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Bruce Sterling's Viridian Design Movement

Viridian Note 00485: Metcalfe on Enertech
by Bruce Sterling
Key concepts:
Bob Metcalfe, tech development, venture capital, Internet companies, competitive practices, industrial policy, Massachusetts, technology clusters, Silicon Valley, MIT, neologisms, enertech, White-Green, Ember, Sicortex, GreenFuel, sulfur cure, Parasol Effect, FOCACA, private sector solutions to Greenhouse Effect
Attention Conservation Notice:
Bob Metcalfe, one of the gray eminences of the Internet and the inventor of Ethernet, explains to an audience of Massachusetts politicos why it will take thirty years to defeat the Greenhouse Effect and by what means he expects this to happen.

Some handsome wind-power pics here. Check out the turbines destroyed by heavy weather.

Did you know that coal mining causes earthquakes? Like, the biggest quake ever measured in Australia. Even the crust of the earth isn't safe from this pernicious business.
"From an inconsequential percentage of venture dollars allocated to this sector in prior years, clean technology now boasts the third-highest investment category within the entire venture asset class. This category, which was not even on the venture radar screen just a few short years ago, has now overtaken the semiconductor sector in terms of dollars being invested."

It's not weird that Bob Metcalfe talks like an old-school MIT techie, because he is one. The weird part is when Indians start talking like Bob Metcalfe, and rather fluently, too.,000900020001.htm

(((Bob Metcalfe sent me the text of this speech of his, and, even more usefully, he sent me the notes about the speech, comments which he was too tactful to deliver to his distinguished audience. This means that Bob Metcalfe was actually making sarcastic parenthentical comments about his own speech!)))

(((I have decided to annotate Bob's speech with some of Bob's biting remarks, which will be marked with special-guest-star <<<triple arrows>>> instead of customary Viridian triple parentheses.)))

(((I find this speech of great interest since I have been urging Internet techies to tackle the greenhouse effect since 1998. So, lo, here one comes trundling along, and his first order of business is to get all the hippies out of the way. Bob doesn't want to identify as "Green" because there is way too much leftie-baiting political baggage; he'd preferred to be called "White." Like being "White" has no political baggage?)))

((Still, it's gratifying to see this happen. You could take this political map of Green politics and you could add a large new wedge.))) Link:

(((That new part would be "Tech-Money Green" and its true color would be Shiny High-Albedo White and it would occupied by the likes of Bob Metcalfe and Vinod Khosla. This is a long speech to a bunch of MIT Beaver good-old-tech-boys, but nevertheless, I would suggest studying this White rhetoric, as you will be hearing a lot more of it, because they have a lot of money. Also, instead of merely holding sit-ins, Tech-Money White Greens can actually finance and build stuff.)))


Bob Metcalfe is a general partner of Polaris Venture Partners in Waltham. He serves on the boards of Polaris-backed Boston-area start-ups Ember, GreenFuel, Mintera, Narad, Paratek, and SiCortex, all of which, if pressed, he can relate to enertech. In 1979, Bob founded 3Com Corporation, the Silicon Valley networking company that IPOed in 1984, hit $5B during the Internet Bubble, and is now HQed in Marlborough. Bob received the National Medal of Technology in 2005 for leadership in the invention, standardization, and commercialization of Ethernet, plumbing for the Internet. Bob is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Life Trustee of MIT. After 22 years in Silicon Valley, the Metcalves live in Boston and Maine.

Guest Blogger Bob Metcalfe on "Framing the First Massachusett EnergySummit"
Posted December 15, 2006


For 8am-noon, Wednesday, December 13, 2006, MIT Faculty Club

Speaking BEFORE me were (1) Paul O’Brien, Special Assistant to the Massachusetts Secretary of Economic Development, (2) Paul Parravano, Co-Director, MIT Office of Government Community Relations, (3) Susan Hockfield, President of MIT, and (4) Ernest Moniz, Director of the MIT Energy Initiative.

Speaking AFTER me and panel breakouts were (1) Cary Bullock, CEO of GreenFuel, (2) Richard Lester, Director of MIT’s Industrial Performance Center, and (3) Rick Matilla, Director of Environmental Affairs, Genzyme. Speaking AFTER them were (1) Ranch Kimball, Massachusetts Secretary of Economic Development, and (2) Duval Patrick, Massachusetts Governor Elect.


