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Tonight, after returning home after a very long week, I decided to unwind and relax by reading about morbidity, mortality and risk associated with air pollution, not the serious form of air pollution represented by climate change inducing gases, but the less serious kind that only kills two million people per year, chiefly - but not limited - to particulate matter from combustion.   Many people know of course, that combustion products, of which tobacco smoke is only a relatively minor example - contain a mixture of highly carcinogenic compounds, and many major inorganic irritants, represented by oxides of sulfur, nitrogen, and, if you will, an "oxide" of oxygen, ozone.

Another risk associated with air pollution is cardiovascular disease.   An interesting commentary related to this topic - here with respect to the incidence of stroke in connection with air pollution - is found in the Journal of the American Medical Association, (Matteen and Brook, JAMA, JAMA, March 23/30, 2011—Vol 305, No. 12, 1240-1241) contained this interesting tidbit:

Although the public health burden of air pollution–related stroke is significant in high-income countries (in which pollution levels have declined over past decades), the health effects associated with air pollution may be most important in developing countries, where approximately 85%of the world’s population lives. Thirteen of the world’s megacities(10 million inhabitants) are located in tropical  regions. Biomass burning (affecting 3 billion individuals worldwide) has been estimated as the sixth leading contributing factor for death in developing countries.1
Not to worry.   Biomass burning is, um, renewable energy, and therefore it's good, unless of course you're one of the 3 billion people on this planet who reside in areas that never joined in the abandonment, by the richer 10 or 20 percent of the world's cultures, of renewable energy in the early 19th century in favor of coal driven steam - which is now more widely used than ever before, as well as ultimately (largely in the 20th century) petroleum and natural gas.   Today there's a certain kind of reactionary enthusiasm for returning to the old "natural" ways.

Split wood, not atoms, cough, cough, cough.

I oppose all dangerous fossil fuels, if you must know, and often demand an end to them, not that anyone on the planet gives a rat's ass what I demand.  The world is using the largest amounts ever not only of coal, as mentioned above, but also of petroleum and natural gas.  

As of 2010, world consumption of oil was 85,710,000 barrels per day, just slightly short of the all time record set in 2007.   The 2010 world consumption of coal was 7.994 billion short tons, an all time record (until we find out what the figures for 2011 are) and up by nearly three billion tons from the turn of the last century in 2000.    Natural gas burning and waste dumping produced 119 Quads (125 exajoules) of energy in 2010, also an all time record, up from 91 Quads, (96 exajoules) in 2000.

Heckuva job fighting climate change humanity!   Don't worry.   Be happy.  Split wood, cough, cough, not atoms.  

Enough of that.   Anyway.  

 I meant to pull up and collect reference (1) in the above citation, which is a reference to N Engl J Med. 2010;363(13):1196-1198, but I got distracted by an electronic monograph which I downloaded in its entirety, entitled "Urban Airborne Particulate Matter:  Origin, Chemistry, Fate and Health Impacts."  (Zereini, Wiseman, Eds, Springer-Verlag, 2010)

This is a diary about particulate palladium volatilized out of catalytic converters in cars, which seemed to be a big topic in this book about the air pollution that is classified under the general rubric of "particulate matter."

When I was a kid and lived in Hermosa Beach, California - which was then a town for dirty hippie low lifes like me, but was sometime later  "gentrified" into an upscale suburban beachfront nirvana for rich people - there used to a bookstore on Pier Avenue, called "The Either/Or Bookstore."

It's gone now.  A whole world is gone now.

"The Either/Or Bookstore" had wonderful literature and poetry, and all sorts of "Whole Earthy" kinds of books about how to be a great wholesome vegetarian, how to become a Zen/WuLi/Tibetany/Bhuddisty/Hinduisty/Wiccan/Horoscopedly spiritually fullfilled dye free and additive free citizen of the New Age.  

I really loved that store, and if you must know bought lots and lots and lots of books there, mostly poetry and far out literature, even though at the time, I often really had to struggle to have enough money to buy a bag of rice.

Far out.  

The Either/Or Bookstore had postcards, some of the beach, of surfers, that sort of thing but also some featuring LA smog.    These cards showed aerial views of the brown inversion layer hanging over the city and under the mountains.   The text of the card was all about the  the number of cars in the LA basin, and if I recall correctly, a rather accurate description of the chemistry of smog.   Other than books about how to make LSD, or psilocybin in your bathtub, this was probably the only chemistry available to read in the "Either/Or" bookstore.   (I couldn't have cared less, since I was totally uninterested in chemistry at the time:   I knew so little about science in those days that I could have qualified for membership in Greenpeace.)

In those days, and I think, even in these days, you could stand on the shore in Hermosa Beach, or Manhattan Beach, and watch the layer of brown smog flow out to sea just under the Santa Monica Mountains.   The brown colored stuff was actually only one of the multitude of pollutants associated with cars:  It was (and is) nitrogen dioxide, NO2.   Although nitrogen is generally inert, under pressure and at high temperatures - such as is found in the compression and ignition strokes in internal combustion engines, nitrogen burns.   The product is nitrogen monoxide (NO) as well as nitrogen dioxide, the former rapidly oxidizes in air to the latter.   Nitrogen dioxide can react further with air and water to form nitric acid, and this is a constituent, along with sulfuric acid formed by burning sulfur in petroleum and coal, of so called "acid rain."

Since the late 19th century, chemists knew that the platinum group elements, the elements platinum, palladium, rhodium, osmium, iridium and ruthenium all catalyze the destruction of nitrogen monoxide and nitrogen dioxide into their constituent elements, which of course, simply make up the bulk of "normal" air.   Further these elements - particularly the first three I listed - also catalze the oxidation of carbon monoxide, another poisonous constituent of internal combustion engines, into the famous greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, which despite its greenhouse effects, is generally considered nontoxic.

However platinum - which is much more expensive (and rarer) than gold - was thought to be too expensive to be utilized in cars until chemists at General Motors found a way to use relatively little of it to coat the surface of certain cheap oxides having certain particle shapes - alumina was the first oxide to be used in this way - so that relatively small masses of platinum could have a large surface area.

This cut, but did not eliminate the nitrogen oxide problem with cars, and eventually, in the 1970's was mandated on all new cars.   With further tinkering, catalytic chemists at automotive companies began to toy with even cheaper catalysts, adding cheaper (but still expensive) palladium, with very small amounts of rhodium to make ever more efficient catalysts.   Of the three metals, palladium is the cheapest, and by 2008, catalytic converters began to appear on the market that contiained only palladium.

Whoopie!   We're saved!!!!  We can have guilt free cars, well, um, sort of...

A whole world is gone now.

By the way, the nitrogen oxides that escaped (and still escape) from cars ultimately end up, largely through biotransformation, as nitrous oxide (N2O) - which is also a by product of the fertilization of agricultural and ornametal crops.   Eventually the ozone depleting (and greenhouse gas potential) effects of nitrous oxide will make the CFC problem into a relative walk in the park, but don't worry.   Be happy.

Apparently, however, the palladium catalyst is not risk free.  Given the noxious nature of nitrogen oxides, we can say that palladium catalysts are risk minimized but not risk free.

There is no such thing as risk free energy.   It doesn't exist.   It will never exist.

It appears that palladium particulates are widely distributed all around the earth.

Here's an excerpt in the "Urban Airborne Particulate Matter" monograph, from a chapter called, "Analysis of Palladium Concentrations in Airborne Particulate Matter
with Reductive Co-Precipitation, He Collision Gas and ID-ICP-Q-MS":

Platinum group elements (PGE) are used as catalysts in a variety of industrial, chemical and pharmaceutical applications, such as in the production of  pesticides and dye stuffs and in the processing of polymers. These rare noble metals, notably platinum (Pt), rhodium (Rh) and palladium (Pd), are also used as catalysts in automobile catalytic converters to reduce the emission of carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and hydrocarbons (HC) in exhaust fumes. This application, in fact, accounts for the largest consumption of the global supply of these metals on a per weight basis. In 2008, for instance, catalytic converter producers consumed a total of 52, 47 and 86% of the world’s Pt, Pd and Rh, respectively (Matthey 2008). Pd use by the catalyst industry increased by a factor of six from 1993 to 2008 (Matthey 1996, 2008). While the noxious by-products of fossil fuel combustion are significantly reduced in automotive exhausts, PGE are also released in small amounts together with particles from the wash coat of the converters, due to fast changing oxidative and reductive conditions, high temperatures and mechanical  abrasion of the catalytic material (Schlögl et al. 1987; Artelt et al. 2000). This has led to increasing concentrations of these metals in the environment since the introduction of catalytic converters in Europe in the 1980s and elsewhere, as has been documented in a number of studies (e.g. Zereini et al. 1997, 2007; Whiteley and Murray 2003; Limbeck et al. 2004; Rauch et al. 2005; Figueiredo et al. 2006; Jarvis et al. 2001; Gómez et al. 2003). It has generally been assumed that the concentrations of these metals in the environment are too low to pose a real risk to human health (Wiseman and Zereini 2009; Colombo et al. 2008). For instance, Pd concentrations in airborne PM sampled in various cities have generally been found to be present in the low pg/m3 range (Zereini et al. 2004, 2005; Limbeck et al. 2007; Iavicoli et al. 2008). Recent evidence suggests, however, that the environment and health risks of exposures to these metals are greater than once thought (Wiseman and Zereini 2009). In particular, there are concerns regarding significant increases in the concentrations of Pd in the environment during the last decade due to the introduction of a three-way catalytic converter as an alternative to the conventional ones using Pt and Rh. Pd may pose a greater environmental and human health risk given its apparent greater solubility (Jarvis et al. 2001) and increased bioavailability and uptake by organisms (Colombo et al. 2008; Turner and Price 2008).
The rest of the paper is about analytical chemistry, the methods of inductively coupled plasma mass spectoscopy, (ICP-MS) which is a very sensitive method of detecting metals in the environment and elsewhere.

I'm not really, by the way, all that concerned about the distribution of palladium in the environment personally.   It may be harmful to some extent, and it may actually also have certain benefits, particularly with respect to various kinds of other air pollutants, the ones that kill regularly and constantly, albeit with very little comment compared to say, mildly radioactive spinach in Japan.

Interesting though, I think...

Have a great day tomorrow.

Originally posted to NNadir on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 09:41 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.


Does palladium scare you?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, (19+ / 0-)

    nitrogen dioxide, nitrous oxide, heavy metal dust, sulfur oxides from oil, sulfur oxides from coal, sulfur oxides from smelting operations, the fact that nothing is risk free and I am therefore not immortal, unless you're talking about the spirtual immortality that you used to be able to buy for $12.99 in Either/Or bookstore paperbacks on, um, immortality, Southern California new age stuff, hidden forms of metals in hidden particulate matter, ordinary uncatalyzed hide rates, and pure high surface area stably bound noble metal troll rates all go here.

  •  Interesting read but I was hoping to find more (11+ / 0-)

    about the actual dangers of palladium particulates.

    Can you talk about NOX next?

    Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 09:50:21 PM PST

    •  To be perfectly honest, I don't really know all (6+ / 0-)

      ...that much about the toxicology of palladium.

      It is a very important element to say, for instance, organic chemists.  (I recall a fun lecture that I once saw where the famous organic chemist Barry Trost of Stanford put up a picture called "The Periodic Table According to Trost" where all of the elements were small little symbols and palladium jutted out into a huge three dimensional object.)

      It is also potentially an important element for certain types of reactions for the hydrogenation of carbon dioxide to give methanol and/or dimethyl ether, and finally can sometimes be included as a minor constituent of some "superalloys,"

      Palladium also has some interesting nuclear chemistry.

      But I wasn't aware of toxicological implications or even that it was a potential pollution problem before seeing this paper which I referenced here.

      I could follow the references in it, I suppose if I have time.

  •  Oh, jeeze, you just reminded me of (18+ / 0-)

    a 10-year era I had just about forgotten about. The era of free lodgepole pine in Idaho Falls, around the mid 70s to mid 80s.

    The pine bark beetle goes in cycles, and that time marked a high point for the species, and a corresponding low point for the lodgepole pine population in the Island Park area about 80 miles from Idaho Falls, ID. Most of my co-workers, and seemingly everybody else in that town except for me, spent maybe a quarter of their time gathering the free firewood and bringing it back to I.F. Which is known for suffering prolonged periods of temperature inversion in the winters. So all that time, winter days and especially nights were suffocated by impenetrable blankets of creosote-rich wood smoke. We had a 2-story house and our bedroom was about 20 feet from our neighbor's smokestack, er, chimney, and we smelled like creosote 24/7 for months at a time due to the prevailing winds. At night you frequently couldn't see more than 20 or 30 yards through the dreck.

    About the worst I got out of it was a continuous series of sinus infections each, every, and all winter; plus a strange low-frequency kind of tinnitus that took about 10 years after the fogs were lifted by the end of the wood supply. So far, I should add. Well, it has been 30 + years by now and it's looking like the Ron Paulites may end up being the death of me instead of lodgepole carcinogens. But it's going to be close.

