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Thread: Now this is pretty cool
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Now this is pretty cool
formerly known as LeisureSuitLarry
claud3 likes this post
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seen this on facebook and thought it was cool... Could workPlato and Aristotle, a detail of The School of Athens, a fresco by Raphael. Aristotle gestures to the earth, representing his belief in knowledge
I have a few issues with this.
First, the cost of production per unit. I can't tell the surface area of the units and couldn't find the measurements, but judging by the size I want to estimate around 8-9 square feet? That's a decent enough guess for this purpose. Even if we're incredibly generous and say the cost of one unit is only 100$, and use the numbers provided here for their own purpose, that comes to 31,250.86sq miles = 871,223,975,424sq feet, divided by 9 is 96,802,663,936 units needed. Multiply by 100($) and we get 9.68 trillion dollars. The global GDP in 2012 was 84.97 trillion USD. That means this project, even under biased numbers, would take about 11.39% of all the spendable cash in the world. Realistically it would be much more than that.
Should we really put a price tag on the environmental stability of our previous Earth? Probably not, no. But my point is that was have cheaper ways of accomplishing this goal. Nuclear reactors are a thousandth of the price, and fusion research is coming along very well. Those can easily provide all the power the world needs for centuries at a far, far cheaper price and in a much more timely and achievable manner. Hell, there's enough thorium to power our civilization for thousands of years.
What about the upkeep? Those roads need to be kept clean to work efficiency. One of the core arguments to its favor was the lack of necessity for snow plows and such, but instead you'll require a nation-wide service that keeps the roads clean. Not really a big deal as the electricity would be provided by the roads themselves, but it removes one of its proposed benefits.
Something that concerns me is the raw resources needed. As I provided above, 96 trillion of these units are required. That's a lot of silicon, gold, plastic (note: oil!) and other precious metals required. Can we even provide that many? I think of all the computers and hardware in the world then try to imaging all of the roads in the continental USA being covered with that, many inches deep. I don't have the numbers but I bet that's a huge goddamn different. Not only would this pull from our supplies but it would also drive up the cost further as they become more precious and call for additional mining. Space mining will eventually happen, but not until well after this.
What about manufacturing time? Environmental damage needs to be turned around near-completely ASAP -- effectively right now (reasonably in the next 10-20 years). A project this massive could take up to, what, half a century? If not longer. Again, we need 96 trillion units, so that require 1.92 trillion units a year. There are 3,1557,600 seconds in an average year, which means we need to produce 60,841 units per second for 50 years. Undoubtedly more roads will be built and we'll require even more power than we do today, likely eclipsing the electrical benefit these promise by the time we can really begin repaying their rewards. A project this massive and expensive would be updated by the time it's finished. If not, certainly by the end of the century.
It's a cool idea and probably feasible in the long run, but it's not really practical in any way. The math just doesn't add up to their favor. Besides, we already have other more viable solution available. Now, if they could make a residual compound that naturally turns heat and solar energy into an electrical output then we would have a winner. You could mix that with concrete and building materials and have those collect energy from the sun.
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