Consuming the environment

Discussion in 'World Events' started by Bebelina, Nov 16, 2015.

  1. CptBork Robbing the Shalebridge Cradle Valued Senior Member

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    So... Was nuclear power discussed as a relatively clean, viable, low-risk stopgap alternative to deathly fossil fuels, or did the environmentalists come out in droves to shout it down for its known risks of turning humans into giant radioactive mutant insects?

    I'm thinking a switch to nuclear power, with the risks of a few dozen dying every decade from negligent safety measures, might just be a little more practical and workable, rather than completely rewriting the laws of physics to make it even remotely possible for millions of humans to colonize Mars in the next 100 years.
     
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  3. Bebelina Feminazi Messiah Valued Senior Member

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    I appreciate your dystopian mood, but no. All though nuclear was discussed but the alternative of it being "clean" is so 70's and not applicable to what we know today. Where do you live when you still don't have nuclear yet? The waste disposal and massive security construction that comes with the territory and not to meantion the risk of an "incident" makes it less practical and perhaps less economic even than solar- and windpower that could be evolved a lot more than it is today.
     
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  5. ForrestDean Registered Senior Member

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    Nothing wrong with that. Nature and Universe always maintains a balance including at the expense of species going extinct. There's no reason Humans would be excluded from this balance.

    This is for certain. All things always gets what it deserves. Everything occurs exactly as intended. If Humans go extinct like other species before due to balance, then it will of course be necessary and appropriate.

    If you want society to change then there is only one thing you can do.
     
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  7. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    No one goes, except for brief visits, for at least much longer period than the time required for global warming's effects to have made most of earth uninhabital and polar regions, which are still thermally OK, will have very little food as the oceans acidify. (Green house produced food, above the artic circle, is extremely energy intensive - not feaible, especially with that weak sunlight.)

    Thus the economic base required to establish a "Mars colony" will not exist when going there would be technically feasible. Even if passing thru the strong space radiation, especially in a high speed space ship slaming into the protons of space were possible, no men would be sent as part of the colony - just a cold jug of sperm from 1000+ different men as that cuts the cost by more than 50% as men tend to weigh more and eat more than women do.

    But dream on - dreams don't need to be realistic - deal with facts.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2015
  8. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    No even halfway possible scenario envisions enough people leaving the Earth to have an effect on mankind's need for resources.
     
  9. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    A silly and unsupportable claim. The irrational fear of "deadly space radiation" is one of the lamest arguments against space exploration. A male astronaut could go to Mars and back, and accumulate less radiation than some Russian cosmonauts have.
    Indeed. Even when the facts aren't as dramatic or scary as you'd like them to be.

    But if you want to see how scary and deadly "space radiation" can be for yourself, look no further than Musa Maranov. He spent 541 days in space aboard Mir and accumulated a total radiation dose greater than you'd expect to see in a Mars mission. He is now retired and lives with his wife and two kids.
     
  10. CptBork Robbing the Shalebridge Cradle Valued Senior Member

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    No, sorry, solar and wind power are not viable alternatives to nuclear. Even Germany, the world leader in this field, doesn't have enough land for all the wind turbines they'd need to do what their politicans promised, nor does it have the cash to build them. Add up the costs, it's barely sustainable let alone profitable on a small scale, and that's for the wealthiest nations in the world. Like I say, you wanna go that route and power everything on wind and sun and be able to afford all this in your lifetime? You'd best have a nice warm cave reserved for your self-sufficient eco home, because there aren't enough caves for everyone, even before you get to the folks with 10 or 20 kids, and forget about driving, having a TV, hospitals or pretty much anything else that uses more than 10 Watts of power.

    There are more animals living in Chernobyl today than there were before the famous nuclear accident thanks to all the paranoid humans running away, and that was the holy grail of nuclear screwups. Go ahead and tell me how many human beings have died or are even suspected to have died from all the nuclear accidents in all of human history, and then compare that to the deaths from one year's worth of burning coal. Toxic waste? The Earth is already filled top to bottom with radioactive toxic waste; collecting that waste in one location makes Earth safer, not deadlier, unless some kid's parents are stupid enough to let them go play in the plutonium dump (at least then they'd deserve a Darwin Award, so it's a win-win).

    The only thing that got left behind in the 70's is common sense. Eco wannabes with their coal-powered made-in-China slave clothes are actually speeding up the Earth's destruction rather than protecting it, and would do more for the planet by just staying home and watching Star Trek, while real scientists who are actually serious about understanding and solving technical problems are left to do real thinking and find practical, realistic solutions.

    I know it all sounds dystopian and patronizing Bebelina, but the people talking about the solutions you're talking about are not the people who actually deal with them on a daily basis and know why the thinking is as ludicrously wishful as it is.
     
  11. Bebelina Feminazi Messiah Valued Senior Member

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    You're very good at patronizing at least. Well, I'm not an expert in this field and this conference was more focused on how we as humans relate to the problems than actually how we can solve them.

    I feel we have enough knowledge on how to solve the problems scientifically and the real issue is making people understand the urgency and need to act/change now.
    We can continue debating on what is right and wrong and how we should think regarding this, but that won't actually change anything.

    It's a bit "pathethic" with your jump from interesting fact based discussion right to "eco wannabees", that level of conversation won't do any good.

    Of course the coal and oil industry must come to an end, very important, we can start there. However the wind- and solarpower technologies haven't been developed to maximum yet and there is much more work left to do there. Economics is also a problem, which is the sad part, that economics gets to decide the survival of the species. Big solar cells in outer space, perhaps windparks higher up in the atmosphere too, where the wind is strongest, or other locations on the ground.

    Because even if we find a "safe" place to store the nuclear waste, it will most likely never find its way there, it will be bought up by third world nuclear weapon manufacturers.

    The human factor is the biggest problem. How can we make wind-and solarpower more profitable? Because profit is the key to human interest.
     
  12. CptBork Robbing the Shalebridge Cradle Valued Senior Member

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    5,388
    Everyone who has kids before they've built or paid for the renewable energy those kids and their grandkids will need, is part of the problem and should realize the selfishness involved. On the other hand, everyone who has multiple kids and can't even pay for their pudding packs let alone renewable energy... such people are a blight on the species and possibly its ultimate doom. That's how we humans relate to the problem.

    Like I've said, there are, at present, only two scientifically viable solutions:
    1) Drop the comic book Dr. Doom paranoia about nuclear power

    or

    2) Learn to live like the Amish, and allow the majority of the human population to starve to death due to lack of electricity and fossil fuels for modern food production, health care etc.

    Correct, the laws of physics have stayed the same since the very first of these environmental conferences.

    I fully admit that my remarks are patronizing, and I frame them in that fashion because the general environmentalist movement is even more so. These people need to wake the hell up. It pisses me and a great many others off that some people think their catastrophic resource consumption suddenly pauses while they're jetting around the world to hang out at conferences, shouting slogans and blaming the greedy companies whose products they keep buying. I mean really, what the fricking frack does Paul McCartney know about genetically modified vegetables other than how to get high from smoking them?

    Then to make matters worse than ever, these same people have the gall to reject the only proven viable clean alternative to fossil fuels, because they think it makes more practical sense to build a billion rockets to colonize Mars, or to blanket several million square kilometres of territory with solar panels. And where, might I ask, would they find the energy to build all those solar panels or fuel all those rockets?

    On that issue I can agree, but we need a game-changing breakthrough here, not tweaks and improvements, and no one knows what that breakthrough might be, let alone if it will even be possible to make one in the next 100 years.

    Putting solar cells in space and wind parks up in the atmosphere will use up far more energy than they'd ever generate over a lifetime, and we haven't even discussed how they'd be constantly repaired and maintained.

    I disagree, at least insofar as US, European and Japanese safety protocols are concerned. Countries that have failed to safely store their nuclear material do so deliberately; in Pakistan you can already get all the nuclear material you want, as long as you promise that it's for blowing up Kashmir, or else a commercial hub or some other symbol of western decadence.

    Why can't the environmentalists just put their money where their mouths are, pool their cash together and establish their own functional communities powered only by wind and solar? If they can't do it, then no one else can either, and governments artificially pricing electricity to make wind and solar profitable will only grind their economies down until people can no longer afford to pay the regulated price.

    Enough talk already, the planet's not getting any cleaner. Either get out of the way and let the nuclear folks solve this problem for the next 100+ years while we work on fusion and other more permanent alternatives, or pull your own sleeves up and start building the wind and solar panels you guys want everyone else to be using.
     
  13. Bebelina Feminazi Messiah Valued Senior Member

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    4,997
    Haha, well I won't get offended because you don't really know who you're talking to, you just assume I'm a certain type belonging to a certain group.

    So according to you we should trust the "nuclear folks"...wow, so american.

    I'm not against nuclear power per se, but the dangers around it are currently too big and regardless of how the fantastic USA stores their waste, then we can't trust that to be true either. As long as the human factor is involved there is alwats a risk. Regardless of protocol things let lost, protocols are being falsified etc, to uphold the facade of safety.
    Perhaps we can build nuclear power plants on Mars or the Moon, or have it floating in orbit, on a safe distance. Technology moves forward all the time, and we must stop thinking limited.

    What if a big company decided to put up these solar cells in space that generates enough energy to sustain the entire planet for decades to come? What will their pricing be when it's totally monopolized?

    What new energy resources will develop? Can gravity be used for example? Magnetism?
     
  14. CptBork Robbing the Shalebridge Cradle Valued Senior Member

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    My comments are directed at the environmental movement in general, and much of the audience attending these conferences.

    America has the smartest and most successful nuclear technicians in the world (including foreign scientists working in US labs), and that nation is the grandfather of virtually all such technologies. It would be pretty short-sighted and stupid to dismiss these foremost technical experts simply because they happen to be Amurrican. It would also be foolish to simply take their words at face-value, which is why you should instead take the scientific approach of actually learning about nuclear power and what it does and doesn't provide, before you start making judgment calls about it.

