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  (Source: Slice of MIT)
America continues pushing toward cleaner energy today

The UN-supported organization, Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), conducted a study that shows half of new power generated in the United States in 2009 was renewable energy.

The U.S. has taken great strides toward mass use of renewable energy. Just last year, 10 gigawatts of wind power capacity was installed in the United States, which can power 2.4 million homes. Other advancements in clean energy were made last year as well, such as the $7 million grant for Argonne National Laboratory from the U.S. Department of Energy to further solar power research.

More recently, the Obama Administration has continued contributing funds to keep renewable energy research rolling along. In April, the U.S. government approved the country's first off-shore wind farm, despite those who protested the idea, and just this month, Obama gave a hefty sum of $1.85 billion for new solar energy plants to be built around the U.S.  In addition, a promising 73 percent of Americans want to cut fossil fuel dependency in favor of cleaner methods. 

While the U.S. is moving along in regards to green technology, other countries around the world have been joining the revolution for a cleaner planet too by implementing new ideas in green technology. 

In Europe, 60 percent of new power generation in 2009 was in the form of renewable energy. But China has made the most progress when it comes to green technology by manufacturing more solar panels and wind turbines than any other country, as well as adding of 37 gigawatts of renewable energy to China's overall power generation capacity. Worldwide, renewable energy accounts for 25 percent of total power generation and provided 18 percent of the Earth's electricity in 2009. 

Despite these strides in the growing use of renewable energy, the U.S. has a long way to go before they accomplish the U.S. Department of Energy's goal of having 20 percent of America's power derived from wind by 2030.

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50% is meaningless
By ZachDontScare on 7/16/2010 2:33:55 PM , Rating: 4
Of course the new generation capabilities come from 'renewables'. The government at all levels has basically halted the construction of new power plants that use more efficient sources such as coal and nuclear.

RE: 50% is meaningless
By FITCamaro on 7/18/10, Rating: 0
RE: 50% is meaningless
By thurston on 7/18/2010 7:17:14 PM , Rating: 5
Hey Jason how about you report on how much that 10 gigawatts of wind energy cost.

Why would you ask Jason? He didn't write the article.

RE: 50% is meaningless
By FITCamaro on 7/19/2010 1:15:05 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry most econut articles come from him. Didn't notice this one came from the new girl who seems to be just as bad.

RE: 50% is meaningless
By Grabo on 7/20/2010 8:09:03 AM , Rating: 2
The U.S should invest in more coal-power plants?
You may argue somewhat successfully for nuclear, but coal?

To Tiffany: There's a pretty large and pretty rabid section of DT commenters that target anything suggesting that the U.S government or its citizens aren't doing all they can to become more environmentally friendly. 'Environment' is a curseword to this section, akin to 'damnation!' and 'wretchedness!'.

Based on the picture...
By tigz1218 on 7/16/2010 1:59:39 PM , Rating: 5
I never knew wind turbines grew out of grass!! Tiffany can you please tell me where I can get these seeds so I can get these puppies growing? Or did Mr.Obama himself come to your lawn and sprinkle his magical fairy dust on it?!? This is amazing news!!

RE: Based on the picture...
By Kurz on 7/16/10, Rating: -1
RE: Based on the picture...
By gunzac21 on 7/18/2010 7:19:47 PM , Rating: 2
not nearly

By bill4 on 7/16/2010 7:25:50 PM , Rating: 1
50% of new power from renewables really hurts the environment, Such as wind farms killing thousands of times more endangered birds (such as Bald Eagles) than the Gulf Oil spill.

It's also why the economy cant grow, power is too expensive because of the inefficiency of renewable sources. To say nothing of the immense pollution they create.

The economy not growing is why the Dow dropped 265 today and Obama's disapproval rating is at all time record levels.

RE: Well
By thurston on 7/18/2010 8:09:04 PM , Rating: 5
Obama's disapproval rating is at all time record levels.

Obama's approval rating is about the same as Reagan's in 1982.

