Creative corner

    Ramona's picture

    But we don't need no gov'mint interference

    Hey all you smarties (and you know who you are), how about chewing on this for a while?  There was a time when we built things and got things done.  We did it as a nation, with national pride and national inclusion.  It felt like we were a real country.  What happened?

    Steve Jobs was the ultimate entrepreneur.  As Walter Isaacson noted in his biography, Jobs revolutionized seven industries and created the most valuable company in the world.  We revere people like him, because they help create the future.

    The fiscal 2014 US Government Budget, availabl...

    However, they do not do it alone.  One fact that often gets lost is that the basic technologies that Apple AAPL +0.74% products are built on  (and those of all tech firms), from the chips, to the Internet, to GPS, to the software protocols, were all supported or wholly developed by government programs.

    As Bruce Upbin pointed out in a recent article in Forbes, while we like to think of daring entrepreneurs and venture capitalists taking all the risk, they are more akin to the “last mile,” building on top of technological infrastructure built by the public sector.  Government programs are often a crucial ingredient in the growth of the private economy.

    Full article here.

    Comments

    When the economy is in shambles, the U.S. Treasury and, to a lesser extent, the Federal Reserve Bank, play a role as the funding mechanism that can say yes when capital markets say no.  This is because the U.S. deals only in its own currency and can never really be insolvent.

    Well, the same is true for long term investment or, as they say call it in the investment world "time arbitrage."  You have a great idea to build a global computer network but it will not pay for itself.  If you're a private company your great idea that tales 2-3 decades to pay off and with the commercialization performed by numerous third parites (some now out of business, others thriving) you have to have a whole lot of money in the bank to get it all done.  But no private concern has that kind of money.  But even if you did, try this pitch: we're going to invest in something world changing.  But, if it pays fof, it will be 30 years from now and there will be bumps along the way

    The government, free from default risk and with infinite dollars art its disposal, can make something out of this.  The private concern has to deal with solvency.   The government has time on its side.  It is the investor of best resort.


    "The government, free from default risk and with infinite dollars art its disposal, can make something out of this.  The private concern has to deal with solvency.   The government has time on its side.  It is the investor of best resort."

    I'd say government is pretty crap at 30 years predictions - even before our dysfunctional times. The original NASA program was huge and got it about right- the subsequent NASA programs not so much. Social Security was less about the future than implementing a retirement program real soon now. The interstate highway was a dream for about 10 years up front - probably a reasonable horizon for gov projects.

    Government tried doing the genome project, and along came a private company and blew government away in 2 years. Infinite time and dollars and no urgency or feeling of risk is not always a recipe for great success. Jobs had lots of cash in the bank but didn't seem to throw all 2010 money at a new venture - the biggest I recall was about $1 billion for a cloud/media facility, perhaps some acquisitions were bigger.

     


    I guess one thing we need to consider is that many private sector were really built on the backs of "failed" public works projects.  I don't just mean that they rely on infrastructure, the rule of law, and the U.S. military (though most of that is true) but that there is no successful private genome mapping without decades of publicly funded works to create the foundation to make breakthroughs possible.


    Genome mapping may be a bad example, but the DARPA internet work certainly reaped benefits, as did optical research that spun off CDs et al...  I imagine some good NHS work at one point as well.


    I just recently drove back across fhis country of ours, and one of sights to behold are the massive windmills out on the plains.

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

    Wind power is a complex problem with many people actively working to keep new ones from sprouting up.  But if there was an energy grid in place that would take the power from Nebraska to places far beyond, I think we would see a lot more support nationally. 

    The private companies would put in the turbines, and yes reap the profits from the energy grid the tax payers created.  But this is no different than the oil companies making money transporting their oil over the highway system created by the tax payers. 

    The point being the government doesn't have to be involved in the whole project, but rather create the groundwork, foundation, or structures that allow for the private investors to come in and do their thing. 


    You lose a lot of energy moving electricity from Nebraska to Chicago or Washington, and while windmills are cool in a few places, having miles and miles of windmills is a bit ugly.


    the aesthetics of the windmills is a subjective thing, of course.  Personally, I find them actually pleasing as far a man-made structures go. 

    I haven't done a ton of research on it all, but (1) if there was a new state of the art grid in place that cost would probably go down, and (2) places like Indiana which still depend on coal-based energy would be able to shift away from the disaster that is coal mining.

    But like I said, I haven't done much research on it all, but I would think that most regions have their windy areas so it wouldn't be Nebraska sending to Seattle, rather eastern Washington sending to Seattle.


    Aesthetically giant wind farms may be somewhat attractive -- from a distance -- like a field of tall wild flowers is. What I dislike about them  and the less attractive giant solar fields that are springing up is that they are being built with the aim of either preserving or supplanting the existing giant utilities. They will also likely need to produce a lot more electricity that will actually be needed to make up for what is lost in transmission over vast distances. 

    I was hoping future energy technologies would follow a similar path to that of computers from mostly massive to mostly personal. Now I think for that to happen, distribution would need to be separated from production.  In other words, divest the utility companies of their grids. Basically, the same thing that happened to AT&T a few decades ago. They kept most of their lines, the Baby Bells and new players leased those to provide service to end users who were no longer locked into whatever AT&T chose to provide on its own timetable. Some of the new players installed their own lines and launched their own satellites forcing AT&T and the baby Bells to compete. Now we have smart phones.

    This next part is may be utopian but think about it anyway. There is a lot of concern about what jobs people will do as robotics and AI take over more and more tasks and leaving more and more people without incomes.  But you know what robots will need?  Electrical energy. And that can be produced in so very many ways -- from water, wind, sun, heat, kinetics -- but it is very hard to store. Wouldn't it be great if we could figure out a way to pay people for the energy can produce? 

     


    Probably should have been more specific - grids are getting more localized, so windmill & solar farms will be closer to their destinations.


    More specific? Me or you?

    Local to me means more like DC distances than AC distances but not necessarily a DC grid (but that might be better).

    Renewables that would not work in my locale are wind, geothermal, water. Photovoltaics and other solar could but would be spotty during rainy months so the area would likely always be a net electric importer.

     


    Me - in recent discussions, utility providers have been describing the shift to smaller, better located energy sources to fulfill demand.


    Solar panel on your ass.

    Whole lotta problems solved. 


    When I'm feeling flatulent, could use a methane converter - much more efficient, I move faster, and it slows global warming. Maybe grant-boy could study the issue and write a policy paper bout it?


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