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For Whom The Bells Toll: America There is a Fire, Time to Find a Leader and Do Our Part to Put It Out!

September 5, 2010

Though cryptic at times, my writings and views reflected an internal optimism that America’s problems were solvable.  To the extent that the news could be discounted by those proclaiming doomsday, It was thought possible that America was really not so bad off and would once again rise anew. Just a temporary adjustment at best. As we have done so many times in the past.  America most surely will land on its feet.

 By crying wolf, the real landscape lost focus. My criticism of our home, was solely aimed at strategic initiatives to bolster national security and improve the environment that lay in wake. In the meantime, while we  allowed our internal politics and social indifference to take the better of us, the globe turned stronger and more resentful of America. Though I can’t recall every hearing another nation tell us to stop buying their goods and services.  They loved our consumerism and resented America. Most ran to the stores to purchase thin screen monitors and cheap apparel, furniture and cars produced on foreign soil. Though we have only us to blame, our leadership and policy makers failed us. It was their responsibility to know what was going on and take action. Either in their bickering and reelection campaigns, they failed to do what was right. Then again, possibly they were not smart enough to see the obvious or too scared to rock the boat. If anything was done in Washington, it was less than substantive. 

Ding-dong, the bells toll, it’s wakeup time. Business and our lives will not be as usual.

In Superbroke, Superfrugal, Superpower?,” Thomas L. Friedman cites Michael Mandelbaum, the Johns Hopkins University foreign policy expert and states (http://tinyurl.com/barry-stevens41):

“….. America has gone from being the supreme victor of World War II, ….. to “The Frugal Superpower” of today.”

“We can’t afford to invade Grenada today.”

” ….. for the next decade at least, being a leader in America will mean, on balance, taking things away from people.”

” ….. the cuts are coming – you can already hear the warnings from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.”

” ….. “all forms of government-supplied pensions and health care (including Medicaid) constituted about 4 percent of total American output.” At present rates ….. “they will account for a full 18 percent of everything the United States produces.”

” ….. foreign policy in the second decade of the 21st century and beyond will be ‘less”

” ….. important feature of U.S. foreign policy over the last century has been the degree to which America’s diplomats and naval, air and ground forces provided global public goods ….. ”

“No country now stands ready to replace the United States, so the loss to international peace and prosperity has the potential to be greater ….. ”

“How to mitigate this trend ….. three things:
• First, we need to get ourselves back on a sustainable path to economic growth and reindustrialization …..”
• “Second, we need to set priorities ….. in foreign policy terms, both what is vital and what is desirable.”
• “Finally, we need to shore up our balance sheet and weaken that of our enemies, and the best way to do that in one move is with a much higher gasoline tax.”

“America is about to learn a very hard lesson: You can borrow your way to prosperity over the short run but not to geopolitical power over the long run. That requires a real and growing economic engine ….. ”

“There was a time when thinking seriously about American foreign policy did not require thinking seriously about economic policy. That time is also over.”

“An America in hock will have no hawks ….. ”

Wish I was crying wolf again. The sad fact is the Grim Reaper was here and waved his scythe. Now we have to contend with the aftermath and finally take meaningful action. The compass points direct and true. It’s here, the end of America as we know it.

Hopefully our leadership and policy makers will turn this into a new way of being.  Maybe time to readopt the doctrine of laissez-faire or better said economically deprived to intervene in foreign affairs . Combine that with stringent policies an strategic initiatives to reduce our reliance on foreign goods and services. Likely, things we are accustomed to may cost more and less available, Better to purchase when you have a job, than wanting in despair. Yes, this includes our reliance on foreign oil.

Cant blame all on our leaders. It’s us too. Years ago, OK many years ago, a fire was put out by a single orderly line of townsfolk’s  passing a bucket of water down the line to quench the towering inferno. This was so common they gave it the name “bucket brigade.” The line consisted of all who cared. Position in line was not a factor of being red or blue, from north or south, European or African, or old or new. As tough a job it was, it was a disgrace not to be in the line. Why was this so? There was one simple fact for this collective behavior; the fire could affect you as well as the entire town. All stayed the course till the fire was put out. Not surprising, leaders rose to the occasion to form and control the line. Why can’t we do that now? This is more that an isolated fire. The fire is out of control and will continue to spread until a leader finds a bucket without holes and “we the people” take a stand. Surely a leader can be found and we want to lay a hand.

