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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2003 11:44 am 
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Long live the bicycle!
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PS: This is my new silent solution/toy to reducing power consumption, traffic congestion and air and noise pollution. And it reduces my risk of cancer too.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2003 1:16 pm 
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Nice work powergyoza! I love cycling. For years I've ridden a $100 piece of crap I bought at a pawn shop. I can't wait to get a sweet road bike!

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 Post subject: Power Consumption ...
PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2003 3:06 pm 
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Zhentar wrote:
Which reminds me, renewable energy may be environmentally friendly, but its not economically feasible- Powering L.A. would take solar panels covering all of Texas- of course it would be a good use for texas :) but not feasible. There are only a few wind farms across the US and they are more expensive.


From the quotes I seem to recall, I believe this much photovoltaic (PV) power would easily meet the energy needs of the entire U.S., with power to spare. But, I don't remember where I might have gotten that from so don't flame me on it if you can provide a source refuting me.

Nevertheless, here is a quote from James E. Press, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A, specifically regarding hybrid automobile technology, but which is true of energy in general:

"What's the cost of [gasoline] fuel? It's not $1.80 a gallon. It's how much does a war in Iraq cost? How much does the fact you've got 75 years of this stuff left on the planet cost? And then what's the cost of pollution? At some point, the industry has to recognize it."

- From url: [Free New York Times registration is required....]
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/28/business/28HYBR.html

The point is that, 1) apparently people don't know or care that most of the world is still HEAVILY dependant on fossil fuels and nuclear fission power, as gleaned from riff's quote -
riff wrote:
this scares me. i never figured we'd be still using fossil fuels in this day and age... makes me think twice about leaving the hall light on at night.

And 2) ANY move away from both of those (fossil & fission fuels) would be a good thing.

So put up a small PV unit and run that Folding@Home software all day long! (But please turn off your monitor if you don't need it....]

--------------

For a starter on alternatives via hydrogen check out http://www.hydrogennow.org (see the News link), and Jeremy Rifkin's book "The Hydrogen Economy" published in December 2002.

To temper what sounds like my distaste for nuclear power, I would have to agree that fusion is good reason not to completely abandon nuclear research. As Zhentar put it "...make him discover a means of effectively harnessing fusion."

Fortunately, the DOE and others haven't abondoned it altogether:
http://www.ofes.fusion.doe.gov/
http://www.ofes.fusion.doe.gov/Fusion_Connections/Labs.html


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 Post subject: Re: Power Consumption ...
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2003 6:58 am 
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[quote="duglas"]And 2) ANY move away from both of those (fossil & fission fuels) would be a good thing.... To temper what sounds like my distaste for nuclear power, I would have to agree that fusion is good reason not to completely abandon nuclear research. As Zhentar put it "...make him discover a means of effectively harnessing fusion." [quote]

Call me naive, but what's the big deal about fission as opposed to fusion? The waste?

Just wondering, not arguing. I really don't know.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2003 8:50 am 
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In Denmark pretty much 100% of all power is green power. Well don't shoot me if it's 80 or 90, but you catch my point. I love the country, and unlike what most *insert nasty word here* think, wind power windmills do not deface the country side at all.
That being said: I love alternative power supplies.
For a long time I've been thinking of buying a square meter of PV cells and replace my window with them (I don't want the sunlight in here, I just want the power :P ). The problem with PV cells is, they're disgustingly expencive. The other problem is of course the utter lack of sun in Belgium, but where there is light there is power, so that won't be the biggest problem. I'd be a lot happier if I could somehow just get my PC of the regular power net and onto something 100% green. I honestly can't stand car exhausts and the like (I have severe asthma, I practically die when someone smokes too close to me). I got arrested for telling a police officer to take his f*cking stinkin' car out of the g*d d*mned park..
What kind of an idiot drives around in a park with a car anyway?


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2003 9:10 am 
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Gandalf wrote:
I got arrested for telling a police officer to take his f*cking stinkin' car out of the g*d d*mned park..
What kind of an idiot drives around in a park with a car anyway?


Ha ha ha! I don't think the cop was the idiot in that story! :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2003 9:40 am 
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Gandalf wrote:
What kind of an idiot drives around in a park with a car anyway?


apparently ones with long arms.

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 Post subject: Re: Power Consumption ...
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2003 12:09 pm 
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jamoore9 wrote:
Call me naive, but what's the big deal about fission as opposed to fusion? The waste?


Yup. With nuclear fission waste comes the BIG $ signs attached to it to either 1) bury it in the ground and hope geologic forces don't expose it, let's say, for the next 5,000 to 10,000 years or, 2) shoot it into space (which is a viable option since the Sun is a big nuclear reactor and cosmic radiation is ever present once you're out of the Van Allen Belt) or, 3) keep it at a safe (& secure?) storage facility for the remainder of its radioactive life (again, let's say 5,000 to 10,000 years, depending).

