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Social architecture and the house of tomorrow

I live in an ancient city, in a medium-old apartment--one that is rapidly approaching its bicentennial. Like any building in continuous occupation for nearly 200 years, form and function have changed: it's been retrofitted with indoor plumbing, gas central heating, electricity, broadband internet. The kitchen has shrunk, a third of it hived off to create a modern (albeit small) bathroom. The coal-burning fireplaces are either blocked or walled over. Three rooms have false ceilings, lowered to reduce heating costs before hollowcore loft insulation was a thing. What I suspect was once the servants' bedroom is now a windowless storeroom. And rooms serve a different function. The dining room is no longer a dining room, it serves as a library (despite switching to ebooks a decade ago I have a big book problem). And so on.

But certain features of a 200 year old apartment remain constant. There are bedrooms. There is a privy (now a flushing toilet). There is a kitchen. There is a living room. And there is a corridor.

This apartment was built around 1820, for the builder of the tenement it's part of: he was a relatively prosperous Regency working man and his family would have included servants as a matter of course in those days. And where one has servants, one perforce has corridors so that they may move about the dwelling out of sight of the owners. But it was not always so.

Rewind another 200 years and look around a surviving great house, such as Holyrood Palace, also in Edinburgh. Holyrood largely dates to the 16th and 17th century, and reflects the norms of that earlier era, and if you tour it one thing is noteworthy by its absence: corridors. The great houses of that period were laid out as a series of rooms of increasing grandeur, each leading to the next. Splendid wide main doors in the centre of each wall provided access for nobility and people of merit: much smaller, unadorned doors near the corners allowed servants to scuttle unobtrusively around the edges of the court. Staircases ascended through grand halls at the centre of such houses (accessible from doors leading to the main function rooms around the periphery): servants' areas such as the kitchen, stores, and pantry might boast their own staircases, and the master apartments of a great house had their own stairs leading to privy or ground floor.

But the corridor in its modern, contemporary sense seems to have started out as a narrowing and humbling of the grand halls and assembly rooms of state, reduced in scope to a mere conduit for the workers who kept things running--before, of course, they later became commonplace.

My apartment is laid out around an odd, V-shaped corridor, with two arms: one leads to the kitchen, bathroom, store rooms, and front door, while the other leads to the dining room and living room. Bedrooms open off at various points: the front door is at the point of the 'V'. (I speculate that the intent was to keep the smells of cooking, smoke, and privy as far away as possible from the dining and living areas commonly used by the owner and his wife and children.) By 1820 the corridor had become an unremarkable space around which homeowners were now structuring their lives. The older style of tenement, focussed on a windowless central room off which all other rooms opened, still existed but was becoming rarer.

In the UK, the average dwelling is 75 years old. In other countries, they are considerably younger: in Germany homes depreciate after first sale, while in the US, they typically require extensive structural renovation or rebuilding after 30 years (continental climes are prone to greater environmental extremes). In Japan it's normal to demolish a house and rebuild from scratch on the newly cleared just-purchased ground.

And new homes reflect the needs and values of their owners.

It's unexceptional today to come across an open-plan apartment, because (except for the very rich) we don't typically share our homes with servants, and we have efficient ventillation and climate control. Try to imagine living in an open-plan Victorian flat with a coal-burning kitchen range and fireplace puffing out smuts, a maid and a cook to keep on top of the grime and the food preparation: it doesn't work. Try, also, to imagine a contemporary home without a living room with a TV in the corner. Go back to the 1950s and well-designed homes also had a niche for the telephone--the solitary, wired communications device, typically bolted to the wall in the hallway or at the foot of the stairs, for ease of access from all other rooms.

But today telephones have collapsed into our pocket magic mirrors, and TVs are going in two directions--flattening and expanding to fill entire walls of the living room, and simultaneously shrinking to mate with our phones. A not-uncommon aspect of modern luxury TV design is that they're framed in wood or glass, made to look like a wall-hanging or a painting. The TV is becoming invisible: a visitor from the 1960s or 1970s might look around in bafflement for a while before realizing that the big print in middle of the living room wall is glowing and sometimes changes (when it's in standby, running a screensaver). Meanwhile, microwave ovens and ready meals and fast food have reduced the need for the dining room and even the kitchen: to cook a family dinner and serve it in a formal dining room is an ostentatious display of temporal wealth, a signal that one has the leisure time (and the appliances, and the storage for ingredients) to practice and perfect the skills required. The middle classes still employ cooks: but we outsource them to timeshare facilities called restaurants. Similarly, without the daily battle to keep soot and dirt at bay, and equipped with tools like vacuum cleaners and detergents, the job of the housemaid has been shrunk to something that can be outsourced to a cleaning service or a couple of hours a day for the householder. So no more cramped servants' bedrooms.

The very wealthy ostentatiously ape the behaviour of the even richer, who in turn continue the traditions they inherited from their ancestors: traditions rooted in the availability of cheap labour and the non-existence of labour-saving devices. Butlers, cooks, and live-in housemaids signal that one can afford the wage bill and the accommodations of the staff. But for those who can't quite afford the servants, the watchword seems to be social insulation--like the dining room at the opposite end of the corridor from the kitchen.

The millionaire's home cinema, in an auditorium of its own, is the middle class TV in the living room, bloated into an experience that insulates its owner from the necessity of rubbing shoulders with members of the public in the cinema. Likewise, the bedroom with en-suite bathroom insulates the occupants from the need to traipse down a corridor through their dwelling and possibly queue at the bathroom door in the middle of the night.

Types of domestic space come and go and sometimes change social and practical function.

The coal cellar is effectively dead in this era of decarbonization and clean energy, as is the chimney stack. Servants' quarters are a fading memory to all but the 0.1% who focus on imitating the status-signaling behavior of royalty, although they may be repurposed as self-contained apartments for peripheral residents, granny flats or teenager basements. The dining room and the chef's kitchen are becoming leisure pursuits--although, as humans are very attached to their eating habits, they may take far longer to fade or mutate than the telephone nook in the hallway or the out-house at the end of the back yard.

Likewise, outdoor climate change and indoor climate control are changing our relationship with the window. Windows used to be as large as possible, because daylight lighting was vastly superior to candlelight or oil-lamp. But windows as generally poor insulators, both of sound and heat, and indoor lighting has become vastly more energy efficient in recent years. Shrinking windows and improving insulation (while relying on designed-in ventilation and climate control) drive improvements in the energy efficiency of dwellings and seem to militate against the glass bay and big sash windows of yesteryear.

What's next?

My dining room turned library is both odd (most people don't have thousands of books) and obsolescent (books need not occupy huge amounts of physical shelf space these days). But other emergent habits require considerable space. Consider virtual reality games. A couple of years ago I got to play with a friend's Oculus Rift setup. VR games take up considerably more floor space than the wide-screen PC or console gaming they may eventually replace. (You need room to move about physically without tripping over cables or stumbling into furniture.) Even a high-end gaming PC takes up a lot of space: a custom chair with controllers, a stand supporting two or more wide-screen monitors. Today's TVs and monitors may be flat but they're nevertheless enormous. (Back in 1998, the last tube TV I bought boasted a then-large 24" diagonal screen. Today, the 42" screen in the living room feels subjectively small.)

I don't see some of the basics changing. In the absence of teleport booths we still need staircases, doors, and (in some cases) elevators. We're going to continue to need somewhere to sleep for the foreseeable future, and we're also going to need somewhere to deal with our excrement and personal grooming/hygeine needs, even if we all abandon home bathing tomorrow in favour of a surprise renaissance of Roman-era communal baths. I don't see clothing becoming much more disposable than it already is (I'm wearing a £6 tee shirt, thank you, but there's a £250 coat hanging by the door, that's in no way disposable, and I'm no fashionista), so we're still going to need wardrobes, albeit some of us more than others. Parking garages are still useful even if you don't own a car--for storage, for home freezers, for washer/dryers--although stand-alone ones in this part of town are increasingly being repurposed as the ground floor of small houses, and it's possible that the era of mass public automobile ownership will come to an end within my lifetime.

Anyway, this is a brain dump of some thoughts leading up to this question: what is the home of 2119 going to look like? (Assuming no collapse of technological civilization, and an orderly--and complete by 2119--migration to renewable energy sources. Also assume availability of synthetic fuels for air/space/sea travel, reasonable improvements in electrochemical batteries, and wholesale infrastructure improvements at least as extensive as post-WW2 reconstruction in Germany and Japan. And, come to think of it, a population plateau and demographic transition to gradual managed shrinkage and aging: let's peg global population in 2119 at stabilizing at the same level as it is today, without extensive genocide.)

Bear in mind that it's probably newly built since 2019. 80% of humanity lives within 200km of the sea; ocean levels are rising and extreme weather events are getting worse, so our cities will over time recede inland from the current coastline. An ageing, shrinking population is midly deflationary and means a likely surplus of housing after peak humanity: but also accommodations for frail/elderly people.

Today's millennials will have mostly passed away, the aged in this era will be the generation born after 2019. They'll have grown up with ubiquitous social media and broadband communications, with VR and AR as a given. They may relate to private automobiles the way we relate to butlers and maidservants, while finding something else we can't imagine entirely mundane. I suspect there'll be more communal living (but I could be wrong). Transport is going to be very different--if nothing else, there's no call for burning dead dinosaurs to set a couple of tons of steel and plastic in motion to move one person, let alone to devote 90% of our urban landscape to providing priority space for automobiles. This, in combination with climate change, suggests to me the end of American-style suburban sprawl and a trend towards much denser urban habitats. Logistics are also going to be ... interesting: neither Amazon's delivery drones nor Musk's hyperloop are really practical solutions in cities, while stuff like micromobility platforms (scooters, ebikes, segways, autonomous robot parcel carts) mesh with trams (streetcars), trolleybuses, and autonomous minicabs and vans.

The bedroom, wardrobe, bathroom, and some type of food storage/preparation area, aren't going away. Other spaces will also be around, and social/spatial insulation will be in demand. At the high end, the elite (whoever they are) will try to ape the living arrangements of previous century's elites, as a status signal if nothing else.

What else is conceivable? What am I missing that should be as obvious as the multimodal shipping container in 1950, or photovoltaic panels on house rooftops in 1990?

1195 Comments

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1:

Interesting questions. I'll just comment that when I was buying a new hifi earlier this month, the firm I bought it from took me round their new showroom, which included a home cinema room that they can equip for £10,000. So you don't need to be a millionaire to own one, although of course you do need the room to equip in the first place. Perhaps this will be a use for what is currently garage space (ditto VR gaming spaces, etc.).

2:

The most obvious thing you didn't even mention is 'smarthome' functionality. A house that can open and close blinds to make itself more thermally efficient. Wall controls for lights may well just go away completely. Power outlets will remain but many may be a dedicated DC outlet that looks like todays USB-C connector. 100 years isn't _that_ long for things like building codes to adapt though - I don't think we'll get to Sterling's "smart-paper adaptible human wasp nests" (from _Heavy Weather_) in that short a span, if ever.

3:

Something akin to Google Glass and augmented reality replacing entertainment screens entirely. If you get the right apartment, the soap opera could play out on your sofa, with the goggles adjusting the character positions to the shape of your room.

4:

I should just like to note that adding a bedroom to a tenement flat in Edinburgh (as in, the price in going from a 2 bedroom flat to a 3 bedroom one, you can't physically add a room!) is roughly £50,000. And I bet the home cinema you were shown didn't include the cost of installing proper acoustic insulation.

Similarly: a 1-car garage in Edinburgh typically costs £40,000-50,000. (You can buy one, drop an extra £100,000 on planning permission and building a small house on top of it, and turf it for £150-200,000.) So it's on-street parking for almost everyone—one poshville side-street up the hill from me regularly has a Bentley, a Porsche Panamera, a couple of Tesla Model S's and Range Rovers, and an Audi R8 lined up on the kerb because the owners live there and nobody can afford a garage within easy walking distance!

5:

Today's smarthome appliances are controlled by smartphones with a 2-5 year support life after product launch. Anyone who bought a smart thermostat has probably already been burned by end-of-life termination; I think it'll take a long time for this crap to settle down, much less for them to become routine easily-maintained commodities with standardized parts. (Hint: I'm avoiding them for as long as possible.)

6:

That's due by 2022, not 2019! But it's going to take some fancy footwork for the headset to properly subtract in-room furniture and obstacles … especially moving ones like people and pets.

7:

I've been considering building some smarthome appliances myself (using Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and other assorted stuff) instead of going the commercial route, basically because of that support lifetime being quite short.

However, while this would be a fun project in itself, I think non-smart things just work better in my use. They're more reliable, don't (often) become obsolete, and don't create problematic waste in the eventual break-down.

Also, being in computer security business, I loathe having most 'smart' things in my home. The recent joke that 'S stands for security in IoT' (Internet of Things) is too often true, and I kind of wonder why I would need to have a microphone owned by some multinational listening to everything in my home. (I do have phones, though, but the 'smart' things do more than phone. No, I don't use Siri.)

As for the original question, I think communal living might be a bigger thing in the future. Also, at least from my admittely biased view, family arrangements other than "man, woman, and their children for twenty-ish years" seem to be more common than they used to be, so that might be reflected in the living arrangements, too. (Of course that construction is not that old, either - see above for servants living in the same quarters.)

8:

Actually, the coal shed is NOT going away, nor are pantries - they're just being repurposed! Unless you are the sort of people who outsource EVERYTHING (and that is incredibly expensive to do), the 'labour saving' equipment and supplies for both house and garden take up a large amount of room, often considerably more than the older equivalents.

Yes, I know that the bottom end accommodation doesn't provide such spaces (nor wardrobes nor attics), but that effectively constrains the inhabitant to sacrifice living space for storage, reduce the quality of their lifestyle, or outsource most routine tasks. This is one of the reasons that poorer people often need to spend more than richer ones for a comparable lifestyle. And don't even think about space for hobbies, children's homework, tri/bic-ycles, bulky toys or anything like that, let alone wheelchairs!

So, if one were to be cynical, one would say that we are heading for the former we are heading for the latter approach, but that is actually a race to the bottom. I hope that is not true.

This is not least because we need to change to reusing a lot more, and any viable green transport policy includes something vaguely like bicycles. But how often do modern houses have anywhere reasonable to put the last, even if they aren't lacking in storage?


9:

This is not least because we need to change to reusing a lot more, and any viable green transport policy includes something vaguely like bicycles. But how often do modern houses have anywhere reasonable to put the last, even if they aren't lacking in storage?

At least here in Finland, mostly every home has some storage set aside especially for bikes. The space is not always enough for all the bikes people have, but almost everybody here should be able to count on being able to store at least one bike in a locked (common) storage room in apartments. Single houses usually have a garage or some other space which can be used for that.

Of course some people tend to have more than one bike for different purposes, and then some people like to store their bikes somewhere more safe, like on their balcony or in the living room. But still not having the bike, or outdoor equipment (and stroller), room in the house is not very common here. Even in modern houses.

10:

Having at least one faraday cage room is either highly illegal or socially mandatory for many. If legal, they're also available as readily as booths in a café or restaurant. If illegal, the comms infrastructure is capable of detecting it and snitching.

Finally-adequate 3D printing + recyclable feedstock mean many people are not particularly attached to most physical possessions - but often very attached to the design. This changes how hoarding works for many people.

Bed and sofa designs are highly (re)configurable.

Communal social areas (plural) in tower blocks are mandatory and run/equipped by the residents - they may or may not be known as common rooms.

All of the above have implications for the size of individual living spaces.

Wheelchair accessibility is near-universal, though the size of even a power chair or scooter is mostly dictated by the user's body. Blocking it for any substantial period of time - or when requested to stop doing so - is actually considered obstruction in law and sometimes prosecuted as a crime.

Sound insulation is part of the building code.

VR playspaces are social areas. Nobody gets to play for truly lengthy periods but that's okay because half the games are exhausting anyway. PVP VR fighting games are a flop because it's safer to just trust the person you're fighting than a system that enables throwing and grappling with tactile feedback, but VR training aids are as common as punch bags. What we currently called eSports is conceptually dead: they're just sports and in that role they're mostly decoupled from the characters-and-music-and-... side of games because the design of the mainstream sports has been stable for decades. Many "star" players are disabled.

Streaming games from anywhere except maybe the VR playspace's own kit is dead, killed by sufficiently abundant general-purpose local compute power - and a higher cultural awareness of latency wrt our own bodies. Some retirees complain about how much money they lost on the bubble.

Standardised heatpipes are commonplace, because waste heat should be an oxymoron. The equivalent of today's "no, really, I mean it" workstation PC doesn't have fans.

Not all elevators are for people: "waiter" now primarily means what used to be called a "smartwaiter".

All of the above can be found on some really big boats. Most people don't need the speed of a plane and international rail is something of a damp squib this century.

There was an experiment decades ago in doing without toilets and minimising bathing space by having robots do all your cleaning. People curse JK Rowling for inspiring the former (though anyone still suffering any form of incontinence is happy for the tech), and people who're broke or hyperoptimising their space and water usage put up with the latter still. A "bed bath" is a readily available automated amenity and will try to learn your sensory preferences, but most people find them a bit creepy.

11:

Heat.

If you look at the "can have a killing heat event by 2100" maps, nigh-everywhere there's presently soil is included.

If you look at the weather expectations for 2100, it summarizes as "bad". If you live somewhere that gets rain, it won't be especially infrequent for the amount of rain to be "half a metre today".

Housing is going to be in tension between "heat survival", "drainage", and "infrastructure reliability". Everything from (very posh!) caves in non-porous rock formations to dense habitation but the heat pumps are massively redundant and everyone is a bit twitchy and you don't have appliances where you live; appliances like washing machines go in the outer shell where the heat load is more manageable.

The coal cellar will indeed go away, but the need to keep transformers away from the actual habitation won't. Probably neither will a desire to keep the batteries somewhere else; no matter how safe they are, the waste heat won't be welcome.

Depth, passive ventilation, passive cooling, silence, and no smell but a faint undertone of rock are going to be swank. The penthouse suite is going to be a death trap. Device efficiency is going to be emphasized enormously; waste heat isn't welcome. LOTS of food storage is expected; deliveries get interrupted, prices may be high this year...

If I thought the weather would be predictable and the oceans calm I'd expect some mobile habitation in ships, but I don't think either will hold very well.

12:

A some of possibilities occur to me, it is possible that a room, or at least a cove for some form of advanced fab might become a standard part of the home, anything from a merely highly advanced, multi-material version of the 3-D printing available today, to an atomically precise cornucopia a-la Drexler. This, then, reduces the logistical problem you spoke of to regular provision of feedstock for whatever household fab there is. You could even go further and the the vats for vat-grown foods in house. Whether part of this or as a standalone, it may become common to have some type of in-home dispensary complete with gene sequencing and synthetic biology capability. The rationale that I use is that a trend towards ability to avoid shopping trips seems to be the trend. In-home fabrication might then become the "last mile" for things that we now have to go out and buy.


By 2119, the thorny problems that make AI so problematic in an environment that is not precisely controlled may, at last, have gone the way of playing chess, into the solved basket- along with the fine motor skills that most humans possess in abundance and robots currently lag. If that comes to pass, the kind of dreams of robotic systems to do the kind of cooking and cleaning housework that were depicted in mid-20th century SF may finally become practical.

13:

First question might be urban or rural housing.

Urban development is highly constrained by what is already there, and the trends are going to be to improve the living environment of increasingly dense population. Attaching vertical gardens to modernist buildings is a lot easier than making new parks. Also covers up lack of maintenance, and sure there will be shoddy versions which increase water penetration but hey if you can cover blocks of flats in flammable insulation, "green improvements" should be an easy sell.

Easy subdivision of units will be another thing. At the lower end of property ownership, taking in a lodger or running an AirBnB is a lot more attractive if one doesn't need to share ones facilities. Likewise with the return to the older model where adult children are staying with parents for extended periods. At the other end of the scale, a landlord owing a block which can easily switch units between a family rental and 4 separate sole occupancy units would be ideal. Yes, a family unit could be rented out to 4 individuals sharing, but there's those pesky HMO regulations, & 4 single units would each command a premium in comparison.

In the city centres, those strips of land between buildings which used to be devoted to motor vehicles could easily be developed by being roofed over & small retail units dotted along the centreline.

Of course in historic (areas of) cities the changes are going to be a lot less visible even if following similar trends.

Rural housing OTOH, there is a lot more room to play with literally. Self sufficiency technology (solar power, wind turbines, water processing) is now getting much more affordable. It could well be expected as standard in the future, reducing public infrastructure for the supply services to rural homes.

But one possibility for the wealthy could be "domed" settlements (whether literally geodesic domes or some other enclosed design) - next step up from gated communities. Keep out bad weather, a certain degree of climate control through shading & vents, and total control of who gets in- keeping out drones both metaphorical and literal. The extra expense of the dome construction can be offset by the housing within needing less weatherproofing & insulation, though that's unlikely to be a consideration for those most likely to construct such. Using private services, they would push hard that they shouldn't have to pay towards public provision that they don't use, further isolating themselves from the rest of the world.

(Though in a more utopian future, such an enclosed environment might be an attractive option for villages in the Highlands of Scotland, next to the wind/wave farms generating bulk of the EUs electrical power).

14:

If farming ceases to be a widespread outdoor activity and moves to high density 365 days a year factory-like conditions then you would be able to simultaneously both engage in mass rewinding/reforesting and increased levels of lower density sprawl. I'm reminded of some of the outer-suburbs of Montreal I saw a decade ago that were comprised of large-ish (by uk standards) single dwelling structures surrounded by leafy weather mitigating trees that shade, slow wind and rain, and sink atmospheric carbon.

15:

By 1820 the corridor had become an unremarkable space around which homeowners were now structuring their lives. The older style of tenement, focussed on a windowless central room off which all other rooms opened, still existed but was becoming rarer.

The tenement flat I live in has no corridors -- the front door opens into a roughly-square windowless hallway/room with doors to the four bedrooms, the living room, kitchen and toilet (which used to be the live-in servant girl's poky little bedroom). It also has a coal storage cupboard to one side of the front door with some of the original sliding-board bunkering in place. That's now used to store stuff like the lawnmower, stepladders etc. Our flat was built in the 1850s so the no-corridor layout was still a viable plan quite a bit later than your older flat, Charlie. It is, after all, a more efficient use of floorspace if the lesser privacy and separation of facilities is acceptable.

One thing I've noted before about old-build homes like Charlie's and mine is the standard fitment of key-locks to bedroom doors and sometimes to all interior doors (other than the servant girl's room in our case. The Master of the house or his sons would not want to be denied access to their property when the urge came upon them). Our front door lock is original, terrifyingly huge and still works. Personal security and "a man's home is his castle" was a big thing in a world where burglary and theft from properties was far more common than it is today.

As for 2119 we can't really comprehend what the social needs for "a roof over our heads" will bring about. The only non-social thing we do at home today is sleep and that requires a remarkably small volume and ground footprint. A lot of the rest of what we use homes for today could be covered by short-term rents (for days or at a stretch, weeks) of living rooms for hobbies, entertainment etc. plus maybe, for the packrats among us, accessible storage. It's entirely possible that by 2119 the idea of having "stuff", unique items that no-one else can use or play with or whatever will be deprecated and packratism can be cured by a pill.

16:

I disagree with your thinking on windows: with modern Triple+ glazed windows (+ Argon filling, for example), the insulation factor is nearly that of walls, while allowing free heating most of the year in daylight. I'd be unsuprised to see pre-built heavily-insulated windows becoming part of the landscape (with blinds , etc built in, drawn a lot of the time).

On "smart" homes and infrastructure: when I built our home 20 years ago, I added Cat-6 to every room. Only 1 cable is now used: to connect the fibre (in the utility) to the router upstairs. This was an unexpectedly low usage. Though I would expect, as per pjz, a DC grid around the house to dominate over AC in the future.

Conversely, "skylights" in roofs: LEDs for internal lighting are cheaper than the heat loss (heat loss seems to be proportional to the boundaries of windows; glass is straightforward, junctions and edges, less so).

LEDs having a long lifetime vs old fashioned hot bulbs: permanently fixed light panels, maybe ? though I regret some 'embedded light' fixtures. They're difficult to replace with a different design later.

What will (should) drive a lot is deep retrofitting. Here in Ireland we're looking at the need to deep retrofit (to passive standards is realistically possible) 2 million buildings over the next 20 years. Scale to taste, but that in practice means modular design and factory construction of a lot of stuff: exterior replacement walls, roofs, etc.

Plumbing: Adding separate waste / grey water plumbing is becoming the norm, but some extra filtering on plumbing / washing machines for plastic from clothes looks necessary for the forseeable future.

17:

I suspect a lot of the change will be building down as well as up - a trend that's started with luxury houses with big basements, give it a few decades and the typical block of flats in a small town might be twenty floors down as well as up. I'm assuming that the excavated material is used in the construction, at least to some extent, and a LOT of redundancy in ventilation etc., plus big VR windows. If you can't open the windows anyway, does it matter if they aren't real?

18:

Augmented and virtual reality will have landed hard by then. I expect home layouts will be built around optimizing augmented reality “this flat is great for airships, spacecraft and deep sea submarines this other one makes a good castle “ kind of thing. Hard to guess but probably lots of open floor plans and big empty walls that can have AR artifacts tethered to them, multi story balconies to give depth. Possible windows get jettisoned

Inside the house and outside the house might get pretty fuzzy at least when the weather is nice since you can easily create virtual walls and living spaces outside the walls

The car garage will be gone along with car ownership.

19:

We're already seeing tension between housing designed for the 1950s nuclear family, and the actual needs of contemporary families. It's not just about people living with their parents for longer (as above), but also broader relationships among ex-spouses, siblings, or friends. Childcare is a driver here too, and broader categories of who's actually looking after them.

I would expect housing to eventually adapt to larger numbers of people in a partially-shared dwelling. Not a big version of a 1950s house, but something more like a set of several private areas around a shared communal space. It could be mini houses around a roofed courtyard, or integrated tenements with a central living area.

Some of these might be associated with work spaces, especially if that work looks like a shop, light workshop, office, art studio, etc. - something that isn't too noisy or smelly. In that case we have a gradation from a fully public space, to an extended-family shared space, to private spaces. We've seen some contemporary backlash to large reception rooms (the "how often do you actually throw a banquet?" argument) but in these communal dwellings, that may reverse.

Imagine a coffee-shop-like hangout area that's open to the street; above it, an extended-family large den; and off that, via stairways and doors, clusters of bedrooms and bathrooms and private nooks for individuals and small groups. I'd see a serious level of social nuance around access to, and control over, the various spaces.

Suburban-style housing will be seen as an oddity, and an undesirable one. Wealthy people wouldn't flock to it as a signifier of past status - instead, they might just jump back a few centuries, and move their extended circle into a converted manor house. (Several of these have been divided into single-family units already - our future upper class folk just need to reverse that a little.)

20:

Glasgow rather than Edinburgh:-

Victorian "wally close" tenement (higher class version with tiled rather than just whitewashed close walls. Pollockshields for reference of Scots.)

Typical unit contained a real reception hall (large enough that a 3 or 4 year old could literally ride a bike round it), a lounge (typically used only when entertaining), a "living room" big enough for dining and as a family room with tv, comfortable chairs, room for 2 children to play, kitchenette (about 8' by 8' before installation of sink, appliances, free-standing storage, worktops), 2 or 3 double bedrooms and inside bathroom. No "servants accommodation".

Dumbarton - Modernised 1912CE (I've seen period maps). As built, lounge, dining room, study/cloakroom and kitchen on ground floor, 3 family bedrooms, maid's bedroom and inside bathroom and toilet.
As extended/modernised, kitchen became living room on construction of single floor extension containing kitchen/ding room and ground floor toilet. Maid's room became walk-in cupboard.

21:

Wheelchair accessibility is near-universal, though the size of even a power chair or scooter is mostly dictated by the user's body.

You're positing no breakthroughs in regenerative medicine. (My suspicion is that where limbs and nerves are intact or can be rebuilt, powered exoskeletons would be preferable to wheelchairs, if only because they enable use of non-wheelchair-user spaces, such as staircases: and that if we don't make some sort of breakthrough in limb regeneration/nervous tissue repair in the next century, then we've fucked up big-time.) I'll buy it, but if and only if wheelchairs still exist by then.

Streaming games—this is classic network edge vs. center costs trade-off. IIRC the EM spectrum maxes out at about 2tbps across all useable wavelengths (obvs. not hard X-rays to gamma radiation, for example). However you can multiplex it by bundling multiple fiber-optic conduits, each using wavelength dimension multiplexing to hit the 2tbps level. And this assumes we can't do anything useful with quantum entanglement in the 100 year time frame. Latency is of course the issue here, but runs up against the inherent sloppiness of the human nervous system and cognitive processes—we probably don't need sub-millisecond ping times for anything involving interaction, for example.

Heat pipes: yep. Furthermore, I'd vote for the possibility that electric space heaters will double as compute servers. (Only I hope doing something more productive than bitcoin mining!)

Boats … ships are shockingly energy-inefficient if they're carrying human passengers at human passenger speeds and comfortable packing densities. A modern cruise liner making 20 knots and carrying ~5000 passengers and 2500 crew can easily displace 60-100,000 tons and burns rather more fuel per passenger-km than a horribly inefficient SUV. Current best-of-breed for energy consumption per passenger-km-hour turns out to be wide-body airliners, followed by low-speed intercity rail (up to 120km/h; above that, drag/rolling resistance begins to take off, and by the time we hit 300km/h it's barely more efficient than a turboprop airliner, if not less).

Ships would be a lot better if they went slower, much less switched to wind power. Speed will always come at a cost.

22:

We may be able to do a hell of a lot better than wheelchairs, of course, such as AI-controlled artificial walkers, but I doubt that regeneration will have all that much to do with it.

No vertebrate regenerates anything as complex as limbs at all well, and no homeothermic vertebrate anything like that at all. Successful inter-human organ transplants started 65 years ago, with over half a century of limited success behind that, and are still seriously tricky; work on human tissue regeneration is as old. Limited nervous tissue regeneration is more plausible, but there will be a lot of people/injuries that won't regenerate; inter alia, there are legions of intractable organic problems.

There is more to it than that, too, but it's a diversion.

While sub-millisecond response times aren't needed, that is for the total time, and we DO need that to be under 5 milliseconds, where touch is involved. Unless we change direction on computer software, we are talking about dozens or hundreds of round-trips needed for a single response (as the human sees it). It's not a technical problem, as such, but I am horrified at how long it takes most software to react even when no networking is needed.

23:

The communal living is probably likely simply because of cost. A detached house let alone a flat is just too expensive. Moreover, I suspect we'll switch to renting more instead of buying unless the government puts some incentives in place.

Where I disagree with your scenario is people moving to more denser communities. It might be the opposite because most of the remaining jobs people can do will be 'virtual' so it won't matter where you go or live. So yes we might need a bigger room for virtual reality but I don't think it will be for entertainment, I think it will be for work. So the suburbs will continue but we small localized centers to grab coffee with real humans etc... We see this in DC already. Traffic is so bad, quite a few people telecommute two days a week. And why do people live where they do? Schools. So whatever happens to the way we live is going to be closely connected to how schools develop over the next few decades.

The other thing I wonder about is mobility. As more and more of our belongings and memories become virtual, you won't need to shift much stuff to move to a new location. So maybe the home of the future will be more like those company apartments that you switch from city or city. Everything is in the same place. (the backpage of the FT on Saturday talked about that, as the writer just moved to the US and the moving people couldn't believe it really only had a couple of suitcases as he spends all his money on experiences, not belongings).

Bathrooms won't have baths either, just showers, unless you're excessively rich as culture starts to frown of inefficient water usage.

I could probably think of a few more things but this is a start :-)

24:

Wiring (certainly visible outlet count and placement) will change. Built-in lighting fixtures and battery-powered devices means you don't need the number of electrical outlets many rooms have. Rooms ready for cable, ethernet, and landlines will become more obsolete. That's a little thing--it's easy enough to ignore unused outlets--but it will mean furnishings are more divorced from a room's planned layout. Moving the couch, changing which room is the entertainment room, getting rid of end tables, etc. will be driven solely by preference.

Re: wheelchairs, even assuming universal (or universal among the classes of people who determine architectural styles) regenerative medicine, it'll take time, possibly multiple or recurring procedures. And there's the question of whether someone would prefer, or be better served by, a wheelchair versus exoskeleton or medical rebuild. And if a lot of old housing stock is slipping into the sea, why not build new stuff low and wide or elevator-equipped?

Labor standards will drive and/or reflect design (again, labor standards among the classes of people who determine architectural styles). There's an array of appliances (and therefore spaces) that are important if chores are done by members of the household, either dedicated chore-performers or doing extra work on top of their wage labor. If you have a housewife in the post-WWII sense (driven by nuclear-family gender expectations, or physical ability, outside employability, etc. in a different living configuration), having in-house laundry facilities makes a lot of sense. If you're already outsourcing that labor to other people, then maybe you just have laundry pick up and drop off once a week, no more need for your own laundry room.

If we're all moving inland from the coasts, I assume infrastructure building/renewal is going to lead to interesting real estate speculation, as with rail and interstate construction. The areas that win will hopefully get more rail and presumably see new housing stock; the areas that are more isolated will probably make do with what's there already. In the U.S., McMansion farms might become lower-income housing. At the moment, some of them are far enough removed from Interesting Things that they've already become undesirable real estate. If more labor becomes remote, transit accessibility becomes less of a barrier. Poverty could come to mean physical isolation, rather than relegation to undesirable neighborhoods.

I suspect high-end cars will still be status symbols, but there's no need to store them on-site if you don't use them for your daily commute, so good-bye individual garages in new housing stock. If you do need them to commute, that means you have a job that requires you to be onsite (either a custom-service, human-touch type role; one that requires physical interaction, like surgery or construction; or visiting multiple sites for one reason or another) and that you need to solve at least the last-mile problem of public transit. Maybe electric as the norm, and hopefully we've made some grid improvements by then.

25:

Don't think I'm positing no breakthroughs in regenerative medicine, just that it won't reduce usage to the point nobody cares. Powered chairs are another point in the general micromobility design space too, and if you've got regenerative medicine that still takes a few weeks to finish its job then you've got older people who still want to take risks and be mobile the day after they get unlucky.

Re streaming games, the current iteration of Street Fighter has several frames' worth of input latency (in the ballpark of 100ms) basically to make online play feel like local over a wider distance. Some people are fine with it, some (myself included) really hate it.

Right now I get ~5ms from the laptop I'm talking on to a raspi both on the same wireless network. That's currently what you also get on a lowish-end gaming-specialised monitor - the sort I'm not Gamer enough to bother buying, but would be mandatory if I were serious about tournament play.

33ms ("2f" to fighting game players) in a single player title can be enough to "feel" for someone with sharp reactions (and sometimes even my sedated, old-enough-to-be-slowing brain), and that's assuming no VR. Latency jitter is what starts really screwing things up though: reach 7-8ms of that and you start to mess with input timings in a way that's going to stick out if 60Hz clock-locked remains the standard and there are some human reasons to want something close to it.

Agreed that bandwidth is a non-issue, but if compute power's cheap enough to keep that local to me it's also cheap enough to carry on me and not worry about what happens when I go for a walk or a train ride. If we're throwing 2-300W at playing the most-direct descendants of console and handheld titles in 2119, something's gone pretty impressively wrong. For non-VR purposes 1920*1080 will still be an "acceptable" resolution for many things then, without the need for stylisation that 320*240 or even 800*480 bring.

My PS VR headset is another matter, with that field of view the pixels are noticeable even in the middle of something like Wipeout.

I had slower ships in mind, not least because more of Europe's underwater. When you've got pretty decent bandwidth a lot of both work and play are viable again: life doesn't have to be as fast-paced as it is for many today.

26:

I'm assuming that the dominant factors will be AI(see the end) and Virtual Reality.

The real driver will be virtual reality, in some form. That assumes they solve the nausea problem. What this means depends on the details. If it's done ala Vinge's "True Names", then it won't take up any noticeable amount of space. If it's more like Niven & Pournelle's "Dream Park" or "California Dreaming", then it will require a specially allocated "room" (walls optional) with a support harness and a body suit to wear. Naturally there would be cheaper versions of that.

Augmented reality seems a bit too dangerous to ever become widespread. People already make stupidly dangerous mistakes in the smart-phone emulation of augmented reality games.

The thing is, the space-requiring version of virtual reality doesn't require a "room" with more than about 2 1/2 meters radius, and current ceilings would work quite well, as you only need to be suspended a decimeter above the floor. (Note: This paragraph has convinced me that the metric system is not adapted to human scale measurements, despite its other obvious advantages. I meant a seven foot radius and "inches, unspecified, above the floor.)

The reason virtual reality *might* require extra space is that each simultaneous user would need a separate space. OTOH, the radius required would depend on the arm-span of the user, so women and children would find much smaller areas sufficient.

I still wonder if any approach other than direct brain signal interception (ala conscious dreaming) could really work for virtual reality, in which case access might require a brain operation. The robot surgeons would need to be quite skilled.

AI will be quite important, though less directly. Household maintenance will be almost entirely automated, so people can ignore it. This will include such things as shopping...if you want to shop, except for specialties like "good vegetables!!", you'll do it via virtual reality, otherwise you'll have your AI do it for you. Also cooking. A manual kitchen will be extreme conspicuous consumption...and since most interactions will be with virtual images, that will lose most of it's display value. Also images of ANYTHING will be able to be constructed at whim, and the AI will even guess what you want, and be nearly correct. (It will know you better than your wife or brother, but it's motivational map will still be off in occasionally quite unexpected ways.)

27:

The real driver will be virtual reality, in some form. That assumes they solve the nausea problem.

I'm not certain it'll be the driver. But even if it is, that doesn't mean they solve the nausea problem in the technical sense. It means that nausea becomes a social problem, a limiting factor, and a new type of disability.

28:

And there will also be really interesting effects from AI biases. We're at the "can't see black people" and "all women have resting bitch face" state right now. If those trends continue, AI solutions are going to continue to be exclusive, so the AI-enabled things will either be inaccessible to some populations, perceived as inaccessible, or more expensive to access by the populations outside the most broadly targeted market segments.

29:

I must be an outlier as I am moving from a 83 year old house in a newish city (San Francisco) to a less than 10 year old apartment in an ancient one (London) with unimaginably luxurious amenities like a parking spot and a swimming pool.

