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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-05-2010, 03:28 AM Thread Starter
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Default Avery interesting read

I received this email this morning from a friend who works at the prestigious University of Western Australia, if you're interested in this sort of thing, read to the bottom.

I was wondering what to do at lunch time then I got this email about a free lecture, could be interesting.

Our dependency on fossil fuels must decline, so we look to so-called renewable or sustainable energy sources to fuel human endeavour. In his recent book ‘Our Choice’, Al Gore says “…once the renewable infrastructure is built, the fuel is free forever. Unlike carbon-based fuels, the wind and the sun and the earth itself, provide fuel that is free, in amounts that are effectively limitless.” Unfortunately Al Gore does humanity and even the earth itself a huge disservice by propagating this widely-believed delusion. The laws of thermodynamics tell us that this is wrong. The entropy of planet earth continues to increase inexorably and our ability to capture energy from the sun or earth is finite, dependent on resources that we dig from the ground (metals in particular). None of the alternative energy sources is sustainable on an industrial scale, even biofuels. Despite what our leaders say, science and technology cannot provide the solution to humanity’s appetite for energy. But science can help in the transition to a truly sustainable future. We scientists have a responsibility to tell the truth and dispel the Gore delusion. Once humanity emerges from the current period of energy intoxication, and if the environmental hangover is not too severe, the earth will be able to support a small human population enjoying a sustainable, scientifically-enriched and fulfilling life.



Hopefully this thread won't be closed! Harry

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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-05-2010, 06:41 AM
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Just consider the source. It's the old axiom, "Figures don't lie, but liars always figure."
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-05-2010, 07:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harrysin View Post
I received this email this morning from a friend who works at the prestigious University of Western Australia, if you're interested in this sort of thing, read to the bottom.

I was wondering what to do at lunch time then I got this email about a free lecture, could be interesting.

Our dependency on fossil fuels must decline, so we look to so-called renewable or sustainable energy sources to fuel human endeavour. In his recent book ‘Our Choice’, Al Gore says “…once the renewable infrastructure is built, the fuel is free forever. Unlike carbon-based fuels, the wind and the sun and the earth itself, provide fuel that is free, in amounts that are effectively limitless.” Unfortunately Al Gore does humanity and even the earth itself a huge disservice by propagating this widely-believed delusion. The laws of thermodynamics tell us that this is wrong. The entropy of planet earth continues to increase inexorably and our ability to capture energy from the sun or earth is finite, dependent on resources that we dig from the ground (metals in particular). None of the alternative energy sources is sustainable on an industrial scale, even biofuels. Despite what our leaders say, science and technology cannot provide the solution to humanity’s appetite for energy. But science can help in the transition to a truly sustainable future. We scientists have a responsibility to tell the truth and dispel the Gore delusion. Once humanity emerges from the current period of energy intoxication, and if the environmental hangover is not too severe, the earth will be able to support a small human population enjoying a sustainable, scientifically-enriched and fulfilling life.

Hopefully this thread won't be closed! Harry
At the University of Toronto, a scientist named Ted Sergeant has invented an infra-red photovoltaic that will function even on cloudy days. It can be installed as a paint. At the moment, production is too expensive for all but experimental uses. We expect that will change as experimentation goes forward. If the world's population were to stabilize around, say, 3 billion, we could easily develop a sustainable lifestyle just on Mr. Sergeant's invention alone.

This will never happen. There are the exploitative and the greedy and those who will try to dictate our thoughts that will never allow this to happen. Perhaps in Denmark but never in the U.S. or the middle East. There are too many wars being fought specifically intended to ensure economic or religious domination. Perhaps the Chinese will change things but based on what I see at the moment, I doubt it. War is an effective reducer of population. It is quicker, and more profitable, than education.

However, Mother Nature herself may provide the deciding blow. The violence of storms and earthquakes increases with each incident. It is rather ironic that these "incidents" seem most violent north of the tropic of cancer, the source of a large part of the world's pollution. At some point it is reasonable to assume that the cost of recovering from violent natural acts will exceed our ability to pay. When this happens, anarchy will reign. Only then will the survival of humanity be decided.

The intelligentsia will flee taking their knowledge with them leaving the rest to die out. The greedy will not be welcomed in sharing societies. It is ironic that the system the U.S. uses at its borders to keep people out will eventually be used to keep people in.

Our environment will handle an extreme amount of dirt. Look at the year with no summer in 1816 when the Mount Tambora volcanic eruption polluted the atmosphere so completely that it snowed in Quebec City, in July. ("the snow was up to the carriage axle trees") It took barely a year for the atmosphere to cleanse itself. In those societies where social constraint (thus consumption) can be followed, educated, sharing, societies will survive.

Then, humanity will go through it's most dramatic evolution since the demise of the dinosaurs as such societies prosper (not grow) and the others die off.

The single most critical key to the survival of humanity is extensive and effective education. This will not happen where greed and exploitation reign. So, the question now becomes how does society effect such change? Further, how much greed is enough to advance technologies without upsetting the philosophy of sharing? It seems ironic. We demeaned our first nations' philosophies only to learn that they had the right idea in the first place.

There are two kinds of discussion that will flow out of this. There are those who will present clear debate to what I say above. Then there are those who will attempt to "discredit the messenger." To them I say, I have no credibility worthy of your vitriol. Save your breath. You may need it someday.

Allthunbs
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-05-2010, 07:32 AM
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I'm personally very interested in laser fusion. It is very exciting to a geek like myself.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-06-2010, 01:59 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Knothead47 View Post
Just consider the source. It's the old axiom, "Figures don't lie, but liars always figure."
Sorry, but this header got lost:

Discipline of Biochemistry Seminar


Title: Energy and the future of humanity

Presenter: Prof. Steven Smith, Centre for Plant Energy Biology, UWA.

Date: Friday, March 5, 2010
Time: 1pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre G33, MCS Building, UWA Crawley

Harry



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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-06-2010, 02:04 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allthunbs View Post
At the University of Toronto, a scientist named Ted Sergeant has invented an infra-red photovoltaic that will function even on cloudy days. It can be installed as a paint. At the moment, production is too expensive for all but experimental uses. We expect that will change as experimentation goes forward. If the world's population were to stabilize around, say, 3 billion, we could easily develop a sustainable lifestyle just on Mr. Sergeant's invention alone.

This will never happen. There are the exploitative and the greedy and those who will try to dictate our thoughts that will never allow this to happen. Perhaps in Denmark but never in the U.S. or the middle East. There are too many wars being fought specifically intended to ensure economic or religious domination. Perhaps the Chinese will change things but based on what I see at the moment, I doubt it. War is an effective reducer of population. It is quicker, and more profitable, than education.

However, Mother Nature herself may provide the deciding blow. The violence of storms and earthquakes increases with each incident. It is rather ironic that these "incidents" seem most violent north of the tropic of cancer, the source of a large part of the world's pollution. At some point it is reasonable to assume that the cost of recovering from violent natural acts will exceed our ability to pay. When this happens, anarchy will reign. Only then will the survival of humanity be decided.

The intelligentsia will flee taking their knowledge with them leaving the rest to die out. The greedy will not be welcomed in sharing societies. It is ironic that the system the U.S. uses at its borders to keep people out will eventually be used to keep people in.

Our environment will handle an extreme amount of dirt. Look at the year with no summer in 1816 when the Mount Tambora volcanic eruption polluted the atmosphere so completely that it snowed in Quebec City, in July. ("the snow was up to the carriage axle trees") It took barely a year for the atmosphere to cleanse itself. In those societies where social constraint (thus consumption) can be followed, educated, sharing, societies will survive.

Then, humanity will go through it's most dramatic evolution since the demise of the dinosaurs as such societies prosper (not grow) and the others die off.

The single most critical key to the survival of humanity is extensive and effective education. This will not happen where greed and exploitation reign. So, the question now becomes how does society effect such change? Further, how much greed is enough to advance technologies without upsetting the philosophy of sharing? It seems ironic. We demeaned our first nations' philosophies only to learn that they had the right idea in the first place.

There are two kinds of discussion that will flow out of this. There are those who will present clear debate to what I say above. Then there are those who will attempt to "discredit the messenger." To them I say, I have no credibility worthy of your vitriol. Save your breath. You may need it someday.
Ron, I'm sure that YOU understand what you've written, but I only have a basic secondary school education and unfortunately don't. Perhaps you or another forum member who does understand and is able to translate into simple English will do so.

Harry



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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-06-2010, 06:07 AM
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Once humanity emerges from the current period of energy intoxication, and if the environmental hangover is not too severe, the earth will be able to support a small human population enjoying a sustainable, scientifically-enriched and fulfilling life.
This is from a scientist?
It assumes that we do emerge from its "current period of energy intoxication" it then supposes that the "hangover is not too severe" and then suggests it will be able to support a small human population.

What is a small human population? the one we have now? in the next decade?

Very poor and adds nothing to the discussion.

