NOT SO FAST, SPARKY

Dan Nachbar: “I know you get excited but you really must control your enthusiasm and not oversell every alternative energy technology you encounter. This week’s example, thin-film photovoltaics, is indeed a fascinating and promising technology for certain applications. But given the underlying physics, even using very optimistic assumptions, one may be able to generate 10% of the juice needed for the average office building merely by coating its surface with film. That’s still a good thing to do; but uncritically repeating their salespeople’s wild claims of self-sufficiency inevitably leads to disappointment and a tendency to throw the baby out with the bathwater (as happened recently with the media’s love then loathing of ethanol.) Just a bit of restraint and objectivity will avoid undermining the very technologies you are trying to foster.”

☞ In my own limited defense, I never thought ethanol was a good idea and still don’t see any “baby” in it, at least from Iowa corn. But whichever specific solar technologies wind up on top, it seems to me cheap clean energy likely will be a reality before too long. A decade or two or three, not a century. Look how long it took us to get here from the Apple II. No time at all! And the dazzlement is only speeding up.

Soon we may even be able to put a man on the moon.

CLINTON AT DAVOS – TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE?

Actually, it’s even more than two. President Obama is a rock star. Michelle Obama is a rock star. Their daughters are rock stars. The Secretary of State is a rock star. Her husband is a rock star. Click here for a report on his visit to Davos.

(If the VP is not fully a rock star, it’s only because the bar is set so high. Watch Senator Biden’s “farewell” Senate address for a sense of this remarkable, and deeply decent, man.)

 

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