Author Topic: Episode #737  (Read 1619 times)

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Offline Steven Novella

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Episode #737
« on: August 24, 2019, 12:56:48 PM »
5-10 Years: Solar Roads  News Items: Wind Turbines, Bleach for Autism, Grain-Free Dog Food, Terraforming Mars  Who's That Noisy  Name That Logical Fallacy  Science or Fiction
Steven Novella
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Offline GodHead

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Re: Episode #737
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2019, 02:21:32 PM »
Our modern society uses too many resources.

Quick! Waste a bunch of resources over-building windmills and solar panels!

Offline elert

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Re: Episode #737
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2019, 02:33:27 PM »
Jay was driving me nuts with his incorrect use of work, energy, and power units in this episode. He kept saying "gigawatt hours of power" and "gigawatts per hour". Neither of these phrases makes any sense.

Work is done whenever a force results in a displacement. In equation form W=Fd. Doing work requires energy.  In equation form W=∆E. The unit of work and energy in the International System (abbreviated SI) is the joule. Lifting 1 kilogram of mass 1 meter on the surface of the Earth requires about 10 joules of energy.

Power is the rate at which work is done or energy is transferred or transformed (P=W/t=∆E/t). The SI unit of power is the watt. Doing 10 joules of work in 1 second requires 10 watts of power.

Since power already is a rate, saying things like "a watt per hour" makes no sense. A statement like "a watt for an hour" or mathematically "a watt multiplied by an hour" would make more sense. Power plants are described in terms of their power output using megawatts or gigawatts. A house's power consumption might be described in kilowatts. A kilowatt (power) delivered for an hour (time) is a kilowatt hour (energy). A household electric bill states the energy consumed in a billing cycle. Note that this is not the SI unit I mentioned earlier. A joule is a watt times a second, but we don't really think in seconds. The kilowatt hour is easier on the brain.

Online brilligtove

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Re: Episode #737
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2019, 03:31:40 PM »
Jay was driving me nuts with his incorrect use of work, energy, and power units in this episode. He kept saying "gigawatt hours of power" and "gigawatts per hour". Neither of these phrases makes any sense.

Work is done whenever a force results in a displacement. In equation form W=Fd. Doing work requires energy.  In equation form W=∆E. The unit of work and energy in the International System (abbreviated SI) is the joule. Lifting 1 kilogram of mass 1 meter on the surface of the Earth requires about 10 joules of energy.

Power is the rate at which work is done or energy is transferred or transformed (P=W/t=∆E/t). The SI unit of power is the watt. Doing 10 joules of work in 1 second requires 10 watts of power.

Since power already is a rate, saying things like "a watt per hour" makes no sense. A statement like "a watt for an hour" or mathematically "a watt multiplied by an hour" would make more sense. Power plants are described in terms of their power output using megawatts or gigawatts. A house's power consumption might be described in kilowatts. A kilowatt (power) delivered for an hour (time) is a kilowatt hour (energy). A household electric bill states the energy consumed in a billing cycle. Note that this is not the SI unit I mentioned earlier. A joule is a watt times a second, but we don't really think in seconds. The kilowatt hour is easier on the brain.

I'm about to listen to the episode. Thank you for the primer. I'm familiar with all these terms and equations and know what they mean, but I still muck them up on occasion. I can understand misuse in casual conversation, especially by someone who is inexperienced in the physics in question. This show is not just casual conversation among laypeople though. They should use terms like this correctly.
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Offline Friendly Angel

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Re: Episode #737
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2019, 03:35:23 PM »
Jay was driving me nuts with his incorrect use of work, energy, and power units in this episode. He kept saying "gigawatt hours of power" and "gigawatts per hour". Neither of these phrases makes any sense.

Gaaah, me too.  A Watt is not a unit of "power per unit time". 

And I think it was Evan who called bleach "Chlorine dioxide".... NOT!
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Offline PIgankle

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Re: Episode #737
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2019, 05:28:56 PM »
Jay was driving me nuts with his incorrect use of work, energy, and power units in this episode. He kept saying "gigawatt hours of power" and "gigawatts per hour". Neither of these phrases makes any sense.

That was getting under my skin too.  I can't tell if he doesn't understand the units, or is just really bad at explaining them. 


Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #737
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2019, 08:51:27 PM »
Jay was driving me nuts with his incorrect use of work, energy, and power units in this episode. He kept saying "gigawatt hours of power" and "gigawatts per hour". Neither of these phrases makes any sense.

Work is done whenever a force results in a displacement. In equation form W=Fd. Doing work requires energy.  In equation form W=∆E. The unit of work and energy in the International System (abbreviated SI) is the joule. Lifting 1 kilogram of mass 1 meter on the surface of the Earth requires about 10 joules of energy.

Power is the rate at which work is done or energy is transferred or transformed (P=W/t=∆E/t). The SI unit of power is the watt. Doing 10 joules of work in 1 second requires 10 watts of power.

Since power already is a rate, saying things like "a watt per hour" makes no sense. A statement like "a watt for an hour" or mathematically "a watt multiplied by an hour" would make more sense. Power plants are described in terms of their power output using megawatts or gigawatts. A house's power consumption might be described in kilowatts. A kilowatt (power) delivered for an hour (time) is a kilowatt hour (energy). A household electric bill states the energy consumed in a billing cycle. Note that this is not the SI unit I mentioned earlier. A joule is a watt times a second, but we don't really think in seconds. The kilowatt hour is easier on the brain.

You beat me to it. This underlines how ill-suited some of the rogues are to the task they've set themselves. I was just about pulling my hair out. I wanted to shout at Jay: Are you really that stupid?

Later in the show when he listed the ways that "terraforming" Mars was impossible, I thought he'd finally come to his senses, since it was so recently that he and some of the others were waxing so eloquent on our prospects for colonizing Mars. This part of that segment was spot-on. And then he had to go and ruin it with his gullible sci-fi enthusiasm for the latest crackpot idea, that of crashing an asteroid into Mars to create a hot crater, which the proponents claim would support colonists, who, presumably, would figure out how to grow crops in perchlorate.

And who's going to invest the many hundreds of trillions of dollars for a program that if it succeeds might allow colonists to go to Mars in three hundred or four hundred or five hundred years from now?
Daniel
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #737
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2019, 08:55:30 PM »
Solar roads are an example of a certain kind of investment scam: You come up with an idea that sounds plausible, pitch it to investors, and then when you've got the money, you pay yourself a generous salary while you hire some engineers to research the technology. When the money runs out you declare "We tried, but the obstacles proved insurmountable." You've done nothing illegal and you had a big salary while it lasted. The whole idea is both patently idiotic, and yet plausible-sounding to people who know nothing about the subject. If you're a good enough salesman, you'll convince some people.
Daniel
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"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #737
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2019, 09:02:32 PM »
The fact that one wind charger can power many houses, while it takes 20 to 30 solar panels to power one house, is misleading at best, since 30 solar panels cost a lot less than one wind charger. Certainly, we need to utilize all carbon-zero energy sources. But solar is actually better because a homeowner can own her own power source. Wind chargers will nearly always be owned by an electric utility which will charge customers for the capital and maintenance costs PLUS a profit margin.

Granted that I'm in the most ideal possible place for solar, but my 32 panels plus two Powerwalls have an estimated break-even time of less than five years. This is much better for me than if the utility built enough wind chargers to supply 100% of the island's needs, and charged me even half of what they charge today for electricity.
Daniel
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"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #737
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2019, 09:06:49 PM »
I don't remember how long ago it was, maybe before the time of some folks reading this, but there used to be (maybe still is???) a brand of dog food called Alpo, which advertised itself as 100% meat. It appealed to ignorant people who didn't realize that wild canids eat the viscera of the animals they kill, along with the partly-digested PLANT matter therein. Even wolves do not eat 100% meat. They eat meat and vegetable matter.
Daniel
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"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

Offline DevoutCatalyst

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Re: Episode #737
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2019, 09:09:21 PM »
Bob wants to keep his head alive if his body dies? About as useful as Microsoft Bob. It will be cheaper to send only his head to the Mars back-up colony so maybe he's on to something.

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #737
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2019, 11:58:17 PM »
I would love to get a total-body transplant, but only if everything functioned properly and the body was strong and healthy and I could continue my active life. I don't think I'd want to live if I could not be active. Which at this point in my life means paddling. So I'd need them to be able to properly connect the spine and its nerves.
Daniel
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Offline Alex Simmons

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Re: Episode #737
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2019, 01:24:14 AM »
Since power already is a rate, saying things like "a watt per hour" makes no sense.

It can make sense, but I definitely agree it doesn't in this context.

Where dW/dt makes sense is when you are talking about the rate of change of power output, for example a grid scale power generator or storage facility needs to know the rate at which it can ramp up and down power output.

Offline elert

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Re: Episode #737
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2019, 01:40:52 AM »
Since power already is a rate, saying things like "a watt per hour" makes no sense.

It can make sense, but I definitely agree it doesn't in this context.

Where dW/dt makes sense is when you are talking about the rate of change of power output, for example a grid scale power generator or storage facility needs to know the rate at which it can ramp up and down power output.

Pendantic comment.

Offline Alex Simmons

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Re: Episode #737
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2019, 03:01:11 AM »
Since power already is a rate, saying things like "a watt per hour" makes no sense.

It can make sense, but I definitely agree it doesn't in this context.

Where dW/dt makes sense is when you are talking about the rate of change of power output, for example a grid scale power generator or storage facility needs to know the rate at which it can ramp up and down power output.

Pendantic comment.

But technically correct.  ;)

 

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