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Watsisname
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Population Growth and Sustainable Development

10 Dec 2018 23:43

Oh ok, just making sure. :)  A year or so ago I read a fairly thick tome reviewing the development of the first atomic bombs.  For most of the book it goes through the development of the physics by the scientists at Los Alamos in great detail.  It was surprisingly fascinating.  And then at the end it hits you with their deployment, the effects on the cities, and the first hand accounts of the survivors.  It's absolutely horrible and one of the most depressing reads I have ever had.  But altogether something very important to read, I think.

But back to a lighter subject,


A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post I remember reading that antimatter is created during lightning storms, is that the only natural source we have of it?

It isn't the only natural source on Earth, though it may be one of the most popularly known within the atmosphere.  But many types of radioactivity also release antimatter.  Even a banana does: about 1 anti-electron per hour, because of potassium-40 decay, which releases positrons (the antimatter version of beta decay which releases electrons).  Of course this is such a small rate that it's basically completely worthless except as an interesting academic point. "Bananas make antimatter."  :)

A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post How much would need to be artificially created to be feasible as an energy source

The amount you make is not the problem.  The act of making it is.  To create antimatter in large quantities (i.e. outside of the slow rates of radioactive decay) in the lab you are basically exploiting the mass energy equivalence, E=mc2.  For example you can shoot high energy photons near an atomic nucleus, and this can convert the photon into an electron-positron pair.  Then you can confine the positrons magnetically.  

But in order for this to work, you need to use photons with at least the mass-energy of the electron-positron pair.  So you have to use more energy to create the antimatter than you get back by annihilating it later.  This is why it's not a practical energy source, even if we could make a whole lot of it very quickly.
 
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Population Growth and Sustainable Development

11 Dec 2018 03:00

Watsisname wrote:
Oh ok, just making sure. :)  A year or so ago I read a fairly thick tome reviewing the development of the first atomic bombs.  For most of the book it goes through the development of the physics by the scientists at Los Alamos in great detail.  It was surprisingly fascinating.  And then at the end it hits you with their deployment, the effects on the cities, and the first hand accounts of the survivors.  It's absolutely horrible and one of the most depressing reads I have ever had.  But altogether something very important to read, I think.

But back to a lighter subject,


A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post I remember reading that antimatter is created during lightning storms, is that the only natural source we have of it?

It isn't the only natural source on Earth, though it may be one of the most popularly known within the atmosphere.  But many types of radioactivity also release antimatter.  Even a banana does: about 1 anti-electron per hour, because of potassium-40 decay, which releases positrons (the antimatter version of beta decay which releases electrons).  Of course this is such a small rate that it's basically completely worthless except as an interesting academic point. "Bananas make antimatter."  :)

A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post How much would need to be artificially created to be feasible as an energy source

The amount you make is not the problem.  The act of making it is.  To create antimatter in large quantities (i.e. outside of the slow rates of radioactive decay) in the lab you are basically exploiting the mass energy equivalence, E=mc2.  For example you can shoot high energy photons near an atomic nucleus, and this can convert the photon into an electron-positron pair.  Then you can confine the positrons magnetically.  

But in order for this to work, you need to use photons with at least the mass-energy of the electron-positron pair.  So you have to use more energy to create the antimatter than you get back by annihilating it later.  This is why it's not a practical energy source, even if we could make a whole lot of it very quickly.

The title "The Manhattan Project" was a funny bit of misdirection to mislead others into thinking the project was actually happening in NY.
Yes the deployment was really sad, the people were vaporized with the only signs remaining of them being either dust or shadows of what they looked like on the walls of buildings or houses.  And those were innocent people, not involved with the war, mostly farmers and their wives in children.  A couple of years ago I remember reading that the actual reason for dropping the bombs wasn't the stated one of ending the war more quickly, as the Japanese were already going to surrender within weeks, but because they wanted to send a message to Russia that we were prepared to use it.  Besides this, there were also the internment camps which were basically prisons for innocent people.
In the Pacific Islands, nuclear tests were being conducted after people were forcibly relocated or the tests were conducted with them still there (for example, Bikini Island- and that word got a whole new meaning after those tests).  Not only did the original people who were exposed to the testing develop tumors, but so did their descendants (as well as birth defects), the half-life of the material was so long that region still has very high rates of cancer and birth defects.
After WW2 ended, we brought over Nazi scientists who had been working for Hitler to work for us in the New Mexico desert (Project Paperclip).
I love nuclear physics and reading about the history of it; early on it was used without any precautions, the Curies were pioneers in the study of radium, and back then it was being used in clocks, watches, beads, and even tooth fillings!  One of the most fascinating aspects of nuclear physics is that it realizes the dream of ancient alchemists, you actually can convert one element into another!
I chuckled when you mentioned the banana antimatter generator :P It reminded me of something I read about being able to create your own particle collider using duct tape haha.  The idea of portable particle colliders fascinates me, especially as technology has been shrinking, so it could be possible.  I've also watched movies where particle colliders were used as sources of energy, but they have it backwards, it actually takes more energy to collide particles and smash atoms or separate protons into their component quarks than the amount of energy generated from such an interaction- the same way creating antimatter would require more energy than what it would generate?  As a matter of fact, the LHC uses antiprotons in their particle collisions.
 
