14 March 2006

It's All Good


SpinDaddy checking in here. Been terribly busy with return to school. School is going fantastically well, really enjoying it except for the grueling schedule.

Out for a week for spring break and have time for a quick update here. Here are some SpinDaddy takes on recent and current events.

Dubai Ports

Congressional republicans got played by Schmuck Schumer and the democrats on the Dubai ports deal. UAE is not, nor will it ever be, a Reaganesque "shining-city-on-the-hill". But UAE is not our most pressing problem in the region. In fact they are not even a problem at all. They are our friends.

Memo to congressional republicans, Syria and the hardliners in Iran (NOT the Iranian people at large) are our problems in the middle east. Were all countries in the middle east more like them, the world would be a much quieter place. I know this because the company I work for has done business there, successfully and safely for decades. Dubai is the jumping off spot for many American comapnies doing business in the middle east.

I am profoundly emabarrassed by the conduct of a lot of the republican caucus who should know better than to act like a bunch Nancy-boys at the first sign of controversy. Congrats, you showed Schmuck Schumer how to roll you guys and undermine the president, I hope you all are proud. Now that he has tasted blood he will be back for more like the political terrorist he is.


Dubai will undoubtedly demonstrate how good a friend of ours they really are , if God forbid, we should have to do something nasty to deal with Iran over their Nuclear weapons ambitions. More precisely; the problem is their loudmouth president. He may yet do himself in on his own, this report in the Wash Times indicates that the elite in Iran are none to pleased with his conduct so far.

His caustic rhetoric is demonstrably harming the Iranian economy; and not surprisingly, leading Iran to feel increasingly isolated. Keep it up big mouth. The Iranian economy is somewhat fragile (they export oil and violence, do they offer anything else?), and should the UN Security council impose economic sanctions it would probably have dire consequences there. Here's hoping those in Iran who are already tiring of Ahmadinejad and all his rough talk do something about it so we don't have to.

He keeps threatening to use oil as a weapon against the west. Panic not Nancy-boys in congress. The west is not as vulnerable as GeorgeClooney-MichaelMoore-AlGore would have you believe we are. It would really be better for actors in the middle east to calm him and the Mullahs who are acting so aggressively. The greater middle east as a whole will suffer for his obstinancy. Part of my reading as I catch up on the news this week leads me to this jewel.

Honda Announces Production Plans For FCX

I have been very skeptical about the so called hydrogen economy, but this press release of 08JAN06 has caused me to re-evaluate my position. In it Honda announces plans to begin production of the FCX hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle within 3-4 years!! Pictures Here. Now if GM or Ford were making such claims, bahhh; yeah-yeah whatever.

But this is H o n d a. Anyone familiar with the brilliance, and depth of their engineering prowess understands why I am taking another look at the possibility of wholesale replacement of gasoline in the transportation fleet.

Honda will also be marketing the their HES Home Energy Station which will use natural gas to provide electricity to the owners home, heat the water in the home, and provide a full tank of Hydrogen for the next days driving. Honda claims that they can lower the consumers energy use by 50% including the energy used in the form of gasoline to provide transportation. My wife will love that, a full fuel tank everytime she gets in the car. Honda claims that recent improvements will give the FCX approximately 350-400 miles range, comparable to current gasoline/diesel powered automobiles. Honda also claims to have solved cold WX problems associated with fuel cell ops, an important consideration if the FCX is to have widespread acceptance in the marketplace.

When one simply plugs in hydrogen fuel and tries to do a direct comparison with the current automobile refueling infrastructure; the hydrogen doesn't stand a chance because it is so hard to transport the way we do refined petroleum products. Honda's Home Energy Station is a fantastic "work around" solution to this vexing issue. In addition to Hondas work, several emerging technologies are set to solve this dilemma. HCE in Oakton, Va has announced that they are seeking patent protection for a method of storing hydrogen gas at the nanometer level, in nanometric water bubbles (parent material), that offer significant gains in storage, approaching the energy density of gasoline.

It's All Good

These developments and continuing research on microturbines which are already on the market from Capstone and Ingersoll Rand, among others as stationary powerplants in a distributed energy regime, or even in portable applications for military use. Hey, guess what the internal combustion reciprocating piston engine was doing 100 years ago?? These microturbines could be readily adapted to power hydrogen fuel cell/electric hybrids. Turbine powerplants offer the advantage of being able to run on just about anything that is liquid and flammable. Corn, or Switchgrass alchohol for instance. Soy or Palm oil based biodiesel.

Oil is about to face serious challenges in the marketplace for energy. $20.00/bbl oil is a hard resource to compete with, but $200.00/bbl oil will quickly become an economic anachronism the way steam powered locomotives, and radial engined airliners are. Sure they can be made to work, but it is economically unfeasible to do so on an any large scale.

Should Iran, or whomever else, succeed in pushing oil to these levels; capital will flee oil to these other energy sources and oil will crash. Oil is not immune from market forces. As we saw during the Katrina aftermath last fall, market forces tempered demand when prices spiked above $4.00/gal, preventing ugly supply/availability problems. Should the rest of the world, India-Europe-China-US decide that oil is too much of a pain to get and use, we will move on to other energy sources and that will only hurt those in the middle east dependent on oil for revenues. Really, it would be better for the middle east as a whole to settle down those who would seek to inflict pain via the price of oil. This will only harm those in the middle eastern countries who can least afford it.

Free consumers in a free marketplace will make decisions that are economically rational for them. During the 1980's American companies began conciously designing energy out of products to reduce their cost. Home builders began installing more and more insulation and more energy efficient heating and cooling systems. Today economic growth in America doesn't have the same impact on energy use that it once did. Such efficiencies will only continue to be incorporated and once they are in place, nobody will go back to the older less efficient systems. Nobody is going to take the added insulation out of their houses because the price of oil crashes through the floor as it did in 1986. It is irrational to do so. If there is a wholesale shift to hydrogen for transporation, nobody is going to go back to gasoline or diesel just because the price drops.

Such unnatural distortions in the (energy/) oil market are unhealthy and incompatible with the laws of supply and demand. Note I said LAWS. Like the laws of gravity, the laws of supply and demand are not negotiable. These laws may be defied only temporarily before nature sets things right again. The trend in energy costs over the last one hundred years has been for energy to get less expensive rather than more expensive. Just because the mullahs and Ahmadinejad have a problem with Israel and the west does not change this.

Some of the examples cited above demonstrate that oil is not the end all of the world economy, ingenuity fostered by freedom can solve virtually any problem. The backwards thinking hardline Islamists, and other knuckleheads bent on destruction, be it the Bush Presidency( Schumer-Gore-et al) or the west in general(Schumer-Ahmadinejad-Gore-Kim Jong Il) would do well to learn this.

They can learn this the hard way, or the easy way; the choice is theirs .