WindMills

Crazy ideas actually come to life given undying perseverance and passion. To most observers they are Don Quixote’s Windmills, but they are destiny for the True Believers who make them happen

These are my windmills, crazy ideas that are achievable but with unknowable cost or value, depending on common interest and/or the emergence of even better ideas.  This is also my business plan, starting out with my writing up some of the things I’ve thought about, situations that changed my perspective, over the past couple decades.   Try moving from “know-it-all” to “know-a-lot”, appreciating all the possible perspectives, and summarizing the best thinking. Critical complementary startup work is stimulating thought and interest such that you will contribute your ideas.

My real spending money in college came from part-time work in the Cornell Dining Services cooking at the short order grill or cleaning pots & pans or as DMO (Dish Machine Operator).  I learned to play guitar well enough to accompany my balladeering at occasional Open Mic sessions with the donation hat out just like real street musicians.  Not to make big money, just seeking positive feedback.  That’s my startup plan here as well.   Toss me a coin, as in “a penny for your thoughts” with your feedback in comments if my stories entertained or if you’d like to see me spend time working on any of these things. Any ideas with a lot of support should attract real money down the road if all goes well.

I hated boring sermons from on high in church, school, and college (I’m just a kid, how can I be such a sinner already ??).  Over 5 hours of swim practice before and after high school made staying awake in class impossible given the pace my brain wanted to do.   We didn’t have calculus, but my teacher let me study from an introductory calculus book when statistics put me to sleep.  Cool !  Look at what you can do with this stuff !!

Not everybody is this way, but I love to learn new things.   Use it or lose it becomes obvious in adulthood regarding fitness.  The same is true for brains.  My motto has been: “The Day you stop Learning is the Day you start Dying”.  I found many notable quotes saying this in a more positive way.  The earliest, most foundational, is from a clergyman, Douglas Horton [7/27/1891 – 8/21/1968]: “Live to learn, learn to live, then teach others.”   I always enjoyed teaching and coaching, so that will be the later part of this Insight Sunrise work – sharing what I know in some generally understandable way.

My current thinking is generally concerned with helping to heal the Earth, helping each other, and healing ourselves.  I’d like to know if any of these topics concern you and what ideas you have to improve upon our current situation.  These ideas will spring from the forthcoming Blog stream.

ECONOMIC FAIRNESS:  Black Lives Matters has shown even some NFL owners that we go through life with unrecognized biases and systemic advantages or disadvantages simply from being born who we are.  Learning and sharing knowledge here may lead to improvement but the challenge is in making the knowledge take root for the betterment of society.  Presidential candidates had great ideas for improvement but they are not being considered for that high position of influence.   Setting aside racial divisions, our society has done poorly preparing citizens to achieve livable incomes and providing access to affordable housing and healthcare.  Excellent education and healthcare should be common to all citizens, and there are good examples around the world showing how this can be done.  Our economic system promotes debt providing interest income for banks, which are allowed to grow from unsound investments and then be bailed out by taxpayers because they became “too big to fail.”  Like racism, this system can be exposed and gradually eliminated with broad public support and inspired leadership.  So where do we start ?

TRAFFIC CONTROL:    What good is having a smart car if you’re stuck behind dumb traffic lights with everybody else?  The technology exists to make major improvements in traffic control.  Just need to persuade policymakers that it would be a good investment.    AI Traffic Controllers could give us back a lot of wasted time in many rural and lower density urban environments.  

Here is my idea for that:   

US # 8825350, # 9761131    Adaptive, Autonomous Traffic Control

Uses neural network artificial intelligence to recognize different types of traffic and to make optimal decisions for signal light control. Can learn and improve over time.

Wouldn’t it be great to ride up on your bicycle or motorcycle and have the light change for you? Or what about the left turn green if you have your blinker on? 

What about adapting to traffic volume or mass for optimal efficiency? This will recognize these situations and change the light accordingly.  Extensible to a broad range of traffic control systems.

You can view it on Google:  http://www.google.com/patents/US8825350   

TELECOMMUTING:   Pandemic isolation proves that many of us can work very effectively from remote locations.  We see all the work that requires daily travel and “safe-distance” face-to-face communication, and those workers have much more efficient workdays without traffic jams.  The air quality improved significantly with the big reduction in traffic.  Much of the business world is reconsidering the workplace design and logistics, more open to using technology to connect people.   On the other hand, children get much more than academic study participating in school activities and parents cannot be as productive at their work simultaneously with providing their own full time child-care.  Parents have experienced the joy of spending more time with their families.  What did we learn that paves a better way forward ?

RECYCLING

Plastic:  I try to recycle as best I can but it’s not clear that it is working well if at all.    Why can’t we come up with good alternatives to using so much plastic?  The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (aka Pacific Trash Vortex) contains a couple million tons of plastic, is more than twice the size of Texas, and it’s still growing.  Scientists studying airborne minerals that help build new ecosystems where they land now find that a significant percentage of the “minerals” are in fact tiny pieces of plastic.  The industry promotes usage of recyclable plastics, but how much is really being recycled?  Only 9 about percent (see www.plasticsoupfoundation.org), and what is recycled is lower quality and more expensive.  Many types of plastic are not recyclable and recycling centers reject re-usable plastic that isn’t clean.  China stopped accepting much of plastic and the US lacks sufficient capacity so that a lot of “recovered” (separated for recycling by your local “MRF”) ends up in landfills anyway.  Global efforts to slow or stop plastic production address the root cause, not very successfully, so what can/should regular people like us do in the meantime?

Aluminum:  Recycling Aluminum uses only 5% of the energy required to make new Aluminum.  Other countries achieve high recycling rates (98.2% Brazil, 82.5% Japan per Wikipedia) while in the US that percentage is 50% to 65% depending on the year and information source referenced.  How to we get the US to 98% ?

REPAIR:  Planned Obsolescence drives me crazy.  Why do we buy this cheap stuff?  We think it will last longer and may not be able to find anything well-made.   So much that gets tossed in landfills fails from just one or two critical parts that should have been made from something stronger than plastic.  Is there a business fixing “cheap” things?  Can we create incentives for more durable designs and builds?   Make components of “wear items” recyclable.  Very difficult problem.     

Let me know if any of these topics are of interest to you, and I’ll get to work on them. Please leave comments here on the website below. You can also send email to insightsunrise@gmail.com

Thanks,

Kurt Robinson

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