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US Energy Secretary Resigns

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the so-long-and-thanks-for-all-the-energy dept.

Government 141

An anonymous reader writes "Today Steven Chu, U.S. Secretary of Energy, released a letter indicating he won't continue to hold the job for President Obama's second term. He'll continue until the ARPA-E Summit at the end of February, and then perhaps a bit longer until a replacement is found. MIT's Technology Review sums up his contributions thus: 'Under his leadership, the U.S. Department of Energy has changed the way it does energy research and development. He leaves behind new research organizations that are intently focused on solving specific energy problems, particularly the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy as well as several Innovation Hubs. The latter were modeled closely on Chu's experience working at the legendary Bell labs, where researchers solving basic problems rubbed shoulders with engineers who knew how to build things. At one Innovation Hub, for example, researchers who are inventing new materials that can absorb sunlight or split water are working together with engineers who are building prototypes that could use those materials to generate fuel from sunlight. Chu also brought an intense focus on addressing climate change through technical innovation, speaking clearly and optimistically about the potential for breakthroughs to change what's possible.'"

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And So (4, Funny)

sunderland56 (621843) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766411)

The President got Chu'd out.

Re:And So (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42767455)

YEEEEAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!

Contribution from a geek ... (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year and a half ago | (#42768941)

Unfortunately, geeks will remain as geeks, and geeks, to the critters on Congressional Hill, are like disposable diapers, and Dr. Chu is no exception.

No matter how much geeks have contributed to the society, the politicians will end up getting all the glory

And thus... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766423)

At one Innovation Hub, for example, researchers who are inventing new materials that can absorb sunlight or split water are working together with engineers who are building prototypes that could use those materials to generate fuel from sunlight.

And thus became the driving force for ridiculing the current administrations energy policy as it doesn't revolve around "Drill, baby, drill!"

Plants do it, why can't we devise mechanisms and processes to use sunlight to create fuel from water, rather than keep pulling that problematic gunk out of the ground.

Re:And thus... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42766529)

Because plants don't do it very efficiently. If they did, we could just generate all our power from burning wood, and the forests would be able to regenerate faster than we could burn them up. Something like this won't be useful (in the sense of being able to replace most of the fossil fuels we use) unless it can be a lot more efficient than chlorophyll. And doing better than a billion years of evolution isn't that easy. People have been researching this stuff for at least 20 years (that I can remember, probably longer) and nothing practical has come of it yet. Don't expect it in the near future.

Re:And thus... (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766709)

Actually, even plants don't do it efficiently enough to replace the stored energy in oil, gas and coal. At least, they couldn't replace it without horrendous ecological consequences. We can't "grow, baby, grow" our way out of our energy trap any more than we can "drill, baby, drill." We either go nuclear and hope for at least adequate battery technology, or we forget about industrial scale civilization and starve and die on a massive scale come 2100 or thereabouts.

Cheers!

Re:And thus... (3, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#42767327)

Nonsense. Plants don't do it efficiently because they occupy only a small area and must chemically store energy for an extended period of time, because they might not get much sunlight for six months out of the year.

Most of our power needs as a society don't require such long-term storage. The power that lights up a city is largely transient. It does not need to be stored except to provide a temporary reserve for when energy production is not available, and even then, only to the extent that we don't have enough of a superconducting power grid to bring in power from other areas that are capable of producing power. Similarly, our production capacity need not be self-contained within a single small area; we are capable of moving energy from place to place with relative ease.

We should have no difficulty powering the future with solar power. We just have to spend the money to build superconducting grids, solar towers, and other similar systems. The only reason we're not doing it on a large scale is that the folks designing the hardware haven't gotten the cost down to a point where it is cheaper than burning quarter-billion-year-old dead plants and animals yet.

Better battery technology would be useful for certain things, such as laptops, cars, etc., but it isn't essential. Given a superconducting power grid and ultracapacitors, it would not be catastrophic if you had to stop your car and plug in for ten seconds to recharge every couple of hours of driving. And that's possible with the power storage technology we have today, although the cost is still prohibitive.

The only thing we're really missing is infrastructure and capacity. There is no huge gaping hole in our energy tech picture. There is only a lack of resources to build what needs to be built.

Re:And thus... (5, Informative)

steelyeyedmissileman (1657583) | about a year and a half ago | (#42768015)

Methinks there's far more to it than you imply... Reaching the tech to do what you're describing here takes more than just resources; it takes some significant changes in our understanding of Physics.

Let's look at your idea: you want something that can charge an electric car's battery in 10 seconds. Ok; a typical Prius battery [wikipedia.org] is rated at about 4 kWh. That's roughly 15 million Joules of energy. To deliver that much energy in 10 s, you need a power supply that provides 1.5 million watts of power. At the battery voltage (~275 V), that's a current of over 5000 A, or only an order of magnitude less than a typical lightning strike [wikipedia.org] .

Even assuming it's technically feasible to have a superconducting grid (unlikely without high, as in ambient, temperature superconductors), the cable from your power supply to the car battery probably won't be made of the same stuff if it's necessary for a person to manipulate it (eg. connect it to the car that is parked anywhere within a few 10s of centimeters from the supply). If copper wire is used, there is no standard size of wire made [wikipedia.org] that can handle 5 kA for a period of 10 s, and even if you made one it would no longer qualify as "possible for a person to manipulate it".

So: building your superconducting grid itself requires new physics that we don't have yet, not just adequate resources. Even with said grid, charging a battery in the amount of time you suggest deals with extremely high currents that are likely unsafe to use.

I'm not saying your idea is impossible, just pointing out that there is much more to this problem than just a lack of resources.

Re:And thus... (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#42769721)

We already have superconducting power grid segments. They are underground, so temperature is mostly a non-issue. I wasn't suggesting using superconductive power grids for the last few feet to charge a car. I was suggesting using them around the world so that sunlight in parts of North America, Australia, and Asia could power Europe at night and vice versa.

You're right that the power storage demands for cars are problematic. It might be possible to run power into the car at a much higher voltage and provide each capacitor with a DC-DC converter with a very short duty cycle... ostensibly... but I'm not sure if it is possible in practice. You'd still need some way to smooth that kind of current....

