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THE Laws of Thermodynamics Thread (merged)

General discussions of the systemic, societal and civilisational effects of depletion.

Re: The Laws of Thermodynamics - Chatting after the lecture.

Unread postby Pops » Tue 02 Oct 2007, 12:30:39

BobWallace wrote:How many good paying IT jobs were created at the same time?


Yea, a few guys I went to school with in the 70s got in with Apple, HP, Intel, etc and did great. I know of no one of the 40-50 year-old breadwinners who lost their jobs in the printing business during that time who did - though a rare few with good bosses were able to transition to the new processes.

Those folks were highly skilled, with a long time on the job and I doubt more than a small percentage ever regained the income they lost. And again that was during historical low oil prices and with a booming economy.

BobWallace wrote:I'm not suggesting that the transition will be painless. It will be incredibly painful for some people, even fatal, no doubt.

So I guess this is just a rail against Jeavon and Doomerism in general, that’s cool. In my mind Jeavon works in my favor as folks start thinking about GW and PO they may keep the price lower than it might have been and since we are attempting to power down our own Little Bitty it only helps us.

As far as doom goes, I really have no idea except the economy and the population seems bound to shrink so we are trying to distance ourselves from both to the extent possible.

Just how that plays out is anyone's guess so I don't blame folks for going with what their gut tells them. At any rate it is going to be very interesting.
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Re: The Laws of Thermodynamics - Chatting after the lecture.

Unread postby TheDude » Tue 02 Oct 2007, 14:28:05

Hi Bob, read some of your comments at the Oil Drum topic ...To Grandmother's House We Go: Peak Oil Is Here. You'll get much more of a hearing there for anything in the realm of optimistic; I see someone has brought up Jevon's Paradox, now read up on Carrying Capacity, which the most prolific poster here insists means we either reduce our numbers voluntarily, or starve. Lack of fertilizer will simply mean less food, no two ways around it - in his estimation.

Like you I believe there are viable solutions to solving that, but I'm also not a number cruncher (neither are you are by your admission) and aren't cut out to debate how many watts of extra grid capacity we'll need, etc. Wouldn't advise going into the fray without some of that at your disposal - there are some here who do, and they butt heads with the Doomists big time. Best just to take it all in and form your own opinions/prognostications.
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Re: The Laws of Thermodynamics - Chatting after the lecture.

Unread postby Pops » Tue 02 Oct 2007, 15:37:32

TheDude wrote:You'll get much more of a hearing there for anything in the realm of optimistic;

I don’t know Dude, it seems to me there are lots of optimistic though aware folks around here.

Simply because some of us aren’t of the number-crunching/ new-technology-will-fix-us ilk and are learning to use the skills we have in the face of a problem with unforeseeable consequences doesn’t make us all hostile to the topic at hand.

Granted there are a few around here that ride their pale hobby horse into the ground but by and large it seems there is more in the way of doing something about PO here than at any other PO related site I have visited; notwithstanding how many times someone posts the same argument about pond scum and such.

Talk about when and how bad and what someone else might do are only flagellation after all.

Talk about what I did and how it worked seem more the order of the day, but that is just me.
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Re: The Laws of Thermodynamics - Chatting after the lecture.

Unread postby Ludi » Tue 02 Oct 2007, 18:14:30

BobWallace wrote:Should we bury our heads in the sand or concentrate on the worst possible outcome?

Can't see the sense in that. Better to get busy softening our fall as much as possible and making a better future for those who will follow us.



You're preachin' to the choir, Bob.


However


Some of us lean toward the doomeristic because we don't see anyone besides ourselves "getting busy softening our fall."
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Re: The Laws of Thermodynamics - Chatting after the lecture.

Unread postby billp » Tue 02 Oct 2007, 18:59:50

The problem will be that, unlike in the old days, we are/will be way over carrying capacity for non-industrial agriculture without fossil fuel supports. And coal will quickly become less than 1 for EROEI if you can't use giant earth-moving equipment to level mountain tops.


supporting article.

Coal miners consume millions of gallons of diesel annually to run their mining equipment. If the price of oil and petroleum products rises significantly, companies will face millions of dollars in added costs.

