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Message #1 - Posted 2008/06/21 - Rowland McDonnell

Andy Hewitt wrote:

Rowland McDonnell wrote:

Andy Hewitt wrote:

Rowland McDonnell wrote:

In theory, yes, you have a point. But in practice, we're really crap at recycling (as a society), so it's still a bit of a moot point.

I don't see that at all. The potential is there. And any material that's not taken off planet is still potentially available for re-use.

Yes, keyword there is 'potential', but our actual levels of recycling are really terrible at ther moment, still down in single figures of percentage isn't it?

That all depends on exactly what you're measuring - but if you look carefully, you'll notice that big steel structures such as ships do tend to get dismantled and recycled rather effectively.

The problem is that so many materials are so cheap when made from raw material because the processes have been under development for millennia in the case of (for example) iron production; and efficient modern style recycling technologies have mostly not been around that long.

(shovelling shit has an ancient history, and when they got the hang of agriculture, they started to use that shit sensibly - some recycling has been carried out for a *VERY* long time)

Give 'em time. One big problem is the cost of sorting materials from each other in the first stages of recycling. It's dirt cheap in India - so much so that I came across an example of it being worthwhile to separate out the parts of cheap disposable ball point pens for recycling. The price per kilo of sorted material they got was tiny by our standards - but significant if you're scraping a living in an Indian city.

I feel we were actually better at recycling many years ago.

Up until the latter half of the 19th century, European agriculture was all organic and sustainable - because it had to be.

<shrug> Some things are worse; some are better. You ever read about 19th and early 20th century graveyards and how they stank? The population explosion, the growth in towns, and so on, caused big problems.

And people in towns have always thrown away a lot of stuff - which used to be recycled by very poor people if it had any value. We don't have people in the UK making a living from scavenging rubbish in the old fashioned way any more - at least, not many of them. I don't see that as a bad thing.

How many
sheds or garages did you see with jam jars full of screws, or 'baccy tins with odd bits in. Now of course you'll see a shiny plastic storage unit bought from the local DIY store.

One. My dad's. It's still there, as cluttered as ever, I assume. But while he had a Coleman's mustard jar fillied with mercury (well, not much mercury, but enough to worry me), that mustard jar was on a set of robust industrial shelving in a pre-fab concrete garage surroundedd by all forms of storage from baccy tins to the very fancy fold-out case he kept his jewelry `kit' in.

I went through that myself. Just recently I've started keeping all those jars again.

Jars aren't as convenient as the fancy plastic storage unit from the DIY shop, and the thing about the fancy plastic storage units is that they're dead cheap.

So my nuts and bolts and screws and washers are all in (not very) fancy plastic storage units, I'm afraid. Works out cheaper than jars, I suspect, because I can fit more in a smaller space, so need *MUCH* less in the way of shelving this way - a cost benefit to me, I think.

Some stuff just cannot be easily reused though - most of the plastics are horrible to recycle,

All that means is that we need to get on with recycling all of it. The methods for recycling will get better in leaps and bounds as soon as the industry gets moving on a large scale.

It's what engineers are for - give 'em time and money, and they'll get it working better.

Am I optimistic about this? Hell yes!

Don't sneer now - wait 25 years and *then* tell me I was talking nonsense, eh?

That's just it though, I don't think we have 25 years to wait.

What, you *expect* to be dead before then?

Look at it like this: our species has been doing the dirty to planet's ecology big-time since `sometime in the 19th century'. The time for `starting serious action to stop this turning in to a really nasty problem' was 1945+ if you ask me.

Practically speaking, what we needed couldn't have started up before the 1070s, by which time an adequate understanding in the scientific community of exactly what trouble we're causing ourselves turned up.

Okay, so we're 40 years too late in starting - so what? So the problems will cost more to deal with, and take longer to deal with, and the results will be less good than if things had been done sensibly.

So what? If London floods due to rising sea level, it's the rich people and organisations who will be worst affected.

They can ensure that sesrious resources are deployed - and they will be. It'll cost a lot of money to deal with, will the coming changes.

So what? Give engineers time, money, matter, and energy and they can do almost anything.

Okay, so maybe Bangladesh is screwed. Maybe Holland will be abandoned - or maybe the Dutch will decide to jack up the entire damned country (I wouldn't put it past them and I've read of proposals to do that sort of thing - it's not impossible, depending on geology. Expensive, disruptive, uncertain of outcome: very yes). The costs will be huge, the disruption likewise - but homo sapiens sapiens will carry on regardless, I promise.

and the transportation alone causes more pollution than reusing the stuff saves.

That's nonsense. Even if it weren't, one reason for recycling is the lack of raw materials, and transport pollution is being reduced all the time. The idea that transporting material for recycling causes more pollution than:

1) Finding then extracting the raw materials for plastic manufacture 2) Moving those raw materials to where they can be refined 3) Refining the raw materials
4) Moving them to where they can be synthesised into plastic 5) Synthesising them into new plastic

Is obvious nonsense - providing that efficient means of collecting the plastic in bulk and moving it in bulk exist.

Exactly, it doesn't. It's the transporting of those empty plastics that is the problem.

But that's only a problme if they're not tranported using an efficient bulk transport service. With the bin men coming round to collect the bins - and with one of theose bins being a recycling bin - we've got the necessary efficiency at the home end, I reckon.

The problem with pastic is that it doesn't have any mass,

<pained> Don't be bloody stupid. Have you ever tried to pick up a polyethylene kayak? Bloody heavy things compared to a good kayak built out of almost anything else - modern wooden construction, fibreglass (or similar), or even a traditional skin or bark covered jobbie.

(I met a beautiful wooden racing kayak one day, owned by a Dutchman who had come over to race in the Devizes to Westminster canae race. I'd never seen a wooden boat of that type before. It was a lot of bother for him - wooden kayaks aren't as robust as the composite variety, and being Dutch and used to `not getting out of the boat from start to end of the race because the country's flat so you don't need to' he hadn't really understood the consequences of `76 portages' and had a very pained look on his face when i met him - his race was going so well <cough> that he felt he could stop for a brief chat about the bloody awfulness of all these damned portages.)

and packaging
it for transport at the source is difficult, as you can't get enough on a lorry to make it viable

I throw it in a wheelie bin. It is collected by the bin men. They'd be collecting it anyway as rubbish; they collect it instead as recycling fodder. The recycling bin is usually full by the time they come to empty it, once a bloody fortnight (grr).

The idea that there's some sort of economic problem regardlng the collection from source of plastic waste for recycling can't be true, based on how it's actually really done for real.

- at least not at the moment. I was told this
by a bloke that did transport the stuff.

It seems to me that the density of yer typical plastic ain't far off the density of the oil it's made from. They can transport this low-density oil in an efficient fashion.

[..]

Look at the Norfolk Broads, they are
entirely man made,

Nonsense! Man-managed, for sure - but made by non-human acts.

No, they were almost completely dug out for peat by human hand.

<puzzled> I fail to see any contradiction there. That was one of the `jobs of managing the envirnoment' that people do.

Look at it another way: one form of life `decided' to make peat bogs, another decided to remove 'em. Other forms of life were doing other things.

The end result in a landscape shaped by geology, weather, and life - all of it. Our part is just one part of it and our part is always a management role if we're not wiping out all the other forms of life and imposing just our will on `whatever'.

yet nature is reclaiming all that back - there is a constant fight to maintain navigable waterways there.

It's a constant job of management, not a fight. Nature isn't reclaiming anything because nothing was ever taken from nature. We are part of nature. We are doing our bit to turn the world into the shape we like rather than leaving it to other species, that's all.

I've read the information they post in all the visitor centres there, and that's what it says.

<shrug> I say that the leaflets are wrong. Whoever wrote that junk doesn't understand the job. It's a matter of managing the life that's going on. If it were a *FIGHT* - well, they'd wipe out the life that was causing the problems, and don't say that can't be done because it can be - our species is very very good at killing. It's just that no-one wants it done that way, do they?

And if living species are living in an area, they will live. If we want the area to have a certain form, we must deal with the fact that other things are living there too. Not in terms of a fight, but in terms of management.

I agree. I just wish it was working better than it is though.

It's not so bad in the UK - could be better, but it's a lot worse elsewhere.

We want to rule it all as Lords of Creation, yes? Well, we can't just order things to be as we wish. The best we can do is work with what's going on. Forget that, and you're screwed. Hello the citizens of California - are you listening? That state is not really suitable for high density human habitation, especially not the bits inclined to suffer major earthquakes and the bits that don't have drinking water except what's piped and canaled in from hundreds of miles away.

