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Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 12:37 PM
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Sustainable Energy without the hot air (new book)">Sustainable Energy without the hot air
David J.C. MacKay, Professor of Natural Philosophy, Department of Physics, University of Cambridge

This is a must-read for anyone who is interested in energy issues.

Here is the link to the">Download page. Get it NOW. I'll wait.

I can't heap enough praise on this book. It is a comprehensive treatment of energy issues, with lots of informative charts and graphs, as well as excellent text, mathematical formulae, and extensive bibliographic references. Best of all, the electronic version is available free of charge, in both low- and high-resolution PDF formats.

Sustainable Energy w.t.h.a. will also please most readers across the "nuclear divide" -- and possibly DISplease the hard-asses in both camps. Nuclear energy is presented with both benefits and liabilities. For all technologies, MacKay presents a number specific solutions, including nuclear technologies (e.g., fission and fusion, once-through and breeder, mined uranium and seawater extraction, thorium). All of the discussions are presented this way, including "clean coal"; a term I personally find absurd, but which MacKay defers to for practical purposes. If MacKay "goes easy" on any form of energy, it would have to be coal, but given our reliance on it, it's probably realistic to figure that coal will be around for a few more decades.

And as I said, there is plenty of math, which MacKay walks the reader through. If you were able to master first-year high-school algebra ("5th form" for Crown subjects), you will have no trouble with Sustainable Energy w.t.h.a.. And it's comprehensive -- you can figure out how much energy your cat(s) and dog(s) can consume if you wish. Vegan vs. carnivore? Cell or landline? Desktop or laptop? It's all there. (Well, not figures for pet birds. Perhaps Prof. MacKay will include it in an Errata page.)

About the only drawback for most DU readers is that Sustainable Energy w.t.h.a. is UK-centric. (Yes, there's Metric.) Although the arguments will be very similar for people living in the USA and Canada, it should be borne in mind that we Norteamericanos use much more energy than our friends in the British Isles. We also have more solar capability, but less tidal capability. Yes, we're a bunch of pigs -- but Luxembourgers are even more porcine. And richer. And have better broadband.

Also check out the">Without Hot Air blog.

Did I mention that">you can download it?

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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 07:17 PM
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1. Thanks for the link
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 07:21 PM
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2. LOL!
Page 211:
"Engineers at a UK electricity
generator told me that the capital cost of regular dirty coal power stations
is 1 billion per GW, about the same as nuclear"


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