Updated: 5/16/2006; 11:17:09 AM.

Ken Novak's Weblog
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daily link  Thursday, November 27, 2003


Energy Efficient System for Desalination of Sea-water: "Clean water is becoming scarce and until now the cost of desalination has been a barrier to exploiting seawater. However, a Danish company, HOH Water Supply (HOH), specialising in water technology, has overcome this barrier and invented a new method, which halves the energy consumption of desalination plants. The method, based on existing membrane technology, makes it possible to recycle 95% of the pressure used for pumping sea water through the membrane system. Thus the energy consumption at the desalination plant's pumps and operations are cut from about 7 kWh/m3 of water to 3-4 kWh/m3 of desalinated water. The new Energy Recovery System (ERS) has been developed by an independent engineer in co-operation with HOH. "  9:57:23 AM  permalink  

Economic Consequences of the War on Terrorism:  "Terrorism has many roots, some in poverty, some in religious fundamentalism, some in other forms of extremism, some in the lack of political voice by people such as Palestinians or Chechnians. These can be addressed, in different ways in different places, but if they are the enemies then there is little chance of final victory. In the search for something achievable, subsidiary goals - such as regime change in Iraq - may be pursued. But they also create new problems and therefore do not necessarily take us closer to the ultimate goal. In its haste and hubris, the US may set itself up to be defeated by declaring war on such a multi-headed and complex enemy. That was the Vietnam story.

In this interconnected world, the rest of us may suffer significant collateral damage from US actions that we have very little power to influence. ..

In this world of a sole superpower, what can constrain the US in pursuing foreign policy goals that may be inimical to its western allies? Clearly not Europe's combined military might, even if we could manage to harness it to a common European foreign and security policy. The very limited political appetite in Europe for higher defence spending means that bargaining with the US on that score will never get us very far. A large survey taken in June of this year by the German Marshall Fund found that while 70% of Europeans favoured the EU becoming a superpower alongside the US, support plummeted to just 36% if that role meant spending more on defence. (Financial Times 04.09.03)

This leads me to conclude – perhaps paradoxically - that the most effective constraints on US foreign policy are likely to be its own domestic ones. .. In a poll last summer, US voters were asked what would be most important in determining their vote for president next year. Forty-eight percent said the economy, 23% said the course of the war on terror and 24% said they rated both issues equally..

The economic implications of the current US foreign policy direction make it politically unsustainable. It will have to change direction, either by committing itself to multilateralism in a way that brings allies on board for the long haul of the war on terrorism, or by blundering towards an eventual abandonment of the strategy, as happened in Vietnam 30 years ago. ..

I doubt that many Americans realise that the EU countries together contribute more than twice as much aid to developing countries as the US does. It is time to recast the old Cold War concepts of ‘burden sharing' to fit the 21st century scourge of global terrorism. "

  7:34:09 AM  permalink  

 

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Last update: 5/16/2006; 11:17:09 AM.