The divine road ahead

Medieval-manI am a one- trick pony.

OK. A three-trick pony then.

I do not have the scary blades of Wolverine or Thor’s mighty Hammer.

And there is a lot of water between me and Igil Skallagrimson.

I am not even as good a poet. (You guessed that he was an exceptional Poet, right?)

However, I am not without my immodest strengths.

Star Trek alien head. Source: Oil Drum
Mighty throbbing brain of Star Trek alien head. Source: Oil Drum

The Lesser of the three is a Mighty Throbbing Brain. This sort of effect.

If I am to survive I had better put my Superpower to use.

We (A cluster of exceptional survivors and me) need a few favors from the Gods.

The first is a miraculous and bounteous source of portable energy.

If you are not a Deist please insert your fingers in your ears at this point and sing “La La, La La. I can’t hear you”, at the top of your voice .

Apparently Atheism is losing ground as such a source is in the offing. Gail Tverberg and I doubt that it will come in good time to do you any favors. (Evolution is such a ruthless process).

Andrea Rossi’s eCat has been verified by an argument of professors in Sweden and at Cornell University. From the report:

An experimental investigation of possible anomalous heat production in a special type of reactor tube named E-Cat HT is carried out. The reactor tube is charged with a small amount of hydrogen loaded nickel powder plus some additives. The reaction is primarily initiated by heat from resistor coils inside the reactor tube. Measurement of the produced heat was performed with high-resolution thermal imaging cameras, recording data every second from the hot reactor tube. The measurements of electrical power input were performed with a large bandwidth three-phase power analyzer. Data were collected in two experimental runs lasting 96 and 116 hours, respectively. An anomalous heat production was indicated in both experiments. The 116-hour experiment also included a calibration of the experimental set-up without the active charge present in the E-Cat HT. In this case, no extra heat was generated beyond the expected heat from the electric input. Computed volumetric and gravimetric energy densities were found to be far above those of any known chemical source. Even by the most conservative assumptions as to the errors in the measurements, the result is still one order of magnitude greater than conventional energy sources.

Well. That will give us some breathing space. (Please do not be tempted to include yourselves in the pronoun “Us”).

The next issue to be addressed is the need for artificial intelligence and robotics. I see that we are making steady progress. You might like to observe Big Dog. Primitive, but it has possibilities.

The next thing that you we will need is a really smart way of building huge structures. And here another apple falls into our laps in the form of 3d printing.
And God just keeps giving.

What we also need is a lot of living space while we wrestle this urge to breed and it’s commensurate exponential function, to the ground.

“Space is Big. Really, really big. If you thought it was a long way to the pharmacy that is peanuts compared to space.” (Apologies to Douglass Adams)

At L4 alone there is enough room for several orders of magnitude  more people than on the cramped two dimensional surface of this orb. Here is a graphic of what a Lagrange point looks like.

Lagrange Point Source: Wiki
Lagrange Point Source: Wiki

(You see that hole in the middle. That is the Gravity Well. You live at the bottom of it, poor thing.)

But how do we get there? We all “know” that it takes $$thousands of dollars to get even one pound out of the well, don’t we?

And just what will we find when we get there? The vacuum of space is no place for a trowel and mortar. But please- one issue at a time!!

Space elevator. Source: Wiki
Space elevator. Source: Wiki

How are we going to loft the remnants of humanity off the planet? Well there are several options available to us. Colossal Carbon Nano-tubes offer us a splendid means of taking the Elevator.

Or if a week of sitting around in a lift is just too boring, please consider orbital airships. At a cost of $1 per ton per vertical mile that might be within your our budget. (Wiki does fret about re-entry problems. There will be no re-entry. Unless you are a masochist of cause.)

But ponder this problem. Where are we going to get the materials? A hint: It will not be from the bottom of some gravity well. Gravity wells suck.

The God that gives, keeps giving.

The purpose of the Moon is not to help seduce maidens.

The purpose of the moon is to offer us the resources we need at just the right distance to encourage us into The Void.

“But,” we used to declare confidently “It has no water.”

When will we learn to keep our mouths shut? So now we have water at the poles. Someone else declared that the water at the poles was the greatest discovery of all time. He was right, because we now have run out of excuses.

What’s that I hear you think? We don’t have strong enough materials. See my point above about keeping our mouths shut. Only open them to give thanks.

