Thur. Mar. 14, 2019 – Pi day!

69F, sunny and only 65%RH- beautiful day!

Jeez, almost 10am and I’m just getting up. Kids, dog, wife and bladder all let me sleep. I still feel like going back to bed. It was 2 am before I finally got to sleep and I’m feeling it today. NOT as young and resilient as I was.

Seems that it’s Pi Day, so got get a slice! OH, not that kind of pie?? Dang. Well, MicroCenter has a Pi Zero W for $3.14 and there are probably other geek deals to be found.

Last night’s concert and rodeo went well. I checked the website for weapons policy and knives were not mentioned. I should have known- it’s a Rodeo in Texas, and everyone had a knife. I had two, so it helped the average. The bag search, metal detector search was lackluster at best. I left my flashlight in my pocket and it didn’t beep.

The Rodeo itself had a nice mix of events, pretty much everything you’d want to see. The concert was . . . meh. Sound was pretty bad. It’s a tricky venue, but despite tons of gear in the air, the best thing they could have done was turn it down. We were seated way up in the nose bleeds, so maybe it sounded good elsewhere, but we got almost no vocals, huge resonant bass in the low mids blowing out everything, and a ‘wall o noise’ for everything else. I was happy to have earplugs and so were the wife and kids. I did take them out periodically to check the sound, but it was uniformly bad. Pretty nice light show, and really effective use of video though.

All in all, Santana isn’t gonna live forever, it was good to see him play (has a young vocalist), and I’ve been to worse shows.

Kids wanted to ride carnival rides afterwards, and wife had prepaid ticket books, so we did. Left the park at 12 midnight. There was a heavy police presence by then [pairs at least, every 40-50 feet when I looked around]. LOTS of mounted Sheriff’s Deputies when we arrived, but double the number at close. LOTS of HPD officers too, and some were loaded for bear. 4 glock mags? Really? There were a couple of raised voices, and a couple of bleary-eyed people peg-legging around, but the crowd was light and pretty well behaved. Kids had fun, nobody got hurt, wife was happy, so all in all, a good day.

n

(even if the late night has repercussions for the next 4 days….)

75 thoughts on “Thur. Mar. 14, 2019 – Pi day!”

  1. I’m up! I’m up!! Don’t turn on the light, I’m getting up I promise !!11!!1

    Thank you Jenny for opening a thread. I think this is the latest I’ve slept in a decade?

    n

  2. Winter is happening in the Plains states:

    Severe Winter Storm –Rockies to MS Valley

    Current Situation:
    A major winter storm impacted a wide area from the Rockies to the upper Great Lakes. Heavy snow and high winds created blizzard conditions, making
    travel extremely hazardous. Blizzard warnings remain in effect for portions of NE through today

    Lifeline Impacts:
    Safety and Security:
    • CO: Mandatory and voluntary evacuations for a small community (seasonal residents) in
    Hinsdale County, CO due to avalanche danger; one home destroyed (Region VIII SPOTREP)
    • NE: Evacuations in effect in several counties due to ice jams and rising waters (Region VII SPOTREP)
    • IA: Voluntary evacuations in effect for southern portions of Missouri Valley, IA due to levee
    overtopping (Region VII SPOTREP)
    Food, Water, Shelter: (ARC Shelter Count, as of 6:30 a.m.)
    • CO: 9 shelters with 620 occupants due to blizzards
    • NE: 3 shelters with 96 occupants due to flooding
    • WY: 1 shelter with 2 occupants due to blizzards
    • IA: 4 shelters with 16 occupants due to flooding
    • SD: 1 shelter with 15 occupants due to flooding

    Health and Medical:
    • One fatality (State Trooper) in CO

    Energy:
    • CO: Approximately 92k (down from 174k) customers without power*

    Transportation:
    • Approximately 1k motorist are stranded statewide in CO
    • Numerous Interstates closed in WY, CO, NE and the Dakotas due to blizzard conditions
    • Airports: Approximately 1,000 flights cancelled in CO; expected to resume flights today

    State/Local Response:
    • NE EOC at Full Activation; Governor declared state of emergency
    • CO EOC at Partial Activation; CO Governor declared state of
    emergency and activated the National Guard
    o National Guard & State Volunteers will fly recon missions today
    • WY, SD, UT and MT EOCs at Monitoring

    FEMA Response:
    • Region V at Steady State, continues to monitor
    • Region VII RWC at Enhanced Watch (dayshift only)
    • Region VII LNO deployed to NE EOC
    • Region VIII at Steady State, continues to monitor

  3. I’m nerdy enough that I wore my Pi t-shirt today. Also gave an absolutely stunning lecture this morning – sometimes you get the chemistry with the class flowing, their skulls open, you can pour some knowledge in and watch the understanding appear in their eyes. It’s a great feeling when it works.

    Weather here has been miserable for a week: high winds, lots of cold rain. There’s a big high-pressure area moving in from the Atlantic, though, ought to bring us some decent weather starting on the weekend.

    I read that New Mexico has now passed a bill to phase out any carbon-based energy generation, which somehow also includes nuclear. Solar and wind will be great, some of the time. Dunno what they plan to do at night, or if the wind isn’t blowing. Power from unicorn farts, maybe. But then, the NM legislature was never the brightest.

    Oh, and the bulk of the bill is provisions for the government to hand out money: subsidies for the renewable stuff, of course, but also paying the unwanted plants to stop generating. It’s so easy to spend other people’s money.

