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Friday, July 31, 2015


What credentials do I have to make political and technological predictions?  For the former, I worked in the U.S. Senate for three years and seven years ago in my very first Huffington Post article, I predicted that Barack Obama would both prevail over Hillary Clinton, then go on the become the 44th President of the USA.  True, he did not listen and ignored my 10% solution for eternal world peace, but that's beside the point.

About technology, I have a PhD in biochemical engineering, and in addition to being a professor of engineering, I've worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on laser fusion, the NASA Ames Research Center on the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence and ran a geothermal program on the Big Island of Hawaii that was scuttled by Hawaiian and partner protestors.  My staff also has been stopped by ocean environmentalists from doing research in the sea and forty years ago ran afoul of the Audubon Society, hoteliers and their protestors to install a wind energy conversion system at Kahuku on the island of Oahu.  But I can understand those views that killed my programs because all the while I was, effectively, the campus ecologist, teaching courses in Technology and Society and running the Environmental Center.

If nothing else, I learned that you must begin the planning process by involving all the stakeholders, including environmentalists and potential social critics.  There has been a tendency for project developers to foist on the general public major enterprises, because by then the effort would be too far along to stop.

So steeped with all that experience and acumen, here are my latest predictions:
  • Hillary Clinton will prevail over Jeb Bush on 8 November 2016.  The margin of victory will be almost a landslide if Donald Trump runs as a third party candidate.
    • How did Bill Clinton beat George H.W. Bush in 1992 with only 43% of the popular vote? Ross Perot got 19%.
    • The year 2000 was a strange election.  Not only did Al Gore beat George W. Bush 48.38% to 47.87%, but Ralph Nader got 2.74%.  No Nader and Al Gore would have become president, if you run the numbers by expected votes in key states.
  • Both the 4 meter Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope on Haleakala and 30 Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea will be built.  The outer housing for the Dan has already been constructed.  The TMT effort will be messy, but first seeing almost to the beginning of time should occur around 2026.  One concern is that some irrational element of the opposition could well end up exploding a bomb in the $1.5 billion facility.  How this would happen would be an inside job, something all nuclear power plants today fear.  However, all these delays have made the TMT essentially obsolete.  The 39.3 meter European Extremely Large Telescope (right) is already under construction on top of Cerro Amazons in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, with first light expected to occur in 2024.  EELT will have almost twice (1.71) the area of the TMT.
  • Malaysian Air 370 will never be found.  That wing component will be shown to have been part of the that plane, but that only insures for the fact that it crashed in the Indian Ocean where they have been searching all these past 17 months.  For insurance purposes, though, this piece of flotsam evidence might well mean that the maximum $175,000 payment/person could well be significantly magnified.
Hurricane Guillermo is up to 90 MPH, will strengthen into a Category 3, head straight for the Big Island, maybe, but weaken before landfall:

North or south, chances are that some wind and a lot of rain will arrive in a week.

In the West Pacific, Tropical Storm Soudelar will become at least a Category 3 typhoon and move towards Okinawa:


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