Archive for the ‘Future Shock’ Category

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Spirals

November 13, 2017

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

A short period of AFK engendered by my sciatica seemed not only to put me on hold, but the rest of the world too!
On return to said keyboard the UK WordPress server was decidedly down. As was the online reporting structure to tell WordPress that their server(s) was (were) down! A further delay before your humble reporter could set out my latest round of trials and tribulations!

In my keyboardly absence I had expected a bulging ‘inbox’, but instead found nothing from Social Services (No surprise there…!) but also nothing also from one of the two charities whose worthies have taken up my case and cause. I would have -elliptically- referred to these august bodies but have been specifically enjoined from so doing in the case of one of these.
Curious… and a little surprising as one would have thought that the challenges involved would have made good copy for raising their public profile.

No matter…

Born agin!

Amongst other Revelations during my period of ‘AFKness’ your humble correspondent seems to have become a born again Christian!
Something by way of an accident…

Something of an embarrasment for someone who eshews formal religious practice and –more especially– organised religion; treading a tortuous path to gnosis or self-enlightenment in the manner of a (neo) Buddhist.

It all started by an invitation by a kindly soul to an event which I accepted before really knowing what the event was. Eventually gathering that it was a Harvest Festival. However it proved not to be quite the sort of Harvest Festival I had mentally pictured! The harvest was for this year’s crop of Souls by the CRC <wiki> a modern Pentacostal Movement.
Goodness!
The service something of an anathema to my Methodist Godparents or my Mother for that matter. The latter decidedly a daughter of the High Kirk<wiki>.

One couldn’t fault the production values and the sound system and lighting work was spot on… (If you will forgive the obligatory techie pun!) Unfortunately the Pastor from South Africa was not as clear as he could have been. But perhaps these tired ears have experienced too many Hawkwind concerts and then twenty odd years of discos through to techno-raves, courtesy of the University of Hertfordshire and an ENTs crew for whom turning it up to (log)eleven is their idea of Heaven!

Unfortunately the Pastor chose Jonah and the Whale as the main text of the evening.
Oh dear! The one fishy tale out of the Old Testament with which this biologist could take issue.
Whales don’t swallow human beings
Nor do Big Fish for that matter. The Great White has to chew you up a bit first and the giant economy size Basking Shark is a filter-feeder like most whales!

Moreover the subtext of the sermon was “You can’t hide from God” to which I would reply —that if one truly Groks <wiki> the concept of God— “Thou art God” [Heinlein applies] and one cannot hide from one’s self. Although from personal experience, you can give it a damn good try.
And there is always catatonia!
But to continue the theme –and meme– this observer felt there was a great deal of similarity between the CRC event and the Fosterite service described in the epiphanal (?) “Stranger in a Strange Land.” But then RAH probably borrowed some of the Pentacostal trappings when describing same.

And my heart goes out to the heartfelt plea by an anonymous congregationalist, desperately wanting to see me being “Born Again”; quoting John. Presumably John 3:5 <biblehub>. But then I was already! Firstly because of my personal epiphany at the age of twelve on reading “Stranger…” and becoming a pantheist on the spot! But secondly, and topically: as, in order to gain admittance, your humble pilgrim needed a security pass and the kindly souls requesting same, lacked my last name… Hence for the event, your’s truly was born agin’ as “Dave R***!”
At least I didn’t need photo ID!

On that score -alas- there has been no movement.

Bearing False Witness

The problem is that the local jobsworth centre won’t processs my JSA claim until they have photoID and the cheap and cheerful Citizens’ Card that is recognised by HMG and the Home Office and police authorities and, well, lots of other worthy organisations, isn’t recognised by Loughton Job Centre!
My old visitors passport and other -more venerable- photo ID cards are similarly refused. Instead it has been decided I need a twenty pound driving licence –when I can’t drive — or a ninety pound passport when clearly, being destitute, a holiday abroad is out of the question!
And it would seem that a question is my latest spiral of hell in my descent into t’Pit, as there are two questions that –if honestly answered– will disqualify me from driving and hence being issued a driving licence. I have written to the Charity dealing with this issue. (They are the ones -bless- providing the cheque.)

However, as of writing, some two weeks has passed since I wrote to them setting out the problem. Requesting a letter indemnifying me from legal prosecution for falsely filling in the Driving Licence application.

Waiting is…

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Circles Redux (Or déjà vu, all over again)

October 9, 2017

One might think one is going in circles… but then one realises that these are not circles but a spiral. Spiralling out of control!

“Confusion will be my epitaph…”

An update on the confusion spiral:

A meeting with my Social Worker is in abeyance because Social Services cannot book a secure room at the local medical centre as the lady who performs these room bookings has left with no replacement. The suggestion being to try the various surgeries downstairs. A subsequent visit there was most unrewarding. They want nothing to do with me and have referred me back to my surgery. Apparently said Social Worker has to get in contact with the Limes Surgery and speak to NHS Property Serices. The worthy involved refused to provide any telephone number, person responsible and especially her name! Except she had a name tag…

However it now seems that –without even an interview– Social Services are refusing to have anything to do with me. Yet another service that I paid for, for most of my adult life, and now –when I need it– isn’t available.

Similarly rubbish collection. My worthy next door neighbours (ish) got my rubbish bin out front. No easy task! Kudos. Then, come the day, the rubbish men passed it by as they always do.

Back in the day, when we had dustbins, the dustbin men would collect from behind the garden fence. Opening the garden gate and everything. Now they won’t even collect a wheely bin parked in the middle of the front lawn. So now I have a stinking wheely bin full of rubbish slowly festering and attracting vermin.

Thanks F’dik!

When I first received our wheely bins –and was fit as a fiddle– I did a simple test.

Prior to these “brave new bins” [Huxley] yours truly merely bagged up the rubbish in a black plastic bag and it was collected. Job done.

Not any more…

If a black plastic bag is placed in a bin: the bag is collected. If a bag is placed next to the empty wheely bin it is not collected. Naturally a bag by itself is ignored. Even when the wheely bin was full.

Currently, with my siatica even an empty wheely bin is something of a struggle; a full one is impossible.

Moving on…

Meanwhile I cannot apply for JSA because I lack a bank account into which said allowance can be paid.

Sadly the days of the fortnightly Giro <wiki> that could be cashed at the local post office are long gone.

Amusingly once in receipt of a letter stating that I am receiving a benefit, then that is proof of identity that a bank will accept. Except I need a bank account to start the JSA payments.

