Daily Challenge Day 46

…in a cold, cold world
…quit livin’ on dreams
…life is not what it seems
…lost in the night
Don’t wanna struggle and fight
[Jeanny, by Falco]

Everything seems to have gone kaput. Need a new laptop, along with CAD software and 3D structural analysis software which will run on the computer. Which highlights the common problem of growth and heritage. Heritage provides a foundation on which to build the future, but there is another aspect to heritage. Heritage can get in the way and prevent moving forward.

Assuming humanity doesn’t wipe itself out, in a 1000 years time will anyone care who Newton or Einstein were? How much knowledge can we retain, and when does the summary become so compressed  that a topic is dropped in its entirety?

In the past I’ve considered just how many photo albums can a person accumulate, and then came video tapes. Likewise for many other items such as books. I have close to a 1000 books and still don’t have enough for what I need to know.

Learning and maintenance of knowledge seems to have similar nature to construction and maintenance of infrastructure. There is the problem of moving forward and then back tracking over the past achievements. Say I spend 100 hours learning something, and that knowledge deteriorates, then at sometime in the future I need to go back over learning such. The refresher however doesn’t require 100 hours,  it only requires say 80% of the time. However, as move forward in time the knowledge acquired increases to say 10,000 hours, and just keeps increasing. But in the process it becomes increasingly difficult to backtrack and refresh such knowledge. Not surprising there is the saying: I’ve forgotten more than you know. Thus there appears to be a point at which just have to accept that have forgotten and that maybe not much point refreshing such knowledge. Or refresh knowledge only on an as needs basis. Though the question is whether to learn proactively or reactively? That is, do you start learning and refreshing knowledge when the needs of a project demand it and thus delay completion of a project, or attempt proactive learning and be ahead of the game when the project comes around? In the main cannot answer this one way or the other, need a combination of both approaches. {Anycase seems like should be able to write a mathematical expression to model the growth in knowledge along with deterioration of knowledge. Assuming there is some quantitative measure of knowledge.}

Anycase infrastructure has similar problem. Our cities exist already, and at some point we need to rebuild that which we already have. But we are dependent on such infrastructure, and we cannot restore 100 years of infrastructure in a year. So whilst we gain benefits of the heritage of infrastructure, and don’t need to expend time and other resources on building such, and can move onto other things, the accumulation of other things creates a future in which we are dependent on systems which we have no ability to replace.

Small elemental building blocks are thus more versatile and sustainable than massive infrastructure. The elemental blocks can be modified or modernised quickly, but the larger systems built from such blocks take far longer to construct: on the other hand they’re more capable of adapting and staying suitable for purpose than massive systems built as a single unit.

For example water tanks are potentially more useful, adaptable, sustainable and secure than water pipe lines. As water supplies diminish, the pipeline will cease to function before the water is used up. Mobile buildings can come closer together or move further apart as needs demands.

It is with roads and railways, where an elemental adaptable building block doesn’t appear viable. It would seem that as population increases then required infrastructure increases in proportion to the population. Except that roads don’t. Each individual village may represent increase in population and proportional increase in infrastructure, however connecting the villages represents infrastructure which wasn’t previously needed. The future net population thus acquires expenses the previously smaller population didn’t have. It becomes increasingly expensive to connect all the population. However all the population doesn’t need to be connected. The problem lies in creating dependency between the villages, and thus demanding connector roads. For example if a village has its own hospital then it doesn’t need to be connected to another village for hospital services.

The problem arises when start taking into consideration the probabilities of need, and the population needed to serve and the operational radius. Adelaide hospital for example is on the coast, so it cannot have a practical operational radius which serves the entire state. Its location demands a contraction of the population to close proximity to the hospital, such contraction will make mining and rural communities increasingly remote and isolated. It basically represents inappropriate technology.

Then consider that central region of Australia (South Australia and Northern Territory), really need to develop on their own. The eastern states have population, whilst Western Australia seems to have a kind of isolation which benefits it. South Australia however, seems to be considered close enough to Victoria, to be otherwise dependent on the eastern states and no need to develop locally.

The distance between Adelaide and Darwin is 2018 km, or 3027 km by road, whilst distance from Adelaide to Alice Springs is 1326 km or 1532.6 km by road. From previous posts the typical operational range of an helicopter is around 250 km: so need around 13 airfields between northern coast and southern coast. Or more to the point at least 13 hospitals to serve the entire region. Or around 6 to serve South Australia.

But decisions aren’t made on the basis of area to be occupied, only on the basis of population. Thus Yorke Peninsula council area a population just below 12,000, and Copper Coast council area just over 12,000, but vastly different areas. Why set the local government regions based on population rather than areas? Larger areas need larger populations to develop. So why set up a region to be unviable?

I saw a map on a post by Arup a few months back, and it indicated that Australia is covered in roads: but most of those roads are not sealed nor accessible to the public: and maintaining is a apparently becoming a problem.

Anycase population is increasing and maintaining the infrastructure and services appears to becoming increasingly impractical. Exactly why this is so, is not entirely clear.


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