Scale of the problem -- Nature Preserve Earth

Maui on its best day…” is the way Bezos describes the space habitat environment’s attractive force to depopulate Earth, turning it into a nature preserve. This is an orders of magnitude greater “Scale of the problem” than has been addressed in the prior two original posts here by Keith Henson regarding SPS and CO2.

I’ve been working this angle since the 1980s Sierra Club retreats in the Laguna Mountains outside San Diego with the theme “What Good Are Humans?”.

Most recently has been my proposal to depopulate Earth’s land masses with self-replicating “Maui on its best day…” artificial atolls in the Western Pacific doldrums built with in situ resources of both mass and energy:

The economics start out being the real estate value of “Maui on its best day…” atolls supporting 100,000 people each. After 16 doublings (to accommodate all 7 billion of Earth’s population) the industrial learning curve reduces the cost of a beach front condo to under $10,000 per family of four. Back of the envelope calculations indicate this could happen within 15 years of the first atoll “cell” capable of self-replication.

The only big environmental challenge is chlorine waste produced by the replication of these artificial atolls. That Cl2 may be injected into the connate fluid available 1000ft beneath the already several-kilometer deep ocean floor turning it into CaCl2:

If a means is found of converting CO2 extracted from ocean and air, into the highly stable and marine environment robust chlorinated polyvinyl chloride, Cl2 could end up as structural material of the atolls, thereby valorizing the Cl2 evolved from atoll replication. In any event CPVC is quite dense and would, in the event of atoll destruction, fall to the ocean floor along with the atoll’s EdenCrete (Calera concrete reinforced with graphene produced from atmospheric CO2).

Earth’s population having “a style of living to which they have become accustomed” including assortative migration to independent, semi-closed ecosystems supporting urban amenities and luxury resort living, will then be lofted into even better accommodations and assortative migrations provided by self-replicating space habitats.

Getting them off-planet to their more attractive accommodations may be accomplished without substantial environmental damage by a Lofstrom Loop, the siting for which is already conjectured to be the Pacific equatorial doldrums:

The launch loop uses Earth as reaction mass, meaning virtually all energy input turns into orbital kinetic energy tangent to earth, with no exhaust into the atmosphere and only very minor kinetic heating production of nitrogen oxides while the human population leaves Earth.

The strange bedfellows in this enterprise are likely to be the remnant of the highly individualistic Scots-Irish colonizers of the erstwhile British Empire (many of the best maritime-adapted are already in the Pacific nations of New Zealand and Australia) and the highly collectivist Chinese Communist Party, which has already shown interest in creating artificial territory in the Pacific.

With Blue Origin apparently on the ropes as a profitable business Bezos should focus his space colony vision to near term artificial atoll exponentiation which has near term real estate profit potential at much lower technical risk, while providing a much needed pressure valve provided by assortative migrations to those marine habitats.

PS: I saw this intriguing epilogue to Lofstrom’s aforelinked response to the aforelinked Launch Loops video:


Cost? No clue. Power storage loops will be built first, with vast economies of scale emerging. Like rockets, much of the operating cost will be range insurance; we will launch eastward over Peru, a failed loop may throw some pieces there, though they will be designed to fragment on re-entry. Peru and Ecuador will be the closest support bases, and an array of launch loops will employ millions (operations, manufacturing, payload), so the benefits will greatly exceed the risks, though as usual they will not be distributed fairly. I hope launch becomes cheap enough that ill-treated citizens can emigrate (like my ancestors) and become la astronauta.

Shipping lane blockage: While a loop is connected together and spun up to speed (a month or two) it will float just under the surface and block 25 degrees of longitude across the Pacific, probably at 8 degrees south of the equator, due south of San Diego. Going around will add a few percent extra sea miles for ships travelling between the US west coast and Antarctica, or between Peru and Asia, but that is a very tiny fraction of global shipping. There are no “sea lanes” through the area. Play with the “measure distance” function on Google maps, across the Pacific; there are no large destination pairs on opposite sides of this empty stretch of the Pacific. When dozens of scaled-up Launch Loops are built there, they will move as much cargo the largest container ports in China; that will revitalize the global economy, and fill the cargo ships. The problem will not be going around, but channelling all the traffic to some very busy floating container docks.