(actually, looking at things that way, I've long ago concluded that the place in the world most suitable for human habitation is probably the British Isles, with an option on limiting it to England and Wales only. I can't think of anywhere more ideally suited for growing people, all things considered - unless it's New Zealand. Australia might well be God's own country, but it's too bloody sunny and the soil's too bloody poor for it to be ideal for people.)

Could be right there. If you want to see something funny, just look at a population map of thew world, and lay it over a map of most active earth quake regions...... it's spooky.

And then look at the old cities which have lasted well for centuries - the ones that have thrived more or less continuously.

None of them suffers natural disasters any worse than an odd bit of flooding as far as I can tell.

Rowland.

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Message #2 - Posted 2008/06/21 - Rowland McDonnell

Andy Hewitt wrote:

Rowland McDonnell wrote:

[snip]

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ziebart>

- because of all the guarantee claims they had to pay out on. I watched them hot pressure clean a car, just before reapplying the underseal.

Nothing wrong with that, if it's dried properly.

*if*. It wasn't.

Aye, but the problem was not the cleaning before treatment, but the failure to dry properly after cleaning and before applying the treatment.

[..]

Yes, but so what? If it doesn't go into large scale production, and is publicly available, there wouldn't be any point in making an issue of it.

<puzzled> Eh?

So what you're saying is that the only technologies that are worth mentioning are the ones that have been commercially successful on the largest scales, and one should ignore all technological development that does not meet that spec?

In other words, you're only interested in whichever firm managed to beg, borrow, or steal the rights to exploit a given technology?

Because that's one way of looking at it and okay, most of those Japanese firms do most of their own development work from scratch, I shan't deny 'em that.

But where did the technology come from? How was it developed? Where was it used? All these things are important to technological development.

With respect to lean burn engines, they were developing the idea in the 1920s. I point blank refuse to accept that the first real lean burn engine came out in 1991.

I thought the whole point of the conversation was about being kinder to the environment.

A null concept in my book - it's all about managing our living quarters (planet Earth) more sensibly. Kinder? What does that mean?

I'm suggesting nothing more than tidying up as we go along, really - as well as dealing with the mess that past generations have left us.

Part of the `cleaning up as we go along' involves `not making such a mess of the atmosphere and oceans'. More intelligent management of everything, and as a very high priority: stop throwing carbon that's not part of the contemporary carbon cycle into the atmosphere, develop a viable and useful way of re-capturing excess atmospheric carbon capable of removing the carbon from fossil source that we've dumped into it, and so on.

(carbon capture as I suggest - oh, that's a tricky one, that is. But get it right, and they'll be making plastic from air. I don't expect to live long enough to see that one - give it 50 years, I reckon)

Surely to make a big difference globally, then any technology used has to make a global difference.

The cumulative effect of all the technologies that we use has to be made beneficial for our living quarters, but that's not the same as saying that only technologies which have already been proven to be profitable on a large scale in the current socio-politico-economic environment are applicable, nor is it the same as saying that any given technology that is applied must be applicable all over.

There's the basic problem that one size doesn't fit all - what's right for a Scottish fisherman (assuming there are some left) ain't right for an African farmer.

Which isn't to say they can't both make good use of the same technology - both groups have a big use for mobile phones, for example. Just different uses. And the Scotsman won't bother investigating micro-irrigation techniques, will he?

What's needed is more intelligent application of technology, new technologies or old, applied in intelligent ways, optimizes at a much finer level of granularity than you can get from conventional `globalised businesses'.

What I mean is that farmers in Uttar Pradesh need to work out what's best for them, and do that. And car factories in Italy, ditto. Every type of thing that we do needs to be better optimised and I don't expect many individual optimizations to have much effect on their own on a global level - but when you've added up the cumulative effect of the improvements over the globe, the hundreds or thousands of billions of individual optimizations performed by all the people beavering away to make it work better - well, then we'll see something.

You think it can't happen? I think it can - the internet finally gives our species a tool for permitting that mode of operation. I suspect the Internet is the biggest cultural change since the introduction of printing and mass literacy, or perhaps as big a change as the introduction of literacy in the first place (people back then complained about the harm writing would do to culture - and they were right).

We're living in very interesting times.

[snip]

Anyway:

Technology gets developed, then it gets applied - in that order. One must always start small, and then grow bigger.

You seem to sneer at the stages before it's got big - why? The small scale stages are a vital part of the process of developing and rolling out a new technology. It's the early stages - what use is a baby? None at all, unless you're hungry and don't have anything else to eat. But bring it up right and give it a few decades, and who knows? You might have a famous composer on your hands, or a mass murderer.

So: lean burn engines made and used on a small scale are hugely beneficial to our long term prospects as an evolving species. What was needed was for the technology to continue to be developed.

It's helping the future for sure. It still looks like they've been kicking their heels a bit though - maybe not the 'scientists', but definitely the industrialists have.

A week does not go by without me hearing some call on the radio from some business or industry organization screaming - and it really does tend to be in *very* strong terms - at national and international goverment organisations about the need to put in place various structures and so on to enable the businesses and industries to work in a more environmentally sustainable fashion.

It's the politicos who are dragging their heels.

But take a look at China: it's run by engineers. They're putting in more `renewable' energy exploitation into their economy than any other nation on Earth. Okay, they're also building more coal fired power stations now than any other nation on Earth - but that's because they need power *now*. The engineers in charge know that it's no long-term solution, doing it the coal way, but it's okay in the short term and in the *medium* term, they know that the `renewable' energy technology will get better and as it gets better, more will be rolled out. Look to China - seriously. (You can expect India to pick up on that sort of thing sooner rather than later)

For sure plenty of individual businesses aren't pushing as described above and are doing things the old fashioned inefficient way - but give it a little time. How can a crisp factory that's solar powered fail to beat a crisp factory that has to buy energy at the market rate?

Provided that the solar powered crisp factory has an economically viable method of installing and maintaining its energy conversion gear, it can't.

And I picked that example because I heard (R4, `In Business', or maybe the World Service version by the same bloke: Peter Day. Always fascinating) about a firm that's building solar powered crisp factories and operating them - in the USA.

[..]

That's only any good if the entire engine is designed to run lean though, unless you don't mind melted bits.

<puzzled> What? Don't be bloody silly. What special design do you need to apply to the crankshaft to make the engine lean-burn, eh?

Running lean will make an engine run hotter. If you want your engine to laster longer, then you need to use different materials.

<puzzled> Only if the original construction can't cope. Lean burn is more efficient, so the real problem must be a lack of cooling in particular areas due to the lean mixture rather than an excess of heat being dumped into the engine overall.

In practice, I don't see that a lean burn engine needs any special concern in terms of /materials/ once you're away from the valves.

Okay, maybe the pistons might get hotter. Okay, easy to deal with, maybe you do need an engine mod: drill a hole up the con rod and spray oil at the underside of your piston crown, maybe beefing up your oil cooler and oil pump.

But that's a conventional engine cooling technique that's been in use for decades - nothing special, and not necessarily a new addition to any given engine, 'cos it might well have been designed that way in the first place. A lot are - after all, the aluminium alloy of the traditional piston crown can't cope with combustion temperatures, can it?

From what I've read about lean burn engines, the trick is not the engine construction at all, but the control.

Mostly.

Yeah, valves will burn out if you're not careful - but then again, valves were forever burning out in early engines anyway.

And it's quite normal to adjust the carb mixture when changing the power plant - my CZ had a smaller jet than the lesser 125cc CZs, because they ran on pre-mix while I had an oil pump. If I wanted to use pre-mix, I needed a different jet.

I've met people who have had success moving their needle down a notch and getting better fuel economy without engine destruction but with reduced power.

I'm not surprised. Carburetter fed engines are normally set up as a compromise by the manufacturer, usually being set in a 'safe' manner. It is quite possible to reset them to attain different levels of tuning.

And often necessary, in the case of fitting a replacement exhaust and changing the intake arrangements as was commmon in the 1980s on motorcycles.

[..]

Yup, I drove a Wolseley 12HP once,

But would that have been a fiscal view of HP? (I've read about how it was done in the UK; I hadn't known the French did the same sort of thing).

The old Brit HP was a calculation of the various dimensions of the cylinders - I can't remember exactly what though.

That was the old British `HP for the purposes of calculating tax' which had nothing to do with *real* HP.

it had fantastic torque, and could
accelerate away from a standing start in top gear.

Was it a side valve job?

Yes it was. Nice little engine that was - about 800cc IIRC.

And someone in this thread said it developed 60hp? That's an awful lot for an old 800cc side valve engine.

[..]

It's not any good when you're trying to get your kid to school *now*.

<puzzled> But that's what you've got a petrol powered car for, isn't it?

As a chap I used to know many years ago said, the advantage he had over me was that he used to walk the six miles to and from school every day: he was never late.

I was referring to the cost aspect.

Ah. Well, the choices I can think of are:

1) Set up some kind of campaign to get decent public transport put back 2) Buy a more fuel-efficient vehicle(s).
3) Use human-powered transport.

I
need a cheap alternative to get about sensibly before my debts go up any more.

Pedal power isn't as daft as you might think. Trikes, bikes with trailers, all good stuff. Children can ride 'em; adults can haul a big load of shopping.

Aye, I wish I'd kept fit now.

<grin> Get back on a bike, and you'll soon get fit again.

[snip]

Rowland.

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Message #3 - Posted 2008/06/21 - Rowland McDonnell

Tim Streater wrote:

Andy Hewitt wrote:

Stimpy wrote:

On Thu, 12 Jun 2008 19:49:09 +0100, Andy Hewitt wrote

Yup, I drove a Wolseley 12HP once,

But would that have been a fiscal view of HP? (I've read about how it was done in the UK; I hadn't known the French did the same sort of thing).

The old Brit HP was a calculation of the various dimensions of the cylinders - I can't remember exactly what though.

ISTR that the post-war Rover '12hp engine' produced 60bhp

Ah, found it. It was an RAC rating, apparently used for calculating tax (what else?).

-----
h.p. = (Dsq x n)/2.5

where D = the diameter of the cylinder in inches [1" = 25.4mm], and n = the number of cylinders
-----

http://www.designchambers.com/wolfhound/wolfhoundRACHP.htm

Hence the then-prevalent preference for under-square cylinders.

I always thought that was mostly due to the difficulty of getting push rod engines to rev at high speeds, especially given the poor quality valve springs that everyone suffered from until, erm 1964 IIRC. Not to mention the (apparent) fact that such engines are bloody good at low-end torque.

Of course people have always liked going fast in cars - but think about the roads in Britain way back when, and think about what people did with cars. Oodles of bottom end torque are a lot more useful for a family man or a tradesman or a lorry driver than a high top speed, aren't they?

If you're driving a lorry carrying the entire personal possessions of a family moving home, you don't have any interest in top speed but you do want to be able to pull away from the lights going uphill, yes?

Rowland.

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Message #4 - Posted 2008/06/21 - Andy Hewitt

Rowland McDonnell wrote:

Give 'em time. One big problem is the cost of sorting materials from each other in the first stages of recycling. It's dirt cheap in India - so much so that I came across an example of it being worthwhile to separate out the parts of cheap disposable ball point pens for recycling. The price per kilo of sorted material they got was tiny by our standards - but significant if you're scraping a living in an Indian city.

I feel we were actually better at recycling many years ago.

Up until the latter half of the 19th century, European agriculture was all organic and sustainable - because it had to be.

Indeed. Even into my childhood in the 1960's, things were generally recycled quite a lot - even the ash from the coal fire was used on the garden :-).

<shrug> Some things are worse; some are better. You ever read about 19th and early 20th century graveyards and how they stank? The population explosion, the growth in towns, and so on, caused big problems.

Hmm, seems to ring a bell somewhere.

And people in towns have always thrown away a lot of stuff - which used to be recycled by very poor people if it had any value. We don't have people in the UK making a living from scavenging rubbish in the old fashioned way any more - at least, not many of them. I don't see that as a bad thing.

I have to say that I don't like towns myself. And you might be surpised how many people are now scaveging bins agains - t'was on the news a couple of weeks ago.

How many
sheds or garages did you see with jam jars full of screws, or 'baccy tins with odd bits in. Now of course you'll see a shiny plastic storage unit bought from the local DIY store.

One. My dad's. It's still there, as cluttered as ever, I assume. But while he had a Coleman's mustard jar fillied with mercury (well, not much mercury, but enough to worry me), that mustard jar was on a set of robust industrial shelving in a pre-fab concrete garage surroundedd by all forms of storage from baccy tins to the very fancy fold-out case he kept his jewelry `kit' in.

I went through that myself. Just recently I've started keeping all those jars again.

Jars aren't as convenient as the fancy plastic storage unit from the DIY shop, and the thing about the fancy plastic storage units is that they're dead cheap.

The jars are much better if you knock one over with the lid on!, one of those plastic trays just disintegrates.

So my nuts and bolts and screws and washers are all in (not very) fancy plastic storage units, I'm afraid. Works out cheaper than jars, I suspect, because I can fit more in a smaller space, so need *MUCH* less in the way of shelving this way - a cost benefit to me, I think.

Hmm, maybe. Depends on how much you have to store, and how much storage space you have.

[..]

Don't sneer now - wait 25 years and *then* tell me I was talking nonsense, eh?

That's just it though, I don't think we have 25 years to wait.

What, you *expect* to be dead before then?

Not *me* particularly, but I suspect that the life expectancy of many may be affected by then.

Look at it like this: our species has been doing the dirty to planet's ecology big-time since `sometime in the 19th century'. The time for `starting serious action to stop this turning in to a really nasty problem' was 1945+ if you ask me.

Practically speaking, what we needed couldn't have started up before the 1070s, by which time an adequate understanding in the scientific community of exactly what trouble we're causing ourselves turned up.

Okay, so we're 40 years too late in starting - so what? So the problems will cost more to deal with, and take longer to deal with, and the results will be less good than if things had been done sensibly.

So what? If London floods due to rising sea level, it's the rich people and organisations who will be worst affected.

They can ensure that sesrious resources are deployed - and they will be. It'll cost a lot of money to deal with, will the coming changes.

So what? Give engineers time, money, matter, and energy and they can do almost anything.

Okay, so maybe Bangladesh is screwed. Maybe Holland will be abandoned - or maybe the Dutch will decide to jack up the entire damned country (I wouldn't put it past them and I've read of proposals to do that sort of thing - it's not impossible, depending on geology. Expensive, disruptive, uncertain of outcome: very yes). The costs will be huge, the disruption likewise - but homo sapiens sapiens will carry on regardless, I promise.

Sounds like a rather vicous cycle to me, unless we really do come up with some very large scale recycling, and sources of energy.

[..]

Is obvious nonsense - providing that efficient means of collecting the plastic in bulk and moving it in bulk exist.

Exactly, it doesn't. It's the transporting of those empty plastics that is the problem.

But that's only a problme if they're not tranported using an efficient bulk transport service. With the bin men coming round to collect the bins - and with one of theose bins being a recycling bin - we've got the necessary efficiency at the home end, I reckon.

The problem is that they can't compress the plastics enough at source to carry enough mass to make it worthwhile doing.

The problem with pastic is that it doesn't have any mass,

<pained> Don't be bloody stupid. Have you ever tried to pick up a polyethylene kayak? Bloody heavy things compared to a good kayak built out of almost anything else - modern wooden construction, fibreglass (or similar), or even a traditional skin or bark covered jobbie.

No, the sort of stuff we bin - hollow plastic bottles, low density stuff that's used in packaging.

(I met a beautiful wooden racing kayak one day, owned by a Dutchman who had come over to race in the Devizes to Westminster canae race. I'd never seen a wooden boat of that type before. It was a lot of bother for him - wooden kayaks aren't as robust as the composite variety, and being Dutch and used to `not getting out of the boat from start to end of the race because the country's flat so you don't need to' he hadn't really understood the consequences of `76 portages' and had a very pained look on his face when i met him - his race was going so well <cough> that he felt he could stop for a brief chat about the bloody awfulness of all these damned portages.)

Our Scouts used to have a wooden canoe, and a canvas two seater (over a wooden frame). They were wonderful things to use though, if a bit heavy.

and packaging
it for transport at the source is difficult, as you can't get enough on a lorry to make it viable

I throw it in a wheelie bin. It is collected by the bin men. They'd be collecting it anyway as rubbish; they collect it instead as recycling fodder. The recycling bin is usually full by the time they come to empty it, once a bloody fortnight (grr).

The idea that there's some sort of economic problem regardlng the collection from source of plastic waste for recycling can't be true, based on how it's actually really done for real.

