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This seems a very promising new-old technology.  An excellent and informative diary.  I wonder what you can do when you have some practice.  :}

We all bleed the same color.
by budr on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 04:08:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A first diary -- on the European Tribune -- about concrete? I like it.

These new concrete materials, about 10x stronger than their conventional relatives, are a reminder that rearranging matter on a fine scale can change properties enormously. There are factors of 10x or more to be gained in many properties of materials and systems when we get better at structuring matter using low-cost methods. Biology gives a hint that the structure can of matter be controlled all the way down to the atomic level, and inexpensively at that. The consequences of this for energy and resource policies and politics have scarcely been considered.

Words and ideas I offer here may be used freely and without attribution.

by technopolitical on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 04:32:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly !
Scale is important, and while we work with chemistry (molecular level), physics is either looked at the sub atomic level or at the engineering standard level (like Newton's apple :-) ).
What was called in 1936 the Chimie-Physique (Curie), working at what is called today the nano scale (bricks of several big molecules) is a future bearing technology... Not so because it's high-tech (or even low-tech in some cases), but because for the same amount of energy you get a much higher effectiveness.

But then, why on European Tribune ? Maybe because, unlike the casual french politician, the knowledge of how building can progress can be a real asset in coining a new way of living (ergo: a new society).

 These materials are important in public health first !

  • We use asbestos for fire proofing, we scare because it can give cancer (not knowing that there are 2 asbestos minerals, the other not being related to cancer).
  • We create an array of electro magnetic fields (related to frequent off work days) with machines and transformers.
  • We are keen on windfarms, solar panels, solar heating, forgetting that some have it's own lot of health related problems (solar heating water temperature, ideal for Legionnela!)
  • We rant on energy (petrol or nuclear), mixing up the industry demand and the individual one. While with aerogel insulation (again silicia) we could light a few candles for a full day of comfortable temperature.
  • We care about immigration, but we don't even have a thought for the main employment - building works - that still kills or maim for life most of them, because we just love that "nice little house", so cheap !
  • We care about other people, other countries, mostly third world's ones, and we sell them our old rotten techniques, either creating a technical dependancy, or just polluting where we still can (Bopal).

It could go on for a while...!

The fight for a better world starts -also- at a lower level. Or how you deal and manage a territory (weather, crops, industry, cities), and how those techniques can be improved, creating new jobs, new relationships between people... Often in a subtle but very common way of dealing with it !

While I'm not an economist, neither a scientist, I was thinking of posting, from time to time, some diaries about those problems. Basic information at first, then the  "what we could do" with those techniques and at what relative cost... Neither utopia nor dystopia !




"What can I do, What can I write, Against the fall of Night". A.E. Housman

by margouillat (hemidactylus(dot)frenatus(at)wanadoo(dot)fr) on Wed Nov 23rd, 2005 at 03:57:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent comment - worth a diary of its own, mon cher margouillat!

(Expect this concrete diary to be promoted to front page later today)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 23rd, 2005 at 04:38:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What joy, what joy.

Innovation at the scientic level, various implementation via "tiger teams" and, ultimately, politics and economics.

I'm one happy scientist reading your post. You've all the three tiers I generally rave about practically covered within one post.

Not to mention you mention silica insulation. Wowsers. Why didn't you start a diary any sooner?

by Nomad on Wed Nov 23rd, 2005 at 09:43:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Alas... Practice is one thing, but having a fluent, easy, humorous, writing style in English is just another !!!! (It's so easy in french!)

"What can I do, What can I write, Against the fall of Night". A.E. Housman
by margouillat (hemidactylus(dot)frenatus(at)wanadoo(dot)fr) on Wed Nov 23rd, 2005 at 04:07:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's the same challenge for all of us who are not of English mother tongue. So, this makes this diary a even greater work.

Interesting topic. I agree with you it is not the material, it is the architects. I have been in favor of a law that would force the architects to live or work at least for one year in each building they build. My guess is they would improve pretty fast.

by Fran on Wed Nov 23rd, 2005 at 04:19:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL :-)

Some did it ! But hey are now of a past generation (circa 80 years old)!

"What can I do, What can I write, Against the fall of Night". A.E. Housman

by margouillat (hemidactylus(dot)frenatus(at)wanadoo(dot)fr) on Wed Nov 23rd, 2005 at 04:46:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's the same challenge for all of us who are not of English mother tongue. So, this makes this diary a even greater work.

And it's even a challenge for some who ARE of English mother tongue. :)

by gradinski chai on Wed Nov 23rd, 2005 at 08:35:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why do we restrict ourselves to writing in English? Has this issue been discussed?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 23rd, 2005 at 08:43:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps out of an abundance of generosity to we ignorant Americans who know little else?   Well I for one appreciate your consideration.


We all bleed the same color.
by budr on Wed Nov 23rd, 2005 at 10:08:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I often find myself pointing out some resource to a fellow Spaniard only to be dismissed with the argument "uf, that's in English!".

From the Eurobarometer on Europeans and Languages, English is the most common foreign language at 34%, followed by German at 12% and French at 11%, and finally Spanish and Russian at 5%. On page 10 there is a table of "languages most commonly used". They are, in order:

  • English 47%
  • German 30%
  • French 23%
  • Italian 15%
  • Spanish 14%


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 23rd, 2005 at 10:22:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Long ago in another life I studied Spanish at a small liberal arts college.  I was fascinated by the evolution of the Romance languages as the Roman empire dissolved and regional dialects of Latin acquired the unique characteristics of their own time and place and people.

For good or ill the imperial language of this age is English.  As the sun, having already sat on the British empire, declines in the west of the American, I can't help but wonder what family of English-based (or, more accurately, Germanic-based) languages scholars will study a millenium or two from now.  And I can't help but wonder what the lingua franca of that age will be.  I would not be at all surprised if it were some dialect of Chinese.

We all bleed the same color.

by budr on Wed Nov 23rd, 2005 at 11:48:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, Chinese is second on my list of languages to learn next (Czech is first, on account of my girlfriend).

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 23rd, 2005 at 11:52:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fairly extensively discussed, actually. Anyone can write in their own tongue, though the problem will be limited understanding by the readers who don't read that language...and then there's the danger of a writing becoming National/regional. Plus, as others have noted, there's us ignorant English-only readers (have mercy on us). English has been sorta accepted as the common tongue...though, again, that shouldn't stop someone...it would just take someone interpreting. (And I tried the interpreter, but the device is very literal, so the subtle meanings are lost...)

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Wed Nov 23rd, 2005 at 10:33:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was wondering whether something similar to Booman's could be set up where there would be recommended diary lists in different languages instead of different regions.

It might only make sense for German and French given the number of first- and second-language speakers (see my Eurobarometer summary elsewhere on this thread).

Then again, ET is too small to fragment in that way. On the other hand, does deference to the < 13% English monolinguals justify leaving out the 53% of EU residents who don't feel they can hold a conversation in English?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 23rd, 2005 at 10:44:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Plus, my German (and French) are shadows of their former self... it would be fun and instructive to blog in them. And you yourself, living in a German-Speaking canton and working in a French-Speaking one, could benefit from trilingual blogging!

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 23rd, 2005 at 10:53:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have been in favor of a law that would force the architects to live or work at least for one year in each building they build.

Some years ago I worked as an electrician.  A common grumble among those I worked with was that architects should be required to build their first design with their own hands.

We all bleed the same color.

by budr on Wed Nov 23rd, 2005 at 09:54:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I used to be a landscape gardener, and I used to wish the landscape architects would have to trim the bushes they planted on those hillsides....

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Wed Nov 23rd, 2005 at 10:35:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Have no fear on that score, mon ami.  Your English is much better than mine.

We all bleed the same color.
by budr on Wed Nov 23rd, 2005 at 09:51:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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