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eargosedown
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Technician said:
I hope to see such advances, but It seems no one is interested at all anymore in the government about progressing science.


Eh, I think the bulk of the populace isn't really caring about space/science at the moment, which is very sad. I really hope the space tether idea actually gets built eventually, since it'd be the first alternative to a huge-ass rocket to leave Earth.

Old Post 11-27-12 20:51 #
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CorSair
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Well, we can't go with the renewable resource/energy option, because we don't got futurists in charge, and most individuals are just those who want to polish their dicks. And there's the chance that if there are those futurists in charge, everything goes to gutter. But whatever, I would take the chance.
Plus, then there's this economy crisis bullshit going on, where no one wants to take responsibility or take the shot for himself/herself. :P

Anyway, I think I steamed enough of this. :I

Old Post 11-27-12 21:59 #
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Dragonsbrethren
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Enjay said:
Some of the views expressed here reminded me of...

Haha, I love it. So true.

Old Post 11-27-12 22:03 #
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Quast
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eargosedown said:
I really hope the space tether idea actually gets built eventually, since it'd be the first alternative to a huge-ass rocket to leave Earth.

The problem with a space elevator is that while it's purpose is to circumvent issues with heavy lift capabilities with rockets, you would already need to have the capacity to do just that in order to build it. Unless you wanted to construct it peacemeal over the span of several centuries or more.


Is that basically like a space-ladder tether deal, but using it for power instead of ship construction/launch?


Not quite. Think of it as being a gargantuan satellite or 2 or 3 or 100 collecting sunlight, converting it to microwaves and beaming it to earth to be converted again into electricity.

Old Post 11-28-12 00:06 #
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Rayzik
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid...thorium_reactor

This is probably the biggest contender for the next generation of nuclear power. These specific reactors are still under development, and are actually 40 year old designs if I'm not mistaken. However, look under the economic advantages section and you can easily see the advantages of thorium as the new fuel.

People are dissuaded by events such as Chernobyl and the recent Japan meltdown (which is under investigation as "professional negligence", I.E. it was the government's fault). Chernobyl was a bad design, and apparently the Fukushima release was only a tenth of Chernobyl's, mostly due to better safety systems. If it weren't for the fact that flooding the reactors to prevent meltdown would destroy the reactors permanently, the meltdown would have been prevented. The problem was priorities, not design.

Now, if only we could control fusion.

Old Post 11-28-12 00:52 #
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Technician
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Again, there is little government motivation in finding alternative energy supplies. Remember, nuclear reactors were invented solely to fortify uranium. Adding a turbine was an after thought.

Old Post 11-28-12 01:55 #
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GreyGhost
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Quast said:
Think of it as being a gargantuan satellite or 2 or 3 or 100 collecting sunlight, converting it to microwaves and beaming it to earth to be converted again into electricity.
Imagine the panic if rogue power satellites started char-grilling major cities. ;-)

Old Post 11-28-12 02:36 #
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GhostlyDeath
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Do plants not consume CO2 during the day (and consume O2 during the night)?

Not to mention that as time passes, the Sun grows hotter and hotter.

Old Post 11-28-12 05:07 #
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Quast
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GhostlyDeath said:
Do plants not consume CO2 during the day

Yes, but depending on the type of photosynthesis any particular species utilizes additional atmospheric co2 may or may not be used to promote growth. It depends on how they intake co2.

It's best not to think of plants as some kind of monolithic co2 vacuum cleaner, particularly in regard to the amount of fossil fuels we burn. While plants do a good job of it, we are releasing vast stores of carbon that have accumulated over hundred of millions of years and plantlife on earth simply cannot fix it back into biomass at anywhere near the rate we output it.

Fun fact, plants that can benefit from increased co2 levels tend to fare rather poorly in hot climates. This is because they close the pores that would otherwise transpire water in order to conserve moisture and not dry out, but those pores are how they intake co2.


(and consume O2 during the night)?


Not from the atmosphere.


Not to mention that as time passes, the Sun grows hotter and hotter.


As the sun looses mass it becomes hotter, yes. But you're talking about a <1% rise in surface temps over the course of the next few billion years.

Last edited by Quast on 11-28-12 at 11:16

Old Post 11-28-12 11:07 #
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j4rio
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GhostlyDeath said:
Do plants not consume CO2 during the day?


There's one bitch of an equation (6 CO2 + 12 H2O → C6H12O6 + 6 O2 + 6 H2O) which implies there is certain ratio of water and co2 required for photosynthesis (plant growth) to work. More co2 will only be beficial as long as there's water in sufficient ratio present.


Quast said:

As the sun looses mass it becomes hotter, yes. But you're talking about a <1% rise in surface temps over the course of the next few billion years.



I've heard some predict it to be a matter of some thousands of years for earth to become inhospitable rather than billions.

Last edited by j4rio on 11-28-12 at 12:54

Old Post 11-28-12 12:42 #
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Avoozl
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What about the melting ice from the ice caps, surely that would add to the water ratio.

Old Post 11-28-12 12:57 #
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j4rio
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Do you think something like that is worth trying out? There are too many factors to be absolutely certain about what will be happenning. Nature is not going to handle massive changes within relatively short periods of time like that the way we'll like. There can be other factors we are failing to realise which may have disastrous outcome.

