Peak Oil and Global Warming

January 9th, 2022

I Just had a interestingly cynical thought about why we might not hear more about peak oil in the USA.

One of the most destructive Big Industries is Big Politics. I’ve talked about how the USA carefully keeps people divided on hot button topics while making very little progress on them so it can continue to donation farm the suckers. (Lately this has been combined with the right out and out selling total falsehoods to their constituents, who are apparently not bright enough to figure out they’re being lied to or even remember that the past has changed over and over and over so that whatever’s Pravda now can be Pravda. )

Anyway, one of the things I’ve been deeply puzzled by is why people don’t talk about peak oil more, because while we might be arguing over the science of global warming it’s just about impossible to argue about the fact that Earth’s oil wells are going dry at a prodigious rate and that subject matter experts estimate 35 years of economically recoverable oil remain.

I think the reason global warming is pushed is because Peak Oil is something that there’d be bipartisan agreement about. Like infrastructure renewal, we carefully have to keep peak oil off the table to discuss because we’d all agree something needs done – and even worse, the things that we’d all agree need done are for the most part the same thing those global warming nuts want anyway! It’d be a very bad day for Big Politics.

(One consistent distraction from all this is the bullshit hydrogen economy. A few reminders, just to get them out of the way

1) There are very few metals that can catalyze hydrogen and oxygen to make electricity i.e. make a fuel cell for hydrocarbons. They’re all *very* rare and very expensive. There’s no way we have enough of them to put a FCV vehicle in every driveway in america
2) Hydrogen has a much lower energy density than any other hydrocarbon. This is a problem for several reasons. The first is that if we wanted to burn it in a conventional engine that engine would need enormous displacement per horsepower output. This makes using conventional engines to use hydrogen impractical
3) ALso because of the lower energy density, combined with the fact that it is a cryogenic gas (cannot be liquefied at room temperature, requires significant refrigeration to maintain in a liquid state), hydrogen is very difficult to store. Absent some sort of catalytic storage system (and it is possible such a thing could be found, ammonia seems tempting) storing hydrogen requires storing it at hundreds of atmospheres in order to get usable energy densities. Such a container is fantastically dangerous if it is ruptured because everyone near it will freeze to death – and that’s before we talk about fires etc.
4) Because hydrogen has to be compressed to hundreds of atmospheres, there’s some significant challenges in making it energy efficient because of the Boyle’s Law impact of compressing a gas to hundreds of atmospheres. Various challenges ensue to try to recapture all the waste heat of the multistage compressors required.
5) Hydrogen is very slippery. IT’s a tiny molecule that likes to leak – in fact many of the Los Angeles based hydrogen fueling stations have burned to the ground because of such leaks. It’s not the easiest material to work with.
6) It is not practical to have a fuel cell battery big enough to provide for the peak power (100kW) required during acceleration of a modern car. Therefore a FCV by definition is also a BEV, with all the complications that implies plus the complications of moving energy between the fuel cell and the battery pack. Even if it were possible to make fuel cells big enough, fuel cells must go offline from time to time to purge the water they are generating from their membranes.
7) Oh, yes, as well as being stupidly expensive (and if you thought having your catalytic converter stolen was bad, wait till you get your fuel cell stolen) fuel cells also *wear out* much faster than batteries do. Expect to change your fuel cell every 100k miles, as opposed to 200k for battery packs. (oh, yes, and expect to change your battery pack too, see above about how a FCV is a BEV)

Fuel cell vehicles may well be the answer for very large things, like trains, boats, and possibly tractor-trailers. But they are not a good candidate for everyday drivers and therefore using “let’s wait for the hydrogen economy” as a excuse for not settling the issues surrounding peak oil now is bullshit. Naturally the republicans love it.)

Anyway, all that said, Global warming *will be inconvenient*. It’ll cause crop failures, bad weather, heatstroke, etc. Peak Oil *will kill us*. Our entire food network runs on oil. It takes us more than a calorie of petrochemicals to *make* a calorie of food (counting fertilizers) and that’s before we even start to talk about moving it around. And it will kill us *soon*. If you are my age and have children, *they will starve to death* unless we change our ways.

