Top 10 Things Designed To Last 1,000 Years

August 21, 2012 Naster Rawal 0 Comments

10.  Kalachakra World Peace Stupa

A rare and sacred Buddhist monument is taking shape at the Crystal Castle complex in Australia.  Building a stupa is an incredibly sophisticated and complex process.  According to specialists, the stupa is the earliest form of Buddhist architectural expression.  There are eight types of Tibetan stupas.
The Kalachakra World Peace Stupa is the first of its kind south of the equator (7th in the world), and is meant to protect people against negative energy flows and restore balance in times of crisis.
Combining ancient design principles with advanced technology, the time capsule blessed by the Dalai Lama is built to last 1,000 years. The stupa should be finished before the end of 2012, and will be filled with relics, holy objects, and scriptures.

9.  Prince William’s Tribute To Diana

In 2008, Prince William became a Royal Knight Companion of the Order Garter. The Queen made William the 1,000th knight to join the oldest British order of chivalry.
When receiving his traditional ceremonial symbol upon being knighted, William requested that designers incorporate Princess Diana’s family logo as well.  In addition, both he and his brother Harry requested a scallop shell on their Garter Crests and Coat of Arms, as a long-lasting tribute to their mother.  The multiple-layered statue, made out of 24-carat gold, is designed to last at least 1,000 years.

8.  Art To Last A Millennium

Buell Mullen (1901- 1986) was an internationally acclaimed artist who developed, after eight years of experimentation, a new technique of painting on metals. The unusual textures, techniques (she etched with acid) and the sculptural, three dimensional qualities of the paintings were quite innovative for those times. Besides stainless steel, Mullen worked on aluminum, gold, chromium, copper and nickel.  Shown above is a stainless steel portrait of President Dwight Eisenhower, presented to the Seventh Regiment Armory of New York City, on their 150th birthday.

7.  Antique Bibles

Do you know why antique bibles have survived over the centuries so well?  The answer lies in how they were made.  Nowadays, most books and bibles are designed to last for generations, between 30 and 60 years; antique bibles, however, could last a thousand years!  They hold up incredibly well because they were printed on parchment (treated animal skins), or on acid-free cotton linen sheets.  Since leather bindings typically last around 100 to 300 years, most antique bibles have been rebound in thick leather at some point.
The Codex Sinaiticus, for example, was handwritten over 1,600 years ago on 800 pages of parchment.  It is one of the four great uncial codices that contain the Christian Bible in Greek, including the oldest complete copy of the New Testament.

6.  St. Louis Gateway Arch

The 630-feet tall Gateway Arch, also known as Gateway to the West, is the tallest monument in the United States.  The stainless steel arch rises above the skyline of St. Louis, and is a symbol of America’s westward expansion.  Architect Eero Saarinen and structural engineer Fred Severud designed the Gateway Arch in 1965, and intended it to last 1,000 years, if properly maintained.

5.  Iznik Tiles

These vividly colored tiles, produced in Iznik (formerly Nicaea) during the 15th and 16th centuries, are one of the greatest artistic legacies of the Ottoman Empire.  The beautiful Iznik tiles still adorn the walls of many mosques (including the famous Blue Mosque), palaces, libraries and baths.
19 years ago, Prof. Dr. Isil Akbaygil visited some of Turkey’s historical edifices, and noticed that some of the tiles were as bright as new, while others were in an advanced state of deterioration.  Studies revealed that the bright tiles were indeed unique, though they hadn’t been made since the 17th century, and there were no historical records of how they were produced.
As there were no records left on how to make Iznik tiles, Dr. Akbaygil dedicated her entire career to recovering the original formula, and she succeeded.  Akbaygil founded the Iznik Training and Education Foundation and brought to life this dormant Turkish art.
Original Iznik tiles are composed of up to 95% quartz, while most tiles contain 14% to 20%.  Quartz is believed to have many health benefits: it protects against radiation, and is both durable and temperature resistant.  According to specialists, these beautiful tiles are engineered to last 1,000 years.

