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NNadir

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Gender: Male
Current location: New Jersey
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 23,556

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Walter Kohn has died.

Nature 534, 38 (02 June 2016) (Walter Kohn (1923–2016))

We are privileged to live near Princeton University, and my sons and I have had opportunities to attend lectures at the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, helping my "little guy" - he's now, as a high school student, taller than me - develop an interest in materials science. Until recently, the Andlinger Center, which has just completed the construction of a brand new building with some interesting properties, was headed by Dr. Emily Carter, a pioneer in the concept of "Orbital Free Density Functional Theory" OFDFT in which chemical structures are treated as an electron gas.

While our understanding of the nuts and bolts of OFDFT is somewhat primitive, we recognize that DFT itself has proved to be one of the most useful computational tools in chemistry and materials chemistry. DFT is largely the work of Walter Kohn, in his derivation of the Kohn-Sham equations and the "H-K Theorem" or Hohenberg-Kohn theorem, which proves that the ground state solution of the Schrödinger equation is uniquely specified by the electron density.

DFT theory has lead to huge advances in the physics of condensed matter and in chemistry, and as stated previously in materials science.

Walter Kohn was an American Scientist out of UC San Diego who had a rather unique story. In the late 1930's, some English citizens, after the horrible Kristalnacht pogrom in Nazi German, arranged to bring Jewish children - their parents could not be admitted to England - to England where they were "temporarily" adopted by English families until things "got better." It is known today as the famous "Kindertransport" which took place from 1938 until the outbreak of war in September of 1939. Things, of course, didn't "get better." The families of most of these children were exterminated.

Many of the Children saved by the Kindertransport went on to become important citizens of the world, Walter Kohn among them. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1998.

(Another famous Kindertransport survivor was the Rock Impresario Bill Graham of Filmore fame.)

Many of us, most of us, don't realize how much this important scientific concept, DFT, has impacted our lives, but it has in ways we can barely imagine.

A giant has passed.

Rest in a well deserved peace, Walter Kohn.

My alarm is set. I plan to be one of the first to vote for Ms. Clinton in NJ.

She'll be leading in my district immediately and continue throughout the day.

More of the 2016 disastrous CO2 climate year, May 29, 2016 4.16 ppm worse than May 31, 2015

I've taken it upon myself to report, whenever the weekly data for 2016 as compared to the same week of 2015 exceeds the unprecedented increase more than 4.00 ppm, of reporting this fact.

Of the approximately 2100 weekly year-to-year data points recorded since the 1970's before 2016 there were only 7 which were higher than 4.00 ppm, one in 2010, one in 2012, one in 2013, one in 2014, and three occurred in 1998, as a result, most probably, of the massive fires in Southeast Asia.

There are now fifteen such data points, with eight occurring this year, and, um, we're only halfway through it.

Some remarks from previous posts on 2016, which is rapidly shaping up as an unparalleled disaster for the accelerating accumulation of the dangerous fossil fuel waste carbon dioxide in the planetary atmosphere:

As I've remarked many times in this space, the year 2015 was the worst year ever recorded at Mauna Loa's carbon dioxide observatory for increases in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, at 3.05 ppm.

Right now, if trends continue, 2016 will blow that level away.

Something very, very, very, very disturbing is happening if the Mauna Loa observatory's CO[sub]2[/sub] measurements are correct.

For clarity, I will repeat some text from one of my earlier posts, showing how I store and analyze this data available from the Mauna Loa observatory's website's data tab:

At the Mauna Loa carbon dioxide observatory website, they have a data page which compares the averages for each week of the year with the same week of the previous year.

The data goes back to 1974, and comprises 2,090 data points.

I import this data into a spreadsheet I maintain each week, and calculate the weekly increases over the previous year. I rank the data for the increases from worst to best, the worst data point being 4.67 ppm over the previous year, which was recorded during the week ending September 6, 1998, when much of the rain forest of Southeast Asia was burning when fires set to clear the forests for palm oil plantations got out of control during unusually dry weather. Six of the worst data points ever recorded occurred in 1998 during this event, another was recorded in the January following that event.

