Quote of the Day “I cannot help fearing that men may reach a point where they look on every new theory as a danger, every innovation as a toilsome trouble, every social advance as a first step toward revolution, and that they may absolutely refuse to move at all.” –Alexis de Tocqueville
As we move through this transition period between the Bush and Obama presidencies, TB has taken the risk of daring to hope that there may be some positive changes on the horizon. There are a lot of problems in too many areas to discuss that have to be addressed–some the fault of Bush and his merry band of neo-cons, and many the fault of their predecessors for time immemorial. And let us not leave out the timidity and ignorance and fear of us all as a collective populace. Some of these problems can be addressed with a little innovation and the ones I’d love to see attacked first have no reason whatsoever for generating partisan rancor.
An occasional contributor to this site is interested in alternative energy and reads as much as he can find about it. Discussing ways to improve access to residential solar energy one night he told me about his idea. The Government should install solar panels on every school, post office, courthouse, and other federal buildings. Schools should be first because they sit idle, requiring the use of minimal electricity for much of the summer. This also happens to be the time of peak energy usage and peak sunlight. The energy being banked from schools would be transferred to the power grid to help meet demand. Which means less coal or natural gas has to be expended to power our air conditioners. But that’s not all. With the Government demanding all these panels, somebody has to manufacture them. In America. Maybe in several places around America. And installers will be needed. And maintenance technicians. The immediate implementation of my friend’s idea would not only be good for the environment, but it would stimulate the economy and provide jobs. And with manufacturing ramped up to provide a sufficient supply for all these buildings the price would inevitably come down and those of us who still own our homes could afford to stick a couple on our own roofs. And since we’d be the first country to mass produce the panels, we could actually export something, thus reducing our trade deficit. We can do the same thing with wind turbines where the weather is more suitable for going that route. It’s a great idea that I wish was my own. I really hope someone in the new administration has read the same blogs and articles and has developed the same, or similar ideas as my friend.
I also know an engineer who has a lot of good ideas mixed in with a few crazy ones and no idea how to communicate any of them. Fortunately, I can translate crazy engineer speak. It mainly involves ignoring everything but the pearls of logic that find their way from the far left corners of the brain to the tongue. The idea is the government or the railroad companies already own all the right of way they need to add parallel tracks virtually everywhere. Those tracks should be laid. Then, trains going east don’t have to stop and pull over for trains going west any more. So more trains can go east, to say nothing of west. So more freight can be moved by rail. So fewer 18 wheelers will be required to burn so much gas, spew rocks into TB’s windshield or generally make life miserable for everyone else who tries to use their highways. Makes sense to me. Health care reform, Iraq, and the financial crisis are important and must be addressed, but they are going to be tough. Bills based on these two ideas could pass in a week (just lock out the lobbyists for coal, oil, sheiks and teamsters for a few days).
And finally, a reader suggests that due to the hangover so many of you are feeling from the crazy “Third Week” celebrations and the upcoming mandated family time that is Thanksgiving, it would be innovative and advisable to begin Thursday pickin on a (gasp) Wednesday. Let it not be said that TB is afraid of progress. Thursday pickin will commence early this week so as to assist those who will be away from their computers later in the week. If I’m too slow getting the new post up for you just email me your picks or go ahead and post them here and I’ll move them over later. This is one innovation I can control and implement. It will be done. And no amount of “Thursday only” lobbying dollars can change my stance.
Actually, that last sentence isn’t at all true.