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In Taipei you have to pay for trash bags. Bags are also expensive. It’s potentially possible that someone could make a profit from collecting 32 NT trash bags (the big ones), burning the trash and then reselling the bag. Hence, it could be possible to do away with city wide trash disposal simply by placing the cost of the service on the bag. If each bag was worth such and such an amount, slightly durable, and could be resold, this could create a market where folks would simply go around collecting trash, disposing of it, and reselling the bags for their profit. Of course some people would probably choose to burn or dispose of their trash themselves and also this might be a good incentive for cutting down on waste to begin with. You wouldn’t need to worry about people throwing out garbage in bags that are worthless, no one would want to pick up a shoddy disposable plastic bag because of it’s low resale value. Is it possible that this might be a better method for dealing with trash than the current system where the person throwing away their trash pays a remarkably small amount for a large amount of waste? While many cities employ similar methods as Taipei does (recylcing is free, normal trash costs money), this method has the advantage of being low cost (in theory it provides a city with trash disposal with no cost to the government) and hence perhaps something for the developing world.
The story is always familar to us in video games (especially Japanese ones). The civilization advances and then finds out that another civilization before it was more advanced. But how does this happen or has it happened? Imagine for a second if only 300 people in the world could make cars and they were to die tomorrow. Would we still be able to make cars? Eventually yes, as we developed the technologies again and extrapolated what we need from preserved specimens, but if we didn’t have writing and hence lost an immense oral tradition of knowledge or if the education gap was so high as to make transference of knowledge (not to mention the perspective and values of a more educated class) hard to do then it’s perfectly possible our society would fall apart. We are not so far from such a society at any moment, after all the number of information theory researchers in the world amounts to maybe 30 to 40k, but these people have left behind writing and we’re all close enough to them to be able to pick up where they left off, but my point being primitivism in a society can easily come after the class driving technological development has been killed off which does happen every once in awhile. If there was no writing and then all the quantum phyiscists died off, how long would it take for even educated folks to figure out the basics of quantum mechanics? We have now arrived at a context similar to that of a pre-literate tribe who has lost their elite to disease.
Let’s say that tomorrow aliens arrive on earth. Back on their home planet they have a naturally occuring energy source that provides them with the ability to fly through space at faster than light speeds. The aliens are not necessarily more advanced than us, they merely had the advantage of geography and context on their side to let them reach us first, but what if the aliens aren’t even advanced enough to know this, what if they lack the critical hindsight to see the wealth of intelligence before them? Then we not only have geographically advantaged invaders, but ignorant ones too and maybe they’ll kill off the mechanics? Now what are you going to do?
Maybe I should write science fiction?
Mad Cow Disaease is caused by a protein that pokes holes in the brain eventually driving the victim insane, neural stem cells (recently cultured by researchers at Fudon University) repair portions of the brain. Hence a neural stem cell treatment would repair damaged portons of the brain, but more interestingly the stem cells can also be used as biomarkers, hence we can literally regrow portions of the brain with biomarkers in them creating one large neuronal structure which could be tagged and studied as it works. If this would help anyone I don’t know, but the idea just occured to me and sounds fun (especially on mice). You could eventually have an entire brain tagged and studyable at one time.
