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Comment Re:Why must they create waste heat? (Score 1) 80

We do improve our energy efficiency. For example, combined cycle gas generators are 60% efficient, about twice a good as nuclear reactors. So, in the absence of cogen, 40% of the heat is discarded. But, so it the other 60%. Turning on a light heat the wall the light shines on..... So, it is 100% waste heat eventually. It is the 100% stuff (after use) that must be emitted to space and that is what the paper proposes to search for.

Comment Re:Is energy inefficiency a measure of progess? (Score 2) 80

Energy used efficiently is still energy used. There is always waste heat. The paper addresses what would be an o[optimal waste heat temperature. http://arxiv.org/pdf/1408.1134... If you want your waste heat half as warm, your Dyson Sphere has to have four time the radius so you material use becomes excessive.

Comment Problem (Score 1) 80

This method has a difficulty. Most of the starlight from a galaxy comes from stars that will soon be gone. These are the luminous giant stars. But a big investment in a Dyson sphere would probably be made around a star more like our Sun which will stick around for a while. But even if most of the mass in stars is involved in this, it still won't get most of the light so long as it is the low luminosity stars that get the tech investment.

Comment Re:False positives are far too easy (Score 4, Informative) 80

It comes down to fig. 3 in their paper. http://arxiv.org/pdf/1408.1134... Natural source don't have the expected colors for waste heat from a solid surface. But that is the case when perhaps half the starlight in a galaxy is being used for power (their gamma=0.5). So, the civilization has to be pretty much like locusts for it the be easy to discern. There may be some civilization lifetime issues to worry about in that case.

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