It seems wanting to launch new cities - or indeed, mini-cities on boats (see below) - is something that's impossible to get out of people's heads, and the latest attempt is apparently a billionaire wanting to build a city of five million people in the middle of the American desert.
Now, I'm sure they've done some research, but five million is a LOT of people - the only bigger city in the USA would be New York, at 8 million people. Even if you take into account metro areas, you're looking at being the tenth-largest metro area in the US. And let's not forget the fact that this is a country whose arid areas are currently experiencing intense drought.
I am a big fan of urban design and planning, especially around car-free cities, but it's something you've got to do progressively and where people want to work and live, not just in the middle of nowhere. Maybe I'll be eating my words in a decade - Dubai pulled it off due to tons of oil money and virtually-imprisoned labour - but I suspect not.
A couple of very heavy downpours in London over the last few months have highlighted some... deficiencies, let's say, in the design of the drainage around stations. Unlike New York during the recent hurricane weather, these weren't underground, though - they were on the surface.
Surface flooding (especially flash flooding) is generally a Very Bad Time and actually pretty hard to design for - especially in cities, where the large amount of hard, non-porous surfaces really make it easier for a lot of water to build up on the surface, and find its way to anywhere that's a little bit lower - like in this case, Pudding Mill Lane station, the future site of a virtual ABBA.
As the article notes, modern drainage design is actually moving away from getting rid of water as fast as possible to trying to make every area release water at a predictable rate, avoiding the downstream areas getting overwhelmed. Well, that plus actually having funding for drainage - with weather getting more extreme, though, that may not be quite as optional for very long.
Brexit continues to be a bad idea as Brexit-related supply chain issues now mean that sewage treatment is at risk, and since you can't really just let the sewage pile up in the treatment plant, the government is now allowing unclean sewage to be dumped directly into rivers.
Water and sewage treatment is one of those things people rarely think about, but it's kind of critical to get right - and both Brexit and COVID have revealed weaknesses in it, given that Florida was starting to experience pressures on its water supply after the liquid oxygen it used was diverted to hospitals.
If there's one lesson we learn from all this, it's hopefully how to make more resilient supply chains. Or, at least as a start, have a full insight into the supply chains rather than the large amount of hope that seems to have driven them in the past.
There's a whole load of energy storage companies out there trying to fill the load gap left by renewables - giant battery packs, compressed air storage, molten salt, and the good old reliable pumped storage.
Well, add "suspending giant weights" into that equation as Energy Vault, a company whose plan is to store energy by lifting up giant weights and then recover it by dropping the weights, is apparently planning to go public, even though I can't find any evidence of a working installation past a test rig they made with some cranes.
It also doesn't seem particularly energy-dense when I do the physics calcuations, though I guess it helps that it's not explosive or molten in any way. It's likely just a sign of how much the tide is changing on power supply - the death of fossil fuel power and the rise of renewables seems almost inevitable now given how cheap the latter has become - but hey, I am all for making renewable energy even easier to work with, giant concrete blocks or no.