Homophobic abuse of the heterosexual, Bo Derek and the sanctity of marriage

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1 hour ago, NeuroTypical said:

then the establishment left surely gets to take a hit for being anti-science

Totally agree. The left can’t handle the science on nuclear power, organic food, gender differences….for people who claim to “love science” they sure don’t like it when it reaches conclusions they disagree with 

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2 hours ago, Phoenix_person said:

I'm curious about your thoughts on geothermal. There's been a big push locally to use geothermal energy to reduce reliance on traditional electrical grids and gas to generate heat, a precious commodity in this part of the country. The organization I volunteer for is on board with it and has been a big advocate, but I'm a bit out of the loop on the technical details because my team is focused on health care reform. The only major drawback that I know of is that it could potentially cause earthquakes, which isn't exactly a trivial consideration. But OTOH, it makes a lot of sense to use the Earth's natural and abundant heat to replace fossil fuels and potentially give us a more palatable alternative to nuclear energy.

Compliments on your excellent question. I'm an enthusiast, not an expert, so I can give some general information. For more specific detail, I'm sure there are internet sources that can explain things better than I can. Here's a non-technical overview of the topic.

"Geothermal" literally means "earth heat". The idea of geothermal is to use the heat of the earth to heat your home (or generate power or whatever). Sounds like an awesome idea, no?

The original meaning of "geothermal" was using volcanic-ish heat sources, like hot springs and geysers, to heat up water that then was used to heat your home. You would dig a well a few hundred or maybe thousand feet deep, pump water down it, and collect the steam that returns. This is what I meant when I wrote "true geothermal". (I wish now that I had written "traditional geothermal", because I think that's a better term. There is nothing "false" about the other use of the term "geothermal", which I will cover below and which is what you appear to be talking about.) Note that instead of directly heating your home with the heated water (steam), you can use superhot steam to drive a steam turbine that generates electricity. Some such setups have been built and currently operate as power plants, mostly in Iceland and such places.

Recently, the term "geothermal" has acquired a distinct second meaning, where the earth is used as part of a heat pump. If you're trying to heat something up (water, a house, whatever), the earth acts as the source of heat. If you're trying to cool things down (as in air conditioning a house), the earth acts as a heat sink to get rid of unwanted heat.

The article you linked speaks of "geothermal" in this second sense. You pull heat out of the earth for heating in the winter and put it into the earth for air conditioning in the summer. It's much more efficient than using an air-blowing heat exchanger, like traditional heat pump systems do. If you have a heat exchanger for your house, you probably have one of these units sitting outside your house, called the "condenser". Geothermal, when used in this sense, replaces your air-cooled (or air-heated) condenser with heat exchange underground, where the temperature is around 50° F year-round, summer or winter. If you're heating in the winter, a fifty-degree heat source is wonderful; if you're cooling in the winter, again, a fifty-degree heat sink is wonderful.

The "earthquake" concern applies only to the first type of "geothermal", and IMO it's a complete non-issue. Drilling a few holes to harvest heat is extraordinarily unlikely to actually cause any instability. Pouring water down the hole to heat it up might be somewhat more likely to cause problems, but the likelihood is still microscopic. I very seriously doubt it would cause an earthquake, even if we were running entire cities off of this type of geothermal power production.

The Level 2 explanation for traditional geothermal goes something like this:

The earth's crust temperature heats up about one degree for every hundred feet you drill down. So if you drill a thousand-foot hole, you can expect the temperature there to be roughly ten degrees higher than the temperature at, say, 10 or 20 feet underground. This underground heat implies that the earth gets superhot if you just drill deep enough, which indeed appears to be the case.

