Friday, October 30, 2009

Free Energy Rant

Just picked a topic I haven't gone on about for a while.

Free energy is one of those things that sticks around. I guess being able to get something for nothing is just one of those things people wish wasn't too good to be true.

Of course, since I grew up listening to Patrick Stewart speeches, I tend to have an underlying thought that if we're just clever enough, we could find just the perfect things to solve our problems. Of course, as a skeptic, I work to keep critical thinking dominant in my mind, even if it has to give my wishful thinking a swirly. I can imagine it's possible (if very unlikely) that we might find some way to get energy that doesn't require too much effort on our part.

Not quite the case with most free energy boondoggles I hear about: Most really are supposed to be something for nothing. Just spin the magnets the right way and energy will come from some fundamental part of the universe on a silver platter, with a pretty bow on top.

Aside from the raw wishful thinking, though, I wonder if the enthusiasm might also be powered with desire to give the finger to the scientists who posited the laws of thermodynamics. As some ray of sunshine phrased them:
Zeroth: You must play the game.
First: You can't win.
Second: You can't break even.
Third: You can't quit the game.
It's kind of depressing, so I guess I can't blame the sentiment. Of course, another issue is the desire to give the energy companies the finger. Yeah, fossil fuels are bad, and we've got a lot of people dragging their feet on developing practical alternatives, so it's not surprising some amateurs would like to do something to take on the Eeeee-ville faceless oil companies.

There's certainly a lot of good intentions with the deluded (and no shortage of cynical con artists who like to cash in on them), but as hard as it is, critical thinking is more likely to help solve the energy crisis than wishful thinking alone. Just a message from a friendly neighborhood skeptic.

53 comments:

James K said...

And alas, this is why we will never have post-scarcity economies. The laws of physics themselves seems to demand that energy is scarce, always and everywhere.

Unless we're wrong of course, after all the laws of conservation got a pretty major shake-up only 100 years ago. But most likely TANSTAAFL isn't just a good idea, its the law.

Jacqueline said...

James K said...
"The laws of physics themselves seems to demand that energy is scarce, always and everywhere."


Energy...scarce? I beg to differ. What about all those stars, including our sun, out there exuding raw energy? Energy definately isn't scarce.
Tapping all that energy may be an expensive project though.

Dark Jaguar said...

I just thought I'd make one point about that, a post scarcity society wouldn't need infinite energy, just enough to provide an over-abundance for everyone for the forseable future. Well, it'd also need a LOT of other things, like enough raw materials for everyone for the forseable future, and robot labor for all jobs (except those people want to do) for everyone for the forseable future. How feasible that is basically determines if humanity can ever get to that point. Certainly won't happen in our lifetime at the very least.

James K said...

Jacqueline:
Sorry, I dropped into economist jargon for a minute there. In economics terms "scarce" means that there isn't enough of the thing to provide as much of it as everyone could ever want.

Dark Jaguar:
You are right, but energy is very versatile and at since economic growth is exponential at some point you start running into constraints. So I guess you could have something like post-scarcity economics but only for limited periods.

Dark Jaguar said...

Could EVER want? Well that may not actually come up though. If we reach a point, hypothetically, where everyone on the planet can be provided with shelter, food, and full access to all available infrastructure that's built at the time, and all of this is done via automation, it would take a real evil asshole to screw that up and horde more for themselves somehow, and for what reason? What hypothetical scenario would we run into that would force people into poverty? Now don't get me wrong, a "higher level" economics where things that are rare for being "originals", like say my NES here, could still flurish, but I'm talking simply about a hypothetical elimintation of the need for economy to handle basic necesities.

Massive public works projects wouldn't even require funding so much as land allowances, land probably being the one thing that would always have a limit. That is, workers would be ye robots (robots don't say ye), or whatever.

As for who would "run" that automated network, I guess super computer mother brain or something. It's really just a hypothetical which, if even possible, is a long way off.

I guess what I'm saying is economics isn't all powerful and eternal.

James K said...

Dark Jaguar:
A society where everyone has the basic necessities of life is past-poverty, but not post-scarcity (at least not in the sense I mean the term).

Post-scarcity means "economics no longer matters" and that's an extremely high bar to get over.

