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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

STARPOWER FOR HUMANITY

This is Part 4 of my series on Heavy Ion Fusion.  The Huffington Post today published my posting on:


I've in the past been accused of being too optimistic about life in general.  Over the past two years, though, I have anguished about the double hammer of Peak Oil and Global Warming, and that there was nothing we could do about.  At best, certainly, a global depression when oil someday shoots up past $150/barrel, and, worse, possibly, a total breakdown of society, or doomsday.  The past two times this has happened--in 1979 with the second energy crisis, and, more recently, the $147/barrel attained in July of 2008--the world subsequently suffered from severe recessions.  The next time could well be worse if Peak Oil is actually attained.

We forget that in 1982, the U.S. Congress provided what amounted to a $1.8 trillion recovery package to President Ronald Reagan (see right column under CALCULATE THE CURRENT VALUE OF MONEY) .  That worked, as we quickly recovered to the point where the Cold War ended nine years later, with oil actually dropping below $35/barrel in 1998 (click on the figure below to expand the size), meaning that the real value actually fell below the price of oil just before the 1973 first energy crisis.  When Barack Obama assumed the presidency in 2009, he was faced with a more severe economic collapse and was provided all of $787 billion.  We avoided the feared depression, but credible economists like Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman have long argued that this sum was inadequate.  It is appearing more and more that Obama should have been provided something closer to Reagan's $1800 billion.  But this is not the time and place to analyze this political fiasco.



More so, our present society will not be able to maintain current lifestyles only on renewable energy.  These sustainable options are too dispersed and inadequate, and most only generate electricity.  However, electricity is but a third of the total consumption, and worse, utilities can only safely accept, perhaps, 15-20% of clean power to maintain stability.  We cannot switch to other fossil fuels for transportation fuel because of Global Warming.  Yes, there are biomass and algae possibilities, but all my calculations indicate that these biofuels for the next decade and more will cost the equivalent of $150/barrel oil anyway.  Now, with nuclear fission practically written off (Japan and Germany, for example), I went so far as to predict that the World Population early next year, to reach 7 billion, will drop back to 7 billion in 2050 because population grows only when GDP and energy use increases.  Not only will developing countries suffer, but the way of life of rich countries will severely decline.

What is lacking is the substitute for "cheap" oil.  Well, perhaps Heavy Ion Fusion might well be this savior, for the potential is not only electricity, but the equivalent of gasoline and jet fuel, with a zero carbon balance and a high energy input / energy output ratio.  Click on that HuffPo above and let me know what you think.  Has Humanity been saved with Star Power?  We shall see.

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The Dow Jones Industrials sunk by 220 at one point today, but recovered to only drop 101 to 11,139.  Gold fell $25/toz to $1875, while the WTI Cushing is at $86/barrel and Brent Spot at $113/barrel.

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Hurricane Katia, now at 105 MPH, will continue to be a major storm for several more days, but will not threaten the East Coast.


However, another storm is forming to more closely track former Hurricane Irene.


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Finally, today was my birthday, so I had a chance to celebrate twice with the cake ceremony on Saturday.  Two of my Gourmet Philosophers associates, Leighton Chong and Dan Bent, took me out to a great dinner with champagne and wine at a relatively new French-Thai restaurant, Le Cacao Bistro:


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