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Bill Gates's New Version of the Einstein Letter 407

Posted by Soulskill
from the did-he-just-godwin-the-green-revolution dept.
dcblogs writes "In 1939, Albert Einstein sent 'F.D. Roosevelt, President of the United States,' a letter with a warning about Germany's interest in a new type of energy with potential for use as a powerful bomb. The letter also outlined the competitive threat posed by Germany and steps for improving US research efforts. Last week, Bill Gates, along with GE's CEO and others, met with President Obama to deliver their own message: that of the top 30 companies in the world working on alternative energy, only four are in the US. Similar to Einstein's point and recommendations, Gates and his allies are asking the US to view the alternative energy push as a competitive threat posed by other nations, particularly China, which may be doing a better job in bringing its engineering talent and money to bear on this problem."
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Bill Gates's New Version of the Einstein Letter

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday June 14, 2010 @12:23PM (#32567262) Journal
    Einstein wrote of specific people and experiments. Gates does not.

    Einstein warned of a horrible weapon. Gates is warning us that the most environmentally ravaged countries might be developing alternative energy (may god have mercy on our souls, lol).

    Einstein acted alone and was not heavily invested in nuclear energy. Gates and his friends are heavily invested in alternative energy sources.

    I'm no biographer of either but from what I know Einstein seemed to be motivated by things like the discovery of knowledge and genuine concern for mankind. Gates has (at least historically) seemed to be motivated by profit and money first above everything else with ideals similar to Einstein distantly following that primary motivator. Maybe he's changed but Einstein has always held a more altruistic image in my mind. That tends to happen to people long gone who made staggering advancements. Who knows, maybe revisionist history will see Gates alongside Einstein? But as it stands now, my personal opinion is that the two are not even close.

    Bottom line: Einstein was a scientist who made great discoveries. Gates was a businessman who made great sales.

    I'm not sold on Gates' motives. He sounds more like a lobbyist than a sage omen of caution like Einstein was.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 14, 2010 @12:25PM (#32567280)

      Yeah its hardly the same. Comparing a letter that warns of Germany possessing a massive advantage in killing to one that warns a few US companies might lose their monopolies is stupid. If they want to advance research into alternative energy why don't they fund it? Without reading the recommendations I'm betting they're along the lines of subsidies, tax breaks & easing restrictions that prevent these companies maximizing profits.

      Notice also that this is about alternative energy companies. If they want the US to look into alternative energy try getting the government to sign and ratify the Kyoto Protocol. That would force companies into looking at alternative energy. They're comfortable selling people non-renewable energy while constantly increasing prices due to scarcity so things will never change.

      From their webpage they seem to want investment of $16 billion a year in alternative energy. Just the 7 listed on the front page have a combined equity of around $400 billion and yet they aren't willing to use that to fund it themselves.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Firethorn (177587)

        a few US companies might lose their monopolies is stupid.

        Who says they have monopolies NOW? I think there's two issues here:
        1. Due to loss of US competetion, certain products HAVE to be sourced from foreign countries; without the US contendor we have to deal with increased costs and waits.
        2. Due to loss of US competition, we 'miss out' on a upcoming technological field. That means that we're out of the running, money going out of the USA, lower economy, etc...

        If they want the US to look into alternative energy try getting the government to sign and ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

        You mean the one where basically none of the countries with serious goals under it are compliant?

        . Just the 7 listed on the front page have a combined equity of around $400 billion and yet they aren't willing to use that to fund it themselves.

        Do t

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by DrgnDancer (137700)

          I think it reasonable to both point out that there are valid points in the company's position, AND point out that it in no way compares to Einstein's letter. There are lots of sound economic and moral reasons that the United States should be investing more money in alternative energy research, including (IMO) public money. Even opponents of doing so probably would not disagree that these reasons exist (even if that person thought there were MORE compelling reasons to do otherwise). Never the less, this

      • by digitig (1056110)

        If they want the US to look into alternative energy try getting the government to sign and ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

        The USA signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1998 [unfccc.int]. Ratification is a different matter.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        The US solved the problem by providing asylum to German intellectuals escaping persecution at home. Perhaps the US could use the same approach to attract Chinese scientists.