In the original calculations I left out the cost of turning atmospheric CO2 into carbon nanotubes for EdenCrete because my intuition was that I could neglect it to first order. That intuition is borne out by the following:

Production of carbon nanotubes from CO2 and H2O with AVE electricity for structural material (EdenCrete) might involve electrolytic H2 for the Sabatier reaction to produce methane, which is the feedstock for producing carbon nanotubes used by EdenCrete.

The cost of extracting carbon in the form of CO2 from the atmosphere with electricity:

1200kWh/(ton co2);12ton carbon/(44ton co2)?MJ/(kg carbon)
= 17.4606 MJ/(kg carbon)

The electrical energy to convert H2O+CO2 to methane thence to carbon via the Sabatier reaction is the cost of converting H2O to H2 for that reaction via CH4 minus its 4 hydrogens:

42kWh/(kg hydrogen);8kg hydrogen/(16kg carbon-4kg carbon)?MJ/(kg carbon)
= 100.8 MJ/(kg carbon)

For a total electrical energy cost of carbon nanotube mass of:

17.4606 MJ/(kg carbon)+ 100.8 MJ/(kg carbon)?MJ/(kg carbon)
= 118.261 MJ/(kg carbon)

So the EdenCrete electrical cost of carbon nanotubes, at 100oz/yd^3 (the high end requirement to be conservative):

118MJ/(kg carbon);100oz carbon/(yd^3 EdenCrete);2.7tonne EdenCrete/(m^3 EdenCrete)?MJ/(tonne EdenCrete)
= 162.052 MJ/(tonne EdenCrete)

The Calera process requires 3.3GJ of electricity to produce one tonne of concrete as input to the production of EdenCrete, so the total energy cost remains essentially unchanged at 3.5GJ electricity to produce one tonne of EdenCrete – which is what I intuited hence did not include in the original post back in 2014.

The electrolytic hydrogen system for the above calculation:

This is yet another of the companies out of Australia – Australia that I predicted could play a leading role along with the “strange bedfellow” CCP in transferring technological civilization to these artificial atolls.


And, as predicted, the The Kiwis are stepping up along with their more transgressive Aussie cousins:

23rd Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference - 23AFMC
Sydney, Australia Paper No: AFMC2022-178
4 – 8 December 2022
Large Eddy Simulation of Artificially Generated Atmospheric Vortices for Power Generation

A numerical simulation of atmospheric buoyancy vortices for power generation is conducted using the Large Eddy Simulation (LES) method. Vanes, for generating a swirl, and a turbine, for extracting torque, are modelled using a body-forcing momentum source and sink method, respectively. Only minor changes in the vortex structure are visible when the turbine is present. Furthermore, the low velocities lead to an insignificantly small torque on the turbine. The so-called vortex wandering effect is observed for all cases simulated. Models without the turbine and changes in heat source location are further investigated to analyse the maximum radius and distribution of the vortex wandering. Overall, the modelling of vanes and the turbine as momentum source and sink leads to a significant reduction in computational time compared to simulations containing solid, resolved geometries.

The simulation was of a small-scale system, which is reasonable when one is dealing with a regime of CFD that needs experimental validation – and vis versa:

The study has been carried out using an anelastic Large Eddy Simulation (LES) model in OpenFOAM. The computational domain is a cylinder with a radius of 25 m and a height of 150 m.

The work discussed in this paper is part of a large research programme focused on understanding how to artificially generate buoyancy vortices using waste heat that is anchored to the location of the waste heat source. The research programme uses a three-pronged attack, combining computational fluid dynamics (CFD), laboratory-based experiments, and theoretical analysis in order to gain an understanding of buoyancy vortices. The outcome of this understanding will be incorporated into the design of a demonstration vortex engine to be built in New Zealand.

