My Thoughts on energy

A friend of mine asked me to answer the following questions regarding energy policy. Here are my responses :

What are your thoughts about the “energy crisis”? Does one still exist?

Most energy literate people would argue that there are many tangible solutions to our so called current energy crisis. As far as I know from my knowledge of the US power grid, anyone that needs electricity and is willing to pay for it can receive it. Gasoline is still readily available, and so is natural gas for heating. In a literal sense I do not believe a energy crisis exist. Our energy crisis is not a physical thing, it is a political crisis.

How will we fuel the future? Do you ever think about it? Why/why not?

The fuel of the future will be a combination of solar, nuclear, wind, and hydroelectric power that are renewable and clean sources of energy. I leave natural gas out of the fold, because natural gas while clean is not renewable. I do think about how we will meet our energy needs in the future constantly. I think we need to be cautious towards advocating for one type of renewable energy over the other. For instance, many advocates of solar energy, say the sun is a free source of energy. While that may be inherently true, that sunlight does not cost anything, the materials required to build a solar voltaic cell do require non-renewable natural resources. In some cases, the energy put into building a solar voltaic cell may never be recovered. Similary, nuclear power is renewable and clean energy, but storage of nuclear waste is problematic. Wind power seems to have the least drawbacks, yet it would be impossible with modern technology to feasibly generate more than 20% of the US’s total power needs. I think about it a lot because I’m taking power courses and I do think that I as an electrical engineer will play a large part in figuring out society’s energy needs in the following decades to come.

What do you think about mid-eastern oil supplies and Iraq with regards to energy policy?

Considering the United States considers certain mid-eastern oil suppliers like Iran to be hostile to American interests. One would imagine it would be in our best interests to fund research into renewable energy. Iraq is a hotly debated item, I won’t get into the reasons why I think the war is just or not, I’ll leave that to the philosophy majors. I will say if and only if America is able to keep Iraq stable, we might get a better deal on the oil trapped under the sands there. As I have already pointed out renewable energy is the long-term answer to our energy issues, however Iraq just might be pivotal to our currency energy policy which requires huge imports of foreign oil. I think George Bush’s legacy will be tied to how influential Iraq becomes in our energy policies.

What about the record high oil and natural gas prices and now their huge drop?

To be honest any literate person will tell you that OPEC the cartel which sets oil prices is looking for the best deal for the members of its cartel. The irony of course is, cartels are illegal in the United States. My point being is oil prices are artificially inflated whenever our suppliers want them to be, and of course gasoline prices are directly proportional to rising gas prices. Now if you notice, when the international finance markets went down gas prices did too, and OPEC in response to the drop, decided it need to cut production. Obviously, that’s the only way to keep gas prices up and drive up profits. I think until we find alternative forms of drive-trains for cars such as running them purely on electricity or fuel-cell vehicles, we will be held hostage to OPEC.

All of the above are intellectual property of Shawn Adderly.


Obama and Illinois and Asian Americans

I was extremely happy to watch the inauguration of Barack Obama, it was very exciting to see America finally moving forward on many fronts. Science, the environment, and political discourse, today finally got a break. Millions around the world witness the 44th peaceful transition of power to an African-American for the first time. What a remarkable accomplishment almost 43 years after the civil rights movement, and 143 years after the Civil War. Barack who was born to a white mother, and African father, without any high society connections became the most powerful man in the world today. Barack was also a guy who choose to take unconventional paths, and shunned some of the best offers a lawyer could dream of, and choose to become a community organizer. The rest is of course American history.

Now I promise I’d talk about Asian Americans, Eric Shinseki, the first Japanese American to become a four-star general, and the first Asian American to lead a branch of the armed forces, was confirmed unanimously for Obama’s cabinet as Secretary of Veteran Affairs. Here’s a guy who challenged Bush got fired basically, and because of his ability to stand up for what he believed in was rewarded. Another now prominent Asian American in politics, second-generation Chinese American Steven Chu a Nobel-prize winning physicist was appointed to be secretary of energy. Chu himself took an unconventional path, he was rejected by all Ivy league schools and still went on to win the Nobel Prize. Now he has become the top scientist in the Obama administration. Although not Asian Patti Solis Doyle deserves honorable mention as becoming the first Hispanic woman to be in charge of a political campaign for president, and the first Hispanic chief of staff for Hillary Clinton.