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Population Growth and Sustainable Development

11 Dec 2018 20:09

Watsisname wrote:
Source of the post A year or so ago I read a fairly thick tome reviewing the development of the first atomic bombs.

I read that as well. Thick but interesting. Another related book which I have read recently that I'd highly recommend is 'The Doomsday Machine' by Daniel Ellsberg.

A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post The development of nuclear weapons has a long dark history, which is often the case with the military.


Indeed, but bear in mind that any energy source can be weaponized.

Just because we can weaponize it, doesn't mean we should. And just because we might doesn't mean we shouldn't research it for more or less peaceful purposes. It cuts both ways unfortunately.
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Population Growth and Sustainable Development

12 Dec 2018 01:05

It does, thats why I advocate trying to keep scientific advancements separate from military ones.  Daniel Ellsberg is amazing, he was one of the first whistleblowers and also released The Pentagon Papers!
I think I might have read the same book, or an interview done with Ellsberg about that book you mentioned!

Also, watch a lot of The Twilight Zone, which was written by a man who suffered through the horrors of war, the outstanding Rod Serling!
 
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12 Dec 2018 20:17

I love Twilight Zone (the earlier seasons of course) - one of my favorite episodes was 'Time Enough at Last'.
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13 Dec 2018 00:17

Stellarator wrote:
I love Twilight Zone (the earlier seasons of course) - one of my favorite episodes was 'Time Enough at Last'.

With how much I love reading, i could totally see myself being that guy haha.
I also loved Monsters on Maple Street and the hour long one where he tries to go back in time and stop the Lincoln assassination and the bombing of Hiroshima and what happened on the Lusitania.  And the one where the astronomer traveled to a parallel earth and the one where the traveler got stranded in a highly advanced town where they wipe everyone's memories so their technology doesn't get used to do bad things.  The guy ended up having to get his memory wiped after he created a gun- it reminded me of a 3D printed gun, weird.  And the one where the farmer lady is scared when she sees tiny aliens invade her farm, but at the end you realize they are from Earth lol.  And the one where astronauts land on a planet of tiny people and one of them plays God and after the others leave he makes the little creatures worship him and build a statue to him, until they go liliputian on him and bring him and the statue down.
Speaking of reading, have a look at the cosmology articles in the other thread, from Quanta Magazine.  When I read the one about the Cosmology Censorship Conjecture being disproven and the pictures of what the Cauchy Horizon looked like, I realized I had seen it in Space Engine when I toured Cygnus X-1!  There were two event horizons in it and after crossing the second one, you exited into a different part of the universe!
 
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13 Dec 2018 20:37

Ahh, yes. "Time Enough at last" was only name I could remember, but truth be told I was never disappointed by a Zone episode. More importantly, it was perhaps something that could never truly be re-created. Multiple re-makes have tried, but they never really caught the feel of the original black-and-whites. It is something quite special.

A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post I realized I had seen it in Space Engine when I toured Cygnus X-1!

I do feel spoiled whenever I use SE and think of the amazing effort and dedication that not only SpaceEngineer put into it, but also all the astronomers, physicists and mathematicians before him.
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Population Growth and Sustainable Development

14 Dec 2018 00:47

Stellarator wrote:
Ahh, yes. "Time Enough at last" was only name I could remember, but truth be told I was never disappointed by a Zone episode. More importantly, it was perhaps something that could never truly be re-created. Multiple re-makes have tried, but they never really caught the feel of the original black-and-whites. It is something quite special.

A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post I realized I had seen it in Space Engine when I toured Cygnus X-1!

I do feel spoiled whenever I use SE and think of the amazing effort and dedication that not only SpaceEngineer put into it, but also all the astronomers, physicists and mathematicians before him.

I've never seen a program more comprehensive, even ones that cause multiple hundreds of dollars (I own Starry Night Pro Plus, which had an initial cost of around 300, and each update to a new version costs 100, but it doesn't have nearly as much functionality.)
I just remembered another great Twilight Zone episode that was based on a great sci fi story- do you remember To Serve Man? ;-)
 
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01 Aug 2019 15:53

No one can ever say that fossil fuels are less lethal than nuclear fission anymore, we are getting at least one gas leak or pipeline explosion every day and whole streets are being blown up and people are dying.  These pipelines need to go and we need to be 100% nuclear and renewables ASAP!  I like Bernie's and Warren's idea that all gasoline powered vehicles need to be extinct by 2040 also.
 