But…

[Edit: for some reason wordpress won’t accept the following link as an embedded Youtube Audio Link. Go figure…

The above link plays from the start of the album; despite being identical code. Gremlins…]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekTmJDCWq0g&t=2181

And starting a bank account is now fraught with monsters from the ID [Forbidden Planet applies]. Time was when in order to open up a bank account one merely had to have some money and the ability to sign a document. Just as soon as I learnt cursive I had a savings account at the Midland Bank. Simples.

Not any more.

Now one needs photo ID and supporting documents but to get photo ID one needs photo ID…

Apparently my: P45/ medical card/ blood donors card/ Nationwide Card/ Bavarian Illuminati Card and a half a dozen passports of my parents and my good self is not enough!

Indeed according to one worthy from the DHSS -bless- I do not exist until I can produce my driving licence –a scrappy bit of green paper some forty-seven years young– and lost somewhere in the Trustee’s house some twenty years ago. But even then they are not satisfied. As my old licence then needs to be swapped for a photo driving licence.  Then and only then do I exist.

Only then can the DHSS process my JSA application. The one that the
computer system swallowed without trace and the old fashioned pen and paper application that is now filed under P for pending

The really amusing thing is the fact that –in addition tofinding said scrappy piece of paper– I have to find twenty pounds for a driving licence that I cannot use! With my siatica I no longer trust myself to drive!

My right leg has a tendency to suddenly stop working…

It would seem that by the time I have jumped through all the Skinnerian hoops: I will have a job and the whole thing a pointless exercise in futility.

But that’s joined up (local) government.

No Thirty

Update: before managing to resolve the Youtube issue over a time stamped replay of a particular track I called in at the local and last bank in Waltham Abbey. Barclays is closing its branch. Leaving just the TSB formerly the Waltham Abbey Building Society/ Waltham Abbey and Cheltenham Building Society/ Cheltenham & Gloucester/ TSB. Probably only a matter of time before thattoo closes leaving just the Post Office.

Yet more evidence that this town is slowly dying on its feet.

Something like this author!

This author whowouldn’t take nofor an answer.

Afterdeflecting the teller and insistingon speaking to a personal advisor and then playing the difficult customer card. Noting obstructionism and names and pointing out that their literature clearly stated “may” rather than “must” I discovered that I could be ‘electronically identified’ by the ‘system’.

To dothis they had to claw back the various documents they hasd rejected out of hand as proof of my non-identity and the computer “he say yes”!

So although I don’t exist in the meat world, my friend the computer thinks otherwise. It’s nice to have someone on your side! Even if it is in cyberSpace.

Yours electronically…

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Part II: In the shadow of the Schloss (with allusions to Kafka)

September 29, 2017

“DENNIS: I mean, if I went around sayin’ I was an emperor just because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me they’d put me away!

Michael Palin (as Dennis the Peasant) Monty Python’s Holy Grail

Part I: Looking out of the Pit (with allusions to Dante) Link

My Doom naturally came via a Servitor of the Demon “F’dik”. [EFDC] Thus indicating -esoterically- the nature of the Beast at the heart of it all. The means exceptional as it was objectional. Being told over the phone in as public a place as one could get. Not quite Tescos! But the desk phone of Waltham Abbey Public Library. I was about to be made homeless. I told that worthy —From ‘social services’ no less!— that this was neither the time, nor the place for that sort of revelation; as I mused on their tactic.
Curious. First, how did they know I was in the Library?!
Obvious to anyone with a healthy level of paranoia who subscribes to the Deep State form of government. As revealed by Snowdon et al.
Second. Homeless? I had thought that for non-payment of Council Tax: a prison sentence was the usual recourse and a chance to be dragged off by the Police: struggling with my Savasana <wiki> and –Foolish Client that I am– have an opportunity to state my case. But “F’dik” was cannier than that. He and his croney, chthonic Capitalists have a nice little deal. One that benefits them and their wealthy chums.
For not providing a police force —They closed the local police station and, seemingly☸, amusingly, can’t sell it!—, or lighting, or rubbish collection, or all the other services which I do not get. Or the services like schooling or ‘social services’ that I do not need. Exacerbated by having the temerity to extract the money by threats and extortion. Then Ossa on Pelion by the unmitigated incompetance of incorrectly billing me in the first place!
Reminding you, gentle reader and fellow traveller, that the debt is actually in the other direction! Indeed, thinking about it, had they actually done their job and looked into my circumstances: Zero income for twenty odd years. A writer with no buyers or agent to date. A history of depression.
Then perhaps, things would have turned out differently.
Perhaps I would have found a guardian agent or an angel investor.
Perhaps they might have helped…

Instead –poor things– they’re too wrapped up in their Kafkaesque world of Moloch and Maya and Money<Caberet>!
Assuming an average bill of £1,250 p.a then by my calculation: the council, by 2013, owed me £16,250. After that date you have to find roughly £3.65 [now £3.74] p.w. no matter what your circumstances or, interestingly and regressively, no matter what your property band! So allowing for that £1,000 odd, they still owe me £15,250 plus interest. But no, it doesn’t work that way. That would be too rational!  Instead the Demon F’dik has decided to take my house. Have taken my house!
To pay for a debt that they owe to me!

Not only has F’dik taken most of my money under false pretences; they have now taken all my property. Via their agents of extreme extortion. These worthies even own the very thoughts in my head, as they own my intellectual property too. They even own these words as I peck them out on my keyboard… The Demon “F’dik” having instigated Bankruptcy proceedings for money that I didn’t owe!
And this is where it gets really interesting.

Their Cerberic cronies deeper in t’Pit are a firm by the name of Smith & Williamson LLP and a very expensive firm of Chartered Accountants at that. Nothing pro bono about these Servitors of Moloch and Maya and Money <Floyd>! Their fee [Edit: 11/10/2017 at £400/hr] …for being my “Trustee” being more money than I earned –when I was gainfully employed as a Toilet Cleaner BSc(Hons) III class– in TWO YEARS! As my ‘Trustees’ they now own everything and since I now have nothing to pay their extortionate bill, they get to pick and chose what assets they can sell to pay my creditors. Principally, now, themselves. Goodness. (Or, rather, its antithesis!) Nice little earner! After them is “F’dik” and then a small host of lesser demons. All clamouring for equally spurious and inflated -doubled!- sums of money. Like British Gas for £3000 odd when I have written to them repeatedly, even complaining to their ineffectual regulatory body stating that I don’t use gas!
The System seemingly designed to make a bad situation worse.
The System seemingly designed to sow confusion and chaos.
The System seemingly designed to penalise the poor, downtrodden and depressed when they clearly need help!
And obviously designed to benefit the scions of the One Percent, as aided by their State Facilitators but that goes without saying…

A little prediction for the future. Just as the way those that owe money to the State, find that the State uses the Law to compound the debt and its Servitors of Extortion find ways to compound their profit. Then one day they’ll even privatize Life. Your entire existance operated -optimised- to make our feudal suzerains even more wealthy. True serfdom. Chattel slavery. One can only wonder at the percentage of the welfare state system already privatized. About the profit siphoned out of the Commonweal –paid for by your parents and grandparents, in the blood of the Second World War– now being safely off-shored in some hurricane-blasted tax haven.
Or Jersey.