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22 Comments leave one →
  1. September 5, 2010 5:11 PM

    Barry, I’m sitting here, reading this, and thinking of what I could recommend, and how I could make it simple. (If it’s not very, very simple, it’s not gonna fly, and we both know it.) I will say this: I don’t think our real problem is apathy, at least in the sense that I’ve seen it sometimes in my adult life. There’s a seething anger out there, in a large part of the population. And many people are politically involved, and interested. The anger is from widely different points of view, though–and that’s what’s scary. I sometimes wonder if we’re not heading toward some kind of civil war. You can cite talk radio (and TV) for whipping up a lot of the frenzy. There’s a lot of passionate commentary. Listen to Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh. Then switch sides and listen to Ed Schultz, and Mike Malloy. (I’ll leave it to you as an exercise to decide which of those are just passionate, and which are the nutjobs. I definitely have my own opinion.)

    The passion is there, but we’ve got to stop being STUPID. We’ve got to stop believing obvious LIES when they’re told to us. We’ve also got to stop being isolated, cocooned individuals, worshipping weatlh and idolizing the lifestyles of the rich and famous. (This may be changing. Since the recession started, I haven’t heard anyone telling me I should read Atlas Shrugged. (-:)

    This has got to be the angriest Labor Day I’ve ever had. Maybe having more labor (paid, that is) would help.

  2. September 5, 2010 6:01 PM

    Not much more I can say. A good reflection, Very well said

  3. Ed Servello permalink
    September 7, 2010 10:40 AM

    I’m jobless at the moment. I attribute my situation to corporate megalomania. My former employer is convinced that it can dominate emerging Asia-Pacific markets by ceasing investment in other regions and focusing on potential customers in India and China. I believe my former company views the mature markets in North America and Europe as stagnant and unproductive. Shareholders and corporate officers see huge potential in these emerging markets and they’re rushing to divest themselves of US assets and establish a presence in Asia.

    My greatest concern is that this will be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Belief in this view of the world will encourage more flight of jobs and capital to Asia. Non-service jobs in America will continue to decline and the US standard of living will steadily fall. Without the demand for an educated workforce, the education resources that support them will fade away too. A door will close and the lights will go out. This is not what I want to leave to my children.

    I think we need to drop the pretense. People have moral and ethical concerns, corporations do not. Let’s recognize corporate greed and develop policies to channel that greed in a way that supports local interests and employment. Don’t believe arguments that everything will be OK if we reduce corporate taxes – the savings will just go off shore with all of the other investments. We need a comprehensive policy that encourages investment in the US and creates (or recreates) the “Made in America” brand.

    I’m hopeful that we’ll figure out how to accomplish this so that one day, I can get back to work and my kids will have satisfying and secure employment.

  4. September 7, 2010 2:23 PM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    LinkedIn Groups
    Group: Building Owners and Managers Association International (BOMA)
    Discussion: For Whom The Bells Toll: America There is a Fire, Where Are the Concrete Actions to Reduce Our Reliance on Foreign Oil; Obama Wake Up!

    No, we can not blame everything on our leaders, we have to bear some leg responsibility – we put them in office. We created loop-holes wear a select few can benefit by the explotation of others, setting the example that was the way things should be done. Our problems run deep and wide. Too think we can wake up tomorrow and it all be gone is nothing less than Disney….but don’t focus on a Leader, Leaders are only as good as the followers effort. Which is the root problem – Is there actually someone working a plan I can participate in and support?

    True Leaders were at one-time excellent examples of followers. Followers need to be the actual proof of what Leaders attempt to manifest. What proof does any one have of our current Leadership that begs the idea we follow? Let alone our indifferences and regardless what social agenda is next, until this countries un-employment rate drops (an not talking with $10 hr /no health/no security) this economy has no chance of turning a corner.

    We cut this, we cut that, big deal. NO ONE IS WORKING TO PUT MONEY INTO THE SYSTEM, plain an simple.

