Let's imagine a world in which there is no more oil for internal combustion engines, but a cheap recyclable fuel that only needs a first load and lasts until the engine ends its life cycle. ¿Is it possible? I found the hypothetical answer some twenty years ago and I am a lawyer, not an engineer nor a scientist. I cannot test it because financially I live just at minimal human acceptable condition. But I am sure the core idea is running everywhere and already has been tried by powerful corporations and maybe it is under patent protection so noboby can use it. In my simplistic view, it can be adapted to current engines with a few tweaks, except for jet engines that would require an important new approach. But maybe jet fuel could be based on alcohol with new environmentally improving technologies.

  • Oil is still abundant and more profitable as it becomes harder to extract
  • It makes a few Middle East countries powerful and rich
  • There are many oil byproducts that are still useful and fortune making, such as plastics, lubricant oils and other which are environmentally poisonous too but very profitable
  • The most important reason for oil to stay as the blood of current civilization: The United States is the main oil-technologician and keeps its own in-ground reserve well protected. This guarantees their true world power in case of crisis or planetary war. US reserves are estimated so huge that could keep the world running on gasoline for centuries.
One result from this is that the world will keep emitting carbon to the atmosphere and changing our environment into something less oxygenated and more vegetation-oriented by favoring photosynthesis, yet the true effect on plants is uncertain. Will humans easily adapt to a less oxygenated air? Another outcome is that oil derivatives are going to remain expensive so the world will keep growing slowly. Is this good or bad? If the whole planet's economic growth raises a lot, there will be more consumption and waste, but at the same time, better developed countries become more environmentally efficient. So the net outcome of a slowly growing world could be renewable resources exhaustion, at least in poor countries, while non-renewables might expand their availability.

I made the assumption that high oil price is leading the world economics to a slowdown. But the true cause for this might be more difficult to attain. Perhaps oil price is part of the answer but automation and robotics, big corporations' over-accumulation of wealth, rich countries too focused on making cars while the market could have reached its limits or people just shifted desire from cars to other things (maybe because of gas prices) or even rich countries might have peaked their enthusiasm for growth and are just bored and not wanting to keep on leading the world. Scarcity of commodities (renewable or not) other than oil could be part of the problem. The economy of information and fun seems not to be creating as many jobs as needed to boost a depressed planetary economy.

More links:
CO2 on plants

Aviation fuel



Solid state drives that are more like huge usb-stick memories are going to disrupt all the computing world, when they replace the conventional hard disk. From operating systems to main processors, nothing will be the same within the next five years. Until now, disk drives have been passive receivers of data waiting for a database update, software configuration change, a new program to install or some other input/output task. All the software development has been conceived in the way of open/close files or  read/write data from the disk to main memory. Computers are turned on and off. These new memories, when fast and cheap enough will eliminate the need for the famous RAM memory and maybe letting just some memory space within the processor itself for a more quickly processing (buffering or whatever). Turning on and off will disappear, and the processor will be designed to function in wake-sleep modes only. The sleep state will serve to process some chores that do not require user's participation and maybe help them solve some kind of internet-search problem, prepare the next session with interesting stuff according to user tastes. The most interesting feature of these drives is that their whole space could be used as main memory. So very complex software will be able of performing intelligent activities such as better user-machine interface with audio and video interaction and more intuitive human-machine connection. The input/output or read/write logic might be discarded from programming languages. I think that processors won't be a single chip anymore but distributed ones (embedded into the main memory drive) with more simplistic tasks and maybe one main processor to guide the general operation.

I read somewhere that solid state drives are prone to fail when intensely used, so perhaps they should be developed to last longer for the prior ideas to be implemented. But it would be more interesting if those new memory drives were able of automatically replacing their own hardware, such as living tissue does, so they can live for many years. This could allow the development of personalized computers suited for each one's particular needs.
A link to a possible solution:
Phase change memory
Self repairing hardware

Maybe bigger platforms carrying SSDs could be based upon artificial intelligence. Then a few questions come out. Will the conventional directory tree and file system be replaced by an associative data storage? What kinds of associations? What could be the minimum data unit? Perhaps an idea could be that minimum. And what is an idea? Would these techniques mimic the chaotic human brain way of thinking? Could machine memories be as dynamical as human ones, being rebuilt every time one recovers them?

Interesting link from a com
ment on G+:
Phase change memory