Friday, October 10, 2014

last night my son shifted his focus from chemical and petroleum engineering to physical chemistry and nuclear engineering...,


centauri-dreams |  Whenever we’re audacious enough to categorize far future civilizations, we turn to the work of Nikolai Kardashev. Nick Nielsen today looks at the well known Kardashev scale in the light of a curious fact: While many use Kardashev’s rankings in their own speculations, few have gone back and dug into his original paper. In Kardashev’s terms, our planet is close to attaining Type I status, which would surprise many commentators. And doesn’t the ambiguity over what constitutes the energy of a star — red dwarf? red giant? — play havoc with cut and dried ‘type’ definitions? How subsequent writers have adapted and modified the Kardashev scale makes for a cautionary tale about mastering our sources before using them for further extrapolation. For that matter, are there better gauges of a civilization than its use of particular energy resources? Answering the question deepens the debate that Kardashev so fruitfully began.

12 comments:

Vic78 said...

Looks like that Hail Mary pass isn't too far off.

John Kurman said...

So I was thinking about this last night. Not this, but some kind of rescue. Let's say, five years from now, we got Star Trek style fusion power. Meaning, right now, someone comes up with the critical piece, a dilithium crystal or some such, that just super concentrates the plasma so that you get hundreds of gigawatts (maybe terawatts) out of a UW style fusion reactor for the cost of a current megawatt-size coal plant (Some $1.2-2 billion dollars). Clearly, like Star Trek, the end of famine, disease, poverty, want, etc. So... I still think we end up with a problem. Maybe things look rosy for a while, but we still have the Anthropocene Extinction in full swing. Maybe it just means that WWIII takes place in the 22nd century, and the best we can hope for in the 21st is to adequately prepare the dispositions of the grounds of this future battlefield.

CNu said...

nah mayne, mining the asteroid belt to feed our now insatiable quest for more energy, cause permanent colonies on the moon, mars, in high orbit, and on the habitable moons of saturn and jupiter, will drive the next great species dispersion. we're as keen on dispersion as we are on bloodletting, perhaps even more so.


what with graphene and other nanoengineered materials ramping up to manufacture on scale, printing manufactured goods, including the new skintight spacesuits, cable elevators to high orbit and the power to continuously run them - kardashev 1.5 here we come.

John Kurman said...

I could be too negative on this. Maybe there are habitat rings of green and gold in the 22nd century, circling the Sun. Maybe then we are all weakly godlike beings, trillions of us, with riches of the Solar system at our fingertips. In which case, what?

BigDonOne said...

BD told you The_Truth would be suppressed---> http://www.infowars.com/former-border-patrol-agent-cdc-disappearing-potential-ebola-victims/

Vic78 said...

Descendents, some of us here now will be around for a minute. I figure anyone born after 1970 lucked out.

CNu said...

Life extension will absolutely not be made widely or publicly available. Not only that, I don't believe it can be exclusively instrumentally achieved, rather, I believe that living to 300 will take an enormous amount of self-discipline and self-control, of the type exceedingly rarely exhibited by these humans. Everybody born up till around 2020 will have normal or abbreviated lifespans due to disease and radiation poisoning. Frankly, I still firmly believe that billions are due to die from war, pestilence, starvation, collapse and hardship.

That said, with the Moore's Law exponential progress being made in the life sciences, it will become possible for some fabulously wealthy, talented, or capable folk to ensure that some of their descendents have certain engineered and performance-enhanced longevity and behavioral advantages within our lifetimes.

John Kurman said...

Unless, of course, it IS the 22nd century and we are just Internet ghosts, just a few hundred billion entangled states on some bright little spindle of Bose Einstein condensate, stored out in the Kuiper Belt ready for transport to Alpha C... That's the problem/explanation with being a ghost... you think you are still alive.

John Kurman said...

It's amazing how death is the result of such mundane and prosaically stupid accidents. Simply looking both ways at intersections adds a decade to your life. Even if you had techniques extending life to a millennium, most people wouldn't make it past a hundred and fifty.

John Kurman said...

Back to pessimism. Today I struggled with 7000 year old technology which, had I not doggedly and stupidly brute forced my way through would have stymied my entire project. And this was just a small energy throughput using natural gas. Think about Elon Musk's rocket engines: devishly complicated and still have operational lives of tens of minutes before they fail. Bump it up to the energy throughput of fusion, and your component failures - if you think about it too long - will make you cry.

BigDonOne said...

If all the monies squandered supporting Ebtswiping useless breathers instead had been properly directed,....

CNu said...

lol, all the money in the world wouldn't have made a lick of difference to the adepts who have known and safeguarded this secret. Doesn't it humble you in the least little bit to realize the abject helplessness and inexcusable stupidity of the institutions and ideals you tirelessly huff and puff about? What you cheer lead for fell backwards through a door not intended for it, and with what it found there, came within a hairs breadth of wiping out everything. The amount of suffering and destruction from your inartful exploitation of atomic energy is unspeakable.

If this is what I think it is, then your species is teetering on the precipice of oblivion and is being thrown a safety line. If this is what I think it is, then you will be given a chance to redeem yourselves. If this is what I think it is, you will NOT be allowed to misuse it and your complete self-destruction will be permitted. Those exercising stewardship over you will not "give" you the means of taking another step up the ladder of cosmic responsibility without demonstrating your capacity to discharge your responsibilities thereon.

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