Thursday, June 21, 2012

The weather continued still... and rainy. So going to sea was off. I did get a rather nice load of piping and 'stuff' to set up a micro-irrigation system, in ample free time:-). Seriously, should be a great help.

Other than that I made biccies, another batch of biltong, more bread, rolls for next week, and a date loaf which ought to be good for battle-bread. I got carried away answering a post about the alternate history for Cuttlefish. Sigh. Writer says he could happily accept it for an alternate world, but not alternate history early 20th century. Coal would not be dominant, and the US would have been an imperial power, and Ammonia would have been synthesized had Fritz Haber not done so.

Here's the thing: this is not the real world. I am the author, and I can tweak imaginary history until plausibly coal would still be dominant in 1943. And I don't want yet another damn 'Imperialist America' story, thank you. Steampunk books are based around steam/coal, and the British Empire. I was tweaking that paradigm's tail (because that's what I do). In this story the US is just in 1940's starting to push out of its own huge world, having had 'spanish flu', minor civil war, and a strong isolationist phase and no WW1 to nudge it along.

As for Ammonia. Humph. That is such a chance ridden path, that it was very implausible. Far more likely was the synthetic Nitric acid process (Birkelund-Edye process) - which would have helped as a source of nitrates, but is SO inefficient, the levels would have been about 1/10 at best of the nitrate production achieved by the Haber-Bosch process. And yes. I could write a book about the alternate history research. It would bore most readers squiffy and still not please the buffs.


  1. I put in my micro system in the middle of last summer, alas too late. But it's been working great this year. Though I haven't decided whether I prefer the little dripper that you put next to each plant or the little pray nozzles on wands.

    As for coal, there's reason Britain ordered the Ocean class transports (forerunner of the Liberty Ship) to be coal fired.

  2. I would think the type depends on the plants in question. I think for larger shrub type stuff (the capsicums) and tomatoes,drip would be better. For carrots, onions, spray?

    There are lots of reasons why the British-German empire would favor coal, even if it is less good as a fuel. The main source of oil - pre-ww1 would have been the US and ME right? Well with our for-shortened WW1, the ME is a mess (how unlikely. Could never happen) With Turks, independence movements, French and to a lesser extent Russians and BE involved. And the US has turned inwards (and yes, plenty of historical and present egs of govts cutting off economic noses to spite face - the latest being Egypt stopping exporting gas to Israel.) Oil is available and used, but the gasoline and oil industry are punitively taxed, and coal (where a large part of the revue goes to the Imperial house, because of their huge landholdings and ownership) is not.