Good things are often hiding in plain sight. Sometimes it only takes a slight shift in the way we are looking at things to see benefits that were previously invisible to us. And sometimes ideas that were previously left by the wayside are shown to be worthy of reconsideration in a new context.
Decades ago I read a book called Design for the Real World by an industrial designer named Victor Papanek, the dean of the California Institute of the Arts. Papanek saw through standard conventions and came up with radically new ways to do things. He was also one of the early advocates of what we now call sustainability. He was always looking for ways to do things that were less wasteful, less polluting, and more benign for people and the environment. One of the ideas that struck me in his book was the idea of reviving the use of airships for transportation.
Airships, blimps, dirigibles, and zeppelins are like giant balloons. A huge aluminum chamber is filled with a gas that is lighter than air, so it pulls the craft up into the sky with no propulsion required. It flies the way a carnival balloon flies Read the rest of this entry »