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Comment: Re:Some things should not be.. (Score 1) 522

by ashSlash (#44191275) Attached to: Neuroscientist: First-Ever Human Head Transplant Is Now Possible

Your so-called 'shock therapy' seems to consist almost entirely of ad hominem and naive futurism. The GP is absolutely correct - our civilisation in its current form is by definition unsustainable, because we depend on burning vast quantities of oil, natural gas and coal on a daily basis. These are resources that will not be replaced on any timeframe that is meaningful to the current civilisation. It is not a foregone conclusion that we can maintain current societal complexity (read 'standard of living') without them.

You suggest the world needs only install solar panels over a single digit percentage of the Sahara desert. We'll be parsimonious and say that's 1% of the Sahara's 9,400,000 square kilometres, giving us 94,000 square kiometres of solar panels. Hmmm. I see your point though - there is certainly a vast amount of energy out there to be tapped... if only it will be economically (or energetically) viable:

"In 2008, total worldwide energy consumption was 474 exajoules (132,000 TWh). This is equivalent to an average power use of 15 terawatts (2.0×1010 hp).[7] The annual potential for renewable energy is: solar energy 1,575 EJ (438,000 TWh), wind power 640 EJ (180,000 TWh), geothermal energy 5,000 EJ (1,400,000 TWh), biomass 276 EJ (77,000 TWh), hydropower 50 EJ (14,000 TWh) and ocean energy 1 EJ (280 TWh).[8][9][10]"

Yes, that's a whole lot of potential. However, in your simplistic analaysis, you overlook that the fact of the world having such massive potential renewable energy to be harnessed is no assurance that we will have the energy or money to be able to do so. In fact, with Energy Return On Investment (EROI) declining, we are relying on continuous improvements in renewable tech for these energy sources to be competitive. Efficiency improvements are helping maintain affordability to some degree also, but remember that becoming more efficient with fossil fuels only maintains their affordability; people are able to continue to use them for many discretionary activities (a rephrasing of Jevon's Paradox). And for most uses renewables simply aren't there yet, even in spite of generous subsidies in many parts of the world (e.g. power companies paying 4x their own retail unit cost back to those 'feeding in' to the grid). The most overlooked subsidy of all, however, is all of the fossil fuels embedded in this renewable tech. As EROI continues to decline, it remains to be seen how affordability of renewables will keep pace. We may see a 'receding horizons' scenario, where increasingly expensive fossil fuel, embedded at every stage of producing renewable tech, renders said renewables increasingly unaffordable.

In short, there are many blind spots and a hell of a lot more doubt concerning this whole situation than you seem to think.

Comment: A quarter gig of RAM is actually a helluva lot! (Score 1) 543

by ashSlash (#38065076) Attached to: RAM in my most-used personal computer:

My main PC is a Toshiba Portege 3480CT (Pentium3 600) and it maxes out at 192 MB RAM.

I just set up on the fly RAM/swap compression with zram yesterday (had to upgrade to Debian Wheezy) and am loving the increase in memory capacity!

I use ScrotWM, Iceweasel (Firefox 7), Alpine and a fair number of text-based apps. And I'm about as productive as I've ever been on any previous computer.

Genius is ten percent inspiration and fifty percent capital gains.