Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Shotgun under the knife, solar-farms and ambient temperatures, bee stings

Shotgun, my fishing buddy, goes into surgery today. Not only is he my fishing buddy but he is my brother-in-law. I will be sitting with my sister while they whittle on his knee.

Deserts, solar panels and albedo

Overhead image of the Four Corners region of the US. This area is sometimes proposed as the ideal region for vast solar farms.

Deserts absorb about 60% of the incident solar radiation that hits them and reflect 40% back into space.

Image of a typical solar panel. It is essentially BLACK in color.
Solar panels absorb 99% of the solar radiation and turn about 15% of it into electricity and 85% of it into heat. That is, solar panels turn 40% MORE of the incident solar radiation into heat compared with the sandy/salty/gypsum rich surface of the native desert.

If you think deserts are hot now, wait until they are paved over with solar panels.

Incidentally, Europe is learning that solar cells lose conversion efficiency when they get hot. That is why nobody uses cheap reflectors to funnel more light to expensive solar cells. The cells would overheat and lose efficiency.

Ergo, as the cells get hotter than the usual desert's high temperatures they become even less efficient and turn even more than 85% of the incident solar radiation to heat.

So, it begs the question about what the huge increase in temperatures would do to the cities of Colorado, New Mexico and Texas that are downwind of those proposed solar farms? And what happens to the the farms on Great Plains?

First bee-sting of the season yesterday

A yellow-jacket whacked me while I was pulling weeds in the garden.

Last year flooding the nest was the most effective way to eliminate them.

I will have to observe from afar to more precisely locate the nest and then we will give that a try.


  1. I can usually find a half dozen Jacket nests here on this 40 acres but I haven't seen one for the last three years . Pests though they are I never bother them unless they are real close to the house or barn . They are pollinators and the pollinators are getting fewer in these parts .

  2. I got hit by a yellow jacket yesterday also. On the inside of the elbow right into the vein that is tapped for blood samples. That resulted in a rather strong, immediate reaction. The worse that I've had since I was a kid. Thank the Lord for Benadryl. --ken

  3. I had a bugger of a time with them last month here in ETN... gasoline did the trick for me!

  4. Ouch... And the term you are looking for is desert, as in Sahara...

  5. Progress on heat to electricity is moving apace with solar to electricity.

    1. In what way? Steam turbines (engines) coupled to generators have been doing that for a long time. Good thermodynamic efficiency would require high temperatures and low temperatures ... see the definition of Carnot efficiency.

      If we are talking ambient heat, why not just let global warming happen and convert it to electricity directly? Global warming solved!

    2. Not so, nor do the known laws of physics permit this.

      Solar panels turn (some) electromagnetic energy into electric potential (the rest is reflected/reradiated electromagnetic energy, including infrared which is heat). Nothing turns heat into electric potential.

      We can turn a heat differential into electric potential, by evening out the differential (making the colder part hotter, and the hotter part colder) To say "progress" here is "moving apace", is silly, unless you know something I don't. The most effecient engine I've heard of here is the sterling, which is quite dated now.

      But of course, even solar and wind are *not* sources of energy, and the energy consumed in the mining, machining, and manufacturing these products far exceeds the electric energy they will produce in their lifetime, and even that ignores the massive costs of managing the toxic waste left over when they are retired, especially wind. Right now the only legal thing you can do with a dead solar panel in California is to pay nearly their original cost to send it to "recycling" which is not available in California.

      Solar is cool. I love the independence it affords me, but that's all an accident of nearly all their actual cost of manufacture being subsidized by government, same as electric cars. They work for me, but in the big picture, they are a monumentally stupid idea.

  6. Joe, you are making the mistake of applying logic to the idea of creating case solar farms out here in the West. Government does not operate that way. Logic and reason do not factor in to the decisions they make.

  7. When you flood a nest do you use plain water or add a surfactant (dish soap) to reduce water's surface tension and make it "wetter"?

    1. I just let water dribble out of the end of the hose.

      Or well water leaves rust stains which means it has iron in the +2 state. That is, no available oxygen dissolved.

    2. I suggest placing a five gallon bucket near the hole with just a squirt of cheap liquid detergent after you have almost filled it with the hose. After the bucket is full dump it in the hole and you are more likely to swamp those trying to exit. Detergent treated water effectively blocks the Spiracles very quickly.

  8. I'm making over $13k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.
    This is what I do...

  9. Dear Sarah:

    That is fantastic.

    I am incarcerated for a crime I absolutely did not do. I would never bludgeon my two wives to death with a 20 ounce, ball-peen hammer. All my friends know that I favor 32 ounce framing hammers.

    I really need a friend and I can tell by your comments that you are a caring and empathetic person and I would like it very much if you mailed me, Nikolas Dostoyevsky at Tobolsk Penitentiary.

    I anxiously await your reply.

    Send money.

    Your very own Nikki

  10. So there you are Nikki! I've been pining for you since you disappered you bad boy. Barrack H.

  11. Excellent point - solar panels just make the world hotter, faster.


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