If the Kiwis get serious about this and it works near to Louis Michaud’s projections at the large scales, it’s not going to be long before people are looking at the equatorial doldrums as valuable property:


It’s important to keep this in perspective by noticing that natural convective vortices arising from ground-level vorticity, are fundamentally different from tornadoes (upper atmosphere vorticity driven), but they do reach high power levels and high altitudes. This photo is from an Aussie’s business proposal:


Since EdenCrete would be the macroengineering material, its graphene reinforcer’s toxicity is a concern. This video is a pretty good overview of graphene’s properties and includes in its title “Making Graphene could KILL you…” Fair enough for a youtube video targeting amateurs, but exactly how environmentally toxic is EdenCrete? Well, there have been at least two studies that gave it clean bill of health. See below the video.

EdenCrete’s safety has been verified by studies in the US i and by independent Australian
toxicologist, John Frangos (M App. Sc (Toxicology), DABT, FACTRA) at CDM Smith

Wet Concrete Mix

The EdenCrete Frangos CDM Smith 2020 ii report determined that exposure to CNTs, and associated health risk to workers, is negligible when using EdenCrete liquid products added to the concrete mix according to directions. This is supported by the US EdenCrete safety studies.

Cutting & Grinding

It is safe to cut or grind hardened concrete that contains EdenCrete when wearing the required, normal, standard Work Safe Australia PPE (personal protective equipment).

As there is no Australian Standard (AS) or American Standard Test Method (ASTM) that measures the liberation of free CNTs from cutting or grinding hardened concrete, air monitoring was conducted during the cutting and grinding process to assess for free CNTs in the surrounding environment iii . In all industrial hygiene monitoring test cases, the EdenCrete Frangos CDM Smith 2020 report found that the concentration of free carbon in the air was less than 1 µg/m3 for 8-hour TWA of exposure, well below the recommended exposure level required by Work Safe Australia.


It is safe to use shotcrete that contains EdenCrete when wearing the required, normal, standard Work Safe Australia PPE.

An industrial hygiene evaluation was conducted to evaluate anticipated exposure to CNTs during shotcrete application and determine the need for engineering controls or PPE iv. CNTs were not present in a respirable form during the spray application of EdenCrete HC mixed with shotcrete, therefore no additional PPE needs to be recommended beyond the standard Work Safe Australia requirements.


i. Eden Innovations Safety Summary and reference document – EC safety summary
NIOSH 2013-145 - Occupational Exposure to Carbon Nanotubes and Nanofibers.pdf 4; 201203 Australian Govt- Safe Handling and Use of Carbon Nanotubes 188;
Kang et al., NanoImpact 2017 230; Bishop_Erdely_Life Cycle_ACSNano2017 240; Supp Material_Figures_Bishop_Erdely_Life Cycle_ACSNano2017 255; Supp Material_Tables_Bishop_
Erdely_Life Cycle_ACSNano2017 263
ii. EdenCrete Frangos CDM Smith 2020ii Report – AU Toxicology Report_1000187 EdenCrete evaluation Rev0.pdf
iii. Galson Laboratories Test No. L364428, Jan 2016 6601 Kirkville Road Site : Dumont Login No. : L364428
East Syracuse, NY 13057 Project No: EC (315) 432-5227 Date Sampled: 23-DEC-15 Date Analyzed : 12-JAN-16 Date Received : 07-JAN-16 Report ID : 917479
iv. Hellman & Associates – Shotcrete Trials, May 28th 2019 - INDUSTRIAL HYGIENE EXPOSURE ASSESSMENT - Carbon Nanotubes and Silica During Shotcrete Application; 11913 W. I-70
Frontage Road North Wheat Ridge, CO 80033, 303.384.9828; H&A - Independent EHS services and OSHA compliance assessments -


It looks like I’ll need to go ahead and figure out how to turn chlorine into CPVC for the condo floors. Concrete floors, not even at 1ft thickness, can provide reasonable open spaces for the condos. Even at 10ft by 10ft maximum size rooms, the middle point (maximum) deflection is a few inches whereas with CPVC 40ft by 40ft rooms are the about the same deflection.