Old Post 11-28-12 13:32 #
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GreyGhost
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Avoozl said:
What about the melting ice from the ice caps, surely that would add to the water ratio.
So will melting of the Arctic permafrost, which is occurring at a faster rate than expected. Trouble is that will also release massive volumes of methane, which is a more effective greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

Old Post 11-28-12 14:25 #
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Phobus
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Oh no, we're going to choke to death on millennia of previously frozen dinosaur farts! :(

Old Post 11-28-12 14:35 #
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j4rio
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Yarr that's the attitude. Human extinction is inevitable. How it happens is not important, that it will happen is just the way of things. 99% of everything that ever lived is now extinct. See ya in Hell!

Old Post 11-28-12 15:24 #
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GhostlyDeath
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Time to go to space! Oh wait, all the space programs were cut back.

Old Post 11-28-12 20:50 #
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Quast
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j4rio said:
I've heard some predict it to be a matter of some thousands of years for earth to become inhospitable rather than billions.

Because of the sun? I doubt that very much. Maybe for some other reason, but the sun will not be an issue for life on earth until it begins to expand into a red giant. Its energy output until that time is inconsequential really. Well, not completely, but the rate of increase is over a long enough time frame to allow life to adapt well enough.

Old Post 11-29-12 00:28 #
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GreyGhost
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GhostlyDeath said:
Time to go to space! Oh wait, all the space programs were cut back.
First order of business is to pick a safe path between the low Earth orbiting satellites and all of the rocket debris that hasn't yet fallen back to Earth, then see if John Carmack's hiring.

Old Post 11-29-12 00:29 #
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j4rio
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Quast said:

Because of the sun? I doubt that very much. Maybe for some other reason, but the sun will not be an issue for life on earth until it begins to expand into a red giant. Its energy output until that time is inconsequential really. Well, not completely, but the rate of increase is over a long enough time frame to allow life to adapt well enough.



Yes, because of sun. Power of it is not stationary until it reaches red giant phase. It gets more powerful with time passing. Basically the life zone inside which Earth is orbiting around sun is slowly moving further to orbit of Mars and away from Earth. How long until Earth becomes inhospitable is something I can't really answer precisely, but it's surely not a matter of billions of years.

Old Post 11-29-12 07:03 #
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Phobus
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Looks like people will be moving to Mars as things get a bit too toasty on Earth then. Not that any of us will be there to see it :P

Old Post 11-29-12 10:10 #
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Gez
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Moving to Mars? Feh, that's quitters' talk. A real civilization would move the Earth's orbit farther away from the Sun.

Old Post 11-29-12 11:43 #
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Satyr000
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Technician said:
America better start getting used to having hurricanes yearly and droughts annually.


From what I have read the number of hurricanes will stay the same, but the force of the storms could be much stronger. So we can expect more Hurricane Sandy's in the future and possibly other super storms inland.

Old Post 11-29-12 15:08 #
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Quast
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j4rio said:


Yes, because of sun. Power of it is not stationary until it reaches red giant phase. It gets more powerful with time passing. Basically the life zone inside which Earth is orbiting around sun is slowly moving further to orbit of Mars and away from Earth. How long until Earth becomes inhospitable is something I can't really answer precisely, but it's surely not a matter of billions of years.


No, The actual "surface" temperature of the sun will remain mostly consistent rising by less than 1% for the next 3-4 billion years until it starts to drop off at about the same rate for a while and then it drops off again rather sharply near the end. The radius and luminosity of the sun, which are the important parts here, increase by about ~5% or so every billion years which it has been doing since it was born. The rate of expansion will increase slowly over time until its hydrogen is gone and it balloons rather quickly at that point. But yes, it will take billions of years.

Basically if what you say is true, then the earth would've been uninhabitable hundreds of millions of years ago, and certainly inhospitable to life 4 billion years ago when life began where the sun would've been significantly smaller in radius than it is today and output much less radiation.

Old Post 11-29-12 22:45 #
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j4rio
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I remember just a conclusion of that theory I read/watched/whatever about long ago. Don't expect details from me. I "think" that theory wasn't just based on what was happenning on sun, but also something regarding Earth adding to the effect which is what I honestly don't recall. Most likely humans. You can try looking it up, maybe you'd find something. That's the thing with theories - there may be countless amounts of them, but minority ends up proven, or possible to prove at all.

Old Post 11-30-12 00:16 #
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Gez
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun#Life_cycle

Even if Earth should escape incineration in the Sun, still all its water will be boiled away and most of its atmosphere will escape into space. Even during its current life in the main sequence, the Sun is gradually becoming more luminous (about 10% every 1 billion years), and its surface temperature is slowly rising. The Sun used to be fainter in its early past, which is possibly the reason life on Earth has only existed for two to three billion years. The increase in solar temperatures is such that in about another billion years the surface of the Earth will likely become too hot for liquid water to exist, ending all terrestrial life.


So yeah, billions of year. This phenomenon is to slow to be considered the main culprit in the ongoing global climate change.

Old Post 11-30-12 01:16 #
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j4rio
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^


j4rio said:
I "think" that theory wasn't just based on what was happenning on sun, but also something regarding Earth adding to the effect which is what I honestly don't recall. Most likely humans.


In the end, it's not like it matters too much. Chances are we'd end up being the cause of our own destruction somehow before something natural gets into work.

Old Post 11-30-12 08:23 #
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