World world

A theme park, opening soon along the gulf coast of Arkansas, promises visitors – and investors – more than just memories and a fun time with family.

Luring adventurers to the Land of All Time-themed playground, guests enjoy lily pad accommodations floating throughout the 38-square-mile park, on water and undulating, recycled “terrain.”

“It all started here – everything is from the closed loop, after all. So we just call it all natural,” said Stan Brimmingway, mastermind of the park and keeper of its honorary specimens. Modestly dressed in a smart Tyvex onesie, Stan pets a miniature bull before shepherding the creature back to its keeper. “Back when land was still bought and sold, people were fine with trading money for all of this,” he said and gestured broadly. “So we were glad to just get as much as we could – people thought they were losing land, but look at that view. The water is so much more alluring when its closer to the mountains anyway.”

And it’s unmistakable. A kind of Mediterranean vista, nestled in the Ozark foothills. Whether technology saved this landscape or invented it, it has definitely changed. “And that’s not new – and kinda the point,” Brimmingway said with a glint of enthusiasm not entirely absent of P.T. Barnum. “What is fitness after all other than the result of the effort it takes you to do normal things – otherwise it can be really hard to see this.”

Impossible, he means. Living in a moment most often means being defined by it. Unless you can imagine the Land of All Time, seeing today in context can be simply too much work. But that’s where the park comes in.

“It’s true that we brought ourselves to this place – totally our fault,” he said. “But imagine a glacier sitting on New York, or the invention of writing 3,500 years ago.” His voice trails off, galloping after his ow, quite visible sense of wonder.

“The thing about this is, it’s not only possible. It all happened. Check it out.”

Home Grown Power

Somewhat counter-intuitive take on the new electrical grid that’s been bandied about as an infrastructure project within the stimulus bill(s) set to appear at State House near you.

But there are better — and cheaper — ways to get more clean power flowing to the big cities. Renewable energy resources are found all across the country; they don’t need to be harnessed from just one place. In the Northwest, the largest amount of green power comes from hydroelectricity. In the Northeast, the best source may be the wind over the ocean, because it blows harder and more consistently there than on land. Offshore wind farms have been proposed for Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island. In the Southwest, solar energy can be tapped on a large scale. And in the Southeast, biomass from forests may one day be a major source of sustainable power. In each area, developing these power sources would be cheaper than piping in clean energy from thousands of miles away.

As his omniscient narrator, I’ll say this is predicated on using far less power to make any of these suggested power solutions work, as we should begin to stipulate about every single thing. The writer draws a distinction between a smart grid and high-capacity transmission lines, the former distinguishing itself as a locally-deployed system within a multi-dimensional strategy against waste and inefficiency. Which is the only way to really address waste or efficiency. Once we get into what some of these concepts – a smart grid, for instance – mean, they begin to define long-term solutions in the only way in which they can be defined as viable – on a local scale. Ideas can come from anywhere, but they have to make sense there, first. Then a next-step Mandlebrot set in reverse motion can begin – leading the way toward more grander-scale solutions as we pan out. Or, luck be your lady tonight, altering their urgency into something more manageable.

Of course, changing how we think about a big new electrical grid for the country opens up more space to think about trains, SUPER and otherwise. Which is as it should be.