Graphene, a layer of triple bonded atoms just one atom thick is capable of supporting an elephant. To get it to rip the elephant would need to stand on a pencil.

OK so now we have the Energy. Check.

We have the means to get into space in huge numbers. Checkᶩ (Did I mention the fact that the Orbital Airships are made of graphene? No? I did not think it necessary. Everything will be made of graphene.)

We are developing the robots to do the hard work on the moon and construct the habitat at the Lagrange points. Check

What are we still missing? Ah Yes. The Motivation. And here it is.

Standard run model from The Limits to Growth report.
Standard run model from The Limits to Growth report.

Do you see that Black line? That is Deaths.

Do you see that little wobbly bit a few years into the 20th century? That was the combined effect of 1st and 2nd World Wars, the Spanish flu, Stalin’s pogroms and the famine in China and India.

Now look a little further along the line. Do you see a subtle change?

If you don’t see anything odd, do not be alarmed. It does not concern you.

The Limits to Growth report. [.pdf] Standard run. (Also known as the Business-As-Usual run)

To tell the truth I am getting bored spoon-feeding you. Talk about pulling teeth!

What I will do instead is to give you your  homework. Here is a fictional story that I wrote for your amusement and pleasure. It is all about human relationships and sex, so there is something in it for the girls and the boys. (Sorry. No car chase.)

My story is called “The Breeding.” And if you are very good and read to the end there is a special treat.

Unconvinced? May I suggest you stare for a good half hour into your crystal ball.

Somebody please tell the Atheists they can take their fingers out their ears now.

11 Replies to “The divine road ahead”

  1. I just had a hunch…

    Coal and Oil – Hydrocarbons – provide exceptional feedstock for nano engineering. The shortage will be bemoaned in the future, not as an energy source, but as a source of building materials for 3D- printing of exquisite carbon tubes. In the future they might just be crying, “I can’t believe they burned it!”

    Vacuum evacuated tube mag-lev launch promises pennies on the dollar cost per pound with LENRgy, Quantum, E-Cat, or any other cold fusion reaction.

    (cold fusion is not a set narrow band of physicallities, environs, or phenomenon)

    Exceptional knowledge of the nano- engineering of multi-body systems is absolutely required for initiating and maintenance control, i.e. performance, of a marketable energy product emerging from cold fusion science and engineering.

    Graphene will indeed play a major role in advanced LENR energy reactor chambers. Electron interraction, supercapacitor function, electron capture, strength… in all these arenas and much more… graphene is a wonderful new world.

  2. Thanks for commenting Greg.
    Do not be concerned about the lack of long-chain carbon molecules.
    We have just had another near-death experience. An object capable of exterminating life on this planet with it’s own moon, no less, has just whizzed by.
    It was as black as the ace of spades because it was made of hydro-carbons.
    Maybe next time it won’t be so lucky and we will turn it into construction materials.
    Another not-so-subtle hint from the Deity?

  3. From where does the graph come? Looks like the graph figures food, “resources,” water and probably diseases to be the sources of the high death-rate this century.

  4. The Limits to Growth report is the grand-daddy of predictive models. The first graphs were published in 1972 by the Limit to Growth team at Cal Tech.
    The link that I offered in the piece is a critical analysis of it’s veracity done by the CSIRO, the Australian research organization.
    The Limits to Growth used Systems Dynamics to model the state of various parameters on a world wide scale.
    It comes complete with computer models, so that you can manipulate the input data to see if you can fix things. Good Luck.
    The Limits to growth is not a book expounding an Ideology, other than it attempts to offer us the tools to improve our decisions.
    We missed our deadline in 1982 to stabilize the parameters. There is no way out of this trap other than straight up. Hence my piece.
    You can purchase the book here

  5. Ah, the Future. What a wonderfully speculative place it is. It’s way more fun to dream about living there than to deal with this mundane life here and now. I do love science fiction. But I’m curious, as a deist, why would you bother? I mean, isn’t your place already picked out alongside your deity of choice? Future or no, you’ve got it all set up right? You could leave in 50 years or leave tomorrow and your future would be the same? So, again, why bother?

    Now, if you’re an atheist, you’ve got no special place secured for you after your ultimate demise. Dreaming about the future where the products of your DNA will continue to frolic is of paramount concern. Planning and scheming and designing and building are requirements if your descendants are to survive and prosper. And knowing full well that there is no life after death the future is where you have to project your energies so that when your RNA/DNA offshoots arrive, they’re ready to continue the race. But for a theist, the future is sitting along side your deity so why spend so much effort dreaming about a corporeal future?

