Re: Ginger discussed on Today Show?

Date: Sat Mar 31 2001 - 03:05:03 PST

Matt Jensen <> writes:
> On Fri, 16 Mar 2001, Eugene Leitl wrote:
> > You could build a building for 10^6 people which is walkable.
> Walkable, but not livable.

I'm not sure how you could even make it walkable. Suppose that ten
flights of stairs is the maximum you consider "walkable". Then 10^9
square feet (1000 square feet per person) becomes a hundred million
square feet per floor, which means that your building is on the order
of two miles square --- which would be four miles of walking down
rectilinear corridors to get between adjacent corners. You could make
it slightly more space-efficient.

If you're willing to depend on public transit for vertical
transportation --- which means giving up on walkability -- you could
quite possibly make it very quick to get from any point to any other

> > Yeah, arcologies are stalling. Monkeys are just too dumb to understand
> > the value of cooperation on a large scale.
> You mean all Quality of Life issues can be boiled down to a single number?
> Maybe fuel efficiency + cost of construction materials? I doubt it.

I'm not sure how you get from "monkeys are too dumb" to "you're saying
quality of life is scalar", but I'm not sure how Eugene gets from
"arcologies are stalling" to "monkeys are too dumb" either, so I'll
just treat that pair of paragraphs as the output of monkeys banging on

> People have decided they don't like living in gleaming Buck Rogers
> towers that are half a mile high. It's because they sense they're
> being turned into social insects, and they resent it. But that's
> the average person. Eugene, maybe you're smart enough to want to
> live in the giant hive? :-)

I don't think most people have even seriously given it a thought,
Matt. But there are a remarkable number of people who choose to live
in Manhattan, which is our currently closest approximation.

If I could get all the cultural, artistic, and economic benefits of
living in a large city --- while being able to get to all of them with
a fifteen-minute walk and five-minute elevator ride, and
simultaneously cut my heating and air-conditioning bills to nil ---
I'd do it in a minute. Especially if it meant that gorgeous parks
were a twenty-minute walk away, right outside the arcology, instead of
being several miles away, as in most places in San Francisco.

Housing and transportation are actually major expenses (of both money
and time) in my life, and I don't think I'm unusual in that regard.

I'm a little concerned about the political implications; it seems that
vast centralization of power over things like ventilation and access
to the outside world could result. You'd need big centralized
ventilation systems, which means big centralized agencies to maintain
them. But most of the US, California excepted, seems to do OK with
big centralized phone companies and power companies, even power
companies handling radioactive fissionables. So it might be possible.

What are the numbers on ventilation? I'm not an HVAC technician, but
a million people will turn oxygen and sugar into heat at the rate of
100 megawatts or so, and they'll likely use a few hundred more
megawatts, if not gigawatts, for things like manufacturing, lighting,
transportation, vacuuming, refrigeration, and laundry. Every joule
converted to heat must be exhausted to the outside world. How hard is
that? Would it cause "thermal pollution" after the manner of nuclear
power plants?

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri Apr 27 2001 - 23:15:18 PDT