Thursday, June 30, 2011

Alternative Technologies

Technology is all around us, we use it everyday when we turn on an electric light, start our car, turn the water tap, or any of a dozen other things.  Technology is applied knowledge.  Using the principles of electricity, we generate power to run our computers, heaters, toasters, and lights.  Using the principles of mechanics and combustion cars and other vehicles are built that get us from point a to point b, that’s more often than not, home to work and back again.  Modern medicine is based on modern chemistry and the many techniques learned from fixing bodies involved in combat or accidents.  Along with many machines and a whole range of pharmaceutical drugs, this is modern medical technology.  Technologies are simply (!) applied knowledge.  A model of how things work and a recipe for applying the principles to make cars or drugs or energy or any of a million other things.  Technology is often a double edged sword.  It provides a solution, not necessarily the best solution, and often comes with unexpected side effects.  Most of the technology we have today has developed from the science available at the end of the second world war.  We’ve used the models and understanding of how things work known at that time and we have gone far.  We have also discovered that there are side effects and unpleasant unexpected results from many of the products of conventional modern technology.

Many other roads have been bypassed or are no longer used.  Some alternative ideas about how things work have been suppressed as well.  The main purpose of this site is to explore and present products, services, and information about these roads not taken.  Many of them are making a come back.  Alternative approaches to medicine such as homeopathy, acupuncture, and herbs are based on somewhat different models or ways of understanding how things work than the modern methods and products.  Organic gardening and farming have a quite different view of how to raise crops and animals and the nutritional value of foods than modern agribusiness and the fast food industry.   The means of producing electricity and what you can do with it as explained by Nicola Tesela and the approach of teh modern energy industries is quite different.  Green technologies such as solar power and recycling take a different approach to energy generation and resource management than established energy companies and manufacturers.

I invite you to explore these roads not taken.   As this site develops, you will have the opportunity to try alternative products and methods, invest in alternative technologies, find alternative services, and learn about alternative technologies.  There is a wide range of alternatives from the ‘that makes sense lets see if it works’ to the ‘that’s pretty strange but why not try it’.  Many of these technologies can make you healthier, save you money, deliver products and services more effectively, or make you wealthier.  All of them offer you the opportunity to widen your thinking and improve the quality of your life.

The poet Robert Frost (to whom I’m informed I am distantly related) has some relevant words on the topic.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

-Robert Frost

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