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Idea #19: Making it Rain

To become masters of this unpredictable thing that is weather is something that only sci-fi has been able to create.

Imagine a world where there wouldn’t be no more extended droughts, floods, blizzards, El Niño or hurricanes. Climate would be mild all year across (still allowing seasonal variations), with scheduled rains timed for maximized agriculture.

Perhaps more important than that, lands that fall now under the low precipitation zones could suddenly become productive and give rise to prosperous urban areas.

One important distinction that must me made is that there is climate and there is weather. Weather is the very unpredictable, short-term trends in atmospheric conditions. It’s ‘ruled’ by the same kind of rules of a lottery game. Climate refers to the (predictable) long term trends of those conditions in a region, averaged over a time frame.

Unfortunately, this distiction is often forgotten in those who denial climate change. A commonplace argument is that you can’t make statements about the climate because it’s unpredictable (but that would be weather). What is true indeed is that it’s not simple to make assessments about climate. It’s still one of the most poorly understood fields of science – as it should be with dealing with planet-scale complex systems.

Because it’s so poorly understood, you probably shouldn’t mess with climate. But we will ignore this advice for the fun of it.

If you had to choose one to have absolute control, you would pick climate. As much as you might want the rain not to ruin you sunday barbecue, you would want more to have enough food for the next generations.

Researching a climate modification system should be viewed as an investiment. Consider for a moment the material cost of hurricanes. According to one source, Katrina (2005) alone costed $ ~106bi in damage. Losses in agricultural production probably mount billions per year in the US alone. To prevent only a fraction of these losses with some investment could prove worthwhile.

The truth is that, as of now, there is no known technique that can deliver all that has been promised above. The best thing we could do is to prevent things from getting any worse, by compromising and making the damned lifestyle changes.

The closest I could find to a climate modification is called cloud seeding, a process to artificially create rain when desired, by seeding a cloud with selected chemicals. It’s controversial, and dangerously close to hocus pocus. Apparently China is one of the leading powers in this enterprise, and has been doing it for quite some time.

Another proposed solution for climate change is to install space mirrors, obstacles to sunlight, in space. They could be used to reflect some of the light and reduce warming. If we could have control over what areas would be shaded (what is considerably more challenging) we could in principle engineer the climate of Earth.


Let’s tackle a small part of the challenge here. Cloud seeding uses water that is already in the atmosphere. But that is not always the case.

Could we heat enough water to make a rain?

We will answer the question on the basis of whether the energy used, or power, is within what our civilization produces. There are technological or practical issues that are not covered here. We will also be making a number of guesses.

The energy is:

heat

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suppose the rain falls over an area A in m2 with E millimeters. If we imagine a box with a m2 the height of the water collumn would be E mm. So the mass of water is

mass

Plugging it into the other equation, and using the values:

final

The area used is not that big. It’s the area of Madison, Wisconsin. I picked it because it’s very dry but surrounded by water bodies.

That’s a lot of energy up there. Heating water is very energy consuming. To put this number into a perspective, lets say we are building a rain in a week, or 6.048E+5 s. The power required is then: 6.36E+8 W. Comparing to one of the huge hydro powerplants, it’s about 4.5% of it’s maximum output.

So it would seem, at first glance, that if we wanted to build ‘boilers’ to heat water into the atmosphere it would be within our grasp. Dedicated power plants (moved by renewable sources) built to boil water, on locations where the water would be carried into a desired target site by winds.

water_plants

If the water would effectively go where it’s supposed to, or if it would disperse into the atmosphere is a whole other history. Probably not every location is suitable for this, as a deep understanding of the particular wind patterns is required. Ultimately, you could add an effective factor from 0 to 1 into these calculations. If this factor is too small (say <0.01) it renders this idea unpractical.

If you placed several boiler units at sea along a typical wind route, hoping to be more moisture left for the air masses inside the continent, you would probably end up with increased rainfall along the coast line too. That could or not be inconvenient, depending on case. These units are supposed to be central controlled and only turned on when necessary. It’s implied that they are, somehow, more efficient than natural evaporation.

Another alternative for heating water is a sun gun (remember Die Another Day?). How would you reposition a 10km2 mirror with ease I really can’t say.

Making not rain when desired, on the other hand, seems quite harder to imagine. That is unfortunate, all evidence points out to a general increase in precipitation with climate change.

