Here’s this week’s delectable offerings.
What happens when we compare technological advances in various fields over the last 50 to 100 years? In communications, we’ve gone from the basic telephone of 50 years ago to answering machines, faxes, instant messaging, and wireless cell phones packed with cameras, GPS, and more. Just 50 years ago computers were huge, multi-million dollar monsters capable of only rudimentary mathematical problems. Today, the portable laptop on which I’m typing can perform functions literally millions of times faster and more complex than its ancestors, and connect me instantly to anyone in the world with Internet access.
In engineering and materials science, we have gone from basic woods and metals to sophisticated plastics, fiber optics, nanotechnology, and other high-tech manmade materials and technologies that perform all kinds of functions which would have been considered miraculous 100 years ago. Television, movies, microwave ovens, air conditioning, radar, and gameboys didn’t even exist then. In astronomy, biology, medicine, agriculture, genetics, electronics, and most any other field you can think of, we are not only generations, but light years ahead in both knowledge and applications of what was available 100, and sometimes even 50 years ago.
Now consider the areas of energy and transportation, and the oil and automobile industries in particular. Technological progress in these sectors has moved at a snail’s pace compared to the fields mentioned above. Most cars and trucks still use the same internal combustion engine on which the Model T depended 100 years ago. And while the Model T boasted gas mileage of 25 MPG in 1908, average fuel economy for 2013 according to the EPA was only 24.7 MPG.”
And when it comes to energy, most of the world still depends largely on huge, polluting coal and oil generation plants not much more efficient than those of 100 years ago. How can it be that we’ve had such dramatic, almost miraculous advances in so many fields, while the energy and transportation sectors have made so little progress? Could it be that greed and the desire for economic and political control by the power elite of the world have kept the profit-rich energy and transportation sectors from developing as rapidly as they might have in a more open climate, where big money and political clout did not suppress technological breakthroughs?
Genius inventors for the past 100 years have made remarkable discoveries of new, more efficient energy sources, only to find their inventions either suppressed or not given the attention and funding needed to break us free of our dependence on archaic coal and oil-based technologies. Consider Nikola Tesla, the genius inventor of AC current, fluorescent light, and laser beams, who has over 700 patents to his name. Tesla proved in 1900 that the Earth itself could be used as a very cheap conductor of electricity. He successfully lighted 200 lamps without wires from a distance of 25 miles.
Why wasn’t Tesla’s wireless electricity developed and spread around the world? His main financial supporter, banking tycoon J.P. Morgan, withdrew funding with the classic comment, “If anyone can draw on the power, where do we put the meter?” For more on Tesla and his amazing inventions, see PBS’s voluminous tribute available here, or the Tesla Society website. A Google search will turn up lots more. Hundreds of other inventions and inventors (including a personal friend of mine) have suffered a similar or worse fate.
Below are short excerpts from a number of major media articles which suggest major suppression of technological advances in the fields of energy and transportation. For an excellent two-page summary of this vital topic, click here. You can also find a wealth of reliable, verifiable information at our New Energy Information Center. By educating ourselves and our friends and colleagues on this crucial topic, we can build a critical mass of informed citizens who demand the release of suppressed inventions and technologies that will pave the way for a brighter, healthier future for us, for our children, and for our beautiful planet. Thanks for caring.
Toyota Rav4 EV review: electrifying
March 125, 2013, San Francisco Chronicle (SF’s leading newspaper)
In the new crop of electric cars, the Rav4 may be the best you’ve never heard of. It comes from one of the world’s largest automakers and sports a drivetrain built by Tesla Motors, rock star of the plug-in world. And yet, outside the circle of electric enthusiasts, few drivers know it exists. You can buy it only in California. Toyota doesn’t advertise it on TV. So far, the company has committed to building just 2,600. Critics, including some people who love the Rav4 EV, say Toyota made it only to comply with California regulations that force automakers to sell zero-pollution cars. “Everyone agrees it’s a wonderful car,” said Felix Kramer, founder of CalCars, a plug-in vehicle advocacy group. “Too bad there’s not enough.” That suspicion comes from experience. Toyota made an electric version of the Rav4 once before, building 1,484 of the small SUVs between 1997 and 2003. Then the company killed the program, after California changed its zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) rules. The new Rav4 EV … boasts ferocious acceleration, plenty of power and a low center of gravity thanks to the big battery pack hidden in the floor. It’s not a luxury car, but the interior is comfortable and plush, tricked out with a touch-screen and heated seats. Those so inclined can take the Rav4 EV from a standstill to 60 mph in 7 seconds. The car gets a solid 125 miles on a fully charged battery pack, and an easy-to-read number on the dash constantly reminds you how many miles you have left.
Note: Once again a major car manufacturer produces a great electric vehicle only to suppress it. Remember “Who Killed the Electric Car“, the movie on GM’s EV1 which was killed despite major consumer interest? Then there was Toyota’s 100 mpg Eco Spirit which was also killed.
