Best TED talk so far in 2012

We have heard from Paul Gilding that fear has to be our motivator. But that has been used for 30 years with little success.

And we have heard from T. Boone Pickens that fracking is the best way forward, the environmental and climate effects be damned.

Both are simply rehashes of approaches already used and found to have only transitory usefulness. People stop being afraid and natural gas has to be a transition to something specific, not to some far away endpoint.

Peter Diamandid presents the bet response – let’s leverage the huge innovation already occurring to find solutions. People we least expect will be the most important. 3 Billion new minds will be connected to the rest of us in 8 years, all ready adding to the reservoir of talent we already have.

It is incorrect to see that we are living totally in a world of falling resources. We are on the cusp of being more sustainable than ever.

Population comes under control when you educate people, particularly women.

We worry about energy but space-based solar power would provide what we need. But it requires a lot of raw materials – natural resources we are running out of.

Some of these materials can be found on the moon. Iron, aluminum and titanium could be extracted and used. And the rare earth elements we require in most of our technologies will also be found there.

Near-earth asteroids can potential be a problem if they hit us. So why not mine them? A single asteroid can have more iron,  platinum, gold and silver than exist on the Earth today.

These technologies will also provide us with more water than we need. The driving force into space will necessitate an expansion of our population into new frontiers, removing much of the pressures on the Earth today.

Titan could be a source of the organic molecules we rely on for the generation of plastics, fertilizer, etc.

We have an abundance of resources. We just need to make some changes in ourselves to reach an abundant and sustainable future.

It will be amazing how fast we achieve this.

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2 Responses to “Best TED talk so far in 2012”

  1. mj Says:

    Unfortunately, as far as I can see, only the Russians or Chinese will be in outer-space and able to mine anything there. NASA is shut down, remember, and concentrating on research about Climate Change.

    • Richard Gayle Says:

      Well, you are misinformed if you believe NASA is shut down, even with respect to manned flight. We are on the cusp of NASA-funded private-public partnerships that will drop the price of getting material/humans to low earth orbit substantially. Manned spaceflight will become much more routine than today because of these partnerships. No longer will government control all aspects of access to space. I would think this is a place where both liberals and conservatives could agree. In a couple of years, companies in the US will be able to get material to space much cheaper than anywhere else.

      We will have the capacity to move material into LEO in quantities no one else will be able to compete with. This allows NASA to re-energize research beyond earth orbits. It has grand plans it is currently researching to get man beyond the Earth’s orbit., including setting up a stable space station next to the moon (Check out the future directions). We will know the possibilities for this by the end of March.

      NASA is not moribund but is in a state of active research. That is what it does best. A large part of its budget should not be tied to ferrying astronauts to LEO. As we can see, even other countries can do that. Better to let the private sector work its magic and spend money/effort on doing what the private sector can not.


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