Feeds

You know all those resources we're about to run out of? No, we aren't

We seem to have an infinite supply of bullshit, too

The next step in data security

We get it, you care about the planet. But don't make alarmist nonsense about resources the basis of your arguments

There's not enough to go around, you know...

All of which brings us to the much larger problem. We do have environmental problems, specifically climate change. We do have resource constraints, it's just that we don't have the ones that everyone wants to talk about.

And we don't have sensible policy discussions about the ones we do have (knowledge most notably), because that wellwater of science is so horribly polluted by these displays of ignorance. There simply isn't any metal or mineral that we're going to run out of in anything approaching a human timescale.

I spent some time running through the reserve, resource and total availability estimates a few months back and got too bored to finally complete it. There simply wasn't anything at all likely to run out within a few thousand years and who in hell wants to try to predict extraction technology or prices beyond that?

And it's for this reason that all that planning that people are trying to do about the imminent exhaustion of mineral reserves is just so pointless. There's not going to be a shortage of minerals, yet our entire politics on the subject is based upon the assumption that we will.

Thus we get told we must recycle more; limit human civilisation; the poor cannot be allowed to become rich for there's no resources – hell, there are those who insist that we can't even have, as above, green energy because there's not enough metals to make the solar cells from. This is all total horse-puckey.

Even going back to the Club of Rome and Limits to Growth we see the same problem. They assumed that mineral resources were 10 times mineral reserves. It's a central assumption too and it's how they reached the idea that we're about to run out of everything. But there is no relationship at all between the two.

Worse, the expense of confirming reserves means that we only tend to do it for resources that we're going to want to use in the next 30-50 years. Meaning that if you do make their assumption, that resources are 10x reserves, and reserves are usually only a 30-year supply, then your assumption itself is what leads you to the conclusion that there's only 300 years' worth left.

All of which should really rather scare us all. For it really is the way the world is run today – on the basis of conclusions reached from faulty assumptions. And if you're not worried that the world is ruled by the misinformed who want to plan your life on the basis of their misunderstandings, then what would it take to scare you? ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize
Is there ANYTHING cured pork can't do?
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Stray positrons caught on ISS hint at DARK MATTER source
Landlubber scope-gazers squint to horizons and see anti-electron count surge
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.