I recently started a political blog at Obama's community website, and thought it might be wise to put my posts so far over here, too. So here are all my posts up until now, all squished together into one post here:
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jedcline (Ephrata, WA)
Jim Cline's ideas for helping improve America through Obama's Presidency, primarily ideas on energy, earth resources, environmental responsibility, people's constructive interactions, education and telecommuting."I don't understand all I know about it"
By jedcline - Sep 21st, 2008 at 12:08 pm EDT
My rueful "I don't understand all I know about it" wry acknowledgment at times, reflects a rare understanding as well as a bit of humor at the play on words. Knowledge and understanding are somewhat synonymous yet have subtle and important distinctions, since one can have knowledge about something in detail, but still have little understanding of its implications especially in the larger context. If a can of vegetables has had its label removed, one can measure and weigh it but still not be aware of whether or not it is what one wants for the meal.
In politics, too, this rueful statement can be appropriate. One can read up on the issues in detail, yet if they are not viewed in the larger context of the needs of the nation, one can easily realize that "I don't understand all I know about it." Yet in politics, among lots of other complex life issues, one has to make decisions despite that.
Having the knowledge is an important start. Realizing that the knowledge is not enough for making wise decisions is the next part. Then seeking the awareness of where the knowledge fits into as large a picture as possible, is the next step. Insofar as this is successful, one can then assume understanding has also been achieved; an understanding which readies one to make best possible decisions.Designing a fair value-added system for setting prices seems the way of integrity
By jedcline - Sep 19th, 2008 at 6:13 pm EDT
When prices go up simply by trading back and forth, there is no value added to the item being traded back and forth. The traders are reaping a profit merely by their game, holding an item to create scarcity; and when a real buyer acquires the item, a much higher cost has to be paid with no value added. If this is typical of transactions in a country, those who do this game become wealthy yet the value of the country has not increased correspondingly through value being added to it. Real estate is a major example of this game and its effects. Just like in the old "pyramid game," eventually the game fails and the current holders of the real estate and other items are left with high debt for getting into the game, but no buyers for the pricey no-value-added items are to be found anymore, so they cannot get out and make their easy money. This seems to be a scenario that could have produced the recent real estate and financial crisis in America.
If so, then the honest solution would be to have the country slip into a mode where price only rises as per value-added to the items, preventing the "pyramid game" from recurring. Only the work that goes into improving an item would add to the price of the item.
If this were to be done starting now, would prices start where they were at the last level of the "pyramid game" before the collapse? Perhaps, instead, using real estate as a prime example, the value of the real estate could be revalued at the price when it was built and then adjusted for the dollar value change in that time period, plus improvements to the property done in that time period and devalued for maintenance currently needed to compensate for the wear and tear since built.
What seems to be happening at the moment in the national financial activity, is that the taxpayers are going to have to pay to cover the losses due to accumulated price increase with no corresponding value added since built. Then most likely the "pyramid game" will resume.
Designing a fair value-added system for setting prices seems the way of integrity. Maybe the nation needs to learn the concept of price increase equals value added for all things; and the new level of deeply understood integrity could begin to re-build the great strength at the heart of the people of America, and also set a purer example for the rest of the world.Change: A clearcut way to save 5,500,000,000 gallons of gas in 10 years
By jedcline - Sep 18th, 2008 at 9:18 pm EDT
There are ways to greatly reduce the wastage in use of fossil fuels, that can make a significant difference and pay for itself; but takes some very different ways of looking at things, along with backing off of business egos a bit at times. Transportation is one area that looks quite promising for this approach. If we can look at a 10 year time frame for payback plus profit, some possibilities come to mind.
For example, let us imagine that "we" buy the design rights for the 1990 Honda Civic Hatchback from Honda, along with any tooling and assembly data they have remaining on that now obsolete vehicle, 18 years into history. So it ought to be potentially a cheap design purchase; obtaining working ones around the country ought to still be possible for examples. I owned one of them and it got 42 mpg on the freeway commute in the Los Angeles area, and handled great on the road; had a/c, cruise control and plenty of room inside; and the engine still did not use oil up at 160,000 miles when it was squished in a multi-car wreck from which I walked away. It did have some design flaws in the positioning of the alternator and electrical relays too near the driver, causing long terem EMF risks, which ought to take less than half a million dollars to modify. In this scenario the government (state or national) would provide loans and enough guidance for the project to re-create this proven vehicle in the context of the need. If they are produceable in multi-million quantities here in the US, cost probably would be maybe $10,000 each or significantly less, a lot less if all vehicles were identical. These new vehicles would be offered free in direct exchange for any vehicle which gets less than 18 mpg, regardless of age or condition of the gas hog. Thereafter, for each of these new vehicle's 10,000 miles of commute, at say average of 36 mpg, it has saved the consumption of 555 gallons of refined gasoline; at a cost of $4.00 per gallon, that is $2,220 saved per 10,000 miles driven. If the average vehicle is driven 100,000 miles, that is a savings of $22,200, so the vehicle has long since paid for its $10,000 cost to the nation, and produced a substantial profit of over 120%. Each individual who did the vehicle exchange has a new vehicle free (or remaining payments to yet make on the former old gas hog vehicle) and is saving $2.00 in gas for every 36 miles driven. But more importantly to the world ecosystem's climate, it has saved the use of 5,500 gallons of fuel per vehicle. For each 1,000,000 vehicles thus replaced and utilized, this is a savings of 5,500,000,000 gallons of refined petrochemical fuel to remain in the world's reserves becoming more precious with time for non-fuel uses; along with preventing its enormous amount of CO2 from being dumped into the atmosphere to add to global weather disruption and resultant sea level rise.
Surely this is a lot wiser than drilling offshore for more of the petrochemical reserve's early extraction and use and CO2 production. Can such a concept be integrated into a free enterprise system? Since it is overall a profit-making activity, that seems reasonable. All it takes is the government's overseeing that the overall purpose is being fulfilled and to provide the financial buffering for the long term 10 year investment in the world's ecosystem future upon which life depends.
James E. D. Cline
(Ref http://energyideasjedc.blogspot.com/2007_01_01_archive.html ) Change, vs not rocking the boat in the storm
By jedcline - Sep 18th, 2008 at 8:23 pm EDT
When times are tough, it is time to explore the potentials of change. Yet there is also urge to not rock the boat more in the sea of wild changes in the stormy on-goings; thus urging resistance to change. For example, what if a new kind of industry appears, risking a wipeout of one's job, one's way of making a living? Yikes! Not desirable. In the competitive world of business, one company appears and takes over, causing other businesses to perish, ending the comfortable livings of those of that now defunct company. So those employees are out on the street, looking for new jobs; tough row to hoe, but part of the way things have been. Another effect is that when established businesses see upcoming rival businesses, they can seek to undermine the newcomer, maybe even use various means to kill it before it is fully born into the business arena. This deprives the customer base of the benefits the new businesses would have provided. So, how about consciously managing technology change? Can government benignly facilitate the easy changes in the world of technology regarding the businesses involved? Businesses themselves cannot do it by themselves, for a number of reasons; so maybe a responsible government can lend a hand to convert trauma into ease for all concerned. For example, let's explore how an unbiased governmental overseer function could work in, say, the health field. Let's hypothesize that an upcoming technology has discovered that a micro-powered electrical type of device, retailed from between $25 to $300 and costing the nation $100 million overall, will eliminate the need for certain kinds of pharmaceuticals and medical services now costing the nation $100 billion annually. This saves the nation $99.9 billion annually along with far more prevention of use of sick leave; but the current flow of that $99.9 billion goes into the economy in established ways, including salaries for lots of workers and expected stock dividends for investors. Can the government act diplomatically in resolving this issue? for example, by providing job retraining for those who can easily fit into the new $100 million business manufacturing and distribution system. But what about all those highly trained and specialized folks doing the immense pharmaceuticals and medical distributions systems beforehand? A government who is benignly monitoring the health of the nation's systems, is likely to be able to spot areas where much new business investment needs to be done, where will the people come from to do the new jobs, run the new businesses? well, here we have a big surplus in one area and big need in another. Businesses themselves cannot deal with this all, they are not designed to do so. But the larger system of America just might be able to manage it, a base of skilled people over here and a base of needed skilled workers in another area, what is needed to re-educate or train from one skill set to a somewhat different one? With relatively gently means for managing change, it is far more likely to be acceptable to the American public and business system.Let's rethink the American transportation system
By jedcline - Sep 18th, 2008 at 7:31 pm EDT
Let's rethink the American transportation system so as to maximize time & energy efficiency while improving convenience to the people and businesses. Our transportation system has grown "like Topsy" from the horse-and-buggy days, and continues to do so; change needs to interface with existing transportation systems each step; but thereby has created quite a tangle. So how about let's imagine ways to provide the transportation function in the nation, for a much improved convenience to the users, much improved energy efficiency during movement from sources to destinations, while operating within acceptable time constraints with satisfactory user comfort and safety. Then merge such potential transportation system infrastructures with the currently existing systems, to shake out the more viable modes to target. What results, may surprise people. Given the requirements of shelter, safety and security while commuting from home to work: does it really require a 3,000 pound vehicle to move a 165 pound person to work, shopping and back to home? Enormous energy is saved if one does not have to start, roll and stop a 3,000 pound vehicle repeatedly during a commute; as well as shove aside the air speeding with its large frontal cross-section along the way. The opportunities are very diverse, if one allows the imagination to explore the problems and opportunities. Dedicated paths for transportation such as freeways are already common; they could be a bit different, too. The resistance encountered along the way costs energy, so looking into alternate means involving less path loss, such as steel wheels on steel rail have long been used for high rolling efficiency by railways; also air bearing surfaces, overhead tramways, and magnetic levitation systems are some of the potential kind of paths that come to mind right now. (I had developed a commute system concept called the "Pullband Commute System" many decades ago, for example, see http://www.escalatorhi.com/techscifi/groundcommute.html for a bit of info on that vision.) Also consider slow moving solar-panel electrical powered continuous conveyor belt canister systems, with low rolling resistance and low air