Peabody, based in St. Louis, consumes about 105 million gallons of diesel annually, according to its quarterly report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in August.

Massey has said it consumes about 55 million gallons of diesel each year.


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Re: The Laws of Thermodynamics - Chatting after the lecture.

Unread postby TheDude » Tue 02 Oct 2007, 19:30:13

Pops wrote:
TheDude wrote:You'll get much more of a hearing there for anything in the realm of optimistic;

I don’t know Dude, it seems to me there are lots of optimistic though aware folks around here.


Not denying they're here, it's just I don't think they have much of a voice.

Simply because some of us aren’t of the number-crunching/ new-technology-will-fix-us ilk and are learning to use the skills we have in the face of a problem with unforeseeable consequences doesn’t make us all hostile to the topic at hand.


My take is that the Oil Drum (TOD) gives more of a voice to macro-scale solutions to our problems; rarely do I hear talk about personal planning like you get here, they're more into building wind/solar/light rail. I think the economics discussions here are excellent and quite enlightening; if only I knew something about finances! And as I'm intimating, the threads on personal planning are solid stuff.

But we have a very vocal contingent here who are quite committed to Doom. Look at the reaction Graeme gets to every post he makes announcing some new breakthrough, or any contribution that's remotely optimistic or suggest ways of mitigating declining energy.

Granted there are a few around here that ride their pale hobby horse into the ground but by and large it seems there is more in the way of doing something about PO here than at any other PO related site I have visited; notwithstanding how many times someone posts the same argument about pond scum and such.


My wish is that things were a bit more balanced. The forum format is better than a blog like TOD for specific inquiry; I think we could use a few more subdivisions, perhaps a forum for planning on the large scale. I'm with Zardoz for opening a Tinfoil CT forum too - see them elsewhere. We have two monstrous 9/11 topics, after all.

Talk about when and how bad and what someone else might do are only flagellation after all.


It's almost a bizarre new take on creative writing.

Talk about what I did and how it worked seem more the order of the day, but that is just me.


With ya there. "Walden III, by Pops."
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Re: The Laws of Thermodynamics - Chatting after the lecture.

Unread postby BobWallace » Wed 03 Oct 2007, 10:46:56

"Lack of fertilizer due to peak oi..."

"Several factors mitigate the threat peak oil poses to fertilizer production. The first is simply that the relevant peak is not oil, but natural gas. Natural gas production will also peak, but the peak is generally thought to come about 10 years after the oil peak (see e.g., here which buys us some time. Second, hydrogen does not have to come from reformed fossil fuels at all. Hydrogen can be made by electrolyzing water, using electricity from the greenest of sources, like wind or solar."

http://helpychalk.blogspot.com/2006/01/ ... lizer.html

Now, that's only one part of the NPP formula, the Nitrogen part.


Phosphorus for agricultural use, starts as rock phosphate and gets "cooked" in an electric over.

http://www.extension.umn.edu/distributi ... C6288.html


Potassium

"Most potassium (K) is recovered from underground deposits of soluble minerals, in combination with either the chloride or sulphate ion."

We've got a problem with rock phosphate supplies dwindling, but that's aside from PO. We may have to look to other sources, oil or not.

Bone meal is a good source of phosphate for agriculture but we would have to change the way we process waste bones. At the moment we're "cooking" them to get out the maximum amount of usable material. We might have to divert some of the stuff from the pet food route and into our soil.

(Enough bone meal available? Don't know. Rock potassium is yet another peak substance problem that is looking us in the eye._
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Re: The Laws of Thermodynamics - Chatting after the lecture.

Unread postby Pops » Wed 03 Oct 2007, 11:18:09

We agree for the most part Dude. To be honest as far as macro solutions - or analysis either for that matter, I have a hard enough time getting my little brain around what is gonna happen on, and what to do about, my little farm; let alone the entire globe!

I have come to view those who shoot down any news or arguments of partial solutions like Bob here is presenting the same as I see those who maintain the status will be at least quo, if not better, simply because that is what we have always experienced. Especially when those same folks don’t seem to be doing anything but typing.

