A Very Sad Strange Day

The above ultra-nationalist, Anders Behring Breivik (32), bombs a ministry and subsequently shoots eighty kids. It looks like he doesn't have any personality disorder whatsoever except for narcism. A well-educated clean rationalist who meticulously targeted not muslims but social democrat youth to stop the multi-cultural society.

And the same day, the news that Amy Winehouse (27) died due to an overdose. Given that she's dead, I wasn't too sure to post the above picture, but well, it's brutally honest; apart from her extreme talent, the woman had severe mental problems.

He lives because he's a control-freak, and he wants to continue his fight; she dies because she was unable to get clean, and what she could have become is lost forever.

Most of the public tries to dismiss the actions of Breivik as that of a lunatic. I disagree, human history is filled with wars and genocides rather than with peace. Face it, ideological violence is the norm.


Agnes Obel - Brother Sparrow


Slime Dress

Bart Hess made a 'slime dress' for Lady Gaga.

It's also a joke: a 'slime dress' in dutch is an expression for someone who flatters too much.


We want...

What's up with the above picture? It's about beer, right? Wrong, look again. Almost everybody is wearing a hat: women, men, and if there would be a dog in the picture, I get the feeling it would wear one too.

Where did all the hats go? Did they become an extinct species because of automobiles and cheap heating? If that is true, then in fifty years or so, when oil will definitely have run out, I predict lots of people will wear hats again.


Even Tree Huggers use Wash Machines


Splendid - Again

China's Ghost Cities and Malls


A Potential Joke

If you don't have height to store potential energy, you need to increase the mass. What is the cost of building a 'battery' by lifting weight which can hold one day of electricity in the Netherlands?

The Netherlands consumes about 100TWh of electricity annually, or about 300GWh a day. With a tenfold increase in height of the proposed solution -lift a thousand tonnes per installation- to fifty metres, one can store about 100kWh per installation. So one would need ten for 1MWh, ten thousand for 1GWh, three million for 300GWh, about one city of dead weight. Three million installations at a low bulk cost of, say, two hundred fifty thousand euros each gives 750 billion euros.

The Tianhuangping Pumped-Storage Hydro Plant in China has a reservoir capacity of eight million cubic meters with a vertical distance of 600 m; the reservoir can provide about 13 GWh. The equivalent by lifting dead weight would cost around 30 billion euros. 
Taisun, in China, is the world's strongest crane and has a safe working load of 20,000 metric tons. It can hold about 4MWh, at a cost of 28 million €.
The world's largest battery is located in Fairbanks, Alaska. It consists of 14 thousand industrial NiCad cells on about the size of a football field and can provide 40MW for 7 minutes, or also about 4MWh, at a cost of 25 million €. You'ld need seventy-five thousand warehouses to store one day of dutch electricity consumption.
The price of lifting weight would be 0.4Wh/€ versus 0.2Wh/€ for the Fairbanks battery; the cost of the Taisun crane is similar to the battery, so that may be closer to reality than my estimate. Bottom line: it doesn't seem to matter whether you buy NiCad batteries or a crane, but batteries need to be replaced. 
The cost of the Tianhuangping hydro plant is about 20Wh/€, but I wouldn't know where to buy twenty-five lakes with a 600m drop in the EU.


Wind Physics and Gravity Batteries

At the current rate of oil consumption, the world will run out of it in twenty years. The Netherlands is investing somewhat into wind energy since that's one of the few renewable resources around in our country.

Now the obvious problem with wind energy is that it is unreliable, so people are looking at manners in which to store that energy. The most popular solution is to store overspill energy into a lake, a gigantic gravity battery, by pumping water into -sometimes, out of- it and harvesting that energy at a later stage with generators. A proposal is to construct a massive lake, 40 metres deep, in the sea.

It sounds wasteful to me. What about storing energy directly at your house by lifting matter? If you use lead instead of water, you need less volume/height, and a mechanical solution should have better efficiency than a 'hydraulic' solution.

So I arrived at the following basic physics question: Suppose that you store energy by lifting matter, and suppose that system runs at 90% efficiency, and suppose the mass is lifted (at most) 5 metres. What amount of matter do you need to store the equivalent of one day of electric energy for one household, annual 4200kWh consumption?

The answer is about a million kilos or a thousand tonnes, or about the weight of 700 cars, or about 90m^3 of lead.

I am actually not only kidding here. If we need to build a North Sea full of windmills, and a 'city' full of dead weight which can be raised fifty metres to solve an energy problem, then -heck- go for it.


Amadou & Mariam: Sabali