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Vermont City Almost Encased In a 1-Mile Dome

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the yeah-it-could-happen dept.

News 456

destinyland writes "A Vermont city once proposed a one-mile dome over its 7,000 residents. (They paid $4 million a year in heating bills, and HUD seriously considered funding their proposal.) The city's architectural concept included supporting the Dome with air pressure slightly above atmospheric pressure. (Buckminster Fuller warned their biggest challenge would be keeping it from floating away...) There would be no more heating bills, fly-fishing all year, and no more snow shoveling. And to this day, the former city planner insists that 'Economically it's a slam dunk.'"

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456 comments

Houston Has Similar Plans (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30031862)

I saw a Discovery channel special on mega-engineering and the plans to cover Houston with a dome [discovery.com] were quite a shock to me (here's a brief non-flash writeup [greenpacks.org] ). I'll bet you're wondering what those panels are made of:

But the answer comes from German city of Bremen, from a company dubbed Vector Foil. Vector Foil manufactures an innovative strong, lightweight, transparent polymer known as ethylene tetra fluoro ethylene (ETFE). At just one percent of glass, ETFE is described as 99 percent nothing. And considering that it can withstand winds of 180 miles per hour, it could be the breakthrough for the Houston Dome.

I'm not a mechanical engineer nor did any of my college coursework overlap with that but my gut feeling was pure skepticism and doubt. At least it's a long long way off if they follow through.

Re:Houston Has Similar Plans (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30031902)

You can't do this without outlawing combustion. While it's a nice theory to say that you'll be able to blow enough air through it, in practice the airflow in a dome is not like the airflow without a dome. And anyone who has been to Houston knows just how bad the air quality is, in fact, it is some of the worst in the USA [nasa.gov] . If you could remove Chinese pollution from the Jet Stream, it probably WOULD be the worst. Then again, if you put a dome over it, the city's residents could just gas each other to death, which would effectively stop them from polluting.

Re:Houston Has Similar Plans (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30031920)

Then again, if you put a dome over it, the city's residents could just gas each other to death, which would effectively stop them from polluting.

Your ideas intrigue me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

--Heinrich Himmler Jr.

Re:Houston Has Similar Plans (4, Funny)

wisty (1335733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30031972)

The town from TFA was about 7,000 people. They said they would just use electric cars. Or a monorail.

Monorail!

Mono ... duh!

Re:Houston Has Similar Plans (-1, Troll)

radtea (464814) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032036)

The town from TFA was about 7,000 people

Yeah, the /. editors have clearly outsourced themselves to someplace where English is very poorly understood, because surely no self-declared "nerds" would ever make such an elementary mistake as to call a town of 7000 people a "city".

The alternative, of course, is that /. editors are a bunch of sensationalist manipulators who are not above falsehood to get page views.

Re:Houston Has Similar Plans (1)

werfele (611119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032602)

. . . no self-declared "nerds" would ever make such an elementary mistake as to call a town of 7000 people a "city".

To be fair, any self-respecting geography nerd knows that "Vermont city" is an oxymoron, and would have seen right through the headline. Burlington [wikipedia.org] has a population of about 40,000, and that's as big as they come.

Re:Houston Has Similar Plans (4, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032240)

The town from TFA was about 7,000 people. They said they would just use electric cars. Or a monorail.

That's nice. I'm talking about Houston, which has a lot more than 7,000 people... Although it probably wouldn't if they put a dome on it. Please try to keep up. In any case, there are numerous combustion sources besides internal combustion engines. Also, heavier-than-air combustion gases of all types (e.g. from cooking on the stove... there is no way I'm moving to Electric) would congregate in low places without winds to redistribute air. So now, you'll need air circulation fans installed on every street corner, as big as wind turbines; or they'll need to be installed in every house, and engineered to actually produce airflow instead of leaving dead pockets like most central air systems do. And unless you're planning to outlaw all combustible gases (like butane and propane, welding torches, et cetera) those fans had better be explosion-proof.

It's a fucking stupid idea on any scale. It would work on Mars, because you can reasonably outlaw combustible gases. You won't want to use them anyway, because you will have a limited supply of oxygen for the foreseeable future. It won't work here on Earth, at least not until we grow up a little more, and develop power storage technologies which can actually rival chemical fuels.