  6. Life is the purpose of the cosmos. It has no other.
    The mundane fact is that the Limits to Growth model show Megga Death, as we have never experienced. It has started already. The birth rate in the USA has already begun to climb, just as predicted in the charts.
    The veracity of the charts is beyond question. They have been road tested for 40 years.
    Your mundane life now is Science Fiction to your Grandmother, as will your grandchildren’s mundane life be to you.
    Science Fiction is not always utopian, no sir. Mundane Megga Death is not utopian at all.
    There is only one way that we can continue the civilization experiment and that is by finding space for our exponential growth. And then we must find some way to minimize it because any rate of growth has a doubling time.

  7. The veracity of any prediction is always open to question as Nassim Taleb would say. “Hey, look! A black swan!”

    But I suppose you might favor Willy Wonka’s quote: “Oh, you should never, never doubt what nobody is sure about.”

    Megga death – yeah, OK, sure. But probably not from some gradually represented paradigm shift. I agree that off-planet colonization is a must, but mainly because humans are not yet good at averting cataclysmic eventualities. It’s way to probable that some planetary or galactic force will come along and run its thumb across the planet, smearing humanity into a paste of noble intentions.

    I will agree on the resource issue though. A resource war is pending; there are integral societal dependencies now on rare elements that just don’t exist in quantities large enough to support twice as many first world citizens. Or to imagine 3 times, three billion Euro-Ameri-Canadi-Aussies* all demanding the same first world lifestyles – that’ll stress the planet for sure.

    * Apologies to all the non – Euro-Ameri-Canadi-Aussies who are first world countries – the name was too long as it is.

  8. It goes without saying that we might be obliterated tomorrow by a techtonic event. We have no control over that.
    The power of a model lies in it’s ability to predict the future. Therefore Ohm’s law is powerful because it allows me to predict the outcome of an unbuilt electrical circuit.
    The Limits to Growth models are powerful for the same reason.
    Should I reject Ohm’s law because there might be a Black Swan event? Obviously not.
    Should we reject the Limits to Growth model because hey, shrug, you never know your luck in the Big City?
    All other pronouncements are unsubstantiated declaritative statements compared to the Limits to Growth report which has the runs on the board.
    So what to do?
    We are not going to be able to somehow engineer our way out of our predicament. That window of opportunity closed in 1982.
    If you have a better response to our present situation, please do not keep it to yourself. Tell me what it is and I shall run it through the models and tell you what the outcomes will be. Here is hoping.

  9. Law: Ohm’s Law
    Model: Limits to Growth model

    Models are theories. Laws are laws.

    Trying to elevate your theory of growth limits to the level of a law, yeah, not gonna happen.

    Maybe you think your model is somewhat like Moore’s law which is not a law at all, more like a rule of thumb, a heuristic. Maybe your Limits to Growth model is more like that.

    And 1982 was a stellar year – it was the year I turned 21 and learned how to drink whiskey and debauch women. What it means to you I couldn’t guess.

  10. Models become Laws by common agreement. Because there is no such thing as proof, our Laws are based on evidence alone.
    One man’s Model is another man’s Proof. For example it was an obvious Law that the sun went around the Earth. The proof was by observing the sun rise in the east and set in the west. QED.
    So words like “Model”, “Proof” and “Heuristic” have no substance. They are all constructs. The issue is whether there is substance to any utterance.
    Strong opinions are held about Darwin’s “Origin of the Species”, but I have yet to encounter a living breathing soul who has actually read the book. People say the most extraordinary things without recourse to facts.

    I have done my sums and I do hope that you are recovering from your youthful exuberances. Male menopause is fraught with embarrassing traps for the unwary. (Ask Bill Clinton).

  11. “Male menopause is fraught with embarrassing traps for the unwary.” Indeed. Stagnation being foremost in those traps. And here I am, chained to this desk…

    “on the Origin of Species” – you’re right, I never finished it. But I read enough to understand the premise.

    Sadly, on your theory of Limits to Growth, so much of the shocking evidence in the graph arrives years, if not decades, from now. A long time to wait for confirmation of a prediction. Predicting the impact of AGW might be more fulfilling seeing how we’re already twitching uncomfortably under the perceived fractional changes in the weather. Does your limits to growth take into account changes to the climate?

Comments are closed.