And time for another aside:

Private ownership of Public Utilities. Sigh!  Been there. Done that. Got the tee-shirt. Another of the Sainted Margaret’s little wheezes for her husband’s friends in the City [of Dis!]
In the day: electricity generated by nuclear power was going to be “too cheap to meter.” No really! In the day: we led the world in domestic nuclear power generation. Calder Hall… Ooops! Windscale… Ooops! Seascale and it’s ongoing Ooops until they change the name again. But now? Now the nuclear industry is guaranteed to get an “economically insane <wiki>” strike price for electricity and we have to look to France and China for the money and expertise!

Laugh, dear point and clicker? Why I’m pissing myself!

But on the topic of watersports, to my mind the most egregious Privatisation of all was water. And Thames Water in particular. They cut me off sometime ago. Except for one tap.
But we survive…

It’s like some sort of perverted game of Monopoly! Except the impoverished don’t disappear off down to t’pub. Leaving the eventual winner -alone- to put the game components in the box. They die! And the One Percent, as aided by the regressive State –as ever on the side of Moloch, Maya and Money<MIA>!–  get to pick over the corpse like a pack of hyenas.

No not hyenas! Hyenas have a proper place in the food chain. Part of the great green, world wide web that connects us all. Lovelock’s Great Goddess Gaia <wiki> if you will. No these forces are entirely unnatural. Best summed up IMHO by the Buddhist term “preta” or ‘hungry ghosts’. <wiki> Ghasts rather than ghouls from a Lovecraftian perspective…
And naturally the winners of this perverse Monopoly of  Moloch, Maya and Money <Cyrus> go for my biggest asset. My house. Right from the get-go. A three hundred thousand pound asset to service a debt one tenth the size!
One can only speculate the reason…
One that could lead to abuses in firms less honourable and generous than Messrs Smith & Williamson LLP so clearly not embroiled in the of Moloch, Maya and Money<Python>
Messrs Screwtape and Wormwood <wiki>PLL perhaps.
“Oh by the way Screwtape old chap. Nice little earner coming up. Some benighted soul in Waltham Abbey. We’ve got his house. Put in a bid and you could double your money. And he can’t do a thing about it!”
>:-|Infernal Laughter>:-|
But I can…
Wu Wei, Ahimsa, Pu.
☸ The old Police Station is currently “Under offer”. However being a purpose built Police Station and a  listed building, it’s going to be a bit of a challenge for any potential developer!  A little local research indicated that, back in the day, Waltham Abbey had eighteen police officers… in one shift! The night shift -probably- even more. (Chucking out time at the pubs hereabouts.)
To be continued…

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Banged Up!

September 23, 2017

Well it’s well before six o clock in the morning and I’ve just been woken by aloud banging on the door!
Naturally this brings on a panic attack!
On prior occasions, the banging has been quite vociferous. However, owing to the parlous state of the porch, they had better not bang too hard, as things are not too stable!

I’m not too stable!!

With a heart trembling like a church mouse, I waited in the dark. Expecting the worst. Expecting a deep gutteral: “This is the police” and then the sound of your front door being smashed in with a sledge hammer followed by heavy footfalls up the stairs as the SWAT squat take up positions, weapons drawn!
Lacking an aerosol deodorant, the Rorschach (Watchman applies)

option is not really viable and, as a NeoBuddhist, one trys to echew violence.  Whilst –at the same time–  appreciating the aesthetic in works of art like Watchmen! Kudos Zac. [Kudos Dave and Alan!] A little hyper real but not going overboard. Unlike some movies I could mention….

But back to my own domestic drama: after lying quiet for a bit, they seemed to go away. But then they do. It’s a tactic!
As is my wont, after a little while, I sneaked up to a front window to see what was what! Naturally not putting the lights on! That would be a bit of a give away.

However I earnestly try not to use electricity. My provider EON, having refused to carry out my wishes, still perversely continues to supply the house! Despite not having paid a bill in the last four years! Merely threatening to invade my privacy and charge me for the privilege! Some two hundred pounds if I remember correctly.
Why not just cut me off? They keep threatening me with that option and indeed it’s what I instructed their representative to do! Verbally and in person! Simple enough to do. Cheaper for them to do. And cheaper for me!

I suspect that their secret intent is to install a paymeter—Naturally at my cost and their profit— and thus ensure an above cost electricity supply and further profit! Then, after me and my house get parted, charge someone else for yet more profit to take it out again!
It’s what they do…

namaḥ saptānāṃ samyaksaṃbuddha koṭīnāṃ tadyathā
oṃ cale cule cunde svāhā

Cundī Dhāraṇī Sūtra <wikiSource>

A little timeless meditation quieted the heart palpatations; so I investigated in the dark. Making my way to the front of the house.
Catching hrough the trees: a white van!
Oh-Oh
A big white van!
OH-OH!!
One reads that the Police perform their raids at an ungodly hour.
Perhaps the Bailiffs do the same.
Well I would. Catch their poor victim napping!
Or having heart palpitations…

Peeking through the venetian blinds I quickly espied a severe looking man. A man in black! With what looked like “security” emblazoned on their black uniform. Although without my glasses, it was difficult to see. But I could see they were harassing my next door neighbours!
A quick check to the skies didn’t reveal any black helicopters.
Pity!
A few of those would have made my day!
Or rather my six o’clock in the morning!

Although thinking about it, black surveillance drones may be a feature of our daily lives, at all hours of the day –or the night– if things go on…
After harrassing my neighbours they returned to their van.
Perhaps a waiting game…
Perhaps a blog entry!
Inspired I returned to my computer –More electricity! Oops– discovering the time: 6.16am, no less. —Eschatological or what!— and pecked out this latest piece by the light of the LCD; as night slowly turned into day.