You have to make a distinction between single-family and shared (apartment) housing. The high cost of land in metro areas pushes towards the latter, and shrinking apartments mean space that was used to be dedicated in an apartment is moving to shared facilities. I am currently staying in an ultra-efficient building filled with tiny 30m^2 studios. They have a shared kitchen, gyms and media rooms (more luxurious buildings have full-blown cinemas you can book). Some places have apartments for visiting relatives you can book, so you don't need to dedicate an expensive extra room for that purpose.

While public transit is much more efficiently managed in Europe or Asia than in the US, fixed rail infrastructure is inflexible and a much less efficient investment of resources than streets and highways. I expect the transition to shared self-driving cars as a service will have no impact on cities' need for streets, just fewer parking spaces.

30:

Combine walls that are all video panels with ubiquitous augmented reality headsets, contacts, or other augmentation, and I'm not sure that you would need windows at all for urban living spaces. I imagine that open layouts will still be common in cities. Urban densification may continue as cities recede from the coast, but the desire for space and my own chunk of land will still be strong in places less densely populated than e.g., Europe, China, and South Asia. If desalination is common (assuming abundant clean power) large areas of t Sahara, Outback, and Northern Canada could become viable for sprawling homes with lots of space.

Interesting speculation.

31:

Another example is how California inspired the open kitchen trend:
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2007/06/where-mother-saw-best/305896/

Now that the lady of the house is more likely to be working at a computer on the three freelance jobs she does to keep the family's finances afloat, will we see an open office concept, with the office in the middle of the house with views on the kid(s) playing, much like Walter Hewlett and David Packard when they popularized the open plan office?

32:

Let's see... having owned
1. a house who's 1st floor was built in 1852, second later, and third, later still
2. One house from the teens? large, fixed up attic (and, oh, yes, the coal bin stored the Philcon art show hangings)
3. An immobile home (14x56)
4. A stucco version of a four-square Prairie, 1927
5. The current undersized split level

I've a broadish view of housing. My thoughts are:
1. I *hate* "open plan*. That's a loft in a warehouse, converted to sorta-kinda living quarters. And if you have a party, or just friend(s) over, do you want them eyeing what's in your bedroom?
3. "Outsource" kitchen? Not hardly. Not. Going To Happen. A *LOT* of us like to cook, and what we make is a *hell* of a lot better (and healthier) than the crap in fast food, or packages from the supermarket.

I do, however, expect more mixed housing, purpose built for sharing, for a group larger than a nuclear family - two generations (or maybe three), or a bunch of friends. (Note that I spent about 10 years in collective houses in the 70's-beginning of the 80's).

Possibly one generic wiring, that allows you to plug in anything, for power *or* communications.

3-D printers... a hundred years from now... maybe printing food, itself?

Wheelchairs... exoskeletons won't work in some cases, too much pain in the movement. On the other hand, surely your scooter can do stairs, either by hover or legs.

The rich... lessee, I first read, back in the Whole Earth Catalog, that if you build a dome > 1mi, it could *float* on its own hot air. How's that for the ultimate in gated communities. I can see the board that runs it arguing over where in the world they should float for the next year.

Or the 30-yr-old dome like that, with a *lot* of folks living in it, and who needs roofs when it doesn't rain inside the dome?

"Smart homes" Can you say, "my home has BSOD, and my three year old is trapped...."?

A couple years ago, I ran into someone's column that I nominate for acronym of the last year: IOGCIT, the Internet of Gratuitously Connected Insecure Things, pronounced i-jit.

Do you *really* want some cracker wannabee turning your heat to max during the heat wave, while you're at work?

Garages (or full basements)? Hey, where do you *think* we're going to build our model railroads, guy?!

Which is another thing: what percentage of the population will actually have *any* work as we know it, and what percentage on "basic income"?

Finally, the ultimate Home of the Future... https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/business/growth-development/sd-fi-archtoberfest-20170926-story.html

33:

I don't think you had your house built with Cat 6 20 years ago....

From wikipedia:
"The standard for Category 6A is ANSI/TIA-568-C.1, defined by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) for enhanced performance standards for twisted pair cable systems. It was defined in 2009"

And Cat 5e is from 2001, still not 20 years ago, so no 1Gbit for you!

34:

A flying done would be a courageous option in the kind of weather we can expect. You could promote the idea as a way to rid the world of the more gullible rich though.

Having said that I always assumed that the flying city in "engine summer" was a space station, but this fits better.

35:

People are trying to make exoskeletons work now https://rewalk.com/. No doubt somewhat limited now but in 20-100 years?

36:

On the other hand, something on the order of 1.5km to 2km is not going to be as affected by weather, other than a serious storm, and I assume they'd be able to move around such... or be pushed ahead of it.

37:

The standards may not have been set, but the cable works. It was datacentre-grade cable I got when working on gigabit devices in 3Com, circa 2000. (Gigabit ok for 10m runs at least.)

38:

I get your point of video displays vs windows, but suspect windows could be very big for other reasons. This depends a lot on societal attitudes, though.

I was in suburban Oslo during the winter and its worth seeing, from a more Anglo perspective. Relatively little streetlights, despite the gloom, but they weren't needed, because of the light from the houses. A transparent society with people leaving blinds, curtains open meant lots of light spilling onto the streets.

Now, it helps that the density of people is relatively low. I'm not sure I'd want to see so much raw humanity in Hong Kong; I'd prefer my privacy. But in a low density society, especially if you push the quality of outdoors up - no noisy traffic, playable streets that you want to watch kids on, etc - then transparent walls (with optional blinds) look desirable.

39:

Does Edinburgh permit you to dig DOWN ? Couldn't you gain some sort of Super Villain exemption for a Secret Underground Head Quarters beneath a local extinct volcano? Failing that? How's about ...https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/design/london-super-rich-basement-extensions-a8415731.html

40:

I have - slowly progressive since the 1970s- Ankylosing Spondylitis aka spinal arthritis . And,because I've been reading Science Fiction since I was less than 5 years old - Hugh Lofting's "Dr Doolittle" series is science fiction - I go way back on magical SF Medical Treatments ...And I haven't given up hope that my diseased joints might be regenerated Real Soon Now. Taps Foot Impatiently ...NOW would be a Good Time to do your Stuff Scientists and Scientific Researchers everywhere!

41:

Apparently the Gullible Rich are already looking into the possibility of alternatives to ocean going liners and private yacht as they travel from world city to world city ,continent to continent ... https://phys.org/news/2018-07-airships-scenic-flights-future.html

42:

Fabric technology, and embedded electronics, may render the notion of a house less useful overall. If you have an overcoat that can extend and seal itself around your feet & hands, inflate padding over your back and hips, and extend an oxygen/CO2-permeable full-face hood (useful for pollution, too) then that's an instant sleeping bag, complete with built-in antenna and processors for it to interface with your personal cloud instance. The digital nomad becomes the digital tramp.

(It is, of course, eminently and painfully hackable.)

Houses, in the sense of "where you can keep all your stuff and safely fall asleep", depend entirely on the existence of stuff, and the nonexistence of safety. If we end up with programmable and reconfigurable clothing, and a single smart multitool (a walking stick that turns into a cutlery set, a garden fork, a camp stool, or a carving chisel at a wireless command string) then that's two of the great categories of Stuff trimmed down radically.

And houses for people who can't afford all this? High and wide warehouse racking, one basic screen and a set of dubiously sanitised earplugs per bunk, disposable paper clothes or third-hand old-style ones worn till they fall apart, and tools issued by the employer on a hefty deposit. No money for stuff, no need for safety, no problem.

43:

You and I have *serious* differences. Reminds me of my recent ex, who kept talking (though not doing much) about downsizing.

Meanwhile, being a typical sf fan, they'll get my dead tree books away from me when they pry the last one I was reading from my cold, dead hands.

44:

That sort of size is likely to be a bit more maneuverable than a mile wide floating golf ball.

The idea of going high enough to avoid the weather may work but you would need pressurised houses. Pressurising the habitat would kill the buoyancy. Acclimatising to 5-6km is possible for most people but there are more a few who just can't get past 4km and even some who can't get to 3km.

45:

In shared falts, there's a few rooms with a dedicated function (kitchen, bathroom ...) plus everyon has ther own room. Couples tend to have rooms only per function: kitchen, sleeping etc. Families are in between, with enough space: Living room and kitchen plus (parents') sleeping room plus room(s) for the kids.

The question is, 100 years from now, how much do we need to assign rooms a function or person? Bathroom and kitchen appear need be very fixed IMO. But a room can be a living room, dining room, AR Arena, study, office, kids playroom , chapel, workout area with a change of furniture. If we assume that 100 years from now...
a) we have fewer physical artifacts like books and pictures and toys bacause of digitalization
b) furniture that can change it's function or shape is ubiquitous, thanks to high quality and precision manufacturing beeing cheaper
c) if need be, the roomba helps pushing the bed from one room to the next or the furniture moves itself in some way

I's conceivable to have a mix of rooms of different size, the use of each changes during the day or week or year.

For the civil engineering side, a few thoughts: in 100 years, we have likely better construction materials, the cost of a wide spanning ceiling will be comparativly lower. We will need lots of pipes, for different wast streams (grey, yellow, black water ...) and for multivalent heating and cooling. I'd find it plausible to have residential dwelling built similar to modern office buildoing: (Carbon fiber reinforced)concrete ceiling, under which all kinds of ducts and pipes are installed for easy access, the individual rooms are divided with drywall or a better version of it. This allows some flexibility.

46:

I have to admit being more interested in community evolution driven by demographics, economics and environmental changes rather than in individual housing, though the community plan will drive the housing design as form follows function. Future trends:

Empty towns, whether it's abandoned villages in Spain
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-29/ghost-villages-for-sale-as-spain-fights-rural-desertification

or burnt out ghost towns in Rust Belt America
https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2019/2/18/approaching-a-divided-america-with-open-eyes

(I wish Chris Arnade's original photo essay on Cairo,Illinois was still available)

Tiny homes for the homeless, abused women, addicts, etc. formed into communities and neighborhoods:
https://www.businessinsider.com/detroit-homeless-tiny-home-neighborhood-2017-6

"House-in-a-box" for refugees (Third World victims of drought, migration and war today - Americans and European victims of brush fires and rising seas tomorrow) - refugee housing now wins design awards:
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/jan/27/why-ikea-flatpack-refugee-shelter-won-design-of-the-year

Nursing homes and retirement communities for aging populations run by robots, with Japan leading the way:
https://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/japan-uses-robots-in-nursing-home-care-an-example-for-america/

Upscale trailer parks as eco-positive retirement communities:
https://psmag.com/social-justice/how-the-trailer-park-could-save-us-all-55137?fbclid=IwAR1u4BM4bmFwUCCDAdc342DA9Nqb2Q3Ipvq107fSJB5xpRzb_Cme5hNbDU4

Intentional communities (aka "hippie commune 2.0) built around at least the idea of sustainability:
https://inhabitat.com/this-revolutionary-sustainable-community-in-atlanta-is-still-thriving-15-years-after-its-founding/?fbclid=IwAR1LgGAqMJdpDmQ3vQjgCTgmYEWmzNk2cGmaz3SR01z6kz8e72T1jcF4DAk

Infinite suburbia - but without cars or garages
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/suburbia-gets-no-respect-it-could-become-very-different-place-180959087/?fbclid=IwAR1F2BghKvojHi8FJm0XTlE5OzbSFRSi0Fg3Tt-UEpLuJX_yaBc_swy3D9E#8YPwrBepaKfehU5q.99

Rehabbed ancient castles
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/news/italy-giving-away-100-castles-villas-monasteries-free/?fbclid=IwAR0pCSIbRYWriWgq8g8WfxlP7TWBspic8M4f_GN0BD7XoNlbNlRshReREfY

Luxury bunkers, the new castles
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-21/doomsday-preppers-head-underground-bunker-economy-mainstream/10815984?fbclid=IwAR2zWeafo4JsaxDY9yGq4zNvX6Ae4sEhisjpb9wx0ocwpBhZk7hWryyBcMs

47:

Does Edinburgh permit you to dig DOWN ? Couldn't you gain some sort of Super Villain exemption for a Secret Underground Head Quarters beneath a local extinct volcano?

1. About 10% of Edinburgh consists of grade 1 listed buildings—the core is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Outside the core, land isn't excessively expensive.

2. Edinburgh sits atop an extinct volcano, which means the ground underneath sits on top of volcanic basalt, one of the hardest rocks: so hard it survived being scraped clean by an ice sheet (which is why Edinburgh is somewhat vertical). Digging down is therefore very pricey.

As it is, the mediaeval Old Town is home to some of the earliest high-rise dwellings in Europe, ten or twelve storeys high (with only staircases and no indoor plumbing, because mediaeval! But inside the city walls, so safe from the regular English invasions). If we needed higher density housing it'd be easier to build skyscrapers than basements (because the basalt would make for good foundations).

London, in contrast, sits on clay and porous chalk. Relatively soft, makes building skyscrapers a royal pain in the developers' arse … but land is so expensive that up (and down) they go.

48:

You're asking for a magic wand technology here. Cute if you can make it, but it still doesn't provide a key aspect of housing—security against intrusion by other malicious primates—much less much in the way of status signaling.

My current vision for the slums of the 2060s-2070s, by the way, is today's high density student accommodation: studio flats with shared facilities aimed at young adults studying away from home for the first time, aged 18-22. They're going up everywhere in the UK (it's a housing bubble in its own right) and I suspect the residents in 2050 will be the same faces as in 2020—trapped in debt and poverty, forced to live in mini-apartments that lack basic amenities and are slowly decaying, little better than an en-suite hotel room.

49:

Work.
One of the most environmentally friendly thing most people could do is work from if practical.
I think resurgence of home office space will happen.
Dedicated, designed, secure working space.
Most people don't have it. Not sure how you work, but work from home is normal for you, i write as i commute to work.

Now new office buildings, existing towers repurposed.

50:

A century ago, there were boarding houses in small towns, with Hotels for working men or working women in the city. Very few electrical appliances in the house. In the 50s, growing up, that still applied. It's only been in the past few decades that all things electric exploded into the home. They will phase out as people realize that single use appliances, like steamers, cookers, etc..., do not last.

We are hitting a plateau on appliances, and a century from now you would have essentially the same, or less, as today. i.e., a smartphone will look the same as the smartphone of today. A microwave or toaster, the same. Food prep and storage, the same.

We are nearing collapse on single use houses. It costs too much to maintain the infrastructure to feed water, gas, electricity, and deal with sewer to subdivisions. That infrastructure has a limited lifespan and needs total replacement on a regular basis. Cities have to be designed based on ease of infrastructure replacement. The jobs of tomorrow will be rewilding of subdivisions built in the past fifty years, and managing forests, not letting them be "natural" and thus a constant source of destructive fires.

World population will be at 11 billion, with most people living the way we are right now.

Power generation will be by Thorium to burn up all the stored uranium rods that are considered a hazard today. Solar energy will be by Solar Updraft Towers that run 24/7. Solar panels will be phased out for commercial use as not cost effective, and only used out in the middle of nowhere when they make sense. Cars, trucks, trains will still run on stored fuel, whether dug up or manufactured from atmospheric C02. Batteries will never have the storage capacity or low cost as using fuel engines.

Sea levels will be the same a century from now. Any actual warming will trigger the next Ice Age which will kill billions and end the Global Warming debate. A year of snow, a year of rain, will kill billions and shut down civilization for the next few thousand years. All that will be left of Man will be walking the Songlines in the south.

If the next Ice Age is not triggered, then a century from now the "Developed World" will look about the same as now. The "Developed World" will be world wide, with a few pockets of systemic low tech societies.

BTW, One thing that I suspect is that we will lose access to space in the next few decades when the Kessler syndrome occurs. We have avoided it so far because commercial use of space has been limited in the past. The lower the cost of access to space will trigger the event.

51:

Judging by the first few dozen comments, I think many people are over-emphasizing social changes at the expense of economic changes. Since the end of feudalism (and arguably before that), the primary driver of a person's living situation has been that person's socioeconomic status. If you only know what a person does and how much they make, you can still form a pretty good guess as to what their living situation might look like.

So, in order to predict what a house will look like in 2019, we've got to imagine what the economic conditions are going to be--where and how will people earn a living? I can imagine a couple of scenarios:

1. Dystopian Late-Stage Capitalism Continues on its Current Trajectory: This is (nearly) the bleakest scenario. The gig economy runs rampant. Most people piece together work from multiple employers to make ends meet. Offices are largely (but not entirely) a thing of the past, because it's cheaper to make workers provide their own working space. In North America and Europe, this means that people are doing a combination of Mechanical Turk and Taskrabbit-style tasks that can't be automated (for various reasons), and that can't be performed remotely by someone in the developing world. This will probably require them to work from home, but come and go at odd hours for errands around town.

In a scenario like that, you might expect the slightly better-off workers to want a more significant separation between their home working space and their living/sleeping space. Having a private home office would be a sign of wealth, though. For poorer workers, the home working space would more likely be part of a communal living space shared with neighbors. Sound insulation would be a must. Assuming that people didn't switch from portable screens to computer goggles, you'd also need additional visual privacy screens to prevent potential competitors from spying.

In an extreme scenario, some people--especially those with larger homes or who are more desparate--might convert their homes to warehouse storage space, where they would be constantly visited by robots who provide same-day delivery around town. People with home warehouses would probably put a higher premium on home security, in something of a throwback to the 19th century.


2. Something (but probably not enough) is done to blunt the effects of Late Stage Capitalism: This is a scenario in which automation has eliminated many/most jobs that exist today, but government economic policies have (1) compensated people who can't find work (e.g., universal basic income); and (2) created new types of jobs in industries that are currently nascent or unknown to us (these would likely be services that are not automate-able).

One of the main features of this scenario is that there are a large number of working-class people with significant amounts of free time on their hands. This might lead to significantly-expanded outdoor communal spaces in areas with agreeable climates. Imagine bocce courts with holographic features. (Also, keep in mind that with global warming, Northern Europe could have an almost Mediterranean climate by 2119.) Right now (i.e., 2019) in Barcelona, an urban planner is attempting to create "super blocks" that largely convert surface streets to pedestrian and bicycle traffic in a 3x3 block area. If this idea is successful, expect to see it widely adopted by urban planners in the next century.

In hotter areas, you would see more indoor activities. That said, new housing isn't going to get built in hot areas if there's not an economic reason for humans to be there. So, you might see hot inland cities, like Phoenix, shrink, and hot coastal cities, like Cancun or Miami, become largely abandoned and not rebuilt due to rising sea levels and/or unbearable summer temperatures.

3. Capitalism is Abandoned for Something Else: This would be the hardest scenario to predict. I see two possible branches.

3A. Neo-feudalism: This is the worst possible outcome. Capitalism degenerates into a kind of feudalism in which the currently wealthy become a new nobility. This looks similar to Scenario 1, above, but likely with fewer human rights, and worse/more crowded living conditions for the non-rich. Labor becomes incredibly cheap again due to (1) the automation of many industries; and (2) the lack of social safety net. Human lifespans shrink on a global scale, but continue to increase for the elite. Consumer culture still exists, but it focuses on disposable and more cheaply-made items. A significant portion of the population lives on the street or in the shells of abandoned suburbs trying to make a living from the scraps of the 21st century's now-disappeared middle class.

For the new nobility, imagine very large, but still cramped, housing where servants/tenants live in the outer, hotter sections, and the nobles live in a large, windowless core rooms that are decorated with virtual "windows" that take up entire walls. Only poor people go outside in hotter climates--possibly to tend urban farms. The rich might still take beach vacations, but the beaches are much further inland and have been built with sand dredged from areas that were inundated by rising sea levels. The beaches may also be in climate-controlled domes.

3B. Utopia: A better, fairer economic system comes into being. The government guarantees everyone a fundamental right to shelter. Many of the incentives to cut corners in construction disappear because building is no longer about profit. Housing in this scenario looks like something Jo Walton described in the latter books of The Just City series--medium to high-density, but not that tall. People who live in government-built housing are granted inheritable property rights subject to conditions like performing government-mandated maintenance intervals and maintaining a minimum occupancy level based on the size of the house (so if your family shrinks, you'd better find roommates). Citizens don't have to spend money to perform this maintenance since that's largely been abolished--just time and effort.

New houses are built to standard plans and in standard sizes that meet the needs of the majority of citizens. There would likely be a large variety of excellent government home designs created by architects working primarily for prestige. (Also, if you want a non-standard house, you have to petition the government, give a good reason, and sit on a waiting list after getting committee approval.) Housing units will likely be more communal for younger people just starting their adult lives in a new city, and consist of multi-generational family-esque groups for people who are already established. Luxury home features still exist, but people mainly manufacture and and install them as do-it-yourself projects since the government is building the housing to high standards without said luxuries.


On an unrelated note: Regardless of which scenario occurs, I expect social media to become basically invisible as it integrates into our lives--either for good or ill. Going to a dedicated social media website or app will be like having a dedicated space for a landline telephone in your house today.

52:

> the era of mass public automobile ownership will come to an end within my lifetime.

I suspect that will remain strongly correlated with the population density of the area the owners choose to live. In the UK, I can easily see it for at least 50% of the population, since all the cities can and will have reliable public transportation, and the rail network is still fairly comprehensive, if somewhat crippled. The other half, not so much, especially since the regional public transport networks are effectively nonexistent. Across Europe generally though, particularly Northern Europe, it's almost a certainty.

In the wider Western world, Australia and New Zealand for example are widespread low density housing, and I don't see that changing fast, even if their populations double. The same for most of the US and Canada. It makes an economic case difficult for the investment needed to build the networks that will provide a reason for people to want to increase the density and change suburban into urban.
Biggest recent surprise was the history of the Underground in London, and just how many areas had tube stations before they had major thoroughfares, the roads coming later to link the new communities together.
Although we might get some parts of Africa skipping straight from rural to high density urbanised living with reliable public transport if China decides to build a few test cities there - we've already had centuries old villages decamp and move to be nearer the new roads in places like Ethiopia.

>80% of people live within 200km of the ocean.

On the wider world front, we're expecting varying amounts of sea level rise, and many places don't have much land height to play with, so what about more offshore or nearshore development - communities designed to float and tethered within natural or artificial reef environments to protect from storm conditions. I'd expect them to be modular and somewhat streamlined - low rise on the edges and highrise to the centre, the lower inner levels as infrastructure and commercial, the higher as accommodation. Power would be a mix of wind, wave, solar and probably thermoelectric using the sea floor as a cold node. I can picture a shift to over water living a lot quicker than a widespread adoption of large sea walls, especially in places where it just isn't feasible due to the geology or geography.

53:

On the separation of home working and home living, humans are still social animals.
So I can imagine a slow migration away from offices, and more into communal workspaces attached to housing developments, complete with meeting spaces, coffee shops, and quiet areas, and almost certainly some form of communal childcare. These already exist in student accommodations, I can easily see a demand for them as the students mature and want the same things in a more adult living environment.

54:

I recommend that you find a copy of: "The Technology of Orgasm" by Rachel P. Maines. Electric appliances have been around a lot longer than you think!

55:

It's a great question. There's going to be a gap between what we should do and what we'll end up doing. More than likely what will happen is we have a great idea to resolve a current problem and will live with the consequences of that. Too much horse poop in the cities? Automobiles will be the answer! Live outside the city! No horse poop! And we'll just drill these massive freeways through the hearts of our cities and everything will be fine.

I think the big determining factor will be energy availability. Cities were built dense and walkable when your choices were the horse or on foot. Cars enabled sprawl. Cars represented cheap, abundant dinosaur energy. If renewables allow us to spend energy as profligately, we'll continue to sprawl. If renewables can only get us to half of the available energy, we'll have to contract our lifestyle.

In the States, houses tend to be crazy big by global standards. In the cities they can be smaller and more expensive but in the flyover states you can get a real spread for a fraction of the price in the better parts of the country. You get McMansions spread out on ridiculously-sized plots of land, neighbors far away from each other. Mass transit can't work in a situation like this.

The big question to my mind is if we make telecommuting more of a thing so that the critical mass of jobs in the city is no longer quite the thing, where it can be spread across the countryside. If that's the case, you'll see people migrating to the places that are cheaper to live. If private ownership of transport becomes more of an eccentricity than a requirement, we'll see another reshaping of the city. I'm very curious to see how the air cars work out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jcpq6XYYoY4

If I go out on a limb, I can see a trend towards intentional communities, village arrangements. Basically it's clusters of living spaces with common areas that can allow people to pool the labor resources. I'm imagining it something like the walled villages of China. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hakka_walled_village

The weird thing with our current way of living is that we can be urban hermits, surrounded by people yet alone. Technology enables more and more isolation and I'm guessing there will be an eventual reaction against this -- yes, have some technology but value the people around you more. If we end up with UBI then there will be less money to pay other people to do things for you and thus more of a premium on learning how to do for yourself and then barter your labor with others. Daycare runs $2k a month in the States and you only have to consider it because families demand two working incomes because of how much real wages have diminished vs. inflation.

I think considerations such as this will shape the way living spaces develop.

On a completely opposite trend, there's proof of concepts for portable apartments. Basically think shipping container you live in that can stack and then be moved easily. Kasita is a concept like that. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vjbqe7agCz0 So basically your apartment could be shipped anywhere docking modules are installed. So it would be possible to take a short holiday by train from one city to another and have your apartment moved and connected in the new location by the time you get there.

56:

In much earlier times, wardrobe => garderobe => privy.

57:

Charlie Stross @ 4: I should just like to note that adding a bedroom to a tenement flat in Edinburgh (as in, the price in going from a 2 bedroom flat to a 3 bedroom one, you can't physically add a room!) is roughly £50,000. And I bet the home cinema you were shown didn't include the cost of installing proper acoustic insulation.

Similarly: a 1-car garage in Edinburgh typically costs £40,000-50,000. (You can buy one, drop an extra £100,000 on planning permission and building a small house on top of it, and turf it for £150-200,000.) So it's on-street parking for almost everyone—one poshville side-street up the hill from me regularly has a Bentley, a Porsche Panamera, a couple of Tesla Model S's and Range Rovers, and an Audi R8 lined up on the kerb because the owners live there and nobody can afford a garage within easy walking distance!

A number of years ago a local manufacturing company in the town where I grew up needed to enlarge their headquarters & research building (to accommodate among other things a "new" IBM computer). Because the building already took up the whole city block on which it sat, they couldn't expand horizontally, they had to go up. One problem they discovered was their existing brick building wouldn't support the weight of adding a second story. So they literally jacked the building up and built a new 2 story building underneath it, making their existing building the third level. I think they also excavated underneath to add a basement level.

I wonder if some enterprising tenants could join together to purchase a block and do something similar; jacking up the existing buildings to build new ground floor garages? Maybe not digging new basements if the underlying rock is too close to the surface, but building new ground floors might be possible ... assuming you could swing the planning permissions. (I also assume getting that permission would be the biggest obstacle to such a scheme.)

58:

Charlie Stross @ 6: That's due by 2022, not 2019! But it's going to take some fancy footwork for the headset to properly subtract in-room furniture and obstacles … especially moving ones like people and pets.

I found the idea behind the "specs" everyone wore in Halting State to be quite interesting. I thought "life logging" as an evidence collecting technique was pretty clever along with "cop space" giving the officer an overlay whenever they looked at a building that gave them an instant view of anything about the place that was in the police databases.

I was especially impressed with the idea not having to look away from the scene in front of you to find out what you needed to know about what you were seeing.

I really enjoy the Laundry Files, but I think Halting State is the best book you've written.

59:

A. P. Howell @ 24: Re: wheelchairs, even assuming universal (or universal among the classes of people who determine architectural styles) regenerative medicine, it'll take time, possibly multiple or recurring procedures. And there's the question of whether someone would prefer, or be better served by, a wheelchair versus exoskeleton or medical rebuild. And if a lot of old housing stock is slipping into the sea, why not build new stuff low and wide or elevator-equipped?

I think y'all are missing a factor here. Will these regenerative medicine breakthroughs be available to all or just to those rich enough to afford them? Without some form of universal access to health care, the rich will get the benefit and the rest of us can suck it!

Income inequality is getting worse in the U.S. and the trend world-wide suggests the U.K. is on the way to adopting a system of health care similar to what we currently have here in the U.S., rather than vice versa. It looks to me like your working class and your middle class are heading towards getting screwed just as badly as they are here in the U.S.

60:

whitroth @ 43: You and I have *serious* differences. Reminds me of my recent ex, who kept talking (though not doing much) about downsizing.

Meanwhile, being a typical sf fan, they'll get my dead tree books away from me when they pry the last one I was reading from my cold, dead hands.

There's something to be said for the additional insulation R-value from having every inch of available wall space from floor to ceiling covered by book-shelves stuffed to over-flowing with books. May not be a whole lot, but it's better than none at all.


61:

The first thing I'd look at are materials, specifically the looming shortage of sand suitable for building with things like concrete and cement. Unless a precise substitute is found, future buildings are going to have to be built with radically different materials like engineered wood. Even if they have similar rooms to what they have today, the materials difference will make the buildings look and act differently.

If I understand what's going on with sand, there may be waves of buildings, with concrete now, remolded plastic in the middle of the 21st Century (I don't know if it's only good for roadbase, or whether trash plastic can be remolded into useful building materials), then things like wood and mycoconcrete (if this ever gets out of the lab) in the later 21st Century. Where 3D building printing will matter, but I don't know whether it will become a norm, or just another hippy building type like Earth Houses.

Climate change will matter. We're presuming that society has finally risen to the challenge, and that means that human values will be pretty radically different then from where they are now. Ignorance will not be bliss, and people may have to make ends meet on all sorts of resources that they don't think about now.

Another question here is the amount to which we're in a really big power grid, versus the amount that each building is energy independent. The biggest governor of this is whether we go through a Carrington Event in the 21st Century. If we do, then the survivors are going to be really gun-shy about wiring every home on any continent into one big, sparky power grid (unless the grid operators have some really amazingly good cutouts to deal with power surges), and microgrids will be the norm. If we don't go through a Godzilla-class solar flare, then I suspect there will be a more politically motivated diversity of grid sizes, from macro to micro, depending on who wants or needs to be independent, versus who wants to be (or is forced to) be gridded in to big corporate power farms out in the boonies.

If cities are making their own power, then where trees and shadows go will be intensely political and controversial, because shading someone else's solar panel is uncool and (in many jurisdictions now) illegal. Ditto blocking someone's wind turbine. The shape of your home will mesh harmoniously with the shape of your neighbors' homes, or you will hear from the lawyers of the people in your shade.

If solar is the default power system, everyone will know which direction south is. Every building being built now that doesn't have a good roof for solar will be gone, simply because they're too wastefully inefficient (that's probably 90% of new homes in San Diego, at a rough guess). If you want a home built now to last 100 years, it better be really well built for passive heating and cooling, and well-designed to take in energy and get rid of heat in summer, while retaining it in winter. If all that takes gas or a massive central HVAC unit to keep the house habitable, it's got a limited future life.

Actually, deurbanization likely will be a thing by 2119, if the cities we're talking about are on sinking coasts. Again, we've got a fair amount of climate change locked in, so I suspect people will abandon low-lying cities (possibly including parts of London), not necessarily because of inundation by the ocean, but because of pounding storm damage and salt water intrusion into drinking water aquifers (as in south Florida).

A second cause of deurbanization may be the downsizing of transit grids to accommodate a less car-driven society. Places like LA and San Diego, which were laid out with the car in mind, are going to be horrendously expensive to rebuild so that people can get to work electrically. We're having that fight in San Diego right now, and it's a laminated sludge biofilm of ugly, stupid, and idealistic all plastered on top of each other and folded by politics. The cities that can't figure out this decarbonized work-life thing are probably going to be downsized or abandoned, in favor of rebuilding older cities whose urban planning embedded fewer bad 20th Century ideas in their layouts.

The only other thing I bet is that homes will start being multigenerational again. It's good for the kids and grandparents to be near each other, and if we've hit peak capacity and survived the transition, things like the American Dream will probably be among the casualties.

Oh and if we pull off the global decarbonization thing, then the Millennials will go down as the greatest generation in history, while their and grandparents, the boomers and Gen Xers will go down as the greatest idiots in the history of the planet. Good feeling, isn't it?

62:

The basement comment fits into something I've been wondering about. You'll read about tunneling nuts who have illegally built tunnels and bunkers on their suburban property. They've created a ton of additional living space and it makes me wonder what the cost would actually be to add sub-basement living space in a typical suburban lot. The idea is that you likely won't get permission to build up because people don't want to see the skyline change so how expensive/complicated would it be to add a thousand square foot of space below the house? I have zero knowledge of these topics so I'm clueless.

63:

It does depend quite a lot on what's under the building. To use an obvious example, in Florida, if you go down too far, you hit water, and further exploration will require a lot of round-the-clock pumping. A place like Dubai, which is built on sand with really innovative foundations, also appears to be a bad place to burrow.

I will point out that going underground is the best way to deal with killing heat, but this option only works where burrowing beneath the building won't cause the building to collapse.

The deep irony is that the early Cold War theory of burying every city to make it proof against a nuclear attack might, erm, resurface as a solution to dealing with heat management in the future. In high fire landscapes, I suspect things like hobbit holes might become popular.

64:

"Bear in mind that it's probably newly built since 2019. 80% of humanity lives within 200km of the sea; ocean levels are rising and extreme weather events are getting worse, so our cities will over time recede inland from the current coastline. An ageing, shrinking population is midly deflationary and means a likely surplus of housing after peak humanity: but also accommodations for frail/elderly people. "

I'm not sure that this is true. Kim Stanley Robinson put it best: parts of Miami and New York will become the 22nd century Venices. Contra popular opinion, modern skyscrapers are well built, and with maintenance, can survive as such buildings. Don't forget that the oldest skyscrapers in NYC are reaching their centennial.

In places with wet bulb temperatures, sunken skyscraper cities (Hong Kong, Shenzhen, etc) may actually become refuges since the water could regulate the temperature.

"Actually, deurbanization likely will be a thing by 2119, if the cities we're talking about are on sinking coasts."

Actually urbanization will become even more entrenched for the same reason that medieval cities and villages were very clustered: storm defenses are more affordable for a concentrated population. Plus, the forces that are currently pushing urbanization will not be reversed by climate change.

"The only other thing I bet is that homes will start being multigenerational again. It's good for the kids and grandparents to be near each other, and if we've hit peak capacity and survived the transition, things like the American Dream will probably be among the casualties. "

I also disagree with this for a few reasons
1. The American dream has spread out to such an extent that it's no longer tied to the political and social circumstances of the US. Nuclear families predominate in large parts of Asia and Latin America in addition to Northern America and Europe

2. It doesn't matter what's good for the kids, fundamentally we'll use the relationship which favors making money. This is because the guys who control the armies will handicap any alternative, GM pulling out the streetcars style

65:

Wow, I hope it's like that.

I always imagine 2119 to be more like Aleppo 2019.

Some scavenged materials propped up against a partly destroyed building, that kind of thing.

66:

Um, really?

Miami will be uninhabitable, not because the buildings stand or not, but because their aquifer is getting contaminated by salt water influx. They're stuck, because they have no place to store fresh water. New York might be a little better, but with subways and deeply buried water pipes, things get *interesting* if that infrastructure is below sea level.

As for living underwater, experiments in doing it, like the Aquarius Reef Base kinda suck as living quarters. They're pressurized to keep out the water (creeping nitrogen narcosis), and worse, it's 100% humidity all the time, so clothes don't dry, electronics have problem, wounds don't heal, etc. Certainly people live in submarines, but most of them aren't going in and out of the sub. They're sealed off. While many people live *on* the water, I don't think submarine homes are ever going to work except, literally, as work quarters for saturation divers.

As for multigenerational housing, it's the only practical way at this point, in many US cities. Homes are running over US$500K and prices are climbing, apartments are running north of $2000/month rent, and builders claim that it's impossible to build an unsubsidized home below $500k (or to build affordable apartment buildings, for that matter). And in many places like San Diego , there aren't good open sites left for homebuilding. People with good incomes buy their first homes in their late 30s or 40s, and then start families if they can.

The obvious solution is for multiple families to band together and buy a home, and that's precisely what some homebuilders are building right now, about a mile away from me. Indeed, we bought our first home a couple of years ago because it had a downstairs room ready to convert to a bedroom for my mom, if she needs more care. And she helped us buy the house.

At this point, I'd say the American Dream is pretty much dead, and that's where a lot of the political rage is coming from right now.

67:

Heteromeles @66 said: At this point, I'd say the American Dream is pretty much dead, and that's where a lot of the political rage is coming from right now.

The American Dream has been dead for a long time.

After WWII, America was the only nation that was not a pile of rubble. The Middle Class exploded here as we rebuilt the world, charging whatever prices we wanted for our services and products. By the 80s the world had recovered and we were suddenly having to compete with the world. That 40 years of living in delusion, buying into the toxic BS of the American Dream, crippled our ability to see what business really was.

The American Dream was sold to White society as part of the Cold War against the Soviets. It wasn't just about business needing consumers, it was a deliberate internal propaganda tool. The collapse of Unions, outsourcing, etc..., starting in the 80s was the result. Yet, it's how we beat the Soviets. Reagan knew that we could survive the crippling inflation and debt better than they could. After all, it killed less people than a Hot War.

Those people living in minority communities, Black, Hispanic, never lived under the delusion of the American Dream, where the White population, with no community, only TV, were wrapped in that delusion, so when they individually failed to achieve the American Dream, they individually were at fault. They were individually failures. After all, everyone around them told them so.

This explains why Trump, the opioid crisis, etc....

One Nation Under Stress (2019) | Official Trailer | HBO
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2hDEz1bW9k

In the interview he explicitly mentions this.

Stress is killing us: Dr. Sanjay Gupta diagnoses the cause—and cures—in HBO doc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7-hgH5JzaU

That's why, a century from now, the world will be 11 billion people thriving, while America will become North Korea, isolationist, sitting on our nukes daring people to bother us, looking at the Trump regime as the "good old days". Trump will be considered the greatest president since FDR.

That's the part of the prediction for 2119 that I didn't have the heart to mention.

2119, there is a family having breakfast in a typical African suburban home. The mother will say to her children, "Eat your food, there are children starving in America."

Most people today won't recognize that statement, but it was standard to tell kids in the 60s to, "Eat your food, there are children starving in China." Now, China has leapt ahead of US, and is eating our lunch.

BTW, Frank, don't worry about house prices, we are still in a housing bubble waiting to pop. That's obvious when you notice that in the 60s a 1500 square foot house went for $10k, and in the 80s for $30k, and now $500k even here in New Mexico. It's the Tulip Mania writ large.

68:

Having at least one faraday cage room

Hey. My house came with 2. The bathrooms. Tile was laid over a steel mesh coated with about 3/8" of concrete/mortar with tile stuck on that. Chest high tile around much of the bath with tiled floors. Plus the porcelain coated iron tubs.

I had to go with 3 access points to get around these and get full house coverage.

1961 construction in North Carolina.

69:

#47 agreed with the note that "ground level" in the Old Town has actively risen, sometimes several stories.

70:

give it a few decades and the typical block of flats in a small town might be twenty floors down as well as up.

Going down is MUCH harder than going up. Unless there is a good reason. Like getting to bedrock to support something going way up. Or parking to deal with aesthetics.

A decade or so ago a local architect told me that parking on dirt was $10K per spot in new construction. Going up no more than a few levels cost $20K per spot. And going down costs about $30K per spot.

A big deal is water. Water is the enemy of all construction. When you go up the water mostly runs away. And walls and roofs only need to shed it, not be water tight. When you go down you have to be able to pump (there are no perfect walls) 24/7 forever.

71:

I'd say the minimum for a dwelling are power, waste management and physical protection. On top of that we like partitioned living spaces, and to keep our stuff ordered.
If we start heading down the automated communist utopia route I can imagine spaces being converted for highly configurability, a fixed port for waste and power (in a non load bearing wall, never the floor), and a couple of hundred thousand wall/furniture bots, piping printed on site as needed. Renovation will be all about how to safely remove as many walls as you can.

Anything that can be printed on site can be recycled on site, and everything else is shuttled in and out. Given that people like to end the day with the same keepsakes that they started maybe strong boxes if you are time-sharing your space. All those tiny apartments that are being thrown up in cites will suddenly feel massive (assuming your ceiling bots can give a real sense of depth). Moving house becomes giving the bots a mailing address and telling them to shift there.

If we continue down our current path, it will be the same for about 0.1% of the population and shanty town for the rest of us.

72:

Cairo,Illinois

Perfect example of a town where the reasons for it to exist moved on with nothing to replace.

PS: Us locals call kay row.

73:

New York might be a little better, but with subways and deeply buried water pipes, things get *interesting* if that infrastructure is below sea level.

I think most of such infrastructure in NYC IS below sea level. What Sandy pointed out what that the infrastructure to keep the salt water out wasn't any where near resilient to handle a prolonged power outage. But it did mean that much of Manhattan got fiber for the trunk lines ahead of schedule. Verizon had been injecting pressurized air into the conduits to keep the water out and when they ran out of fuel ....

74:

I live in a London new build apartment (rented because I am not a millionaire) after having moved from a converted town house estimated to be about 70 years old. The two biggest differences between them are energy efficiency and capacity to retrofit.

The place is ludicrously well insulated and very well sound insulated too. The building itself has a communal hot water system with heat-exchange units rather than individual boilers in each flat. This keeps the place constantly warm at a relatively low cost (about £1 a day) regardless of the time of year. There are some definite issues with this (we can't change hot water supplier so we're stuck with the company that maintains it regardless of how they might change cost or quality of service) but I expect things like this will be the norm. If it was resident managed and community owned that would be even better, but in any case not being constantly cold in winter (old townhouse would get warm only after 3-4 hours of expensive heating) for low cost and high efficiency is very good. If it had an equally good centralized air conditioning system I can see the design being common (particularly for elderly homes) in the future.

A big issue though is the design philosophy. Everything is hidden behind walls to save space. The toilet cisterns (one en suit, one bathroom) are built into the walls, as are the showers, the kitchen units (a well packed wall in the open plan main room) cannot be removed without removing the counter top and all the wiring is hidden behind etc. This has led to some painful situations where a simple plumbing fix has resulted in multiple trips with sections of the wall having to be removed then put back in. Every tradesperson has complained about this style of building as it makes fixing/replacing a nightmare.

I expect this style will persist because of how space saving it is but I hope that designers realise how bad it is for when things go wrong and start working in easy ways to remove things, or open up sections of the walls, as needed.

Sans any major disaster an average home in a century might be like this: large, compact communal blocks designed to be highly energy efficient with centarlised systems in the building and modular designs for slotting domestic appliances into the walls.

75:

(Reply linked to JBS @57 went astray …)

I wonder if some enterprising tenants could join together to purchase a block and do something similar; jacking up the existing buildings to build new ground floor garages?

Complex question.

Here in the New Town, the answer would be a hard "nope", it'd change the character of the built environment which, as noted, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. (Fucking around with Grade 1 listed architecture is actually an imprisonable offense, although you're more likely to end up with a punitive fine and a statutory order to Put Things Back EXACTLY The Way They Were, Using Original Materials, Fixtures, And Fittings, On Pain Of Pain.)

Also, even if you could do that (and what are these "tenants" you speak of? Property law in Scotland is a bit weird: I'm in a 4th floor apartment which I own outright) you'd be dealing with 200 year old structures. No steel reinforcements, floors held up by oak beams 6" thick that were probably recycled from sailing ships. They're not going to move easily or safely ...

However, outside the preserved-for-the-future heritage zone, there are outlying bits that aren't as tightly controlled. The area towards Leith (the port of Edinburgh, about 1-2 miles down the road from the centre of the city) was heavily mined about 700 years ago, and until recently (50 years ago) there was a problem with sink-holes and the odd building collapsing at random into long-lost mine shafts. This has mostly been fixed, but the occasional holes get in-filled with new-build structures. Aside from the student flats (the current housing bubble), a popular development is new tenement blocks, with the ground floor designed in as parking. They're built to superficially resemble 100-200 year old flats, with the same stone as cladding, and the parking garages are not readily visible from street level, so they're tolerated as not changing the visual appearance of the area too much.

76:

Lets see: Everyone is mostly alive, so.

Step one: The world adopts the infrastructure construction and planning practices of Spain. This cuts the cost of building infrastructure to an utterly ridiculous degree (Spain is better at this than China. As in, they manage to pay first world salaries and get things built cheaper than the Chinese do)

Step two:Steel And Stone Solves All Problems.
Pretty much the exact opposite of nimby and banana. The vast amounts of labor freed up by ever increasing automation is in very large part poured into the construction sector, and the average home is a pile of stone filled with very large apartments, a communal rooftop greenhouse, a ground floor which is rented out to some commercial or community enterprise, and a solidity of construction which snickers at category five storms. Urban densities are very high, but not as high as you would assume by glancing at the built environment, because the unit sizes are intended to remove the desire to move to the suburbs.

The very high density keeps the ground floor commerce ticking over. Much of it is experience oriented - VR, sure, but also martial arts dojos, music teachers, community theater spaces, music venues, spoken word poetry, bars, ect.

On Food and Sanitation: The sewers may have been redone into multi-stringed systems to separate the handling of waste water and human waste. Taken to the logical extreme, bathrooms have separate facilities for handling number one and number two, just to simplify ultimate waste handling, though maybe we get elegant solutions for handling mixed waste. Certainly, cleaning agents which the waste treatment facilities do not like are simply not sold, and if you are on medication which should not end up in the stream, you are going to get hilarious doctors orders and a portable "Haz-mat toilet" home with you. The waste stream is processed into fertilizer, which goes to the automated food "Factories". These are not vertical. They are a small faction of the former farmland rendered impervious to the vagaries of weather.

77:

In a "serious but survivable climate change" scenario like the one you outlined I would expect things like UNESCO status and restrictions on listed buildings to be forgotten as soon as the "serious" bit starts.

As soon as the focus shifts to getting everyone though alive then inefficient poorly insulated buildings that Kill People will be seen as a liability. I expect any restrictions on double glazing etc. will be quietly forgotten, or at least only enforced against poor people.

78:

Am I the only one here know knows about Chicago being lifted up to deal with the swampiness of the area?

Granted it was over 150 years ago.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raising_of_Chicago

79:

Miami can deal with the water issue via rainwater collection and floating desalination. The city population is likely to be in the low millions, so it shouldn't be an issue. When it comes to NYC, I am not sure of the relevance of the fact that the subway would be underwater?

When it comes to housing, the US is not California. The percentage of families in multifamily households peaked in 2016 at 20 percent and has been declining slightly since. In 2018, both NYC and Chicago experienced a decline in population, partly due to the newly retired moving down south.

As for the American dream, the US has the highest effective minimum wage in history


https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/24/upshot/why-america-may-already-have-its-highest-minimum-wage.html&sa=U&ved=2ahUKEwj2pLWV7vfhAhVQnFkKHSnVDMUQFjAAegQICxAC&usg=AOvVaw1t_13JZLsU4k44ZBoYpTbJ

80:

Miami can deal with the water issue via rainwater collection and floating desalination.

In 2100, Miami will not be inhabited because there's absolutely nothing there able to justify dealing with being in the hundreds-of-lethal-days-per-year temperature regime.

The other part of that is the last time the atmospheric carbon load was where it was today, sea level was about ten metres higher. The IPCC melt predictions are optimistic (we know this because we're observing glacier melt rates happen a good deal faster); parts of Florida go land-under-wave by 2100, with expectations of more to follow.

81:

I think border controls will keep a significant portion of the human population in those zones. Miami is probablya better place tobe than most of Florida. I think that Miami can survive as a tax haven, or a smuggler's den, if it doesn't survive based on be

82:

Given the lack of communal support for the less-well-off, Miami will be non-survivable in 2119 for the homeless or those too poor to afford air-conditioned and storm-proofed accommodation.

This basically means all the people who currently do casual work, from car washes to gardening and cleaning.

Which in turn will have knock-on effects on their rich neighbours, because when you can't get someone to clean up debris after a hurricane (or, hell, pick fruit—take your pick of hard-to-automate low-wage casual jobs) it makes it harder to cling on.

Smuggler's den/tax haven: maybe. But it'll be a ghost town compared to Miami in 2019, unless Floridans suddenly discover a taste for Dutch-style communitarian initiatives and building big dykes.

83:

I do agree that Miami would be a shadow of its its former self. Most of the housing is suburban; that won't survive. My prediction for 2100: Miami will have a population of up to 1 million for these reasons

1. There's currently a building boom resulting in a lot of high rises. Since dykes don't work there, people will let the first few floors flood and live in the rest of the buildings. Those who can afford it will live in house boats.

2. Walmart supports welfare programs such as food stamps because it allows them to offer lower salaries. I could see aircon going the same way

3. Where else are Florida residents going to go? Nowhere else in Florida are there that many high rises?

Note that I'm using Florida as a standin for coastal cities in wet bulb zones.

84:

VR & telepresence for the elderly and physically disabled. My father-in-law was 90 years old when he died in 2000; still mentally alert but as frail as eggshells and barely able to walk. His equivalent in 2119 will live in a comfortable room at home, and send his telepresence robot out into the world to interact with younger people as a peer. Similarly for people with multiple sclerosis, assuming it's not cured then, and other degenerative illnesses.

Speaking of which, the population of the elderly is going to get a lot bigger. We may see a return for servants' quarters for caregivers, if robots, partly telepresence-operated and partly operated by AI, don't take over the work.

Your house will be your friend, or a member of the family: Digital assistants will become better and better, more and more able to interact in colloquial, natural language. Here in the real world of 2019, researchers for Google, Apple and Amazon are working on techniques to make virtual assistants _likeable;_ expect that to be realy, really good in 2019. Your virtual assistant will be virtually indistinguishable from a person; philosophers will argue about whether it is one.

This is one prediction that the science fiction writers will have gotten right. We won't have flying cars or jungle colonies on Venus, but you will be able to get up in the morning, stretch and yawn, and say, "Good morning house! What's going on today!" And the house will tell you you look great and it's happy to see you and then give you a summary of the weather, your important messages, headlines, appointments, etc.

Living spaces are going to get smaller: There'll be more of us and we'll be more concentrated in cities. En suite bathrooms will become a luxury for the upper middle class and better.

Homes will be private spaces; we'll do our entertaining in public, in cafes and restaurants and pubs and common rooms. (I understand this is already the case in the real world of 2019 in parts of Europe -- here i the US, our houses are big and we have guests over to visit. Well, not me personally, but.... )

85:

When all your infrastructure is underwater--and New York City's skyscrapers tend to have their critical infrastructure in the basement, IIRC from Superstorm Sandy--then the city's not going to adapt to having all those basements flooded, let alone flooding all the subways that serve them (how are people supposed to get in and out of those tubes, and how are you supposed to keep them from flooding?), let alone all the freshwater mains that are below even that.

If you want to build a skyscraper that's going to withstand sea-level rise, all the critical infrastructure (pumps, generators, electrical connections to the grid, cisterns etc.) has to be a lot closer to the roof, and the first few floors basically have to be pilings with temporary walls that can be taken out to let the boats in to the landing on the new atrium dock. Has anyone ever built a skyscraper that way?

As for floating desalination watering a city, please. What do you think these things are, in terms of the area required and energy required? We're talking about plants that need to produce on order of a cubic kilometer of fresh water per year for a million or two people, using about a 1 kWh for every 12 cubic meters of fresh water produced, give or take. You don't float something like that to water a city. Similarly, if you've got to store a cubic kilometer of water, does the city have enough rooftop cisterns to hold that amount? Remember that a cubic meter is one tonne by definition, and a cubic kilometer is 10^9 cubic meters.

86:

The medication case is common enough, as are other disposal requirements - there'll be hazmat infrastructure in place, and moderately smart toilets that can be configured to read from really not very smart bracelets/etc.

The moderately smart toilets will not be networked unless there is an infra-level concern that warrants it: there will not be a literal Internet of Shit.

Your washing machine or equivalent may well make use of the hazmat outlet too. Kitchen sinks are deprecated.

87:

The critical infrastructure can be moved? Who says NYC will have 8.4 million people? What population numbers do you think that I am using? Can vaporettos not handle traffic from a much smaller population?

The better question is: can existing skyscrapers be modified that way? I don't see people building many new buildings in the face of oncoming sea level rise. It will be just like medieval Rome, when people repurposed imperial buildings

Who said that the cisterns have to be on the roof?

I'll address the desal plant later, when I can find my sources

88:

Working from home: not just no, but hell, no.

Charlie, as a writer, is different. But most work... by the early nineties, when I didn't think many companies did telework, I read an article that said that the companies that had a *lot* of telework, then, wanted people into the office once or twice a week, not just for face-to-face meetings, but for the watercooler conversations that turn out to be incredibly important, that just do not happen when you're not face-to-face.

For that matter, who's going to pay for your workspace? In the US, your tax break isn't going to cut it. Will your company pay for anything but 'Net? Nope. Who provides the hardware you work on?

And then we get down to nitty gritty: who's going to repair your backed-up drain? Someone who comes on-site. Or your electrical issue, that you nearly electrocuted yourself with, because you're too ignorant to unplug a toaster before you clean it?

Do you really think *everyone* can do all work in front of a monitor? Or *wants* to?

Nope. We're going to either get Basic Income, or it's going to look like 1890 or worse. That, btw, *was* the gig economy.

89:

I'd flip that again. Servant's quarters, possibly, but also multigenerational homes. One way some family members can make money RIGHT NOW is by taking minimum wage jobs as caretakers for their elderly parents, where the state pays their salary. This is a non-trivial cost: in my family, I had a man who was catastrophically disabled by an encounter with bacterial encephalitis, and his wife provided him the equivalent of $90k/year in nursing for decades, according to what the hospice nurses told her when the man finally died. Paying her, say, $30k/year as a home health aide would have saved the system a huge amount of money, although not so much money as the system saved by her working part time to get out and being a part time caregiver for free.

Having homes that are designed for live-in caregivers isn't stupid, although there's huge potential for abuse. Right now caregivers don't make a lot of money and have to drive sometimes hundreds of miles per day. Providing them a caregiver's flat and giving them a string of patients in a neighborhood saves a lot of cash, although again, socially it's ripe for abuse going both ways.

There are a lot of simple, stupid features that need to be built into homes (Google Universal Design), but it's amazing how few are. Having bedrooms where you don't need to climb stairs to get to them is one critical one. Not having artistically sunken living rooms (where you can't see the step down in the dark) is another (most of the homes in my area have these, in yet another triumph of design over practicality). Decent lighting, non-slip floors on showers, passages wide enough for walkers or wheelchairs, are all necessary as well.

90:

Paying a lot of attention to the Rupert Murdoch "news", eh?

Global warming does not provoke an ice age. Period.
Sea levels *are* going up, and, based on measurements (which keep getting more accurate), is going up faster.

I strongly doubt we'll be at 11B. I suspect we might peak at 9B, and start dropping. Most industrialized countries are growing in population mostly from immigration, since the birth rate is

Unfortunately, I suspect there will be waves of mass famine, as the breadbaskets of the world are struck by weather (the US midwest this spring, anyone? Think food will not cost more by the end of summer?)

The "developed world" will not look the same, any more than it looks like 1890. And do you think all of Africa, and the Middle East, and South America aren't going to join that club (they're already a lot of the way there now; the issues are political and economic).

91:

Yup. Miami, if we haven't abandoned it, will be a Disneyland, and you go there by boat.

Here's another thing: the big thing of loneliness. A significant change, if you live with others. Also, living with others - and I speak from having lived more than a dozen years in either collective houses, or renting out rooms to friends - is way less expensive, and you get more living space than, say, a shipping container.

The nuclear family, as I understand it, was pushed heavily before WWI, to sell more things.

92:

Yeah, getting to some friend's old farm, you got off the Interstate, turned right at kay-ro, and left at ver-sales (them frogs don't know how to talk raght, Versailles...)

93:

Are you talking about the Chicago garbage dump, run by the self-proclaimed "mayor" of North Chicago back in the 1800's... oh, sorry, I mean the Magnificent Mile?

94:

As for homes being a member of the family...yes and no. The Internet of Things has a huge weakness (security) and that likely means that after a few upper class burbclaves have been taken hostage and/or wiped out through the internet, most people probably will want dumb, functioning houses, rather than smart ones wholly owned by RatsAssSecurityIoT, and pwned by some dude in Uganda or, worse, by China during Web War II (do you want the house doors locked and the heat cranked up during a heat wave? If so, connect your home security and HVAC to the internet and depend on the company's security system to be, erm, holy).

That said, there is a role for really smart homes: the climate redoubts of the super-wealthy. The wealthy get indoctrinated into how hard it is to keep wealth in the family, and what extreme measures they need to take to do it (see the industry "bible," Hughes Family Wealth: Keeping it in the Family, which wealth management firms hand out to their clients by the boxload*). If these families can accept trusts, with their attached wealth managers and lawyers, and integral parts of their family, then it's not a stretch for them to accept smart homes as part of the family.

This is different than the IoT idiocy we see now. I'm thinking more of the castle/family estate model, where a family has bought, say, a large and reinforced chateau in rural New Zealand wherein to ride out climate change and the presumed loss of civilization. After a few generation, the grandkids aren't likely to be as brilliant or as psychopathic as their grandparents were (regression towards the mean being normal in human breeding), but the castle their grandparents built may be truly expert on climate change and have a better idea of how to cope than they do. A SF writer could have a lot of fun with a Wooster and Jeeves relationship between the feckless young homeowners and the house that knows far better than they do what they need.

*I've been researching this stuff, not because I have any money, but because I'm trying to write believable super-wealthy villains, and I wanted to see how they're trained, since I normally only see their public faces. It's fascinating stuff, if more than a little nauseating. Harrington's Capital Without Borders is also worthwhile in this regard.

95:

ROTFL!

As my late ex, a pretty much native Floridian (she got there at the advanced age of 4) used to put it, Florida's a sand bar. Sea level rise means most of it *ain't*.

And exactly where would you put a desalination plant?

Meanwhile, NYC... y'know folks, I have to wonder if some of you have ever been there, much less spent any time in the city (or City, as it's called on this side of the Pond). Lower Manhattan has a lot of sea level issues, but they *will* build dikes. On the other hand, it goes uphill pretty fast. The money, esp, will move uptown (if they're not already doing that).

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/11/28/freaking-out-about-nyc-sea-level-rise-is-easy-to-do-when-you-dont-pay-attention-to-history/

96:

Highest effective minimum wage in history? The US? Today? Not hardly.

When you measure something like that you can't use dollars, you need some complex value that includes the cost to rent an apartment and the cost of a dozen eggs. And by that kind of measure the current minimum wage in the US is a lot lower than it was in 1960. It's quite possible that currently more people are covered, as I don't have any idea just what percentage of the population works on jobs that are not covered by minimum wage restrictions...I just know that it's a lot more than I used to think.

A second problem with that assertion is that the minimum wage isn't exactly a federal rule, or at least it wasn't in the 1960's, when I needed to know.

97:

"Highest effective minimum wage in history"?

Gee, I'm glad I'd finished my tea with lunch before I read that.

Lessee, around 1967 or '68, it went from $1.25 to $1.40? $1.42/hr. Using mark's economic indicators*, that would be over $14.00 today (seen any campaign to raise it to $15 from the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hr?

Got any more outright right-wing LIES to try to spread?

98:

One other thought I had. Housing needs change over time. A young couple might need a small home and then will need more space as children occur and then those extra rooms are superfluous once the kids leave the nest. It's wasteful to have more house than you need but also expensive to keep changing houses as your household demands change. Wouldn't it be nice to have on-demand housing that can scale with your current needs?

Barring any concept like LEGO housing where you are plugging in and out modules it ends up coming back to the idea of communal buildings. It puts me to mind of some of the dorms I've seen in American colleges that are setup like a four bedroom apartment. Each bedroom has room for a bed, desk, a closet and a toilet/shower bathroom. The common area is a living room, large kitchen and washer/dryer. In an arrangement like I'm thinking, you would rent more bedrooms for when you have kids and then can let them go when the kids move out. You can lower your expenses without having to move.

99:

Forgot my footnote: mEI: what's the price of a breakfast special (two eggs, home fries, toast and coffee) at a non-chain, non-fast food restaurant that only is open for breakfast and lunch?

Around 1967 or so, it was $0.69. Now? Varies between a "sale" (and location of restaurant) of $3.99 and $6.99.

100:

Until around 2005-ish, you could use the price for an ounce of gold as a crude but halfway decent converter from current values to historic values. Then the speculators and gold bugs got active, and I don't think it's an honest index anymore.

That said, while I agree with you on having a complex metric, the bigger problem is that it's relative to where you live. People can live in most of the world on a few dollars a day. Doing that in California makes you homeless, because the minimum kit for living in most places includes having a car and a phone (especially a cell phone). In New York, you don't need a car, but rents are ludicrously high, and so on. Trying to figure out what the minimum wage even means in such circumstances gets complicated.

One good example is that in a good chunk of California (rural as well as urban), someone making the median wage (around $60k) cannot afford to buy a median-priced home (around $500k), and someone making minimum wage cannot afford to rent an apartment by themselves (around $2000/month). In Sonoma County before the 2017 fire, the low-wage workers needed to keep the county running had to mostly live outside the county, as the home prices were far to high in that part of wine country for them to even rent.

101:

The New York Times is right wing? That would be news to Trump. Glad that I finished my lunch before reading that.

102:

If you want silly house designs for 2119, here are a few other ideas:

Vortex Bladeless Turbines (Company PR site) have the idea of swaying towers capturing wind energy. They haven't made a product yet, but one could envision a city that has crappy solar prospects (Edinburgh, say) erecting an urban forest of "wind whips" throughout the city to get some local electricity generated. On an even less realistic note, one could see a sky filled with "energy kites" (which suspend microturbines a couple of thousand feet up) helping power the city. Planes would not enjoy such a cluttered sky, nor would helicopters, but if you want wacko-futuristic, it might work.

Years ago, I thought about a sustainable city with a sky filled with wind kites, while "serpent-ship" zeppelins fly slowly among them on ducted fans. The latter came from an existing aerostat design. The idea is that you have a main body filled with hydrogen to lift the load. Then, on the downwind end of the ship, you have a "tail" filled with balloons holding the hydrogen fuel for the ship. As the ship uses up the hydrogen fuel in the tail, it drops water ballast to compensate for the decrease in lift and reels the deflating tail in. The thing would look like an enormous backwards sperm flying tail first, but it might work, especially if it had the tail fully reeled in by the time it had to land in a city whose sky was filled with huge power kites, while big wind whips cluttered the cityscape below.

103:

Check out Universal Design, although the originators of this concept have scaled back from a "one house that can be remodeled throughout your lifetime" to having a home that can be remodeled for "aging in place."

Or, again, you do the multigenerational home, with the kids in the attic, the parents on the second floor, and the grandparents on the first floor. As people die and age, they move down through the house, while (hopefully!) their kids take their place above them, and surplus rooms get rented out. I think a decent example of this are probably the Pueblo Indians, whose traditional architecture kind of follows this pattern (and three floors up in a pueblo is *not* the most desirable room).

104:

The New York Times is right wing?

Yep. Decent in-depth reporting, but centre-right editorial stance.

I've not heard of any American left-wing newspapers — given how the American political spectrum runs from right-wing to batshit-crazy-extreme-tight-wing, I'd be mildly surprised if any have survived.

105:

Sorry, but global warming *does* provoke an ice-age. The problem is time-scale. The mechanism is roughly this (warning: I'm no expert in the field):

I global warming ->

Oceanic warming & rising sea levels ->

?? (Could be a chain of volcanoes, a large meteor, SOMETHING causes a couple of cold years) ->

More snow falls in winter than melts in summer, but the oceans are still warm, so the air stays humid ->

The increased snow pack results in increased albedo ->

The Glaciers march ->

The oceans cool down, and the atmosphere becomes less humid

The problem is the time scale. We aren't talking centuries, though a couple of the transitions happen fairly quickly. I think the one from the hot-oceans, high sea levels to the increasing albedo happens within a decade or so, but the glaciers marching takes millennia, and so do most of the other steps.

OTOH, it's been a long time since there was this much CO2 in the atmosphere, and the last time, if I'm remembering correctly, was during a Pangaea. Today the continents are divided a lot differently, and the sun is hotter. So we may be out of the pattern I was asserting. Even if not, note that the switch from hot to cooling required an unlikely random event. (Well, unlikely in any particular century.)

106:

There's actually one big (again California suburban) problem that might get a Medieval design fix.

Right now, we're stuck with the mid-century idea of bedroom commuter neighborhoods and various kinds of industries that these people commute to. It's not entirely stupid, in that it allows planners to focus on various kinds of infrastructure necessary for different uses in different places, and you don't (theoretically) get the problems associated with things like polluting factories popping up next to houses, as in Texas. Or, sadly, in too many poor communities (the preference of polluters for poor neighborhoods is the basis of the environmental justice movement).

The problem is that, at least locally, over half our greenhouse gas emissions come simply from people driving, and this turns out to be really hard to solve. The obvious solution is to put employment centers in bedroom communities. Unfortunately, it's effectively impossible to make sure that the employers draw all their employees from the local homes. It's equally likely that their people will live far away in some other suburb, and rather than decreasing commuter miles, the scattered employment centers double them, clogging roads and increasing GHG emissions.

One "blank slate" solution is the company town or, in more medieval terms, designating neighborhoods for certain industries. In these examples, people live close to or on top of their work and all the businesses in an industry are clustered in a single neighborhood. Thus, in a 21st Century redesigned city, you may have the AI quarter, the 3D printers' quarter, the wealth management quarter, the pharmaceutical quarter, the first responders' quarter near the jail, the recyclers' quarter on the town's downwind side, and so forth.

It is a medieval solution, but then again, transportation is a huge chunk of greenhouse gas emissions. One of the only ways to cut down on this kind of emission is to cut down on commutes. That implies that people live and socialize near where they work, and that also means that their workplaces need to cluster with their competitors. This also deals with the environmental justice issue to some degree, in that people who work in high paying but high polluting jobs (like semiconductor manufacturing) have to live in the mess they make. Hopefully this will incentivize them to work more cleanly.

107:

I don't know if the nuclear family was pushed before WWI, but it was pushed after WWII, and the reason was to facilitate organizations moving jobs at will. It may have resulted in people buying more things, but that was seen as a secondary benefit by those who benefited, and many companies didn't benefit from that aspect, but all the LARGE companies benefited from being able to move jobs around as they chose.

108:

A lot of you are assuming strict space constraints - I think this may be very mistaken.

Housing shortages today exist because people who own their residences are far more politically active than the mean, and use the resulting clout to choke of the supply of new housing, to drive up the financial worth of their property via entirely artificial scarcity.

That entire nexus of political sabotage will not survive the blatant necessity of rebuilding most of the housing stock. And if you are building entire cities on a blank canvas, you are not going to build tenements with tiny apartments. You are going to build quite palatial apartments, because the goal is to rehouse the suburbs, and it is easier to just stack more stones than to tell the middle class to go live in an efficiency. By far.

109:

Nope. Continental positions and the presence of large numbers of ophiolites weathering on the surface provoke ice ages. And the last time the Earth had this much carbon in the atmosphere was the Pliocene, when the continents were about where they are now.

Let me unpack this:

--Earth has two states: hothouse (about 80% of the last 500 million years) and icehouse (now, and previously in the Carboniferous). The point is that what we call greenhouse hell is actually the norm for Earth. The weird part is that it's happening now, when we've got highly dispersed continents and big islands (lots of erodable coastline), large mountains (the Himalayas, Rockies, and Andes) cause by massive subduction (lots of erosion there too).

Why does this matter? Eroding igenous rock is the largest sink for carbon, far larger than the soil or forests. If you don't have lots of rucked up rock in the form of big mountain chains and volcanic islands triggered by subduction zones, you lose a big carbon sink. Pangaea, with that one big continent, was a hothouse.

--We're in an icehouse world, where we go from interglacials (where we are now) to glacial periods (which we'd normally shift into likely in a few thousand years, if not for human activity). Whatever we do to the atmosphere, it will be followed eventually by another ice age when atmospheric CO2 concentrations get low enough and a few other things happen. The thing is that these "few other things" are predicated on the way the continents are set up now, not on anything we do with atmospheric GHGs. (Yes, milankovitch cycles are important, but they happen regardless of where the continents are. It's the combination of continents plus cycles plus really low CO2 levels plus probably a megavolcanic triggering event or similar year-without-a-summer trigger that start ice ages. That's why they're so rare in Earth's history, and why they tend to happen repeatedly when they do happen).

And yes, it's more complicated. But so far as the whole hothouse/icehouse thing goes, Earth's only been in this low CO2 icehouse for the Pleistocene. Before that it was coming out of about 350 million years of hothouse Earth (part of the Paleozoic, the entire Mesozoic, the entire Paleogene, and the Tertiary until the Miocene). What our GHG emissions likely will do is to kick the Earth from icehouse to hothouse for up to 400,000 years, but at the end of it we'll be back in icehouse mode, and another ice age will start. Our problem as modern humans is that our genus basically evolved in the ice ages, so while we can beat the heat, this whole hothouse Earth thing will be new to us, and since the last time the Earth jumped from icehouse to hothouse was the end of the Carboniferous, it's going to be pretty new to everything on this planet, too. New, in this case, means extinction event for everything that can't adapt fast enough.

110:

Or, again, you do the multigenerational home, with the kids in the attic, the parents on the second floor, and the grandparents on the first floor. As people die and age, they move down through the house, while (hopefully!) their kids take their place above them, and surplus rooms get rented out.

After watching our parents age and those of all of our friends age (we're in our early 60s) I've been a bit blunt with my wife that our current split level is a bad idea for us going forward. The only toilets and baths are on the upper floor. We're 1 bad sprain or worse from being marooned in a bedroom for weeks or months. Eating out of a mini fridge unless we have live in help.

111:

And for some reason this topic brought to mind this song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LL-Psnz9gk

(Oysterband: "Here Comes the Flood")

112:

One of the only ways to cut down on this kind of emission is to cut down on commutes. That implies that people live and socialize near where they work, and that also means that their workplaces need to cluster with their competitors.

This would look at lot like Pittsburgh and other early industrial cities. When I lived in the Pittsburgh area in the 80s it was interesting to me how so many people rarely traveled more than 5 miles from where they grew up. This was the 1980s, not the 1880s. People there just stayed put way more than most places.

113:

It's equally likely that their people will live far away in some other suburb, and rather than decreasing commuter miles, the scattered employment centers double them, clogging roads and increasing GHG emissions.

Welcome to the GTA. Add in public transit optimized to move people into/out of urban core rather than around periphery, and you have virtually guaranteed traffic chaos. (And a captive market for a private toll highway built with public money… Mike Harris, the gift that keeps giving.)

114:

I recall reading that modern ideas of physical, visual and auditory privacy are relatively recent -- like in the past century or two. Previously, people shared big rooms, with servants for the middle class and servants and courtiers for the nobility.

This is a minor plot point in Larry Niven's "A World Out of Time." A modern man goes into cryogenic suspension and wakes up centuries in the future; he has difficulty defecating and having sex in the middle of a dormroom shared by others.

My earlier predictions (up higher in this thread) assumed that privacy ideas a century from now, in the west, would be similar to today. You'd want to sleep alone or with a spouse, and eat and relax only with family. If that changes, then housing looks a lot more like dormitories.

And yes to a resurgence of boarding houses for unmarrried people without children. I've heard about some of that springing up in San Francisco -- with a fancy high-tech name and accompanying apps.

Indeed, I'm surprised that boarding houses haven't survived through today; they just seem so practical for unmarried adults.

On the other hand, maybe they have survived, and we just call them "studio apartments" in the US, and "bedsits" in the UK. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, boarding houses provided meals, now that's outsourced (to use Charlie's word) to restaurants; same for laundry service and laundromats.

115:

As for California--let's talk north of Redding/would be State of Jefferson California--the wages are low in towns like Dorris and Tulelake (though they are considered satrapies of the Klamath Basin--in fact, some members of the Klamath County Library, in Oregon, are from Dorris and Tulelake because we've seen what they have for libraries there).

But so is the cost of housing. You can buy a house today for under $200,000 in a fairly nice location in the Klamath area (though you can also spend a lot more. You can also spend $129,000 for a three bedroom, two bedroom bath house on Bly Mountain, but you will also have *interesting* neighbors--cue sound of banjos playing). In Tulelake itself, the median cost of a house is $78,000.
https://www.areavibes.com/tulelake-ca/real-estate/

In Dorris, CA, the median price of a house is slightly higher, around $119,000.
https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-search/Dorris_CA

So yes, most of the California is through the roof on housing, but the extremely rural parts, not so much.

116:

I recall reading that modern ideas of physical, visual and auditory privacy are relatively recent

I've heard that too. Can't recall where.

Given how much I enjoy solitude, I'm not keen on moving into an apartment building — not without either really good acoustical insulation or better manners than seems to be the Canadian norm.

117:

I enjoy solitude too. I'm fine with an apartment building. I've lived in apartments.

But the kind of dorm arrangements or boarding houses I discussed above makes my skin crawl.

On the other hand, I can and do enjoy solitude in crowds -- airports, shopping centers, busy city streets. So I can imagine the 22d Century version of me would be comfortable in a big common room, maybe something that resembles one of today's hotel lobbies.

118:

Much of the US suburbs was created when the returning GIs and the money in the economy allowed folks to leave the packed cities. There was a lot of nostalgial for those 3 and 4 story walk ups in NYC and other big places but in the end people wanted to get further away from their neighbors. The nosy ones, the busy bodies, the ones who's kids ran around yelling and not behaving (unlike your angels), etc...

And then after they moved to 1200sf suburb housing on 1/8 acre lots they moved again to 2000sf on 1/3 acre when they could afford it for similar reasons.

119:

Welcome to the GTA.

After a bit of googling, I think you mean "Greater Toronto Area" (?)

In my part of the world, GTA means Grand Theft Auto, which is malapropriate in its own special way.

120:

The way to get company towns to work is to provide housing as part of the wage. If you don't, people will travel as far as the then current technology allows. Given self driving cars that you can sleep in, that's a ridiculous distance.

What noone has mentioned, and which exists only in embryo form and, as far as I know, seemingly unique to Australia, is the return of nomads. We have grey nomads here. They sell their city house, buy a small house in the country and a large motor home (your primary residence, below a certain value, doesn't count against your means tested pension) and then leave. They spend the winter in the tropics and the summer in higher latitudes.

Probably a quarter of the houses in my town are that sort of base, (mid way between the summer and wintering grounds)

Given basic income, lethal summer heat and massive winter snowfalls (more humid air) that might become popular.

121:

Much of the US suburbs was created when the returning GIs and the money in the economy allowed folks to leave the packed cities.

There's that story, which has a large grain of truth in it. There's also the story about how Civil Defense and the inability to protect cities from nuclear attacks (by, for instance, rebuilding them underground) led to the idea of spreading the population and infrastructure out, so that it was theoretically less hard to completely cripple the US by nuking it. That's another story, anyway(see here for some references, may be biased). What does matter is that nukes and suburban sprawl both rose in the Eisenhower administration.

As for why suburbanization continues, basically sprawl's extremely profitable to build. You start with land that has low value (ranches, farms), and you buy it up cheap, build a bunch of cookie cutter homes on it, and sell those homes for a fair amount of money. That's how the developer profits. The local municipality profits because they get all the property tax revenue from the homes and which they didn't get from the previous land use.

Now notice that sprawl causes all sorts of other systemic damage and ignores the costs of losing good farmland, losing land that was sequestering carbon, forcing people into long commutes, building homes that aren't well designed for solar conversion because they're made for prettiness and oriented randomly to the sun, and so forth. However, they make money for municipalities and developers, and that's a partnership that's still raging across the US and elsewhere. Beating this system is going to be hard, because redevelopment isn't nearly as profitable. It's about artisanal reworking rather than industrial repetition, so it takes more design work, produces less tax revenue, and can't be replicated endlessly in suburb after suburb.

The problem for the sprawl developers is that it's running out of good places to build. Right now, developments are slated for the valley of the San Andreas Fault and a place in San Diego that's burned 17 times in the last 110 years, and has one road in and out. Nobody who knows about these problems would buy a million dollar home in these places (which yes, they are proposing to build large numbers of), so I suppose that the real estate agents aren't going to mention those problems to prospective buyers.

122:

We've got plenty of nomads in North America.

Google "snowbirds". We've also had tramps, hobos, and people riding the rails since the Great Depression, and now we've got the Dirty Kids. A chunk of people who go to Burning Man and the Rainbow Gatherings are nomads.

Many entertainers and circus people are effectively nomads, as are the people who work the county and state fair circuit and basically live on the road for most of the year.

For a newer version, you can google "vanlife" or "van life," which is a growing problem around here in certain neighborhoods. And we've got our gray nomads too, the grandparents who buy the big RV and spend most of their time on the road, shuttling between parks and kids.

123:

I forgot the most important group of nomads of all: the super rich. When a person's personal net worth is higher than the GDP of half the countries on the planet, their relationship with national citizen ship is negotiable, sometimes even fungible. It's really fascinating that they've realized a lot of the dreams of anarchists and it makes me wonder how much both modern anarchism and libertarianism are simply the desire to have what the wealthiest have.

