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Posted: 26 May 2005 08:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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MG:

What do you propose?  You are rejecting, in a categorical sense, many alternatives that very smart people believe have promise.

Are you proposing that we do nothing?

Or are you proposing something darker?  Should we start killing the most useless people now, so that we can conserve energy?

I think that it is pretty clear that I believe that the current economic system needs a complete tear down and rebuild.  It is also clear that I believe that environmental problems are serious, and seriously underestimated.  At this point, I believe that some amount of death and suffering (above and beyond the normal levels) will accompany the transition from where we are to where we need to be.  I also believe that the only acceptable path forward is the one the increases this death and suffering by the lowest possible levels.

As far as my “optimism” with regards to my various “rays of hope” - well, I don’t know how optimistic I really am.  But I do believe that we have to try.  Your posts are rapidly degenerating into defeatism which is not particularly useful.

I know it seems bad, but there are things that can be done.  This entire subject is actually the core reason why I am so angry about the dismantling of science in our school system.  The next 100 years will see the greatest need for well trained scientific minds that the human race has ever known, and the stakes will literally be life and death for billions of people.

As a friend of mine likes to say:  Fine fine fine.  We’ve established that the sky is falling.  What do we do about it?

-Matt

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Posted: 26 May 2005 08:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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[quote author=“Nietzsche”]I quite like the idea of a self-replicating alcohol production factory. Where can I get one? Do they come in different varieties - I’d prefer a gin & tonic one.

Or maybe you’ve been visiting the alochol production factory a bit too often?

If I had such a factory, I guarantee that my posts would be a lot more colorful.

I like the scheme because it might work, and if it doesn’t, we can throw one hell of a party on our way out.

-Matt

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Posted: 26 May 2005 09:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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[quote author=“psiconoclast”]MG:

What do you propose?  You are rejecting, in a categorical sense, many alternatives that very smart people believe have promise.

Second part first.  Psi, I would love to know who these “smart people” are. As I tried to point out, the smart people I pay attention to have done the energy analysis, as I indicated, and the results have uniformly been discouraging.  Years ago I worked in the thermal solar energy buisness when HUD was supporting demonstration projects in this country.  Rather than go through the litany, I will simply say that the results of the kinds of analyses I mentioned in the prior post were done and found that the net energy from thermal solar (active, not passive) was much lower than, say, from natural gas heating and in some cases was actually negative!

Here is what I have seen.  Someone at Cal Tech proposes a basic science experiment to see if energy could be generated using X technology.  This is basic science, not a plan to save the earth.  However, they do frame the problem with the energy question in mind so that funding agencies get interested (DOE pushes all kinds of far out stuff - they have real hope believe me).  If they have any success in their scientific efforts, the press picks it up and says, based on the hint in the original funding proposal, that this could be a solution to our energy needs.  Suddenly we have a solution, if only the process using technology X can scale up to production levels.  Guess what never happens.

The latest hype is over the hydrogen economy based on hydrogen as an energy carrier and fuel cell technology for all kinds of industrial and private (including transportation) uses.  We even have $1.5billion earmarked in the president’s energy bill for the hydrogen car.  Sounds great.  The little science that creeps into the public discussion only adds to confusion.  Now I suggest you go read “The Hype About Hydrogen” by Joseph Romm.  Then contrast the public perception of this technology and the president’s oh-so-intelligent policy proposal with the real science.  As I said before, some of these detailed, science-based analyses can be a real eye opener.  BTW: Romm does cover some of the misconceptions about energy sources needed to produce hydrogen and the relative efficiencies thereof.

[quote author=“psiconoclast”]Are you proposing that we do nothing?

Or are you proposing something darker?  Should we start killing the most useless people now, so that we can conserve energy?

I started this thread with a somewhat tongue-in-cheek proposal that all the secularist scientist (and families I should add) go to Canada, set up shop away from the US anti-intellectual (and growing anti-science) millieu.  There they should work on solutions that will allow a re-start of Homo whateverus after the rest of the species kills itself off.  I don’t propose to kill anyone. I do think that if you want to minimize painful, suffering deaths you will want to sterilize huge portions of the population so as to reduce the intensity of the crash.  I think that Guest/George had a not-unreasonable idea about genetic research to determine what, if anything, could be done to hasten the emergence of a more wise species (how about Homo eusapiens - man the truly wise?)

[quote author=“psiconoclast”]I think that it is pretty clear that I believe that the current economic system needs a complete tear down and rebuild.  It is also clear that I believe that environmental problems are serious, and seriously underestimated.  At this point, I believe that some amount of death and suffering (above and beyond the normal levels) will accompany the transition from where we are to where we need to be.  I also believe that the only acceptable path forward is the one the increases this death and suffering by the lowest possible levels.