There is a similar idea which actually carries some currency, though; put a greenhouse below a house and vent it into the house, then vent the exhaust from the house through a chimney. When the greenhouse is too hot, the air is just vented outside. Convection will draw air through the house, and the greenhouse can act as a particulate filter (and a CO2 scrubber/oxygen plant.) Periodic water washes (a rain system would be ideal) cleanse the dust from the plants; if it's soft-set on dirt then mycelium can handle fixing toxics captured this way. This doesn't get you away from weather, but it can dramatically cut heating costs in certain environments. It's not a one-size-fits-all fix, but nothing is.

Re:Houston Has Similar Plans (4, Insightful)

Again (1351325) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032442)

There is a similar idea which actually carries some currency, though; put a greenhouse below a house and vent it into the house, then vent the exhaust from the house through a chimney. [...]

I don't really know but it seems to me that if you put a greenhouse underneath another building then not much sunlight would make it into the greenhouse.

Re:Houston Has Similar Plans (5, Informative)

djdavetrouble (442175) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032726)

There is a similar idea which actually carries some currency, though; put a greenhouse below a house and vent it into the house, then vent the exhaust from the house through a chimney. [...]

Pot growers have been already been testing this for decades. You use HPS for overheads and fluorescents on the side. Solar panels on the roof. See, this certain crop isn't exactly "legal" in most states yet.

It would work on Mars, because you can reasonably outlaw combustible gases.

But, wouldn't you want to test it out on earth first before you built one on mars?

Re:Houston Has Similar Plans (3, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032424)

Or a monorail.

Is there a chance the track could bend?

Re:Houston Has Similar Plans (4, Funny)

splatter (39844) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032618)

Not a chance my Hindu friend

Re:Houston Has Similar Plans (2, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032038)

Hm... only Hydrogen-powered cars allowed to enter or leave the dome.

Only electric yard equipment allowed.

The trouble is the difficulty enforcing that..

I suppose hidden surveillance cameras and combustion detecters could be mounted to the underside of the dome at regular intervals to detect any infractions.

Re:Houston Has Similar Plans (1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032082)

It would have been the world's largest greenhouse. I can image ... smoke ... being a problem.

Re:Houston Has Similar Plans (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30032248)

Are all of you finished making up problems? When was the last time people suffocated because the oxygen level in skyscrapers without openable windows got too low? What, they actually live in there? Blimey! They must be using magic to ensure a constant supply of fresh air!

Re:Houston Has Similar Plans (5, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032258)

Dude, it's a town of 7,000 people, the old ladies sitting on the porches will be sufficient to enforce any ban.

Re:Houston Has Similar Plans (4, Informative)

Xiph1980 (944189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30031926)

A couple of buildings in the Beijing olympic park (Bird's nest, water cube) uses ETFE as roof and/or wall covering. It's pretty much as they state, very light, very clear (if you want it to) and it shrinks in close proximity of severe heat, like fires, so it'll retreat itself away from a flame, so it doesn't light up in a fire.

Re:Houston Has Similar Plans (5, Informative)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032116)

The Eden project [wikipedia.org] in Cornwall, England contains the world's largest greenhouse (panorama) [wikipedia.org] , and it's made in a buckminsterfullerene-like way with ETFE.

It's definitely worth seeing if you're in south west England (relative to the rest of England it's quite remote area).

Re:Houston Has Similar Plans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30032006)

I've heard from General Disarray, in South Park, CO. He's stated that the Simpsons already did it.

http://img395.imageshack.us/img395/5160/vlcsnap805188ye2.png

Re:Houston Has Similar Plans (5, Funny)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032048)

At just one percent of glass, ETFE is described as 99 percent nothing.

Then why didn't they name it "Congress"?

Re:Houston Has Similar Plans (1)

Dharkfiber (555328) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032056)

I love Jiffy Pop!

Re:Houston Has Similar Plans (4, Interesting)

motorcyclemaintain (1674658) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032096)

So did Walt Disney. The original plans for EPCOT [economicexpert.com] in Disney World included a massive translucent dome covering the "community" and its twenty thousand residents.

EPCOT "would be a testbed for city planning and organization. A giant dome was to have covered the community, so as to regulate its climate (this idea was later seen in the 1998 movie The Truman Show). The community was to have been built in the shape of a circle, with businesses and commercial areas at its center, community buildings and schools and recreational complexes around it, and residential neighborhoods along the perimeter. Transportation would have been provided by monorails and People Movers (like the one in the Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland). Automobile traffic would be kept underground, leaving pedestrians safe above-ground."

Re:Houston Has Similar Plans (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30032106)

I'm not a mechanical engineer nor did any of my college coursework overlap with that but...

