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      CommentAuthornorton
    • CommentTimeJan 1st 2008
     (423.1)
    I have been reading a range of material over this festive period on the importance of out time and the fact we are holding the future of the planet in this generations hands.

    Now, there seems to be two approaches to this, the first being the fact that we should alter out lifestyle (the self-sacrifice approach that is popular with the green movement and similarly our western governments). The second approach is what interests me more, the use of technology to alter the effects of these changes.

    For the sake of this post lets remove all ideas that the loss of species, raising sea-levels, etc are a direct attack on planet earth as the planet has survived worse and fears in this area are more connected with our society.

    To start off here's some information about ocean floor storage of carbon. Whilst its not a permanent solution it is expected to store it long enough for science to catch up.

    http://www.climnet.org/CTAP/techsheets
    http://www.tribuneindia.com/2007/20070928/science.htm#1
  1.  (423.2)
    The human race with technology is like an alcoholic with a barrel of wine.
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      CommentAuthorUnsub
    • CommentTimeJan 1st 2008
     (423.3)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    The Bush plan is to moneitize (my favourite neonewspeak word) the problem so that companies have a reason to develop technology that will solve the environmental problems.
    They have a religiously fanatical idea that the fre market is gods way of solving all our problems and that anything that stops them from making money is actually "evil".
    This idea that westerners can drive hybrids and buy organic foods and therfore have a real impact on climate change is really just a way to keep people from dealing with the big pollution
    problem which is industry. If we were able to ban goods from markets that were horrible polluters like china for instance it would do more than a million low flow toilets.
    Just banning cashmere would have a huge effect because the cashmere comes from goats in china that kicked up so much dust and goat shit it blocks out the sun. Those damn goats do more damage than all the Hummers in the world put together.

    The idea that we should store our carbon so it is our children's problem just so a few rich people can get even richer is so irresponsible it makes me want to shoot people.
    Ban goods from places they use slave labour and have no pollution laws. Not only will it help the enviroment our industries will actually be able to compete on an equal footing.
    The US and the World bank are the absolute worst for this but ironically enough the US has very strict protectionism when it comes to their firearms industry.
    They have completely banned all Chinese guns! If you want a semi auto M14 rifle in the US you have to pay about 1200$ from Springfield. In Canada a Chinese version made by a HUGE
    government controlled entity called Norinco is just as good if not better ,most of the parts are interchangeable and it uses all the same accessories but only costs 399$.
    I wonder why it is only the firearms industry that is exempt from the free market?

    Yes I have a Norinco but I would be willing to pay more for goods if I had job in a thriving industry and it was not destroying the world or employing slaves.
  2.  (423.4)
    My Deep Green friends inform me that other than industry generally, the heaviest polluter (especially in carbon terms) is air travel.

    I think the best solution for this is to bring back zeppelins. Elegant, safer (that whole Hindenberg thing is an easy tech fix), cleaner. Also much slower to run into buildings when hijacked. If Mister Big Capitalist has to have facetime quicker than the zeps can go, he can fucking telepresence.
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      CommentAuthorAriana
    • CommentTimeJan 2nd 2008
     (423.5)
    I think the best solution for this is to bring back zeppelins. Elegant, safer (that whole Hindenberg thing is an easy tech fix), cleaner. Also much slower to run into buildings when hijacked. If Mister Big Capitalist has to have facetime quicker than the zeps can go, he can fucking telepresence.

    Haha -- I can't schedule a week to two on either side of my little bit of holiday when they unlock the garage. In your elegant world, more likely it'd be screw everyone but M. and Mme. Rich Idle.
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      CommentAuthorVespers
    • CommentTimeJan 2nd 2008
     (423.6)
    That's unfortunately true. However, if we could see zeppelins brought back into use as, say, aerial cruise ships (much how they were back in the good old days before everyone went oh noez one or two major accidents oh the huge manatee lets NEVER USE ZEPPELINS AGAIN)... that would be pretty awesome. Also, would make me a LOT more likely to go on a cruise. And bring my friends. And steal the zeppelin and fly away...
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      CommentAuthornorton
    • CommentTimeJan 2nd 2008
     (423.7)
    < The idea that we should store our carbon so it is our children's problem just so a few rich people can get even richer is so irresponsible it makes me want to shoot people.>

    The idea of storage of carbon is not to do with passing the buck to future generations but to do with lessening effects until science catches up.
    Yes, the 'rich' and governments could use this as an excuse but accountability needs to be strong on this.
  3.  (423.8)
    I never see them as separate approaches.

