Sunday, May 3, 2009

Thinking new thoughts and daring to be different - the world has a new paradigm.

For many years now I have been trying to work out what I ought to be doing. I suspect that many people have this as one of their projects, simmering away slowly at the back of their minds, if not at the front. I have come to adopt a collection of ideas, mostly pinched from other people of course but some seem to be my own home-brew. I have accepted for some time that there is a new paradigm a-brewing in the world, but couldn't see the totality.

Recently I became aware once again of the theory underlying Stirling engines [an idea first patented by Rev Robert Stirling, a Scot, in about 1816]. I became aware also of the truly vast number of practical applications of Stirling engines and the fact there is nothing stopping the deployment of these machines in thousands of places around our planet for the purposes of using solar power for generating electricity, desalinating seawater, driving air conditioners, and so forth.

A Stirling engine is simply a device for extracting useful mechanical energy from temperature differences in the environment. You can see for yourself on youtube that properly made Stirling engines can extract usable from the temperature difference between the skin of a person's hand and the air around them!: and

OK so that is not a huge amount of power and motion, but there is no intrinsic limit to how these machines can be adapted to different locations and circumstances:
  • Simple collection of hot air under glass/polycarbonate laid over suburban rooftops [a temp diff of at least 20 deg C possible]
  • ocean floor water at 4 deg C next to tropical/equatorial surface water at about 20 deg C [15+ deg C diff possible night and day but greater possible with solar heating]
  • all manner of solar tracking mirror concentrators [or Fresnel lenses] can create temperature differences anywhere up to a few hundred degrees.
What this means is that all the protestations about solar power, wind power, and so forth being too expensive, or too inefficient, or too hard to implement, are just bollocks!

I can see now that Mark's law # 4 is indeed true:
When people cooperate and work together then, to the extent that we cooperate, all projects become possible that are in line with the laws of physics.
What this means is that the economists' preconception that 'value is based on scarcity' is an obsolete hangover from the pre-scientific universe.

Now we can see that value is that which enhances the quality of human existence. Value as such is created through human labour and there is NO intrinsic reason why we cannot achieve the emancipation of all people from slavery, poverty, fear, preventable disease, and unjust exploitation.
Why can I be sure of this? Because the paramount truth about us now is that we really are a new species: Homo sapiens scientificus and we are now in a position to take our place amongst all the other species living off the infinite stream of energy supplied each day by the sun. We have to wean ourselves off the milk of Mother Earth, ie stop burning all the liquid fossil hydrocarbons [rock oil] and crispy crunchy coals and lignites.

The burning of such vast amounts of hydrocarbons from out of the ground has put us in danger of potentially overwhelming disaster: climate changes which threaten the agriculture we depend on for food, heating and acidification of the oceans which may destroy all the fish species we depend on for food. But we can do things differently. There is no need for us to continue being stupid. Being "stupid" means to continue doing something which has been shown to be intrinsically self-defeating. We DO NOT have to be so stupid. Each one of us is capable of changing, what it takes is exposure to true information presented in a format we understand by people we trust in a context we can relate to.