Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 11th Jan 2008 11:57 UTC, submitted by anonymous
Benchmarks "Earlier this week Apple released updated Mac Pros that use Intel's new Penryn processors. Also new is the fact that the standard Mac Pro configuration now comes with eight (instead of four) cores. Of course, what I've been wondering (as I sit here and think about getting a new Mac Pro) is how does the new standard eight-core Mac Pro perform compared to the old high-end Mac Pro? I've gathered Geekbench 2 results for both Mac Pros to find out."
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RE[7]: Back to basic first
by rayiner on Sun 13th Jan 2008 19:41 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Back to basic first"
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]I don't see that much difference between the US and Switzerland and I guess while my 30% study was done by Greenpeace or WWF, your 10% study was funded by the oil or nucear industry.

First of all, the US and Switzerland are two vastly different examples. For starters, the physical scale of the United States is completely different, at all levels of geography. I live in downtown Atlanta and I've got to walk a mile and a half just to get to the nearest coffee shop. My brother commutes almost 20 miles to his high-school. If you start in DC, all the major population centers in the state of Virginia are within about 250 miles. If you start in Paris, driving 250 miles in any direction will take you to major cities in: France, Belgium, the UK, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland. And Virginia is a relatively small, heavily-populated state! The scale aspect alone means that a lot of the things that would greatly reduce energy usage in a country like Switzerland (improved public transportation, rezoning to make cities more pedestrian-friendly, etc), are completely inapplicable in the US without ripping up our cities and starting from scratch.

Second, I didn't get my info from Greenpeace or the oil companies. Its a conclusion I've come to from talking to other engineers, people who actually study all the things that go into making cars, houses, planes, etc, more efficient. FWIW, btw, all the engineers I know seem to have pretty similar opinions of Greenpeace: they don't have the slightest idea what they're talking about. Their completely unscientific oppositions to nuclear are reason alone to ignore them.

You probably didn't saw it, but the oil price reached 100$/barrel. Conserving energy is a simple part of having an economical advantage.

I don't disagree with that point in the slightest. With the prices of oil as they are, energy-efficiency can give you a strong economic advantage. That's why Boeing's "big new thing", the 787, is focused so heavily on fuel efficiency. However, the same example should also tell you why conservation is never going to solve the energy crisis itself. The 787, the culmination of 20 years of research and billions of dollars of investment, is merely 20% more efficient than its predecessors. Us engineers consider that huge (we'd kill for 5%!), but in the grand scheme of things, small constant-factor improvements aren't going to change the realities of exponential growth in population and energy demand.

Yes, why? Maybe because - if you like it or not - the term "global" means, that you are part of it?

And if you're an insignificant part of it, who cares? This is perhaps a philosophical difference, but engineers and scientists ignore meaningless terms in equations all the time. The philosophy of "if its close enough to zero, just ignore it" has been good enough to make planes fly, trains run, computers compute, etc, so what's wrong with it?

You can't just point your fingers to China or India. Because they will point back at you (and rightfully so!).

It's not a matter of pointing fingers at anybody. China and India have worked hard to achieve economic prosperity, and they deserve to reap its benefits. However, it is inevitable that their prosperity will come with a huge demand for energy, just as it did for us. Not too long from now, the energy demand of China will be comparable to the energy demand of Europe. What do we do then? Any cut-backs the developed world makes will be a drop in the bucket. Even if the whole developed world made a 30% cut, it would push back the ultimate "we run out of oil" point what, another 20 years? BFD! What do we do after that?

Now you're getting dogmatic. Your statement is unfounded. Just ask yourself the question why nature survived billions of years without an energy problem.

Because nature didn't have computers and cars and 650 mile plane rides just to go home for Christmas... The fundamental problem is thus: our current energy sources are fixed. No matter how much we conserve, we're going to run out sooner or later. The only solution is to find new, preferably renewable sources of energy. Spending a lot of money and effort on conservation programs, just to push the inevitable back a few years is utterly pointless. At the same time, history shows a positive correlation between prosperity and energy use. This trend greatly limits our options as far as new energy sources go. By the time the oil does run out, progress in the developing world will have led to a doubling of our overall energy demand. The usual suspects for alternative energy sources (hydro, solar, etc), can't even handle our current energy demand, much less a doubling of it. And conservation won't change the equation in any significant way.


In fact, everybody who says he knows how much energy China or anybody else will use in 10, 20, 30 years is most probably wrong

I'm sure the people who did the study factored the rising price of oil into account. The simple fact is, rising oil costs aren't going to be enough to offset rising energy demand in the developing world for quite awhile. Just look at the numbers. In the last decade, oil has gone from $25 a barrel to pushing $100 a barrel, and it has done relatively little to dampen the US's 3% annual GDP growth rate, much less China and India's 8-9% annual GDP growth rate. Nor has it done much to dampen India and China's explosive increase in energy demand during that period. Oil is going to have to get really expensive before it slows down China and India's economy. It will, eventually, once the oil starts running out, but the time-scale for that is 70-100 years, and its going to be an exponential curve so we won't even start seeing drastic increases for many decades yet. Meanwhile, 2025 is only 17 years away. There is no way in hell oil prices are going to rise fast enough to stop the projections from coming true.

Are they? Funny enough, I haven't seen a single solution from Shell, BP or anybody else in this corner. Why should they? They only survive when the world stays away from any alternative to "single source solutions" like oil or nuclear fuel.

Oh, they're not going to trot out these solutions until they've milked the oil thing for what its worth, but they are working on them. They know was well as anyone else that the oil is running out, and they're willing to invest some of their $$$ to ensuring that they still have something to sell in the future. Like it or not, the energy industry is the one best-poised to solve the energy crisis. The scientists and engineers work for Exxon-Mobil and Shell, not Greenpeace. They're the ones with the billion-dollar R&D budgets, not the conservation movement. Progress takes expertise and money and the energy industry (along with the Department of Energy, etc) has those coming out of their ears.

As for "single source" solutions, whatever you might think of nuclear, it is the _only_ alternative energy source we have right now that can meet all of our current and projected energy demands. Everything else depends on either scientific or social miracles.

Du to the laws of thermodynamic, increasing global energy consumption cannot be solution in the long term anyway.

I'd be really entertained to hear your reasoning behind this little tidbit. I can't think of any reason why this would be true, but what the hell do I know about thermodynamics, I only spent two years studying it...

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