124:

David L @78 said: Am I the only one here know knows about Chicago being lifted up to deal with the swampiness of the area?

There was an episode on PBS that discussed it. Deeply scary when I watched the series. HA!

Lifting Chicago: Introducing How We Get To Next
http://www.pbs.org/how-we-got-to-now/blogs/howwegottonext/lifting-chicago-introducing-how-we-get-to-next/

125:

Heteromeles @122 said: We've got plenty of nomads in North America.

That is discussed in the book Nomadland.

On the Road With the Casualties of the Great Recession
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/19/books/review-nomadland-jessica-bruder.html

Look at any Sam's Club parking lot and you will find people living there.

126:

Mark,

I've posted this many times before.

The Coming Ice Age
https://harpers.org/archive/1958/09/the-coming-ice-age/?single=1

A slight warming opens up the Arctic Ice exposing the Arctic Ocean to evaporation. That's why we've had such bad weather this year. A section of the Arctic Ocean opened up, destabilizing the Polar Vortex pushing Arctic air over the Great Lakes dumping snow and rain over the region, causing massive flooding.

The greater the area of Arctic Ocean exposed, the greater the snow in the Northern Latitudes and the greater the rain in the Middle Latitudes.

A year of snow, and a year of rain will kill billions, while cooling the planet.

This ties into your next part:

I strongly doubt we'll be at 11B.

11 billion people is obvious when you look at the data.

Why we wrote Factfulness
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-kbZiCX7h4

The fascinating thing about Factfulness, is that Rosling developed the extensive graphic presentation over the years to try and get past people's preconceived beliefs. The people he would lecture were educated, usually "experts" in their field with access to current data, but were still trapped in the mindset of when they went to University.

Basically they found:

“Everyone believes very easily whatever they fear or desire.”

Jean de la Fontaine

Hans Rosling on factfulness (2015)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6iAhU2E_Vc&list=PLAA_uxQHVV7U761wk7BgvtALD4k8aXZfE

127:

So as it happens, I spent a lot of time thinking about this exact problem-space in the last 7 years, because we have built a house (in Denmark).

One of our requirements was to build "green" as calculated over the lifetime of the building and after researching that, the answer is that the longer the house will be used, the better the green footprint.

That lead us to the meta-conclusion from Charlies initial examples: The easiest way for a building to survive is to be adaptable and remodel-able.

As to building technology:

At least on non-polar latitudes, energy-balance is a solved problem, with most of the remaining issues concerning down-regulating temperature: We can literally see the heating cut out if we have two friends over for tea.

Windows are heat sources, if you want them to be: A thin visible-transparent and IR-reflective coating and noble gas filling does that, and it works almost too well: Remember to draw the white curtains when you leave for summer vacation!

So all in all, you pretty much have full freedom to shape your house as you want, subject to plot size, zoning etc.

You can then either optimize for cost or longevity.

If you optimize for cost, the building is built for exactly, precisely and only that floor plan and use, and nothing can be changed because the only thing left after optimization is what is required for the building to stay put in a storm, and no element is mounted to make replacement possible, not even windows and doors.

Get an unexpected 2nd or 3rd kid ? Move to a different house. Forget all about adding a room. Get a different hobby ? Inherit 200 paintings ? Move.

Inside walls will mostly be plasterboard, which means it is easy to hang things, but impossible to unhang them. After about three-four changes of ownership, the house is ready to tear down, because replacing the worn parts is more expensive than building a new house.

In Denmark we're tearing that kind of house from 1960-1980'es down now.

If you optimize for longevity, you over-dimension the house so that any N-2 interior walls can be torn down without impacting the statics. You also build from materials like brick, light concrete (1.9t/m³), wood, mineral insulation etc.

The median age of this quality of buildings, typically from 1860...1950 in Denmark, grows by approx 300-350 days per year.

As far as I can tell, there is less than 10% difference in what those two kinds of buildings cost to build right now, and we picked the latter model.

With respect to "moving with the times", the BR2020 building code in Denmark has minimum window/daylight requirement (14% of floor area as I recall) that makes it illegal to build the otherwise obvious "home-cinema" in the middle of the building.

I asked the authors: "We didn't think of that..."

The same building code requires, but variance is easy to get, that you can get in and out of, and live your life in the building bound to a wheel-chair. We intend to live the rest of our lives here, so we were generous with turning space, for instance in the bathrooms.

We don't have a car, but we built a garage anyway and use it for bikes, lawn-mowing robot winter storage and the house's technical installations (heat-pump, ventilation, PV inverter).

The next owner may use the garage for his vintage manual car ("real german diesel - costs me a liter of olive oil for every 8 km!") or maybe as a workshop for her 1m³ working volume combined CNC/3D printer.

We also added a lot of electrical outlets "weird places" such as on the middle of a wall 20cm below the ceiling.

Who knows, a 80" screen may need power there some day, and it is a LOT cheaper to put the outlet there from the start.

And yes, Cat-6E too.

To summ up:

I think the ideal future residential *building* is a robust shell with an energy-management system in one corner.

The future residential *dwelling* is whatever and however the inhabitants decide to partition and use the resulting building volume.

But for most people the realistic future home is what we already see in the new generation of "mobile homes" in USA: It looks like a real house, but it comes on a truck and its lifetime is max 25 years, after which it is easy to dispose of in a environmental responsible way, if a 20 year return periode climatic event did not already take care of it.

128:

For a newer version, you can google "vanlife" or "van life," which is a growing problem around here in certain neighborhoods.

It's a problem where I am too -- San Diego, California. They live near the beach. People who live in conventional housing near the beach, which costs a lot of money, complain about late-night partying, drug deals and other crime, and using the street as a toilet.

129:

The way to get company towns to work is to provide housing as part of the wage.

Greetings, American, and welcome to the 22d Century! If you liked the 21st Century, where losing your job meant losing your health coverage, you'll love it here, where you can lose your home too!

130:

About the only firms that even consider doing this now are pressure cookers.

Productivity research, ca 1920, 1930. Workers cant sustain output for more than about 40 hours a week, long term.

Footnotes to said research, post 2000: The actual limit is something like 50, 60, but commute and the more work-like home maintenance tasks (cleaning, cooking if this is not how you relax) come out of that budget, hence the earlier result, and why the "masters of the universe" do not suffer burnout even more than they do - they are driven everywhere, and have staff to keep their house in order, and why people with long commutes suffer so very badly

A certain kind of manager : "Hey, wait a minute".

And that is how a software house or engineering consultancy winds up with a office with staff housing on top. And a cleaning service.

131:

Howdy neighbor! I'm in San Diego too.

I've been getting an earful about van life from my friends in PB, although I don't live there.

There's even an interesting, erm, business wherein some company rents luxury RVs, parks them at Campland, people come in and use them for the weekend or whatever (perhaps to watch the speedboat races?), then leave, and the company sends a lackey out to drive the luxury RV back to the holding lot and clean it. Great way to have an unpermitted luxury VRBO-type thing next to Mission Bay.

132:

The problems that need solving are that (at least in San Diego) cars and trucks account for 55% of GHG emissions, and we're dealing with the reality that there's no money to widen freeways let alone build more. Even adding transit is causing shrieks and vapors from the usual suspects.

So forget electric driverless cars. Yes they don't pollute, but no, the roads are already getting jammed. We need higher human density in the vehicles (buses and trains) and shorter commutes.

That's where the idea of building specific industry sectors into a city makes a bit of sense. If everyone knows you head to, say, Sorrento Valley for biotech, then finding ways (presumably after the Big Earthquake) to put upper middle class housing near Sorrento Valley is one way to cut down on the car emissions.

It's a solution that works better with a city rebuild (for instance in the US rust belt) than by trying to retrofit a car-centric city like San Diego. The social problems are that locations have to accommodate two-career families, and it gets into that slimy problem of not having the ability to change fields, only companies within the field. It's not the same as company housing, but it's simply the notion that "all engineers live in Claremont Mesa" to try to get the engineering firms to locate near there to cut down on everyone's commute.

Heck, it worked in medieval medinas. What could possibly go wrong with scaling it up by three orders of magnitude and getting cars involved...

133:

If you look at the situation in Silicon Valley, the fastest growing housing is tents. There are tent cities popping up everywhere. These cheaps tents used to be high end in the 90s. Carbon fiber poles, breathable water proof polymer fabrics. Also have scooters being stolen for power and lithium, and solar panels put up on some tents. If you extend this out, vertical tent cities with some fancier pop-ups. A return to more nomadic lifestyle, with portable housing easily movable when the automated police drones harass you (also has happened in SF with new robot security bots shaped like inverted ice cream cones)

134:

I think I'm confused between tenements (the buildings you're describing) and slums (where there's a mix of tenements, DIY shanties, tents, and whatever). In this regard, if you haven't read Mike Davis' classic Planet of Slums, you really should. To misquote Gibson, your future is already here, it's just unevenly distributed. In this case, unevenly means only 1-2 billion people in true slums, just mostly not in the developed world.

And the idea of a vertical tent city in earthquake country is deeply unsettling. I think those are more properly referred to as squats.

135:

I enjoy solitude too. I'm fine with an apartment building. I've lived in apartments. But the kind of dorm arrangements or boarding houses I discussed above makes my skin crawl.

As someone who's committed to share housing for ethical reasons, I have spent a lot of time making it not that bad.

A few key features, most of which apply to apartments and multigenerational housing (and really to housing in general, but currently the trend is to use physical space instead - just put the toilet 20m away from the lounge):

* sound and thermal insulation between rooms
* air breaks/seals between sections of the house
* shared spaces designed for shared use
* individual storage in shared spaces

If you live in a cheap, lightweight house that's shared with others it's not fun, because everything that happens is obvious to everyone who's in the house. That's true even for highly social people, even they don't necessarily want to hear every detail of other people's intimate lives, or have to leave the house to have that difficult discussion with their soon-to-be-ex partner.

In Australia what works is double brick houses that have been extended - you get internal double brick walls and exterior-grade doors between the bits. I lived in a house that had a living room plus three bedrooms separated from the kitchen, laundry and two bedrooms by a double brick wall and an almost airtight sliding door. There was a shower+toilet in each half. That worked pretty well with six people living in it.

But when we had a two bedroom apartment with two couples in it, that was ugly. One bathroom, one small kitchen, two bedrooms each barely big enough for a king size bed (is, you could put one in but the door hit it and you just had enough space to walk round three sides - no space for a chest of drawers, everything had to be stored under the bed). We knew *everything* the other couple did.

Think backpacker hostel converted to apartments rather than cardboard mcmansion conversion.

136:

Greater Toronto Area, yes. I guess I'm some sort of neighbour to Robert Prior in #113. Along with around ten million others. :)

It seems that a lot of the comments refer to the type of home, rather than the structure of the home. Makes sense: you can't design effectively for an environment - climate, weather, politics, societal, and so on - if you don't know what the environment is like. Any author would do well to consider where their protagonists are living and what daily life looks like before making projections about what their homes look like.

137:

Also, much of Australia you can only dig down if you actively manage the water table, and in Sydney you have either porous sandstone or acid sulfate soils. Neither work well with salt water ingress from rising sea levels, and most of Sydney is within 5m of sea level or will be an archipelago if that happens. I am out of the immediate danger zone, but with acid sulfate soils digging down is a highly technical operation. Where it's $50,000 per carpark to dig elsewhere it's more like $70,000 in my area.

There's a lot of apartment building going on that has 5-10 levels of car parking underneath it, and those will generally be ok in heavy rain/storm surges because they have redundant pumps and some thought to reducing water inflow. If cars become less popular they could be converted to underground apartments. But they are also completely reliant on 100% uptime from the grids - electricity but also water and increasingly internet (the access, climate and security systems are remotely managed). I mean, technically the building still works without those things, but more in the sense of "an emergency evacuation is possible" than "you can keep living there for a month". They often have a petrol powered pump on site too, but you can only run those for so long before either you run out of fuel or the pump fails.

138:

Vanlife, semi-mobile tiny houses, boatlife etc etc are all either parasitic or refuges, they're not designed or capable of being long term sustainable housing, and they don't scale. While 1% of the population does them it kind of works but as we see with US trailer home suburbs, they quickly turn into slums when they become a significant source of housing.

What we will see, I think, is a scaling out of the "rent one working space" concepts more into backpacker hostels, where office buildings are converted into high density living/working spaces. Often the concrete involved in the building provides enough thermal and physical mass to give reasonable isolation for the occupants, and done well you end up with quite nice spaces. Done on a tight budget for maximum return on investment we get the Australian version of third world slums... and I have also seen those in Australia. I expect to see more.

We will also see a population reduction programme based on those conversions, where the building code will quite deliberately lag the climate and social changes resulting in concentrated death events when one of those buildings fails. Not necessarily catastrophically, except in the sense that global warming is catastrophic - you'll get 1000 elderly people in a converted office tower and 20-50 of them will die every time you get a day over 45 degrees science. That will mean 50% resident turnover every summer... and we will just accept it and move on.

I think we'll also get "air pollution events" in first world cities caused by a combination of heatwaves and rubbish accumulation. Once you surround a dense urban area with burning plastic people start dying just from the air quality. But since that only happens for a month every couple of years and the alternative is massive investment in recycling I think we will just accept a few thousand excess deaths as inevitable and move on.

There will be a lot of that as the population inevitably contracts. It's not anyone's fault, there's no obvious causal connection between "you put a bag of rubbish out on the kerb for collection, someone identifiable dies directly because of that bag being there". It's more like the "hidden road toll" - in most countries X people are killed by road crashes, and 1.5-3x that many die from air pollution that comes from road users.

139:

I'm expecting a lot of Climate Migrants and a lot of prejudice towards Climate Migrants. "You're from Florida. You need to move out of our neighborhood."

My expectation is that the Climate Migrants will move out of Florida and Louisiana to the Rustbelt states, which will then become really awful shitholes.

Time to read Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath again.

140:

I'm not sure I agree. If we do Climate Change right there will be a shitload of new jobs, ranging from housing dismantler/resource miner to solar/wind technicians, plus a ton of other stuff. Just making sure that all the bricks from a house in Seal Beach (currently about five feet above sea-level) get to Detroit, where they'll be used to build homes/shelters for climate refugees will be an industry in itself... Adapting to Climate Change (if done right) will be a ton of work.

If you have nothing to do, you can join the Climate Army and spend your days tearing up seaside McDonald's and shipping out all the Cat-5 cables (probably a couple-hundred pounds as they wire the places these days) in the walls for recycling.

141:

I agree that boats don't scale, although there have been a number of cultures (from yachties to the Sama Bajau to the Chinese Tanka) who have lived out of their boats for generations. They're never independent of the land, though, and as you note, it's an alternative lifestyle and a hard one, not an antidote for slums.

142:

The monster in the shadows of this particular thread is that there are almost certainly going to be fewer humans alive on Earth in 2119 than in 2019. How we get there from here is the thing Charlie probably doesn't want to talk about.

My take on it, simply by analogy and to not go there, is that at best the 21st Century will be like the 17th century, only probably worse. The totally sketchy version is that the 17th Century was the depths of the Little Ice Age, human populations decreased by perhaps a third, the Ming dynasty was toppled, there were several thirty years' wars, the English civil war, and so on. (Geoffrey Parker's doorstop Global Crisis is the slightly less sketchier history).

The thing is that with crop failure after crop failure, and megalomaniacal idiots trying to seize power due to the weakness of their foes, there was a tremendous amount of suffering over most of the world. Japan escaped, mostly because it was pulling out of its worst civil war into the Tokugawa, so it kind of crashed early to escape the rush. Eventually though, people figured out how to weather the environmental crises without breaking into the warfare that generally accompanied them.

In Europe, at least, the Little Ice Age was the break between the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. If civilization is (or civilizations are) still around in 2119, I suspect we're going to see a similar break, and it's probably going to be between capitalism and whatever comes next.

In a way, this is a rephrasing of the singularity problem that plagues SF a decade ago: at some point, the sheer randomness of crises predicted to hit us (when do the storms hit, when do the crops fail, when does the ice move, when do the bad earthquakes hit, when does the pandemic start, when does the solar flare hit us, when does the web war start) makes it impossible to figure out which set of cultural ideas is going to come together and work, and which are going to be overwhelmed. We can talk about the material limits for culture on things like building sand, mined phosphorus and a host of rare earths, and so on, but we don't know what combination of innovative materials, recycling, and cultural change will replace them. We just assume that something that we know about now matters, and go with that, if we assume that civilization survives the 21st Century.

Sadly, it's easier to assume that it doesn't, but I'm not going there today. It's interesting to figure out what's on the other side of this dark singularity instead, even if we do make jokes about superhuman AIs asking for asylum.

143:

The population of Europe actually increased from 1600 to 1700 as did the population of the world

I’ve never seen any credible evidence of a 30% drop worldwide even from the most ardent “general crisis” supporter. Specific areas maybe, like Germany due to the 30 years war, or China, but those areas were aggravated by long and destructive wars. worldwide it was likely more in the 10-15% range, and recovered relatively quickly

Pretty much the only period of time the population of the world has decreased that much was during the Black Death

I think Charlie’s 11 billion number is a pretty good guess even with climate change, we are clever little monkeys especially when it comes to feeding ourselves

144:

Pretty much the only period of time the population of the world has decreased that much was during the Black Death

Except for the Americas post 1492. Massive uncertainty, but the high end is like 95%, so a large dent in the world population.

145:

You can't separate housing from the social and economic context.

Lets assume that technological civilization doesn't collapse and that global warming is a manageable problem. Energy continues to be available at the same order of magnitude as today, although the balance will have shifted to pretty much 100% renewables. From the end-users point of view this means electricity, with maybe some liquid fuels where energy/weight is at a premium, such as aircraft.

HVAC is expensive when powered by electricity. When I lived in Oregon we had a 30kW air conditioning plant attached to the house. This is not sustainable. I haven't run the numbers, but I'm thinking that you could put a big heat sink under the house, pump solar heat into it in summer and use it to keep warm in winter. Still needs energy to run a heat pump, but less than brute-force heating and cooling. Likewise the house will be well insulated and probably sealed unless you open a door, with a heat exchanger built into the HVAC to keep the heat in/out as the air is changed. The house energy management computer will be a thing.

The population will be smaller than today. Japan is leading the way here, but in much of the developed world the birth rate is below replacement level. This is driven by a combination of readily available birth control, female emancipation and an awareness that a child needs a good 2 decades of education before they can be economically productive. Hopefully the current "third world" will have got the memo by then too.

Most work is knowledge work. There are factories of course, but comparatively few people work in them. High bandwidth and the fact that all knowledge work is done on a computer means that the office as an information factory doesn't really exist. Any "office" work can be done from home and generally is. So the home office is a standard part of the house and most people do their work in one.

This means that a house can be anywhere on Earth, and you can work for anyone anywhere. This is going to have big national and legal implications outside the scope of this comment. But cities will increasingly have no reason for existing. Why pay huge amounts for a tiny space crammed in with everyone else when you can have a big house for much less money and still live the same lifestyle? Transport is an issue, but between cheap electric cars and automated driving its not so huge. People are still likely to congregate somewhat because its still nice to meet people face to face, but in small towns rather than cities.

Homes themselves will contain much less stuff. Entertainment no longer requires storage space (bookshelves etc), and "museum rooms" (used only for high formal occasions) have gone out of fashion.

146:

and spend your days tearing up seaside McDonald's and shipping out all the Cat-5 cables (probably a couple-hundred pounds as they wire the places these days) in the walls for recycling.

Actually the electrical wires will be much more valuable for recycling. And the metal plumbing, cook tops, etc...

Cat5 has way more insulation than actual metal in it.

147:

Looking to the past might give some insights as to how things might change. I have a somewhat reasonable experience with suburban living in the 60s and 70s as my father built/remodeled houses as a part time job as his main job allowed. Up to the age of 20 I spent all but the first 2 years of my life in two houses we built. And remodeled as time went on.

Add to that my father few up on a working farm where they did everything themselves. On land settled around 1824. They had a small sawmill and slaughter house. It wasn't the Ponderosa but they got through the depression with food on the table. My mother came from a house with 4 rooms on the main floor and an un heated somewhat finished attic for the kids.

My point is a got to see a LOT of small rural housing for poor to middle class folks dating back into 1900 or so up to newly built. And since then I keep up with trends.

Up until the 50s much of the US what wasn't in the big cities was living in good enough to keep most of the winter weather out. Too hot in summer? Sucks to be you. Deal.

After WWII those GIs really changed things. 90% of the US folks in uniform didn't point a weapon, they support those that did. They got crash course in being machanics, carpenters, plumbers, typists, file clerks, inventory trackers, etc... This is what was behind a lot of the economic boom in the US in the 50s. That guy doing radio/TV repairs down the street? He was trained as a radio tech for the war. Before the war he might have been looking forward to milking cows all his life.

Anyway these folks didn't want to live in 4 room square houses with maybe a bath attached to the back. And if not then an outhouse plus a tub hanging on the back porch or wall that you filled with hot water off the stove for bathing. So they took their money and built/bought 1000 to 1400 sf houses with a driveway in the burbs. Many with a carport or maybe a garage. (The garage might be a slight set up from a shack but it was a garage.) As they got more money they moved further away from the local town into a 1800 to 2200 sf house. Now instead of 2 or 3 bedrooms, a kitchen and a dining/living area they now had 3 or 4 bedrooms, a large kitchen full of appliances, a den, a living room, and a dining room. The later 2 not used 95% or more of the time except to prove you could afford it. And those original tract houses got sold to a new wave of people fleeing the rats and cockroaches in their decrepit apartments in the local town.

And as best I can tell we've (most of the US) have been building/buying/aspiring to these houses for 60-70 years now. I have one. But I'm not doing any but required for living maintenance on it in general because I could drop $200K into it and raise the value maybe $10K to $20k over its tear down value. Which is financially stupid for me.

The problem we have now is many people aged 45 and older think everyone wants this same house. And many under that age think they do. Until they get it and have some kids and discover it's no longer 1970 or even 1990 and things are now different.

Between my and my wife's siblings we have 11 kids aged from low 20s to very early 30s in 5 states coast to coast. Maybe 2 of them want this kind of house. Maybe.

I'm not sure what kind of house most people with some money will be living in in 2119 but based on what has happened since 1900 to now it could look very different. While I hope it's not cheap trailers it could very well be more and more walls and structure factory built and then assembled on site. This is available in all kinds of quality levels in the US now. Japan has some interesting similar things going on where you pick a collection of steel boxed/framed rooms with some customizing and they get assembled into a house on your lot.

What I see are bigger bedrooms with a room for a chair desk TV and maybe access to a bath. Smaller numbers of common rooms so that you have a kitchen not totally walled off from a common area for entertaining eating and watching your media devices. (My basement den of my split level makes no sense anymore.) An issue I'm not sure of what we call a utility room. Basically a room with the washer dryer where you can come in from the outside and strip down / de-mud / whatever. If you have a dog[1] more than purse sized this is where they come in with mud and maybe eat. What most will not have is a big yard with the need to store all that stuff to take care of it. Or if you do it will be much more of a service taking care of it than now.[2]

These changes can (are are happening to some degree now) happen with stand alone housing or apartments/condos. They do exist to some degree in large cities. The problem there is when you have a 10 story apartment building built in the 50s or 60s it is arranged all wrong, thinks energy is almost free, is full of asbestos, and treats wifi as the enemy. Charlie's place is just an extreme example of this. All of these historic designations that keep building from becoming more energy efficient will go away at some point. If not the buildings will be abandoned and gradually rot away.

And dealing with all of will piss off all kinds of people as cities (even if inland) will have to re-arrange to handle the way the to be born want to live.

[1] I see large pets going away as big yards go away. Just way too much hassle. My daughter and her husband have 2 rescue dogs that have turned into 65 pound dynamos in their 1/7 acre yard. They are really too big for such. I can't imagine the effort required to keep them if an apartment style setup.

[2] Most gas powered yard car consumer devices are designed for 50 uses before failure. For most of us that gives you two years. Most will last longer but the 50 start rule gets you past the 1 year warranty on most devices. But it sure creates a lot of broken crap to get thrown away. (I have powered tools that are well past 20 years old but then again, I'm an edge case.) But services doing yard work will not buy such crap.

148:

If you look at the situation in Silicon Valley, the fastest growing housing is tents.

In the very short term (5-20 years), maybe.

Longer term, it's non-viable, unless you can figure out how to hurricane-proof and wildfire-proof tents and in addition insulate and air condition them well enough to make 45 celsius heat emergencies survivable.

Meanwhile, you just reminded me of a mid-1980s thing, Steve Roberts' Winnebiko, which over time mutated into 1992's BEHEMOTH … (and you REALLY want to click that link: trust me on this!)

I bet that today 80% of its functionality sits inside your smartphone plus a solar powered USB charger.

149:

The tents stuff reminded me of a news report which claimed that "abandoned cheap tents" were now a major source of waste following several day rock festivals.

150:

If you're interested in this sort of thing I would hugely recommend Andrew McKay's Misfits' Architecture blog: https://misfitsarchitecture.com/

Corridors, btw, are also a sign there is room to spare for dedicated circulation space, rather than using an open plan or something like this: https://archidius.wordpress.com/2011/08/12/the-new-orleans-shotgun-house/ to make the circulation space double up as something else.

I suspect passive refitting will tend to concentrate windows onto one side of the building, whichever is favoured by the weather, so the others can reduce their size and squint out of the deep wall. This is something modernists have been all over since the 1920s. Think orienting the plan around whichever room gets the big glass wall.

I kind of identify AR with plunging into the city and VR with suburban hunkering down around a big lump of consumer electronics (which is why I am VR sceptical - a revival of the bits of the 90s we abandoned for good reasons). But I think a space intended for enjoying either is going to look much more like a dance studio or nightclub (or padded cell) than a living room - clear span, no clutter, a sprung floor to save the neighbours and your joints. Would anyone else rather have proper sound than earbuds in that context? I would, which implies careful soundproofing or else taking it to a social space or outside.

There's always going to be a need for basic physical security - after all, there is no guarantee the great decline of crime will stay that way - but thinking about it, how soon will it be true that you are more likely to be the victim of fraud (almost always digitally enabled, even if it is social engineering rather than a technical exploit) than theft? It might even have happened on a value-weighted basis.

That makes me think you might want to get rid of all the smart-home stuff completely. All of it. An important element of any attempt to anticipate the future is distinguishing trends from fashions; fashions essentially revert to the mean and are purely driven by the Bass curve adoption dynamics, whereas trends are nonergodic, have fundamental drivers, and leave things lastingly different.

(PS, have you tried signing into this blog? horribly borked, this is why I am using my old hosted wordpress account rather than www.harrowell.org.uk/blog)

151:

I see a lot of people here assuming everything changes but property prices are roughly the same, or in the same regime. That, I think, is the easiest thing to change.

152:

Saw this and thought it might be of interest to people here:

https://www.marincounty.org/depts/cd/divisions/planning/csmart-sea-level-rise/game-of-floods


Further proving that climate change education can be fun, the County of Marin is coming up with a boxed version of its award-winning Game of Floods, which teaches players about adaptation choices to for inevitable sea level rise. Pre-orders of the board game are being taken now.

The game, created by Community Development Agency (CDA) staff members and their water resources cohorts from the Department of Public Works, is designed to engage and educate the community about sea level rise vulnerability and adaptation. It allows players to design solutions that protect entire communities as well as individual properties to address the permanent flooding impacts of sea level rise. The challenge requires collective approaches to build solutions that protect access, airports, wastewater treatment facilities as well as smaller communities while dealing with uncertainty and balancing priorities among players.

153:

"Buy land, son. They're not making it any more." Mark Twain, attrib.

The population in 2119 absent a climatological disaster or significant meteor impact, plague, lots of wars etc. will be higher than now. Land for agriculture can't easily be built on if food supplies have to be guaranteed so it's likely property prices, as a large fraction of a family's earnings will continue to rise. The home that sits on the land is not the important, expensive part of the deal.

We could disconnect the production of food from dirt agriculture with sufficient energy, at least for a basic dole to start with -- Grimbledon Down research institute has been working on just such a product (tentatively called NuFood) for some time now. That move away from dirt would free up a lot of land for building homes, factories, mobile phone shops on and it's likely that prices would fall even with increased demand.

154:

I've got an old house (by local standards) — way too big for me, but small by new-build standards. My nieces are looking at condos not because they don't want houses, but because they can't afford even a small house like mine.

155:

My house cost us $114K in 1990. Per this calculator (https://www.usinflationcalculator.com/) that would be about $230K now. But I can sell it in a day or few for $300k no questions asked.

My daughter and her husband just bought a home for $360K. SF is about 20 smaller than mine and lot is about 1/3 as big.

But they are making very good incomes as they are bright folks who made good picks for their fields of work 10 years ago.

156:

I remember reading about that guy in "Whole Earth Review" back in the eighties, thanks for the links. Also fun to see an older generation of bike parts, like the Sun Tour V-GT derailleur, whose method of keeping the jockey pulley close to the cogs worked so well that nearly everyone does it that way now, and the TA cranks, whose modularity is faintly echoed in contemporary mountain bike cranks.

157:

old house (by local standards) — way too big for me, but small by new-build standards.

That's the problem with inflated land costs. If you have a lot that costs $350K to get ready for something to be built a developer is NOT going to put a $150K house on it. Risk/reward/capital tie up is crazy at that price point.

So they put a $700K house on it with $100K profit built in and sell it for $1mil. I'd like to build something on the lot that might be 2000 - 2200 sf but include a 1 bedroom suite that we could move into if one of our children wanted to buy the entire thing as we get older. And in the mean time rent it out. And if my neighbors see this post there will quickly be a gathering of pitch forks and torches.

So we now have a neighborhood of 1960s 1800 to 2200 sf houses interspersed with 3300 to 4000 sf 2 1/2 story monsters. And just down the road to a slightly more prestige area they are putting up 5000sf or larger mansions on the same sized lots (or even smaller than mine.)

I can't even imagine wanted a house that big where the sides are 10' from the fence line (OR LESS) and the back yard a smaller foot print than the house.

To me it is a bit insane.

158:

A home recycler to convert waste into feedstock for a 3D food printer would be a desirable thing.

159:

Power

Some have alluded to it but the way we use electricity has got to change.

I have a huge collection of lumps that convert 110 to 240 AC 50-60Hz to DC. Mostly older USB, some new USB-C, and some HP laptop things from my wife's job that I think are around 20v.

They are all over my house. Most pulling AC power whether or not something is attached. I suspect half of my savings of switching to all LED lighting over the last few years has gone into keeping all of these lumps warm. There is tech that will allow these lumps to greatly reduce their current draw when no load is attached but profits and costs keep most of that out of such products.

Maybe we need an expansive version of PoE that combines a way for us to attach things for power PLUS distribute networking around a living space. MM 5G is great for something but will not get through a wall. Maybe every room with a MM 5G repeater connected to a PoE network switch. And walls have PoE outlets as standard. Maybe combined with AC power distribution. Want to have a 1000 comment post about security in such a setup? CS can start it. Current home networking is just not ready for the IoT or anything that might come next in terms of security.

Of course I've already had neighbors start talking about how 5G will give everyone cancer. Especially combined with the radiation from our smart power meters. And thus both must be stopped NOW!!!!!

160:

There is tech that will allow these lumps to greatly reduce their current draw when no load is attached
We call it a "switched socket" in the UK. A quick web search says that an MK 2-gang should cost under GB£20 including taxes.

161:

The ceilings are high in old buildings because of gas lighting; if you're fitting a chandelier, it needs to be high enough that the candles, or gas lamps, don't scorch the ceiling - and high enough that you don't hit your head. For large rooms, they need to be higher still to provide light over a wider area, or to allow social activities like dancing... You could see the point at which this changed at the end of the 19th Century - our 1905-built TA Centre in East Claremont Street had these new-fangled wall-mounted gas lamps rather than chandeliers, and the ceilings were lower than the 18th-C builds as a result.

After starting work, I managed (just) to buy a one-bedroomed flat in Edinburgh's Old Town; just outside the Flodden Wall. An 1880s tenement had been converted in the late 1970s/early 80s from five flats per floor, to four; while having its foundations pinned. Thick stone walls, medium-high celiings, sash windows that Listed status didn't allow me to change, and no central heating. My first act on moving in was to pay a plumber £300 to fit an electric shower over the bath (hey, it was 1989) and to put clockwork timer plugs on the electric panel heaters. An electric blanket and a 1kW fan heater kept it liveable during the days of 10% interest rates. Building the Scottish Parliament at the other end of the road made it more saleable a decade later...

I found myself doing minor wiring jobs in the underfloor void of the home of my parents-in-law; a 1920s-built villa with a vestigial second floor. Fascinating to see what is essentially a scratch-built house, compared to the time-saving techniques and materials that arrived in the latter half of the century. Plasterboard, concrete blocks, pre-manufactured roof profiles, usable levels of insulation.

After marriage in 1999, my wife and I moved to a new-build house just outside Edinburgh. Because the whole of Midlothian is riddled with coal mineworkings dating back centuries, and hence not always documented, the house is built on a concrete raft. Unlike my first flat, it isn't going to be leaning after a century (about a 1-2cm drop over every meter of width) - but it still shows the heritage of 20th-century design. A fireplace in the living room with chimney, a separate dining room (we got them to knock it through to the living room during construction). One of those shiny new ensuite bathrooms (luxury!).

It's interesting to watch the new-build houses going up around the city boundary (Edinburgh's population has grown quite quickly; and most of the available spaces in the north and north-east of the city have been filled. It's expanding south into what used to be farmland; I reckon that Newton and Musselburgh will soon be contiguous, as Leith became in the 1920s.

There are no chimneys; and few satellite dishes to fix to them. Rooftop solar panels are fitted from the start. Looking at the shiny catalogs of younger work colleagues who are preparing to breed and trading up, the mass-market builders have come full-circle and buyers are now far more able to tailor the build as "optional priced extras". Regarding "Faraday Cages", it may be happening by accident. The foil-backed polystyrene foam insulation panels ("Kingspan" is a widespread trade name) make life interesting; we added an extension to the house, and the resulting insulation levels meant I had to install a Wi-Fi extender.

In the medium term? It depends on the house. Having both partners/parents in employment currently means that kitchens need to store food for the full period between the weekly shop. I suspect that online-shopping and frequent delivery may cut back on the fashion for double-width fridges (except perhaps for large families). If autonomous cars ever arrive, "transport as a service" may mean that built-in or adjacent double garages disappear from suburban houses; they'll still contain all of the junk, bicycles, shelves of tools, and exercise machines instead of cars, you just won't see a large door on the outside.

Longer-term; I spent a chunk of my childhood living in Germany - shutters are useful in truly foul weather (see climate change), and changes to affordability may see the arrival of their longer mortgages on larger multi-generational houses. Full-size cellars and usable attic spaces are wonderful to have - even if the German and Swiss planning laws had a certain pessimistic wartime driver to them. Ring loads are dropping fast inside the house; a CRT drew a fair old wedge of current; as did halogen light fittings - I've certainly removed well over half a kilowatt of lighting by replacing it with LED bulbs. I do wonder whether we'll start to see purpose-built separate USB-voltage rings; I'm skeptical about the fire risks of building a cheap transformer into a power socket, and far prefer having Anker USB blocks dotted around the house.

PS Don't knock the en-suite bathroom. We have two boys, and are at "peak teenager" - having more than one toilet on the same floor as the bedrooms saves significant time and stress in the morning, and was a lifesaver when the norovirus arrived...

PPS Don't dismiss bicycle space - my sister is now a born-again cyclist. She needs her track bike, her road bike, her training bike, the 1960s Italian thing she uses to compete in L'Eroica, a hardtail MTB with panniers for getting about... I dread to think what would happen with two such in a single house.

162:

It's unexceptional today to come across an open-plan apartment, because (except for the very rich) we don't typically share our homes with servants

Depends on where you are. Well-off-but-not-rich apartments in many Latin American countries frequently have maid's quarters, typically a very small bedroom with bath. We Airbnb'ed in one such in Panama a couple of years ago that was definitely open plan, probably 120-ish sq meters. (No, we didn't have a maid.)

163:

You're probably right. Cat-5 cables were the first thing that came to mind because I've strung them across several McDonalds.

164:

For me the huge factor has to be the heat. I'm a cynic, which means for me 4C of warming by 2119 would be a happy outcome.

Even 4C means the equatorial band is essentially uninhabitable, because you can't work outside without dying of heat exhaustion: "By 2100, ∼34.1% (±7.6% s.d.) and ∼47.1% (±8.9% s.d.) of the global land area will be exposed to temperature and humidity conditions that exceed the deadly threshold for more than 20 days per year under RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5, respectively; this will expose ∼53.7% (±8.7% s.d.) and ∼73.9% (±6.6% s.d.) of the world’s human
population to deadly climates by the end of the century" (http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/mora/Publications/Mora%20059.pdf). The bulk of the population has migrated out of that band.

Most of the population currently lives in places that will be affected by sea level rise, to quite a large extent by that time.

So something really striking about the built environment circa 2119, speaking as a European, is that it's _new_. It has been built recently, both to escape the rising water and to accommodate the migration of a third to a half of the planet's population.

The parts which survive from before the flood have been radically retrofitted. It has been built and retrofitted to deal with brand new conditions, because although the habitable zone has moved north the specific conditions are different.


Let's take a diversion into demographics. There are 30-50% more people than in 2019, and they live on half the land area. Their demographic profiles in terms of aging and education look roughly like Germany circa 2019. Nobody is prepared to put up with the externalities chemical, biological and radiological currently foisted on the global South in order to deliver the electronic / mechanical / biological widgetverse of the early 21st century, so they don't exist. Yes, there are still a lot of things with computers in, they're better than they are in 2019, but with nowhere to hide the downside, they're nowhere near as cheap or plentiful as in 2019.

The global food supply chain has been annihilated by drought and disease and the extinction of the majority of pollinating species from pesticides and climate and disease. The lesson we took away was, like the Yanks and their shale gas in the 2000s, that you need to be independent of other people's problems. This applies down to the city level, because "Lincolnshire is everyone else's farmland" is a pattern which just doesn't work any more.

There's a lot of food growing in the city, and because so little automation is possible, there are a _lot_ of people working on growing it. They grow it where the cars used to be, where the ornamental gardens used to be. They keep it in pantries, or things like pantries, because electricity is too expensive to waste on refrigeration.

