Thursday, July 31, 2008

A better voting system

Here are two paradoxes in voting:

1. You want your vote to count, so you vote for a candidate you think might have a chance to win, which means one of the most popular candidates. Everyone else is also voting according to that philosophy, which means that popularity itself becomes self-magnifying. It gives certain meaning to the statement, "a celebrity is a person who's well known for how popular they are." This serves to: a) give the underdog candidates even *less* of a chance in hell to win, and b) magnify the problem of mere campaign funds determining how popular a candidate is..because campaign funds affect how well recognized a candidate is to start with, and then from there we merely magnify that value. And the funny thing is, your vote's not going to change who becomes president anyway, so you might as well vote for the candidate you like.

2. Let's say you have a republican candidate, let's call him Kodos, and a democratic candidate, let's call him Kang. The voters nearly equally like Kodos and Kang on average, but there's another, independent candidate, let's call him Ralph Nader. The problem here is that the voters who like Kang more also like Ralph Nader. Some of them vote for Nader instead, which means Kodos wins. Why is that a problem? Consider this possibility: 60% of voters want either Kang or Ralph Nader, and don't want Kodos. 40% of voters want only Kodos. The just solution? Give them Kang or Nader (obviously Kang, because he was more popular of the two.) The actual result? Kodos (because, e.g., 35% voted for Kang, and 25% voted for Nader).

There is a single solution to both of these problems.

Make voting a rating system. You get to give each candidate a percentage of preferability, adding up to 100, or at least an order of rankings, and a sophisticated algorithm determines what outcome would satisfy the most people. I'm not sure what this algorithm is..perhaps something like one of the chess rating systems, such as the Glicko system, adapted for this purpose. Chess ratings are based on who beats whom, so in our adaptation candidate X beats candidate Y every time X comes before Y in anyone's list. Whatever the best algorithm is, it might even make the primary elections completely unnecessary, since, e.g., one democrat wouldn't 'take votes' from another democrat.

Alternatively, we could simply use a system where we vote for more than one candidate. No ratings, just put a check mark next to each candidate you like. Or, perhaps, yes's for ones you like and no's for ones you dislike. The latter option seems a little less positive psychologically, mostly since the next president would likely enough be someone you had no'd..however, it seems to be necessary given the two-party system. For example, without no's, most democrats would check every democrat, and most republicans would check every republican. That leaves very little to determine which democrat wins or, alternatively, which republican. If there are no's, however, one could, for example, 'yes' Hillary, leave Obama neutral, and 'no' McCain. This is probably not a big issue, though, if the primaries remain instated.

I just noticed this useful comment -- thanks Sylvain

"Why reinvent the wheel. It is well-known to mathematicians since long ago, that the best voting system to avoid strategic biases, is the Condorcet method."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

An optimal backup+mirroring system.

Backing up to something other than a harddrive has the disadvantage that you can't backup everything up-to-the-minute.
Backing up using RAID 1 or another form of mirroring has the disadvantage that it reduces the amount of logical harddrive space to a fraction of its physical combined size.

You could get the best of both worlds by:
a) backing up new data to DVD-R or maybe DVD-RW periodically, for example once a day
b) mirroring what *isn't* yet backed up on other harddrive(s)

The filesystem would keep track of everything that's backed up and automatically mirror either sectors or files that are added or changed, until they're backed up. The mirrored data would exist as separate files, or one large file, on the (partially) mirrored harddrive(s) so that it can grow and shrink and not need the entire harddrive or even a fixed-sized partition on it.

If the mirroring works by sectors then the one large file could have an allocation table of sectors and, since they're all the same size, when one is removed the last sector in the file can be copied to its location and then deleted from the end. For efficiency implemented on the file system level the sectors being mirrored could sit squarely on sectors in the file system they're being mirrored on.

In the above case you don't even have to copy a sector from the end when one is deleted: just change the info in the FS of which sectors the file uses. But the kind of file system fragmentation that would cause might defeat the purpose.

If, instead of files or sectors, the mirroring works on arbitrarily small chunks of files, then the one large file could be a database, which should be periodically compressed.

Partially mirrored harddrives should be able to be any harddrive whether it's on the same system or on any other system on the network, such as with Chiron FS.

Each system used as a mirror should also be able to have its own data mirrored, except of course for the data that's already acting as a mirror. That way, for example, if its harddrive crashes you won't have to reinstall the OS: just sync a new harddrive with a mirror (and/or DVD backup) and then install it.

