David Hamilton


This conversation is closed.

Boil the oceans... Yeah... I said it.

In general I'm a huge fan of solar concentration, and desalination for the purposes of bringing drinking water and energy to third world countries, uninterested in green technology... like America.

In the back of my mind however, I've always had a weird idea, to solve global warming... actually two. The first... Boil the oceans... Hear me out.

Sea level is rising... because of climate change, whether this is man made or not, islands are sinking, and farmland is dying. I am not an expert in this field... though I don't know if anyone would really be qualified to comment... but, What if we just boiled the salt water, and created clouds?

Everywhere near the equator, fresnel lens could be made from recycled material, we could pump water away from sea life, preferably in an area which is already polluted... and we could make clouds, out of the ocean.

Certainly this comes with some questions. What percent of clouds are formed by ocean water? Will it provide safe drinking rain? If not however, I'm sure a filtration system could be designed. Don't just start pointing fire at the water... but... Would solar concentration, for the purpose of cloud seeding, stop global warming?

Key point here, is that clouds reflect sunlight back into the atmosphere btw. Which brings me to my second backwards idea... Flood the salt flats. There are numerous salt flats around the world that when flooded, give of the most beautiful mirror like shine... It's not just so you can check your make up, it reflects sunlight... very usefull. If we had solar concentrating desalination plants, we'd have enough water to waste some of it every year...

I am a novice, and an eccentric however, I may just be missing something obvious. Enlighten me.

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    Oct 3 2012: Hmm....did you know that, theory has it, algae were the first organisms on this planet? Algae produces a lot of the worlds oxygen. Where do algae live? I think they mostly live in water, like the ocean. I don't know how fast they reproduce, but I do know that they are small. If we were to suck up water, even with a filter, I suspect we would still be sucking up "ALOT" of algae. What eats algae? Many types of fish/plankton eat algae, and many fish/plankton thrive off of algae. I suspect that the ecosystem would start dying near areas where the suction of water that will begin to be boiled, and I feel that we would soon see a collapse of the food chain that could ripple throughout the world and we can reflect all the sunshine we want, but the ozone may thin and our atmosphere would begin to fill with hot steam. Steam may suffocate people, besides the significant loss of oxygen from a genocide of algae.

    Tornadoes are created by hot wind mixing with cooler wind, and depending on the orientation of the difference in temperatures, there will create tornadoes. Imagine Hot steam mixing the winds blowing past the polar ice caps or Antarctica. My theory is that we would find ourselves dealing with some super tornadoes or at least there would be a significant rise in tornado activity and places without cyclones or tornadoes would begin getting them.

    I think your intentions were good, but I don't think that is plausible to find such a energy source to power up so many boilers either. No one would fund this project as well, unless we had a "One World Order" type of government, or at least I don't think so.

    Your idea is a creative one, but please go back to the drawing board. I hope some of this is part satire and part shedding light onto something?
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      Oct 6 2012: Okay... Derek... For someone who claims to have faith in science, and human beings working together to solve problems... I find your first argument "We're not smart enough to build an algae filter"... Really weak.

      Also, I only have 2k characters, and I still managed to fit in, that these plants should be built where we have already destroyed the coastal environment... and we should be filtering polluted water. So, once again, someone who claims to be for progressive solutions, immediately attacks me for one... for reasons, I already explained away... It's very interesting.

      Tornadoes are a good call but again, a filter could be designed with a heat sync, designed to make the cloud sync up to local temperature, or we could direct the clouds, into specific locations which can benefit... Also, you ignored my idea of the salt flats. Boil the water, don't make clouds, flood the salt flats, reflecting sunlight.

      Finally, I mentioned, that in general I'm for solar concentrating desalination... I am always pimping that out to everyone I know, because it's the only hope for cali, Australia, and New Zealand to maintain their standard of living without destroying the planet.

      PS... Again, even imagining I was killing algae, in raising sea levels, we have raised the population of algae, leveling them off, is not an attack on the ocean, it's an attempt to reduce the effects of something we are already doing to the ocean.
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        Oct 6 2012: I'm sure that on a small scale and in specific areas, your idea may be plausible, but I am really stretching my theoretical mind for plausible scenarios here. I honestly don't think that on a large scale it wouldn't seem beneficial or necessary. I will agree that an algae filter might be producible, but I don't know when it can be made to filter such microscopic creatures without killing them in the process and how boiling the entire sea is beneficial.

        I am progressive for sustainable methods for life, and not for destructive methods. Besides, boiling that much water would probably be using fossil fuels, so let's start with alternative forms of energy where in a distant future, we will be able to boil the oceans waters, but with sustainable methods to power these " water boilers", though I am in no way giving support to the idea of boiling the sea.
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          Oct 7 2012: Sand filters algae, we could run water over sand, and then place the sand back in the ocean... Just a thought.

          I'm talking about using solar energy, so it's all sustainable. Fine... Don't boil the ocean, let New Orleans, and the Maldives sink... I don't live there. Just an idea for reducing the sea level our society is currently killing people by rising.
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        Oct 7 2012: i think your ideas are not real. first we can not boil the whole ocean ,it is a huge progect just like Derek said .unless we have two suns i think the peoblems will be solved .why that ,because we need too much heat to boil water.

        we can not pay such amount of fuels .and also at the same time we boil water we are producing the co2. it will mak more sericous o our climate .so it is total wrong .maybe we can have at a little range of it .it may work .
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          Oct 7 2012: I don't want to boil the whole ocean. You are taking me way too literally. I want to boil the excess water and pollution, human beings are pumping into the ocean.