Good morning, thank you, and now for something completely different.

Welcome to today's First Massachusetts Energy Summit.

Thanks to Governor Mitt Romney, Secretary Ranch Kimball, Paul O'Brien, President Susan Hockfield, and Professor Moniz for inviting me here today, and I'm sorry if they soon REGRET it.

I am enthusiastic and grateful to be here. I signed up to make five minutes of framing remarks, but in preparing my notes, I've written several thousand words, which I'll happily send, if you ask nicely.

Please excuse any lack of collegiality on my part. Collegiality is not high on my priority list. After decades of fighting the status quo, I am wary of collegiality. Among the pathologies of collegiality are old boy networks – entrenched, resourceful, and nasty defenders of the status quo.

<<<Energy is an emerging CLUSTER in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Energy is emerging, we hope, like other world-class clusters in the Massachusetts economy. These include finance, defense, hospitals, infotech, biotech, nanotech, Internet, robotics, and RFID, to name a few, old and new.>>>

<<<No small factor in the emergence of Massachusetts clusters is the nourishment provided by our state's 100+ colleges and 10+ world-class research universities, including especially my alma mater, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which has taken up ENERGY as a major new university-wide initiative.>>>

(((Please note: these MIT-soaked aggregations are to be called CLUSTERS, not "good old boy networks," a southern phenomenon apparently unknown to Massachusetts.)))

"I wrote years back in MIT Technology Review Magazine that while INVENTION is a FLOWER, INNOVATION is a WEED. We innovators have to be willing to be viewed as weeds by old boy networks. Innovation, in my experience, is not done by old boy networks, but by sometime collaborating and mostly COMPETING, and annoying, teams of women and men – scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and of course, venture capitalists – call us "techies." I could stop there.

So, excuse me any lack of collegiality today – we are INNOVATING here.

The hopeful theory behind risking these five minutes with me is that I may have some useful advice for the Massachusetts energy cluster after my decades of striving and eventual success in Silicon Valley. The Valley is a cluster of clusters, the envy of economic developers around the world. In particular, I am overflowing with advice from experience in the Internet cluster, whose exact location remains in doubt, as is its lasting impact since the Internet Bubble burst.

<<<There is controversy about when exactly the Internet was invented, but I trace it back to a Federal Communications Commission decision in 1968, the Carterphone Decision, which began the breaking of AT&T's stranglehold on telecommunications. Carterphone established FOCACA ((("freedom of choice among competing alternatives"))) among devices attached to AT&T's telephone network. Then, only five years later, in 1973, there came three important inventions: the cellphone, the Internet's modern protocols (TCP/IP), and the Internet's plumbing, Ethernet.>>>

<<<All that FOCACA worked so well that, in 1984, the AT&T monopoly itself was broken up and, not so coincidentally, the modern Internet started moving up its inexorable exponential. We should worry these days that AT&T is reconsolidating, but that's another story.>>>

<<<In 1964, IBM introduced its 360 mainframes to secure its position as the dominant computer monopoly – it was IBM and the BUNCH: Burroughs, Univac, NCR, Control Data, and Honeywell. We would probably still be stuck with IBM mainframes batch processing punched cards had it not been for federal government antitrust oversight through the 1970s. Thanks to the resulting FOCACA, instead of just IBM and the BUNCH, we got DEC, Data General, Wang, HP, Intel, Apple, Apollo, Sun, Thinking Machines, Compaq, Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco, Dell, and now SiCortex out in Maynard, to name a few, and all of them connected, NOT through IBM's System Network Architecture, but through the Internet. SNA, R.I.P.>>>

Rather than make comments about exactly which innovations are going to solve the world's energy problems, <<<various forms of taxation, mitigation, sequestration, gasification, biofuels, nuclear, photosynthesis, photovoltaics, and hydrogen>>> in these five minutes I will try to stay META, and talk about how to help our energy cluster succeed.

Rather than lead with my own energy SILVER BULLET, algae, here's my meta silver bullet:

freedom of choice among competing alternatives.

