Obvious Idea

Posted: October 3rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

While starved for inspiration and simultaneously bored out of my mind on Saturday afternoon, I came across this fantastic idea on GOOD.is: Taxpayer Receipts.

Think about it, when you buy a burger, or a pair of shoes, or a plane ticket, you get a bill of sale, itemized documentation of what you paid for.

However, what’s our single largest expense annually? Tax
Do we get any sort of itemized statement telling us what we paid for? Nope

Curious, right?

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Third Way, a self-described “leading moderate think tank of the progressive movement,” recently put out a plan for reducing the deficit, which included this embarrassingly obvious idea. Maybe taxpayers should get a breakdown, receipt-style, that explains where their money went each year.

Here’s what one might look like:


This single, embarrassingly simple item could clear up loads of voter/public misconceptions and radically increase the average American’s understanding (and hopefully appreciation) of the things we pay taxes to fund. Questions like:

“Did we really just pass Health Care Reform in a country who’s elected officials placed highway maintenance above health research?”
“NASA gets that much more than the EPA? I like space exploration but maybe we should maintain the planet we have since we can’t seem to find a new one to move to anytime soon.”
“Why does so much of my money go to Social Security if I keep being told the system will be broke in a few years? What’s the plan then, and will I get to keep that money? Why the hell didn’t Senior Citizens save when they were my age?”

Of course, this may be precisely why we don’t get information. Imagine if politicians had to run on truth and math that made sense, not repeatable scare-tactics and talking points? Makes you shudder, right?

Great Idea, Let's Make it Happen

Posted: June 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Great Idea, Let's Make it Happen

Was just reading on INHABITAT about the proposal put forth by Japanese company Shimizu Corp to turn the moon into a solar power plant.

Lots of people have called this idea crazy, and INHABITAT adds,

If we can’t get robots to fix an oil spill 5,000 feet below the ocean’s surface, how can we possibly expect them to build a gigantic solar power plant on the moon?

But I say, the plan isn’t ambitious enough.

Yes, folks, you just read that.  I may have just hit a milestone in ridiculousness, but I really don’t think robots on the moon is an ambitious enough plan.

Why just put a belt around it?   Why not try to cover as much of one side as you can?

I have to say, I love the idea of bountiful, cheap electrical power, especially if it can easily be shared to far reaching parts of the globe.

But let’s take it one step farther…

Why not couple this with the Wireless Power invented by MIT a couple years ago, and just beam free power to the world?

THAT is how I’d like the government to spend my tax dollars.

And, I bet THAT would get a lot more people to switch to electrical or solar-power automobiles.

Free power in AZ in the summer would mean at least $100 per month I’d have available, and I’m sure my home is on the small-end of that scale.

(I just checked, and APS.com confirmed that I used 7,885 kWh of power over the last 12 months, with 56% of that use coming from June – October. Average energy spending per month: $90.  Energy spending for the average AZ home: waaaay more than that.)

Sure, I get that money paid to the power company is still money going into the economy, and by no means to I think APS is an evil company. (Though the many coal-fired power plants in the East & Southeast are…)

However, if I had that extra money available, I could support more local businesses, such as through the 3/50 Project, or hell, even save the money for a big ticket purchase, like a down payment on a house (sub-prime hell nah).

Benefits of “free power”:

  • Solar & EV cars take over
  • Light Rail could run almost entirely for free   (not that they couldn’t pull this off if they installed solar on the existing line, though….)
  • More money to stimulate the local economy, instead of landing as profits for the electrical utility.
  • Storm-proof power.  Monsoons now longer a worry.
  • Less utilities means less costs for government in terms of facilities maintenance and entitlement payouts, and thus better funding for relevant projects and/or less taxes for us, further leading to more stimulus of the local economy.
  • No power plants endlessly burning coal, adding SO2 to the air, causing respiratory diseases and deaths.

I’m sure there are countless other benefits I just haven’t thought of right now….

Best Idea I've seen in a while

Posted: March 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

From TreeHugger.com:

Fading Barcode

A group of designers have decided that there’s got to be a better way to find the freshest produce in a supermarket. Rather than trust your own senses, they think a fading barcode is the right solution. They’ve come up with a barcode that starts off as a usual barcode, then slowly fades along with the product’s freshness. Not only would you be able to see which fruits and veggies have just been delivered, but when the barcode is nonexistant, that indicates to the store that it’s time to toss the product rather than sell it.

Start to Finish

Posted: February 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Start to Finish

Admission:  I’m sometimes obsessed with tattoos.  My parent’s weren’t a lot of things, but one thing they did do was always support creativity.  Not that they encouraged me to pursue my creativity, and indeed even stopped me from being able to go to NYU for Fine Art, but that’s another story… Anyways, since I was a kid, I was surrounded by tattoos, and while I have none myself, everyone else in my family does, and I think some are pretty cool.  As such, one of the blogs I repeatedly check out for inspiration is fuckyeahtattoos.  My most recent visit featured a lot of people with clocks or dates on their shoulders or collars.  This got me to thinking…

Idea:  What if we were born knowing the time we would perish, but not the date?  Could you imagine checking the clock, waiting for 10:17am every day and being thankful that today was not the day?  How much would you change your schedule to try to be somewhere safe, somewhere loved, etc?

One of my favorite odd-indie movies is “Happy Accidents”, where the protagonist knows the date and time his girlfriend will have an accident, and he tries to prevent it without making her think he’s gone completely off the deep-end.  Pretty good film overall, but also quite amazing to think about what we’d do for each other.

In fact, while pondering this concept of “what if I knew the minute of my death” and writing this last paragraph, I just realized that better/worse than knowing my own time would be knowing her time.  At my age, mortality is an extremely distant thought, and we conceive that by the time we’re snuffed out, we’ll be old and will see it coming from miles off…

Still, I’d be damn sure to talk to her every day just before that minute came.

Here's an idea

Posted: February 4th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Here's an idea

Shelf/Book Tree?

Posted: January 17th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Shelf/Book Tree?

This is actually kinda impressive to me.  I’d use this idea if someone could come up with a way to include ornaments and/or lights without seeming cheesy.

I apply this theory everyday at work. You should try it in your daily life

Posted: January 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , | Comments Off on I apply this theory everyday at work. You should try it in your daily life