Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Planetary Prayer Wheel

Convert angular momentum to good karma on a planetary scale.
  [vote for,

If one researches the Tibetan Buddhist faith, one can find vast benefits ascribed to "prayer wheels" - rotating devices on which prayers are inscribed. Essentially, if one turns the wheel or meditates upon a wheel they are turning, then the effect will be the dispersal of negative karma and accrual of good karma.

These wheels may be turned by any source- human effort, fluid motion, electric motors, and even .gifs of prayer wheels are said to be effective. The area of effect for a prayer wheel is also huge; even an insect passing through a prayer wheel's shadow may be benefited.

Now, in order to spread this karmic benefit to the maximum group possible at any one time, it is clear that we will need a very large rotating object. One immediately suggests itself, which has the advantage of being visible to all human beings at once and something that most of us have ready access to for most of our lives. I am referring, of course, to the planet Earth.

First, we will create a large band of solid, writable material around the equator. This also will have the advantage of rendering cross-continental pedestrian and motor traffic significantly easier. I propose we use glass, as this can easily be manufactured from lunar regolith. After all, it's not exactly as if all that dust is doing us any good up there. It will be supported on the oceans by large buoys constructed from buoyant waste materials such as styrofoam, unobtainium, and sealed plastic soda bottles. Extremely thick glass will be used, so as to prevent breakage, and on land the band will be fused to the ground by a high-voltage vitrification process.

Secondly, we will launch a satellite into low-altitude orbit around Earth's equator. By equipping this satellite with an extremely powerful laser beam, we will be able to cause bubbles to form in the glass by heating, a la those little blocks of glass with 3D bubble sculptures inside them. Keep in mind that a very large laser will be required, and this may violate the Outer Space and SALT II treaties. Not to worry, as we can simply point out that the resulting upsurge in beneficial spiritual power will prevent all future wars. This laser will be used to etch the Sanskrit phrase "om mani padme hum" on the glass band many, many times, ideally at high resolution. Keep in mind that the characters must be etched so that they may only be read right side up from a position in which the planet appears to be rotating clockwise; that is, with the top side facing south.

(Also, note that that the positive effects of a prayer wheel scale linearly per mantra inscribed; if the laser is high enough resolution, we could reach the gigamantra scale, vastly aiding research into high energy experimental theology.)

This will have the effect of converting our planet to a prayer wheel. In the event that the passive rotation of the Earth is insufficient to generate karma, then it will be necessary to have foot or motor traffic drive counterclockwise around the planet; all traffic wishing to drive arrive at a destination eastwards of their current position will simply have to take the conveniently provided circumferential glass highway the long way around the planet. This will, by Newton's third law, cause the planet to be rotated in a clockwise direction, causing the production of karma. This has the additional effect that if we reverse direction and require traffic to flow /clockwise/, then the Earth will be turned counterclockwise, allowing us to weaponize the planet by directing nearly teraDharm levels of negative karma at invading aliens.

The effects of such a device cannot be overstated. For instance, in order to come closer to spiritual enlightenment, it is only necessary to travel from west to east, look out your window, or simply to be on the planet. The ecological environment will also massively improve, due to the accrual of great karma by the planet itself due to the geodynamo.

Furthermore, even if the karma should only accrue to the planet itself, and not to the inhabitants, then when the Earth is destroyed by some upcoming catastrophe, then it is virtually guaranteed to be reincarnated as an even better planet.

Hive_Mind, Mar 26 2012


       This is one of those times when I wish I could keep clicking 'for'.
Alterother, Mar 26 2012

       I would have thought it would need to be more in concert with nature, so the glass highway bit doesn't sound right to me. I can just imagine teams of monks inscribing the bedrock at the bottom of the Atlantic with the necessary characters, though.   

       You could also supplement the effect by having another set at each tropic as well. Perhaps adorned by extra writing near the poles, etched into the permafrost.
Carmi, Mar 26 2012

       // First, we will create a large band of solid, writable material around the equator. This also will have the advantage of rendering cross-continental pedestrian and motor traffic significantly easier. //   

       Oddly enough, I have just been trying to memorize the places where the equator crosses landmasses. By and large, it's on water. It crosses the lower third of Africa (the less-wide part that sticks out at the bottom) and the upper part of South America (also not at the widest part). And a couple of large islands. Oh, and some of that South American part is the mouths of the Amazon. (And Sulawesi island seems to have a large bay designed just to keep the Equator off its land.)   

       Africa and South America are pretty big, but Ocean is bigger.   

       There are a space-launch system idea and an equatorial maglev train idea here on the HB that you could tag this idea on to, but on its own I'd suggest a major change. Which is to forget the Equator.   

       You could build a stationary prayer pillar at the South Pole, or even import an actual prayer wheel, and get the same rotating effect. Losing, I admit, the "wrap around the entire earth" effect and losing the spreading of karma from the center of all.   

       Of course, you could offset the pillar a little, or a lot. I'd say that if you kept the axis parallel to the earth's you might still be able to count it. In other words, you could put a pillar in your back yard, tilted to point at Polaris, and maybe that would count.   

       Where-ever you build your prayer structure, I advise building it out of laminated layers. Print or etch a tiny prayer on every very thin layer, stack them all up, and Robert is your mother's brother. (Or do the prayers have to be visible?) [+]
baconbrain, Mar 26 2012

       Well, it can't do any harm, and if you're going to keep on electing Democrats to the Presidency, quite frankly you need all the good karma you can get ...
8th of 7, Mar 26 2012

       We could build a prayer wheel around the moon and give that a spin.   

       ... being hollow and all it can double as a gong.   

       [+]...anything for good karma!
xandram, Mar 26 2012

       Who's checking the wording of these things? After all, they're a legal document to God or the universe or the circling karmic spaghetti monster or whatever. What if we're sending the wrong message with every turn of the wheel?   

       What if we're turning them in the wrong direction?   

       For a minimal fee, I'll head up an expensive government appointed panel to investigate. I'll need a retirement and health care plan, a bunch of assistants and a nice building on the beach in Malibu to do my research. My first order of business will be a feasibility study to check the feasibility of subsequent future feasibility studies.
doctorremulac3, Mar 26 2012

       If I drive the wrong direction while everyone else is going clockwise, will that result in horrible karma for me?
RayfordSteele, Mar 26 2012

       As far as you specifically are concerned, pretty much anything you do is going to result in horrible karma.   

       In the Great Bathroom of Life, Fate has placed you in the toilet U-bend.
8th of 7, Mar 26 2012

       I shall do my best to clog it.
RayfordSteele, Mar 26 2012

       Speaking of chirality faux pas, I was walking around the rim of Mt Bromo volcano, when I met someone coming the other way. He informed me that I was circumambulating contrariwise, and that the issue was that the local gods might get angry or something. I was thinking, "Yeah, right, what are the gods going to do ... Ah. Yes. I see."
spidermother, Mar 26 2012

       Do the words need to be connected? If not, you could put one letter on each of a series of satellites all orbiting in order.
pocmloc, Mar 26 2012

       //top side facing south// We saw what you did, there. The Northern Hemisphere gets all the karma.   

       //Speaking of chirality faux pas// [marked-for- tagline] but shouldn't it be "fausses pas?"
mouseposture, Mar 26 2012

       All good things. +
blissmiss, Mar 27 2012

       Could we just go for an orbital one, a la Saturn's rings.?   

       I'm thinking satellite in appropriate orbit, sprays out bursts of water with appropriate colours to make make a huge mandala ring. Or is that Mandela? I forget.   

       Anyway, something lighter than water would be handy of course.
not_morrison_rm, Mar 27 2012


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