By rtrski on 7/16/2010 2:24:26 PM , Rating: 5
...rather than how "committed" the country is to "renewable" energy. 50% of very damn little new capacity is very very damn little.

Thank your friendly neighborhood ecofreaks, who block any new generating plant of any kind ad infinitum based on some tiny smelt or desert lizard or rare deer-tick that will have its poor habitat violated.

I also love the "hide the numbers" trope of switching from ratios to absolute values to illustrate China's "great strides" (never mind the fact that 'manufacturing' wind turbines and solar panels has little to do with installing them in a generating capacity). As we all know, for a couple years now, they've been bringing about one coal-fired generating plant online per week .

The cheerleading bias in this particular "journalist's" articles is becoming gratingly transparent.

By CrimsonWolf on 7/16/2010 4:08:49 PM , Rating: 4
And the title is misleading too.

This report uses the nameplate capacity of the wind turbines, which is the maximum capacity at which the wind turbines can generate electricity. The trouble with wind turbines though is that they rarely run at full capacity thanks to seasonality and daily wind patterns.

Overall, wind turbines tend to run at about 1/3 of their nameplate capacity, which is a huge difference. When performing economic or operational analysis, the capacity of a wind turbine is usually de-rated to reflect its typical operating profile. The variability of wind has major consequences and it's important to get it right when considering how wind integrates into a given electricity market.

Nuclear, coal, and to some extant gas, typically run at high capacity factors so we'd actually see most of that electricity coming out of non-renewable resources. However, we will NEVER see all 10 GW of the new wind generation actually coming out of those turbines all at once. Something around 2 GW to 4 GW is far more appropriate. To claim all 10 GW of capacity is a dramatic overstatement.

Green category?
By johnr81 on 7/16/2010 11:23:26 PM , Rating: 2
Can we get a "Green" category for Tiff to post all her stuff to? Because that's all it ever seems to be. Not exactly tech news. I'm not really against it, but implementing concepts from decades ago generally isn't the sort of "news" I'm looking for.

Where is the perspective?
By Jaybus on 7/17/2010 8:22:42 AM , Rating: 2
Since the article doesn't put this new renewable energy capacity into perspective, I will do so here. According to info available on the DOE website at, the US consumed 99304 trillion BTU in 2008, or 9.9304 * 10^16 BTU = 9.815 * 10^19 J. There were 31536000 seconds in 2008, so an average continuous energy production of 3.113 * 10^12 W = 3113 GW.

This new renewable capacity cannot, of course, maintain a continuous 10 GW. Solar is useless at night and the wind does not blow continuously at a constant rate. But even assuming a new renewable capacity that could maintain a continuous 10 GW production, that is only 0.32% of the capacity actually used.

Nothing wrong with advocating clean and useful energy sources, but we do need to keep things in perspective. The reality is that wind and solar do not really look all that promising right now. Funding research is commendable, but the technology is simply not yet to the point of deployment. These huge expenditures on rolling out renewable capacity are nothing more than political moves and have next to no impact on the actual energy production.

10GB = 8 * 1.21
By jbwhite99 on 7/19/2010 11:27:05 AM , Rating: 2
If we really have 10 gigawatts of electricity, someone go find 8 people like Dr. Emmitt Brown and send them into the future (5 years or so) - then, we should have Mr. Fusion to generate power, and we can burn our garbage and save power at the same time!

On a serious note, can someone develop solar panels that will work in Phoenix? It is too hot to use regular ones there, or so I'm told. Why do sunny places like Palm Springs have all of those windmills?

By texbrazos on 7/19/2010 1:51:46 PM , Rating: 2
There will need to be a combination of systems like solar, wind, hydrogen systems for things to work.
Hydrogen is one of the most plentiful.
All major auto makers are testing and have hydrogen vehicles. GM is in their 2nd gen. and is installing the first test stations in Hawaii this year. GM has cut the size of the components in half since they began.
Companies like Bloom and others are working on systems that work like or even in conjuction with home a/c heating units.
I find Hydrogen very interesting because it is so easy to make with the use of solar panels.
Take a look at the Rocky Mountain Institues 20 Hydrogen Myths.
Hydrogen can be made on location which means no drilling, or transport.
Once it is established and everyone gets on board, major advancements will occur as they do in all industries.
If we really want to be energy independent we need to all get on board and make it work. It's gonna happen anyway, it's just a matter of time and people need to push it. It seems so logical and just plain common sense to use it.
Again, look at the Rocky Mountain Institutes 20 Hydrogen Myths before you try to beat my post up. And keep in mind all major auto makers are testing hydrogen vehicles and even have fleets on the road.

Get it Right
By OnlyTruthMatters on 7/22/2010 1:21:45 PM , Rating: 2
One company is on course to have the capacity of producing 2000 MW per year (possibly more) in 1 to 2 years with lower cost solar thermal & biomass (operation around the clock), and they offer investors 100% Tax Savings (No Cost investment) and 15% income, info here:

By Secret Pond on 7/18/2010 1:52:06 PM , Rating: 1
Sadly, all this article does is further the lies and diversions of the Eco-Fascist Mind Set, which unfortunately is now running our nation’s energy policy.
Tiffany Kaiser, the author, states, "The U.S. has taken great strides toward mass use of renewable energy. Just last year, 10 gigawatts of wind power capacity was installed in the United States, which can power 2.4 million homes." This statement is so hyped and is totally misleading, as In 2008, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 11,040 kWh, an average of 920 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month. Therefore, one Gigawatt of "ideal monthly yield capacity" would power 1,087 homes per month. 10 Gigawatts would only power 10,870 homes not this wild dream of 2.5 million homes. Do the Math Tiffany!

Wind Power is not only very expensive, completely inefficient but worst of all these wind farms are serious environmental hazards.

A serious and focused energy policy would bridge our successful fossil fuel economies with new hydrogen and fusion technologies. Hydrogen & Fusion Technology would protect our individual rights and thwart the politicians who want to maintain power and control over us.

Actually coal is on top
By JimboK29 on 7/17/10, Rating: 0
By Micronite on 7/16/10, Rating: -1
RE: Renewable...
By MozeeToby on 7/16/2010 1:45:42 PM , Rating: 5
Well, until we start thinking in billion year time spans, I'd say any energy source that is replenished by the sun as fast as we use it is 'renewable', as in the source is renewed on an ongoing basis (even if we aren't the ones doing it).

RE: Renewable...
By Marlonsm on 7/16/2010 1:54:46 PM , Rating: 2
Alright, next goal for the USA, 100% renewable power sources by the year of 1000002010.

Seriously now, it's good to see a growth in green power sources, although I still think it could be bigger.

RE: Renewable...
By Kurz on 7/16/2010 2:14:03 PM , Rating: 2
Look... the majority of these new plants were government funded (AKA Debt) in the middle of the worst Depression since the Great Depression. You honestly think more money should be piled into more uneconomic projects?

RE: Renewable...
By quiksilvr on 7/16/10, Rating: 0
RE: Renewable...
By Kurz on 7/16/2010 2:38:34 PM , Rating: 3
Its still uneconomical, its a waste of resources that could be used to further efficiency in the use of oil. Which for the most part is more economical/cheaper to do than Wind farms and solar power.

Those jobs are highly dependant on continual State and Federal funding/subidies. Because no one is going to pay for overpriced power. That is the problem with Green power. You transfer wealth from the more economical part of society to an uneconomical part of society.

RE: Renewable...
By Smartless on 7/16/2010 2:54:27 PM , Rating: 5
So true lol. Conservation of Energy = Conservation of Money.

Now I don't want to start a huge discussion on economics but the idea of creating jobs without a profit margin in mind never made sense to me. You can stimulate the economy all you want but in essence its like using an electric pump to push water above a hydro-electric dam. Look its renewable.