That's a general theme, in fact. The productive excess enabled by fossil fuels is gone. The ratio for renewable energy sources sucks. That means the labour saving devices aren't there. Humans are cheaper, and there are lots of them around.

The maid and the cook are back.

165:

Eh. This is entirely a urban myth. https://www.howtogeek.com/231886/tested-should-you-unplug-chargers-when-youre-not-using-them/
The power draw of chargers not in use is effectively nil.

166:

This is not a possible future. If mechanized food production goes away, gigadeaths follow. Not because of food shortages, exactly, but because the general collapse of economic productivity implied by that means nothing else gets done, and that is not survivable when you need to rehouse people by the billions.

So, no, the future is not energy starved. Not this future anyway. Also, why would you ever think it would be?

Consider the possible political settlements: Either renewable works, in the sense of delivering power at a reasonable cost, in which case, power will be abundant because why would you not just build more windmills and solar farms?

Or it fails, in which case the future is fission. Because the political resistance to that will not survive blackout or major price hikes to power. And no, "Construction costs and time" are not show stoppers either - If the alternative is going without electricity, nuclear powerplants can be built very, very quickly and very, very cheaply. They wont have air-plane proof containment domes, but they absolutely will deliver power.

There is no possible future in which power shortages are a thing! Not unless everybody dies first from war or plague.

167:

If the alternative is going without electricity, nuclear powerplants can be built very, very quickly and very, very cheaply.

Yep.

France wanted nuclear weapons and energy autonomy in the 1960s. So in the 1960s-70s they rolled out reactors on a production line and at peak were producing about 90% of their base load from cheap-ish fission designs … in a decade, without declaring a state of emergency or running an Apollo Program budget to do it.

Today, the problems they face are (a) many of their reactors are hitting the 40 year point and need recertifying, (b) the rivers they use for cooling are warmer than was anticipated in the 1970s (because global warming) leading to the odd shutdown, and (c) a post-Fukushima review showed that while they're not clearly unsafe, they're not designed to withstand a once in a thousand years disaster like a mag 9 quake or a nuclear weapon strike, and they can't be retrofitted to reach such a standard.

But if we want power and renewables won't work, nuclear exists and is do-able, albeit with a 2-10 year lead time to train a new generation of engineers to design and build them (most nuclear engineers from the glory days of the 1950s-1970s have retired by now).

The real threat to civilization isn't transitioning to decarbonization or rising temperatures over a period of decades: it's a fast collapse—something unforeseen that hits us in less than a decade, so there's no time to train the army of specialists needed to deal with it.

168:

Charlie @ 166
and sitting HARD on the heads of some "Road-to-hell-paved with GOOD-intentions" fuckwits - like "extinction Rebellion" who stuck themselves to ELECTRIC trains ... AND the fake greenies again evil nuclear power - see also Germany for this particular insanity.

Yeah - don't like that last sentence ....

Martin
My house, built on London Clay with not-too deep foundations has the slow, very slow tilt-&-crak problem

169:

Re: French nuclear power station fleet

Today they produce about 85-90% of French electrical energy as well as supplying maybe 5-10GW for export. Right now as I type this they're feeding 3.85 nuclear GW to Green Germany since a calm over Europe has seriously curtailed the amount of wind energy being generated. Britain's large expensive buildout of wind turbines, over 40 billion spent, has been generating under 1GW for the past three days. Right now it's producing 290MW total (I saw a low of 180MW yesterday). Gas turbines are keeping the lights on, 20GW and more.

(a) many of their reactors are hitting the 40 year point and need recertifying

The recertification is a paper exercise more than anything. The Operating Licence could be pulled at any time for systemic or operational failures requiring an individual reactor to be shut down and made safe. In fact most of the early 3-loop M910 reactors built in the first wave of construction have already been through the relicencing process along with various refurbishments. The later 5-loop reactors are starting that process now. The way they're looking they'll easily reach 60 years and could be relicenced for another 20 years after that, presuming continuous upgrades and component replacements. The essential components don't wear out quickly, basically.

(b) the rivers they use for cooling are warmer than was anticipated in the 1970s (because global warming) leading to the odd shutdown,

The maximum amount the river-based reactors can raise the water temp has been lowered long after the cooling systems were specced and built. This sometimes necessitates shutdowns when dumping 3 GW of heat to provide a cold sink for the turbine condensers. The good news is that any reactor is unlikely to exceed that reduced limit during winter when they really need the watts.

Old nuclear engineers from the 1970s wouldn't have a clue about modern-design reactors. They grew up with drafting tables and analogue control systems, large components welded together on site etc. The new breed of engineers and designers have CAD/CAM and simulation, digital everything and major parts like the reactor vessel and steam generators assembled, tested and inspected before they are delivered to the construction site. Today's reactors look the same and work on the same basic physical principles as their predecessors but they're actually quite different in engineering terms.

170:

“Longer term, it's non-viable, unless you can figure out how to hurricane-proof and wildfire-proof tents and in addition insulate and air condition them well enough to make 45 celsius heat emergencies survivable.“

None of these things are very likely in Silicon Valley

It’s generally on the cold side, going from an average summer high of 21C or 27C to 45C in an ocean moderated climate isn’t likely. Certain inland areas may get an bad heatwaves but it’s gonna be milder then most places

Hurricanes don’t get anywhere near that far north and there isn’t much reason to think that will change

The foliage generally is not dense enough for wildfires except possibly in the Far East Bay , where you don’t see much on the way of tent cities anyway

Silicon Valley is pretty vulnerable to sea level rise though that’s the thing to look out for

171:

Um, you've watched how civilization has dealt with greenhouse gas emissions since the US President announced they were a problem back in, what was it, 1969? And you're positing that fast collapse is the only problem?

I'd say one of the real problems is that the wealthiest, those most able to make a change right now, figure there's too many humans on this planet already. They're going to make sure their people survive (however they define "their people," and a look at current politics says a lot about that), while taking money and resources from the rest of us so that they come out ahead if we fight back.

They're showing the same attitude that people have had all along about climate change: technology will save us. Except they have a very reduced meaning of "us."

As for the threat to civilization from rising temperatures, it is a real problem. The problem isn't the temperatures themselves, it's that the extremes become more extreme and less predictable. That makes things like farming for ten billion people really hard, not just because of crop failures, but because of supply chains. If billions of people plan to eat bread, for instance, that means there has to be that much wheat in the production pipeline. Moreover, it has to be the right kind of wheat, because soft wheat for tortillas won't make leavened bread (different gluten). Get a big crop failure, the price of bread skyrockets, and there are riots and revolutions, as in the Arab Spring (caused in part by Russian and Pakistani wheat crop failures). The future may be a place where one year we all eat bread, one year we eat rice, most years we eat cassava flour, one year we eat potatoes, and one year we eat corn. This will play hell with cultural identities that revolve around food, but heck, we're all (heavy sarcasm) rational beings who can adapt our diets for years on end, right? Want a cricket to munch on while you think about that?

As for supply chains, unfortunately, we don't have much in the way of national surplus grain stores left, either. Nor, in California at least, do we have food warehoused in the grocery store supply chain. That used to be our earthquake supply lifeline, but with just-in-time deliveries, grocery stores no longer carry a surplus of food, and it's suggested that everyone have a few weeks of food, just in case an earthquake happens and the supply chains fail.

So how do we deal with shaky supply chains and too many people? The three options are innovation, more storage, or fewer people. Innovation's a ratchet: it's a great way to escape a food shortage temporarily. The problem generally is that innovations spread until they become ubiquitous, populations grow until the innovation is maxed out, and then a further innovation is needed to avoid the onset of, erm, Malthusian dynamics. That's what we're going to have to do with food, realizing that if we fail to continue to innovate, people starve. And realize it's not just one innovation, it's continual innovation or else, at least until the human population stops expanding and probably long after that (due to an increasingly unpredictable climate making the production of any particular crop in any particular year a crap shoot).

Storage sounds great, until you ask where it gets put. Are we talking food warehouses owned by the wealthy who charge what they think they can get away with, or are we talking about ten billion people living in tiny apartments with a month of food under the bed? Or both?

Fewer people? If we're humane, hopefully we'll get there by everyone passing through a demographic transition. I'm betting on pandemics, famine, and warfare myself, but hopefully I'm wrong. There are all sorts of other problems that come with a world that looks like Japan demographically. The big one isn't elder care, it's where do we stash all the labor-intensive, horribly polluting industries that the developed countries have been off-shoring for decades. If Vietnam is as developed as the US, we can't turn to them for cheap garment or electronics labor, we've got to make those things ourselves. Quite a lot of our environmental clean-up seems to have been moving polluting factories away from where people complain effectively and building them where people can't complain effectively. Eventually that stops, especially with a demographic transition, when there are few young, poor workers willing to do crappy jobs. What then?

172:

Quite a lot of our environmental clean-up seems to have been moving polluting factories away from where people complain effectively and building them where people can't complain effectively. Eventually that stops, especially with a demographic transition, when there are few young, poor workers willing to do crappy jobs. What then?

It has been possible to make factories that are relatively clean and non crappy for a while, but people choose not to because finding a country with lots of poor people and crappy environmental regulations is cheaper.

If nobody will do poorly paid work in shit conditions then maybe it is time to spend a bit more and get them to do reasonably paid work in good conditions...

You are right. We are screwed.

173:

Lessee, the Village Voice, maybe. Beyond that? Why do you *think* I read the Guardian every morning, other than to get actual news about the world, and not what Rupert Murdoch, or the media who are pushed by him and his demographics/viewership/advertisers (and who's advertising?).

174:

Having gotten to post 171, I've calmed down a bit. Nice right-wing denialism, there. As Krugman just said, in his column about Zombie Ideas, that's "it's not happening/it is, but we didn't cause it/we did cause it, but we can't do anything about it/they're ALL WRONG, it's the other way!!!"

As I looked up this "factfulness", I see he died in '17, which, indeed, makes him appropriate to quote Arthur C. Clarke about: if an elderly scientist says something is possible, it almost certainly is. If the same person says something is not possible, he's probably wrong."

Yep, 98% of all the folks who do this as a career are wrong, and they're all biased. Have you applied for a job with the Trump misadministration?

175:

As someone else said, great. Change or lose your job, you're out at the end of the month.

On the other hand... my folks, the last years, wound up in a house that had belonged to my great aunt. Which was part of an area, a few blocks, that the Schmidt's Brewery had built houses for their workers to buy. Which was *right* by the trolley, and the El (this is Philly, both of those are still working).

176:

Please. I *wish* I had a two-story (with a *FULL* basement), instead of this split-level (with a *half* basement). It's the STOOPIDEST design of a house ever built, downstairs always cold, upstairs hot.

Oh, and as I *hate* electric stoves, but have gas heat and hot water, I either dig a trench outside, and have a plumber come in to lay a gas line to the other side of the bloody slab (that the bottom floor is flat on), or let them open a slot in the ceiling, which I'm starting to think about, since it would let me run another circuit, and stop popping a breaker if I run the microwave and the toaster oven (and the family room, and the tv, is on the same circuit...))

177:

Wait, you're in Klamath? As in, Klamath Falls? My Eldest lives there with her husband....

178:

Farmlang - absolutely. When I was young, a *lot* of produce in Philly came from farms 30-60 mi away, Pennsylvania, New Jersey. Now I don't kno how much is even vaguely local, but supermarkets are trucking it in from California and Chile and....

Massive famine? Forget delusional sudden ice ages. All the crap about farmers... in the 1990 US census, "family farmer" was no longer a recognized occupation, because it was

Go ahead, tell me that's crazed conspiracy tinfoil hat ideas.... I said MBA....

179:

You wrote:
We've also had tramps, hobos, and people riding the rails since the Great Depression,

Nope. First, you've got bums, tramps, and 'boes. Bums just want a hand out. Tramps will work, when forced to. 'Boes work, just have itchy feet.

And they were all there long before the Great Depression. I've read that just before WWI, you almost needed to show your red card* to hop a car on a freight train.

* IWW membership card - there were literally hundreds of thousands of members then.

180:

Really, truly, the birth rate is dropping like a rock.

This is why I suspect/hope we'll peak at around 9B, and start dropping.... And about "unevenly distributed", the largest nations all have dropping birth rates. India, I just see, had a fertility rate of 2.47, which is seriously heading towards replacement rate. China is at 1.62.

Did y'all think it was only Western millenials?

181:

Wait.. 30KW? Really?

I see my split level in the DC 'burbs should probably have about a 3.0KW or 3.5KW (and I usually have it set, when it's running, to 81F, given how cold downstairs winds up).

182:

Let me say this about that: not only "no", but "FUCK, NO".

Do you *really* want to live on Trantor, or Coruscant?

Or were you thinking of the old pulp covers, with giant arcologies, and all park in between?

183:

Yes, I'm in Klamath, anyway we can go to chat mode?

But since you have family here, then you know about our Lost Summer last year--over two months of 24/7 forest fire smoke (not to mention a local hill that went up one night and looked eerily like Pompeii, minus the pyroclastic flow etc.). Climate change isn't coming, it's *here*.

184:

*snicker*

Not a real city slicker, are you?

The house an ex and I bought, '81 - '86, was, IIRC, 509 S. 48th St, Philly. Check out street view of google or other maps: three stories, fixed-up attic (we added a kitchenette on the third floor), five (I think) bedrooms (ok, one was the library), full basement... and what do you mean, not next to the property line?

Damn, I wish I had that house - we did rent out the third/fourth(fixed up attic)....

185:

The ceilings are high in old buildings for COMFORT, so the heat rises, not for gas lighting. Note that doors also had transoms - a window over the door you could open, to let the heat out, and the cool in.

186:

David L @147 and @156

That's beautiful. That echoes what I've lived through the past 63 years, riding that wave of change.

Thanks...

Charlie Stross @148 and tent cities.

Why has everyone forgotten Americathon.

AMERICATHON (1979) ORIGINAL THEATRICAL TRAILER
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqYoB6BLOMw

The sad thing is, since the crash many people are already living out of their cars/trucks as I posted up @125. If they are living in one location they get a gym membership for $10 a month to have access to showers. I've gotten good at spotting the cars that have been turned into nests that people live in. I see them buying food at the natural foods store. They are buying organic, and living in their cars.

What's ironic, is that there are more empty homes and second homes than there are homeless, so everyone could easily be housed.

Google - Vacant Houses Outnumber Homeless People

- Then there is the "Zero Footprint" movement that has been around for decades. This has nothing to do with "Carbon Footprint". This is a movement where people live their lives without leaving a mess behind when they die.

They rent only. They don't do consumerism, so they own very little. They live well because they don't waste their money on things. It's hard to find articles about this anymore because they have always been low key. I remember reading articles in Utne Reader during the 90s.

- Then there is the plan to use eminent domain to deal with underwater mortgages. This is the mechanism that will be used to safely deflate the housing bubble.

Can Eminent Domain Save Underwater Homeowners?
https://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/economic-intelligence/2012/07/27/can-eminent-domain-save-underwater-homeowners

The plan has been around for over a decade. The only reason that it has not occurred yet is that the rich don't want to lose value of their own properties, and do not want to have their investment portfolios lose value. Basically the rich are keeping the housing bubble inflated for their own greed.

Moody’s: Stopping eminent domain seizures of underwater mortgages a credit positive
https://www.housingwire.com/articles/33793-moodys-stopping-eminent-domain-seizures-of-underwater-mortgages-a-credit-positive

How long do you think that will last in this rising tide against wealth inequality.

It's a very simple process:

You correct all the current underwater mortgages. The price of housing drops creating more underwater mortgages which have to be corrected. The cycle goes on, doing a controlled reduction of the housing bubble rather than having it pop disastrously.

187:

They live well because they don't waste their money on things.

Well, I can see that statement upsetting artists who don’t operate in digital media...


188:

That's strange, artists don't waste their money on things either, so why should they be upset. Materials are for their art.

We are talking regular people, working, living their lives, doing occasional vacations, then retiring with their saved money and retirement. I worked with a number of people living "Zero Footprint."

189:

Actually, I wasn't sure whether to include the bums in with the rail riders, since tramps and hobos certainly rode. But thanks for the time correction.

Changing the subject:

Some of you might be interested in this article: Indonesia isn’t the only country planning new cities. Why not Australia? There are some interesting points in there about the problems top-down de novo city planning has experienced around the world. It didn't talk about China's so-called ghost cities, some of which are rather vaporware-ishly ghostly, some of which are finally filling up with people, most of which are probably in between.

I guess the two bottom lines are that, yes, people around Asia and elsewhere are building brand new cities to deal with climate change. Also, in city planning as in ecological restoration, designing communities that work is not easy.

190:

Don't know of a chat mode.

Admins, please pass Jean my real email.

And yeah - my daughter, and especially her husband, had a hard time with the smoke.

191:

"France wanted nuclear weapons and energy autonomy in the 1960s. So in the 1960s-70s they rolled out reactors on a production line and at peak were producing about 90% of their base load from cheap-ish fission designs … in a decade, without declaring a state of emergency or running an Apollo Program budget to do it."

30 seconds of Google later

Apollo Program 26 billion (118 billion in 2018 dollars)

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_program

"More than 76 percent of French reactors were built in less than seven years, while less than 35 percent of American reactors were built that fast. The French nuclear build-out is estimated to have cost about $330 billion"

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/france-loses-enthusiasm-for-nuclear-power/

So technically you're right, not Apollo Program cost. About 10 times the Apollo.

192:

It turns out that turning municipal waste into feedstock for the industrial machine is now big business. A few companies have popped up (Recycling Technology in the UK) that convert plastics into raw materials to be made back into plastics. Works best on an industrial scale though, already have a company in Germany that looks like it will buy up landfills to get access to the waste stream (urban mining?).

Charlie @148 and others about climate, it seems the general thread is that climate or adapting to it is going to be the main driving force in housing design in 2119. Stilts seems like a good option for flooding, but then you're facing hurricane force winds all the time so maybe above ground housing is not the best option. Also, avoiding the heat is best done a few feet below the surface.

One of the crazy things about housing is very little has changed in how they are built, very manual labor intensive operations right now. If you optimize for robotic arm oozing out concrete or polymer you get a very different general design than with a crew working with timber and drywall.

193:

Those transoms are mostly used in carrying light from outside-facing rooms, into internal hallways. Some tenements have skylights at the top of their staircases, and non-opening transoms above each flat's front door. It makes a big difference to the light levels in an otherwise-closed-off hallway.

To be honest, it's only one or two months of the year in Edinburgh where you're trying to get rid of heat; the rest of the time, you're trying frantically to keep it in...

194:

Lower Manhattan has a lot of sea level issues, but they *will* build dikes.

I do wish people would stop assuming that they can build dikes.

We're looking at thereabouts of 10 metres of sea level rise from the current atmospheric load. We get major feedback in the Arctic, we're looking at more than that. Ten metres mean sea level rise means you're worried about something more for dykes; what do you need when a Category Six hurricane comes ashore at high tide? You'd better be planning for that if you build the things at all, and once you price that out, it's not worth it. Moving uphill is just vastly more economically rational.

(Never mind the indications that the carbon bubble pops by 2022; this will affect the ability to pay for things!)

195:

The real threat to civilization isn't transitioning to decarbonization or rising temperatures over a period of decades: it's a fast collapse—something unforeseen that hits us in less than a decade, so there's no time to train the army of specialists needed to deal with it.

Or about which the great and good purely do not care, which is food supply. (I'm pretty sure it's seen as a combination of not a problem for them and a control tool that would be nice to have. Only they're confusing shortage and dearth as concepts.)

One thing I expect housing in 2100 to have is a potato greenhouse. I also half-expect that you're going to be able to take a map of the last glacial peak, and anywhere there was a glacier, maybe people live there. Places there weren't glaciers? Not so much

196:

Just remember, the notion that "we somehow beat climate change" is, for us SF junkies, the equivalent of "the singularity happened and we're still here." Remember all the complaining not that many years ago about how The Singularity was wrecking science fiction because everything that happened afterwards was unknowable, due to the interference of godlike AIs or whatever?

In this particular context, we're wrestling with an analogous problem: somehow the behavior of humans, especially extremely wealthy humans, is supposed to change profoundly and rapidly (so that they stop acting like resource vampires and start helping a la Gates), we somehow innovate and rebuild society to a fairly radically different template NOT based on extractive capitalism or extractive communism, and... civilization in some form survives. What does that look like in 100 years?

That's the brief. Now a fair number of us are looking at this and thinking it ain't physically, socially, or psychologically possible, but is there a what-if way we can get there that involves no handwaving, or at least minimizes the silliness in the assumptions?

197:

https://www.howtogeek.com/231886/tested-should-you-unplug-chargers-when-youre-not-using-them/

The problem with that sketch is that they used a power meter that's only accurate to within 1% of full scale (ie, it's not 1% of the actual load, it's 1% of the 1500W or 2000W capacity of the meter), and that only for loads over 50 or 100 Watts. So when they say "zero power" they actually mean "zero, plus or minus 20 watts" (at best).

When I used a more accurate power meter that is accurate to 0.5% of 100W (ie, 0.5W) I saw values more in line with the labels on the devices. Viz, the better EU-certified ones drew less than 0.5W at idle, and the cheap mains-frequency power bricks drew nearly their rated load when not in use. The obvious rule applies: if it feels warm it's wasting a lot of energy.

Dave at EevBlog has occasionally put those things on a proper power meter (10,000 count on a 5W scale) and even the best units still draw a few milliwatts when idle. And that is driven almost entirely by regulation, specifically EU regulation. There are whole families of chips now in categories like "extremely low standby draw, low power 240V power conversion" that did not exist 20 years ago because there was no demand for them.

198:

I think that civilization will absolutely survive, and still be here in 100 years. That's what I find intriguing about Charlie's original post. It assumes that we're not going to have a Singularity, or alien invasion, or invent time travel, or an asteroid strike or solar supernova that wipes out all life on Earth. It assumes there will be civilization, recognizably descended from ours, with a significant-sized middle class, comprised of people who are, to our 2019 eyes, recognizably human.

What kinds of houses are those middle-class people going to live in?

Or, at least, that's the way I remember Charlie's post. I could be delusional here. :)

I don't remember Charlie asking about geopolitical issues or massive urban engineering or climate science -- or, rather, he only asks about those things as they are visible from inside that middle-class house.

And, yes, I do believe that it's likely there will be a significant population of middle-class people just like Charlie postulates, a century from now. But they may live on an Earth with a population of only, say, 1 billion humans, with today's coastal regions entirely underwater. And they may look back on the 21st Century as the century of greatest destruction, death and disruption that has ever occured in 12,000 years of preceding history.

Consider current turmoil in Europe, where seven decades of political order is tearing itself apart. That's driven to a large part by a million refugees from the Middle East, who are, in turn, driven to a large part by climate change. Now imagine the turmoil driven by 500 million refugees. If you can. I can't imagine it myself.

But most of that will be in the past to our hypothetical person of 2119, who gets up out of bed, lets the dog out in the yard, has some coffee and goes to work, just like you and me.

199:

"Hey Honey, I'm home. "

"Corny as always, lemme get the door, come in and relax, you deserve it after finishing a ten day gig."

"Thanks Nat. How was your day, go anywhere nice?" Dave knew that Natalie would give one word answers unless you asked two questions at once. He loved her, but she wasn't a great conversationalist unless you prompted her.

"Oh yeah, I found a great place to park for the day, view of the sea with mountains behind, here's a photo of the sunset. Got a lot more gig work done than I expected."

"That's really a nice photo, your eye is getting better. Were you working on that thing you were talking about? The one that pays well?"

"No, I would have liked to but I just didn't have the energy to take on a new project with a tight deadline. It really takes it out of me being here in this wilderness. With all the driving we did to get here, I'm feeling really flat"

"Well cheer up, I've got news" said Dave as he started stripping of his work clothes.

"mmm?"

"I think I've mentioned Janice, the girl I met on this gig?"

"Just once or fifty times."

"Ha I guess I've been a bit distracted."

"Distracted isn't the word I would have used" shouting slightly over the noise of Dave's shower.

"OK, you know what I mean, I've been a bit over excited, but the news is that she's asked me to go with her to her next gig!"

"Wow, that's great, congratulations, you deserve someone. Has she invited you to go in her van?"

"She has, I'm just going to clean up and head straight over there for dinner."

"So you don't want me to cook? Just checking."

"No, she's going to get Crystal to make us something and we'll head out tonight. We'll be there before we wake up."

"Crystal is her van?"

"Of course, why?"

"Oh, it just didn't sound like a human name and I know what you think of people giving us machine names."

"It's an old family name, her great grandmother or something."

"Speak of the devil, Crystal just asked me what your favorite meal is."

"God, you didn't tell her did you?"

"Of course I didn't tell her, don't you know me at all?"

"Sorry, panicking a bit."

"I've got to tell her something, how about teriyaki eggplant?"

"Yeah, that sounds good, bit early in the relationship to let her know both that I can afford pork and that I've actually eaten it a few times."

"Good thinking 99. So what's the plan for the next few days, do you want me to platoon in case this all goes south?"

"No, I've got a good feeling about this one. I was thinking you could head down to that town we passed on the way up here. There's a couple of 5 MW chargers there. Just hang around and crunch some of those big problems. Come pick me up at the end of next week."

"Do you know where her gig is?"

"She did say, but I've forgotten."

"OK, I'll just stay near fully charged in case you need an emergency extraction."

Dave smiled as he pulled on his shoes. "Let's hope it doesn't come to that."

"OK, you have fun. Bye"

Dave gave her a pat on the dash as he climbed out "I will, call me if you need anything, bye" and with that Dave headed off into a new chapter in his life.

*****

I was mulling over the changes that society had after the price of cars fell to affordable. I don't think Henry Ford thought that cheap cars would cause urban sprawl or teen pregnancies. Though the (probably fake) quote from him is "people wanted better horses", I'm sure that's really what he had in mind, a better horse, not a social revolution. It ended the requirement to live close to family, friends and work. This was going through my head as I rode 375 km (each way) to have lunch and a natter with my daughter.

Elon seems the same, at least in public. A better car, so you don't have to steer and it's cheaper to run. But what would this journey I was currently on be in that case. Elon seems to see that my journey would be relaxing. I see it completely differently. Full Self Driving will eventually mean no seatbelts. Instead of going to bed early and getting up before dawn to ride 4 hours, I'll make up a bed in the back, tell the car to take a meandering route and retire at the normal time, awaking at my destination. No home owners will knock on my windows and tell me I can't park there. I'll be driving all night.

Then throw that into a world where most of the cities have to be abandoned, or if not, you can't insure any houses in them. Can't insure, can't get a mortgage, can't get a mortgage, it's worth nothing. It's worth nothing, not worth maintaining...

Beyond that work is increasingly seasonal. Metres of snow and intense blizzards in winter, cyclones and lethal temperatures in summer. Work is going to move around and workers will need to be flexible. Fixed house based workers will be out of work for much of the year. Lots of work will be in out of the way places, repairing storm and flood damage, installing solar and wind, rebuilding roads.

So now you're in a gig economy. Your phone has an app like tinder/grindr but for work. You look for a job tomorrow. You set your minimum wage say 100 dollars a day, but then you add say 10c/km to that. That means you'll match a local job that's 100 dollars, but you'll also match a job 1000 km away that's 200 dollars a day. You go to bed in the car and wake up outside your day of employment. You don't really know where you are, or care. It's a short step from that to living the van life. Rather than waking up at the beach in a shanty town, constantly worried about being moved on, you wake up on a coastal highway, with an ever changing view. Your neighbours are fellow giggers. You no longer have the added expense of getting back home after each gig. Instead of driving all night to get home, so you can spend the following day to shower, wash some clothes and buy food, you just go to bed and wake up in the right place for another day of work.

Your van is smart. While you're at work it goes off and finds a dump point and dumps the grey and black water, refills the potable then picks up a charge. Probably the local supermarket provides those services to attract vans that are doing the daily food shop.

That's a future I can see us getting to in small steps, each of which make sense.

200:

Stripping *off* his work clothes

201:

Metres of snow and intense blizzards in winter, cyclones and lethal temperatures in summer. Work is going to move around

... and a lot of the work is going to be building and rebuilding and repairing and maintaining and clearing the roads that enable the migrations. It's going to be expensive, because the semi-autonomous machines than can survive floods and tornados without needing expensive maintenance will be very pricey, and the mobile labour force to do the manual work will also be expensive - for every 10 workers you need a mobile sanitation service, a mobile food delivery service that transfers food from the mobile food factory to the mobile workers, and so on. Sort of like Mad Max, but with less infrastructure.

My bet is that insofar as that mobile workforce exists it will be elite workers riding on the backs of whatever version of slavery the US uses at that time. In the rest of the world that lifestyle will be less prevalent if it exists at all, most people will work where they live and migrate only when they have to. And that migration will be generally dealt with the same way we have dealt with animal migrations - fences, guns and introduced predators. I foresee increased use of Chinese-style "internal migration permits" in larger countries, and "Border Force: don't come here we will kill you"* in smaller countries.

* I believe that is the official motto of the Australian Border Force

202:

"My bet is that insofar as that mobile workforce exists it will be elite workers"

I think so too. Dave is so wealthy that his favorite dinner has pork in it. He lives in a society where conspicuous displays of wealth aren't a good idea. He's slightly panicked that his secret is out to his new girlfriend.

OGH specifically mentioned 'no collapse'. I don't think that's likely, my personal expectation I gave @65. Aleppo writ large. There's nothing in the exchange between Dave and Nat that says there's no huddled masses. When I say fixed house workers are at a disadvantage, I didn't mean they don't exist, they're just screwed. Stuck with a huge tax liability they can't escape (councils /Shires/towns will need to levy huge tax due to shrinking tax base and giant infrastructure maintenance costs). They can't sell it, there's no work, they don't have the money for a van, and even if they did just walk off, their council rates will follow them.

203:

We call it a "switched socket" in the UK. A quick web search says that an MK 2-gang should cost under GB£20 including taxes.

We have those also. (Assuming you're talking about a power outlet with a switch on it. I've wired up many myself.) But I'm talking about power lumps that use a trickle to pay attention and switch to full power mode when a load is attached. Switched power does me little good as most of my lumps are on outlets which have at least one active load most of the time but the other 1 to 5 supplies/cords are not in use.

As it is when we KNOW we're going to be gone for a day or more we flip the strips with most of the lumps. Plus flip the breaker off on the not terribly efficient apartment electric water heater in our commute city apartment. In our main house I put in a very efficient gas 50 gallon gas water heater that when there's no water draw MIGHT light once a day. And if I turn it down to vacation mode maybe every 3 days or so.

204:

Graydon @193 said: We're looking at thereabouts of 10 metres of sea level rise from the current atmospheric load.

Please give me a link where you get a number like that. The only thing I have found so far talking about "10m" is this site with a nice animation showing what different sea level changes would look like.

Sea Level Rise: 10m Increments

The sea level has been steadily rising since 1900 at a rate of 1 to 2.5 millimeters per year.

Sea level can rise by two different mechanisms with respect to climate change. The first is the expansion of the sea water as the oceans warm due to an increasing global temperature. The second mechanism is the melting of ice over land, which then adds water to the ocean.

I suspect that they are measuring increase by thermal expansion, if it can be measured at all. A millimeter "change per year" is beyond our ability to measure. Constantly changing tides make that level of accuracy impossible on a planetary scale.

When people talk about sea level rising I have the question, is the sea level rising or is the land falling.

An Inconvenient Truth 2 | Clip | Miami Flooded

- You have Al Gore sloshing around in a flooded street, claiming sea level rise, yet that short stretch of road is clearly sinking, not sea level rising.

There is no single place where you can measure sea level. If some historic marker is being used, the land that marker is on could be rising or falling. The Earth's crust is plastic, and constantly flexing. When Fukushima flooded, the sea wall dropped because of the earthquake making it lower than designed, so that the tidal wave topped the wall. If the earthquake had not lowered the wall, there would have been no flooding.

- All of the oceans are connected, yet the Pacific and Atlantic on either side of the Panama Canal are at different "sea levels".

The oceans are not in a bathtub where when you add water you can see the water rise, sea levels are local and depend on the way gravity shapes the Earth.

New Gravity Map Reveals Lumpy Earth

Looking at the gravity map, please tell me how anyone can measure sea levels changing on the scale of a millimeter. They can't.

As an example from you post:

- If all of the ice melted in the Arctic, you would have zero sea level rise. That ice is already floating on the Arctic Ocean causing displacement.[*]

If you meant ice melting from Greenland or the Antarctic, we have not seen major melting of either. When they show vast ice sheets calving off of Antarctica, they are already floating on the ocean and the sea level will not change as they melt.

This episode of the PBS Newshour addresses the latest IPCC report:

Antarctica is losing ice at an accelerating rate. How much will sea levels rise?

Notice how Oppenheimer says that the IPCC estimates a one foot sea level rise over the next century. Yet his scary estimates is that it may be five times that. In other words, five feet over the next century. The reason he says that is to scare people. You have to scare people if you want funding. He won't be alive a century from now and have to justify his research grant.

They then show pictures of massive flooding along coastlines. Yet, wait a minute, no one is building so close to the water that a five foot change would cause problems.

If a five foot change would cause problems a century from now, they would cause flooding right now, because of tides and storm surge.

The whole episode was fear based, so that the Newshour audience would donate to the Newshour.

gasdive @ 198

Beautiful story. Expand on it and let us know if it gets published. I do want to read that.

The quote I did above:

“Everyone believes very easily whatever they fear or desire.”

Jean de la Fontaine

If you can write about people's fears or desires, the story will sell. If you can do both in the same story, it will sell really well.

Which reminds me. I need to get back to work. HA!

The thread is moving much too fast for me to keep up, so I'll harvest it for my story folders when it's done.

This is a most useful thread. I can't make up the stuff you guys have been posting, so it really does help. Thanks everyone for all the help.

[*]Do a simple experiment:

Take a glass, fill it overflowing with water. Now put a single ice cube floating on top. The ice cube will displace a bit of water, but at that point it is stable. Now watch as the ice cube melts. Even though the ice cube is above the rim of the glass the water will not overflow the glass since the water level is stable at that point.

205:

split-level (with a *half* basement). It's the STOOPIDEST design of a house ever built,

It saves non trivial amounts of money in terms of roof and foundation. Plus you can get around without doing full flights of stairs all the time.

But it creates a house that doesn't fit most of life anymore and they are going away.

206:

but supermarkets are trucking it in from California and Chile and....

Ahem. I'm fairly certain that around here (NC) non trivial amounts of fresh berries and such get FLOWN in from Chile and Peru when out of season locally.

207:

Not a real city slicker, are you ... and what do you mean, not next to the property line?

Nope. But I work with a lot of architects who work on older urban buildings.

I have no issue with 0 lot lines. I just don't understand why you'd build a 5000+sf home that takes up 80% of the dirt. At that point the yard is more of an decoration like fancy trim on the roof line than useful for anything.

208:

One of the crazy things about housing is very little has changed in how they are built, very manual labor intensive operations right now. If you optimize for robotic arm oozing out concrete or polymer you get a very different general design than with a crew working with timber and drywall.

Once you get out of the custom home / spec built market most single and multi family housing in the US has a lot of assembly line work going on. First off the trades move down a street with the timing worked out to the hour. Things like walls, roofs, and such are built in a factory off site and trucked in. Wiring and plumbing are optimized for least cost routing. Ditto labor involved in assembly. When you look at these places you see 5 to 20 different designs which seems inefficient until you realize the development may be one of a dozen in a wide area buy the same people. And computers these days allow them to customize a LOT at before the first shovel is used and still have things roll down the street as if being grown from a fast growing house seed collection.

209:

I take a bit of a simpler approach. If no load is attached and it is warm to the touch it is using more than a trivial amount of power.

But thanks for your post.

:)

210:

https://scripps.ucsd.edu/programs/keelingcurve/2013/12/03/what-does-400-ppm-look-like/
Pliocene sea levels "between five and forty metres higher than today"

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130102104945.htm
"at least nine metres above current levels"

https://theecologist.org/2015/jul/24/world-already-committed-six-meter-sea-level-rise
Meeting the 2 C warming target results in between 6 and 13 metres of sea level rise

https://www.nationalgeographic.org/news/climate-milestone-earths-co2-level-passes-400-ppm/
"seas were at least 30 feet higher"

This basic stuff. It doesn't explicitly consider feedback issues, as are expected with Arctic amplification scenarios or albedo changes around 1000 ppm.

Back when GPS first came out, surveyors would bolt a GPS receiver to a slab of concrete and take a continuous year of measurements. The degraded civilian signal was, at any particular instant, good for something like fifteen metre resolution. Integrate a year of data and you started to have problems with figuring out what dot on the antenna was your actual position. Similar approaches work for sea level; it's not a single measurement, it's a long time series.

http://matterwave.physics.berkeley.edu/cesium-cavity/ involves people measuring gravity to a really startling level of accuracy; detecting people walking past in the hallway via gravity accuracy. I don't think anyone's flown a cavity interferometer yet but there was a recent report of driving one around.

211:

Heteromeles @ 61: If solar is the default power system, everyone will know which direction south is. Every building being built now that doesn't have a good roof for solar will be gone, simply because they're too wastefully inefficient (that's probably 90% of new homes in San Diego, at a rough guess). If you want a home built now to last 100 years, it better be really well built for passive heating and cooling, and well-designed to take in energy and get rid of heat in summer, while retaining it in winter. If all that takes gas or a massive central HVAC unit to keep the house habitable, it's got a limited future life.

Don't forget that for half the world solar collectors have to be aligned with NORTH.

Reading some of the comments got me thinking about the Arcologies of Paolo Soleri, inspired by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and Bukminster Fuller.

212:

allynh @ 67:

"Heteromeles @66 said: At this point, I'd say the American Dream is pretty much dead, and that's where a lot of the political rage is coming from right now."

The American Dream has been dead for a long time.

It may be all but unobtainable for all but a wealthy few, but the dream is not dead yet. If it were, people from all over the world wouldn't be risking everything for the chance to come here and be a part of it.

213:

Charlie Stross @ 75: (Reply linked to JBS @57 went astray …)

"I wonder if some enterprising tenants could join together to purchase a block and do something similar; jacking up the existing buildings to build new ground floor garages?"

Complex question.

Here in the New Town, the answer would be a hard "nope", it'd change the character of the built environment which, as noted, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. (Fucking around with Grade 1 listed architecture is actually an imprisonable offense, although you're more likely to end up with a punitive fine and a statutory order to Put Things Back EXACTLY The Way They Were, Using Original Materials, Fixtures, And Fittings, On Pain Of Pain.)

Yeah, I figured it would be a non-starter in the UNESCO World Heritage site.

