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“A Politician, eh?”

It has occurred to me over the years that perhaps not the stupidest, but certainly the most unimaginative people choose to become politicians. In fact, my grandfather, who came here from Sicily when he was three years old and spoke both perfect English and a fluent Sicilian dialect used to make vague references to acquaintances who were wont not to work, but rather would make their living off of the backs of others, both scheming and dreaming, “Politician, “ he used to say with a sort of a half grin, referring to the person in question.

This brings me to an important topic, “Collision detection.” In video game programming one of the most important aspects to master is collision detection, wherein objects that you program on the screen, or at least in some sort of video buffer, are able to ‘sense’ or perceive, as it were, the presence of other objects ‘in their space’. Now, the more sophisticated and realistic the game, the more carefully developed is the collision detection. In fact, collision detection can be programmed to focus on parts of an object, like a tiny piece of a wing of a plane, detecting, or at least mathematically addressing the tiny piece of something, a goose or debris, in its space.

In the world of big oil companies and politicians, there are the imaginative players, those who can determine new and better ways to draw oil or natural gas from unlikely sources. Those new sources are ‘Oil Sands’ and ‘Shale Gas’. Ten years ago the idea that gas could be pulled by a process known as ‘fracturing’ from shale was just a theory. The idea that oil could be refined from sandy deposits was ‘intriguing’, at best. Today, thanks to the imagination and work of people in the industries that provide us energy, these technologies are more and more possible, more affordable, not in need of government subsidies like wind and solar, and able to bridge the future from a society heavily dependant on foreign fossil fuels, to a society finally deriving its own fuels. This could go a long way to de-stabilizing the cartels of terroristic states who have a strangle hold on (at last reading) democratic and capitalistic free nations.
According to a fascinating May 10th 2010 Wall-Street journal article by Amy Myers Jaffe, the development of such technologies would not only diminish the power of some of the Mideast Oil Giants, like Iran, but it would allow both North America and China to be free of dependence upon other countries. This could help provide stability and greater independence for both countries.
The politicians, in the United States, however, operate on a simpler level. They are still operating on a sort of 2-D Game format, using 2-dimensional collision detection. If you can recall the very first release of Super Mario Brothers, or Duke Nukem, fun but very limited, you can replace those mugs and mustachios with any of the current Congressional or Executive batch of Poli-Sci or Law graduates, who wag their fingers at Oil Industries and other American energy industries. You see, in a 2 dimensional Game, there’s no sense of depth and precision. Any nearness of danger, triggers a sort of ‘Flight Syndrome’. Oil Spill: Oh My Gosh, truly Bad!
Oil… hmmm… Bad.
Drilling in the water… Bad.
Drilling on the land… Really Bad.
All energy companies, BAD!
Run away! Run Away! Run Away!

When I was a young kid and my grandfather heard one of my fiends call me, “Hey, Mr. President!” My grandfather, said, “Hey, did you hear what he called you? You better go set him straight. You don’t want that kind of talk getting’ around.”
“No, no grandpa, It’s okay, I really am the class president.”
“You’re the what? The class president? Oh, a politician, eh? Don’t you got nothing better ta do.”

Shale gas and oil sands are the hope of an affordable future, but apparently, the current administration and Congress doesn’t really care what gas costs you at the pump, any more than they care if your taxes go up.
They don’t have the imagination to enter into a 3D Gaming Environment, where things like drilling, and fracturing, and refining are entering a new level. They aren’t on board with the idea that politicians need to be ‘educated’ as to what is happening in our energy sector, because it is perhaps the most important sector in our future economy. The fact that they didn’t even have enough knowledge about the processes and ramifications of the deep-sea drilling projects, like the fiasco that has become the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill, does not absolve BP or TransOcean from responsibility, but it does make one realize that we need a whole knew batch of politicians. We need more energy savvy people, people who understand both the Global-Political aspects of Natural Gas Independence as well as the technical nuances that must be analyzed, people who appreciate the freedom footprint as well as the economic footprint of domestic energy. We don’t have those people. We have fight or flight politicians, people who don’t understand that it is more environmentally precarious to leave Alaskan Oil Pipelines empty and rusting as it is to keep them full, maintained and pumped and warm. We have finger-wagging, quick-blaming, unhelpful, high-paid straw-bosses, bystanders who add panic, but no relief to crisis situations. As we move into the future, there will be more crises, a greater need for quick, but calm and effective action, action that won’t trigger a panic and nose-dive in the market, action that is resourceful educated, informed, and decisive. We need an entirely new breed of leaders.
Let’s say goodbye to the fund-raisers and the straw-bosses, and look to even invite the technologically aware, the innovative, the blue-print reading, hard-working, rough-cut not die-cut, self-made and successful Americans.

Copyright May 14, 2010 by John P. Schumake


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