Anyway, sorry Bob, I’m not really sure what the topic of the thread is but I am way off from the topic of the forum so I am gonna hush!
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Re: The Laws of Thermodynamics - Chatting after the lecture.

Unread postby Iaato » Wed 03 Oct 2007, 11:40:27

Pops wrote:I have come to view those who shoot down any news or arguments of partial solutions like Bob here is presenting the same as I see those who maintain the status will be at least quo, if not better, simply because that is what we have always experienced. Especially when those same folks don’t seem to be doing anything but typing.


I will use Pops' comment as an opening to apologize to Bob for being a bit pissy in my confrontational opening statements in this thread. It is not my typical style; I truly believed that this might be the aforesaid "friend" who is extremely buttheaded about the topic of peak oil, to the point of maybe not being a friend anymore. You are much more aware, Bob, and are clearly doing a bunch of cool things about it. Lo siento, senor.
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Re: The Laws of Thermodynamics - Chatting after the lecture.

Unread postby keehah » Wed 03 Oct 2007, 17:07:24

It's "Jevons Paradox" and it's the darling of the doomers. It's become their one hope in totally bumming themselves out.

But I don't think it holds. It makes an assumption of no decrease in the commodity in question. Simply says that if devices become more efficient then people will use those devices more.

Add in the decreasing supply of petroleum and Jevons falls on his butt.


Yes the problem of Jevons Paradox regarding energy use with increased efficiency can be ignored because of the disaster of Peak Oil. Image
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Re: The Laws of Thermodynamics - Chatting after the lecture.

Unread postby davep » Wed 03 Oct 2007, 17:40:23

BobWallace wrote:"Lack of fertilizer due to peak oi..."

"Several factors mitigate the threat peak oil poses to fertilizer production. The first is simply that the relevant peak is not oil, but natural gas. Natural gas production will also peak, but the peak is generally thought to come about 10 years after the oil peak (see e.g., here which buys us some time. Second, hydrogen does not have to come from reformed fossil fuels at all. Hydrogen can be made by electrolyzing water, using electricity from the greenest of sources, like wind or solar."

http://helpychalk.blogspot.com/2006/01/ ... lizer.html

Now, that's only one part of the NPP formula, the Nitrogen part.


Phosphorus for agricultural use, starts as rock phosphate and gets "cooked" in an electric over.

http://www.extension.umn.edu/distributi ... C6288.html


Potassium

"Most potassium (K) is recovered from underground deposits of soluble minerals, in combination with either the chloride or sulphate ion."

We've got a problem with rock phosphate supplies dwindling, but that's aside from PO. We may have to look to other sources, oil or not.

Bone meal is a good source of phosphate for agriculture but we would have to change the way we process waste bones. At the moment we're "cooking" them to get out the maximum amount of usable material. We might have to divert some of the stuff from the pet food route and into our soil.

(Enough bone meal available? Don't know. Rock potassium is yet another peak substance problem that is looking us in the eye._


The best source for both of these is the bedrock and the soil. After all, that's where it came from before industrial ag took over.

The process would be long without the use of dynamic accumulators (plants that do the equivalent for other minerals that legumes do for nitrogen). Composting and or mulching with these (generally) taprooted plants enables you to get the minerals where they're needed without having to rely on external sources.

It just takes a few years to improve degraded soils. So get moving...

I do wish people would stop blathering on about peak resources for ag. There are sustainable intensive techniques that can deal with it, not all of them being labour intensive to maintain.
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Re: The Laws of Thermodynamics - Chatting after the lecture.

Unread postby BobWallace » Wed 03 Oct 2007, 23:44:02

keehah wrote:
It's "Jevons Paradox" and it's the darling of the doomers. It's become their one hope in totally bumming themselves out.

But I don't think it holds. It makes an assumption of no decrease in the commodity in question. Simply says that if devices become more efficient then people will use those devices more.

Add in the decreasing supply of petroleum and Jevons falls on his butt.


Yes the problem of Jevons Paradox regarding energy use with increased efficiency can be ignored because of the disaster of Peak Oil. Image


What you're missing here (unless I'm missing something) is that Jevons Paradox is a rather simplified model which considers only use/conservation and price. Or at least assumes no other price determiners except supply and demand where supply is available at a constant cost of production.

