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(CNN)   Useless biased CNN article of the day: why we burn coal.   ( divider line
    More: Obvious  
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6552 clicks; posted to Main » on 28 Jul 2002 at 10:11 PM (15 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

182 Comments     (+0 »)

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2002-07-29 12:05:12 AM  
Does anyone know of home solar panels that actually recoup the initial expense? After I bought my house last year I did a cost/benefit and didn't see it working out.
2002-07-29 12:06:51 AM  
Didn't you just contradict yourself? Leaving that anecdote out would have been better for your argument.

No I didn't contradict myself, nor can I tell where you are seeing one. Solar power works in places the don't have constant could cover. UK has constant could cover, that's why it doesn't work there.

Bondith: It's someone's cockamamie scheme. you'd lose more energy in any conversion you did than you would lose through the atmosphere.
2002-07-29 12:09:10 AM  
Why we burn coal: cos we are not allowed to burn babies!
2002-07-29 12:09:22 AM  
This is what you typed.

"What is needed is sunny skies, that's why solar power is an option for the UK."

Now you're saying:

"UK has constant could cover, that's why it doesn't work there"

So now it's either 2 contradictions total. Or you just made a typo in your Boobies.
2002-07-29 12:09:27 AM  
heh, that's cloud cover, not could cover. Sorry, my fingers are dyslexic.
2002-07-29 12:09:28 AM  
Enh. I don't know all the details of the operation of the orbital panels, and it's time to get my laundry out of the dryer.
2002-07-29 12:10:15 AM  
in soviet russia, coal burns you!
2002-07-29 12:10:49 AM  
oops, that's a another typo, too. You are right. It's supposed to say not an option in the UK.
2002-07-29 12:11:09 AM  
sorry, where it says Boobies in my post, it should say "f.irst p.ost"
2002-07-29 12:11:54 AM  
Ok, gotcha, then.
2002-07-29 12:12:38 AM  
The boobies were kind of obvious, I could tell what you meant.
2002-07-29 12:15:17 AM  
Procurator: It only takes a few high velocity grains of sand to destroy a satelite. Using 10 pounds means they don't need to be very accurate. Hell, using 100 pounds of sand would probably knock out every single satalite in that particular orbit.

Remember when the space shuttle was hit by a tiny paint chip?
2002-07-29 12:16:27 AM  
Still, getting the bag of sand even *near* the orbit of another object is a job for some experienced engineers, right?
2002-07-29 12:19:57 AM  
Put the solar panels in orbit and beam the energy down to earth and microwaves to receiving stations.

Like this?

[image from too old to be available]
2002-07-29 12:20:08 AM  
I absolutely love how people are offering ingenious solutions like fusion power. They're all for nuclear power, as long as its fusion. The problem is, of course


I also love how people propose all-or-nothing schemes for power. Seriously, we don't need to nuke all the coal plants, or burn down in a thick smog the atomic power plants. Different plants are better suited for different areas, and some plants are completely inappropriate for some areas. For example, solar would be a reasonable choice for Nevada, since they've got loads of sunny space, whereas coal would be a good choice for West Virginia, since the place is so pig-ugly that some smog would do the place well.

So, considering this:

Nuclear is safer than coal. On average, coal is more deadly per megawatt than nuclear, when you track emissions, miner deaths, and train accidents. I've read that coal will kill more people in ten years than nuclear has ever killed, even including Chernobyl. The perception that nukes are dangerous is like how airplanes look dangerous; when a plane crashes, a lot of people die and you hear about it all the time, but people constantly die in car crashes, and you barely hear about it. So, a nuke plant melts down and it scars a nation, but coal is constantly killing and no one seems to want to get mad at that.

Radiation is safer than you think it is. First off, you're being exposed to radiation all the bloody time. You're getting it from bananas, the sun, your computer screen, the ground, etc. Aside from a Chernobyl-type accident or the detonation of a nuclear bomb, the addition of a nuclear power plant is a marginal increase in your radiation exposure.

Coal is safer than you think it is. The older plants are just awful, but technology has gotten better to the point where plants burn very cleanly. Even still, your health is put in greater danger by a new coal plant than by any nuke plant.