And what you described is hardly hypothetical, I wouldn't be surprised if it happened in 100-200 years. Hell, if it wasn't for some institutional and cultural problems we don't know how to solve we'd barely have such a thing as poverty now.

Dark Jaguar said...

At least in terms of providing enough food that no one should starve, that's probably true. Super hyper robots doing all our menial labor? That's certainly a long way off.

Anonymous said...

Poverty does not exist, more or less, in the Scandinavian nations, why? Could it be a better mix of people?

America would look just like that if we got rid of the negriods and spics, think about it, use the Scandies as example here.

Dunc said...

You've all read Isaac Asimov's The Last Question, right? ;)

Bronze Dog said...

Gabe:

Poverty does not exist, more or less, in the Scandinavian nations, why? Could it be a better mix of people?

America would look just like that if we got rid of the negriods and spics, think about it, use the Scandies as example here.


No, it's highly unlikely to be a "better" mix of genes: There's no reason to believe race has anything to with it. Race doesn't magically prevent poverty, otherwise there would be no poor white people.

More likely, it's the socialism that redistributes tax money and the secularity of the populace. Not being from around there, this is only a guess, but it's also possible they have a culture that celebrates (or at least not denigrates) intellectualism.

djfav said...

"...got rid of..."

And just how, Gabe, do you propose they be got rid of?

Gabriel said...

Bronze, nor do I see any evidence against that it would not be a more, clean, society. So as long as there is no studies on it we both have our, equally, valid thoughts on the subject.

And what to do with them? I dont know, mmm, maybe send them back home? Africa and Mexico to start with, but I heard the Mexicans do not want their own back for some reason, and the African-Americans DO NOT WANT to go back to their nations, STRANGE!!!

Bronze Dog said...

Gabe:

Bronze, nor do I see any evidence against that it would not be a more, clean, society. So as long as there is no studies on it we both have our, equally, valid thoughts on the subject.

Occam's Razor. Read up on it. I don't need to invent new entities like some magical, undefined poverty-preventing power of race.

Of course, you're the sort who denies the meaning behind logical fallacies.

And what to do with them? I dont know, mmm, maybe send them back home? Africa and Mexico to start with, but I heard the Mexicans do not want their own back for some reason, and the African-Americans DO NOT WANT to go back to their nations, STRANGE!!!

And that has nothing to do with "race," just economics. You're the one who says otherwise, and yet you won't even define your argument, much less defend it.

Gabriel said...

Ha, I can not use WordWeb legally, the irony.

WordWeb (wordweb.info) i a terrific on the fly dictionary (say press ALT + W) to find out words, types, synonyms and so on, and it turns out I an not use it.

They demand that you take a maximum of TWO flights a year, thats one return, and if you do more then so, you are considered wealthy, which is funny considering I am certainly not wealthy and made around 10 flights so far this year. I guess we (Americans) are getting poorer if we consider a couple of flights making you rich.

Lucky us we are still wealther then most people can dream of in the rest of the world, You, never been outside of our wonderful nation, dont know how good you got it, but trust me, Its Good!!!

Damnit, I had to lie, I never lie, I had to tell them no, I haven't flown at all.. Damnit, Hope I wont g to hell for this.

Bronze Dog said...

Wow, that's a familiar subject change: Argumentum ad Frequent Flyer Miles, subtype of Red Herring.

Oh, and if anyone's taking America's prosperity, it's you: Whenever we ask logical questions on this scientific issue of race, you demean science while praising its outcomes, as if scientific progress is something that just happens automatically.

Probably doesn't help that you've been trying to shift the burden of proof onto the null hypothesis. Graeme Bird does that a lot, expecting us to prove the nonexistence of various things.

Probably believes in unicorns because we haven't explored every nook and cranny of the universe. And if we did, the next thing brought up would be an ad hoc hypothesis D&D calls the Feywild, a whole 'nother plane of existence that they could be hidden in.

Anyway, back to you from that digression: I'm still waiting for you to explain what race is (is it even genetic?) and how it does anything. So far, your silence on the issue seems to be a "Just because!" answer.

Bronze Dog said...

Anyway, downloaded that dictionary. Going to install once I get something else out of the way.

