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

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djolds1
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Postby djolds1 » Tue Jun 17, 2008 1:58 pm

drmike wrote:No matter what you do, there will be limited resources of some kind. There will always be arguments about how to distribute resources. The form of the argument ("save the earth" or "it violates god's will") doesn't really matter.


"Save the Earth" isn't necessarily so much an economics issue as a political power and religious imperative issue.

Tho yes, economics apply even in post-scarcity societies. It will be an interesting alteration to human psychology. We're wired to see physical objects as being of value. I have to wonder how that tendency twists when it is no longer true.

drmike wrote:Just having the ability to turn waste into useful raw material is a huge help, but it doesn't solve the problem of farm land being lost to population growth. It would help in turning desert into farm land - but then population would move there!


Bioreactors are now capable of growing meat in small quantities, IIRC. Apply that tech widely & efficiently with various different food types and arable land is no longer necessary. All you need is the raw material feedstock sludge to pump into the process.

drmike wrote:There will always be people with lots of resources and many others with few resources. It would be really nice to be able to travel around the solar system in this century. The people who get to go will be the really rich, or the really powerful. I don't see that changing too much in the next 100 years.


BFR/QED. Possibly. Downside to space is that, enthusiasts aside, its much like Alaska. Good place to work for a short time at huge wages, after which you return to the real world. Getting lasting colonies up and running may take a good long time. Tho if BFR/QED setups are affordable enough, small group "homesteaders" in do-it-yourself Cole habitats should be entirely doable. And if an eventual GUT creates something totally out of Left Field and cheap, all bets are off.

Duane
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Postby Scupperer » Tue Jun 17, 2008 4:45 pm

djolds1 wrote:Tho yes, economics apply even in post-scarcity societies. It will be an interesting alteration to human psychology. We're wired to see physical objects as being of value. I have to wonder how that tendency twists when it is no longer true.


If energy and resources are essentially removed from the economic equation, which BFR will ultimately do, economy is reduced to time, labor/effort and education/experience. It will be an incredible blooming for aesthetic considerations, everywhere. Instead of a client asking his architect if he can even afford to build what he wants for $100/s.f., they'll be asking: "how nice can you make it look for $100/s.f.?"

The value of most material objects will be in history and aesthetics - basically, people's emotional attachments to them.

djolds1 wrote:Bioreactors are now capable of growing meat in small quantities, IIRC. Apply that tech widely & efficiently with various different food types and arable land is no longer necessary. All you need is the raw material feedstock sludge to pump into the process.

I see hydroponic farming happening first. Tall skyscrapers of farmland, growing a variety of goods year round in highly automated, fully conditioned surroundings.

Then, compact them, and sell them to people so you can feed a family of four with a volume of 1000 ft3 (no idea if I'm close or not). Goodbye (vegetable) farms. Hello nature.

The value in food then becomes not the food itself, but the variety of genetic material available, and difficulty of growing it.

Wholly synthetic food might be palatable one day... it'll be interesting to see how people react. Frankenfood? Or sliced bread?

drmike wrote:It would be really nice to be able to travel around the solar system in this century. The people who get to go will be the really rich, or the really powerful. I don't see that changing too much in the next 100 years.


If BFR happens, I see the progress in space of the next 100 years making our trip to the moon look like the stone ages. I suspect BFR will create an exponential cost-reduction effect, so that if BFR reduces electrical costs by 1/10, it will amplify to 1/100 or better for rocketry, and then do it yet again when fusion propulsion designs come online. $5000/lb becomes $5/lb. A $20 million jaunt to the space station becomes a $20,000 vacation to "Free-Fall Hilton".

Send one of those compact hydroponic farms to Mars, take the deed you bought for $20 from that crazy guy back in the 20th century, and an inflatable habitat, and retire for $1 million. Spend your last years looking for native microbes in the dirt. Or design towering monuments out of Martian stone in 1/3 gravity, and put your robots to work creating your bizarre legacy.

djolds1 wrote:No. Not jumping ahead. Take the reprap fabber. Add several hundred Megawatts of power, precision mechanical positioning of components, sintering modules for 3D printing with any range of materials, some specialist modules for fabbing good quality electronics. You could "print" an entire vehicle or any small item from the bottom up, or copy the entire fabber in say a week to a month. Exponential growth of your industrial base with each new fabber.

Miniaturized industrialization: just add water!

I just don't see these technologies advancing as rapidly as that to such a generalized and high-resolution use as depicted in "Star Trek" within 100 years or so. It'd sure be nice, though.

Tho my preferred colony would not be Mars. Too crowded. If the right GUT comes along I get FTL. If not, the radiation belts of Jupiter are attractive.

I'd like to run calculations and see what would happen if Mercury were slammed into Venus. If it were fast enough, at the right angle, would a permanent moon be created similar to Earth's? Would enough angular momentum be transferred to give Venus an earth-like rotation on its axis? Would enough atmosphere be stripped away in the collision to ameliorate the greenhouse effect? Would the higher rotation help create a stronger magnetic field like Earth's? How long would it take for the planet to cool back down from the collision, allowing direct terraforming?

Well, that would be my science project, with unlimited resources.