As far as my “optimism” with regards to my various “rays of hope” - well, I don’t know how optimistic I really am.  But I do believe that we have to try.  Your posts are rapidly degenerating into defeatism which is not particularly useful.

It is clear what you believe. I’m not sure why you believe as you do, except to suspect it is based on hope.  You have offered examples of ideas, but not analyses of why these are good ideas (or pointers to some good scientific literature).  So my question is why do you have such faith that things will work out - maybe a “soft landing” scenario?

If I were a defeatist, or felt defeated, I wouldn’t try to use my imagination to think outside the box and wonder about possible real solutions to what seems clear from my perspective to be the real problem.  I will always entertain evidence that provides a different (and hopefully rosier) perspective.  But it has to be good evidence and not just ideas that are floating around.

[quote author=“psiconoclast”]I know it seems bad, but there are things that can be done.  This entire subject is actually the core reason why I am so angry about the dismantling of science in our school system.  The next 100 years will see the greatest need for well trained scientific minds that the human race has ever known, and the stakes will literally be life and death for billions of people.

As a friend of mine likes to say:  Fine fine fine.  We’ve established that the sky is falling.  What do we do about it?

-Matt

Well I think my proposal provides an answer and would alleviate your fear about what is happening with science in the US.

I guess what I am trying to say is that we are faced with an unprecedented set of global-scale problems that are propelled by the population overload and the profligate consumptive behavior of a few to be followed by the same (desired) behavior of many more (the Chinese for example).  We HAVE to be open to radical ideas to “solve” these problems in the sense that our objective is to preserve the genus Homo in spite of whatever rath nature we have begot.  The sky WILL fall.  I don’t think we can stop it.  But we can pick up the pieces if there is an us surviving that fall.

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Posted: 26 May 2005 11:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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I really hate to throw “cold water” on this otherwise uplifting discussion but…...........the energy crisis did not even make The Guardian’s recent top 10 list of most likely doomsday scenarios.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/life/feature/story/0,13026,1458536,00.html

..........nor did the Chump’s rapture!

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Posted: 26 May 2005 12:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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[quote author=“Conservative Atheist”]I really hate to throw “cold water” on this otherwise uplifting discussion but…...........the energy crisis did not even make The Guardian’s recent top 10 list of most likely doomsday scenarios.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/life/feature/story/0,13026,1458536,00.html

..........nor did the Chump’s rapture!

I think Chumps rapture would be whatever one of those scenarios happen first, and the “ones” that go missing ie. bodies never found, would be the ones that god has taken straight to heaven without passing go.  rolleyes

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Posted: 26 May 2005 01:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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[quote author=“Conservative Atheist”]I really hate to throw “cold water” on this otherwise uplifting discussion but…...........the energy crisis did not even make The Guardian’s recent top 10 list of most likely doomsday scenarios.


..........nor did the Chump’s rapture!

It wasn’t a “top 10 list”. It was a survey of a few scientists, one of whom I know.  I also read Rees’ book. 

Energy may not be the trigger or cause of collapse, although I strongly believe it could be.  If you read back you should be able to discern that I said that since we are using up all the cheap energy, the chances for recovery from a major catastrophe such as climate change, loss of potable water, desertification, deforestation, depletion of many natural resources including fisheries… (do I really need to go on?) taken collectively, is very slim.  It is energy that is needed to do work.  Very simple.  Use up all the easy to get stuff and when you find you really need to do a lot of work to survive and the bank has been depleted, then what?

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Posted: 26 May 2005 03:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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[quote author=“Mystery Guest”] I do think that if you want to minimize painful, suffering deaths you will want to sterilize huge portions of the population so as to reduce the intensity of the crash.  I think that Guest/George had a not-unreasonable idea about genetic research to determine what, if anything, could be done to hasten the emergence of a more wise species (how about Homo eusapiens - man the truly wise?)

Brilliant!  Simply Brilliant, Herr Doctor Megele!

I agree completely, we shall sterilize the undesirables and purge their seed from the human gene pool while we manipulate the genome to breed a new master race of truly wise men and women!

It would be even better if we could further minimize the resource consumption of the undesirables in the short term as well as their “painful suffering deaths” by hastening their demise in gas chambers (assuming, of course, that the gas expenditure to energy resource consumption tradeoffs are favorable and don’t violate the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics). 

Gassing undesirable children would no doubt be the most cost/effective since they would otherwise have the highest expected resource consumption over their normal life spans.

Of course, the despised, arrogant and resource-wasting Americans should be high on the list of undesirables. They could be dispatched using Islamic WMDs as soon as the rest of us have safely retreated to our elite intellectual ivory towers in Canada. 