I needn't calculate the cost of maintenance from choice #3 as it should be fairly obvious this number would dwarf the combined GDP of every country on this planet today. Choice #1 is expensive too, even if we choose not to be more diligent than to assume that someone 5,000 years in the future is going to "just know" what a nuclear danger sign looks like....

Whatever choice you choose, you still have to add the BIG $'s for the political wrangling of all 3 options and the difficulty of delivering the material through someone's backyard to get it to its final destination.

Nuclear fusion, theoretically, wouldn't create the same quantity of harmful waste that fission does. However, I won't go so far as to say fusion will produce "no" waste. Since vaible fusion reactors don't exist yet it would be irresponsible to say they won't produce waste at all.

If someone out there thinks I'm whining here about nuclear fission power, the fact cannot be disputed that there will ALWAYS be someone who will vigorously refuse to let the waste go through there backyard.

However, I will conceed that solar, wind, and hydrogen power structures will also have an enormous cost associated with them. The problem remains that "reasonable" fossil fuel production is expected to peak in 10 to 40 years, which means that once half of the fuel has been extracted the remaining second half will only get more and more expensive as the resource is eventually depleted. If we choose not to do anything to head off this possibility then costs for fossil fuels will also become suffocating.

If this concerns you then contact your state and federal representatives and tell them it is time they provided REAL tax incentives for RESIDENTIAL (or consumer) purchasers of alternative (not just solar) power. Why should only the corporate sector get tax breaks for installing alternative power sources? (See Are incentives available to help reduce the cost?)

That's my 2 cents worth - AND advise! (how 'bout that - bitching with a solution!)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2003 12:34 pm 
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i can almost see a nuclear fusion power generator in my garage :shock:


damn... that was inspiring :D

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2003 5:32 pm 
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wussboy wrote:
Nice work powergyoza! I love cycling. For years I've ridden a $100 piece of crap I bought at a pawn shop. I can't wait to get a sweet road bike!


Devinci makes good bicycles, but I'd highly recommend Marinoni - another manufacturer from Quebec. http://www.marinoni.qc.ca/

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 Post subject: Re: Power Consumption ...
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2003 7:35 am 
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duglas wrote:
That's my 2 cents worth - AND advise! (how 'bout that - bitching with a solution!)


Duglas,

I really appreciate your responding. I didn't even know that fusion was being explored as an alternative. I hope they succeed: nuclear power is the only viable means of maintaining our technological and cultural advances, reducing our dependance on foreign governments, and halting or at least tempering global warming.

But I can't imagine fusion becoming viable for quite a long time -- not without a breakthrough of dramatic proportions. Current fusion weaponry rely on fission reactions to trigger the fusion reaction. IE, you need cosmic levels of energy just to start the process. So I can imagine that the costs of starting and maintaining a fusion reaction are probably the greatest roadblocks to this movement (that and the expense of developing large scale facilities that can HOUSE that kind of energy!).

As far as the depletion of natural resources goes, take a look at this article that I just read in Discover magazine. I appreciate the difficulties of switching from fossil fuels to alternatives, but I'm not all about raping the earth -- I get a large percentage of my power from a wind farm near my home and I plan to get a fuel-cell car as soon as they're available -- and this article talks about an alternative to depleting natural resources while maintaining curent infrastructure. Of course, its still carbon-based, so its not necessarily an environmentalist's dream-come true.

http://www.discover.com/may_03/featoil.html

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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2003 9:50 pm 
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powergyoza wrote:
wussboy wrote:
Nice work powergyoza! I love cycling. For years I've ridden a $100 piece of crap I bought at a pawn shop. I can't wait to get a sweet road bike!


Devinci makes good bicycles, but I'd highly recommend Marinoni - another manufacturer from Quebec. http://www.marinoni.qc.ca/


I gotta be honest, I have a desire to build my bike from pieces. I mean, hey! I do it with my computer, why not with my bike? Sadly, I hear it's way more expensive to do it that way. :(

I checked out those Marinonis. They look pretty sweet, and there's a dealer near me too! I like to buy Canadian if I can. Thanks for the link.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2003 8:12 pm 
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Quote:
At this point no one does solar because it costs more than fossil fuels


You think if the government finds a way to tax it, research and production might speed up? Or would the oil company pay off all the politicians?

The point is moot when the W and Dick are really employed by Exxon/Mobil anyway. Can you spelling big buck lobbyists?

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2003 8:16 pm 
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aristide, I agree with you completely... the government probably could get good alternatives to oil if not for the huge oil industy.....


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2003 8:44 pm 
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Quote:
This is my new silent solution/toy to reducing power consumption


A good start, now how about a helmut that cancels wind noise?

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2003 8:57 pm 
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Ah, but there's always down sides as well. The oil industry employs thousands and thousands of people. Get rid of the oil industry and you have to take all those people's jobs away. It's easy for us to say, "well, it's for the good of the earth" if we don't work in the oil industry, but it's less easy when that means your job is cut. I live in an oil town (Calgary) and if there suddenly wasn't an oil industry, this city would be devestated. Maybe in the economic downturn I would have to move or get a new job. It's never as easy as it seems.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2003 2:59 am 
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wussboy: I come from a traditionnal coal-mining area. Someday, extracting it became too expensive (end of 60s). Mines closed. Now it's about 20% unemployment, with areas of > 50% peoples on social care.

That _will_ happen anyway to Calgary (or any other such region) as well, no matter moving to eco-friendly ressources, just a matter of time.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2003 4:56 am 
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[[To dago and wussboy's points...]]

Strictly, *any* industry is subject to change. For a few easy examples, consider the number of wheelwrights, blacksmiths, and mill workers there used to be. Consider even the number of farmers there were before 1900. As new technologies and industries came to be, the old workers went through a significant transition period with associated social pain. However, in the longer march of time, the workforce and economy adapts to new circumstances. This is not to be polyanna-ish or minimize the difficulties of the people hit by these transitions, but merely to offer a broader perspective within which to place the suffering in context.

Ob SPC: I firmly believe that the current market forces are pushing to lower power consumption and much more efficient electronics, potentially reducing the total need for electricity. See this thread for a near-term technology. I'd like to believe in fusion power, but it's been "10-15 years away" for about 30 years now. I wish photovoltaics were more efficient and much less costly so they could be added everywhere; imagine the computer case design possibilities!

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2003 5:03 am 
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tragus, thanks for explaining what I had in mind when writing this comment :) (what, I was too elliptic ??? ;))


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2003 7:45 pm 
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aristide1 wrote:
Quote:
This is my new silent solution/toy to reducing power consumption


A good start, now how about a helmut that cancels wind noise?

No need to cancel wind noise. What they need to make is a helmut that cancels car & truck noise! :lol: Oops, don't need a special helmut for that.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2003 3:00 am 
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Bicycles are so much handier than cars. Especially in cities. *especially* around schools.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2003 3:11 am 
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in fact, bicycles can even have a pretty high bandwith if the rider has a backpack full of tapes ...


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2003 5:19 am 
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. . . now that I'm folding pretty much 24/7, my psu is running hotter than usual all of the time which translates to: my psu fan is now running to fast/loud. I wasn't worried about replacing the fan before, but now it has become urgent. I'll be making my non-tax-deductible contribution to the cure cancer effort soon. Panaflo will be glad.


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 Post subject: Energy sources - rather OT but still....
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2003 6:20 am 
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Lots of problems and solutions on the energy front.

Nuclear is a good option. The laws in the US would need major changing for a couple of reasons. 1) We consider plutonium a weapon and also waste. Most other countries do not and leave the plutonium in the reactors to be burned as fuel. If we did the same we would obviously have less waste and less of a problem. 2) It takes DECADES to get any nuclear plant designed, approved, licensed, and built due to the sheer amount of red tape. 3) Everyone remembers 3 Mile Island and Chernobyl. Newer designs simply can NOT meltdown. Either the safety systems are set up in such a way that the failsafes are passive, or the system needs to have all the conditions just perfect to get fission to happen. With some of these designs a meltdown might be theoretically possible, if you wandered off for a couple of years. Quite the improvement I would say.

Fusion is a nice idea. But hardly practical at the moment. One major problem with fusion that isn't well known is the fuels needed. Most people think you just need Hydrogen. However, just using Hydrogen for fusion would be a poor choice. You'll want some very specific isotopes and that makes it hard to do properly as it's time consuming and expensive. Without the right isotopes one of your fusion by products is Gamma radiation. LOTS of it. This is bad stuff to both people and the reactor itself. The right isotopes tend to minimize this, but not necessarily eliminate it.

Both nuclear options can be workable. The problem is that eventually you have to replace the reactors. The vessels themselves will not be healthy to be anywhere near. So you're still stuck with waste disposal. OTOH, you're looking at disposing of tons of known carcinogenic stuff VS the hundreds of thousands of tons of carcinogenic stuff we pump out yearly anyway.

