Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Higgs Live!

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  • Sacha, in reply to Martin Lindberg,

    I am grateful that they didn't use Papyrus

    still room for an Unobtainium mashup..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    He takes it all back to his last year at school, in 1969, when a lady teacher enthused to the class about ecology.

    Did Trotter have a similar experience? Seem to be rather a few bruised penises in that generation's commentariat at the moment.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    In between attempting to post this, realising I'd been signed out and rescuing it others commented giving me reason to add more to the end.

    I’m sure China has similar areas.

    Absolutely. And like Australia, many of those areas are sparsely populated with far-flung settlements. Local solar PV would seem like a great way to get them electricity without going to the expense of connecting them to the grid. But even over here in the more densely-populated east, the northern half of the country is bone dry most of the year. Also, Yunnan, in the southwest (the name of that province can be interpreted as 'South of the Clouds'). I was quite impressed in Jinghong, capital of Xishuangbanna in the far south, where the Lancang River leaves China and becomes the Mekong, with the veritable jungle of solar water heaters on every rooftop and that the fancy hotels had big signs out front advertising 24 hour hot water, because all the ordinary hotels relied on solar meaning their guests could either have a cold shower in the morning or what until 5 or 6pm for hot water.

    The solar public bath houses and solar power tower I mentioned are in Yanqing, which is Beijing's highest and driest county. They seem to have developed a plan to become Beijing's "green energy county", taking advantage of all the extra sun and wind they get up there compared with the rest of Beijing. But given the huge cost of solar thermal mentioned in your link, I have to wonder about the rationale behind that solar power tower. Still, given its location in Badaling Township, in the southeast of the county, within full view of the main roads that bring the tourists down from the mountain and out to Yanqing's many tourist attractions (other than Badaling Great Wall, which I only recommend visiting on a mid-winter Sunday afternoon when the norwester is blowing, otherwise it's too crowded), perhaps it's the green energy phallus?

    I remember one beautiful day last summer, perfect clear, blue skies, driving out to my wife's home village, I took the Kangzhuang exit from the expressway, which is at the top of a rise, and as I came over the rise the whole western half of the basin in which Yanqing sits was spread out before me and smack in the middle of that was the windfarm I knew they'd been building in Huailai, the neighbouring county. That was a sight of pure majesty, I tell you, those turbines were beautiful. I also saw the tiny puddle that is all that remains of what is supposed to be Beijing's second biggest reservoir. Sigh. It certainly is Beijing's driest county.

    If you’ve got enough north-facing roof space, solar hot water

    South on this side of the equator, of course, but actually, when we got ours installed out in the village the workers couldn't figure out how to put it on our roof and face it south. Apparently they wanted our roof to be flat or slope the other way. They weren't very good solar water heater installers at all. Hell, I'm sure I could've designed them a bracket to straddle the roof and hold the water heater up at the right angle, and they and my father in law could've knocked it together from the various bits of scrap lying around the courtyard. But they assured us it would work pointing it west, and sure (and surprisingly) enough, it does. It doesn't get much use in the winter, thanks to the lack of heating in that room, but in the summer the water is still hot enough in the morning for a shower.

    But we should be making a plan now, on basis of things you can order right now.

    No argument from me there, just saying I certainly see a place for solar in the mix. And I hope nobody takes that as an excuse to stop working on all those other interesting technologies - oh wait, what Lilith said about short term and long term plans, although I don't see that as a disagreement, more like a yes, but... Speaking of, have they dropped those turbines into Cook Strait and the entrance to the Kaipara Harbour yet? If not, why not? Oh, thanks Lilith. Although neither of those articles are clear about whether those projects are up and running yet. I was under the impression they still faced a lot of opposition. Neptune Power's website is about the least informative I've ever come across. Crest Energy is better, but scanning through that, I notice they use the old long scale definition of a billion:

    Up to 8,000 million [my emphasis] cubic metres of water pass in and out of the harbour each day,

    but although I see this in the FAQ:

    Can I get a job at Crest Energy?

    Not yet.

    I'm struggling to find out if any turbines have actually been installed yet. Their suppliers section suggests not.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    have they dropped those turbines into Cook Strait and the entrance to the Kaipara Harbour yet? If not, why not? Oh, thanks Lilith. Although neither of those articles are clear about whether those projects are up and running yet.

    Yeah…I thought I read something somewhere about the Cook Strait ones being tested, but I can’t find any mention of that. Odd.

    Crest’s site says:

    The Honourable Kate Wilkinson, New Zealand’s Minister of Conservation, approves Crest’s applications for the development of a tidal power station 17Mar11

    which you’d think was old news…

    Edit:

    Ah, the FAQ page is the place to go.

    History of the Kaipara project.

    Also

    Does the project attract government assistance?