Either way, the storage problem is only a problem for a very small number of applications (automobiles being the main one), and even those applications could be eliminated by removing the need for storage. For example, if you built charge coils into the road, you could cut the storage requirements to almost nothing. Or build cars that connect to overhead power lines (though I'll warrant that's harder to do with rubber tires than with trains). Or just build out a viable national network of light rails and high-speed electric trains and stuff so that nobody would need to drive a car in the first place.

Re:And thus... (1)

gotan (60103) | about a year and a half ago | (#42771819)

It seems to be easier and faster to switch the battery, load it in sufficient time, and switch it into another car ...

Of course there are some things that need to be adressed (who "owns" the battery, standardisation and safety issues), but if it's technically doable the finance folks and lawyers usually come up with a design to cover the rest.

Re:And thus... (1)

dkf (304284) | about a year and a half ago | (#42772351)

Let's look at your idea: you want something that can charge an electric car's battery in 10 seconds. Ok; a typical Prius battery [wikipedia.org] is rated at about 4 kWh. That's roughly 15 million Joules of energy. To deliver that much energy in 10 s, you need a power supply that provides 1.5 million watts of power. At the battery voltage (~275 V), that's a current of over 5000 A, or only an order of magnitude less than a typical lightning strike [wikipedia.org] .

So... you're saying that we should work on powering our cars with lightning strikes?

The mad scientist in me approves! Igor? Igor! Clear that lump of meat off the table and plug the Prius in: we've got science to do!

Re:And thus... (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about a year and a half ago | (#42769921)

> We just have to spend the money to build superconducting grids, solar towers, and other similar systems. The only reason we're not doing it on a large scale is that the folks designing the hardware haven't gotten the cost down to a point where it is cheaper than burning quarter-billion-year-old dead plants and animals yet.

Right. *Other than technology that doesn't exist yet*, there's no reason we shouldn't be on a solar-based power grid. :p

Gas has 40x the energy density of lithium-ion batteries, and "charges" (from a pump) much, much faster.

There's a reason we still burn dead plants and animals, and it's not because we want to destroy the environment. It's because green technology can't compete with dead plants. (Yet.)

Re:And thus... (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | about a year and a half ago | (#42771849)

True. And we cannot go on or else we have a major climate problem. Now what? That's the problem in a nutshell and we better solve it within the current decade.

Re:And thus... (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about a year and a half ago | (#42770989)

Most of our power needs as a society don't require such long-term storage.
This is so wrong, it's actually impressive. Hydrocarbons and even nuclear supplies are limited. Transient energy is what we have *now* and that transience is the problem. If we could store it in significant quantities, we could even use things like solar and wind. These are trivial sources at this point because their output can't be stored.

It's interesting to wave your hand and say, "Build superconducting grids." It's got that nifty science fiction sound to it, but it's not practical at this point. With current technology, it would *take* energy to maintain and in no small quantities. Engineering expertise too. It's an incredibly high maintenance solution, until and unless room temperature superconductor becomes available at a price that's affordable. That time is not yet.

Have you ever looked at the energy it takes to keep civilization as we know it running? I suggest you start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubic_mile_of_oil [wikipedia.org]

Fossil fuel (3, Informative)

tlambert (566799) | about a year and a half ago | (#42768045)

Actually, even plants don't do it efficiently enough to replace the stored energy in oil, gas and coal. At least, they couldn't replace it without horrendous ecological consequences. We can't "grow, baby, grow" our way out of our energy trap any more than we can "drill, baby, drill." We either go nuclear and hope for at least adequate battery technology, or we forget about industrial scale civilization and starve and die on a massive scale come 2100 or thereabouts.

Uranium: The other fossil fuel
Plutonium: The other renewable energy
Breeder reactors: The other recycling program
Central United States: The other location safe from tsunami

Re:And thus... (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about a year and a half ago | (#42770563)

We either go nuclear and hope

What you neatly summarise in two words would require renewable energy supplies to be in place and take 100 years to engineer properly because the current nuclear industry and fossil fuel industry are simply no longer viable, especially in the next 100 years.

It's for that reason I actually support the development of a reactor that addresses the issue of 70,000 tons of Pu-239 (and much more U-238) currently stored in reactor sites around America, simply because it's irresponsible for our generation to foist these issue onto later generations, the way a carbon legacy was forced on our generation.

One of the core reasons I support the development of such a reactor because it is capable of utilising weapons grade plutonium as fuel creating an impetus for disarmament and, hopefully, slowly defusing the asymmetrical weapons threat.

Unfortunately, because there is no geologically sound Nuclear waste dump in operation it's totally inappropriate to discuss building a new reactor facility until a proper containment facility is available. Yucca mountain is not a suitable site because it is made of pumice and geologically active evidenced by recent aftershocks of 5.6 within ten miles of a repository that is supposed to be geologically stable for at least 500000 years. The DOE's own 1982 Nuclear Waste policy Act reported that Yucca Mountain's geology is inappropriate to contain nuclear waste, and long term corrosion data on C22 (the material to contain the Pu-239 and mitigate the ingress of water - yet another Yucca problem) is just not available.

We need something made of granite. The only human made structure with the potential to last 10000 years is Mt Rushmore, so it has to be an engineering project of that scale, because the logistical problems of transferring the 70000 odd tons of Pu239 to the spent fuel containment facility are so involved that you want to get it right the first time and only do it once.

Even doing that will probably take 30 years to complete, but there is more to it than that.

I was a big fan of the Integral Fast Reactor [wikipedia.org] as a potential solution and in a way I still am. But the reality is 3rd and 4th generation reactors are a pipe dream because our material science is not advanced enough yet to produce a reactor design that will last the thousands of years it will take to use that fuel. If you are going to build reactors then do it properly and build a Terra-watt scale nuclear reactor facility the belly of a massive granite mountain with an attached waste facility and chomp up all your remaining plutonium or end all commercial nuclear activity altogether.

Why? Because Nuclear power is energy intensive *after* the energy has been produced simply because said technology (material sciences) are not adequate to produce a Nuclear reactor that has a life span that matches the geological time frames of the fuel. This exposes the facility to all the issues associated with de-commissioning reactor sites every 4 decades or so. A reactor design that lasts at least 1000 years and is a closed loop, i.e. the plutonium goes in and nothing comes out (except electricity and possibly hydrogen) and avoids all the energetic costs associated with mining, enrichment and de-commissioning/demolition of the reactor.

As long we are producing plutonium and there is no where for it to go we will have a Nuclear Weapons threat and this is the price we pay for opening that pandora's box. I don't hide the fact that I don't like the constant failure of the Nuclear Industry. But I'm also being realistic. I realise that the only way out of this mess is a well thought out and designed project because we have no other choice due to the nature of the materials. It entails redesigning the entire industry, and it's a long term solution. A well designed and secured facility resistant to attacks even from orbit because that's the type of 21st century threats it would have to face.

But it has to be done properly, and I don't think private industry is capable of delivering such a project. If we really think about it it will be a massive undertaking that will present many challenges that must be overcome if we are sincere about producing a well engineered safe Nuclear industry and sincere about a platform for disarmament.

Re:And thus... (1)

Warhawke (1312723) | about a year and a half ago | (#42767205)

Plants can photosynthesize because they sit there and don't move. Photosynthesis, even as a form of solar energy, is not terribly efficient. Solar cells aren't terribly efficient either. Here's a good discussion on it. [xkcd.com]

The problem with that "problematic gunk" is that it's just so freakin' energy rich. It's kind of like telling a starving politician, "You can either eat this big, juicy burger that will probably give you a heart attack one day in the future, or you can shell these sustainable Macadamia nuts that are so much healthier for y-- Hey! Put down the burger!"

Re:And thus... (1)

rgmoore (133276) | about a year and a half ago | (#42767915)

The point isn't to have things that need energy harvest it as they go, which is what XKCD's photosynthesizing cows are doing. Instead, it's to devote large areas to collecting sunlight, use the energy to synthesize energetic chemicals, and then use those energy-dense chemicals as a source of energy in other places.

This is essentially what people are talking about with biofuels. It's just that with biofuels we're depending on plants to do the energy storage for us rather than directly storing it ourselves. Biofuels have the advantage that growing plants is cheap- the plants build themselves- and the disadvantage that photosynthesis is inefficient and a lot of the energy the plants collect goes into maintenance rather than energy storage. Using solar energy to generate fuels directly may be more efficient but has much higher capital costs.

Friday as 'Take out the Trash' day (4, Interesting)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766427)

There's a West Wing episode called 'Take out the Trash' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Take_out_the_Trash_Day [wikipedia.org] where it's laid down that Friday is the day to announce things because they get lost over the weekend, and by Monday there are other things to talk about. So this is a good demonstration; watch to see if the story does disappear over the weekend...

Re:Friday as 'Take out the Trash' day (1)

Antipater (2053064) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766521)

This time I think it's less about being Friday and more about there being a lot more crazy stuff to scream about. Contraception, a suicide bombing at a US embassy, hearings over the new SecDef, and a contracting economy are all better targets for the GOP to poke Obama with than an outgoing Energy Secretary they don't really like. There'll be a few op-eds about Solyndra and climate change, but then they'll turn back to the tastier morsels.

here comes more nuclear power (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42766429)

say goodbye to anything that was a renewable energy movement of any sort.

Re:here comes more nuclear power (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766463)

say goodbye to anything that was a renewable energy movement of any sort.

Nonsense - he got the project started, now it's time for new people to come in and make it succeed.

As Winston Churchill was the man for the PM job during WW II, he was not the man to lead the UK through peace at the end of the war.

I for one thank him for his efforts. If we can't stop our need for using energy, at least we can find better sources of it with don't mess with the environment or geopolitics.

Re:here comes more nuclear power (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42768171)

Hmmm, not buying the Churchill comparison. Winston was on the outside before the war, and was more or less guaranteed the election by Hitler's castration of Chamberlain. After the war, his pre-existing problems came back to haunt him. Read Winston's War.

Chu had no prior problems, and isn't being banished for accumulated past transgressions.
His work is far from done. He doesn't have to stand for re-election. Only one vote counts, Obama's.

He's probably the person with the best science background in the whole administration.

He, like 4 or 5 other department heads is "choosing" to leave with his work half done. Why is that?
Has he been pressured into staying just long enough to get Obama elected?

Its not unusual to lose a couple cabinet members upon a second term election, especially when those
cabinet heads were more or less forced on you in your first term to garner support. Every administration
has a couple of those. More so at the end of the second term than the beginning.

But 5 is pretty big number, and the cabinet is getting whiter and male-er [nationaljournal.com] .

If this was a Republican administration the press would be wringing its hands at all these replacements.
But Obama is too big to fail for the liberal press, so they will just push this rush to the exit back onto page 5.

Re:here comes more nuclear power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42769239)

I can imagine Chu saying I've had enough of this Washington D.C. political BS and I want to go back to doing what I do best.

Re:here comes more nuclear power (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year and a half ago | (#42770803)

Actually, for second terms, it is far more usual to shake up the entire cabinet. reagan, clinton, and W had nearly full turn-overs. In fact, here is the list. [wikipedia.org]
You will notice that NONE of the repeat presidents had the same sec for the second term.

This is not a bad thing. This is a GOOD thing. What is needed is somebody who is as good as Chu, but will spend money in places like Nukes.

Re:here comes more nuclear power (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year and a half ago | (#42770829)

BTW, the big problem is that one of the candidates to replace him is Ritter. I can not imagine a WORST candidate than ritter, except a pure oil/gas guy. He will actually fuck things up.

Online Income (-1, Offtopic)

vyrtguya (2830805) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766441)

http://www.cloud65.com/ [cloud65.com] like Wayne implied I'm taken by surprise that a person able to profit $4936 in 1 month on the computer. have you read this site link

Re:Online Income (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42766613)

Why don't you chu a dick, spammer.

so long winded (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766453)

It's difficult to nail down a particular point.

