Science And Technology Of The Near-ish Future

Re: Science And Technology Of The Near-ish Future

Postby Sonic Glitch » Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:05 pm

Tyyr wrote:If you mandate fuel reprocessing and combine it with a secure storage site like Yucca mountain there's very little downside to nukes. The only two major nuclear accidents in history are Chernobyl, which was horrible reactor design coupled with turning off most of the automatic safety systems, and Three Mile Island, in which an entire reactor melted down with no appreciable release of radioactivity into the surrounding environment. Hell, the other reactors at TMI are still running today. Nuclear is safe and it releases no greenhouse gases, mercury, no sulfur dioxides, no nitrous oxides, nada.

But ... but ... it's nuclear, that means it's not safe and will kill us all! {where did that tinfoil hat smiley go?}
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Re: Science And Technology Of The Near-ish Future

Postby Griffin » Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:10 pm

Here it is. tinhat
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Re: Science And Technology Of The Near-ish Future

Postby Mikey » Tue Jan 04, 2011 10:26 pm

Ugh. Yucca Mountain is the perfect (and my pet) example of the sort of idiocy that will destroy our planet in the name of saving our planet. Yucca Mountain would have been/could be a safe, secure waste storage site that would enable the safe functioning of a number of nuclear generation sites. Instead, the environ-nuts at the Sierra Club had it closed and mired in litigation, citing some minor misstatement by the planners regarding the half-life capacity of the storage facility... a misstatement which would not, BTW, affect the operation of the facility.

In other words, the Sierra Club (and like-minded organizations used in all seriousness the "reasoning" which Sonic cited sarcastically above. What they achieved was a blow against earth-friendly power generation, and one for fossil fuel and pollutive consumption. :roll:
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Re: Science And Technology Of The Near-ish Future

Postby Mark » Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:33 pm

I think we're going to continue to pursue enhanced entertainment. We have 3D now. I don't see a stretch to full VR in the not so distant future, which of course will be dominated right after by the adult entertainment industry.
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Re: Science And Technology Of The Near-ish Future

Postby Coalition » Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:56 pm

Mark wrote:I think we're going to continue to pursue enhanced entertainment. We have 3D now. I don't see a stretch to full VR in the not so distant future, which of course will be dominated right after by the adult entertainment industry.


I'd see the adult industry leading the way instead. Consider the following:
1) the internet allowed the viewing of porn anywhere in the world. Faster bandwidth allows more detail/pictures downloaded.
2) Viewing the performers in action was a plus. Cue internet video.
3) Paying for the services, while ensuring those credit cards are not copied enroute and used for fraudulent charges. Cue encryption and security.

So high-speed bandwidth, Youtube, and Amazon owe their capabilities to porn.
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Re: Science And Technology Of The Near-ish Future

Postby shran » Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:49 pm

SolkaTruesilver wrote:Book summary


Good points overall, but why is China omitted? Considering the available amount of manpower and their demands for resources increasing, they should by all rights be a factor of quite some strength. What will be their role?
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Re: Science And Technology Of The Near-ish Future

Postby SolkaTruesilver » Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:24 pm

shran wrote:
SolkaTruesilver wrote:Book summary


Good points overall, but why is China omitted? Considering the available amount of manpower and their demands for resources increasing, they should by all rights be a factor of quite some strength. What will be their role?


He speculates that China won't last as a influencial power in the next 10 years, as their demographic and economical structure is inherently unstable. He makes quite a case out of it.

China will either close it's border again and stop it's economical growth, cracking down on all dissent, or it will become regionalised and divided, mostly becoming the serving labor pool for a resurgent influencial Japan.
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Re: Science And Technology Of The Near-ish Future

Postby Tyyr » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:25 pm

SolkaTruesilver wrote:He speculates that China won't last as a influencial power in the next 10 years, as their demographic and economical structure is inherently unstable. He makes quite a case out of it.

China will either close it's border again and stop it's economical growth, cracking down on all dissent, or it will become regionalised and divided, mostly becoming the serving labor pool for a resurgent influencial Japan.

Yeah, I'm really going to have to call bullshit there. China has been walking the line between communism and capitalism for quite some time and is rather good at is. As much as we like to make a stink about their political dissidents here in the West the bulk of the Chinese population doesn't seem to care one way or another about being communists.
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Re: Science And Technology Of The Near-ish Future

Postby SolkaTruesilver » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:35 pm

Tyyr wrote:
SolkaTruesilver wrote:He speculates that China won't last as a influencial power in the next 10 years, as their demographic and economical structure is inherently unstable. He makes quite a case out of it.

China will either close it's border again and stop it's economical growth, cracking down on all dissent, or it will become regionalised and divided, mostly becoming the serving labor pool for a resurgent influencial Japan.