          You boil the water with the sun, so it produces no co2.
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    Oct 2 2012: I'm more concerned with the numerous plants and animals that live in the ocean.
    The oceans are about 70 percent of the earth, imagine the scale of the disaster if the ocean is changed in the way you've described.
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      Oct 2 2012: Yeah... We already did that though... We added millions of gallons of water to our oceans, and sea levels are rising. We are pumping more water, pollution, and waste into the ocean than it can naturally evaporate. Thus, this is not a disaster, changing the ocean, it is a fix, to the current disaster, we already attacked it with.

      If we can successfully filter pollutants out of the steam before releasing it as clouds, giving us fresh water, to feed back naturally into the system, it will make the oceans healthier. I am talking about fixing a man made problem, not creating a new one.

      When the steam is turned into clouds, it stays in the natural cycle, and falls back to the earth, comes into a river, and flows back to the ocean. This will only alleviate the problem human beings have already caused, while saving us from a climate disaster, at the same time.
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        Oct 2 2012: Solving the problems we caused by complicating it? There is no need to increase our speed if we realise that we've taken a wrong route. The wise thing to do is change.
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          Oct 2 2012: I'm not talking about speeding up our problem... I'm talking about cleaning up our mess. We already have an infrastructure, that did this to the environment. There are very few things we, as a species can do to raise rainfall, and lower sea level, both of which need doing, because we already did damage to them... It's not just humans that are dying in this drought, it's animals as well.

          I'm open to other ideas for cleaning up this mess, but the idea that we should not try, because we might make things worse, seems a bit defeatist to me. If we can cause a problem, we can solve it, in my mind. This might not be the correct solution, but in general, there are very few options left, and it feels like the people least open to new solutions, are people who are passionate about a healthy environment. Progressives, are the first people, to, without relevant education, dismiss, anything that sounds like a band aid...

          Yet, I don't hear any progressive long term solutions... It seems like many are just waiting for oil to collapse, so they can join a farming commune... That doesn't sound like an evolved state of humanity to me, it sounds lazy, and boring. We (mostly America, but the developed world and the west in general) did such viscious damage to the environment over the last 50 years and whether we like it or not, africa, asia, and the middle east, can't wait to waste energy like we do... So we need some solutions that sound a bit crazy. We need to open our minds.

          Anything human beings can do cheaply, and quickly... They can likely be talked into, expectin much more than that might leave you disappointed in my humble opinion.
  • Oct 25 2012: First the oceans are warming caps are melting and when they are gone and the world will slip into an ice age when the currents stop from the ice that was there, so heating them and dumping hot water back would cook the sea life besides speed up what is happening, now taking water and boiling it separately has merit and would surely be beneficial and even pumping back into the ocean after it freezes actual might be beneficial...
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    Oct 8 2012: Hi David

    Indeed you are correct, most clouds are actually formed with moisture "extracted" from the oceans. And what do you need to "extact" it? you betcha... sunlight.

    One of the misconceptions (or maybe i should say, one of the concepts not completely accurate in the assumptions above) is that since ocean water does not reach 100 degrees celsius (please don't ask in fahrenheit as i am challenged already) then the conversion of water to vapor is not optimal. Actually, most transition of liquid to gas is made possible thanks to difference in pressure near the surface, so wind currents do almost as much to help evaporate water as sunlight does (that's why our skin cools down when we run and sweat)

    But any conversion from liquid water to vapor is nothing but the absorption of energy, mostly solar. The solar energy showering a particular region depends mostly on the area. Some energy is absorbed by the atmosphere, some reflected, but about half of the total solar energy reaches the surface of the planet, yes, even on cloudy days.

    So if 1 acre will receive, say 1 "unit" of energy, and since the energy that reaches the surface will be proportional to the area showered, then 10 acres will be receiving 10 "units" of energy

    To boil water, you will need to concentrate this with lenses and mirrors. But you cannot create energy out of the blue, all you will do is to focus, say the 1 "unit" of energy into a much smaller area. Then you need to spend energy routing water to this new smaller area, in order to boil it, and some energy will be lost as heat escaping from the frying pans.

    What i am trying to say here, is that it is more efficient to let the sun extract the moisture out of the sea, than it is to try to use concentrate solar energy to boil seawater.

    This is not to say this project is doomed. I think there is great potential in solar concentrators, i'll share some more of that later

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    Oct 5 2012: Isn't that what exactly the Sun has been doing for millenniums.

    Heating eats more energy than it spills out, That's why we are looking for natural sources to heat stuff so that we can just enjoy what it spits.
  • Jon Ho

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    Oct 4 2012: David, let me enlighten you on something that captain obvious always told me. If there is a problem, fix that goddamn problem! Now, what are the main causes of global warming? Fossil Fuel related CO2 emission. H2O, aka water is a major greenhouse gas too, but its level in the atmosphere depends on temperature. Excess water vapor rains out in days. Excess CO2 accumulates, warming the atmosphere, which raises water vapor levels and causes further warming.


    So, you are not really helping, you are making things worse with:
    Problem 1
    Oh yeah, good idea, plankton stew! Plankton gumbo! All the plankton in the world, boiled to death! And when plankton become scarce, small fishes like anchovies that feed on them starts dying off, and big fishes like tuna that feeds on anchovies start dying off, and humans who feed on fishes will be in big trouble.