  4. Work has a fundraiser today, selling slices of pie for $3. I like pie.

    @JimL, Clayton W, Greg
    I turned off commenting on my post after Nicks went up. It seemed logical to have a single post for the day and satisfied my OCD. Not to be confused with OFD whom I miss.

    My daughter turns 7 soon. Her brain is ravenous and she is reading 5th and 6th grade books. Keeping her in age suitable reading is going to be challenging. I’m mostly throwing her stuff published 40-60 years ago because the themes in children’s reading hadn’t gotten too perverted yet (amusing note – spell wrecked from perverted to preferred). She likes the old books just fine. Summer Pony and Winter Pony have been reread several times. We are working our way thru the Jesus lion stories. She’s reread SteveFs story a couple times, though on the iPad it’s tougher to maintain focus on reading.

    Regarding HOAs and gardens. There are a number of stories about HOAs pulling stunts like this. It’s facike to say don’t buy in an HOA, however even in Anchorage they are everywhere and can be difficult to find suitable housing without. Don’t know how widespread they actually are. We avoided by buying a 1968 ranch in a weird neighborhood.


  5. …or the HOA lawyers will start sending nasty letters about the sod at your expense.

    My HOA is pretty lenient, but I am on the Board to keep it that way.

    I wish I could remember all the kids series I read as a kid. Mostly boy stuff like Flying Boys (WW1 series?), there was a series I read about a child’s life in the late 1800’s that I found fascinating. Steam cars and early autos, IIRC. Anyway, it was interesting to me as a difference between life in the 60’s and 70’s and nearly a 100 years earlier.

    The school and town library were very good at the time. Probably not today. 🙁

  6. All in all, Santana isn’t gonna live forever, it was good to see him play (has a young vocalist), and I’ve been to worse shows.

    We saw Mike Nesmith in September on the theory that he wasn’t going to live forever. The show was ok, and Nez has always been a low key act so doing his own vocals wasn’t a problem.

  7. Regarding HOAs and gardens. There are a number of stories about HOAs pulling stunts like this. It’s facike to say don’t buy in an HOA, however even in Anchorage they are everywhere and can be difficult to find suitable housing without. Don’t know how widespread they actually are

    In Florida, HOAs are everywhere, and they tend to fall under control of retirees with control issues. Military retirees involved with the HOA tend to be really bad since most are still young-ish with double the control issues of civilians, especially if they still contract for the DoD at a local base.

  8. I was a big fan of the Bobbsey Twins, then Tom Swift Jr. I never got into Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew. I liked Danny Dunn, but there weren’t 40 of them. I remember some stories featuring kids that had a clubhouse hidden in a junkyard, but can’t remember the name.

    I loved the Swiss Family Robinson, and my girls have liked it too. We started with the kid version and have re-read it in more complete versions a couple times since.

    My older one liked the Dorothy in Oz books, all 7?… I got tired of them but they are a nice read.

    At some point I started reading all the scifi I could get, mostly the old masters. Our library had a pretty good collection, but those are a bit mature for a 7yo. Some of my earliest memories are my dad reading scifi to me. Of course, once it came out, I read all the Star Wars books, including a bunch of the spin off novels. Now you couldn’t do that if you had all the time in the world.

    Anything by Alan Dean Foster was high on my must have list as a kid, but I don’t remember when I started.

    My now almost 10 yo really liked the Penderwick sisters books. They are modern but have the ‘feel’ of the classics from our youth. Brandon Sanderson’s Alcatraz series is hard to read out loud, but older girl liked it and is waiting for the 5th volume.

    My wife and I both really liked “Mistress Masham’s Repose” TH White. We didn’t know, and couldn’t decide, if it was a brilliant new story or a classic. Timeless. [1946 says wikilies]

    I also loved Mark Twain, and read through the collected works,as well as TS, HF and the normal short stories. Might cause issues today though.

    We’ll be starting younger daughter on some of the stuff we read with older daughter now too, with my wife and I trading books. Except maybe Swiss Family, I still love that one.

    n

  9. Encyclopedia Jones books were pretty good (junkyard club, I tink).

    You got the Danny Dunn Books. Hardy Boys / Nancy Drew books were great. All of the Heinlein Juveniles. Terry Brooks, the Pern books, and every other JUV FIC book I could get my hands on. SF & Fantasy were always big on my shelves.

  10. I remember reading a lot of Heinlein, though I was probably 12 or 13. Before that, certainly Hardy Boys (or Nancy Drew for girls). I somehow missed Little House on the Prairie, but I’ve heard good things about it.

    There was a whole series of classic books: Swiss Family, Jungle Book, and…don’t remember what else was in the set. But those two I re-read a bunch of times.

    This Wikipedia page looks like a good resource

  11. Well, butto is going to run for prez. Who did not know ? John Cornyn (Texas senior senator who is mostly a RINO) had a big sigh of relief this morning that he does not have to fight him off.
    https://www.star-telegram.com/news/nation-world/national/article227692109.html

    Texas may be a battleground state in 2020. The real question is, will Texas be a battleground state in 2020 or 2024 ?
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/14/upshot/beto-2020-texas-battleground-white-voters.html

    I do think that that butto is the only demorat who can carry Texas in 2020. If butto is the veep candidate then that probably will not happen.

    The liberal cancer that is Houston has spread to the outlying areas around Harris county (the central county of the Houston metroplex). Fort Bend County (Sugar Land and 800,000 people) is irretrievably gone blue. I suspect the other seven counties are headed that way also as more and more white liberals move here from California, Michigan, and New York state.

