"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Decentralization at a Cross Roads

Linux Journal has a great interview by Doc Searls with Bob Frankston in the May edition. From Searls' introduction...

"Telecom and the internet have always been strange bedfellows... we have an industry that's been around for 171 years... and... we have... an "end-to-end" model that doesn't require telecom... carriers only want us to think only in terms of familiar and expensive services such as television."

On a seemingly unrelated note, NPR had a radio piece this morning on solar power. A couple large companies are trying to build giant plants in the desert to boil water, to turn large turbines, to sell the electricity over the grid. Another tendency of large corporations wanting us to think only in familiar, hugely expensive terms. At least they're not trying to sell the idea of splitting atoms to boil the water.

Not to mention we're running out of water, another problem that can only be solved on a massively small scale. Certainly boiling water in the desert in huge quantities is not inline with our water future.

If any one thing will save civilization that thing will be drastically decentralized. I'm not convinced we have good odds to pull that off. I think our psychology and sociology is not adapted to the level of our IQ.

Watch out for big. We are at an interesting cross roads, and the big organizations are not going to make the right decisions. They are not designed to. It's not their fault, they're just dinosaurs.


Huitzilo. said...

If the water is boiled in a closed system hardly any water gets lost. The water just needs to be cooled down after driving the turbines and fed back into the solar collector.

The idea is quite old (I remember reading about it when I was a kid some 20 years ago). The problem might be cooling the water back down in an efficient way.

Funny that you mention splitting atoms.. The same principle is already employed in nuclear power plants. The difference is just that solar energy is used to heat the water instead of splitting atoms. But in both cases, the water does not leave the closed system.

Unknown said...

Re: "At least they're not trying to sell the idea of splitting atoms to boil the water."

However, I do wish they were trying to sell the idea of "joining/fusing" atoms to boil the water.

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.