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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Clinton on the attack over Bush's stance on energy/environment (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Clinton on the attack over Bush's stance on energy/environment
tern
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Icarus, so there are other people, then. Very well, I will take your word for it, and restate, with due apologies:

Prior to conversing with Icarus, every person that I had met and had a hybrid car or held having a hybrid car important was a sanctimonious environmentalist who considered having such a car to be a statement.

And Dag, my sample consists of about forty people. Hardly a small sample when making generalizations from experience.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Actually, come to think of it, New Urbanism may be exactly the sort of thing Lyrhawn is hoping to see.
::perks up::

Tell me more about this New Urbanism? Is there a list of arguments for or against it? A link perhaps I could read?

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Dagonee
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quote:
When every encounter that I've had indicates a certain conclusion, when the rhetoric that I read (I read liberal websites occasionally) indicates the same conclusion, when the entire environmentalist left agitates against SUVs, vehicular pollution, and oil drilling and agitates for hybrid cars, then I don't think that my conclusion is hardly unfounded.
Yes it is. Each of these is, at best, evidence that liberals as a group like to drive hybrids and that some of them drive them sanctimoniously. It says nothing about what people who like to drive hybrids are like, except that the group of people who like to drive hybrids includes some of these liberals.

How would you encounter someone who doesn't drive one sanctimoniously? The non-sanctimonious ones don't post on websites about their choice of car.

If one were to read a certain set of websites, one would see fairly radical feminists attacking pornography. From that perspective, one might reach the conclusion that most people who are vehemently against pornography favor abortion rights. One would be wrong.

That's an easier error to fix, though, because there happen to be a lot of vocal people against pornography who are also against the legalization of abortion.

Whereas the counterexample to your observed group of sanctimonious hybrid drivers are, by the nature of not being sanctimonious, people whose views will not be vocal to you.

You say you have "to work with the evidence" you have. But you don't have to actually reach a conclusion from it. The choice isn't "hybrid drivers are sanctimonious" or "hybrid drivers aren't sanctimonious." There's a third option, specifically, "My dataset is limited so I can't form a conclusion about the correlation between hybrid drivers and sanctimoniousness."

quote:
And Dag, my sample consists of about forty people. Hardly a small sample when making generalizations from experience.
It's a pretty small sample considering the inherent selection bias.
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tern
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Dag, when forty people (approximately the number of people in my student government) are all sanctimonious environmentalists (and they are, I ran for it) and I have no other information indicating otherwise, it is a very strong indication. My entire selection was the people I knew at my university personally, which was about 200 people (student government plus my department). In your opinion, obviously, that not enough. It is for me. Sorry you don't like it.

Your analogy between feminists and pornography falls apart in that the nonfeminists who are vocal against pornography and abortion are vocal. Whereas the rest of your point is that nonsanctimonious hybrid car drivers are not vocal.

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Dagonee
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quote:
Whereas the rest of your point is that nonsanctimonious hybrid car drivers are not vocal.
That IS my point. You won't hear about non-sanctimonious hybrid drivers.

you are extrapolating from 40 student politicians to the rest of the world. That's not a strong indication of anything except what your student government is like.

You've yet to respond to any reasons except for gas prices why your conclusion isn't well-founded, including massive incentives for some people to buy them and the selection bias inherent in taking only an observed sample when the differentiating factor includes attention-seeking behavior.

People who want to make a statement are more noticed than people who don't. The fact that you've seen more people who wish to make a statement is expected based on the mere fact that they want to make a statement.

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Rappin' Ronnie Reagan
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Tern, what exactly do you mean when you use the term "sanctimonious environmentalist"?
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Lyrhawn
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tern -

I'm finding your line of thought a little hard to swallow. If you had said simply "the students on my campus who drive hybrids are sanctimonious" then your 40 person sampling would be a lot more apt, though, I still think has a hole in it. But trying to apply a small group of people from a select organization, that is made up of people from a select population (college students) that is notorious for activism to the nation as a whole is a rather impossible leap.

