An incredible work.

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russfischer's picture
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Joined: Aug 23 2008
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An incredible work.

An incredible work. depressing, but incredible. Exponential growth curves are a big problem to deal with.
I have forwarded "Crash Course" to many friends.
For many years I have debated with people about what is elementally esential in a modern society. Those elements, in my view, are human labor and human intelligence (creativity), and energy. Energy because it multiplies the other two. The lower the cost of this energy the faster the improvement in living standard.
Since I was a young boy (63 now) it seemed intuitive to me that oil was not a sustainable source of energy. I remember when I was about 20 and sitting in stopped freeway traffic on the west coast...idling cars as far as the eye could see...I began wondering how big the stream of gasoline would be to keep all those car running and not moving. That lead to wondering how big a stream all of the oil produced would be if it were in one place. The answer I came up with was a pipe about 24' in diameter running 24/7. Americans use their own weight in petroleum about every ten days.
Obviously that can't continue. The only alternative of a scale comparable with petroleum is nuclear energy. With breeders and recycling and thorium, etc. we have nuclear energy probably for thousands of years. Others here have articulated the nuclear issues better than I ever could.
in the early industrial revolution wood gave way to coal gave way to oil. Oil will give way, for a short time, to natural gas and natural gas will give way to nuclear energy and a near total electric infrastucture because....because it has to.
We will have plug in hybrid electric cars first, then total electric cars with fast charging batteries. We will have electric trucks and/or smart electric railroads. We will have electric space heating. We will recycle all critical materials using the cheap nuclear energy.
Population is an issue, but not as immediate as the energy problem. Considering the scale of humanity in the world...if all people were jammed into a container (sick thought) it would be a container 1/10 cu mile in volume (6 bil humans at about 2+ cu ft each). So we have time to work on that problem long after I have run out of birthdays.
Life will need to get less complex and less consumptive. The nature of work will change as it always has. Work has gone from slavery to long hours to shorter hours all based on cheap energy. With nuclear energy continuing that trend, humans will do less hard labor and continue to improve their collective living standard.
Well, you get the idea...

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