Scientists attributed this internal heat to the heat of formation of the earth, of all the elements of the earth coalescing and hitting each other—basically, the gravitational energy of the elements of the earth. Further study and calculation showed that the earth, after almost five billion years, should not still be as hot at its center as it appears to be. The best explanation seems to be that the heaviest elements tended to sink to the center of the earth, leaving the lighter silicates and other such as the outer crust. The heavy elements that sunk deep included most of the superheavy metals. Anything heavier than bismuth (element 83) is always radioactive, meaning that those superheavy elements—polonium, radium, thorium, uraniam, and all the rest—all emit radiation and heat themselves up. So the heat of the earth seems actually to be, ultimately, a type of nuclear fission power. In effect, the earth itself is an enormous nuclear reactor, and if we dig deep enough, we can harvest the heat.

But digging holes miles deep is very difficult and extraordinarily expensive. Maintaining such a hole over an extended period may not be something we can do at this time. And the energy density of what you produce would be, well, unimpressive. I'm sure such a thing would not be even close to cost-effective, and no engineering likely to be developed in the next generation or two will change that. So for now, it's still just someone's sci-fi scenario.

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On 4/30/2024 at 2:09 PM, Phoenix_person said:

Privilege is best looked at as a spectrum.

In some cases, I agree.  And, yes, there are some people who still hold intersectional prejudices that they shouldn't (that's on both the left and the right).

But I don't believe that is societal/systemic.  I believe that some people/families have more challenges than others regardless of their intersectionality.  And some people (just by luck of the draw) happen to come across more prejudiced individuals than others.  Sorry.  But that's your cross to bear.  Move to a better area.

I found some really inspiring stories of black, single moms who lived in downtown Houston who realized that there was more to life than living in a ghetto.  So, they searched for months until they found a job in Katy.  And she moved there with her kids.  Now they have a wonderful, peaceful life away from crime.

A black single mom did this on her own.  Many such stories.

On 4/30/2024 at 2:09 PM, Phoenix_person said:

As a cis-het Asian-American man, you have more privilege than many other identities based on your race, gender, and sexual orientation

Not really.  If you look at first generation Cis-Asian-American men, they often have it really rough.  But all people hear about are the success stories -- and there are many of them.  And there is a whole long story behind that which most Americans are not aware of.  If you're interested, I'll be happy to share that later.  But to continue on this thread...

On 4/30/2024 at 2:09 PM, Phoenix_person said:

It doesn't mean that you don't work any more or less hard for what you have.

I'm glad that you make this admission.  But the fact is that I did have an advantage that made things easier for me.  And it wasn't identity or money.  It is simple DNA. 

I was born with certain talents and abilities that were clearly present when I was in kindergarten.  And they would have shown up in virtually any kindergarten class in America regardless of what identity characteristics my parents had.  Some people simply have abilities that others don't.  And if we seek equality of outcome, regardless of individual talent, then we're messing up the entire system.  We are discouraging people from using their natural talents to the best advantage.  And we're encouraging people to demand jobs that they are not qualified for.

On 4/30/2024 at 2:09 PM, Phoenix_person said:

It means that the barriers that exist for many people based on the identity characteristics I named (and there are plenty of other factors) don't exist for you. And that doesn't mean that you don't have barriers of your own that you've had to overcome. We all do.

I admit that there are some of these barriers that you allude to. But in my experience, knowing the stories and backgrounds of MANY people who are black, Hispanic, Native American, etc. (and certainly Asians) who have been treated very badly and had what seem to be insurmountable obstacles.  But they made it through.  They became successful.

On 4/30/2024 at 2:09 PM, Phoenix_person said:

Most people have some kind of barrier(s) to success that can be considered universal and unspecific to identity. Financial hardships, poor interpersonal skills, addiction, and abusive upbringing are some of the most common barriers that people can face, regardless of their sexuality or ethnic background. A lot of people have to overcome those barriers AND barriers that they were born with and shouldn't be barriers at all. 

Shouldn't?  I'm not so certain.  It depends on what that barrier is.  I'm sure that we both agree that race and sexual orientation shouldn't be barriers.  But what if "sexual orientation" now becomes a culture?  What if that means that a gay man decides that to be the "real me" he needs to dress like Liberace all the time?  Is that appropriate for the workplace?  No, we need less distraction, not more.