I mean, at the restaurant where I work, everyone, and I mean literally everyone hates waiting on black customers, not because they are racist, or because black customers are especially rude, but because they don't want bad tips. And I realize as I'm typing this that is probably isn't a good example, I'm comparing apples to oranges, but it's the only thing I can think of from personal experience.

I guess the point is, that you can't take the reasoning from the people at my work and apply it en masse to the service industry, which is the equivilant of taking a small group of student activists and applying them to the entire population of hybrid drivers.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Dagonee:
That IS my point. You won't hear about non-sanctimonious hybrid drivers.

Don't the numbers speak for themselves in this case? How many people are buying these cars? My mother bought one this year, you wouldn't be hearing about it except that this thread talks about hybrids, and only likes it because it is quieter and she doesn't need to hit the gas station every week anymore, which in san francisco means 3 bucks a gallon.

I would like to know how many people now buy hybrids new, and how that number is growing in proportion to other new cars being bought, where the alternative exists: Ie, I want to see how many people choose a civic over a hybrid civic and why.

People ought also to remember that hybrids have not hit the secondary market yet, there are very few used ones or referbished ones out because they are still being designed and introduced. I like used cars because they are so much cheaper and often more reliable than new cars, but Hybrids are relatively scarce in that market right now.

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Icarus
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Lyrhawn, because I'm feeling lazy [Smile] here's a wikipedia link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_urbanism

Basically, the ideas behind New Urbanism include the following:

  • There should be a central "downtown," or town-square area (as opposed to people driving to strip malls to get everything).
  • Everybody should live within a reasonable walk of downtown, so that they can choose to walk instead of drive.
  • Given the alternatives to driving for going downtown, the huge parking lots of strip malls are unnecessary. Further, parking lots are pedestrian-unfriendly, since they force things further apart to accomodate them, and since they can be unsafe to walk in. Therefore, parking should not separate businesses. Instead, parking can be places in the interiors of blocks, with businesses on the outside (the reverse of the usual model, neh?) or in basement parking or rooftop parking. And, of course, parallel parking.
  • Houses should be close together, and have front porches. This facilitates neighbors knowing each other, as opposed to the inward-focus of ranch-houses on huge tracts of land.
  • Elementary school should be within walking/biking distance.
  • Rather than individuals having huge yards, or rather, since nobody has huge yards, there should be plenty of public parks.
  • Streets should not be on rectangular grids. They should meander slightly to make them more interesting, and minor streets should be no more than a turn or two from major streets.
  • There should be sidewalks everywhere, and on both sides of the street.

I think my town combines the best of past and present. It is based on the kind of urban planning that was popular before suburbs came to be, but we have an extremely modern infrastructure. Walking around downtown is extremely pleasant. I don't think I did it justice up there--it almost sounds like someone is forcing us to do it. I never have any difficulty finding parking, so that's not the case. Rather, it's that the town is designed to be pedestrian-friendly, and so nobody's making you, but you want to stroll around. You should visit our downtown area on an evening and see how simply alive the place is, at a time when the centers of most towns are dying. I just love to stroll around after a meal, and maybe get dessert or coffee or something, and I love constantly running into people I know downtown. Downtown is just a place you want to be. Last night was Cor's school's staff holiday party, and it was held on the patio of the bar & grill downtown. There was karaoke, and anybody who knows Cor and me knows we can't resist karaoke! So we sang a couple of duets, and people walking by on the sidewalk by the outdoor patio--including many of our students!--crowded/stood on the railing to watch and listen. It's just an awesome environment, and one I'm thrilled to be able to raise my daughters in.

Liberals like the "green" philosophy behind New Urbanism. Conservatives like that it draws inspiration from things that worked earlier in our history. (Conversely, liberals knock it for the things conservatives like and conservatives knock it for the things liberals like. But I'm choosing to focus on the positives here. [Smile] )

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Icarus
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Based on OSC's articles on urban planning/design, I think he should visit a New Urbanist town if he hasn't already. I think he would like what he sees.
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SolarStone
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I think ya'll are getting off track w/ this, but isn't that what a forum is all about?

