Richard Farrell

Free Geothermal Power from Earth’s Heart

I have yet to get my mind around the idea that Earth’s inner core is dense iron and nickel, surrounded by boiling liquid like the stuff that comes out of volcanos. Nevertheless I find the potential power of it awesome, although it does remind me how transient life is on earth. The ancient Greeks were not far off when they believed everything – including you and me – is a […]

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A Time for Putting Something Back

The ancient Book of Ecclesiastes teaches us “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” In five years’ time, I shall be seventy-four. My time will be running out as I look back down the years. The next five are perhaps my last opportunity to put things right. This not only about aging: Any one of us could die at any time. All […]

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The Endlessly Renewable Power of the Tides

The water flows high up the beach when the moon is directly overhead, as happens on the far side of planet. The rhythm is predictable with a spacing of approximately 12 hours and 25 minutes. Half way between these points, the water level is at its lowest. There are subtle variations because of local factors. However, the power is always there. This knowledge is not new. In approximately 150BC the […]

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How Well Do Data and Sustainability Go Together?

Recently I asked the question ‘should we debate the future of our cities?’. Topics that come to mind include whether we still need architectural gluttons gobbling our resources: whether they should be electrically self-sustaining, and whether we will have enough water to quench their voracious thirsts in time to come. I keep coming back to the same thought. Are we acting intelligently by isolating some blocks of land for residential […]

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Will We Really Have Water Forever

Water truly is our most precious resource. We can go without food for up to thirty days. After three, we die of thirst because our bodies are almost 60% water. Babies are 75% water when they arrive. Water is life. When I was growing up in the 1960’s we thought the supply would last forever. Our kindred planet, Mars once had water in abundance, but now there appears to be […]

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Making Solar Power Reality in Our Cities

I stepped out of line last time when I posed the question; do our cities have the right to exist at all? Now their original purpose as military strongholds is no longer on the agenda. I concluded we are stuck with them provided they add value. They should be careful. Mobs overthrew cities in the past and looted them. They are still capable of doing damage. Think what happened to […]

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Should We Debate The Future of Our Cities

The earliest human habitations were caves, on mountaintops, or inside hastily thrown-up fortifications on open plains. After the Neolithic Revolution caused a shift from hunting/gathering to agriculture/settlement these early habitations grew into walled cities for the rich, with peasants and agriculture outside the gates. A lot of water went down the drain since then. Modern cities are praise songs to conspicuous consumption. It is if cities do not care about […]

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Could We Change Consumption to Production

When I consider the age of current and wannabee world leaders I want to cringe. I am sixty-nine myself, and planning the end game perhaps ten years ahead. This is how things work: we live in our own timeframes. I only need enough money until I die. Teresa May is 60, Angele Merkel and François Hollande 62, Vladimir Putin 63, and Donald Trump 70. We have as much hope of […]

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Urban Farming, Africa Style

When I was in junior school in Cape Town in the late fifties / early sixties, ‘grand apartheid’ had not yet kicked in. While schools and buses already had racial segregation, we lived in an integrated suburb comprising different cultures some of whom set their gardens aside for agriculture. The government’s final solution included separating the races, and passing stricter urban planning rules. These prohibited all forms of business on […]

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Then and Now: A Baby Boomer Growing Up

World War II caused three major economic disruptions in Europe. The military commandeered a large part of the active workforce, governments redirected social spend to the war effort, and aerial bombing devastated many urban areas. The surviving soldiers returned to a society they hardly knew. The situation was different for military returning to the U.S. where the war economy had blossomed. Two hundred billion in war bonds matured, financing the […]

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Less is More & The Pursuit of Happiness

In my first post, The Mark of the Baby Boomers: The Internet and Drought, I confessed to being a boomer myself, and to having a joint responsibility for the state of the planet. I promised to share ideas about ensuring the survival of the planet. This is what I hope to do here, but first another confession. When I read all the other posts on this website, I feel out […]

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Shall We Return to Traditional Farming Methods or Is Modern Better?

In my first post, I described how the stampede for material wealth became all-important to me as a baby boomer, and why I bear collective responsibility for global warming. Not everybody in my country of South Africa had the opportunity to share the bounty. In the countryside, life continued much as before. The Way Things Were When I Was Young When I was a teenager, I cycled quite long distances […]

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