Monday, December 29, 2008

NIMBYs again

It's always funny to watch what happens when so-called environmentalists have to follow the same laws they prescribe for other people. Like when "green energy" companies wanted to put windmills off the coast of a rich liberal oasis. No chance.

Here's an article about banning CFCs from inhalers.

Medical Devices and Ipods

Fascinating article on about medical devices and connectivity. It talks about trying to get all the devices talking to each other and making decisions on the information they receive, which seems to me to be a recipe for disasters bigger than the lede event.

The event in the story's lede [yes, that's spelled right] is a case where they had to turn off a breathing machine to get a quick Xray, and the distracted anaesthesiologist didn't get it back on in time. Perhaps the solution for that is something simple like a "pause 45 seconds" option for the breathing machine, rather than trying to teach every machine to negotiate with all the others?

They mention the fact that to have 10 machines wired directly to each other, you have to run lots of cables. (They estimated 100 cables rather than the correct number, 45). I'd argue against using EM spectrum like bluetooth - too much chance of locking onto the device in the next operating theatre. More likely, you need a hub and device protocol, which would require only one more device and 10 cables. But first, someone has to analyze what are all the conditions that need to be communicated, and design the control programs.

Lots of work there.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Global Climate Change - A Walk on the Beach

There's actually a fairly simple solution to "Global Warming", if it were occurring. Simple, and much less expensive than the proposed carbon tax-and-spend schemes or tax-and-graft-to-third-world-dictator schemes.

You see my solution every summer day on the beaches.

Mylar umbrellas.

Okay, so I'm not putting them on the beaches, I'm putting them up in space. The entire global warming problem, as of the worst estimates, is a few degrees Fahrenheit over a century. Let's say 4-5 so we get worst case scenario on the problem.

And yet, on any desert, the day-to-night temperature drop is huge - on the order of 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit. So that means that the sun is warming the earth by that much each day.

So, at worst, we need to cool the planet each century by 1/10 the amount of energy that the sun sends each day. What percentage is that?

EQ 1: 4/40 * 1/100 * 1/365 => 0.00027%

Okay, so that's the maximum percentage of incoming energy that we need to stop.

So how many square miles of energy are we getting, anyway? You remember pi times radius squared? Well, the radius of the earth is 4000 miles, so the area of sunlight that Earth intercepts is a circle with about 50 million square miles.

EQ 2: 3.15 * 4000 * 4000 = 50,265,482 square miles

Multiply that by our percent from Equation 1 and you get about 138 square miles of umbrella needed to solve the entire problem.

EQ 3: 50,265,482 * 0.00027% = 137.7136506

So, we can solve the whole alleged problem with current technology and a couple of hundred square miles of PVC and mylar. I make that out to be roughly three hundred shuttle loads, and even with NASA's current atrocious cost structure it's a tenth or less of the cost of the other proposed solutions.

The great thing about this particular solution is that, when the sun drops out of its current warming cycle and the coming ice age hits, we can reverse the mylar and reflect sunlight down to warm the Earth by a similar amount. Rough calculations tell me that we'll need about three times this many satellites at that time, and all the carbon dioxide we can put out.

Science Magazine and Academic Fraud

It's fairly often that we hear complaints about "politicizing science", generally from the left and generally talking about Bush's refusal to allow federal funding of one particular type of stem cell research that requires human fetuses to be created and destroyed, something that is found ethically troublesome by roughly half the population.

We don't hear the same question when it's about leftists ignoring science or making false claims (Hi Al!) in their attempts to change the world's economy away from use of carbon dioxide. (Which I believe is currently protecting us from the coming ice age.)

Apparently, Science Magazine doesn't feel it has to publish corrections when they publish false or shoddy research that makes exaggerated political claims about "consensus" on "global climate change". In fact, they appear to actively conceal their errors, and to intentionally time their shoddiness to bolster leftist political theatre (much like the Lancet).

A 2004 article printed in Science, but apparently never peer-reviewed, claimed that of the 928 peer-reviewed papers from 1993-2003 in the ISI database on "climate change", 75% of them agreed with her idea of consensus and the other 25% were silent. In other words, "science historian" Naomi Oreskes claimed there was no argument about human-caused global warming. She defined the consensus thus:
“Human activities … are modifying the concentration of atmospheric constituents … that absorb or scatter radiant energy. … most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations.”

Aside from the obvious and undenied point that humans put out gasses, pretty much all of her claims were wrong, from the number of studies of "climate change" to what those studies actually said regarding the points in her consensus statement above.

Dr. Benny Peiser, of Liverpool John Moores University in the UK, conducted a search of the peer-reviewed studies in the ISI database, and found that there were over 12000 that matched the term she claimed she used. When the term was later adjusted in an errata statement to "global climate change", there were 929, which is fairly close to Oreskes's number above. However, only 13 explicitly agreed with her claim, and more than twice as many explicitly disputed it, even in the abstract.

The details were even more incriminating, recalling Michael A. Bellesiles's fraudulent anti-gun research. Science, of course, has refused to publish the corrections, or the later studies that show the radically different distribution of opinions on papers published after 2004.

You can read the whole story here.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Carbon Candor

A fascinating opinion article over on Wall Street Journal points out new testimony by NASA global warming alarmist James Hansen, where he tells Congress not to start jimmying around with the carbon credit system to pick winners and losers.

He says, in effect, if you're going to have a carbon tax, give the money to the people and tax the businesses evenly, and don't make it some kind of source of green blackmail money.

I'd agree to that, except I'd go one further. I'd say, give the credits to individual American citizens and let them sell, buy, keep or spend them. If Greenies want to drive up the cost by buying and retiring the credits, let them. That way, at least, the system is content-neutral, and whoever can reduce their carbon imprint can automatically make money by doing so. You will see companies moving as quickly as they can to add efficiency to their methods.

You'd also want to figure out how you were going to calculate the carbon released or sequestered by an activity, so that the whole system worked effectively.

Another caveat on that is that Congress needs to make sure that no employer can have anything to say about their employees' credits.

Eclectic Approach Vector

It is impossible to avoid politics altogether, so I'll do my best to segregate it over here where you don't have to come if you don't want to.

I'll do a post soon on why we have a two-party system in the U.S., and why I think that's bad for the country.

In general, what I'm going to be doing over here is coming up with descriptions of what is going on, applying logic and reason and empathy, and trying to point out possible "solutions to" or "methods of attack on" problems that the country and the world face.

Often I will be pointing out suspiciously shaped moles on the emperor's private parts, without necessarily talking about the obvious fact that he's buck naked, and also without determining whether they might be cancerous or venerial in nature.

Trolls are not allowed. Be respectful and thoughtful or be banned.