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China Plans To Mine the Yellow Sea Floor

timothy posted about 4 years ago | from the explosive-extraction dept.

Earth 223

eldavojohn writes "Details are limited but state media is reporting on $75 million being put into a new research facility in Qingdao, Shandong Province that will conduct research into mining the sea floor. From the article: 'Scientists believe sea beds at a depth of 4,000 to 6,000 meters hold abundant deposits of rare metals and methane hydrate, a solidified form of natural gas bound into ice that can serve as a new energy source.' The research center's first goal is to do surveying and exploration with a new submersible named 'Jiaolong' (a mythical aquatic Chinese dragon). Hopefully these quests yield energy resources to meet growing demand for resources like liquefied coal in China."

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Religious Propaganda (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33408482)

methane hydrate, a solidified form of natural gas bound into ice that can serve as a new energy source

So the Chinese government got visited by the Jehovah's Witnesses too?

Re:Religious Propaganda (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33408590)

Care to explain that one to us?

Re:Religious Propaganda (5, Interesting)

turgid (580780) | about 4 years ago | (#33408640)

The Jehovahs once brought round a leaflet containing exciting news of this new stuff that "scientists" had discovered on the ocean floor. The same "scientists" who all believe that god is a fact and believe in biblical creation.

This new fuel source was going to provide all our energy needs without mention of any damage to the environment and cost of extraction.

Mind you, when the earth is only a few thousand years old and the end of it is nigh anyway, why does it matter if you ruin the environment?

I believe China is getting a bit god-botherery these days.

Re:Religious Propaganda (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 years ago | (#33408894)

The Jehovahs once brought round a leaflet containing exciting news of this new stuff that "scientists" had discovered on the ocean floor. The same "scientists" who all believe that god is a fact and believe in biblical creation.

What is it about crazy people and mixing science and religion? It's like their crack.

Actually, I guess plenty of crazy people use actual crack too...

What could possibly go wrong (5, Insightful)

kge (457708) | about 4 years ago | (#33408500)

Releasing even more of one of the most effective greenhouse gasses (methane)..

Paying the Cost to Be the Boss (3, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 4 years ago | (#33408532)

If only the true costs of carbon pollution were built into the price of causing it, China's repressedly low labor costs couldn't govern the vast amount of pollution it generates.

The Tragedy of the Commons [wikipedia.org] can be protected against by only government, not market, action.

Re:Paying the Cost to Be the Boss (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33408642)

Both the government and market are made up of people... When has either ever proven to be better than the other?

Re:Paying the Cost to Be the Boss (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 4 years ago | (#33408890)

All the time. America's Constitutional democratic republic is organized with feedbacks harnessing competition among those people to do what the people want, both immediately according to the rules and in the long term making the rules.

As Churchill said, democracy sucks, but it's the only thing that's ever worked. The market anarchy you're equating in quality to even American government proved for millennia how much worse its alternative is.

Re:Paying the Cost to Be the Boss (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33409526)

Actually, Churchill said "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried."

And our constitutional republic is not about doing what the people want, it's about doing what is best for the country as a whole. The founders certainly would not have accepted the people's will when determining how best to fleece people through taxation.

Re:Paying the Cost to Be the Boss (4, Insightful)

Shoe Puppet (1557239) | about 4 years ago | (#33408978)

It's not about better or worse. The government requiring corporations (and people, by extension) to pay compensation for damage done to the environment doesn't interfere with the market any more than enforcing property rights does.

Re:Paying the Cost to Be the Boss (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 4 years ago | (#33408710)

As you should have noticed with the Olympics, China is putting in more work to reduce pollution than anywhere else and luckily they didn't stop after the Olympics. There is a still a long way to go considering how polluted even fairly lightly settled areas are.

Re:Paying the Cost to Be the Boss (1)

jafiwam (310805) | about 4 years ago | (#33408816)

You mean, they are Photoshopping pollution out of the pictures like they did in the olympics?

Or do you mean wiping out animals or moving 1 million people without concern for any ethics just for appearances?

Or forcing people at gun point to stop their businesses so the electricity could be used to light a stadium?

I noticed the chinese are up to their same old deceptive shit during the olympics.

There is a lot of grass roots green energy usage, but that's due to the fact there's a lot of extra labor around and areas where subsistence agriculture type living makes a hot shower once a week a friggin miracle. It's harder to run cars on sunlight than it is to heat a barrel of water.

Re:Paying the Cost to Be the Boss (4, Interesting)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 years ago | (#33408912)

China is putting in more work to reduce pollution than anywhere else and luckily they didn't stop after the Olympics.

I thought they stopped most sources of smog only temporarily before resuming them after the games. And did they clean up their act anywhere besides Beijing? Because it's fine if they're trying to lower pollution in Beijing, but it's a big country. For those of us who don't live there, a coal plant 100 miles from Beijing isn't that much different than one in the very center.

