Keep Our World Wet

If not Global Warming, Then What?

Continuing along my steam-train of thought with the question of the week, I decided to consider the environmental issues that would be associated with a developing world that ran on steam.  Even in the real world, power-plants rely on steam generation to create electricity: nuclear, coal-fired, and gas-fired plants boil water to create pressurized steam that spins turbine generators.  Without the internal combustion engine, cars and other motorized vehicles would use steam or electricity for propulsion in this alternate world.  Since non-renewable resources must be used regardless, the amount of water being vaporized in the millions of steam-motors all over the world must be the object of criticism.  One can only imagine how much steam would be required to drive the many vehicles in the United States, let-alone all the vehicles in the world.  The PSA Billboard assignment for four-and-a-half stars proved to be an excellent outlet for this fictional environmental concern.

Go Green, Ditch the Steam

Today was no different than any other in Detroit. A heavy haze glowed red with the rising sun, impeding the rays of light from reaching their intended destination.  The fog grew denser each day in Detroit: while its increase in intensity was hardly noticeable from one day to the next, the change in the city’s air-space over the years was anything but subtle.  In nineteen-ninety-eight, visibility in the city had been reduced to around four hundred yards, and the twenty years since then saw further reductions.

Along with the increase in fog came another environmental phenomenon, a ten percent drop in the water-level of the bordering Lake St. Clair.  Experts visited from the science institute in Washington D.C. to study the changes in the Detroit environment.  It came as no surprise when the statement was aired declaring a correlation between the rise in fog and fall in water-level.  Which one was the root cause was easily answered; the fog of course was to blame.

But what exactly was the fog, and why had it continued to hang over the Detroit skyline all these years? The experts gave the haze a special name, emberatic-brumulous fog, stemming from its two primary components: steam and soot.  Being the highest producer of coal-fired steam-propelled automobiles in the country, Detroit and its atmosphere was slowly choking to death on the by-products of its only industry.  Every working-age person in Detroit was employed by the Detroit auto-makers and drove a Detroit-built car, and one in every five Americans outside Detroit that owned a car owned a Detroit-built car as well.

Though the auto-manufacturers had claimed that vehicular-produced steam quickly entered the cycle of precipitation, they began to back-pedal their initial assurances after the government statement.  The scientists concluded that, due to the overabundance of steam and ash together in the air, the steam was holding onto the ash in the air, preventing the natural evaporation and clearing of the fog.  Intentionally or not, the auto-manufacturers had lied to Detroit, and now Detroit was suffering.

The National Coalition on Global Drought, NCGD, entered the spotlight after the report.  Lobbying in D.C. for stricter ash-emission regulations had been unsuccessful before, but with the support of the Detroit Auto-Worker’s Union NCGD was able to gain influence in the Capital.  Soon, billboards promoting electric cars became prevalent throughout the United States, encouraging consumers to purchase more environmentally friendly vehicles.  Limiting steam power to major power-plants was the goal for the coalition; containing steam and ash production to such highly regulated facilities would greatly reduce emberatic-brumulous fog in Detroit and the other cities that were beginning to call attention to their own problems with oddly persistent haze. In time, after enough people take the advice posted on the billboards, perhaps Detroit will once again see the light of day without having to squint through ash-colored fog.

Leave it to the Lobbyists

The assignment specified to use a six hundred and eighty by three hundred canvas size to mimic the proportions of a real billboard, however to make Instagram show the whole image, I had to double the height.  The brown spaces at the top and bottom of the image are not part of the billboard.

How it all Came to Be

I prepared a video tutorial on YouTube on how to create this image.  The video can also be watched on my tutorial post embedded below.

Keep Our World Wet (Tutorial)


Keep Our World Wet (Tutorial)

Effective Design for Public Service Announcements

Here I walk you through designing a PSA billboard encouraging the public to engage in global responsibility by driving electric.  We will be using Canva as our editor, Unsplash for our background photo, the Degraeve Color Palette Generator to analyze our background colors, and the Adobe Color Wheel to help pick out the color for the main text. The photo we will be using is by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash.