Political stuff aside:

Electric cars are NOT a solution for anything unless a nuclear powerplant is downsteam of the wall socket you're plugging it into, otherwise your petroleum usage is merely deferred.

High gas prices are good. Yes, I hate this fact too. The free market will drop the SUV and pick up the viable hybrids. Soon the small, cramped hybrids will be replaced with large, opulent hybrids that use less energy to go faster and further. All this will go quite well without any government help. I should say, "as long as the government doesn't help".

Solar power and windmills are like the ansible. Fine in theory, sound good, a clever device to keep the story moving, but are science-fantasy when the scope of mankind's power needs are considered rationally.

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Lyrhawn
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I really like the sound of New Urbanism. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, but it sounds like smart planning. I'll have to see if there is a book I can buy that might have some examples of NU in practical use in the real world.

quote:
Solar power and windmills are like the ansible. Fine in theory, sound good, a clever device to keep the story moving, but are science-fantasy when the scope of mankind's power needs are considered rationally.
Oh Solarstone, I beg to differ. Solar and wind power aren't the be all end all, but too, they aren't to be so easily dismissed. Advances in technology for both solar and wind power in the last 20 or even five years have been amazing. A solar cell today the size of a computer screen can draw as much power as a solar cell the size of a two story building could twenty years ago.

Wind power has become much much more efficient as well, and even in the last few MONTHS, patents have been filed on new wind turbines that emit something like 80% less noise than traditional fan blade mills, and eliminate the concern of ornithologists everywhere by eliminating bird strikes.

New materials, and new methods of energy storage are making the process more efficient, and expanding its capacity to generate energy using less surface area, in terms of solar energy. For wind, turbines are becoming less of an eye sore, less annoying loud, and in short, more consumer friendly.

Thus I am forced to reject the notion that solar and wind are "science-fantasy." When combined with geothermal, biomass, tidal, limited hydroelectric, and nuclear energy, there's no reason why fossil fuel based energy forms can't be drastically reduced over the first half of this century. It's nowhere near as unreasonable as it once was.

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aspectre
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It's like OSC says: No sense worrying about the environment when ya can buy your way to heaven.

[ December 11, 2005, 05:52 AM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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Orincoro
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I found out looking at Gizmag.com that I could buy a pocket sized solar panel for my ipod! The thing claims to charge in 3 hours easy, I have been deferring the purchase until I can justify it for my next backpacking trip.

Though not an expert, I prefer to agree with Lyrhawn and say that I have quite a bit of faith in consumer driven advances in the field of energy creation/storage/efficiency. Just look at the modern computer industry, the memory capacity of a consumer market hard drive or flash drive is something on the order of 10 to 100 thousand times larger than what was available 20 years ago. I realize they are different things, but if we can advance SO far in one field, its rather cynical to suggest that we can't advance in many others as well.

Ps. That New Urbanism thing really reminds me of the 6 weeks I stayed in London last summer. In that city, people really get out and walk around, they go to public parks and use public transportation, making things much less stressful for the commuter I think, and it shows in their appearance and their daily priorities (which don't include grueling commutes). This was a huge turn-around for me, having spent my highschool years making a 40 minute commute to school every day, which looking back, was a huge waste of time. I actually have alot of memories of things that happened while I was driving... what a boring life.

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TomDavidson
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quote:

when the entire environmentalist left agitates against SUVs, vehicular pollution, and oil drilling and agitates for hybrid cars, then I don't think that my conclusion is hardly unfounded

Here's the problem, tern.

When your argument goes:

a) everyone who likes hybrid cars is sanctimonious
b) all environmentalists agitate for hybrid cars

...you wind up with c) therefore, all environmentalists are sanctimonious.

