Sunday, January 13, 2008

anthropowered future

Space colonizers and MallCitizens take note: future regulations may require every individual to contribute daily to the local energy store, in lieu of taxes. For so suggests to me a recent Reuters story by Anna Ringstrom, in which a Swedish state owned company now warms its Stockholm offices using body heat emanating from the quarter million commuters walking below them through through Stockholm's central train station. Instead of being vented into the atmosphere, the heated air and anthrobreath rising from the travellers is redirected via ventilation aggregators to the building's water heating systems. Cost? around 200,000 Swedish crowns ($31,200 US)

In the spirit of freedom, I mused, choices in ways of meeting one's daily budget shall doubtless be available in the selection of the heat absorbing chair or seat of one's work or schooling cubicle, or selection of approved thermattress on one's bed. The individual shall be free to obtain special benefits for those that opt to donate breathheat via modest, and dare we say stylish naso-therm storage units fitted discreetly into a nostril. Even more tax relief for those thermo-patriots that will selflessly carry colonic thermabsorption units within all day, and discharge them by night.

If like me, you'd spent 100s of childhood winter mornings in a bovine sauna --aka dairy barn-- where the large mammals radiated a surfeit of heat energy enmasse, this would be intuitively obvious. And whatever we hominids may lack in per capita size compared to cattle, we certainly are adept at massing together--in numbers that the passenger pigeons would have envied.

(side note: there must be a lot of passenger pigeon DNA samples in the storehouses of natural history museums. Why hasn't anyone cloned some up? They were, pre-euro-colonization, the most abundant bird in eastern North America, so obviously were a keystone species.)
Image morph from a 16th century mining illustration by Agricola, and Mercury astronauts Grissom and Glenn

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