    Problem 2
    Water evaporation are inversely proportionate to clouds creation. The more clouds you make, the less sunlight you get to power the fresnel lens. What happens is that not only did you fail to decrease global warming (you are actually causing it to increase!!!), you killed off millions of plankton, thereby contributing to problem 1.
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      Oct 5 2012: Okay... I'll fix the problem... let me sit down with all 7 billion people individually, and I will convince them all to switch to solar concentration and electric motorcycles... Just give me a million years.

      If you think we can stop people from using "free" fuel, which literally bubbles out of the ground... More power to you Jon... I realized people were way too stupid to stop killing themselves long ago.

      Problem 1 - again... I'm fixing a problem. Sea level is higher than it naturally would be, because of human intervention. I don't want to boil more water than will level off sea level rises.

      Problem 2 - I have already addressed this... In general, I'm certain solar concentrating desalination, is one of our best tools for fighting climate change... This is already being done in Australia, and several other warm ocean communities... Creating clouds may be a net greenhouse loss. However... You keep cutting off the equation, before it reaches it's end.

      The more clouds you create, the more water rains down on the earth, the more plants grow, the more we capture co2, and release oxygen... However, it might be more efficient to simply pump the water directly to farmland, than to create clouds. I said I was an eccentric... Still boil the oceans creating agriculture, and energy, lowering sea level.
      • Jon Ho

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        Oct 5 2012: Your sarcasm is extremely misdirected. I've spent the last 10,000 years trying to teach you humans to stop killing yourselves; has never given up on you humans, and never will. ;)

        No, you are not fixing the problem. You are running away from it. It's not H2O that needs fixing, its CO2.

        AND you are getting the concept of greenhouse effect wrong! Read the New Scientist article again, and fully understand it! The more clouds you create, the hotter the world will become, the faster the ice cap melts, the faster the sea level rises! And this effect is compounded exponentially due to CO2.

        Seriously, if you really want to save the earth with crazy ideas, how about this:

        instead of boiling the ocean, why not use those same fresnel lens to somehow burn the CO2 particles in the sky to its base element, Carbon and 2 Oxygen? Of course you may need to spray some other chemicals as catalyst, but don't you think this idea is much more feasible?
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          Oct 6 2012: My sarcasm is extremely misdirected? This conversation is called "Boil the oceans", and your first response was "Oh yeah, good idea, plankton stew"... So, we're a bit past claiming the moral high ground on sarcasm, especially since you go on to claim to be 10,000 years old... If you want people to take you seriously, you might want to keep that to yourself.

          You didn't read my whole response obviously, because I already said that clouds were not the best way to go about it. Also you're equation, continues to ignore the effect of plant life created by the clouds, so even if I was serious about it going into clouds, rather than agriculture, you still would not have convinced me. Clouds bad, plants good... what's the equation for the net effect?

          Carbon capture is good, but solar concentrating desalination, is the future in coastal and warm communities... Not for clouds, for energy, and agriculture water. My cloud idea may not be relevant, but boiling the oceans certainly is. Carbon capture doesn't really deal with the problem though, it just makes everything more expensive, for all the carbon we release, we will also have to make enough money to fund the carbon capture process.

          Boiling water to turn kinetic energy into electricity, and create drinking water, actually solves the problem, replacing coal.
      • Jon Ho

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        Oct 6 2012: Aha, touche!

        But you're still not getting it. Let me explain it in a way that even a 6 years old can understand.

        Boil Ocean Bad.
        Makes Greenhouse Worse.
        Ocean Water is Number 1 Reason For Greenhouse.
        More Ocean Boil, More Greenhouse Happen.
        More Greenhouse Happen, More Ocean Water Increase.
        More Ocean Water Increase, Landmass Decreases.
        No More Plants.
        Humans All Dead Or Mutate Into Fish.

        No boil Ocean.
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          Oct 6 2012: I'll refute using your own logic...

          Ocean water is number 1 reason for greenhouse...
          We are adding to sea level.
          More ocean water, less landmass... Greenhouse gets worse.
          Boil ocean, filter, sell salt, sell water, grow crops.
          Crops reduce greenhouse gases.
          Water from ocean, going to crops, makes less ocean water, more land mass.

          So, as I have said numerous times... I concede, not boil ocean for clouds.
          Boil ocean, cool water, put in ground, grow plants.
      • Jon Ho

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        Oct 6 2012: Post Scriptum :
        David, either you are a moron or an idiot, when you claimed my first response was "Oh yeah, good idea, plankton stew"...

        No sir! My first response was this :
        David, let me enlighten you on something that captain obvious always told me. If there is a problem, fix that goddamn problem! Now, what are the main causes of global warming? Fossil Fuel related CO2 emission. H2O, aka water is a major greenhouse gas too, but its level in the atmosphere depends on temperature. Excess water vapor rains out in days. Excess CO2 accumulates, warming the atmosphere, which raises water vapor levels and causes further warming.



        Post Post Scriptum :
        Actually, I'm 15,000 years old, give or take a few. ;)

        And you don't believe that I've spent the last 10,000 years, give or take, trying to help you humans? FINE. I will also NOT believe you when you claim to be a young man; in fact, I think you must be an 80 years old geezer, stuck in your room, spending all your time sitting in front of some electronic devices, all alone with no friends or family whatsoever, wishing you had been more friendly or jovial when you were younger so girls were attracted to you, and married you and had many children and grandchildren, so there! ;)
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          Oct 6 2012: Well, as long as I have the 2 options... Personally I tend to think of myself as a jester, and a fool... but whatever insults float your boat.

