New answers tagged

0

it depends on ERoEI (energy returned on energy invested) of the technological ecosystem which is used to make the system or average effective ERoEI ERoEI mechanical electrical what are some energy expenses in technologies which can be useful here: glass production, 4600 kWh per tonne, or around 16.6 GJ per tonne melting scrap steel, about 900 kWh per tonne, ...


0

The limiting factor isn't energy, space launch capacity, or anything else yet mentioned. While there is potential for the virtuous cycle to emerge as you note, in which we could convert incredible amounts of matter into machinery, our population is simply too low (and Earthbound) for humans themselves to be the logistical administrators of this endeavor. And ...


1

I think going for 0.01% of solar output is way too ambitious, given where we are now. Let's settle for Kardashev I status and work on that first. Mankind's yearly energy consumption early 21st century was around $5\times10^{20}J$ Each year, while the sun outputs about $1.2×10^{34}J$ per year, which means we use about 10 femto-suns of power. To Nikolai ...


2

I can't imagine any possible world where ships and ocean-going vessels are not invented before rail. (Not without some draconian restrictions, like people are made of candyfloss and dissolve on water) So no matter what, sea freight will be there first. People are used to it, and rail will be the challenging disruptive technology. The first trains will be ...


3

Crucible Steel The main reason for using coal or coke is that it burns in a way that alloys the iron with carbon. Crude oil does not burn but rather, the vapor coming off of it does, this mean you can not just dunk your iron ore into oil and burn it, because the heat would be above the ore. Nor is there a good way to burn oil under iron ore in a way that ...


1

First, that is such a great question! The answers are preety good already, let me just add that one migh consider Australia as a kind of model for this problem or a "tiny supercontinent". Indeed, you have compeeting Railways, sea cargo and even pipelines over there. However, it seems all transportation methods have their own niche depending on the ...


4

Petroleum Coke They need a lot of oil, but you say they have lots of oil. So they can make coke from petroleum, petcoke. Its just a little harder to do but not prohibitively hard. The process would be available prior to large scale steel production, so no bootstrapping problem. Note it does produce a LOT more co2 than using coal, like half as much more by ...


3

Others have pointed out the greater efficiency of ships for bulk cargo. Worth also pointing out the miracle of the container, which translates practically any cargo more durable than shellfish, into a bulk cargo (and reefer containers can help even there) In addition to the vastly greater capacity of a ship (20,000 TEU rather than 100 or so) there are no (...


1

Slavery. 1-100 people living off the toil of 999900 people is currently achieved by arcane trade agreements and property laws - this could be handled much more efficiently by going to space, where you would have complete practical freedom (sure, there is space legislation - but what are they gonna do, tow you?). You also have much less hassle with runaways. ...


4

Total freight capacity will still favor ships. The total freight capacity of a railway is limited by the rail itself. You can only have a certain number of train carriages pass one point on the rail per hour, no matter how you optimize the system. To increase past this point, you need to build another railway line. This requires you to purchase a lot of ...


0

Unless you have an earth killer type threat, getting 1,000,000 people living space in a short time for one big reason is probably never going to happen. So getting them out there is going to happen because of a combination of things over a longer period of time. Things on Earth will already provide you the reasons why: Climate change, food shortages, ...


0

See Stine's "The Third Industrial Revolution", Heppenheimer's "Colonies in Space" Savage's "The Millennium Project" for serious economic handwaving. Historical parallels: Mining towns until recently were a family affair. Lots of old west examples. More recent, Uranium City, SK, Faro, YK Mining town form when the cost of ...


42

Will the railroad kill ocean shipping? No, it won't We have a real-world ready-made example showing that ocean shipping and rail shipping can coexist and complement each other. As it happens, we do have a rather large supercontinent on Earth, called Eurasia. On this supercontinent we have, in the east, the People's Republic, which manufactures just about ...


7

Seas don't require maintenance Depending on the economics of materials / labor to maintain the rail routes which includes dealing with earthquakes, landslides, plain old accidents like derailments/hitting road vehicles at level-crossings/ road vehicles hitting rail bridges, shipping is much more reliable and cheaper in the long run. Accidents on a rail line (...


10

Ships have a number of advantages here. One is simply cost per ton to be moved. It's cheaper to move freight by water than by land. Second, you have much more flexibility. Your trains are limited by the number of tracks. Boats don't really have this problem, or at least not to the degree that trains do. Even if a relatively narrow band of the water is ...


17

Airplanes can fly over the desert, and they are fast. They'll be viable for passenger transport and express freight, e.g. airmail. But they'll probably be the most expensive mode of travel, but also the fastest. Ships beat trains in terms of cost/ton. they'll be used for bulk cargo. Coal, ores, lumber, stone, sand, oil, grain and so on. Trains will be faster ...


