Fort Peck Dam Failure?

I though between watching the Old River Control Structure, and keeping an eye on Devil’s Lake, that I had a pretty good handle on large scale flooding problems that might be facing us.  Then I read this…

http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/article_2b1eeca2-e701-51dd-83c2-f7bcc81845a4.html

I haven’t fully vetted this one, but it is certainly a compelling potential disaster.

 

 

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Old River Control Structure

I’m a little worried about this in relation to the current Mississippi flooding. I hope the Corps is ready– if not, Louisiana is heading for problems that will dwarf Katrina.

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Coal to Liquids

Here’s a nice analysis, with many good footnotes on the conversion of coal to diesel through the Fischer-Tropsch process, and the current state of the economics.  Learning about the Fischer-Tropsch process in a graduate class, and trying to research it’s use to show the opposite point that the article I’m linking makes, was what convinced me how radically out of my depth I was in trying to examine energy and economics together.  I’m getting better, but…

The site that the article lives on looks interesting as well.  Lot’s of good meat there.

http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2011-02-13/excessive-optimism-our-enemy-coal-liquids-case-study

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A Voice From the Past (That Speaks to the Immediate Future…)

Here’s a speech given in 1957, by Admiral Hyman Rickover, the father of the nuclear submarine, and a better engineer than I could hope to be…  If I was looking for a position statement, he already wrote it, and delivered it into the world more than fifty years ago.

http://www.energybulletin.net/node/23151

Clarity and elegance in style and workmanship.

 

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DARPA to the Rescue?

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the government agency that actually did invent the Internet, looks like it might be getting close to a solution the liquid fuels issue.  As a biofuel, it is mostly carbon neutral– the EROI isn’t too bad, and it’s not stealing arable land or feedstock from preexisting agriculture.  The mass market story is here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/13/algae-solve-pentagon-fuel-problem

For detailed information, the report is here:

http://www1.eere.energy.gov/biomass/pdfs/algal_biofuels_roadmap.pdf

I haven’t read all of the roadmap report, but I have read enough to know there is a lot of good information.

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Peak Oil?

If you’re here, you’re probably familiar with the theory of peak oil. At some point in time, recovering oil is going to be much more energy intensive than it currently is. There is a lot of debate as to whether it has already happened, or if it’s many years out.
If we want the world economy to expand, we need an expanding supply of energy. If it’s not oil, it must be something else.

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Engineers and Writing

Are two subjects that go together like writers and calculus, or politics and principles. I’m expecting it to take me time to hit my writing stride, so bear with me.

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