John McCain solves energy crisis

In a bold and stunning move, Republican presidential candidate John McCain is offering a $300 million dollar reward to whoever comes up with a damn good car battery. According to the Associated Press, McCain will reveal his visionary plan to an audience at Fresno State University in California, where he will explain that the new battery will cost us all a dollar apiece to develop. Hopefully, Americans can recoup part their dollar with savings on gas taxes.

Details of the plan may be forthcoming. It is unclear whether Toyota will be able to step up to the plate on day one and claim its prize. But the McCain campaign is doubtless confident of their candidate’s ability to take the 3:00 AM phone call from Tokyo. The new battery plan is in addition to the McCain-Bush offshore drilling plan, which will allow Connecticut to spill oil all over New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts beaches.

Isn’t it about time we create a Shills For Obama forum and then we can move this thread there. And every day Liberal’s thread with the cute heavily editorialised Obama puff piece title could be added.

Funny - I just went to Obama’s website and it promised a lot of support for plug-in hybrids. A requirement for this is the aforementioned “good battery.”

What’s your point?

Is he also offering to pay the Grad student a living wage while he is doing the research required to come up with a damn good battery?
Big-ol jackpot prizes have their place, but are no substitute for a genuine pro-innovation science and engineering policy.

It’s intersting how McCain supporters seem unable to defend their candidate except in terms of a slam against Obama — who, by the way, has more than graciously conceded that McCain’s idea is not completely idiotic. It is noteworthy, however, that Obama, as a free-marketer, understands that a reward awaits whoever might develop such a battery that far exceeds $300 million and won’t cost taxpayers a thing.

I’m voting for Obama in November, but why are you mocking this idea? The X-Prize was only good for $10 million and it spurred a huge competition and launched a ton of innovative ideas for spaceflight.

A car battery prize is a great idea.

Except that Obama makes no claims that it won’t cost taxpayers nothing - otherwise why would he be promising support for plug-in hybrids? I would assume such support costs something - otherwise it is worthless. And since it costs something, the taxpayers cough it up as well.

I can fully understand why you support Obama this year - just don’t fool yourself that he’s some kind of free-market saint. He isn’t, and neither is McCain.

A car battery is a great idea, but a prize is not. There’s a difference between the X-Prize and this. A spaceship is not profitable right away, whereas a car battery is marketable immediately. The reward is already out there, which is what patents are for.

A reward sounds like a simple idea, but in fact it is extremely complicated. Who will decide which idea is the best? What happens with competing ideas that don’t impress the Car Battery Czar or whatever bureaucracy McCain would set up to handle the whole thing? Who will have oversight to insure against nepotism and cronyism? Won’t this take an act of Congress, since Congress disburses the treasury? Will resentment and politics play a major role since government is involved? What if an oil company or other giant corporation wins the prize? How does a Jonas Salk stand a chance against their resources?

Car manufacturers with foresight are already working on this idea. Toyota is hard at work developing a usable lithium ion battery, and just missed including it with their 2009 Prius models.

A better idea, if the thing must be subsidized, is to subsidize the research side of it, so the Jonas Salks of the world (people who work independently in small shops and labs, as he did when he developed the polio vaccine) can have a chance. But that’s not what McCain is offering. He’s offering a reward that the market will already give the winner when he sells it.

And if we look further back, we have The Longitude Act.

Even if they don’t lead to the actual discovery sought, such prizes seem to spur large amounts of reasearch, which is generally a good thing.

Except that the lure of a high-profil;e prize is a reward in and of itself. Much as with the X-prize, the money is irrelevant (Seriously, winning the X-prize cost a heck of a lot more than 10 million). It’s the prestige which is so delicious. Competing for a known, specific prize and all the media attention it comes with is such a delicious tasty treat.

No! Can’t you see! If McCain proposes it, it must be a bad idea!

$300 million! Gee, how much did it cost Ford to print up the WIN buttons?

Er, only one competitor for the Ansari X Prize even attempted to launch a complete vehicle, and it certainly cost Scaled Composites Tier One program far more than the value of the prize purse. Had they not been backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and received at-cost airframe design by SC and hybrid motor development from SpaceDev they would not have acheived the record flight. None of the other X Prize contestants even got close to making a suborbital flight.

All political wanking and shilling for candidates aside, this idea is intended to do only one thing; capture headlines in shallow pandering to the masses, which unfortunately is a very effective tactic. The practical value of this stands up with Hillary Clinton’s plan to provide trust funds for all children born under her presumptive reign. Real science and technological development doesn’t come from a desperate flailing competition at some big prize, but progressive, piecewise advances to innovate and improve upon basic principles. $300M of funding to dozens of lines of basic research would be far more effective than a single (and probably illusionary) pot of gold at the end of years of unfunded research effort.


Well…seems to me there are some guys today who can go collect their $300 million. Lucky them…

Then the rest of the thread can follow as normal:

Are we not men?


You kind of lost me there…do you mean this is a man with his hand on his own dick?

We are Devo!

Good a place as any, I suppose. I used to nag B’rer Liberal about his non-partisan uninvolvement, but damn! When that boy climbs down off the fence and starts in mixing it up…hooo doggies! Stand back and give him room, he’s just about getting warmed up!

Let’s see what arguments we have so far:

Critics of McCain’s proposal

The reward will have to be approved by a hostile Congress
Large corporations and wealthy individuals will have an overwhelming advantage
There is no oversight mechanism in place to monitor participants
There is no objective way to decide who wins
There is no provision to pay for the reward
There is already an Automotive X-Prize
Research will not be financed by the proposal
Next generation batteries are in fact already being researched and produced

Supporters of McCain’s proposal
Go away!
Stop picking on McCain
Something vaguely similar worked in 1714
Obama sucks
Look at his penis!

I would love to, but he won’t show it to me. :frowning: