Scott Westerfeld Forum

Scott's Books => Uglies / Pretties / Specials / Extras => Topic started by: KingOfSpades on April 16, 2011, 04:18:36 PM

Title: The Oil Bug Is Real
Post by: KingOfSpades on April 16, 2011, 04:18:36 PM
No, really (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/oilandgas/7964175/Microbe-eating-spilled-oil-in-Gulf-of-Mexico.html).  You remember the BP oil spill last year?  They've discovered a bacterium that's devoured massive amounts of that oil spill.  If that thing started spreading through the air, we'd be looking at an apocalypse scenario.  On the bright side, germs just cleaned up our mess for us.
Title: my phone is weird
Post by: Mercuriii on April 16, 2011, 08:01:46 PM
Well that is only if the bacterium consumes JUST oil and if it multiplies quickly.  Scott made it sound like it would take not that much time but it would take actually a year or two. 
Title: Re: The Oil Bug Is Real
Post by: KingOfSpades on April 16, 2011, 09:41:49 PM
Scott seems to have a problem of scale in general.  For example:

1) A million people to a city, cities seem to be several hundred miles apart given the distance between Tally's city and Diego, so a maximum of about a hundred cities.  How can a hundred million people with matter reassemblers possibly pose a significant threat to the environment?  Matter reassembly is several times more environmentally friendly than current production methods, and their population is about 5% of ours.

2) According to the map in Bogus to Bubbly, global warming is actually going to be about four times worse than what Al Gore predicted in An Inconvenient Truth, which is itself about eight times worse than the most pessimistic scenario ever endorsed by actual scientists, which is, in turn, about twice as bad as the UN investigation's predicted result if nothing is done (using numbers I researched when I first read Bogus to Bubbly, at least a year ago, data may have changed since).

3) The magnets in hoverboards are apparently strong enough to run off of only the trace metals found in riverbeds.  The amount of energy needed to power magnets that strong is pretty immense, to the point where I'm pretty sure that solar cells with a 100% energy conversion rate (i.e. solar cells capable of violating the Law of Entropy) would still not be able to store more than an hour's worth of power for it.

But none of that really bothered me on the first read through, except perhaps the first one, because it was never integral to the plot.  Hoverboards get a pass because they're cool and spending an extra four chapters explaining how they can work off trace metals or extremely distant metals wouldn't be any fun.  The location of coastlines is never relevant to the plot anyway.  The thing with the environment is most irksome in Extras, when Tally implies she's killed people over it, but it was just one line and not that hard to ignore.
Title: Re: The Oil Bug Is Real
Post by: Beth-la on April 16, 2011, 10:19:53 PM
Hurray, oil bug.  Just what we need. :P
I still have some of the oil I picked up from the beach. It's nasty.
Title: Re: The Oil Bug Is Real
Post by: JimmyLost on April 16, 2011, 10:29:35 PM
1) A million people to a city, cities seem to be several hundred miles apart given the distance between Tally's city and Diego, so a maximum of about a hundred cities.  How can a hundred million people with matter reassemblers possibly pose a significant threat to the environment?  Matter reassembly is several times more environmentally friendly than current production methods, and their population is about 5% of ours.
Yes but I think you have to consider environmental problems left over from the rusties like the white weed... there might not be that much accutal environment left to work with.
Title: Re: The Oil Bug Is Real
Post by: Bea-la on April 17, 2011, 01:22:09 AM
Yeah the white weed is an example of an invasive species.
Title: Re: The Oil Bug Is Real
Post by: KingOfSpades on April 17, 2011, 10:32:01 AM
Yes but I think you have to consider environmental problems left over from the rusties like the white weed... there might not be that much accutal environment left to work with.

There's still plenty of forests around.  The world would look radically different if the environment was weak enough that just a hundred million people (or less) with matter reassemblers could significantly threaten it.  More like a wasteland than the forests that Tally and Shay spend most of their time riding through in Uglies.
Title: Re: The Oil Bug Is Real
Post by: Sprocket on April 17, 2011, 11:21:39 AM
Scott seems to have a problem of scale in general.  For example:

1) A million people to a city, cities seem to be several hundred miles apart given the distance between Tally's city and Diego, so a maximum of about a hundred cities.  How can a hundred million people with matter reassemblers possibly pose a significant threat to the environment?  Matter reassembly is several times more environmentally friendly than current production methods, and their population is about 5% of ours.

