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A silver lining to the oil spill 2010-Jun-06 at 00:37 PST

Posted by Scott Arbeit in Blog.
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I find that it’s helpful, when one is stuck is a bad situation, to take as broad a perspective as possible and ask some simple questions: What’s the benefit of this?  What can we get out of it?  How will this bring long-term positive change?

Now, finding the best possible silver lining out of horrible situations does not mean that the positive outcomes make going through the tragedy worthwhile on balance.  In this case… yeah, the oil spill sucks.

But there’s really only one way we’re going to clean up the worst (by multiples) oil spill of all time, in less than a decade: nanotechnology and biotechnology.

I want to see Craig Venter inventing a new bacteria that eats oil better than ever before.  I want to see nanobots that travel through the water and gather oil and bring it back to a home ship.  I want to see research colleges stepping up.  I want to see us invent our way into speeding up the clean-up.

There is an opportunity to speed up both fields right now, and there’s no limit to the amount of millions of dollars that would be available right now from investors if someone took a serious run at this.

I’m betting that within a couple of years we’ll have some amazing breakthroughs to help the long-term clean-up effort… and we’ve definitely got years of that to come, followed by more years where we’re seeing a repopulation of the waters.

And, again, I wish we didn’t have to, but we do.

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Comments»

1. Mike Wise - 2010-Jun-06 at 06:37 PST

I want to see way more Solar and Wind subsidies. And for Algae and Cellulosic Ethanol fuels too. And while I am not really anti-nuke, I don’t like the fact that it takes really huge orgs to do them. I really think between Solar, Wind and Bio-fuels, we really have everything covered.
Turns out Cellulosic Ethanol has been around for a process for well over 100 years. We just gave up on it.
Seems stupid that we are still relying on non-renewables at this point in our development.

2. Scott Arbeit - 2010-Jun-07 at 22:21 PST

We definitely will have everything covered by solar… it’s on track to be able to meet all of humanity’s energy needs in 15-20 years. Oil will last a couple of decades more, but will fade just like wood and coal did.

I don’t like biofuels because of the insane environmental damage that we’re doing through the use of pesticides growing all of that corn. I’d also like to see the end of farming subsidies in the United States, of course.


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