A List Of Really Exciting Ideas.
You’re welcome to use them, but I can’t guarantee they’ll work.
My mind’s a mess.
At any moment, there’s thousands of things in my head, and it’s overwhelming. Focus doesn’t come easy, and I’ve probably spent a good portion of my life daydreaming or distracted — only to realize I missed half an hour of chemistry class or an entire conversation.
But there is one thing I’m pretty darn good at: thinking of ideas.
It just so happens that when so many thoughts fly around in my head so quickly, a few of them end up colliding by accident. Then, BOOM. They come together and I get a eureka moment right out of the blue.
Aside from the fact that I’d be an ideal Chief Innovation Officer (wink wink to any CEOs out there), I don’t have nearly enough time to follow through with all of those ideas. Remember, I’m also an expert at procrastination.
That’s why I packed some of my most interesting ideas into this article, for you to look at or use second-hand. But when you become a billionaire or save the world, just make sure to remember me.
Speeding Up Evolution
Over a few billion years, we evolved from creepy-looking fish to humans. Quite the glow up. But what if we could artificially recreate that process and accelerate it?
If you boil it down, evolution’s the process of an animal adapting to its environment through natural selection.
Normally, you’d see almost no variations between animals of the same species. But when an animal goes through an advantageous genetic mutation , they’re more likely to live and reproduce than the ones who didn’t:
Th key mechanism for adaptation. Source
Except natural mutations aren’t that common, and for one to be useful is even more rare. The speed and the end result of evolution comes down to the mutations that drive it.
Mutagens are compounds or forces that can mess up an organism’s DNA — and they can do it thousands of times faster than regular evolution’s pace. They’re what make cigarettes, X-Rays, UV light and pollution dangerous. But they’re also what could change humanity forever.
No, I’m not talking about evolving humans. I’m talking about getting organisms to evolve orders of magnitude faster than they would otherwise — letting us apply the results of how they evolved into other technologies. Because mutagens could let us control evolution.
Here’s the idea:
“Expose trillions of cells or micro-organisms to a constant source of mutagens (like X-Rays) while you expose them to the stimulus that you want them to evolve around. The mutagens skyrocket the cells’ mutation rate — making it easier for them to find and retain positive mutations.”
Let’s say you were a scientist trying to create protective clothing and equipment for workers in a nuclear plant. For starters, grow an ungodly amount of cells on a petri dish and stick them in an overclocked CT scanner. If you’re one of those DIYers, a microwave could do the trick (no it won’t).
Make sure to set up the CT machine to exactly the right level of radiation too. It has to be enough to wipe out a few of the cells but not every single one— leaving a few the chance to overcome their impending dooms by evolving. The radiation’s only going to fast-forward that mutation process.
If you run the experiment well, you’ll be left with a smaller group of cells that adapted to the radiation you blasted them with. Then you let them divide till they’re back at their original population and hit them another round of cellular nukes. Repeat that destruction and repopulation cycle until your cells are more or less immune to radiation.
And from there, an entire world of possibilities opens up to you. You could bio-print them into vests and helmets the same way a 3D printer would create complex figures by layering plastic.
If the cells start to use radiation as a source of food(which is actually plausible), you could deploy them to munch on radioactive waste that could otherwise poison millions of people if nuclear plants got rid of them the wrong way. You could save countless lives.
But if you can get cells to evolve with so much precision, why stop there? Why not culture brain cells and try getting them to near-infinite intelligence? Why not train them to kill cancer cells or viruses in your body? Why not wait and see what they turn into?
As long as your colony of microscopic test subjects doesn’t evolve into a sentient life-form in the process, you should be able to keep yourself out of most government watchlists.
Now you’ve just got to wait a few decades before you get your Nobel Prize.
Exporting Power Down To Earth
In the early 1900s, Nikola Tesla noticed something.
He noticed how there were countless charged particles (ions) in our atmosphere, and there were more of them the higher up you went. In a nutshell, he just discovered a new source of renewable energy:
Tesla’s discovery put into practice. Source
The air that surrounds Earth forms a giant electric circuit, with thunderstorms and lightning strikes keeping it going 24/7. And that huge circuit might just be what we need to transition to a clean, pollution-free future.
