Re: A Challenge To All Extropians/Free Martketeers

James Rogers (
Mon, 27 Apr 1998 18:28:30 -0700

At 05:36 PM 4/27/98 -0700, Paul Hughes wrote:
>James Rogers wrote:
>> First, there is the problem of energy, which is neither replicable nor
>> renewable.
>A double "HUH?". I am aghast at the engineering naiveté of that
statement. For
>transhumanity's purposes well into the next millennium w/o any significant
>scientific breakthroughs, their is enough energy to power global output at
>current rate of consumption for several trillion years. That energy
source is the
>Sun. It may not be infinite, but it is renewable for all intents and
>Another source of great promise is the thermal differential of the oceans
>can be tapped using OTEC generators. Again this is not an infinite source of
>energy but very renewable. The differential tapped by the OTEC is renewed
>by the thermal output of the sun. With the combination of solar panels on
>and OTEC's on the ocean, their would be enough energy output to easily
>all human culture right into the nanotech era; and with minimal impact on the

My engineering naivete? I was simply talking thermodynamics. I see energy
consumption increasing by many, many orders or magnitude in the transhuman
near future. Most of the things worth doing that haven't been done are
limited by either energy or technology. Remove the technology barrier to
the entire population of the planet and energy consumption will skyrocket,
just to feed the technology. Energy consumption is increasing rapidly as
it is. Readily available energy only seems abundant by current standards.
When your average engineering project starts having peta-watt energy
requirements on a 24/7 basis as a routine part of transhuman life, finding
local, high-quality energy sources will become an issue. I think a
not-too-far-future society could burn up the useful energy of the Solar
system pretty quickly without trying too hard. Power technologies like
OTEC could be widely useful now, but the energy density is probably
insufficient to meet the needs of the not-so-far future.

I am quite certain that I will not be the only person spending their time
(as part of the new "leisure class") finding really interesting ways to
burn cosmic quantities of energy, given that technology is no barrier and
cost is no object.

-James Rogers