Saturday, July 30, 2016

A Week That Was July 2016

What a week.  So much happening, and much of it already impacting, or will impact, topics that are of interest to me.  In no particular order, then, 

o  Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in the UK is having another look for viability by the new government under Theresa May; seems the cost to construct is a bit too high and subsidies also too high; see link

o  California survived a second heat wave, with a second FlexAlert issued, even though the natural gas shortage is still in effect - Aliso Canyon gas storage system is not yet fixed; 

o  Meanwhile, California's solar power production broke all-time records at more than 8,000 MW; a very good thing to have when the grid is struggling to send power to the people; even more solar power is under construction in California; see figure at right from CAISO website showing 8,132 MW produced on 26 July 2016;

o  Pacific Ocean surface temperatures are plunging fast and are already in the La Niña condition (the El Neutral didn't last long, as the ocean switched from hot El Niño to cool La Niña very quickly); 

o  Sunspots disappeared completely a few days ago, for approximately 7 or 8 days; this is rather early in the sunspot cycle for a week or more of spotless days to occur; see link to and refer to left column of that site. As of today, 30 July 2016, the sun has had 18 spotless days in 2016. 

o  A serious doubt for the future of manned space exploration re-surfaced this past week, with evidence and a report that lunar astronauts suffer (and some have died) from much higher incidence of cardio vascular disease; almost none of the non-flying astronauts, nor the low-earth orbit astronauts have this; the explanation is exposure to intense deep-space radiation and ionizing high-energy particles (galactic cosmic rays) by those astronauts that flew past the Earth's Van Allen Belts and went to the moon.   This has deep implications for the proposed moon-orbiting manned space station, any manned Mars missions, and especially a Mars colony.   The long-term orbiting astronauts on the International Space Station provide valuable data on some medical aspects of space life, but that is all within the protective shield of the Van Allen Belts.  see link to Nature article on deep-space radiation effects on astronauts, "Apollo Lunar Astronauts Show Higher Cardiovascular Disease Mortality: Possible Deep Space Radiation Effects on the Vascular Endothelium"

o  As always, it is amusing to read the derogatory comments on other blogs, and find irrefutable evidence that the commenters are wrong; in this case, EIA published a nice map of the US' regional electrical grids that show multiple states tied together to share electricity; some idiot challenged a piece I wrote by his statement that a good utility never purchases power from outside its own geographic area.    Ronald Reagan's quote remains so true: "It's not that our ... friends don't know anything, but that so much of what they know just isn't so." see link to EIA article on US grids, and graphic nearby.   

o  In US politics, we have the unusual fact of a billionaire businessman outsider, Donald Trump, as the official Republican Party presidential nominee, and a rich, old, scandal-plagued, white female, Hillary Clinton, as the official Democrat Party presidential nominee.   Their respective views on climate change, energy policy, immigration, foreign affairs, and national security could not be more different.  

o  In the oil markets, world crude oil price is low and headed lower as the summer driving season ends; I tend to scoff at most so-called experts that tell us what crude oil price will be because they are almost without exception very wrong.  The fact is that oil production world-wide is much greater than oil demand, with recent reports showing huge inventory increases world-wide to support oil production rates.  Economic malaise and improved technology reduce oil demand, which will cause oil prices to plummet.   Just yesterday, pundits predicted prices of $30 per barrel after this summer ends.   I will be surprised if oil does not fall to $25 or even lower.  

 I hope to have time to write a full article with links to sources and explore each of these in more detail. 

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California

copyright (c) 2016 by Roger Sowell - all rights reserved

No comments: