Renewability

  Taking another break from Metaphysics I wanted to discuss today the idea of Renewability. I tend to talk about tons of things and sometimes I am quite redundant so if this is a topic I’ve covered previous I apologize.

  There is one major factor that limits our ability to be rather creative with our automation of processes. It has been a question late at night for me if currency would have a purpose in a civilization that has optimized recycling and renewable energies and meshed those with entirely automated production facilities. If nobody has to work to provide humanity with the supplies to survive and the luxuries we desire would there be a purpose to currency? Probably, but I think it would stick around for the few who actually like it. That bit of philosophy aside lets continue.

  We already have the technology to build structures that generate more power than they use annually. This doesn’t take into account other technologies that are particularly user and nature friendly like wind power and hopefully in the future I believe its called fusion. I’ve read in multiple places that you need to cover roughly the area of Arizona to produce enough energy (with quite a bit of excess) to power the US yearly. That may sound like a great deal of space but you figure that Arizona has 113,998 square miles of surface area. The entire US has a surface area of 3,537,441 square miles! That means we’d need to cover roughly 3% of the united states in solar paneling, which might cause one to ask “Dear Lord! You crazy penguin! That’s 3% of the US that nobody could live in!” but that’s the wonderful thing about Solar Paneling. The less distance you put between you and the Sun the better, mainly because (as far as I know) our atmosphere is a big jerk when it comes to light which is why you tend to find astronomers cuddled together on the top of mountains with big telescopes :).

  So once you have all this power and essentially an infinitely existing source (considering once the sun is gone we’ll be gone too in one way or another) you start dealing with other resources you require. Firstly is the obvious one of water. With copious amounts of energy we start looking towards methods of renewing water. I would figure there are quite a few very simple systems that could be used, like evaporating and recollecting water and filtering it through large sand (or sand like) basins. This way we’d have essentially infinitely renewable water, likewise desalination plants could take in water from the oceans and do whatever they do. Hopefully figuring out a system that doesn’t kill sea life of course :). Also rain water collection and filtration plans to tap into the wonderful transportation system of the Earth.

  Food I would think would be incredibly simple to keep up with. Tower like Hydroponics facilities could act like massive green houses that would supply tons of, insecticide free, food for everyone in there region. Likewise building it like a tower helps to supply you large amounts of food and use up little in the way of land. The excess that comes from the facilities that is inedible (whatever that be as long as its organic) could be used as fertilization for various gardens and such across the nation.

  So you have food, water, and energy. Now we just have to deal with transportation and housing (essentially). For transportation I’d look into fuel cell systems to use the extra energy that is continually saved up from the solar power that is generated nationwide. Likewise I’m sure they’ll devise other successful systems of transportation, for those that have never tried you can bicycle pretty long distances pretty easily as well ;). Not that I expect the world to switch to cycle energy tomorrow. The only real casualty to switching to electrical energy would likely be that people will have more trouble breaking speed limits, which is likely not a big casualty.

  Finally the deal with housing. Certain plants find themselves being very handy for building. In particular Bamboo, it spreads like a weed (might be considered one) and can be used for basically anything wood is used for. The general argument against it that I read about is that it can destroy land by growing too voraciously, however I imagine if you had these hydroponics towers you could grow bamboo in a self contained area. It wouldn’t take much area to grow more bamboo than you’d be able to use yearly.

  Anyone who has ever used products made out of bamboo can attest to its amazing versatility. It’s sturdier than most wooden tools I’ve used, seems to resist bursting into flames well enough to keep me alive, and frankly it looks sexy. What I’m trying to get at is the only thing I can see that is keeping us from being entirely (or well into the 90% range) renewable is the greed of a very small portion of people. It’s a shame too, renewable energy is beautiful (ever seen a solar panel? It’s like thousands of tiny rainbows :D) and it smells great (relatively speaking ;D). Plus I doubt you’ve ever heard of a wind farm leaving acres of land radioactive and unusable, or heard of solar panels turning one of the worlds largest cities into a smog cloud.

  I do feel that within 10 years any nation with a reasonable level of revenue, like say the US, could become a completely self sufficient entity that could then spend much of its excess cash on positive projects to help further humanity. Unfortunately none of this really arouses the interests of political parties and so there will likely be many years (I hope not before they end of my life) of crude energy sources that-well frankly-should have stopped existing long before I was even born. It’s unusual the diverse levels of technologies we use, it’s like watching cave men dropping atomic bombs it just feels weird.

By | 2009-03-08T17:29:42+00:00 March 8th, 2009|Journal|Comments Off on Renewability

Metaphysics Finale (Part 3 of 4)

Over the next day or two I will be discussing the following topics (Update: Obviously its been more than a few days but I didn’t forget):
Formulating and Explaining: Determinism, Hard Determinism, Soft Determinism, Indeterminism, Volitional Indeterminism, The Theory of Agency, Fatalism, Theism, and Atheism.

Presenting, Explaining, and Evaluating: An Argument Against Moral Responsibility, The Kid Patriot Argument Against Soft Determinism, The Ernest Patriot Argument Against Simple Indeterminism, The Vera Patriot Argument Against Volitional Indeterminism, What I take to be the best argument against The Theory of Agency, The Argument for Fatalism, What I take to be the best argument for Theism, and What I take to be the best argument for Atheism.

Bolded parts can be found here. The Bolded AND Italicized parts can be found here.This may be a few days worth of material so I’ll continue to bold things and perhaps color them so its easy to find the parts relevant to visitors. I also realize that some of this has been stated before, but I will try to give new (I know fantastic) responses to them. Keeping in mind any story about Patriots is fabricated by my professors, I’m just trying to re-iterate them here to make sure I remember them :P.

Lets start with a story about Ernest Patriot, the cousin of Kid Patriot. Earnest Patriot wanted to be a secret service agent his whole life, not unlike Kid Patriot. Essentially all things between the stories are the same except no aliens come and screw around with Earnest Patriots brain. While protecting the president Earnest Patriot notices a piece of lint on his outfit. “Holy snipe!” He thinks and he decides he will dust it off. However, for reasons unknown, he pulls his gun and unloads a shell into the president. Immediately he panics unsure of why the hell it had just happened, perhaps a complex seizure…nobody will ever know because the other agents unloaded on the poor Earnest and dropped him within seconds.

The reason for this story has to do with a philosophy known as Simple Indeterminism which anyone who frequents my site has heard of before.

Simple Indeterminism
1) There are some undetermined actions.
2) People act freely whenever they perform undetermined actions.
3) People are morally responsible for their own undetermined actions.

I’d clarify this but for those curious you can read here. As for Ernest, his actions were indeed undetermined. In fact there was likely far less than a single percent change that what he did would have happened. However it did happen. But this action that was undetermined does not indeed feel like a free action and it most certainly is not fair to assume that someone should be morally responsible for such a deed. Unless we are to start punishing all seizure victims who are placed in a situation where they harm someone else unintentionally. The best I can come up with is that Earnest is morally responsible for placing himself in a position with the president after a previous family member had killed a president. But we’ll see a recurring theme with the patriots that stretch far beyond this second member.

For those who are interested the argument would look like this:

The Ernest Patriot Argument against Simple Indeterminism

(1) If Simple Indeterminism were true, Ernest patriot would be morally responsible.
(2) Ernest was not responsible.
—–
(3) Simple Indeterminism is False.

The justification for the above argument is outlined in the previous paragraphs (I hate redundancy but am generally caught being redundant).

The next magic word to be conjoined with Indeterminism is known as “Volition”.

Volition: The act of choosing, willing, or deciding to do something.

Pretty straightforward. So lets see how this applies to the idea of Volitional Indeterminism:

Volitional Indeterminism

(1) There are some undetermined volitions.
(2) People act freely when they act under undetermined volitions or else actions caused by their own undetermined volitions.
(3) People are morally responsible for their own undetermined volitions and actions caused by their own undetermined volitions.

