Monday Highlights

Good morning.

  1. Let’s see, if a few percent change in a “part-per-million” gas can change climate can sucking many megawatts out of air movement and changing wind patterns change it? Hmm.
  2. World War II and an obit.
  3. The use of a second language, use it to consider the pros and cons of your nuptials?
  4. This blog series is a lot of fun. Here’s part 1, part2, and part 3.
  5. Queen Tamar.
  6. Now that the President has decided to hype is “Obama slaying” in the partisan election campaign … details come out that aren’t exactly helpful to his hype.
  7. Air vs air and air vs mud.
  8. Ms Warren and  on again/off again minority status.
  9. Beef, birth, and micro-economics.
  10. Deft.
  11. An insight into why the “world building” in Hunger Games was scant. (hint: it wasn’t the point)
  12. Sleep (deprivation) and perception.

39 responses to “Monday Highlights

  1. 1.Let’s see, if a few percent change in a “part-per-million” gas can change climate can sucking many megawatts out of air movement and changing wind patterns change it? Hmm.

    Lesson not quite imagined here is about equilibrium. If Mark were to eat a single extra saltine per day and change nothing else he would blow up to 500 pounds if given enough time. Why? Simple, take in more calories than you burn you will gain weight. Keep everything equal, including forcing your burn rate to stay constant by doing less activity as you gain weight will cause you to gain weight until you die….even if the difference is just one cracker.

    Local weather changes caused by, say, a wind farm, are neutralized by thermodynamics. Make one place cooler and you’ll make the other hotter. The earth’s overall temp., though, is an equilibrium between the energy being asorbed by the sun and the energy radiated away. Change that balance and you can dramatically alter the average temp. as evidenced by the difference between Venus and Mars.

    6.Now that the President has decided to hype is “Obama slaying” in the partisan election campaign … details come out that aren’t exactly helpful to his hype.

    Wow that’s an amzing scoope. Who would have known the actual mechanics of how bin Laden was taken out was left to commanders in the field….as if there was some type of chain of command thingy going on here!

    More seriously the administration is absolutely correct on Bin Laden. Obama was attacked in the campaign for hinting that he would go into Pakistan if he had too. The Neocon right, whose agenda was to mount a case for going after Iran rather than ever really getting bin laden (unless he fell into our hands by accident), was aghast that such an ‘inexperienced’ person could put our wonderful relationship with an ‘ally’ in danger. That includes the current joker running for the GOP’s nomination. And whattaya know, turned out Pakistan not only was hosting Bin Laden but was hosting him in style, not in some obscure cave. It was a major change in strategy to stop coddling Pakistan and start confronting their ‘problem’ with tolerating radical Al Qaeda elements and Taliban in both their country and in high levels of their security services. Without being willing to break from Pakistan, IMO we probably would never have uncovered his location hence been able to decide to go after him.

  2. 3.The use of a second language, use it to consider the pros and cons of your nuptials?

    I’m wondering if this can account for the ‘immigrant effect’ whereby immigrants from foreign lands tend to be very productive relative to their homeland…yet this effect seems to taper off after several generations. If having to do business in a foreign language makes you more rational because your brain can’t lazily fall back on cultural cues and framing then you have a leg up in some fields compared to those who conduct business in their native language.

  3. Boonton,
    #3 -> it might have as much to do with the self selection of those who are willing to pull up their roots and move and what that implies for a persons willingness to act.

    #1 -> Let’s see, one of your primary concerns with climate change is that the micro and regional climates might change, i.e., Georgia become a desert. Yet, oddly enough that is a “equillibrium” situation, i.e., a change to a new climate set which changes with at different temperature setting. Oddly enough, you decide when I raise exactly that concern for you … this is suddenly not a problem. It is either a problem or it is not.

  4. #3 Self selection might be part of it *but* then you should see a noticeable difference in immigrants who wanted to go to a new place versus ones who had to. For example, have Cuban refugges from Castro had worse outcomes than Irish immigrants to the US?

    #1 I’m willing to entertain that local weather modification might be a concern but the effects of such would likely dissipate out quickly. For example the ‘heat island effect’ of large cities is more or less gone after you drive 20 miles out. Increasing the earth’s overall equilibrium temp., though, is a different scale. A windmill may lower temps in one area by pulling energy out of the wind but the energy ends up radiated away in the homes that use its electricity (as well as lost in the windmill’s own friction). When you change the earth’s overall temp you aren’t able to ‘just make Georgia hotter’, the energy has to go somewhere and entropy says it wants to go everywhere.

  5. Boonton,
    I see and setting up a turbulent layer of air which impedes convection and transmission of heat from lower to upper layers … will have no effect?

    “A” windmill may lower temps in one area. 10k windmills may modify air flow in a region, which may effect both global climates as well as local. Why do you jump on the notion that a few parts per million change of a at-saturation-already gas has a big effect but this does not?

