Author Topic: Episode #727  (Read 4148 times)

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Offline Steven Novella

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Episode #727
« on: June 15, 2019, 10:56:49 AM »
News Items: Theory of Everything, FBI Bigfoot Files, Starlink, Evaluating ChernobylWho's That NoisyYour Questions and E-mails: Closest Planet, Married BlissScience or Fiction
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Re: Episode #727
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2019, 03:01:19 PM »
Huh. I thought a GUT was supposed to unify all four forces - the same as a TOE. I wonder if the terms were used differently 30+ years ago when I really paid attention to that stuff.
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Offline CookieMustard

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Re: Episode #727
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2019, 03:09:04 PM »
Huh. I thought a GUT was supposed to unify all four forces - the same as a TOE. I wonder if the terms were used differently 30+ years ago when I really paid attention to that stuff.

I believe a GUT is restricted to the non-gravitational forces. A TOE would include gravity.

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Re: Episode #727
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2019, 04:58:27 PM »
Huh. I thought a GUT was supposed to unify all four forces - the same as a TOE. I wonder if the terms were used differently 30+ years ago when I really paid attention to that stuff.

I believe a GUT is restricted to the non-gravitational forces. A TOE would include gravity.

I too am curious about this. Gravity is a fundamental force, but I get that according to the Relativistic model, really it is the warping of space-time. For whatever reason, gravity is just way different from the other fundamental forces. Which is why Bob said "the subatomic forces". GUT is a lesser included model in a ToE.

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #727
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2019, 06:19:52 PM »
I, too, always thought that the Grand Unified Field Theory was supposed to unify gravity with the strong force and the electroweak force. Before this episode I had never heard of the concept of Grand Unified Theory without "Field" in there along with Grand and Unified and Theory. Admittedly, some of the rogues probably hadn't been born yet when I learned what little I know about the subject, and science progresses, and perhaps the terminology has changed.

I cannot decide whether a GUFT would be a Theory of Everything, or just a theory of all the Fields.

I wonder, though, if we really need to reach the Plank energy in a particle collider in order to discover and test a GUFT. It sounds as though that professor is saying that a theory that we don't have yet cannot be developed without expending more energy than we're ever likely to have access to. But since we don't have the theory, how can we know for sure what will be needed to develop and test it? There are indirect ways to substantiate a theory that don't necessarily involve creating the associated particle.

Maybe we'll never have a GUT or a ToE or a GUFT. Or maybe some smart person will work out a theory that can be tested without expending more energy than we have available for the purpose. I think that professor is just speculating. Interesting, but far from conclusive.
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Re: Episode #727
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2019, 08:32:45 PM »
I can imagine the effect of kids on happiness being a complicated subject to study, when you have to account for the reasons for why people did or didn't have children. Some people have children to "save the relationship" or because their partner insists on it, or their community expects it of them. If you're free from external pressures, if you're well-off and already happy together, and then have children, maybe the kids don't actually make the difference, it's about being able to do what you want to be doing.

If you don't want children, presumably you'd be a whole lot happier not to have had them, and at worst someone might only discover after they have children what it really means and how much they hate it.

And then some people don't have children because they can't find someone (who wants the same things) to be in a relationship with, which in itself is enough reason to be less happy (if relationships are what they want).
« Last Edit: June 15, 2019, 08:42:47 PM by 2397 »

Offline esterin

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Re: Episode #727
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2019, 12:50:57 AM »
I can imagine the effect of kids on happiness being a complicated subject to study, when you have to account for the reasons for why people did or didn't have children. Some people have children to "save the relationship" or because their partner insists on it, or their community expects it of them. If you're free from external pressures, if you're well-off and already happy together, and then have children, maybe the kids don't actually make the difference, it's about being able to do what you want to be doing.

If you don't want children, presumably you'd be a whole lot happier not to have had them, and at worst someone might only discover after they have children what it really means and how much they hate it.

And then some people don't have children because they can't find someone (who wants the same things) to be in a relationship with, which in itself is enough reason to be less happy (if relationships are what they want).
Yes but it is not "hard" it is impossible, i think it is impossible in principal.
That is why probably all this type of studies are political and are used for political purposes, like what Cara (as all media ) did was immediately to latch to this transparently fake and stupid "research" that "debunks" all our life's experience to validate her life style.

if your "study" contradicts well known expirience or anecdotal  evidence, it is almost assuradly wrong.

To get published and for attention the nerrative is always : "new study changes all we knew for thousands of years" ..... ahha.... all human experience, letrature and culture etc ... was wrong based on some social "science" study made by the most mediocre group of people, imagine being so conceded.

Offline esterin

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Re: Episode #727
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2019, 02:14:49 AM »
growing in Ukraine in the 70s and 80s  the Chernobyl series recreated the visuals really well , the cloths, uniforms, the city, schools etc...gave me some nostalgia from childhood.

Regarding the risks, the whole discussion focuses and compares the wrong things.
In nuclear the chronic risk is really low  yet the potential 
worst case damage is not bounded.

If a coal station is hit by an "inside job terrorist attack" few hundreds of people might die, that it, there will be disruptions to the grid.

In a nuclear station it can leak into the water table and poison the Dneiper basin, rendering the water source of 50 million people unusable, rendering the bread busket of eastern Europe unlivable for 30k years.
By all accounts this could have happened in Chernobyl. There were 3 more reactors ( as in Fukashima) close by that could have been hit.
And was completely possible for the core to burn through the lower biological shield into the water  and the Dneiper.

Same was completely possible in Fukashima as far as i know.

Whoever thinks it is somehow unique to ussr and it's colture of "lysenkoism", Fukushima is in Japan, yet the backup generators were not operational and were not well serviced before the tsunami hit, and the magnitude of the tsunami and earthquake when looking back now are not out   of the realm of possibolities.

The other thing to note is that like the Chernobyl stations, which operated through the breakup of the ussr, Nuclear are built for many decades, in the mean time the political systems which built it might get undone and will operate with low maintenance and under much lower safety threshold due to constraints and costs/corner cutting.

in short, u have to be insane

Offline Zelda McMuffin

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Re: Episode #727
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2019, 09:58:09 AM »


I can imagine the effect of kids on happiness being a complicated subject to study, when you have to account for the reasons for why people did or didn't have children. Some people have children to "save the relationship" or because their partner insists on it, or their community expects it of them. If you're free from external pressures, if you're well-off and already happy together, and then have children, maybe the kids don't actually make the difference, it's about being able to do what you want to be doing.

If you don't want children, presumably you'd be a whole lot happier not to have had them, and at worst someone might only discover after they have children what it really means and how much they hate it.

And then some people don't have children because they can't find someone (who wants the same things) to be in a relationship with, which in itself is enough reason to be less happy (if relationships are what they want).
Yes but it is not "hard" it is impossible, i think it is impossible in principal.
That is why probably all this type of studies are political and are used for political purposes, like what Cara (as all media ) did was immediately to latch to this transparently fake and stupid "research" that "debunks" all our life's experience to validate her life style.

if your "study" contradicts well known expirience or anecdotal  evidence, it is almost assuradly wrong.

To get published and for attention the nerrative is always : "new study changes all we knew for thousands of years" ..... ahha.... all human experience, letrature and culture etc ... was wrong based on some social "science" study made by the most mediocre group of people, imagine being so conceded.

This is a science and skepticism podcast.

You'll have to get used to hearing about studies that stir political arguments or conflict with your worldview.
You can criticise the methodology, but saying sociology and social psychology is "impossible in principal" is anti-scientific nonsense.

I think the poster who said, "it's about being able to do what you want to be doing" hit the nail on the head.
We're seeing what happens as some people (significantly, middle-income women) have more freedom to make choices about how to live their lives. They don't have to have sex when they don't want to (just ask your grandma how much unwanted sex she had to endure), don't marry if they don't want to, they can choose to put their career first, etc. There are many consequences of that expansion of the range of choice, some positive, *some negative* (fertility, advanced maternal age), and I'm interested in how that is impacting our society.


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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #727
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2019, 12:38:36 PM »
Regarding the risks, the whole discussion focuses and compares the wrong things.
In nuclear the chronic risk is really low  yet the potential 
worst case damage is not bounded.

This is really the crux of the matter. Is there any objective, evidence-based and scientific way we can assess an issue where the chronic risk is so low, but the potential worse case is catastrophic? Coal has killed orders of magnitude more people than nuclear power plants have, but would this change with one really catastrophic accident?

I used to be anti-nuclear-power because of the waste issue, the possibility of a catastrophic accident, and the possibility of reactor fuel being diverted to weapons. The fact that a hypothetical future technology might be able to use today's waste as fuel does not change the fact that today it is waste, and still being stored in facilities designed to hold a fraction of today's load.

Steve convinced me I was wrong, a long time ago. But I still have misgivings. I think that nuclear might indeed be necessary. But deep down, I wonder if we are creating a doomsday scenario when the inevitable hundred-year or five-hundred-year accident finally happens. Steve argues that future plants will be so safe that a catastrophic accident simply won't happen. Murphy's Law says it will.

Where I live, solar with batteries is cheaper than what we've had ever since electric power came to the state. I will have solar panels and two Powerwalls, and my estimated break-even time is five years. It would be considerably less if my system were sized with a view to relying on natural ventilation instead of A/C, as people lived here ever since the first Polynesians arrived. But I'm a spoiled old man so I use A/C. We definitely do not need nuclear here. I'm confident (though I have not tried to do the math) that this entire island could be converted to solar + batteries for less than it would cost to build a nuclear plant to replace the present diesel power. Either one would require a large investment. But people are buying solar so fast that I had to wait almost three months from signing the contract to the upcoming start date for installation.

Solar is now an economical and very popular solution here. Even though the grid will no longer buy excess solar, and if you install solar here now you pretty much have to include battery storage.
Daniel
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Re: Episode #727
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2019, 04:36:20 PM »
Regarding the risks, the whole discussion focuses and compares the wrong things.
In nuclear the chronic risk is really low  yet the potential 
worst case damage is not bounded.

This is really the crux of the matter. Is there any objective, evidence-based and scientific way we can assess an issue where the chronic risk is so low, but the potential worse case is catastrophic? Coal has killed orders of magnitude more people than nuclear power plants have, but would this change with one really catastrophic accident?

I used to be anti-nuclear-power because of the waste issue, the possibility of a catastrophic accident, and the possibility of reactor fuel being diverted to weapons. The fact that a hypothetical future technology might be able to use today's waste as fuel does not change the fact that today it is waste, and still being stored in facilities designed to hold a fraction of today's load.

Steve convinced me I was wrong, a long time ago. But I still have misgivings. I think that nuclear might indeed be necessary. But deep down, I wonder if we are creating a doomsday scenario when the inevitable hundred-year or five-hundred-year accident finally happens. Steve argues that future plants will be so safe that a catastrophic accident simply won't happen. Murphy's Law says it will.

Where I live, solar with batteries is cheaper than what we've had ever since electric power came to the state. I will have solar panels and two Powerwalls, and my estimated break-even time is five years. It would be considerably less if my system were sized with a view to relying on natural ventilation instead of A/C, as people lived here ever since the first Polynesians arrived. But I'm a spoiled old man so I use A/C. We definitely do not need nuclear here. I'm confident (though I have not tried to do the math) that this entire island could be converted to solar + batteries for less than it would cost to build a nuclear plant to replace the present diesel power. Either one would require a large investment. But people are buying solar so fast that I had to wait almost three months from signing the contract to the upcoming start date for installation.

Solar is now an economical and very popular solution here. Even though the grid will no longer buy excess solar, and if you install solar here now you pretty much have to include battery storage.

Solar is also readily scalable.  Need more, add more.  The small modular nuclear generators that Steve hypes still aren’t commercially available.  They might be hypothetically cheaper, but hypothetically doesn’t cut it.

I’ve had solar panels for 10 years, and they’ve long paid for themselves, just in not having an electricity bill for that period of time (I also have a $2000+ credit in my account, which I haven’t bothered claiming).

Batteries are also becoming cheaper.  The Australian state of South Australia had a 100 MW battery facility built in order to even out fluctuations in renewable power supply, and it’s making a profit from the start.
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Offline Alex Simmons

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Re: Episode #727
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2019, 05:50:12 PM »
Batteries are also becoming cheaper.  The Australian state of South Australia had a 100 MW battery facility built in order to even out fluctuations in renewable power supply, and it’s making a profit from the start.

Grid scale batteries are profitable because they provide unique frequency control and ancillary grid services at an efficiency level and price no other current grid power supply technology can. Gas plants which have traditionally provided this service have gouged the market for ages. That's changing quickly as grid scale batteries emerge.

Domestic home batteries are not exactly becoming cheaper, indeed prices have risen of late. They don't make financial sense unless you live in a market where the difference between import and export tariffs is very high, like in the order of at least US$0.30-0.40/kWh. That would be the case in Hawaii. For me a Powerwall 2 has a simple payback period of 67 years!

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Re: Episode #727
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2019, 06:33:51 PM »
Reactors that can only fail safe have been around a long time. CANDU reactors are physically structured so the reaction has to be forced to happen at all. The more things fail and break down the more the reaction can't even start.

There are certainly ways bad things could happen, especially heavy water leaking or flooding out - but these have been largely mitigated too.

IIRC part of the reason the US went with reactors that can melt down was to generate weapons-grade plutonium. New reactors don't necessarily have that requirement.
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Re: Episode #727
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2019, 07:05:31 PM »
Batteries are also becoming cheaper.  The Australian state of South Australia had a 100 MW battery facility built in order to even out fluctuations in renewable power supply, and it’s making a profit from the start.

Grid scale batteries are profitable because they provide unique frequency control and ancillary grid services at an efficiency level and price no other current grid power supply technology can. Gas plants which have traditionally provided this service have gouged the market for ages. That's changing quickly as grid scale batteries emerge.

Domestic home batteries are not exactly becoming cheaper, indeed prices have risen of late. They don't make financial sense unless you live in a market where the difference between import and export tariffs is very high, like in the order of at least US$0.30-0.40/kWh. That would be the case in Hawaii. For me a Powerwall 2 has a simple payback period of 67 years!

I agree with you regarding home batteries.  Even if the price drops to $100 per maw.hr, They still don’t pay.  I was actually talking about grid batteries.  The only ‘home’ battery I’d consider would be the batteries in an e-car as backup.  But I use my current car so infrequently that it hardly pays to buy a new car, let alone an e-car.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #727
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2019, 08:58:35 PM »
A secondary advantage of home batteries is that I will have power during power outages. If there was a power outage during a long period of heavy cloud cover I'd be out of luck. But under ordinary circumstances I won't be affected by outages. And since my major electric usage is for A/C, the same cloud cover that could block my power generation would also mean I would not be using much power.

Some people spend a lot of money on a backup gas generator. I won't need that.
Daniel
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