Tag Archives: solar cells

The Idea Mill #14

I've gathered enough material for another Idea Mill. I've gained a few followers, so I'll explain what these are. I have some push feeds set up to send me news articles that appeal to me. This is one source of ideas that might make it into my fiction. Some get used, some don't. Maybe one of these articles will kick your own Muse in the pants.

The first one is about what I'll call solar ink. It can be used on a printer to make paper thin solar cells. If you are writing a science fiction story, this kind of thing can change the entire structure of your world. No more giant electricity corporations, no more dams across our rivers, no more nuclear plants.

“Hey Herb, cleaning the rain gutters again?”

“Yup. You?”

“I printed a bunch of new solar cells. That last snowstorm played Hell with my electricity.”

Maybe you want to coat your spaceship with them. As long as you stay within one solar system you have power, and the ability to step outside and replace them. Read the article here.

This next one really gets me, and I intend to use it myself. My outline about bio-hackers and grinders is the one that's languishing right now. It holds the most promise, and I don't want to force it. This may be the item it needs to move the outline ahead.

It gives us a current update about opium poppies, and how most of the the medical version is grown in Tasmania. Today scientists are trying to produce a genetically modified yeast that will do the same thing. There is so much potential here for a story that I can see a dozen ideas.

Maybe you like power struggles and thrillers. This is a play to take a profitable business away from simple farmers and move it into the lab. After the farms are forced to grow a different crop, the price is whatever the patent holders demand. Hold the patients hostage for everything they have, just to make the pain go away.

The middle ground might be a story along the lines of The Untouchables. The elite group is trying to shut down bakeries owned by the mob.

In my case, it's a yeast, of course it will get out of the lab. It becomes the new street drug, and even organized crime can't control it. It invades our food sources. It's in the very air we breathe, and maybe damp areas are to be avoided, or limited to how many hours you can spend there. People will certify 94% opiate free bread and beer, as the best you can get. Home baking and brewing will disappear, except for those who want to make drugs. Right now, I'm leaning that direction. I might do something else with it, but I'm going to use it. Read the article and see if it inspires your fiction. I'm going to use it like background setting in my grinder story.

This last one tugs at my heartstrings. I have no idea what the difference between the Northern and Southern white rhino is, but there has been a death in the family. A female Northern white rhino died in a European zoo this week. Leaving four Northern white rhinos on Earth. One lives in San Diego at the zoo. Three live in Sudan under 24 hour armed guard.

One of the ones in Africa is a male, the others are all female. They saved parts of the dead female in hopes of harvesting an egg. The saddest part of the story is the remaining population is too old and sick to reproduce. It appears a healthy Southern cow could carry one of their calves. I have to ask why they haven't tried this decades ago with possibly a bit larger gene pool. Humans spend money on opiatic yeast for Christ's sake. Read the obituary, I mean article here.

There is a pretty good story in any extinction. I have to ask, what if it were us? This might be more of a short story, but the last man on Earth discovers the last woman after decades of wandering. They're names are Adam and Eve. Too bad they're too old to reproduce.

Traditional Idea Mill posts involve me detailing a corny story incorporating all the ideas into one. These articles are pretty far removed from each other, but here goes nothing:

Adam, the last man on Earth, discovers a stash of solar ink. He thinks he can make new solar cells if he can find a printer that will still work. He goes searching through abandoned buildings, until he stumbles across Eve. He hasn't seen another human in ten years.

She's tending her vegetable garden, and Adam approaches carefully. They strike up a conversation and laugh about the suggestions behind their names. Neither one of them is capable of reproduction. He temporarily abandons his quest for a printer, or enough parts to make a few copies. They get lit on the homemade beer she brews which is very much like laudanum from the combo of alcohol and opiate yeast.

Over to you. Do any of these ideas spark your imaginations? Let me hear in in the comments.


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