Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Why I write careful posts on nonsensical topics

Basically, because I'm not allowed to write or talk about work-related matters.

So I apply my considerable intelligence, broad knowledge, and unbeatable modesty to things like the differences between powerlifting and bodybuilding (and the superiority of the former over the latter), using the standard B-school two-by-two matrix format (click for bigger):

I also take to task people who think that knowledge is superfluous as long as their intentions are good (or at least consistent the the current "virtuous" narrative). For example, I did congratulate TIME for not using a photo of cooling towers for this article (unlike almost everyone else who uses images of cooling towers' steam to write about pollution),

but I do have to point out that most of what's seen coming out of those stacks is also steam. First, the color and the shape of the expansion give that away, but even if they didn't, gaseous $\mathrm{CO}_{2}$ is transparent, as is water vapor. (Steam is liquid water suspended in water vapor.) And soot and other common pollutants have distinctive colors; that white means water.

If you're surprised that combustion would generate water vapor, which condenses when it expands at the top of the stack, remember that hydrocarbon-based fuel combustion is mostly
$ \mathrm{C}_{n}\mathrm{H}_{m}  + (n+ m/4)\,\,\, \mathrm{O}_{2}\rightarrow n\,\,\, \mathrm{CO}_{2}  + m/2 \,\,\, \mathrm{H}_{2}\mathrm{O},$

and most of the rest (nitrous and sulfurous compounds, metals, soot and ash, the souls of the damned) are removed from the smoke before it's allowed to leave through the stacks (because of laws against pollution):

Sometimes I do take the nonsense dial to 11 --- but all the calculations are correct.

About a year ago, when I temporarily changed the name of this blog to Project 2016, the idea was to track non-work related learning, which is one of my hobbies; but time constraints made me choose between actually learning stuff and blogging about it, and I chose the learning.

So, expect some more carefully thought-out nonsense. Careful thinking is another one of my hobbies, so I practice it even on nonsensical topics. I have very strange hobbies: another one is moving heavy objects for no immediate purpose, like this gentleman

Live long and prosper -- JCS