Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Squeeze for juice

We're talking about energy generation, but isn't a vast amount more energy all but on tap now?

A chance comment today reminded me that while we can't seem to get close to perpetual motion, and we are the heart of our problem, our hearts could also be part of an easy solution.

We could easily each produce what we need to run the device we're using right now for example. Could you do a little light pedalling too?

Think how much less power we'd need if every television on the planet was driven by the viewer. Think how much less television we'd watch...

If we did still need to go for a walk or run after watching a favourite show, why couldn't shoes or belts extract energy from the muscular movements as standard - or even clothes the excess body heat - in the same way as automatic watches or bike lamps?

Moving into speculation a little, the Fremen in Dune had their stillsuits using breathing and other movement to recycle water, and The Matrix saw the human body power its own prison (cf. the TV example). This is all still near future stuff - at the very most.

What else might be used with no need for a strange new material or process?

Even now, we have domestic geothermal heat pumps available, technology making use of the more stable temperatures below ground as the seasons pass above. Why not vast devices powering towns or even whole cities on the energy in the mantle?
Trey's take on halflings in the Unquiet Library, located on a volcanic plug, reminded me of the idea. If I remember rightly, in the Ian Watson Inquisition War trilogy one of the hive cities had something similar. Or was that the White Dwarf Confrontation materials?

What about those plans to have vast solar panels in orbit beaming the energy of the unfiltered sun back down? That's feasible. In the 1970s, even with the shuttle programme underway, this was seen as just around the corner. What happened?

Is it pure laziness keeping us in the dark, fearing for the climate we know, fearing contamination? Vested interest perhaps? Lack of ingenuity? Or imagination?

Imagination is where it's at. Apparently limitless energy there, some of it arguably dissipating not into a vacuum, but vacuousness. We spend so much of what we have on little plastic or metal men, and little on our mettle or making ourselves more plastic.

I've written a lot recently about creativity. Am I saying now it's a waste of time? No - in the short term more choice will do us a power of good. But better if those ideas did really push us.

My thoughts on games especially are stewing under the 'Getting out of the boat' tag. I say we should be "changing game form to be more immediate, overwhelming and instructive. The point is enlightenment." And maybe even lighting.


Dave G _ Nplusplus said...

I think what people are doing these days with piezoelectrics to be very cool. The very act of us walking/moving on the ground generates force, which can be converted to electricity. Subways are using this to power their stations from the stampede of people passing through them, and dance clubs are using their dance floors.


Kal said...

You know just like I do what is keeping these technologies from being developed. It's the oil companies and their huge profits. They crushed the water engine and the electric car for decades. We know we could turn the equator into one huge photoreactive cell and bring energy to many parts of the world that don't have it now. We could work with all the advantages we already have but greed is more important than common good. It's sad but true.

Trey said...

I would credit laziness more that conspiracy. As long as we have fairly easily available energy sources--true, some people do have a financial interest in those energy sources, but its their shortsighted laziness that keeps them from investing their capital in new ones.

kriz said...

Freaky bro, I just Watched Dune and Matrix last nyte and the evening.

But I totally agree, It would also help bring down the cost of health care to . Also taking
into consideration all the exercise and effects therein which would make people more healthy.

Nigma said...

Well in case shit hits the fan i have a stock of batteries, flashlights, bullets, guns and food.

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