Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day everyone. As the Earth Days keep on coming on I see it as the one day where everyone pretends to care about green issues and then go back their regularly scheduled polluting or the day that reminds us that we still have work to do. I keep changing my mind about it. So what does Earth Day mean to you?

Topic by fungus amungus   |  last reply


Earth Hour 2008

Check this out! Do you want to help stop climate change? Well join the millions who do by, at 8:00 pm turn off all your lights for 1 hour! Join the millions to help make the world a better place! Please send this to your friends! So everybody can join in on Earth Hour 2008.

Topic by TeacherOfTheWays   |  last reply



I need to know now?

Is there a way to make an out door atmospher indoor. So a huge building that has the feeling of sun on you shade temp. changes.

Question by frdminc   |  last reply


ASSISTANCE WITH ESTIMATE FOR BUILDING EARTH BAG HOME.

We have land to build on and would like to build Owen Geiger's Beachcomber house. Would you be able to give us a rough estimate for building from well and septic to walls, kitchen and bathrooms, etc.?  Thank you.

Question by cgherrera   |  last reply


Which is the most interesting sight you have ever seen on Google Earth?

  Which is the most interesting sight you have ever seen on Google Earth?

Question by Perkinator   |  last reply


Are there other ways to harden earth clays? Answered

I do not have access to a kiln nor do i have the money to buy one. Are there other ways to harden the clay that will make it as hard or nearly as hard as a kiln would? I thought air drying would make it resonably hard, but nope it shatters WAY TOO easily. EDIT: I should have noted that I live in the heart of LA in an apartment so I can't really make a kiln, but it seeming like i need to kiln it or buy some oven clay(I forogt the name) 

Question by Zergling_pack   |  last reply


What would be the best way to make a model of the earth including all internal layers visable in a disection?

I need to start my son off with a school project - hes 12. Thanks for help in advance.?

Question by Michellabella   |  last reply


Could a Pug Mill be used to make uniform Earth Bricks suitable for construction?

I've been looking for ways to create Compressed Earth Bricks and thought about using a Pug Mill (commonly used to get air out of clay) with a rectangular extruder to do all the hard work.  Has anyone had experience with these mills?  Am I crazy for thinking this could speed up the process of building with earth?

Question by kretzlord   |  last reply


Does the Earth 4 Energy system work? Answered

I keep hearing about several different DIY guides and everything I hear leads to Earth 4 Energy System as being the best all around. Does anyone know

Question by xxxbuddhaxxx   |  last reply


time?? Answered

The celestial position of the of earth with rotation and revelations in comparsison sun brings us to the calendar and clock each MOMENT as a second is struck by the second hand what times is it for the entire earth and is this asking the earths horoscope as in the year of the dragon ect ect?

Question by wiccakingkamui   |  last reply


I am thinking of publishing a "makers gide to earth"

A book full of usefull things that makers all over the world might want to know. what sort of thing would you like in it.?

Question by HP psc 2110 all-in-one makebot   |  last reply


Sucking Carbon out of the air?

I read somewhere that lye can absorb carbon from the air, and that organizations are putting out HUGE tubs of lye to suck up carbon. I wonder if it works.

Topic by lawizeg   |  last reply


Can someone help me with my "go Green" instructable by collaborating

I need some help here to make this beat any other green instructable, and you can have your name on it! Plz, i need to do this to help the environment

Topic by theburn7   |  last reply


Plastic origami earth puzzle. Template and instructions needed.? Answered

Template and Instructions needed for The Dave Swart earth puzzle. Plastic tesselations rather like the IQ Light. Goemetery models and slide together are similar

Question by craftyv   |  last reply


How would using rice hulls differ from using dirt/earth in typical earth bag structures?

I plan to build a small structure using the earth bag method. I have read that it is possible to use rice hulls in place of the dirt normally used to fill the wall bags. I am looking for any information or suggestions in making this substitution.

Question by zeo.phillpotts.9   |  last reply


Any ideas on how to build a floating vegetable garden for the cottage?

