With all the news of disasters, I thought it was time for another round of unwarranted optimism to cheer you up.

As I have previously noted in this blog, every week the media reports breakthroughs in curing deadly diseases, and inventions that turn just about anything into cheap energy. The one thing all of these reports have in common is that you never hear much about them again. The stories are generally completely fraudulent, overhyped, or prematurely optimistic. But that doesn't stop me from hoping the next one is real. That hope makes me feel good. To spread the joy, I give you the three stories of amazing breakthroughs that will change the world. Or not.

We start with the 12-year old genius who recently invented a type of solar panel that is 500 times more efficient than what is on the market now. I questioned whether a 12-year old could really do this sort of thing until I looked at his biography. If that doesn't convince you, just look at his picture then look at yourself in the mirror. Who looks smarter?


You still need a cheap way to store the solar energy. Otherwise you need other sources of energy at night, or for cars. Some smart guy at MIT (Dilbert's alma mater) has you covered. I've shown this link before, but it makes me happy every time I think about it:


It does you no good to have electricity if you have no clean water to drink. That's a huge problem in a lot of places, and getting worse. Luckily, inventor Dean Kamen has you covered with his water purifier that requires no filters.


Kamen also invented a device that will inexpensively create energy from manure. It works best if you have livestock, but there's no rule that says you can't crap in it yourself. This will lead to new sayings replacing the venerable "I have to go drop a penny," and "I have to see a man about a horse." In the future you will be able to say, "I have to go pinch a watt," or "power the Kamen."

Do you feel hopeful yet?

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+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 22, 2008
Hi Scott,

I usually feel optimistic about such things. But thanks for sharing the articles. I eagerly anticipate the day I can put a methane gas collector on top of my septic system.

I just read a an article on CNN about a guy named Matt Simmons about the impending problems with world oil supply. He is projecting $500 per barrel oil in the future. I think he needs to read your blog more often. His story of how he, in his spare time, came to these conclusions is pretty amusing. He believes that he is one of the few people in the world to have figured out the world peak oil production dilemma.

Anyway, if you get a chance, you should send this guy some emails to brighten his day. I would, but I figure he is more likely to pay attention to a message from you. Tell him you are one of the only people in the world to discover the truth about the future of alternative energy, he might pay attention.

-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 22, 2008
In fact, I bet she even knows how to spell the word 'genius', unlike me apparently.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 22, 2008
Now that's pretty amazing - this kid's going to have one (or more) of your much coveted Nobel Prizes before he even gets to college.

Reminds me of this girl I went to college with a few years ago - she was 12 years old and working on a double major (Organic Chemistry and Biology) at Indiana University. She finished a couple years later with a 4.0 and went on for masters and doctorate degrees. She wanted to go into pharma research and development and is an absolute genious. I have her name if you want to look her up...
Sep 22, 2008
After watching the Science channel last night about alternative energy, and your bog, i am very hopeful. That is, until i go to DrudgReport and see what everyone else is talking about, and it will be another even keel day.
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