Getting Real About Green Energy

So davefairtex you say “your delivery sucks. I really wish you would just go away”. Really? Is that it? Because my “delivery sucks” to your sensitivities you’d wish I’d go away??? Lol! Are you some kind of dweeb? We’re discussing a catastrophe of biblical proportions and you’re getting upset about delivery? Ha!
Here’s some advice cupcake… don’t read my posts.

Some may not like Crapper’s delivery but his message is “spot on” because in a nutshell he/she described America. If anyone here has read Gail Tverberg’s writings on her website She paints a pessimistic view on how the world will look with less energy. Our population has grown exponentially with fossil fuels and it will go in the opposite direction as we hit energy decline.
To make matters worse, if we do enter a new “dark age” who’s going to know how to maintain all the high tech stuff like nuclear power plants or how to maintain all those spent fuel rods? The Japanese have the people and capacity and Fukushima is still not under control. They are now considering dumping nuclear waste water into the Pacific Ocean because they are running out of room at the waste site.

Crapper - the thing I object to is not the points you make, but your underlying goal. In the past, and here once again, you appear to come to our community with the goal of devaluing as many people as possible in order to get your jollies, under the cover of making commentary. I find such behavior community-destroying, and that’s why I don’t like it. Or you.
You have no idea if I’m tough or not. You really don’t. I just find you offensive, and unnecessarily so.
Rodster- the thing is, I agree with about 50% of what he says, but he’s really not here to make commentary. He’s here to win points and hurt as many people as possible. And people like him won’t be an asset in the long run. Or even the short run. And FWIW I agree with the other points you make too - about tech, Fukushima, nuke plants, etc. And you manage to make your points and be reasonable about it. Nobody is convinced through assault & battery. Civil discourse, on the other hand, has a chance of working.
That’s what I’m in favor of. Civil discourse. You build a community that way, and allow people with different viewpoints to co-exist and communicate within that community. The “assault & battery” style of discourse only allows one viewpoint to exist, and if PP was like that, I wouldn’t be here.

I used to think this too, before the enthusiasm for “climate change” took center stage. Now? If the Blue Church gets its way, using fossil fuels will be seen as socially reprehensible (except, of course, for our leadership and their private jets, helicopters, and mega yachts). There will be no wars for fossil fuels simply because Blue Church has made it socially unacceptable to use said fuel. “You are destroying the planet!” That defangs the push (at least from a big chunk of society) for the evil fossil fuels.
Phone addiction makes it so people don’t want to actually do anything or go anywhere. Wearable VR will make this situation even more pronounced. Uber makes it so nobody really wants to buy a car anymore. (Electric, self-driving uber will be even more compelling - you can use your phone while driving! - and conversion of the uber fleet will be much more rapid, and lower cost, than converting all those 150m POVs).
I mean, if this wasn’t planned, it is the most fortuitous series of accidents all leading to a drop in FF consumption in western society.
“Climate change” has given me some hope for the conversion. I just wish they weren’t using it as an excuse for imposing all the other (vastly more expensive) social programs.

Call him what you think, but the equation still sums to zero. The question remains,“will we be around to see it”.

Some may not like Crapper’s delivery but his message is “spot on” because in a nutshell he/she described America. If anyone here has read Gail Tverberg’s writings on her website She paints a pessimistic view on how the world will look with less energy. Our population has grown exponentially with fossil fuels and it will go in the opposite direction as we hit energy decline
Couple points:
  1. Tverberg was a disbeliever in climate science for many years. These days she does not deny global heating, but simply ignores it. But she works in close cooperation with an oil industry consultant, Euan Mearns, who is a denier. So draw your own conclusions there. Everything the 80+ year old Tverberg writes tends to play up how supposedly useless renewables are, and how much we simply have to keep on using fossil fuels.
  2. "Crapper" (perfect name) has all the hallmarks of a professional troll employed by the fossil fuel industries via public relations firms that specialise in commenting on the internet in a way designed to suppress discussion of global heating.
To this day, shills, trolls and charlatans, some paid by the fossil fuel lobby (particularly via the evil machinations of big oil and coal, such as the Koch brothers and their media pals, particularly Murdoch, Gina Rinehart in Australia and her media puppet Andrew Bolt, and just some useful right-leaning volunteer idiots), continue to deny the evidence in front of their own noses, so deep are their snouts embedded in the collective denier lobby trough. It's true that climate change mitigation would probably require most of these:
  1. International cooperation
  2. A move away from pure capitalism to a steady state economy
  3. Government regulation
  4. Payment for the changes (read taxes)
  5. Population control (arguable)
Getting right wingers to sign up for any of these is extremely difficult. Which could mean that we're screwed. The stupid, it hurts, and it will hurt even more in time.....   Wild fires, dying lakes, landslides, hurricanes, apocalypse in store, like nothing ever seen before. It’s a-coming. Third-generation refugees, street mob burning effigies, revolution, civil war, like nothing ever seen before. It's a comin'

