The Speculist: FastForward Radio -- More About the Future of Energy

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FastForward Radio -- More About the Future of Energy

Phil Bowermaster and Stephen Gordon continue their discussion from last week about the future of energy:

What role does energy technology play in the unfolding of the major transformations we are currently experiencing?

What are the economic impacts of choosing to change energy sources...or choosing not to change?

What are the unexpected energy solutions that might prove to be game-changers?

Tune in and find out!

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Archived recording available here:

Listen to FastForward Radio... on Blog Talk Radio


Links: 010407convoy_escortfull.jpg
  • Darpa Grand Challenge blog. This is all about the creation of robotic convoy vehicles.
  • 5 Companies Making Fuel From Algae Now
  • The Jerry Pournelle quote Stephen mentioned:
    One estimate is that 500 nuclear power plants would make America energy independent. I think that is optimistic in that an abundance of electricity doesn't mean we won't need to import oil for transportation needs, but it would certainly take us a long way toward independence. The cost would be in the order of 2 billion per plant (I would think less; that is the first one might be 4 billion, but the 400th would be considerably less than a billion; but call it 2 billion). That is one trillion dollars, comparable to the TARP or stimulus -- and for once a deficit would be financing something real.

    It is less than the cost of the war, and less than the war is going to cost if we continue. Cheap reliable energy would be one major step toward economic recovery. Low cost energy plus freedom will bring prosperity. If we have the energy we can work on the freedom. The whole thing could be accomplished in four years. Of course the ravening wolves in the Congress won't do it -- but then it's not likely that this is the kind of hope and change we can believe in from the current White House.

    But it would work. France knows the value of nuclear power. Why can't we learn it?

  • No Significant Rise In Cancer Deaths In 3-Mile Island Residents Over 20 Years, According To Study
  • Drilling for Geothermal Power
  • The Wall Street Journal's article, Five Technologies That Could Change the World
  • Our music this week is "Dare to Dream" by Adam Ilami. Click the link to Music Alley to hear it in stereo.

Comments

Let's let the free market take care of our problem for us. Things will then work themselves out.

Jonathan, The free market is a myth. The largest corporations in the world (minus Wal-Mart) are energy businesses, and I am sure they plan on working our problems out for us, in accordance with their profit margins.

@ Jonathan: The free market doesn't "take care of" anything; the conduct of the transactors determine the results. As a slightly irrevrant metaphor, the market is only the Forum (OK, historically the Circus Maximus); who actually ends up feeding the lions (in any sense of the phrase) is decided by the people doing business there together, not the structure within which they all do so.

@ Harvey: Actually, that would all depend on how you measure things. Bottom line (according to who's accounting)? Market share (by what metric)? Percentage of profit per transactional financial unit $ (are you at all familliar with a P&L or a Capital Inventory account)?

It is far more likely that the smaller corporate interests would manipulate a market egregiously than would a dominant business interest (like the aforementioned "energy businesses"). A position of market dominence is measured by how much influence one's own actions exert upon the actions of one's competitors. Simply put, the largest corporations can (and do - this is practical reality, not theory) show a profit from the smallest individual transactional measure as a result of the numerical superiority of such transactions such a company performs on an average business cycle. Smaller companies must still support (ie: pay for) the same transactional infrastructure that the truely big boys do, and from a smaller source of income to boot. IOW, the larger the corp, the less need to gouge the customer (and the larger number of insiders able to advance themselves in place of those they catch doing so as well - if the company is honestly run, of course).

In any case, by what other standard than "profit margins" would you recomend such companies measure themselves by? Ancillary to that, would you invest your own and all your relative's retirement funds in said company? You're right to question these matters, but I'm not convinced you fully grasp the concepts at issue. I know I don't yet.

The response to national disaster is noble but it's a damn shame that so many people take advantage of the negative situations.

I mean everytime there is an earthquake, a flood, an oil spill - there's always a group of heartless people who rip off tax payers.

This is in response to reading that 4 of Oprah Winfreys "angels" got busted ripping off the system. Shame on them!
http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/08/19/crimesider/entry5251471.shtml

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