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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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John Montgomery
 USA
Academic Papers Database Printer Friendly Version
I propose that the national government expend public funds to sponsor scientific research by creating a comprehensive Academic Papers Database. Many journals and data warehouses exist to contain academic papers, but a central data repository would have numerous advantages.
1) Undergraduate students who produce papers for college could have their papers permanantly inducted into the database when submitted for grading in electronic form. Thereafter, University Professors all over the country could execute a text comparison search against papaers already in the database to detect plagarism.
2) Graduate researchers and specialists could search a single Internet source for their research rather than many.
3) The data warehouse would serve as a repository of human knowledge that could be easily archived in permanant (optical) form as a time capsule of the 21st century.
4) We could better share work with other nations and between scientists with a central resource.
5) The government may need to restrict access to certain types of information in order to protect from terrorist attacks. A central warehouse for information can be made secure, but uncontrolled stockpiles of information on nuclear physics, bio-terrorism, explosive chemistry, et cetera could be exploited by the wrong people.
6) Centralized data containment can become a source of public revenue by charging for access time to the database. Naturally, the price would be kept low due to the efficiency of centralized management. Rather than belong to 10 scholarly journals that impose high fees, a researcher can use the comprehensive Academic Papers Archive for one low price.
7) Library science can grow to its fullest potential only when all of the information in human civilization is availible for review by a single administrative organization. The science of classification to facilitate searches requires the broadest possible flexibility to permit interdisciplinary sciences to emerge and grow.
8) Outdated information that is no longer current or valid can be rejected when all the data for a given subject is under central review. Modern research proceeds as fast as individuals can get information about the subject and how it changes ; if the turn around time for experimental ideas improves, science will discover new knoweldge faster.
9) The paper volume of scientific information doubles every decade. To slow this explosion of scholarly effort, we must ensure that people can know what is currently open for investigation all over the world in all fields. That way duplicated effort will be done to verify or disprove results, but never "overdone" by more researchers than are necessary to complete a given task.
10) Textbooks about the subjects of knoweldge can be written once the database gets formed ; a comprehensive database could lead to text books that are the most comprehensive, balanced, and fair treatments of the subjects that can be made.
Reward: I'ld like to be able to surf the Academic Papers Archive to read the latest research in all fields of interest! 

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Mark T
 USA
Wind energy pollution removers Printer Friendly Version
Wind turbines are being used to generate electricity in several countries (Denmark for example). Why don't they have turbines that exist to remove polluting particles from the air and perhaps transfer them to the base of the station. If some of the emissions of automobiles could be captured by a "windmill" then instead of using the power to generate electricity it could be used to gather the particles and concentrate them into something that is no longer floating in the air, but contained in a solid lump.
Since the air cleaners are run by wind energy, there are no electricity costs to run them.
Reward: I hate air pollution. So if you can invent this, you would make me happy. That would be my reward. 

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