Making Electric Car Society

Environmental Architecture, Theatre Business

Recipe for a working electric car society:

  • a little wireless charging, as seen here:

  • a little hybrid car/ electric-only car, as seen here:

mix with the current  american road system and bam!  A very efficient electric car society.

The idea behind this system is that around stoplights, parking garages, tunnels – anywhere where cars are surrounded either by four walls or where they are stopped (or both), wireless chargers are inserted into the roadsystem.  What this allows is continuous recharging of the electric car.  Combine that with solar or geothermal powered wireless chargers and you get a low-oil/ natural gas system that keeps the American tradition of individualistic driving.

Fine: How do you pay for it?

Advertising.  Sell ad space in garages, on highways, so on and so forth.  Google has made the free-to-consumer approach work wonders through simple use of advertiser space.  If this method of marketing keeps the ever popular internet super-highway cheap, why can’t the real highway system use a similar method?

Why does this matter for theatre?

Most theatre patrons belong to demographics that concern themselves with driving, luxury, and environmental action – on either end of the polarity.  They can afford to take part in the energy/ road system conversation.  That being said, the theatre industry itself is one of constant transport – be it between the suppliers and the space wherein the set is built or simply on the touring bus in which the company travels, roads are part of theatre.  Travel – either by the public or by the troupe – is vital to the survival of the theatre company.  As such, a greener system can also be a cheaper system, which is always good news for an industry that needs every penny it can get.

In addition, the idea of the wireless charging system could also help with rigging.  Over time, if a system of wireless power is established which can handle the high-energy connections necessary, then lighting for a theatre could eventually remove (or back up) cable systems.  This would make for a safer, lighter rigging set up – or simply one that can back itself up in case of emergency.  However, this level of innovation might only take place if funding were available, and if the much broader category of transportation takes on the wireless issue, then the funding boom could expand to other industries, such as home, office, and eventually, theatrical lighting.

Furthermore, a wireless system might also help the international plug issue.  By having a universal power type – simple coil to coil transfer – then various plug types would no longer be an issue (though perhaps various brands of coil might be incompatible for the benefit of each wireless power source company)  Once again, this effects most levels of a traveling society, one part of which are the theatre companies that work internationally.

All in all, I see wireless charging as being a huge boost for transport beyond all else.  In most other areas, it simply acts as an alternate aesthetic – appealing as that is, I like the real improvement made by connection with transport.

Back to Base-ics

Environmental Architecture

NASA’s recent Sustainability Base project is an interesting step forward in the United States government’s involvement with the Green movement.

Their videolink for the project can be seen here.

What I find interesting is that the rhetoric for the project includes global ideas of climate change, which is a political hot-button.  Whereas I’m not opposed to efforts to stem climate change, I know several people who don’t believe in the theory (in addition to the various groups which oppose the idea).  There are arguments for and against this idea, but I think, personally, when an item gets too hot, its best not to touch it.  I prefer to look at the economic impact of the movement, and especially of NASA’s new Sustainability Building.

In an earlier article, I looked at the Solar Decathlon in DC, which has similar results to NASA’s new building.  What I liked about the two different projects was the use of renewable resources and the construction of buildings which would produce net zero energy (although I don’t see why NASA’s building shouldn’t attempt to mimic Team Germany’s structure and simply create an energy profit).  The reason I like these initiatives is the financial incentive.

In Conte and Langley’s Theatre Management Handbook, one of the operating expenses of any theatre house is building upkeep and maintenance.  These line items cost a good deal over time, and reduction in their cost allows for more expense for entertainment and, more importantly, education.  By creating and updating structures to help them reduce their upkeep costs and maybe even pay for themselves, managers can either generate more profit (always nice) or help assign income to other expenses and budgets.  Using more renewable resources allows for buildings to made and landscapes to expanded with a less destructive nature.

