Thursday, April 28, 2011

Change We Can Believe In

Lately, I have been assaulted by a number of self proclaimed prognosticators who have told the world that the world is soon coming to an end unless we go to our nearest tree and hug it and apologize for all the nasty things we have done to it's environment. Failure to hug said tree will result in the catastrophic failure of our planet to sustain life (complete with Hollywood effects).

Now of course, the opposition to those who are not ready to embrace every far fetched environmental law that comes to us through scientific wannabees like Al Gore are characterized as selfish capitalists who wallow in their industrial waste. Truth be told, I don't think even the most hardened of CEOs gets up every morning and sees garbage or smells the latest chemicals wafting though the morning air calls his wife to come and smell the beautiful toxins in the air. Truth be told, I love the dream of a pollution free world but I don't believe we can get there. Most real solutions to problems are ones that accept certain lesser evils and realize that no all things happen over night because we want them to.

One of the most unfortunate truths of the modern world that many social engineers rite large (ex. Barack Obama) is that people have to live. We have to eat, have a roof over our heads and have clothing on our backs and yes, perhaps even some of the niceties of life. The second corollary and unfortunate truth is that to insure all of us human carbon footprints have a life is that we have to use energy. Last time I checked, farm machinery goes not run on the hot air coming from Al Gores rhetoric, however self congratulatory.

We also forget what he have. You know those things call light bulbs (or if you have them the toxic florescent equivalents). Well, they require energy and yes, even an electric car provided by Obama motors requires energy and yes, that nasty black stuff we call oil (all greenies turn away and sigh).

Truth be told, I support green initiatives as long as they work. Here is what I mean by work. I have a simple test case. Let's just consider for a moment running all of New York City on wind or solar or even a small city like Buffalo (why Buffalo - it's the first city that came to mind). Is it possible? I don't know but I don't hear about any such projects. What I fear is that companies are going to be kept going that build products that can't even come close to powering even a smaller city.

I also like the idea of electric cars, I really do. But I can't use one. I have to drive distances that would preclude me from using one. Some talk about recharging electric cars quickly but unless all our gas stations (or at least some) are ready to do this and we have the technology (which we don't have) electric cars are not realistic for many.

Hybrids I like a lot better but they are not cost efficient for many including myself, yes I have done the math, and most poor families can't afford them and most greenies like the poor don't you? I would love to see all these green organizations give poor people vouchers so they can buy electric cars or hybrids. That would be putting ones money where their mouth is but of course that is not going to happen is it?

No, what is going to happen is that billions of taxpayer dollars are going to be pumped into companies filled with people who dream big but don't have real solutions. Are real solutions out there? I think so, in time, but let's be realistic. Even those nasty oil companies have some of those solutions and people with real technical skill who can find them (a lesser evil).

Already the United States is seeing a dramatic increase in fuel costs and food costs which if it gets bad enough will result in rioting. All this because greenies don't want drilling and more and more they want the restrictions to increase and not decrease. What this does is decrease supply and drive up prices (I get that from the nasty inconvenient truth called economics). Demand is relativily inelastic. People will cut back on driving to grandmas or the favorite hotel casino but probably still have to drive to work. Most states also don't have major transporation systems to handle all those people who can't afford to fill up their tanks.

To all greenies. Why don't you go out to the country and build yourself a community build entirely on alternaltive fuels. Best of luck and believe me, if you succeed I will join you. I would love to see you succeed but my instincts tell me that its going to take a while to live free of fossil fuel and in the meantime, those inconvenient truths called poor people need to eat (nasty carbon footprints that they are).

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What Lies Beneath

I think as Americans, and perhaps as part of some universal human condition, we tend to see the world through a limited lens which can prevent us from seeing sometimes what is really happening in another corner of the world.

Many in America are not rejoicing in Egypt's new found freedom and many also rejoice that it has been the Internet that has taken a role in this. Many feel that they are part of this revolution and that only good things can come of it.

I have to admit that I am far less optimistic. Having been not to Egypt but to Israel and to many other parts of the world, I find that not everyone thinks as we do and that they are part of cultures and religions that are far more ancient that all the means of social networking that are available.

Egypt may well get some form of democracy n the future but is that what they are looking for? The vast majority of Egyptians are Muslim and while they may claim that they do not want Shariah law and an Islamic state I think that some of those comments are filtered through the lens of the American media.

A large amount of oil flows through the Suez canal controlled by Egypt. Egypt also has been a peaceful neighbor of Israel in the Middle East which has been a stabilizing influence.

I can almost see the sneers of those who will say, aha, so it's all about oil. Well, yes, in a way. The worlds economy is driven by energy like it or not. If the oil supply of the Middle East is threatened 3 dollar a gallon gas will seem like pennies on the dollar. The US economy will largely go towards paying for gas for our cars and oil to heat our houses and I suspect, air conditioning will become a thing of the past because families will be struggling to pay for energy bills.

The US economy as a result will be thrown into a deep deep depression as will the world.

And if Egypt does become an Islamic state terrorism will also increase and the Islamic jihadists will see it as an opportunity to find ways to bring about at least limited Islamic rule in the US perhaps starting with small communities which is what has been seen in Europe.

In Egypt, if its under Islamic rule, Christianity will be banned and many Coptic Christians will have to flee.