  12. Been lurking for the last couple years. There has been a lack of Dave’s for a while in comments so I’ll stick my oar in now.
    About to turn 71 and my wife and I have agreed to stay where we are until we get dragged out. We see the same gardening restrictions problems with retirement group housing even in this area of northern Minnesota.
    Started tomatoes, tomatillas, flowers so far. My weird stuff this year is Cherokee Purple tomatoes ( big purple with green streaks), and Potato Onions(clusters like Shallots and semi perennial like garlic). We will see if they work out.
    Some of my Progressive friends are getting a sick look and don’t seem to want to discuss politics on the national level. I’ve had my sick feeling for three years.

  13. I do think that that butto is the only demorat who can carry Texas in 2020. If butto is the veep candidate then that probably will not happen.

    The Progs need to pick off Texas or Florida to avoid problems and allow them to focus money elsewhere.

    The complications for them in Florida are (a) Ron DeSantis has the highest Governor approval ratings in a decade and (b) neither Senate seat is up for grabs in 2020.

  14. Some of my Progressive friends are getting a sick look and don’t seem to want to discuss politics on the national level. I’ve had my sick feeling for three years.

    Imagine having to defend pulling the lever for Keith Ellison. I almost feel sorry for Minnesota Progs.

  15. The complications for them in Florida are (a) Ron DeSantis has the highest Governor approval ratings in a decade and (b) neither Senate seat is up for grabs in 2020.

    Butto is the only rat who could beat senator John Cornyn in 2020 in Texas.

    BTW, an anagram of Senator is treason.

  16. Yes, there has been a preponderance of Jims, so nice to hear from a Dave…

    I do remember somewhere seeing a guide to planting food gardens so they LOOK like ornamental or flower gardens. It had layouts and plant selections. There have been online articles about ‘stealth’ gardening too.

    Container gardening usually is ok.

    I planted some heirloom tomatoes, some sort of purple thing, and it was REALLY tasty. Didn’t get many fruits though.

    n

  17. Butto is the only rat who could beat senator John Cornyn in 2020 in Texas.

    The Castro brothers are toast if they don’t make a decent show of running for office next year. The party wants them to succeed, practically handing the Senate race nomination to the idiot brother (okay, they’re both idiots), but younger Prog faces are coming up.

    The Castros are seeing challenges even in their own backyard, Ron Nirenberg has a reasonable chance at being reelected as Mayor of San Antonio, establishing him firmly in a leadership position within the Texas Democrat Party.

    https://woai.iheart.com/content/2019-01-19-nirenberg-opens-campaign-for-a-second-term/

  18. We are working our way thru the Jesus lion stories.

    Pardon my obtuseness but you mean the Narnia books, right ?

    The Heinlein juveniles are still awesome to me even though they are dated. In fact, I prefer juvenile SF that is very edgy. Yes, I know, I am weird. “Citizen of the Galaxy”, “The Star Beast”, and “The Rolling Stones” are perfect for very advanced preteens. “Have Space Suit, Will Travel” maybe too. Seven may be a little young for these though.
    https://www.amazon.com/Star-Beast-Robert-Heinlein/dp/1451638078/?tag=ttgnet-20

    It is still tough to find good juvenile girl lead SF stories. “Shiver” is probably too advanced, I just do not know.
    https://www.amazon.com/Shiver-Maggie-Stiefvater/dp/0545682789/?tag=ttgnet-20

    “Emergence” is freaking awesome story with an 11 year old girl lead. Lots of death in it though with most of it smoothed over very carefully as the Earth population is reduced from 7 billion to less than ten thousand due to an engineered virus.
    https://www.amazon.com/Emergence-David-R-Palmer-ebook/dp/B07F2SG4TG/?tag=ttgnet-20

  19. I’ve read the Narnia series several times. I never “got” the Jesus thing until someone told me. Whatever. It was annoying… like they said it to ruin it for me.

    My Dad had a sub to SFBC and it would be almost like torture waiting for him to finish a book. Sometimes I would sneak one, I don’t think he noticed.

    I like Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, Bradbury, del Ray, Silverberg, and more. Grimm’s Fairy Tales are fun. Hans Christian Anderson. Just about any old books of myths. And history books.

    And the Lensman series.

  20. I don’t call it officially Spring until the mesquite trees start to leaf. Not yet, just some greening twigs.

    Then again, the hummingbirds showed up this morning. A couple of weeks early. Sugar water is cooling.

  21. Even though I got the Narnia books for my Confirmation celebration, and was attending catholic school, I didn’t get the religious aspect until later. I guess I was well trained at that point to just take the world that was built in the book at face value. MY problem with the Narnia books is that they are presented as a series, but in reality jump around in time and place and are only loosely related.

    n

    (That would have been 6,7, or 8th grade)

    added- I did love them and devour them the first time thru, with many more re-readings to follow.

  22. I’ve read the Narnia series several times. I never “got” the Jesus thing until someone told me. Whatever. It was annoying… like they said it to ruin it for me.

    The irony of religious parents objections to Harry Potter is the strong Christ allegory of Harry’s story arc. Rowling was shameless in stealing everyone blind, including God.

  23. “Rowling was shameless in stealing everyone blind, including God. ”

    –because she was a hack.

    n

  24. Two absolutely beautiful, 60 to 70 degree days and now that storm system is blowing them away. Back to the 20s in KY. I knew it was too good to last.

  25. Heinlein had Podkayne plus the young lady from “The Menace from Earth” and the no-nonsense sidekick from “Have Spacesuit, Will Travel”. All youngsters worth identifying with.

    The Rick Brandt Science Adventure series hasn’t aged all that well but I enjoyed ’em back in the day. Swiss Family Robinson was a fave I re-read several times. Twain is great, too.

    I suspect keeping my nose in a book throughout my public education was what kept me sane and led to developing a jaundiced view of the whole process.

  26. @Rick H
    “Early” is “Later” in @Jenny’s house….
    I better not give up my day job. Sadly, I triple checked the dates and still screwed it up. I plead fatigue.

    Great book suggestions. I’ve got the Danny Dunn’s and many of these others. She doesn’t like (?!?) Encyclopedia Brown which causes me to question her parentage…

    Swiss Family remains a favorite of mine as does early Heinlein – I think she’s ready for Swiss Famiky, early Heinlein will be another year or two I think. She likes Kipling in short doses.

  27. @jenny, there are MANY versions of SFRobinson that condense the story from significantly (essentially a picture book with words) to the full (extended) version. I started them with the illustrated kids version, then one with more detail a couple years later, and finally the full text with my older one last year or the year before. Illustrated versions, larger format, are more entertaining. Fun fact, iirc, the narrator only names his wife ONCE in the entire book. “Elizabeth” btw.

    n

  28. I don’t recall reading the Heinlein juvies. Not sure I ever did read them. For some reason, I got a box of his lesser known books to read, and they put me off him for a while. He bragged that he sold every word he ever wrote, [no matter how bad] and he could have used a more discriminating publisher.

    n

  29. BTW, I love the Borrowers series as a kid. Both the books, and the idea of them. The books can be tough to get started though. The story is really a story within a story, within a story, and getting thru the layers to actually get to the tale of Pod and Arrietty can be very confusing for younger kids. Esp. because of the setting, knitting in front of a fireplace, doing piecework while hearing the tale… kids need explanation for almost every aspect of the ‘scene setting’ part of the books.

    n

  30. New project. We have a large workbench with 5 outlet boxes, one outlet dedicated to the air compressor, one outlet dedicated to the table saw for a total of seven plugs, 14 outlets. The workbench outlets are all on the same circuit. But there was a problem.

    When I installed the plugs 30 years ago I just used Romex cable. I really needed to get the wiring inside conduit to protect the wiring as that is what code requires. So I ripped off the old outlets that were attached to the cinder block wall. Used plastic conduit and individual wires. Not difficult to fish the wires through as the runs were short.

    Once the five boxes were installed, GFCI on the first feeding the rest naturally, I opened the main electrical box. I did shut off the main breaker as I needed to deal with three circuits and I am not doing that live. Mother may have raised an idiot but certainly not a fool. Discovered a problem in the main panel. Apparently whomever put in the panel doubled up on some of the neutral wires with two wires in each space in some of the slots on the buss. Doubling up ground is OK, but not neutral. So I spent the next two hours rearranging some of the neutral wires to make certain that each goes to it’s own slot on the neutral buss.

    I fail to see the big deal as the neutral and ground buss are tied together in the breaker box and that is attached to big ground wire that goes outside to the copper grounding rod. All neutrals and ground should be at the same potential and in fact is required for the GFCI to work.

    The outlet for the air compressor is not GFCI as there is no direct connection between the user and the air compressor. The motor is grounded properly so GFCI is not needed. The table saw outlet is GFCI as it is all metal, using a 1/2 HP motor that attached with metal brackets.

    Most of our power tools are cordless so electrical shock is not really a concern. The outlets are in the garage but is considered a moist environment with direct contact with the cement floor.

    Finished doing the connections in the breaker panel and no smoke and no breakers tripped. Check all the outlets with a tester and the grounds and neutrals are good.

  31. “Rowling was shameless in stealing everyone blind, including God. ”

    –because she was a hack.

    She is a very rich hack ! She never sold the ebook rights to her stories and is making unbelievable residuals.

  32. I don’t recall reading the Heinlein juvies. Not sure I ever did read them. For some reason, I got a box of his lesser known books to read, and they put me off him for a while. He bragged that he sold every word he ever wrote, [no matter how bad] and he could have used a more discriminating publisher.

    The story is much more than that. Heinlein sold all of his juveniles three times each. First to be serialized in the Saturday Evening Post or Boy’s Life. Then to be sold as a hardback. Then to be sold as a paperback. Each sale was bidding war.

    BTW, I found the Heinlein juveniles in the school library when I was in 5th or 6th grade. I was hooked. “The Rolling Stones” is “Swiss Family Robinson” in space. “Citizen of the Galaxy” is Rudyard Kipling’s “Kim” in space. “Double Star” is “The Count of Monte Cristo” in space. I’m not sure which book is “Treasure Island” or “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”. All of the juveniles are rewrites of famous stories.

  33. Rowling did develop some interesting characters, and her writing did improve (had to from where she was starting) and I’m not saying that the tale wasn’t entertaining. You can be a hack and make bank (steven king I’m looking at you) and entertain your audience.

    There are a lot worse retellings of the classic “hidden prince” or “secretly special child” than Harry Potter. The funny thing was watching people who didn’t really read think it was all new.

    I applaud her for getting paid, and for getting millions of new readers to pick up books. The next step for lifelong readers is getting the Potter fans to pick up their NEXT book…

    n

  34. I don’t agree with Piers Morgan on much but he nailed this headline–

    PIERS MORGAN: Beto O’Rourke is a deluded loser running on a ticket of lies, hypocrisy and the vote-destroying message that all Americans are about to die ”

    n

  35. There are a lot worse retellings of the classic “hidden prince” or “secretly special child” than Harry Potter. The funny thing was watching people who didn’t really read think it was all new.

