Future Views Magazine
University Fees and Debt
Who is the main beneficiary of university education, the student, the employer or the nation?
Units of measurement and the end of space.
Six Point Pollution Solution
Part One: "Flowers In The City"
brighten our cities with many tiny garden?
Six Point Pollution Solution
Part Two: "The Transformation of Waste"
Instead of landfill, waste could be a valuable resource.
Hidden blueprints for the new cities of the sea.
Arabian Mights & Maybes
Plans for the future carefully copied by Brenda.
Arabian Might May Raise The Sea
Desalinated reverse rivers powered by nature
The Unpublished Manuscript
A hint as to what may lie in the future.
A curious twist to the laws of perception.
The Slop House
an alternative to the traditional public house
You Are A Winner
A willing victim is the best victim.
Maybe our prisons are not as wonderful as all that.
The Bright New Pants Manifesto
The hilarious solution to invevitable change
A raging argument is discovered
Why emigrate to Mars when we might be able to populate the oceans first?
Euan and I finally returned to the bar at the prow overlooking the Caspian Sea having toured the ship and concluded that Sir Keith and his co-conspirators were not on board.
We looked at each other wondering whether, at this very moment, they were setting up their deadly devices.
Brenda, Lotte, Eta, Igvarts, Acey and Tosh
were in the best seats enjoying the view. We squeezed ourselves in.
"What were you doing before you joined us?" Lotte asked Igvarts.
"I was filming a project to develop a tunnel that would be suspended in the sea," he replied.
"Oh," said Lotte, "sounds interesting."
"In Norway," Igvarts continued, "they have extremely deep fjords, one either has to drive round, which can take several hours, or cross by ferry, which is slow and expensive. As the fjords are often several miles wide the solution was proposed that a tunnel be built in a factory, section by section, and these would then be floated into position. The sections are positively buoyant and held in place by cables anchored to the sea floor far below. Each section has its own buoyancy-control with emergency access tunnels running along either side."
"Interesting, yes, practical, no," remarked Tosh.
Igvarts raised an eyebrow and looked at him askance but said nothing.
Euan laughed, "impractical? What, are you some sort of undercover Chief Engineer working incognito? Do you know something they don't?"
All eyes were on Euan, Tosh was annoyed.
"Will you tell him or shall I?" Euan said to Igvarts. He continued without waiting for an answer. "Did you know that right now as we talk engineers are - " Euan was cut short.
"Discussing the terraforming of Mars!" Eta chipped in.
Tosh threw back his head and rolled his eyes.
Euan scowled and shook his head, "that too, but they are designing a tunnel just like the one Igvarts described which would stretch from Ireland or Wales or Glasgow - "
"Rotterdam," Igvarts said, rolling his 'rs' like a growling rottweiler.
"Whatever," Euan shrugged, "nevertheless they are designing a tunnel - "
Igvarts cut in, "it would float one or two hundred feet in the sea and carry superfast - "
"Supersonic," corrected Acey.
"Supersonic," Igvarts repeated, "trains from Europe to America, making transatlantic crossing in under three hours."
"Whatever for?" Eta gasped in breathless disbelief. She laughed, her shoulders shaking gently. "How incredibly silly! It would cost all the money in the world!" She turned to Lotte to share her amusement.
"Wait a mo' though," said Euan, "it might not be as silly as all that. There's more."
Everyone looked at Euan, Tosh was sceptical to say the least. Euan looked at Igvarts. "Go on," said Igvarts, with a knowing smile. Acey was bursting to cut in and recount his version.
"If you have a really big project," Euan continued, "sometimes it's a good idea to tag it on the tail of an even bigger project, that way, far more resources are made available and the stupendous becomes manageable." As he spoke, he kept his eyes on Igvarts for his approval and agreement.
Igvarts nodded, "oceanic cities," he said softly and smiled.
Acey was beaming. "One lot of scientists is going on about terra-forming Mars, others want to live on the moon, so, yeah, believe it or not, some might be studying how to continue living here on Earth. Our 'Earth' is made mostly of water - ."
"Planet Sea!" Lotte joked with a giggle.
"Aitch-Two-Oh" Brenda suggested but I'm not sure anyone heard her.
"Anyway," Euan struggled to regain control of the conversation, "why not put the Moon and Mars on hold for a few decades and instead design cities - countries, rather - that float in mid ocean."
Igvarts, Acey and I nodded, Tosh looked perplexed. Lotte and Eta were giggling and whispering.
"Ambitious," Igvarts said, "but more practical and less expensive."
"Pah!" Tosh threw back his head and turned away in contempt.
"Remember D-Day?" Acey said. "The Mulberries, floating harbours, oil piped from Britain to Normandy? We've done this kind of thing before!"
