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Author Topic: The upcoming energy crisis.  (Read 23785 times)
Lukipela
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Re: The upcoming energy crisis.
« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2006, 07:56:51 am »

I'd say nuclear, but I see you don't see it as a solution.

Without linking to any source (if someone doubts it, I'll try to dig it up), I'm fairly sure that with our current rate of consumption, we have enough fiffiosn fuel for another 100-200 years tops. If we run out of oil, and have to replace that with nuclear fission, then it wont last near as long. Of course, this is discounting any technical innovations that could be made.

In my eyes nuclear power has to problems. Mining the stuff isn't exactly enviromental friendly (and you need diggers trucks and other things currently dependent on oil to do so), and you have to store the end product for a really long time. As rapidly as our way of life has changed i nthe last 200 years, it's hard to say where we will be in 20000 years,, yet we assume we'll be perfectly cabable of running a secure storage facility for that long.

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I think our best bet is using solar/wind/hydro/geo-thermal energy where you can get it efficiently enough, but if we want to maintain our present energy consumption (which will probably double in years to come) we have to come up with something better.

Yes, but until we find some nice way of storing the energy they produce, it'll be impossible to dpeend solely on these.

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Nuclear fusion sounds promising. If we can get it to work properly, that is give more energy then it drains, then we'll have enough fuel on earth itself to last for a couple thousand years.
This should be enough to find us a nice source of anti-matter Wink

Indeed. But that's a big "If", seeing as we not only need to get it working, but fairly quickly. And again, we need to find a decent way of storing that energy for mobile units such as cars, or just get rif of them altogether.

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As for what devices I can and cannot do without.
I'd say the most important things are transportation, heavy industrial equipment, computers, lights and refridgerators.

No argument there. But I was looking mroe specifically to "What could you live without", rather than "What is essential". What equipment would you be ready to give up today, if you were told you need to start conserving energy?

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I think this is promising:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITER

If they get it working, then yes.

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Also, there are ways to make oil. Since the late 80s or
early 90s scientists in the US have been producing
crude oil from the results of human waste + a special
kind of bacteria. Considering the amount of human
waste on the planet, I'd say oil is here to stay for
a very long time.

Do you have any link to these experiments (out of interest). From what I know, man produced oil is entieryl possible, but I was udner the impression that it wont be possible/economical to replace oil with that, and that the end product quality would vary.

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Also, diseal cars can run very well on vegetable oil. Lots
of plants around, right?

And yet, they do not regrow quick enough to keep all our cars going. Even if they did, there would be some unexpected eniromental issues steming form cutting down animal habittats every so often.

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Lunar helium-3.

Doubtful. In order to use this energy source,  we need to be able to construct some rather large transportation spaceships, and use less energy driving them to the moon and back than the energy of their payload. We also need to have them land without incident every time, and constructy mining bases all over the moon. This is not impossible, but seeing as our crowning prestation so far has been to land and come back in a tiny craft, I'd say tis still a far way off.

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Fossil Fuels, Methane Ice, Nuclear Fission, Wind, and Bio-fuels. In other words, I don't see a big replacement, I see a few of them. I see energy staying expensive even after the infrastructure is built to harness these things, emissions dropping for a little while before increased demand for energy brings them up again (china and india,) and farm fields of grains and sugar below, and giant pinwheels spinning above them.

This is probably the best way to go, not keeping all your eggs in the same basket.  Fell free to answer the other questions posed.

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There's 2 major powersources I think. The Sun (nuclear) produces wind and water power here on earth... except tidal which is taking energy from the moon. Then there's geothermal (earth magma). Pick anyone of those and you're set for quite a while.

I've been taught to distinguis between renewable and non-renewable sources of energy, but it basically works out the same. However, assuming that we will be able to utilize just any one of those to the same extent that we are using oil seems a tad unrealistic. For one, wind and water power cannot power your car Wink
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Re: The upcoming energy crisis.
« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2006, 09:29:55 am »

In my eyes nuclear power has to problems. Mining the stuff isn't exactly enviromental friendly

Well, mining anything isn't too environemtly friendly.
We just have to decide if the benefits outweigh the costs.

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(and you need diggers trucks and other things currently dependent on oil to do so),

Yes but when oil becomes a scarce resource you me want to consider withdrawing it from public use. If only certain industries will be allowed to buy oil, you want use nearly as much of it.
Tough I must admit I don't like this solution, too much government interference.

Also it probably wouldn't be too hard to design trucks, diggers, etc that run on electricty.

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and you have to store the end product for a really long time. As rapidly as our way of life has changed i nthe last 200 years, it's hard to say where we will be in 20000 years,, yet we assume we'll be perfectly cabable of running a secure storage facility for that long.

20 000 years? I think you underestimate the power of radioactive decay. By that time a significant part of the waste would have already turned into iron, or something.

Here, have a FAQ.
And here is the part related to what we're talking about right now.

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Q. What about nuclear waste?

A. The waste consists of the fission products. They are highly radioactive at first, but the most radioactive isotopes decay the fastest. (That's what being most radioactive amounts to). About one cubic meter of waste per year is generated by a power plant. It needs to be kept away from people. After 10 years, the fission products are 1,000 times less radioactive, and after 500 years, the fission products will be less radioactive than the uranium ore they are originally derived from.


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Yes, but until we find some nice way of storing the energy they produce, it'll be impossible to dpeend solely on these.

It's not the storing that is the problem, but making them meet the demand for energy.
I'm not sure if they can ever be anything more then an auxilary source.

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Indeed. But that's a big "If", seeing as we not only need to get it working, but fairly quickly. And again, we need to find a decent way of storing that energy for mobile units such as cars, or just get rif of them altogether.

Not a that big "if".
There are working fusion reactors, the problem is they are too small and worked for a too short amount of time to give more energy then they needed to start the reaction.

I'm not sure what's this about cars. There are  few nice models of electric cars. All you have to do is perfect the technology.
And I'm not sure 50-100 years is fairly quickly. Look at the past 50-100 year's progress to see what I mean.

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No argument there. But I was looking mroe specifically to "What could you live without", rather than "What is essential". What equipment would you be ready to give up today, if you were told you need to start conserving energy?

I could easily do without cars, as long there was some fairly efficient public transportation.
I could throw out the TV out the window any day.
Dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, washing machines, microwave and electric ovens, I could live without them tough some things would suddenly become a pain in the ass.

I guess what I'd get rid of depends on how much energy I was allowed to use.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2006, 11:28:52 am by Ivan Ivanov » Logged

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Re: The upcoming energy crisis.
« Reply #17 on: March 09, 2006, 04:17:44 pm »

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This is probably the best way to go, not keeping all your eggs in the same basket.

I'm not saying what's best, just what I think will happen. With today's technology, I don't think there is anyone thing that has enough output to hold off our monstrous demand. However, as time goes on and infrastructure is built, one source might become dominant, like methane ice.


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Fell free to answer the other questions posed.

Alright.


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When should this transistion take place?

I think it should take place a few millenia after WWIII. It probably will take place when the economics have forced the majority of people to look beyond oil.


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Or should it? If not, why not?

Are you asking what the downsides to the replacements would be? Fossil Fuels of all types pollute unless you are very careful and efficient, Methane Ice could be accidentally broken free from the ocean floor in fast quantities thus kill the miners and ending the ice age environment that created our species, Wind puts giant spinning blades over the landscape that require maintainence, and Bio-Fuels compete with food production as GeomanNL said.


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Also, how can we save energy? Even if we find a new power source, it might not be suitable for the consumption lifestyle we have today. What energy draining equipment do you think we can live without? what is unnecessary? And of course, what can we not live without, what is absolutely vital to you?

Same as before, don't let the 3rd world have it, muhahaha. Seriously though, I'd say long distance travel should go. Use your computer to stay in touch, and vacation in your backyard- much cheaper as energy gets pricier. Shut down Los Vegas. Actually, shut down night time light pollution, period. It sucked from the beginning.


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And of course, what can we not live without, what is absolutely vital to you?

"It is my industrial strength hair dryer, and I CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT IT!"

Computer, Cat, Food Coolers, Clothes Washer, Tesla Gun, and sadly, Toilets (see "the FUTURE" thread for details.)


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(and you need diggers trucks and other things currently dependent on oil to do so),

I don't think you realize that you're not just going to wake up some day and say "OMG, the OIL. . .it is ALL Gone!" When it is very scarce, if civilians stop using it, there will still be plenty to run your equipment (and if not, society collapses anyway.)