Brazil’s alcohol cars hit 2m mark
August 18, 2006, BBC News
Brazil’s new generation of cars and trucks adapted to run on alcohol has just hit the two-million mark. “Flex-fuel” vehicles, which run on any combination of ethanol and petrol, now make up 77% of the Brazilian market. Brazil has pioneered the use of ethanol derived from sugar-cane as motor fuel. Ethanol-driven cars have been on sale there for 25 years, but they have been enjoying a revival since flex-fuel models first appeared in March 2003. Just 48,200 flex-fuel cars were sold in Brazil in 2003, but the total had reached 1.2 million by the end of last year and had since topped two million.
Note: With recent sky-high gasoline prices and the fear of depletion of global oil supplies, why aren’t such cars being mass produced and promoted in the U.S.? And why are the trains of almost every other developed nation far advanced from trains in the U.S.? For possible answers, click here.
Toyota smashes fuel economy record
October 20, 2002, Times of London
Tucked away on the Toyota stand you will find a cheeky little coupé that looks sporty but whose raison d’être is fuel economy, the lowest exhaust emissions and ease of recycling. The ES3 — the initials stand for Eco Spirit — achieves 104mpg in the official European fuel consumption tests, a record for a four-seat car. Some months ago I drove this prototype and not only is it even more economical than the special “3 litre” (three litres of fuel for every 100km travelled, or 94mpg) versions of the Audi A2 and VW Lupo that sell in Germany, but the Toyota is more lively and responsive and would be very acceptable as an everyday car.
Note: The Toyota Eco Spirit was the talk of the fuel economy car industry in 2002, when this article was published. At over 100 MPG and with the lowest exhaust emissions and a very reasonable sticker price, the Eco Spirit’s debut was widely anticipated. What happened to it? This article reveals that Toyota nixed the car. Why in these times of soaring oil prices would they not rush this car into mass production? As this article is no longer available at its original URL, you can read it at this link.
Car achieves almost 10,000 miles per gallon
July 16, 1999, BBC News
A car driven by a 10-year-old and built at a French school has set a new world record for fuel efficiency. The Microjoule team managed the equivalent of 9,845 miles per gallon while driving for 10 miles around Silverstone race track in the UK. More than 100 teams competed in the Shell Eco-Marathon. Their one goal was to see how far they can get these amazing machines to travel on a minuscule amount of fuel. While we might be delirious if we managed 40 miles (64 kilometres) to the gallon (4.5 litres) pottering about town in our super minis, these people are not happy until they have seen the mileometer click through the thousands. The entries come from all over Europe. Some teams use advanced materials like titanium and carbon fibre. Some of the machines built by schoolchildren are made from parts of old sewing and washing machines.
Note: Some of these amazing vehicles made in 1999 were “built by schoolchildren,” yet the auto industry still can’t make a car that get’s 100 mpg? Granted these cars are slow and small, but if they can get almost 10,000 mpg, don’t you think similar technology could be used to get at least several hundred mpg in regular cars?
Kids Build Soybean-Fueled Car
February 17, 2006, CBS News
The star at last week’s Philadelphia Auto Show wasn’t a sports car or an economy car. It was a sports-economy car — one that combines performance and practicality under one hood. But as CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman reports in this week’s Assignment America, the car that buyers have been waiting decades [for] comes from an unexpected source and runs on soybean bio-diesel fuel to boot. A car that can go from zero to 60 in four seconds and get more than 50 miles to the gallon would be enough to pique any driver’s interest. So who do we have to thank for it. Ford? GM? Toyota? No – just … five kids from the auto shop program at West Philadelphia High School.
Freezing gas prices
May 25 , 2005, NBC Oklahoma City
There is a man who fills up his tank once every two months. One tank of gas, literally, lasts him two months. He is freezing the price of gas by freezing something else. David Hutchison is a Cryogenics expert. He built this Cryo-Process himself. A few years ago he began an experiment on his hybrid Honda, freezing the engine components. The results were a fuel-efficiency dream. A hybrid Honda typically gets really great gas mileage anyway, around 50 miles to the gallon, but David Hutchison’s cryogenically tempered engine has been known to get close to 120 miles a gallon. Racers have picked up on David’s trick of cryogenically freezing car parts. It is now widely accepted among NASCAR and Indy-car racers.
Note: Why isn’t this amazing news front-page headlines with rapid development for use by us all?
Refiners Maintain a Firm but Legal Grip on Supplies
June 18, 2005, Los Angeles Times
California refiners are simply cashing in on a system that allows a handful of players to keep prices high by carefully controlling supplies. The result is a kind of miracle market in which profits abound, outsiders can’t compete and a dwindling cadre of gas station operators has little choice but go along. Refiners “not only control how much supply is in the marketplace, they control who gets it and at what price,” said Dennis DeCota, executive director of the California Service Station and Automotive Repair Assn.The recent history of California’s fuel industry is a textbook case of how a once-competitive business can become skewed to the advantage of a few, all with the federal government’s blessing. Refiners acknowledge their California businesses have become the most profitable in the nation. The rest of the country isn’t far behind. Characteristics once unique to California — specialty fuels, a refinery shortage, the growing dominance of a few companies — have begun to plague other gasoline markets.
