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Thread: Obama Wants Research to Wean Vehicles off Oil.....

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    Re: Obama Wants Research to Wean Vehicles off Oil.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Middleground View Post
    We do? Pray tell...
    Synthetic oil - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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    Re: Obama Wants Research to Wean Vehicles off Oil.....

    O
    Quote Originally Posted by Catawba View Post
    Was it private investors alone that developed nuclear energy, or the internet, or petro fuels for that matter?
    None of those took 50 years of funding with nothing to show for it.

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    Re: Obama Wants Research to Wean Vehicles off Oil.....


    I'm well aware of synthetic oil. But you do know it still uses petroleum, right?
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    Re: Obama Wants Research to Wean Vehicles off Oil.....

    Quote Originally Posted by ReformCollege View Post
    O

    None of those took 50 years of funding with nothing to show for it.
    Neither has alternative energy.
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    We’ll say what? Something like “nothing happened” ... Yeah, we might say something like that.

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    Re: Obama Wants Research to Wean Vehicles off Oil.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Neomalthusian View Post
    Research does not necessarily yield breakthroughs that will save 8, 9, 10+ billion people.
    I assume the thread was dealing only with the US, but of course the far greater issue worldwide and longterm is population.
    Perhaps the harsh truth is that wind and sun, while ubiquitous, cannot possibly yield the energy that will save our species. Especially not a species that relies on oil to plant, fertilize, and harvest crops out of nutrient-depleted soils and to ship goods all over the planet.
    There are only two sources of energy: solar and geo/nuclear - both of which, though finite, are very long term. Petroleum is but a small storage medium for solar energy. Wind is largely a short term (but somewhat consistent and in practical terms endless) reservoir of solar energy.

    Don't be naive. All the money in the world poured into research will not create a battery that will power a freighter across the Pacific. Without fossil fuels our entire global economy unravels and we descend into chaos. That unpleasantry is the most painfully obvious yet most sweepingly denied of any major issue we currently face.
    Just as is the case for dealing with sovereign debt, the whole petro phase will come and go with a bit of a shakeup, but so what? Civilization and technology have been around for about 4,000 years, and the petro phase has been barely over a century - and will not likely last another 100 years. Compare that with the rate of change of technology, and there is a sufficient amount of time to pull our coillective head out of our petro-a$$ and start thinking like the intelligent beings we pretend to be.

    Face it: our global economy is NOT serving the species well. It has resulted in a culture of consumption based on finite resources, so by any measure, this pattern is not sustainable. Just like President Post Turtle, the whole world is focused on how to use more, rather than how to live sustainably.

    My problem with government doing applied research is that it becomes tied to political agendae. This is a perfect example. Some half-wit goes to Washington and thoughtlessly puke up whatever his handlers put into his mouth without gagging on the intellectual poison of the attached reasoning (or in this case, complete LACK of reasoning). Before you can get these idiots pointed in the right direction, we need a very close look at what role government should be playing in EVERYTHING they do now (and, in fact if they should even be there - constitutionally or rationally). IMHO, FUNDAMENTAL research should be sponsored by government - as well as private sources, NEVER applied research (with a few noteworthy exceptions).

    Let me give you an example: due to government funding applied research into alternative fuels, instead of going someplace intelligent, we end up with ethanol. Now you have political half-wits choosing winners and losers in the marketplace with all kinds of fallout. First of all, a really stupid fuel. Secondly, massive distortion in both domestic and international food markets. Thirdly, perpetuating the trend to destroying soils and aquifers due to intense ag practices. Finally, perpetuating the use of petroleum derived gasoline as a motor fuel.

    The biggie there in technological terms is the last one. Now you have rewarded and entrenched a stupid course of R&D - at the real market cost of diverting attention away from intelligent research into far more appropriate fuels and BEHAVIOUR. I have to keep coming back to the real issue: it is not that we don't have enough energy to survive, it is that we live a lifestyle focused on wasting a very finite resource at an every-increasing rate. Partisan politics lives in a world with a four year view to survival. We as a nation and a species need things done that reflect our need to survive beyond the pork barrel.

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    Re: Obama Wants Research to Wean Vehicles off Oil.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Zyphlin View Post
    That's President Barack Obama. Now, I understand the desire to research alternative forms of energy and I don't even completely feel like we shouldn't be investing some in it as a country. However, if we're facing "thousands of teachers" losing jobs, children losing health coverage, air traffic controllers unable to work, hold illegal immigrants for deportation, deploy our military assets, or pass significant furloughs wouldn't the FAR more prudent thing to do with that 200 million be to funnel it to one of those things we're being told is catastrophic to the wellbeing of the country rather than investing it into technology that may or may not help us anytime in the near future or ever? I mean, if Barack Obama's doomcrying was honest and not just rhetoric of a typical politician...but he'd never do that, because he is a "Change from politics as usual"
    You don't think a little bit of trimming of that $700 billion-a-year military spend could fill these gaps?
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    Re: Obama Wants Research to Wean Vehicles off Oil.....

    I think that government should wean itself off pumping money into applied research - which distorts markets and scientific priorities.

    OK, let's say, for the sake of argument, that the goal is worthy and the method is appropriate.

    But why on earth "stimulate" this sort of research now, when every major automaker is already in, and had made massive commitments to exactly this sort of R&D? Nissan alone had spent $5.6B on developing Leaf, by 2011 - according to Ghosn. Whether the concept will fly or flop, it seems to be well beyond the phase when this kind of spending could make (in theory) real difference.

    I understand that our Fearless Leader needs to placate his "green" fans, but if I were a sincere socialist, I would rather be asking: At what point should we start phasing out the $7,500 income tax credit that faciliates transfers of money from the rich people buying expensive electric vehicles to the international megacorporations? (Not being versed in the left-wing folklore, I am not sure how evil Renault-Nissan is supposed to be).
    Last edited by Cyrylek; 03-17-13 at 11:53 AM.

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    Re: Obama Wants Research to Wean Vehicles off Oil.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Middleground View Post
    I'm well aware of synthetic oil. But you do know it still uses petroleum, right?
    Even if we look at bio-fuels, if they are produced by cultivation, the petroleum and other energy input is still considerable.

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    Re: Obama Wants Research to Wean Vehicles off Oil.....

    Quote Originally Posted by ReformCollege View Post
    O

    None of those took 50 years of funding with nothing to show for it.
    You have a point... The Internet took 35 years, not 50, from inception to commercial viability. Nuclear energy traces it roots to the early 1930s, and we could have quite an argument as to whether it is yet commercially viable (the results are mixed).

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    Re: Obama Wants Research to Wean Vehicles off Oil.....

    Quote Originally Posted by cannuck View Post
    Even if we look at bio-fuels, if they are produced by cultivation, the petroleum and other energy input is still considerable.
    Not exactly sure I know what you mean here.
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