Never forget that the time difference between LAX and Singapore is well over a day as I did and hence missed my Dad who left LAX the 11th U.S. time but arrived in Singapore the 13th while I arrived the 11th Taipei time and left the 12th Singapore time. Ahhh the earth so fickle is your rotation. Anyway, Singapore is obviously more diverse than Hong Kong or Japan, while perhaps traces of localism have dissapeared from Japan and other former confucianists, Singapore is one of those countries that seems to have actively grabbed immigrations by the reins and is taking it in for profit. That said, it’s also the only country I’ve been too that specifically asked if you’d been to Africa or South America in the last 6 days implying that the party is reserved for north of the equator countries only and does further reinforce the disneyland with a death penalty concept used to disparage it. The city itself I spent 12 hours in mostly wondering around malls near city hall with a brief stop in the marina. Surprisingly they have light rail running all the way from the airport making them one of the few Asian metropolises to have actually decide their cabbies and bus lines don’t need the added value of thousands of tourists pouring in per day. Singapore is also notable for having tons of archectual value in a small space that’s both spacious, clean, and surprisingly tastifully decrorated. While Shanghai has a slightly naive feeling to it’s design with a well designed and clean inner city, it still seems to have been made to impress while Singapore seems to have been made to be functional and it’s design more elegant compared to China’s bling it’s more macintosh than ice cream shop chains in other words. Picked up Royston Tan’s Shorts and also walked through a huge pile of garbage in a tunnel proving that things have changed since William Gibson walked through what was probably his own oppression (and I might added Shonen Knife is nothing compared to the subversive humor and creativity of Tan’s films.) a few years back. Singapore did feel like some type of camp for the wealthy though, sitting in a coffee shop I watched a young woman diligently hash out equations from an economics text book which is, next to the bioinformatics babes of Taipei, perhaps is as sexy as nerdism can get in Asia, and on my way out I ended up caught behind a group of Indian entrepenuers who were talking with a British expat who was complaing about having to much work in Dubai and not being able to make it in time (a problem we probably all wish we had). All in all, Singapore is perhaps a flat world oasis, but it also has a remarkably different feel from the rest of Asia, While Seoul for instance stocks English language text books in prodigious numbers and Taipei has anything and everything design related or Shibuya-kui Singapore felt more worldly, it’s populos seems to understand that there’s more to like than just engineering or economics etc. It seems to be a genuine creative economy in which film buffs are just as likely to be bank rolling their obsessions through intellectual means as through I.T. or other well known fields. It’s a consultants type of town in which folks are figuring out the holes in industries rather than trying to compete with them. Regardless, I wanna go back and I also picked up Osamu Tezuka‘s Buddha comics in English which is amazing. p.s. Flickr’s Singapore tag for city hall is nice.
No train from new airport (but new airport is nice especially the liquer store behind customs so you can sip while you wait on your luggage). Bangkok has the same problem as middle America, it’s poverty is it’s main charm. Walking down the strip tonight two cab drivers asked me if I wanted a beet. Sat around talking to them for about 20 minutes when one of them suggest I go to a girl bar or a boy bar down the street. Head off down the street and folks take me by the arm and ask if I want to a girl show. Their tactics are slightly less forceful than Shanghai’s prostitutes (and here slightly more legit), but pretty much anyone will be asked. Sex on a motorbike is apparently cool. Was hit by a scooter when I first got here, think I hurt them more than me.
Tales of these regions (especially Cambodia) are well known (one teacher at my academy says a group of canadain dudes paid some prostitutes in cambodia to suck their cocks while they shot rocket launchers etc.) Bangkok in particular is in the midst of a clean up (trains and buses close early), but the city is still sleazy in an entertaining type of way. A man rummaging through garbage sold me a tortoise for 5 baht etc. What’s advertised as possible here is perhaps more mirage than actuality, but the city is permessive much more so than the other tigers that sorround it.
If it happened to be at the Chancellor Dick’s ______ in Wyoma, Utah, that’s where he’d be. Towering over 7 feet tall in the maroon carpeting, dangling tide mendallions on the middle of the day, beer brimming, you could almost here his sound in words, a steady stumble of reel to reel as the men came in and out of theater, the threat of porn washing off their backs and this was only day 2 of the American foot race and already he could feel the stereotypes whistling away to the wind, the winner this year would be amputated, driven by revenge, and ultimately fraile, walking into last place with a smile on his back, knowing that the world’s problems would be solved by place and time and not the actions of men somewhere off in the woods screaming. Simplicity was not brutality anymore, it was a means of churning intelligence to the collective will of the small and simple, and his foot prints left simple statement of elegance in the wake of something so complicated, it could only be understood in simple black or white and maybe a dash of yella.