“There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people…religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.” Linus from Peanuts.
Retired engineer, graduated from Chalmers Technical University a long time ago with a degree in Technical Physics. Career in Aerospace, Analytical Chemistry, computer chip manufacturing and finally adjunct faculty at Pennsylvania State University, taught just one course in Computer Engineering, the Capstone Course.
Luke 22:39-65. After Jesus shared the Last Supper with his disciples they went to the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed. While they were there Jesus was betrayed, arrested and taken to the house of the high priest. Waiting outside, Peter disowned Jesus three times before the cock crowed. Jesus was interrogated during the night and before daybreak the Sanhedrin had heard enough and were ready to sentence him to death, but only the Romans had the right to execute a death sentence, so they could only express their frustration.
2 Kings 8. The King restored the Shunammite’s Land, and then Hazael murdered Ben-Hadad. The chapter lists two more kings of Judah, Jehoram and Ahaziah.
2 Kings 9. Jehu, a man of action was anointed king of Israel, Joram of Israel was killed, Ahaziah of Judah likewise, and finally Jezebel suffered the most humiliating and violent death possible, thrown out from a window, trampled to death by horses and was then eaten by dogs.
Thorium is a by-product of mining heavy metals and rare earth metals. The price is the cost of extracting and refining, which can be as low as $40/Kg. No extra mining is required for extracting the Thorium, and we all know that mining is a major source of pollution.
The first thing we must realize is that rare earth metals are not all that rare. They are a thousand times or more abundant than gold or platinum in the earth crust and easy to mine, but more difficult to refine. Thorium and Uranium will be mined together with rare earth metals.
U.S. used to be the major supplier for rare earth metals, which was fine up to around 1984. Then the U.S. regulators determined that Uranium and Thorium contained in the ore made the ore radioactive, so they decided to make rare metal ore a “source material” with all what that meant for record keeping and control. This made mining in the U.S. unprofitable so in 2001 the last mine closed down. China had no scruples, such as human and environmental concerns, so they took over the rare earth metals mining and in 2010 controlled over 95% of the world supply, which was in line with their long term plan of controlling the world by 2025. Luckily this has now been rectified with U.S. and Australian mines reopened, but the U.S. mined ore is still shipped to China for refining. However, in July 2019, President Trump activatedSection 303 of the Defense Production Act to declare domestic production capability for rare earth elements and other critical minerals “essential to the national defense.” Domestic refining was scheduled to begin late 2020. It has since then been delayed until 2022. I do not know if refining has started as of May 2023, and if Thorium is included in the reining process. In the mean time the ore, including Thorium was shipped to China for refining. The Mountain Pass mine is quite impressive:
So, why is this important? Just take a look at all the uses for rare earth metals. The most sought after pays all the cost of mining and refining, and the rest are readily available at nominal cost.
The Chinese almost got away with it, and that was but one reason the trade negotiations were so complicated and hard fought, but necessary. Donald Trump fought for reciprocity and fair competition. Since the onset of the COVID -19 pandemic, originating in Wuhan, China, it has become more and more obvious that China can no longer be allowed to be single source supplier of anything.
We live in challenging times with enormous environmental challenges. It takes a lot of energy to clean up the pollution we have generated over the ages. It would be a shame to use up our remaining coal, oil and gas to produce the electricity needed to clean up. Oil coal and gas will eventually be depleted and we need to save as much as possible for future generations, so they can enjoy flying, to which we have become accustomed. It would be a shame to convert the remaining fossil fuel to CO2 for electricity production, it is far too valuable a resource in limited supply. Like the famous conservationist Sarah Palin once said: “for when it’s gone, it’s gone.”
The need to develop a Thorium based molten salt fast breeder nuclear reactor to develop our energy needs for the future can not be overstated. Lest anyone should be threatened by the words fast breeder, it simply means it uses fast neutrons instead of thermal neutrons, and breeder means it produces more fissile material than it consumes, in the case of Thorium the ratio is about 1.05. In 2007 the world’s energy consumption was around 500 quads (Quadrillion BTUs). It is scheduled to be 700 Quads by 2935
Thee are 18,800 quads of Coal left, enough for 90 years consumption at 2035 levels
Thee are 35,000 quads of natural gas left, enough for 200 years consumption at 2035 levels
Thee are 8,400 quads of oil left, enough for 36 years consumption at 2035 levels.
Thee are 1,900 quads of Uranium left, enough for 38 years consumption at 2035 levels. The efficiency of using all the Uranium could be increased by a factor of 200 in fast breeder reactors, but in the U.S they are still experimental, but a couple exist in Russia. Alone in the world the U.S has already used up 78% of the reserves, and the fact that they sold 20% of the remaining ore to Russia does not help.
Renewables are forever, but they cannot exceed more than about 20% of the totel energy need until the battery storage problem is solved for when the wind doesn’t blow an the sun doesn’t shine.
Fusion does exist, and when solved will solve our energy problem forever, but the energy production solution is still 20 years away. as they were 60 years ago. Right now they exist as neutron producers.