No, it's the transporting from the waste collection depot, to wherever it gets processed for recycling.

- at least not at the moment. I was told this
by a bloke that did transport the stuff.

It seems to me that the density of yer typical plastic ain't far off the density of the oil it's made from. They can transport this low-density oil in an efficient fashion.

Only if you can compress it enough to lose all the air between all the pieces.

[..]

Look at the Norfolk Broads, they are
entirely man made,

Nonsense! Man-managed, for sure - but made by non-human acts.

No, they were almost completely dug out for peat by human hand.

<puzzled> I fail to see any contradiction there. That was one of the `jobs of managing the envirnoment' that people do.

Look at it another way: one form of life `decided' to make peat bogs, another decided to remove 'em. Other forms of life were doing other things.

Huh! The peat bogs were formed over many thousands of years, possibly even millions of years. Man dug it all out in a couple of hundred years.

The end result in a landscape shaped by geology, weather, and life - all of it. Our part is just one part of it and our part is always a management role if we're not wiping out all the other forms of life and imposing just our will on `whatever'.

As we do tend to.

yet nature is reclaiming all that back - there is a constant fight to maintain navigable waterways there.

It's a constant job of management, not a fight. Nature isn't reclaiming anything because nothing was ever taken from nature. We are part of nature. We are doing our bit to turn the world into the shape we like rather than leaving it to other species, that's all.

I've read the information they post in all the visitor centres there, and that's what it says.

<shrug> I say that the leaflets are wrong. Whoever wrote that junk doesn't understand the job. It's a matter of managing the life that's going on. If it were a *FIGHT* - well, they'd wipe out the life that was causing the problems, and don't say that can't be done because it can be - our species is very very good at killing. It's just that no-one wants it done that way, do they?

But that's what we did in the first place, and to maintain the Norfolk Broads as they are now, they have to continue cutting back the efforts of nature to reclaim the broadlands.

And if living species are living in an area, they will live. If we want the area to have a certain form, we must deal with the fact that other things are living there too. Not in terms of a fight, but in terms of management.

I agree. I just wish it was working better than it is though.

It's not so bad in the UK - could be better, but it's a lot worse elsewhere.

Aye, just a shame we're such a small country.

[..]

Message #5 - Posted 2008/06/21 - Andy Hewitt

Rowland McDonnell wrote:

Nothing wrong with that, if it's dried properly.

*if*. It wasn't.

Aye, but the problem was not the cleaning before treatment, but the failure to dry properly after cleaning and before applying the treatment.

Yes.

[..]
[..]

Surely to make a big difference globally, then any technology used has to make a global difference.

The cumulative effect of all the technologies that we use has to be made beneficial for our living quarters, but that's not the same as saying that only technologies which have already been proven to be profitable on a large scale in the current socio-politico-economic environment are applicable, nor is it the same as saying that any given technology that is applied must be applicable all over.

There's the basic problem that one size doesn't fit all - what's right for a Scottish fisherman (assuming there are some left) ain't right for an African farmer.

Which isn't to say they can't both make good use of the same technology - both groups have a big use for mobile phones, for example. Just different uses. And the Scotsman won't bother investigating micro-irrigation techniques, will he?

What's needed is more intelligent application of technology, new technologies or old, applied in intelligent ways, optimizes at a much finer level of granularity than you can get from conventional `globalised businesses'.

What I mean is that farmers in Uttar Pradesh need to work out what's best for them, and do that. And car factories in Italy, ditto. Every type of thing that we do needs to be better optimised and I don't expect many individual optimizations to have much effect on their own on a global level - but when you've added up the cumulative effect of the improvements over the globe, the hundreds or thousands of billions of individual optimizations performed by all the people beavering away to make it work better - well, then we'll see something.

You think it can't happen? I think it can - the internet finally gives our species a tool for permitting that mode of operation. I suspect the Internet is the biggest cultural change since the introduction of printing and mass literacy, or perhaps as big a change as the introduction of literacy in the first place (people back then complained about the harm writing would do to culture - and they were right).

We're living in very interesting times.

[snip]

It's helping the future for sure. It still looks like they've been kicking their heels a bit though - maybe not the 'scientists', but definitely the industrialists have.

