About a year ago, I wrote an article called The Essence of Life: Two Potential Models. In that article, I explained that all the matter around us, which includes the bodies and brains of living beings, are made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons. These fundamental particles “swap out” all the time, and yet we still are who we are; our consciousness doesn’t change as the particles change. From this, it was posited that consciousness (or our “souls”) doesn’t reside in our matter, but from the arrangement of the matter, or the exact way that memories and experiences are chemically stored in the brain. Continue reading Is Consciousness Fundamental?
The Nuclear Energy Series continues! The last post discussed climate change, and who is to blame for it (hint: us). This series has been intended to be an unbiased look at nuclear energy to power our high-energy lifestyles, especially for an eventual transition to a post-carbon society that doesn’t significantly affect the climate. First, I wrote up an introduction to nuclear power, which included a description of the two main reactions (fission and fusion) and the basics of how a nuclear power plant work. After that, I looked at the different fuels for fission power plants that are operational today, and the option of potentially moving to thorium nuclear power. This time, we’ll look at what is considered by many to be the holy grail of nuclear power: fusion! Continue reading Nuclear Energy Part 3: Fusion – The Holy Grail of Energy
Furthering our exploration of different energy sources that are alternatives to fossil fuels, let’s take a closer look at the energy source that was introduced in the last post, nuclear energy. In that post, I introduced where nuclear energy comes from (the nucleus of the atom), and that there are two types of reactions: fusion, and fission. After that, we learned that the heat and light from a nuclear reaction can be used directly as a heat source, or to create high-pressure steam that can then turn a turbine to create mechanical energy, or if connected to a electrical generator, electricity. This is very similar to the use of fossil fuels; the source of heat is just nuclear, not chemical.
This time, we’ll learn a bit more about exactly which types of atoms/nuclei are used as fission fuels. Not just any ol’ nucleus will do. Theoretically, in the right circumstances, any nuclei can react. Practically speaking, however, there are only a few options that really make sense for potent energy production here on Earth. Continue reading Nuclear Energy Part 2: Fuels for Fission
With regards to energy, so far I have talked about why energy is awesome, gone over the basics of energy, and explored how the consumption of energy affects quality of life. With all that out of the way, I want to start taking a look at energy sources that are alternatives to fossil fuels (fossil fuels accounting for over 80% of current energy sources).
For this post, let’s take a look at a very polarizing energy source: nuclear energy. Continue reading Nuclear Energy Part 1: What is Nuclear Energy?
I was intending to get into a series of posts on human energy needs, but figured it would be a better start to post on the basics of what energy is, what forms it takes, how it is measured, and a few other physical parameters involved. This will hopefully be a light, fun read, and will give readers a basic understanding of the vocabulary associated with energy. Here goes: Continue reading The Basics of Energy
Introduction – The Fabric of Life:
Everything on Earth, and every other planet, is made up of the same matter. The fabric of life is the particles making up all matter in the universe, including the physical forms of living beings. These particles (simplified) are protons, neutrons, and electrons, with the energy coursing through these particles being massless photons (particles of energy or light). These three (or four, including photons) particles are responsible for chemistry as we know it. Continue reading The Essence of Life: Two Potential Models