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yet we assume we'll be perfectly cabable of running a secure storage facility for that long.

Nature stored it for quite some time. Put it back where and how you found it.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2006, 04:31:39 pm by Deus_Siddis » Logged
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Re: The upcoming energy crisis.
« Reply #18 on: March 09, 2006, 09:55:53 pm »

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Doubtful. In order to use [Helium-3 as an energy source],  we need to be able to construct some rather large transportation spaceships, and use less energy driving them to the moon and back than the energy of their payload. We also need to have them land without incident every time, and constructy mining bases all over the moon. This is not impossible, but seeing as our crowning prestation so far has been to land and come back in a tiny craft, I'd say tis still a far way off.

Yes there's doubts about it, but apparently it's worth considering despite being on the moon (and other places).
You're incorrect in some of your statements, did you do any research (aka. internet research aka. checking first link on google)? Getting off earth probably cost the most energy, landing and taking off from the moon is cheaper, and entering the earth atmoshere must be relatively cheap too.  If you're patient you can just glide to the moon with a robotic shuttle without wasting much energy. If the moon-men were handling out 1t blocks of helium-3, we'd be able to fit 25 of them in our shuttle. Those 25t could power the US for a year, so the transportation cost would be insignificant. The problematic part (that you hinted at) is more about how to harvest it, as it's very dilluted in the lunar dust. I'll link to this article: The article I link to.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2006, 10:07:11 pm by Arne » Logged
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Re: The upcoming energy crisis.
« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2006, 12:28:39 pm »

Aren't you supposed to be studying?
Teacher may I be excused? My brain is full. It ended up that no amount of studying would have prepared me for that test. Everyone I know in the class thinks he or she failed it.

Lukipela you seem to be underestimating the POWER of the dark side....  err fusion reactions.

You know the whole E = MC^2 thing?
« Last Edit: March 10, 2006, 12:31:36 pm by BioSlayer » Logged

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Re: The upcoming energy crisis.
« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2006, 01:05:53 pm »

Well, mining anything isn't too environemtly friendly.
We just have to decide if the benefits outweigh the costs.

True, even though mining of Uranium often brings the bonus of Radon gas. I'm not saying it's impossible to mine and not cause enviromental problems, but it is a large challenge.

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Yes but when oil becomes a scarce resource you me want to consider withdrawing it from public use. If only certain industries will be allowed to buy oil, you want use nearly as much of it.
Tough I must admit I don't like this solution, too much government interference.

Unless you privatize the oil companies, or pass a political suicide law making it illegal to posess gasoline, I think this is going to be hard to achieve. Also, as most oil comes from a very unstable region, it's not entirely impossible that when it gets more expensive, they'll start making exclusive deals with those who pay the most, or who aren't their traditional enemies. At some point, there is a risk that they just turn off the tap.

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20 000 years? I think you underestimate the power of radioactive decay. By that time a significant part of the waste would have already turned into iron, or something.

Here, have a FAQ.
And here is the part related to what we're talking about right now.

DURRR I'M A RETARD! You are of course correct. I meant to say, "As far as we've come in the last 200 years, how will we look in another 200 years. Not 20 000. Boy is my face red now.

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It's not the storing that is the problem, but making them meet the demand for energy.
I'm not sure if they can ever be anything more then an auxilary source.

Actually it's both. It doesn't matter how great your windmill is if the wind isn't blowing. Wind and sun power cannot provide a dependable energy source (in most places) because they have far to many peaks and valleys. If a windmill could somehow store the energy it's producing when it's producing more than is needed, and then use that energy for when the wind isn't strong enough, it'd be much more dependable than it is now.

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Not a that big "if".
There are working fusion reactors, the problem is they are too small and worked for a too short amount of time to give more energy then they needed to start the reaction.

Yes. But unless we can manage to run them for long enough to produce energy, they aren't that much good to us. Once again, I'm not saying this is impossible in any way, but it isn't that simple either. Hopefully, we'll get it working before oil prices make it impossible to even start with current machinery, ratehr than converting everything to electricity first.