RE: Renewable...
By guffwd13 on 7/16/2010 3:23:32 PM , Rating: 1
Actually its not true. People are willing to pay more for green energy. There's a checkbox on my energy statements that for an additional 10% you can request that your "energy "allotment" come from renewable sources. According to the company, 20% of households signed on after only 11 months of the program being offered.

Now, whether or not the allotment is coming from a renewable source is another story, but it does say people are willing to pay more for renewable energy - both that the company offered it in the first place and that people agreed to it.

Plus oil is only more economical at the moment because of quantity. Quantity goes up -> cost goes down. Once solar panels and windfarms become the norm, they'll be cheaper and require less maintenance than the complicated processes and safety overhead involved in the burning of fossil fuels.

RE: Renewable...
By Kurz on 7/16/2010 4:37:33 PM , Rating: 3
Nothing I said was untrue.
'Some' people are willing to pay for more green energy is not a majority of americans (I can extend this to majority of the world). Those who could afford to pay extra for renewable sources have the ability to overpay for their energy. This doesn't mean its economic. Since economic definition is all about only paying as much as the going rate for a unit of energy, good, service.

Overpaying is your decision and yours alone. Overpaying is not considered economical.

RE: Renewable...
By guffwd13 on 7/16/10, Rating: 0
RE: Renewable...
By gunzac21 on 7/18/2010 7:32:51 PM , Rating: 2
Since economic definition is all about only paying as much as the going rate for a unit of energy, good, service.

not true it about finding the balance between a widget's utility to you versus its price versus the standing of other widgets in that paradigm. and no economist that is being completely honest with you will tell you that oil is necessarily cheaper, you of course know about externalities?
the guy who is welling to pay more hard money for cleaner fuel probably just has a better understanding of the externalities of non-sustainable energy types.

ps. unrelated but if it is all about price why do so many companies concentrate on "brand" just saying real economics is not as simple as 8,9,10 or 12th grade math. in fact much of it isn't math at all.

RE: Renewable...
By Kurz on 7/19/2010 1:18:51 AM , Rating: 2
Oil is cheaper since it contains so much energy and is a great storage of energy. While with Solar/wind the energy isn't stored we are absorbing it as it comes in with no meaningful way of storing the energy.

I do know about externalities and for the most part Oil is better than burning coal for example, since it doesn't release so much particulates into the atmosphere. Even though the costs are not realized when you buy the oil up front you still will pay for it further down the line. The sway of prices is so flexible and covers so many areas. For my house filter I use a Hepa filters to screen out the externality that is the dust. The dust bothers me enough to lower my productivity hence why many people view pollution control as a good thing.

Brand is an image to distinguish yourself from the competition in the market place. It helps you have a band of loyal customers. Though as soon as a competitor comes along to offer a superior product for equal or less money, people will jump ship.

RE: Renewable...
By mkrech on 7/16/2010 3:16:11 PM , Rating: 2
ok, give me $100... I'll give you $10

Huzzah, I just gave you $10 now go away and be happy. LOL

RE: Renewable...
By dgingeri on 7/16/2010 4:11:14 PM , Rating: 4
With the government, it's more like "give me $200. Now I'll give you $5, and I'll give your neighbor $10, and I'll give my friends $100."

RE: Renewable...
By seamonkey79 on 7/17/2010 12:40:25 AM , Rating: 5
Taking money from Joe to pay Scott does not create a job, it takes from Joe and gives to Scott... now, if you left Joe that money, he might have enough to hire Scott on his own, and then Scott and Joe would both have money.

I also have to point out that, somehow, when the government takes money and gives it to people, why is it that I see them standing (sitting) on the side of the road with signs complaining of unfair business practices? Road after road here (Illinois) has a sign that says putting America to work... with union folk sitting on their butts doing nothing because of... I don't even care, it's my money paying them, they should be working.

RE: Renewable...
By retrospooty on 7/17/2010 10:35:42 AM , Rating: 2
" With the government, it's more like "give me $200. Now I'll give you $5, and I'll give your neighbor $10, and I'll give my friends $100."

LOL - true... But what can we do? Its not like a new thing. It was the same under the reps, and teh 100's of regimes before that.

