The Problem of Energy

As a child, I read Friday by Robert A Heinlein, which portrayed a future in which energy needs are addressed by energy storage devices called "Shipstones", which are described as a way to pack more kilowatt-hours into a smaller space and a smaller mass than any other engineer had ever dreamed of. To call it an "improved storage battery" (as some early accounts did) is like calling an H-bomb an "improved firecracker."

In the novel, the Shipstone's eponymous inventor realised "that the problem was not a shortage of energy but lay in the transporting of energy. Energy is everywhere—in sunlight, in wind, in mountain streams, in temperature gradients of all sorts wherever found, in coal, in fossil oil, in radioactive ores, in green growing things. Especially in ocean depths and in outer space energy is free for the taking in amounts lavish beyond all human comprehension.

"Those who spoke of "energy scarcity" and of "conserving energy" simply did not understand the situation. The sky was "raining soup"; what was needed was a bucket in which to carry it."


Isn't that is isn't plentiful. The sky is raining energy. It's that we have to collect it into buckets for use.

These are partial direct quotes, the direct quote is from a hacker news comment.

Folksonomies: science fiction entropy energy

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Sun (0.959684): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Energy (0.866888): dbpedia | freebase
Robert A. Heinlein (0.748411): geo | dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
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Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Heinlein, Robert A. (1997), Friday, Del Rey, Retrieved on 2014-02-26
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: fiction science fiction