Yesterday morning, I hurried off to the Convention Center to participate in a panel. It was a panel on clean energy, but the convention was some high tech gathering. The panel was composed of a solar guy, a wind energy representative, and me, the electric guy. The session was chaired by the director of one of those industry-university creations designed to help foster development in a particular technology, which in this case was clean energy.
We all said our little peaces.
After our presentations, and in response to a question I think, I said something about transductional boundary layers. I guess I made it up. It was mostly just a lot of fun to say.
I was trying to describe a future where the word and concept of fuel becomes as silly a word as the word “horseless carriage”. When cars first came on the scene, that’s what we called them because we didn’t have any other context. As a legacy, a few of us still measure power and energy in terms of horsepower and horsepowerhours.
I talked about how up until just before World War I, the world was running pretty much the way it had run for thousands of years. At the beginning of that War, horses pulled cannons into place. At the end, we were shooting each other from airplanes.
A buggy whip CEO could have made a strong speech at his annual meeting of directors predicting many many quarters of strong buggy whip sales. The Farrier trade was a dependable way for you and your children to always make a living.
Then slam bam, thank you Sam, it all changed.
Today, our cities are as covered up with the residue from carbon fuel, as the cities of yesterday were covered up with the residue from animal fuel.
And just as those cities were shaped by the horse drawn carriage and the stone mason technologies of their day, our cities are shaped by our fossil fueled cars and our steel erection technologies.
I offered that the high tech business and the electric utility business are pretty much selling the same thing. We sell raw electrons and they sell shaped electrons. They are challenged by Moore’s Law, which I called Moore’s really great guess, and electric utilities are more or less driven by Less’s law of don’t change what you are doing if it still works.
Someday, perhaps soon, I suggested that every man made surface will become a tranductional boundary layer. Our surfaces will transform photons into electrons, electron to photon, light to energy, energy to light. Walls and ceilings will glow. They will absorb energy from your skin and give you the sense of cooling. They will energize you when you feel cool, de-energize you when you feel warm.
Our boundary layers will then become a great deal more than just walls or ceilings.
They will become transductional and as such, they will become technological metaphors for all of our boundary layers.
My skin is a boundary layer, but the energy from my skin emits into space at the speed of light. My ideas are somewhere inside my skull, but they travel to the other side of the earth in this blog with the help of my fingers and this keyboard.
Where does the real me stop?
Am I my body, my words, my effect on others?
We exist in a creation of transductional boundary layers that are constantly changing the energy from one side of the boundary into another form of energy on the other side of the boundary layer.
Live Oaks bring in CO2, breath out oxygen.
Red Foxes bring in oxygen, breath out CO2.
We exist in a unified creation which can be seemingly divided
by a legend of transductional boundary layers.
Yet, all of these boundaries,
mental, spiritual, emotional, physical, metaphysical, temporal, spacial,
because they are transductional,
Are actually illusory.
The Panel didn't get into that.
What it is About
* art courtesy of joannaniemann.com