[IMAGE: ‘Bad’ weather over a urban area, unkown location.]

 

 

 

 

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Idea #18: Space Elevator

Space elevators are fascinating. I can spend days wondering how they could possibly be built, with what fancy materials, and how would it be the new era of space exploration they could enable to man.

We’ve discussed on an earlier entry how expensive was the cost of placing material in orbit, and how that’s one of the things in the way of our voyage to the final frontier. A space elevator is a thing that comes precisely to change this scenario.

A 2013 study by the International Academy of Astronautics concluded that a space elevator is feasible, and will probably start being constructed as early as 2035. I might be something that our generation will witness after all, with some luck. It surprised me to know that there are several competitions for developing aspects of its construction and operation. So far, timid efforts.

On the other end of this, there is considerable skepticism due to dificulties such as the effective material strengh of carbon nanotubes and space debries. So I’d say it’s 50/50 right now that a space elevator will ever be build.

I really can’t add much to this wonderful BBC critic that is done here. There you will find the basic idea of a space elevator and the challenges in building such a structure. A good overview, more scientific, is presented by this short page.

What I can do is add is my own (crazy) idea of how one should be build:

I understand that one of the bottlenecks of designs for the space elevator is the tensile strengh of the cable (the tether). It requires very sturdy materials, far from what we conventionally use. This could be around the number of 63MPa for carbon nanotubes, while for steel it’s much higher, 383GPa. It’s not a simple thing to keep ~100km of cable standing, even if it’s made fairly hollow.

So it ocurred to me, what if reduced this load by actively lifting the structure?

The idea is to place electrical turbines periodically along the structure, for as long as the atmosphere makes it convenient. 

space_elevator.jpg

A tricky part was thinking of a section that would hold the turbines and still allow movement of the climber vehicles.

The turbine is required to not only lift the aditional weight of itself, but to give an upward/downward lift where required, thus reducing the tension on the structure. Without detailing how these turbines work it’s not possible to say if this would work at all!

No doubt that this entails a serious energy drain, as well as added construction and maintenance costs. I thought that at first these turbines would be powered by power plants on the ground and, when construction is completed, by solar energy from a space station on the counterweight. It should be, as much as possible, self-sustainable or else it would compromise its purpose.

For simplicity, the turbines would be placed on opposite sides of the tether. Two lifter vehicle would pass on the sides of it. You should be able to make the climber the size you want, possibly with an aerodynamic shape. The TT cable cross section increases with the size, though, so there is a trade-off.

What if a turbine breaks? Well that’s a problem. Maybe you could have multiple turbines in each unit, redundant, so that it can hold off until maitenance fix a broken one.

Sure this doesn’t fix the strengh problem all the way through, but it could reduce enough the problem to allow materials like carbon nanotubes to do the rest.

161890main_image_feature_689b_ys_full

The International Space Station in 2006. NASA, image source.

*Note: The content of these notes is not endorsed or affiliated with NASA/ESA, and express solely the author’s view.

[IMAGE: Photo taken from the ISS during a flyby of Super Typhoon Noru. NASA, image source]

 

 

 

On Death

Ah, Death. The conclusion of life.

If we poorly understand life itself, it’s variety, it’s reasons for being, it shouldn’t be shocking that we know so little about how it comes to an end and what lies beyond.

Yet everything you see around, that will ever exist is decaying somehow. We are constanly reminded by that every time we have a brush with death, how life hangs on that mythical thread that the greeks were all about.

Now, you might fear death at some point. But we are raised (by hollywood culture) to face death with pride and dignity, meaning that would are not supposed to express or be overly concerned with our fear, simply embrace it when it comes. This is actually a good piece of advice, since there is no escaping it.

In reality, it can be somewhat messy at the end, as Game of Thrones reminded us on occasion. You see, we fight for life everyday with everything we got, and suddenly we have to abandon it. It’s a difficult transition to make.

To think of death almost brings a certain relief. That all the struggles, all the horrors in this world cannot find meaning after it. I have to admit that when hopes are low, and I can find no joy in living, I even look forward to it.

Death, or rather the fear of it, produced quite a number of things. From music, to literature, to religion. Much of religion (but not all of it) is about theorizing about what comes after that, and giving a sense of meaning to life.