Blast from the Past, Henry Ford

Inspiration Served with Dr. Pepper

I was craving Dr. Pepper earlier, in addition to a quiet place to work on my alternate history assignment, so I set out on a trip to the local Sheetz. After I arrived, I got my Dr. Pepper, had a seat in the lounge, and got to work thinking about what historical figure to place in my internal-combustion-engine-less alternate history.  Being that I was sitting in a gas-station lounge, the theme of fueling-up came to mind. Also, I had been pondering the idea that electric cars probably would have been implemented sooner had internal-combustion engines never been invented.  Since these two ideas both centered around cars, the obvious choice of person was Henry Ford, famous founder of Ford Motor Company.

Henry Ford Builds First Electric Prototype: Shocking

By Hollis Pultz, June 1, 1924

“Electric is the way of the future, and the future is coming soon.”   This was Henry Ford’s response to questioning by the crowd of reporters gathered at the Ford Motor Company press conference today in Saint Paul, Minnesota.  The conference was held to unveil Ford’s newest creation, the world’s first electric automobile.

The Model E, as it is called, rolled around the corner of the Ford building and was met with applause and frantic camera fire as Mr. Ford waved to the crowd before him.  The audience of Ford employees and reporters quickly fell silent as the Model E cruised up to the front of the crowd. All those in attendance realized, seemingly simultaneously, how quiet the automobile was.  The new creation in front of them was not another coal-fired cruiser from the esteemed auto-maker.  After Mr. Ford stepped out of the Model E, he grabbed a plug from the strange podium next to him and inserted it into a small slot on the side of the car.  Then, with great ease Mr. Ford broke the awestruck silence, saying, “I figured I’d charge the car before you folks charge me with questions.”

While the Model E is not yet production ready, Ford says that the public may be able to purchase Model E’s within the next three years.  Ford Motor Company has been in talks with electric-service companies in the state of Minnesota to negotiate the placement of Electric Vehicle Charge Centers, EVCC’s, in major cities and along major highways.  Ford says these stations would be capable of charging up to six Model E’s at the same time and would cost only twenty-five cents per half-hour of charge time.  That is a great bargain, since one half-hour charge provides the E with a seventy mile travel distance; compare that to the cost of driving a steam-propelled Model S seventy miles at eleven cents per pound of coal.

Mr. Ford wrapped up his speech by thanking “all the technicians and engineers that made the Model E possible.” After a final wave to ascending applause and shutter flashes, Ford unplugged the Model E, sat in the seat, and drove off.  While the Model E was practically silent, its statement was clear: Ford holds the future of transportation.

Fillin’ up on Electric

How it all Came to Be

I created a video tutorial, which can be found on YouTube, for creating this image. Also, embedded below is my tutorial post, where the video can be found as well.

Blast from the Past, Henry Ford (Tutorial)

Hot Cars just got Steamier

Revisiting a Classic

Here, I will be giving my first glimpse into life in a world without internal combustion engines.  For the assignment, I have chosen to edit the cover of Stephen King’s ChristineChristine tells the story of a young man who becomes possessed by the evil spirit of a car that he restores.  In addition to the book cover, I have also changed the story to contain the theme I picked for the question of the week: What would life be like if the internal combustion engine was never invented?

Everything with a Name has a Soul

No, it couldn’t be. Maybe he had forgotten where he parked; maybe the mangled mess of red-painted steel and chrome in front of him belonged to someone else.  This was the first time Arnie had taken his beloved Christina out of the garage since completing the restoration.  He had straightened every single dent in the ‘fifty-eight Fury’s body, polished every inch of the chrome bumpers and trim, and replaced the two rusted-out exhaust stacks that protruded from the fenders on either side of the hood.  This couldn’t be his Christina.  Every piece of glass, the windows, lights, and gauge cluster, were shattered; shards of glass covered the ground around the vehicle and the ruined interior.  The leather seats, the ones he had reupholstered white with red piping not a week ago, were gashed and filleted open like the carcasses of slaughtered animals. The open hood revealed the worst damage however. the steam manifold had been crushed, likely by Christina’s own tire-iron that lay next to the bludgeoned piping.  Pieces of the oil injection system had been yanked free from the steam block, their contents spilling over the exhaust piping, giving off a strong burnt odor.  Yes, those stacks had been brand new, but the scratches and dents in the chrome ruined their appearance.

