Poor people in China transport natural gas in large plastic bags. If this could be made safe it’s a very low cost alternative to expensive pipelines. Natural gas could be quickly and cheaply distributed to places without infrastructure.
Running underground pipes is a large investment. The small amount of natural gas these people would use doesn’t make that investment worth while.
The danger is if the gas is ignited. Three things are required to cause this danger, enough oxygen for ignition, natural gas mixed with oxygen, spark or flame.
A very simple solution is to put the natural gas bag inside another bag filled with carbon-dioxide. This would prevent ignition. CO2 could also be used to prevent an explosion while filling the bag with natural gas. First fill the bag with CO2 then use the natural gas to force out the CO2 into another empty bag of the same size. When the second bag is full you know the first bag is filled with natural gas. The process could then be repeated with the second bag.
My business associate developed the BitTornado software Twitter is using to solve their server update problem. It’s the same type of problem Apple had when I worked there in 1992. The solution approach similar.
A single distribution server is a bottleneck both for efficiency and reliability. A single server slows down as more clients are accessing it. If the single server fails the entire process stops.
Predictive Innovation defines 15 Alternatives for any problem. The 15 Alternatives are arranged into two dimensions of 3 scales and 5 directions. The 3 scales are Single, Multiple and Continuous (see “Predicting the Next Disruptive Innovation” for more details).
When I was at Apple we solved the problem by moving from a Single mainframe to multiple servers and clients. This spread the bandwidth across more computers and provided more flexibility for doing ad-hoc reports.
BitTorrent is a Continuous solution. It doesn’t just spread the bandwidth over more computers, it spreads it over all the computers using the torrent. It produces the maximum bandwidth with the least vulnerability. It also flips the concept of speed on its head. Instead of getting slower as more computers download a file, it gets faster. Any computer connected to the torrent can share pieces with any other computer connected to the torrent. This is also how it reduces vulnerability. There are multiple sources for the pieces of the file, even if none of them have a complete copy of the file.
Rising Income Inequality & Shifting Identities – The Specialist & The Omnivore
An excellent explanation of the effects of the transitions from economy to abundance. As technology increases, ownership of things that make things (physical capital) will be more important and relationships will eventually become the only scarce good.