Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

NYTimes.com Article: Op-Ed Columnist: Fly Me to the Moon

Expand Messages
  • rickrise@earthlink.net
    The article below from NYTimes.com has been sent to you by rickrise@earthlink.net. Good article on the need for reduced oil dependence from the NYT
    Message 1 of 4 , Dec 6 7:43 AM
      The article below from NYTimes.com
      has been sent to you by rickrise@....


      Good article on the need for reduced oil dependence from the NYT

      rickrise@...


      /--------- E-mail Sponsored by Fox Searchlight ------------\

      SIDEWAYS - NOW PLAYING IN SELECT CITIES

      An official selection of the New York Film Festival and the
      Toronto International Film Festival, SIDEWAYS is the new
      comedy from Alexander Payne, director of ELECTION and ABOUT
      SCHMIDT. Starring Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church,
      Sandra Oh and Virginia Madsen. Watch the trailer at:

      http://www.foxsearchlight.com/sideways/index_nyt.html

      \----------------------------------------------------------/


      Op-Ed Columnist: Fly Me to the Moon

      December 5, 2004
      By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN





      Of all the irresponsible aspects of the 2005 budget bill
      that the Republican-led Congress just passed, nothing could
      be more irresponsible than the fact that funding for the
      National Science Foundation was cut by nearly 2 percent, or
      $105 million.

      Think about this. We are facing a mounting crisis in
      science and engineering education. The generation of
      scientists, engineers and mathematicians who were spurred
      to get advanced degrees by the 1957 Soviet launch of
      Sputnik and the challenge by President John Kennedy to put
      a man on the moon is slowly retiring.

      But because of the steady erosion of science, math and
      engineering education in U.S. high schools, our cold war
      generation of American scientists is not being fully
      replenished. We traditionally filled the gap with Indian,
      Chinese and other immigrant brainpower. But post-9/11, many
      of these foreign engineers are not coming here anymore,
      and, because the world is now flat and wired, many others
      can stay home and innovate without having to emigrate.

      If we don't do something soon and dramatic to reverse this
      "erosion," Shirley Ann Jackson, the president of Rensselaer
      Polytechnic and president of the American Association for
      the Advancement of Science, told me, we are not going to
      have the scientific foundation to sustain our high standard
      of living in 15 or 20 years.

      Instead of doubling the N.S.F. budget - to support more
      science education and research at every level - this
      Congress decided to cut it! Could anything be more idiotic?


      If President Bush is looking for a legacy, I have just the
      one for him - a national science project that would be our
      generation's moon shot: a crash science initiative for
      alternative energy and conservation to make America
      energy-independent in 10 years. Imagine if every American
      kid, in every school, were galvanized around such a vision.
      Ah, you say, nice idea, Friedman, but what does it have to
      do with your subject - foreign policy?

      Everything! You give me an America that is
      energy-independent and I will give you sharply reduced oil
      revenues for the worst governments in the world. I will
      give you political reform from Moscow to Riyadh to Tehran.
      Yes, deprive these regimes of the huge oil windfalls on
      which they depend and you will force them to reform by
      having to tap their people instead of oil wells. These
      regimes won't change when we tell them they should. They
      will change only when they tell themselves they must.

      When did the Soviet Union collapse? When did reform take
      off in Iran? When did the Oslo peace process begin? When
      did economic reform become a hot topic in the Arab world?
      In the late 1980's and early 1990's. And what was also
      happening then? Oil prices were collapsing.

      In November 1985, oil was $30 a barrel, recalled the noted
      oil economist Philip Verleger. By July of 1986, oil had
      fallen to $10 a barrel, and it did not climb back to $20
      until April 1989. "Everyone thinks Ronald Reagan brought
      down the Soviets," said Mr. Verleger. "That is wrong. It
      was the collapse of their oil rents." It's no accident that
      the 1990's was the decade of falling oil prices and falling
      walls.

      If President Bush made energy independence his moon shot,
      he would dry up revenue for terrorism; force Iran, Russia,
      Venezuela and Saudi Arabia to take the path of reform -
      which they will never do with $45-a-barrel oil - strengthen
      the dollar; and improve his own standing in Europe, by
      doing something huge to reduce global warming. He would
      also create a magnet to inspire young people to contribute
      to the war on terrorism and America's future by becoming
      scientists, engineers and mathematicians. "This is not just
      a win-win," said the Johns Hopkins foreign policy expert
      Michael Mandelbaum. "This is a win-win-win-win-win."

      Or, Mr. Bush can ignore this challenge and spend the next
      four years in an utterly futile effort to persuade Russia
      to be restrained, Saudi Arabia to be moderate, Iran to be
      cautious and Europe to be nice.

      Sure, it would require some sacrifice. But remember
      J.F.K.'s words when he summoned us to go to the moon on
      Sept. 12, 1962: "We choose to go to the moon in this decade
      and do the other things, not because they are easy, but
      because they are hard, because that goal will serve to
      organize and measure the best of our energies and skills,
      because that challenge is one that we are willing to
      accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we
      intend to win."