I get the feeling it won't be of much use for your argument. Though if it does indeed mention genetics, I'll have to ask you to admit you were wrong about the possibility of it being "diluted" because genes don't work that way.

MWchase said...

I think Gabe has an excellent plan. Forthwith, I shall ship my upper body to England, and a leg each to Germany and Spain.

Dark Jaguar said...

You know, special reserves for "their kind" so "our kind" doesn't have to worry about them. Even though I consider them "my kind" and racists to be "them". The reserves will do until a "final solution" comes along. I just thought they were baking bread!

Dark Jaguar said...

That's what I get for typing up a response in a thread I've had opened from earlier this morning.

So Gabe, you have yet to even address anything we said to you. You freely admit you can't tell who is what race. Why not? Wouldn't you expect to be able to tell if each "race" had a noticable intellectual difference? If you can't tell what someone's "race" is without looking, and talking just isn't enough unless they flat out tell you, then what does that say about your entire concept of mental differences being determined by racial boundries?

Bronze Dog said...

Pleh. Figures that I'd only just now notice something that got clipped out of a comment: "...taking America's prosperity for granted..."

Bronze Dog said...

Oh, and I like the reversal of the race detection thing. Reminds me of a point on Astrology: If Astrology were true, you'd think that they'd be able to give someone a personality test and have a greater-than-chance level of guessing people's signs. Nope.

Gabriel said...

I already told you Bronze, a long time ago, I wont waste time telling you again, and again and again.

I recommend you to read 'What a Wonerful Race', its a truly wonderful story, I include the link once again, I hope you wont be to close minded as other members here.

http://seanbryson.com/articles/wonderful_race.html

Bronze Dog said...

Yeah, I read and reread what I presumed was the copy-paste you did, earlier. It's an irrelevant straw man backed with argument from assertion, last I checked.

Anyway, installed that dictionary:

Race:

3: People who are believed to belong to the same genetic stock.
"Some biologists doubt that there are important genetic differences between races of human beings."

[Of course, I'm willing to accept that "race" can still be of use for determining some medical issues, like increased resistances or vulnerabilities to certain diseases and such.]

4: (biology) a taxonomic group that is a division of a species; usually arises as a consequence of geographical isolation within a species

So, which of these two definitions are you using, Gabe?

Anyway, I'm off to load that "Wonderful Race" webpage, and preparing to roll my eyes once again at the red herrings and straw men.

Gabriel said...

I never copy pasted anything, thankyouvery much.

And wordweb is good, is it not? I used it for years got shocked when I got a big box asking me about my flight habits, I told the truth and the program blocked and I had to re-install it, clear the reg and install it again, so make sure you dont fly to much... Or just lie :P


Fine, roll your eyes, but tell me what you are against, its a story so obviously not 100% 'correct', so dont nitpick to much, but would love to hear what you dont 'like'.

Bronze Dog said...

Heh. Already found one funny thing:

Those black scientists, inventors, doctors, athletes, and entertainers you speak of were never given the opportunity to realize their full human potential because Europeans weren't around to introduce higher civilization and learning to them.

That's exactly what I'm talking about, Gabe. Civilization is what allows a person to fulfill their great potential, regardless of race.

Of course, the story has a rather strange assertion that those other races wouldn't have spread to fill in that niche in Europe and adapt to fit in. It's like they believe humans are incapable of changing to circumstance or exploiting new resources.

Now, if you sank Europe into the ocean as well as get rid of "white" people, you might have an argument.

...and most important - there's no creative genius to be found that could create and sustain such a high level of civilization. There's nothing for the people of this world to build upon.

So, are you saying that there's some "creative genius" gene in white people?

Gabriel said...

Interesting, tell me Gabe, if Europeans did not populate North America and left the Native Americans to be, with no influence, How Long do yo uthink it would take before they would achive the dsame technology we have today?

Or would they, ever, do that? It was only a couple of hundred years ago, do you believe they would magically change alot during these last hundred years? I am curious, what you say?

Gabriel said...

Erh.. Bronze.. I just said my own name... Sorry :P

Bronze Dog said...

There should be something like "Argumentum ad alternate universe." It's akin to appeal to the future, but displaced into a hypothetical timeline.

Or would they, ever, do that? It was only a couple of hundred years ago, do you believe they would magically change alot during these last hundred years? I am curious, what you say?

Considering that many of the radical changes we've undergone are only a few hundred years old, it's possible. There probably would have been more delay without the right memes like the scientific method and the force-multiplying effect it has on communication between intellectuals.

One scenario my dad liked to bring up sometimes was "What if the Library of Alexandria was never destroyed?" and wondering just how much sooner we would have gotten to this point.

Of course, I don't see how this hypothetical ties into genes, or, by extension, race: It's all about the spread of ideas and the distribution of appropriate resources.

Bronze Dog said...

The take-home lesson I read in the tale: Everything's connected.

The reason I don't see it as a tale of white genetic supremacy is that I didn't see any connection between the ideas that civilizations are founded on with whatever genes are used to define "white" people.

Of course, it doesn't help that the tale involves bashing a straw critic from a tiny minority, as if it had anything to do with us. Induces a lot of groaning and instills a desire to skip.

James K said...

Bronze Dog:
There should be something like "Argumentum ad alternate universe." It's akin to appeal to the future, but displaced into a hypothetical timeline.

The terms that I know for it is "arguing a counter-factual" its happens pretty often in social sciences since you can't run human history again with a few variables changed.

Gabriel:
The problem here is that the wealth of Europe and the Anglosphere is driven by the Enlightenment and the industrial Revolution, and both of these related phenomena only happened once. You can't do any kind of science with one observation. The only responsible answer to "why did the enlightenment and industrial revolution start in England?" is "I don't know".

I don't care what your hypothesis is, you don't have enough data to support it.

Jacqueline said...

James K said...
"Jacqueline:
Sorry, I dropped into economist jargon for a minute there. In economics terms "scarce" means that there isn't enough of the thing to provide as much of it as everyone could ever want."


Then using such a term was erroneous. There most definately IS more than enough energy for our civilizations' uses coming from the sun. The problem is building enough orbital, or planet based, solar power stations to harness that energy.

James K said...
"The laws of physics themselves seems to demand that energy is scarce, always and everywhere."

The statement above is so wrong I don't know where to start.

JS;)

Jacqueline said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jacqueline said...

Gerbriel squeeked:
"I recommend you to read 'What a Wonerful Race', its a truly wonerful story, I include the link once again, I hope you wont be to CRITICALLY minded as other members here."

There gerbil, fixed it for you. Repeating dewey eyed Nazi wankfantasies from a UK based meat head won't add any more "evidence" to your baseless prejudices.


JS:)

Gabriel said...

It is so sad seeing the hatred for History and a good world amongst these people Bronze.

For example, the hatred for Hitler and his book, which they NEVER READ is strange, insulting him not being able to look at history objectively, shows the similarities your people share with creationists and other loons.

The jewish problem is a hisotirc one and there is many signs to show that the "holocaust" was a jewish invention to get access to America and infect it like roaches. Look at America today, we are the ones that harvest the biggest amount of jews, WE are forced to deal with them.

Maybe you never thought, WHY does no one on the planet WANT the jews? MAYBE, just MAYBE its because they are not something you want? Just like gypsies, faggots and aids, its omsething you dont want, I dont see France, Britian or Russia opening their arms for jews, WHY? We got stuck with them because of the second world war, WHY dont anyone want them Bronze? Strange indeed.

But you wont touch that, will you.

Bronze Dog said...

Gabe:

For example, the hatred for Hitler and his book, which they NEVER READ is strange, insulting him not being able to look at history objectively, shows the similarities your people share with creationists and other loons.

Hitler was evil. Unless you're going to argue that the Holocaust never happened, I don't see how you can argue otherwise.

As for Mein Kampf, care to actually give us an example of something worthwhile from it?

The jewish problem is a hisotirc one and there is many signs to show that the "holocaust" was a jewish invention to get access to America and infect it like roaches. Look at America today, we are the ones that harvest the biggest amount of jews, WE are forced to deal with them.

Oh, great, now I know you're an idiot who denies history. I should probably call in Orac to get you some Respectful Insolence, now, since I'm not an expert in Holocaust deniers.

Maybe you never thought, WHY does no one on the planet WANT the jews? MAYBE, just MAYBE its because they are not something you want? Just like gypsies, faggots and aids, its omsething you dont want, I dont see France, Britian or Russia opening their arms for jews, WHY? We got stuck with them because of the second world war, WHY dont anyone want them Bronze? Strange indeed.

Did you learn epistemology from watching American Idol? Just because an idea's popular doesn't mean it's true.

Text 555-1234 if you want Pi to equal 3.20.

djfav said...

So tell us, Gabe, why doesn't anyone want TEH JEWS?

I'd like to hear it from you.

djfav said...

Oh, and I like the whole denial of the Holocaust while admitting TEH JEWS are a problem.

Gabe, just admit it. They tried to solve TEH PROBLEM and failed.

Bronze Dog said...

Argumentum ad populum: Because millions of people who worship a bread zombie who was nailed to a tree and know nothing about genetics can't possibly all be wrong.

djfav said...

"I never copy pasted anything, thankyouvery much."

You're a fucking liar, Gabe.

Jacqueline said...

Gerbriel squeeked:

"It is so sad seeing the hatred for History and a good world amongst these people Bronze."

Yeah, like you even know any history that isn't viewed through your sad little Nazi worshipping SS tinted wankfantasy spectacles.


"For example, the hatred for Hitler and his book, which they NEVER READ is strange, insulting him not being able to look at history objectively, shows the similarities your people share with creationists and other loons."



Have you read Mein Dumbkopf in the original deutsche then schiessekopf?

"The jewish problem is a hisotirc one and there is many signs to show that the "holocaust" was a jewish invention to get access to America and infect it like roaches. Look at America today, we are the ones that harvest the biggest amount of jews, WE are forced to deal with them."

Some of the Jews you hate so much fought for Germany during the first world war, and got the iron cross for their bravery. They weren't cowards like you Gerbriel.

"Just like gypsies, faggots and aids, its omsething you dont want, I dont see France, Britian or Russia opening their arms for jews, WHY?"

You are full of hate aren't you sad little gerbil?
What will you start shitting on about next from the Nazi wankfantasy religion you hide behind? Will you go on about how anyone you hate is to be gassed to death?


"But you wont touch that, will you."

You sad little halfwit, regurgitating your predigested Nazi wankfantasies on this fair site to try to get some publicity for your pathetic Nazi worship. You have no argument that you can logically or intelligently defend, so you spout your pathetic faith in dead dork Hitler and his fellow untermensch lackies instead.
Does it piss you off that your supposed super race got their asses kicked and that their leader commited suicide rather than face the humiliation of a trial.
You ran away from Mark CC's put down. It's a pity that you didn't do a Hitler too.


JS:)

Dark Jaguar said...

I've known a few jewish people. I've probably known more, except for the fact I never ask people about their heritage because I just don't care. Honestly had they not out and out told me, I wouldn't have known as they were pretty much just like EVERYONE ELSE I've known.

This brings me to you once again dodging my question. I'll ask again. Can you tell who here is what race just by our discussion here, and if not, why not?

Anonymous said...

Lets see, What nations are the most superior in the world?

Are they NEGRO or WHITE?

Yes, we gt the SCANDINAVIANS and AMERICA, what problems do we see in Scandinavia? YES, FROM THE IMMIGRANT MUSLIMS and ni America we got negro and spic GHETTOS.

explain.

sorry, keyboard broke, i am in one o these highly advanced spic nations remember.

Bronze Dog said...

Oh, color me surprised. Gabe brings up his correlation equals causation fallacy yet again, ignoring many very real forces that provide explanations more parsimonious than "unspecified, hypothetical magic genes did it."

Got a Doggerel entry in the pipeline you might want to read when I finish.

So, Gabe: Will you explicitly state that race is genetic as your recommended dictionary said? If so, will you retract your contradictory statements about race being "diluted" by cross-breeding?

djfav said...

But what about PYGMIES+DWARFS!1!?

Explain.

Bronze Dog said...

And posted.

Rick said...

So Gabe, are you ever going to get around to defining what you mean when you say white?