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I'm not sure what's this about cars. There are  few nice models of electric cars. All you have to do is perfect the technology.
And I'm not sure 50-100 years is fairly quickly. Look at the past 50-100 year's progress to see what I mean.

I'm not sure what you're referring to either. The biodiesel? I'm sure it can be made to work a lot better, but as was brought up earlier, you need a lot of biomatter to convert, and there are a lot of unknown factors still present.

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Dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, washing machines, microwave and electric ovens, I could live without them tough some things would suddenly become a pain in the ass.

I wonder how well our society could live without these. I mean, without them someone in the family will have to stay at home and take care of things, while the other works.. It'd be an interesting restructure of our society.

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I don't think you realize that you're not just going to wake up some day and say "OMG, the OIL. . .it is ALL Gone!" When it is very scarce, if civilians stop using it, there will still be plenty to run your equipment (and if not, society collapses anyway.)

Nor was I implying that. I was simply pointing out that all other forms of energy production is somewhat dependent on oil. So even if you use nuclear power, that too ill become more expensive along with oil, as you are still using oil to produce the fuel for your nuclear reaction. Also, if you look at the top of this post, you'll find there is a slight risk at the oil will be ZOMG gone at some point. Not large, but existant. Your oil at least, while the Chinese will be fine.

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Nature stored it for quite some time. Put it back where and how you found it.

And once it is as safe as it was while nature was storing it (in 1000 years or so) I will.  Before that, it's hard to put it back the way you found it. Much like unscrambling an egg.

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Yes there's doubts about it, but apparently it's worth considering despite being on the moon (and other places).
You're incorrect in some of your statements, did you do any research (aka. internet research aka. checking first link on google)? Getting off earth probably cost the most energy, landing and taking off from the moon is cheaper, and entering the earth atmoshere must be relatively cheap too.  If you're patient you can just glide to the moon with a robotic shuttle without wasting much energy. If the moon-men were handling out 1t blocks of helium-3, we'd be able to fit 25 of them in our shuttle. Those 25t could power the US for a year, so the transportation cost would be insignificant. The problematic part (that you hinted at) is more about how to harvest it, as it's very dilluted in the lunar dust. I'll link to this article: The article I link to.

Mining it is the big problem though. I don't care if this stuff is pure Energon, in order to get it here we would have to send up a lot of mining equipment, a lot of suppplies, and quite a few people. These people would then have to establish a moon base, assemble a working mine in a enviroment we have no experience of mining in, dig out and enrich Helium-3. Lifting all this stuff off-planet, and keeping the people up there supplied would be a pain. Especially since we can't exactly glide down either. Unless all the Space Shuttles get some serious overhaul that is. At the moment we can barely manage to keep the ISS supplied as it is, so visions of a moonbase seem a tad unrealistic. I',m not syaing it can't be done. Just that it will be quite hard.

So yes, you would need a lot of energy to get there. The gains could potentially be astronomic, but at the moment we simply don't have the resources or tech to pull this off without a lot of luck.

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You know the whole E = MC^2 thing?

Why yes I do. Feel free to read through the posts higher up if you like. You'll find that I don't think fusion wont give us an awesome amount of power. I wondering if we can get it to work properly, and within a limited timeframe. Out of interest, what is it you are studying for?
« Last Edit: March 10, 2006, 01:11:43 pm by Lukipela » Logged

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Re: The upcoming energy crisis.
« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2006, 01:54:31 pm »

Recently, the Russians announced plans to build a moonbase for the purpose of mining helium-3. Whether this happens in the proposed time frame is up to debate...
http://www.space.com/news/ap_060126_russia_moon.html

In the last few years, the US and China have announced that they will build their own moonbases (though they did not list helium-3 mining as a reason). Coincidence?
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Re: The upcoming energy crisis.
« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2006, 03:52:03 pm »

My input is that we should remove cars.

I know it sounds very... radical, but it wouldn't be so difficult. If we made an efficient public transport system (let's say, 50 times more vehicles than now), cars would no more be necessary. We would reduce contamination, and in addition remove traffic jams.

The biggest problem is that there are some morons that love showing off their cars, and would do anything to stop a measure like this one. Anyway...

Maybe it'll happen. Let's work for it.