    I always wondered if the woodburners would have come out about as well, cost-wise, if they had just burned the gas they used for woodgathering for heating directly. I bet it would have been close. Throw in all the chimney fires caused by all that creosote and it might be even closer.

    Moderation in most things.

    by billmosby on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 11:00:07 PM PST

    •  a hotter fire eliminates the creosote (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      drier wood too.

      The gasoline to carry wood is far less than the cost of heating.

      Heat costs most people more than a benjamin a month. We get one very large (4 cords) dump truck full of ends and discards from the lumber mill which makes logs and poles and posts, for 80$. Lasts one year.

      If we did bring it down from the mountains I guess I could get three cords per trip on my trailer and truck pretty easily. Two gallons of diesel at $4 per.

      electric circular saw.

      "Slip now and you'll fall the rest of your life" Derek Hersey 1957-1993

      by ban nock on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 06:03:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  These guys were amateurs. (0+ / 0-)

        And also, it seems like a lot of the creosote or smoke emissions came at night when the fires were not burned very hot.

        Two gallons of diesel for a 160 mile round trip? I think those guys were getting about sub 10 mpg in the gas fueled rigs they were using circa 1980, especially on the uphill part of the trip. The wood was something like 2000 feet above town, if not more. And they made 4 or 5 trips because most of them couldn't carry more than a cord, so they told me.

        It became almost as much of a hobby as hunting is around there, so they didn't mind. It was water-cooler-story fodder as much as anything. One guy I worked with for years loved to tell the story about felling a tree right onto the cab of his pickup.

        You weren't supposed to fell them, either, just pick up what had already gone down or had been brought down by the forest service or contractors. They did a lot of replanting through there after the beetles left. They still have signs along the road indicating the years of replanting. I used to point the one from 1982 out to my kids who were born that year so they could see how fast trees grow relative to how they were growing.

        Moderation in most things.

        by billmosby on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 08:43:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I've missed you too much (12+ / 0-)

    recently.  Good contribution as usual.

    Of course, I think we all know or ought to know that the root of the problem isn't the form of energy we consume or the particular wastes we leave behind.  The problem is that there are just too damned many of us for the Earth's carrying capacity.  One way or another, if we don't cut back on the sheer human population, we will drown/smother/choke on one or more of our own wastes until we contract an opportunistic infection and suffer major dieback.

    Sorry, it's 0300 on a Saturday morning and I'm up and off to another grinding day at work.  Makes my disposition less than sunny and cheerful.

    •  Heresy, eek, eek! (7+ / 0-)

      You mentioned population, which has almost become a taboo on this site. Don't you know that by using proper management techniques, we can squeeze an actual infinite number of humans onto the planet?

      Snark switch is now returned to the "off" position.

      Moderation in most things.

      by billmosby on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 05:34:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks. You have a point but you know Malthus... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ybruti, Ray Radlein, Odysseus

      ....mostly has been ridiculed in recent generations for not understanding that we had, um, coal, oil, and gas.

      His ideas may get the last laugh, if there's anyone left to appreciate ideas.

      There are very few examples in biology of a population having a "managed population collapse" and we may have well passed the point where we could manage it.

      I attended an interesting lecture by Suzanne Alonzo of Yale's department of ecology this morning in which she was speaking on the evolutionary implications of cooperation and conflict, and she was focusing on a broad range of species, and very little on humanity.

      Still I think the audience - was a general audience and not a specialist audience - all grasped the implications for humanity, judging by their questions.

      What I took away from it all was of course reification of the idea that we are indeed a biological species and that we can collapse by consuming our local resources, which, apparently for us, is the planetary resources.

      Thanks again for your kind words.

  •  Used to hang out in a health-food store myself (5+ / 0-)

    so I got to read You are all Sanpaku and zen macrobiotics for free a couple chapters at a time. Kinda like goin' to a hotel and stealin' Gideon's Bible only different.

  •  Man, all those third worlders burning cow poop (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ozsea1, claude, Lawrence, wilderness voice

    need a stern talking to.

    Ever since edscan got banned, NNadir is my only consistent source of guaranteed angry ranting onsite.

    Reminds me of going down to the quad to listen to the guy who always came around to rant about all the 'whores' on campus running around in short skirts and drinking.

    Ah, the good old days.

