U.S. President Barack Obama's third State of the Union address before Congress Tuesday (Jan. 25) was heavy on references to science, technology and engineering—perhaps more so than any State of the Union in years. The following is a collection of excerpts from the address where the President touched on topics that may be of interest to EEs:
Photo credit: NASA
"Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik, we had no idea how we would beat them to the moon. The science wasn't even there yet. NASA didn't exist. But after investing in better research and education, we didn't just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs.
"This is our generation's Sputnik moment. Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven't seen since the height of the Space Race. And in a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We'll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology—an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people."
moonpup, I see that you still don't get the point in the above discussion.
Express something meaningful that expresses your opposition point on the topic at hand and you will not only be read by many and respected for your views.
But if you just regurgitate venous poison into the discussion, don't expect polite accolades.
I've always thought that the focus of making a multi-use electric vehicle was missing the reality of the situation. Most of our travel is within a metro area and limited to maybe 50 - 100 miles a day (at most). What we need to do is separate the "daily commuter vehicle" from the "longer-distance vehicle" and focus on bringing the costs of the commuter vehicle down so the cost of ownership is equal to or less than the current costs of gasoline consumption. Most people probably spend at least $5 a day on gasoline in their gas-powered vehicles, so $150 a month would be an approximate break-even point. Assuming some costs for charging the vehicle, maybe $100/month. I think that delivering an electric vehicle designed for local commuter travel only and priced in the range of $5000 - $6500 would be attractive to many of us. Simplistic look at the whole thing, but at least one idea to work from?
Creation of wealth means creation of tangible intellectual property. Like the aforementioned cost effective EV solution. If that is a solution - our power grid, the electrical infrastructure, cannot support the current load.
We have solutions - MIT calculated that a geothermal solution could fulfill America's energy needs; a solar solution in the SouthWest, with DC transmission long line transport would work as well.
The people who dismiss political comments aren't living in the real world - engineers must work in a political environment. If we don't, then the best solutions won't matter a whit.
Creating service jobs is not creation of wealth. It is a transference of wealth. The position of MLED that SS is a success is a political comment, not an engineering comment. No intellectual property or actual wealth was created. It was simply moved around. That doesn't mean it's good or bad; it's simply irrelevant from an engineering viewpoint - but highly relevant from a political viewpoint.
@junko.yoshida: looks like you spurred a healthy round of discussions (couple of political postings above should vanish in my opinion!) but so far we still don't have a substantive answer to your question: how do we put a million eV's by 2015; I am not sure we will for the time being!
Of the two sectors in the green economy, solar & energy storage, both have been making progress in R&D like a tortoise when we need the agility & speed of Achilles (Zeno's paradox not withstanding!). Herein lies the challenge, getting cost-effective (read: must be less than $1500 annual fuel costs an average consumer pays) battery storage technologies that are desperately needed not just in automobiles but also in many other segments of products. The technology that I am reading about so far haven't convinced me that we will get there before 2015.
Government subsidies are NOT the answer to putting a $40K 'green' vehicle on the road. It has to be commercially viable and affordable.
BTW, I did like the SOTU, I thought it was an upbeat speech. At least we have a president now who can pronounce "Nuclear" (as opposed to Nookular from the previous one!) and appears to be tech-savvy (OK, I admit, reading emails on the crackberry doesn't qualify one!). Cheers,
Dr. MP Divakar
The SOTU was long on rhetoric and short on HOW-TO. Except spend more money we don't have.
And when we do spend money, we are idiots about it - for example - the USAF Academy is spending millions on a solar array eyesore, that will never break even or show an ROI.
Technology has to make money. The Green Jobs pay 1/3rd to 1/4th of current engineering jobs. Only fool would take those positions.
Law - plenty of lawyers - they create NOTHING.
Corporate executives and boards are doing what they were created and hired to do - make money; nothing else matters, period.
If we don't make technological superiority and excellence our goals, with fiscal and tax policy that supports and rewards those ends, then we may as well spend our time learning Mandarin.
Social programs create nothing. Defense programs may create a few spin-offs.
The space programs through Apollo created myriad spin-offs. Manned space programs sell the public. They are sexy. Another robot mission brings yawns - it's not heroic.
We have to sell the engineering vision, not just the mission. And both the vision and mission have to create wealth and opportunity in the US.
We have not had a president with vision since JFK. Every one elected since has been the best politician money could buy.