If FTL comes along, then I'm signing up as anything but a red shirt.
Perrin Ehlinger

djolds1
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Postby djolds1 » Wed Jun 18, 2008 12:18 am

Scupperer wrote:If energy and resources are essentially removed from the economic equation, which BFR will ultimately do, economy is reduced to time, labor/effort and education/experience. It will be an incredible blooming for aesthetic considerations, everywhere.


And design. New templates will be rare even if they can be fabbed easily. Rarity and novelty continue to demand a premium, as does human service.

Scupperer wrote:
djolds1 wrote:Bioreactors are now capable of growing meat in small quantities, IIRC. Apply that tech widely & efficiently with various different food types and arable land is no longer necessary. All you need is the raw material feedstock sludge to pump into the process.

I see hydroponic farming happening first. Tall skyscrapers of farmland, growing a variety of goods year round in highly automated, fully conditioned surroundings.


Not much difference in terms of volume of space used. Question would then be the expense and profit of the various types of modules. The densest possible packing for a given unit of food output would make sense in places like Hong Kong or Singapore, where projected surface area is very valuable.

Scupperer wrote:Wholly synthetic food might be palatable one day... it'll be interesting to see how people react. Frankenfood? Or sliced bread?


People working against GM food want large numbers of people to die of starvation since those "excess" people are "unsustainable." IMO, those would- be choosers of the slain are perfect start-up feedstock for the bioreactors.

Scupperer wrote:Send one of those compact hydroponic farms to Mars, take the deed you bought for $20 from that crazy guy back in the 20th century, and an inflatable habitat, and retire for $1 million. Spend your last years looking for native microbes in the dirt. Or design towering monuments out of Martian stone in 1/3 gravity, and put your robots to work creating your bizarre legacy.


Mirror in the main belt. Water mined from a carbonaceous asteroid. Inject water into a nice sized iron asteroid. Spin iron asteroid, heat with mirror. Iron asteroid inflates. Cole habitat. Instant O'Neill cylinder on the cheap.

Scupperer wrote:
djolds1 wrote:No. Not jumping ahead. Take the reprap fabber. Add several hundred Megawatts of power, precision mechanical positioning of components, sintering modules for 3D printing with any range of materials, some specialist modules for fabbing good quality electronics. You could "print" an entire vehicle or any small item from the bottom up, or copy the entire fabber in say a week to a month. Exponential growth of your industrial base with each new fabber.

Miniaturized industrialization: just add water!

I just don't see these technologies advancing as rapidly as that to such a generalized and high-resolution use as depicted in "Star Trek" within 100 years or so. It'd sure be nice, though.


Not that fast, nor would replication take 12 seconds to materialize, but the grandmother of the replicator. The Mk1 unit capable of producing anything given a day to a week, albeit inefficiently. Cloth, chemical synthesis, rare structural alloys, F22 fighter jets, etc. Fabbed as unitary objects tho, "printed" as one unit from the ground up. Not modular construction. If a product gives you problems, cut it up, throw it into the plasma torch and print a new one.

A relatively portable universal mini-factory capable of medium efficiency production of near anything and self-replication, both in a week to a month. Also capable of building modules of specialist mass production lines, and possibly modules for larger "industrial" fabbers. With this single seed unit you can kickstart an industrial infrastructure anywhere, having a full national scale industry up and running in say 1-2 years. Its the capital plant that tends to be the primary expense nearly everywhere. This cuts that out of the equation.

Scupperer wrote:I'd like to run calculations and see what would happen if Mercury were slammed into Venus. If it were fast enough, at the right angle, would a permanent moon be created similar to Earth's? Would enough angular momentum be transferred to give Venus an earth-like rotation on its axis? Would enough atmosphere be stripped away in the collision to ameliorate the greenhouse effect? Would the higher rotation help create a stronger magnetic field like Earth's? How long would it take for the planet to cool back down from the collision, allowing direct terraforming?


http://www.paulbirch.net/
http://www.paulbirch.net/TerraformingVenusQuickly.zip
http://www.paulbirch.net/SpinAPlanet.zip
http://www.paulbirch.net/MoveAPlanet.zip

Duane
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Postby Scupperer » Wed Jun 18, 2008 5:07 pm

djolds1 wrote:
Scupperer wrote:I'd like to run calculations and see what would happen if Mercury were slammed into Venus. If it were fast enough, at the right angle, would a permanent moon be created similar to Earth's? Would enough angular momentum be transferred to give Venus an earth-like rotation on its axis? Would enough atmosphere be stripped away in the collision to ameliorate the greenhouse effect? Would the higher rotation help create a stronger magnetic field like Earth's? How long would it take for the planet to cool back down from the collision, allowing direct terraforming?


http://www.paulbirch.net/
http://www.paulbirch.net/TerraformingVenusQuickly.zip
http://www.paulbirch.net/SpinAPlanet.zip
http://www.paulbirch.net/MoveAPlanet.zip

Duane


Thanks for those links - that's some fun engineering ideas. I'm not sure just spinning it up and moving it around is enough to make it habitable, and keep it habitable on it's own. It'll need a sizable moon to keep it's axial tilt stable. It may very well need an impact to shatter the surface so plate tectonics can happen. It needs a protective magnetic field, which spinning alone may not provide, but an impact from a metallic planet would more likely.

Smashing Mercury into it would solve those problems nicely :)

Plus, it'll be a brilliant fireworks display.
Perrin Ehlinger


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