If the Ike cat story was the feel-good item of the morning, here's your Debbie Downer special. Houston, and it's energy industry, is doomed, and we just might become a new Detroit, one expert says.
"So could Houston be replaced by Japanese consumer electronics firms? Yes, easily," says Dana Blankenhorn of SmartPlanet, who has tolled the death knell for us before.
Essentially, the energy industry thinks in outdated, slow ways -- much like automakers in Detroit. Somewhere out there, an inventor is going to perfect the technology that will harness wind, solar or tidal power; the oil-based energy industries will be SOL, and Houston will crumble like an overgrown Mayan city.
To prove there's all this innovation going on, his article features a photo of a cutting-edge scientist working on producing quantum dots. He does this work at Rice University, but that's apparently irrelevant.
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The gloomy conclusion:
The future of energy lies in laboratories, on university campuses, and in clean manufacturing plants.
What will make a green energy future possible is the research-and-manufacturing process already familiar to Silicon Valley, not the discovery-and-exploitation system on which Houston is based.
You can't concentrate the necessary brain power, either. What we have learned in the last 40 years is that innovation can come from anywhere, that scouting ideas is different from scouting resources, that open systems for testing ideas are more powerful than closed, highly-capitalized laboratories.
This may be the toughest problem Houston faces. It's not about money, but about how money is deployed.
It's about the wildcatting of ideas, not leaseholds.
It's a paradigm shift in the entire business process I despair of Houston ever learning.
On the other hand, if we become the new Detroit, think of all the housing bargains!!