4.  Longplayer

Composed and developed by Jem Finer between 1995 and 1999, Longplayer is a 1000-year continuous musical piece.  The original installation has been running since December 31, 1999, and is located at Trinity Buoy Wharf in London.
If all goes as planned, Longplayer will play Finer’s music, without repetition, until the very last moment of 2999.  Check out the official website to understand how Longplayer works.  The questions raised in the Survival Strategies section are quite intriguing.
Longplayer is being streamed live online. If you encounter problems, try changing the browser.

3.  “Permanent” Paper – Nuclear Legacy

Since the mid-1940s, the human race has managed to generate so much radioactive waste that we ran out of above-ground disposal facilities. Industrial countries now have to build huge underground units where they can deposit the waste for thousands of years until the radiation levels decrease.
For a small but growing community of scientists, determining how to alert our successors to dangerous radioactive waste buried deep underground has become a challenging task.  The solution: record it all via permanent paper, which is made from chemical pulp, and has a projected longevity of 1,000 years.
The storage system for these papers requires special handling.  Documents must not be folded, stapled, glued or bound.  Each document is inserted in a permanent-paper envelope, and then archived in a permanent-cardboard register.  Documents are stored in temperature and humidity-controlled rooms.

2.  Monolithic Dome Houses (MDH)

Building industry professionals from all over world claim that monolithic dome homes are probably the most disaster-resistant homes. More and more people are embracing this concept because MDH’s have survived wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and much more.
When wildfires devastated Stephens County, Oklahoma, Jerri Strube’s monolithic dome didn’t catch on fire, despite flames surrounding it on all sides. A similar case happened in Yucaipa, California.  The “Vista Dhome” of the Braswells survived the Bryant Fire that destroyed almost 600 acres of hillside.
These houses are engineered to stand up whatever Mother Nature throws at them, and are designed to last 1,000 years.  As evidence of this, the Roman Pantheon is the monolithic dome’s oldest cousin, designed in much the same way, and will turn 2,000 years old in 2126

1.  M-Disc, The Archival Disc With A Thousand-Year Lifespan

Millenniata is an American start-up company that claims to have created a permanent file backup disc.  There are several storage media types that you can choose from, but their M-DISCs and M-WRITER Drive technology are the only ones designed to permanently archive data in a user-friendly, reliable and reasonably priced manner.
M-Disc is definitely unique in comparison with other optical disc formats. The inorganic, rock-like, data layer is the feature that sets it apart from DVDs and CDs.
The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) conducted a series of stress test to determine the disc’s durability.  M-disc was the only storage media out of five competing products that didn’t suffer any kind of degradation.  NAWCWD published these conclusions in a study called “Accelerated Life Cycle Comparison of Millenniata Archival DVD.” Millenniata believes their disc will last at least 1,000 years.


Top 10 Things That Haven’t Changed In 100 Years

August 21, 2012 Naster Rawal 1 Comments

10.  The Train

We often fail to appreciate just how timeless an invention the locomotive was, nor are many people aware of how much it still operates as it did in olden days. Of course, steam has been replaced by safer, cleaner, and more economical diesel engines, but the fact remains that trains are still doing the same thing they’ve been doing since the mid-nineteenth century, and doing it in much the same way. Even the steel rails they ride on today are indistinguishable from those of a century ago. The one big change has been in payload; a century ago, trains mainly transported people; today, 90 percent of their load is ore or produce. Yet they keep on chuggin’ along.

9.  Landline Telephones

Obviously the advent of the cell phone is radically changing the way people contact each other, but the old landline is still alive and well, and hard to match in terms of clarity and reliability (when’s the last time you lost a signal on your land-line or accidentally dropped it into the pool?) The interesting thing is that it still functions precisely the way it did a century ago; the only significant change being the ability to dial the number directly rather than having to go through a switchboard operator. Also, telephone and electrical lines are still attached to wooden poles, just as they have been since the advent of the telegraph during the Civil War, demonstrating that sometimes the old ways of doing things are still the best.

