Re: Global warming, population, nuclear power

Robert Harley (
Thu, 1 May 1997 18:47:23 +0200 (MET DST)

Ron wrote:
>Gordon wrote:
>>Jim wrote:
>>>Solar doesn't
>>>cut it -- we already use more energy in a year than falls as sunlight in a
>>Even at 10% efficiency, 1 thousandth of the Earth's surface should
>>thus be able to provide sufficient energy for all current needs.
>As suspicious as Jim's initial claim was (solar is not enough),
>this sounds equally unlikely (1/1000 is enough).

As a scientist, I don't give a damn for the far-out claims of the
new-age "enviromentalist" religion that seems to have become
mainstream in 1989. I might give a damn if the believers could point
to statistically significant effects (unlike the "evidence" for global
warming), avoid extrapolation many decades in advance (sometime around
1850 it was confidently predicted that given the rate of increase of
the horse population, Britain would be 6 feet deep in horse-shit by
1950), avoid reliance on "computer models" (which give random numbers
for output, which contradict each other and which are only reported
when they fit the dogma) etc, etc.

It's worse than medieval fanaticism... no thought required! In fact
avoid thinking or you'll realise how bogus it is! Science is your
enemy! Basic numeracy is most definitely not needed!

For example the claim above. I burst out laughing at it. Gordon's
reply is correct, in fact he was using conservative estimates. The
solar power incident on the atmosphere is 35 megawatts per capita or
so as he said, of which about half reaches the ground (or ocean).
This is as much as a small nuclear plant delivers. Gordon estimated
his power consumption at 10 kilowatts max. Actually an American uses
3 kilowatts average but Americans are by far the most greedy per
capita. An average human consumes about .6 kilowatts. I'm including
industry, cars and so on of course.

Now you don't need to work out the factor of 60000 between 35
megawatts and 0.6 kilowatts to realise how bogus the claim is.
Trivial order-of-magnitude guesswork is plenty.

I should keep a note of the worst excesses because this is a new
record. The previous best was the oft-repeated feminist claim that
100000 American women die of anorexia each year. Give or take a few
orders of magnitude.

-- Rob "my dick is 6 miles long" Harley.
PS: These electrons were posted from a 75% nuclear-powered computer.

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