Throwing My Hat Into The Ring

Date: October 13th, 2017

Hewlett-Packard, also known as HP, teamed up with Launch Forth to create a series of challenges and projects. These challenges and projects ask people to design vehicles, architecture, and infrastructure to be used on Mars.

This is the challenge I chose: https://launchforth.io/hpmars/mars-valley-urbanization-concept-challenge/brief/

And this is my entry: The Domes And The Library

This is a first draft. My first draft that follows all regulations and guidelines. It is a precursor to something much grander, something that will over evolve over time. I sent it in on a deadline, and I hand-drew it to give it an “organic” feel.

Although rudimentary, my entry is charming, and I did my research. I drew inspiration from multiple sources and cited them. I might not win, but it is not guaranteed I will lose. My entry is worth sharing, and I certainly hope that through it, Hewlett-Packard, and the others watching the challenges be completed by people all over, can see my untapped – and tapped – potential.

I will continue expanding my Mars plans whether or not my submission becomes known through them. On the subject of Hewlett-Packard, I am completely neutral.

I am not done designing and writing for Mars. Design is not stagnant. There will be many sketches, many first drafts, many final drafts, many essays, many stories, many updates to come. Interior design is perpetual. Architecture is perpetual. Learning is perpetual. My Mars plan is fluid in nature. I will never pretend to know everything, and I will never pretend I’m a scientist. I am an artist and writer and constant student and baker and doodler. I will post my plans on my blog.

This is me tossing my hat into the Martian ring. Elon Musk, Lockheed Martin, countless other relatively older white men with – er – unique names have already revealed plans and made a name for themselves. It’s my turn. If I may remind you, I’m not that impressive right now. But “me right now” is a young agender/genderfluid female who’s still in high school. Not many people are that impressive at my age, and those that are simply get even more impressive as they get older and their accomplishments increase. My Mars plan right now hasn’t even taken off with a running start yet. I’m just beginning my journey now, and I’m hoping you’ll follow it. One day, if life works well enough to bring me success at at least this, I will be one of the names you think of in reference to who will bring Mars a little closer in the sky.

My Martian playlist (I love using music to express my feelings!):

My Martian Pinterest board:

https://www.pinterest.com/zmkf/zmkfs-mars-plan-inspiration-and-references/

Mini Blog Post: Godlike

This is a reactionary opinion piece. The only reason I’m posting this is because it’s too long for an Instagram caption.

Date: July 27th, 2017

This is the thing I’m reacting to: “Scientists are pushing wild climate hacking scenarios to save the planet” via ScienceAlert

They call it climate hacking, I call it owning up to the godlike power we have. Humans are pretty cool. We’ve built deep into this planet with our sewers and our mines and our pipelines, learned how to fly and refrigerate food and drink, and mapped planets we haven’t set our own feet on. These are things we take for granted, of course. But those who say – and I paraphrase many a famous quote here – that humans are an atom’s way of studying atoms are correct. We’ve been somehow blessed to be able to learn. And the more we know, the more we can manipulate. REMINDERS ABOUT “CLIMATE HACKING”: ⚔️ 1. This is not a one time thing. Gods have to work hard, especially if it turns out they’re actually human and “unforeseen consequences” are a thing. The more we manipulate, the more good – or bad – we can do for ourselves and for the planet. But the more we do…certain things will create domino effects. Once we take responsibility for the earth as the superpowered parasites-turned-engineers we are, we can’t ever “take a break.” You will have to deal with a problem, and then you will have to deal with a problem caused by your solution. Which is not to say all we will ever cause is problems. But we need to communicate and accept in preparation for this huge undertaking. God may be dead, but if he ever lived, he never stopped being God. ? 2. Humans are animals. We are apart of nature. We happen to be the part of nature that can “detach” from it for most of our lifetimes, but we all must return sometimes. (I choose nature documentaries and traveling a lot as some sort of salve.) In taking responsibility for this planet, we must realize that the rest of the animals (and plants and stuff) are just as important as we are. I’m not even talking going vegetarian. (Shmeat is a thing meat lovers can turn to in a few years. It’ll take a while to go commercial. And don’t diss shmeat. It ain’t plant-based, and it ain’t fake. It’s the same thing. Just way less cruel. Look it up.) Right now, animals’ intelligences are compared to ours, and most animals are judged by how well they respond to our cues and directions. We must learn, one day we will (hopefully), that all animals are equal. We must learn that animals are worth more than the money we spend trying to keep them out of our cities. When we become gods, it’s the animals who will guide us. ❄️ 3. If we are to do this, we have to do this right. We can manipulate without micromanaging. We can love without breeding dependence.

It’s Not My Fault That I’m Optimistic About The Future!

Date: May 28th, 2017

The difference between daydreams and visions is that with one, you’re hallucinating.