        On the other hand if those scientists are located in the EU, Russian Federation, or India, they're probably happy to stay where they are.

    • Billionaire, I studied with Al Einstein, I knew Al Einstein, Al Einstein was a friend of mine. Billionaire, you're no Al Einstein.
      • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday June 14, 2010 @01:11PM (#32568022)
        Gates himself is under no such illusion, only the writer of the article. But Gates does know a thing or two about how to motivate politicians. And he *certainly* knows the tech industry (you know, the people who will have to develop this technology). Combine that with his well-respected reputation for philanthropy and you could have a lot worse advocates on your side for something like this than Mr. Gates. He may have a nasty reputation on /., but to the general public there are very few leaders in technology that command the kind of instant respect and name-recognition that he does.
    • by timeOday (582209) on Monday June 14, 2010 @12:32PM (#32567380)
      But in the long run, economic strength is more fundamental than military strength (which is just a side effect of economic strength). What is more fundamental to economic strength than affordable energy? The free ride of pumping it straight from the ground is coming to an end, and we are not preparing.
      • by e2d2 (115622) on Monday June 14, 2010 @01:05PM (#32567946)

        You really do touch on something important. Energy powers the war machine. For instance, the US strategic energy reserve is for a massive war, not to heat homes in the winter. The current US doctrine is centered around ensuring access to energy resources. The two are linked, they are inseparable. An Army may run on it's stomach but fighter jets fly on fossil fuel. Alternative energy is the key to getting everyone to be better global citizens. Resource wars are a very real thing.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by queazocotal (915608)

        To expand on this.
        It's not only petroleum, it's all the commodities from steel to cocoa.

        The elephant in the room that everyone is studiously ignoring while it begins to munch on the Canapés is that 'we' are currently living off several centuries of investment.

        In 'the west' - since around the beginning of the industrial revolution, we have been putting down infrastructure that enables us to compete now - somewhat - on a global scale with other countries with vastly lower labour costs.

        The somewhat is the

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      While I agree with you almost completely, I think it's unfair to judge him based on his motives. Let me put it this way: Imagine yourself 100 years ago, and you had the opportunity to invest in the automobile. Would you do it because you wanted to make sure that cars came around, or because there would be massive profit when cars did come around?

      Bill Gates, while motivated by money, is not necessarily evil. The reason he is heavily invested in alternative energy sources is that he KNOWS its coming. He knows

      • by 0racle (667029)
        Yes, but you see you miss the point of the OP. Gates is writing this letter because he is trying to spread the fear that some poor country will create a method of cheap, renewable energy without having to buy it from the US, or more preferably a company that directly profits him.

        This isn't altruism, he's not doing it for humanities good. He's not just saying it's a good investment or trying to motivate people into researching alternatives to oil. It's the same business practices as before, scare the govern
        • Seems more like a win-win. The U.S. is one of the few countries in the world rich enough to really put some serious money into alternative energy. And without serious money, alternative energy isn't going anywhere (the current state of the tech is just too inefficient and impractical to every really put a dent in conventional energy). So, without a serious investment from the U.S. (for altruistic reasons or otherwise), the future for the technology seems a lot bleaker. Gates is just couching it in terms tha
    • by mewsenews (251487) on Monday June 14, 2010 @12:41PM (#32567530) Homepage

      Bottom line: Einstein was a scientist who made great discoveries. Gates was a businessman who made great sales.

      Simply trying to compare Gates to Einstein reeks of arrogance. Gates is a Rockefeller or, at best, an Edison. He's a titan of industry rather than a luminary thinker.

      Trying to paint a cut-throat businessman as some sort of visionary is ridiculous and insulting. This is like proposing to have Stephen Hawking at the helm of reconstruction at General Motors..

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by magarity (164372)

        This is like proposing to have Stephen Hawking at the helm of reconstruction at General Motors
         
        Then we could have cars powered by black holes!

    • by sourcerror (1718066) on Monday June 14, 2010 @12:55PM (#32567770)

      Actually you're totally wrong.