  6. Conservation of energy. A windmill (whether 1 or 10K or 10M) takes energy in one area and moves it to another area. While I’m perfectly willing to believe that may cause radically different local climate conditions, it can’t alter the entire global average climate.

    Now if you alter the balance between energy incoming from the sun and energy outgoing as radiation into space, then you can alter the entire global average.

    To see it another way, suppose we are sea monkeys all living in a giant pot of water on a stove. Heat is coming into our world from the bottom of the pan and leaving through the top.

    Observing that the bottom of the pot is not uniformly hot but instead has hot spots and cold spots, we could set up machines like windmills that tap that heat, convert it to electricity and send it to our little sea monkey castles to run lights, video games and so on. That may alter the local climates. Instead of giant bubbles of steam forming over the hot spots, tiny bubbles might form as we are stealing some of that heat and radiating it away in our castles. But overall we aren’t creating energy, just moving it around.

    Now what if, instead, we built a giant dome over our pot of water. We will now be decreasing the rate at which heat radiates out which will lead to a higher thermal equilibrium. That will raise the total average temperature.

  7. Boonton,

    While I’m perfectly willing to believe that may cause radically different local climate conditions, it can’t alter the entire global average climate.

    So? In your objection to my suggestion that warming might very well be good, you offered that it could very well cause radically different local climates as if that was a horrible thing. Now it isn’t. Choose. Is it bad or good. If it is not bad, then you should be a fan of global warming for consistency.

    Today’s linked article points out how this isn’t “just” moving energy from one place to another, but that the change in turbulence affects the movement of warmth outward, that is reduces the loss of heat and thereby actually causing warming.

    Heat is coming into our world from the bottom of the pan and leaving through the top.

    And if you change the rate at which heat leave the pot it will get warmer faster, without changing the heat coming in.

  8. Seems like you’re still trying to articulate a violation of the laws of physics here. Inside the pan it’s perfectly possible to tap heat flows to do useful work and that may result in creating ‘hot spots’ inside the pan but that cannot itself alter the total average temp. of the pan.

    In the sea monkey hypothetical, you would expect to see some heat around the ‘windmills’ because friction creates waste heat which would be radiated away at that spot and in the ‘castle cities’ as the various electric appliances end up creating waste heat. But that would not actually alter the heat of the pan itself. Presumably, though, this would be offset by massive spots that would be slightly cooler because without the system of windmills and electric usage they would have been ‘feed’ the heat from the hotspots. That’s exactly what we see so far in this ‘discovery’. Local spots of warmth by massive concentrations of windmills.

    Now you’re saying maybe its possible to tap the heat inside a system to generate a type of ‘internal blanket’ to hold in heat thereby altering the entire system’s thermal equilibrium. Imagine, say, a system of giant ‘ceiling fans’ at 10,000 feet designed to ‘blow down’ rising hot air….sort of like the premise of the ceiling fan. Unlike your home fan, though, which is powered by energy released from coal or nuclear plants, these fans would have to power themselves off of the atmosphere’s internal air movements……I don’t think it would work, any heat you ‘saved’ by blowing it back down would end up getting radiated away by the fans themselves.

  9. Boonton,
    Oh, I see. The hole CO_2 thing was a non-issue. After all, CO2 doesn’t create or move energy. So there’s no problem.

    Now you’re saying maybe its possible to tap the heat inside a system to generate a type of ‘internal blanket’ to hold in heat thereby altering the entire system’s thermal equilibrium.

    The suggestion wasn’t “ceiling fans” but altering the turbulence of the low altitude layer. Which changes the flows of air moving air masses between altitudes.

  10. I see you’re still not getting the concept of equilibrium and I see you forgot a lot of basic physics in regards to temperature.

    Lesson 1
    Something very hot relative to its surroundings looses temperature quickly. Put a very hot cup of coffee on a table in a room at room temperature. Put a mildly hot cup of tap water there at the same time. 20 minutes later you will find the coffee has lost more degrees than the tap water.

    Lesson2
    Equilibrium is a balancing of forces. If you unbalance a force a stable system will start to change. If you burn 2000 calories a day and eat 2000 calories a day your weight will not change. Eat just 10 more calories a day and your weight will start increasing. It will increase forever EXCEPT:

    Even if you don’t do anything, your body has to burn more calories being fat than thin. At some point you’ll start burning 2010 calories a day and your weight will stabilize at that new, higher, equilbrium.

    Putting it together:
    The earth gains energy from the sun and looses it to space…hence the analogy with a pot of water on the stove. If you lower the earth’s loss of energy to space, you’ll raise its temperature. But as you know from the hot coffee cup, something hotter will shed heat faster so at some point the increasing temperatures stop and a new equilibrium is established. The average will now be higher.

