Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Euro Sacrifices Energy Funds

The European Union is betting the ranch on a fusion reaction that most likely will not work. And, in doing so, they are cutting important research in other fields. Thus, the Europeans have shown themselves to be even more feckless than their American cousins.

According to EU research funds to prop up costly fusion reactor:

European research is set to lose a total of �460 million from its 2012 and 2013 budgets to prop up the ITER fusion reactor being built in the South of France.

The raid on EU research funds was proposed today by the European Commission, the EU's executive body, as a compromise solution to help plug a �1.4 billion gap in ITER's budget. The shortfall in the reactor's funding is a result of expected constructions costs spiralling to �15 billion from initial estimates in 2006 of �5 billion.

Nature first reported on plans to plug ITER's funding shortfall earlier this month, when European nations proposed to divert more than one billions euros earmarked for research grants to prop up the project.

The Commission has now suggested that �100 million is siphoned off the research budget in 2012 and �360 million the following year. It says the remainder should come from unused funds from other areas of the EU budget.

Announcing the plan, the research commissioner, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, said, "ITER can provide a safe, clean and inexhaustible source of energy for the future. The EU needs to show the vision and the resolve beyond the immediate financing difficulties and meet its international commitment to this project." "What we are proposing today is a balanced solution" she added.

The Commission's announcement follows a meeting of member states on July 12, where they asked the Commission to accept a new estimate of �6.6 billion for the EU's financial contribution to ITER over the period 2007 --- 2020. The Commission says it will likely agree to the increase at a meeting of the ITER council on 27-28 July in Cadarache, France.

Other nations contributing to the project are: Japan; South Korea; Russia; India; China and the United States.

The Commission's plan must now be agreed by the European Parliament and member states.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Energy Crimes of the Millenium

Big Oil takes billions of dollars from the government every year in subsidies, spending some to prevent alternative energy from overthrowing their lock on the energy market. dugan describes Big Oil's Boondoggle Machine. It's a sordid story paid for by you, the taxpayer.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

17,465 Days Ago

Was it only 17,465 days ago when President John F. Kennedy delivered a seminal speech at Rice University?

William Bradford, speaking in 1630 of the founding of the Plymouth Bay Colony, said that all great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage.

If this capsule history of our progress teaches us anything, it is that man, in his quest for knowledge and progress, is determined and cannot be deterred. The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time, and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in this race for space.

Those who came before us made certain that this country rode the first waves of the industrial revolution, the first waves of modern invention, and the first wave of nuclear power, and this generation does not intend to founder in the backwash of the coming age of space. We mean to be a part of it--we mean to lead it. For the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and to the planets beyond, and we have vowed that we shall not see it governed by a hostile flag of conquest, but by a banner of freedom and peace. We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and understanding.

Yet the vows of this Nation can only be fulfilled if we in this Nation are first, and, therefore, we intend to be first. In short, our leadership in science and industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to ourselves as well as others, all require us to make this effort, to solve these mysteries, to solve them for the good of all men, and to become the world's leading space-faring nation.

We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people. For space science, like nuclear science and all technology, has no conscience of its own. Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man, and only if the United States occupies a position of pre-eminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theater of war. I do not say that we should or will go unprotected against the hostile misuse of space any more than we go unprotected against the hostile use of land or sea, but I do say that space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war, without repeating the mistakes that man has made in extending his writ around this globe of ours.

There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation may never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon... (interrupted by applause) we choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.