As we always do lets begin with the reasoning behind the lines. Working from the theory of indeterminism not all actions are predetermined. These periods of freedom allow the person to make their own choice, IE an act of volition. That covers line one, moving on to line two it is relatively easy to see that when you are acting of your own choosing that you are acting freely. Finally if you are acting freely than it seems fair that you would be morally responsible for actions done under the realm of freedom. At first glance this does seem pretty obvious, but lets take another dab into the family of the patriots.

The following is the story of the cousin of Kid Patriot AND Daughter of Earnest Patriot, known to all since birth as Vera Patriot. Once again those damn dirty apes are back…er…martians. They’ve come and placed a chip in Vera much like Kid, this particular chip is not unlike Kids and what it does it makes you REALLY want to do something. It’s that kind of urge that causes people to do really stupid things that they regret greatly later. The story pans out much the same and she becomes the presidents secret service agent. The aliens slap the machine to “super-ultra-mega 99.99999999999999999999998%-mega-death-kill.” indeed she gets this nearly overwhelming urge and blasts the president. They turn off the machine and she is mortified but much like her two siblings she is dropped hard. (Again disclaimer these aren’t my stories).

The Vera Patriot Argument against Volitional Indeterminism
(1) If Volitional Indeterminism were true then Vera Patriot would be morally responsible.
(2) Vera Patriot is not Morally Responsible.

(3) Volitional Indeterminism is False

The justification for line one is that it was not a 100% chance and thusly it was an act of volitional indeterminism. The justification for line two is that Vera was a victim of the aliens and not morally responsible. I know…not the worlds most thrilling stuff. But thankfully you only have to see one more argument with a Patriot in it…tomorrow. After that we move on to more interesting stuff. (Lord knows I’ll mix this all up on the exam day since its pretty nonsensical).

By | 2009-03-16T19:22:02+00:00 March 7th, 2009|Journal|2 Comments

The Worthlessness of Freedom

  It is often the belief by people that freedom is the greatest of all life’s gifts. An inalienable right that all men (well humans) are born with, or something deep and inspirational like that. I’m here to argue however that it is relatively weak on the value scale in life.

  The inspiration for this article comes from a short story today begins as many bad jokes do:

“Mother Theresa walks into the White House to speak with Ronald Reagan. When they meet she scolds him greatly pointing out the fact that the US is the richest country in the world and yet it has poor people. To this Reagan responds that “They may be poor but they are free.” to which Theresa (apparently) responded “That is bullshit. The free that are hungry desire food, not freedom. The homeless that are hungry desire housing, not freedom. The poor that are free desire aid, not freedom. Freedom is only important to those that have all that the less fortunate do not.”

  Now I’m sure I embellished a bit but the basic point is the same. When you ask a starving man on the street what he wants most of all, you are more than likely not to hear “freedom”. Which comes back to a term that was introduced to me in the “Theory of Justice” course at Western Washington. Based on a book by a man named “John Rawls”, he introduces the concept of “Primary Goods”.

  There are certain goods that no person should be without, those things are called “Primary Goods”. I don’t recall what his were but by personal opinion mine would be, food, health, education, and shelter. Now you might think that at least one of these things are superfluous but allow me to explain.

  All humans (in fact all living organisms) require food (I include any nourishing material under the tag of food) to survive. Few things that are readily and consistently available will kill you faster than being without food.

  The next important factor is Health, now you can easily place shelter under the blanket of Health and I would be willing to accept that. Without a proper and universal healthcare system you aid in the spread of disease and birth defects. Neither of which is a positive addition to any living thing. Likewise over a billion dollars a year is lost in reduced man hours because of injury and illness. In most studies that I’ve seen the introduction of a diverse and available healthcare system results in a net gain of revenue for the country involved.

  Education comes in third but it is hardly unimportant. A good education is critical to the furthering of a species…period. If we do not work very hard to create a proper, comprehensive, and efficient education system we essentially are preparing our own demise. Let me drop some information on you for instance in the US:

33% of people don’t know the 3 branches of government
75% of people knew at least 1 of the AI judges…
50% of the US States don’t require Civics and Government to graduate.

    Now let me reiterate the depressing information above. It’s not that 33% of US citizens do not know what the 3 branches do it is that they don’t know what they are period. Our country is actively creating less and less competent people and this is an incredibly dangerous thing to do. Even college is nothing more than job training, people in large do not go to college to educate themselves.

