Constraints on growth even in a world with cheap electricity

If polywell fusion is developed, in what ways will the world change for better or worse? Discuss.

Moderators: tonybarry, MSimon

Skipjack
Posts: 5953
Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2008 2:29 pm

Postby Skipjack » Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:03 pm

That would appear demonstrably untrue because if it were so, people would be mining this man-made litter rather than mining kilometers underground. What motivation would mining have to carry on doing so whilst it is easier to extract these materials from old products?

Well, well, well, so you are mixing multiple assumptions into a nice cocktail here.
Let me get this straght. You say:
1. Some catastrophy will somehow magically destroy the entire industrial base of the world so that modern mining methods become unavailable and we will have to dig resources out of garbage dumps.
2. The same catastrophy will leave all of human population alive, so that the resources that are currently used/bound by the human population still wont be available. Because see, we currently have to look for more resources because the resources that we have used up are IN USE by people. You take the people away, the resources that they were binding instantly become available to the remaining population. No need to dig those out of garbage dumps

So lets say that your meteorite strikes and destroys everything. As we could see in japan recently, such destruction does not come without casualties. In fact I think that their current problem is "to much stuff" rather than to little...
So I think that your perspective for the future is silly.
Last edited by Skipjack on Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:41 am, edited 2 times in total.

chrismb
Posts: 3161
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 6:00 pm

Postby chrismb » Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:06 pm

1 is one scenario, yes.

2, 'fraid you've lost me on your grammar. If you are asking 'if everyone has all this stuff in use already, then how do we survive further' then the answer is, yeah, sure, use the natural resources.

Skipjack
Posts: 5953
Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2008 2:29 pm

Postby Skipjack » Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:42 am

I have tried to rephrase numer 2, though I believe it was quite understandable in the first place. Of course if you are trying really hard to missundersand someone...
I would say that I speak a better English than some Brits and Americans that I know.

ladajo
Posts: 6193
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:18 pm
Location: North East Coast

Postby ladajo » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:45 am

But Skip, Americans don't speak English, they speak American.

Skipjack
Posts: 5953
Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2008 2:29 pm

Postby Skipjack » Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:23 pm

Yeah and the English speak ... god knows what...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RJfHIg9iTQ

;)
Last edited by Skipjack on Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Giorgio
Posts: 2658
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 6:15 pm
Location: China, Italy

Postby Giorgio » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:30 pm

Funny video, many of the UK guys I know talk similar to that.
:D

ladajo
Posts: 6193
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:18 pm
Location: North East Coast

Postby ladajo » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:57 pm

It is like comparing someone from Yorkshire to Liverpool.

:)

chrismb
Posts: 3161
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 6:00 pm

Postby chrismb » Tue Apr 05, 2011 7:12 pm

That video is, of course, an attempt at intended humour by Americans about Brits..

...

whereas this video is real life America.....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFVdti4cDNE

I can't even understand what the sober one is saying...

ladajo
Posts: 6193
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:18 pm
Location: North East Coast

Postby ladajo » Tue Apr 05, 2011 7:46 pm

It bears a strange simularity to a football match pre-party(but less singing), or even Christmas drinking at my cousin's place in Yorkshire.
Hmmm.

Teahive
Posts: 362
Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 10:09 pm

Postby Teahive » Sat Apr 09, 2011 4:17 pm

chrismb wrote:
Teahive wrote:Taking something out of the ground isn't "using it up", it's putting more of it into the cycle. If our industrial infrastructure fails, there will be plenty of resources just lying around on the surface of this planet, waiting to be picked up by the survivors.
That would appear demonstrably untrue because if it were so, people would be mining this man-made litter rather than mining kilometers underground. What motivation would mining have to carry on doing so whilst it is easier to extract these materials from old products?

Plenty of materials are being recycled today, but for those that aren't it's usually because it's not economical given today's cost structure. After an industrial breakdown this cost structure would completely change. Mining landfill might become economical in such a situation.

More importantly, as Skipjack already mentioned, a catastrophic event bringing down the industrial base would cause widespread famine and seriously decimate world population. In terms of resources that would obviously mean reduced demand as well as plenty of abandoned property to scavenge.