8.  The Rifle

Once the shell cartridge and barrel rifling was perfected in the late nineteenth century, the modern rifle was essentially complete, with few changes, other than increasing the rate of fire, being necessary. As such, the modern, bolt-action rifle and chamber-firing revolver are essentially unchanged from their predecessors, and operate exactly the same way they did for great granddad. In fact, other than the advent of the semi and fully-automatic mechanisms, and vast improvements in sighting (i.e. scopes), a hunter from 1912 would have no trouble using a modern rifle (beyond bemoaning their lower quality construction.)

7.  The Iron

Let’s face it—there simply isn’t a way to make ironing wrinkly clothes any easier. Yes, you’ve got electric plug-in irons today rather than stove heated ones, and you have that neat little button on top that shoots out sprits of steam but, beyond that, ironing is still the same tedious art form it has always been. In some ways, it’s even more of a challenge today, with that always-too-short cord getting in the way or failing to reach far enough. Even the professional dry cleaners haven’t changed their methodology all that much; the chemicals they use nowadays may be different but the process—and the results—are still the same.

6.  Books

Many have predicted the demise of books since the advent of the computer, and Kindle and other downloadable reading devices are in the process of changing the publishing industry, but the fact is that nothing beats the good old paperback in terms of portability. Also, you can’t get your favorite author to sign an e-book, nor can you underline important points or scribble stuff in the margins with a Kindle.
And what happens if the power grid goes out or someone steals your reader? You lose your entire library! That’s why the printed book will never entirely die—it’s just too necessary! And the beauty of it is that books haven’t changed much in terms of how they are produced since Gutenberg printed a few dozen bibles way back when.

5.  The Automobile

This is a controversial selection since few can argue that the modern automobile is a far cry from the Model T of 1912, but how different is it really? Certainly the basic function of the combustion engine has not changed, nor has the way one operates an automobile. Ford’s rickety cars had transmissions, clutches, brakes, headlights, left-handed steering, and everything else we still see today. Obviously the technology has improved dramatically, and great grandpa never had the luxury of having a radio, a heater, or cup holders, but the basic modus operandi of the automobile itself remains largely indistinguishable from 1912 and probably won’t become truly different until they learn to fly—or at least hover.

4.  The Sailboat

Yes, canvas has been replaced with stronger and lighter nylon, and wooden hulls and masts have been supplanted by fiberglass or aluminum, but the basic idea remains the same: harness the wind to move large vessels across the water with minimal effort and cost. Even their sleek lines haven’t changed all that much, nor has their means of operation. Really, there is just no way to improve on a good idea, making the sailboat one of the most timeless inventions in human history.

3.  Musical Instruments

Despite the introduction of different materials and electronics to music (i.e. the keyboard and the electric guitar) musical instruments have changed little over the last century, which is why the piano, guitar, mandolin,violin, drums, trumpet, saxophone—you name it—are still made and performed much the way they did in 1912 (or 1812, for that matter). While music itself has changed dramatically (though not always for the better), the raw noise that comes out of these instruments, and the way they are played, remains timeless. Even the way the best hand-made instruments are manufactured is a throwback to an earlier era, when there was no substitute for skill and patience, and people took pride in crafting a quality musical instrument.

2.  The Incandescent Light Bulb

Ever since Edison produced his first practical light bulb way back in 1880, not much has changed with the overall construction. It looks the same, functions the same and, allowing for inflation, costs much the same as it did in 1912. Less energy-efficient than the newer fluorescent and LED lights, however, the incandescent may not be around much longer, and is, in fact, slated to be phased out of production in the United States in 2014.  Which is too bad because, since the older bulbs often used heavier filaments, they were more robust and therefore long-lasting, making them superior in some ways than their modern counterparts.

