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According to this article human energy use over time plots very close to linearly on a logarithmic scale (~10x per century), back to 1650. Extrapolating, we become a Kardashev Type I in only 400 years - much less than I'd guess, but not impossible with SPS arrays. Past that we hit Type II only a thousand years later, and that seems rather soon for a full Dyson Swarm.

While many functions that look logarithmic eventually go sigmoid, it's unclear where the inflection point is - except that we haven't gotten there yet, and it may be quite a ways out. Much like Moore's Law; we know it tops out somewhere... I'll take a stand that it will inflect well before reaching Type II, and that we definitely won't reach Type III on schedule; if nothing else this would require massive FTL travel, which looks unlikely.

The article also points out that if we're using this amount of energy on Earth, the waste heat is going to become first a nuisance and then a damn problem, as the planet cannot radiate that much energy into space without active assistance. (I expect the author will get some flames because only atmospheric CO2 levels are supposed to be mentioned in this context.) It's not clear how much heat we could lose by, for example, a low-orbit radiator disk and orbital towers - but even trying wouldn't be cheap.

PS: Because I know my readers are the kind of people to be curious, humanity currently uses about 22 terawatts per year, about 0.16% of Earth's total energy budget, putting us around 0.72 on Carl Sagan's revised Kardashev scale.
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That's the title of this article, found in a discussion of the recent articles about a circulation scam at the Wall Street Journal. If you're not into math it may make your eyes glaze over, but take this to heart: after a report of the Wall Street Journal lying about money, this is worse.

Not as immediate, though, and there are no fingers to point at specific malefactors. Rather, it suggests that there are a number of people doing tricky things in the corporate world, and the numbers presented to the public are not always good representations of what's really happening.
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The Forbes Fictional Fifteen is out, showing us that just because you work for a finance magazine doesn't mean you lack a sense of humor. This year they let us peek behind the scenes and show how to calculate the net worth of dragon hoards, which is admirably nerdy and math-heavy. (Anything that involves reading J.R.R. Tolkien and a calculator sounds like something for us.) But if you just want the bottom line: Smaug is worth not less than $8.6 billion.

Pi chart

Mar. 14th, 2011 07:10 pm
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Since I haven't seen it elsewhere today, here's my March 14th contribution. Read more... )
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I recently found a study comparing dating profiles by sex and preference; while I'm hardly the most deeply involved in GLBT issues, it makes interesting reading for those of us who can be distracted by graphs:

Much of it was pretty much as anyone would expect; parts, not at all.
One thing that blindsided me, and which I'm still trying to understand, is the breakdown of gay-curious people by geographic location.  My home state is flamingly bi-curious!  There are spots all over - there's a very pink area near the Bay Area, for example - but assessed by state, Oregon tops everywhere else in the continental US.  I have no explanation.
Memorable quotes: 
    It's like two zen koans, one by Meg Ryan, one by a viking.
    Religion is the opiate of the masses, so long as the masses are straight. However, amass a bunch of lesbians and you're going to need actual drugs
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It's a rare day when I have something to say to the world via LiveJournal, but today I'm missing Benoit Mandelbrot, recently departed into a more abstract mathematical realm via natural causes.
I'm sure his grave will have a finite area - but please don't ask me to measure the perimeter.


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