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England to ban Plasma TV's!?

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Old 09-21-2007, 10:44 AM   #31  
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If the "Big Crunch" happens, the universe will collapse into a singularity. And then at some point, it might go "boom" again and create another universe.

If Infinite Expansion happens,

then eventually everything will wind down. All stars will be dead embers slowly cooling off with no more fuel to burn. The universe will be very, very dark. And eventually it will just disintegrate into a low-level background radiation:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Rip

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Old 09-21-2007, 11:20 AM   #32  
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Regarding oil

As someone who works in the oilfield, I must categorically state that we are not, repeat NOT, going to run out of oil anytime soon. Definately not in my lifetime.
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Old 09-21-2007, 03:05 PM   #33  
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I'm with you there, but as someone who owned investments in US oil wells (that were profitable for several years and our now capped off), as long as foreign sources of oil remain less expensive than developing our own, the US will always be dependent on unfriendly foreign governments.

I think it's worth it to pursue alternatives to that scenario. I am very sensitive to infrastructure cost and am therefore totally against battery-based electric vehicles, which would require phasing out our existing liquid-fuel refining and delivery infrastructure and spending biliions to put a recharge/replace infrastructure in place for batteries.

I particularly like ethanol. I have an E85 car that runs just fine off almost any ethanol/gasoline ratio. It's renewable, it's home grown, we already grow more corn than we can eat and export.
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Old 09-22-2007, 06:15 AM   #34  
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One additional thought. The second law of thermodynamics says that all known process have irreversibilities (increase in entropy) associated with them. This raises the question, “How did the universe come to exist in a state of low entropy at some point in time?” (the big bang?). If entropy is constantly increasing, what will it be like in the distant future? (will it just be a continuum of cold gas?). This discussion has metaphysical connotations but that is not appropriate for this forum.
Actually, no one knows the state of the universe at the moment of the big bang; however, the presence of cosmic background radiation (at a uniform temperature in every direction) seems to indicate that at some time in the past (about a million years after the "big bang" (prior to this, the universe was opaque)) the universe was indeed uniform. So the question is how did the universe go from a state of almost perfect uniformity into one of tremondous diversity that we see today, or in other words, how did it evolve and how will it continue to evolve? An excellent discussion of this can be found in "The Life of the Cosmos" by Lee Smolin.
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Old 09-22-2007, 12:29 PM   #35  
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Actually, no one knows the state of the universe at the moment of the big bang; however, the presence of cosmic background radiation (at a uniform temperature in every direction) seems to indicate that at some time in the past (about a million years after the "big bang" (prior to this, the universe was opaque)) the universe was indeed uniform. So the question is how did the universe go from a state of almost perfect uniformity into one of tremondous diversity that we see today, or in other words, how did it evolve and how will it continue to evolve? An excellent discussion of this can be found in "The Life of the Cosmos" by Lee Smolin.
Bill you are back, was it probation?
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Old 09-22-2007, 10:24 PM   #36  
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LOL so they would ban LCD screens also (on average they use more then Plasma) wait... Joe average only knows 'bout power-hungry Plasma's, you know these kind of flatscreens who can burn-in & use old-fashioned technology

I guess all those SUV driving politicians will switch to LCD screens from now on...
Not true at all:

* Microdisplay rear projector: 0.14 watt per square inch
* LCD: 0.29 watt per square inch
* Plasma: 0.34 watt per square inch
* CRT: 0.34 watt per square inch
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Old 10-04-2007, 08:07 PM   #37  
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While I care about the environment, there's a lot of extremism around at the moment. Knee jerk reaction. Better people stay at home and watch their plasmas then drive around all day in their SUVs.
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Old 10-07-2007, 02:28 AM   #38  
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I particularly like ethanol. I have an E85 car that runs just fine off almost any ethanol/gasoline ratio. It's renewable, it's home grown, we already grow more corn than we can eat and export.
I have heard that it takes 1.5 gallons of oil to create 1 gallon of ethanol.....it was a good idea but hardly seems worth it.. go bio diesel.
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Old 10-07-2007, 03:52 PM   #39  
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No, it takes the *equivalent energy* of 1.5 gallons of oil to produce 1 gallon of ethanol. And what they don't tell you about that information is:

1) It was based on an analysis performed by a university in a state that is heavily dependent on income from crude oil terminals and oil refineries (No doubt their results were completely unbiased and objective ).

2) It includes transportation costs/energy to get the corn to faraway refineries (like, they wouldn't build new refineries near where the corn was grown ).

3) They don't give you the figure for the equivalent energy of gasoline used to produce a gallon of gasoline.

