Techpost #3

•April 9, 2009 • Leave a Comment

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Well this will be my third and final techpost (I know, I know, you’ll miss me…) but you knew this was coming. My final techpost will be about the future of electrical generation. Contrary to other technologies, due to the time-frame that we were given, my technology can be easily predicted into the future.

This technology moves at somewhat of a glacial pace. New test facilities require years to design, tens of years to build, and only last a couple dozen years for operation. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITER) This trivializes the assignment, but I will try to extend the vision further, to dream about the ramifications about the future tests.

Without further ado:

My future technology will be:

Fusion!

This technology will be used by everyone (hopefully by the time this is available, superconductors will be available and relatively inexpensive to provide power to the world!).

2 major milestones that will happen before this will be true: a new material has to be made to withstand the extreme temperature of the reactor since the fuel itself must exceed 100 million degrees for fusion to occur(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokamak). The temperature that the walls have to withstand is less since the fuel is generally never in direct contact. Also with the Plasma Facing Components, they have to withstand a high thermal load, and for this to work, the coolant must not be more than a centimeter or two from the face of the shield (http://www.iter.org). This is a problem since that wall is being bombarded with neutrons, scarring the shield and depositing radioactive tritium. Some say the materials design will be just as complicated as the overall reactor design.

The second milestone is more of an event. This may or may not happen in order to have my technology come around, but it would be very helpful as it would develop a quicker adoption and more funding for my technology. It is the depletion of our fossil fuels. This will spur more innovation for power generation, and possibly some international strife will occur just before the reserves are depleted. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil) This is seen from some people’s view that USA invaded Iraq for the oil. Also another point to consider is how the world reacted when Russia shut off gas to the EU. What will happen when Russia sees its reserves go low? They most undoubtedly will shut down the pipes to maintain its own reserves for its own citizens.  (http://italy.usembassy.gov/pdf/other/RS22378.pdf) If Russia can cut off the gas for something relatively trivial, what will stop them from doing so when the going gets tough?

I base my ideas for the first milestone on the current Tokamak reactors and the ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor). One of the main research points is to find a material that is not deteriorated by the intense neutron bombardment from the fusion. One that will not be left irradiated. Due to the intense heat within these reactors, they have to be cooled, but also the material will be scarred and pockmarked by neutrons. This is not a good thing since the material that is being pulled off, will contaminate the interior of the reactor, slowing down the spontaneous burn. A new project has been developed to find a good material for the walls of the reactor. It is called the International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility (http://www.frascati.enea.it/ifmif/)

I base my ideas for the second milestone on the simple fact that the amount of fossil fuel on our earth at the moment is fixed (basically) and our rate of consumption is astronomical. It’s just a matter of time.

In order to create this technology, I am looking to past developments of the Tokamak Reactors that were originally developed in the Soviet Union during the 1950s(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokamak). This design has proven to be quite interesting and efficient. We just need the technology to create strong enough materials to make this future a reality. One man said “They say that they will put the Sun in a box. The idea is pretty. The problem is, we don’t know how to build the box.” (http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/features/print/1954/fusion-20?page=0%2C2)

Now to extend the idea to an imaginary level. Hopefully in 50 years or so we will be able to have a blend of solar and fusion reactors. Electricity will be extremely abundant. Cars will be powered by micro-tokamaks. Developing countries will be given the opportunity to enter the global arena as well as improving communication. The Internet will see a larger adoption as more and more people flock to it. There will be more Nigerian spam. India with its stronger education programs especially in Computer Science, will no longer see the need for their professionals to run away to USA, England, etc since India will be able to provide adequate jobs to their own citizens. China will continue to use 75% of the world’s steel and concrete, never stopping until they reach their great walls. Then they will jump and continue.

Unlimited Energy? Yes Please!