    •  Another memory jog... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      During the brief period between the time ca. 1970 when bras were burned on the diag (as we called the quad at U of Michigan) and winter, one of the sights available there featured coeds braving the stares of college "men" and the fleeting gropes of junior high boys on bicycles.

      Moderation in most things.

      by billmosby on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 06:24:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pd is an anti-canary in an anti-coalmine. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice

    When it comes alive as a major public health concern, we'll know it's safe to be here.

  •  Really? (6+ / 0-)
    I knew so little about science in those days that I could have qualified for membership in Greenpeace.

    You publish a tediously long monologue on air pollution, lightly touch on palladium, point out that it's not such a big deal, and throw out a gratuitous insult.

    I'll try to remember that the next time I see a diary from you.

    I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

    by tle on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 07:33:07 AM PST

    •  remember when Greenpeace weedwhacked a (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NNadir, Roadbed Guy, buddabelly, Mathazar

      field of experimental reduced-glycemic-index wheat?

      Global warming is the inconvenient truth, nuclear power is the inconvenient alternative.

      by eigenlambda on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 10:57:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, really. I don't see it... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      profewalt, bryfry, malenfant, GDbot "gratuitous" at all.

      Everything I ever see out of Greenpeace is scientifically absurd and morally vacuous.

      They think that the entire world consists of bourgeois brats from the first world who just don't give a fuck about poor people.

      Their chief complaints seem to be ragging on the world's largest, by far, source of climate change gas free energy - that would be nuclear energy - from a position of total ignorance of, and irrational fear of nuclear science and technology, and bitching about genetic science, sort of like Pat Robertson does.

      Apparently no one in Greenpeace has ever read a paper about the distribution of viral genes in the human genome or similar topics.

      Your remark reminds me of John Lennon's line "...if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you're not going to make it with anyone anyhow..."

      I couldn't care less if you choose to read my diaries.   To be perfectly frank:

      I would consider any attempt to discuss scientific issues with a defender of Greenpeace to be a dead letter issue, not worth the slightest effort.    Just as a certain subset of people sit around waiting for the return of Jesus, or the attainment of nirvana, they seem to think that a bald faced statement about "BY 2090"

      Do you have the slightest moral comprehension of what a "By 2090" line is about.

      It's about irresponsibility.   It's about dumping the onus for one's own ineptitude and incompetence squarely on the back of a future generation.

      Dangerous fossil fuels won't start killing two million people a year in 2090, after another 80 years of asshats at Greenpeace searching through the world's pop news sites trying to prove that there are two or three or ten or  one hundred deaths associated with radiation from Fukushima.  (Note that they will not call for the phase out of buildings even though 20,000 people were killed in buildings during the quake that destroyed the Fukushima reactors.   In their tiny minds, those dead, like the dead from the 2004 Indian ocean tsunami are trivial, as are the 200,000 people who died from dam collapses at Banqiao in the same years they were organizing their stupidity squad.

      Dangerous fossil fuels have been killing millions of people for many decades already, and will kill in ever accelerating numbers.

      Thanks for telling me that you detest me.   You made my day.   Have a wonderful afternoon and evening.

  •  A fix needed... (4+ / 0-)

    The part:

    As of 2010, world consumption of oil was 85,710 barrels per day, just slightly short of the all time record set in 2007.

    needs to be converted by a factor of "thousands", i.e. 85,710,000 bbls/d.

    If it were 85,710 bbls/d, I would be ecstatic!

    My core tenets:
    • I am intolerant of only intolerance
    • I am prejudiced only against prejudice
    • I hate only hate
    But Republicans continue to strive to be the subject of these three tenets.

    by DrSpalding on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 09:39:12 AM PST

  •  Try again? (0+ / 0-)
    As of 2010, world consumption of oil was 85,710 barrels per day
  •  Well, actually. (0+ / 0-)

    If your white gold ring was made in the U.S., it's probably alloyed with nickel, not palladium.

    GOP: Bankers, billionaires, suckers, and dupes.

    by gzodik on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 10:35:09 AM PST

  •  Wood smoke: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NNadir, ozsea1, Mathazar, GDbot

    see Sam Harris' The Fireplace Delusion

    The best place for logs is standing. The next-best place is in hugelkultur

    The next-best place (or maybe it's a tie) is in terra preta. But you generate a lot of smoke getting there, unless you create biochar by microwaving biomass.

    Dear Ayn Rand fans: Please, would each of you just go all John Galt, immediately? Thank you.

    by CitizenJoe on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 10:50:23 AM PST

    •  Thanks. Nice link. That about sums it up. (0+ / 0-)

      There are lots and lots of papers on this topic in the primary scientific literature, but very few reference the "natural" practice of dying at 30.

