Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login


Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009) Donate to DU
Morpheal Donating Member (145 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:48 AM
Original message

There was a story today, in the BBC news, about a protest at an airport in the UK and it brought t mind a serious problem of trickle down technologies that fail to trickle down when needed, from the military to the civilian sector. This has profound implications for both the human condition and the betterment of the environmental concerns that plague todays world. In essence the entire R&D system needs to be re-examined, and subsequently rebuilt, and the tax payers, the civilian public, need to gain the benefit of inventions they have already paid for but that are being withheld from them under a system of unfair and wrongful military constraints that strangle the trickle down of new invention and innovation from furthering adequate progress in the civilian sector.

BBC News (December 8, 2008): The runway at Stansted Airport has reopened following a protest by more than 50 environmentalists. Is active demonstration always the best option? Climate action group Plane Stupid said that the action was intended to draw attention to CO2 emissions from the aviation industry and the protesters intended to occupy the area for as long as possible.

We know that direct protest is often naive. It is technically naive and politically naive. Unfortunately that good intentioned means, and what is often a lack of adequate effect, as well as difficulties that are sometimes faced by protestors who are ill prepared to withstand some of the pressures that todays behemoth industries and powers can exert, tend to work against that type of process. Besides that it isnt dialogue and it is not a creative solution. We need ideas, communication, not placards, marching and shouting, which tend to belittle the problem, rather than declaring its severity and offering creative solutions.

We know that radically new engines have been developed in the USA that have potential for extreme fuel savings and reduction in emissions beyond previous expectations. They are much smaller, much quieter, and much more efficient. They can carry heavier loads, use less materials in manufacture and certainly less fuel. Materials savings are very significant when we consider the size and complexity of the average jumbo jet engine.

Of course we run up against the difficulties involved in gaining release of new technology. That is true even when there is a desperate need for that technological advance in the civilian sector, and less and less need for it in the military sector. Declining military need does not necessarily open the way to release of new inventions. Increasing civilian need, and the needs of the environment in particular, do not help the matter either. Similarly the tendency is to allow civilian, private sector, R&D to work unguided, sometimes obstructed and misinformed or even misdirected, to reinvent the wheel as it were. In a time of economic hardship this is a particularly failing strategy. Private sector lacks the fiscal ability and morale to pursue extremely complex, expensive, research and development efforts. Competition between labs and manufacturers in the private, civilian industry, sector further precludes progress. They do not communicate with each other, and do mislead each other, in their quest for a unique breakthrough to desperately sought for profits. The desperation tends to become worse then the economy falters and share holders are circling like vultures seeking to pick at the bones.

Of course we find the same scenario in other areas other than aerospace. We find it in power generation and conversion. There are more efficient, more advanced, designs available to the military sector, but not to the civilian sector. It is not limited to that. It pervades almost every field of human endeavor, ranging from medicine to every form of motive power, communications, aerospace, shipping, power generation, and so forth. There is something for everyone in that military Santa Clauss black bag of inventions. The same power that could in minutes destroy the world, can benefit humanity and potentially save it.

We do need further R&D efforts led by government in a time when private sector and pork barrel R&D are suffering cuts. That is mandatory. Naive protest and reliance on privatized, free enterprise, progress must be considered to be at an end, with its near fatal reliance on brute competition. The establishing of more nationalized laboratories for practical civilian oriented research and development of new inventions is a must. We cannot rely on military trickle down for progress in the civilian sector. We see the results in the world and the results are far from good. Similarly the waste of good minds, creative talents, skills, and resources, in a system where everyone might only be reinventing the wheel is abominable tragedy and extremely grievous loss. That system must change. Cooperative research and development has far more future. Unfortunately it is primarily in the military R&D sector that cooperation was possible, therefore more rapid and effective technical advancement. (The lie that that is untrue, and the lie that free enterprise, privatized, non cooperative competitive R&D are the method of choice, have long been promoted as part of a government ideology and its misinformation, disinformation campaigns.)

Now that pork barrel military spending in the USA is being severely cut, the whole infrastructure of R&D will need to be re-examined and restructured. It cannot continue in a business as usual mode. It will have to be changed. Similarly there needs to be consideration of what has been developed using tax payers dollars, and hidden away on the military shelf, inclusive of advanced and more efficient aerospace technologies, but far from limited to that, which has potential for solving real problems in the civilian sphere. Environmental issues, and reduction of greenhouse gases in aviation, is one such area. No one knows as much about getting more range for less fuel, lightening the weight of technology involved, safety in flight, and new aerospace designs than the military R&D establishment. It is a time when some of those inventions needs to be made more readily available, for adoption into the immediate needs of the civilian sector. In this time of systemic failure, and worsening environmental, human and economic disaster it remains the responsibility of governments such as the government of the United States of America to rebuild its research and development capabilities, and to utilize its existing new technologies and technological designs, for the betterment of the human condition, not only solely and exclusively for its destruction. That includes the withholding of extremely valuable inventions that already exist and are much needed by the civilian sector.

Robert Morpheal

This article may be copied, reproduced, and distributed in any form, by any means, anywhere, and in fact anyone is encouraged to do so.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 12:04 PM
Response to Original message
1. Then stop using the Internet and your cellular phone! nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
davepc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 12:07 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. and GPS in your car!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 12:14 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. And non-stick cooking surfaces in pots and pans! And polarized sun glasses!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
bridgit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 01:12 PM
Response to Original message
4. I'm less convinced the 'Destructive & Wasteful' parts of mili R&D are undefined secrecy per se...
Edited on Mon Dec-08-08 01:35 PM by bridgit
so much as it is the money, yes, tons of little overseen money and the cagey people that are drawn to it i.e. patent/breakthrough people, etc, and then the need to rather not tip any cards in a very deadly game of what others consider, and perhaps rightly so (everything being just fine so long as it is), to some degree: peace or more to the point survival on a national scale and in the world beyond = enter? Defined secrecy.

Disneyland is secretive for that matter, someone always walking round Fantasyland with a bluish laser-like, fiber optic listening device wiggling out their ear. And it seems any nation worth it's salt has secrets and on some level god save them if they don't; America is one of many born and sustained through contentious straits upon secrecy that being suggested...

The greater secret is the money being squandered by way of add-ons and the likelihood that many of the systems that enter the process, while to some lovely and shiny as a plastic model fixed to a hardwood display, are obsolete having crept away from their own mission.

They may be in the forms of solid state, and photolithographically reduced, but we still have transistors, puters, sprites & nano-bots, microwave ovens GPS (triangulated tracking and such), non-lethal weaponry, nylon, teflon, synthetic lubricants...Robots! My God The Robots!! They just ran the marathon here in town yesterday, afterward everyone seemed to be wearing a mylar blanket.

But I hear you and wonder about that line in the process cause if, in a generalized sense: *you don't know what you got till it's gone*...can one by the same token *know what they need until they do*. Otherwise I wonder other things like should we be so willing to clamor for the developments of a system that rewards such...perks, by way of what is ultimately exponenetial levels of death & chaos? Do we really need to know 'the secrets'? Or is it enough to state flatly...

"I can't wait!!"

Oh, and here's where the Skycar currently resides if we're able to call that living :(
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Fri Jan 19th 2018, 12:45 AM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators

Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC