Water from Thin Air

Discussion in 'Designing, building, making and powering your life' started by conrad, Feb 3, 2007.

  1. Richard on Maui

    Richard on Maui Junior Member

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    Heard an interesting interview on a recent science show (abc rn) podcast with a fellow who has been studying rain, and his findings suggest that the whole rain cycle isn't as straightforward as we'd thought, with water coming from the ocean into the atmosphere and then raining on the land. most rain that lands on land starts on land I guess, is this guys conclusion.
    He has been measuring the isotypes in different types of clouds...
    So, yeah, distilling water from the atmosphere is bound to have knock on effects and we definitely don't understand the atmosphere that well in the first place.
    I think it is safe to say though that if we plant lots of trees we will get lots of rain.
     
  2. grease

    grease Junior Member

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    Yep apparently forests create rain, in conjunction with everything else. It even involves bacteria if the scientific blurb is to be believed. :shock:
     
  3. Tezza

    Tezza Junior Member

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    Wow Trees that help rainfall .........next youll be telling me that trees are good hiding places for birds



    Tezza
     
  4. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    nah tezza,

    they's weeds huh aks any broadacre farmer or most scientists.

    len
     
  5. grease

    grease Junior Member

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    Trees are good hiding places for birds!
     
  6. SueinWA

    SueinWA Junior Member

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    Even if these windmills were a mile tall, they wouldn't affect the winds too much, I wouldn't think. The troposphere holds most of the moisture and most of the wind, and it's 6 to 8 miles high. Most of the wind and moisture is going to flow over them, even if they were close together. And if they were close enough together to affect the wind, their existence would be pointless, wouldn't it? Something like three-fifths of the planet is water, and those sources are adding tons of moisture to the air by the minute, and totally covering all the water with windmills would be a trick, wouldn't it? Also pointless.

    Moisture in the air has a lifespan of about 10 days, and is constantly being replenished. I can't see ALL the moisture (or even most of it) being sucked out of the atmosphere. Yes, trees do attract rain, but without water to plant trees, you're not going to have trees. They aren't watered by wishful thinking. The problem with rain in treeless areas is that even though the moisture in the air is there, it often falls in the 'wrong' places. For our purposes, anyway. ['Our' meaning permaculture.]

    I wouldn't worry too much about contaminated air producing contaminated water. I doubt that there's much totally pure water anywhere these days (maybe locked in the icecaps), and for sure there isn't much uncontaminated air. You're drinking water NOW with at least minor bits of junk in it from all the garbage dumped on the soil. At least windmill-provided water wouldn't be poo-water, would it? Isn't that what they want you to drink now?

    "...energy being produced by turbines need to come from somewhere..." It comes from the wind, just like windmills on farms that tap into the groundwater or aquafer.

    "What if everyone did it?"

    Name one conscious decision that all human beings have done in one period of time, ANY period of time, EVER. You can't, can you? That argument has been offered many times for many things, from birth control and abortion to murder to wars to swatting flies and killing mosquitoes. It's simply rhetoric, and means absolutely nothing.

    Sue
     
  7. hedwig

    hedwig Junior Member

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    I agree. Instead of changing obvious things like repairing the water supply systems, raising water prices,especially for those who use too much, changing farming methods, changing crops planting trees etc. The government is always fascinated by technical and high cost solution:
    drinking recyled water, desalination and strange inventions.


    The government is always afraid of confronting their voters with inconvenience.
     
  8. rickyb

    rickyb New Member

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    Having lived in the Canary Islands for several years, I can understand the importance of fog/cloud capture, since this method provides the majority of the water required by the islands inhabitants.
    These tree-sized structures are highly effective at capturing moisture from the air, and effectively increase the islands annual rainfall from 50cm to around 200cm. For more details about this technology see https://www.conifers.org/pi/pin/canariensis.htm
     
  9. Richard on Maui

    Richard on Maui Junior Member

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    It's actually enough to make you want to give up on democratic ideals isn't it?
    I mean, seriously... if government were merely a process of redistributing wealth and determining social justice, I would be all for the most democratic system we could muster, but when it comes down to life or death for everything on earth, I start to wonder if Aristotle and his mates didn't have a point... maybe the people are too stupid to be trusted with government.
     
  10. Jim Bob

    Jim Bob Junior Member

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    The people are not stupid, it's just that they're not consulted enough.

    So for example you might say, "oh, Sheriff Johnny wants to have nuclear power, and the people elected him, oh no, the people are stupid!" But I would say, imagine that each electorate were told in a referendum question,

    "Henceforth, each electorate will have its own power station to provide electricity. A new one will be built in each electorate. Your vote will determine which gets built. Please indicate preferences from 1 to 6 below,

    - coal-fired
    - gas-fired
    - solar cells
    - wind mills
    - nuclear
    - no power station at all - no more electricity, find your own from home somehow."

    I've a strong suspicion that the votes would not be for coal, gas or nuclear.

    The problem is not that the people are too stupid for democracy. The problem is that the people aren't consulted enough for democracy to work well. Saying that democracy doesn't work when the people aren't being consulted is like saying that the power station doesn't light up my home when you cut the mains wire - of course not, the major line of communication is cut.
     
  11. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Perhaps there is another side of that coin...the "government" can give us the respect of consulting with us or we can take the initiative and make our views known. However, the "government" is not about consulting with constituents, it is about power and money. The revelations here in the US daily about graft and corruption at all levels of this "government" are merely symptoms of an overly comfortable society overcome with apathy. The constituents are disinclined to get up off of their couches in front of their televisions and do anything to make their views known, as this would disrupt their "comfort". I believe that in many ways this points to the "stupidity" quote.

    Government "should" consult, as you say. However "should" is a projection that obscures "what is". As long as a majority of US (and perhaps Australian) citizens believe that they are comfortable, those in government positions will continue to pursue their own agendas (power and money). I won't go into how television contributes to the perception of comfort and general apathy. :lol:

    Good discussion!

    9anda1f
     
  12. Jim Bob

    Jim Bob Junior Member

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    Yes and no. "No" in that if the electorate were truly apathetic, then nobody would bother revealing graft and corruption. It's revealed because someone gives a damn.

    In Australia, we have compulsory voting, so voter apathy is less of an issue. People have to think about stuff at least once a year on average - elections for local, state and federal governments are each once every three years at most. Certainly many voters don't think much about wider issues when voting, but they think more than if they didn't have to vote at all.

    "Yes" in that I believe there's a self-reinforcing cycle here. Voters feel they're not being listened to, so stop trying to make their voices heard; their voices go quiet, so politicians stop listening. So there certainly is voter apathy around. Relevant here is Galbraith's The Culture of Contentment in which he says, basically, that when people join the middle classes, they become conservative - "conservative" in that they don't want anything to change, change would threaten their prosperity and contentment.

    But things get through anyway enough times that we shouldn't lose hope. I remember once reading an interview with a federal MP who said that if they got at least thirty letters on any one topic, they'd bring it up in Parliament - because they knew that for each person writing a letter, there were a hundred who felt the same way and didn't vote, and 30 x 100 = 3,000 voters, more than enough to unseat an MP. So to get politicians to do something, you need to capture the minds of thousands of people. For that, you need words.

    Like anyone writing or speaking, we should remember that words are tools, and choose tools which fit the purpose; you don't use a chisel to get a hubcap off, and you don't speak of "revolution" to an accountant. The dominant power is the middle class, and they want their comfortable lives to continue. If we tell them that the current approach threatens their comfortable lives, we'll get somewhere. If we just tell them to change their lives, we'll get nowhere.

    So for example, compare

    "You use too much power, we don't have enough fossil fuels, you should turn your air-conditioner off even if you have to sweat sometimes, it's for the common good."

    and

    "Fossil fuels will run out some day, and you won't be able to run your airconditioner. To make sure you can use it for as long as possible, use it just when you have to. This will also lead to lower electricity bills, and you'll be able to save $500 a year and spend it on another weekend down at Mornington Peninsula."

