Saturday, 14 January 2017

Solar powered green communities for refugees

The problem of displaced populations

The basic objective is to give victims of IS, jihad fascism and corrupt governments a source of hope by building a series of green communities on the shores of deserts.  These could also house climate change refugees.Moreover, they could form a knowledge economy with R&D laboratories, making it a desirable destination not only for the desperate but for researchers and innovators  in any country.  As large ecoprojects they could stimulate world economic growth without damaging the environment or contributing to global warming.
Tens of thousands of people are being driven to benevolent regimes with problems for both the migrants and the host countries which could lead to conflict and social instability. It has been estimated by the United Nations that there are around 60 million displaced persons in the world as a whole. Since last publishing this post I have seen a figure of 65 million.  With chaos prevailing in the Middle East and Levant and climate change displacing those living in low lying coastal and river cities this figure could grow rapidly.

Immediate measures

These victims of human sin and folly have to go somewhere now, while super communities are just an idea. It could take 5-10 years to turn the idea into reality. The very first step is to start putting money and expertise into the present refugee camps. Equally important, if not more so, is the provision of hope, because without this no human being can survive spiritually, i.e. at all.

The realization that a well funded international operation was underway to provide a pleasant environment with plenty of accommodation, fresh water at the turn of a tap, power at the throw of a switch, sanitation, education, employment, culture, entertainment and places of worship would remove the sense of despair and desperation presently felt by many victims.

But what about the pressing problem of mounting queues at borders and understandably desperate measures resulting in death, injury and the break up of migrant families? 

To reduce these queues the border controls of the destination countries and of those which the refugees have to traverse must be made  sufficiently  tight to discourage most would-be immigrants from even trying to beat them.The emphasis in the short term needs to be on improving the refugee centres and providing victims of oppression, violence, corruption, economic incompetence and climate change with the hope of a better life in the kind of community being proposed here. Exceptions are no doubt possible but it would be wicked folly to pretend that indiscriminately allowing in large floods of immigrants to a nation or city would not  cause great practical  and social problems, such as
  • Infrastructure overload (water, drainage, power, roads, railways, airports, seaports)
  •  Strained welfare systems (demands on health service, support of the poor, disabled, elderly and unemployed)
  • Growth in bureaucracy needed for extra translation, allowance for cultural differences and expanded security controls
  • Strain on police and secret service needed to prevent terrorism and crime
  • Restriction of employment opportunities for the indigenous  population
  • Unwanted and oppressive cultural change
  • Hostility  by locals if the influx is  sufficient to raise these problems above a critical level.
This is not to say that a certain amount of immigration cannot be mutually beneficial but allowing huge numbers into a country indiscriminately can be bad for both the native people and the immigrants.

A free society

In the west we take for granted the 4 freedoms listed by the US President Roosevelt in 1941
  • Freedom of speech and worship
  • Freedom from want and fear
It would be made clear to the refugees that these are important to westerners and that only a society built on these values is stable and prosperous in the longer term. These freedoms can only be available when they are not abused and in a society that has trust running through it by default. No democracy can survive and thrive without trust being the norm throughout parliament, business, banking, welfare services, the military, the police, the security services, the  civil institutions, the church and every conceivable aspect of society.

Anyone wanting to join the community would have to swear an oath of citizenship which reflected these ideals. This means accepting their sanctity and this can only derive from God’s presence in humanity, so anyone who seriously wants to live in this kind of society must believe that humanity has been sanctified by Christ.  Many victims of Islamic, Hindu and Atheist suppression, as well as many not being particularly oppressed, are now turning to Christ and would be sure to be attracted by a community in which Christ, love and truth are held sacred and in which public prayer is not only not suppressed, but common, reverent and joyful. 

Freedom of speech  is not a problem in a Christian society and indeed it goes with freedom of choice. Free will is important. One cannot become a child of God without freely accepting the living God into one’s soul and that means submission to Christ. Other religions could be present but measures would have to be taken to prevent them stifling the Christian beliefs on which freedom and democracy are founded. There could even be Mosques and temples for minorities ((e.g. for Hindus, Buddhists and Atheists), and they would be guaranteed freedom from harassment and protection under the law. Presumably these believers would be present in a Christian society mainly  through family connections or conversions but economic immigration into the community by non-Christians would be discouraged and all members of the community would have to swear not to act against the 4 freedoms of Roosevelt listed above,

Once  such a community was made to work on a Christian foundation others could be set up under, say, Islamic principles. It would not be a democracy as understood in Christian societies but operate under Sharia Law. While the values characterizing such a society would be anathema to many westerners they should be satisfying to Muslims. Although freedom would be difficult at least the inhabitants would have secure lives. So why deny them the chance? Hindus, Buddhists , Jews and Sheiks might be more likely to incorporate the 4 freedoms into their super communities because their religions are less prescriptive. This needs a lot of thought but this is how I see it at this time.

