[ExI] Silence in the sky-but why?

Adrian Tymes atymes at gmail.com
Sun Sep 22 17:12:32 UTC 2013

On Sun, Sep 22, 2013 at 9:35 AM, Tomaz Kristan <protokol2020 at gmail.com>wrote:
> Isn't wind and solar always there?

They are, and if civilization can be shifted to those as a primary source,
then much of this problem goes away.  Especially with space-based solar,
where the limits of what can be harvested with Earth's surface area become
a nonissue.  (There might be limits as to how much wind it is practical to
tap.)  Of course, those are nonportable forms of energy, but if oil runs
out, fuel manufactured from this energy will likely be the cheapest fuel

Although, technically even solar is a "limited" resource: the total output
of the Sun is finite and measured, and in billions of years the Sun's fuel
supply will run low.  But exchanging a problem that needs to be solved
within the next several decades, for pretty much the same problem but it
needs to be solved before several billion years pass, will suffice for now.

On Sun, Sep 22, 2013 at 9:08 AM, Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org> wrote:

> We already been unable to maintain our current technology for several
> decades. The regression is not uniform, and sufficiently slow so that
> it can be ignored by many.

New power plants are being constructed all the time, and have been for
several decades.  Coal plants going back to 1921 are still in operation.
Human population has increased, and average energy used per person around
the world has gone up.  These are not consistent with a claim that we have
been unable to maintain our current technology during this span of time.

Granted, an increasing number of power plants are being retired - as was
originally planned when they were first built.  The intention was that they
would be replaced with new capacity at that time, and that is now
happening.  There may be a case to be made about lack of readily accessible
fuel, but technology itself keeps on advancing so long as there is fuel.
As you note, historical collapsed civilizations did not collapse until
after they ran out of fuel - not while they were running out.  However
close we may be to running out, the lights are still on right now, so there
is yet time to break through.
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