      Summoning all our energies and skills to produce a
      21st-century fuel is George W. Bush's opportunity to be
      both Nixon to China and J.F.K. to the moon - in one move.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/05/opinion/05friedman.html?ex=1103347788&ei=1&en=d07ee10bb61b3ef4


      ---------------------------------

      Get Home Delivery of The New York Times Newspaper. Imagine
      reading The New York Times any time & anywhere you like!
      Leisurely catch up on events & expand your horizons. Enjoy
      now for 50% off Home Delivery! Click here:

      http://homedelivery.nytimes.com/HDS/SubscriptionT1.do?mode=SubscriptionT1&ExternalMediaCode=W24AF



      HOW TO ADVERTISE
      ---------------------------------
      For information on advertising in e-mail newsletters
      or other creative advertising opportunities with The
      New York Times on the Web, please contact
      onlinesales@... or visit our online media
      kit at http://www.nytimes.com/adinfo

      For general information about NYTimes.com, write to
      help@....

      Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
    • emccaughrin
      ... I really wish these editorial writers would take a crash course in thermodynamics. How many times now have we seen editorials written by scientifically
      Message 2 of 4 , Dec 6 9:27 AM
        --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, rickrise@e... wrote:
        >
        > If President Bush is looking for a legacy, I have just the
        > one for him - a national science project that would be our
        > generation's moon shot: a crash science initiative for
        > alternative energy and conservation to make America
        > energy-independent in 10 years. Imagine if every American
        > kid, in every school, were galvanized around such a vision.

        I really wish these editorial writers would take a crash course in
        thermodynamics. How many times now have we seen editorials written
        by scientifically illiterate morons that seem to think there is some
        miracle technological solution out there to make Americans
        energy "independent" while at the same time driving 4+ ton vehicles
        25 miles per day? It doesn't matter how much money is thrown at the
        NSF -- nobody is going to invent a perpetual motion device.
      • Christopher Miller
        ... I suppose, though, that a generous reading of alternative energy and conservation might imply cutting back on -- and cutting out as far as possible --
        Message 3 of 4 , Dec 6 9:46 AM
          On 6 Dec 2004, at 12:27 PM, emccaughrin wrote:

          > --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, rickrise@e... wrote:
          >>
          >> (...) a crash science initiative for
          >> alternative energy and conservation to make America
          >> energy-independent in 10 years. Imagine if every American
          >> kid, in every school, were galvanized around such a vision.
          >
          > I really wish these editorial writers would take a crash course in
          > thermodynamics. How many times now have we seen editorials written
          > by scientifically illiterate morons that seem to think there is some
          > miracle technological solution out there to make Americans
          > energy "independent" while at the same time driving 4+ ton vehicles
          > 25 miles per day? It doesn't matter how much money is thrown at the
          > NSF -- nobody is going to invent a perpetual motion device.

          I suppose, though, that a generous reading of "alternative energy and
          conservation" might imply cutting back on -- and cutting out as far as
          possible -- wasteful modes of transport, which would imply a need for
          scientific research on improving urban environments and reshaping the
          suburban landscape around more intelligent transportation choices (an
          enormous, complex task that would require a lot of experimentation and
          modelling). I can imagine that the NSF could fund a lot of very useful
          research in these areas. A U.S. Carfree Institute, like what Joel
          Crawford hopes to set up at some point, would stand to benefit
          enormously from NSF research funding channelled into this area.

          Long distance transportation-related news: an interesting article on
          today's CBC website about a tomato shortage in Canada due to bad
          weather earlier this year in the California and Florida
          tomato-producing regions:

          http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2004/12/06/tomato-
          shortages041206.html

          This is but a "foretaste" of what could be expected with increasing
          transportation costs, with or without further (perhaps global
          warming-induced) weather problems -- just the kind of thing Jim
          Kunstler, among others, warns about.

          Chris Miller
          Washington DC, USA
        • emccaughrin
          ... You are being far too generous. The idea clearly being advocated by Mr. Friedman -- and an embarassing number of environmental organizations -- is that
          Message 4 of 4 , Dec 7 7:38 PM
            --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, Christopher Miller
            <christophermiller@m...> wrote:
            >
            > I suppose, though, that a generous reading of "alternative energy
            > and conservation" might imply cutting back on -- and cutting out
            > as far as possible -- wasteful modes of transport

            You are being far too generous. The idea clearly being advocated by
            Mr. Friedman -- and an embarassing number of "environmental"
            organizations -- is that we blow billions on white elephant projects
            like "intelligent" highway systems, hydrogen highways (i.e. "21st-
            century fuel"), battery-powered hummers, etc. For politicians
            (Democrat and Republican) it is a "win-win-win" situation. They can
            say to their constituents that they are "environmental" by funding
            such programs without having to make any of the difficult decisions
            about reducing the gigantic subsidies sustaining sprawl.

            > which would imply a need for scientific research on improving
            > urban environments and reshaping the suburban landscape around
            > more intelligent transportation choices (an enormous, complex
            > task that would require a lot of experimentation and
            > modelling).

            Reearch what, exactly?

            Designing energy efficient cities and transport systems is already a
            solved problem. Off-the-shelf technology already in use today could
            eliminate America's energy deficit. But until the various structural
            problems are fixed, there is no market incentive to do so.
          Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.