I'd really like to grow veggies at the cottage, but our wee little island is covered with trees and hence, too shady. I don't want to clear any trees so I was thinking a floating vegetable garden would be great! Here are some of my ideas: -some sort of floating dock-like structure holding/attached to garden beds -some kind of earth-box style planters -some sort of string/osmosis type system that could suck water out of the lake to keep the soil moist (okay, I know this is really pushing it. Maybe a pump would be more realistic). -NOT hydroponics: I'd like to grow veggies in regular soil, just out floating on the water instead of on the land! Some inspiration: http://www.homebysunset.com/home_by_sunset/2007/09/gardening-on-to.html Like the pic in the link above, but something a wee bit tidier and smaller? Any ideas how to do this on the cheap? All notions welcome! Sarah

Question by sallycinnamon   |  last reply


Bizzare Google Earth images of my home town.

I was fiddling around with google earth the other day when I realized that I've never looked at the area around my home town in Nebraska. I dialed in the coordinates and pulled up the satellite images, and what I found was so profoundly strange that I felt compelled to share it. What you are seeing here are topographical images of prairie land and cows. The land consists of small rolling hills of dry grassland, and as you can see, the only landmarks to speak of are the cattle stock tanks. These tanks are essentially circular, large, metal, outdoor swimming pools, some as wide as 30 feet across. The tanks are placed on some of the higher hills with a windmill powered pump to keep the tank full of fresh water. Cattle are then let loose on the land to graze on grass and drink from the tanks. Over time the cattle wear down paths in the grass leaving only dusty trails concentrated around the tanks. I am speculating here a bit, but my theory is that rainfall then follows these trails down the hills and creates the strange, vein like lines through the grass. I don't know how long the area has been used for keeping cattle, but my father grew up here and will be able to tell me more later. The final image is of the developed farm land a little closer to civilization. Most people don't know this, but Nebraskans are really into pie charts. Ok, that may be just me, these are are the patterns left by automatic springler systems. They are literally "crop circles" as corn and sugar beets are only planted within the area that the center pivot sprinkler can reach. PS: These stock tanks are ripe with salamanders, but I still have yet to learn how they got in tanks in the first place? It's too dry to walk to the tanks, and they are pretty far from natural water anyway. There is a massive aquifer underneath all of this, maybe they get pumped up into the tanks? Can salamanders live in aquifers?

Topic by Tomdf   |  last reply


Judging for the Green Science Fair Has Started

I wish good luck for all who participated in this wonderful event, and let the ideas and the green spirit thrive in this site, each step counts! _

Topic by theburn7   |  last reply


The Wilderness Downtown

This is a great interactive art project from the folks over at Google.  http://www.thewildernessdowntown.com/

Topic by Culturespy   |  last reply



Any one got any suggestions on good brand of sewing scissors with out paying the earth ? Answered

I would like some all round sewing scissors for mainly fabric cutting, I have been looking on line but some of the prices are a lot more than I want to pay, I would like to keep it bellow Ten GBP if I can but the cheaper in price the better, I have just bought a sewing machine and want to start with bigger projects and I am fed up of using kids scissors or kitchen scissors as they make a mess of my fabric sometimes has anyone got any suggestions. Cheers

Question by Pixie Puddle   |  last reply


Environmentaly Friendly Home.

I picked up my first copy of Mother Earth News. ( Absolutely loved it) It made me think what can we do in our homes and in our community to help the planet.

Topic by CrawdadMan 


which hydroponic medium wicks the best?

out of the main hydro grow mediums which one wicks the best COCONUT COIR LECA PERLITE vermiculite I'm planning on making something similar to this type of pot merged/ hacked / frankenstined / macgivered with a wick system

Question by furby   |  last reply


Earthbag building

I recently viewed the instructable for earthbag building. I understand the use of rice hulls can be substituted for dirt/earth as fill for the wall bags. Does anyone have experience using this medium? Are the procedures or methods the same? Any input would be welcome. Thanks...

Topic by zeo.phillpotts.9   |  last reply


I have been having trouble trying to make a basket from reused paper bags... Any others have a better way?

 ...had been following (or trying to) instructions on mother earth news' website but I keep wrecking it. Video or more images appreciated!

Question by ducknuts   |  last reply


Making a hybrid car?

In the early 70s Mother Earth news advertised a kit to make a hybrid car using a 5 horse engine to run an alternator that fed a battery bank which in turn ran an airplane engine starter motor coupled to the transmission shaft. Is that still viable? Or does anybody have that set of plans for sale?