Another calculation I didn’t bother doing originally was how close to the compressive strength limit of EdenCrete would the 16 stories of the beachfront condos come because, again, my intuition told me it wouldn’t be close. My intuition was reasonably correct since it comes in at about 35% of the maximum compressive strength reported for EdenCrete although some might consider that “close”. From the original calculation’s 1500tonne/(m beachfront) condo mass, assuming 2 support walls aligned with the beachfront each 1ft thick:

= 3499.84 psi

EdenCrete’s compressive strength is has been independently tested to 10,000psi at 28 days so the condos are well within this rather optimistic limit at the base.

However that was for concrete floors which are now looking to be CPVC which is about 60% of the weight. Moreover, my original calculation for the floor weight was based on a too-large area due to a mental typo where I put 100ft x 100ft rather than 40ft x 100ft as it should have been.

IF I can come up with a good way of valorizing that waste chlorine (which is otherwise a cost of disposal) into CPVC, then correcting these errors should make the atoll construction substantially less costly in both time and materials.

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(I sure hope all these edits aren’t disturbing anyone!)

The PVC/CPVC approach to dealing with the waste chlorine problem seems attractive, as the following calculations show, but the added complexity of creating mostly self-replicating chemical processing infrastructure involving PVC precursors, and the desirability of PVC exposed to UV for long periods of time while performing structural duties is quite daunting. I’m going to have to do more research that I don’t have time for at present. So this path is on hold.

The following calculation shows a 60% increase in the time to complete an atoll using CPVC for condo floors not exposed to direct sunlight. UV reflective coated, graphene reinforced PVC using only 10% less chlorine can be used on those floor portions exposed to direct sunlight. But to keep things simple, all calculations assume CPVC. This valorizes about half of the otherwise waste chlorine that must be sequestered in the connate fluid 1000ft below the ocean floor. The main environmental burden is due to the short doubling time of the AveEdenCrete Core, whose chlorine is sequestered. But since that is a small fraction of the overall chlorine production and the overall chlorine production could be, in any event, sequestered hence mineralized, the main economic driver (short doubling time of electric production) remains viable. Future calculations will explore replacing more EdenCrete with graphene reinforced PVC as well as CPVC so as to eliminate the need for sequestration and associated complication of the AveEdenCrete Core. This may ultimately entail incorporating PVC production in to the Core which, although it would replace one complication with another, in the doubling time, is not an overall increase in system complexity.

Assuming CPVC with 63% Chlorine content by weight production of CPVC from PCV would require adding about 0.1kg Chlorine to each kg PVC:

= 0.109155


PVC + 0.1 Cl + HeatOrUV => CPVC

It is unclear, from the literature I’ve found, whether the HeatOrUV is catalytic or if the reaction is endothermic and if it is endothermic how much energy is required. But there is good reason to believe that the reaction is exothermic, hence the heat is catalytic: chlorine is a strong oxidizer – binding more strongly to carbon than the hydrogen being displaced, so the PVC would be entering a lower energy state. In the case of UV light, even though it could be thought catalytic due to the ultimate energy balance, it would probably end up being an energy cost since UV requires electricity and heat to electricity conversion is inefficient with the Atmospheric Vortex Engine. So let’s assume thermal catalysis rather than UV.

Vinyl Chloride Monomer => PVC + heat

Vinyl Chloride Monomer == CH2CHCl

ClCH2CH2Cl => CH2CHCl + HCl

Half the chlorine ends up as HCl feedstock for H2 production 92.3 kJ/mol (necessary for CH4 production), which is cheaper than H2O as feedstock for H2 285.8 kJ/mol. The Cl2 from HCl is then recycled to produce more CPVC. The energy benefit of 92.3 kJ/mol-285.8 kJ/mol should eventually be included in the calculation of CPVC energy cost.