Solar is not that extreme a choice. Next generation panels would be able to supply all US power needs covering five percent of Nevada. That's a HUGE amount of land, but we wouldn't have to go plowing down the rain forest or anything.

Finally, I'm not an expert in any of this, just read up on it sometimes, so go ahead and find yourself a good book and figure this stuff out for yourself.
2002-07-29 12:20:28 AM  
Frot, no, you can't see microwaves.
2002-07-29 12:21:02 AM  
Procurator: That super gun Iraq was working on probably could have put a small payload into orbit.
2002-07-29 12:24:44 AM  
Just keep launching sand into every direction, until there's so much orbiting the earth, that all satellites are destroyed, I guess.
2002-07-29 12:25:47 AM  
Everyone has forgotten that the Earth is one big-ass nuclear reactor. Geothermal, all the way. No nuclear waste, only waste product is hot water. Seems like a good idea to me. Now if the crust of the Earth was a little less than 6 miles deep...
2002-07-29 12:26:15 AM  
I think before we try to wean ourselves off coal, maybe we should wean the third world off wood? Wood-fired power plants are orders of magnitude more polluting than coal-fired plants.

I'm all for nice, clean nuclear, but the environmentalists go nuts whenever a nuclear plant is proposed. I don't think a single nuclear plant has been built in the US since the Three Mile Island incident. And that was back in the 70's. No wonder we have so many coal plants. We can't get anything better past the environmetalists.

Ironic, isn't it?

Nuclear plants are far safer today than they were back in the 70's. More than 60% of France's power is nuclear. How many horrific meltdowns have they had?
2002-07-29 12:26:54 AM  
I noticed they changed "Bush and his big oil friends" to "Bush and his big fossil fuel friends." So, how much coal mining do they do in Texas, eh? Liberal garbage. [image from too old to be available]
2002-07-29 12:28:31 AM  
I agree with JereIC, bring on the new generation fission plants; they're the best we've got right now by far.
2002-07-29 12:29:33 AM  
Frot, no, you can't see microwaves.

That was a picture of the Death Star firing.

When someone suggests shooting a high-energy beam
down to earth, I want to remind them of the implications
if anything goes wrong.
2002-07-29 12:29:44 AM  
The earth is not a nuclear reactor. If it were, it'd be a star instead of a planet. The heat inside the earth is generated by pressure, not by fusion.
2002-07-29 12:31:14 AM  
I knew it was the death star.
2002-07-29 12:32:07 AM  
I think before we try to wean ourselves off coal, maybe we should wean the third world off wood? Wood-fired power plants are orders of magnitude more polluting than coal-fired plants.

Unlike coal, wood is a renewable resource. Like coal, wood
IS collected solar energy.
2002-07-29 12:34:52 AM  
So CNN teaches writing classes in high schools now? How nice of them.
2002-07-29 12:39:18 AM  
No, no, no. Lets put the solar cells on the ground and giant focusing mirrors/magnifying glasses in orbit. Not unlike the Death Star, but for good instead of evil. We'll catch the light that would have missed earth and point it in the right direction. But I'll be damned if I would live anywhere near the solar cells on the ground.
2002-07-29 12:39:40 AM  
We burn coal because there isn't anything better to do with it.
2002-07-29 01:00:50 AM  
Axisted, in my opinion as an EE, Tesla's greatest contribution to mankind was the invention of multiphase alternating-current power generation. By using transformers to bump up voltages to 113kV, we are able to send electric power long distances very efficiently. If we had gone the way of Edison and stuck with DC power, the industrial revolution would have progressed much more slowly and we could have been decades behind where we are now.

I'm not sure whether or not Tesla believed in "free" energy. He was a very materialistic man. But with his technology, you could have built massive hydroelectric power plants at some place like Niagra Falls, then "beamed" the power to receivers in Europe and sold it to them.

In any case, he appears to have been something of an egomaniacal nutcase.
2002-07-29 01:01:07 AM  
Heh, very true Cclark. ;)
2002-07-29 01:02:13 AM  
space-based microwaves could work, but first we'd need a privatized space industry that could launch and operate the satellites faster, cheaper, and better than NASA
2002-07-29 01:06:19 AM  
Lots of people would like to lay the blame squarely on the shoulders of President Bush and his pals in the fossil fuel industry, but of course that's too easy.

