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Frozen Feet

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Posts posted by Frozen Feet

  1. You know, this is the only forum I know of where random post count threads turn into deep conversations about history and nature of belief.


    To go off a tangent, I agree with SoT's writing of kinds of belief. I'd like to posit, however, that the second most common type of belief involved with religion is the first kind. When a belief becomes ingrained enough in a person's mind, it becomes a fact of life. I think this is witnessed in many animistic societies and everyday believers - you don't really wonder whether paying respects to spirits or ancestors is worth it, because of course they exist.

  2. I'm afraid the story hasn't been translated to English. it's from a collection of short stories called "Kristalliruusu" (Crystal Rose) by Risto Isomäki. The story itself is called "Maailmankaikkeuden ympäri 80 vuodessa" (Around the universe in 80 years).

  3. I recall reading a Finnish sci-fi short story with the same premise. In it, they had a ramjet fusion engine that allowed them to get near lightspeed; abusing time dilation, they traveled to the end of the universe, and survived the turn of the cycle to return to Earth.


    They got back just moments after next permutation of their ship was launched. Unfortunately, the ancient engine of their ship called it quits and blew up, so they all died. The story is told from PoV of investigators browsing through the ship's logs...

  4. Originally Posted By: Student of Trinity
    ... In which case it would recollapse in a 'Big Crunch' before even light had time to traverse it completely...

    Isn't the current evidence more in favor of accelerating universe right now? According to it, there won't be a crunch, but a slow freeze as particles drift further and further away from each other until no force can reach over the gap and the universe becomes just one sparse cloud of dust.
  5. True. But if you know better, would you please point out where we're wrong (besides gross oversimplification), instead of being snarky. tongue Or would that be so work heavy you can't be bothered to do that unless we pay you?

  6. I was going to lecture you about differences between watts and watt hours, but Khoth beat me to it.


    Lets tackle this from another direction. According to Wikipedia, average USA citizen requires 11.4 kW of power. So, if we supplied 7.5 billion people with that much power, it'd require 85.5 Tera Watts. In a year, that'd amount to 748,980,000,000,000 kWh.


    To create that much energy solely with .5 kW solar panels (each producing 4380 kWh in energy each year), we'd need an area of... 171 000 km^2, or 414 km * 414 km.

  7. Ah, ues, that's what I forgot! I didn't yet count how much energy 7.5 billion people would use if all had same level of wellfare western europeans do.


    Okay, 442639.32 TWh is the goal. This is per year, right? That's the problem here - I'm fairly certain that .5 kWh for solar panel is how much it produces in an hour. A panel constantly putting out .5 kW each hour during a year would actually have yield of 4380 kWh.


    Which would mean we'd only need 10105.90 km^2 covered in solar panels to make it happen. That's... 100 km * 100 km area.

  8. Famine and wars happen. Didn't we already go through that?


    As far as hydroelectricty goes, what about placing turbines in sea currents? Would that be worth a shot?

  9. Originally Posted By: Dantius
    Originally Posted By: Frozen Feet
    some plans I've seen of covering Sahara with solar panels utilizes the phenomenom to transfer energy more easily from one place to another: electricity created by the panels is used to separate hydrogen and oxygen from seawater, and those are then transferred by long pipelines or containers.

    No. That is not possible.

    1. Resources: there are not enough of them
    2. Manpower: How are you going to feed, clothe, house, or even get enough people to do that?
    3. Logistics: ...would be a living hell. I can't even...
    4. Cost: Prohibitory, and even if no; who would pay for it? The UN? The US? China?
    5. EROEI: hahahahahaha!
    6. Designs: The entire Sahara desert? A millions square miles?
    7. Sovereignty: Last time I checked, there are quite a few sovereign nation inside or partially inside the Sahara desert. How would they feel?
    8. Engineering: Impossible. It would be the biggest anything ever by orders of magnitude.

    So no; impossible.

    1)Judging from recent development of solar technology, the panels themselves could be made completely of materials like iron and silicon, which we aren't going to run out of any time soon. If you refer to oil and other easy forms of energy we might need to move stuff around, yeah, that's a problem. Hardly insurmountable though.