If you really wanted to prepare the world for a catastrophic event you wouldn't leave resources in the ground, you'd stockpile them in a more accessible place.

D Tibbets
Posts: 2775
Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 6:52 am

Postby D Tibbets » Sat Apr 09, 2011 6:04 pm

Teahive wrote:........

...If you really wanted to prepare the world for a catastrophic event you wouldn't leave resources in the ground, you'd stockpile them in a more accessible place.


Of course you stockpile resources against an unknown future. That is why the US and presumably other countries, stockpile strategic materials- oil, certain metals, etc. Though the motives are more varied, that is also why grain is often stockpiled in grain elevators. Also, this is why wise people have an emergency pack to last them a few days in case of hurricaines, tornadoa, etc. And I'm old enough that I still remember the popularity of nuclear bomb shelters with stockpiled supplies to last several weeks or more.

Dan Tibbets
To error is human... and I'm very human.

CharlesKramer
Posts: 138
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:20 pm

(deleted to correct doubled message)

Postby CharlesKramer » Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:05 pm

(deleted to correct doubled message)
Last edited by CharlesKramer on Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CharlesKramer
Posts: 138
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:20 pm

The big taboo

Postby CharlesKramer » Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:06 pm

happyjack27 wrote:the primary constraint on growth with cheap electricity will be the same as it has always been:
ignorance.

That's the scary kind of disregard for facts that got us into our current predicament.

You need to consider what fossil fuels do for us APART from burning them for transportation and electricity. Without fossil fuels:

[1] fertilizer, plastics, medicine, insecticide and most industrial chemistry become inconceivable. That means modern agricultural becomes inconceivable. That means the population suddenly shrinks -- by starvation.

[2] "Alternative" energy also depends on fossil fuels. Nuclear energy, for example, needs huge amounts of fossil energy to mine and process uranium, and to build nuclear plants. Wind turbines and solar panels are at least equally dependent.

You can't eat electricity. And you can't make plastic with it. You can make limited types of plastic using plants, but growing plants takes fossil fuels for fertilizer and insecticide.

And there is no proposed fusion technology that would be small enough to provide energy for an automobile.

The question -- which so far no one here has been sophisticated enough (or interested enough) to answer -- is the extent to which cheap electricity may make new industrial processes possible. For example, possibly cheap electricity could help MANUFACTURE ammonia (hydrogen from water, and nitrogen from the air) which is very useful in industry and can be used as a transportation fuel. But that does not add CARBON to the equation, and carbon is needed for modern industrial society.

Making metals requires a lot of heat, and for some metals (especially iron alloys aka steet) you need heat AND carbon --- the process is partly chemical to react out impurities. Aluminum is made with electricity (AND other things) but not other metals. Is steel possible without fossil fuels? Not today, and maybe never.

There is an elephant in the tent -- a big secret that inhibits thinking clearly about this. These energy discussions are premised on the notion there IS an answer. But so far there isn't, and there may never be answer to the question: how will industrial society continue as the hydrocarbons run out?

The most likely answer is: it will not continue. Even if fusion works, there is no reason I see to be optimistic that those now living will not live in a future determined by declining fossil fuels. I'm a big fusion fan, but for now it's mostly a method of stress reduction -- a reason to hope about the future. The reality is even if it works it won't inevitable solve fossil fuel declines.

http://www.oilcrisis.com/whattodo/decline.htm

Get ready.

CBK
================================
CBK
Blog: http://www.provideocoalition.com/ckramer

93143
Posts: 1130
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2007 7:51 pm

Postby 93143 » Mon Apr 11, 2011 10:45 pm

I've mentioned this before, though apparently not in this thread. Given sufficient quantities of sufficiently cheap energy, it becomes economically reasonable, from an energy perspective, to extract CO2 from the environment (seawater, for instance) and convert it into liquid fuel.

The U. S. Navy has recently been doing some work on this for sea-based applications; apparently they want their carrier groups to be able to make jet fuel in situ...

Betruger
Posts: 2310
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:54 am

Postby Betruger » Mon Apr 11, 2011 10:57 pm

Was about to say what 93143 says above. Cheap enough energy should mean we can synthesize these hydrocarbon products.


Return to “Implications”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests