Monday, November 12, 2012

Conservatives Who Say Obama Will Ruin America are Wrong

Conservatives said the same thing about FDR, Truman, JFK, and Clinton. Please note that the U.S. is still here. (/me looks outside front door, checks. Yep. Still here.)

I knew exactly one Democrat who made good on his threat to move to Canada if Bush won in 2000. He seems to be happy there. My brother moved to Thailand last year because he didn't like this country's general direction, and he's in the "Demopublicans are all the same" camp, so it wasn't about who won the election. Greg seems happy in Chiang Mai. He and his buddies there now have their own VFW post where they can (and do) hang out. 

The rest of us? We seem to get by one way or another. But one problem we have is that we don't pay enough attention to science and technology, which is more important than politics. 
Consider: fracking and other drilling techniques are the reason we are fast becoming a net hydrocabon exporter. Not a president's decree or some yammer in Congress. 

The conservative whining about how Obama's borrowing, extrapolated 20 years out, will lead to a national debt of 725 kazillion bazillion dollars, is an example of poor math understanding. Things do *not* always keep going in the same direction forever. You must allow for changes and try to factor them in, except that by definition you cannot allow for unknowns. 

Fusion power or something similar is a "when," not an "if," and when it comes it will make the current whining about a pipeline from Canadian tar sands to Texas seem laughable. (Actually, with fracking, is that pipeline still economically viable? I suspect that it may not be.) 

Electric cars: do you read MIT Technology news? I do, almost every day. And from what I see there, battery technology is following Moore's Law: Better, faster, cheaper all the time. Ditto solar technology. 

A Fusion Power Plant
The geek/hacker/maker people are who you should watch, not politicians. Linus Torvalds, Elon Musk, Vint Cerf, Richard Stallmann, Mark Shuttleworth, and many others who are not well-known to the general public have had more to do with advancing civilization than 100 times as many politicians.

How about those guys in Holland who are making bus and truck wheels that incorporate electric motors? Due to their efficiency they're becoming all the rage in decadent socialist Europe. Here? Nope. You probably haven't even heard about this idea.

Another thing to note, no matter what political party is more powerful at the moment, is that successful research and successful advances are ALWAYS accompanied by failures. "Wha wha wha Solyndra" is the cry of the non-scientist and non-achiever. Screaming about failures without noting the many successes is how you send businesses based on advanced technology to China, India, and even Mexico. Freedom to succeed, by definition, also means freedom to fail.

We need to look at government successes and investments that have made good, from canals to railroads to semiconductors to the internet, and get BETTER at using government money. Turning our government from a Buick into a Yugo will save some short-term cash, but get real: which car would you rather have in the long run? 

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