          For someone who has spent 10,000 years trying to help human beings, you seemed to have learned little about them, and little tolerance. No wonder no one listens to you. Calling them idiots without any evidence doesn't help.
      • Jon Ho

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        Oct 6 2012: All that time I spent with you humans, I learn that you will almost never, ever learn from your mistakes; you humans keep repeating the same mistake again and again and again. Why? Ego. Just like the one you have right now.

        And now, instead of admitting your mistake, you are trying to justify it, by putting all the spotlight back on me, by saying how I hurt your ego, instead of actually listening to what I said, and the way how I exposed your reluctance to learn and understand, even though I backed it with evidence. Now, isn't that the hallmark or modus operandi of a moron or an idiot?

        You claimed to think of yourself as a jester and a fool. That is just a mask that you hide behind. The true face, the real you behind that mask you put up is much different. I sense that your mask hides a face that has been scarred by a lifetime of pain, angst, and fear. Don't let it control you! Sometimes these demons grab hold of you and don't let go; I say fight it, overcome that barrier!

        If you had phrased your replies to me in another way though, I might be fooled into thinking you were jesting but, ah well.... ;)
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          Oct 6 2012: 15,000 years, of calling us stupid ego monsters didn't work... I'm shocked. Maybe there is a reason your trapped here with us... Maybe you have to learn to control your own.
      • Jon Ho

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        Oct 6 2012: Ocean water is number 1 reason for greenhouse...
        We are adding to sea level.
        More ocean water, less landmass... Greenhouse gets worse.
        Boil ocean, filter, sell salt, sell water, grow crops. - Point of Failure No 1. Here We Reach Critical Mass
        Crops reduce greenhouse gases. - Point of Failure No 2.
        Water from ocean, going to crops, makes less ocean water, more land mass. - Point of Failure No 3.

        So, as I have said numerous times... I concede, not boil ocean for clouds.
        Boil ocean, cool water, put in ground, grow plants.

        By Zeus beard, arrrgghhh!

        You know you are proposing a system that will overload our current atmospheric convection system? Not only do we need to contend with accelerated CO2 emission that has been overloading the atmospheric convection system for the last 50 years, you want to add this system into the mix?

        You realize that when you reach critical mass at point of failure no 1, you get dust-bowls, off the scale tornado's, mega-storms, etc. Forget point of failure 2 and 3, you won't even last that long. What plants you have now will die at point of failure 1, and new plants are impossible to grow. At point of failure 2, due to reduced number of plants, green house effect is accelerated in a snowball effect! Forget point of failure 3, the whole world is submerged in water!
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          Oct 6 2012: You can't just say point of failure 1... What about it, fails? What about lowering sea level, to normal levels, and creating fresh water, and salt fails?

          "Crops reduce greenhouse gases - Point of Failure No 2." Are you suggesting, that growing plantlife, does not reduce greenhouse gases?

          "Water from ocean, going to crops, makes less ocean water, more land mass. - Point of Failure No 3"... You're the one who said increasing land mass, and reducing ocean would lower the temperature, not me... I admitted to being a novice in this field, in my initial statement.

          You are emparting a much larger ego on me, than I contain. Yes my life is scarred by the decisions of our parents, I feel incredible responsibility to help fix this system, and this is one, admittedly crazy idea I have. I posted this one for free in public, because it was fun, and funny, and could provoke an interesting debate. I was not particularly funny in this debate, nor do I tend to be in debates, but my true personality, is that of the jester.

          I laugh at what humanity has done, "forgive them for they know not what they do", and all that. I also take very seriously the business of fixing it so that the world exists in a tolerable way in which for me to raise a child. I mean you no harm, I don't understand... Pretend I'm 5... Nothing in the article you are suggesting tells me why solar concentrating desalination won't work.

          Maybe you don't understand that my intent is to capture and redistribute all water vapor, internally, then distribute it below ground, where it would otherwise be unable to reach. So it's like a virtual cloud surviving one extra day, to get further inland, and grow plants.
      • Jon Ho

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        Oct 6 2012: What about it, fails? What about lowering sea level, to normal levels, and creating fresh water, and salt fails?
        --- It fails because you are accelerating global warming by playing around with atmospheric convection system, which you originally stated with using clouds which I enlightened you to the fact that this is actually contributing factor to global warming, and now you want to use a magical black-box-boil the ocean-cooling-system that feeds into the underground aquifers. Let me introduce you to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This cooling system you propose will generate a lot of heat, and unless you can vent it into outer space, the heat this cooling system generates will increase global warming, and starts screwing with earth's atmospheric convection system, which leads to Point of Failure No 2, where crops start either start dying or will not even germinate in the first place.

        "Crops reduce greenhouse gases - Point of Failure No 2." Are you suggesting, that growing plantlife, does not reduce greenhouse gases?
        --- Stop reading what I wrote piecemeal, start reading it as a whole. Did I EVER say that growing plant life does not reduce greenhouse gases? No, I alluded to the fact that since you have already screwed up the atmosphere with accelerated global warming, crops will start dying or simply stopped germinating/growing in the first place.
      • Jon Ho

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        Oct 6 2012: Continued due to silly character limitation-

        "Water from ocean, going to crops, makes less ocean water, more land mass. - Point of Failure No 3"... You're the one who said increasing land mass, and reducing ocean would lower the temperature, not me... I admitted to being a novice in this field, in my initial statement.
        --- You're doing it again, reading what I wrote piecemeal! Start reading it as a whole. Sure you get cubic tons of water from the ocean due to accelerated global warming, but going to what crops? All crops are dead or dying, and no new ones will grow. So where do these cubic tons of water go? Why, back into the ocean, making land mass grow smaller and smaller! Until finally, the world is drowned in ocean water forever, with mega storm cell and miles high tsunami raging over the water.