FOCACA for short. If it's progress you want, let FOCACA reign. Down with monopolies and old boy networks. Down with early political consensus picks among people, technologies, or companies. Our energy cluster will only prosper with FOCACA.

I am from what politicians and professors often call, a little too dismissively, the "private sector." I think nobody else but the private sector will meet the world's energy needs. Yes, the underlying reasons we are here today are the 100+ colleges and 10+ world-class research universities in Massachusetts. Every economic cluster that I know about is near a research university.

And then there are politicians – the public sector. The big danger in what they call "policy making" is that large companies have lobbyists and small companies don't. Using an endless variety of rationales, the old boy network of large company lobbyists and policy makers make it difficult for young companies that might compete with them and thereby drive accelerating innovation. So, please be careful out there.

<<<Two good examples from Internet history are ISDN plumbing and ISO protocols. Both were infotech technologies promoted by an old boy network, by the old Bell System. Bell monopolists sent armies of lobbyists to visit government officials explaining how it was in everyone's best interest if their monopolies were protected, and if not their monopolies per se, then public safety, and if not safety, then universal service, and if not that, then the jobs of telephone workers in their geographies. Even I was fooled for a while. Had ISDN and ISO been forced on us by those unsuspecting government officials and me, the Internet might still be among those perennial technologies of the future.>>>

<<<Fortunately, FOCACA prevailed, and we got, not ISDN and ISO, but after a series of long and fierce competitions, we got the Internet's Ethernet plumbing and TCP/IP protocols. I was tempted to say just then that we "ended up" with the Internet's plumbing and protocols, but of course FOCACA still prevails, and the Internet's proliferation and evolution continues. So should it be with energy in Massachusetts.>>>

<<<Even policies aimed at large companies can backfire on small innovation companies. For example, policies that confiscate profits from "greedy" energy monopolies are a bad idea. Such profits are typically grossly exaggerated, but more importantly, investors will shy away from situations where, if they succeed, their returns will be confiscated. Profit confiscation will bite your nose to spite your face, if it's cheap and clean energy you want.>>>


At the risk of not being collegial, again, and maybe even annoying Governor Romney and President Hockfield, I'd like to point out THREE problems with the very name of today’s First Massachusetts Energy Summit.

The FIRST problem with the name is the word FIRST. This cannot be the first energy summit ever held in Massachusetts, or even the first at MIT. We have a long history of trying to meet the world's energy needs. Let's be mindful that we have been here before.

The SECOND problem with the name of today's SUMMIT is the word SUMMIT. Governors and Presidents often call their gatherings summits, but this word has the wrong connotations for solving problems. Again, the world's energy needs will not be met top down near the summits of any old boy networks, but solved – here's my main message – bottom up, by young women and men, sometimes collaborating but mostly in COMPETING teams of scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and VCs. In Silicon Valley, this is called coopetition.

And the THIRD problem with the name of this Energy Summit is the word ENERGY. The cluster we are here today discussing is not an "energy" cluster per se, but an energy TECHNOLOGY cluster. It's not as if we are planning to mine newly discovered coal deposits out past Interstate 495. It's not that a spectacular supply of wind has been found in Nantucket Sound. It's not that Massachusetts is likely to become a major energy exporter or even energy independent. Instead, we are gathered today to discuss the development of an economic cluster based on energy TECHNOLOGY.

For example, while Massachusetts will EVENTUALLY have thousands of windmills in somebody's backyards, it's more important that our energy technologies are used around the world for making, for example, windmill BLADES. Massachusetts technologies will be used worldwide in energy generation, distribution, storage, and consumption.

So, rather than energy, I'll be saying energy technology – ENERTECH for short. I mean to say enertech as we already say infotech, biotech, and nanotech. Add "enertech" to the list.