There’s a lot going on right now. As John Oliver (whom I simultaneously think of as both the father I never had and the son I want) constantly stresses, each Trump headliner hides something even more sinister underneath its fifteen-second fame. This is not normal. And as I and many others have mentioned before, it is not just Trump – Trump is simply the amplifier. This is what we have to remember, getting rid of him will not magically solve all of our problems, but it will confuse and damage the ego of those currently being amplified, which will certainly make room for progress.

However, there’s an insane amount of obstacles in our way, the very least of which is a man who never ever gets in trouble no matter what he does or says. There is always some justification given to us. Between Trump and all the other problems we face, it’s hard to imagine that there could ever be a sunny day.

Yet even now, I have very specific, very positive daydreams about what the future will hold. And I don’t even try. They just are there for me to look at and hope for. Right now, I shall tell all of you about each daydream and how it could correspond to realistic progress:

1. The Frozen Yogurt Stop

The daydream always begins in a medium-size courtyard. Look forward, you see small trees – palm trees and Japanese maple – and benches everywhere. Look up and around, you see we are on a hillside, crowded with natural vegetation. Blue sky. The plants are relatively lush, but present a lighter green than most plants thought of as “lush,” such as the ones on the sides of freeways in New York, Washington, and Wisconsin. Look to the right, and you see a train stop. Fairly modern architecture. Open to the air. A basic white, block-like design with stripes and polka-dots added on in just the right size and amount for color. There’s only enough space for two trains right next to each other. One train is waiting. It is white, with blue and pink stripes flowing front to back. One of the wider blue stripes has the name of the train system on it: Dragons Of The Midwest. There is owl and eyeball art on the wall defining the barriers of the stop. Look to the left, and across the platform, you see an ice cream/frozen yogurt shop. It is narrow but wide, with its own seating area. The colors are blue and pink, again, but pastel this time. Flavors include vanilla, chocolate, and raspberry.

Correspondence: I have to talk about California, it’s where I live. And California actually gives us a good example of regional transport – there is a project coming up to spread high-speed rail throughout the state. The project “will eventually encompass over 800 miles of rail, with up to 24 stations. Because the project is so large, and will run through areas of the state with extremely different geographical, environmental and economic issues, the project has been broken into ten separate sections.” (From http://www.hsr.ca.gov.) Each section has to go through ecological “footprint” testing before construction can begin. The total project goes from Sacramento, and the Transbay Transit Center on a separate train line, down to San Diego. Impressive. But I said the Dragons operated in the Midwest. Turns out, there is an equivalent – actually, two: the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative and the Midwest High Speed Rail Association. Both are Midwestern train organizations set up to become major players in the U.S transport game, even as it evolves. Trains are thought to be the most environmentally conscious transportation option, and environmental consciousness is still rare in many states. The latter of the two is aptly tag-lined “Reinventing Travel. Reinventing The Midwest.” So guys – it’s your move! – get some fro-yo up in there.

2. The Spreadcity

The daydream starts up high, in an invisible helicopter (that is totally not realistic). We are slowly panning over one of those four-leaf-clover highway loops. The highway is an interstate highway, and right now, we are between northern Nevada, Idaho, and Utah – in Idaho, exactly. The highway has made minimal negative impact on the plain it lays over due to the way it was designed. The flowing golden grass gives the whole thing a shimmery effect. The city is essentially a rural county, but everything is modern and connected by bike paths and sleek, small roads. There should be at least one mile of natural space for every building. The only buildings right next to the highway are hospitals, malls, and one huge school that looks like a university except it functions for all grades.

Correspondence: Most of Idaho is already open country, so if one wanted to found a spreadcity, all they would need to do is connect a soon-to-be-not-county – anywhere, really – and create a system by which transportation is quick and efficient, and the governmental buildings and larger parks and service-buildings form a spreadcity center.

3. Sittyhils

Sittyhils are an original idea of mine – a particular type of arcology. The etymology of the word is “city + hill + fun way of spelling = sittyhil.” Sittyhils are basically huge cities, compacted and opened at different areas so they form a mountain-like structure. The idea was formed because I was thinking about Barcelona as it is described in this article: Built-Out Barcelona Makes Space for an Urban Forest. I was delighted, and began to wonder – what if some cities were made with this attitude in mind? What if cities no longer displaced wildlife, what if they just lifted it up? Bushes in the windows and on apartment decks, flowers on the outer walls. Cities are as tall as hills at their core, why not become hills? So dense, but so ecologically stable and positive, that it literally becomes Figure 1 – big, green, and gnarly.