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Icarus
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quote:
Electric cars are NOT a solution for anything unless a nuclear powerplant is downsteam of the wall socket you're plugging it into, otherwise your petroleum usage is merely deferred. [emphasis added]

You'll note that we still have a traditional car, so I'm not claiming that electric cars by themselves are any kind of a solution for everything. However, the second part of your statement is incorrect.

At 8¢/kilowatt-hour, which is what I pay, and I suspect it's a bit high, my car costs me about 1.26¢ per mile to drive. At $2.07 per gallon of gasoline, my car costs me about 9¢ a mile.

I can only conclude from the fact that my car costs over seven times as much to drive that my fuel usage with the electric car must be less.

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Icarus
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*nod* @ Orincoro

Yeah . . . "New" Urbanism isn't really all that New. What it is is a return to urbanism as an ideal as opposed to the sub-urbanism of the last sixty years. (With some new infrastructure thrown in, though.)

So if anything, it's Neotraditional.

(So why did people move away from urbanism in the first place? The allure of larger pieces of property. The American dream, neh? Note what a status symbol the perfect lawn came to be in the latter half of the twentieth century. People living in the city can't have a large plot of land. There isn't the room. The plentiful nature of land in this country made it possible for people of modest means to have large homesteads. And some people still value that, but some people believe that we paid some unintended prices for that, like sprawl, cookie-cutter houses, a turning-in so that nobody knows their neighbors, and hour-long commutes. When I lived in Miami, my longest commute to work was an hour each way. My shortest was twenty-minutes. I know spend as much time walking from my front door to my car, and from my car to my classroom, as I do actually driving the car. My commute is under two miles.)

[ December 11, 2005, 11:10 AM: Message edited by: Icarus ]

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Dagonee
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One very important thing to note is that cooperative apartments and condominium housing are relatively new legal innovations. Prior to that, owning a house (even a townhouse) was the only realistic way for a person to own their home. The financial advantages of home ownership, even without the tax incentives, are very real, as are the emotional benefits.

This definitely contributed to people going to the suburbs.

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Icarus
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*nod*

It occurs to me that another thing that makes New Urbanism new is that there is still often a shift away from big cities, but that rather than being a shift to suburbs, it is a shift to small towns.

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Icarus
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And since getting off-topic is indeed what a forum is all about:

Welcome, SolarStone! [Smile]

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Silkie
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quote:
Originally posted by SolarStone:
I think ya'll are getting off track w/ this, but isn't that what a forum is all about?

Political stuff aside:

Electric cars are NOT a solution for anything unless a nuclear powerplant is downsteam of the wall socket you're plugging it into, otherwise your petroleum usage is merely deferred.

High gas prices are good. Yes, I hate this fact too. The free market will drop the SUV and pick up the viable hybrids. Soon the small, cramped hybrids will be replaced with large, opulent hybrids that use less energy to go faster and further. All this will go quite well without any government help. I should say, "as long as the government doesn't help".

Solar power and windmills are like the ansible. Fine in theory, sound good, a clever device to keep the story moving, but are science-fantasy when the scope of mankind's power needs are considered rationally.

Actually we are at a crossroads with hybrids. Domestic SUVs that are hybrid will be available soon, but Toyota is banking on making virtually all models available with the hybrid option.

quote:
Out of more than 17 million cars sold every year, only about 311,000 hybrids have been sold since they were introduced eight years ago.