. Retrieved April 6 2009, from Cosmos Magazine”]JET EFDA. (2009). Tokamak JET, [Online Image]. Retrieved April 6 2009, from Cosmos Magazine

Crossection View of ITER

Crossection View of ITER

Some great videos on the project, and fusion in general:

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•March 26, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Brief explanation:

Even though I have been working with computers since the day I was born (practically), I had never used photoshop in my life before this. My project was an interesting one, I decided the best way to approach this was to add 100 years to the date of birth of Tesla and all of his known associates. This left me with famous figures such as Mark Twain, George Westinghouse, Edison among many others. I had to find photos of the people and adapt them to the sizes of the photos in Facebook. The most difficult part of photoshopping a Facebook page is the fact that they use a proprietary font. I just had to make do with what I had. Allowing the use of anachronisms was great and helped a lot to liven up the page. Mainly I took the standing that these figures would be molded by the social style of the internet. This included jousting with status changes, comments, etc. All in all, it was interesting to see how this all ended up.

I also attached some pictures I made with the specific figures of his time as they go out partying. Normally they wouldn’t but with today’s society and upbringing, they would definitely let loose occasionally!

clubbin1clubbin_nu_ravers_on_the_block_03d5fd77fc405f4082eaaa5ebd89f22a_fullsize1homepage1

Electricity: The dark past….

•March 19, 2009 • 1 Comment

Well since I had written about electricity generation in the past, I will not bore you with a redundant post. I will just add some information that I missed (based on the criteria on this assignment), but will ultimately focus on the current methods of electricity generation. Which I did not write about last time.

We have to focus on the 3 phases of the Industrial revolution. Pre-industrial, Industrial, and post-Industrial revolution periods.

To further understand this, a definition of the Industrial revolution is in order. It was a “period in the late 18th and early 19th centruries, when major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, production, mining, and transportation had a profound effect on the socioeconomic and cultural conditions in Britain.” Source

Pre-Industrial Revolution:

Electricity began to be developed as a technology around 1831 by Michael Faraday as mentioned in the previous post. This information leads us to understand that pre-Industrial revolution, electricity was not used. Upon further investigation, we see that the majority of work done by machines was done by steam power. During this period, we see that with technology being what it is, was limited by a human factor. Factories were made with many people working on rudimentary machines as part of a whole process. Electricity during this time had not existed in the form we use today. Nothing was advanced in this field, but the dependence on steam power for motive force was used to provide a great framework for electrical generation during the Industrial Revolution. During this time, the technology did not exist, and there was no predecessor to it (you couldn’t power a microwave with a steam engine)

During the Industrial Revolution:

As electricity began to take root in society, people noticed the benefits. I will not go over the example of the university that moved from steam power to electricity, that is left for the reader to check out. During the industrial revolution, at around the late 1880s, there was a “War of the Currents“. This was a publicity war between Edison, and Nikola Tesla over the use of AC vs DC. Up to this time, electricity was given in DC, and this was fine, but Nikola Tesla believed that AC would reduce losses and offer the ability to scale the voltage/current to whatever was needed at the time. Nikola Tesla was a mathematical genius and came up with the AC from the analysis of rotating magnetic fields. This was a very advanced method of generation of electricity and he approached Edison (who he was working for at the time) with his discovery. Edison dismissed it outright saying that it had no future. Such began the War of the Currents.

Edison publicly killed animals with AC and tried to shock people with his displays. He tried to show the world how unsafe it was. Inadvertently, he paved the way to the electric chair when he himself, was opposed to capital punishment.

Around this time, the automobile began it’s development, along with the first production line. Factories were working incredible hours to put out their products and electricity helped multiply productivity. People had their streets lit up by lightbulbs, the first electric car was shown off, many people began to immediately notice the benefits of electricity and it was a change which they could not possibly begin to reverse.

Britain holds vast amounts of coal that would power steam turbines for electricity generation. This would be a huge portion of their electrical production for a very long time to come. Coal was the primary source of the chemical component of electrical production. Coal was also ideal in the way that the technology to convert coal into motive force was already well known. Steam engines were developed since 1698 where the first application was a pump. Attaching a steam engine to a generator yielded a simple, yet effective source of electricity. Steam engines were a driving force of the industrial revolution, and due to it’s effectiveness in a manufacturing setting, and the comfortability with that technology, it allowed electricity to permeate society quite fluidly.

