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Vort

Hook, line and sinker

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https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/19/business/heliogen-solar-energy-bill-gates/index.html

In brief: A company with tons of financial backing has succeeded in creating a solar collector, a centuries-old technology.

There is literally no news here.

The average person neither knows much nor particularly cares much about solar power generation. But CNN does, or should. This CNN article reads like a press release. Makes me wonder if someone at CNN isn't a shareholder or otherwise on the take.

I see exactly two possibilities: (1) CNN is hyping non-news (again) because the reporting agents get some sort of personal benefit, either direct financial gain or sociopolitical gain; or (2) CNN is staffed with senior editors who are literally too stupid to know that solar collectors aren't news and too lazy to do, like, 20 seconds of research to figure that out. The first sentence of the article strongly hints at #1, but the two possibilities are not mutually exclusive.

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17 minutes ago, Vort said:

two possibilities: (1) CNN is hyping non-news (again)
or (2) CNN is staffed with senior editors who are literally too stupid to know 

Why not both?

In other fake news, Colorado AM radio is all up in arms.  Here's the play-by-play:

- Craig Silverman shows up to his normal AM radio job, and talks about how he has been given an opportunity to move to another radio station.  This is one of the unpardonable sins in radio - trying to pilfer one station's viewership to move with you to your new gig.

- The radio people stop his broadcast and tell him he's done.

- Silverman then gives a few vague interviews alluding to the notion that he was fired for wanting to delve into the Trump impeachment.

- Nationwide, even worldwide news run with it:
Denver radio host says he was fired for Trump criticism - The Hill.com
Canceled for criticizing Trump on the radio? - CNN Business
KNUS radio host Craig Silverman Removed the air midshow for criticizing Trump - filmibaba.com
[etc etc]

Edited by NeuroTypical

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I'm a little confused after reading your post and then the article.  From what I understand in the article, the achievement of using solar power to get temperatures of 1,000 degrees Celsius is new.  Using solar power in making cement, steel, and glass is new.  Is that not the case?

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27 minutes ago, dprh said:

I'm a little confused after reading your post and then the article.  From what I understand in the article, the achievement of using solar power to get temperatures of 1,000 degrees Celsius is new.  Using solar power in making cement, steel, and glass is new.  Is that not the case?

The technology concept is not new.  It's old.  It is so old that 3rd World Countries like the Philippines use mirrors to dry their clothes faster on the clothesline to chase rain.  

What's going to be new is if they can actually get that technology to rise beyond cost-prohibitive for commercial applications.  THAT's what's gonna be new.  So what would be news worthy is when the technology actually succeeds in industrial usage before the company folds.  We'll wait and see.

 

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19 minutes ago, dprh said:

I'm a little confused after reading your post and then the article.  From what I understand in the article, the achievement of using solar power to get temperatures of 1,000 degrees Celsius is new.  Using solar power in making cement, steel, and glass is new.  Is that not the case?

Solar furnaces have certainly been around for a few years. I remember seeing something about them on TV back in the 1970s.

Also "back in the day" Archimedes invented a weapon to defend Syracuse from the Romans, by concentrating the rays of the sun onto attacking Roman ships, causing them to burst into flame.

gES34u85wzBrRKMeyTyjpX-970-80.jpg

He also invented a giant mechanical hand which reached out to sea, grabbed enemy ships and tipped them upside down:

Parigi_griffe.jpg

Amazing!

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Lol.  "Heliogen".   I knew all about this story since 2010, when Fallout New Vegas came out.  I went to the Helios base, killed all the zombies, fixed it up to provide power to the dozens of little settlements scattered around New Vegas. 

Image result for helios fallout

 

Pity someone didn't con CNN into posting a picture from the game.

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2 hours ago, dprh said:

I'm a little confused after reading your post and then the article.  From what I understand in the article, the achievement of using solar power to get temperatures of 1,000 degrees Celsius is new.  Using solar power in making cement, steel, and glass is new.  Is that not the case?

