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New Technology

created 2004-05-14 21:11:42

(Up to: Hacking Reality Proles And Technology Natural Gas )

What makes good, elegant technology? I think it comes down to using natural physical properties in a way that may not be so technologically superior to what has gone before, but that doesn't depend on a man-made power infratructure, or at least tries not to. It should also use these sources as directly as possible, e.g. you could, theoretically speaking, have a fridge that uses heat to induce movement in liquid, which could be pushed round a colling device, or something, but why not just skip all that? No moving parts is generally more efficient in these terms.

What natural resources are available as power sources?

  • Convection/Conduction, as above, i.e. differences in temperature - could/should this be used to provide motion?
  • Gravity
  • Water movement - may come under gravity
  • Light - this includes solar power, but may also be used in less "sophisticated" manners - take the simplicity of a sundial, for instance

Here are some things that prove that you don't need the latest gadgetry to get something useful done. I like to think that as ideas and technology evolve, it all gets simpler and more elegant.

I wonder if it's possible to construct a self-refreshing version of this that takes water from a supply and imparts it into the sand, so you don't have to keep refilling it by hand. I also wonder how well it would work in a cooler environment (seeing as it gets cold by being hotter outside), or if there's a way to use the idea in a UK environment.

  • An article on slow sand filtration looks interesting, and links to, who have a Biosand filter - see jpeg picture of how it works, and notice the cunning idea that as biomass builds up in the system, the efficiency apparently increases. These filtration devices always use the natural gravitational properties inherent to water-in-pipes, rather than any kind of powered pumps, too. Also need to look more closely at this some time.

Googling for this was inspired by similar a sand-charcoal-gravel barrel filtration method on a CAFOD flyer I got with a magazine. I'll see if I can dig out a proper link to that one, or scan it in, or something.

Maybe the problem is that we're averse to technology because it's inefficient, after becoming used to evolved technology that was once just as inefficient (e.g. steam power), but we've forgotten just where we've come from, and the necessary progress technology relies upon in order to become as efficient as we expect.


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