Friday, February 15, 2008

Energy over Space

Annotation (Harper's Magazine): Keyword: Evil

It's an annotated blueprint of one of Google's datacenters. While it's all good and well to point these criticisms out, that doesn't mean nothing's being done about it. Google itself has announced that it was creating a renewable energy R&D group. In addition, it's also in the semiconductor's interest to build cooler chips. Hot chips won't sell as well now that datacenters are concerned with gigaflop per watt.

I have a gut feeling that if the next president is in tune with what's going on in tech, he/she'd challenge Americans to rise to the occasion to innovate through the energy problems, just as JFK challenged Americans to fly to the moon half a century ago. I remember in the 90's as a kid, there was a stint of environmentalism. Captain Planet. Save the Walrus tshirts. And then it kinda faded away until now, a whole decade later. I'm hoping that it's not a fad, like it was in the 90's. There are plenty of interesting problems in this space. And I hope we figure them out before we're able to easily colonize other planets. If space tech supercedes energy tech, then it would end up to be more economical to just ditch a planet once we dirtied it up for another one. And pity the natives that happened to be living there. Humans would be the tyrants looking to subjugate other hospitable planets, and not the victims, like so many science fiction stories would have us believe. It would look like empirialism all over again. So I hope we figure out this renewable energy stuff before we figure out how to easily colonize outer space.

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