For a human, using a sponge and squeegee combo is probably the most effective way to clean a window. For a robot, I would imagine that the answer is something more like a pressure washer, with a hood which covers the work area and reclaims the wash water. The water would then be filtered and reused until the particulate count rose too high, at which point it would be flushed and replaced with fresh. A sheeting additive would be used to cause the water to run off without spotting.
This probably wouldn't replace human window washing entirely, but it seems like it has the potential to replace at least some of the washes.
I've often wondered if anyone has ever tried a project to make a building which washes itself, using a robot designed for the building, and a building designed for the robot. I can imagine many problems with such a project without even undertaking it, mostly related to critters taking up residence in the mechanisms and/or tracks, but if it operated continuously that might well eliminate some of those objections. A universal window washing robot has a more complicated task than such a device would.
Did you even read the article? You'll find it discusses how the old World Trade Center Towers had built in devices that were made specifically for the building that would automatically go up and down cleaning it. The only problem was they missed the corners and creases of each pane and the rich people at the top of the building didn't want the grimy borders to their new expensive view of NYC.
It sounds like you have a lot of ideas for building a nice big heavy expensive machine that moves up and down a building. Burst forth and implement your idea, I think you'll find that the the weight, the power and the water feed to these devices will push you towards what has already been implemented and did not do a satisfactory job. Humans had to follow up behind the built in robots to clean spots they had missed.
It's funny, I read articles on Slashdot about how AI is the one thing that threatens man. And we can't even implement AI and pattern recognition to replace a window washer -- oh the incongruity!
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
I always thought it was bizarrely tautological. If you wish something to be different and you personally can make a choice for it under your control to be different, then you make the correct choice. For example, I don't throw a soda can out the window of my car while complaining about pollution on the highway. Other people obviously don't care but I control the drop in the bucket I'm responsible for and I make the ethical choice.
But as I got older, I actually found and still find people that think they should be forced to do it the right way even while complaining about the abuse. Case in point, a friend in the medical profession was actually complaining about tax dodges while setting up his own backdoor Roth IRA. When I asked him about abusing the very rules he was decrying, he simply shrugged and said he doesn't make the rules he just follows them. He acknowledged it's shady as hell but pretty much felt like his hands were tied.
It was deeply troubling
He left that series when DC announced, following the Columbine High School massacre, that it would not publish "Shoot", a Hellblazer story about school shootings, although the story had been written and illustrated prior to the Columbine massacre.
Is this common in comic books/graphic novels? Have you experienced this elsewhere in your career? Do you feel that DC and other big publishers are too afraid of another Fredric Wertham to toe the line?
Can't resist asking questions when I see a fresh interview though
The minerals themselves aren't necessarily rare in an absolute sense, but they're expensive to extract.) The most economically viable deposits are found in China, and rising prices for them as exports to the U.S., the EU, and Japan have raised political hackles. (At the same time, those rising prices have spurred exploration and reexamination of known deposits off the coast of Japan, in the midwestern U.S., and elsewhere.
My understanding revolves around only the crudest idea about modern mining methods and the resulting tailings & water usage they often employ. I assume that in China, they get around these costs by just damaging the environment (like dumping tailings where ever instead of having dedicated settling and filtering ponds). Could you give us some back of the envelope calculations (they could be percentages or additional yearly operating costs) of what these environmental regulations mean for mining operations in the United States versus China? There's an awful lot of talk on Slashdot and other news sites about how cost prohibitive the EPA makes business in America but I've never seen an expert in the industry actually talk hard numbers. Any ballpark estimates would be greatly appreciated. In your experience, are any of these laws and regulations less or more effective than others?