Such is the curious life that I lead at the moment.
Not quite a Wonderful life (Capra)
More like a Wonderful life (Kafka!)

But the curious thing is, is that in choosing six o’ clock in the morning for their raid. By what right do they have, disturbing my next door neighbours!
My heartfelt apologies Ian –and Family– that you have been embroiled in this little drama at this ungodly hour!
Perhaps they have a cart blanche.
Or should that be a carte noir!

When looking out of the Pit one tries not to be too paranoid but sometimes it’s a little difficult!

No thirty…

[Edit interestingly there is no official online reference to this little phrase dating back to the early days of newspapers. Perhaps a wiki entry… The phrase means “breaking story, more to follow…”]

Time for a toilet break.
7.45
Well they’ve gone and it’s now light enough to see my keyboard. Time for some serious work before I retreat to my not-so-secret-sanctuary and get this latest on the web.
Like I’m going to be able to get back to sleep after this!

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Will: Corpus- The StarSeed Foundation

September 20, 2017
Preamble

The following is a means to my end. A semi-charitable foundation looking to generate revenue in order to carry out its mandate. My Estate, such that it is, is invested by my beneficiary and their duly authorised successors, (descendants!) in conventional stocks until the StarSeed Foundation becomes a legally constituted organisation. Naturally paying themselves a commensurate fee for their time and effort! This continuing until the StarSeed Foundation is …er founded! Whereupon my Estate then becomes part of its seed stock and eventually my seed –or selected genetic traits– are expressed in some distant time and distant location.

But you are way ahead of me!

Premis

This is similar to that of the various cryonic schemes in the 1960s. (And scams of the 1970s!) However this time your immortality is in your genes. Rather than brain soup!

Conventionally most of us seek immortality by having children. A survival of the fittest going back to homo habilis. Alas it would appear that none of the opposite sex ever found me fit! Not that I would blame them. Indeed I would probably agree with their assessment. Nevertheless, buried amongst my junk D.N.A., not to be passed forward into the future, there just might be a few codons worthwhile preserving. And these days we only need to preserve a single cell to get at its genetic code!

However this is not about Cloning. We have enough problems with overpopulation as it is!

Instead the Foundation has two goals in attracting the wealthy patron/ client or a selected and worthy person. Its prime purpose: preserving their genes (ova/ sperm/ stem cells) for future utilisation in medium term post-human solar system and, in the distant future: gene-seeded colonies in our stellar neighbourhood.

The idea of an interstellar ark as posited in the last century with a living population taking a couple of generations to get there has its merits. Preserving human society along with its genes. And one would like to think that this route will be explored. However this futurist posits the more likely outcome of a post Singularity culture. Hopefully benign! It is thus more likely that humans will be taken for a ride by their Dei ex Machinae.

Well we can hope…

The benefits of interstellar colonisation using cellular seed stocks are obvious. No requirements for life support. And the greatest genetic diversity for the minimum payload mass. The one problem: the first generation raised by robotic parents. But that problem sould solve itself after a few normal generations. That is whatever passes for normal parenting in two to three hundred years!

Ways and Means

Alas this futurist also posits a Perfect Storm [Vide:Beddington] and the StarSeed Foundation will have to ride out the Global Catastrophies of the middle of this century. To that end I would suggest that the StarSeed bank start in Iceland. Isolated and hopefully spared the conflagration. A bastion from where  the Reconstruction can take place. With the bonus of cheap geothermal power and a degree of cold. Then, once we are capable of such luxuries, a.s.a.p. to the Moon and the lunar poles. Where there will be Deep Cold and (near) permanent photo-electricity. I would expect the Foundation to remain there for a great deal of time until the stored genes are needed for specific traits in a post-human solar system, or on board an interstellar seed ship.

At the same time as the genotype is preserved for our future, the second ‘Immortality’ would lie in preserving the works, links and entire ‘digital fingerprint’ of one of our patrons, clients or specially selected individuals. This gestalt would be stored on the latest stable medium and made available as an ever more sophisticated avatar; as synthetic personalities draw on the personal database to project a voice and opinion from beyond the ‘Veil’ 🙂

However this does give rise to the ‘spectre’… of the Dead Vote! This futurist posits such Ghosts in the Machine will be disenfranchised! Their role closer to the Lares and Penates of Classical Rome. Brought out for special occasions!

Since writing these words back –in 2008!– Things have moved on.

Naturally with advances in technology our patrons/ clients/ worthies will be better served. But the Foundation should also maintain and, where possible, improve on the earlier more primitive ‘fingerprints’ of the early adopters!

Like me…

Blessed Be

Bro.B!O!F!

 

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Redirecting the Asteroid Redirect Mission

February 16, 2016

A cosmic Dust bunny being captured by ARM

It’s in the bag!

Since it would seem from a recent hearing that –in the Capitol and Capital a least– there is a strong negative feeling towards the Asteroid Redirect Mission [ARM <wiki>]: it behoves its supporters  to come to its aid.  Bearing in mind that, with it’s cancellation, the technological development of an advanced ion engine (and all the rest of it) …is likely to be abandoned as well. Thus: yet another nail in the coffin labelled “Flexible Path <wiki>” as outlined by that august body the Augustine Committee <wiki> (Source materials).

Ahem. My little contribution under the section “Plan For Exploration Beyond LEO Responses” (pdf, 56k)

Whilst ARM and the Asteroid Redirect Crewed Mission (ARCM) is a far cry from President Obama’s original proposed human crewed asteroid mission it is probably for the good.. Baby steps rather than giant leaps being the order of the day in our modern, risk averse, culture. I for one was immensely pleased at the new direction for NASA. For all the polar hype the moon is a dry hole when it comes to water [1]. The real watering hole, I suspect, will be Ceres. (As will be noted in previous articles on this blog: this author is of the firm belief that the asteroids represent the paramount materials source for the evolution of humanity into a Kardashev II civilization. <wiki>. Since any extra-planetary society will be some 60% water –by mass alone– it is thus necessary to: FOLLOW THE WATER!
(But try not to crawl back down into another planetary cradle whilst doing so. Please!)