Power and fresh water

The power would come from mirrors focusing solar energy onto boilers which would generate steam to drive electricity generating turbines. The energy produced during daylight hours would be used to

  • power the city
  • power electric vehicles
  • power agriculture (irrigation system and farm technology)
  • purify seawater
  • pump seawater
  • produce molten salt from the seawater
  • power the sewage and waste disposal system

The molten salt would serve to produce steam for the turbo-generators at night. Any surplus electricity could be fed into a national or transnational energy grid.

See, e.g., the
Ivanpah solar power facility for an example of this kind of technology.

Fresh water would be a by-product of the solar power generation and would enable the city to be located in a desert which was either near the sea or above a salt water aquifer. 

Your comments to me by email to would be more than welcome.

What are the criteria for the siting of such a city? 

If solar thermal power with energy storage based on molten salt is stipulated the site must be near the  sea or underground salt water and in a place where strong sunlight is the norm. Large amounts of fresh water would be needed to keep the city green and well fed with irrigated crops. Being close to the sea would provide both salt and freshwater after desalination without long distance pumping. Combined with the need for sunlight this narrows down the location to equatorial or sub-equatorial. 

Also Africa has large reserves of underground fresh water for which solar power could be used for pumping without purification. See, e.g.

To avoid having to disrupt settled communities it would have to be built in an area of low population density and to minimize the cost of the land it would use terrain of little agricultural value. This strongly suggests a desert location.

It would have to be near a large seaport so that materials could be brought in from around the world. Being near an airport would also be desirable. These ports could of course be built from scratch but this would add to the capital cost and to the time scale. Pre-existing roads and railways would be an advantage but providing the ports were close these would not be too much of a problem to build.
Probably the biggest location problem would be political. The site would have to be within the borders of a country led by a person or persons not hostile to its objective of providing a place for those fleeing extreme Islamic regimes or corrupt regimes with strong tribal cultures and run on democratic principles with  the four freedoms listed above. There would also have to be internationally funded security forces.

One possible location that seems to me, with very limited information and understanding of the geography, cultures and socio-political systems involved, is on the coast of Tunisia. It has had a chequered history since the Arab Spring, its population is 99% Sunni Islam (same as IS but I suspect the latter is not welcome there) and before the IS attack on UK tourists a few years ago it was a successful tourist centre for westerners. It might be pleased to have the opportunity to host an international project of this kind. Tunisia has an airport at Houmt Souq on Jerba Island in the Gulf of Gabes with rail links to the south and southwest. It also has a seaport so the super communities could be located in the desert terrain nearby, even on the mainland coast, and have good transport links for both people and trade.

Since the last publication of this post it has occurred to me that Australia has a large northern coastline bounding subequatorial desert. There is also a great deal of advanced infrastructure and transport links. Moreover, the chances of security being a problem are probably less than in N. Africa, the Middle East, Arabia or the Levant.
This are just  suggestions to stimulate discussion so please contact me at if you have ideas or information on this. I hope you feel impelled to act in some way because millions of families and individuals are desperately in need of help.

First steps

How do you get a project like this started and pushed through to the unstoppable phase?  You need to locate, enlist and lead individuals committed to the realization of such a city and having access to finance, resources and relevant contacts, perhaps with experience of crowd funding. People with knowledge, skill and experience in areas such as the following would have to be brought rapidly into play, in many cases aided by software, including AI and expert systems:
  • project control 
  • urban planning and environmental design
  • transportation and design of integrated air, road and rail networks
  • IT and communication infrastructure
  • civil engineering, architecture, urban ergonomics
  •  power engineering, solar thermal technology
  • sewage system design, and water purification
  • permaculture, agriculture and irrigation
  • security against hostile attacks, e.g. from ‘Islamic’ State
This is to give an impression of the range of activities and skills which will have to be initiated and used as quickly as possible because lives are being lost or ruined as countries in the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia experience the real force of evil in and on society.

The types of organization I envisage being involved are: Private individuals (e.g., wealthy philanthropists), large international charities, Churches, think tanks and government departments devoted to international development, universities and private corporations. 

 Apart from the people it is designed to help there could be numerous spin offs:
  • Improving individual, corporate and political relations
  • Technology and expertise gained by the implementation itself
  • Trade opportunities for the countries and companies involved
  • A new tourist destination for the future
  • A centre of R&D expertise for scientists and engineers worldwide
  • inspiration for other green projects around the world
Above all it needs a few committed leaders having the ability, with God’s will, to make it happen.

Immediate action needed: build  new refugee camps and expand the present ones NOW.

People are being uprooted by ISIS in Syria and Iraq who can only be described as under satanic influence, convinced that evil is good and bad is evil, a tendency which is beginning to emerge in the western world as values once held sacred are systematically undermined from within.

Whether you think you believe in the Christian God or you are a modern, decent Muslim  or you believe in some other idea of God, or you are wholly indifferent to the question of God, or if you think there is no God or that you are your own God,  you can’t afford to ignore the plight of these brutally displaced families, even for reasons of self interest or the well being of your children. In the long term the supercity will hopefully deal with the problem of long term migration to Europe and other parts of Christendom (sorry, the West)  brought about not only by aggressive Islamic expansion  but  by tribalism in African nominally Christian countries and the climate change caused mainly by the West, China, India and Japan.

Refugee camps with sound prefabricated houses, electricity,  sanitation and medical facilities are  needed immediately. There is excellent building and infrastructure technology available  as a result of aid undertakings around the world. The Salvation Army and other charities have enormous experience and competence and would be well able to work in cooperation  with the armed forces using their expertise in logistics and providing security for those building the refugee camps and those living in tents while waiting.

Once there are some key decision makers rounding up support and organizing resources I feel sure that money would flow into this international emergency project, which over time would morph into a supercity project.

This is an emergency and one can’t afford to skate around the truth, which is that Christian migrants will be easier to house than Moslems, not because all Moslems are problematic but because it is difficult to tell which ones subscribe to the concept of a democracy. 

If you are someone with expertise, leadership ability, access to resources and relevant contacts, please act NOW to save not only these victims of evil but to help prevent the social disintegration and street violence that could easily become endemic to the comparatively secure,  comfortable,  free and blessed world which westerners  have inhabited in recent decades.

My aim is to find the necessary initiators and put them together with a sense of commitment. I do not want any money or recognition or acknowledgement. Seeing the idea adopted in some way would be its own reward.  Or maybe some individual somewhere will feel called to initiate a project along these lines independently in which case there is no need even to contact me.

If you or your employer want to get involved in some way please send me an e-mail saying how you think you may contribute or even take a lead and I will do my best to start the ball rolling.

John Sears

Sunday, 8 January 2017

God's amazing universe: 1. Space and Time

Prior to the discovery in the 20th century of the Big Bang creation event it had been assumed by people of all faiths that the universe was, is and so always would be eternal. It was not created. It just is. Some still cling to this belief.

Big Bang Star Hyperspace Wars
The only real creation metaphor, story, poem or myth that refers to the universe being created by God, rather than fashioned out of eternally existing chaos by various gods, was Genesis 1:1

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

According to Hebrew scholars the expression 'the heavens and the earth' is ancient Hebrew for everything, i.e. the universe. It is extraordinary that some 3 thousand years ago the author of Genesis could make this statement and others equally prophetic. He was writing in a pre-science culture. Genesis is not written as a scientific document. It is written poetically and historically to yield, when read with humility and after prayer, divine truths about humankind and its relationship to God.

It is now established by theory and observation that not only did all energy and matter originate from one infinitesimally small point which then expanded at an unimaginably high rate to give us the stars, galaxies and clusters of galaxies which we see today on Hubble photographs, but something else had to be created. Mass and energy cannot exist without somewhere to exist in. They have to have extent; so God provided the three dimensions of space. For things to exist they had to have space to extend in. But for things to happen there needed to be time. Only with coexistent matter, energy, time and space could God bring about humanity and the universe we see today, 13.8 billion years later.

