Solar Salvation

31 posts / 0 new
Last post
Hawaii Cruiser's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 12 months ago
Joined: Jan 20 2005 - 16:03
Posts: 1433
Solar Salvation

Ok, you guys/gals previously straightened out my hopes and dreams about saltwater fuel a short while back in this thread. Now my hopes and dreams are renewed with this breakthrough:

http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2008/oxygen-0731.html

This is the one, right? This is going to be the salvation of the 21st Century human race. Say it's so...please.

eeun's picture
Offline
Last seen: 11 months 1 week ago
Joined: Dec 19 2003 - 17:34
Posts: 1895
It's a keen breakthrough, but

It's a keen breakthrough, but I wouldn't go as far as salvation.

It's a more energy efficient way of extracting oxygen and hydrogen for fuel cells. While the press releases make it seem like it's linked to solar, the tech is applicable to any form energy generation to fuel cell system.

A few quibbles with the writing: it mentions using one catalyst to extract the oxygen, then using another catalyst to extract the hydrogen? Geez, if you extract the oxygen from H2O, what exactly are you left with? I think some information has been misplaced between the science and the journalism.

There are a couple lines that don't play well together that should be noted:

Requiring nothing but abundant, non-toxic natural materials,

Combined with another catalyst, such as platinum, that can produce hydrogen gas from water, the system can duplicate the water splitting reaction that occurs during photosynthesis.

Platinum is very expensive. That said, you'll find small amounts of platinum in catalytic converters, so the practicality of this method may end up being tied to just how much platinum is needed for the extraction process.

Cobalt is not non-toxic (carcinogenic and mutogenic in high amounts), nor does it occur naturally in pure form.

So no salvation, but anything that leads to more efficient fuel cells is good. Since there's not enough accurate information available, I'd say: wait and see. It's not snake oil, but it's not yet time to abandon fossil fuels.

If anything, the article goes to show once again just how sucky the state of science/tech journalism is.

It'll probably help my Hydrogenics stocks. Smile

Jon
Jon's picture
Offline
Last seen: 12 years 9 months ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 10:38
Posts: 2804
The process is two half react

The process is two half reactions in a redox reaction. Note that (in the Wired article I read earlier) they refer to the process as being similar to photosynthesis, which is a redox. Because the process needs to create two molecules with different charges it needs different catalysts for each part of the redox. The real big kicker here is that it uses more "normal" materials than other catalysts, and uses less electricity, and operates at standard temperature and pressure. The mention of solar is pure green-media hype frenzy feeder stuff, IMHO. There are many sources of electricity, including wind, wave, etc., that are sporadic and would benefit from being able to produce a storable fuel in larger quantities than the limited storage of batteries.

DrBunsen's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 years 7 months ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 10:38
Posts: 946
There is no "one" magic bulle

There is no "one" magic bullet solution. This will help - but so will more efficient batteries, grid-feed solar, and a bunch of other technologies that are either available now or coming onstream a whole lot sooner than ten years.

Grid-feed solar: PV panels on your roof produce more power than your home or business needs during the day. The power company buys the excess - there is a lot more demand for electricity during the day than at night. At night you buy back power from the grid, often at a discount, to run your remaining demand and/or charge an electric car. No (house) batteries or other storage required.

IMHO the optimum setup would be an integrated grid/house/car system. The car can act as the house's battery bank and backup generator. I use the word "battery" interchangeably with an H2 fuel cell system - that's all it is, a type of battery, with external electrolyte (H2) storage.

Look, there's a lot of exciting stuff coming into the market over the next few years. They are all going to be part of the solution. There is no "one", Morpheus. The real test of this particular system will be how it stacks up economically against other available systems. It's debatable whether hydrogen really works (economically) as a transport fuel, compared to efficient batteries and renewably sourced biofuels.

That said, I'm glad you're excited by this field. Renewable energy is the second fastest growing industry in the world, after IT. Keep on reading and researching, and maybe one day you'll decide to go on to further study, or start a business, or otherwise get a job in the field. But a little physics and economics knowledge would go a long way.

If you're interested in a realistic appraisal of hydrogen and other hyped "new fuels" I'd suggest having a poke around here: http://www.tinaja.com/

DrBunsen's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 years 7 months ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 10:38
Posts: 946
In fact, I'd go so far as to

In fact, I'd go so far as to say that being dependent on -one- solution is what got us into this mess in the first place!

Eudimorphodon's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 months 16 hours ago
Joined: Dec 21 2003 - 14:14
Posts: 1207
Funny the word "Salvation" comes up.

Lately I've come to the conclusion that "Conspiracy-ology", in its various forms, is *the* up-and-coming religion for the 21st century. And like many up-and-coming religions the prophets promoting the new faith are for the most part cheats, liars and lunatics, with axes to grind and sheep to fleece. And unfortunately much of the discussion of "Alternative Energy" on the Internet is badly polluted with conspiracy theory-driven hype, pseudoscience, and nonsense.

It amuses me to no end how consistent the recipe for an "alternative energy" website is. Start out with a front page that at least looks legitimate (if possibly amateurish) at first glance. Paint your position in broad strokes, and be sure to use science-y sounding phrases like "Hydrogen economy" and "fuel cell". Regularly link to news stories in the "straight press" about "energy breakthroughs" (which may or may not be of any real significance) so it looks like you're part of the mainstream. Now you can start getting creative. Add a few paragraphs of paranoid insinuations about how "Big Science" and "Big Oil" or whatever other entrenched interests (Illuminati?) have been suppressing "Amazing Breakthroughs" for years. That'll work to get the visitors' dander up. Toss in some charming-but-completely-bogus Nikola Tesla anecdotes and a good helping of heartstring-tugging patriotic blather about how the Great (American) Edisonian spirit of Invention will prove those ignorant "big science" guys (who were once wrong in saying you'd die if you went over 60 miles per hour, or something else equally quaint.) don't know squat about the laws of physics. Now that you've got the visitors who arn't going to walk away shaking their heads hooked, proceed to link to whatever hair-brained "over-unity" (read "perpetual motion") energy scheme that floats your boat. Be sure to point out how many of these machines *have patents*. Patents means it works, right? Talk about how the inventors of some of these machines "died mysteriously". (You might want to not mention how some of the same guys were found guilty of fraud after selling investors the the rights to their magnificent inventions, though.)

At this point anyone who's still reading your energy website is now part of the flock, so go ahead and fill your "links" page with websites about UFOs, antigravity thrusters, the 9-11 Truth movement, fake Moon-landing scenarios, hysterical warnings about HAARP, videos about how CERN is going to turn the world into a three-inch-wide ball of "strangelets" (and how Nostradamus predicted just that), you name it. If someone's dumb enough to believe *your* conspiracy theory they might as well believe them all, right?

People *really* want to believe that there's some Energy Messiah that one day will descend from the sky (or as the Free Energy Suppression folks paint it, break free from bondage) and save us. Energy Messiah will rescue us from the "scary" demons of "real but flawed technology" like Nuclear while simultaneously allowing us to continue to live our energy profligate lifestyles without change. Energy Messiah will fill your gas tank with free hydrogen generated on the fly from zero point energy. Energy Messiah will save us from oppression by the Oil Companies. Energy Messiah will forgive us our sins and bring us all to paradise.

Anyway. I don't believe in Energy Messiah, any more then I believe in most other conspiracy theories. (Particularly any conspiracy theory which requires participation as vast as that implied by the "free energy suppression" crowd.) As much as I'd like for someone to discover some loophole in our understanding of physics that suddenly makes things like free energy, anti-gravity machines, and warp drives real and plausible things I'm not holding my breath. And if such a loophole does exist it's coming from a Steven Hawking-ish genius, not from some guy playing with electrolysis machines and microwave tubes in his garage, sorry.

--Peace

DrBunsen's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 years 7 months ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 10:38
Posts: 946
Good to see you back around t

Good to see you back around these traps, Eudi.

Energy Messiah! He's my new all-round superhero and catch-phrase. Thanks.

Hawaii Cruiser: I consider that we are transitioning to a clean energy economy. Slower than some would like, sure, but it is happening. Look for a gradual transition across many fronts though, not a magic bullet plug-and-play replacement for petroleum. Some of the changes will be technological, yes; but many will not. They will be economic, legal, social and behavioural as well. And some of them will change our lifestyles, by necessity.

Jon
Jon's picture
Offline
Last seen: 12 years 9 months ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 10:38
Posts: 2804
I think the big issue most pe

I think the big issue most people miss is the petro is cheap and dense. At the moment we don't have another energy source that is both to the ratio that petro is. Even is we bring the cost of hydrogen production down, we still have to deal with a not-so dense fuel and how to store it, or find ways to make it more dense.

Offline
Last seen: 7 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Dec 19 2003 - 18:53
Posts: 906
What about . . .

. . . liquified hydrogen? How does that compare for energy density?

Also, supercapitor technology continues to advance. It has some interesting electric/hybrid vehicle applications that are currently employed.

Mutant_Pie

Offline
Last seen: 7 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Dec 19 2003 - 18:53
Posts: 906
. . . new topic: Liquified Hydrogen energy density

I'm starting a new topic to address this, as this one is ranging a bit far afield.

Mutant_pie

mmphosis's picture
Online
Last seen: 1 hour 5 min ago
Joined: Aug 18 2005 - 16:26
Posts: 428
hidden costs

I agree with many of the things you write about in your posting. I am tired of "Conspiracy-ology" too. Even reading the official story of 9/11 sounds like a conspiracy in itself: terrorists conspired to attack the United States.

I am glad that we are discussing energy choices on Applefritter. Rather than mystify with terms like "free" energy, instead I say solar and wind power so that someone might know what I am talking about. I already have the solar panels and sails for my boat, so yeah in a way it's "free" energy but it's not totally without costs. I think that it's important to include other costs involved in the systems I use: the solar panels and the battery cost in money and other externalities, and the sails are expensive too. Often I consider that it sometimes costs less money to burn petroleum.

Although petro packs a lot of bang for your buck, I do think that petro comes with a high price tag which is increasing as this ancient source of stored solar energy is rapidly being depleted. My country heavily subsidizes petro with everything from billion dollar grants to already profitable oil companies to warring and killing people in Afghanistan for an oil pipeline. The politicians are the cheats, liars and lunatics in saying that they are on a so-called humanitarian mission. Still people complain about the high cost of gas: it's CDN$1.42/L where I live, while the real cost might be about US$15/L or higher including all of the external costs.

I am not part of any 9-11 Truth movement. Concerning 9-11, if you are brave enough you may reply with a number:

How many buildings collapsed on September 11, 2001, in New York?

Hawaii Cruiser's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 12 months ago
Joined: Jan 20 2005 - 16:03
Posts: 1433
oil--renewable resource?

There was some discussion here awhile ago about conspiracy theories in another thread I created:
http://www.applefritter.com/node/20191
Scroll down a bit in that thread to get to the discussion.
There's some great links provided there about the 9/11 debate.

Conspiracy theories, despite how wild they get, are a very healthy exercise in skepticism--something Americans seem to be dangerously lax in lately, including the free press, as apparent by the run up to the Iraq war. In our age of massive communication and information, a boom in conspiracy theories was inevitable--a good thing in my opinion, especially since the web provides avenues for debate. We should all probably subscribe to at least one conspiracy theory just to keep the game in full gear. I personally have great doubts that Neil Armstrong walked on the moon--mostly because of what I've heard about radiation outside of the Van Allen Belt, and also because the Kennedy-created deadline may have made deception the only solution at the time.