I'm not sure how incremental DVD backups are usually handled, so that you don't have to go back 10 years and put in 100 different DVDs in series to reconstruct the original data, but I'm sure this question has already been handled. But if not, I have some ideas.

1) when possible, erase the entire DVD and rewrite it. Make sure you don't rewrite a DVD too many times so that it doesn't work. Have the software keep track of how many times it's been rewritten. Also use multisession for incremental changes. If used in combination with erasing, a multisession DVD wouldn't have to be erased until it gets full due to incremental additions.

2) Have a limit to how many backup DVDs a given filesystem state can depend on. The software should know exactly what's on what DVD so it can automatically enforce this limit. When it's too many, it can start over from the beginning and backup to new DVDs, or better, erase the old DVDs and write over them. OR it can only rewrite just enough to keep the number of backup DVDs below the limit.

--i've been informed that tape backup is better than dvd for large scale servers. so replace dvd with tape backup in the above. and remove 1 and 2. unless dvd is still an economical solution for small scale.
Solve world strife through understanding

Description 1

Have a project where you interview all the world's leaders, especially heads of state, to get their philosophy on life.. morals, religion, politics.. Make them available on the website. Follow current events and keep people posted with the website's blog. Every event will be presented interpreted according to the involved parties' philosophies. It would be best to write this neutrally, regardless of how immature someone's point of view may be.

Events should also include hyperlinks to related events in the blog, and there could also be a visual diagram showing titles of all the events (which link to the blogs themselves) and the links between them. Countries involved could be signified in the diagram elements by their respective flags. Perhaps events could be laid out in (roughly?) chronological order on the vertical or horizontal axis. Or if that would detract too much from the network's optimal layout then just color according to date or recentness.

Description 2

hold interviews with various world leaders, that is, anyone with weight, which includes politicians, terrorists, and businessmen. try to eliminate as much superfice as possible. be as direct and honest as you can get /them/ to be. find out what they *really* think and believe. behind any belief system or justification is a simple psychological reason, just like what how people say different things when they're drunk. find out not only this, but this in relation to the decisions that they make that affect the country or the world at large, and how that country (or terrorist organization, or religion, or business, etc.) relates to other countries/entities, be it peace, war, trade, embargos, strife, amory, or otherwise. i imagine a static base of deeply delving interviews into the philosophies and political positions (and perhaps goals) of these people, combined with a constant news source that reports earth-shaking events as they relate to the interviews/philosophies of the active parties. events related to strife, war, exploitation, etc. are probably the most important to cover.
The Pulse of America

A website for issues that will be voted on by congress or decided by governors, mayors, etc. For bills, it would automatically list all the ones that need to be decided on, from For issues only affecting only legislation in a particular area, perhaps only people from that area would be allowed to vote. With each issue could be an explanation of what factors need to be considered, preferably posted by congress members or mayors, etc. Also, for bills, it would be nice if congress members posted summaries, including the gotchas that are tacked on just because they can. Bills don't seem that easy to read.

This doesn't have to be a government-supported website, because the idea isn't that the voters legally or necessarily determine the outcome--it's for politicians to peruse results and feedback at their liesure. Voters should be able to attach explanations about their feelings/opinions along with their votes. Also have the ability for users to post their own bills or other suggestions for changes in legislation or budget, vote for user proposals, or create new branch versions of existing proposals/bills. Attached explanations should be rateable so that it's easy to see which sentiments have a lot of support and are well-presented. User proposals/branches should also be rateable.
Water Purification

For efficient water purification: Electrocute water to extract the H and O. Perhaps you'd need to separate the H and O somehow from anything in the water that may have risen up with vapor, such as by using a centrifuge, a microscopically fine filter, or electrostatic filters (one for H and one for O, so that you can't ignite it). Pipe the H and O to another area and burn it, using as much of the heat from that as possible to fuel the electricity generation. Also mechanically allow the gas volume lost from that process to balance out the gas volume gained from extracting the H and O, so that you're not working against atmospheric pressure. Or, just do both processes completely in vacuo. Collect the vapor (or water, if you extracted the heat that well) created from the combustion process, condense it (if necessary) using a heat sink, and distribute it.

The key points here are to a) use the heat from the burning process, and b) not work against atmospheric pressure, if that's also a big issue. If this system is implemented ideally, it will operate at near-100% efficiency and take very little external power, and it requires no chemicals except for whatever you want to add before distribution (such as chlorine and/or fluoride).

