Category Archives: Carnival

What Does A Bathroom Renovation Cost ?

Great, you’ve bought your house, and its time for you to renovate your bathroom, but your still wondering “what does a Bathroom Renovation Cost”. Well that’s a good question, it can be anywhere from a few hundred dollars up to an in excess of $50 000. Generally a complete bathroom renovation will cost you somewhere between $8000 to $25000, depending on what you want to do. Yes, that’s still a pretty big spread, so lets take a look at a few factors that might influence that :-

Major Bathroom Renovation Cost

If your planning to completely gut your bathroom and start again with a blank canvas, here are some of the major costs you can expect :

· Building permits – Depending on where your property is, and if the job is estimated at over $10 000 and involving structural design changes, you might need a building permit. A building permit can cost you up to $1000.

·Bathroom Fittings – The bathroom fittings and accessories, can vary wildly in price. A new toilet can cost you on average $180 for a budget model and up to $1000 for a wall hung model. And these costs do not include installation of the toilet.

·Plumbing Costs – This is a real killer you can pay anywhere from $70 – $180 per hour depending on the plumber. It will start to cost you if you are looking at doing major plumbing rework, and changing locations of the pipe e.t.c.

·Other tradesman – Don’t forget you will need other trade people other then Plumbers, Electricians can cost an average of $90 per hour and as well as Tilers any where up to $60 per hour.

Things to Consider with a Bathroom Renovation

A bathroom renovation company can give you a complete price on the renovation job, which will include tradesman and all materials required. You can expect to be with out a bathroom for a few days though. If you go down this route make sure you spend the time in getting it right, the better your information about what you want that you provide the better the job.

Make sure you answer these questions first.

·Are you wanting to move a bath, sink or shower ? Remember that there is major cost associated with this.

·Are you wanting to have a skylight installed.

·What type of bathroom tiles do you want ?

·Do you have enough lighting or do you need more

·What colour and type of bathroom accessories are you going for ?

Take a look at plenty of photos for bathrooms that have been renovated (check out our Bathroom Gallery) , just make sure you have your budget in mind first. When you talk to a bathroom renovation expert, start high, and let them give you the benefit of their experience, if your not happy with the quote you can always get a second price.

Getting quotes

The easiest way is to Google plumbers in your area, and you can always try the yellow pages.

Permits and Red tape

One last word of advice is make sure you use a licensed contractor where ever you need to , and check with your local council about permits required. the great thing about going for licensed tradespeople is they will be covered by insurance. So you can make sure your you bathroom renovation cost doesn’t get blown out of the water by mistake.

If you’ve been wondering about your Bathroom Renovation Cost and how to find out, then read this, article, it will really help guide you.

Making Your Paleo Shopping List

The Paleo diet is often referred to as the caveman diet. Its pretty simple, the basis of the paleo diet is to turn back the clock and imitate the diet of our ancestors. Adopting a paleo lifestyle can feel challenging at times; it may often feel that as you look through the grocery store aisles, previously favorite foods are now off limits (You know Chips, pasta, Grains). In fact, many of the Western diet staples may need to be left out of your paleo shopping list leaving you confused about just what exactly you can indulge in on a paleo diet.

Learning How to Shop Paleo

Learning how to shop for a paleo based diet can take a bit of searching around and working out. Different grocery stores will often carry different products. With time, you will learn which places carry for favorite paleo items and where you can get the best paleo bargains and deals. Finding paleo products doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to shop in the all organic, upscale, overpriced swanky stores, however. Big name chains, like Costco or Woolworth also have an excellent variety of paleo friendly foods.

Before you head out to the store, make a paleo shopping list of the items that you need. Remember to take into consideration any special needs, such as budget, friends coming over for dinner, or a new paleo recipe that you wanted to try out. If you are new to eating a paleo diet, you will want to clear out your pantry and start fresh by stocking up on basic paleo staples.

A good rule of thumb is that anything prepackaged or highly processed should be avoided. Foods such as pretzels, chips or packaged cookies would fall under this category. As well, dairy can not be consumed by paleo dieters. Cheese, milk, yogurt, ice cream and essentially anything else that falls into the dairy category should be cut out of your diet. As a substitute, pick up some coconut milk.