(NB: Pointing to that horridly written story doesn't work, unless you want to include Egyptians and Hispanics as white.)


Now for a bit of a history lesson: Getting Hispanics out of the US by 'sending them back where they came from' doesn't work without either getting rid of large chunks of the US or sending people to Europe. This is because the Hispanics were there before the US, and their ancestors were no more native to the Americas than the English, French or Dutch.

Anonymous said...

Bronze, seriously. You seem to excuse everything EXCEPT race.

Or rather, to formulate it better, anything except Race is accepted. You do not find that strange? That you seem to IGNORE the fact that entire nations are almost 100% one race and wonderful, whiles another is 100% negro is horrible... YOU seem to have decided thats its everything EXCEPT the race.

Fine, lets go with you then, its not race. So tell me Bronze, WHY are the WHITE Scandinavians so good of compared to their negro brothers? Race has nothing to do with it, as you claim, so WHY are they so well off¿ And why are the White areas in America so well off whiles spic and negro ghettos Bad? Race has NOTHING t odo with it, remember? So whats this weird causation dear sir?

Bronze Dog said...

Gabe, once again failing to understand what my position is and why I stick to it:

Bronze, seriously. You seem to excuse everything EXCEPT race.

Or rather, to formulate it better, anything except Race is accepted. You do not find that strange?


Kind of like how I accept hot reading, cold reading, stage magic, mentalism, confirmation bias, the law of large numbers, and so on and so forth, but reject psychic powers that work "just because."

All those social, political, economic factors are mundane, explainable forces that can be seen at work. In addition to those known causes, I don't accept your race hypothesis because it goes against known biological science (how the hell can you dilute something genetic?) and its alleged effects shrink when other factors are reduced.

That you seem to IGNORE the fact that entire nations are almost 100% one race and wonderful, whiles another is 100% negro is horrible... YOU seem to have decided thats its everything EXCEPT the race.

You still don't understand, do you? Really sad that my failure to commit the same logical fallacy you do is brandied about as something bad.

I suppose next you're going to say that global warming is caused by the lack of pirates because it's correlated with their decline. Or that ice cream sales cause crime because they both increase at the same time (in summer).

Fine, lets go with you then, its not race. So tell me Bronze, WHY are the WHITE Scandinavians so good of compared to their negro brothers?

Argument from lack of imagination and shifting the burden of proof are also fallacies. But I suppose I shouldn't expect much from someone who thinks American Idol is a model of epistemology.

Text 555-6789 if you think the sky is chartreuse.

Here's the thing Gabe: I'm the guy saying your photo of a fuzzy dot in the sky is unlikely to be an alien spacecraft. I don't need to investigate which of the multiple known, mundane causes of lights in the sky, camera artifacts, etcetera.

Pointing your finger at the bad photo and waggling your eyebrows and how I can't explain it doesn't make you right. This is something everyone is supposed to know.

Of course, we're all familiar with the scent of a woo's desperation. Your arguments are built on the same flawed structure as any newage (rhymes with sewage) retro hippie.

I may not know the exact socioeconomic causes of African poverty, but I don't even need to have any idea at all: I'm the skeptic, you're the advocate. You're the one trying to prove it's race, and you're armed only with logical fallacies.

Bronze Dog said...

I'm reminded of another argument:

"Because I, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, cannot think of a non-magical way Houdini could escape from that sealed trunk, I know by process of elimination that he de-materialized and re-materialized."

That's what happens when an argument from ignorance/lack of imagination get stuck in an otherwise intelligent person's brain. It involves the arrogant assumption that you know all the possibilities and probabilities in advance.

James K said...

Jacqueline:
There most definately IS more than enough energy for our civilizations' uses coming from the sun. The problem is building enough orbital, or planet based, solar power stations to harness that energy.

But that's the thing, a resource is only a resource if you have the means to collect and use it at a reasonable price (I can define reasonable robustly, but not in a blog comment). At some point we will harness the Sun and become a Type 2 civilisation, but as the price of energy falls, output will rise until we start running into constraints again, and then we're back to scarcity.

Gabriel:
For example, the hatred for Hitler and his book, which they NEVER READ is strange, insulting him not being able to look at history objectively, shows the similarities your people share with creationists and other loons.

