Lots of links this round. I’ve had a lot of time to surf around the interwebz and came across a number of belief updating thoughts. Overall these updates make me feel very optimistic about the future.
Watch out for the Zircon 5 though!
A Chemical Hunger
Why is everyone so fat these days? Is it just because humans are lazy gluttons? This series of posts dives into possible chemical factors to fatness.
SpaceX: Starlink and Starship
SpaceX has improved cost to orbit substantially. I haven’t paid a lot of attention recently, but I was big into space exploration in college. My original thought was to work for Space X as a materials engineer. But after realizing what my plan B was likely to be, a steel mill on the Mississippi River, I made the practical decision of switching to Physics.
The summary is that Space X has put the competition in a rough spot. There isn’t even a reason to keep maintaining the rockets that compete with Space X because they are so much more expensive. Starlink is an opportunity for SpaceX to increase demand of satellites and thereby increase demand for launches. It is a very Amazonian style play. I like it and am pretty excited about the potential of cheap and good satellite internet.
Solar + Batteries
I was also put onto this one by Casey Handmer’s blog. Solar panels have had a 75% or so improvement in cost since 2000 or 2010. Batteries are starting to encroach on gas powered peaker plants to the point they are uneconomical. I was always a nuclear power guy. But if solar continues improving at even half the rate it did in the last decade, nuclear is probably dead. Building a nuclear plant could take 10 years, by the time that plant starts producing power solar could have improved enough to make it obsolete.
RethinkX has a great document on the potential of Solar power in the next decade. I like that document a lot. They also have a very interesting prediction paper on Autonomous vehicles.
Disruption, Implications, and Choices
Rethinking Energy 2020-2030
I’ve watched a number of Munro Tesla teardown videos and they have won me over on the Tesla question. I’ve also had the thought that an electric car is going to be more useful in a collapse scenario. A home solar installation will last for 20 years and charge your car the whole time. But you aren’t going to be able to procure gasoline in a collapse for 20 years without serious preparation compared to buying a solar roof + electric car.
At this point I may never need to buy another combustion engine car again. In 5-10 years electric cars will have equivalent range and competitive pricing to ICE cars. Electric cars will also have more power and require less maintenance. The decision of what you buy will be pretty heavily in favor of electric at that time.