Vertical Wind Power Solutions

Robert asks…

What do you think of this story? What would your response to it be?

This story was made in1977.

The Nightmare Life Without Fuel

Americans are so used to limitless energy supplies that they can hardly imagine what life might be like when the fuel really starts to run out. So TIME asked Science Writer Isaac Asimov for his vision of an energy-poor society that might exist at the end of the 20th century. The following portrait, Asimov noted, “need not prove to be accurate. It is a picture of the worst, of waste continuing, of oil running out, of nothing in its place, of world population continuing to rise. But then, that could happen, couldn’t it?”

So it’s 1997, and it’s raining, and you’ll have to walk to work again. The subways are crowded, and any given train breaks down one morning out of five. The buses are gone, and on a day like today the bicycles slosh and slide. Besides, you have only a mile and a half to go, and you have boots, raincoat and rain hat. And it’s not a very cold rain, so why not?

Lucky you have a job in demolition too. It’s steady work.

Slow and dirty, but steady. The fading structures of a decaying city are the great mineral mines and hardware shops of the nation. Break them down and re-use the parts. Coal is too difficult to dig up and transport to give us energy in the amounts we need, nuclear fission is judged to be too dangerous, the technical breakthrough toward nuclear fusion that we hoped for never took place, and solar batteries are too expensive to maintain on the earth’s surface in sufficient quantity.

Anyone older than ten can remember automobiles. They dwindled. At first the price of gasoline climbed—way up. Finally only the well-to-do drove, and that was too clear an indication that they were filthy rich, so any automobile that dared show itself on a city street was overturned and burned. Rationing was introduced to “equalize sacrifice,” but every three months the ration was reduced. The cars just vanished and became part of the metal resource.

There are many advantages, if you want to look for them. Our 1997 newspapers continually point them out. The air is cleaner and there seem to be fewer colds. Against most predictions, the crime rate has dropped. With the police car too expensive (and too easy a target), policemen are back on their beats. More important, the streets are full. Legs are king in the cities of 1997, and people walk everywhere far into the night. Even the parks are full, and there is mutual protection in crowds.

If the weather isn’t too cold, people sit out front. If it is hot, the open air is the only air conditioning they get. And at least the street lights still burn. Indoors, electricity is scarce, and few people can afford to keep lights burning after supper.

As for the winter—well, it is inconvenient to be cold, with most of what furnace fuel is allowed hoarded for the dawn; but sweaters are popular indoor wear and showers are not an everyday luxury. Lukewarm sponge baths will do, and if the air is not always very fragrant in the human vicinity, the automobile fumes are gone.

There is some consolation in the city that it is worse in the suburbs. The suburbs were born with the auto, lived with the auto, and are dying with the auto. One way out for the suburbanites is to form associations that assign turns to the procurement and distribution of food. Pushcarts creak from house to house along the posh suburban roads, and every bad snowstorm is a disaster. It isn’t easy to hoard enough food to last till the roads are open. There is not much in the way of refrigeration except for the snowbanks, and then the dogs must be fought off.

What energy is left cannot be directed into personal comfort. The nation must survive until new energy sources are found, so it is the railroads and subways that are receiving major attention. The railroads must move the coal that is the immediate hope, and the subways can best move the people.

And then, of course, energy must be conserved for agriculture. The great car factories make trucks and farm machinery almost exclusively. We can huddle together when there is a lack of warmth, fan ourselves should there be no cooling breezes, sleep or make love at such times as there is a lack of light—but nothing will for long ameliorate a lack of food. The American population isn’t going up much any more, but the food supply must be kept high even though the prices and difficulty of distribution force each American to eat less. Food is needed for export so that we can pay for some trickle of oil and for other resources.

The rest of the world, of course, is not as lucky as we are.

Some cynics say that it is the knowledge of this that helps keep America from despair. They’re starving out there, because earth’s population has continued to go up. The population on earth is 5.5 billion, and outside the United States and Europe, not more than one in five has enough to eat at any given time.

All the statistics point to a rapidly declining rate of population increase, but that is coming about chiefly through a high infant mortality; the first and most helpless victims of starvation are babies, after their mothers have gone dry. A strong current of American opinion, as reflected in the newspapers (some of which still produce their daily eight pages of bad news), holds that it is just as well. It serves to reduce the population, doesn’t it?

