RE: Have We Entered a Post-Literate Technological Age?

Subject: RE: Have We Entered a Post-Literate Technological Age?
From: "Combs, Richard" <richard -dot- combs -at- Polycom -dot- com>
To: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 25 Aug 2009 12:01:10 -0600

McLauchlan, Kevin wrote:

> Until recently, I would have said the same. Greater and greater
> specialization has been key to the rising tide of wealth that has
raised
> /a/l/l/ most boats, the past few centuries. And as science and tech
grow
> and grow, it's long been physically impossible for anyone to have
> functional practical knowledge in all areas. There's just too much.

I'd say _all_ boats -- at least, all but those whose leaders (like Kim
Jong-Il and Robert Mugabe) destroy the markets that make specialization
possible. Everywhere else, the poorest of the poor today live better
than nobility lived prior to the industrial revolution -- and twice as
long.

> BUT... with the arrival of peak oil (this year?) and peak natural gas
(two
> years ago for Canada; earlier for USA), things are about to change.
<snip lots of prognosticating based on the above premise>

I wouldn't be too certain. Back in the 70s when he formulated the
theory, Hubbard predicted Peak Oil would occur in 1995 (other
predictions that we're running out of oil go back as far as the early
1900s). Today, Peak Oil proponents range from those who say it happened
in 2005 to those predicting it will occur in 2030.

But there are others who argue that the available supply of oil is very
much dependent on its price and the state of technology. Either a price
increase (making it feasible to go after harder-to-get supplies) or a
technology improvement (making those harder-to-get supplies less costly)
will increase the available supply. Technologies for exploiting
Alberta's oil sands and Colorado's oil shale are developing rapidly, and
that's another 2 trillion barrels of oil (compared to the Saudis' 250
billion or so).

In any case, we generally seem to have around 25-30 years' "known
reserves" simply because there is very little financial incentive to
identify reserves that won't produce revenue for 40+ years.

>
> Whoops! Crystal ball clouding over. Session ends.

As the WSJ said the other day, "Those of us who live by looking in a
crystal ball learn to eat a lot of broken glass."

Obligatory TW tie-in: It's risky to document what doesn't exist yet. Of
course, sometimes we have no choice but to give it a shot. :-)

Richard


Richard G. Combs
Senior Technical Writer
Polycom, Inc.
richardDOTcombs AT polycomDOTcom
303-223-5111
------
rgcombs AT gmailDOTcom
303-777-0436
------






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References:
Have We Entered a Post-Literate Technological Age?: From: Daniel Ng
Re: Have We Entered a Post-Literate Technological Age?: From: Gene Kim-Eng
RE: Have We Entered a Post-Literate Technological Age?: From: Sharon Burton
RE: Have We Entered a Post-Literate Technological Age?: From: McLauchlan, Kevin

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