But back to the topic at hand: does anyone here give credence to the theory that oil is not actually a fossil fuel, but is a compound created by the geological processes deep in the earth?

eeun's picture
Offline
Last seen: 11 months 1 week ago
Joined: Dec 19 2003 - 17:34
Posts: 1895
More hydrogen extraction

Now this has a definite link between solar and hydrogen.
Again using a photosynthesis metaphor, sunlight is directly used to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen.
Still a work in progress, but dang neat.

Eudimorphodon's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 months 16 hours ago
Joined: Dec 21 2003 - 14:14
Posts: 1207
Lunacy

I personally have great doubts that Neil Armstrong walked on the moon--mostly because of what I've heard about radiation outside of the Van Allen Belt, and also because the Kennedy-created deadline may have made deception the only solution at the time.

Harharharharhar. Whatever floats your boat.

(Sorry, but I have *zero* respect for the Moon-landing-fakery B.S. There's one irrefutable proof that Americans landed on the moon in July 1969: The Soviet Union acknowledged it. There is *absolutely no way* the United States could have pulled the wool over the entire Earth's eyes, particularly when half the globe at the time had a vested interest in proving on day one that the US was lying about it. Believing that the moon landing was fake invokes a conspiracy not only inside the United States but with *across the entire globe*, involving both friendly and hostile governments, academia (radio telescopes *not owned by the US or any other government* were used to monitor communications with and between the astronauts, and to this day scientists study rocks brought home by and make use of items left on the moon by the astronauts without complaining about the authenticity of either), the media, you name it.

I trust you also have doubts that the Earth is actually round as well? The Internet provides a great venue for profound intellectual discussion about that great unsolved mystery as well.)

--Peace

eeun's picture
Offline
Last seen: 11 months 1 week ago
Joined: Dec 19 2003 - 17:34
Posts: 1895
Re: oil--renewable resource?

--mostly because of what I've heard about radiation outside of the Van Allen Belt

Maybe that's the part that we're being lied to about. Wink

And I've never been a fan of their music.

Eudimorphodon's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 months 16 hours ago
Joined: Dec 21 2003 - 14:14
Posts: 1207
eeek, RADIATION!

Maybe that's the part that we're being lied to about. Wink

And I've never been a fan of their music.

*snirk*

Seriously... people are free to believe anything they want and all, (it's called "religious freedom") but the extent of this idiocy (polls regularly show that at least 5-10% of Americans believe this wingnuttery) just never fails to amaze me. Not only is it ridiculous, it's insulting. It's insulting to the astronauts, it's insulting to the *thousands* of people who worked on the Apollo Program in the 1960s, and most of all it's insulting to the intellect that people are so willing to believe this tripe despite the *mountains* of evidence debunking each and every claim made by these people.

It's notable how many of these conspiracy theories require believing that huge swaths of the population, including individuals lauded for heroic and self-sacrificing acts, are actually despicable liars. Why would someone so desperately want to live in a world where that were true, anyway? My personal theory is that conspiracy theory is grounded in the same belief structures that gave the ancient world the angry and arbitrarily cruel gods such as the Greeks and Romans had. Some people are apparently just more comfortable in a world in which all things are orchestrated by some secret and unknowable agency rather then the world where things "simply happen" by accident, happenstance, or *simple* human endeavor. An agent capable of making these vast conspiracies happen is easily on the level of a God, and a universe where "God" (read: CIA, Illuminati, whatever) takes an active part in good and bad is clearly preferable to the one where God (the real one, not that it's important in this argument whether you believe in one or not) leaves us as free agents in Creation.

Personally, I've seen speak in person/briefly met Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt, and while I'm willing to concede to that anecdotal evidence isn't evidence in the scientific forum I have *no* reason to believe that the person I met is a liar. Harrison Schmitt firmly believes that he has stood on the surface of the moon along with his fellow Apollo astronauts, and while I suppose it's possible that certain Internet ***kheads might believe just as passionately that he didn't I choose to believe the guy who's not an ***hole *AND* has the entire legitimate scientific community backing up his side of the story.

Again, believing the Moon conspiracy is a religious choice, not a rational one. No evidence will ever convince the True Believer. And unfortunately the True Believer apparently has no problem convincing the Unwashed Masses who are too lazy or too intellectually challenged to evaluate the evidence themselves.

--Peace

Hawaii Cruiser's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 12 months ago
Joined: Jan 20 2005 - 16:03
Posts: 1433
taking the hits

Wow, sorry I touched such a big button, but that's what I'm here for. AF has been pretty quiet lately, with only the Apple // crowd having much of a good time in the recent posts.

I didn't say I'm a True Believer and I didn't say we didn't go to the moon. I said I had great doubts that Neil Armstrong walked on the moon (with no disrespect for the man, who, from what I've been informed about him, is a courageous, upstanding individual who deserved the honor, and that if he lied about anything, it would probably be from a deep moral decision dealing with his personal duty of patriotism), and I would subscribe to more information to prove the allegation (like I'd subscribe to a magazine about the truth of Sasquatch, which I wouldn't, not so much because I don't believe the possibility, but because it doesn't interest me that much). For a person who doesn't believe in any of these conspiracies, you seem to have spent a lot of time and energy on them, but that's fine by me.

And, you know, I can throw back the standard rebuttal: if, at the time, you believed that North Vietnamese boats engaged U.S. ships in the Gulf of Tonkin on 8/4/1964, and that he was not a crook, and that we did not trade arms for hostages with the Iranians, and that he did not have sex with that woman, and that Saddam Hussein attempted to buy yellow cake from the Nigerians?

