[FoRK] Are you Malthusiastic? Re: Concrete results

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Tue Jun 18 23:33:14 PDT 2013


On Tue, Jun 18, 2013 at 03:43:35PM -0400, Aaron Burt wrote:

> Well... my engineer buddy is building his third solar-thermal plant at the
> moment.  It takes time, and at the moment I suspect that he and his flock
> of physicist-engineer-coders are the only ones in North America who know
> how to build them right.  Not that it matters, there aren't that many
> suitable sites for concentrated solar.  You need blue sky all year round to
> make that work.

Precisely. It's more of a desert thing.
 
> Meantime, my brother-in-law manages drivers for one of the main wind-turbine
> trucking companies.  Those drivers are elite but few, because the volume of
> work fluctuates so much.

Right now wind deployment in Germany has stalled because it's all
off-shore porkbarrel, and they can't build there because there's
no infrastructure. In general renewable investment in 2012 have
not matched prior year's growth.
 
> I seem to recall that orbital-to-ground microwave power transmission needs
> so much land that your watts per square meter is down within an order of
> magnitude of PV.  I hope I'm wrong.

That's not the real reason why SPS from terrestrial materials is
a wash at best: http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2012/03/space-based-solar-power/

Before you have SPS you will have exhausted terrestrial solar
potential.
 
> > Anyway, hopefully you are wrong, but we should act like you are close
> > enough to right and start doing something.
> 
> Thaaat's the spirit!
> 
> It pleases me that most folks appear to be at the point of discussing what
> to do and how much money to spend, rather than arguing over whether there's
> a problem and/or standing in the room shouting, "what elephant?"

Most population is very unlike FoRK. The Nile is a comfortable river to stand in.


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