    CO2 does not have to ‘make heat’ nor does it have to ‘move energy around’. It simply has to alter the rate at which earth will shed heat energy. You’ve either forgotten a lot of very basic physics here or you’re tossing up a lot of red herrings in an effort to confuse your readers.

    A fan or windmill preventing some cold air from mixing with hot air does not in itself alter ‘heat shedding’ of the entire system. If I keep hot air from mixing with cold air, then the ‘hot side’ of the room would be hotter than it would otherwise have been if I didn’t act, but by definition the cold side of the room has to be colder than it otherwise would have been. No average change in temperature. If I add insulation to the room making it radiate heat away at a slower rate, though, I will increase the average temperature of the entire room even though the insulation itself does not generate energy.

  11. Or even more simply what is the effect of a blanket in a cold bedroom? You hop in bed under the blanket, in a few minutes you feel nice and warm. Imagine in the alternative universe you hop in bed without the blanket, you feel cold even after a few minutes.

    In the first case the blanket alters the ‘local climate’. The bed area is warmer because the blanket holds in your body’s heat. The other parts of the room stay cold because they don’t get to enjoy your body heat. The room’s average temp is unaltered, it’s still you’re body heat plus the room’s heat. In the case of not using the blanket, the bed area gets a bit warmer but the rest of the room also gets a bit warmer due to your body heat….average temp. is the same as the blanket room.

  12. Boonton,

    CO2 does not have to ‘make heat’ nor does it have to ‘move energy around’. It simply has to alter the rate at which earth will shed heat energy. You’ve either forgotten a lot of very basic physics here or you’re tossing up a lot of red herrings in an effort to confuse your readers.

    Exactly what the suggestion that the turbulence would do. It would change the rate at which those areas affected would shed heat energy. Why don’t you see that?

    Look at your blanket analogy. Your bodies metabolism is the input energy (solar). The blanket slows your exchange of heat energy with the room, and you are warmer. This is exactly what the turbulence does, it slows the exchange of heat outward.

  13. Boonton,
    Seems to me that what your saying is that turbulence can slow the release of heat from the lower to the upper atmosphere, but can’t slow the release of heat from the atmosphere to space. How does that make any sense?

  14. Look at your blanket analogy. Your bodies metabolism is the input energy (solar). The blanket slows your exchange of heat energy with the room, and you are warmer. This is exactly what the turbulence does, it slows the exchange of heat outward.

    You’re standing naked in a cold room. Turbulence takes heat from near your body and spreads it throughout the room. Your area feels cold but other areas get a tiny bit warmer due to that turbulence hence the average temperature of the room rises slightly.

    You throw a blanket over you, you’ve prevented some local turbulence from taking your heat away from you. This makes the little space that you’re occupying feel nice and warm. But this warmth is offset by the fact that other parts of the room have not been warmed up by your body if you had not bothered to use the blanket.

    The average temperature of the entire room is unaltered from the slight rise caused by you being in the room.

  15. Seems to me that what your saying is that turbulence can slow the release of heat from the lower to the upper atmosphere,

    You’re forgetting that if one area, A, enjoys a bit more warmth because windmills slow down turbulence then some other area B must be a bit chillier because it never received the warm air that would have blown in from A if not for the windmills.

    You’d have to cover the entire world with ceiling fans to ‘blow down the hot air’ to keep it out of the upper atmosphere. But all those ceiling fans would by definition have to consume energy and radiate out waste heat. Since you’re talking about using *only* the energy already in the earth’s atmosphere from the sun (no ceiling fans powered by coal or nuclear), those ceiling fans would have to be powered by windmills which would take energy out of the lower atmosphere.

  16. Note once again the article(s) you’re linking too do not talk about any global warming due to windmills but a local one around the windmills themselves. What about the areas beyond the windmills? Can yo measure the rest of the world to confirm that a local warming is not offset by general cooling leaving the net at zero?

  17. Boonton,
    And you’re ignoring the part where area B is the one above area A, not downwind.

    You’d have to cover the entire world with ceiling fans to ‘blow down the hot air’ to keep it out of the upper atmosphere

    Listen more carefully. The turbulence prevents the movement of hot air from lower to upper atmosphere. This seems to be the ceiling fan effect you are worrying about.

  18. So let’s model this again with the Sea Monkey example. The water gets hot on the bottom and rises up to the top where it releases its heat and flows back down to the bottom.

    So the Sea Monkeys would create windmills mounted, say, in inche above the bottom. These windmills would capture energy, turn it to electricity which is used in the ‘castle city’ at some point at the bottom.

    So we agree that the windmills in this case would inhibit the normal upward flow of warm water and that upward energy would be captured and converted to waste heat from the windmill and electric energy which turns into waste heat of the city itself. It would likewise have to inhibit some of the downward flow of water thereby creating the effect you’re talking about, hotter bottom, colder top.

