My goal is to communicate how life can expand and grow, both on this planet and on others. To grow, we need to obtain a large rate of return on investment from our electricity generating technology, so a main focus of this blog is on the economics of electricity generation. Another main force of the blog is physics and mathematics, and the reason for this focus in this blog is the same reason that Plato wrote the following above the entrance to the Academy:
"Let no one ignorant of Mathematics enter here."
The study of mathematics and physics is the study of the timeless truths, and a reminder that there are things/ideas that exist independent of particular physical realizations. We are self-replicating mathematical structures that want to grow, and mathematical structures can't be killed.
To summarize, the goal of life is to expand. Life requires mechanical or electro-chemical work to survive, and to grow, it requires a large, positive rate of return on work invested.
The goal of this post is to present a table of content of the posts created for this site, and to highlight the connections between the posts. Each of the major themes is numbered below:
1) A detailed summary of my philosophy of life can be found at the following post.
2) One of the main themes throughout the blog is that we don’t face an “energy” or an “exergy” crisis, but rather a crisis of decreasing rates of return on investment. We suffer from a ‘growth’ crisis in the US, Japan and Europe.
There is no Energy or Exergy Crisis. It's a Problem of Low Rates of Return on Investment. Understanding the Problem by Correctly Defining Energy, Exergy and Entropy
The Cause of the 2007/2008 Recession: Our Decreasing Return on Work Invested and How to Fix the Problem
3) Another major theme is that we should tax waste rather than taxing income. This series of posts also shows how we can address our debt and growth crises by selling government assets, including gold reserves. We should sell gold because it has no intrinsic value (except as a catalyst in certain reactions, as a luxury item, and for its electrical conductivity.)
4) One of the main questions that I had at the beginning of this blog was: What is source of irreversibility in the universe? i.e. what is the cause of the arrow of time? (See the first post Theme of this Blog to see what got me started.) There are a few posts that I have generated that address this question.
While a few years ago I thought that Ilya Prigogine had it correct when he stated that the cause of the arrow of time was resonances in the dynamics of particles when there are more than 3 particles, I no longer believe that Prigogine is correct. I am not convinced that irreversibility can arise in systems when all of the forces between particles are time symmetric. By my later posts, it becomes clear that the most likely cause of the arrow of time is the weak nuclear force because it is the only of the four known forces of nature that does not have a ‘time reflection’ symmetry operator. The other three forces of nature are symmetric with respect to a reflection of the variable ‘time.’
5) Once it is known that the universe is not symmetric with respect to time, then it becomes clear that certain variables can increase or decrease with time. While certain quantities, such as energy or momentum, remain constant with time, other quantities like entropy increases with time and exergy decreases with time. The meaning of life is to increase the production of entropy in the universe. Entropy is related to the number of permutation symmetries between the particles of a system that don’t change the overall number of particles per energy level.
6) While there exists no analytic solution to the question of how best to increase the rate of entropy production, it appears that the best way to do so is to obtain a positive rate of return on work invested. This will yield exponential growth in the generation of work, and because of unavoidable irreversibility, will lead to an increase in the entropy production rate in the universe (more so than if you were to just try to generate entropy by destroying exergy. Exponential growth always wins in the end.) The following posts follow this train of thoughts.
7) While humans can certainty increase the amount of entropy in the universe, it should be pointed out that the amount of entropy production on the sun dwarfs that by humans. The sun is also an example of system far-from-equilibrium.
8) Another major theme is: What was the source of exergy in the early in Earth’s history? And how do bacteria determine the best way to obtain a rate of return on investment of work?
On a somewhat related note, I point out here that it is important to study fuel cells because we are all fuel cells. And understanding how work self-propagates in biological fuel cells (i.e. our mitochondria) is important to understanding how we can generate positive rates of return on work invested from our power plants.
9) Life appears to require both extreme non-linear, non-equilibrium thermodynamics and the chemical reaction equations must be so complex that Gödel’s theorem’s applies to the set of equations.
10) On the related topic of Evolution and Self-replication
10) A major focus of the blog is Economics and Rates of Return on Investment
a. The most important conclusion is that electricity = work = money [kW-hrs] It is important to remove the units of $’s and €’s from economics in order to show that economics is just a branch of far-from-equilibrium thermodynamics. We also discuss the difference between price, cost, and utility.
b. Another major theme is that we should adapt a currency that is backed by the generation of electrical and mechanical work. The following posts discuss how to implement such a ‘electricity backed currency’
And the following post is a book review of a book related to an electricity backed currency.
c. Inflation and the Federal Reserve
d. GDP and the Wealth of Nations
The Wealth of Nations Updated: Total Work by Country using from the Lastest data from the BP Statistical Review of Energy
e. This is an interesting detour to show the relatingship between the V-I curves of an electrochemical system and the supply-demand curves of economics.
f. The main variable that should be used to determine the viability of a process would be the Internal Rate of Return (IRR) on Investment. The following posts discuss the IRR.
g. The following posts discuss the discount rate, the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE), and the problems with existing calculations from the US EIA.
11) In order to achieve higher rates of return on investment of our electricity generating power plants, we need to improve our electricity grid. The following posts look at the history and possible futures of the electricity deregulation and on attempts to implement demand-response into the electricity grid.
12) Physical Technologies to Expand Life on Earth
a. Discussion of Problem Today: Increasing costs of fossil fuels and global climate change. How much should it cost to emit a ton of CO2 I firmly believe in capping the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere; the question remains: what is the optimal amount of CO2 in the atmosphere? (Note: my thoughts on this subject have changed over time on how best to regulate CO2 emissions.)
b. Nuclear Energy: Fission and Fusion, and Fission/Fusion Hydrid to eliminate the waste problem
[Will write a post about Fission/Fusion Hybrids]
c. Drill, Baby, Drill: Oil & Natural Gas
And the following is a book review and critique of Power Hungry for Robert Bryce. This post shows that it’s important to know what the problem is before you write a book discussing possible solutions.
d. Solar/Wind: Do they have positive rates of return on investment?
e. Recycling Garbage and Waste-Energy
13)Where did Anti-Technology Philosophies come from? And why they are misguided.
a. Hiedegger, Plato, religion
b. Thermodynamic Imperative (Waste Not Exergy)
There are No Limits to Growth Anytime Soon: A Critical Analysis of One Anti-Growth Proponent Robert Ayres
c. Other Philosophies at odds with growing life
i. Feynman and “No real goal but to discover the laws of the universe” (Paul Erdös is similar, but for mathematicians)
d. Post-Modernism and “Image is everything” & a discussion of Enron
e. Where do we go from here (Discussion of the Protestant Work Ethic)
The following post is on a great book titled “The Existential Pleasure of Engineer”, which states and refutes the arguments for philosophies that are anti-technological. But unfortunately, the book is unable to really make its main case that engineering and the philosophy of existentialism can be reconciled.
14)Expanding Life to Other Planets
a. How to do 3 or 4 stage orbits to the Moon and Mars as cheap as possible
b. Solar Automatons: Self-replicating silicon-based life on the Moon. What is the chemistry involved here? How much would it cost to start the process
c. Terra-forming Mars on the cheap so that humans could live there
15) Symmetry and the Laws of Nature
The following posts discuss the symmetries in the laws of nature and discusses the four known forces of nature. It also asks the question: is there another force of nature that we are missing: a force that describes why the main fermions have charges of +/-1, +/- 2/3, +/- 1/3, and +/- 0 units of charge, and why there appear to be families of three’s for each of these particles.
16) Particle Physics, Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Higgs Boson
1 17) In addition, there are some posts on topics only loosely related to the blog.