Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thursday Links

  • Can Hurricane Sandy's unusual track be blamed on lost Arctic sea ice?  Maybe - too soon to be sure.
  • Economic effects of hurricane Sandy.
  • Michael Levi: Can we do anything about climate change in the near term?
  • Hybrids and electric vehicles do well in reliability survey.
  • Physicists are a bunch of whiny pessimists about the so-bright-we-need-shades future of technology. #wheresmyjetpack.
  • Cyber-attack on Saudi Aramco may not have been Iranians after all.
  • Vacuum-insulated panels have five times the R-value per inch of conventional insulation, but are currently too expensive and hard-to-apply to see widespread use.  Inventors and entrepreneurs needed over there please!
  • A nuclear equipment vendor is threatening suit to stifle discussion of cyber-vulnerability information about its equipment.  Always a classy move.
  • DSIRE: Database of state-by-state incentives for renewables and energy efficiency measures  Check your state today.
  • European unemployment misery continues:


brett said...

Not understanding who the snark on the "Do the Math" post is directed at. I thought it was an interesting post.

sunbeam said...

You are a physicist.

I am not, but I do have an engineering degree.

That said I think he cherrypicked a lot of those questions.

But let me ask you this: do you feel so confident on some of those questions? I would have said something like the line from that Asimov story "Insufficient information to provide a meaningful answer."

Wormholes? FTL drives? Gravity generators? Right now I'd say no, but honestly who knows what will seem possible in 100 years? I wouldn't buy a lottery ticket betting on it, it is just something I'd consider to be pointless to advance an opinion on currently.

Or do you think we are close to a theoretical framework that can explain everything, regardless of whether we can do much with it (calculations take too damn long)?

As I said some of the stuff is goofy. I'd expect an undergrad to know the problems with jetpacks and flying cars.

I'm surprised at the pessimism on space colonies though. I can easily imagine those being feasible in 100 years. But let's face it, if we have the tech for a space colony we probably can fix any of the problems we have on earth.

I'd say fusion is a 100 year problem, not 50. But assuming population growth doesn't continue as it has, I'm not so sure solar couldn't take care of all of our energy needs.

By no means am I saying we won't have any problems, nor even that civilization will continue.

I kind of think that guy is way too pessimistic about what is possible though. I've posted there several times with reasonable objections to various things he has written, but he never seems to address or want to analyze them.

If you'd like I could post some of them here, but really what's the point?

A while back, you posted a blog entry stating that Peak Oil was behind the "Singularity," Climate Change as threats to humanity and our way of life.

I believe that myself. It's hard to separate out energy from climate change, but I have a nagging feeling it won't ever be as important as it has been made out on the peak oil sites.

We might have an awful economy for the bulk of the population, but that alone won't be the end of everything.