Correct. That is not the case.  We've been using solar-generated electricity to power induction furnaces at over 1800 degrees C, or even arc furnaces at up to 3000 degrees C, for decades now.

Edited by Vort

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As for old technology, the amateur astronomer in me says that we've been building reflector telescopes and accidentally pointing them at the sun to burn skin and eyes and eyepieces and such since Isaac Newton.

My impression from CNN's article was that the use of artificial intelligence was the new aspect they were exploring. It would probably take someone like @Traveler (who seems to know something about AI) to really say if this is novel.

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1 hour ago, MrShorty said:

My impression from CNN's article was that the use of artificial intelligence was the new aspect they were exploring. It would probably take someone like @Traveler (who seems to know something about AI) to really say if this is novel.

My own impression is that they threw in the AI mention as a buzzword to sex up the article. If that truly was what they considered a "breakthrough", it would be exactly parallel to credit a company with a fantastic new paradigm-shifting technological breakthrough for having computer-controlled automotive ignition timing instead of mere electronic timing--that is, an incremental and rather obvious improvement being paraded as breakthrough technology.

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I think this is something I see frequently in science reporting/journalism. "Breakthrough" makes a much better headline and a more compelling article, but it seems that a lot of what is labeled a breakthrough is really an incremental improvement. But no one -- especially lay people -- wants to read about a bunch of incremental improvements. We want to read about breakthroughs.

It sometimes seems like journalism in general (not just in reporting on science and technology) is becoming more about sensational headlines and such than "just the facts" kind of reporting. What to do about it? I don't know. (Other than get on various internet discussion sites and groups and complain about the decline in journalism -- that's kind of fun).

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6 hours ago, dprh said:

I'm a little confused after reading your post and then the article.  From what I understand in the article, the achievement of using solar power to get temperatures of 1,000 degrees Celsius is new.  Using solar power in making cement, steel, and glass is new.  Is that not the case?

This is what I also thought from the article.  It's not just getting the temperature there, but it's application in ovens that are made specifically to melt things so that they can create the results of that...for example iron melts at 2800 and I think smelts at over 2200 degrees F.   They may have various ways to produce power from heat, but they haven't used it specifically to make an oven which can be utilized in industrial practices such as the production of steel or cement.

The oven looks a LOT smaller in the picture than what they would normally use, so if this became a thing it would require a LOT of land to recreate a similar scale of steel production that they would have in a normal plant. 

It would probably boil down to costs...as in whether it was cheaper to use this method or not.  With the price of land going up in much of the nation, I expect it is not going to be as feasible s the article may make it sound.

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@MrShorty, @Vort and @mordorbund by definition a lot can qualify as AI.  The scientific definition of intelligence is the ability to learn and modify behavior.  An AI computer program can be very simple.  My first AI program was created over 40 years ago before the term AI was thought of.  There is more AI in computer programming to solve simple problems than realized by most of the world.  Obviously the AI for a solar collector would not be that complicated and would simply solve two problems for the solar collector.   #1. Track the sun  #2 focus all the mirrors to the changing position of the sun to the solar furnace. 

Sadly the article was written without much research - This is not a breakthrough of that great of significance.   I am not sure why it was even called a breakthrough.  My biggest surprise is that the article's writer could not figure out no one else has thought of the concept before.  But this is a CNN article.  

Also note that there is no mention in the article of a patent or copyright let alone a working prototype beyond a proof of concept.  It is listed as a "No-brainer" solution - I wonder if anyone understand the market place well enough to consider what to do with all the solar equipment and workers in such a solar manufacturing operation on cloudy days?

 

The Traveler

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On 11/20/2019 at 12:14 PM, Traveler said:

Also note that there is no mention in the article of a patent or copyright let alone a working prototype beyond a proof of concept.  It is listed as a "No-brainer" solution - I wonder if anyone understand the market place well enough to consider what to do with all the solar equipment and workers in such a solar manufacturing operation on cloudy days?

 

The Traveler

As every Tiny House/RV'er can tell ya... you need lots and lots of batteries...

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