The question is about official stories.

Sorry, I missed the joke about their music. Who's? Van Halen? I'm not up on contemporary rock much at all (and Van Halen is grandpa's music already).

But seriously, this is driving the thread way off topic, so it would be cool if you started an official debunking conspiracy theories thread at AF, or maybe even your own debate site. I'd enjoy it and would probably find it very illuminating. There's obvious energy here about it. You're the one who usually comes up with the most informed posts on whatever topic--not a joke--a genuine observation over the years, and your input is always greatly appreciated. At the moment, as it's on my mind the past couple of days, I'd personally like to know your theory of why the Twin Towers fell, and yes, especially Tower 7, as the officialized explanation has been significantly refuted. But on a new thread.

So what about oil not being a fossil fuel? That one's been going around the internet for a little while. Even has a certain conspiracy theory tinge to it sometimes.

Offline
Last seen: 7 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Dec 19 2003 - 18:53
Posts: 906
Evidenced based decision making

Just like the original idea of this thread, there are many ideas that propose alternatives to what is currently the accepted status quo.

It is sometimes very difficult to discern what reality is or isn't. However, the current, best methods involve using the scientific method, to produce double blind (where applicable (human studies)), peer reviewed studies and reports, who's results can be replicated independently.

This means the use of evidence. Before you make up (or hear of) a story, and spread it around as a strong possibility, check the evidence first.

Let's apply this to the "deep oil theory" versus the fossil fuel theory. The fossil fuel theory has the evidence. What does the "deep oil theory" have? No evidence. You'll notice that I included the word theory in quotes when appropriate. That's because to have legit theory you need evidence. Evidence that can be checked and checked again. The fossil fuel theory is continually being reinforced by evidence.

I think that the "deep oil theory" was produced by proponents of Intelligent Design. This is a religious belief. They don't want the evidence of ancient life (dinosaurs, etc. . . ) on Earth to exist because it disproves the idea that the Earth is less than 6,000 years old. There is a tree trunk with about 8,000 rings in it, one for every year of it's life. They never mention that in their debate. . .

Mutant_Pie

Hawaii Cruiser's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 12 months ago
Joined: Jan 20 2005 - 16:03
Posts: 1433
Beneficent universe?

Hmm, this is the first time I've heard it linked to the Intelligent Design faith. I didn't get that sense, but unfortunately, I don't bookmark these things very often, and I don't have the time to scour the web looking for it all again. But since you bring it up, it does touch on the concept of salvation, and that the American way is beloved of God, and in the midst of all our energy tribulations, God will not forsake the U.S. and its allies, and all that kind of stuff, while most here may hold to the idea that the universe is not personal, and it's ways may or may not benefit humanity, and that science is forever faced with a universe simply of stone-cold realities (in which case, the term "beneficent universe" is an oxymoron). On the subject of energy, especially with the human population exploding this century, those physical realities and population realities may eventually collide violently once and for all without enough scientific salvation to avoid the dystopias we can imagine. If a scientist has faith that the problems are not insurmountable, then what is that faith based on?

Hawaii Cruiser's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 12 months ago
Joined: Jan 20 2005 - 16:03
Posts: 1433
Re: the Energy Messiah

As to Messiahs, my original post was not really about a Messiah--a person--but rather a technology. A more accurate term instead of Messiah with the correct metaphor would probably lie somewhere between Philosopher's Stone and Holy Grail, but no term comes to mind. But to think about it, why discount the idea of an Energy Messiah? The history of science is replete with individuals you might want to respectfully crown with the title of Messiah. I'd have to open up my history book and give it some thought, but Pasteur comes to mind, and the discoverers of penicillin. In regard to ignorance, you might want to call Galileo and Copernicus Messiahs. They might not even need to be inventors, but rather successful proponents of new technologies, say Henry Ford, and our boys, the two Steves and Ron ( Bill can be placed on the other, dark side of the crown). I'll bet there are a few, especially at Apple, who would call Steve Jobs the Messiah of Apple and even of the modern age. As for an Energy Messiah, with the worldwide reliance on nuclear, why not Einstein, et al? Wouldn't the person who finally invented a practical cold fusion be an Energy Messiah? Maybe this is the century of another massive physical sciences paradigm shift with future energy uses we cannot today even imagine. He/she wasn't on my mind, but why not an Energy Messiah? More and more precise energy efficiency using the physics as known today may not cut it for us this century. Even with all that in play, other dimensions of the near future may overrun any gains that way. I don't necessarily ascribe to the idea, but in truth, maybe the only hope for civilized, free society is an "Energy Messiah" with a new perspective on the universe. To quote the Wikipedia page on paradigm shift: "In 1900, Lord Kelvin famously stated, 'There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement.' Five years later, Albert Einstein published his paper on special relativity..."

And, perhaps the Earth really is flat, and it's only our primitive perspective that keeps us from realizing it. Those people at the Flat Earth Society may be up to something more than we know. Wink

Eudimorphodon's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 months 16 hours ago
Joined: Dec 21 2003 - 14:14
Posts: 1207
Re: taking the hits

I said I had great doubts that Neil Armstrong walked on the moon (with no disrespect for the man)

Contradictio in terminis. He walked on the moon *or* he's a despicable liar. He can't be both. Just keep in mind that if he's a liar so are thousands if not *millions* of people all over the world.