Figure 1: Is this a bad drawing? Yes, yes it is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Correspondence: Barcelona is already doing a very good job of minimizing its negative environmental impact and encouraging biodiversity, as I mentioned. So is Singapore, with its National Biodiversity Centre, and Gardens By The Bay, and then there’s this: “We have recorded a total of 392 species of birds and at least 2,100 native vascular plants, of which more than 1,500 species are classified as extant in Singapore. Find out more about our Wildlife in Singapore and learn about the different Ecosystems that exist in Singapore.” (From https://www.nparks.gov.sg/biodiversity.) And just 1 day ago from the time of writing, the Straight Times reported that “NParks announced that over 500 species were discovered or rediscovered over the last five years in joint surveys with nature groups. The agency has also put the afterburners on its Species Recovery Programme, increasing the number of species to 94, up from 46 last year.” Cooooooool. Coincidentally (or not), Singapore and Barcelona are now my two favorite cities. I want to clone myself and send one of me to each city.

Everyone has dreams about what the future will be like. They hope, and hope is good, but they hope, thinking that it is hoping that will make the thing happen. We need more.

Here’s how I like to think of this type of situation.

You are standing in an empty plot of land. There is rope in front of you, going up into nowhere. You reach out and touch the rope, and suddenly you see visions of your dream house, the one to be built on that plot of land. Instead of standing there touching the rope, letting the visions cloud your senses, pull the rope down. It is taking a huge risk, something that is confirmed when you hear a huge crash as dimensions collide and your house becomes what is there. Instead of it floating up there in a cloud, you brought it down into the grit and crust and mantle. But it is worth it, for the house is just as wonderful as you knew it would be, and you were not inactive. You pulled down your rope.

Find your daydreams of the future.

Pull down your rope.

Make it happen.

Public Parks, On Private Land!

Date: May 9th, 2017

There are those who say that if we, as the species of engineers we are, do not strip something from the land, whether it be an animal for food, or a tree for a lumber, or a mineral for mining, then we are missing out on valuable resources. But public lands, lands that exist for the people and other species that roam this Earth rather than for companies or development, are some of the most valuable resources we have. There is a quote by Theodore Roethke: “Deep in their roots all flowers keep the light.” Famous, slightly vague quotes can have a slightly different meaning for everybody. I won’t tell you my understanding, I’ll just let his words sink in. Ever since humans started thinking, we’ve found joy and peace in nature. Using it as a remedy for depression isn’t a waste of your time. Obviously, medicine created to combat depression works directly and chemically. But this doesn’t disprove that there is an inherent “light” in nature. Speaking from my own experience, I use nature as a solvent for negativity. In the future (hopefully this behavior will start sometime soon), nature will be looked at as a necessity, not just for recreation, within and outside of all our cities. It is just as much of a needed thing as electricity, copper, or a citrus farm is.

The fact that there is an entire branch of federal government devoted to our emotional wealth is a fact that I love to think about. The federal government has a lot of problems – but this is one of the upsides to having a nagging mother, always present, that is obsessed with red tape.

There’s just one problem.

What if mother goes back on her promise to uphold one of the only purely good things she does for us?

Normally, when a particularly rich person owns a swath of land, it is for them and them alone. There is a gate around the entire thing, with a sign at the entrance reading “Private” or some variation of that word. But what if the sign said “Part of the Private Lands Conservation group. Please park around corner after entering through gate. Two dollars for parking. Enjoy”? (The Private Lands Conservation group is real thing, I’m positively ecstatic to admit that this is not my original idea: https://www.nature.org/about-us/private-lands-conservation/index.htm – I’m just writing about it!)

What if mother doesn’t want to hurt us, but is being forced into going back on her promise by a giant orange crayon?

As Elizabeth Warren reminded me when I went to see her speak, the government is not evil. You are not immediately mean and sour if you work for the government, and you are not weak if you rely on the government. The government does indeed have many dangerous flaws, but ones we can fix over time if we work together and diversify. Examples? Elizabeth Warren, Nancy Yates, the Obamas, Hillary Clinton (she ain’t perfect but she works hard and tries to be there for us, which we need right now), Bernie Sanders, and the thousands of relatively – sadly – unknown people working to undo damage and prop us up. Most of them are just in the wrong positions (Elizabeth Warren for President!)…or maybe the exactly right positions. Most things can take time.

Global warming and conservation can’t. Which is why I say we rip our “valuable resources” out of the orange crayon’s hands as soon and as painfully as possible. And no, it’s not just the orange crayon! It’s just that people like me have to keep mentioning him when something comes up because he’s the Big Loud Orange Megaphone for everyone we’d mention if he wasn’t sitting right smack dab in the middle of the Oval Office! Where was I? Ah yes. Hit him where it hurts and save the world at the same time.

As some of you may know, I plan to own and operate a bed-and-breakfast (small hotel) as my base career to earn enough money to write and design when I want as opposed to on a deadline.

The bed-and-breakfast will be in an area populated enough that I earn money from it, but secluded enough that I can make the area around the bed-and-breakfast a giant public garden, roughly the size of the smaller state parks.

