AOMI IV: What Is The Maximum Population Earth Can Support?

This is the fourth in a series of posts about the demographics of the coming Age of Malthusian Industrialism.

In the decades and centuries to come, technological progress will slow to a crawl, as dysgenic reproduction patterns deplete the world’s remaining smart fractions (assuming that there are no abrupt discontinuities in humanity’s capacity for collective problem solving, such as genetic IQ augmentation or machine superintelligence). In the meantime, due to fertility preferences being heritable and ultra-competitive in a post-Malthusian world, populations will explode, as the world enters an epochal baby boom not long after 2100. This renewed demographic expansion will last until the world hits the carrying capacity of the late industrial economy, which will usher in the Age of Malthusian Industrialism.

Part 1Part 2 – Part 3Part 4


Dhaka, Bangladesh. One day, several centuries in the future, many such cities could cluster around the Arctic rimlands.

Anyone who believes in indefinite growth of anything physical on a physically finite planet is either a madman or an economist. – Kenneth Boulding.

In the previous series of posts, I made the argument that technological progress may soon grind to a halt, as dysgenic reproduction patterns winnows the elite “smart fractions” that drive innovation even as the problems that they would have to solve become harder and harder. Meanwhile, the world population will increasingly start to diverge from UN projections from about 2050, as the growing percentage of “breeders” increasingly annuls the effects of the global demographic transition. Only the actualization of an existential risk, or global, totalitarian control over human reproduction, will be able to avert the logical consequence of these developments: An epochal baby boom, in which the world population climbs back up to its carrying capacity and ushers in the Age of Malthusian Industrialism.

This post will examine the maximum population that our planet can support with current or near-term technology levels.

I am going to divide estimates into four major categories, ordered by order of magnitude:

  • “Doomerism” (~1 billion – or less)
  • Business As Usual (~10 billion)
  • Maximization (~100 billion)
  • Cornucopianism (~1 trillion – or more)

Let’s look at the assumptions behind each of these variants.


Rivet City, Fallout.

“Doomerism” (~1 billion – or less)

Human biomass equals all chickens today, all wild animals today, or all whales before the age of industrial whaling. 

This is the pessimistic camp which believes that our “ecological footprint” is already in a state of “overshoot” relative to the carrying capacity of the land. This typically presupposes an imminent or near-term “dieoff” in the human population back to a few billion people – or less.


Richard R. Duncan’s projections in Olduvai Gorge Theory, possibly the most extreme example of doomerism.

Doomerists cluster in several major groups:

  • Sustainability activists, e.g. the Global Footprint Network. One common theme is that humanity’s “ecological footprint” already substantially exceeds the world’s carrying capacity.
  • Kollapsniks“, i.e. people who study collapse intellectually, e.g. Joseph Tainter (see my review of The Collapse of Complex Societies), Dmitry Orlov, and to an extent, the cliodynamics people like Korotayev and Peter Turchin.
  • Survivalists preparing their bug out bags for TEOTWAWKI. One example is Ferfal, who has written about Argentina’s collapse.
  • Overpopulation alarmists, e.g. Paul R. Ehrlich, whose famous book The Population Bomb (1968) began thus: “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate…
  • Peak oilists, who had their major node at The Oil Drum before splintering into offshoots in 2013. They generally believe that the peaking of world oil production, or general resource limits, will presage a decline or collapse of the world economy.
  • Club of Rome and other modelers, who project that the world is consuming too many resources, and polluting too much, for it to be sustainable. Here is my review of Limits to Growth.
  • Nuclear war alarmists who think it would herald human extinction, or at least a terminal collapse of civilization.
  • Global warming alarmists who think it would herald human extinction, e.g. via a runaway greenhouse effect that turns the planet into Venus, or at least a terminal collapse of advanced civilization as “zones of uninhabitability” overtake most of the mid-latitudes.

I explained why I don’t buy into most of these concerns in my original article on The Age of Malthusian Industrialism (see section 4). But in short:

  1. Nuclear weapons were incapable of destroying industrial civilization – let alone ending the human species – even during the early Cold War, when megatonnages were an order of magnitude higher. It is all the more unrealistic today. For better or for worse, we will not be living in Fallout or Metro 2033. Serious literature assessed deaths from a total nuclear war scenario as being in the low tens of millions for both the US and the USSR during the late Cold War. Obviously, estimating global deaths from nuclear winter is much more speculative, but it’s hard to see it exceeding 10% of the world total. Probably much less. Tambora in 1815 – megatonnage same order of magnitude as all the world’s nukes – produced the famous “year without a summer” and multiple famines around the world, but ultimately only killed perhaps 1% of the world’s population – and that was when most of the world lived at subsistence levels.

  2. Peak oil has empirically been proven to be mistaken (old estimates of the world peak clustered around 2005-2010, but oil production is now higher than ever). It’s not that the models were wrong, so much as that they underestimated the power of new technologies, which have contributed to a doubling of US oil production, which recently exceeded its previous 1970 maximum. This is all the more impressive since the United States has had very limited oil reserves in the first place. Apart from oil, natural gas and coal reserves will still last us decades, nuclear power will last centuries (using just well established reactor designs). Meanwhile, the cost of solar power is approaching parity with other energy sources.

This does not necessarily mean that it will all be easy going. Most likely, the average EROEI of our industrial civilization will continue to fall, as richer hydrocarbon and uranium deposits run out, and are displaced by lower EROEI wind and solar power (which in turn depends on minerals, which are also going to become progressively harder to extract – but the term “Rare Earth Metals” is a misnomer, and we will never run out of them). However, according to most estimates, an average EROEI of just 5:1 is just about sufficient to sustain industrial civilization. Considering that both solar and wind power are comfortably above that level, even according to more pessimistic estimates – nuclear is well above it, at around 50 – this means that while it is still possible that energy issues will constrain the possibilities of our civilization, this must now be considered to be very much a theoretical consideration.

3. Climate change only slides into decidedly negative impact territory if it reaches 5-6C, which is at the high end of the IPCC’s projections for this century. Moderate warming of 2-3C may even be beneficial by increasing rainfall and intensifying the carbon fertilization effect, as well as opening up the Arctic to shipping and resource extraction (Our Future Earth by Curt Stager is an interesting counterargument to the current binary of climate change doomerism vs. politicized AGW denial). It will be truly catastrophic only if it goes above 7C, at which point “zones of uninhabitability” will start to spread across the world; above 11C, many equatorial and mid-latitude regions will become uninhabitable. But these are extreme scenarios, if not absolutely impossible ones.

4. Pollution has been falling rapidly across the board in the First World since the 1970s (barring CO2). The Thames is now cleaner than it has been since the 17th century. At the global level, this process was slowed down by the rise of the Chinese industrial behemoth, but the CPC is now committed to cleaning up as well, so improvements should accelerate in coming years. Incidentally, this should contribute to a decline in the dimming effect in the coming decades, which should improve crop yields but also accelerate global warming. However, even if progress in pollution control stalls, or even regresses, this does not necessarily imply collapse. Living standards will become worse, and more people will die of lung cancer, etc. But even some of the most polluted places on the planet today sustain human life just fine. For instance, the heavily polluted Arctic Russian city of Norilsk – contrary to media myths – actually had a marginally higher life expectancy than the surrounding region in 2014 (and less than one year lower than the Russian average).

Consequently, I see only two scenarios in which the “doomer” scenario comes about:

  1. CLIMATE CATASTROPHE: Global warming hews to the most pessimistic projections, rising by 5-6C during this century and a further 3-6C in the next century. This additionally assumes that geoengineering efforts are unsuccessful. In this scenario, the Arctic melts, the Greenland and Antarctic ice shelves start collapsing, the Amazon burns down and turns to desert, and the great methane reserves stored in the Siberian permafrost and Arctic clathrates go kaboom, further accelerating global warming. The shocks in this worst case scenario will probably result in a global unraveling, technological regress, and population decline or collapse to perhaps one billion. But the chances of this are really marginal, probably less than 1%.

  2. ETERNAL WAR: Nuclear warfare goes from a potential or even actual “one off” to a perpetual state of affairs in a dystopian future of totalitarian mega-empires ruled by “New Caesars” from networks of hardened bunkers. Populations will need to become dispersed. Centralized energy infrastructure systems will collapse. All resources are devoted to the military, such as in Orwell’s 1984 or The Eternal War game of Civilization, which both feature three mega-empires struggling for millennia over the world’s strategic choke points. In this nightmarish dystopia, the long-term global population may stabilize in the low billions.


Shanghai by Wei Geisheng.

Business As Usual (~10 billion)

Human biomass equals all livestock, or all Antarctic krill, the world’s most successful single species by mass.

There are hefty reasons to believe that the carrying capacity of the world is around where the current world population is.

First, this is where the level of food production is at today (plus feed for livestock, and biofuels). With some realistic adjustments for efficiency, the energy scientist Vaclav Smil assesses in a 1994 study:

Consequently, it would seem realistic to conclude that the Earth could support a population of 10-11 billion people during the next century.

For what it’s worth, this is also the most popular response on a poll I made about this topic:

Moreover, according to a 2004 meta-analysis by Van Den Bergh and Rietveld of global carrying capacity estimates, the median of 94 historical estimates was 7.8 billion – that is, virtually exactly equivalent to the world current population of 7.6 billion.


However, here is an important note of caution:

The coefficients of the natural logarithm of actual population level are rather high (0.60 and 0.85), which suggests that the current population level is an important—even if implicit—benchmark when assessing a population limit. As long as population grows, this means that there is no absolute limit, but instead one that changes over time.

So basically, people tend to associate the current population with the world’s carrying capacity. This is logical enough in the short-term – after all, the world’s level of food production is generally in balance with demand. However, this assumes there can be no radical reallocations of resources (e.g. expansion of arable farmland), further improvements in crop yields, etc.

But for the time being, ~10 billion is the conventional and safe estimate. It is also not one that is going to be challenged anytime soon. While the fertility explosion might be inevitable,  it is not going to happen this century. This century will see the tail end of the global demographic transition, most notably in Africa; the only places where we might see substantial increases in TFR would be in those few societies and countries that must have already accumulated a significant percentage of “breeders”, such as Israel, and perhaps a few more conventional countries such as France. Consequently, the UN’s estimates of 11 billion people by the end of the century should come to pass.

But what happens after 2100? How long before a newly surging population returns to its Malthusian limits, as was the case for all human history before 1800?


Vladimir Manyukhin, Tower of Sin.

Maximization (~100 billion)

Human biomass equals all fish biomass in the world today, or almost 50% of the animal biomass on the planet today.

So here’s a very simple series of land/food calculations:

  • The average person needs around 2,000 calories per day, implying 730,500 calories every 365.25 days.
  • About 11.6% of the world’s land surface of 15,749,300 square kilometers is arable land, translating into 3,891,730,777 acres.
  • Corn yields 15,000,o00 calories per square acre.
  • Carrying capacity in a World of Corn would be 79,912,336,273 (80 billion people).

This order of magnitude is remarkably consistent across different methods. For instance, on this Reddit thread, similar calculations for other high yield crop varieties and high yield farming methods produced estimates of 206 billion and 247 billion, respectively.

Moreover, in the aforementioned meta-analysis of 94 estimates, a multivariate regression analysis on global carrying capacity estimates in which land/food was the limiting factor produced conservative and progressive estimates of 33 billion and 103 billion, respectively.

To be sure, there are factors that could make 100 billion people overly optimistic:

  • The elites will require substantially above-subsistence numbers of calories.
  • Spoilage.
  • Greater urbanization cutting into arable land.
  • Pollution leading to decline in “free” ecological services, such as pollination.
  • Global wild fish catch peaked in 1990 and has stagnated since.
  • Climate change causing greater desertification, sea level rise, unpredictable weather, longer spells of drought, and higher incidence of torrential rain that destroys topsoil.
  • The rising idiocracy may make some of the more advanced agricultural technologies unfeasible, such as Japan’s robot-run farms.
  • Geopolitics, e.g. wars for arable land and resources.

Conversely, it’s equally possible that these numbers are unduly pessimistic:

  • Consumption can be reduced, esp. in rich areas (already implicitly accounted for with the 2,000 calories per day assumption).
  • Agriculture only accounts for 6% of world GDP (~2% in the developed world), meaning that it can be substantially scaled upwards without impacting too much on quality of life.
  • Agricultural & food R&D accounts for ~1% of total R&D spending in developed countries such as the UK, and can be even more easily expanded.
  • Despite accounting for such a small share of research dollars, and not attracting the best human capital (not to diss it, but Agricultural Science doesn’t exactly have the prestige of Theoretical Physics), crop yields have nonetheless been soaring. For instance, corn yields have increased eightfold in the US since the 1940s, and show no signs of plateauing. This should continue as newer genetic editing techs come online – even if human genetic editing is forbidden (one way for the Age of Malthusian Industrialism to come to pass), it is unlikely that the taboo will extend to livestock, let alone plants. (Crops have become much less nutrient dense in the past half century, which is bad for individual vitality, but this is of no concern for supporting burgeoning swarms of bugmen at the edge of sustenance).
  • Farmed fish catch expanded tenfold from 1980 to 2010, and now exceeds wild catch by tonnage. It can be expanded further.
  • Climate change causing higher yields due to carbon fertilization effect, higher humidity, warmer weather, and the opening up of the global taiga and tundra biomes to agriculture (though Arctic soil tends to be rocky and acidic, and growing seasons will remain limited to half a year).
  • Areas under cultivation can be further improved with irrigation (especially in Africa).
  • Permanent pastures, which account for more than a quarter of global land area – or 2.5x as much as arable land – can be turned over to crops. This may be expedited by (1) falling incomes making meat less affordable, as the world retreats back into Malthusianism; (2) growing cultural acceptance of vegetarianism, perhaps in what might be the next great ethical advance).
  • Conversely, insect farming can be intensified, as they produce cheap protein and can be fed on waste.
  • Urban areas can adopt roof gardens; parks, and parking spaces freed up by the advent of driverless cars, can host agricultural plots.
  • Marginal lands can also be given over to cultivation of undemanding crops, such as the versatile and very high yield potato.
  • Rice strains that can grow in seawater.
  • Food production can be augmented with hydroponics, permaculture, aquaculture, in vitro meat, aeroponics, and aquaponics.
  • Geopolitics: It is possible that a more globalized world, and/or one fragmented into many small, weak states, will reduce the incidence of war and enhance cooperation. As many thinkers have argued, most notably Steven Pinker in recent years – the long-term incidence of war is on the way down.

The latter list seems to be considerably longer and more formidable, so my estimate is that the carrying capacity of the global industrial economy may well be considerably higher than 100 billion.

Even so, one hundred billion is the figure I used in my original article on The Age of Malthusian Industrialism for the sake of conservatism: “Just as the human population rose tenfold from 1 billion in 1800 to 10 billion by 2100, so it will rise by yet another order of magnitude in the next two or three centuries… Sometime towards the middle of the millenium, the population will approach 100 billion souls and will soar past the carrying capacity of the global industrial economy.

I will leave geopolitical considerations for the book, and in any case, not much can be said about them, since we don’t even know for certain if the current system of nation-states will survive.

However, if they do… Assuming that there are no expansions or contractions in arable land, constant crop yields, and no major food trade, then India, the US, Russia, and the EU will all ultimately support similar populations – despite their huge differences in territorial extent, all these countries/blocs have a surprisingly similar amount of arable land. However, making the assumption that arable land will uniformly converge to 50% of the terrestrial surface throughout the world, relative national populations will instead converge to their share of global land area. Obviously, the uncertainty here will be huge, and there will be a bazillion other factors – climatic, cultural, demographic, geopolitical, etc. – in play.


Hive City, Warhammer 40k.

Cornucopianism (~1 trillion – or more)

Human biomass equals 5 times the mass of all animals extant today, the mass of all fungi today, and around 10 Gt C of the world’s current 550 Gt C of biomass (2%).

These people are the polar opposite of the doomers, who maintain that there are no fundamental limits to human ingenuity and carrying capacity.

Perhaps the most famous figure in this movement is Julian Lincoln Simon, author of The Ultimate Resource. This also describes many libertarians and classical Marxists, both of whom view specific human institutions – a surfeit of regulations and exploiter classes, respectively – as obstacles to a world of unparalleled prosperity and progress. (Modern Leftists, of course, sooner tend in the opposite direction).

(My own view is that intelligence is indeed the ultimate resource, though unlike blank slate libertarians, it is informed by a sobering dose of human biorealism. There’ll be many more people, sure, but they’re not exactly gonna be ingenious… sooner the opposite.)

Since supporting much more than 250 billion people is unfeasible using current agricultural technologies, even optimized and globally converged to best practice, the question essentially boils down to the following:

Is it cost-effective to directly translate energy into food calories, e.g. in indoor vertical farms?

A loaf of bread in the US costs around $2.50 (though it can be much cheaper in the developing world, down to $0.50 in countries where it is not subsidized). It constitutes almost exactly 2,000 calories. In the most benighted countries today, as well as during most periods in the preindustrial world, people spend 50%-60% of their income on food. Man shall not live by bread alone, so accounting for the occasional vegetable and scrap of meat – plus clothes, shelter, etc. – we can see that the world’s subsistence floor is around $2. This is just a bit more than $1 in 1990 dollars.

In the world’s most comprehensive database of historical GDP, the “subsistence” level is estimated to be $400 worth of 1990 Geary-Khamis international dollars. This translates to about $800 today, or approximately $2 per day. As we can see, this syncs very well with the above calculation.

This paltry sum is the average wage that we can expect to converge towards in the future world of Malthusian Industrialism, as Ricardian economics come back with a vengeance.


Meanwhile, according to Dr. Louis Albright at Cornell University, a loaf of bread produced from wheat grown in a factory farm indoors will cost $23 just to cover the electricity costs. Note that the US has relatively cheap electricity, so this should be pretty reflective of global (untaxed and unsubsidized) electricity prices too. Consequently, at current price levels, sustaining subsistence existences for untold trillions is unrealistic within the context of a laissez-faire market economy, unless energy costs go down by an order of magnitude.

Now such technological breakthroughs may well be feasible – for instance, if cheap, ultra high-EROEI fusion power is developed. (I have not seen any good calculations for the EROEI of fusion power, though the consensus seems to be that it will make energy “too cheap to meter” – for realz, this time). However, recall that the Age of Malthusian Industrialism presupposes technological stasis, which is quite the inconvenience when commercial fusion power is “always 3o years away.”

Alternatively, food costs will come to be massively subsidized. This has ancient historical precedent. Ancient Rome’s prodigiously high population, which peaked at more than 1 million during the early Roman Empire, was only sustained by vast influxes of calories tithed from the breadbasket of Egypt, which were subsidized by the municipal authorities to keep the population quiescent (from whence we get the expression panem et circenses – bread and games). After the Roman Empire collapsed, so too did Rome, declining to just 40,000 by the turn of the millennium, grazing their cattle amidst the ruins of the Colosseum.

If states or other institutions decide to subsidize food for the teeming and multiplying masses, the ultimate bound on populations will be set by energetics.

So let’s perform some back of the envelope calculations. Dr. Albright calculates that a square meter will require 6,667 kWh of electricity to grow 8 kg worth of wheat per year. The world produces around 20,261 TWh of electricity per year, which translates to approximately 3,000 square kilometers, or 740,000 acres, that can be used as growing space in indoor farms. Incidentally, this is where we already see the main problem – this is but a tiny fraction, well less than a thousandth, of the world’s current arable land area. Wheat yield is given as 8 kg per square meter. Wheat packs around 3,000 calories per kilogram, producing 24,000 calories per square meter (around 6x that of naturally grown wheat). This translates to 100 million calories per acre, which at 740,000 total acres can support a grand total of 100 million people for a year.

Conclusion: The world’s entire electricity output harnessed to grow wheat indoors will only be able to support the population of Japan – that’s a mere 0.01% of the population of trillion soul city planet.

  • NOTE: I was actually rather shocked myself when I came up with these figures. Can they really be so low? This basically makes a range of sci-fi scenarios, such as interstellar travel on generation ships, or geothermally powered civilizations (e.g. colonization of Steppenwolf planets), pretty much impossible – and this calculation on Quora about the room required to feed a 10,000 people on a spaceship seems to confirm that. Perhaps somebody can check these calculations?
  • OTOH, if accurate, then this is a possible resolution of the Fermi Paradox, IF alien civilizations also have a strong tendency to go Butlerian Jihad on AI.

As with the above scenario, there are several considerations that can lower or raise this figure.

We could try for much greater efficiency, or massively higher yields. But recall that we assume technological stagnation.

Alternatively, we could try for massively greater electricity output. But since we’re talking orders of magnitudes here, the only realistic candidate here is fusion power, which has likewise been ruled out.

Moreover, the bulk of electricity generation must accrue from high-EROEI sources. As I mentioned above, one common estimate of the minimal EROEI needed to maintain industrial civilization is around 5:1 or so – that is, five units of energy must be produced for every unit of energy invested into the process of energy production.


Hall, Charles et al. (2013) – EROI of different fuels and the implications for society


Conca, J. (2015) – EROI – A Tool to Predict the Best Energy Mix.

Coal, oil, and natural gas are not realistic options; current reserves are hard to exploit. Geothermal power is highly limited. Solar and wind power also have unimpressive EROEI’s, especially once adjusted for their inability to provide reliable baseload power, which requires either expensive energy storage or a mix of other energy sources. Hydropower is the most consistently high EROEI energy source, but unfortunately, the world’s hydropower potential has been more or less maxed out.

Nuclear is the only viable option since it is quasi-renewable, and can potentially be high-EROEI if needless, highly costly regulations are removed. Even so, there are limits even to what nuclear power can accomplish.

Assume that per capita electricity production remains constant in the Age of Malthusian Industrialism (since many ecological services now have to be provided artificially, this actually presupposes a decline in individual welfare). This would imply 200,000 TWh of electricity production per year if the global population is 100 billion. Assume, moreover, that the bulk of global energy production has moved over to nuclear power. Total EROEI might be rather lower now – let’s say 50:1, instead of 75:1 – because we are now forced to mine less concentrated uranium deposits.

Now assume that the CornWorld overlords decide to increase electricity generation by a further factor of 10, and devote all the excess energy to food production. This isn’t realistic, of course, but for the purposes of this mind experiment, assume that everything goes to plan and there are no “leaks.” This surge in capacity will allow for an extra 10 billion people to be supported. This constitutes an essentially insignificant increase of 10% in global population – at the cost of plunging planetwide effective EROEI from 50 to 5, bringing industrial civilization at that scale to the precipice of sustainability.

So of course it’s not going to happen.

In the Age of Malthusian Industrialism, there will be a place and a function for indoor farming. It is certainly feasible that a large proportion of vegetable greens will come from indoor farms, which may be grown in conjunction with fish (aquaponics). It is also possible that some of these farms will be kept around for periods of severe food price spikes, when growing some types of crops will become profitable (that is, much like US shale oil producers now act as swing producers in the global oil industry).

But the banal fact remains that converting energy production into food calories is extremely inefficient, and will not allow us to catapult our population into the trillions range and become Coruscant or Holy Terra.

Unless we import food en masse from off world. Warhammer 40k is actually quite accurate on that! See the forthcoming Part 5.

On the bright side, it will also help us avoid one particularly very embarrassing and stupid resolution of the Fermi Paradox. For more on that, see Part 6, also forthcoming.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. What would the potential of multi-storey outdoor agriculture be? There would have to be gaps (streets) between the multi-storey fields in order to let enough sunlight pass, and probably, there is an optimum number of storeys because above it, the gapswould have to be too broad. Probably, not so much additional energy would be needed compared to traditional agricultural – certainly quite a lot in the beginning for building the multi-storey fields, but then mainly for irrigation, they should be constructed in a way that no artificial light is needed. My guess would be that the output per area could probably be increased about tenfold compared to traditional single-storey agriculture.

    Then, I think using algae for food could also be promising. There are reports that algae need less than a tenth of the area of food plants for the same amount of biomass, and the seas, which cover a large part of the earth might also be used.

    Both multi-storey outdoor agriculture and the cultivation of algae don‘t necessarily rely on very sophisticated technology, so an increase of the number of people who can be feed could possibly be increased by a factor of about 10 (or even significantly more if a large part of the food production is in the seas) even in a situation of mostly stagnating technological progress. Obviously, without very sophisticated technologies, there will be limits somewhere.

  2. Brilliant analysis as usual. Truly nothing better than digging into detailed data and theories.

    One thing I would argue, is that the demographic direction of humanity is almost entirely dependent on the political future of the Western World and East Asia.

    When we talk about world population growth in the 21st century, we must discuss growth of useful vs useless human populations.

    If dreams come true and we end up with a nationalist Europe, population growth in our scientifically productive countries could drive up the planet’s potential capacity by orders of magnitude as discussed in the ‘ultimate resource’ section. Genetic modification of crops and even people, new materials and incomprehensibly tall arcology skyscraper cities, even offworld colonisation and terraforming, etc. could all happen in the next few centuries. In this scenario.

    Likewise, if the 21st century sees growth only in Africa, South Asia, etc the global economic scientific engine will decline and we may lose that ultimate resource; intelligence and capacity for innovation – and therefore trend towards the lower predictions.

    If you ask me, Earth’s demographic future will be decided within the next twenty years.

  3. prime noticer says

    the answer here, like with most technical problems, is whatever smart european men can figure out.

    are smart european men trying to solve all the problems related to having a continuously growing population? then whatever they can figure out, will be the upper limit.

    are there no smart european men working on solving these problems for endless hordes of third worlders? are there no europeans at all? then the question is not very important or interesting. the rest of the humans trundle along mostly at replacement rate, and the earth never approaches the current 8 billion person population.

    once europeans are gone, or have declined enough to not be able to affect these matters, then it’s not that relevant of a question. at that point the third world hordes will be depending on the generosity of the chinese. not a good bet for them. and their numbers will probably steadily decline back towards year 1900 figures. the year 1900 being about where things stabilize minus modern tech. i’m not at all convinced that fecund muslims, for instance, will be able to carry on with the population growth, if europeans totally disappeared. it might appear that they’re self sufficient at this point, but i don’t think they are. they might be able to go on a 100 year run, then all the problems that they can’t figure out, will start being a huge issue for them. no more oil, no more energy, antibiotic resistance, et cetera.

    i suppose there is the mitigating factor of whether smart european men can figure out how to build some sort of real AI, at least at the level where it can play a real game of sim city, or civilization, and instruct the future non-european peoples of the world, how to not starve, die from disease, get enough water, and so forth, for 10 billion. the thing is, the third world hordes tend to ignore advice, and tend to break stuff, like, tech left over from the europeans. so i’m not sure i’d count on that either.

  4. I believe Nebraska has a growing industry of greenhouses that are heated by low tech geothermal systems. Essentially, long networks of large plastic pipe buried in the dirt and using fans to circulate the air in and out.

    Crops are still pricey and it is only practical at certain latitudes though.

  5. I wonder how practical it would be to farm geothermal vents. Not just the ocean ones, but geysers that have extremophiles living in them. Maybe, you could feed them to something else?

    Even bigger question is how practical are orbital solar arrays, or a space elevator. A lot of these problems are energy problems and there is almost infinite energy in space. Lots of tidal energy on earth too.

    I presume these biomass calculations are surface level. There’s probably quite a lot of nematodes living in rock, but likely very impracticable to harvest.

  6. Interesting post, but at bottom it is very simple.

    The issue is not the carrying capacity. Neither Malthus, nor Mills nor Keynes nor Ma Yinchu etc. ever set a limit to global population. It’s the rate of increase. The absolute population is only really relevant in that, at a certain level, the capital investments needed to accommodate each new individual reach diminishing returns, and a rate of increase that could be handled at a lower population density suddenly becomes untenable.

    Remember that Malthus was not a prophet, he was an observer. He accurately pointed out that, for societies without an open frontier, exponential growth is so powerful that if a nation tries to double its population every 20 years or so, it will soon fail, and of necessity the average person will be crushed into subsistence level poverty. This was not a prediction. This is how it has worked, how it works today.

    The issue of how many people the earth can support is, to a great extent, meaningless. If we allow the rich to push for ever more population growth, sooner or later we will hit an effective limit. At that point people will be crushed into miserable poverty. That will happen. Whether it happens at 10 billion or 100 billion or a trillion, will be of little interest to the average person then living.

    And it’s mostly the rich that are doing this. Whether by encouraging high rates of fertility, or allowing the surplus population of the third-world to cancel out low fertility rates elsewhere (and no this doesn’t just move people around: every person allowed to escape from places like Haiti or Bangladesh just makes room for an extra person to back home), and perhaps most powerfully, by censoring any mention of how people having more children than they can reasonably support is the single biggest source of poverty. Because talking about how the rich are encouraging population growth might reduce the ability of the rich to take advantage of all that lovely cheap labor… and because it lets the rich off the hook for what they have worked so hard to achieve.

  7. As far as city planets are concerned… I wrote this comment a while ago on Rocketpunk Manifesto.

    “Not without expensive and complex cooling systems. Human beings alone put out 100W of heat just existing – that’s about the same amount of energy each day that a square metre of Britain receives from the sun. Domestic energy use is about 6kWh/day, so 250W. I don’t know how much energy is used for transport (I’m assuming that manufacturing, farming, and other such services are being done away from the city in this calculation).

    But I don’t think a city is going to be able to avoid having each person add about 12kWh/day to the heat budget. If the city is in Britain (2.5kWh/day_, and we say they can be as warm as the warmer parts of the US (4kWh/day), that’s 1.5kWh/m^2 they can add, so each person will require 8 m^2 to deal with the heat they’re adding to the environment. That’s a population density of 125k/km^2. Of course, it can be higher than that if it’s very small and surrounded by farmland. Or lower than that if it’s in a part of the world with a lot more sunlight than Britain.

    If everything is provided within the city, and you somehow get the energy use down to 2kW/person (so no indoor farming…) from it’s current developed world figure of 6kW/person (Europe) or 11kW/person (America), then you’re adding 48kWh/person-day to the environment. HyperLondon is going to need 32m^2/person to handle the heat, so it’ll have a density of merely 30k/km^2, about 5 times higher than London, and well within the capacity of the traditional city (but muh skyscrapers!).

    tl;dr – Megastructures are generally uninhabitable.”

    Note that that’s without indoor farming. The human body needs ~100W worth of food, so if your food production is 10% efficient, you’re adding ~1kW/person in food production. Allowing for a 50% efficiency in producing that electricity, and it’s 2kW/person. Say we half the amount of non-food related electricity that’s being used from 2kW to 1kW per person, then HyperLondon drops to a density of 20k/km^2.

    To be fair, that would allow the UK to have a population 80x it’s current one, ~5 billion people. That’s without expanding into the oceans. So I suppose the world could support a population of trillions of bugmen…

  8. At the global level, this process was slowed down by the rise of the Chinese industrial behemoth, but the CPC is now committed to cleaning up as well, so improvements should accelerate in coming years. Incidentally, this should contribute to a decline in the dimming effect in the coming decades, which should improve crop yields but also accelerate global warming.

    Yes, they say the decline of pollution in China is bad for the environment by accelerating global warming:

    Another hurdle, reported in the journal Nature this week, is that China is cleaning up its air pollution. That sounds great for pollution-weary Chinese citizens. But climatologists point out that some of that air pollution had actually been cooling the atmosphere, by blocking out solar radiation. Ironically, less air pollution from China could mean more warming for the Earth.

  9. Philip Owen says


    I am consulting with a Vertical/Digital/indoor farming company. Without making the effort of real analysis, I have to question Albright’s figures. Modern greenhouse production costs less per kg, albeit fresh produce not grains. Also, LEDs use less than 1/10th of the traditional high pressure sodium lights traditionally used. My contribution is tech transfer from space programs.

    Protein comes into this. Soy is boring.

    Mycelia are the best convertors of feed into ‘flesh’. Amongst animals, fish are the best converters of grain to protein. From memory 2kg of fodder to 1kg of fish. I seem to remember chicken at 3:1 and I am sure of pigs at 9:1. There has to be protein in the incoming fodder (30% for pigs). Animals can’t make nitrogen out of air.

  10. Abelard Lindsey says

    Instead of food production limits, perhaps actual urban crowding represents the ultimate population limits of the Earth. A 100 billion people makes for an awfully crowded Earth. Like a SF style planetary city. Given that the mean IQ is projected to be around 85 or so in this lovely scenario, a rather grungy, ramshackle planetary city at that (Good lord! What an awful scenario!).

    It seems to me that biotechnology food factories (i.e. some kind of replacement for photosynthesis) would be developed that would cut the energy cost of food production. Soylent Green?

  11. Would greatly appreciate any further details. I scoured a lot on this topic, and Albright’s talk was the best I was able to find, as a non-expert with limited time.

    There’s detailed stats on feed ratios here. Pigs are pretty inefficient, it’s beef that’s a luxury.
    Incidentally, I wonder what the feed conversion ratio for humans is. Googling doesn’t help.

  12. Pretty skeptical. John Fremlin did this thought experiment back in the 60s; he came to the conclusion there’d be pentillions of people (10^16-10^18 if memory serves right) before the body heat became a problem.

    If we assume everybody gives off 100x as much energy in everyday life (transport, industries, etc.) – and I’m sure this figure is way too high – we’d still be able to support at least 10^14 (100 trillion).

  13. Like a SF style planetary city.

    You’d think so, but not really! You need to get to 1 trillion before you get into Holy Terra/Coruscant/Judge Dredd territory.

    You just need look at the pop density stats:

    World Land minus Antarctica: ~57/km2
    *100/7.5 to get AoMI density: 760/km2
    Current density of San Francisco: 6,226.3/km2

    AoMI average is about as dense as Taiwan or Palestine, though still considerably less dense than Bangladesh. Of course, there’ll still be disparities, so some countries such as the Netherlands (if it doesn’t sink by then) will indeed start to resemble country-sized cities.

  14. Unless the Sahara, the Arctic, and Antarctica become receptive to large-scale human settlement, though, the above figures would be a bit misleading.

  15. Antarctica was accounted for (I explicitly said that), the Arctic will presumably warm up (though unlikely to attract settlers beyond oil gas people during at least this century), and funnily enough, even the Sahara might become verdant with 2-3C warming.

  16. Abelard Lindsey says

    Well, I’ve in both Japan and Taiwan, and found them to be OK. Taiwan is a bit messy. But that’s par for the course for the Chinese. However, both of these societies are comprised of people with a mean IQ in the 105-108 range along with the social graces that work for such high density living. The AoMI scenario will be, shall we say, not quite so gentile. Maybe it will be more Palestine-like.

  17. Can you please elaborate on the last part of your comment here?

  18. Anatoly, have you read Gerard K. O’Neill’s The High Frontier? O’Neill began developing his ideas in response to the “limits to growth” pessimism that began to dominate in the 70s. His work is still not that well known today. It would be interesting if you reviewed the book and shared your thoughts about it. It’s definitely related to the AOMI topic.

  19. Elmer's Washable School Glue says

    Longtime reader, first-time commenter. I’ve found this series particularly interesting.

    Anyway, in regards to the possibility of populations up to a “trillion”–have you considered the possibility of synthesizing food without any kind of biological agent? Ethanol is trivially easy to produce from CO2, and while sustaining a population on the chemical equivalent of quadruple-distilled vodka may not be optimal, it can serve as a useful starting point to produce other compounds. For example, propylene is already being commercially produced from ethanol and from there it is possible to convert it into glycerol, which can be consumed directly by humans or used to make sugar. Obviously more complex proteins or flavors would be much harder (though we’ve already passed this stage with vanillin), but spices or flavorful vegetables could still be grown as supplements.

    Of course all these reactions are endothermic, but I doubt the energy requirement is anywhere close to that needed to grow equivalent calories from wheat, since the photosynthetic efficiency of plants is generally very low.

  20. ImmortalRationalist says

    In A Short History of the Third Millennium, you estimated that the Age of Malthusian Industrialism has about a 10% chance of happening. Is your estimate of the chance of the AOMI happening still the same, or do you currently think that the chance of it happening is higher or lower?

  21. ImmortalRationalist says

    Additionally, do you have any probability estimates for, in the case of a direct technosingularity, what it will be like in more detail? For instance, the probability of a hard vs. soft takeoff.

  22. As others have already commented on, I think electrically driven vertical farming may not the most efficient way of mass producing extra food…Came across some interesting ideas in , like fungi or small ruminant animals as converters of indigestible (wood) biomass, or direct methane-to-sugars conversion by bacteria, which the author/org (‘Allfed’) claim could support billions of people for a couple of years. Didnt hear of many schemes to better convert electric energy to food but I’m sure there could be better ones out there than electricity-> light -> wheat…

  23. I have to mention that the AI apocalypse/singularity is also something that the doomerists mention, it is also one of the deadly dooms in my opinion, because unlike the other ones humans can never recover from such an event.

    As for the trillion people that is also a dystopian nightmare, regardless how well such a system is run.

  24. I might raise it from 10% to 15% now after the Chinese response to the CRISPR babies, and subtract that 5% from the biosingularity scenario.

    That graph – LOL.

    My personal opinion is that the takeoff will be soft:
    Basically, I am skeptical about the AI apocalypse scenarios.
    But I don’t put too much weight on that, because many people far smarter than me are far more pessimistic.

    My concern is relatively exotic – that mind uploading results in the loss of consciousness, which is also a sort of existential risk.
    These concerns arise naturally from Mike Johnson’s work on qualia –

  25. ” world produces around 20 TWh of electricity per year”

    Isn’t this a bit small? Wiki says electricity consumption/production is around 20,000 TWh a year, and general energy consumption/production is around 150,000 TWh per year.

    Those numbers are rather small relative to potential as the Sun delivers something like 174 PW to Earth which, if I got the math right, would be around 626 million TWh per year.

    Which, in turn, is rather pathetic as well because there is absolutely no reason not to build a factory, say, 100,000 kilometers in diameter in the vicinity of Mercury (convert part of the planet for materials) and use it to build solar harvesters right in the Sun proximity to get free energy in quantities beyond human comprehension for the next few billion years.

    And then there is Saggitarius A*, and then there are quasars, and then there is dark matter, and then there is dark energy, and then who knows what else. Universe is effectively infinite, unlikely we will be running out of juice in the next few trillion years.

  26. there is absolutely no reason not to build a factory, say, 100,000 kilometers in diameter in the vicinity of Mercur

    You happen to have 100,000 km of spare building material lying around?

  27. I guess that’s another part of it – how advanced does automation become? If it is von Neumann machines, the sky isn’t even the limit. You can probably build O’Neill Cylinders and Dyson Swarms. There could be tens or even hundreds of trillions of people in the solar system.

    But then we are getting too far away from Earth, maybe it only counts as an Earth calculation if it is in orbit, or stretching things a bit, if you carve up the Earth for your raw materials.

    An interesting corollary here is how many can Mars support. But we have no clue on that. It might not even be one, if the gravity isn’t enough. Unless you’re talking adding it, which seems highly bothersome. If Mars was seeded eugenically, while Earth was in a dysgenic decline, that might create an interesting political dynamic.

  28. Isn’t this a bit small? Wiki says electricity consumption/production is around 20,000 TWh a year, and general energy consumption/production is around 150,000 TWh per year.

    Thanks, corrected.

    For a minute there I was afraid that my calculations were humiliatingly wrong and the last part would be invalidated. However, it seems was just a misprint in the post.

    Let me repeat the logic just to make sure it works out:

    • 20,000 TWh a year = 20,000 * 10^9 KWh a year;
    • 20,000 * 10^9 KWh a year / 6,667 KWh a year = 2,999,850,007 sqm, each producing 8 kg of wheat according to Albright.
    • Wheat packs around 3,000 calories per kilogram, so with 8 kg of wheat per sqm, that’s 24,000 calories per square meter (around 6x that of naturally grown wheat).
    • 2,999,850,007 sqm * 24,000 calories per square meter = 71,996,352,683,966 total calories of wheat produced
    • 71,996,352,683,966 calories / (2000 calories daily intake * 365.25 days in a year) = can support just 98,557,635 people for a year.
    • ≈ Can support population of Japan, max.

    … Yep, seems to be working.

  29. Abelard Lindsey says

    I think the purpose of the AoMI speculation is as a “what if”. What if we don’t get the AI or bio-engineering enhancement? What is the likely outcome of this scenario? I consider this a useful mental exercise for the purposes of advocating technological enhancement if for no other reason. I will definitely buy a copy of the book once it comes out.

    In any case, I don’t buy into the AI hype. Not at all. In Akarlin’s original post about the “Third Millennium” 18 months ago, I consider only two options to be viable. The first is bio-engineering. The second is AoMI. That’s why you had better hope we can succeed with bio-engineering, because I think that’s the only option. AoMI is such an awful scenario that it does not bear thinking about.

  30. another fred says

    Ever since the Limits to Growth and The Population Bomb analysts have been acting as though population is limited by technology. I think the ultimate limit will be human behavior.

    Keep an eye on China, resource hungry China. As the debt cycle reaches its limits and China has to rely on its internal dynamics (rather than exports) to maintain its population at whatever level of “prosperity” is possible, the Party is going to have to lean more and more on the stick rather than the carrot they have been using for the last 30 years. Not that China is that egregious, they are just meeting this problem sooner than the rest of us and are going to be following their own path (as opposed to Japan which is an ally of the US and will be favored).

