Re: Fw: Energy article from BBC news

From: Innovatia <>
Date: Thu Aug 05 2004 - 14:12:05 EDT

From: "wallyshoes" <>

> If I take out my crystal ball I would guess the following on the energy
> In not too many years, the price of gas will double. ... All manner of
fixes will get started and eventually, nuclear will rise again. Such plants
will make hydrogen for cars. All of this will be too little too late.
Americans will once again learn about car pooling. Fusion reactors will get
built and we will find out those problems are.

Comparing "crystal balls" (not that either of us are into divination!) I
concur that it will be too little too late for much of (but not all) the
population because not enough has been going on in the '80s and '90s to
address the energy problem. In part, this is because there are not enough
hobby or self-funded scientists anymore making major progress as they did in
the past. (See my review of Terrence Kealy's book, _The Economic Laws of
Scientific Research_ in the ASA journal for support of this counterintuitive
assertion, or a longer review under "Dennis Feucht" at:
("in the ZONE").) However, nuclear probably cannot make a comeback, either
in time or in fuel either. The uranium story is not unlike the oil story.
Hydrogen is not the best means of storing and transporting energy; ethanol
is better.

The problems with fusion are more or less known, but the creative insights
for progress to commercial use are unscheduleable. That's a bad way to plan
an energy budget for the future. According to ASA fusion researcher Robert
Kaita at the Princeton Plasma Physica Laboratory, energy breakeven was
acheived in the late '90s, but that milestone is still a long way from
commercially viable fusion - long enough to not provide energy continuity
for failing oil. I'll place my hopes on solar and perhaps some derivative
sources, such as wind and ocean waves, and geothermal.

I don't know much about the engineering of geothermal energy conversion, but
it seems the natural migration path for the oil companies. They know how to
drill deep holes and pump fluids up from them, and down into them. Why not
build on that technology large-scale heat-transfer systems? The challenge
might be in maintaining high source temperature for the fluids in transit
from deep in the earth. (Long, insulated piping?) With large-scale Stirling
engines, a 100 degC temperature differential ought to make it all feasible.
Or put the engines down the holes and pump down cooling.

> Population? Zero preplanning will take place. Somewhere along the line,
population will stabilize. It will probably be by starvation in the "have
not" countries. War (the other use for nuclear capability) is good

Or the "clean" approach: biological weapons of mass destruction. (Maybe the
bowls (vials) of Revelation offer some clues if we're now eschatological.)
The World Order need not be obvious about it. Murder by natural causes is
the least politically upsetting to the population. I don't know why the
ter*ro&ris#ts didn't put something into the chalk in the '70s that takes 6
months to diagnose and kills off the intellectual population. Chalk
factories couldn't have been that well-guarded back then - nor whiteboard
ink suppliers now.

Dennis Feucht
Received on Fri Aug 6 13:42:26 2004

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