[ExI] Climate models

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Tue Apr 1 16:56:13 UTC 2014

On Tue, Apr 1, 2014 at 4:00 AM,  John Clark <johnkclark at gmail.com> wrote:


>> > It can't be carbon based because there isn't enough left that can be
>> obtained at a low enough price.
> It probably can be for the next few decades.

Gail Tverberg argues that the continuing economic malaise is largely
due to energy cost.  I think she is right.

>> Here is a dumbed down version of my thoughts on how to solve the problem.
>> https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5iotdmmTJQsSzVYQ2Q0YUtCMERRczdYSXMtUWphUl92aHFN/edit?usp=sharing
> Interesting ideas and there is certainly nothing in them that would violate
> the fundamental laws of physics, but it would seem to me that the
> technological advancements needed to actualize this would be far far
> greater than what would be required to make a Liquid Fluoride Thorium
> Reactor (LFTR) practical.

I have a high opinion of LFTR.  And you may be correct, but the state
of technology in high powered lasers is much further along than you
might think.  Back in the SDI days they solved the technical problems
of pointing and tracking, at least that's what Dr. Jordin Kare says.
(I know enough about this to know Jordin knows way more than I do.)

The other big piece is the Skylon, and that's currently funded at
around $350 million for building and flying a prototype engine.

> And I think economic projections about how long
> it would take to turn a profit and how much it would cost to build and
> maintain a HUGE project like that with super advanced technology unlike
> anything that has ever been built before are pretty useless.

It's not the largest energy project around.  It's not anywhere close
to as difficult as the Manhattan project.  The technology isn't that
advanced either.  It is really large, but the scope of solving the
energy problems makes that a requirement for any project that will
actually deal with the problems.

> And that's
> another advantage LFTR has, you don't have to start colossal, you can begin
> the learning curve with a small pilot plant and then grow from there.

I agree with you.  But LFTRs have problems well beyond the technical
ones.  They *are* nuclear reactors and that's a problem to get people
to understand how they differ from more conventional designs.  In any
case, Reaction Engines has funding.  I don't know of any current
funding for LFTR

> And there is a problem that both LFTR's and your ideas have,
> environmentalists won't like them; for them alternative energy sources are
> fine but only if they remain strictly on paper.

I think it's more complicated.  Wind and solar have captured the
memetic "market" in spite of their being economically unworkable.  You
might be interested in the comments for one of the early articles on
power satellites I wrote.


"Perhaps it is incorrect of me to assume they are in favor of a die
off when they reject that there even could be a solution to the
carbon/energy problems. Operationally though it's the same thing."

Why is there a fascination for disaster futures?  This isn't new,
there must be reasons rooted in our evolutionary past.


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