Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Wasted Energy

Wasting your personal energy pining for "free energy" is foolish.

A reader writes asking me what I think of his "free energy" blog and some new purported type of cold fusion.   These sorts of blogs and discussion groups are all over the Internet.  The common denominator is that there is some kind of technology that will give us all free (or super-cheap) energy, but of course, the government and the oil companies are "suppressing it".

In these groups, Nikolai Tesla is not just a prolific Engineer who lost his mind later in life (it happens) but a demi-God who was going to give us all free energy until "they got him".

And it goes without saying that Exxon is "buying up all the Patents" and "suppressing the technology" even though Patents are published and freely available for anyone to read or develop a working model from.

The dream of free energy or cold fusion has been around for a long while, and to date, such "research" has been proven, without exception to be fraudulent.   Science by press-release is not science.

And it is never explained why our government would suppress free energy technology - and thus let other governments take advantage of this boon to their economies.

These sort of basic questions are never answered because they are never raised.   The premise of these discussion groups is that the government is all-powerful and evil and of course wants to suppress technology because they are in debt to the oil companies.   And of course, the folks who think this, never worked for the government and don't realize how poorly it is run.  Our government, on a good day, can barely conspire to make a cup of coffee, much less orchestrate a new world order.  All that stuff you see in the movies is just bullshit.

And in any debate, the key thing to do is challenge the premise of the argument.   Often people put in statements as the underlying premise of their argument that they assume are just fundamental truths.  If you swallow the premise, then the rest of their arguments seem valid, or are difficult to debunk.

For example, the religious right loves to say, when discussing the laws of our country, "Well, the Bible says..." and then they go on to quote some section of the Bible, usually out of context.  If you swallow this premise, then you are lost, as the argument devolves into interpretations of the Bible, and not legal arguments or public policy arguments regarding the laws of this land.   The premise here is that the Bible is some sort of legal authority in the US - which it isn't, despite the best efforts of the Christian Right.  The Bible is no more legally binding than the Koran or the Torah.   And we all know how well things work out in countries where the Koran is legally binding.

Challenge the premise of any argument, rather than being reactionary and trying to respond to flimsy arguments propped up by a questionable premise.

But the real question here is, why is this fellow wasting his entire life pining for free energy?  And there are a lot of fellows like this, who spend all day long on conspiracy websites of one sort or another.  Oh, if only free energy were realized, or the truth about the Kennedy Assassination revealed!  If only the aliens held captive in Area 51 were released!  We could use their alien technology to live a life of ease!

And right there is the key.   These sorts of folks are externalizing their own problems onto a greater world.   They work in dead-end jobs if they work at all.  They have emotional problems, relationship problems, money problems. Their lives are dreary and boring (as most are!  Get over it!).   They are minute cogs in the machine of our society.  They are utterly unimportant, as most of us are.

But, when they go on a conspiracy website, they suddenly are famous - and important.  Their opinions matter.  Moreover, once free energy is released, they will be living the life of Riley!   Their personal failures in life have nothing to do with their own malfeasance or laziness.  No, no, it is the government or the oil companies "suppressing the technology" that would liberate them!

Or maybe it is the "Federal Reserve" who is keeping them down through unknown machinations.   I am not sure exactly how the Federal Reserve is screwing us so badly, but I am told that it is going on!  If only we could eliminate the Federal Reserve and go back to the gold standard, the world would be a paradise on Earth and we would all be millionaires - and the economy would once again be as stable as it was in the 1800's and early 1900's (warning: the sarcasm light is ON).

Externalizing.  I harp on it a lot here because it is important.   The more you externalize your personal problems, the worse off you will be financially and emotionally.   If you want to spend your life hating Hillary Clinton and blogging about Benghazi, go ahead.  But is it making you a happier or wealthier person?

No.  It isn't.   But there are a host of other folks in this world who realize you have this tendency, as most humans do to externalize your problems.   And the powers-that-be do take advantage of this.  If there is a conspiracy out there, this is it.   The conspiracy isn't the Kennedy Assassination or the Aliens in Area 51 or the suppression of cold fusion.  The conspiracy is that they can get you all riled up about these utterly irrelevant or made-up things, to the point where you can't see straight or take the time to understand your own personal finances and life.

Conspiracy theories are an excellent way to manipulate people and keep them downtrodden.   Right now we see this with the Republican Party.   They are courting the far-right nutjob demographic, as they can feed them tidbits of conspiracy nuttery through obscure websites and discussion groups -and get them foaming at the mouth.   Hillary Clinton's policies and ideas are not the issue - it is the erased e-mails and what supposedly went on in Benghazi - or Whitewater - or whatever.

Why do they play this game?   Well, simply because you can't get people riled up about obscure revisions to the tax code.   And when it comes to the policy wonk game, Hillary has it beat, as she is a very smart woman.   So instead of saying, "well, I think her proposals to revise the tax code are bad because..." (cue: snoozing sound) you say, "She's going to raise our taxes and give all our money to N*ggers!" which resonates well with the Duck Dynasty type of crowd.

Ditto for free energy.   You could make the rational argument that one way to save on energy costs is to drive a reasonably sized car that gets reasonable mileage or to live in a smaller, well-insulated home and keep the thermostat turned down.


It is more fun to say that the cost of gas isn't your fault, and that driving a quad-cab 1-ton dually pickup is a reasonable proposition, and that commuting 100 miles each way to work is "normal".   And a lot of people live that way, too, particularly out West.    And they believe that the reason they have to pay so much for transportation is that Obama raised the gas prices (even though, as you should know, they are at historic lows right now, and when he took office in 2009, they were topping $5 a gallon in some States!).

Who does this sort of thinking favor?  The oil company of course.  If you can grouse about "free energy" and Obama while putting 100 gallons of fuel in your pickup truck, they have you.   So long as you don't actually take action in your own life but instead blame your problems on others, they have you nailed down.

Does this mean the oil companies sit around and spread these stories?   I think not.  But if some sort of conspiracy theory floats around that ultimately benefits them, well, they certainly don't take a lot of time to squelch it.

Rich people don't believe in conspiracy theories.  Poor people do.  And the poorer a person is, the more likely they are to believe in them.

Maybe - just maybe - if you stop believing in conspiracy theories and spend that energy on balancing your checkbook, you just might end up richer and happier.

Nah.   That couldn't possibly work!