        No I'm not imparting a much larger ego on you, I know, you do. And please, EGO IS GOOD! It proves that you are you, and not sheeples conforming to the status quo. It is only when you humans start thinking and acting irrationally, trying to protect an idea or meme that should die gracefully, that you become a monster, trapped by the dogma of self. ;)

        I love crazy idea, seriously I do. I also love jokes, sarcasm, et al. too. When I see something posted is fun, funny, provoke an interesting debate, my logic follows : post serious logic stuff backed by scientific reason first, then throw in a little parody here and there. If the guy who I took a stab out of laughed and played along, I know that that guy is a jester for real, and not some guy who has a big chip on his shoulder, menacing and threatening to sue anyone who parodied him.

        And yes, I AM a 15,000 years old, who spent the last 10 millenium living on earth as an illegal alien. Nah, just joking haha. Or am I? Dun dun duuunnnn ;)
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          Oct 7 2012: Okay... I'm assuming you're trolling at this point... but whatever, it was fun defending my idea. In the very first sentence of my original post.

          "In general I'm a huge fan of solar concentration, and desalination for the purposes of bringing drinking water and energy to third world countries, uninterested in green technology... like America."

          If you know what those words mean, you know that my main point was to bring up solar concentration and desalination again, as I am want to do, because it is a passion of mine. I added to it, the crazy idea of clouds, which you still insist you refuted... but you still have not. I'm not going to boil the entire ocean. Obviously projects start small... So... Everything's not going to be dead, a month after we boil a few hundred gallons of salt water...

          You can take that to crops pretty quick. Once the crops are growing, you have not even bothered to take seriously whether the system is a net gain, or loss, because you feel like being an arrogant blowhard, and talking about how you're ancient and inhuman, and if only I wasn't so stupid and egocentric I'd understand you. In this argument you're been a reductionist moron, and I accidentally wasted my time taking you seriously.

          Aside from that... again, in my first sentence I alluded to my real purpose, promoting solar concentrating desalination... I also linked to this article before you posted, if you had read the conversation. http://www.sciencealert.com.au/opinions/20091203-18907.html

          So, since point one fails, in every measurable way, and point 2 and point 3 are nonsense without it, you just dismissively critiqued a perfectly good idea, and tried to sound smart while doing it... Epic Fail!
      • Jon Ho

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        Oct 7 2012: I KNOW about Solar Desalination, heck even built a couple of prototype for a company. BUT, just like perpetual motion machine, even though they sound good on paper, in practice it does not work. That company is now using something else, which does not have the design problems of solar desalination project.

        There are two inherent design problems facing any solar desalination project. Firstly, the system's efficiency is governed by preferably high heat and mass transfer during evaporation and condensation. The surfaces have to be properly designed within the contradictory objectives of heat transfer efficiency, economy and reliability.

        Secondly, the heat of condensation is valuable because it takes large amounts of solar energy to evaporate water and generate saturated, vapor-laden hot air. This energy is, by definition, transferred to the condenser's surface during condensation. With most forms of solar stills, this heat of condensation is ejected from the system as waste heat. The challenge still existing in the field today, is to achieve the optimum temperature difference between the solar-generated vapor and the seawater-cooled condenser, maximal reuse of the energy of condensation, and minimizing the asset investment.

        These two design problems is the main contributor to the all powerful Point Of Failure 1 as soon as it hits Critical Mass. The other two Points of Failure is just icing in the rapidly snowballing global warming cake of apocalypse.
      • Jon Ho

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        Oct 7 2012: Now, for the last time, I will try to enlighten you, and that is that, because I'm tired of teaching humans who does not want to empty their cup full of their own opinions first, seeing their cup of knowledge overflow when I pour my knowledge into their cup. A waste of my precious time.

        If you really want to desalinate ocean water to replenish the groundwater, use semi permeable membrane. Reverse osmosis is a pressure-driven process that forces the separation of fresh water from other constituents through a semipermeable membrane. This is the preferred method in large-scale desalination implementations where electricity is cheaply available. What the hell am I talking about? Check out this website http://www.gwrsystem.com/

        And now you name call me a troll, right after I proved you wrong yet again. Seriously, why say enlighten me, when every time I tried you don't want to accept enlightenment and stubbornly keep clinging to your ideas? Why keep saying you are a jester when every time I try to throw in some parody you start getting defensive and start name calling? Oh wait, I get it, you're not a moron, you're an oxymoron! Hahahahaha, good one! So when you say you are a young guy, I can safely assume that you are actually an old woman right?

        Epic Fail indeed! ;)
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          Oct 7 2012: Okay... So after about 10 pages, of nonsense and self contradiction you arrive at. "The only thing I really disagree with is that pressure and membranes, not heat should be used to accomplish your goal"...

          I could have said that in one sentence... In fact, I just did. Good to know though, thx.
      • Jon Ho

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        Oct 7 2012: I can do better with one word:

        Winning ;)
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          Oct 7 2012: Just to be clear though for anyone who reads this. The energy for that pressure, in warm climates, is best provided by solar concentration, ie something like www.zenithsolar.com. So while yes, you win, and we wouldn't literally boil the oceans. The idea I came here to promote "solar concentration, and desalination for the purposes of bringing drinking water and energy to third world countries, uninterested in green technology... like America", is a great one. People are already working on it... and the more people who think about it, the better, correct?

          You might not like zenith, and the gwr system, is apparently the component which should be attached to the solar concentration plant... but there is no actual fundamental flaw in what I initially came here to promote, correct?