<<<The trick, if you want actually to solve Global Warming, is to keep clear the paths of people I'll call "techies" – scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists (including me). Techies are the people who just took 30 years to build the Internet and who will take about the same time to solve Global Warming. They will solve Global Warming mostly by developing technologies that deliver cheap and clean energy. And they will do it SOONER if we can keep alarmists and deniers out of their way, and let FOCACA ring.>>>

<<<The science we need is best done, not by corporate monopolies, not by government laboratories, but by research universities, of which Massachusetts has plenty.>>>

<<<In general, in the private sector, only monopolies can afford basic research. AT&T's telephone monopoly supported Bell Labs. IBM's computer monopoly supported Watson Labs. Xerox's copier monopoly supported Parc. However, all the damage monopolies do, by overcharging their customers and sitting on innovations, is NOT worth what little research they do.>>>

<<<And government laboratories have become mostly earmarked pork barrel jobs programs steeped in mediocrity. Sorry, that wasn't very nice.>>>

<<<Research universities are the best place to do the Earth and energy science we need because why? Because they graduate people. People are the most effective vehicles for technology transfer. It is no accident that economic clusters tend to form around excellent research universities.>>>



The best way to frame the challenge before our Enertech Cluster is to say we aim to deploy technologies that will meet world needs for CHEAP AND CLEAN ENERGY. Note that meeting the world's energy needs is not exactly the same as solving GLOBAL WARMING. There are other reasons, like prosperity and security, to want cheap and clean energy. And there are other causes of Global Warming, like plentiful unreflected sunlight.

Rest assured, Massachusetts enertech will help reduce Global Warming by cleaning up and eventually replacing fossil fuels. What the world needs is not just CHEAP energy, and not just CLEAN energy, but cheap AND clean energy. The market opportunities and other motivations are huge. (. . .)


The Internet was invented in the 1960s. Last year, a quarter billion new ports were shipped of my baby, Ethernet, plumbing for the Internet. Today the Internet has something like a billion users.

Here are three (3) ways in which the Internet can help meet the world's needs for cheap and clean energy and also solve Global Warming:

First, as it evolves to enhance its email, search, blogs, social networking, audio, and video capabilities, the Internet can increasingly be used to reduce energy consumption by massively substituting COMMUNICATION for TRANSPORTATION. Just think of all the automobile and airplane miles and attendant carbon emissions that will be saved by transmitting our BITS to meetings instead of lugging our ATOMS. Let's try hard to attend these Massachusetts Enertech Cluster meetings in the future without actually going anywhere. Down with pressing the flesh!

Second, starting with today's base of a billion users and Google, the Internet is becoming an unprecedented medium for COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE. More and more people are getting better and better information and communication tools that will be applied to the development of cheap and clean energy and to solve Global Warming. The Internet is helping accelerate intellectual progress exponentially, and as Ray Kurzweil writes, the singularity is near. (((Yeah, it ought to help Global Warming pronto when we're all downloaded brains in a box.)))

And third, the people, processes, and institutions that built the Internet will themselves help bring the world cheap and clean energy. I'm talking here about the Internet's teams of scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists. And I'm talking about actual Internet techies and FOCACA. Of course, like the Internet, solving the world's energy problems will take about 30 years. By meeting here today, I hope we are aiming to help techies deliver cheap and clean energy faster than we delivered the Internet.

By the way, you might think I'd be sorry the Internet Bubble burst, but I'm not. Al Gore and I may not have invented the Internet, but we invented the Internet Bubble. What we need now, and seem to be getting, is an Enertech Bubble.

Sure technology bubbles eventually burst. So, to mix metaphors, it's important to have a chair when the music stops. But, mixing metaphors again, trying too hard to avoid bubbles causes what control theorists call over-damping. Over-damping the growth of our Enertech Cluster would delay the arrival of the cheap and clean energy that the world so badly needs. Let our Enertech Bubble inflate!


Silicon Valley has a "hometown newspaper" which plays many roles in sustaining its various clusters. It's the San Jose Mercury News. The Massachusetts Enertech Cluster needs newspapers too. Sadly, the Boston Globe edition of The New York Times will not do. The problem is that The Globe is hostile to business and incompetent to cover it. Instead, for essential help in nurturing community in our Enertech Cluster, we need to leverage the new online media, another thing the Internet can do for energy and Global Warming.

I hasten to add about The Globe that, like almost all other newspapers, its readership has been declining for two decades. And, if you read it, you should worry about all the trees they cut down and all carbon they emit printing and distributing that toxic stuff they call news.


