Techno-Lemon of the Month

Why do we see so many news articles praising technologies that clearly have limitations in terms of ability to perform, complexity to implement, obvious flaws, long time delays to perfection or just look plain crazy ?

If this question has ever shambled across your mind, casting a shadow of indeterminate length or duration, be encouraged to know you are not alone.

We just love technofixes, the more far-out leftfield whacky the better. And newspaper editors know we love the shock of the new, so they keep on feeding us with it :-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/nov/25/osmosis-plant-emission-free-energy

Have you spotted the fatal flaw ?

It’s not just newspaper editors that regurgitate this kind of gumpf. Corporations who are trying to steal Public Relations market share are also in on the technofix game.

This has to be the “techno-lemon” of the month – an ongoing saga of endless research and development that may lead literally in a vat of pond scum (and low flow production rates) :-

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2009/09/algae-energy-orgy

Remember the “Hydrogen Economy” ? The metals for the Hydrogen fuel containers would drain world resources overnight.

And Carbon Capture and Storage ? Nobody wants to pay twice or triple for Coal power.

New reactor designs for Nuclear Fission Power ? Tell me any of them work properly and safely. Show me the proof that engineering has improved to allow the new generations to be built to last. Show me the evidence that there won’t be major “unplanned outages” in the new plants.

And tell me somebody has figured out how to do the permanent safe disposal of the radioactive waste. I can remember from my childhood a TV programme about “vitrified waste”. Still don’t see it anywhere.

Nuclear Fusion ? Still in development and still 35 years away; and has been for the last 35 years of research.

But you never know, someday one or two of the ideas coming up might help :-

I love the “helicopter landing platform” part of this plan, plus the fact that it’s “grid-ready” !

Important take home fact #1 : Energy efficiency and energy conservation are cheaper and more effective, long-term, than whole new fleets of Energy stations.

Important take home fact #2 : Technology doesn’t always work :-

http://www.corporatewatch.org.uk/?lid=3126

Important take home fact #3 : Technology often wastes energy and creates pollution. The classic all-time example would have to be the motor car.

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