Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Half a Century

I am rapidly approaching the half a century mark.

I have done a lot of soul searching and deep thinking about the past 50 years/.

I thought about sharing dates and landmarks in history, but do you really care where I was when Lennon was shot, or what telephones used to be like?

I decided to write a few thoughts on the improvements that should have been made in the last 50 years, given the advancements in technology.

First off, especially because it has so much impact on Earth, transportation.  A few improvements have been made, the subway in Washington DC is one example.

But automobile engines??? Still using gasoline, still getting mostly the same mileage?? And the cost of those vehicles? More or less affordable?

My futuristic vision for public transportation is really sci-fi.  Pods that travel through tubes. The pods would have a shell made of genetically engineered ...(algae) that could absorb nutrients from the tube and convert it into propulsion energy. The nutrients in the tube could be obtained through sewage.

One could merely "call up a pod" which would then pick you up and deliver you to your destination, or, in a nod to capitalism, one could purchase their own designer pods equipped with couches and televisions.

And what about advances in architecture over the last 50years? A few changes in building codes for mandatory insulation?
Double paned windows?

My sci fi vision for human habitation is based on this observation of what has happened in the last 50 years: Loss of life. BUILD BUILD BUILD, more buildings above the ground, more roads, parking lots, power corridors.  If we are to save the Earth, this HAS to be drastically changed.  We need to INCREASE growing space, not annihilate every square inch of the planet.

I have a couple of proposals for that. First, every roof needs to be a growing space. Whether buildings are placed below ground or designed to withstand substantial roof loads. The effect will be twofold: Less energy consumption due to the higher insulating value , and cleaner cooler air. There could also be crop benefit, ie strawberries or grain.

Embracing the vision, one can see exterior walls being utilized as growing spaces, trellised in flowers or herbs or vegetables or just grasses.

And the bugs and birds and amphibians that delight in those green spaces should be embraced and not vilified.

Worried about water? The whole system could be designed to utilize waste water, and purify it in the process.

Plants absorb CO2, the primary "greenhouse gas" and release oxygen. The process "fixes" the carbon into the plant life.

Earth buildings would generate less CO2 by requiring less energy for heating and cooling, in fact, help remove CO2 from the atmosphere by absorption of CO2. Earth buildings would also be better protected from severe weather.

The Firebird and I had additional discussion about water insulated habitats-my idea but discarded due to instability of currents and waves, also the conductive value of water would require a building to have more insulation. But-they would be cool in hot weather. :) Anti-gravity buildings (the Firebird's suggestion) would require technology we are not aware of, and would also shade the ground unless designed to drift.

Safe alternatives need to be found for dangerous polluting chemicals and the mass production of dangerous substances needs to be controlled unless the risk is worth the gain. For public health not private industry.

Health care improvements are another blog. A good place to start- is to stop

polluting the planet with toxic waste.

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