[snip] ... hybrids are gaining traction, picking up "mindshare" where they've yet to gain much market share in the industry -- between skyrocketing demand by car buyers and increased production from auto makers, hybrids are quickly becoming the future of the automobile. Nonetheless, while hybrid production increases are a step in the right direction, the big question is whether automakers will use the efficiency gains to save gas, or to add performance. Although the answer seems obvious -- the vast majority of hybrid owners bought the vehicles to conserve gas -- the next few years may see a big shift in how hybrids function.
Signs of the Shift
The initial signs are positive. Hybrid holdout GM is waking up, recently adding BMW to its month-old "catch up with Toyota and Honda" hybrid development alliance. Then last week Ford announced plans to make half its models more fuel efficient within 5 years and ramping up hybrid production (while one of its executives criticized Toyota for supposedly being "predatory" and for hoarding certain key hybrid components).
Laughing in the face of this new competition, hybrid heavyweight Toyota responded by doubling 2006 hybrid sales targets and planning eventually to roll out hybrid engines across all models.
Automakers haven't suddenly become altruistic about preserving the environment, as nice as that would be. Between spiking gas prices and maturing hybrid technology, it has become good business to make efficient cars. According to hybridcars.com editor Bradley Berman, we're on the precipiece of a tipping point about why people are interested in hybrids.
In a phone interview, he said that "the shift is from purchasing a hybrid based on ideology, whether it's foreign oil dependency, global warming or because you're a technology innovator. Nothing is having as big an impact as $3-a-gallon gasoline." Nevertheless, he added, "we're in a time of great change, and nobody knows [what's going to happen] until they put hybrids out into the marketplace."
You can see this uncertainty in the schizophrenic design decisions being made throughout the hybrid market. Covering all its bases, Honda has the ultra-efficient Insight, the "50/50" (city/highway mileage) Civic hybrid, and the new Accord hybrid, which has sacrificed increased fuel efficiency for the sake of more power.
Again, Toyota stands out. The company's CEO eventually wants to sell 1 million hybrids globally a year by early next decade, but how Toyota does this will be important. Following up on the unexpected success of the gas-sipping Prius, Lexus recently released the RX 400h luxury SUV hybrid, touting it online as possessing "exceptional power -- not just for a hybrid vehicle, but for an SUV as well." Lexus is not marketing its fuel efficiency, even though the estimated 31 mpg in the city is a big improvement over the estimated 17 mpg of its gas-only twin, the RX 330. The downside is that on the highway it barely bests the 330 by a meager 1-2 mpg.
... continued ...

That doesn't sound 'sanctimonious' to me. It sounds like businesses who are banking on fuel economy being a selling point.
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Silkie
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quote:
[snip]

Thus I am forced to reject the notion that solar and wind are "science-fantasy." When combined with geothermal, biomass, tidal, limited hydroelectric, and nuclear energy, there's no reason why fossil fuel based energy forms can't be drastically reduced over the first half of this century. It's nowhere near as unreasonable as it once was.

... And science fantasy is often the predecessor of new technology that is everyday in nature. Look at how much 'Jules Verne' and 'Star Trek' technology is now in daily use.
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Rakeesh
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More nuclear power. We've got the tech now. Good luck selling that, though. People still write letters to the editor complaining about Cassini around here.

-----

By the way, be honest: how many people who wouldn't make an assumption about an obvious hybrid-car driver would make an assumption about a Hummer driver?

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Lyrhawn
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I just assume Hummer drivers are rich and trying to make a statement about that. Hummers strike me more as a status symbol. There's nothing practical about them that a smaller SUV can't accomplish.

I saw an ad on tv the other day advocating nuclear power, I've never seen that before. And there were funds appropriated in the last energy bill for nuclear power, though I don't know what specifically. I think the best thing to do would be to take all the closed down plants and remake them into the new styled safer cleaner plants, then when they are up start redoing the ones that are there now. Then start building new ones. That way there's never a drop off in power, and we can make our nuclear energy the safest in the world, then sell our services to other nations looking to perfect the technology.

America needs to get back to its roots economically, and that means innovation. Energy innovation in this case.