Is he just resigning because he doesn't want to do it anymore? Or is there a statement buried in that "novel of resignation?"

Re:so long winded (4, Interesting)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766821)

It looks like he's trying to put as good a face as possible on his tenure. The real issues such as declining energy return from the world's remaining oil, what to do about the nation's vulnerable, aging, and dangerous nuclear infrastructure, the global warming consequences of frakking natural gas and increased use of coal... He can't discuss any of this without severe political and possibly personal consequences. He's bowing out while he can, and given the magnitude of the problems, I don't blame him. He can't win. He can only escape.

Re:so long winded (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | about a year and a half ago | (#42771875)

If he would really address the energy problem, he would have to point out the elephant in the room: an idiotic economic paradigm that is based on continuous growth. That's what he can't address without severe political backlash. As you say, he can't win.

its tough being a male secretary (-1, Troll)

decora (1710862) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766517)

all the women think you are a gay and all the men think they can meet you on the 'down low'.

Hardly knew ye... (1)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766559)

Ah, Chu... we hardly knew ye.

Re:Hardly knew ye... (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766831)

Ah, Chu...

Gesundheit!

Let's hope it begins a trend (5, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766703)

Stephen Chu was the first person to hold the title of Secretary of Energy who had the scientific background to understand how energy capture / extraction actually worked. It's kind of amazing when you think about it: his predecessors included Navy officers, politicians, lawyers, and a former Coca-Cola executive, but nobody who understood the nitty-gritty of what the Energy Department was supposed to be doing.

As far as why he resigned, I wouldn't read too much into it - the overall timing (shortly after re-election) is in line with wanting to get back in the lab rather than dealing with bureaucracy.

Re:Let's hope it begins a trend (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42766795)

And he also blew $80 Billion on "green energy" that mostly went to companies that went bankrupt just after getting their federal funding. Even better A123 not only went bankrupt, but then sold what was left to China.

I'd like to say he was probably one of the most corrupt cabinet members in history with how he stole $80 Billion in tax payer money to give to Obama supporters, but then I would have to ignore Geitner who did the same with nearly $1 Trillion.

Re:Let's hope it begins a trend (0)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766981)

Explain how he "stole" $80 billion and gave it to Obama's supporters please, Mr. AC. I'm listening.

Re:Let's hope it begins a trend (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42767437)

Solendra, look it up. Just because you are lazy or stupid doesn't mean it didn't happen. You can't stick your fingers in your ears yelling "LALALLALA" and then what happened didn't happen.

Re:Let's hope it begins a trend (4, Informative)

beckett (27524) | about a year and a half ago | (#42767875)

Solendra, look it up. Just because you are lazy or stupid doesn't mean it didn't happen.

ok, lets look it up: Solyndra recieved $535M [bloomberg.com] in a federal subsidy, and in response, China put up $35 Billion [scientificamerican.com] to subsidize their own solar research and industry.

It appears that both an agressive foreign entity and a softening PV market [wordpress.com] played roles in Solyndra's demise.

what do you mean by 'look it up', exactly? i don't read publications that exist exclusively inside your political 'bubble'.

Re:Let's hope it begins a trend (1)

Sarius64 (880298) | about a year and a half ago | (#42769501)

So are you implying that we can squander any amount of money up to $35 billion and it's okay with you?

Evergreen Solar ($25 million)
SpectraWatt ($500,000)
Solyndra ($535 million)
Beacon Power ($43 million)
Nevada Geothermal ($98.5 million)
SunPower ($1.2 billion)
First Solar ($1.46 billion)
Babcock and Brown ($178 million)
EnerDel’s subsidiary Ener1 ($118.5 million)
Amonix ($5.9 million)
Fisker Automotive ($529 million)
Abound Solar ($400 million)
A123 Systems ($279 million)

Re:Let's hope it begins a trend (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about a year and a half ago | (#42770671)

So are you implying that we can squander any amount of money up to $35 billion and it's okay with you?

Evergreen Solar ($25 million) SpectraWatt ($500,000) Solyndra ($535 million) Beacon Power ($43 million) Nevada Geothermal ($98.5 million) SunPower ($1.2 billion) First Solar ($1.46 billion) Babcock and Brown ($178 million) EnerDel’s subsidiary Ener1 ($118.5 million) Amonix ($5.9 million) Fisker Automotive ($529 million) Abound Solar ($400 million) A123 Systems ($279 million)

oh please, this is chicken feed compared to the money that has been wasted on the existing energy industries. What do you expect an entirely new energy production method, entering a market worth trillions for dollars is not going to burn start-ups and attract people trying to get rich?

Re:Let's hope it begins a trend (1)

brianerst (549609) | about a year and a half ago | (#42771681)

What exactly was the "waste" on existing energy industries? That energy industry is currently powering your entire civilization.

The ROI on our existing energy infrastructure is the difference between the agrarian 1860s and now. And the existing energy industry is far cleaner and cheaper than the pre-existing industries (cutting down entire forests for fuel in the 1600s or the 80% coal power of the late 1800s). Our primary problem right now is one of scale - we switched to an infrastructure that was so (relatively) clean and efficient that we now can use so much of it that even the (relatively) small amount of pollution per unit of power is overwhelming the environment.

It'll be a fantastic day when the alt-energy sector can replace even the incremental growth of our energy use. We seem to have done a poor job of being a VC for the sector - maybe we should concentrate on basic and applied research.

(All that said, Cool Planet Fuels looks pretty cool.)

Re:Let's hope it begins a trend (2)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year and a half ago | (#42770763)

First off, you are listing companies that are SUCCEEDING with companies that failed? Hate to tell, but Chu did a better job picking winners than did bankers and investors here.

Re:Let's hope it begins a trend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42769683)

You know, if we only spent $500m and got China to spend $35,000 million towards the same goal, I'd say we got a good return. As long as the end result is the same (much cheaper solar panels), I'd say we got exactly what we wanted.

