And, of course, it is very important that the local political classes,
and all that proceed from them be "happy". How about local law enforcement
not being required to uphold insane laws (like the majority of drug laws)
so that their limited resources could be directed against murder and
mayhem? If this were the case, I rather think they'd "need" far less
"help" from D.C. In a related note, when the Federal saviors are
prevented from passing mandate after mandate burdening local government
with things (in direct contravention of the role of the Feds v. local
govt) there would, again, be far less need for Federal "help".
Tim Daneliuk email@example.com
Actually, and you'll love this, it can be argued that we do - in the
sense that knowledge gained and research done by and through NASA has
affected our lives in ways that are far reaching and subtle. There
are a number of products on the market whose development was greatly
accelerated by and that are a direct by-product of NASA research. I'd
like to see us make advancements into space even if only to find more
planets to rape, pillage and dump our garbage on. We're running out of
room and resources here, unless you consider every square mile of dry
land seething with humans to the exclusion of all else to be a
desirable situation. Do you believe the Hubble produces some
interesting results? Try a manned moon base just across the
transition zone on the dark side of the moon. The low gravity and lack
of atmosphere and suspended contaminants lends itself to a broad
variety of scientific research projects.
But here is another reason that should satisfy the chickenhawks. Since
the dawn of the nuclear age we have had reasonably plentiful supplies
of Helium-3. A light isotope of Helium not normally occurring in much
quantity on earth naturally, it is a by product of producing tritium.
He3 is used in a variety of medical, oil and gas detection, and low
temperature quantum physics research facilities at home and abroad.
Since 9/11 the supplies of He3 have been outstripped due to the
massive proliferation of neutron detectors used to detect the movement
of plutonium and other radioactive materials. The price has gone from
$100-$200 liter to $1300-$1600 per liter and sales overseas are on a
DOE/DHS approved basis - the majority of the 60,000 liters/annum being
reserved by the DOE for research projects which are funded by "certain
specific agencies of the US government." Researchers around the world
have invested massive capitol into building facilities, such as the
$1.3 billion J-PARC in Japan, which now cannot be supplied with the
needed He3. Even dilution refrigerator manufactures cannot obtain
sufficient supplies to continue production. It is also used during the
MRI process, to touch on the subject of another current thread.
Guess what we've found in substantially higher quantities compared to
the earth on and around the moon as a by-product of the sun's
radiation and solar winds? Helium-3. We'll catch them evil-doers now.
Of course, I'm dismissing transportation and injecting ample sarcasm,
but you get the idea...
Things have changed quite a bit since the founders wrote the
Constitution. While I'm not going to even suggest that we usurp the
basic tenets of that document, this is not the same world that existed
in 1789. I believe they left sufficient wiggle room for adaptation. As
for what is not funded by the Federal government, I know quite a few
municipalities that would freak (and fold) if you told them Federal
funds were no longer available. The Federal government disburses money
to areas in need based upon needs and census. There are also numerous
Federal programs and grants which promote development of various civil
Perhaps a confusing phrase, but community power consortiums are power
boards and utilities which are owned by local governments, and thus
the people who live there, and sell power, water, sewage, gas, and
garbage service to the residents in lieu of private power/utility/gas
companies. One such example would be from Newt Gingrich's launch pad
in extremely "conservative" Marietta, GA. The Marietta Board of Lights
and Water has been an extremely successful publicly owned municipal
purveyor of services since 1906. They buy power from the grid at
competitive rates and sell to citizens at below GA Power and Cobb EMC
rates. The service is better as well as the locals know every power
pole, water pipe and transformer in their city - and have to face
their irate neighbors if service lapses.
And I do believe that the TVA, among others, qualifies as a "Federally
funded power grid." They are, in fact, a prime link in the management
of the US power grid. The TVA is one of the largest producers of
electricity in the United States and acts as a regional power grid
reliability coordinator. Most of the nation's major hydropower systems
are federally managed. It's the coal, petrochemical and nuclear plants
which are primarily private.
Controlling costs, believe it or not. Removing the impetus for fraud
and unnecessary tests in order to pad bills, stuffing hospital beds to
maintain a given profit margin, purchasing drugs at competitive rates.
Canadians can purchase a script for Liptor for $33 and yet those in
the US pay anywhere from $125 to $334. The final effect would be
remove thousands of outstretched hands that expect a cut of the cash
which flows through the health care system as it stands - which is the
root cause of much of the objections heard today. Everything else is
ginned up hysteria promoted by those who fear losing their cash cow.
Health care is not an option - you cannot simply decide to forgo a
purchase because you can't afford it as you can a new car or a
tablesaw - unless death is a valid option for you. It is a captive
market controlled by what is proving to be rank profiteers.