There are many interesting concepts of Death. From one of the oldest, the Egyptians seem to believe that once a person died his heart would be weighted in a balance against a feather, and if lighter than it, the person would be welcomed to immortal life. Hence the meaning of all those elaborate funeral practices. To Greeks people would be ferried through river Styx, after paying a coin, to Hades Underword; or for the choosed blessed, the Elysium.

Mainstream religion drawn much from that. In tradicional Christianity, there is firm belief in Heaven and hell, after a judgment is in place. Islamism has a similar, but not exactly equal dualistic approach. I wouldn’t presume to talk about Judaism. And there are the eastern philosophies, like Buddism, with breaking the endless cycle of rebirth through enlightenment. Hinduism also embraces the concept of reincarnation.

There is also the idea that what awaits us after that is absolutely nothing, that all these concepts above are simply fantasies we tell ourselves. I could not find a specific name for this, the ‘non-belief in afterlife’, it lies somewhere between Religious Skepticism and Apistevism. I do know that this is somewhat frowned upon in society, just as atheism is.

In spite of near death experiences being an ‘active research field’, there are no undisputed evidence as to what lies ahead. The list of people who claimed to have return from death is also disputed, but you are free to seek them or their books if you believe this will bring you any closer to understanding the mystery of death. I honestly doubt it.

If one were to considere a belief in the afterlife, there is a list of questions we can narrow it down:

  1. Do you believe there is something at all after death?
  2. Do you believe in a soul?
  3. What are your thoughs on reincarnation?
  4. Do you think fate is a real thing?
  5. If there is a divine entity, does he judge the living?
  6. Do you truly believe in Heaven?
  7. Do you truly believe in hell?
  8. Where do the dead go to when they die?

Having your personal answers to this, you can iron out the details (if your hell has 9 circles or is it happening on Earth right now, for example). It’s obvious these are question one struggles the whole life with, it’s only natural that your answers change as your perspective of the world evolves.

One of the most beautiful concepts of death I’ve come across is the one presented in J.K. Rowling ‘Harry Potter’ series. We are confronted with death from the very first book, when we learn about the fate of Harry’s parents. Quite a bold thing to do, discuss a tragic death in a children’s book. But there is wisdom in confronting our children with the reality of the world in a protected environment, not as to shock but to prepare them.

You will probably remember the Three Brothers Story.  The significance of this cautionary tale is to remember that there is in real life there is no defeating death, at best once can elude it with wisdom only to greet it as an equal. The deathly hollows were so powerful indeed because they could master death.

There are these awesome Dumbledore quotes about it:

Voldemort: “There is nothing worse than death, Dumbledore!

Albus Dumbledore: “You are quite wrong. Indeed, your failure to understand there are much worse things than death has always been your weakness.

And

It’s the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.

After all, to the well-organised mind, death is but the next great adventure.

What you won’t remember is metaphorical Death Chamber in the Department of Mysteries, with the archway with the tattered black veil, where Sirius Black died. Nowhere the mystery of death was better depicted.

It is my view that the veil of death will never be lifted. This last shroud of mystery nothing can possibly reveal. It’s to teach us humility and to accept that there are larger things than us.


This will be an extra bonus for the artistical fellows out there. I considered a drawing or a painting to reflect on death, but I’m not gifted with the skills to produce it. Heh.

Imagine a green plain field with grass scattered by bashing winds in all directions. A moat in the center. and on top of it an ancient burial site, with stones atop one another. Over the tomb, a white dead tree. Perhaps fog, What man was buried there? How was his life?

Either a painting or one of those fancy carbon drawings would come nicely I think.


[IMAGE: Giza Pyramid Complex, in Egypt. image source]

Idea #17: Artificial Islands

As humans, we are proud of our skill to modify the environment. It’s more than a matter of making life easier, it’s necessary for our survival. It’s something unheard in nature a species so capable of that, for better or worse.

But we have yet to create artificial islands far from the continental shelf. We are bound to pretty much the original disposition of landmasses on Earth. Consider how many wars waged had their outcome influenced by this very same land disposition.

Let’s give this idea some thought, what if we created an island in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean?

You’d probably want to do it over the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, as there are already a handful of natural islands there as well as seamounts like Mt. Atlantis. The water depth seems to range from 300m to 7000m. It can go much more deeper in marine trenches.

