Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Support American Ingenuity

Many have pointed out the lack of discussion about global warming in the presidential debates. Indeed, among our politicians in general, there seems to be a void when it comes to addressing the problems of our oil dependency and alternative energy. Sure, they'll do some lip service to the idea of energy independence if asked, but no one has really formulated a concrete plan for making it happen. Where is the pioneering, innovative spirit America is known for? Where is our faith in our own ingenuity?

TIME magazine published an article highlighting a few ways scientists are harnessing energy; you can read it here: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1720111,00.html

Among them is the idea of harnessing the kinetic power from the motion of person walking. "You won't feel comfortable or fashionable walking around with Max Donelan's invention strapped to your knee. The bulky 3.5-lb. (1.6 kg) gadget "is not that pleasant," says Arthur Kuo, a biomedical engineer at the University of Michigan....Using the same principles that allow hybrid cars to recycle energy created in braking, braces worn on both knees can generate 5 watts of electricity by harvesting the energy inherent in a walker's stride. That may not sound like much, but it's enough to charge 10 cell phones, and it's absolutely free."

Plenty of people strap on weights to their ankles when they walk...why not generate electricity instead? If this kind of innovation can happen on its own, imagine what we could do with a President aggressively encouraging industries to create this kind of technologies with competitive deadlines, generous grants, and the enthusiasm and focus of the nation as a whole. What could be more patriotic than that? So, c'mon...Support American Ingenuity!

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