Yet another Slashtard that doesn't know what they're talking about but still thinks that engineers are going to somehow fumble the ball that has the backing of at least three other Slashtards. Fantastic!

On a more positive note, at least you can admit you don't have the education to back your claims but sadly all your claims are is saying you don't think it will work. Maybe if you took the time to say what you think is missing someone here can explain it to you who has the credentials to back up their claims.

Re:Houston Has Similar Plans (5, Interesting)

radtea (464814) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032204)

I'm not a mechanical engineer nor did any of my college coursework overlap with that but my gut feeling was pure skepticism and doubt.

I just get a blank page when I click on the link, so I'm not sure what the physical footprint of the town is, but when you consider modern sports stadia the ability to cover an area say 1 km across doesn't seem out of place. Modern materials are incredibly strong, and I would expect this dome would be designed as something like a kevlar rope net with panels in the holes to seal it. The internal atmospheric pressure will then keep the net under tension, and everything is good.

There is one big problem with it, which is that any failure is a catastrophic failure, albeit a catastrophe in slow motion. Unexpectedly high snow load, hurricane force winds, rocks falling from the sky and human error can all take structures of this kind down. I've seen two soccer domes fail under snow load (one was patchable and reinflatable) and know of another that was in the general vicinity of a tornado (nothing remained, although it was not actually hit by the tornado, it was just in the general area.)

As every engineer knows, if something can fail, it will. Domes like this can fail, therefore this one will. If the mean time between failure can be made long enough, it could still be worth-while, but I'd want to be sure that there was a re-inflation drill once a year or so (which policy would last for about a decade until some idiot in a suit realized they could pay themselves more today by leaving the people of tomorrow unprepared.)

There's also an interesting ecological twist: the ecosystem under the dome obviously can't be the local one, so you would have to replace a lot of vegetation with stuff that can survive without winter, and since the dome would inevitably become home to various exotic plants and animals it would be a continual source of invaders into the local ecosystem (which wouldn't survive the winter, but which would make every spring and summer a new surprise.)

Re:Houston Has Similar Plans (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032208)

"I'm not a mechanical engineer nor did any of my college coursework overlap with that but my gut feeling was pure skepticism and doubt. At least it's a long long way off if they follow through."

Thats what people thought about powered flight. Maybe you should leave this sort of thing to the engineers.

Re:Houston Has Similar Plans (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032686)

Sounds like Aerogel [wikipedia.org] to me.
Yes, that stuff exists. Yes it's at least 99% nothing.

And yes it costs a fortune of fortunes! ^^

But hell, that's some really cool material!

Excellent (1)

StarmanDeluxe (648985) | more than 4 years ago | (#30031876)

This is the most amazing thing I have ever read. God, I hate cold weather.

So... (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30031882)

I'm not sure that going from heating a few thousand little boxes to heating one giant dome really qualifies as "no heating bills". Similarly, while shoveling snow off your driveway kind of sucks, it sure beats having snow build up on your habidome until the whole mess comes crashing down.

Re:So... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30032032)

Very easy, diminishing the media through which heat is exchanged: external area and air. It is easy to argue that a big dome offers much less area than the total area given by all the buildings in the town. In addition, a similar argument can be applied to air exchange, in both cases you are saving.

Re:So... (4, Insightful)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032034)

TFA suggests that it would be held up by air pressure. That means that, not only do you have to worry about snow, but there's also the problem that if enough panels break to lower the interior pressure the dome could collapse. Or in a high-wind scenario the Bernoulli effect could burst it. You're also right that obviously the surface area of the dome would result in truly absurd heating costs and I suspect really terrible AC costs in the summer (greenhouse effect!); Vermont really does get a lot of summer.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30032090)

If the dome is thin enough, and the ambient temperature is above freezing, snow would not collect. it would merely melt and run off.

Re:So... (4, Insightful)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032384)

If the dome is thin enough, and the ambient temperature is above freezing, snow would not collect. it would merely melt and run off.

The snow would melt, in that case, by transferring heat out of the dome. This negates the energy benefit, and will result in a giant ring of ice surrounding the dome. It also assumes that the snow will melt faster than it falls. VT can get a lot of snow all at once, a blizzard would still encase the dome, melted and refrozen ice on the bottom, snow on top.

The bigger problem, I think, is still getting water (for plants) and air into the dome, and pollutants from combustion out. Even if it is structurally possible, the additional logistical costs will outweigh the benefits enough that there is no net gain to a dome.

Re:So... (5, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032324)

Actually the dome would have less surface area than the town. Take all the surface area of all the buildings and add it up. You will find that at makes a pretty good heat exchanger compared to a nice smooth dome.
Rain water? What a great resource. You would catch it falling all the dome and and use it. I could even be used for the drinking water. Same for the snow melt from the dome. If nothing else it could be used for irrigation.
Air Quality? Yes you would should ban cars from inside the city as well as fire places. You might not need to but it would probably be for the best if you did. For the dome to work you would want to have some pretty powerful air blowers to keep it pumped up. That should provide enough airflow for the air quality to be as good as a none domed town. Us air to air heat exchangers to allow for even more air flow when needed.

The one huge danger I see is fire. What is a building catches on fire? Is the dome fire proof? That risk could be reduced but if you are doing to dome an existing town you would have a lot of older buildings that may not be as fire safe as you would like.

Re:So... (2, Informative)

AntEater (16627) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032484)

Vermont really does get a lot of summer.

I live in VT and you don't know how badly I really do wish this were true. Most years we have snow on the ground from mid-Nov through early May. It isn't unusual for frosts occur in June and August.

This dome would also end up trapping in a lot of pollution unless they would prohibit cars and trucks from driving inside.

Re:So... (4, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032640)

The heating costs wouldn't be as bad because you get a lot of thermal energy stored in the ground from the sun during the day.

Effectively you are just manually replicating the greenhouse effect.

It's something I've experimented with my greenhouse (as I live in the UK and grow tropical plants which must be kept at a minimum of 15c all year around). It's suprising how effective storage of heat in the ground and such actually is and I also now keep water cooler sized bottles of water around the greenhouse walkway and under the staging through the winter to hold sun during the day which is then released through the night, it's not a massive change, but it has certainly made a measurable difference to my electric heating costs- my thermostat based electric heaters now need to come on for much less time through the night.

I'm sure there's actually probably a better substance than water for the purpose, but this was really just a small experiment. I can certainly see though from this how harnessing natural heat storage of pavements, ponds, roads, rivers, outer walls of buildings and so on could all hold heat built up during the day from the sun to drastically help heat such a dome through the night.

Re:So... (5, Insightful)

uncledrax (112438) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032058)

i think it's not so much about the need to heat the whole dome, but rather the fact that the dome would trap all the heat (and pollutants) inside the dome. The lack of air exchange would trap alot of the heat, pretty much exactly how a greenhouse works.

Frankly, I encourage these people to complete their dome. It'll reveal insight into how bad (or maybe good too?) the idea is and what can go wrong with them.
Also, it'll be good practice for when/if we decide to colonize extra-terran bodies. I don't think anyone has tried a larger-scale enclose ecosystem like this before (yes I know it won't be entirely enclosed.. but gotta start somewhere).

If you want to make little science, occasionally you have to break some beakers.

Re:So... (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032238)

Yeah, you could call it a "biodome." Quickly, call Paulie Shore!

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30032114)

Most likely they calculated how much heating would result from capturing 100% of the light comming in. It would effectively be a giant green house, and it's very likely that the only heating related bills would be due to ventilation to cool to the desired temperature.

Re:So... (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032254)

I'm not sure that going from heating a few thousand little boxes to heating one giant dome really qualifies as "no heating bills".

Study up on the square-cube law and get back to us.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Square-cube_law [wikipedia.org]

Similarly, while shoveling snow off your driveway kind of sucks, it sure beats having snow build up on your habidome until the whole mess comes crashing down.

If the outside surface temperature never drops below freezing, due to above square-cube law... Also it seems no great challenge at all, to design buildings, even domes, that don't collapse under heavy snow loads.

david weber (1)

el_tedward (1612093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30031886)

Sounds to me like they're trying to protect themselves from extremely high amounts of heavy metals present in the environment.

Stephen King (2, Interesting)

Doches (761288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30031890)

They'd better wait and read Stephen King's Under the Dome first...

Exhaust? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30031892)

What do they do about car exhaust? And the other source of fumes - cooking, etc.

Simple, tax the air (4, Funny)

coryking (104614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032562)

You have a dome with a bunch of air in it, right? It has to be exchanged with fresh air, right? Now the city can tax the air their citizens people breath.

It is brilliant, really. They've finally found a way to tax the air we breathe!!

Rain? Insects? Birds? (4, Interesting)

sherriw (794536) | more than 4 years ago | (#30031928)

And how much will it cost when ALL their water needs for lawns and parks and such need to be piped in? Not to mention that many plants need some of the water to fall on the leaves not just the roots.

What about insects and pollinators? Birds that fly south?

This is not very well thought out.

Re:Rain? Insects? Birds? (5, Funny)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 4 years ago | (#30031952)

Birds that fly south?

Ah, the gentle thud of the returning swallows....

Re:Rain? Insects? Birds? (4, Funny)

Bruiser80 (1179083) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032128)

How are they supposed to get coconuts?

Re:Rain? Insects? Birds? (1)

likuidkewl (634006) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032220)

Are they African Swallows?

Re:Rain? Insects? Birds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30032486)

How are they supposed to get coconuts?

European or African coconuts? ha ha....oh wait... I think I've got that wrong.

Re:Rain? Insects? Birds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30032246)

Best. Post. Ever.

No rain (2, Interesting)

rastilin (752802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30031970)

No rain though, that's a plus if you live in the city and don't have a lawn. I'm sure you can have birds and insects inside the dome.

there might be rain. insects, birds (2, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032076)

You can get rain in large enclosed spaces. it's condesate. You might not want that raining on you. everything from evaporated dog urine, to aerosol diesel exahust, to flu viruses coming back down. Of course that happens now, but it's dillluted and also purified by the UV.

Now that said. I don't see why a dome has to have an impermeable ceiling. You could arrange things so that natural rain could be let in.

You could make the roof like a salmon ladder on a dam. there is some exchange with the outside air. just not wide open.

Re:there might be rain. insects, birds (1)

rastilin (752802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032472)

You can get rain in large enclosed spaces. it's condesate. You might not want that raining on you. everything from evaporated dog urine, to aerosol diesel exahust, to flu viruses coming back down. Of course that happens now, but it's dillluted and also purified by the UV.

True, true. But the dome is curved right? If condensation happens, won't the droplets flow down the sides instead of falling straight down? I'm assuming the dome won't be so big that there will be a huge cold spot in the top for the droplets to reform in mid air, since one of the main points is for the dome to trap heat. Otherwise this is another engineering problem for the planners to think on. I think the main reason something like this should be done is because it hasn't been tried before, it will give us valuable information about future living possibilities.

Of course I say this as a disinterested third party. It's not us who take the risk that it will backfire.

Re:No rain (3, Informative)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032100)

Absent the proper climate controls, under the right conditions: it can rain inside a huge dome like that, as water vapor collects near the roof.

It'd be nasty rain though, polluted no doubt.

Re:No rain (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032142)

I'm sure you can have birds and insects inside the dome.

Why would you want them? I wouldn't. I have no need for black widow spiders and mosquitos. And if no birds crapped on my car, that would be OK with me.

Re:No rain (3, Interesting)

c_sd_m (995261) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032310)

Pollination? What would all the old people do when they can't grow flowers? Any farms that you're driving out of business? There's the whole ecosystem thing too: which bugs can you manage to exclude and what they did eat that's now running rampant? But if it means no raccoons assaulting garbage cans, I suppose it's worth it.

Re:No rain (1)

Linuxmonger (921470) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032544)

Your car will be sitting outside the dome, by West airlock #3.

Re:Rain? Insects? Birds? (5, Insightful)

youroldbuddy (539169) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032084)

Why would they have to pipe all the water in? You can just as well channel it through the dome? Even channel it throught at night. What about insects and pollinators? They live fine in greenhouses. Why shouldnt they live in a dome. And who cares about migrating birds for such a small area?

Re:Rain? Insects? Birds? (5, Interesting)

MrBulwark (862510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032102)

Remember, it is still raining, just above the dome. It should be trivial to put collectors at teh base of the dome. I would hazzard a guess that it would provide the city with more water than they have currently. My concern would be the long-term durability of the "glass". After 20 years, will it yellow? Will it be so scratched up that everything outside will be a blur? Who is going to climb up there and clean all the bird poop off of it?

Re:Rain? Insects? Birds? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032464)

Remember, it is still raining, just above the dome. It should be trivial to put collectors at teh base of the dome.

For certain large values of trivial, yes. You're trying to collect all the rain that falls on the dome at the edge of the dome - which, for even a light rain, is going to be a considerable quantity of water. New England also occasionally get smacked by hurricanes, which mean you have to be able to handle torrential rainfalls as well.

Re:Rain? Insects? Birds? (1)

HawkinsD (267367) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032150)

Water needs? A river runs through downtown [google.com] .

Plus, as the owner of a house with a leaky roof and a lawn that needs mowing, I say FUCK the plants.

Re:Rain? Insects? Birds? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30032266)

Name me one single idea in history, which when summed up in one sentence sounds very well though out.....

Re:Rain? Insects? Birds? (3, Insightful)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032334)

large cisterns collecting water runoff at the perimeter would solve the issue of sourcing the water. piping it into the dome could be gravity feed. Then all you need pumps for is the lift to the sprinklers.

Insects could be brought in as needed. Birds could be supported as well. Migratory birds would be excluded; or, simply stay as they do here in south-east Virginia now that they've found the artificially warmed climate to be to their liking. (plenty of Ducks and Geese can't be bothered to fly south here)

Re:Rain? Insects? Birds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30032480)

And how much will it cost...

Spending taxpayer money is the goal.

This is not very well thought out.

As long as a politician's pet project receives funding, he wins. There's a reason why every year government spends more than the year before, and it's not because "the people" approved the spending.

You're not in the business of government, are you?

Re:Rain? Insects? Birds? (1)

chrysrobyn (106763) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032574)

And how much will it cost when ALL their water needs for lawns and parks and such need to be piped in? Not to mention that many plants need some of the water to fall on the leaves not just the roots.

Well, this is a town of 7000 people in Vermont. If they don't have their own wells, the central utility does. Water is generally not a big deal there. I imagine the people would start to need sprinklers.

What about insects and pollinators? Birds that fly south?

Well, the birds aren't going south very far, but there are probably going to be insects who live inside the dome. There will probably be an equilibrium of insects who pollinate.

Air quality will probably be solved with some air exchangers. Part of what makes this idea so interesting is learning how much air needs to be exchanged. What kinds of air locks, if any, are necessary for people to come and go would be a very interesting problem.

As much of a tourist destination Vermont is for its small towns, fall foliage, cool summers and winter snow, there are probably a lot of Vermont residents who would love to spend a week somewhere they'd consider the weather sane -- and a dome just might provide that respite. I think it would be a fantastic engineering and science learning experience to try it out.

Dupe! (5, Funny)

lloydsmart (962848) | more than 4 years ago | (#30031942)

Didn't they try something like this in Springfield? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simpsons_Movie [wikipedia.org]

Re:Dupe! (1, Informative)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032184)

I know that they've been around for so long that the mistake is easily made - but you are aware that the Simpsons is only a cartoon?

Simpsons did it! (2, Funny)

matstars (1674660) | more than 4 years ago | (#30031944)

Come on now, this was already done in the Simpsons movie... Nothing new here!

This was planned in 1979, so they STOLE it (1)

ifwm (687373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032416)

The Simpsons didn't exist in 1979 when this wasoriginally planned.

The best you could say is that the Simpsons stole it, which would require you to ignore all the other interesting points of the story and focus on the fact that a shitty TV show mimicked real life.

HOLY SHIT, A TV SHOW MIMICKED REAL LIFE!!!

Yeah, no one else cares either.

what about high winds? (1)

AbbeyRoad (198852) | more than 4 years ago | (#30031950)

what about high winds?

-paul

Re:what about high winds? (5, Funny)

c_sd_m (995261) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032328)

Put a dome over the dome as a windbreak.

Reality copies the Simpsons (Movie) (1)

jedrek (79264) | more than 4 years ago | (#30031960)

From what I remember, this idea didn't go over too well in Springfield...

Seriously though, this sounds like a great setup for a huge disaster. Can you imagine a dome like this falling?

Try reading, the Simpsons stole it (1)

ifwm (687373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032498)

"Reality copies the Simpsons (Movie)"

This was planned in 1979.

Don't worry, you're not the only one so socially and intellectually stunted that they reference the Simpsons instead of an intelligent, historically relevant example.

Shouldn't this be Springfield, Vermont? (1)

mykepredko (40154) | more than 4 years ago | (#30031976)

The could have had the dome in place for the premier [usatoday.com] .

I almost feel like someone's pulling our leg here.

myke

You obviously haven't been to Winooski (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30032014)

This town is a dump. Putting it under a dome would be the equivalent of showcasing a field of horse shit.

I dunno, man. Snow is heavy (2, Insightful)

HawkinsD (267367) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032022)

A couple of years ago [scenesofvermont.com] Burlington, VT received 25.7 inches (0.65 m) of snow in 24 hours. I don't know what the density of snow is (I imagine it varies wildly), but that seems like a lot of weight.