    The first message tells them to change their lives, and be less comfortable; the second message tells them that a small change will lead to greater comfort. Both messages are equally true in the facts they present, but one will be rejected, and the other may be accepted.

    The fault with a lot of permaculture and environmentalist advocates is that they get caught up in how revolutionary it all is, and talk about that. But the middle classes, who control societies, never want revolution. If you present things as revolutionary, they'll reject them; if you present them as a continuation of the old way of living, a natural development, "progress", they'll embrace them. Everybody loves progress, right? :?
     
  13. hedwig

    hedwig Junior Member

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    Australians simply hate confrontation. They want to be always kind and polite. Perhaps that's the reason why there are so few manifestations. And because they love nothing more than spending free time with their family.

    In many european countries nuclear was given up as an option because it was simpla too expensive. They built a camp village in Gorleben over years, train blockages, building site blockages, juridical processes ... and people really fought. Often leftist together with catholics the greens and grannies. (howewer I don't know if today the same would happen, because the conservative govenment is yet making a new atempt..).
     
  14. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Yes, these are good points and speak to the middle class "comfort" trap. I am seeing that, through overpopulation, peak oil, and other indicators, there is most probably a period of "discomfort" bearing down upon the US, which will finally overcome the built-up inertia of the "web of comfort" we find ourselves stuck in. This comfort "well" causes people here to take for granted that things will continue on as they have. "Discomfort" can take many forms, from actual shortages and chaos to merely having a media feeding frenzy that sensationalizes the possibilities of shortages/chaos (as true as these possibilities may be. the media here - tv - has learned very well how to influence the emotional response of the people).

    Question: It appears that perhaps the ongoing drought conditions in Australia have already caused a great deal of discomfort (or at least the perception of discomfort). Do you think your country's greater awareness of the ramifications of the world's present condition, as manifested by widespread acceptance of Permaculture and a "Green" party is the result of being "nearer the edge" (i.e., middle class is feeling more uncomfortable)???

    9anda1f
     
  15. Jim Bob

    Jim Bob Junior Member

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    I dunno if awareness of these issues, or acceptance of permaculture, is that widespread in Australia.

    I do think that the drought has made people aware of water consumption, and there must be a shitload of complaints to the government about industrial water use because "use less water" adverts are specifically responding to that - a guy says, "Well industry uses heaps of water anyway!" and they respond with a voiceover giving facts but not the truth, eg, "not true, 80% of water use in Melbourne is domestic" - yes, because industry is mostly outside Melboure - or "industry has reduced water use by 25 gigalitres since 2000!" - that's actually a 9% decline (compared to 13% for households), and it all took place in 2001-3, there's been no decline since then.

    That the government's busily defending industrial use of water tells me that people must be writing to the government to complain about it.

    I don't think the Green vote is necessarily connected to the drought. Sure, it probably makes a difference, but not necessarily the main one. I mean, the Green vote in Germany has steadily increased for decades, and they have no droughts or storms or... Here Down Under, I think it's more to do with the fact that any body of people will want a lefty sort of party. We have the Liberal Party (city economic liberal, social conservative), National Party (country version of Liberals), Labor Party (economic liberal, social liberal, formerly working class, now urban middle class dual-income-no-kids types), Democrats (split-off from Liberals years back, social and economic liberals, lost prestige when they did a deal with Liberals to allow sales tax through), and then a whole swag of parties which never get in, and independents. So if you want to vote for someone left-leaning (social liberal, economic conservative), there are only the Greens. You used to vote Labor, then when Labor pissed off the working class (by dropping tariffs and letting all our stuff get made in China, and joining wars the US thought were a good idea), you'd vote Democrat; then the Dems sold out, so that just leaves the Greens. Sort of political musical chairs...
     

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