2) According to the map in Bogus to Bubbly, global warming is actually going to be about four times worse than what Al Gore predicted in An Inconvenient Truth, which is itself about eight times worse than the most pessimistic scenario ever endorsed by actual scientists, which is, in turn, about twice as bad as the UN investigation's predicted result if nothing is done (using numbers I researched when I first read Bogus to Bubbly, at least a year ago, data may have changed since).

3) The magnets in hoverboards are apparently strong enough to run off of only the trace metals found in riverbeds.  The amount of energy needed to power magnets that strong is pretty immense, to the point where I'm pretty sure that solar cells with a 100% energy conversion rate (i.e. solar cells capable of violating the Law of Entropy) would still not be able to store more than an hour's worth of power for it.

YOU ARE THE ME OF THE FUTURE!
Title: Re: The Oil Bug Is Real
Post by: Reenie-La on April 18, 2011, 01:05:47 AM
Honestly, I hope what happened in Uglies happens to us--with only a hundred million people in the world and someone like Dr. Cable making sure people didn't try to mess with the environment like people of today do--I think the world who be in much better shape. With or without the betterment of humanity. The Earth was here first and we as humans are destroying at a scarily fast rate.

"Live long and die out." ~VHEMT

http://www.vhemt.org/

Title: Re: The Oil Bug Is Real
Post by: KingOfSpades on April 19, 2011, 03:32:53 PM
The concept that the person who came first deserves it more is a purely human one.  As far as nature is concerned, if it helps you survive, it's fair.  There is no such thing as a sin against nature.
Title: Re: The Oil Bug Is Real
Post by: Sadie-la on April 20, 2011, 06:05:55 AM
I know. I saw that. I freaked. scary stuff man.
Title: Re: The Oil Bug Is Real
Post by: hoverboarder on April 20, 2011, 07:17:47 AM
Plus....wasn't there something about combustion?.....like the oil exploded cuz there were signs of burining?
Title: Re: The Oil Bug Is Real
Post by: KingOfSpades on April 20, 2011, 06:45:51 PM
So it's not good enough that Scott can predict the future, he also has to get every single detail right?  Aren't you picky.
Title: Re: The Oil Bug Is Real
Post by: Bea-la on April 22, 2011, 08:10:47 AM
:>
Title: Re: The Oil Bug Is Real
Post by: tridecagirl on April 22, 2011, 10:02:11 AM
As for us destroying the planet, wasn't it Malcolm in Jurassic Park (the book) that said:
'The planet is not in danger. We are in danger. We do not have the power to save the earth - or to destroy it. But we may have the power to save ourselves.'
The earth is a heck of a lot bigger than us. We aren't capable of destroying it. But wiping ourselves out? Yeah, that oculd happen.
Title: Re: The Oil Bug Is Real
Post by: Bea-la on April 22, 2011, 11:28:32 AM
Indeed it could... but then again, the earth is just as capable of wiping us out too.
Title: Re: The Oil Bug Is Real
Post by: KingOfSpades on April 22, 2011, 06:16:42 PM
Actually, at this point we're approaching the level of power where we could, in fact, destroy the entire planet.  Not just life on it, the whole thing.  I can't imagine the nations of the world pooling their resources to blow up the world, though.
Title: Re: The Oil Bug Is Real
Post by: tridecagirl on April 23, 2011, 09:36:56 AM
I doubt it. I mean, we could majorly screw it up, I'm sure. But I don't think we could totally obliterate it.
Title: Re: The Oil Bug Is Real
Post by: KingOfSpades on April 23, 2011, 10:32:58 AM
You cause a big enough explosion deep enough down and the shockwaves could actually cause the planet to fall apart.  We don't have the technology now, but we're getting pretty close.

Still, when most people say "save the Earth" they typically don't mean the dirt and rocks.
Title: Re: The Oil Bug Is Real
Post by: tridecagirl on April 23, 2011, 11:41:09 AM
It's all important. The dirt is sort of vital.
Title: Re: The Oil Bug Is Real
Post by: Cora-la on May 06, 2011, 11:45:57 AM
I agree our earth is in huge troubel. We need to get off oil before we hit the peack of it's use. Which I think we may have already hit consdring the pirce of oli right now although I guss it's also part of all the conflict that going on in the middle east.  But the sooner we can get of oil the better. The longer we use the harder it will be to stop useing it. It's like a drug.
Title: Re: The Oil Bug Is Real
Post by: haley-wa on May 16, 2011, 05:24:39 AM
yeah the enviroment scares me im into like becky bones just because it's creepy