Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Fishing For Paramecia (continued)

I have noticed, once I quit smoking, that I am able to smell many things much better, and with greater discrimination, than when I smoked. Not surprising.

I have also noticed that I have less wind, even though I have run all my life. Indeed, it was probably the running that kept my lungs open all those years. On the minus side, I now experience altitude sickness. I never experienced that when I smoked, even at 10-12,000 feet above sea level, and smoking a cigarette up there. I supposes it because all that tar in my lungs and scarring of the alveoli had me living at 10,000 feet all the time - even when I was at sea level. I no longer have that advantage.

Smelling, I can smell things I would prefer not to now. My pee, for example. Oh sure, there was always the obvious smell of asparagus pee. (And the interesting thing is I was told there are two kinds of people in the world: those who can and those who cannot smell asparagus pee. I had a girlfriend who could not smell her asparagus pee, even though I could. It's actually more complicated than that).

When I eat chinese food with soy sauce, later my pee smells like wood smoke. When I drink beer, my pee will smell like a pine forest. When I eat peanut butter, my pee will smell like peanuts. Coffee, coffee. Etc. Should I be worried? A quick google search tells me that if the odor of my urine corresponds with foods I recently ate, in most case I shouldn't worry.

But the whole excretion thing got me back onto metabolism and cycles and biology. More specifically economics with respect to biology.

Here's the deal. My shit is someones else's gold. It's not obvious, but it's still true. And not just my bodily wastes (as glamorous and unrestrained as my nose may make them out to be) , but more importantly my life wastes. All my garbage and stuff, that I, as a good little self-replicating robot, churn out. As Paul Krugman has pointed out many times, your spending is my income, and vice versa. So, what's the excretory portion of the economy?

Well, one thing I'm, thinking, and it's not a new thought, that if we ever get to the point where we are really good at joining the end points of the circle of consumption, where the lifetime of the product includes, not proper disposal, but best repurposing or re-use, we are probably going to need an energy efficient  industrial strength disintegrator.

Joe Haldeman touched on it in his novel Mindbridge, where he noted that what was needed for space colonization was industrial strength mass spectrometer. Eh, same thing. Joe had the advantage of controlled fusion for his device, so garbage was easy to recycle, kind of like Mr. Fusion in Back to the Future.

I'm thinking more along the lines of current technologies with crushers and shredders, and then finer and finer shredders and blenders, and then perhaps a lightning chamber to ionize it, and then a magnetic particle track (the mass spectrometer part) that deposits element into separate bins. All you need to do is figure out a way to efficiently power the sucker. I even have terms for the disintegrator. You got the maw, where you throw all your shit in, and then all the stuff in between, and then the plenum, which dumps the cleaned up and separated elements in the bins, which all together, make up a matter bank.

The matter bank could be like a big Conex box that ship off to your 3D printer print shop, which, by the way, is not stuck out on the ass-edge of the feed stream, like hip and fashionable Brooklyn, but strategically located in the giant package processing facility of a UPS or a Fedex hub, just like everyone else who does mail order.

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