H2CCH2 + Cl2 =(FeCl3 catalyst)> ClCH2CH2Cl + heat

2CH4 + O2 => H2CCH2 + H2O + heat

A prior calculation showed that the energy cost of extracting carbon from the atmosphere via CH4 (there-used to produce graphene) was:

= 118.261 MJ/(kg carbon)

which, because CH4 was an intermediary, means:

118.261MJ/(kg carbon);(4+12)methane/(12 carbon)?MJ/(kg methane)
= 88.6958 MJ/(kg methane)

The end to end reaction for CPVC (PVC+10% Cl) being:

2CH4 + Cl1.1 => CH2CHCl1.1 + waste

or in CH4 mass per CPVC mass:
(12 kg2+1 kg4)methane/((12 kg*2+1 kg 3+35.5kg1.1)CPVC)?methane/CPVC
= 0.423921 methane/CPVC

So, for the (baseline-only) electricity cost per CPVC:

0.423921 methane/CPVC;88.6958 MJ/(kg methane)?GJ/(tonne CPVC)
= 37.6 GJ/(tonne CPVC)

OUCH! That’s a factor of 10 greater than the energy cost of EdenCrete!

But… hope springing eternal, this does not, in itself, kill all hope for the CPVC solution to both condo material and valorization of chlorine because we haven’t yet calculated how much it adds to the atoll completion time. (Contrasted with the AveEdencreteCore doubling time which the main limiting factor in the economics as it is the energy source and which still seems sound assuming the AVE arena is a compressive dome structure.) To do that, we have to recalculate the time per length of beachfront due to energy cost per length of beach front in terms of the relative mass of CPVC vs EdenCrete per length of beachfront.


Revisiting the original calculation for the condo structural materials. First EdenCrete volume per condo based on the prior calculation of tolerable floor sag with a 40ft*40ft CPVC floor open space – here assuming the 40ft walls are set back 30ft each from the balconies on the beach and lagoon sides, with the 100ft wall shared with the next condo:

(2*40ft+100ft)12ft1ft EdenCrete/condo;2.7tonne/m^3?tonne EdenCrete/condo
= 165.144 tonne EdenCrete/condo

Now for the energy cost per beachfront, but first the mass per beachfront starting with EdenCrete mass/beachfront:

EdenCrete walls for the condo tower:
(2*40ft+100ft)12ft1ft EdenCrete/condo;2.7tonne/m^3;16 condo/tower;40ft beachfront/tower?tonne EdenCrete/ (m beachfront)
= 216.724 tonne EdenCrete/ (m beachfront)

EdenCrete floatation hull (from original calculation but will be lower since condo total mass is lower, so this is conservative relative to that calculation):
= 329.184 tonne EdenCrete/(beachfront m)

TOTAL EdenCrete mass/(m beachfront)
(329.184+216.724) tonne EdenCrete/ (m beachfront)?tonne EdenCrete/ (m beachfront)
= 545.908 tonne EdenCrete/ (m beachfront)

Now CPVC mass/beachfront:
100ft 40ft 1ft CPVC/condo;1.56tonne/m^3;16 condo/tower;40ft beachfront/tower?tonne CPVC/ (m beachfront)
= 231.886 tonne CPVC/ (m beachfront)

TOTAL energy per condo tower beachfront
(545.908 tonne EdenCrete/ (m beachfront) ; 3.5GJ/(tonne EdenCrete) ) + (231.886 tonne CPVC/ (m beachfront) ; 37.6 GJ/(tonne CPVC))?GJ/(m beachfront)
= 10629.6 GJ/(m beachfront)

Finally, adding the per meter energy usage up according to the 500MW elex capacity to get the m/day:
10629.6 GJ/(m beachfront);500MW?beachfront m/day
= 4.06412 beachfront m/day

This compares with the all EdenCrete value of 6.5 beachfront m/day or about a 60% increase in time. Although this seems too good to be true given the enormous amount of energy that must go into CPVC – it is actually the result of two things:

  1. An overestimate of the EdenCrete mass per floor due to a previously-mentioned mental typo which had the area at 100ftx100ft rather than 40ftx100ft.
  2. CPVC is substantially less dense than is EdenCrete, requiring less total mass.