my point was that most of the world survives and enjoys a life based on less energy than N Americans, Western Europe (and even Japan which uses half the energy of the US) do now. Lets look at what they are doing.
We can examine what others are doing and how they are benefiting from their increasing reliance on “renewable” energy. These other countries are not feeding on and are not relying on advanced American technology, which except for internet tricks, cell phone apps and tricks in pharmaceutical modifications generally does not exist anyway. (my basic point of last posting)
I discovered that the lower quality of renewable energy provided in Nepal was ameliorated by a company (seems to be Korean) that is taking over the refrigerator market with DC compressor technology, which can work on a wide range of voltages and deal with the lower quality electricity.
This is my private energy focus: in my case, I plan to introduce into Nepal low tech solutions that provide solar electric cooking (during rain/cloudy conditions) and air conditioners/fridges that are at least 2x the EROI of existing, based on a new next generation electricity (pulsing DC) that I discovered. (I run air conditioners now virtually directly from solar panels without need for expensive inverters or batteries and I make coffee and cook food during rainy conditions because I harvest almost 100% of energy from very cheap solar panels using very little infrastructure).
Really new technology violates rules and laws of established “mature” countries such as the U.S. and this is the reason why new stuff will likely come from 2nd or 3rd world countries. This is also why I have to focus my efforts on my own off grid dwelling in the rural area (where freedom abounds) and in independent tiny houses (my next project for the US and Japan) which avoids convention. If you study the patents coming out, you will see that the US is dominated by banking trickery patents, internet trickery patents (designed to make you log on and pay someone before using software that you already paid for, for example) and pharmaceutical trickery patents (add a methyl group to a well used drug, study and try to find some kind of difference to argue about and make doctors prescribe it to avoid generics).
I saw renewable technology (commercialized by Koreans) in Nepal that simply is not available in Japan or the US. While acknowledging that "new technology!’ will not prevent the collapse of the American lifestyle, if we are a little humble, we can learn something from those who are already there to help us muddle through. It is not helpful to look down on these other people (actually the majority of the earth) because they do not steal resources (via a banking and military system) from the rest of the planet in an unsustainable, extravagant energy lifestyle.

You make very good points Mots. It will be difficult, particularly for those in cities in both the first world and the less developed world. How does the first world transition without violence?

All the extraordinary technology we have today has come about primarily because of the way we have leveraged fossil fuels. We have done this so successfully that we have almost used them up without finding a long term replacement. The only obvious one is nuclear fusion. If we do manage to crack that over the next 30 years we are still left with the problem of replacement and deployment.
The sort of money and economy required to have a surplus to spend on very expensive technology will require us to continue using fossil fuels until they run out. At the moment, we seem to be set on sending people to the Moon again and Mars. We are clearly going to have to prioritise which means getting the politicians to stop playing silly partisan games.
I have no idea whether humans are responsible for global warming or not. Common sense suggests that we have definitely played our part. However, we are in such a pickle now that trying to stop the use of fossil fuels when we have nothing meaningful to replace them with would be foolish. If we want to develop an alternative form of energy such as nuclear fusion and have the economic wherewithal to deploy it if we are successful in getting more energy out of fusion that what we put in, then we have to keep going with a 21st century economy. However, there are many ways that a 21st century economy could be run. At the moment so much of the “profit” is not real but a conjuring trick because we do not measure the externalities like pollution. Why do we make so many things with built in obsolescence? Surely we can create an economy that is not so in thrall to rampant consumerism? Why have we pushed farmers to the limits on costs just so supermarkets can sell cheaper food. Food which is so cheap that we have no respect for it and consequently waste so much of it, not to mention the health problems of obesity and diabetes from over-consumption. Fuel is way too cheap in the United States. Fuel for discretionary use should be taxed heavily so that it is not wasted because the farmers have a more crucial need for it. We have no option but to prioritise and yet most politicians and the central bankers are still calling for more thoughtless growth and trying to stimulate inflation of all things. We can do better.
Whichever way you look at it, the first world is looking at a massive change to the way we live. There are probably too many of us. Thomas Malthus was actually correct, we find ways to produce more and always consume all of it to the point of collapse.
The worst scenario can probably be avoided but the wealthy are going to have to “contribute” more to keep the technological show on the road. (I don’t mean just wealthy people but the staggeringly wealthy corporations who do their utmost to avoid paying taxes).
Part of the problem now is that wealth is being hoarded despite the trillions that have been “created” in little more than a decade. We need to understand the difference between real wealth and that which comes by way of our so-called reserve banking systems.
We really have a lot to do and we will not get anywhere if we continue to bicker and squabble.