Question by EliWatney   |  last reply


What are the most energy efficent light bulbs? how to be more eco-friendly around the house?

I picked up my first ever issue of Mother Earth News and I absolutely loved it. What are some small things I could do to help save the planet?

Question by CrawdadMan   |  last reply


Permanent Magnet Motor

I learned a couple of years ago about a motor developed by Nikolai Tesla that operates using neodymium magnets. If anyone has any information about this or other similar motors, please post information and help to save the earth from the evils of oil!

Topic by HazzardFan75   |  last reply


Is there a way to use magnets to hang paintings?

We have a small gallery and would like to find a way to use rare earth magnets to hang the art. I'm guessing a sheet of metal behind drywall and magnets with hooks on them. I just don't know if this would be strong enough to hold them in place. :-/

Question by philthylabwrk   |  last reply


Ceramic coated stainless steel

Hi all, I just came across this jewellery and the hardware intrigues me. What is involved in this process, and is it something that can be done on a small scale? And is it only appropriate for steel? Cheers! http://www.cha-o-ha.com/collections/frontpage/products/ceramic-coated-forged-d-shackle-dark-earth

Topic by jarris   |  last reply


What should I feed a praying mantis?

I remember hearing that a mantis can be trained to recognize a person's face/voice. And having come across a tiny praying mantis today, I thought," What on earth would I feed that thing?"  Perhaps other small insects? I really have no idea.

Question by nickodemus   |  last reply


Newb questions - magnets behind mirror!

Hi! I'm incredibly new here and already in way over my head! Hope this is the best place to ask this. I wanted to create a mirror that is magnetic to hold tweezers, nail clippers, etc. -  lots of little metal cosmetic bits that get lost around my home. I can't attach magnets to the items themselves because they are too small - would it be feasible to glue some rare earth magnets behind the mirror? Or will I just get a giant chunk of mirror embedded in my face? :( I'm trying to spruce my home up on the cheap and keep the small space organized. I have a sampler pack of rare earth magnets from lee valley and some framed mirrors already. If this is feasible could anyone tell me how far apart I should be spacing the magnets?  I feel like such newb! I guess I am one. But anyway, I humbly beg at your feet! Please help! Thanks folks!

Topic by Stasiasilver   |  last reply


Peak Everything

According to TreeHugger, we're running out of 8 important resources. Oil is getting a lot of attention now, but get ready for other prices to go up as well.No matter how you look at it, the Earth is finite. There is only so much space and so much stuff on it. With more and more people wanting more and more things, we're bound to hit our limits. The question now is whether we've already hit them and, if not, why wait? Peak Everything

Topic by fungus amungus   |  last reply


Shower acting up?

 Hello everyone,           I have an issue with our families upstairs shower. When I turned the shower on this morning it seemed that the cold water was very low on pressure, luke warm was normal, and hot water was also very low. The sink was working just fine. I was walking around the house and all other sinks, appliances and showers were working just fine. There are no pipe bursts to my knowledge. Does anyone have any idea what on earth is going on?

Question by 2001warrior   |  last reply


Less People

In discussions I've had with my father multiple times, we've come to the conclusion that for humans to stop having a negative impact on the planet, there must be less of a human population. No other way around it. Now, don't get me wrong and think I'm saying everyone should commit suicided or someone should make some deadly disease to wipe out massive chunks of the population, I'm just looking for others opinions to this theory and possibly other.... more humane alternatives. Other ideas as to reducing human population on earth: Sustainable colonies on the Moon, Mars, etc.?

