Geek Thoughts: the downside of free energy


Steorn is making noise again about the free energy device they claim to have invented. The proper scientific attitude to have toward such claims is skepticism, though most responses (always from individual who have never seen it) goes well beyond that.

But think of the downside if every phone, iPod, refrigerator, car, air conditioning unit, factory, etc. comes to contain a perpetual energy source. Total energy use would skyrocket, and all that energy still has to go somewhere, so it ends up as waste heat. Global warming on an unprecedented scale ensues.

There’s more. If overabundance of energy is the problem, it’s a mere engineering challenge to build planetary-scale air coolers, beaming waste heat out into space. Imagine an advanced civilization that’s already doing it. From a distance their planet might look nothing like what current exoplanet researchers are looking for.

There’s enough here for several novels. If you had unlimited energy resources, what would you like to see built?

More collected Geek Thoughts at

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