By his own lights Hitler was a dismal failure, he died a coward's death in a bunker because he didn't have the courage to face the Russians without there being an army between him and them.

His hubris and defective vision meant that not even the efficiency and innovation of the excellent German army were able to help him. He tried to fight everyone at once, tried for symbolic victories over substantial ones and wasted countless German lives (presumably there are people whose lives you actually care about) well after the point where defeat was certain.

Leaving aside his rhetorical ability, the man was a failure at everything he did. If he's the best your philosophy can produce, no wonder we all think you suck.

Jacqueline said...

Gerbriel squeeked:
"Bronze, seriously. You seem to excuse everything EXCEPT race."


You exclude everything except race, and whats more you scream RACE in the face of mountains of evidence against your baseless prejudice. Not only that, Garbriel, your racially skewed perceptions are wrong about other races, for instance:

MarkCC said...
"Hey, Gabe, you got all of your guesses wrong.

I met my wife in the US, but she's not American. She was born in Canada. Her parents got there by getting into graduate school for being so damned smart. Her father was a professor of Chemistry at Concordia when she was born. They moved back to Taiwan as a result of some obnoxious Quebequois laws. (In Quebec at the time, you could only send your children to a french-language school unless *you* attended a non-french school in Quebec. Since they didn't speak French, they didn't want their daughter to go to a French-laguage school. So they moved to Taiwan, where she stayed until she graduated from college.

Then she got into a Canadian university for a PhD program. Her advisor became pregnant, and was planning on taking several years off - so she changed schools, and wound up at the same grad school as me. We met prepping the the PhD preliminary exams.

Have you ever heard of IBM Research? You know, the best corporate research lab in the world today? Yeah, that's where she works, as a professional
researcher.

I've long since lost count of her professional publications. Which are peer reviewed, like any other scientific publication. And most are *blind* reviewed - meaning the reviewers know nothing about the authors. The reviewers don't know the names of the authors; they don't know where they work. Somehow, she's managed to get somewhere around 50 peer reviewed publications on natural language processing.

Have you heard about these projects that they do at IBM, called "deep blue"? Like where they built an IBM computer and software that beat Gary Kasparov at chess? My wife is one of the technical leads in the current deep blue project. IBM isn't passing out jobs on that project; they've got rather a lot staked on it's success. She's one of the people that they chose to work on it.

But you know better, right? Because you know *one* thing about her: that she's chinese. And therefore, you know all that you *need* to know to conclude that she couldn't possibly be smarter than a big white man like you."



So your big racial super kwisatz haderach ubermenschitty is just imaginary. You have to appeal to ALL white folks being superhuman because that lets you think that you aren't some sad little Nazi missionary that can't understand what Richard Dawkins writes about.
You are really pathetic gerbil boy.
Go back to your hole and curl up beside your memoirs of a Nazi loser.


JS:)

Jacqueline said...

James K said:
"But that's the thing, a resource is only a resource if you have the means to collect and use it at a reasonable price (I can define reasonable robustly, but not in a blog comment). At some point we will harness the Sun and become a Type 2 civilisation, but as the price of energy falls, output will rise until we start running into constraints again, and then we're back to scarcity."

I don't believe in a post scarcity economy. There will always be things that are beyond the resources of a civiliztion to manufacture, even with huge amounts of energy at their disposal.
The point I'm making is that there is plenty of energy around in the universe. You just have to be clever enough technologically to harness it.
Woo merchants want magical power supplies that "change the laws o' physics" rather than learning about tokamaks, or OTECs, or solar powered electrolysis of water to provide hydrogen burning as a source of energy.

JS:)

James K said...

Jacqueline:
I don't believe in a post scarcity economy. There will always be things that are beyond the resources of a civiliztion to manufacture, even with huge amounts of energy at their disposal.
The point I'm making is that there is plenty of energy around in the universe. You just have to be clever enough technologically to harness it.


In that case, I don't think we actually disagree. There may be a lot of energy around, but it will always cost something to acquire, and that make sit scare in the economists' sense.

And I also agree that post-scarcity economic is a subject for fiction and we should be looking for real power generation alternatives, like some of the ones you outlined.