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Your computer will kill us all

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The law of conservation of Energy states that energy/mass cannot be created nor destroyed, but interchanged between Matter and Energy.

A recent issue has been discussed, and that issue is global warming. Global warming, the trapping of excess heat, eventually warming the planet. Due to that conservation of energy law, any light hitting the planet will be absorbed into plants, and solar panels. Our solar panels collect that light and turn it into electricity. This electricity gets sent all over the globe, and used in Lights, Computers, and other electronics. Whjen you use a computer, you are using energy, and that light coming out of your monitor right now, is being wasted.

It is radiating out as light, and hitting all the areas in your room. The computer is also radiating heat, and that is being flushed out of your computer by cooling fans. The law of thermodynamics (one of them, dunno which :P ) states that heat will go to cold, and disperse itself, just like how a gas will expand and disperse itself, if nothing confines it. This heat, that is radiating from your computer, is being diluted throughout the atmosphere, and to much of this is warming the planet. National electric networks disperse energy all over the planet. Plants, absorb the light from the sun, and turn it into energy that it can use. Animals and humans eat these plants, consuming this energy that the plant took from the sun, which is really far away.

That energy turns into waste, and is sent to a waste treatment plant, where it is treated and removed from the water. Through a very long process, this energy will eventually end up as soil (plants, organisms dying). Over time, this is making our planet larger, adding more mass to the planet. More mass = more gravity. Eventuall some big rock is going to come around and blow this planet to kingdom come! I call this a law. Any planet that develops life (similar to ours, where it can transmute simple light energy into actual solid matter) will eventually grow such a size, that larger rocks will destroy that planet. This scheme can also be used to CREATE a planet. We can build a space station, adding to it over the years by collecting solar energy into plants, and transmuting that energy into matter.

If we build a dyson sphere, we can collect all the energy the sun lets off, and send it back to one location. Radiate it out into the location, and eventuall life may convert it into matter. Sooner or later (MUCH later) we will have a significantly large ball of matter, IE, an asteroid, moon, rock.

EvilPickels, Mar 02 2006

Dyson Spere (or Shell) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyson_sphere
A beloved sci-fi concept. [notmarkflynn, Mar 02 2006]

Stellar nucleosynthesis http://en.wikipedia...lar_nucleosynthesis
For [zen tom] [Worldgineer, Mar 02 2006]

Katamari Damacy katamari.namco.com
Wicked. [notmarkflynn, Mar 03 2006]

A real Dyson sphere http://www.core77.c...s/ballbarrow400.jpg
[coprocephalous, Mar 03 2006]

Energy released/absorbed in fusion http://www.astrophy...onCarbonOxygen.html
[Worldgineer, Mar 03 2006]

Creating particles from light http://www.slac.sta...p/e144/nytimes.html
[Shz, Mar 03 2006]


       Can you add a summary up top that gets to the point? What is the invention?
bristolz, Mar 02 2006

       //I call this a law//
//This scheme can also be used to CREATE a planet.//
//eventuall life may convert it into matter//

       You nutter.
Jinbish, Mar 02 2006

       You want to make a planet out of light from the sun? Or the light from our computer monitors?
Laimak, Mar 02 2006

       Dyson spheres are a little too out there. I mean think about it. A big fricking thing that encompasses both the sun and earth with enough room for a proper orbit? How could you protect something that vast from being knocked to bits by debris, even before you've finished building it.   

       Anyway, I think the idea is to gradually convert a large portion of the total energy of a solar system into mass by centering it into one area and letting biological entities change it. I don't know what entities. I suppose they evolve of their own accord in the energy rich area.
notmarkflynn, Mar 02 2006

       Also, [EvilPickels], you didn't really clarify what kind of energy it is that you're pouring into the focal point. Thermal energy, light energy, electrical energy, or radiation? All? How?
notmarkflynn, Mar 02 2006

       I'm sorry, but any idea that uses the word "transmute" needs to be more specific. One cannot just hold a drinking glass up to an electrical outlet and get a big, hearty cup o' steamin' fresh electrons. How do you propose to perform this conversion?
roleohibachi, Mar 02 2006

       Good thing this wouldn't work, otherwise everyone would put on weight after sunbathing.
Ling, Mar 02 2006

       "through a very long process, that energy will end up as soil..."   