    Posted by John M. Feeney

  5. September 7, 2010 6:46 PM

    The facts are out on biodiesel, clouded by much fiction, there is no mine, or yours, just facts. There is no reason for biodiesel not to be embraced worldwide right away. The biggest hurdles in the way of embracing alternative fuels are those who stand to lose in the absence of petroleum, petroleum companies and those who profit from them. Ignorance and misinformation are their biggest allies as they are certain political “persuasions” (persuasions which, by the way, happen to be more or less the petroleum elephants in the room).

    There is no one alternative energy silver bullet solution, many sustainable solutions will have to be implemented, all accompanied with increased efficiency and reduction of energy use across the board. Massive agricultural projects, especially in North America where we have an abundance of unused, unforested land, will be infinitely more innocuous than a fraction of the deadly toxic war powered petroleum industry.

    Just because you don’t drive a car does not mean you do not use diesel.

    Every single item on your shelf and in your closet and kitchen and in your house or apartment was brought to you by an immensely polluting diesel vehicle most likely getting 5 miles to the gallon spewing dangerous sulfur into the air which was added to the fuel to make it more like the vegetable based fuel the diesel engine was designed to run on, along with Co2 millions of years old that our atmosphere cannot support. All trucks, ships, cranes, trains, buses, and more than half the cars in Europe and Asia run on diesel fuel, essentially powering the planet. There is nothing at all good for us about diesel fuel, and it can be easily replaced with biodiesel which creates jobs here at home, keeps our money in our pockets, and does not pollute while offering the same power to move and heat our world.
    Nobody is serious about real change in our energy use and wasteful lifestyle until they embrace the facts, and demand the change that is available, necessary, and is our right. We deserve not to breathe garbage air. We deserve better than to keep living this petroleum lie/ nightmare, paying greedy people (Exxon-Mobile/ BP/ Shell, Cheney, etc) to lie to us and pollute our atmosphere while earning more profits than any industry in the history of the world.
    Change your fuel.

    Biodiesel is a clean burning alternative fuel, produced from
    domestic, renewable resources such as plant oils, animal fats, used
    cooking oil and even new sources such as algae. Biodiesel contains
    no petroleum, but it can be blended at any level with petroleum
    diesel to create a biodiesel blend.

    Biodiesel is not the same as ethanol. Ethanol is a renewable
    biofuel made primarily from corn and intended for use in gasoline-
    powered engines, while biodiesel is a renewable biofuel made from
    a variety of materials and designed for use in diesel engines, with
    different properties and benefits.

    U.S. biodiesel reduces lifecycle carbon emissions by 60 to 80 percent, depending on the source, making it the best carbon reduction tool of any liquid fuel commercially available. Biodiesel is the first advanced biofuel to make it to market. It has the highest energy balance of any fuel, returning 4.5 units of energy for every unit of fossil energy needed to produce it. New cropland is not needed to make biodiesel because it is generally produced from co-products of crops already being grown. From 2004 to 2008, when U.S. biodiesel production climbed from 25 million to 700 million gallons, soybean acres here stayed virtually the same, and soybean acres in Brazil decreased. There are surplus stocks of U.S. fats and oils sufficient to meet near and medium term biodiesel target volumes.

    Myth: Biodiesel contributes to rising food prices.

    Fact: Produced from a variety of renewable resources, such as plant oils, fats, recycled grease, and even algae, biodiesel is the most diverse fuel on the planet. And soybean-based biodiesel actually has a positive impact on the world’s food supply. Processing biodiesel from soybeans uses only the oil portion of the soybean, leaving all of the protein available to nourish livestock and humans. By creating a new market for soybean oil, we increase the availability of protein-rich meal for human and livestock consumption. The increased meal supply results in a more cost-effective food and feed source.

  6. Laurence Needleman permalink
    September 7, 2010 7:04 PM

    Where did you come up with this line “Well at least during the birth of our country there was a conscious effort to collectivize the masses.”? The Founding Fathers were anything but collectivists. They were all about liberty, property rights, limited government and minimal taxation. Our government’s policies took the wrong road starting off with Wilson’s progressive era. That period represented the beginning of collectivist (Fascist/Marxist) thinking in America. It expanded with FDR and LBJ and how now moved even further to the left with Obama. Do you like this direction? I don’t. Its EVIL!

  7. Willaim McEntee permalink
    September 7, 2010 11:08 PM

    Calling for leaders and policy makers to take action, without some very specific, concrete, do-able actions that will overcome any argument from either side of the aisle has not been forthcoming. I find all such articles to be almost a Greek chorus, and having been going on for so long, both left and right, ignred. Playing on fears without providing a clear, well though out plan of action with definite dates and accountability is all too often the “solution” that gets proposed. Which is really nothing. I sense that too many of the “elected leaders” lack the hands on experience and / or knowledge to figure out ways get the current malaise of this country eradicated.

  8. September 7, 2010 11:09 PM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    LinkedIn Groups
    • Group: Worldwide Renewable Energy Finance Association (WREFA.com)
    • Discussion: For Whom The Bells Toll: America There is a Fire, Where Are the Concrete Actions to Reduce Our Reliance on Foreign Oil; Obama Wake Up!

    Maybe the USA could take some lessons from Germany on leadership in alternatives: Merkel’s Masterplan for a German Energy Revolution

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,716221,00.html#ref=nlint
    Posted by Joel Stone

  9. Gary permalink
    September 8, 2010 10:54 AM

    This article is just more blah blah blah that we’ve heard for at least twenty years. Yes it’s time to do something – past time. But more “the sky is falling” articles like these don’t work — they haven’t been working these past twenty years, have they? Stop looking for a leader and be a leader. You can start by scrutinizing everything that you buy, and choosing the US made and/or least polluting versions available. People need to send a message to our current “leaders” that we’re fed up and we’re going to make changes. You can do that by voting at the polls as well as voting with your pocketbook. You can also do it by causing change from within your company, if you are still employed. Obama may be disappointing people now, but his election did send a strong message to Washington. We’ve also sent some messages by voting some incumbent Congressmen out of office. We need to continue to do that. As far as foreign policy, I agree that the world loves to take our money and hate us at the same time. So don’t buy from people who hate us. For example, we cannot stop buying oil right away but we can certainly diminish our use of it, and begin substituting other fuels. Our Government could directly stimulate research and development, and engineering, of sustainable solutions instead of stimulating fat cat bankers and CEOs or trying to create low paying jobs. Even without Government help we can start small businesses to take advantage of what short-sighted big business is ignoring. For example, local production and distribution is cheaper and less polluting than this global economy. But the bottom line:
    1. Vote the incumbents out. And keep doing it. Our founding fathers never intended for Washington politics to become anybody’s full time career. If politicians realize that they need to serve their constituents instead of expecting opportunities to sustain their back room dealings then they might learn some manners. If lobbyists and big companies find that the Congressmen they buy today can be gone tomorrow then they may lose their powers.
    2. Find more ways to conserve and cut waste in your household. Change your attitude from expecting to be entertained at all times to learning and doing things yourself.
    3. Support small local businesses and distributors. Buy at the farmers’ market instead of at the big chain grocery store. You really won’t spend that much more money in the short run, and could be saving your money and job in the long run.
    4. Stop whining about our dilemmas and take an active role in fixing them

  10. September 8, 2010 4:17 PM

    Dear President Obama:

    According to the reports on television, you plan to tactically address the economy this week since you appear well aware of the state of the economy (i.e. depressed by market insecurity). As you should also know, there is reasonable cause to believe that the GOP has a hand in the manipulation of the markets which has lead to a social atmosphere of distrust in our institutions (stock exchange, banks, and insurance companies), which I believe is exactly what the GOP wants until they regain control of our government.

    In my humble opinion, the key to restoring confidence in the economy is for you and Vice President Joe Biden to take control away from big business and the GOP and give it back to small business and the Democrats.

    NOTE: The answer is not small business loans! These loans just lead to debtors prison another form of slavery.

