Vancouver’s False Creek – Two mornings of sun and fog

© 2016 Photos by David Huer

Discovering a lost First Nations trail

When caving…one of the ways to save time is to digitally survey before going into the bush.

One of my projects (from looking for historical reports for Horne Lake Provincial Park, which has an extensive cave network) has been tracing the lost trail and road network from Port Alberni to the east coast of Vancouver Island from colonial times to 1911, when the province surveyed and gazetted a road allowance.

Now, some success!

Independently finding two missing trails (Horne Lake and another trail), and a wagon road lost to memory since the 1870s/80s. Plus a portrait of Captain (later Admiral and Hydrographer) G.H.Richards, RN, commanding the 1857-64 survey of the coast, held in private hands. BC Crown agencies, local government, and all three local First Nations (Qualicum, K’omoks, Tseshaht) have periodically searched for the first Horne Lake trail map (1856), successor wagon road map (1872, active 1872-86) and associated reports for over 100 years. It took me 4 years and digitization helped. Thus far, I have physically visited 3 archives, but digitally…15 archives in 7 countries.

 

The 1872 took a few months in 2012 – not an easy find as BC united with Canada in 1871, and reports are missing for the years of administrative transition.

The 1856 took 4 years of thinking including ~3 months of research into the start of the backstory. Ruggles  (A Country Most Interesting, 1991) reports on the 1856 survey, but reference to the academic tome was not easy to notice at HBC Archives (1 line!), and only then found during a search for secondary sources after K’omoks FN’s archaeologist told me about another source, after finding the faint line of the trail on the HBC map myself – which is not cataloged to reference the trail.  BC Government, local government, and First Nations did not know about either map or the 1856 backstory. You’d need to know localities and the survey history to connect the dots.

I have some of this now – a complex tale of intrigue involving Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), the slaughter of the Qualicum village on the eastern coast end of the trail by a Haida war party, the Imperial Government and the Colonial Office, the gold rush and the Crown’s legal claim to all gold in its territories, US designs on the Oregon Territory, 1856-72 US/British negotiations to resolve border issues and tensions that later drove events like the Pig War, John Jacob Astor’s Russian American Company and Russian cartographers, commercial tensions related to HBC attempts to deceive the Royal Navy to block settlement (long enough to get control of properties for future sale?), and the Imperial Parliament’s 1857 inquiry into continuance of the HBC Royal Charter awarded in 1650; all bound up with the strangely conflicting dual-hatted duties and ambitions of Governor and HBC Chief Factor (call him “Senior VP”) Douglas (1843-59) and Surveyor-General Pemberton (HBC Surveyor-General & Engineer, 1853-59); all happening during the local shift from sailing ship to ironclad and the 3-6 month duration of travel back to England – and the methods of communication to deal with this (1 original and copies, sent by different ships).

A short note about the 1856 map is in our society newsletter — check it out for caving pictures! I suspect the Crown paid for the survey but HBC kept back details. And if so, is the UK National Archives the rightful owner of the 1856 original? Or local First Nations if HBC was trespassing? Some years later, Pemberton gave Richards a copy (tracing) of the map – to spark a favourable impression? What a can of worms! Further research is on the backburner as I pursue new business activities.

The marvelous aspect is that the original trail got used for centuries by foot and pack animal (First Nations’ traders, HBC fur traders, colonial era Crown employees and settlers) but never by wagons or industrial era transport, and lost to memory sometime during the 1880s.

Thus the bigger picture:
Proposing that we creating a small National Park on Vancouver Island to protect the trail and to grow economic spin-offs for the Island’s central coast region:
  • [Link] 01 – Enoksasant National Park 2017-2021 idea sketch
  • [Link] 02 – 1856 (clip) & 1872 (entire) maps + updated business links sketch
  • [Link] 03 – High-level image of proposed park at Horne Lake
  • [Link] 04 – Strata-level image of proposed park at Horne Lake

An Aquedam for BC Hydro’s Site C ?

pont_du_gard_oct_2007An Aquedam for BC Hydro’s Site C ?
Could a modified design prevent generations of market jitters?

Hydroelectric dam engineers face an incredible dilemma. Hydro dams generate renewable energy but destroy natural ecosystems. Forcing government to make a hard choice, often presented as: ‘developing the renewable energy supply’ vs. ‘protecting and sustaining the ecosystem’. In British Columbia, the contentious “Big Dam/Big Lake” Site C design produces the same dilemma. It will produce irrevocable ecosystem damage, but might go ahead if courts accept the provincial argument that energy supply and future export sales are more important [Note 1]. Objectors are taking the case to higher courts, and the Province is moving forward; pushed by political pressures to force a fait accompli – a locked-in project – on the federal court, despite the court’s demonstrated willingness to block projects of similar magnitude. We could wait to see what happens. But is this prudent?