       Um, no it won't. It'll end up as disappated heat. You're breaking a few thermodynamic laws to get it to end up as matter.
RayfordSteele, Mar 02 2006

       M=E/C² Umm... Is it a replicator? No. A holodeck?.. A white hole?
Shz, Mar 02 2006

       Endothermic chemical reactions involve an increase in mass, but not a cumulative increase. Once all the atoms have been arranged as high-energy molecules you can't accumulate any more mass. To get that you need to create new particles. Living organisms don't do this (except in a trivial sense when they interact with a sufficiently energetic photon, but that has nothing to do with life).
spidermother, Mar 02 2006

       This is not really an idea but I was wondering if anyone could confirm my suspicions (that solar power increases global warming, and global energy/computer networks are affecting the weather). I was going to post an idea to make a planet out of this process, but it just sounded like what a dyson sphere would actually do anyway. A dyson sphere would collect all the energy radiating from the sun (UV, LIGHT) and since all areas of the sphere are covered with solar panels, convert that light into electricity, and send it all to one central point. This electricity may be used to power lights, which keep plants alive, who convert that into matter, and through a process of organisms eating the plants/plants dying, a planet is formed.   

       The process is a bit like multiplying, at first you get little build up of material, but as it gets bigger, you get more surface area, more plants can be planted, and the station where this is being grown gets bigger to hold this all together as well. [spidermother] endothermic, I don't remember what that means (I know it has something to do with what kind of heat organisms give off), and what does cumulative mean?   

       I think you are saying, that plants convert light into matter, but once they have enough they stop. Right?
EvilPickels, Mar 02 2006

       //I think you are saying, that plants convert light into matter// They don't. Think again.
coprocephalous, Mar 02 2006

       As [copro] suggests, pause for a bit and have a think:
What does photosynthesis involve? Light used by the plant to aid the absorption of nutrients - light is not changed into matter per se.

       Now, stop yanking everybody's chain.
Jinbish, Mar 02 2006

       Plants use energy to help transform and organise matter from less organised forms (co2 water and oxygen) into a more organised ones (cellulose, sugar etc). I suppose you could say that solar cells (connected to a battery) do a similar thing. They don't do any matter/energy conversion though (you need a nuclear reaction to do that)   

       So plants, given a suitable pile of raw materials, and a nice supply of energy, will have the tendancy to transform a boring lump of simple matter into a much richer, and far more interesting and complex lump of soily matter - but the overall amount will stay the same.
zen_tom, Mar 02 2006

       M=E/C² means roughly that although matter and energy are equivalent, it takes a really stupid amount of energy to make a really tiny bit of matter. Global energy use is fairly piffling by comparison.   

       Apologies [Evil] but as you have admitted, this is not really an idea, so [***************].
wagster, Mar 02 2006

       Having said all that, I do like the notion that there might be a way to collect a whole bunch of unwanted energy and use it to create matter - a kind of nuclear fridge.   

       It's got me wondering though, in a fission or fusion reactions, the overall mass of the nuclear material is reduced and massive amounts (according to E=MC2) of energy are 'created'. What process would you use to distill matter out of all that energy? i.e. are the fission/fusion reactions reversible, and if so, what would you need to do to reverse them?
zen_tom, Mar 02 2006

       Nothing we know of is capable of that, besides holodecks and theories.
Shz, Mar 02 2006

       This is what's confusing me - and I'm sure it's my understanding that's amiss somewhere.   

       We have fusion, and fission, and E=MC2.   

       Fission splits a big atom into two or more smaller ones. If you weigh up the bits after the event, they weigh less than what you started with. The discrepancy is the mass that was converted into energy as per E=MC2.   

       Fusion (I think) is similar, only two oversize atoms smash together and merge to form a single (and proportionately more slimline) one. This time, the final atom has less mass than the combined masses of the two initial atoms, and once again, the energy released is according to E=MC2 for the missing mass.   

       These nuclear reactions then, just transform matter between large atoms and smaller ones (converting a bit of mass into energy in the process) but where did all the mass (presumably in the most simple form initially) come from in the first place? Is there anyone trying to figure this out?   

       If it really is just a one-way process, then one day, there wont be any mass anymore, just energy flying about.
zen_tom, Mar 02 2006

       Before considering fission or fusion , the easier idea to tackle is that of a radioisotope decay.
Jinbish, Mar 02 2006

       True, but it backs up the point that mass/energy conversion would appear to be a one-way process (a decaying mass radiates energy and looses mas in tune with E=MC2) - which normally means there's somthing interesting going on.   

       Could this be a dark matter thing? Or is that a hysterical jump into the unknown?
zen_tom, Mar 02 2006

       My first stab would be connected to the universal entropy thingy-ma-jigggy where we all tend toward order.
(Or chaos - I can't remember but I am using the fact that the British are stereotypically known to form queues)
Jinbish, Mar 02 2006

       //and that light coming out of your monitor right now, is being wasted. // I couldn't have put it better myself - as far as I can tell, the one salient point you seem to be missing is that plants need to be formed from matter - ie (Very broadly) other dead plants, which is the reason the planet hasn't simply turned into a giant ball of mud over the last few millions of years.
fridge duck, Mar 02 2006

       Depending on where you are writing from, it may appear that the planet has indeed turned into a giant ball of mud.   

       OK, it only rained a little bit, but in Southern California that seems like mudball weather.
normzone, Mar 02 2006

       [zen] Energy absorbing fusion happens all the time in stars and supernovae explosions (link) - that's how we have elements heavier than hydrogen.
Worldgineer, Mar 02 2006

       So this is suggesting that our planet is gaining mass from the sun's energy?   

       I'd say that any light and thermal energy being dispersed by computers powered by solar panels was already destined for our atmosphere for the very fact that it already was here.   

       Also, I'm pretty sure that plants don't proccess sunlight into matter, but if they do, excess matter is occasionally being released in large quantaties into the solar system via America's failed space programs.   

       I almost admire this idea solely because the title has almost nothing to do with the concept, but it reminds me of the messy logic once used by a Daily Show correspondent when he was trying to make a mock-justification of replacing everyone's lawns with astroturf. He argued that with natural grass, sunlight was poccessed by natural elements into forms that we could eat, where as with astroturf, the solar energy would bounce off the plastic grass, directly into our mouths.
jellydoughnut, Mar 03 2006

       This is like a Katamari planet. Just filled with all the junk that happens to stick to it.
notmarkflynn, Mar 03 2006

       If your idea was to make a second moon, I'd give you a bun. However, you want to make a new planet and we already have at least eight others... sorry.
Pac-man, Mar 03 2006

       [m-f-d] removed. Too much interesting stuff in the annos.
wagster, Mar 03 2006

       So it would appear that it is possible to create mass by bombarding an object with enough high-energy particles. Though it still strikes me as funny that the E=MC² thing is hardly ever turned round into M=E/C²   

       A dyson sphere, enclosing a powerful enough energy source (star/suernova) might actually accrete inwards (very slowly) over billions of years, possibly in a similar manner to the way stalagmites accrete upwards from the floor of a cave.   

       Getting near to a pulsar, and erecting a big slab of matter in the way of the ejected (highly powerfull) energy beam might be a way to test this accretion process, and, if it works, start farming new matter (as if there's not enough of it about already) for your new planet without having to go down the whole Dyson sphere route.
zen_tom, Mar 03 2006

       I'd have thought that constructing a Dyson sphere would use up most, if not all, of the planet's mass anyway? Seems a little self defeating.   

       I'm just saying.
egbert, Mar 03 2006

       hardly ever, egbert? What planet are YOU on :)
theircompetitor, Mar 03 2006

       First, to clarify, the question I answered is //What process would you use to distill matter out of all that energy?//. There is no way (that we know of) to create matter from energy only.   

       The point [World] makes it that there are some fusion processes that absorb energy, however, as [spidermother] points out, there is not a cumulative increase in mass as a result of this. There would be no accretion, [zen].   

       Bombarding existing mass with high-energy particles may add to its mass, very slightly, but only by altering the composition of the existing mass.
Shz, Mar 03 2006

       So does that bring us back to a seemingly one-way process then? Pointing us towards a massless future?
zen_tom, Mar 03 2006

       does light only bend around a black hole, or does it fall in. If it falls in, mass could be created
theircompetitor, Mar 03 2006

       I believe it falls in.
zen_tom, Mar 03 2006

       I'm not sure it will be a massless future - not everything can "burn", but it what mass there is will all end up at the same temperature.
coprocephalous, Mar 03 2006

       Everything decays - and even the most stable isotopes emit the odd poof every billion years or so - black holes waft off Hawkings radiation, evaporating as they do so, leaving, presumably, no mass anywhere...   

       ...after a very very long time.
zen_tom, Mar 03 2006

       But by then, the Gib Gnab will have happened, won't it?
coprocephalous, Mar 03 2006

//There is no way (that we know of) to create matter from energy only.// I'm not sure why that matters. There's plenty of mass around to add mass to. Besides, the reverse is true as well - we don't know how to turn mass into energy only.

       //however, as [spidermother] points out, there is not a cumulative increase in mass as a result of this// Nah, [spidermother] was talking about chemical processes. Inside stars and supernovae real mass is created.   

//leaving, presumably, no mass anywhere...// Ah, but there are more heavy atoms than there used to be (first just hydrogen, then helium from stars, then other stuff from supernovae), so perhaps we're going the other way - all gold and little energy. Of course, this future would be unstable (due to nuclear decay), and we'd still have exciting supernovae to watch.
Worldgineer, Mar 03 2006

       [Worldgineer] //chemical processes// Thanks for noticing.   

       Part of the mass-energy of the photons absorbed during photosynthesis is captured in the chemical bond energy of the products, which are therefore heavier than the reactants. Despite what we are told at school, both chemical and nuclear reactions involve a mass-energy conversion. It's just very much greater in the case of nuclear reactions. Nuclear reactions can also involve the creation and destruction of particles, so you kind of have to sit up and take notice of the mass-energy relationship.   

