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Do you remember my blog post about building a giant canal system in the U.S. as a way to create jobs in our robot-driven future?

It was officially the worst idea I've ever had, according to most of you.

Technically, it was just the worst idea I've ever shared. You wouldn't believe the crap that swirls around inside my skull and never gets out. But that's another story.

One of the biggest objections to my canal plan was that there are too many mountains in the way. But it turns out there's a natural network of connected rivers that go from the Pacific to the Atlantic already. That's a start.

Clearly we'd need a lot of dredging. But plotting the path for the first major leg of the canal might be done.

Okay, I know you still don't like the canal idea. But this is a reminder that it's never safe to assume something is impossible or impractical. I'm having flashbacks to the time I was putting together my sample comics to try and become a syndicated cartoonist. Most of my friends imagined that plan to be impossible for the obvious reason that I wasn't good at drawing. I got more looks of sympathy than support.

It's always a good idea to let reality be your only obstacle. Your imagination shouldn't be the limit on your success.

----------------

Scott Adams

Co-founder of CalendarTree.com

 

Author of the best graduation gift ever.

 

 



 
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Apr 29, 2014
I, for one, thought it was one of your best ideas!
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 28, 2014
"[I think it's literally true that some brains aren't wired to understand analogies. That's probably because analogies are intentionally designed as 90% inaccurate and 10% on point. Some brains can't get past the 90% inaccurate part to see the 10% that is the point of the analogy. -- Scott] "

I think the point is not that you're wrong, but that it's too easy to hide behind "dur, you don't get analogies" rather than taking on the substance of someone's disagreement. If you think there is no substance to the disagreement, then to me that point is not coming across in "analogies aren't for everyone".

Also, the canal idea is terrible and Two Oceans Pass is really cool and interesting.
 
 
Apr 28, 2014
@Kingdinosaur,

Windows key R gets you a "run" command box. "shutdown -r" will reboot the computer. The more Microsoft tries to "improve" windows, the more I end up doing with a shell command. If they improve it too much more, I won't be able to remember enough shell commands to do everything, and I might have to start using an open source OS. I pray that day never comes.
 
 
Apr 28, 2014
Hello -

I am brand new here - And just picked up the Canal Idea.

It is Good - Please proceed and start digging.

I think the Erie Canal should be your prototype.
Forget the Suez & Panama - They were both Politically Corrupt.
I'm sure the Erie was too - But at lease they kept the Shenanigans local.

As far as your Comic Strip ...
Mr. Scott Adams --- You are Hysterical !
Sundays was a Classic.

Carry on ........
 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 27, 2014
@Kingdinosaur

This is admittedly OT, but this info from Windows Help might be useful:

"If there's a Power icon Power icon on your Start screen, tap or click it, and then tap or click Restart. Otherwise, do the following.

1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Settings.)

2.Tap or click Power, and then tap or click Restart."

I agree that they did a pretty good job of hiding that function...
 
 
Apr 27, 2014
I can't find out how to manually restart a windows 8.1 computer because I've never worked with that crapOS and I'm trying to help someone update a laptop.

Canals across america right now aren't seeming half as crazy asMS hiding the power down/restart command. I heard windows 9 will be more of the same crap.
 
 
Apr 27, 2014
[Shouldn't we be concentrating more on reducing people.]

... another follower of Malthus. Not to worry, it has already been taken care of. Almost all of the developed countries, including the USA, have birth rates that are below the replacement rate. As countries get richer, their birth rate drops. Soon there will be a lot less of us on the planet to feed. Concentrate your efforts on helping the Third World become educated and prosperous. It solves so may long term problems, and unlike some other proposed "solutions", it is ethical.
 
 
-2 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 27, 2014
[Shouldn't we be concentrating more on reducing people.]

And in this context, 'people' logically means 'Americans'...
 
 
Apr 27, 2014
Employ some people to dig holes in the ground and other people to fill them up.
Jobs created!

Shouldn't we be concentrating more on reducing people.
 
 
Apr 27, 2014
The White House might see this as "shovel ready." Be careful, as Will Rogers once said, "When Congress makes a joke it's a law, and when they make a law, it's a joke."
 
 
Apr 26, 2014
Your site was down again this morning. That seems to happen a lot.
 
