Friday, July 4, 2008
As WN pointed out last week, $400 million in the $186 billion supplemental war spending bill, or
about 0.2 percent, is for science. It's divided among four agencies. Still,
it allowed Fermilab, the nation's top accelerator laboratory, to resume its
research program and avoid the lay off of 80 employees. Fermilab has been
paying employees from an anonymous $5 million gift since May. For the top
high-energy physics research facility in the world's most powerful nation to
be reduced to operating on private charity is a national embarrassment. We
desperately need change in our science policy. Somebody's campaign slogan is
"change," but neither candidate ever mentions science.
It is standard political lore that anyone seeking nomination must fish in friendly water.
Once nominated, they should begin casting their lines in the direction of
their opponent. So it is that having secured the nomination Obama is now
trying to hook a few evangelicals, even calling for expansion of Bush's
controversial faith-based initiative. His fund raising now targets the big
fish rather than the ten-dollar mom-and-pop donations he boasted of during
the nomination. Yesterday, according to the NY Times, Obama gave a talk in
Fargo, ND in which he made his usual point that the United States cannot
sustain a long-term military presence in Iraq, but then added that he might
"refine" his policies on Iraq after he meets with American commanders in
Iraq next month. This, I'm assured, is smart politics, but I liked him
better when he wasn't that smart.
The latest is something called the Hydro Assist Fuel Cell. It's not a fuel cell as the
rest of world uses the term; it's a kit to modify your existing car. It
extracts a hydrogen-oxygen mixture from water and adds it to your fuel,
doubling your mpg. The same people are now offering the Pre-Ignition
Catalytic Converter, PICC, to upgrade performance of the HAFC. Never mind
the laws of thermodynamics, it's "based on scientific observation." But this
is another mom and pop operation; the big fish are still biting on
BlackLight Power. Let's take a look.
According to an article in Wednesday's CNN Money.com, BlackLight Power has raised $60 million from
investors "in its 19-year history." Nineteen years would take it back to its
cold fusion roots. WN has followed Randy Mills since 1991
(WN 26 Apr 91) when he held a press
conference in Lancaster, PA. The full history can be found in the What's New
archives, http://www.bobpark.org, click on Search and type in "hydrino."
Some estimates were that Mills could raise $1 billion with an IPO, but he
was unable to protect his intellectual property, if any, with a US patent
(WN 6 Sep 02) . He then sought to patent
the process abroad. In April 2008 he was denied 4 patents in the UK.