Thursday, July 16, 2009

Everything You Know is Wrong

Stewart Brand sets out some new ideas to me in this video.

1) Cities are good. The growth of mega-cities and urbanization of our world may be a net positive. What we see as slums and cesspools of human castoffs are actually hugely energetic engines of human social growth and advancement. Sure they are messy, but they are fermenting capitalism and upward mobility from a ground level -- and fermentation always smells a little funky. The migration to urban centers also reduces birthrates, and allows rural areas to recover from the ravages of subsistence farming. These are new perspectives I had not considered. Pay special attention to his video of the train.

2) Nukes are good. Energy by nuke is the new green option - no carbon footprint, and with new technology, very little nuke waste for the energy released. Safe and quiet. I had thought this for some time, especially with the advent of micro reactors and distributed grids. I want one.

3) GMC's are also good. He makes a case here, but it is slight and needs development. He completely ignores the counter arguments, some of the most powerful have more to do with the way the owners of the technology are marketing and licensing the technology, rather than the crops themselves. I am not convinced that GMC's are the unmitigated evil that seems to be the prevailing wisdom, and I remain equally unconvinced that they are an umitigated blessing.

4) What the heck is geo engineering? Is he serious?

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