    2) Oh please. How do you get people to build any powerplant? With 7.5 billion people running about, manpower is not the problem. This is a matter of someone telling them "hey, lets do this!"

    3) Admittedly, a problem, but much less so than you make it to be in the context of the project (see below). The logistics required would be roughly equivalent to any other form of power plant being build to Sahara. So what knowledge makes you consider this so unfeasible?

    4) Solar power is getting cheaper every passing moment, and the interest to actually pay for it is growing with nearly equal speed. There are already groups within EU planning co-operation with countries of North Africa to create an energy network of green energy. Whether these plans will translate to action is another thing, but I'd say they're ahead of any plans to mine the moon, in comparison. wink

    5) Yes, EROEI of the process would suck big time. In the context of the project, they calculated this would be offset in 5 to 10 years by Sun being practically inexhaustible energy source. Wasted "fuel" is simply sunshine, and we aren't going to run out of that in billions of years.

    6) Now this is the most important question, and I'm surprised you shot the general idea down so quickly with so litte insight.

    While they hinted that eventually, the whole Sahara could be covered, their actual plan was to build lots of smaller powerplants to most easily reachable regions of the desert, with combined surface areas of the plants measuring in several square kilometres. According to safey's calculations, one km^2 of modern solar panels in ideal conditions (which Sahara has) produces 500 MWe of energy, which is exactly half of what a good modern nuclear reactors produce (1000 MWe).

    So, this potential project is not about producing all of world's electricity, no. It's simply about how to utilize solar energy in the near future. Estimated costs are comparable to building new nuclear power plants.

    7) Considering such a project would inject massive amounts of wealth to said nations, I think most of them would consider it rather nice. tongue

    8) ... they actually have blueprints for the sorts of facilities they would build. They're mostly just waiting for the price of solar panels to drop to a reasonable level, something that is estimated to happen during next 5 years. Constructing pipelines for transferring hydrogen from place to place would be exactly similar to how common gas pipes. Why is this so darn impossible again?


    In the context of recent developments of technology, I'm astonished you consider it so unfeasible. -_o Could you please expand on why you're so skeptical of the presented process? What's wrong with the premise of using solar energy to power electolysis for extracting hydrogen to be used as fuel?

    Originally Posted By: Lord Safey
    Current solar panel technology isn't even close. A modern solar panel 1 m^2 can put out 1000 watts per hour under ideal conditions. Through out the day it will only be gathering power half the time so lets make that number 500 watts per hour. That is .0005 megawatts. So a km^2 contains 1 million square meters, so a km^2 worth of solar panels will produce, in good weather in sunny climes, 500 megawatts hours of electicty.

    Divide that into 48,166,856,048 and you find you would need 96333712.096 km^2 of solar panels to provide every person on the planet with the same amount of electricity that your average citizen of the European union. The area of all the continents (even those not very well suited for such) is 149428500 km^2. You would need to cover 155% of the continental land mass with solar panels to power all of that and, you thought going to moon was silly.

    Wait, what is that division? What is 48,166,856,048 supposed to represent? What am I missing here?

    Anyways, small gripes about your calculations. First, you're proposing space travel as an alternative, and nearly all technologies for that are hypothetical. I trust you can see the problem with comparing solar panels of today with theoretical super techonolgy of tomorrow. wink Solar panels are improving, and fast.

    In any case, your math might be off. Our current need of energy is about 16 Tera watts. In ten years, it's estimated to rise to 20 (and to 50 in 40 years, but that's another thing). Sun shines down 120 000 Tera watts of energy on land masses alone. (Source: this article. I tried and failed to find it in English. Sorry.) According to Wikipedia, land surface area is 148 940 000 km2.

    After dividing our precious 120 * 10^15 watts with 148 940 * 10^9 square metres, I'm getting ~806 watts per m^2. Lets get pessimistic here - lets suppose our cheap solar plants suck so much we only get 20%, or ~161 watts output per m^2.

    One km^2 would thus produce 162 GW. To get out precious 20 TW, we would need 123 456.8 km^2. That's .08% of continental surface area.

    So, would you please explain your math better, or point out if I'm missing something crucial here. smile

    EDIT: 123 456.8 km^2 would be a rectangle of 351 km * 352 km. Huge, but remember, once they get cheap enough, solar panels can be put pretty much everywhere, including structures (like houses) that we'd be building for other purposes anyway. This is significant edge over nuclear power, which requires special measures and waste management.

    I'm not saying nuclear power is bad; it's currently our best form of producing new energy. What's important is that it fills a different structural niche than solar energy. As such, these two form of energies complement each other well.
  10. Originally Posted By: Lord Safey

    So I'm going to ask you, were are you going to get the energy to raise the welfare of every person on earth to the point the Earth's population would decline naturally. Also keep in mind the nations with declining populations still seem to have an increasing demand on resources.

    I've said it already - Solar energy alone would, theoretically, be enough. Solar energy combined with geothermal energy and nuclear fission could be enough. Of course, it will only happen if there's concentrated effort behind it, and several technological innovations would be required - but same is true, perhaps even more, of space travel. Are you still convinced it'd be better to direct all the money to space research instead of focusing it directly on the problem at hand?

    While it's true some declining nations seem to have increasing demands of resources, part of this is an illusion, caused by excess resources flowing to areas that are already well off. Back to the example about food: we produce food for way more people than there'd be to eat it, but much of it goes to a wrong place.

    Also, there's conceivably a point where decline of population starts to cancel out increasing resource demand per capita. If one person requires three times the energy than before but there's only fourth of mankind left, we've reduced our energy consumption as a whole by 25%. (Ie., if we've cut from 100 people to 25 people, those 25 people still only use as much energy as 75 people before. We're winning there.) Getting to that point while averting large scale disaster is the hard part.

    About electrolysis: some plans I've seen of covering Sahara with solar panels utilizes the phenomenom to transfer energy more easily from one place to another: electricity created by the panels is used to separate hydrogen and oxygen from seawater, and those are then transferred by long pipelines or containers.
  11. Originally Posted By: Lord Safey

    For the most part energy is the issue. It takes energy to make the fertilizer package and ship to the farmer, it takes energy to pump the water to water his crops. It takes energy to harvest those crops and ship them off the factory. Of course it takes energy to package them and ship them of to the store. If you don't have enough energy to power this, very bad things happen. More energy allows you feed, cloth and house more people.

    We're talking past each other slightly again. Half of my point was that we can generate enough energy down here, on Earth.

    I've read we produce food for about 23 billion people already. Okay, so we have something like 7.5 billion. Massive amounts of people are still suffering. So what's the problem?

    The problem is infrastructure and distribution. Just having enough of something isn't sufficient, if there isn't political and economical will to use to an end.

    Originally Posted By: Lord Safey
    As to how I how I would have the twenty billion dollars spent. If my sole concern is overpopulation I would spend that 20 billion dollars for developing space travel hands down. 20 billion in space travel will help us raise the upper limits of how many people we can support were as 20 billion to raise the standard of living for poor people, will bring us closer to the upper limit of what can support.

    If we can stabilize or lower human population, we don't need to raise upper limit of people we could support. Population growth demonstrably begins to level and even decline once a certain treshold of wellfare is achieved. Meanwhile, spending 20 billion $ for this would remove famine and disease from the lifes of many people.

    Spending 20 billion $ for pace research will undoubtedly produce something interesting or allow us to use new forms of energy, but unless something else is done to distribute the new wellfare to poor people, we're just making new toys for the rich elite.

    People who are planning space travel generally belong to the rich elite. Any inventions they make are likely to benefit the rich elite first. But rich people are well of already, in fact, population is already declining in richest countries.

    Overpopulation is the biggest problem in poor countries. Lack of infrastructure, income differences and a lot of desperate people in one place cause tension instability in society. This increases changes of violent conflict escalating from the mess. Unless rich countries deliberately work to prevent these problems, chances are we won't soon have to take care of 7.5 billion humans, because half of those lived in poor countries and killed themselves of in a war or died in a famine.

    Why is important to support an arbitrarily large population of humans anyway? What does Earth crammed full of humans achieve? It'd be easier to provide a happy life for a smaller population, spread on a smaller area. It'd be easier to account for environmental and aesthetic values in such an environment.
  12. Originally Posted By: Lord Safey
    1) Considering at the time most sailing ships stayed in sight of of land it was a remarkable feat. Second considering they they have to spend weeks if not months at sea to make that voyage with limited supplies and disease ridden it was pretty dangerous. I think you underestimate the difficulty of this feat given the circumstances

    We're talking past each other. My whole point was that you're underestimating difficulty of space travel.

