Innovation starvation

Neal Stephenson is my favorite author of speculative fiction.  Cryptonomicon and Snow Crash launched him to cult status among those of us who consumed mass quantities of  Herbert, Heinlein, Pournelle, Clarke and Asimov and introducing new converts to thought-provoking science futurism.  This post on the World Policy Journal’s website by Stephenson encapsulates a lot of the philosophy that animates the promise and future of green technology.   The opening paragraph resonates with those of us of a certain age:

My lifespan encompasses the era when the United States of America was capable of launching human beings into space. Some of my earliest memories are of sitting on a braided rug before a hulking black-and-white television, watching the early Gemini missions. This summer, at the age of 51—not even old—I watched on a flatscreen as the last Space Shuttle lifted off the pad.  I have followed the dwindling of the space program with sadness, even bitterness.  Where’s my donut-shaped space station? Where’s my ticket to Mars? Until recently, though, I have kept my feelings to myself. Space exploration has always had its detractors. To complain about its demise is to expose oneself to attack from those who have no sympathy that an affluent, middle-aged white American has not lived to see his boyhood fantasies fulfilled.