    Mr. Karlin does not even mention the scenario I think most likely, that someone, for any one of a variety of different reasons, will loose a plague on the world.

  31. Abelard Lindsey says

    Plagues are temporary. Europe recovered from the Black Death within a 100 years. Population graphs show it as a dip in an otherwise ascending population trend. the four horsemen are actually not very effective at reducing human populations for a long time.

  32. Abelard Lindsey says

    The underlying assumption behind AoMI is that most of humanity will not be smart enough nor motivated enough to do anything like O’Neill’s high frontier concept. It will be the few people motivated and smart enough to use presumably highly automated technologies to do the O’Neill thing, on their own, as an escape from AoMI. O’Neill’s high frontier will likely happen. But the majority of people will be either too dumb or lazy to participate in it.

  33. Yep, looks right. Electric wheat is a no go.

    We would need to cover the planet with photovoltaic film. Given that human requires about 100 W of power and assuming average solar input of about 400 W/m2, an average m2 of Earth surface receives enough power to support 4 people, in raw energy terms.

    Assuming 10% PV efficiency and 510 trillion m2 surface area, that would be 200 trillion people.

  34. I was envisioning converting Mercury into a parabolic dish of large diameter. Dish would be collecting radiation from the Sun and get hot, dark side would be cold, thermal engines would provide work and vacuum would be utilized as clean room space for nanotech manufacturing.

  35. In the longterm, nuclear war shouldn’t be taken as the highest possible mortality event, but bioweapons or swarms of automated drones.

    And genocidal war seems more likely as population density increases.

  36. I wonder how some of these calculations might change with sufficiently GModed crops. For instance, changing wheat from C3 to C4.

    Then there’s the other end: people. How much food does a pigmy or dwarf require compared to an Eskimo? What is the most efficient mitochondria, and intestinal tract length? Etc. Then there’s the most extreme case, where you are just dealing with the energy requirements of brains in robot bodies.

  37. Philip Owen says

    I didn’t even mention beef and lamb. They are often free range. They take a long time to mature. So conversion factors vary hugely.

    Humans don’t eat a well balanced diet. Also, we need to exercise (this month’s Scientific American). Other animals stay lean and gain muscle without exercise.

  38. It bears pointing out that if we consider the density of human beings across the history of the species, one has the highest probability of being born at or around the peak population levels. This suggests the maximum number of humans is probably around 10 billion, and will diminish, whether due to the natural limits of the environment, disease or “man-made” causes.

  39. Philip Owen says

    Space craft designs are focusing on algae for energy efficient food production from human waste. For spacecraft, reliability and process control are critical. Algae can be nutritious; in Wales we sometimes eat a sea weed called Laverbread for breakfast. However, eating mush may swiftly lose its attractions. Kelp is the fastest growing plant. Genetically modifying it to be edible and nutritious could add a lot to food resources. Also bladder wracks float. GMO floating seaweed could bring deep ocean resources into the calculation.

    Once on Mars, growing potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage etc is the goal. Biosphere Two gave some useful indicators. e.g. the concrete structure unexpectedly absorbed CO2 whereas plants grow best at twice the present levels.

  40. ImmortalRationalist says

    My concern is relatively exotic – that mind uploading results in the loss of consciousness, which is also a sort of existential risk.

    Mind uploading leading to a loss of consciousness seems to mainly be an issue if you assume that closed individualism is true. If closed individualism is the correct metaphysical theory of identity, the Moravec Transfer is probably the only feasible way mind uploading could take place, whereas other methods would only create a copy of your consciousness. If empty individualism or open individualism are true, and Buddhists and people like Sam Harris are right, there is no persistent self/soul in the first place, and thus there is nothing to save. A mind-uploaded copy of you that destroys your original brain would be no less you than you today compared to you tomorrow.

  41. Ah, the Doomsday Argument. Thing is – if AoMI pans out, you’ll be able to say the exact thing when world population hits 100 billion.

  42. Philip Owen says

    Tonight, on the coldest night of the winter, 60 odd million people in the UK, are consuming 50 GW of electricity. This is the UK’s maximum capacity when the wind isn’t blowing. I have a live feed from the National Grid. Summer it is half that.

    If the whole world, 6 billion, was to consume at UK levels, that would imply installed capacity of 5,000 GW. 5 TW. On the whole, the world is not as electricity rich (or needy) as the UK on a particularly cold night in January. Although air conditioners in the summer are a big thing elsewhere. So 5 TW would be a high estimate of present peak output. That’s 1000 big nukes. Not that many really.

  43. Philip Owen says

    More on humans. Conversion ratios for food animals assume the animal is slaughtered onmattaining full weight. For humans the issue is sustainable consumption after attaining adult weight. 1500-4500 calories a day depending on sex, age, occupation etc. Basically, weigh your days intake. lthough, once I ate Weetabix, now blueberries at breakfast.

  44. Thorfinnsson says

    OT: I’m back

  45. another fred says

    Plagues are temporary. Europe recovered from the Black Death within a 100 years. Population graphs show it as a dip in an otherwise ascending population trend. the four horsemen are actually not very effective at reducing human populations for a long time.

    You are correct, but my assumption/hope is that the “demographic transition” reflects something real in attitudes of people living in a technologically advanced civilization and we would stop pushing that particular rock up the hill.

  46. Yep.

    Also, out of curiosity–do you think that low-IQ countries are also going to experience severely dysgenic fertility like US Blacks and US Hispanics appear to be currently experiencing?

    If so, we could see current First World countries experience an average IQ decrease from something like 100 to something like 85 while a current 85 IQ country could experienced an average IQ decrease from 85 to something like 70 (assuming that there will be no further Flynn effect gains for this country, that is).

  47. My concern is relatively exotic – that mind uploading results in the loss of consciousness, which is also a sort of existential risk.

    It surprises me that more people aren’t concerned by that. To me it seems like a pretty big deal.

  48. Indeed, quality of desire. Is there any conceptual advantage in bigger populations at all. That is even putting aside proportionality.

    The concept of growth, in the future will serve no one, not the ones that matter equally. Mind games, as this piece cannot compensate for mindgames as how to build and sustain quality populations that correspond to abundance of resources and reserves where they constitute a vault for high mind experiments that transgress base principles of producing derivatives and waste.

    Come China, come USA, whatever else, the ugly duck quacks the same.

  49. I would regard it as more probable than not that we are at peak population or close to peak population. But probability is not causality, and if we hit 100 billion, someone will be making the same argument.

    I also fall into your “nuclear alarmist” camp, although I agree with you on the short-term causalities of a nuclear war, I suspect the disruption of complex networks upon which civilizations relies would probably lead to a rapid civilization collapse (and a rapid decline in carrying capacity), so long-term, quickly and very nasty Malthusian.

  50. These are interesting conjectures. One thing that has been known since the 19th century is that the crust of the earth contains enormous quantities of hydrocarbons. If Russian abiotic geologists are correct there are immense quantities beneath the crust. Before advances in fracking it was thought the hydrocarbons would be too expensive to harvest (peak oil or tight oil). Fracking started with about 10% retrieval from shale deposits and has improved to 20% in many cases. This probably isn’t a permanent energy solution but could take us many generations into the future.

    Some believe ever increasing CO2 in the atmosphere will cause runaway global warming. Others note we have had large multiples of current CO2 levels along with ice ages, in the distant past. We should be more humble about our abilities to predict global warming and cooling in the future. We shouldn’t underestimate human adaptability. My great grandmother was born in the horse and buggy days of 1887 then witnessed the moon landing and early personal computers (102 year life span).

    The more one studies energy it appears a benevolent creator bestowed these miracle hydrocarbons upon us, although we might not deserve it.

  51. There won’t be one population group with declining IQ. That would be true if fertility declines as incomes increase at all percentiles. There will be two groups: a large group with declining IQ, and a much smaller group without.

    The top 1% has higher TFR than the middle class. It’s easier to have 2+ kids when childcare is affordable.

    Also, consider the high, and possibility increasing, level of assortative mating. There will continue to be a very smart fraction. It’s the middle (30th to 90th percentile, roughly speaking) that’s getting crushed.

    Also, the function of the underclass in modern society is misunderstood. To the middle, they’re violent parasites; but to the elite, they keep the middle and upper middle preoccupied with keeping from getting victimized, and “anti-racism” is a good pretext to undermine people in the middle (eg. affirmative action, H1-B, etc.) in order to keep their smarter members from replacing the elite.

    Once the middle is so crushed and humiliated to cease to be a threat (and we’re already seeing it with the “white death” publicized by Deaton), the elite will no longer have much use for the underclass. The herd will be culled accordingly.

  52. “Serious literature assessed deaths from a total nuclear war scenario as being in the low tens of millions for both the USA and USSR during the late Cold War.”
    Everyone going to give Karlin a pass on this BS? The USSR was thought to have 25,000 nuclear weapons with a total yield of 10,000 megatons (the Hiroshima bomb was 1/10 megaton)…….enough yield to take out the 1000 largest cities in the USA along with all major power plants, refineries, dams, airports, canals, harbors, communication hubs, etc etc. The power grid would be down permanently, cities decimated, fires raging, no fuel for transportation. Urban and suburban survivors would be living in the dark………eating first their pets and then each other as soon as the stocks of canned food disappeared. Possibly 10% of the population would still survive a year after a full nuclear bombardment…..and they would be mostly rural folks residing in remote locations with some minimal survival skills. An obese creepy media darling named Herman Kahn promoted the idea that the USA could survive a nuclear war intact with not all that much damage or loss of population…….the PTBs ate it up, especially the pols and generals……and Karlin.

  53. IMO 5G and vaccines will keep population down, and poverty will reduce resource consumption until the next ice age that recent climate history predicts is coming , then famine will reduce population to the golden billion that is the neomalthusian target

    In fact all the black carbon that will be added to the stratosphere from rockets launching tens of thousands of satellites to support 5G coverage will likely accelerate the coming of the next ice age.

  54. If you feed them carbs and soy probably quite a few. If you wanna eat meat and oils fewer.

  55. animalogic says

    Excellent points TG:
    “The issue of how many people the earth can support is, to a great extent, meaningless. If we allow the rich to push for ever more population growth, sooner or later we will hit an effective limit. At that point people will be crushed into miserable poverty. That will happen. Whether it happens at 10 billion or 100 billion or a trillion, will be of little interest to the average person then living.”
    Essentially, what TG is saying, is that IF you assume adequate resources, then questions of population & living standards are political questions.

    One assumption you can make, based on thousands of years of history: if power continues to be welded by a tiny oligarchic/plutocratic elite then any population (level) will be ever increasingly exploited, manipulated, molded, & controlled, to the technological & political limits of the day.
    As a rule of thumb: the greater the social numbers, the greater the effort & resources will be needed for their efficient ordering. (Naturally, a self controlling, self censoring individual is the most effective (as opposed to, say, mere brute force: in many ways, the 20th C has been a fairly successful experiment in creating a self regulating, docile human being. The reduction of “citizen” to “consumer” was a true milestone.)
    Another rule of thumb: the greater the instability, the greater the chance that a ruling elite can be brought down. Population, climate change, war, economic failure & social polarization all represent opportunities for a return/shift to democracy & citizenship. However, such instabilities are necessary, not sufficient conditions for change: ideas, passion & self sacrifice are also necessary.

  56. animalogic says

    Other conversion ratios are also important.
    Protein-nutritional value of an animal compared to its Co2/methane output (costs).
    Nutritional value compared to its water input (costs).
    Nutritional value compared to land/sea (plus pollution) & flora/Fauna degradation (costs).

  57. animalogic says

    “Mr. Karlin does not even mention the scenario I think most likely, that someone, for any one of a variety of different reasons, will loose a plague on the world.”
    Yes – the ultimate dystopian vision: elites somewhere/sometime will decide that (having obtained the technical means necessary to create a controlled & focused “die-off” ) a radical population reduction will become “cost effective”.
    I wonder what general population level they might aim for ? “Lay-off” about 6 billion, leaving about 1-2 billion left ? It would certainly alter climate change & resource depletion estimates….
    Pity, the poor bastards who have to eliminate all that nasty organic-human waste…. Compost ? Blood & bone fertilizer ? Organ banks ? Art supplies ? Children’s toys & garden decorations ?Or fuck it, just leave em to rot ?

  58. The Alarmist says

    “Carrying capacity in a World of Corn would be 79,912,336,273 (80 billion people).”

    On the plus side, most of them will die from complications related to diabetes and heart disease before reaching 60 years of age. All hail King Korn!

  59. I think this piece is at heart a religiously oriented attempt to find some way to rationalize a”Go forth and multiply type of old fashioned view…” etc.) but no, there isn’t any reason now to add any more humans.

    All the humans alive today are more than ever existed in all the history before, due to the phenomena of compounded multiplication, or so called exponential bla de bla. And what with the lower attrition rates that are in the recent times they ain’t the need for replacements!

    If God would just come back for a visit I think he would council the humans to slow down a little bit on the fornication and reproduction focus, and uh let the people take up something more constuctive like clean up the environment, and ah… stuff that is helpful, not this egotistical animal instinct of wanting force your own self image stamped on the generations to come, as really… the genes that you are from are universal, the ”progeny come through us, but are not of us”. The genes and DNA are recombined in every issue unique but expendible.

    Any glitch in the modern world of supply and demand etc. could cause a train wreck for human civilization and probably with the loss of room for error or to escape clauses, Collapse like in the book by Diamond, but not just some isolated Easter island or Greenland etc., the whole inter linked Earth will fall flat, and then comes the diseases, and the meltdowns of the 100 gaddamed nuclear power plants that are too expensive to dissasemble… (that’s a bitter pill to ponder on… ).

  60. the methods of food production:

    -farmed fish still often requires fish-meal to provide those essential nutrients for fish. might change in the future but it still is a major setback. algae production might stop that but that still costs too much.
    – look at google maps canada, alberta, Fort vemilion. A very high up north farming area which could be copied. Then we could also mass-produce sami to farm reindeer up there.
    – erosion is a very big future problem in farming. The run-off of dirt is horrid and once natural aquafires run out food production is set-back by a lot.
    -insect production and biomass energy all is nice and dandy but will require some huge efforts in separating waste. People, especially urban folks are complete idiots in deciding what is green waste and what is the rest, that’s a big problem in our dysgenic world. other ”waste” usually is already used for fodder or biomass energy production. although these systems usually are more efficient using normal biomass. besides that the soil also needs to be fed a constant stream of organic matter to keep it good agriculture soil.
    – The Potato is a very VERY high demanding crop. It requires high fertilizers, requires the earth to be turned over and be dug out which is energy intensive and bad for the soil especially ”marginal soils”, it’s prone to disease and requires a tight crop rotation and it requires quite a bit of water. the return though is very high calories/acre. legumes are better for those environments.
    – those rice flats will turn into salt flats in mere years. the evaporations in those environments is too high. You would need a constant stream of water which would cost a lot of energy and that would also wash out the nutrients.
    – urban area’s will do fuck all for food production. let the city people stay in their cities doing meaningless bullshit. and put the glass/greenhouses on large acreages from a nice distance from those cities.

    There is big room for more food production in this:
    – Seaweed farming, quite common in East-Asia. Western countries have the most important fisheries and coasts and it could be implemented there. The seaweed also gives a good hiding and reproduce place for fish. Could also be used for fodder.
    – regenerative agriculture, forget permaculture and all that bullshit. what you want to look for is regenerative agriculture.
    -mass reforestation with useful hardy drought resistant food producing tree crops especially from the legume family such as honeylocust, mesquite, tagasaste and sweet chestnut. would provide shade for the grasses and fodder for animals. especially useful in central asia, the edges of the sahara, Texas, New mexico, Chile and Argentina.
    – growing duckweed and carps in ponds and waterways.
    – Drone fertilizing/seeding in hilly area’s so you can seed very high producing grass strains on places where you can’t sow them now. the difference could be a 2-5 times increase in biomass production on those slopes.

    Well that’s enough for now.

  61. james charles says

    “We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN “

  62. Why would you want to create such a monstrous planet. The Earth’s biosphere is in runaway terminal decline and no amount

  63. Sergey Krieger says

    The less folk the more oxygen comes to my mind. And resources per capita too.

  64. All good knockabout stuff of which Asimov et al would be proud. In reality there are far too many factors working against the creation of a hi-tech dystopia and the doomsday scenario is the only real show in town, so get used to it, at least for a while.

  65. First the assurance that intelligence is being regarded as the prime asset, then argumentation at a strictly-below-150 level, as in, “how exactly, how many,” as if that were even desirable, or at least inescapable.
    Well at a certain intellectual level it is.
    But reality now looks as if populations were being steered to dumb down genetically by “intelligent mixing,” so as to be (even) more steerable and easy to amuse in the future, an IQ 80 humanity with a small elite that, starting at abt 120, might as well, or in the best case, turn into a different species soon.
    Yay! This would be a much more attractive option and I really hope that Those Who Know What’s Best For Us are thinking along such lines…
    If not, then the answer to the Fermi Paradox, hinted at-last, is easy to foresee and before I lose any more time here, let me simply draw it up in one sentence : humanity is not an intelligent species.
    Biological “intelligence” is rather obviously meaningless and self-defeating.

  66. What is the upside to increasing the population of a planet that is over populated with idiots? It would be better to correct the birth defect of stupidity first.

  67. Meanwhile, the cost of solar power is approaching parity with other energy sources.

    This is entirely false. Solar power and wind power require 100% backup from fossil fuels. The sun does not always shine and the wind does not always blow when you want it.

    In South Australia recently coal and gas-fired plants saved the day. There were power cuts but that was because the contribution of wind, sun and batteries was almost nil.

    Meanwhile, the cost of electricity peaked at around A$14,000 per MWh (US$10,000)

    The cost of electricity on Thursday in two states of Australia reached a tally of $932 million dollars for a single day of electricity.

    Please stop repeating patent nonsense about fake Renewable Energy.

  68. Global Warming vs. Solar Cooling

    The sun may be dimming, temporarily. Don’t panic; Earth is not going to freeze over. But will the resulting cooling put a dent in the global warming trend?

    A periodic solar event called a “grand minimum” could overtake the sun perhaps as soon as 2020 and lasting through 2070, resulting in diminished magnetism, infrequent sunspot production and less ultraviolet (UV) radiation reaching Earth – all bringing a cooler period to the planet that may span 50 years.

    The last grand-minimum event – a disruption of the sun’s 11-year cycle of variable sunspot activity – happened in the mid-17th century. Known as the Maunder Minimum, it occurred between 1645 and 1715, during a longer span of time when parts of the world became so cold that the period was called the Little Ice Age, which lasted from about 1300 to 1850.


  69. Never mind carrying capacity type arguments for now. Just tell me why an even larger population is inherently “better”.

    AK: I missed where I made any subjective judgements about the desirability of his scenario.

  70. “invitro meat” or lab grown meat is said to need 10% of the resources of livestock sourced meat.

    Current agricultural production is also used as a feed stock for ethanol fuel production. IMO US ethanol production does not produce more energy than it consumes. Brazil might be break even.

    What do you mean by people? Highly disciplined groups like Orthodox Jews might be able to live in high density. Everyone else can’t.

  71. Yes, they say that alternative sources require the input of…fossil fuels, not to mention use of minerals, etc. the mining of which requires…electricity. LOL (or not) If you look at the whole picture, from what I hear, use of sun and wind power may give you a warm feeling in your tummy cuz it’s natural, or less unnatural, but that’s all.

    However, I do know of a family who had a windmill in their yard, near the house, attached to a battery, and it did provide some electricity for them. So it seems that for a low tech way of life, individual windmills are not a bad idea for those wanting to live off the grid. But on a state or country wide idea, not so hot. At least not yet.

  72. Nature’s full force is dedicated to defeating our anti-natal culture and preferences. There is nothing nature hates more than anti-natalism. If nature appears defeated, it is because it hasn’t yet begun to fight. It moves slowly, as men measure time, but inexorably.

    The only way natalism could be defeated is with force. But anti-natalism is always and everywhere accompanied by hedonism, decadence, non-judgmentalism, and complacency. Men will not die to defend anti-natalism. A society of childless, unmarried couples and single men playing video games at home is one that is quickly and easily intimidated by violence.

    Some men will always be prepared to die to defend natalist values, subcultures, and their fruits. Indeed, what else in this world is really worth dying for besides God and family?

  73. jilles dykstra says

    depends on how poor we want to live

  74. Trillions, but we will decide it is unpleasant and move out long before we get to max capacity. Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.

  75. Surely we will be able to genetically engineer hobbits, and double the population while stabilizing the biomass.

  76. This dovetails well with the article: Agenda 21 – United Nations

    Sustainable Development Rio de Janerio, Brazil, 3 to 14 June 1992. AGENDA 21.