At this point I must admit that the boulder retrieval option selected by the review committee was a grave disappointment. Even if, as the most recent publication suggests [FAST 23rd November 2015 pdf 4.3MB], the mission is lucky enough to discover and recover a lump of water rich carbonaceous chondrite. (Handy to the sun blasted surface!) The likelihood is that its geology will so closely match that of any such similar meteorite that serious questions will be subsequently raised as to the value of the mission. This was not true of the other proposal: the recovery of a sizeable 10 metre diameter cosmic dust bunny. The morphology and composition of which would have been radically different from anything that survives a ballistic style plummet to the ground. Indeed the exploration and characterization of such a friable body would also have provided a real challenge to any EVA carried out from Orion: tethering, sampling, dust mitigation, utilization, bootprinting, flagplanting,… All would have been a deal more complex than a rendezvous with a small hard rock!
Moreover a small hard rock with a diameter in the region of one to five metres has a high probability of lacking the surface properties suitable for taking a bootprint and any flag planting in a small hard rock is more likely to raise a derisory smile rather than a national wave of pride or a global gasp of amazement!

However all is not lost.
I would suggest in the strongest possible terms that –if a boulder is to be retrieved– then ARM now be focussed on a boulder retrieval from the surface of Phobos or Deimos, after a ~600 day loiter in Mars orbit characterizing the surfaces of the two bodies in question and, ideally recovering a boulder from a shadowed crater or, better still, determining if a boulder represents material blasted off from the Martian surface and subsequently impacting one of the two moons.
In the latter case one would truly be able to claim that NASA was carrying out Martian surface studies in Lunar Orbit!
Failing that serendipitous outcome a Phobos or Deimos sample return would be seen as a real step in “The Journey to Mars.”
One that Congress would be less likely to axe.
One could take this opportunity to wax lyrically on the advantages of a Phobiean or Deimosian base camp: utilizing the abundance of local materials for: radiation protection, fuel, building materials,… 3D printing of household utensils; as well as developing the necessary tools, skills and techniques for interactions with the boundless riches of Near Earth and Main Belt objects to be found in the inner system. One could spend several pages explaining just why developing a permanent settlement in Mars Orbit is that much more easy –Certainly more easy than laboriously building one on the Martian surface, only to find that the really interesting spot is fifty kilometres beyond the range of any Mars Buggy!– and the huge advantages of carrying out surface explorations using robotic avatars and real time teleoperations. At a stroke removing the huge costs of long term surface life support; providing the flexibility to explore anywhere on –or under– the Martian surface with no risk to human life and, last but not least, meeting with the prime consideration of planetary protection.

This astrobiologist would quite happily defer human landings on Mars until after the day that we have conclusively determined that Mars was indeed lifeless but, thanks to terraforming, is now a suitable place for colonization!

However ARM does not stop there.
I would seriously suggest that ARM be developed as a modular carrier. In its FIRST mission: the boulder grappling mechanism is its payload. After the Orion mission ARCM#1 is over then a second Orion mission Asteroid Redirect Maintenance Mission [ARMM] be scheduled to refurbish and refuel ARM; now relabeled: Asteroidal Rendezvous Surveyor and Explorer [ARSAE. Phew! :-P] parked at L1. A third Orion mission –or possibly a robotic space tug– would subsequently dock the payload for the SECOND ARSAE mission. Here I would suggest an “all hands” request by NASA for Phobos Landers. NASA would select the best six and then ARSAE would deliver them to the surface. The various teams would then conduct various experiments: mobility; ISRU; exploration; surveying; digging; tunnelling;… utilizing ARSAE as a communications relay. After another ~600 day loiter in Mars orbit, a second set of small sample and artefactual returns would then accompany ARSAE on its return to L1. A THIRD MISSION would repeat the process only with Deimos as the target. In between each ARSAE mission there would be one or more Orion missions: servicing; repairing; upgrading ARSAE in much the same way that NASA maintained Hubble. The synergistic combination of human flexibility and robotic durability producing results much greater than the sum of its parts. As part and parcel of these Orion missions: L1 could be developed as a “Lunar Gateway” complex as envisaged by various prior studies.  OASIS springs to mind.

Lunar Gateway (OASIS Study)

Lunar Gateway (OASIS Study)

Note that the ISS –or any subsequent LEO station– is NOT the ideal location for such refurbishment. Better to have the solar electric arrays in the harsh cis-lunar environment rather than continually ploughing a track through the Van Allen radiation Belts.
Also Note that with ARSAE in Mars orbit it can at least provide stunning views of the Martian surface as well as contribute to the Martian orbital satellite collective. In this way one of the major problems of ARM is mitigated: a long period of time when NOTHING IS HAPPENING!

When ARSAE as a concept has been proved, then further –more powerful– iterations of an ion powered modular carrier can then visit asteroids in keeping with the original plan. [2] Now delivering ever bigger rocks to a growing settlement at L1. If nothing else IRSUed into a radiation shelter.
With enough rocks in situ we can then start building the Bernal sphere!
Job done!

[1] Let’s take Paul Spudis’s values at 600,000,000 tonnes at North pole, say it’s all ice (Not a given..) and that ice and water are equivalent density  [1 tonne ice = one cubic metre.]
= 1.2 km^3 for two poles worth (Not a given.) A little over a Gigatonne! Sounds a lot doesn’t it?
To put this in a terrestrial context. (Involving sailing!)
Lake Superior: (Now that is a lot of water!) 12,000 km^3 Whoops too big! Perhaps a little smaller and human made:
Lake Mead: 32 km^3 (Currently running out of water…) Getting closer but still too big. O.K. let’s look for something smaller.
Loch Ness: Scotland 7.4 km^3 Smaller still
(and so on…) until
Lake Windermere 0.98 km^3 (being generous) the largest natural fresh water lake in England.
Windermere pop. 8,245 although the lake obviously supports other villages. That’s it!
The total water to be had on the Moon is rougly equivalent to a small lake in England.
Find a reservoir near you with that sort of capacity (~1 cubic kilometer) and that is the size of population it will support.
Doesn’t seen so “abundant now does it?
Then consider the robotic infrastructure required to extract a mixture of: cyanogen; ammonia; acetylene; complex organics and all the other cometary ices *that are not water* from stratified deposits spread over thousands of cubic kilometers of rugged terrain… That is BTW in permanent shade and as close to absolute zero as not to make any difference.
Add humans and the costs skyrocket!

Even with perfect recycling and perfect life support systems and perfect seals …and a policy of making sure that any transients lose weight during their Lunar Vacation; any “Lunar Authority” allowing this precious hydrogen to be exported as fuel or in the form of foodstuffs deserves to be lined up against the wall and blasted with an ice mining laser.
OTOH
Ceres (0.51 km/s to orbit), on the other hand, may contain more fresh water than the whole Earth.
wiki:fact “contains 200 million cubic kilometers of water, which is more than the amount of fresh water on the Earth.[62] ”
Moon (2.38 km/s to orbit).  One cubic kilometer…
Now do you see why asteroids are so attractive?