    We need to conserve and act intelligently about the environment as a general rule. Predicting the curve of technology is difficult at the best of times, and we can't shoot ourselves in the foot over and over in the hopes we can dig our way out within a reasonable time frame. Environmental awareness is the best answer, this second, to our issues. That said, we should push technology to both repair current damage and to allow for prosperity and quality of life at an ever increasing rate. I do think technology, not in anyway minimalism, is the answer over time to solving inherent issues.

    One does not preclude the other, and the cunning monkey never relies on one answer. To be a geek about it, everyday we get closer to The Culture is probably a win.

    Of course, I would love an environmental Manhattan Project. Billions and the brightest into think tanks with the authority to implement cutting edge science to solve issues faster. Treat it like a war for your time table, not 20 years but 2.

    Anyway, Zeppelins lead to air pirates and giant swords that run on sceince magic. So, yes as soon as possible.
    • CommentAuthorSolario
    • CommentTimeJan 2nd 2008
     (423.9)
    I just hope Technology in our coming BRAVE NEW WORLD crashes less than it does now. I'm always amazed at how well technology works in the future, when I've never actually owned something digital that has worked from the start without massive fiddling, tweaking and kicking.
  4.  (423.10)
    In your elegant world, more likely it'd be screw everyone but M. and Mme. Rich Idle.


    I can dream Ariana, I can dream...
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      CommentAuthorUnsub
    • CommentTimeJan 2nd 2008
     (423.11)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    Zepplins might work better for cargo than people. I love the idea of flying container ships. It would make a big bang if one crashed though.

    The suburbs could be perfect if instead of lawns we grew food and had more people in each house. With a bit of tweaking ,700cc Kawasaki mules instead of Hummers
    and people making their own power and oxygen in their yards the suburbs could be very sustainable. I am a total gear head but have traded in my muscle car for a sportbike.
    I pollute much less and go faster. I try to get my food locally from the local Hutterite colony and hunt for wild game a lot more than I used to. When you consider how far your food travels
    you start to realize all the pollution those trucks etc cause for no real reason. Is that organic produce really a good thing for the earth if they have to truck it 1000 miles?

    There is a oil sands projects in Alberta that is one of the worlds worst polluters and they have been using the "we will clean it up when we are done" excuse even though there is no way to do that. We are relying on technology to save us. Now they want another one of these huge projects here in Saskatchewan and with oil at 100$ a barrel it will probably happen. It is depressing that all the work I and everyone else in my province has done to help the Environment can be undone by this project in 1 day of production.
  5.  (423.12)
    Is that organic produce really a good thing for the earth if they have to truck it 1000 miles?


    Nope. Which is why there is the "local movement" whose name I can't recall, which emphasizes that the best thing you can food wise for the environment is try to buy food that was grown or farmed locally. The fact the name escapes me means I know of this idea but little else about it past surface stuff.
    • CommentAuthorPooka
    • CommentTimeJan 7th 2008
     (423.13)
    guhhh..one of my crazy uncles is part of a movement that wants to wipe out about 99% of the worlds population..
    I agree there's way too damned many of us (one of the reasons I never had children)...but...it's human nature to do anything they think that they can do, without considering if we Should do (that's a little Criton there for ya).If the challenge is there, we'll take it on.
    I'm fairly anti-technology. Seems to me the further we strive, the more mess we create...
    Sure tech can be used to solve some of our problems, but the problems wouldn't have been there if we hadn't used the questionable technology in the first place...
    What's unfortunate about today's technological breakthroughs, is that it's usually money driven, and not for the quest of knowledge or the betterment of mankind...(my ex girlfriend switched her major out of clinical psychology because of the publish or perish attitude in the scientific community...).
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      CommentAuthorDoc Ocassi
    • CommentTimeJan 7th 2008
     (423.14)
    I'm with you there JTraub I try and buy as much fresh and local produce as possible.

    I also think is is important to separate technology (as the ability to innovate) from energy. A lot of the technology we are in contact with in our daily life uses up increasing amounts energy and has been exponentially. It doesn't matter how much innovation we may have, if this technology relies on easily accessible though finite forms of energy, I can see the gun pointing foot-ward.

    Coming to the problems that we seem to be attempting to solve, a lot of them can be attributed to the technology that we are currently looking towards saving us, hmmm.

    Technology, or more precisely empirical science, has been shaking religion for some time, and will be with us forever in some for or another. We shouldn't though, fall into the same trap as religion, technology is not an all powerful force that can solve anything, it is a tool.
    "Oh Dear Lord, Mechanicus please let that redhead at the pastry shop look at me without scorn, 'Buy the Ipood my son, she will think you are kewl,' Oh! thank you lord I will spend and extra half hour on myspaz and have a pop tart in penitence."

