March 12, 2004
Watt to Wahhabi: Use Less Oil, Make Less Terrorism
BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
In 1712, Thomas Newcomen, a British blacksmith, built the first piston-driven steam engine. Steam was pumped into a cylinder and condensed with cold water to create a vacuum. The vacuum forced the piston downward. James Watt, a Scottish engineer considered the Father of the steam engine, made some critical improvements in 1763. Watt substantially increased the steam engine’s efficiency by adding valves to the piston cylinder. Power was, then, able to be created in both directions. The power, of course, was provided by steam made external to the cylinder from coal.
In 1859 a French engineer, Lenoir, built the first continuously operating spark-ignition internal combustion engine. The power to drive the piston downward and turn a crankshaft was created by a spark igniting a fuel and air mixture inside the cylinder. A few years later, in 1876, Nicolaus Otto, a German inventor, developed the first four-stroke internal combustion engine.
After 300 years, today’s automobile engines operate identically to those original piston-driven designs. Many refinements have been made in metallurgy, computer controlled injection systems, valve performance, etc. But, the engines still run on the same principles that require burning fossil fuel to work.
More than one-quarter of the world’s proven oil reserves lie in one country -- the Arab kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy from which the U.S. imports about 2 million barrels of oil each day. At $30 per barrel, we are sending $22 billion annually into that country.
The king of Saudi Arabia, Abd al Aziz of the ruling Al Saud family is said to be descended from Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab. In 1744, Wahhab founded a fundamentalist Muslim movement that reinforces parochial practices and called for a jihad, or Holy War, against anyone not following strict Wahhabi teachings.
Today, all Saudi children are schooled in Wahhabi teachings. These teachings include communally performed prayer five times a day and modest dress, especially by women. Wahhabism forbids use of alcohol, tobacco and other stimulants. Music, dancing, laughing and weeping have also been forbidden at times. Wahhabism maintains a community of morals enforcers to assure adherence to these rules.
Although slavery in Saudi Arabia wasn’t abolished until 1962, as a result of pressure from the West, disapproving attitudes towards Western licentiousness and lack of values are inculcated in Saudis from childhood. It should not be surprising that the leaders of Muslim terrorist organizations are all Saudis. The U.S. government claims these groups are funded by drug trafficking and, even honey sales. In fact, they are funded by the billions of dollars we spend on Saudi oil.
How do you stop terrorism? Stop buying Saudi oil. How do you eliminate the need for oil? Replace the internal combustion engine. There is no concerted effort to develop revolutionary technology. There are only half-baked hybrids coming down the pike.
Annually, we are spending hundreds of billions of dollars on defense. The dollars spent on researching new battery technology or nitrogen fuel cell energy are minimal by comparison. Spending an extra few billion dollars in the engineering and science departments of our universities would go a long way toward improving our national security and the environment.
It shouldn’t take 300 years to come up with a new engine. Everyone knows of the progress made in computing power each year. It is outrageous that our basic engine technology pre-dates the Revolutionary War.
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
Eli Fishman is the owner CAPE SHOE CO., manufacturers of Union-Made in USA shoes and boots.
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