Socialist energy/environment measures: air ships

benj benj at connexus.net.au
Tue Dec 3 18:09:41 MST 2002


David Walters:
Benj,
  this is pure Fiction, that's why Anarchist Michael Moorcock is
called  a
"science fiction" writer? His air ships (I read the whole series)
are pure
fiction, impossible to duplicate on a gas to weight ration as he
had them.

Ben Courtice:
   Michael Moorcock's novels are of course pure fiction. I know
that, David. However, in the real world, air ships have existed
(the Graf Zeppelin, Hindenburg, Shenandoah etc) and there are
currently corporations which are developing airship technology
(although mainly at a research level as far as I can tell). Do a
search on google for "airship", or "airship" and "environment"
and you will see some interesting links. There is one company,
Cargolifter, who have an airship that can carry 160 tons. Modern
airships use helium not hydrogen and are therefore much, much
safer. Design has also progressed since the 1930s.
   I partly included the comments about airships just because I
like the idea. However, it is certain that air travel & freight
cannot continue to expand (and should shrink) with the current
technology. Firstly, aeroplanes are incredibly polluting due to
the amount of fuel burned and the altitude at which this occurs.
Secondly, airports can only accomodate so much, and at some point
the cost of expansion becomes prohibitive compared with
alternatives such as fast rail, or indeed airships. Of course Lou
Paulsen's comments are fair enough, we may have to and probably
should cut down on unnecessary jet-setting in a socialist
society. But even within the parameters of capitalism there may
be a niche for airship freight, that's why there are a number of
companies advertising airship designs on the internet.

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