1.  The Flush Toilet

Perfected in the late-nineteenth century, this hallmark of civilization has remained largely unchanged since its inception (or, one might surmise, its perfection) in roughly 1880. The basic mechanism inside the tank may be made out of plastic instead of rust-prone metal, but one of the great innovators of the modern toilet, Thomas Crapper, would still recognize the thing and appreciate it for the remarkable piece of engineering it remains to this day. One of the few truly indispensable devices they got right the first time, the immortal porcelain throne has stood the test of time very well, thank you.


Top 10 Foods Of The Future

August 21, 2012 Naster Rawal 1 Comments

10.  Vegetarian Meat

The idea of “meat” consisting of ingredients that don’t include animals would have seemed pretty far-fetched not so many years ago.  Today, we know differently, and the trend in this area will continue to grow as population growth begins to outpace currently available food sources.  Meat production is a huge and expensive industry.  Vegetarian products, however, are cheaper to produce and tend to be healthier as well (great news for animal lovers).
Most of us already know about soya products.   Made from soya beans, these products have found some traction in Asia.  Prepared properly, these products have a texture that is very similar to meat and, with some inventive seasoning, can provide a wide variety of flavor.  Soya is just one example that is currently being used.  Other innovative products show equal promise and look to be available in increasing quantities in coming years.
This includes such products such as Quorn, a fungus.  Yeah, I know – but hey, so are mushrooms and all kinds of stuff can be produced from that particular family of fungi.  Anyway, Quorn is produced from a fermented fungus and reportedly taste very similar to actual meat products.  Add in such products produced from the likes of lupines to wheat gluten, and a very profitable and practical source of food is available from non-traditional sources.  Assuming that the products in question and other similar offerings can reproduce the taste/flavor of the meat products they hope to supplement (or replace); then we all might be wolfing down a tree leaf burger in the very near future.

9.  Cultured/In-Vitro Meat

It’s a true fact that a good deal of the world’s population is carnivorous.  We like our meat.  And while there are other products that attempt to reproduce the taste, flavor, and texture of meat (some successful, others not so much); the truth of the matter is that these products are still not real meat.  Sometimes, we want a burger – a real, honest-to-God sandwich that began as a cow.
Fortunately, science is working on resolving this primitive desire in a manner that may alleviate the need for an actual animal.  In-vitro or cultured meat involves “growing” meat.  “Growing” is the best way to describe the process of tissue-engineering that is required to accomplish this feat.  The method entails taking cells from a live animal, which are then used to grow…well…meat.  I don’t pretend to understand the science behind all of this, but the idea is an interesting one.  In fact, such a method could darn near resolve hunger around the world (theoretically).  This idea is still in the development/research stage, but the potentials of a breakthrough are not difficult to imagine – ready-made meat products that are easily manufactured without having to deal with herds of live animals would be incredibly profitable.  And for the consumer – we will have our meat!

8.  Algae

The first thing that comes to mind is, “isn’t this like eating fungus?”  No, not really.  One of the interesting things about this particular subject matter is to reflect on the various changes that have come about concerning food production and consumption.  Just 50 years ago, the answer to the world’s growing consumption needs was the so-called “green revolution“.  Farmers were introduced to scientifically altered (hybrid) seeds and new types of fertilizers to enhance crops.  As a result, farmers were able to grow twice as much as before.  The downside was the need for more land and water (we use A LOT of water) – we are now close to a saturation point where traditional farming is prohibitive.
As such, producers have to figure out how to grow food in places that normally are not very hospitable to do so.  Enter algae.  Algae are microscopic organisms that have the ability to grow very fast.  More to the point, they can grow in the sea, and even in polluted water.  Seaweed and kelp, in fact, are forms of algae.  While most folks have not had a cuisine consisting of what could be considered sea grass – these forms of algae could provide an accessible and affordable dietary option. The real appeal of algae is in expanding the dietary offerings that it presents and in the by-products (such as algae oil) that can be derived from this readily abundant source from nature.  Hey – if blue whales and other marine life enjoy the stuff, maybe there’s something to it after all.

