by Joe Shea
May 1, 2011
'SCIENTIFIC BREAKTHROUGHS' - OR JUST BIG LIES?
BRADENTON, Fla., April 30, 2011 -- No one loves news of a "major scientific breakthrough" more than I do. I devour the stories, and they often end up in the "Briefs" section of the American Reporter's home page. But almost all of them have one thing in common: they're lies.
The University of Michigan has produced a bundle of them in recent weeks - not to pick on them, but they seem more widely publicized than most.
There's currently a motor with no pistons and no crankcase - and no future on American highways.
There's also a bubble-shaped, biodegradable "nanosphere" into which scientists can inject cells that will restore damaged complex tissues, such as in ligaments and ACL tears that disable athletes. They'll be marvelous - for rats.
Then there's a receiver that can turn what would almost be the beat of a butterfly's wings - very, very tiny machine vibrations - into electrical energy to power sensors that now need a battery or a plug. When Hell freezes over.
And there's a new way to power electrical grids with the electrical energy drawn from the magnetic fields associated with light. Those can be multiplied 100 million times and provide energy directly, without a semiconductor, to solar cells and batteries. Sometime in the next million years, that is, when they find glass that will admit the same intensity as the sun's natural light.
Lies, really. They're just worthless pieces of junk that will never help anyone but the scientists involved, and that just to get another grant.
As I said, I don't want to pick on the University of Michigan, which is a football powerhouse. If they could get all those football players to run on a mechanical treadmill to generate electricity from friction, they will be just as close to going national as they will be with their other materials.
All scientific research out of universities, it seems, has a big catch: it doesn't work now, and it probably never will. Remember the discovery hailed on the front page of the New York Times that showed human papillomavirus (HPV) shrinking glioblastomas - brain tumors - to nothing? Just a big lie. Or the marvelous Kanzius machine that puts nano-sized gold into tumors and heats them with radiofrequencies until the tumors disappear? Nobody's going to "cure" a trillion dollars' worth of medical industries.
Remember the Montreal Children's hospital that cured diabetes by overwhelming receptor cells in the Islets of Langerhans with capsicum, the active ingredient of pepper spray, preventing them from blocking the production of insulin? Great for mice. No human trials, though.
Time and time again, I read of and believe in studies, reports, announcements, videos and more of wonderful things that quickly disappear. If it gets the university another funding grant, that's all that's wanted. Keep spending until the next scientific breakthrough, and another press release, and another grant, ad infinitum.
They can't even grow teeth yet - and how hard should that be, with all they supposedly know about RNA, DNA and stem cells? Before they grow teeth they'll learn how to grow grant applications in test tubes.
Read the news more carefully the next time: there's always that catch, that little thing they have to do first - human trials, improved conductive materials, cheaper processes that will make it all available - some day, not in our lifetime - on our money.
How many times a year, and how many readers and viewers, are ripped off by tv, radio, wire service and Internet news briefs that tell them this or that cure, this or that invention, this or that breakthrough is going to change their lives - or someone's?
Ninety-nine percent of the time, that "someone" is a post-doctoral student - i.e., a guy who is going to spend the rest of his life going to college. Lucky fellow - just think of the girls!
I can't quickly think of a single breakthrough I've read about that is out here in the real world. Can you? There are too many markets for the old stuff to allow anyone to invent something better.
What good is Michigan's engine without a transmission, pistons or a crankcase (not that it's actually ready to roll quite yet) if it doesn't use a lot of the key underpinnings of our desperate economy - oil and gasoline?
No knows this better than President Barack Obama, who was a constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago and can be granted that wonderful epithet "smart as hell." He knows damned well, as he illustrated in his recent speech on "alternative" fuels, that solar power and biofuels and wind energy are going nowhere because they're too costly and would produce too much power for a national electric grid that doesn't have the capacity to carry it.
Hydrogen would work, yes. Cold fusion would work, yes, and so would hydrino energy, probably, and Bloom boxes and other real alternative energy inventions - but not while ExxonMobil is taking in $11.4 billion a quarter from $4-a-gallon gas. Not when gasoline taxes are the only way to fuel our National Highway Trust Fund.
I don't claim to know the stage of his career when Obama discovered you can't fight the oil companies and pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies and banks in this country and actually emerge with a meaningful win. I suspect he knew before he was even elected.
Give me Edison and a light bulb. Ford and a car. Marconi and a radio. Bill Gates and a computer. Madam Curie and a watch dial that glows in the dark. These university people, as the great fight promoter Joe Jacobs once said of one of his fights, "shoulda stood in bed."
I'm glad Obama made the pretense of trying, as it gives people hope, but that hope slowly crashes down upon us as the years go by and no big changes emerge.
Perhaps the only real change, the only real breakthrough there can be is in the human heart. And that perhaps is even more rare than the one-in-a-million press release pointing us toward something new we can use now to improve our lives.