SunTech’s bankruptcy underscores flawed global business model

The world’s largest solar panel manufacturer, China’s SunTech, appears to be going into bankruptcy.

What I see here is a series of problems, caused by business and political concerns, that that created the problems both that led to SunTech’s bankruptcy and that will impact the employees and investors, and indeed, the entire global economy.

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How NOT to clean the ocean, and how to do it better

Pacific garbage gatherer concept
This is a really bad design for cleaning up the Pacific Trash Vortex.

I came across a post at Core77 about a concept design for a device to clean up the Pacific Trash Vortex, a region of the north Pacific Ocean that seems to be gathering garbage, particularly plastic, where global ocean currents converge.  Unfortunately, it’s a really bad design.  I will sketch a solution that I think is much better.

The Pacific Trash Vortex is an interesting phenomenon that no one really saw coming till the 1980s, but, in hindsight, seemed rather obvious.  Floating garbage will be carried by currents.  Any gyre where several such currents meet will result in collections of garbage. This garbage eventually starts to poison the water and the wildlife that lives in it.

The idea behind the design in the Core77 post is that a device slowly wanders through the Vortex, collecting garbage in its net.  When it’s full, it gets pulled up to a “mothership,” emptied, and then sent back for more.

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