    I think you see the problem here. First since the windmills are already mounted above the ‘ground’, their waste heat has a direct route upwards to escape into the open air. Second the energy that does not escape as waste heat here gets sent to the city as electricity where it escapes as waste heat. Let’s say three or four inches above the bottom you were to mount a bunch of thermometers. What would you notice? (remember the windmill system is one inch above the bottom)

    Over many of the ‘hot spots’ you’d notice the temp. isn’t quite as hot as it was before the windmills were installed. The windmills are capturing some of that heat that before had shoot straight up and out. But above the city you’d notice a huge hot spot as all that energy that’s been captured ends up being used and radiated out.*

    Remember hot spots loose heat energy faster than cooler spots will. The spot above the city, even if it has windmills capturing the upward energy of the water, will loose energy faster. If you capture energy coming up from the city and send it back down as more electric power, you just increase the waste heat energy of the city which increases the amount of energy it will radiate upwards. All you’ve done is move the hotspots on the surface around, you haven’t altered the whole pot of water.

    Some windmills on some parts of the earth’s surface may be able to swap warmth away from other parts but you can’t swap all the warmth from one spot to another. Covering every inch of the surface with windmills, IMO, would not decrease the earth’s overall radiation level hence wouldn’t impact its total average temp. Unless you mean that you cover the sky with so many windmills that it becomes effectively a ‘dome’ to trap heat.

  19. Boonton,
    There are a lot of ways heat transfers, conduction, radiation, and via transport. That is, warm air in one region conducts the heat via contact to neighboring air, it radiates thermal energy (photons) which are captured elsewhere, or it just plain moves away. Motion can be laminar or turbulent. When you start heating water in a pan you start with conduction, as the heat gradients grow, density changes in the hotter medium drive currents. When the water gets very hot you get less efficient turbulent flow.

    What the windmills are doing in their region (not because of energy capture, energy return (in your cities) is create regions of low lying turbulent flow which act as an insulator preventing return of solar energy to space.

    Your error is in thinking that the energy transferred to the city is large compared to the trapped solar energy. I think you overestimate the efficiency and scope of the captured energy compared to the solar heat energy now trapped. To run a city on wind power you’re going to need many many times its area in regions with windmills, leading to more area in which heat is trapped/insulated by windmill turbulence than the small city you’ve just heated and powered.

    I think you see the problem here. First since the windmills are already mounted above the ‘ground’, their waste heat has a direct route upwards to escape into the open air. Second the energy that does not escape as waste heat here gets sent to the city as electricity where it escapes as waste heat.

    “First” … the route upward is the problem we’re talking about. The path upward (via transport) is hindered by turbulence. “Second” … the heating is from solar energy which cannot (because turbulence) escape upwards. Sending to the city is small and irrelevant.

    What would you notice? (remember the windmill system is one inch above the bottom)

    Over many of the ‘hot spots’ you’d notice the temp. isn’t quite as hot as it was before the windmills were installed. The windmills are capturing some of that heat that before had shoot straight up and out. But above the city you’d notice a huge hot spot as all that energy that’s been captured ends up being used and radiated out.

    Actually you might notice no change. The ground by the windmills is much hotter because of the insulation, but it’s also now at equillbrium, so that hotter ground transmits the same energy up.

    The problem here is that CO2 blanket has the same effect, trapping heat at the earth, raising global temperature, but the “above the fray” thermometers show an energy equillibrium. It’s just that your equillibrium point is hotter now. If CO2 is a problem then so is this turbulent air effect. If the turbulence isn’t problematic, then neither is CO2.

  20. Boonton
    Remember, you want to cover significant areas of the land masses with these windmills? Right? To stop that evil CO2 problem, with its blanket effect … alas the windmills themselves have similar effects.

    Next?

    TANSTAAFL.

  21. What the windmills are doing in their region (not because of energy capture, energy return (in your cities) is create regions of low lying turbulent flow which act as an insulator preventing return of solar energy to space.

    Is something wants to be turbulent but you force it not to be, then you must have expended energy. Where did this energy come from? In the case of the windmill it can only come from pulling it out of the lower atmosphere. In other words to make air *more* of an insulator than it naturally wants to be, you have only a few options. You can change the chemical nature of air to make it a mix of gases that are more insulating, or you can mechanically change its flow the way your ceiling fan does this. Mechanically changing its flow, though, is work which requires energy and since windmills do not pull energy from burning coal in plans or splitting atoms it can only come out of the lower atmosphere.

    Imagine a windmill that didn’t have an electric generator, it only turns with the wind. What is it doing? It’s transferring kenetic energy from the wind into energy to turn which then has to get dissipated as friction…otherwise a modest breeze would cause the blades to keep accelerating until it approached the speed of light.

    The problem here is that CO2 blanket has the same effect, trapping heat at the earth, raising global temperature, but the “above the fray” thermometers show an energy equillibrium. It’s just that your equillibrium point is hotter now. If CO2 is a problem then so is this turbulent air effect. If the turbulence isn’t problematic, then neither is CO2.

