Re: photochemical advance

From: Dossy (
Date: Mon Dec 10 2001 - 04:57:38 MST

On 2001.12.10, Damien Broderick <> wrote:
> At 06:51 PM 12/9/01 -0800, James Rogers wrote:
> >>Wouldn't it be smarter to try and create
> >> energy consumers that are more efficient?
> >[No], Because we are pretty close to the upper bounds of energy efficiency
> from a
> >physical engineering standpoint. ...
> >There are some systemic improvements that would improve efficiency (e.g.
> >distributed power rather than centralized in certain cases)
> I'm no expert in this, but I don't believe that statement can be correct.

It could be if you don't discard his qualifier "from a physical
engineering standpoint" ...

> The energy that First World nations squander on air conditioning, for
> example, could surely be slashed by some simple design/fashion
> changes--roads and roofs that reflect heat in summer, tree planting for
> seasonally appropriate cooling and pleasurable viewing in one convenient
> package, wall & floor heat sinks, optimized air flow, all that.

I wasn't even talking about this macroscopic level of energy efficiency.
What James and I were discussing was at the microscopic level. I was
suggesting that "if photosynthesis isn't efficient enough to power a
small device, then perhaps that small device needs to be engineered to
require less power while accomplishing the same task" ... and James is
asserting that modern technology is already reaching (or has reached)
their limits.

To James, I say: Some laws were meant to be broken. I firmly believe
that the laws of thermodynamics are not true laws of nature, but just
a stop-gap milestone in our understanding of the physical world with
which we interact. We will discover that even the laws of
thermodynamics don't hold as laws at a certain level, and we'll make
a great breakthrough that will totally change the way we manipulate
our physical surroundings.

My only curiousity is if this breakthrough will occur in my lifetime.
If the sentiment that you hold, that the laws of thermodynamics are
indeed strong laws and are a limiting factor, is widespread amongst
the scientific community, then sadly I say I doubt it WILL happen
within my lifetime.

-- Dossy

Dossy Shiobara                       mail: 
Panoptic Computer Network             web: 
  "He realized the fastest way to change is to laugh at your own
    folly -- then you can let go and quickly move on." (p. 70)

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:25 MDT