One can't simply cry "Jevons Paradox!" and keep driving their gas guzzler when there is an additional factor in the mix.

Oil is getting more expensive and will most likely get even more expensive in the not too distant future.

What this is likely to mean is that people will began to conserve as much as they comfortably can in order to keep their expenditures for fuel relatively constant. They will try to stretch their "travel" dollars.

That conservation will reduce the amount of fuel consumed but is not likely to increase consumption as additional units of fuel would be obtainable at an elevated price. Unless we cut back an extreme amount the price of oil is going to remain high and continue to increase.

They just ain't making much of that stuff anymore.
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Re: The Laws of Thermodynamics - Chatting after the lecture.

Unread postby BobWallace » Wed 03 Oct 2007, 23:53:29

Iaato wrote:
Pops wrote:I have come to view those who shoot down any news or arguments of partial solutions like Bob here is presenting the same as I see those who maintain the status will be at least quo, if not better, simply because that is what we have always experienced. Especially when those same folks don’t seem to be doing anything but typing.


I will use Pops' comment as an opening to apologize to Bob for being a bit pissy in my confrontational opening statements in this thread. It is not my typical style; I truly believed that this might be the aforesaid "friend" who is extremely buttheaded about the topic of peak oil, to the point of maybe not being a friend anymore. You are much more aware, Bob, and are clearly doing a bunch of cool things about it. Lo siento, senor.


I didn't take offense at your earlier remarks. But I will thank you for the apology. It's nice to see someone take responsibility for their behavior on the web. Way to many jerks being jerks, in general.

--

As for "partial solutions", that (IMHO) is where the answers to our problems lie. There's no silver bullet.

Our energy does not come from one source now. Nor is it wasted in only a single utilization.

We're going to have to chip away at these problems in a myriad of different ways.

Aside for the fact that we're likely to move too slowly to keep some people from being badly hurt it's likely to be a very interesting time. A time of great opportunity for those who aren't afraid of a bit of hard work and creative thinking.

If I were starting out in the work world I'd be looking for a way to pick up some specialized skills, a basic business/finance education, and I'd be looking for a need to be met. There's going to be a lot of opportunities opening up during the next few years.
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Re: The Laws of Thermodynamics - Chatting after the lecture.

Unread postby BobWallace » Thu 04 Oct 2007, 00:02:28

I've been an organic gardener for close to 30 years. I grew up on the edge of my grandfather's farm. He was organic without ever hearing the word. And while I was growing up I watch (and helped a little bit) my father garden as he transitioned from organic to chemical.

I've got no doubts about organic on a small scale. And I am aware that (at least some) crops can be grown organically on a large scale. With the same or better yield while using approximately 30% less energy.

But I'm not sure if we can push to 100% organic and still feed the world. We may have to continue to use some 'artificial'. I'd be very happy to find that not so, but....

The point of my post was that we can produce chemical fertilizers without oil. Just trying to snuff that misconception. Whether we can leave chemical fertilizer behind is a second, but interesting, consideration.
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Re: THE Laws of Thermodynamics Thread (merged)

Unread postby Keith_McClary » Sat 02 Feb 2013, 01:07:53

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Re: THE Laws of Thermodynamics Thread (merged)

Unread postby Tanada » Fri 23 Aug 2019, 13:26:30

Once upon a time we had a lively discussion of the energy density of various petroleum products, as in how much mass would deliver how many kcal of energy when combusted.

I have been searching for that discussion without much success so I decided to just put it to the group. For an unrelated project I am trying to show the energy density of three materials but am having a very difficult time finding solid numbers.

The items are
1) Kerosene aka Diesel #1 fuel.
2) Polybutadiene based synthetic rubber.
3) HTPB (Hydroxyl Terminating Polybutadiene Perchlorate) Solid ...rocket fuel.

I can show that the Kerosene has a density of .8 grams and the synthetic rubber has a density of 1.52 grams per CC of material but either my brain or the internet have dumbed down a great deal in the last 15 years as finding the caloric value of these three fuels used to be a simple search but I find myself stymied. I recall doing a comparison like this when PO dot com was a new place so I was hoping to find it here but with a zillion posts I am not having any luck here either.

