Ruben Bolling at 10:05 am Wed, Sep 14, 2011
MORE: biden • boehner • Comics • fossil fuels • lobbying • mcconnell • obama • oil • renewable energy • solar energy • Tom the Dancing Bug • tomthedancingbug • wind power
Ants and Stars: Bruce Sterling and Jasmina Tesanovic visit the Sardinia Radio Telescope in Italy
The Snowden Principle
This is indeed another Earth, as nothing in the past or future of our own Earth is like this. Unless you count the War of 2027, when we grew so dependent on solar energy, President Apps had the U.S. invade the Sun. -Percival Dunwoody, Idiot Time Traveler From 1909
I bet if you made a chart of global energy needs, and showed what percentage could be provided by 100 times the amount of renewables we have today, vs oil. (and do we count nuclear as renewable here) it might be enlightening
Counter earth must be an odd place to live, having run out of oil in the 20s, and possessing vast amounts of rare earth elements. Also the way it spins 20% faster than earth making wind viable.
No birds on counter earth either, and people make tortillas out of gravel.
@glaborous perhaps humor is lost on you? In counter-earth you would get it.
How can you make a chart of global energy needs without understanding the amount of waste and sub optimal use of fossil fuels in the current mix? Are you talking about a chart of global energy use? Because that’s a pretty different concept. Every hummer on the road is a case of culture creating artificial demand for fossil fuels.
Also, how would the earth spinning faster affect wind speed? I’m not sure you really thought this one through. I’m fairly certain that most of the wind at the surface of the earth is due to convection rather than coriolis effect. While we’re on this subject, why would there need to be more wind to make wind energy “viable”? Do you mean to supply all the power we need? Where has anyone ever advocated using wind to provide all the world’s energy?
Also, if renewables are on the order of 1% as effective as oil, doesn’t that suggest subsidizing renewables since they’re clearly more towards the bottom of the R&D curve than is oil at this point in history? Law of diminishing returns suggests that putting more money into already-mature fossil fuel extraction and refinement to be a waste of money compared to moving renewables up the efficiency curve, especially since fossil fuels are a finite resource and renewable sources of energy aren’t.
Finally, in what sense could nuclear ever said to be “renewable”? The fuel can only be produced in the coronae of supergiant stars and the quality of the fuel ores degrades exponentially over time. Nuclear is less renewable than fossil fuels.
Is anyone else trying to work out if the 2 earths should be able to spot each other’s moons or not?
Note: by “work out” I mean “sit here until someone tells me”.
The moon’s semi-major axis is 384,399km, so it’s diameter is twice that, 768798km. The Sun’s diameter is 1,392,000. If Counter Earth is exactly opposite the Earth, then no, you shouldn’t be able to see the other’s moon.
The diameter of the sun is many many times bigger than the diameter of the moon’s orbit, so the answer is no.
If you think about it, what would the two Earths see of each other if the sun were not there? They would see a minuscule dot exactly where the sun ought to be, and an even more minuscule dot (the moon) right next to it. Now put the great big disk of the sun back in place, and you see that it completely blocks them out.
Edit: Huh, don’t know how my answer was so late on that. Didn’t see the other answers!
It’s a crying shame Solyndra couldn’t have perused some of Bizarro Earth history. Maybe the secret to profitable solar was five hundred and thirty-SIX million dollars, not five? Now we’ll never know…
Actually, subsidies for renewable energy would not be as efficient as very high taxes on non-renewable sources. The latter would produce an economic environment that would automagically make the best forms of renewables profitable. Even Tom Friedman can see that.
@glenable: No, the 2 earths could not spot each other’s moons. The sun is much bigger than the diameter of the moon’s orbit, and it would have to about 1/2 of that size (since it’s twice as close) for us to see around it to spot the other moon. However, if you want to know if we can tell whether there IS a planet there, the answer is that we can tell, and there isn”t one. Check our planetary orbital perturbation theory on the web.
Thanks Peggy + Doug for the calculations.
Something I *can* work out for myself is that the observed positions of the other planets (relative to the constellations) would be different from the two earths. Perhaps that explains how the respective governments ended up with such radically different policies?