    Anyone with two hands can build something that floats and thus roughly counts as a boat. Sailing across the ocean is possible with very minimal supplies, as Earth and Ocean themselves contribute majorly to making conditions survivable.

    As said, Earth at its worst is better than any other stellar object at its best. Unlike sailing, space travel is something vastly outside the realm of random person to do. So far, it has only been implemented to a very small degree, on governmental level. To provide a solution for the problem at hand, space travel would have to become as easy and available to common man as boathing. Are you seeing that anywhere in near future? I aren't.

    Originally Posted By: Lord Safey
    2&3) The moon formed out the same stuff that the earth is made off. Most geologist think that moon was made when a mars sized planet crashed into the earth and the stuff that didn't come back down formed the earth. So while you wouldn't find fossil fuels but could pretty much find everything else.

    Specifically Helium-3 which I hear it is potentially a miracle substance when it comes to powering a nuclear reactor. The catch is it is very rare on earth. However helium-3 is deposited in large amounts on the moon because it has no electromagnetic field or atmosphere to deflect the solar wind that carries Helium-3, so it gets embedded in the lunar regolith.

    The thing is ultimately you wouldn't stop at the moon you have to keep expanding outwards and once you have successfully developed the moon you be a lot more capable of moving to other objects.

    Like I said in what I think was my very first post in this thread, energy is not, strictly speaking, what we're running out of. Hypothetically, we could harness all required energy from Sun alone. Since I'm not seeing commercially viable Helium 3 fusion reactors anywhere, they belong to the same speculative bin as coating Sahara with solar panels.

    Abundance of electrical energy does not directly translate to wellfare of all people. We'd as much need a breakthroughs in logistics, housing, and biotechnology. While abundant energy might help in development of these things, you've yet to convince me we'll reach said developments fast enough to prevent a natural population collapse.

    Originally Posted By: Lord Safey
    4)It wouldn't be done overnight. My understanding is that I would take about 10 years to do the lunar prospecting and about 20 billion dollars. This is however is on par with about how much companies spend to find and develop new oil resources. There are also business men your giving such operations serious consideration.

    Getting the stuff off the moon is actually the easiest part of this. The moon only has 1/6th the gravity of earth. Their is no atmosphere your vehicle has to fight on its way up. This makes it exponentially cheaper to get off the moon then earth. You make the vehicle take the resources back to earth unmanned and you can greatly expand what you define as a soft landing. Which means you just simply put the stuff in a hard shell with a rocket strapped to the bottom and crash it into an empty field.

    Once you started mining the ice and turning it into rocket fuel and using it to setup refueling stations rockets will be redesigned and the ensuing competitiveness will cause things to get much more efficient.

    Efficient at what?

    Distributing humanity to other parts of our solar system? Sure. Not same thing as reducing Earth's population, or transferring resources down here. Even if we do build a space elevator, it's unlikely to have great enough capacity to transfer thousands of people to orbit each day. Even if it could, just building the infrastructure to Moon or orbit to support so many people would be a phenomenal task.

    10 years might be enough to get an operation started, and I think that's a rather optimistic estimate, seeing that no-one is seriously planning this and even necessary materials are the realm of science fiction for now. It migh take another 10 before the mining becomes profitable, another 10 before we've build enough ships to make moving to other celestial bodies feasible, and so on.

    Meanwhile, population on Earth keeps growing, and problems keep escalating. Whatever extra energy we get from the moon might not compensate other, vaning resources, like coal and oil.

    Population could very well rise and fall on its own accord while the rich elite keeps playing with new shiny space toys, so to speak.

    Originally Posted By: Lord Safey
    As far as food Nasa as done lots of experiments with hydroponics and also done some experiments with growing edible algae. So even if the lunar regolith is unsuited for growing food there are other alternatives.

    Hydroponic and aeroponic farming are great inventions, that's true.

    They're most cost efficiently put in use down here, on Earh.

