Friday, April 28, 2006

Oil! We don't need no stinking oil!!

I LOVE the idea of alternative energy sources, but after reading this article you have to wonder about the effectiveness of ethanol as an alternative fuel. Does Germany have the right idea?

Jumping into the energy debate is always a tedious enterprise because the volume of information is enormous and truthfully there is no easy solution. A lot of the choices have serious downsides, but if we don't make a national and global commitment to one of them then we will never inspire the discoveries we need to make in those areas. JFK walks into a room in 1962 and says, "I want to see a man on the moon in the next ten years!" 1969, it happened. Thought leadership driving an important national initiative to fruition. We needed it then. We need it now.

Solar power is interesting, but bad because photovoltaics are inefficient. Wind power is interesting, but wind farms actually change the weather over time wherever they are. Ethanol is ineffective for reason described in the link above.

I have seen a system that allows cars to run on water, but fresh water. I can't think of a more colossal waste of creativity. Fresh water? You think the oil crisis is bad. You have not seen anything until the impending fresh water crisis on this planet comes to the forefront of everyone's mind. Fresh water supply is finite and the world's population is increasing, you do the math. Desalinization is an answer, but desalinization technology is currently very inefficient and it take a lot of energy to desalinize water. This leads us back to an energy crisis.

Harnessing the ocean's force is fascinating and I have begun designing a power generation grid that would be anchored to the ocean floor and something that could have significant possibilities harnessing the power of undersea rivers. However there are serious and significant ecological concerns. How will the grid interact with wildlife? To get enough energy to make it really effective would we actually be killing the ocean? What are the generation capabilities of ocean based turbines and would the fail rate or material used actually make it cost prohibitive? All things are to be determined. It is good to have a team of engineers working for you. They can answer questions like that.

If you are interested in renewable or alternative energy here is a link to the National Renewable Energy Lab.


Onward to less important things:

Check out this site building a community of car owners. Have a bad lease, or a car you don't really like, post it on Swap A Lease and find someone to take it off your hands. Pretty cool.

Two very cool new atmospheric research satellites were launched into space early this morning.

Building a skyscraper? What should you put on the roof? Tar, nah, how about trying a garden?

Want to build a billion dollar business? Here are 7 ways how.

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