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Will we ever have flying cars?

R0b1Billion
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1/7/2014 4:42:20 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I was inspired to write this topic after a brief conversation with Danielle about flying cars the other day. She mentioned that we'll "be flying soon" and I emphatically disagreed with her. I think most people occupy the mindset she's in, so I'd like to take you all on and see what happens.

It is my prediction that humanity will never use flying automobiles for either personal or mass transit. I believe that most people think it is just a matter of time before the technology to achieve this feat is accomplished, and I don't think it is a matter of technical skill at all - it is a matter of the principle of least action:

"The laws of movement and of rest deduced from this principle being precisely the same as those observed in nature, we can admire the application of it to all phenomena. The movement of animals, the vegetative growth of plants ... are only its consequences; and the spectacle of the universe becomes so much the grander, so much more beautiful, the worthier of its Author, when one knows that a small number of laws, most wisely established, suffice for all movements."
-Pierre Louis Maupertuis

Action is defined as energy multiplied by time. The elegance that Maupertuis is alluding to in this quote has to do with the fact that, in nature, action is always conserved. In other words, all biology is based around the idea of conserving energy. Wasting energy is something to be avoided at all costs... and I do mean "all" costs.

One of the primary foundations of the modern environmental movement is an objection to the use of fossil fuels to provide energy in our economy. Now we can talk about GCC, harmful agents in plastics, sustainability, or a host of other issues revolving around fossil fuels. They are all arguable, require lots of expert-analysis, and intrude upon our personal autonomy (regardless of which side of the debate you are on). But the principle of least action provides a fundamental cause for all these problems without dealing with the complexity: we are not minimizing action.

Fossil fuels are a sort of "bank account" for energy that has been accumulating for hundreds of millions of years. Since tapping into this energy reservoir, we have been supplied with enormous amounts of energy that is quick and easy to turn into power for transportation, electricity production, etc. As fossil fuels begin to run out, we will not be able to sustain this level of power.

Therefore the future is going to be a lot different than most of you envision. We will not only be bereft of power-hungry machines like flying cars, we will be forced to give up a lot of the machines we currently use - like normal cars. It will be a transition to a state of minimal (and highly-efficient) energy-usage. Cars that fly use a tremendous amount of energy, because it takes far more power to keep an automobile hovering above the ground (even while not traveling laterally relative to it) than it does for a grounded auto to move a great distance using wheels.

What about alternative energy-systems? There are many other forms of energy that are either already in existence or theoretically available to future humans. Solar, wind, nuclear, anti-matter... The list is as long as your imagination can make it. But all of these forms of energy have one of either two issues: 1) Dangerous, or 2) Non-baseload. In the case of anti-matter or nuclear, for instance, we have technologies that are extremely dangerous. Either the potential energy is tremendous, risking an explosion at any time, or else it pumps you full of radiation while you're anywhere near it. It's not a matter of technical skill to minimize these dangers, it's a solid reality that revolves around them that cannot be averted because of the physical nature of their being. A phaser from Star Trek, for instance, which conceivably has enough energy to blast away every house on your street, would necessarily have a power-source that is not only spewing out radiation but is also subject to explode at any moment. It is not even theoretically possible that that much energy would be safe and benign, while being a button-push away from unleashing a powerful beam of destructive power.

Energy-sources that are safe are intermittent and cannot provide baseload power like fossil-fuels can (nuclear provides baseload power but it takes a huge structure to contain all the potential dangers, and even that is known to fail on occasion). Wind, solar, geothermal, and every other benign source provide tiny amounts of non-dependable energy which certainly isn't going to power a flying automobile. Additionally, while heralded by the environmental community for being "green," they are far from it! Their implementation often disrupts the natural environment in all sorts of ways, fundamentally because it takes so much of them to make any noticeable amount of usable energy.

We can make flying cars right now, I'm sure. But they will never be practical for the populace because the future will be about conserving energy, not finding new ways to create lots more of it. Even zeppelins, which float above the ground without expending energy to stay there, are impractical because of their danger of exploding. There are never going to be miracle energy-sources invented which provide lots of power safely and cheaply.

What about creating more oil, or a substance similar to it? Charging batteries and using them? This doesn't escape the problem of creating the energy in the first place. We already can create oil if we want, but we need an energy-source to do it. A spoonful of oil contains more energy than you can create with your muscles all day long. Because of oil, we have a very bad collective idea of just how much energy we use on a daily-basis, and our ignorance of it is going to make adapting to the future of energy very difficult. We are still being conditioned by big business to use more energy and forget it, because that involves increasing their sales.
Beliefs in a nutshell:
- The Ends never justify the Means.
- Objectivity is secondary to subjectivity.
- The War on Drugs is the worst policy in the U.S.
- Most people worship technology as a religion.
- Computers will never become sentient.
Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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1/7/2014 11:13:03 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Thanks for posting this, Rob.