Since both of these values apply to the condo floors, and the condo floors dominated the all-EdenCrete mass per atoll circumferential (aka beachfront) length, it does actually make sense.

As for valorizing the otherwise-waste chlorine as CPVC:

Chlorine produced due to EdenCrete production:
545.908 tonne EdenCrete/ (m beachfront) ;chlorine tonne/(71% EdenCrete tonne)?chlorine tonne/(m beachfront)
= 768.885 chlorine tonne/(m beachfront)

Chlorine valorized as CPVC:
231.886 tonne CPVC/ (m beachfront) ;chlorine tonne/(63% CPVC tonne)?chlorine tonne/(m beachfront)
= 368.073 chlorine tonne/(m beachfront)

Remaining waste chlorine that must still be sequestered in connate fluid 1000ft below the ocean floor:
(768.885-368.073) WasteChlorine tonne/(m beachfront)?WasteChlorine tonne/(m beachfront)
= 400.812 WasteChlorine tonne/(m beachfront)

This is about 60% of (40% reduction in) the waste chlorine required of the all EdenCrete approach.


If acid fracturing of deep sea carbonate platforms can bring calcium carbonate to the ocean surface, “The Chlorine Acidification Problem” with Calera concrete* might be turned into “The Chlorine Solution” to ocean acidification. In this scenario the roll of Calera concrete would be reduced to providing fracking fluid and perhaps to zero if the carbonate platforms can be made to provide all the cement and there is no need to even provide chlorine as fracking fluid.

This gambit toward producing concrete for artificial atoll habitats from in situ resources would sink ~5km steel pipe to about 1000ft below the tropical ocean floor where connate fluid is being pressed out of carbonate platforms. This would inject liquid chlorine under passive gravitational pressure of nearly 4000psi as measured at the sea floor. Additional pressure might not even be required for the fracking to occur given the soft character of material perfused with connate fluid undergoing lithification.

Ideally, this would deliver a carbonate-rich buffer solution to the ocean surface, with a pH higher than 8.15.

And, indeed, the most acidic oceans are in the eastern Pacific doldrums – precisely where bringing CaCO3 to the surface to build atolls would do the most to reduce oceanic acidity.

Once the carbonate platform has been fracked, I wonder if it may be feasible to set up a two way “siphon”. Downward flow from the surface into the carbonate platform, driven by the difference in salinity between the surface ocean and ocean floor (about 1gram/liter), and on the upward path by this kind of deep ocean siphon:

* Calera concrete is the matrix for the composite EdenCrete proposed for artificial atoll construction. It has been dismissed if not roundly denounced by environmentalists due to the environmental acidification caused by the evolution of chlorine.


Equatorial eastern Pacific upwelling currents are another way of bringing calcium to the surface:

At the extreme depths (5km) of the ocean floor calcium carbonate crystals tend to dissolve*. So exposing the carbonate platforms underlying the ocean floor to these deep currents should upwell higher concentration of calcium ions to the surface. This would raise the pH of the otherwise relatively acidic equatorial eastern Pacific surface, thereby increasing its tendency to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere.

The yellow in the equatorial Pacific are carbonate platforms:

As long as people are considering wild ideas like dispersing sulfate clouds in the stratosphere to block the sun to reduce global warming, maybe even nuking a few of the deep carbonate shelves to expose them to these upwelling currents might be worth investigating.