Which leaves us Thorium. The world supply is about 6,355,000 tons of easily obtainable Thorium supplies or about 700 years of supply, if Thorium supplied all our energy, 2200 years if Thorium supplied all our electricity and 20% is supplied by renewable energy.
There are of course the sustainable energy sources such as wind, solar, hydroelectric, biomass, geothermal, tidal and wave energy, and they should be pursued where economically and environmentally appropriate. These are separate but important subjects.
Luke 22:1-38. Judas agreed to betray Jesus, it was Passover so Jesus commemorated the Last Supper with his disciples, after which they went to the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed. Jesus also predicted Peter’s denial.
2 Kings 6. Elisha made an ax head float, “The Floating Ax Head”, the Syrians tried to capture Elisha from which we get the quote”Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” But later Syria besieged Samaria, and the famine was great.
2 Kings 7. When the siege was about to succeed Elisha prophesied “Hear ye the word of the Lord; Thus saith the Lord, To morrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.” During the night the Syrians fled and four lepers discovered it. After feasting they went and told the good news to the no longer besieged.
Luke 21:25-38. Jesus told about the signs of the times, the end of the age, the destruction of Jerusalem, the coming of the Son of Man and finally the parable of the fig tree.
2 Kings 3. There was trouble all around: Moab Rebelled against Israel. Israel called for Judah and Edom to help. They gathered their armies and horses, but after seven days without water they called for Elisha. He told them to dig ditches in the desert. They obeyed, and without rain the ditches were filled, they all got water and quenched the rebellion. Then they punished Moab, but the King offered his firstborn son as a burnt offering. This was too drastic even for Israel, so they drew back.
2 Kings 4. Like Elijah, Elisha multiplied a widow’s oil, like Elijah, Elisha raised a person from death, this time the Shunammite’s son. Elisha purified a pot of stew, and at another time he fed one hundred men with twenty small loaves of bread, and there were leftovers, much like Jesus did, but on a much smaller scale.
2 Kings 5. Naaman’s Leprosy was healed. This was so important that Jesus mentioned it to the self- righteous Jews, proving they were not that special. Elisha refused payment for healing Naaman, but his servant Gehazi accepted payment instead, so he became leprous instead of Naaman.
Luke 21:1-24. There is giving and then there is giving. Jesus watched the people give their offerings in the Temple with his disciples, and from that he taught us a lesson about the widow’s two mites. After that he told about the signs of the times, the end of the age and the destruction of Jerusalem.
2 Kings 1. God Judged Ahaziah. Elijah the prophet delivered the messages from God, and so Ahaziah died, left no heir, so Joram, son of Ahab became king.
2 Kings 2. Elijah was taken up to heaven, Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit, and received it because he witnessed Elijah’s ascension.
Luke 20:20-47, continuing Holy Week, it is now Tuesday, Jesus was teaching in the Temple and his authority was questioned. Standing in Solomon’s colonnades the religious leaders tried to entrap Jesus so they asked him: “Is it legal to pay Taxes to Caesar?” You know the answer, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.” After that it was the Sadducee’s turn: What about the Resurrection? Jesus answered with scripture: “How can David call his descendant Lord?” Jesus finally warned the people: “Beware of the teachers of the Law.”
Proverbs 5 tells of the perils of adultery and does not mince words.
Luke 20:1-19, continuing Holy Week, it is now Tuesday. Jesus was teaching in the Temple and his authority was questioned. Standing in Solomon’s colonnades he taught the parable of the wicked wine dressers. The religious leaders tried to entrap Jesus, but were afraid of the people.
1 Kings 20. Ahab defeated the Syrians and he did it twice. After that Ahab made a treaty with Ben-Hadad, and that led to the prophecy of Ahab’s Condemnation.
1 Kings 21. Naboth was killed for his vineyard and for that the LORD condemned Ahab.
1 Kings 22. Micalah prophesied against Ahab, Ahab therefore disguised himself for protection but died in battle by a stray arrow. Jehoshaphat became King of Judah, followed by Ahaziah.
If you live in the higher latitudes, rain is a nuisance, and as they say in England: Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. In areas of drought, rain is a blessing. The quip ‘poem’ refers to the Bible (of course) and can be found in Matthew 5:43-45. Jesus says in the sermon on the mount:
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Modern English Version).
It all goes back to the beginning: The Bible says in Genesis 1:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and void, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the water.
3 God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, …..
So the evening and the morning were the first day.
6 Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 So God made the expanse and separated the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.
Day 3,4,5 and 6 God created Sun, Moon and stars, flora and fauna all after its kind, and at the end of each day God saw that it was good. But God didn’t say it was good after day two!
At the end of day six 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the livestock, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
After God had created man in His own image, one kind, two equivalent sexes, male and female, the ecosystem that was started in day 2 was complete, including man and woman; God could finally say: It was very good. God gave us the stewardship of earth, and it is our responsibility not to destroy God’s creation.