Our space-time realm is well named. Even what sight and touch deem solid, like the wall in front of you or the chair you sit on, is actually ethereal, consisting of well over 99.99% space permeated by configurations of energy. Things have been set up to give us the experience or illusion of living in a solid world. You could call it a stage, as did Shakespeare ('the world is a stage on which every man must play his part').
The Oxford Dictionary of Physics defines space as a property of the universe that enables physical phenomena to be extended into 3 mutually perpendicular dimensions. So it is not just an empty expanse. It is a property in the same way as mass and gravity. Like other properties it is a concept or metaphor which allows mathematicians to describe the way the world works and calculate what happens under certain conditions.

The universe is often visualised as the surface of an expanding balloon. This, however, is only a 2-dimensional representation of a 3D space. It  is visualised in this simple way just to show how space expands with time - that is, as the balloon is blown up all positions on its surface get further and further apart. The billions of galaxies etc. of the real universe would be represented here as dots on the balloon's surface. The  start of the Big Bang would correspond to the balloon before it started to be inflated. Our Milky Way galaxy would be one dot and, like all the other dots, could be considered a centre of the universe but not, in any visual sense, the centre. However, as future posts will strongly suggest, we could well be the only centre with conscious observers. If that is the case, then humankind can go back to thinking of itself as the centre of creation.

How fast is this space-time regime expanding? According to the theory of inflation, which is not yet proven and during which all kinds of strange things have been surmised, in the first extremely small fraction of a second it grew from virtually nothing to a diameter of 10 metres. After that it expanded at a lower and slowing rate until about 5 billion years ago it started to accelerate. Today, 13.8 billion years after the creation event, it is expanding faster than light. When Einstein said that nothing can travel faster than light he was talking about entities inside the universe, not the edge of  the theoretically observable universe itself, some 46.5 billion light years from earth in any direction. At this distance the stars are receding faster than the light they emit, so no information from them can reach us.

Recently it was determined that the space which we and everything in our universe inhabit is flat and infinite. All this means is that two parallel lines never meet and the Euclidian geometry  taught at school (e.g. the Pythagoras theorem) is correct on any scale, providing there are no local gravitational fields to bend the space.

The balloon analogy seems to contradict this until you remember that the curvature of the balloon surface does not apply to the real universe for which the balloon is serving only as a 2D simplification so that we can visualise the expansion that continues as time proceeds.

Although space has the mathematical property of being infinite the actual universe has a boundary at 46.5 billion light years (see above).   This boundary is equal in all directions so the universe is spherical even though the space within it is flat in its geometrical properties. Anything setting out from beyond that distance would never reach us and so is beyond any conceivable scientific observation.

John Sears

John Sears

I am a layman who follows science. As far as I know the above is factually correct. Please let me know if you find an error or have issues.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Climate change checklist

My belief is that climate change is likely over the coming decades and that we should prepare for it, both  by reducing emissions and taking measures to protect us from floods and extreme weather events. However, we need to retain humility and recognize that effects known only to the Creator could occur (e.g.:  the influence  of dark matter or some cosmic connection via quantum entanglement. As a layman I have already seen references to this in the literature.).

The list below is a reminder of the complexity of the problem of predicting climate change. Please contact me (John Sears) via

if you think it needs modifying.

NASA image

Radiant energy output of sun. This has increased by around 25% since the sun was formed, i.e. over more than 4 billion years.  Very small variations occur over decades and centuries and bear some relationship to the number of sunspots (which is related to solar activity). The Little Ice Age  included  a period of low sunspot activity, with no sunspots observed over 1650-1700, when the mean temperature was lowest.

Milankovitch cycle. The amount of sunlight reaching the earth varies according to the changing shape of the earth’s orbit (eccentricity), the tilt of the N-S axis and the precession of this axis. The crucial factor appears to be the amount of sunlight falling on the northern hemisphere in any one year. Milankovitch (1970s, Serbia)  showed that the coming and going of ice ages over the last 600,000 years was due to these factors.  If there were no other factors we would expect to be entering another ice age now, instead of a warm period.

Heat from below the crust. The biosphere has more heat going into it than can be accounted for by the sun. The difference is believed to be due to  radioactive decay in the earth’s core.