    We (i.e. small business) want what Honorable Joe Biden wants: Property Accessed Clean Energy (PACE)! PACE programs are what businesses need to lower their operating costs and what contractors need for contracts (For convenience, see pacefinancing.org for a refresher). Please work with us to protect us from the political spin-doctors (Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Supervisor Steve Bellone) that want to tie this program up into knots in our courts houses under the illusion that it is to protect jobs. The reality is the jobs they had created were minuscule and addressed only individuals with the smallest carbon foot print. They have chosen to ignore your energy efficiency order and focus on renewable energy, which we know is ten times more costly and less likely to pass (See http://gov.ca.gov/speech/15909/). The real reason should be clear that they are either incompetent or corrupt (i.e. biased toward protecting oil, natural gas, and coal).

    Help is on the way in New York City. NYSERDA has reported that the City has made the move to toward PACE funding on a commercial level. The have realized that a second lean is not a problem for most banks. Consequently, the five burrows will begin accepting applications.

    Your consideration in this matter would be appreciated.

    Sincerely,
    SCOTT

  11. September 8, 2010 6:32 PM

    Small business loans are not just useless, or a form of slavery. Business runs on them, and always will. No matter how rich everyone becomes as an aggregate population, there will always be some who have more than others, and if they lend money to those who have less, that, properly managed, can perform a social good. Currently banks are unwilling to lend, and that is a large part of the current problem–it’s one part of a deadlock, in which consumers are afraid or unable to spend, businesses are unwilling or unable to hire workers, and capital is not available because lending is tight.

  12. Steve Ivy permalink
    September 8, 2010 11:29 PM

    Barry, this blog post came up in one of my news agents the other day and I have to say it was kind of scary.

    I know a lot of people still don’t seem to know what “peak oil” is and plenty more don’t seem to buy into the theory even if they know what it is all about.

    But I do believe in it and so have been following the subject for about four years now.

    It is one thing to read a posting from my fellow believers and get the expected echo chamber voices telling everyone to beware and to get ready.

    It sets an entirely different mood when I start to read stories in the mainstream press from more reputable people as they begin to talk of the same subjects I have been worried about for years (and at times painting them in even darker colors than I prefer to believe!)

    http://dagblog.com/reader-blogs/what-makes-kochs-and-neocons-nervous-enough-spend-so-much-money-3563

    You see I can’t send out a link like that one and not try to give a vastly more cheerful response for it.

    Here is my response…

    Here are some international, national, state and local links of people that have answered Rob’s Hopkins call to action…

    Like it or not we have started the journey, we have started the “Transition” to a world without cheap oil…

    http://transitionus.ning.com/
    http://transitiontexas.ning.com/
    http://transitiontexas.ning.com/group/transitiondallas

    These people, these projects are now picking up the pieces and doing for ourselves the jobs we once thought that our governments and corporations would do for us.

    I am one of these people. Transition Town Dallas is now live and growing fast! Come join Transition Dallas if you are a Dallas local (or join the local branch of the Transition Movement in your town wherever you are.

    There is hope in a post peak oil world. But only if we get up off our butts and create it.

    I know all of you will will eventually hear (and pay attention to) the Transition Towns Movement. I just wonder how many times you will have to hear it and how bad things will have to get before everyone gets involved?

    Will it be too late? I hope not!

    Get ready, Peak Oil is coming, sure at first blush it can be kind of scary, but so much of it is also truly wonderful.

    We may have problems but I assure you we also have some really great answers!

  13. September 9, 2010 4:48 AM

    I don’t believe the alarmism about “peak oil.” Yes, depletion of oil reserves is coming. And it will have to be dealt with. And it’s being dealt with. We saw the same pattern with other things: population growth, the Y2K problem, the ozone layer–heck, for that matter, you could say the same thing about rocks falling from space (which, as we’re finding out, are also something to be reckoned with). I’m NOT buying the hype. We have multiple reasons to get away from fossil fuels, use energy more efficiently, and do many other things of a “green” nature. Fossil fuels running out–that’s just one part of the picture. Let’s just get on with what we already know we have to do.

  14. September 9, 2010 3:31 PM

    Hey Barry,

    Great thought provoking conversation that gets right at the heart of OUR problem.

    WE are buying foreign oil from people that despise US. What kind of economic business model is that?

