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Total number of comments: 7 (since 2013-11-28 16:37:47)

Dan Hafeman

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  • Top 10 errors in Netanyahu's Speech Demanding Iran give up 'Genocidal' Policies
    • Thank you so much for this highly informative article. I can't understand why the USA with its massive State Department full of talented people, hasn't been in constant negotiation with Iran. If there's anything humans should have learned from the 20th century, it's that we always need to be communicating with our enemies. War indeed has to be a last resort with a madman opponent. Iran has never met those conditions.

      I hope the United States can remain steadfast in its pursuit of peace with Iran, and push the Israelis aside since all they seem to want is regime change.

  • Nuke'em: Russia's Plan to Nix Meteor Danger
    • Please understand that the Russian Soyuz technology is only capable of delivering humans to low earth orbit. They establish a proper orbit to reach the space station by carefully syncing their launches with the space station properly positioned in its orbit. There isn't much fuel on board for a major orbit adjustment let alone establishing any other far reaching orbit. Soyuz cannot escape low earth orbit. No manned craft has been able to do that since Apollo in the 70s and Apollo could only reach the moon.

      Reaching a rapidly approaching meteor with a manned spacecraft is extremely difficult requiring huge amounts of fuel and a massive launch vehicle. Apollo couldn't do it. This capability will be beyond possibility for years if ever. Robotic craft weigh a fraction of what a manned capsule weighs and do not have to return back to earth.

      And so defending ourselves against an asteroid can only be done with remotely controlled unmanned vehicles.

      I also agree that worrying about meteors at this time when a massive climate crisis is upon us is foolish unless mankind is indeed already doing everything possible to defend against climate change, which it isn't. Instead, the current tactic seems to be ignore and enjoy life while it is still good.

      danh

  • A Hot Wet Thousand Years and 10 Green Energy Stories to Avert it
    • Alec,

      I think you misunderstood how Juan was using the word "gadget" and understandably so as gadgets usually refer to all the smart portable electronic devices we have today which by definition become obsolete in three years or less as you say. But Juan was referring to all of our power generation capabilities. Power plants can be considered as very large gadgets. Unfortunately, carbon fuel driven ones last far longer than 3 years. Try three to five decades which will most likely cement our fate. Who can afford to shut down a brand new 3gw coal plant after a decade even if cheaper means of renewable power is available? The capital investment is too great to walk away from. Here is what Juan wrote:

      The world consumes roughly 15,000 gigawatts (15 terawatts) of energy nowadays, generated by all its gadgets, most of them driven by hydrocarbons.

      --------------

      danh

  • Did Columbus Cause Climate Change?
    • Most people spreading the propaganda that current climate change is a natural process and not worthy of concern, point to the accurate fact that humans can't permanently harm the biosphere and that greater disasters have happened in the past and the earth recovered just fine.

      While I don't dispute this, I quickly remind people who promote this argument that this isn't a debate about the survival of life on earth, this is all about survival of modern society which is in a highly precarious place when it comes to weather as recent meteorological events have proven over and over again. It is about the severity of problems our kids and grand kids will have to face.

      And so we must be careful to constantly direct the conversation to climate change being a threat to "us" and not the planet at large. I think this is the point that BSC is trying to make.

  • "This Scares Everybody" says BP:
    Top Kill Fails, Imperils Gulf;
    "There are no Solar Spills"
    • Throughout many articles I've read including this one and throughout the comments, there is the impression that many progressive people think we can just switch to solar or wind renewable energy. I fully support renewable sources and want to curtail our addiction to oil. But I am also an engineer who has to pay attention to facts.

      Renewables only help us produce electricity. They are a partial alternative to new coal fired power plants. Even the strongest advocates of wind and solar agree that no more than 30% of our electricity can be generated with wind and solar because these sources of energy are not controllable. People don't want their lights to go out or businesses to shut down because the wind hasn't blown for a day or two. We need new technology to STORE electricity if renewables are to play a larger role. Today's battery technologies don't measure up to this task. Where will the other 70% of our power come from? Given that hydro-electric has already been fully exploited, our choices are coal, nuclear, or oil. Not much of a choice.

      Electric cars and trucks, while starting to come to market, have limited range and speeds unless you are willing to spend six figures for your car and replace a very expensive battery pack after every 1000 charges or so. Or live with a constant reduction in range. There is no alternative fuel to oil for these vehicles except for a very limited amount of biofuels. Producing these fuels takes valuable farm ground, lots of fertilizer (made with oil), water, and diesel powered tractors. There is promising technology but none is close to ready for economic exploitation.

      There is no alternative to oil for aviation, period.

      So, if you regularly drive, which almost all of us do, and you fly, which most of us do at least once a year, you are part of the addiction problem. An addiction is just that. If you give it up, you will suffer immense pain.

      What we need is serious research. It needed to happen back in the Clinton and Bush eras. Instead we all (I didn't) rushed out to buy the latest gas guzzling SUVs during those eras. Is it too late now? I don't know. But monsters like BP, Exxon, Chevron, and others have been empowered by this total dependance on oil and oil based products.

      As peak oil approaches, producing more oil will carry increasing environmental and political risks. Where are the breaking points. Have we hit one already in the gulf?

      danh

  • Pakistan's Social Media Ban Endangers Economic Growth
    • I think that the controlling and ultimately corrupt nature of organized religion is based in the fact that reality (the world we experience and interact with) strongly suggests that there is no active god involved. Believers have to deny this painful reality and paper it over. The paper is organized religion and its countless books of theology.

      I studied to be a catholic priest for two years during which I evolved from being a devout student who had dreams of being a monk to a total non believer. Then I discovered evangelical christianity for five more years and studied to be a missionary minister. But this experience led to the same conclusion. If god is out there, he's not involved in any measurable way. God's presence is simply the projection of the beliefs of those who will him to be more than anything else. How can one dedicate their professional lives to serving an elusive, inconsistent, and unmeasurable god. It eventually distorts the thinking of even the most clearheaded professional. It borders on insanity.

      I am fine with religion until religious movements become political which they are doing all over the world. The move to religion directed governments is being spearheaded by islam but christianity is following close behind in the United States and elsewhere. Religious thinking is hindering progress on serious problems ranging from population control to climate change. I am so frustrated with people who believe that scientific experts know less than the unskilled local preacher.

      danh

  • Apartheid in Israel, Showing Papers in Arizona
    • Hi Eric,

      All states require one to have a drivers' license on them when they operate a motor vehicle and I am glad they do as one shouldn't drive if one does not have a license. Proof of insurance and registration are non invasive as these papers are kept in the automobile. There are sound reasons for these.

      But proof of citizenship is a whole new deal. I never carry proof of citizenship with me. My birth certificate is locked away. Even when visiting Europe or Japan, I lock my passport in the hotel safe when walking the city I am in. In Arizona, a hispanic citizen out for a walk had better have a copy of his birth certificate with him. Does anyone know if a drivers license serves as proof of citizenship in Arizona?

      danh

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