Stuart Willett

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Stuart Willett
Posted 11 months ago
Maintaining human civilization by focusing on the key challenges of our time: energy, food and resource depletion.
The society we live in is very quick to adopt technology that offers an order or magnitude in efficiency. Look at how quick the world adopted the internet. China is building cities for 350 million people over the next couple of decades. If those cities offer a dramatic advantage economically then the rest of the world will have no choice but to follow suite. Old design cities will go bankrupt just like Detroit.
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Stuart Willett
Posted 11 months ago
Maintaining human civilization by focusing on the key challenges of our time: energy, food and resource depletion.
No, I don't think "More walkable" or "less Sprawl" is the answer. We don't need incremental improvements. What we should do is completely redesign the city from the ground up. We are living in cities that were laid out at the beginning of the industrial revolution or even earlier. We have a 2 dimensional design that tends towards sprawl and waste. We should have a 3 dimensional design that is based on the technological revolution, modern telecommunications and smart technology. In addition the city should be designed to minimize the footprint, ultimately to 0. That would mean putting a high value on land, water, air, etc. For example, we drive automobiles which are designed to travel at 50-60 mph and yet the average speed across a city like NYC is 15mph, this is a design error. Also, we can calculate the cost of services provided in a city based on the size of the city. Plumbing, electricity, internet increase in cost on a per foot basis. Once again, a clear error in the design of sprawl which is a direct result of a 2 dimensional grid.
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Stuart Willett
Posted 11 months ago
Can we think of factories and commercial buildings growing vertically, in order to save land and bring those uses back into compact cities?
The most important criteria is designing a 3 dimensional transportation system as the grid on which this city is built. That is when you get the biggest benefit. I have a design, there is only one road in the entire city, and the road is one way for it's entire route. One of the reasons I did this was because of the design of the circulation system in the human body. I integrate cars, subways, bicycles, walking, escalators, elevators, and even a canal. I calculate that it is possible to go from any point in a city of 2 million to any other point in 15 minutes, however, I would really appreciate someone who could design a computer simulation to test this and compare it with other cities. I have merely chosen several obvious trips (one side of the city to the other, etc). The city is an order of magnitude more compact with all of the financial benefits that entails. Because the road is so simple (it is one way the entire route, and there is only one road, no intersections, no lights, no stops signs, etc) I think it would be ideal for vehicles that have recently been developed that drive themselves. I envision residents using a computer/smart phone app to order vehicles from one point to another. As a result no one owns cars, which reduces the total number by an order of magnitude. Also, you don't need parking, which also saves a lot of space. Also, the road has a very slight downhill grade for about 99% of the route which is ideal for electric vehicles. If they are all electric then I can put the road underground. This way walkways and bicycle routes do not share the road with cars, rather they have their own park. Again, the city is ideally suited for the use of bicycles, especially mixed with the subway. So I see a system where the bicycles also belong to the city. Because the city is so compact it encourages bicycles and walking. Finally, every residence in the city has a beautiful view overlooking the park.
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Stuart Willett
Posted 11 months ago
Why are the alternate power sources not being implemented on a world-wide scale? There is a tipping point and we must be close by now!!!
They already do that. In our State you can get the power company to install your solar panels on the roof, no charge. Then you pay a monthly fee for the installation and also get the credit for the electricity generated. In many or even most cases the result is your electric bill decreases. The electric company gets several benefits. They get electricity at peak hours. This is critical because their grid has to be designed to handle peak loads. Second, they don't have to build additional transmission lines to handle this extra capacity. That is a very significant savings. Third, they don't have the issue of public hearings and all the other hassle in getting extra power generating capacity built. Fourth, laws restrict and penalize pollution from coal plants. The greater the percent of power generation from clean energy the better the power company does with health and environmental regulations. Fifth, there are tax benefits, City, State and Federal, because they understand the savings in health related issues, the jobs that are created locally, and the tax benefits of having real improvements made to real estate.
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Stuart Willett
Posted 11 months ago
Global Warming: Make me an offer...