Re:Paying the Cost to Be the Boss (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33409626)

China is putting in more work to reduce pollution than anywhere else

I hope this is a fucking sarcastic joke?? China doesn't give a shit about pollution.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_water_crisis

"China is facing a water crisis that includes water shortages, water pollution and a deterioration in water quality. 400 out of 600 cities in China are facing water shortages to varying degrees, including 30 out of the 32 largest cities.... the south has abundant water, there is a lack of clean water due to serious water pollution. Even water-abundant deltas like the Yangtze and the Pearl River suffer from water shortages."

http://factsanddetails.com/china.php?itemid=391&catid=10&subcatid=66

"About one third of the industrial waste water and more than 90 percent of household sewage in China is released into rivers and lakes without being treated. Nearly 80 percent of China's cities (278 of them) have no sewage treatment facilities and few have plans to build any and underground water supplies in 90 percent of the cites are contaminated.

Water consumed by people in China contains dangerous levels of arsenic, fluorine and sulfates. An estimated 980 million of China’s 1.3 billion people drink water every day that is partly polluted. More than 600 million Chinese drink water contaminated with human or animal wastes and 20 million people drink well water contaminated with high levels of radiation. A large number of arsenic-tainted water have been discovered. China’s high rates of liver, stomach and esophageal cancer have been linked to water pollution.
"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environment_of_China

But careful, chineese official censors are right there!! "This article may be inaccurate in or unbalanced towards certain viewpoints"

Air quality in China is shit. Chinese tourist come over to places like Toronto, itself smoggy during summer, and wander how it is possible for the sky to be this blue!

http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/science/06/04/china.environment/

But then CNN or BBC is only Capitalist Propaganda eh??? I guess you never heard of Fox News :P

Re:Paying the Cost to Be the Boss (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33408740)

"Vast"? Chinese are quite decent in emissions per capita; even despite large part of those beeing essentially an import from places buying stuff from them (so just don't...)

Re:Paying the Cost to Be the Boss (4, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 4 years ago | (#33408858)

Except pollution isn't created per capita. Most Chinese people don't produce more pollution than their ancestors did a century or a millennium ago, because they're not part of the global economy - they're stuck in the feudal economies of their areas, outside the cities, factories and mines that really pollute. Even without consuming much more than they did before indoor plumbing and the quality of life that they're stuck in. The US, meanwhile, counts nearly every resident in the global economy.

The actual measure is pollution per output. China consumes more energy than the US now, produces much more Greenhouse pollution, and vastly more pollution that isn't Greenhouse emissions. Yet China produces only 1/3 the output of the US. China therefore pollutes a lot more than 6x the amount the US pollutes per output.

Other countries also look better than they really are. China and the US together produce about 1/3 the total global output, much more than other countries do per capita. That output is consumed around the world. Those other people are outsourcing their pollution to the US and China, just as the US has outsourced much of its worst pollution to China.

All of which shows that markets have done nothing but shuffle pollution around to the lowest bidder. Which is why the people create governments to protect ourselves from getting dumped on when it's free.

Re:Paying the Cost to Be the Boss (2, Interesting)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33409060)

You have some extreme (in a bit literal sense of the word here) ideas about Chinese (and US, for that matter) societies...

Picking few convenient numbers for easiest target doesn't tell much, too (why won't you go with Germany? And generally, look at this graph [wikipedia.org] - the source document for it / methodology includes to the fullest practical extent imports/exports of all types; this one shows the end ballance)

Though ultimetely what you're doing is a good sign, I guess; such type of slight dismissal could relate to some level of guilt...might go somewhere, eventually.

Re:Paying the Cost to Be the Boss (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33409356)

Picking few convenient numbers for easiest target doesn't tell much

Poking holes in the 'green China' mantra is easy because it's bullshit.

look at this graph

That graph actually has Cuba as the most optimal nation on Earth. The only humans that achieve 'development' in Cuba are the ones that fabricate boats and escape the place. It's a miserable hell hole and a human tragedy.

Re:Paying the Cost to Be the Boss (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33409414)

Y axis & not strictly pleasant places from that graph doesn't even have much to do with the issue...certainly can be ignored for the needs of this discussion. There are plenty points there with very comparable standard of living to the most wasteful, while claiming between 2 to 3 times less resources.

'Green most industrialized places' is sort of bullshit; but some more than the other and generally in reality in a bit different rank than people would think / hope for.

Re:Paying the Cost to Be the Boss (1)

Black Gold Alchemist (1747136) | about 4 years ago | (#33409678)

Could you please point me to the documents used to create that graph? I checked wiki, and could not find it in the links.

Re:Paying the Cost to Be the Boss (1)

astar (203020) | about 4 years ago | (#33409478)

hmm, per cap or per output? fair question. Now how should we go about deciding which is the proper measure? It is more than academic. India made the per cap argument in telling the no development crowd at copenhagen to go to hell and with a few other countries who valued their sovereignty derailed the agenda.

I consider this question illustrates part of the stupidity of statistical reasoning. Oh well.

But I guess having raised the question, I should take a shot, Hmm, try this. Thinking about mastodons and Brit pre-coal energy source depletion, can we say: Whatever the population density and what ever the output level, resources have always been finite and in some way will always be finite, even with magic tech or cave dwelling tech. On the other hand, resources are not fixed, and not "natural".

And the story we deal with here demos this "not finite" and "not natural" quite well. But is it not strange that people complain repeatedly about "unknown dangers" while accepting the idea that they and their children can actually survive with an intentionally fixed resource base?

So it seems that most immediately the problem is not scalar numbers but concepts.

But if you like statistics, here is a correlation to play with: 50 years of anti-tech green/ 25% unemployment rate.

     

Re:Paying the Cost to Be the Boss (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33409192)

If only the true costs

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

Take those noble sentiments of yours to your elected representatives. Point out that some carbon tariffs on imported goods are needed hinder this sort of exploitation, among other evils. Avoid the Walmart folks [go.com] though. They won't be sympathetic.

Re:Paying the Cost to Be the Boss (3, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 4 years ago | (#33409204)

If only people like you understood that free market != anarchy the amount of pointless nonsense written on slashdot would decrease. If you cause harm to others, including polluting their environment, you ARE supposed to pay for it. This is NOT inconsistent with the free market. If you don't believe me to accurately represent the position of free market libertarians, would you believe Milton Friedman? He supported tort in cases where it is practical (obviously measurable harm) and taxing where harm is hard to measure ( second half of the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KH0O_JjH06k [youtube.com] )

Re:Paying the Cost to Be the Boss (1)

Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) | about 4 years ago | (#33409310)

The point is that in a purely free market as espoused by many libertarians, sans tax and regulation, they don't HAVE to pay for the external costs like pollution. They HAVE to pay for workers, resources, and energy, otherwise they won't be able to produce anything, but in the interests of lowering costs they certainly can ignore side effects that might not hurt the bottom line for decades if ever. This is where you need a government to step in and take the long view, and impose regulations to reduce or mitigate long term effects for the good of society at large.

Re:Paying the Cost to Be the Boss (2, Interesting)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 4 years ago | (#33409434)

The point is that in a purely free market as espoused by many libertarians, sans tax and regulation, they don't HAVE to pay for the external costs like pollution.

That is simply not true. Can you name some examples of those "many" libertarians who promote not having ANY taxes and regulation? Is Ayn Rand libertarian enough: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/government.html [aynrandlexicon.com] The mainstream view of libertarians (not anarchists) is that you cannot have liberty for all individuals without government providing laws and law enforcement that protects all individuals from harm caused by others (in this case by pollution). That is the main (some would say the only) proper role of the government. There is nothing inconsistent about it. If you have anarchy, you cannot have liberty for everybody because the first person with more power than you can and probably will take your liberty away from you. Anarchy and liberty are incompatible.

Re:Paying the Cost to Be the Boss (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33409266)

Gosh!! China doesn't get it and the world doesn't either. How much harm are we doing ourselves and our coming generations by doing all that stuff?? The Chinese don't care and just look for more money making industries, polluting and contaminating. Stop it!

Re:What could possibly go wrong (4, Insightful)

geogob (569250) | about 4 years ago | (#33408562)

In the series "what could possibly go wrong", long before greenhouse gases, I'll worry about the people behind these operations. China sending people into the deep of the ocean for mining operations; considering how "stable" and "safe" surface mining operations are in China, I can only ask myself this question: "what could possibly go wrong"? And the answers comes naturally: Possibly a lot...

Re:What could possibly go wrong (4, Funny)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 4 years ago | (#33408580)

Look at it this way - sending a lot of people into the ocean to recover resources will solve two problems - too many people and not enough resources.

Re:What could possibly go wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33409706)

Look at it this way - sending a lot of people into the ocean to recover resources will solve two problems - too many people and not enough resources.

It depends how they will be sent. If the apparatus involves concrete shoes.....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cement_shoes

Re:What could possibly go wrong (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 4 years ago | (#33408726)

It depends how it is organised. I very much doubt it will be run like the thousands of unlicenced Chinese coal mines which have the result of a weekly death toll from mine accidents. In fact I don't think any comparison can be drawn at all.

Re:What could possibly go wrong (1)

jafiwam (310805) | about 4 years ago | (#33408826)

The chinese have a consistent track record of cutting ethical and environmental corners, and doing business based on bribes.

There's no reason to believe this particular project will be any different.

Re:What could possibly go wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33409684)

In the series "what could possibly go wrong", long before greenhouse gases, I'll worry about the people behind these operations. China sending people into the deep of the ocean for mining operations; considering how "stable" and "safe" surface mining operations are in China, I can only ask myself this question: "what could possibly go wrong"? And the answers comes naturally: Possibly a lot...

Hmmm and North Americka is soooo much better.... listen here round eye, China can not do worse than BP!

Just don't lose control! (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 4 years ago | (#33408584)

I've heard that uncontrolled capture of methane hydrate can lead to disasters worse than Deepwater Horizon. I hope China is careful or they headlines won't be pretty.

Re:Just don't lose control! (2, Insightful)

demonlapin (527802) | about 4 years ago | (#33409068)

On the scale of disasters, Deepwater Horizon is a blip. A nothing. It's done far less harm to Louisiana wetlands than the Old River Control.

Re:Just don't lose control! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33409246)

On the scale of disasters, Deepwater Horizon is a blip. A nothing.

Aw shucks, and here I thought propaganda was only effective in collectivist societies.

Re:What could possibly go wrong (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 4 years ago | (#33408592)

Can't be any worse than the aftermath of a meal at Panda Express(yes I know thats not "real" Chinese food :P)

Re:What could possibly go wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33408596)

The chinese are not mining the hydrates to release them into the atmosphere directly, they'll burn them first.

And lay off the fucking greenhouse gas hysteria. The money we waste on green technology is a far bigger threat to the world and our society than the gases will ever be.

watch their expensive sub sinks (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33408762)

when it loses buoyancy after encountering those methane packets.

Re:What could possibly go wrong (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about 4 years ago | (#33408910)

There are 33 men in Chile who might raise some questions about the wisdom of adding a mile of water to the situation.

Unfortunately, this is what we do (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33408522)

Anyone who is serious understands we can't keep gobbling up resources the way the West has been since WWII. Yet no one stops to think that moving to the suburbs and having kids is a huge contributor to the demand for resources.
The only good thing is that things will start getting more and more expensive as oil gets harder and harder to get, and therefore anything that depends on cheap energy (everything) starts getting not so cheap.
The next 50 years will be interesting, to say the least.

Re:Unfortunately, this is what we do (3, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about 4 years ago | (#33408598)

Anyone who is serious understands we can't keep gobbling up resources the way the West has been since WWII. Yet no one stops to think that moving to the suburbs and having kids is a huge contributor to the demand for resources.

You did think about this. But the vast majority of population growth is not in the developed world. Reality doesn't fit the narrative.

The only good thing is that things will start getting more and more expensive as oil gets harder and harder to get, and therefore anything that depends on cheap energy (everything) starts getting not so cheap. The next 50 years will be interesting, to say the least.

Eh, that's a really mean Calvinist strike you have there. I'm a bit more optimistic. Maybe things won't be quite as easy as they are with cheap fossil fuels, but we still do have a lot of free power hitting the Earth every day in the form of sunlight. I think we'll figure a workable substitute for fossil fuels in transportation and coal in electricity generation.

Re:Unfortunately, this is what we do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33408628)

"You did think about this. But the vast majority of population growth is not in the developed world. Reality doesn't fit the narrative."

Well, this IS a story about China, and my comment about the West is basically that Chindia will be doing, or at least try to do, the gobbling.

"Eh, that's a really mean Calvinist strike you have there."

I'm guessing you mean "streak"?

"Maybe things won't be quite as easy as they are with cheap fossil fuels, but we still do have a lot of free power hitting the Earth every day in the form of sunlight. I think we'll figure a workable substitute for fossil fuels in transportation and coal in electricity generation."

I don't doubt it, that's the "interesting" part. We won't be able to sustain the current car/suburb/career/house model, that's for sure. I don't think the world will collapse, justour current living arrangements. It's not a big deal, but like I said, no one actually does anything about it, that's why it'll take 50 years, ie a generation or two.

Re:Unfortunately, this is what we do (0, Offtopic)

dbIII (701233) | about 4 years ago | (#33408764)

Chindia

Take that word and burn it. It escaped from the mouth of an idiot that pretended to be an economist and makes as little sense in terms of similarities of nations as "Cangintina", "Morrobabwe" or "Alaskcraine". Deserts and the tallest mountains on earth mean the two nations are about as seperate as they can get. The difference in politics between the two nations is about as different as you can get - near anarchy where nearly anything is allowed to a loosening grip on tight control.

Re:Unfortunately, this is what we do (-1, Flamebait)

jafiwam (310805) | about 4 years ago | (#33408842)

Look! You pissed of the sino-apologist by lumping them with the cow-worshipers!

You should give it a rest, it's too obvious.

Here, let me fix your sig for you:

\-.-/

Now they eyes slant in the correct way.

time for more nuke power that is the good 24/7 pow (0, Redundant)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 4 years ago | (#33408808)

time for more nuke power that is the good 24/7 power that lasts a long time.

Re:Unfortunately, this is what we do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33408856)

lol you sir are a fucking moron

Re:Unfortunately, this is what we do (4, Interesting)

Bayoudegradeable (1003768) | about 4 years ago | (#33408884)

You, too, are capable of some thought... Try this on for size... Population in the "not developed world" - How many iPods are those kids getting at Christmas? Elmo dolls? How many toys? What about XBox, PSP, Nintendo? Are they eating tons of beef and drinking gallons of milk produced in the "developed world"? What about the average caloric intake in the "not developed world"? Does it approach what fat American/European and developed Asian kids and grownups eat? How much energy goes into the production of their food compared to modern food? I would love to know exactly the ratios of child:resources in the developed and non-developed world. I think it's a fair guess (yup, that's all this is) that developed lifestyles over the span of a lifetime so far over-consume resources compared to those in the non developed world as to be scary. If I am wrong I would love to hear about it. (I didn't even get to construction, transportation, medicine, space exploration and defense spending) The non-developed world will not lead the way in consumption of resources until they become... the developed world. And then they join the all-you-can eat buffet. Calvin be damned (which he may be), it is going to be far beyond "interesting" in the next 50 years.

Re:Unfortunately, this is what we do (1)

hitmark (640295) | about 4 years ago | (#33409264)

thing is that suburbia eats a whole lot more resources pr person then urban or rural (former from concentrated transport, latter for less transport needs overall).

Re:Unfortunately, this is what we do (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 4 years ago | (#33408624)

the west? this is about china. you know, the east.

Re:Unfortunately, this is what we do (4, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 4 years ago | (#33408806)

I guess we have to start do things like China does then :
- Stop having more than one kid : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-child_policy [wikipedia.org]
- Use high-speed rail for long distance : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-speed_rail_in_China [wikipedia.org]
- Switch unequivocally to nuclear power : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_China [wikipedia.org]
- Build cheap electrical cars : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BYD_Auto [wikipedia.org]

Funny. "Western elites" seem to know what is needed to be done but it looks like in Asia, they prefer to do than to talk.

Re:Unfortunately, this is what we do (1)

Paradigma11 (645246) | about 4 years ago | (#33409314)

@nuclear power. aside from the small detail that china will create as many new coal reactors per year as there are in australia and will do so for the next 15 years it's an unequivocally switch.

Re:Unfortunately, this is what we do (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 4 years ago | (#33409418)

If you want to count like that, their plan is to build in 15 years as much nuclear power plant as there are in US for now. As a start. Switching the source of power of the most populated country int he world doesn't happen overnight. I use 'unequivocally' as a comparison to US where everybody says it would be a good idea but the only plans are to use 8 mere billions and to build two new plants.

Re:Unfortunately, this is what we do (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33409450)

I guess we have to start do things like China does then

- Exempt ourselves from the Kyoto accords
- Beat union organizers to death for organizing and striking
- Increase coal consumption rapidly
- Institutionalize dissidents and kill protesters
- Create a permanent traffic jam of coal trucks
- Build hundreds of light water reactors
- Recreate the 1930's North American dust bowl
- Use growth hormones to give female infants big breasts

"Western elites" don't prefer to "do" these things. They grew out of it.

Re:Unfortunately, this is what we do (1)

c6gunner (950153) | about 4 years ago | (#33409634)

- Stop having more than one kid

Most of the developed world has a negative population growth. Even the US - with one of the highest birth rates amongst the industrialized nations - has a birth rate just below the replacement rate.

- Use high-speed rail for long distance ... Switch unequivocally to nuclear power

Sounds good to me.

Build cheap electrical cars

$40,000+ USD isn't cheap, by any means. Even Tesla motors was planning on putting out a similarly priced vehicle, and I'd put good money on their vehicles being much safer than anything coming out of China. Or you can buy the Chevy Volt - a more practical vehicle - for almost $10,000 less.

Funny. "Western elites" seem to know what is needed to be done but it looks like in Asia, they prefer to do than to talk.

Yep. Aren't brutal dictatorships just wonderful?

Re:Unfortunately, this is what we do (2, Funny)

d1r3lnd (1743112) | about 4 years ago | (#33408814)

Anyone who is serious? What, the rest of us are light-hearted jokesters?

Hey guys, we're innovating our way out of resource scarcity! What crazy shenanigans will we think up next?

If you'd like to claim that I'm being overly optimistic, I remind you that I have the entire history of the human race supporting my theory, and you've got a long line of doomsday-prophesying crackpots backing up yours.

By all means, try to convince me that subsistence farming the Olduvai Gorge with a few thousand other folks is the way forward. The relentless drumbeat of human progress will go on regardless.

Re:Unfortunately, this is what we do (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 years ago | (#33408944)

Yet no one stops to think that moving to the suburbs and having kids is a huge contributor to the demand for resources.

If I don't have kids, how would that reduction of carbon / energy consumption / etc compare to, say, having kids and advocating restrictions on coal-fired power plants? Are we talking comparable amounts or are we talking my sacrificing my kids would be like one less hour of a coal plant running? I'm really more in favor of having the government clamp down on abusive corporations than not having kids, even moreso if reproducing would be small potatoes compared to your average corporate ubercitizen.

Re:Unfortunately, this is what we do (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 4 years ago | (#33409160)

Anyone who is serious understands we can't keep gobbling up resources the way the West has been since WWII. Y

      What ever happened to conservation of matter? No resources are really "gobbled up". They are distributed among the population and/or eventually find their way into landfills and other waste products. Our technology is advanced enough to recover all of these materials, be it CO2 from the atmosphere or copper from landfills. The problem is an economic one - at the moment it's still cheaper the mine ores than to mine landfills.

      The real issue lies in our swelling populations. More people means that the finite amount of matter is distributed more thinly. The per capita availability becomes less and less as you increase the number of capita. At some point the material will not be enough to sustain a given standard of living and eventually, it will not be enough to sustain life. This is the REAL problem. But it takes a bit of gray matter to see it.

Re:Unfortunately, this is what we do (1)

rickb928 (945187) | about 4 years ago | (#33409218)

"moving to the suburbs and having kids is a huge contributor to the demand for resources."

Moving to the suburbs is different from settling new spaces (something not unique to the U.S.) how? Choices then may have been driven by opportunity, lack of resources where they came from, growing families, etc. So moving to the suburbs gets you opportunity (more space, bigger residence) resources (space, again?) and of course gets you out of your parents' house...

Having kids, of course, continues our species. If this is a problem for you, please, take the first step and assume personal responsibility for this problem. You should entirely understand what I mean, and more importantly, why I both expect and approve of your not doing so. And thereby negating your question about having kids, and further hopefully convincing you to avoid the argument in the future.

Of course, most of human history is marked by limited resources, huge disparity of distribution, and the struggles for those resources. Making things more expensive, and therefore more scarce to those who want or need them, is not a 'good thing', unless you find others' prosperity troubling, or you take joy in reveling in the agony of others...

The tragedy of socialism is that it offers no solace to the individual. Not even hope. The individual must be content with being tossed about by the waves of the system, unless they are part of the leadership, in which case they feed on the individuals they govern. When you look at it this way, socialism is more or less a dictatorship.

And the Tragedy of the Commons is inevitable.

Perfect Balance (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33408536)

The way I see it, as long as we dig up the bottom of the ocean fast enough, we can counteract the rising water levels due to global warming! The more we dig, the more we burn, the more it rises, the more we dig; nature back in balance~!
Horray!

Re:Perfect Balance (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | about 4 years ago | (#33408818)

Hmm. Quick napkin math.

3.61*10^14 m2 (ocean surface area) x 1 cm = 361,000,000,000,000 cubic cm

3.61*10^14 cm^3 = 361 million m^3 = 0.361 km^3

So to lower the level of the ocean by 1 cm, you need to store a bit over a third of a cubic km on land.

Re:Perfect Balance (2, Informative)

lemmywrap (1605025) | about 4 years ago | (#33408972)

When i try that, i get a larger number...

3.61*10^14 m2 (ocean surface area) x 0.01 m = 3.61*10^12 m^3

3.61*10^12 m^3 = 3.61*10^3 km^3 = 3160 km^3

You'd need just a wee bit more..

Re:Perfect Balance (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | about 4 years ago | (#33409536)

Oh, hell. I was multiplying m2 with cm2 or possibly cm3. I went the wrong way, turning it into cubic cm then cubic meters (might have went with a million cm in a meter. sshh, I know. That's some baaaaaad math skills) then making the same mistake thrice figuring out how many cubic meters are in a cubic km.

It's not public schooling's fault. It's that I haven't tried calculating volume and surface area in years. Last time I did math even close to this was to figure out the RPM of tires on the vehicles in XG3.

And great, here comes the replies about how shamefully off I am by a magnitude of four (?). Ah well, bring 'em on. I walked into this on my own.

Re:Perfect Balance (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | about 4 years ago | (#33409606)

Ok, double reply.

Cubic meter is 100*100*100 cm, right? And a cubic km would be 1000*1000*1000 meters, right? So that means there's 1*10^15 cm^3 in a km^3, right?

So then, 3.61*10^14 / 1*10^15 = 0.361

Nope, never mind. I didn't convert the square meters into square centimeters (100*100) which is why I was off by a factor of 10000.

Re:Perfect Balance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33409368)

On a side node, you should review your maths skills...

Total surface of the oceans = ~3.6 * 10^14 m^2.
Volume of 1cm at the surface of the oceans = ~3.6*10^14 * 0.01 = ~3.6*10^12 m^3 = ~3600 km^3 = ~ (15.3 km)^3

A bit more than 0.361km^3 ....

Re:Perfect Balance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33409484)

When you put it like that it doesn't sound so much :)

Re:Perfect Balance (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | about 4 years ago | (#33409654)

Yeah, that's what I thought. Turns out I math bad and was off by about 10000 times that.