To clarify:

Matter can neither be created nor destroyed, so how is any building of a site destructive?  I think the proper definition for ‘destructive’ in this context should be ‘to be made inaccessible.’  In that case, creation simply means then, ‘to be made accessible.’  Which then means that finding alternative sources of energy and renewable resources are both creative acts, which by the same credit, refining current methods of energy production also achieves.


However, the danger in all these movements is balance.  It is hard to raise the funds necessary for a given project when diversity exists, and yet it is important, especially now, to have a diverse energy market which uses diverse sources and resources – otherwise, we exchange immediate surplus for an eventually drought.  Right now, it seems that we are facing a drought in the current supply of carbon fuels, and even with the various solutions available, the increased access to as-yet untapped resources proves to be another hot-button issue.  Therefore, I believe the more harmonious path is through diversity of energy resources as well as the development and refinement of more renewable energy.


Additive Architecture

Environmental Architecture

Considering the fields of Theatre, Economics, Environmental Sustainment, and Architecture, I’m beginning to feel that a more conservative approach to the Green movement is necessary.  There are plenty of locations where mega-mansions are being built, huge, new, Green houses that take a lot of money and time and labor, but will eventually pay for their own costs.  What I’d like to see more of is tweaking: taking existing spaces and making them more green without demolishing them.  In other words, using the resources that are in place and making them more efficient.  One could say I’m advocating ‘baby steps’ in Architectural Sustainability, but there are more factors to consider in the Green movement than ‘houses that pay for themselves.’

What I’ve seen so far that I’ve liked includes the Gable House, a structure built using ‘lamboo’ – laminated bamboo – and resources from condemned farms, to build a house.  What’s excellent about these two materials is that the first is rapidly renewable – bamboo is a grass and if improperly contained, becomes an invasive weed; and that the second is a reused resource – in essence, it’s good waste management.

Detractors say that liberal approaches to Green Architecture lead to a higher carbon footprint in that resources must be transported to a site to build, whereas more conservative approaches lead to less transport and building.  They also argue for conservation of culture – especially those interested in historical landmarks.  I don’t entirely disagree with them.  However, living in Colonial Williamburg, I will say that over- conservation eventually leads to marketed celebration and a biased viewpoint of history.  In other words, nostalgia, like all things, should be taken in moderation.

Now that I’ve poo-poo’d CW, I will laud it: several years ago, the Foundation switched over to less authentic electric candles.  Preservation is important, but only to a certain extent.  If the Colonies had had electricity, I’m sure they would have used it.  After all, history shows that eventually, they did.

Anyway, what I’m saying is that one need not build an entirely new building in order to produce a grand eco-site.  Especially those in theatre, who someitmes used condemned buildigns as playign spaces.  Theatre should act both as a conservative function of culture and a progressive one.  By using the old ways and the tried and true aspects of a culture, it can also act to fix problems within a given society.

Looking at that role, one can extrapolate the ideology to architecture.  Rather than destroying condemned sites to build new green spaces, one can modify a dilapidated space into a more useful and efficient site.  This allows for both progressive movements in architecture and culture as well as a preservation of history and a conservation and reuse of resources. Especially in the Theatre, this approach would allow organizations to make a sustainable home while still paying homage to their roots (or at least their patron houses).

Architecture and Art

Theatre Business

One huge problem for Theatre Organizations is Money.  I figure there are two answers to this:

Education and Going Green.

By Education, I mean training programs, outreach, and community involvement. In addition, working with schools ( or as part of a school or on-profit) can help earn access to various grants and/or scholarships for student employees.  Speaking of students, volunteer positions are also great ways to reduce budget and increase community involvement.

By Going Green, I mean planning and communicating.  There’s no reason a Theatre should have to spend a nickle that it doesn’t need to (on things other than art, that is).  I recommend viral marketing to cut down on mailing costs, online updates and posting for cast and crew to reduce printing expenses, and web databases for easier access and storage saving for files.  That being said, having hard copies of items never hurt.

