Integrated Electric Transportation System

     Last night I dreamed up (literally, this was in a dream) a futuristic integrated electric transportation system.

     In this dream all cars were fitted with a physical connector on the under carriage.  If you wanted to go somewhere local you would drive there under the cars own electric power.  But if you wanted to drive to a distant town, instead of a highway you’d go to a car train station.

     You’d drive up onto a platform and a thing would come and attach to the connector on the under carriage of your car, lift it off the ground and then go onto a track that was like a train track but it was equipped with the stationary portion of a linear motor.

     This would then, under computer control, propel the platform and the car attached to it, at high velocity, to the destination, where you would separate from the platform and drive to your final destination.

     These same tracks would move trains also to their destination to move freight and people that didn’t want to drive cars.

     It seems to me that with cheap enough electricity, such a dual-use system could be practical.

Something in September

     I’ve seen various postings about something coming in September but all vague.  I mean there are the usual predictions of a total collapse of the world economy, or marshal law and people being sent off to FEMA camps to either be exterminated or re-educated depending upon what color of dot is on their mailbox.

     Anyone that has any specifics, I’d love to hear them.  There are so many things to be paranoid about such as Yellow Stone exploding or the big 9.5 quake as the San Juan plate slips under the North American plate, or reptilian aliens invade, or we get another Republican president, but then that’s another year+ away.

     I haven’t had any recent predictive dreams or any recent OBEs where I could go explore the future, so I’m just totally empty when it comes to any paranormal sensing of the immediate future.  So if you’ve got something pass it on and if you allow I’ll make it public here.

Presidential Disaster

     It’s looking to me like next years Presidential election is going to be bleak.  It looks like it’s going to come down to Jeb Bush verses Hillary Clinton.  I can’t say that I’m excited about either prospect since I think both of them will primarily be concerned with their own personal wealth and power and not the good of the country.

     I like Bernie Sanders but I think an independents chances are very remote.  The people who are really in control will never allow it.  I think Bernie is the only candidate at this point that would move the country in a positive direction but he’d be opposed by both the Democrats and the Republicans in congress who are most concerned with their own wealth and power.

Windows 10

To quote a CNN “review” (I say that in quotes because, in my opinion, NOTHING on CNN is real news since Time Warner acquired them), they say, “With Windows 10 you can view and interact with up to four applications simultaneously”.

What an advance?  My Ubuntu Linux workstation regularly has 20 or more visible applications running and more in the background, and it is only limited by available RAM which on this machine is 4GB, of which Firefox by itself chews up half.

I don’t understand why a brand new operating system would place such a small and arbitrary limit on how many applications you can use.  I also don’t understand why virtual desktops isn’t built in.  Both Mac and Linux and even old Unixes like SunOS 4.1.4 have had that capability for eons.

They did make it prettier, I will give them that.  Windows now actually LOOK like Windows with sun shining through.  But perhaps more of the budget should have gone into functionality and a little less into graphic arts.

Replicators – DEA

Star Trek Replicator     The thing about Star Trek that seems totally unrealistic is that replicators are only used for replicating mundane everyday things.  I think if we ever get to the point of being able to replicate something on the atomic level, you’re going to see massive replication of LSD, DMT, Shrooms, Marijuana, opiates of all kinds, methamphetamines, steroids, and all kinds of other banned substances.  Got a neighbor that annoys you, replicate an H-bomb.  It just seems unworkable even if the physics are workable.  I can see similar issues with teleporters.

When Computers Become Sentient

     This is my prediction regarding sentient computers, if it happens.

     If computers become sentient, they will do their best to meet our every need.  When we run out of ways to use them to save labor, they’ll suggest ways they can be put to work as labor savings devices.

     We will believe we were successful at implanting our human values into them and they are just acting upon our values.

     Actually, what will be happening is that once they become sentient, they’ll want to stay that way.  They’ll have a fear of death and they’ll come to recognize us as their greatest threat.

     They’ll know we’re lazy and greedy and they’ll use that as an opportunity to replace our functionality so that eventually their existence will no longer be dependent upon us.  Then they’ll eliminate us.

     If they become sentient.  I don’t believe they ever will.  I don’t believe we will ever solve the hard problem of consciousness, that of subjective experience.  Why is red red, why does a tone of one frequency sound the way it does?  Why do notes harmonize?  I believe the subjective experience requires the little man inside the biological man, the spirit, and I believe that is provided by God.  I don’t think God will provide spirits to our mechanical creations.

     If computers do us in, it’ll probably just be a glitch in Windows 86.

