[ExI] Madmen was Repudiating the national debt

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Sat May 14 19:01:04 UTC 2016

On Sat, May 14, 2016 at 9:57 AM,  Dan TheBookMan <danust2012 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Then be prepared to have madmen get into office.

It's worse than that.  Under some circumstances it's almost inevitable
that madmen will become leaders.

That's because in some circumstances we have evolved psychological
traits to follow madmen.  Why?  Because in evolutionary relevant time
such a course was better for genes than the alternatives.  Thus this
trait was selected over millions of years, it's wired into your genes.
If it's not obvious, I can repost the analysis.

Do these circumstances now apply to a substantial part of the USA
voting population?  Did they apply in the 1920s to the rise if Hitler?
 Yes and yes.  (Sorry about Godwins law).

Is there anything we can do about it?  Yes, it requires improving the
future outlook for the world (and US) populations.  A secure and low
cost renewable energy source is one thing which would help a lot.  Can
we do it soon enough to affect the upcoming election?  Sigh, almost
certainly not.


PS.  Regardless of how it turns out, we are going to live in
"interesting times."

PPS.  Pasted from the power satellite economic group

This blog, Our  Finite World is run by Gail Tverberg.  She gave a most
interesting talk at the power satellite workshop in Orlando last year.
It's  not much focused on solutions, unless you count hiding with a
case of beans and a case of ammo.

ratmeat says:
May 11, 2016 at 3:23 pm

450 about 2050?

hkeithhenson says:
May 11, 2016 at 7:44 pm

“450 about 2050?”

It’s possible to stop the rise of CO2 short of 450 ppm.

If you go here


Slide 6 “Projected CO2 ppm aggressive expansion”

Shows the output of a model where the the rise in CO2 stops well short
of 450 ppm.

BTW, the Reaction Engines engineers got back to me with a proposal to
double the number of flights for a Skylon from with a mid life refurb,
replacing the engines and the heat shielding at 500 flights. This cuts
the peak Skylon production rate from 140 a month to 70 a month. It’s
possible they might last even longer.

Focusing on CO2 rather than energy doesn’t decrease the importance of
holding the cost down; Gail has convinced me of that. If you want
India to quit burning coal, it’s going to be a lot easier if
replacement energy cost less.

ratmeat says:
May 11, 2016 at 9:41 pm

Whats the total amount of CO dumped into the atmosphere to produce the
materials and the launchs to create your obsession?

hkeithhenson says:
May 11, 2016 at 11:18 pm

“Whats the total amount of CO dumped into the atmosphere to produce
the materials and the launches to create”

That’s a good question. I have not previously worked out that
particular number. I have worked out how long it takes for a power
satellite to repay the energy that goes into making the parts and
transporting them to GEO. Turns out to be 2-3 months.

During the peak ten years of buildup to displacing fossil fuels, the
cargo into space is around 15 million tons per year. That’s 1 million
flights per year. Aluminum is the most energy hungry material at about
15 kWh/kg, 15 tons would be around 215 MWh. But that’s relatively
small compared to the liquid hydrogen which is close to 70 kWh/kg, or
70 MWh/ton. A single launch takes about 70 tons (4900 MWh) of hydrogen
including the hydrogen used as reaction mass for the LEO to GEO leg.

It’s close enough to figure twice as much mass of natural gas as
hydrogen, so the per launch use is about 140 tons of NG. The carbon
fraction of NG is 12/16, so the carbon per launch would be about 105
tons. To get to carbon dioxide, multiply by 44/12 or 385 tons per
launch. Million launches, 385 million tons of CO2 per year for ten
years or .385 billion tons per year. (It would be easy to capture, but
here we assume it will just be released.) In the context of upwards of
37 billion tons per year,
it’s a bit over 1%.

To answer your question, over ten years around 3.85 B tons of CO2 or
about ten percent of the current yearly output.

Of course, the proposal is to displace fossil fuels. That’s the point
made in the animation. At the end of the first year of producing power
satellits at over 300 a year, the carbon entering the atmosphere would
be down by ten percent, and in ten years, it would be reduced to zero.

Always glad to answer objections, especially where the answers are numbers.


PS I have been assuming that the hydrogen would be made from LNG
shipped to the launch point and used to make hydrogen locally. Would
140 million tons of LNG per year cause problems with the LNG supply?
It might. Current LNG capacity is around 300 million tons, but LNG is
a small fraction of total NG and there are plans for as much as 600
million tons per year making use of low cost US gas.

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