• Member Since 28th Oct, 2012
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Particle Physics and Pony Fiction Experimentalist

More Blog Posts332

  • Sunday
    Rainbow Arc Welders and Radioactivity

    They may live in a small town in a remote part of rural Equestria, yet the ponies of Hope Hollow are an innovative lot. We saw in Rainbow Roadtrip that while ‘hopeless magic’ made them see themselves as an impoverished colourless backwater, they could actually play a full part in Equestrian culture with their well-stocked library, high-tech cottage industries, and rainbow festivals.

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    7 comments · 115 views
  • 2 weeks
    By the Light of the Moon

    If you are not yet totally bowled over by the awesome magical powers of Equestrian princesses, then take a look at this:

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    9 comments · 199 views
  • 2 weeks

    Quick update:

    As we look forward to Rainbow Roadtrip, TwoSteamPonies and I completed our cycle roadtrip to the Isle of Wight. It was great weather, lovely scenery, and he raised over £750 for the hospice. But 100 miles in two days is a bit tiring.

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    9 comments · 117 views
  • 3 weeks
    Cycling Adventure

    Some time ago my crazy brother Tom (aka TwoSteamPonies) announced a mad plan to cycle from his home in Scotland to the Isle of Wight to raise money for the hospice which cared for our father before he died.

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    9 comments · 134 views
  • 4 weeks
    Apple Harvest Mathematics

    Going to Seed provides more than one puzzle for those who love trying to decipher how Equestria works. If tales of the Great Seedling were not enough to engage your intellect, here’s another mystery: What the hay is the Confluence?

    “The Confluence. A harvest a hundred moons in the makin'. When every apple comes ripe at the same time.”

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    9 comments · 164 views

The Art of Climate Control: Rainbow Dash, Twilight and Rarity visit Paris and discuss how to tackle Global Warming · 6:25pm Dec 11th, 2015

Sources: Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Twilight, Paris background.

“Ah—it’s wonderful to be here in Paris—” Rarity sipped her glass of champagne and turned to look out of the window at the view across the restaurant terrace and admire the lights of the city boulevards, with the illuminated icon of the Eiffel Tower. “The style! The sophistication! I could spend a lifetime here and not get bored. It’s such beautiful city.”

“Sure is!” agreed Rainbow Dash, pushing a hoofful of fries into her mouth. “You should have seen the air show last summer. I hope we have time to visit the Air and Space Museum. I want to take another look at Concorde.”

Twilight looked up from reading her copy of latest draft of the UN agreement to tackle global warming. “I don’t know about that. There are still a lot of meetings we should attend at the climate change conference. It was very good of the United Nations to grant Equestria observer status for this meeting and we should make the most of it.”

“We’re only here as observers,” said Rainbow. “It’s not like we can actually do anything.”

“Such a shame,” said Rarity, flashing a flattering smile at her friend. “With your skill at managing the weather, I’m sure you could sort out their climate for them.”

“You bet I could,” agreed Rainbow.

“Rainbow,” said Twilight. “You know that the weather in this world doesn’t work like in Equestria and it’s not so straightforward to control. In fact it’s difficult to control at all, which is why they have all these problems with storms.”

“Please—” Rainbow dismissed this assessment with a casual shake of a hoof. “Sure the clouds here are a bit trickier to get a grip on, so they can’t fix—or even accurately forecast—the day to day weather. But we’re talking about the climate—the long term patterns in weather and the average temperature. Humans are the main thing changing that in this world, just as ponies push it back in Equestria. This is something that we can totally control.”

Twilight was not convinced. “How?”

Rainbow pushed her empty plate towards the centre of the table and placed her hooves on in front of her. She stared at Twilight and Rarity to be sure they were listening before beginning the lesson.

“The big thing that fixes the temperature of any world is the greenhouse effect. Planets are heated by the radiation from the sun, and they radiate this heat away as infrared light. But the gases in the atmosphere stop some of this heat escaping, just like the glass in a greenhouse. The more greenhouse gases in the air, the hotter it is on the ground. The number-one greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide—the stuff in those bubbles!” She pointed a hoof at Rarity’s drink.

“How do you know all this?” Rarity looked alternately at Rainbow Dash and at the bubbles rising from the bottom of her glass.

“In addition to being an awesome flyer, I am a weather professional Rarity. It’s my job to know it. Now to set the average temperature of your planet, you need to fix the amount of carbon dioxide in your atmosphere.”

“And how can one do that?”

“The carbon cycle.” Rainbow picked up a pen in her mouth and drew a picture on a napkin.

“Carbon is in the air as carbon dioxide. But it get absorbed by trees and plants, who turn it into wood and leaves and fruit and grass and stuff. When humans, ponies or other critters eat plants, our bodies burn the carbon and it ends up back in the air.”

“But how can we control that?” asked Rarity. “We still have to eat.”

“There’s more. If plants are buried underground for long enough, they turn into fossil carbon—coal and oil and stuff. That locks it away. The trouble is that these humans have been digging it up and burning it. And burning way too much of it way too quickly. If you burn a million years of fossilized carbon in one go, it does tend to make your atmospheric carbon dioxide level shoot up. And in a world like this, that has BIG consequences. More moisture in the air means more dangerous storms. Ice caps melt. Sea levels rise. This threatens the homes of millions of people—and quite a few polar bears.”

“So what can they do about it?” said Rarity.

“Stop burning the coal and oil and gas—duh! It’s not that hard to see that. Then grow more trees to remove the carbon in the atmosphere. Easy. They know what they have to do.” Rainbow thumped a hoof on the report Twilight had been reading. “They’ve done the math. They say they want to limit any rise in temperature to two degrees—”

“That’s now been revised to 1.5 degrees,” interrupted Twilight.

“—1.5 degrees, by cutting carbon dioxide emissions. Now they just have to actually do it.”

“There is a plan to deal with this,” said Twilight. “But’s it’s been a long story. The first United Nations meeting was in Rio in 1992, then there was the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, which was never ratified, and Copenhagen in 2009—”

“Exactly—they’ve been talking about doing something about it for over twenty years, and all they ever do is arrange more meetings.”

“It’s not that simple. Burning fossil fuels is the main source of energy in this world. As they don’t have magic in this world, they need to burn oil to do all sorts of things. You need it to get supersonic flight in this world,” pointed out Twilight.

“Being awesome is no excuse for being reckless,” retorted Dash. “And anyway they can still be awesome without burning oil. Have you seen the TGV trains they have in this country? They can do 575 kilometres per hour, powered by electricity from zero-carbon nuclear and hydro plants. It can be done. They just need to replace all those horrible coal power stations that are making all the smoke. Have you flown over Beijing lately? It’s impossible in that smog! Trouble is humans are just so so—slow to take any action.”

“They can’t just phase out coal power so soon. There has to be an agreement between all the countries. The developing nations don’t see why they should pay, when the richer countries caused the problem. They have to agree on the level of financial support and how to differentiate between different states. It’s a very complicated situation. But it looks like there will be an agreement. At least now the USA and China are committed to the process, and all nations have made pledges to cut emission. Of course these are nowhere near enough to limit global warming to safe levels, but—”

“I think Rainbow Dash put it rather more concisely Twilight,” said Rarity. “Humans do seem to approach saving the world with a surprizing—lack of urgency. Still—they do make some very nice sparkling wine.”

“Maybe. It’s complicated! It’s not all their fault. There is a lot of confusion and denial about the seriousness of the problem. It doesn’t help that there’s been so such misinformation in the media. But at least things are now moving in the right direction.” She pushed her hooves into her mane in exasperation. “It seems most humans now accept the science. We can only hope that they will reach an agreement and take the necessary action.”

“We just have to trust in the magic of friendship and science education,” said Rarity. “Now put your paperwork away and have some of this salad.”

Sources: Rainbow Dash, Concorde

Related blog post: Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie and Maud Pie attend the European Geosciences Union General Assembly in Vienna

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Comments ( 20 )

Fingers crossed. It's just going to be embarrassing if we parboil the planet despite it being completely within in our power to stop it. :fluttershysad:

Color me skeptical when we are told how many trillions of taxpayer dollars will be required to stop... the weather. (Seriously, their predictions are something like 1T=.002 degrees C over a century at best.)

The correct thing to do would be to balance it with the cost of doing nothing. More refugees, wars over water and arable land, coasts getting inundated, extreme weather wreaking havoc, and so on...

Anyway, Rainbow's right in theory, but Twilight has a good point that it's not so easy or quick to do. We really should kick coal, at the very least, it's profoundly awful as energy source. Even ignoring the climate change and the general pollution, coal mining kills hundreds or thousands of miners worldwide every year.