Additionally, acrimony aside, contrary to the private system a
government run system allows citizens to have input as to what and how
these things are run. Don't like the way things operate? You have the
option of voting the incompetents out of office. Ever try that with a
hospital, HMO, insurance company, or medical lab? Ha! Piss and moan
too much and security will toss you're ass out in the street and the
insurance company will drop your coverage, if they haven't already
refused coverage for a given procedure. Currently, insurance companies
are refusing to cover people who have headaches, mild depression, and
other routine medical ailments. Commonplace operations that are so
pedestrian that they've been performed on kitchen tables in the 1800s
are now priced so high that victims have to sell their homes, enter
bankruptcy, leech from their children just to pay the bills. The bulk
of medical care is not MRIs and brain surgeries - they are common
ailments that demand no unusual skills or treatment techniques.
Removing a bullet used to cost a few chickens and a basket of apples -
drag that into your local hospital and see how far you get...
<buncha bullshit snipped>
So, since according to you we _need_ NASA to live, how is that in the
approximately 99,950 years that elapsed between the birth of the first human
and the founding of NASA, humanity did not become extinct due to lack of
<buncha more bullshit snipped>
So, what does it cost to make two tons a year of it by fusion or in particle
accelerators? What does it cost to mine 200 million tons a year of lunar
If the idea is that someone is a loon, then, yeah, I'm getting it. And how
is any of what you describe essential to life?
However the specific provisions of the Constitution have not changed. If
you want to change it, change it. Ignoring it is a dangerous path.
That's true. It was not ruled by whining do-gooders with their hands out
Which municipalities would those be? And which funds?
In other words they businesses that have the power of government.
You can believe anything you want to but if TVA is Federally funded it's
news to them.
By what mechanism?
By what mechanism would the goverment operating as an insurer bring all this
That's nice. Would anybody have even bothered to develop it for that price?
Which "hands" would be removed by the government acting as an insurance
When the Post Office stops bombarding me with junk mail get back to me.
And where, and when, exactly, has this resulted in improvement?
So how will the government acting as insurer change any of this?
And the government acting as insurance company will change this how?
If all the people on earth were stacked up like cordwood, they would fit in
a cubic mile. (1 person = 10 cu ft, 1 cubic mile = 147 billion cu ft = 15
billion people per cu mile - allowing for some wiggle room)
If all the people of earth were living in an area with the population
density of Hong Kong, they would fit in Mauritania. Population density of
Hong Kong 16,500/sq mile, 6 billion folks / 16,500 = 410,000 sq mi required.
Mauritania is about that size, as is Bolivia and Ethiopia. You could fit ten
times the earth's population in the United States.
Virtually every resource is more abundant today than it was in 1980. See the
Simon-Ehrlich Wager (Ehrlich of "The Population Bomb" book, Julian Simon of
"The Ultimate Resource").
Conclusion: We are running out of neither room nor resources and that the
fullness of time has proven wrong virtually every prediction of the prophets
of doom (global cooling, Malthusian theory, oil, etc.).
A decreasing amount. Thanks to people like Norman Borlaug, more people
are fed better using *less* land than at any time in human history. Last
time I checked, the US alone produces enough food to feed every person on
the planet at the subsistence level. That's why farms can now be sold for
other uses - we just don't need the land for farming anymore...
Tim Daneliuk firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes, I want to live stacked like cordwood. That's a pleasing thought.
Sounds like China and many other places in the world.
I also don't want to live at the horrific densities of Hong Kong - or
New York City, for that matter. Good God, man, do you not realize the
problems China (and others) have faced concerning overpopulation?
What kind of distopian future do you want your children to inherit?
And if I'd wanted to live like cattle in an AgriCorp facility I'd have
had Vishnu send me back as a cow.
Cripes. Timber, energy, food, water. Diseases proliferating and
adapting due to close proximity and monoculture. It's unholy, I tell
you. And what about open land? I personally like mountains, streams,
parks, trees, bears, butterflies, raccoons and birds. I wouldn't live
in a city for any amount of money.
A world without the variety of these natural things, dominated by
rats, roaches, crows and humans? Kill me now.
Uh - the first book warned that we _would_ run out and was overly
dramatic. The other opined that we _would not_, and that rising prices
would reduce demand of certain commodities forcing development of
alternate resources and was overly optimistic. To some degree, they
were both wrong - and both right. We have become more efficient at
extracting resources, which has kept the prices down, but that doesn't
mean they are unlimited. Only that while there is profit to be made,
they will be removed until gone or too expense to extract - with
absolutely no thought of tomorrow. The corollary to this is that only
the rich will be able to enjoy what we take for granted today. It
takes a non-pine tree 100+ years to grow to the size of those we now
harvest. What do you think happened to all that old grown, tight
ringed southern yellow pine and oaks and cedars? We cut them down and
they are now gone. The elms and chestnuts devastated by disease. Do
you want to build your furniture from the bones of dead politicians
(don't tempt me...), old milk bottles, or two year fast growth SPF?
