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The Future: Solar Energy

January 13th, 2008 · Posted by Hugo · 9 Comments

What’s with humanity and its fixation on short-term planning? USA has huge fights about abstinence-only sex-ed, academics a fundamentalistic approach to “do not use Wikipedia”, some people distrust Google and their “do no evil” policy, there are huge arguments about what is fiction and what is fact, conservative Christians fight stem-cell research because they are so fearful of eternal life in this doomed reality, we have memetic-racism propagating cultural clashes due to misunderstood diversity… and where does all our energy come from to fight like this? The sun.

It is as if some of us prefer to abstain from solar energy. We prefer to call Google inherently evil due to its size and successful penetration of every niche of our lives, even though it is still completely eclipsed by the sun. Everything we do depends on the sun. If you want to hate Google for such poor reasons, you’re going to have to hate the sun as well. Did you know that despite all it’s wonderful attributes, the sun is to blame for skin cancer?

We fight like children in a soap opera, and all the while there is a lot of work to be done. The sun won’t live forever, y’know. Neither will we. So why do we play fear-monger with short-term threats? Hey, if the death of the sun is too far in the future for your tastes, go buy Phil Plait‘s up-and-coming book as soon as it is available, it will tell you about many of the dangers and threats that could kill us all a couple of thousand years down the line. Don’t you think we could rather worry about that, instead of fearing that the sky will fall on our heads? Even our global warming problems can be solved if we get over our love-hate relationship with solar power.

Oh ye of little faith! Even the fictitious superman knew of the importance of the sun. How can you know less than a fictitious character? Do not fear fiction, there is much to be learned from it.

Categories: Religion and Science
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9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Sidney Ali // Jan 13, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    Contrary to popular opinions , melanoma is the curse of God againstfairskinned people for their ancestors’ wickedness and their own continued evil into these present days. We believe God has fixed His holy light, which He created on the first day,to discriminate between blacks and whites to burn whites. This, as foretold in the bible, is the Fire of His 2nd rapture …. . TheSo-called fair skinned people are burning in His Lakes of Fires. This is the great wrath of God. In burning evil, He shows He is still incontrol and that there is hope for the world today. Establishing scholarships and setting up memorials is yet a continualmocking of God’s work. Skin cancers and Melanomas are the only so-called diseases caused by thesun. The sun gives everyone else on the planet life. Based on their skin, whites called everyone else on the planet ugly, eviland inferior. Now, that which gives everyone else life, burns their skin. Poetic justice. That giving everyone else life can be called God.

  • 2 Linda // Jan 13, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    Hugo,

    “Wow” is the only word that comes to mind as I read your post. I like how you think and how your sight seems to continually be set outside of the box the rest of us are in.

    The fact of the matter is, though, the majority of humanity does not think like you. I often feel the same frustration that you do. So what is the answer? Are people listening to you at your end of the world?

    And who is Sidney Ali? Is he for real?

  • 3 Hugo // Jan 14, 2008 at 1:10 am

    Linda!

    Sidney Ali is having some fun, methinks. Ya never know what’s real and what is not. I think we should humour him… I’m assuming it is satire. After all, reality is beyond satire…

    And yea, I like thinking outside the box, that’s where I find my inspiration. It’s not for everyone though. However, why do you box yourself in? No need to beat yourself down for my sake…

    And no, I don’t know who’s listening. It seems you are…? Each of us have our own little piece to play within the bigger picture. Just remember to have some fun while you’re at it!

  • 4 Vern M. // Jan 27, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Very nicely put, sir. The sun is the ultimate cause of all life on Earth and is therefore essential for (though ignorant of) everything that happens here. Nobody would blame our closest star for the evil and horrific things that happen every day on Earth, though… It makes them possible, but doesn’t do anything at all to cause the events themselves.

  • 5 Kenneth Oberlander // Jan 28, 2009 at 10:16 am

    @Vern M.

    The sun is the ultimate cause of all life on Earth

    Interestingly, this is not the case.

    If you mean cause as in origin, the sun is only one of a few possibilities as a source of energy for abiogenesis. There are others, including lightning, volcanic outbursts etc…

    If you mean cause as in source of energy for, then this is only true for photosynthesis-based food chains such as terrestrial ecosystems. Chemosynthesis-based ecosystems, such as those around hydrothermal vents, or endolithic bacterial communities in rock, are fully independent of solar energy.

