Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Walter William's latest

Walter Williams makes a very good point doesn't he?

Affordable Health Care
by Walter E. Williams

One of the campaign themes this election cycle is "affordable" health care. Shouldn't we ask ourselves whether we want the politicians who brought us the "affordable" housing, that created the current financial debacle, to now deliver us affordable health care? Shouldn't we also ask how things turned out in countries where there is socialized medicine?

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I fear for our country's future if the communist Barak Obama wins this election. I don't think things will be all that great with McCain either, but at least he doesn't hate our country as Obama does.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

All right! Ben Bova is on the right side of this one! The Washington Post printed this article:

Gadflies address the next occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

By Ben Bova
Sunday, October 12, 2008; Page B02

You're heading into some rough times as you move into the White House, Mr. Future President, what with the economy in recession, financial markets in turmoil, global warming, terrorism, war and soaring energy prices. But I can offer you a tip for dealing with that last issue, at least: Look to the stars.

That's right. You can use the powerful technology we've forged over a half-century of space exploration to solve one major down-to-Earth problem -- and become the most popular president since John F. Kennedy in the process.

Right now, the United States is shelling out about $700 billion a year for foreign oil. With world demand for energy increasing, gas prices will head toward $10 per gallon during your administration -- unless you make some meaningful changes. That's where space technology can help -- and create new jobs, even whole new industries, at the same time.

You'll have to make some hard choices on energy. Nuclear power doesn't emit greenhouse gases, but it has radioactive wastes. Hydrogen fuels burn cleanly, but hydrogen is expensive to produce and hard to distribute by pipeline. Wind power works in special locations, but most people don't want huge, noisy wind turbines in their backyards.

Solar energy is a favorite of environmentalists, but it works only when the sun is shining. But that's the trick. There is a place where the sun never sets, and a way to use solar energy for power generation 24 hours a day, 365 days a year: Put the solar cells in space, in high orbits where they'd be in sunshine all the time.

You do it with the solar power satellite (SPS), a concept invented by Peter Glaser in 1968. The idea is simple: You build large assemblages of solar cells in space, where they convert sunlight into electricity and beam it to receiving stations on the ground.

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Solar power is a nice idea, but to put a system big enough to actually do you some good would cost $40,000-50,000! And just about the time you pay for it, it's time to replace it! It's more cost effective to buy your power from the grid. But the sun shines 24 hours a day in space. If you collect the power there and beam it down to the power grid it becomes cost effective.

If you fear the microwave beams there is no need. The power is spread out over a wide area and you can make the beam self collimating (which simply means it shuts down automatically if it drifts off target since it uses feedback from the target itself to aim). With space based solar, nuclear, and coal, plus "drill here drill now!" we can reach energy independence in not ten years, but perhaps 20!

We can do it. "Let's Roll!"

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