Ambitious? Hell yes. A bit daunting? Maybe. But for those looking out for me, this is a good investment: Conservation should not only be in the hands of the government, a thing which noticeably changes every four years, even after Mr. Orange Crayon leaves office. If we truly want to save this world from environmental catastrophe, the right type – a philanthropic, environmentally sound type – of private ownership should be more common.

This “privablic” land would be private in the sense that there is a person, family, or even corporation who owns it, but public in the sense that anyone can come and enjoy it. How do we further incentivize this already existing approach? Larger tax deductions for private owners who donate their land for public use would be helpful. Also, some cities require that for large developments, per a certain amount of private space developed, a portion of it must be allotted to public access. All cities and states should require the same.

I enjoy being hospitable and taking care of people (as well as meeting strange folks from across the country and world), and I’ve also started a financial plan earlier than most people my age (emphasis on most), concentrated on saving money and remaining stable throughout my adult life. I have a strong belief that the bed-and-breakfast will work out for me, that way I can do odd jobs when I want without losing money.

I do not doubt that the public garden will work just as well, but just in case I can’t pay for it with the money I make, I hope the Nature Conservancy will have my back.

#goprivablic

The Futuristic World: Man-man Islands?

The Futuristic World: The world of the future will be a complex one, regardless of whether you are an optimist or a pessimist. Technology – a big pixelated hand of man created to do what man wants, evolving before our very eyes – and nature – the elements of the universe, or multiverse, the never-blank slate we were born into and have been toying with ever since, the illusion of a God, the methodology of being born to run and made to work – must find a perfect equilibrium for Homo sapiens (and the other species born on Earth, as they are no less important) to survive. We must help that process.    

Date: January 26th, 2017

Man-made islands are not a new thing.

According WorldAtlas.com, ”Island construction dates back to pre-historic times in ancient Egypt, Ireland, Scotland, and Mexico.” They can be so small and relatively easy to make that they look primitive (the “Uros Islands,” see Figure 1), or so large and complex that it appears their only application is science fiction (the Palm Jumeirah, see Figure 2).

Figure 1. A picture of one of the Islas Uros.

The Islas Uros were created with people, basic tools, and buoyant totora reeds. The Palm Jumeirah was created with your usual, more modern set: a mixture of soil and sand, wood, metal – probably steel and aluminum, stone, etc.

The Manlands (my word for “man-made islands”) all have the bare necessities in common:

Figure 2. Palm Jumeirah…no, I’m pretty sure that’s actually the long-lost city of Atlantis. Just look at it.

– Reason for being off the mainland (with the Islas Uros, it probably had something to do with convenience for the fishing communities, and for Palm Jumeirah – well, they probably just though it was cool. They’re not wrong).

– Food and water. By which I mean, all manlands have an efficient delivery/farming/storing system for food and water. If your manland doesn’t have at least one of the three (having all three would be the best situation), permanent residence will provide serious problems.

– Satisfactory housing. Of course, the “satisfaction” level is all relative, so in this context I speak of the housing methods most satisfactory to the people living on that particular manland.

Beyond the bare necessities, one manland and another have about as much in common as a pig and a banana.

Even though manlands aren’t exactly new, they could be used for new purposes. The motors to keep the manland afloat if it is “free” from the ground, and to move it if the creators ever desire that, could – with the proper design – also serve as water turbines. The turbines would power the manland and its motors (movement causes more movement, don’t you know?), as well as sending power back to the nearest islands/manlands/mainland. Manlands could also serve as low-cost, high-density farms, hydroponic or otherwise, hubs for trade, and the most “basic” application: population holders…that’s an official name for it, but you know, it’s “where people live.”

Or, I suppose you could create a manland and make it your own little world. That’s more than enough. Sometimes, creative people don’t fit into a category like “fashion designer” or “sculptor.” Sometimes, creative people yearn to be “world creator.” (Think landscaper, architect, and artist all in one.) If manlands become a trend, white people won’t have to colonize the little worlds we find, we’ll be able to make our own! (That was…a joke. But that would be true. It might get us closer to world peace.) And there are ways to make sure these manlands help the environment rather than hinder it.

Manlands created by governments/companies/private individuals could make a deal with their retrospective countries/nations: Manlands could pledge allegiance, and they would be able to remain independent – eg. marijuana not illegal “at home” but legal on manland – but the country/nation would help the manland if the manland needed help, and in return the manlands would be counted in the population – including voting for the leader of the country/nation, and any ideas/technology developed or perfected on the manlands would be available on their country/nation for a much lower price, which should be valuable enough, as the “mini-socieities” are sure to be filled with geniuses.

Manlands created by governments/companies/private individuals could also have a shared “Manland” government, in which they would share ideas, supplies including technologies, whatever they used as money, etc, and help each other out militarily and politically when the time comes.