Posted by: spacewritinguy | November 20, 2007

Time for a Little Optimism

The title of this blog is Optimistic Jeremiads, but most of my time has been spent griping and letting loose Jeremiads. Fine. Let us consider some solutions to the energy crisis. Or rather, the high price of petroleum. Here are some suggestions, none of which has a hootin’ chance in hell of passing the current congress:

  • Drill for more oil in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, off the coast of California, or off the coast of Florida.
  • Build more nuclear plants. I heard from a friend recently that more nuclear plants are about to get licensed in the South.
  • Re-invest in magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) reactors for Earth-based power. 
  • Invest in space solar power–transmitting unfiltered solar energy from a satellite in orbit down to a receiving station here on Earth. It’ll probably take 10-20 years to “make it happen,” but the investment needs to happen now. Hell, the investment needed to happen 30 years ago, but it’s still a good idea. The U.S. Department of Defense is looking at this, if only to reduce combat deaths among those troops guarding fuel convoys. This is obviously my favorite solution. If you have a high-power, dependable base power system, more things can be made to run on electricity, such as cars tied to power systems embedded in the roadways.
  • Mining the Moon or the atmospheres of the gas giants for Helium-3, a more easily used and less radioactive isotope, to power nuclear fusion. Again, this will probably take 10-20 years, but jeez, it’s better than just sitting here waiting for the price of gas to reach a new high.

The point here is that we need to start thinking beyond the ordinary, beyond even the capacities of “one world,” like we are doing now. If we keep thinking this way, the wars for oil and other resources will only get more vicious and dangerous to our civilization, as we fight over a perceived shrinking pie.

Or, we can keep throwing away a trillion dollars every five years to ensure peace in the Middle East. Gee, I wonder which would be cheaper.

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