Post-industrial revolution:

After the industrial revolution, electricity had taken a firm hold everywhere and technology began to take root that was wholly based on electricity. Microwaves, radio, refrigerators, transportation, basically everything that is most commonly used today is based upon the framework of electricity. Powergrids began to spring up and everyone began to have electricity and its associated benefits. For more information post-Industrial Revolution, please check my next blog post.

Continue onto here for current timeframe.

•March 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

My notes on the Wiki Assignment The whole point of a wiki is to tap into a wealth of knowledge from a large group. I decided to help out the first group by adding some information and examples for them, but it was removed with no reason given. This dissuaded me from posting any further information unless it was directly for my group. I have also worked with another collaborative resource platform known as Sharepoint. This one has a fixed structure and allows for more flexibility as far as what can be added. In this case, the experiment worked since everyone was there for a common benefit (grades!). This is not always the case on the internet where everything is anonymous and provides no direct benefit. The style differed from my own in that there were many more examples and allowed it to go much more in depth. One person picks an example and can focus in on it while someone else picks something different. Using a wiki that had a user base that was taken from people in the same room as me was different from another wiki since there is immediate accountability. No one can erase everything and put obscene pictures followed by “LOLOLOLOLOLOL” ad infinitum. Some call that a benefit, others a limitation I suppose.

Techpost

•February 11, 2009 • 1 Comment

Hello World!

 

This is my first Techpost. We have to pick a technology and write about its past , present and future, as well as describe a few things about it.

I chose the generation of electricity. How do we get electricity, and where does it come from? How has it affected us?

 

Well, lets begin, back in the times of the ancient Greeks. They noticed that if you rubbed amber, it was able to pick up object, and create sparks. This was the beginning of the age of the atom. The greeks began to ponder the ramifications of such an observation. They then came up with a few basic theories on it, but human development of electricity basically stopped until the 18th century where people began to work on something known as the voltaic pile. This, with a few advancements, became known as a battery. It used chemicals that would react with each other to provide a charge at the terminals. This was great for finding out how to get an electrical current, but it had very little charge to be of any use (let alone light a bulb!).  A very intelligent man by the name of Michael Faraday, noticed a phenomenon. When a conductor is in the presence of a changing magnetic field, a voltaic difference will be induced into the conductor. This then lead to the development of the electrical generator.

A new age was heralded, with the same principle as the generator, the transformer was developped to send electricity at very high voltages across large distances. This was possible because the resistance of a wire will increase as the current increases, thus heating up the wire as well, and causing it to expand. You may have seen the heavy power lines ‘sag’ in between the poles. This is normal, and due to that phenomenon, we are able to minimize our losses  for electricity transmission.

People began to contemplate how to make something such as a generator spin. Well their work was already cut out for them. This was past the age of the steam engine, which was powered by the abundance of coal. It almost seemed too good to be true. A steam generator was developed using coal to fire it. And unfortunately for mankind, we have basically stayed the same. We still rely on the same technology of Mr. Faraday and the many other pioneers of his time. We still spin magnets inside coils of wire. In 1882, some scientists decided to find out what else can make things spin. One of them was falling water. In 1882 the first hydroelectric dam was built and it signalled to the world, the feasibility of having an almost no emission electrical generator. Wind was looked at and still is to this day. The only significant changes to the field have come from changing what is burned. Either coal, natural gas, or petroleum.

It was noted that since we wanted to spin a magnet, and judging from the fact that humanity basically ran out of ideas, we needed to look in a new direction. Not just how to make things spin, but how to make things HOT. People were looking to the core of the earth, a perpetual (in a human’s scope) source of renewable and no emission heat. Also developments began with nuclear power and the fact that when an atom is split, it produces a vast amount of heat.