0

Diversify the assets backing the loan Get the King to agree to a mix of (A) fixed assets (i.e. land inside the Kingdom (B) Foreign assets - land/gold jewels already held in foreign locations or moved there as guarantee for at least partial payback. (And keep the deeds etc outside the country.) (C) A share of the spoils if he wins. Diversify the risk. Even ...


-3

A barcode and scanner system would work. Just like the serial number concept, each piece of money would have its own barcode. These would be small metallic strips hidden within one of the borders of the banknote. The density of the die of this border would conceal them. The scanner would be the more annoying part. It would mean that each bill would have to ...


76

Firstly, shipping is generally more efficient for bulk cargoes - such as coal, lumber, ore, etc. (assuming you are using a similar technology to power both the ships and trains - i.e. both steam, or both diesel). Secondly, unless your super-continent is more or less circular the distance across the water may be significantly shorter. For example, take ...


10

Issues limiting the train's ability to take over: It's easier to move objects over water than over land. Your ships will have more flexibility than your train, not having to worry about schedules of other ships. Much depends on how much the train charges. It may not be able to drive the ships without operating at a loss, and possibly not even then.


1

The economy will crash. The situation is different from aluminium as back when aluminium was extremely expensive, it was not used for financial storage, i.e. it wasn't a part of our currency or financial property, whereas gold is a major contributor. But if they keep their production under control, the MIDAS Group could become THE richest and most powerful ...


0

Make it easy to get there. If you have enough space elevators, or cheap powerful spacecraft and rotating skyhooks at least, or physically viable warp drives, then the weak call of sightseeing, minerals, isolation, pioneering and so forth becomes strong enough to pull people out of the gravity well for a day or a week. Some stay for years. The rest is just ....


1

I don’t think that many space habitat projects are going to be constructed for financial gain at least not initially. They will cost a lot and the people who build them will do so mostly for ideological reasons not economic reasons. As is the case with having a baby, babies eat a lot, cr*p a lot, want a lot and are a general money pits with no economic ...


-2

Radiation shielding. The overwhelming elephant in the room about everything connected to space travel is radiation shielding. Everything else is: nothing, a non-issue. Note that if we invented faster than light travel we could do .. nothing much. Because Radiation Shielding. All of scifi just a thing where we pretend Radiation Shielding isn't a thing. The ...


1

Escaping an apocalypse! The Earth is going to be hit by a giant asteroid. It is so large that it can be seen a hundred years away. Scientists calculate that a concerted effort over those hundred years will allow a maximum of 1 million people to be housed indefinitely in space. When the time comes for evacuation, the world leaders will have the difficult task ...


8

A FEW THOUGHTS: I can think of a few reasons people would want to move into space if they had the resources to do it. ESCAPING THE RIFF-RAFF: Rich folks who want to lord it over mere normal people can't get more OVER than moving to space. No one is going to sneak up on your house to rob you when the world can watch the thief sneak up on you. Rioting ...


17

Because 'Oil Rigs' are just the beginning Wikipedia's Asteroid Mining article states that in the next 50 to 60 years, we will run out of phosphorus, antimony, zinc, tin, lead, indium, silver, gold, and copper. A lot of that is available in various asteroids in space, so that's where we'll begin. And sure, asteroid mining will start as a thoroughly unpleasant ...


1

The way that Virgin Galactic, Musk, and Boeing expect to get people into space. Tourism. All-expense-paid vacations to the usual tourist spots are getting so ho-hum. Over-crowded, ridiculously expensive, and poor quality. "Dear, just EVERYBODY has been to that resort. Let's go somewhere the Jones' have not been. They are getting so boring, they just go ...


3

Option 1: It becomes cheaper to build luxury space habitats than luxury apartments in New York City You want it to make economic sense to build space habitats and for people to get in them, so the first option is that it somehow becomes cheaper to build space habitats than expensive apartments in an expensive city. This is notionally possible because ...


4

As a vast oversimplification, Urban areas are generally richer than Rural areas, coastal areas are generally richer than interior regions, and areas along major rivers (think internationally recognized rivers in size) are generally richer than areas not along rivers. For the most important factor, however, there's the interplanetary port. That province is ...


1

Looking around modern day Earth its pretty clear wealth doesnt correlate with any of the existing answers given so far: We have wealthy countries that don't make or export much, we have poor countries with incredible manufacturing abilities and large exports. We have rich communities far from trade opportunities, and poor communities adjacent to ports. We ...


0

Base it on your characters and the arc of the story. Rather than decide a priori about how each of these (many) countries are, decide how the countries will be introduced in the course of telling your story. That is what they exist to do, right? Your characters start somewhere. Where they are is a middle of the road country for your world. You are not ...


0

Wealth : On the Books, or Off? Off the Books Adam Smith identified that everyone in a nation produces something of, at a minimum, enough value to keep them able to produce tomorrow. The survivalist living in the wilderness works enough to feed and shelter himself. As does the isolated rancher in the high mountains. As does the professional companion in the ...