The point is, we live in pretty exciting times, I think because if you look around the Democratic Party you see Asian Americans, African-Americans, and Hispanic Americans moving into mainstream politics. Now you have to ask yourself how come the republican party isn’t as inclusive, why does the republican party shun diversity, and if you wish to argue with me about this. That argument would be very hard to carry. One thing you should note is all the people above broke societal conventions, they did not worry about playing by the rules or worry about making profit, they worried about what was right. And in the end that’s all I think matters.

One World

Please someone get this title.I’ve flown over 100,000 miles on American Airlines (AA), so it’s not an unusual feeling that I expect better service being a frequent flier. Sure I don’t have to pay the baggage fees, and my luggage comes out first with the first class luggage. I occasionally get upgraded to first class, but I like to avoid the first class cabin since I sometimes feel uncomfortable flying in first class, an contradictory statement you might say. But the customer service on American Airlines is horrible. So, let’s recap the reason why I’m writing this. Yesterday I checked in online for my flight to Champaign. However, I have two checked bags so I usually go to the first/business class counter or electronic check in whichever happens to be faster. I usually get into the priority first/business/crew security line to quickly go through security thanks to my status on AA. Anyway the point, so I checked in around 7:05 AM with the luggage, after my dad dropped me and my mom off, while he parked. It took him until 7:30 to find a parking spot at MIA. I didn’t want to leave without saying bye to my dad. So I waited and he came to concourse C, and I said bye to my parents. I got to the gate around 7:50, and I looked down at my watch the flight was scheduled to depart at 8:05 so I went up to the gate for boarding, and the gate agent (only in Miami) remarks to me, your S.Adderly right I said yes, and she sounded upset, and leads me to the jet way quickly (HSBC ads of course all over it). And I of course sarcastically respond, and she tells me it’s important we have a on-time departure,so we get into the jet way and there’s a huge line of people waiting to the board the plane, since everyone is trying to stuff every last piece of luggage in the overheard compartment, and I continue to sarcastically talk to the gate agent who has printed out the flight manifest once I arrived. I admit I’ve had some really good service on AA from time to time, but the bad service does stick out to you.


I expect only one person will get the title, thats just the way this one works, oh well. I took a leave of absence from my blog for the past few weeks. Happy 2009 if I haven’t spoken to some of you. I was out of the country for a week, you can look at the pictures I took from Belize and Guatemala here. I don’t mind returning to the state of Illinois, but the weather does not look so great up there. Some thoughts for the new year. Many people ask me how I know so much about so many topics from time to time. Well, I read about whatever interests me, everyday. I haven’t read any full-length books over break, I actually don’t really enjoy reading novels that much. I prefer non-fiction when I do read full-length books.

My thoughts on college 2 1/2 years in, are just keep a low-key persona, let people believe what they want, enjoy what you do. I’m glad with the people I’ve met. I happened to be lucky enough to run across a person or two who have a real appreciation of learning, and like to look at the big picture.

I guess the people that irk me the most, are the ones that never sit down and say “well what if I did that, yea its not quite the norm, but it’s worth a try.” Some people I’ve met also try so hard to stand out with their own quirks and try to talk about things they don’t fully grasps. And when it comes down to the facts and putting yourself on the line and fighting for what you believe in, people usually go MIA. In high school I saw this as a problem during the election year, of course most people I knew were a “die-hard liberals”, who could only say, “Oh yea I’m really liberal that’s why I support Kerry.” I think it is fair to say I had such a good grasp on the underlying issues and ideas, that I got bored talking to wannabe political hacks, and that pretty much why I started picking up debates with people like Dr.Regalado that could gie me a challenge. Luchy and Mohamed can vouch for me here. Although I must say Luchy has now turned into a Political Hack (a real one), and I’m in peril if she brings up certain topics. I’ve even been in a few yelling matches with Regalado, I think I’ve only won one of those, he significantly destroyed all my arguments. In academia everything is suppose to be debatable, so question everything relentlessly.

So I was listening to Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons earlier. They were pretty good back in the day, I’d like to see Jersey Boys sometime.