      Einstein acted alone and was not heavily invested in nuclear energy. Gates and his friends are heavily invested in alternative energy sources.

      "The Einstein–Szilárd letter was a letter sent to United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt on August 2, 1939, that was signed by Albert Einstein but largely written by Leó Szilárd in consultation with fellow Hungarian physicists Edward Teller and Eugene Wigner."

      Szilárd had a patent on nuclear chain reaction.
      Szilárd and Fermi had patent on nuclear-power plant design.

    • Einstein was, above all, a great innovator. He took the innovation of physics to new levels, embracing and extending the work of Planck, Maxwell, and others, creating a feature-rich set of theories. Einstein and others like him have serverd to inspire Microsoft as it continues to innovate new feature-rich user experiences. After all, Microsoft's innovation in developing the world's first operating system, gaming system, smartphone software, and personal music player underscores our ability to innovate, year
    • I'm not sold on Gates' motives. He sounds more like a lobbyist than a sage omen of caution like Einstein was.

      Don't forget that Gates is one of the greatest philanthropists in history and at this stage in his life he's probably spent more time and effort on giving money and directing its use to solve world problems in which he has no stake than he has working to make and sell computer software. If prominent American should have some sort of credibility when it comes to altruism, it's Bill Gates.

      On the other hand, this meeting isn't a very close parallel with Einstein's letter. That's not because Bill Gates is sin

    • Einstein was a genius. Gates is a moron.

    • by Raul654 (453029)

      "from what I know Einstein seemed to be motivated by things like the discovery of knowledge and genuine concern for mankind." - the real motiviation behind the "Eistein" letter was Leo Szilard, who wrote the letter and then persuaded his friend Einstein to co-sign it so that it would get noticed. (Einstein had name recognition, Szilard did not, and Szilard knew it). For further reading, I highly recommend The Making of the Atomic Bomb [wikipedia.org], which won the 1988 Pulitzer-Prize for Non-Fiction.

    • Jobs will write a letter warning about the dangers of Flash.

    • by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Monday June 14, 2010 @01:59PM (#32568760)

      ...Einstein gave us special and general relativity. Bill Gates gave us Bob. [wikipedia.org]

  • What? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Concern (819622) on Monday June 14, 2010 @12:29PM (#32567354) Journal

    What is this, a planned economy? Why is Bill Gates is begging for communist government help?

    Obviously, the free market will just solve this problem on its own, in the process continuing to make America the greatest nation in the world.

    • by MrEricSir (398214)

      Bill Gates is a communist? I have to admit, I never saw that one coming.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cacba (1831766)
      The free market is notoriously short sighted. This is one of the areas governments are needed.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The free market is great for some things, not so great for others. Table top cold fusion? Sure. A 27 kilometer in circumference particle accelerator? Not so much. Some projects require the expertise and products from many companies from many different industries. No single company or coalition of companies would be able to pool their resources to accomplish something like the LHC.

      You are simply railing against the free market and are looking for any angle in any story to do such.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by clarkkent09 (1104833) *
        I like to introduce some perspective when people say things like free market is not so good for long term projects like basic scientific research. USA government spends less than 1% of the annual budget on science. If you want to keep that and cut out the other 99% (well not all of it, there are few legitimate things in there) I'm sure that even the most zealous free market libertarian will be only too happy with that arrangement.

        Btw, while the government money is probably the largest source of funding fo
    • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by clarkkent09 (1104833) * on Monday June 14, 2010 @12:54PM (#32567754)
      Seems like you are being sarcastic, but there is no need. Big businessmen have never been friends of the free market, they have always been only too happy to lobby for as much taxpayer money as they can lay their hands on. It's the conflict of interest I am worried about here. If it was some non-profit environmentalist group that was lobbying for government money I could understand, but not when it's the people who have most to gain financially from such investment.
  • Retread? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by retardpicnic (1762292)
    Doesn't the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act include 80 billion over 10 years for alternative energy research rather than the 16 billion the article suggests?
  • China and India? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anon-Admin (443764)

    So outsourcing is working and now Gates wants to bring it back to the US?

    Wasn't he one of the ones who pushed for outsourcing?