That’s why Tesla built a tower tall enough to net his town massive amounts of electricity, but he unfortunately went bankrupt before he could test it. Also, the American government blew it up and sold it for scrap metal because they thought Germany was using it to spy on them. Pretty extreme.
Anyway, nobody’s rebuilt a fully functioning, practical version of that tower. If someone did, we’d probably see one in every city just as often as we’d see water towers.
Here’s the idea. Launch a glorified kite a few kilometres into the sky. Make sure it’s equipped with thousands of tiny metal needles to gather as many ions as possible and send them back down to the ground through its string:
“In an average thunderstorm, the energy released is about 10,000,000 kilowatt-hours (3.6×10¹³ joules) — comparable to a 20-kiloton nuclear warhead. Even in clear skies, the amount of electricity available is enormous.”
I know. Awesome.
With a barebones power stations back on land, you’d be able to convert the static electricity the kite sends back into usable AC electricity — just like the kind that powers your phone when you plug it into an outlet.
But in general, you could apply the technique to anything. If you’re quick you might even be able to beat Tesla (not the guy, the company) to make the first viable electric plane.
The concept works the same — but you might want to pass on the metal needles. By gathering ions mid-flight, you could make the plane self-charge while it cruises at 30,000 feet.
Not revolutionary enough? I’ve got you. Send a satellite to low-Earth orbit. You might as well add some solar panels into the mix too — considering you’ll be closer to the sun than any house’s roof could ever get.
This time, convert your electricity into radio waves (which can travel kilometres without fizzling out), and beam ’em down to a power station. And since your satellite orbits Earth so often, you could send radio waves down to thousands of power stations in a day — especially if you got it to aim the rays like a turret.
Who knows? Ten years from now, we could all be paying as much for our monthly electricity bills as we’d pay for Netflix subscription — and your invention could be sending that power down to us from space.
K̶n̶o̶c̶k̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶O̶f̶f̶ Beating Hyperloop
A couple of days ago, I watched this video:
Wouldn’t you want to be like that bullet? Source
And I thought to myself:
“Woah. What if you could make a train go that fast?”
If I can use guns and explosions to solve something, you best bet I’m going to use them. But cut me some slack — they are called bullet trains. Shouldn’t we be launching them with railguns? Well, if you think Hyperloop’s crazy, this is Hyperloop on steroids.
Here’s the idea:
Railguns operate on something called the Lorentz Force. When you run current through an object, it creates a magnetic field around it and a force perpendicular to it.
Use that principle to create a toned down version of the Navy’s railgun. Run wires trough a network of tracks powered by a central charging station.
Now, build a train that’s strong enough to stand up to sonic booms and aerodynamic enough for the railgun to propel smoothly. You have the option of using regular trains too, but you might not want to be one of the passengers:
About couple of minutes before it fires, a supercapacitor (AKA a beefed up battery) is going to charge up the gun with enough energy to shoot the train down the track in one shot:
Looks like NASA copied my idea (I’ll be looking for my royalties). Image from Universe Today.
And since the force pushing your train forward completely depends on the amount of current you run through the tracks, you could control the train’s speed just as well as you could with pedals in a car.
Just take it easy on the acceleration. Remember, there’s people inside.
To stop your company from appearing on the Sunday paper for a freak accident, set up a few power control stations along its route. By adjusting the current flowing through the tracks, you’ll be able to ramp up the train’s speed or bring it to a standstill on command.
By travelling at the speed of sound (Mach 1), you could travel from New York to San Francisco in a tenth of the time it would take by car. That’s four hours instead of fourty-five.
And if you put the entire system in a vacuum tunnel and used magnets to levitate the vehicle, there’s nothing stopping you from maxing out your railgun to hundreds of times that speed. Now that’s a real bullet train.
If you want to get anywhere faster, you know the drill.
Are you obsessed with the idea of launching a satellite into space to gather electricity, but don’t know how? Railguns.
Want to get a ship to cross the Atlantic in two hours? Railguns.
Bored of Earth and want to sightsee Mars? Forget about Elon Musk and launch yourself out of a railgun. Just make sure to wear a helmet.
Using Nature To End Global Warming
These are Chlorella:
A group of chlorella. Image from Pinterest
They’re a type of algae that look like microscopic brussel sprouts, and they happen to have a neverending appetite for carbon-dioxide.
