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Monday, September 22, 2008

BIG ENGINEERING

This is an ongoing project to name at least 30 big engineering projects (using the term in a wide sense) which we could now, or in the reasonably foreseeable future, undertake & which would materially add to human choice.

Many of them would not be permitted or would be made prohibitively expensive because of their "environmental" or other effects or because government would get in the way in other ways. I am going to deal with that problem by ignoring it. I will treat them as if it doesn't matter if there are a few less rare weeds, even though, to a second approximation it sometimes does a bit.

This is inspired by a lecture to be given by Professor Colin McInnes on to the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow (22nd Oct 7.00 PM John Anderson Building, Strathclyde Uni). The guy is head of Space Dynamics there & the lectures is to be on "the means by which large-scale engineering ventures can offer a route to future prosperity"

I have previously done articles on:

1 - The Scottish Tunnel Project (cost £ a few hundred million)

2 - A major expansion of nuclear power. (£ 1 billion a year)

3 & 4 - Floating islands powered by ocean thermal (OTEC) devices &
using them to produce oil from algae
((£1 billion + each)

5 - Ascension Island as a conventional global spaceport (couple of hundred million £s)

6 - An orbital spacecraft ($1 billion max)

7 - Set up an X-Prize Foundation with guaranteed funding rising at the rate of gross profit of companies registering as contenders for prizes plus 2% pa but to a maximum of 20% a year, any excess being rolled over for future years. 80% minimum of money to go for space development X-Prizes. (start on anything from £100M to £1 billion annually)

8 - Establishing an orbital telephone system & giving free telephone coverage across Africa. (est £1 billion after you have cheap launch facilities)

There will be some crossover between these articles & my Showcase Technology for Scotland though they were selected for being easily affordable under Scotland's budget whereas this lot are easily affordable by a world that will spend $1 trillion on invading Iraq, $800 billion on refunding stupid bankers, £405 billion on EU regulations annually & £150 million annually on the Kyoto Treaty & $50 billion in false breast implant suits.

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