Clones - they're not copies of us people - don't let anyone get away with that. An identical twin is a natural 'clone' born at the same time and, usually, raised under similar circumstances - yet both people are individuals. If you were to be cloned, your clone would be similar to your identical twin, only they would start as a baby, have their own experiences, memories, and education, and ideas. They would not be you. They would be their own person.

Perhaps some day, we could make a copy of the current configuration of your mind and transfer it to your clone - but, even then, as soon as the transfer was complete, that person would begin to diverge in their identity from you. Do you think I'm wrong? I'm all ears.

Perpetual Motion and Energy Transfer - not a huge number of real possibilities there. Energy is lost in almost any productive system (engine, machine, etc.). I saw a video on a car that runs on pressurized air. That is what turned the wheels. But the air had to be pressurized using more energy than it could give to the turning of the cars wheels. So, while this might be a cool alternative to a battery or gas tank, first - it pollutes as much as whatever is used to compress it pollutes and, unlike the weird little tag on the end of the video, just because you can compress air using compressed air, doesn't mean you can drive the car forever.

What might approach perpetual motion (or lossless energy storage and release)? High temperature superconductors? What?

Clean Coal and Carbon Sequestration - the idea that we could create clean coal power plants by extracting the carbon dioxide (and carbon monoxide) and scrub all the other toxins out without polluting the ground water or risking a massive release of sequestered carbon AND do it more cheaply than building a system of solar and wind powered next generation power grid seems sketchy to me. I have similar feelings about atomic and tar sand petroleum.

Let me know if you disagree and help me understand the cost benefit analysis v. just going with renewables.

Reply to this or add your own. Misinformation, poorly understood concepts, myths, ethical issues, potential unintended consequences ... why shouldn't we rush to the next big thing? I'd like to see plenty of this type of information and discussion being approached here.  What and How are great questions - but so are When, Where, Why and for Whom.  

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Replies to This Discussion

Re: perpetual motion. You have to keep in mind the 3 Laws of Thermodynamics:
1. You can't get something for nothing.
2. It's gonna get worse before it gets better.
3. Who says it's gonna get better?

Or the For Dummies version:
1. You can't win.
2. You can't break even.
3. You can't get out of the game.
Sounds like Heinlein - my first real science and engineering instructor.

What about the (idealistic) corollary to Murphy's Law:

If Murphy's Law can go wrong, it won't, and at the best possible moment.
Possibly because I live in the Mid-Atlantic and commute so frikkin' much this is more in my face. I've seen two fatal accidents BEFORE the emergency vehicles got there that would have been mild injury accidents if semi-trucks didn't pile into them. And I've lost a friend when a median failed due to a truck and caused a head-on collision.

In any case - this has spurred me to investigate and I really think that, (albeit the teamsters would be a big obstacle) we could improve our heavy rail - possibly running it on bio-diesel, immediately improve efficiencies by a huge factor, reduce traffic fatalities and automobile fuel efficiencies since there would be less stop and go traffic (the inertia of trucks causes a great deal of speed variability on the highway), and put the rust belt back to work. Light rail would benefit since rights of way issues would be solved for both systems simultaneously in many cases, and the economies of scale for equipment production would lower costs; putting even more people to work and taking even more cars off the road.
No - I saw the previews - but they always make it sound like it might be great or total bunk. I'm glad to here it wasn't a cold fusion story. Googling it now - thanks.
The Bloom Box is for real ... but not necessarily unique. Way I hear it, others have something similar. The nice thing is that you don't necessarily have to feed it pure hydrogen for it to work. It'll also swallow propane or natural gas or other gaseous combustibles. The Bloom Box has already been pressed into service at Google, eBay and other locations, so the technology is for real.
You can watch the vid here: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6228923n&tag=related;pho...

This is going to happen. The fuel can be captured at landfills. The US has plenty of those.

Sounds like we won't have to wait long. And I spend a couple grand every three years on computers and over $1,200 on my families cell phones. Here in the mid-atlantic, my electricity bill averages $1,500 a year - so if I cut that in half I'd get $3,000 back in four years. If I could run it on landfill gas - here in Jersey - that would be like having Saudi Arabia in my back yard.
I have similar feelings about atomic and tar sand petroleum.

I am a big proponent of nuclear energy as a "need it now" solution to our current energy problems. I think it could buy us about 50 years or so to develop the hell out of wind, solar, etc.

Getting off of oil and coal should be priority one.