    High technology as Ipoods, Laptops, Air Conditioning and such like are things that make our life easier, but they don't make life, and they will only be here as long as the energy is there. We may even see some steam powered technology coming back, as an efficient use of solid fuel.

    Technology may save us but don't look towards your Ipoods, they are as intelligent as inanimate object, because that is what they are.

    PS: if you are wondering I'm not too keen on ipods.
    •  
      CommentAuthornorton
    • CommentTimeJan 7th 2008
     (423.15)
    Sorry folks but can we get this discussion back on track.

    Whilst I am with you on the need for 'reductionist' values i started this thread to look at the use of technology to help not just for people to preach about not purchasing new products, buying local, using public transport, etc. We hear enough about than via mainstream media (oh and by the way i do buy local, don't own a car, etc).

    So heres some more info. Firstly have a look at the work of Amory Lovins:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amory_Lovins
    www.rmi.org/

    And for anyone in LA do you know more about this:
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg14519704.400-white-paint-on-a-hot-tin-roof.html
  6.  (423.16)
    I think when people see "technology" invoked in this context, there's a tendency to read it as short hand for the view that nukes and geo-engineering will save us.

    Moving on to the actual topic being discussed: geosequestration strikes me as a frankly dumb idea.

    There are plenty of potential uses for carbon dixodie besides spending money to shove it back down a hole.

    For starters, while we tend to focus on the use of fossil fuels for energy, they're also the feedstocks for most of our synthetic compounds including drugs and plastics.So why not use carbon dioxide to synthesise polycarbonate plastics?

    Or we could go back to 19th century technology and use the steam reforming process to convert carbon dioxide back into a fuel. Of course, for this to to have a net benefit you'd need to use nuclear power or renewable energy such as solar or geothermal to power the synthesis process.

    Or we could feed the carbon dioxide to algae to get much the same end result.

    Or we could take advantage of the exothermic reaction between carbon dioxide and serpentine rocks and find a way to fix carbon dioxide AND extract energy from doing so.
  7.  (423.17)
    Personally I also like the idea of accelerating the breakdown of methane and cholofluorocarbons in the stratosphere. (Chlorofluorocarbons are potent greenhouse gases as well as depleting ozone levels.)

    One way to do this would be to inject large amounts of titanium dioxide (Titania) into the stratosphere. TItania is a photocatalyst, in the presence of light, it catalyses the break-up of water molecules into oxygen and hydrate ions. These ions in turn react with methane and fluorocarbons to break them down into simpler compounds.

    You'd need a far smaller quantity of Titania to make a difference than you would of the sulphur or other particulates which have been suggested for geoengineering.
    •  
      CommentAuthorUnsub
    • CommentTimeJan 8th 2008
     (423.18)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    This is way past my grade 10 education but it seems like we would be better off not making a mess rather than developing a better way to clean up afterwards?
    A big thing on the Canadian news tonight was the discussion of a carbon tax. Because it is a rather right wing think tank that brought the idea up and because I think taxing
    companies based on how much they pollute sounds like a great idea on the surface I am worried it must be some kind of trick. I would love to see taxes collected based on damage done during production and shipping. Imagine if environmentally sound products had a price advantage? It has to be a trick! While we are at lets tax products more from country's that use political violence and slave labour.
  8.  (423.19)
    "While we are at lets tax products more from country's that use political violence and slave labour."

    You realise that the EU could use that to impose tariffs on US goods?
    • CommentAuthorlex
    • CommentTimeJan 8th 2008
     (423.20)
    Claiming that future technologies will solve all our problems is hypocrisy at best. If all big polluters would use state-of-the-art technology, we would already be a big step ahead. But new technologies require heavy investments. If we are talking about investment, the businesses will ask about return on investment. I personally believe that return on investment for ecologically sound technologies can be viable if you look at the long term. But in a short term profit driven economy, this will not work. Just try to explain your shareholders that they will only make a profit in 10 years...

    I don't know what the solution to environmental problems is, but just hoping that some future tech will do it is irresponsible. Just as it is irresponsible not to invest heavily into R&D to improve on technologies in an ecological way.

    About the Zeppelins. I vaguely remember that there was a dot-com-bubble company in Germany around 2000 which wanted to revive Zeppelins as cargo and cruise ships. They built a very impressive dome where the zeppelins were supposed to be built, but of course they failed to produce anything of value... Too bad actually.