Topic by monkeysee   |  last reply


Nick Cave's Soundsuits

Here is something really incredible. These Soundsuits are so Me I can hardly stand it. Eventually I will make something like one of them... I only hope it will turn out half as amazing.They are on display at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco through July 5 (exhibition titled "Meet Me at the Center of the Earth"). If you're in the area, or planning to be, they are absolutely worth a visit.This Nick Cave is a multidisciplinary artist, fashion designer, dancer, and teacher at the Chicago Art Institute. (He is not the singer Nick Cave.) He's made something like 50 of these, all different.More pictures:http://www.loudreams.com/2009/03/31/nick-cave-soundsuits-wow/http://www.jackshainman.com/dynamic/artist.asp?ArtistID=23

Topic by rachel   |  last reply


Recycle

Recycle, how do YOU help the environment by recycling, do you just toss plastic and paper products into correct bins whit the recycling sine in it or do you reuse old stuff, remake to keep up whit the time, take action yourself. What do you do? For example, I recycle old news paper... Its a whole proses, first you cut the news papers into smaller peaces, then you let it set in a special, secret concoction, then you blend them, then a secret method of removing the ink from the paper, and finally evenly distribute the sludge into a mold and let it set, dry. One day I might make an Instructables on how to recycle old newspapers. So what are your actions on helping the Earth recover?

Topic by comodore   |  last reply


I need to surreptitiously mount a plaque inside of a bathroom stall...

I have a smallish (5 x 8") plaque (brass plate on wood base) that I want to mount to the door of a standard public restroom stall.   LIMITATIONS:  I can't use screws or glue.  There is a coat-hanger on the inside the door which I was thinking about removing in order to utilize pre-drilled holes, but I can't get the screws loose with a basic philip's head.  I have an impact driver/drill, but I feel like that would draw more attention than I'm comfortable with.   So I'm left with either a ton of double sided tape that will hopefully be strong enough to resist casual attempts at removal, or a rare earth magnet on one side of the stall and chunk of iron or steel on the other.  Of course, there's an issue of cost when it comes to the magnet as well as a concern regarding the visible piece of metal that I'd use to attract the magnet.

Question by LazloHollyfeld   |  last reply


Tiny Wind Turbines that Could Power a Home

Everybody wants to have a cleaner Earth, but few of them take any actions. One of those people is Doug Selsam, who designed high-power wind turbines that can generate enough energy to power a home. The wind turbines measure about 14-18 inches in diameter and they can generate an impressive amount of 200 watts for a 20 mph wind, but the wind turbines could do better if the winds are stronger.Selsam's wind turbines are made of high-strength carbon fiber materials which give the turbines the possibility to be hooked as one. This system is very simple and it weighs a bit, as you see, it can be held in one hand. For the moment, there is no word about release date or availability, therefore I can only say that it's an interesting conceptOriginal Link (via Device Daily)

Topic by Keith-Kid   |  last reply


Semi Compostable Wallet

Hey guys I just wanted to share what I'm working on right now. I was going to see the community's feedback on it. Right now I'm making a semi compostable wallet. I'm making it from the new sun chips bags. Now I say semi cause I'm also using some clothe, tape and thread. So I was thinking and wondering, should I make a semi compostable or should I just go fully. meaning nothing but sun chip bags (Although probably still using some thread to hold it together) So please feedback. Positive if you can. I'm making it for fun and other reasons. One of my favorite reasons is if people ask why. I could tell them when I'm done with it, I can leave it outside and soon it will compost. I'm hoping to make it a green wallet, not the color but in the since of being earth friendly. Thanks guys, hope to here from you all.

