[FoRK] Subjective value

Aaron Burt <aaron at bavariati.org> on Wed Aug 29 13:03:47 PDT 2007

On Wed, Aug 29, 2007 at 08:40:59AM +0200, Eugen Leitl wrote:
> On Tue, Aug 28, 2007 at 04:49:46PM -0700, Aaron Burt wrote:
> 
> > > With enough cheap kWh, potable water and oil are not strictly necessary.
> > 
> > You're assuming everyone uploads, right?  Otherwise, that makes no sense.
> 
> Not at all. Electricity is a high-quality energy, and once it's cheap enough
> you can generate virtually anything else on-site with very little additional
> hardware (in fact, even some fabbing on-site). For instance, a heat pump
> gives you both heating and cooling, and potable water (from condensation).

Ah.  I was worried that you were saying that.

You assume that non-potable water is abundant (in the air or otherwise)
and that high-quality manufactured goods (and spares) are always easily
available.  Not good assumptions given geography, transport and money issues.

Also assumes there's biofuel and advanced battery tech sufficient to
replace all transport fuel needs, and that we can replace all necessary
industrial chemistry that currently depend on petrol feedstock.

We're close on the transport fuels/batteries, assuming folks can handle
*much* higher transport costs, heavier usage of trains and ships and the
attendant multi-week lead times, and fuel/battery costs that put
personal automobiles in a class with private planes.

We're working on the industrial chemistry.  It's mostly a university
research thing as far as I know, but we still have a lot we can recover
from WWII Germany and the pre-petrol era.  (I understand we'd been
making cellulosic ethanol with weak-acid hydrolysis over 100 years ago.)

Interestingly enough, I recently read a paper that stated that oil crops
can produce the same amount on the same acreage if grown organically
rather than chemically.  So we don't need to waste precious petrol on
fertilizers and pesticides just to grow biodiesel.

> > Actually, that makes no sense anyway.  Carry on.
> 
> Imagine a world where energy is an order of magnitude cheaper than today,
> and still falling fast. How about three orders of magnitude cheaper than
> today, and really unlimited enough to directly heat the planet?

Solar energy don't cost a penny.  Getting it in good quantities, in a
usable form that's in the right place at the right time, OTOH, is what
my wife works on now (Ag Sci) and what I hope to work on (EE).


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