It's too easy to lay the blame on President Bush? Oh, that's right ... we quit mining the stuff 20 years ago, and only started mining it again the day dubya was inaugurated.
2002-07-29 01:11:04 AM  
All the talk about solar panels in space and the idea that someone could launch a bag of sand to destroy them brings to mind the obvious question; what about things like meteors and junk that rain down constantly on the earth from space? Wouldn't that tend to cause problems with something several thousand square miles across?

And the idea that the rest of the world is causing less polution than the US seems a bit strange to me as well. The Kyoto accords had tougher restrictions for the US by a factor of 100 than the third world countries. Why? Because burning dried animal dung POLLUTES!

Hmmm, I wonder if we could sell California emmisions cars to third world countries? What? No? Oh yea, they can't FIX 'EM! Duh!
2002-07-29 01:14:30 AM  
07-29-02 12:39:40 AM Cclark
We burn coal because there isn't anything better to do with it.

bah! back in my day, we would put a lump of coal in EVERY child's stocking for Christmas. and you know why? because all those little brats were evil. AND THEY STILL ARE! except now, they'r evil AND spoiled. we could teach these whipper-snappers a thing or two!
2002-07-29 01:14:47 AM  
Too lazy to read the whole thread, but hope that there might possibly be a global move toward clean efficent nuclear power. I hate to break this to all the greenpieces, but it ain't the 1970's anymore, nuclear power is an order of magnitude safer than the thirty years since recent potential catastrophes (I'm counting Chernobyl in Russian Technological years) occured. And fission power should hold us until we get those pesky solar power satellites to beam microwave energy down to our heighborhood stations.
2002-07-29 01:15:51 AM  
fark you all. and fark britain. damn british people never did shiat for me. ugly ass coont bastards. suck my cock. burn in hell. bastards. that is all.
2002-07-29 01:17:27 AM  
I'm not sure whether or not Tesla believed in "free" energy. He was a very materialistic man. But with his technology, you could have built massive hydroelectric power plants at some place like Niagra Falls, then "beamed" the power to receivers in Europe and sold it to them.

Well, I don't think he was looking for over-unity "free" energy, but wanted to ways of maximizing its production and distribution, nor do I think he was looking to profit as he could have made himself wealthy with AC alone.

In any case, he appears to have been something of an egomaniacal nutcase.

I don't think he was egomaniacal, certainly obssessed with revolutionizing energy.
2002-07-29 01:19:46 AM  
Okaaaay, Clean Nuclear power has been covered. Also wanted to add that local (solar, global, cosmic, etc.) radiation is a major factor in our rapid evolution. Radiation leads to mutations, and that's exactly what we are...
2002-07-29 01:20:18 AM  
And the idea that the rest of the world is causing less polution than the US seems a bit strange to me as well. The Kyoto accords had tougher restrictions for the US by a factor of 100 than the third world countries. Why? Because burning dried animal dung POLLUTES!

Yes, burning dung does pollute. And we don't do that, so there's no need for us to strap ourselves into the Kyoto treaty. It's hard enough just living up to California's expectations.
2002-07-29 01:20:35 AM  
bah! back in my day, we would put a lump of coal in EVERY child's stocking for Christmas

A great way of saying, "we've run out of money, guess where you're going when you turn 9."
2002-07-29 01:22:20 AM  
Coal is renewable...if you're prepared to wait several million years.
2002-07-29 01:30:40 AM  
We burn coal to extract some of the potential energy from it. I know that, and I didn't even read the article. :)
2002-07-29 01:32:04 AM  
The earth is probably going to get warmer. I'm sure we'll learn to live with any changes. Humans are a very adaptable species.

Humans are also a species who like to have LOTS and LOTS of cheap energy........

Just be thankfull that America built all those giant Hydro electric dams and nuclear reactors BEFORE the tree huggers put a stop to building any more. Or else today we would be 90% dependant on coal for electricity.
2002-07-29 01:32:26 AM  
I shoved a nuclear powered dildo up some British chicks ass once. Her orgasm was certainly renewable.
2002-07-29 01:34:33 AM  
For your reading pleasure, here's a bunch of articles on space based solor power though about half are bad links it seems

Some of the points are, the initial costs would be great, geosyncronous orbit would be better than low earth orbit since you don't have the long dark periods and a stable spot that would give constant output, but is mmore expensive and the recieving station would need to be much larger. The Japanese are pursuing a pilot project but I'm not sure yet how it is progressing. An expieriment in microwave energy transmission in 1982 had a conversion ration of 85%.