Topic by Onkei 


Colossal (to me, anyway) Compost Kerfuffle

[warning: contains some rant-like content]I am so angry that I can't see straight. My apartment building has a Community Garden, which is good. Our rules and guidelines which are especially emphatic about keeping the gardens all natural and organic, and chemical and pesticide-free. To this end, there is an "Approved Garden Products" list specifying the chemicals and fertilizers that may be used in the gardens. The list includes "Walt's" brand organic fertilizer, "Cedar Grove" compost, and six product made by Miracle-Gro.I had two 4' x 5' plots in the Community Gardens last year, which I heavily amended with the compost from my worm bins. I submitted a request to have an organic fertilizer mix that I have on hand added to the approved list, but the only response I received was another employee telling me: "I emailed Jane (not her real name) about it, and she emailed back to tell to you that Walt's is the best one to use." I should have followed up on this, but was too angry and aghast to speak to Jane about it immediately, and later never did get around to grasping that particular nettle.This year I'm doing just one 4' x 5' plot. I dug in some compost on Sunday, and on Tuesday I received the following letter (all names have been changed for internet purposes):Dear Ms. Gorfram,I wanted to follow up with you regarding an email I received about "homemade" compost that you may be using in your garden.The garden agreement has specific items that can be used in the garden, unless you are using a combination of those ingredients, your "homemade" compost hasn't been approved yet. If you would like to submit the ingredients of your compost for review we can take a look at it and try to get it on the list as well. In the mean time please use only the Cedar Grove compost or any other product on the approved list.We appreciate you help in this matter.Sincerely,Jane Doe,Property Manager(Spelling and punctuation very much hers, very much verbatim)She insulted my compost. She accused me of violating the gardening agreement. She is demanding that I list every last darned thing that I ever put into my compost and submit it to her for approval. She appears to be confusing my compost with the fertilizer that I asked to have added to the approved list. She either does not necessarily believe that I do make my own compost, or she is misusing quotation marks to indicate emphasis. ...She insulted my compost!Not wanting to alienate the manager of my apartment building by telling her that she is a slavering ignoramus who does not know the difference between compost and fertilizer, I responded with the following:In re: your letter of June 9, 2009Dear Ms. Doe,Perhaps there is some misunderstanding about my use of soil amendments in my Community Garden plot.The compost that I use in my garden plot contains no chemicals or pesticides. It is made entirely from vegetable waste from my kitchen and garden, to which I add water and locally native earthworms. It is my understanding that this sort of bulk organic matter does not need to be reviewed for the Approved Garden Products list. In answer to a related question asked at the July 15, 2008, Community Gardener's Meeting, John Galt (n.b. Jane Doe's boss) said, "As long as it doesn't contain pesticides or chemicals, you don't need to tell us about it."The email your letter refers to may have been in regard to my August, 2008 request to have "Dr. Earth Organic 7" fertilizer added to the Approved Gardening Products list. For your convenience, I have attached a new copy of the information about "Dr. Earth Organic 7" and its ingredients that I submitted with my request. I look forward to receiving approval of "Dr. Earth Organic 7" for use in the Community Gardens, or a statement of your reasons for denying this request, soon.Thank you,Evelyn Q. GorframAm I nuts? Should I be this mad? Should I tell her to take her 20 square feet of soil and suggest where she might put them? Should I demand that we duel at dawn unless she publicly retracts her dread insults to my compost?

Topic by Gorfram   |  last reply


Watchya think?

The Deadly Human Spore Soon there will arise the four That billions have called folklore And the evil that our age has had in store Will finally cause the uproar And what is to come none will adore The white will knock at the door A knock that none will be able to ignore. And all shall hope for a savoir For none want to be on the plutonian shore. He will judge the corrupt and "pure" And all will hit the floor. The red will gallop and drip blood across the moor, And all man shall engage in war. And the drums of battle will roar, As the sword of combat will bring down more, Than ever imagined outside the four. The black will trot as all will implore To find which will be the cure To all the hungry, diseased, and poor. This will invoke the final score Before the Sage comes to the floor, And all will wish to god they hadn't swore. The sage will smite priest and whore, As the last horseman of the four. And he will fulfill the lore, Of plague and sickness to the core. When all is no more A white dove shall emerge and shall soar And all the peace will restore. Then shall rise the raw power of the boar. No beast, no insect, no life will deplore The ridding of the deadly human spore. Note: i dont believe in god, the four horsemen r just a device i used to invoke the destruction of man for the preservation of nature. And yes i wrote this after watching The day the earth stood still (the new version). And if your confused about the colors there the colors of the horses the four horsemen rode, each color having a meaning (go wikipedia it) Feedback pwease and ty

Topic by poems4u   |  last reply


Energy underneath your house?

Hi all! I've being thinking on how to get off grid for a while now, in the first stage to use solar power to get the energy bills go down and in second place to get my stamp on earths energy consumption, using my house in a greener way. So solar energy and wind energy are on my mind, but recently i started to think about more possibilities. Like using my crawlspace to work for me. Maybe its posible to make a wind turbine underneath the house, or use the constant temperature to cool my house during summer. I've seen plans on the internet ( and cant find them anymore... ) about using a sort off vacuum chamber that has a constand wind flow comming in, trough a system of pipes that drive a wind turbine inside. The idea is that, because of the vacuum effect, you need only a small gust of wind to power the turbine. Where i live theres always wind, sometime a little, sometimes waaay to much. The crawlspace i have isnt that high, about 50CM in hight, and during the Fall and Winter months theres a high level of water, about 25CM. Durring summer its mostly muddy sand, so there's stil a lot off cool water trapt in there. So about the idea on cooling my house, how about a water cooling system that runs trough the house? How would you guys make such systems, have you already tryed this out, and are there some enthousiastic folks out there willing to go all the way and show these idea's are doable, so everyone can make it??? Hope to hear from you soon ;-) Greets, Arie

