NOTE: My statements are not necessarily my opinions. I often post point-counterpoint essays in which I strongly take one side of an issue and later counter that with antithetical views. This intellectual exercise helps me see the merit in opposing opinions and augments my creativity.

The perfect way to kickstart our economy and put people back to work

Barack Obama is talking about re-building our infrastructure, such as schools, bridges, and roads, as a way to put people back to work and invigorate our economy. I have a better idea. What we need is something that will literally transform our nation, rocketing it well into the 21st century, and doing just as much for the physical world as the Internet did for the information world. If we did this, in the end we'd have USA 2.0 — a country far ahead of the world in terms of productivity, efficiency, energy efficiency, convenience, and modernization. By reducing our demand for energy, it would also reduce pollution. However, the primary benefit of this project that I have in mind, and the one that would justify its enormous cost, is how it would kickstart huge improvements in productivity — that's one of the fundamentals that determine how vibrant any economy is. As secondary benefits:

  • It would reduce the need for roads and bridges — things that are so 19th century.
  • It would enable police to provide much better protection at lower cost.
  • It would enable businesses to rapidly expand, reaching far more customers than is currently feasible.
  • It would save lives and improve health in many ways.
  • It would save everyone hundreds of hours per year . . . perhaps giving them more time to read my books (most are free, by the way), spend more time with their families, or help our furry little friends in the wild.

This project would give investors something to get excited about, so money would pour into our economy, which would roar to life now and accelerate toward even higher peaks in the future.

You're probably wondering what I am talking about. It can be boiled down to a single four-letter word . . . but not one of the profane ones that many folks are uttering now that our economy is crashing! :-) I'll soon write a short book about this and offer it as a free download from one of my web sites (such as www.ER-doctor.com), but before I do that, I'd like to see if anyone can guess what my idea is.

UPDATE December 11, 2015: I was discussing what Elon Musk calls the hyperloop. I later found this presented in the November 1950 Popular Mechanics in an article entitled This business is next to nothing (page 108).

I'd also like to hear from anyone who has good, outside-the-box ideas for stimulating our economy. Our future is too important to leave to the politicians. What's especially notable about them is that even the brilliant ones — yes, there are some with high IQs — are characteristically hidebound, with a paucity of original thought.

While you have your thinking caps on, here is something (totally unrelated) else to ponder: How could we eliminate every cell phone company, and every cell phone tower, in the world while giving people MUCH better cell phone coverage at much lower cost? Hint: You and everyone else could make money off this idea, even while you sleep, eat, or browse my many web sites. Why haven't the geniuses at Google or Microsoft thought of this one?

Here's another question for anyone who owns cell phone company stocks: Why would you invest in them? You could obtain a much greater return on investment by investing in my inventions, some of which are worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Yes, really. If you have money and are not satisfied with investing in companies that are stuck in the 20th century, contact me.

Notes:

  1. Futurama-inspired vacuum tube travel could get you from NYC to London in an hour
  2. Evacuated Tube Transport
  3. Vactrains
  4. Futuristic High-Speed Tube Travel Could Take You From New York to Los Angeles in 45 Minutes
  5. Ultra-efficient 4,000 mph vacuum-tube trains – why aren't they being built?
    Comment: Thinking this is impractical because we don't yet know how to safely make a 4,000 mph vacuum-tube train is like automobile pioneers going back to horses because the first cars couldn't travel 100 mph and give their occupants air-conditioned comfort. Sheesh!

    Shooting for lower attainable goals and improving speed as technology improves is the way to go, with extensive precedent: virtually every new product is released before it is perfected. Cars and airplanes have been around for well over a century, and they are still being improved.

    A store 20 miles away could deliver a purchase to me in about 3 minutes using a 400 mph train (vacuum or not) versus 18 seconds if the train traveled 4000 mph and could instantly accelerate and decelerate (which it could not, so in such a short distance the time savings would be much less).

    Getting things in 3 minutes would be a quantum leap over what it now takes: getting ready to go to town, clearing my driveway in wintertime, driving there (and thereby risking my life, wasting gas and polluting the environment, and wearing out my car), finding the part, waiting in line to pay for it, driving back, crossing my fingers and hoping that the lady who coughed on me in the checkout line won't get me sick, blah, blah, blah — that's generally now 1.5 to 2.5 hours, and sometimes more. Three minutes would be a miracle. The 3-minute transit time wouldn't take 3 minutes out of my life (I could be doing something else while waiting for the part to arrive), and it'd always be 3 minutes, unlike the mail service and package delivery services that don't work certain times and days of the week.

    Some people question how things quickly zipping around the country would benefit us, but I could fill a few books with the benefits. Not too long ago, even people like Bill Gates questioned the value of the Internet, wondering if it could do anything practical, but it literally changed the world and our lives. It seems far-fetched, doesn't it? People gave up many of the activities they did in the pre-Internet era and devoted a huge chunk of their lives to zipping bits of data around the world, often to strangers. Who'da thunk it?

    Prediction: Quickly transporting physical objects will do even more for us, with benefits that Bill Gates and others could never imagine.
  6. Revealed: Elon Musk Explains the Hyperloop, the Solar-Powered High-Speed Future of Inter-City Transportation
  7. ELON MUSK REVEALS THE HYPERLOOP
  8. Elon Musk’s Tesla Is “Boring” Compared to Hyperloop So Build It Now: Henry Blodget
  9. Elon Musk: Hyperloop
  10. Elon Musk's 57-page Hyperloop PDF
The views expressed on this page may or may not reflect my current opinions, nor do they necessarily represent my past ones. After reading a slice of what I wrote in my various websites and books, you may conclude that I am a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican. Wrong; there is a better alternative. Just as the primary benefit from debate classes results when students present and defend opinions contrary to their own, I use a similar strategy as a creative writing tool to expand my brainpower—and yours. Mystified? Stay tuned for an explanation. PS: The wheels in your head are already turning a bit faster, aren't they?

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Reference: Imagining dialogue can boost critical thinking: Excerpt: “Examining an issue as a debate or dialogue between two sides helps people apply deeper, more sophisticated reasoning …”

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