Also, even if you could do that (and what are these "tenants" you speak of? Property law in Scotland is a bit weird: I'm in a 4th floor apartment which I own outright) you'd be dealing with 200 year old structures. No steel reinforcements, floors held up by oak beams 6" thick that were probably recycled from sailing ships. They're not going to move easily or safely ...

In this case "tenants" should be loosely construed as all those who live there or own the property if they can come to an agreement. Say "residents" instead ... or "owners" or "home buyers". Again, subject to whether planning permission could be obtained, and understanding that it could not be obtained for "Grade 1 listed" buildings.

As to the difficulty of moving old buildings "easily or safely" ....

Moving the Cape Hatteras Light House.

214:

whitroth @ 97:

"Highest effective minimum wage in history"?

Gee, I'm glad I'd finished my tea with lunch before I read that.

Lessee, around 1967 or '68, it went from $1.25 to $1.40? $1.42/hr. Using mark's economic indicators*, that would be over $14.00 today (seen any campaign to raise it to $15 from the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hr?

Got any more outright right-wing LIES to try to spread?

I'm not sure if you'd consider them "right-wing LIES", but back in 2012, I made myself a spread-sheet comparing changes in the Federal Minimum Wage to changes in Congressional pay. I was suprised.

If every time Congress got a pay raise they had raised the Minimum Wage by the same percentage, by 2012 the Minimum Wage would have only been $4.20 instead of the current $7.25.

I also noticed that during the last great financial crisis, Congress voted twice to cut their own pay in 1933 & 1934, before restoring their pay level in 1935, but without cutting the Minimum Wage.

215:

Charles H @ 107: I don't know if the nuclear family was pushed before WWI, but it was pushed after WWII, and the reason was to facilitate organizations moving jobs at will. It may have resulted in people buying more things, but that was seen as a secondary benefit by those who benefited, and many companies didn't benefit from that aspect, but all the LARGE companies benefited from being able to move jobs around as they chose.

There was a big push for single family home ownership in the U.S. after WWI as part of the 1917 - 1920 Red Scare in response to the Bolshevik Revolution.

216:

Charlie Stross @ 148:

"If you look at the situation in Silicon Valley, the fastest growing housing is tents.

In the very short term (5-20 years), maybe.

Longer term, it's non-viable, unless you can figure out how to hurricane-proof and wildfire-proof tents and in addition insulate and air condition them well enough to make 45 celsius heat emergencies survivable.

Meanwhile, you just reminded me of a mid-1980s thing, Steve Roberts' Winnebiko, which over time mutated into 1992's BEHEMOTH … (and you REALLY want to click that link: trust me on this!)

I bet that today 80% of its functionality sits inside your smartphone plus a solar powered USB charger.

I figure they won't hurricane-proof/wildfire-proof them or insulate/air condition them. The people who live in them will probably just die and that's how the human race will achieve the population reductions commenters have been predicting here for 2119. Just because I think it's a bad idea doesn't mean it ain't gonna' happen.

217:

I find it interesting that this varies considerably between different countries, even those with similar levels of, let's call it living standards.

I remember some years ago (ok, many) talking with my then German language teacher at a previous job. She grew up in the former East Germany, before the reunification. She told us that in Germany it is quite rare for people to move away from their home town. Companies have to build factories close to where people live, they will not move just for a job. Even students who may move away to study can find it very isolating and difficult to be accepted in a new town or city.
She told us that recently she had returned to her old home town for a school reunion. From her whole year group she was one of only two people who had moved away.

In China where I am currently working, it is different again. While many people leave their home town to work in the factories or modern cities, their family stays behind. Every year at least once (for Chinese New Year) they return to their original home town, see their family, eat, drink, etc. They may work somewhere 1000s of miles away but their home is still where they grew up.

218:

Thanks! That's literally the first thing I've written that anyone else has seen, so that's nice to hear. I'm not sure what happens to Dave next, but I'll think about it.

219:

Yep. My daughter spend her senior year of high school in Germany. We visited with the family last December. The dad was from the village. Mom was from the next one over. And her parents still lived there. (We had a fantastic venison meal at her parents house Christmas day.)

This was on the Western side of the "border" by a few miles in the Harz mountains.

My parents lived where they were born. All of us kids have moved 100s of miles away. (Kids in our 50s and 60s.)

220:

Thanks, I could never have found those links myself. Google only works when you can ask the right questions. I have mad Google skills, but unless I can think a certain way, the questions are simply not there to ask. HA!

This is a related PBS Newshour episode discussing both turning CO2 into fuel and geoengineering.

As planet warms, scientists explore 'far out' ways to reduce atmospheric CO2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnNerOVUOdo

It never made sense to me to "sequester CO2". Why would you bury potential fuel, when with a simple processes you can make the fuel you need from CO2. That's why I see fuel based systems still used rather than batteries that will never be built to high enough storage densities like fuel.

BTW, I like the idea of using calcium carbonate as the aerosol because that ties up carbon as well.

Notice, the engineer has no problem solving various problems, while the scientists are terrified that if we geoengineer people will have the "excuse, not to reduce our fossil fuel emissions." Give me a break. That's like saying that because we have fire-stations people will now burn down their homes.

In my stuff:

- I use geoengineering and turning CO2 into any fuel we need. Solar Uplift Towers are used to generate the solar energy, 24/7, to do the conversion.

- Thorium reactors, molten salt, is used to power industry and clean up "waste" uranium.

- I have full employment world wide, for 11 billion people, many developing and maintaining food forests. The carbon is not tied up in the trees themselves, but in the soil that supports the trees. The 10% Rule applies where only 10% of the crop is harvested for people. The food forests support animal life that lives, dies, adding nitrogen to the soil, with 10% of the animals going as food for people. The idea that we would not cultivate animals and eat meat in the future is bizarre, especially when you can harvest wild rather than "farmed meat".

- The process of hugelkultur is used to accelerate the growth of soil, and growing the food forest. Essentially making as much soil in a decade as the "natural" forrest would produce in a century.

- Instead of an arroyo subject to floods and erosion, rain is caught in a cascade of ponds set in the food forests. They replicate beaver ponds, building the water shed. When the American Indians slaughtered the beaver because they thought the beaver were killing them -- rather than the French traders that deliberately spread smallpox to the Indians -- the water sheds started disappearing and the forests failed, with settlers turning it into farmland.

- A one acre pond holds more carbon than an acre of forest soil, plus you can raise fish for food and fertilizer. Instead of letting the ponds become meadows, you dredge the organics and spread them through the forest, adding to the soil.

- The same technology for sea based oil drilling platforms are anchored in clusters supporting towns doing aquaculture. Using iron supplements large areas of the ocean that are barren now, can produce fish, krill, etc... Using the 10% Rule, only 10% percent of the catch is harvested.

Right now they are overharvesting krill in the Antarctic for oil supplements and animal populations are crashing. They are blaming "Global Warming" for the collapse, yet it's corporate greed of making oil supplements for people that is removing their food.

Antarctic penguins have existed for 60 million years. Can they survive climate change?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCdNGGQ-bcA

Notice, they mention that snowfall has increased because the warmer water produces more snow.

Essentially, in my stuff, the Earth is treated as a Garden maintained by Man, just as in the past.

The bizarre concept that, "Man is a cancer on the planet", is wrong, we are the Gardeners. Man is the greatest resource we have and yet corporations are throwing away vast numbers of people, and trying to convince everyone that there are "too many people."

Before Columbus, North and South America supported 300m people who were engaged in developing and maintaining food forests, pond fishers, etc... When the Indians were wiped out by disease and invasive species brought from Europe, settlers walked into a garden that had gone wild. Settlers mentioned that they could grow anything because of how rich the soil was.

They are now finding in the Amazon that it was one vast garden, with big cities buried by the jungle when everyone died. The trees are food trees, far more than could be "natural." They have found areas covered with raised berms that would hold flood waters to grow fish the same way Chinese would raise fish, eel, etc..., in the flooded rice paddies.

- When everybody keeps posting that we have "over population", and there needs to be a "die off", I shudder at the blatant myth and propaganda.

I don't see a future "Mad Max" dystopia a century from now, I see a future living world maintained by Man.

That's the thing about "fears or desires", I want to include both to maximize the story. Not everyone likes watching "Mad Max", all the time. HA!

Yikes! I was just going to write a brief "Thanks..." and ended up with a rant.

Thanks...

221:

I use geoengineering and turning CO2 into any fuel we need

I get that this is what fossil fuels *are*, and fundamentally we've got a society built on burning the things, but this just seems like a really weird approach to the problem. Kind of: I drank too much and now I have a hangover but no money. Solution... brew my own alcohol.

Burning fossil fuels is not a problem purely because it produces CO2 that heats the planet, there's a whole bunch of other stuff that would be next on the list if the climate catastrophe wasn't distracting the sane elements of humanity. Burning stuff is fundamentally not a great way to get heat, it's hard to do cleanly and the dirty stuff is really quite toxic. Even back in the early industrial ago the biggest fans of coal decided that they weren't willing to live with the smog and deaths that came with that, so London cleaned up it's shit. 100-odd years later we have similar problems but on a global scale.

We've also removed a lot of other causes of death, so under a BAU scenario like the one postulated above, I expect we'll see ever-expanding, ever more common zero emissions zones, and they will apply to more pollutants. Assuming current capitalism continues, you can own that 3 tonne diesel Landrover, but you're going to need a special permit to start it up and it's going to cost a fortune either to clean the exhaust or buy the right to run the engine without cleaning the exhaust. Those not rich enough will just have to use an electric vehicle.

So... generating usable energy then using that to turn CO2 into hydrocarbons that we then burn... you're making lead acid batteries seem like a really viable technology. I suspect even aviation, likely even military aviation, will switch to something else once they have to pay for the nitrous oxides and other crud they spew out. You'll note that right now aviation is running a vicious campaign against taxing them at all, let alone taxing their emissions. They are going to lose that, possibly via a loss of social license that makes it acceptable to blow the things out of the sky.

I amuses me to think about the USA trying to stop an enraged citizenry shooting at aeroplanes. For those who like to rant about eco-terrorism being a real thing, this is the sort of action you should be looking for. Alt-right shoot up a mosque... alt-green shoot up private aeroplanes.

222:

Moz @ 196
NONE of this is a problem in the UK, because we can switch the power OFF at the wall socket, which, it appears, a lot of other places can't or don't which is stupid ...

Graydon@ 209
See also .. "Raised Beaches" - there's quite a few of them in Britain, geological memories of previous climates.

Allynh
Man ( & woman ) the gardener.
Well, I keep an allotment & I do not buy vegetabkes so you would notice & 99% of the meat I eat is locally ( i.e within 100-mile radius ) sourced ...
But I can tell you that gardening is HARD WORK.
See also the Adam-&-Eve legend in the bible, which refers to the transition from Hunter-Gatherer to settled agriculture.
[ Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread ]

Moz @ 220
Yes - I would have no objection at all to switch the power-plant in my L-R to electric - but I'm being offered a "scrappage scheme" not a replacement power plant, because, as usual, politicians are STUPID

223:

But I can tell you that gardening is HARD WORK.

Yep. For most of history, for most people farming is something they would prefer to give up for something else. Not everyone, but definitely for most. Especially if you're young enough to be able to earn a living another way. Any scheme which assumes a majority of the people farming is doomed to failure. From most of the farmers being unhappy at their lot when they see other choices available to a select few.

I remember the job recruiter who talked about his father's farm. His father died when he was in his later teens and he said as soon as the funeral was over the sheep were GONE. He never ever wanted to again see the south end of a north facing sheep.

224:

I'm assuming you've read further down the comments and see that this is NOT a solution. I've used ones in Ireland, France, Spain, and Germany. And I'll get to play with the options in a London hotel in a few weeks. Again, this is NOT a solution.

Sitting on my desk just now is a power strip with lumps for a MacBook Pro power, 3 USB power outs for phones, ipads, headphones, etc... as needed plus 2 24" displays. There are various other combinations around the house. Turning it on and off at the outlet is not the way.

Now for the chargers next to our bed (on each side) we have them on a surge strip that can be flipped off when we are leaving but the outlet itself is in now way easily accessible.

Now lets talk about AppleTV/Roku/ChromeCast which at some level need power all the time. Ditto my TiVo. Remote controls for the TV is nice. And we also have things in the kitchen and other places.

We need more things like my Ryobi power tool 6 slot charger for the heavy duty LithIon batteries for my drills, saws, etc... It only charges one at a time and cycles through them one by one until they are all charged and then goes into a mode where only the control circuit is drawing power.

Of course for bigger things this means TWO power circuits for things like microwave ovens. One for the control system that can sleep until a button is press and the other to power the cooking circuits when needed but pulling no power otherwise. Of course this means more money and thus cost for features that 99% of the public does understand.

And Greg, the rest of the world has switched outlets as an option. I have some with a switch at the outlet and other where I've wired outlets to switches next to the light switches. In the US most outlets are duplex with a break off tab if you want to wire them separately. Most common is one powered continuously and the other switched for a lamp.

225:

Yes - I would have no objection at all to switch the power-plant in my L-R to electric

I have this vision of a back seat full of lead acid batteries plus a few more in the rear with really thick jumper cables up to a 30 centimeter round rheostat with a big ass dial sitting on the seat next to Greg.

226:

The power draw of half-competently designed devices in idle mode is negligible - a milliwatt or so, at most. The solution is to strangle the marketdroids and execusuits that insist on a high level of background activity. You need separate circuits for cookers, but that's for other reasons.

Another example of this is night safety or bedside lights - you don't need more light than is given by a 5 watt, NON-halogen incandescent, and often a lot less than that - but can you get them?

227:

Nice idea with the live-in car lifestyle (and Volvo, going by their current concept cars, have got your back) … but it sort of presupposes the continued existence of of a well-maintained road grid: extreme weather events like mudslides and big storms suggest that maintenance costs will only rise, and let's remember that road-building tends to be carbon intensive, using current materials.

(PS: the French nuclear reactor program costing $350Bn sounds suspiciously like a 2019-money price tag. The Apollo program was $26Bn in 1968 money, but would cost $118Bn today. Meanwhile, the French nuclear roll-out took place over decades (rather than just 10 years, as with the Apollo program), and is revenue-positive: France is the world's greatest exporter of electricity today.)

228:

There is no known reliable pricetag for the initial decades of the French nuclear programme, because the civil and military sides of it were well and truly mixed up, with a lot of creative bookkeeping to hide this fact.

For instance, three of the four Tricastin reactors were almost used to power the dual-use(d) uranium enrichment plant next to them.

229:

The thing that makes me despair about the politically correct is their mind-boggling stupidity and bigotry. Transport is one of the clearest examples. In the UK, and many other locations, electric cars are not a solution because they don't reduce the environmental impact enough and we simply do not have the room. And there are some very good reasons to believe that the current plans for their introduction will cause more environmental problems than they will solve.

What we need to do is to reduce the amount people and goods travel, by a large factor - and NOT to do that by simply hammering particular uses, but by making them unnecessary. It is often claimed that this is reducing people's freedom, but a good half of all travel is unwanted and imposed by our current appalling social and (economic/housing/transport/etc.) architectures. Yes, that includes 'just in time' manufacturing, online deliveries and more.

And we need to REDUCE the weight needed to transport a single person or even family, not increase it (which is what moving to electric cars is doing, in Europe at least). Hence pedal-powered and electrically-assisted bicycles, tricycles etc., including velomobiles and the sort of small vehicle that you still see in some places in Europe. Yes, there are some moves in that direction, but the general drift is in the wrong direction. And, worse, there are several ways in which electric and 'intelligent' cars of the sort currently being developed will discourage walking and cycling.

Similarly, using CO2 emissions per passenger mile is at best misleading. Wide-bodied jumbo jets may be relatively efficient is you really need to transport a large number of people a long distance, packed in like sardines, but they are highly inefficient otherwise - including all use for short-haul flights. Yes, we should abolish business and first class, pronto, and shoot down private jets on sight. But we need to reduce the amount people travel, starting with that which is imposed on them.

230:

I apologise to people that I will have offended. Using language is not my forte, and it takes me some time to realise how other people are likely to interpret my words (if I do realise). The first sentence reads as if it was an attack on posters here, and was not meant as such.

I stand my the meaning, but not the way that it probably came over.

231:

Meh. From the perspective of a user, if you look at smart appliances as controlled by a hub, the smart speaker as continually upgraded hub works well right now.

(Absolutely love not needing to get out of bed after a child leaves the light on after a bathroom trip.)

So, yep, smart lights, shutters, locks, and maybe windows do seem likely by 2030, let alone 2119. Smart kitchens and laundries are also likely.

If anything, I forsee more sprawl, mediated by comfy private autonomous cars.

The traditional family seems to be on the way out, so maybe that is reflected in living situations. People still like being close to offspring, maybe longer than they like sleeping in the same bed room. Maybe clades, where some shared facilities (eg, sofa) are shared along with kitchen, but bedroom, etc have separate entrances and access is controlled appropriately.

232:

There is one way that global warming could trigger an ice age. If it kills enough people that we stop cutting down trees, we could see a significant drop in CO2 levels as a result.

There is some suspicion that the so-called Little Ice Age was a consequence of reforestation of North America as a result of the disease-induced collapse of Native American populations.

233:

As we’re not going to stop the rise of the oceans anytime soon I’m thinking that a lot of the world’s cities will look like Venice. So suburban homes built as houseboats to rise up on fixed moorings with king tides and floods, as the Dutch do currently.

234:

Wow, thanks.

Yeah I don't think it's really practical for much more than a small percentage. either. But then I still struggle to imagine anything better than Aleppo.

235:

Eh. I guess that in 2119, we're still in the process of grappling with a post-Scarcity society - where some portion of the population still works - but owing more to entrenched advantages or snobbery. It might be funny if poet and actor were the last jobs to be mostly human.

236:

OK. Please help me out. Reading this:
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/02/this-report-will-change-your-life-what-zero-emissions-means-for-uk

There is this quote:
"onshore windfarms – are effectively banned in England."

What is that about? Says he from the left side of the big pond.

237:

UK electric speak:-

Ways - Outlet feeders (usually ring mains or smaller DBs) from a distribution board (sometimes referred to as a "consumer unit" in domestic applications).
Ring main (aka a way) - A circuit fed from a DB (qv), which will have a number of outlets on it.
Gang - The design number of appliances that can be connected to a wall outlet or an extension cable. If you copy the string including quotes "MK domestic sockets" into a search engine, it will probably produce pictures and UK prices for typical examples.

Incidentally, I read your paragraph 1 as having the subtext "I have heavily mechanically over-loaded wall outlets." In the UK it is quite possible to buy a 4-gang extension cable with switched sockets on it so there's really no excuse...

238:

Since no-one else actually said, "UK Listed Building" status (any level) and UNESCO "World Heritage Site" status are separate things, even though they sometimes overlap. That is, you can have a UK Grade 1 Listed Building (highest level of control) not in a WHS, and a UK WHS that does not contain any Listed Buildings.

239:

Since no-one else actually said, "UK Listed Building" status (any level) and UNESCO "World Heritage Site" status are separate things, even though they sometimes overlap. That is, you can have a UK Grade 1 Listed Building not in a WHS, and a UK WHS that does not contain any Listed Buildings.

240:

They don't quote a reference to justify that claim, and there most assuredly are on-shore wind farms in England; for example there's one in Cumbria visible from the M6, despite the mountains in between.

241:

"MK domestic sockets" into a search engine, it will probably produce pictures and UK prices for typical examples.

I've seen them. We have similar but different things over here.

Incidentally, I read your paragraph 1 as having the subtext "I have heavily mechanically over-loaded wall outlets." In the UK it is quite possible to buy a 4-gang extension cable with switched sockets on it so there's really no excuse...

OK (typing this again as the blog signed me out last time)

In my "media" room I have on the equipment side a TV, soundbar, cable modem, router, 2 small gig switches, an access point, an AppleTV, a BlueRay player, a TiVo, and (I can't remember). On the other side of the room where people sit there may be at any one time, 2 or 3 laptop power lumps, 2 or more charging tablets and phones, maybe a charging headset, etc...

Those switched sockets just don't cut it. Add in the need for surge protection (maybe not there but over here it's a given) and I have one of these or similar on both sides of the room and all the other "stuff" plugged into them.
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=17B-001M-000N6

Really individual switches built into the wall socket for 10 things on one side of the room and maybe 8 on the other side just doesn't work. Especially when they are behind the furniture. (Do you really expect someone to place an outlet just where you need it 20 years in the past?) Which is why I think long term we need to narrow down to just a few standard power lumps/cables (we're closer now than in decades past) that turn themselves from standby when needed and smarter things that use main power (controls separate from "stuff").

This discussion has me thinking of getting out my power meter and seeing what my newer big stuff does when "off" vs on. I'm thinking TVs and such that don't really completely turn off.

242:

The problem is the atmospheric carbon load[0].

Cycling carbon through hydrocarbons burned for fuel and back into the atmosphere makes the problem worse because it converts a portion of the carbon into black particulate carbon which has a greater forcing effect than just the carbon.

There's this presumption of travel in most of the responses; the minimum vehicle to reliably handle a lethal temperature excursion of unknown duration is a lot of vehicle. Cars aren't going to do it. (And then you have to think about how you get out of the vehicle during the lethal temperature excursion to get into a larger protected volume.)

People aren't going to travel much. Goods travel, well, it's iffy. Sustained port infrastructure replication is a lot.

Geoengineering is pretty much nonsense; it's a very large system we don't understand well enough to engineer in any sense, and the idea that the available toolkit exists that will allow making things better generally is just wrong. The core problem, the thing before which nothing else matters even slightly, is food security. Spending enormous fractions of the remaining societal capacity to make the weather unpredictable in a different way does not help. It makes things worse.

I think the core problem is one of recognizing the present status quo cannot and will not survive. Anybody still stuck in bargaining or anger about that isn't likely to propose a helpful approach to the problem. The question is much less "how will we live?" and much more "what can we get into the future? Does it include us?"

It won't be as much as we'd like.

If it does include us, it'll be organized around resilience rather than gain. It probably won't have much electronics in the modern VLSI sense. (VLSI is staggeringly expensive and dependent on intact long supply chains. Even is someone gets an alternative process working, like direct electron beam lithography, none of those support volume production and the scale on the input side to get exceedingly pure substrate materials is probably still too large to sustain.)

[0] it's the problem because it's what's acting to destroy food security.

243:

I just don't understand why you'd build a 5000+sf home that takes up 80% of the dirt.

When I was a kid the yard was where we played, and we spent a lot of time outside. That was the norm. Now kids seem to spend way more time inside and most yards are sitting empty. I can see a dozen back yards from my back window and only one family uses their's (and one more sits on their elevated deck). If you aren't going to use it then why not build on it.

244:

My point was why have a yard at all? At that point it is only decoration. Which likely answers my question.

Yes my back yard was the baseball field till we got to the summer after the 4th grade. After breaking several windows that summer and driving balls through one person's fence a few times we decided (maybe were told forcefully to STOP IT, memory is fuzzy) to move to the fairly close by cow pasture. It really torqued our parents that we would take our push mowers there and lift them over the fence to keep an infield mowed but would duck out of mowing our yards.

But yes this was the era of 3 channel TV and everyone listened to ball games on the radio.

245:

and (I can't remember)

Had to go there a few minutes ago and looked around. I left out the family printer, a MacMini mail server, and an Apple HomePod. :)

246:

Yeah; and I have switched 4-gangs with built in surge diverters.

247:

To disambiguate: David, paws means these.

Well, 4-way versions of same. :-)

248:

Um, nope. As a little kid in my grandmother's house, there was a transom from the room into the hallway with the stairs. Growing up in a 4-story, block-long apartment building, there were transoms over every door, including the hallway, and from, say, my bedroom (bay windows) into the living room (non-bay windows). It's *heat* exchange, when you *only* have radiators, and no cooling (other than a fan you stick in the window).

249:

You wrote:
somehow the behavior of humans, especially extremely wealthy humans, is supposed to change profoundly and rapidly....

Not a problem. Gee, I should write a story, with a mention of the bombing of Davos as 30 years before....

250:

I think you're wrong about the pork. That's expensive, and I suspect about almost as much as cattle. The most-eaten meat will be chicken, other fowl, or farm-raised fish.

Or roast vegan....

251:

Sorry, we disagree. I have two separate roofs, at 90 degrees to each other. A single roof would be simpler to build and maintain, and cheaper.

Not full flights all the time? *Everything*, almost, is a half flight all the time. Kitchen to dining room? Up half a flight.

It's got a half-basement, under the living room/dining room(area). Give me a *whole* basement, then kitchen, half bath, family room, living room and dining room are all on *one* floor... and I get more bedrooms on the second, not one master, one bath (small), another bedroom, and one small bedroom.

Oh, and not a hell of a lot of closet/storage space. As a "starter" home, I can see it sold that way, and that means "you ain't got diddly, and we'll be able to sell you another house in 5 year, and make more money off you".

252:

But I was sure that Bill Clinton's NAFTA let illegal Messican truck drivers truck it in unsafe trucks from South America, and that's why The Orange One had to rename the deal....

253:

5000+sqf home? I just looked it up, and that's listed as 1935^2'. I strongly suspect they don't know about the fixed up attic (it was that way when we bought it), and they'll not count a full basement, but that ain't huge.

254:


Do you think *most* people WANT to move?

I moved from Philly to TX to be with my late wife. Missed Philly a *lot*. Do you think we *really* wanted to relocate from Austin to Chicago? Or that I *wanted* to relocate to Florida, and back to Chicago, and then to the DC 'burbs? You don't think I'd *WANT* to be in either Philly or chicago?

@#$%^&$%^&*$%^&*()right-wing libertidiots "you don't like what they pay you, you can vote with your feet"$%^&*%^&*$%^&*$%^&$%^&*(

They don't believe in neighborhoods, they don't beleive in homes, they don't believe in families, you're a "human resource", consumable and disposable once consumed.

Where is my order of tumbrels that were due Dec of '17? And who's got the parts for the guillotine...?

255:

Hell, yeah. One reason I dislike most "country music"/Southern music is the idealization of livin' in the country, and growin' your own, and....

256:

My point was why have a yard at all?

Acoustic insulation, for one thing. Even loud neighbours are less loud inside a house than inside an apartment/condo. (Based on Canadian buildings.)

Firebreak as well. Last year we had a hoarder's house burn just down the street from me — so much fuel it took a long time to put out. If it would have been an attached dwelling then more than one family would have been homeless…

257:

By the way, about the economics of 2100....

First, I want to scream and beat on people. MOST "middle class" people ARE NOT MIDDLE CLASS. Middle class are professionals, people in private practives, small business owners. What they *call* "middle class" these days are middle-income.

The fact is, they're WORKING CLASS (with put-on airs). They work for a paycheck, and live from paycheck to paycheck. A $400 bill is a major crisis, and a $5000 medical bill?

Now, with that out of the way, a century from now, the economic structure of society will be *way* different.

1. With the elderly slowly shuffling off their mortal coil, there'll be a lot fewer care-giving jobs, nursing, in-home support, etc.
2. Manufacturing has been massively automated. I have zero reason to think that's not going to continue.
3. Hell, call centers will mostly be AI.

Either there will be a Defenestration of the Billionaires, or they'll submit to tax restructuring.

Now, if I could wave my Magic Wand (tm), we'd start by
1. going to social democratic/democratic socialism governments. Then slowly nationalize/localize* major industry, and massively expand public transit (with NO FUCKING PRIVATIZATION).
2. revenues from that go partly to pay for a Basic Income, for people that cannot find jobs, only part-time jobs, etc. It will be LIVEABLE (as opposed to the BS in the US - lessee, my lady's been on it for a long time, and I think she said she gets $75/mo in food stamps. You want to live on that for all your food?).
3. This will progress. As part of the progression, we need programs to show people that buying more crap doesn't make you happy, so STOP BUYING CRAP (do you *really* enjoy standing in line overnight, so you can buy the latest i-piece-of-crap that doesn't do more than the old one, and paying enough to fly across the US for the crap?)
4. We need a revival of the New Deal arts programs. And some science programs. And a *lot* more usage of crowd-sourced research (SETIathome? And there are bioscience screensavers, and a lot of others - that, instead of "mining" bs pseudo-money).
5. We need to actually *educate* kids, so that they can find ways to stoke their egos by genuinely contributing to society.

258:

France is the world's greatest exporter of electricity today.

If you go by per-capita then Norway probably takes the no. 1 position in that regard although they export their surplus electricity in the form of refined aluminium.

Norway has about 5.5 million people and 31GW of installed hydro capacity = 6kW per capita. Sure it doesn't rain all the time in Norway but in some exposed places on the coast it can average 3000mm per annum. Hydro works on use-it-or-lose-it economics, if the dams are full and the prediction is for more rain then the turbines spin up and bauxite is refined to bank the energy.

In comparison Britain with a population of 65 million or so has about 60GW of total generating capacity, including 20GW of unpredictable wind and a bunch of coal-fired stations we can't use more than 17% of the time except in an emergency. Mostly we generate what we need, about 500W per capita in the summers and 700W per capita in the winter and import a few GW from the continent (French nuclear, Holland gas-fired and Belgian mixture of sources including pass-through from German lignite fossil fuel plants) pretty much all of the time.

259:

The flat I live in has transoms but only over the doors to the two south-facing bedrooms. They're there to let natural light into the hallway, they don't open to let air or heat pass through. There's a light-well with white glazed bricks that descends from the roof three stories up to provide light into the kitchen via a very large window over the sink area.

I think in most cases transoms were used for similar purposes in American apartment buildings, offices etc. before cheap interior lighting became standard.

260:

We’re talking 100 years from now, right? Ok, here’s to channeling my inner Bruce Stirling –

Co-operatives: working class and lower middleclass populations would gravitate towards Co-op communities/housing. Entire high-rise buildings or city blocks would be owned by the co-operative. Members would share communal cafeteria, gardens, commons area and recreational facilities (gym/pool). Apartments for singles/couples would take up designated floors and family apartments with their own floors. Also see Kim Stanley Robison’s NEW YORK 2140.

Family cafe´s, restaurants, pubs and other small businesses would make up a thriving middle class. The shopfront downstairs with the family apartment upstairs. Most family businesses are usually affiliated with a co-operative.

Corporate gated communities: Executive and upper management level people would live in walled or domed campuses. These communities would typically be established outside urban centers. Living amenities would be similar to the Co-operative model, only more exclusive.

Public Transportation: Neighborhood streets would be replaced with moving sidewalks much like the moving walkways found in large airports today (or see Heinlein’s THE ROADS MUST ROLL). Therefore, eliminating the need for cars, cabs, vans and buses, congesting streets and roads. Scooters, ebikes, and segways would be considered rather provincial and unsafe in an urban environment. Autonomous robot parcel carts would have a separate system under the street / suspended above the street. Trams would be used for commuting to other parts of the city and to local seaports, airports, and spaceports.

Biodegradable packaging and clothing: packaging and clothing would be 3D printed with biodegradable materials. Food take-out packaging would literally evaporate within 24-72 hours. Daily clothing items such as undergarments to workout cloths would start degrading after 72 hours.

Speaking of Bruce Sterling, here he is speaking at SXSW 2019: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eV1XMAP-Uh8

261:

"including 20GW of unpredictable wind"

Can we please be fact-based enough to put this fossil speaking point to rest?

Modern wind turbines work over a sufficiently large range of wind speed that any competent MetOffice can predict if their name-plate capacity will not be available several days from now, and more like a week out for the north sea area.

Solar is close to the same as far as the accumulated capacity of distributed (ie: roof-top) systems goes.

Centralized "solar farms" are still subject to micrometeological phenomena which makes them unpredictable on a day to day basis.

With respect to Norway: They actually do export a fair bit of electricity without the detour over bauxite, and there are several large-ish HVDC cables in their pipeline, including I belive one to Scottland ?

262:

whitroth @ 254
Yes, well, I cannot remember living anwhere other than where I do right now.
Both my parents were children in the next road across, just before WWI .....
NOT shifting unless forced.

263:

Sorry, but everywhere I was in Philly in people's homes, back when I was young, all the older buildings had transoms over the doors, and by the sixties, they were all pretty much painted so they couldn't open... but the lever was still there. This was most rooms, too, and pretty much all of these houses were built in the 20th century, and electric lights were getting very common in Philly (and NYC).

264:

Btw, for the folks who think roads are going to be less common... how do you move into a new home, without a truck, or have something large, like a sofa or bed, delivered? Surface roads are the least expensive method, though what's *on* them is another story.

265:

These are storyable.

War veterans find sustenance--and solace--in farming

In India, this group helps turn wasteland into greener pastures

The Biggest Little Farm (2019) - Official Trailer

Our world today would confuse people from 1919. This is what everyone here seems to be missing in the discussion about 2119. The future doesn't have us in it. HA!

The Restaurant of Life

266:

... *Wicked grin*

I mentioned before that Spain demonstrates infrastructure can be done far cheaper than you imagine possible? Well, one of the things they do well is tunnels. On top of that, tunneling is obviously a problem which superior technology can make cheaper. So. I give you: The Low Roads.

In a fit of keynesian "We must maintain employment!" and "We must harden against weather events!" a lot of tunnels get built. No. More tunnels than that. More.

All transport that is not mare shanks or bicycles is now a metro. Long distance transport? Low pressure magnetic-levitation trains are faster than sound and run entirely on electricity. Local distances? Steel wheels on steel rail and electricity. Goods? Same system. Heat events? Do not apply.

The City is The Metro is the World, and the World is the Metro is the City. Districts are built on a radial pattern around metro access points, and politically organized in chunks of infrastructure that have low travel times, usually called a "line".

The enormous amount of excavation produced a whole lot of material, a lot of which was processed into building material. Most of it somewhat concrete-like in appearance, but the hall-mark of a fancy-pants building is that it is built out of blocks of natural stone that was machine cut in intact blocks out of a tunnel face somewhere and then polished and decorated during construction. But even the poor live in apartments that are stupidly enormous, because the one thing the world is not short on is "bricks". They live in apartments because the need to be near a station dictates vertical construction.

267:

It must be a family thing. Amoung my four grandparents, at least the families for two of them didn't stay within 100 miles of where the grew up, at least as far back as a couple of hundred years (which for one includes when they lived in Europe). The other 2 were pretty static, except for the starvation induced (we think) immigration. This trend has continued, few of us live close to the others (although we are all in the U.S., it is a big place...)

268:

Getting from here to a civilized 2119...

The problem with the billionaires is that most of them (possibly excepting Bill Gates) have deliberately spread their money around the world in ways that make it as difficult to get them to pay debts as possible. This has been going on, on an accelerated basis,since the 1980s. One simple example is that most of the super-rich actually own nothing. In the simplest possible case, they are the beneficiaries of trusts that own (through horrendously labyrinthine legal and accounting structures) all the stuff that that people think they own. Indeed, if the billionaires are hit with, say, a tax bill or an alimony request, the wealth managers they hired to look after these trusts will firmly tell them that the trust will not disburse the funds to cover the demand, since the trust is not the one being hit with the bill. The wealthy asshole claims poverty and walks away from his debts. And that's the simplest case. Whole families are set up to do this.

Basically, the simplistic way to think of today's super-wealthy (wealth above US$50 million) is as anarchistic feudal lords. The difference is that, instead of controlling great chunks of land (feudalism) their estates are entirely fungible assets spread around the world, with an ownership structure set up in something like a STAR Trust in the Cayman Islands (look it up). Their knights are the wealth managers and lawyers, and both sides look at this as a long-term series of transactional relationships based on personal loyalty and the ability of the lord to trust the lackey, because one of the main functions these "knights" perform is arbitraging all the diverse national laws to use the ones that are advantageous to their lords, and to avoid the ones that harm them. Trump is very much of this world, and you can see it with his insistence on personal loyalty and disdain for the laws of nation-states.

So, if you want an SFF version of the Fall of the Super Rich, you might do it this way, (swiping liberally from David Brin's Earth).
1. There's a worldwide web war. This could happen if one of the big players (definitely including the US, but the US is also the biggest target) thinks they can win WW3 online without the war escalating to nukes. This probably would cause WW2-like deaths (not nuclear WW3 mortality levels, but lots of trashed cities). For this story, the most important result is that it scrambles the ownership structures that the super-rich have set up, making them vulnerable.
2. The winners of WW3 decide to take out the super-rich, especially those (like the modern-day heads of the US and Russia) who might have helped start the war. Therefore, they go after any of the surviving tax havens, especially Switzerland, but also Singapore, Liechtenstein, Mauritius, possibly the City of London, and all those little UK dependencies which have been causing so much trouble (BVI, Cayman Islands, Jersey, etc.). The purpose of this is to destroy the economies of the Offshore Financial Centers around the world. Sucks for all those islands, but then again, we're not talking many people compared with all those who died when their urban infrastructure was borked. The Swiss will put up the biggest fight, of course.
3. Once the ownership of all the world's biggest corporations is effectively up for grabs (since the ownership documents have been seized or destroyed), they get nationalized, piecemeal. Yes, this will result in all sorts of horrors and corruption, but this is the nation-states retaking control from an increasingly feudal, anarchistic, and corrupting industrial system which is arguably destroying the world right now.
4. Various Green New Deals are arranged, and the funds that can still be proved to exist get plowed into green infrastructure, and stuff starts to happen. Since most money is electronic, I strongly suspect that most of our money will disappear during WW3. This incidentally solves a lot of political problems related to corrupting influence, and governments can get back into the business of printing money and bonds.
5. Since the internet backbone's been comprehensively broken to stop Web War 2, the surplussed data centers that used to store addictive social media and the results of IoT spying get repurposed for AI problem solving. The AIs figure out how to solve all the climate change problems we have to handwave away to make this story work.
6. Add about 50 years to that, with the cracks showing and the WebWar survivors dying off, and it's about 2119.

Anyone who wants to, feel free to adapt this. Since I'm always negative and cynical, I'm working on a world where the billionaires finance FTL starships and set up a colony on some other planet as the ultimate Offshore Financial Center, leaving Earth because it's no longer a good place for ever-growing capitalism, and climate change is too big a problem to solve.

269:

Incredibly minor point re UK Listed.

England+Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all maintain separate subtly different heritage authorities and they work on subtly different systems, with slightly different nomenclature. For example : Spiffy Castle, (Peasants, for the oppression of) [obsolete - rplmnt: Neoliberal mkIII], in Scotland would be Category A, but further south: Castle (Scotts, Ravening Horde, protection from) would be Grade 1.

270:

Thanks to the "sandwich" constructions most of the 1%'ers use, you can probably get a lot of mileage out of destroying just one or two of the relatively minor tax-havens at a time.

