10 August 2009

40 Million Years of Uranium, at 10X Current Use

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And there is more than 3X as much Thorium as Uranium in Earth's crust. According to Brian Wang, there is an estimated 40 trillion tons of Uranium in Earth's crust, and over 120 trillion tons of Thorium. Only 67,000 tons of Uranium are "consumed" yearly. If rational fuel enrichment and re-cycling is incorporated into the fission cycle, Earth would never run out of fissionable uranium.

The Thorium cycle is safer and less prone to weapons proliferation. Fortunately, we have over 100 million years worth of Thorium.

But talking about millions of years of nuclear fission is simply silly, considering the likelihood that scalable nuclear fusion will be practical sometime in the next 20 to 30 years. How much would the world change in the face of abundant nuclear fusion energy?
Fully developing the capabilities of nuclear fusion and nanofactories and accessing these resources in the solar system is the end of scarcity scenario. _BrianWang's NextBigFuture
Brian is quite correct: the combination of abundant fusion energy with perfected molecular nano-assemblers would mean the end of scarcity in the human world -- for a period of time.

But the mean human IQ of planet Earth is now less than 90. In 40 years Earth's mean IQ is likely to be in the middle or lower 80's, if current demographic trends continue. The combination of abundant energy, abundant wealth, hyper-advanced technologies, AND LOW AVERAGE INTELLIGENCE, is a deadly mix. Unscrupulous politicians -- similar to those now ruling North Korea, Russia, Venezuela, or Iran -- would find a way to control access to energy, wealth, and technology. The politically connected would live better than any king or emperor throughout human history. The great masses of common people -- those who are not imprisoned in work camps, psychiatric institutions, or torture facilities for dissent or thinking disloyal thoughts about the great leader du jour -- are likely to suffer, as they always have.

Human nature is not likely to change in the world at large. Humans are not going to grow more intelligent, on average. New technologies of wealth and power will be controlled by insiders, in most countries. They will be used to enrich the inner circle, and to control everyone else.

If the dieoff.orgiast gang of militant greens happen to be in control of the countries where cornucopian technologies are developed, they will find themselves -- at last -- in a position to correct all the evils of man about which they have bitterly complained for so long.

Read Brian's article carefully and you will see that he has included warnings and cautions, along with optimism. Brian's blog is one of the resources of the Lifeboat Foundation, after all. The Lifeboat Foundation is all about keeping human civilisation going in the face of the wide range of existential threats of the future -- manmade and otherwise.

With great opportunity comes great danger.

Peak oil catastrophe is for dummies, to be sure. Like climate catastrophe, it is a political contrivance. But sometimes abundance can be a greater threat than scarcity. We need to be prepared.

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Blogger John said...

I can definitely see evidence of dysgenics living in Connecticut. The change in the population demographics has a noticeable effect on how the external world appears. Things just look more and more run down. Also going into New York City can be rather depressing. As the IQ drops, there is increasing difficulty in maintaining the city infrastructure.

Education is way overrated as a panacea for improving people's lives. IQ and logical thinking are things that can't really be taught. I find that very few people have really good logical reasoning abilities. I actually think the education system should tell people who have a low IQ that they don't have the reasoning abilities to come to the right conclusions. As Charles Murray has said; "They are taking away a mishmash of half-understood information and outright misunderstandings that probably leave them under the illusion that they know something they do not."

If you inflate these people's sense of self-esteem and then promote them to power by affirmative action when they are not qualified, this is not good for society. You might end up with a leader like Hugo Chavez who has an IQ below 100. He thinks communism is a great idea. Just listen to him talk in this video. He's totally bereft of any logic and just sounds completely inane. Also Chavez is extremely paranoid from chewing too much of the coca leaf. He thinks that the US or Columbia is going to invade Venezuela. It's extremely depressing to think that this is going to be our future as the country's IQ drops and populist democracy becomes increasingly common. In Venezuela Chavez has completely eradicated any semblance of a reasonable government that was previously enacted by higher IQ europeans.

Monday, 10 August, 2009  
Blogger kurt9 said...

No, advanced technology, especially fusion and nanotech will just make it easier to turn the rest of the population into lotus eaters if they get in our way. The one thing low-IQ people are good at doing is partying and fucking. We'll just make it easier for them to do this, while making it easier for us to do the pioneering stuff we enjoy doing.

Tuesday, 11 August, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The end of scarcity could be a long, long way off. $50 million is doled out by NASA to research commercial space taxis, while a Las Vegas Casino or other mal-investments of billions of dollars gets the green light. We are approaching a new medieval dark age, and cornucopia may only be achieved after hundreds or even thousands of years have passed and a new group of humans launches the renaissance 2.0 and rediscovers the "classics" on some ancient PC running on some make-shift portable nuclear energy. yes, we were so close...

Tuesday, 11 August, 2009  
Blogger al fin said...

John: Dysgenics plus politics equals the idiocracy. It has already come to Venezuela and Zimbabwe, but if smarter humans plan ahead they can find a way to escape it.

Kurt: That's the best case scenario. Smarter humans learn to put some distance between themselves and the "stupidity is bliss" majority of the world's idiocracies.

Nathan: Whether your particular scenario plays out depends upon how close to reality your mental models are tracking.

My personal expectation is for the majority of humans to fall into the situation you describe, while a better prepared minority finds a way to continue an advanced civilisation in protected and / or remote locations.

Malthus is still waiting in the wings, to wreak havoc on any idiocracies which may spring up.

Tuesday, 11 August, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Replace humans. Everywhere. Create some virtual celebrities to be actors during elections but instead of connecting them via teleprompters to DNC wise-asses, just give them a database of sound bites. Meanwhile, have paper shreaders process all human era legislation. Replace the management of corporations with bare-bones simulations of intellegent systems with some adaptive capacity.

Frankly, I think that sufficiently sophisticated computers trained in human psychology and marketing could make good use of irrational, easily manipulated beings which are fueled by biomass.

Wednesday, 12 August, 2009  
Blogger al fin said...

How do you know that isn't happening now, Baron? ;-)

Thursday, 13 August, 2009  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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