OK, maybe the warm air can support that... but if that were the case, then on days when there wasn't 89 grillion kg of snow on top, there would be some pretty huge upward forces on the tent-pegs.

OK, well, then, there are vents, to let our some of the hot air. But then you waste all that energy heating air that you're venting.

But maybe it all works out somehow.

Re:I dunno, man. Snow is heavy (1)

wireloose (759042) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032144)

keep in mind that the heat of the warm air rising in the dome would be sufficient to maintain it well above freezing. therefore, snow would not collect. there would have to be some allowances made in the design for water runoff during winter, which would cause some ice buildup around it from even light snows.

Re:I dunno, man. Snow is heavy (1)

Kleppy (1671116) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032166)

Wouldn't the heated dome just melt it all off? I mean a hemispherical dome of heated air should be able to combat some snow right? Of course the Pontiac Silverdome used a very similar design. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontiac_Silverdome [wikipedia.org] It's now abandoned but only because the Lion suck and they received a new stadium.

Re:I dunno, man. Snow is heavy (1)

DocMAME (933222) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032202)

The warm air should melt the snow as it touchs the dome, but this could leave some serious flooding or glaciers at the base of the dome...

Tuman Show? (1)

Kleppy (1671116) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032094)

Does this mean they get a reality show too?

I almost poked a Playboy Playmate, too (2, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032104)

Well, I had plans to do so, isn't that the same thing as almost doing it? No?

epa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30032126)

EPA EPA EEPAAAAA!!!!!

Vermont isn't the coldest state (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30032136)

I live in west central Minnesota, which is much colder than VT. In the winter here it is 90 Fahrenheit degrees co;der outside than it is inside.
and thats not counting the wind chill.
There are towns north of here that are even colder.

(north of the border the temperature difference is less because they have bigger degrees.

Lessons From Biosphere II (5, Interesting)

smitty777 (1612557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032178)

I think this is one of those things that look good on paper, but...

There are so many ways this could go wrong. It might be a way to breed viruses into an entire city, or keep carcinogens trapped for all to breathe. The Biosphere II [wikipedia.org] was a fairly disastrous small scale experiment along these lines. Just imagine having an "oops" moment for a city of 5.7 million.

Re:Lessons From Biosphere II (1)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032598)

How do you figure Biosphere II was a "disastrous" experiment? Its termination was political, not technical.

Are you thinking of the CO2 sequestration in the concrete structure? That was such a small effect that if it hadn't been hermetically sealed to the point where opening a door was considered "vandalism" it'd never have been noticed.

Hot-air Lift is STRONG (2, Informative)

redelm (54142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032192)

Alongside other problems (air exchange, summer disassembly, wind loads) Bucky's problem is real -- think hot air balloons.

Back of the envelope, if there's a 20'F difference on a 1 mi dia hemisphere, there's 16,000 lb lift per peripheral foot. That's not easy to anchor (10 x 10 ft foundation cross section.) And you definitely will need lots of steel or kevlar if you want the bottom wall be be under 1/4 inch.

See Asimov (1)

Dersaidin (954402) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032214)

Build Underground Cities.
More constant temperature, heaps of extra space. If you begin deep enough you might be able to commence construction with the existing city above.
Although a dome might be easier at first, when they're not prepared to rebuild everything below. Still, I think we'll get there eventually.

sounds complicated (1)

JackSpratts (660957) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032226)

you'd probably use off-site mechanical systems to transmit power to the dome for air exchanging and de-icing. when big storms overwhelm the systems (and they would) you'd need a soft failure mode to reduce catastrophic collapses. doable perhaps but i have no idea what that would be. i'm just not sure it would be cost effective in vermont. alsaka maybe.

Feasible on a small scale (1)

Aviation Pete (252403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032300)

airhouses or air-inflated tents are quite useful as a quick and cheap hall to cover a tennis court or a swimming pool. So the basic idea works, but I wonder what the effects of upscaling will be. If the thing is just supported by internal overpressure, this could be varied to cover snow loads or the lifting power of the warm air inside. But I severely doubt that the 90% savings in the heating bill can be achieved, and the heat loss due to the necessary ventilation (come on - did anyone expect all the residents to get electric cars just for this? And electric heating?) will be noticeable.
I guess the best is to try out the idea in incremental steps. Please don't start with Houston - even a 7000 soul village will be too big for the first test.

