— As I like it.

For hundreds of years we have spent a good amount of our valuable resources to build places of worship. In Turkey, it is no big surprise to find mosques in small neighborhoods without proper sanitary systems.

So, how does a mosque function? Why do we insist on allocating our limited resources for their construction first, making them priority even over things that seem to be more crucial in physical survival? As a place of worship, the ways in which a mosque lives are no different from its brothers; churches, temples or synagogues:

1. Gather people in the same place so that they can connect and feel a little less alone,

2. Manifest a set of rules they can live by so that they feel the comfort of following a routine and not having to make decisions or judgments by themselves,

3. Feed them stories and sermons they can spin around so that they have something to live for.

These needs have always been there, but the tools that correspond to them have changed. As far as I see, gathering people and making them spend time together was why Greek forums had arcades and benches, and why malls today have foodcourts. Following the book of rules is getting harder, especially now that most ofwhat’s written is out of date – a fact that people tend to justify with the same old move: “They were just metaphors and most of what you are judging now are actually misunderstood because of the errors in translation”. This phony-baloney explanation (seriously, how hard can it be to translate one text in several hundreds of years?) and the acceptance of the need to find a new book brings us the new era: Osho and life coaches for everything personal, a legal system for everything public.

The search for the meaning of life is exactly what the quest of the Holy Grail is all about, and thanks to Freud, Jung, Campbell and Eliade we all know now what actually lied beneath that story, despite the desperate writings of Middle Age scholars. As much as we want to create the illusion that there is something sacred in our lives, in our ‘selves’, all that there is is profane; the last two centuries have seen the deconstruction of all meaning and modern science has testified against the existence of souls and selves.

But stories are always handy. People like telling stories – a catchy story may change shape over ages but it hardly dies out. So if I were a religion, knowing that we all have strong father issues, I would definitely act in the name of aprotective, loving god, since that is something we’ll always want and never get. Well, he can get super angry from time to time but hey, whose father doesn’t?

Wait, does it rain when he gets mad? Because if that’s the case, we could and should make some arrangements to deliberately play with his temper, because we didn’t get much rainfall last year and most of the crops died before harvest. With the upcoming climate crisis, unpredictable climate events are the biggest problem and if there is a way to control things, it would just save our lives.

Just rotate your thoughts a little. For it is time we cultivated our garden – for God’s sake.

Now meet a solar dish, a lovely device to convert solar energy into electricity:

Solar dish systems use a mirror array to reflect and concentrate incoming direct normal insolation to a receiver, in order to achieve the temperatures required to efficiently convert heat to work.

A reflective surface, metalized glass or plastic, reflects incident solar radiation to a small region called the focus. The receiver absorbs energy reflected by the concentrator and transfers it to the engine’s working fluid. The absorbing surface is usually placed behind the focus of the concentrator to reduce the flux intensity incident on it.

The engine in a dish/engine system converts heat to mechanical power in a manner similar to conventional engines, that is by compressing a working fluid when it is cold, heating the compressed working fluid, and then expanding it through a turbine or with a piston to produce work. The mechanical power is converted to electrical power by an electric generator or alternator.

And see for yourselves that, crazy as it may seem, it might actually work:

For details and references, see my portfolio at bilgekobas.com/index.php?/work/solar-mosque

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I have the perfect name.

Now, when you translate bilge from Turkish to English, it means wise. Cool.

But then, when you translate it from English to Turkish it means, saçmalık, zırva, or quoting Merriam-Webster, “stale or worthless remarks or ideas”, followed by these synonyms: applesauce, balderdash, baloney, beans, nonsense, blah, blarney, blather, blatherskite, blither, bosh, bull, bunk, bunkum, claptrap, codswallop, crapola, crock, drivel, drool, fiddle, fiddle-faddle, fiddlesticks, flannel, flapdoodle, folderol, folly, foolishness, fudge, garbage, guff, hogwash, hokeypokey, hokum, hoodoo, hooey, horsefeathers, humbug, humbuggery, jazz, malarkey, moonshine, muck, nerts, nuts, piffle, poppycock, punk, rot, rubbish, senselessness, silliness, slush, stupidity, taradiddle, tommyrot, tosh, trash, trumpery, twaddle.

Hm. No, not cool anymore.

Cool or not, my personal favourite is flapdoodle. You can call me that if you like.

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Office buildings are tricky in means of energy efficient design. They need a lot of light so you put a lot of windows, but then there is too much solar gain and you will have a huge cooling load. To prevent this you come up with a smaller glazing area, but then there won’t be enough daylight and you will need extra artificial lighting. Thank God for new age glazing systems with low solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) and high visible light transmittance (Tvis). Combine them with optimised shading devices, and you’re good to go.

So if there is a solution to decrease building’s net energy for heating and cooling, then why are we still suffering from poor energy efficiency in office buildings? I’ll tell you why: Office women! In the middle of winter, while it’s -10⁰C outside, snowing, they think that they have to wear a chiffon Chanel shirt for the office, or in midsummer when your brain almost melted so that you started to hallucinate, there they are, wearing full make-up on their faces and even bodies.

Now, I wouldn’t give a damn, after all everyone is entitled to their own stupid opinion, but the problem starts when they expect the conditions of their environment to be arranged as they wish. They are the reason that building system managers are forced to heat the office buildings up to 23-24⁰C in winters while they could stop at 20⁰C, or cool down to 18⁰C in summers.

So, here is my new HVAC system suggestion:

In winter, HVAC operates as it should, and heats the spaces up to 20⁰C. Air canals have voice detecting sensors and when a woman starts whining about how cold it is, the canal opens and a garment, a proper winter cloth with high insulation (clo), such as a wool jumper or cardigan falls on the woman. While in summer, volatile organic compound (VOC) detecting sensors are used to control the canals and air ducts suck all the make-up and perfume layers on the women’s skins, decreasing their bodies’ emissivity (ε), thus their surface temperature.

An even extensive efficiency may be achieved by an addition of a negative reinforcement system: For women who insist on wearing make-up in summer and wearing clothes that barely cover their bodies in winter, and keep whining all the time, instead of sucking the unwanted chemicals off, the system may spray them with pressurized water, and the winter clothes may fall down on them with momentum. These additional features may seem to be a conflict in means of energy efficiency since they will consume more energy than needed, but think of it as an investment for the future: You will use additional energy for one year, maybe two, but it will return as the reduction of unnecessary energy consumption for the next 25 years. It will be worth it.

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While scientists, research institutes, activists go crazy about resource depletion and the problems we will face in the following decades, people still don’t quite grasp the extends of the crisis we’re having. So here is a short illustration of future to help you understand what this consumption craziness and the tardiness of the progress on a real solution will be the end of homo sapiens:

70-75 years from now – an outbreak turned half the world’s population to brain-eating zombies. They are chasing after the non-zombies, craving for their fresh meat (and they are doing it in smelly, filthy, torn out clothes). You miraculously managed to survive and found two or three survivors from whom you heard a rumour about a camp where the remaining people gather. You break in to the nearest local military and/or police center to retrieve some weapons, kill a bunch of zombies on the way, find a well protected car and head to the safe heaven.

Now is the time to use an SUV and consume enormous amounts of fossil fuel in the urban area. Now you have all the rights to do that, no one will argue with you, Greenpeace will give you their blessings and Al Gore will give you a “Go go go!” (that is, of course, he is not bitten yet). But sadly, now it’s too late, now we’re very low on gas and because we thought less bad would be good enough, we still don’t have properly functioning hydrogen cars and we’re stuck with hybrids.

Ouch. Mate, a walker just got your brains while you were looking for gas. Sorry, game over.

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