Others point out that it’s more than just starvation. There are those who manage to survive on barely enough to keep the body working, and that proves to be not enough for the brain. It is estimated that there are now nearly 2 billion people in the world who are alive but who are permanently braindamaged by undernutrition, and the number is growing year by year. It has already occurred to some that it would be “realistic” to wipe them out quietly and rid the earth of an encumbering menace. The American newspapers of 1997 do not report that this is actually being done anywhere, but some travelers bring back horror tales.

At least the armies are gone—no one can afford to keep those expensive, energy-gobbling monstrosities. Some soldiers in uniform and with rifles are present in almost every still functioning nation, but only the United States and the Soviet Union can maintain a few tanks, planes and ships—which they dare not move for fear of biting into limited fuel reserves.

Energy continues to decline, and machines must be replaced by human muscle and beasts of burden. People are working longer hours and there is less leisure; but then, with electric lighting restricted, television for only three hours a night, movies three evenings a week, new books few and printed in small editions, what is there to do with leisure? Work, sleep and eating are the great trinity of 1997, and only the first two are guaranteed.

Where will it end? It must end in a return to the days before 1800, to the days before the fossil fuels powered a vast machine industry and technology. It must end in subsistence farming and in a world population reduced by starvation, disease and violence to less than a billion.

And what can we do to prevent all this now?

Now? Almost nothing.

If we had started 20 years ago, that might have been another matter. If we had only started 50 years ago, it would have been easy.

Windmill Farms answers:

I think it is a very mild projection i would have thought i might be much worse .

The aspects of a global nuclear war or the full effects of Global warming have not been included.

Such as rising seas ,which could displace millions of people ,moving them further in land ,to fight it out with the residents already there causing wide spread public violence.

Also global food and potable water shortage ,and we have since come up with many alternatives to producing power ,why did he leave out solar or wind power.

But then this story was from 1977,and even so Asimov is a master at imagining future happenings
I wonder what he would see today ,it will be a different story.
The solution to a world devoid of energy is to think backwards and improve upon it .This is what Permaculture is all about sustainable ideas from the past (only in the past can prove of sustainability be found )

So my response is teach the people about PERMACULTURE a way of life using ingenuity and innovation with limited technology or dependence on Government energy sources,derived from a collection of sustainable ideas from around the world coupled to present level of knowledge
ideally suited for those who want to get back to the country and build a auto sufficient situation for themselves and the family or a community .

People plant rather for the quality of life and to feed their families, than for the market ,so the motivation and the manner are totally different from ordinary agriculture .

Although the basic concept of Permaculture also applies to Organic and sustainable farming,

Utilizing soil management ,and mulching

The utilization of space is more concentrated ,thinking in cubic and vertical terms instead or merely horizontal on the plain ,

Having many principle to follow such as utilizing all resources and following and enhancing energy flows ,
for example the ditch around the house catches the rain water and leads it through the chicken house where it cleans and picks up the manure to deposit it in the vegetable patch

Permaculture means permanent agriculture
a concept put forward by Bill Mollison in the 60`s

Which offers practical solutions for energy systems ,infrastructure ,intelligent design in housing,
animal shelter ,water systems and sustainable agricultural practices.
With the world and it`s history as it`s source
From the chinampas of Mexico to the terraced gardens of the Andes.
From the dessert wadis to the steppes of Russia.
Covering all climatic conditions temporal, dessert, humid and dry tropics.
With chapters on soil ,Water harvesting and land design,Bio diversity
Earth working ,Spirals in nature,Trees and water ,utilizing energy flows,
Strategy for an alternative nation

including gardening tips,bio-gas,companion planting and ideas for structures ,how to cool down houses in hot climates ,how to warm up houses in cold climates with out using technology but rather by design.
The Permaculture designers manual by Bill Mollison,which cost about 40 dollars.
And is the best all round book you can get,on Environmental design,.(tagiari publishing,

Some other writers that are on the Internet are
David Homegrown
Larry Santoyo
Kirk Hanson

Masanobu Fukuaka has written ,
One-Straw Revolution
The Road Back to Nature
The Natural Way of Farming
Simon Henderson
and Bill Molisson.
There is a Permaculture Institute in Australia
there is also a Dry land strategy Institute in North America