Thank you for reading at -1 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30032322)

lol the captcha is 'condom'

REMOVE LOUIS FROM L4D

To: Valve
I propose that we remove Louis from L4D, nobody can relate to him because he is a nigger.

I'm sure people that play left 4 dead will get on their computers and join a lobby for some No Mercy campaign fun, only to find that all the infected are taken. this is undeniably the case most of the time.

You decide "oh well, at least you can play as bill, hes a badass Vietnam veteran and probably raped some azn girl while he was setting villages on fire" But, you are disappointed as somebody already joined and took him first... hes always taken first god damnit.

well, then there is the next best choice, Zoey. The lovable teenage slut has always provoked some kind of perverted thought in L4D gamers and when they go to patch her up with first aid they cream themselves at getting this close to a woman, virtual or not. So with all the extra help around, playing as Zoey should be a breeze, right? Well, some fucker already took that second... now the sudden realization dawns on you, you have two choices left.

One is the faggot biker Francis, that only acts like hes interested in Zoey as to throw of the trail that he secretly would fuck Bill so hard in the ass given the chance. The other choice, though, is worse. it's a fucking nigger.

I mean sure, he isn't hindered in any way, well... not in physical gameplay at least. But you soon will realize after playing a couple rounds being a nigger, every time you get pounced, smoked, or somebody accidentally clips him with a bullet, he has to open his fat lips to shout louder then any of the other survivors and speaks in a vernacular that just makes me sick to hear it.

If we were to get rid of Louis, teamkilling "accidents" will be cut down by 50%, and the survivor morale will increase dramatically, no longer burdened by some filthy, loud, beast.

But, I am only one person, I will need the help of all you fellow people that enjoy L4D, but their experience is hindered by the sight of this dirty chicken eating coon. Shall We receive enough signatures, Valve will soon know the errors of their ways and create an alternative to being such a disgraceful character.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

NO, the Simpsons did NOT fucking do it (1, Flamebait)

ifwm (687373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032374)

This was planned in 1979.

The Simpsons didn't exist in 1979.

Get some life experience that doesn't involve you presuming a well worn and currently unfunny show was the originator of everything, you'll look ridiculous.

Re:NO, the Simpsons did NOT fucking do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30032432)

OK Mr. Happy.

Re:NO, the Simpsons did NOT fucking do it (1)

ifwm (687373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032624)

OK Mr. Happy.

Awww, look who's upset cause your Simpsons post was pointed out as wrong and childish.

 

I am amazed that it was not done yet (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032408)

The simple fact is, that a dome may not only be cheaper, but provide the large mall atmosphere that so many ppl want. Personally, I wish that several areas would dome up and then perhaps we would see larger population density in these locations. In addition, ppl will work towards keeping their area clean.

If they hate the cold so much.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30032452)

If they hate the cold so much, wouldn't it be easier to just move to a warmer climate?

There are actually some serious issues with this. (4, Insightful)

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032494)

Given that I actually live about 5 miles from where the whole Winooski Dome was planned to go this is all pretty well trodden territory here in this part of Vermont. The real killer problems are twofold. One is just that nobody has ever done it before and who wants to be first? In theory its a great idea, but its always the problem you didn't consider that bites you in the end. The second and more practical problem was always snow load. As anyone that has lived in Vermont can tell you, we get plenty of snow. Now pile it up a few feet deep on top of that dome, it adds up real fast. Nobody was ever sure exactly what would happen with all that snow or how long it would stay up there, etc. Roofs regularly collapse around here from snow load. You REALLY don't want to have that happen to your dome. That brings up what was the real final issue. What happens if something goes wrong? Its not just like you wasted a bunch of money. Having that dome come down on top of a whole town? That would be a big mess indeed...

Basically if the concept is ever going anywhere someone needs to build one way out in the middle of nowhere and figure out the basic problems first. Winooski residents wisely decided that being guinea pigs maybe isn't such a great idea.

Alternative (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032522)

It would be much cheaper to just move everyone south.

It's a shame they didn't go for it. (1)

LaminatorX (410794) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032594)

Even if it failed, we'd have gained a whole lot of practical know-how about undertaking a project like that. Even if it ended up way over-budget and required tons of maintenance and so-on, I'd bet that the tourism revenues would have offset that in time.

Beacuse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30032638)

Is that was caused by spider pig ?

Fashion from here? (0, Troll)

huangzhixian1204 (1674690) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032660)

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obligQuote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30032688)

Dome sweet dome...

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