What are the solutions? Well, for crops, Monsanto could stop being assholes and start working on crops that need less fertilizer and do less damage to the soil. For cars, battery electric vehicles – there’s plenty of lithium in seawater and for many of us nickel metal hydride would be adequate to our needs. For trains, overhead or rail fed power – although that’s less of a desperate need because trains are very efficient. For airplanes, BEVs for small ones and biofuels for big ones. Many different solutions exist – but we should begin transition *now*. We don’t want to wait until we have 5 years of oil left – among other things, humans are such idiots that we will spend the last of the oil fighting wars over the last of the oil. Also, almost all of this stuff is going to have bugs. None of it is going to work right immediately. We need to kaizen the designs (iteratively and slowly improve them)

For energy – the obvious big winners here are wind, solar, and nuclear. Not just because they’re carbon neutral, but because they’re the cheapest per kwh options in terms of deaths per kwh. Nuclear probably will also become the cheapest in terms of dollars per kwh as we design better plants. We’re already well on our way to replacing our peaker plants with wind and solar. Now we just need to slay the baseline load dragon – and if you all *really* hate nuclear even after you understand it, I guess we can talk about pumped storage, mechanical storage, and battery storage. We will come up with something.. if we try.

One thing we do need to figure out what to do about is republicans out-and-out lying about technologies to try and block them. I’m sure you’ve all heard the *absurd* claim that a wind plant or a solar array takes more power to make than it generates. We really do, as a side note, need to figure out how we can possibly survive as a country *at all* with one side willing to *lie repeatedly* about *everything* in order to try and make a few billionaires richer.

God and infinity

January 5th, 2022

(Note: This is going to go some places that most folks are not equipped to follow.)

So, I had a thought the other day – as you know, I’ve debated whether or not God is (or has) a neural network, whether or not God is static and unchanging, and talked about how even if God is static and unchanging our experience of God can change in much the same way that when you move a static and unchanging tape past a play head you experience dynamic and changing music. And, I know there are people who declare that God is spirit.

However, one thought that came to me on facebook the other day is that infinity – the infinite set of sets – must perforce be bigger than God, unless God is in no way a individual or self aware at all. The infinite set of sets also by definition displays a limit to God’s omnipotence, because no one can remove anything from it. You can remove data from the world, but you can’t make 3 not be between 2 and 4 on the number line no matter how hard you try – and this idea can be expanded multidimensionally in all sorts of ways. For that matter, I still believe God can’t change the value of pi – it’s defined by the relationship of two lines at 90 degree angles to each other, and nothing you can do will change it.

Nor can true infinity – the infinite set of sets – be a self aware individual, because it cannot exlude or remove or rearrange *anything*. This would seem to even exclude awareness as we understand it, although I won’t go as far as to assert that is true (after all, many native Americans speak of everything as being aware and I’m not in a good position to say they’re wrong)

Nor can any one entity claim ownership of the infinite set of sets. One of the sickest and most disturbing parts of capitalism is in order to make the system work we’ve got people claiming to *own* ideas, even though clearly other entities in other parts of the world or galaxy or universe or multiverse might be having those ideas at the exact same time, or had them long before. “Intellectual property” shouldn’t be property at all – this represents a fundamental phoniness, fundamental way of lying about the universe to ourselves and each other.

In any case, surely any “God” couldn’t know there wasn’t another “God” in another frame with access to the same set of sets. In a multiverse, you might have parallel Gods next door to each other thinking the same thoughts – or different ones. That the bible doesn’t speak of these things is part of how I know it isn’t really divine inspiration by a creature more advanced than humanity was when it was penned. These are thoughts that are much easier for people like me who have been immersed in everything from set theory to quantum mechanics, and even tried to accept and grok Copenhagen, MWT, and PWT to grok than they would have been for the folks wandering around 2000 years ago. But a religious text that was truly inspired by a diety would already know these things. I think part of what’s most annoying to me about the bible is that it’s so clearly a lie. Any *real* God would know these things.

(Of course, if God *isn’t* aware and *is* static – that is to say, God’s just a tape – this could fit the Christian bible in that a non-aware God would have no need to be ethical. It would make less sense though in that a static God certainly has no need to be jealous. Of course, the best explanation, by far, of God’s jealousy is it’s actually the jealousy of the priests, who need people to keep believing in this particular set of fictions if they’re going to keep getting paid.)

Being a pro-vaxer

December 13th, 2021

So, many might wonder why I, who am so openly critical of the USA’s healthcare system, am so strongly pro the COVID vax.

The first and most obvious reason is most of the time doctors have no skin in the game. They don’t have to cure you to get paid. They can charge anything they want for fixing nothing, and as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, over and over and over they do exactly that. The only time I’ve seen doctors do a consistently good job is on things like heart surgery where if they don’t do it, the patient dies and they don’t get paid.

However, in the case of the COVID vax, they very *much* have skin in the game. This is their *lives*, and the lives of their friends, which are at risk. As such, I believe they did the best job they could with the vaccine.

Not only that, but vaccine technology is a international thing, and most of Europe has dramatically better healthcare than we do. (Hell, Cuba has better healthcare than we do). Because it’s a international effort, I also believe that it is trustworthy. While one country might suppress data, it is very difficult to believe that the entire world would do so or would even have a reason to do so.

So, despite my criticisms of the US healthcare system, I believe that the vaccine is 99.997% safe, is a better gamble than getting the virus without the protection of the vaccinate, and is something everyone who has the option (obviously some immunocompromised and currently under treatment for cancer do not) should do. We have seen independent reporting by many newspapers in many different parts of the country and even the world showing a average of a 7-1 ratio of non-vaccinated to vaccinated in the hospital. The vaccine is not *perfect* – I know of several cases where people (usually in their 80s, to be fair) have died after taking it. But it still increases your odds a *lot*, and, after all, the tab is being picked up by uncle sam.

Gratitude and anger

December 11th, 2021

So, I recently decided to take another facebreak – possibly because I ran into one person telling me there “wasn’t a pandemic any more LOL” and another saying that the USA should do anything it can to win wars with a minimum of casualties on our side, and who cares how many people on their side we kill (I think I talked elsewhere earlier about how dumb a position this is, but most libertarians haven’t really grown up yet so it’s not a surprising position for them to take. I love the meme going around comparing libertarians to house cats – convinced of their independence while having no understanding or appreciation of the system which permits their continued existence.)

Anyway, I have noticed that facebook is supremely good at not showing me the posts I’d *want* to see and instead showing me the posts that make me angry. I really don’t like feeling anger, and yet at the same time I have a hard time disengaging from it – the software they are running to ensure engagement is very, very good at it’s job. And a very awful thing. I do think if I were king I would declare that Zuck had to open the breakers and probably spend the rest of his life doing community service in exchange for the damage he has done. And yet, I keep getting sucked back into it.

Part of it is the illusion..a nd I’m convinced at this point that it *is* a illusion.. that facebook can help further my music career. It seems extremely unlikely – the engagement engine is never going to find my music compelling – in a recent post of a new song, I think *one person* saw it. If I pay for engagement, they’re going to deliberately show it to people who won’t like it, because that way they both get my money and get what they’re trying to provoke – anger and discontent, because that keeps people online and arguing more.

With that said, whilest I am on facebreak (I drop a zone file on my name server that redirects facebook to – undoing that is enough work that generally it stops me from going back on until I have real valid reason like a new song to post) I am going to try to spend a little more time thinking about gratitude. My friend Andy wants to build a whole social network built around the idea of gratitude but of course there’s no VC money for that – among other things, a healthy social network woudl generally encourage you to get offline and go do something that is likely to be more rewarding, and this doesn’t exactly bring in the advertising dollars.

However, I was pondering the other day about how I eat too quickly, and about how I should be more grateful for the astonishing array of tasty nibbles available to me every day. I do think that insofar as we clearly have a subconscious mind, thinking about things we’re grateful for probably helps clue our subconscious mind (which isn’t necessarily aware of the state of the entire system, see elsewhere in this blog for more about that) into the things our conscious mind would like to experience. So I’m going to try to keep some notes in my personal wiki about what I’m grateful for, and I’m acknowledging that I should have more gratitude than I do.

November 27th, 2021

So, recently in a conversation with someone I was told that I was a demon, because I had been rejected by God. I mean, I can see with all the posts on my web site criticizing Christianity how one could conclude that I had rejected God, although I prefer to think that I’ve rejected the imaginary God of the Christians – for good reason – but remain open to meeting the real God if there indeed is such a creature – if indeed there *can* be such a creature. (Something I remain in considerable doubt about). I definitely want to be on what I think of as the side of love and light but it seems like that is a radically different side than what at least certain Christians think of as love and light. (HInt: The KKK are about as evil as they come and the Black Panther Party were the good guys in my opinion – as one of many examples. Sex and music and dancing are all good things – as are recreational drugs that make people feel good in moderation – and beating people, shooting at people, starvation, and war are bad things. Not sure if that helps anyone determine my alignment)

Anyway, it bothers me, being told that I’m a demon / rejected by God. I mean, I still don’t see any signs that God *exists* – although I still wonder, if I had believed in God as described by the Christians, would I be experiencing said God as existing and therefore having a radically different ride than I am having at the moment.