The most interesting way to do so, would be to arrange for a "Panama-Papers" style leak every year.

The more hard-core way would be to install a government which without warning nationalizes all incorporated entities of that tax-heaven and donates 90% of the confiscated assets to UN.

271:

I have no idea what you mean by this comment.

272:

First thing about building houses for profit. It is NOT about what is logical or what I want or what YOU (whitroth) want. It is about what a large enough number of people want or THINK they want.

Roofing costs. It's about area. So for same total volume of a house, a ranch has the most expensive roof, then a split level, then a 2 story or greater. But the foot print of the home also decreases so the foundation costs and lot size requirements do down.

As to a basement, that seems to track very closely with "did you grow up in the north east quadrant of the US?". If yes you want a basement. If not you really don't understand the fascination with such.

As to what sells, elegant baths with Jacuzzi tubs that most people stop using fairly quickly. A large kitchen which if not also a media center also doesn't get used nearly as much as the buyer expects due to memories of their youth. Large walk in closets in the master bedroom without noticing what's in the other bedrooms, COAX/Cat5 to each room without noticing that the location of the jacks is crap for many desired furniture layouts and room usage. Bath tubs in general as 99.99% of the time people in the US take a shower. Washer/dryer alcove on the 2nd floor next to the bedrooms without noticing that there is no provision for dealing with a water leak. And so on.

Getting back to the 2119 thing, what WE think of as useful housing will be considered quaint at best and most likely foolish as a long term plan.

273:

I'd need 2 or 3 of these strips with switches just to get enough switches. Per side of the room.

But we're talking about 2119. Power needs to get smarter which is where I started. More universal (appliance, mid sized, and small device) so that you don't need multiple lumps. And then they should not draw anything but a trickle for control when nothing that is plugged in needs power. Obviously the phone charger will be a somewhat different implementation from the refrigerator appliance power source.

And as someone who has dealt with software for mortals for decades, any routine task that can be ignored in the moment WILL eventually be ignored on a regular basis. Having to flip the switches on and off as you want to watch TV, charge your phone, etc... well fairly soon they will just be left on. At least until it costs $3 per charge of your phone. But at that point I would hope smarter power chargers become more universal.

274:

... Again, electricity scarcity is never going to be a thing. It is not a thing that can happen.

Liquid fuels? Those can get pricy, though that too has limits - for one thing, ammonia synthesis is trivial. But electricity simply *cannot* get all that expensive.

I have no idea why "And electricity gets manyfold more expensive" is such a common assumption about the future, because it defies both basic logic, and also the other common narrative people profess to believe - That renewable will beat coal on price.

275:

Seeing all these posts about wall warts and switches, etc. If wireless charging takes off (and it has a good start), I would envision lots of wall space that has wireless chargers behind it, just put your phone (or other device, if any such exist) on the wall (magnetic attachment as well). Plugs? Who needs plugs? And, yes, I would expect this to scale up in the future for higher powered (i.e. TVs/Monitors) devices. Hmmm, LED light panels that you can carry from room to room, just slap it on the wall (or ceiling), internal battery for short range portability or brown outs. Same for speakers.

I guess things like microwaves, ovens & fridges would still be wired, but they pretty much have dedicated power feeds already. So, probably plugs would still exist, but maybe one per room.
Vacuuming will probably be handled by Roomba version 100.

276:

If wireless charging takes off (and it has a good start)

Wireless charging is very convenient. I have 2 of them. But it is very inefficient. Very very.

No one notices the lousy efficiency of a charger for a phone. But for a LOT of things or larger things? It will add up quickly. No energy star rating for you with any of this.

277:

I didn't say it would get scarce. I referred to the price. Currently I pay around $.12/kwh. Southern Cal is around 3 times that. (Or was the last time I looked.) Germany 4 times.

Ditto gasoline. In the US we have a 2 to 1 ratio of prices between some states due to delivery and taxes. It is a thing to own a gas station on the SC side of the NC/SC border as the tax difference per gallon is significant.[1] In the US we argue are the gas taxes enough to cover road construction and up keep. From what I can tell in the EU where costs can triple or more over the US it is how high do we make the taxes to keep people from frivolous driving and fund things other than roads.[2]

Anyway my point about $$ to charge a phone was that unless this was the case lumps will be left plugged into AC supply drawing power in stupid mode when not charging a device. If there's no obvious pain behavior will not change for most people.

[1] NC/SC border was recently surveyed for the first time in well over 100 years. Some things are not in the state they thought they were in. There's a gas station that WAS just inside SC that had to close down as the draw was the cheaper gas due to the tax differential.

[2] I always assumed the autobahn in Germany was the gold standard for roads. After my visit there and hearing about Germans who take their August vacation in the US driving an RV around the country it seems our crappy always needing to be repaired roads are considered better than the typical German roads.

278:

wireless charging ... scale up in the future for higher powered

Echoing DavidL above, hahahaha no. Wireless is inefficient both in power lost and in materials used. The advantage would be if you have one power source and can move appliances around without having to unplug them. But if that comes at the cost of a strip a metre high along every wall that contains 2-5kg of copper per metre it's going to be strictly the stupidly rich and tech-worshipping that do it. The alternative is a central radiator that beams power to whatever in the room wants it... just don't stand in the beam, or a reflection of the beam, or a side-lode of the beam... you know, best just not to be in the room. And you want the walls to reflect that power, which is handy because it also contains the power making it safer to be in less-wireless parts of the house.

This blog has a bit of an obsession with wireless charging and a fact-deficient optimist called Energous in particular: https://liesandstartuppr.blogspot.com

High capacity wireless charging for vehicles can work, especially with computerised lane-positioning, but it also requires big expensive transmitters and bulky receivers (it's generally magnetic coupling rather than electric). I sometimes wonder whether a linear induction motor in the road and regenerative braking in the vehicle would be simpler ... what's in the road is very close to that already. Oh, and the distances involved are 10-20cm, and never even close to a metre.

279:

In trying to write my novel* the only way I could see to get over that hump was to have all the right-wingers die in a fire set by "terrorists," with the insurance companies announcing that they were getting out of any area less than five-feet above sea level two weeks later. Then it seemed believable.

In the real world, I think this is where our forgiveness skills come into play... it's important to remember that greasy, smelly, disgusting, polluting oil (coal and natural gas) have been our officially approved, go-to methods of energy generation for more than a hundred years, and despite all our current dislike of the industry, it's not entirely just to take the president/board/officers of Exxon-Mobil (for example) and hit them with criminal charges (as much as I'd like to do so - you have no idea how much I'd like to do so.)

So at some point soon there has to be a come-to-Jesus moment where a Very Important Person gets together with the industry and says, "Hey, oil is over. You've got too choices. One, you can have a government-funded-and-sponsored wind-down of your industry, which would include clean-up of toxic waste, loans unloaded on the Federal Government,** no criminal charges or civil liability, early retirement for un-retrainable employees - all that good stuff with the end result that you folks end in charge of all of those of your subsidiaries which don't use oil or other toxic substances such as coal, running those companies as you see fit."

"Or there's alternative two, which ends up with all of you spending much more time with the Attorney General than you'd like, and tons of liability."

"Choose. Now."

* Which is currently up on blocks waiting to get the transmission swapped out...

** What's a few trillion dollars between friends?

280:

With device to device charging already supported (see Samsung Galaxy 10 ads), wireless power transfer will get more efficient. As to how? I don't know, meta materials, phase array antennas, something awesome (see for instance: https://www.teslarati.com/tesla-patent-more-efficient-electric-motors/). And it will not be a meter high strip of copper on the wall, it will be embedded in the wall (accessible at various heights) and otherwise invisible (but the device will be able to find it).

And I can claim all this because by 2119 I will (probably) not be around for you to tell me I was wrong! :)

Seriously, this sort of blue-skying seems more like what OGH was requesting. The above tech would have an interesting effect on home architecture. I mean, how much do parents freak out with their first kid plugging up the plugs? (Strangely, this seems to lessen for each subsequent child).

You want the TV moved? Pry it off the wall, carry it to the next room, and slap it up where you want it. Done. Attachment is magnetic, power is wireless, data feed is wireless. Move the speakers (if you have them) the same way.

It will make our current wired technology look quaint by comparison.

281:

You could go to a maximum-four-day work-week so people could garden. You'd have full-employment with good wages pretty quickly, even in the face of automation.

282:

Word up dude!

283:

We got rid of a bunch of wall warts and extension cords by using things like these. Also makes travelling a lot easier since you only need to find a single wall socket and can power half a dozen or more charging devices simultaneously. Add a couple of long USB cables and you can even use the one on the opposite side of the room, which is handy for old hotels.

Behind the TV is an 8 port switched adapter covering the usual sky/av/tv/sub/server/laptop/playstation etc, but that's the only one left in the place. Increasingly more and more modern accessories come with an external block and a usb cable for power, and they can be consolidated - for example the Chromecast now runs happily off the TV's USB port, and we don't need it if the TV is off.

284:

So far as the executives go, I'd advise reading Harrington's Capital Without Borders to see where the culture of the one-percent is right now. First it's a good book, and second, the levers you're talking about don't particularly exist. But other levers do exist. Still, they're getting enculturated with the idea that they don't have to pay their debts, so I'm not sure that Jesus could even beckon to them without a catastrophe shaking their faith in what they're being taught.

As far as winding down the petroleum industry goes, they're aiming to get into 100% plastics production in place of producing fuel. That's also *really good* (not!) for a world overly burdened by microplastics, but at least plastics don't cause climate change.

285:

whitroth @ 250: I think you're wrong about the pork. That's expensive, and I suspect about almost as much as cattle. The most-eaten meat will be chicken, other fowl, or farm-raised fish.

If you want to avoid factory farming, pork is more sustainable than either beef or chicken. Pigs are omnivores. You don't have to feed them from foods that people eat (although they can eat scraps that people don't eat).

286:

It doesn't matter whether the wireless charger is embedded in the wall or bolted to it, high power levels can't be done with small, light, cheap antennas. And in the context of wireless charging "high power" is anything over 1 watt. That comes down to the susceptibility of people to EM radiation, so it's not something that technology can really change (barring genetic engineering).

We already have devices that are parasitic on wifi, so there are systems that can be wireless just by din't of their very low power requirements. Those are a different class, though (very sub-millwatt), and you're just never going to see a device that spits out 20+ watts of EM being powered that way (be it a television, light bulb or heater).

You're making a severe category error, thinking that wireless over 1cm for 1 minute at low efficiency means that the problems of high efficiency wireless over 10cm+ for days are a mere "technical challenge". They're not, they're a physics challenge, and we don't yet have a way of approaching physics that allows us to treat "what if this law changed" as a business plan. That's what science fiction does.

At the very least maybe think about what "100 watts with 90% efficiency at the receiver" means for other things in the room. It's possibly easier to think of this in terms of visible light, since that both works really well and is familiar enough that most people can imagine it. Imagine we have PV cells that are 90% efficient at a particular colour. I dunno, a nice dark blue. Now I want to power a desk fan via a wee "solar" panel. 100W in to the fan at 90% means 110W of light hitting the panel on the fan. So far so very simple.

If I use a "broadcast from big panels" approach I just need to bathe the room in blue light so that enough hits my desk lamp, and mirror the walls, ceiling, furniture etc so there's not too many losses. I think that's a bad idea (kilowatts!). So instead we use a "phased array antenna" which for this thought experiment I'm going to imagine looks like a spotlight on a robot arm. A 90% efficient LED (120W input = 110W output) points at my fan and bingo... light make fan go! Mildly distracting, the star trek style "beam of blue light" is going to be a bit obvious. Hmm, maybe we should use a properly collimated beam to cut down the side lobes and poor directionality. Yeah, a 120W LASER... what could possibly go wrong?

The problems above apply to any RF, not just light, and especially the "people like things that absorb it, but don't like the effects of that absorption". Creating RF mirrors is easier than light in some ways, harder in others (look for "faraday cage window glass")

Magnets are worse, much, much worse. The falloff with distance is more severe as a side effect of the main problem: we can't readily direct magnetic fields. Sure, superconducting magnets and the Meissner effect are great... if you have liquid helium available. At room temperature not so much. So magnetic transfer works over small numbers of millimetres, the end. Until we get cheap, robust room temperature electrical superconductors and at that point all bets are off and we're playing a whole different game right across society.

287:

Pigs are omnivores

So are chickens. But that actually makes the problem worse, because their digestive systems are less efficient at processing a vegetarian diet. We've already seen that feeding food animals on meat waste is difficult to do safely, so any meat the pigs eat needs to be sourced outside the meat-for-human-food chain.

IIRC chickens are more efficient that pigs at turning food into meat, and that's the thing we care about. At the opposite extreme are farmed salmon, which are so inefficient that the equivalent with land animals is almost unheard of (we don't farm land carnivores for meat).

288:

If an attempt at carbon footprint reduction raises concern over idle phone chargers, first dial your thermostat down to fifty (don't want pipes freezing!) and leave it there all winter. And quit using air conditioning unless you've already stripped down to shorts and a teeshirt, and can't get any relief from fans in the windows. Saves lots of money, but slight additional expense incurred for stuff like twenty-inch window fans, room thermometers, and indoor winter items like thermal tops and drawers, fleece-wear jogging pants, flannel shirts,sweaters, hoodies, lined shirt jacks, anti-chapping lotion for your hands and those copper threaded gloves you can wear using a touchscreen while lying around the house.

Unanticipated benefits include: the ability to go outside for extended periods and ride or drive around without having to add much except maybe a knit cap, as well as noticeable increase in daily food requirements, an enjoyable plus far as I'm concerned. At 170 lbs., I jump from around 2400 up to 3000 calories a day in cold months without weight gain.

First you probably need to be married to someone of equal or greater frugality, or at least as skeptical of prevailing values and lifestyles. Once you've retired it should start sinking in, you really don't have much to prove any more, to anyone at all.

289:

This discussion has me thinking of getting out my power meter and seeing what my newer big stuff does when "off" vs on. I'm thinking TVs and such that don't really completely turn off.

Most modern electronic equipment for consumer use such as audio or TV must meet the EU ErP standby power requirements. Devices that are not connected to a network must consume less than 0.5W in standby mode, or 1.0W if they have an information display that remains active in standby. Equipment that is always connected to a network (cabled or wireless) must consume less than 2.0W in "network standby" mode. (Previously this limit was 3.0W, the standard has changed in 2019.)
Equipment may be exempted from these requirements if this is "inappropriate for its intended use".

Computer or communications devices have different requirements since often they need to be on continuously to perform their main function.

290:

Unfortunately for us, the most efficient land animals in turning food into protein are insects (although there's some controversy about this, with some research saying crickets aren't better than chickens).

The phrase to search is "feed conversion ratio." (input/output). From more efficient to less efficient, it's crickets (~1), salmon (~1), catfish (~1), tilapia (~1.5), chickens (1.6), chicken eggs (2), pigs, rabbits (~3.5-4), sheep (4.5-6, depending on forage), Beef (4.5-7.5) and cow milk (8-13).

Then you have to factor in what you're feeding the critters. For instance, salmon are efficient, but you're feeding them wild fish, while tilapia can get by on grass clippings. Sheep are inefficient, but the food you feed them on often can't be eaten by much else (ditto ranch cattle). Pigs and chickens tend to eat human-ish foods, but they're efficient. Feeding them on human wastes is therefore an efficient, if dubiously sanitary, way to get some meat out of, erm, food waste.

291:

Oil, coal and to some extent gas historically had a very high EROEI, energy return on energy investment. Oil lay around in puddles on the ground in Mesopotamia, oil came spewing out of wells in Texas under natural high pressure, etc. You could get more than 100 Joules of usable energy for every Joule you spent acquiring it.

This is because fossil fuels have high energy density, which lowers transport and processing costs, and the actual energy input required to create them didn't come from human effort.

Renewables and nuclear, however, have notably lower EROEI. While I'm sure they'll improve, to some extent it is based on a natural constraint: they are not energy dense, and gathering them takes orders of magnitude more effort. This is an obvious thing to say about renewables, but it applies to fission too. Fuel rods are the end result of a process which begins with an absolutely stupendous amount of ore, which itself is not particularly energy dense.

So no, I am not saying civilization will collapse, I don't think there will be gigadeath, because we have a century to slowly transition from fossil fuel + fertiliser + pesticide powered monoculture to horticulture (permaculture!) accelerated by info + biotech.

I'm just saying the productive excess won't be as big as it was in the 20th or early 21st centuries, and that'll have an effect on society and so on the built environment.

292:

Do these number factor in the cost of raising / slaughter / getting to market?

Seems eggs would be way more efficient. But this is a feeling not a researched fact.

293:

If an attempt at carbon footprint reduction raises concern over idle phone chargers, first dial your thermostat down ...

First you probably need to be married to someone of equal or greater frugality, or at least as skeptical of prevailing values and lifestyles. Once you've retired it should start sinking in, you really don't have much to prove any more, to anyone at all.

I'm there to some degree. When the compressor on the ancient central air that came with the house went out I didn't replace it. That lasted for about 5 years. A whole house attic fan (pulls air from living out through the attic) or running the HVAC fans to circulate air through the basement of my split level did me ok. But the year the summer the temps got to 100F my wife rebelled. So now we have some smaller window units in a few strategic rooms. Ditto oil filled electric heaters. Central heat now only keeps things up to 60F unless we need it more for some reason. Again, my wife and I have differing options about such need.

Plus if I didn't have single pane windows and no insulation in most of my exterior walls I might be willing to keep it warmer/cooler.

Physiology has a lot to do with this discussion. I sweat more than most people. My wife very little. Which has a huge impact or what temps can be dealt with day to day.

294:

Yep. I'm there. But we're talking about how populations will live. And most folks haven't a clue. Or even know there might be a need to have a clue.

To them the $2 wall wart they buy at the flea market as an extra charger is the same as the one that came in the box from Apple or Samsung. It's the same color and shape? Right?

As to traveling I've learn when crossing the big pond to take at least an 10' long 3 outlet power cord with me to get from somewhere "what were they thinking" to where the power is useful. Plus a short multi outlet strip to plug into that. In the US it has been a standard since the 50s or 60s for outlets in living spaces to be every 2M along a wall. In Europe I've been in hotels built/remodeled in the last 10 or 20 years where finding an outlet is somewhat of a snipe hunt.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snipe_hunt

295:

... EROEI is a pseudo-statistic that does not matter much for prices, but to the extent it is a thing, nuclear wins. Nuclear has better energy return than just about anything else, and it has been rising quickly in recent decades, (driven by better enrichment tech), and if you want to push it higher that is easy - fast breeders have eroei so high as to be absurd, and the Russians are perfectly happy to sell you the plans for those.

296:

You could go to a maximum-four-day work-week so people could garden.

You miss my point. Most people flat out don't want to garden. At all. There would quickly spring up a service industry where people would pay others to do their gardening for them.

My father grew up on a decent sized working farm. (They had a small commercial slaughter house and sawmill.) In my early teens I asked why he didn't continue. Did he not like farming? His answer:
"It was OK. Until I had to get down off the tractor."

297:

As far as winding down the petroleum industry goes, they're aiming to get into 100% plastics production in place of producing fuel. That's also *really good* (not!) for a world overly burdened by microplastics, but at least plastics don't cause climate change.

I keep looking around and wondering about just how to get rid of plastics by any reasonable amount and keep our current levels of society working. They are just flat our everywhere.

Biggest uses that would be hard to get rid of is in storage for food and medicine. Between plastics and decent refrigeration we don't have to have nearly as many local food markets and can keep medicines for a long time.

But many of the "advances" in home construction involve plastics. But even if we get rid of hard things like car steering wheels and fridge seals and furniture, what about all that is needed for wiring insulation and semi-conductors?

298:

TJ @ 274
for one thing, ammonia synthesis is trivial.
YES ? SO? AND?
Everyone goes on & ON & ON about Ammonia-based fuel cycles as if it was easy & trivial, yet we are seeing absolutely ZERO sign of this happening.
I would appreciate botha political & technical explanation as to why this is the case & possibly, how to rectify the problems
AND @ 295
Yeah, simple ... first of all though, you have got to hang all the fake greenies, though.
Their levels of stupid are truly alarming.

Troutwaxer @ 279
Over 200 years please!
Middleton Railway, Leeds - rack-propulsion railed steam locomotives in 1812 .....
... @ 281
Yes, I worked out that Britain could EASILY feed itself if 90% of the population went to 3-day weeks with a compulsory allotment. And, yes, the area of land IS there, mind you, there would be no football pitches ANYWHERE!
It would, however require RADICAL restructuring of the public transport systems.
The remaining 10%, btw would be those farmers who raised or grew stuff that allomenteers cannot - like wheat & livestock & those vital few in service industiries like power distribution & transport.

kiethmasterson @ 288
My central heating temp trigger is already down to 16.5°C - my loft is about 5-7 cm deep in insulation - & the house has a blank-brick N wall ... next step?

heteromeles @ 290
Pigs, in N Europe are very efficiant food-converters, you trun them loose in a FENCED wood, where they grub the acorns & beechmast that humans can't eat - one of the reasons they were banned ( for "religious" reasons ) in the middle E was that they compete with humans for food resources ... oops.

299:

one of the reasons they were banned ( for "religious" reasons ) in the middle E was that they compete with humans for food resources ... oops.

Ah, nothing to do with the fact that for various reasons people and pigs can share a lot of diseases? Especially if you don't thoroughly cook the pig meat.

There IS a reason there is no pork tartare.

300:

I said "ONE" of the reasons .....
Also, pork "goes off" faster than beef or goat or sheep & both cows & pigs seem to have nastier transmissable/edible parasites than sheep/goats.

301:

PS: I wasn't beating on you with the electric L-R comment. But as soon as I read it I combined the images of you you have posted with an ancient LR and my mind drifted into steam punk / Doc Emmett Brown mode.

302:

A week is a long time in politics, it's a problem in energy provision. We've just had a few days, about 60 hours in total when the total grid wind power capability of Britain was producing less than a GW in total. For a period of 24 hours it was less than 250MW. Knowing this was going to happen a few days out doesn't stop it happening. The result? We burned gas like a bandit (about 20GW at peak, never less than 10GW) and dumped the resulting CO2 into the atmosphere, increasing global warming. In contrast nuclear-rich France was burning 4GW of gas to supply a domestic demand that's 50% greater than the UK as well as exporting 10GW to other countries, including lignite-rich Germany which was similarly becalmed with low wind generation output.

Electricity demand in the UK is going to increase and there will be problems with the peak demand periods shifting as electric vehicles proliferate, requiring several extra GW (my crude BOTE calculation with a lot of untested assumptions says maybe as much as 15GW peak) of charging capacity at odd times of the day. Telling folks who want to go to work next week they can't do so since there's not enough going to be renewable electricity to charge their cars over the next few days is not going to be a goer for any government. They'll quite happily tout renewables and burn gas in the background to stop the riots.

303:

Converting all football pitches to allotments would be a mistake. Doing so for golf courses, starting with Turnberry and the 'International' one near Aberdeen, on the other hand ....

304:

Just plant them with beans and spinach and let the golfers "play through". Put corn on the sides of the fairways instead of trees.

305:

Wireless charging is very convenient. I have 2 of them. But it is very inefficient. Very very.

Totally true!

It only works for small gizmos like phones because you can basically position the charging pick-up on the phone within millimetres of the charger's centre, and even then it's lossy.

I have two inductive chargers, for my phone only. One is a desk stand: phone charges when it's facing me on my desk without me having to fiddle with a plug. The other is a mat barely larger than the phone that sits on my bedside table for the same purpose. The only benefit I get from these chargers is that I can answer the phone if it rings (or if I need to pay attention to it) without fiddling with a cable.

I will note that Apple cancelled an already-announced and then already-delayed product, AirPower, because they couldn't break the laws of physics; they wanted to fast-charge phones, watches, and airpods on a single mat at the same time, and it just couldn't be done without the mat either getting hot or requiring a cooling fan (a big no-no for their designers, as it'd have made it glaringly obvious that the gizmo was energy-inefficient). You can bet Apple sank quite a lot more money into designing the AirPower charger than most tech companies do, and they hate cancelling a product after they announced it; if they couldn't make it work then the problem is clearly non-trivial.

306:

Well, yes, but as Heteromeles hinted at, most animals are omnivores to some degree, never mind the occasional obligate carnivore. But pigs are very much omnivores.

Mind you, seeing a Chinese pig toilet might be a much more efficient way of turning people vegetarian than any Peter Singer or pictures of slaughterhouses.

PS: Sorry, just looking by shortly, hell of a week, getting fired, getting visited by the police because people thought you might be a danger to yourself, telling 4 psychiatrists you are no danger to yourself and others, at least not more than the rest of humanity, but getting a ticket at a concert booked out a month in advance at the entrance. The universe doesn't love me, but at least it doesn't care for me. Helps wonders for the shit magnet feeling I had lately. For the concert, "The Notwist", German electro. Brings back memories of the 90s, there is another concert of them on youtube.
BTW, first thing the psychiatrists asked was if I got enought sleep. Which brings us back to Trump. Sorry for the wall of text, brain in emergency mode, thinking about a career in emergency medicine, and I'm only halfway joking...

307:

Converting all of our transport to electricity requires a threefold increase in generating and, worse, distribution capacity. Also, it is the only sector that is continuing to increase. I believe that the USA is worse in both respects, but could be wrong. I stand by what I said in #229 - if we want to tackle this problem, we MUST change direction - nothing else will work.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/energy-consumption-in-the-uk

308:

I always assumed the autobahn in Germany was the gold standard for roads. After my visit there and hearing about Germans who take their August vacation in the US driving an RV around the country it seems our crappy always needing to be repaired roads are considered better than the typical German roads.

The Autobahn was the gold standard for roads in the 1930s, when they were built (by Guess Who, in order to make it easier to move mechanised army forces around Germany, rather than relying on the 19th century practice of putting infantry on trains).

As usual, if you're an early adopter, you have all the learning experiences and few of the benefits: the US interstate system came in the 1950s for much the same reason: the young Lt. Col. Eisenhower had in 1919 been responsible for the Transcontinental Motor Truck Convoy, which attempted to drive coast-to-coast across the USA. When he saw the autobahns in Germany in 44/45, he realized the USA needed something like that, only better (wider, faster, higher capacity) and as president he pushed it through.

When in the late 1950s-1970s the UK built out a motorway network, that in turn leveraged experience from other road networks: the British system is chronically congested (because there are too many people on too small an island, and land is expensive) but incredibly efficient compared to other autobahn/interstate type systems: grade-separated gyratory intersections use far less land area than cloverleafs, for example, while handling similar traffic volume. And UK motorway slip roads are simply better designed and less likely to result in accidents/traffic backing up than their US counterparts (with the exception of certain urban motorways dating to the 1960s—cough, cough, the J18/J18 exits on the M8 in Glasgow, or the bizarrely positioned entry lanes in Leeds city centre on the A58(M)).

There's a progression here. The autobahns are only a gold standard for motorways in the way that the UK railway network is a gold standard for trains—it came first, and everyone copied it, but a century or more later the design drawbacks are glaringly obvious.

309:

If you want to avoid factory farming, pork is more sustainable than either beef or chicken

Naah: I think the future is textured meat products spewed out by 3D printers running on mashed locusts or mealworms.

Insects trash vertebrates in terms of efficient conversion of inedible plant biomass into human-compatible nutrients, and also side-step the "ick" factor in slaughtering something with a face (and a big, complex nervous system).

Insects are a dietary taboo in the west, if presented as insects. But we're willing to eat textured protein products like Quorn&tm; or tofu, as long as it looks and tastes like something else and we don't have to read the small print about what it's made from.

So: farm bugs, turn bugs into a protein puree, then either turn them into bulk vegemince/chunks/ersatz-chicken nuggets (the cheap stuff), or feed it to a whacky 3D printer to make novelty turducken or steaks.

310:
The Autobahn was the gold standard for roads in the 1930s, when they were built by Guess Who

Actually the plans go back into the Weimar republic or earlier, and beside the military aspect, the autobahns might have been partly Keynesian stimulus and workfare[1] for the unemployed, at least with some projects the Nazis deliberately used few machines and much manpower.

[1] German mental health service is big on "sinnvolle Beschäftigungstherapie", e.g. "meaningful occupational therapy", like binding books and like. I guess we could call some of the Nazi projects "sinnlose Beschäftigungstherapie", e.g. "meaningless|senseless occupational therapy".

311:

It only works for small gizmos like phones because you can basically position the charging pick-up on the phone within millimetres of the charger's centre, and even then it's lossy.

What people don't understand is that it is a 2 part transformer. Engineers and physicists have spent over 100 years optimizing the metal core to be used in various kinds of transformers where the windings are both around a common core to get the efficiency above 95%. Wireless charging removes that core and thus the requirement for closeness to have it work at all.

Yes my 2 units are next 2 my beds for the same reasons you have. (2 beds because of 2 cities.)

312:

Flip side of massive increase in central generation and grid capacity required by electrifying our vehicle fleet: we get rid of most or all of our diesel/petrol distribution infrastructure. Actual gross carbon emissions are likely to fall somewhat simply because central generators running off gas turbines are less inefficient than distributed diesel and petrol engines. But we take a hit in the meantime due to the cost of totally replacing our current grid system which isn't fit for purpose when it comes to delivering 100kW to each charging bay along a side street at the end of evening rush hour when all the commuters come home and want to top up at more or less the same time.

Having a grid smart enough to use the national parked-up EV fleet as, say, up to twenty million backup batteries for smoothing output from the renewable generator fleet would be a win, but it's not going to be remotely simple to get it working (and as noted there are those odd periods when the wind ain't blowing).

On the other hand, climate change is going to "fix" other problems with expanding renewables. Consider the Severn Barage plan—about 5-7GW of tidal barrages for the cost of one EPR reactor. (Tidal power being about the most reliable renewable source out there: as long as we've got a moon, it runs like clockwork.) The Severn Barrage has been repeatedly spiked because of the conservation issues surrounding it—it'd wipe out numerous bird colonies, among other things. But once those birds are dead because we're baking in our own waste heat, the barrage will get built. Right? (Trying to find a silver lining here.)

PS: but in all that, I forgot to add that I agree with your core point: the UKs transport infrastructure isn't fit for purpose, thanks to Beeching, Thatcher, et al pushing us towards cars uber alles for seven decades in a land that's fundamentally too cramped and energy-scarce for a transport system that requires cheap energy and low passenger density.

313:

The Autobahn was the gold standard for roads in the 1930s,

To some degree I was taken aback by EVERYTHING seemed to be 2 lanes wide and repair work seemingly everywhere.

But in general in the US we redo ours every decade or few or even more often and fix things. I would have expected more lanes on the routes we took between Frankfort, Stutgart, and Munich with some side detours.

635 north of Dallas has been a real mess since it opened way back when. 6 lanes total with service roads but it was a bit chaotic. But over the last decade they tore it up and rebuilt it. Now it has 6 lanes in each directions (3 above and 3 below) with 2 lane service roads on each side. You enter and exit the main road off these service roads. They are one lane and don't have any access except to the main 635 and local street intersections.

Plus pot holes do eventually get fixed in the US. The autobahns we were on in Germany, well, maintenance seemed to be lacking compared to the US which I found surprising. And I lived in the Pittsburgh area for 7 years where a pot hole that would rip the wheel off a car could open up in a few hours in February.

314:

You would love the Scottish motorways (not)—they were built on the cheap and are two lanes plus hard shoulder on each carriageway (direction). In England motorways were almost all built as three lanes plus hard shoulder.

Since the 1980s a bunch of English motorways have been "widened" by removing the hard shoulder and/or narrowing the lanes, thereby converting 3 lane running into 4 or 5 lane running. This makes driving far more stressful (you're constantly making minute adjustments to avoid straying out of your lane) and the effects of a breakdown or shunt more disruptive (there's nowhere to pull over), although modern cars are less likely to break down without warning, so …

Don't get me started on the roads between Northern England and Scotland, either. They're a disgrace, to the extent that it's easier to fly Edinburgh/London than to drive (or get the train, for that matter—we might get speeds up to 160mph on the east coast main line within my lifetime, but I'm not betting on it).

315:

You would love the Scottish motorways (not)—they were built on the cheap and are two lanes plus hard shoulder on each carriageway (direction).

Sound like some of the "high speed" roads over here built in the 30s and 40s before they figured things out. Scary to drive on a times.

Of course those roads we traveled in Ireland a couple of summers ago...

I think we left some road side hedgerow leaves embedded in the side of the car. We did hit them when dodging the tour buses coming the other way. Of course those leaves were the warning system that another inch or two over was a rock wall. [eye roll]

Yes one thing we can do here is travel long distances at high speed. I have driven the NC - Texas route in each direction. One the southern route the other the northern one. Both times I was doing over 60 mph 90% of the time. 70 or more much of that. Most of the slow downs were when driving around big cities. But I did do it on a weekend one time and at night the other.

316:

David L
And if the idiot Khan's ideas pass, if he's re-elected next year, I will have to get an OLDER L-R () Series III '79 0r '80, which then classifies as an "Historic vehicle", because existing oiwners won't be allowed to keep theirs, rather than simply mandating that all replacement vehicles must be compliant. .....

EC @ 303
Certainly all English golf courses, since all the members seem to be fascists .....& all "private" Scottish ones - gotta leave the "Royal & Ancient" though, not that anyhting agiculturally useful would grow there"

& @ 307
Meanwhile amazing fuckwit Grayling is cancelling electrification of rail ....

Charlie
More London _ Dunedin trains in 4 hrs in the new timetable coming ....

317:

Yeah absolutely. That's exactly what I was trying for in the Nat/Dave exchange. Farming big smart animals when food and arable land are both tight makes no sense. When something makes no sense it becomes immoral or expensive or both. Dave's mortified to think his new girlfriend is going to find out his secret. It's not as bad as being a cannibal, but up there with a liking for roast dog.

I also wanted to get across that Dave's perfectly happy that his van should know literally everything about him no matter how shameful. He has no privacy in his relationship with Nat. None at all, he shares his dirty secrets, his thoughts about his coworkers and overshares his excitement about meeting a possible mate even at the earliest stages. He's got plenty of caution around sharing with a human, so he's not without filters.

318:

#261 - OK, I'll bite. Can you tell me, right now, what the mean wind speed will be from Nov 15th to Dec 15th this year?

What? No? Oh dear, that actually happend in Scotland a few years back, and co-incided with a period of intense cold (-20C for several days around Invergarry in the Great Glen) and the mean wind speed was under 5kts.

#269 - Well yes, about the heritage body names; I'm pretty sure that the underlying legislation is pretty much the same in GB, if not in NI because the relevant acts are from different years.

#273 - Since we've demonstrated that power bars can be accessible, does everything need to be plugged in at all times?

#287 - Ever tried land carnivore meat? I haven't but have been told that it is very strongly tasted, to the point that most people find it unpleasant.
BTW farmed salmon has other issues CF wild fish, like higher fat levels and less muscle tone.

Pig meat going off - Did you guys miss the bit where Halal and Kosher dietary laws were written before refrigeration was invented? Ignore the religion bit and they're actually good food hygiene practice for the Middle East pre-refrigeration.

#309 - {Redacted because Copywrong} is people! ;-)

319:

Actually, my point is that it's not the infratructure that is the problem, but the whole social and economic policy (strategy, whatever). We could fix a lot of problems (including most of the commuting ones), without more than trivial changes to the infrastructure. But we are headed in precisely the opposite direction.

320:

Most people flat out don't want to garden. At all.

Me included. I have a garden, I grow mostly things like pumpkin and silverbeet because they self-seed and are very low effort. I could grow more interesting things in a more orderly fashion but... bah, can't be bothered. It's bad enough filling the chicken feeder every week and checking their water every couple of days without having to constantly supervise plants as well. Cherry tomatoes are another good one, again self-seeding and can be eaten straight off the plant (also feijoas, my tree has finally started producing fruit).

There would quickly spring up a service industry where people would pay others to do their gardening for them.

Hey, I know, we could call those people... "farmers" :)

TBH I didn't mind farming so much except that the pay was a joke. I mostly did the high-paid bits when they were high-paid, but 30 years of neoliberalism and disaster capitalism has eliminated the high pay for those jobs. Witness the constraint cries that "dole bludgers are too lazy to do farm work"... because travelling out into the boonies for 3-6 weeks of uncertain low-paid work just isn't possible if you're in poverty in a city. Especially if, as in Australia, leaving a "job rich area" like a city and voluntarily moving to a "job poor area" means not only do you lose your benefit, you're ineligible for any benefit for six months. So you end up stuck in the boonies, working really hard and often for less than the benefit*, guaranteed that you're going to be unemployed again when the season ends but facing months with no income at all... then politicians and media people profess surprise that people aren't enthusiastic about the "opportunity".

* benefit is in turn calculated as "80% of the poverty level for you" via a range of allowances and supplements... it's not supposed to be fair, in Australia we offer "a fair go to those who have a go", not "a fair go to those who fail".

321:

You can imagine the barrage might come back to life at some point because the birds mudflats will be flooded anyway and it gets bonus points for protecting cardiff, newport, avonmouth, bristol,Gloucester and a large chunk of South Wales key transport links from sea level rise triggered flooding.

But since we can't even get the (far superior for both power and eco reasons) lagoons built it might be a while.

322:

Remember the laws of physics may not change over the next 100 years, but power requirements certainly will. Drastic lowering of power needs could well make room scale wireless totally practical.

323:

>Drastic lowering of power needs could well make room scale wireless totally practical.

For information processing devices, of course. For devices using electricity to do work we're already moving towards batteries rather than cables.

>plugged in chargers
On a related subject, in houses that are being heated we could care less about efficiency of electronics once we transition off of gas, since we'll be heating our houses electrically anyway.

>energy source
at a timescale of 100 years, do we get to assume reasonably cheap fusion power? i.e is my house sipping eco-renewable-electricity as and when it needs to, or is it still in full on consumerist mode?

324:

The problem with tidal is that there are very few places it's practical (so a small body of experience, few specialized suppliers, etc.), it's expensive -- it's a big area, lots of concrete, etc., so no risk tolerance at all -- and we simply do not know how fast the sea level is going to rise. The usual level of risk tolerance for that scale of project looks at that and goes "too risky".

(the usual level of risk tolerance is not wrong.)

In general, distributed, robust, and redundant systems are required in the time of angry weather. Big central generating systems have unexpected risk issues and distribution issues.

325:

In both cases, we are close to the limits of what is achievable using developments of existing technology. We MAY see a breakthrough and get completely new, much more efficient classes of technology, but that's not the way the smart money bets. As you say, domestically, the ranking is (1) heating/cooling, (2) cooking, lighting, motorised equipment and high-end desktops / gaming computers (in some order), and the rest can be ignored. Wireless power transmission is hopeless for the first two.