  •  catalytic converter explained (0+ / 0-)

    because the metals in the converter never rust or wear a converter should never need to be replaced. Federal and some states laws says you can't get these second hand.. but if you have PO420 code on your car i'd highly suggust trying to clean it. There are thousand of micro-ducts that can get clogged and the inside might just be dirty. Clean it with soappy water and run high presure water to remove residue.

  •  Props are due for bringing up the woodsmoke issue (5+ / 0-)

    It's a MAJOR source of particulate air pollution here in Puget Sound in winter. Here's where I part company with my alt-fuel brethren, as the negative impacts on air quality are huge.

    The aesthetics and romantic appeal of the occasional woodfire are undeniable, but as a primary or even secondary source of heat? Hell no.

    “Fair? Fare is what you pay to ride the bus. That’s the only ‘fair’ I know.” ~ Heylia James, from Weeds - 1st season

    by ozsea1 on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 12:18:47 PM PST

    •  Do you have regs on stoves? Some states offer (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      twigg, ozsea1

      homeowners money towards new low particulate/gas emission stoves (1-4 gram/hr). Are they burning hardwoods? Imagine if most of the cars on the road were from the 60s using leaded gas. Bad news, though aesthetically pleasing.

      Wood and coal will be utilized by more homeowners in certain regions as fossil fuel prices increase. States have to mandate emission controls.

      “The first principle [in science] is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” Richard Feynman

      by the fan man on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 07:48:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I believe ours (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        the fan man

        is rated at 0.7 gram/hr.

        From a totally renewable source, carbon neutral and very warm.

        There are better targets than woodstoves, especially as the energy and warmth provided benefits the less well off disproportionately.

        I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
        but I fear we will remain Democrats.

        by twigg on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 09:32:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Carbon neutral? (0+ / 0-)

          Really? You're oxiding a solid carbon sink (neutral) and releasing the carbon as various combustion products back into the atmosphere (positive) at a fixed time point.

          “Fair? Fare is what you pay to ride the bus. That’s the only ‘fair’ I know.” ~ Heylia James, from Weeds - 1st season

          by ozsea1 on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 09:07:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Click on the link for details (0+ / 0-)

        As a practical matter, if someone declares their stove as the only source of heat, they can burn whatever they want in whatever woodstove they have.

        Woodstove use is also, unsurprisingly, a function of electricity cost. In King county, especially in Seattle, juice is cheaper than in Snohomish county to the north (e.g. Everett, Darrington).

        If you click on the link in my above comment, you'll notice those two cities standing out in the moderate range.

        Weather conditions like today illustrate this well. It's sunny and mild here in Puget Sound but we are experiencing a temperature inversion. This traps atmospheric pollutants close to the surface. You can see where woodstoves are used more for heating.

        “Fair? Fare is what you pay to ride the bus. That’s the only ‘fair’ I know.” ~ Heylia James, from Weeds - 1st season

        by ozsea1 on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 09:20:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Tipped and Reccd...for this line.. (0+ / 0-)

    "I knew so little about science in those days that I could have qualified for membership in Greenpeace."

    That caused a massive afternoon coffee spew followed by laughing...

    Great Diary...

  •  PGE (0+ / 0-)
    Platinum group elements (PGE)

    On some long ago trip to the museum of natural history, Smithsonian on the mall, my favorite exhibit is the geological part which includes gems and minerals......they have large chunks of platinum, irridium? displayed in glass case along with the Hope Diamond and the blurb for Platinum declares that Platinum is other-worldly, in that it only appears where we can determine there has been a meteor strike..........

    I read somewhere Ruthenium may be a way to super efficiently deliver solar output......but Ruthenium is in short supply.

  •  Too Bad the Good Diary was Spoiled (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    geph, GDbot

    From someone who has spent the last 30+ years of my life/career working to control "traditional" air pollution, the diary does a great job in a number of areas.  The history of the attempts to reduce pollution from car exhaust is well laid out.  The history of the car industry working to make cheap cat-ox devices is spot on.  Best of all the diary quite correctly points out that often attempts to "control" an environmental problem results in creating another environmental problem (in this case palladium aerosols).

    Unfortunately, the author once again can not post anything without making it about his agenda to justify nuclear power.  It is so unfortunate that the clearly great intellect is so stuck on this agenda.