    People have always been fascinated by secret societies and secret knowledge. Rowling played into that paradigm big time. And her placing Harry Potter in the closet under the stairs as his bedroom in his aunt’s house is a supreme joke for kids.
    https://harrypotter.fandom.com/wiki/Cupboard_Under_the_Stairs

  36. Heinlein described his re-telling of familiar tales as “filing off the serial numbers.”

  37. There are a lot worse retellings of the classic “hidden prince” or “secretly special child” than Harry Potter. The funny thing was watching people who didn’t really read think it was all new.

    Getting a kid to read a book is an accomplishment.

    Rowling is also the Gateway drug to Terry Pratchett, whom she also stole from shamelessly.

  38. Rowling is also the Gateway drug to Terry Pratchett, whom she also stole from shamelessly.

    The only problem with that is that I can not stand Terry Pratchett. I have 2 or 3 of his books in my SBR (strategic book reserve). And I ripped through all seven HP books in a month or less. I dismissed the HP books until the last one came out and read that one first, then went back to the first.

  39. I don’t agree with Piers Morgan on much but he nailed this headline–

    It’s going to be hilarious watching the Libturd candidates fighting over “who said the Earth will end in 12 years” first. Running on climate change is the biggest boondoggle ever. But, people are so stoopid they’ll be lapping up how Butto is going to save them with free Teslas powered by unicorn farts.

    Green energy without nuclear is stoooooopid!

  40. It’s fun watching the Redumblicans trying to neuter their own President. VETO! Game over, man, game over.

  41. And dumbfuk Pelosi signing on lowering the voting age to 16. Why not let *anybody* vote? We are finished.

  42. The only problem with that is that I can not stand Terry Pratchett.

    I haven’t read a lot of the books, but I take one on vacation every now and then. He’s more Douglas Adams than Douglas Adams’ later works.

    His last TV adaptation collaboration with The Mob (a production company, not the Mafia), “Going Postal” actually works better on video. Plus, Manuel from “Fawlty Towers” … and a special message from Sir Terry regarding his illness as the last line.

  43. Beto O’Rourke is a deluded loser running on a ticket of lies, hypocrisy and the vote-destroying message that all Americans are about to die

    A lot of people around believe Robert Francis grew up poor and/or is part Mexican. He spent Gavin Newsom’s money people’s campaign funds well in Texas, and O’Rourke will be a player in the Electoral College calculus.

    The Boomers, old enough to know better, buy the “Bobby” schtick because they want to believe it could finally happen 52 years later. Robert Francis makeup for photos and TV deliberately suggests the Kennedy Addison’s genetics, and his mother’s stepfather actually worked for JFK.


  44. Green energy without nuclear is stoooooopid!

    Unless you have hydro to back it up.

    Australia is going that way. Lots of renewable based energy are coming online and more are being proposed and worked on.

    Short term technologies being used to mitigate the problems with intermittent disruptions and loss of base load currently are being handled by Elon’s batteries, coal and gas.

    The next step, recently given the go ahead, is to use hydro. You use to deliver base load when needed and pump the water back to higher reservoir(s) when there is plenty of cheap solar available.

    Wave energy has also been on trial but that one has completely failed to date.

    Other countries can use thermal but we do not have that. 🙂

  45. The next step, recently given the go ahead, is to use hydro. You use to deliver base load when needed and pump the water back to higher reservoir(s) when there is plenty of cheap solar available.

    The problem is that they’re blowing up older, smaller dams on the West Coast in order to save the fish. When we left Vantucky, the State of Oregon had at least three targeted for demolition.

  46. It’s going to be hilarious watching the Libturd candidates fighting over “who said the Earth will end in 12 years” first. Running on climate change is the biggest boondoggle ever. But, people are so stoopid they’ll be lapping up how Butto is going to save them with free Teslas powered by unicorn farts.

    Robert Francis’ Vanity Fair cover has him posing next to a well-used Toyota Tacoma.

    That plays better in San Antonio, where Toyota builds the pickups.

  47. “A lot of people around believe Robert Francis grew up poor and/or is part Mexican. ”

    — the house on the corner has a “Viva Beto” sign, 4ft square, on their fence. People give me the funniest looks when I point out that he isn’t hispanic at all. He’ll be appearing in ads, and he’s clearly a middle aged (ie. old) white guy. Until today, I’d never seen a picture of him so they know it’s a weak point.

    n

  48. @marcelo, where do you get ‘cheap’ solar?

    How long will it take to get regulatory approval to flood a basin, build the dam, install the generating gear, build the lake and flood that, build the solar collection, etc? Or can the government still just mandate and do those sorts of things down there? (like we used to be able to do here?) After all, OUR desert is a fragile and protected ecosystem, full of unique and irreplaceable flora and fauna, and the remains of powerful/mysterious/noble ancient cultures, not thousands of square miles of pestilential wasteland….. (;-)

    n

  49. Terry Pratchett may be an acquired taste, or it may be just down to how you are introduced.

    I usually recommend any of the stories with granny weatherwax/ or granny aching. Wee Free Men might be the start of that miniseries. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wee_Free_Men

    Many of the books set in the City really need the collective background to get why stuff is funny, especially the politics of the ruler vs the thief in Making Money, Going Postal, etc.

    n

  50. Australia is going that way. Lots of renewable based energy are coming online and more are being proposed and worked on.