          The only reason I got defensive, was because seperately, desalination, and solar concentration, are industries, I am constantly pimping out, and think the ted community should be paying more attention to. I apologize if because of that, you thought I was defending the cloud idea into the ground, I was just worried on the big concepts, I might be wrong... I am not, at least not from anything you've shown me.

          If you were suggesting that I was, I was prepared to defend those two ideas seperately as long as I could, because, I'm virtually certain they represent California, NZ, and Australias only real hope for growth and sustained living in the near future. If California, Nevada, and Arizona, were the new solar concentration power centers of America, and we were using that energy to plant crops, I'm very confident that would be a huge win.

          If I'm wrong, I want to know. It turns out just the steam/cloud part of the equation is stupid, and I have nothing tied up in that, so this conversation was a waste of both of our times... but I learned about gwr, and I'll research that a bit more because of it, so despite the hostility of our interation... Thanks.
      • Jon Ho

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        Oct 7 2012: Excellent! In fact, go and pay those a visit, they're in Orange County. Public tours of the Groundwater Replenishment System are offered at 10 a.m. on the first Friday of every month if I'm not mistaken, and you need to reserve in advance. ;)

        The thing about zenithsolar is that they generate heat, and they're very good at it. But then you want to pump those evaporated hot water through a cooling system and that cooling system transfers that heat back into the atmosphere thus contributing to more global warming, and this is where solar powered desalination failed.

        Unless you can come up with a way to remove that excess heat, by either channeling it into a miniature black hole or venting it thousands of miles into the vacuum of outer space, solar desalination for the moment is just not feasible....
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    Oct 3 2012: We could manage with a little less blue on this goddamn planet, I agree. If we went from 70% ocean to a more reasonnable 50%, we'd gain ten USAs of firm land to grow stuff on.

    We're still todlers on this earth. We think planting a few trees and building bridges is landscaping. Wait a few generations for the age of homo gardener. Mountains, rivers, lakes, sees... I bet our planet won't look anything like what it was in 2012.
  • Oct 3 2012: Hello David,

    I hate to be negative about this, but using a fresnel lens over a body of water probably will not increase the total evaporation taking place. If you could place the lens over land, and bend the sunlight into the water, that might have a positive effect. Perhaps we could ring the Greenland ice cap with them.
  • Oct 3 2012: Long ago, humans watched how nature did things & then copied it. As time went by those ideas from nature were changed so many times, that they no longer resembled anything in nature & went against nature its self. Humans rushed to improve or invent without regard to what the lasting effects might or could be. So now huge problems exist and still humans push to invent items without looking at long term effects.
    If humans really wanted to help this planet, they'd take a long long look at what nature is doing to undo what humans have caused. It is harsh but effective and no matter what humans do, it can't be stopped.
    Humans just haven't learned the basic lessons but nature is about to give you a refresher course.
  • Oct 3 2012: Okay be creative, but you may be right about a buffering problem. etc. etc. Mu subconsious tells me about Humpty Dupty. So our societies were so dumb as to let this happen, and not it will go away easily. There are many things that might help, but the actors who created the problem are intent on making it worse. People matter and can matter badly.
  • Oct 2 2012: "Would solar concentration, for the purpose of cloud seeding, stop global warming?"

    No, clouds are peculiar in that they reflect sunlight from space back into space, but they trap even more heat from coming the Earth's surface in the atmosphere. Clouds are more transparant for the spectrum coming directly from the sun (mainly visible light and uv) than they are for the spectrum coming from the Earth's surface (mainly infrared). Clouds are net increasers of the greenhouse effect.

    In addition, water is darker than ice sheets and deserts, so concentrating more of the incoming sunlight unto oceans will increase global warming, the increased surface of the new lakes you want to make only makes this worse.
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      Oct 2 2012: Well... Things become a bit complicated here then... because, even if this is one hundred percent accurate, which I am unsure of... If the effect could be targeted, over land that is not desert or ice, it would have a net positive effect, would it not? Aren't you basically saying, it won't work in 2 places, so don't try it anywhere?

      If it would reflect more light back into space, than it would retain, over mountains, or other dark land masses, then we could specifically target the effect there. Also, while It may seem like a net loss, to irrigate a desert using this method... if we don't use it for cloud seeding, but instead, boil and filter the water through traditional desalination, it has a huge positive. How? Irrigating desert, would produce plant life, which would release oxygen, and capture carbon dioxide... without the cloud seeding part, that's a huge gain.

      With the cloud seeding however, would proper crop propagation outweigh the increased reflectivity? Would darker more fertile soil help as well? Less light gets in, but it's used to build oxygen farms. Sounds like it would still be a win to me. Also, the salt flats idea would still work, in fact we could irrigate salt water onto them to make them reflective, if we wanted to, since they are already impossible to farm on.

      Does a desert do more help to reflect sunight, than a rainforest does to properly utilize it? If all of this has been researched, and found to be a net loss however... by all means avoid the cloud seeding, but not the irrigation, especially not in areas where there used to be fertile soil. I'm pretty confident rain forests are our number 1 net positive for reducing greenhouse gases... lets make more of them.
      • Oct 2 2012: "Aren't you basically saying, it won't work in 2 places, so don't try it anywhere?"

        It might work (if you only use heat that's already in the lower atmosphere, so no burning of additional fuels or using sunlight from space or non-cloud covered land/ocean) over some of the darker patches of land and ocean where clouds can cause net cooling, but the increased humidity in the local atmosphere may offset this.

