[ExI] Are mini nuclear power stations the way forward?

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Fri Mar 18 06:47:42 UTC 2011

On Thu, Mar 17, 2011 at 10:15:22PM -0400, Mike Dougherty wrote:
> On Wed, Mar 16, 2011 at 11:40 PM, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:
> > Mike, we don't have 10-20 years.  The problem is that the Japanese quake has
> > scared off nuclear power investors now.  We will be forced to lower
> > consumption by market forces, and that includes lower consumption of food.
> Yeah.  miserable.  Still better than Keith's prediction of massive
> die-offs though (I imagine everyone's quality of life will suffer
> still)

You're familiar with basic idea of carrying capacity, overshoot,
and how it degrades carrying capacity, yes? In that simple model,
how do you improve the carrying capacity, and at a sufficiently
high rate as you leave the exponential (assume this is happening
now, the exact point in time is not important)? 

Now look around, do you see this happening?
> Do you really think we don't have 10-20 years?  What does that mean?

Predictions are often difficult, especially about the future.

> Are you telling me you think 15k years dead Mayans knew solar tsunami
> would fry earth electrical grid in 2012?  Nah, didn't think you were
> suggesting that. :)
> Seriously though, what degree of dystopian future are you predicting?
> I may be incredibly naive, but I sometimes wonder if the doom&gloom
> that's so fashionable on this list is warranted.  I agree that food
> has cost more every year as long as I've lived, but isn't that just

How does the price model predict collapse of food supply? Not really

> another fact of life to which we adapt?  Energy costs go up too.  I've
> never really seen them go down, so what evidence do we have that it
> isn't normal for this to be true of the zero-sum game that is every

You remember when we converted from biomass to fossil? That was
1890, or thereabouts. Remember the volume that had to be substitued?
Remember how long it took and on which technology we are relying on
the moment? 

Now look up the volume we now how to deal with, and how much
time we have. I mean, this is blah, go look at the numbers.

> day?  Maybe the Singularity save us from this trend, but I'm not sure
> I really understand that as anything more than wishful thinking
> either.

There's a cult of Singularity allright, and our friends in the
future definitely aren't.
> Sorry to be so pedestrian in my take-each-day-as-it comes thinking...

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
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