TED Conversations

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  • Jul 2 2012: It would be interesting to see if any of the better answers could be applied to larger cities in the past. You mentioned Mayans, but there are many more. Cities tend to have these problems throughout history. Technological advancement allows for greater carrying capacity (larger population), then the carrying capacity overwhelms the advancement once again causing a systemic breakdown and possible collapse, or another advancement comes along to extend capacity. It's definitely a tough problem to address. Please tell me there will be there will be an Indian history scholar (or Sino or Meso-American, or heck even Greco-Roman scholar) on the discussion panel. Engineers are great for solving problems by utilizing current knowledge of science to actually produce/manufacture the advances but theirs is sometimes a limitec perspective. Take batteries in vehicles. Caterpillar has been using them in heavy machinery to assist their diesel engines in power production for quite some time now, but their tech isn't filling our streets, powering our vehicles and adding capacity to our power grids when not in transit because....?

    ps,
    If I had my way, gas stations would be done away with. Fuel distribution would be done by vehicle to vehicle transfer with vehicle to vehicle internet networking keeping track of where every drop of fuel goes. You could pull into a designated area of a shopping center parking lot and search via wifi for vehicles in the area with fuel ready to share, then you pull up alongside them and make the transfer. Distribution costs would be lowerec and as an incentive for being a fuel carrier/distributor a small share of the sale could be creditted to the person's bank account who's doing the sharing.

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