Everyone has a Prediction

With the onset of the new year it seems that everyone has a prediction.  I put some thought into what I think might happen in 2008.  The longer I thought, the more my head hurt. For the betterment of all mankind I ignored the pain and continued. 

(Jump to 5 minutes later) 

Now blinded by the smoke rolling out of my ears and an uncharacteristic twitch in my right eye (No, the twitch in my left eye is characteristic.), I decided that predicting 2008 and the things that might happen, isn’t going to happen.  Now what?

(Flashback to Mid-1970’s) (I believe, caused by my allergies to smoke)

The headlines should have read:

  • “High-schooler Conquers Manpowered Flight, Spirit of America soars over English Channel to take Prize”
  • “High-schooler Invents Air-powered Car, Single-handedly puts end to Energy Crisis”
  • “Once Deemed Impossible, Air-powered Submarine Revolutionizes Personal Submarine Transportation”
  • “Personal Tranportation Pod (PTP) deemed Best Invention Since the Automobile”

Slowly the smoke clears and I find myself back in 2008. For the moment I thought it all a dream. Ummgh! Who would have thought that man would fly over the English Channel under his own power? What nut would think that air-power might be used for a car?
Something seemed strangely amiss. Something back in the darkest recesses of my closet is drawing me to look.  Oh, yeah!  That box with the duct tape from the 70’s on it.  Sorta on it.  Ok.  Barely hanging on it.  My dream box, and all those little doodads and gizmos that I made while I was growing up. 

Opening the box, my eyes land upon a hand-made poster titled “Spirit of America” dated 1974.  Hmmm, looks just like the one that flew over the English Channel in 1976.  Not a bad design for a kid who’s only contact with that project didn’t come until 2 years later when the news of it’s flight hit the national news wires. 

There was the model of the air-powered car.  Boy did everyone get a laugh at my expense for that one.  They were still laughing when I showed them proof that and air-powered sub would work.  They are probably still laughing.  I think that will stay hidden in the box.

Tears come to my eyes when I remember the long-forgotten sketchs held in my now aged hands.  There was one to solve the problem of distributed energy.  Another was a sketch of an energy periscope, sort of a stand-alone, self-powered electrical generator for developing countries.  Here’s another one for a mag-lev PTP that doesn’t use super-conducting magnets.  I pause to remember those happier times when I thought I could change the world.  I put the box and its content away. 

The act reminded me of a play I performed in while in high school.  I no longer remember the play’s name nor the author but in it was a quote contributed to William Shakespeare that I have remembered until this very day and perhaps for this very moment.  It goes something tlike this:

“Life is such a poor player, who struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more.”

I look at my box and I see those things that aren’t even struts and frets upon the stage but perhaps auditions for bit parts that never came to pass.  With the wisdom that only age can bring I stare at the box as the light in the closet goes out and think to myself, “The world is crying out for cheap energy, cheap transportation, cheap housing and cheap eats (Cheap=Less Expensive).  What can be done about those things?”

Let’s start with energy. 

Tracy Staedter, of Discovery News writes in an article called “How Electric Cars Could Save the Grid” tells about a Universityof Deleware research program called “V2G: Vehicle to Grid Power“.  That explains the concept of allowing electric cars to plug power back into the grid in order to level out day-time power flucturation and in the process the car’s owner could even make money on the energy.  I feel that we need to do this for houses long before we do this for cars. 

Think this one through.  A distributed-power grid is not only more efficient by being able to adapt very quickly to alternative power generation but it would monetize that which currently not availible to big-box power generators.  Namely, space and human ingenuity could be applied.  This would include the farmer that wanted to create his own wind farm to the individual homeowner that just wants battery backup maintained by solar on his house. 

Adding a grid that is safer from large scale power outages and the capital it would take make the connections, could lower, more reliable energy be very far away? This could happen in 2008.

Let’s touch upon transportation. 

In 2008 production is suppose to start on a 230 mile per gallon car called the Aptera.  No.  This is not a misprint.  To my knowledge, this would be the first commercially-built car ever built that could go over 1000 miles per tank (tank size still pending?)

 With the average American driving 15,000 miles a year they could do that in 50 gallons of gas instead of 500.  Imagine saving $1350 a year for $3.00/gallon gas and going to the gas station only when you go on a trip of over 100 miles.  For under $30,000 they have piqued my interest.

Cheap housing is a long way off. 

I don’t have any leads for this but I’ll keep you’all posted when something comes up.

Cheap food or cheaper food is coming.  

I believe that distributed food production and worms might be a place to start.  Worms; the composting craze of the new millineum.  Hmmm.  I’ll keep working on food too.

©2008 Patrick Lalande All Rights Reserved

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