Arnie knew who did this to his Christina.  The boys from school that he always picked on had to have done this.  Arnie had pulled his knife on one of them two days earlier for not handing over his lunch.  In the recent weeks those dorks had starting resisting Arnie’s demands: refusing to do his homework, not getting out of his way in the hallway, not keeping their mouths shut when Arnie told them to.  Arnie had seen them at the ball game earlier and noticed that they left after he had shoved his girlfriend, Leigh, who was one of the dork’s cousins.  Arnie walked over to the payphone by the ticket box and slid a quarter into the slot.

“Hi, I need a tow over to Darnell’s Auto-body.  Yeah, from the ball-field.  Thanks.”

Arnie laid the keys to the garage stall on his bench and walked over to the front of the car. Helpless Christine, parked on her four slit-tires, shrouded in her kicked-in door panels gaped back at him with that open hood.  He would have to spend weeks repairing her; the initial restoration lasted three months, and he was going to be redoing most of the mechanical work he had done before, as well as purchasing many new parts for the steam block and coal injection system.  While waiting for the tow truck he had realized that the boys at the ball-park had jammed a screw-driver into the coal-lump grinder and filled the boiler assembly with corrosive soda; the entire system would have to be replaced if he ever intended it to burn again.  Arnie sat on his old wooden stool and buried his face in his hands.

“If I had known that the way I treated Leigh and those dorks made them this upset, I would never have bullied them so much,” he said.  “I never thought I was wrong, but now I see, and my beautiful Christine had to pay for it. Damn it!”  Arnie looked up; he thought he saw a wisp of smoke rising from the stack on the passenger-side of the car.  He walked around and opened the trunk.  Coal nuggets were plinking into the grinder, being pummeled into fine dust and blown into the boiler.  Heat emanated from the boiler; the dust burned, and water steamed inside. Where had the soda gone?  Where was the screw-driver that had been lodged in the tines of the grinder?  How was the boiler firing?  The impossibility of it all billowed around him as thick smoke began rising from the two stacks.  Arnie rushed around to the front of the car again, heart throbbing, palms sweating.  A grin spread slowly across Arnie’s face, mirroring the smile-like bend in Christina’s grill.

“Show me,” said Arnie. The fenders popped and glazed over as the metal straightened itself and the blemishes in the paint disappeared. Thousands of glass shards flew back into their positions and fused together to form whole windows once again. Steam pipes expanded to their former sizes, and oil lines swung back to their installed places, where they ceased leaking.  After the noise of bending metal subsided, Christina had finished, her body as beautiful as before, and the energy of her soul overwhelming Arnie’s senses.  “Together, we will do great things,” Arnie said, but he was not sure if those were his words or Christina’s.

So you have Heard of Christine, Meet Christina


How it all Came to Be

I recorded a video tutorial on how to create this book cover.  My tutorial post has the video embedded.  The video can also viewed on YouTube.

Hot Cars just got Steamier (Tutorial)

Hot Cars just got Steamier (Tutorial)

Fair Warning

I am not experienced at making tutorial videos, but I am thorough.  So, this might not be as exciting to watch as an HGTV how-to video on remodeling, but  after watching, you will be able to recreate the final product without issue.  This video covers how to acquire an image for editing, use Canva to setup the layout for the final image, find appropriate background colors with DeGraeve, and use some of the basic tools in Adobe Photoshop to render a professional final product.