    Not that this alters the gist of what you’re saying, but I suffer from pedanticism…my therapist says it’s incurable… ;-)

  • 6 Hugo // Jan 28, 2009 at 10:45 am

    Hmmm… well…

    There are others, including lightning,

    Where does lightning come from? Weather… where does weather come from? Solar energy I believe… At least, that’s the lines along which I was thinking when I wrote this.

    Volcanic outbursts are a bit more abstract to try to motivate. Tidal forces under the earth’s crust would be a gravitational thing, I assume, which you could “blame” on the sun, but it isn’t solar (nuclear) energy, it’s “just gravity”…

    Think again about the typical creationist’s claim “oh, third law of thermodynamics yadda yadda yadda…”, and in the answer, up pops the importance of the sun.

    Would life be possible due to volcanic activity caused purely by gravitational forces? That would probably be gravitational “potential energy” being converted into life, eh?

    (Oh, and this was written prior to this blog’s first birthday, this is a post that makes me cringe a little bit. (But recent posts also make me cringe. And some other older posts make me cringe much, much more.)

  • 7 Kenneth Oberlander // Jan 28, 2009 at 11:32 am

    Where does lightning come from? Weather… where does weather come from? Solar energy I believe… At least, that’s the lines along which I was thinking when I wrote this.

    Not necessarily. Volcanos also trigger lightning.

    Volcanic outbursts are a bit more abstract to try to motivate. Tidal forces under the earth’s crust would be a gravitational thing, I assume, which you could “blame” on the sun, but it isn’t solar (nuclear) energy, it’s “just gravity”…

    I think as regards volcanic forces, the issue is gravity vs internal pressure…

    Would life be possible due to volcanic activity caused purely by gravitational forces? That would probably be gravitational “potential energy” being converted into life, eh?

    What do you mean by be possible? Originate, or be sustained?

    I’m pretty certain many origin of life scenarios rely heavily on volcanic activity of some sort, but I don’t think these use gravitational potential energy as an energy source…

    Hmmm…in terms of using gravity as an energy source for origin of life scenarios…I would suspect this to be more of an issue on planets such as Jupiter, where the atmosphere is very deep. But I can’t think of any hypotheses stating something like this for Earth.

  • 8 Hugo // Jan 28, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    I think you’re approaching “energy” from a biological perspective, energy for the organism. I’m taking a broader physics view. So I consider:

    I’m pretty certain many origin of life scenarios rely heavily on volcanic activity of some sort, but I don’t think these use gravitational potential energy as an energy source…

    I think as regards volcanic forces, the issue is gravity vs internal pressure…

    I consider that to be an example of “gravitational potential energy” – being the potential energy of the matter that can then clump together into a planet, forming the gravitational vs internal pressure, causing volcanic activity and enabling life. I.e. gravitational potential energy as the energy source for that origin of life scenario.

    What do you mean by be possible? Originate, or be sustained?

    …or, sustained for how long. Basically considering an abiogenesis scenario where life originates near volcanic activity, how long can that life be sustained, long enough to develop single celled organisms… long enough for multi-cell organisms? Meh, meant as rhetorical questions. (Though if you have some interesting facts, by all means, feel free to answer.)

    I would suspect this to be more of an issue on planets such as Jupiter, where the atmosphere is very deep.

    Ah, speculation on … extra-terrestrial life. Can’t remember what that field is called. Earth developed photosynthesis. Might something else develop that uses e.g. intense atmospheric weather on Jupiter as a metabolic energy source? (Need to find good adjectives to differentiate between the big-picture physics “energy source” and the life-energy thing I think you talk about.)

  • 9 Kenneth Oberlander // Jan 28, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    I think you’re approaching “energy” from a biological perspective, energy for the organism. I’m taking a broader physics view.

    OK.

    Earth developed photosynthesis.

    Photosynthesis is a relative newcomer (emphasis on relative). The older forms of chemosynthesis found in archaea (which are obviously independent of sunlight) are much older. Even if all photosynthetic organisms died out, there would still be many self-sustaining ecosystems on earth, relying on these ancient biochemical pathways for sustenance…I seem to remember reading a paper on this somewhere, I’ll try and dig it out…

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