Lotte nodded, Brenda turned from Tosh to Igvarts to Acey and Euan. I was sceptical, there seemed to be rather a large leap of scale from the Mulberries to oceanic cities, let alone countries.
"How?" I challenged.
"First," said Igvarts in that quiet confident tone of his, "build a - em," he floundered, "whatsit, a matrix, network - er - "
"Lattice?" said Brenda.
"Lattice," Igvarts thanked her with a nod, "on land, build a three dimensional lattice of cones."
Euan was growing impatient with Igvarts' strained English and decided to help him out, "interlocking tubes, pipes, passages whatever, all of which are cone-shaped," he was highly animated as usual.
"Huge cones peppered by smaller cones which likewise have tiny cones leading into them. There are also cones which are sealed off to create buoyancy. These lattices are floated out into the ocean, linked together and left to grow - to acquire seaweed, sand, growths of all kinds. Because of their valve-like shape, sea water pumps through the cones which act like filters, trapping particles. The sea, as you know, is rich in every kind of mineral, these lattices are designed to be highly efficient 'dirt-traps.' Within a relatively short time, what started out as a hollow lattice would be instead a great big lump of - "
"Terra-forma," exclaimed Eta with a sweep of her arm and a snap of her fingers.
"Exactly," said Euan.
Acey, evidently having already discussed the idea with Igvarts and Euan, continued, "the 'cones' themselves could be created naturally by trapping silt washed down from rivers. Mix the silt with water and a binding agent, trap it in some kind of mould and hey presto, sections of lattice could be manufactured as we sleep." Acey grinned and held up his palms like it was a doddle.
"You mean," interjected Arri, "make a sort of giant gossamer condom-type thing with a former holding the wide bit open, let the river run through it and as the silt sticks to the sides, the initial cone is formed?"
"Absolutely," said Acey.
Tosh shook his head, pulled a face and finished his drink. "What's that got to do with floating tunnels criss-crossing the Atlantic?" he smacked his empty glass on the table.
"Well," Euan tried to explain, "string a dozen of these floating cities across the Atlantic and the tunnel - "
"- becomes the 'Fast Track' to Hades!" Tosh exploded, "who the blazes wants to live on a lump of muck in the middle of the Atlantic? Criminals? Lunatics? It's deranged if you ask me." Tosh shook his head in disbelief.
Brenda laughed with him.
"You're not serious are you?" Brenda remarked, "the wages bill alone would cripple most economies."
"Wages? What wages?" Euan beamed mischievously. "On a project as big as this you use conscripts."
"Conscripts!" Tosh was apoplectic.
Euan was undeterred, "why should everyone be paid for everything? Do you get paid to brush your teeth? To wash the dishes? To bring up children? Nah. Why not conscript people to work either full time but for limited periods, or occasionally, like weekly or monthly. Of course they get their costs, they would need to be housed and fed and all that and given pocket money but they would not be 'hired hands' in the capitalist or union's sense of the term. Not slaves, not employees, not volunteers, not criminals but citizen conscripts."
Tosh shot to his feet, arm outstretched in a Nazi salute, finger under his nose to represent Hitler's moustache, "Sieg Heil!" he shouted, a little over loudly.
Euan was smiling, almost laughing. "Okay smarty pants, let's look at crime waves and unemployment. We have a massive problem here in the West of too many people, not enough work, unbalanced economies, horrific crimes, a lack of discipline and a loss of any real sense of purpose. No doubt you prefer buying-in more prison ships from America at hundreds of pounds per crook per week!"
"Per day more like," Lotte interjected.
"Quite," continued Euan, "conscription of school leavers giving them one or two years of disciplined, rewarding, community-related activity would go some way towards instilling self confidence, self knowledge and an understanding - "
" - of the meaning of work!" exclaimed Lotte enthusiastically.
"Like I said," growled Tosh, "Sieg Heil." He glowered intransigently.
Eta turned to him and, in her best tone of superior knowledge, said, "have you any idea how many schoolchildren become involved in drugs, crime and anti-social behaviour during their last years of school and emerge 'into society' with no intention of doing an honest day's work or of ever becoming an integrated member of that 'society'? Do you have the slightest idea of just how extraordinarily difficult it is for someone to get back on track? Euan has a point, we need a bridge, we need a stepping stone between the world of school and everything that comes after."
"I like that," said Lotte, "you put that very well, Eta."
"Ahem," Brenda cleared her throat, "what exactly has all this to do with transatlantic tunnels and cities in the sea?"
"Slave labour," Tosh growled with a grimace of disdain.
"Oh yes," Acey muttered, smirking, "conscripts stranded at sea with giant condoms."
"Okay so we stick a couple of thousand of these lattice-things in the Atlantic, then what?" I asked.
