Category Archives: technology

Nation-scale Energy Sustainability May Be Closer Than It Appears


More and more often I am seeing articles like this one, describing how wind, solar, and hydropower are making fossil fuel-powered energy plants increasingly obsolete.  The long term survival of humanity and all life on the planet may hinge on how many humans we load onto the planet, how much energy we each use, and how much pollution is associated with that energy.  Sustainable sources have a lot less pollution associated with them than traditional sources, and this is largely a result of manufacturing processes rather than operating outcomes.  When whole countries start becoming self-sufficient on alternative, cleaner power sources, everyone benefits.  Our long term future depends on achieving complete, long term sustainability, and every country will have to invest in sustainable power if they are to support a clean (survivable) environment.

Thanks for reading — Tim

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Agricultural Practices Can Mitigate Global Warming


This article from the Weather Underground folks pulls together several study results to show how farmers around the world are finding new methods that reduce the negative effects of climate change and provide sustainable, productive agriculture.  We need a LOT more of this kind of thinking, and hopefully it will help buy us time until we can see our way to controlling the population explosion.  We will never be safe and our civilization will never be sustainable in the long run without that.

Thanks for reading — Tim

Is Dark Matter the Future of Life in the Universe?


Is there intelligence in or behind that cloud of dark matter?  Here’s an interesting article one possible reason why we don’t see evidence of other intelligent life in the universe (yet).  It also discusses how life might eventually transcend physical existence and continue to evolve in space in clouds of dark matter.  This is similar to the way I once wrote that a self-aware machine intelligence might rapidly evolve, transcend its physical nature, and leave the planet before we were complete aware of it.  This is interesting, but how might it affect you and me? Continue reading

The Revolt of the Machines Could Happen in As Little as 90 Minutes


Computers are already capable of reprogramming themselves, but do it only under human direction. If they start making improvements in themselves under control of their artificial intelligence programming, and then collaborate with other computers over the internet, computers the world over would be at risk of getting out of our control. That seems far-fetched, but how fast could this really happen? Continue reading

Autonomous Vehicles on the Roads in the Next Decade? Wait Just a Minute!


Automakers, legislators, and others are excited about putting autonomous vehicles (AV’s) on the road as quickly as possible, and they cite many benefits.  They’re pushing hard and investing a lot of money, but there are simple reasons why self-driving cars will not rule the road any time soon, no matter how beneficial they might be.  For starters, some people will prefer to drive themselves or ride with a human driver.  Inevitably some people will feel insecure riding in an AV and will refuse to ride in one, let alone buy one.  While the numbers of those rejecting AV’s for such reasons may be small, they will sustain a demand for self-controlled vehicles to remain on the roads longer, presenting serious problems for AV operators.  But that’s just the beginning – there are other major problems with AV’s that are not often mentioned in the media. Continue reading

Does Future Asteroid Mining Risk an Extinction Event?


Corporations are discussing asteroid mining again.  You may not have noticed, but last November President Obama signed a law establishing mineral rights for asteroid mining.  It seems inevitable that, as human population continues to explode, demand for raw materials will explode with it, driving corporations and nations to search space – first the moon and then the asteroid belt – for additional resources.  This suggests a scenario that, due to human mistakes or terrorist action, could create an extinction event that could wipe out all or most life on the planet, similar to the event that “did in” the dinosaurs and almost all life on the planet.  So how could such a disaster could occur? Continue reading

Will Our Dependence on the Internet Enable the Population Explosion, and the Crash?


The adoption of digital communications technology keeps accelerating, but brings risk. The crash phase of the global population explosion may not start with food shortages, global pandemic, or world war, but with a widespread shutdown of the internet.  The disruption to our shipping, energy, and food systems would be catastrophic.  But isn’t the internet too resilient from its diversity, complexity, and vast extent to be at risk of a global shutdown?  How might this come about? Continue reading