Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

Choking On Our Own Waste Heat

The Earth might continue warming due to heat released into the environment by ordinary human activities. According to Nick Cowern and Chihak Ahn of the School of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering at Newcastle University, UK, waste heat could become a significant problem in the next century.

If global energy use increases by just one percent per year, then the dissipated heat from human activities could cancel out the benefits of cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Take a look at this visual example of the problem in a 1997 photo created by NASA. Using a special Lear Jet to collect thermal data, they demonstrated how hot cities can get. While some of the problem is due to solar heating of concrete and roads, vehicles and buildings also contribute.


(Thermal image of Atlanta, GA [NASA])

In his award-winning 1970 novel Ringworld, Larry Niven had to help an entire species, the Puppeteers, with their waste heat problem. They are sentient herd animals whose vast cities and works cover their entire planet.

"I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat. Total conversion of energy had rid us of all waste products of civilisation, save that one. We had no choice but to move our world outward from its primary."

"Was that not dangerous?"

"Very... we found that a sun was a liability rather than an asset. We moved our world to a tenth of a light year's distance, keeping the primary only as an anchor...
(Read more about the Puppeteer Kemplerer Rosette)

Cowern and Ahn point out that not all power sources are alike; nuclear power has the most harmful effect because it releases energy in a very short time that is otherwise locked up. Solar power is better because it falls on the Earth anyway.

From Heat we emit could warm the Earth; thanks to Erik Nodacker for pointing out this story and the sf reference.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/1/2008)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Engineering ")

Thin Film Dome Protects Cities From Nuclear Blasts
'What fabric can take that kind of a load? Synthetic spider silk.' - Robert Heinlein, 1939.

Cyborg Eye Flashlight Lights Up The Room
'Foyle pressed a tooth with his tongue and the peripheral cells of his retina were excited into emitting a soft light.' - Alfred Bester, 1956.

Aeromine Technologies Rooftop Wind Energy
'...a windmill on his roof for light and heat.' - John Jacob Astor IV, 1894.

Roomba Hoovers Up More Than Dirt
'He had brought that tiny instrument to map their movements.' - Jack Williamson, 1936.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

Megachurches Catch Up To Heinlein
'Mars,' the kid repeated, threw Boone a Scout salute and made a sixty-foot leap over the crowd.

Olympus 3D Printing Using Lunar And Martian Materials
The system may be used to create critical infrastructure on the Moon, including landing pads, blast shields, and roads.

Robot Builds Robots From Voxel Subunits
'I was patiently building the most dangerous thing in creation...'

Meltz Neurorehabilitation Robotic Hand
A new type of rehabilitation called "neuro-rehabilitation.

San Francisco Wants ED-209, Or Maybe Robocop
'The Enforcement Droid series 209 is a self-sufficient law enforcement robot...'

Seoul Self-Driving 42dot Bus Unveiled
'Buses without drivers moved close to the curb and stopped at intervals.'

T. Gondii And The Leaders Of The Pack
'... infected males were more than 46 times more likely to become pack leaders than uninfected males.'

'Parastronaut' First Astronaut With Disability From ESA (Updated!)
'He had left Earth to get away from its gravitational field...'

MIT Self-Assembling Reprogrammable Materials
'Faster the cubes moved; faster the circle revolved; the pyramids raised themselves, stood bolt upright on their square bases...'

Mem, The All-Your-Memories, Super Note-Taking App
'Life experience is linearly additive, but the correlation of memory impressions is an unlimited expansion.'

Porcine Fat Cells For 3D-Printed Whole Pork Products
'I grabbed two Syntho-Steaks out of the freezer...'

LANIUS Loitering Drone Munition Scouts And Maps
'... micro-missiles proceeding at walking pace.'

Copilot Software AI Training Sued By Involuntary Contributors
'...we've promised him a generous pension from the royalties.'

Thin Film Dome Protects Cities From Nuclear Blasts
'What fabric can take that kind of a load? Synthetic spider silk.'

Mars Space Weather Alert (MSWA) System
'On the three-dimensional map at weather headquarters... the storm was colored orange.'

Thermite's Robot Firefighter
Possibly worthy of Transformers!

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.