    Again, even if shit hits the fan and everything went haywire with nuclear waste scattered every which way, the cumulative statistical effects on global health would be less than the effects from a month of burning coal. As far as terrorists getting their hands on such material: like I said, trusted foreign aid recipients and friends like Pakistan are already making sure that terrorists have it, and as it turns out, assembling nuclear material into a working device is actually much more complicated than producing or acquiring the material itself.

    Right, and run low power loss lines all the way between Earth and moon? It would bankrupt human society to put a Mexican villa on the moon, let alone a functioning nuclear power plant. Do you know how much energy and fuel is needed to launch a single pound of matter into low Earth orbit, let alone millions of tons? And the costs go up exponentially if you want a high Earth orbit or beyond, let alone Mars or the moon.

    They'd probably need to charge about $1 billion per kilowatt hour to break even after 20 years, assuming no labour disruptions and cost overruns. Maybe higher if you include the exorbitant maintenance costs.

    No and no. Unless of course we were to rewrite the laws of physics, as it seems some people at these climate conferences think they can.

    There are only 2 viable options on the table at present: Go nuclear, or go Amish.
     
  15. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    Are you just ignorant of, or just forgetting, the cheaper, natural solar option? I. e. grow sugar cane and convert it into alcohol or the most common plastics we use (or diesel too if trucks need that). That alcohol is a slightly negative CO2 source as not all the CO2 removed by the growing cane returns to the air, and it is cheaper than gasoline on a per mile driven basis - why Brazil has basically converted to it for car fuel.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2015
  16. CptBork Robbing the Shalebridge Cradle Valued Senior Member

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    I hear it's only really viable in ideal tropical climates. Doesn't sound like there's anywhere near enough land to grow all the necessary food and biofuel for 7 billion people living modern lifestyles, but let me know if you think there's more to it. I won't deny that it's at least a partial solution to the problem, far better than doing nothing. I didn't mention hydro either, but again that's not going to solve problems on a global scale, only for the wealthiest.
     
  17. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

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    Billy T, you may recall I have been going on about geo thermal causation (in part) for GW for some time. It just occurred to me that perhaps we are missing geothermal power plant installations as being a serious alternative power source.

    Years ago ( around 1980) when touring New Zealand ( North Island) I recall being impressed by their use of geothermal steam vents in the production of local electrical power.
    Most often they were small compact units about the size of a large garden shed, noisy but apparently quite effective power generators all the same. Located on sidewalks in suburban neighborhoods.
    The idea of of deep and large geo themal power stations has some appeal to me.

    Idea Abstract:
    A GTPS ( geo thermal power station ) could be a self burying piece of equipment that once it has buried itself and establishes itself in the appropriate temperature zone in the Earths crust/mantle etc could produce significant and relatively cheap electricity cabled to the surface.

    The GTPS could be designed to be self sustaining with minimal maintenance and remotely controlled from the surface. It could also be allowed to become redundant and remain buried once it's service life has passed.
    Clean and relatively free?
    What do you think?
     
  18. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    23,198
    Yes hydro-electric potential is quite limited, but there is more than enough un-used land even if only abandoned pasture is counted to supply all the world's cars needing liquid fuel in 2020 - It will take about that long to build the needed distilation plants near the new cane fields and convert all the gasoline fueled cars to alcohol. (<$350 cost which is tiny compared to, just battery cost of going to electric cars.) Again: cane based Alcohol is slightly net CO2 negative fuel.
     
  19. CptBork Robbing the Shalebridge Cradle Valued Senior Member

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    In that case, if the numbers are as rosy as you make them out to be (and I certainly agree in principle that it should be a slightly CO2 negative operation if done properly), then you should be on the environmentalists' cases even more than I am. They're marching and chanting and spending their money on the same things as the polluters, when they should be raising funds for biofuel refineries instead.

    We have all these people out there claiming they can clean up the planet and make a profit while doing so, so why are they not going out there and cornering the market today with money out of their own pockets?
     
  20. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    23,198
    On(1)
    Big oil has huge interest and even greater financial means to defend the status quo, and does so with vigor and lies.
    For example tells that growing sugar cane to supply fuel for all the world's cars would destroy all the tropical rain forests, etc. For many years their skilled and highly paid lobyist, got US Congress to make improtation for alcohol from Brazil, as back when gasoline was more expensive than now, you could cut your per mile driving cost in half if alcohol importation were legal. They protect their profit well and don't care if Earth is un-inhabital in ~30 to 60 years from now.
    On (2) People are like sheep - easily led, and to keep them distracted, Big Oil suports many diversion, like annual races by cars coered with solar cells, and has many still believing there is no man made global warming problem. They paid scientists of low morals well to publish confusion making papers, but eventually the truth does come out undeniably, as it seems to be the case with COP21. Here is quick suport for my claim that there is plenty of abandonded land for cane growing. It is a grass and will grow on poor soil.
    Even if only 2 billion ha were capturing solar energy with only 5% being converted into chemical energy (alcohol) that is a lot of fuel. I must leave house now - do a little research your self.
     

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