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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Australian Air Conditioning

This blog was triggered by an item on our National Radio when we crossed to Kerry-Anne Walsh in Australia.  She reported that there is a heat wave in Aus with temperatures reaching and even exceeding 45C.  At the same time, she reported that the Ausi electrical generation can't cope with the load so there are instituting rolling load shedding* just when the people most need their air conditioning.

*Power grids are set up to shut down sectors when demand exceeds the power they can generate. Not pleasant if you are in this sector when the temperatures are lethally hot and your air conditioner no longer works.

This is not just a matter of convenience or comfort.  When the wet-bulb* temperature rises above about 33C, a human can't cool off any more and such temperatures become fatal.

* A wet bulb temperature is a combination of temperature and humidity.  At 100% humidity and a temperature of 33C, you can no longer cool the body by sweating or radiation.  As the air gets drier and drier, you can tolerate higher temperatures because your sweating mechanism becomes more effective.  It has been suggested that with Climate Change, areas of the earth will become uninhabitable unless the people have air conditioning.  

Kerry-Anne also mentioned that part of the problem is the emphasis in Aus on Wind power as part of the grid generation and when you depend on wind, it doesn't always blow when you need it most.  ie - during one of these heat waves.  This got me to thinking.  Let me diverge for a moment.

When I lived in Gazankulu in South Africa, I set up a fish pond for one of the local sub tribes.  It was fed water from a near by lake and the water was pumped by a MonoPump powered by an array of solar panels.  A mono pump is a positive displacement pump* so if it turns a little it pumps a little water and if it turns a lot it pumps a lot.  (unlike centrifugal pumps that need full speed to pump their water).  It had a DC motor. DC motors can be set up to turn in proportion to the amount of power they receive.  Note that AC motors must have their full power or they tend to burn out.

*A piston pump is one example of a positive displacement pump.  It's output is proportional to the number of rotations it makes.  Centrifugal pumps which are the ones most used and which are powered by Alternating Current (AC) must operate at speed to be effective.

When the sun came up in the morning and touched the panels the pump started to operate slowly and as the sun rose, it pumped more and more.  Why do I mention this.

The two things you have to take from this story is that with suitable electronics, the rpm of a DC motor is in proportion to the amount of power you feed it and a positive displacement pump will pump in proportion to it's rate of rotation.

An air conditioner, in essence,  is nothing more than a gas pump and two fans.  Let me divert again and explain a touch of physics.  I hope no physicist are reading this.  They would have a conniption fit at my explanation.  I apologize right at the beginning.

When you compress a gas it heats up and if you have somewhere cooler that the gas, the heat will flow to this cooler location.  Think of it as if you are squeezing the heat out of the gas.  If you compress it more and more, at some point it will condense into a liquid and a lot of heat will be squeezed out as the molecules come closer together in the liquid.  When you let off the pressure and let the liquid evaporate and the resulting gas expand, it cools and can absorb heat from its environment.  This is an air conditioner.

You have the compression outside the house and have a fan blowing outside air across the radiator which contains the condensed, hot liquid.  You then pipe the liquid into the house in a pipe and let it expand in a second radiator with a fan blowing across it. The expanded gas cools and cools the air in the house.  Now let's pull this together.

All you need is a few solar panels on your roof pointing North.  They are connected directly to an air conditioner with a 3 DC motors (to power the gas compressor and the two fans).

For the most part, it is hot when the sun shines.  Yes I know there are some hot cloudy days but at a 95%+ level, Sunny = Hot.  So now you have an air conditioner that works harder and harder the higher the sun is both on a daily and a seasonal basis.  You can even slant the panels a little toward the West to take care of the continuing heating of the air even after the sun has reached it's zenith. 

Better still, you are not putting extra strain on the grid when it is under its greatest strain.  I would actually state this a little differently.  You become independent of "The Man" and take care of your own needs without dependence on a central power source.