    Short term technologies being used to mitigate the problems with intermittent disruptions and loss of base load currently are being handled by Elon’s batteries, coal and gas.

    Get ready to pay some really high electric bills. A couple of professors just wrote an article in my Mechanical Engineering Magazine about replacing all of the fossil in The Great State of Texas. They have decided to build about a hundred hydrogen generation, storage, and power generation plants. The total power needed to be banked is 16,000 GWH. Oh yeah, the amount of our wind and solar power needs to be increased from current 30 GW to some 120 GW since wind and solar power plants only operate between 1/3 and 1/4 of the time depending on the wind and time of year. They are going to keep the nuclear power plants at this time.
    http://memagazineselect.asmedigitalcollection.asme.org/article.aspx?articleid=2727787&resultClick=1

    I have no idea what the cost of this pipe dream is but I suspect in the order of many hundreds of billions of dollars.

  51. Oh, you can make proposals all you want. Getting any of it past regulatory and NIMBY obstacles in the next decade is a different story.

    Even here, where flood control projects get fast-tracked, there is obstructionism.

    One only has to look to the current ‘wall’ effort to see people saying “but what about the ….'” and ”we need one, but how about those farmers and ranchers historic property lines”, and all the other ‘what about-ism’.

    There is oil in Cali, and off the coast, easy to get to CHEAP oil, but you can’t go get it because of people.

    n

  52. Up to 30 dead as Australian white supremacist, 28, opens fire in Christchurch mosque and livestreams the slaughter as cars loaded with bombs are found and a woman and three men are arrested

    Witnesses reported hearing 50 shots from his semi-automatic shotgun at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch
    The gunman live-streamed the mass shooting inside the Al Noor Mosque, which happened about 1.30pm
    Witnesses have said they saw ‘blood everywhere’ and multiple people were reportedly killed in the massacre
    One of the gunman live-streamed the mass shooting inside the mosque firing at dozens as they tried to flee
    Four people are in custody after the shootings, including one woman and three men

    Four people are in custody, including three men and one woman. One of them was arrested while wearing a suicide vest.

  53. “Other countries can use thermal but we do not have that.”
    Perhaps not everywhere, but I’ve worked on a few geo-thermal energy projects in the Napa/Sonoma County geysers area of California. I’m pretty sure some other areas have been poked at. Not a big contributor but it’s there and being looked at.

  54. Re: Hydro
    I’ll try to add a few more comments regarding my views. Maybe tomorrow…

  55. Terry Pratchett? No, please, no. Too many words, saying very little.

    Rowling’s first three Harry Potter books were really excellent as tween/early-teen fiction. Tightly written and edited. Then she hit the big time, and apparently fired her editor. Every book after that got longer, without being better. I still read and enjoyed them, but they were sloppy compared to the first books.

    One thing that struck me: it was almost as if the books were written for some specific kids, who were getting older while waiting for the next book to come out. The first books were ideal for tweens, the middle books for early teens, and by the end the topics were more suited to late teens.

  56. I’ve read several of Pratchet’s books. I consider all of them to be tough slogs. I can understand the appeal, but they’re not for me.

    I agree with you about the Potter books. They grow with the characters.

  57. There is oil in Cali, and off the coast, easy to get to CHEAP oil, but you can’t go get it because of people.

    Under the Gulf of Mexico off Florida also, but Deepwater Horizon pretty much means any progress in getting the area opened up to even minimal exploration out of sight of land has been set back at least a generation.

    Much like CA, the floor of the Gulf has “seeps” of oil percolating up through the sand. I often wonder if the dispersants used in the spill cleanup caused more damage than the oil itself. 90 degree salt water is a pretty effective solvent.

  58. Rowling’s first three Harry Potter books were really excellent as tween/early-teen fiction. Tightly written and edited. Then she hit the big time, and apparently fired her editor. Every book after that got longer, without being better. I still read and enjoyed them, but they were sloppy compared to the first books.

    A lot of writers seem to fire their editors once they prove they can sell books, and the work goes off the deep end. Rowling at least seems to be sufficiently self aware not to push “Potter The Next Generation” outside of the stage, publishing only the script for the “Cursed Child” production, and working on movies/theme park attraction details.

    (The Hogwarts Express train between Universal parks in Florida is a brilliant piece of stagecraft. The illusion is convincing with the possible exception of the now dated low res “windows”.)

    I wasn’t even reading Clancy anymore when he died, and my wife gave up on Ann Rice 20 years ago.


  59. They have decided to build about a hundred hydrogen generation, storage, and power generation plants.

    And where do they get the hydrogen? Water electrolysis or steam reforming?

  60. If you aren’t in the mood, or don’t like the kind of funny that Pratchett wrote, it’s not gonna work for you. Even if you do, there were some of the books of Discworld that worked better than others. It’s a giant interlinked world. Reading his recent one about the pacific island, that WASN’T Discworld was weird. I like the Discworld, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

    n

  61. Marcelo said:

    “Unless you have hydro to back it up.”

    In WA State hydro is NOT considered a renewable resource and it IS considered damaging to the environment, and it also kills salmon and orcas (Killer Whales).

    The “greenies,” “tree huggers,” “save the earthers,” liberal/socialist/kooks will ONLY accept wind and solar power.

    In the USofA, we currently have sitting in “ponds” enough “spent” nuclear fuel that could be responsibly reprocessed into enough fuel to supply the anticipated needs of the USofA for at least the next hundred years. The secret is Breeder, and Fast Reactors, proven technology that the taxpayers paid billions for that is now sitting idle (Clinch River and Hanford). The environmental impact of the Nuclear Industry is in truth far less than any other form of energy supply, other than hydro.

