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Old 10-15-2005, 08:31 PM   #1
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This article scares me....

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article...813695,00.html


In a Murdoch owned paper too......Rupe, what has got into you mate?
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Old 10-15-2005, 08:46 PM   #2
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That's kind of frightening...well, I guess we're due for a Dark Age anyway.
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Old 10-15-2005, 09:04 PM   #3
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This belongs in The Independent, for sure.
Not general reading you expect to find in The Times.
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Old 10-15-2005, 09:45 PM   #4
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That business about the decline in innovation is fascinating; I would like to see more of the proposed evidence for this. However, the "aggressive animal nature" explanation proffered for it strikes me as half-baked neo-Hobbesian bullshit. I doubt that the Victorians escaped "misfiring" because they'd built themselves a more efficient "cage" than the Bolshies or the Nazis, unless perhaps one means the "cage" they conveniently had half the rest of the planet locked into.

financeguy, you have economics background, no? Can this gradual decline business be linked to the concept of the "Long Downturn" do you think?
Quote:
Not everyone believes we're doomed. Cheerier prognostications suggest that our future will more closely resemble 1990s Cuba. The American trade embargo, combined with the collapse of Cuba's communist allies in eastern Europe, suddenly deprived the island of imports. Without oil, public transport shut down and TV broadcasts finished early in the evening to save power. Industrial farms needed fuel and spare parts, pesticides and fertiliser — none of which were available. Consequently, the average Cuban diet dropped from about 3,000 calories per day in 1989 to 1,900 calories four years later. Of necessity, the country converted to sustainable farming techniques, replacing artificial fertiliser with ecological alternatives, rotating crops to keep soil rich, and using teams of oxen instead of tractors. There are still problems supplying meat and milk, but over time Cubans regained the equivalent of that missing meal. And ecologists hailed their achievement in creating the world's largest working model of largely sustainable agriculture, largely independent of oil.
Hmmm. Hardheaded pragmatism, or an antiglobalizationist's wet dream? I doubt this is the kind of innovative thinking Huebner had in mind...
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Old 10-16-2005, 12:22 AM   #5
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This is why I think we need to take a more proactive, modernist approach to research and development. We have to face the fact that supply-side economics is a failure in this situation, because it is inherently short-sighted. We're talking about long-term needs with an economic philosophy that thinks only in terms of short-term quarterly profits.

We need to dive head-first into the hydrogen economy, and while it would require a large investment into nuclear plants, hydrogen fuel plants, and a nationwide network of hydrogen fuelling stations, it is a large investment that must be made. We spend hundreds of billions on war that yields no profit, so what is the opposition to spending hundreds of billions on something vital to furthering civilization and improving national security?

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Old 10-16-2005, 01:30 AM   #6
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I am very doubtful at a few points of the article namely
> That innovation is grinding to a hault
> That we will be unable to find and exploit alternative energy sources when oil becomes too expensive.
> The "Cuban Ideal" is not a representative model of how petroleum accessibility fluctuates on a global scale. We will not wake up overnight and have no fuel left.
> The alarmist language is very similar to the predictions that have been made in the past, especially those found within 'The Population Bomb'. It is just an observation but writing to keep people entralled in a state of fear may be a means to mask critical thinking.

Colour me skeptical, the solutions will not lie in massive government rollout for a "great leap forward", these things may progress at their own rate. If oil starts hitting 70 dollars a barrel then other reserves become more economically viable, it becomes cost effective for alternative energy sources. Such a rollout for profit would be cheaper, faster and more effective than any bloated government franchise.

Perhaps looking at the ammount of published technical papers is the better way to quantify the state of knowledge.

I am optimistic that mankind will hit the Singularity rather than fall into a great collapse. We have the technology, we have the knowledge and better still we live in an often harsh almost Darwinian economic system that encourages innovation.

We are still sitting around waiting for the Population Bomb that went off

I dug up a critique of his methodology that may be found here
http://accelerating.org/articles/huebnerinnovation.html

Is it just me or does page 2 turn into parody at the end?
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Old 10-16-2005, 12:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
I dug up a critique of his methodology that may be found here
http://accelerating.org/articles/huebnerinnovation.html

Is it just me or does page 2 turn into parody at the end?

Oh true, though an interesting writer, Appleyard is prone to flights of fancy at times.
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Old 10-16-2005, 12:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
Colour me skeptical, the solutions will not lie in massive government rollout for a "great leap forward", these things may progress at their own rate. If oil starts hitting 70 dollars a barrel then other reserves become more economically viable, it becomes cost effective for alternative energy sources. Such a rollout for profit would be cheaper, faster and more effective than any bloated government franchise.
Skepticism is understandable, but, assuming that oil approaches an "end," can the supply-side capitalist approach work? Once oil becomes scarce and expensive, we'll still have 10-20 years of necessary research and development to transition into a hydrogen fuel economy. In other words, there's no "quick fix," and supply-side economics tends to favor the "quick fix," due to its obsession with quick, quarterly profits over long-term growth.

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