Comparing radioactive waste to industrial toxic waste

In countries with nuclear power, radioactive wastes comprise less than 1% of total industrial toxic wastes, which remain hazardous indefinitely unless they decompose or are treated so that they are less toxic or, ideally, completely non-toxic. Overall, nuclear power produces far less waste material than fossil-fuel based power plants. Coal-burning plants are particularly noted for producing large amounts of toxic and mildly radioactive ash due to concentrating naturally occurring metals and radioactive material from the coal.
What if we spent the money on this instead (consider the populations of Texas and California combined vs. Atlanta - for example.)

Also, notice the comment about having to purchase all the fuel you will ever need upfront. We can't build nuclear any faster than we could build this.


I think it is a myth that solar isn't ready. And compare the industrial waste of solar ... oh, that's right, beyond the equipment manufacture - there is none.
I cannot see that video from my location here in Canada, is there a youtube link? So I cannot comment on it.

I think it is a myth that solar isn't ready.

See and I think that it is.

I do agree that solar could potentially solve our energy needs, it is estimated that you only need to capture something like .02% of all solar energy striking the earth to get enough energy to match our current needs.

I see a lot of promise in solar but it is currently an intermittent energy producer. You need a lot of land area to develop and use it. The amount of energy you get out of a solar station is in direct relation to the weather, its location (northern climes have more hurdles with solar), and nighttime energy storage. I think in order to use solar effectively we would need a world wide grid of sorts to fully utilize where the sun is shinning down at any particular time.

I see as our best bet for solar is space based stations, rather then ground based stations, which wouldn't be subject to the weather and other terrestrial problems.

Most research I see in solar these days is refining the arrays so they can take up less space and collect more of the potential energy from the sun. From what I can tell though is that most of these improvements are still in a research and development stage, and still some time away from any commercial introduction.

The problem as always is ultimately cost verses performance. Solar entry cost might be lower then nuclear but it currently doesn't produce the raw power needed to replace coal and oil in an effective way.

Granted the best solution to our energy problems is actually a combination of all existing technologies (nuclear, hydro, solar and wind), depending on the region where you need to produce power, and picking the best long term solution when available.

Solar is probably a great solution for say Arizona, but I don't see it being a solution to where I live here in Ontario's at least not on the same scale.
http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/videos/player.html?ch...

Oh - there is an SF book by Ben Bova about a power satellite. I agree - orbital solar is the real wave of the future.

Yeah - Ontario is a different story. But with Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Southern Cal, Mexico powering LA, San Diego, Houston, Dallas, Las Vegas, Santa Fe, Mexico City, you're talking about a massive number of people coming off the fossil fuel grid. By the time you put the plain states on wind, and the coastal regions on water current power (like the East River in NYC) and tidal power ... Ontario's cost and impact drops dramatically.

What I can't wait for is 'high temperature super conductors' that are getting close. You can ship toroids (donut-shaped ceramics in special refrigeration trucks) that can store and release huge amounts of electricity. Special trucks (or trains) could carry electricity (running ON electricity) from, say, Kansas to Toronto that was generated by the sun and wind. We're not that far off.
The sad thing is, I feel that we should be talking about converting from Nuclear base energy to a solar base system at this stage of our development. We could be having conversations about how we go about adapting the existing nuclear grid for more advanced solar based resources.

All the fear mongering around nuclear starting in the 70's until now really retarded any momentum for getting off of coal and oil.

As I see it Energy is perhaps our #1 concern as a planet, since it unpins everything we do. Energy needs have driven progress and progress feeds directly off of how much energy we produce. It is a self perpetuating system, and every new development requires time and energy to develop.

The sad thing is we cannot turn back the clock, this is where we are right now. Mired in a fossil fuel economy that is costing us as humans more then it is worth from what I see.

I still hold out hope that at some point we might actually develop a true fusion based energy system. The potential energy production there is enormous, since it is the power of the sun itself in a little tiny box (comparatively speaking).
Yeah - fusion would be awesome. The problem with the toroid (just as with the toroid superconductor battery) is that the field is denser at the 'hole' than at the outer edge - since the coil spreads out at the edge. This prevents the field from keeping the hydrogen racing perfectly around in a circle and some of the fuel (and incumbent energy used to 'spin it') is lost.

There is also the laser pressure technique where a spherical chamber with lasers focused from many points at the center fuse the hydrogen that is delivered into this laser nexus.

I would certainly agree that bullshit propaganda propped up the status quo of fossil fuel use so that all other types of energy were pushed to the side. Even the automobile - at the outset - had electric and bio-diesel alternatives. In fact, the original diesel concept was that the car would run on vegetable oil.

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