A couple of (probably stupid) ideas…

…courtesy of my liberal arts (i.e.: lack of science) education…

IDEA #1. Back in the days before central air conditioning and refrigeration made it possible to live comfortably through summers in the South, one enterprising entrepreneur floated a huge iceberg from the northern Atlantic down to the Gulf of Mexico. The purpose? Provide inexpensive ice for evaporative coolers, which at the time were the only way to cool a room. He made a fortune.

I understand from the sound-byte journalism on TV that the reason that tropical storms that cross into the Gulf become hurricanes is due to the warm waters in the Gulf. (It’s why the eco-Nazis try to convince us all that hurricanes are a lot worse due to ‘global warming.’)

So if cooling the waters of the Gulf would tame hurricanes, and it’s possible to move icebergs from the northern Atlantic to the Gulf, would it be possible to bring some ice to the party, and perhaps lessen the severity of the hurricanes?

I know this idea sounds dumb. It sounds pretty wacky as I type it. However, I’ve seen a lot of what seem to be crazy ideas turn into something that works. Case in point, when my parents first moved to Shreveport, they were approached by someone who wanted them to invest in a company that would rent  an airplane and a Geiger counter, then fly over the country looking for uranium deposits. $10,000 would have bought them 10% of the company. The only problem was, $10K was (at the time) all the money they had in the bank (this was back in the ’50s, when $10,000 was some REAL money). They turned down the opportunity, as it just sounded too whacked-out to be for real.

The group found the largest deposits of unranium within the lower 48. Ouch.

Had they bet the farm on this company, they’d have been instantly rich. So things like this DO happen.

Of course, there’s a lot I don’t know. (Thanks, liberal arts degree plan.) I don’t know how big an iceberg would have to be in order to effect a ‘climate change’ in the water, nor how many you’d need, how long it would take to move them, how accurately you’d have to place them in order to change the strength of the hurricane, nor how loudly the “save the crustaceans” crowd would howl if you tried to change the temperature of the Gulf. But if it’s even remotely feasible, I think it would be interesting to try it.

IDEA #2. It seems to me that everything is going “micro” today. Microloans. Micropayments. Micro-components. Why not micro-generators? Here’s the deal…in this country, at least, water moves by pressurization – generally gravity. Water flows through pipes, into our homes. Nobody’s (to my knowledge) is taking advantage of the kinetic energy that is created as the water moves through the pipes. Since I’m not a scientist, I have no idea how much energy could be generated by, say a miniature water turbine attached to the water pipes leading into a home, but I know that there’s plenty of electricity generated by flowing water. Would it be possible to develop a compact turbine that would generate even small amounts of power? Would it be worthwhile to try and capture that energy and throw it back on the grid?

IDEA #3. WiFi is everywhere, including a lot of homes. So’s air conditioning. It also represents one of the largest expenses for energy consumption. There are programmable thermostats that help, but you pretty much have to set them and either adhere to their schedule, or remember to reset them based on your schedule. How about a WiFi-enabled thermostat, along with WiFi enabled registers? Here’s how it would work…

You’d have each air vent outfitted with a motorized register/temperature sensor/WiFi node. Your home PC would be able to communicate with the thermostat AND the vents in each room. You’d have the ability to either allow the system to control the vents to balance the room temps automatically, or manually program the system to shut down rooms that you don’t use during certain times of day.

So…there’s three ideas I’ve had lately. Practical? I dunno. Crazy? Probably. But as a marketing guy, the important thing is to keep thinking up ideas, rather than worrying about if an idea is crazy or not.

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