1

This is to answer this question: how would I go about deciding which provinces of the empire are the richest and which are the poorest? Apart from already mentioned trade, trade routes, and resources, one of the most important factors determining the wealth of regions is the system of governance and associated with it institutions and taxes. 1. level of ...


0

Sort of Frame challenge They don't really Wealth inequality can and does exist despite one group having more resources than another. If trade thrives then the head of that trade is rich, and those who get the short stick are far more likely to be poor, especially if the empire or group at hand has something of a monopoly with regards to the tools and ...


0

Based on this: "...all of the landmass is on the southern hemisphere..." and "Overall, the planet's technology level is late medieval/early renaissance" I would go with ocean ports and the coastline being the richest. Trade would be highest there. Inland would get less of this the further you got into the middle of that massive land ...


1

Normally, a place with the least population receives the least trade, leading to the least ammt. of money. There are notable exceptions, but population and export/import ratios are the most important, as well as centrality/linking to trade routes. Out of the information you provided, with Lycia having an incredibly dispersed and low population, it would have ...


1

You have to count in these factors: resources/goods production vs demand of those resources/goods (producing potatoes when everybody want corn will do little benefit for your economy) figure out the trade routes: Venice was a major power as long as the pond known as Mediterranean sea was the main route for traffic. Once that role passed to the Atlantic ...


7

Where minting was done by hammering bullion to a plate of a certain thickness first, then cutting it in circles, and then hammering these circles with the stamp. As far as I know, it did not exactly work it that way. The minting was done with a piece of metal of the requisite weight, put into a "coin anvil" maybe one inch deep. The anvil was often ...


1

The accepted answer is provably false because the situation described in the question is exactly analogous to the current situation involving the role of central banks and quantitative easing. In short, economies around the world became dependent on private credit, which was directly synthesised by banks. When the system breaks down, the government steps in ...


4

They are quite valuable. 9000 descendants making 3 cubic meters of gold every 5 seconds for a 10-hour shift gets you: $9000 uw \times \frac{3 \frac{m^2}{uw}}{5 s} \times \frac{60 s}{1 min} \times \frac{60 min}{1 hr} \times \frac{10 hr}{day}$ ...which is 194.4 million cubic meters per day, or, in gas mining terms, 6,865 MMSCFD. So this is somewhere around ...


10

It could be like OPEC? If this actually happened, the people with the "golden touch" would not be idiots... obviously if you make too much, as everyone has mentioned the price of gold would simply plummet. But. Assume for a moment that every single person with the gold touch, keeps together in a tight, tightly controlled clique with NO splitters....


6

Gold would lose it's value completely. Or not. If this family keeps its act together, they will hoard all of the gold they produce, releasing it slowly to control the supply to match the demand. The De Beers group has done this admirably with diamonds. These gems are really very plentiful. More than enough to go around. They are minded in huge operations. ...


61

Gold would then be completely unsuitable for use as the basis of any currency. It would just be another material with certain physical properties. Assuming the world society survived the screaming madness that occur in the years following the discovery that all their money is, well, not money... The good: Gold is a very inert metal. It does not rust, it ...


6

I think you are grossly underestimating the amount of gold on Earth. According to this source Warren Buffett, one of the world's richest investors, says the total amount of gold in the world - the gold above ground, that is - could fit into a cube with sides of just 20m (67ft) But not everyone agrees with the GFMS figures. Estimates range from 155,244 ...


11

For a start it stops being valuable. If we fast forward past the initial few generations (such that thanks to his descendants gold is now ubiquitous) & the economic upheaval of crashing the worlds gold economy & destroying its value as a medium of exchange you will simply find yourself with a world where it's used for everything lead was, non toxic ...


1

Let’s look at the old model your replacing. The king, or chief, or tyrant rules nothing outside of his immediate surroundings. He can only directly command the men within earshot. And can only project that power (by marching the army) a short distance. The far lands are ungoverned (at least by the tyrant himself). The way monarchies and empires dealt with ...


1

It would seem like it would enforce any sort of nobility based system, as a more effective method of communication inherently means a more effective government, meaning that the basis for nobility wouldn't be a culture in a vacuum of psudoscientfical principles of superiority but rather how closely you could communicate with other governmental officials, ...


6

Short answer: no. This is based on two things, one apparent from this question and the other inferred from your previous, linked question. The total processing power of your cloud of computers is pretty good, but the individual power of a given node is pretty gosh darn low by the standards of the last 30 years. Moreover, the nodes are out in space with a ...


2

The market rate for computing power can be found e.g. here (linking to AWS is simply an example and not intended as an endorsement of any specific cloud vendor). Having it in orbit will probably affect the prices, but how? Legitimate customers might be worried about the lack of a jurisdiction. They might not even be able to use it. Criminal customers might ...


Top 50 recent answers are included