Age of Limits vs Age of Unlimited Energy

Thanks to early notification on Club Orlov, I have signed up to attend the Age of Limits conference in rural PA in about a month. The first two years I heard about it only a week in advance and couldn’t make arrangements on short notice. My wife is sympathetic to a man’s need to get out in the wilderness and listen to prognostications of doom – she’s even read my Sharon Astyk books – but she doesn’t want to sleep on the cold hard ground. I don’t blame her, but I’m looking forward to it.

I watched a seven minute retrospective from last year’s event and saw familiar faces of John Michael Greer, Dmitry Orlov, Gail Tverberg, Carolyn Baker and Tom Whipple. There were a few I didn’t know that well. The basic message is that we are running up against all sorts of limits – energy depletion, climate change, over-population, water usage – and that we might want to take some time away from watching Game of Thrones to prepare for changes. What, when and how to prepare is of course open to interpretation.

I don’t know whether Tom Whipple will be there this year, but in any case he seems to be enamored with the idea of no energy limits – promised by at least four Low Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR) purveyors. LENR is preferred to cold fusion, but I gather that even the term nuclear is becoming negotiable to describe the widely-claimed but never-quite-demonstrated heat anomalies that are supposed to revolutionize the energy market. Whipple describes them for the Falls Church News-Press:

There are at least four contenders in the race to bring a cold-fusion powered heat-producing device to market in the near future. These are the Rossi E-cat project now based in North Carolina under the aegis of a new firm called Industrial Heat; the Brillouin and SRI effort to develop a nuclear reaction boiler out in California; the Defkalion Green Technology’s effort in Vancouver and Greece to market a heat producing device later this year; and finally BlackLight Power’s radically different “hydrino” technology which, if it proves to work at a commercial scale, could trump all the rest.

In what seems to be the pattern with so many internet sites, I’ve noticed commenters that regularly appear to decry Cold Fusion/LENR and a cadre of supporters that just as reliably appear to shout them down, urging them not to “mislead the naive reader.”

From a misspent youth reading Robert Heinlein, this naive reader recalls the slogan TANSTAAFL – There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. IMO, the only (nearly) limitless source of heat is that nearby star that warms us with daylight.

It would be really funny, though, if a LENR group occupied a campground nearby. We could recreate the Robbers Cave Experiment.


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4 responses to “Age of Limits vs Age of Unlimited Energy”

  1. cmaukonen says :

    Interesting diary Donal. I try to read Orlov’s at least once a week. He does not hit the one thing that may – and most likely will – decimate humanity long be fore the global economy implodes and the rivers dry up. That is some global plague.

    A plague of bacteria that we can no longer kill, since our anti-biotics are no longer effective against the most common bacteria any more.

    The CDC has raised the alarm and now the WHO and UN has.

    Al Feldstein died of p-pneumonia. People did not die of pneumonia unless they were already at death’s door. Or strep or staff infections. Or bowl infections. Be we no longer have anything that is effective against these sort of things.

    You can go into a hospital and get you heart fixed and you growth remove and your bones repaired, but the likely hood of acquiring an untreatable infection there is rising all the time.

    This is a very real threat and possibility. It was an untreatable bowl infection that killed my mother.

    I do not live in fear of heart disease or cancer, I fear just getting sick.


  2. trkingmomoe says :

    We are long over due for a pandemic.

    Your trip to the woods sounds fun. I don’t know much about cold fusion. It will be interesting to read about your adventure after you come back.


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