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Comment: Re:Not gold [Re:collectables have a limit.] (Score 1) 76

by wcoenen (#43568749) Attached to: 2014: Planetary Resources To Launch Their First Satellites

On Earth, gold veins are produced by aqueous processes. You wouldn't expect that on asteroids. Platinum, and platinum-group metals, on the other hand-- these are siderophiles, and hence depleted in the Earth's crust. Good elements to look for in asteroids

Um, gold is also one of the siderophile elements.

Comment: Re:Has anyone done an assessment... (Score 1) 242

by wcoenen (#42625669) Attached to: Belgium Plans Artificial Island To Store Wind Power

we don't take 1% of 1% of 1% out of the power of the wind

Actually, we do.

Wind is, directly and indirectly, powered by the sun heating our atmosphere. The total power received by the earth from the sun is 1.7×10^17 watts. 29% of this is immediately reflected back to space by the surface and clouds, so this leaves 1.2x10^17 watts to actually interact with our atmosphere somehow. Let's take that as an upper limit for wind power.

In 2008 the average global electricity power generated was 2.3x10^12 watts. 2.5% of that is generated from wind power, call it 5x10^10 watts. Considering losses in generation, I'll assume we are actually taking twice that from the wind so about 10^11 watts.

Which is about 1 millionth of that upper limit for available wind power, or "1% of 1% of 1%" as you would put it.

Now factor in that wind power generation is growing exponentially, doubling every 3 years, and then it starts to become more plausible that there will be local climate effects within a few decades.

Comment: Re:Net energy? (Score 1) 580

by wcoenen (#41704453) Attached to: Scientists Turn Air Into Petrol

Of course. But it might still be a good way to balance a grid with a lot of variability from renewable sources. Having to dump your electricity on the market at negative prices is a bad thing as it just increases the cost of electricity at the times when there isn't an excess.

This could fix that. much wind/solar? Turn on the petrol synthesizers to absorb the cheap excess power.

Then again, maybe the capital cost would be too high to justify anything else than running the synthesizers 24/7. I have no idea.

Comment: Re:Heh (Score 1) 241

by wcoenen (#39941343) Attached to: A Boost For Quantum Reality

Yes, the fact that the inhabitants of a simulation can't tell the difference between real or simulated is self-evident, that's indeed the premise of the thought experiment.

But the goal of the thought experiment isn't to prove whether our world is real or not, it's just to illustrate the *possibility* that our world is not real. It's to make you stop and think about what "real" means anyway.

Comment: Re:Heh (Score 1) 241

by wcoenen (#39940933) Attached to: A Boost For Quantum Reality
That's the point of the thought experiment: if the simulation is good enough, you can't distinguish if you are real or simulated. So we can't know whether our reality is "real" or not. Personally I resolve this with modal realism: "real" is relative to the world you find yourself in. What's an imaginary world to me is "real" to its inhabitants, and vice versa.

Comment: Re:Heh (Score 1) 241

by wcoenen (#39940479) Attached to: A Boost For Quantum Reality
That can be fixed with a small modification to the thought experiment. Do not let the experimenter and his copy communicate. Instead, give both a set of results of experiments which were done in the real world, and ask them to determine if they are in the real world or not by comparing the outcomes of their own experiments to the given results.

Comment: Re:Why does Interpol even acknowledge this?! (Score 5, Informative) 604

by wcoenen (#39012309) Attached to: Journalist Arrested For Tweet Deported to Saudi Arabia

What is even worse is that Interpol acknowledges blasphemy as a crime.

According to article 3 of Interpol's own constitution, they are explicitly forbidden to engage in matters of religious character. So either they were deceived about the nature of the "crime" or they ignored their own principles.

Comment: Photolithography (Score 1) 145

by wcoenen (#38837599) Attached to: Scientists Create World's First Atomic X-Ray Laser

Perhaps this has applications for silicon photolithography?

The semiconductor industry is already using ultraviolet because the minimum feature size created by photolithography is limited by the wavelength of the light. X-rays have a wavelength of about 1 nanometer (< 5 Si atoms). That should be small enough to push silicon semiconductors to their ultimate limit.

"Oh dear, I think you'll find reality's on the blink again." -- Marvin The Paranoid Android

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