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Old 01-25-2013, 11:41 PM   #391 (permalink)
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Last night and this morning I listened to ...youtubedotcomslashwatch?v=hYtQ_-rpAUo... AKA Buckminster Fuller: San Quentin Prison, 31 Jan 1959. It's vintage Bucky—talking, to the inmates of San Quentin Prison and getting a laugh or two. Two years after Sputnik and he ends with putting a dome on the moon.

niky -- The problem as I see it is that money can move freely across borders, but people can't. So you get countries where half the population is under 15 years of age, and others where there aren't enough workers to support the aged population. And modern day slavery, extortionate wages, &etc.

 
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:59 AM   #392 (permalink)
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Not just money, but goods. The funny thing is: What might be extortionate wages for you would support a family of eight here. But with the standards of living starting to normalize towards the middle (Chinese middle class and minimum wage are both growing), you'll see less and less offshore manufacturing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arragonis View Post
I agree with most of your post, but to expand - "they" have these kids for 2 reasons :

1. A lot of them die when young (so have more to ensure some survive)
2. They support their parents (have more so you have an easier retirement)

Sort out 1 by better healthcare. Sort out 2 by better pension provision, either by individual and private savings and investment or state provided. Sort those out and the population level stabilises.

How to do those things remains a challenge, notably not addressed here - development means growth, growth needs energy.

So the fundamental here is energy. Expensive, unreliable and unsustainable renewables don't cut it. Deal with that
1. Is almost a non-issue now. Nowadays, early death is in your sixties. People can live into their seventies and eighties... and once past eighty, you become a big problem for government pension and retirement services.

2. Problem for many family-oriented countries transitioning to Western-style life... If I recall, geriatric suicides are now a big thing in Korea because the traditional family support system has deteriorated.

We can do renewables, but we have to be prepared for an energy poor lifestyle as opposed to the current one in which we waste huge amounts of energy without a second thought.
 
Old 01-26-2013, 05:58 AM   #393 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by niky View Post
Not just money, but goods. The funny thing is: What might be extortionate wages for you would support a family of eight here. But with the standards of living starting to normalize towards the middle (Chinese middle class and minimum wage are both growing), you'll see less and less offshore manufacturing.
It will continue and simply move to the next cheapest location - Apple (et al) are not going to sacrifice that extra few pennies on an iPad by making it in the USA or Europe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by niky View Post
We can do renewables, but we have to be prepared for an energy poor lifestyle as opposed to the current one in which we waste huge amounts of energy without a second thought.
The irony is that you can't have the infrastructure for renewables without medium and heavy industry, and you can't run those industries on renewables - see the UK, Germany and Japan for worked examples.

Slightly OT - Last year uk.gov issued a report saying that with renewables UK energy bills would fall instead of the 16% or so annual rises we have seen recently. Everyone went "huh ?" as we looked at the part of the bills that goes to subsidies rising. So how did they come to this conclusion ? Simple - they imagined everyone would just be using 50% less energy, so we would be paying for less of the stuff.
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Old 01-26-2013, 12:19 PM   #394 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by niky View Post
We can do renewables, but we have to be prepared for an energy poor lifestyle as opposed to the current one in which we waste huge amounts of energy without a second thought.
It's an attitude problem. Am I "food poor" because I don't eat 10,000 calories a day, and carry around 50-100 pounds (or more) of blubber? Because I don't need an electric mobility scooter to haul my flabby body around the local WalMart? Even though my calorie intake is such that I can happily spend a day hiking up the local mountains, biking, riding the horse, cross-country skiing?

Same with energy: I have light when I want it, keep my house at a comfortable temperature, have all the hot water I can use, run my computers & such. So am I "energy poor" because my monthly kWh usage (and hence my power bill) is less than half that of my neighbors? Because I spend less than a quarter as much on gas?

I don't think so - and I will tell you that I'm a whole lot closer to being money rich than my non-energy poor neighbors :-)
 
Old 01-26-2013, 02:26 PM   #395 (permalink)
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We could get about SIXTEEN times more energy than we use all around the world. And renewable energy will be here as long as the earth and sun exist - another 5 Billion years or so. No one person or company or country could monopolize energy - renewable energy is democratizing. We are only limited by how much we can gather.

Where do you get this idea that we would be energy poor using renewables? The complete opposite -- and since they are renewable, we could "waste" all we wanted to.
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:36 PM   #396 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arragonis
It will continue and simply move to the next cheapest location - Apple (et al) are not going to sacrifice that extra few pennies on an iPad by making it in the USA or Europe.
Apple would be the example. Their supply chain will follow.

Foxconn Planning U.S. Expansion Alongside Apple's Push for Domestic Mac Production - Mac Rumors

Manufacturing will repatriate to the USA, but the jobs won't because ... robots!
 
Old 01-27-2013, 05:56 AM   #397 (permalink)
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We could get about SIXTEEN times more energy than we use all around the world. And renewable energy will be here as long as the earth and sun exist - another 5 Billion years or so. No one person or company or country could monopolize energy - renewable energy is democratizing. We are only limited by how much we can gather.

Where do you get this idea that we would be energy poor using renewables? The complete opposite -- and since they are renewable, we could "waste" all we wanted to.
In a perfect world imagined from the 1930s via Popular Mechanics then maybe, just maybe - along with personal helicopters and jet-packs. These guys (below) have a standpoint (Nuclear) but the points they make are valuable in bringing this back to the real world...