Re:Let's hope it begins a trend (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year and a half ago | (#42770747)

Actually, Solyndra got a LOAN, not a subsidy. And China put up 35 B to subsidize and dump on foreign markets, esp. Americas. There is a bit of a difference there. And Solyndra is suing multiple Chinese companies. Hopefully, some of the other companies will join in as well.

Re:Let's hope it begins a trend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42772343)

and how did that "loan" work out for the taxpayers you fucking idiot

Re:Let's hope it begins a trend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42767479)

Exactly what he said. He gave the money to "business" that never planned to deliver a product. The number that went bankrupt is too high to be coincidental. All of them were in on the scam. In order to be in on it, you have to support Obama. See, this is how politics works. You know that, so why are you making an exception for this guy? Because he's a nerd?

Re:Let's hope it begins a trend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42767663)

The number that went bankrupt is too high to be coincidental.

How about some actual numbers? Like, say maybe five companies: A123, Abound Solar, Beacon Power, Ener1 and Solyndra to be exact, out of a program that funded 63 companies. Is that what you count as too high to be coincidental?

Re:Let's hope it begins a trend (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42767851)

Not only that, but A123 was actually a damn fine lithium ion battery producer that had decent products. The electric car thing killed it, but China subsidizing its competitors more than we were subsidizing A123 didn't help one bit.

So out of 63 companies, 4 dead ones were vaporware. That's 6.3%.

Meanwhile Up to $3 of every $10 as much as $3 of every $10 that U.S. taxpayers spent on wartime contracting over the last decade went up in smoke [mcclatchydc.com] . That's 30%.

tl;dr: There's always fraud when it comes to the government. The Republicans are just whining that the Democrats aren't very good at it.

Re:Let's hope it begins a trend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42770659)

ha ha ha ha ha ha. You are sooooo naive.

Re:Let's hope it begins a trend (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#42769933)

I sure would. That's a remarkably bad failure rate (happening over only a couple of years since the loan guarantees were made), especially given the sums of money involved. Among other things, I think a number of companies are still burning through their loans. We'll see more bankruptcies.

I think it'll be instructive to look back on this program at the ten year mark and see what actually happened or didn't happen as the case may be. I think by that time, the failure rate will be so pronounced, it'll be highly embarrassing for defenders.

Re:Let's hope it begins a trend (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about a year and a half ago | (#42770731)

I think it'll be instructive to look back on this program at the ten year mark and see what actually happened or didn't happen as the case may be. I think by that time, the failure rate will be so pronounced, it'll be highly embarrassing for defenders.

I've been entertained by how wrong your predictions were in the past. It's a remarkably vague comment for which you are sure to be right. If this is the specificity of your professional predictions then you have a quality control issue.

Re:Let's hope it begins a trend (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#42772385)

I've been entertained by how wrong your predictions were in the past.

Please give an example. I'll note in my Fukushima predictions that I was correct way back at the end of March, 2011, that the worst of the disaster [slashdot.org] was over (and yet you still tried to contest it [slashdot.org] ). In the thread to that second link, I also predicted [slashdot.org] that eventual human exposure would be at least two orders of magnitude less than it was for Chernobyl. Given that 20-50 times less radiation [latimes.com] was actually released onto land than was the case for Chernobyl (combination of 4-10 times less overall radiation released and 80% of that radiation ending up in the sea) and the population around Fukushima was evacuated at least a day earlier than was the case for people living around Chernobyl, I think that prediction will succeed easily.

I also predicted that there would be witch hunts for TEPCO executives. There is a criminal investigation [spacedaily.com] underway. We'll see if there is any actual criminal negligence out there with respect to the Fukushima accident or if my prediction there gets borne out.

I will note that there has been at least a couple local government actions that have been shifty (for example, a local government study that claimed hundreds of deaths due to the stress of evacuation for the Fukushima accident and subsequent months long displacement from home and business).

So sure, I've made a bunch of predictions, but my record there looks pretty good.

Re:Let's hope it begins a trend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42771397)

Well, it is a lower failure rate than they expected and got a budget approved for. One of the laws that some of the loans were issued under had a 30% failure rate budgeted for by the law from Congress. In other words, Congress told them to guarantee $25 billion in loans, and to have budget prepared for $7.5 billion of them to fail.

If what they were investing in had 100% success rates predicted, then there would be no need for the government to give loan guarantees, other investors would do that. Instead, the point of the program was to develop business and infrastructure that the market would not provide for initial development but would support after economy of scales kicked in, especially in areas that other governments are trying to develop in other countries. It is on par with research they fund, which because that involves developing new things, does not always succeed.

Re:Let's hope it begins a trend (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#42772475)

One of the laws that some of the loans were issued under had a 30% failure rate budgeted for by the law from Congress.

Ugh, reading that reminds me why the US government should stay out of the investment business.

If what they were investing in had 100% success rates predicted, then there would be no need for the government to give loan guarantees, other investors would do that.

I guess then we need grown ups to evaluate these programs, not people who can only distinguish between perfect and not perfect. Everything is "not perfect". But some things, such as this program are a lot further from perfect than others.

Instead, the point of the program was to develop business and infrastructure that the market would not provide for initial development but would support after economy of scales kicked in

This has been tried before many times. The problem isn't economies of scale, but just that renewable power, electric cars, etc tends to be costly for what it delivers.

Re:Let's hope it begins a trend (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42767539)

So how do you define "mostly"? The DoE has funding over a thousand companies in the last couple years, and less than 1% of them went bankrupt. Even the worst specific programs under that had half a dozen companies go bankrupt giving a failure rate of 8% for the specific programs. Additionally, it was expected that some of the funded start up companies would fail, as it would be crazy to assume start ups would have 100% success rate, especially in areas trying to build up new development. So a portion of DoE's budgets for such programs account for a portion of the money to be lost due to failed businesses. Last I heard, the money they lost to failed businesses was still about half of what they expected to lose and planned for...

Re:Let's hope it begins a trend (1)

udachny (2454394) | about a year and a half ago | (#42767513)

nitty-gritty of what the Energy Department was supposed to be doing

- really? And what was it supposed to be doing?

This department, just like many other departments are political structures that cannot solve any problems, they add a layer of power to the bureaucracy but nothing else. Just like 'education' department and all the rest of them.

Why should there be 'energy department'? Why can't energy be a product / service that free market provides without government interference? Same with education, same with health insurance, health care, pensions, jobs, food, drugs, any type of drugs, banking, money, marriage or sex, commerce, etc.

Why the drive to centralisation of things that really don't benefit from such centralisation? Actually what and who benefits from centralisation at all except for a few politically connected powerful individuals and the politicians themselves? Clearly the people don't gain anything from it, they only get a long term destruction of everything that government touches. So why such a huge push towards centralisation?

Re:Let's hope it begins a trend (1)

jbengt (874751) | about a year and a half ago | (#42767627)

So far, everyone seems to be ignoring the most important work the energy department has been doing - securing nuke material throughout the world that could easily otherwise land on the black market. The energy dept has been very proactive on that lately, and it doesn't get much press. That even gets ignored by some of the "conservatives" who want to disband the dept of energy (and especially by those who forget which dept it was they want to get rid of)

Re:Let's hope it begins a trend (1)

udachny (2454394) | about a year and a half ago | (#42767707)

What the hell does gov't have to do with that either? Why has the gov't taken over all of the nuclear research and materials and access? From point of view of individuals this is a terrible situation, the government holds this power in its hands and it can literally use it to destroy the world and the individuals have no symmetric response to this threat.

Gov't deciding where nuclear materials will go and how they will be stored, etc. Well, you can be assured that the no-competition bid will be won by the most politically connected people, who will do a great job siphoning off whatever money they still can into their own bank accounts.

Re:Let's hope it begins a trend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42768783)

Why has the gov't taken over all of the nuclear research and materials and access?

Because it hasn't. There is still a lot of private nuclear technology related research and access to materials. I know, because I am a researcher at such a company. Additionally, a large chunk of DoE's research is via private companies (not ours at the moment).

Well, you can be assured that the no-competition bid will be won by the most politically connected people

I don't know how it works with other agencies, but DoE's research based grants and contracts are definitely not no-competition, and in some cases can be quite difficult and competitive to get. At least with some of the nuclear material related research. If anything, they take the other extreme, in that the effort it takes to justify and and defend research work is quite time and effort demanding compared to when I've worked for private funded operations.

Re:Let's hope it begins a trend (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42768749)

Exactly this... Stephen Chu is a brilliant man (see Nobel prize) who is likely hungry to get back into fundamental science and his home, family and friends. /L

In his tenure, Chu did an *incredible* amount of good for the Department of Energy and hence the US and the planet... I don't think anyone can understand just how much amazing stuff Chu actually did in 4 years until you actually work a stint in the government and realize the machinery that has to be pushed and operated to make things happen (I work in a scientific branch of the federal government). I applaud Chu's work, and I applaud all of the unsung heros behind the scene and elected officials who helped Chu "get stuff done"... because it isn't easy. I wish Chu would've stuck around a little longer but I respect completely his decision. Hopefully Obama and future presidents continue on the 'good idea' of tapping the shoulders of brilliant scientists and engineers, with some business/political acumen, to head DOE in the future. /* a raise of my glass to Stephen Chu

Re:Let's hope it begins a trend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42769513)

Chu followed in the footsteps of Obama. Took credit for the computing cycles already generated under Bush 43 and blamed Bush for everything he couldn't bully to get done. Not much science in those cycles.

Re:Let's hope it begins a trend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42769257)

Energy department created in the 70s to remove our dependence on foreign oil. Thats its one and only reason it got created. Forty years later and a Trillion dollars spent and we haven't made one step in that direction from ANYTHING from the DOE.

You might call it total failure, but total failure wouldn't cost as much or take as long to notice. It is staggering how much PAST total failure the DOE has managed to get.

Re:Let's hope it begins a trend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42769271)

You are full of bullshit.

Charles Duncan Jr. had actually extracted oil as a roustabout and was a chemical engineer.

Samuel Bodman has a PhD in chemical engineering.

Both are far, far more qualified than Chu, whose expertise was in removing extremely tiny amounts of energy from a very few helium atoms.

Re:Let's hope it begins a trend (1)

harvey the nerd (582806) | about a year and a half ago | (#42771993)

Initially after college, Duncan actually even worked for Exxon, then as Humble Oil.

Let's hope it DOES NOT begins a trend (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about a year and a half ago | (#42770857)

Chu was for all intents a failure at DOE with no major accomplishments other than tarnishing the image of the agency. Contrary to your belief, scientists, particularly nobel winners, do not make good administrators and DOE is about as large and diverse an entity as they come. That is not to say that having a general background in math and physics would not help but that does not translate to leader must be a "scientist". Further, whomever is appointed must realize this is his/her day AND night job and that moonlighting to cointinue their previous work is unacceptable.

Re:Let's hope it DOES NOT begins a trend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42771315)

Further, whomever is appointed must realize this is his/her day AND night job and that moonlighting to cointinue their previous work is unacceptable.

Why? Because we don't want to draw more attention and awareness to the agency and what it is doing? Because we don't want the leaders to keep their science backgrounds fresh and up to date? Because it is a 24/7 job with no allowances for any other activities in the person's life?

Contrary to your belief, scientists, particularly nobel winners, do not make good administrators and DOE is about as large and diverse an entity as they come

Based on what experiences? A large number of scientists move on to leader ship and administration roles all over the place, including at universities (e.g. from dean to president), national labs, and within the DOE where many of the administrators have been and are scientists. Yes, some scientists suck as administrators, as is true of most people in general. But I've definitely seen previous barriers within the DOE and communications problems before when trying to to bridge a gap between an administrator that has a science back ground and when their next level superior does not, or even problems when some administrators were once scientists but have been out of the field too long.

Steven Chu, Physics, and Politics. (5, Interesting)

beckett (27524) | about a year and a half ago | (#42766733)

Dr. Steven Chu brought authority and evidence-based science to the US Cabinet. Former professor of physics at Stanford [stanford.edu] , he shared a Nobel prize for physics in 1997 [nobelprize.org] for cooling and trapping atoms with laser light. he continued to publish [nature.com] science [nature.com] while serving as Secretary of Energy.