Of the twenty worst data points ever recorded out of 2090 two of them have occurred in the last four weeks. The week ending January 31, 2016 produced a result of a 4.35 ppm of increase. The week just passed, that ending, 2/14/2016, produced a result of 3.79 ppm increase, tying it for the aforementioned week in January 1999, that ending on January 24, 1999, and that of January 2, 2011.

Of the twenty highest points recorded, 9 have occurred in the last 5 years, 10 in the last 10 years.


It's looking very bad these last few weeks at the Mauna Loa carbon dioxide observatory.


The above comes from a post in this very, very, very depressing series on May 1 of this year: For April 2016, the average weekly increase in CO2 levels compared with April 2015 is 4.16 ppm

For the week ending May 29, 2016, the recorded increase over the same week of last year was 4.16 ppm. The data set now contains 2105 points; 4.16 ppm just 0.02 short of being the 10th worst ever; there were two data points at 4.17, one of which was recorded April 24th of this year. As it is, it is the 12th worst ever recorded. Thirteen of the worst 30 have been recorded in the last 5 years, 17 of the worst 30 have been recorded in the last 10 years. Twelve of the worst 30 occurred in 2016.

The average of all these data points recorded is 1.75 ppm; the average for the 20th century was 1.54 ppm; for the 21st century, it is 2.07 ppm, for 2015 - the worst year ever recorded - it was 2.25 ppm. For 2016, the average is now 3.54 ppm. Over the last 4 weeks the average is 3.99 ppm.

We hear very often from many people describing themselves as "environmentalists" that so called "renewable energy" will save the day. It isn't; it hasn't; and to be perfectly frank, it won't. This rhetoric has degenerated into an argument that the means are more important the ends.

So called "renewable energy" has failed, and failed spectacularly.

The world's largest, by far, source of climate change gas free primary energy is nuclear energy. You hear many people who describe themselves as "environmentalists" bad mouthing it, not only bad mouthing it, but actively working to destroy it. They are, in my opinion, working to destroy as rapidly as possible, the planetary atmosphere.

Kill the messenger if you will, but the signature of our policies is written clearly and unambiguously in the chemical analysis of the planetary gases. We are failing, not only ourselves, but all future generations.

Have a nice Sunday afternoon.

Nice review of the Peng Robinson alpha functions just published.

This past Christmas I bought my kid Mathematica Student Edition and have been playing, as I did through much of his and his brother's childhood, with his "toy."

I've been very interested in recent years in high temperature - one might say "explosive" - reformation reactions driven by oxidation in supercritical water.

The Peng-Robinson equation, a cubic equation, is of some relevance in the thermodynamics of this situation. It's one of the "simplified" cubic equations of state, but, um, it's not actually simplified, and contains a number of parameters involved with the reduced temerature.

Last night, in the "ASAP" section of one of my favorite journals Industrial Chemistry and Engineering Research I came across this very nice review of the forms of the "α" in that equation, and it's quite nice and informative.

Here it is: Comparison of 20 Alpha Functions Applied in the Peng–Robinson Equation of State for Vapor Pressure Estimation.

Esoteric, but very cool.

I think I'll spend much of the weekend playing with my kid's toy. Mathematica is a very cool program, but I never really used it, and it's a great way to learn it. I haven't programmed much in 20 or 30 years, but life is wonderful, if short.

Who killed Davey Moore?

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More of the 2016 disastrous CO2 climate year, May 22, 2016 4.54 ppm worse than May 25, 2015.

Some remarks from previous posts on 2016, which is rapidly shaping up as an unparalleled disaster for the accelerating accumulation of the dangerous fossil fuel waste carbon dioxide in the planetary atmosphere:

As I've remarked many times in this space, the year 2015 was the worst year ever recorded at Mauna Loa's carbon dioxide observatory for increases in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, at 3.05 ppm.

Right now, if trends continue, 2016 will blow that level away.

Something very, very, very, very disturbing is happening if the Mauna Loa observatory's CO[sub]2[/sub] measurements are correct.