    Another interesting fact, there are enough decommissioned Navy Nuclear Reactor Compartments (fully intact) “buried” at Hanford to create power plants that could supply all the power necessary for many large cities.

    Sorry, no links folks as all the details of this “information” are Classified and not for public knowledge. This is just another dirty little (BIG) secret of a World Gooberment that is really in control. So pass this off as the rantings of an old man who has been there, done that, and seen too much.

    Now, pardon me as I answer a knock at the door…

  62. Anybody else notice all the small airplane crashes this month?

    Anyone looking to see who was on board?

    n

    And dadcooks, there won’t be a knock at the door, you’ll just be arrested for possession of child porn, or have a convenient accident with power tools…..

  63. You’re probably right @Nick, just to be careful I will not fly in any small planes, absolutely no planes for that matter. Now, about those slips, trips, and falls…

  64. They have decided to build about a hundred hydrogen generation, storage, and power generation plants.

    And where do they get the hydrogen? Water electrolysis or steam reforming?

    Water electrolysis. Requires extremely clean water and frequent catalyst maintenance.

    And what new tech will they use to store it?

    Do you really want to know ?

    Old steel propane tanks for low pressure, 200 psia to 500 psia. Carbon fiber tanks for 2,000 psia to 7,500 psia. I would not stand next to either variety, hydrogen embrittlement is a real thing.

    Remember, hydrogen wants to be free !


  65. They have decided to build about a hundred hydrogen generation, storage, and power generation plants.

    And where do they get the hydrogen? Water electrolysis or steam reforming?

    I doubt if they even care if it’s possible. Just suggesting there is a solution so they can kill off the evil fossil fuel industry. Oh, and take control.


  66. Heinlein sold all of his juveniles three times each. First to be serialized in the Saturday Evening Post or Boy’s Life. Then to be sold as a hardback. Then to be sold as a paperback. Each sale was bidding war.

    The juveniles were not out for bid as hardbacks. He had a contract for one a year with Scribner’s.

    One thing that struck me: it was almost as if the books were written for some specific kids, who were getting older while waiting for the next book to come out. The first books were ideal for tweens, the middle books for early teens, and by the end the topics were more suited to late teens.

    The themes and complexity of the books mirrors the ages of Harry and his compatriots.

    What is interesting is that there are plot points from the first book that don’t pay off until the last couple of books, i.e. the bezoar is mentioned in Harry’s first day of potions, as is the ability to “stopper death”, both of which pay off in book 6.

  67. The secret is Breeder, and Fast Reactors, proven technology that the taxpayers paid billions for that is now sitting idle (Clinch River and Hanford).

    The answer are pebble bed and molten salt reactors, which have much better failsafe modes than high pressure water reactors.

    A quote from Slate Star Codex

    Nuclear reactors generally need three things to run – a fuel, a coolant, and a moderator. Chernobyl proved (though we already knew this, which is why the US reactors never were at risk of failing like Chernobyl) that a single liquid must serve two of these roles, or bad things happen. Chernobyl was a cascade of failures, but one of the major issues was that it used graphite for a moderator while using water for a coolant. When it got too hot, the coolant evaporated which actually improved how well the graphite could moderate the reaction (less hydrogen to eat up neutrons) and that allowed the reactor to become explosively critical.

    By contrast, in a US lightwater reactor, the water serves as both coolant and moderator. When the system heats up, the water becomes less dense, moderates less, and reduces the power output. Boiling water reactors dial this up to 11, as steam bubbles form which reduces the density of water by 1000x whenever it changes phase, making the system VERY responsive and very stable. If the system started running away and pipes were to burst and all the water were to evaporate, the nuclear reaction would stop immediately because all the moderator would be gone. The fuel would start to melt itself from the leftover radioactive decay, but no new fission would occur and no new very-hot radioactive isotopes would be generated.

    The problem with lightwater reactors, however, is that using water really sucks. Anyone that uses a fridge or a heat-pump in their house can understand why. Those machines operate on the principle that it is more efficient to move heat than to generate it. You can move a lot of heat for a little work. Physics being the conservative bitch that she is, the opposite holds true. You can only derive a little bit of usable work in exchange for moving a lot of heat. The maximum efficiency of work collected as heat moves from a hot to a cold environment is (th – tc) / th , known as the Carnot Efficiency. If you tried to generate heat from water boiling at 100C (373K) exchanging with the outdoors (~27C or 300K) you’d get a maximum theoretical efficiency of under 20%. You’d need to generate 5GW of heat just to make 1GWe, and that’s ignoring all the other large efficiency losses in the system.

    And yet we need water to be a liquid to act as coolant and moderator. So engineers pressurize the hell out of the water in the system, up to 2000psi or 90-120 atmospheres, so that the water doesn’t boil until ~300C and the Carnot efficiency reaches ~45%. Still terrible, but much less terrible. On the other hand, now we need giant 9″ thick solid steel reactors that have to be forged all at once (because good luck welding 9″ steel) and we need a bunch of high, medium and low-pressure water injection systems (and separate, redundant backups) to get water back into the system in the event of some kind of release. And in the very, very, rare event that the fuel gets uncovered long enough to melt, and the primary coolant loop breaks or is deliberately vented to the outside, the superheated water flashes to steam and carries the radioactive particles into the air, producing ‘fallout’. Those massive concrete containment structures that can win in a fight against a Boeing 747? They’re not built to contain a nuclear explosion. One cannot physically occur. They’re there to contain a steam flash or a hydrogen explosion. Because water doesn’t like being pressurized, and water molecules getting smacked around with high energy neutrons and gamma rays are liable to break apart and produce hydrogen and oxygen gas.

