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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 7, 2008 / 1 Adar I 5768

Where Industry Has Failed Us

By Paul Johnson


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Although international business is fond of boasting of all the marvels it has created in the public service, no one draws attention to the opportunities that have been missed. They are many — and important.


For instance, what happened to supersonic air travel? It's been more than a quarter-century since Concorde inaugurated trans- atlantic supersonic jet service. For all practical purposes the big commercial aircraft manufacturers — Boeing and its European competitor, Airbus — have abandoned supersonic jet travel. Passengers still have to endure long hours in the air — transatlantic, transpacific, transasiatic — that could have been cut in half by aircraft flying at twice or three times the speed of sound.


Boeing and its followers have instead concentrated on producing huge subsonic aircraft that carry large numbers of passengers at low cost. The result has been an enormous increase in the volume of airline travel, with the consequent increases in discomfort, chaos and delays. Air travel has now become so disliked a form of transportation that some cruise lines, such as Cunard, are making a point to advertise particular cruises as involving no travel by air. "Port to port" has become a term of approval.


Certain large airports, of which London's Heathrow is a prime example, have become targets of bitter criticism for overcrowding, delays, lost luggage and other horrors. Heathrow is the busiest international airport in the world, which is the prime reason for its iniquities. Moreover, those who live within 20 to 30 miles of these large airports have become loud and insistent in their complaints about the noise generated by jets requiring long runways for takeoffs and landings. This has generated organized protests that have prevented such airports from modernizing through the expansion and laying down of new runways, which in turn has intensified the hell on earth that such airports have become.


What, you may ask, has become of the plan to have commercial planes capable of vertical takeoffs and landings, something much talked about in the mid-20th century? You may well ask. This type of aircraft would have solved the problems of airport noise and construction costs, giving air travel a new lease in popularity. But the manufacturers abandoned those plans. Why? For the obvious reasons of technical difficulty and expense. Boeing & Co. took the easy way out and built bigger conventional airplanes.


Taking the easy way out seems to be the current motto of many giant corporations, such as General Motors and Ford. Why haven't more brainpower, skills and capital been invested in producing and mass-marketing an efficient electric automobile? Toyota and Honda make hybrids that are becoming hugely popular in London, for instance, because their low consumption of fuel exempts them from the congestion charge levied on all private autos entering the center of the city. Why has the U.S. over the last half- century lost its lead in producing new types of cars? Hybrids are cheaper to run, quieter to drive and have less deleterious effects on the environment than do conventional autos. We all ought to be driving them. Such a change would have vastly lessened the sting of rising oil prices, as well as the ability of the producing areas, such as Russia, the Middle East and Venezuela, to blackmail the world — especially the West. Once again Big Business has let us down.


A similar charge can, in general, be levied against technologists, scientists and, indeed, governments for failing to take full advantage of the possibilities of nuclear energy production. I vividly remember — being 16 at the time — when the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan and how the horror of these weapons was mitigated by assurances that this new power would usher in an era of cheap energy for the entire world. We believed it, and it could have become true.


Nuclear power stations were designed, built and, on the whole, functioned cheaply and with great efficiency. However, they always aroused the anxieties of the few yet noisy flat-earthers and antiprogress agitators who inhabit every society. There were rare but alarming accidents, which fueled the agitation. Unwilling to take on the opposition and worried about the greatly exaggerated costs of decommissioning, many governments virtually abandoned the nuclear option. And the media played an ignoble role in increasing the cowardice of those in power. Hence, the unease over the world's shortage in conventional sources of energy and the inevitable steep rise in their costs — something a rapid and overwhelming proliferation in nuclear-power states could so easily and completely have prevented.


Missed Opportunities
The second half of the 20th century was, in some key respects, a time of stagnation. Have we learned any lessons from the failure of industry (and governments)? We could be enjoying universal supersonic jet travel, with aircraft capable of vertical takeoffs and landings; electric cars; and cheap nuclear power. Instead, we've been deprived of these things by timidity and cowardice in high places, by a lack of vision and initiative and by a failing of the energetic, entrepreneurial spirit of technical adventure that dominated the West from 1750 to 1950.


We ought to ponder these failures, examining carefully what went wrong, and determine that the West shall take a more ambitious and, if need be, riskier road in the 21st century.

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Previously:

12/19/07: People who put their trust in human power delude themselves
12/12/07: What is aggression?
12/04/07: Pursuing success is not enough
11/07/07: Are famous writers accident-prone?
10/31/07: Courage needed to disarm Iran
09/20/07: Who Will Say ‘I Promise to Lay Off’?
07/24/07: Greed is safer than power-seeking
04/02/07: Benefactors must be hardheaded
03/07/07: American idealism and realpolitik
11/28/06: Space: Our ticket to survival
10/24/06: Envy is bad economics
10/11/06: Better to Borrow or Lend? Rethinking conventional wisdom
08/22/06: Don't practice legal terrorism
08/08/06: A summer rhapsody for a pedal-bike
08/03/06: Why is there no workable philosophy of music?
07/11/06: Historically speaking, energy crisis is America's opportunity
07/06/06: The misleading dimensions of persons and lives
06/06/06: First editions are not gold
05/23/06: A downright ugly man need never despair of attracting women, even pretty ones
04/25/06: Was Washington right about political parties?
04/12/06: Let's Have More Babies!
04/05/06: For the love of trains
03/29/06: Lincoln and the Compensation Culture
03/22/06: Bottle-beauties and the globalised blond beast
03/15/06: Europe's utopian hangover
03/08/06: Kindly write on only one side of the paper
02/28/06: Creators versus critics
02/21/06: The Rhino Principle

© 2006, Paul Johnson

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