You would want a location that is as far as possible from other landmasses, but as shallow as possible. Also, it could be along some interesting route between continents. Playing with a layer in ArcGIS Ocean Basemap yielded some interesting locations:

  1. LAT. 43°20’51” LONG. -30°5’56”. Depth=187m, between Canada and Europe.
  2. LAT. 5°37’19” LONG. -26°53’13”. Depth=511m, Mt. Knipovich,  between Brazil and Africa.
  3. LAT. 32°2’30” LONG. -40°15’59”. Depth=791m, halfway between Bermudas and Açores.

Unfortunately I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the information, but I’m confident that with proper data many other possible sites around the world could be uncovered.

Assume a gigantic feat of enginnering where we detonate mountains around the world, shovel desert sands, drag rivers and ship all of this material into a point in the ocean. It forms a cone underwater, and we will assume that it’s height (the depth) is twice the radius.

formula_1

That would be for the depths above:

  1. V=1.71E6 m3, or a mass of 3.29E9 kg;
  2. V=3.49E7 m3, or a mass of 6.71E10 kg;
  3. V=1.29E8 m3, or a mass of 2.49E11 kg;

An average density of 1920kg/m3 was used in this calculations. To players of the good old SimCity, this is why you can’t reclaim water lands without cheating.

Supermassive ships can carry as much as 4E8 kg of cargo. That would still mean around 9 trips for the first site, and 623 for the last one. Clearly for the deepest one it’s required to strip a chain of mountains in order to get so much material. Not a cone shaped base, then.

There is the possibility of a concrete and steel legs supporting the structure, for depths in the range of 10-350m. Bear in mind that a typical oil rig has just the area of 2 football fields and very big collums. Space is tight there, with much use of verticalization.

It seems best to consider an option that involves floating, as done with the deep waters oil platforms. Even steel-concrete platforms can float, like the Olympus (Mars B). These structures are moored to the seabed. One can’t deny the ingenuity of the oil industry. They are ready to withstand big waves and the even survive an iceberg. Though this does not come from my own experience, they also sway a lot too.

Saint_Helena_Island

Space photo of St. Helena Island, one of the most isolated islands in the world, in the South Atlantic Ocean. This volcanic island is one of the tops of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. image source

Ok. Suppose you do build your artificial island somehow. Why would you bother to?

Well there is all sorts of cool stuff that you can do with your very own island.

The first thing that comes to mind is to build a series of small marine platforms, linked to each other. These would be close to shore, making construction easier and cheaper. From one platform to another a network of supporting ropes are used to farm seaweed, such Laminaria sp.

These would in turn support fish population, boosting labor intensive fishing communities. It would produce biomass for green fuel, if processed. There are numbers that with 9% of the ocean waters devoted to active seaweed farming we would no longer need fossil fuels. Far from being cheap, or free of environmental costs, it’s a very interesting solution.

The second thing that comes to mind is a (wild!) idea of building an island so massive that a mid-sized plane could land on it. Spread a few of these airport islands on key locations and you have no need for larger craft anymore – what means that more birds can make the same trip, reducing costs.

The third idea is to gradually attach large, floating islands and build a floating city, in locations along a shipping route or mirroring coastal cities. They would live of everything that the sea can offer. Harbours able to dock a medium hull sized ship would actively extend the range of smaller ships, rendering trips cheaper and safer. The thing is that I can’t think of no activity that would generate enough revenue to maintain such a city, unless it was also an oil rig or could break even as a supply outpost.

Maybe you would build your very own island just to have have a new sovereign country. I’m no expert at all in international law but I don’t think there is quite a precedent to creating an artificial island in international waters. It seem to be one of the few opportunities to implement your own vision of what a country should be, in a world where the board is already set. Needs to be pointed out that it would be extremely dependent, though.

[IMAGE: Coconut beach, unknown location. image source]

 

 

Idea #16: Garbage to Space

Environmental concerns are usually set aside. In fact, today you can count the times when a more costly solution to a problem is chosen for being more interesting in the long run. Yet you don’t always choose the cheapest car out there, you pick the best.

Think about one thing for a second. First, we invent the concept of price and cost. Our civilization starts to emit massive amounts of carbon dioxide to fuel its development (that in turn disrupt the world climate). We develop solutions like electric vehicles and solar energy. But we label these solutions more costly on the basis of the concept we develop centuries ago.

