With gas at less than $3 a barrel, it is hard to get fired up
about a new national energy plan. We are all still worn out from the overly
politicized process that brought about only modest change in the health care
system. But waiting until global demand exceeds supply will undoubtedly lead us
to scramble for solutions that are, in all likelihood, not going to be
We need a practical strategy right now to dramatically reduce
our need for foreign oil, one that doesn't just provide "feel good" solutions
that appeal to our instincts to protect the earth. We send almost one billion
dollars per day overseas to buy oil — that is every single day! If it is not
obvious, one billion dollars invested each day in education, the environment
and economic development would have an immediate and profound impact on our
quality of life and our ability to compete long term.
Time is not on our side here. The U.S. consumes about 20
million of the 80-plus million barrels of oil produced across the globe each
day, yet we only produce about nine million barrels of oil per day. We just
can't sustain this level of oil consumption and still have a thriving economy.
Frankly, I am not in the mood to wait 10 years in
anticipation that we reinvent our energy supply around green or renewable
sources. Yes, I know this will happen sometime in the future, I just don't want
the U.S. to transfer trillions of dollars to other nations before battery
technology is mature enough for prime time.
We need to implement strategies right now to utilize the
energy that is available to us from domestic sources. I recently had the unique
opportunity to listen to T. Boone Pickens at a small gathering. Pickens made
his name in the 1980s as a corporate raider. He has made and lost several
fortunes over his lifetime, but that's really no disgrace here in Texas.
As part of the so-called Pickens Plan (you have no doubt seen
the commercials), Pickens wants Congress to pass a series of tax credits and
other incentives for things like purchasing or manufacturing natural gas
vehicles — particularly for city buses, heavy-lift trucks and long-haul
vehicles. You see, unlike oil, the U.S. is sitting on vast amounts of natural
gas that is now available through clever new horizontal drilling and hydraulic
fracturing technologies. Boone and Congress may have accomplished some of this
by the time you read this column. (Disclaimer: Boone is in the natural gas
business and he plans to make money. But I've used this column before to make
the simple point that great ideas frequently come from people who earn a profit
Natural-gas-powered vehicles are a stable and ready-to-go
technology. China is buying as many natural-gas-powered buses as it can get its
hands on. So should we. The rapid expansion of this
industry will create jobs right here in America and will recycle our energy
dollars back into our own economy.
In a new workable national energy bill, we don't need to hit
homeruns; we can win this game by hitting singles. Natural gas may not be the
ultimate sexy green energy source we are all hoping for, but it is greener than
diesel, time tested, and most importantly, ours.
Advertised as the "Most Powerful Tablet Under $100," the Kindle Fire HD 6 was too tempting for the team at iFixit to pass up. Join us to find out if inexpensive means cheap, irreparable, or just down right economical. It's teardown time!
The first photos made with a 3D-printed telescope are here and they're not as fuzzy as you might expect. A team from the University of Sheffield beat NASA to the goal. The photos of the Moon were made with a reflecting telescope that cost the research team £100 to make (about $161 US).
The increased adoption of wireless technology for mission-critical applications has revved up the global market for dynamic electronic general purpose (GP) test equipment. As the link between cloud networks and devices -- smartphones, tablets, and notebooks -- results in more complex devices under test, the demand for radio frequency test equipment is starting to intensify.
Much of the research on lithium-ion batteries is focused on how to make the batteries charge more quickly and last longer than they currently do, work that would significantly improve the experience of mobile device users, as well EV and hybrid car drivers. Researchers in Singapore have come up with what seems like the best solution so far -- a battery that can recharge itself in mere minutes and has a potential lifespan of 20 years.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.