    Jan 23, 2009 Agenda 21 explained very well.

    Including implications it will have on humanity. Opinions within the video come in some cases from those that were in on the negotiations. Truly an interesting watch.

  77. Loss-of-Confidence Survivor says

    Why should we be talking about what is the maximum population the world can support? It’s like asking what is the maximum you can lose at the casino before you have to declare bankruptcy, or how much pain you can stand before passing out.

    We should ask what is the optimum population. Hint: It isn’t the maximum.

  78. another fred says

    Yes – the ultimate dystopian vision: elites somewhere/sometime will decide that (having obtained the technical means necessary to create a controlled & focused “die-off” ) a radical population reduction will become “cost effective”.

    I doubt “elites” would light the match, possibly someone who agreed with Ted Kaczynski, someone whose small country was about to be overrun by a larger one, or who held some kind of apocalyptic belief.

    Some elites would certainly have reason to let the fire burn a bit once ignited, but as long as they can be walled off from the herd it is not worth the risk of lighting the match. Same for a developed country trying to use bioweapons against another developed country – too much risk of the fire getting out of control.

    The fact that the technology is advancing so fast that significant infrastructure or investment is (or will not be) necessary is what makes it almost a certainty to happen.

  79. jilles dykstra says

    completely incomprehensibly to me

  80. james wilson says

    No doubt the world can sustain one trillion Dutch, or the other way around. But ten billion Africans? Maybe not.

  81. Alexander Turok says

    Regression to the mean means that the couple at the top 1% will have kids who are merely upper-middle class. Assortative mating is overrated. You could imagine a world in which the CEOs raid the physics departments looking for the smartest women so their kids would be super-smart, but in the real world they just seek out women who look good and are reasonably intelligent and successful.(i.e. college degree and no visible tattoos) Rich movie stars, musicians, and those with inherited wealth don’t seem to care about intelligence in their partners at all.

  82. blahWhatever says


  83. I’ve heard that Mars has about the same surface as the land surface on Earth. By the time we are all living and growing crops inside, it may suffice to double the population again, and have considerably less heat sink problem. Undoubtedly we would have to import volatiles from further out.

  84. Why quote Malthus? I think that Mike Judge is a much more up-to-date and accurate prophet. His “Idiocracy” showed the effects of mass breeding of low-IQ humans in an industrial society. People who actually farm know that potatoes don’t grow everywhere, that not all land can be turned into cropland, that topsoil and water are being depleted and polluted, that corn will not pollinate at high temperatures, that indoor farming can never produce the kind of high calorie crops needed to sustain billions of idiot humans, and that Gatorade is not appropriate for watering crops, even if plants love electrolytes. (Or carbon dioxide, in the fossil-fuel loving version of idiocracy).

  85. I am guessing that the LEDs considered only emit the frequencies of light actually used for photosynthesis. I know that my son’s LED grow lights only produce blue and red frequencies – with no other light source the plants look black!

    I suspect that within much less than a hundred years we will be able to synthesize sugars and polysaccharides from water and carbon dioxide using electricity, perhaps using a base matrix to grow the molecules on, with the matrices being produced in a fashion similar to making photo etched computer boards. And no, I don’t know how to do it!

    I do know that ‘Quorn’ is made from microbes grown on glucose and a nitrogen source, and is one of the most popular meat substitutes in Europe.

  86. F that. Me and my own will tackle AoMI or biosingularity. I am breeding smart babies and they will do the same. Sorry not in a trusting mood.

  87. I’ve a quibble with O’Neal’s cylinder shaped habitats, where long mirrored panels are opened and closed to simulate day-night cycles. Any figure skater could tell him that would create a lot of torque on the mirrors. If that effect were to be overcome by brute force, the rotation rate of the cylinder would vary from day to night!

    A torus with a mirror mounted from the axis and reflecting light into windows in the side – high on the interior wall as seen from inside would work, so its not a big detail.

  88. I personally prefer white Sharia.
    Commandment 1. High IQ makes 4 kids minimum. Commandment 2 Low IQ 1 kid MAX.

  89. Philip Owen says

    Interesting that the Rand Corporation now specializes in obesity. Kahn was obesely fat in a world of thin people.

  90. Philip Owen says

    Yes. LEDs for vertical farming produce only the required frequencies. So it all gets used.

    I used to work for ICI the firm that developed Quorn. I met the developers. They took a soil sample from the company sports field (big British companies from about 1900 used to be very paternalistic). I quite like it.

  91. Well.

    Apart from knowing that it stands for age of Malthusian industrialization, after reading all four parts, I have no idea what the term (AMOI) is supposed to mean. Even considering the higher population numbers is a nightmare.

    They are simply not possible. Other points, too.

    I like much of Andrei’s writing, but see that anything that he really has to say will be in the book.

    Could see that he had some cyberpunk/post-human tendencies from previous reading, parts of this series are insane.

    I again recommend the story Pump Six, it is a good satire of now at times, and likely close to near-future reality.

    BTW, Malthus will be proven correct at some stage, it is not a matter of whether, but when, unless some other catastrophe strikes first.

  92. Sollipsist says

    Data nerds take a dim view of intangibles such as human behavior. Good for them; there are a lot of myths and lies out there to bring down with undeniable numbers.

    I have no metric to back up my belief that peak humanity was reached slightly over a century ago; there’s no index to track the global value of human life. But the 20th Century seems like a century full of indicators (in my mind, common sense clear… but impossible to quantify) that our species is hardcoded to become unconsciously increasingly suicidal long before the hard limit of potential sustainability is reached.

    I suppose that sort of reasoning puts me in the same category as people who see proof of God’s existence everywhere.

  93. It is not like those things, because those are things under your personal control. This exercise is about predicting and understanding the future, or one possible future.

    And sure, we can talk about what the future ought to be, but seeing as how our side isn’t exactly in charge, it’s pretty important to think about what most likely will be and plan accordingly.

    These are far future scenarios though, so it’s mostly just a fun sci-fi exercise.

  94. Toronto Russian says

    Nature’s full force is dedicated to defeating our anti-natal culture and preferences. There is nothing nature hates more than anti-natalism. If nature appears defeated, it is because it hasn’t yet begun to fight. It moves slowly, as men measure time, but inexorably.

    Really, you can’t speak for nature. Nature wired anti-natalism into rodents making them go crazy or infertile in response to overcrowding, even if food is plentiful.

    Animal Studies

    Calhoun (1962)- role of crowding and social density on the behavior of rats, placed a small number of male and female rats into a rat city
    Allowed the rats to reproduce at their own rate and soon the city became overpopulated, apparatus had been designed to house 48 rats
    4 quadrants with ramps between, 1 and 4 not connected (end pens)
    When population less than 48- males established their own harems, mating with them and defending their own pen, females tended to their young and built nests, very little aggression
    Social density increased- in pens 1 and 4 the rats still attempted to continue their usual behavior and were successful to an extent because only one entrance, males in 2 and 3 became very aggressive, no harems defended, and males mated with any female, female rats became ineffective at nurturing their young by not giving them nests, infant mortality rate 96%
    Calhoun called this area a behavioral sink- as social density increased, usual social behaviors decreased especially in the behavioral sink

    Crowcoft & Rowe (1958)- role of social density on reproductive capabilities of the house mouse
    Created 7 colonies, each with 1 male 2 females, each had a 6 square foot pen
    When the pens became crowded the mouse population leveled off as the reproductive capabilities of females declined (inactive ovaries), not down to stress bc no aggression
    Some colonies put in large pens (100 square feet) and reproductive capabilities of females returned to normal and population increased
    In this species a self regulatory mechanism has evolved for limiting the population when social density gets too high

  95. The frequencies may all be used, but scattering will always prevent perfect efficiency.

    My employers, until abt. 10 yrs. ago, had a sports field (mainly used for rugby, although they ddn’t sponsor a team), sponsored three or four other sports, had a big company gym, two restaurants off-site, and a hundred or so dorm rooms for young singles (and earlier, up to abt. 20 yrs. ago, also apts. for young married couples). Certain products availble to employees at a discount.

    All gone now.

    I wouldn’t call it paternalistic, just natural and responsible.

    Lean and mean capitalism sucks.

  96. Loss-of-Confidence Survivor says

    And sure, we can talk about what the future *ought* to be, but seeing as how our side isn’t exactly in charge, it’s pretty important to think about what most likely *will* be and plan accordingly.

    If you’re saying we have no choice in the matter and all we can do is think about how to deal with whatever our globalist masters inflict on us, you speak from a position of learned helplessness. Just what they want you to have.

  97. The Netherlands is a tiny country that could fit in the US more than 200 times but is one of the world’s largest food exporters. Its climate is rainy like the Pacific Northwest but by utilizing greenhouses that take up an area as big as Manhattan, they can grow many types of crops all year round. The Dutch are the world leaders in many areas of agriculture and grow much more food than they can consume. They are a perfect example of what can happen when you leave creative white people to solve problems. Note that the Netherlands has a fairly large unproductive class of parasitical Muslims and they still have achieved wonders. Imagine what the US could achieve if there were no parasites sucking away at all productive areas of the economy. We would’ve landed and had colonies on Mars by now! Here is a video about the Dutch agricultural miracle.

  98. Jewish minds Trump Zionism. says

    while i agree the analysis is useful, the assumptions stink..

    There is absolutely no understanding of the inventive genus of humanity. Since i was in college technology has advanced the most corrupt in to world to the highest posts in the world (bankers and fat cats).

    I entered college in 1959, it was 1958 when Watson and Crick demonstrated the inverted, binary nature of the DNA, just two years before the Russian Sputnik took a few monkeys for a joy ride.. By 1948 the best in organic chemistry was Bohr, Computers were developing, Nerst, and Fermi, nuclear fission was being studied, and the atom had been split in a controlled reaction.. plant physiology and analytical chemistry led the pack in genetic research, and advanced mathematics was being distributed from research to the engineers.. Polymers evolved, and we learned to replace to (nature’s designs and materials) with man’s designs (designs and materials) by 1954, Nylon, Rayon, and Acrylics were being produced to fill consumer needs. The steel mills were being automated, production processes were moving efficiency improvements by executive managerial decisions to applied, automated, interactive and actual production producing efficiencies orders of magnitude better than human management could do.

    by 1965, things were really moving, nearly everyone one graduating with real knowledge government began to over load with the retards, those with so called IQs and Phds, but who could not do anything useful, by 1974 the Oligarchs in charge became scared. everyone was catching up with them, 3,000,000 Americans were producing Americas oil and gas at $12 a barrel and making money(that was too much for the energy giants), bars and gala events were popping up everywhere, spare time and money were no longer problems.. The nation was on a roll. but the Korean war interrupted to kill us off one by one, and Journalism started lying to cover Corrupt Oligarch use of government for private Oligarch needs, and the Zionist decided to broaden their markets by shutting down everything in America (the EPA 1974) and moving energy production to Saudi Arabia or Industrial production to Korea and Japan and consumable factories to China and India.. anywhere where their was progress being made in America, the Zionist came to take it away.

    I believe humanity might exceed the capacity of the earth to produce sufficient food, oxygen and water but it won’t matter we will all die anyway unless the war against competition (Zionism) is somehow stopped ( Zionism is a economic system that encourages its practitioners to acquire ownership and control over everything and to do so by eliminating all competition from whatever source by any method, war, regime change, murder it does not matter). I do not believe human density is a long run problem for earth, there is the moon, and the planets and the Universe to turn into farms and factories.

    Zionist see Humans that don’t work for the Zionist as competition. Zionist want to own and control the air we breath (you can have some if you pay), the water we drink ( you have some if you pay), they want to build for a profit the house we can afford to finance, and (if you pay you can live in a Zionist built house), the street we walk on(you can walk if you pay), and the car (we drive in you can ride if you pay).

    The real challenge to accommodating increasing human density on earth is found in limiting Zionist induced, government enforced denial of human access to knowledge and information and government enforced skewed distribution of our resources into the pockets of a favored few. Competition (either bottom up, Socialism or Top Down, Capitalism) is one thing, but eliminating competition (Zionism) is deadly.

  99. Tulip Bulb Millionaire says

    Eugenics is a good idea. The world is paying the price in misery for not implementing it. A price increase, up to maximum congestion, maximum idiocracy, is coming without eugenics.

    It is disturbing how many technological fantasists dream of electric sheep.

  100. One-Yard Sprinter says

    Some men will always be prepared to die to defend natalist values, subcultures, and their fruits. Indeed, what else in this world is really worth dying for besides God and family?

    Perhaps a world of quality rather than quantity?

  101. There’s some debate about this.

  102. Abelard Lindsey says

    The problem with wind and solar is that they cannot output a given level of power on demand when switch on. Until this is possible, wind and solar are pipe dreams.

  103. TIL, but who cares. Kahn was a very talented writer; his elegant use of statistical reasoning to underwrite unconventional arguments that enraged the mob reminds of people like Charles Murray, Bryan Caplan, or Robin Hanson today.

  104. Toronto Russian says

    You could imagine a world in which the CEOs raid the physics departments looking for the smartest women so their kids would be super-smart, but in the real world they just seek out women who look good and are reasonably intelligent and successful.

    In history, very smart and nerdy people always served the elites (as alchemists, astrologists, architects etc), but never were them or mixed with them. The defining quality of the elite is leadership, which doesn’t go well together with nerdiness. Exceptions are rare (Napoleon is said to be a scrawny nerd when he studied in the military academy). A CEO has the right instincts when he marries a worldly lady of society rather than a laboratory-bound introvert, these genes will be more useful in the game of thrones.

  105. Jewish minds Trump Zionism. says

    yes, the University of Australia has develop hydro storage and shown that there are at least 2200 spots in the world that each individually without the other produce sufficient electric energy from solar and wind to completely supply the world with all the energy it needs.. Just one spot mind you, but there are 2200 spots.

    Besides that the method proposed and demonstrated by the University cannot be patented. Its an invention based on an assembly of long existing technologies.. Someone in charge of this website has refused to allow this information to go mainstream?

    oil and gas is useless in the near short run.. sufficient energy is no longer a problem, but if the Zionist get hold of it somehow and bottle it up, it will be..

  106. And yet, there are descendants of Euler winning Nobel Prizes in the 20th Century.

    Clark showed that regression to the mean takes many centuries, many generations.

    Meanwhile, the elite has a global marketplace. They don’t just have to choose from local girls.

    Regression to the mean might take even longer in the future.

  107. Two comments come to mind.

    First, the more people, the less freedom. If I am the only person in the state of Oregon, I can drive up to Portland exactly as I please. If I like, I can do 120 mph. Even if I crash, I won’t have infringed on anyone else’s freedom. Conversely, if Oregon has a population of 100 million, even if we’ve all got enough calories, I doubt if we can do much of anything past playing computer games without stepping on someone’s toes.

    Second, so what? I had an epiphany when I saw Louis IX’s Sainte Chapelle in France — built to house the utterly imaginary relics he’d brought back from the East. So what if he could have permitted x million more peasants to live with the money he spent? Seven hundred years later, Sainte Chapelle is still there. Those peasants are dead regardless.

    What matters? Is it all really a function of how many people we can have alive on the planet at once?

  108. ‘…Areas under cultivation can be further improved with irrigation (especially in Africa)…

    Yeah, but this requires certain rather unpalatable…efficiencies.

    For example, I doubt if there’s much that a black can do that a next-generation robot can’t . And we won’t get to this ideal efficiency if blacks are involved in the decision-making process in the first place.

    So (except perhaps for educational displays in zoos) it would seem that one of the first steps necessary to realizing this particular utopia would be a final solution to the black problem.

  109. Barbarossa says

    Of course the problem is that modern technological society has advanced in an entirely ad hoc way. There is no attempt to really get a handle on potential downsides of innovation, much less cohesive attempts to solve large problems on a global scale.

    So we end up squandering our technological prowess and valuable energy on absurdities. The modern world sure has a lot of whiz bang but it’s mostly all wankery. I unfortunately don’t see this changing.

    All of these more optimistic scenarios would require a level of coordination and planning from humanity that I have never seen evidenced in history. Collectively, humanity is not rational and probably never will be.

    I imagine that we will continue milking the cheap energy until there is some large scale disaster (solar flare perhaps?) which brings it crashing down, or an increasingly stratified world where only the rich can afford the modern lifestyle and the rest of us are serfs.

  110. William D. Wall says

    At this point what nature would be left? Being in cities is nauseating as is. The question that comes to mind is whether or not increasing the population is even desirable? This also brings me to a fundamental question about our role in earth’s life: is nature just simply here for our exploitation, and that whatever biological entity that does not serve human interests, but is taking up resources is simply expendable? I can’t shake the feeling that Uncle Ted was right.

  111. Food = profit and control

  112. If the cost of the PV cells and wind turbines were zero, absolutely free, it would change nothing. Because they are at the mercy of the weather and the seasons. Furthermore, these things have to be located far from the points of consumption. Hail storms will destroy PV cells – and they need to washed regularly. When the wind is either too fast or too slow, turbines cannot produce electricity. Recent research suggests that wind turbines need to be sited 10 miles away from people – because of the ultra low frequency sound they generate.

    “Finnish Study Finds Wind Turbine Infrasound Unsafe For Residents Living Within 15 Km”

    There is no way of storing even 1% of the energy we consume. Most people don’t have a clue how much energy goes into things that we take for granted. A bit like having 500 slaves for each of us who are on call 24/7/365. If you do the arithmetic properly, you would be amazed.

    Without the subsidies these things have been receiving – direct subsidies and indirect subsidies by them messing up the grid and forcing fossil fuel and nuclear power stations to operate less efficiently – no one would ever have put money in them.

    Does anyone here understand what the word “intermittent” mean? A modern grid has to operate within a very narrow band of voltage and frequency. Without the grid, forget about civilisation as we know it.

  113. ….whatever biological entity that does not serve human interests…

    And there’s fundamental disparity of opinion about that, whether we’re dependent on a web of life, or not. Save the bees, or design pollinating robots. Grow food in buckets, to hell with mycelium. Miracle drugs from mushrooms, or who cares. Preserve biodiversity, or pave it all over.

    Who’s Uncle Ted?

  114. I am in Cairns, Australia. You mention the University of Australia as though these people have some level of competence and honesty. The fact is that last week in both Victoria and South Australia, there were power cuts. In their wisdom, the corrupt academics were all gung-ho for the closure of coal-fired power stations last year. Some coal-fired stations were blown up with explosives so as to please the Greens.

    It is summer here. There is nothing new about it being hot in Australia in the summer. Forget the propaganda about “hottest ever” that the lying MSM has been telling the public. Here is a map of Australia showing how hot it had been in the 19th century and later. And at a time when temperature was measured by mercury thermometers twice daily. Now, it is measured each second electronically. Guess which device gets the real peak?

    During the times of peak demand, both wind and solar and batteries produced no electricity in South Australia and Victoria. Fossil fuel and imports from elsewhere provided 100% of supply. The stations were run over their rated capacity and little maintenance had been done. All the money went to batteries and fake RE. Unsurprisingly, there were failures at these fossil fuel plants. If coal-fired power stations had not been removed, there would have been no problem and the price of electricity would not have reached the amazing US$10,000 per MWh.

    “Money on fire in Victoria and South Australia electricity prices at $14,000 per MWh”

    Currently, the wholesale price of electricity in the USA is around US$50 per MWh – one-two hundredth of what it was last week in SA.

    I am not commenting any further. I was a professional civil engineer and operations researcher. I find it tedious dealing with art graduates and software “engineers.”

    Go ahead and build your turbines and PV and watch your future go down the drain.

  115. ImmortalRationalist says

    If you are talking about consciousness in general, and not just the continuity of an individual stream of consciousness, there are good reasons to think that interactionist dualism is true, and epiphenomenalism as viewed by David Chalmers is false. Thus, for a hypothetical uploaded mind, it should theoretically be possible to test for symptoms of consciousness, and therefore be able to tell with varying degrees of certainty whether or not an upload is genuinely conscious. See The Generalized Anti-Zombie Principle.

    Also, here are some compelling arguments from Avshalom Elitzur in support of interactionist dualism.

  116. Abelard Lindsey says

    Guys, realize that akarlin is not advocating for AoMI. Rather he is commenting how it might come about primarily due to a combination of dysgenics and a failure of technological innovation. Like the rest of us, he certainly considers AoMI to be a very dystopian scenario.

  117. William D. Wall says

    I am talking about our most fundamental assumptions about nature. Is nature just a collection of resources that humans exist above and outside of, that are available for our exploitation to whatever extent we see fit? Or does man exist inside of nature, as a part of it and should thus not be given any more authority over it than any other creature, and should therefore attempt to integrate himself into it. Of the two, I am not sure. I tend towards the latter to some degree, but I know I am in the minority on that. Additionally, to take that position it would require essentially all people to take it, otherwise those who do would simply be dominated by those who don’t.

    I am just frankly appalled by the thought of the prospect of replacing the natural world with synthetic/engineered alternatives that were designed to maximize production to feed the yeast like growth of tens of hundreds of billions of humans. What is the point of that? I see none. Just piles of human mass.

    Uncle Ted is Ted Kaczynski

  118. Alexander Turok says

    “The power grid would be down permanently, cities decimated, fires raging, no fuel for transportation. Urban and suburban survivors would be living in the dark………eating first their pets and then each other as soon as the stocks of canned food disappeared. ”

    Oil drilling, coal mining, steam engines to generate electricity: this is ~1900 tech. If the current infrastructure were destroyed less efficient but still workable replacements would be quickly erected. Only a fraction of American’s energy is spent on farming and transporting food into the cities, so the jerry-rigged replacements would do the trick. Plus there’d be bicycles and lots of newly unemployed people who could drive the rickshaws. There’d be hunger, but not mass starvation.

  119. ImmortalRationalist says

    Why do you not consider the creation of a superintelligent AI to be viable? Do you think that the creation of human level AI, let alone superintelligent AI, is somehow physically impossible, or do you believe in other limiting factors that will prevent a technosingularity, and if so, what? Additionally, what is your opinion of the Biosingularity to Technosingularity scenario, as opposed to the Direct Biosingularity?

  120. EliteCommInc. says

    Appreciated the article and the subsequent discussion.

    But I found it curious no one mentioned fresh water availability, production and distribution – and how it impacts every variable to human existence, and growth.

  121. jilles dykstra says

    limit climate change catastrophe
    what brings you the idea that food production is a problem
    i will die the day after tomorrow, i’m glad to live in the only country where i can decide to decide to die, within limits, alas, where i can take such a decision, is possible
    seriously ill, therefore typing is difficult, thus long explanations are impossible
    a notebook in bed also makes typing difficult
    as you maybe understand, i’m an atheist
    dying just is: ‘the light is switched off, will never be switched on again’

  122. The Contrarian says

    High conjecture. Like arguing about would-be unicorns life habits. Malthus and his descendants like Erlich, were terminally wrong in their projections…
    This sort of stuff is seized upon by opportunistic social engineers (politicians) to enrich themselves and their friends under the flag of some systemic ’cause’.
    I think you should leave some of this epic stuff for the G0ds to manage. Don’t forget, there are overlord vampires in our societies that have proposed the culling of mankind by ninety-five percent… you wouldn’t want to be associated with that kind of infamy would you? Still, makes for great science fiction, carry on.

  123. We must 1st exterminate the Malthusians.

  124. I suggest to take a look at the (land locked) indian state of Uttar Pradesh:
    Land area —0.24 million sq km
    Popn 2018— over 220 million people (indian popn might grow another 25% in coming decades)
    Total Earth land area—149 million sq km
    Now assume only half of Terra is inhabitable, that’s 310 times the area of Uttar Pradesh,and can accommodate 68 billions (with 25% margin of growth) even without further tech advances.
    Uttar Pradesh also has about 30 millions of bovines(a significant % are unproductive strayed animals I suspect), So 68 billions of human with 10 billions of cows.

  125. Interesting question is if it would be possible to geo-engineer Australia to cool down its interior. Then there are other things that might be possible, like getting rid or some other deserts, or like draining the Med – though I suppose you would have to place it with a minefield.

  126. Reuben Kaspate says

    From where will the water to support billions upon billions of people come?

  127. Pure fantasy.
    Mental exercises not based in fact.
    Vertibrate and invertibrate collapse and extinction is reaching end term.
    Arable land, soil fertility are depleting rapidly.
    Chemical fertilizers and biocides accomplished a brief increase in food production, but these have exterminated the microbial biological soil, water, and animal ecosystems wherever used.
    Salmon farms create ocean dead zones, just like oil spills.
    Pure poisons.
    Technofactory farming is non-sustainable, it is failing. Drive across the midwest US, desertification in progress. Walk through a field where cycles of roundup and nitrogen phosphates have been used for the last 40 years. Soil is hard pan, no humus, sterile. Nothing will grow in it unless heavy applications of petrochemical nitrogen fertilizer and herbicides are applied. GMO frankenfood for Frankensteins.

    Arable healthy soil, healthy animals, clean air and water is a natural biological process. It is a natural right and necessity of all life. A process that is essentially being exterminated. The technological poisons are antithetical to life.

    Globalism; ponzi finance, usary economics, technocratic oligarchy, moral and cultural least common denominator relativism… collapsing into a smoldering heap. 7.7 billion has adequately demonstrated we cannot share and manage this planet without reaching an extinction.

    Peak population sustainability is evidenced and correlates directly with peak society, peak culture, peak artistic, humanities and intellecual achievement. Authentic original small-scale cultures often reached it. Arguably most ‘modern’ societies peaked 18th Century with a scattering in the 19th, a couple sparkles in 20th.
    Quality of life in this brief human existence outstrips quantity of lives in an exponential inverse proportion. Stroll through an urban highrise ghetto…

    AI controlled mile-high teraformed crust technocoffin megaplex of matricies delivering chemical and electrical feeds for a trillion symbiotic humanpods.
    Recycling in a closed artificial system that negates quality of life is an entropic zero sum exercise.

    What can the planet reasonably sustain without entering a cycle of dominant predator/exploiter-caused mass extinctions?
    <300 million humans

    Winnowed by 2050, or extinct.

  128. incomprehensibly tall arcology skyscraper cities,

    Isn’t it more likely rising population density will just convert most of our continent’s countryside into merciless 20 floor ant hills which resemble:

  129. Philip Owen says


  130. Massive volumes of Fresh Water enter the earth’s atmosphere in the form of meteoric ice.

    No global shortages are anticipated.

    Just local issues.

  131. Mars, the moon, and several other moons in our solar system can be colonized.

    There is a lot of real estate.

  132. All of these more optimistic scenarios would require a level of coordination and planning from humanity that I have never seen evidenced in history.

    And even to suggest that coordination and planning might be desirable is likely to get to labelled as a goddamn pinko commie around these parts.

  133. It looks similar to “Люберцы”, no.

    But it’s both in Petersburg, which upset Varlamov’s blog.

    If Karlin’s age of demographic expansion would ever come true, I guess we’re mostly going to live in these anthill.

    Optimum number of floors for residential construction is maybe 15-20 floors nowadays?

    Just Amazon rainforest alone, after cutting down its trees, could probably accommodate several billion people in such building types? (assuming enough central asians could be found to construct them).

  134. Fresh water isn’t really a scarcity problem. It is an energy problem and an infrastructure problem.

  135. Mars, the moon, and several other moons in our solar system can be colonized.

    There is a lot of real estate.

    Possibly. Can they be colonised at a realistic cost? More doubtful. We’re centuries away from having the necessary technology.

    The moon seems very dubious. Adapting to gravity that low may be very difficult. And it’s a dead rock. Why would anyone want to colonise it?

  136. Abelard Lindsey says

    For starters, Moore’s Law is reaching its limits. This means progress in semiconductors will slow considerably. Secondly, the architecture of the brain is very different than that of digital computers. There are 209 different chemical types of synapses. Each neuron has around 10,000 dendritic connections that end in these synapses. The dendritic connection is dynamic. It reconfigures itself every night during sleep. This kind of dynamism does not exist in any semiconductor device and is not in any design concept as well. I have several links I would post here. But they are on my other computer that I do not have access to right now and they are not easy to find. I will post them on Monday.

    In short, I believe it IS possible to create true AI. But its not going to happen in the next 50 or even 100 years. It will take more like 200-300 years.

  137. Abelard Lindsey says

    I disagree with the need for cooperation and planning. I think the trend favors the other direction, towards decentralization.

    Technology such as automation, 3-D printing, and the bio-engneering stuff that is coming makes it easier for individuals and small self-interested groups to do what could formerly be accomplished by governments and large corporations. I expect this trend to continue, even in a slowly dysgenic scenario. If so, large scale institutions are becoming less important for the drive of technological innovation. Decentralized bottom-up organizations will drive the rate of technological innovation faster than larger organizations (which are really bureaucracies). Hence the concept of large scale “cooperation” and “planning” becomes increasingly obsolete.

  138. Agreed. Now that’s getting to the point and not too many of these ”geniuses” want to face it, they would rather go on “Multiplying” like Grandpap done! Collapse is on the way, and the living might wind up envying the Dead if it don’t stop what’s the way it seems like it’s going.

    The way to really have influence on the make up of the future posterity isn’t to attempt to pump out the max of one’s own genetic footprinted types (your brats with all your same anoying flaws etc.) but rather to effect real change… like Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin, Ghingus, and some of the real players who killed on industrial scale. That gets something big enough to make a difference. Or, maybe to come up with some really important ”soft ware” or something…. hahaha.

  139. silviosilver says

    Is nature just a collection of resources that humans exist above and outside of, that are available for our exploitation to whatever extent we see fit?

    In my view, absolutely yes. I don’t see that I owe nature a goddamn thing. Nature isn’t my friend. Nature attempts to thwart my existence at every turn. Ultimately, it’s nature that ensures I shall some day perish. If nature is beautiful, nature is also extremely ugly. For those who care to look, nature is muck and ooze, blood and gore, violence and death. A few pretty pictures of tranquil mountain scenery changes very little for me.

    Additionally, to take that position it would require essentially all people to take it, otherwise those who do would simply be dominated by those who don’t.

    To me, that is a most comforting thought. This no doubt perplexes you, but one possible escape route is to do as I do: find inspiration solely in the man-built elements of life.

  140. silviosilver says

    But I found it curious no one mentioned fresh water availability, production and distribution – and how it impacts every variable to human existence, and growth.

    That’s mainly a concern for people who’ve never heard of desalination.

  141. The classically Western view of alienation that is the source of our modern nihilism and apathy.

    The philosophy of the modern period. We must wait for the new generations to turn their backs on this nihilism and towards a healthier view of their place in the world.

  142. Nothing is required, beyond what was available in 1970.

    Little different from living in a large cave.

    Colonies across the Solar System are inevitable.

  143. Hyperborean says

    Isn’t it more likely rising population density will just convert most of our continent’s countryside into merciless 20 floor ant hills which resemble:

    They look more like LEGO pieces. I suppose that is a fitting metaphor for the type of life they encapsulate.

  144. Toronto Russian says

    Guys, realize that akarlin is not advocating for AoMI. Rather he is commenting how it might come about primarily due to a combination of dysgenics and a failure of technological innovation. Like the rest of us, he certainly considers AoMI to be a very dystopian scenario.

    Not gonna happen anyway. There’s no “breeder gene” emerging in the French, AK has been corrected about that. No boiling-off effect: the Amish are down from 10 children in a family to 5, and the Haredi are on the same track.

    However, the fertility rate amongst the community has been dropping since 2005, when the number of children per Haredi woman stood at 7.5; now it is 6.9 per woman, compared with 2.4 for non-Haredi Jewish women.

    “Stupid” teen births declining in the US:

    These threads are more manifestations of snobbery than thoughtful predictions. “I’m the only smart one, and all these other, ordinary people are idiots who will bring a dystopia on us. Let’s elaborate on how they deserve to suffer and die.”

  145. Toronto Russian says

    Colonies across the Solar System are inevitable.

    Isn’t everyone going to get cancer and birth defects from cosmic radiation outside the Earth’s magnetic field? I think is was the strongest argument against the possibility of space colonization by biological humans (at least with the same biology as now).

  146. My personal opinion – surely these microdistricts are brutalist, souless and repetitive. Moreover, construction standards are not high, and layout of buildings is badly planned, without even adequate car parking infrastructure.

    On the other hand, people who bought in these areas, even while agreeing with the criticisms, report generally happily and satisfied with their apartments.

    So objectively – is this construction style a success or failure?

    1. These are affordable and value for the money, especially if purchased before construction.

    Bloggers like Varlamov compare them negatively to apartment projects in countries like Netherlands or the UK, which are much higher quality. But what he does not say, is that in Netherlands or the UK, apartments can cost at least 10 times more money to buy.

    To buy new apartment in the above buildings (outside Petersburg) , is from $24,000.

    1. Although $24,000 is cheap for buying a new apartment – it is also usually still too expensive for drunks and lumpenproletariat who piss in the corridor.

    So from $24,000 you are already filtering out the worst neighbours and giving you a quiet environment, and an almost middle class life (for now – maybe these districts will deteriorate).

    • Compare to other Northern European countries. In London, the cheapest apartment is from around $300,000 in a bad area. But a new apartment in London is averagely from $600,000+.

    Meanwhile, this is photo below is the new academic district of Ekaterinburg. A new apartment costs from low of $25,000.

    In 2007, there was nothing here. By 2018, the population is 90,000 and is increasing 10 thousand people each year. With the weight of the population density, they will now even build a tram into the city.

  147. The pathway to Karlin’s “AOMI” might not be via selection for “breeding genes” – but I would not dismiss that it won’t be our eventual future, probably not of the 21st century, but plausibly of the 22nd century.

    What will happen when “artificial womb” technology matures, probably within this century? The world will be then just some few legal adjustments away from allowing corporations or governments to mass produce children.

  148. Hefty Bags (C2H2) & water (H2O) block cosmic radiation, better than lead.

    “The shielding effectiveness of the plastic in space is very much in line with what we discovered from the beam experiments, so we’ve gained a lot of confidence in the conclusions we drew from that work,” Zeitlin said. “Anything with high hydrogen content, including water, would work well.”

    Ice shields would be stable in Martian Ambient Temperatures.

  149. Yes a cheap imitation of Lego (Lego is much more beautiful).

    Still, good and bad aesthetics can encapsulate good and bad visions of life, but if we are honest – life itself is usually pretty indifferent to it.

    For example, any child growing up in one of those buildings, will still have a richer imagination than any adult living in a palace in Venice. Equally, a man with depression living in Portofino, might notice less beauty in his town even than a happy man who lives in Kudrovo.

  150. Yes a cheap imitation of Lego (Lego is much more beautiful).

    It really is the world’s biggest Lego blocks they build outside Saint-Petersburg today.

  151. Hyperborean says

    For example, any child growing up in one of those buildings, will still have a richer imagination than any adult living in a palace in Venice. Equally, a man with depression living in Portofino, might notice less beauty in his town even than a happy man who lives in Kudrovo.

    It is possible, but I still believe peoples’ spirit will be lifted if they have the chance to be surrounded by a beautiful environment.

    On an other note, I was wondering about this statement:

    Optimum number of floors for residential construction is maybe 15-20 floors nowadays?

    Is there any reason for this estimate? Aside from perhaps something to do with the soil, I don’t see any reason why, hypothetically speaking, residences shouldn’t just built higher?

  152. Abelard Lindsey says

    Its based on economics. Singapore is instructive here. Many of the housing estates built in the 80’s were around 7-8 floors. During the oughts, many of these were being replaced with those of 15-20 floors. These are outside the CBD. The housing estates in or near the CBD (say, near Orchard Road) are usually around 35-40 floors. The next break point you see is around 60-70 floors. Tokyo has seen a lot of new construction of 40 and 70 floor residential towers.

    I think these break points are based on structural as well as HVAC design constraints.

    So, a high density region will have housing estates in the 15-20 floor, 40 floor, and 70 floor range depending on local population density. There really is no economic basis for housing estate in the 100 or more floor range. These are mostly vanity projects, like that “432 tower” in NYC.

    1. Lower, fasting, calorific diet is beneficial to human health.
    2. I would expect curtailing air travel within the UK for example would increase yields due to the decrease in cloud cover.
    3. The Loes Plateau in China, Desert regeneration in Saudi Arabia, Costal regenation show that there is a massivc untapped potential in what is at the moment considered usuitable land.
    4. Move to a more plant based diet, with meat being a luxuty item.
  153. All food, as are all material objects, is simply an assembly of some of the naturally occurring elements comprising the earth. At some point, we can use technologies similar to molecular 3D printing to create food out of the unlimited stock of the earth’s elements. Takes a lot of energy, but the sun is unlimited as well.

  154. Barbarossa says

    Right on disfordoom. We can’t even figure out how to live with a modicum of grace in the ideal environment which is Earth. But we are going to manage eking out life on some godforsaken rock?

    That seems like the equivalent to some chick wearing high heels and a short skirt in a New York winter tell you how she totally has a Polar expedition covered!

    What is theoretically possible is very different from what is practically actionable.

  155. Barbarossa says

    I would say that if we as a species can first manage perpetual world peace and a long term sustainable footprint on the planet we already have that outer space colonies might be in the realm of distant possibility. However, I suppose that if we managed the above, no one would be very motivated to go to a lifeless rock.

    In terms of logistics, the above options would be much easier to accomplish than even a sustainable moon colony and since we aren’t even capable of accomplishing them, what makes you think we can manage to get our act together enough to colonize outer space?

  156. It is possible, but I still believe peoples’ spirit will be lifted if they have the chance to be surrounded by a beautiful environment. [And not giant Lego blocks pretending to be buildings].

    In the Russian case, these complexes are emerging on outer parts of large cities, and their growth is significantly a result of internal migration to certain large cities. For example, in areas shown above, the edge of Saint-Petersburg.

    So if they want it, residents still have opportunity of access to “beauty” in the cultural life, historical buildings, museums and art galleries of the great city they’re at the edge of.

    Moreover, we here think this architecture is dystopian and frightening – but crazily, a lot of people who think it’s beautiful (so perhaps it’s subjective).

    There’s debate whether the developments will lose popularity and value of these areas will soon collapse. But I also heard people seem to be complaining the opposite, that some of these areas are becoming too popular and dense with people.

    Is there any reason for this estimate?

    There will be surely a trade-off with “per floor” construction cost. At first the “per floor” cost is falling as more floors are added, as components of the building like the roof and the foundation are the same fixed cost regardless of the number of floors, and each floor therefore “dilutes” these fixed costs. But above a certain height it must become more expensive for structural reasons (for example, buildings above a certain height need much deeper foundations and thicker columns) and so those “fixed” costs become not fixed, but then increase in stages.

    I would assume the cheapest per floor buildings are at around 20 floors now, just from the fact it’s so common with these anthills (although some are actually 25 floors) whose purpose is to minimize cost of construction.

    Other factors like land prices and demand for apartments, must vary the equation – but in these projects the apartment price and land would often be relatively low (as they are built in fields where there is often no preexisting infrastructure), and they still go to 20 floors.

    There are also other disadvantages even at this height. For example, in Russia, you can’t use gas above 9 floors.

  157. Endgame Napoleon says

    If the doomsayers are correct, it does not matter since, unless they are in the majority-white population in West, mommas cannot be criticized for producing more kids than they can afford to feed right now, much less after any ecological apocalypse.

    Many whites self-police that kind of thing, as do some minorities. But unlike with whites, when minorites churn out more kids than they can afford—including noncitizens legally and illegally in this country—they must not be critiqued, regardless of the environment.

    Womb producers falling under the earned-income limits for the programs in single-breadwinner households, in fact, must be paid by government in increasing amounts per birth via the welfare system and the progressive tax code. This is required to avoid charges of racism. This is a staple of the West’s wildly hypocritical, womb-productivity-based, fake feminism.

    Maybe, the not-so-rare earths generated from coal ash will save the solar industry at large—if not all those failed green-energy companies backed by the Obama Administration—likewise saving the giant internet scrapbook, whereby pay-per-birth and affluent mommas alike display their ecologically unsound handiwork during work hours, when they are actually at work rather than absentee and above firing in their family-friendly womb-club jobs.

  158. There’s no “breeder gene” emerging in the French, AK has been corrected about that.

    Where exactly?

    In any case, we will not be able to tell for sure in principle that until we do GWAS for this. Which, incidentally, are starting to happen, and already indicate that there do indeed exist breeder genes:

    No boiling-off effect: the Amish are down from 10 children in a family to 5, and the Haredi are on the same track.

    The Amish and Haredi are not immune to wider cultural trends, which have gone in a strongly anti-natal direction in the past century.

  159. Barbarossa,

    Try to not project your inadequacies, despair, & neuroses, to the rest of us.

  160. The Amish must really be constrained by the scarcity of good farmland. Perhaps, their belief system is really a weakness when it comes to fertility because they eschew technology. What is needed is to combine a high TFR culture with belief system that takes advantage of tech to maximize that TFR.

    The Amish should not be plowing fields with horses. The should be growing yeast in vats.

  161. John Howard says

    What Is the Maximum Population Earth Can Support? I don’t know, and neither do you.

    Stir estimates together and make some numbers crunch
    and soon you’ve got a science and more than just a hunch.

    From reading all of this it’s now quite clear to me
    that if you add up guesses, you get a certainty

  162. Barbarossa says

    Ha Ha! It’s actually a serious question. Human nature is a persistently intransigent factor which unfortunately has to be reckoned with. Many individuals are reasonable enough, but in aggregate…not so much.

    There is just nothing in human history, either recent or not, which makes me think we are capable of pulling such an endeavor off. That’s even setting aside questions of whether it’s a worthwhile goal.

    I would actually be interested to know what makes you think we could collectively pull it off, when we as a species seem to have such a bad track record in long range planning and collective foresight?

  163. Barbarossa says

    I have a lot of Amish around my area, and they are an interesting case. In my area we have loads of somewhat marginal farmland (not great for high intensity crops like corn or wheat but good for grazing) which is going into brush. The Amish are actually doing something with the land while a lot of “regular” residents can’t be bothered to get off the TV to plant a bit of a garden. It’s easier to collect the ol welfare check.

    I find the Amish to be smarter than they are given credit for. They actually wait to see the social effects of a given technology before adopting it. Therefore they actually have maintained a functional reciprocal society. Since each group is self governed they do have a substantial leeway in technology usage. I’ve even seen Amish with solar panels.

    Viable farmland is a limiting factor for them, as you pointed out. That’s how they ended up in Belize (surprisingly enough), chasing affordable fertile land.

    In general, I have respect for the Amish. When compared to the Walmart People they sure do look like they have their stuff together.

  164. Barbarossa says

    The question becomes, are certain technologies even compatible with a reciprocal cohesive society? If the Amish adopted the automobile they would cease to exist.
    They recognized early on that the automobile was going to destroy community, which it unequivocally did.
    Does technology serve human nature or do we serve technology? Increasingly, it seems the latter unfortunately.

  165. silviosilver says

    If the Amish weren’t white, I wonder whether you’d be nearly as impressed by them. For me, it’s dispiriting in the extreme that not only can such technology-rejecting adherents of one of the dumbest moral systems ever concocted merely exist, but actually flourish. I’d rather humankind met its end in a nuclear winter than to see primitives like the Amish outlast us all.

  166. A.B. Prosper says

    No they cannot be colonized as they lack air, water, arable land and we lack a surplus population in any case.

    There are no existing societies anywhere that can maintain the level of stability required for such a project nor can they allocate resources over along enough term.

    In any case once the African and Middle Eastern fertility issues resolve, the population of the Earth with actually decline. The entire developed world has a TFR of around 1.6-1.8, heck Brazil is there the less developed is approaching 2 and the least developed are very slowly coming along.

    Some Islamic societies like Morocco and Turkey are already there.

    Long term this decline will probably avert the worst of the Malthusian scenarios and lead to a gradual population decline not a catastrophe.

    Thus far no society anywhere entering this cycle has ever gotten out of it but its only been an issue for a couple of generations so who knows . My guess is that once the social carrying capacity is reached, we have jobs enough for all and cheap enough land, it will stabilize at a smaller number, maybe 200 million or less for the US

    This still mostly urban population will not produce any space pioneers nor surplus wealth for such things.

    I’ll note also that of the most fertile groups, the highest fertility is among the Amish with various Orthodox , Evangelical and LDS groups as well

    Its quite possible the longer term, in theory a coupe of centuries will be prefaced with technological decline as highest natal group prefers 1719 over 2219

    In that case space is a no go.

  167. Colonization of the Solar System will NOT involve ‘All of Humanity’.

    Nor did the Lunar Landing. Commander Neil Alden Armstrong and lunar module pilot Edwin Eugene (Buzz) Aldrin Jr., both Caucasian Americans, landed the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle on July 20, 1969, at 20:17 UTC. Armstrong became the first person to step onto the lunar surface six hours later on July 21 at 02:56:15 UTC; Aldrin joined him 19 minutes later. Nearly 50 years later, the ChiCOM Asians have finally duplicated that human milestone. I suppose that the EU, Russians, Canada, and/or Australians could join the club. Perhaps India and/or Israel might eventually aspire to an attempt. Are there any others?

  168. Will they? They subscribe to nonviolence (don’t defend themselves) and are white. That requires at least benign dictatorship. They wouldn’t survive in South Africa – that’s for sure.

  169. Why don’t Russians prefer to live in single family detached housing like people in Anglo Saxon coutries do?

  170. Colonization of the Solar System will probably require NASA to return to OBJECTIVE REALITY. This, as opposed to their more recent forays into Politically Correct Pseudo-Sciences and other utter bullshit.

    In any event, actual hard science would be highly advisable over socialist inspired drivel.

  171. Barbarossa says

    Sure, their have been impressive achievements like the lunar landings etc. My point would be that briefly visiting a place is very different from colonizing it.

    The resource allocation to undertake such a venture would be beyond vast. Presumably beyond the resources of even a relatively prosperous country like the USof A. How would it happen without a concerted effort across the globe?

    Presumably to accomplish something of that scale their would have to be a forcible reallocation of huge amount of resources by a global tyranny of elites, or a broad based general consensus to cooperate to reach such a goal.

    I mean, how do you keep people from revolting when they have sacrifices imposed to send all their infrastructure material to Mars?

  172. William D. Wall says

    Nature is the thing which gave you life, friend, and your ability to stay alive/propagate your genes is proportional to your ability to function within the parameters it offers us. Man has been rebelling against this idea for a long time, and has devoted untold energy and resources into trying to ascend beyond it. This type of thinking came to its peak during the Enlightenment when it was formally asserted that nature is simply a collection of resources. This can be traced back even further to the Jews and their notion of a man-centered world as told in the beginning of the Bible. The Romantics pushed back against this notion and reasserted that man needs nature, not the other way around.

    Interestingly enough, however, we have managed to construct a social/economic/political system in the West that has in many ways placed us outside the reaches of nature. We fight to restrict our access to nutrition, rather than to fight for access nutrition, we fight to restrict our access to the propagation of our genes, rather than fight for access to the propagation of our genes, we fight for the privileges and rights of the foreigner, rather than for own rights and privelages against the foreigner. The list goes on. Those outside the West, on the other hand, outside of a select few other regions, are still very much acting inside of nature, they fight for access to resources, mating, etc. And as it seems now, they have the upper hand in the world of human competition. No one is worried about African, Arab, or Latino genocides are they?

  173. Barbarossa says

    Not sure their whiteness has anything to do with it one way or another. It might be the beards. They sport some BOSS beards.

    I don’t really subscribe to the idea that more technology is necessarily better. Technology has brought a lot downsides as well as benefits. I think it may not be possible to optimize all factors (easy mass mobility destroys community and culture, for example) so it becomes a question of where the sweet spot is.

    I would guess that it may have been somewhere in the 1800’s, at least in the rural areas. There was still a fully formed and functional culture and community but advances in technology had greatly reduced life’s back-breaking grind to subsist.

    The Amish seem to have picked something of a sweet spot to hang out in.

    The Amish are not really a model that works on a national scale, and they do require a somewhat benign government to let them be, but we can take them as a model that a conscious evaluation of technology can be very helpful.

    Besides, it seems to work pretty well. You can drive around my area and see the clean orderly Amish farms, alternated with the trailers with trash/ scrap covered yards. That’s a generalization of course, but one with more than some truth.

  174. Does anybody know what the rate of child sexual abuse is in such a closed insular community where reporting abuse to outside authority is looked down upon, must be something the Feds should look into.

  175. Barbarossa is a compulsive whiner and naysayer.

    Facts, evidence, engineering, innovation, inspiration, & invention are made of different stuff.

    Sometimes ‘The Right Stuff’ is required.

  176. “…have you considered the possibility of synthesizing food without any kind of biological agent…”

    I like this way of thinking. The photosynthetic efficiency of plants is around 3–6%. I had read earlier somewhere it was more like 2%. It’s really bad. If we can find a way to make sugar then use some other process to make carbs and protein with a really bad solar cell of 15% in the desert we could grow a huge mass of food. Maybe use some of the symbiotic processes of balanced bacteria and yeast. A bit of genetic engineering and we have steak and potato solyent.

    NASA is trying to do this now or at least is starting some of the first steps to do so.

    There’s a also a way to feed everyone on Earth a high quality high protein diet without stressing things too much. An essay by a frequent commenter here, Jim Bowery. This is stupendous work and not too long you should read it. He shows how to make make enough energy to house every one on Earth with a high quality food supply in 15 years in their own Ocean side condo. That’s right Ocean condo..

  177. The Anabaptist movement, from which the Amish later emerged, started in circles around Huldrych Zwingli (1484 – 1531) who led the early Reformation in Switzerland. In Zurich on January 21, 1525, Conrad Grebel and George Blaurock practiced adult baptism to each other and then to others. This Swiss movement, part of the Radical Reformation, later became known as Swiss Brethren.

    Encouraged by William Penn’s offer of 5,000 acres of land in the colony of Pennsylvania and the freedom to practice their religion, the first Mennonites arrive in America aboard the Concord. They were among the first Germans to settle in the American colonies. The Mennonites, members of a Protestant sect founded by Menno Simons in the 16th century, were widely persecuted in Europe. Seeking religious freedom, Mennonite Francis Daniel Pastorious led a group from Krefeld, Germany, to Pennsylvania in 1683 and founded Germantown, the pioneer German settlement in America and now part of the city of Philadelphia.

    The term Amish was first used as a Schandename (a term of disgrace) in 1710 by opponents of Jakob Amman. The first informal division between Swiss Brethren was recorded in the 17th century between Oberländers (those living in the hills) and Emmentaler (those living in the Emmental valley). The Oberländers were a more extreme congregation; their zeal pushed them into more remote areas and their solitude made them more zealous. The first Amish immigrants went to Berks County, Pennsylvania, but later moved, motivated by land issues and by security concerns tied to the French and Indian War. Many eventually settled in Lancaster County. Other groups later settled elsewhere in North America.

    EurAsia exterminated their Amish centuries ago, though a few Mennonites remain.

  178. And the Unz Award For Elevating the Discourse goes to…somebody else

  179. Ah yes, the ol’ Ad Hominem.

    So I take it you’ve punted on the question? That’s too bad because I would actually be interested in seeing what the possible solutions might be. It’s not as if it’s a detail which can be easily ignored.

    If anybody else has some thoughts on the topic I’d love to hear them.
    The overlooking of human nature has always seemed one the main weak points in many of the futurist type ideas.

    Has it been thought through in a way that I’m not familiar with, or is it just a case of being so enamored with one’s own “beautiful idea” that inconvenient facts are overlooked?

  180. “…Moreover, we here think this architecture is dystopian and frightening – but crazily, a lot of people who think it’s beautiful (so perhaps it’s subjective). ..”

    I like Brutalist architecture, “if”, it is cheap and functional. $25,000 for an apartment. That’s excellent. Who cares what the outside looks like. You could do a hell of a lot with the inside with the money you saved on not having art deco stonework on the outside. If we started using non-steel reinforcement in concrete we could build concrete structures that last like the Romans. Look up basalt rebar vs steel rebar.

    That’s not to say some Brutalist Architecture has not been a disaster and had poor function. That says nothing about the idea of Brutalist Architecture only that it’s practice has sometimes been poorly done.

    Habitat 67, Montreal is one of my favorites.

  181. We can’t even figure out how to live with a modicum of grace in the ideal environment which is Earth. But we are going to manage eking out life on some godforsaken rock?

    Yet another thing to consider – what kinds of people would want to live on the Moon or on Mars? I don’t see psychologically health normal people wanting to so. The sorts of people who want to raise families. Would you seriously want to raise kids in such a place?

    So the colonists will most likely be embittered loners, sad losers and libertarians. Of course the idea of all the libertarians deciding to depart en masse for Mars does have a certain appeal.

    But the point is that the people who would be interested in starting a new life in the Off-World Colonies are not the sorts of people likely to build stable successful societies.

  182. Oleaginous Outrager says

    Considering that both solar and wind power are comfortably above that level, even according to more pessimistic estimates

    I call bullshit. By the way something, please to be describing, in detail, the nodes in the supply chain necessary for this better-than-5-to-1-EROEI solar and wind power that can be powered by wind and solar power rather than petroleum.

    after all, the world’s level of food production is generally in balance with demand

    Rarely has food production been the main issue. What we have, and will likely continue to have, is a food distribution problem.

  183. “Nuclear is the only viable option since it is quasi-renewable, and can potentially be high-EROEI if needless, highly costly regulations are removed.” Anatoly Karlin

    Energy Return On Energy Invested (EROEI) ignores the cost of Nuclear Disasters.

    The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Zone of Alienation (Ukrainian: Зона відчуження Чорнобильської АЕС, translit. zona vidchuzhennya Chornobyl’s’koyi AES, Russian: Зона отчуждения Чернобыльской АЭС, translit. zona otchuzhdenya Chernobyl’skoyi AES) is an officially designated exclusion zone around the site of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster. It is also commonly known as the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, the 30 Kilometre Zone, or simply The Zone (Ukrainian: Чорнобильська зона, translit. Chornobyl’s’ka zona, Russian: Чернобыльская зона, translit. Chernobyl’skaya zona).

    Established by the Soviet Armed Forces soon after the 1986 disaster, it initially existed as an area of 30 km (19 mi) radius from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant designated for evacuation and placed under military control. Its borders have since been altered to cover a larger area of Ukraine. The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone borders a separately administered area, the Polesie State Radioecological Reserve, to the north in Belarus. The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is managed by an agency of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, while the power plant and its sarcophagus (and replacement) are administered separately.

    The Exclusion Zone covers an area of approximately 2,600 km2 (1,000 sq mi) in Ukraine immediately surrounding the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant where radioactive contamination from nuclear fallout is highest and public access and inhabitation are restricted. Other areas of compulsory resettlement and voluntary relocation not part of the restricted exclusion zone exist in the surrounding areas and throughout Ukraine.

    Later in 1986, after updated maps of the contaminated areas were produced, the zone was split into three areas to designate further evacuation areas based on the revised dose limit of 100 mSv.

    the “Black Zone” (over 200 µSv·h−1), to which evacuees were never to return
    the “Red Zone” (50–200 µSv·h−1) where evacuees might return once radiation levels normalized
    the “Blue Zone” (30–50 µSv·h−1) where children and pregnant women were evacuated starting in the summer of 1986

    The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is grossly undersized, (by an order of magnitude IMHPO). However it is FAR more responsible than the USA TMI & Japan FDNPS disaster responses.

  184. As I said, nature operates slowly. Put an animal in a novel situation and it may behave strangely. Take a wide enough pool of rats, and some won’t respond as negatively to the overcrowding; their fertility may be reduced, but not to zero. Keep the rats overcrowded and well fed, and only those rats will leave any offspring. Keep those offspring overcrowded, generation after generation, and the overcrowding response will be eliminated entirely; indeed, you may end up with rats that struggle to breed when not overcrowded.

  185. John Howard says

    The answer is that we are the most successful species on Earth and our growing numbers are proof that we are smart enough to take care of ourselves. We are not rats. When there begins to be too many of us, we will change our ways and adjust, probably by voluntarily reproducing less. That trend already shows itself among the wealthy nations. There seems to be a rule that the better we do, the less we reproduce.

    The one thing we most certainly do not need is a bunch of know-it-alls who are smarter than everybody on Earth setting themselves up as population czars, pretending to know what the “carrying capacity” of an entire planet is. My inclination is to reduce the population by eliminating czars first, then let nature take its course in peace and liberty.

  186. “Quality” (by which you mean wealth) is nice to have, but will men really die for it? Particularly childless, godless men?

    Wealth and anti-natalism breed social atomization. And the socially atomized can really only be motivated to fight by a paycheck. Such men are notoriously unreliable when the danger escalates.

  187. Barbarossa says

    That’s a valid point, and one which is a big question mark. I know in my own case, I have chosen to live in a very rural place on a dirt road so my kids (and myself) have nature and room to roam. My personal dictum is that if I can’t piss out my front door it’s too crowded!

    Now I know that’s just not an option for a lot of people, so it’s not a universal prescription!

    So, personally I would find absolutely no appeal in living on the moon. I love our living planet too much.

    As an expansion of your point, I wonder how children raised in an utterly bleak environment such as a lunar colony would be affected psychologically. It seems like that could have some unpleasant effects, especially after a generation or two.

    We already know that astronauts start running into not only physical, but also psychological deterioration from extended stays in orbit.

  188. Vishnugupta says

    Chernobyl was a ridiculously unsafe design basically a super giant version of a WW 2 era plutonium production reactor.

    If you want to compare apples to apples compare Pressurized Water Reactors which constitute 80% + of installed civilian reactor base and 97%+ of naval nuclear reactor base and 95%+ of new reactors under construction.

    There have been no accidents at civilian power plants remotely comparable to three mile island which in itself had zero casualties and was many orders of magnitude less severe than Fukushima(BWR technology) let alone Chernobyl(RBMK technology)..

  189. There are Green Roofs, which store & reuse rainwater. These could be farm-able, and are not incompatible with photo-voltaic or solar-thermal applications.

  190. Equally, a man with depression living in Portofino, might notice less beauty in his town even than a happy man who lives in Kudrovo.

    Kudrovo not urban hell. Honestly I’ve seen (particularly in Europe) settlements worse

  191. AK: “Had the spent fuel tumbled down slope, the resulting cataclysm would have exterminated North America to the Mississippi Valley.” Just to succinctly answer why I’m hiding all of this commenters’ comments.

    The General Electric Mark-1 pseudo-containment systems failed, (4-for-4) at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (FDNPS) in March 2011. The most spectacular failure was the Atomic Detonation of Reactor-3. The most dangerous situation was the teetering Spent-Fuel-Pool associated with the FDNPS Reactor 4. Japanese were able to temporarily shore-up the teetering SFP, and then subsequently move the Spent Fuel to a ground-level, common SFP. Had the spent fuel tumbled down slope, the resulting cataclysm would have exterminated North America to the Mississippi Valley.

    The common denominator of Nuclear Reactor FAILURES is the obfuscation, minimization, and concealment. TMI certainly caused a cancer-spike along the river valleys, which is obscured by the 10 mile radial studies.

    The Japanese, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), WHO, CDC, and Obama Administration worked feverishly to conceal the damage extent of the FDNPS nuclear disaster, particularly the damage to the North Pacific Fishery. FDNPS environmental impacts DWARF those of Chernobyl and probably include the dying Orcas of the North Pacific.

  192. Purple-Roof® is a non-proprietary concept that is already available through many green roof providers across North America. The Purple-Roof® concept provides an instantly vegetated roof that employs vegetation as a tool to protect the soil and resist runoff.

    Purple-Roof® can successfully retain the most storm water and minimize and/or eliminate fine particle and fertilizer runoff. Roof elements consist of 100% natural materials, and Purple-Roof® employs conventional drainage plates to breathe. The goal of the Purple-Roof® concept is to mimic nature and create a living, self-supporting root zone.

  193. The failed FDNPS General Electric Zircon fuel rods burned, just as the Russian carbon-control-rods did at Chernobyl. There is nothing significant in the Pressurized Water Reactor designs which would have prevented containment failures had they been in place, at the FDNPS. Nor are Heavy-Water reactors any safer, quite the contrary.

    Obfuscation, Minimization, Concealment, and Red Herrings are the stock-in-trade of the Nuclear Village. They have been the stock-in-trade since the Atoms for Peace program was initiated under the Eisenhower Administration. I Like Ike, but this program was a total FUBAR, from the get-go.

  194. The USA can double our natural gas electrical generation efficiency by duplicating the power station designs, (water/steam blankets – with retipping), used by Siemens electrical power generation plants. Efficiency can also be enhanced by adoption of Cascading Closed Loop Cycle (CCLC) systems, such as developed by WOW Energy of Houston, Texas.

    Unfortunately Rick Perry is an idiot and a nuclear village whore. James Richard (Rick) Perry (born March 4, 1950) is an American politician who is the 14th and current United States Secretary of Energy, serving in the Cabinet of Donald Trump. Prior to his cabinet position, Perry served as the 47th Governor of Texas from December 2000 to January 2015.

    So, we won’t do either.

  195. Abelard Lindsey says

    Here’s the link I alluded to previously:

    Here’s another one that came from an earlier post in this blog:

    Both of these suggest there will be no general AI anytime soon. Both imply another AI “winter”.

  196. I forgot this link where they use electricity and air to create protein.

  197. I think any space colony on a dead world would be heavily into art and gardens. Think the inside of a cathedral or a botanical garden in a greenhouse. Everything would have to be inside though, probably underground.

    Main attractions would be freedom of association and almost limitless potential to expand. Would be pretty hard to give up the sky though.

  198. Surprised nobody mentioned “Caves of Steel.”

    one of Asimov ideas was that a Malthusian world would not allow robots to exist, and that they would be in space, where the culture and people would be very different.

    I alluded to it before, but he amusingly had squirrels in a zoo at 8 billion. But that was about 3x the pop when he wrote the book.

    Population of the US is over 5x what it was when much of my folks came over and they did not come over early. Industrialized US had about the pop of ancient China.

  199. “…Pressurized Water Reactors…”

    These high pressure systems are not the only valid ways to make nuclear power and are only used because the nuclear Navy, started by Adm. Rickover, needed the fastest, cheapest solution to build reactors for ships and subs. Other methods are far, far, far, way far, safer. We were working on those but funding dried up. Of course now the Chinese have copied all the research and will commercialize what our useless corporations won’t fund. Every since the Jews took over our economy we don’t invest in anything but junk bonds and debt.

  200. Philip Owen says

    I was being phonetic. 🙂

  201. “…There is nothing significant in the Pressurized Water Reactor designs which would have prevented containment failures had they been in place, at the FDNPS….”

    It’s not true that the design could NOT be made safe. There’s a type motor that runs off of heat called a Stirling motor. It’s a simple heat engine. If they had Stirling motors strapped to the steam supply of the reactor and then used the power from them to run the cooling pumps then any loss of power would mean…nothing. The Stirling motors would run as long as they had heat. So they would run until the reactor cooled down. I don’t know why we haven’t added something like this. It could be retro-fitted to reactors when they are refueled. Weld a heat plate to the steam exit of the reactor and bolt the engine on. The Stirling system could be combined with the battery system that all reactors have to charge the batteries so you wouldn’t have to redesign the whole thing.

  202. I agree, relative to the low prices it does not look so bad

    By the way, did people here see about the story of the “luxury villas” in Turkey?

    Probably it is indication of a future scenario of dystopian “luxury housing” in AOMI.

  203. Philip Owen says

    Winter heating costs. Single family dwellings are expensive to heat. Other factors matter too.

  204. EliteCommInc. says

    Until they solve what to do about the residue (in the case of using our oceans — the salt residue) desalinization will be an attractive possibility. Coupled with other issues such as distribution amng other technical issues . . . .

    Water will remain a prime issue.

  205. Philip Owen says

    AGR’s were much safer than PWRs. Self cooling in emergencies and no pressure vessel.

    These days we have thorium reactors under development.

  206. “…dystopian “luxury housing”…”

    I find those castles hideous. I guess it’s a matter of intention. I see Brutalist architecture as being practical so if it’s a little plain it’s…fitting it’s purpose. I like these. I DO NOT like Brutalist buildings that cost more than a regular building. They should be made cheaply with mass produced sections.

    It would be nice if they did something about the staining of the concrete. A coating??? Lines scratched in??? Pebbles???

  207. Barbarossa says

    I’m with you on those castles being a nightmare, although I’m no fan of Brutalist architecture. The problem for me with most architecture is the lack of context. The architecture of the past is inseparable from the culture and the land. Modern architecture tends to abstraction and indifference to place.

    That second building is quite appealing for being Brutalist. I rather like it.

    The first seems to be from the Le Corbusier school and I’ve always thought that the “legs” made the structures overly complicated and disconcertingly disconnected from the ground.

    Those castles are really bad though. The repetition makes it seem like some sort of waking nightmare.

  208. As an expansion of your point, I wonder how children raised in an utterly bleak environment such as a lunar colony would be affected psychologically. It seems like that could have some unpleasant effects, especially after a generation or two.

    Yeah, the kids are likely to grow up with major problems.

    They’re also likely to end up with physiological problems and peculiarities that would make them unable to survive well on Earth.

    One option for space colonisation would be penal colonies. I’m surprised no-one has suggested that one.

  209. Main attractions would be freedom of association and almost limitless potential to expand.

    Are you sure you’d definitely have freedom of association? I know that many science fiction fans see space colonies as libertarian paradises but would it really be that way?

    I would have imagined that in order to survive a space colony would need almost military-style discipline, and rigid hierarchies. In space everybody has to obey the rules, otherwise everybody dies. Also everybody has to get along and the best way to ensure that happens is by having rigid social rules.

    A space colony might turn out to be more of a traditionalist paradise than a libertarian one. Or it might be an authoritarian or even a totalitarian dystopia.

    As for limitless potential to expand, I don’t quite see those possibilities in a dead rock like the Moon or Mars.

  210. Surprised nobody mentioned “Caves of Steel.”

    It’s also worth pointing out that Caves of Steel is a dystopian novel. In some ways it’s more depressing than 1984.

  211. True. “Freedom of association” in this sense is a very limited term, meaning ( potentially) that you get to choose your group that colonizes, and thus might escape forced association with other groups. It is more of a founder effect thing. But space might be considered a good barrier to certain groups.

    Limitless potential to expand is about the real estate being unsettled and open access to minerals. It’s not literally true. You’d need to figure out how to remove perchlorates, and that might be a difficult process, for one. But for instance Mars has more surface area than Earth has land. It has a lot of water too.

  212. A.B. Prosper says

    It won’t be Heinlein’s Libertarian Pioneers that colonize space.

    Living on the Moon or Mars would be roughly like living in a maximum security prison or police state. One mistake could kill everyone so you get no freedom at all. On top of that you need highly intelligent and capable people who want to be in a prison and raise kids in one for reasons

    You can assume percentage of women will be very low since normally women hate being colonists and the colony won’t be wealthy or a nice place to live.

    Given the troubles terrestrial colonies had getting people, I mean Louisiana rounded up women from mental hospitals and prisons to send to the colony , you can assume great difficulty finding smart, compliant , trustworthy ,adventurous and healthy people for a space colony

    This will be even harder if the population keeps declining. 1.6 TFR across all developed nations with no end in site is a radically different structure than 60’s USA with a TFR of 3

    Getting fertility up will require huge economic changes , steady as in life time well remunerated work and a lower status for women . Given automation much less culture, its not going to happen

    The paradox is any society that can make a space colony has little demand for labor do to automation and a correspondingly low birth rate or is heavily socialized in which case most resources are spent on welfare. Its too broke to do this kind of thing which costs trillions. It can also go broke from demand starvation and assuming a revolt doesn’t end up Pol Pot 2.0 it will be a poor backwater

    Its not a coincidence the US was wealthy and had high fertility and demand for labor when we went to the moon and its not a coincidence that as soon as the computer took off, the 80’s and wages went down (half the percentage GDP as in 1973 as of 2017 or so ) the space program went with it

    Demography made this infinitely worse but even of the US somehow had the demography of 1960, its moot. No money, no babies, no babies, no colonies

    China maybe could do it if they harvest enough resources in Africa and hoard them but again they have a fertility and trust issues.

    Not a single even partially developed nation has above replacement fertility among its high IQ population and Elon Musk aside recent immigrants and future immigrants lack the requisite traits

    Its unlikely any nation will be in a fast recovery phase ever. Stats obviously don’t work this way but at current fertility rates in 200 years most US people will be descendants from and quite possibly practicing Amish!

  213. Barbarossa says

    Like dfordoom, I’m skeptical that a space colony would have fundamentally different freedoms that on Earth. If things are the way they are on Earth, how would a more inhospitable environment provide for more freedom of association? If anything it would seem to push toward a more authoritarian system.

    I just don’t see how human nature could change for the better in a more adverse environment.

    I suppose that the art and gardens would certainly be ideal, but it seems like even sustaining life on something like the moon would be difficult enough to make non-necessities like art prohibitive.

    Maybe I’m just a pessimist when it comes to human nature , but I have a hard time believing in the perfectibility of man. It just doesn’t seem like human nature changes much over time.

  214. Quality of life would be a goal that would take time. Maybe generations. But there’s a lot that could be done. Point is that it would not be infinite blandness. People would be driven by thoughts of their posterity, and a sense of community because they selected their group.

    Settling any place would require advanced economic techniques. Probably a high level of automation. This would feed into the potential for a high lifestyle. Imagine pools, ice skating rinks (might be hard with different G levels). Tunnels where you could walk, bicycle, skate, maybe even row a boat for miles. Every sports amenity.

    Stuff to appeal to women like robot-made clothes and costumes. A new one every day.

    Human nature would change in a way, by group selection. It wouldn’t be a utopia, but it would be different and maybe better. For instance, a simple IQ cutoff would eliminate most violent crime. You could also select personality traits or political beliefs. Any heritable quality would produce a different environment.

  215. I really like Le Corbusier Unité d’habitation building.

    You probably already know this but for some that might not he has two apartments one over the other surrounding a central entrance way/hallway. With this comes balconies on both sides of the building for each apartment. It’s very well laid out. The building itself is ugly. I get that. I think they could have done more and still keep the same ideas to make a functional building.

    Here’s some pictures of the layout

    The legs support the whole building and keep the lower floor open for other use. I like this idea but it doesn’t look as good as this which one of my favorite buildings. The first time I say a picture of this it floored me.

    Temple of Hera

    I bet if the Le Corbusier Unité d’habitation building had a big base on the bottom before the pylons it would look a lot better.

    I think the proper way to think of Brutalism is efficiency. I heard prices of $25,000 for an apartment. What if you could buy an apartment in NYC for say $50,000? I think this could be done if you went up 50 stories or so and used all the prefab concrete you could. Mass produce all the walls, floors, finishing, the whole thing and hoist it up on poured concrete frames,(which could also be mass produced). There’s a company in China that does this and builds 30 story buildings in 15 days or so. Very fast(The Broad Group). Even if your house looks mass produced you could pay the thing off quickly and not be a wage slave.

  216. Vishnugupta says

    True in fact Mr. Alvin Weinberg the inventor of the PWR was against its deployment for civilian use.

    However even with PWR the nuclear power industry is economically viable and will likely become even more so as seawater extraction of Uranium becomes commercially viable resulting in virtually unlimited Uranium supplies.

    Unfortunately any technology to replace PWR will take decades to mature and enter mass production.

    The regulatory environment ensures that it is virtually impossible to certify and licence radically new designs in the civilian sector so these will likely be deployed by the military which will have reactors optimized for its needs like being able to power lasers and railguns from ships etc.

    A similar situation exists in the aviation industry all civilian aircraft now look the same cylindrical fuselage, swept wings,podded engines because doing anything else is next to impossible to certify and not worth the business risk and most of the radical innovation is happening in the military aerospace sector.

  217. Beginning with, I am a degreed electrical engineer & I have worked on nuclear projects.

    Flat-Earthers, Moon-Launch-Deniers, Holocaust-Deniers, & Luddites are allowed to rant.

    But electrical power engineers, with nuclear project experience are silenced?

    AK: Erm, no, they’re not. I typically delete those comments, or at least hide them. Same as with your insane conspiracy theories that Fukushima could have “exterminated North America to the Mississippi Valley”. This makes it clear that all of your ramblings on nuclear related issues have zero value, regardless of any credentials you claim to have. Your habit of making short, sequential comments that aggressively clutter up the comments board is another reason why I delete your crap (I would have just hidden it if it was one big comment but I don’t want to waste time manually combining your comments).

  218. Maybe I’m just a pessimist when it comes to human nature , but I have a hard time believing in the perfectibility of man. It just doesn’t seem like human nature changes much over time.

    To believe in the viability of space colonies you need to be a starry-eyed idealist. To make a space colony work you’d need very different people – tough-minded, practical, unimaginative (because imaginative people are more likely to ignore rules and thereby kill everybody). They would have to be people who like hierarchies and military-style discipline and would be happy to follow every single rule and regulation to the letter.

    Space colonists would need to be of fairly low intelligence. Intelligent people would get bored and do something silly and everybody would die.

  219. Barbarossa says

    “To believe in the viability of space colonies you need to be a starry-eyed idealist”
    “Starry eyed idealist”/rimshot/
    Hey, Good one!

    We’re on the same page there. I have the same issue with most “utopian” fantasies, whether they be communist, neoliberal, futurist, et al. They tend to ignore human nature and are therefore doomed to failure.
    Human nature seems as stubborn a reality as gravity, although theorists of all stripes seem to utterly ignore that.

    It also seems remarkable to me how the difficulties of space colonization get minimized or glossed over. Keeping body and soul together has historically been pretty tough on Earth. I suppose in some cases it’s really as much about the fantasy as a steampunk fanatic, just clothed in scientific terminology.

  220. Barbarossa says

    I guess the thing which always got me about nuclear was the waste issue. It seems like the ultimate case of kicking the can down the line.

    Even if you design a system which is theoretically virtually foolproof in operation, the waste is still an obstacle which seems insurmountable.

  221. . I heard prices of $25,000 for an apartment

    It would fail in America though, because American salaries are too high. Salary of highly educated people in America – $200,000 a year is quite normal, even for walk in jobs. While the lowest McDonald’s labour-force, still receives around $30,000 a year.

    These new residential complexes can be tolerable, because people have to buy the property, and this will filter away most drunks who piss in the corridor.

    The low price is a function of the very high population density of the buildings. But this means you rely a lot on public spaces, and trying to avoid having neighbours like:

    In America, at this price, all your neighbours will be behaving like above.

    I really like Le Corbusier Unité d’habitation building.

    Personally, I am not a fan of brutalist architecture – although theoretically it should be attractive to me.

    If you are a fan however, have you been to the South Bank of London? They have a lot of cultural buildings in this style, like “National Theatre”, “Queen Elizabeth Hall”, “Hayward Gallery”, “National Film Theatre”.

    In photos, the buildings look bad. But when you visit in real life,they are quite good places and present a real atmosphere of “1960s London”.

  222. I find those castles hideous.

    For example, outside Moscow, new semi-detached houses (for around $1 million) and apartments in marketed as “elite” gated communities, which are designed like this:

    Personally I am not a fan of the architecture. But even in the “elite” market, the price is still very good value and affordable, compared to property in Europe – this project sells around $1 million for a townhouse.

    For the same price (around $1 million) in equivalent area outside London, you can buy:

  223. Not that it would change the magnitude of these calculations, but would wheat really be the top crop to grow indoors? Wouldn’t it be sweet potatoes, potatoes or rice?

    I don’t know about protein. Maybe, GMO would take care of it. Or maybe that would be insects. Petri dishes, or the mammary glands of a cow, devoid of the rest of it.

  224. “…Even if you design a system which is theoretically virtually foolproof in operation, the waste is still an obstacle which seems insurmountable…”

    No, not a problem…technically. Molten Salt reactors BURN waste. The final product is radioactive for 300 years. After that it’s level of radioactivity goes to less than the ore you started with. There’s more than one kind of reactor that does this. The Russian reactor that uses lead I think also does this. I wish the US had followed this path instead of sodium cooled reactors. Sodium blows up when it hits water. What they were thinking when the decided to make nuclear reactors use sodium…I don’t know????

    Now you might complain about the 300 years but coal waste remains carcinogenic… forever and the dust has radioactive waste in it also. All kinds of things are carcinogenic forever that are just laying around on the ground. If you think about it that way the risk changes.

  225. “… Personally, I am not a fan of brutalist architecture…”

    Most of it I find awful looking but some of it looks very bold and strong and appeals to me aesthetically. Le Corbusier Unité d’habitation buildings look awful to me but the livability and the low cost I think make up for it. I think if they thought a little more about the facade maybe they could take the same functionality but have a nicer looking building.

    I think it’s appalling that it’s a million dollars for that house outside of London. I do believe, technically if maybe not politically, that you could build a high rise and sell apartments for $50,000 in a major American city with mass production. Not junk either. Maybe not super aesthetically pleasing but solid housing apartments.

    Look at these guys. They save a fortune by building the building n a factory. It greatly reduces waste.

    Chinese construction firm erects 57-storey skyscraper in 19 days

    Maybe their buildings aren’t fancy looking but most buildings are just glass curtains today and really have no style at all.

    The idea is basically to get a roof over your head cheap and spend the rest of your money however you want instead of piling everything you have in a property that is only valued high by monopolistic scarcity.

  226. ImmortalRationalist says

    True AI being created in 200-300 years rather than in 50-100 years is still within the Third Millennium.

  227. , that you could build a high rise and sell apartments for $50,000 in a major American city with mass production.

    Studio apartments could be sold from $25,000, if you build them with Central American “guest workers”, I imagine.

    But the tolerability of this mass housing requires you to have well behaved neighbours, because it is very high population density, where respectful behavior in common spaces is essential so it is not to become urban hell.

    In Russia, the requirement for people to purchase the apartment, from $25,000+ for the smallest apartments (and no tenants), is itself a filter, which results in better attitudes from the neighbours.

    But in America, a $25,000 purchase means you are probably competitive with the trailer park, and will have drunk neighbours who piss in the corridor. The salaries are far higher in America, so you would surely not get ordinary neighbors at a low price.

    So might it more desirable to not live in high density buildings for Americans at this price point. It would be better to have lower density housing, for Americans at a lower price point (so they have some separation from troublesome neighbours).

    I think it’s appalling that it’s a million dollars for that house outside of London.

    And the prices to buy in a somewhat fashionable district of London?

    This terrace small house (foreground) near Abbey Road, is $4,5 million.

    For this price, you do not receive even a garden. Just an underground parking space. Area is not even that “posh”.

    So the $4,5 million (£3,5 million) is not very related to “construction cost”. It reflects how much people want to live – even in modest house – in a fashionable area, and the excess of demand to supply.

  228. This terrace small house (foreground) near Abbey Road, is $4,5 million.

    Oops I misreported this figure somehow, being confused between dollars and pounds.
    The price of this house is $3,43 million (£2.65 million).

    Still, very expensive for a small house, without a garden.

  229. Barbarossa says

    I just looked into the Molten Salt Reactors and they do indeed seem like a better option. The passive safety aspects make a lot of sense, since the more complex the system, the more prone to failure. As we have seen demonstrated a couple times with conventional systems.

    Given that they have known about this since the 60’s it’s amazing that it’s only now starting to see serious traction. The advantages were clear even at the early stages although there are some technical hurdles and difficulties. I thought the site below had a pretty good run down.

    As you mentioned, in the greater context of energy sources the issues may be more manageable. I suppose with all things the proof is in the pudding and until they are fully functional on a commercial level there will be unknowns.
    Interesting concept though, thanks for mentioning it.

  230. Anarcho-Supremacist says

    FYI I found this book that may be of interest to you if it is of quality(just found it so it could be BS). I know a lot of us like to think maybe the estimates are conservative but what if they are optimistic?

  231. Personally I am not a fan of the architecture.

    It’s trying too hard. If you toned it right down it might work.

  232. Hyperborean says

    There’s a company in China that does this and builds 30 story buildings in 15 days or so. Very fast(The Broad Group). Even if your house looks mass produced you could pay the thing off quickly and not be a wage slave.

    Overcrowding due to urbanisation and speculation means that even apartments in brutalist buildings, which are basically most of the urban residences, are tiny and expensive.

  233. Charles Ramsey says

    Since the sun started fusion it has been getting hotter. The carbon dioxide of the atmosphere has been dropping keeping the earth at an even temperature. In 100000 years the carbon dioxide of the atmosphere will have to go to 0 to prevent the earth from getting too hot for life. Some time before then life will go extinct or there will be a phase change. The earth has already undergone a phase change when life went from anaerobic to anaerobic. Either way there will be no humans.

  234. are tiny and expensive.

    What kind of price is it to buy apartments in China?

    For comparison, in the academic district (Ekaterinburg), $30,000 buys a new apartment of around 30 m². But currently, there are one hour traffic jams to exit just the residential district (because of lack of infrastructure and too many people).

    On the other end, for $1,2 million, you can buy 250 m² apartment in the centre, in a more luxury building.

    Architecture is modern either way.

    $30,000 apartment would be in one of these “barracks” like buildings, in the new microdistrict.

    From 12:00, you can see the kind of dense entrance and courtyard.

    Whereas, for $1,2 million, you can buy a 250 m² apartment in a more luxury apartment buildings in the centre.

  235. Yes, it’s too pretentious. This is a bit of kitsch 1990s tastes. But it’s interesting as a reaction to the modernist architecture fashions (I remember melanf posted here about it for that).

    There is also too much population density in the project – see how close the windows are. But it will be gated and with a wall around it, and neighbours probably well behaved and quiet.

    The cheapest terrace houses are selling from around $1 million each (the narrow tall houses at 1:52 in the video).

  236. OK, burn me at the stake. I actually liked the looks of most all the houses in the video linked. Why I like those and not the castles…I don’t know? The castles just seem fake while the houses in the videos just seem to be over decorated.

    I guess I just like buildings that are what they are. The castles seem fake but the Brutalist buildings are just functional spaces in most cases, (not that some are not and I’m not talking about those). I can appreciate that.

  237. silviosilver says

    To believe in the viability of space colonies you need to be a starry-eyed idealist. To make a space colony work you’d need very different people – tough-minded, practical, unimaginative (because imaginative people are more likely to ignore rules and thereby kill everybody). They would have to be people who like hierarchies and military-style discipline and would be happy to follow every single rule and regulation to the letter.