A week does not go by without me hearing some call on the radio from some business or industry organization screaming - and it really does tend to be in *very* strong terms - at national and international goverment organisations about the need to put in place various structures and so on to enable the businesses and industries to work in a more environmentally sustainable fashion.

Because it's financial incentive they want.

It's the politicos who are dragging their heels.

Of course, I suspect they're not going to give away millions in tax rebates to achieve this.

But take a look at China: it's run by engineers. They're putting in more `renewable' energy exploitation into their economy than any other nation on Earth. Okay, they're also building more coal fired power stations now than any other nation on Earth - but that's because they need power *now*. The engineers in charge know that it's no long-term solution, doing it the coal way, but it's okay in the short term and in the *medium* term, they know that the `renewable' energy technology will get better and as it gets better, more will be rolled out. Look to China - seriously. (You can expect India to pick up on that sort of thing sooner rather than later)

For sure plenty of individual businesses aren't pushing as described above and are doing things the old fashioned inefficient way - but give it a little time. How can a crisp factory that's solar powered fail to beat a crisp factory that has to buy energy at the market rate?

Provided that the solar powered crisp factory has an economically viable method of installing and maintaining its energy conversion gear, it can't.

And I picked that example because I heard (R4, `In Business', or maybe the World Service version by the same bloke: Peter Day. Always fascinating) about a firm that's building solar powered crisp factories and operating them - in the USA.

There are the odd examples for sure - like the buses that run on waste oil from a local poppadom factory (Birmingham isns't it?).

[..]

That's only any good if the entire engine is designed to run lean though, unless you don't mind melted bits.

<puzzled> What? Don't be bloody silly. What special design do you need to apply to the crankshaft to make the engine lean-burn, eh?

Running lean will make an engine run hotter. If you want your engine to laster longer, then you need to use different materials.

<puzzled> Only if the original construction can't cope. Lean burn is more efficient, so the real problem must be a lack of cooling in particular areas due to the lean mixture rather than an excess of heat being dumped into the engine overall.

In practice, I don't see that a lean burn engine needs any special concern in terms of /materials/ once you're away from the valves.

The top of the piston can get melted, I've seen one or two.

But you said exactly the problem there. The original constructions can't cope with lean burn. Don't forget that most cars are made to work to a minimum cost of manufacture. The manufacturers will cut corners as much as possible, so even the engine will be designed to work only as well as needed at that time.

So, to run it leaner, and hotter, it does have to be redesigned. Not many cars have been built with over-engineering in mind.

Okay, maybe the pistons might get hotter. Okay, easy to deal with, maybe you do need an engine mod: drill a hole up the con rod and spray oil at the underside of your piston crown, maybe beefing up your oil cooler and oil pump.

Yes, they have been techniques used.

But that's a conventional engine cooling technique that's been in use for decades - nothing special, and not necessarily a new addition to any given engine, 'cos it might well have been designed that way in the first place. A lot are - after all, the aluminium alloy of the traditional piston crown can't cope with combustion temperatures, can it?

You'd be surprised what isn't used in conventional mass produced cars.

From what I've read about lean burn engines, the trick is not the engine construction at all, but the control.

Mostly.

Yeah, valves will burn out if you're not careful - but then again, valves were forever burning out in early engines anyway.

Amongst other things, yes.

And it's quite normal to adjust the carb mixture when changing the power plant - my CZ had a smaller jet than the lesser 125cc CZs, because they ran on pre-mix while I had an oil pump. If I wanted to use pre-mix, I needed a different jet.

I've met people who have had success moving their needle down a notch and getting better fuel economy without engine destruction but with reduced power.

I'm not surprised. Carburetter fed engines are normally set up as a compromise by the manufacturer, usually being set in a 'safe' manner. It is quite possible to reset them to attain different levels of tuning.

And often necessary, in the case of fitting a replacement exhaust and changing the intake arrangements as was commmon in the 1980s on motorcycles.

OK, so redesigning it from the factory spec.

[..]

Pedal power isn't as daft as you might think. Trikes, bikes with trailers, all good stuff. Children can ride 'em; adults can haul a big load of shopping.

Aye, I wish I'd kept fit now.

<grin> Get back on a bike, and you'll soon get fit again.

Not so sure, I suffer badly with my knees now - it was those early days in the trade, kneeling on cold and dusty concrete floors.

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