Topic by AriedeB   |  last reply


Updating an upsidedown planter and had some ideas, the only problem is that I know nothing about gardening. please help.

K, so I've been trying to make an instructable for about a year now, but I always pick projects that are apparently too ambitious for me as I never finish them... But I just had an idea as I will not be home this sumer so I won't have the joy of attempting to grow peppers this year... which means I'll have to try over the winter months. So I saw this instructable and thought it seemed like a perfect idea https://www.instructables.com/id/Matts-Original-Inverted-Planter-aka-IPlanter/ And then I started getting ideas of how to update it and make it better... however, I know a sum total of about nothing when it comes to plants... Last year i just bought a pepper plant from the local greenhouse, fed it fertilizer sticks once every other week, shoved it on my shed roof and hoped for the best... It succeeded, but I'm not yet willing to say it was skill on my part. So My first plot for an update came from this instructable https://www.instructables.com/id/Upside-Down-Hanging-Self-Watering-Earth-Filled-Box/ Since the pot will be hanging upside down and all that, checking the soil will be hasslesome, so a self watering system seems like a good idea, but this just seems complicated to me... So I've seen these things (http://www.amazon.com/Aqua-Globes-AG011706-Watering-2-Pack/dp/B000FHAJ90) on tv from time to time and was wondering how they work? Like could I just cut off the base of a wine bottle and shove the neck into the soil and then just fill the wine bottle as needed (or some other kind of glass bottle... i can cut glass easy enough)? My next though was when the instructable told me to cover the hole with plastic wrap so nothing leaks out onto the floor... But then I was thinking if a cork could also do the same task... I was thinking of drilling a hole through it and then cutting it into 4 pieces and re-assembling it around the stem and corking the bottle from the inside... Since I made the cuts I figure the plant would just move the cork out of the way as it grew and would eventually be big enough to just take the place of the cork... but again i don't know enough about plants to know if this would actually work. My last question is more of a what type of plant should i put in my bottle... I personally like peppers but the last time i grew them was on the roof of my shed and I'm wondering if they need more sun then they would getting sitting inside and upside down through the winter... and if not, what kind of plat could I plant in an upside down planter designed for indoor winter use? Also, is it true that used coffee grounds make for good fertilizer?