Apropos, no one would ever suggest that only one source of renewable power is the answer to weaning ourselves off fossil fuel.  Each has it's advantages and together they are much more effective than any single source.  In fact, even single sources are more effective  if they are geographically distributed.  That is the advantage of our existing national grids.  It can bring power from areas where the wind blows or the sun shines to where the wind  is not blowing or the sun is not shining at the moment.

If there is one country in the world with abundant renewable energy it is Australia.  I don't know why they burn coal at all.  Must be political.  It certainly isn't technical. 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Vetting check list for rich immigrants

The rich from America and other Northern Hemisphere countries see the chaos coming and want a bolt-hole to run to if the situation in their own country gets too hot.  New Zealand is a prime target for the rich and 'famous'.  If they have been instrumental in the creation of the coming chaos, they should be left in their own country to enjoy the fruits of their labor.   The source of their fear is three fold. 

There is the threat of another crash but one that won't have an Obama to save the day.  Obama succeeded in avoiding the worst consequences (at least for the rich - the common people suffered) but he didn't manage to get reforms passed the way FDR did.  Before FDR the American economy crashed on about a 14 year cycle.  Post FDR there was half a century of economic stability.  Clinton and others deregulated and we had 2008.  In the natural course of events one would expect the next crash about 2022 (14 years after 2008).  I doubt it will take that long.

Climate Change
There is the threat of climate change and some indications that it will hit the Northern Hemisphere very hard.  The chaos, climate change will cause will make the nastiness caused by America's never ending wars look like a minor inconvenience.

Third there is the threat of insurrection in America.  Trump has appealed to a population that wants change and who wouldn't.  They could have had Bernie but a hugely corrupt DNC shafted that possibility.  Now we have Trump and if there was ever a divisive president he is it.  I don't think most American politicians realize why  the second amendment was put in the Constitution (right to bear arms).  It was put in place so that no government could ever abuse their population as was the norm in the 1700s.  The American population is heavily armed and many many of them have been sent to war after war.  They are battle trained.

Therefore, below, I present a vetting list for the "rich and famous" when they want to buy  a bolt hole in New Zealand to escape to.  Some of the following would automatically eliminate a candidate, some would trigger what our friend Trump calls extreme vetting.  Unfortunately some of our politician and civil servants are all-a-flutter at the prospect of catering to the rich.  I'm not saying by any means that they are receiving favors from these people.  Just that they are a little starry eyed.  Think - An innocent 16year old girl who has just got a date with a rock star.  All a twitter.

                         Vetting List 

*Anyone who doesn't pass the normal criteria of language, time spent in New Zealand, police checks and so forth that any other immigrant must pass.  You have to ask yourself, why would someone who is well established in their own country want citizenship in a country they don't live in. Why should we allow them to purchase a bolt hole in New Zealand to avoid the results of their actions.

*Any member of a Northern Hemisphere political establishment. Especially the GOP.

*Anyone in the Trump administration.

*Any American super delegate.

*Any CEO on an obscene salary.

*Anyone who works or worked for Goldman Sachs, Merril Lynch or any of the other companies who were implicated in the crash of 2008

*Anyone who works or worked for a bank. Especially if they hold or held high office.

*Anyone who was in the Bush administration. 

*Anyone in the Military.  The higher up, the more extreme the vetting.

*Any lobbyists.

*Anyone in the pharmaceutical industry.  The higher up, the more extreme the vetting.  

Climate change deniers
If the scientists are even half right, the present gradual climate change we are experiencing  will suddenly (within a few years) flip to a new state.  Some call this a light switch phenomenon.  You push against the spring until the light switch clicks and you have a new state (light to dark).  You have to push  hard in the other direction until the previous state is restored.  No need to detail the chaos that will occur if the scientists are correct.  Any climate change denier would attract extreme vetting, anyone who's actions had hindered the adoption of measures to mitigate climate change would be summarily rejected.

Economic reform deniers
Following the crash of 2008 there was a crying need to re-introduce the measures that were so successful in FDR's administration.  His reforms stopped the boom and crash cycle and led to half a century of economic stability.  Anyone who fought against the re-institution of these measures would be automatically rejected. Anyone who was for deregulation, likewise.