Links to previous relevant answers
bio diversity;_ylt=AoHkf4Mao.pJn3xHi6xV1Pnsy6IX?qid=20070728220706AAmTdlT

organic pest control;_ylt=AhfcBgXmgqLHJDS.1hZOVA3sy6IX?qid=20070609070008AA35IZ5

growing your own;_ylt=AqLpdYrdelPnP0HiyH2wurjsy6IX?qid=20070528180353AAxQuAm

water harvesting;_ylt=AlhND.Nc1wg2D5AyfZU9NzDsy6IX?qid=20070504150425AAAwVwA

the rippling effect;_ylt=AvwaHVtzogdsI8MrfMcvhaHsy6IX?qid=20070706214424AAjgbuz

choosing a site;_ylt=An5GAG03Te7IFEFaD1XTwkfsy6IX?qid=20070711193404AAGQlW7

alternative solutions to Urban sprawl;_ylt=AksobeRFQTAnaaAr4FEBAiMAAAAA;_ylv=3?qid=20071013043017AA6wcWX

Lisa asks…

video capture problem ”usb video grabber silvercrest” HELPPPPPP……………?

i ‘ve bought this pack of silver crest video grabber and cyberlink power director 9 to transfer my home videos of my old hi8 camera to my pc(a sony vaio pcg-3j1m)and then to dvd .With my First attempt everything went fine but with the next cassettes I got this message over and over again THIS MOVIE IS COPY PROTECTED,RECORDING IS PROHIBITED the recording stops every few minutes.I’m going mad I’ve searched on the web but I haven’t found a solution .Can anyone help me out ?I’ll take any suggestions and I;will download any Programme to fix this.Please be detailed. thank you in advance!

Windmill Farms answers:

Copyguard/macrovision is detected by looking at vertical sync pulses. On Hi8 the vertical interval is recorded near the edge of the tape. I suspect that the tape in the cassette you are trying to play has edge damage or even folded over. This is what your capture card thinks is copy protection. Try winding the tape to the end and rewinding a few times, there is a chance this might straighten it out. The only other solution would be to play the tape through a TBC (timebase corrector) or a different player that has TBC built in. Most photolabs use TBC, so you might consider sending the tape out for conversion.

Paul asks…

angle of attack vs lift.?

hey everyone. i was wondering if you have any ideas how i could set up an experiment which would show the relationship between what angle a planes wings are and how much lift each angle would produce? id appreciate any help. thanks

Windmill Farms answers:

Your question requires a drawing to construct but a verbal solution may help. Wind striking the surface of a wing produces lift and drag. At zero a flat wing, no curve on top, produces zero lift and some drag. As you raise the angle from zero the lift and drag rise together until at vertical the lift again reaches zero.

Take a flat stick like a paint stirrer for a gallon size. Glue a plastic compass to the end of the stick such that the 90 deg line is along the edge of the short side with the zero point of the angle measure at the back end of the edge. Place this stick on a straight stiff cardboard edge so that the “wing” sticks out on one side and you can turn the stick from the other end. The card board sheet should extend vertically from just in front of the leading edge of the “wing” with the curved part of the compass touching it. Add a fan to produce a wind running parallel to the cardboard sheet. With the “wing ” a zero ther will be no lift, As you rotate the wing the wind will produce lift

A cardboard box shorter than the stick with open ends for the wind and two holes oposite each other for the wing. Sould make a wind tunnel for the fan. By hanging weights outside the hole on one side and turning from the other in a fixed wind the set up should demonstrate the rise and fall of lift with angle of attack. Power makes planes fly if you have enough you can fly vertically, like a rocket.

To measure the lift, hang a piece of wire from the end of the wing hanging down out of the air stream. Attach small weights to balance the wing to zero lift point to measure lift. This could be a small plastic cup to which you add water (Use your assistant) which would be a mesurable and variable weight.

The lift will increase as angle increases to a point (@45 deg at which it will then decrease with increasing angle back to zero.

In a real world plane like the Piper Cherokee that I first flew, this point was called the stall point and the angle was closer to 30deg. When this happens you get warning buzzers and if continued rotation up zero lift. Producing an exciting vertical nose dive. Best experimented with at a high altitude to provide recovery height.

Charles asks…

How do I cure water logging on my land?

I own a 76 acre land in Rahimyar Khan, Pakistan.Of which 55 acre is waterlogged.Please tell me measures to cure this

Windmill Farms answers:

I grew up on a farm. We had several fields where there were boggy areas that were hard to work because equipment would get stuck in the mud. Also the crops in the water logged area would produce poorly.

The local solution was to tile the land. It requires about a 2% fall, so if there’s no lower points of drainage near your land, this won’t work. Tile was placed by hand in my grandfather’s day, but modern laser guided tiling machines dig the ~2 meter depth and place the hollow fired clay cylindrical tiles end to end. They are about 1/3 meter in length and slightly permeable. Water can enter the tile at the joints as well.

