Though known since ancient times, petroleum came into prominence as an energy source in the last half of the 19th century. Oil became the predominant fuel for transport.
Ships have always been the cheapest, fastest way to move cargo over long distances. Most of the world’s populations live in coastal areas, and on waterways, for this very reason. Shipping is the lifeblood of economic globalization.
Despite over 75 years of concentrating radioactive matter and then generating waste from it, safely disposing of radioactive refuse has not been mastered.
Oil and gas extraction brings to the surface radioactive brine known as “formation water.” The water is separated from the fossil fuel and put into tanks or pits, becoming “produced water.”
The modern lifestyle is defined by freedom of movement via motor vehicle transport. The cultural and societal impacts of autos have been incalculable. The health costs have been enormous. The environmental destruction has been horrendous.
Despite impressive advances in artificial intelligence (AI), software remains in a primitive state. The quality and capability of software is directly dependent upon the language used to create it. Popular programming languages are crude; hence the glitches so often seen in software.
The most-trafficked part of the Internet is the World Wide Web, an open information space where documents and other resources are accessed. The Web’s history exemplifies an abyss of core competency in the software industry.
In 1955, when 2 million tonnes of plastic were produced globally, Life magazine celebrated the dawn of “throw-away living,” thanks to disposable plastics. 60 years later, in 2015, 406 million tonnes of plastic were produced worldwide; a figure that keeps rising at a meteoric rate.
Reaping the wind has come quite a way from the windmills of yore that provided the power to grind grain. Wind power now consists of spindly propeller-driven turbines that generate electricity from gusts.
In 1956, American geologist Marion King Hubbert presciently predicted that American oil production would peak in 1970, based upon his idea that oil production through time resembled a bell curve. Almost 4 decades later, a technology discovered in the 1940s pummeled Hubbert’s peak oil theory.
Photovoltaics are commonly touted as “clean” energy. Solar panels are instead intensively polluting.