Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Printed Word (PIC)

Newspapers have been the mass media for a few hundred years. In this day and age of instant CNN coverage, web pages and blogs, people have predicted the end of the newspaper.
However, the printed word still has great power. Power to change things for the better, or to act as fuel for destruction and death.
Lets examine the Fermi of the newspaper.

---- Start Fermi Problem ----

How many newspapers are printed each day in the United States?

Estimate how many trees are used to make the paper, per day.

Estimate how much ink is used in printing these papers each day.

Make the same estimate for the world each day, each year.

Recently, 12 (I believe) caricatures of Mohammed were printed in various newspapers around the world.

Estimate how much ink was used to print these caricatures.

How many people died as a result of the protest riots? (Use, or read a newspaper)

Compare the volume of blood of the dead to the volume of ink used to print the caricatures.

---- End Fermi Problem ----

I guess the power of caricature is greater than that of the printed word.


Blogger Quantoken said...

Unrelated, but on Lubos Motl's blog you asked how I obtained the figure 40 years as how long the He3 on the moon can sustain human's energy need.
First you consult this web site, which says: "The team estimated that the moon probably held more than 1 million metric tons of the substance on its surface - more than enough energy to provide the U.S. with more than 1,000 years of electricity."
Please note it's 1000 years of US Electricity. The US is not the whole world, and electricity is only a fraction of all the energy we consume. Factor that in, there is really only 40 years worth of the world's energy supply, in the lunar He3.


1:36 AM  
Blogger Mike Varney said...

The interesting thing about a crackpot like you, Quantoken, is that you are unable to run a simple back of the envelope calculation.
All you do is blindly follow what is written on some web page, then spew stupidity based on it.

A simple google search gives various values for current global power consumption. Numbers come out to be about 1 TW for the world. This number will change over the centuries, but lets talk about our current needs.

The most promising reaction for energy generation with He3 is:

D + 3He → 4He (3.7 MeV) + p (14.7 MeV)

1 Million metric tons of the stuff would yield about 5E23 Joules of energy.

The 14.7 MeV neutrons would heat water which would drive turbines and produce electricity.

Even at 10% efficiency for power production, losses in the lines etc, this means that 1 million metric tons of He3 would satisfy the current world energy requirements for 150 years.
You number is not even order of magnitude.

Please, don't even say you extrapolated to projected human power usage in coming up with your numbers, because as a crackpot, you would be unable to do the math required.

And your bullshit about "Please note it's 1000 years of US Electricity. The US is not the whole world, and electricity is only a fraction of all the energy we consume." is a straw man argument. On your quoted web site, which clearly states "more than enough energy to provide the U.S. with more than 1,000 years of electricity"

That the site is incorrect is one thing... that you quote it blindly is another, and that you misquote it in your arguments is laughable.

Now, please go pollute some other persons blog with your crackpottery.

2:19 AM  
Blogger Quantoken said...

You can do google search but can not do back of envelop calculation. And unfortunately when you do google search you are finding numbers from people who can not do back of envelope calculation either.
Your 1TW figure for world's energy consumption is 14 times off!!! It's a widely accepted consensus number that the world consumes 85 million barrels of crude oil per day, and 200 million barrels of oil equivalent per day for all forms of energy. That's 200 million barrel per 86400 seconds, or 2315 barrel per seconds. According to DOE, one barrel of crude oil contains 5.8x10^6 BTU, and each BTU is 1055 Joules. So that's 1.42x10^13 Joules per second, or 14.2 Tera Watts. Your number is too small by 14.2 times.

I am not going to tutor you more until you get the basic number of the current world energy consumption right.

11:42 AM  
Blogger Quantoken said...

You calculation is about right, except that you really should understand that 1 TW is 1x10^12 Watts, not 10x10^12 Watts. But I can forgive you for that since many young and unsophisticate physics graduate students make mistakes of that kind.
Here is another source which gives the world's total power consumption in 1998 as 12 TW. It really doesn't matter whether the end answer is 40 years, 100 years or anything in between. The basic conclusion is still that it is an un-worthy enterprise for such a huge undertaking to completely strip mine the moon, for a little bit energy that lasts the world no more than a hundred year.

Not to meantion that such a huge space undertaking itself will consume far more energy than what it produces. The lunar soil contains He3 no more than one part in a 100 million. Just digging out the lunar soil, which is pretty rigid beyond the top few centimeters, and transport them to the nearest refining factory which is a few km away, could consume more energy than the little bit He3 extracted can produce, not to count the energy needed to cook the soil for the He3 to come out.


12:26 PM  
Blogger Mike Varney said...

Quantoken, I asked you to quit polluting my blog.

In any event, my numbers for power consumption are correct. The numbers are for electrical use, which is what was discussed.
You keep digressing to other energy use.

Also, you seem to assume that my numbers indicate that I think that H3 mining is a good thing. I was not discussing the merits of He3 mining, but showing that you are incapable of simple thought and calculations. I have shown that.
Now, in the language you will most likely understand... fuck off and go away.

4:11 PM  

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