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Comment: Re:Steam to extract oil that shouldn't be... (Score 1) 82

by 32771 (#47904399) Attached to: Solar Powered Technology Enhances Oil Recovery

Well I didn't want to write that much, obviously I can't just throw out some ill connected thoughts though.

Ultimately I agree with you that the project in question will mainly aid extraction. It will be used to protect the investment in existing infrastructure way before we could hope for transitioning towards a world where oil is only used for production of plastics and transportation is achieved through technologies with a lower impact.

While I see your point of not burning fossil fuels you should offer some credible way out of the problem, our existence is based on that probably just as much as on a stable climate. Also note that if you stop the flow of oil today you will feel the effects within half a year maybe at most in society, whereas the climate gives you a 40 year lag. There is no way you get this past people. I could write more but I'm incredibly tired of it.

Comment: Re:not sure that we want it controlled (Score 1) 119

by 32771 (#47904075) Attached to: US Scientists Predict Long Battle Against Ebola

I suspect this is a psychological problem, people probably can accept death through an act of god easier than through human action. The number of people suffering is probably not important to anyone else than politicians. Assuming that you can know around 150 people the number of dead in either case exceeds what you can grasp.

The difference between the two cases is that diseases affect poor nations that don't compete for resources as much. I would guess that Ebola spreading won't prevent resource wars because it doesn't affect the interested parties.

Comment: Re:Steam to extract oil that shouldn't be... (Score 1, Insightful) 82

by 32771 (#47903697) Attached to: Solar Powered Technology Enhances Oil Recovery

"With present technology, the extraction and refining of heavy oils and oil sands generates as much as three times the total CO2 emissions compared to conventional oil."

This isn't present technology, this is future technology. In other words you are using old data to tarnish the image of an improved technology, let me call you a green liar maybe even a green troll.

Also it is a practical way of converting sunlight into chemical energy and a simple storage solution for solar energy. If we can get rid of the 70% use of fossil fuels in transportation and only use it for producing plastic the only problems we have to worry about is the pacific garbage patch and associated problems. Once we can keep population growth in check we can solve mankind's problems - very nice. These stop gap measures are exactly what we need to align peak population (2080?) with peak industrial society (2020?).

Just for shits and grins, how do you plan to remove the CO2 from the atmosphere to get back to 280ppm? Also how many billion dead people are you willing to accept?

Comment: Re:+-2000 deaths? (Score 1) 119

by 32771 (#47900961) Attached to: US Scientists Predict Long Battle Against Ebola

I have doubts, but if you look at which country has the higher probability of dying it is poor countries in Africa whereas the first world can fend it off easily. This leads me to think that as we get under pressure from net energy decline we will be far more susceptible to diseases like Ebola. Of course pandemics can have knock on effects, i.e. the global flow of things will get reduced due to countries barricading themselves in, but initially it were the conditions of people living in West Africa who were unable to defend themselves because they didn't have the means to do so.

If you assume the club of Rome was correct in discovering that exponential population growth cannot be supported by improving technology, our inability to fend off the killers of the past should serve as an indicator of how far we have gone towards the bottleneck. The spread of diseases is especially useful as an indicator since they spread faster with higher population density and higher transportation volume. Whenever we must let our guard down because we cannot afford it you should see something like Ebola getting out of hand.

So far this is happening at the fringes, if we have reached a number of 500000 cumulatively infected by March next year I'm willing to believe you though. But I'm certain that we have enough time to study our decline in great detail, even though it should get sketchy toward the end.

Comment: Re:It's geopolitics, not just simple spy flap (Score 1) 219

by 32771 (#47427461) Attached to: After NSA Spying Flap, Germany Asks CIA Station Chief to Depart

Given that we may be nearing some energy crisis you could think about what it might cause. Looking for it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S...
you can find talk about decentralization which means a break up of a system into smaller units. I think this is what might be happening, Europe is basically used up having an aging populace and diminishing resources, whereas Asia has lots of young people and some ambition to get their hands on resources. Since there have been signs in the past that energy demand has been outstripping energy availability, I would guess that for the US to keep its position in the world it has to find new resources and keep competition and resource use low. With the current system the finding of new stuff has long been passed, so its hampering other peoples development and reducing energy expenditure now.

Europe is a competitor but not as much as Asia, I would expect Europe to become some kind of backwater and less useful to the US in the future, which would mean the fracturing of NATO. This spy scandal and Ukraine appears to be the start of this process.

Comment: Re:The Asimov opinion (Score 1) 124

From the little I know about the story I would say the robot had a remarkable sense of ethics. After all he decided for the patient to be more independent after the operation not less so. To make the point differently, If you had two options, either mechanical prosthesis or organ replacement made in the lab, the mechanical part would make you more dependent on society providing for replacement parts whereas biological replacements are repaired by yourself. The latter would give you far more freedom to be yourself so to speak. Conversely I would suspect that robotic societies have the room for far higher degrees of integration than is possible with biological beings right now. (I would not say though that biological beings are not integrated into a society at all just in case anybody gets this crazy idea.)

Comment: Asimov wasn't so deluded (Score 1) 339

by 32771 (#47113471) Attached to: The Singularity Is Sci-Fi's Faith-Based Initiative


Let me add as a teaser:

And out there beyond are the stars.

And the interesting thing is that if we can get through the next thirty years, there's no reason why we can't enter into a kind of plateau which will see the human race last, perhaps, indefinitely...till it evolves into better things...and spread out into space indefinitely. We have the choice here between nothing...and the virtually infinite. And the nice thing about it is that you guys in the audience today, when I say guys I mean it in a general term embracing gals...when you guys in the audience today will still be barely middle-aged when you will know which choice has been made.

See, I've been so shrewd that I fixed it so that I was born in 1920.

[group laughs]

Which means I'll be safely dead."

Comment: Re:Translation... (Score 1) 784

by 32771 (#47043587) Attached to: Scientists Warn of Rising Oceans As Antarctic Ice Melts

Both statements may turn out to be wrong. The first, because we already see global warming/extreme weather events affecting harvests and people with less money to spend, tend to riot when hungry, which I would call a sign of the beginning chaos (so far people blame oil prices, but this is changing).

The second because lets admit it we will follow the BAU and worst case scenarios regarding CO2 output since nobody will screw up the economy on purpose. Since we will have exponential CO2 growth at ~2% according to the following article:

You can conclude that we have our contribution doubling every ~35years, which means that as the 35year younger you can not complain since your own generations contributions are just as large as the older.

So while the world may only officially end in 2100 (some say 2050, due to feed backs and societies inability to deal with cognitive biases and understanding complex non-linear systems) there is a fat chance that an uncomfortably large number of people will get some raw deal much earlier.

Comment: Re:Because ... (Score 1) 150

by 32771 (#46953599) Attached to: Why Hollywood's Best Robot Stories Are About Slavery

Sure, you can come up with a better model for industrial society. The main point I tried to make is that people have connected machines with slavery for quite some time now mostly to illustrate the role machines fulfill in society and to provide some proportion. My main interest is related to energy flows in industrial civilization so I nudged the discussion into this direction, any more thorough discussion would probably not deal with slaves all that much.

You could also argue that slavery deserves more mention as a topic on its own, other people have made remarks toward that end already.

Comment: Re:thanks for posting that (Score 1) 150

by 32771 (#46946691) Attached to: Why Hollywood's Best Robot Stories Are About Slavery

While I did contemplate things on my own when starting on the energy/thermodynamics trip I soon noticed that other people had done a lot of work before me. The post above covers some range of views over time, it begins with a Victorian at the start of the fossil fuel age, continues with Rickover at the dawn of the nuclear age, and implicitly ends with some people at resilience.org that are heavily influenced by "The Limits to Growth". I could have gone the Terence McKenna Route on the other hand which would have given me the opportunity to point out how thoroughly he understood our situation and spun it forth into his "humanity must achieve transcendence" theme.

Regarding your view that "civilization cannot exist without cheap labor", I could imagine that one could rephrase that as specialization/increasing complexity needs increased energy inputs. From here http://cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs... "This means that growing complexity implies growing energy consumption.". Since we appear to be in the process of failing with that (net energy wise) I'm really frustrated with news about a new gilded age, this is exactly the opposite of McKenna's "universe as novelty generator" view (Non-equilibrium thermodynamics doesn't sound flamboyant enough), also it just means decline.

So please go forth and continue to be original, also note that going Native American may not be possible due to our waste problem called global warming.

Comment: Because ... (Score 4, Informative) 150

by 32771 (#46944027) Attached to: Why Hollywood's Best Robot Stories Are About Slavery

"The fact is, that civilisation requires slaves. The Greeks were quite right there. Unless there are slaves to do the ugly, horrible, uninteresting work, culture and contemplation become almost impossible. Human slavery is wrong, insecure, and demoralizing. On mechanical slavery, on the slavery of the machine, the future of the world depends."

OSCAR WILDE, The Soul of Man Under Socialism

Supposedly the greeks had 30 slaves per citizen and we have around 100 slaves energy wise. The topic has also been mentioned here:

The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent. -- Sagan