    Ex-Prime Minister Helen Clark launched the New Zealand Energy Strategy which includes a target to generate 90% of electricity from renewable resources by 2025, and to limit the construction of new fossil fuel generation plants for a decade. Current renewable output is about 60% of supply. There is limited scope for further large scale hydroelectric power generation. Geothermal and wind are well positioned and newer technologies such as wave and tidal were mentioned by the government: Crest Energy is named in the announcements. Meanwhile NZ Maui gas supplies used for electricity generation are running out and an alternative, the importation of LPG, would be even more expensive than renewables, according to Ministers.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Chris, in reply to Ross Mason,

    And, I have this wee suspicion that It doesn’t give a razoo about us either. But that is athiest talk. Rational but.

    On the other hand the universe from big bang to cold oblivion would have been slightly different had you not been a part of it. In other words, the universe bears your immortal impression whether it likes it or not. (hope it doesn't mind being personified)

    Same could be said of how human history ultimately turns out. Y’know, chaos theory and all that. Stating the obvious but there you go.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Scott Chris,

    ...the universe bears your immortal impression whether it likes it or not

    Don't you be starting them off
    with homoeopathy allusions,
    there'll be no settling them
    for the night...
    ;- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7948 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    And then, off to the right again, there's a sociologist saying: maths is a social construct...

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Don’t you be starting them off
    with homoeopathy allusions

    I was thinking more of the Total Perspective Vortex. But perhaps these thoughts converge. :-)

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Lilith __,

    Yes, but their [grr... yes, I am an English teacher, and yes I can get my English grammar and spelling right] history ends in August 2011 and Onwards says:

    Crest raises pre-construction capital
    The total funding requirement is over ten years is perhaps NZ$600 million
    Capital will be raised in stages corresponding to project milestones
    Generation of up to 200 MW is planned for 2023

    Which, along with their "we don't have any suppliers yet", suggests to me they're still raising the money, which leaves me wishing they'd learn some CCP-style urgency - although clearly not the bashing of opposing heads, just the hurry up and get this built thing.

    Tempted to go off on another tangent with even less to do with the Higg's boson, but I'll restrain myself for now...

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    You're quite right. Let's hope they get the money.

    Tempted to go off on another tangent with even less to do with the Higg’s boson, but I’ll restrain myself for now…

    Particles collide, stuff goes everywhere !! Go for it.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Lilith __,

    (and Chris)

    -but us atheists stay happily in our web of NON-belief and warily trust in science-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Lilith __,

    Particles collide, stuff goes everywhere !! Go for it.

    Well, alright... I reminded myself of a conversation with a good mate the other day. He's from Invercargill, his wife from northeastern China (as in her hometown is literally smack on the North Korean border - what a scary place to be from), educated at Otago, and now makes a living recruiting Chinese kids for NZ universities. He told me that his wife sometimes complains that NZ attitudes can be quite embarrassing. We both agreed that it is a bit frustrating looking around what really is, despite the glitz and glamour of downtown Beijing and Shanghai, a very poor, third world country with a myriad problems that make NZ's problems seem very mild (a question of perspective, sure), and seeing all the cool stuff that China has, like all electric taxis and massive investment (although far from enough) in non-GHG emitting electricity (wind, solar, nuclear, etc) and water recycling and poverty alleviation... my in-laws' township just this spring did a deal to insulate farmhouses. We only had to put up 1000 yuan, which, by the standards of that part of China is very reasonable... and looking at NZ and seeing some of this being done by some people, but an awful lot of others nay-saying. I do think as a nation we're a little too good at finding excuses as to why we can't do things, and we need to work on turning that around and finding ways we can get over these challenges.

    And yeah, there is a lot of good stuff being done in NZ, and a lot more good ideas (like the Kaipara tidal power project) which just need that little bit more investment or assistance. But some of the opposition to, for example, the Cook Strait and Kaipara tidal power projects I read of struck me as being just pathetic. I'm sure it'd be dangerous for a diver to swim near one of the turbines. So don't swim there, and then we get not just good, clean renewable energy that doesn't spoil anybody's view, we also get a default safety zone for those marine critters you're diving for (although whether the turbines are safe for marine critters of the swimming variety is a fair question - but the other tidal power projects around the world mentioned on Crest's website should be able to offer some advice on that).

    I guess that's what I mean about learning some CCP-style urgency. It would be nice to see more people getting out there and just building it. Guess I should add that I don't mean to tear down the Resource Management Act - we're very good at talking about how clean and green we are, but last time I was in Wellington for more than a few days I wound up showing a couple of Belgian friends of a friend around town, and they said over a glass of Speight's (which they liked - but they'd just arrived after a month in Australia, whose beer they didn't appreciate) that the only reason NZ is clean is the lack of people. If we had anything like Belgium's population density and still behaved the way we do our islands would be a toxic waste dump. I wished I could've disagreed with them. But anyway, while taking care to protect our environment, we need to just get out there and find ways to get these things built.

    And while I'm ranting, we also need to get rid of these so-called leaders who can't see beyond short-term profit. Can we please build something into our economic and political governance about ensuring we act for the long-term good of our nation so that our kids, grandkids, great grandkids have somewhere cool and clean to live? Again, I know there are people out there working on that, but we need more.

    And can we get back to our heritage of progressive politics? Shit, we were the first country to give women the vote, one of the earlier social democratic welfare states. We invented indigenous rights - then went and trampled all over the treaty, only belatedly waking up to the need to take it seriously, and that waking up process still being very much a work in progress, admittedly, but still... When I look at our politicians now and compare them to our history, I dunno, I'm not happy about it.

    And it's easy for an expat to sit here 11,000 km away ranting, so let me state here again that I do intend to be back in NZ in the next few years with a view to settling down and doing what I can to contribute to all that. And let me emphasise that I don't mean to be unnecessarily negative. There is a lot of good stuff happening in NZ. I just want to see more of it and that good stuff getting a lot more support.

    Wow, yeah, stuff goes everywhere. Sorry 'bout that...

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Islander,

    warily trust in science

    I like that 'warily' bit. We do need to remember that as awesome as science is, it is done by people, and people are really good at making mistakes and have quite an amazing talent for hubris.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    I am an English teacher, and yes I can get my English grammar and spelling right

    Off the clock it's largely academic.

    There is a lot of good stuff happening in NZ. I just want to see more of it and that good stuff getting a lot more support.

    I empathize totally, it's worth keeping in mind the extent to which the internet distorts this picture, Most of the best stuff about New Zealand loses 90% via media translation.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    I’ve come to the conclusion that there is an icky-stick-together Pakeha power base*
    with an ideology that is basically neo-lib Nat.*** They DO NOT believe in community/selfhelp/protection for workers/social welfare.(Let alone environmental protection. Let alone – waua!- encouragement of The Arts in all their glories!) EVERY time such a government is elected, this shining bright land slithers
    back into the kind of shitty society that was established in Canterbury & Wellington in the 1840s- and more of us despair, flee this Aotearoa, give up-

    ***when the mandate for EVERYTHING is money (and other values dont count) a promising civilisation DIES-

    (*Yes, there are also problems with a Maori hierarchy that has been corrupted.)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Islander,

    there is an icky-stick-together Pakeha power base*

    Could I insert 'Anglophile' in there somewhere ? Too specific? They're very British.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to chris,

    I'd go with that Chris - except it is also USAophile (and I'm not sure we can pop that in under the Anglophile heading...)

    Sniffs my kumara & salmon & greenbean chowder and thinks, quit whining little person, go draw a gruesome (or as one of the nevs kindly put it, "gurusome") cartoon-

    life is way too short to always feel angry, hurt, hapless & down-

    to all on this thread - ka nui aku mihi koa, aku mihi aroha ki a tatou katoa-n/n Keri

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Will de Cleene, in reply to Islander,

    warily trust in science

    But that's the whole point of science. You don't have to trust it; it's falsifiable. Which is more than you can say for priests, poets and politicians.

    Raumati • Since Jul 2011 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler,

    Just have to point out that Stephen Hawking is on my side #proofbyendorsement

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Islander,

    "USAophile"

    Delicious. Draw like the wind.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Will de Cleene,

    ut that’s the whole point of science. You don’t have to trust it; it’s falsifiable. Which is more than you can say for priests, poets and politicians.

    Report

    Tautoko.
    O - but!!
    You can always trust poets!
    (Falls over backwards, swallows tongue, dies-)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Islander,

    And not for the first time, I find myself wishing I could disagree.

    chris, I'm not sure about Anglophile. They certainly do seem to love sitting obediently at the feet of whoever the big Emperor is, though. Labour's not quite so bad at it, or at least a tad more discrete, but Nat-led governments do seem very eager to kiss up to the USA. There's another thing we as a nation need to learn from our history - the dangers of getting too friendly with empires. Gallipolli should've been enough, Vietnam should've been nothing more than a brief refresher course.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Will de Cleene,

    "Man has to awaken to wonder -- and so perhaps do peoples. Science is a way of sending him to sleep again."

    Ludwig Wittgenstein

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Will de Cleene,

    Which is more than you can say for priests, poets and politicians.

    Nonono! Don't throw poets in there! Poets are very falsifiable. Priests and politicians are after power and control, poets are after art, there's a hell of a difference. Poets speak to a different truth than scientists, but when a poet is wrong, you can say so and move on. Try telling a priest or politician they're wrong, and, well, you know the result.

    And Islander, do try and stay alive.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    I’m not sure about Anglophile.

    Agreed. I’m not sure which word I seek. A comment on their English way of doing things more than allegiances, an ideological and administrative tepidness.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

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