Dunwoody, you idiot, the invasion was supposed to be kept secret! But will the Mexican invasion be thwarted by Counter-Earth’s “Pro-Life” restrictions on declaring war? http://boingboing.net/2011/06/22/tom-the-dancing-bug-54.html
The Text Is Too Damn Bold!
“The US lavishes handouts on such industries even after they have proven profitable on their own.”
Like the Game Industry?
NYT today, ol’ Op-Ed Friedman says: “…There is only one effective, sustainable way to produce “green jobs,” and that is with a fixed, durable, long-term price signal that raises the price of dirty fuels and thereby creates sustained consumer demand for, and sustained private sector investment in, renewables…”
It was a good column; and while agreeing with most of his points, I find one niggling little detail…
To wit: I don’t see the majority of voting Americans supporting this painful, long-term benefit approach. At least not in my lifetime, not unless there is some Age of Aquarius-style sea-change in the zeitgeist of the multitude. . .
And that seems to me, judging by the evolution of our shared culture. . .pretty darn unlikely.
Especially since under-education, global economics and status quo has worked So Well for the Big Operators that hold the puppet strings to our elected officials and media conglomerates.
wait for it……~sigh.~
You don’t have to go to “Counter Earth” to find the same kind of subsidized energy graft. Solar & wind power sources are some of the most heavily subsidized energy sources out there. The fact that they can’t provide comparative levels of energy return to “dirty fuels” means we’re getting an even worse return on shoveling public money into companies that dont need it. The flameout of Solyndra just illustrates that solar energy is still not yet a serious alternative. The firm that creates a serious, efficient return on solar energy conversion and storage will be an energy juggernaut. But unlike Friedman’s sloppy logic, those of us who care about cleaner energy can freely incorporate it into our lives w/o an even bigger government thumb on the scale. If you’re going use an alternate scenario as an ‘absurd’ illustration, maybe you should first verify that it doesn’t already exist here.
The irony of giving oil companies with unimaginable wealth and profits a free ride (seemingly forever) seems to be lost on a lot of you.
All this attention to expenditures on energy production may be interesting, but I can’t help feeling it’s being brought up to distract from the largely misogynistic system of slavery rampant on Counter-Earth.
Y’all are missing it. This comic isn’t about conventional energy or renewables or any of that. It is about profitable corporations that have been profitable for years but insist they need a handout to stay afloat.
We need to go directly to the source! To secure our energy future, we need to invade and occupy the Sun! And remember, this isn’t a war about energy, just as Iraq had nothing to do with oil.
A lime green tie with a gray suit? Puh-leaze!
Not sure if it would work in reality, but I find the color combination in the comic to actually be quite nice.
This hearkens back to a toon I saw back in the 90′s that spoke to the illegality of being energy independent in the year 2020.
Funny, that’s just about where we are in 2011.
Re Solyndra, I’m looking for a little better return on my mutual funds. If anyone knows of a fund whose plan is to short every company who gets a big taxpayer backed loan by the current administration, let me know – I want in,
Why do we subsidize any private corporations? It might tilt industries towards cleaner practices or create some jobs, but somebody is still making a profit from govt money. It’s socializing the costs and risks, while privatizing the profits. Why not socialize the profits too? Instead of having everyone in the country pay so that a few can make a profit, have everyone in the country get a return on their investment.
If the system of subsidies worked exactly as it is supposed to, we would reap the returns in that things we need would be cheaper, or in an infrastructure overall stronger because we used an ounce of prevention instead of a pound of cure.
That the implementation has performed poorly is a different issue.
But that’s so indirect. Why not treat it like a normal investment, and give the appropriate returns directly back to the govt/people based on how much they invested? In other words, I guess it would be a system where the govt never gives “subsidies,” but pays for shares in a company, then gets the usual returns or decision-making authority than an investor would get.
This reminds me.. One of the questions you can answer on OKcupid (dating site) is “which is larger, the earth or the sun?” Out of all the girls I have looked at, I would say more than half got the answer wrong…