Nuclear energy can be sold, just have to wait for everyone who knows what Three Mile Island is to die or forget, and then push through the new safer, cleaner, better energy.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
I just assume Hummer drivers are rich and trying to make a statement about that.
That's a nice assumption. How do you know they're trying to make a statement to anyone? Maybe they're former military and their job was driving one. Maybe they like the design. Maybe they work in showbusiness. Maybe they won it in a contest. Maybe they just think they're cool, and along with not caring what someone thinks about their clothing, they don't care what they think about their car.
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Orincoro
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IMO, the only thing a hummer says is I HAVE HORRIBLE TASTE, and is says so really loudly.

Add to this, the only people I have ever met who drove a hummer have been blowhards, condescending, or otherwise intolerable people. Not saying they're all like that, but experience certainly makes me wary of any hummer driver.

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Rakeesh
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How many people have you actually met and interacted with for any length of time that drive Hummers, Orincoro?
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Rakeesh
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My point was to illustrate that if it's not OK for tern to make prejudgements about easily recognizeable electric and hybrid car drivers, it's hardly OK to make prejudgements about Hummer drivers.

Unless the likely politics of the driver is more important to the question, that is.

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Dagonee
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Yikes!

Relax people. The world is difficult enough without looking for reasons like the car people drive to look down on them.

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Icarus
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::looks down on Dags for exclamation point use::

Everybody knows that people who use exclamation points are intellectually immature . . .

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Dagonee
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Interjections show emotion or excitement.
They're usually set apart from a sentence by an exclamation point,
or by a comma when the feeling's not as strong.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
How do you know they're trying to make a statement to anyone? Maybe they're former military and their job was driving one. Maybe they like the design. Maybe they work in showbusiness. Maybe they won it in a contest. Maybe they just think they're cool
Just so you realize, that all those things mentioned there are either status symbols or statements. And as I also said, there's nothing they can do that smaller, more economical and enviro friendly car can't accomplish. Regardless, any of the reasons you mentioned fall into my categories.

And from my brother tells me, my brother the former Marine, Hummers and Humvees share only a similar body style as far as "Being what they drove in the military" goes. They aren't even near the exact same car.

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blacwolve
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I've never met anyone with a Hummer, usually what I think when I see them is "Man that's an ugly car." If I even notice them at all. Of course, I also can't tell a hybrid car from a normal car, I'm pretty car illiterate.

The one thing I do notice, and that does bug me, are the box cars. They drive me crazy. Why would a company think that a box was a good shape to make a car into! I don't understand...

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Lyrhawn
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Honda and Scion seem to think they are a good idea, and if they are still selling them, I'd have to think they have the sales to prove it, but I too tend to think they are sorta ugly.
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Rakeesh
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Lyrhawn,

Well everything is a statement if you include, "I like the way this looks so I will wear or drive it." That's a statement you can apply to anyone. "You liked that enough to use it."

How is winning a Hummer in a contest and driving it a statement of anything except, "Hey! I got really lucky this time!"

I know that a Hummer is not the same as an HMMWV, Lyrhawn. I was referring soley to the look and / or sentimental value.

No, Lyrhawn, the type of car someone is driving is only a statement if they buy and drive a car for the same reason you do. Or else the only statement that can be guaranteed is, "That person is sufficiently satisfied with that car to be seen driving it." You certainly cannot infer status symbol for anything except movie star.

If you get to say that all Hummer drivers are making statements or driving them for status symbols, then tern gets to say the same thing about Icky's car. He's got just as much justification as you have.

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TomDavidson
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quote:

That's a nice assumption. How do you know they're trying to make a statement to anyone?

Price tag.
No one spends that much money on something that useless because they think it's nifty.

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Lyrhawn
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Ack, I forgot to remove contest winnings. And seriously Rakeesh, how many ex-military do you know that can really afford a car THAT expensive?

That's beside the point though. You're right, in the sense that I don't know for sure, and I never said that my opinion or assumption was a FACT, just a guess, or an ovservation.

And by the way, I drive a Ford Focus SE with nothing more than what it comes with. The only statement I'm making is "Poor college student needs car with decent gas mileage to get to and from work and school." I, like a great many people around the world, can't afford to buy a car based on much anything other than how much it costs, how much insurance will be, and how good the gas mileage is.