Protein and Substitutes

Protein is highly encouraged on the paleo diet, and most sources of protein are paleo friendly. Highly processed or low grade meats should be avoided, otherwise, enjoy your pick of juicy grub, from poultry to turkey to bacon. Yes, bacon is a paleo sanctioned food; however, like all paleo foods, enjoy your tender and crispy bacon in moderation. Select a couple of meat choices to add to your grocery shopping list.

Eggs are another excellent source of protein as well as omega 3 fatty acids; a staple to be included on any paleo shopping list. Eggs are inexpensive and versatile, great for making a wide variety of paleo recipes. Fish and seafood are both two other staples of the paleo diet. If you are looking for convenience, pick up canned salmon or tuna; however, make sure that it is packed in water and not oil.

Coconut oil is the perfect ingredient for cooking in skillets or other recipes involving high temperatures. Coconut oil also adds a nice hint of coconut flavor to your dishes; especially lovely for meals such as stir fry. Olive oil is also allowed on the paleo diet. Vegetable oils should be avoided. Some paleo dieters will still consume butter, however, it is not officially part of the paleo diet. If you can’t live without butter, opt for a grass fed variety.

Even paleo dieters need to have snacks every now and again. Nuts are an excellent paleo snack choice. High in unsaturated fats, virtually all nuts are a good choice. Take note, however, peanuts are considered a legume, and not a nut. All legumes are off the table in the paleo menu, therefore avoid including peanuts in your nut choices.

All grains and refined sugars are not allowed on the paleo diet. This includes basically any bread or flour type product; bagels, pasta, rice and other similar items are all off limits. You should also steer clear of sugary drinks such as sodas and fruit juices, unless homemade using fresh fruits.

Fruit and Vegetables

Most fruits and vegetables are safe to eat. However, especially if you are hoping to lose weight, it is recommended that you try to limit your consumption of starchier fruits and veggies.

For example

? Yams

? Potatoes(prefer Sweet Potatoes)

? Bananas

Are all allowed in moderation, however, they are more calorically dense foods. If you are very fit, however, these starchier options may provide you with an extra energy boost for your workouts. Likewise, although fruit is a healthy choice and can make an excellent snack, stick to 1-3 servings a day. Although natural, fruits are high in sugars.

Make sure to stock up on spices before leaving the grocery store. Unfortunately, most store bought condiments are not paleo safe. However, this is a great opportunity to invest in a small blender or food processor and start getting creative in the kitchen with your own dips and toppings. Invent your own delicious paleo concoctions to add flavor and life to each of your paleo meals.

Final Tip

Plan you week in advance, that’s every meal you might be having, so that will allow you to make your Paleo Shopping List for the week, so you only need to shop once. It will help when prepping meals as well.

Paleo is a great lifestyle diet, if you are wanting to know how to prepare you Paleo Shopping List Check out this great article to learn more.

Humans by the Numbers: Chromosomes, DNA & Genes

Genes & Chromosomes

Chromosome Length (mm) Base pairs Variations Confirmed proteins Putative proteins Pseudo-genes Centromere position (Mbp) Cumulative (%)
1 85 249,250,621 4,401,091 2,012 31 1,130 125 7.9
2 83 243,199,373 4,607,702 1,203 50 948 93.3 16.2
3 67 198,022,430 3,894,345 1,040 25 719 91 23
4 65 191,154,276 3,673,892 718 39 698 50.4 29.6
5 62 180,915,260 3,436,667 849 24 676 48.4 35.8
6 58 171,115,067 3,360,890 1,002 39 731 61 41.6
7 54 159,138,663 3,045,992 866 34 803 59.9 47.1
8 50 146,364,022 2,890,692 659 39 568 45.6 52
9 48 141,213,431 2,581,827 785 15 714 49 56.3
10 46 135,534,747 2,609,802 745 18 500 40.2 60.9
11 46 135,006,516 2,607,254 1,258 48 775 53.7 65.4
12 45 133,851,895 2,482,194 1,003 47 582 35.8 70
13 39 115,169,878 1,814,242 318 8 323 17.9 73.4
14 36 107,349,540 1,712,799 601 50 472 17.6 76.4
15 35 102,531,392 1,577,346 562 43 473 19 79.3
16 31 90,354,753 1,747,136 805 65 429 36.6 82
17 28 81,195,210 1,491,841 1,158 44 300 24 84.8
18 27 78,077,248 1,448,602 268 20 59 17.2 87.4
19 20 59,128,983 1,171,356 1,399 26 181 26.5 89.3
20 21 63,025,520 1,206,753 533 13 213 27.5 91.4
21 16 48,129,895 787,784 225 8 150 13.2 92.6
22 17 51,304,566 745,778 431 21 308 14.7 93.8
X 53 155,270,560 2,174,952 815 23 780 60.6 99.1
Y 20 59,373,566 286,812 45 8 327 12.5 100
mtDNA 0.0054 16,569 929 13 0 0 N/A 100
TOTALS 1,052 3,095,677,412 55,757,749 19,300 738 12,859

[Table by Tableizer]

Humans by the Numbers: Atoms of the Body

Element A (amu) Symbol # Atoms Mass (kg)   Element A (amu) Symbol # Atoms Mass (kg)   Element A (amu) Symbol # Atoms Mass (kg)
Hydrogen 1.0079 H 4.22E+27 7.06E+00   Rubidium 85.4678 Rb 2.20E+21 3.12E-04   Zirconium 91.224 Zr 2.00E+19 3.03E-06
Oxygen 15.9994 O 1.66E+27 4.40E+01   Strontium 87.62 Sr 2.20E+21 3.20E-04   Cobalt 58.9332 Co 2.00E+19 1.96E-06
Carbon 12.0107 C 8.03E+26 1.60E+01   Bromine 79.904 Br 2.00E+21 2.65E-04   Cesium 132.9055 Cs 7.00E+18 1.54E-06
Nitrogen 14.0067 N 3.90E+25 9.07E-01   Aluminum 26.9815 Al 1.00E+21 4.48E-05   Mercury 200.59 Hg 6.00E+18 2.00E-06
Calcium 40.078 Ca 1.60E+25 1.06E+00   Copper 63.546 Cu 7.00E+20 7.39E-05   Arsenic 74.9216 As 6.00E+18 7.46E-07
Phosphorus 30.9738 P 9.60E+24 4.94E-01   Lead 207.2 Pb 3.00E+20 1.03E-04   Chromium 51.9961 Cr 6.00E+18 5.18E-07
Sulfur 32.065 S 2.60E+24 1.38E-01   Cadmium 112.411 Cd 3.00E+20 5.60E-05   Molybdenum 95.94 Mo 3.00E+18 4.78E-07
Sodium 22.9897 Na 2.50E+24 9.54E-02   Boron 10.811 B 2.00E+20 3.59E-06   Selenium 78.96 Se 3.00E+18 3.93E-07
Potassium 39.0983 K 2.20E+24 1.43E-01   Manganese 54.938 Mn 1.00E+20 9.12E-06   Beryllium 9.0122 Be 3.00E+18 4.49E-08
Chlorine 35.453 Cl 1.60E+24 9.42E-02   Nickel 58.6934 Ni 1.00E+20 9.75E-06   Vanadium 50.9415 V 8.00E+17 6.77E-08
Magnesium 24.305 Mg 4.70E+23 1.90E-02   Lithium 6.941 Li 1.00E+20 1.15E-06   Uranium 238.0289 U 2.00E+17 7.91E-08
Silicon 28.0855 Si 3.90E+23 1.82E-02   Barium 137.327 Ba 8.00E+19 1.82E-05   Radium 226 Ra 8.00E+10 3.00E-14
Fluorine 18.9984 F 8.30E+22 2.62E-03   Iodine 126.9045 I 5.00E+19 1.05E-05            
Iron 55.845 Fe 4.50E+22 4.17E-03   Tin 118.71 Sn 4.00E+19 7.89E-06            
Zinc 65.39 Zn 2.10E+22 2.28E-03   Gold 196.9665 Au 2.00E+19 6.54E-06   TOTAL     6.75E+27 7.00E+01

Atoms of the Body

[Table by Tableizer]

Humans by the Numbers: Cells of the Body

Cells - Types & Numbers

[Table by Tableizer]

