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  1. #51
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Not only that, manual labor is becoming progressively closer to being obsolete by the day. The current version of capitalism cannot survive in a world where manual labor is not necessary because most people would have no source of income. The implications of this are enormous and it's something that we're just now starting to experience with this slow economic recovery. Many of the jobs that have been lost this past decade will never come back (regardless of who is elected, including Ron Paul), not just because some have been shipped to China/India/etc, but because of technological advances. They're simply no longer necessary.
    Agree completely. It's why conservatism went off the rails when it shifted to a completely supply-side economic perspective. That leads to a perception of economic troubles as being nothing more than excessive costs, without realizing that excessive cost reduction has its own deleterious effect on the system as a whole.

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    I do agree that finite resources pose a problem and our growth centered economic model poses problems.

    But before we can deal with that issue, we have to pull ourselves out of this mess.

    We wont be able to do anything about it if we are perpetually worried about another crash.
    Part of the problem is that we cannot pull ourselves out of this mess if we don't have enough to do so. Like it or not, there is less total petroleum in the ground today than there was yesterday, and that means the global aggregate quality of life is diminished as a result. However, what a correction in wealth disparity does is make it so the global average quality of life can increase for a while, so that we have greater human resources going toward the development of the solution to this great hurdle.

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    That leads to a perception of economic troubles as being nothing more than excessive costs, without realizing that excessive cost reduction has its own deleterious effect on the system as a whole.
    That's the crux of the problem right there.

    We gave an inch and the corporations took a mile.

    What the recession has shown us, is the need for proper regulation of the Finance industry, not a failure thereof.

    Part of the problem is that we cannot pull ourselves out of this mess if we don't have enough to do so. Like it or not, there is less total petroleum in the ground today than there was yesterday, and that means the global aggregate quality of life is diminished as a result. However, what a correction in wealth disparity does is make it so the global average quality of life can increase for a while, so that we have greater human resources going toward the development of the solution to this great hurdle.
    GAO: Recoverable Oil in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming 'About Equal to Entire World’s Proven Oil Reserves'

    (CNSNews.com) - The Green River Formation, a largely vacant area of mostly federal land that covers the territory where Colorado, Utah and Wyoming come together, contains about as much recoverable oil as all the rest the world’s proven reserves combined, an auditor from the Government Accountability Office told Congress on Thursday.

    The GAO testimony said that the federal government was in “a unique position to influence the development of oil shale” because the Green River deposits were mostly beneath federal land.

    It also noted that developing the oil would have an environmental impact and pose “socioeconomic challenges,” that included bringing “a sizable influx of workers who along with their families put additional stress on local infrastructure” and “making planning for growth difficult for local governments.”

    “The Green River Formation--an assemblage of over 1,000 feet of sedimentary rocks that lie beneath parts of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming--contains the world's largest deposits of oil shale,”Anu K. Mittal, the GAO’s director of natural resources and environment said in written testimony submitted to the House Science Subcommittee on Energy and Environment.

    “USGS estimates that the Green River Formation contains about 3 trillion barrels of oil, and about half of this may be recoverable, depending on available technology and economic conditions,” Mittal testified.

    “The Rand Corporation, a nonprofit research organization, estimates that 30 to 60 percent of the oil shale in the Green River Formation can be recovered,” Mittal told the subcommittee. “At the midpoint of this estimate, almost half of the 3 trillion barrels of oil would be recoverable. This is an amount about equal to the entire world's proven oil reserves.”

    In her oral statement before the subcommittee, Mittal said that developing the shale oil would create wealth and jobs for the country, but also challenges for government.

    “Being able to tap this vast amount of oil locked within this formation will go a long way to help to meet our future demands for oil. The U.S. Geological Survey, as you noted, estimates that the formation contains about 3 trillion barrels of oil of which half may be recoverable,” she said.

    “As you can imagine having the technology to develop this vast energy resource will lead to a number of important socioeconomic benefits including the creation of jobs, increases in wealth and increases in tax and royalty payments for federal and state governments,” she said.

    “While large-scale oil-shale development offers socioeconomic opportunities it also poses certain socioeconomic challenges that also should not be overlooked,” she testified. “Oil shale development like other extractive industries can bring a sizable influx of workers who along with their families put additional stressed on local infrastructure. Development from expansion of extractive industries has historically followed a boom-and-bust cycle making planning for growth difficult for local governments.”

    In her written testimony, Mittal noted that three-fourths of the Green River shale oil is under federal land.

    “The federal government is in a unique position to influence the development of oil shale because nearly three-quarters of the oil shale within the Green River Formation lies beneath federal lands managed by the Department of the Interior’s (Interior) Bureau of Land Management (BLM),” she testified.

    The GAO also cited potential environmental impacts from producing oil from the Green River shale that included the need to draw large amounts of water, possible harm to water quality, and temporary degradation of air quality and the clearing of large amounts of vegetation.