There is now great anxiety that we will exceed the all important 1.5 degree Celsius temperature increase since pre-industrial times soon, since we are about to have another el niño. A direct quote in Jan 2019 from scaremonger congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez states: ‘The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change,‘ Her ‘solution’ is to follow the climate alarmists and do away with all fossil fuel in the next 8 years or sooner. As if that would solve anything.
There is a better solution. CO2 is our strongest greenhouse gas, next after water vapor, which is between 5 and 10 times stronger. In fact water vapor is a condensing gas and exists in the atmosphere as unsaturated, oversaturated, as water drops and as ice crystals. The critical thing about precipitation as rain or snow is that it is increasing in areas that already get enough, and is decreasing in areas of insufficient rain or snow. Since 1901, global annual precipitation has increased at an average rate of 0.04 inches per decade, while precipitation in the contiguous 48 states has increased at a rate of 0.20 inches per decade. The eastern parts of the United States have experienced greater increases in precipitation, while the American southwest has experienced a decrease. For example, the Colorado river basin has experienced an annual precipitation decline of 0.6 inches per decade, see fig.
Looking at all of the contiguous 48 states, the precipitation figure looks like this:
In the East it is all about water responsibilities, you must build a catch basin to catch the water that falls on roads and roofs and other paved surfaces, and release it slowly to lessen floods. In the West it is the other way around, it is all about water rights. If you don’t own the water rights on your property you are not even allowed to water the plants outside with the water that falls on the roof of your own house, even though thatt would benefit the aquifer. In fact, one of the most effective way to destroy the environment is to deplete the aquifers. The situation for the aquifers in the world is already dire. Nearly all big cities in the 10-40 latitudes zone that are not fed by major rivers are already depleting their aquifers at an alarming rate. Mexico City e.g. have exhausted their aquifers and are looking for more water supplies. In addition the lakes are disappearing. Salt Lake is a third of what it was in 1970,The Aral Sea is but a memory, rivers are being dammed so much that even the Euphrates river was running dry last fall, the list goes on. This must be solved.
This is a proposal. As in the east, let the water rights belong to the property and cannot be sold separately. This way the water can be stored where it will do most good, at the source. With this comes water responsibility. The landowner is responsible for maintaining the aquifer, and keep it replenished at all times. In times of drought, the aquifers can be temporarily drawn down if there is no water available to purchase at market value. This requires a water exchange market, complete with futures. (This is much more important than a Carbon exchange market). When the drought is over the aquifers must be refilled over time. The West is mostly federal land, except for Indian reservations, see map:
The Indian reservations will be given back the water rights they had before it was taken from them, which was the water that rained on their land. In addition they will be given back the right to use the water from the rivers up to the point of reason, that is what was used before settlers came and took the water rights. They will get the river water free, that will be their reparations, everyone else will have to pay market price for river water. (In the east, the rivers will have excess water, so the price will be zero. and the price for cleaning the water will be paid by the consumer). In the American Southwest, water is the most valuable resource, so water should be priced in an open market.
But how does all of this affect climate change?
The American Southwest is becoming desertified. That means it is slowly made a desert. The aquifers are being depleted and rain is diminishing. This leads to less clouds and even less rain. The worst example is the disappearance of the Aral Sea. Central government (of CSSR) thought it was a good idea to grow cotton and irrigate the land. After a few years of great harvests the rivers dried up, the lake almost disappeared, the clouds disappeared and the rains stopped. This was done in the 70’s and a million people had to be resettled to where there still was water.
The solution is to change the land use to produce more clouds and more rain and snow. To collect the water in lakes, dams and rivers leads to more evaporation, but not more clouds and rain. Only well restored aquifers will solve the problem, together with replanting indigenous trees and other vegetation. For example Pine trees emit ideal aerosols for cloud generation when water vapor becomes oversaturated thanks to evapotranspiration from the same trees. The aquifers must be sufficiently refilled to sustain trees. The trees makes the soil cooler, so unwanted evaporation will be less. The same forests must be well maintained to avoid large wildfires.
It is expensive, but much cheaper than trying to solve climate change by mining up the whole world trying to find enough Lithium, Cobalt and rare earth metals for all the electric cars, trucks and batteries to store the energy needed when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow. A hint: Use Thorium to replace coal for electricity production, It is already mined when mining rare earth metals. There are many reasons to produce Thorium Nuclear Power. Here are 30 of them
Luke 19:28-48. Jesus entered what is called “Holy Week”, beginning with the triumphal entry. Seeing Jerusalem, Jesus wept over it, and after entering Jerusalem Jesus cleansed the Temple.
1 Kings 19. After the fantastic victory at Mount Carmel Elijah fled from Jezebel, the “exhibit A” of names of evil women featured in literature and films. He fled, got strengthened by an angel that fed him a meal that gave him enough strength to go all the way to Mount Horeb. There he heard “The Still Small Voice.” God reminded Elijah that “I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.” Leaving Mount Horeb Elijah met Elisha and called him to follow Elijah.