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Deliverance through Technology: Really.

Election season is drumming up to fever pitch, and it's not even getting cold outside yet. This must be the earliest the presidential race has ever been relevant. I suppose after a presidency like the one that's set to end in about seven months, people can't help getting excited about who will occupy the Oval Office next.

So I suppose the crazy-looking one-uppedness and record-setting campaign finance numbers can be pardoned, or at least for the purposes of this particular editorial, as that is not the intended topic of my upcoming fluff.

No, what interests me is the widespread, generally agreed-upon hysteria about gas prices. Gas now costs about $3.90 where I live, making it one of the cheapest places in the western world to fill your tank. About once every two weeks, I pay about twenty dollars more to fill my tank than I did two years ago. That totals about $520 more, per year, that I pay for gasoline. That's almost twice what I paid two years ago, but here's the thing: I don't care. I hope that two years from now, I have another $520 to pay on top of it, if I'm still driving enough to need that much gas.

I think gas getting more expensive is a good thing, as it forces two things that make economies great: innovation and discussion. In the free, open internet-powered world, there is little standing in the way of solutions to our energy problems being found. Unfortunately, nobody that I've talked to seems to feel that way. Instead of using the completely unprecedented power we have in collaboration and communication, the current politically popular action falls on blaming someone, whether it's speculators, suburbanites, the party on the other side of the aisle, the oil companies, the current administration, the international community, or my favorite, the economy.

The only corrective action that I've seen has been flawed from the start. If we attack the speculators, we take away the underlying freedom that powers what's left of our economy. If we attack people's lifestyles, we take away the underlying freedom that powers what's left of our work ethic. If we attack a perceived shortage brought on by what alarmists are with little evidence calling, "peak oil," then the underlying problem is not addressed, and nothing is done in the immediate term.

The proposals I have heard from both sides of the 2008 presidential campaign can best be described as political bullshit. They are all based on blame, and on depriving America of something far greater and far more important than cheap energy. Though I don't know the answer, technology will account for its existence, and technology, combined with freedom will reveal it to us, if we can just get the god-damned campaigners out of the way.

4:16 PM, Jun 26, 2008


dick replied:

good luck on that. world is already correcting (part of) the problem. demand is tanking while supply is sky-rocketing. don't get philosophical on me, I'm merely commenting on pump prices.

10:51 AM, Jun 27, 2008

bahua said:

I think you got that backwards. Supply is tanking while demand increases, therefore pump prices go up.

3:12 PM, Jun 27, 2008

ProdConKH blurted:

This guy thinks he's saving money by taking the bus!

7:21 PM, Jul 1, 2008

Gulia cut in with:

I'm not sure there is a 'right' answer. The only one that intregues me is something that I believe Europe does (thanks to Amber on this one). Their prices have been through the roof for years. Part of this does involve taxes, but the other part is intentional. There is only so much room for cars in the major cities of Europe and therefore to decrease the amount of driving and increase the use of public transit, the gas prices have been very high. Translating that here isn't so easy. Take where I live, Detroit, the big 3 automakers have attempted to stop any movement toward a viable public transit system, so that alternative here is unrealistic at this time. But, in places like Chicago and Boston, public transit are real options and I believe that they are going to continue to grow in use as gas prices grow as well.

(I think this is the biggest entry I've ever made on the site....)

7:47 AM, Jul 2, 2008

Richard B spoiled the calm with:

I agree, people get so stuck in our thinking that they can't see the future. Ask someone from the 1800's if its possible to put someone on the moon and they would laugh. But tell some red-fearing americans that the commies are on their way, and they change their mind very quickly.

That's why I was excited when the x-prize foundation placed 100 million on alternative fuels. I think people really miss how many teams are going for these subsidies. Look at early aviation to see that it really does work. It really can spur innovation. Just takes time.

10:39 AM, Jul 2, 2008

Brian interjected:

Breeder (nuclear) reactors and better battery technology is where it's at, in my opinion. I've got a friend who's working on the front lines of battery research, and it's a pretty exciting field. Breeder reactors (already in use outside the US) are remarkably efficient and practically wasteless. Also, though still not quite there, the technology behind solar cells is getting better and better all the time.

9:01 PM, Jul 11, 2008

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