Ferguson: Fracking Could Lead To U.S. ‘Golden Age’

Ferguson Fracking Could Lead To U.S. 'Golden Age'An unlikely champion for U.S. growth under the Obama administration has emerged — a former adviser to a Republican Party presidential candidate and Harvard history professor, Niall Ferguson, who says America could actually be heading toward a new economic “golden age.” And it has nothing to do with Washington and everything to do with energy.

‘Massive implications’

Ferguson, who is also an author and commentator, believes the production of natural gas and oil from shale formations via a process known as “fracking” — forcing open rocks by injecting fluid into cracks — will be a game changer.

“This is an absolutely huge phenomenon with massive implications for the U.S. economy, and I think most people are still a little bit slow to appreciate just how big this is,” he said in Hong Kong this week. “Conceivably it does mean a new golden age.”


‘Jaw-dropping forecast’

U.S. energy production has been booming in recent years. The International Energy Agency made a jaw-dropping forecast two weeks ago that the U.S. would pass Saudi Arabia as the world’s biggest oil producer by the end of this decade — and would achieve near energy independence by the 2030s. That energy boom, asserts Ferguson, will create jobs in the United States. Lots of jobs. The energy sector currently supports 1.7 million American jobs directly or indirectly, according to economic forecaster IHS global Insight. That could rise to 3 million by 2020, it says.

For the recently reelected U.S. president though, the energy boom looks like it could provide a welcome tailwind for his second term. It’s something that Ferguson acknowledges — though one suspects through gritted teeth. He concedes the irony that the president will now be the beneficiary of the “good times that lie ahead.”

Do you believe that “fracking” could indeed up the U.S. economy enough to surpass Saudi Arabia in oil production? Tell us your opinions on this matter!

Source: CNN

Image: Falck Alford Productions

NASA Physicists: Warp Drive May Be Feasible After All

A warp drive to achieve faster-than-light travel — a concept popularized in television’s Star Trek — may not be as unrealistic as once thought, scientists say.

A warp drive would manipulate space-time itself to move a starship, taking advantage of a loophole in the laws of physics that prevent anything from moving faster than light. A concept for a real-life warp drive was suggested in 1994 by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre, however subsequent calculations found that such a device would require prohibitive amounts of energy. Now physicists say that adjustments can be made to the proposed warp drive that would enable it to run on significantly less energy, potentially brining the idea back from the realm of science fiction into science.

An Alcubierre warp drive would involve a football-shaped spacecraft attached to a large ring encircling it. This ring, potentially made of exotic matter, would cause space-time to warp around the starship, creating a region of contracted space in front of it and expanded space behind. Meanwhile, the starship itself would inside a bubble of flat space-time that wasn’t being warped at all.


With this concept, the spacecraft would be able to achieve an effective speed of about 10 times the speed of light, all without breaking the cosmic speed limit. The only problem is, previous studies estimated the warp drive would require a minimum amount of energy about equal to the mass-energy of the planet Jupiter.

But recently Harold “Sonny” White of NASA’s Johnson Space Center calculated what would happen if the shape of the ring encircling the spacecraft was adjusted into more of a rounded donut, as opposed to a flat ring. He found in that case, the warp drive could be powered by a mass about the size of a spacecraft like the Voyager 1 probe NASA launched in 1977.

Do you think Warp Drive could come into reality in the very near future? Come and share your futuristic thoughts with us!

Source: Yahoo News

Image: Universe Today