"They are designed to rotate," Euan continued, "the whole labyrinth of conical tubes gyrates, pumping water through the cone-shaped pipes. Every bit of sand, seaweed, rope or slurry that makes contact with it applies itself to the surface until, a few months down the line, the 'lattice' has become a floating land-mass. The loose clusters turn into floating islands which become more and more solid over time."
Tosh was putting on a great display of hilarious derision, throwing back his head, slapping his thigh, imaginary tears rolling down his cheeks. When Euan paused he spoke.
"You don't honestly expect anyone to take this gibberish seriously do you?" he said, "floating islands of muck and seaweed becoming the basis of oceanic cities? I've never heard anything so deranged and absurd in all my days. How the blazes are you going to build houses on that?"
Euan was unperturbed, "you don't," he replied with a shrug, "all 'houses' are constructed in factories. What I have been describing are the units for creating mass, stability, and ultimately, a surface where people can live outdoors rather being shut away inside amphibious modules. You're very impatient you know, you never let people finish."
Tosh pulled a face, shook his head, shot to his feet and took his empty glass to the bar.
Eta put her hand by her mouth, "I think he's in a huff," she hissed.
"Houses?" Brenda asked.
"Amphibious modules," Acey said.
"Exactly," Euan replied, "you're hardly going to be able to pitch a tent out there, are you? The 'Atlantic City' would be made up of factory-built amphibious domiciles that transform sea water into air and nutrients using sunshine, sea-pressure and filtration." Euan paused to see if he was making sense, we listened. Igvarts nodded with a satisfied smile as if he was the one who had explained it to Euan and Acey in the first place.
"When the sea gets rough," Euan continued, "the 'domiciles' sink to a hundred or even several hundred fathoms but on fine days they float on the surface."
Euan cleared a space on the table, drew a sketch with his finger and continued.
"The people who live and work out there dedicate their lives to understanding the sea," said Euan. "They farm the ocean in every way possible, thereby making a huge contribution to the welfare and future of mankind. Initially, there might only be a couple of dozen households but a hundred years down the line, who knows? There could be thousands of people in each colony - remember where we began, transatlantic super-sonic trains and terraforming Mars? These people would be living less than two hours from both Europe and America."
I envisaged a thriving city bobbing on the waves, twelve-foot acrylic spheres interconnected by steel tubes and weird contraptions surrounded by a mushy quagmire of semi-congealed waste. Down below there would be an underwater station attached to a transatlantic subway. Giant chains trailing thousands of feet would be needed to keep the whole thing in place and no doubt there would be clusters of bathyspheres permanently located at various depths to perform experiments and research.
Tosh returned with his drink and plonked himself heavily down.
"Right," he said, unbowed, "you've got all these nut-cases sitting in their bathyspheres and a storm brews up. They flood the buoyancy chambers and plunge down three hundred feet where it's relatively calm, knocking out a submarine or two on the way. What about the garden bit? Are you telling us that the cultivated topside gets periodically dragged down too? Or do you leave it floating to get battered to pieces and they replant everything after each and every storm? Pah," he shook his head and took a gulp from his glass.
"Ships cross the Atlantic every day," replied Euan.
Acey and Eta laughed, "nice one, Euan," said Acey, rising to his feet. "Anyone want a refill? I'm going to the bar." He threw a dirty look at Tosh.
I nodded to him and turned to Euan with a shrug, "well, how do you solve the 'Tosh' problem?"
"Protective spheres?" Eta suggested.
"The artificial land stays at the surface and withstands any storm," Igvarts volunteered, "the inhabited parts descend to a safe depth."
"Why not just have the whole great caboodle sink and rise as required?" Lotte exclaimed, "that would surely be altogether less complicated."
"I had kind of thought there might be, kind of, like, tankers, as it were, with gardens on them," said Euan, "when a storm blows up the tankers batten down the hatches, forming watertight units. Being tossed about by the waves shouldn't be too much of a problem - "
"Except that when you return you'll find your precious gardens splattered all over the interior," said Tosh with an air of superior practicality.
Euan shrugged and took a drink, "whatever," he said nonchalantly.
I laughed, "it's the gist of it we should be thinking about not the technical specifications. Euan's just expressing an idea, opening up a field of possibilities."
"Telling us what scientists are already, as we speak, discussing and planning," said Acey.
"Old tankers," Brenda spoke as one who had had a revelation. "That's it, instead of scrapping them, splash them with layers of waterproof stuff, lash 'em together and: hey presto, one instant, ecological, fully recycled inhabitable oceanic city. Well done, I'd never have thought of that." She grinned.
Tosh suspended judgement.
Lotte's face lit up, "it makes a lot more sense than," she giggled, "firing frozen humans into space and hoping they'll form colonies on ice-cold planets at the edge of the solar system!" She whooped with that slightly over the top laugh of hers.