    Gee, well shit, bro, it’s just plain bad luck that there are no people at all with those qualities on earth, right?

  238. silviosilver says

    It also seems remarkable to me how the difficulties of space colonization get minimized or glossed over.

    You could make the very same point regarding space flight and space station missions. And when you do, perhaps you’ll realize how inane this line of argument is.

    Of course space colonization pioneers are going to be a very, very select bunch of people. For fucks sakes, how is it that a moment’s thought doesn’t make this screamingly fucking obvious?

    So obvious, in fact, that I have no choice but to suspect that people like you reject expansion into space for emotional, not factual, reasons.

  239. OK, burn me at the stake. I actually liked the looks of most all the houses in the video linked. Why I like those and not the castles

    But the vast majority of people prefer castles. One businessman in Russia built this castle in 2004

    • here come the tourists and the lovers are here for the wedding

    And this is the ugliness Zaha Hadid created for one Russian oligarch.

    change this with a knight’s castle. What is better is a rhetorical question. What is more expensive is also a rhetorical question (Zaha Hadid’s creation is more expensive than the castle)

  240. It also seems remarkable to me how the difficulties of space colonization get minimized or glossed over.

    You could make the very same point regarding space flight and space station missions. And when you do, perhaps you’ll realize how inane this line of argument is.

    I have no choice but to suspect that people like you reject expansion into space for emotional, not factual, reasons.

    Emotionally I like the idea of space colonies. But the difficulties of colonising the Moon or Mars are many orders of magnitude greater than space flight and space station missions.

    Firstly, the physiological effects of living permanently on low-gravity worlds are unknown.

    Secondly, no matter how carefully colonists are selected it’s possible that nobody will be able to deal with the psychological effects.

    Thirdly, even if you assume that the colonies might eventually be self-sustaining (and that’s a very big if) in the short and medium term the colonists will have to take everything necessary sustaining life with them. And they’re going to need multiple backups of every item. If their air recirculating plant breaks down they’re not going to be able to wait months for a replacement part to be sent from Earth. The sheer amount of stuff they’d have to take with them is mind-boggling.

    Fourthly, the cost would be staggering – many times greater than something like the Apollo Project. Where on earth is the money going to come from? And what chance is there of getting political support for funding of a project that would be staggeringly expensive with doubtful chances of success?

    It’s not like colonising North America, where you just chop down a few trees and build yourself a hut and immediately you have shelter, and you wander into the woods with a gun and you have food, and there’s already food there to gather.

    It’s a wonderfully attractive idea but the practical difficulties would seem to be impossibly extreme.

  241. It’s not individual castles. One of these alone looks great. It’s mass cookie cutter castles. It’s looks horrible. I have nothing against castles.

  242. “…Fourthly, the cost would be staggering – many times greater than something like the Apollo Project…”

    Not so. But it would take a LOT of time. A billionaire or maybe even less could do this. Look at Musk work with spacecraft. It took him a long time to get where he was. All the materials and energy you need are on the Moon. You would have to build 3D printing on the Moon an build the whole thing from scratch. You would have to have someone willing to hammer away at this for 30 years or so until it’s built.

  243. Barbarossa says

    I absolutely agree. The repetition is what makes it so disturbing. It makes you wonder what kind of person would willingly pay good money to live there.
    There are a lot of housing developments I’ve seen that are just as bad in terms of repetition, just less over the top.

  244. Barbarossa says

    Actually there are lots of thing which I WISH were true, but after examination I can’t believe. I spent my childhood fantasizing about Star Wars as much as the next guy. I certainly would be nice if interstellar travel was the solution to man’s problems. I just doubt it for the reasons which I have already articulated in several comments.

    Can you give me any reasonable answer to my objections and change my mind?

  245. Barbarossa says

    Solar energy or some sort of nuclear? The moon would certainly have some mining possibilities, but that would be a very energy intensive proposition to both extract and refine.

  246. “…Solar energy or some sort of nuclear?…”

    Soar. Thin film mirrors will give you all the heat and power you need. You would need to start a small solar cell with batteries, or even better flywheel, ,a small 3d printer, some digging and drilling/grinding equipment.

    It’s was mentioned that you could use solar to heat lunar dirt to where it melted to make shelters. This idea came from one of my favorite DIY housing book authors.

    Ceramic Houses and Earth Architecture
    How to Build Your Own
    by Nader Khalili

    Actually his ideas won’t really work as he planned but the book is still great. There is a way to make it work though.

    With enough heat from mirrors you could melt lunar soil into molds or you could layer soil in layers then fuse them with heat. The key is thinking small and building a little at a time. Use a small machine to build a bigger one to build a bigger one. There’s a heap of aluminum and titanium on the Moon.

    There’s a few papers on separating all the minerals. Here’s one.

    Search for “Materials refining on the Moon” to get more.

    Once you build up your materials you build heavy equipment. You could build linear Mass driver just like the ones they are using to launch aircraft on the new US aircraft carriers, (a stupid idea if I’ve ever seen one), and launch manufactured parts and stuff into space. It would be difficult to build all this stuff but once you had the pattern down a lot of it is mass produced. The same thing over and over and over. To build a space habitat is mostly a huge mass of shell that could would be identical pieces joined together.

  247. I just doubt it for the reasons which I have already articulated in several comments.

    There are other problems we haven’t touched on yet – the legal and political problems. Who owns the Moon? Who owns Mars? If you try setting up a mining operation you will get swamped by lawsuits. Then someone will come up with the bright idea of having an international agreement to cover such things. Lots and lots of rules and regulations. The U.N. will claim jurisdiction. The Americans will go berserk if the Chinese start mining the Moon.

    Minorities will demand their share of the profits (quite reasonable since the entire U.S. space program was only made possible by genius Women of Colour). There will be diversity quotas to consider. What do you mean your colony doesn’t include a single Trans Woman? And what about the bathrooms – are they going to be gender neutral?

    And then governments will realise that they can impose taxes on the mining operation.

    And then there’s the problem of the greenies. You think they won’t be crazy enough to demand the the Moon be left a a pristine wilderness area? Of course they will.

  248. I would like to add a couple of other viewpoints
    constraints based on the 2nd law of thermodynamics several articles.

    the haber bosch process is responsible for about half of all crop production worldwide

  249. “…2nd law of thermodynamics…haber bosch process…”

    None of this matters because if we do not go into space we will be clobbered by a comet or asteroid and it will be all over for civilization. The last big one was only around 12,000 years ago. For all of the rest there are lots of solutions. Nuclear power, solar, solar power satellites, possible fusion.

    I also commented here, (sorry about the repetition but it seems the same “we’ll never make it” comments come up but solutions are just ignored), about man made Islands that could be built in 15 years to provide ALL the living and food area for the entire planet in the Oceans. My only problem with the solution is I would have nuclear power back up. This would also save us if an asteroid hit most likely.

  250. None of this matters because if we do not go into space we will be clobbered by a comet or asteroid and it will be all over for civilization.

    So the choice is between living out your life on a goddawful dead rock but at lest you won’t get hit by an asteroid, or living on Earth in relative comfort and accepting the extremely tiny risk of an asteroid strike.

    Of course there’s also the possibility that you move to the colony on Mars to be safe from asteroids and comets and lo and behold Mars gets clobbered by an asteroid.

  251. Both are kind of ridiculous for living.

    The castle lacks windows, while the monstrous Zaha Hadid has too much windows (it would be scary at night, when you think people outside can see everything you are doing).

    If I was really pretentious person and somehow have $30 million which is its price (the most expensive house advertised in Surrey, England), I would maybe want a historical, old English house like:

    Includes a pond where you could fish.

    The garden behind it would be perfect, to convert into a racing track for radio controlled model cars.

  252. It’s with the repetition and very high density, that they could have a relatively low price.

    I don’t what is normal price in Turkey – but if I remember correctly, these were something like $500,000 each. This was intended by the Turkish developer to sell to rich Arabs for vacation houses (but really the price is probably not so high for large, luxury houses in a popular area of Turkey).

  253. Relative for the price and “elite gated village” area outside Moscow, this project might not be so bad, especially as it is already including new furniture, bathroom, kitchen, etc.

    For $1 million, you can buy the smaller “townhouse”.

    But obviously the decorative shape of the house, is a bit stupid and inconvenient.

    From the outside it is like this:

    So your bathroom in the top, has this kind of awkward ceiling shape.

    Smaller kitchen size more for an apartment:

    It’s more like triplex apartment

  254. “…So the choice is between living out your life on a goddawful dead rock but at lest you won’t get hit by an asteroid, or living on Earth in relative comfort and accepting the extremely tiny risk of an asteroid strike…”

    Not exactly. I gave alternatives. Islands built in the Ocean. I also think going to Mars is a complete waste of time for settlement. The Moon would be ok but the lowered gravity would Kill you probably. Remember we’re talking long term survival of the human race. In this context living in a space colony with lots of room is not so bad. It’s better than where a lot of people live now.

    I think that the frequency of world wide disasters is much, much, much higher than is advertised. I can’t see me moving to any of these as I’m too old. The floating Island would be nice. Especially if it could be only for Whites. No diversity.

    Some space habitat links for those interested. They can be massive. Not little closed up things.

    As I was writing this I realized I’m getting off track on the subject of how many people can the Earth hold so I’ll lay off the space stuff. It does sort of relate but not directly.

  255. Both are kind of ridiculous for living.
    The castle lacks windows, while the monstrous Zaha Hadid has too much windows (it would be scary at night, when you think people outside can see everything you are doing).

    The castle is not intended for housing at all, it is a winery – in the “castle” make and store wine.

    But people come to this castle to celebrate weddings (because they like the castle).

    But no one likes Zaha Hadid’s creations (except for a very narrow circle of fans of modernist architecture)
    It’s like a painting – people (absolute majority) love the old painting and hate modernist painting (for its exceptional ugliness)
    Which of the two options you prefer to decorate the walls:

    The first painting (this is the work of a student of the Academy of arts in St. Petersburg) according to the official views of the “intellectual elite” is kitsch, Gypsy art, bad taste, pathetic imitation, etc., etc.. The second painting, according to the official views, is the top of the world painting, a masterpiece.
    But that will prefer 99.99 % of people you know.

    With architecture the same situation. Here’s Le Corbusier’s masterpiece.

    And this is the “tasteless”, “Gypsy” house of the Russian businessman
    What better?

    Here is a lecture in Russian-

    modern architecture does not exist, modern architecture is a Scam . And this is difficult to argue

  256. As someone from a former Communist nation that was rapidly urbanized, my answer is that the private and public sector build this because this is the worst they can get away with. People have to be in urban areas in order to have access to middle class amenities, including cultural, but also to middle class jobs. Incomes are low, infrastructure is poor, prices are very high relative to income because of access to cheap credit, cost disease in construction materials and competition from abroad, and the market is already set by the past practices of Communist directed urbanization. Average home sizes have increased, but just by a bit. In many ways, they have regressed. In many projects, the communists would set buildings back from the road and leave some small gardening space to shield ground level residents from the street. Many residential areas are quite leafy because of this. Meanwhile, the new developers cram as much as they can into the space they are allotted. Anything not built up becomes parking space and, if they are somewhere where they have to think of road infrastructure, they will never build wider streets or expand the state built one lane streets from back when the area was basically empty. So large developments are almost axiomatically congested and lacking in green.

    I have noticed in my own country that developers build the same kinds of apartments that the commies did and which have become almost culturally ingrained – studios at 20-30 sq m, one bedroom flats at 40-50 (1 bedroom + 1 living room), two bedroom flats at 60-70 sq m. Anything higher is already the luxury segment, especially since block housing is more profitable per sq m the smaller the unit footprint. Even housing is built on the assumption of below replacement rate families. I live in a one bedroom apartment that is the size of a 2 bedroom one (65 sq m or 700 sq ft, recently built near the center). Everybody remarks on how large it is and that I can convert it to 2 bedrooms when I have a family. It’s a reflex for them. Like how cars and trains are the general width of two horse asses side by side because of carriages.

    Ours are not societies where one tears down a perfectly adequate 20 story building to build a 30 story one and make a profit. Too much cost disease. So space is actually at a premium and a lot of cities are very densely populated and congested. Bucharest has 2 million people in 230 sq km, or 24 thousand people per sq mile. And even it is not as built up as it could be, because some neighborhoods of detached homes escaped the communist reconstruction drive and they are ruinously expensive even when poorly maintained.

    And why should developers build something else if few people can afford the premium this would imply? Suburbs with detached housing have started to appear, but they are the exception, not the rule, and the disadvantages, including in access to schools, are pretty significant. They generally make sense for people working in outlying business clusters, since new office parks are generally located near the edge of the city, since the center are already build up with dense communist buildings.

    For myself, I subscribe to the Leon Krier/New Urbanist school of thought. Cities should be walkable and livable, with dense but shorter buildings, and not built around cars. Bucharest can never become that, so I am stuck with trying to carve the best that I can.

  257. I like it. A bit overdone, but only because I know it is new. I would be oohing and aaahing if I were visiting an areas like this that dates to the 19th century. But they are certainly closer to my idea of desirable than any Brutalist architecture.

  258. As far as the castle is concerned, I am relieved to learn that this structure doesn’t serve as human residence but rather as a cross between Disneyland and a warehouse. And what is it doing in Russia, let alone Kabardino-Balkaria? What an embarrassing cargo cultism.

    As to Zaha Hadid’s creation, it looks rather unpleasant from the outside but I bet that its interior spaces are awesome. Which is what matters to the inhabitants.

  259. And what is it doing in Russia, let alone Kabardino-Balkaria? What an embarrassing cargo cultism.

    All architecture is borrowed. Is Cologne Cathedral a cargo cultism? After all Gothic cathedrals originated in France.

    Here is Orthodox Church in Peterhof-this, too cargo cultism?

  260. As to Zaha Hadid’s creation, it looks rather unpleasant from the outside but I bet that its interior spaces are awesome. Which is what matters to the inhabitants.

    Zaha Hadid is the standard of absolute mediocrity .

  261. I’m not sure Zaha Hadid is representative of a modern house.

    If you look at characteristic modern vacation houses of Florida, they are usually intelligently designed for living in the subtropical climate).

    In this case, you can see the open and interconnected interior space, which is not possible for tradition buildings.

    It’s not a scam for tasteless idiots (like Zaha Hadid), or just a fashion object – but a practical way of building the large house for this climate.

    Large house itself is something very impractical, so you need this kind of simplication of the space.

    The only stupid design is constant open bathrooms.

    This one even more stupid because of open bathrooms. But otherwise very practically designed:

    In California, they also build with this style. See 2:50 – flat roof of the modern design, is very useful (it’s not just a stylistic fashion). Because they can use the flat roofs to eat dinner from.

    Or flat roof for a helicopter:

    Now imagine Alla Pugacheva’s castle West of Moscow, if it was in a warmer climate – decorative roof and various towers (this is less practical).

  262. I’m not any expert about property, but I think there is a problem of too much density of some houses (too close together) and also lack of sidewalks? (I would not want to buy the “townhouse” which is so close together).

    I agree the kitsch decorative exterior is not so bad, as long as it is strongly constructed and does not start to deteriorate in 20 years.

  263. In the USSR, they plan the urban design more carefully with infrastructure first.

    Currently, in construction there is still a lot regulations in some areas (for example, sufficient quantity of playground space).

    But in the current situation of construction of the anthills, the buildings can be built in previously empty fields, before there is sufficient infrastructure.

    If we look again at the new academic district Ekaterinburg.

    There is initially very high density construction.

    After residents start living there – the problem of traffic jams and too many cars in the morning.

    Eventually, the situation will improve because the tram will be built to connect this area to the city. But this is number of years later.

    Also, it has to be remembered that the apartments are beginning at a price of $25,000. For this price, they are quite attractive.

    So relative for the price, the current quite deregulated construction is not necessarily so bad. These are at least modern apartments which people can upgrade from their old buildings to.

    Moreover, requirement to purchase at this price, creates a selection where you filter the kind of terrible neighbours who are just drunks who piss in the corridor of your building.

  264. Do you agree with these views? (Personally, I think it has true ideas, but a bit too utopian or impractical rules for any real city development today).

  265. Yes, you have linked to that blogger varolam who critiques these.

    You are right. The same thing happened in Romania. The commies would build the infrastructure, even if it means raising whole neighborhoods to build wide boulevards, public transport etc to accommodate the higher density. The new developers would work with what they find in place. There should be standards, but sometimes they are ignored or bent a bit. An extra floor over the zoning plan, fewer parking spots than mandated. For field development, obviously hardly anyone builds the kinds of roads required and, even then, the connection to the rest of the city may be very poor. The only project that are more spread out are those built on cheap farmland and even then they end up lacking amenities.

    This is one of the better projects.

  266. Honestly, it looks ok, though I am not a fan of the chalet style timber frame. And the overly manicured green space need some trees to break line of sight.

    Well, I do not think density is a problem. Maybe these zillionaires are getting a bad deal and they should have an entire domain for that money, but I do not think so. Large lots are an option and sometimes desirable, but appealing neighborhoods are also dense, walkable, with buildings in a row providing diversity of sights. Think of any medieval city center.

    The problem with what I am seeing is that the place is empty during the day and evening. It does not seem like the place has restaurants, workplaces or what have you for it to become a community.

    Wrath of Gnon on Twitter does a very good job of selling this idea in images. Look at the pinned tweet first.

  267. What is outside is also important. The house becomes a part of the public space. If it is hidden within a large lot, then the courtyard becomes just another room of the “house” and then you have to look at the bridge of a Confederacy of Independent Systems battleship jutting out of the ground.

  268. The only project that are more spread out are those built on cheap farmland and even then they end up lacking amenities.

    And in Romania, without Uzbek gastarbeiters to build them I guess.

    This is one of the better projects.

    It looks comparatively good – the apartment price is not so different than in equivalent anthill projects on the edges of Russian cities, at least for the larger apartments.

    For the “larger” apartments – 80 m² apartment for around 70,000 euros.

    The 115 m² separate villa for 105,000 euros seems quite good value?

    Their smaller apartments though are more expensive compared to prices in Russian equivalents.

    The problem with what I am seeing is that the place is empty during the day and evening. It does not seem like the place has restaurants, workplaces or what have you for it to become a community.

    This elite cottage village project outside Moscow, is a kind of “gated community” surrounded by a wall.

    However, even if you mixed up shops or restaurants with the houses, the problem would then be that it becomes noisy (for people in those “townhouses”)?

    I think the desire for people to live there is for quiet and peace when they drive home from the city in the evening.

    but appealing neighborhoods are also dense, walkable, with buildings in a row providing diversity of sights. Think of any medieval city center.

    But medieval city center is not necessarily practical for living today. You can see this in Madrid, for example, with Lavapiés. This medieval area is not popular, and is now cheap place for African and Arab immigrants.

    There is some aristotle golden mean here. Townhouses built for London bourgeoisie of the 19th century have a perfect balance – with high density, are close to shopping areas, but in separated streets.

    I recommend to walk around this area of London:,-0.155972,3a,75y,43.33h,91.69t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sQV_gAIj3arXlCJ2nE6Nopg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    Construction of the houses themselves was very high quality, they still look the same after more than a century, and design perfect for the London climate.

    There is a park on one side and a shopping street on the other side. This 19th century British design, is perhaps far better for living than medieval city centers.

    Wrath of Gnon on Twitter does a very good job of selling this idea in images. Look at the pinned tweet first.

    His view is very similar to in the video above.

    I will disagree a bit with his emphasis on narrow, crowded streets.

    You can see in countries where this is common (like Italy, Spain), often the people who can afford it prefer to move out from these areas, and live in more spacious and quieter streets, which were designed from the late 18th century.

    If you remember the 19th century view – Baron Haussmann destroyed most of these streets in Paris (even though the old Paris was famously more beautiful and picturesque), as it was believed they were a difficult to inhabit design, with poor living conditions.

    Historic Paris was like this:

    Vast areas destroyed and converted to:×776.jpg

    Haussmann’s work is still very controversial, and undoubtedly the old Paris was more charming. But the small, narrow streets, were – at least historically – not seen as ideal by average people who live in those areas.

  269. Yes, exterior would be important if the house were out on a street. But it’s in the middle of woods.

    The tower is there to create great views.

  270. silviosilver says

    These are trivial problems. They will likely occur, but there’s good reason to believe they can handily be overcome. Let’s remember something, although leftist scum have largely (but not completely) won the culture wars, their primary aim of economic equality remain as elusive as ever. Moral of the story: capital finds a way to prevail. If there’s money to be made in outer space – and I think it’s clear there is – then you better believe capital will find a way to make it.