Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Oil Addiction and Tennessee Science

Sorry, but I am deeply skeptical of the President's recent pep-talks about the problems of oil addiction, since he and his VP are drenched in oil dollars, and his secretary of state once had an oil tanker named after her, until she was appointed to the cabinet when they renamed it. And yes, encouraging alternative energy sources is a fine idea that dates back many years.

Although, one of Exxon's senior VPs, Stuart McGill, says it's ridiculous to consider ending the addiction, and that if America were to be more active in developing positive trade relations with other countries for energy needs, the world's political strife would become more stable.

Given that the President's recent trip to a high-tech lab where employees had just been laid off, though re-hired just before the visit, these speeches appear to be just that - speeches.

Tennessee has a major voice in government regarding Science and Commerce in Bart Gordon, who recently issued his own ideas about alternative energies and legislation to support it's development:

We’ve been chipping away at energy policy for years — increasing production here, a tax incentive there, funding energy R&D when it’s convenient and letting programs languish when it’s not, even regarding energy conservation as a “personal virtue.” It’s time we think of new ways to approach this problem. Decades of energy research only pay off if truly innovative technologies come to fruition. Frankly, we’re still using technologies from the 19th and 20th centuries to address the problems of the 21st century. Replacing “traditional” energy sources requires an unprecedented basic research and technology-development effort, not the same conservative approach that has kept us where we are."

Gordon also backed the need for realistic goals and more scientific support at NASA during congressional hearings, where he said - "
I want to make it clear that I don't want to see Congress signing up for another big, underfunded hardware program, that winds up costing more, doing less and cannibalizing other important NASA missions," Gordon said. "We have been down that road too many times in the past, and I've got no desire to do so again."

Recent announcements about plans for a Spaceport in the United Arab Emirates, and a smaller one in New Mexico reveal a contining trend that both non-U.S. and private developers are pushing technology while we linger on out-dated programs at NASA and the Bush Administration has a long record of belittling Science.

In some related news,
efforts are underway to attract a massive National Bio and Agro Defense Facility to Pulaski, TN which boasts high tech jobs even though it means some very dangerous diseases will be under review and research.

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