T&T thank you for your thoughts… … based partly on conversations at John Michael Greer’s website (great related discussions there) I expect that the large cities will muddle through. Italy still exists long after Rome fell, individuals do their best under trying circumstances. So big deal, the US “lifestyle” defined as energy per person will drop a lot, maybe 3 or 4 fold or more. Cities will have stronger police, and a 100 perfect surveillance stage and people there will adjust, not by revolution but instead by not having families, more youtube escapism, more suicide, and will muddle through I think.
But for those interested in peak prosperity, clearly we have to “run away, run away” in my opinion. This blogsite has some advice on the latter…
My personal interest is in exploring ways to greatly increase EROI of renewable energy. This is not hard to do because the existing system is based on inefficient and dangerous 100 year old technology which requires extremely complicated and expensive and breakage prone equipment. Without wishing to, I ended up inventing, designing and building all of my own equipment based on a next generation electricity which I call “interrupted DC.” I run air conditioners (and cooking equipment) bought off the shelf, and almost directly connected to solar panels. But such innovations which violate existing regulatory custom and require minor lifestyle changes are not allowed in a mature country such as the US so I have to practice higher EROI in my rural situation and in 3rd world countries. The nexus of new advances in human living will not come from NY, Washington DC, Tokyo, London etc. The people there will live a life of increasingly quiet desperation, under constant surveillance. The rural areas of depopulating countries such as Japan are very refreshing in comparison. We welcome foreigners who are not afraid to get their hands dirty, like to work, and prefer a life of no guns and drugs.

Wow those are some great posts guys. I especially like Mots and his DC equipment - now I remember your previous posts on the subject - sadly I’m a software guy, and I mentally consign all such things involving actual molecules to a “hardware” bin that I try studiously to avoid actually dealing with. :slight_smile: Kidding! Well, maybe 50% kidding.
But your concepts are fantastic, and I can see why your inventions work great in the third world, but not-so-great in the developed world where generation has long been centralized and energy prices have been (relatively) cheap for a century or more.
Centralized generation helps centralized control too. Interesting, that.
That said - there is a revolution in software that started in the US - and is still largely owned by the US - that may not be on your radar as much as it is on mine. The AI revolution is really remarkable, and it has happened just in the past 6 years. As one guy in a room by myself, I can build real AI applications that can solve some pretty amazing problems with maybe $3000 in parts. (Yes, sadly, they are hardware parts. But it turns out, I am able to put a pair of GPUs in a case and attach PCIE power cables. Yay). So I still think the US is “not dead yet” in the tech field. Did I mention just how remarkable the jump in AI is? It ranks up there with “free software” in terms of a game-changing innovation. And free software is another US invention, btw, and we still do pretty well in that area also, alongside our friends in Europe. Call it an “invention of the West” which I claim would only happen in the culture of the West. Can you imagine the “free software” phenomenon emerging in China? I can’t.
Literally all of my software tools are free software. All of them. The operating system, the compilers, the interpreters, and even tensorflow: free software. My desktop is OSX, but I just use that as a window onto a flock of Linux boxes.
And of course Intel, and Cisco, and NVIDIA, and AMD, and Apple. They’re all American, and they still kick ass. And they all leverage free software. Nobody else is even close. You want a server? A router? American. (Made in China! And Taiwan. Currently.) Of course, that’s the world I see, so I don’t think America is dead just yet. Not from my perspective.
Now that you talk about your products in more detail, I totally understand their revolutionary nature for their target market.
I still maintain that it probably takes a well-connected mostly-first world economy powered by cheap fossil fuels to keep you supplied with parts, and to keep the innovation train rolling so your parts just keep getting better.
I’m not sure what that means for the future.

