Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Light Goes On

It’s pretty early in the morning and a storm is rumbling outside.

I spent the night in a small quaint lodge on a Nature Conservancy owned by members of a somewhat well known family that made and still makes its fortune primarily in the oil and gas business.

They have gathered together some of the best experts from all around the country to discuss how they can best use their substantial endowment to best assist the world and humankind during this rather critical time of our own evolution.

Last night, we played a game of wedges in which we employed various strategies to manage CO2 levels at levels below 550 parts per million, the level that many think is the most we can stand without starting a dangerous feedback of events and processes that will lead to catastrophic climate change. The wedge game was developed at a major university and one of its developers led us in the game. It was quite useful.

I’m going to speak today on “cutting edge technologies”.

Here is how I may begin.

At the beginning of the last century, the world’s great cities were facing a crises. Many were choking from the smoke and pollution from the many coal plants that were fueling the boilers of the many industrial processes that marked the early beginning of the industrial age.

But even those without major industry were facing another, perhaps greater problem.

They were drowning in the excrement of their animals used to power their carriages, carts, and trolley cars.

Somewhere in the countryside during that time, of group of experts and concerned citizens, seeing that a continuation of this buildup of excrement would make the city uninhabitable, were meeting to discuss the solutions.

They developed a list of solutions some were proven, some were not so proven.

One guy suggested that animals must simply be regulated. Those who could not be trained to not potty on the street would have to be used only in rural areas. He proposed a three strikes rule.

Another fellow proposed that all animals have catchers attached to their rears.

Another felt that the solution was simply more street cleaners. As an added bonus, it would also be good for lowering the unemployment rate.

Another resourceful thinker had developed a feed that didn’t smell and it therefore attracted less flies.

The most famous personage at the meeting, a man named Edison, wowed the crowd with his prediction of an electrified city with electric cars and trolleys that would simply replace the need for animals in the city at all.

Although his thoughts were well received, he was considered a dreamer, someone who didn’t understand that the world changes very slowly.

Another man at the meeting, a guy named Ford, had another idea. He had invented a car with an internal combustion engine that would run on liquid fuel. Unfortunately, there were no liquid fuels.

His presentation was cut off short by the buggy whip manufacturing heir.

“I think we need to be realistic and practical.

We are all serious people here,

and we all know that the horse has been the backbone

of our civilization for thousands of years,

And that’s not going to change in our lifetimes.”

Henry was glad that he came though.

The food was good and the sheets had a high thread count.

And, as he spoke to the group,

As he gazed over the room,

He caught a few eyes

that had not yet been blinded

by the effects and force of experience.

And he saw a light go on.



Blogger Charlie Loving said...

What a great cartoon idea.

7:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great idea for beginning a speach on emerging technologies.

4:45 PM  
Blogger oZ said...

I used the first part, but when I got to Ford and the lack of liquid fuels, I said.

And then we discovered rock oil in Pennsylvania and then in Texas, and then in the middle east..

I then went to World War 1, which was the first oil war, where at its beginning Cannons were pulled into place with horses, while at the end, we were shooting each other out of airplanes.

And the world had changed in a civilizational blink of an eye.

And it will again.

4:51 PM  

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