I’ve woken up several times this week dreaming about Phoebe, and wishing that I had handled things differently in that regard. I’m also a bit sad about many of my other interactions with people. It seems like I don’t do all that great a job at interacting with people long term, and I find I’m even running out of patience on the business side of things – I try to restrain my more antisocial tendencies because I want to continue eating and living indoors, but I really wish that I didn’t have to continue doing IT for the forseeable future. I understand that my music is not good enough for anyone to be willing to pay to come see me, and that’s likely to continue to be true for a while although I do continuet o make progress as I hammer away hour after hour at those skills. But..

I don’t know. On one paw, I’m happy that I have as many friends as I do, and I certianly do have a lot of friends. On the other paw, I’m sad about the friends that I’ve lost, and I’m sad about the feeling that I’ve hurt people in pair-bond relationships repeatedly, and I feel a bit like people have hurt my sanity extremely in pair bond relationships. I also of course feel like I’ve hooked up with a few extremely insane folks and that might have something to do with my experiences therein. (Of course, I can’t claim perfect sanity myself)

I have just been feeling kind of sad lately in general. I can’t complain too much about how my life turned out since I am still at least so far able to progress towards being a master musician, and I certainly have it better than most as far as money in the bank and a place to live. (Well, maybe. From observed reality it appears I have it better than most. Possibly reality is a custom mix per individual or possible taht there are a lot of non-player characters out there. But for now let’s go with wat we see is what’s going on..)

music 2

November 26th, 2021

So, a question that the previous post posits is, why do I care what other people think? Well, I guess some of it is sort of a reality-checking – I think I’ve gotten much better, but if other people don’t then maybe I’m just getting better at meetig my own particular needs and desires. There is also of course the hope, as I’ve mentioned, that I could “quit my day job” – I have another probably valid method to pull that off, which is the kittens. (I’ll probably start blogging more about them in the near future as I start doing experiments with 3.0 – the kittens are a genetic algorithm driven robotrader being set up to work stocks and cryptocurrencies)

Anyway, I don’t actually know if I’m getting better or if it is just my perceptions of my work are getting better.


November 25th, 2021

So, in the midst of a conversation with a friend, I was re-pondering something I have given considerable thought to. If someone showed up and offered me a magic-wand-gain-enormous-musical-skill-without-working-for-it, I would refuse it. My fear would be that the only way I see to end up with musical skills that match and are resonant with my nervous system is to earn them one step at a time, one hour at a time. I already very occasionally have moments when it feels like the music I’m playing isn’t “me”, and then I have to take a step back, slow down, and figure out what isn’t quite right about it. I want to be a technical virtuoso, but since I’m not interested in doing it by reading music – I want to be playing, improvisationally, even when I’m playing the music of others – I want to be interpreting it through my own particular groove. I only see one reasonable path through to this – one hour at a time.

While I’d really like to get paid to write and perform music, my intention is to continue all the way through to my 10,000 hours even if I do not, and to continue exploring the music space even if I do not.

One thing that does sometimes bother me is that I don’t get a lot of recognition from people in my life that I’m getting better, even though I have put at least a thousand hours on since COVID began. There’s a few people who have acknowledged my increasing skill.. Andy, Loren, Bunne.. but none of the people I play with regularly have. I do know that I still have a long way to go.. it’s getting harder and harder to tell whether I’ve come further than I still have to go or not.

None Of Us Are Free

November 22nd, 2021

Without getting into a rant about recent events, which I am sure I will do elsewhere, here’s a song that keeps getting more topical every day..

None Of Us Are Free

(I didn’t write this.. it’s a traditional spiritual. The arrangement is mine and I played all parts in this recording. Mix assistance / exec audio engineer provided by Arthur St James as usual)

Ancestor simulations

November 17th, 2021

So, I had one of those extremely out there thoughts that I just had to share with my future self and/or my 5 fans.

It’s generally accepted that the universe we’re in is *not* deterministic – in fact that it’s not deterministic down to it’s extremely random quantum underpinnings. But – if it *were* – and it could be, and still show all the same complexity – emergent effects are interesting things – it’s possible that someone found just the media / recordings / whatever from a civilization and was/is able to regenerate what we’re currently experiencing from them – or even that the media we publish could act as a checksum for whether the simulaion is going right i.e. even the slightest drift from the expected simulation could produce different output.

On my “list of reasons christianity is bad for us”..

November 1st, 2021

The KKK is apparently still with us because it was revived by a methodist preacher. I was $TODAYS_AGE years old when I learned this.