Many in the England of 1850 felt the same way, despite the bust in railroad stocks. To demonstrate that faith they organized what we now call the first World's Fair, the 1851 "Crystal Palace Exhibition," now seen as the first high point of the Victorian Era.

But I didn't have to travel to enjoy my own Crystal Palace experience. I just went online and searched Google News with the keywords, "renewable energy breakthrough.
  • Virginia Tech researchers say they can harvest large amounts of hydrogen from any plant. Hydrogen can then be "burned" in a fuel cell; its pollutant is called water.
  • A Canadian startup called Firewater Fuel has developed a system for making cheap catalysts with abundant, non-toxic materials that can cut the cost of producing hydrogen from water.
  • A Wyoming company called Nitroturbodyne has patented an efficient system for storing and releasing energy using liquid nitrogen.

I found all these stories, none of which I had covered before, in the space of 10 minutes online.

Whenever you are tempted to be pessimistic about the future, try this exercise in the field of your choice. Your Crystal Palace exhibition awaits, and you will be changed by it.

At the time of publication, the author was long AAPL.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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