Organ/system Cell type Mean total cell number Percentage of Total SD
Gallbladder other stromal cells 8.48E+06 2.29E-05 9.00E+04
Blood Erythrocytes 2.63E+13 7.09E+01 0.51+13
  Leucocytes 5.17E+10 1.39E-01 2.43+10
  Platelets 1.45E+12 3.91E+00 5.70E+11
Bone Cortical osteocytes 1.10E+09 2.96E-03 2.40E+08
  Trabecular osteocytes 7.11E+08 1.92E-03 3.72E+08
Bone marrow Nucleate cells 7.53E+11 2.03E+00 2.18E+11
Heart Connective tissue cells 4.00E+09 1.08E-02 NA
  Heart muscle cells 2.00E+09 5.39E-03 NA
Kidney Glomerulus total cells 1.03E+10 2.78E-02 3.60E+09
Liver Hepatocytes 2.41E+11 6.50E-01 NA
  Kupffer cells 9.63E+10 2.60E-01 NA
  Stellate cells 2.41E+10 6.50E-02 NA
Lungs, bronchi,bronchioles Alveolar cells (type I) 3.86E+10 1.04E-01 9.50E+09
  Alveolar cells (type II) 6.99E+10 1.88E-01 1.45E+10
  Alveolar macrophages 2.90E+10 7.82E-02 7.30E+09
  Basal cells 4.32E+09 1.16E-02 9.50E+08
  Ciliated cells 7.68E+09 2.07E-02 1.62E+09
  Endothelial cells 1.41E+11 3.80E-01 3.00E+10
  Goblet cells 1.74E+09 4.69E-03 5.10E+08
  Indeterminate bronchial/bronchiolar cells 3.30E+09 8.89E-03 1.00E+09
  Interstitial cells 1.37E+11 3.69E-01 1.60E+10
  Other bronchial/bronchiolar secretory cells 4.49E+08 1.21E-03 1.97E+08
  Preciliated cells 1.03E+09 2.78E-03 3.40E+08
Nervous system Glial cells 3.00E+12 8.09E+00 6.60E+11
  Neurons 1.00E+11 2.70E-01 NA
Pancreas Islet cells 2.95E+09 7.95E-03 7.80E+08
Skeletal muscle Muscle fibers 2.50E+08 6.74E-04 NA
  Satellite cells 1.50E+10 4.04E-02 1.70E+09
Skin Dermal fibroblasts 1.85E+12 4.99E+00 2.60E+11
  Dermal mast cells 4.81E+07 1.30E-04 2.82E+07
  Epidermal corneocytes 3.29E+10 8.87E-02 4.70E+09
  Epidermal nucleate cells 1.37E+11 3.69E-01 3.90E+10
  Epidermal Langerhans cells 2.58E+09 6.95E-03 6.50E+08
  Epidermal melanocytes 3.80E+09 1.02E-02 NA
  Epidermal Merkel cells 3.62E+09 9.76E-03 NA
Small intestine Enterocytes 1.67E+10 4.50E-02 7.10E+09
Stomach G-cells 1.04E+07 2.80E-05 3.00E+06
  Parietal cells 1.09E+09 2.94E-03 8.00E+07
Supradrenal gland Medullary cells 1.18E+09 3.18E-03 1.80E+08
  Zona fasciculata cells 6.67E+09 1.80E-02 1.02E+09
  Zona glomerularis cells 1.77E+09 4.77E-03 2.70E+08
  Zona reticularis cells 7.02E+09 1.89E-02 1.10E+08
Thyroid Clear cells 8.70E+05 2.34E-06 NA
  Follicular cells 1.00E+10 2.70E-02 NA
Vessels Endothelial cells 2.54E+12 6.85E+00 1.05E+12
  Total 3.710083E+13 1.000000E+02 2.90E+12

Humans by the Numbers: The Brain

From the work of Suzana Herculano-Houzel, Brazilian Neuroscientist.

[Table by Tableizer]

Observed and Expected Cellular Composition of the Human Brain      
According to the Cellular Scaling Rules for Primate Brains      
Results are given in billions.      
  Expected Observed Difference
For a primate of 75 kg      
Total brain mass (g) 1,362 1,508 10.70%
Total number of brain cells 170.97 170.68 -0.20%
Total number of brain neurons 78.08 86.06 10.20%
Total number of brain nonneurons 94.28 84.61 -10.20%
For a primate brain of 1,508 g      
Total number of neurons 93.82 86.06 -8.30%
Total number of nonneurons 113.17 84.61 -25.20%
For a primate cortex of 1,233 g      
Total number of neurons 22.36 16.34 -26.90%
Total number of nonneurons 99.02 60.84 -38.60%
For a primate cerebellum of 154 g      
Total number of neurons 77.94 69.03 -11.40%
Total number of nonneurons 11.26 16.04 42.40%
For a primate RoB (Rest of Brain) of 118 g      
Total number of neurons 0.62 0.69 11.30%
Total number of nonneurons 7.17 7.73 7.80%



Fermi Paradox Solved?


