Outside the lines

“Outside the lines” by Calvin Harris


Last month while having coffee & croissants at a Long Beach, CA. dinner, with a few buddies, a discussion came up on finding ways to think beyond the boxes we find ourselves in, and the possible futures those changes could create.  It all started with Tom talking about the 2016 Hybrid and Electric Cars as an example of a change in our shared view of the box called Transportation. Roy pointed out, that this change was due to fuel cost for crude oil, especially in the summer, the cost of fuel goes up as vacationers take to the road and to the so called bi-annual fuel reformulation cost.

Then the conversation really took off with ideas on alternative fuel sources that moved into alternative ways to travel such as an affordable personal aircraft.  We ruminated over how long each of us thought it would take before an idea such as this would get from drawing board to prototype to market. Comments were made that some of these ideas must be in the works already and perhaps have been for decades.  That’s when Roy brought up the quote, and conversation moved around African-American writer and activist Dr. Amos Wilson who is credited with the quote “If you want to understand any problem in America, you need to focus on the profits from that problem, and not who suffers from the problem.”  Comments where all over the board about that quote when we were interrupted by the waiter’s commented to us, that whatever we were discussing must have been good for we were on our 4th cup of coffee, where as we are usually nursing only the one or two cups of the brew.

My thoughts kept returning to Jerry, and what he had said about an article by a new writer for the CSM, Ben Rosen (It’s funny how you can throw down a name or in this case a name of a newspaper - the “Christian Science Monitor” and all ears perk up, LOL, well it is a great paper), anyway Rosen had done this article on a research project at the Airbus facility in Munich, Germany where they are working with green algae slime, to turn it into biofuel that will at some point fuel their commercial airplanes.

Tom pointed out “that If Companies are doing this, you know it has to do with cost, efficiency.” When Abe chimes in “Or in finding a better environmentally sustainable product than crude.” So as it turns out the Airbus biotechnological researchers have deduced Algae grows faster and produces higher energy yields than other plants. The downside right now is that it is much more expensive to turn into fuel than traditional petroleum byproducts. So we figured that your first flight using algae fuel could take a while. In fact, I was told that in an interview for Reuters International News Agency, that researcher and professor Thomas Brueck, at Munich Technical University, predicted that algal biofuel use could take as long as 35 years to become viable and pass jet fuel requirements. Professor Brueck is quoted as saying “…. We need a combination of different technologies to actually enable crude oil substitution.”

We deduced, in our coffee klatch conversation that new products could come sooner if enough incentives were there.  Of course, we concurred that it would take creative people with the agility and boldness of mind to seize the opportunities to create new inventions and technologies. Who could take inspiration or ideas from areas that are outside or beyond the boxes we confine ourselves to. Then Roy brought up the need and having in place those people with the understanding of the issues, that have both the agility and diplomacy for rectifying the new directions of technology with the old method of doing things.  We all agreed that people with these abilities need to be developed as drivers to change. It would take people developed with different education, perspective, and skill sets to brings about the transformation of transportation, aviation and shipping industries. Where science will meet art.  Jerry said “One thing that is in place that could move things along, is that there is some sort of regulatory mandate to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. Getting closer to that date, could bring many ideas off the drawing boards, to speed up the process of concept to market.  This will take individual’s, in various disciplines to come together committed to research and discovering sustainable solutions that move us forward.

The same could be said of our personal lives. Charles Darwin is reported as saying “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” I chose to call this Blog  Outside the lines, I think because it means to me that we all can become that agility, the agent to conceptualizing problems differently, approaching our life in new and innovative ways and understanding our position in relationship to any particular situation in new ways, perhaps taking action in ways you’d never thought of before. 

This would mean incorporating doing something in a different way than we are used to doing it. It is the need to invite randomness into our lives. Suggestions would be like asking a child for advice. Like working a project from conclusion to its beginning at least in your head. Reading or researching something in an unfamiliar field for the purpose of using it in another area. Drawing a picture or writing something with your left hand on paper.  It can be very revealing as I learned from a class I took from Artist-Instructor-Mentor Heather William of San Diego, CA.  I don’t know a better to say it than what I heard reported to be a quote from Dustin M. Wax, a writer, who wrote “– the talents you develop may come in handy the next time you face a situation “that ‘everybody knows’ how to solve.”  All I could say was WOW.  Try some of this and let me know what you think, who knows you could be the next new creator of the future.