Monday, January 26, 2009

These are the days of miracle and wonder

We're just gonna go and clear out a whole bunch of links, tabs, etc:

1) Carbon nanotubes! Getting better all the time! Maybe, just maybe, could be used to build a space elevator and get me off this rock! (Thanks for the link, Gar)

1.1) My understanding is that even if atomically-perfect carbon nanotubes can be made in bulk quantities, an actual, honest-to-Yahweh space elevator is a dodgy bet. But these kinds of super-strong materials make something more modest, like this, go from "possible but ruinously expensive" to "possible but ridiculously expensive." The upside is that we could build something that would give us, say, 80% of what a space elevator would do -- but it might actually be possible.

2) The Internet leads to world peace, publication of once-despised-leaders in the pages of the New York Times. A shocking breach of America's usual policy of ignoring dissonant voices. (I don't endorse Qaddafi's argument, but find it extraordinary that he's even being published. [Thanks, Liam.])

Seriously, the one-state solution is a non-starter. Asking 5.4 million Israeli Jews to abandon the Zionist project that they've, um, pretty conclusively demonstrated their attachment to, would require (appropriately enough) divine intervention, even if it was an obviously-best solution, and I'm not sure it is.

3) This is just bizarre. No spoilers, except to say that I'm suddenly a lot less worried about the potential of Skynet or the Cylons.

4) Ben Affleck schools Newsweek. Bill Kristol gets smacked by Matt Damon. The world is odd.

5) Jim Lovelock -- the guy nuke-boosters love to tout -- no longer thinks nuclear power is a panacea, and is boosting biochar.

6) I feel like this guy.

7) "Sustainable" may not be possible with 7, 8, or 9 billion people.

8) Man writes book arguing that children should be vaccinated. Man is threatened with death. The world is weird, and sad-making.

9) Tipping points are unpredictable, and may very well be irreversible. Lesson: don't get anywhere near tipping points if you don't know what the end state is.

10) If we'd just think differently, we've got plenty of room to massively build-out wind and solar power. Capsule: use hydroelectricity for spinning reserve, use wind and solar as baseload. Craziness, if you ask utility regulators. Of course, these are the kinds of people who would've sworn the PC would never replace the mainframe...

11) Once we've got enough clean energy, let's start sucking CO2 out of the air. Maybe biochar can't do it all, right?

12) For a must-read, Jay Rosen wrote this a few weeks ago and it's made the rounds, but seriously check it out: why the press can't control the terms of debate like they used to.

1 comment:

M. Simon said...

"I love those "sustainable not possible with 7, 8, or 9 billion people" stories.

Time to open camps and see that everyone gets a nice shower?

Isn't it past time to put an end to eliminationist propaganda? It all started with Lebensraum. Not room enough for everyone. Mao. Stalin. Pol Pot. And that guy from Germany, what's his name.

Why hasn't Polywell Fusion been funded by the Obama administration?

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