The context I remember discussing it in was that a couple decades ago my local cement company (near where I used to live) had switched to accepting used road tires, without wheel hubs, for free and they were using them as solid fuel for their cement kiln. At one time they had used various other "post consumer" products like used motor oil but at around that time the government was encouraging oil change places to send the used oil back to refiners to be reprocessed into new motor oil. There are still untold thousands of used tires laying around that could be used as solid fuel with the appropriate pollution controls in place, a kind of hidden post collapse energy source most folks have never heard of. There was even a storage place out in the desert southwest where they had something like a million used tires stored in the open until some arsonist lit one of the huge stacks on fire that burned for several days out of control.

Anyhow if someone has the link to the data I need it would be much appreciated.
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Re: THE Laws of Thermodynamics Thread (merged)

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Sat 24 Aug 2019, 00:50:40

Tanada wrote:Once upon a time we had a lively discussion of the energy density of various petroleum products, as in how much mass would deliver how many kcal of energy when combusted.

I have been searching for that discussion without much success so I decided to just put it to the group. For an unrelated project I am trying to show the energy density of three materials but am having a very difficult time finding solid numbers.

The items are
1) Kerosene aka Diesel #1 fuel.
2) Polybutadiene based synthetic rubber.
3) HTPB (Hydroxyl Terminating Polybutadiene Perchlorate) Solid ...rocket fuel.

...

Anyhow if someone has the link to the data I need it would be much appreciated.

Is something like this re a quick google search an unreasonable response for Oil based Fuels?

https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/ener ... d_868.html

https://www.exothink.com/Pages/btu.html

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gasolin ... equivalent

The main problem I see is a lack of rigor, re slightly differing answers and lack of precise definitions. So with sources like these, I assume the best one has is a ballpark figure for fuel oils, kerosene, etc.

I don't know enough about items 2 and 3 to even intelligently search for them -- sorry. For example, for number 2, there are different types based on different catalysts, and I'm already completely lost, having no more than high school chemistry over 40 years ago.
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: THE Laws of Thermodynamics Thread (merged)

Unread postby Tanada » Sat 24 Aug 2019, 05:49:50

Outcast_Searcher wrote:
Tanada wrote:Once upon a time we had a lively discussion of the energy density of various petroleum products, as in how much mass would deliver how many kcal of energy when combusted.

I have been searching for that discussion without much success so I decided to just put it to the group. For an unrelated project I am trying to show the energy density of three materials but am having a very difficult time finding solid numbers.

The items are
1) Kerosene aka Diesel #1 fuel.
2) Polybutadiene based synthetic rubber.
3) HTPB (Hydroxyl Terminating Polybutadiene Perchlorate) Solid ...rocket fuel.

...

Anyhow if someone has the link to the data I need it would be much appreciated.

Is something like this re a quick google search an unreasonable response for Oil based Fuels?

https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/ener ... d_868.html

https://www.exothink.com/Pages/btu.html

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gasolin ... equivalent

The main problem I see is a lack of rigor, re slightly differing answers and lack of precise definitions. So with sources like these, I assume the best one has is a ballpark figure for fuel oils, kerosene, etc.

I don't know enough about items 2 and 3 to even intelligently search for them -- sorry. For example, for number 2, there are different types based on different catalysts, and I'm already completely lost, having no more than high school chemistry over 40 years ago.


Yes, the figures for Kerosene vary a small percentage but are easily found, it is the synthetic rubber and solid rocket fuel I am having a hard time finding figures for.
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Re: THE Laws of Thermodynamics Thread (merged)

Unread postby radon1 » Sat 24 Aug 2019, 16:51:13

Tanada wrote: solid rocket fuel


Solid rocket fuel is straightforward rubber with crystallized oxygen interspersed in in some form. The numbers should not be too different from normal rubber.
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Re: THE Laws of Thermodynamics Thread (merged)

Unread postby diemos » Sat 24 Aug 2019, 18:11:53

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