    NNadir, please understand that pointing out the dangers of one form of power does not in any way prove the safety of another form.  You are correct that all fossil fuel should have been phased out long ago.  You are correct that fossil fuel is a very, very dangerous source of energy.  You are also correct that burning huge quantities of biomass is not a healthy energy source.  But please try to understand that just because one source of energy is bad in no way shape or form demonstrates the safety of any other source of energy.

    A healthy debate about which source(s) of energy we should promote and which should be eliminated is a good thing.  However, NNadir, your approach is always confrontational, demeaning, and insulting to most others who disagree with you.  This is not a healthy debate, it is a rant to justify an agenda.

    NNadir, you are too smart to not realize that your approach serves no one other than justifying your preconceived notions.

    •  The Ann Coulter for the nuclear industry. That's (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      not quite fair, he writes better than Ann and is far smarter. Like Ann, he is not above playing fast and loose with facts to drive his point into your forehead.

      N wrote one diary on Lymes disease that did not include nuclear energy and was very informative and compelling. It is a pretty safe bet however that his diary will work its way back to how nuclear is the only safe, economical, environmentally friendly option. If you don't agree you will be demeaned. The anti-nuke crowd is by and large not civil in return. I don't know which side threw the first bomb and I don't think it's going to stop.

      So what I'm saying is: 1) I agree with you 2) he isn't going to change therefore 3)  if his works bother you, pass them by.

      “The first principle [in science] is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” Richard Feynman

      by the fan man on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 08:07:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  NNadir's Condescending and Demeaning Attitude... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      probably does more to hurt his/her cause than help it. By attacking, demeaning, and making gross assumptions (that are often wrong) about anyone that dares to present a different viewpoint is not only such a turnoff that I don't even bother to finish the diaries, but it makes me strongly doubt the validity of NNadir's presentation.

      The fundamentalist-like attitude shows that NNadir is likely to cherry-pick data to support a pre-chosen conclusion. What is said in the diary MAY be true, but as in previous diaries (more so in those) the attitude raises doubts, especially since bullying and condescension are usually used by those whose positions are not strong.

      So please NNadir, many of us are willing to listen to and ACT on well presented information, but if you wish for more than a dozen people to recommend your diaries cut with the crap. After all, are you really doing this to help the planet or just to feel righteous?

      I am dedicating much of my life to helping this planet survive and the decline of the environment during my lifetime breaks my heart, but I see that I will win nobody over by demeaning them. It appears that you care deeply, but I doubt that your writings are winning you allies.

      •  Strident? (0+ / 0-)

        This reminds me of the discussion about how (un)diplomatic atheists should be in their statements.

        I'm inclined to the position that in either argument we need both the diplomats & those who bluntly tell the theists or the members of the antinuclear religion that they believe bullshit.

        •  Straight and Firm Talk, Yes. Demeaning, NO. (0+ / 0-)

          The blunt talk can be useful, BUT avoid putting opinions in it. Firm and incredibly blunt teachers have provided some of my greatest deep learning experiences; however, not one ever made it personal and they never, ever attacked. If you are really presenting strong facts, then you don't need to add any opinions especially those that demean those that you are trying to convince. After all if you really have such a strong factual argument why would you want to burden it with ad hominem opinions?

          By demeaning or attacking, etc, you'll just bring Newton into play - "Every action has an equal and opposite reaction." You'll push them further away in most instances. Asking questions (creating a vacuum) and attracting works in most instances. The problem is that almost none of us have really learned how to communicate and the ways that induce actual learning.

          •  No opinions allowed? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Really? On a political website?

            You're, um, new here, I think.

            I've been here for sometime, and being a coot, am not likely to change my ways.

            You're welcome to your opinion on opinions, of course, but I can tell you that people - usually anti-nukes - stop by frequently to tell me that I'm mean and nasty, and the probability that I will be nice to them is very close to the probability that no one will die from air pollution in the next half hour: Zero.

            You evoke Newton, who wasn't, by the way, a sociologist.

            Have you ever looked into Newton's personality?

            Modern day historians of science sometimes speculate that Newton "suffered" from Asperger's syndrome. He certainly seemed to have not cared a whit for anyone's feelings.

            Toward the end of his life, Newton was given a supposedly honorary position at the Mint, where he is alleged to have taken a sort of grim satisfaction in having counterfeiters executed.

            Here's a link that discusses the question:

            Newton: How Mean Was He?