For clarity, I will repeat some text from one of my earlier posts, showing how I store and analyze this data available from the Mauna Loa observatory's website's data tab:

At the Mauna Loa carbon dioxide observatory website, they have a data page which compares the averages for each week of the year with the same week of the previous year.

The data goes back to 1974, and comprises 2,090 data points.

I import this data into a spreadsheet I maintain each week, and calculate the weekly increases over the previous year. I rank the data for the increases from worst to best, the worst data point being 4.67 ppm over the previous year, which was recorded during the week ending September 6, 1998, when much of the rain forest of Southeast Asia was burning when fires set to clear the forests for palm oil plantations got out of control during unusually dry weather. Six of the worst data points ever recorded occurred in 1998 during this event, another was recorded in the January following that event.

Of the twenty worst data points ever recorded out of 2090 two of them have occurred in the last four weeks. The week ending January 31, 2016 produced a result of a 4.35 ppm of increase. The week just passed, that ending, 2/14/2016, produced a result of 3.79 ppm increase, tying it for the aforementioned week in January 1999, that ending on January 24, 1999, and that of January 2, 2011.

Of the twenty highest points recorded, 9 have occurred in the last 5 years, 10 in the last 10 years.


It's looking very bad these last few weeks at the Mauna Loa carbon dioxide observatory.


The above comes from a post in this very, very, very depressing series on May 1 of this year: For April 2016, the average weekly increase in CO2 levels compared with April 2015 is 4.16 ppm

For the week ending May 25, 2016, the recorded increase over the same week of last year was 4.54 ppm. The data set now contains 2104 points; 4.54 ppm is tied, with February 3, 2013 for being the 3rd worst such data point ever recorded. Of the 30 worst data points recorded going back to 1975, 2016 has registered 10 of them. Thirteen of the worst 30 have been recorded in the last 5 years, 17 of the worst 30 have been recorded in the last 10 years.

2015 represented the worst yearly increase ever observed, the first to exceed 3.00 ppm in a single year, coming in at 3.05 ppm over 2014. The average value for weekly reading for increases over 2014 in 2015 was 2.25 ppm. The average value for weekly reading for increases over 2015 in 2016 is 3.51 ppm. The average of these values in the last 4 weeks is 3.81 ppm.

In 2011, as a result of the Fukushima earthquake, which killed 20,000 people, with, thus far, zero among them resulting from radiation exposure, Japan shut its nuclear reactors to see if they were "safe." This was, in effect, a decision to kill even more people, since fossil fuels replaced the nuclear plants. Fossil fuel plants kill continuously, whenever they operate; the global survey of disease study published a few years back in the medical journal Lancet reported that the death toll from air pollution is seven million people per year.

Nobody cares; although many people can prattle on endlessly, and in my mind mindlessly, about whether the world's largest, by far, source of climate change gas free energy, nuclear energy, is "safe."

The average values for weekly increases in carbon dioxide concentrations over the same week of the previous year since Fukushima is 2.30 ppm; the average for the 21st century, 2.07 ppm; the average for the 20th century, 1.54 ppm.

Our response to climate change internationally is to promote so called "renewable energy," which amounts to "more of the same," in my view. More than 2 trillion dollars was "invested" in so called "renewable energy" in the last ten years. The degradation of the atmosphere is accelerating, not decelerating.

Yet the faith in so called "renewable energy" which is neither effective, inexpensive, or - given its reliance on increasing rare and often toxic metals and other materials - sustainable, remains unabated. And let's be clear, this is a faith based approach to climate change. It hasn't worked; it isn't working; and it won't work.

Someone has to say this, however much it flies in the face of so called "conventional wisdom," which in fact, is not "wisdom" at all, any more than so called "renewable energy," is actually "renewable," given as stated above, its reliance on depleting materials. It has to be said because it's, um, true.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Very pleased to announce that my wife has switched from Sanders to the Hill.

In more than 30 years of a wonderful marriage to a fine, loving woman, I can't recall that we ever disagreed on an election until now.

