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Beyond that, with advances in technology which make more and more previously inhospitable environments habitable with fewer resources (a necessary development if we're going to spread beyond this planet anyway, an ultimate answer to overpopulation), the issue disappears entirely. I expect that cheaper ways to store energy from already-cheap-and-getting-cheaper solar panels will pretty much put an end to the threat-- indoor temperature & humidity control, lighting (for growing food), water extraction from the air, refrigeration and robotics all get much more affordable under a 'better battery' scenario, something I now see as inevitable given the number of fronts on which that problem is being worked.
The more interesting thing to me here is the obvious potential for smaller groups of people with smaller amounts of land and money to run much more sophisticated food-growing operations than would otherwise be possible.
If you read the TFA, you might realize that the application of CNC-type tech to maintaining a complex mixed garden and maximizing its output is actually a pretty damn interesting and potentially very useful idea. Decentralizing more of our food production is absolutely essential to increasing our chances of long term survival as a species-- the more time goes on, the greater the likelihood is that a central point of failure (especially in a giant swath of identical plants) will be compromised.
I appreciate the general sense of disgust at humankind's continuous and pathetically predictable foibles from which this remark emanates, but come on now. We have no way of knowing this. 'Ever' is a pretty damn long time.
There are a lot of very intelligent and insightful people who've been saying for a long time that a society without a powerful, centralized authority is the only kind ultimately worth striving for. Personally, I doubt we'll survive as a species unless we accomplish some form of this.
Electric cars, as they are currently being marketed, will simply not be competitive with their ICE brethren in any remotely near-term scenario without advances that are extremely unlikely. Furthermore, if such advances were to occur, the disruption to the global economy would be immense, and there are a lot of major players with a nearly unimaginably tremendous vested interest in slowing - if possible, even stopping - such disruption.
It sometimes almost seems like the public is being lulled into a false sense of security about what sorts of things are going to be possible in the near future (and what aren't).
Yes, this is a complicated problem, because it's very difficult to find the balance between illuminating the function of a device or program enough to spark interest and overwhelming a child with too much technical information (so much knowledge is dependent on so much other knowledge and it gets exponentially more complex at every layer), but I really think that if more effort was made to craft useful summaries of how their iPods, PSPs and phones actually function, at least some kids would be more excited about learning the underlying 'abstracts'.
When one has at least a glimmer of understanding about how a seemingly dry subject connects to something with a higher 'coolness' factor, it's motivating, as I'm sure most people here know. Once a student grasps that it will give them more control over the tech tools they love so much (whose underlying operation is usually obscured by their interfaces) to be more fluent in math & physics, I think it might just give them the extra push to pursue those subjects a litte harder.
In keeping with this idea, I also think more schools should teach a lot more software design a lot earlier... just the other day I was helping install a Cat-6 network for a local middle school, and I asked what kind of programming classes they offered kids. The answer? None. I think that really sucks. The technology world would make more & better advances sooner if we would just give young people a chance to peek into it under the guidance of properly-equipped teachers & curriculums instead of forcing those who wish to learn more about it to pursue that knowledge only in their distraction-packed free time. Whether on a PC or via chalk on a blackboard, content that relates directly to the fascinating things happening in the real world is something I think schools need to give their charges a lot more of.