This author would strongly protest this constant mantra emerging from certain parties in the United States that there is abundant water for (commercial) exploitation at the lunar poles.
THERE ISNT!
Moreover any water we do find, should be carefully conserved. Firstly as a scientific resource to be studied and then, secondly, utilised on an international basis in keeping with the spirit of the Treaty on Outer Space. And, yes, the Moon Treaty too! That Lunar Lake Windermere is clearly the common heritage of Humanity until we start importing water from other locations to grow our lunar community.

BubbleWorld (Dandridge & Cole) Credit: Roy Scarfo

BubbleWorld (Dandridge & Cole) Credit: Roy Scarfo

[2] This rockrat would seriously suggest 2010 TK7. And sod the deltaVee! After all this is a lump of rock some 300 odd metres across! A bit of tunnelling and bingo O’Neill Station is in situ.. Later a bubbleworld ( Dandridge and Cole) could be contemplated. Pending this happy day I would also suggest that NASA urgently and seriously consider a Gravity Tractor experiment –or other asteroidal deflection technique– with the aim of reducing and stabilizing the orbit of TK7 –over decades if need be– until its lissajous has been domesticated to a level that permits a human visit! It’s three hundred metres across!!!
BOTE assuming that its pure water (!) that’s 14,137,167 tonnes of cis-lunar/ Lagrangean space station!
In the right place!

h1

No B(T)rainer

February 19, 2013

First a disclaimer: whilst this is not primarily about Politics, nevertheless my political views will be expressed. These are —shall we say— lean slightly to the left… of ant like communism!

This article in part is engendered by the notion of “One Nation Labour” coined by Comrade Ed.

Nice in theory…

I remember the febrile conversations concerning the last Labour Government – correction the last NuLab experiment (I think Harold Wilson’s was the last real Labour government… Recently featured in Roy Hattersaley’s piece. (A good party man G2 Guardian 14th February)
But when the dawn broke over London and “Things could only get better…” resounded around the Capital; one hoped that twenty odd years of Tory economic ruination would be reversed. (I include Heath here as he had no grasp of one nation Toryism and allowed Thatcher in…) But my projection: that Bliar would be politely shuffled off stage and replaced with some real Red meat like Tony and Ken for PM and Deputy; fell somewhat short of the mark.

Then we forgot to eat the rich. What were we thinking…

NuLab as an experiment: failed IMHO. I thought that under Brown we would at least (at last) see a reversal in the widening gap between the poor and the fabulously wealthy but then NuLab; Bliar; Mandelson et al were all a creation of the City (and Thatcher) rather than anything to do with the party of Harold Wilson. Excess piled on Excess in the financial equivalent of the Tower of Babel. And it is still going on! Enough.

Big Labour Big Science
Under Harold Wilson we had TSR2 (an object lesson if there ever was one); Black Arrow; the beginnings of Concorde; world renown if not leadership in: computing; solar cells; atomic power;… and the rest of the scientific mantle we acquired with the technological white heat of the post-war science boom. Scientific swords turned into plowshares.
But that had to go! As a well educated; high skilled; scientifically literate; well paid and questioning electorate is the last thing any government wants. Especially a Tory one. Instead it was to be a Friedman inspired: “race to the bottom” with a sub-literate unquestioning mob of serf citizens toiling away to make the filthy rich even filthier. Reagan might have believed that ‘trickle down’ economics would work but Maggie and especially Denis knew better.

When we ceased to support blue sky research (except for a few select areas, mostly defence); when we turned our Universities into graduate production lines rather than centres of academia and allowed companies to buy-in innovation on the cheap and then stifle it. It was only a matter of time before bright young things decided that —rather than seeking a scientific career— more money was to be had in accountancy or law. It was with amusement that I noted that over sixty percent of my fellow graduates in Biochemistry; finding no work in medicine —or even science— went on to become Accountants. All that intelligence put towards a freshly deregulated finance industry well an explosion was bound to happen. Thus rather than a new Britain forged in that white hot heat of the Sixties: we had the tax avoiding; funny money; litigation prone chaos of the Eighties through to date.

Alas our political class are now firmly science averse. Even to the extent of ignoring and then sacking their own appointed scientists. Unlike France and Germany: the Bureaucrats have prevailed over the Technocrats. Indeed it is worse than that: as there are fewer and fewer politicians with real life experiences. Apart from a bout of PR work or towel folding before Daddy found a better sinecure.

Perhaps One Nation Labour may signal a change. Let us hope so.

Thus in anticipation of the electorate doing the Left Thing: I put forward the following modest proposals. The first is a little something that I suggested to one and all, back in 1997 when the Bliar was going to make things better…
The concept was revolutionary then. Now it is a no brainer…

The Age of Stream
Rather than more roads or airports or flat-pack housing estates, we must build the infrastructure of a smarter; cleaner; greener Britain.
We must build the new means of getting to work and the new means of working. Compatible with the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The Age of Stream!

I note that because of E.U. Cutbacks (!) we will struggle to roll out an internet service that is a joke compared with South Korea and the Asian economies. And even that overpriced. With BT acting in the grand manner: a hydraulic despot redolent of a First Dynasty Pharaoh.
It was time to bypass the monopoly then and it is high time to bypass it today. Thus we need a program to lay a high speed data communications system throughout the land in the grand manner of the Age of Steam.

Rather than have a few monolithic companies making truckloads of cash out of a government project; I would suggest the following:

  • first an investment in industrial plant to construct the best fibre optic cable in the world. This will have long term benefits as optical connections can only proliferate as we move into optical computing.
  • second that the network itself is laid by local small firms bidding on contracts as laid set by Local Government.
  • third that the fastest connections be made to local Hubs: Libraries; Community centres; Health centres;… government sponsored brown cafés? (Well one can hope!) These places would become data hubs where large quantities of data could be downloaded really fast. Perhaps the back catalogue of the BFI or the BBC could be made available for a suitable subscription or fee. Similarly art; music; drama; opera; ballet;… The Hubs would enable people to own digital copies of the vast array of cultural wealth ranging from the British Library online, or the National Portrait gallery or a virtual tour of Tate Modem [sic]. In addition to the panoply of e-books there would be the Project Gutenberg texts. These Hubs would also become places of work for the professional who needs a really fast connection. Or locations where HD video-conferencing could take place.
  • fourth that a connection charge will be made for laying cable to the main property. Say a pound a metre. Thus the filthy rich living in their moated mansions at the centre of the land they appropriated during the Enclosure and anyone else with ‘huge tracts of land’ will pay a premium. Whereas in the property where the boundary is the wall of the building itself: the fee will be zero.