Why not develop a new concept for cost for things that are tied to our survival? Is our thinking so rigid to the point we can’t adapt? Lets head to the idea, this is clearly becoming a speech of sort.

Why not ferry all the waste products on Earth to space?

By all the waste I’m not talking about the ordinary waste that could be decomposed here on a reasonable timetable, or that can be recycled with more or less effort. I’m talking about the most pernicious waste like nuclear reactor’s by-products or extremely toxic chemical substances.

This is explored in sci-fi, not at all an idea to dismiss at first glance. On Star Trek, the Malon’s homeworld was a glistening paradise due to their exports of waste to space. We are assuming no one is out there to be bothered by it, and to best knowledge this seems to be the case.

The reason we are not doing it right now is twofold:

First. we don’t quite have the space age technology required to build anything as impressive as a garbage scow. Not saying we couldn’t, if we put our minds to it, though. It’s a great undertaking to manage the scientific missions alone, much less missions with other purposes.

This, in part, translate to the second reason: the cost of sending a kg to space is simply too high.

It’s difficult to get a solid number on this, but this source states that to simply put a mass in orbit it costs ~U$ 50,000/kg. To take it further into a suitable dispose location would take much, much more than that. It is expected to decrease with time, but it might not be as fast as our civilization needs with the current investment.

tumblr_otpc53mco91sfie3io1_1280

Iceberg in Greenland. Reducing emissions by making different choices now can ensure the future of the polar caps and the sea level. How much will it cost us, in the future, per m2 of land lost?  image source

There are roughly 250,000 tonnes of stored nuclear waste on the world. The math says thats to put this up there it’s more money than what is circulating in the US at the moment. Energy is not free, and it costs a great deal to make it clean. It is our unwillingness to meet this price that is usually the issue.

If we did develop a space-faring waste export industry it would probably require a shipyard in orbit, as well as something like an space elevator. I would also would take a breakthrough in propulsion technology, as I don’t see we ferrying tons of waste on these chemical rockets. The good news is that could be even as simple as an unmanned craft carrying the waste payload. It doesn’t need to return.

There is a lot of suitable places to dispose it – though it might be best to know a little more about them first. You could use one or the uninhabitable planets, or one of the billion asteroids. Just pick a barren rock without any minerals of value (or life on sight) and fill it with trash.

Or you could ship it to the Sun. Perhaps it not our sun, on which we rely completely. Though I’m pretty confident the sun woudn’t mind all the waste we could ever produce, there is the off chance it could disrupt it’s lifecycle.

I’d also leave the Moon out of the list, doesn’t feel right to pollute it until its potential for colonization is properly adressed. If you have enough fuel you could let it wander the void in some direction slowly, surely it can drift for eons without disturbing anyone. The chance that it would eventually find its way into an intelligent species world is negligeable (with information to date).

If the prospect of becoming a civilization that dumps it’s waste somewhere else seems unappealing, you should consider two rough estimates. There could be as much as 100 billions of stars in the Milky Way alone. The average distance between the stars is 347 lightyears. We don’t really fathom how vast space is. Surely there is room for this.

You should also consider that in all the past of mankind it has produced waste and transported it out of sight. It’s required for our level of technology. Maybe this technology (and perhaps more importanly, our priorities) will allow us to manage and reuse increasingly better our resources in the future.

[IMAGE: Industrial site with power lines, unknown location. image source]

 

Idea #15: Game ‘Zealots’

This is will be an idea for a game, and I’ve named it Zealots.

I always had the feeling that our sports (eg. basketball, soccer..) don’t really follow our level of technological refinement. They are often low tech – a good thing because it requires little resources, but it also means not taking advantage of our accumulated knowledge. Most games also favor physical prowess instead of strategy, rather than finding a balance.

Zealots is a game played in a special electronic court. Two teams of seven players each try to control a ball and score it, by hitting a round elevated target in the opposite side. The ball must be passed or walked (with dribbling) all the way to the target zone, where it can be shoot. Simple enough, a lot like handball so far. Let’s name the teams Red and Blue.

However at the start the game, the target for both teams is blocked (hitting it with the ball does nothing). The court has flat electronic tiles that can light up, similar to a dancefloor. When the game starts, a computer chooses a team to start at random, and a round begins.

Say the computer chooses team Red. It’s their turn to attack. Then a random tile somewhere in the court lights up in red. This tile unblocks the target of team Blue. If a team Blue player gets there and steps on the tile the target remains blocked, a defence, and the round is done.

