Franklin D. Roosevelt once said that “rules are not necessarily sacred, but good principles are.” Unfortunately, there there seems to be a scarcity of good sacred principals available to sustaining Society through difficult times nowadays, which might explain a rise in Fundamentalism (radical or otherwise) as we search for any unassailable principals to rally around as a Society .
What we see instead, is that our greatest temples are built to represent the power of money and commerce, and the graven images of celebrities that we’ve idolized now seem to hold the place of of demi-gods in many people’s lives. Popular as they may be, these cultural icons make rather poor pillars build the Future upon, no matter how well they might reflect our dreams and aspirations today.
When looking for leadership from the more obvious sources, it almost seems strangely naive to suggest that we simply rely on politicians to step up with clear plans. Much less for the ruling Corporate Elite to offer the leadership required to build a sustainable future for Humanity. So where are our guiding principals coming from in cynically post-modern age?
So here we are in the 21st Century looking for the signs of positive change in an ever-dawning Future. All the while being constantly reminded that many segments of the Mainstream Media still seem more interested in leading with stories that bleed, or in brow-beating the Past, rather than taking a more proactive approach to promoting genuine grass-roots change here in the Present.
So with the status quo being so well entrenched, people are increasingly turning to fringe sources of alternative “news” and information, and hoping that others are doing the same to preserve a realistic view of the world around them. Of course, this isn’t the time or place to delve into the greatly diminished role of the “Free Press” in protecting our various Democracies, but it bears mention that one of the greatest casualties of the Post-Modern Age has been the much publicised demise of the big, well-financed, and possibly overstaffed ‘Newsprint Giants’ of the 20th century, and quite possibly the venerable institution of Journalism itself.
Among so many besieged traditional specialties in the Media, ones that are in particularly obvious decline are the the crucial roles of Researchers and Investigative Journalists. People who were once trained to dig up and develop stories that go against the grain and demand accountability from Governments and Corporations, and thus assure some basics checks and balances to the free-market versions of Democracy. After decades of relative peace and prosperity, some might just say who cares if ‘print journalism’ is in peril? Just because TV News operations are even more indentured to their Corporate parents, doesn’t mean that we should be concerned about the fate of Journalism as a whole…Should we?
After all…What harm could this do to the Future, if some archaic form of Mass Media from the Past were to die off?
Now obviously, that alarming little slice of Totalitarian propaganda (erm, Eco-PR?), was clearly meant to rattle people’s senses, for the sake of spreading online impressions through the social networks. Yet beyond offering cynical people a justification for using terms like “Eco-Nazi”, that ‘ad’ is likely to be also serving a purposeful and ulterior motive as well. Presumably, by helping survey the viral viewership that this ad will surely attract online, this ‘ad’ paves the road for Marketers to gauge how much shock value they can build into to other Eco-Marketing campaigns, much like we’ve already started to see in various Workplace and Children’s Safety messages here in Ontario. This is in reference to ads where graphic violence are used to brutally slam the Viewer with “safety” messages that would have been entirely unacceptable under in any other context, but which are implicitly condoned as being acceptable in these particular cases, since they supposedly serve a “greater public good”…Regardless of their horrific content…
Diesel Power was a revolution that still inspires new innovations even today.
Upon operating his first successful engine design back in 1897 Rudolph Diesel changed the world in ways that most people still don’t fully appreciate today. Especially now, as we begin the long process of moving out of the petroleum-powered era, we should pause to take lessons from visionaries like Tesla and Diesel, and consider how they harnessed natural forces and physical phenomena to revolutionize existing technologies, and enabled enormous leaps into the Future by allowing others to build upon the solid foundations that they laid. The venerable diesel engine was an innovation of the internal combustion engine that continues to be improved upon even today, with the new methods and materials that are offered by modern science.
Many of us associate diesel power with loud smelly trucks and buses, so it might come as a great surprise that Diesel technology is actually still being improved upon after all this time. In fact, in just the past few years we’re seeing a level of improvement to efficiency and emissions that are actually positioning diesel as a sustainable interim solution for our transportation needs…While other options continue to be researched for that quantum leap in technology that will slingshot both Industry and Society towards the next century. So If you’re ready to see how diesel power still holds a few tricks up it’s sleeve, then let’s start exploring, by looking at railway locomotives as our prime motivator!
BTW: If you’re curious about Rudolf Diesel’s sense of environmental and social responsibility, as it was well over a century ago…Just pop-open another window by clicking HERE for further insights.
At one time, Diesel power was poised as an alternative to big Coal and Oil…
At the World’s Fair of 1900 in Paris France, Rudolph Diesel demonstrated the virtues of his new pressure-ignited “rational heat motor” which came to bear his name to the world then, and has done so to the present day. We’ve come to also know Rudolf Diesel as an eminent mechanical and thermal engineer, a multi-lingual and knowledgeable patron of the Arts, and not least of all a highly progressive Social Theorist. Although his legacy is inestimable, his rise to fame was as quick as it was brief…and leaves us with some unanswered questions about how Diesel’s vision may have offered us a different world than the one ruled by Oil and Big Banks.
A century ago, Diesel Power and Hemp Products
In 1893, German inventor Rudolf Diesel published a paper entitled “The Theory and Construction of a Rational Heat Engine” which described a motor in which air is compressed by a piston to a very high pressure, causing a temperature spike where injected fuel is auto-ignited and efficiently burned in the expanding compression during the down-stroke. This basic concept results in a simple, safe, cool, highly efficient engine that could run on locally produced vegetable oils – and therefore level the playing field for those who otherwise couldn’t compete with the large steam-powered Industries and Shippers of the day.
Unfortunately, in the early 20th century big-banks and financiers were already exerting their powerful will, in support of their oil and forestry interests, and thus assuring the dominance of emerging petro-chemical industries. So instead of seeing how Diesel’s vision would have played out, we’ve had to wait until the combined and destructive effects of a Financial, Energy, and Environmental crisis, here the 21st century, could obviate the ideals and benefits that Rudolf Diesel had envisioned for Society, well over a century ago; when he built his first engines to be run on the same types of bio-fuels that we now have available today, and which could have cut coal and oil out of the picture from the very start.
Nothing serves to unite people and incite cooperation among ourselves quite like the assuring the basic necessities of Life. Among these basics, only food, water, and shelter rate higher than Energy on our list of survival needs, and since our industrialized world makes Energy a pre-requisite for these anyhow, perhaps it should take top spot by default…Unless we were to somehow revert back to an animal powered Agrarian Society that subsisted on local resources. Things being as they currently are though, out of all our currently available sources of heat, light, and power, none is more ubiquitous than the electrical energy grid that has clearly become a pre-requisite for Life as we know it.
In it’s longstanding role as an enabler for the technologies that modern civilization is based upon, the history of electricity also serves as a direct reflection of how Technology, Business, and even Politics have all interconnected over time to shape our world into what it is today. Therefore, it’s not at all surprising that the future of civilization is directly dependent on how well electricity will be ‘generated’ (with Renewable and Green sources coming online), ‘distributed’ (via an electrical grid that is long overdue for a major upgrade), and ‘consumed’ (by more ecologically aware and participative Consumers). In addressing the complex distribution challenges, radically new business models, and progressive technical opportunities that are currently being faced by our outdated electrical energy grids, we are also and in fact confronting the bigger social issues and technological opportunities that face our Society in general, and which will most certainly define the future of Modern Civilization. So what are the greater opportunities that can be realized at a time when Energy production, Distribution, and Consumption are all on the cusp of such radical change?
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