« Last Edit: March 10, 2006, 03:56:16 pm by Vela » Logged
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The upcoming energy crisis.
« Reply #23 on: March 10, 2006, 04:42:42 pm »

Moon Base- What happens to the inhabitants when there is some solar activity? Won't protecting them from the radiation be a problem?


Mass Transport- This idea only works sort of okay for people in population centers. It doesn't explain what you do for people living in rural or semi rural areas.
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Re: The upcoming energy crisis.
« Reply #24 on: March 10, 2006, 08:17:57 pm »

True, even though mining of Uranium often brings the bonus of Radon gas. I'm not saying it's impossible to mine and not cause enviromental problems, but it is a large challenge.

Well, even if it is impossible, it's more a benefits vs costs thing.
If uranium is the only cheap and efficient enough source of energy you might be willing to sacrifice the eco-system of a few mining sites.


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Unless you privatize the oil companies, or pass a political suicide law making it illegal to posess gasoline, I think this is going to be hard to achieve. Also, as most oil comes from a very unstable region, it's not entirely impossible that when it gets more expensive, they'll start making exclusive deals with those who pay the most, or who aren't their traditional enemies. At some point, there is a risk that they just turn off the tap.

As far as I can tell most oil companies already are private... didn't you mean nationalize?

Yeah making gasoline illegal would be suicide, but I think at the point in time we're discussing oil would be to expensive for most people. And if it was too expansive for many companies the government could decide to fund, atleast partially, the oil or gasoline for them. This way you wouldn;t interfere with the market, and I think most people would understand that keeping the industry alive is more important then their private needs.

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DURRR I'M A RETARD! You are of course correct. I meant to say, "As far as we've come in the last 200 years, how will we look in another 200 years. Not 20 000. Boy is my face red now.

Don't sweat it , mistakes happen.
But either way I don't see the problem. You seal the stuff in lead containers and dig it under the ground. Just make sure no one will dig it out to soon and you're set.

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Actually it's both. It doesn't matter how great your windmill is if the wind isn't blowing. Wind and sun power cannot provide a dependable energy source (in most places) because they have far to many peaks and valleys. If a windmill could somehow store the energy it's producing when it's producing more than is needed, and then use that energy for when the wind isn't strong enough, it'd be much more dependable than it is now.

Well there different kinds of batteries.
I belive there is one on top of my faculty's bulding, it's connected to a solar collector.
The problem with them is that they are quite expensive, not too environmentally friendly either, and you'd need a lot of them to make use of them even in a small town.

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I'm not sure what you're referring to either. The biodiesel? I'm sure it can be made to work a lot better, but as was brought up earlier, you need a lot of biomatter to convert, and there are a lot of unknown factors still present.

No I meant something more like this little guy. And here are its tech specs. A purely electric car, I know it's nothing special but it sure would be enough for me.

There are also hybrid cars that use gasoline to generate electricity. They are quite neat  because they can reacharge while breaking for example, so they use much less fuel.
Some run on hydrogen instead of gasoline.

Most of these cars are either too expensive, or not as good as the ones we have right now, but hey, in 50 years things may change.

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I wonder how well our society could live without these. I mean, without them someone in the family will have to stay at home and take care of things, while the other works.. It'd be an interesting restructure of our society.

Just take a look behind you. We've been through this already. Tough I doubt we'd suddenly go back to a patriarchal system.
There are loads of ways to resolve this problem.
It could be like you said, that one member of family is doing the housework, the other earing money.
Another way is to divide the housework, for example one cooks the other cleans.
Or you could make the kids do all the housework, once they're big enough.

EDIT:
Mass Transport- This idea only works sort of okay for people in population centers. It doesn't explain what you do for people living in rural or semi rural areas.

Actually it works fine, but you bourgeois capitalist pigs are too lazy to make it work in your country Wink
But seriously, it's again a matter of necessity. It may not work too well in the US becuase most people there can afford cars and fuel.
In my country this is not the case and mass transportation thrives, even in rural areas, and by rural I mean populated by 6 humans, 4 sheep and 2 cows.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2006, 08:51:59 pm by Ivan Ivanov » Logged

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Re: The upcoming energy crisis.
« Reply #25 on: March 10, 2006, 09:53:51 pm »

Why yes I do. Feel free to read through the posts higher up if you like. You'll find that I don't think fusion wont give us an awesome amount of power.
I'm trying to convince you otherwise.
So you think the process that makes it possible to destroy a city with a weapon the size of a duffle bag won’t be able to produce an awesome amount of power?