*This is called the "calcium carbonate compensation depth" or CCD. CaCO3 crystals tend to dissolve with not only higher pressure but also (interestingly) lower temperature. There also tends to be more CO2 dissolved at those depths which is why eastern equatorial Pacific upwellling to the surface delivers about a gigatonne of CO2 per year to the atmosphere. Raising the pH with calcium would therefore reduce that outgassing from upwelling.


Looking into ways of upwelling calcium it occurred to me that it would be nice to have the help of vulcanism to heat the water so it is less dense. This then points to the East Pacific Rise’s famous string of volcanoes and “black smokers”. Of course, this, in turn points to high concentration of dissolved minerals due to the same hydrothermal ore formation processes that make them targets for deep ocean mining.

For example, the “CC Zone” is drawing a lot of interest for ocean floor mining, in close proximity to the East Pacific Rise pointed out in this April 2023 paper:

One way to think of the deep sea mining tailings is the same way people think about getting mass into space for settlements – except that being hydrothermal in nature, they are naturally far richer for a technological civilization accustomed to hydrothermal ore mining.


Calcium Synchronicity:


CC Zone mining is being delayed by some sort of “international authority”.

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It would be quite remarkable if the dress rehearsal for space settlements, in the form of ocean settlements, turned out be dependent on creating artificial Alkalline Hydrothermal Vents – the natural versions from which life first evolved:


A novel approach to OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion) is:

Rather than moving water, it uses a refrigerant working fluid to transfer heat from the shallow to deep ocean where it condenses to be pumped as a liquid to the surface turbine. This dramatically reduces the amount of mass flow, hence capital equipment.

I haven’t gone through an in depth analysis of the system but here is a spreadsheet someone put together arguing that it could get down to around 1cent/kWh with a maximum generating capacity that is on the same order as the ocean-based Atmospheric Vortex Engine tech.


Lots of hype out there about LLM AI’s and “superprompts” to aid engineering led NASA to design its own superprompt for biomimicry:

I applied it to my own strategy for CDR via exponential growth of floating atolls:

I was only marginally impressed. There is one big problems with LLMs (and I speak from some authority here going back decades in artificial neural nets):

There is too-little emphasis on traning time accuracy – and this is being made worse by the Biden administration’s recent EO which places limits on training time before regulatory action weighs in. This pragmatic limit is not, however, the most-constraining on LLM utility for this kind of “systems thinking” work. The greatest constraint is the lack of awareness that approximating Algorithmic Information is the most principled “loss function” that any learning algorithm can use. Of course, a failure of principle on the part of human researchers means even if they are aware, they may not care. Both of these obtain and neither are being remedied by any of the major institutions.

Of course, the Biden adminstration’s EO is as risible as its claim to being principled regarding the environment.


I’ve been talking up Lofstrom’s server-sky to John Robb as a neglected bootstrap for space-based solar power and storage Loop for Musk’s terrestrial solar power as a bootstrap for the launch loop. He’s now suggesting Musk put his Dojo machine learning infrastructure in space.

He hasn’t yet suggested the storage loop bootstrap to draw Musk into bootstrapping generally but he does broach the space server concept in this interview.

His royalty hack, which would function like a Georgist citizens dividend for the entire world paid for out of space resource utilization, may even be based on my 1992 proposal to replace the 16th Amendment with a net asset tax and replace most government functions with a citizens dividend.

But he then talks about how China would not abide by an international regime which raises the now perennial issue in my mind of Musk’s failure to promote the idea of replacing the 16th Amendment with a net asset tax despite it making him far wealthier and manufacturing many more space entrepreneurs.


Vortex engine power generation as an idea has been around for decades but has been blocked for want of really basic scientific investigation leading to validated multiphysics CFD models. Michaud’s paltry funding from Thiel’s foundation is an obscenity given the Biden administration has all but stated $10T/year is an appropriate cashflow to mitigate climate change. Indeed over those decades of inaction, the rate of investment in the science of vortexes related to these artificial waterspouts has been one ten millionth of that appropriated if The Great And The Good had their way.