Now who is making assumptions Rakeesh?

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Silkie
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
More nuclear power. We've got the tech now. Good luck selling that, though. People still write letters to the editor complaining about Cassini around here.

-----

By the way, be honest: how many people who wouldn't make an assumption about an obvious hybrid-car driver would make an assumption about a Hummer driver?

Even if the safety issues are no longer a concern Nuclear Plants create radioactive waste and spent radioactive materials. These waste products are radioactive for millions of years and their disposal is a 'hot' issue. (groan [Laugh] bad pun!)

Solar and Wind Power, along with Geothermal, are good options for the parts of the country that have abundant sun, for instance, or places like the plains, who have abundant wind energy available. Breakthrough research has improved alternative energy sources and is making them more and more efficient and practical. We have catch up to do. Other nations are ahead of us in implementing energy economy. The fact is, Oil is a finite resource.

I wouldn't own a Hummer. Besides the gas guzzling, and the fact that I couldn't afford one, I agree that they are ugly! and so are those boxes! If I won one in a contest I would sell it and pay off my HOUSE!

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Lyrhawn
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Not the new reactor designs they have now Silkie. The newer reactors convert radioactive waste into a much safer form which has a half life of hundreds, not millions of years. From what I understand, old radioactive waste can be converted into this form as well.
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Silkie
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Not the new reactor designs they have now Silkie. The newer reactors convert radioactive waste into a much safer form which has a half life of hundreds, not millions of years. From what I understand, old radioactive waste can be converted into this form as well.

That is good news. Do you have a source for that? I'd love to read more about it.
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Lyrhawn
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Tatiana told me about it, she referred me to this Wikipedia link. Maybe I can get her to post here on it.
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blacwolve
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But really, the simple fact is that comparing solar and wind power to nuclear power is like comparing a battery to a power plant. The only thing that could come close to replacing fossil fuels is nuclear power. Yes, it produces waste, but it's the only viable alternative to fossil fuels that we have.
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Lyrhawn
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Not sure how true that is blacwolve. Solar power is getting more efficient, which means it needs less surface area to collect the same amount of energy. Thus, a panel the same size as one built a decade ago can collect maybe 10 times more energy. I don't know how accurate that is, but they've made significant advances. What if a sheet of solar panels on every home in America could cut American power consumption by 20%? What if that figure is more? That's not even including actual solar power plants.

Wind power is getting bigger and better too. The new huge turbines can produce a Megawatt of power each, a field of them could produce as much as a nuclear power plant.

The real reduction needs to come in how motor vehicles consume energy. We can't wind or solar our way out of that one, and hydrogen seems to be the most favored way out. We'll see how that goes.

Welcome to the 21st century, it's a whole new ballgame.

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Dagonee
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quote:
What if a sheet of solar panels on every home in America could cut American power consumption by 20%?
I think the most efficient means of using solar power now is via a stirling engine with a generator. It's how the company that's doing the large installations in California is using.

Someone is trying to make a point-source sized one; target cost mass-produced is $250 per kilowatt, I think, but last I heard they were a long way from that.

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TomDavidson
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Lately, I've been considering tethering toddlers to treadmills. Depending on the cost of candy, this could be very efficient.
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BannaOj
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Nuclear waste is the problem with nuclear power. And the Not in My Backyard mentality. Because no one wants the nuclear waste that is created. The storage facility at Yucca Mountian has been held up for quite some time as a result. Also due to some laws that went through congress most nuclear waste can't be recycled and reused, even when it could be, because nuclear weapons can be more easily made from the nuclear byproducs than they can be from a lot of the raw stuff. Most of this country's nuclear policy is built completely on public perception and fear and not facts.

Also things designated as "nuclear waste" beyond the actual radioactive material mount up really fast. Every single one of my company's seals that go into a nuclear reactor (and I know how many go through this place) replace a seal that has to be disposed of as "nuclear waste", because they *might* be low-grade radioactive.