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23 Aug 2019 15:38

The burning in the Amazon by ranchers and loggers proves my point that we need to go to a more veggie based diet for both environmental and health reasons.  The Amazon is way more important than any one nation and if the president of Brazil is too greedy to stop the burning, the Amazon needs to be taken away from Brazil and controlled by an international group of environmental corps.  Ditto for Trump's usage of public lands for mining and drilling and unprotecting endangered species.

Keep in mind that I'm not talking about eliminating meat completely, but lessening it to about 10% of the diet, which would benefit us environmentally as well as healthwise (see ACA and AHA recommendations and see the latest UN report about land usage needing to change and the need to go on a veggie based diet.)  If the rest of the world consumed meat like we do, we would have run out of fresh water back in 2005!  Unfortunately nations like China and India are switching to a more unhealthy Western diet as they develop.  And animal farming contributions more to GHG emissions than any nation besides the US and China.

You're right about overpopulation and densely populated cities being a problem, that increases pollution (see rising asthma rates and the health impact of light pollution as well as toxic waste) and frankly, too high of a population growth rate in developing nations in Africa is more of a problem than poachers are.  We are in the middle of a mass extinction right now because humanity is seizing land that should be set aside for nature, not to mention other problems that go along with this issue, like climate change and plastic in the oceans.  Studies have shown that the best way to reduce climate change is to have one less child.  That reduces our carbon footprint faster than anything else does.
 
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23 Aug 2019 15:46

environmental issues go way beyond national borders

there are 73,000 fires going on there right now over 2,000 miles

rio and sao havent seen any sun in 2 weeks because of black smoke

these countries need to reduce their human populations so they dont need to burn tropical rain forests to feed their people and stop eating so much meat
 
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Population Growth and Sustainable Development

26 Aug 2019 09:59

A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post We are in the middle of a mass extinction right now because humanity is seizing land that should be set aside for nature, not to mention other problems that go along with this issue, like climate change and plastic in the oceans.  Studies have shown that the best way to reduce climate change is to have one less child.  That reduces our carbon footprint faster than anything else does

Yes, we're leaving little space for nature, and climate change makes things worse if people think the solution is to seize more land to make room for wind and solar power plants and for growing bio-fuel.  As for population growth, it will be stopped by eliminating poverty, which will increase the demand for energy, or flipped the other way around: increasing availability of power is key to reduce the poverty.   Cheap, abundant energy is also the key to produce more food using less space.  So if we fix the energy problem, a lot of other things will improve as well.  I don't think we should wait for fusion energy to become practical.  Fission still is the better choice, but has become unpopular, mostly because of superstition and incorrect beliefs about radiation.
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26 Aug 2019 14:26

Fixing the energy problem will usher in a wave of population growth that makes the industrial revolution look like a pimple. The only reason the earth has as many people as it does is due to oil. The only reason people are starving is because you can't eat oil.

We have the ability to reproduce at a faster and faster rate thanks to medicine and plastics and relatively easy to optain energy. What we don't have is more arable land. If everyone on earth wanted a hamburger once a week we'd need 4 more planet earths.
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30 Aug 2019 03:01

midtskogen wrote:
A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post We are in the middle of a mass extinction right now because humanity is seizing land that should be set aside for nature, not to mention other problems that go along with this issue, like climate change and plastic in the oceans.  Studies have shown that the best way to reduce climate change is to have one less child.  That reduces our carbon footprint faster than anything else does

Yes, we're leaving little space for nature, and climate change makes things worse if people think the solution is to seize more land to make room for wind and solar power plants and for growing bio-fuel.  As for population growth, it will be stopped by eliminating poverty, which will increase the demand for energy, or flipped the other way around: increasing availability of power is key to reduce the poverty.   Cheap, abundant energy is also the key to produce more food using less space.  So if we fix the energy problem, a lot of other things will improve as well.  I don't think we should wait for fusion energy to become practical.  Fission still is the better choice, but has become unpopular, mostly because of superstition and incorrect beliefs about radiation.

I would rather use fission over everything else also, the fact is that fossil fuels cause way more deaths than fission does, we have at least one gasline explosion every day.  Fission is much safer.
 
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21 Nov 2019 04:12

Hello,

This book had a great impact on me too, but it wasn't a depressing read, rather a moment of shock and despair when you realize that the technolgoies are developing so rapidly and chaotically that you can't manage to keep up (being a lab scientist and research paper writer, it is a striking humiliating thought, don't you think?) . But what I really liked about the whole "drowing out of our planet" thing was a book by Stephen Petranek: How We'll Live on Mars.

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