RE: Solutions (Was Extropians (Protestants in disguise?)

Arjen Kamphuis (
Tue, 16 Sep 1997 02:32:07 +0200

At 10:17 15-09-97 CST Rick Knight wrote:
> Arjen Kamphuis made the suggestion:
> Could we maybe, sort-of turn all the political threads into
> problem-solving-oriented discussions?
> Rick Knight adds:
> Eliezer, in the more lucid parts of a recent post, also encouraged
> solution-based thinking. I concur.
> Meanwhile, someone has to figure out how to plug the hole in the boat
> that's sinking.

Alow me to offer two plugs for further memetic development:

I was thinking about cheap medicine produced in the milk of
genetically-engineered cows/sheep. Making the first cow is of course
very complex and expensive. But once you have a working model they
reproduce themselves (well almost ;-). This is the kind of technology
that can be implemented *today* (we have a prototype bull here in
Holland) and be put to work at very low cost in third-world countries,
requiring only a simple infrastucture and little knowledge from the
endusers. Millions of lives could be saved at only minimal cost to
all of us (the reseach would pay for itself problably, we need
medicine too). IMHO this is the kind of technology that should be
invested in heavily. It also needs more political support
(bio-tech is still tricky)

Some very different (but just as exiting) is the revival of the airship as
a means of long-range, heavy-lifting, large volume means of transportation.
With modern materials and contruction techniques airships can be cheap
(once mass-produced), fuel-efficient (with all that surface you can think
of solarpanels to drive electrical engines, giving unlimited range) and
easier to operate than compareble means of transport. The fact that an
airship does not need a landingstrip (just a pole to attach it to) and
hardly any additional infrastructure makes it ideal for less-developed
Airships can be made very large (look at the Hindenburg - built with '30s
technology!) and would be able to lift an entire factory from a
contruction-site in France and fly it to central Africa were it could be
delivered to the exact spot of operation.

Of course they would be filled with helium instead of hydrogen, we'll use
the hydrogen as fuel.

I also see great possibilities in the tourist industry, why go on a bus
from Holland to Spain if you can fly in an airship wich has all the
comforts of a modern shoppingmall? Once oilprices start to rise (The DOE -
US Department Of Energy - expects this within 10 years) jets will become
very expensive to operate. Airships are also quiet so they could deliver
passengers and good directly to city-centers (just use a big tower that
they can connect to). This will relieve traffic jams, reducing smog and
loss of productive hours.

I'm not talking about 80-foot blimps here. I'm talking fully rigid 500-foot
commercial airships to fulfil our passenger and cargo transport needs
untill we can beam ourselves to were we want to go.

Besides, I've always wanted to fly in one of those things ;-)
There is currently a project going on in Holland to set up a
airship-factory. The first commercially viable airship would cost about $70
million and be able to carry 500 passangers in comfort compareble to an
ocean-liner. I think a boeing 747 is about $250 million. The price would
drop once mass-production starts. Airships would have very low operating
costs compared to planes wich would more than compensate for their lower
speed, especially on distances up to 2000 Km's

I'll try to get more info on this.

Arjen Kamphuis | Learn as if you will live forever. | Live as though you will die tomorrow.