It seems you don't think we will have flying cars because they are a waste of energy, and going forward, a lack of energy sources will lead us to abandon technology. I've seen several documentaries on our energy dependence and the problems that go along with it, so I see where you're coming from. However I think we will have flying cars long before that becomes a major (popular) concern. They are already out there now, and estimated to go mainstream in around 12 years though I suspect it will be more like 15-20.

As it stands, we are still developing super high-tech robotics, drones, weapons, machinery and aircraft that are all completely energy dependent. Why would flying cars be the one thing of the future that we abandon? Granted, it's possible - it might be more trouble than it's worth going mainstream (the FAA will be the new DMV, lol).

But there are some reasons to believe that flying cars could be helpful in the future, such as over-population and traffic concerns, safety (the flying cars they have developed make it easier to drive in bad weather than regular cars), convenience, etc. There have also been reported economic benefits. They have quantified the economic impact of traffic congestion, and it was estimated at $87 billion to $125 billion a year - just for the U.S. alone. And that's just comparing it to driving at normal speeds, without traffic. So given the potential benefits (and there are quite a few), I don't think we should expect that concerns over energy are going to stop innovators, entrepreneurs and anyone else who would benefit from this endeavor. Again, if that were accurate, then why not apply that same logic to defense contractors and every other industry that continues to innovate as if we have a never-ending supply of energy?

Something else I wanted to point out, minor as it may be, is that flying gives you a certain level of efficiency that you don't get with normal cars that we ought to consider as part of the equation. Already existing flying cars get around 35 MPG on the ground (which is normal), but flying at 100 MPH, it gets 20 miles per gallon. Plenty of cars get the same rate at significantly lower speeds.

As for what we will do about energy in the future, my best guess is that we will somehow harness solar power more effectively; it seems like the easiest, safest and most sensical solution. While it's true that converting hydrogen fuel cells costs more energy than it supplies, if we can overcome that technological hurdle, then it could mean big things for the future. Can we bank on it? No, but why bet against technology in the face of significant (overwhelming... detrimental... imperative) demand? History would not be on your side.

But yes, there are drawbacks to all potential alternatives (and even current sources) of energy. Hydroelectricity may be interesting to explore, or rather, perfect. Umm, biomass? I'm not into wind/coal but who cares - in the future we won't be picky. We aren't now. We have never really seemed to care to put the environment ahead of our demands, until/unless it becomes necessary.

Most of the population remains completely ignorant to our energy concerns as you mentioned, and the technology industry is pressing forward as if it's not a huge barrier (while engineers and scientists try to figure something out). Will the sh!t hit the fan some day? Yeah, probably... that's why I love the show Doomsday Preppers, just in case we have to live off the grid in my lifetime ;) But the point is, I think flying cars will be relatively popular (even if not very mainstream) in the future before people blame the energy problem as an obstacle.
President of DDO
Ore_Ele
Posts: 25,980
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1/7/2014 11:15:08 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I gotta ask for sources on the fuel efficiency of flying cars. I am concerned that the equations might be a little sketchy, since I doubt they use normal gas.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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1/8/2014 12:01:02 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/7/2014 11:15:08 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
I gotta ask for sources on the fuel efficiency of flying cars. I am concerned that the equations might be a little sketchy, since I doubt they use normal gas.

Yep, they use the same gas as regular automobiles. The most popular "mainstream" model (or what they are trying to make mainstream) is called the Terrafugia Transition. I would recommend looking up the videos though for more detail on stats, but here's a source.

http://www.businessinsider.com...
President of DDO
R0b1Billion
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1/8/2014 12:24:29 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
It seems you don't think we will have flying cars because they are a waste of energy, and going forward, a lack of energy sources will lead us to abandon technology.... They are already out there now, and estimated to go mainstream in around 12 years though I suspect it will be more like 15-20.

I don't think we will "abandon technology" so to speak, what I believe is that we will abandon using large amounts of energy. Technology like computers, genetic innovations, etc. that are not energy-intensive will flourish beyond our wildest dreams.