Fuel cells are likely where it's going to be in the near future. I feel the hydrogen fuel cell choice was an extremely dumb idea for a lot of reasons, mostly economic but a major one is the source of the hydrogen. A better choice would have been alcohol. 1) it keeps the farmers working. A lot of them are paid not to grow things, this would put those farms to good use. 2) it's liquid, and therefore could be retrofitted to the existing gas stations with almost no effort 3) the economic impact alone is relatively minimal. A large chunk of infrastructure stays intact with minimal retraining. You don't have to displace large populations of workers and retrain them. 4) it's relatively safe. It'll burn but not explode VS a compressed cylinder of hydrogen in the car. Just drive down the freeway every morning and take a look at the next car wreck/fire you see and picture a compressed gas cylinder in there. Although images of the Hindenburg are what comes to mind that isn't what would happen. 5) Lastly, hydrogen will likely be generated by electrolysis, which most likely means fossil fuel power plants provide the energy. Hardly the best idea. It's possible to do this with chemical reactions, but I suspect electrolysis is the most likely method.

Hydrothermal power is also a viable option. It's quite possible to build a thermal plant in places such as Yellowstone national park. The facility would not have to be overly large and will likely produce almost no pollutants. You'll always have some pollution in terms of lubricants, trash, etc. The only real byproduct is steam if done correctly, although it's possible to vent gases from inside the earth and this could be anything including sulfer dioxide. So this may also not be a good choice depending on how things go.

Hydro power is a pretty good idea. However, as that post points out with the salmon, it has to be done right. It's also interesting that in many places where dams were put in place, they are removing them as we begin to understand more about the ecosystems. Part of that knowledge is how the wetlands and swamps keep flooding in check. Something many of these dams were put in place to control. Often they've just made things worse.

I don't consider solar to be viable for power generation. At least not yet, and likely not in any real capacity in the future. I think it'll be more useful in terms of hot water and heating the house. Even this works well as it reduces the need to use electricity or some other fossil fuel. I don't see wind power as ever really being viable until fossil fuels are scarce. And even then only in certain locales and situation. There are the possibilities of using Methyl Hydrates, but this has yet to be really tried and I have no idea whether that will make global warming worse.

Basically, all of it can work. It just has to be well thought out and we need to fix any of these ideas when the impact starts to become too great as in the case of the hydropower dams.

Anyway, I hope some of you found this interesting. It got a lot longer than I wanted to...


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2003 11:03 am 
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Actually nuclear power isn't a good idea. If you were to power the world with nuclear power we'd run out before fossil fuels run out.


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 Post subject: you can say that again...
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2003 7:15 pm 
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Hello:

Gandalf wrote:
Actually nuclear power isn't a good idea.


Does a half-life of [edit] 24,000 years mean anything to you? It should! Plutonium is also merely one of the most poisionous substances known -- so it'll either kill you slowly, or quickly, depending on how you are exposed to it.

And where are they going to put it? Who knows? How will we guard/prevent it from being stolen and used in a nuclear bomb -- for the next [edit] 25,000-50,000 years? :shock: Or keep it from leaking into the ground water?

We may have already done the damage -- lets wait a few 10's of milleniums before we think we know what we are doing... :oops:

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 Post subject: Re: you can say that again...
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2003 8:44 pm 
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Gandalf wrote:
If you were to power the world with nuclear power we'd run out before fossil fuels run out


Very wrong. Very Very wrong. At our current rate of use, when we run out of uranium, we'll be much more concerned about the sun engulfing the solar system than anything else..... multiply the use by 5 and that still leaves us over a billion years, which should be enough time to perfect fission.

NeilBlanchard wrote:
How will we guard/prevent it from being stolen and used in a nuclear bomb

That one we don't have to worry about at least, like I said before, its too low quality for a bomb, and all countries capable of refining it are capable of making the plutonium themselves.....

the rest is a big problem. The one thing to remember though, is consider that 50 years ago fission was just for bombs, and we can certainly contain it for the next 50 years; who knows what we'll be able to do by then.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2003 9:38 pm 
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May I just remind that no matter what ressource is used (fossil, uranium, ...), it will be dry out at some time.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2003 4:19 am 
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dago wrote:
May I just remind that no matter what ressource is used (fossil, uranium, ...), it will be dry out at some time.


True. At some point in the future, Sol will either go nova and dissapate or will have exhausted its fuel and shrink to minimum power and we'll be left in the dark.

Of course, given homo sapiens have been wandering around for only a tens of thousands of years, I suspect our species may not be around to observe those "final" events.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2003 4:37 am 
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Yep, but between an estimated lifespan (?) of a few hundreds years for uranium, fossil energies, ... and a few billions for the sun, there's a little gap ...

However to come back _on topic_ (yes !), it is somehow paradoxal that we are all folding to (at the end) help humans live longer while wasting resources that may be needed for that extension ;)


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