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Aug 04, 2006


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Dana Ames

Amen to that. "Sustainability" is a very popular concept in my part of the world. There's a group in the next town north (pop 4000) who want to work to make the whole burg totally self-sustaining; don't know if that's possible, but the emphasis is definitely on local. Sure would like to see "pork barrel" money go into some kind of incentives for developing workable, affordable technology for alternative energy sources.


Michael Kruse

It seems to be that there is lifecycle to how these technologies develop. Look at how the personal computer industry developed. A bunch of technology geeks would read technical and scientific journals about building your own computer in 1960s and 1970s. They would go to Radio Shack and get parts and build their own computers. But the computers couldn’t do much. So some began developing a computer instructional language called BASIC. The language inspired geeks to build a more sophisticated language which in turn inspired more complex machines. Finally, the machines became standardized enough that quasi-geeks became interested. As they found new applications, they set off new iterations of hardware and software developments until the Apple Computer emerged as a product that could be embraced by the larger public. By the early 1980s, IBM, who had been trivializing the whole personal computer scene, did a 180 and the rest is history.

You see this same pattern with the development of the telegraph, the automobile, the airplane, television and just about every other major technological innovation for consumer markets.

There is a place for large government and corporate investments. The space program and later the controversial Star Wars missile defense programs generated an incredible amount of scientific knowledge (and absorbed an incredible amount of tax dollars.) However, the driving force in bring innovation to the market place comes from serendipitous unmanaged entrepreneurship.

If you had been looking at IBM headquarters, instead of what was going on in Steve Jobs (Apple Computers) garage in the late 1970s, what would your vision of the future have been? Similarly, should we be looking at what is happening at the HQ for GE or should we be looking at houses like this one, and the efforts of the community near you? That is why I find stories like this house exciting!

Dana Ames


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