I also refer to architecture in building structure.  There’s no reason a theatre should be built above ground.  Granted, perhaps local geology or geography makes it preferable, but if you want to save money, you can save on expenses for heating, and cooling (and land space) by simply building down rather than up.  Theatre is a naturally subterranean art these days: the needs of lighting require a space without windows.  By building down first, one can save money on site construction by putting parking above the theatre space.

Underground building isn’t all that is available.  Currently in DC there is a Solar Decathlon between around twenty universities, all working on building houses that cover the costs of their energy expenses over the course of the year.  This system allows them, in some cases, to store that same energy and sell it back to energy companies in their area.  These sorts of buildings would make for excellent above-ground reception and training areas for students, and, if the methods work well enough in energy storage, could help eventually store energy that would pay for the costs of theatrical technology.

Another method of going Green is communication, especially in terms of waste management.  I cannot stress enough the benefits of community involvement in waste management.  I have seen, at my college, whole set pieces get torn down and shredded because they did not fit stock requirements.  I think that with a few years’ communication work and developing relationships with local theatres and schools, that this waste could be reduced, perhaps even eliminated, through a system of trade, rent, and exchange (perhaps a rent/ trade credit program).  The necessity to foster such programs is open communication between multiple groups, which again brings up the idea of internet presence.  This is a fast method of communication which costs less than mailing and results in less paperwork and travel than driving around putting up fliers.

I especially encourage work with local conservation groups, art departments, music groups, churches and theatres – all entities which exist off charity and community and should all be working together to better the community.

To recap, my recommendations for the Theatre for reducing costs are:

  • communication and community outreach, especially for terms of waste management and storage,
  • internet use for publicity and paperwork
  • ties to education/programs for education/non-for-profit status that allows for access to grants and scholarships,
  • architecture that reduces costs of heating, cooling, space use, and light issues, perhaps working with underground theatres and overgrown 0-energy spaces.

Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis



Rocket Science and Theatre never really seemed to gel.  Until I got to thinking:

a) what is it that Engineers can’t do that theatre people can?

b) what is it that Theatre People can’t do that engineers can?

a) socialize.

b) tech.

by socialize, I mean, Theatre People (actors especially, also dancers and other performers) are taught to Improvise, get in touch with their Emotions and even be able to call them up or, if feeling them, Analyze the Feeling.  they are studied in the Manipulation of their Selves – both Feelings and Physicalities – which enable them, if they so choose, to Express themselves articulately and effectively.

by tech, I mean Engineers are trained to work with Mechanics, of whatever variety, and Understand how the World around them works.  They can Manipulate space and time (or use their advanced Understanding of the interaction between the two) to Change the World around them.

Theatre People don’t always know how to change the world around them, but they certainly can express themselves.

Engineers can do wonders with technology and comprehension, but don’t always know how to say the things they mean to say as they mean to say them.

Synthesis: An Acting Therapy Group designed to help engineers which also gets tech- savvy people interested in local theatre endeavors and gives engineers a Productive Hobby.  An eye for an eye helping the world see better, if you will.

The overall idea could be very cool.  I wonder if anyone is already doing something like this… research time!!!



On The Human Thought

This essay focuses on the use of human invention and culture as part of the human animal function and how humanity is naturally aimed at space travel.

A human being, at its most biological level, is an animal.  It needs food, drink, shelter, and reproduction.  Unlike most animals, however, human beings have a highly advanced capacity for the use and creation of tools.  Indeed, after a certain point, the evolution of the human race can be tracked more by its technology than by its biology.  In addition, following the evolution of Humanity by Technology raises fewer ethical questions than following its Biology.   When looking at the progress of technology, one regards the phrase  ‘necessity is the mother of invention.’  What does this mean?

What is necessary?

If we look at humans as organisms, we find, as mentioned, that food, water, shelter, and reproduction are necessary.  Thus, all inventions should aid in one, if not all, of these categories.