The University of Northern Iowa has a very detailed account of their progression in technology as far as using coal for first heating their building, then later powering the campus itself(Gerald Peterson(October 14 1997) Heat and Light: a Brief History of UNI Power Plants, Rod Library Special Collections). They expanded from one building to many, using the heat from the boilers to heat the buildings, as well as provide power. In 1905, the coal plant was expanded to provide electricity and continued to do so without any problems for about 20 years, where all they did was add some boilers. It was a huge advancement, and served as a great example of the uses of coal. Coal has been with us for many years, and we have become very efficient at mining it, refining it, and using it.
Electricity has brought about many changes. One of them is our near-total dependence on it. We have used it to achieve things never before imagined, let alone possible. We will continue to do so for a long time to come. We can reverse our dependency on electricity but our way of life will be drastically altered for the worse. Our medical facilities will be useless, our manufacturing of food, materials, etc will all be halted. Our transportation will freeze. Life will not be any good without it. People wil argue that we have survived in the past without electricity, and I will totally agree. You can SURVIVE, but you can’t LIVE without it.

This hasn’t stopped armchair activists and others from their protests and complaining. People complain about a nuclear powerplant because they look at Chernobyl as a sign of things to come, when it’s just not true ((November 29, 2005) Nuclear protest hits Blair speech, BBC News). People then turn and complain about coal powerplants, saying the environment will be ruined from the exhaust (((August 9 2008) Arrests in power station protest, BBC News). Then they complain even more when they are told that a hydroelectric power plant will be made, saying that the dam will ruin X square kilometers of land ((May 24 2008)Tensions run high at Amazon dam protest, The Real News Network).

Nuclear Protest http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4478946.stm

Coal Protest: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7551613.stm

Hydroelectric Protest: http://therealnews.com/t/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=1557

Tech114 lab1 page

•January 22, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Hello World!

This is an introductory post on my blog. I have despised blogs in the past due to the unimportant information posted by emo kiddies talking about their moods and/or parents not upping their allowance.

I will strive to have some relevant information on my blogs that affects people around us.

Just because it’s an assignment doesn’t mean you can’t learn something from it.

My name is r.a.g.n.a.r and I attend SFU Surrey for Mechatronics.

I have to write a few interesting or non-interesting things about myself.

– I’m a cynic.
– I despise half of humanity for willful ignorance….you know who you are, get off these blogs and go learn something.
– I am interested in almost every aspect of life, be it medical advancements, scientific achievements, cooking recipes, biking, working on my own car, the state of the world and its peoples to name just a few.

My favourite technology: my iPhone. Yes it’s the 2g, no I don’t want the 3g. No it’s not because I’m cheap, the costs don’t outweight the benefits. Half the battery life for gps? No thanks. Also I don’t like the idea of being able to be tracked. I do understand you can be triangulated from the relative signal strength of different cell phone masts, but it’s much less accurate and so it helps me sleep better at night (where I turn on airplane mode).

Tin foil hats off, I’ve been unlocking these babies for a very long time and have written a few documents in the past to help others out of bad situations where I have been with my phone. One example being going from 1.1.4 to 2.0, everything had to be done in a specific order and if you messed up, you would have to revert the OS back to 1.1.4 which was useless since the baseband (communications controller) was still at the new version. Lulz ensued and (while I was at work) 6 hours later, I fixed it. I deliberately messed up a couple more times in order to get it down pat, then posted my findings.

Apparently a photo of myself is recommended for this assignment. I’d rather keep these things private and thus save myself from stupid people (you know who you are…….go learn something with your free time, like a language or…..something!!!)

 

Edit: Right, I got so caught up in myself (trust me, when you’re this awesome, it’s kind of hard not to get taken away) I forgot to show you something of relevance (as opposed to telling people I’ll never meet or speak to about myself).