Yeah, I'm really going to have to call bullshit there. China has been walking the line between communism and capitalism for quite some time and is rather good at is. As much as we like to make a stink about their political dissidents here in the West the bulk of the Chinese population doesn't seem to care one way or another about being communists.


The demographic trouble aren't steeming out of the lack of civil liberties, if that's what you believe he argues. He claims that China's current economical structure is very similar that of Japan in the 70s, using a system of very very low interest government loans to fuel the buildup of additional economies. the thing is, you have to keep fuelling economical growth to keep these interest rates low. Eventually, China's economy will stop developping because the world's demand for their product will slow down or halt, and they won't have a customer base nearly ennough to buy their own production, even at the extremely low cost.

Since their economical system favor those who know somebody in the government rather than those who have a sound business plan, and since business owners don't really have to be efficient to remain in business, just to make their regular interest payment, any squeese of credit capacity in China will lead to a lot of badly ran businesses to go bankrupt. Japan was estimated to have about 10% of their corporate loans to be "bad loans", while China apparently could have up to 35% of their business to be inherently inneficient because of government meddling.

This economical crisis will probably put at odds the chinese living on the coastal regions who want to preserve their businesses, and the people living in the mainland who want to have jobs themselves, thus recreating the age-old demographic cycle of diverging interests and objective between these two demographical bases, one rich, the other one poor. Beijing will try to keep everybody united, but the coastal regions will turn to foreign interest to fuel their economy with more jobs, and autonomist movements will start to florish.

Again, not out of "civil liberties" or other kind of bullshit, but because of hard and sound diverging economical interests.

If you are interested to know the arguments in a deeper way, I suggest you buy the book. It's a nice read that gives interesting outlook on the US, Russa, Turkey, Poland, China and Japan.
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Re: Science And Technology Of The Near-ish Future

Postby Tyyr » Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:48 pm

I still see a problem with the reasoning. I don't see anyway that the world is going to lose it's taste for cheap Chinese crap within the next decade. While there are small movements to "buy American," in general people aren't willing to pay the additional cost. Every time you turn around another business is moving overseas, another manufacturing plant is shutting down. The trend will eventually slow and halt but within the next ten years? I can't see that happening. Maybe in the next fifty.

Even if China's economy does have a serious bump as they stop being able to expand China's leadership has shown itself capable of adapting in order to keep things running. There has always been a very big divide between what are essentially the peasants of the interior vs. the modernized coastal regions of China. If they have that many companies that could go under it could cause issues but it's nothing new to the Chinese. They can, and have been handling a major cultural divergence since they were founded. It's called the PLA and Beijing's solution to the peasants getting unruly is "shut up or we shoot you." You're far more likely to see the cosmopolitan areas get antsy but they depend on the interior to keep them supplied with raw materials. If anything the situation is not unlike that of the US in the 1850's, only all the whites in the south would have been citizens of the north.

I'm sorry, but based off what you've been putting forth I just can't give this guy much credit. Seriously, China becoming internationally irrelevant within the next ten years? Yeah, we and most of the western world might wish it was true but its not.
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Re: Science And Technology Of The Near-ish Future

Postby Mikey » Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:04 pm

That whole idea, furthermore, is predicated on the idea that the entire Chinese manufacturing base is solely and immutably geared toward the sort of mass-market, cheap-labor crap that has its analog in 1970's Japan. Chinese concerns were major players for Hummer when GM was shopping the brand, as well as for Buick when GM considered shopping that brand. Indeed, China has already begun the shift towards higher-end and different market products as India (e.g., the Tata) has started to make inroads into the lower-end markets. My cousin, who has a couple of manufacturing plants in mainland China, has for several years now noticed the narrowing gap between Chinese and Hong Kong market share.
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Re: Science And Technology Of The Near-ish Future

Postby SolkaTruesilver » Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:09 pm

Tyyr wrote:I'm sorry, but based off what you've been putting forth I just can't give this guy much credit. Seriously, China becoming internationally irrelevant within the next ten years? Yeah, we and most of the western world might wish it was true but its not.


Thirty years ago, not many people would see China anywhere close to being a real economic power either, USSR had lasted for sixty years and would probably last another sixty at that rate.

Fifty years ago, few would consider Japan to ever have a real competitive modern economy.

Seventy years ago, Nazi Germany was heralded as the center of the world's geopolitics.

Ninety years ago, Germany had been effectively bottled up, europe was in ruins. No one expected German to be a real danger to peace again.

Hundred and ten years ago, the UK was the indisputable ruler of the world's economy, European economies were heavily reliant upon each other, people expected that war would be too devastating for the involved parties to be considered.


Just to say how weird the outcomes history can play out for us. Friedman claims that we shouldn't let what we hold as "common sense" to influence our outlooks for the future, as things often play very differently than what we could have expected. With 20/20 hindsight, it's easy to point out the few people who, at the time, had properly projected the future outcome, and it's easy to forget what was commonly accepted as the universal truth by the medias of the time.