“Being awesome is no excuse for being reckless,” retorted Dash

Who are you and what did you do with the real Rainbow Dash?


Even Rainbow Dash has her limits. Putting herself at risk is acceptable. Putting the world at risk isn't.

The main difference between renewables and fossil fuels used to just be time. People said it took millions of years to form oil and such.

Then a couple year back, totally by accident, some French researchers discovered that by pumping CO2, like Norways been doing for years ad the UK govt refused to back just enough to get going, into emptied oil fields, as in temperature, pressure and iron oxide containing porous sandstones, and then pumping in hydrogen as well, such as you would get by using in offshore wind turbine electrolysis etc as an energy storag method, the chemicals racted together, and gave hydrocarbon and water.

When the researchers first set up the experiment, it was just before the fortnight holidays, so they could take it easy, come back, then use their ultra sensitive analysis equipment to see if there had been any measureable rate.

When they came back, conversion was over 99%

For $1 Trillion, or half the global militery cost for one year, we could knock a good couple decades off the warming problem. But it would leave us of what to do with all this $40 a barrel renewable oil thats not in the solar powered Middle East.

when fuel is cheap, is when you spend like crazy looking for alternatives. Because when it runs out, you cant afford to do anything but watch your world collapse.

Or as the Old Testament, says. Prepare thou for 7 years of fat, and 7 years of lean.


Wonderbolt Academy. Rainbow Dash to Spitfire:

...there's a big difference between pushing yourself as hard as you can and just being reckless. And if being reckless is what gets rewarded around here, if that's what it means to be a Wonderbolt, then I don't want any part of it.

[Citation needed]

I would also like to read further into this.

Global warming is an economic problem rather than an engineering one...or one might say, to consider it an engineering problem is to presuppose a solution to the economic problem. The economic problem is, as usual, one of getting people to agree with each other, and, as usual, it is much harder than a mere physical task such as controlling the Earth's climate.

Possibly the most sensible view is that our efforts should be devoted to adapting to climate change rather than preventing it. This perspective, however, finds its opponents on both sides of the debate, as climate change deniers will deny any need to adapt, and most people who accept climate change want to prevent it. The art of economic aikido, which seeks optimal adjustment along the margins, is mastered by few.

The question is not really how to prevent or achieve any particular physical change but how to do so at the lowest cost. That is best determined by the actors facing the relevant incentives at the margin. Or at least...that is one way of putting things.

I just did a quick search on the economic impact of climate change. There seems to be a pretty clear consensus that the cost of moving to a low carbon economy and keeping warming below 2 degrees is significantly less than the GDP which would be lost due to the more catastrophic scenarios which follow warming higher than this. This report gives plenty of detail.

This is what is driving the agenda in Paris. It's in everyone's interest to come to an agreement to keep future warming below this level. The problem is that every country has the individual incentive to keep their personal contribution as low of possible. Hence all the protracted negotiations and arguments. Further complicated by the fact that too many people are still denying that climate change is a problem, despite the overwhelming scientific evidence that it is, and the short term attitude of politicians. This is why it has taken so long to get this far.


Not wrong but not necessarily very important either. Rather than "most sensible," I should have said underrated.

I like that when Dash drew her picture she used Pinkie in the drawing.


I would also like to rediscover the source of this claim, but my googlefu is non existant, especially with all the commercial implementations turning up over the last few years.

Currently, I apologise the best I can give is Alternate ways

and that US fracking etc is driving oil to $40 a barrel, and its estimated that most commercial renewable replacements for oil are profitable above crude at $55 a barrel. So, as long as oil price is forced cheap, companies wont use the money saved to do research into replacing it as soon as its killed off the competition and returned to the Putin required $150-$200 a barrel.

This was absolutely lovely. Maybe I spend too much time over on the MMO-Champ Off-topic forum, but it's nice just seeing someone who isn't a denier.

I figure that if we increase the amount of CO2 and move Tellus further from Sol, we can maintain the temperature and plants would grow faster because CO2 is the limiting factor in plant-growth. ¿How hard could it be to move an whole planet?

To quote an authoritative source, "it's very very difficult".


# 7 on the list seems most practical.


Putting the question of how to do it to one side, I did a quick estimate of the energy needed to do so. My back-of-an-envelope calculation suggests that to move the Earth enough to achieve a 1 degree reduction it would need about a hundred billion times the current world energy consumption.

It's probably cheaper to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

Of course, but this method is way more fun.

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