A recent preprint which confirms the earlier work of James Annis [available here on the arXiv]:

On the role of GRBs on life extinction in the Universe
Tsvi Piran, Raul Jimenez
(Submitted on 8 Sep 2014)

As a copious source of gamma-rays, a nearby Galactic Gamma-Ray Burst (GRB) can be a threat to life. Using recent determinations of the rate of GRBs, their luminosity function and properties of their host galaxies, we estimate the probability that a life-threatening (lethal) GRB would take place. Amongst the different kinds of GRBs, long ones are most dangerous. There is a very good chance (but no certainty) that at least one lethal GRB took place during the past 5 Gyr close enough to Earth as to significantly damage life. There is a 50% chance that such a lethal GRB took place during the last 500 Myr causing one of the major mass extinction events. Assuming that a similar level of radiation would be lethal to life on other exoplanets hosting life, we explore the potential effects of GRBs to life elsewhere in the Galaxy and the Universe. We find that the probability of a lethal GRB is much larger in the inner Milky Way (95% within a radius of 4 kpc from the galactic center), making it inhospitable to life. Only at the outskirts of the Milky Way, at more than 10 kpc from the galactic center, this probability drops below 50%. When considering the Universe as a whole, the safest environments for life (similar to the one on Earth) are the lowest density regions in the outskirts of large galaxies and life can exist in only ~ 10% of galaxies. Remarkably, a cosmological constant is essential for such systems to exist. Furthermore, because of both the higher GRB rate and galaxies being smaller, life as it exists on Earth could not take place at z>0.5. Early life forms must have been much more resilient to radiation.

That “z>0.5″ is a date, which is model-dependent. Using Ned Wright’s Cosmology Calculator, with the current parameters of the cosmos, the date is 5.093 Gya, not long before the formation of the Solar System c.4.57 Gya. As the abstract discusses, the odds are pretty good that Life on Earth has taken at least one hit from a major Gamma-Ray Burst. Fortunately (?) it was probably aeons ago, before complex Life had evolved. Or did it end Complex Life once before? Is current animal life a Second Genesis? There are trails in mud from the Archean which look like worm-trails from the Cambrian. Could Life on Earth have had its evolution clock ‘reset’?

As an interesting coincidence, if we use the red-shift age relation of Fulvio Melia’s Rh = c.t Cosmology, which is t = Rh/c*(1/(1+z)), then the age at z = 0.5 is 2/3 the Cosmic Age, or just 4.57 Gya…

Terraforming Venus – A Comparison of Methods

Venus has long been considered Earth’s twin, but since the late 1950s we’ve realised she is Earth’s “Evil Twin”, with a 92 bar mostly CO2 atmosphere, very little water and a 116 day ‘sol’. How do we make her a more pleasant place?

The first proposal came from the 1930s, when spectroscopes were first turned towards Venus, and no oxygen was drected, and CO2 seemed to be the main component of the atmosphere. The nature of the clouds was unknown, but water seemed likely and the planet was imagined to be a global ocean. Naturally the solution was to generate free oxygen via electrolysis, expelling the excess hydrogen to space. Unfortunately the planet was inhabited and horrendous conflict ensued (Olaf Stapledon’s “Last and First Men”.)

Large amounts of carbon dioxide are incompatible with water, as it dissolves too readily. Thus the next suggestion, from the late 1930s: Venus’s clouds are polymerised formaldehyde dust and the planet is dry due to water being bound chemically in the dust and rocks. The greenhouse effect created surface temperature near 80-100 C could be managed by suitable insulation and cooling systems, but the colonists could employ a catalyst to destroy the formaldehyde and liberate oxygen and water [Poul Anderson’s “The Big Rain”, Cyril Kornbluth & Frederik Pohl’s “The Space Merchants”, early 1950s.]

In the mid 1950s the global ocean returned as a possibility, but so did a hot dusty desert or a hot ocean of crude oil. No particular model seemed more likely than the others, though oxygen was still unobserved (contra many bad SF stories).