As for flying cars being 20 years away, well, we said that 20 years ago (Back to the Future?). And Twenty years before that as well! Youtube "Disney's Magic Highway" from 1958 (select the 8 min video, not the 48 min one) and see how we thought that we were a few mere decades away from flying rescue vehicles, nuclear-powered machines that could drill through mountains, and a pretty-much Jetson's lifestyle. Jetson's, Star Wars/Trek, and other sci-fi has always been expected to become a reality (or a close approximation) - it's just a matter of time and ambition!

As it stands, we are still developing super high-tech robotics, drones, weapons, machinery and aircraft that are all completely energy dependent. Why would flying cars be the one thing of the future that we abandon? Granted, it's possible - it might be more trouble than it's worth going mainstream (the FAA will be the new DMV, lol).

The amount of energy that aircraft use is tremendous. Commercial aircraft flights cost tens of thousands of dollars per trip (I would extrapolate that from the cost of tickets?). Again, we HAVE the technology to do it already, and we use it where we have to. But the amount of people that fly every day is a drop in the bucket compared to the population as a whole - and it always will be because it's a tremendous waste of energy. In fact, as fossil fuels deplete, we will probably fly even less than we do now. Jet fuel is, after-all, made of hydrocarbons.

But there are some reasons to believe that flying cars could be helpful in the future, such as over-population and traffic concerns, safety (the flying cars they have developed make it easier to drive in bad weather than regular cars), convenience, etc. There have also been reported economic benefits. They have quantified the economic impact of traffic congestion, and it was estimated at $87 billion to $125 billion a year - just for the U.S. alone. And that's just comparing it to driving at normal speeds, without traffic. So given the potential benefits (and there are quite a few), I don't think we should expect that concerns over energy are going to stop innovators, entrepreneurs and anyone else who would benefit from this endeavor. Again, if that were accurate, then why not apply that same logic to defense contractors and every other industry that continues to innovate as if we have a never-ending supply of energy?

In theory, from an economic perspective, flying autos could be incredibly cost-effective. Subtract also the cost of roads to your analysis and the prospects are intriguing. Unfortunately, economics and energy don't speak the same language. If they did, then the cost of oil wouldn't have been half-a dollar per gallon for most of the twentieth century - economics is only as good as the economists that employ it. And even the most competent economist can't capture externalities such as climate change into her calculations. Some scientists believe the actual economic costs of gasoline are $20-100/gal! If the liberal estimates are correct, there's little chance that accelerating our fossil-fuel usage through flying autos can be practical at all, even with the grandest ideas of savings from road construction, traffic efficiency, etc.

As far as comparing to "other industries" that are progressing, I can only say that there is no "other industry" when it comes to mass transit in terms of scale - we're talking about billions of potential drivers world-wide. Keeping all these people up in the air would be incalculable in terms of how much energy it would take!

Something else I wanted to point out, minor as it may be, is that flying gives you a certain level of efficiency that you don't get with normal cars that we ought to consider as part of the equation. Already existing flying cars get around 35 MPG on the ground (which is normal), but flying at 100 MPH, it gets 20 miles per gallon. Plenty of cars get the same rate at significantly lower speeds.

As Ore_Ele requested, I'd like to see exactly where your figures are coming from. Wind resistance increases four-fold with every 2x increase in speed, so eliminating the friction from wheels wouldn't theoretically supply you with enough free energy to make up for the massive amount of wind-resistance you'd be battling. Also, your engine has to work harder to constantly combat gravity, and lifting off would be extremely energy-intensive. Also, if you think a little red sports car is expensive to insure...

As for what we will do about energy in the future, my best guess is that we will somehow harness solar power more effectively; it seems like the easiest, safest and most sensical solution. While it's true that converting hydrogen fuel cells costs more energy than it supplies, if we can overcome that technological hurdle, then it could mean big things for the future. Can we bank on it? No, but why bet against technology in the face of significant (overwhelming... detrimental... imperative) demand? History would not be on your side.

I believe history is on my side. Hydrogen fuel cells have been under development for nearly 200 years. Just because modern car companies make them seem like sleek new technologies doesn't mean they are. It's difficult to imagine that we are on the verge of a major breakthrough with them when we've been developing them for nearly as long as the telegraph. Where is the fuel-cell's counterpart to the smart-phone? Other energy sources also have their problems, as I have outlined. Promises and expectations surround them but are always hollow. Nuclear energy, for example, was supposed to deliver to us "electricity too cheap to meter." Could you imagine telling somebody from 1958 that, as pf 2014, we wouldn't have built a new nuclear power plant in the US in decades because they are infeasible? You would be laughed out of town!

I agree that solar power is the strongest candidate for implementation for the future. But solar power is slow and intermittent. We are not going to have the resources to build unlimited amounts of solar panels, nor will we even have the space to use them in. We'll make wide use of them, don't get me wrong - but it won't allow us limitless power, we will have to closely monitor and control our energy usage. It will be a diet of smart energy and reduced consumption. A healthy diet ;)

But yes, there are drawbacks to all potential alternatives (and even current sources) of energy. Hydroelectricity may be interesting to explore, or rather, perfect. Umm, biomass? I'm not into wind/coal but who cares - in the future we won't be picky. We aren't now. We have never really seemed to care to put the environment ahead of our demands, until/unless it becomes necessary.

Most of the population remains completely ignorant to our energy concerns as you mentioned, and the technology industry is pressing forward as if it's not a huge barrier (while engineers and scientists try to figure something out). Will the sh!t hit the fan some day? Yeah, probably... that's why I love the show Doomsday Preppers, just in case we have to live off the grid in my lifetime ;) But the point is, I think flying cars will be relatively popular (even if not very mainstream) in the future before people blame the energy problem as an obstacle.

It's not a political or social issue, it's an insurmountable physical barrier that rests on the principle of least action.
Beliefs in a nutshell:
- The Ends never justify the Means.
- Objectivity is secondary to subjectivity.
- The War on Drugs is the worst policy in the U.S.
- Most people worship technology as a religion.
- Computers will never become sentient.
R0b1Billion
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1/8/2014 1:20:16 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/8/2014 12:01:02 AM, Danielle wrote:
At 1/7/2014 11:15:08 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
I gotta ask for sources on the fuel efficiency of flying cars. I am concerned that the equations might be a little sketchy, since I doubt they use normal gas.

Yep, they use the same gas as regular automobiles. The most popular "mainstream" model (or what they are trying to make mainstream) is called the Terrafugia Transition. I would recommend looking up the videos though for more detail on stats, but here's a source.

http://www.businessinsider.com...

Well I am very impressed with the fact that it gets 20mpg, but that is obviously only under perfect conditions. If I am by myself, just wanting to take a cruise to one location, and not packing any supplies, then, while at cruising altitude and full speed already, I can bank on 20mpg of premium gasoline. There's nothing practical and every-day about that at all, however.

Driving isn't about a personal joy-ride, it's about travel. That means transporting passengers and goods, which is obviously going to dramatically decrease its efficiency. Even just one larger guy driving that thing probably can't achieve the 20mpg. It also means multiple locations. Rarely is driving only about point A to point B. Every time you stop, you have to take off again, which is definitely going to be the point of highest gas-consumption (even one round trip is going to involve taking off twice). Weather conditions would pose constant threats of unreliability and I can't begin to imagine what the regulatory burden would be if this was to become commonplace.

It also doesn't seem to avoid being cost-prohibitive. It costs $300,000 at the moment, and unless they can be made at 10% of that cost, forget them being more than just a toy for the rich. You'll also need to be a pilot to operate it. Private piloting training is upwards of $10,000 to complete, while commercial pilots blow $40,000 to become certified. Insurance is difficult to imagine... how much damage can something falling hundreds or thousands of feet out of the sky do? I'd like to see what liability is like on one of those things lol. And the parts and maintenance are probably ridiculous.

Of course we have economies of scale and future innovation to get the costs down. I'm sure automobiles had similar issues at the start but I think it is a pipe dream to think that anybody but the top 5% will be able to afford to have anything to do with this, and even then they will only be used as recreation, not true transportation.

Does anybody honestly see the average person flying around in a similar machine?
Beliefs in a nutshell:
- The Ends never justify the Means.
- Objectivity is secondary to subjectivity.
- The War on Drugs is the worst policy in the U.S.
- Most people worship technology as a religion.
- Computers will never become sentient.
RhysJaxson
Posts: 79
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1/8/2014 8:51:42 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
I'm going to put this simply, we will never have flying cars without them being completely automatic. Trying to put millions of flying cars into the sky would be a nightmare, even if you managed to get everybody to train for hundreds of hours before flying on their own.

The other problem is energy. I'll say this right now too, batteries are not the future. At least not any kind of battery like we have now. They are too expensive, we might never have enough material to make as many as we would need if every vehicle had them, and they are very inefficient.

I think the only real future for power is fusion, and transit either a wireless energy transfer or some kind of powered road. Automatic travel pods would be fast and safe. A system that combined road travel like in minority report with long-distance tube travel like Elon Musk proposed would probably be the best bet.
We are better than religion. We are better than gods.
R0b1Billion
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1/8/2014 10:58:06 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/8/2014 8:51:42 AM, RhysJaxson wrote:

I see a former DDOer has risen from the dead to rejoin us ;) I liked your old avatar much better -_-

I'm going to put this simply, we will never have flying cars without them being completely automatic. Trying to put millions of flying cars into the sky would be a nightmare, even if you managed to get everybody to train for hundreds of hours before flying on their own.

Good Point! I'll ask everybody this: how many times have you heard people around you complain about bad drivers? Can you imagine if every dumbass you ever complained about was now FLYING!?

The other problem is energy. I'll say this right now too, batteries are not the future. At least not any kind of battery like we have now. They are too expensive, we might never have enough material to make as many as we would need if every vehicle had them, and they are very inefficient.

Yes, yes, yes! I didn't hit on batteries because my post was getting long, but batteries are incredibly poor in almost every metric we have to measure them in. It seems that physics not only limits how much energy we can use, but also limits how well we can store/recharge said energy after we make it. As gas runs out, it will be difficult to see how we would power these machines. And yes, the materials for batteries are becoming scarce (i.e., lithium) and present an entirely new environmental problem to us, as if we needed more... On that subject, flying cars themselves are an environmental nightmare for any species of flying animal and there is absolutely no doubt that it will complete our absolute destruction of the natural environment around us (the sky is the last place we haven't yet dominated, and birds are the one class of animals that haven't been decimated by our suburban sprawl because of their ability to fly away from danger).

I think the only real future for power is fusion, and transit either a wireless energy transfer or some kind of powered road. Automatic travel pods would be fast and safe. A system that combined road travel like in minority report with long-distance tube travel like Elon Musk proposed would probably be the best bet.

I have to disagree that fusion will be able to replace our power needs. Now I can't comment on some super new tech that will emerge in the future, nobody can, but we've been working on fusion for more than half a century and it will be at least another half a century before we can even make a large fusion power-plant viable, never-mind a personal fusion device that could power a car. With fusion, we need temperatures of millions of degrees to overcome the nuclear forces within atoms to get the reaction started. You'd basically have a nuclear bomb on board every car you see DX

Cold-fusion is science-fiction, plain and simple. Perhaps we will discover some magnificent new physical property of matter through our study of quantum mechanics that will deliver this technology to us - no person alive today can genuinely comment on that one way or another. But as of now it seems like it is not physically possible, and I would venture to say that even if we did succeed in putting small cold-fusion reactors aboard cars, we would simply enter a new era of environmental difficulties caused by them as has every other energy-technology innovation. Energy usage is inversely proportional to our environmental health, and that is a physical constant that is never going to go away.
Beliefs in a nutshell:
- The Ends never justify the Means.
- Objectivity is secondary to subjectivity.
- The War on Drugs is the worst policy in the U.S.
- Most people worship technology as a religion.
- Computers will never become sentient.
Floid
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1/8/2014 3:48:39 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
The extremely rich already have the ability to use flying cars (aka helicopters).

A more practical flying car will never become main stream because the training required to fly a vehicle and the inherent danger in flying.

It is also very difficult to regulate air traffic versus terrestrial traffic. The traffic avoidance systems on modern commercial aircraft alone cost tens of thousands of dollars.

I don't think that the cost of fuel really factors into it that much because the cost of owning your own vehicle is the prohibiting factor. If you can afford a helicopter that costs $200,000+ dollars and pay the $5,000+ in maintenance per year and either pay a pilot or spend tens of thousands of dollars getting a license yourself then you can pay a couple of hundred dollars a pop to travel 30-40 miles.
sadolite
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1/8/2014 5:28:10 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Will we ever have flying cars? No, requires to much energy to keep them aloft let alone move it forward. Flying cars will not and can not have the luxury of "aerodynamic lift" that a a airplane has. A flying car must use "pure vectored thrust" to keep it aloft. Massive fuel consumption. You will see the novelties for the rich like you do now. And don't even get me started on the FAA and the EPA and all the other govt agencies that will make it cost to much even if it were a viable idea. Just put that idea out of your mind. A store like Home Depot couldn't be built cost effectively today under current govt regulations.
It's not your views that divide us, it's what you think my views should be that divides us.

