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Old 12-31-2011, 10:31 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GRU View Post
I don't believe that

The prices wouldn't go down so far that the poorer people that arn't buying much fuel now would end up buying too much fuel if the prices dropped.
In the short term, fuel consumption would indeed be reduced. While fuel prices may not plummet by half, they certainly would decrease substantially. The fuel that is not consumed now is merely shifted to future consumption.

I'm not saying conservation and efficiency is unimportant (I am on an efficiency forum after all), I'm just pointing out the fact that even widespread fuel conservation will do little good for the environment. This has been proven historically time and time again. Efficiency has been improved substantially over the years for most consumer goods. Think about how inefficient water heaters, refrigerators, TVs and vehicles used to be. We have much more efficient appliances nowadays, but are we consuming less energy?

Don't take my word for it though, lets see a practical example:

A Pentium 100 MHz processor from 1995 consumed 10 watts of power. Transistors continued to shrink at an astonishing rate, which had the effect of making each calculation take just fractions of the power the Pentium 100 required. Eventually the Pentium 4 3800 MHz processor was released, which consumed 115 watts.

100MHz \ 10W = 10Mhz per W
3800MHz \ 115W = 33MHz per W

While efficiency increased 300%, consumption increased 1100%!

Source: Wikipedia

You see this human behavior everywhere. A similar example can be made of cars (they just get more powerful over time). Efficiency will never result in less consumption, just expanded ways to use it.

As long as oil is relatively easy to produce, it will be consumed regardless of efficiency. Relatively cheap alternatives are the only way oil consumption will be permanently reduced. This will occur through a combination of increasing oil prices (scarcity), and decreasing cost of alternatives (technology advancement).

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Old 12-31-2011, 10:36 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Yeah, more efficient refrigerators leads to the new one being twice as big- and having 4x the amount of energy using features- and everyone putting the old one out in the garage alongside the deep freeze, and running them all. And that isn't enough; the kids need dorm-sized fridges in their rooms too.
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Old 01-01-2012, 11:58 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jakobnev View Post
Why bother with a tractor beam when you can just make a transporter?
Of course a transporter needs to slice you up to make a pattern which is sent via the beam and a new "you" is assembled from that pattern when you arrive.

Of course to avoid any of that social complication associated with creating clones of yourself, you are killed and disposed of, and the new "you" allowed to continue.

There was a reason that the Dr would always prefer the shuttle.
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Old 01-01-2012, 12:19 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redpoint5 View Post
A Pentium 100 MHz processor from 1995 consumed 10 watts of power. Transistors continued to shrink at an astonishing rate, which had the effect of making each calculation take just fractions of of the power the Pentium 100 required. Eventually the Pentium 4 3800 MHz processor was released, which consumed 115 watts.
But now Intel's up to the I7 processor series, the mobile versions of which consume a max of 17W, which includes a lot of functionality which in the P4 was relegated to separate chips. That 17W is also max: unless you're doing serious number-crunching (or gaming), the processor is going to spend most of its time in a low-power idle state.

Also, a newer system is probably going to be using an SSD or hybrid drive rather than a hard disk, the display is a LED/LCD panel rather than a power-hungry CRT, etc. So the bottom line is that although some applications can consume a lot more power (e.g. hard-core gaming systems), most will be using a lot less most of the time.

Then look at the larger picture: I do most of my work on a notebook+display+cable modem, router, etc that probably draws an average of 40 watts (plus my share of whatever the cable company uses to run its system). But that replaces upwards of 1/3 gallon of gas per day, because I don't have to drive to a physical office to work. It saves all the energy involved in making and transporting paper checks to pay my bills (and get paid!), gas I'd use to go to physical stores for shopping...
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Old 01-01-2012, 04:24 PM   #25 (permalink)
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I don't remember where I read the article, but it was describing how American's electrical power consumption is drastically lower than it was even just 10 to 20 years ago. The article stated that this was due to the increased efficiency of modern electronic devices. Though Americans tend to use more electronic devices than they did in the past, the difference in efficiency has lessened the overall load on the power grid.

Just thinking of my apartment: Tube TV replaced with LCD; 2x CRT monitors replaced with LCD monitors; incandescent bulbs replaced with new, low-power bulbs... And this list goes on. Using the same number of devices as I have used in the past, I'd say my actual power consumption is less than half of what it was before.

Now to see if this second job can lead to some telecommuting...
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Old 01-01-2012, 05:07 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladogaboy View Post
I don't remember where I read the article, but it was describing how American's electrical power consumption is drastically lower than it was even just 10 to 20 years ago. The article stated that this was due to the increased efficiency of modern electronic devices. Though Americans tend to use more electronic devices than they did in the past, the difference in efficiency has lessened the overall load on the power grid.
I would be interested in seeing that article because it runs counter to every article I've ever seen on it.
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Old 01-01-2012, 11:47 PM   #27 (permalink)
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My 50 inch plasma consumes 200 watts. The 57 inch CRT big screen I use for gaming a lot less
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Old 01-02-2012, 01:00 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by bandit86 View Post
My 50 inch plasma consumes 200 watts. The 57 inch CRT big screen I use for gaming a lot less
Because plasma screens are energy hogs. Look at the energy use of a same-sized LED-backlit LCD instead.
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Old 01-02-2012, 02:23 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Lee View Post
I would be interested in seeing that article because it runs counter to every article I've ever seen on it.
Not sure about the article, but Google has some interesting data... following shows energy consumption per capita within the United States up to 2009, showing that usage has dropped from a high in 1978 and is lower than both 1990 and 2000:
World Bank, World Development Indicators - Google Public Data Explorer
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Old 01-02-2012, 04:01 PM   #30 (permalink)
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uk.gov has just published a study into energy cost. By 2020 they estimate it will be less than it is now, which is an interesting stretch as it has gone up by 20% in the last 3 years.

However reading the small print you understand why, they estimate we will be using 50% less by then.

Which is of course entirely realistic.

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