This system can even work on *salt water*, and perhaps even sewer water. Although that raises questions of what to do with the residue. If a little bit of the water is left unextracted, you can simply let it flow through continuously to pass most of the residue, and then the only question left would be one of periodically cleaning / replacing the cathodes and anodes.
Space Elevator

way to have a rope (buckytube or whatever) to space:
have a massive foundation, anchored in bedrock, attached to the bottom of the rope at the earth's equator. have a satellite attached to the top of the rope, somewhat further (or perhaps way further) than a geostationary orbit, orbiting obviously coplanar with the Earth's equator. having the satellite farther than a geostationary orbit will cause the rope to pull it along faster than it would otherwise orbit, thus keeping the rope up (including the weight of whatever is currently elevating up the rope) by centrifugal force, just like a sling.

the longer the rope is, the less massive the satellite has to be, though the rope itself may be very expensive so the most economical length could be minimal (Clarke belt), maximal (the length at which you need no satellite), or some specific length in between.
Datamining for Health

Users submit to the website lists of everything they eat everyday. This could be a tedious process, so the idea would be more viable if users are allowed to just send in receipts for everything they buy (food-wise), or fax them or scan and then e-mail them. That method would be imperfect, but still valuable since the whole system is statistical anyway. Doing that would work especially well with people living alone, but for families the system is aware that the receipts applies to a family unit.

Whenever somebody in the family of a user (or a user living alone) has a health issue, they report it to the website, and they can even report casual results of their physicals, blood tests, or pulse blood pressure and weight when they have these things done, or even answer questionnaires about subjective measures such as energy levels, concentration and general happiness.. users can do those things once, periodically, spuriously or not at all, if they so desire. but they *are* obliged to report any clinical health problems that may arise.

The website uses all this data to perform data mining and draw correlations between foods people eat (primarily on the level of granularity of their ingredients) and health issues, as well as any aspects of health statuses or changes thereof at all, whether negative or positive. This study should include pharmaceuticals along with food -- anything that's injested, really -- so users should also report their medications and over-the-counter stuff.

The results of a study like this could be invaluable, in fact, they would show in black and white all the things that 'til now the experts can only speculate about, including the damages caused by the things we're being sold as food.

Oh, the timespans involved in finding correlations between cause and effect would be decades, i.e., the project would run for decades; hopefully some users would submit for decades, or at least decades apart; so for example, if partially hydrogenated oils (or even aspartame) cause multiple sclerosis after 40 years of consumption, this project will find out.
Determine the best keyboard layout

application that takes logs of keystrokes for many users and calculates an optimal keyboard layout for that dataset. it would take into account the basic mechanics of typing such as

-it's easier to alternate hands than use the same hand in succession
-letters right above/below eachother take longer to type in succession because the finger has to move
-is it easier to type keys in the top row than the bottom row or vice versa?

keyboards could be developed for

-the average user
-the average C++ programmer
-the average programmer in other languages

the mechanics of typing rules could alternatively be automatically inferred by analyzing the timing of key presses with any given pre-existing keyboard layout. times between key presses greater than a small fraction of a second would obviously be ignored.
LED ideas

Instead of having many conventional LEDs to make up a bright light, why not just make one LED where the actual diode part of it is very fat, long, or multi-stranded?

also instead of wasting 50% of the light because of refraction within the plastic, make the actual light emitting part like the filament of a regular bulb. don't touch it with anything, just surround it with a vacuum and a bulb.
Freaky toy idea

A toy that's shaped kind of like a rake (but very small) and without the handle. You wind it up and as it unwinds, a helix or other shape inside that's connected to all the inner prong ends that spins causes the outer ends to move in a pattern that makes the toy 'crawl' forward... very quickly. No wheels, just rake-like prongs in front and a smooth curve on back to slide on the floor.
More food ideas

-Liquour-filled dark chocolate cherry cordials

-Carbonated White Grape Peach juice

-Carbonated White Grape Cherry juice

-Carbonated Juicy Juice
A better keyboard

Make a keyboard that detects slight movements in fingers, so all you have to do is twitch, basically. Make an impulse in the direction that your finger would normally have to move to press a given key. Perhaps use technology related to that used in a pointing stick, to detect twitches. (let it also detect down-pressure)

Of course this alone couldn't account for all the keys on a keyboard. Some keys you would just have to move your finger for.

