Science Saturday Open Thread

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One of the things I have always wanted to do is build my own custom house that’s 100% energy independent. That means I spend a lot of time thinking about ways to make the house as energy efficient as possible, and with that comes the exploration of some crazy ideas.

Like could you supplement your homes electricity by simply running on a treadmill or riding an exercise bike?

Can this man in ridiculous tights power your house?

This is a surprisingly easy question to answer, you just have to understand energy. If you ever have to take a Physics class energy is the greatest thing ever. It makes the problems so much easier to solve, and this case is no different. Since the house takes energy, and our bodies expend energy, we can make a direct comparison.

The one little hair in the soup is that we use two different measures of energy for homes and bodies, and they each have their own little eccentricities.

Let’s tackle homes first. They measure their energy in a unit called kilowatt-hours. A watt is a measure of power, and power is energy divided by time. So to get energy you have to multiple the time back in, which is why it’s kilowatt-hours and not kilowatts per hour.

The cost of 1 kilowatt-hour varies depending of a number of factors, but a general rule of thumb I’ve found is that it costs approximately $0.10. So you need to produce 10 kilowatt-hours to save $1

We want to keep those things from spinning.

The unit of energy we use for our bodies is a Calorie. Notice how I capitalized the word Calorie. That’s important. A calorie and Calorie are two different things. A Calorie is the same as a kilocalorie, which is 1,000 calories. When talking about food and exercise we usually use Calories.

To put the Calorie into perspective, running or walking 1 mile generally burns about 100 Calories (of course that depends on a number of factors), and you need to eat/burn 3,500 Calories to gain/lose 1 pound.

With that out of the way, how much exercise would you need to do to save $1 on your electricity bill?

10 kilowatt-hours is the equivalent of 8,600 Calories, which would be like running 86 miles. The fastest marathon ever was just over 2 hours, so if you go that guy to power your house for you you’d have to pay him less than $0.15 per hour for it to be worth it.

So unfortunately that crazy idea won’t work. You could charge your phone though. A typical phone battery has a capacity of 5.45 watt-hours, which is a mere 5 Calories. You could charge your phone by lightly pedaling on an exercise bike.

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saints_chiefsfan1979
saints_chiefsfan1979
07/13/2019 3:59 pm

This isn’t exactly science related, but the NFL handed down 3 suspensions the past couple of days. So i would think we would have a resolution on Tyreek Hill very soon

pompano
pompano
Reply to  saints_chiefsfan1979
07/13/2019 4:11 pm

I saw someone got popped for PEDs. I wonder if they group the penalty announcements by catagory or timeline…or at all for that matter.

saints_chiefsfan1979
saints_chiefsfan1979
Reply to  pompano
07/13/2019 4:22 pm

Incognito got 2 games for whatever the hell he did

pompano
pompano
Reply to  saints_chiefsfan1979
07/13/2019 4:25 pm

“conduct unbecoming”?

saints_chiefsfan1979
saints_chiefsfan1979
Reply to  pompano
07/13/2019 4:26 pm

I mean I don’t know exactly what he did . I heard he tore up a funeral home or something like that? I remember it being pretty bizarre

Tyrone
07/13/2019 3:35 pm

Speaking of charging phones, does jesus use an iPhone, or Android?

pompano
pompano
Reply to  Tyrone
07/13/2019 3:41 pm

I peg him as a Linux guy on PC, he probaby uses multiple platforms while mobile.
His old man probaly still uses AOL,
I do…

legal_kush
legal_kush
Reply to  Tyrone
07/13/2019 11:26 pm

That’s a thorny issue.

Texas Chief
Texas Chief
Reply to  Tyrone
07/14/2019 9:09 am

IPhone, obviously.

Android’s operating system is completely open source (Meaning that ANYONE can look at the original source code to see exactly how it works, AND modify it without incurring cost to alter it so as they see fit to run on other hardware). They can improve it. They can throw out the parts that obviously don’t work, and integrate new technologies built on learned knowledge to allow the platform to become more efficient, include new capabilities, and modify the code to account for new discoveries.

IPhone’s are completely proprietary. No one but Apple is allowed to see the code. No one is allowed to use or change the code, even if there are 10,000 ways to make it better, more efficient, and correct the mistakes. And Apple uses their code to manipulate the devices, and thus the people that buy-in to their products. They declare that they know better, strictly control any software that runs on their devices (to keep as much of the profit for themselves as possible, and more than that is earned). Every so often, Apple looks around the world and sees what other programmers have been able to accomplish and test, and prove (in that the software works, and is wildly popular) … and then re-do their OS to include the things that they can steal from people much smarter than them…while at the same time maintaining a neck-throttling level of control over the actual code.

This was a silly question. =)

Nasrani
Nasrani
07/13/2019 2:51 pm

Ahh, alternative energy. It’s something I’m looking at doing, but I’m not nearly smart enough to know anything about it unfortunately.

How viable is methanol for a means of fueling one’s car? Or using solar panels on one’s home? How much internal power (electricity vs. heat vs. water) can be generated from one solar panel, and are they distributed at different rates?

zulu trader
zulu trader
Reply to  Nasrani
07/13/2019 2:55 pm

The question should be ” how much does it cost? “

pompano
pompano
Reply to  zulu trader
07/13/2019 3:01 pm

A lot now, less and less as the economies of scale kick in, as always.

pompano
pompano
Reply to  Tony Sommer
07/13/2019 3:09 pm

A “net zero” home requires significant initial investment. 5-10 yrs to realize the financial benefits.
But I assume that if you’re builing a home you’re in it for the long haul.

Nasrani
Nasrani
Reply to  Tony Sommer
07/13/2019 3:17 pm

Same. I don’t have nearly enough bread to worry about investing in it now, but it’s definitely something I’m looking into when I’m successful enough to build/buy a modest home.

I’ll need to learn how to wire everything as well…

Berserker
Berserker
Reply to  Tony Sommer
07/13/2019 5:09 pm

What ever happened with Elon Musk’s solar tiles?

legal_kush
legal_kush
Reply to  Tony Sommer
07/13/2019 3:20 pm

Huh? Everything becomes sugar…
Beer: Grain, hops, water, yeast. Where is the sugar?
Yep, in the grain.

legal_kush
legal_kush
Reply to  Tony Sommer
07/13/2019 11:27 pm

Wort?

Texas Chief
Texas Chief
Reply to  Tony Sommer
07/13/2019 11:59 pm

I remember reading an article about the huge solar energy farms in the Nevada desert that were built to ‘test’ the technology. An extremely tall central tower stands in the middle of a gigantic array of mirrored panels that stretch out for a few hundred yards in every direction from the tower. The mirrors make up a gigantic ‘filled in’ circle around the tower. Each mirror is motorized and computer controlled so that the sunlight is redirected to the top of the central tower. The effect is to collect all the light energy from hundreds of thousands of deflectors and direct it to the conical top of the central tower. The tower has a central metallic rod that extends from the top of the tower down to underground where the super heated rod is used to boil some liquid (I’m pretty sure it’s water). The liquid becomes steam and the steam powers a turbine, which in turn produces electricity that can be stored in a battery array, or sent down power lines to where it’s needed. The reason I remember this article, is because …… (and I should not find this funny, but I did) ……. engineers testing the facility kept seeing fiery streaks in the sky above the mirrors, near the tower. They were intermittent, and at first they didn’t know what was going on. Then, they were having issues keeping the mirrors clean. They were being fowled (no, that isn’t spelled wrong) by black streaks and ash. Some of the mirrors were being badly scratched or broken outright. It was soon discovered that the air temperature near the top of the tower was so damn hot (with all the redirected sunlight) that wild birds and insects flying too close at certain times of the day……simply burst into flames, mid-flight….. and their remains were dirtying and damaging the mirrors (See, I told you I didn’t spell it wrong. The mirrors were being fowled, literally!) Due to the levels of bird death, and the damage the dying birds were causing to the solar deflectors, the facilities were being shut down… Read more »

zulu trader
zulu trader
07/13/2019 1:49 pm

Colossians 1:29
For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

. . . I’m gonna’ go get some lunch

pompano
pompano
Reply to  zulu trader
07/13/2019 1:51 pm

Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so

pompano
pompano
Reply to  zulu trader
07/13/2019 2:01 pm

Animal Crackers 15:23
Still, on the other hand, water is water. And east is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does.

zulu trader
zulu trader
Reply to  pompano
07/13/2019 2:36 pm

You might need some prunes

legal_kush
legal_kush
Reply to  pompano
07/13/2019 2:59 pm

East is east? If you go far enough east, but not too far, you end up west of where you started.

And water is only water because two hydrogen atoms’ electrons shared a rim job with an oxygen atom. So water is basically air, which explains fish.

What is does not explain is why Catholics think they can eat fish flesh on Friday and somehow they are not eating meat.

BOOM.

Religion.

pompano
pompano
Reply to  legal_kush
07/13/2019 3:14 pm

fair enough.

Berserker
Berserker
Reply to  legal_kush
07/13/2019 5:17 pm
legal_kush
legal_kush
07/13/2019 1:34 pm

So, if I can run or walk 1 mile to burn 100 calories, why the fuck do people run for fitness? Especially young people? The old fuckers should be running, while the youth should walk. They have more time.

I shot 42-37 for a 79 this morning. We drove a cart, and I had six beers. Had fun, gained calories, and then visited my cognitive-challenged mother, who is still sharp enough to know she needs to be in a home, not AL.

So I called my sis. She lives in the Tampa/St. Pete area (Largo) and is an RN. Time for her to expend some energy on this shit.

Damn. Off topic again.

QuackTastic
QuackTastic
Reply to  legal_kush
07/13/2019 2:50 pm

Running is more about cardio than anything

pompano
pompano
07/13/2019 1:24 pm

While the laws of conservation of energy means it will never be free, our use of energy could/should be much more efficient by now.

pompano
pompano
07/13/2019 12:47 pm

What if you put a photoelectric array on a stationary bike powered by geothermal?
I like Zulu’s idea better

pompano
pompano
Reply to  pompano
07/13/2019 12:51 pm

.

MidKan Chiefs Lifer
MidKan Chiefs Lifer
07/13/2019 12:25 pm

Built my own house and tried to make it pretty efficient, but it’s not energy independent. My best friends father in law did build an awesome house that is totally off the grid. Primary power is 2 wind generators, secondary is solar power and the backup is a large propane generator. Obviously not the same as energy independent, but similar at least to my thinking.

Dave B.
Dave B.
07/13/2019 12:09 pm

Here’s something else you can do with an exercise bike…
comment image

Warpath
Warpath
Reply to  Dave B.
07/13/2019 12:34 pm

That ain’t right.

pompano
pompano
Reply to  Warpath
07/13/2019 12:50 pm

Absoloutly, you’re supposed to take your pants off first.

Dave B.
Dave B.
Reply to  Warpath
07/13/2019 5:21 pm

It’s not what you think. It’s for motivation.

QuackTastic
QuackTastic
Reply to  Dave B.
07/13/2019 2:52 pm

It’s a fist! Its not gay!

pompano
pompano
Reply to  QuackTastic
07/13/2019 2:55 pm

I don’t want it!
I just need it!

zulu trader
zulu trader
Reply to  pompano
07/13/2019 2:57 pm

Pomp, have another drink

Warpath
Warpath
Reply to  zulu trader
07/13/2019 3:03 pm

No shit, BERTS is wicked stuff.

pompano
pompano
Reply to  zulu trader
07/13/2019 3:13 pm
legal_kush
legal_kush
Reply to  Dave B.
07/13/2019 3:11 pm

What did Helen Keller’s parents do when she was naughty?
Re-arranged the furniture.
When she was _really_ naughty?

Left the plunger in the toilet.

HawaiiFiveOh
HawaiiFiveOh
07/13/2019 11:42 am

But…what if I get my kids to power the house?

Tarkus
Reply to  Tony Sommer
07/13/2019 1:05 pm

To take out the trash and mow the lawn?

pompano
pompano
Reply to  Tarkus
07/13/2019 1:11 pm

If trained properly…
possibly?

zulu trader
zulu trader
Reply to  Tony Sommer
07/13/2019 12:44 pm

Exercising Ariana Grande GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

a power plant

Tarkus
Reply to  Tony Sommer
07/13/2019 1:05 pm

Right there with you.

Except for the exercise part.

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