Question by coolname123   |  last reply


8 Reasons you'll rejoice when we hit $8 a gallon gasoline

This article in MarketWatch written by Chris Pummer mostly matches my opinions. My favorite is #2Here is the text:SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- For one of the nastiest substances on earth, crude oil has an amazing grip on the globe. We all know the stuff's poison, yet we're as dependent on it as our air and water supplies -- which, of course, is what oil is poisoning.Shouldn't we be technologically advanced enough here in the 21st Century to quit siphoning off the pus of the Earth? Regardless whether you believe global warming is threatening the planet's future, you must admit crude is passé. Americans should be celebrating rather than shuddering over the arrival of $4-a-gallon gasoline. We lived on cheap gas too long, failed to innovate and now face the consequences of competing for a finite resource amid fast-expanding global demand.A further price rise as in Europe to $8 a gallon -- or $200 and more to fill a large SUV's tank -- would be a catalyst for economic, political and social change of profound national and global impact. We could face an economic squeeze, but it would be the pain before the gain.The U.S. economy absorbed a tripling in gas prices in the last six years without falling into recession, at least through March. Ravenous demand from China and India could see prices further double in the next few years -- and jumpstart the overdue process of weaning ourselves off fossil fuels.Consider the world of good that would come of pricing crude oil and gasoline at levels that would strain our finances as much as they're straining international relations and the planet's long-term health: 1. RIP for the internal-combustion engineThey may contain computer chips, but the power source for today's cars is little different than that which drove the first Model T 100 years ago. That we're still harnessed to this antiquated technology is testament to Big Oil's influence in Washington and success in squelching advances in fuel efficiency and alternative energy.Given our achievement in getting a giant mainframe's computing power into a handheld device in just a few decades, we should be able to do likewise with these dirty, little rolling power plants that served us well but are overdue for the scrap heap of history.2. Economic stimulusNecessity being the mother of invention, $8 gas would trigger all manner of investment sure to lead to groundbreaking advances. Job creation wouldn't be limited to research labs; it would rapidly spill over into lucrative manufacturing jobs that could help restore America's industrial base and make us a world leader in a critical realm.The most groundbreaking discoveries might still be 25 or more years off, but we won't see massive public and corporate funding of research initiatives until escalating oil costs threaten our national security and global stability -- a time that's fast approaching. 3. Wither the Middle East's cloutThis region that's contributed little to modern civilization exercises inordinate sway over the world because of its one significant contribution -- crude extraction. Aside from ensuring Israel's security, the U.S. would have virtually no strategic or business interest in this volatile, desolate region were it not for oil -- and its radical element wouldn't be able to demonize us as the exploiters of its people.In the near term, breaking our dependence on Middle Eastern oil may well require the acceptance of drilling in the Alaskan wilderness -- with the understanding that costly environmental protections could easily be built into the price of $8 gas. 4. Deflating oil potentatesOn a similar note, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently gained a platform on the world stage because of their nations' sudden oil wealth. Without it, they would face the difficult task of building fair and just economies and societies on some other basis.How far would their message resonate -- and how long would they even stay in power -- if they were unable to buy off the temporary allegiance of their people with vast oil revenues? 5. Mass-transit developmentAnyone accustomed to taking mass transit to work knows the joy of a car-free commute. Yet there have been few major additions or improvements to our mass-transit systems in the last 30 years because cheap gas kept us in our cars. Confronted with $8 gas, millions of Americans would board buses, trains, ferries and bicycles and minimize the pollution, congestion and anxiety spawned by rush-hour traffic jams. More convenient routes and scheduling would accomplish that.6. An antidote to sprawlThe recent housing boom sparked further development of antiseptic, strip-mall communities in distant outlying areas. Making 100-mile-plus roundtrip commutes costlier will spur construction of more space-efficient housing closer to city centers, including cluster developments to accommodate the millions of baby boomers who will no longer need their big empty-nest suburban homes.Sure, there's plenty of land left to develop across our fruited plains, but building more housing around city and town centers will enhance the sense of community lacking in cookie-cutter developments slapped up in the hinterlands. 7. Restoration of financial disciplineFar too many Americans live beyond their means and nowhere is that more apparent than with our car payments. Enabled by eager lenders, many middle-income families carry two monthly payments of $400 or more on $20,000-plus vehicles that consume upwards of $15,000 of their annual take-home pay factoring in insurance, maintenance and gas.The sting of forking over $100 per fill-up would force all of us to look hard at how much of our precious income we blow on a transport vehicle that sits idle most of the time, and spur demand for the less-costly and more fuel-efficient small sedans and hatchbacks that Europeans have been driving for decades. 8. Easing global tensionsUnfortunately, we human beings aren't so far evolved that we won't resort to annihilating each other over energy resources. The existence of weapons of mass destruction aside, the present Iraq War could be the first of many sparked by competition for oil supplies.Steep prices will not only chill demand in the U.S., they will more importantly slow China and India's headlong rush to make the same mistakes we did in rapidly industrializing -- like selling $2,500 Tata cars to countless millions of Indians with little concern for the environmental consequences. If we succeed in developing viable energy alternatives, they could be a key export in helping us improve our balance of trade with consumer-goods producers. Additional considerationsWeaning ourselves off crude will hopefully be the crowning achievement that marks the progress of humankind in the 21st Century. With it may come development of oil-free products to replace the chemicals, pharmaceuticals, plastics, fertilizers and pesticides that now consume 16% of the world's crude-oil output and are likely culprits in fast-rising cancer rates.By its very definition, oil is crude. It's time we develop more refined energy sources and that will not happen without a cost-driven shift in demand.

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