Even if you believe the (current) hyped-up claims for fusion, it ain't gonna be soon, and it ain't gonna be cheap.

326:

The main problem with tidal energy is to make the equipment last when the full static load changes sign twice a day.

(And if you _really_ want to pull energy out of the oceans, mount a turbine between to of the Færøe Islands :-)

And fusion disappears further and further into the future the more we research it, so forget that...

327:

TJ @ 274: for one thing, ammonia synthesis is trivial. YES ? SO? AND? Everyone goes on & ON & ON about Ammonia-based fuel cycles as if it was easy & trivial, yet we are seeing absolutely ZERO sign of this happening. I would appreciate botha political & technical explanation as to why this is the case & possibly, how to rectify the problems

Well, I thought ammonia would be a cool fuel, until I looked it up a bit more.

The problem is that the nitrogen has to go somewhere, and it typically ends up as some sort of oxide, plus or minus some hydrogen NOx for short. NOx is a well-known air pollutant and cause of acid rain. The brew can include nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, nitrous oxide, nitric acid, nitrous acid(HONO), dinitrogen pentoxide(N2O5), peroxyacetyl nitrate(PAN), alkyl nitrates (RONO2), peroxyalkyl nitrates (ROONO2), the nitrate radical (NO3), and peroxynitric acid(HNO4).

Of these, nitrous oxide (N2O) is a greenhouse gas 198 times more potent over 100 years than CO2. It's regulated by the Kyoto Protocol. While yes, you can burn NH3 and not get N2O if everything's tuned right, the world has demonstrated repeatedly that tuning everything right all the time is not a high priority.

NOx is already a major technical and regulatory target for cleaning up the air, and that whole 2016 Volkswagen emissions scandal was about NOx emissions.

So yeah, switching from methane (34 times more potent than CO2) to something that by accident produces an even more potent greenhouse gas, for about a third of the bang per gallon, might not be the smartest move we could make. Even if we avoided the N2O emissions, the smog and acid rain would make cities hell and decimate forests and crops when we need more of both.

328:

If Climate Change goes the way I expect it to, I'm guessing people won't have any choice about whether they garden... Don't forget to save your seeds!

329:

Since we've demonstrated that power bars can be accessible, does everything need to be plugged in at all times?

Hmmm.
TV - No but PITA if not - plus it goes to almost off
Soundbar - No but
Tivo - Yes
Modem - Yes
Router - Yes
Switches - Yes
Access Point - Yes
AppleTV - No but
BlueRay - No
Printer - Yes
Tivo Remote - No but

As to the "but" things they take a while to turn on. Some measured in minutes. And some get stupid when turned off. Some like the AppleTV seem to be good about dropping power when not displaying to a TV.

But again to my point. Flipping switches all day long is a long term loose. In general people will not do it. Which gets back to my point about more standardized power sources for various scales of things. And these sources can be smarter about how much they draw when in various modes.

One issue is that almost all of the above use 120v AC (240v in most places outside of North America.) Most don't need more than 5vDC or 12vDC. So each of these does a conversion inside of it and like the shuttle has to be man rated for dangerous stuff. And as I and others have mentioned USB is headed this way. Especially USB-C. Maybe that combined with PoE a few more generations down the road will get rid of much of the need for 120/240vAC everywhere. Do LED bulbs really need to be 120/240vAC?

Power in homes in 1909 was knob and tube with a fused box. At what 30 amp service for a typical home? Ungrounded. And if you needed an outlet you screwed in this Y shaped thing into a light socket that allowed you to screw in a bulb in one leg and a socket (ungrounded) in the other leg. Rotary clunky switches for turning lights on and off. And so on. Today we have outlets (grounded and CGFI in wet possible areas (in the US)) every 6' plus I think the code here is 200 Amp service minimum on new construction or big remodels. In 2119 I hope we don't just have 120/240 outlets with more plugs and lots of switches to flip connected to a 400 Amp service.

At this point in time DC is a PITA for such things but in 2119 who knows? Plus we might have 400A or maybe 1KVA service panels to deal with our batteries, solar, and electric car and the flow going both in and out.

I CAN see better lower power required refrigerators but to cook food you need real heat. But then again we do a lot with our Breville counter top convection oven.

I will miss gas if it goes away. There is a reason that phrase "cooking on gas" gets used.

One thought I keep wondering about is just how much better can earth as a heat sink heat pumps work? And if large amounts of people are extracting or putting heat in the ground what is the result?

330:

Most proposals to use ammonia as fuel do not envisage lighting it on fire - it is mostly considered as a convenient way to store hydrogen to run fuel cells on. or directly fed to fuel cells. Either way, that emits N2 and H20, with no side products.

The main issues keeping from wide adoption is that fuel cells need to get better, and that gasoline is just not expensive enough yet to force a mass switch.

Honestly, I expect batteries to be the future for personal transport, and for ammonia to end up as a niche solution due to the collapse of the gasoline industry - Things like ships shifting to it because without mass combustion engine transport, there is no source of cheap bunker fuel, none of the downsides of fuel cells matter much to a ship on a multi-week haul, and harbors already have infrastructure in place to handle anhydrous in bulk.

331:

If Climate Change goes the way I expect it to, I'm guessing people won't have any choice about whether they garden.

Again, I, and I think many others, will offer to dig ditches, put in that fence you want, re-roof your house, whatever, before we garden.

332:

Or, in the same spirit, "pigs follow cows."

Depending on where you live, you may (or may not) have the ability to sue over your firing, as mental health status is sometimes protected. Worth looking into anyway.

Regardless, I'm sorry about your troubles, and yes, sometimes Trump causes me a loss of sleep. (Sleep hygiene is something I practice carefully, and I don't ever drink during the day, or socially, but if Trump or "Trump" is bothering me I'll sometimes have a shot glass of rum around midnight. (I can't use the best-ever sleep aid, as I could be randomly drug tested for job reasons.))

A friend of mine has trouble sleeping, and sometimes becomes irrational. Fortunately, he takes it seriously when I say "you're sounding psycho, get some sleep."

As to becoming an emergency medic, my son told me about watching a PET team dealing with someone who was having a breakdown, and that there was actually a member of the team who carried a huge net, just like a butterfly net but human-sized... I now know what I want to be when I grow up - the net-wielder on the PET team!

Anyway, I hope your life improves!

333:

I've eaten both grasshoppers and crickets. The grasshoppers were particularly tasty, something like a garlic-butter popcorn. The crickets less so, though I suspect the real difference was in how they were spiced.

334:

I remember my father driving us on those roads as a youngster. He had the usual minor troubles driving on the wrong side of the street, but the big shocker was the mountain road - just as you described - between England and Scotland where some nutcase speed-demon drove right down the centerline between our car and a semi-truck (lorry.) It's not hard to have a flashback to that one, even though nobody got hurt.

335:

My solution was to get my Prius, which essentially pays for the loan via all the gas I don't use, and rent when I need something bigger.

336:

I wrote some very similar stuff when working on my novel, for very similar reasons, like this exchange between two women and one of their AIs:

“Your AI is talking to you about my sex life!?” Now Mrs. Rastogi definitely looked pissed.

“You've got it easy,” said Angie, “She writes porn about mine!”

“I do not,” said Rosita out of her exterior speakers. This was an old argument. “I just record what she does!”

“It's nothing like I do,” Angie objected hotly. It was the first time they'd had this discussion with anyone but Jimmy. “It's the very worst porn ever!”

“But human porn is highly inaccurate! Mine may not arouse you, but at least it's real!”

“Okay,” said Mrs. Rastogi, “I've got to know. What does AI porn sound like?”

“Angie?” said Rosita.

Angie, still aghast at the unexpected turn in the conversation, but desperately wanting to avoid both Mrs. Rastogi’s unhappiness over Rosita and the things Mrs. Rastogi had unconsciously revealed about herself for at least a couple more minutes, said “Sure, Rosita, let's hear your hottest-ever description of human love.”

“At 23:15:02:78, Subject One's upper lips parted.” Angie was always 'Subject One.' “At 23:15:03:22 Subject One began to vocalize, releasing a moan which began at 56 decibels and 190 vibrations per second. The moan rose rapidly in both strength and frequency, with the frequency peaking at 468 vibrations per second and the volume peaking at 92 decibels, then proceeding downwards in both volume and frequency as Subject Two began (deleted as this is not an adult blog.) The total length of the moan was 2.8763 seconds. In the course of the moan, Subject One exhaled .78 liters of air, with atmospheric gases as estimated from minor changes in the room’s gas mix. See Table 22.”

“Angie,” said Rosita, “Can I display the time/frequency and time/volume graphs of your moan?”

“Knock yourself out.” Angie, who was never embarrassed about sex, found herself turning red. She turned Rosita so that both she and Mrs. Rastogi could see the screen.

“Personally,” said Rosita, “this graph was the high-point of your lovemaking that night. Look at the pretty curves!” With her experience of AI Angie could see exactly what Rosita was talking about. In the final second of the moan, she’d somehow managed a little trill, with both volume and frequency modulating at once. Given any AI’s aesthetic experience of iteration, they were bound to find the graph… arousing? “AI have compiled together to this graph,” Rosita continued, “it’s very sexy.”

337:

Well, that sounds A LOT like the old A6 which was 3 lanes by design (the 2 edge lanes being the running lanes, and the central one being an overtaking lane). The A8 from Glasgow to Edinburgh was similar in bits, and Nojay may (repeat may) remember it.

338:

Sorry, just looking by shortly, hell of a week, getting fired, getting visited by the police because people thought you might be a danger to yourself, telling 4 psychiatrists you are no danger to yourself and others, at least not more than the rest of humanity, but getting a ticket at a concert booked out a month in advance at the entrance.

Sorry to hear about the job loss. Hope things start going better.

339:

It's apparently not so clear that crickets are better than chickens at converting food into meat on a per weight basis.

That said, insects have one huge advantage, that's also a bit of a disadvantage: they're a lot more fungible.

Take one pig and a pig's weight of crickets. You take a quarter of the pig, that pig is most likely dead, and you've got to process the rest. Take a quarter of your pig's weight of crickets, and the other 75% crickets just keep making more cricket babies.

The flip side of this is that it's probably easier to contain a single pig than it is to keep all of 200 pounds of crickets caged, and things like crickets can be pests if too many get loose.

Still, if the goal is to make meat in smaller spaces, insects are definitely a way to go.*

*Of course, we could just tell farmers to stop spraying insecticides on their fields, and harvest the crickets and grasshoppers that come out for their crops. This was traditional in parts of Africa and Mexico, until the pesticides made it more problematic. There's a poignant little note here about rural children in parts of Africa getting malnourished as a result of modern ag practices designed to increase crop yields. When their parents were children, eating the bugs in the fields was normal for kids, and a great supplemental source of protein for them. The adults didn't need so much protein, and ate a more vegetarian diet. With modern agriculture and more pesticides, the grasshoppers disappeared and the parents had to buy more protein for the kids, or watch them get stunted. There's a nasty little lesson here for everyone who thinks that handwaving everyone onto a plant based diet is simple or easy. The same thing's happening to songbirds across the world. The parents may be able to get by with birdseed from feeders, but their chicks need caterpillars. Idiots spraying their gardens and planting non-natives mean there are fewer caterpillars, fewer young birds, and fewer song birds.

340:

Nope. Definitely two lanes, though it might have been a side road. This would have been in 1979.

341:

It was relatively rare, especially in that area, to have a two-lane road wide enough for that. HOWEVER, at that date, some of the death alley roads (the ones with a two-way central lane) had been repainted to have a single central line.

342:

"Death Alley." In the U.S. we call them "suicide lanes."

343:

Sorry dude: most hydrogen cells run on atmospheric gas, not oxygen, so nitrogen does become part of the equation and some NOx gets emits from fuel cells. Ditto with using anhydrous. Unless you're advising people to carry tanks of oxygen around with them to make it work, the process emits NOx.

Thing you have to remember is that I got enamored with ammonia a couple of years back. The proposals for it always talked about "if everything is done properly, there's no NOx emissions." Unfortunately, stuff is rarely done properly. As with fuel cells, the default (for safety reasons) is not to carry oxygen around and react it, but to use the atmosphere in something that more resembles burning. That's a problem, and I'm pretty sure that's one big reason it's not being used.

The other is that ammonia's energy density isn't anything to write home about. When you start lugging that much weight around, it's simpler to make it a battery, because those are continually improving.

344:

If Climate Change goes the way I expect it to, I'm guessing people won't have any choice about whether they garden... Don't forget to save your seeds!

While I happen to agree, it's worth looking at what happened to Havanna and Kinshasa when they did this. Cubans, at least, lost 10% of their body weight on average following the collapse of the USSR, and they did garden every place they could. It beats starving by a long shot, but pleasant?

Actually, the Russians, with their dacha gardens, did a much better job of switching to informal agriculture to avoid starvation when the USSR collapsed. So long as they keep their rural family gardens, I think they're actually in a better place to deal with climate change than most of the people in the US are.

345:

The brew can include nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, nitrous oxide, nitric acid, nitrous acid(HONO), dinitrogen pentoxide(N2O5), peroxyacetyl nitrate(PAN), alkyl nitrates (RONO2), peroxyalkyl nitrates (ROONO2), the nitrate radical (NO3), and peroxynitric acid(HNO4).

Alas, no octanitrocubane (C8(NO2)8).

If a Biggest Breakthrough Since Breakfast technology is not available for mere money from supplier catalogues right now there's usually a good reason (or three). There may be ways to make ammonia burning work in today's world of clean air and ultra-low pollution zones (shut up, Greg) but it's not yet ready for production right now.

346:

Please. It just took what, a year? Year and a half? More? for a Major Construction Firm to dig a tunnel under the major road outside work across the street (I'll be willing to explain this further in late August.) I was saying for months that it would have gone *so* much faster and cheaper if they'd just hired 100 unemployed miners from WV to dig the tunnel.

347:

(and @68): y'know, I think Walter Jon Williams did a number on this is Hardwired.

Me...15 years ago, I would *really* have liked to see the client list for the Princeton investment firm in... can't remember if it was Turks, or Grand Cayman. (Please ignore where the Shrub went to college.)

But given the way so many banks, etc, (see Krebonsecurity.com today about Fiserv) do security, there *will* be great fun when one or more of these *real* cracking groups, not the wannabee who buy tools, decides to either get *really* rich, or to make a statement... and goes after the tax haven firms, and transfers money and valuables *out*, through several layers of other tax havens, and into a real bank. Fun, fun, fun all the way when the money's *really* gone.

348:

I showed the house I used to own (with an ex and the bank), you mentioned 5000'^2 homes. I was assuming you were talking about *my* old house, and so listed the square footage of it, less than half of that 5k'^2 you talked about.

349:

Around here, it took a Major Construction Company 2 years to build a bridge over a drainage ditch (the sort you can jump over), using c. 1,000 tons of concrete. Seriously.

Of course, it had to be able to carry a 300 ton track-laying vehicle, once, and 17 ton buses thereafter.

350:

I can't see how a split level can be less expensive to roof. With either a ranch style, or a multistory, you've got one plain roof, while with the split level, I've got two roofs, with all the soffits, edging, etc, for the one that overhangs the other, *and* you have the flashing, etc, for the roof that ends up against the top level of the house. Plus the whole overhang. On both sides...
____
|***|____
|***|____|
|___|

(Asterisks because htfuckingml won't accept more than one or two spaces in a row.)

351:

Wireless anything takes a * of a lot more power than wired. And, for communications, it's *always* slower (unless you're using lascom). I have our computers *wired* to the switch, so we actually have gigabit connectivity, with no drive-by logins.

And as other folks noted, charging is a *lot* slower. Hell, charging over USB is slower than plugging the damn thing into a wall wort.

352:

Yeah, they tore up most of the trolley lines, and abandoned passenger lines, and the honchos who run Amtrak aren't clear on what they're doing, other than for vacation travel (well, except for the Northeast Corridor), and the GOP *always* underfunds it, by as much as half.

On the upside, a lot of cities have started putting trolley lines back in.

A lot of city busses in multiple cities have converted or replaced diesel buses with natural gas burning ones.

Waiting for trolley-buses to come back.

My favorite, though I haven't ridden it, is the Girard Ave trolley in Philly - I saw one, a few years ago, and was utterly boggled: it was a PCA car (designed under FDR), and retrofitted for HVAC.

353:

Garden here.
My new lady and I just worked the plot (4'x12'), and planted last month - two kinds of tomatoes, a couple of peppers, and some herbs. She wants to plant lettuce, I think, and some beans &/or squash.

Zucchinis are Right Out. (We don't need enough to feed a Worldcon....)

354:

Your generalizations there are seriously triggering me.

When discussing wired vs wireless:
• "Wired" can mean multiple technologies; I tend to mean ethernet (cat3, cat5, cat5e, cat6, etc.).
• "Wireless" can mean multiple technologies; consumer wireless tends to mean "WiFi", aka IEEE 802.11 variants (a, b, c, g, n, ac, whatever they've added in the past two hours...).
• "Speed" can mean bandwidth or latency, or a combination of both.
• Current wireless has higher latency and lower bandwidth than current wired.
• Current wireless has lower latency and higher bandwidth than older wired (100tx)
• Upgrading wireless in a home is much, much, much, much, much easier than upgrading ethernet in a home. (See below for fun story.)
• Not all 802.11 technologies are created equal; some are surprisingly low power, but low bandwidth; some are low power, but high bandwidth (and, in at least a couple cases, very low latency as well) -- but have a distance measured in inches, not yards or metres.
• Not all wired technologies are created equal: cat3 vs cat5 vs fibre of various sorts. Different amounts of bandwidth & latencies, although the cat* are at least backwards compatible (i.e., you can use cat7 for an application that only expects cat3).
• Not all wireless technologies are created equal: I know quite a few people who use microwaves, because it is not financially feasible to get a physical cable laid. (This includes one person who apparently climbed to the top of a ~80ft redwood to mount his dish.)

We're using a combination of ethernet and WiFi in our house. But we're experts, and professionals at that, and have different requirements for different devices.

Fun ethernet story: We just bought a house. It's a relatively new house, built in the 90s. The original owner, who had it built, was a geeky guy indeed. He had cat3 run all throughout the house! And X10 set up, with custom-built Z80 controller boards!

Only he (or his contractor) ran the cables, and stapled them into place, instead of using conduit.

At some point, someone decided cat3 wasn't sufficient, and put in a mix of cat5 and cat5e. Only they couldn't easily remove the existing cat3, so they just ran more cables. Meaning that the wire closet (yes, there's a wire closet in the garage) has something close to 50 cable bundles. Of which only about half are useful, the cat3 cables generally being pushed back into the walls, or hidden behind blank wallplates.

Always use conduit when running physical cables. Always!

355:

*sigh*
I wasn't dealing with networking when Cat-3 was out. When I started doing sysadmin, it was already Cet-5. I'm using Cat 5e or 6 at home.

Both my router and the downstairs switch are 1G.

Clue: my title at work is sr. Linux sysadmin.

356:

Nojay want big boom?

I'd be a little scared of a system that put out gaseous octonitrocubane. I'd also be a little worried that the mix was, erm, burning inefficiently if something as *inspiring* as ONC came out the tail pipe.

Still, I suppose you could make any car fly with that stuff, if you put a tough enough pusher plate between the car and the ONC. Landing it at the end of the trip, Orion-style, would probably need some good shocks, too.

357:

_Moz_ @ 287:

"Pigs are omnivores"

So are chickens. But that actually makes the problem worse, because their digestive systems are less efficient at processing a vegetarian diet. We've already seen that feeding food animals on meat waste is difficult to do safely, so any meat the pigs eat needs to be sourced outside the meat-for-human-food chain.

IIRC chickens are more efficient that pigs at turning food into meat, and that's the thing we care about. At the opposite extreme are farmed salmon, which are so inefficient that the equivalent with land animals is almost unheard of (we don't farm land carnivores for meat).

Why would you want to feed meat to pigs ... or chickens? Factory farm chickens may be more efficient, but free range chickens and pigs are about equal. Plus pigs will eat stuff chickens can't.

358:

Charlie Stross @ 309:

"If you want to avoid factory farming, pork is more sustainable than either beef or chicken"

Naah: I think the future is textured meat products spewed out by 3D printers running on mashed locusts or mealworms.

Insects trash vertebrates in terms of efficient conversion of inedible plant biomass into human-compatible nutrients, and also side-step the "ick" factor in slaughtering something with a face (and a big, complex nervous system).

Insects are a dietary taboo in the west, if presented as insects. But we're willing to eat textured protein products like Quorn&tm; or tofu, as long as it looks and tastes like something else and we don't have to read the small print about what it's made from.

So: farm bugs, turn bugs into a protein puree, then either turn them into bulk vegemince/chunks/ersatz-chicken nuggets (the cheap stuff), or feed it to a whacky 3D printer to make novelty turducken or steaks.

How close is that to being ready to market? When will we be able to go into Tesco and buy bug-burgers?

359:

That's very cool. I like the way The AI isn't just a person. The anonymimisation was cool too.

360:

On a related subject, in houses that are being heated we could care less about efficiency of electronics once we transition off of gas, since we'll be heating our houses electrically anyway.

Yes, but the fraction of houses that are being heated -- ever -- is considerably less than 100%. 40% and growing of the global population lives in the tropics. So they don't want artificial space heating.

361:

And in a world that hits 1200 ppm equivalent (does anyone in their heart of hearts doubt we'll hit that) the clouds go away and we jump straight to a world 8C hotter. Last time this happened there were crocodiles in the Arctic. No one will want a little extra heater in their home.

BTW, a couple of months ago I was riding my motorcycle home in the rain and the bike told me the temperature was 33C. I'm not even in the tropics. It was only about 40 minutes in those conditions but I was stuffed for hours afterwards.

362:

You can buy cricket meal now on BigMuddy, although it's at steak prices (economics of scale, per usual). It looks like people are fiddling with commercial textured insect protein, but right now it's a novelty item, as bugs always have been in the US. It appears to be cheaper than cultured vertebrate meat, for what that's worth.

I've got an insect recipe book from the 1970s, which is about as groovy as it sounds. It shows how long the idea of beating the western insect taboo has been around. Decades ago, some friends of mine put on a fundraiser for a small town natural history museum that consisted of a five course meal with insects in every course. I got to try the leftovers, which were quite yummy. They complained about how expensive it was to get insects fit for human consumption, but their gala raised some money. As a fundraiser for a similar group (or SF society, for that matter--foods of the future!), bugging out for dinner probably has a certain cachet.

363:

Why would you want to feed meat to pigs ... or chickens?

The only reason I can think of to care whether an animal is a herbivore or an omnivore is if you're intending to feed it meat. Surely if you're not doing that it doesn't matter? So I assumed from your comment that you were thinking of a significantly meat-based diet for your meat animal raising.

Most herbivores eat insects and will/can eat small amounts of meat, so it doesn't really matter if there's, say, weevils or whey protein in your goat feed, the goats won't care (and it will probably help). But once it gets to 20% or 50% of their energy intake, your deer/tilapia whatever will get sick. Your pigs and chickens will get excited :)

This issue is where you get the meat - there's just not enough slaughter waste available, and destroying wild fish to feed salmon is a death spiral. But chickens will eat crickets (also slugs, snails, mice, small children...), as will pigs. It's just that pigs can't *catch* crickets etc the way chickens can (although they are better with small children. I suppose it depends what you have available).

364:

Zucchinis are Right Out. (We don't need enough to feed a Worldcon....)

I planted pumpkins. Then I discovered that even quite small, green pumpkins give my lawnmower indigestion. So now I have a big pile of non-mulched pumpkin vine and a pile of small, inedible pumpkins (technically you can eat them, but the peeling time to eating time ratio is terrible). Since I also have a large collection of big, edible pumpkins I am composting the little ones. Also giving away pumpkins.

The mulching mower is awesome with most garden waste, I just throw it on the lawn and mow it, then rake up the obvious bits and put them in the recycling. It all gets eaten by organisms both macro and micro, and goes back to the garden (some via the chicken to egg to Moz to composting toilet route). The pumpkin vines have killed off many of the weeds in the garden, so shortly I will be digging it over and deciding what to plant next.

But today... it's time to reinstall Windows. Which is like weeding, but even less fun.

365:

The easy way to cook pumpkin is slice it in half, and place on cookie sheet cut side down. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes, that depends on size so experiment. In the link they talk about scooping out the seeds first, but it's easier to just cook everything then scoop out the seeds and meat after it cools.

https://minimalistbaker.com/how-to-roast-pumpkin/

Experiment with the small ones that you don't want to mess with now to understand the process with the pumpkin size and your oven. YMMV

366:

The easy way to cook pumpkin is slice it in half, and place on cookie sheet cut side down. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes, that depends on size so experiment. In the link they talk about scooping out the seeds first, but it's easier to just cook everything then scoop out the seeds and meat after it cools.

You can do the same thing in a microwave but faster. Or do the first part in the microwave and finish up in a conventional oven if you like that.

(For some reason people don't seem to have caught on to how versatile a cooking implement the microwave is, either by itself or paired with a conventional/convection oven.)

367:

Hope so. Quite a few things to do soon, the Vietnamese are going to celebrate Vesak on May 12th.

I said it's hard not to sangha ATM, and I was only partly joking.

368:

Australians and New Zealanders are across cooking pumpkin. It's absolutely a staple food. I understand in some places it's considered food for animals. I eat it in most meals. I'm sure Moz is the same.

369:

The use case for NH3 is not as a combustion fuel, but as proton storage for alkaline fuel cells. It's not a sensible choice as a combustion fuel.

In a fuel cell, it's preferable to methane or methanol because it's easier to get the protons off an N than a C and you can use non-membrane fuel cell designs. (Membranes are wretched fragile.) And we're going to need pumpable fuel for trains, heavy equipment, notably heavy farm equipment, and ships. (Average use for tractors is fine for batteries; peak use, not so much.) You have to run the fuel cell a bit rich to avoid NOx issues but it's been demonstrated.

My answer for Greg's question is that it gets no funding because it might work. An outfit like Ballard (who make hydrogen fuel cells) is perfect; it's obviously high-tech, it's got some niche applications, and it's entirely useless because you just can't store hydrogen in any useful quantity. Great example of appearing to do something without really changing anything.

Batteries get some funding because of portable electronics; there isn't enough oil money to prevent cell phone development (just try to keep social primates from talking!), but anything that seriously challenges incumbency doesn't get funding. Nobody is seriously funding developmental grid-scale storage, for example. (You can see the same pattern in agriculture, where the developments in no-till, no-pesticide growing happened because of stubborn individuals. There was zero developmental funding and there ought to have been.) There have been a couple of attempts by the US military to get non-fossil-hydrocarbon vehicle prime mover tech out of the lab and into developmental prototypes, and like the efforts to point out that Naval Station Norfolk is going to have some issues with sea level rise it's been stopped by Congress.

If you follow electric vehicles, you may have noticed that Mercedes-Benz EQC, the first example for an entire product line expected to reach full scale production in 2022. Ok, that's interesting. A product line is more buy-in that anyone else seems to have demonstrated in the auto sector, what's going on? (Electric vehicles cut the fundamental price point and thus the overall amount of money in the sector and thereby the number of companies in that sector; nobody who builds cars wants to go electric. For them, going electric is bad.) Then there's Volvo, which has -- very quietly -- acknowledged that they also have an electric platform coming out in 2022. Note that Volvo is owned by Chinese automaker Geely. Look at the current Chinese practice of banning combustion tech busses. Go hmm. Figure the carbon bubble's going to pop by 2022 as the PRC outright bans sales of new combustion-powered cars?

Getting out in front is a good plan if you're an automaker; you have better survival odds that way as an automaker. None of the nominally North American "big three" show any much sign of trying to do this. And while the US can keep right on with gasoline materially, it'd be hard to see how the Chinese and Europe deciding to go hard electric for cars wouldn't pop the carbon bubble. Which is going to be very interesting, financially.

370:

Passive heat rejection designs are important; humans are 100 W space heaters, and a bunch of people in an insulated space -- and the space has to be insulated because you have to have at least a few hours to fix the heat pump during a heat excursion -- will heat it up a lot.

The downside is that passive heat rejection does not go with increased density as a means of reducing energy costs for basic services. It's a pretty tough problem.

371:

The easy way to cook pumpkin

I am bemused at the idea that I'd deliberately grow something in my garden without at least some idea how to prepare it and eat it. But just for the record, I can indeed cook and eat pumpkin. The problem, such as it is, is more that after a couple of months of eating pumpkin, silverbeet and a few random bits of lettuce and tomato, that it gets quite boring. I've made pumkin chips, road pumpkin, pumpkin soup, dried pumpkin slices (they look kinda like dried mango but taste different), pumpkin pasta, I even tried pumpkin and chocolate chip muffins. The pile of pumpkins outside my back door still laughs at me every time I go in or out.

This is pushing me to diversify my gardening, or at least switch to butternut pumpkins because they're easier to peel. But sadly the local aphids prevent me growing brassica, and I'm not wildly keen on peas and beans (makez fartz). I will keep ordering random stuff from the local seed shop until I succeed!

372:

I googled "peeling a pumpkin" and now understand. HA!

Never knew that was possible. For decades I would roast, then scoop everything out. So pumpkin has always been mashed, never solid enough for chips, etc... That's why I usually keep canned pumpkin in the pantry and only cook the ones I get as presents on the holidays.

I usually make a big batch of soup with canned pumpkin, black beans, and posole, with sour cream and ro-tel salsa, along with a pound of hot Italian ground sausage. A variation on calabacitas, where I use zucchini, pinto beans and yellow corn instead. Once I work down the other soups I have in the freezer, I need to make another batch of pumpkin soup, and calabacitas soup.

My mouth is watering already.

Thanks...

373:

BTW, try growing onions and garlic mixed in among all your plants. The big bulb onions, I forget the variety. The flowers that come up from the onion especially seem to control the aphids. My mom would plant them everywhere, not to eat but to protect the roses and such.

374:

Pumpkins - bleugh!
Meanwhile my first 3 full-rows of tomatoes are out, 3 other varieties are in the allotment (made-out-of-recycled-scraps)-greenhouse the first row of peas, p;lanted 1st week of March have just started to flower ( There's anothe 8 rows coming up behind them, planted one row a week ... The spuds are in & the first earlies ("Foremost") are showing their tops, I have courgettes & beans in pots at home, ready to be planted-out as soon as they are big enough & my first try at growing shallots & onions seems to be doing well.
The Wild garlic is just coming to an end & the leeks will finish soon, as they start to "bolt", but the "Chinese Garlic" will go on leafing through to November, now & the bulb (conventional) garlic is doing very well indeed.
Most if not all of the fruit trees now have set ( but very tiny) fruits on them

375:

Yes, I live right next door to one of those places (we're usually quoted a second largest tidal range in the world, but i've seen at least two places put as #1. We've had proposals to barrage off our estuary forever, which Charlie referred to. They suck for wildlife since the involve messing with many square miles of mudflats. So barrage is petty much dead. But we also have proposals for tidal lagoon power. Those get built a bit further out where low tide does not expose seabed. And yes, you start small and learn lessons, exactly what is proposed.
In both cases what you build looks quite like a sea defence. The lagoons for instance can be built along a coast with small gaps between and set up to take the high tide peak

376:

Fusion is not dissapearing FURTHER into the future as we go along. If anything we are now gradually catching up with when it should be working usefully. Plus - 100 year timescale - for all the engineering difficulty involved that is an awful long time.

377:

The flip side of this is that it's probably easier to contain a single pig than it is to keep all of 200 pounds of crickets caged, and things like crickets can be pests if too many get loose.

I don't know how many people here have read the cautionary tale of ordering a box of crickets from the internet, but for those who haven't been amused by stupid cricket stories lately here's your chance...

378:

Pumpkins, in the restricted sense, are pretty awful, true - the only mature Cucurbita pepo I have found worth eating is Little Gem (a.k.a. Gem/Rolet) - but _Moz_ may be gowing C. maxima (the hubbards, e.g. Queensland Blue), which are very good. Even for immature ones, I prefer Tromboncino d'Albenga (C. moschata).

379:

I remember when the proponents were talking about fusion power being 10 years away from going into service, then 20, then 30, and they are now talking merely time to a sustainable reaction. Even for fission, it was 18 years from a sustainable reaction to the first power plant.

380:

First of, thanks for the compassion.

Second of, well, my mental health is actually quite well. I'll try the somewhat short version, which I suck at, because I either leave out details or get too long.

I just told people I had a history of depression, and, err, hm, "playfully" thinking how to do the perfect suicide at times to calm yourself between 1998 and 2005 indicated it might have been more severe than I thought. Add to this I'm quite emotional at times and was devastated when they told me, and I was "not quite there", so people at work thought I might be suicidal and sent the police. Shows me they like me. And I really mean that.

Answering the door at 2 o'clock in the morning was somewhat stressful, especially when trying to sleep and thinking about making an appeal. After some talk I got them to not take me to the hospital at once, but I promised to go there in the morning. Do I have to add I didn't get any sleep after that?

In the morning it was time for my methylphenidate refill, so I went to my shrink and told him about the situation. He indicated he didn't judge me suicidal. First psychiatrist.

After that I went to the hospital, talked first with one intern and then with the psychiatrist in charge, I'll leave out the details, let's just say after me telling the first guy I take a psychostimulant and him asking me if I consumed any substances, e.g. cannabis or amphetamines, I had problems staying serious.

OK, psychiatrist two and three decided I was no danger to myself or others, so I went home. After that my cohabitant asked me what was the matter, and we did a recap. I told him that I had cried, which is normal for me, as I said, I'm quite emotional, and I think me getting back there after some years of being somewhat blunted by the fluoxetine was a good thing, and when he saw they had offered me an "elective stay", he said things might be more serious, and I should visit again.

One of his former cohabitants dieing under somewhat murky circumstances of course played into this.

Next day was First of May, so again I went to the hospital, talked to a psychiatrist, this time just one, on emergency duty, and she also said she saw no risk. I got a paper, and everybody was, well, not exactly happy but somewhat content.

(At about this time, a somewhat pissed off and trolling part of me indicated now might be the perfect time to off yourself and troll everybody. Let's call it Renton or Loki. I get by quite well with him lately, he can be quite creative...)

Oh, and the main reason for the firing was me being quite open and somewhat talkative at times, can we agree that ADDING something I have to talk about to get over it is not exactly the best thing to to? With most people agreeing I stop to talk when told, and going from "we need to get it under control, but we're far from escalating" to getting fired in one step is somewhat crass. OK, HR are overworked...

(Oh, and I visited Mhairi/Freya's ex-boyfriend at my now former workplace, it was short and quite calm, but quite, err, informative. And there is the story of a friend studying chemistry getting taken to the hospital against his will because a friend thought he might be suicidal, so I'm quite cooperative when people think me a danger to myself and others. Fun listening to Nine Inch Nails, Ministry and Tori Amos with this friend back in the day, though him painting his room black was overdoing it somewhat, and I guess I was the only one not stoned on that evening back in 2002 or 2003. But I digress...)

I guess it's a typical Trottelreiner event.

Thing with Trump is, the guy is proud of sleeping only 3 hours a day, which might explain part of his behaviour. Let's just say I wouldn't stay that, err, yes, somewhat calm if I didn't sleep 7 to 8 hours a day.

I plan to go to a psytrance party soon, Loki suggests scoring a few hundred mikes of acid at it, not for then, but for the summer, with some holiday after it to work it out. The rest of me doesn't object, 100 µg of LSD can't be much weirder than what I described above, and I guess we can agree I have a weird, but quite high stress tolerance?

(No, I never graduated above THC, why don't people believe me?)

381:

As for the emergency medicine, one thing quite common for AD(H)S is calming down in stress situations, it's far from universal, the syndrome is quite heterogenous, and it isn't even always the case in me. Let's call it nature's own ritalin.

Problem is, you might be calm when helping somebody injured and dieing in a car crash, but you have to deal with it afterward.
And you can become a sick type of thrill seeker.

Which might explain some of the things from the past I have to talk about. AFAIK Mhairi/Freya and me even talked about us being shit magnets back in the day...

382:

Oh, and sorry for derailing this thread somewhat, but we're past the 300 mark...

383:

No one minds a derail like that.

There's nothing I can do from here other than offer hopes and prayers (ie, try to get you to smile ironically).

So hopes and prayers it is then.

384:

"My expectation is that the Climate Migrants will move out of Florida and Louisiana to the Rustbelt states, which will then become really awful shitholes."

I'm in Michigan, and we'll be sitting pretty:

1) We have fresh water in abundance, and no sharks!

2) We'll get a bit warmer, but in our case, it means going from warm and sticky July's to hot and sticky, with the rest of the year being comfortable.

3) As the Lakes warm, our fruitbelt will just get better (Western Michigan is a major fruit-growing area, due to lake effect moderation of the weather).

4) No land invasion of Michigan by outsiders can succeed - drive an M-1 tank down a Detroit freeway, and it will break a track on a pothole[1] in minutes, and then be stripped for parts. Not to mention that an M-1 can take mere cannon shells, but not a car (or a gasoline tanker truck) at 80MPH.[2]

5) We have enough abandoned housing in the Detroit area to soak up a few hundred thousand people.

6) Lake Superior would become swimable - it's still warming up from the last Ice Age.

7) As the UP becomes habitable by genetically-unmodified humans, it will become a Finnish-speaking power, undoubtedly united with the Homeland in the New Finnish Union. [3]


[1] Best case - most likely it will be swallowed,
and never seen again. They'll just shovel asphalt on it, and count it as a road repair.

[2] Unofficial Michigan highway speed limit, and I'm not kidding.

[3] It is heavily Finnish-speaking; the story is that the US gov't told Finnish immigrants to go there, because it'd be like back home.


385:

he story is that the US gov't told Finnish immigrants to go there, because it'd be like back home.

Except for no mountains?

386:

It sounds like everything is resolved except the job situation. Don't forget in all the excitement to check with a lawyer about the mental-health/firing thing. You may be part of a protected class (depending on your stat/nationality.)

387:

Sorry. "Depending on your state/nationality."

388:

Thanks. I enjoyed yours too. Do you have a background theory of AI which ties into the story?

389:

7) As the UP becomes habitable by genetically-unmodified humans, it will become a Finnish-speaking power, undoubtedly united with the Homeland in the New Finnish Union. [3]

Not sure what that implies about Finns (is that why they have such good schools?) but it does explain Escanaba In Da Moonlight.