On 4/30/2024 at 2:09 PM, Phoenix_person said:

You and I will no doubt disagree about the amount of success a person can achieve through honest means, but at it's core, there is nothing wrong with being self-made. 


On 4/30/2024 at 2:09 PM, Phoenix_person said:

There's not enough wealth and prosperity to provide an acre of land and a homestead for every one of America's 330 million+ citizens. We don't have the economic power or resources to sustain that.

I believe the numbers disagree with you.  But regardless, this isn't meant to be.  And it shouldn't.  The very fact that it is generational means that there are earlier generations who will begin at the bottom.  Then they will work their way on up by industry and ingenuity.

As you can guess, I'm more of a meritocracy type of person when it comes to professional life and wealth distribution.  Not that you should get more simply because of talent alone.  You need to actually USE that talent for the benefit of others.  The more benefit you give, the more money you should receive.  So, meritocracy also includes hard work and effort.  But hard work alone with no talent doesn't get you much either.

I really have difficulty understanding why people have a problem with that.

On 4/30/2024 at 2:09 PM, Phoenix_person said:

When suburbia was created, black families (and other ethnic minorities, no doubt) were largely excluded, and by design.

Actually, that was debunked.  Not that it never happened.  But it was much more often out of practical and sound financial issues. But I'll just leave it there for now.

On 4/30/2024 at 2:09 PM, Phoenix_person said:

Modern growth is being invested in urban density, or at least it should be.

I haven't looked into that with enough detail to respond at present.

On 4/30/2024 at 2:09 PM, Phoenix_person said:

The community organizing work I do has me neck deep in city planning, zoning, ...

I'm aware of the difficulties.  I've spent a part of my professional life in city planning.  And it is a lot more difficult than you'd think.  I'm not sure why this is relevant.  My experience has been that after a certain density, it is impossible to have a system that actually works well and satisfies all the goals of infrastructure.

On 4/30/2024 at 2:09 PM, Phoenix_person said:

A city can only geographically expand so far into suburbia before it starts creating strains on local infrastructure *cough*Houston*cough*.

Tell me about it.  I commute over an hour to and from work when I go in before, and return after, rush hour.

On 4/30/2024 at 2:09 PM, Phoenix_person said:

So bigger cities have to become denser in order to better serve their citizens...

... downtown and a short walking commute to work (😉),

I think what you're getting at is that the world is so crowded that we can't get enough people into an acre of land? 

If so, that isn't because it is impossible.  It is because there isn't a societal impetus/priority for it. We have other priorities.

If every individual (not household, but individual) had an acre of land, that would take up about 2% of the land mass of the 48 states and about 100% of the arable land of the US. But that would be increased by individuals with land that they can irrigate.

There is plenty of land.  But people want so many amenities that they can only find them all if you live close to a city.  It's a question of proper priorities.

On 4/30/2024 at 2:09 PM, Phoenix_person said:

there's room for everyone to thrive. But first we need to recognize and address the barriers that currently prevent it.

I'm not sure that you've really made a case for what those barriers really are.

On 4/30/2024 at 2:09 PM, Phoenix_person said:

It's great that lynchings and blatant discrimination are virtually extinct, but that doesn't mean that the effects of 20th Century racism haven't left modern black people at a disadvantage. Yes, there are pathways out of bad situations. There's an organization in my area that specifically caters to helping female immigrants (legal, we have a considerable population of Somalian immigrants, many of them single mothers) and victims of spousal abuse to do things like work on their education, job-finding skills, and find meaningful connections within the community. It's a non-profit and it does a decent job of helping our small community,

That truly is wonderful. The very fact that there are pathways out (for even the most destitute of individuals) tells me that the barriers you mention aren't all that difficult to overcome.  Just because one roadway is blocked off, doesn't mean we can't use the next roadway that is wide-open.

