Thursday, June 11, 2009

What if Sustainable Energy was a virus?

World Wind Energy - Total Installed Capacity a...Image via Wikipedia

I've been thinking about how to make adoption of sustainable energy viral... in other words, "A Viral Propogation Model for Sustainable Energy," to get a more rapid adoption rate. There's no doubt that we have to get away from fossil fuels to power our lifestyles... but it seems that, for now at least, pain is the primary motivator. It wasn't until gasoline prices went up last year that many people started looking at conservation and alternative energy sources.

But, what if we could somehow package sustainability in a viral way?

So, what do viruses do, anyway? I was watching Wayne Dyer talk about the ideas in his new book Excuses Begone on PBS (time delay recording) (and well worth watching), and he says that viruses have three characteristics: (paraphrased)
  1. They infect the host [not caring about who the host is]
  2. They copy [clone] themselves
  3. They spread [by infecting other hosts]
Now lets talk about how we might apply this to sustainable energy.

First, we need a host to infect. Lets start small. I will volunteer my local public high-school, for several reasons:
  • Cost savings here = tax savings for me and my neighbors. This could be used as a carrot for participation.
  • We can also use an appeal community service to recruit participants.
  • I'm thinking that the administration and school board would support this since it means savings in their budget.
  • We can recruit the PTA to help with funding and fund-raising.
  • There is always a senior class, and many of this class will be college-bound. Involving them will help with dispersal and propagation of the virus.
  • There are grants available to schools. May be a way to exploit.
The virus, of course is us (participants), and the at core of the virus are several memes:
  • Community service is good
  • Renewable energy is good
  • I can make a difference
So, here is the plan in a nutshell:
  • Install a solar and/or wind-power grid-tie system at our local high-school using volunteers from the student population and community in partnership with business sponsors.
  • Benefits: we're all winners because there's something in this for all participants.
  1. Recruit a business partner, volunteers, or raise funds to provide initial education on basic electricity, solar systems, wind-power systems, and installation, and sustainable energy.
  2. Conduct an energy audit of the school first, to see where we can conserve. Propose a conservation plan and implement it (could be a project for a science class??)
  3. Collaboratively design a modular system for the school so we can start small and expand by adding modules as funds become available.
  4. Raise funds, get donations, write grants, to get the money to buy the components needed.
  5. Acquire the components.
  6. Use participants to install the system under the supervision of a volunteer electrician to pull any needed permits, perform QC, and ensure everything is to code.
  7. Monitor before and after.
  8. Send participants out to other schools, community centers, places of worship, etc. and use them as bootstraps to repeat the process. (This is the viral propagation!) Don't forget the students (seniors) who participated and who are going out into the world!
  9. By this time, we will also have the knowledge required to start working on our own homes and businesses, and will have the contacts to help us (The Barn-raising model for sustainable energy).

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Monday, August 4, 2008

On Gaming and Virtual Worlds

The dock of the bay...Image by TonyƧ via FlickrOnline gaming, whether Casino, Role-playing/MMORPG, Fantasy Sports, or other, is starting to become a significant part of the lives of an increasing number of people. Virtual worlds of all types provide a quick and engulfing escape from tedious, day-to-day routine that many perceive their "real" worlds to be.

As with any experience, I think that there are both positives and negatives associated with online gaming and role-playing. On the good side, you will have the opportunity to develop new skills and meet people from different cultures with different viewpoints and perspectives without leaving the comfort of your nest. On the other hand, your level of physical activity will go down, and it will be easy to get "lost" in there.

Anyway, since this blog is about predictions, here are some possibilities for the future of Gaming and Virtual Worlds:

+ Businesses will start offering services in Virtual Worlds. I mean real-world businesses here. For example, If you want to learn French, enter our world and we will help you... for a real-world fee.

- The DSM5 will start to include a disorder having to do with displaced reality resulting from people believing events occuring in a Virtual World to be real.

+ We will develop a vocabulary for differentiating real-world and virtual-world events.

- Virtual world currencies will be listed on the foreign currency exchange, and will be legally traded as any other currency.

+ Some people will be able to make a sustainable living entirely in the virtual-world.

- Some virtual-world crimes will be taken seriously. Some virtual roles will be actual real-world law enforcement entities. This will necessitate laws and lawyers in the virtual-world. At least one university will develop and offer a curriculum in virtual-world law.

+ The real-world will benefit from some inventions conceived-of and developed in a virtual-world.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

On Censorship

I can say nothing about this.

Monday, April 7, 2008

On Sports: Soccer and Curling

Popularity of football (soccer) around the world. The following colour codes are used:Image from Wikipedia1. Hooliganism, associated with Professional Football ( MLS-Soccer), will become a major problem even in the US. As Shaun Alexander predicts in What's Next, soccer is a major up-and-comer in the sports arena, as many kids are growing up playing and watching. European football (soccer is ALWAYS what non-united-statseans understand when they hear the word football) has been plagued for many years with wild, drunken crowds storming facilities in a frenzy of hysteric destruction, mowing-down whatever is in the way. I think this type of mass fanaticism will start to rear its head here in the US, causing the cancellation of games, and eventually the banning of football (soccer) as a sport, causing it to go underground. Before this happens, there will be at least one major incident where the Immigration and Naturalization Service will incite the crowds to riot and then arrest and deport illegals.

2. Curling with a US twist. If you've ever been to Canada in the winter and had insomnia, and tried to find something to watch on TV, you've probably been introduced to the sport of curling. This is a game that looks much like shuffleboard, except it it played on ice, with a bullseye as target, and sweepers with brooms who score the ice ahead of the stone to try and influence the direction. Now that it is an olympic sport, my prediction is that Curling will also become a mainstream sport in the United States, but with its own American (my apologies to non-US America for the incorrect use of this label) twist. At some point, the sports networks will notice that Curling as a spectator sport is not nearly as popular as it should be. Then, someone will be lamenting the demise of roller derby, and have a brilliant idea to make curling a mainly female sport played by buxom women in bikinis. This will become the tipping point which will end-up catapulting the sport of curling into the mainstream of US sports. You have to think, "only in the US!"

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Welcome to Predictions

This blog is in response to a book I am reading... "What's next: the experts guide," Predictions from 50 of America's Most Compelling People, by Jane Buckingham with Tiffany Ward.

For each chapter in the book, I plan to add my own predictions... I think it will be interesting to see how close I actually come to predicting the future!