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Monday, April 05, 2010

from the earth to the moon.

This weekend some friends and I began watching the mini-series From the Earth to the Moon. The HBO mini-series ran from April to May 1998 and focused on the Apollo program that led to the first Moon landing on July 20, 1969.

Over forty years ago, human beings developed the kind of technology that could carry three men to the Moon. It is mind-boggling to think about change in thinking that it must have taken to develop the kind of technology that could carry a man to the Moon in the 1960s. Watching the mini-series really began to put into perspective how much our society has changed because of the Apollo program. Not only did the Apollo space program beat the Communists to the Moon, but it resulted in a huge number of technological spin-offs that helped push western civilization into a new kind of reality.

Over forty years later on March 30, 2010, CERNs Large Hadron Collider successfully collided beams of protons at the highest energy levels ever seen. While these technological advancements may not be directly (or indirectly linked), it is a perfect example of the leaps that have been made since.

It is likely that within my lifetime, there will be technological changes that could completely redefine how our society functions. In a field close to the hearts and paycheques of Albertans, how would the province of Alberta if a giant technological leap occurred in the field of energy? Would Alberta be prepared for the result of new energy technology that could decrease the world's dependence on oil and natural gas?

What would Alberta look like if this happened in 2010? What would happen to the oilsands and the billions of dollars that have been spent building the infrastructure around them? According to local futurist Kevin Kuchinski, "Alberta's oil belt will be the new rust belt."

In 1905, Alberta's provincial boundaries were defined with railway access in mind. What will our next boundaries be and what will define them?

12 comments:

Gauntlet said...

Careful, buddy. This sounds like an argument to get it all out of the ground now while it's still worth something. :)

Anonymous said...

What the hell is a "local futurist"?

Rachelle said...

All good questions, but projections of the future have to include demographics and the fact that there will be a lot fewer people around once the boomers pass away. Negative growth will change the future.

Anonymous said...

Ground control to Major Dave, you're floating in a most peculiar way...

Darren said...

Humans aren't the borg. Just because one society develops some new form of energy technology, doesn't mean that everything everywhere else changes all at once. The "easy" markets of the US would likely start to plateau and decrease, the overall price might drop but markets like China, India and maybe Africa would still consume oil.

Berry Farmer said...

Nope, nothing new is possible. Better keep drilling into the ground.

Forget supporting technologies like mag-lev wind turbines... geo-thermal power... algae-based bio fuels....

Pie in the sky. Never work. Craziness.

Let's just keep on keeping on. Lowering royalty rates at a time of sky-rocketing oil prices was the right move. It sends the right message to Albertans.

Don't you dare go innovating. That sort of thinking is liable to waste money that could be used for downtown arenas and horse race tracks and higher office towers.

Nope... just keep making education more expensive and less inspiring. Keep our kids focused on big-money jobs in the "patch." That's the ticket.

And in passing, we should rename Cap-Ex... call it something "retro" like, maybe "Klondike Days." Better to be stuck in the past we know that risk trying something new.

New ideas = bad.

Anonymous said...

This is a revelation, Dave. I thought your definition of advancement was shutting down airports and replacing them with coffee shops.

Anonymous said...

Berry, you are a visionary.

Nope, nothing new is possible. Better keep drilling into the ground. Because we have to destroy our past to venture forth into the future. Its only logical. Nothing to be learned or appreciated from the past.

Forget supporting technologies like mag-lev wind turbines... geo-thermal power... algae-based bio fuels.... Because we'll need a maglev to travel from the hip urban condo to Starbucks.

Pie in the sky. Never work. Craziness. Nope, not when the city is falling into the hands of socialists.

And in passing, we should rename 'funky awesome unlikely virgin birth day'... call it something "retro" like, maybe "Christmas." Better to be stuck in the past we know that risk trying something new. Too bad London didn't knock down all those ugly 'old' buildings like the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey. Its sooo yesterday. We could have had 5 Gherkins by now....and a windfarm on the Thames.

Anonymous said...

This is an awesome post Dave. I think the only thing standing between you and a genuine revolution now is a good dialogue. I suggest you and Chapman coordinate ASAP via Twitter, set up a Facebook page and reboot the whole mess from a progressive perspective. If you're not running the province by Wednesday next, odds are better than even you'll at least get a thumping good word cloud or two out of the deal.

Slickrock said...

Humans will be using fossil fuels for at least 50 years. And in the mean time, traditional energy demand is growing.
Humans will be using plastic (which is made from petroleum products) for at least that long, or longer and the demands is going through the roof.
Sorry, folks, this is reality.

So you're saying that Alberta needs to be responsible for not only providing the world with current energy, we're also responsible for coming up with a paradigm shifting energy technology? And pay for a high-speed train? And have both the Oilers and Flames make the playoffs in the same year? And look good in cowboy hats?

By the way "beat the Communists to the Moon"? Who are you, Paul Jackson? Just call them the Soviets next time.

Berry Farmer said...

"So you're saying that Alberta needs to be responsible for not only providing the world with current energy, we're also responsible for coming up with a paradigm shifting energy technology? And pay for a high-speed train?"

Yeah! That's exactly what we should be doing!!!

The Flames and the Oilers making the playoffs... in the same year... or any year? Couldn't give a rat's ass... and I was 20 years a minor hockey referee and much longer a volunteer.

Hugh MacDonald's Crazy Eyes said...

"This is a revelation, Dave. I thought your definition of advancement was shutting down airports and replacing them with coffee shops."

This was unfair, but laugh out loud funny.