Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Wish List of Advances to Provide Positive Future

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Wish List of Advances to Provide Positive Future

Article excerpt

Television, air travel, space travel, antibiotics - none of them existed in 1900 - nor did Dioxin, Thalidomide, DDT, Three Mile Island, the Challenger or Chernobyl.

What technologies do we want to have available to us and to future generations as we approach the 21st century? The market will choose many of them for us. If a product or service is developed and enough people want to buy it, it will almost surely come into existence unless we interfere.

But what about advances that affect those other than buyers - affect them harmfully through hidden side effects, pollution or exhaustion of resources, or helpfully through avoiding pollution, recycling resources, adding to health and creating jobs?

The prestigious Business Roundtable noted a few years ago that affirmation promotion is needed for ``basic research and engineering, the research infrastructure and those areas required for national defense, health and key technologies too remote, costly or long range to attract adequate private sector interest and investment.''

Here is my own wish list of some advances that just might meet the criteria:

- New discoveries about how we can make ourselves healthier, more active and useful through our own powers - just as it has now been discovered that moderate exercise all by itself can make it less likely that you will fall ill to any disease at all.

- Substitutes for technologies that produce pollution - such as the hydrogen auto engine, already under discussion, which would produce water as its only exhaust.

- Substitutes for those technologies that produce hazardous waste.

- A new energy source that is cost-effective, clean - and as seen by the legendary Jules Verne - virtually limitless. My own candidate is the temperature difference in the earth. It has been found that by pumping water down to hot rocks below, it returns as steam. (Most of the earth consists of molten metal and its enormous energy is virtually never tapped - and is released now chiefly when a volcano erupts or its pressures gradually push the earth's crust to the point where there is an earthquake. …

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