    WE are reducing OUR own monetary supply by voraciously spending our capital overseas on imported oil and cheap imports; ONLY to return stateside in the form of continually mounting US debt obligations. WE are exporting OUR good jobs abroad to lesser priced, but still fairly competent workforces. WE need true parity in our import policies with OUR “trading partners”.

    OUR standard of living can no longer remain as it was. WE certainly need to make adjustments. WE can no longer be seduced by “cheap energy”!

    The cost in financial & human capital is far too great and not sustainable any longer. I felt the following to be relevant to this discussion:

    September 8, 2010

    The LEED Professional Group
    “Do Americans Really Want To Change Energy Habits?”

    James McPartlan • Economics and severity of cost is what changes culture and consumption habits. The US has no energy policy with any teeth to it. The notion that Americans will change energy consumption usage for noble environmental benefit is obviously not working.

    WE have been seduced for decades by the lure of comparatively “cheap energy” costs not only at the pump, but also at our light switches and thermostats as well. As someone earlier in the conversation pointed out, Europe and other foreign nations have a strong tax on petrol and other forms of energy. These artificially high net energy costs to the consumer have in fact driven an evident cultural conservation consciousness in those countries. The US still feels entitled to use more energy as WE apparently don’t feel sufficient economic pain from OUR comparative “cheap energy” costs. It may sound isolationist or un-American; but higher taxation on ALL imported goods will make US much more energy & product conscious. Higher taxation on ALL imported goods and energy will force US to be more domestically innovative in the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) sectors.

    Energy efficiency retrofits to the existing “built environment” are both extremely practical and in fact measurable. New construction standards are good, but the current market conditions will limit much new project development. Facilities management renovation strategies to reduce consumption, demand response and operating costs are the low hanging fruit. These enhancements make economic sense on a comparative ROI basis. Capital improvement costs need to be cost justified to encourage adoption. WE are able show the metrics of economic advantages and incentives to demonstrate Return OF as well ON invested capital.

    A “gutsy” domestic energy policy will help shape future consumer choices, while WE reinvent resourceful US business innovation to become more competitive globally. Economic drivers will most certainly force consumption habits and spending. That will always be the case.

  15. Jay Rosenberg permalink
    September 17, 2010 9:41 AM

    Barry:
    You article came close. Its title should have been, FOR WHOM THE BTU’s TOLL.

    In our country, and lots of other Western Countries, Energy controls government. The countries that are making very strong progress, are where the countries control energy. You have to stop bashing government, else, we will all be drinking water with methane and varied, nasty chemicals. Or, our drinking water will look like tea, e.g., left over from some party, that thinks local government knows better. Energy solutions are there, i am a nobody, and I have some e.g., RET – a high efficiency, inexpensive, multifuel turbines, to replace reciprocal engines (not against EV’s, but lets see one of them tackle an 18 wheeler, with a full load, up a steep grade). Auto company’s dont want itm akes their cars into commodities. Remember refrigerators, stoves etc., they are now at best buy!
    Sannerwind@gmail.com

  16. Steve Ivy permalink
    September 19, 2010 11:46 PM

    Jay,

    No internal combustion engine can dream of the sort of powerful “instant on” torque generated by an electric motor.

    Electric motors have full torque the instant you step on the pedal and keep it across a very wide range of RPMs,

    You don’t have to wait for an electric motor to slowly rev up till it finally reaches it’s optimum torque point at some high (and likely dangerous) RPM.

    Peterbuilt trucks (assembled in Denton Texas) are now selling a Model (Model 386) which is a diesel electric hybrid and it is very much desired.

    One of the things truckers love about it is it’s ability to effortlessly climb hills. That is true even when the road geometry prevents them from gaining extra speed to get up a hill.

    Oh yeah it burns 30% less fuel!

    Actually a turbine engine could be a valuable addition for any hybrid system where the instant torque of the electric motor would couple well with the known shortcomings of a turbine.

    That way a turbine needed not rev up too quickly (or waste energy when the lod suddenly drops and so the turbine begins is winding down after a hard run.

    With a hybrid system and a battery to store the energy you could make an uncompromising turbine design with respect to efficiency. Such a turbine might be a little slow responding to instantaneous peak loads but the electric motor would take care of that.