Thankfully, this was pointed out and I was able to go back and figure out where I screw up. I had the square meters and, instead of going with 1 cm of height, I should have used 0.01 meters for the height.

Obligatory (1)

zacronos (937891) | about 4 years ago | (#33409472)

Problem Solved! [smbc-theater.com]

Minerals on the floor (2, Interesting)

countertrolling (1585477) | about 4 years ago | (#33408560)

There's also a bunch dissolved in the water. Distillation can serve a dual purpose. I still don't know why we dig salt mines with the great abundance right there in the oceans. Yeah yeah yeah... "It's the economy, stupid" Same reason we'd rather fight wars over water itself.

Re:Minerals on the floor (4, Informative)

dbIII (701233) | about 4 years ago | (#33408700)

Since we don't have free energy we don't do stuff like distillation unless we have to. We have incredibly cheap energy in the form of coal and oil but it's just not cheap enough.

Re:Minerals on the floor (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | about 4 years ago | (#33408876)

We have incredibly cheap energy in the form of coal and oil but it's just not cheap enough.

It only appears cheap because it's "automagically" delivered to your doorstep. The processes are hidden from view. But don't believe for a second that, in real human costs, that's it's any cheaper than the other methods.

Re:Minerals on the floor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33409422)

You said nothing but repeated the GP's "It's the economy, stupid", and you get the upmod?? WTF?!

Re:Minerals on the floor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33409542)

If you're willing to put a nuclear power plant near your ocean coastline, that waste heat can go a surprisingly long way. If you were using it for a distillation plant instead of a cooling tower (essentially a big evaporator sans condenser), it could fill a reservoir servicing a few thousand homes.

Also if you're already burning coal or oil to make electricity, the same applies. No good reason to let that "waste heat" go to waste.

And the best part is (2, Funny)

hsmith (818216) | about 4 years ago | (#33408568)

The river just carries away everything you dig up, no need for expensive hauling equipment!

Re:And the best part is (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | about 4 years ago | (#33409004)

Yellow Sea is now Brown Sea.

Methyl hydrate apocalypse averted? (5, Interesting)

Omnifarious (11933) | about 4 years ago | (#33408594)

Some people are worried that global warming will trigger a methyl hydrate apocalypse in which the vast stores of methyl hydrate locked into ice at the bottom of many bodies of water begins to boil and release all the methane into the atmosphere causing a greenhouse effect that's much, much worse than the CO2 one we're causing for ourselves now.

I suppose that having the methyl hydrate mined and turned into CO2 is better than having it released as methane. But that is somehow little comfort.

Re:Methyl hydrate apocalypse averted? (1)

tecker (793737) | about 4 years ago | (#33408750)

Thats why we must strike first. If we extract all the Methyl Hydrate first then the earth wont have a chance to release it on us. Better yet we will set it on fire and burn it in its face. If we burn it all then there wont be any green house gasses to be released. Best way to prevent the apocalypse.


Um. Wait a minute.....


/sarcasm

Re:Methyl hydrate apocalypse averted? (1, Redundant)

SteveFoerster (136027) | about 4 years ago | (#33408774)

Wait, doesn't atmospheric methane naturally break down after a few years in a way that carbon dioxide doesn't? So it potentially has a warming effect, but only temporarily?

Re:Methyl hydrate apocalypse averted? (4, Informative)

canajin56 (660655) | about 4 years ago | (#33408896)

It breaks down into carbon dioxide after about 10 years (8 point something).

Re:Methyl hydrate apocalypse averted? (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | about 4 years ago | (#33408934)

Got it. Okay, then I'll cancel burrito night.

Re:Methyl hydrate apocalypse averted? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33409256)

You're not funny, you fucking faggot.

Methylhydrate Geyser (3, Interesting)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | about 4 years ago | (#33408860)

The pressure is keeping it from changing to gas. If you lift it, the pressure drops and it goes to gaseous state. If enough water above it is displaced by anything including bubbles, then the pressure drops and it goes to gas.

There is also the matter of the amount of sediment that the mining, if done on the surface of the ocean floor will stir up and how many years it will take to settle. Fish and other sea life do it in minutes. Sea life does not like changes in turbidity and there is the potential for very far reaching problems lasting a very long time. Water takes about 400 years to go full cycle from surface to bottom to surface again.

Oh. For resources. Read that title wrong. (1)

tecker (793737) | about 4 years ago | (#33408730)

Ahhh. This is mining in the sense of going after energy and ore. When I read that title I thought "WOW. Who uses depth charge exploding sea mines any more? Um, are they preparing for war?"

Thankfully this is just peaceful science. Right? RIGHT?

Strategic moves on rare earth elements (1)

geomark (932537) | about 4 years ago | (#33408868)

Doesn't China already have a lock on most of the world's known surface deposits of rare earth elements? And now they are making moves to secure rare earths on the sea floor. They'll be firmly in the driver's seat soon on many fronts.

