This is about the process of invention. I don't claim that anything mentioned here is original, although I did think of two of the examples independently - big deal!
Invention and development really occur in several stages. The first three in my list are entirely mind games.
(1) The initial idea.
Example (a) Enhanced radiation weapon. A bomb that kills by radiation, without a huge blast that destroys property.
Example (b) Space lift (elevator). A lift cable dangling from a geostationary satellite, up which lifts can climb, thereby dramatically reducing the energy required to reach space.
Example (c) Heavier than air flying machine. A mec
We'd invited some friends round for a meal.
"Are these your own potatoes?"
What the question really was about was whether we'd grown the potatoes ourselves, or bought them from the shop. But having as I do a penchant for wilful misinterpretation and a willingness to lie transparently for the sake of a laugh, I answered,
"No, I stole them."
We had in fact bought them in the shop. We hadn't harvested our own yet.
Today our lunch was vegetable curry and rice. All the vegetables were from our own garden potatoes, French beans, shallots, fenugreek leaves and chillies. But the rice was stolen. Well, okay, from the shop really. We'd paid
Discounting is an important topic in economics. Any economic prediction looking more than a year or two into the future is completely dependent on it.
It's nothing to do with discounts offered by traders trying to persuade you to buy something!
The idea is that costs in the future are less important than costs today, and that benefits in the future are worth less than benefits today. The logic is that if I can delay some spending for a few years, I can earn interest on the money for a few years or avoid paying out interest for a few years, if I'm borrowing the money. Likewise, if I'm not going to get the benefits for a few years, the
Global warming is the big issue of the age. It really matters - the welfare of billions of people is going to be drastically affected by it, in many cases in a life-and-death way. Economic woes are completely trivial in comparison.
Some folks will try to tell you it isn't happening. They're just plain wrong - as wrong as those who think the Earth is flat [link].
Mostly they've given up trying to tell you it isn't happening. They've shifted their ground, and are trying to tell you it's not humankind's fault. They're still just plain wrong - ostriches with their heads in the sand.* (Asterisks indicate where there will be links to other essays
I've twice been falsely accused of being involved in a road traffic accident, and failing to stop afterwards - once in about 1970, in London, and once in the late 1970s, in West Yorkshire. Fortunately on each occasion I had absolutely cast iron alibis - not for myself, but for the vehicle allegedly involved. In both cases the vehicle was off the road at the time the accident was alleged to have occurred, and not in my possession at all. In one case it was in the possession of professional repairers, and in the other case in pieces in the University car park, where University security personnel were only too well aware of its presence.
Conflict between the desire to see the world, and the desire for humanity to be good stewards of the world
Travel is energy intensive. It releases a lot of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This is especially true of air travel, but most other modes of travel aren't very good, either.
Trains can be fairly good, particularly if they don't try to compete with flying in speed. They're good for freight, partly because no-one minds if it goes a bit slower, but also because it doesn't need more leg room on longer journeys.
Ships are even better than trains for freight.
You'd think that trains and ships would have the same advantage over flyin
Even in India this war receives little attention in the media; outside India scarcely anyone is aware of it at all.
War? I can't call it anything else.
It's happening in the districts of Bastar and Dantewada, in the south of the Indian state of Chhattisgarh. These are remote rural districts, and the traditional home of various Adivasi tribes. Adivasi is a Hindi word that translates pretty nearly to Aboriginal, or Indigenous and many of the Adivasi folk are fiercely proud that they're the original inhabitants of India, even if they are now mainly driven back into remote, inaccessible regions. The two districts total just under 20,000
I think a Round the World trip, in any period of time less than several months, is a really, really bad idea, for several reasons.
Firstly, it's a very ineffective way to see the world. Your flights pop you down in all the same places they pop every other round-the-world tourist down. Even if they'd been the places you'd have wanted to see before they became round-the-world-tourist destinations, now that they are round-the-world-tourist destinations, they're no longer particularly interesting places to visit. What they have become is particularly expensive places to visit.
Using them as starting points for a series of independent excursions