    Actually I think a hybrid using a battery and electric motor along with a turbine coupled to a modern high efficiency alternator may be the best of all possible worlds because as you said turbines can burn a wide variety of fuels and do so efficiently.

    Don’t knock electric vehicles, they may be the best friend your turbine engine has.

  17. Jay Rosenberg permalink
    September 20, 2010 1:22 AM

    @Ivy: You can only comment on what you know, not what advances may be brewing, such as my RET Turbine being the closest mechanical equivalent to an electric motor. I know the dominant characteristics of electric motors, and also the improvements of a reciprocal – electric tandem arrangement. Given RET exceeds performance of a diesel-electric configuration, the point is, a standalone RET has a significant role to play e.g., superior efficiency at steeply reduced costs. A RET-electric will improve efficiency, but, there is diminishing returns.

    However your statment: “No internal combustion engine can dream of the sort of powerful “instant on” torque generated by an electric motor…” does not hold water. First, engines don’t dream, but, lets assume you meant engine designers. Do you have any corroboration that that statement is correct? for example, we know Betz’ law constrains wind turbines to 61% or so maximum energy extraction from its wind. If you or any other party wanted to structure a show / tell reproducible scanerio, where there were a binding commitment to a successful test series, contact me. Sannerwind@gmail.com

  18. September 20, 2010 6:55 PM

    Jay, in fact Steve is right, on all counts (except, of course, the presumably inadvertent references to dreaming engines). Electric motors do, in fact, deliver torque essentially instantaneously, and an ICE simply cannot do that to the same degree; you can inject more fuel, but until you increase the engine speed your extra torque is limited by the lack of such speed. With an electric motor, you are at the right speed for maximum power from the beginning.

    To finish up, you go off onto something about the maximum efficiency of a wind turbine, with a connection to the discussion that I can’t begin to guess, then a challenge to some sort of demonstration. But you’re the one claiming a novel concept with an incredible efficiency; so you should go first.

  19. Jay Rosenberg permalink
    September 21, 2010 12:07 AM

    @Ronald – I said RET Turbine are “.. the closest mechanical equivalent to an electric motor”.. Close does not mean equivalent. Regardless, RETs torque/ RPM curves are very usable. That said, One of the most important RET applications are gensets, where the RPM remains constant, thus, RPM acceleration is moot.

    My point re BETZ’ law constraining wind turbine efficiency was missed. Betz’ law enables one to justify statements about these type of devices’ operational characteristics. I am not arguing Electric Motors have a very desirable torque curve starting at 0 RPM. However, what is missing from your statement about ICE, is there is no justification such as an ANALOG to BETZ’ law, as to why ICE’s must always be so constrained. While Electric Motors have favorable functional characteristics, and RPM/ Torque is definitely one, RETs have functional characteristics that are not present in EM’s. There are differences, and similarities as well, that are not just theoretical, but, have very practical implications. RET torque/ RPM for an ICE is extremely desireable.

    Re last paragraph, if I am wrong in what I stated, prove me wrong on first principles. I am optimistic that RETs will be commercialized and you can then examine. Disclosures must avail my enterprise something, other than social networking points. I don’t know who you are or what you do, but, if there are parties that have earnest interests in RE, of which RET, as a high efficiency, Low cost, turbine would be an enabling technology, matching demonstration with commitment is prudent, fair, minimizes risk, and cuts through most of the natter. Tools down! Sannerwind@gmail.com

  20. Jay Rosenberg permalink
    September 21, 2010 12:18 AM

    All: A quick follow up on the importance of what is important. The US spills 50% of its 20 million bbls/ day on the highway (maybe with some offroad). Thats 3.6 billion bbls/ year. RETs could save 50 billion gallons of fuel a year. Compute these numbers with all their overheads, exploration, production, transporation, refining, refinery explosions, oil spills, balance of trade, blowback $… and you understand why RETs present the potency to sever petroleum dependence. Good Technology is disruptive. We need good, well focused technology to overturn the fossil fuel consumption. A modest penetration of RET powering transportation, would save maybe 1 billion bbls. But, thats a hell of a start, and huge plow back of savings to the buyers, and recipients of that transporation. Disruption transfers the economic benefit, and hopefully with everyday items such as engines, the benefits go to the users/ denizens, and they become an unstoppable force. You don’t find Leaders, Leaders Emerge from the Fire. Or, they don’t see fire, they see opportunity.