The lack of seriousness among those portraying themselves as climate warriors is easily taken evidence that there is no real climate change problem – that it’s all a grift.


If only buzz words could generate electricity, along with the hot air and zealous indignation emitted from capitals like DC.


Vortex engine power generation…
I’m just not seeing the practicality of this. My high-level interpretation of the concept:

  • this is a tall chimney
  • a vortex (somehow) creates a non-material chimney several/tens of km high
  • heat source is low grade waste heat
  • capture some of the energy with a inlet turbines at the base

My unsatisfied questions:

  • what fraction of the energy is needed for the vortex? Is there anything left over to power the losses of the system, and to have a bit of net energy available to extract?
  • assuming there’s extractable energy, what is the intensity of the process (energy per unit airflow or heat flow or machinery size or cost)? Will this have the economics of tidal power? (it works, uses free fuel… but is capital-intensive enough such that it ends up being expensive power)

Waste heat towers for power plants seem like a nice baseline for mental experiments… they use waste heat to power convective cooling, on a breakeven basis (zero-ish net power input/output), with relatively large (hundreds of feet) structures. Could converting that to a vortex power system work? Let’s assume same size and cost for fixed machinery, same delta-T for heat input… can the vortex’s increased (virtual) chimney height provide harnessable net suction?


Your questions will likely remain unsatisfied until, as I stated previously, the appropriate multiphysics CFD models have been validated and this has been known to be the case since 2011 when I received this response from probably the world’s foremost authority:

This lack of interest in basic computational methods by the “climate science” community is damning.


If you want to know Michaud’s argument for why friction losses (such as the energy required to maintain the integrity of the vortex from ground level to the tropopause) are within reasonable bounds, here it is:

11.2 How much energy is required to overcome friction losses?

Friction losses are much lower for laminar flow than for turbulent flow. Flow in pipes becomes turbulent when the Reynolds Number exceed 5000. The Reynolds Number in atmospheric vortex is much higher than 5000 and therefore the flow should be turbulent but centrifugal force inhibits turbulence and keeps the flow laminar. The smooth thread shape of some waterspouts shows that flow in a vortex can be laminar. Turbulence is inhibited in vortex flow because when a particle of fluid moves towards the axis of rotation its tangential velocity increases to conserve angular momentum which increases centrifugal force and pushes the particle back towards its original position.

Table 11.2 shows that friction losses at a velocity of 40 m/s in a 40 m diameter pipe friction losses are 8500 more for turbulent flow than for laminar flow. The work loss due to friction is 1200 J/kg for turbulent flow and only 0.14 J/kg for laminar flow. Thermodynamic calculations show that the work produced when air is raised can be in the order of 5000 J/kg. For convection work of 5000 J/kg, friction losses are 24% for turbulent flow and 0.003% for laminar flow. Laminar flow reduces friction losses to negligible level.

Table 11.2

For the same flow, doubling the pipe diameter reduces friction loss by a factor of by a factor of 16 for laminar flow and by a factor of 30 for turbulent flow. Friction loss are inversely proportional to the diameter to the 4th power for laminar flow and to the diameter to the 5th power for turbulent flow.

Friction losses in a vortex would be slightly higher than in laminar pipe flow because the flow path is longer and there is more shear. Friction loss in vortex flow could be 5 times the friction losses in laminar pipe flow which is still much less than in turbulent pipe flow. Friction losses in unconfined flow such as cumulus updrafts could be 5 times the friction losses in turbulent pipe flow. Entrainment further increases friction losses in cumulus flow.

The Pax Scientific vortex mixer invented by Jay Harman demonstrated that using a vortex to circulate the water in a tank requires much less less energy than alternative methods such as pumps or agitators. Jay Harman stated that he is convinced vortices could be used to control atmospheric circulation and to bring rain to arid or drought ridden regions.
Pax Scientific vortex mixer web site
Article on Jay Harman