You could also use lasers to transmit the power but a treaty with russia prevents the use of high power lasers in space. And there is a mountain on the moon's south pole that recieves constant sunlight which would be a great spot for a power station. And finally if that idea for a space elevator happens I've heard ideas about putting solar collectors on that.
2002-07-29 01:35:46 AM  
Hydroelectricity has a very minimal impact if the valleys are narrow and deep enough. Here in BC, our hydro-dam-created lakes are basically squiggles: very narrow, very long, minimal surface area, large volume. In Quebec, where the land is flatter, the lakes cover more area. The St. James-Great Whale-SomethingElseI'veForgotten has flooded a lot of Northern Quebec (N. Quebec being defined as everything that isn't the St. Lawrence Valley or Gaspe peninsula, which is a helluva lot), but that doesn't matter to the provincial government because nobody uses the land except a few Cree. The PQ isn't known for embracing all ethnicities.

2002-07-29 01:35:59 AM  
which brings me to my next point. British people make farking lousy lovers. Not only are men lacking in penis size, the women are all ugly as sin. Sure, ive farked a few a few Brits in my life, but i was never satisfied by it. British chicks for the most part aren't good enough to toss my salad. Crumpet eating sluts. fark Britain. And suck my cock. That is all.
2002-07-29 01:38:33 AM  
Bumbomber, I agree... this is all that needs to be said...
Lazlow: "Alright, let's go to the phones! Hello caller, you're on Chatterbox."
Caller: "Lazlow man, I...I was listening to that English wimp you were talking to earlier, I mean, do these guys realize how wussy they sound?! I mean, th..they have the nerve to call 'crackers' 'biscuits!' And they say 'al-u-min-ium,' instead of 'aluminum.' I mean...what's up with that!? They all think they sound so smart with their little funny accents, I mean...I got something for 'em...SPEAK ENGLISH, YA LIMEY MORONS!!"
Lazlow: "Well you know..I think they were speaking English before we were! Th..the people over here were speaking Chichonian Cherokee!"
Caller: "Man, Cherokee-shmerokee, man! A..and another thing! What's up with them calling 'soccer' 'football?!' Man, ever watched soccer!? Man, that's a boring game, man! I'll tell what soccer's for little girls man! that's an American sport! teaches you good wholesome American values man, stealing other peoples land by force and...and wearing tight pants while you do it!"
Lazlow: "Hehh...what are you talking about!?!"
Caller: "I'm talking about being a man, Lazlow! Something you wouldn't know anything about by the sound of things. I tell ya, I bet you play wimpy stuff touch football, a..a..and basketball. 'Look, I'm running around the court bouncing the ball and I'm seven foot three!' I'm telling ya man, I only play man sports! Like football. And hopscotch."
Lazlow: "HOPSCOTCH!?! Th..that's a girls game!!"
Caller: "Man, that ain't a girls game man! Not rugby hopscotch! Now get me in a scrum and I'm dangerous. I'd take anybody down! I'm the hopscotch master! I gots fly skills at know what I'm saying??"
Lazlow: "Yeah..I..I..I kinda see your point, but you'd be a little cranky too if your empire had fallen apart over the last hundred years! And speaking of commerce, it's time for some commerce here...let's go to commercials, we'll be back after this."

Britan is pretty gay anyway. Who in the fark wants to live on an island in the middle of a bigass nasty ocean. They are just leaching off the rest of us. They have to import all of their resources. It would be better if we made them our slaves! That way we (the people of their former colonies) could have our revenge on the ugly, smelly, stupid people of England. Another thine open up some colleges of cuisine and dentistry. Damn, you some ugly mutherfarkers!! Peace to tha world and "praise be to Allah!"
2002-07-29 01:41:17 AM  
How did this turn into a bash-the-pommy thread? Bumbomber, do us a favour and bugger off, would you? Thanks. We're trying to talk about science here.

BoboMonkey...that sounds like satire. You may stay.
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