Friday, October 15, 2004

No Manuals

"The problem is there's no manual that says how to do this... We had to investigate how to make hydrogen for this." - High School teacher Cory Waxman, on his classes' construction of a self-sustaining hydrogen vehicle for less than $10,000.

I read a depressing article on America's - as well as the world's - addiction to oil last night, "Pump Dreams", in the October 11th issue of "The New Yorker" or via the link.

A future where the U.S. is locked into a global war with China and India over control of the Middle Eastern oil fields is all too possible. The conventional wisdom from a variety of "energy experts" quoted in the article is that affordable hydrogen-powered vehicles and "energy independence" is very far out in the future, if even attainable.

Maybe. On the other hand, a group of high school kids, led by their physics teacher, converted a truck to hydrogen power, a vehicle which also creates its own fuel from solar energy and water, a technical feat funded with less than $10,000. It may be the first self-sustaining hydrogen vehicle ever created.

Stories like this and Burt Rutan's SpaceShipOne fuel my increasing belief that real change is made by individuals willing to work "without the manual." (via BoingBoing)

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