Science and technology for Sri Lanka in the 21st century. Chandre Dharmawardana National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa and Université de Montreal Presentations of this PPT. • Presented (version1) as a seminar at the Presidential Advisors’ secretariat, Colombo, June 2009 • Presented (version2) as a seminar at The Institute of Chemistry, Sri Lanka. • Presented (version3) at The Open University, Nawala, Sri Lanka. • Presented (version4) as a seminar at ICTA, Colombo. • Available (version A) on the web, at: http://dhweb.org/place.names/posts/dev-tech2009.ppt What is on the plate? • THE 4 Long-term CHALLENGES For SRI LANKA with population of 20x106 Increasing by 1000 a day too much for sustainability. 1. Sea Inundation of coastal areas due to Global warming. TIME TO ACT IS NOW 2. Population Energy crunch. Currently: 5000 kWh/capita increasing rapidly (USA is x50) pollution 3. Population Agriculture and water crunch 4. Multi-ethnic politics, There is a technical answer to divisive Language Politics. Population graphs and projections, Sri Lanka: How many to feed ? – how many new jobs? World problems and population • Tendency nowadays to ignore the population bomb claiming that “populations have stabilized” • However, see • “Scientific American”, June 2009 issue (this month) • More than a billion in Africa have no food. See the new book “Enough” by Roger Thurow and Scott Kilman – uncontrolled population growth. • Religions, traditional attitudes, & ethnic rivalry hamper population planning and family planning. Increased Population and Energy use are a result of 20th century Technology. • Now we urgently need Population stabilization • Sri Lanka will have to cope with 30-50 x106 • Need lots more energy • More energy use ↔ more garbage, industrial pollution • More homes, no water ! • Expect ~1 to ~3 meters slow rise in sea level • Education and attitudes lead to stabilization • Need alternatives to hydro and fossil fuel Solar Energy, Thorium-232 (local nuclear energy source.) • Replace irrigationagriculture by vat based agriculture. • Need a 2-5 meter high dyke along the coast Sri Lanka’s 1st challenge of the 21st century • Ancient vision was irrigation and tank-centered agriculture. This vision is untenable for a comsumer-oriented 30 million population • The nation was a leader in the hydrulic civilization of the ancient world • Today we need a new technological vision • The old hydraulic vision (Parakrama samudra, Mahaveli etc) has to be replaced by a vision of building a Dyke around the country and connective roads • The Dyke is a ring road for a fast rail network, work, connectivity, ports, people. • The Dyke protects SL from Global warming and from naval terrorism Sea-level increase threat Inundation will cover an area similar to the Tsunami. Sri Lanka’s 1st challenge of the 21st century • The first need of development is security and undisrupted connectivity (stop inundation and erosion) • The sea-level monitors in Maldives have already shown an increase in sea level. Sea erosion is real. • Global-warming CANNOT BE IGNORED . • SL has to start NOW to protect the island.. • Build a coastal Dyke-road and a SET of FAST railroads linked to it (public transport instead of cars) • Such civil engineering creates JOBS and is consistent with the ancient genius of the people. Sri Lanka’s 2nd challenge of the 21st century • The current use of electricity (0.3kWh per household) will have to increase by a x of 10-20 • Efficiently use garbage for energy and fertilizer • SL’s wind-power potential is not high (60,000 mW) • Better potential for Solar • Increase electricity Tariff to subsidize solar panels. • Tropics: Solar Energy. Follow Japanese Solarenergy policy. • Use monazite in Thorium breeder-reactors. Nuclear Energy is a long-range, expensive option. • WE LOOK AT OTHER OPTIONS – e.g., biomass for gas, • heat pumps for cololing houses. False claims and crackpot science • Anything that goes against the laws of thermodynamics should be rejected • Running the car by “burning water”! (H2O is the ‘ash’ !). • Energy by making alcohol from straw How much straw? Fermentation product has to be distilled (costs more energy than you get out of it) • Claims that “western science” is not applicable in Sri Lanka. • Claims that “divine power” can be used for making predictions using “mediums”. False claims and crackpot science • Anything that goes against the laws of thermodynamics should be rejected • Running the car by “burning water”! (H2O is the ‘ash’ !). • Energy by making alcohol from straw How much straw? Fermentation product has to be distilled (costs more energy than you get out of it) • Claims that “western science” is not applicable in Sri Lanka. • Claims that “divine power” can be used for making predictions using “mediums”. Energy -repeat • Hydro energy already exploited- expensive capital investment (dams, turbines, grid) • “Dendro” (burning biomass) now paying off and carbon neutral (Dendro pioneer - Mega10 in Bibile) • Solar energy NOT exploited – great potential but expensive. Curent electricity tariff too low. • Processing garbage for energy is A MUST • Wind energy – Sri Lanka is moderately windy • Geothermal sources (hot springs), heat-pumps Comment about Solar and Wind power • Wind-power installation costs in SL around $2m per mW * (e.g., Kalpitiya, Haley’s). • Solar panels, 5-8 acres per mW, and $2-3m per mW *. This price* is going down. Subsidize or RAISE ELECRTICITY TARIFFS • Float the solar panels on water in Tanks (cuts evaporation) to exploit land area. • The ancient “village+ tank + farming” concept is upgraded to include solar-energy farming using the tank area. • *2009 prices are indicated. Sri lanka’s 3rd tech challenge