Corruption in human leadership. 6000+ years and still going strong!

RE: Renewable...
By mkrech on 7/22/2010 3:51:51 PM , Rating: 2
But what can we do?

Google "founding fathers", "constitution" and then study. Thomas Jefferson had some especially insightful writings on how to handle this issue.

Then, get active. Take your new found knowledge and go meet some like minded folks. You may find a few at a Tea party rally. Next go forth and testify to others, spread the knowledge and above all else teach your children. Our society needs to re-educate the wisdom that has been lost over the years.

RE: Renewable...
By Kurz on 7/16/2010 3:18:23 PM , Rating: 2
To add on, Oil will never be completely drilled.
Long before then we will exhaust the cheap stuff first and we'll progress into harder to reach fields and use more expensive extraction techniques.

All the while this will lead to higher oil prices.
Then and only then will green tech have a chance at being economical. Or there is some great breakthrough in solar panels/wind technology to drastically lower the price of the stuff.

RE: Renewable...
By xmichaelx on 7/16/10, Rating: 0
RE: Renewable...
By dgingeri on 7/16/2010 4:30:46 PM , Rating: 2
Renewable is all well and good, but since Colorado implemented their 15% renewable mandate, my electricity bill has gone up over 60%. I'm getting sick of paying $130 a month to cool my 700 sq ft apartment. it was $100 a month last year, and $80 a month the year before, for nearly the same usage.

Oh, sure, the actual rate hasn't gone up that much, but Xcel's "Electrical Commodity Adjustment" has made the whole bill increase considerably. they hide the rate hikes with BS charges. It was still $80/month the summer after I moved in and my last 2 bills were $130. This month is bound to be higher because it's been hotter. This is getting ridiculous.

With Obama's energy plan, I'll likely be paying $500 a month with running my AC 1 hour a night and keeping my computer off.

RE: Renewable...
By 67STANG on 7/16/2010 4:45:40 PM , Rating: 3
I pay $275 a month (in the summer) for my 2,000 sq./ft. house. California has a 20% renewable standard. I don't think you have anything to worry about. I have 4 computers (2 of which never turn off), 6 televisions and my AC is cranked down to 72. It's 104 degrees today....

The only extra I (and everyone else) pay on my SCE bill is a nuclear decommissioning fee-- obviously that's another argument altogether.

By the way, Obama doesn't have an energy plan. He has a *list* that banters to his supporters that will never really amount to anything.

Disclaimer: I'm employed by a wind turbine manufacturer, so my opinions are probably a bit skewed.

RE: Renewable...
By EglsFly on 7/16/2010 8:17:38 PM , Rating: 2
$275, wow, that is high. How many kWh did you use?
Or maybe it is also Cali taxes...

RE: Renewable...
By FITCamaro on 7/19/2010 1:26:59 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps you missed that he lives in Commifornia where power is extremely expensive. $275 sounds about right for that part of the country. Is probably not a newer home that would be more energy efficient either.

If you think that's expensive though, wait until they pass cap and trade. People I've spoken to in the energy business say costs will go up around 100%. All in the name of "saving the planet". Of course then when all the poor can't pay their power bills, Democrats will blame the power companies. We'll either have them trying to mandate energy prices which will put private companies out of business and let the government take over, have them openly try to take them over, or pass more wealth redistribution legislation which will take more of our money and give it to the poor so they can pay the power bills the Democrats caused to go up in the first place.

RE: Renewable...
By Reclaimer77 on 7/17/2010 8:51:05 AM , Rating: 2
In Europe, 60 percent of new power generation in 2009 was in the form of renewable energy.

So why is the UK predicting they will have rolling brownouts by 2015?

Because they have placed their entire future in "alternative energy" which simply cannot, and will not, meet the needs of it's citizens.

There's nothing "progressive" about pushing an alternative that is more expensive, delivers less, and isn't ready for the market yet. And yet, some on DT think the rest of the "free world" has it all figured out and us American's are just stubborn backwoods rebels.

The UK and most of Europe is in the middle of a self inflicted energy crisis. This is an absolute fact. Because political idealism was placed ahead of the needs of current and future citizens. Obama and the "Progressives" are trying to sell us that this is a model we should emulate. Hey, the "rest" of the world is doing it, we should too right?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, it's usually a GOOD thing when the United States stands apart from what the rest of the world is doing.

RE: Renewable...
By MadMan007 on 7/17/10, Rating: -1
RE: Renewable...
By Reclaimer77 on 7/17/2010 7:59:38 PM , Rating: 2
Where? California? Where they REFUSE to embrace nuclear and other perfectly available means of power generation?

Yes, thank you for making my point.

RE: Renewable...
By Amiga500 on 7/18/2010 6:02:39 AM , Rating: 2
Correct. Various engineering bodies have warned various governments about this impending disaster within the UK. What have they done? Ignored it. Indeed, there already have been some brownouts in the South of England (partly due to other circumstances, partly due to the complete lack of reserve in the system).

Well, soon that particular chicken will come home to roost. Its probably too late to take action to resolve the issue now - the plants would not be online by the time the power demand is too high for the current grid to cope.

Should have done what France did. That move in the 70s is looking smarter and smarter by the day....

RE: Renewable...
By Kurz on 7/16/2010 4:45:45 PM , Rating: 2
Yes... they are. They are highly subsidized industry, hence government funded. Just like Oil we subsidize for the construction of new oil rigs by low cost loans.

RE: Renewable...
By mkrech on 7/16/2010 5:03:41 PM , Rating: 2
Learn, *then* speak.

Pot meet kettle.

Please show me evidence of any alternative energy venture that is not in some way funded or subsidized by the government. The point is that green energy will do a bankrupt country no benefit.

You don't install solar panels on a house if you cannot make your mortgage payment. It may be a nice idea but you will lose your house before you save any money. Once solar technology matures, it may an option.

A healthy economy will drive innovation more than redistributed wealth.

RE: Renewable...
By danrien on 7/16/2010 7:02:07 PM , Rating: 1
A healthy economy will drive innovation more than redistributed wealth.

Like trains right? Oh wait... rails were government funded. Like commerce over the interstate, right? Oh wait... see a trend? Show me an industry that hasn't in some way gained its prominence from government.

RE: Renewable...
By Kurz on 7/19/2010 10:23:43 AM , Rating: 2
Train rails (In the early days) were Bonded out to investers.
There was already commerce between state lines.
The Interstate project which was mainly to serve to allow troop movement did help interstate commerce.

RE: Renewable...
By mkrech on 7/22/2010 3:35:57 PM , Rating: 2
Did those industries succeed because of government or in spite of it. I think your making some very baseless assumptions.

RE: Renewable...
By raddude9 on 7/17/2010 6:55:18 AM , Rating: 1
Depends what you mean by uneconomical. The big difference with renewable energy is that you're not sending money overseas to exchange for that next hit of oil, coal or gas. Money spent on renewables stays in the economy, and surely that's better for that same economy.

RE: Renewable...
By Kurz on 7/17/2010 11:02:32 AM , Rating: 2
Money is staying in the economy... Money doesn't disappear in foreign nations. They take their dollars and invest and spend it on goods and services like everything else.

Most of the time that money comes back in the form of investments. Example the Saudis have no need for dollars except for using it for oil trade and investments. They have their own currency they have to deal with on a local level.

RE: Renewable...
By thrust2night on 7/16/2010 1:54:46 PM , Rating: 2
The source of the energy is naturally "renewable" making the energy derived from it renewable as well. Renewable energy refers to any form of energy that is naturally occurring in nature (wind, solar, geothermal, hydro). Once the wind stops blowing, you lose the energy; however, wind does not stop forever and once it returns, so does the energy.

You could take all the oil out of the earth or empty it out in the Gulf but you can't take the energy out of the wind nor the sun. They keep coming back and if I might add, they keep renewing themselves.