If you think I will give up my rights and forsake social etiquette to make you "FEEL" better you are sadly mistaken

If liberal democrats would just stop shooting people gun violence would drop by 90%
Ramshutu
Posts: 4,063
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1/8/2014 6:08:33 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/8/2014 5:28:10 PM, sadolite wrote:
Will we ever have flying cars? No, requires to much energy to keep them aloft let alone move it forward. Flying cars will not and can not have the luxury of "aerodynamic lift" that a a airplane has. A flying car must use "pure vectored thrust" to keep it aloft. Massive fuel consumption. You will see the novelties for the rich like you do now. And don't even get me started on the FAA and the EPA and all the other govt agencies that will make it cost to much even if it were a viable idea. Just put that idea out of your mind. A store like Home Depot couldn't be built cost effectively today under current govt regulations.

Newton calculated powered flight was impossible. Considering he was a pretty smart, creating the laws of motion, gravity, optics revolutionizing physics, and invented an entirely new type of mathematics almost on a dare... Then turned 26, and can get things wrong: I will keep my options open and say "probably not in the near term".
sadolite
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1/8/2014 9:55:13 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/8/2014 6:08:33 PM, Ramshutu wrote:
At 1/8/2014 5:28:10 PM, sadolite wrote:
Will we ever have flying cars? No, requires to much energy to keep them aloft let alone move it forward. Flying cars will not and can not have the luxury of "aerodynamic lift" that a a airplane has. A flying car must use "pure vectored thrust" to keep it aloft. Massive fuel consumption. You will see the novelties for the rich like you do now. And don't even get me started on the FAA and the EPA and all the other govt agencies that will make it cost to much even if it were a viable idea. Just put that idea out of your mind. A store like Home Depot couldn't be built cost effectively today under current govt regulations.

Newton calculated powered flight was impossible. Considering he was a pretty smart, creating the laws of motion, gravity, optics revolutionizing physics, and invented an entirely new type of mathematics almost on a dare... Then turned 26, and can get things wrong: I will keep my options open and say "probably not in the near term".

"probably not in the near term". That I can agree with. But the roadblocks will not be because of a lack of technology, it will be govt regulation. If the car were invented today it would never be approved by the govt. To unsafe. Nor would the airplane.
It's not your views that divide us, it's what you think my views should be that divides us.

If you think I will give up my rights and forsake social etiquette to make you "FEEL" better you are sadly mistaken

If liberal democrats would just stop shooting people gun violence would drop by 90%
R0b1Billion
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1/9/2014 8:55:23 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/8/2014 3:48:39 PM, Floid wrote:

I don't think that the cost of fuel really factors into it that much because the cost of owning your own vehicle is the prohibiting factor. If you can afford a helicopter that costs $200,000+ dollars and pay the $5,000+ in maintenance per year and either pay a pilot or spend tens of thousands of dollars getting a license yourself then you can pay a couple of hundred dollars a pop to travel 30-40 miles.

But if somehow we can make flying cars cheaply, my point is that fuel-cost will still prohibit the average person from flying around because fuel costs are only going to go up in the future.
Beliefs in a nutshell:
- The Ends never justify the Means.
- Objectivity is secondary to subjectivity.
- The War on Drugs is the worst policy in the U.S.
- Most people worship technology as a religion.
- Computers will never become sentient.
R0b1Billion
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1/9/2014 8:56:40 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/8/2014 5:28:10 PM, sadolite wrote:
Will we ever have flying cars? No, requires to much energy to keep them aloft let alone move it forward. Flying cars will not and can not have the luxury of "aerodynamic lift" that a a airplane has. A flying car must use "pure vectored thrust" to keep it aloft. Massive fuel consumption. You will see the novelties for the rich like you do now. And don't even get me started on the FAA and the EPA and all the other govt agencies that will make it cost to much even if it were a viable idea. Just put that idea out of your mind. A store like Home Depot couldn't be built cost effectively today under current govt regulations.

This is a rare day where I credit sadolite for being the only person thus far in the thread who's hit the nail directly on the head. Good show.
Beliefs in a nutshell:
- The Ends never justify the Means.
- Objectivity is secondary to subjectivity.
- The War on Drugs is the worst policy in the U.S.
- Most people worship technology as a religion.
- Computers will never become sentient.
R0b1Billion
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1/9/2014 9:08:40 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/8/2014 6:08:33 PM, Ramshutu wrote:

Newton calculated powered flight was impossible. Considering he was a pretty smart, creating the laws of motion, gravity, optics revolutionizing physics, and invented an entirely new type of mathematics almost on a dare... Then turned 26, and can get things wrong: I will keep my options open and say "probably not in the near term".