  21. September 21, 2010 6:59 AM

    “The US spills 50% of its 20 million bbls/ day on the highway (maybe with some offroad). Thats 3.6 billion bbls/ year.”

    That statement, for those with a basic awareness of the facts, should be the only illustration I need for what I’m about to say.

    I will not participate in this discussion any more. My participation in discussions, on LinkedIn or directly related to it, is part of an effort of my part to inform myself, and inform others of what I know. The image I project is an essential part of that. WRT the current discussion, to fully respond to the content of it would require that I depart from what I consider proper, educated discourse. That’s as polite a way as I know to put it. You can interpret that in any way you want, and obviously I have no way to control that. But I do not consider further discussion in this thread worthwhile.

  22. Jay Rosenberg permalink
    September 21, 2010 10:39 AM

    Hi Barry: Let me take you to task, constructively. You are the recipient of many benefits of our Great Democracy more than me, and probably your followers. You are spot on re some glaring admissions e.g., balance of trade, and economics, economics, economics. However, the solution is not “group think” e.g., firebrigade , nor stone soup find an onion throw it in, analogous to your find a fireman…. We a Leonardo Da Vinci, but we Americans believe in bonding with Leonardo Da Caprio’s and see the world through Rosy Bluish 3D glasses. Change the “theater”, and they not only dont work, they occlude your vision.

    But, thats our Multi-screen America, with all the acoutrements outsourced!

    Pogo said it before I => we have met the enemy, and it is we.

    I was hoping you would connect a few dots, and take a meaningful stand, albeit, one where folks may think you are talking politics. Politics in economics?? heavens forbid, that’s like being amazed the bucket brigade buckets carry water. You want to be effective, make a difference, put the arrow head on the shaft, aim, follow up on the suggestion side, and let it fly.

    I agree we are being eaten alive. Lets leave aside the inculcated viewer comments, if I couldnt, you cant, or, variants of the Raven w cheese in its beak, and the Fox. I contacted a large CSP group, chock a block with pHd’s, backed with some of the cream of US and foreign investors. I modestly posited that RETs would outperform their Sterling Engine design, I did the calculations, simulation, mathematics, virtual, POC, traditional 4 phase diagrams,.. heaps of quantitative and qualitative searches. Their response was they were willing to fly over at no cost, a few pHd engineers, and corroborate what I have corroborated, calculated, and shown working in different ways e.g., they would confirm RETs Shaft rotated. They got God knows how many hundreds of millions of dollars stemming from a demonstration which showed steam production from sun radiation! RET is significantly more advanced then that. And RETs do not require beta’s to cover acres before it can be conclusively demonstrated, with net, bottom line economics. When I asked, would they like to JV, or pay for an operational unit, do a side by side compete, no more budget!

    Our conflicts are not just within our “culture”, we are a woven culture, where the strands are unlike our father’s generation, warp and weave, but ultimately return to reinforce the basket …. What Friedman has missed, is the many strands of our technology/ technologists in our culture have kept their foreign linkage. Arrow head: energy is economics and its solution will be economic re funding, manufacturing etc. We need industry, and entrepreneurs from manufacturing, which in the US is gutted. The German auto makers have their employee’s health care paid for by the state, and cost 10% of their GDP. “Ours” is bigger than theirs, we think “size” matters, thus ours is 18%! As an entrepreneur, it costs me a multiple for the same healthcare, than is paid for by the Rats-Feet manufacturing company because they have 1,000 employees. I want to see Rats-Feet succeed, but when you see such obvious inequities and criticisms, and how stifling the effect are on entrepreneurs, the Gist of American Greatness, you should say more than, lets look for someone to put out a fire. Societies Fires are easy to solve, whether they burn down or are stopped – rebuild the house. Your brigade analogy is not in the domain of energy solutions or energy leadership. Energy means remaking the worlds entire industrial, societal, geopolitical, remake. Energy is a Live of Fry, conundrum.

    We all should be bell ringers, rather than a fire heralders!

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