of the 21st century – agriculture & water shortage • Mahavaeli type projects no longer viable. • Practice minimum-water agriculture. • More Evaporation with global warming. • Bio-technology and DNA based farming - (Plant breeding and controlledGM) • Grow in vats where the correct DNA produces, e.g., ‘tomato’ or ‘soya paste’ or ‘vegetarian chicken’ from nutrients. • Shading tanks with solar panels to cut evaporation • Nitrogen fixation to generated nutrients • Biotech approach to garbage Agriculture, fertilizers and poisons • The expanding population CANNOT be fed using purely “green methods”. • There is heavy overuse of pesticides, and fertilizers in Sri Lanka – educate our farmers reg. Arsenic (As), mercury (Hg), and over run of phosphates etc., in water due to over-use. • Power plants using coal emit As, Hg, SO2 etc. • Big infrastructure and irrigation projects release As, Hg, heavy metals to the environment. • POPULATION HAS TO BE STABILIZED. • School Curricula have to deal with these topics. Communication - Sri Lanka’s 4th Sc. & Tech. challenge • Communicate in Sinhala, Tamil, Hindi, English, Chinese, i.e., multi-lingualism needed in the global market but people are mostly unilingual. • Diffuse the danger of Language politics. • Quantitative thinking for the general public. • The technological revolution already provides adequate (but imperfect) on the spot translations check your browser • Computers, internet, and information tech. for every one • Mathematics E-language • Language barriers (Sinhala, Tamil, English) - basis of political agitation and civil strife - hampers commerce and development - yet we live in a “global village” • There is a technical solution to these “political problems”. • Exploit the tech. solution !!!! Consider three aspects of elanguage • 1. Connecting Sinhala and Tamil writing to the ASCII keyboard – easiest part • 2. Rendering spoken Sinhala to spoken Tamil and vice versa, for example., in a cell-phone conversation. • 3. Translation of a Sinhala text into Tamil and vice versa by a click on your browser. (translation is imperfect but adequate – already available for European languages) • WE are NOT looking for translation of poetry or literature. • Translating precise legal text is actually easy!!!! E-language, objective- page1 • Keys on a cellphone or keyboard (English) to Sinhala or Tamil mapping schemes- nothing new: Every symbol grouping has a Unicode value and a corresponding Sinhala letter grouping. See: www.ucs.cmb.ac.lk/trl/services/econvert/t1.html • Hence we can write on a standard English Microsoft keyboard and output directly into Sinhlala or Tamil letters. • The cellphone does the translation/volcalization E-language, objective page2 • Multi-lingual conversations from one mobile to another is a feasibility. Each person talks in his/her language. • Tamil and Sinhala have nearly the same grammatical structure and colloquial structure. • If a Sinhala sentence be taken and each word be replaced with the corresponding Tamil word, you already get a meaningful Tamil form. • This is ENOUGH for most conversations via a mobile telephone! Mulit-lingual conversations in Sinhala-Tamil-English • “Cell-phone accuracy” translations can be done in several ways: – Hardware using micro-processors (chips) – Software in the cell-phone + memory – Hybrid approaches – ICTA can best approach this problem at the software level. – Same software for Sinhala↔Tamil browser interfaces. Multi-lingual Text messaging • Many cell-phone talk, twitter, blog, e-mail facebook etc., involve text messaging • This involves the use of the standard ascii keyboard. • Text messages written in one language (say, Tamil) can be instantly rendered into sinhala and BOTH the Tamil and Sinhala Unicod versions can be presented to the subscriber. • THIS WILL mostly RESOLVE THE “LANGUAGE POLITICS” that has plagued this country for over half a century. E-democracy • Given an electronically connected society, at least SOME aspects of government can be carried out by immediate e-voting. • Example: legislation regarding information processing etc., can be put to the IT community and their opinion can be assessed via the internet and cell-phone links. • Eventually, elections can be conducted electronically, avoiding the enormous expenditure involved in the current style of electioneering Managing e-waste • In western countries, obsolete computers and electronic equipment constitute the fastest growing waste sector: e-waste • E-waste contains toxic elements like Ga, In, As • USA exports 80% of its e-waste to developing countries, contravening international treaties • We should require every seller of electronic equipment to take back the defunct unit which should NOT be put into normal garbage. Conclusions regarding Language Politics • Information Technology (IT) can radically change the confrontational character of language politics by offering a cheap technical solution making language legislation and “devolution” irrelevant. • IT can democratize the process of government by make it very easy to consult the public electronically. • We have to deal efficiently with e-waste (toxic). Conclusion • FOUR BASIC challenges – Rising sea level, Energy shortage, water shortages, and E-communication. • The glory of the ancient hydraulic society can be surpassed by the Sri Lankans in the 21st Century.There is a wealth of competent local expertise but poor vision. • The energy sector is the key to development. Raise electricity tariffs, subsidize Solar power. • Political and economic success is tied DIRECTLY to Science & Tech. and NOT TO CONSTITUTIONAL HAGGLING, or rejecting “western science” due to misguided nationalism. • Use technological solutions to political problems.