This is the bit that bothers me: “international cooperation.” The largest carbon emitter, by a factor of 2, seems really resistant to the concept of “international cooperation.” That is, they have shown that they are happy to internationally cooperate as long as we follow the rules, and they don’t have to.
Practically speaking, the whole plan falls dead if the largest carbon emitter in the world (the same size as the US and the EU combined) decides not to go along. Which if Hong Kong is any indication, they most likely won’t.
So while we can blame “the right wingers” for the destruction of the planet, there is one entity that emits more carbon than all the MAGA hat wearing right wingers in existence. You know who they are. And yet for some reason…like He Who Shall Not Be Named in the Harry Potter universe…nobody talks about them at all.

Can you give a reference to an AI software review article that describes what you are doing? I am sure that Japan is way behind in that area, but I note that the Chinese are very innovative and graduate many times more engineers per year. Their software is not directly competing in the same arena or market (I believe) but instead they have/are building out a completely independent system (bidu, wechat, etc. NO google, facebook, youtube or even in China) while they have their own systems and have developed instant facial recognition coupled to traffic ticket generation in some places already).
Will the real war in the future be between China’s AI and the U.S’s AI?
Another question I have for you: how big a problem is “garbage in-garbage out”? The internet is so full of nonsense that it is virtually impossible to find news or even facts. Isnt AI subject to the limitation that most “facts” are not facts and that gleaning things from the internet is mostly misleading? I hear anecdotes that many people hired to do big data cant get anything done because the “data” is mostly nonsense or unable to be sorted. Is data a limitation?

No, there’s no real articles on what I’m doing per se. I’m just experimenting on my own. The platform I use is called “tensorflow”; interface language is python, and the GPU is the NVIDIA 1080 TI. (I actually have several GPUs, but that’s another story).
Data is always the problem. Crappy data = crappy results, duh. :slight_smile: I wrestle with that with my financial data. Bad feeds are a plague.
I don’t want to represent AI as the solution to everything, but it is allowing us to attempt to solve problems which simply weren’t solvable before. Most of these (I think) will just be a matter of time. Self-driving cars is one area that may well lead to cutting gas usage by some large amount. Why? You can program them to hypermile; not out of the gate, but in the event of a shortage, that’s something you could just code up, and then drop right in using an OTA update. Presto, everyone goes 55, and everyone hypermiles. Maybe that cuts consumption in half?
China’s face recognition stuff - that’s all AI. I’m sure they have scads of people working around the clock to do that. That’s required for automated social credit and repression. That’s also what is terrifying the kids in Hong Kong. Wear a mask during a protest, or your Chinese social credit score drops to below zero thanks to facial recognition.
But the AI platform they use - I’m guessing - was built here. By google. Free software again.
Drones are “solved” by AI too. That could get pretty hairy - the hunter-killer drone is not very far from implementation.
All the training for the AIs are enabled by GPUs built by NVIDIA, or AMD. Also US companies. Servers running on CPUs designed by Intel. US company. Motherboards designed by - Intel again. Operating system: Linux. Free software. Western product.
The US isn’t just about phones and facebook. It may seem that way, but its not. At least not in my software world anyway.
The world runs on servers. And that’s my area.
Oh I forgot: “cloud computing”. That’s Amazon AWS and Google Cloud. Amazing products. Time was I had to have racks of servers in a machine room (later, a co-lo) to support a product. Now, just spin up a few AWS instances (takes seconds, if you have a template defined) and Bob’s your Uncle.

Practically speaking, the whole plan falls dead if the largest carbon emitter in the world (the same size as the US and the EU combined) decides not to go along. Which if Hong Kong is any indication, they most likely won’t.
Davefairtex, setting up an US and THEM duopoly is the worst thing we can do. China is currently no longer technically a communist state, it's virtually a fascist state. As such, it is not amenable to requests to do things we want them to do. However, there are many ways to influence what they do via global sanctions and tariffs. If the entire world told China to change or we'd stop buying from them, the change would be instant. But as long as we have idiots running the USA, claiming that global heating is a "hoax", we cannot have any influence on China's approach to this issue.

