The Second Law: The limited potential of wind energy

Cal Abel
23 March 2013

After watching An Inconvenient Truth and becoming aware of the push for renewable energy, I questioned the efficacy of renewable energy sources meeting global energy needs. I thought thermodynamics held the key in being able to understand this. Thus my quest began in January 2007. Today, I can report meaningful progress on this subject.

To build the appropriate model, I started with some publicly available fine grain data from the Bonneville Power Administration. I used data from January 1, 2007 00:00 to February 28, 2011 12:05 PST. The data is segregated into 5 minute blocks of the average power within that 5 minute period. Here is the excel file of the BPA wind power/capacity and grid load. You can verify this data by comparing the previous links. The date format is from Mathematica and is in “Absolute Time” : each full integer is 1 second. As a reference, 3376598400 is January 1, 2007 00:00:00 PST. The data is posted here in a parsed format only for your convenience and to aid in your analysis as the entirety of the modeling can readily be done in Excel if so desired. Continue reading

Rational Sustainability

Two years ago as part of a class, philosophical issues of sustainability, I wrote a term paper called Rational Sustainability. At the time, I had just finished my derivation of statistical economics while being frustrated at the lack of rigor in microeconomic/macroeconomic theory, I was taking a graduate micro-econ course at the time. I had not yet discovered Austrian economic theory, and as part of my work in deriving statistical economics found Austrian economics and have since come to appreciate it.

The sustainability philosophy class was eye opening for me.  The professor on the second day said that he thought we should abandon methodological individualism, MI. His reasoning here was I think due to his need to advance his concept of sustainability, and that by holding on to MI we could not achieve his vision sustainability. It took me a good solid minute to extract my jaw from my desk and to look around the class. I was the only one who was shocked and who saw this as a terrible course of action to seriously consider.  I saw it as an abandonment of reason. I see it now as the guarantee of a Malthusian future. My survey of the class has since jaded my outlook on the future of higher education in this country. Continue reading

Pre-alpha Release of “Elementary Principles in Statistical Economics”

I just published the theoretical framework of statistical economics, warts and all, which is why it is in a pre-alpha state…  Please look over. Any feedback changes, critiques will be greatly appreciated.

The theoretical framework shows where traditional macro economic techniques ignore the action of individuals. This carries some significant philosophical and practical implications that will have to be covered later.

Here is the link to the post: Elementary Principles of Statistical Economics

Pre-alpha Release 0.1a of “The Effect of Price in Macroeconomics”

Motivated by the debate over raising minimum wage and over the energy policy decisions of Germany and Japan with limiting nuclear energy, I wrote a paper using the thermodynamic analogy to show how price impacts the macro economy. I did not expect that it would take me this long to write as it introduced an unexpected need for developing some concepts such as the ideal arbitrage cycle.

Along the way, I found a different mathematical justification of the Black-Schoels equation that does not make the efficient markets assumption, but instead clarifies the concept of an efficient market as one that maximizes the system’s entropy. Such a MAXENT approach, has significant implications and can even be generalized to non-equilibrium conditions.

Here is the link to the release, The Effect of Price in Macroeconomics.

I look forward to your feedback.

Some thoughts on why bitcoin will succeed

This blog is in response to a comment thread here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=25482.60

First thought is more of a reaction to studying environmental ethics. There is no such thing as intrinsic value. Value is determined as part of the economic calculation and it is always measured relative to something.

A good read on the subject of denationalized currency is Hayek’s “Denationalization of Money” Available here:
http://mises.org/books/denationalisation.pdf Continue reading