Sieg Heil!

[quote author=“Mystery Guest”] We HAVE to be open to radical ideas to “solve” these problems in the sense that our objective is to preserve the genus Homo in spite of whatever rath nature we have begot.  The sky WILL fall.  I don’t think we can stop it.  But we can pick up the pieces if there is an us surviving that fall.

Just “thinking outside of the box”, another perhaps “radical idea” as a potentail solution to both the global warming and energy crises, might be to require liberals to only breath IN and not EXHALE thereby reducing not only the atmospheric CO2 concentration and useless energy consumption but also the global pollution of wacky ideas…….just a thought “outside the box”.

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Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful…..Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman (3 BC - 65 AD)

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Posted: 26 May 2005 04:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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And this is the guy accusing me of ad hominem.  Sweet.

For an old fart you sure have a lot of balls.  Don’t you think that after all these years you should learn to read for comprehension?

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Posted: 26 May 2005 04:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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Why the Mystery? It leads me to think you are insecure, because you are trying to draw attention to yourself with your name. You must be hoping that we’re hoping that you might be Sam Harris, or…...A BIG HOLLYWOOD MOVIE STAR, or something like that.

Stop the mystery and tell us who you are so it won’t be a mystery anymore, yuk yuk…. grin

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Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matt 11:28-29

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Posted: 26 May 2005 05:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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Speaking of survival of the fittest - unfortunately, it’s often not survival of the most truly worthwhile….but survival of the most animalistic.  With all our modern conveniences in the western world, anyone can survive…and the survival game changes to one of tribalism - aggression, subjugation, fascism.

Religion, naturally, easily morphs into all three of those.

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Posted: 26 May 2005 05:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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[quote author=“Mystery Guest”]And this is the guy accusing me of ad hominem.  Sweet.

Look up ad homimem!

I am merely directly challenging your warped ideas and statements….....not your affilaitons, credentials, or other personal characteristics.

If you cannot defend them, I understand…....completely.

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Posted: 26 May 2005 05:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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Ah, Champ.  I believe most of us know who the mystery guest is.  Haven’t you been paying attention? 

Or have you been too caught up in your own proselytizing to give due attention to intellectual posts?

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Posted: 26 May 2005 06:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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[quote author=“Mystery Guest”]For an old fart you sure have a lot of balls.

Thank you for the sincere and obviously heartfelt complement.

Coming from you, Mystery Guest, it has special meaning for me.

[quote author=“Mystery Guest”]Don’t you think that after all these years you should learn to read for comprehension?

I have read and comprehended everything that you have posted….......probably more than you will ever know.

I actually understand and respect your relatively clear and lucid explanation of the energy issue. 

I just think that your suggested solutions are all f**ked up.

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Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful…..Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman (3 BC - 65 AD)

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Posted: 26 May 2005 06:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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Sorry Guest. Must have missed it during one of these long posts (and so many to peruse). Who is our Mystery Guest?

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Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matt 11:28-29

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Posted: 26 May 2005 07:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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The only thing any individual person can do is to become aware of what he consumes and stop consuming excess.

Say no to purchasing shit just cause that TV commercial hit your reptilian brain.  In fact, turn OFF your TV.

Birth rates decline in countries where women have choices other than marriage and six kids.  Liberate the women !!.

If you want to do charity, instead of feeding children that grow up and have more children to feed, send a smart girl from a poor country to college in Europe.

Don’t sell your gas guzzling SUV, send it to one of the many agencies using them to create artificial reefs.

Take an interest in your local school board, your local planning department.  Are your neighborhoods set up so that people don’t HAVE to drive?  I bet they aren’t.

Be aware where your 401k money is, and your other investments, just what exactly are you supporting?

Don’t use chemicals or pesticides.  Let your lawn go to hell, who cares?  Our house has been pesticide/chemical free for over 11 years, and we still have no infestations of anything.  Apparently, the fire ants ate the termites, so it’s all good.

Other than downsizing and simplifing on an individual basis and being proactive in what little area of the world you can affect, there isn’t much we can do but hope and have faith in humanities adaptive ability to overcome.  I have that faith. 

I do see some real problems coming, and so do others, from other quarters than just the energy crisis.  I think “Western Civilization” will have a dramatic adjustment.  I have high hopes for the EU, and the new South American Union that seems to be starting up led by Brazil.  Even the African Union seems to be cutting it’s baby teeth.  Population estimates keep going down and down, and the projected effect on capitalism is very negative. 

It seems to me that throughout history the torch is passed from one civilization to another, but the torch has always advanced.

Defeatism is the luxury of the young.  Figure out what you personally can do then DO what you can do.  And don’t forget to Eat, Drink, and be Merry.

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