The energy price of transportation includes the drama involved

Yesterday I had mentioned in email to a friend that the use of a 1 or 2 ton lump of steel to go get a sack of groceries a mile away was grossly inefficient in transportation energy terms, the ratio of the weight of the sack of groceries to the weight of the 1 or 2 ton vehicle that transported a mile over to the grocery store and back home again, lots of consumed energy for no net movement of anything but the sack of groceries; and that process was about as inefficient as the use of rockets to reach space.

But this morning laying awake, I had the insight that that missing energy cost, that I considered waste, actually does something: it powers an immense amount of human drama.

In the case of the sack of groceries, it is Mama taking little Suzy along to teach Suzy how to shop; the hustle and bustle of shopping in the store, lots of people interactions to stir up Mama's drama soup pot; the drama of the grocery line, who else is in there; and the negotiating back out to the big SUV and being seen getting into that big status symbol, and then the driving through the streets, avoiding this and that along the way and happening to see so-and-so doing whatever along the way; then back home, unloading little Suzy and the grocery sack and carrying it back into the house.

Similarly, the use of rockets being chosen over the use of an electrically powered space transportation structure to reach space from the ground, is because the whole complex of rocket industry and academics was where all the prep had gone and was screen-played already for getting a huge amount of human drama for those energy dollars, drama preferentially going to those particular ones already awaiting it, instead of newcomers of the potential transportation structure field.

Clearly the huge amount of extra energy is used for powering human drama, for the vastly greater part; and only a tiny amount to the actual delivery of a penny's worth of energy given to the sack of groceries, or the 73 cents per pound of energy given to mass delivered from the ground up into GEO, the other $9,999.27 per pound going to power the enormous human drama involved.

It may be analogous to the delivery of a football from over in one part of a football field to across the goal line on the other side of the field; the transportation efficiency of the football is not the point, it is all about the human drama that went into that delivery.

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