    We might be in agreement here. CO2 acts as a global insulator because it changes the nature of the air. The question you have to ask is does a local hotspot caused by a windmill farm act as a global or local insulator? I think it acts as a local one. The turbulance it captures ends up being transferred to outside the local zone where you’ll get an increase in turbulance due to the fact that the temp. differentials between airmasses will be increased. If your local area gets a bit hotter, the outside areas probably get a bit cooler due to the fact that they get to enjoy a little bit more turbulance which works so nicely to transfer that energy up and out.

    Now what if we decided to stop as much wind as possible by covering the earth with windmills, not to generate power but to block off the wind? What if we decided to try to mechanically stop the wind itself by building huge barriers that prevent the wind from blowing where it wants to blow? I suspect what you’ll find is as you build more and more wind barriers, the wind’s turbulance in the remaining areas will grow rapidly and will continue to do so unless/until you end up doing something like building a giant dome that covers the entire earth….

    But I think what you’re trying to get at is impossible even in theory. You’re trying to say that some type of device could take heat energy that is radiating away and put it to work insulating or boosting the insulation of the source. Think about a thermos for coffee like this. Rather than make a better thermos by finding better insulation, you’ll make a machine that takes radiating heat and put it to work pumping it back inside. I think such a machine would have to end up wasting more energy than it returns thereby accelerating the coffee’s cooling.

  22. Boonton,
    We have something laminar that is being made turbulent by the windmills. You do realize that the dimples on golf balls let the balls go further because they change nature of the air flow around them? They don’t “change” the chemical nature of the air, nor do they change the mix of gases. You seem to think that this change in the air flow is meaningful in a way that I don’t see. Yes it did work, and the air provided the energy. So what? The point is that while the ball can go farther, efficient mixing between layers is less effective because the flow has been broken up.

    The question you have to ask is does a local hotspot caused by a windmill farm act as a global or local insulator? I think it acts as a local one.

    Right. And you want to put windfarms on a significant fraction of the earth surface. I (and likely you) have seen drawings/plans for sea based windfarms. So when lots of local hotspots build up you get a global one.

    If your local area gets a bit hotter, the outside areas probably get a bit cooler due to the fact that they get to enjoy a little bit more turbulance which works so nicely to transfer that energy up and out.

    No. The outside area is unaffected. Look back at your blankets. You have a heated surface (sun heating surface via radiation). You put blankets on areas so they are locally hotter. Next to the blanket … the area is not cooler. It is unchanged. Why would the outside areas get cooler?

    Now what if we decided to stop as much wind as possible by covering the earth with windmills, not to generate power but to block off the wind? What if we decided to try to mechanically stop the wind itself by building huge barriers that prevent the wind from blowing where it wants to blow?

    Then you’d be altering the climate, and likely the reginal climate patterns. Right? You say this is bad. Right? If it isn’t bad, then you have then to concede that global warming very well might be a good thing, not a bad thing.

  23. Right. And you want to put windfarms on a significant fraction of the earth surface. I (and likely you) have seen drawings/plans for sea based windfarms. So when lots of local hotspots build up you get a global one.

    Not really. Check out the answer about 1/4 of the way down on http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080613142631AAXBY5R. It would take roughly 466 million wind turbines to replace all other sources of electric generation in the US. The blade length on a 1.5MW turbine is 38.5M. Let’s say each one needs a box 77 meters long on each side to sit on. That would be 5,929 square meters or, rounding up, 1.5 acres for each wind turbine. That’s about 700 million acres needed. The US has 2.3 billion acres or so of land…of course that is assuming you’d decide to do 100% of the US’s power generation from wind…..if you did, though, you’d hardly have to cover every square foot of earth with turbines.

    The effect IMO would be simply making the earth’s surface a bit more bumpy. This might create areas of calmness near the bumps (windmills), but the turbulance would just e funnelled to smaller regions that would blow faster allowing heat to be moved around. An effect you surely have felt if you ever been in a city with tall buildings like NYC or that tiny one you live by on a cold, windy day.

    No. The outside area is unaffected. Look back at your blankets. You have a heated surface (sun heating surface via radiation). You put blankets on areas so they are locally hotter. Next to the blanket … the area is not cooler. It is unchanged.

    What you’re missing here is what would that area next to the blanket have been if you didn’t use the blanket? If you didn’t a blanket, your body’s heat would disperse throughout the entire room. That area would have been slightly warmer. But because you used a blanket, that area doesn’t get slightly warmer because you’re hogging all the heat near your body. Adding more and more blankets on top of you may allow you to hog more and more of your own body heat, but the room’s average temperature includes only your body heat and doesn’t change if that energy is dispersed evenly throughout the room or confined to a tiny space under your covers.