        But I think that even if it works locally it would cost tremendous amounts of energy, if we could spare that energy then simply reducing our energy consumption by that amount would probably do more for the environment.


        Most minerals (including salt) stay behind when you boil water, so you would get drinkable water (most natural rain is also just evaporated seawater). The main problem with artificial cooling is that you would have to control it per region: you would want more colling in the Arctic than in the Southern Atlantic, that will be difficult.
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          Oct 2 2012: The fresnel lens ftw... I'm not even certain this is a plausable solution, though boiling salt water to bottle water, and gain energy, is being tested in Australia, I linked to it elsewhere on here. I think people need to start thinking about the problem in terms of global cooling though... because we're not giving up transportation, computers, or tv.
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    Oct 2 2012: Is it Norway? that is fighting sea reclamation of reclaimed land?why not let it flood the country and give half of Australia to them? The Aussies won't like it.if i remember right,all of Europe is a low land area and Canada as well.
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      Oct 2 2012: New Orleans is going to be the new Atlantis... The Maldives... an island nation I can't spell but have still been convinced has human beings I should care about... Lots of very cool productive places are going down if we don't do something... I'm just starting to think... "Alright... I give up, people aren't going to stop over using energy... What can we do to create global cooling?"
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        Oct 2 2012: Yep and Nz will go under at some stage if it all melts everywhere until Canada and Europe and Russia floods then we come back up,i think the States gets their old inland sea back again,Africa has a inland sea but australia doesn't get it's Artesian sea ever like it did during the last total melt.
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        Oct 2 2012: Daniel Grossman the writer of the book Deep Water said in his conversation here ages ago that there was an idea to seed the upper atmosphere with reflective particulate,eventually it will rain down on us but it should in theory reflect light away from the planet.
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          Oct 2 2012: Right as I'm writing this, Futurama is on in the background, and Fry just said "You can't give up hope because it's hopeless... That's when you gotta hope even more, and plug your ears... and go LA LA LA"... I thought it was a relevant thought, hehe.
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        Oct 2 2012: We got to try something,we past the point where if we continue letting the oil companies dictate how the energy future of the planet is headed then we will eventually follow an extinction phase and the microbes get their planet back,here's that link to Grossmans conversation.


        Desalination and precipitation as well as other things might have to be tried all at once,who knows?

        I thought they stopped making futurama?
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          Oct 2 2012: It was a rerun, but they bring it back every couple years. Few great episodes last year on Comedy Central actually, I'm sure you can find them online. It's cheesy, but it's fun. There was an episode about evolution vs creation a year or so ago that was priceless.
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    Gail .

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    Oct 2 2012: Israel desalinates for drinking water, so the concept is already there.

    Research was done after 9/11 when all the planes were out of the air. Temps went up due to the absence of reflective vapor trails. You could probably find the research on the web. I did, but it was quite a few years ago.

    So your idea doesn't sound crazy to me. There is actual evidence supporting it.
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      Oct 2 2012: Oh yes, Australia, is doing the desalination too... http://www.sciencealert.com.au/opinions/20091203-18907.html

      I just don't think anyone ever decided to just make clouds with it... It sounds like I may be wrong though.
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        Gail .

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        Oct 8 2012: I was watching a show yesterday (history of the earth, or something like that). The person doing the talking said that water is a greenhouse gas that was partly responsible for earth warming and inviting life. He didn't take it further so I still do not understand the fullness of what he was trying to say, so perhaps the idea won't work. Sounds a bit counter-intuitive. But I thought of you as he spoke.
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    Oct 2 2012: totally wrong . if you boil you need heat where do you get .solor
    if solor how can we use it that is a wonderful idea and another is we may use the sea rising and sinking to make electricty there is a example the three gorges dam . we may catch something
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      Oct 2 2012: Oh yes, only solar. I should have provided links to relevant videos. I'm not sure if you can watch them everywhere though. This can be done... I'm just not sure the environmental effects, which I think should only be in reducing the negative effects of fossil fuel.


      And, my favorite video on solar concentration, from "Bang Goes the Theory", a great BBC show, all this is done, with glass... http://youtu.be/z0_nuvPKIi8
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    Oct 2 2012: You know what,i have an idea! Yay

    Let's shrink wrap Antarctica's exposing land with a heavy white reflective cover then shrink cover extinct glaciers,barren lifeless ranges,everywhere where there is no ecosystem dependent on the area.

    We do it to cover scaffolding around our inner city buildings that are in need of maintenance or building a new one,totally encapsulating it in a protective sheath.
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      Oct 2 2012: I'm sensing a bit of sarcasm... Does that mean that it is okay for humanity to artificially raise sea level, but not okay for us to attempt to bring it back to healthy levels?

      Painting our roofs white would actually help, it would be cheap, and it would create manual labor jobs... but we don't have to encapsulate ourselves. Also, in areas with high heating bills, tarring, or painting the roof black helps... because you absorb heat into the building, and lower coal powered heating bills. Roof top gardens are ideal.

      We can keep talking about how the sky is falling or we can look for simple solutions to our problems. In my mind, this is a perfect example of one. Boil water naturally using solar energy, to reduce the impact we have already had on our environment. If we over do it, everyone paints their roofs black and starts driving muscle cars again.

      It seems like dynamic and adaptable solutions to our problems, are instantly discounted, because they "might" have some environmental impact... Those arguments would make sense and warrant study, if we weren't currently burning dinosaurs... Almost nothing is worse for the environment than what we're doing. I'm shocked how often people who "care" about green energy, seem to be completely against "playing god"... "We have no right to influence the environment on that epic a scale"... My response... "Really? What did you drive here in? An electric motorcycle or bike?... You off the grid on pure solar or you burn coal?"

