Is nuclear power a solution to climate change?

Amid discussion of anthropogenic climate change there has been a steady stream of advocacy for nuclear power to provide low carbon electricity. Several of my exceptionally clever friends describe themselves as being on Team Nuclear, so I wanted to understand a bit about the argument and how the future might play out. Nuclear electricity has a bit of a bad reputation with the public, due in part to inaccurate perceptions about risk. I happen to believe that solar power will prevail, but for the purposes of this blog, I happily concede that nuclear is significantly less harmful to human health, … Continue reading Is nuclear power a solution to climate change?

Grid dynamics

About a month ago I sat down and attempted to write down equations which govern grid dynamics. That is, how power comes out of the wall. Why is another story, but it turned out to be quite complicated. Additionally, I never found a concise explanation online so I have decided to write this blog in case any other traveler in cyberspace needs to know the physics or mathematics of the electrical grid. First I will signpost all the different parts, then give plain English explanations, then equations. If the stars align I may eventually provide a github repo with a … Continue reading Grid dynamics

The Lunar Gateway – NASA’s version

One month ago, I wrote a blog about lunar exploration architectures. In it, I listed reasons why the current baseline plan, the Lunar Gateway, is a compelling option given current political realities. The NASA administrator, Jim Bridenstine, had promised that NASA would soon release their own long awaited technical justification for Gateway, a lunar space station that is intended to enable human visits to the moon. In it, I was hoping to learn something I didn’t already know. Something that could galvanize the many disparate parts of human spaceflight into coherent action. A document with a powerful vision, well communicated, … Continue reading The Lunar Gateway – NASA’s version

Lunar exploration architectures

Recent (March 2019) announcements of new programs to land humans on the moon by 2024 have generated all kinds of responses. This blog is not going to deal with whether it’s a good idea, political parts, organizational issues, funding issues, and so on. Instead, I intend to explore variations in mission architecture that this new enthusiasm has exposed. In particular, there are many different proposed ways to “go back to the moon” and it is my intent to understand and explain why the “how” of lunar exploration is not obvious. It is very easy to claim that, of the perhaps … Continue reading Lunar exploration architectures

Weekend trip to Okinawa

In mid February I have a four day weekend, what to do, what to do? I decided to visit my old friends V, N, and S in Okinawa, Japan. Photos! I took the China Eastern flight via Shanghai. Unfortunately my seat recliner was broken in the unlatched position and my screen would randomly turn on, flashing my whole row with light, but I was so exhausted after the previous week it didn’t matter. Our flight path took us up and over the north Pacific, crossing Magadan at one point, though the entire flight occurred at night. I watched Ant Man … Continue reading Weekend trip to Okinawa

Tesla receives biased coverage

This blog is somewhat out of step with my usual blend of self-indulgent travel “writing” and self-indulgent nerdiness flaunting, but I am keen to address a years-long trend of consistent misinformation about Tesla in the press. There are many reasons for this, including the dissemination of deliberate misinformation by competitors, the oil industry, and short sellers. Frankly much of it consists of nothing more than glorified tweets on SeekingAlpha, but surprisingly often an apparently well-researched article by an apparently knowledgeable author is published in the mainstream press, and I am concerned that readers who are not fortunate to share my … Continue reading Tesla receives biased coverage

2018 in review

In past years it’s been customary for me to post a yearly review on Facebook. As I move toward different communication platforms, I’ll transfer the tradition to my blog. Many of my posts are quite technical in nature, and I can assure my reader(s) that while I have many more horribly technical posts in store, this one will be relatively personal. I’m pleased to report that 2018 has been a terrific year, so I have lots of good news to share. The most exciting news by far is that C and I were thrilled to welcome our first child Y … Continue reading 2018 in review