    Then you’d be altering the climate, and likely the reginal climate patterns. Right? You say this is bad. Right? If it isn’t bad, then you have then to concede that global warming very well might be a good thing, not a bad thing.

    Altering the regional climate of any one area might be good or bad but you’re making a slightly different argument. You’re saying a room with a man under a blanket would be warmer on average than the same room with the same man without the blanket. I don’t think that’s the case. What’s even odder, though, is you’re not even really talking about a blanket. A windmill isn’t a blanket but is a machine that transforms one type of energy into another type of energy. That would mean you are saying a windmill can take one type of energy (wind), tranform some of it to electric and some of it to heat energy AND also the mechnical energy needed for an active insulation (physically holding hot air down is work which requires energy, a blanket doesn’t do work in that sense). Somewhere here I think you’re violating conservation of energy. More likely IMO is that a wind farm may be warmer because it is cheating other areas out of the cooling effects of the wind.

    http://www.livescience.com/74-windmills-change-local-global-climates.html seems to confirm this. Note the simulation of covering 10% of the earth’s surface with turbines increases the temps in some areas but decreases it in other areas.

  24. Boonton,
    Interesting link. It (a) disagrees with former statements in that it says the turbulent air mixes more not less well with higher altitudes and (b) advocates less wind power … in fact it pushes for less power consumption of all types.

    You’re saying a room with a man under a blanket would be warmer on average than the same room with the same man without the blanket.

    No. I’m saying the man under the blanket being warmer doesn’t cool the gal next to him not under the blanket.

    That’s about 700 million acres needed. The US has 2.3 billion acres or so of land…

    So you’re thinking .7 billion vs 2.3 … except the wind doesn’t blow all the time and those windmills don’t operate at 100% efficiency often, in fact rarely. So you’re going to have to increase by, say a factor of 5 the land usage. So the US instead of needing .7 billion acres needs 3.5 (having 2.3). Oops. And of course over the next century the rest of the world will catch up with the US in energy consumption. Oops.

  25. Boonton,

    If you didn’t a blanket, your body’s heat would disperse throughout the entire room. That area would have been slightly warmer. But because you used a blanket, that area doesn’t get slightly warmer because you’re hogging all the heat near your body

    Doesn’t work that way. We’re at equillibrium. Your body is warmer, but the heat dissipation still occurs, the same amount of heat reaches the room. It’s just that because it transfers slower through the blanket, under the blanket you have a local hot spot. The amount of heat going to the room (space) is the same.

    Adding more and more blankets on top of you may allow you to hog more and more of your own body heat, but the room’s average temperature includes only your body heat and doesn’t change if that energy is dispersed evenly throughout the room or confined to a tiny space under your covers.

    Wrong. See above. The change is that “close to the bed” is the measured average temps of the planet. Because of the blanket the “earth” is warmer.

    Today (I don’t know if I linked it) I saw a report that near wind farms a 1C local rise in temp was reported. If wind farms cover 50% of the US rural regions, then you’re going to start having, well, global impact.

  26. No. I’m saying the man under the blanket being warmer doesn’t cool the gal next to him not under the blanket.

    OK but as a system the rooms are the same, its just the distribution of heat that is different. One room is a little warmer due to the man’s body heat, but all that heat is under the blanket making that area nice and cozy while the rest of the room is chilly. Another room is uniformly chilly but a tiny bit less so because the man’s body heat disperses throughout the room as he does not have a blanket.

    Land usage:

    Windmills tend to operate at 50% efficiency so to create the same power let’s say you need 2 times 0.7 billion acres. That’s still just 1.4 billion acres compared to 2.3 billion in the US. That’s still only 60% of the US’s land and we haven’t even talked about the oceans of which there is a lot more of than land and where the winds blow stronger and more consistently.

    Before we get too far, though, keep in mind those stats are not to argue that it would be pragmatic to move towards 100% wind based power. It wouldn’t for a lot of reasons. But if we did do something so extreme, as uneconomically as it would be, what would it look like from the global view? The surface of the earth would be slightly more ‘bumpy’ over a fraction of its surface, that increase in ‘bumpiness’ would probably be pretty much even with the previous level of bumpiness from tall forests before we started cutting them down (a tall tree, after all, is just like a windmill in that it slows down the wind that passes through it). It would hardly be anywhere near enough to mechanically stop all the earth’s winds, which you would probably need networks of massive walls standing miles high to accomplish.

    Anyway the problem with the global warming assertion is that it requires that the tiny and temporary hot spot that shows up around the wind farm (if you read the article it only appears a few hours at night) is not offset by a cooler spot elsewhere. Only if that is the case can you say that wind farms would warm the earth by adding lots of little hot spots while not causing any offsetting cold spots. Leaving aside the conservation of energy issues, if a wind farm area happens to be a hot spot because it prevents air of different temps from ‘mixing’ as it passes over the farm, then why wouldn’t that just cause the prohibited mixing to hapen in spades once it leaves the influence of the farm and is no longer inhibited? If that happens then the non-farm spots will be cooler than they otherwise would be due to the excess ‘mixing’ that is created there and adding more and more windfarms would simply add more and more hot and cold spots while not actually changing the net temp. of the whole thing.

