Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Bioturf Roads

Genetically engineer a "supergrass" to replace asphalt
  (+3, -1)
(+3, -1)
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We should genetically engineer a grass that is physically tough (like kevlar or spider silk); quickly grows to a certain height but slowly thereafter; able to withstand bright sunlight, deep shade, boggy swamps, rocky deserts, and temperature extremes; eats asphalt for lunch, sucks up carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide like a vacuum cleaner, and fixes nitrogen in the soil. Oh, and is easy to control (perhaps it is sterile and/or requires a particular element or compound to grow, like borax).

With such a bioturf (biological turf, as opposed to astroturf) we could replace the millions of miles of asphalt used on roads, highways, and parking lots with something a bit easier on the eyes, on the nose, and on the feet (barefoot jogging would be a lot of fun). Roads could soak up auto emissions and smog before it had a chance to travel very far, and they would be self-healing. We could even modify the grass to soak up energy in the summer and release it so the road stays just above freezing in the winter -- no more black ice or snow plows.

mrouse, Apr 13 2002

Bio-engineered Sidewalks http://www.halfbake...gineered_20sidewalk
Similar idea, by futurebird. [Pseudonym #3, Apr 13 2002]

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       Be a bit slippy when it rains.
mcscotland, Apr 13 2002

       Use cars with cleats :)
mrouse, Apr 13 2002

       Thought this would be a continuation of futurebird's idea.
Pseudonym #3, Apr 13 2002

       Arrgh, I did a search for roads, but not for sidewalks. Ok, here's the deal. Sidewalks are gene-engineered lichen, roads are gene-engineered grass :) Or something like that.   

       I'll have to croissantize his sidewalk idea now. er, I mean HER sidewalk idea. Sorry, futurebird, default English pronouns strike again. (blasted amateurnouns)
mrouse, Apr 13 2002

       a feminine futurebird!
po, Apr 13 2002

       Instead of bioturf, perhaps a better name would be grassphalt. (Hey, I can improve my own idea, can't I?)
mrouse, Apr 25 2002


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