<<<When you look at groups who call themselves GREEN, you find a good many ulterior motives and a veritable toxic waste dump of bad ideas. As pointed out by NYT Columnist Tom Friedman at Pop!Tech in October, Greens tend to be various combinations of environmentalist (a good thing), but also anti-urban, anti-technology, anti-nuke, anti-corporate, anti-globalization, and anti-American. Our Enertech Cluster needs to be careful about how we align with Greens.>>>


There are a good many of us involved in enertech who have what might be called ulterior motives. I, for example, am investing to get venture capital returns for our limited partners. So it was with the Internet. The trick is not to spend a lot of time denying and decrying ulterior motives. The trick is to get ulterior motives disclosed and aligned. We need to harness everybody's motivations, not pretend they don't exist or wish them away.


<<<Venture capitalists often brag about their portfolio companies, and I'm no different, but I'll try to keep it relevant to enertech, and short.>>>

<<<Calling Ember in South Boston an enertech start-up is a REACH, but well worth it. Ember is a networking company that delivers tiny radio semiconductors and protocol software. Ember's aim is to network all the world's embedded micro-controllers, of which, according to IDC (another Massachusetts company) there will be 10 billion new ones shipped next year. Ember's go-to-market focus is home and building control. And what do you think the principal benefits of home and building control are? By wirelessly controlling lights, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, many of Ember's early customers are conserving energy. By wirelessly reading meters, many of Ember's early customers better measure the energy they are saving.>>>

<<<Calling SiCortex in Maynard an enertech start-up is also a REACH, but worth it. SiCortex is a computer systems company, so why is it an example of Massachusetts enertech? First, SiCortex has just launched open-source software Linux superclusters that improve by factors of 10 delivered computational performance per dollar, per foot, and, yes, per watt. Because they each consume two factors of 10 fewer watts than the PC microprocessors on our desks, SiCortex fits six 64-bit microprocessors on a chip and therefore 5,832 in a single cabinet, cooled by air, saving energy on running the computers and even more on cooling them. That's enertech. And second, SiCortex is enertech because its superclusters are designed for high-performance computing applications, prominent among which are seismic data analysis for oil exploration, climate modeling, fluid dynamics, reactor simulations, quantum chromo dynamics – enertech. No wonder the lead in SiCortex's recent $21M venture financing was Chevron.>>>

<<<Calling GreenFuel in Cambridge an enertech start-up is NOT a reach. GreenFuel is now working with huge electric power plants in the Arizona desert to scale up its enertech. GreenFuel pipes CO2-laden flue gases through algae slurries circulating in solar bioreactors. GreenFuel algae use photosynthesis in enertech greenhouses to remove greenhouse gases (CO2 and NOx) from the flue gases before release into the atmosphere.>>>

<<< And then, get this, the rapidly thickening algal slurry is harvested several times per day to produce lipids, starches, and proteins for extraction into substantial quantities of, respectively, biodiesel, ethanol, and feed. GreenFuel algae-solar bioreactors do require acreage, water, and electricity, but junk land, dirty water, and single-digit percentages of parasitic power. GreenFuel treats CO2 as a valuable plant food and, rather than try to sequester it expensively, GreenFuel recycles CO2, cleaning the atmosphere while producing cheap and clean energy. That's enertech.>>>

It's hard sometimes, but it's important to keep in mind that clustering is not a zero-sum game. I am not enthusiastic about promoting the Massachusetts Enertech Cluster so as to beat California – I lived in California for 22 years and still sometimes think of it as home. Nor would I want Maine, where I have also lived and still summer, to think I have switched allegiance to Massachusetts. Nor would I want MIT to suspect that I am working to give Waltham or Boston a leg up on Cambridge. Or that I favor 02139 over 02138.

Again, clustering is not a zero-sum game. The world is waiting for us to provide cheap and clean energy. Let's cluster!


Shortly, we will attend panels on energy conservation, on alternative technologies, and on growing our energy (or enertech) cluster. The panelists are first rate, and I look forward to hearing from them. Fostering communication like this is key to growing our enertech cluster.

<<< Let's not make our energy cluster be about government policies that anoint people, technologies, companies, or regions of the country, but about sustaining environments in which competition can run free.>>>


The Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council (MTLC) sustains our software cluster. We have a telecommunications council. We have a biotech council. We have a nanotech council. We have a New England Venture Capital Association. We have a Massachusetts Information Technology Exchange.

The Massachusetts energy technology cluster needs councils too. And near the top of its priorities, this council should serve as a liaison for entrepreneurs.

Today could be the inaugural meeting of one of our new enertech cluster councils, which we have to call something like the "Massachusetts Energy Technology Council And Liaison For Entrepreneurs," or for short, METCALFE. Just kidding.

OK, may we should call it the "Boston Energy Advanced Technology Council And Liaison," for short, BEATCAL. Just kidding.

Or broadening the geographical focus a bit, there is the New England Energy Innovation Collaborative – NEEIC (pronounced "neek") — which Polaris is planning to join. See

Thank you.


(((Further choice impolitic remarks by Bob Metcalfe.)))


<<<There are amazing satellite images floating around various conferences that show Earth at night. What's funny is how these images are used for such different purposes.>>>

<<<Sometimes the speaker showing an Earth-at-night image will complain about how much energy we waste lighting the night sky. During a speech last month in Washington, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld showed North and South Korea from space at night, noting how the Communist ideology of the North has left them starving in the dark. And there was the image at Pop!Tech ( in October showing Africa, the Dark Continent, with hardly any lights at all. The Pop!Tech speaker was not bragging about how "green" Africans are, but about how poor and dying they are.>>>

<<<Energy is a factor of production. It's NOT so much that the USA wastes energy because it can afford to. Fact is, it's easier to grow economies and proliferate prosperity when you have abundant energy. You often hear how America's energy use per capita is high. You hear less often is that America's energy consumption is about proportional to our economic output. It is a dead-end to ask nations to give up their prosperity, or hopes of prosperity, in order to use less energy to solve Global Warming.

<<<Al Gore says that George Bush is thwarting adoption of the Kyoto Treaty. Gore does not mention that when the Kyoto Treaty was brought to the Senate of the USA, where treaties are supposed to be ratified, Kyoto was voted down, and not just by Republicans. It was voted down 95-0. That was 1997, during the Clinton-Gore administration, when Gore was himself President of the Senate.>>>

<<<The Global Warming problem is not that the prosperous United States wastes too much energy. The problem is that the developing world wants to be prosperous too. That's why developing nations have to be exempted from Kyoto, as if their ramping carbon dioxide emissions won't count. Telling them to conserve energy won't work either. Cheap and clean energy is needed to grow the world's economies (and solve Global Warming).>>>


<<<Beliefs that Greens really ought reconsider are anti-nuke, anti-urban, and anti-technology.>>>

<<<Nuclear power plants, about 100 of which are already providing 20% of our electricity, do so cheaply and cleanly. However, because of anti-nuke Greens, there has not been a new nuclear plant built in the USA in 25 years. If you want to make policies to promote cheap and clean energy, get rid of Green policies that keep nuclear permitting an uncertain and expensive process lasting decades.>>>

<<<Greens also have for decades promoted their belief in rural living. Now it's emerging that your "environmental footprint" is actually lower when you live in a city. Fortunately, humans, despite all those Greens getting back to the Earth, are now moving to cities by the hundreds of millions.>>>

<<<Greens also promote small-scale organic farming, which they contrast with high-tech farming by corporations. It's turning out that low-productivity farming takes more cleared land and is bad for our environment.>>>

<<<If our Enertech Cluster needs a color, I suggest not green but white, or albedo, as climate scientists sometimes call it, from the Latin for white. Cheap and clean energy will not alone solve Global Warming. The problem is that light from the Sun carries a lot of energy to Earth, and there is evidence that too little of it is being reflected back out into space. Earth's albedo is the ratio of reflected to incident light. Green has a low albedo; white the highest.>>>


<<<One of my private investigations is finding ways to enhance the so-called Parasol Effect. The odd thing is that sulfur pollution in the upper atmosphere, which we are carefully working to reduce, now enhances the Parasol Effect to offset about a third of the Greenhouse Effect. Large volcanoes cause Earth's temperature to plunge when they enhance the Parasol Effect by belching reflective particles into the atmosphere. We should be looking harder at how to send benign reflecting particles into the stratosphere in order to enhance the Parasol Effect on purpose, to keep the temperature of Earth wherever we want it, which seems to be the same as it is now (or maybe a little bit cooler).>>>