    BTW, not having time to re-read the article is the temp. bump relative to the pre-farm state of the land or is it a difference between the surrounding area? If its the difference then you may already have the offsetting decrease staring at you in the face of the data. If the wind farm zone is 7 degrees warmer than the zone outside the farm then that’s can just as easily be the windfarm zone going up 3.5 degrees while an area outside the farm zone goes down 3.5 degrees. The zone can only be generating heat if you can show that it is 7 degrees hotter while the surrounding areas had NO change.

  27. It’s just that because it transfers slower through the blanket, under the blanket you have a local hot spot. The amount of heat going to the room (space) is the same.

    We are at equilibrium for the entire room. Consider the part of the room that is not under your blanket, it is cooler because of your heat hogging. If it wasn’t then the act of putting a blanket over you somehow would make your little zone warmer while also making the rest of the room just as warm as if there was no blanket…..in other words it would either have to magically produce heat of its own or induce your body to make more heat.

    Look at it another way, suppose you have an empty house where you’re going to have a massive rave party in the dead of winter with no heat. Which will cause the room to warm up more in 30 minutes. Getting 20 people in ski-suits to go in and dance around or getting 20 people in skimpy outfits to do the same?

    Wrong. See above. The change is that “close to the bed” is the measured average temps of the planet. Because of the blanket the “earth” is warmer.

    Now you’re changing around definitions. The room’s temperature, properly speaking, is of the entire room, not the bottom or not just under your blanket. The earth’s temperature is not just the surface but the atmosphere, the oceans, the surface and all the different levels.

  28. Today (I don’t know if I linked it) I saw a report that near wind farms a 1C local rise in temp was reported. If wind farms cover 50% of the US rural regions, then you’re going to start having, well, global impact.

    You do a cannonball into the ocean and open up a ‘hole’ that is 3 feet deep before it closes up. You speculate that you have caused the ‘local seal level’ to drop. You happen to have friends at research stations on the coasts of Africa, China, Brazil, France, etc. and they all report that sea levels did not alter at all when you did your cannonball. Ahha you cry, if I could just get billions of people to do cannonballs into the ocean at the exact same moment we could get the sea level to drop by 3 feet….which would be a massive change in earth’s geography. The reality is though your cannonball didn’t create a global ocean drop, if anything it created a global ocean rise to offset your body’s addition. The 3 foot ‘hole’ was offset by 3 feet of rise that was so spreadout and shot lived it was gone before it was noticeable. Even if you did get hundreds of billions to participate in a synchonized cannonball, you wouldn’t change ocean levels (minus the boyancy factor of so many new bodies in the water), just make it easier to measure the offseting forces.

  29. Let’s try something else….

    Imagine a big empty room that’s very cold, say 40 degrees, with a hot plate in the center. Say we agree if we left this alone for a few hours it would become a bit more comfortable 55 degrees in the room.

    Now let’s imagine someone goes in the room with an odd contraception. It looks like a plastic igloo that goes over the hot plate and has a clear plastic tube to another little igloo to house the person. I think you’ll agree that by restricting the heat disperson the person might enjoy a comfortable 70 degree temp inside his little plastic bubble.

    Now imagine more ‘bubble boys’ enter the room and attach their bubbles to the hotplate bubbles. A linear way of thinking about this would be that each one of them could achieve a conformtable 70 degree temp.

    But that would be false…each one would be taking a fixed amount of heat and dividing it into smaller and smaller units. Adding more and more bubble boys to the hot plate would end up leaving everyone no warmer than 55 degrees….what they would have achieved if they just let the hot plate alone to heat the entire room. (For purposes here assume there’s zero body heat from the added individuals coming into the room, zero friction heat from attaching more and more bubbles to the structure and so on.)

    From this point of view saying one rural wind farm that’s 1 degree warmer can make all of rural America 1 degree warmer if we multiply the farm by 500 million or so suffers from the same flaw. Adding more and more wind farms, if anything, would probably cause the ‘local warming’ property to get smaller and smaller just as everyone in the room starts to feel less and less warm as more and more people hook up to the hot plate.

  30. Boonton,
    You keep saying “this area gets warmer and this area gets colder”. By what mechanism. If the windmill area gets warmer, why would that cool a surrounding region (and not warm it). Recall your heated bed, blanket example. The guy under the blanket gets warmer, but him being under/not-under the bed does not cool (or warm) his neighbor.

    Adding more and more wind farms, if anything, would probably cause the ‘local warming’ property to get smaller and smaller just as everyone in the room starts to feel less and less warm as more and more people hook up to the hot plate.