I don't. I also don't want future generations to eat soylent green.
Timber, energy, food, water - all being stressed at this point. There
are many countries where famine and drought are commonplace. I'm not
claiming that we are on the precipice of disaster at this point in
this country - we are lucky enough to have stolen a lot of arable land
- but one chink in the weather, one year of out of season rains, cold
or even an asteroid strike would press the US's ability to provide
food to its own citizens, much less the rest of the world. This season
alone was a disaster for many farmers due to unusual torrential rains.
By most reasonable estimates we have already reached peak oil - even
if not we are damned close. Do you really think the stuff is unlimited
and never ending? If we've only used up 30% of the black gold, we did
so in a scant 100 years. As reserves are depleted they become far more
expensive to extract, meaning that, again, the wealthy will be the
only ones to enjoy that which we take for granted today. No commuting,
no cheap crap at WalMart, no black walnut to build your casket out of.
OK - What have you done with the real J.Clarke who was bitching about
my other post? Or are you his doppelganger?
People /do/ seem to huddle together. :)
Back in September a Chinese friend sent me a link to his vacation
photos. Just as not all of the US is like NYC...
I think he enjoyed getting out of the city (Guangzhou) for a couple of
A talking parrot... Ah yes, I can just see it.
What are you doing with that girl?
I want to see at least a foot of air between you two.
Where did you get that bottle?
All you do is drink all day. You're a lush. Get off your butt and do
some work for once.
Go plow the back forty. Get that fat butt moving.
You see, unfortunately for you, you've chosen to live in paradise with
a previously owned live in mother-in-law parrot.
Ordinarily, that would be my luck. :-) But nah, raise 'em from an egg.
That way you train them to spew the vile rhetoric of your choosing.
Just never leave one alone in a room with talk radio. And NEVER let
one read the wreck without a good filter in place. ;-)
And be careful of the reading matter with which you line their cages--it may
give you joy to have your parrot crap on the Washington Post but when your
parrot starts spouting the party line you'll be singing a different tune.
I hear yah,
I can't imagine living in sight of another dwelling, unfortunatley in the
winter, if I look hard enough I can see someone elses security light
and sometimes hear their dog bark. It doesn't qualify for rural anymore.
It makes a person self reliant, my truck is the fastest ambulance around,
there are no police prowling around and if you start a fire you better be
equipped to put it out.
I wouldn't have it any other way.
Oh, I perfer Elijah Craig.
I have and do, but not by choice. Economies and such...
Prefer to see stars and critters, not police choppers, gray air, and
stray bullets. Run the tablesaw at 4:00AM? Cut up bowl blanks at
6:00am? Play music at 1:00AM? No worries - no complaints.
Self-reliant - Ha! The city dwellers I know here aren't much help
anyway - assuming they show when you mention installing a transmission
or humping a stack of shingles. But who do they call when their car
breaks down? Last 5'2" girlfriend was handier than the guys I know.
If it weren't for a hoist/chain lift and a strong back nothing would
get done. A friend got married years back and I suggested replacing
rusty old galvanized plumbing in his house as a wedding gift - they
showed in slacks and dress shirts and drank beer while me and an old
one legged Marine did the work. And I was a 5'10", 145lb geek.
Not tried it, but you've got three years on Knob Creek - and it's hard
enough to find. Wild Turkey and Makers Mark are the most common in
these parts. (Plus all the gaud-awful cheap stuff.) Any small batch
12 year old named after a southern Baptist preacher has to be tried.
I'm heading down to the package store now. Just for a taste.
You make a good point about areas where famine and drought are commonplace.
But the fix is relatively easy - at least easy to say.
There has never been a famine in a democracy. Replace thugocracies,
monarchies, theocracies, etc., with democracies and the famine problem goes
away. As for droughts, this will be harder and require a change in the
area's economy. In areas where droughts are common, the area needs to give
up reliance on water for crops. That is, either change their crops from
watermelons to moss or quit farming altogether. If the latter, they will
have to import food from less radical climates.
In order to import food, they will need currency with which to buy it. That
means they'll have to export something or find ways of bringing exchange
currency to their country. Maybe they could mine for minerals or set up an
international vacation spot. To my knowledge, neither the Principality of
Monaco or the island of Hong Kong has farms nor mining enterprises, but they
seem to be doing okay.
As for running out of oil, reserves increase every year. Even if we did run
out, so what? The Romans denuded North Africa to make charcoal, then the
Europeans did the same to their forests. When wood got scarce, they turned
to coal. Coal fueled the industrial revolution until it became too expensive
relative to imported oil.
When oil gets too expensive, we'll find something else. We always have;
that's what humans do. We discover, we innovate, we improvise.
Blind luck, most likely - at least as far as disasters are concerned.
Good luck with that - bastards are too profitable to do business with.
It's worked well for some countries, not so much in others.
I'm still waiting on the US to fully adopt Democracy. We are not yet
equal in the face of the law - money trumps right much of the time.
Which is currently what most do - even if through foreign aid. Yet
even that is problematic because of corrupt governments that divert
aid into their own pockets while populations starve. It still happens.
Of course, new technologies help, as do cisterns & proper management.
That's worked out well for Africa. Diamonds are mined by the locals
who work for sustenance wages and the profit is pocketed by DeBeers.
Myanmar sells natural gas to the French, US and Russia, but the
workers are slave laborers.
Worldwide competition, including the boom in consumption from India
and especially China, makes this unlikely. Usage is going up
dramatically, especially with the poor efficiency of crude foundries
and such used in developing nations.
This is historically true. But we have advanced to the point where it
is unlikely we will uncover any new natural resources to exploit for
energy. That puts the onus on science to come up with either a way to
deal with nuclear by-products or figure a way to break the covalent
bonds of water for hydrogen. Until some concrete promise in these
areas is shown, it would be arrogant of us to ignore the possibility
that we won't come up with that next step in the evolution of energy.
Not trying to be negative, just careful. (And argumentative...) ;-)
You raise the point often made by the anti-nuclear crowd - We don't have a
plan to deal with nuclear waste.
But we have several plans:
* Shoot the shit into the sun
* Encapsulate it in molten glass and sink it in the Mariannas Trench
* Mix it with liquid concrete and inject it into a salt dome
* Sell it to China as a building material
The fact is, we haven't done any of these things because we don't have to.
There is no compelling need to take any action regarding nuclear waste and
the longer we wait the greater the chance an even better solution will be
It would be a pity to dump the all the crud in the ocean, then find out next
year we could use it to cheaply convert water to Hydrogen.
Not a good long term plan for material with a half-life of 713 million
years. There is somewhere around 60,000 metric tons of the shit, and
we still have no plans for dealing with it long term. We import 85% of
the uranium used - 42% from those crazy Canuckistanians alone - and
fuel imports fostered a $370 million trade deficit in 2000 alone.
I've argued that for years - what better place? The cost factor at
this point makes it prohibitive. Same as collecting He3 from the moon.
Where there's a will, and a profit, however...
The French do it. Expensive and not my favorite but better than what
we are currently doing which is allowing much of it to stand inside
the plants in shallow steel wells. Talk about a security risk...
And then turn it into an Indian reservation. :-o
(re: Uranium tailings in the west.)
Again better than the current method.
Turn about's fair play. But seriously...
The same could be argued for the plants themselves. Most were one-off
designs, modern inexpensive microprocessors and monitoring equipment
were either in their infancy or just around the corner. Huge cost
overruns during construction, marginal designs, short life spans,
expense of decommission, and public outcry over Three Mile Island and
Chernobyl all spelled the death of reactors build in the 60s and 70s.
And none have been slated since, while existing plants fell dormant.
I kept hoping for some positive results from the Tokamak fusion
reactors, but that fizzled - I think the Russians got one to ~10%
efficiency before dropping the project as not cost effective.
I don't mind that we stopped development at that time, but with
advancing electronics, CAD and simulators, new research and
standardized designs that could be implemented at lower costs, it may
well be time to reconsider investing in development of a new age of
nuclear plants. Preferably something which produces waste with a much
shorter half-life however. Science has yet to produce a solution.
Coal is a nasty material to mine and burn, and cleaning the exhaust of
sulfur dioxide, mercury and particulates is marginal and expensive.
And as the TVA ash disaster of last year proves, no existing
technology is completely immune from waste disposal problems:
After a 60 year history of 97% approval rates from local residents and
customers, gross mismanagement allowed the accumulation of this crap
in a retention "pond." 1 Billion gallons of toxic sludge (5.3 million
cubic yards of coal ash) flooded neighboring communities and ran
downstream to adjoining waterways. Nice!
(I can't believe no one mentioned this event in earlier discussions of
the TVA - did no one notice or did Santa bump it off the mainstream
news? I waited and waited...)
I wouldn't hold my breath - unless near the stack of a 30 year old
reactor or coal plant. ;-)
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