[FoRK] Chart of the Day...

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Thu Jun 10 12:13:33 PDT 2010

On Thu, Jun 10, 2010 at 11:08:45AM -0700, Stephen Williams wrote:

> What resources are really finite, given unlimited time and energy?  I'm 

Atoms. More specifically, matterenergy concentration in/and spacetime. 
They no longer make any, or at least we can't make any for our
own use, though that particular jury is out (to lunch?) yet.

> sure that at some point, space seemed finite in Manhattan.  And then 
> people started building up and down and more compactly.  Technically 

The buck stops at Schwarzschild radius. A whole while before, in fact.
So far, we seem to be stuck with classical computation in cold solid
state. Quite a distance yet to go, but not so many doublings removed.
The only way to beat that would be spacetime engineering, which so far
looks like a complete pipe dream.

> still finite, but for practical purposes pretty infinite compared to the 
> grassy meadows that it started out.  We're energy limited right now, but 

We've always been energy limited. We just managed to tap new resources
just in time. We've been aware more than half a century ago, but managed
to drop the ball. Pretty much completely. Now this energy austerity is
going to get pretty painful for a long while. 



> we have a few ideas of how we could change that.  Everything else is 
> just details.  With enough time and energy, we can get, make or go 
> retrieve anything else we need.

If we're sufficiently motivated, and not distracted (a nice nuclear
zero-sum resource fight will tend to be rather distracting) we can do 
some amazing things.

The question is, do we really want to do them? Not yet, as far as I can see.
Our heads remain firmly lodged in our collective anuses.
> True, people will always create scarcity in their minds.  However, it's 

I think there are a few million people on the street out there who'd
like to tell you one or two things about the scarcity that is a figment
of their imagination (they'd rather so wish).

> pretty clear what a baseline should consist of on the low end and 
> reasonably clear we should strive for (certain levels of education, 
> comfort, medical care).

We all know how things should look like, but to fund this we need
to rob Peter to pay Paul. A hard sell, since the awareness in how deep
a pile of steaming kaka we've managed to lodge ourselves is still
pretty thin out there.
Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820 http://www.ativel.com http://postbiota.org
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