To me, the ideal solution would be to launch all "radioactive waste" into the Sun. However, the problem with that is that you really don't want to put highly radioactive stuff on board something with combustible rocket fuel behind it that could explode.

In order for nuclear power to be truly practical without creating draconian restrictions of freedoms on the Not In My BackYard (NIMBY) people here in the U.S. We need a space elevator, that can reliably ferry things into outerspace, and then, be able to launch the radioactive material from there, not terra firma Earth.

AJ

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blacwolve
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I don't know how accurate that is, but they've made significant advances. What if a sheet of solar panels on every home in America could cut American power consumption by 20%? What if that figure is more? That's not even including actual solar power plants.

That's my point. If we run out of fossil fuels and coal, then 20% isn't going to cut it. Solar power could certainly slow down the consumption of oil and coal, but we're still going to run out of them sooner rather than later. When that point comes, Nuclear power will be the only option. As far as I can tell the only reason we're not using nuclear power now is because of these hysterical fears that people have. It would be impossible for Chernobyl to happen today, and the radioactive waste would be dangerous if it managed to contaminate an area, but the chances of that happening are incredibly slim.


I agree with you that cars are the real problem, I just don't know nearly as much about them and the ideas that are in the works for them.

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Dan_raven
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What I am reading is the following arguments:

1)The world is ending because of green house gasses.

No it is not coming to an end. However the same heating that may be going to warm up Canada to be the world's next bread basket, is going to put a lot of other, extremely crowded areas of the world under water.

Where will those people go? Well since they can't grow gills, they will move, possibly forcibly, into adjacent areas. This will increase warfare and destruction around the world.

That is kind of a high price to pay for a warmer Manitoba.

2) There is nothing we can do about it since the only options A) don't work completely, B)are just excuses for masochistic enviromentalists looking for an excuse to show their eviro-piety.

We have two real options. One is to make excuses for maintaining the status quo, the other is to work on finding the right solutions. We don't have to surrender our SUV's or join the "Save the Tadpole" foundations, but we should see what can be done.

3) Limiting green house gases will hurt our economy worse than any others.

Yep. Since we produce more greenhouse gasses, reducing them the most will make the biggest change.

If we reduce them by just not driving, spending, eating, then yes our economy will suffer.

On the other hand if we just produce more giant SUV's, and the market wants smaller, better gas-mileage cars, guess what. We are still hurting the economy.

If we set up our manufacturing sector to produce green-products, at an affordable price, then we will help the economy grow while reducing emmisions.

Change, not status quo, drives the economy.

3) Solar/Nuclear/Geo-Thermal/Hybrid technology will not save the day since it can never replace Fossil Fuels.

True, not one of them can replace fossil fuels.

On the other hand, why do we want 1 source for all of our energy.

Imagine that someone developed a photo-electric cel that would create enough energy to run all of our electrical needs. Now who would develop that cel? Whoever they are, they suddenly control our economic future. If our home cel gets destroyed in a storm, we need to get a new one in order to have lights, heat, computers, Hatrack. That one organization could control us by controling the source of our technology--and since strides in this technology are coming from Europe and Asia, not the US, would we be any better off than we are now with Oil?

A mixture of Nuclear, Solar, Geo-Thermal, Hydro-Electric, Oil, Natural Gas, Shale, and yes Tom, crawling toddler power, would be a mix that would work, and would not be in the control of one cartel.

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BannaOj
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Dan, I believe Nuclear power actually *could* replace the majority of fossil fuel used as fuel... I don't know if it can replace the amount of fossil fuels used for plastic though.

And unless the entire country is willing to sacrifice for the greater good, by curtailing individual freedoms somewhere, for a waste dump it's not going to happen.

AJ

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HollowEarth
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bleh, yucca mountain is about as good of a storage location as your going to get. And mind that at present every single nuclear plant has its own storage on-site.
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