As humans invented tools, they also invented societies and rules and religions and governments and culture.  Throughout history, culture and invention have driven each other’s focus.   The invention of the telescope, the astrolabe, star charts, have all bred controversy and confusion as man began to comprehend the universe beyond Earth.  This led to a changing understanding of not only the philosophies and religions of the world, but also of the means to navigate the globe and reach new lands.  An improved understanding of the heavens led mankind to better navigate in unfamiliar territory, to expand societies and cultures which were growing beyond their borders.

Societies have always had an expansionary tendency.  In the system which has dominated most of human societies, the most celebrated civilizations were those whose reign encompassed the most land, who demanded tribute from the most cultures.  With this as a marker of success, humanity has found itself at a strange new equilibrium: most of the world has been discovered.

To be more accurate, the surface of the land has been generally taken over.  That endless horizon after which pioneers have chased has vanished – horizontal expansion has ceased.  However, vertical expansion is still possible.  People can live in higher and higher buildings in more and more clustered groups, making cities and societies.  The problem with such areas is that it reduces a human instinct: survival.

The culture of the city is different from that of the country.  In cities, populations have exploded, crowding occurs, and the drive to reproduce is reduced.  This leads to views that encourage longer lifespans, more varied ways of life, from cultural awareness to sexual enlightenment, but also reduces the drive to create new life.  In more industrial societies, the nuclear family has become a model – fewer people in families with fewer generations raising children and fewer chidlren being produced.  The number of single parents is higher in cities.  The use of contraception is encouraged as a means of reducing disease ( a problem more rampant in urban centers).

With this in mind, in the advent of a global village, the entire world has become a city.  The ideas of first world nations now tend toward those of the city – more nuclear families, fewer children, less drive to reproduce.

In many circles, the act of sexual intercourse has become a stimulant rather than a tool.  The idea of the large family is not the first-world citizen’s idea of success.

Economists have noted that the most severe problem facing mankind today is the threat of overpopulation.  Food is not necessarily the problem: transport and resources is, however.  With more people, the expansive tendency becomes a warring tendency as more and more bodies vie for space on an increasingly ‘smaller’ planet.  That horizontal urge that humans have for ‘space’ is conflicted by the dangers of a global urbana.

Some theorists believe that humanity is reaching its peak population.  This is a problem: never in its history has humanity had a ‘peak population.’  If a place becomes too populated, people move outward, they travel, they settle elsewhere.   With all the societies and cultures in existence today, that same solution of moving has many more complications.  Immigrants the world over face oppression and alienation.  As societies become more and more tied to their citizens, the hope that lies in immigration is reduced.

Humanity should not have a natural peak.  Throughout its history, mankind has always found new horizons and new places to live.  All we need do now is switch from a horizontal expansion to a vertical one.  As technology evolves, the habitats which humanity can safely occupy expand. Human life can exist in deserts, under oceans, in the stars, even.

The rapid development of communication and data technology allows for ideas to be transfered faster, and so technology and culture continue to ‘evolve’ more rapidly.  However, the current culture is concerned more with lamenting overpopulation and complaining about use of resources than it is with continued expansion.

If humankind becomes a starfaring species, then many problems will be alleviated (although not eliminated).  Earth is a finite place, but the universe is ever expanding.  If humans need more room, if a population is becoming too great for this one world, why not populate more?

Travel across the stars has been the subject of fiction for years, and has even, to some extent, been acheived.  Satellites that orbit the planet show that space is a frontier which mankind is ready to explore, and the Hubble and other explorative satellites encourage expansion into the rest of the solar system, the galaxy, and the universe.

There is no reason that mankind should reach a ‘peak population.’  If our only solution to ‘overpopulation’ is to stop reproducing, then why not simply expand?  We can go further, we can gain land, fame, and that ever-fascinating horizon line by becoming frontiersmen once again.  The human need to reproduce is reinforced by space travel, and as such, it is natural that the human race should expand into space.