If we can put a drill in the earth....

If (like me) you find the cliché "If we can put a man on the moon..." annoying, don't miss Rand Simberg's "Energy Independence: Shooting for the Moon":

The problem was that, as already noted, Apollo cost a lot of money. So much so that after landing only six crews, we flew the last mission thirty-six years ago, and shelved the technology that enabled us to achieve it, because it wasn't providing an economic return commensurate with the cost to the taxpayer. In fact, it spurred a new use of the phrase among frustrated space enthusiasts. Since 1972, they've been able to ask "If we can send a man to the moon, why can't we send a man to the moon?" The answer is that we couldn't afford to continue to do so, at least not the way we'd been doing it (which is a reason why NASA's plan to redo Apollo, pretty much the same way, will likely not be sustainable, either). To use Apollo as a model for the provision of our most vital commodity-energy-would be economically ruinous.

But if the goal is to build an affordable in-space transportation infrastructure, again, like the energy problem, that is an economic problem, not a purely technological one, and simply throwing money at it, Apollo style, won't necessarily get the job done. In both cases, the goal will require not a massive centralized federal technology effort, but policies that free up the market, and allow the technologies to be properly deployed as they are developed. We don't need technocrats (and particularly we don't need divinity school dropouts and "D" science students) picking energy technology winners and predetermining the outcome of the research. For either space transportation or energy production, the focus should be on the goal, not the means to achieve it.

Although Bush is supposed to be the moron, Gore's academic record reveals that his grades were "lower than any semester recorded on Bush's transcript from Yale."

Simberg concludes with a good question:

If we can put a man on the moon, why can't we get people to stop making bad analogies with putting a man on the moon?
Call me an optimist, but I say that if we can put Al Gore's name on a Harvard diploma and a Nobel prize, anything is possible.

I should admit that not only do I love bad analogies, but if we consider the clear evidence that the moon landing was an elaborate fake, why, that makes it an even greater victory than it would have been had it actually happened!

And if we can fake a moon landing, and if we can fake An Inconvenient Truth, I see no reason why we can't fake achieving complete energy independence.

posted by Eric on 07.21.08 at 11:02 AM


Well, eric, if your house were half so green as mine, and your other readers' homes half so green as yours, you would all be looking to be so greene as me...including you too of course, although you were surely on your way to being your own eco-system at your last house. hahaha

Isn't this how "energy independence" REALLY works in America?

Me? I was born green. Maybe my time has come. Who knows? You? Born to create your own...well, something or other...on one acre or another.

We both hold seats to the left or to the right, or was that, the north or.. the south?

Not sure where you are moving, but I can say for sure that I would be proud to call you "neighbor".....well, um unless you brought your tin can cars with you? That will just not do! she said ever so politely.

I LOVE this land of mine, because we continue to have an environment where nearly anyone...ANYONE, CAN step forward to LEAD.

Hey look at eric! Not saying he is just "anyone", because it is clear to me he is really and honestly "special", even superior in his ability to meet at some half way place, where we decompress or we refuel. More importantly, either is fine, because he has shown the way to some middle space. He uses sarcasm, but not so much, because he knows that it slices both ways. He leads hard when he can without alienating. When attacked, he smiles gently and diffuses with a step back...for now.

This man, eric? Too good to be true?

Penny   ·  July 21, 2008 10:51 PM

"... if we can put Al Gore's name on a Harvard diploma and a Nobel prize, anything is possible."

Damn, that's funny!

Jim - PRS   ·  July 22, 2008 8:41 AM

Penny, I don't think I can ever live up to such a standard, but thanks!

Jim, glad you enjoyed that!

Eric Scheie   ·  July 22, 2008 9:17 AM

eric, you don't need to live "up" to any standard. You MODEL it with every post. Course watch your best friends come on now and say what a badass you are IRL. That would be pretty dang funny actually.

Now as for Al Gore... his Convenient Lie has jump started an entirely new, and very green, business sector and at just the right time no less. Lagging economies need all the help they can get. Additionally it gives the world's leaders something to talk about around the BIG table. Much easier to start talking about the weather, in an ever so serious way, no less. Heck most of us have been doing that as idle chit chat for our entire adult lives. Hey if EYE can do it, Obama can manage this weather thing without a telepromter. I would imagine that by the end of the third day of weather talk, the major countries in this world will be relieved to talk about Iran and their nuclear power ambitions.

So what is the payoff for making a jackass out of yourself? In Al Gore's case, it was the Nobel. What would YOU do for your country, and your special prize? What prize would you want? Okay, well now I am just getting way too nosy here... but only because I am continuously fascinated with people, and weather of course.

Where are the conspiracy nuts when you need them? Oh..right! They are working on that Obama birth certificate thing. Well, you better lay off that Oman! He is going to be our next convenient lie. Or can we call that a "fib" among friends?

I could have been born anywhere, which is why I am so grateful to have popped out in THIS country. I will thank my mother on Labor Day.

Penny   ·  July 22, 2008 11:18 PM

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