Bewildering Stories Editorial
by Jerry Wright
The Price Of Cheese
...keeps going up. Along with the price of just about everything else except electronics. And why? Well, right now, the major cost increase factor is that of fuel, whether it be gasoline, diesel or propane. And why? Because we evidently don't believe in energy independence.
I remember the gas lines of the '70s, with gas purchases on odd or even days depending on your vehicle license. Gas costs shot up then. Yep, $.70 to $.80 cents a gallon. Outrageous. We need to cut our dependency on "furrin" oil. Petroleum tanker out in the harbor, not being allowed to unload, but we have an oil shortage, so prices have to go up. Riiiiiight.
Petroleum is way too useful to be burned up in the engine of a car or the turbines of a generator, and yet, that is the primary usage. So, what should be done? There is energy out there in Space. Gigawatts just being flung away from the Sun. With a lot less money than is being tossed away in Iraq, Solar Power Satellites could be orbited, with rectenna farms built in relatively desolate places to transform the microwaves into usable electricity.
Studies have been done. Birds fly through the microwave beams and their temperature is raised a degree in the brief time they are there. Animals can actually graze (if necessary) below the rectennae, but this is probably unlikely in truly desolate areas. SPS systems work. But they require cheap access to Space. As long as NASA in charge, cheap access to Space, or frankly right now, any access to space, doesn't seem to be in the cards.
So, all this, just to get the price of cheese down? I'm just glad William Proxmire is out of the Senate or the price would be REALLY high.
Copyright © 2004 by Jerry Wright for Bewildering Stories