And guess who hates carbon? Us.
If the world’s going to end anytime soon, our out-of-control emissions are probably going to be the reason. Every day, we’re getting closer to an inevitable turning point — where no amount of veganism or walking can get us back to where we used to be. And that turning point’s getting dangerously close.
But what if we used the power of Chlorella — not only to stop our progress toward a point of no return, but to reverse the damage we’ve caused?
Here’s the idea.
“Use a team of hungry Chlorella to create a biofilter — letting you channel tons of harmful emissions through it to get purified, and getting us one step closer to a carbon-neutral planet.”
Find some Chlorella at an ocean near you — a single drop of seawater contains thousands of those little carbon-suckers. Get them to multiply by feeding them limestone or C02 generating tablets, and don’t forget to keep them close to light so they can perform photosynthesis.
Then transfer your small army of Chlorella into long glass pipes, where they’ll be floating around after stuffing themselves full of noxious gases. Keep feeding them with light and limestone until they’re ready to have a feast. Voila! You have yourself an all-natural C02 filter.
Now, redirect the emissions from a factory smokestack and pump the material into your algae filter. The chlorella inside should make quick work of the C02 you introduced them to — leaving you with fresh, breathable oxygen:
Algae is more awesome than you’d expect. See for yourself. Source
But chlorella leave something else behind too — biomass. It’s a byproduct of the C02 absorption process that companies can manufacture into biofuels and extract valuable chemicals from. So unlike other capture carbon methods, using chlorella isn’t just cheap — it could actually make its users money.
It’s an incentive that could finally get companies to focus on the environment instead of dollars and cents— especially if you can convince the government to step in and subsidize the installation cost.
And from there, move on to larger sources of emission. It’s probably a lot easier now since you’re probably rolling in money yourself with your super-ultra-mega unicorn startup. You could outfit cars, planes, and rockets with the same technology— making climate change a thing of the past, and making every activist on Twitter your biggest fan.
Oh, and you’ll save the planet in the process. Who knew brussel sprouts could be so useful?
Take these with a grain of salt.
Actually, take all my ideas with a grain of salt:
Painless Real Estate
The real-estate industry’s been around for a LONG time, and it’s worth a lot of money. It’s hard to tell when sleazy real-estate agents, lawyers, and mortgage brokers came into the equation— but they seriously took all the excitement out of buying a new home.
Here’s the idea.
Create a platform where buyers can connect with sellers directly. Buyers should be able to book showings with sellers, securely make offers, get legal help and and loans — without any real-estate agents, lawyers, or middle-men to pay on either end.
A (Really) Cheap Water Filter
Even with hundreds of charities and thousands of products, 10% of the world still doesn’t have access to clean water. The biggest challenge is how most of these people make less than $1 a day, and it’s almost impossible for them to access a filter even it is cheap.
Here’s the idea:
If you want to impact millions of people, create a water filter that fits into their budgets and find a way to distribute it to even the most remote corners of the world.
Meanwhile, when half the developing world is dying of dehydration, modern society’s hooked on smoking, drinking, Netflix and pizza. Why? Because all those temptations are at our fingertips, and our minds associate those activities with satisfaction — even if they won’t help you in the long-term.
Here’s the idea.
Stop your mind from associating those habits with pleasure by adding a negative reinforcement into the mix. Create a smartwatch or wearable that shocks you whenever someone does something you’re addicted to.
Whenever someone takes a puff of a cigarette, your device should be able to detect biomarkers or chemicals that indicate it. For an impulsive shopper who’s just waiting to get called onto a TLC show, you could even link the watch to their credit card. Now, they’ll really feel it when they swipe.
If you’re super-techy, build an inhaler that releases a dopamine agonist into your brain. It’s a special kind of drug that blocks off the user’s dopamine receptors from feeling pleasure for a few minutes — making it easier to quit.
And with enough time, no bad habit’s strong enough to last.
There — you just went through a little compilation highlighting some of the wacky things I think about. If you liked one of my ideas, act on it! Get to one first, you might just become the next big thing. Or they might be scientifically impossible to pull of. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Well, at least they sound cool.
Thanks for reading.
I love following my curiosity. I also love being concise.