Friday, April 11, 2008

The Road Not Taken....,

Prophecies and warnings regarding fossil fuel depletion. Extracted from the Wikipedia entry on Admiral Hyman Rickover - the visionary "inventor" of compact nuclear reactor technology and the man who handpicked Lt. James Earl Carter to join his superb nuclear naval fleet.
As early as 1957, Admiral Rickover began urging the development of alternate energy consumption paths to that of fossil fuels as their eventual depletion became evident, noting:

"A reduction of per capita energy consumption has always in the past led to a decline in civilization and a reversion to a more primitive way of life...Anyone who has watched a sweating Chinese farm worker strain at his heavily laden wheelbarrow, creaking along a cobblestone road, or who has flinched as he drives past an endless procession of human beasts of burden moving to market in Java - the slender women bent under mountainous loads heaped on their heads - anyone who has seen statistics translated into flesh and bone, realizes the degradation of man's stature when his muscle power becomes the only energy source he can afford. Civilization must wither when human beings are so degraded....High-energy consumption has always been a prerequisite of political power. The tendency is for political power to be concentrated in an ever-smaller number of countries. Ultimately, the nation which controls the largest energy resources will become dominant."
Carter was the only president who attempted to take on the single greatest threat to our survival, and to this day, he remains maligned and ignored despite being a visionary many, many years ahead of his time. Not so far ahead as his mentor Admiral Rickover, who was noted for his intolerance of oxygen thievery;
Moreover, he had "little tolerance for mediocrity, none for stupidity." "If a man is dumb," said a Chicago friend, "Rickover thinks he ought to be dead." Even while a Captain, Rickover did not conceal his opinions, and many of the officers he regarded as dumb eventually rose in rank to be admirals and were assigned to the Pentagon.
Too bad these visionaries weren't able to wake up the masses in their time.