You may like to add to this list and I will be happy to entertain any suggestions.  The principle is clear.  We don't want people here who have contributed to the coming CF.  Why should they get a get-out-of-jail card and leave behind the situation they have created.

Of course, if you reverse this list, you see the type of people who could be admitted to lifeboat New Zealand

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Letter to Barak Obama

Dear Professor Obama

I am very glad you are not going to observe common custom of American presidents and desist from commenting on the present presidency. You are a voice of calm, reason and right thinking which is much needed today.

Your legacy is being dismantled step by step and this is a tragedy. I was going to say that you have no one to blame but yourself but that is manifestly untrue. Also to blame are Hillary and Debbie in cahoots with each other and Elizabeth Warren.

Not only are you a constitutional lawyer but you swore to uphold the constitution of the United States. The core of that constitution is the part saying that the government is ‘by and for’ the people. The rest is window dressing. Just keep that part and you would still have the best founding document that the world has ever known.

Therefore, if you were going to endorse someone as the Dem candidate it should have been the peoples choice. It was abundantly clear who that was. To support anyone else was unconstitutional.

What really gets me is the stupidity of the decision. Why on earth would you, the DNC and Warren support a candidate with at best, a 50:50 chance of beating Trump instead of the candidate that would have left Trump as a minor foot note in American history. Professor Warren is particularly disappointing.  She was by a long shot my all time hero and her fall from grace, pandering to her own ambitions to be on the team is shocking.  And it is not as if she didn't know who Hillary is.

You certainly have your work cut out for you trying to influence the course of the next 4 or 8 years but in my opinion, your first job is to reform the badly misnamed Democratic party. There is nothing democratic about it.

Go back to the choosing of Truman as FDR's running mate and work your way forward in time to this recent CF resulting in Trump being elected and you will see what I mean.

If Bernie had been elected, he would have taken your legacy, preserved and enhanced it.

What I am going to say now will sound bombastic but work your way through the implications of the situation we find ourselves in and you may come to the same conclusion.

Your support of Hillary combined with the support of the DNC and  Warren may just possibly have doomed our civilization. It certainly will have led to a huge amount of chaos and suffering in the world. Arguably we are just on the brink of tipping points that will send our climate to a new state. We have finely adapted our civilization to the climate state we have had since the end of the most recent glacial period and any new state will result in much suffering. The more closely you have adapted to a situation, the greater the disruption under a new situation.

Looking at the strange weather now (2016-17) it could be that even Bernie would have been too late but at least he would have taken the necessary measures and we might just possibly have a chance.  Under Trump, especially if he is in for 8 years, we are deep in the brown stuff.

With respect to the economy,  under your administration, FDR-type reforms to the economy were not put in place. The next crash is inevitable.
Note that the economy boomed and crashed pre FDR on about a 14 year cycle.  After FDR put in much needed reforms, we had half a century of economic stability.
This lasted until Clinton and others deregulated leading to the crash of 2008.  You managed to pull us out of that one without the complete disaster that could have occurred.  However you failed to re-instate much needed reforms and the next crash is inevitable. 

So we are facing both economic chaos and Environmental chaos.

I hope that in the book you are working on, you will tell us ‘what happened’. In fact that might be a good title for the book. What Happened.  It could be an instruction manual for the next president, telling him how difficult it is to get things done, and the pressures he is under to betray his beliefs. It could give future presidents a heads up on how to work the system.

A big advantage that Bernie would have had is that he has been a mayor, a congressman and a senator. He had the experience. You, like Kennedy, didn’t have the depth of experience to know how to work the system. Johnson, the much maligned, got more of Kennedy’s measures through than Kennedy ever did. He knew how it all works

On that note, look what Trump is doing. He is doing what he promised and however you (and I) disdain what he is doing, he is proving himself to be an effective president and a man of his word. That is what the American people want and he is very likely to win a second term.  Looking at other things he has promised I can only say God Help Us.  The people he has surrounded himself with have an agenda which is past abuses of the American people on steroids

It is not certain that Bernie could have pulled us out of our rush to destruction.  We may have actually gone too far already and the coming results are already in the pipeline.  But at least, he would have taken the much needed measures and given us a chance.  After 8 years of Trump, if he does what he has said he will do: and so far he has shown us that he is a man of his word: then it will almost certainly be too late.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Open letter to Senator McCain

Dear Senator McCain
I read your statement that “there is no national security interest more vital to America than the ability to hold free and fair elections without foreign interference”.