            We don't know if Newton was a good teacher, I guess, and whether he was into advanced pedagogy, but whatever his personal flaws, the world definitely learned something from him.

            I, however, am not Issac Newton, and possibly the only thing that I have in common with him is that I don't suffer fools well.

            Have a nice evening.

    •  Please understand... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bryfry, malenfant, SpeedyGonzales

      ...that I don't need to "justify" nuclear energy.  

      It justifies itself.

      It is the world's largest, by far, source of climate change gas free energy, several decades running.   It produces damn near thirty exajoules of primary energy, year after year after year, in spite of being attacked, endlessly and groundlessly, on specious criteria that NO other form of energy can match.

      The solar, wind, geothermal, tidal and wave industries have NEVER, not once, produced 5 exajoules of energy combined in a single year, yet they get uncritical and mindless cheering.

      In its entire history, including Chernobyl and Fukushima it hasn't killed as many people in the last 50 years as will die in the next two days from the fossil fuel industry.

      Yet, "it's unsafe?"

      As we stand right now, after almost a year of horseshit and hysteria about Fukushima, the reactors getting smacked hasn't killed as many as the eight people killed by a collapsing dam in the same event.

      How come there's no agony about "dam safety?"

      The reactors did not kill anything like the 20,000 people who died from buildings in the Fukushima tsunami, yet we here of no efforts to declare buildings and coastal communities as unsafe.

      (And, if we count the 2004 tsunami - already long off the radar screen - that kill ten times as many people as the Sendai/Tokoku/Fukushima quake - the case is even worse for buildings and coastal cities, but nuclear energy is unsafe?)

      As I never tire of pointing out, 2 million people die each year from the normal operations of dangerous fossil fuel plants and biomass burning.

      Yet nuclear energy is unsafe?

      Where is there any form of energy that produces exajoule scale energy and contains its by products (sometimes erronously referred to as "waste") in a few small containers.

      I'm not sure that I have a "clearly great intellect" but...if you suggest that I do, it may behoove you not to insult it.

      What, in the now half of a century that commercial nuclear power has operated demonstrates that it is unacceptably dangerous when compared to anything else that produces that much energy on scale.

      I consider it a moral as well an intellectual and scientific duty to suggest that there are NO other forms of energy that can match nuclear energy on the combined (combinatorial) criteria of cost, sustainability, safety, reliability, scalability, and most importantly in my mind, the ability to function independently of the fossil fuel industry.

      It is simply not true that we can validate a fear that someone might die from Fukushima and be more important that the millions of people who die each year from the normal operations of chemical combustion systems, including dangerous fossil fuels and biomass.

      Now nuclear energy is not risk free.   Nothing is risk free, and as we understand from a cursory review of cultures that have little access to energy compared to those that do, the claim that we can do without energy is hardly risk free.

      I would suggest that the onus is upon nuclear energy's critics to show as many deaths for the entire history of this outstanding form of energy - invented by the world's leading scientists, many of whom were Nobel Laureates - to back up their rote claims.  

      Otherwise justify, morally, a position that unless nuclear energy is perfect, far less perfect forms of energy can kill at will...

      Is that what you suggest I do?

      I would consider myself irresponsible if I did not point out that fear, ignorance, and superstition about nuclear energy is clearly responsible for millions of deaths per year, a fact that is about to accelerate as the worst of climate change takes hold.

      I am not about to apologize for my strong support for nuclear energy.   It was the last best hope for humanity, although I now believe, with great regret, that humanity will get what it deserves.  

      Have a nice day tomorrow.

  •  i had a D&D character reach 12th level Palladium (0+ / 0-)

    life: that awkward moment between birth and death

    by bnasley on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 09:06:55 PM PST

  •  recced especially for the Greenpeace joke (0+ / 0-)

    "Slip now and you'll fall the rest of your life" Derek Hersey 1957-1993

    by ban nock on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 05:56:59 AM PST

    •  Geenpeace smashed its staff's unionization (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe wobblie

      efforts in Florida in the 80s: dented the admiration factor quite a bit then for me. Since I've learned there often is little correlation between many liberal interests and local environmental clubs (Sierra Club in Austin in the late 90's, for example, in relation to city budgets for a much-needed Mexican American community center): still, I support their efforts at maintaining some kind of ecologically balanced reality going.

      The labor of a human being is not a commodity or article of commerce. Clayton Act, Section 6.

      by Ignacio Magaloni on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 07:25:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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