The ultimate aim is simple: every house in Britain will have free (and fast) access to the digital world. Communication is a public utility, like air and water should be free of charge!

Conversation Conversation Conversation
With the optical structure in place the educational, informational and representational infrastructure would be coded in parallel.

The educational would be in the form of a massive expansion of the Open University. Another of Harold Wilson’s gifts to the betterment of our Nation.) With the remit to provide free further education to all and at all levels of interest. Perhaps a collaborative community in the model of Wikipedia and other crowd sourced projects. Their remit ranging from computer interactivity for tots to the abstract specialities of tutors. (In the process breaking another hydraulic despot that of academic publishing with its pay walls and restrictive practices.)

This “Online University” …would form an extension to the Open University and attract all levels from retired academics to disenchanted teachers. Its remit would be simple: advance the scientific; philosophic; and cultural level of the Nation. Controversially I would suggest that time spent at the Online University be rewarded by some form of benefit. In other words cash! Rather than wasting electrons (and paper) searching for jobs that will never appear: the time would be much better spent improving knowledge and intellectual understanding. Rather than a fruitless and degrading process driving so many to despair, instead there would be satisfaction in bettering one’s mind. And, with time, eventually the pupil would be passing their newly gained knowledge on to others. Another exercise in raising self esteem.

The informational aspect would be the roll out of government functions. Both local and national. Thus advice on: health; benefits; employment; legal aid;… and the other social services would be directly accessible from these local hubs. And locally staffed as well.

Finally the representational aspect: with an informed and educated electorate issues of the day can be decided by the people rather than a bunch of ‘professional’ politicians who, once in office, renege on their manifestos; lie; fiddle expenses and then fail to represent the people that elected them. The exact nature of the voting system and how to present the various sides to the issue I would leave to debate! However the word Demarchy springs to mind.

Needle Train Network
There is a proposal to extend the HST to Birmingham and points North. NIMBY heaven…

Thus not in the lifetime of the next Parliament and probably not in the lifetime of anyone currently alive in Britain today!
Just why Britain —which invented the Maglev (Laithwaite)— has not the finest bullet train network in the world escapes me. Or rather it doesn’t. The reason is obvious and can be summed up in one word: ”Privatisation” Whilst it paid off handsomely for the City FatCats and the current shareholders; the people that actually pay for the service have paid for it in LIVES.
Never forget that.
Short of re-nationalisation (A subject on which I will return.) …I would propose a “One Nation” “Needle Train Network” with the MAIN hub in the Midlands!
Well Doh!

The following expertises and technological breakthroughs will pay dividends that we can export to the world. (And beyond)

Tunnelling The NTN would be mostly underground, in concrete tunnels that would not only be water proof but also air tight and thus capable of partial evacuation. Tunnels would also allow suspension from above as well as repulsion from the sides and underneath. And propulsion from motors mounted top, bottom and sides: this train network is going to be FAST.
For the most part “cut and cover” would be used with listed buildings; monuments and other small structures moved to one side before being put back again. Special sites of natural or scientific interest; large housing estates and other major structures would be tunnelled under.
Naturally these tunnels will be sited in suitable geological formations and, ideally, under the houses of the most vociferous of protesters! Kidding just kidding.

Concrete Alas releases a lot of CO2. Perhaps research be undertaken into finding a low carbon equivalent. However over the lifetime of the NTN I would suggest an overall saving in carbon release.

MagLev The British scientific community should be challenged to produce a good compromise candidate for a high temperature super-conductor. Ideally a room temperate super-conductor. From there a high efficiency repulsion motor and drive motor would follow. Again something the rest of the world would buy.

Aerodynamics Whilst the tunnels would be evacuated there would always be some air and the trains would need to push this aside and dispose of it to the rear. In addition the trains may continue to termini at the ends of the network above ground at greatly reduced speeds but probably faster than today’s ‘Fast track’

Cryogenics The network will probably require a large supply of liquid nitrogen. Efficiencies in the manufacture, storage and transport of this harmless gas would be useful.

Infrastructure Whilst the tunnels are being laid I would suggest a simultaneous super-conducting power transmission system designed to handle base loads sourced from future large scale power supplies. Ranging from Geothermal (Iceland) to Solar Electric (N. Africa) with Fusion and Solar power satellites in the long term.
At the termini I would suggest fleets of self driving electric cars. Again British made and designed to transport four persons to their destination and then navigate themselves back to the nearest recharge rank where they will be available for the next person or party without an electric tandem. We should aim to abolish the private IC car by the middle of the century. (Actually we need to abolish the IC car NOW! But we need the infrastructure in place beforehand.)

Severn (and Thames) Tidal Barrier
Before the environmentalists (bless) get all hot and bothered, I would remind them that we are currently well on course to a four degree Centigrade and 1-3 metre rise in sea level anyway and if we lose the Greenland ice sheet: seven metres. The existing wetlands will be under water anyway. And if Antarctica goes… well the British Isles will become the British Archipelago.

We have prevaricated long enough over this project: some fifty odd years if memory serves me right. Personally I would go for the full smash. A HUGE reservoir with billions of tonnes of capacity and generating the maximal current. Something grand that you can see from space. From the experience I would then construct an equivalent in the Thames Estuary . We will need extensive flood defences there anyway to protect the Thames corridor housing and infrastructure. Thus I would suggest a over protective flood defence wall ~30 metres. (Guessing here and assuming that we will eventually see sense over CO2 release.) The enclosure would then make for an excellent tidal reservoir as well as protect the Capital from the once in one hundred year event that will be occurring with greater regularity well within one hundred years. Inside the wall we could incorporate floating villages in the manner of the Dutch. Along with an explosion of marinas and yachting clubs.

In both cases the outer barrier, I would suggest, would also be a useful location for wind turbines and perhaps even trans-esturine transport links. Further to this we could design in a few arcologies: fishing villages; tourist hotels servicing the Lundy marine preserve; homes and infrastructure maintaining the power generators and shipping locks. A service port for the off shore wind turbines.
Perhaps even a new set of docks.