If a player from team Red steps on it, two things happen: the target of team Blue lights up, and can now be hit for score by Red; and two tiles in the court light up blue. These tiles can defuse the blue target if they are both hit by Blue. If Red hits them it does nothing, it’s not for them. Red must protect them from Blue, as well as attack the target.

In the end of the round, the computer sorts again after a small resting break. It’s a game of chance too, but matches should be even if long enough. So both teams are always divided between defense or attack.

zealots_court_v2

A Zealots round. Note that only players of the same side as the target may enter the grayed defense zone.

Above is a possible courtsize (based on the golden ratio!) with the same length as a NBA basketball court, but somewhat larger in width. A possible game situation is presented, moments after the attack tile is hit.

There is plenty of room for strategy on Zealots. The number of players in attack/defense at a time is not fixed by a rule, rather it’s meant for the team to decide. For example, after enabling the score, an attacking team could have 4 players trying to score and 3 defending the defusing tiles. Or 3 and 4, and so on. The defending team could have 4 defending the target and 3 in active defense, trying to defuse and end the round.

Tackling (like rugby) is allowed in this game, until the other player is down, to prevent a player from hitting a live tile. Perhaps helmets are a requirement for safety. After being tackled to the ground a player must return to it’s defense zone. I figured it should still retain some barbaric trait as a true sport. Expect awesome and completely random tackles.

I didn’t mention this, but players use some sort short range RF transmitter on the shoes to hint the tiles of their presence. The floor should also have a rugged layer for friction. A cool thing today is that there is tech to detect falls, like here, although a bit more of search seems to show the company is not in business anymore.

There are two problem that I though that could happen in this game:

What if, during Red’s attack, team Blue catches the ball? Well the ball is not meant for them in this round, so you could add the rule that the defending team must always be passing the ball around, to a different player every time. That is bound to return the ball to Red eventually, but also give Blue an advantage if it captures it.

The second problem is a stalemate problem. Say the teams are locked up in defensive situations. The game would become dull then. This is unlikely because eventually someone would tackle one another and the game would go on. But if this becomes an issue, timing a round to an appropriate time could solve it.

Score is kept in the usual manner, the player with most hits on target wins. In off hours, the court can be used to display maze patterns for kids or for dancing. It could help to offset the costs of building it.

If you build a Zealots court, make sure to send me a ticket for a season. Feel free to twist this idea as you please: you could base it on basketball, instead of handball, or maybe not allow tackling if you want a cleaner game. Thanks for bearing with me, have a good game!

[IMAGE: A handball player mid-air. image source]

On Wandering

Cambridge’s A.L. Dictionary defines the word ‘wander’ as:

  1. to walk around slowly in a relaxed way or without any clear purpose or direction;

If you stop to think about, much of our lives is spent on wandering around. We are born into this world without a clear purpose, with no guidelines, and without truly knowing ourselves. That can only lead to much time spent trying to find our path, and hence, wander.

And I don’t just mean to wander physically, or from job to job, but also wander in our way of thinking. How many times we change our minds about something, only to change it back again some time later.

Have you ever felt that strange desire to just leave your ordinary life, your steady-pace and run into the wilderness or live from place to place?

I believe that, to some people more than others, there is still a residual urge from our nomadic past that runs very deep. I’d go as far as saying that it’s the reason why they never seem to find a place, and prevents them from bringing their lives into a focus.

Drifting from one job to the next, focusing on today’s assignment, dispersing one’s energy rather than having a single long term goal are all traits of people who are bound to wander the rest of their lives. Somewhere along the line society stepped on the right of these people to exist as they were.

And there is the danger of not realizing in time that one is drifting too much. This leads to poorly conducted lifes, often with suffering as an end result.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean a bad thing. It’s more often a compromise between how one’s dream about his life and how it actually flows. You can’t judge a person’s life based on how aimless it was, as some remarkable life experiences come exactly from wandering around.

As J.R.R Tolkien beautifully wrote in this much tatooed sentence:

Not all those who wander are lost;

The apparent contradiction of these words in fact reveal this truth. To not seek a particular goal can be a goal on itself. There is a fine line between wandering to explore the world and it’s things, and wondering without any purpose – to be simply lost.

[IMAGE: Mt. Cook in New Zealand, image source]