Shaun Johnston British, now living in Hudson Valley NY Email address
I find it maddening when someone I’ve made a prediction to fails to remember it when my prediction comes true. So I’m going to set my predictions down, here, so I can point people to them later. Reducing carbon dioxide emission. Entered April 16, 2014. Inject water spray into hot exhaust from furnaces, gather carbonic acid by condensing it, and pump that off to release in lakes seeded with high-growth algae etc, and gather algae to use as carbon-neutral fuel. Lake water would be filtered and returned to act as spray. Problem: the gas dissolves better in colder water, and as pressure is raised. Perhaps gas could be cooled passively en route to the lake, injected into water stream and presurized as in soda-stream carbonization. At lake, some expansion of gas would drive pumps etc to power the process. Putting Keypointer online. Entered January 4, 2014. Above I link to a format I’ve already posted for putting all information, such as Wikipedia, on flat visual panes. Each pane would consist of summaries of major topics appearing as narrow columns of large text on a white ground, and supporting information to either side at a smaller scale on a colored ground, as shown on the keypointer page linked to above. Each summary is extensively referenced by lines leading out from keywords to the supporting information. As one traversed out to the side over the supporting information, a new summary might spring up for another major topic more relevant to where you now are, and the old major topic would sink in level to become just supporting information. Or, you could zoom in on a block of supporting information, and it would break out into a major-topic column of large text on white, with its own supporting blocks of information. Links everywhere could take you to other places on the pane, or to other plnes. Would need to be viewed on a large high-resolution tough screen, a large tablet. Now quite feasible. Energy1--put solar cells under roadways. Entered January 4, 2014. First, see that I saw today June 19, 2014. OK, back to Jan 4, 2014. I detest the look of large solar cell arrays, and the blighting effects they have on landscapes. They are ugly! And presumarly the land they sit on must be weedkilled regularly, or they must sit on concrete, to prevent weeds growing up above the solar collectors. Instead I suggest the technology be developed for building solar panels into large blocks of glass, say the size of wall board, for paving parking lots. Such use of solar panels would be invisible, occupying existing open space and resembling regular asphalt. To give good traction the glass could be surfaced with ground up gorilla glass in regular glass. Parking lots are snow-ploughed in winter, so would go on collecting energy year-round. Since it generates energy it would be worth the owner’s while to clean the surface continually. Modular units could be easily replacable. Sealing between blocks and water drainage should be no big deal, minimizing freezing and cracking problems Energy2--Bring wind down to earth.. Entered January 4, 2014. I detest the look of wind turbine towers. I suggest instead collecting wind in collosal “nets” (like those you collect insects in) made of transparent plastic sheeting held aloft by transparent helium-filled baloons that are tethered to the ground with ropes. The nets would connect to transparent plastic tubes, say a foot or two across, that would lead the wind down to the ground where it would be lead into turbines at ground level. These tubes would run down one of the tethering ropes. Also running down one of these tethers would be a pipe for adding helium to the balloon, minimizing down-time. Shouldn’t it be cheaper to operate turbines at ground level, and not need those collosal towers? I expect such nets to gather more of the wind’s energy than turbine blades. Birds caught in the nets could be released at ground level. What’s not to like? Aircraft that never touch down. Entered here Feb 6, 2013. I predict that long-distance airtravel with be served by two kinds of aircraft, each specialized for a particular role. One will be stripped-down “taxis” that take people up from airports to cruising altitude, the other will be capacious “flying- saucers” (perhaps) that serve as spacious lounges for the cruising part--they never return to land, but are optimized solely for cruising at high altitude. When taxi-craft dock with cruising-lounges, passengers board and deplane. This change will become necessary to reduce the excessive carbon footprint of flight. Combination of accelerator and brake. Entered here Feb 6, 2013. When accelerator and brake had quite different “feels” to the foot, controlling two quite unrelated mechanical systems it may have made sense for them to be controlled by different pedals. But now both are controlled by computer, it should be possible for the effects of accelerator and brake to be made part of a smooth spectrum of control of speed. The same foot, on the same pedal, would control acceleration simply by rocking forward and back. This is likely to appear first in hybrid autos that use electric power for both braking and acceleration. People no longer being expected to find a job to support themselves. Entered here Feb 6, 2013. See in menu at left “Writing/Ideas/A future economy.” Universal online-communication page formats Entered here Feb 6, 2013. Currently the shift is from fixed-page formats to free-form. Facebook pages for example chiefly express content in one dimension, the page just goes on down and down without limit (hence the timeline). Fixed-formats are confined today primarily to pdf versions of printed matter. The ebook is limited mainly to text that flows to fit whatever window or screen size in presented to it; formated pages cannot generally be reproduced in ebook format except through pdf. When the iPad came along I hoped that its native “page” would be taken as a standard, but the opportunity for that has slipped away, with other size screens having established other standards. What’s at stake is the presentation of information in designs laid out for optimal assimilation to the eye and the mind. An extreme example are books published by Dorling Kindersley, where information is woven extremely densely and with intense attention to color and visual appeal over double-spreads of large-sized pages. What this accomplishes is the optimum presentation of information within the largest feasible angle subtended at the eye--that is, the largest area the eyes can take in at reading distance just by eye and head roving up and down and side to side without the whole body having to move or pages having to turn or move. As screen sizes and resolutions increase I predict a set of standard digital page- sizes will be established to exploit the distribution of information in two dimensions, ie both up and down and across. The first to demand these fixed sizes are likely to be comic book and textbook publishers, but these sizes will quickly spread to scientific and government communications where a great deal of information must be present to the eye all at once. This will lead to explosive innovation in graphic design. First, though, high-resolution screens must become universal. Then, our online life will revolve around not phone, tablet and television, but simply screens of different sizes customized for tasks appropriate to those different sizes, each one an optimum balance of screen-area against convenience for different environments. Communications revolution will shift to serve biological “patterns of communication.” February 6, 2013. Currently the communications revolution is focused on improving the technology of communications. Once that revolution exceeds the capacity of humans to absorb the information, attention will shift to what I learned from Gregory Bateson to call “patterns of connection.” These are matrices in living organisms that manage flows of sense data and behavior initiation. They let us do some things extremely well, while other things barely at all. For example, my experience is that we do not come equipped to handle 360-degree-panoramas, we first have to break them down into separate wide-angle scenes. Figuring out how to deliver such panoramas was a triumph of data storage and