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Power Science

Wilma the Capacitor and Particle Accelerator 238

Sterling D. Allan writes "In a story at the new Open Source Energy Network site, Paul Noel says: "Energetically speaking, the vortex that forms in these storms is also a natural particle accelerator, and a massive capacitor bank. As the harmonic circuit develops, it resonates acoustically and functions as a capacitor, extracting the heat from the storm and transmitting it away. Without this electrical circuit, the storm would fail almost instantly due to the accumulation of heat from condensation of water." He also asserts that understanding these phenomena better could help us harness the power of nature, seen and unseen."
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Wilma the Capacitor and Particle Accelerator

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  • by SpeedyGonz ( 771424 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @08:22AM (#13879587)
    before they do any damage to us: Detonating an EMP bomb inside?
  • I call BS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kyle90 ( 827345 ) <> on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @08:34AM (#13879646) Homepage Journal
    This looks like it's a lot of big words (which the article writer doesn't even understand) and not much science.
  • by JumperCable ( 673155 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @08:38AM (#13879660)
    "and functions as a capacitor, extracting the heat from the storm and transmitting it away." -Article The author doesn't have a clue what a capacitor is.
  • by utexaspunk ( 527541 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @08:55AM (#13879775)
    I'm more shocked that it got through when the article submitter works for the source website. Surely waiting for some qualified thirdparty to confirm the news isn't nonsense would've been wise?

    Are you new here? Practically every other article is submitted by a party related to the article source websites. Nothing here is really news, but more just fodder for discussion. Or at least bitching (as the case may be here).

    Imagine you're at the nerd table in high school, and people are continually coming up to the table peddling their wares or ideas. Maybe a couple people at the table chime in with something they heard in the news every now and then. In any case, it's all subject for discussion. We can talk about how something is crap, discuss the implications about this or that, or at least see if we can make milk come out someone's nose. That's really all /. is about. If you're coming here expecting a peer-reviewed scientific journal, or actual journalism, I'm afraid you're in the wrong place.
  • "Without this electrical circuit, the storm would fail almost instantly due to the accumulation of heat from condensation of water."

    The flow of heat and water in hurricanes is well enough understood. I'm sure electrical discharges play a part in most storm mechanics, but even if a hurricane had ZERO discharges, its massive "humidity engine" would still run.

    I don't know where these guys come from, where they think that electromagnetics are the ultimate macro-scale drivers of weather events.
  • by Engineer-Poet ( 795260 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @09:04AM (#13879831) Homepage Journal
    FTFA []:
    During its transit of Florida, satellite photos showed that areas of the high clouds of Wilma covering more than 1/3 of the state were below -135 F. (The lowest temperature for the IR satellite chart). It was actually close in a large area to -175. Some areas exceeded that. This is what happens when you dump the arctic into the tropics. Explosions happen! The forecast of a weak Cat 1 became a strong Cat 3 due to this temperature shock.
    Actually, that's what happens when you take huge amounts of air and loft them tens of thousands of feet; they expand and cool (even as they drop moisture and release heat to power the lift process) and get very cold at their tops.

    None of this is strange physics. All of it is accounted for by current weather models. Talk of "particle accelerators" and "capacitor banks" is silly; there's a lot of energy converted to lightning in thunderstorms, but it's small and secondary compared to the heat engine which drives it.

    The authors of this piece are first-class cranks.

  • by lpangelrob ( 714473 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @09:15AM (#13879897)
    It did damage and frightened people.

    Best understatement for a major hurricane hitting a populated area... EVER.

  • Re:Wow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ignignot ( 782335 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @09:36AM (#13880041) Journal
    You're assuming that the hurricanes are caused by the greenhouse effect. That's quite a leap of faith, in my opinion. We have recently had quite a few hurricanes, but there have been periods in the past where they have been just as bad. If I recall correctly, the year with the record for hurricanes before 2005 happened before weather sats existed, so there were almost certainly storms that were not counted on that year.

    And more on topic, I think the big deal would be the ability to stop hurricanes by stopping the electric circulation within them. I can think of hundreds of people who used to be alive in new orleans that would have been alive today with that technology.
  • by NewKimAll ( 923422 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @10:07AM (#13880208)
    I've read articles that claim hurricanes actually help expend the energy built up in the oceans from the sun. If we were able to stop hurricanes from forming and could just keep them as Tropical storms, could the Earth gain too much energy over time? I don't really have the answer as it is just speculation, but maybe, just maybe, hurricanes happen for a good reason. So if we mess the weather too much, I expect bad things to happen far worse than just a few hurricanes every year.
  • stop the spread! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Zebra_X ( 13249 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @10:35AM (#13880396)
    This is total junk science. Why is this being posted as "news"? Paul claim "Without this electrical circuit, the storm would fail almost instantly due to".

    The use of the word "instantly" when discussing any weather phenomena is not accurate. Everything takes time to form, or not - to use such terms indicates the author is over exagerating his claims.

    Terms like "massive capacitor bank" and "harmonic circuits" are also used to wow the audience into thinking that perhaps the author might actually know what he is talking about.

    Not only that but it's on "" after poking around I felt like I should get my tin foil hat out, I'd be in good company. Check out this great piece of reporting: ndex.asp []
  • by Tsu Dho Nimh ( 663417 ) <> on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @11:03AM (#13880573)
    Why hasn't the government spent any of it money to destroy hurricanes while they are offshore; instead, they just sit back and watch the destruction.

    If all hurricanes were destroyed ... what would that do to the climate worldwide? What about rainfall? It would be easier and cheaper to move people (permanently) out of vulnerable areas.

    Building in an area that is hurricane-suceptible, in the area the expected to flood, should NOT BE REWARDED by subsidized insurance, rescue efforts, and rebuilding money. Except for fishing and shipping, there are few publically valuable reasons to build and live in the Gulf Coast. Resorts? Let them fend for themselves - they are for-profit businesses.

  • by Y2 ( 733949 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @12:03PM (#13881412)
    IANAMeteorologist, but I do have a physicists' union card. The heat from the condensation of water is an integral part of keeping a thunderstorm going. I think you can find the thermodynamics of it in the Feynman Lectures, volume 2. So this electro-acoustical story sounds like BS to me.
  • Bollocks (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <sd_resp2@earthsho[ ] ['d.c' in gap]> on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @12:18PM (#13881595)
    This guy is talking bollocks.

    Unfortunately, science is not cool anymore. It's a victim of its own success; things which obey rules never really attract attention. If light suddenly decided not to travel in straight lines, or objects suddenly ceased to attract one another in proportion to the ratio of the product of their masses to the distance between them, that would get noticed. If you want to get into the papers for drawing a triangle, all you have to do is make sure that its angles add up to something other than 180 degrees. If the pressure in a fluid were to act more strongly in one direction than another, or a homogeneous filament suspended by its ends formed some other curve than y = k * (e ** x + e ** -x), no doubt somebody would be screaming for Something To Be Done. {Except they would not, because we'd all be dead}.

    It probably doesn't help either that there is a public perception that scientists create things like nuclear weapons, genetically modified foods, climate change &c. and haven't yet given us the flying cars and wristwatch TV sets they promised us.

    Pseudo-science, on the other hand, is cool. It attracts the kind of sad-acts who, no longer content with merely refusing to eat the same kinds of food as the rest of us or call their kids the same kinds of names as the rest of us, now apparently resent the concept of being bound by the same fundamental laws as the rest of us.

"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban