Monday, March 20, 2006

A new year, and a new Idea

Wow, it's been a year since I last posted. My friends had been bugging me about putting something new in here, and I kept postponing it. I think one main reason has been a lack of things to talk about. I wanted this space to be a set of ideas that I could put out in the ether. A place where I could make a difference.

That's the thing though isn't it? Exactly what does it take to make a difference? Do you have to do something grand? Or is it the case that [all?] you need to do is some small things here and there and hope it adds up? I'm hoping for the latter, but something tells me that you need some of the former as well. If you consider what it means to do the little things, those take much more discipline than doing the one big thing, because you have to be disciplined and make your efforts consistent.

Kinda like blogging.

I just read this on slashdot. It was a response to an article about the current US government censoring scientists, essentially by inserting enough ambiguity into their statements. The statement was:

---- SNIP ----
When the Polynesians found Easter Island, they found a paradise.
Seas teeming with porpoises, huge edible palm trees, bountiful flightless birds and tillable soil from coast to coast.

Unfortunately, they also brought rats with them on their canoes.

The rats ate the birds and bird eggs. The trees were cut down for timber and kindling.
The land was farmed to exhaustion.

And the entire civilization that arose there quickly collapsed under its own weight.

The whole time, people thought things would last forever,
but they couldn't see the end coming.

We have our rats too.

---- SNIP ----

There's something missing there, the rats are never identified. Now, it's easy to pick on the US and say that they aren't doing anything. But that's not fair. Every nation has a responsibility. In the 80's the world was concerned about being nuked left right and center. This is our new world concern. Seriously, every nation needs to look at this.

Why couldn't we manufacture cheap solar cells in India and China and use them in their deserts? Why couldn't groups of people pool their resources together and buy some panels and hook them to thie windows and roofs to help add to the power supply of the local region?

Think about it for a second. India is one of the hottest places I've ever lived in. You could replace the windows with solar panels, make a dome on top of the roof with transparent solar cells and plug that power into a generator that feeds electricity to the occupants of the building. Now, it's not going to be much, but it's a start. As technology improves, the models will improve, but you need to start somewhere.

I'm a fan of the bottom up approach to doing certain things. I like the feeling of getting my hands dirty doing something productive. I think most people like doing this. It's easy to give up, to say that 'this country is corrupt' or that things will never work, but do you want your children to think that you're a quitter?