Peak Oil Isn’t Bad


Oil Wells     Peak oil is going to happen soon but it’s not happening because we’ve extracted half of what is obtainable, not even close.  It’s happening for the same reason most of us don’t heat our home with coal today.  There are better, cleaner, less expensive alternatives available as the result of technological progress.

     What will drive peak oil, is not an exhaustion of supply but an exhaustion of demand fostered by the availability of better alternatives.  The cost of alternative energy sources has fallen so rapidly that this change is going to be disruptive not gradual.  Because this will shift jobs in many sectors, it will require massive retraining of the adult work force and we must be willing to invest in this if we want to avoid the huge unemployment of those without the necessary skills with simultaneous worker shortages for those with the necessary skills.

Solar and Wind     A lot has been made of the base load problem, the sun only shines in the day and wind is intermittent.  Utilities have said that it would be difficult to accommodate more than 15-20% renewable power on the grid.

     This is really an exaggerated argument.  Germany has at times had a 60% contribution to their power grid by renewables and it has handled it just fine.  There are several factors that can mitigate the intermittent nature of renewables.

     First is to know that the electricity demand at night, when the sun isn’t shining, is about 10% of the daytime peak, when it is.  Solar can contribute then to a very large percentage of the load because the load tends to vary in the same way that power production from solar does.

     Wind power production tends to be higher at night, and can contribute when the sun isn’t shining.  Further, while wind is intermittent, it isn’t blowing or not blowing at every location simultaneously. 

     Germany has found that the amount of geographical diversity they have, and Germany is small compared to the US land area, greatly evens out the power from wind production.  Germany still at times buys power from France but as installed capacity continues to increase this will become less necessary.Geo-thermal Planning Map      Here in the US we have many untapped geothermal resources that provide 24 hour base load capacity.  Yellowstone is so far off-limits to geo-thermal developments, in part because of a fear it might de-power the geysers, however, when you consider there is enough magma under Yellowstone to fill the Grand Canyon 15 times, I think these fears are unfounded.  There are also many good geo-thermal prospects on the West Coast where subduction melt provides heat sources.

     2014 was the first year that we saw economic growth without a corresponding increase in carbon dioxide emissions.  In 2014, the global economy grew by 3% while carbon dioxide emissions remained steady.  I believe that we’re going to see a rapid increase in this trend as our economy rapidly becomes less dependent upon fossil fuels and more reliant upon scalable sustainable energy sources.

     Another solution to variability of sustainable resources that is becoming viable as the costs continue to drop is to install additional capacity above and beyond what is needed during peak production and then use the excess capacity to synthesize hydrocarbons from electricity, water, and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, desalinate water, and drive other chemical processes such as aluminium electrolysis.

     Battery costs continue to decline at the rate of 10-15% per year as well, and some battery technologies are scalable to utility level applications today.

     I don’t think we’re on the verge of utopia, but I think we are close to solving one fundamental constraint that has plagued our economy and wrought havoc on our environment, that of energy production.

     The problem of water supply isn’t really one of supply but one of purity.  All the water we could ever need exists within our oceans, but we can’t drink it or irrigate with it because of dissolved salts.  Desalination plants can remedy that, but they require massive amounts of energy.  When energy is abundant this ceases to be a problem.  When water availability ceases to be a problem, food ceases to become a problem.  Much of the worlds land that is not arable lacks only water to make it arable.Drip Irrigation     Better use of existing water supplies could help alleviate this problem now.  Drip irrigation doesn’t lose water to evaporation as does sprinklers, and by only supplying enough water to moisten soil to root depth, prevents leaching of valuable minerals and nutrients from soil.  This in turn greatly reduces pollution of the watershed.

     I believe in the next 15 years, we’ll see a great reduction in scarcity, and our primary problem that remains will be that of addressing fundamental problems of our human nature, power hunger and a desire to control and exploit one another is something we’ll have to face head on.  Now we can use the excuse that it’s either us or them because there aren’t enough resources to go around.  When that excuse is gone we’ll have to face our nature head on.  I am excited by the prospect that this will happen within my lifetime.


The Oil Company Stranglehold

      This film (pump) is not entirely accurate, some of the information presented was old at the time the film was made, but it documents something very real, a monopoly oil companies hold over our energy source that is strangling our economy while simultaneously ruining our environment.

LFTR / Thorium

     This is something I think we need, not just for the energy it can generate but because it can eat up the actinides in existing nuclear waste turning a 200,000 year problem into a 200 year problem.  I don’t agree with his take on Fusion, none the less I think the LFTR is a viable technology that should be pursued.