Sunday, March 09, 2008

It is time for an energy solution

From 1939 to 1945, the United States and her allies Canada and the UK, worked on a secret project unlike anything ever seen before in modern history. It was the Manhattan Project, a government research and development project with the intent on finding a way to build nuclear fission weapons.

In 1959, the USSR launched Sputnik. The act sparked what would become the space race between the two great super powers. For the first few years, it appeared that the US was way behind. It was not until May 25, 1961 that Jack Kennedy propossed sending a man to the moon and returning him safely to earth.

In 1945, when the Allies entered Germany, they found the Autobahn. The Autobahn to them was unlike anything they had seen before. It consisted of four lanes on a well-built highway divided by a median. Of course, today we take the Interstates for granted. But the inspiration for the Interstate system came from the Autobahn. From the early 50's until the 80's new interstate highways were constructed. It fueled and supported an economic expansion still felt today. In fact, the interstate highway system may well be the greatest economic infrasture improvement ever.

The Manhattan Project, Kennedy's Moon Challenge, and The Interstate Highways are three examples of what good government can do and how problems can be solved. The efforts made by those previous administrations will be felt for generations to come. The spin off technologies and scientific and engineering development from these efforts are inumberable.

I challenge Congress and whichever candidate wins the Presidency to support and fund a research and development program unlike anything seen before. I challenge them to create a Manhattan Project for energy independence.

Imagine a world where oil no longer mattered. Imagine automobiles who do not polute. Now imagine the economic and technological benefit a country who develops the solutions would have.

All of our foreign wars since Vietnam have been connected to oil in some way or another. Iran, Iraq, Lybia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and even Afganistan (Bin Laden was pissed about the troops being in the holy land during Gulf War I) have been tied to oil. If we no longer needed oil, those conflicts and occupations would stop.

I believe that if left to the major energy corporations or to the automakers, we will never see a break from oil. They have too much invested in the older technology. Barriers to entry are very significant in both energy and automobile manufacturing. Expecting a major investment of this size to be carried by industry is unreasonable. That is why we need to have the best and brightest in the country and among our allies to go on the government payroll, move to a single research center, and develop a solution. Once the solution is developed, the technology can be licensed to private industry to market it.

It has been done before. We have the infrastructure to do it. We have the money to do it. (Take the savings from no more oil wars) When gas reaches $4 a gallon, we will have the political will to do it.

The plan is simple: Invest $1 Trillion into a research and developement program which will have the stated goal of getting the United States to be a net exporter of energy withing ten years.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Government Gone Wrong

This June you will hear of a modern day Scopes Monkey Trial in my own
hometown of Staunton, Virginia.

At issue is the local prosecuter charging both the owner and an employee
of an adult video store with indecency.

Regardless of your opinion on the subject of porn, you should be worried
about the government, any government, arresting people based upon the
content of the media they possess.

If they are successful in defining crimes based upon content rather than
actions, then they become free to define any content as objectionable.
When this happens, the book burnings and political executions are quick
to follow.

Monday, March 03, 2008

The Need for a Better Cell Phone

I have been using the Motorola Q for about 15 months now. To be honest, it is both the best and worst cell phone I have ever had.

In the best column: It has email, internet (slow), calendar, syncs with my outlook on my desktop, and a blue tooth head set.

In the worst column: It eats battery life like crazy. I am lucky if I can get 45 minutes of talk and 3 hours of standby.

In an attempt to fix the problem, (I have 9 months left on the current contract) I spent Sunday tracking down various fixes and hacks for the damned thing. What I found was that for about $40 I can get the extra large battery. I ordered it today.

After that, I made some adjustments ( found online. These include a handy little program called Candlelight which lowers the back light but makes it impossible to see in sunlight. I also learned that I need to kill all the programs all the time. Apparently, when you start your mail program, for instance, it runs forever. You need to "kill" through a messed up series of menus.

So if you are looking for a smart phone, stay the hell away from the Q.