Your convenient list of "big lies" justifying a belief in the "big" conspiracy theories might sound like a good retort in the context of an internet forum but just think about for two minutes and you'll see how patently ridiculous it is. Everyone knows "the government" (or usually more precisely, individuals within the government) lies sometimes, be it for "national security reasons", personal interest, or to simply to prevent embarrassment. But that doesn't mean "the Government", that big faceless entity as featured in conspiracy theory, lies *all the time*, and to make that extrapolation is nothing but sheer paranoia. Something which should be obvious to any rational thinker when you start counting just how many people would have to be actively involved in pulling off something on the scale of an Apollo moon landing hoax. (Again, if it's not clear to you, we're not just talking about manufacturing a few photos and a TV broadcast. We're talking about fooling every interested scientist in the *entire world*, including those working in countries actively hostile to the US and easily capable of tracking the position of the astronauts and their spacecraft, which they *were* doing at the time. Just landing someone on the moon would be *much* easier. So they did it.)

Anyway, I'm done steering this off topic. (Which among other things means I'm not even *touching* 9-11. At this point going there would mean breaking out the Special Olympics picture.) Have fun.

--Peace

P.S. As to my "unusual interest in conspiracy theories for someone who doesn't believe in them", it's a long story and it's personal but basically it involves dealing with an elderly man still living alone while succumbing to Alzheimer's. Said old man, who was already prone to paranoia most of his life used to fall asleep in his chair while listening to a talk radio station. A radio station which among other things carried Art Bell's "Coast to Coast AM". If there's anything worse then having a diseased brain it's having a diseased brain filled with notions that the government is "hiding the truth", or better yet, is out to kill you. It was only natural I took some interest in learning what exactly was being pumped into that poor man's head.

The whole affair gave me just the proper perspective to appreciate just how "helpful" rampant belief in conspiracy theory is to your overall mental health.

Anyway, again, have fun.

Hawaii Cruiser's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 12 months ago
Joined: Jan 20 2005 - 16:03
Posts: 1433
wind out of my sails

My convenient list of 'big lies' was not meant to justify a belief in the "big" conspiracy theories. It was just to ask the question, if you always believe the official story? And as for big conspiracies, I'd say the first and the last in my list were well proven out to be part of someone's or someones' "big conspiracy." False pretense for war is a pretty big conspiracy.

Despicable liar? There are many people who lie for their country. Will we call certain branches of the CIA the Bureau of Despicable Liars (some Americans would, I'm sure)? In certain situations, lying is the patriotic thing to do. There are many people working for the government who do things as part of their duty which we would normally consider immoral, but the qualification of immoral is completely removed if the action is deemed necessary by their position and the state (usually for national security reasons) and when it is performed within, if there are any, specified rules. Right now we've got 100,000+ immorally-dequalified government agents over in Iraq--all the way from simple invaders and usurpers to bloodthirsty killers. Will you greet them on their return home by calling them despicable thieves and murderers? Why would someone who lies for national security, dutifully obeying orders, be a despicable liar?

Here's the scenario. 1968. The man in charge of the Apollo program comes to--who, I'm not sure--but some overseeing politico--and says, I'm sorry, but I don't think there's any way we can put a man on the moon by December 31, 1969. As a matter of fact, at this point, it looks impossible. The politico, who probably does dual duty with the NSA, says, sorry, but you HAVE to put a man on the moon by December 31, 1969. It's a matter of national security, and if you won't, then we will help you to put a man on the moon.

1968: The U.S, the greatest power in the world, defender of freedom, democracy, and the capitalist way, is stuck in a quagmire in Vietnam and it appears to many that it will sooner or later, for the first time in it's history, officially lose a war, beaten by a non-conventional army of third-world, half-starved, rice paddy farmers. Not a good image abroad. The U.S. appears to be falling apart at the seams with a battle between the long-hairs and the crewcuts, and the long-hair, college drop-out, drugged-out, Country Joe and the Fish chanting anarchists seem to be winning the war at home, that is, when they're not tripping at Dead concerts or free-loving with flowers in their hair. The democratic election system seems to have gone completely awry, especially after a major assassination, and the cities have descending into rioting and chaos with police-state machine gun emplacements around the Capital building after another assassination. Our best are being cut down and our unkempt young are in rebellion. Not a good image abroad. The crewcut guys--the symbol of what was always the good, apple pie, about America don't seem to be able to control things and appear over and over as trigger happy goons, at home and abroad, especially when followed around by the liberal television press. Not a good image abroad. If Americans look weak, that doesn't bode well for our soldiers in the field, may lead to many more of them dying, nor does it help when paddy farmers in all parts of the world are choosing between the boys from Moscow, or the boys from Washington. Image is central to national security. Sorry, we don't care what the obstacles are. There has to be an American crewcut scoring the winning touchdown on the lunar surface before the decade is out. Tell us who is minimally essential for getting this nation-saving broadcast accomplished so we can bring all your crewcut fellows in to our classroom here and we'll give them the lowdown on the importance of image and national security, and for their participation in our national security, they will be granted a lifetime of self-respect knowing that they, as team members themselves, did their part for the salvation of the free nations of the world and for bringing unity and prestige back to the good old USA. It's not a lie. America is the best and is going to the moon, for our wives, for our children, for our children's children, and for the Constitution of the United States. Whether we get there your way, or another way, doesn't matter. We are going to the moon as we said we would, gentlemen, no doubt about it. First, you also have to sign this agreement. Science, you ask? Sorry, this has NOTHING to do with science. And don't worry about the crew. They'll all be good, loyal, obedient military men, sworn to uphold national security and the Constitution of the United States in every way expected of them.