<<<What I have noticed is that we are no longer content to endure the weather. We have learned enough about Earth that we are beginning to be able to predict the weather. Now that we are noticing that we are able to change the weather, albeit inadvertently, we will soon demand to CONTROL the weather. We will need Parasol Effect nanomaterial and its antidote to control the weather – to keep the weather exactly where we want it even against climate changes caused by non-human activities, like the orbit of Earth, volcanoes, Sun spots, etc.>>>

<<<When we know enough about Earth to control the temperature, then we will have a new political problem. We will need to ask somebody, perhaps the United Nations, if we want Earth to be warmer, cooler, or just the same. That will be interesting.>>>

<<<After that, from a future generation of techies, we will expect to control temperatures differently at different places and times across Earth's surface. And why not? We already have zoned thermostats in many buildings.>>>

<<<Thank you.>>>


O=c=O O=c=O
O=c=O O=c=O

Call him a green conservative. He's a US nationalist, likes industrial agriculture (I live next to it and have no sympathy), doesn't talk about any other environmental issue (without population restraint and habitat conservation, no amount of energy will be worth a damn), and wants to call his position white green. This speech is enough to make me want to throw my wooden shoes into some industrial machine, only we don't have very many of them in the USA, any more. I'm feeling about this position about the way I feel about the W. Bush administration. They fucked up bad, spent decades--arguably centuries--and huge amounts of money avoiding the problem, and now they want to lead. Well, maybe. But they can bloody well show some respect for the people who showed them where the problem was, some compassion for the people whose lives they're still messing up and who are going to be doing the hands-on work, and ante up, damnit.

And I really want him to explain more about nuclear power. He can start with Iran and Israel and go on to explain how China is going to run a clean and honest nuclear waste management system.

In order to insure energy and economic independence as well as better economic growth without being blackmailed by foreign countries, our country, the United States of America’s Utilization of Energy sources must change.
"Energy drives our entire economy." We must protect it. "Let's face it, without energy the whole economy and economic society we have set up would come to a halt. So you want to have control over such an important resource that you need for your society and your economy." The American way of life is not negotiable.
Our continued dependence on fossil fuels could and will lead to catastrophic consequences.

The federal, state and local government should implement a mandatory renewable energy installation program for residential and commercial property on new construction and remodeling projects with the use of energy efficient material, mechanical systems, appliances, lighting, etc. The source of energy must by renewable energy such as Solar-Photovoltaic, Geothermal, Wind, Biofuels, etc. including utilizing water from lakes, rivers and oceans to circulate in cooling towers to produce air conditioning and the utilization of proper landscaping to reduce energy consumption.

The implementation of mandatory renewable energy could be done on a gradual scale over the next 10 years. At the end of the 10 year period all construction and energy use in the structures throughout the United States must be 100% powered by renewable energy.

In addition, the governments must impose laws, rules and regulations whereby the utility companies must comply with a fair “NET METERING” (the buying of excess generation from the consumer), including the promotion of research and production of “renewable energy technology” with various long term incentives and grants. The various foundations in existence should be used to contribute to this cause.

A mandatory time table should also be established for the automobile industry to gradually produce an automobile powered by renewable energy. The American automobile industry is surely capable of accomplishing this task.

This is a way to expedite our energy independence and economic growth. (this will also creat a substantial amount of new jobs) It will take maximum effort and a relentless pursuit of the private, commercial and industrial government sectors commitment to renewable energy – energy generation (wind, solar, hydro, biofuels, geothermal, energy storage (fuel cells, advance batteries), energy infrastructure (management, transmission) and energy efficiency (lighting, sensors, automation, conservation) in order to achieve our energy independence.

Jay Draiman
Northridge, CA. 91325

P.S. I have a very deep belief in America's capabilities. Within the next 10 years we can accomplish our energy independence, if we as a nation truly set our goals to accomplish this.
I happen to believe that we can do it. In another crisis--the one in 1942--President Franklin D. Roosevelt said this country would build 60,000 [50,000] military aircraft. By 1943, production in that program had reached 125,000 aircraft annually. They did it then. We can do it now.
The American people resilience and determination to retain the way of life is unconquerable and we as a nation will succeed in this endeavor of Energy Independence.

