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Daveparts still Donating Member (614 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 09:28 AM
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At the Forefront
At the Forefront
By David Glenn Cox

Those who came before us made certain that this country rode the first waves of the industrial revolutions, the first waves of modern invention, and the first wave of nuclear power, and this generation does not intend to founder in the backwash of the coming age of space. We mean to be a part of it--we mean to lead it. For the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and to the planets beyond, and we have vowed that we shall not see it governed by a hostile flag of conquest, but by a banner of freedom and peace. We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and understanding. (John F. Kennedy)

President Kennedy never had any idea how the seeds planted would someday bear fruit. The money spent for the space program has been returned to us a thousand fold. The world was completely changed forever; we gained new knowledge of computers, metals, life science. The investment in brainpower has incalculable returns, it is the future and it is also the only path forward. The Hubble space telescope has revolutionized our understanding of the universe and our place in it. For the price of one small weapons system, our knowledge of the universe has been vastly multiplied.

The machine that you are reading this on came from the space program, and the companies that built it didnt exist when Kennedy proposed tossing his cap over the wall of space. So let us follow Kennedys thought to where we are today. Kennedy faced a cold war with the Soviets. We face economic turmoil, and an economy that is losing domestic employment and hemorrhaging its vital economic life force. We are shackled by a dependence on imported oil and natural gas. Our very sovereignty is endangered by massive debts owed to less than benign powers.

I have been asked many times, "What, then, is the answer?" To begin with, the departure of Van Jones illustrates the problem. A name on a door and an office in the White House is a symbol and not a program. Part of President Obamas green initiative spends millions of dollars to help design oil drilling bits for the most profitable corporations on planet Earth.

Condensed, our problems are jobs, fuel and balance of trade. During the last Great Depression FDR put tens of thousands to work for the Tennessee Valley Authority. The TVA changed one of the poorest regions in the country to a center of strength. Cheap electrical power brought industry to the region along with jobs and prosperity.

We have in this country tens of thousands of areas where wind power technology is entirely practical. What we need in this country is a green program not unlike Kennedys space program, with the goal of being completely finished with oil by the end of the next decade. The program will cost a great deal of money, yet that will be a pittance when compared with the return. A green revolution for homes cars and industry, developing new technologies and expanding our knowledge and keeping that knowledge proprietary.

The brainpower will come from American universities and equipment will be built with American labor and components. All products will contain 85% American parts and will be assembled in America. The technologies developed under the program will be licensed with the royalties going into a national sovereign wealth fund. In eleven years, thousands of wind power plants and solar plants will generate enough electricity to make coal fired plants obsolete. The new technology will need no fuel; it will not participate in cap and trade because it will have zero emissions.

In 1961 we as a nation had difficulty getting rockets off the ground, but in just nine years we reached the moon. What could this sort of dedicated program do for Americas auto industry? Today the best electric car has a two hundred-mile range, but with innovations such as the Stanford battery, that could multiply ten fold. Our future could be bright if only we look towards it rather than cringe from it. These new products would be exported to the world with export tariffs to let your investment pay the taxes rather than the poor and struggling. The tariffs are only paid by nations that wish to participate in the green wave. Like a lottery ticket, they are a tax only on the willing.

Clean, plentiful and inexpensive electricity will give manufactures a competitive advantage. A tax code that rewards employers and punishes speculators and purveyors of the old way will help to subsidize the cost. This is not a pipe dream or a gee golly I wish that, this is the only way. The days of oil are numbered and we all understand that. Do we wait for that day wringing our hands? Or do we step boldly forward to avert it? Do we build ever more military systems to control the flow of oil, or do we build systems to subvert the need entirely?

Henry Ford once spent two billion dollars trying to build a rubber plantation in South America. It was a failure as the answer wasnt in the jungle but in the laboratory with a test tube and at a tenth of the cost. It takes courage to look forward into the future because the future is filled with promise and is a desert of guarantees. Ben Franklin once famously answered a witness to a hot air balloon who asked, What good is it?

Franklin responded, What good is a newborn baby?

We can run to the future or we can run from it, but either way it is coming to a life near you. These inventions and improvements will be made somewhere, so why not here? Why not a program to put Americans to work building the green infrastructure that we will need in the coming century? Why not build a new system that will devalue the old and make resource wars unnecessary? Why not build a new industrial base of green technologies that will enrich our lives and revitalize our economy?

The space program in its heyday cost every American fifty cents a week. Twenty-four dollars a year. Less than the cost of oil increases. Less than the cost of wars and instead to build something that is uniquely ours, to reclaim our rightful seat as the worlds leader in technology. In 1969 the world watched in awe and admiration; not because we could launch missiles from far away to destroy targets but because we could do something most thought impossible. It was Franklins newborn baby taking its first small step.

We have a unique opportunity here. If our economy were prosperous and the job market strong, we would have no chance at achieving the goal. But because we are in need and our economy is weak and our jobs are evaporating, we have a chance to marshal the resources necessary. The profit is in the potential; there is no future for buggy whip makers or home coal delivery or the iceman. The future is coming. Shall we be its servant or its master?

Do we still mean to be a part of it and to lead it? Or shall we see the future governed by a hostile flag? Can we dream the dreams and unleash the power of our minds to build a better future for our children? Or shall we armor those children to fight for the scraps of yesterdays bread?

Kennedy did not live to see men on the moon, but he was certain that we would arrive there. Just as Ben Franklin was certain that what he was witnessing was but a glimpse of the future. We have a future to be embraced just as a mother holds her child, and not to be feared like a stranger at the door. To release to roam free the most powerful weapon on earth we have under our control, the human mind.

For time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future. (John F. Kennedy)
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Daveparts still Donating Member (614 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 03:32 PM
Response to Original message
1. While we sleep
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DemReadingDU Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-24-09 07:01 PM
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2. I just never realized these wind turbines are so large

Thanks, cool pictures

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