    Yeah… it’s kind of a mess. All this redundancy and high-quality material and manufacturing and all these safety checks are why nuclear power is so damn expensive.

    So molten salt reactors do a few major things that changes all of that. First, it uses molten salt as a coolant, which doesn’t even melt until over 400C and is liquid until about 1500C. So it will run at much higher, much more efficient temperatures. And it can run at entirely ambient pressure. That means the plumbing for the reactor will be closer to your home plumbing than current nuclear reactors (and still be less likely to break). That means if a pipe bursts somewhere the salt just spills onto the floor and hardens (or plugs the leak itself). You don’t need any redundant cooling systems because the coolant isn’t going to evaporate and uncover the fuel. I can’t stress how much operating at ambient pressure changes the whole game.

    Liquid fueled reactors go a step beyond this. Instead of making the liquid component a moderator+coolant, it makes it a fuel+coolant and lets the moderator be solid. The reason these systems cannot ‘melt down’ is because the fuel is already melted. It’s the same reason that gliders are so safe. The worst possible thing to happen in a plane is total engine failure – and gliders start with that as a given!

    The fuel dissolved into the salt means you still get the same negative thermal coefficient. As the system heats up, the fuel gets less dense, the rate of reaction goes sub-critical and rapidly decreases until the fuel cools enough to become dense enough to become super-critical and heat back up. Nice and stable. The coolant being a molten salt like Fluoride means that the nasty fission products like strontium and cesium actually bond to the fluoride and won’t go anywhere even if the reactor opens up to the outside. You know that boiling water challenge where people throw boiling water into the air when it’s freezing outside, and it becomes steam? Now try doing that with lava and tell me how much the material spreads. Plus having the fuel in solution instead of as solid pellets clad in zirconium means that gaseous fission products like iodine-131 and xenon-135 can constantly be removed by bubbling out instead of being left to build up, trapped inside fuel pellets. There’s also a nice benefit that the fuel is continually mixed.

    Most importantly, they cannot suffer the one failure mode that is still possible with current reactors. In the event of total power loss, the coolant pumps will not run in a regular reactor. While fission will be stopped immediately in this case (electromagnets holding control rods will fail and the rods will drop into place) the reactor will still produce about ~7% of regular heat from nuclear decay. 7% of several gigawatts is a lot of heat. If left long enough, enough water will turn to steam that the fuel rods will become uncovered, and then they’ll heat up to super hot temperatures (2000C+) and melt. If enough fuel melts, it will drop to the floor and begin to melt through the reactor. This is what happened at Fukushima.

    In a liquid fueled reactor, a fail-safe drain device like a freeze plug can be used. In the event of total blackout, the fuel is not stuck producing heat in a fuel rod configuration. It can be moved. And it moves to large drain tanks that can passively remove that heat. Meanwhile the coolant itself won’t evaporate, so the fuel will always be diluted. The reactor is never going to have a containment breech because the fuel will be physically incapable of ever getting hot enough. Again, not that a breech would be such a significant event with an ambient-pressure coolant system that doesn’t flash into a gas and does not have a large stock of gaseous fission products built up.

    You get all of that from a fluid-fueled reactor, regardless of what kind of fuel.

    The benefits of thorium are basically the following:

    1. It’s incredibly abundant.
    2. It can be bred in the thermal spectrum.
    3. It’s logistically harder to make a nuclear weapon from the material than from bred plutonium.
    4. It produces no long-lived trans-uranics (Plutonium, Americium, etc.) It only produces Plutonium-238 which is what we use to power space probes.

    These are nice benefits, and not to be underplayed. But given that the marginal cost of uranium-235 right now is about a cent per kwh, there isn’t a big impetus to make breeder reactors right now. At most you’ll save 1 cent per kwh in fuel in exchange for more costly complexity. The nuclear waste consideration is nice, but the ‘nuclear waste crisis’ is a completely overblown situation in the first place, so it’s again not as important. Proliferation concerns, likewise, aren’t that big of a deal – they’re certainly of little benefit for domestic nuclear. That’s only a major plus if we’re exporting the technology.

    ‘Thorium’ gets mixed in with molten salt reactors not because Thorium is a super-amazing-wonder-fuel, but actually because thorium absolutely sucks in any kind of solid-fuel configuration. To breed it into Uranium-233 (the actual fuel we get from thorium) you need to hit it with a neutron and breed it. It becomes protactinium-233 and then becomes U233 with a halflife on the order of a month. And it produces a bunch of U232 (very got hard-gamma emitter. Kills anyone that gets close to it). So it’s an absolute pisser to reprocess the solid fuel. India has been struggling with it for decades. (Also a pisser to try to make a nuclear warhead out of it because it will kill the people processing and assembling it.) Anyway – a fluid reactor means that you can actually chemically process it in-situ because it’s in a liquid state.

    So Thorium becomes very feasible in a liquid-fuel reactor, and then you get the fringe benefits of thorium as a fuel. Which are nice benefits – but again – not the main feature of this kind of system. The main part is that it truly is melt-down proof, and a lot safer and less complicated (and thus hopefully much cheaper) because it is running at ambient pressure and you are able to move the fuel in the event of a crisis, without any risk of the fuel becoming fallout. You get these same benefits burning U235 or Pu239 in the same kind of reactor.

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