If you understand that the way to determine if we have global warming is to take the temperature of the earth then yes, it is not an appropriate phrase. If you take a glass of ice tea full of ice and put a thermometer in it you will not see much of a change in temperature even though heat is being added to the system. Instead what you will see is that the ice is melting. Yes, because there is poor circulation you might see a slight change in temperature, but that is really not relevant. However, once the ice melts, then the temperature of the water will quickly rise from freezing temperature to air temperature and this will continue all the way to the boiling temperature. What we know is that the temperature of the planet is cyclic. The trend is up, but any given year could be lower. However, that is only because of the ice caps. If we lost the ice caps then there is nothing to keep the Earth from warming up. However, if we call this phase of climate change "Global Melting" then people will measure it by how much ice has melted. Much clearer and less confusing. So yes, I think Global Melting is a better expression than global warming. Less confusing.
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Stuart Willett
Posted 11 months ago
Equality versus Meritocracy. Which Wins?
True Story -- In 8th grade I was the campaign manager for a mock presidential election. There were 4 candidates. My guy won. All 4 candidates and the three other campaign managers were all given an A for their work, I was given a B. I asked "we won, why do I get a B?" The teachers said it was because "they didn't think I worked that hard". As a result of that I decided that in 9th grade the teachers would see every bit of work I did. My goal for the entire 4 years was to never take a book home, and except for a single exception, I never did. I did math problems walking to class, bigger assignments in homeroom, I wrote papers during lunch, etc. My senior year my mother came up to the school to talk to the guidance counselors about college. The counselor said "oh, he has a free period now, do you want to see him?" As they were walking to the study hall she said "he is the hardest working student we have ever seen". My mom said she was in shock. Sure enough I was in the back corner busily finishing some paper. At home my mom was laughing because she had never seen me with a book. However, the rule in our house was that as long as I had A's they didn't bother me about school. Several times throughout the 4 years teachers had given me higher grades for poor work because "they knew how hard I worked". This whole idea of judging people based on merit and how hard they work is a farce. You have very little idea how hard someone works.
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Stuart Willett
Posted 11 months ago
Why are the alternate power sources not being implemented on a world-wide scale? There is a tipping point and we must be close by now!!!
Yes, that is the point, they still use Coal and so does the rest of the world. Emissions of CO2 from the burning of fossil fuel has continued to grow year by year. Even with all of the wonderful advances. This is not a question of what is right or what is wrong, if that were the case they would stop using coal. This is a question of what is right versus what is easy. Coal is still the easiest choice to make.
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Stuart Willett
Posted 11 months ago
Why are the alternate power sources not being implemented on a world-wide scale? There is a tipping point and we must be close by now!!!
Yes, we know all that, but it still doesn't address the question. For example, China is a very big producer of renewable energy and yet they are building coal fire plants and burning coal and turning their country into a toxic nightmare. Why? Is it because you can only have 20% of your power from an intermittent power source? Is it because it is faster and cheaper to build a coal plant? Is it because of financing? Existing political power? China is a nuclear power and a dictatorship with a central control so they could easily adopt nuclear which would clean up the smog. So why did they choose coal? Was it because it takes too long to build a nuclear plant?
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Stuart Willett
Posted 11 months ago
Why are the alternate power sources not being implemented on a world-wide scale? There is a tipping point and we must be close by now!!!
This thread asks "why they aren't being implemented"? So unless your answer is that they are being implemented and the question is wrong you are not answering the question. You say that implementing renewable energy solutions are a "win win solution and should be supported by everyone!" Which of course ignores everyone that doesn't support them. Do you think the people who own coal mines are going to support shutting them down and being replaced by renewable? Do you think people who have spent 25-50 years of their life and invested everything that they have into fossil fuel should "support" losing everything they have and call it a "win win solution"? The status quo always resists change. One solution is to have growth in power production come from renewables so that the existing power companies and structure do not have to shutter their operation and have massive layoffs. That is a response to the question in this thread -- we are not implementing faster because it would cause layoffs and massive disruption to the workforce, as well as to the existing power structure. In addition it takes time to ramp up production of renewables because you have to have trained people. Growth rates over 10% in an industry often cause many problems. If our goal was to have carbon neutral energy production then that would imply a mixture of renewables with nuclear. However in the context of the current political environment that would not be practical. However, if we made a law that required new power production to be "carbon neutral" then that would be much more effective than government subsidies at implementing renewables. However you will still come one day to the issue of Nuclear. Without effective political leadership such a law would push the US into a corner at some point in the future.