Instant hubris – luxury car fried by solar energy

The undesirable side-effects of science or technology are rarely illustrated so graphically, or as quickly. Erosion as a result of bad farming, or the loss of stratospheric ozone due to refrigerants may take many years to manifest their destinies. But the partial melting of a luxury car in one day – by sunrays focused and amplified by a concave modern building – gives cause for reflection.
Why did the builders and architects not evaluate the effect of focusing the sun on a point at street level? If anyone has the resources, obligation and intelligence to evaluate the effects of such a building design, it is they.

There is irony in the fact that although major investments in solar energy are lacking, a building that is in effect an urban solar cooker can go up in the heart of London's financial district. And in the presumed indignation of the owner of the gas-guzzling luxury car that was scorched by the near boiling-point heat of the concentrated sunbeams. Not to mention global warming (of which we have an over-abundance) or insurance - which is the business of the occupants of this building.

We treat purveyors of ingenuity with such reverence that it is hard to imagine them ever being objects of ridicule. Not unthinkable though. A long time ago the followers of Duns Scotus, the pre-eminent philospher, resisted renaissance thinking so vigorously that they gave rise to the moniker 'Dunce'.

So enjoy this video, in which The Young Turks poke fun at the building (wierd-looking by any standard) and at the hapless car-owner.

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"The Progress Trap - and how to avoid it" Copyright Daniel O'Leary, registered at
the Copyright Office, Consumer and Corporate Affairs, Canada on April 5, 1991 (ref 405917)