Category Archives: Contemplation

Robot brains?

I have to admit I am rather skeptical about the prospects of AI, in particular of strong AI. Though I believe that AI will continue to improve, I don’t expect any computer even coming close to the capabilities of the human brain within the next few centuries. Automation and machine learning will become increasingly important but robots that can replace humans on a one-to-one base, I consider that to be unlikely. Continue reading →

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Floating cities

Vincent Callebaut designed what he calls Lilypads or a floating ecopolis to house climate refugees. As the name suggests this seasteading design is based on ecological principles and Callebaut is one of the few seasteading advocates without an obvious link to libertarianism.

According to Callebaut the Lilypad could be home to 50,000 people and will produce more energy than it consumes. As I have discussed before, this maritime excess energy could be used to produce synthetic fules, which could be exported.

Brexit blues

It is clear beyond any doubt that the UK is currently suffering a severe constitutional crisis. Today a Scottish court has ruled that the current suspension of the UK parliament is unlawful.

In short the highest court of Scotland, the Inner House of the Court of Session, beliefs that the Johnson administration is prorogued parliament for the wrong reason, i.e. to prevent it from scrutinizing its actions.

This is an unique and highly unusual move as prorogation is a normal part of the British political system but such a suspension usually only lasts for a couple of days not for five whole weeks as now.

Additionally the new law prohibiting a no-deal Brexit passed against Johnson’s wishes, might eventually lead him being thrown in jail – if he would violate it.

Assuming that the UK survives Brexit, it almost certainly that the law on prorogation will be reformed – in a similar fashion as the Fixed-Term Parliament Act – by providing strict rules and limitation on when and for how long Parliament could be prorogued.

Underground farming

This video is about a London underground farm. With increasing urbanization and a growing world population agricultural land is becoming scarce.

However, by using LED technology it is possible to grow plants beneath the surface (or in buildings). The nice thing of LED is that they can produce light at the frequencies that plants actually need and hence avoiding waste energy on other frequencies.

OTEC once more

I have written a bit about ocean thermal energy conversion on this site. This technology use the temperature difference between the ocean surface and deep seawater. The larger this difference, the greater the energy that can be harvested. Continue reading →

Energy super power – down under

The Guardian has an interesting article on a project, Sun Cable, to export Australian solar power to Singapore. Currently Australia is one of the largest exporters of coal, also exports a great deal of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and is a major supplier of uranium – though the country itself has no nuclear power plants. Continue reading →

Future Fuel

The age of (cheap) oil is doomed in the long run, even if we do not care about climate change, as petroleum is a finite resource which would eventually be depleted. However, our modern industrialized society requires a lot of energy and without it our planet cannot sustain a ten billion population. Continue reading →

Food for robots

Robots resembling humans are no longer purely science fiction, though we are far away from true stand in replacements of ourselves. Nevertheless, it reasonable to assume that over the course of this century they become a greater part of daily life. One important point we need to address is the energy supply for our lookalikes. Continue reading →

Capsules

In Japan, where space is scarce, one need to be very efficient with the little space you can afford. So we should not be really surprised that the Japanese came up with a capsule hotels. Instead of sleeping in a room, guest will have to spend the night in a small pod.

Wormholes and Science

The good news: science shows that wormholes can exist; the bad news, however, they are unusable to travel through interstellar space. Apparently travel through a wormhole would be much slower, then travel outside it.

This is a real dumper on those who hoped to cross the galaxy in relatively short time – as wormholes used to be the most promising method of effective “faster-than-light” travel… But perhaps we should not give up as science might still find another way to use wormholes as a potential interstellar road network.