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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • Biofuels seem economically infeasible to me so far. We'll see if that changes.

    I did see one exception recently. At the state fair they took all the cooking grease from the food vendors, tons of it (perhaps literally!), and converted it on-site to biodiesel, which was used to fuel the tractors and other vehicles used to run the fair. Very cool.
    • Certainly much of it IS likely to be economically infeasible, just as air travel was economically infeasible for most people until mass use planes like the DC-10 came into existance, and more recently the "budget airline" business model (which ruthlessly optimised out almost all the procedural and luxury fat).

      There's certainly economically feasible models, such as sugar cane in Brazil or canola/etc oil crops and so on.
  • Most modern agricultural techniques are extremely energy intensive. We use fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, mechanical planters and harvesters, and long distance transport, all which requires energy input. In 1940 the united states produced 2.3 calories of food for every calorie of fossil fuel used. In 1974, the ratio was 1:1 [harpers.org], and it's been getting worse ever since.

    So we've been directly competing with robots for food ever since 1974. Our food supply depends upon a stable energy supply; this is n

    • I'm not concerned about the US corn situation at all.

      If it's not economically competative and is supported entirely by subsidies, then it is either will have to get more efficient (do you really think the US will be able to afford all these subsidies the next time a major recession hits?) or it's just going to get optimised out of existance.

      Stupid inefficient niches eventually go away.

      Also, if there's more energy being pumped into farming, and the price of energy goes up, it can be reduced. We already see n