But anyway, It took me only a couple of clicks through Google to find this webpage:
http://www.clavius.org/envrad.html
Boo hoo, my favorite conspiracy is busted. It never really jived too well in my mind, anyway, and I didn't actually give it much time or thought at all, but after watching some show or other about it, it was fun to pledge allegiance to it. I'll still be watching for the proof, though--all that dust flying in the moon wind and shadows being cast in the wrong direction, etc. I'd forgotten about Apollos 8 and 10, and that 12 was only months behind 11. If it had only been 11, then I might still trumpet the rebellion, but that many manned flights out of the Van Allen close together in time can't be enveloped in the same conspiracy. Like you say, too many participants. You'll notice in my other thread which I linked to above that I made at that time the same observation that you do about conspiracy theories in general--that there would have to be too many people playing the fraud and keeping the secret. Apollo seemed like you could do it with a smaller cabal, as they did in "Capricorn One." It would be interesting to calculate how many conspirators would have to participate. Thousands, millions? I wouldn't think so. Certainly not millions, and I wouldn't think thousands. Besides all the NSA agents, less than 50 maybe? An unmanned mission beaming back pre-recorded broadcasts or reflecting signals sent from Earth, while most of the engineers were thinking the men were actually aboard, and were shielded from seeing them being shuffled through the back exit off the launch pad, etc.

Sorry to hear about your elderly friend. The most stressful period in my life was when I was caring for an elderly relative with a very unfriendly form of Alzheimer's in the last years of his life who also swore high hell everyday at the television and Bush in general. That disease can loosen the mind, loosen the tongue, and even loosen the fists. Reveals how much of our consciously civilized personal energy is spent repressing all that, maybe?

I listen to "Coast to Coast AM" quite often while I'm working (it comes on at 7pm here). I've listened to it on and off since around 1996. Art had a very funny, often nasty sense of humor sometimes and showed a lot more skepticism than the new host (actually, it's hard to remember the current host showing skepticism at any time). Yeah, it's full of conspiracy theorists and the UFO stuff, and lots of spiritualists and laymen archaeologists and historians of the Illuminati and the Knights Templar, etc.. Richard Hoagland seems to make cameos almost weekly with new details of NASA's lying, and there's the ex-military remote viewers, and the New World Order exposers, on and on. Lots of prognosticators--the only one I have respect for being the guy who predicts earthquakes by watching the missing pets ads, the timing of the tides aligned with other geophysics, and other telltale signs. He's the only one I've heard score direct, unequivocal hits. Almost all the other prognosticators equivocate their hits, often hilariously. All that stuff can be entertaining for awhile, even sometimes change your perspective on some things. I've met quite a few people who've embraced those things wholeheartedly, and much of the time I puzzle how anyone can actually reach a point of emphatic belief, but I could say that about many of the religious also. But many you have to admire, at least, for their active mind and passion. The show is supposedly the most listened to radio show, you know, with something like 20 million listeners tuning in at some point or another on any given night, IIRC. And it's UFO/conspiracy theory rep is not quite fair. It has lots of guests who are not off on those fringes. I've listened to many many very intelligent discussions with credentialed professionals which were very informative. This month I caught a few of the shows:
http://www.coasttocoastam.com/shows/2008/08/
The three in a row--Numbers Crunching, Psychology of Disaster, and Immigration and Overpopulation--were very interesting. The overpopulation show had direct influence on comments I made in this thread above. At one time, I bought the Mp3 download deal for three months, which is very cool because they cut out the commercials, but I found myself collecting shows I never got around to listening to and discontinued the deal, but I think I might buy it again. No commercial breaks is a wonderful thing. I have to say, listening to those types of CtoC shows has had many great influences on my mind. The other stuff I entertain and am entertained, if I bother to listen at all, but some of the more abstract, spiritually oriented discussions have had definite influence on my concepts of the spiritual.

There's not much on talk radio that won't overstimulate the easily persuaded, as you say your friend was. I don't know what would be worse, listening to CtoC or to the right-wing left liberal bashers, or the left-wing vast right-wing conspiracy bashers. Take your pick, they're all going to get people spitting in their seats. One hour of Michael Savage could easily raise the blood pressure to the same amount as three hours of some of the conspiracy theories. Compared with most of the right wing, at least the minds at CtoC engage in very creative thinking, and it's not all about, you know,...hate.

But how can you not like conspiracy theories when they come up with such great stuff as,
The present Queen Elizabeth is a direct Jewish descendant of the Egyptian Pharaoh Amenemhet I (also known as Abraham), and sits on the throne of Great Britain because her ancestors' Hebrew tribe of Dan pillaged across Europe becoming the Danes, created the springboard of Denmark--read Danmark--to conquer England where they, and she, and the big bankers in London are now the true rulers of the Western world (and much of the East), including, unbeknownst to most Americans, all of the U.S.A., which is actually, to this day, still part of the English Empire. We actually lost the Revolutionary War, you see.

Now you've got to love stuff like that! Amen. (Amon)

cheers

Offline
Last seen: 7 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Dec 19 2003 - 18:53
Posts: 906
"It's fun . . . "

Hawaii Cruiser wrote;
Boo hoo, my favorite conspiracy is busted. . . . it was fun to pledge allegiance to it.

But how can you not like conspiracy theories when they come up with such great stuff as . . . .

Now you've got to love stuff like that! Amen. (Amon)

You do it for the fun. That explains your motive (at long last). However, there are many people who believe this type of thing and make their life choices and decisions base on this misinformation. Like not getting their children vaccinated. Who then die. Like teaching intelligent design in schools, which does untold damage to our education and scientific literacy. Like voting for candidates who regularly say they talk to Jesus and that there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq so we have to attack them, but because "it's fun" to believe, as opposed to analytically think, the mass of the populace will get behind him.

Is it still fun for you now, to spread this stuff around?

Mutant_Pie

mmphosis's picture
Online
Last seen: 1 hour 5 min ago
Joined: Aug 18 2005 - 16:26
Posts: 428
maybe

Beyond conspiracies, maybe we are each here telling our own story which may change by tomorrow. I appreciate you guys writing.