Solar energy is the source of all energy on the earth (excepting volcanic geothermal). Wind, wave and fossil fuels all get their energy from the sun. Fossil fuels are only a battery which will eventually run out. The sooner we can exploit all forms of Solar energy (cost effectively or not against dubiously cheap FFs)the better off we will all be. If the battery runs out first, the survivors will all be living like in the 18th century again.

Every new home built should come with a solar package. A 1.5 kW per bedroom is a good rule of thumb. The formula 1.5 X's 5 hrs per day X's 30 days will produce about 225 kWh per bedroom monthly. This peak production period will offset 17 to 24 cents per kWh with a potential of $160 per month or about $60,000 over the 30-year mortgage period for a three-bedroom home. It is economically feasible at the current energy price and the interest portion of the loan is deductible. Why not?

Title 24 has been mandated forcing developers to build energy efficient homes. Their bull-headedness put them in that position and now they see that Title 24 works with little added cost. Solar should also be mandated and if the developer designs a home that solar is impossible to do then they should pay an equivalent mitigation fee allowing others to put solar on in place of their negligence.
One question on his speech, on the nature of fact.

His argument about small farming. First off he made a little straw man statement there, he's attacking Green interest in small farming but using a criticism of low-productivity farming. At least logically his argument is almost tautological, right? I mean sure, obviously low-productivity farming would require more land to achieve the same output. The question is if small-scale ecological farming is more or less "productive" than industrial farming.

Most "green" arguments I've seen don't trumpet the ideology of rural living- they point out that small farms reliant upon organic fertilizer (compost and manure) and distribution via local and regional CSAs are more cost effective and productive overall, assuming mixed operations. That they have several advantages over industrial techniques, the most important being soil health and retention, given the horrendous effects of synthetic inputs on the rhizosphere.

Now is this true or is it not true? We don't need to be pomo here, this is a question of overall systems and facts? I could easily accuse the man of a certain bias given his investments (using that coal fume algae as industrial animal feed) but I'm not really interested in challenging him per se. After all, it was just a note. I'm just curious, is this a load of nonsense or isn't it?

This is a major agricultural claim. I mean the French biointensive methods of gardening, for instance, are reported to reach productivity levels exceeding industrial farming regularly. Is this just a lie?

Is he talking about low-skilled peasant agriculture used in Third World countries as survival mechanisms, or is he talking about biointensive farming developed through research and analysis? Is he talking about survival methods of poor people in Brazil cutting down rainforest to survive, or is he talking about localized techniques developed undisrupted over generations, now combining both indigenous and scientific research? They're different in kind.

This isn't just a minor point honestly. The University of Minnesota just came out with a major study showing that in terms of fuel production, the best ethanol "crop" is mixed native prairie grasses, beating any industrial crop in temrs of efficiency and productivity. Is Minesota lying? Because that means that small farmers using ecological methods on the prairies would be just as viable as massive industrial operations, even moreso, for fuel production.

It seems that techies often just operate by received biases, as though anything that doesn't resemble and episode of Star Trek is backwards. Any ecological form of agriculture is knowledge-intensive. Honestly, the unquestionable growth in organics in America shouldn't be seen as some primitivist inclination among nostalgiac suburbanites. It's the replacement of a mass industrial model of agricultural production with a specialized, knowledge-intensive model of agricultural production.

All the qualities tech people describe as separating THEIR sector from the staid old big manufacturing sectors in America, all these qualities are SHARED by ecological farming. Direct producer-consumer networks, tight connections between research and experimentation/application, a large pool of "prosumers" contributing to the field, etc.

There is no fundamental opposition here, it just seems a received habit of, to be quite frank, these damned yankees to hate anything that doesn't look like New York or San Francisco or Boston or LA.

And I only harp on this incidental point of an otherwise interesting speech and set of annotations because, like you said Bruce, these folks have the money.
- Donald, an Austinite.
Very cool reading, thanx so much.
Davin Ogden
The Davinator
Cheap Computers
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