    *Joking for those who can not tell*

  • by RightSaidFred99 (874576) on Monday June 14, 2010 @12:35PM (#32567432)

    Wind energy this, Solar energy that. It's all fantasy dreamed up by hippies. It may or may not be able to meet a high percentage of our energy needs at some point in the future.

    Nuclear power is here now. We know it works. We know it's safe, if done right. Sure, it's expensive, but if we'd invested a few trillion in nuclear power over the last 30 years ago we'd have ended up saving a shitload on foreign wars, cost to the environment from oil spills and pollution, etc...

    At the rate we're going now, nothing will have changed 20 years from now. Instead, we need to start building nuclear plants and investing in research on portable power like fuel cells so we can use that nuclear power outside of the main power grid.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Wind energy this, Solar energy that. It's all fantasy dreamed up by hippies. It may or may not be able to meet a high percentage of our energy needs at some point in the future.

      Wind and Solar will never meet a high percentage of our energy needs, at least not in the foreseeable technical future. People simply don't understand the scale of which modern society uses energy. I figured out not too long ago that to convert the world to solar power, using generous assumptions, it would take a space-based solar

      • by cybrthng (22291)

        The problem with nuclear power is it doesn't solve anything. It still ties you to federal and corporate interests. Solar and wind power can free you from both. If every new home in the US was mandated to be built with solar shingles we probably wouldn't have this discussions

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by houghi (78078)

        Why is it that people think it is all OR/OR. Alternative can be AND/AND. So all of the sources together. Solar, hydrogen, wind, tidal, atomic, ...

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Who said or/or? I said wind and solar will possibly never meet a high percentage of our energy needs, not that they can't be part of the solution. Nuclear most certainly can, though of course at a high cost right now. Yet all I seem to here are hippie politicians talking about wind and solar.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Draek (916851)

        People need to figure out that there are only two viable sources of energy: burning carbon-based fuels, or nuclear.

        Not really, no. There's just burning carbon-based fuels, for any situation you could possibly think of where wind and power aren't viable I can think of a couple where nuclear is a non-starter.

        What people need to figure out is that there can't (and doesn't have to) be an "one size fits all" solution to the energy problem, and that investing in only one in detriment of all others will invariably lead to somebody, somewhere, getting royally screwed.

        You're right that nuclear fission is the best option right no

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        People need to figure out that there are only two viable sources of energy:

        Rainbows and unicorns?

      • by Patch86 (1465427) on Monday June 14, 2010 @01:54PM (#32568692)

        All good experts talk about an "energy mix"- any over-dependence on a single source of energy is just asking for trouble- be it market volatility, or resourcing troubles, or whatever.

        Solar seems particularly enticing as a micro-generation source. Photovoltaic cells have zero moving parts making them perfect for domestic use, by people who don't want to be on active maintenance alert. If every house in the country had a set of solar panels, that's a whole lot of energy being generated. You're completely right that it won't be 100% of what's needed, or even remotely close, but it still replaces a good swathe of power plants.

        Same goes for other "opportunistic" renewables. You might not be able to get 100% of your energy from hydro, but if you've got a good spot for a dam, you might as well dam it and reap the rewards.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by alen (225700)

      the hippies can't even agree on their hippie power sources. they hype wind but then fight it because it kills birds or ruins the view at the beach

    • by dward90 (1813520)
      I give you the first ever TED debate [ted.com]

      It may be relevant to your interests.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by nine-times (778537)
      This [ted.com] is relevant.
    • by Improv (2467) <pgunn@dachte.org> on Monday June 14, 2010 @12:47PM (#32567644) Homepage Journal

      Chances are we'd still intervene in foreign wars for humanitarian and business reasons, for as long as we have the economic and military prominence allowing us to do so.

      It's possible that if we had managed to dig up those sums back then we'd have it, we don't really know that for sure but it would've been nice to find out.