Cart before the horse
By knutjb on 7/16/10, Rating: -1
RE: Cart before the horse
By Zavijava on 7/16/2010 3:46:13 PM , Rating: 5
It is this kind of short sighted ignorance that will keep this country steadily losing its place in the world. Fundamental research isn't done to find out what we know, but what we don't. It has sparked entire industries and tremendous improvements in the quality of our lives.

Fundamental physics research wasn't done to invent the TV, or the computer, or the myriad other advancements that is spawned -- but we wouldn't have these without it. History would suggest that fundamental research is money well spent. I wouldn't be so quick to politicize it. The percentage of the budget dedicated to this, compared to other expenditures, is laughable given the potential returns.

Not all "progressive" thinking is political, particularly compared to the entrenched interests competing for potential scientific research dollars. Is it really crazy, liberal thinking to want to improve solar cell efficiency, to remove this nations dependency on the finite resources of backwards countries, or work towards the general advancement of the human race and its understanding of the world we find ourselves in?

RE: Cart before the horse
By theArchMichael on 7/16/2010 5:20:22 PM , Rating: 5
Well said...

Also I think it should be noted that even if the desired or even expected results aren't achieved through direct research there are many ancillary benefits. Like supporting processes, techniques and procedures that may be useful in other ways than they were initially intended but which wouldn't have been procured except for conducting a particular experiment.

HIV researchers developed a way to keep extracted tissue samples alive for long periods of time, so that they can view virus activity in various stages in the same sample. This technique is also being used in other labs doing non-HIV research.

Also, whatever happened to the process of elimination. Even with results that one can't publish there is documentation that may prove useful in what 'doesn't work and perhaps why', in that particular subject.

So I also have to agree with Zavijava, more often than not, I consider it money well spent.

RE: Cart before the horse
By shin0bi272 on 7/17/2010 12:13:44 AM , Rating: 2
Both of the replies to the OP miss the point. The point is that the politicians are spending our money to develop products that have proven to be less effective than the ones that those same politicians despise. With the invention of the television there wasnt a huge government grant or an Xprise or whatever for the people working on it to claim so they can continue work. The companies developing them did so with their own money (sort of like Intel and apple) and sold the fruits of their labor at a price that made them a profit so they could make more of said device.

Now we have scientists claiming to be making breakthroughs but we never see them hit shelves... how many new solar panel breakthrough articles have we seen on DT in the past 2 years? 20? 50? How many new solar panels are there on the market? 1? 2? And those solar panels are no where near as energy dense as even natural gas let alone petroleum or coal. Yet there has been millions maybe billions of OUR money spent on a technology that's less effective than the one we already have. That's like spending billions of dollars right now to make a better candle that will burn out 400% faster than the current ones burn and using tax payer money to do it. But of course if you believe the fallacy that "green" energy can save our economy etc and that global warming is our fault then of course you'll allow the government sink billions of tax dollars into a failing technology.

Think of putting a butt load of your parent's money right now into making a kick ass apple IIe computer... no matter how much money you sink into it it's still going to suck compared to an ipad. But you dont care because it's not your money so you can spend it however you want. That's the issue the OP is taking with this article. If you put billions of dollars into a second rate technology but refuse to even allow any construction of the current technology's resources to ease the burden on our electric grid of course half of the new power generated will be "green" technology.

RE: Cart before the horse
By knutjb on 7/17/2010 1:59:25 AM , Rating: 2
So Edison, Westinghouse, Bell, Ford, and Firestone needed the government to make something new and better. Do some history and see how creative we were before government decided what should be invented.

Sure government has sponsored some good things but private industry and individuals have to make money from the investment. Without the ability to profit from an idea the wrong idea is picked by people, bureaucrats, who have never produced anything. The companies taking these hand outs are no better for it. That IS corporate welfare.

Its the ignorant belief that only government is capable of solving problems. Government is far superior at creating problems.