  The final factor in furthering humanity is shelter. Proper sheltering helps quell many diseases and it reduces overall health issues related to temperature and environment (that are not disease related like hypothermia). It’s relatively obvious so I don’t feel that it requires any further explanation feel free to comment if you disagree.

  Once you have fulfilled all of the primary goods, that is when freedom starts being the most important thing to deal with. Because until that happens, the only people who value freedom, are those that have the primary goods. Likewise the people who have lived their entire life with these goods will never appreciate them or appreciate just how horrible the life of a person who is without them is. Freedom feeds no-one, freedom heals no disease, freedom houses no people, and freedom educates no-one. What freedom does is allow these things to be freely dispersed and the problem is that freedom is not used in such a way. For that reason, Freedom is worthless.

  I can see no positive gain from ‘for-profit’ versions of any primary goods and the mere act of doing these things solely for profit is a slap in the face to all living people (regardless of whether or not they are within your domain). The moment people stop attributing an intrinsic (and dominating) value to Freedom and begin working on the truly valuable goods is the moment that I feel that the US will truly be a country to admire.

  A person can bash these sort of beliefs all they want, but considering the following information:

The top 10 "happiest" countries:
1. Denmark
2. Switzerland
3. Austria
4. Iceland
5. The Bahamas
6. Finland
7. Sweden
8. Bhutan
9. Brunei
10. Canada

The U.S. ended up on the 23rd place, the UK on 41, China is 82, Japan 90, and India an unhappy 125.

   These sort of studies are done all the time, and you can almost always correlate the ease of acquiring the primary goods in the nations with their ranking on the happiness scale. There are always special exceptions, however the overall pattern is difficult to overlook. Well…apparently not all that difficult considering the garbage I’ve been reading and witnessing on the topic of healthcare and education.

  A small clarification that is a common retort to this is: “What about countries under Tyranny they want freedom.” I would point people back to the paragraph just above the list of countries. When people desire freedom, they want it for the things it is supposed to aid and enhance. You’ll also find that some of the most unhappy places in the world not only do not have any freedoms, they have no primary goods as well.

By | 2009-03-06T18:59:08+00:00 March 6th, 2009|Journal|Comments Off on The Worthlessness of Freedom

We all are living in the past.

  Something that has recently hit me was that nothing is instant. You will hear “It’s basically instant” but basically doesn’t pay the bills. Everything from the firings of nerves to the brain to the things you see take at the very least a nanosecond. It doesn’t seem like much but it brings up some interesting points.

  When we look at the stars we make the point that what we are seeing at any one point could indeed no longer exist, exploding brilliantly millions of years in the past and we are merely waiting to be informed. But everyday our lives are bundled into a bit of hope, for a nanosecond (or even a few nanoseconds) we are hoping that the person in front of us still exists. Sound travels even slower than light and so for a very small portion of time we are living in utter ignorance.

  Much like your hand recoils before you even feel the pain (since the process routes through your spine and be glad that it does) you are taking for granted that a few nanoseconds ago is the same as now. Indeed when the meteor that destroyed the dinosaurs hit they had absolutely no idea for a large radius around ground zero that anything had happened. They were obliterated with such speed and force that before they could even feel the pain, see the flash, or sense anything they were dead and gone. Blasted into atomic leftovers (possibly worse, I’m not a physicist).

  So the next time you look at something, the next time you feel something. Take a moment. You are forever living in the literal past, a few nanoseconds behind the physical universe. You could very literally be dead before you know it. It’s not all bad though, at least we are catching up to what has already happened. Imagine if we were a few nanoseconds up and on the line of time, we’d be jumping into something even the universe hasn’t worked out yet (but before you know it it already has).

  So yes, we are all living in the past. Albeit a fantastically small bit in the past, basically negligible, however basically doesn’t pay the bill but in case of ground zero impact you at least don’t have the misfortune of even knowing you no longer exist ;).

By | 2009-03-05T13:50:10+00:00 March 5th, 2009|Journal|Comments Off on We all are living in the past.