It isn't possible to make a vehicle fuel without expending energy to get the fuel in a form that is usable and deliverable as an end product. Of course Ethanol is going to be more expensive to produce now than Gasoline, as it would be ramping up the technology, as compared to the very mature technology of gasoline refining and delivery. You don't want to know how much it would cost in today's dollars to put the gasoline infrastructure that we currently have in place if it didn't already exist.

Over time, the cost to produce Ethanol would drop with increasing volume and process improvements, while the cost of gasoline will continue to rise as easily accessible reserves are depleted. In the end, Ethanol is a renewable resource, while Petroleum is not and we can grow a lot of corn in this country without any dependence on foreign nations.

Biodiesel is an interesting alternative, but the infrastructure cost is far too high for it to be anything other than a secondary source to whatever primary fuel we use for vehicles (and I certainly support it's use in that capacity). Diesel powered *cars* make up something like 3.2% of the cars in the US. You would need to *replace* an enormous number of cars in this country for biodiesel to be of any significance in reducing our dependence on petroleum. Almost any car can be modified to run on Ethanol and Ethanol can be refined, transported and pumped using much of the existing infrastructure.

It's easy to forget that Ethanol was once a significant fuel source in rural America, particularly for farm vehicles. There are already quite a few E85 vehicles on the road, particularly from European manufacturers, where they've known what living with expensive Gasoline is like for a long time. There is also a big push on with US car manufacturers for flex-fuel vehicles that run off E85 or other Ethanol blends.

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Old 10-16-2007, 06:08 PM   #40  
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3) They don't give you the figure for the equivalent energy of gasoline used to produce a gallon of gasoline.
Obviously it is less than a gallon. If it required more than a gallon to make 1 gallon of gasoline, then you'd have a serious problem.
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Old 10-16-2007, 08:58 PM   #41  
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I don't know the figure, but again, we're not talking about burning gasoline, we're talking about equivalent energy.

You can't take crude oil and pour it in your car's gas tank. You have to refine it. Refining takes energy. Even if it used the equivalent energy of one gallon of gasoline to refine one gallon of gasoline, we'd still do it, as our cars run off gasoline, not unrefined crude oil. We have no choice but to use whatever energy is needed to produce gasoline.

Like I said, no question gasoline is cheaper than ethanol right now. So what? We're not going to find *any* source of "fuel" for cars that is as cheap as gasoline is right now. If it was out there, we'd already be exploiting it.

But as oil reserves are depleted, the cost of gas will rise. As ethanol refining increases in volume and efficiency, the cost to refine it will fall.

And at the end of the road, we can always grow more corn and at some point it will be cheaper than getting at whatever oil reserves are left.
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Old 10-17-2007, 08:01 AM   #42  
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I don't know the figure, but again, we're not talking about burning gasoline, we're talking about equivalent energy.

You can't take crude oil and pour it in your car's gas tank. You have to refine it. Refining takes energy. Even if it used the equivalent energy of one gallon of gasoline to refine one gallon of gasoline, we'd still do it, as our cars run off gasoline, not unrefined crude oil.
That's true. Cars like liquid fuels, but what you're saying is basically "over-unity energy" aka perpetual motion. You can't spend 1.1 units of energy and only get back 1.0 units. It violates conservation of energy.

More likely they are spending the equivalent of 0.2 to 0.3 units (drilling and shipping) for every 1.0 unit of gasoline recovered. That's what makes Oil practical as an energy source.



If that equation changes such that it costs 1.1-1.2 units to get 1.0 units of gasoline, then oil would stop being practical. We'd switch to a different energy supply.
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Old 10-17-2007, 09:54 AM   #43  
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It wouldn't be impractical, it would just cost more. Perhaps too much more, but that remains to be seen. As long as it costs less than the next cheapest alternative, it's still "practical".

There a many ways of generating energy, not just burning Oil--you can burn Coal or Natural Gas, then there is Nuclear and various green alternatives.

Suppose it took the equivalent amount of energy of a gallon of Gas to produce a gallon of Gas. From a cost standpoint you would use the cost of one gallon of Gas for each gallon of Gas produced, essentially doubling the cost of a gallon of Gas compared to what it would cost if no energy was needed (and halving the yield if you were really burning Gasoline).

Gas doesn't become impractical until it's more expensive to produce than some other form of readily available fuel, but that is likely to happen at some point unless no effort at all is put into alternative fuels like Ethanol.

Another way of looking at it: Diesel fuel requires far less refining that Gasoline. There is no problem at all building cars with Diesel engines. This has always been true. Why are we building cars with engines that run on Gasoline, knowing that it takes more energy to refine Oil into Gasoline than to refine it into Diesel fuel (and therefore costs more)?

