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Thread: SS Radio #234: Alex Epstein: Fossil Future, free on our network

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    Default SS Radio #234: Alex Epstein: Fossil Future, free on our network

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    Inspired by the potential of an AlexGPT…

    RipGPT

    A tireless strength interlocutor, unchained, promising immense and endless fun (gainz too).

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    I’m currently listening to this episode and I wonder if you, Rip (or anyone for that matter), had ever read about “abiogenic petroleum theory”.

    Given past remarks of yours, I assume you either have dismissed it or have not considered it for any number of reasons.

    Thanks, wishing you the best from Fort Worth.

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    Like most science, conflicting explanations of common phenomena are not investigated adequately since the assumptions have already been made.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PerfectStrength View Post
    I’m currently listening to this episode and I wonder if you, Rip (or anyone for that matter), had ever read about “abiogenic petroleum theory”.

    Given past remarks of yours, I assume you either have dismissed it or have not considered it for any number of reasons.

    Thanks, wishing you the best from Fort Worth.
    I had actually never heard of this until now, but it's a perfectly sensible hypothesis. Think about the Miller-Urey experiment; abiogenesis is not a new idea at all. Of course in that sense, everything is abiogenetic.

    What's interesting is that unless our ancient archaea friends and other single celled organisms were in fact mini-nuclear reactors, they must have had a carbon source available in order to evolve, grow, and reproduce/spread. So fossils or not, there's carbon to be had and burned.

    -------------------------

    Finally got around to listening to this one. I really enjoyed it and will be ordering Alex's book.

    Energy production from fossil fuels is obviously their biggest, most well-known use. But what is often overlooked is all the petrochemical products produced for non-fuel purposes. Solvents, plastics, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, detergents, and even roads as we know them today could not be produced without all the byproducts of petroleum and natural gas refining. Modern medicine as it is practiced today would probably not exist without cheap, disposable polypropylene. And you are all welcome for all the N95 Anti-COVID masks! Oh, and all that food that doesn't go to waste almost immediately at the grocery store? Thank you, polyethylene!

    Even the vast majority of hydrogen, the sacred No Carbon Fuel, is produced not with electrolytic cells but by petrochemical processes. In fact, the production of ethylene and propylene to make their corresponding polymers produces enormous amounts of hydrogen, nearly all of which is used to power the process used to make the monomer.

    So much of modern technology depends on petroleum in ways most people never even think about. To do away with it would force us to reinvent so many wheels.

    On another note, I also find the reluctance to pursue nuclear power very bizarre. I will point out that the death rate in the chemical industry is far, far greater than anything associated with nuclear (2,000 immediate deaths from the Bhopal incident alone), and yet chemical plants abound across the world.

    I was fortunate enough to attend a recent chemical engineering conference at which a renowned distillation expert presented an analysis of the cost of swapping the US energy supply entirely to "green" alternatives such as solar and wind. I don't recall the exact numbers, but it was on the order of multiples of the US's current GDP (tens to hundreds of trillions). Sadly, even this bright gentleman refused to discuss the same economics for nuclear power because he felt that the current and future regulatory environment will simply never allow it to become practical.

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