The Future of Energy: The history of human energy use


Today’s guest post by Whaleoil reader Bruce Alan Forbes is part of an article he wrote called The Future of Energy with predictions for 2040. As it is an in-depth analysis I have divided it into six posts so that we can discuss each part separately. Subjects to be covered are:

  1. The history of human energy use
  2. Wind power
  3. Solar power
  4. Renewable energy subsidies & Options for Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions
  5. Nuclear, Gas and Coal-based Generation
  6. Man-made Global Warming and the Great Policy Error

The History of Human Energy Use – from Roman Times to the Present

For thousands of years, human economic and social development proceeded slowly, primarily owing to the lack of an adequate, low-cost supply of energy. In Roman times, the primary sources of energy were manpower and animals. There were some water mills and windmills, but only one known example of a power-driven mass production factory. This lack of large-scale, low-cost energy meant that anything that needed a large power output was extremely expensive and this in turn limited economic and social development.

This situation remained more or less unchanged until Thomas Newcomen built the first practical steam engine in 1712. This was used to pump out the Conygree mine in the United Kingdom. This engine, with an efficiency of less than 0.5%, started the Industrial Revolution. Ever since that year, engineers have strived to improve efficiency. Today’s steam turbine power stations, with up to 100 times better efficiency, supply low-cost electricity to people all over the world.

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When the computer won’t do as it’s told who you gunna call?

stressed senior businessman gesture working laptop computer white desk

Dear Whaleoilers who have had trouble subscribing, I feel your pain I really do. We are putting together a tutorial with screenshots to show you step by step what to do but until that is ready to publish I have a possible answer.

When my 75-year-old Dad has an issue with his mobile phone he asks his grandchildren. The youngest is 5 and the oldest is 20 but they all have assisted him much to his amazement on a number of occasions.

My Mum is 68 and runs a large business but she rings me up when she has problems ordering tickets online or placing an ad on trademe and I talk her through it or just do it for her because it is quicker.

I am 48 and when I can’t work the damn Netflix I ask my children to sort it out and they always do. “Why have a dog and bark “I always say LOL.

The answer is the younger generation. They may have it easier in many ways than we did but my goodness they do know their way around a computer!


Media are embracing Facebook, but is it a good idea?

Media are embracing Facebook. We’ve seen fake news site TheSpinoff close comments and send everyone to Facebook, same with Radio NZ and a number of other sites.

Insiders at NZME. and Fairfax tell me that they are embracing Facebook for news because they get 100% of the revenue from ads…for now.

But as a long-term strategy, is it a good idea?

Nope. Frederick Filloux explains:

Facebook is made up of dozens of millions of groups carefully designed to share the same views and opinions. Each group is protected against ideological infiltration from other cohorts. Maintaining the integrity of these walls is the primary mission of Facebook’s algorithm.   Read more »


If only media had used real big data for the US Elections


The chart above was highlighted to me by a friend (who is brilliant at statistics) two days ahead of the election. She (and her husband) have been saying for months Donald Trump would win.

But, everyone (including me) ignored really big data, instead preferring to focus on single polls, and the data expertise of Nate Silver. My gut feel told me it was harder to pick than a broken nose, but these two were adamant, Trump was going to win. BTW they are the same two who in 2014 on election night called the election 3 hours before media did…no one will know that except the WO team, but they did.

Now, Nate Silver does use big data, but his data is just the polls all across the country, plus some demographic information and his proprietary algorithms and assumptions. It is all well and good, but when it fails people start questioning polls, so-called big data and ignoring data sets that are right in front of you. Instead of the wisdom of thousands of polls and dozens of pollsters, you are using the wisdom of search engines and millions upon millions of searches.   Read more »

Can a Desert Nation Solve the World’s Water Shortage?

I think Google needs to change their motto

Google’s motto used to be “Don’t be evil“.

Except it turns out that are, well their CEO is, and politically motivated.

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, wanted to be “head outside advisor” to the Hillary Clinton campaign, according to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta in an email released by WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks has continued to reveal Schmidt’s cozy relationship with the Clinton campaign. In a previously leaked email, a memo showed that Schmidt was working directly with the Clinton campaign on setting up various backend features to their website.

In an April 2014 email from Podesta to Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook discussing the launch of Hillary’s campaign, Podesta describes how much Schmidt wants to work with the campaign.