    As a rule of a thumb, any food we might grow on space will be spend feeding people who are also in space. Hydro- and aeroponics might prove vital in solving the problems at hand, but actually shooting people in space is largely irrelevant as far as that goes.

    Originally Posted By: Lord Safey
    I will admit their are major difficulties in setting up these kinda of mining operations on the moon but they are still far easier then convincing society to stop growing.

    That's like saying it's easier to convince people to shave than to quit driving a car.

    It might be true, but my whole point from the start was that space travel will not be worth a damn as a solution. Research we do for it to be possible, sure. Apollo program produced many wonderful by-products, but I hold actually visiting the Moon was largely waste of rocket fuel.

    Space travel might solve problems besides overpopulation of Earth, and have some other interesting ramifications. But I still hold the bulk of humanity is too large and growing too rapidly for it to work in this case.

    To move a bit closer to the original topic, let me put it this way: which would you think will help more in solving problems posed by overpopulation: spending 20 billion $ to develop space travel, or spending 20 billion $ to develop housing and food distribution logistics in 3rd world countries? (Of course, these are not mutually exclusive. It's just a matter of which you think would provide better results.)
  13. Safey:


    1) Sailing boat crossing an ocean takes much less energy and specialized technology than a spaceship crossing the void. Building those many many ships to move around enough people to offset more people born would require so much resources it isn't feasible.


    2 & 3) But could we extract resources from the Moon fast enough to supply the growing population? More importantly, does Moon even have resources we would need?


    Even if we can build a working colony from Moon's local resources, chances are a) we can't move enough people there fast enough to offset population growth and B) the resources we can extract from Moon will only migitate the problem, not solve it. Moon has only so many useful resources - ultimately, it only increases the limit of functioning population, but does not remove it.


    4) But "depleting resources" is only half of the problem here - the other half is that unless we do something else besides space travel to stabilize or lower our population, there will be a growing amount of people to use those resources. And again, I'm not convinced we could actually move enough resources from space to Earth to actually offset our growing need for them. Or that they'd be the right kind of resources in the first place - what is Moon's estimated food production capacity?


    5) This goes to other people as well: if I actually knew some way to get all people under one banner to solve all world's problems, you'd be calling me God Emperor of mankind just about now. tongue I hold it is possible to do this - I don't claim to know how, and am not optimistic enough to say it will happen.

  14. I don't blame you if you don't see it - I don't either, some of the time. There's a fairly large design space for solutions I would find acceptable, with varying shades of grey in each. For example, I do believe it would be possible to establish a governmental birth control program that without it being utter dickery.

  15. At least I see wars as both the mechanism and a side-effect of the population collapsing. Just like rats will sometimes start eating other rats when food is in short supply, when humanity starts running out of resources, we will fight over those left.


    Sure, wars are not necessary. But I don't think they're something we'll avoid without consciously trying to prevent them.

  16. If we reduce our numbers through control of reproducion, then the "excess" people will just naturally die of old age - they can still potentially lead a satisfactory life, even have kids (though a limited number of them).


    On the other hand, if we extert little conscious effort to alleviate problems of overpopulation, it will end in vast amounts of people dying violently and painfully in wars and famine.


    It is possible to solve the problem in a civil and controlled manner. It's a matter of how. It seizes to be ironic once you take a closer look at it. All people will die - this is a matter of what kind of lives they will lead.

  17. I'm pretty sure there have been wars and diseases that have killed hundreds of thousands within the last decade or so. Hundreds of thousands just isn't enough when we get that many new people each day or so.


    Of course, if we don't consciously do something to prevent it, sooner or later problems caused by overpopulation will escalate to a point where enough people will die.

  18. I haven't missed it. Unlike you, I do see good reasons why the trend migh stop. Or rather, stop growing in a speed quick enough to avoid all all hurdless associated with such occasion.


    The question we're facing is "how long can we sustain X baseline of wellfare for Y amount of population?" If we take X to be "modern western lifestyle" and Y to be "7.5 billion to 15 billion people", I'll come ahead and say "not for long". If our current estimates of climate change are anywhere near the mark, world's ability to sustain that many people at any level of wellfare might be compromised in a century.