      Chances are we'll have a mix of wind/solar and nuclear energy - these things arn't fantasies - they work and are cost-effective in some circumstances. Unless these hippes you mention are the kind of hippies that get engineering, physics, and materials science degrees and actually put these technologies into practice, I suspect you're selling those technologies short. The issue isn't that they're not worthwhile, the issue is that since the 50s Americans have been skeptical of long-term thinking and terrified of central planning, leaving us with really lousy infrastructure, a discinclination to improve it, and a community of people who deny reality and work to discredit any studies that show that we fell off the right track when we stopped investing in infrastructure and the sciences and that other countries have surpassed us in many of these areas even when we have the resources of almost an entire continent and a massive population to bear on these problems.

      Still, I fundamentally agree with you that we should be investing a lot more in nuclear power - an emphasis on fusion research combined with our standard fission plants in areas not well-covered by something better (not every community has a Hoover Dam) would pollute less and were we to actually have nice ways to transform and store that energy and were our automotive industry to migrate to electic cars, the strategic and economic benefits could be profound.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by somaTh (1154199)
      While I agree that nuclear is a very viable current solution to our energy problems, it still fails to address the long-term problem. Fossil fuels and nuclear fuels have the same problem: limited supply. The Peak Oil concerns of today are swapped with finding caches of nuclear fuels tomorrow. I realize I'm probably looking a little too far down the road, but it would be nice to know that we're not just reacting to problems, but anticipating them.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Well, I think that's where some portion of those trillions go - research. Breeder reactors, fusion, etc... I don't think we'll have a fuel problem with nuclear.

    • Instead of fighting for a bunch of ungrateful people in the middle east, maybe we should move to nuclear.

      The top 5 nations in uranium reserves include Australia, US and Canada.

      Gee perhaps the country with the largest army in the world(usa) ought to be protecting the country
      with the largest supply of uranium in the world(australia).

      • If someone could figure a good way to extract the uranium out of seawater, we'd have supplies to last essentially forever. The Japanese are the only ones I am aware of even working on the problem.

        Good times: tell a really antinuclear person who likes going to the beach about how seawater has recoverable amounts of uranium in it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by imnotanumber (1712006)

      Wind energy this, Solar energy that. It's all fantasy dreamed up by hippies. It may or may not be able to meet a high percentage of our energy needs at some point in the future.

      A Nice Dream: http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=portugal+energy+wind [wolframalpha.com]

      Nuclear power is here now. We know it works. We know it's safe, if done right. Sure, it's expensive, but if we'd invested a few trillion in nuclear power over the last 30 years ago we'd have ended up saving a shitload on foreign wars, cost to the environment from oil spills and pollution, etc...

      And have more Three Mile Island and Chernobyl spills. No, I think I prefer an oil spill...

      At the rate we're going now, nothing will have changed 20 years from now. Instead, we need to start building nuclear plants and investing in research on portable power like fuel cells so we can use that nuclear power outside of the main power grid.

      Portable radiation sources! The solution to overpopulation, guaranteed...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by thule (9041)
        Chernobyl didn't have to happen. They were doing a turbine experiment (pushing them over 100% of design). No containment dome.

        There Mile Island -- how many people died????? How many people die in coal mining each year?
  • Taxes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Spiked_Three (626260)
    When Bill Gate's company and General Electric start paying US taxes I will take them seriously. Until then they can go fuck themselves.
  • by roman_mir (125474) on Monday June 14, 2010 @12:41PM (#32567534) Homepage Journal

    I don't understand this, the people who wrote this 'letter' to the president are rich, look at the names. So they can start a company to create new energy production facilities etc. but they decide to write to the administration as if it is as urgent as a nuclear weapon about to be created and unleashed by a warmonger. Einstein obviously was concerned about a new weapon that Germany could develop and use to completely dominate the globe, Gates and Co. looks like are hoping for the government to get into yet another money laundering scheme.

    If these guys think their ideas are worth a try and may work they should invest their money, they'll be rich beyond their wild dreams (hard to do, considering who they are, but still).

    BP is getting billions of dollars from government contracts of all kinds, looks like this new initiative is about the same thing.

    Build factories and make your energy generating equipment and see if you can compete with it and deliver something people will buy, why are you trying to involve the administration into this? The only thing that comes to mind is yet another money laundering scheme, a Halliburton/BP level scheme.

  • Assuming top companies are measured by how big they/their profits are... Someone remind me why this metric is so important. Surely the smaller companies are contributing too? (obviously for massive prototypes costing billions, you do need a lot of money, of course) I agree with the first post that this sounds like lobbyist talk.

    And no I didn't RTFA.

  • "Breaking News" (Score:3, Informative)

    by jbeaupre (752124) on Monday June 14, 2010 @12:42PM (#32567558)
    Wow, that didn't take long!
    Under Breaking News on BBC: "Barack Obama calls for clean energy push"
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/us_and_canada/10313921.stm [bbc.co.uk]
  • Paris Hilton said in her music video mocking the 2008 presidential election that we should support all kinds of energy development along with conservation. During the election the parties had polarized into Republican conventional position and Obama alternative/conservation position. Fortunately, Obama moved closer to Paris's more pragmatic stance since then.

    Its a fantasy to think that we can run out Hummers off of windmills next year.
    • by canajin56 (660655)

      Its a fantasy to think that we can run out Hummers off of windmills next year.

      Therefore we should immediately halt all research into anything that isn't oil. Brilliant. "This treatment shows promise for treating leukemia, but doesn't help at all with breast cancer, back to the drawing board until you fucking eggheads come up with a REAL solution." Remember, if something isn't a silver-bullet cure-all panacea, it's totally pointless.

      • by dward90 (1813520)
        You completely missed the point of what Peter was saying. We should continue research in many areas of energy production as well as reducing our overall consumption. This is the most reasonable of all possible solutions. "It's a fantasy....." simply means that we require multiple avenues of research and more time to develop them. Please pay more attention to what people say.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      You should have your Slashdot privileges revoked for that post.
    • by Java Pimp (98454)

      There was music in that video?

  • Last stage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by javilon (99157) on Monday June 14, 2010 @12:47PM (#32567646) Homepage

    Amazing. Just five years to go from:

    China, they just can make cheap copies of western technology
    to
    China, they are starting to compete with western products
    to
    China is ahead on R&D

  • You've got to be joking. To see a rise in sea levels, you have to melt land-based ice, of which the only significant volume is on Antarctica. Even the IPCC admits that to see appreciable rise would take over 10,000 years. This is a cruel joke, with us as the punchline.

    It's another way to strip people of power sources that enable modern standards of living in the here and now.

  • Industrial civilization has a big problem ahead. It's been 50 years since the last new energy source was invented. (Atomic power and solar cells are more than 50 years old.) And we're running out.

    Wind power seems promising, but the available sites are limited. There are four good onshore wind sites in California (Pacheco Pass, Altamont Pass, Mojave, and Montezuma Hills.) Each already has a big wind farm. There are plenty of good sites in the flyover states (from the Texas panhandle north to Canada) but

  • We are wed to Oil. Other countries may not be as integrated into Oil's infrastructure and may have better opportunities with alternatives, but that is yet to be seen. There is enough oil in this planet to easily get us to the next century. Not to say that staying with Oil is the wise course, it just entails fewer unknowns. As they say "the devil you know." The point, there is no alternative that offers the same "empire building" opportunity. It takes that size of opportunity to motivate people to sust
  • Cover the moon in solar cells. Beam back the energy. There ya go. :)

    Of course, in the requisition process, form 27B/6 would get misfiled so that a senator's son could get a contract, and we'd wind up with the moon covered in windmills.

  • by TheSync (5291) on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:08PM (#32568920) Journal

    First: Einstein's contribution to the letter was mainly signing it - it was really authored by Leó Szilárd with contributions from Edward Teller and Eugene Wigner.

    Second: The atomic bomb is a weapon that could only be created by a government and should only be used by a government and is not be provided to others.

    Energy technology can be produced by private industry, used by private industry, and will be traded on the free market to everyone. Even if a Chinese company develops the technology, we (and others) will be able to purchase it and benefit from it. On the other hand, the atomic bomb was not going to be sold to China (or Japan, for that matter, who was ruthlessly occupying China).

    One could argue that the US government "should play its part" in solving the global externality of greenhouse gas emission by throwing tax dollars at researchers, but that is a different issue.

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