      "Okay, so basically what you're saying is "We're only allowed to influence the environment on an epic and destructive level... The way I'm used to doing it"
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        Oct 2 2012: No bud,no sarcasm intended,it was meant to describe the lightbulb popped into my head effect,a Ah Ha! moment,your idea is quite cool,i have no idea what it's effects will be but anything is on the table at the moment.Dave, remember it's hard with no smilies.

        My idea does have a impact,plastic everywhere,just another form of littering,The reason i thought it was great is that Antarctica has no actual land ecosystem so we could deploy plastic everywhere,Yay.

        Heat still gets through though and if we go through a caldera blowout(which nz has also) it could turn up the thermostat turning us into last years dried out bacon.

        Whatever we do on a massive scale will affect the planet somehow and we have only about 30 years to accomplish a turn around if you go by Jeremy Rifkin's numbers.

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          Oct 2 2012: Oh ya, I like your idea too, it just seemed a bit utopian, and expensive, so I thought you might be poking fun. Just messing with the color scheme, though is a really cheap and effective idea. I apologize for jumping to a false conclusion.

          I think i got a bit cynical over the years in California, I think the debate over tire pressure gauges did it to me. I've never heard so many people say "Oh ya that will save a few million gallons of oil", as if it meant nothing, so often. People who were always talking about the environment, were saying "Tire pressure gauges will do nothing, and on one will use them"... I felt like saying... "Well... if we're going to die anyway, might as well not slow the process down"...
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        Oct 2 2012: I'm confused by your statement about "humanity artificially raising sea levels by adding water to them". That seems to be the main problem as you state it.

        There is only so much water in existance on the Earth. It is a finite resource. How are we artificially creating more of it?

        I concede that we may be contributing to the conversion of "ice melting" from global warming effects, thus adding more water to the sea levels than if the ice wasn't being melted through natural processes. But the solution to that problem is to quit doing the things we are doing that are causing the ice to melt faster than Nature would do it itself.

        And even then, THAT won't eliminate the future trends evident from the historical records that show Nature itself cycles through periods of Ice Ages and back again to the ice melting back to water. Nature itself effects the levels of the oceans even without us contributing to that problem.

        It just seems to me your solution doesn't address the REAL problem to begin with. Your solution does exactly what you are against. "Let's ignore the real cause of the problem to begin with...just continue our epic and destructive influence on our environment...and institute a new solution to compensate for our continued epic and destructive influence on the environment".

        What am I missing?
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          Oct 2 2012: Okay... a couple things... Global warming, should, at the same time as it melts glaciers, increase evaporation worldwide. The more heat energy the earth retains, the more water molecules will burst forth from the surface of the water. I'm not sure if this would theoretically retain balance naturally, but it should help, and it is not... Why?

          Well... We can't create water... What can we do? We can pull it from a source, underground, where it is naturally distributing itself to crops, train or truck it to a city... and then flush it into the sewer, which goes right to the ocean.

          Thus more water goes back into the ocean, than is naturally meant to, raising sea levels, with the added benefit of polluting the oceans, as we put horrible substances in our sewage system.

          Also... There is no solution, to our problem. Human beings want to move faster, and they want more stuff. Curbing energy use, involved dictatorial government control and rationing, things which humanity is no longer inclined to tolerate. What can we do to fix the problem? Reduce our effective global warming by reflecting the sun, increase irrigation and take evaporated water back where it belongs, preferably after removing pollutants we've added...

          At least, that's my idea.
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          Oct 2 2012: Hi Rick

          Dave means storm water run off from all our roads which should have two underchannels running about a meter down on either side of all covered roads,they redirect water seepage to culverts that redirect it out to sea or a local river which eventually reaches the sea also our cities and it's roads has thousands of miles of storm water piping that gets water to the sea where is, if we didn't redirect it a good lot of it would reside in the water table but that was not thought of when we built long ago,in fact we allow natural flood plains to be turned into suburbs and wonder aghast at the human cost when some of those areas flood.
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      Oct 2 2012: OK. Now I better understand your concept. Interesting ideas. I'll have to think about them some more in relation to some of the other posts here also.

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    Oct 2 2012: Interestign ideas. I'm certainly not an expert in many of the areas you mention either, but a couple "What If" things come to mind.

    1. Chaotic changes in weather patterns. Possible catastrophic changes to global climates. Think El Nino. It's known that warming the Pacific Ocean peoduces increased thunderstorm clouds and that changes the weather patterns. Same possibility of the Atlantic Ocean west of Africa that would produce more cyclonic activity resulting in more hurricanes headed towards North America.

    2. I'm not sure when you mentioned "sea levels are rising" whether you are thinking that by boiling off water from the oceans, that would solve the sea level rising problem. If so, all the "water" in those new clouds you created is going to come back down somewhere in the form of rain eventually. And most of it is going to find it's way back to the oceans one way or another.

    I would want to investigate the collateral effects/problems in other areas the idea could generate. They might end up being worse problems than the original problem that was "solved".
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      Oct 2 2012: 1. Chaotic changes from the current drought? Thank the spaghetti monster in the sky... Will we have to adapt, certainly, but we have to do that to current weather catastrophes, at least this will provide rain for crops.

      2. The more clouds you keep in the sky, the lower sea level is temporarily. The current problem is the result of us pumping more fresh water into the oceans, than would naturally occur. Thus the ocean cannote evaporate fast enough to maintain sea level... We can help it.