Re:Strategic moves on rare earth elements (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 4 years ago | (#33409134)

They'll be firmly in the driver's seat soon on many fronts.

      You have just realized this? I've been saying it for years.

China Plans To Study Mining the Yellow Sea Floor (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about 4 years ago | (#33408882)

Ftfy. Studying sea floor mining is not new.

Re:China Plans To Study Mining the Yellow Sea Floo (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 4 years ago | (#33409352)

Studying sea floor mining is not new.

Or is it "studying" instead of studying? Or whose sunken submarines are they planning to recover?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glomar_Explorer [wikipedia.org]

Looking for... (1)

Skarekrow73 (1748470) | about 4 years ago | (#33408964)

Seabed's nectar?

Not that kind of mining (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 4 years ago | (#33408988)

False alarm.

Well, in a manner of speaking. We'd still be fucked ecologically.

Glomar Explorer (2, Insightful)

drainbramage (588291) | about 4 years ago | (#33408990)

Pretty much the same cover story.
They were going to collect metal right off the top of the ocean floor.
In a way, they did.

Yellow Sea (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | about 4 years ago | (#33408998)

plus mining for deposits of rare metals and methane hydrate, equals DEAD SEA. Oh and don't forget damage to the environment. I guess they don't really care too much about mythical water dragons.

Wow! There are a lot of smart people in China! (1)

Angst Badger (8636) | about 4 years ago | (#33409090)

Too bad none of them are involved in this project.

Jiaolong (2, Interesting)

The Clockwork Troll (655321) | about 4 years ago | (#33409096)

What the media is not reporting is that "Jiaolong" is a 5,000 meter long tube that ferries disenfranchised peoples from the surface to the ocean floor. Unemployed manufacturing sector workers are put into protective suits and then get injected into the Jiaolong tube. They are whooshed to the bottom of the ocean floor, where they are instructed on pain of torture to their family to claw at the ocean floor. If they find hydrate or interesting metals, they are instructed to push a little orange button on their jumpsuit which triggers a collection mechanism in their gloves. If they are running short of breath, they push a little green button. Unfortunately the little green button is not wired to anything. When the clawer eventually expires, the vacuum sucks them out and they spend a little while floating to the top of the ocean whereupon their protective suit is reclaimed and the process is started anew.

Canadian company already doing this (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33409108)

Nautilus Minerals has been working on mining massive sulphide mounds for several years now, they even have a pilot project in Papua-New Guinea. One of the primary concerns was all the underwater life (black smokers etc) they'd be killing. Other than that, these mounds are incredibly rich in all sorts of minerals - and take thousands of years to grow.

mod 0p (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33409126)

many users of BSD users of #BSD/OS. A

As China Advances.. (2, Informative)

nurb432 (527695) | about 4 years ago | (#33409172)

We Americans keep tying our own hands behind our backs. Energy and resources = Power.

Did someone lose a sub in the Yellow Sea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33409176)

Hasn't someone proposed mining the ocean floor once before [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Did someone lose a sub in the Yellow Sea? (1)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | about 4 years ago | (#33409592)

For reals: Mining the ocean floor - CSMonitor.com [csmonitor.com] No one has successfully extracted hydrates, after almost a century of trying. Indeed it looks as if they might find application as a superior method of transporting gas than CNG/LNG: NETL Researchers Develop Way to Rapidly and Continuously Form Synthetic Natural Gas Hydrates [favstocks.com]

Step 1 To A Long Term Lunar Presence? (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 4 years ago | (#33409384)

How better to begin learning what it will take for Lunar expansion? With raw materials literally laying on the surface of either environment?

Personally, my mind ponders the wording used in Psalms, 107:23 KJV. Maybe a minor modification to include women, and a minor edit for altitudes greater than 60 miles.

Any Chinese Up For This? (2, Funny)

Greyfox (87712) | about 4 years ago | (#33409584)

Hey, we're looking for 10,000 volunteers to MINE THE SEA FLOOR! Low wages, sleep in the sea, and we're ALMOST COMPLETELY POSITIVE that there won't be a news story in 6 months that 34 sea floor miners have been trapped in a cave-in for 4 months! Who's up for it?!

Fuel for chinese naval border disputes (4, Insightful)

wdebruij (239038) | about 4 years ago | (#33409588)

While this research takes place in largely uncontested [wikipedia.org] Yellow sea, any success could very well bolster the Chinese government's hawkish stand on naval borders.

The disputes with Japan and Taiwan are well known [wikipedia.org] . It recently claimed sovereignty of regions of the South China Sea that are well beyond common UN agreements on sovereignty [bbc.co.uk] and openly challenged by ASEAN neighbors [economist.com] .

Even the Yellow Sea is not without conflict, in which even the US is directly involved [economist.com] . At the heart of the matter is what the article calls ``one element in what appears to be an attempt to turn the seas near it into a Chinese lake''.

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