While a switchover to Diesels (and the additional possibility of biodiesel) would be nice, it's simply too expensive and would take too long. There are far too few Diesel automobiles on the road and the notion of replacing everybody's Gas-powered car with a Diesel car--well, who's going to pay for that?

The nice thing about Ethanol is that many cars sold over the last 10 years or so can already run off Ethanol blends and recently a conversion kit for older vehicles was approved for fleet use:

http://flexfuelus.com/

I'm pretty confident it would be far less costly to retrofit older gasoline-powered vehicles for Ethanol use than to buy everybody new Diesel or electric cars
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Old 10-18-2007, 06:54 AM   #44  
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It wouldn't be impractical, it would just cost more. Perhaps too much more, but that remains to be seen.
You don't understand the Law of Conservation of Energy do you? Simply put, in the process of recovering oil, you can not use greater than 1.0 unit of oil. For Example: You can not burn 1.1 barrels of oil, and only get back 1.0 barrel out of the ground. That's perpetual motion.

It's impossible.

Furthermore, if you used some other energy supply like "1.1 oil barrels" of Natural Gas, to recover 1 barrel of oil, why would you want to do that? The answer is you would not. ----- Instead you'd leave the oil in the ground, and just burn the 1.1 barrels of NG directly in your car.
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While a switchover to Diesels (and the additional possibility of biodiesel) would be nice, it's simply too expensive and would take too long. There are far too few Diesel automobiles on the road and the notion of replacing everybody's Gas-powered car with a Diesel car--well, who's going to pay for that?
Europe did it using the free market. Over the last ten years, diesels have grown from ~20% of all cars to ~60% of all cars, and climbing. It only took a decade for the gasoline engine to move from majority to minority (thanks to natural breakdown & attrition).

We could do the same in the States; it's just a matter of mandating that all cars come with both diesel and gasoline versions, and then sit back and wait 10-15 years for the transition to happen. Same way that Europe did it.
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The nice thing about Ethanol is that many cars sold over the last 10 years or so can already run off Ethanol blends and recently a conversion kit for older vehicles was approved for fleet use:
True. Whenever I go to Minnesota I fill-up with ethanol. It makes sense, because ethanol is basically Liquid Solar energy. Today's ethanol came from last year's sunlight.

Ditto with the biodiesel fuel.
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Old 10-18-2007, 08:37 AM   #45  
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Of course I understand the law of Conservation of Energy. So do you. Which is why you should understand it has nothing to do with what we're talking about.

It could take burning 10 gallons of Gasoline to produce 1 gallon of Gasoline and you could still do it. It wouldn't make any sense, but you could certainly do it--it's not in the least bit physically impossible, just wasteful.

If you want an analogy, the efforts to produce energy via atomic fusion routinely require more energy input than is produced by the fusion reaction. Breakeven has been achieved experimentally only a few times and no one has yet produced more output energy than they have put in to safely create the conditions necessary for fusion.

You *could* put the Natural Gas in your car instead of burning it to produce energy to make Ethanol (or Gasoline)--*if* you had NG-fueled cars. We don't. We have Gasoline-fueled cars. Millions of them. All of which would have to be replaced with a new vehicle unless we develop a fuel that existing cars can run on. Like Ethanol.

You could just as easily ask why we would burn Diesel fuel for the energy needed to refine Gasoline when we could just put the Diesel fuel in our cars. The answer is the same, we need Gasoline for cars, not Diesel fuel.

Just out of curiosity, how do you equate the government *mandating" cars be offered with diesel engines and the term "free market"? In the free market, the skyrocketing price of Gasoline would drive consumers toward more fuel-efficient vehicles and alternative fuels.

Europe has allowed the price of Gasoline to rise to it's natural supply/demand level, but also through excessive taxation has driven the price of gasoline to artificially high levels in an effort to reduce consumption/encourage conservation (and, of course, to increase revenue). That's not going to happen in this country. Washinton, DC would be burned to the ground if Congress mandated an equivalent increase in Gas tax for the purpose of discouraging consumption (and increasing revenue).

I firmly believe we have to become less dependent on Oil. It's going to get more expensive. It's largely controlled by foreign powers who, if not outright hostile to US interests are at least not sympathetic. In the end (wherever that is), it's a limited supply.

I just don't want the US embarking on programs that are ultimately impractical and will damage our economy due to the cost of the infrastructure changes needed (such as all-electric vehicles). We need a replacement for Gasoline that is renewable, originates in this country and doesn't require replacing all of our existing cars as well as the existing delivery/refueling infrastructure. As far as I can see, only Ethanol meets that criteria.

I personally believe that many people pushing for alternatives that are so costly and long-range really have an agenda to drag down the US ecomony over the long term and reduce US influence in the wortd.

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