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On paper. Okay, stick with me here. In The Beginning things didn't operate the way they do know. One of the first organisms that helped create biodiversity was blue green algae. Because UV rays (the sun) cause it to trap methane (the original air on earth) and produce CO2, other organisms began eating that CO2 and producing 02, which is what our plant life currently does, yes?

Why on EARTH haven't we used algae, engineered to reverse that process (meaning, eating CO2 and spitting out O2) and create filters for smoke stacks? For mufflers? Talk about going green... Algae is incredibly easy to come by, and in places is damaging ecosystems because people like to put nitrogen fertilizer on their lawns but can't be arsed to follow instructions, thereby screwing up our water system (which spits out this N2 high crap into the Gulf of Mexico, causing algae blooms, which kills the O2 in the water, killing plant life.)

You could make floating "islands" of algae (again, engineered to work backwards) over cities that are major polluters. Now, before you say yeah, yeah, not possible to engineer this stuff, I engineered algae to act as a specific bacteria when I was a senior in high school. [Science Fair represent!] And with all we know now about molecular engineering? How 'bout it, Science?

[Side note for life science geeks like me: Archae might be better to use since they already thrive in harsh environments like hot springs, and acid mine drainage. I mean, if it can live in that stuff?] I know what my kids are going to be working on for next year's Science Fair.

[ETA] for I'm not so stupid after all! melbournegirl found a link showing that some guys at MIT are working on this VERY THING. In your face, Mr. S, who thought I was sounding Asimovian. (And when is that a bad thing, I ask you?)

Here's an awesome video that condenses the entire life of the earth up to now in 60 seconds. The explosion of biodiversity at the end - 1.2 billion years in a few seconds? Awesome.

ION, I want to learn how to vid. Any tips? I've had an idea for about four years now, and want to do something with it.


( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 4th, 2009 04:19 pm (UTC)
I have a feeling they have already done this. It can also produce bio-fuel.


Maybe 2-3 years ago a guy lived in a sealed room submerged in a lake, using blue-green algae to as a C02/02 system. I can't find a link for that, though.
Mar. 4th, 2009 04:52 pm (UTC)

That's awesome! Why isn't this being used more? Thanks for the link!
Mar. 4th, 2009 04:20 pm (UTC)
ION, I want to learn how to vid. Any tips?

Heh. Where to start?! First off: it's probably easiest to use Windows Movie Maker (if you're on a PC) or iMovie (if you'll be using a Mac). Those are what're called 'linear editors' and you have one track for video and one track for audio, which simplifies some of the technical parts when you're getting started.

Second, where are you getting your source from? You can either use downloaded .avis or you can rip the source you want from DVDs, which provides much better quality but requires more space and effort.

Here are a couple of links with beginner info; it looks like a LOT of stuff, you can just selectively check out the technical info you use and go from there:


These two links are specifically from my Vidding 101 panel at bitchin' party last year:


I am HAPPY to answer any questions you might have, although I'm on a Mac only for vidding these days so my PC knowledge is mostly out of date.
Mar. 4th, 2009 04:54 pm (UTC)
Windows Movie Maker? Okay! My computer came with that, too, cool!

I'm planning on ripping scenes from my DVDs.

Those links look GREAT. I'm going to read through them all and figure out what will help me first. Then as I go back and edit, maybe I can get smarter. :D

I knew you'd have info for me, wooot!!!!
Mar. 4th, 2009 09:18 pm (UTC)
I don't actually recommend Windows Movie Maker for vidding. It produces kinda crappy quality for videos and your choices for effects and transitions are pretty limited. The Mac vs PC commercial on this was actually pretty accurate.

Personally, I rec Sony Vegas if you can afford it. (It retails for a terrifying $550. ebay is considerably kinder.)

I've made vids in both, and honestly, Vegas is far and away the better choice for quality, and learning how to use it isn't much harder. There are a LOT of tutorials to help you get started with it, too.

One of the best programs for quality other than Vegas is Adobe After Effects, but it's got a much steeper learning curve and is even more expensive. (Retails for $999 and the cheapest I can find it on eBay is $589.)

Also, just for the record, when it comes to obtaining clips for vidding purposes, not all DVD rippers are created equally. Some DVD rippers I've used in the past gave me a choice between mind-numbingly huge file sizes even for short bits (I once ripped a 700 megabyte vid from a DVD, and it was only one chapter) or ludicrously subpar quality. (If it rips in MPEG format, odds are good you're going to have some blurring or some grain-y-ness) The good news is, I can recommend ripping software that's not only awesome, but free. It's called Auto Gordian Knot (usually abbreviated to AutoGK) and it is LOVE. Like, "I don't know how I ever managed to live without it"-type love.

Lastly, when you've actually made the vid, I really don't recommend putting it on YouTube. Probably the best vidding host for fanvids is imeem, which is also free, but has much better video quality than YouTube and doesn't tend to get its panties in a twist over copyrighted materials. It really sucks to go to a lot of trouble vidding something and getting it just the way you want, only to put it on YouTube and have its visual and audio quality harshed, and possibly have it removed because of a copyright claim from so-and-so. And, actually, total removal is the lesser of two YouTube evils; if they don't care about your video but the music you use is deemed to have been used illegally, they'll leave your video up but remove all the sound from it.

Sorry fur butting in; this is just my two cents on vidding, and it's stuff I wish I had known when I first started out.
Mar. 4th, 2009 10:08 pm (UTC)
I've spent the better part of the day looking into vidding and JESUS JUMPED UP CHRIST are all the How Tos and stuff so totally not user friendly.

Jesus, I just want to cut some scenes together with music over it. I'm not looking to re-make Fellini.

I was daunted today. It may never happen, to be honest.
Mar. 7th, 2009 03:28 am (UTC)
iMovie is great! The earlier iterations, anyway, before iMovie 8. Could you maybe pick up a used Mac running OS X?

I do realize that might be too expensive an option. If so, then the new little USB cams have very basic programs built into them. From the reviews, the Flip Mino is pretty good. I've got an RCA, but that records only in AVI and I needed to download some free software to convert to Quicktime files and then pull it into iMovie. But that's because the RCA small wonder is made for Windows.

I'd say just start doing it. It's really not that bad - especially if you've got some teenagers to show you the ropes!

(here from Elanor X's journal, who linked to Sparkledammerung!)
Mar. 4th, 2009 04:23 pm (UTC)
Currently they are running several studies on using algae to make biofuels.
Mar. 4th, 2009 04:55 pm (UTC)
biofuels would be great! There's just more and more info coming in showing that we might already be fu@&ed as far as CO2 emissions - something needs to start nomming on it ASAP.

Melbournegirl found a link showing that some cats up at MIT are looking into the very thing I mentioned. AWESOME!
Mar. 4th, 2009 06:57 pm (UTC)
Yeah, your post twigged me about something I read months ago, but it was def. about fuels. Couldn't remember where I read it, and it just hit me now. It was in our local alternative paper.
Mar. 4th, 2009 04:29 pm (UTC)
That is an awesome scenario, except it is prone to the Sosnowski Borsctch (Heracleum sosnowskyi) syndrome.

What is the Sosnowski Borschtch? Well, in short it's a plant which was introduced in Poland as a source for cattle fodder in the 50. It grew on soils that were poor for other plants and spawned like hell, so everybody thought "hey, cheap cow food".

Thing is the whole thing went wild, only invading the niches of indigenous weeds (I like to call all non-tree, non-cereal meadow plant life weeds. What are you gonna do about it?). What's worse, the thing burns like poison ivy on steroids, causing severe burns for humans and even internal bleeding for animals that eat it.

If the algae was too good at what it does, it could rampant and wreak massive damage on the ecosystem. I guess this is just me saying bioengineering is the new nuke, but hey - I'm that kind of coward.

As a side note, the Borschtsch was a gift from Russian scientists. Just goes to show why we're so wary of any presents from Moscow.
Mar. 4th, 2009 04:58 pm (UTC)
Oh, the invasive nature of some "fixes" is a big problem here, too. The thing is, in my scenario, this is lab created material in a fixed state - as in, it's growing on filters, etc. As long as the bacteria or algea is active, it can be controlled to not asexually reproduce, sending spores out into the stratusphere.

I'm totally in disagreement on bioengineering being the next awful thing, but that's because I've been involved in it. :)

In Soviet Russian plant life kills YOU, eh?
Mar. 4th, 2009 05:40 pm (UTC)
Ah, and when we bioengineer dinosaurs we're going to give them diabetes, so we can control their population through insulin shots?

