Thursday, May 25, 2006


There are some more pictures of the lifesaving "Three Gorges" dam in China here


Post recycled from Bob Nelson

1) Recycling is a religion that is observed by compelling people to perform rituals which, like in any religion, demand that the participants make themselves miserable for the sake of furthering some poorly defined and mythical benefit. Religious fanatics refuse to be happy -- they blindly lurch from one stupid cause to another, whether it's mindless vegetarianism so they can't enjoy meat, or "energy conservation" so they can't enjoy decent lighting (and powerful air conditioning), or giving money to bums so they can't enjoy spending it on themselves, or an obsession against abortion so that they can have an unwanted litter that they can't take care of, or revulsion of firearms so they can't defend themselves. Religious fanatics also live for imposing their prohibitions on others so that YOU won't be able to live happily and guilt-free, to say nothing of having a toilet that will flush properly.

2) If recycling made sense, we wouldn't be forced to do it. Instead, companies would pay people enough to make us want to recycle. The fact that companies find it cheaper to use so-called raw materials is a sign that recycling requires a higher net expenditure of resources. Maybe your old sutures CAN get recycled into cheese wrappers, but the time and expense of gathering them, cleaning them, reshaping them, etc. outweigh the costs of just starting fresh. No need to dig up the "studies" to prove this -- the function of prices in a free market clearly indicates what's most efficient.

3) "Where will we put all the garbage if it isn't recycled?" What are GARBAGE DUMPS for? Scenery? For example, New York City has 7M people (about 3% of the US population) -- and manages to dump all its garbage into a single dump. Therefore, the ENTIRE U.S.A. can toss its trash in about 33 of these dumps.

I've read that the whole country can put its garbage in a 64 square-mile dump. Eight miles per side -- that sounds about right. (Of course, the whole "problem" of too much garbage was CAUSED by the government by socializing garbage pick-ups, so that it feels "free" to throw away as much as you want.)

4) Recycling encourages lawlessness. All that nickel-a-bottle crap in front of people's homes invites lice-infested bums, psychos, and assorted riff-raff to make themselves feel free to trespass on people's property and rummage through their garbage. Legions of do-gooders who recycle in the name of "saving the environment" have instead attracted hoards of winos and vagrants to residential neighborhoods where they feel free to litter, defecate, etc. wherever they please -- makes for a lovely "environment", doesn't it? Sometimes they go from house to house and don't you DARE EVEN SUGGEST that they get the hell off your private property and out of your garbage can. They drag those filthy plastic bags filled with beer cans through the streets and subways. They probably spread disease. And you just KNOW that they've got violent histories. And now they're appearing right at your front door...and you better like it.

5) There used to be lots of smelly garbage trucks in neighborhoods. Now there are lots of smelly garbage trucks and lots of smelly recycling trucks. And it's not like those garbage men took a pay cut when the recycling guys showed up -- now we get to pay taxes for TWICE AS MANY union guys to haul trash around the neighborhood. Different fleets of vehicles add to the costs too -- it's more expensive to maintain different types of equipment. And the added complexity of scheduling two different types of trash haulers also adds to the costs.

6) Recycled products are shoddy. Newspapers quickly got rid of their recycled delivery bags because they felt like mushy sandpaper. Recycled cardboard feels cheap. Eastern European toilet paper HAS to have been recycled. My hamburger gets cold in those stupid paper wrappers -- I want my Styrofoam clamshell back. Remember the McDLT? (The hot side stays hot, and the cold side stays cold...)

7) We can all be criminals now. Instead of looking for burglars and murderers (don't forget about the parolee-scum pushing shopping carts of filthy "recyclables" through neighborhood streets), the police can look through people's garbage for a plastic orange juice bottle and make society safe once again for everyone else. Where does ANYONE get the right to look through garbage cans? And where does the GOVERNMENT get the right? I know where they specifically DON'T have that right -- hasn't anyone heard of the Fourth Amendment? Hello? "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, AGAINST UNREASONABLE SEARCHES AND SEIZURES, shall not be violated..." When was the last time a garbage cop had a warrant?

8) "Recycling saves trees". Just like being a vegetarian saves cows? Stop eating meat and you won't ever see pigs and cows again. Stop eating apples and you'll never see apple trees again. Paper comes from commercial tree farms -- recycle your paper and no one will grow trees. Trees are a crop like corn, peas, and cabbages. You plant a seed, the thing starts to grow, and you pull it out of the ground and use it. You save some of the seeds and plant them to grow replacement crops. Of course, even if tossing your newspaper out really did somehow reduce the number of trees, it's not like a bunch of loggers are going to break into your backyard and cart off your favorite tree (though I really do wish that someone would remove those vomit-stench gingko trees once and for all). Commercial tree farms where new trees are constantly being grown are located in remote areas far from anyplace you'll ever be anyway.

9) Bottle deposits result in supermarkets -- the places where you buy your food -- setting aside this horridly filthy area where aforementioned scum drag their dripping bags of disease and filth. (This is only compounded when supermarkets require a 25-cent deposit for shopping carts -- as if to invite the dregs to hang around a little longer to pick up a few easy quarters.) There's also something obscene about criminalizing bottle sales unless the seller takes extra money to satisfy the recycling ritual.

10) People who for whatever perverse reason feel guilty about using paper should learn how to use a computer. I can't tell you how many times I've seen recycling zealots refuse to read anything unless it's handed to them on a piece of paper, or hit the print command to look at a couple of cells on a spreadsheet, or distribute 25 paper copies of reports instead of using e-mail or at least distribution via floppies.

11) Recycling is gross, what with things like used diapers and almost-empty beer bottles (except for those among us whose time is so absolutely worthless that they actually clean them first, which when you think about it, is cruel to the vagrants that like to squeeze the last few sips out before heading over to the supermarket).

12) As absurd as recycling is in this country, the Euromorons have turned it into an out-and-out crusade, like with stupid "green" parties trying to protect The Fatherland. So they have all sorts of idiotic regulations requiring companies to recover things they sell, like out of some bottle-deposit nightmare. Whenever such stupid legislation is passed (whether there or here), it only serves to drive marginal businesses bankrupt since the corner diner can't comply with expensive regulations like McDonald's can, and they certainly can't afford to hire teams of lawyers and accountants to figure out what all these rules mean. Meanwhile, I remember witnessing recycling heaven at the St. Petersburg railroad station as the Russians would line up for this beverage machine that squirted a foamy brownish liquid into a glass that the first Russian would drink out of, and then place back on the machine's grill so the next customer could reuse the glass.

13) It takes time to sort garbage and it takes space to have different containers for every category of trash. And I won't even get into the details of actually cleaning this crap. Instead of doing something fun or productive, people waste hours and hours on these senseless chores like there isn't a single other thing that they could do with that time...

14) "We'll run out of resources blah blah blah..." It's the job of prices, not fanatics, to signal whether we're "running out" of anything.

In short, the ostensible intents of recycling are all window-dressing -- what really matters is the guilt-cleansing ritual of deprivation and the satisfaction of imposing this religion on others.


Just one more little factory will change the world! "Red Ken" wants people to have to go out into the street to get their water -- back to the 18th century village!

The security of London's water supply is at risk unless Britain's first desalination plant is built, a public inquiry was told yesterday. Water shortages and standpipes in the streets could cost the national economy 5 billion pounds, Keith Lindblom, QC, representing Thames Water, said.

It was the first day of a five-week inquiry into the proposed 200 million pound plant in Newham, East London, which has been approved by the borough council, the Environment Agency and the Consumer Council for Water but refused planning permission by Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London. He claims that the "energy- guzzling and carbon-intensive" plant will be the "tipping point of irreversible climate change". He told the inquiry in Docklands, East London, that climate change was "the most terrible risk" to London, and suggested that Thames Water did not want to face a difficult situation, preferring the desalination plant to "an endless campaign to stop people from flushing the toilet unnecessarily each time after urinating".

Mr Livingstone accepted that were people to be reduced to getting water from standpipes it would be bad for Britain's image but suggested that there would also be adverse publicity were the plant to go ahead. He called for the plans to be shelved because Thames Water was "leaking the equivalent of three quarters of Windermere every year". John Hodgson, QC, for Mr Livingstone, told the inquiry: "Every day, Thames Water leaks a staggering 915 million litres of clean, purified drinking water from Thames's own pipes - that's 6« times the capacity of the proposed desalination plant - 800 million litres from London itself." Mr Hodgson said that every day the desalination plant was in full use, Thames Water would pump more than 150 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In a year the total emissions would be 22,600 tonnes. The plant would not even meet the current water deficit. The plant had a capacity of 140 megalitres a day; Thames claims the capital's water deficit is 263 megalitres a day, he said.

The company, which needs to supply 6.2 million people, insists it would only use the plant in times of drought. Mr Lindblom said that without it, London would be "unacceptably vulnerable to deficiencies" in its water supply. "The continuation of this degree of risk to the security of water supply in London is not acceptable. Of particular concern is the frequency with which Londoners can expect rota cuts to their water to be applied," he said.

The final decision will be made jointly by Ruth Kelly, the Communities and Local Government Secretary, and David Miliband, the Environment Secretary, after a recommendation by Bob Lyon, the planning inspector.

The Times

Drill ANWR: Realism Over Emotion

Say the phrase "drill ANWR" to an environmentalist; the reaction can be equated to having spoken the most vile four- letter word while inside the Mormon Tabernacle. The United States House of Representatives may soon cause another tirade to erupt from Greenpeace and the Sierra Club. For the sake of our country let us hope that each chamber of Congress takes a roll call vote on ANWR and that the vote tallies leave the Greens red with rage.

A vote to permit exploration and development of oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is scheduled before Memorial Day. Those who claim a sincere interest in lessening America's dependence on foreign energy sources have a vested interest in a victory. The well-funded Green Lobby continually opposes ANWR drilling although such drilling would be a sensible measure to help alleviate our energy needs in the medium-term. The Green Lobby's preferred solutions - solar energy, hydrogen cars - are alternatives that can only be feasible in the long-term.

Governor Frank Murkowski (R-AK) recalled in a recent commentary published by THE SEATTLE TIMES that Alaska's North Slope once averaged two million barrels of oil a day, representing more than half the oil used on the West Coast. Now that average daily output has declined to 900,000 barrels. Guess who now makes up the difference? It's OPEC and other foreign oil producers.

The Department of Energy Information Administration lists several regimes that already or potentially are hostile to the United States. Ranking among the top importers of crude oil to the United States in February: Saudi Arabia (1.418 million barrels per day), Venezuela (1.178 million barrels per day), Brazil (0.164 million barrels per day). Mexico (1.774 million barrels per day), the leading importer, can be considered "friendly" now but there is no guarantee that will be the case after its elections this summer.

At a recent hearing, Representative Joe Barton (R-TX), Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, made clear how short-sightedness has crippled America's energy security:

"At over $70 a barrel, the price of crude oil is nearly four times the spot price on the day back in 1995, 11 years ago, when then-President Clinton vetoed drilling in ANWR. They say there are no short-term fixes, I would agree with that, but if we had authorized drilling in ANWR 10 years ago, crude oil prices would not be, in my opinion, over $70-a-barrel today."

It is unfortunate, thanks to a veto by President William J. Clinton, that an important source of energy is not available now when it truly is needed. What should be done? One task is to dispel the myths manufactured by the Green Lobby media machine.

Environmentalists use the shorthand phrase "ANWR" to suggest the entire 19.5 million acre refuge will be developed for energy. Actually the area at issue covers only 1.5 million acres and it is termed the "10-02 Area" in reference to the section of the 1980 legislation expanding ANWR -- the Alaskan National Interest Lands Conservation Act - which designated land for "oil and gas exploration." Only 2,000 acres of the 10-02 Area are to be used for the permanent infrastructure -- the pipelines, oil wells, etc. The10-02 Area is neither a refuge nor wilderness and definitely not scenic despite constant claims to the contrary by the Green Lobby.

The United States Geological Survey has estimated ANWR holds a mean estimate of 10.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil. This would be the equivalent of a "Prudhoe Bay II." Murkowski, testifying on behalf of the National Governors Association on February 10, 2005, told the House Energy and Commerce Committee:

"The Coastal Plain of ANWR has been determined to be the most promising unexplored petroleum province in North America, the only area with the potential to discover an 'elephant' field like Prudhoe Bay. . . . Oil from ANWR represents a secure domestic supply, which could help fulfill US oil demand for twenty-five years or more. Government studies suggest that the Coastal Plain could produce a ten year sustained rate of one million barrels per day."

Environmentalists underplay the availability of oil from ANWR. Development of ANWR, according to a letter signed by conservative leaders and sent to the House and Senate Leadership on March 8, 2006, "would increase proven U.S. crude oil reserves by 50% and [it] is equivalent to approximately a quarter century of current imports from Saudi Arabia."

Getting Congress to pass ANWR involves a Catch 22. The House generally has supported ANWR on a stand-alone vote but generally shuns it when it is folded into a budget resolution. The Senate has not supported ANWR on stand-alone votes but will pass it as part of the budget. ANWR supporters are pleased this stand-alone vote will be held even though it remains to be seen if the Senate will take action. Why? With fuel prices at record highs it will be useful for Americans to know which of their elected representatives want to provide some much-needed relief.

Environmentalists wield clout in both parties, particularly within the Minority Party Caucus. Some Members realize the importance of ANWR as a source of energy. When the House passed the Energy Act of 2005 last spring, which included ANWR, over 40 Democrats bucked the Green Lobby to vote affirmatively. The pressure will be unrelenting. The Sierra Club and Greenpeace, motivated by preservationist policies, will continue arm-twisting Congress to prevent ANWR development.

The Senate is an even tougher arena for ANWR legislation. Obtaining a roll call vote with prices so high still has value. Americans will be able to tell which Senators really want to develop energy sources that represent a true "alternative" to Saudi and Venezuelan oil versus those who only talk the talk.

Myron Ebell, Director of Global Warming and Energy Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, argues that if the Federal Government would allow development of offshore and onshore areas, including ANWR, America could increase our energy supply and lessen our dependence upon foreign sources. Ebell wrote recently on HUMAN EVENTS ONLINE: "Within a few years, an additional million barrels a day could be flowing to West Coast refineries. And if President Clinton hadn't vetoed ANWR legislation in 1995, that oil would be flowing today." ANWR's development can help to lessen our dependence on foreign oil; so also would the careful opening of other protected onshore and offshore sites.

It's ironic that the Green Lobby, so quick and vociferous to protest ANWR, has been relatively mute so far in protesting the proposed offshore drilling by Red China off the Cuban Coast. Why is it the Greens avoid discussing the terrible environmental record amassed by Communist countries? It's worth noting that terrible record has been compounded by Communist failure to provide to their citizens freedom of speech and the right to petition their legislatures. Certainly, the Green Lobby is free to exercise its First Amendment rights in opposition to drilling but let us see if the Greens are willing to discover how dismissive true Communist dictatorships will be to their concerns.

ANWR can mirror the experience with Prudhoe Bay. Dire predictions of environmental disaster advanced by the Green Lobby never came true. Governor Murkowski told the House Energy and Commerce Committee last year that the previous experience of drilling on the North Slope should assuage the worries of disaster resurrected by the Greens. He noted:

"Oil development is compatible with the protection of wildlife and their habitat. . . . North Slope caribou herds have remained healthy throughout previous oil development. In fact, the Central Arctic caribou herd, which is located in and around Prudhoe Bay, has increased 10 fold in the last 20 years."

It's time ordinary Americans start playing hardball with politicians who, through their voting record on issues such as ANWR, effectively sabotage our energy security. If not for the Clinton veto of legislation to open ANWR for exploration we would now be reaping the benefits. Instead our reliance on overseas oil imports remains dangerously high. ANWR is not a total solution to our long-term energy needs but it has an important role in helping us surmount medium-term needs before new alternative energies or harder-to-harvest sources of oil become available.

Getting serious about meeting the energy needs of the United States means getting serious about using the resources of our country. That means developing ANWR. Delaying the use of ANWR means endangering our country's energy security, thereby imperiling our economic security. The sooner politicians understand the American people are wising up to the failure of Congress to develop available sources of domestic oil and gas the better.


Planning Too Far Ahead

Post lifted from David Friedman

"There are engineering questions about the massive storage repository proposed for the Nevada desert. Certainty about its ability to keep groundwater supplies safe falls off after about 10,000 years-while the facility needs to function as planned for several hundred thousands of years."

The quote is from an interesting article on global warming and ways of dealing with it in the latest issue of Harvard Magazine. The context is a discussion of problems in storing nuclear waste as one limit to increases in the role of nuclear power.

To me, at least, the idea of worrying about effects more than ten thousand years out is so absurd as to be marginally sane. Nobody alive knows whether our species will still exist in ten thousand years, if it exists if most humans will still live on earth, or if we still live on earth what sort of society, economy and technology we will have. If things do continue more or less along current lines-not, in my view, very likely-ten thousand years of economic growth would give us a society for which a little radioactivity in Nevada groundwater would be a trivial problem. If we assume a 1% annual rate of growth in per capita real income, it takes only about 2300 years to bring the income of the average individual up to the current income of the world.

Worrying about problems ten thousand years out is particularly odd given that nuclear power is being discussed as a way of limiting global warming. Elsewhere in the article, in the context of a time horizon of 100 to 500 years, another source suggests the possibility of sea level rises of over 200 feet. I am reluctant to trust extrapolations that far out as well-but compared to 10,000 years, a hundred years is practically as close as next Thursday. And drowning areas containing a considerable fraction of the population of the globe would be a slightly more serious problem than contamination of the Nevada water table.


A reader writes:

"Nuclear waste is NOT trash. High-level nuclear "waste" is composed of very rare heavy metals with unique material properties. We are not disposing nuclear waste but storing a valuable commodity for future exploitation. Materials science will find uses and applications for the heavy metals that can't even be conceived of today.

I don't believe even 1 in 100 people are aware of this viewpoint. Considering the media never mentions this viewpoint that is no suprise. The media prefers sticking to the alarmist script.


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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