The Rise and Fall of American Technology

By Lynn G. Gref | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 13. RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES ABOUND

“Watch out for emergencies. They are your big chance.”—Fritz Reiner

The previous three chapters have established that a decline in technology research has begun, technology has been essential to the American economy and relying on a service economy to lessen America’s dependence on technology is simply not possible. One might question whether there are sufficient research opportunities to justify revitalizing America’s technology development efforts. After all, can new industries be created that will provide enough high paying employment opportunities? The answer is not only yes, but America’s well-being depends on it. The ensuing discussion explores some of these vital research opportunities.

America faces three main issues relative to the environment. Managing the Earth’s carbon cycle is essential to reining in the exponential growth of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Protecting, cleaning up, and enhancing fresh water supplies are required in order to assure adequate supplies of healthy water for the country’s population and its agriculture. Managing human and animal waste is fundamental to preserving a healthy food supply.

Global warming and man’s contribution to the increase in carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere has been a hot topic of newspapers, television, conversation, global politics, and even a movie. Out of all this, all but a very small minority of diehards agree that man cannot persist in continuing to dump ever-increasing amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Most people recognize a need to manage the Earth’s carbon dioxide cycle. Frequently, positions have been taken and much written with very little science to support them.

Interestingly, there is very little known about a portion of the Earth’s carbon cycle. Man’s contribution to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is pretty well known. (Man has increased the carbon dioxide levels by approximately 40% since the inception of the industrial revolution.) Precise quantitative information is extremely

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