Driving in and around Paris is a nightmare. There are never any parking spaces available anyway, and on the Peripherique inner ring road it's possible to wait for over an hour in traffic without having moved a hundred yards forward. Motor journalists, press officers and board members will once again be waiting for hours on end this week, sitting irritated in their shuttle limousines in a continuous traffic jam, on the way to the next car presentation.

Some people might consider that situation amusing. But one person who doesn't find the congestion funny is Paris's mayor, Bertrand Delanoë. The outspoken fan of electric cars is currently toying with the idea of a public car-sharing scheme with battery-powered cars.

The study is a product of the Future Analysis department of the Bundeswehr Transformation Center, a think tank tasked with fixing a direction for the German military. The team of authors, led by Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Will, uses sometimes-dramatic language to depict the consequences of an irreversible depletion of raw materials. It warns of shifts in the global balance of power, of the formation of new relationships based on interdependency, of a decline in importance of the western industrial nations, of the "total collapse of the markets" and of serious political and economic crises.

"I'm not an economist, and I am approaching the economy as a physics problem," Garrett says. "I end up with a global economic growth model different than they have."

Garrett treats civilization like a "heat engine" that "consumes energy and does 'work' in the form of economic production, which then spurs it to consume more energy," he says.

"If society consumed no energy, civilization would be worthless," he adds. "It is only by consuming energy that civilization is able to maintain the activities that give it economic value. This means that if we ever start to run out of energy, then the value of civilization is going to fall and even collapse absent discovery of new energy sources."

Garrett says his study's key finding "is that accumulated economic production over the course of history has been tied to the rate of energy consumption at a global level through a constant factor."

Här kan du jämföra elpriser och byta elavtal, kostnadsfritt och enkelt.

"A lot of people worry about having SUVs but they don't worry about having Alsatians and what we are saying is, well, maybe you should be because the environmental impact ... is comparable."

Computer programs can make your computer use more power. PowerTOP is a Linux tool that helps you find those programs that are misbehaving while your computer is idle. The application that misbehaved the most was the Linux kernel. However, as of version 2.6.21, the Linux kernel went tickless, and no longer has a fixed 1000Hz timer tick. The result (in theory) is huge power savings because the CPU stays in low power mode for longer periods during system idle.

Mr. Sanns, 51 years old, is part of a small subculture of gearheads, amateur physicists and science-fiction fans who are trying to build fusion reactors in their basements, backyards and home laboratories.

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