What if a modified design removes the conflict?
Could it create incentive for a new dam partnership?
Could the partnership – of former opponents – grandfather all approvals done to date?

final-sketch

Aquedam Concept: David Huer
Solidworks Drawings: Matej Borovec https://www.fiverr.com/borohot

An aqueduct atop bridge piers, with penstocks, turbines, and generators located inside each pier. Sourcing water from a higher elevation upstream, through a pipeline, to an elevated feeder pond at the design-height needed to achieve proper head, for feeding down into powerhouses spaced across the river.

site-map2Inspired by Roman aqueducts, British Columbia’s open-lattice railroad bridges, and the magnificent curved structures of London, England’s tidal barrier.

10oct2016-inspired-videosCould this design …
Achieve the same head elevation and power production as a “big wall” design, without destroying the valley economy, treaty lands, businesses, farms, and natural ecosystem?

Aquedam Front ViewRight Angled View


 

 

 

 

 

And elsewhere? Could the design be as10-34-5026useful where dam designers face the same dilemma?

Growing return-on-investment. Avoiding decades of costly volatility – legal, political, and armed conflict – for hundreds of future hydroelectric projects across British Columbia, across Canada and around the world.

* Any engineering company worth its salt understands the business opportunity.
* Insurers, financiers, investors and bond markets will value the minimized risk.
* Local people will save their valleys, their treaty rights, wetlands, forests, and farms.
* Contractors and vendors get their construction jobs, fed by the farmers in the valley.
* And utilities will get their exportable power.

new-rend-962-transparent-flow-through

Aquedam Transparent View

 

 

 

 

 


British Columbia’s challenge, now, is that we may need a particular type of leadership.

Leaders who can switch directions. Leaders who simultaneously lead for the betterment of local ridings and industry and the Province and the Nation. For now, and for future generations.

This may be the biggest challenge – Asking our leaders to put political capital on the table.

But what if they could?


logo-bchydroNote 1: BC Hydro will expropriate and flood 80 km of forests, farms and homes, and 7,000 acres of Class 1 and 2 agriculture land.


meeting-pixels-com-cc0Note 2: Project Management steps could include:

* Site C – site approved;
* Site C – works completed to date – approved;
* Site C – all associated construction and works continue;
* The Court acts as a neutral body managing pre-design negotiations;
* Sheriffs of the Court administer adherence to agreement;
* Dam Re-design & Pipeline Design – pre-agreed by stakeholders with standing;
* All other existing Site C studies and approvals grandfathered into agreement;
* Stakeholders establish Dam & Pipeline “Redesign Delivery” target due date;
* Stakeholders establish Dam & Pipeline “Construction Start” target due date;
* BC Hydro issues new design upgrade contract tenders;
* Construction, with new design, commences at or near Construction Start target date;
* BC Hydro and Destination BC commence world-wide campaign to teach the new design.


Images:

Logos on Dam: Included as part of public policy commentary and assumed to be a fair use application. Please advise with a message through my linkedin page whether a logo should be removed.

London Barrier: By mattbuck (category) (Own work by mattbuck.) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0), CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c0/London_MMB_%C2%BB127_Thames_Barrier_and_%22Avontuur_IV%22.jpg

Pont du Gard, Roman Empire: 14 October 2007, 10:07:27, Author: Emanuele. This image, which was originally posted to Flickr.com, was uploaded to Commons using Flickr upload bot on 23:55, 13 February 2012 (UTC) by Prioryman (talk). On that date it was licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pont_du_Gard_Oct_2007.jpg

CPR bridge (black) in foreground, CNR bridge (orange arch) in background (with CPR train on it): Photo facing upriver. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/common/9/92/Canadian_Pacific_Railway_train_crossing_Fraser_River_on_Cisco_bridge_at_Siska%2C_British_Columbia_%282010-Jun-13%29.jpg By Michael Frei (Michael Frei) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Earth image: Astronaut Photograph AS10-34-5026. NASA. Public Domain. http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/EarthPerspectives/page2.php

Meeting: https://www.pexels.com/photo/meeting-pencils-macbook-notebooks-40120/ via Creative Commons-CC0 License

And the answer is . . . Taiwan

dhuer-title-crs-iconMy most recent venture
Outline [Link].
Summary/business model [Link].