Fusion does not require Uranium it only requires hydrogen, and we have oceans full of that stuff (H2O). So any claim that the fuel source for fusion won’t last very long is rather ridiculous.

I wondering if we can get it to work properly, and within a limited timeframe.
We will. Time is not as limited as you seem to believe, people have been saying for decades that the oil will run dry. They even had experts that have given multiple dates, which have come and gone, of when all the oil wells would be dry. I take the news of oil wells dying up as a grain of salt. Also oil companies are always finding newer ways to extract more oil out of the same well.

Out of interest, what is it you are studying for?
I was studying for tests in computer graphics and spanish.

Actually it works fine, but you bourgeois capitalist pigs are too lazy to make it work in your country Wink
But seriously, it's again a matter of necessity. It may not work too well in the US becuase most people there can afford cars and fuel.
In my country this is not the case and mass transportation thrives, even in rural areas, and by rural I mean populated by 6 humans, 4 sheep and 2 cows.
Come to the great plains of the USA to see why mass transportation is not practical here.
I’ve been to Europe and was amazed at how compressed everything is. The impression I got was you could not go 5 miles after leaving a town without entering another. I don’t know if this true of all of Europe. In America you can cross an entire state without entering a town that is little more then a gas station.


As for things I could do without?
Um… lava lamps, plasma spheres, my broken X-box, and the city of Las Vegas.

« Last Edit: March 10, 2006, 10:11:48 pm by BioSlayer » Logged

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Re: The upcoming energy crisis.
« Reply #26 on: March 10, 2006, 10:59:26 pm »

Why yes I do. Feel free to read through the posts higher up if you like. You'll find that I don't think fusion wont give us an awesome amount of power.
I'm trying to convince you otherwise.

Read what he said again.
He doesn't think that fusion wont give an awesome amount of power.
A double negation.
He's not disagreeing with you.

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Come to the great plains of the USA to see why mass transportation is not practical here.
I’ve been to Europe and was amazed at how compressed everything is. The impression I got was you could not go 5 miles after leaving a town without entering another. I don’t know if this true of all of Europe. In America you can cross an entire state without entering a town that is little more then a gas station.

Oh I've been to the States, tough I didn't see too much of them.
Interestingly enough, the place were I was at was even more compresses then you say.
It was a town next to a town, without anything outside of "Welcome to..." signs telling you that you just went from one town to another.

As for wheter whole of Europe is compressed, well it's not.
Especially northern and eastern Europe, (however eastern countries, tough not too populated, aren't as big as northern ones).

But I see the problem even the biggest European countries are roughly the size of an avarage state (I think). And I guess that in many cases the general population density is much lower then that of European countries, so mass transportation would be a hard thing to accomplish.

However, even in the more compressed areas I haven't seen anything that could rival the transportation system I'm used to, and I do think it's because in the US cars and gasoline is cheao (yes, cheap. No matter what you are lead to belive by people consantly whining about gas prices, trust me, it's cheap).
« Last Edit: March 10, 2006, 11:02:17 pm by Ivan Ivanov » Logged

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Re: The upcoming energy crisis.
« Reply #27 on: March 11, 2006, 02:55:27 am »

In some rural areas there are decent public transit systems. However,
it's rare. Sadly rare. I think owning cars is fine...but one can have
a car that runs on electricity and used vegetable oil. That wouldn't
be so bad. Fill it up twice a year and you're good to go.
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Re: The upcoming energy crisis.
« Reply #28 on: March 12, 2006, 12:27:03 am »

Read what he said again.
He doesn't think that fusion wont give an awesome amount of power.
A double negation.
He's not disagreeing with you.
Ah… That crazy leprechaun is always trying to trick me!
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Re: The upcoming energy crisis.
« Reply #29 on: March 12, 2006, 02:55:19 am »

Why do I get the impression we are all going to die very very soon... Lips Sealed *gulp* like as in someone screws up in a nucler plant and destroys 25% of america then we get piss say its Europe's then world war 3 begins we kill all the Europens then everyone else trys to kill us we kill them... then i dunno what happens after that  Wink
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