“I met with Eric Schmidt tonight. As David reported, he’s ready to fund, advise recruit talent, etc. He was more deferential on structure than I expected. Wasn’t pushing to run through one of his existing firms. Clearly wants to be head outside advisor, but didn’t seem like he wanted to push others out,” Podesta wrote. He added, “Clearly wants to get going. He’s still in DC tomorrow and would like to meet with you if you are in DC in the afternoon. I think it’s worth doing. You around? If you are, and want to meet with him, maybe the four of us can get on the phone iN the am.”

Cheryl Mills was copied on the email and let Podesta know that Mook wouldn’t be able to make the call that day because he was in Australia. Mook said that she was correct but would love to talk to Schmidt eventually.   Read more »

Desperate Twitter tries to imitate Gab

As most of you already know I am on Gab now as @spanishbride and I only visit twitter to encourage others to jump ship as I have. Gab seems to have timed its entrance into the world of social media brilliantly.Twitter is failing and no one wants to buy it while Gab is growing rapidly. Twitter in a last ditch attempt to save its failing brand is attempting to copy the success of Gab by investigating the feature that sets Gab apart from all other social media. The ability to self-censor.

Dallas, Texas Today at Gab AI Inc, a people first pro-free speech social network, we were particularly amused to discover that our competitor at Twitter is tinkering around with the concept of user-controlled self-censorship — a tool that has been the staple of our platform, since its inception from the beginning of August.

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Julian Assange reckons Hillary will be arrested with his next email dump


Julian Assange says that Hillary Clinton will be arrested as a result of his next email dump.

Truth Revolt reports:

It’s been a devastating Friday for the Hillary Clinton campaign. First, the FBI re-opened the investigation into her e-mail scandal and now, Julian Assange has promised that what’s in the next batch of e-mails to be published to Wikileaks will lead to her arrest.

Since the first week of October, there have been 21 batches released totaling 35,594 e-mails. According to a message on Twitter, there are more than 50,000 remaining.

In a broadcast for Russia Today, a London reporter said, “Assange will be releasing more material in what he says will provide enough evidence to see Hillary Clinton arrested.”   Read more »

Could an Artificial Intelligence system predict the US election result?

Will Artificial Intelligence predict a Trump win correctly?

Will Artificial Intelligence predict a Trump win correctly?

Business Insider reports on an Artificial Intelligence system that is predicting that Trump will win.

The polls have consistently showed Hillary Clinton with a lead over Donald Trump in recent weeks, but an artificial intelligence system has a different prediction for the outcome of the presidential election.

The system, called MogIA, uses 20 million data points from online platforms like Google, YouTube, and Twitter to come up with its predictions, according to CNBC. MogIA correctly predicted the past three presidential elections as well as the Democratic and Republican primaries.

“While most algorithms suffer from programmers/developer’s biases, MoglA aims at learning from her environment, developing her own rules at the policy layer and develop expert systems without discarding any data,” Sanjiv Rai, the founder of Indian start-up who developed MogIA, told CNBC.

MogIA uses data such as engagement with tweets and videos posted to the platforms the system looks at. It found that Trump has overtaken President Barack Obama’s engagement numbers during the 2008 election by a margin of 25%.

To be fair, participation on social media networks wasn’t as robust in 2008 as it is today. And the MogIA system can’t always analyse whether a post about Trump is positive or negative, making it difficult to gauge actual support.

Still, the system has been right in the past. In other elections, the candidate with the most engagement online won.

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Polly quit Twitter and she won’t be the last

Twitter is infested with trolls, bullies and the general wankeratti. It isn’t a pleasant place to be.

Polly Gillespie has quit Twitter and she explains why:

I was on Twitter for a while before two things dawned on me: Firstly, I was sh*t at Twitter. I wasn’t vaguely funny. I completely miscalculated how things I said would be taken. I had a soft underbelly (literally and figuratively). My hashtags were lame and I was like a gormless gorilla.

Second: I was perfect troll bait. I think anyone vaguely recognisable joins the Twitter Hunger Games without realising they’ve actually registered for the blood sport. For me, my gorilla act made me perfect troll fodder.

I was the nice, chubby kid at school again. Like I really needed to relive that hell. I screwed up several times too with poor attempts at humour, misunderstood references, and by simply just breathing.

Try having an opinion that differs from that of the Social Justice Bullies. You may even get hacked because if it.

The attacks were brutal and relentless. Wow. This was social media lacrosse. I could see how you could break a collarbone or lose an eye or, at the very least, have your confidence rattled.

I wasn’t about to give up though. I was verified. I had the “blue bird” of Twitter “greatness”. I was told this was a big deal. I was “somebody-ish” in Twitter land.

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