She "liked" Bernie Sanders, and as time went on, beginning with some respect for his intentions if not his capabilities, I never felt Sanders showed enough competence to be nominated for the Presidency.

Mostly my wife despises Trump, as does any decent human being as far as I'm concerned.

Sanders Trump promoting "debate" - it was going to be nothing more than a group Hillary bash - has made my wife recognize what a pernicious and probably senile fool Sanders is.

In the New Jersey Primary, we've just added another vote for the Hill.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend.

Wow. Now Bernie Sanders, St. Bernie, is also FDR.

A Powerful Attack on the "Destructive" Populist "Platitudes" of Bernie Sanders.

We can hope, or worry, or something, that Germany will go fascist, invade France, bomb Britain, all so Bernie can show us how Roosevelty he is.

If anyone uses the word "platitude" - and frankly I'm very fond of the word where St. Bernie is concerned - they are obviously attacking FDR.

Sheesh.

This is the worst political season I've lived through, worse than Bush v. Gore, McGovern v. Nixon, but not worse, apparently than Hoover v FDR or for that matter Wendell Wilkie v. FDR.

More of the 2016 disastrous CO2 climate year, May 8, 2016 4.01 ppm worse than May 8, 2015.

Some remarks from previous posts on 2016, which is rapidly shaping up as an unparalleled disaster for the accelerating accumulation of the dangerous fossil fuel waste carbon dioxide in the planetary atmosphere:

As I've remarked many times in this space, the year 2015 was the worst year ever recorded at Mauna Loa's carbon dioxide observatory for increases in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, at 3.05 ppm.

Right now, if trends continue, 2016 will blow that level away.

Something very, very, very, very disturbing is happening if the Mauna Loa observatory's CO[sub]2[/sub] measurements are correct.

For clarity, I will repeat some text from one of my earlier posts, showing how I store and analyze this data available from the Mauna Loa observatory's website's data tab:

At the Mauna Loa carbon dioxide observatory website, they have a data page which compares the averages for each week of the year with the same week of the previous year.

The data goes back to 1974, and comprises 2,090 data points.

I import this data into a spreadsheet I maintain each week, and calculate the weekly increases over the previous year. I rank the data for the increases from worst to best, the worst data point being 4.67 ppm over the previous year, which was recorded during the week ending September 6, 1998, when much of the rain forest of Southeast Asia was burning when fires set to clear the forests for palm oil plantations got out of control during unusually dry weather. Six of the worst data points ever recorded occurred in 1998 during this event, another was recorded in the January following that event.

Of the twenty worst data points ever recorded out of 2090 two of them have occurred in the last four weeks. The week ending January 31, 2016 produced a result of a 4.35 ppm of increase. The week just passed, that ending, 2/14/2016, produced a result of 3.79 ppm increase, tying it for the aforementioned week in January 1999, that ending on January 24, 1999, and that of January 2, 2011.

Of the twenty highest points recorded, 9 have occurred in the last 5 years, 10 in the last 10 years.


It's looking very bad these last few weeks at the Mauna Loa carbon dioxide observatory.


The above comes from a post in this very, very, very depressing series on May 1 of this year: For April 2016, the average weekly increase in CO2 levels compared with April 2015 is 4.16 ppm

For the week ending May 8, 2016, the recorded increase over the same week of last year was 4.01 ppm. The data set now contains 2102 points; 4.01 ppm is tied, with April 13, 2014, and May 6, 2012 for being the 11th worst such data point ever recorded. Of the 30 worst data points recorded going back to 1975, 2016 has registered 10 of them. Thirteen of the worst 30 have been recorded in the last 5 years, 17 of the worst 30 have been recorded in the last 10 years.

Until 2015, the worst year ever observed was 1998, at 2.93 ppm over 1997, this undoubtedly because of the massive forest fires in Southeast Asia when rain forest clearing fires set to clear land for palm oil plantations went out of control. Seven of the worst of the 2102 data points were recorded in 1998.

It is almost certainly the case that the recent Fort McMurray fires in Canada are not helping, but it must be said that 2015 and 2016 were already disastrous before those fires started. 2015 was the first year to exceed 3.00 ppm over the previous year; interestingly not one of the 30 worst weekly data points occurred in 2015.