His very expertise and lifelong, professional interest were very lamely attacked by the right wing machine, typically accusing him of avocating raising oil prices [mediamatters.org] and gas prices [heritage.org] .

Having Dr. Chu there did more to forward the cause of science in the US Government in generations. How many administrations could walk down a hallway and access a scientist at the top of his game? He should be held and paraded around on slashdot's shoulders for his hard work.

Re:Steven Chu, Physics, and Politics. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42767587)

Chu DID advocate for higher oil prices:

"Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe."
- Chu, September 2008

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/mar/14/newt-gingrich/gingrich-said-energy-secretary-advocated-raising-g/

Then he became Secretary of Energy and it became inconvenient and he retracted it.

Re:Steven Chu, Physics, and Politics. (3, Interesting)

beckett (27524) | about a year and a half ago | (#42767805)

Then he became Secretary of Energy and it became inconvenient and he retracted it.

thanks for confirming my point.

Some of the other ideas Chu proposed were a glucose economy [aspenideas.org] as part of a progressive, diverse, alternate energy plan, and was decried for practical ideas such as smart grids [time.com] and painting house roofs and pavements white [wsj.com] to reduce heating and cooling costs.

Actually, it DID just raise (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year and a half ago | (#42770737)

Does not matter, we WILL have to raise taxes. Cars are getting more and more efficient. So, our tax base for road infrastructure is going down. Worse, we have not raised it in nearly 2 decades.
As such, we NEED an increase, or to better formulate it. The best thing that we can do is to raise it every 6-12 months on a % basis, with a minimum amount. In particular, the feds should be raising the tax on diesel, since that is mostly used by semi-trucks, which make heavy use of interstates. Likewise, states have indicated that they want to play games with gas, so, the feds should raise that as well, but send the majority of it to the states to use on their regular roads. With this approach, it encourages movement away from imported oil, while allowing real improvements to our infrastrucutres, esp. bridges, dam, roads, etc.

Re:Steven Chu, Physics, and Politics. (2)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about a year and a half ago | (#42769905)

Though I do agree we need more scientists in cabinet positions, his banner solution to global warming was painting rooftops white.

Good riddance to him.

Re:Steven Chu, Physics, and Politics. (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | about a year and a half ago | (#42770457)

Right, because that one thing that press and commentards chose to fasten on to like pit bulls was his only idea.

Painting buildings and vehicles white is such a no-brainer in a hot climate that it's barely worth commenting on before implementing, let alone sardonic eye rolling.

Re:Steven Chu, Physics, and Politics. (1)

amightywind (691887) | about a year and a half ago | (#42772745)

This tool should be jailed for life for his crony green energy programs. Gas was $1.80 when he came to office. It is $3.50 now.

More Ph.D. in governemnt! (1)

darth_borehd (644166) | about a year and a half ago | (#42767111)

I am sad to hear he is going.

I want all high ranking officials in my government to have doctorates.

Re:More Ph.D. in governemnt! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42767605)

Given Ph.D can also stand for "piled higher and deeper" I'd say the Washington crowd has it covered particularly well.

Re:More Ph.D. in governemnt! (1)

godrik (1287354) | about a year and a half ago | (#42769069)

Maybe not, we want some actual work to get done! :)

Re:More Ph.D. in governemnt! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42770667)

You have obviously never worked with faculty in a research university. I have and found that level of education is not highly correlated with intelligence, and inversely related to any shred of knowledge about how to do ANYTHING efficiently.

Re:More Ph.D. in governemnt! (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year and a half ago | (#42770679)

and certainly for positions over technical arenas.

Need more information (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42767249)

Nobody can tell whether Chu went along with Obama on all the corruption or not but Obama and Chu. We know he headed up nuclear power research for the USA before he was chosen. With Chu at the head of energy this administration has bankrolled the first two nuclear power plants in 30 years. No insurance company or anybody else would touch nuclear power because it produces so much radioactive contaminants only a government can take "responsibility". Chu also was responsible for making sure drilling for natural gas went ahead as fast as it possibly could. Anything "green" did not get funded unless the companies donated lots of money to Obama's election. So all-in-all I'm not surprised nothing concrete is said about Chu and why he is leaving. I guess his legacy will have to be vague like "inventing new materials that can absorb sunlight or split water". Something that has been done by numerous people already in numerous ways.

Re:Need more information (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42769495)

No insurance company or anybody else would touch nuclear power because it produces so much radioactive contaminants only a government can take "responsibility"

The problem wasn't getting insurance to cover spills and accidents, as the clean up funds are not that large of a portion of the cost of constructing a new plant. The problem is simple return on investment and predicting future costs of electricity. It is a large chunk of money to put in one basket, and investors didn't want to invest that much money with the risk of the cost of power not growing fast enough to catch up to what they wanted to pay back the investment. Nuclear is not as cheap as some people make it out to be.

Legendary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42767697)

Oh yes, trying to solve problems and working with those who know how to solve said problems....absolutely brilliant. Are there any Nobel Peace prizes left over?

Re:Legendary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42771285)

Given the level of effort required for that peace prize, the committee has definitely been on a downward spiral.

Good, maybe they'll fire his son (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42767941)

he's managed to wreck two projects at NASA AMES

He's tired. (3, Funny)

boddhisatva (774894) | about a year and a half ago | (#42768157)

No energy left.

BECAUSE: Epic Fail (3, Informative)

N8F8 (4562) | about a year and a half ago | (#42768593)

First the billions of taxpayer money spent on BS renewable energy companies then a failure to move nuclear power forward. Better to have hired a Finance expert.

http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2013/0130/Georgia-nuclear-power-plant-could-be-Solyndra-redux-report-says [csmonitor.com]

Epic Genious (1)

bussdriver (620565) | about a year and a half ago | (#42769533)

I hope they pick another genius Scientist to help save the world. People don't realize how these positions work-- politics is about eating shit for a living and being pleasant while doing it. He wasn't a politician so he didn't have to enjoy it but he had to eat plenty of shit regardless because that is how it works. The man did a great deal of good while facing a huge system bent on our destruction and more powerful than even a president... or for that matters the majority of the public has no real power when it comes to our big problems we as a nation and the global problems the world faces today. Most energy secretaries don't know jack about energy and are connected to the wrong industries as business men -- who are not suited to government which is NOT a business except for the parts involving dodging blame and taking credit for successes from underlings.

Solyndra was a small loan that banks wouldn't back because they'd lose if it went bankrupt that is how that program functioned and it had a better loan record than most investors do. (If you don't realize it was a small loan then you need to lower your IQ by 10 points.) What I find funny about it is how little the donation amounts were to Obama and how massive they were to Bush and Republicans who started the Solyndra loan process under Bush. The company wasn't a massive fraud it was attempting to take a superior solar technology and make it CHEAPLY when China was dumping billions into subsidizing their cheap solar to put everybody else out of business. We didn't subsidize our solar or tariff theirs this was just a small loan to something with a HUGE potential payoff.

As for the nuclear plants-- those are always stupid; unless you can manage them properly which the USA can't privately or publicly... well, except the military that public org handles it's nuclear power just fine. Next gen nuke power never happens and I dismiss all talk of that because it hasn't been done its not that we won't build it it is because nobody is building something that isn't there yet. Meanwhile solar tech is cheaper than nuclear power without our subsidies (china lowered price remember) and nuke power is always heavily subsidized.

Re:Epic Genious (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year and a half ago | (#42770665)

First off, Solyndra was not just a small loan, but had China not been illegal in their actions, then Solyndra, and others, would still be alive. It was the illegal actions of China that killed these companies.

Secondly, why do you claim that nukes are not well managed here? We have not done a good job of promoting it anymore, which is a horrible mistake, but I do not see failures going. And solar remains MUCH more expensive than nukes. In fact, At this time. I think that Thorium will actually be as cheap or cheaper than NG.
And what is more important, is that the last thing that we want is to even think that we can base our economy on just solar/wind. Both would be easy to kill by simple weather changes. So, any nations whose military is working hard on weather control would have an effective weapon. In addition, a super volcano erupting, say Yellowstone, would have a real detrimental impact on our output right when we need it most.

Re:Epic Genious (1)

Sarius64 (880298) | about a year and a half ago | (#42771297)

Yes, I was just commenting the other day that we need to make more solar-powered carriers to maintain seapower into the century.

Re:Epic Genious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42773111)

how about placing solar panels on our nuclear reactors, so they can operate off the grid?

Re:BECAUSE: Epic Fail (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year and a half ago | (#42770653)

So, 1 company that is devoted to Alternative energy, and another one that is opposed to Nuclear Energy (though not against fossil fuel) are saying that this is being done wrong. Yeah, totally makes sense to me.

Abominable Chue Recedes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42768659)

Easily the greatest misfit to ever be a US Cabinet Secretary.

Squandered billions of US Taxpayer's dollars.

Gained a nice and comfy salary and now comfy healthcare and retirement benefits for life.

Almost destroyed his greatest enemy, Fermi Lab.

Perhaps justice will still be done the the US Courts.

Let Abominable Chue Die.

Re:Abominable Chue Recedes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42771833)

But, but, but, but, China and Bush and some Republican is a dumbass commenting on rape. We had to squander that money!

Chink Chue (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42769457)

Should never have been born nor lived.

Now, every citizen of the U.S.A. has to pay for his healthcare and lavish retirement and pension.

The U.S.A. lost the battle on this one big time.

God damn that guy was good for America. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42769485)

We should all thankful for him. Without him citizens would have been left to the wolves.

The Chu Legacy - (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42769759)

Several dead electric car start-ups strangled by the DOE loan program and its moving goalposts, solar power ripoffs on the taxpayer's dime funneled into Democratic congressional districts, the meek and empty words of a typical academic, and little to no actual progress toward improved energy technology and infrastructure. The man was worse than useless, he tarnished the DOE's name even worse than it already had been, and just because he has a PhD after his name doesn't mean he was fit for the job. Good riddance, back to the ivory tower with him.

The Drone Ranger (3, Funny)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | about a year and a half ago | (#42770321)

Steven Chu was a Nobel Prize Winner. Clearly Obama has gone power-mad and demanded that Chu build him an Army of Super Drones powered by the Arc Reactor in Iron Man. Chu refused, and when Obama threatened him Chu resigned in protest. Truth is Chu didn't do it on principal. He did it because the Arc Reactor is impossible and Iron Man is just a movie, but how could he explain that to a lawyer? Now as Steven Chu drives back takes the long and lonely drive back to St. Louis, if he looked in his rear vision mirror, he might see a star. A star closer than it should be, following him. The Drone Lord does not take "No" for an answer. TO BE CONTINUED...

PS. This is a joke.

So is this: "Obama Begins Inauguration Festivities With Ceremonial Drone Flyover" http://www.theonion.com/articles/obama-begins-inauguration-festivities-with-ceremon,30974/ [theonion.com]
So are these: "Obama’s CIA pick calls drone attacks ‘ethical and just’" http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/02/01/czar-of-the-drones/ [macleans.ca] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/07/john-brennan-cia-drones-obama [guardian.co.uk]

Too bad. I had high hopes for him (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year and a half ago | (#42770625)

Chu was actually one of the brighter energy secretary that we have had. As such, I was hoping that he was going to push Obama to start a fund for thorium reactors. We have effectively shut down our storage of 'nuclear waste', so this is sitting at sites that are looking to shut down their reactors. If we create multiple companies with thorium reactors that can use this 'waste' as well, we can simply add these new reactors on-site and then burn up 95% of this 'waste'. Note that these current sites already have cooling, transmissions, land, etc. IOW, they are already well situation to handle nuclear power. So, it is ideal for a company to add these reactors, and then while making profits on them, tear down the old reactors.

Too bad he got ground down (1)

Sporkinum (655143) | about a year and a half ago | (#42771791)

Illegitimi non carborundum

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