Then in the late 1950s the temperature of Venus was observed to be ~300 C in radio frequencies. This suggested that the planet was hot from a massive greenhouse effect and all the planet’s water was in vapour form. Carl Sagan suggested, in 1961, that the planet could be made more Earth-like via seeding the atmosphere with blue green algae, converting the carbon dioxide into oxygen, the algae eventually falling into the hot depths to be reduced to carbon and their water returning to the atmosphere to be cycled again. Eventually a rich oxygen atmosphere would result, with a surface coated in carbon and the clouds condensing as rain… or so it would if the atmosphere was mostly nitrogen as most assumed in the early 1960s. For example, the 300 C Venus with 4 bars surface pressure and atmosphere of 80% nitrogen, would result in a breathable N2/O2 atmosphere after the algae had finished their job.

Unfortunately for Sagan’s scenario, and the 1960s & 70s SF based on it, the Russian and US probes to Venus revealed, by 1970, that the atmosphere was 96.5% carbon dioxide, with a surface pressure of 92 bars and a temperature of 462 C. Another complication was the bright clouds. These had so invitingly looked like water, but proved to be only partly water and mostly sulfuric acid. Yet not much sulfuric acid and not very much water at all, in fact. Venus is fantastically dry.

What can be done to make Venus more Earth-like? Firstly, contra the apparent evidence, Earth has about as much carbon dioxide as Venus – but on Earth it’s bound up in the rocks as carbonate minerals. On Earth the exhalations of the mantle, in the form of volcanic gases, have mostly dissolved in the oceans and have largely been locked up chemically. Venus, in a sense, is Earth absent water and unable to bury her atmosphere.

A common suggestion is to remove the atmosphere of Venus via blowing it or throwing it into space. Venus’s atmosphere masses 478,000 trillion tonnes and to launch it all into space requires a minimum of 54 MJ/kg – the equivalent of 6.1 trillion megatonnes of TNT or the total fusion of 73 billion tonnes of deuterium. However applying all that energy efficiently is a herculean challenge. Using asteroid collisions adds additional heat to the planet, which merely adds to the problem we meant to solve.

However the 127,400 trillion tonnes of carbon locked up in the atmosphere is a resource quite unlike any other. The entire asteroid belt contains a fraction of the total carbon available in the atmosphere of Venus. Eventually the carbon could be exported off world, thus disposed of in time, but how do we get it out of the air and cool the planet down?

One suggestion is to dispose of it the same way Earth did naturally, by turning it into carbonate rock. To do so we could cycle atmosphere through the crust, but there might not be enough lime (calcium and magnesium oxides) to react it with. Alternatively we mine magnesium (from Mercury, for example) and send it to Venus to burn in the atmosphere, then combine more carbon oxide with the resulting magnesium oxide to make magnesium carbonate:

Mg + CO2 => 2 MgO + C

2 MgO + 2 CO2 => 2 MgCO3

Thus for every atom of magnesium, 3 molecules of carbon dioxide are disposed of. Magnesium will also react with the sulfuric acid in the clouds and quickly reduce the greenhouse effect significantly. While the clouds reflect ~75% of the light, they also prevent a significant amount of heat from escaping. Without the clouds the temperature would fall by ~140 degrees to about ~600 K.

Just how much magnesium is required? To combine chemically with ALL the carbon dioxide would require a mass equivalent to 1/3 the mass of carbon dioxide – about 160,000 trillion tonnes. Solar-powered mass-drivers could easily fling it towards Venus, into the orbital path of the planet, to produce brightly burning fireballs in the upper atmosphere as the magnesium burns. The energy to throw from Mercury towards Venus is about 31 MJ/kg, which means the total energy needed to remove Venus’s atmosphere via burning Mercurian magnesium is ~20% of the energy needed to remove the atmosphere kinetically. Plus the carbon resource stays on Venus. The surface will be covered in hundreds of metres of magnesium carbonate and plain carbon powder. And Venus will still be dry.

Venus has plenty of oxygen for making water – what it lacks is hydrogen. If we made water from all the oxygen in the carbon dioxide atmosphere of Venus, then an ocean about 830 metres deep would result. Or about 340,000 trillion tonnes. The nearest source is the Sun, in the form of the solar wind, 90% of which is protons (hydrogen nucleii). However the total mass ejected by the Sun, per year, is about ~22 trillion tonnes. If it could ALL be gathered, which is unlikely, then it’d take ~1,500 years to gather enough. Perhaps ~100 metres equivalent of water would be enough, which would be ~180 years of collecting all the Solar Wind’s output. Creating a magnetic field vast enough to collect a significant fraction seems a larger task than terraforming Venus, but I’ll leave that computation as a task for the Reader…

The only other major sources of free hydrogen is the atmospheres of the Gas Giants, of which Uranus has the most accessible gravity-well. Fortunately Venus is at the bottom of the Sun’s gravity-well, relative to Uranus, which means a net energy gain, if the energy can be recovered from infalling payloads via regenerative braking – albeit on a vast scale. Reacting hydrogen with carbon dioxide, via the Bosch Reaction goes as follows:

CO2 + 2 H2 => 2 H2O + C

…thus adding to the carbon powder created via burning magnesium. Exposed to the present day sun, while the surface is still incredibly hot, and the water vapour will merely add to the greenhouse effect. Some kind of cooling is required. A large soletta reflecting away some of the sunlight seems to be a given, but is it a permanent necessity?

Kim Stanley Robinson’s novels, “Blue Mars” and “2312” makes the Venus Shade Soletta’s presence a major vulnerability of the Venusian terraforming effort. Stan (as he prefers to be called) uses Paul Birch’s approach to Venus’s carbon dioxide – freeze it out by shading the planet 100%. Birch’s scenario then requires burying the dry ice – it’ll build up to ~700 metres thickness over the whole planet – underneath insulated blocks or in carefully chosen “pits” around the planet. Eventually it’s exported off-world or used locally in other forms. Until that burial process is complete, the planet must be kept in the shade. And once it’s buried, the soletta is retained to give Venus an Earth-like 24 hour day and reduce the insolation. Or at least that was the plan until cyber-terrorists almost succeed in destroying it and undoing the whole carbon freeze-out process.

However if we begin by combining the carbon dioxide chemically, then that dramatic scenario is less likely. Once the ocean condenses and percolates into the regolith, with some spectacular geothermal activity as the crust cools, then I wonder if a permanent shade soletta is absolutely required. Recent modelling of cloud formation on slow rotating planets – like Venus – suggest that a vast, stable cloud system will form at the sub-solar point, increasing the average albedo of the whole planet, and suppressing a runaway Greenhouse effect. Once the carbon dioxide is removed, Venus will have an atmosphere of nitrogen giving a surface pressure of ~2.07 bars. Some of the carbon dioxide will be need to make oxygen, via photosynthesis presumably, but the whole planet’s ecology will need to be tweaked to handle the 116 day ‘sol’ (time from sunrise to sunrise, different to the sidereal day, which is 243 days long.) A terrestrial analogy would be arctic vegetation which has a short growing season and a long dormant phase. Perhaps tubers and root plants as well as cold-tolerant species? There would be, effectively, two ‘seasons’ – the day-light Growing Season, and the night-time Dormant Season. Hibernation/torpor/estivation might need to be tweaked into all the animals. No doubt humans will have their own light, but it would be a shame to impose a terrestrial Day/Night artificially, when we could create a planetary-scale experiment on adaptation to such exotic conditions. Migration, following the most congenial temperature and light-level as the planet turns, might also be a reasonable adaptation.


What can we do with carbon dioxide? One possibility, suggested by Stephen Gillett in the late 1990s, is to turn it into the carbon dioxide analogue of silicon dioxide (silica or glass). When Gillett made this suggestion the stuff was purely theoretical. Since then it was first made in a high-pressure laboratory from carbon dioxide in 2006. Called ‘amorphous carbonia’ it really is a glassy solid, just like silica. At present it hasn’t been successfully ‘quenched’ from high pressure, though it has been cooled to room temperature. One day we might discover the trick of making the stuff stable under more reasonable conditions and use it as a construction material. Conceivably, and this was its allure for Gillett, we can imagine a quasi-biological self-replicating ‘organism’ making the stuff out of the air of Venus, and eventually ‘glassing out’ the excess carbon dioxide as the carbonia ‘shells’ of the quasi-organisms. If we can discover how to do this trick via our burgeoning abilities at making artificial lifeforms, then it’ll solve Earth’s excess carbon dioxide problem too.