Who knows how fast people could type with this..
Floating aerogel

Aerogel is very light and mostly air, but very strong. You probably need to include some amount of gas to make aerogel, but if you could make it in a really low-pressure environment, and perhaps even with a light gas, like hydrogen, perhaps when exposed to normal atmospheric pressure it will retain its structure and be light enough to float!
Glass tree with butterflies

glass (or crystal) tree with silver-colored (or pure silver) butterflies in it that are designed so that their wings flap slowly in any light breeze.

Gold-colored butterflies might be another option.

Also, a silver tree with gold butterflies. (really needs fine detail in the tree)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Spectacular Christmas tree

Christmas tree (life-sized?) made of titania-coated pieces, cubic zirconia, or leaded crystal, detailed down to the pine needles which are cut into crystalline shapes.

That would be AWESOME.

oh, apparently the best refraction treatment is Aurora Borealis.
Door feature

Make the crack of the door out of something flexible so that children don't get their fingers caught in it. A kind of insulation so that the AC/heater doesn't escape.
Cheap spectrometer

A cheap spectrometer can be made, within the visible light range, by simply having a prism and a 1-dimensional CCD array within an enclosed case. And the circuitry to read the CCD array. Lenses can be used to focus light onto a point in the prism; the wider the lens the less time it will take for a shot.
CRI > 100 windows

Color rendering index is defined as 100 for a blackbody radiation curve, but what if natural light isn't actually the best possible curve for distinguishing color? It could be something else, like for example, a flat envelope. What if we had windows that filter sunlight, and pass along white light of a lower intensity, but with a superior intensity curve for distinguishing color. While the overall intensity would be lower, the iris would adjust and therefore the eye could still see with better color distinction.
Digital Canvas

1024-level touch-sensitive canvas. You can use a brush on it. It's also an LCD screen. To use a brush you pick a color using another digital display. Can use various color models and an artist's palette where you mix colors using the brush.

The good thing about *this* canvas is that it has an undo.

Other possible options: Apply certain filters to the image or change its colors, use brush modes available in Photoshop, vector graphics module

Automatically save work every few seconds or as close to real-time as possible.

Can transfer paintings to computer via USB.
Card game: Swap

(lemme know if that name is taken.)

This game is similar to the Stack 'em game.

Use a shuffled deck.

The object is to fill up four stacks, one per suit, from ace to king, or 2 to ace if preferred but only if decided before the game starts.

You get 4 additional stacks that you can work with at your own will (they start out empty.) Cards are face-up. At any time you may :
a) take a card off the top of the deck and place onto any of these four stacks
b) take a card off of any of these stacks and put onto one of the four suit piles
c) take an entire stack and place it on top of another stack

You of course may also take a card off the top of the deck and place directly onto one of the four suit stacks.

Do this until you're stuck or you win.

Note that, unlike in the Stack 'em game, you *may* put a card of a higher value on top of a card of a lower value. Obviously in some cases this will get you stuck. Part of the game is figuring out when you can do this without causing a paradox, or just crossing your fingers and hoping that it doesn't..

Another difference is that in the Stack 'em game, since you can't place a higher card on a lower card, you can just keep the stacks directly vertical -- good for conserving space when you need to. In *this* version you'll need to look at the stack histories to know when you should or shouldn't put a higher card on top of a lower card, so you may want to keep the stacks (or parts of the stacks) cascaded.
Card game: Grid

Getting a feel for the strategy of this game probably requires following the instructions and playing it!
Any number of players can play, although it probably becomes pointless with too many players (especially for variant 1).

This game has two variants.

Variant 1

Use a shuffled deck.

Place 8 cards, face up, on the table in a pattern like this:


The eight card positions are actually eight potential stacks.

Give each player one card, face-up. These are their personal stacks. The player with the most cards in their stack at the end of the game wins.

Place the rest of the deck, face-down, in the middle position.

Players take turns around the table. On a turn you first fill any missing stacks out of the eight with cards from the deck (one card per empty stack). then you do *one* of the following:
a) place one card/stack on another card/stack, as long as the top cards of the two stacks are either the same suit or the same value. repeat as desired
b) take exactly one stack and place it on your personal stack. You may only do this if the top card on your personal stack is the same suit or value as the top card on said stack.
You may not pass. (you must either take a stack or place at least one stack/card atop another, unless no move is possible)

Variant 2

Just like variant 1 except that you can't "repeat as desired". you either do a) twice, or b). you cannot pass. if you do a) and doing it only once is possible, you do it once.
Solitaire game: Stack 'Em

Start with a shuffled deck.