We all know that is how it will go, we will keep on doing the same old thing until it doesn’t work. People will continue to consume as much is available as can be had with a reasonable amount of effort, regardless of whether they believe in global warming, peak oil/energy, environmental degradation/destruction, etc., except perhaps for a very small minority of the population, who will be ahead of the curve. Not sure why all the intensity is needed in the discussion here. Nothing said here is going to save the world. Variations from culture to country will depend of course on millions of complicating factors: culture, development history, etc. In societies where people have been more heavily propagandized to equate happiness = consumption, or your value as a person is closely correlated to your accumulated wealth, there may be a tendency to hold harder to less productive means of living and will lead to a lot more suffering inevitably. Countries that have managed to hold onto their cultural heritage while incorporating the changes the modern society and technology have wrought, will probably have an easier go of it. And that is interesting academic discussion, and we will get to see that all play out if we are fortunate enough. That is the dark side, people unwilling to change till forced to by immediate circumstances, but there is also the light side to all that.
When things no longer work, billions of people will instantaneously change how they do business, both collectively and individually. No massive government program required. There was no program in place for the collapse of Rome, and don’t believe there was a massive die off. For the sake of survival, people will do what it takes. Business that are ill equipped for change will disappear and others will emerge. How this all works out of course depends on the rate of change.
However, people aware of the changes coming at us tend to think change is going to happen a heck of a lot faster than they eventually wind up happening. If I had a penny for every time a heard, “I can’t believe how long the central banks have kept this going, no one could have predicted this”, I would be a billionaire by now. As corrupt, incompetent, unsustainable, and crazy at this world is, it still manages to stagger from one day to the next. If you believe a Mad Max future is inevitable and just around the corner or that we will “rescued” by AI and alternative technology, not sure what difference that really makes.
Do I live in a near net zero energy house and have a big garden, yes. Do I try to focus on people and community, and stay away from material driven consumer society, yes. But for me, those are moral and spiritual issues. If we try to scare people into awareness, don’t think that works because you are coming at the problem from your own lower energy center, trying to trigger theirs, and that never has good results.
As I get older, I have a lot less confidence in my own ability to predict the future and anyone else’s. The critical issues of how we should live our lives now is available to us if we care to open ourselves up to it, and it will be different for everyone, but we should be true to ourselves regardless of what the future may bring.

“There was no program in place for the collapse of Rome, and don’t believe there was a massive die off.”
I have been involved in a local community project where we grow potatoes each year. The original idea was to help educate people (mostly young adults via the high school ag program) on the amount of energy it takes to produce the food we eat.
The first two years it was mostly by hand including the planting, hilling and harvesting but it was so much work people stopped showing up!
When Rome fell I don’t think much if any of their food was dependent on fossil fuels and they were used to working in the fields.
Today it would be an apocalypse if we had to produce enough food to eat without fossil fuel. I see that as a predicament. I think the math is that about 10 calories of fossil fuel is needed to produce one calorie of food. And the quality is suspect!

Now, now, Dave, some of us like a sparky exchange. So far, they’ve stayed away from the personal, and I like hearing different points of view. I think most of us have a thick skin here at PP. :wink:

I’ve grown cautious and skeptical about “solutions” when I first hear about them. ?

For me, skepticism has become the order of the day. Especially when someone’s trying to ram something down my throat and shame me for not immediately agreeing with them 100%.
I like how Aldi manages it. Bring your own bag or pay extra. Put money in to rent a cart and you get it back if the cart is put back where it belongs.
Seems to me, I’ve heard these concepts in my distant past:
Boy Scouts: Be prepared (i.e. bring my own bag)
Mom and Dad: Put things back when you’re finished with them (i.e. put my cart back and get my money back)
Makes so much sense. I just wonder why it hasn’t been widely adopted.
Life can be so simple and pleasant when we follow the rules (after establishing that the rules have merit and are not just a control mechanism). Unfortunately, a good portion of the human race doesn’t seem to do this on any consistent basis.