Midday Cannons: success or failure? A look at the refuse disposal system 20 years on By Jemma Pollari Daily News May 21, 2115 A very not-fake* news report *by which I mean fictional
At the business end of the 21st Century, a turning point was reached for those still on Earth. It was no longer viable to continue dumping refuse on Earth and another solution was essential.
Turner Banks came to the rescue with the conception of the first Midday Cannon - primitive in design but essentially the same as would eventually be used in towns and cities and communities Earth-wide, and, one-day, Moon- and Mars-wide too.
It was a revolutionary design which would change the way we dealt with the refuse of our consumerism forever.
The first Midday Cannon was built in Banks' hometown of Sydney, Australia, with many other Australian cities to follow. South Africa was the next country to jump on board, then Denmark, then the rest of the world.
Banks, now a multi-billionaire and possibly the world's most famous environmentalist, will always remember the day his design was included as compulsory in the 2095 Kioto Ratification Agreement: "It was the culmination of my life's work.
The day I received the formal ratification of my design was probably the best day of my life - barring perhaps the birth of my son, Turner Jr in 2097." (CNN interview with Banks, 2114).
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of Banks' design was the fact that nobody had thought of it first. The design is simple: shoot garbage into the sun every day at midday, and remove the need for storing refuse in wasted-space dumps on the Earth's surface.
Incredible that no-one came up with it sooner.
Of course, perfecting the algorithms and technology required to keep the course straight into the sun was the important - and patentable - trick that Banks mastered.
But despite the advertised be-all-end-all nature of the solution, is it really all it's cracked up to be?
Naturally, in any examination of the suitability of the solution, one's mind is immediately drawn to the events of 2096.
Just one year after the world-wide acceptance of the design, the devastating malfunction of the Midday Cannon in London caused world-wide panic and, importantly, re-consideration of the method as a trash disposal solution. No-one wanted their city covered in re-entered debris, or the spread of disease that ensued.
However, the wide-spread success of other cities and the personal donation from the Banks Foundation for the clean-up effort ensured that the system continued to be implemented and used world-wide.
Then there was the 2101 scandal involving many known organised crime families and their "unauthorised" (to say the least) use of the system. Despite stringent precautions and garbage analysis methods it is suspected that unauthorised disposal of criminal and/or human refuse continues to this day.
It is unclear whether these issues will ever be resolved. Many argue that it is a price we should be willing to pay for the benefits the Midday Cannon affords our communities.
However, it seems obvious that this is a question that will have different answers depending on your connection or relationship to the human remains being disposed of via the cannon.
Perhaps what is most clear is the benefits of the Midday Cannon. Never before have we enjoyed such clean cityscapes free from human refuse. And it appears that the effect on the sun - our disposal ground - are negligible at best.
It would take immense volumes of rubbish from multiple planets ten times the size of Earth to have any kind of detectable influence on the sun, so for any conceivable lifetime it seems that the Midday Cannon is here to stay - and we are all the better for it, regardless of any mishaps along the way.
This has been Jemma Pollari, for the Daily News, May 21, 2115.