resistance, utilizing standard size canisters, say three feet wide and 10 feet long, would be chain linked to a continuous series of similar canisters along the right of way, the weight of those going downhill would overall tend to balance out the weight of those going uphill including over mountain chains; moving along at maybe 5 mph continuously in loops, much of commerce could be moved in such canisters between cities and towns, greatly supplanting the trucker and train transportation systems for freight that is not too urgent for delivery, and can be loaded and offloaded while teh cannisters are moving along at 5 mph. There are an enormous number of possibilities for moving things in more desirable ways, and some of them surely can be incorporated into the existing transportation infrastructure in appropriate places, maybe ultimately to supplant the earlier very inefficient commute and transportation systems. The aim is to greatly reduce the energy usage for normal transportation in America, while improving its overall functional convenience to the users.Hydroelectric power as renewable energy; and using fish escalators
By jedcline - Sep 18th, 2008 at 6:19 pm EDT
A curious current discussion regarding renewable energy systems, oddly seems to consider the electrical energy from hydroelectric sources as not being in the "renewable energy" category. It is solar energy that has evaporated water and wind transported to higher elevations to rain down and fill the rivers that fill the lakes behind hydroelectric power dams; so their power is provided by renewable solar energy, in contrast to non-renewable energy stored from vast eons ago such as fossil fuel (400 million years ago) and nuclear energy (billions of years ago.)
Possibly the concern involved in the definitions of hydroelectric power is the disruption to the lives of fishes in the original rivers, such as salmon, a very important nutritional resource too, besides being part of the balancing diversity of nature in the world. So we could be investigating possible use of hydropowered continuous running small stream sized "fish escalators" bypassing hydroelectric dams to enable fish to travel upstream in a way that seems sufficiently normal to the fish, so the fish can resume their ancient routes back upstream to spawn the next generations of fish. THe relatively small portion of the lake's water flowing downward to provide lift energy for the upward moving fish escalator, could also be a safe means for the fish to head for the oceans again later. The downward moving buckets carrying water and fish would be completely filled, but the upward-moving buckets would be only filled partially, sat 80% filled with water and fish, so the weight moving downward is greater than that moving upward, powering the escalator.
Perhaps even a parallel set of escalator buckets could be used for scenic adventure recreational purposes by people; and the proceeds applied to paying for the fish escalator.
If this can be accomplished, probably it would enable fairly normal wildlife in the river path; while also enabling the systems of dams and lakes that provide clean renewable electrical power for America.Solar panels albedo effect in the larger system, and possible solutions
By jedcline - Sep 18th, 2008 at 6:02 pm EDT
Renewable energy: solar panels albedo effect in the larger system, and possible solutions, are the focus of this post. The use of solar electric panels to generate electricity seems ever more useful as the cost per watt goes down. In small installations, the environmental heating effects from the dark surfaces of the solar panels can be ignored, but when installations are contemplated for providing power to replace fossil fuel power generation, the scale of the endeavor needs to address the larger system involved. Let's look at an example of a large city in a desert area, such as Los Angeles, California. Electrical power consumption for air conditioners in the summer heat might seem to be provided by covering the roofs and walls of the buildings with solar panels; but lets look at the larger picture. the problem is that summer temperatures in the 90's requires means for cooling off their interiors for people to work in. Desert cities tend to be very light colored so as to reflect away as much of the solar energy as possible, keeping the temperatures down as much as possible. But if the roofs and outer walls of buildings and other structures are covered with solar panels to provide the extra energy needed by air conditioners in summer, the solar panels are dark colored and convert most of the sun's energy into heat on the spot, with maybe 5 or 10% of the solar energy becoming electrical power for powering air conditioners and other devices. However, the roofs and walls had been reflecting off maybe 70% of the solar heat, but now is only reflecting away maybe 5 % of the heat and the rest is heating up the city fast. The 10% added electrical energy from the solar cells is offset by the 60% increased heat trapped in the city by the solar panels, and the air conditioners have to work much harder and the outdoors becomes impossible to endure in the city. If we instead install these solar panels out in the remote desert and bring the electrical energy in via power lines, in the larger world environment the large desert albedo, once light colored, now is very dark colored, and the heating effects overall on the world environment raise the temperature on a noticeable scale, increasing global warming, when power levels are considered on a scale to provide much of the power needs of America. Possible solutions include using steam generators instead of solar panels; or using the heat sink capacity of the dark nights to radiate the infrared heat energy back out into space, by insulating the solar panels from contact with the air and using heat-pipe technology to move the solar panels heat into storage below them and then to radiate that heat back out into the darkness of space at night, circulated back from the heat storage to the dark surfaces of the sola panels now serving as heat radiators. The direct use of solar energy to power our industrial world needs to be designed with the entire environment in mind to provide energy responsibly.Rethink the American health system