Your position is conservative, and therefore says absolutely nothing. What about the long term? Can you envision a society full of flying cars, like so many movies and shows have portrayed? Surely you have seen many of these movies, and thought to yourself: yay or nay.

I maintain my position that we will NEVER have a society full of flying automobile drivers. We will never take to the air as a matter of habit because it's too inefficient to combat the force of gravity when we don't have to using the innovation of the wheel. The entirety of the history of energy innovation has revolved around the fact that energy is not a technical hurdle we can overcome, it is an absolute brick wall that needs to be avoided at all costs. Technology will unfold along the lines of efficiency - NOT simply increasing the power of our machines as nearly all sci-fi writers suggest.

Newton was right, but for the wrong reasons ;)
Beliefs in a nutshell:
- The Ends never justify the Means.
- Objectivity is secondary to subjectivity.
- The War on Drugs is the worst policy in the U.S.
- Most people worship technology as a religion.
- Computers will never become sentient.
drhead
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1/9/2014 4:40:28 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I feel that I should correct you on nuclear power plants - we aren't building many of them because it is cheaper right now to use natural gas plants. Nuclear plants are still a lot more efficient once they are operating, but the initial cost of several billions of dollars is rather prohibitive. A small uranium pellet can produce the same amount of energy that one ton of coal can. This isn't particularly relevant to cars, however, since fission requires a minimum amount of fissionable isotope in order for heat to be generated, and it would be impossible to shield it properly if it were in a car.

As for fuel cells, we already know how to make hydrogen fuel cells run well. The only real problem is how we can put a tank of explosive gas on a moving vehicle without it being a safety hazard.
Wall of Fail

"You reject religion... calling it a sickness, to what ends??? Are you a Homosexual??" - Dogknox
"For me, Evolution is a zombie theory. I mean imaginary cartoons and wishful thinking support it?" - Dragonfang
"There are no mental health benefits of atheism. It is devoid of rational thinking and mental protection." - Gabrian
R0b1Billion
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1/9/2014 11:51:51 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/9/2014 4:40:28 PM, drhead wrote:
I feel that I should correct you on nuclear power plants - we aren't building many of them because it is cheaper right now to use natural gas plants. Nuclear plants are still a lot more efficient once they are operating, but the initial cost of several billions of dollars is rather prohibitive. A small uranium pellet can produce the same amount of energy that one ton of coal can. This isn't particularly relevant to cars, however, since fission requires a minimum amount of fissionable isotope in order for heat to be generated, and it would be impossible to shield it properly if it were in a car.

Nuclear power plants are the savior of mankind if what you said is all there is to it - unfortunately it is not! Nuclear power plants are not being made because of NIMBYism - will you volunteer your neighborhood for the next one? Also, we still haven't even begun to deposit the waste we already have (it all sits in "temporary" storage) because nobody wants it. Nobody wants a power plant in their state, or the radioactive waste that comes from them.

As for fuel cells, we already know how to make hydrogen fuel cells run well. The only real problem is how we can put a tank of explosive gas on a moving vehicle without it being a safety hazard.

As I stated before, any energy source we would use is either inefficient or dangerous. Choose your poison.
Beliefs in a nutshell:
- The Ends never justify the Means.
- Objectivity is secondary to subjectivity.
- The War on Drugs is the worst policy in the U.S.
- Most people worship technology as a religion.
- Computers will never become sentient.
drhead
Posts: 1,475
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1/10/2014 12:45:09 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/9/2014 11:51:51 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:
At 1/9/2014 4:40:28 PM, drhead wrote:
I feel that I should correct you on nuclear power plants - we aren't building many of them because it is cheaper right now to use natural gas plants. Nuclear plants are still a lot more efficient once they are operating, but the initial cost of several billions of dollars is rather prohibitive. A small uranium pellet can produce the same amount of energy that one ton of coal can. This isn't particularly relevant to cars, however, since fission requires a minimum amount of fissionable isotope in order for heat to be generated, and it would be impossible to shield it properly if it were in a car.

Nuclear power plants are the savior of mankind if what you said is all there is to it - unfortunately it is not! Nuclear power plants are not being made because of NIMBYism - will you volunteer your neighborhood for the next one? Also, we still haven't even begun to deposit the waste we already have (it all sits in "temporary" storage) because nobody wants it. Nobody wants a power plant in their state, or the radioactive waste that comes from them.

I already live near a nuclear power plant, and I am glad to report that I enjoy having below-average prices for electricity ($0.09/kWh versus $0.11/kWh) and that I do not glow green from the insignificant amount of added radiation that I am exposed to as a result of the power plant being there. I suggest that you look at this:

https://xkcd.com...