    Or that if you have lots and lots of wind farms in Nebraska, then the winds will be less energetic in Iowa so Iowa’s wind farms produce less energy? Are you suggesting that wind farms tap a finite resource and that if you have too many they all lose effectiveness? Hmm. That’s not in your model either.

  31. Recall your heated bed, blanket example. The guy under the blanket gets warmer, but him being under/not-under the bed does not cool (or warm) his neighbor

    I should probably say relatively cooler or warmer. You have a cold room, a guy in a blanket and digital thermometer stationed on a night stand a few feet away. After some time you will register a slight increase in temp as some of the heat will escape the blanket and fill the rest of the room.

    Now repeat the same experiment tomorrow night leaving everything exactly the same except the blanket. You will register a higher temp at the nightstand than before. Why ? Without the blanket the nightstand is able to enjoy some of the heat dispersing from his body hence gets slightly warmer. with the blanket the man enjoys an exceptionally ‘hot spot’ but it comes at the expense of the nightstand and the rest of the room.

  32. Or that if you have lots and lots of wind farms in Nebraska, then the winds will be less energetic in Iowa so Iowa’s wind farms produce less energy?

    It would, however the energy of Nebraska’s wind is pretty vast and I doubt Nebraska could stop the wind even if it had every individual acre outfitted with a turbine. But keep in mind the conservation of energy, the energy is constant, it’s the ability to tap the energy to do useful work that is limited. Energy pulled away from the wind has to end up getting radiated out as heat. This will happen either as friction (if you’re just setting up barriers in a vein attempt to stop all wind) or as waste heat from the work you’re doing with the energy.

  33. Boonton,

    You have a cold room, a guy in a blanket and digital thermometer stationed on a night stand a few feet away. After some time you will register a slight increase in temp as some of the heat will escape the blanket and fill the rest of the room.

    Now repeat the same experiment tomorrow night leaving everything exactly the same except the blanket. You will register a higher temp at the nightstand than before. Why ? Without the blanket the nightstand is able to enjoy some of the heat dispersing from his body hence gets slightly warmer. with the blanket the man enjoys an exceptionally ‘hot spot’ but it comes at the expense of the nightstand and the rest of the room.

    No. Do the experiment. It should be the same, the same amount of heat is escaping. It’s just that the blanket has a lower rate of conduction of heat so the guy under the blanket is locally warmer. The heat balance of the room is unchanged.

  34. Boonton,

    It would, however the energy of Nebraska’s wind is pretty vast and I doubt Nebraska could stop the wind even if it had every individual acre outfitted with a turbine.

    Who said “stop the wind” the question is would significant turbulent air extending a thousand feet or two into the lower atmosphere over a significant (greater than 40%) fraction of Nebraska (just to the West of Iowa) decrease ground (and wind mill altitude) air speeds thereby decreasing the amount of wind energy that Iowa can expect to extract. Abstract considerations of conservation of energy don’t enter into the question here very directly.

  35. Boonton,
    Actually that’s not exactly true. Wind energy could move from laminar to non-laminar flow … turbulent air may have the same wind energy but have less energy that can be extracted by a turbine and used. As an extreme case, you could have very high speeds are in local intense vortices (think dust devils) then a 50m fan wouldn’t move at all, even if a kids pinwheel would go berserk.

  36. No. Do the experiment. It should be the same, the same amount of heat is escaping. It’s just that the blanket has a lower rate of conduction of heat so the guy under the blanket is locally warmer. The heat balance of the room is unchanged.

    Are you talking about at some infinite time in the future when all balance has been achieved or after a finite period of time?

  37. Boonton,
    Not after infinite time, just after heat flows have come to equillbrium. Look the heat in/out of the room is unchanged in presence/absence of blanket. The room temps will be the same. The reason the guy under the blanket is hotter is not because more heat is kept in the blanket and doesn’t escape to the room but that the lower rate of diffusion out of the blanket means a higher heat differential between inside/outside of blanket is required for the same heat to escape (which it will be doing).

  38. Boonton,
    You’ll be pretty close to equilib when the temps under the covers have leveled off.

  39. Thinking about this a while I think you may be right about the room example, but then wrong about windmills.

    I’m thinking after a short period of time the room outside the blanket is cooler than it otherwise would be if the person didn’t have the blanket it. You’re saying after a long period of time the room will settle to an equilibrium where everything is the temp. it would be *except* for under the blanket. The blanket creates a type of bottleneck on the flow of heat from the body to the room to the window and walls where it eventually escapes into the wider world.

    But consider someone outside the room measuring the heat that is escaping. After a long period of time, when everything has come to an equilibrium, he notices that the heat escaping the room is exactly what would be expected from a room with exactly one human body radiating inside of it. He can’t tell from outside whether or not the person is under a blanket, correct?

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