    "Developing oil shale and providing power for oil shale operations and other activities will require large amounts of water and could have significant impacts on the quality and quantity of surface and groundwater resources," Mittal said in her written testimony. "In addition, construction and mining activities during development can temporarily degrade air quality in local areas. There can also be long-term regional increases in air pollutants from oil shale processing and the generation of additional electricity to power oil shale development operations. Oil shale operations will also require the clearing of large surface areas of topsoil and vegetation which can affect wildlife habitat, and the withdrawal of large quantities of surface water which could also negatively impact aquatic life."

  3. #53
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    ^^^ That may be, but the issue is that the extraction of hydrocarbons from such a formation is practically energy-neutral. In other words, you may burn more to get it out than you get from it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    ^^^ That may be, but the issue is that the extraction of hydrocarbons from such a formation is practically energy-neutral. In other words, you may burn more to get it out than you get from it.
    As we invest in efficiency in the 21st century, the balance of that equation will change.

  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    I know what energy neutral means.

    As we invest in efficiency in the 21st century, the balance of that equation will change.
    This is another issue with the American mindset. We're an optimistic people by nature, but sometimes, we blur the line between optimism and magical thinking. We can't create policy based on the idea that out of the blue, some technology will come along that solves all our problems, or else we risk being caught with our pants down.

    Personally, I think fusion energy is a lot closer than most of us realize (there are some very interesting Navy experiments going on right now). However, the nature of science is that the universe will do as it does, no matter how much we might wish it to be otherwise. If alternative energy continues to pose problems, then we need to look at the means of providing the brainpower to solve those problems. One of the key ways of doing that is providing the means for Americans to get a quality education without having to worry about debt loads for the future scientists who will create the theory, the future engineers who will design the means, the future technicians who will run the devices, and even the future janitors who will make sure that the waste from the devices does not kill us all. All of this goes back to the wealth disparity question.

  6. #56
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    This is another issue with the American mindset. We're an optimistic people by nature, but sometimes, we blur the line between optimism and magical thinking. We can't create policy based on the idea that out of the blue, some technology will come along that solves all our problems, or else we risk being caught with our pants down.

    Personally, I think fusion energy is a lot closer than most of us realize (there are some very interesting Navy experiments going on right now). However, the nature of science is that the universe will do as it does, no matter how much we might wish it to be otherwise. If alternative energy continues to pose problems, then we need to look at the means of providing the brainpower to solve those problems. One of the key ways of doing that is providing the means for Americans to get a quality education without having to worry about debt loads for the future scientists who will create the theory, the future engineers who will design the means, the future technicians who will run the devices, and even the future janitors who will make sure that the waste from the devices does not kill us all. All of this goes back to the wealth disparity question.
    First, it's my opinion that realizing greater efficiency in existing technologies, is generally more achievable in the short term than is banking on breakthroughs in emerging technologies. That being said, I also hold hope for fusion within the next say... 50 years. I'm not aware of the navy stuff you're talking about here, but I try to drop in on what the Tokamak reactors are doing from time to time.

    Secondly, I totally agree with you on education.

    This is one of the things I was hoping to do with the money saved by greatly reducing our military base footprint globally, and more generally allowing for more multilateral military solutions to answer problems abroad.

    EDIT - Also a shitload more nuclear power.

  7. #57
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    As we invest in efficiency in the 21st century, the balance of that equation will change.
    I don't think we'll bother digging up that oil. By 2020 (given current trends), the cost per kWh of electricity generated by solar cells will be less than that of coal. Unfortunately for us, nations like Germany and China lead the way in that industry, while we're still arguing about whether or not to dig up fuel for use by 19th century technology.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    I don't think we'll bother digging up that oil. By 2020 (given current trends), the cost per kWh of electricity generated by solar cells will be less than coal.
    I don't think solar has the potential to ever become a baseload power provider.

    That kind of green energy should certainly play a part, but things like hydroelectric and nuclear will have to account for the rest of grid energy.

    With transportation we need to aggressively pursue efficiency in existing petroleum engines, and work to find a scalable (in terms of making it fit in a car, not growing from nascent experimental stages into larger versions) green power source to replace petrol.

  9. #59
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    I don't think we'll bother digging up that oil. By 2020 (given current trends), the cost per kWh of electricity generated by solar cells will be less than that of coal. Unfortunately for us, nations like Germany and China lead the way in that industry, while we're still arguing about whether or not to dig up fuel for use by 19th century technology.
    Just realized that this may be a component of what has been going on in North Africa. The Sahara is very large, very empty, and very sunny.

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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    Just realized that this may be a component of what has been going on in North Africa. The Sahara is very large, very empty, and very sunny.
    That is certainly a consideration for Africa, but absent a way to efficiently transport that energy from Africa (which I actually think Africa deserves), I don't see it changing the equation here in the States too much.

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