I’m not trying to “get at you” or at the United States but looking at America from outside, one gets the impression that this battle has long since being lost. Let me give you some examples. It is often easier to be more objective when looking  at examples that don't hit close to home so I will use examples from the Democratic Party and from some time ago.  I'm sure you can come up with more examples from the GOP  than I can.

Take the abysmal way that Truman was chosen instead of Wallace as FDR’s running mate in FDR’s last term. I’m sure you are familiar with the story so I won’t insult your knowledge by recounting it. Arguably, MAD might have been avoided if Wallace had become president. Wallace was clearly the people’s choice in America and was hugely admired all over the world He was an experienced politician with a proven track record but wouldn’t cow tow to the powers behind the spot lights.

Come forward in time to the recent Dem primary and the abysmal, undemocratic, unconstitutional activity under Debbie in cahoots with Hillary. Clearly Bernie was the people’s choice. If he had being running against Trump, the result is not hard to predict. I would suggest that he might well have brought in a Dem majority in both the House and the Senate on his coat tails.

Add to this the denial of registration in many states, the hassling of people trying to vote and the antiquated voting machines that are quite frankly a joke in a first world country. For a recounting of the abuses in one state, put in a google search box Youtube Arazona Hearings Democratic Primary. It’s a shocker.

If any more was needed, look at your delegate system. Even though a majority of the American people vote for a given candidate, your system can put the other candidate into office.What a joke.  What democracy??

Then you have  the reduction of polling stations such that it is a real treck for many of the voters to get to a polling station.  Older people and couples with young children either don't come to vote or get fed up by waiting in line for hours.  No prises for guessing which areas have lost their polling stations.

  Oh, I forgot.  Your totally undemocratic super delegate system, specifically designed to frustrate the will of the people if it doesn't agree with the wishes of the party bosses.

Just two more comments. First it is a bit rich for America to complain about another country interfering in America’s elections. America has a long history of deposing democratically elected leaders and replacing them with dictators.  America then supplies the dictator and his army with arms and money so that they can suppress their own people. Start with Mosedeq in Iran and work your way through Africa (Congo for instance)  and then central and South America. Include Italy. Look up the mtkass blogThoughts on the Roof” and type in the search box, “Timeline America to see a catalog of specific cases.

Secondly, while it is important who hacked the e-mails, the really important question is what they revealed. They revealed a very corrupt DNC, which is part of the so called “free and fair” election system of the United States of America. The corrupt, bought and paid for American press is continuing its misdirection of the American people by focusing their attention on who the hackers were instead of what they revealed about the American election system.

Whoever hacked the Dem e-mails did the American people a favor.

Senator, there is nothing democratic about the American system.. You have by far the best constitution of any country in the world but you simply trample it into the mud.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Chinese air pollution

I don't get it.  In-so-far as Chinese air pollution is caused by coal fired power stations, smelters and  other factory that spew out particulates and oxides of sulfur into the atmosphere, they could clean up the problem in a historical instant (say 2 years).  America did it and the technology is old hat.  In America the situation was dire.  Once the decision was made, it took them very little time  to stop all this nastiness going into the air.  The technology was patented in1907.

I can't help wondering what the motivation is of the Chinese government.  Is it ignorance.  Is it a lack of concern for their citizens.  Do they want their citizens to die young so they don't have to look after them in their old age.  What on earth is the problem.  They seem to be happy that a lot of their people are smoking so perhaps the last possibility is the correct one.  Anyway, technically, how would they do it.

For the particulates they install electrostatic precipitators.  Let me digress here and try to explain how they work.

Have you ever run a comb through dry air and then used the comb to pick up little pieces of paper from the table.  What is happening here?  When you rub almost any two different materials together, some electrons are rubbed off one on to the other.  If the rubbed materials are insulators, the electrons or lack of electrons stay on the surface of the two objects giving one a positive charge and one a negative charge.  Opposite charges attract and even a neutral object will be attracted to a charged one as some of the opposite charge on the neutral object is pulled toward the charged object.

Or have you ever shuffled your feet across a carpet and then walked over to a friend and brought a finger close to his ear.  A little spark jumps and so does your friend. You haven't sent much current to his ear but you were at a surprisingly high voltage which caused the spark to jump

Or have you ever got out of a car and as you went to close the door, you got a shock.  Once again a charged object sending a spark to an uncharged one.

In each case a charge has built up on the object and when you bring the charged object near to an uncharged object, electrons jump from the negative one to the positive one and neutralize the charge.  At a microscopic level, if you were a little charge particle, you would be pulled toward any nearby object which was neutral or had the opposite charge.

A lot of this is now done by electronic wizardry but I will describe it old school which is easier to understand.  You may have noticed that in older cars there is a coil.  Ask your granddad about them.  This is a transformer that has a few coils of wire coming from the battery and a lot of coils around it going to the spark plugs.  When a pulse of electricity is sent by the distributor from the battery through the primary (the few coils) it makes a magnetic field which cuts across the wires of the secondary.  This induces a voltage in the secondary.  How high the voltage is depends on the number of coils.  If there are ten times as many coils in the secondary as in the primary, the 12 volts of the primary (from the battery) will be stepped up 10 times to 120 volts. In a car the ratio of primary coils to secondary is much larger in order to get enough voltage to jump the gap in the spark plug.

In an electrostatic precipitator you have something similar except the voltage is stepped up to thousands of volts and you pass AC (alternating current) through the primary.  So far so good but useless.  You have also induced an alternating current in the secondary going positive and negative.  You need high voltage direct current.  No problem.  You rectify this alternating current with a wheatstone bridge.  Note that in the diagrams in the link they talk about resistors.  Replace then with diodes that only allow current to flow in one direction and you will understand rectification.  I'll leave you to puzzle this one out. It is rather neat.

You now have very high voltage Direct current.  You conduct this current to a bunch of spikes, plates or bars in the flu of the polluting chimney and electrons stream off  and attach themselves to the particles.  Once charged, they will be attracted to any neutral or positively charged material.  You then have only to pass this flu gas past, for instance, a wet, grounded surface and the particulates will glue themselves on to the water to be washed away.  Some precipitators are designed to collect the dry particles and shake them off.  Whichever system is used, problem solved.  Particulates removed.

The fine details are somewhat more complicated (aren't they always) but this technology can be bought off the shelf and with her command economy, I'm sure China can reverse engineer it and build a factory to turn these out in the thousands.

As for sulfur, have a look at this link.  Oxides of sulfur can also be removed and the technology is old.  One reason for doing this is  to recover the sulfur which is a valuable industrial feed material.  On the ecological side, oxides of sulfur in the atmosphere attract water and make aerosols of sulphuric acid which are both  toxic and corrosive.  With the recovered sulfur, the cost of a sulfur scrubber is negative (you make a profit on the process).

Incidentally, in a smelter, (factory where metal is recovered from an ore) an electrostatic precipitator also often recovers valuable materials so you often also make a profit on doing the right thing.

 What is wrong with the Chinese bosses.

There is a little wrinkle in this story, though.  Many scientists believe that the particulates in the atmosphere are shading the earth and keeping it cooler than it would otherwise be.  A fairly common estimate is about 2 degrees.  I don't know what proportion of aerosols (air born particulates) are due to Chinese factory pollution but for the sake of the argument, let's say a quarter.  If the Chinese did clean up their pollution, and if the estimates are correct, we could expect a sudden jump of half a degree (centigrade) in our atmospheric temperature.

We should see the results of this experiment fairly soon.  The Chinese population is getting fed up with being slowly poisoned by their leaders who are sitting on their hands.