Seriously, if what you're afraid of is demonstrably less dangerous than eating a banana, your fear is irrational.

We had a nice place inside of a mountain for nuclear waste in Nevada that was all ready to go, until all of the delays in the project hit. People have talked about storing nuclear waste in salt domes. Others have been working on nuclear reprocessing techniques that could neutralize waste or potentially get more power from it. However, general consensus is that we have enough temporary storage for the time between now and when we find a nice place to put all of the waste.

As for fuel cells, we already know how to make hydrogen fuel cells run well. The only real problem is how we can put a tank of explosive gas on a moving vehicle without it being a safety hazard.

As I stated before, any energy source we would use is either inefficient or dangerous. Choose your poison.

I've heard of alternative means of storing hydrogen before. Something about a palladium mesh that stores a disproportionately large amount of hydrogen. Only time can really tell what will happen.
Wall of Fail

"You reject religion... calling it a sickness, to what ends??? Are you a Homosexual??" - Dogknox
"For me, Evolution is a zombie theory. I mean imaginary cartoons and wishful thinking support it?" - Dragonfang
"There are no mental health benefits of atheism. It is devoid of rational thinking and mental protection." - Gabrian
R0b1Billion
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1/10/2014 12:06:33 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/10/2014 12:45:09 AM, drhead wrote:
At 1/9/2014 11:51:51 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:
At 1/9/2014 4:40:28 PM, drhead wrote:
I feel that I should correct you on nuclear power plants - we aren't building many of them because it is cheaper right now to use natural gas plants. Nuclear plants are still a lot more efficient once they are operating, but the initial cost of several billions of dollars is rather prohibitive. A small uranium pellet can produce the same amount of energy that one ton of coal can. This isn't particularly relevant to cars, however, since fission requires a minimum amount of fissionable isotope in order for heat to be generated, and it would be impossible to shield it properly if it were in a car.

Nuclear power plants are the savior of mankind if what you said is all there is to it - unfortunately it is not! Nuclear power plants are not being made because of NIMBYism - will you volunteer your neighborhood for the next one? Also, we still haven't even begun to deposit the waste we already have (it all sits in "temporary" storage) because nobody wants it. Nobody wants a power plant in their state, or the radioactive waste that comes from them.

I already live near a nuclear power plant, and I am glad to report that I enjoy having below-average prices for electricity ($0.09/kWh versus $0.11/kWh) and that I do not glow green from the insignificant amount of added radiation that I am exposed to as a result of the power plant being there. I suggest that you look at this:

https://xkcd.com...

That is irrelevant. No state is going to allow another plant to be built for the reasons I already outlined.

Seriously, if what you're afraid of is demonstrably less dangerous than eating a banana, your fear is irrational.

Nuclear waste is much more radioactive than a banana, and there's absolutely nothing irrational about the fear of creating more of it.

We had a nice place inside of a mountain for nuclear waste in Nevada that was all ready to go, until all of the delays in the project hit. People have talked about storing nuclear waste in salt domes. Others have been working on nuclear reprocessing techniques that could neutralize waste or potentially get more power from it. However, general consensus is that we have enough temporary storage for the time between now and when we find a nice place to put all of the waste.

That is a rhetorically-designed paragraph that is extremely misleading. I wrote a paper on that "nice" place in Nevada, and there were so many problems with it that only a fool would put the waste there. What you innocuously describe as "delays" are actually people screaming at the top of their lungs NOT to put the waste there! NOBODY wants the waste in their home state! And there is no "nice" place to put the waste all those alternatives you described have their own issues for one reason or another and that's why we have had nuclear waste in temporary storage for decades.

As for fuel cells, we already know how to make hydrogen fuel cells run well. The only real problem is how we can put a tank of explosive gas on a moving vehicle without it being a safety hazard.

As I stated before, any energy source we would use is either inefficient or dangerous. Choose your poison.

I've heard of alternative means of storing hydrogen before. Something about a palladium mesh that stores a disproportionately large amount of hydrogen. Only time can really tell what will happen.

It already has. You're just not listening to what time has to say, you're putting your hopes in unproven technologies that cannot pass muster because you have a political axe to grind. It is a very unscientific attitude!
Beliefs in a nutshell:
- The Ends never justify the Means.
- Objectivity is secondary to subjectivity.
- The War on Drugs is the worst policy in the U.S.
- Most people worship technology as a religion.
- Computers will never become sentient.