       I'm agreeing with everyone else here. Plants, and chemical processes in general, just re-arrange atoms. They don't make new ones. Your constantly growing planet won't happen, any more than leaving a battery to charge for years will result in a giant battery.
spidermother, Mar 03 2006

       //Ah, but there are more heavy atoms than there used to be...//   

       Maybe, but how much did the atoms weigh that made them? In a fusion reaction, you get two types of Hydrogen weighing say, 100 units, and then smash them together to make some Helium, that might weigh 99 units - and release a big flash of energy at the same time (1 C²dsworth to be precise)   

       But I'm not sure there are any processes that start with 99 units of mass and gobble up 1Csquaredsworth of energy to make 100 units of mass. (With the possible exception of the neutron bombardment experiments alluded to earlier in the creation of artificial elements - but again, I'm not sure this is an energy/mass conversion rather than a temporary particle entrapment excercise)   

       Yes, the resulting particles are more dense, and individually, they weigh more - but overall, if it was all done within a closed system, you'd see an overall loss of mass. I think. But I'm basing all this on the notion that radioactive things are hot (i.e. energetic), and that both uranium and Hydrogen reactors and bombs (fission and fusion respectively) convert mass into energy and not the other way around.
zen_tom, Mar 03 2006

       You're right of course in the general case - I was just playing with the idea of a massive future. Most fusion releases energy, rather than absorbs it (link). This means that mass energy conversion is nominally reversable, but good old entropy gets in your way as usual and we end up with more heat and less mass as the universe runs along. So unless there's a big crunch (collapse of the universe, to start over in a big bang), then we're on our way to a massless future. Perhaps a "save the atoms" campaign would have saved the Texas supercollider.
Worldgineer, Mar 03 2006

       Ah, yes, my apologies for converting [sm]'s anno to a nuclear context. Endothermic is endothermic, though, as in fusing iron.   

       //There is no way (that we know of) to create matter from energy only.// Actually, I was waiting for a pedant to say this isn't necessarily true. See <link>. The problem is that it creates an equal amount of matter and antimatter, therefore annihilating. This brings up a related issue; The universe 'should' have had an equal amount of matter and antimatter when it was formed, so why didn't it self-destruct leaving it matterless in the first place?   

       //Besides, the reverse is true as well - we don't know how to turn mass into energy only.// The reverse would be creating energy from mass only. </speaking of pedants :)>   

       I think [zen]'s question is far more complicated than can be answered by entropy. What happens when there's nothing left for fusion. Gold, for example, can be very stable, and perhaps the final element is more stable than that. The end result could be a perfect balance.
Shz, Mar 03 2006

       //The reverse would be creating energy from mass only// I disagree. Reversing the process of creating mass from only energy would be creating only energy from that mass. It's certainly possible that there is energy left over after creating the mass, and therefore the reverse does not require that no energy can be used in the process. Of course, your link proves both of us wrong, as I'm sure the electron and positron destroyed each other in a flash of light.   

       //The end result could be a perfect balance.// It's certainly possible there is a substance that has no half-life, but everything we know of breaks down eventually.
Worldgineer, Mar 03 2006

       //I disagree.// S'ok, I'm just playing on that point.   

       It makes sense to me that ekpyrosis should end in equilibrium. But as I said, it's very complicated. I don't think we (anyone) knows enough to answer the question. Sure is fun to speculate, though.   

       //everything we know of breaks down eventually// That get's me thinking...
Shz, Mar 03 2006

       This idea is one of the reasons that people push for testing in schools.
zigness, Mar 06 2006

       Wow.... Evilpickles, you are about five steps beyond the end of the diving board....   

       Photosynthesis and solar energy do NOT create matter. However, you are correct, solar power generation would controbute to global warming to some degree. However, solar power would not contribute to global warming as severely as the burning of fossil fuels.   

       With solar panels, you absorb sunlight (because it is black!) and some of that is converted to electricity. The electricity is forced to perform work, which produces heat. However, solar panels do not contribute to global warming any more than painting your roof black would, because no more heat comes out of the process than what is already sent by the sun. Only a fraction more is absorbed by the solar panel, and this could be countered by pointing some mirrors at the sky.   

       Burning fossil fuels (Fossil fuel is actually a bit of a misnomer...) converts chemical energy into heat, which is then converted into electricity, which later becomes waste heat. The burning process releases carbon dioxide, which absorbs more heat energy from the sun, andthe burning process also produces a bit of blackish soot. Kilowatt per kilowatt, solar energy would produce less global warming, and less pollution.
ye_river_xiv, Jan 23 2007


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