Not all "progressive" thinking is political, particularly compared to the entrenched interests competing for potential scientific research dollars. Is it really crazy, liberal thinking to want to improve solar cell efficiency, to remove this nations dependency on the finite resources of backwards countries, or work towards the general advancement of the human race and its understanding of the world we find ourselves in?
Competition for government research dollars isn't real competition its contracting to the government to attempt to create what some politician or bureaucrat thinks we should have. Is the solar cell the best choice? Maybe not but with the government controlling research and its direction a better idea will get overlooked. They are distorting the cash flow, both government and private, to ideas. Can the market place be wrong, yeah that is how we learn; Ford failed in his first car company. Government not only picks favorites but winners and losers to. Remember Congress had to approve all mergers that made up those to big to fail.

Our dependency on other nations is self induced. If we used our own resources, kept the money inside the country, we would have far more money for companies, universities, etc... to use for research. I don't think we can run off oil forever but its not going away in your lifetime and the capitalist market place is a far superior machine to create the solution that will work.

RE: Cart before the horse
By Hare on 7/17/2010 7:38:48 AM , Rating: 3
So Edison, Westinghouse, Bell, Ford, and Firestone needed the government to make something new and better. Do some history and see how creative we were before government decided what should be invented.

The law of diminishing returns. It didn't cost one cent to invent fire. It didn't cost a lot to develop a light bulb or the battery... But it costs a lot of money to develop high efficiency solar panels, genetic engineering, microbiological solutions, nanotech etc. Just the equipment and testing costs fortunes. Being creative and brilliant is not enough if you can't apply those skills and that requires funding!

You can't go to a formula 1 team and tell them that they can add 50 horse power to their car with just a pencil and an eraser because it was done that way 40 years ago...

RE: Cart before the horse
By knutjb on 7/17/2010 4:36:28 PM , Rating: 3
Don't oversimplify their efforts, it took Edison 3000 attempts to get the light bulb to work, not to mention all the others that created the light bulb at the same time.

Just because electricity and light are common place doesn't mean they were easy back then. They had to invent the engineering, power source, wiring, insulation, circuit topology, regulators, fuses, sockets and switches. Not to mention that many people thought electricity would leak out of the sockets and shock them.

You are the perfect example of misunderstanding history. It did cost a lot of money at that time to do that work they did have large staff of researchers and workers creating and manufacturing projects, up to 10,000 at Edison's Menlo Park during its peak. The phonograph, movie projector, power grid, etc... The profits from selling these products supported further research.

Those guys did it without the government deciding what they should do or funding it. They were the bleeding edge of technology in their day and made it possible for modern research.

It didn't cost a lot to develop a light bulb or the battery... But it costs a lot of money to develop high efficiency solar panels, genetic engineering, microbiological solutions, nanotech etc. Just the equipment and testing costs fortunes.
If the government would get out of the way and let those who know how to run profitable companies take care of business it will happen faster and cheaper than ANYTHING government can do. Many private companies have partnerships with Universities. If any invention cannot sustain itself in the open market then its not likely the best or most efficient way to do it and is nothing more than a Rube Goldberg device.

Everywhere government decides what should be done the costs go up due to the bureaucratic systems inherent inefficiencies.
You can't go to a formula 1 team and tell them that they can add 50 horse power to their car with just a pencil and an eraser because it was done that way 40 years ago...
No they did use pencils and paper, but they used their brains to figure it out. Its the individuals ideas that create, not piles of money from the government. An F1 Team receives government money? I thought it was private sponsors...

Don't get suckered into thinking only the Government can get us out of the hole we allowed them to put us in.

RE: Cart before the horse
By Zingam on 7/19/2010 7:20:33 AM , Rating: 3
Things were easy back then but things are much more difficult right now.

It takes basic physics knowledge to develop a light bulb but it takes not so trivial physics to develop a light diode and to manufacture it. So with time things get more complicated the researchers must know more and study longer to be able to invent new stuff because the easier things were already discovered because they were easy.

People are not getting more stupid than before as some like to claim. Science is getting more complex. Once upon a time 5 years in school were all the education anyone needed. Now you need about 20 years of schooling to get a capable specialist.

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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