Everything we think we're doing to address climate change is failing, and failing dramatically.

Recently in this space I had a wonderful conversation with a "renewables will save us" advocate about how wonderful it is that US carbon dioxide emissions to generate electricity have fallen. As I will show in a future post analyzing the carbon dioxide output of electricity production of US electricity, the bulk of this reduction actually have very little to with so called "renewable energy" - a trivial form of electricity in the United States despite the huge sums of money squandered on it - but rather from the awful increase in the use of dangerous natural gas, which has released 287,000,000 metric tons more carbon dioxide in 2015 to generate electricity than it did in 2005, concomitant with a reduction, but hardly an elimination, in the use of dangerous coal, the carbon dioxide emissions of which have fallen by 722 million tons per year from 2005 to 2015.

The third largest source of electricity in the United States is nuclear energy. The nuclear output in the United States exceeds, by a factor of three, all other forms of electricity combined, excepting coal and natural gas.

But as the climate figures above show, it's too little, too late, and any case, all the use of dangerous natural gas on the entire planet is at the expense of all human beings who will live after us.

Worldwide human activities are adding, not even counting forest fires, significantly more 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide to the planetary atmosphere each year.

If any of this upsets you, don't worry, be happy. Bernie Sanders is here to tell us that renewable energy will work some day, even if it's proved useless this far in the 21st century thus far, at least where actual measurements of the contents of the atmosphere are performed. Wishing is always better than reality.

Enjoy the remainder of the weekend.

The experimental danger, observed over half a century of direct experience of nuclear energy...

...is trivial compared to the danger of fossil fuels over the same period.

I don't know why this is mysterious. It's clear simply by doing a body count.

Anyone who can count can directly experience this effect, if and only if, they don't ignore the effects of dangerous fossil fuels.

Right now, despite all the crap handed out a myriad of anti-nuke sites, each provision of links to these organizations being more stupid than the previous such link, seven million people die each year from air pollution.

Lots of physicians, most physicians in fact, are aware of this, even if the so called "physicians for social responsibility" couldn't care less. Maybe some of the members of the "Physicians for Social Responsibility" should take some time to open up the scientific medical journal, The Lancet to see where, exactly, in the comprehensive paper assembled by physicians and epidemiologists around the world of the 67 major causes of mortality worldwide, nuclear energy appears as a risk. The linked paper is whence my 7 million per year figure comes.

Or maybe, just maybe, some one so lazy as merely to produce a link to this idiot website could open the paper themselves to see if the rhetoric on the "Physicians for Social Responsibility" website is valid.

If not maybe someone with enough stomach - I don't qualify - to endure the website of the "Physicians for Social Responsibility" can tell me the source of their claims.

How many deaths did the gas bags, um whoops, I mean the "physicians for social responsibility" identify for the half a century of commercial nuclear operations worldwide? How did they accumulate their data?

Surely this data is available. After all, nuclear energy is, by far, the largest and most mature form of greenhouse gas free primary energy. After 60 years of operations, I'm sure there's some data, is there not?

Please provide the answer in terms time, the unit of time having a conversion factor of 19,000 deaths per day, the number of people who die from air pollution each day. Thus if you can identify - using something called "the primary scientific literature" as opposed to yet another link to the self-referential anti-nuke websites citing each other - 1,900,000 people killed by commercial nuclear power operations, you would report "The Physicians for Social Responsibility assert that nuclear power is as dangerous as 100 days of air pollution."

If the Lancet paper cited and linked above - unread as it may be by "Physicians for Social Responsibility" - is correct, it takes between 7 to 9 years for air pollution to kill as many people as died from all causes, genocide, combat, maltreatment of prisoners, bombings and cross fires, in World War II.

I wouldn't consider it "social responsibility" to ignore that fact, but perhaps my ethics are peculiar, I don't know.

Thanks in advance for providing your answer. I'm sure it will be illuminating.

Best regards,

NNadir

P.S. Have a nice evening.



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