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    Energy Secretary Steven Chu Gets White House Support - And Why That's Bad For Him
    By Hank Campbell | September 30th 2011 03:19 PM | 6 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    After the election of Barack Obama in 2008, I had a few isolated concerns about his true science colors; he had issued creepy vaccine-autism statements, his transition team was stuffed with people who believed in anti-science UFO conspiracies, another suspect pick was tipped to run the EPA until his anti-vaccine quackery couldn't be hidden any more, and one of his picks thought girls couldn't do math. For a guy supposedly better for science his advisors were a concern.   John Holdren looked like a science pick, though he had a lot of Doomsday hysteria in his past so he was basically a question mark.

    Then there was Nobel laureate Steven Chu.   Another physicist, like Holdren, leading many of us to wonder if Pres. Obama knew that the life sciences voted for him even more than the hard sciences did, but a man of science.  His fetish for killing CO2 was a concern - most people knew even then that there were a lot of knobs driving climate change so certainly a physicist should know that and be more nuanced than someone like Al Gore - but risk aside, who would know more about energy science than Chu? He just needed to be a leader for America and not an advocate for (or against) a pet cause, but only time could tell so optimism was there.

    Apparently his advocacy had overtaken his science and today the White House had to issue a statement supporting Chu.  That's a bad sign, folks.  In world of crystalline solar panels, endorsing copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) was suspect and Solyndra suddenly building huge fabs along I-880 in Silicon Valley with government money should have been a warning - and it would be, if the science was coming first.

    Instead, piggybacking on the incredibly shady terms of the Solyndra financing, we find that Chu gave even more money to Solyndra even when they were already in default.  Thus the reassurance for Chu, which means they are letting the world know he is on his way out.

    It's not a bad idea to research better thin films or CIGS or whatever.  Solar cell efficiencies are so low it is ridiculous to consider it an 'alternative' energy source right now but if the private sector wants to finance private research, so be it, that is how fortunes get mad.  Yet mirroring the inefficiency of solar technology is the inefficiency of the federal government.   The government should not be financing bad technology just because they want to look 'green' and certainly should not be violating its own laws because an investor in one company is a friend of the president.  There is nothing green about wasting a billion dollars on nothing.

    Chu is a manager at this point, he did not personally intervene for Solyndra, he listened to arguments and made a judgment call - but if he were not so anti-CO2 he looks at everything else through rose-colored-business-plan glasses, this would not have happened.

    As a result, the scrutiny is on companies that may be worthy - another $5 billion in loans for technology the government cannot hope to understand is going to get noticed by the media and  partisan opposition.

    The FBI is making a show of investigating criminal activity at Solyndra but the government made a bad investment, plain and simple. Going into an election year, they don't want to continue to look like they don't know where money comes from and are just throwing it around - so Chu can do himself and America a favor by putting his science cap back on, looking skeptically at technology and even concepts he may not like and not giving alternatives a free pass.  Mitigation has worked, CO2 is back at mid-90s levels, and because of that economic train wreck Democrats could lose an election. 

    The White House called off the rabid activist running the EPA a short while ago, and Chu had to have signed off on that, so here's hoping they listen to him some more - and he is there to be heard.

    Comments

    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Well this article reporting that hydrino theory testing has been validated as a possible future alternative, cleaner source of energy looks promising and well worth investing some money in, doesn't it?
    Testing validates hydrino theory. Hydrogen atoms of water can release an enormous amount of energy. Now BlackLight is promising an engine technology aimed at driving a car 5,000 miles on a gallon of water.And if solar flares over the next 10 years have the power to blackout thousands of homes, as the National Oceanography and Atmospheric Administration has warned, the distributed power of the new cells could keep America lit up. 
    A working model is promised for 2011. Until it appears and independent laboratories confirm BlackLight's claims, most scientists will not accept such unorthodox technology, especially if it is based on classical rather than quantum physics. BlackLight's research has also been hampered in the past by its close ties to Rowan University, where several of its engineers have worked. 
    But the greater problem for BlackLight may be the oil companies and conventional utilities that will be displaced, if not destroyed, by hydrino technology. Even though the cells as described would collectively save homeowners and manufacturers trillions in electricity costs and generate many millions of jobs, it is also thought to be the target of a concerted foreign industrial espionage campaign. 
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    mhlongmeyer

    I've said this before, but I can't help myself ... in the field of energy, the government should plow money into basic research, not into companies that manufacture a finished product.  Once the basic research demonstrates that a particular technology has genuine promise, the private money will rush in at superluminal neutrino speed to develop it.

    Hank
    the private money will rush in at superluminal neutrino speed to develop it.
    Very nice!  :)
    Helen, like you I cheer BlackLight on. I hope they do demonstrate their CIHT technology this year.

    My non-profit Aesop Institute website has a few segments that may be of interest. They are featured on one called Running on Water. CHEAP GREEN and MOVING BEYOND OIL might also prove worth a read.

    The peril from solar flares is highest during the next five years, with a peak estimated by NOAA in 2013. Anyone unfamiliar with this nightmare will find more than they may want to learn on the Aesop website.

    Mike, how I wish you were correct. Room Temperature Superconductors, we call them Ultraconductors, have shown genuine promise for years. Four Small Business Innovation Research contracts completed including a Phase II with the USAF...and almost 1,000 samples produced for the Air Force by an independent firm and yet that work was forced to halt for several years due to lack of capital. Fortunately, it may at last resume in the near future.

    Hank
    Jonathan Silver, the head of the Energy Department’s controversial loan guarantee program, is out.  Steven Chu says it was planned all along.

    Silver's accomplishment?  Making a bad program the largest in the country; $55 billion in taxpayer money on sheer speculation.  Calls had been out for his head since a hearing where he said he never looked at Bush administration due diligence showing the DOE should not give any money to Solyndra, much less change their loan terms after they got it and were in violation of its loan deal.
    Hank
    Energy Secretary Chu was a welcome choice when he was announced, though I had some concern about his CO2 fetish.  There are a lot of knobs in climate, including a lot man can control, and focusing on one seemed to be zealotry rather than science.   

    Plus, politics changes people and his invoking a Vast Right Wing Conspiracy to dump on crappy investments the government should not be making in the first place is a sign he may be lost to us scientifically.   It isn't evil Republicans making you look stupid it is throwing money at anything-not-CO2 that is making you look stupid.  Spending $1 million per job is not a stimulus package, it is corporate welfare.  Doing it for supposedly green companies is no better than doing it for Exxon.