Can foreigners become citizens of Mainland China to invest in domestic Mainland companies?

The Answer looks to be Yes.

In Spring 2015, China clarified the Corporation Law to close the V.I.E. contracts loophole – explicitly forbidding investing and control of domestic companies by foreigners.

In many countries, corporations are defined as legal “persons”. My strategy was to profit from the ambiguous relationship between Taiwan and PRC with a strategy to benefit China, Taiwan, the UK, and Foreign Investors. The method was to create a Taiwan-based Compliance Brokering Entity – registering foreigner investors as Taiwanese corporations – defining them in law as Chinese “persons”.

dhuer-china-taiwan-ambiguity-opportunity

Are we becoming the AI we should be afraid of?

This is a re-post of the second part of 9 Minds for the Future, positing “synthesizing horizon-mindedness” as the locus driving the expansion and success of our species.

Recently, John Battelle posted an essay asking: Is AI The Worst Mistake In Human History?

“One of the most intriguing public discussions to emerge over the past year is humanity’s wrestling match with the threat and promise of artificial intelligence. AI has long lurked in our collective consciousness — negatively so, if we’re to take Hollywood movie plots as our guide — but its recent and very real advances are driving critical conversations about the future not only of our economy, but of humanity’s very existence.

In May 2014, the world received a wakeup call from famed physicist Stephen Hawking. Together with three respected AI researchers, the world’s most renowned scientist warned that the commercially-driven creation of intelligent machines could be “potentially our worst mistake in history.” Comparing the impact of AI on humanity to the arrival of “a superior alien species,” Hawking and his co-authors found humanity’s current state of preparedness deeply wanting. “Although we are facing potentially the best or worst thing ever to happen to humanity,” they wrote, “little serious research is devoted to these issues outside small nonprofit institutes.” ”

The fundamental question is asked by Max Tegmark, a founder of the Future of Life Institute:

“It’s a race between the growing power of the technology, and the growing wisdom we need to manage it…Right now, almost all the resources tend to go into growing the power of the tech.” Who determines what is “good”? We are just now grappling with the very real possibility that we might create a force more powerful than ourselves. Now is the time to ask ourselves — how do we get ready?

I read this shortly reading about the Brexit Leave campaign; post-referendum. The “leaders” are backpedaling. They opened Pandora’s box. They’ve unleashed the dragon. But had NO plan. As a species we do this regularly. We avoid loss by avoiding thinking about it until the threat is upon us. We prevaricate. We fiddle, as Rome burns.

What is our plan?

And for me:

> Are we becoming the AI we should be afraid of?

> Is Horizon Mind and Horizon Intelligence …both singularly personal and the collective intelligence of our species?

David Huer


This is a concept for how Horizon Intelligence develops . . .


When our children are born, they look out upon a strange and scary place.

All thinking is internal . . .

david huer-reframing space-update-001crop

The questing mind moves out from that internal space

Learning to involve sensory feedback: a mother’s breast milk, being singed, standing and falling, toy-making and using and breaking. Shitting and stinking, and eating boogers, and saying “No!”.

A sensory (feeling-seeing-scenting-tasting-thinking) feedback loop . . .

david huer-reframing space-update-002crop

But then, the questing human mind extends that feedback loop.

And here are the interesting questions . . .

Does the questing mind extend that feedback beyond others (mum, dad, sibling, grandma, the family dog) to wider horizons? Seeking to frame the horizon as a future that can be re-framed, changed, to whatever we want it to be;

This “horizon re-framing mind” — this Horizon Intelligence–perhaps it is the vista-seeking mind that makes our species gain the bigger perspective?

 

david huer-reframing space-update-003crop

And perhaps, it is Horizon Intelligence that synthesizes all of the other intelligences into one? Making the sum of the parts that which makes us aware? That makes us planners and doers of our own destiny? [see: 9 Minds… for the proposed list]

 

david huer-reframing space-update-004crop

And if so, is it this intrinsic quality of thinking-being-contemplating-doingness that Information Technology kills? The “thrumming guitar pluck”, the quiet humming golden thread–that IT muffles and snuffs out?  The missing quality that we cannot replicate?

david huer-reframing space-update-005crop

Are we losing our Horizon Intelligence?

And if we are, are we becoming the Artificial Intelligence we should be afraid of?

— David Huer



Images:
All other images and artwork: © 2015 David Huer. Photo is of Sombrio Beach on the west coast of Vancouver Island.