    Biotechnology can increase carrying capacity of Earth, true. But it does have its limits, and we're already straining our current limits in our situation. It might be possible to provide stable conditions for a population of 10 billion humans, but I hold it'd be easier at this point to reduce number of eaters rather than bake a greater pie.


    If we get down to it, you're much more optimistic about biotechnology than I am, and I believe our current situation would be better solved in other manner than brute forcing through it by technological breakthroughs that might or might not happen.

  19. First, about globalization: it's not bad on itself. It's the inevitable outcome of large-scale social interaction. You can easily liken it to natural selection of cultures; there are some bad effects, but rather than worry about globalization as a whole, it'd be more fruitful to focus on tackling those specific effects.


    Second, about energy crisis: energy is, for all intents and purposes, infinite. However, our ability to extract it from the envinronment is not, and more importantly, our need for suitable energy can exceed our ability to produce it.


    Famines are perhaps the most basic example of this - when environment's ability to produce food is not enough to support a population, said population will collapse. Similarly, I believe mankind is reaching the point where we must reduce our population to retain stability. We can do this in controlled manner, utilizing globalization, and unification of cultures it entails, to best effect, arranging global logistics so that all peoples are quaranteed some baseline of wellfare. Alternatively, we can fiddle our thumbs about it, and wait till internal conflicts of our species lead to forceful equilibrium - entailing war, famine and all manner of other disasters. <_<


    In either case, global culture will go through massive upheaval.


    Third, while nuclear power indeed is a good form of energy and we could do with more, there's only so much Uranium to go around. Each fission or fusion plant also requires other hard-to-get materials. Due to this, available resources will always put a hard limit on how many we can build, and how much energy we can get from them.


    Meanwhile, we already have one, big fusion reactor sitting right there in the sky. Amount of energy shone down on Earth by the Sun is large enough to theoretically satisfy mankind's need for electrical energy many times over. Breakthrough of Solar energy is a matter of creating a panel that can be created cheaply and quickly from abundant materials. I have no doubt that eventually, it will trump nuclear power in every aspect. Before that, we have much more pressing concerns to deal with. Such as ensuring there's enough food and water to our evergrowing population. >_>


    Fourth, space travel will never be a solution to overpopulation.


    There are, what, three births for each death every second now? That's a surplus of 86 400 people each day. Thus, to solve this [censored] with space travel, we'd have to send as many people each day to Moon, Alpha Centauri, or whatever.


    Yeah, right. Building a single ship for that many people would require more resources than a new nuclear reactor. Furthermore, all those resources would be effectively lost, and not usable to us earthlings anymore, as they're conveniently shot somewhere else.


    Even then, Earth at its worst is better for human life than any other object in our solar system at its best. Making Moon or Mars livable for large enough populations for it to matter would require so much energy expenditure it wouldn't even be funny.


    Sending people to America or Australia worked because those places had livable conditions and natural resources of their own to supply the colonies. Moon, Mars, and so on, do not. We might as well send those 86 400 people to Sahara or Antarctis, to die. Expect that would be vastly more feasible, as those places are still on Earth, and logistics to move people there would be much easier to arrange.


    Shooting people in the head will always be more effective method of population control than shooting them to space. Possibly more humane, even. -_-

  20. The troll punches the Rider again and again, his mask starting to crack under the barrage. Enraged, the black-clad man detaches one hand from the creature and reaches towards a tree burning in the distance. A gust of wind picks up several heated embers from its smoking trunk and throws them on the beasts back, causing it immense pain.


    It gives the Rider just enough time to push the creature back and kick its jaw with bone-crushing force, knocking it off of him. The Rider rolls up, and casts his hateful glare on the beholder. He reaches towards the sky and pulls - and with ear-shattering roar, a lightning bolt descends from the blackened sky, striking the aberrant being.


    Though the fight is not over, the Rider does not feel like wasting any more time with it. He lets out a high-pitched whistle, which echoes through the forest, mixing with the howling winds and paradoxically growing in magnitude as it schreeches through the air. The ghastly wail reaches even Windmill village, causing chill in the spines of those who hear it.


    Somewhere in the forest, Rider's steed wearily rises to its hooves in response to its master's call, galloping towards the fight.


    The hunt is not over.

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