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The challenge I accepted was to invent something new every day. I made the comic insistence that it didn’t have to be a good invention, only something that was loosely new and useful. So far I have been successful by simply making improvements on already existing products that I use in my daily life. It appears that everything I examine can use a little improvement and that has been enough to satisfy the challenge, but I’m thinking more grandiose thoughts now.

A big problem facing humanity in about twenty years is that the price of fossil fuels will become too costly to simply burn for temperature regulation of home, water and refrigerator, plus personal transportation, fertilizer for food, and many more uses.

US energy residential usage 2015

Image source – http://needtoknow.nas.edu/energy/energy-use/home-work/

“In 2015, 40% of all the energy consumed in the United States went to powering homes and commercial buildings.”

A large part of the US energy consumption could be reduced by containerizing chunks of humanity within super efficient insulation. People could have blocks of residences wholly contained within a very thick wall of insulation. A meter thick around a community of a thousand people, and then a meter thick around each personal residence, and a meter thick around each specialized temperature item, like refrigerators or water heaters. The idea is to make every calorie of energy do something that is useful to a human being who is held accountable for that used calorie.

This sounds impossibly scary now, but I am imagining a time when energy costs are a hundred times more expensive than now and any form of energy usage to the community is a source of concern to every resident. In a 100% efficient, closed energy community of this type, the generation of heat by each human being would be part of the whole system.

These are the kinds of questions that might be helpful to consider now while our civilization still has the energy to develop the technology and to make these kinds of research investments. If the price of energy suddenly rose to a hundred times present costs, the dislocation would be so great that nearly everyone would perish. However, if the technology were created now, the transition might not be that severe and only like a change of residence.

It is strange where this challenge to create a new invention every day has brought me to.