Gravitational effects.There are  gravitational influences on climate which could become large in certain situations (chaos theory shows that very small events, like the fluttering of a butterfly, can potentially have dramatic effects, such as a storm on the other side of the world). The gravity exerted at the earth's surface varies very slightly with time and position due to inhomogeneities in the crust, mantle and core. Even small changes in these factors could potentially set off major changes not allowed for by present climate models. Even small changes in the orbit of the moon and planets would have huge effects (E.g. If a large asteroid caused a perurbation in the sun-moon system. Jupiter's motion is also crucial to the stabiity of Earth's orbit).

Atmospheric composition. The importance of this arises from the way it affects the absorption and reflection of radiation coming in from the sun or being reflected back upwards from the earth’s surface. Carbon is the main gas responsible fo the greenhouse effect – it acts like the glass in a greenhouse to trap in heat. Methane is also a greenhouse gas, much more powerful than CO2 but also much less prevalent.

Plants.  While alive these take in carbon dioxide from the air, thereby cooling it through the reduced greenhouse effect. But as they decay they give it out again,  but over a longer period. Large areas of trees affect the climate not only in this way but also by their moistening effect on the air.The Amazon rain forest appears to have a pivetol role in determining the global climate.

Animals . The main effect of these is due to the methane from  their defecated waste and rotting carcasses. Methane produced in this way is more of a problem than automobile greenhouse emissions as livestock herds grow in response to the westernization of diets in China, India etc.

Microscopic life. Bacteria and spores living in  land, sea and air sometimes affect rainfall. E.g. spores in the ocean can be whisked up into the atmosphere by strong winds and dispersed. Here they act as condensation nuclei for the formation of the water drops and thence clouds. Insects can reduce the balance of combustible debris in a forest and this in turn means fewer and smaller forest fires emitting CO2.

Clouds. The type of cloud and its coverage affect the amount of sunlight striking the earth’s surface and the amount of radiation reflected back to its surface instead of radiated away into space. They have been and still are a problem in creating climate models.

Atmospheric convection.  Heat from the ground boils up the air and the convection currents (i.e. wind) produced distribute warm air over the planet and also affect the cloud type, amount and global distribution. This in turn affects temperature, rain and snow.  Hurricanes, tornadoes, gales and the jet stream are all driven by atmospheric convection.

Ocean currents. The bulk of the heat in the biosphere which we inhabit is stored in the ocean and it is the global currents in the sea (e.g. the Gulf  Stream) which determine the global patterns of temperature in the air over the sea.

Methane from seabed and tundra deposits. As the climate warms it releases large bubbles of methane trapped in fozen deposits under the ocean or in tundra.  This causes further warming. It is 21x as powerful as carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas and is produced by a certain kind of bacteria.

Polar ice caps. Both Arctic and Antarctic  ice sheets reflect large amounts of heat from the sun back into space. Small reductions in area cause significant increases in the amount of heat absorbed from the solar heat reaching the earth’s surface. Similarly, the greater the ice coverage  the more incident radiant heat will be reflected.

Snow cover. As with snow in the polar regions the snow settled on large mountain ranges like the Himalayas and the Alps affects the percentage of solar radiation reflected or absorbed by the earth’s surface.  

Melting glaciers.  When a glacier melts it not only leads to possible flooding but reduces the area of the planet which reflects incident sunlight away from the surface, i.e. the ground retains incident solar energy instead of reflecting it  back into space. When melt water flows into the sea it dilutes the concentration of salt in the seawater and this has a major effect on ocean currents which in turn affects the climate. (The more salt the denser the water.)

Sea ice. As with glaciers and snow, melting of sea ice (icebergs) reduces the % of sunlight reflected back into space. It also reduces the salinity and hence density of seawater, which affects ocean currents which themselves affect the distribution of heat in the oceans.  However, melting icebergs maks no difference to sea levels.

Volcanoes. Eruptions from these inject huge amounts of sulphur dioxide into the air and, like carbon dioxide and methane, this produces a greenhouse effect. The ash and dust from eruptions also affects cloud formation and directly blots out sunlight.

Meteor  impacts. Hits by large meteors can have global repercussions including climate change. If a large enough object hit the earth it would of course cause a mass extinction event, like the one which wiped out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago.

Cosmic rays.  These  can also affect cloud formation , since the particles which make up cosmic rays can cause nucleation of water drops.  There does seem to be some link between them and average temperature/rainfall.

Human activity. Carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning and methane from livestock farming are the main human source of global warming gases which appear to be tipping the global balance towards warming rather than the cooling we would expect according to the Milankovitch cycle (see above).

John Sears
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