Archive for technology

Underfunded Military

Posted in Alternative Energy, Classic Sci-Fi, Sacred Geometry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 14, 2012 by javedbabar

The dark car appeared at 6 p.m. People should check the opening times, thought Sami. I don’t mind helping out in emergencies, but I’m getting tired of working late just so people can dump their recycling and trash. His customers at the 3D Unit booked their sessions; they knew that just turning up wasn’t a good plan. He needed to educate the regulate punters.

Sami shouted to the car, “Sorry, we’re closing. Please come back anytime tomorrow between ten and six.” He had a date tonight with Sophie, sort of. She had invited him to attend the new multimedia show at QARY, the old quarry, inspired by Tao Te Ching.

The car didn’t move. It remained there with headlamps on and engine running. Sami shouted out again. They must have loud music on, he thought, or maybe they were taking a call. All the windows were dark, even the windshield. He approached the driver’s door.

As he reached the car, the passenger’s door, and the rear door on the opposite side, flew open. Before he knew what was happening, he heard sharp clicks and two soldiers stood with rifles pointing at his chest. Sami shuddered.

“No sudden movements please,” said a cheerful voice from within the car. “We wouldn’t want to shoot you. That would upset the lovely Sophie. You are seeing her at eight tonight, is that right?”

Sami couldn’t speak.

The voice continued, “You don’t have to speak if you don’t want to. But I must warn you that anything you do say may be taken down and used as evidence against you in a court of law.”

Sami decided not to speak.

There was laughter, and a tall man with thick beard, green eyes and green turban exited the rear of the car. Even though he wore combat gear, he was clearly no ordinary soldier. “Stand down,” he instructed the other soldiers. They put on their safeties and lowered their rifles.

“I hope you didn’t mind too much,” said the senior soldier. “It is standard operating procedure. I am General Singh, responsible for Extraordinary Logistics. You were approaching the vehicle in a potentially hostile manner; my men took the right course of action. Now let’s go inside. This won’t take long. An hour maybe.”

Sami led him to the 3D Unit. The general took a seat and said, “Do you enjoy living in Arcadia? Very good. We all do. It is a wonderful land. But we must not take our blessings for granted. There is always the likelihood of threat, and occasionally some aggression is required. We have an unstable world and the cost of maintaining the military is rising. It is a function of the size of the economy, which as you know is shrinking, and there are other demands on funds, and government and public willingness to spend on military budgets is waning.”

He looked around conspiratorially and continued, “To run operations with our big allies, or to run smaller independent campaigns, we need certain levels of technology. I will cut to the chase. We need nuclear bombs but we can’t afford to build them. I have heard about the wonders of 3D printing. Can you fabricate some for us?”

Sami was alarmed by the request, but also relieved. This wasn’t a job for him at all; it was a job for Alfred. He said, “Have you tried AMP Co. in the village. It is a government funded facility doing vital work. It was recently declared a Strategic National Asset. I just run the public interface here.”

“Drat!” said General Singh. “You see the results of cuts in research funding? I can’t afford a full time assistant, so looked it up myself. Now, which way is AMP Co.? My GPS software needs updating.”



Posted in Conceptual Art, Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2012 by javedbabar

The Jobs of the Future program was in trouble. How could Shama achieve his goal of doubling training numbers when budgets seemed to halve each year? He knew that the MD was stealing funds, but Shama had only just started as Training Director, and afraid that if he said anything he would lose his job.

He would have to be smart with his use of funds. Who was best to focus attention on? Which group would be most receptive?

He could target seniors, the most out of touch with technology. His efforts there could make their generation economically active. He could target middle-aged people needing to brush up their skills. He could boost productivity of younger workers, and empower the engine of the local economy. Or maybe it was best to focus on children. Yes, that would be the best long-term investment.

The Headmistress welcomed him to the Elementary school. She said, “The children are excited. Their whole life is the future. Some have troubled pasts, it’s true, and we do the best we can for them. We believe there’s hope for every little person here.”

Shama stopped to admire some drawings pinned to the wall. Talking puddings and ants made of jelly – how did they conceive of such things?

That’s it! he thought. He said, “Mrs Johnson, I won’t be needing that projector after all. I’ve had a better idea. Do you have colored pens and paper?”

“For you, or for the class?”

“For everyone. I think that today is a good day for drawing.”

The class was well behaved but restless. The boys especially were itching to speak to him. Once Shama was introduced, a ginger boy put up his hand and shouted, “Do you really have a job in the future?”

Rather than speaking about the future, he thought that Shama was from the future. Before he could correct him, another boy shouted, “What is it? Do you make robots?”

A girl said, “Do you fly spaceships?”

The questions became more general.

“Is it true that you can live inside video games?”

“Can you grow and then eat your own clothes?”

“Can you make sweat into water, for people who live in deserts?”

Shama smiled and said, “Sorry to disappoint you all. I am from today, like you are. I hope that I will have a job in the future, and I hope that you will too, a job that you love, and at which you are brilliant. But I am here today to tell you about the skills you will need to do those jobs.”

He ran through the key areas – pattern recognition, common sense, creativity, imagination, people skills, technical awareness, and clarity. He asked them to draw how they would use those skills.

The children produced the craziest drawings he had ever seen. Some also made models. He was thrilled by their enthusiasm and creativity. Kids are amazing!

At the end of the class he said, “Don’t forget to take these home to show to your brothers and sisters, and parents and grandparents.” Their drawings stuck to fridges, and their models on coffee tables, would be daily reminders to all generations of skills required for jobs of the future.

Community Resources

Posted in Conceptual Art, Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience, Unknown, World Myths with tags , , , , , , on May 7, 2012 by javedbabar

Bobby was still in the drawing with Naomi. His niece’s jungle had come to life, and whatever they added manifested in her parallel world. They could draw things whilst they were inside the drawing, but this was a laborious process as each item had to be detailed individually. It was much better to draw whilst outside the drawing, where large changes could be made easily. They had already drawn roads, railways, power lines, and factories. Their Village was coming to life.

“Let’s build some houses now,” said Naomi. “Everybody needs somewhere to live.”

“What kind shall we have?” said Bobby. His hand was beginning to hurt from all that drawing. Who used a pencil these days? They were awkward to hold. Why did they have hexagonal profiles? Wasn’t it easier to cut and paste images?

Then he felt inspired. He took terms he’d overheard – smart growth, green building, small footprint, and airtight – and strung them into a sentence. He wasn’t quite sure why he did it. Did he really need to impress his ten-year-old niece?

She frowned as he drew the houses. Each feature he added elicited a new twist to her facial expression. There was something on her mind. “Well, what do you think?” he said, proud of his compact, low-rise, transit-oriented, walkable, bicycle-friendly, mixed-use development based upon principles of urban intensification, and championing long-range, regional sustainability over short-term parochialism.

“I don’t like it,” said Naomi. “I want a nice house with a pretty garden and fences around it, and lots of open windows for sunshine and breezes. I don’t want to live in a small, sealed-up box with other boxes above it, and below it, and on both sides.”

Naomi wasn’t in tune with the new guard of urban planners, innovative architects, visionary developers, and community activists. She was a traditionalist, a reactionary, an enemy of resource stewardship best practice.

She had told him off already for using up all the trees in the drawing to make electricity poles and railway sleepers, and made him draw new trees for lumber to build her extravagant residences. He didn’t like what she was doing but couldn’t stop her; she had a right to manifest her own world. So he said, “Okay, Naomi, why don’t you draw big houses, and I’ll draw apartment blocks.”

“Okay,” she said, having started drawing before he’d finished the sentence. “The happy families can live in my houses, and the lonely people can live in your boxes.” She looked up from her drawing. “Is that all right?”

Housing, however, was not just made of wood. They’d also need metal. Bobby drew in some mines – surface mines for minerals, and sub-surface mines for ores. He included protestors at the former, and trapped miners in the latter. Even drawings must be realistic.

Once the ores and minerals were extracted, they were sent to factories in the industrial park at the edge of the Village. Nails, screws, nuts, bolts, beams and girders were produced to build the housing, and extra metal was cut, machined, turned, threaded, ground, filled and fashioned into other useful goods. They were simple things initially like tools and weapons, then jewellery and engine parts, and later boats and rockets. Their village transformed quickly from a low-tech to a hi-tech society.

As Bobby and Naomi continued drawing, their new world’s elements increased and connections multiplied exponentially. Soon their Village was a place of televisions, radios, newspapers, and books; then landlines, cellphones, workpads, laptops, and desktops. Everybody was connected to everybody else. Each object was manufactured, distributed, marketed, and sold, before becoming obsolete, disposed of, repurposed, or recycled. Nothing was just what it was in the drawing. Everything was something else.

“Uncle Bobby, I’m getting a headache,” said Naomi.

“So am I, sweetheart. Shall we take a break from drawing?”

“Yes, let’s listen to my iPod. You can have one earphone, and I’ll have the other.”

They needed to disconnect from this crazy world they’d created. Naomi clicked through the screen menus, selecting Ambient>Instrumental>Nature>Jungle Sounds.