I suggest you read the book. At best, it will be speculations that put some perspective upon what you think of our current world. At worst, it will be an entertaining book that will humor you. Friedman's style of writing is entertaining enough.
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Re: Science And Technology Of The Near-ish Future

Postby Mikey » Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:20 pm

Your examples seem to be rather flawed analogies.
SolkaTruesilver wrote:Thirty years ago, not many people would see China anywhere close to being a real economic power either, USSR had lasted for sixty years and would probably last another sixty at that rate.


IDK, Ever since Korea and later Viet Nam I don't think anybody underestimated China's manufacturing capabilities.
SolkaTruesilver wrote:Fifty years ago, few would consider Japan to ever have a real competitive modern economy.


Bad example - Japan's economy changed into what it is today as a direct and unmistakeable result of the U.S.' verbiage in the post-war Japanese constitution.
SolkaTruesilver wrote:Seventy years ago, Nazi Germany was heralded as the center of the world's geopolitics.


Yes, because 70 years ago it was. What is this supposed to mean?
SolkaTruesilver wrote:Ninety years ago, Germany had been effectively bottled up, europe was in ruins. No one expected German to be a real danger to peace again.


Bullshit. Anyone could have expected Germany to do exactly what it did after the Treaty of Versailles. Several people even warned of that specific danger before the treaty was enacted.
SolkaTruesilver wrote:Hundred and ten years ago, the UK was the indisputable ruler of the world's economy


The decline of imperial colonialism was a step in the world's development, not a sea-change applying to one nation. Even so, now the U.K.o.G.B.a.N.I. has some competition. So?
SolkaTruesilver wrote:European economies were heavily reliant upon each other


And... they're not now? Don't be ludicrous. That trend has strengthened, not diminished.
SolkaTruesilver wrote:people expected that war would be too devastating for the involved parties to be considered.


Well, the wars did come, but in both cases those expectations were proved to be true in large part. Further, the U.S.' involvement both times was both integral and not included in the predictions of which you speak.

All in all, I fail to see how any of these examples speak to the point.
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Re: Science And Technology Of The Near-ish Future

Postby SolkaTruesilver » Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:38 pm

Argg... I think you misundestood my points. Let's start at the end and climb up.

Regarding the intertwined economies too reliant upon each other, my point was that people believed a lot that any war between european countries, on european soil would be simply too costly for all sides to be actually considered. They were wrong, against common sense, the European countries went at each other and wrecked themselves in the process, leaving a mint-condition US economy to take advantage.

As for the time the UK was the ruler of the world, I don't think anyone could have reasonably foreseen the development that led to the UK's losing it's grasp over India, Pakistan and other countries. India was simply way too important for the UK's economy and strategic power projection to abandon, and never India would have the strenght to throw the Britishes out. But again, the impossible happened because of various factors.

"Anyone could have expected Germany to do exactly what it did"? Really? I mean, it's easy to say, with 90 years of insight, what would have been the logical conclusion. Thing is, Germany lost the war. French, britishes and other allied powers agreed to the treaty of Versaille. Some voices claimed that it was simply delaying for another war, and they were right. But was that the general sentiment of the time? Nop. People were afraid of the USSR, not Germany. Nobody expected Germany to finally rise back up in the 30's.

Germany being the center of the world 70 years ago mean that people were expecting Germany to be the center of geopolitics for a long time, the way the UK had been. With the power of France and Eastern Europe under its administration, with the USSR as their friends, who could dare challenge them? They were proven wrong quickly ennough. Again, common sense failed to predict major geopolitical changes.

Japan's economical miracle was, indeed, a change pushed by the US, and a good one. Again, you are using the allmighty power of hindsight to make the claim, after the facts happened. Would people in the 50's genuinely believe Japan would be the 2nd world's economy by the 80s? Except for a handful, nop.

The victories in Vietnam and Korea showed China's military power projection and regional influence. It took the US to open their market for China to genuinely start seeing their economy skyrocket, and I doubt anyone at the time believed China would be anything else than a very well armed dirt-poor country. They were proven wrong. Tell me, if you were there during 1980, would you have believed me if I told you that Germany would be reunited by 1990, and that the USSR would collapse without a single conflict shortly after? Common sense was, once again, trumped.

The point is, common sense is very, very, very limited when you want to make geopolitical guesses regarding the future. Just because you have the feeling the US are on the way down and China is on the way up doesn't mean it'll happen. It doesn't even mean that'll be the same sentiment you'll have within 10 years.
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Re: Science And Technology Of The Near-ish Future

Postby Mikey » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:49 pm

*snip*

All that you say is true - it's easy to comment with the advantage of hindsight. That does not in any way change the fact that said hindsight has provided unalterable truths. The fact that none of the examples you gave speak at all to the point i still a fact, no matter when it became evident.
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