This x-ray control panel was built in 1921 by Victor, which was eventually acquired by GE and later became GE Medical Systems.
when did EV's outsell gasoline cars?
All this Article does is highlight what we've all known for a very long time. The technology that could really make a difference in the world is intentionally held back for profit. Solar technology is over 60 years old and we aren't doing much better with it, Fuel cells same thing, decades old technology, and the same thing with electric vehicles. Yet we've managed to take the computer from something the size of several office buildings to the iPad in the same amount of time.
My crazy Dad used to say stupid stuff like GM is hiding the 100mpg carb and such too.
The problem is, all inventions have to have some profit motivation. Either by real cost to return or at least faux return. You simply can not take a current silicon based PV and ever get the amount of energy you used to make it.
Go ahead, ask a professor at any university that is working on this task. Everyone is trying to beat this and until we get much better returns from PV's they will simply remain a portable battery. Like any battery you pay a lot for it's energy.
Now, in many places the solar heat is a fantastic way to use energy right now and for a profit. Spain is working on some of the best examples of how to create energy from the sun at a sustainable rate.
@enviroguy27: In the late 19th-century. This is not a joke. The internal combustion engine was not yet especially reliable and/or efficient at that time.
@cobaltblue1975: Just out of curiosity, I must present you with the same questions I usually ask people who bring up this "they are keeping back this important technology" conspiracy theory.
How would GE profit from holding back technologies that could potentially outperform traditional, fossil fuel based technologies? I just don't understand the rationale here. Of course, one could speculate that the petrochemical corporations could gain an advantage from this kind of arrangament. But what's in it for GE? Not much, if anything.
The problem with fuel-cell technology today boils essentially down to three main issues. Cost, efficiency and safety. Until recently, the raw-materials needed for fuel-cells have been very expensive, which means that a fuel cell of sufficient efficiency to run, say, a car would be very expensive. And, of course, while fuel-cells in themselves are quite safe, pressurized hydrogen is not. You really, REALLY do not want to have a pressurized tank containing 50 to 100 lbs. of hydrogen in your car.
Electrochemical battery was the first thing I thought of when that alkaline based lifeform was discovered in California. To those who need a conspiracy, when it was announced in the news and I had blogged that this was something that gave me ideas someone said, 'like what?' When I told that person that this was one of the holy grails of energy research, I was not kidding. If they'd have had it first, it would have been developed first. But if you need a conspiracy, you might ask; was that lifeform really discovered, or was it developed and put there? Heh heh.
Do you realize that you've contradicted your own point- that the technology is "held back for profit"- and in the same utterance "...Yet we've managed to take the computer from something the size of several office buildings to the iPad in the same amount of time."
So is it your contention that the Computer industry is holding back technology for some speculation on future profits as well?
Here is reality- we've gone from "Necessity being the mother of invention" to just the opposite- invention is now the mother of necessity. Case in point- the LASER. When it was invented it was a "solution looking for a problem". Some of these technologies in this slideshow are similar- we're not talking building better mousetraps here. The profits are in innovation and getting that innovation into marketable products as soon as possible.
The technology that could really make a difference in the world is intentionally held back for war, not profit.
Cool. Entertaining. Not much more to say about this gallery.
Pop Sci ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!
Some of GE's biggest success are in this gallery.
Pop Sci ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!
If you want to see technology held back just look at technology retailers. This month is the 16GB thumb drive. They can make a 32GB thumb drive for about the same cost but the retailers (wholesalers?) will hold them abck until the maximum profit is reaped from the 16GB versions. Then suddenly they are cheap and the 32GB versions are the same price the 16GB versions were.
Look up Kodak. They did the same thing. Shelved technology until their current technology was all played out.
Chevron did that with the NiMH batteries that Toyota was using for their RAV4-EV earlier this decade. GM decided they weren't going to build EVs so they sold their interest in the Ovionics (battery supplier) to Chevron who promptly went after Toyota and Panasonic who had licensed the battery design but hoped that their improvements to the technology would make their battery legally "different" from the Ovionics battery. Wonder where we'd be with our EVs if the NiMH battery had been marketed for the past ten years and improved upon.
LikeCobaltBlue1975 said - look how technology has rushed forward on computers and cellphones. And so many other consumer goods. I'm not buying the idea that solar panel technology and EV batteries are at the end of their potential development.
If the money and effort was put into these technologies we'd be driving 500 miles per charge and solar panels would be making much more power with the same amount of sunlight. All it would take would be massive adoption of the technologies just like personal computers and cellphones. Suddenly advances would begin taking root from hundreds of little successes in labs around the globe.
The problem is that advances in green power generation and storage would slay somebody's cash cow and there is plenty of money inhibiting green tech from making too many big strides too quickly. And no we'll never hear about it unless there is a Wikileak style breach b/c they want it that way.
Imagine if our government had put the trillions of dollars spent on the three Iraqi wars (funding Hussein against Iran, Desert Storm I and II), the two wars in Afghanistan (with the Taliban and against them), and the current war in Libya - - - imagine if our government had spent that money here at home truly trying to help our country be energy self-sufficient. We'd have jobs, we'd hopefully be building our own technology rather than buying it from Chinese factories, and our rooftops would have solar on it, our shorelines making power with wind, and our national fleet of private cars would be part electric.
Unfortunately I don't think the powers in D.C. have any real interest in these kinds of directions. Doesn't matter whether we are talking left or right - it's the same goals of the ruling class - making lots of money for themselves. They just come in two different wrappers to gather us voters into two easily managed camps.
Back in the 60's my Dad worked for Texaco. One of the people he worked with bought a brand new car (cant remember the brand). He went on vacation and drove to Florida on one tank of gas. Thats at least 1100 miles. When he got back, there was a letter in his mail box from the manufacturer telling him they wanted their car back. Apparently somehow he got a prototype vehicle. Talk about holding back technology.
to: masterG -- What Cobaltblue1975 is saying is that when corporations profit more by not advancing, refining, and proliferating a new technology that would benefit the common man, they bury it. GE is far from the worst example of this. Like oil companies that buy solar cell manufacturing companies to ensure they don't go anywhere.
But the silver lining is that we can do what we did with the computer with fuel cells, solar cells, battery technology, nuclear power, and many other areas. We can move forward. All it takes is vision and leadership and a desire to benefit the common good.
And let's not forget that while progress can be frustratingly slow, good news abounds. LED lights are now coming out. Battery powered cars are now on the market, and you can purchase a solar power system for your house that will pay for itself within a decade. We are making (painfully slow) headway, but headway nonetheless. Let's just keep things moving forward and maybe we can start slowing down climate change before it ruins any chance for future generations to have a comfortable life.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.
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