“The Last Flight Out” 01/08
Some proposed policies against air travel seem ridiculous, notes A. Kam Napier in his Editor’s Page.
The first time I saw an article calling on me to limit my travel, especially by airplane, I could only envision a new group of regulators taking my place on the plane, traveling around the world collecting VIP-lounge air samples and making sure the coach class passengers weren’t drinking alcoholic beverages.
Then came the proposal to tax air travel to cover the environmental impact of such travel. Where would the money go? Why does this kind of stuff make me even more cynical? And why is it that this suggests what seems to be an ironic, close intersection of two different mindsets with one commonality: Doomsday crying without sufficient evidentiary backup and analysis of a problem, and the probable consequences of proffered solutions? Would it be too simplistic to say that this is the common thread linking such notions as the sophomoric “Let’s ban air travel” and the much more egregious “Let’s bomb Baghdad?”
About a third of a century ago, the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute at the University of Hawaii produced a report showing that we could only attain energy self-sufficiency if a hydrogen-powered plane was developed. This was because 40 percent of the energy used in this state went to aviation. Today, this percentage is 38 percent.
So, I went to work for Sen. Spark Matsunaga and drafted the first hydrogen legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate. There were provisions for a hydrogen plane. The bill eventually passed and has guided the national program to where the U.S. Department of Energy budget for hydrogen this year was larger than that for pure solar energy. The European Union just this year initiated a program on a hydrogen jetliner and our Department of Defense has been maintaining a blackish project on the subject. This means that a commercial hydrogen-powered jetliner is many decades away, but I can imagine that this effort can be accelerated. Thus, there still is hope for Hawaii, tourism and our economy. The whole story is Chapter 4 of a book I just had published called Simple Solutions for Planet Earth.
DIRECTOR EMERITUS, HAWAII NATURAL ENERGY INSTITUTE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII
“Sour Poi Awards” 01/08
These awards—of dubious distinction—are given out each year by associate editor Michael Keany. News stories, from the strange to the scandalous, are covered, including one about a Kailua woman who found a sleepy burglar napping in her house.
In fact, I did not return to my house to find him sleeping. I was awakened because of his extreme snoring, at 5:55 a.m., and find this guy on the floor, in dreamland, booming like an elk. He was in the middle of the living room, a distance from the window and the removed items; it must’ve been more comfortable there, with no draft! Clearly, he had decided to lie down and take a nap. But yes, I spirited out three children and another adult until the police came five minutes after we called 911. It took two big guys to wake him, kids watching!
Kathryn Drury Wagner’s column focused on her mixed feelings about a military recruitment commercial.
I would like to respond to Kathryn Drury Wagner who “cannot comprehend why someone would enlist right now with the deployment times running so long and the risk of traumatic brain injuries so high.” They enlist because they are courageous, selfless individuals who love our country and what it stands for. They enlist to give a higher meaning to their lives and to protect our lives. They enlist so that you and I can still have the freedoms we now enjoy. You say you are “an antiwar person in general.” Do you think we should have let Hitler take over the world without a fight? To hope that war would never be necessary does not mean that war is never appropriate. I also wish that we could all live in peace, that the world would be a safe place for all of us.
Unfortunately, the reality is not so and I am forever grateful to the men and women who will do the job of protecting us, even those of us who do not get it!
In our January Calabash item “Short Story,” we covered a new line of jeans, Allisonizu Petite Denim. Due to issues with the manufacturer, the release into stores has been pushed back to mid-2008.
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