 

A while back around December 27 (right after boxing day $140 20″ LCD monitors!!!) Israel basically said “Alright, fuck this….” and invaded Palestine with the intention of crushing Hamas for sending rockets into Israel. Now something to note here, is that both sides claim to have justification over their actions. Israel invades saying Hamas is sending home-grown ghetto rockets into Israel and their citizens can’t sleep over fears of a random rocket flying through their window. Kind of justified no? Well Hamas (I’ll touch on this beautiful bit in a second) says they are justified in their attacks because Israel has a blockade on them. And then Israel says they have a blockade because Hamas keeps smuggling in weapons. And then Hamas……..well you get the picture. Just imagine a couple of schoolkids who are beating each other up, you pull them apart, give them a stern talking to, they each give you hundreds of excuses, you set them back down and turn around, and they go at it again. It’s totally retarded and it’s 100% unnecessary.

Ok so I’ll touch a little on Hamas. They are a terrorist organization……this is no hyperbole. It is just who they are.

 

Quote from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamas

Hamas is described as a terrorist organization by Canada,[22] the European Union,[23][24][25][26] Israel,[27] Japan,[28] and the United States,[29] and is banned in Jordan.[30] Australia[31] and the United Kingdom[32] list only the military wing of Hamas, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, as a terrorist organization. The United States and the European Union have both implemented restrictive measures against Hamas on an international level.

 

So to make things interesting, a while back, there were elections in Palestine. Now you’d think this would be a great opportunity for those people to vote in someone who actually cared about them, who would try and bring their country forward and broker a new peace, economic prosperity, etc etc. No. These retards (I’m sorry, there is no other explanation, but to paraphrase Full Metal Jacket, “Were born this stupid or did you have to work on it?”) voted for a terrorist organization to lead them. Absolutely brilliant. AAA+++ Will buy again. When I heard about this, I just about fell off my chair. These people advocated suicide bombings (which on a side note is hillarious…suicide bomber injured 30 in a mall……..wait, what? no dead? Thats a score of 0 – -1!! In counter-strike you’d be laughed off the server!!) and bus bombings, rocket attacks, etc on Israel, and these people voted for them. Great way to antagonize your technologically superior neighbors.

Now as much as I bash Palestinians for being stupid (read: deliberate retardation, this is not a case of “they don’t know better”), Israel is not the white knight here. So to continue on the original post: Israel invades, sends airplanes in blah blah standard invasion. Here it gets quite interesting. No reporters are allowed in. The UN reports a driver for one of their aid trucks was shot by IDF forces and had to halt aid efforts. IDF bombs a UN building holding foodstuffs, gasoline, and medicine right after the UN spoke with IDF and told them the exact coordinates of the building to ensure no damage to come to that building. Also IDF gathered some civilians (mostly women and children) into a building and told them to stay in there since it was marked to be a safe zone. A few hours later it got repeatedly shelled by IDF, many killed, many more wounded.

 

And to top it all off…….there is this battlefield obscurant. It’s a fantastic smokescreen in that it can also hide the heat signatures of tanks, allowing them to roll in relatively safe from heat seeking missiles and infrared targetting due to the high heat. This is a phosphorus shell. Now something to note with phosphorus. When ignited, it will burn VERY fiercely, water will not put it out. If you get some flakes on you, it will burn you to the bone. This weapon is allowed for use as a battlefield obscurant, but if you use it in an area with civilians, it becomes a chemical weapon and is against rules of warfare (not that the Palestinians should care since their rockets are just aimed in the general direction of Israel, with no regard as to where it lands, that’s another argument). Also the smoke when in contact with water (rain), it will produce acid……very nice touch!

To my final word: Here’s some good posts from the BBC on the situation in Gaza. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7841999.stm Absolutely stunning pictures there, I just wish they were in higher resolution for a wallpaper.

These people (both sides) act like animals……I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again……nuke em and build a walmart. I’m sorry if this offends you, but until both sides grow a pair and sit down to talk like normal civilized human beings, nothing will change.

 

Assignment 1 done, and some intelligent information for people who want to learn a bit more.

Thanks for coming by.

Hello world!

•January 22, 2009 • 1 Comment

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