Micro-Generation
We seriously need to re-look at this. All new housing stock must incorporate power generation and energy conservation measures. No more flat-pack housing with minimal building standards. Similarly all large buildings (hopefully factories) will contain similar measures. The funding for this will come from fining Big Power as they continue to fail to serve the Nation. The days of privatising the profit and socialising the losses must end. To this end I would suggest that we introduce a new ethos: creeping Re-Nationalisation!

The modus operandi would resemble the current fining structure we have today. With a few changes.
The Offgen watchdog becomes truly independent of its Big Power Master. It is staffed and motivated to be ever vigilant and allowed to bite. Hard. In big chunks.
Ever more restrictions on Big Power and higher fines when they fail to comply.
(And here’s the kicker) All fines to be paid in shares. Existing shares not new stock. Shares forfeited by management and board of directors and coming from their personal portfolios. When that runs out the shares will be bought by the company and given to the Nation.
When we have control we wind the company up and hand it back to the people as a publicly run publicly owned Public Utility serving the Citizen not the City.

If the scheme seems to work I would roll it out on the other public utilities that so signally fail to be useful to the public. If the escalating number of complaints is anything to go by!

Community Kitchens and Cafés
The brave experiment by our Jamie et al in trying to better our eating habits rolled out on a national scale. In the face of an agribusiness and ‘food’ industry that is signally failing the British (and European) consumer. In addition to their role described below, these centres would act as Stream Hubs and as places where Society (That “there was no such thing” off!) is re-built. The ultimate aim is to turn a nation of shop keepers into a nation of thriftycooks. As climate change; desertification of southern Europe; peak oil and the various other ecological factors contributing to the perfect storm of Beddington; the days of flying fruit & veg from the opposite side of the globe will end. Locally sourced, seasonal and misshapen  foods will be the best we can hope for. The worst: food riots!

Rather than reintroduce rationing with posh food available on the black market perhaps a re-education programme started now would start a trend of healthy and sustainable eating habits.

I would suggest that initially the Kitchens be adapted from or added to the primary School network. They would be multi-tasking and best described by a typical working day. Every day. Because a child is entitled to FSM during term and during the holidays! And perhaps a bit of educational catchup with the ketchup! (Or perhaps that should be passata 🙂

Early (Or very late.) Cleaning. Donations. Food Collection. Menu planning

Breakfast Service “The Porridge Club”
According to most the most important meal of the day!
The kitchen would open for business at 6.00 am for the pre-school run with children (of all ages) arriving for a hot breakfast. In addition to starting the day off right for the very young; the very young could be shown how to cook porridge! Spurtles optional. Meanwhile secondary school children; parents; pensioners; workers going to an early shift or returning home after a night shift could also be catered for.
The cost: variable! The charges would be set by the catering manager in line with a local government framework. I would seriously suggest that those families not on income support be asked to donate what they feel the meal was worth. If personal experience and the Occupy movement is anything to go by the financially secure will pay above the odds for a good bacon sarnie and a good cuppa!

Lunchtime Service
In addition to catering for the primary schoolers, the luncheon would also be catered for local OAPs. Perhaps the interaction of young and old would also pay dividends… Again spare capacity would allow the unemployed and the poorly paid access to a proper ‘works canteen’ style lunch. Rather than a mass produced pret-a-snack bolted down at the desk whilst working through the lunch break. Again the cost would be variable decided by the local management. But the donation principle might still apply!
In the afternoon the school would run cookery lessons. Again for all ages with the emphasis on healthy eating and fresh seasonal foods. Ideally from the local area. Local restaurateurs could get in the act. Skills would range from dough making and smashing up potatos (age five) to knife work (age ten). Again perhaps the retired could take a role here: passing on old recipes, tricks and tips. My mothers rationing recipies were of great use to this batchelor when cooking during my student days often for a hall’s entire kitchen! Those not of a culinary bent could perform some silver service or silver surfing or reminisce from their personal past: passing local history and other topics down across the generation gap.

High Tea
With parents working to all hours the “latchkey kid” is a term to be avoided and a practice too. I would suggest a fast (but healthy) food menu catering for those that would be returning to an empty home. Thus rather than the plateful of sugary cereal or fried chicken & chips; a better nutritional meal would be available as well as a Homework Club. With teachers on hand to help those struggling with a little extra tuition. Naturally with the connection to the National Stream: surfing will be superior to that obtained at home and perhaps a new generation of cooperative video games will instil social responsibility instead of shooting to kill.

Dinner Service
I have in mind the equivalent to the Working Persons Club. Only with food and education at the centre of the stage rather than beer and darts. The working persons equivalent to the Lord Mayor’s Banquet on a daily basis. Whilst families could bring in a bottle I would suggest a stiff corkage fee to discourage excess. After the meal perhaps there would be debate; a presentation of some form; discussion of local politics or national issues of the day. If people want to watch the football there is always the pub. However this aothour would suggest the occasional award winning or thought provoking film vs the Hollywood ‘blockbuster.’

Funding
In addition to a break even pricing regime; I would look to a local supermarket tax: specifically aimed at the volume of high fat; high sugar; highly processed foods that they sell. The less they market to the general public: the less they pay. Simultaneously I would look to local vendors to provide free food that would normally be wasted. Skipping on a national scale would prevent the huge amounts of food that is quite fit to eat but ends up in pigs or, worse still, landfill. Again I would take a leaf out of the Occupy movement that was able to feed all comers for free using a mixture of donations and local charity by the local shops.
If it can work in a windy corner of St Paul’s Churchyard: it can work anywhere.

If the larger establishments work I would then run out the smaller (brown!) Cafés where in addition to the National Stream other (taxed) methods of mind expansion would be on offer. These establishments would be licensed and staffed by people trained to handle the rare cases of abuse.
Two birds with one stone springs to mind!

http://sfcompact.blogspot.co.uk/2009/06/notes-on-skipping.html

Further to this I would also suggest a minor amendment to existing food legislation.

Currently most foodstuffs have a “sell by” and a “use by” date. This legislation would insert a third date in between the two: “Donate By.”

Food retailers would be mandated by law to donate unsold food to Food Banks, Charities and Community Kitchens. They would also be penalised for nutritious food skipped or sent to pig farms.

Whilst waiting for the cheap bread to appear at a supermarket (as you do on the breadline) …one can’t but help notice the vast amounts of perfectly good bread being sent to goodness knows where. As any good environmentallist will tell you the energy costs involved in feeding the world would be very much reduced if with a parallel reduction in meat production. At the moment we have the luxury of choice.

In the future we won’t have a choice at all.