Heteromeles

Heteromeles

  • Commented on The World of Tomorrow
    Um, try again. Most civilizations have been built atop peasants. The problem isn't the surplus, because you can get pretty enormous surpluses out of things like paddy rice and wet-patch taro. Rather, the two problems are that high-output systems tend...
  • Commented on The World of Tomorrow
    I've got 18 panels, and I'll have to check on what the peak wattage is. The instanteous wattage and cumulative joules/watt-hour readings come from an app that's hooked up to the system. Fortunately, my new house has a big ol'...
  • Commented on The World of Tomorrow
    Sure we will: a lot of the US' so-called epic coal reserve is so full of rocks and crap that it's not worth the trouble to dig up. Until we got to tar sands, people though that was crappy too,...
  • Commented on The World of Tomorrow
    Thanks Nojay. The one correction is that we've been getting >32 kWh/day off and on for months now. I'm looking forward to summer, to see if we can break 40 kWh/day. Today's been cloudy, and we'll be lucky to break...
  • Commented on The World of Tomorrow
    Heh. I suspect the Babushka would win, hands down. You don't grow robot parts on a farm, I'm afraid. As I understand it, the real advantage to latifundia/plantations/megafarms is that the ruler(s) get to deal with a few big farmers...
  • Commented on The World of Tomorrow
    Daily production on sunny days is more than 32 kWh, although it does go down substantially if it's cloudy. Right now the panels are producing 2.2 kW on a cloudy noon. Yes, it's a big install, but as I said,...
  • Commented on The World of Tomorrow
    The irony is that I suspect a lot of the property law around the Kilauea lava flows also will apply to coastal real estate. Just because a property is buried under lava doesn't mean you still don't own the land....
  • Commented on The World of Tomorrow
    I hadn't. Some of the biggest trouble spots are places like the DelMarVa peninsula and Hong Kong, as well as coastal Bangladesh. And Newark, NJ. We'll see how it all works out. I agree that it's a great opportunity for...
  • Commented on The World of Tomorrow
    I've been toying with the thought of artificial intelligence, specifically with a system that designs something like an FTL stardrive, but which can't communicate to us how it works in a way that we understand. The AI system doesn't have...
  • Commented on The World of Tomorrow
    You know, I started wondering if future historians (assuming they exist) may talk about the period of "the first internet," possibly "the second internet," and so on. What I'm thinking is not the social media revolution, but the internet backbone...
  • Commented on The World of Tomorrow
    No I haven't read it, and I probably should. Thanks....
  • Commented on The World of Tomorrow
    How silly. We just installed 32 kWh of solar panels on our roof (that's our daily production on an average spring day) for about 25% less than the cost of what our friend spent on 18 kW of solar panels...
  • Commented on The World of Tomorrow
    One of the interesting questions is how non-violent political action will develop. There are two trends here. One is the research on the traditional, left-wing side, showing that non-violent action is approximately twice as effective as violent action in achieving...
  • Commented on The World of Tomorrow
    You left out a bunch of things, not that I blame you. It's a book length question. Here's a few big ones: 1. MIGRATION: Most of the human population lives within a few hundred kilometers of the coast, so one...
  • Commented on 2117 revisited
    Not really. The reason you put glass on a glasshouse is to let the visible spectrum in, and to keep the IR reradiation in as well, so that it stays warmer than it would otherwise. Now there are a bunch...
  • Commented on 2117 revisited
    Well, the basic science of climate change is the same as we use in greenhouses, and anyone with some equipment can look at the absorption spectrum of CO2 in the infrared and see what's going on. The basic equation underlying...
  • Commented on 2117 revisited
    I suspect you're thinking of the shogunate, which preceded the imperium. Look up the Meiji Constitution, which was what Hirohito ruled under. There was a Japanese Diet and House of Peers, but the Emperor was the executive who personally appointed...
  • Commented on 2117 revisited
    To my knowledge, the best book on the subject is Richard Frank's Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire (BigMuddy Link). It's based on records that were released in 1995 (50 years after the end of the war), and...
  • Commented on 2117 revisited
    I agree that the divide is between rich and poor, more than rural and urban. Rural areas have huge wealth disparities too, and some do have the excuse of being far from a fiber network, as you correctly point out,...
  • Commented on 2117 revisited
    Separate idea, to pitch to the engineers (and naval architects?) out there. In 2117, to deal with the increasingly unpredictable global climate by moving resources (especially food, but also people) around, we'll need big ships. We'll also be without fossil...
  • Commented on 2117 revisited
    Well, we've got a bunch of horribly complex problems to sort out. Given that we've done our best to avoid them rather than deal with them, to me, the likeliest scenario is that global civilization shatters. Without the infrastructure to...
  • Commented on 2117 revisited
    Yeah, that's the scenario I wrote about in Hot Earth Dreams a year and a bit ago. Since Charlie was good enough to give me his blog to announce it, I'm very happily returning the favor by not tooting that...
  • Commented on 2117 revisited
    I happen to agree that engineering is a way to deal. But politics is even better than engineering: after all, why do we spend so many money and resources trying to farm in the western US? Wouldn't those resources be...
  • Commented on 2117 revisited
    Fix salt? Then what do you do with it? A couple of misconceptions here: salt by itself doesn't inhibit productivity. Mangrove swamps and salt marshes are tremendously productive places. They aren't great places for GRAIN, and therein lies the problem:...
  • Commented on 2117 revisited
    There are a bunch of problems to be disentangled here. One is that there isn't a "salt tolerance" gene. Plants have a number of different ways of handling salts. Some crop relatives (notably barleys) are quite salt tolerant already, and...
  • Commented on 2117 revisited
    So far as I know, the problem with irrigating with river water goes back to Iraq, which once upon a time was Mesopotamia, the Fertile Crescent, where civilized irrigation with river water was probably first invented (although I'm sure it's...
  • Commented on 2117 revisited
    Hmm. MIT researchers working on western agriculture. What could possibly go wrong? The late Bert Wilson had a suitably opinionated reply (see #1 and 6 at http://www.laspilitas.com/classes/Garden_Myths.html. If you're into gardening with California natives, laspilitas.com is a goldmine of information)....
  • Commented on 2117 revisited
    Just a random thought: if unconstrained positive ideas are "blue sky," what do we call ones dealing with climate change? If you believe Peter Ward, you might call them "Green Sky ideas," after his thought that a climate changed Earth...
  • Commented on 2117 revisited
    The general problem with armed insurrection in the US is that right now it will fail. We have the biggest army and the biggest prison system in the world. We can already predict where the insurrectionists will go. Now, if...
  • Commented on 2117 revisited
    I didn't draw the line, a couple of researchers did. Go read the book if you want the details. It's substantially more complicated than a blog posting makes it, and deciding how to categorize each campaign was a substantial issue...
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