By jedcline - Sep 18th, 2008 at 5:26 pm EDT
Rethink the American health system from foundation of maintaining optimum peoples health, instead of research guided solely by maximizing business profits. It clearly is not obvious that these are two are quite different goals, not always compatible. Alternative health protocols need to be correctly evaluated for efficacy, pointed out as already indicated by individuals who have independently chosen to test them on themselves and found them to provide desired benefits to maintaining and restoring whole-person healthy functionality. A bit of home education would be involved so as to teach people the rudiments of how their own body works and its needs, and how to monitor their own functionality for the nutritional and other health requirement changes needed for best living and living performance; compare this time spent with that spent uncomfortably sick at home or in doctors waiting rooms. Doctors know they can't heal a person; they can only provide an improved environment for the person's body-mind to heal itself. It has been amply shown that many other systems for maintaining an improved environment for maintaining the body-mind system; besides the conventional health system in control nowadays. The conventional allopathic health system is based on maximizing business income and profit, and that is not at all the same thing as maximum customer health; well people do not seek medical attention so much, which cuts into medical business, hard truth. The medical system is no different from other endeavors, one does not tend to work oneself out of a job, even if not done consciously. Yet surly there are better ways for people to utilize their talents instead of being caught in this loop. Since corporations cannot please investors by providing health products that make better health for customer but reduce the investor's earnings, some other means needs be created to make available the other health means. The existing "alternative/complimentary" well-being systems are doing this best possible, but is heavily suppressed currently; such restrictions need to be removed while being intelligently and benignly overseen byunbiased folks; and so allow honest evaluation by the folks in need proceed. If it works for them, they will be return customers for the easy maintenance of good health; that is the way the alternative health protocols work now, but unfortunately sort of "underground" due to the virtual franchising of the current medical-pharmaceutical system by governement and liability laws (which do not similarly control other customer-evaluated products so much). Many alternative modes of well-being which have proved very efficous in maintaining or restoring good healthy living include nutritional evaluation and vitamin/herbal supplements; the whole-person "energy" processes such as Reiki; and the micropower electrical techniques of Rife/Clark in worldwide use today, which need to be given credit for what they actually can do, and made fully available to the public along with proper usage training. Then doctors can go back to doing what they do best: repairing accidental damage to the body and mind. And overall the American peoples' health ought to be vastly improved while also greatly reducing the cost of health care, so as to boost the American system's performance quite nicely, if done beningly and for maximum efficacy.Help Americans utilize math in their decisions in computer age
By jedcline - Sep 18th, 2008 at 5:04 pm EDT
Attention to the need for clean efficient use of energy in our individual as well as our group lives, has highlighted the need for easy use of math on the spot for helping evaluate options for decisions. A curious effect of the "computer" at present is that one cannot easily write more than simple addition-subtraction-multiplication-division formulas on the computer, to evaluate the math for the immediate need, as well as to communicate to others and store our analysis for our own use later. Such math writing ability ought to be as easy on a computer as it is to pencil it on paper. The person would then need to focus on establishing the correct formula and values for the current decision requirements, and then let the computer do what it does best, do the math and provide the person with the results. This math means needs to be part of every computer's software, as supplied initially with the computer. Currently it costs about a hundred dollars for software to just write equations on the computer, and much more if their solution is needed; this greatly discourages use of math unless one can do it with pencil and paper where the math steps can be quickly written by hand; but not so easy on the computer. Such software needs to be part of word processors and portable texting devices too. Then home education needs to teach the usage of this math resource, not just to schoolkids but to all adults too, make it fun to learn and use applied to daily life as well as finding their small effects and contributions building in the overall enviroment and economy.Addressing the subject of national resource management
By jedcline - Sep 18th, 2008 at 3:53 pm EDT
The subject of national resource management needs to be addressed. Those who profit by the sale of resources such as oil pumped out of the ground or iron mined from the earth, did not make that oil or iron; those are earth resources. Therefore, a tax on national earth resource depletion needs to be established, in a fair way; and the resulting tax monies be spent to enable more efficient recycling of the materials instead of dumping their discards into the ailing environment.
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