 
Apr 26, 2014
(LOL) So many seem to miss the point that the canal network's primary purpose was to suggest a new way to live, not a replacement for the interstate highway system or the railroad. The piece's top level is at least three standard deviations off the mean, but yet ALL of the lowest level ideas are technically plausible with today's technology. (Yes, they are.) That combination is what it takes to get serious people to examine their accepted axioms, in light of current technology. (Ask Elon Musk about that.) That's very useful, regardless of your opinion of canals and houseboats.
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 26, 2014
We didn't have canals where I grew up in New Zealand but here in the UK there are loads of them. They powered the industrial revolution in the 1700's and 1800's but were sidelined by cheaper technology - railway/road transport and the move away from coal as fuel.

The canals are back big time now and this time it's personal - as in private holidays rather than commercial freight. There are more boats on the canal system in the UK now than in the height of the industrial reveolution. A canal boat holiday is fantastic fun. All thanks to the effort of industrialists, engineers, investors and navvies (navigation workers) a quarter of a millennium ago.

All you need for Scott's plan to work is a cheap pool af labour. Luckily in the USA you've incarcerated almost 1% of the adult population, so that's sorted.

If I was still in New Zealand I'd be agreeing with all the untraveled naysayers. But because I'm not I've got to say that I'm with you on this Scott. You're a visionary. Well a visionary plagiarist as the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater thought of it first - and he was copying the French!
 
 
Apr 26, 2014
Years ago I thought up the idea for an aqueduct for east US to west so I don't think your canal idea is bad at all. There are no technical or engineering obstacles that require any great advances in science. The only real problems are motivation and money.

My guess is it would be cheaper to pump the ocean water into the desserts, let it evaporate causing rain.
 
 
Apr 26, 2014
It seems that there are a lot of postings here that are negative and clearly this is a idea that is rife with hurdles. I believe that the challenges and hurdles have blinded everyone and something important has been overlooked. Namely, in Scotts own words

[Technically, it was just the worst idea I've ever shared. You wouldn't believe the crap that swirls around inside my skull and never gets out. But that's another story.]

I want to read about this other cra p. I don't think the canal is workable but I do enjoy analyzing the concept . There is value in discussing ideas and I for one would like to see more "Scott Skull Escapees".
Hell, someone had to see beyond the lightning to the electricity we harness today. Who knows, maybe something similar will escape.
 
 
+15 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 26, 2014
Keep sharing your ideas. My dad and his buddy of engineers worked for an aerospace company and one of their tasks was to write down one new idea each day. They weren't all good, but they weren't all bad either... some of them were pretty amazing. You just have to play the odds.
 
 
Apr 25, 2014
I don't mind the comeback, but maybe we should talk about the bigger issue. This country is incapable of doing great things anymore because wherever there's money to be spent, there are people who are very good at extracting those funds for themselves. So projects are ghastly expensive for little produced, and all the money gets sucked to the top. (I look at what it takes around here to extend the Interstate Highway system by a few miles - costs, time, people, etc., and wonder how we ever built the first 95% of the system). I watched Boston's Big Dig for 2 decades. It's not the insane cost, but the poor resultant product (falling ceilings, and due to a 'design flaw" the tunnel will leak.... forever).

Forget canals, we can't even <so many examples, enter your favorite one here>.

/j
 
 
-11 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 25, 2014
[Analogies aren't for everyone. -- Scott]

Do you have a hot-key programmed with that reply? Seems odd that a professional humorist can't think of a second "comeback" over the decade or so that you've spent constantly grasping for a few words to defend warped comparisons.

[I think it's literally true that some brains aren't wired to understand analogies. That's probably because analogies are intentionally designed as 90% inaccurate and 10% on point. Some brains can't get past the 90% inaccurate part to see the 10% that is the point of the analogy. -- Scott]
 
 
-2 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 25, 2014
In 50 years when robots are doing the manual labor, I would rather have put my tax money into fusion research or safe fission. I want a replicator (a great 3d printer) before I want canals. I would much rather spend my free time designing crap.
 
 
Apr 25, 2014
Scott --
If you want or need to take a year off to go on a cruise, we can handle the strip. We won't kill off any of the main characters, don't worry.

 
 
 
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