Unintended consequences

Discuss life, the universe, and everything with other members of this site. Get to know your fellow polywell enthusiasts.

Moderators: tonybarry, MSimon

Post Reply
fltcoils
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2007 4:03 pm

Unintended consequences

Post by fltcoils »

Sometimes technology has unintended consequences.

Imagine successful polywell energy.
-Electricity easily created. Net cost to consumers slightly lower and less volitile.
-Manufacturing surges due to low energy cost - both for smelting etc and for creating componds from base materials. Thus water and air yield most organic compounds. oil, gas, hydrogen, anything based on N,O,C,H
-Travel out of gravity well now possible, harvesting of asteroid wealth possible as is work on mars and moon.
- Possible to warm or cool the earth as needed.
- Hydrocarbon fuels become mostly worthless


However countries like Russia, middle east, Venezuela, Mexico loose their income from oil. Millions starve. See Somalia. It spills over to the rest of the world.
Cheap space travel yields cheap threats to continents from space See Mycroft Holmes III

So the polywell promise brings some consequences to control, a layer of infrastructure which is currently absent. The cheap abundant energy genie might not be the thing to let loose without some phase-in plan.

jgarry
Posts: 109
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 7:02 pm

Post by jgarry »

By then the machines will have obsoleted man, and we'll no longer be necessary.

Skipjack
Posts: 6051
Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2008 2:29 pm

Post by Skipjack »

Progress will always have consequences for those that fail to adapt to new realities. It would however be foolish to stop something that will be beneficial to many, because it might, under some circumstances have bad consequences for other countries. Russia has many more resources than just oil. They will adapt and use the new technology for other means. They might use it to more efficiently mine minerals and also drill for oil, or extract it out of the permafrost. No matter what the future holds for oil as a means to produce energy, it will still be an important raw material for plastics. Besides that, it will take a long time for cars to become fully electric, even with Polywells producing cheap electricity.

kurt9
Posts: 566
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:14 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon, USA

Post by kurt9 »

Skipjack wrote:Progress will always have consequences for those that fail to adapt to new realities. It would however be foolish to stop something that will be beneficial to many, because it might, under some circumstances have bad consequences for other countries. Russia has many more resources than just oil. They will adapt and use the new technology for other means. They might use it to more efficiently mine minerals and also drill for oil, or extract it out of the permafrost. No matter what the future holds for oil as a means to produce energy, it will still be an important raw material for plastics. Besides that, it will take a long time for cars to become fully electric, even with Polywells producing cheap electricity.
Exactly. Its like saying that we should not invent the car because the horse and buggy industry will go away. In any case, the transition will be gradual.

Successful polywell fusion will make plug-in hybrid cars more popular, but people drive their cars for a 8-10 year period, sometimes longer. 10 years after fusion provides our electricity, 30-50% of the cars on the road will still be conventional gasoline and diesel cars. The replacement cost of a car is far greater than the amount of gasoline you put in it each year. People will replace their gasoline powered cars when they wear out, not before. Also, the plug-in hybrids will still be gasoline powered, but will have 40 MPG or greater fuel efficiency.

Also, as more people buy plug-in hybrids, the cost of oil will gradually decline over the years. Natural gas will not go away quickly either. Many places have extensive distribution infrastructure for natural gas (kitchen, heating) that will continue to be used. Since all new housing will be all electric, the demand and thus price of natural gas will decline. So, existing housing stock that use natural gas will continue to do so given that the price declines will make the retrofit costs more expensive in comparison.

I do think coal-fired electricity generation will go away rather quickly. existing hydroelectric dams will continue to be used for many decades to come since the running cost of these is very minimal.

Its not clear to me if a polywell can be made small enough to power an airplane. So, hydrocarbon fuel will still be used for airplanes.

A fusion-based economy will continue to use hydrocarbon fuel for decades to come.

fltcoils
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2007 4:03 pm

Post by fltcoils »

One hears EEstor and others suggesting higher cheaper energy storage in electric form, somewhat catching up with chemical storage. So, yes perhaps airplanes on electric.

It's not that far away, if the physics are correct. How long was it between the understanding of what fission was, the need for a moderator, and the 1st successful pile, and after that until the 1st reactor generating plutonium, and after that the 1st commercial nuclear power plant, 1st seafaring Rickover reactor? Does anyone think that given Moore's law there really would be a greater time before implementation if polywell were understood? 20 years is awfully close in political terms.

The point isn't to stop progress from well engineered solutions to basic current needs etc. but to think ahead to what additional structures may be needed to manage all that.

"The Prize", oil and its revenues stabilize the economies of many states. Not just keeping people in power, but feeding, clothing, keeping quiet millions. Places with lots of $$ and weapons. Places likely to fall apart politically without the gravy train flowing down to the masses. It isn't the situation in the states or Europe, but I can't imagine we would not be untouched by the shifts and calamaties in those countries.

Conventional federalistic republic thinking is that govt is more effective at the local level, and that disparate local solutions yields a variety of choice. Ecomonic choices occur as part of a free unmanaged enterprise system. Great but unresponsive on a gross national level. The converse, a strong central govt which controls most everything including the economy would also be unresponsive based on The Iron Law of Bureaucracy.

So how do you deal with the consequences of easy access to space? A diffuse local govt or a unresponsive bureaucracy cannot deal with a Thor's Hammer situation. A circumstance that occurs when easy access to orbit can allow almost anyone to place 25,000 mph projectiles with the impact of a megatons almost anywhere on ground level.

So plan for it. Get the structures in place.

Take the challenge, project the likely realities. Polywell will allow much growth and unseen expansions in our knowledge and basic world productivity. There ought to be some planning/thought about the transition and the new realities such achievements would establish.

We've protected, we have oceans on either side of us. Who cares what happens in some little country on the other side of the world?

Post Reply