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Friday, April 16, 2010


the Obama administration wants to draw on the collective wisdom of scientists everywhere in deciding which scientific and technological challenges should be the focus of policy initiatives in the coming years.

In 2009 President Obama provided some examples of what these challenges might be:

* Complete DNA sequencing of every type of cancer. * A universal vaccine for influenza that will protect against all future strains. * Solar cells as cheap as paint, and green buildings that produce all of the energy they consume. * A light-weight vest for soldiers and police officers that can stop an armor-piercing bullet. * Educational software that is as compelling as the best video game and as effective as a personal tutor. * Biological systems that can turn sunlight into carbon-neutral fuel, reduce the costs of producing antimalarial drugs by a factor of 10, and quickly and inexpensively dispose of radioactive wastes and toxic chemicals.

Now, the White House wants your help in shaping the federal government’s current and future scientific priorities. As scientists and concerned citizens, we have a great responsibility and a unique opportunity to be the voices that are helping to define the White House’s scientific agenda. Make your voice heard. Submit your ideas today to, (via WattsUpWithThat)

Strikes me that space industrialization is the elephant in the room not mentioned & an X-Prize Foundation the answer. Ageing research may be another elephant. Surely both are of greater value to humanity than a better bullet proof vest? On the other hand silly as some of these are at least he is asking.
Neil Craig
Perhaps we ought all to suggest Prizes; it's not what the Administration wants, but perhaps enough such suggestions would at least get some attention.
And of course if they'd all just read A Step Farther Out...

Having sent the above to Jerry Pournelle which he has placed on his blog I also sent this note of my submission to the British National Space Centre for an X-Prize Foundation to Obama (& also copies to Newt & Sarah, ). I don't expect it to work & haven't yet received an acknowledgement but it certainly won't work if we don't try. I am therefore suggesting that anybody interested in pushing space development, by X-Prizes or otherwise, in the USA or otherwise, says so. Space development is the mother lode for human development - I wish my country was willing to put some effort into it, but if not I would like the USA to & if they don't then more power to China's elbow
Sir,The big scientific project the President doesn't mention is space industrialisation. The way to achieve this is to take most of the money currently given to NASA & put it into an X-Prize Foundation. Here is a proposal I made to the British government that it take the $400 million it currently gives to the European Space Agency (an organisation which makes NASA look effective) & put it into such a Foundation to make Britain a world leader in the field. Since this is 1/50th of what the USA spends on NASA you could obviously do far more.
I also made a cheaper proposal to make donations to such technology prizes tax deductible at a substantially higher rate than current charitable donations since the long term benefit to the nation is clearly likely to be higher.
Also today he has my link to the article I discussed last Sunday - that the Kyrgyzstan revolution was about energy prices & how people here might also react:
However it seems to me that if the American or British public ever
appreciated how much power costs are increased by Luddism & government
parasitism (I think at least 50% probably 75% taking in all factors) they would
not be happy bunnies.

That is 75% of what we currently pay is eco-fascist state parasitism.

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The odd thing about enhanced bullet proof vests is that they will of course lead to enhanced bullets just as every increase in protection in history has lead to increases in firepower
Fair point. As somebody who sells superhero comics I understand that this is why, even assuming developing superstrength by being rocketed to Earth as a boby was practical, Superman would be toast.
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