Reality Blind - Vol. 1

require huge volumes. E.g. hydrogen is such a small molecule that it leaks out of virtually any container that holds it.

Carbon Intensity : Reducing carbon pollution of the atmosphere is a major goal when looking at potential energy sources.

Complexity : To be used, energy carriers require constructed machines ranging from simple devices weighing a few pounds to a half-billion-dollar complex taking more than a decade to build, while producing nearly immortal waste products. Waste-streams : How many rare earth metals requiring toxic lakes of chemical waste products are needed? How much wastewater (from e.g. fracking) is generated? The polluting impacts of energy can also be considered as an ‘energy property’ differentiating various technologies. TaaL: I suppose I’d be considered tiresome if I just suggested that you all take a deep breath and stop pursuing ever-more energy. There really is no end- game rationale for what you’re doing that makes any sense at all. There’s no trophy waiting for someday maki ng it to a population of 20 billion humans, most of them in bad shape, while many other species are forced to extinction. There’s no additional happiness awaiting you in a world with four times the energy you’re now using. There’s only a progressive trade of your world’s deep -time future for a current-energy- ratchet, which makes no inherent sense.

Instead I’ll add at least one more “energy property” to the above:

Absolute Practicality : There are some energy-carrier schemes, such as giant orbital solar power armadas, mining the moon for H3, or replacing the current infrastructure with huge tokamak fusion generators, which would require such a long sequence of mutually-dependent highly- improbable things to “go right” in sequence that, even if not physically impossible, they are probabilistically absurd , akin to a plan for funding one’s college education with the purchase of a single lottery ticket. That is, some “energy sources” discussed by humans have such a ridiculously high threshold of complexity and time investment as to be utterly incommensurate with anything you could actually do with the energy, resources, and time available to you. There’s a world of difference between running a diesel engine on farm-pressed vegetable oil, which would work, and importing Helium-3 from the moon to feed a network of fusion reactors.

The Bottom Line: The qualitative differences in the characteristics


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