Monday, November 26, 2007

Missions a grunt dreams about

I’m infantry…I lust for the blood of America’s enemies.


Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

I was armor. And became a peacemaker even before I was discharged in 1971.

hipparchia said...

it's been an education, browsing through their blogs and videos.

yours is the just response, the response that we all ought to have, but i think i can see why some people are returning from the war convinced that they did the right thing, and that we need to press on with it.

Bryan said...

I don't want to be the one to break it to them, but you become a little less human with every life you take. There is a penalty, and it doesn't matter if it is a necessary death in self-defense or not.

It works the same way in law enforcement - just because it was a "righteous shoot" a life has been extinguished and a future ended. You will have to pay the cost.

Dying for your country or beliefs is easy. It is a lot harder to kill for them. You don't forget.

[OT: is this, From smokestack CO2, a baking soda recipe, reasonable?]

hipparchia said...

ha! back in the day, i used to worry about keeping the co2 out of my naoh solution [pg 5].

less facetiously, yes, carbon dioxide will react with sodium hydroxide in solution to form sodium bicarbonate [baking soda].

basically, everything i know about treating flue gases and what little i remember about co2-->bicarbonates, could dance alongside the angels on the head of a pin, but i'll take a couple of stabs at it.

sodium hydroxide is cheap and plentiful and widely used in a lot of industrial processes. cheap: self-explanatory. plentiful: we produce a lot of co2 so plentiful naoh means less worry about depleting resources that we mught need for other uses. already widely used: always nice not to have to reinvent the wheel.

if you're going to have a gazillion tons of waste product to store, or find alternate uses for, you could certainly do worse than baking soda. it's relatively harmless as waste products go, even in huge quantities. not that this is a good excuse for making a lot of it and then heedlessly tossing it about.

going back to flue gas treatments, it strikes me as a bit optimistic to think this process would eliminate the need for all of those other treatments, but if it does [or at least eliminates some of them], then presumably you end up with contaminated baking soda. then again, maybe you'd end up with enough baking soda to essentially dilute the other constituents to acceptable levels, and the article did sort of imply that. it would depend on how "dirty" your coal [or other fuel] was to start with.

what i absolutely do not remember at all [and am too lazy to look up] is whether the thermodynamics of the process would be favorable. if you need huge amounts of heat or pressure or sodium hydroxide solution to drive the reaction to completion [make lots of nahco3], then it might not be feasible.

naoh is not exactly a friendly chemical, far from it, but iirc, some of the other chemicals being used now in flue gas treatment are decidedly unfriendly too. trading one unfriendly process/chemical for another unfriendly one might just be a wash, and therefore worth considering.

i did see where the one person mentioned using waste heat from the power generation, which is good in theory, but newer plants are already capturing waste heat and using it in... power generation. it would be easy to divert the waste heat from power-for-customers to power-for-making-baking-soda, but that's less power for customers. not that *i* think that's a bad thing, but it might be a bit of a hard sell to some folks.

again jumping into waters i know little about, it's my understanding that retrofitting older plants to capture waste heat can be expensive. baking soda is cheap, and it will become cheaper if we start making whole planet-loads of it. selling the end product to help offset the cost of retrofitting might not be enough incentive there.

otoh, our little co2 surfeit is probably going to end up costing us a lot, and in ways we never imagined. whatever we end up doing about it, we need to get cracking.

i hear baking soda is a good deodorizer for cat litter. :)

yikes. good thing i'm producing bits in cyberspace, instead of carbon dioxide molecules. apologies for the lengthy and rambling not very good answer.

hipparchia said...

[back on topic]

I don't want to be the one to break it to them...

my knowledge of the subject is basically second-hand, but i'll be happyto be the one to break it to them.

You don't forget.

i don't see how anybody could.

Keifus said...

The basic and obvious problem with flue gas scrubbing is taht (unless you're mining hydroxide) the energy balance gets in the way. It takes energy to make NaOH, and you get energy from... At best, you're running the process at a lower efficiency, but you still need so many megawatts out the back end. Tell me the CO2 per watt, and we can work from there.

(hipp, you'd directed me to some online publication along these lines not long ago. I regret to tell you that I've already forgotten the author.)

Oh, and what happens if someone spills vinegar on all that bicarbonate? WHat then, huh? I remember that one from well before college.

K (scerewfl: screwy werewolf)

Bryan said...

OT: They talked about using the baking soda as fill - but what about acid rain?

Thanks for the information, Hipparchia. /OT

I'm seeing PTSD at best among these people, because the another possibility is that they are raving lunatics. They definitely need some help to come down.

hipparchia said...


i was hoping you'd weigh in.

tons co2 and mwh

wang? for some reason that name sticks in my head. i think we were talking about refineries that time, and ethanol. it's somewhere in this blog if you want to look for it.

i thought we had also gotten around to power plant efficiencies some time ago, but maybe not, because i didn't remember the numbers being quite this low [21-40% older plants, 50-60% combined cycle plants].

heh, this blog can always use a little more piss and vinegar. i made on of those at about that same age too, at home, in the garage. iirc, the resulting mess was remarkably tame compared to some of my experiments.

[screaming waffles]

hipparchia said...


acid rain! well, i suppose we'd be giving new zealand a run for their money then. hmmm, i smell money....

[de nada] what keifus said [and whatever else he may say in future]. he's the phd chemical engineer around here. /ot

i'm not sure where ptsd leaves off and raving lunacy sets in, or if they're two separate things instead ends of one continuum, but i've never forgotten what happened to the brother of one of my friends.

he went off to war apparently a normal teenager and came back from vietnam the following year an unrecognizable person living in the same outer shell. he could feed and dress himself, walk around the neighborhood [all with someone in attendance, just in case], but he was living on his own planet, speaking his own language, which was seldom, and almost never to anybody living here on this planet.

whether it was solely shell-shock, as they were still calling it back then, or he had also suffered physical head injuries of some kind, i never found out, but he was for me the iconic returning soldier.

since the war had been going on for about as long as i had been alive, i didn't realize that there was such a state as non-war. i dreaded the day that my brother would get taken away mysteriously one day and then returned a year or so later missing what seemed to me must have been all his insides.

fortunately that quagmire ended before he got anywhere near old enough to be drafted, but the thought that we're doing this to people again, possibly indefinitely [again], is sickening.

Keifus said...

Oh Christ, my credentials and a dollar will get you half a cup of coffee.

Neat first site there (China looks awful), and will check out the other one.

Regarding the soldier's blog, I wonder how his opinon changed during his tour. (The first entry looked like boy scout shit turned up to eleven and kept romanticized for way too long.) I looked at later posts, but it looks like all he does is cut and paste.