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LauraLouzader
 USA
Homesteading for the Homeless Printer Friendly Version
Almost every large American city has vast tracts of unutilized or underutilized land, usually located in proximity to very expensive, highly utilized land. Every city also has large and increasing numbers of homeless folk, and you can't help but notice that these two phenomena go hand in hand. Often, this land contains improvements, consisting mostly of abondoned and deteriorated residential and commercial structures, and is owned by the city, having been abondoned by its previous owners with taxes and liens against it.
Why not parcel this land out to the homeless to be homesteaded by them. Homesteading lets you establish your ownership of the land by occupying and improving it - you have a time frame during which you must occupy the land and must work it or improve it.
Building codes could be relaxed to permit simpler dwellings with say, two apts and a shared bath and kitchen, and the bureacracy involved in obtaining easements, permits, etc. simplified to bring down the cost further.
Other groups of people in addition to the homeless could benefit greatly from such a homesteading program, such as collectives of artists, authors, musicians, mad scientists. It would also put property back on the tax rolls and revive areas that have been completely abondoned.
Reward: An old bank building of my very own to homestead. 

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47°

    
avh
 Netherlands
Many wind turbines, one generator Printer Friendly Version
Current wind turbines are EACH equipped with a generator and a gearbox. We know large generators (such as used in electricity power plants) are more efficient, would it make sense to connect an array of wind mills via driveshaft to one large generator on the ground.
Advantages:
1) high(er) efficiency generator
2) use only one big generator, not many small ones
3) big generator on the ground is easy to maintain (no climbing in towers)
4) individual wind mills can be cheaper (basically rotor, nacelle, tower and driveshaft)
5) total cost of such a wind energy cluster may be cheaper.
Obviously some energy is lost in transporting mechanical energy via driveshafts. But since wind itself is free and if the total cost per generated kW is cheaper in this configuration - it might bring down the price per kW in this cluster configuration.
Reward: I believe that any idea that can help our civilization to survive the inevitable fossil fuel energy crisis should be voluntary donated asap. If this proves to be one - please use it! 

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33°

    
treadair
 USA
A new and improved democracy Printer Friendly Version
As the color of democracy in the US changes from red, white and blue to green, it might be time to tinker with the design a little bit. Instead of letting money, power, charisma, lineage, etc... effect the outcome, why not give everyone a chance to lead the country by voting for anonymous slates of ideas (solutions to problems put forth by those who want to run for office). A primary would be run to pick the top 4 or 5 sets and then a runoff would be held with the authors of those ideas now being public. This would take away most of the negative influences that now infect our elections. It would also give the winners a huge pile of solutions to pick from during their administration. It might be a good idea to try this out on a small scale first, say at the town or city level.
Reward: None required. 

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56°

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