As long as we’re talking about ancestors …

Why is the federal government spending money encouraging young students to study electrical power generation?

The power companies desperately need a jolt of youthful energy. The industry and the creaky distribution system it manages are on the cusp of a major technological overhaul just as about half of electric utility employees are expected to retire in the next 5 to 10 years.

Last spring, the energy secretary, Steven Chu, awarded $100 million in stimulus money to 54 training programs in the smart grid aimed at high school and college students around the country. “Building and operating smart grid infrastructure will put tens of thousands of Americans to work,” Mr. Chu said at the time. “Today’s investment will help ensure that we have the work force in place to meet this need.”

My great-grandfather, John Caldwell, arrived from Ireland  in 1861, just in time to enlist in the Union Army, where he served in the Pennsylvania 61st with George and Herman Westinghouse. After the war, he joined the brothers in Pittsburgh, where George figured out AC current (and defeated Edison’s direct current) while Caldwell handled the financing.

My point is that a trio of young men managed all this without any help from the government. Modern day examples of this same triumph might be Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and, before them, Bill Hewitt and Dave Packard.

In fact, do you know a single example of our government promoting and jump starting a single industry, other than the welfare force and the Teachers Union? I don’t.

10 Comments

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10 responses to “As long as we’re talking about ancestors …

  1. John

    Chris;
    There’s more actually, the smart grid concept is as real as global warming.

    John

  2. pulled up in OG

    Yeah, the whole friggin’ military-industrial complex.
    GPS navigation
    Satellite communication
    Tang : )

  3. Anonymous

    “As long as we’re talking about ancestors …”

    We? Unless you mean the royal we, CF, who else but you is talking about ancestors here?

    I can’t blame you for bragging about your own illustrious ancestors on your blog, but please don’t accuse us members of your faithful flock here of doing the same unless you can point out specific examples.

  4. Jack Martin

    Start on April 10, 179 with the creation of the US Patent Office.

    “On April 10, 1790, President George Washington signed the bill which laid the foundations of the modern American patent system. The U.S. patent system was unique; for the first time in history the intrinsic right of an inventor to profit from his invention is recognized by law. Previously, privileges granted to an inventor were dependent upon the prerogative of a monarch or upon a special act of a legislature.”

    Mostly everything you have is because of this one idea, laws and protections afforded the individuals who invent all that makes the modern world.

    Also the Internet that makes your blog possible is a 100% US government project.

    Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Bill Hewitt and Dave Packard make their money on a thing called intellectual property which without the Patent & Trademark office would be worth nothing.

  5. Transistors?
    Solar cells?
    GPS systems?

  6. Anonymous

    Hewlett, you mean?

    On another note– was out your way to look at homes in a neighboring town. Was with a broker I’d corresponded with by phone and email. Anyway–she asked me to sign an agreement committing me to her for 6+ months! Is this normal? I’d never even met her before. Also, the agreement stated that she would represent us even if she’s the seller’s broker too. Also, that to terminate, all parties must sign. I signed for one day only, but what I want to know is if this is standard practice? She’s at a ‘top’ firm. Is this their boilerplate agreement? She filled in the dates. Please advise, many thanks.

    p.s. Anything else I should look out for on these agreements?

  7. Anonymous

    Does medical marijuana count?
    How about NASA?

  8. JRH

    You gotta be joking. The airplane industry. The railroad industry. Large-scale industrial agriculture. The entire defense industry.