The object is to stack from ace to king (or 2 to ace if preferred, as long as it's decided beforehand) in each of four stacks, one stack per suit.

You get two stacks of your own to work with (they start with no cards in them.). Cards are face-up. The rules for these two stacks are:
a) you can place a card on a stack only if it's of an equal or lower face value than the previous top card
b) you can take a card off of either stack at any time to place onto one of the four suit stacks.

You get 3 or fewer cards in your hand at any one time. You can take a card out of your hand and put it on a stack at any time.
(you may not take a card from any of the stacks and put it in your hand.)

Take a card from the top of the deck at any time and either place in your hand or onto any of the stacks if possible.

Do this process until you're stuck or you win.

Obviously, variants of this game can be created to make it easier, such as having three stacks and/or five cards in your hand, but I find that with a little bit of practice you can win with the above rules half or most of the time. I'd recommend the challenge.
Idea for a novel

According to Moore's law, the number of transistors in CPUs doubles every 18 months. Personal computers, to say nothing of supercomputers, have gone from 92000 instructions per second with 4736 bytes of random-access memory in 1971, to 59455000000 instructions per second with 4294967296 of bytes of RAM in 2008 -- practically a million-fold increase in computing power within a single lifetime. This story is set in the future - a prominent entertainment company has simulated the human brain and basic sensory functions, over 10^10^11 trials in a simulated theatre environment, playing every possible movie from lengths of 90 to 180 minutes. The goal is to get as much money as possible, by making the most "successful" movie possible, without even hiring a single actor, director or cinematographer. Success is measured by the stimulation of certain pleasure circuits in the brain. Brains of corpses ranging in age from 17 to 59 were topographically and chemically scanned to give the simulators starting conditions encompassing memories, associations, and personality. The resulting movie was more than a hit. People /would not quit watching it/. They would go back and back in in an anxious frenzy, emptying their wallets and sometimes pawning off personal possessions to see the movie. People who had illegally obtained the movie for home viewing would become sickly and would not even take the time to eat. In both camps people were showing signs of addiction and even mild psychoses. Experts - the ones who were not too busy watching the movie - were afraid the society itself was going to collapse if something weren't done soon. The economy was already half way to being put on hold. Many theatres refused to continue showing the movie. The company was urged to pull the movie from all theatres, but they would not. And then..
BE the instrument

This idea is for a form of (choreographed) dance in which each participant represents one instrument from the song. He or she "becomes" the instrument and acts it out, but each dancer/"instrument" is still choreographed in concordance with all the others.
An SLM color space

AFAIK, every existing color space has its strengths and weaknesses, with respect to how much of the color space of what the human eye can actually distinguish it can represent. And translating from one color space to another other requires an algorithm for each combination of respective color spaces, or an intermediate color space which means *two* steps where loss of information can occur.

The solution:

The human eye physically perceives color in three dimensions: 420-nm resonance, 564-nm resonance, and 534-nm resonance. My proposed color space would simply store a color in terms of how much it excites those three respective cone cell types, thus covering human vision's entire color space (sorry to the tetrachromats) in only three values (just like HSB, Lab and RGB). I believe that the reason this color space hasn't been used thus far is that you can't use it to directly reproduce (display) a given color--i.e., e.g., if you shined a 564-nm light (even a monochromatic one) at the given intensity, it would also excite the 534-nm receptors to some degree. However, given a specific display device's color space, you could translate a color from this color space to that one for displaying or otherwise format converting. Thus this color space could be used as an intermediate/universal color space for when translating between color spaces or for digital photographic manipulations. AFAIK, even Lab and HSB aren't used directly for displays or pigment combinations anyway.

Also, digital cameras/video cameras should be made with sensors of these respective resonant frequencies instead of the typical red, blue and green and should save in that format. (You may not be able to *display* colors in SLM primaries, but if the eye can perceive in those resonant frequecies, a camera should be able to too.) This would capture images in a more true-to-form way which means images could be represented optimally on *any* display device/printer and also photo manipulation algorithms would incur less loss of information. Of course, the camera's PC software should be able to transparently convert those files to the currently widely used standards, or the camera itself should optionally save in either/both formats. This may require special filters that have spectral envelopes that reflect those of cone type sensibilities.
What is the timbre of the Voice of Humanity?

Take thousands of hours of audio which is just voices, accurately representing proportions of men, women, children, races, etc., break it into sections of, say, 10 seconds, and superimpose *all* of them, i.e., add them *all* up to one 10-second clip. May have to do this using a large bit depth and then normalizing to fit into 16-bit samples and/or using compression.

Alternatively get as many possible voices as you can but that are just a sustained vocal sound (like 'carrying a note'), without phonemes.
Pi is NOT infinite! (and neither is the mandelbrot)

Is pi infinite? If it is, is it special in this regard? There are literally countless formulae you could use to construct "infinite" numbers, but what does it mean? Surely there is no more information there than is contained by the algorithm for generating it (this applies to fractals too). It's when you try to express it as decimal that you go into an infinite loop.

Here's the idea: Develop a theory of how hard it is to construct patterns that never repeat and in what ways you can do this, in order to gain insight into the supposed infinity of pi. This would *not* be a theory pertaining specifically to generating numbers that expand to infinite places; that would defeat the purpose because irrational numbers are already explored and also the conversion to decimal (or any other kind of number) merely complicates the reasoning behind pi supposedly being "infinite." It's to be merely a theory about the ease or difficulty of constructing infinite, non-repeating patterns in general.
Jelly Flavor

Why not Apple Banana?
How the pyramids could have been made

1. Tie a rope to a block.
2. Run the rope all the way over the top of the pyramid and down the other side and onto the ground.
3. With many people on the ground, pull the block up the pyramid from the other side of the pyramid.
4. Probably have a few people walking up with the block (if it's too steep they could tie themselves to the rope) in order to a) make it slide easily by using rollers, and b) guide it to the right place and/or set it in position when it gets there.
Different kind of musical k/b

Instead of just one row of boring old keys, have multiple rows of keys - but not like the k/b's that already have multiple rows: each key would merely be a square, and the rows merely comprise a matrix of squares - a lot simpler. If it's a midi k/b then, of course, extra rows can be used for anything, such as other instruments, sound modifiers, or different octaves.

The question is still raised of how to handle black vs. white keys. One way is simply to have black columns in the matrix which are thinner than the white columns. Another way is to forgo the black vs. white distinction altogether and simply have 12 equally positioned keys per octave.

While we're on the topic, an even more advanced k/b would just have a big touchscreen and imagination would be the limit as to how it might interface with the user.
Man Overboard!

The idea is a setup that cruise liners and other large ships can use to retrieve someone should they fall overboard. Just recently someone fell overboard a military ship and they never could find him. The setup would be one of two things:

a) A video camera combined with software that runs on the ship's computers to analyze ripples in the water to determine any local sources of ripples, even small ripples. That way you can just point the video camera down at the water - anywhere, or at least the side they fell off from - and determine their location. The question with this option is how much a suitable camera would cost.

b) A transversely flexible matrix of accelerometer points attached to tiny floats that you lay on top of the water, which relays the information to software to map the waves and determine the person's location in much the same manner as above but just using a more direct means of recording ripples. *Might* be cheaper and/or more effective than the first option. Actually, forget the accelerometers: since they're all connected to each other, they can simply measure their connective arm pitch changes with potentiometers.

Perhaps people don't fall off and get lost that often, but hey, if cruise liners start implementing this system then people are going to start asking, "does this cruise liner have the Man Overboard system installed?"
In Soviet Russia, starving artist pays YOU!

What if you had a piece of artwork that you really wanted to be seen/heard, but people just didn't see its value, and/or you didn't have the notoriety you'd like? And what if you were RICH or reeeally passionate about your art and had some cash to spare? The idea here is for exhibitions where *artists* pay *you* to see their art. That way people with a very important message can get their message out, and it gives couch potatoes an excuse to go out and get some culture.

Donations can also be factored into this.
I decided here is where I'll post my ideas -- a few of them.

Recycling Supercenter

A vast central repository where everyone can send their old, broken items. They're all sorted by model and categorized. When enough items of the same model (or in some cases, different but similar models) are available to make a working object out of them, an employee does that. Then it is sold as refurbished or in a thrift store, etc.

And yes, I do mean VAST. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of models out there. The repository could be broken up by type of object into different stations around the country, but that wouldn't serve a purpose since it would require the same airfare anyway--as there would be only one place to send an object of its given type.

Or perhaps it could be broken up into multiple locations so that the same object types are repeated, but only for certain models or sets of similar models--the ones that are popular enough that the process wouldn't be thwarted by having redundant

Or just have it one large repository, preferably in the center of population density.