7.  Insects, Bugs, and Small Critters

Photo Courtesy of BigStock
Truth is truth.  We may not like it, but that doesn’t impact on facts of the matter.  And one truth that can be derived out of a discussion about the consumption of insects, is that they provide a very good source of protein.  And apparently, we need protein.  But that’s not all.  Of the various species of bugs that are eaten (well over 1,400 that are common), they all commonly provide a low fat, low cholesterol, and high calcium and iron affair.  Yes, they can be a bit slimy (and crunchy), but they are good for you.  While insects are not uncommon fodder in Asia, Africa and South America; the rest of the world has not really followed suit.  This probably has a lot to do with culture, perception and need.
Nevertheless, insects provide very little space to breed and generally inexpensive to do so as well.  Add this to the fact that they can provide a nutritional meal, and we have all the makings of a new food group.  Indeed, crickets, caterpillars, grasshoppers and June beetles are just a few of the favored multi-legged delicacies available.  In fact, there are a number of advocacy groups that are promoting the use of insects as a dietary staple.   They have a legitimate point, especially when one considers the shortage of food in many parts of the world.  Insects can provide an affordable source of the vital nutrients that humans need to survive.  Granted, images of fried grasshopper may not be dancing in your head right now, but very soon you may have a craving for chocolate-covered ants.  Just wait.

6.  Seafood

Photo Courtesy Of Bigstock
The basic problem with meat, is that maintaining the necessary livestock is becoming more and more unsustainable.  One study declared that livestock took up about 30% of available land space on the planet, not to mention the greenhouse effect of their biological emissions.  Additionally, well over 50% of grain production (a good chunk of available farmable land) is devoted to feeding livestock.  Basically, with the ever increasing population, we simply cannot raise enough cows to feed all these folks.
The sea, on the other hand, provides excellent sources of food that is much easier to cultivate/breed.  And I’m not talking about a bunch of fishermen out at sea hauling in more loads of produce (images of the show “Deadliest Catch” and the movie A Perfect Storm are coming to mind).  Rather, we are talking about fish farms on land – places where different types of fish are specifically bred and raised to be turned into a fillet (think Talapia and Corbia).
It certainly makes economic and practical sense.  Seafood, of just about any variety, takes an enormous amount of resources to catch – whether we are talking about shrimp or crabs.  The ability to produce these products in a more domestic fashion would make them more available and presumably cheaper for us, the consumer.  And the wide variety of species that make water their home gives produces plethora of choices to market.  The new open ranges will be filled with trout.

5.  Smaller Animals

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My wife, when I was describing the items that would populate this list, exclaimed when I got to this one, “what, like rats?”  Rats are indeed small animals and there are a lot of them (and people have been known to eat them in desperate situations).  But no, we are not talking about rats in this case.  Whether we are talking about placing a larger emphasis on animals that are not as problematic as cattle to raise as a food source.
With this, there are a whole host of animals that can provide a dietary substitute for beef.  Rabbits, squirrels, coon, goats, and the like are on the list.  In fact, in many parts of the world, these animals are consumed on a regular basis.  The benefit of such animals is that you can raise more of them, relative to cattle, for consumption.  Or so say the experts.  I haven’t done the math, but a typical steer provides about 400 pounds of meat.  This works out to about 1,600 servings (at 4 ounces per serving).  Meanwhile, an average rabbit is about 5 pounds, and provides about half its weight in edible meat – so you would need about 160 rabbits for a comparable amount of meat.
Nevertheless, smaller critters – even in the necessary greater numbers – are comparatively inexpensive, and generate less greenhouse gas effects.  In short, raising a gaggle of rabbits is a lot more economical, practical, and environmentally sound than a herd of cows.  And honestly, grilled rabbit tastes pretty good!

4.  Weeds

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Well, maybe not weeds in the traditional sense.  But some experts suggest the dietary benefits of a weed-like vegetation called purslane.  This particular strain of vegetation is a nutritionist’s dream!  It’s loaded with stuff like vitamin A , omega-3 and beta carotene.  According to one source, the chewy peddles of this weed (it really is a weed – it has the affectionate nickname of pigweed) is more nutritious than vegetables like carrots and spinach.  That alone makes it worth its while.  Reportedly, it also tastes good.
Unfortunately, at present, farmers hate Purslane because it chokes off other crops that are more profitable.  But the great thing about weeds: the darn things tend to grow everywhere.  Purslane has adapted itself to grow in dry environments, as well as areas with plentiful water, making in a prime choice for a crop in arid climates.  As the world moves to more hardy food substances (especially those that are hardy and nutritious), we can expect to see vegetation, such as purslane, on our dinner plates in greater quantities.  Yum.

3.  Genetically Modified Food

Genetic manipulation is seen as the way of the future.  The technology in this regards in still in the infancy stage, but the promise of being able to manipulate current foods into hardier, tastier and more nutritious stock is a prime motivator in this area.  Essentially, we are talking about making existing food better.  This includes shortening the growing times of crops, making them more resistant to insects and other issues that plague crops, increasing yields, enabling crops to grow in areas not normally suitable to do so, and more.
In fact, researchers are even speculating on engineering foods to fight certain diseases, like cancer.  Imagine eating a piece of watermelon that has been genetically modified to provide a protein that allows someone with diabetes to forgo taking insulin.  On a more immediate application, genetic manipulation will allow foods to taste even better, blend flavors, or even event totally new tastes to commonly known foods.  We may be quite a ways from Star Trek-style food replicators, but the science of creating new food is right on our finger tips.

2.  Nanofoods

If you are smarter than me (and you probably are) then you more-than likely-understand the difference between nanofoods and the above-mentioned genetically modified food.  Scientists swear that there is a distinct difference between the two.  From what I can gather, nanofood is a somewhat less-ambitious scientific process.  While genetically modified food involves altering the very genes of a food (changing the essence of item in question), nanofood technology restructures the molecular/atomic structure of foods using nanotechnology to produce nanoparticles.
A fine line for sure, but a difference nonetheless.  These nanoparticles can alter a way that a food taste, what nutrients are produced, or extend the life of a particular food.  Currently, this science is used in packaging, by extending shelf life (preservatives can be released into the food), improving product safety (by alerting consumers to spoiled food), and even repairing torn packaging through some sort of self-sealing process.
One interesting development that is in the works by Kraft Foods is interactive products.  Essentially, the company is attempting to use nanotechnology to cater a food’s taste to individual consumers.  Now that’s getting food how you want it!  Ultimately, what scientist hope to achieve is to be able to take this technology to the next level, and perform feats that are more in common with genetic modification – changing taste and providing increased nutritional benefits.  Suffice to say, this stuff is definitely next-generation technology that approaches science fiction.

1.  Something We Haven’t Thought Of Yet

If you would have told folks 100 years ago, that we would have genetically altered seeds that would double the yield of crops, they probably would have thought you were reading too many science fiction novels.  Yet fiction, as crazy as it may sound, is the harbinger of things to come.  We were dreaming of reaching the moon long before we actually did it.  In this same fashion, the unimaginable in regards to food will probably be tomorrow’s reality.  I mentioned earlier the food replicators on Star Trek.  Well, do you also remember those handheld flip communicators they used?  Take a look at the cell phones (older models now) that performed the same function.  As such, it’s not hard to imagine a machine that could actually produce any kind of food you desire right out of the molecules that are floating around in the air.  Or maybe the nutrient-enhanced slime that the folks ate in The Matrix?
Farfetched?  Maybe, but our imaginations will be the breeding grounds for the next evolution in food.  As our food supplies continue to shrink, we will be forced to find ever new ways to feed our growing population.  Perhaps the answer lies in space – new foods that can only be grown in the vacuum or on a space station.  Or maybe we can find a way to make dirt tasty and nutritious.  For certain, I’ve seen people make a delicacy out of lawn grass!   Whatever the case, you can bet that our great grandchildren will find it hard to believe that we were actually eating meat from animals and vegetables that were grown in real soil.  Just wait and watch!