And to paraphrase my favourite sci-fi writer "God created Russia and Germany to test the Poles".
Mar. 4th, 2009 05:01 pm (UTC)
i think i just developed a crush on you.

i'm not sure though...

wait, you just made a yakov smirnov joke.

crush is confirmed.

(don't worry, it's harmless. you are words on a screen to me. words that just hit me up with some crazy sexy science)
Mar. 4th, 2009 05:06 pm (UTC)
My Os and 1s are sexy, it can't be denied. :D

Science! People who don't enjoy that make my heart ache.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 4th, 2009 05:14 pm (UTC)
Isn't that a wonderful video?! I reminded me of the Big Bang walk in NYC's Museum of Natural History. <3

I added a link to an article about guys at MIT doing that very thing! I swear I didn't plagiarize that idea. :D The Mr. said it sounded very science-fictiony and laughed at me. He's a reformed sf reader (nothing but finance stuff now. Bor-ing.) so it must be some old school hard SF series that used it? Hmm.

All I know is that most modern advances in science and technology have been because of Asimov and a few others, so comparing me to them? I see that as a compliment of the highest order. :D

(I'm with you on the sieve brain. If I don't write or bookmark stuff, it's pretty much gone for good. Woe to aging.)
Mar. 4th, 2009 08:12 pm (UTC)
I like your idea; in fact, I was just reading an article about it in Scientific American. But those guys from MIT, I don't think they've thought this through:

"After the CO2 is soaked up like a sponge, the algae is harvested daily. From that harvest, a combustible vegetable oil is squeezed out: biodiesel for automobiles."

So, they're going to take all the carbon stored in that aglae and burn it as fuel. Which creates CO2, which is released back into the atmosphere. Isn't that kind of a zero-sum game? *is confuzed*
Mar. 4th, 2009 08:21 pm (UTC)
No, no, when you use the by-product for biodesiel, it leaves water and trace salts. That's why people want to switch to biofuels.

The way I see it, it's a win/win for anyone wanting to get involved. You can make money two ways, which... why wouldn't someone like T. Boone Pickens or anyone else want to jump on this?
Mar. 4th, 2009 08:46 pm (UTC)
You is smart! But you were probably smart enough to figure that out already.

Next we need solar panels rigged up in the desert with the equivalent of a pipeline channeling it - energy for everyone!

Mar. 4th, 2009 09:20 pm (UTC)
I'm so on board with solar power. My son and I have a theory that if solar panels were more like flies eyes (multi-faceted instead of flat) it would have a great ability to collect more power. I think we're going to try and build one this summer and see for ourselves.

Nerd alert!
Mar. 4th, 2009 09:28 pm (UTC)
It's stuff like that that give me hope. Hurrah for the furture, or drinking myself to death otherwise!
Mar. 4th, 2009 10:32 pm (UTC)
ooh melbournegirl beat me to it
Mar. 4th, 2009 11:42 pm (UTC)
i have been saying for YEARS...why don't we put money into producing cars that operate like plants do...aka..PHOTOSYNTHESIS?! hello?! use the ATP and ADP cycle of taking in co2 and producing o2 to create clean vehicles. apparently i'm not the only one that had an idea like that.

everybody i told thought it was the dumbest idea ever.
Mar. 5th, 2009 12:21 am (UTC)
Re: Vidding- do you have a mac?
Mar. 5th, 2009 12:50 am (UTC)
nah, I'm a PC.
Mar. 5th, 2009 01:22 am (UTC)
You are blinding me with science, you are. :)
Mar. 7th, 2009 03:32 am (UTC)
About the blue-green algae - that sounds like a really neat idea, but I have a fishtank, and that stuff is just about impossible to control and makes fish sick. So - there's a dark side to everything, isn't there?

(OTOH, if well maintained, algae or plant filters work better than *anything else*.)
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )


Are You Actually

Reading this? I'm just curious. Because that's really detail-oriented of you. Feel free to stop reading. But you can see that there's more here, so are you going to keep reading? Really? That's pretty dedicated. I'm impressed. No, really. I'm not being sarcastic, why do you get like that? See, this is the problem I have with your mother - yes. YES. I'm going there. It's time we put all of our cards on the table.

I love you, why are you doing this? After all we've been through? You don't have to be like this. You know, still reading. You could be baking a pie. And then sharing it with me.

Time Wot It Is

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