Designing Compensations

So the Obama Administration, in a bold display of having other work to do, is set to announce new fuel efficiency minimums today, though it might be an out for car makers.

At issue is a “technology re-opener” that allows auto manufacturers to fight the standards after 2021 in the hopes that they can re-negotiate rules with a future administration that may be more lenient on the industry. The re-opener potentially gives auto companies an incentive not to develop technologies immediately so they can argue down the road that the standard can’t be met.

And researchers at Caltech are engaged in extreme, Onionesque crazy talk about increasing the power output of some new, vertical-axis wind turbines.

simply by optimizing the placement of vertical wind turbines on a given plot of land.

The experimental wind-farm houses two-dozen 1.2-meter-wide vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWTs). Vertical turbines that have rotors and look like eggbeaters sticking out of the ground. Each turbine is 10 meters tall.

Now is simply not the time to suggest these nugget-sized simplistic solutions to the overwhelmingly complex issues facing the world today. What we need are cautious yet controversial, half-baked propositions that allow leaders, as well as ordinary citizens, to pick an arbitrary side and battle to a standstill. Unrest at a loggerheads. No decision. A dead-end into which to channel our hostilities, to let our economic and ecological problems convulse into something much more magnificently horrific than we can now imagine. In a word, or two: more freedom. There’s just no reason to let these so called easy answers peek through and scare people. Bikes. Walking. Cooking your own food. Handholding. Making out…. these were of another time. Let’s calm down and argue about things that matter: like iPhone vs. Blackberry. Now there’s an argument that’s built to last, that means something. Where do you stand?