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June 27, 2008

Building a better battery

New-change ideas or same-old-waste ideas. The difference in candidates is shown in their approach to car battery development.

Old idea: Offer a $300 million prize to whoever comes up with a “leap” in battery technology for transportation, even though all of the auto companies are researching this area while our National Science Foundation is underfunded and basic research is lagging. Whoever wins the “prize,” be it Honda, Toyota or maybe a U.S. auto manufacturer, gets the patent and the profits.

Or, a new idea: Fund the NSF with an additional $300 million with a priority on battery research. The new idea gets the same results plus all the additional research knowledge, U.S. control of the patents to license the local manufacturers and the labs, university scholars and the new jobs in research and manufacturing.

John McCain proposes the $300 million prize for a battery. Barack Obama promises to spend $150 billion over 10 years to encourage development.

One candidate is for the same old political change, meaning no change at all. The other is for real change in how government can serve the people and not necessarily always the big special interest spenders.

Alan Welles



I read a history of the WW2 B-25 plant in Fairfax, KS.

In the days leading up to WW2, aircraft manufacturers were reluctant to invest in new plants and expand capacity because they were afraid the war would be over by the time they completed the new buildings. The last thing they needed to insure maximum profits in the days following the Great Depression was to try and meet the demand for Army aircraft by expanding facilities only to see the demand dry up when the war ended early.

So, the Army built the plants, arranged training of local workforces (with cooperation from local governments/schools) and then turned the operations over to the manufacturers to build aircraft.

German aircraft production expanded through 1944. They only ran out of gas and pilots, and they couldn't keep up with our expanding ability to shoot them down.


Very few of the devices and processes in use in the modern world were devised by Government. A case can be made that, to a great extent, we owe our victory in WWII to Hitler's misdirection of German industry.


NO, one is for government having it's meat hooks in your wallet, period.
What about the $845B over ten years one Senator proposes for a Global Poverty Trust Fund with oversight by the U.N.

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