I have been involved in some of the discussions about renewable sources and nuclear reactors
, and I have been impressed by one difference from the average IT debate on slashdot: the "average" comment is much more similar to the man-on-the-street average than it happens in more tech oriented areas.
One possible reason is that this is further from the expertise area, and so some reversion to the mean should be at work; on the other hand, I suspect that even an open-minded audience like Slashdot is entrapped in the pitfalls described by prospect theory:
the way choices are "framed" changes the preferences.
So, while sending a man on Mars
gets all us junkies standing on tiptoe, getting cheap energy through nuclear technology advances is not as sexy, and the first generation IV nuclear reactor
will be built in a developing country (south Africa), giving "developing" a whole new meaning.
My personal impression is that Joe sixpack will eventually get it right, i.e. if and when the oil price will hurt him too much, he will go for the cheapest alternative. But what does it makes of the so called "experts" and "scientists", if we have to wait for the great unwashed to convince us that New technology is good for us?