On 4/30/2024 at 2:09 PM, Phoenix_person said:

but there's no reason why we can't use public funds to do things like that on a larger scale.

Yes, there is.  Charities and individuals will always do this type of thing more efficiently and more successfully than government.  That is something that we are going to disagree on.  For me, people and communities (like churches and charities) are the solution to these problems, not the government.

On 4/30/2024 at 2:09 PM, Phoenix_person said:

Because sometimes people just need a little boost to get on the right track.

Totally agree.  I believe that we disagree on what that "little boost" should consist of.

On 4/30/2024 at 2:09 PM, Phoenix_person said:

Given the choice, I'd rather see my tax dollars go towards helping one of my neighbors find resources to thrive than funding foreign wars and subsidizing incompetent corporations.

Totally agree.

Edited by Carborendum
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On 5/1/2024 at 2:05 AM, Vort said:
  • Molten salt reactors

I understand that you are a fan.  I have been as well.  But as I have been continually reading more about it, the things I hear by people (who at least appear to be relatively neutral on the topic) say that it is not economically feasible.  

We've tried it at a small scale, and it doesn't produce a sufficient net positive to pay for the energy that it outputs.

The argument has been made that molted salt reactors are only economical at a large scale.  But the government has not approved a large scale plant, so we can't really tell.

Some people have put together calculations which show that the economy of scale isn't enough to become economically feasible until we have a plant so large that simply building it would be prohibitive.

At this point, these are all guesses, models, and calculations.  So, who really knows?  Maybe someone will come up with a different model that shows us the exact opposite.  But I'm becoming less and less excited about it as I read more about it.

On 5/1/2024 at 2:05 AM, Vort said:

Efficient and massively available power storage would greatly help our efforts here. 

My in-laws got a solar array a while back.  Their storage system (I believe) was an iron-air batteries.

This has the advantage of "never" degrading (notice the scare quotes).  People gripe because is it much less efficient per cubic ft.  But because iron is so much more abundant than rare earth metals that it is very cheap. So, we can make more batteries to make up for that deficiency and still come out dollars ahead.

And if it never degrades, then we don't have to worry about future replacement costs.

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2 hours ago, Carborendum said:

the things I hear by people (who at least appear to be relatively neutral on the topic) say that it is not economically feasible.

There are certainly challenges.  One of my favorite smart ppl TikToks on the issue of cost.  He's talking about recycling technology, but the same investor fears probably exist for molten salt technology.


Edited by NeuroTypical
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1 hour ago, Carborendum said:

Thoughts on fatherhood

Oh wow - impactful video. @Vort, if you want a little affirmation on your long-standing issues with men and dadshaming, this video is for you.

(And answering the dad questions for my two daughters, a Mystion named Sidion, angry people breaking into our house at night, higher than I can possibly push her, and gearing up to use the phone and the conversation didn't go her way.)

Edited by NeuroTypical
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41 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

There are certainly challenges.  One of my favorite smart ppl TikToks on the issue of cost.  He's talking about recycling technology, but the same investor fears probably exist for molten salt technology.

I'm sure that's always an issue. But..

The sources I looked at were not about political issues making it cost prohibitive.  They indicated that the energy in vs energy out ratio is just not favorable.

In order to build a plant big enough to make that margin work in a commercial market, the plant construction costs would be so huge that no one could build it.

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Yep, only economical on a large scale.  We might some day have cool things like nuclear batteries or tiny modular reactors, but molten salt reactors are currently "go big or go home".  Massive investment that demands buy in and support from governments and investors.

It also promises to satisfy the "cleanest, greenest, safest" demands that grips the world, so the humans might be willing to invest millions or billions into zero-emission ultra-green energy that produces only a tiny fraction of the waste compared to solar or wind, with a fraction of the cost to human life.

Edited by NeuroTypical
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