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Sunday, 31 May 2015

Too Good To Be True

You ever had an idea that you thought was really cool, that you just knew was totally impractical and unworkable?

What about an idea that you can't really see any problems with that is only held back by one tiny frustrating fact, usually something to do with profit margins or political will?

Here's a collection of great ideas whose lack of worldwide acceptance and execution I can't grasp. They're not all my ideas - a lot of them have been bounced around in my group of friends. If you see any problems that I don't pick up on, please, let me know - and why not toss in your own suggestions?

Nobody likes using a urinal. Let's face it, we're not cattle. Combine bathrooms, save space on the urinal section, stop discriminating passively against trans individuals and enforcing gender binary, and give us frigging cubicles.

Glass exists that can generate electricity when the sun is shining on it. You can put solar panels on just about any external surface. They can be camouflaged to look less obvious. You can make solar roads. I look outside my house and I see no solar panels. There is a killing to be made here. Are we just waiting for literally the last crumb of coal to burn?

Home Economics - that's cooking, right? I agree that learning to cook is important, but at what point in school were you told how to pay your taxes, and what those taxes are? How expensive it is to actually live in a place of your own? What is insurance, exactly? Nobody should go to university without knowing this stuff.

Give it to the homeless and the poor. This shouldn't require a law but it does, so we need one. France took the big step forward - the rest of the world needs to follow suit. Dad always taught me never to waste food, and supermarkets and restaurants should be no exception.

There are companies on earth that actually make this work. Seriously - when you are told by the country you live that your ability to not starve to death is less important than keeping Wal*Mart's profit margins low, then you're seeing the shitty side of the capitalist dream.

...any more for any more?

Friday, 1 May 2015

If I Had A Trillion Dollars

I've been absent too long, I know. Please, internet - forgive me. I've had a hell of a time with a gnarled-up foot.

Less than a week away from a general election, the temptation is for me to talk about election politics. I am not going to do so. If you want my views on it, hell, drop me a memo. We'll chew the fat. What I AM going to do is share with you a game that myself and my housemates invented.

It's a very simple game, and one that came out of a discussion regarding intellectual property law. The game is this:

What would you do with a trillion dollars?

That's quite a lot of money. Just hold it in your head, the number of zeroes following the one: 1,000,000,000,000. That's a lot of zeroes.

To get your juices flowing, and to encourage some thought experiments, I'm going to have a wander through my own spending plan. (I'll keep a running tab of costs.)

The first thing I do is buy a house with cash ($1.5m). No mortgage, no debt, no rent. Just buy it outright.

The second thing - and this is quite a leap - is I buy 21st Century Fox ($72bn).

I'd dismember them, frankly. Trash the news outlets, replace them with actual music channels. I'd give the rights of several of the TV and film franchises that Fox currently own back to their respective creators, pretty much free of charge.

I'd follow this big corporate purchase with an even bigger one, ExxonMobil ($524bn). This time we divert the thrust of the company's infrastructure - sell off all the outmoded fossil fuel apparatus and devote the company to sustainable energy research and technology. Maybe offer to rejuvenate the entire power grid of a dilapidated city somewhere just to prove it can be done as a working model.

...and that's almost $600,000,000,000 of my trillion dollars spent...but I like to think that it would make the word at least a little better.

What would you guys do?