Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
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 ]


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