Where Is Our Technology

I remember as a child I use to watch “The Jetsons” in awe of the technology they had wondering if that’s how the world would be in the future when I became an adult. Well, many years later here I am, an adult and the world is more or less the same way it was when I was a child, from a technological standpoint. Sure we have little trinket technologies like iPhones and Tablet PCs but nothing truly revolutionary has come along that has changed our lives in a significant way. Where are the jet packs, flying cars and suction tubes that would take you from one end of the city to the next in a matter of seconds? If you’re over the age of 27 I’m sure we can all agree that we thought that by this time we would have at least had the hovering skateboard from “Back to the Future”. What happened? Where are all of our big technological breakthroughs we so anxiously anticipated as children? Is this laptop I’m writing on and “smartphone” in my pocket really the peak of our technological capabilities in our generation? No not at all.

We may not have flying cars but we do have Maglev technology, such as the Vacuum tube trains, that can take you from NY to California in (12 minutes). We have hydroponic technology that would permit us to grow food in abundance anywhere in the world from the Mohave Desert on its hottest summer day to Chicago in the dead of its coldest winter. As far as hovering skateboards are concerned I’ll do you one better, the Hoverbike by Aerofex corporation. So far, for safety reasons, the Hoverbike has been tested at 30 mph and 15 feet, although earlier versions of it traveled as fast as a helicopter! With this said we’re not even scratching the surface of our current technological capabilities. It is safe to say that we are living, conservatively, 100- 200 years behind what we are technologically capable of at this moment in time. If we put into consideration nanotechnology you can add on another 200 years on top of that. One thing you can bet on is that almost anytime you see so called “new” technology on the news or at a science convention more than likely it is far from new. The first solar power motor was invented in the 1860’s by August Mouchout. In 1877 Professor James Blyth built the first wind turbine that powered his cottage in Marykirk with electricity. It is only now within the last five or so years that clean renewable energy has halfheartedly come up in popular discourse, yet has been in existence for over one hundred years. Hydroponic farming as well has been known and understood since the 1800’s. One of the first detailed designed prototypes for a vacuum tube train powered by maglev technology was done by Robert Goddard in the 1910’s!

So, where is our technology? It is being held hostage by a monetary system that will not release it unless a profit can be made. The facts are that we’ll never see natural renewable energy such as solar, wind and tidal power come to fruition anytime in the near or distant future because that would spell the end of the power industry that exist today. For there is  profit to make off  of the sun. If solar and electric powered cars caught on that would be the end of the multibillion dollar oil industry. Here is a clear case of  how our profit driven monetary system is stifling are technical growth.

High-speed maglev lines between major cities of southern California and Las Vegas are also being studied via the California-Nevada Interstate Maglev Project. This plan was originally supposed to be part of an I-5 or I-15 expansion plan, but the federal government has ruled it must be separated from interstate public work projects. Since the federal government decision, private groups from Nevada have proposed a line running from Las Vegas to Los Angeles with stops in Primm, Nevada; Baker, California; and points throughout San Bernardino County into Los Angeles. Southern California politicians have not been receptive to these proposals; many are concerned that a high speed rail line out of state would drive out dollars that would be spent in state “on a rail” to Nevada.

(California-Nevada Interstate Maglev)

The fact is that we are actually drowning in “Jetson” like technology that would greatly benefit humanity but is bad for business. The profit driven monetary system has been the single greatest hindering force in preventing meaningful progress in human society. At this moment in time we are at a state of stagnation in which there are no tangible technological breakthroughs other than trinket technology like smartphones and iPads. Furthermore this stagnation has lead to countless deaths from starvation, preventable diseases, and preventable accidents all due to the fact that technology which could easily prevent so many of these issues are shelved because they are not profitable. It seems that we are truly in the second Stone Age. Think about it, if you live on the west coast but all your family lives on the east coast how great would it be to be able to hop on a vacuum tube train and make it to your mother’s 60th birthday party in 10-12 minutes, amazing. But instead, because we’re are not utilizing our technological capabilities and you don’t have the time to take off work to fly out to New York, let alone the money, your restricted to viewing the party through a web cam -_-

We must come to the understanding that our profit driven monetary system may have been necessary at one point in time but is currently obsolete and is holding humanity back on many different levels.  The time has come that we must update society to our current scientific and technological understandings (Resource Based Economy) such as is proposed by the Zeitgeist Movement and Venus Project. Failure to do so will result in the continues stagnation of our technological reality and perpetuation of the multiple societal issues which can easily be prevented through the application of the scientific method.

Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we’ve been ignorant of their value.

-R. Buckminster Fuller

Ending World Hunger….. Easy

In 1974 the first World Food Conference was held by the United Nations to set up a plan of action to end world hunger. In that conferences, then U.S. Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger stated that within 10 years no child would go to bed hungry. To say Mr. Kissinger was off on his prediction would be an understatement. In 1974 it was estimated, by the F.A.O., that 434 million people were going hungry in the world. Since then that number has risen to a staggering 925 million. In between this time there have been numerous conferences, committees, summits, rallies and protest on putting an end to world hunger but to date everyone of them has been in vain. It would seem that ending this crisis is an impossible feat and with the world population expected to rise from 6 to 8 billion by 2050 the crisis of hunger can only grow worse, but it doesn’t have to. With the methods of soilless cultivation such as Hydroponics and Aeroponics feeding the hungry should be a piece of cake (no pun intended).

Hydroponics is a method of farming in which soil is not used as a medium for crops to grow. Rather, crops are grown with its roots in a mineral nutrient solution or an inert medium such as coir, sand, wood fiber, etc. Contrary to belief, soil is not a necessity for plant growth. So long as the necessary mineral nutrients are introduced into the plants water supply soil is not required.

Since the mid 90’s NASA has been researching hydroponic farming and other methods of soilless cultivation as a means by which to grow food in space. NASA has primarily focused on a method of soilless cultivation known as Aeroponics. Aeroponics is a method of growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil or an aggregate medium. The plants are suspeneded in a closed or semi-closed environment in which the dangling roosts and lower stem are sprayed with nutrient-rich water solution by means of misters or foggers.

What makes Aeroponics more attractive over hydroponics is that Aeroponics does not require as much water and energy to grow its plants. Plants which are cultivated in this fashion grow faster and are more mineral and nutrient rich. Also with these plants growing in a controlled environment the possibility for pests and disease forming are drastically reduced. In the case of soil or any other aggregate media, disease can spread quickly throughout the media infecting all plants within it. Whereas in the case of plants grown by the use of aeroponics, the infected plant can simply be removed and discarded without infecting the other surrounding plants. NASA has developed may types of aeroponics systems for potential use in there future mission to Mars.

Whats unfortunate is that theses methods of farming are not new. Aeroponicas dates back to the mid 80’s and hydroponics dates as far back as to the mid 1800’s. Fortunately there are many scientist, out side of those in NASA, such as Dickson Despommier, who are vigorously pushing for a complete transition of growing plants and crops through the uses of soilless cultivation by means of vertical farms (look inside a vertical farm).

With the use of Hydro and Aeroponics we can grow an abundance of food literally any where from Antarctica to the Sahara Desert and even Mars. To date there is no logical excuse for anyone on earth to go hungry and for it to continue is not only criminal but socially irresponsible. It is time to end hunger now!!

To further explain this here is a video by microbiologist, ecologist and Professor of Public Health in Environmental Health Sciences at Columbia University Dickson Despommier. Watch It! 🙂