Denkenberger comments on Plan of Action to Prevent Human Extinction Risks - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Denkenberger 17 March 2016 01:32:51AM 0 points [-]

This is a great piece of work – very comprehensive. Have you reviewed Leggett 2006? I would add in your "improving sustainability of civilization" section alternative foods. They are much cheaper than building up food stocks.

Comment author: turchin 17 March 2016 10:01:20AM 0 points [-]

Yes, I will add.

I even have some ad hoc ideas who to do it. 1) Converting oil in eatable fats - German did it after WW2 2) Grow worms inside piece of soil 3) Chlorella 4) Potatoes - if all territory of Russia would be used to grow it, it would feed 30 billion people. 5) Converting celulose into glucose bacteria 6) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinus_sibirica - it has eatable nuts and total mass of them is very large, as this tree covers millions of square kilometers in taiga.

Comment author: Denkenberger 24 April 2016 09:01:27PM *  0 points [-]

Thanks. 1) Please provide a reference-I had searched converting petroleum earlier and did not find anything. 2) In the book, we found that more of the calories would go to non-food organisms using worms than use other options like cellulose digesting beetles. 3) Artificial light is extremely inefficient, so this would only be feasible in the partial sun blocking scenarios. 4) If the climate is 10°C cooler because of nuclear winter, maybe the potatoes would work in the tropics. But the question is whether they could handle the high UV caused by the destruction of the ozone layer. 5) I'm not sure exactly what you mean here. But we did look at chemical methods of converting cellulose into sugar, which are currently used to produce biofuels. We also looked at eating bacteria directly that grew on cellulose, but it is not appetizing and you would need to have low fiber for it to even produce net calories. We also considered the possibility of leaching sugar out of material the bacteria was growing on, but this needs more investigation. 6) In the case of the sun being blocked, these trees would die, but it could give us some temporary food.