Saturday, August 25, 2012

What did Steven Chu Build?

The President made a bit of a faux pas a few weeks back when he talked about how the government spending on roads and other infrastructure helped those who built businesses.  His wording was wrong in saying “if you've got a business - you did not build that.”  But his speech was essentially correct that all business big and small relies on public infrastructure such as roads, bridges, the internet, fire departments, and police departments to conduct their business.

What the President had hoped for in the energy arena was that his Stevie Wonder Physicist Extraordinaire Secretary of Energy would actually build green energy businesses with the billions of dollars of loan  guarantees or outright grants the Obama administration handed to myriad companies who all claimed to have a better green mousetrap.  The President cannot equate these loans and grants to special interests with the government’s role in building the Hoover Dam, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Interstate Highway System, or the small narrow paved roads that run through much of Main Street America.

Backing Solyndra, A 123, Ener 1, Fisker, Tesla and the myriad other companies that were simply gangrene and not green was just plain stupid use of the money we the tax payers gave to our government for our collective welfare.  The President was spot on in his bungled speech that there are needs for collective efforts in certain sectors of the economy to uplift us all.  In the extrapolation of this ideal toward the support of companies that friends and supporters of the President stood to make a bundle, the President certainly overstepped the line and he should be held accountable.

Of course the President has never spent one minute studying thermodynamics and relied 100% on the advice of the low temperature physicist  and Nobel Prize winner to make the selection of those who were to receive many billions of dollars of Federal money in total.  It is therefore honest to argue that Steven Chu Built Solyndra, that Steven Chu Built A 123, that Steven Chu Built Fisker, that Steven Chu built Ener1, etc. etc..    However in the end all that Steven Chu Built was a pure waste of our collective money.

Romney will argue that Obama Built Solyndra.  The logic is correct by the chain of responsibility as the Bucks Never Stopped being spent by the Oval Office.  I do not care whether the politics of the Building of Solyndra will become the lightning rod of the election, what I do care is that Steven Chu take responsibility for his complete incompetence in formulating an energy policy and his utter waste of billions of dollars on junk science.  There are no excuses for him! 
A 123 is now trading at 34 cents a share and the grants given to the company will likely benefit the Chinese company that will pick up the pieces of this company that simply had Betamax technology that emanated from MIT.  Note Obama cannot say MIT is short for MITT and that it is all MITT’s fault.  I do hold MIT responsible for a significant amount of the junk science based companies that got big bucks from Uncle Sam.  Just because MIT says a technology is wonderful does not mean it is worth funding.  MIT did not bring us the Hoover Dam or the Golden Gate Bridge.  They brought us A 123, Evergreen Solar, and a few other flops.

The lesson we should all learn including Mr. Romney is that one cannot simply wish for silver bullet solutions to lay our energy  golden eggs, but that energy policy will need to be based on the realities of the laws of motion and the laws of physics.  Even a Superman type person like Steven Chu has to obey the “laws of physics” or else just like in the photo above they will be given a citation.  Chevrolet made a compact car in the 1980s called the Citation that replaced the Nova.  It was a piece of junk and was no Super Nova.   Perhaps after November Steven Chu should go teach at MIT?


  1. I'd like to see some politico in high places comprehend and understand that investing substantively in the bigger picture of world wide energy web 'paved road' for communications infrastructure is worthwhile, so we can actually intelligently and efficiently manage the flow of electrons needed for electrification and 'hot water' heating in the USA--silly Americans. I mean, it's all about systems engineering, right? This might actually get us somewhere, enabling more conservation, and change in human behavior to be more mindful, instead of trying to piecemeal singular technology solutions together.

  2. Kim You are spot on our problem is not the fuel but the fools who use the fuel. We do not need fool cells we need cells for the fools. If we really want to do something to lower carbon emissions we should simple tell folks the government will pay them to carpool to work. The government does not want carpools to work they want jobs and therefore wants refineries to run at high capacity, auto assembly plants to run at high capacity. We even are telling the Chinese they have to have higher domestic consumption as the best path forward for their economy. It is all about consumption. The captains of the ships of fools all talk green but really believe that continued consumption is the only engine for economic growth. Of course we have to keep the silly people who now number 7 billion busy working and consuming else the whole global economy becomes like the American housing market. The Carbon Dioxide concentration in the atmosphere is just the pretend item to worry about that the Captains use to steer the thermodynamic zombies toward spending on green dreams but all the while the zombies fire up their cars, heat up their houses, air condition their houses, and buy widescreen TVs. Credit allowed all of this to happen and now the Chinese can't stop producing polysilicon, solar cells, LCD TVs, and even flags like the stars and stripes or they will have "domestic" problems. What Barak and Mitt should really be debating is not who built Solyndra or outsourced jobs to China but how to get China to go back to reading little red books so that they do not buy 20 million cars a year and compete for the oil, gas, coal, copper,gold, zinc, soy beans, sugar, corn, pork, chicken, and of course beef that we used to enjoy for ourselves. Ah but the Chinese know the red book was full of crap and that Kentucky Fried is tasty, that Buicks are glorious, and that diamonds are forever. So Mitt and Barak will argue how to make America great and how they will work for the middle class while China builds a power station a week, put 400,000 added vehicles on the road each week, and the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases by 2 or 3 ppm each year. Why should the Chinese be different from us? They should not. Even Prince Harry knows how to have fun. The Chinese like Buicks because in the 1920s that was the Emperor's car. In pre WW2 China 20% of the cars on the roads in China were Buicks. But they only has 100,000 cars. Now many millions of Chinese live better than the emperor. Our Emperors who will collectively spend a billion dollars to try win the election like Prince Harry have no clothes.

  3. Ja, consumption will be the bane of our/human existence. *Sigh*