An Energy-Independent Future – The Daily Show with Jon Stewart – 06/16/2010 – Video Clip | Comedy Central

While this video from Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show is satirizing the government rhetoric regarding the need for an energy-independent America, it points out a sad trend. For generations, our politicians have paid the topic of energy independence lip service when it has been politically expedient but have done little of any substance to advance towards achieving this critical national goal.

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Author: Rob Mahan

Author of An Irish Miracle, husband, father, and dog lover.

6 thoughts on “An Energy-Independent Future – The Daily Show with Jon Stewart – 06/16/2010 – Video Clip | Comedy Central”

  1. Using Solar Power may be difficult when the atmosphere is so polluted from processing fossil fuels! Margaret Williams

    1. An interesting thought, Margaret, and thanks for your comment. The frequencies proposed for wireless power transmission from solar power satellites through the atmosphere are supposed to be unaffected by weather, but I don’t know how the greenhouse gases I assume you are referring to would affect their performance. The prospect of having an unlimited amount of clean energy available would facilitate many very large scale projects though, such as extensive water purification and desalination, and perhaps even atmospheric CO2 scrubbers. Can you think of any other very large scale projects energy from space-based solar power would support?

  2. I’m a fan of Jon Stewart.

    I’m late in this thread, Rob. I’m really glad you posted this video from Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show. The jester unstuffs the king; King Carbon!

    So far I guess it’s just Keith and me. Nice that the number is manageable. I was expecting a roar of entries under this one, Rob. I like what Keith wrote. We need to go further.

    I watched President Obama’s speech the 15th of June. I wonder if he’s just itching to talk about SBSP. I believe he has to wait until after the November elections. I hope he surprises us. I do not envy him: What a tough job!

    Was the timing of the Gulf oil spill odd? Folks suffering from it can hardly be comforted by their sacrifice that draws attention to a serious move by human civilization: SBSP implementation in a substantive move away from fossil energy.

    Sad? Lip service? Maybe something is better than nothing. Perhaps we’re treading water long enough to figure out how to get a feasible plan together for SBSP.

    How is it that Jon Steward doesn’t mention SBSP? He’s a professional buffoon. What’s he got to lose? Face it: Wireless power is a strange and frightening idea even for people who routinely microwave their food! Really Jon?

    In 1999, I met with a former executive of Occidental Petroleum who was personally acquainted with President Nixon, Armand Hammer, and Edward Teller. (Back then I was more in favor of terrestrial fusion power plants. Today, SBSP wins, although many energy technologies will mature more or less in parallel.) When I discussed the power of the Sun with him with respect to the oil industry, he made clear to me that oil executives and industry people are very well aware of their energy game.

    What would happen to Middle East affairs if nations suddenly implemented SBSP en masse?

    Keith, it’s now the 5th of October, right? I want to read on your idea(s).

  3. The actual reason none of them made much progress is that it’s really hard to get energy cheaper and easier to use than you can with oil

    The reasonable solution is solar. Unfortunately that’s beset by low density of energy and intermitency due to night and clouds. Low density mean you must tie up vast quantities of materials and pay the capital charges for them.

    But if we can solve those problems, and make electric power for one cent per kWh, that can be used to make synthetic oil out of CO2 from the air and water. Even counting the billions that would be tied up in capital equipment, the fuel would cost around a dollar a gallon.

    Night and clouds can be avoided by going into space, where microgravity means very little mass can collect vast amounts of solar energy. The problem is getting the cost to haul parts to GEO down to $100/kg. That looks like it could be done by spending around $100 B on a transport system that gets around the low performance of chemical fuels by using several GW of lasers to heat hydrogen for propulsion. (Single stage to LEO with a mass ratio 3.)

    There may be another method that avoids some the solar energy problems and scales into the same tens of TW that space based solar energy does. It will go public Oct 1. It isn’t my idea, but I have been working on it for the last six months.

    Keith Henson

    1. Keith, I agree with your reasoning for the lack of progress to true energy independence thus far … but no one can argue that fossil fuels are a finite resource. The only question is how long we can afford to ignore that fact. I think the next 100 years is the time frame and I think that is a reasonable time frame for the development and deployment of space-based solar power.

      Your tease about an alternative to space-based solar energy that scales up the same is intriguing. I will mark October 1, 2010 on the calendar and wait to hear the announcement.

      Rob Mahan
      Citizens for Space Based Solar Power

      1. As you point out, fossil fuels are a finite resource even if we don’t worry about rising levels of CO2 in the air and the ocean.

        If we want to do it faster, then a way to make ground or space based solar half as expensive as burning coal would do it.

        If you want to know the new idea details sooner send me an email and ask for an NDA.

        Keith Henson
        hkeithhenson@gmail.com
        (Not the inventor for this one)

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