High-tech vs. low-tech content:
Some novices are so captivated by obscure and hyped "high" technology, they believe it's better than proven methods (that may be seen as "low tech"). Clearly, candidate technologies competing for investment should not be judged by how they may be seen as "high" or "low" tech. It's not relevant. If that criteria influences public funding decisions, resulting programs can be very wasteful. Dual-mode electric vehicles (EVs) is one example: A proven conductive power transmission method, to provide the EVs in-transit power, was abandoned for one with inductive power coupling. Conductive should have easily won, based upon rudimentary efficiency and cost considerations. But inductive apparently had "high tech" appeal to influential bureaucrats. Or maybe they wanted to give an impression they were supporting EV technology, but didn't want the program to succeed. After funding was all spent to demonstrate inductive coupling, the entire project was quietly abandoned.
Public projects should never be judged on their relative "high" or "low" tech content. Most worthy projects are an intelligent mix. New technologies should stand on their merits. Many certainly can extend our capabilities. Some can be developed with small-budget, well-planned, programs. I'd like to see more of them. But for the right reasons.
Public interest vs. easy money to parasites who corrupt representative government:
Good public programs should be based on public benefits vs. cost -- and not what benefits the unethical parasite class who buy influence in government. Buying that influence can (and has) amounted to "investments" with 1000x payback over several years (essentially at public expense). They are, in fact, destructive scams: WIN (parasites and corrupt politicans) - LOSE (those directly hurt) - LOSE (ultimately most tax-payer citizens).
A scam that, over the past decades, has stolen an estimated $300 Billion from programs funded at US public expense: All US government laboratories and contractors are pressured, by a vague 1986 law enacted for influential parasites, to require that salaries for engineering consultants and many former staff employees, is instead paid to an "agent" (parasite) who usually keeps 30% to 50% for absolutely no service or investment (except for payments to politicians and minor bureaucrats to cooperate with the parasite's scam). These parasites falsely claim to have recruited and screened workers for the same job the workers already had. The parasites have even attempted, with less success, (using the US Internal Revenue Service for coercion) to extend this scam into the private business sector. Worker morale and efficiency is also a victim here.
Only a few articles, in trade journals, describe this scam. But even those million or more workers directly threatened by it have not added any anecdotes or voiced unanimity to help stop it. In fact, the parasites who perpetrated this scam are expanding it, with apparent immunity, and mostly silent victims.
Specific abuses are so incredulous that most people think it can't be happening. You haven't heard about it from news media, who earn income from political advertising. Concern shown by some, for political campaign funding reform, is encouraging. But far broader exposure of specific abuses is needed, before reform can be expected.
Too many large corporations depend on lobbyists and advertising to divert attention and escape responsibility for negative aspects of their products. But an enlightened public is not fooled indefinitely by these schemes. So environmental cost, hazards associated with the product, later cost borne by buyers, and other societal costs, must ultimately be factored into product cost. They are usually not factored into product cost by manufacturers and sellers, until they are hit by costly lawsuits. That's a very near-sighted view by business, and is inconsistent with long-term business success. The public is aware they aren't getting the truth, but can't point a finger at specifics.
A minimum income tax California corporations had to pay became law over 40 years ago -- even if they had ZERO INCOME and only EXPENSES to develop new technology ! Selling corporation shares was prevented by Cease and Desist orders claiming potential investors might be defrauded !! California's then-governor announced he had closed a "corporation tax loop-hole" --- and countless California residents believed him. Clearly this law was enacted to shut down corporations developing competitive new technologies with limited resources, as a favor to entrenched privileged interests who made substantial political "contributions". This caused many California startup corporations to quit or leave.
Business and Technology: The Good, Bad, and the Ugly
Ultimately, a product line that is "good" in terms of past and present profit, will be seen to be "bad" or "ugly" when its other costs are identified and payment for them is enforced. Cigarettes are a prime current example. Health cost to buyers and victims of second-hand smoking have only recently been identified. Recent lawsuits filed against that industry are only beginning to impact total cost of their product. Its global market is increasing. Now it fits a WIN (company profits) - LOSE (smoker health) - LOSE (2nd-hand smoke victim) scenario.
People everywhere aspire to drive their own car. Driving fuel-burning autos is expensive and pollutes. Still, nothing else offers such flexible portal-to-portal transportation. But a few aspects of gasoline-engine cars are very troubling: Over the past 30 years, about a million people in the US have been killed by them, with many times that number badly injured. And auto accidents continue to kill about 40,000 people in the US every year. Air and water pollution they cause hurts all of us. This seems to be another WIN (profits) - LOSE (buyers) - LOSE (everyone else) scenario.
Auto industry lawyers have been largely responsible for decisions by auto makers not to implement technology that could solve this horrendous problem. Thus far, most auto collisions are ruled by the courts to be "accidents" or caused by the vehicle's driver. So technology that can prevent collisions is not implemented because, if a collision occurs with it, the auto maker might be held responsible.
Collision avoidance electronics was demonstrated over 40 years ago, for highway and rail vehicles. About 30 years ago, a far more complex 3-dimensional version was demonstrated for aircraft. Not enough are deployed. Can we afford not to widely deploy a technology that very likely would prevent such carnage by today's autos, trains and aircraft? This is a situation where we know the cost of inaction is far higher than the cost of new equipment that would solve crucial problems. Agencies charged with that responsibility need to be reminded how costly their inaction is to the public they are chartered to serve.
Such collision avoidance technology is ideal for EVs (where integration cost with their drive system is far less than in fuel-burning cars). Added benefits of dual-mode EVs would be: Far lower total and driving cost, no air or water pollution, no incendiary explosive fuel, no need for fuel or battery recharge stops, unlimited range, minimal maintenance, higher reliability, and more.
More RPM pages:
|Comparison of proposed flywheel battery with other power storage|
|Flywheel power storage basic physics|
|Building-integral and on-site solar/wind power|
|Dual-mode electric highway vehicles|
|Ultra-light EV with motor-wheels, onboard charger, batteries, PV, pedal power|
|Future electric power options|
|A bleak future if business-as-usual continues|
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