Acey returned with a tray covered in drinks, crisps and packets of peanuts, "do you really think that this one's a goer?" he asked, placing the tray on the table.
"Yes, actually," Lotte, Eta and I replied in unison.
"It'd be easier to live in the desert," said Tosh, addressing the ashtray as he stubbed out his cigarette.
"Am I glad you mentioned that!" Euan exclaimed enthusiastically.
"Oh no," moaned Tosh, covering his face, "he's got an answer to everything, has this boy."
Acey and I laughed.
"Another time," said Eta.
We raised our new drinks in silence.
"Why the cone?" Tosh asked dryly, "you got a thing about ice cream or something?"
"Wide entrance," Acey explained, "valve effect. Water rushes in, narrowing tube, water accelerates, large mass converts to kinetic speed. A straight tube in the sea wouldn't have any dynamics, it would take longer to build up any mass."
Euan nodded in agreement, "the cone-things gather up every piece of muck that's floating around and develop into artificial land mass in record time."
"Huh," Tosh growled, "you'll need millions of tons of concrete, every cement factory in the world wouldn't be able to supply the volumes you're talking about, you're off your head!"
Euan disagreed, "the cones concentrate the solid matter, it congeals and either sticks to the cone or falls to the sea floor. Eventually land really will be reclaimed, the floating island will become a fully connected island."
Acey pulled a balloon from his pocket, blew it up, tied a knot and handed it to Tosh, "there," he said, "this stuff can be produced quickly, cheaply, and it can be made sticky too. Who said anything about concrete?"
Tosh's shoulders shook as he tried not to laugh at the absurdity of the proposal.
"The skeleton is made of a material like this," Acey continued, "it lies on river banks or any place where silt gathers. The flimsy cone acquires density because river silt sticks to it."
"And this is even before any development work!" Eta exclaimed.
Tosh scowled, shook his head and clicked his tongue.
"Come on Tosh," Euan said, "the clockwork radio is an impossibility but Trevor Bayliss went ahead and built it anyway."
I nodded, Lotte looked at me and nodded in unison.
"Same goes for travel to the moon," added Eta quietly.
"And what do people out there do all day?" Tosh asked, "you'll need a lot more than a bit of fish farming to get an economy going."
"I think you'll find Euan has the answer to that, too," I countered, knowing what was coming next.
Euan smiled, "where you have sea you have motion, motion means energy and energy can be used to do work."
"That's it!" Acey exclaimed, "link together floating spheres with leavers and gears and, hey presto! You have a motor."
Igvarts nodded, "how many engineers would just love to be involved in developing massive machines, harnessing the phenomenal power of the Atlantic Ocean?"
"Use your imagination," Euan was radiant, "megawatts of power being sold to the rest of the world - before you know it these little colonies will be lending money to everybody else!"
"Visiting their clients by supersonic train," observed Eta.
"Where do I join?" Igvarts smiled.
"Not to mention minerals, health supplements, rare nutrients, new medicines and exotic foods," Lotte added quietly.
Euan perked up, "in the Atlantic City giant cylinders containing a ton or more of supplies such as flour or rice could float inside air-filled tanks forming a simple wave-action pump." He was about to continue in what was likely to become an inarticulate babble when Acey remembered a joke.
"Did you hear the one about the man who kept an octopus in his bath?" He stopped short as Saleh al Moharbi, Sir Keith's friend (and, we believed, a co-conspirator), joined us. Euan and I exchanged glances, where on earth had he sprung from, we wondered. Saleh looked at our silent faces, turned to Acey and said, "no, please, do continue."
A man has to go away for the weekend and asks a friend to look after his octopus. He explains how to carry it into the bath while changing the water but urges him to be sure not to drop it onto the floor or the suckers will stick and he will have to use the shovel.
When he returns he finds his friend struggling to prise the octopus off the floor with the shovel, every time he raises a few tentacles, others slip off and stick to the floor again.
"No no no," says the owner, "this is how you do it."
He raises the shovel and shouts at the octopus, "do you want me to clobber you?"
The octopus throws all its tentacles over its head, he scoops it up and pops it into the bath.
- oOo -
"The Waste Eater" - turn ocean rubbish into islands.
The PX10-1 designed as an oil slick cleaner, retired, unused, could be turned to cleaning up the vast areas of floating waste.
These could be sprayed with foam by a ship such as the "MSV Stadive".
Discarded trawler nets dipped in "Flaura & Fauna Paint" would not only help hold the stuff together but also provide a surface for sea plants.
“The Dragon's Boy”
screenplay on InkTip
A winged schoolboy who hatched from an egg
flees for his life and plunges into
The Land of Legend and Mythology
Big Fat Slob
“Chant Of The Tesekesurian Hordes”
“They conquered all before them”
Garden Shed music
CD ten tracks
with Tiffany Mulheron
A film by James White
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