Note that it takes about 2 wet/dry seasons for the overlying soil to develop vertical fractures that form conduits from the surface down to the tile before the tile will flow at full capacity in the wet seasons.

If your land is the local “sump” or low area, another solution would be to use wind power to pump the water out of the low area and into an adjacent drainage system. Think of the Dutch windmill system. If the nearest drainage is too far & pumping is cost prohibitive, then planting vegetation with high transpiration capacity is probably your only option.

Thomas asks…

Physics Question, Ramp Momentum?

Ok my project is to make a car powered by momentum and to end in a distance by its own, sorry but my method of trial and error has been going on too long.

So here are the given:
The car gains momentum on a ramp 1.32 meters with an elevation of 20 degrees.
The car needs to end in a distance of 2 meters.

I need to find:
What weight is needed to end in 2 meters?

I need the solution to know how to do it in the future, thanks!

Windmill Farms answers:

Okay so….. Before i explain you should know that this problem cannot be done because there is insufficient information. But i can show u how to do it.

You’ve described a triangle so draw that out. Next use ur trig functions to find the vertical leg. You want to find the vertical leg because, even with ramps, the speed at which the car will leave the ramp is determined by the vertical ramp. This is because when you raise something above the ground, you give it some potential energy, the reason u give it (gravitational) potential energy is because you’re doing work against gravity. The value of the potential energy you give it is….

m=mass of object
g= acceleration due to gravity= 9.81m/s^2
h=height you lift the object

so after you find the vertical leg which is sin(20)=Op/Hyp, so then it woud be sin(20)=Op/1.32. Solve for “Op”, and Op=0.45146m. This is the height of the ramp and therefore, the amount of potential energy you give this object will be… E(p)=m(9.81)(0.45146). I know thats not “a” value, but in physics, sometimes it is important to remember that you have to just keep going on with your work and not just pause just becaues you run into a variable that you can’t solve with a full value.

Okay so our value for the potential energy of the object @ the top of the ramp is E(p)=m(9.81)(0.45146). But once it comes down the ramp, shouldn’t all of this energy be converted to kinetic energy? In other words the energy that a moving object has, thats what “kinetic energy” is. And the equation for that is
v=velocity of object

so again, since all of the potential energy should be converted to kinetic energy, mathematically they should be equal to each other right? So set the two equations equal to each other like so.


you have m on both sides of the equation, so that means, you divide m on both sides and the ratio will remain the same, so divide both sides by m and get rid of it you should then be left with….


great! Now everything is known except for v. Now just solve for it.


so great, this IS ur velocity.

With momentum, p=mv (p=momentum). So you don’t really need to use “momentum” for this problem because there is no collisions between two masses.

Now, here comes the part u didn’t give me enough info on.

Newton’s….. Um okay one of newton’s three laws says an object in motion stays in motion unless an external force is acting upon it.

So if the car is in motion, and it deccelerate to come to a stop, that means a force needs to act in the oppposite direction to make it velocity v=0.

I’ve solved for the acceleration by using the kinematic formula – -

v(final)^2=v(initial)^2+2as —————-> s=displacement NOT speed. So s=2

final velocity = 0 because, well… It’s coming to a stop..

a=-2.2144 (the negative sign suggests a “de”cceleration)
now, from here…


i know “a”, and im trying to find m or F, doesn’t matter, so that means i need either m or F but you didn’t give it to me. “weight” is defined by w=mg. And that IS force. Since i don’t have anything, i can’t solve for weight.

Keep in mind tho that during all this, which is after the car has left the ramp, it is going in a horizontal direction, so that means the only thing other than wind resistance that should be acting on the car is friction, you need something called a friction coefficient AND the normal force which is basically just the weight of the car, excluding the wheels. You need the friction coefficient between w/e is “rubbing”. Pretty much, if you have anything that is rubbing, that is the friction coefficient you need to find, the two materials that are rubbing on each other. F(frictional)=uN. N=normal, u=coefficient of friction (kinetic friction). So.. Give me the coefficient of the material of the axle and the material of the wheels, and the weight of the car excluding the wheels. Also tell me the material of the floor off the ramp. Because, if it’s carpet, i need to apply extra equations and yea.. Just give me all the details and pm me or post it again or soemthing. THEN i or someone could tell u how much weight you need.

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