Some of the stuff seems out there like aliens and such. Things like vaccinations may hit a little closer to home especially where on one hand people may die by not being vaccinated, and on the other hand people may die by being vaccinated, and of course other hands may wave.

The sentence "False pretense for war." resonates with me.

solar cells made in a pizza oven

Thanks for the lively discussion! Wink

Eudimorphodon's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 months 16 hours ago
Joined: Dec 21 2003 - 14:14
Posts: 1207
Re: wind out of my sails

I'll still be watching for the proof, though--all that dust flying in the moon wind and shadows being cast in the wrong direction, etc. (...)

You already found the Clavius site, read the rest of it. (Note particularly the page in the introductory section about reasonable estimates of just how many individuals would have to be involved to pull off any "realistic" conspiracy. Remember while reading this that NASA then, as now, was largely a civilian organization manned by geeks, academics, and bureaucrats, not highly-trained CIA spooks. That alone plays heavily into how well you could expect any secret of this magnitude to be kept.) BadAstronomy.com is another good choice to start with. And then if you're still not convinced that conspiracy theories like this are complete garbage, go outside and take some photos of random objects scattered on uneven ground lit by morning or afternoon sunlight, preferably on a cloudless day to minimize *atmospheric* light scattering as a complication, and decide for yourself exactly how much water the "shadows don't line up" argument holds. (Or if that's too much work, Google for pictures taken in desert environments like Death Valley under similar conditions. Find one of trees near sand dunes, or of signs in front of rocks or vehicles.) The shadows don't all point the same way, do they? Depending on the angle or shape of the objects or the slope of the ground a given set of shadows might diverge or cross, and a rounded or irregularly shaped object may even cast a shadow on the "wrong side"? Huh, imagine that. Wait, the dark sides of objects arn't "pitch black", but instead are partially lit by reflected or transmitted light, sometimes in unexpected ways? Wow, this is getting deep. Clearly this "Planet Earth" thing must be part of a giant "reality" conspiracy, and we all live in a gigantic TV studio lit by hidden spotlights.

Lunar conspiracy theories are the products of nitpicking and usually paranoid crackpots who demonstrably have *no idea what they're talking about* when they declare that something is "impossible" or "faked", yet people keep slurping it up because, why, it's "interesting"? "Fun"? After a certain point (which was passed long ago) it's simply impossible to keep debunking this garbage. How many times can you keep saying the same thing, over and over again, before you're simply crushed under the weight of the sheer idiocy of it? Drowning in a sea of ignorance is *not* fun.

One of the most interesting and demonstrable things about conspiracy theory is the observation that the quality of the theories advanced to explain the event degrade rather then improve with time. Just search YouTube for "Kennedy Assassination" videos. The Great Unwashed Masses are down to playing "Where's Waldo?" with the slo-mo runs of the Zapruder Film, saying ridiculous things like "See that blurry shadow right there on these two frames? That's the moment the *driver of the limo* pulled a gun and shot the president from the front seat!". I'm pretty impressed if that's what happened. At my age I can't start and stop a stopwatch in less then 1/9th of a second, let alone pull a gun, aim it, fire it, and hide it again. The 9-11 theorists are of course to the point where some are claiming there weren't any planes at all, all the eyewitness reports were either mass hallucinations or everyone in New York was "in on it", and the buildings were blown up by space-based CIA lasers. Sort of speaks for itself, really. They have no less evidence for that then any of the other 9-11 conspiracists have for their theories, so it must be "as true". All the evidence contrary to *any* 9-11 theory is tainted by "the government" so it doesn't matter how wacky your idea is. Go nuts. It's all "fun", right?

Believing in conspiracy theory demonstrates a willful refusal to judge an argument based on the quality of the evidence advanced. The mere fact that there's an "objection" being made is alone taken as the only evidence needed that there must be "something up". It doesn't seem to matter how bad the source is, how weak (or completely lacking) the evidence, how many times the same obvious lie is refuted, the discussion goes on because apparently people are simply addicted to the storytelling process. If it were just all a theoretical exercise I suppose you could say it's just a "fun hobby", but the paranoid and violent nature of so many of these conspiracy theories has the potential to seriously damage the human psyche. I've seen it.

There is way too much *real badness* in the world to waste your time, trust, and emotions on conspiracy theory. No, I don't always buy the "official story", and yes, I think our government sometimes does things counter to our liberties and interests. However for the most part it does them in plain sight. (Secret cabals tend to be reserved for things America does to other countries.) When you start wholesale ascribing acts to conspiracy theories not only do you dilute your own ability to discriminate between reality and baseless fantasy you damage your own and others' ability to meaningfully react to genuine threats or injustices. It completely invalidates your position in the eyes of lawmakers if, for instance, you couch your objections to the Patriot Act in the context of wild accusations (with no worthwhile evidence) that the government murdered its own citizens to advance a policy agenda.

Of course, you're not likely to really think about such things at all if you're too busy disseminating ridiculous accusations that a building on fire and otherwise damaged from having one of the largest skyscrapers in the world fall down right next to it couldn't of possibly collapsed by itself, and said event is the vital linchpin proving the existence of some massive Government murdering spree. Never mind the fact that highway overpasses, bridges, and large buildings occasionally collapse *without* being on fire and having had gigantic objects falling on them. The fact that a given piece of human engineering dramatically fails in a non-obvious and not immediately explainable way is not de rigueur evidence of conspiracy or hostile intent. It's more realistically evidence that the ability of humans to engineer and build perfect structures which behave entirely like our (necessarily simplified) mathematical models would predict is far from perfect. But wait, oh yeah, conspiracy theorists live in a universe where nothing happens by accident. Sorry. It's definitely a conspiracy. We need the truth, now!

And oops, I gave in and talked about 9-11. I lose.

--Peace

P.S. I just realized how funny it was you pointed out what essentially boils down to standard-template Zionist conspiracy as an example of the sort of stuff we're supposed to "love". Yeah, Antisemitism is a *laugh riot*, we need more of that. :^b

Jon
Jon's picture
Offline
Last seen: 12 years 9 months ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 10:38
Posts: 2804
I'll step in again to make a

I'll step in again to make a small point: technical vs practical. In my line of work we have to explain things in the technical ideal, but we also make a point of having to do things in a practical way. Technically, we should build the object to the specs. Practically, the specs are triple limit designed and we could build it to be effective at half or a third the spec. Conspiracies that expect to take everything to be technically built to the full spec skip over the practical applications that function, but may be under spec. Thus, non-obvious failures and failures that don't occur precisely at the technical limits. Technically, a structural girder will fail at X temperature. Practically, a manufacturing flaw, coupled with stresses from a large impact, and then heat from fire on top of years of mechanical stresses from being a part of a structure might fail before the ideal point. Once one part has failed, other parts take the load and may go beyond their practical, or even technical carrying capacity and fail as well. That leads us right into the accordion effect that occurred on the twin towers. Upper floors failed, the weight shifted and the lower floors could not maintain the changing load, and they failed as well, all the way down.

Now, who, why, and to what ends the events happened? I'm not touching that. Wink

DrBunsen's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 years 7 months ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 10:38
Posts: 946
Re: "It's fun . . . "

edit by eeun - I was just going to edit out the language, but the language and the politics are both too far afield from the AUP.
The Internet's full of places to have political rants. But not here.

Hawaii Cruiser's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 12 months ago
Joined: Jan 20 2005 - 16:03
Posts: 1433
Woah! Dr. B.? Did someone get

Woah! Dr. B.? Did someone get ahold of your password?

You're not the moderator of this forum, are you?

Moderator! Moderator! Someone's conspiring to take down AppleFritter.

I think I've stumbled upon a big button amongst the left brainers. How does one sleep at night with a conspiracy theory in your head, and how does one sleep at night knowing that you are living next to a person with a conspiracy theory in their head? I recently watched a movie on HBO about something like that called Arlington Road. Conspiracy theories are the bread and butter of Hollywood these days. A sign of the times, I guess. What's a Mystery novel? A conspiracy theory. What are most religions based on? A conspiracy theory. What does the elderly salary man start thinking when he sees the bosses hiring the young new guy? A conspiracy theory. We're all forever awash in conspiracy theories. It's the creative mind at work, stimulated by what? Fear? Anticipation? Genuine observations? Greed? A search for the like-minded? What magic wand are you going to wave to make them go away? There seems to be something essentially human in them. A grappling with the unknown. An attempt to connect things and make sense of it all. I think I'd probably find a conspiracy theory tucked away in your position on global warming. Are all the pieces together there? Are all the suspects known? The evidence against them fact and checked? All motives cataloged? Intentions clear? Crime determined?

Well, I'll tell you one thing about the conspiracy theorists. They seem to be the only ones pointing their finger at Mr. Bush and yelling, "You will be held accountable!" Despite the reason, at least someone is yelling it before he slips away back to a cozy Crawford, hopefully not after he has plunged us into Iran. The fact that Laurel and Hardy at the top have not been impeached will go down as one of the saddest silences in American history, but then, maybe that's because there are so many people who do NOT see, and will NOT believe in, conspiracies even after they've been played out right in front of their eyes.

Besides the conspiracy theories of the Cheney Presidency which have been proven enormously deadly and destructive, which other conspiracy theories are you afraid of? Which others do you see leading to gas chambers and gulags? The 9/11 conspiracy theories are mostly all about the fear of losing our liberties and our freedom. Are they going to kill somebody?

BTW, I've not forgotten the Satanic child abuse conspiracy because I don't think I've heard about it. Or maybe I did forget it. Have you got a Wikipedia link for that one?

The problem with conspiracy theories is not that they exist. The problem is that they are not debated as we are doing here.

eeun's picture
Offline
Last seen: 11 months 1 week ago
Joined: Dec 19 2003 - 17:34
Posts: 1895
Okay, I think we've about rea

Okay, I think we've about reached Applefritter Critical Mass, in which rational discussion goes out the window.

From the Remember Outdoors description:

Culture, hobbies, events, and casual discussion.
To discuss religion, partisan opinions, or personal issues, please use IRC.
Off-topic threads will be locked or removed.

The AUP spells out clearly that offensive language is frowned upon.

Hawaii Cruiser's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 12 months ago
Joined: Jan 20 2005 - 16:03
Posts: 1433
what to do about it all?

Hey Dr.B., with respect. A good venting is a healthy thing! Now I'm thinking you've got a good point. I wrote my question above at 2am last night, trying to hold my eyelids open to finish my thoughts and then went to bed and passed out quickly. 7am I have to pull myself out of bed to get my daughter to school, and within minutes, Oklahoma City and Timothy McVeigh (who was ticked off by Waco where how many died?) popped into my head. So I've answered my own question giving me more food for thought. As a suggestion, express the rage, and then, before you hit submit, force an edit of the words upon yourself, no matter how hard that is to do. Your thoughts and input are always valued.

eeun's picture
Offline
Last seen: 11 months 1 week ago
Joined: Dec 19 2003 - 17:34
Posts: 1895
oops

Locked, unlocked, made an edit...forgot to lock again.
I don't think there's anything to be gained by keeping this open.

If you want to go back to the original thread topic, feel free to start a new thread.

Topic locked