The myth of renewable energy | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Quote:
Renewable energy sounds so much more natural and believable than a perpetual-motion machine, but there's one big problem: Unless you're planning to live without electricity and motorized transportation, you need more than just wind, water, sunlight, and plants for energy. You need raw materials, real estate, and other things that will run out one day. You need stuff that has to be mined, drilled, transported, and bulldozed -- not simply harvested or farmed. You need non-renewable resources:

• Solar power. While sunlight is renewable -- for at least another four billion years -- photovoltaic panels are not. Nor is desert groundwater, used in steam turbines at some solar-thermal installations. Even after being redesigned to use air-cooled condensers that will reduce its water consumption by 90 percent, California's Blythe Solar Power Project, which will be the world's largest when it opens in 2013, will require an estimated 600 acre-feet of groundwater annually for washing mirrors, replenishing feedwater, and cooling auxiliary equipment.

• Geothermal power. These projects also depend on groundwater -- replenished by rain, yes, but not as quickly as it boils off in turbines. At the world's largest geothermal power plant, the Geysers in California, for example, production peaked in the late 1980s and then the project literally began running out of steam.

• Wind power. According to the American Wind Energy Association, the 5,700 turbines installed in the United States in 2009 required approximately 36,000 miles of steel rebar and 1.7 million cubic yards of concrete (enough to pave a four-foot-wide, 7,630-mile-long sidewalk). The gearbox of a two-megawatt wind turbine contains about 800 pounds of neodymium and 130 pounds of dysprosium -- rare earth metals that are rare because they're found in scattered deposits, rather than in concentrated ores, and are difficult to extract.

• Biomass. In developed countries, biomass is envisioned as a win-win way to produce energy while thinning wildfire-prone forests or anchoring soil with perennial switchgrass plantings. But expanding energy crops will mean less land for food production, recreation, and wildlife habitat. In many parts of the world where biomass is already used extensively to heat homes and cook meals, this renewable energy is responsible for severe deforestation and air pollution.

• Hydropower. Using currents, waves, and tidal energy to produce electricity is still experimental, but hydroelectric power from dams is a proved technology. It already supplies about 16 percent of the world's electricity, far more than all other renewable sources combined. Maybe that's why some states with renewable portfolio standards don't count hydropower as a renewable energy source; it's so common now, it just doesn't fit the category formerly known as "alternative" energy. Still, that's not to say that hydropower is more renewable than solar or wind power. The amount of concrete and steel in a wind-tower foundation is nothing compared with Grand Coulee or Three Gorges, and dams have an unfortunate habit of hoarding sediment and making fish, well, non-renewable.

All of these technologies also require electricity transmission from rural areas to population centers. Wilderness is not renewable once roads and power-line corridors fragment it. And while proponents would have you believe that a renewable energy project churns out free electricity forever, the life expectancy of a solar panel or wind turbine is actually shorter than that of a conventional power plant. Even dams are typically designed to last only about 50 years. So what, exactly, makes renewable energy different from coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear power?

Renewable technologies are often less damaging to the climate and create fewer toxic wastes than conventional energy sources. But meeting the world's total energy demands in 2030 with renewable energy alone would take an estimated 3.8 million wind turbines (each with twice the capacity of today's largest machines), 720,000 wave devices, 5,350 geothermal plants, 900 hydroelectric plants, 490,000 tidal turbines, 1.7 billion rooftop photovoltaic systems, 40,000 solar photovoltaic plants, and 49,000 concentrated solar power systems. That's a heckuva lot of neodymium.

Unfortunately, "renewable energy" is a meaningless term with no established standards. Like an emperor parading around without clothes, it gets a free pass, because nobody dares to confront an inconvenient truth: None of our current energy technologies are truly renewable, at least not in the way they are currently being deployed. We haven't discovered any form of energy that is completely clean and recyclable, and the notion that such an energy source can ever be found is a mirage.
One this article fails to mention is that the infrastructure requires maintenance - windmills only last 5-15 years at the outside - so this commitment to them is ongoing if you want to keep using the power they make.
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:04 AM   #398 (permalink)
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It's an attitude problem. Am I "food poor" because I don't eat 10,000 calories a day,
The term "Energy Poverty" relates to the proportion of income that a household spends on energy and not how much they consume, which might actually be very little. Energy prices here are about 2x those of the US and went up 15% annually for the last 2-3 years and at the same times incomes have stayed the same.

No, people can't choose to reduce energy usage by 15% a year.

And anyway about 11% of that goes to pay rich people to get richer by having windmills on their land.
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:06 AM   #399 (permalink)
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Apple would be the example. Their supply chain will follow.

Foxconn Planning U.S. Expansion Alongside Apple's Push for Domestic Mac Production - Mac Rumors

Manufacturing will repatriate to the USA, but the jobs won't because ... robots!
Their planning seems limited though ? From the same article :

Quote:
With Cook's announcement regarding domestic Mac production for 2013, the company is clearly testing the waters, perhaps with a low volume product like the Mac Pro, but the company faces major challenges if it wishes to bring operations on the scale of iPhone production to the United States.
It always (or usually) pays to make low volume products closer to the consumer.
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Old 01-27-2013, 07:33 AM   #400 (permalink)
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On a further note: Photovoltaics have an expected fifty year lifespan, with only 35 years at 80% or greater efficiency. Beyond fifty years, it's likely not worth the trouble to maintain a system around the panels, you'll be getting so little electricity.

I talked to one of the engineers who'd worked on the local wind plant up north about private wind installations. He stated that we'd have to install weather sensors and data collection equipment and gather over a year's worth of data and send it back to France for analysis before we could even consider it. That was a bummer.

 
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