Note: To understand why all of this isn’t being reported in headline news around the country, click here.
Michigan solar car team wins 2,400-mile race
July 25, 2008, CNN News
In the world of higher education, summer is usually the off-season. But for some students, this summer was the culmination of years of hard work in a 2,400-mile solar car race from Plano, Texas to Calgary, Alberta. Fifteen teams of students drove photovoltaic-powered cars across the North American Solar Challenge finish line in Calgary Tuesday, led by the University of Michigan Solar Car Team and its vehicle, Continuum. Michigan’s victory, which took about 51 hours and 42 minutes on the road, is its fifth NASC championship. The school also won the last NASC, in 2005. Jeff Ferman, the race manager for Michigan, talked about how rewarding it was to enter Calgary and be greeted by 40,000 people.”The streets were lined with people,” he said. “There were people on overpasses with tripods taking pictures.” The Michigan team led almost the entire race from Texas, trailing only on the first day of driving when it had to stop to fix a minor electrical problem. But that 20-minute stop was the only time it had to pull over to make repairs, which team members said was one reason they did so well.
Note: If you do the math, this amazing solar powered car built by college students averaged 46.5 mph over a 2,400 mile course! Why didn’t this make news headlines? Try doing a Google search on “Solar Challenge” (the annual solar car race). You will find that almost no major media cover this amazing event at all. The few who have (including the CNN article) usually fail to mention anything about the speeds attained by these cars. Why is the media not covering these incredible breakthroughs?
Enron Schemes Caught On Tape
February 3, 2005, CBS News
During the West Coast Power crisis homes went dark and streetlights were out in California — causing injuries and accidents. But the danger didn’t stop Enron’s energy traders from having a good laugh. CBS … reports on the Enron scheme, as caught on new audio tape. The traders and plant operator laugh and plot in a display that seems to prove the theory that years before the energy crisis, Enron manipulated markets. “They had to do a rolling blackout through the town and there was a red light there he didn’t see,” one Enron trader says on tape. “That’s beautiful,” a second voice responds. Enron secretly shut power plants down so they could cause, and then cash in on, the crisis. Enron also pulled power out of states like California, causing emergency conditions to worsen. “Sorry California,” an Enron trader says. “I’m bringing all our power out of state today.” Plant operators were coached on how to lie to officials. “We want you guys to get a little creative…” one voice says on the tape, “and come up with a reason to go down.” The “shut downs” and “pull outs” triggered sky high power prices. “We’re just making money hand over fist!” one voice is heard saying on the tape. And when states complained, the guys at Enron seemed to have a response. “Get a f****** clue,” one says. “Yeah,” another chimes in. “Leave us alone. Let us make a little bit of money.”
Note: For an eye-opening two-minute video clip on CBS, click on “Enron Schemers on Tape” at this link. And a New York Timesarticle states “Company officials had long denied that they illegally shut down plants to create artificial shortages. Two months after the recording showed how the Nevada plant was shut down, [Enron CEO Kenneth] Lay called any claims of market manipulation ‘conspiracy theories.'”
Researcher sets saltwater on fire
November 14, 2007, CNN News
Last winter, inventor John Kanzius was already attempting one seemingly impossible feat — building a machine to cure cancer with radio waves — when his device inadvertently succeeded in another: He made saltwater catch fire. TV footage of his bizarre discovery has been burning up the blogosphere ever since, drawing crackpots and Ph.D.s alike into a raging debate. Skeptics say Kanzius’s radio generator is sucking up far more energy than it’s creating, making it a carnival trick at best. For now, Kanzius is tuning out the hubbub. Diagnosed with leukemia in 2002, he began building his radio-wave blaster the next year, soon after a relapse. If he could seed a person’s cancerous cells with nanoscopic metal particles and blast them with radio waves, perhaps he could kill off the cancer while sparing healthy tissue. The saltwater phenomenon happened by accident when an assistant was bombarding a saline-filled test tube with radio waves and bumped the tube, causing a small flash. Curious, Kanzius struck a match. “The water lit like a propane flame,” he recalls. “People said, ‘It’s a crock. Look for hidden electrodes in the water,’ ” says Penn State University materials scientist Rustum Roy, who visited [Kanzius] in his lab in August after seeing the feat on Google Video. A demo made Roy a believer. “This is discovery science in the best tradition,” he says. Meanwhile, researchers at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have made progress using Kanzius’s technology to fight cancer in animals. They published their findings last month in the journal Cancer.
Note: For other compelling articles on this fascinating invention, see articles in the Los Angeles Times, ABC News, and especiallyMedical News Today. And for amazing news on cancer cures, click here. Why aren’t millions of dollars being poured into this with researchers across the nation perfecting it? Why haven’t you heard about this in headline news? For possible answers, explore the revealing WantToKnow.info website.
Special Note: For other eye-opening energy inventions and amazingly efficient cars reported in the major media which should have made headline news, click here. For a wealth of reliable, verifiable information on this and more, see our New Energy Information Center. And for two excellent articles which provide additional information on this topic, including a fascinating list of suppressed inventions which improved gas mileage and were reported in respected magazines, click here and here.