385 million years ago the first plants appeared on earth taking in the Co2 from the air and keeping the carbon. They continued doing this quite normally and fosselising after death as they still do now. Note the years 385million

Approximately 400 years ago we started digging up by hand industrial amounts of the carbon and setting fire to it re-releasing all the gases. In the 1800s we got first commercial oil wells, and deep coal mines. One hundred years ago we got mechanised coal removal. Now the biggest vehicles in the world dig coal from opencast. Now we rape the land taking out oil sands.

It's all about balance. We are putting chemicals back into the air that have taken years being removed and we are doing it all in a fraction of the time.

I am no scientist, do not understand all the science but the sums do not look good to me.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-06-2010, 07:25 AM
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Ron makes good points. The biggest problem is getting reliable and balanced information. Almost all research is paid for by some sort of vested interest and, naturally, if they want more research grants, they dance to the piper's tune, resulting in distorted and sometimes downright misleading results. Only if you have time to read up everything you can find on a subject, do you stand any chance of a balanced judgment.

Windpower cannot produce anywhere near the power that conventional power stations do and are expensive to produce, apart from environmental damage.
Wavepower has had only limited success and I suspect would be high maintenance.
Solar may have potential and the photovoltaic idea sounds fruitful. It may be dear now but so were electronic calculators once.

On the other hand, vested interests like the oil industry don't want to lose business and can easily afford a lobbying campaign to decry anything alternative. It was long rumoured that the basement of Shell House was packed full of inventions that Shell had bought the patent rights to, so they could sit upon them.

Politicians blow with the wind and say yes to anything that will win them the next election.

Who do you trust?

Cheers

Peter
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-06-2010, 08:32 AM
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This is from a scientist?
It assumes that we do emerge from its "current period of energy intoxication" it then supposes that the "hangover is not too severe" and then suggests it will be able to support a small human population.
Easter Island is the best example I can think of the survivability of the human race. Even after completely denuding the island of wood and trees, there still remained 2,000 to 3,000 (or more) inhabitants as reported by the Dutch navigator Jacob Roggeveen in 1722 (Wikipedia). Granted they didn't pollute the environment but the mainstay of their society (trees) were decimated.

Quote:
What is a small human population? the one we have now? in the next decade?
I would estimate that less than 1/2 our current population (6.8 billion). (estimated by the United States Census Bureau to be 6,806,700,000 [2009])

Quote:
Very poor and adds nothing to the discussion.
I agree it added nothing to the discussion but I also disagree. It was short, succinct and what is more it provokes discussion.

Quote:
385 million years ago the first plants appeared on earth taking in the Co2 from the air and keeping the carbon. They continued doing this quite normally and fosselising after death as they still do now. Note the years 385million

Approximately 400 years ago we started digging up by hand industrial amounts of the carbon and setting fire to it re-releasing all the gases. In the 1800s we got first commercial oil wells, and deep coal mines. One hundred years ago we got mechanised coal removal. Now the biggest vehicles in the world dig coal from opencast. Now we rape the land taking out oil sands.

It's all about balance. We are putting chemicals back into the air that have taken years being removed and we are doing it all in a fraction of the time.
I agree. It is all about balance. However, I must note that the hindrance to that balance is greed and exploitation. For as long as man chooses to take advantage of others (and be the winner,) that balance will never be achieved and mankind will be the loser. The Bill Gates and Aristotle Onassis' of the world must take second place to the rest of humanity instead of attempting to dictate humanity.

Quote:
I am no scientist, do not understand all the science but the sums do not look good to me.
I am not a scientist either. But, the scientific discussions are matured and the debate has now moved from the "if" of science to the "how" of greater humanity. It is not the scientists that will dictate public policy it is the ordinary man. Governments no longer ignore the common man or do so at their peril.

Will the human race survive? I have not doubt that it will but the question now becomes how will it survive? Will it do so through anarchy (the point of a gun) or evolution (education)? Only you, members of this forum, will decide this.

Harry:

This is no high-brow discussion nor am I talking down to the members here. But I am choosing my words very carefully. I want to encourage the members here to speak their mind without influence from me. I am but one voice in a crowd. It is now time for the crowd to be heard. I thank you for starting this discussion.

Allthunbs
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-06-2010, 09:02 AM
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Wow Harry, What a can of worms you have opened....
We as people on the Earth are nothing to the Earth We are insignificant to it. To think we can change any part of it on the global scale is ridiculous,
just for kicks the sun that powers our planet is approx 4,500,000,000(four and a half billion) years old, In one second it releases more energy than mankind has since our existence, Our moon was a creation of a mars size impact on the earth, boom now we have a moon,, the earth is still here and is gonna be a long time after us...

Life: Is a runaway train you cant wait to get on.

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