This sentence in The Atlantic caught my attention and imagination:
In 1960, mathematician, physicist, and all-around genius Freeman Dyson [my note: who worked with Richard Feynman] predicted that every civilization in the Universe eventually runs out of energy on its home planet, provided it survives long enough to do so.Since our post peak-oil planet Earth could be destined to meet this fate, (provided the human race survives long enough to do so) I was further intrigued by Dr Dyson's premise that civilizations who survived did so by building massive collectors of sunlight, a 'shell of solar panels to surround their home star. Astronomers call these theoretical megastructures are called 'Dyson Spheres.'
Now three astronomers are taking the theory of Dyson Spheres as a way to search the galaxy for signs of other civilizations. Read the full article here.
While this may seem like an experiment in science fiction, it brings home the valid premise of what a civilization would do when it runs out of energy. Does Earth create its own Dyson Sphere?