearby. …

http://arstechnica.com/science/2014/01/drilling-surprise-opens-door-to-magma-powered-electricity/

Under the earth’s crust, the next layer down is not molten magma. This is a common misconception. The mantle is a very slowly flowing solid, silicate rocky shell about 1,800 miles thick.

Environments of magma formation and compositions are commonly correlated. Environments include subduction zones, continental rift zones,[2] mid-ocean ridges and hot spots. Despite being found in such widespread locales, the bulk of the Earth’s crust and mantle is not molten. Rather, most of the Earth takes the form of a rheid, a form of solid that can move or deform under pressure. Magma, as liquid, preferentially forms in high temperature, low pressure environments within several kilometers of the Earth’s surface.

If we found a location where magma was flowing the right way, could we pump the water from Fukushima down into the magma and have only clean steam come back up?

Posted in Alt Energy, Earth | Leave a Comment »

Fukushima cleanup brainstorming

Posted by Anonymous on February 6, 2014

20140208-105808.jpg

http://www.fukushima-blog.com/article-the-geology-of-fukushima-88575278.html

Fukushima. Everyone should be working in some way to fix this deadly problem, and I don’t mean just sending money to relief workers , although that’s nice.

There are three different big problems at Fukushima: missing reactor cores, waste water, and fuel rods. Any one of these is a global threat that requires a global response.

Estimates say 300 tons (71,895 gallons/272,152 liters) of contaminated water is flowing into the ocean every day. Contamination of the ocean has been going on since the 2011 disaster and will reach the US this year.

The first six ideas below are things I’ve heard and why I think they won’t work. The seventh is my current best idea.

1. Shoot the waste water into space

- the water is too heavy, we can’t concentrate it enough, more waste is being constantly produced

2. Dump the radioactive water into an active volcano

- magma comes *out* of volcanoes, transporting it is not feasible

3. Pump the water into a subduction zone under the earth

- the mantle is mostly a very slow moving solid and the movement is too slow. It would sit there for thousands of years, transporting it would be too costly, no practical way to drill into such a place.

4. Release it all into the ocean.

- same as doing nothing, this would kill the pacific ocean, reducing world atmospheric oxygen, eventually killing most life on earth.

5. Transport the waste water by pipeline to an existing nuclear waste area.

- potential disaster all along the pipeline, does not address the reactors making new waste constantly.

6. Detonating a 25-km radius neutron bomb at the Fukushima plant to turn off the nuclear reactions taking place, and neutralize the radiation from radioactive particles that have been emitted within that radius.

- Neutrons can transmute uranium, but you there would not be enough from a bomb. You’d just create more nuclear material.

7. Use tunnel boring machines to dig under Fukishima, then explode nuclear bombs deep underground to create giant cavities into which the contaminated water could be pumped. Use robotic tunnelers to dig from the nuclear caverns up to the sites of the disaster and let the waste fall down the tunnels into the caverns.

It is most likely that removal of the most precarious 1,533 fuel rods will fail. The result could be a nuclear disaster unlike any ever experienced. It might be an explosion, a nuclear fire or chain reaction that sets off the other 11,000 fuel rods.

The biggest and most immediate challenge is the 1,533 spent fuel rods packed tightly in a pool four floors above Reactor 4. Before the storm hit, those rods had been removed for routine maintenance of the reactor. But, now they are stored 100 feet in the air in damaged racks. They weigh a total of 400 tons and contain radiation equivalent to 14,000 times the amount released by the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
The building in which these rods are stored has been damaged. TEPCO reinforced it with a steel frame, but the building itself is buckling and sagging, vulnerable to collapse if another earthquake or storm hits the area. Additionally, the ground under and around the building is becoming saturated with water, which further undermines the integrity of the structure and could cause it to tilt.
How dangerous are these fuel rods? Harvey Wasserman explains that the fuel rods are clad in zirconium which can ignite if they lose coolant. They could also ignite or explode if rods break or hit each other. Wasserman reports that some say this could result in a fission explosion like an atomic bomb, others say that is not what would happen, but agree it would be “a reaction like we have never seen before, a nuclear fire releasing incredible amounts of radiation,” says Wasserman.

These are not the only spent fuel rods at the plant, they are just the most precarious. There are 11,000 fuel rods scattered around the plant, 6,000 in a cooling pool less than 50 meters from the sagging Reactor 4. If a fire erupts in the spent fuel pool at Reactor 4, it could ignite the rods in the cooling pool and lead to an even greater release of radiation. It could set off a chain reaction that could not be stopped.

My drastic solution is to dig caverns under the mess with bombs and use tunnel machines so it all falls in. Think big and go for the long term fix.

- How many miles thick is the crust under Fukishima?

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