Wednesday, February 04, 2009

We Need Creativity and Jobs, Not Tax Cuts

For the last number of years, Wall Street has had a simple formula for making money: take a cut of the money pouring in from Asia looking for a safe haven. It's nice work if you can get it. Now that the Chinese and others are having their own economic trouble, much of that money has disappeared along with our economy. For two hundred years, Americans were great at figuring things out useful things.

I'm one of those who grew concerned awhile back when Heath Electronics stopped selling their electronic kits to consumers looking to figure out and build their own devices.

Now I'm not impressed by gadgets for the sake of gadgets but I picked up my newspaper this morning and there was a story of one guy who created a solar car. It wasn't a cheap solar car but he dreamed of it, planned it and built it. The problem? Well, it's not really a problem but it's worth noting that he's Canadian. It will have to suffice for our purposes that he's a North American. Anyway, here's the story of Marcelo da Luz in our local paper:
The low-slung car, called the Power of One, or Xof1, invites comparisons -- it looks like a UFO, or it looks like a crab with headlights.

Mostly it is a unique, spaceship-sleek craft with a small bulge surrounding da Luz's head.

"It is one of the most fun cars to drive," he said. "The seat was molded to my body, it's like someone hugging you all the time. Because the windshield is so close to the driver's head, you have a view like you're wearing glasses."

The story includes a video here so check it out.

Da Luz has been all the way up to the Arctic Circle (I assume he was up there in the summer months and not running the car on starlight).

Out of curiosity, I goggled da Luz on Google News to see how many newspapers were picking up the story. He was last in Oregon and before that in Washington state. Makes sense. I'm lazy today but I'm sure if I followed the thread, I could probably follow his news trail over the last year or so.

Now I know perfectly well that solar cars are impractical, particularly ones that look like flying saucers, but 90% of the things built in the first quarter of the 20th century were not too practical. Despite making history, that contraption the Wright brothers made wasn't particularly safe. But trying things out is the way to get things moving again. In The Olympian, da Luz is quoted as saying: "The most difficult part of the project wasn't building the car, it was believing I could do it," he said.

So it's a bit sad to read articles like this:
Once, as many as 18 big banks and financial institutions were willing to help finance installation of wind turbines and solar arrays, taking advantage of generous government tax incentives. But with the banks in so much trouble, that number has dropped to four, according to Keith Martin, a tax and project finance specialist with the law firm Chadbourne & Parke.

Wind and solar developers have been left hunting for capital.

"It's absolutely frozen," said Craig Mataczynski, president of Renewable Energy Systems Americas, a wind developer. He projected his company would build just under half as much this year as it did last year.

We need new energy. In the years to come, there will be no booming economy unless we have new energy. It is a fundamental part of the crisis we're. Clearly, the Republicans in Congress are not interested in their fellow Americans, they're not interested in solving problems and they're not interested in creating jobs. They are only interested in playing games (is there now such a thing as right wing anarchy? When Rush Limbaugh wishes the country ill, one has to wonder about the Grand Ostrich Party). So it's up to Democrats. They need to get with it. The Chinese are already moving forward with their stimulus package. It was our idea. It's time to implement it.



Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

A salute to da Luz for a remarkable achievement. It wouldn't be much use after stocking up at Costco, but it definitely has the cool factor going for it.

It's funny I came across this post right after commenting at another blog about my belief we need a Manhattan Project-type crash program to develop practical, affordable and available hydrogen-powered vehicles. The post there was about how limited and in demand lithium sources are, with Bolivia intending to be to lithium what Saudi Arabia is to oil. That just adds fuel to my belief electricity is not our best bet for powering the nation's vehicles.

The hell of it is that we can't afford a big, costly crash program of the kind I envision. We would have to borrow too much money from foreign lenders — if they would even be willing to lend us that much.

One more reason to rue the Reagan revolution and New Dark Age of Bush and a lot that went on in between.

11:44 PM  
Blogger xof1solarcartour said...

Thanks for your post.

Unfortunately the solar car tour is not getting the financial help from corporation nor government.

Hopefully Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will realize that Xof1, world distance record holder for a solar car, is in the Capital of California this week.

We have much to learn from Marcelo da Luz and his vision, which is not that much different than Ford was in his day.

If anyone out there can help Marcelo continue his dream, you can go to his website at:

You can view awesome photos and read about his journey that started on June 12, 2008 from Buffalo, NY at this link:

If you would like to adopt a mile for a little as $5.00 to help the Xof1 Solar Car Tour continue, please follow this link:

He can use all the help he can get from those of us that don't want to continue to contribute to a toxic environment.

GREEN JUICE, free from the sun as well as harnessing the wind and water power will one day be our only choices. We need to use our fossil fuels to help build that infrastructure instead of consuming fossil fuels at the rate that we are currently doing.

from a Volunteer

8:31 AM  

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